Monthly Archives: June 2015

Public Education and the State Board

Anyone in the distance of my conservative voice for the past 15 years knows I want the federal government out of Utah’s education system. They also would know that I believe the Utah Constitution has a fundamental flaw regarding education. In Utah, education is the jointly held constitutional domain of the State Board of Education and the state Legislature – the former has “general control and supervision” of public education and the latter has power to fund and, hence, regulate it. This partnership is systemically dysfunctional and the ridiculous politics created by it have hampered Utah’s ability to address important student needs. read more

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To Kill a Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird is the finest piece of American fiction written in my lifetime. It’s also my favorite movie ever. The book’s author, Harper Lee, now nearly 90 years old, never published another one (though rumor has it we’ll see a second book this summer). Published in 1960, To Kill a Mockingbird won the Pulitzer Prize in 1961 and Harper Lee has been awarded nearly every literary award you can imagine.

The book is told through the voice of a young Southern girl in the middle of the Great Depression. It’s largely autobiographical. The young girl, Miss Jean Louise, nicknamed “Scout,” is a self-described tomboy living with her widowed father, Atticus Finch, an older brother Jem and a housekeeper, Calpurnia. Narrated over a period of three years, lots of friends and relatives come in and out of her life. read more

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Repression and Hypocrisy

What comes to mind when you hear the word “repressed”? I naturally think of someone unable to express himself – perhaps someone being forced to live a lie. Hollywood liberals make a fortune uncovering what they view as repression. I remember attending a grueling three-day seminar hosted by the award-winning screenwriter Robert McKee. His mantra the whole seminar was “Tell the truth.”

Hollywood follows this mantra, even if it doesn’t always tell the truth. It sees human weakness as a constant, as a story to be told, as a noble admission of our vulnerabilities and, in that admission, as breaking free from social institutions of repression, like faith and family, or the inner institution of conscience. But Hollywood errs in thinking that human weakness is not only insurmountable but to be worshipped. Its truth is actually a lie. It worships a false god and all of its angels are fallen. read more

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Capital Punishment

As the remaining Boston Bomber received a death sentence for his crimes, once again I am forced to ponder the morality and effectiveness of capital punishment.

A comedian from Texas once bragged that his state has an “express lane” to the gas chamber. And, here in Utah, the Legislature just passed and our Governor signed a bill reinstating the firing squad as a means of execution. I’d venture to guess that most people are okay with capital punishment and that most people easily invoke its final solution as an appropriate and effective means to address capital offenses such as murder. read more

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