Friday, December 12, 2008

Epicurean Delights sans the Jail-time

We tell our kids to "Just Say No" and yet we allow them to dump cup-fulls of this addictive white powder on their Cheerios.

Favorite quote:
Though difficult to
estimate, sweet sensations evoked by sugar-sweetened foods and
drinks are probably one of the most precocious, frequent and
intense sensory pleasures of modern humans.

Have I been missing something?!?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Ideologyweek: News as Only We Wont to See.

The mocking introduction “Let's try” of Newsweek’s “Our Mutual Joy” foreshadowed all one needed to know about the incredibly condescending treatment of religion by another ‘general interest’ magazine going through its death throes. In an attempt to shame (the true meaning of which, like ‘tolerance’ and ‘love’ has become unfashionably anachronistic) the vast majority of Americans who are Christian, The “living” Bible is deconstructed and vivisected to reveal the Christian’s folly. The article author asserts her moral authority in calling on Christians to strive toward ‘more just’ ideals over the ‘unserious’ drive towards “chaos, depravity, [and] indifference.”

Newsweek would have us believe that the homosexual activity practiced in days of yore condemned by Paul were nothing like the civilized and enlightened homosexual practices of today, and then insinuates that David and Jonathan were gay lovers. Perhaps things have changed; not the enlightenment of gay sex, but the corruption of true brotherly love that Paul commends to his followers.

The article then goes on to explain that the overarching theme of the Bible is acceptance, citing Jesus reaching out to the woman at the well. Nary a word about Jesus’s constant injunction to sin no more, or the real theme of the Bible which is to totally deny oneself in discipleship; not indulge in ‘needy’ relationships. The doctrine of the Bible is that because of the fall everybody has a predisposition to act contrary to our true nature of Justice and Holiness, but that we are to refuse such impulses; not embrace them.

Newsweek argues:
So the frustrating, semantic question remains: should gay people be married in the same, sacramental sense that straight people are? I would argue that they should. If we are all God's children, made in his likeness and image, then to deny access to any sacrament based on sexuality is exactly the same thing as denying it based on skin color—and no serious (or even semiserious) person would argue that.

Perhaps this last bit is what I find to be the most egregious error and beneath contempt. It blasphemously insinuates that God Himself just might be a homosexual and then equats the sexual impulse to skin color or gender. It is similar to the slave-trader’s assertion (to paraphrase Thomas Jefferson) that there are those who are born with saddles on their backs and others born with boots and spurs; except in this case, those born saddled are humanity and the booted master is the animal impulse. It totally rejects humanity’s agency and responsibility, and is totally antithetical to the Bible’s core message. A person who is born black cannot change that fact. A person who is born female or male will always have that identity etched on every cell of the person’s body regardless of the number of surgeries or hormone therapy. Sexuality, on the other hand, is a learned behavior which every civil society in history has regulated and restricted, and to ignore that basic fact of biology and history is not merely unserious, but dangerously stupid.

This shockingly arrogant treatment of the Bible by an author who probably has about as much knowledge of the Bible as an 18th century grammar student (or less) wends its way through blissfully ignorant aphorisms like:

Jesus does not want people to be lonely and sad,
and then quotes such luminaries like “Miss Manners” and “My friend the priest James Martin.” Of course, if one only wants to obstinately promote one’s own viewpoint, then there’s no need to include people who may not be one’s friends or even have the same opinions as oneself. This is evident in the article which never includes any divergent opinion or even the treats the reasoning behind Christian (or classical pagan for that matter) opposition to homosexual marriage as anything but a silly straw-man.

