Friday, November 30, 2012

Should Congress Delegate Its Authority to Increase the National Debt Ceiling?

John MarshallThere are Supreme court rulings that support as well as oppose allowing Congress to delegate a broad range of its law-making power to bureaucracies within the Executive branch. The Supreme Court stated in US v. Shreveport Grain and Elevator Co., “That the legislative power of Congress cannot be delegated is, of course, clear. But Congress may declare its will, and, after fixing a primary standard, devolve upon administrative officers the "power to fill up the details" by prescribing administrative rules and regulations.” In 1825 Chief Justice John Marshall stated in his opinion in Wayman v. Southard, that Congress may not delegate powers that “are strictly and exclusively legislative.

Monday, November 26, 2012

William George Jordan Shares His Secret for Creating Analogies

William George Jordan created a lecture series entitled Mental Training: By Analysis, Law, & Analogy in the early 1890’s. The objective of these was to improve the ability of students to digest and utilize information.

In 1907 he published a pamphlet entitled Mental Training: A Remedy for “Education” which included a list of his twelve lectures along with a short summary of each. His view on education can be summed up in one short sentence; rather than simply feed children facts we should focus on teaching them how to think. In Mental Training shares his proposed methods for giving students the tools the need to digest and use information.

I’ve always been amazed by Jordan’s ability to teach using analogies drawn from a vast array of historical events, everyday objects, machinery … . He shares the “secret” to developing this skill as he describes an experience with a student of his lectures:

Thursday, November 22, 2012

"If God be for us who can be against us." The Miracle of 1746

We read in the Old Testament of the many times God intervened in the affairs of man. From the escape of the Israelites from Egypt to the fall of Jericho, miracles seem to have been almost a daily occurrence. Why then did the Israelites repeatedly turn their back on the Lord? Good question, perhaps they simply forgot or were able to rationalize the miracles away. Many were the miracles associated with the founding of our country. These have been largely lost and are no longer to be found in today’s history books. On a day which we celebrate gratitude I would like to share one of my favorite “miracles”. One that that was celebrated for years and for which Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote a ballad about over 130 years after the incident.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

My Favorite William George Jordan Quotes

William George Jordan - 1910-08 - Americana One of my favorite authors is William George Jordan. What I love about his writing is his ability to paint pictures with words and then use them to teach principles. You can find a quotable quote in nearly every paragraph he writes. Below are some of my favorites (I’ll be adding to this list over time).  If you are preparing a speech and are looking for insightful quotes on human nature Jordan has some great ones. Links to all of WGJ’s books can be found in my post “Books by William George Jordan.”

  • "Let us conceive of gratitude in its largest, most beautiful sense, that if we receive any kindness we are debtor, not merely to one man, but to the whole world. As we are each day indebted to thousands for the comforts, joys, consolations, and blessings of life, let us realize that it is only by kindness to all that we can begin to repay the debt to one [and] begin to make gratitude the atmosphere of all our living and a constant expression in outward acts, rather than in mere thoughts."
    —The Power of Truth

Friday, November 16, 2012

Can Communities Enact Sunday Closing Ordinances? A Postscript.

First of all I want to thank those of my friends who supported changing our Sunday closing policy, because it challenged me to research my initial position. I would also like to thank those who referred to me and other supporters as “idiotic fairy tale worshippers”, “blatant hypocrites”, “tyrants”, “religious bullies”, “liars”, having “libido dominandi [the will to power, the desire to dominate, the lust for government] … for providing the ongoing motivation to continue my research and study the issue.

The result of my research and study (see my earlier posts on Sunday closing for detailed information and sources) led me to the conclusion that while cities, counties and states may enact legislation that supports either side of the question, choosing to support as a common day of rest a great decision. Here’s why:

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Bright Spots

Switch by Chip and Dan HeathIn Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard, authors Chip and Dan Heath share the story of Jerry Sternin (1938-2008) who in 1990, while working for Save the Children, was asked to open an office in Vietnam and fight malnutrition. He was told by the Vietnamese government that he had six months to make a difference. Note, in 1990 about 65 percent of all Vietnamese children under the age of five suffered from malnutrition.

Jerry had researched malnutrition in Vietnam. The conventional wisdom was that the causes were poor sanitation, lack of access to clean water, and ignorance of the rural villagers. From Jerry's point of view this information was “True But Useless”, as there was little he could do in six months to remedy those issues, especially with almost no budget.

Fast forward six months and Jerry had improved the health of over 60 percent of the children in 14 villages. Over time what he did reached 2.2 million Vietnamese people in 265 villages. He accomplished this without resolving the key issues mentioned above and with very limited financial resources.

How was that accomplished on a shoestring budget?

Jerry Sternin in Vietnam, 1991According to Jerry “It's easier to act your way into a new way of thinking, than to think your way into a new way of acting.” Jerry visited a limited number of villages and assessed the health of the children in each one. He then analyzed the information he collected, found the “bright spots” (healthy children among the very poor), studied what the mothers of those children did differently, then shined a light on their practices and let the villagers help each other modify their behaviors.

