Tuesday, May 27, 2008

FEMA may kill more Louisianna residents than Katrina

Click here for full story

Research has shown that trailers issued to Katrina victims by FEMA contained formaldehyde fumes up to five times the safe level. As a result many children who lived in these trailers for extended periods of time have developed respitory problems, including asthma. Doctors fear that many children will also develop cancer later in life.

FEMA knew about this potential danger in 2006 but did not start pushing to get residents out of trailers until February of this year.

From AP: "It's tragic that when people most need the protection, they are actually going from one disaster to a health disaster that might be considered worse," said Christopher De Rosa, assistant director for toxicology and risk assessment at the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, an arm of the CDC. "Given the longer-term implications of exposure that went on for a significant period of time, people should be followed through time for possible effects."

Is FEMA not one of the worst relief and assistance agencies known to man? Some may call me extreme, but I really can't help but consider that this neglect is primarily due to the poverty and race of the affected residents of Katrina. I cannot see this happening in a middle-class suburb of mostly white residents.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

I'm glad someone still cares about laws...

This just in -

Court: Texas had no right to take polygamists' kids

Let there be no confusion, I am LDS not FLDS. I do not support polygamy nor do I support underage marriages or even arranged marriages. I don't condone any crimes that occur within the FLDS compound. Not one bit.

But I also don't support breaking laws and robbing someone of their privacy rights. I was absolutely DISGUSTED when I heard the news of Child Services raiding the compound taking hundreds of children into custody.

They were roped in and led out like a herd of cattle all based on one phone call claiming rape and most likely years of misunderstanding and prejudice.

Bring the offenders to justice and protect the children, but don't take hundreds of children away from their mothers based on a phone call or a fear of endangerment not supported by evidence. If there are wrongdoings, do your job and support it by gathering evidence and going through the proper judicial process.

I don't see how it is in the child's best interest to take them away from their mothers without knowing if any wrongdoing occured and then hand them out to foster parents across the State. Or better yet keep them in another compound that has such poor conditions you have to later move them due to reported illnesses. That is really looking out for the children!

Just because something is "different" or we don't understand it or we fear it, doesn't mean our laws can be violated. Somebody needs to tell that to Child Protective services - and George Bush for that matter.

Everyone has rights, even children and women who have multiple marriage partners and look like mindless drones. As Americans, we need to preserve and protect their rights.

Developments -

15 of the 31 suspected underage females are actually of age. 1 of them is 27! Another great example of superb work by our government's social programs!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Time to turn off the television

My wife and I have wanted to turn off the boob tube for some time now. We notice a more peaceful and pleasant atmosphere in our home when the television is put on vacation. But unfortunately I am an addict and need my sitcoms like a druggie needs his heroine.

Even as a television junkie I can't help but notice the disgusting and perverted shows that have found their way to prime time. A few examples are Lipstick Jungle and Desperate Housewives, which glorify fornication and adultery to levels that would make station managers just 10 years ago have a stroke.

When I hear of these shows I wonder if the world we live in has become that corrupt. Do we truly see our marriages as play things and see no harm in subjecting them to relationships on the side or total disregard.

I hope not.

In CBS's Summer lineup a new low will be reached. They will be airing the show "Swingtown" which takes a look at the sexual revolution of the 70s. This will include marriages that embrace openness to other sexual partners - referred to as "swingers." I am appalled by this direction and if I ever needed a reason to throw the tv out the window this is it.

But I will continue to watch my sitcoms supporting what I criticize and look down on.

Friday, May 9, 2008

I'm Back!

Friends, after a long absence from the blogosphere I have returned. Our little family has been busy with the challenges of preparing for the upcoming arrival of our new baby daughter in August. It hasn't been easy on my bride and to make matters worse my work in undergoing many changes that have also required much of my time.

But alas, I'm back.

I do not have much to say besides I am amazed that Hillary Clinton continues to put her needs above those of the Democratic Party, but I am definately not surprised. It is hard to forsee her ever admitting defeat. I can imagine her trying to push through legal actions concerning Florida and Michigan past the November elections. A Clinton cannot stand to lose.