What is the true reason that the majority of people in over three dozen states have voted in free and fair elections to affirm marriage between a man and a woman? It’s not hatred of Gays, OR EVEN HAS ANYTHING TO DO WITH GAYS. It is the fact (one that is lost on the post-modern left) that there are essential differences between men and women. Those differences are profound and reach the whole dynamic range of the human experience. Those differences are etched on every cell in the bodies of Men and Women. To paraphrase Sartre, there is no escape from gender differences between men and women. Men and women are intrinsically, essentially, and absolutely different. Society has an interest in guarding the procreation and sustainability of itself. In so doing, society has every right to ensure that the healthy and diverse influences of both male and female are included in the raising of children. Both genders play essential and important roles in the flourishing and procreation of humanity.

When looked at from this light, homosexual marriage advocates are actually arguing not for inclusion, but for exclusion since it is they who would gloss over the important gender differences that are essential for the raising of properly socialized human beings. Homosexual men simply cannot parent with ‘maternal flair’ no matter how hard they try or how many flower arrangement classes they attend. Furthermore, the homosexual relationship is, by definition, barren. It is wholly impossible for a new human being to be created except from genetic material from one man and one woman. It should be in society’s interest, if society is to persist, to ensure that there is pairing of the right kinds of people (male and female are the only possible option) sustain civilization.

This is why I found Newsweek’s chief editor, John Meacham’s comment so utterly oblivious to reality:
“Religious conservatives will say that the liberal media are once again seeking to impose their “agenda” on a God-fearing nation. Let the letters and e-mails come. History and demographics are on the side of those who favor inclusion over exclusion.”

Excuse me? History and demographics are on the side of those who favor inclusion over exclusion? Has the cavalier John Meacham (of whom I expect better as a historian) seen the fertility rates of San Francisco? Does he know anything about the demographics of the barren Blue Northeast vs. the Red Bible belt south? Quite the contrary to John Meacham’s facile dismissal of the (procreating) majority of Americans, it isn’t gay families who will see the explosion of influence and power in the world. He should look at the statistics: the most common name of babies born in Brussels: Mohammad, Toronto: Mohammad, Amsterdam: Mohammad, Paris: Mohammad, Sweden: Mohammad. What would America look like if it were Muslims instead of the dreaded Catholics controlling the Supreme Court? Does John Meacham really think that the world is demographically moving towards total acceptance of Gay Marriage? Perhaps he should check his statistics and hope it’s the Bible-thumpers or Mormons (who are the only ones approaching Muslims in fertility rates) whom demographics will favor.

And perhaps John Meacham should check on the demographics of Newsweek, which is nose-diving into oblivion.
“Sources say that the magazine is considering slashing up to 1.6 million copies from Newsweek’s current rate base of 2.6 million, which would put the magazine’s rate base at 1 million. Newsweek declined to comment.”

Natural Law of Homosexual Marriage
A Biblical Understanding of Marriage
National Review: Newsweek Comes out of the Closet

Monday, December 8, 2008

"That Wasn't Quite the Change We Envisioned"

Certainly Obama's recent appointments to his cabinet have been reassuring as I've outlined in my previous post, but some in the Left seem to be getting a little anxious. This story from Politico sheds some light on this subject.

Salient Quote, National Security:
Now Obama’s says that on his first day in office he will begin to “design a plan for a responsible drawdown,” as he told NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday. Obama has also filled his national security positions with supporters of the Iraq war: Sen. Hillary Clinton, who voted to authorize force in Iraq, as his secretary of state; and President George W. Bush’s defense secretary, Robert Gates, continuing in the same role

Salient Quote, Economic Policy:
It’s that liberal Democrats say they’re hard-pressed to find one of their own on Obama’s team so far – particularly on the economic side, where people like Tim Geithner and Lawrence Summers are hardly viewed as pro-labor.

Good, Labor bosses have driven many of American Manufacturing jobs into the ground and resulted in poorer quality products.

I'll continue to look skepticaly at Obama, but for a Democrat who ran as Obama did during the campaign; so far so good.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Team of Rivals

Most people know I am not the most enthusiastic supporter of Obama (probably a understatement), but I have to write about Obama's picks for Cabinet which I think are very encouraging for those of us who were voted for McCain and wondered about Obama's experience and past associations.

