Saturday, December 15, 2007

A Word From Abraham Lincoln, and The Book of Mormon

Abraham Lincoln's Lyceum Address:

"At what point shall we expect the approach of danger? By what means shall we fortify against it?-- Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant, to step the Ocean, and crush us at a blow? Never!--All the armies of Europe, Asia and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest; with a Buonaparte for a commander, could not by force, take a drink from the Ohio, or make a track on the Blue Ridge, in a trial of a thousand years.

At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide."


"Whoso should posses this land of promise [the American continent], from that time henceforth and forever, should serve him, the true and only God, or they should be swept off when the fullness of his wrath should come upon them."
-Ether 2:8, in the Book of Mormon

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

A Word from George Washington

"Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens.... Let it simply be asked, where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education...reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle."

George Washington
From his Farewell Address

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

O Say, Does that Star Spangled Banner Yet Wave?

O Say, Does that Star Spangled Banner Yet Wave?

This morning I was walking up onto campus, it was a beautiful day. Clear blue sky, brisk fall weather, bright sun shining over the mountain. I saw sticking up over one of the campus buildings the United States Flag waving with majestic brilliance. It was a beautiful scene. The words and music of our National Anthem came into my mind, "Oh say, can you see, by the dawn's early light, what so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?" Can you see it? The flag that was flying last night, which we saw in the last dim light of the evening? Is it still there? The flag which represents the hope of this people? And then I remembered the words near the end of the verse, "O say, does that star spangled banner yet wave?" Tell me! Can you see it?

I think of today's world, of the rising division between good and evil, moral and immoral. The future of this nation, and the impact each individual citizen's moral integrity has on the outcome. And I ask, "O say, does that Star Spangled Banner yet wave?" I believe this upcoming Presidential Election is among the most important elections in the history of this Nation. It represents a crossroads, a choice our nation has to go one of two radically different directions, with radically different consequences. Will we or will we not continue to be a light upon a hill, shining forth to all nations? Will we continue to be the hope of the world, a symbol of truth and freedom? Do we remember our duty like our fathers did during World War II or our grandfathers did during the Revolution? Or instead will we become passive and apathetic, falling selfishly into ourselves, loving only comfort and vain pleasures, forgetting our blessings, neglecting our responsibility, and then without realizing it, loosing what we hold dear?

O say, does that star spangled banner yet wave
O're the land of the free, and the home of the brave?

Does it? Answer me now! Does it?

Friday, September 28, 2007

Comments; Climate Change

You know, it's hard being the younger brother of two college-attending, politically-aware jargon geniuses. Especially since you can tell that they spent some time spinning their elegant essays into streamlined, direct messages that read like a college textbook on steroids.

Ok, they're not exactly like that, but it's sure intimidating to try to write a post about anything when you're afraid you'll look like a wimp trying to fit in next to these guys.

* * *

I don't exactly have anything profound to say about modern neighborhoods, green cars, or futile research projects, but the other day I read the National Geographic article concerning climate change. All in all, it was actually a well-thought argument that was written in very reasonable terms. You can all read it here.

However, I have two reservations:

1. The article states that CO2 at 450 parts per million in the atmosphere is a threshold we should respect. But how does he measure that argument with the one I've heard from those that don't believe global warming: that there is evidence of ages where the CO2 level was ten times what it was now, and that there is little or no evidence of there being global disasters on a massive scale? I have yet to see a side-by-side analysis of the two arguments.

2. The author, to my astonishment, claims that "in the end, global warming presents the greatest test we humans have yet faced." Are we still so blind as to think that our greatest threats lie in our physical destruction? This incredibly bold claim is clearly just a gimmick meant to scare people into taking global warming seriously. That phrase alone undermines my ability to believe the rest of the article. I find it ironic to contrast this author's opinion to the Bible, where God flooded the earth and physically destroyed every living thing in an act of mercy - to protect the righteous, and to give a chance for those still in heaven to be born into a righteous family. Even if another big storm is coming, I believe we need to put cleaning up our act before cleaning up our air. There are many things more terrible than death.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Research Paper? Or Not?

Research Paper? Or Not?

This world is full of unneeded and unfounded controversy. How often do we find this today in newspapers and on cable television? Every day reporters take a clear cut and straight forward story and then dig up the most improbable doubts, blow them up to a thousand times their original size, and then ask, "Or is it?". The Fox channel convinced thousands if not millions of Americans that NASA never did land a man on the moon, that it was all a hoax (1). Al Gore has stirred up the Global Warming controversy, partly with the help of misinformation (2). Millions of Americans have an unfounded fear of nuclear energy, mostly as a result of fear and ignorance.

