1. Whenever I think of the Democratic agenda in this Congress and under this administration, I can't help but think (reminiscent of the film Field of Dreams) of the line "If you build it, they will come." The Dems seem to think that through their foisting European-style socialism and government spending on this country, we the people will feel compelled -- or have no other choice but -- to come along for the ride when it comes to massive tax increases (whether they're called that or something else). And, absent some fiscal sanity in Washington, those tax increases, and all the economic havoc they will wreak, are hunting us down like hound-dogs on our trail.
2. I had to laugh a few weeks ago when President Obama's handlers orchestrated some sort of public appearance or photo op to assure people he's not anti-business; however, as the saying goes, actions speak louder than words, and I don't think many people in their right minds regard Obama as pro-business. And the simple truth is: you cannot be anti-business and plausibly claim to be pro-economic growth -- which helps to explain why a nearly trillion-dollar "stimulus" package has had virtually no effect other than to add markedly to the national debt and to people's fears about a federal bankruptcy and a collapse of civilization. What company is going to expand, or hire more employees, when the government keeps head-faking in one direction before moving in the other?
3. The recent federal court decision in California casting aside the Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriage is a great illustration of how a tyrannical bench will continue to thwart the will of the people, which in this case was expressed about as clearly as it can be -- by way of a directly democratic plebiscite to modify the state constitution -- and impose its own policy preferences. All that activist judges need do to accomplish that is to keep inventing new and previously unheard-of applications of the 14th Amendment "equal protection" and "due process" clauses; one has to admit that the notion that they bar a state constitution from being amended to preserve a societal status quo is pretty novel! Heck, I figure it's only a matter of time before someone (undoubtedly somewhere in the jurisdiction of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, that loony bin of bizarro jurisprudence) rules that the very notion of electing Republicans somehow violates the 14th Amendment!
4. I also found a great deal of irony in recent statements by John Mellencamp running down the Internet and calling it the most dangerous invention since the atomic bomb, insofar as it has "destroyed" the music industry. I agree that digital music, in combination with the Internet, let the genie out of the bottle with regard to piracy and effectively ended the notion of artists' and record companies' making tons of money off the sale of CDs. I also agree that piracy is a bad thing and that it's a shame that a whole generation of kids are growing up with virtually no regard for intellectual-property rights in and to a variety of artistic endeavors. What I find ironic, however, is that many artists, probably including Mellencamp, are equally contemptuous of other people's ability to make a lot of money in an increasingly sclerotic American economy -- they seem to think that they (along, perhaps, with a few people involved in "green" energy industries) are the only ones entitled to be rich. It is for that reason that I tend not to feel too sorry for them.
5. I've now been released from my Sunday School teaching calling, as I advised our bishop that my chronic health problems were starting to make it impossible for me to continue. However, my last lesson was about the prophet Elijah and how the northern kingdom of Israel, under King Ahab and Queen Jezebel, had once more reverted to idolatry and paganism. The Israelites no doubt self-identified as the chosen ones of God, being descendants of Abraham, Moses, and Jacob/Israel, yet they found themselves continually following after pagan gods and the accompanying pleasures of the flesh. One may say they were the kings of cognitive dissonance, professing one set of beliefs but living their lives in accordance with another. When I threw out the idea that perhaps we modern Mormons tend to do pretty much the same thing (if perhaps on a smaller scale), no one in the class -- which, for once, was full because the other Gospel Doctrine teacher was home with sick kids -- dared touch it. I considered the ensuing silence to be instructive.
6. I haven't been able to hike in the Sandia Mountains at all this year due to my ongoing problems with dizziness. I remember talking to (my friend and soon-to-be-ex-supervisor) John Brewer a couple of years ago about his father, who had told him that the worst part about growing old was no longer being physically able to take long hikes in the mountains. I agreed, saying I wasn't looking forward to that time -- little did I know how close to it I was already!
7. We're about to give away, finally, the Dodge Shadow that we bought new in 1994. We had got to the point where no one in our family would drive it, but I'll still miss it a little. We originally bought it for me to drive to work, but all of our kids learned to "drive a stick" in it (during many a session in the Wilson Stadium parking lot), and it served as the primary car for each of our three younger kids in turn. It has taken several trips to Utah (and will take one more here shortly to its new home), at least three trips to Las Vegas that I can remember, numerous trips to the cabin, etc. I'd say we got more than our money's worth out of the car, and I hope it serves its new owners well.