Friday, July 31, 2009

Random Thoughts, Part 2

1. Menstruation is often referred to as "the curse," something that we men, obviously, don't have to deal with at any time in our lives. On the other hand, I've become convinced that there is a male "curse," which really only manifests itself later in life. It is simply that we retain so much of our youthful libidos way past our "shelf life" as sexual creatures. I wonder how much more agreeable life would be if our hormones diminished at the same rate as those of women in general....

2. I had a conversation recently with my father-in-law in which it became clear to me that membership in the LDS Church used to carry with it a much-stronger "brand" or sense of identity. It lay largely in the various sorts of recreational and social activities that used to be commonplace throughout the church: dance festivals, sports programs (including all-church tournaments), theatrical productions, the annual "Gold and Green" Ball, roadshows, the "Singing Mothers," regular ward and stake socials, etc. Somehow, in the push to strip church membership to its essentials (which is perfectly comprehensible in light of the growth of the church in the last two generations), that sense of identity has gone by the boards in large measure. Moreover, I'm not sure it's something that could be recovered at this juncture -- if, for example, someone in Albuquerque had the idea to stage a Mormon-themed musical like Promised Valley (as happened locally back in the early father had the male lead role for one of the performances), I'm highly doubtful that there would be much interest in it, from either an acting perspective or an audience perspective. Simply put, members like me are now so accustomed to seeking out their own recreational activities that social events at church (to the extent they still happen) tend to seem bothersome and annoying. And yet it was the social and athletic activities that once provided one of the church's primary missionary "hooks," especially for families.

3. I'm still somewhat mystified by the Obama administration's support of ousted Honduran president Mel Zelaya. The Honduran government has three supposedly co-equal branches, and the congress and the supreme court acted in concert to remove Zelaya from office for clear and blatant violations of the Honduran constitution. In fact, that document states that a president who takes any overt action toward changing the presidential term limit stated therein automatically forfeits his office, so by Honduran law Zelaya had, technically, already ceased to be president! So why, precisely, is our government so insistent about restoring him to office -- treating him as though he were the very embodiment of Honduran democracy -- and about not recognizing the new president, Roberto Micheletti? And why have our mainstream media been publishing a stream of stories about supposed agreements to reinstate Zelaya, when the Honduran government has apparently assented to no such thing? Does the rule of law have no meaning for "the big Oh" and his sycophants? The implications are positively scary.... (In the meantime, I keep thinking, "Let the stalemate continue for two-and-a-half more weeks, until Darren comes home!")

4. I've long since concluded that Democrats and others on the left are fundamentally unserious about their twin pet causes of combating "climate change" and "reforming" the country's health-care system (with the supposed aim of driving down costs). How do I know? First, no one thing would serve to lower (or at least limit) man-made CO2 emissions -- while serving the energy needs of the American people -- more than the immediate construction of dozens of nuclear power plants. Yet nobody in Congress would ever suggest such a thing. And second, two of the principal reasons why health care is so expensive in the U.S. are (a) the practice of what some have called "defensive" medicine -- the ordering of multitudinous tests and procedures to attempt to limit exposure to malpractice liability -- and (b) "jackpot" jury verdicts (or the threat thereof) in malpractice cases, the cost of which is generally absorbed by insurance companies and passed on in the form of higher premiums. Yet none of the various health-care bills floating through committee on Capitol Hill mentions anything about tort reform, because it would do damage to trial lawyers, a major Democrat constituency and source of donations. I understand it was H.L. Mencken who said, "The urge to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule it," which pretty much sums up my opinion of the Democratic agenda in this Congress.