2. I'm also mildly amused by the Democrats' intense push to pass a health care bill -- any health care bill -- in Barack Obama's first year in office. The idea of government-run health care is extremely unpopular in the US, so why are the Dems doing it, especially on a strict party-line vote that will probably cause them to lose seats in both houses of Congress in the 2010 mid-term elections? Well, I happen to agree with conservative pundits who say that this is the last, best chance for the Left to set in motion what will eventually morph into what they've always wanted -- a single-payer national health service and all the control and bureaucratic bloat that implies -- and they're thinking that taking a short-term electoral hit is a small price to pay to move America's political culture permanently, and terminally, to some point left of center. And Obama can take credit for something, no matter how bad the bill is, and even if neither he nor the public knows what's in it.
3. At least President Obama's administration finally decided to change tack on the situation in Honduras, apparently deciding that Mel Zelaya, the ousted Honduran president, is a nutball who only makes his supporters look stupid by association. (I can only imagine how tired of Zelaya the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa is becoming; one wonders what he'll do after January -- when the newly elected president, Porfirio Lobo Sosa, will be sworn in -- and he no longer has any plausible claim on the office.) Recent elections in a few Latin American countries (Honduras, Argentina, and Chile, not to mention Colombia) have provided hope that the spread of el chavismo (i.e., populist neo-communism) has been stemmed in Latin America.
4. In my Sunday School lesson a couple of weeks ago, I discussed Doctrine and Covenants Section 134, which is a declaration of Mormon beliefs (dating to the Kirtland, Ohio era in 1835) on the topic of governments and laws. I found Verse 12 to be particularly intriguing:
When I first read this verse, I thought, "Well, that wasn't a very enlightened position to take on the institution of slavery, even in 1835." However, owning a copy of the Ken Burns film The Civil War and having watched it several times, I realize what the Civil War cost, in both blood and treasure, to keep the Union together while ridding it of slavery. I also know that legalized slavery in the United States could not have lasted another generation, as more and more light was cast upon it and its inherent evil became progressively apparent to all. Therefore, in hindsight the Civil War was fought, essentially, to cause abolition to occur a few decades earlier than it inevitably would have done otherwise. (I consider it instructive that slavery ended bloodlessly in Brazil in the 1880s.) It's often said that the war was the penance this country had to do for the "original sin" of slavery (and even that wasn't enough if you buy into the idea of reparations for descendants of slaves), but it's occurred to me to wonder just how necessary the war really was, and whether the church's statement on slavery in 1835 wasn't quite as benighted as it seems at first blush now.
We believe it just to preach the gospel to the nations of the earth, and warn the righteous to save themselves from the corruption of the world; but we do not believe it right to interfere with bond-servants, neither preach the gospel to, nor baptize them contrary to the will and wish of their masters, nor to meddle with or influence them in the least to cause them to be dissatisfied with their situations in this life, thereby jeopardizing the lives of men; such interference we believe to be unlawful and unjust, and dangerous to the peace of every government allowing human beings to be held in servitude.
5. Dorine and I have now been married for 25 years, which is a genuine milestone for a couple. However, I tend to look at next August as an even bigger milestone in my life, when we will have been married for as long as I was old when we got married. (The exact date will be July 31, 2010 if you go by the number of years , months  and days  of my age on our wedding day, or August 3, 2010 if you simply go by the number of days [9,359].) The passage of time is a funny thing, not that I'd care to slow it down or replay it.
6. Given my prolific journal-keeping, I've begun to wonder just what will come of the dozens of journals I've filled since I first started keeping a diary back in 1973. An awful lot of me is contained in those voluminous writings, and one would be able to come to know me pretty well, warts and all, by reading them after I've shuffled off this mortal coil. The question is just who, exactly, would care to come to know me enough to plow through my journals. Assuming they survive me, will they end up someday in a box in the back room of some university library, waiting for some researcher or historian to decide they are representative of, say, an American "anti-social" Mormon in the latter part of the 20th Century and the first part of the 21st? Or, will one of my descendants transcribe, edit, and publish them? Or, simply, will no one care what I thought and felt? It's difficult for me to guess....