O assigner of my research paper, are you expecting me to come up with some biased preconceived thesis, and then proceed to misrepresent scientific studies in an attempt to back up my claims? To require a solid "argumentative" thesis with hardly the knowledge of a few half-understood scientific publications, and then assume my conclusion will have some factual basis in reality, or do any good for the world is a very unreasonable assumption. I will only argue what I firmly believe to be right, after clear and honest study and research.

The problem is, I don't have the time for that kind of research. I don't have the knowledge at this time to write such a paper. I need a good grade in this class. So here I am, preparing to stir up yet another unfounded controversy...

1) see:

2) see:

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Communities of the 21st Century

Cars, cars, cars. We love them, we drive them, we develop asthma from their exhaust, and we waste an unbelievable number of hours sitting in them. There is a better way, but it is going to take some work. The real problem is that we have built our communities in such a way that it is very difficult to get along without a car. We've created a vicious circle of need and demand, and now we must live with the daily commute to wherever we need to be. Stores, schools, and workplaces are all just too far to get to easily by walking. Modern roads are not friendly to bicyclers and public transportation just takes two long. Now American's are fatter then ever and consume more resources per capita than just about everybody in the world. American's pollute more than anybody, and we've been getting away with it simply because we are so spread out. What a sorry state of affairs.

Things are going to have to change, but how? Even though many environmentalist would like us too, Americans are not going to voluntarily slow down, let alone reverse, economic growth for the sake of environmental concerns. We want to have our cake and eat it too.

China, on the other hand, is discovering that if they build their economy the same way America has, they won't have enough good air to breath or water to drink. This difficult truth is starting to sink in. As a result, China is at the forefront of a new paradigm shift. They have chosen to invest in communities that will be "sustainable." It makes good sense to replace what you consume, but historically we haven't done a good job. We've always depended on the environment to clean our air, clean our water, rejuvenate the soil, provide animals that we can eat, and keep this world of our a nice place to live. Now there are so many of us that natural cycles can't keep up. This is something that we like to ignore, and we do a reasonable job of doing so in the US. China doesn't have the luxury.

China is investing in an experimental city called Dongtan. This metropolis will contain half a million people, and do so without tearing down the environment around it. People will live close together so they can share resources and access public transportation. Open spaces will be preserved and power will come from renewable sources. To learn more about this experiment, look here:

This dramatic effort for developing the ideal 21st Century City is not limited to China. Smaller communities with more modest goals tuned to American sensibilities are also in development. Daybreak Community near Salt Lake City, Utah, is another effort to make cities better. With store, homes, workplaces, and schools all within walking distance, this community hopes to drastically reduce the need for cars. Bike trails and sidewalks wander around homes, parks, and open spaces. Water and power are conserved through good engineering and design. You can read more about it right here:

These communities are not just about saving the environment, they are about recapturing what it means to be a community: where everyone knows their neighbors, and no one feels like a stranger. These communities are bound to have problems, but problems will be overcome and improvements made. I feel that these efforts will bear valuable fruit and future generations will live in communities that are more sustainable, friendly, and beautiful than anything we've ever dreamed of.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

What is the Good Life?

A few months ago I thought of an interesting analogy that concerns the challenges of our world. I, for one, have seen how people in newspapers, magazines, Hollywood, in the media in general try to deceive people into leaving the straight and narrow, under the illusion that doing so will lead to an "exciting and liberated lifestyle". Hopefully, this piece will help exemplify how wrong this concept really is:

You are starting on your way home from a vacation far away, and as you reach the highway, a handsome, well-dressed man standing next to an intersecting dirt road waves you to the side of the road. You stop, curious, and the man asks you where you are going "I'm heading home of course - about a hundred miles down the road", you reply. The handsome man's looks suprised. "Why on earth are you taking the road?" he replies, a hint of exasperation in his voice. "Why wouldn't I?" you ask, confused. The man's face becomes angry. "You're telling me you're going to let yourself be restricted to this thin strip of pavement for your entire drive home? Where is your independence, your sense of adventure? Strong people like you shouldn't be limited in such a way! You need to blaze your own path, be your own person, live life to the fullest!" For a moment you can't think straight, the handsome man's enticing words ringing through your head. "What about my kids?", you ask him. "They've got to be home tonight because they have school tomorrow." The man laughs. "You're not going to let them get in the way of this, are you? This is your moment. Take advantage of it, you kids will be fine.", the man cried persuasively. You look out at the bright hilly terrain, and then down at the new off-road tires you recently installed on your SUV. Suddenly, the horn of a large semi-truck honks behind you, snapping you out of your momentary stupor. "What was I thinking", you wonder to yourself. "You're nuts!" you cry suddenly, accidentally out loud. Hurriedly, you slam on the pedal as the handsome man's face contorts in fury, spinning your wheels as you return to the peaceful highway.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