The War in Iraq continues. I received an email from a friend yesterday saying that we have captured the leader of Al Queda in Iraq, and that it boggles their mind that there are those that still question the war. While I accept that there will always be different points of view on this topic, it boggles my mind that their are many people that still wont admit that terrorism was not an issue in Iraq until AFTER we overthrew their government setting the stage for an insurgency. They tie 9/11 and Iraq together as having a cause and effect relationship that just isn't there. Stand up for the War in Iraq, but please do so with the facts, not the fabricated fear-mongering lie of the Bush Administration.

Our economic condition scares me. I want to be positive and see this as a recession that will be temporary. But their are so many factors with credit and investing that remind me of the Great Depression. And even though I support Obama, I can honestly say I don't think any of the three remaining candidates have the experience on economic issues to get my vote. My hope is that whoever wins will surround themselves with the best and brightest economic minds.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Delegates and Debates: The political games Clinton brings to the table

It's a pretty clear -

Michigan and Florida violated national democratic convention rules by moving their primary dates up. The DNC voted to take away their delegates for this violation. As a result of this violation and the stripping away of delegates Barack Obama did not campaign in these states. With Hillary Clinton the only viable candidate in those primaries she won easily.

But now that Clinton and Obama are neck and neck guess who is calling for the Michigan and Florida delegates to be seated despite their party's ruling? Ofcourse, it's Hillary Clinton! And what makes the situation even more spectacular is the spokesman, Harold Ickes, for Clinton's campaign that is pushing for this personally voted IN FAVOR of taking away these states' delegates! What was his reasoning?

"There's been no change," Ickes said. "I was not acting as an agent of Mrs. Clinton. We had promulgated rules and those rules said the timing provision ... provides for certain sanctions, automatic sanctions as a matter of fact, if a state such as Michigan or Florida violates those timing provisions."

"With respect to the stripping, I voted as a member of the Democratic National Committee. Those were our rules and I felt I had an obligation to enforce them," he said.

So he is openly admitting that the reason for the change in position (which he admits to but denies at the same time!) is that he is now speaking for Clinton's campaign and not the DNC.

This is just a prime example of the Clintons at work.

Another beef that Clinton is expressing in her campain's commercials is Obama's decline to invitations to debate. Her staff was calling for 4 extra debates within a four week period. Obama's staff wisely saw this as a way to take away their momentum and declined. All Clinton had to do is throw in some racial comments or other controversial statements and presto - we have her back in the spotlight.

Clinton is exploited these declines as Obama not willing to express or discuss his positions. What a joke!

Please America - See Hillary Clinton for who she really is.

A Lesson in Diversity

Please read my second post over at The Waters of Mormon.

I have been wanting to write about this experience for a long time and a break in school work has given me the chance!

A Lesson in Diversity

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Headline: Romney endorses McCain

This just in...

Romney endorses McCain

Two thoughts come to mind.

1. Romney is showing class and desire to put the welfare of his party above himself. Huckabee is a joke and is willing to prevent that unification of the party because of his selfish desires to have more delegates than Romney.

2. My gosh is John McCain looking older and older! I don't think he'll make it through his first term.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Righteousness and the War on Terror

I have received an invitation to begin posting on "Waters of Mormon." I am very grateful that they are willing to look past my boring commentary and horrible grammar to allow me an opportunity to contribute.

Below is a link to my first post:

Righteousness and the War on Terror

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Headlines: Gay Mormons seek meeting with new leader

After preparing my things for Church this evening I hopped unto news.yahoo.com to get my secular fill before drifting off to bed. Once I scrolled past the political news of the day I was greeted with this interesting headline -

Gay Mormons seek meeting with new leader

A group known as Affirmation that consists of 2,000 gay and lesbian members of the Church has requested a meeting with the First Presidency.

I can only assume that with the Church's newfound media appeal due to Mitt Romney's run for the presidency we will enjoy more coverage on events like these which in the past the media would have been filed under "Who Cares."

A simple search using the key words "Affirmation" and "Mormon" linked me to this group's website - www.affirmation.org

I read through the website. It only left me with unanswered questions...

What are they proposing the LDS Church do? Are they hoping that the Church and its membership reach out and be respectful to those who are gay and lesbian, something most members would agree with? Or are they desiring that the Church actually change positions on homosexuality and accept it as a normal and holy practice?

All I can say is...