First the big pick: Robert Gates.
For the move-on left who supposedly voted Obama into office to “end the war” this pick must seem like a slap in the face. At least for the first year Robert Gates will continue to help lead the finest and most honorable military in history, and will be a great asset to President Obama.

Along with Robert Gates, Obama has selected James L. Jones as his National Security Advisor. He’s a tough-as-nails retired marine general who will be a strong advisor to Obama and certainly somebody that any red-blooded neoconservative American can be proud of. When compared to Clinton’s peacenik cabinet and Sandy “The Burglar” Burger, Obama has chosen well.

For Health and Human Services: Tom Daschle Probably the worst of the cabinet picks in my opinion by Obama; but what can I say? He certainly isn’t a Mike Leavitt.

Rahm Emanuel is Obama’s choice as Chief of Staff. He’s a very smart and outstanding congressman (and one of the reasons why the Nancy Pelosi/Harry Reid wing of the Democratic party hasn’t kamikazied the party into obsolescence). He’s a centrist that will provide some healthy Obama v. Congress tension that will both help to distance Obama from the single digit approval lunacy of congress and help Blue Dog Democrats better their positions. Yes, America is still fundamentally a centrist-right country and Rahm Emanuel is a good reflection of Obama’s recognition of that fact. It should encourage all democrats and also assuage many of the fears republicans had of Obama. If Pelosi-Reid though they were going to have a nice puppet president then the pick of tough-guy Rahm Emanuel is their wake-up call.

Obama could have done worse than to nominate Janet Napolitano as Secretary of Homeland Security (although, as the Governor of Arizona I am a little concerned about that wide open HOV lane extending from Mexico into the U.S.).

On the Economy

For U.S. Secretary of the Treasury: Timothy F. Geithner. He is a fairly free-market guy and a solid choice to head the Treasury (although some conservatives may be less approving). Whatever happens to the economy, It seems that Timothy Geithner is highly competent and understands what will and won’t work. Certainly not the Marxist that some overly-enthusiastic Obama opponents (or supporters) were expecting.

For the White House’s National Economic Council we have Lawrence Summers. He is also very outstanding economist who is not afraid to express his opinion (an important quality in an advisor). Notably, he rocked the boat as Harvard’s president when he dared to note that there really may exist fundamental differences between men and women (GASP!!!), and where he criticized African American Studies department head Cornel West for being unscholarly and his work as “an embarrassment to the University.” Not a bad pick for a Democrat.

Next, Christina Romer will be the Chair of the Council of Economic Advisors. She leans supply-side on fiscal policy and seems like a fine addition to Obama’s cabinet.

For Secretary of Commerce: Bill Richardson will serve Obama well. Interestingly, his father is Nicaraguan (I knew I liked him for some reason), and best of all Richardson is a tax cutter who supports global trade (Columbia free trade?). Now that the parasitic Unions are becoming defunct and with Richardson in the Cabinet, NAFTA will likely continue unopposed. Not a bad pick at all, and a nice guy (although I miss El Diablo with the beard).

Another notable economic pick as the Chair of the Economic Recovery Advisory Board was Paul Volcker who served as Reagan’s Secretary of the Treasury and who helped clean up Carter’s mess during the 1980s. He also helped to dissect and bring to light the scandalous ‘Oil for Food’ program at the UN.
And last but not least is Hillary Clinton who will serve as Secretary of State. It’s a sign of Obama’s confidence and good will to extend that position to Clinton, and I think she will be a strong advocate for the United States throughout the world. She’s a democrat, but she isn’t Madeline Albright either. Not a bad person to pick up that phone at 3:00 a.m. even if she’s a Democrat.

