Monday, January 28, 2008

The passing of a truely great person

As I wrote a few days ago, I was struck with the public sadness concerning the death of Heath Ledger. He was a good actor, but was a great person? I kept asking myself, what did this man do for others? What did he do that caused so many strangers to mourn for his loss?

And then yesterday everything was put into perspective (well at least for me it was). Gordon B. Hinkley, President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, died at the ripe old age of 97. Reading a detailed obituary in the Deseret Morning News (,5143,695247765,00.html), I was struck at the quality life that this man led. He spent most of his life in the service of others. He was a truly great leader. He became prophet not long after I got married, and so I think that I paid closer attention to his leadership as prophet than I did to any prophets that had led this church in my lifetime.

Thus, I think this explains my melancholy mood. I never met President Hinkley, but felt close to him. I admired the way he led, by example. He was an energetic man, who seemed to be everywhere. I knew that the Lord must have been giving him strength, as he was doing all of this in those years that most spend relaxing and playing golf. He made some policy changes that I really liked (namely the "raising the bar" standard for prospective missionaries).

I think that losing this prophet hurts me the most because he was always so visible, and it was rather sudden (as sudden it can be when a 97 year old dies).

I will miss him, but I am happy that he is with his lovely wife once more. God speed. I hope I am worthy to be with you in the next life.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

My Thoughts on Heath Ledger's Untimely Death.

Yesterday, as I was finishing up work, a coworker mentioned to me that Heath Ledger (Brokeback Mountain, Ten Things I Hate About You, A Knight's Tale) was found dead in his bedroom in his apartment in Manhattan. He was 28. Signs point to an overdose of prescription drugs, however no cause of death has been identified, as of this writing. Many are comparing his death to that of James Dean, who died at a young age, seemingly at the beginning of a promising acting career.

As I watched the news last night, I was amazed at the degree to which the mainstream media has reacted to the death of this person. What has he done? Has he fought for his country? Has he saved countless lives with some amazing invention or by dedicating his life to the service of others? No. He simply has pretended to be other people, and received awards, fame and fortune for doing so. He was a good actor, but I would not call him gifted yet. He had not made that many movies. I can understand the gay community's sadness, as he was the iconic star of a film that they think is brilliant and "speaks to them." The only thing that makes his death remarkable is that he was famous. Yet, so many are mourning him as if they were his friend. For some reason, we as people become emotionally connected to celebrities simply because we watch them on TV or read about them in newspapers and tabloids.

I find it fascinating that when some actor, who has done so little is mourned like a hero, while so many who have done so much for this country, are forgotten about so quickly. Let us all take this time to remember those who have paid the ultimate price so that we all are able to live free in this country. These men and women, who have died in defense of freedom, are the ones who deserve our tears.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

McCain not a Conservative (and barely a Republican)

It is amazing how the mainstream press continues to swoon for John McCain. The latest is a story in the Times that attempts to create sympathy for McCain so that he can be pushed to the forefront of the Republican party. The article talks about smear tactics being used in South Carolina, in which people are spreading outright lies about the Arizona Senator. The Article then details how this had been done in the 2000 primary. The tactics truely are dispicable and, in my opinion have absolutely no place in American politics. After detailing some of the smears used against McCain in 2000, and now in this Election year, the article says the following:
Although Mr. McCain, of Arizona, roared into the state as the upset winner in New Hampshire that year — a feat he repeated last week — eight years ago he had neither the organization nor the money to respond. He lost the state to George W. Bush, and his campaign soon derailed.
Herein lies the problem that I have with this article. The writer of this article does not come right out and say it but rather heavily insinuates that the smear campaign was what derailed McCain's presidential hopes in the year 2000. This assumption just is yet another example of how far off the main stream media is when it comes to Republican Presidential Politics.

McCain did not lose in 2000 because he was smeared. He lost because Conservatives will not vote for him. Why, you may ask? Because he is simply not conservative, and other than the fact that he is a registered Republican, McCain diverges from not just one, but many planks in the Republican platform. Here are just a few:

1) McCain cosponsored McCain-Fiengold, which in essence destroyed a form of free speech in this country by limiting election adds and campaign contributions in during elections. The moderate supreme court upheld the law, but many constitutional scholars see this law as a clear violation of the first amemdment.

2) McCain supports amnesty for illegal imigration. He co-sponsored McCain-Kennedy, a bill wildly unpopular with the vast majority of all Americans. It was the grass-roots movements in America that killed this bill not once, but twice.

3)McCain accepts hook, line and sinker, the unproven hypothesis of man-made global warming. His rhetoric on this issue smacks of arrogance. He often speaks as if he is completely right and that those who oppose him are not only just wrong, but immoral and stupid for disagreeing with him.

4)McCain undermined the Republican leadership in the bitter fight to get Bush appelate judges confirmed. Republicans had threatened to impose the "neuclear option" and end the ability of the minority to fillibuster judicial appointments once they had received an endorsement from the judiciary committee.

5)McCain, just yesterday reiterated his unwillingness to look for oil in a small part of ANWAR, a place in Alaska that most Alaskans favor drilling. He equated drilling in ANWAR with drilling in the Grand Canyon or the Florida Everglades. Anwar is a wasteland. The plan is to leave 92% of the refuge alone. The area in question is described as a frozen swamp. Yet a source of oil in the US is not good for America, according to McCain.

McCain did not lose the primary because he was smeared. He lost the primary because he is not Conservative. So don't let the press fool you. McCain would be a disasterous choice as the Republican nominee. He would get trounced in the general election.

No, there is no anti-Israel Bias at the NY Times.

Recently the New York Times published an Op-Ed of a Palestinian who describes the deplorable conditions that he says exist in Israeli prison...