Good Luck President Monson! The mantle is heavy.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Thoughts on Mitt Romney

Yesterday Mitt Romney formally stepped away from his run for the presidency. After less than stellar results from Super Tuesday's primaries Romney announced to CPAC he was "standing aside" in an effort to help the Republican party unite and prevent Clinton or Obama from winning the National Election.

"I disagree with Senator McCain on a number of issues, as you know. But I agree with him on doing whatever it takes to be successful in Iraq, on finding and executing Osama bin Laden, and on eliminating Al Qaeda and terror," stated Romney.

"If I fight on in my campaign, all the way to the convention, I would forestall the launch of a national campaign and make it more likely that Senator Clinton or Obama would win. And in this time of war, I simply cannot let my campaign, be a part of aiding a surrender to terror."

I am not a supporter of Romney, but as I heard the news I found myself sad. As a fellow-Mormon I have enjoyed watching someone of our faith compete for the highest office in this nation. In some strange way it made me feel more comfortable and proud as an American citizen. It seemed to justify our place and value in American culture.

As a tribute to Romney, and what he has accomplished I wanted to present a short list of the great things that have resulted from his run for the presidency.

1. 4 million people out of roughly 10 to 12 million were able to willfully vote for Romney as the Republican nominee despite him being LDS.

2. 11 states were willing to give Romney the majority vote even though he was LDS.

3. Romney brought almost as much attention to the Church as the Salt Lake Olympic Games. All attention, even negative, helps to forward the Work of the Lord.

4. Romney has come closer than any Mormon before him in becoming President of the United States. When Joseph Smith announced he would run for President to many it was a ridiculous claim. But now we can say that a member of our faith had a legitimate and realistic chance.

5. Romney has helped millions of American Mormons get involved and active in politics.

While some may dispute this, I feel that Romney ran a respectful and worthy campaign. Some question his political views, the negative campaign ads and the endorsements, but overall I have to say that I was impressed with the dignity and respect he campaigned with.

I am grateful for this time in history and wish I could give Mitt Romney a personal pat on the back.

Thank you, Mr. Romney. As a Mormon you have made me proud.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Is God that cold and callous?

There is one belief among many mainstream Christian churches that is impossible for me to accept. That belief is that someone has to accept Jesus Christ in this life in order to be saved. The manner in which someone accepts Christ is contested among the many denominations but I think it is safe to say whatever that manner is, it must be done in mortality.

To the average Christian this appears to make sense. But I find it difficult to believe that God, being the Father of all of humanity, would consign 90% of his children to Hell because they never had the opportunity to hear or accept Jesus Christ as their Savior.

Is God that cold and callous?

Maybe we should turn the tables and put the condemnation of those who have not had the opportunity to hear the gospel on the heads of those that have it, and have failed to get the message out to all Father's children. To me, that seems much more appropriate.

As we become aware of the world around us, I see this limiting belief being dissolved. I am sure that the protestant faiths will come up with an explanation that will offer Christ's salvation to more. I am surprised this hasn't happened yet.

But how lucky I am to have gospel truths NOW that enable me to see my brothers and sisters, who live their lives the best they can with the light and knowledge they have, with compassion and hope that we will see one another in Heaven.

Monday, January 28, 2008

President Gordon B. Hinckley

My mother called me around 10pm CST last night to let me know that our Prophet has passed away. A very surreal feeling came over me. Still this morning I am filled with sadness and a hint of disbelief.

I know that President Hinckley has joined his wife and is now happier than any of us mortals could possibly imagine. I also know that President Monson, who will be sustained as President of the Church, has been called of God to this office. The Church organization and priesthood continues without question.

But I am sad to lose the man who was Prophet of the Church when I first gained my true testimony of it. On my mission I often explained that before I gained a testimony of Joseph Smith I actually gained a testimony of Gordon B. Hinckley being the Lord's Prophet today.

His positivity and anti-cynical attitude torward the world was something I desperately needed and still need in my life.

He will be known for temple work, being involved in the erection of hundreds of temples, bringing these eternal blessings to the Saints of the world.

I love him and already find myself missing him.

Monday, January 21, 2008


My school semester just started, and as a result I wont be posting as much as I'd like.

