Thursday, April 29, 2010

Two LDS members, two leaders in immigration reform--on different sides

The man behind Arizona's new immigration law is LDS.
Fortunately, he's not the first member of the church to make a difference in immigration. Rex Lee, president of BYU and US Solicitor General, played a big role in immigration and state's rights.
In 1975, Texas passed a law similar in idiocy to the one in Arizona. Illegal immigrants in Texas could not attend public schools.
Carter's administration supported a lawsuit against Texas. Reagan became president, Rex Lee was his Solicitor General, and the Texas case reached the Supreme Court.
The Reagan administration debated which side to support. Rex Lee refused to change sides. Rex Lee, and therefore Reagan, fought against Texas.
Unfortunately, our current Supreme Court Chief Justice disagreed with Rex Lee. That doesn't give me much faith in our current Supreme Court.
However, knowing that Rex Lee, a Mormon, had compassion for the underclass gives me hope. I have a fairly good idea of where LDS leaders stand on this issue (they have considerably more compassion than most politicians in Arizona do). I hope LDS politicians will repent (if need be) and have that same compassion. I hope they will become more like Rex Lee.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Rock Band

I played Rock Band for the first time a couple of months ago, and decided I wanted it. I made a deal that if I didn't buy any junk food for a year, I would get myself the game. Well...I caved in. Not to the junk food deal (we haven't bought junk food for months), but to the "wait for a year" part. I saw a deal for Beatles Rock Band with Rock Band II "instruments" and both the Beatles and the Rock Band II software, for about $80. So I bought it.
The package arrived, and not only were the instruments Rock Band I instead of Rock Band II (in other words, not wireless), but the Rock Band II software was nowhere to be found. I emailed the company a complaint, and they gave me a $20 coupon to make up for it. $20 doesn't buy me the software, let alone pay for the difference between the instruments, so I complained again. All I wanted was the Rock Band II software (and that's all I asked for). But instead--they gave me a full refund.
So I got the Rock Band instruments and the Beatles software for free. Plus the $20 gift certificate (which I'll use to pay for most of Rock Band I software and a Classic Rock expansion).
As I've said before, it always pays to complain after you've been ripped off...
In this case it pays so much that I almost feel like I'm taking advantage of them.
Meanwhile, we're enjoying rocking out to the Beatles. Great music that I really should know better than I do.
And "I am the Walrus" is so cool and crazy that I'm beginning to think that the Beatles are the first progressive rock band (and not King Crimson, like I've always believed).
Interesting side note--if you go to buy single tracks for Rock Band off the internet, you'll find they have a separate category for "prog." Looks like my obscure tastes are going a bit more mainstream.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Goodbye Arizona

We've been making a list of possible places to move to after law school. If I stay with my current job, which is a real possibility, we are limited to Cincinnati, Cody Wyoming, and maybe Denver. Another possibility is a judicial clerkship for one year. I'd work for a judge for one year for not much more than what I was making as a teacher, but it would look real nice on a resume. So we've been thinking about places where I could apply for a clerkship. Pretty much just places out west. Once I clerk for a judge in any given state, my resume looks extra nice in that state; for example, if I clerk for the Supreme Court of Idaho, I'd probably be able to get a job with the best firms in Idaho.
Now, though, I've decided to take Arizona off that list of potential places.
Ever since my mission, I've looked at the pros and cons to living in the US versus western Europe. Europeans focus more on education, have more culture, cheaper (yet just as good) healthcare, better public transportation, more livable cities, less violence.
The US has less of an obsession with sex (although that is changing), stronger freedoms of speech and religion (both exist in Europe too, but they're slightly more protected here), and, at least until now, you weren't required to carry around identification with you so you could prove to the cops that you were in the country legally.

A Russian friend of mine in Germany assisted Eastern Europeans coming (illegally) into Germany. He'd tell them to not speak when they went out in public, for fear of the police hearing their foreign language and asking for their papers. Those unfortunate to have black or brown skin (mostly people from Africa and the Middle East) could be stopped by police just because their skin was a different color. If they didn't have identification on them, the police assumed they were in the country illegally.
Now, Arizona has created a law that I pray will be found unconstitutional. Police in Arizona are now obligated to stop everyone they suspect might be an illegal immigrant (ie--looks Mexican) and ask for their papers. If they don't have papers on them, they can be arrested (regardless of whether or not they are American citizens). If you're brown and you want to go on a bike ride, better take your driver's license. And forget about going for that swim.

And let's not even think about how crime will soar when criminals realize they can victimize illegal immigrants without fear of the police being called. If your house is robbed or your daughter raped, and you're an illegal immigrant and you call the cops, you can kiss the USA goodbye. If you call the cops, you'll be deported. Crime will go up, while the reporting of crime will go down.

An article about it (and about the sad fall of what used to be one of America's great politicians) is here. Another article here. Sad times indeed. America just got a little less great.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Church speaks up on the whole Glenn Beck/Social Justice thing

Okay, so it's just the church newsroom, not an official proclamation. Still, worth a read. I'm also interested in hearing what you think about it.
Here it is. Click on the link at the church website for the actual article.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Criticism at Church Part II

Funny incident yesterday; I'm sitting in Priesthood opening exercises, and a friend is struggling with his 14-month-old daughter. She and Peter are the only two pre-nursery, post-newborns in the ward. Peter is not in the room.
The kid is being a bit fussy, and her dad is trying to settle her down. I remember a previous encounter with a certain ward member who criticized me in private after Peter acted up a bit (detailed here), so I looked over to the other side of the room to see how this same man was reacting to this new disturbance.
He erupted. Loudly, and in public. Said something about how he couldn't hear and how my friend needed to take his daughter out. The whole room heard him.
There were two people acting like children in that room. One of them had an excuse.
His behavior still makes me angry. On the upside, a large portion of the ward saw that behavior yesterday. He publicly embarrassed himself.
It was then that I realized that, given what I know of this man's very structured concepts of gender roles (to put it nicely), and his church callings when his kids were small, that it's unlikely he ever dealt directly with his own pre-nursery children in church. That, and possibly some hearing loss that he's sensitive about, may contribute to his poor behavior. Given what others might think of him now, following this latest incident, I might even have a little pity for him.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Blog help?

We're planning a church site/Montreal (and maybe Quebec) trip for May--we're both very excited about it.
Meanwhile, I keep on getting spam comments on this blog. They usually pop up at just one or two posts I've made. Any ideas on how to get rid of those comments? I know I can delete them, but that's getting old--there needs to be an easier way. I don't want to restrict access or make it a bigger pain to comment. I wish I could restrict comments on just those posts (other blogs have the ability to halt comments on one post at a time, but I don't think blogger is quite that advanced). The only thing I can figure out is to delete the posts that get the spam, and then repost them.
Any better ideas?
If you see any posts here in the next few days that seem familiar, it's just because I deleted the original and then re-posted it. I hope that works...