So, the proposed Arizona Law was a bad idea.  It was vetoed, and that is a good thing.  That law would be like doing chemotherapy because you’re tired of shaving your head.

The current legal landscape is such that if you have a deeply held religious belief that gay marriage is wrong and choose not to perform services in furtherance of celebrating a gay wedding, you can be sued in court and lose. A religious business owner who is not otherwise discriminatory can now face legal penalties for failing to provide services for celebration of a sinful act.  Specifically for refusing to provide services for gay weddings. (It is still OK to be a religious pharmacist in Illinois if you do not want to dispense the morning after pill.)

A bakery in the State of Oregon lost in court.

A bakery in the State of Colorado lost in court.

A photographer in the State of New Mexico lost in court.

In celebration of Governor Brewer’s veto, Michael Austin has this to say:

In the first place, a wedding is not the same thing as a marriage. A marriage is a contract certified by the state. A wedding is a big party with cake and photographers. A moral objection to the way that the state certifies a contract should not be confused with a moral objection to baking a cake for a party. Unless one has a sincere and deeply held belief that gay people should not be allowed to eat cake, then there can be no rational religious objection to baking one for a gay wedding, whatever one’s feelings about gay marriage may be.

That sounds impressive.  Michael Austin has learned the rhetorical trick of defining the issue in a way that you win.  If one side gets to frame the issue, that side has all of the advantage in the argument. I disagree with Mr. Austin’s premise.  In fact, so does Google, dictionary.com, Miriam -Webster, the Free Dictionary, and Oxford Dictionaries.  If your argument is based on a hair-splitting definition not based on common usage in any mainstream dictionary, something else must be going on. Changing what words mean because it agrees with what you want to say is never a well founded argument. A wedding is a marriage ceremony. So a couple might say they were wedded by a justice of the peace who performed the marriage ceremony. Mr. Austin is wrong and should feel bad for even making such an argument.

So what to do? Gay rights advocates cheer when religious businesses are forced to set their conscience aside or go out of business.  What happened to the First Amendment?

The direction things are going right now, when it comes to businesses that handle any kind of wedding business, “Religious Christians Need Not Apply”.  What if a bakery did not discriminate in any other way against people, they just didn’t want to bake a gay wedding cake? Is that OK, or is that intolerable discrimination?  According to the current legal climate, simply providing services for the gay public is not enough, you also have to cater to gay weddings. No matter how wrong you believe it to be.

Got that?  Being non-discriminatory in every other way is not good enough.  You have to support gay marriage if you want to be in the wedding business.

We really need a resurgence of religious freedom and freedom of conscience.

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I’ve been reading about Harry S. Truman for the last long while.  Mostly because I’m reading the thousand page biography and trying to only ignore my family as much as absolutely necessary and it takes a while to weave your way through a big book like that.

One of the things President Truman and the Democratic Party stood for then was price controls. Price controls for commodities and for housing mostly as a war-time measure.

I’ve thought about that quite a bit, in part because I’m struggling to make things work on one income, and it ain’t easy.

The median household income in 1950 was $4,237 per year.  That number included 87% families with a husband and wife working and the wife was employed in about 20% of those families. In 2012 when domestic relations were not tracked as closely or using such terms as husband and wife the household income is calculated by all of the people in the house 15 and older whether related to the householder or not.  Just based on my personal observations, it sure seems like a lot of people have two or more household incomes, or at least a lot more than in 1950. The household income in 2012 was $51,371. The average household income from 1950 with inflation adjusted dollars is $39,868. It appears we have made some gains, but it seems that more people are working to get to that average income today too.

Inflation adjusted gasoline at 1950 prices would be $1.71 per gallon. Inflation adjusted average price of a 1950 new car $14,385. (in 2012 it was $30,748) Inflation adjusted price of a new house in 1950 $80,500. (in 2012, it was about $239,000) 1950 minimum wage was $0.75 per hour, or about $7.15 per hour today. So that’s about the same.

In short, according to averages, we are earning about 25% more per year with more hours worked while the cost of gas and cars have doubled and housing costs have tripled. Inflation has gone awry.

Price controls would help to fix that. If real estate was a place to live instead of a vehicle to squeeze dollars out of people, we would all be better off. If we allowed for more free enterprise (people entering the market place for business) and less of a free market (the money changers controlling everything) it probably would not take too long for things to even out.

Maybe I’m sounding a bit like a wild-eyed radical compared to my more conservative postings. Well, here’s 3 things to consider.

1- Regulating the value of money (what a dollar will buy) is explicitly a power granted to congress in Article I, Sec. 8, paragraph 5.  Congress is supposed to protect the property rights of the people including the value of their money by helping to control inflation. A floating dollar and a floating market is not working out for the people too well. Controlling inflation will go far to help the people.

2- The Nephites in the Book of Mormon also set prices for food. Alma Chapter 11, verses 7 and 15 indicate that grains were tied to the value of their money.  You could simply be industrious and grow your own money, so to speak. Your main worries were crop failures but you didn’t have to worry about the price of grains fluctuating from year to year.

3- I know the global economy is a highly complex thing today and simple answers or pell-mell instituting prices for things would be a nightmare, but I suspect the remarkable complexity of the global economy is in part made so confusing so that people will not see what is going on as easily(ever try to make sense of credit default swaps?).  Sort of like how lawyers write laws so complex only lawyers can make sense out of them.