This is the first time in my young life that I have stayed up to date on the primaries for the presidential nominees. At first, I found it very fascinating. Now I am just sickened by it and considering giving up on our political system.

Here are my observations -

1. The key to winning the primaries is gaining momentum. The more momentum you have, the more people will vote or caucus for you because they want to support a potential winner. It isn't so much about which candidate's views that state supports, as much as its which candidate does the state feel will actually have a shot to win at the national convention and become the nominee. Some may feel that Ron Paul aligns the closest to their political views, but because he doesn't have a shot they will vote or caucus for John McCain because he represents the parties' strongest candidate.

2. Because of the above the media has the biggest influence on the primaries. They choose who to publicize as the front-runner in the primaries and caucuses. But the media is bias and irresponsible so who they claim is the actual front-runner is not always correct. But by painting them the front-runner they are gaining more votes for the candidate because again, people want to vote for a winner.

3. The media sucks. That is the best way I can think to put it. The AP journalists are the most irresponsible biggoted group of writers I have read. Yet they have the most control on momentum. Shame.

Case in point -

As I have stated on this blog I support Barack Obama. Even though I'm a Mormon I do not support and will not vote for Mitt Romney. But it has been hard for me not to notice the subtle jabs that AP journalists have taken at him.

One article in particular really upset me.

They referred to John McCain as "Senator John McCain." But they referred to Mitt Romney as "Multi-millionare Mitt Romney" and said nothing about him being a former governor.

They said that Mitt Romney had only won 1 state. When this article was written he had won three. I understand that Wyoming and Nevada may not be considered as strong as Michigan, but that article did not state one "major" state, it just said one state. It commended Romney for winning Nevada and proceeded to say "a state known for its gambling, prostitution and illegal activities." It also stated that a political analyst thinks if Romney's strategy is to currently get strong Mormon states to vote for him it wont work.

Give me a break! This is the most bias piece of garbage! But this is our media ladies and gentleman. They have already crowned Mr. McCain the presidential nominee and they are trying to convince the public that other candidates such as Mitt Romney should drop out. What a load of huey!

They don't mention that Romney has won the most states and has the most delegates! No, that would be inaccurate. Yet that is exactly what they are reinforcing in articles about Barack Obama because he is the media's favorite candidate.

How long will America support this crap?

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

America, Please Don't Do It!

America, please don't do it.

Please don't nominate Hillary Clinton creating the possibility of the Bush/Clinton Era being extended another 4 years.

Please don't nominate someone so fake, so cardboard and insincere.

Please don't nominate the wife of a former President who did not respond to the several terrorist attacks on this country that foreshadowed 9/11. A former President that was immoral enough to bring his adultry into the Oval Office, stupid enough to get caught and then lie about it.

Please don't nominate someone so self-serving that sways to political opinions based on how it will advance her political career and boast her net worth.

Please don't nominate someone that may force me to vote for Mike Huckabee!*

America, please don't do it.

*I don't think Huckabee will be elected, but that is how much I dislike Hillary!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Criticizing the Council of Nicaea

This past Sunday I taught a lesson on the Godhead. I began my lesson by discussing the LDS belief that God has revealed truth in the scriptures through his Prophets and Apostles. In contrast, I compared this method to the council of Nicaea which led to the Nicaean Creed, one of the foundational creeds of the Trinity.

I highlighted this contrast by stating God does not present His truth to be voted upon by a group of men without priesthood authority. In times past He has revealed this truth directly to those holding His authority called to lead His Church.

As I said this I realized I was only partially correct.

In today's Church the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles meet together to make decisions and discuss issues. At times doctrinal decisions are made. From comments made by Church leaders in General Conference (see President Hinckley's description of the revelation received for the priesthood to be extended to all worthy males) it appears that before any decision is made a unanimous consent must exist.

This process holds more similarities to the council of Nicaea than some may admit.

The council of Nicaea also consisted of men in the Church that were seen as inspired. While the political reasons behind the council are rightfully criticized, its purpose (as far as the Church fathers were concerned), was to confront a heresy attributed to Arius that the Father and the Son were of different substances. The majority of the Church believed they were not, but of the same substance.

During the council Arius lost several followers and when the vote was taken all but two attendees voted against the Arian doctrine.