In Conclusion

One of Bush's biggest mistakes as president may have been the appointment of so many of his Texan friends who proved to be unreliable (e.g. Al Gonzalez). The first impressions of Presiden Obama are very encouraging. He may even turn out to be a great president. Unlike the rabid Bush-hating wing of the left, I love my country enough to hope for the success of even my rivals and perhaps we will see growth and success unlike anything we’ve seen in history. That is the purpose of healthy competition in the marketplace of ideas, and it seems like Obama has filled his cabinet with enough people who disagree with him enough to make positive synergy happen.

I hope Obama is so good a President that I will be salivating to vote for him in 2012, but I’ll still keep a critical eye on him as well as some of my Republican political allies. It looks as if he’s making a good foundation for a solid presidency, and we’ll see what the next four years have in store.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Morning Reads: Politics and Personality Disorders

I found an interesting article by Hugh Nibly today entitled "Beyond Politics."

Another article about the unfair and dishonest attacks on religious groups enttled "Legislating Immorality."

And a new study about the prevalence of personality disorders which is often confounded and compounded with drug abuse amoung American young people. Bloomberg Reports
The researchers found that "almost half of [the] college-aged adults had a psychiatric disorder over a one-year span, based on research criteria that ranged from bipolar disease, to substance abuse including smoking." Notably, they discovered that about 20 percent of the "students failed to fulfill an obligation, had a legal problem, did something dangerous, or caused social problems by using alcohol." The study also showed that "the next most common psychiatric problems were so-called personality disorders, including obsessive-compulsive behavior, at 18 percent."

Perhaps it's always been this way. Somehow, though, I wonder if it has anything to do with the modern disintigration of families.

The Los Angeles Times (to cater, perhaps, to it's readers neurotic need to analyze psychiatric news) further breaks down the numbers:
Overall, "45.8 percent of college students and 47.7 percent of young adults not in college met the criteria for at least one psychiatric disorder. The most common disorder in college students was alcohol abuse, which 20.7 percent were found to have, followed by personality disorders, at 17.7 percent." Meanwhile, for "young adults not attending college, the most frequent disorder was personality disorders, 21.6 percent, and nicotine dependence, 20.7 percent."

It reminds me of de Toqueville who said that "a people always get the democracy that they deserve." Hopefully our voting base 'grows out' of their psychiatric disabilities by the time they take the helm of this Nation.

I am now an NIH Fellow

I have received word:
With a score of 159, we definitely plan on funding your application.
Nice job!
J.P., PH.D.
Director, Research Fellowship & Career Development
and Digestive Disease Centers Programs
Division of Digestive Diseases and Nutrition, NIDDK

It's nice to know. That's about $180,000.00 of American tax money that I hope to put to good use over the next 5-6 years.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Morning Reads: Twilight, and Free Will


Twilight hits the Box office this weekend.

For good reason, I always take the chatter from Hollywood with a modicum of salinity but this quote is informative:
It is fascinating that author Meyer, who is a Latter-day Saint and has never tried alcohol or seen an R-rated movie, will be the toast of Hollywood this weekend. Twilight is “squeaky clean,” promoting pre-marital abstinence as opposed to teenage fumbling in the back seats of cars. Parents who shake their heads at the crassness of Gossip Girl and the new version of Beverly Hills 90210 may find the romantic restraint and chivalry-before-all-else mentality of Twilight both refreshing and morally sound.

Thomas Sowell has an interesting article about the "Right to Win." Why the left is always one step away from Fascism: no restraint at all.

Example #1:
Blacks who just happened to be driving through Westwood, near UCLA, were accosted in their cars and, in addition to being denounced, were warned, "You better watch your back."

Example #2:
In their midst was a San Francisco Supervisor who said "The Mormon church has had to rely on our tolerance in the past, to be able to express their beliefs." He added, "This is a huge mistake for them. It looks like they've forgotten some lessons."

Perhaps the two most historically persecuted minorities in the United States (Blacks who suffered injustice in the bonds of slavery and Mormons who had to flee the U.S. from government sanctioned and institutionalized genocide), have forgotten to be submissive.