The Deep Influence of Harry Potter

After I read the seventh and final book of Harry Potter, I, like a lot of you probably, was amazed. I loved it. Often I have talked with my brother about all the deep meanings and morals experienced and learned as we went through the saga. It moved me greatly, and it was hard to have the story end.

For this reason, I was very surprised and a bit offended to see an article in the Deseret News entitled, "Harry Potter is Missing a Real Moral Struggle". This statement couldn't be farther from the truth! I started thinking of the many moral lessons I had learned from the series, and the many moral struggles Harry had endured. I remembered the line Dumbledore said, about choosing between "what is right and what is easy". How many times did this statement exemplify Harry? How many readers found the temptation to give in during Umbrage's detentions almost too much to bear? How many, like Dumbledore, found the invitation of glory given by the Hallows overwhelming to decline? These were the temptations that Harry faced in every book. And Harry is our hero, because to the end, because of love, he did choose the right over the easy. And it was because of love that he won.

In addition to the choices of Harry, there are so many other conflicts in the series that also caused us to stop and think. If I were to look into the Mirror of Erised, what would I see? If I were to encounter a boggart, what would it turn into? A dementor, what memory would come to my mind? Do I have the will power to face such situations and succeed?

These are some of the thoughts that came to my mind, as I read that Deseret News article. There are more, which I wasn't sure I'd be able to write down. Luckily, I was forwarded a link to an amazing article by Orson Scott Card which says much of what I was thinking, and it made me happy to know I wasn't the only one!

So here I give you the link. Read, and enjoy!

Friday, August 3, 2007

Mystery Movie Review

Last night, I was bored, and so I went out into the lobby and turned on the TV. “Who knows?” was my line of thinking. “Maybe there’s something good on.” It was about 8:05 PM, and I was almost despairing that I would find something worthwhile to do that night.

Well, I was flipping through the channels when something on channel 11 (KBYU) caught my eye. It was a black and white movie which I had never seen before. It was about three veterans coming home from World War II, all from the same town. One is an ordinary seaman from the navy, one is a sergeant from the army, and the last is a captain from the air force. They have a long flight home together on a B-17, and get to know each other very well. The ordinary seaman is the most striking at this point, because you discover right off that he has no hands—just prosthetic hooks. However, you quickly learn that he is amazingly adept with those hooks: he can take a cigarette from his pocket, light a match, and light that same cigarette—just with those hooks. We also learn that this sailor has a girl waiting for him at home, and he’s worried. Meanwhile, the sergeant, we discover, has been married for twenty-some years, while the captain was married about a week before he left—three years ago. Each of these men has not seen their families for more than two and a half years.

At this point, I was just trying to figure out what was happening. I had absolutely no idea what was going to happen for the rest of the movie.

Since this was an old, black and white movie, I guess I was expecting it to be sentimental and so-forth, with perfect families welcoming home returning heroes and whatnot. How wrong was I.

First off, when the sailor (who’s name is Homer) gets home, things get off on a bad start immediately. His family joyfully welcomes him, but instead of acknowledging his hooks, they just try to ignore them as if he was still perfectly normal. They do this to try and help him, but it has the opposite effect, making him depressed and sullen.

Next, when the sergeant (named Al) gets home, we discover that he is a rich banker, with two grown children (well, the boy is about 17, the girl, Peggy, is probably 20). He has been gone for four full years, and so his family has changed a lot, and he feels awkward.

Last, the captain, the only officer of the three, named Fred, gets home and we discover that he comes from a poor family, while his wife, whom he married like a week before he left, has gone and gotten a job at a nightclub. He isn’t even able to find her for another day or two.

Basically, these three men come home and their lives stink royally. I was amazed. What sort of a movie was this? It was like… completely realistic! How could it ever end?