I know there is some wisdom in price controls. Maybe some day we’ll figure it out.

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I noticed a couple of letters to the editor this week that were interesting.

The first one took to task some of the Gay Pride displays and activities in Salt Lake City this month.  The second one pointed out that lots of people who are straight also behave badly.

It is sort of silly to be writing these letters in the first place, but there is a difference in the behaviors of the two groups.  The first letter attacked the behavior of people at a Gay Pride celebration in Salt Lake City, not exactly a city known for wild parties or gatherings.

The second letter pointed out similar behavior at the beach and at Mardi Gras.  Oddly enough, it would seem that you could fully expect lots of people to be half-dressed at the beach.  Same thing with Mardi Gras in New Orleans.

I sympathize more with the first letter than the second letter.  The Gay Rights movement is loudly proclaiming how they want to make better inroads with the LDS faith and to be treated like everyone else.  It is not helping their cause to be wildly offending the more delicate sensibilities of the polite LDS folk they are trying to win over.

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I know many people who are all about leadership education, excellence, high performance, walking to the beat of your own drum, doing your own thing, following your heart, and overall going ahead of the crowd to lead people.  It’s how differentiate yourself from the Sheeple.  I imagine this comic happening several times a day:

 

Leadership is a good thing.  We need more involved people willing to do the hard things and make a difference.

There can be too much of a good thing.  Some people think that we need to be an authority on everything, know everything, and do everything in order to be a great leader.  This person has the attitude of “forget the experts, I can learn what I need to know and guide myself, by myself”.  This person is an űber leader and has missed one of life’s biggest lessons we all need to learn.

The űber leader has failed to learn that sometimes you need to follow.

An indispensible part of being a good leader is listening and discerning when a good idea or person is worth following.  When you lead an organization or a council of sorts, you must listen to their input and ideas or else why have the council in the first place?

It should be one of the first and most basic lessons that leaders must master, when to be a good follower, listen, learn, implement, enjoy the fruits of your efforts.

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Is. To. Bond.

The primary purpose of sex is to bond with the person you marry.  That’s it.

That’s part of what makes sex abuse so devastating —  it messes with the ability to be with someone in a normal and healthy way.

That’s also part of why having sex with multiple partners before marriage increases the risk of divorce.

In a marriage, the connection, the good feelings, the sharing and intensity of having an attentive lover you truly care about is amazing.

If you want to have a strong relationship with your husband or wife, you need to have sex on a regular basis.

There are many other things which are important in a relationship, but that is for another day.

Why does the purpose of sex matter?

We live in a hyper-sexualized culture where sex is cheapened and the natural consequences of bad choices are muted through drugs, surgery, and an army of supportive people who will cheer bad choices.

If you want to stay grounded and happy you need to remember that sex is for bonding.   The stronger and happier your bond with your husband or wife, the better your life will be.

There are other purposes of sex, such as having children, but that is not the main point.

Each couple should find out and experiment to discover what works for them.  The bounds of propriety inside a relationship will be different for each couple.

Just having sex is not enough.

There are many things of a sexual nature that will undermine the bond.

Sexual acts will all fall some place on a spectrum between bonding or not bonding with your spouse.

Some acts are inherently degrading and destructive to relationships in general.

Some people will sleep around and will fail to have significant bonding with any one person and will not be grounded in who they are or what truly matters.

Some people cheat.  Cheating on your spouse is not only non-bonding, but will destroy whatever bond existed with your spouse before.

Pornography is non-bonding.  Some people watch pornography and will stir many of the same powerful feelings and urges created in sex acts and will result in bonding with a fantasy that is not obtainable, or in reality, a bond with nothing.  (Side note: have you ever tried to glue things together when one side has dried glue on it?  In order for the gluing to work, you must first remove the old glue, clean the surfaces and try again.  Just think about that for a minute, there’s a lesson there.)

Some people will be physically faithful to their spouse but will fantasize about other people while engaged in intimate acts.  This undermines the bond.

Some couples will seek for gratification and fun in any way possible that will tend to objectify their partner rather than treating them like a person.  This will undermine bonding too.

Being faithful in your, mind, body, and heart will be the best way to support the bond.

The Importance of Faces.

Every person and couple will have to decide at some point what is best for them and what lines are best to not cross then try to stick to it.

Keep in mind that being present in the moment, thinking of your spouse and keeping your faces in close proximity are all bonding activities.  Looking your lover in the eyes is a very powerful connection.

A face is what makes a person a person instead a collection of body parts (no matter how admirable those parts may be).  The face is the symbol of the person and lovemaking with your faces separated is like lovemaking without a person.  It tends to objectify the event rather than connect with a person.

If a particular sensation is very strong and your faces are separated so that you can’t really see each other, it is probably not strengthening the bond.

If a certain activity is based on gratification more than grounding the relationship, it may be wise to avoid as well.

If the feeling is so intense that the sensation is more important than your partner and you tend to objectify the event or your partner, it is weakening the bond.

A strong bond with your partner is more important than whatever may feel good or even mind-numbingly awesome.

Use your powerful  hormones and urges to bond with your spouse, not just to be amused and gratified.

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