When the majority of the people become like sheep, who will tolerate intolerance rather than make a fuss, then there is no limit to how far any group will go.

Over in the scientific corner, Nature (probably the most respected scientific journal) has just published an article on the neurobiology of human volition (or 'will' if you please), and on the importance of sleep in neurobiology.

The former artice brings my mind back to the day when I had a discussion on the neurobiology of free will with another family member (who is now a faculty member at a major University). I may have seemed to support the mechanistic naturalism inference of will (that it's not free per se), and certainly nothing in Nature will be published that hints towards ‘free will’ as any non-materialistic mechanism (it's science after all); but I may have been overly enthusiastic about criticizing psychotherapy in arguing the affirmative of pharmaceuticals as a good way to manage things like PTSD or MDD (major depressive disorder). Certainly I think there is more to individual agency than absolutely predetermined sets of billiard balls running into each other in the brain.

Australia's Newest Example

Posted by Picasa

What I wrote a couple of days ago about the sexual existentialist movement is once again affirmed; this time in Australia.

My apologies to Steve Irwin's family but I just couldn't resist the picture. It was quite appropriate to the post.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

On Imposing Morality

So many say that one version of morality shouldn't be imposed on society as a whole. I'm glad people believe they shouldn't impose their morality or existential values on others because that leaves me free to impose my morality on them. I am the Master and they will be the Slave. Ok, that was kind of a joke, but such facile thinking has been all the rage recently with the dominance of post-modern cultural relativism; and we know that people who say that really don't mean it because the whole point of saying a person shouldn't impose their morality on others is in fact a surreptitious attempt to impose an individualistic morality on the prevailing moral sensitivities of society. It’s a form of shame that denies shame a priori and yet it presents a false sense of liberalism that only expands radical individualistic liberty while at the same time strangling any meaningful opposition voices.

Moral values, and their more rigid facsimiles, laws; shift along with the prevailing zeitgeist of the bourgeois. If modern history is any gauge, however, I'd be very cautious to attenuate a people's common moral inhibitions, even if I don’t agree with them; either through political repression or through forced hedonic apathy. If you thought Abu Ghraib was bad, just remove a people's common moral sense. Srebrenica will look quaint in comparison, and no amount of investigative journalism or individual moral outrage will arouse the slumbering majority out of its hedonic trance. At the temples of the theatre, the abortion clinic, and in the sheltered monastic cloisters of academia; as these cognoscenti chant the mantra that “it doesn’t hurt anybody else” the voice of the people will increasingly ape the tautological cousin that “it doesn’t hurt me” so why bother.

The case of the homosexual existentialist is illustrative. The ultimate moral force for this archetype is passion. Such people may be rich in their sense of art and other epicurean delights, but these previously safe indulgences also mingle with the wild eccentric passions that become the moral furniture of such people’s doings (NB: as opposed to being). Society has become more accepting of the open and free expression of passion recently and so what was once seen as extreme or fringe displays of passion during the stuffy Victorian age or in America’s 1950s now has become acceptable to the reformed epicurean mind. Embarrassment and pain are minimized while hedonic utility is maximized. In the most deviant of this trend, some even get much pleasure from artificially (i.e. artfully) creating shame, guilt, and pain in the absence real socially imposed shame, guilt or pain (e.g. the mainstreaming of torture porn flicks like the “Saw” series). They have their pie and flamboyantly eat it too.

The fundamental identities of all people are linked to their relationships to others; for without an external point of reference, there is no consciousness. The voyeur peeking through the keyhole of an apartment has no conscious identity until he hears steps approaching from the stairwell behind him, and it is only at that moment that the voyeur becomes self-conscious. In our interrelating with God and other people, we become conscious. That consciousness eventually blooms into a complex conscience of right and wrong, virtue and vice.