The similarities between this council and the councils of the LDS Church are:

1. Consisted of inspired men
2. Doctrinal issues and positions were discussed
3. A vote was taken to get a consensus of the Church fathers

Before I scare some of you into thinking I have lost my testimony, I share this insight only to highlight the core item missing - PRIESTHOOD AUTHORITY.

My fear is that we spend too much time criticizing the council of Nicaea and the Nicaean Creed and should be spending more energy into explaining and testifying of Priesthood Authority. In my opinion it is fruitless to point out the flaws in the council. A simple explanation that those men did not have Priesthood Authority should suffice.

What do you think?

Monday, January 7, 2008

Book of Mormon History: Weapons

During my study of the Book of Mormon this year I have decided to research any passages or subjects that raise historical questions in my mind. As I do I will post my findings. Most of this information will be regurgitated from various LDS blogs and apologetic websites that I will try my best to source accurately.

This past week as I have read the Book of Mormon by myself and with my family I have questioned the weapons used in Nephite/Lamanite battles. These weapons, such as the sword and cimitar, resemble those used in early European warfare more then what we know today about ancient Mesoamerica.

An plausible explanation for these anachronisms we find in the Book of Mormon exists. An anachronism is "a chronological misplacing of persons, events, objects, or customs in regard to each other."[1]

Some of the anachronisms in the Book of Mormon may have been limitations in Joseph Smith's vocabulary when translating the ancient record. For example, a long instrument with a handle swung at an opponent in battle could be described using various words that Joseph Smith was familiar with - sword, club, etc. While that instrument may not resemble a standard European sword, the term “sword” was the best descriptive word or label for that instrument in Joseph Smith’s vocabulary.

If this explanation is plausible then a study of known weapons that existed in Mesoamerica may show parallels between these weapons and what Joseph Smith describes.

There are parallels that exist for both the sword and the cimiter. A possible weapon that could be described as a sword, and was described as such by the early Spaniards was the macuahuitl.

Matthew Roper who has written two compelling articles on swords in the Book of Mormon describes this Mesoamerican weapon –

“A macuahuitl consisted of a long, flat piece of hardwood with grooves along the side into which were set and glued sharp fragments of flint or obsidian (volcanic glass). Several inches of the wood piece were usually left as a handgrip at the bottom, the rest of the instrument having a continuous sharp serrated edge; others had spaces between the blades that resulted in a serrated edge. While most of these weapons were blunt at the top, some were tipped with a sharp stone.” [2]

Roper goes on to state that a possible weapon used for the cimiter would be a curved wood weapon with inset stones described by Ross Hassig, an expert on Aztec warfare.

Roper says the weapon “consisted of a curved piece of hardwood approximately 18 inches long with obsidian blades inset into its cutting end.”[3]

For more information on these Mesoamerican weapons and their similarities to terms used in the Book of Mormon please read Matthew Roper’s FARMS articles.

Swords and "Cimeters" in the Book of Mormon
Eyewitness Descriptions of Mesoamerican Swords

This information makes it possible that the terms "sword" and "cimiter" used in the Book of Mormon are accurate and historically correct. However, it neither proves nor disproves the historicity of the Book of Mormon.

Whether or not there are Mesoamerican weapons that resemble terms used in the Book of Mormon has no bearing on the book's claims besides being a logical explanation for believers.

The only way we can know if the Book of Mormon is what it claims to be is through study and sincere prayer. I have done this, and by the Holy Ghost I know the Book of Mormon is true scripture that testifies of Jesus Christ.

[1] Merriam Webster’s Online Dictionary
[2] Journal of Book of Mormon Studies - Volume: 8 Issue: 1 Swords and "Cimeters" in the Book of Mormon by Matthew Roper
[3] Ibid.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Why I Support Barack Obama

After the Iowa results came in I wanted to post my thoughts on Barack Obama's victory. Before I do this I want to explain why I support Barack Obama.

I consider myself an indepedent. While I believe that political parties are a necessary evil, I cannot morally align myself with either party because my political views don't fit in a small labled box.

I am strongly pro-life. I believe that abortion rights in this country have been abused and this has resulted in the brutal deaths of millions of unborn children. I cannot imagine the wrath of God we are incurring by this practice. But having a republican majority in power has not proven to overturn Rowe vs. Wade, so I do not consider it a primary issue when evaluating presidential candidates.