Well, it ended all right—three hours after it started. And remember, this was on PBS—there were no advertisements. Without nary a single bit of action, this movie had suspense so thick you could cut it with a knife. I cared so much about the three main characters, every little setback was a blow to my heart, while at every success, my heart soared. It was incredible.

What I also found to be extraordinary was how against-the-mold this movie was: in many movies, there is a lot of dramatic tension simply because characters won’t speak honestly with each other—if they would simply communicate properly, all their problems would be resolved. However, in this movie, the characters DO communicate with each other, and not about easy things to talk about either. And additionally, when Al and Fred have a dispute, they actually talk it over. And when Al asks Fred to do something (very difficult), Fred does it because he respects Al and does not want to lose his trust. IT’S AMAZING!!! This simply doesn’t happen in movies these days!! (Well, except in “Bridge to Terabithea,” but the things they communicate about in this movie are a lot more difficult to talk about—believe me) And additionally, the men hold themselves as men—with a responsibility to bridal their passions. And when Al gets drunk and a little overbearing, his wife takes it in stride, helps him home, and forgives him. It is amazing!!! This movie acknowledges that love isn’t the only thing that keeps a marriage together—it is commitment on both sides, with forgiveness and compromise!

This movie won the 1947 Oscar for Best Picture—over “It’s a Wonderful Life.” However, I’m not going to say it’s a better picture than Frank Capra’s masterpiece—it’s too different a movie, too difficult to compare. However, if I was Frank Capra, I would be honored to have my picture lose out to such a great movie—it’s better than most of the Best Picture winners over the year.

What’s the name of this movie? "The Best Years of Our Lives"!! Yes, it is three hours long, but it’s amazing! Really, get it and see it tonight if you can!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Why Mitt's Not a Flip-Flopper

The media has put forth huge effort to paint Mitt Romney as a "flip flopper" in a number of areas, but as I have studied him, I've come to the conclusion that this is not the case.
The label "flip flopper" implies a lack of personal beliefs, and being swayed by the crowd. This does not describe Mitt Romney. In fact, I believe he's as solid as they come.

First, the issue on Abortion.

Mitt Romney originally believed that Government shouldn't have a say with regard to abortion. Does this mean Pro-choice? That's up for discussion. Regardless, Mitt has believed all along that abortion is wrong. But what role should Government play? There are many things which are wrong which are not restricted by laws. Adultery, for example. Romney's position was partly influenced by his mother, who had also been pro-choice, and also that a family friend had died from an illegal (and I presume not medically safe) abortion that went wrong.

However, during his Governorship of Massachusetts, he officially changed his mind. As Governor he was looking into stem-cell research, and he saw first-hand the disregard many doctors had toward human life. This change of position wasn't sudden, however. This issue had been troubling him for a long time. Over the last 12 years that Mitt has been in politics, we all can see how society has shifted to accept more and more radical (some say immoral) lifestyles. I don't think it's Mitt, so much, changing position, as it is Mitt adjusting to a changing world. As the world disregards the sanctity of life more and more, there comes a time when we must begin pulling back the other way. Mitt reached that point as Governor, and since then we can see by the things he did as Governor of Massachusetts that he is solidly Pro-Life. In today's world, he believes the Government now needs to take a strong role in restricting what he believed to be morally wrong the whole time.

Given, I personally think he was wrong to think Government shouldn't have a say about abortion. I think he should have been actively Pro-Life the whole time. But I believe he's now quite solid on this issue. In addition, his point of view has always been a result of living by principle and not by popular pressure.

Gay Rights

The media many times has tried to say that before Mitt Romney was "Pro Gay-Rights", and now has "flip-flopped", since now he's in support of outlawing same-sex marriage. But this representation is very misleading. This position is NOT A FLIP-FLOP, because in reality, on this subject Mitt has essentially NOT CHANGED. Before, he believed that people who are gay should not be denied any rights as a citizen, and he still believes this. Before, he believed that marriage was to be a sacred institution between a man and a woman. He still believes that today. Please note that these positions are not contradictory points of view. Think about it.

Given, you many notice that years past when gay marriage wasn't as much of an issue, yes, he did have a slightly softer position. Again, as with abortion, we can see his attempt to pull harder back to the correct principles as the mainline society gets more liberal.

My own opinion is as follows: Why the argument? Gay people have just as much right to marry someone of the opposite gender as any other person!