The influence of interpersonal relationships including relationships with God was clear to Charles Darwin who otherwise would scrupulously avoid religious debate, and for whom a divine first cause was irrelevant. In “The Descent of Man” He said:

“The moral nature of man has reached its present standard, partly through the advancement of his reasoning powers and consequently of a just public opinion, but especially from his sympathies having been rendered more tender and widely diffused through the effects of habit, example, instruction, and reflection. . . . With the more civilised races, the conviction of the existence of an all-seeing Deity has had a potent influence on the advance of morality. . . . His conscience then becomes the supreme judge and monitor. Nevertheless the first foundation or origin of the moral sense lies in the social instincts, including sympathy.”

For the materialistic neo-Darwinist as well as the God-fearing Christian, relationships are the bedrock of moral philosophy.

While the (homo)sexual existentialist uses the prism of passion in relating to others and in judging all other truths; the Latter-day Saint (as well as many other religious people) use a logical hierarchy of principles that revolve concentrically around 1) God, 2) Family, and 3) Society. Passion is simply a poor blunt instrument that must be skillfully controlled in order to remain within the narrow confines of logic-based moral first principles. Granted, there are materialists who claim prescriptive moral principles from descriptive processes, but they run into the difficulty of forever seeking to derive a prescriptive ‘ought’ from a descriptive ‘is’ (see C.S. Lewis “The Abolition of Man”). That is partly why American (or any other) politics will never be divorced completely from religious narrative: there must be a moral imperative to existence that is firmly rooted in the right. This is evident from the Mayflower Compact to the Massachusetts Constitution, from the Bill of Rights to the Emancipation Proclaimation, and From the Monroe Doctrine to the Bush Doctrine. We see public religion (with their own hymns, temples, prophets and scripture) even in atheistic (re: secular) communist countries.

If passion were the foundation of moral thought, however, (as with Nietzsche and the sexual existentialists), then there is no common social conscience or moral cohesion. Such a society inexorably divides into the slave and master classes and are only distinguished by their ability to effect their own personal morality (i.e. passion or the ‘Will to Power’). Such a society is repressive of those who seek to peaceably assemble and organize for the common social good since this would be a sign of herd or slave mentality that Nietzsche found so reprehensible and which he thought originated in the Jewish ideal of monotheism. There will be great ‘diversity’ of art and even truth, but access to this art will require a deconstruction and deeducation of humanity so that aesthetics and logic will no longer exist in the social sphere except as fragmented individual parts that deny association or wholeness. People will only ‘do’ they will not Be. There will only be those people that act (the Master) and those who are acted upon (the Slave). Love, the supposed final and supernal effect of the sexual existentialist; will cease to exist except as a thing that is ‘done’ or ‘made’ but that cannot ultimately be shared. There is no exit (to paraphrase Sartre) from self in this passionate model of existence and other people exist only as objects of one’s passion, rather than as autonomous beings; to be traded for ‘power,’ ‘money,’ ‘sex,’ ‘art,’ or any other final passionate effect. This is the difference between the Pathetic morals of the homosexual existentialist and the etho/logical morals of the Latter-day Saint; or any other moral system that sprung from Jewish Monotheism.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Key to a Successful Democracy

There are people who vote against gay marriage, people hate those people, and that those people are forced to live second-class citizen lives by being blacklisted and outcasted?

Which right is more sacrosact in America, the right to free expression and peaceable assembly, or the right to have government sanctify a particular relationship with the word 'family' or 'marriage.' If one is in favor of ever more sexual and commercial liberalization at the cost of increasing political repression then I suppose it would be the latter. Bring on the gladators and carnivals filled with breadcarts and public executions! We have no fear of becoming Orwell's 1984; while instead, the intoxication of pleasure has lulled us into Huxley's Brave New World.

The key to the success of a democracy: Restraint.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Pink Police State and Obama

My cousin said something interesting recently:
Will it really injure our children to learn in school that some men love men, some women love women, we still love those people, and in some places it is legal for them to marry?

I certainly appreciate her thoughts on the matter and thought I would comment.