My views on homosexuality are in alliance with the LDS Church, but I have a hard time giving the Government power to define marriages. After all, was this not what the Government did when they used polygamy as a tool to confiscate Church property and inprison many of our pioneer forefathers?

I believe that morality is important and in a very restricted measure should be a focus of our government. But with a system in place that is simply corrupt and unjust I have a hard time believing that voting for a candidate based on the moral stances of the political party they are affiliated with is an effective way to cast your ballott.

I do not want to see my paycheck reduced by increasing taxes for ineffective government programs. But there are many social issues that the Bush administration has failed to get a handle on (healthcare, social security, etc.) , and I don't mind proposing social ideas and possible government programs to fix them. Who knows, maybe on of those government programs would be effective?

But most of all, I want change. Yes, change - the cliche of politics and the focus of Obama's campaign.

Of all the candidates, republican or democrat, that are proposing change I believe Obama has done the best job of explaining how this can be accomplished. To me, he has proven that his aspirations for change are more then just a political rally-cry to round up votes.

Foreign Policy - In my opinion, one of the biggest and most important hurdles the next President will have to jump over is foreign policy.

Republican candidates aren't willing to completely alienate themselves from the Bush administration by admitting that we have cut ourselves out of the global picture by our war efforts, refusing to talk to nations we disagree with and making decisions without the sanction and support of the UN.

Democratic candidates such as Clinton and Edwards have not presented an actual plan to reestablish our relationship with foreign nations. Clinton has often referred to her experience as a key strength in foreign policy. But Clinton has supported the government and voted for some of the very actions that have hurt our global image.

What Obama has said:

“When I am this party's nominee, my opponent will not be able to say that I voted for the war in Iraq; or that I gave George Bush the benefit of the doubt on Iran; or that I supported Bush-Cheney policies of not talking to leaders that we don't like. And he will not be able to say that I wavered on something as fundamental as whether or not it is ok for America to torture — because it is never ok… I will end the war in Iraq… I will close Guantanamo. I will restore habeas corpus. I will finish the fight against Al Qaeda. And I will lead the world to combat the common threats of the 21st century: nuclear weapons and terrorism; climate change and poverty; genocide and disease. And I will send once more a message to those yearning faces beyond our shores that says, "You matter to us. Your future is our future. And our moment is now.”

To read about his plan on foreign policy click here.

This plan includes forming a diplomatic effort to establish communication with current countries the Bush administration has decided to "cut off" including Iran and Syria offering economic gain for their cooperative efforts instead of empty threats.

I am not naive enough to think that by simply talking to these nations will we solve terrorism or other global challenges. But I do strongly feel that you have to start somewhere, and making the choice to discontinue communication with a nation because they aren't doing what we tell them is simply not a good start. Also, Obama has presented an extensive plan with many facets to restore our positive global image. I invite you to click the link above.

Politics As Usual, and Lobbying - America is sick of the government being run by lobbyists and special interest groups. As more Americans become educated on who is really behind the decisions being made in Washington our government will be weakened by cynicism, inaction, and anger. This will have a major impact on the stability of our nation. I believe it already has.

Somebody has to stand up and improve the situation. I believe that Obama will do so. I do not expect immediate overnight changes. But I do believe out of all of the candidates, again, he has done the most to show he is serious through his proposals.

Obama wants to do the following:

-Centralize Ethics and Lobbying Information for Voters: Obama will create a centralized Internet database of lobbying reports, ethics records, and campaign finance filings in a searchable, sortable and downloadable format.

-Require Independent Monitoring of Lobbying Laws and Ethics Rules: Obama will use the power of the presidency to fight for an independent watchdog agency to oversee the investigation of congressional ethics violations so that the public can be assured that ethics complaints will be investigated.

-Support Campaign Finance Reform: Obama supports public financing of campaigns combined with free television and radio time as a way to reduce the influence of moneyed special interests. Obama introduced public financing legislation in the Illinois State Senate, and is the only 2008 candidate to have sponsored Senator Russ Feingold's (D-WI) tough bill to reform the presidential public financing system.