Gun Control

I'm a little unclear on Mitt's point of view in this subject, but from what I understand, he used to go against the NRA over the issue of Assault Weapons. He believed then, and still believes now that Assault weapons should be outlawed, while still believing in people's right to own guns in general. Yes, it's true he was against the NRA and now has joined it, but the fact is, he still differs with the NRA over the same issue as before. So, really not much has changed except for his membership in the organization.

People like to bring up the fact that he had said he owned a gun and liked to hunt, but then it was later found out that it was really his son's gun which he had just used and kind of considered his own, and that it was only small game (like rabbits) that he hunted. I think on this issue, he simply misspoke, and it was an unfortunate situation I'm sure he regrets, since he's later re-clarified what he had meant.

So, Why Mitt?

Streamline the Government, Save Government money

And then there's the Additional talents and skills and abilities that he has!! If anyone's going to streamline the government, help it use money more efficiently and effectively, and do this while keeping taxes low, it's Mitt Romney. I'm sure you've heard how he brought the 2002 Salt Lake Olympics from debt to surplus, and he did essentially the same thing as Governor of Massachusetts. There have been arguments over how exactly he did this, but no matter how you look at it his abilities in this area are phenomenal. We really need that in Washington.

America's Moral Health

Also, his morality, his family life. How many other candidates have only had one wife, and never divorced? Not many. How badly do we need a President who understands both the temporal problems of America, as well as the spiritual problems!!! I personally think this is a really important characteristic in a president. Consider the following quote by Abraham Lincoln:

"At what point shall we expect the approach of danger? By what means shall we fortify against it?-- Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant, to step the Ocean, and crush us at a blow? Never! ... If it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide."

Foresee the Unforeseeable

Another thing I really admire in Mitt Romney is his ability to bring up problems and solutions in areas that others haven't even seen or considered. He seems to be able to see the big picture, when other's can't see it. Have you ever heard of the demographic problem of the Arab world? Did you know over half of their population is under the age of 22? Have we considered the future implications of this? Another problem he sees involves reorganizing the interaction and chain-of-command of our civilian organizations to operate more effectively. Currently, after the military completes an operation and the civilian organizations move in, bottlenecks pop up everywhere and cause a lot of problems. (Mitt talks about this in the article below, if you're not sure what I mean). Mitt brings many solutions to the table when most other candidates don't even mention the problem.

All these things lead me to believe that Mitt Romney is the best choice for President of the United States.

If you'd like to learn more about Mitt Romney, to understand his vision and point of view, I suggest you read the following article, written by himself:
Or go to his web site,
Or here's one more really good one:

Thursday, July 26, 2007


Hi everyone.

I'm Benjamin, and am currently 17. I'll be a senior in high school this year, and am spending this summer doing some work and some vacationing (what are summer's for, eh?), and I'm looking forward to putting up a few pieces on the blog. I'm interested in technology, sports, politics, automobiles, humor, books, and many other topics as well (hard to remember them all). With luck, I can add some interest, and perhaps a few good jokes to the blog.

- Definition of toboggan: Why people go to auctions.

- Definition of information: How geese fly.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Chevy Volt and the future of the Automobile

It is my belief that the Chevy Volt concept represents the first permanent revolution in vehicle drivetrain evolution.
* * *

Most people are familiar with "hybrid" vehicles like the Toyota Prius. These vehicles are usually set up with an electric motor running in parallel with a gasoline engine. This means that sometimes the gasoline engine powers the wheels, at other times the electric motors supplies the power, and every once in a while both provide power. This setup allows the gasoline engine to turn off completely when it would normally be doing little more than idle. This improves fuel economy anywhere from 15-25% over a traditional configuration. Excess power recharges the batteries. None of the current versions offer a plug-in option so all power comes from the gasoline engine.

The "hybrid" concept has found its niche in the current market, especially in smaller vehicles like the Prius. It has not proven to be as appealing in larger vehicles like the Chevy Tahoe Hybrid. The real problem has been the economic justification for the hybrids. They simply don't save customers that much money. It costs anywhere from $2500-$4000 to add the hybrid system, and it is unlikely that consumers will save that much from gas savings. Some car manufactures have been eating the extra manufacturing cost in order to make these cars competitive. Tax breaks have also increased their competitiveness. Quite simply, these are not permanent solutions.
* * *

The Chevy Volt does not employ a "parallel" hybrid system. It applies a "Series" hybrid system. The biggest difference is that the gasoline engine is not connected to the wheels at all. The engine's sole function is to power a generator that recharges onboard batteries. The wheels are powered by electric motors. Plug-in design also means that much of the power used by the vehicle will come from much more efficient power plants.