I think children should learn this and many other things about the world we live in. Personally, I think the fact that there are people who want to establish a worldwide caliphate and impose their religion and Sharia law on the West is probably a little more urgent and important than banning Gay Marriage. It seems to me, however, that the fact that there are people who want to wipe God out of American society and culture is not very different from the non-violent Islamic Fundamentalists. In both cases they are trying to force the will of a tiny minority on the public en masse.

On the one hand there's the rise of sexual and commercial liberation coincident with political repression embodied by the Pink Police State and on the other: the Taliban. Both sides of the same coin with the only difference being the prevailing method of social engineering: pleasure and terror (both of which require very little in terms of rational thought). On the scale of urgent social matters, I think the last thing I would worry about are fundamentalists drive to ban the convenience killing of viable newborns in the third trimester, or the anti-orgy bigotry of the middle class towards neighborhood sex parties, or the redefining of sexual, familial, and government roles to sanctify the actions of a tiny minority that the vast majority of poor unenlightened bourgeois America (including most African Americans) find absolutely repulsive.

I think children should understand that. Our democracy depends on it. The tiny oligarchies of supremists who 'interpret' Constitutional penumbras wholesale have already sown the seeds of this ultimately repressed society of enlightened civil libertarians.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Thoughts on an Historic Election

I'm a little disappointed about Obama getting elected, although I wasn't quite enthusiastic about McCain. I don't think Obama will destroy the country though, since the SCOTUS is fairly well balanced against a secular anti-religious facial attack. If Obama can just keep his money/power hungry liberal friends from commandering huge swaths of American economy and life then he just may turn out to be a good president. For the record; Hillary was a better candidate, but after all is said and done, a black president will help bring minorities into the mainstream better and obviate the need for preferential ractial discrimination.

As for Prop 8, I thought of this quote:
“Make no mistake about it, brothers and sisters, in the months and years ahead, events are likely to require each member to decide whether or not he will follow the First Presidency. Members will find it more difficult to halt longer between two opinions. President Marion G. Romney said, many years ago, that he had ‘never hesitated to follow the counsel of the Authorities of the Church even though it crossed my social, professional or political life.’

This is hard doctrine, but it is particularly vital doctrine in a society which is becoming more wicked. In short, brothers and sisters, not being ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ includes not being ashamed of the prophets of Jesus Christ. . . . Your discipleship may see the time when such religious convictions are discounted. . . . This new irreligious imperialism seeks to disallow certain opinions simply because those opinions grow out of religious convictions.

Resistance to abortion will be seen as primitive. Concern over the institution of the family will be viewed as untrendy and unenlightened…. Before the ultimate victory of the forces of righteousness, some skirmishes will be lost. Even in these, however, let us leave a record so that the choices are clear, letting others do as they will in the face of prophetic counsel. There will also
be times, happily, when a minor defeat seems probable, but others will step forward, having been rallied to rightness by what we do.

We will know the joy, on occasion, of having awakened a slumbering majority of the decent people of all races and creeds which was, till then, unconscious of itself. Jesus said that when the fig trees put forth their leaves, ’summer is nigh.’ Thus warned that summer is upon us, let us not then complain of the heat.”

Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “Meeting the Challenges of Today,” BYU Devotional, October 10, 1978

That success alone quelched any lingering ping of regret over losses sustained by the 'home team.' After all is said and done, political games are not as significant as the need for (at least a part of) society firmly rooted in the True and Good.

A good summary of the California Mormon experience can be found Here.

Some interesting legal arguments concerning Same-sex marriage and Religious liberty can be found here and here; originally published in the Harvard Journal of of Law and Public Policy.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Hilarious Interview of Mike Gravel by a Left-wing Radio

I guess these Lefty Talk-show hosts didn't do their homework or didn't know what they were getting into.
It's just funny to hear.

The man does have integrity. That's for sure.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Sarah Palin, Media Hypocracy and the One-edged Sword

First CNN takes pot shots at abstinance education with vitriolic ferver.