Obama has presented an extensive plan to correct our current situation. I invite you to read about it by clicking here.

Healthcare - Is there anyone in America who is satisfied with the current healthcare and health insurance situation our country faces except that ones lining their pockets with the money of the American people while denying medical claim after claim?

Obama again has an extensive plan to overcome this serious problem -

Obama's Plan to Cover Uninsured Americans: Obama will make available a new national health plan to all Americans, including the self-employed and small businesses, to buy affordable health coverage that is similar to the plan available to members of Congress.

National Health Insurance Exchange: The Obama plan will create a National Health Insurance Exchange to help individuals who wish to purchase a private insurance plan. The Exchange will act as a watchdog group and help reform the private insurance market by creating rules and standards for participating insurance plans to ensure fairness and to make individual coverage more affordable and accessible. Insurers would have to issue every applicant a policy, and charge fair and stable premiums that will not depend upon health status. The Exchange will require that all the plans offered are at least as generous as the new public plan and have the same standards for quality and efficiency. The Exchange would evaluate plans and make the differences among the plans, including cost of services, public.

Employer Contribution: Employers that do not offer or make a meaningful contribution to the cost of quality health coverage for their employees will be required to contribute a percentage of payroll toward the costs of the national plan. Small employers that meet certain revenue thresholds will be exempt.

Mandatory Coverage of Children: Obama will require that all children have health care coverage. Obama will expand the number of options for young adults to get coverage, including allowing young people up to age 25 to continue coverage through their parents' plans.

Expansion Of Medicaid and SCHIP: Obama will expand eligibility for the Medicaid and SCHIP programs and ensure that these programs continue to serve their critical safety net function.

Flexibility for State Plans: Due to federal inaction, some states have taken the lead in health care reform. The Obama plan builds on these efforts and does not replace what states are doing. States can continue to experiment, provided they meet the minimum standards of the national plan.

Okay...I could go on but this post is long enough. My overall reason for supporting Obama is not only does he recognize the problems America faces but he has taken the time to form and communicate his plan to overcome them. All other candidates, in my opinion, have done a poor job of showing how they will turn this nation around. All they have provided are the nice polished PR snippets to win votes.

That is why I am for Obama.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

The Confining Box That Is LDS Cinema

Recently, I watched the film "The Work and the Glory III: A House Divided," part 3 in a series of films based on the popular historical fiction novels by Gerald Lund, a Seventy in the Church. After the movie I discussed with some friends certain elements of the movie that did not represent LDS standards.

This movie is rated PG and there isn't much to be ashamed of. There is a lot of cigar smoking (those corrupt Missourians) and one of the lead actresses flaunts her cleavage quite well.

In the film's defense I cited historical accuracy. At that time many men smoked cigars, it being common among upright gentlemen. It was also customary during that time for women to wear dresses that purposely highlighted certain parts of their figure.

But the point was made that if LDS artists want to make films that appeal to the general membership of the Church they should find ways to tactfully work around these conflicts and uphold the current standards of the Church in their work.

This led me to reflect on the current box we place LDS cinema in. My fear is that our culture in the Church has created a situation in which making a successful LDS-themed film that draws in many members of the Church while being acclaimed as an overall good movie is impossible.

Case in point - if an LDS artist produces a film that upholds all Church standards and could be played in the cultural hall for a youth activity it is usually received as flat and boring. Many feel it is the Church's job to produce these films anyway. But if an LDS artist produces a film concentrating more on their creativity and expression than Church standards it is seen as controversial. And in many cases the film maker is criticized.

Richard Dutcher made ripples in the bloggernacle when he announced he was leaving the Church. Prior to this news I bought States of Grace (aka God's Army II) and fell in love with it. At first, I was caught off guard by the controversial situations it presented. But after I had some time to ponder the movie's meaning I realized that the overall message of the film was the Grace of Jesus Christ and that His Atonement extends to all.

I do know that Dutcher received a lot of criticism for this film. Sometimes I wonder if this criticism from members of the Church was a part of the overall reason he left. Did he come to the conclusion that in order to find true joy in film making and have the freedom to express himself he would have to remove himself from the confining box of LDS cinema?

I pose this question - Does the culture of our Church make it impossible for an LDS film maker to produce a successful film that appeals to multiple audiences?