"Series" hybrid design results in no more wasted gas from revving the engine up steep hills, and no energy lost in the transmission. The responsiveness of the engine is also no longer a concern. Turbochargers can be used to their full potential with out worrying about "turbo drag," and engines can be run at their most efficient rpm at all times. In fact, any power source can be installed: diesel, biodiesel, ethanol, natural gas, or even a fuel cell.

The Volt is designed to go 40 miles before the batteries have to be recharged. For those who drive less than 40 miles to work, they may conceivably consume no gasoline at all. At current rates, the amount of power one gallon of gas provides is equivalent to only $.60 of electricity. For those who never go more than 40 miles at a time, they will spend only $300 a year on "fuel" for their car. I know people who go through that much gas in a month and a half. That is real savings. That is savings people are willing to pay an initial premium for, especially if they feel they are doing the environment a favor.

The advantages do not end there. Because the engine is running at its peak efficiency, the Volt has a total range of 640 miles and will achieve a minimum of 50mpg. I know people who would pay the premium just for the range.
* * *

GM is calling this "Series hybrid" system the E-flex system. The E-flex system is intended to work on many different vehicles. The company will seek to standardize parts and interfaces to lower costs. As these standards become more popular and diversified, costs will go down, alternative fuel sources will be able to compete on a more level playing field, and the average fuel efficiency of new vehicles will shoot way up. This is the ideal situation for both the consumer and the country.

As a final note, as more R&D money goes into the technologies it will become clear that, because the Volt is the first, it is the worst "series" hybrid GM will ever offer, things will only get better from here. If you are interested in learning more you can see the official Chevy Volt Website and Wikipedia Entry.

Sunday, July 15, 2007


I just finished watching the first season of the CBS drama "Jericho." I have many thoughts running through my head. First, the premise absolutely fascinates me. In short, a small Kansas town has to adapt when America is hit by a massive terrorist attack that successfully nukes many of the largest cities in the United States. The drama explores how people react when their lives are suddenly in their own hands. There is no government taking care of everybody. Bad men are free to roam, and a community must figure out how to get along well enough to survive.

Pretty quickly, outside threats become a problem. Life and death decisions must be made in the face of fear and panic. Are Americans prepared to live without television to entertain them, the Internet to connect them, or the government to provide for the common welfare and defense?

The show is pretty well done, though the "constant jeopardy" and repetitive music can get a little tiresome. Characters must learn to deal with the consequences of their actions and get along with neighbors that they will be living with for the indefinite future.

A few things bothered me. For example, the writers don't quite grasp the necessary social elements required to keep a small community alive and stable. In their portrayal, adultery is evil, but part of life; fornication, however, doesn't even come up on the moral radar. In "Jericho" a good marriage is something to be sought for, but only after living arraignments have been tried and tested. The critical role that marriage plays in building and maintaining communities is critically miss-portrayed.

However, what bothered me the most was the secular tone of the show and the surprisingly irreligious response of everyone in the town to a disaster beyond comprehension. There are the obligatory visits to the Chapel for funerals and token requests for prayers before battle, but on the whole, this town believes that the only power that can save them is the arm of flesh. In fact, I believe that the writers would view a town prayer as outdated, and maybe even inappropriate.

When the town does not have enough food to feed everyone, the first response is to start kicking refugees out of the town. "The numbers simply don't add up," and "better them then us," attitude is prevalent. Somehow "right makes might," except when it doesn't. Fortunately, more charitable characters sometimes lead the way, but the show as a whole reflects the belief that sometimes, someone has to do the dirty work, and in a world that has gone to chaos, we all have to learn to get our hands dirty.

God is reduced to some force "out there." We return to him after this life, but he has zero practical influence on things in the here and now.

While, I disagree with these portrayals, the series is not without value. Very hard questions are addressed as best as the writers know how, and questions about the essence of government and democracy are explored in a manner not possible in most shows. If you would like to get addicted go here and watch for free online.

Friday, July 13, 2007


Hello this is Jason Schmidt, the oldest Schmidt brother. I'm up in Logan for summer, working for an engineering professor. I'm pretty happy about that. I'm looking forward to posting thoughts and ideas on this blog. Hope you enjoy!

Hello World!

The "SchmiBrosBlog" officially begins. Enjoy!