The one of our favorite philosophers Bill Bennett (who knows something of hypocritical media attacks posing as journalism) weighs in on the issue and has a heated exchange attacking his employer CNN for using those extreme far-left talking points and trying to pass them off as journalism.

Then another good Neoconservative, Bill Krystol, appropriately lays the smack-down on Mort Kondrake (even calling such a suggestion disgusting) for suggesting that Sarah Palin's daughter getting pregnant is 'proof' that abstinance only education is ineffective.

I'm glad that Barak Obama was respectful enough to not target the kids of Presidential and Vice-Presidential candidates.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

How One Lost Faith like One may Lose an Old Pair of Shoes

Richard Dutcher Leaves Mormon Cinema and Mormonism behind.

It is almost inevitable. Except for the Buddist (with it's vegetarian meals and relaxing Yoga routines), most faiths wither from lack of light in the darkened screening rooms of Hollywoodland.

Now that Dutcher has cast off the ball-and-chain of church morality he can finally make more respectable, uplifting movies like 'The Departed.' His latest releases 'Falling' and "Evil Angel' are steps in the right direction. One advantage Richard may have on his peers is that one really can't understand evil without understanding good. Unfortunately, our media is all too obsessed with portrayal of evil without understanding it or the other side of the coin.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Louise's experience at the Ice Rink

See HERE for full story.

See Also:
The local Newspaper.
Yesterday's story

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Flooding on the Mississippi

If you look really close you will see missionary name tags on many of the 'yellow t-shirt' people.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Thoughts for a monday.

In Response to another person's post about serving missions.

Perhaps I just one of those smiley-eyed fools who blindly forged ahead in total self-deception and delusion. I was humiliated time and again and perhaps I just pretended that it didn’t matter. The mission life was tough; sometimes excruciating, and I made some pretty big mistakes. Perhaps it was my stubborn nature, but I charged forward in vigorous rebellion against it all. I ignored the consequences of mission life on my body, mind and soul. I spent myself there on the soil in Central America, and if I was going to spend myself in that land of poverty and nameless towns frozen in the 1800s, then I would spend dearly.

I left a part of myself in that land. I don’t know if I will ever regain that part that was so brutally ripped from my soul. I returned to a family that was bankrupt, to parents who were divorced, and to a mother who was struggling through church and government welfare to feed, clothe and shelter my four younger siblings. Some kind members of the ward chipped in to help buy me some clothes that weren’t tattered from having been hung on rusty barbed wire. I felt I had lost everything.

The poignancy of those moments burned deep into my heart. I faltered, and just when I was about to fail; when I was about to forsake myself to bleak nothingness; I saw.

There was no other way, and there is no such thing as cheap grace.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Hurrah for Office-space

Today, I got introduced to my new office. It's actually more like a broomcloset that houses two post-docs and a graduate student (me), but it already feels like home. I have to go to university surplus supplies to scrounge up an old used desk and a chair with (hopefully) not too many ambiguous brown stains, but I have a bookcase and cabinets. My mentor also gave me the textbook I will use (Kandell's principles of Neuro Science) for the minimal coursework that I need to get done.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Church responds to California Supreme Court Decision.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recognizes that same-sex marriage can be an emotional and divisive issue. However, the Church teaches that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is the basic unit of society. Yesterday’s California Supreme Court decision is unfortunate.

Monday, April 14, 2008


In the wake of the Vytorin controversy, another article has come out add just another reason why they should put statins in the water.

Bottom line, not only do Statins improve the lipid profile of people, but they also modestly lower blood pressure (systolic and the dreaded high diastolic as well).

Trial Registration: Identifier: NCT00330980

First Shot

Magpie at Byron Bay.
I shot this picture at Byron Bay, Australia: one of the most beautiful places on earth.
Here I am with Louise at Brisbane's own Mt. Coot-tha; camera facing East towards the city.