What were the behaviors?

  • Bright-spot moms fed their children four times instead of twice a day. In total they did not give their children more food they just spread it out over the course of the day (malnourished children could only process a limited amount of food at one time).
  • These moms were actively involved in feeding their children. Rather than just having them eat out of a communal bowl, these mothers encouraged their children to eat and hand-fed them if necessary, even when the children were not feeling well and did not want to eat.
  • Bright-spot moms also added bits of crab and shrimp from the rice paddies to the rice as well as sweet potato greens (considered a low class food).
  • He then worked with the villagers and "designed a program in which fifty malnourished families, in groups of ten, would meet at a hut each day and prepare food. These families were required to bring shrimp, crabs, and sweet-potato greens. The mothers washed their hands with soap and cooked the meal together."

The problem was solved using the local wisdom of the village. No earth shattering discoveries taking years of research were needed nor were millions of dollars required to change a host of social and infrastructural issues. Simply looking for small pockets of success, in the otherwise dismal world of children's health in rural Vietnam; then shining a light on it.

Don't we sometimes look at our environment, whether it be work, civic, or home, and feel overwhelmed by the myriad of apparent obstacles to achieve success. Some of these are ones we have little control over and would seemingly require more time and money than we have to overcome. However, if we are willing to look for them, it is always possible to find small areas of success that we can build on.

Links:

Monday, November 12, 2012

If thy brother hast ought against thee

Sermon on the MountWe covered Christ’s teaching of the “Sermon on the Mount” in Sunday School last week. As I was preparing the lesson I kept being drawn to two verses in particular—Matt 5:23-24  which read:

23 Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought [anything] against thee;

24 Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Highland Prop 6 Results and Comments

Here are the results as Tuesday night November 6, 2012:

  • For 2,993 (45.94%)
  • Against 3,522 (54.06%)

Although there may be additional adjustments due to absentee and/or provisional ballots we can be fairly sure that the end result will stand.

Note, here’s the final count dated 20 November 2012. To see a signed copy of the Official Certification of the Highland City Municipal Election of November 8, 2012 click here.

Highland Prop 6 Final Results - Click to go to Utah County site

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Why I drive PAST the stores in my city to shop in Highland

Here’s an email that was sent last night by a resident of Cedar Hills who shops in Highland because of our Sunday closing policy and she is evidently not the only one.

Dear friends,

vote against prop 6I cannot vote on Prop 6 because I do not live in Highland but I wish that I could because I am certainly in favor of SUNDAY CLOSURE and would vote AGAINST proposition 6.  Whenever possible I drive past the McDonalds, Harts and Wal-Mart in Cedar Hills to shop in Highland because I love to support stores that are closed on Sundays.   I also go to Highland instead of American Fork or Pleasant Grove.  I would rather have my money go to your city even more than my own.  I also know that I am not the only one who feels this way.  So this is another issue to consider when thinking about your tax dollars--mine and others will stay in Cedar Hills/AF/PG if your stores open on Sundays.  

Thank you for your consideration.  Feel free to forward onto others,

Julie Sessions

Monday, November 5, 2012

Sunday Closing: My Final Thoughts

I’ve spent a considerable amount of time since March of this year researching “Blue Laws”, dialoging with supporters and detractors. I’ve found clear and overwhelming support for Sunday closure laws from any virtually any perspective you wish do choose. No need for logical gymnastics, no need to parse words and stretch points, simple clear common sense support from many, many sources.

Residents of Highland can freely choose to support or oppose the change to Sunday opening based on what they feel will be best for the community. We have the freedom to make that choice. Business rights do not trump the rights of residents. The claim if you don’t support Sunday opening you oppose “liberty” is not supported well by the Constitution, the Founders, or the sources they used in framing the Constitution.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Fiscal Conservatives should vote AGAINST Prop 6 in Highland by Tara Tarbet

The other side notes that Smith's Marketplace generates over $400K in annual sales tax revenue, Wal-Mart produces over $300K. What they choose NOT to mention is that Lehi and Cedar Hills only receive 50% of that revenue. The rest is redistributed by the state to municipalities based on each municipality's population. 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

“Blue Law” Gold by Mark Beesley

highland-utahMark Beesley submitted the a letter to the SL Tribune and then recorded a message regarding proposition 6. Mark is one of many non-LDS members of our community who share the view that we should maintain our current Sunday closing policy. He said in an email that “changing the policy is simply bad economics for the vast majority of residents. If Highland homogenizes itself into another Lehi, American Fork or Orem our community will be less attractive and property values will decrease. The introduction of more tired national chains that can only survive on a 7-day model will eliminate the diversity, charm and value of locally-owned businesses that truly cater to local tastes. I believe it makes sense to reject Proposition 6.”

Here is his recording and a copy of the letter he submitted to the Tribune: