Video: The Life of Nelson Mandela (1918-2013)

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I have been looking for a brief video that might serve as a good introduction to the life and times of Nelson Mandela. In particular, I was looking for something that I might share with my own kids and my future students. I really like this 12 minute biographical clip from the New York Times:Please share any thoughts, memories, or reflections in the comments below. … [Read more...]

President Kennedy from Temple Square: September 26, 1963

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Less than two months before he was assassinated, President John F. Kennedy spoke in Salt Lake City, Utah at the Salt Lake Tabernacle of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.It was September 26, 1963. LDS Church President David O. McKay was a host of the event."Of all the stories of American pioneers and settlers, none is more inspiring than the Mormon trail," said Kennedy. He goes on to point out that Mormons are an American success story, the story of a persecuted group the … [Read more...]

Nothing Romantic About It: A History of the Filibuster

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The United States Senate is grossly undemocratic...even without the filibuster.Today, the Senate moved to limit the use of the filibuster when it comes to certain presidential appointments.The filibuster is a mechanism within the United States Senate which allows a minority of Senators to continue the debate and, as a result, prevent a bill from being voted on. Like the Electoral College, I am fascinated by the filibuster as a political scientist. It is part of the twisted chess-like … [Read more...]

Las Vegas Vs. Online Gambling

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Casino tycoon Sheldon Adelson is organizing (and funding) a large-scale lobbying push against online gambling. Adelson, the head of Las Vegas Sands which owns high end Las Vegas Strip properties including The Venetian and The Palazzo, is well known for being a major financial backer of Republicans and conservative causes.While Adelson is claiming that online gambling will be bad for families and communities (I agree with him on that), why would somebody who makes billions from gambling … [Read more...]

For Veteran’s Day: Aces High

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The image of fighter planes taking to the sky to defend their homeland is haunting as I ponder what it must have been like living under the constant threat of falling bombs.I think Iron Maiden did an amazing job of tapping into the raw emotion of those days. For them, this is the story of their homeland and their parent's generation.Today, I share this as we think of the aces that took to the air not knowing if they would ever return. … [Read more...]

Harry Reid is Right about Mormons and Gay Rights and “That’s Good.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid speaks during a press conference at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Nov. 7, 2013. (Saul Loeb / AFP )

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid addressed Mormonism and gay rights recently in an interview with the Washington Blade, a prominent gay newspaper in Washington, DC. (UPDATE: In the original posting, I inadvertently left out this link.)The comments appear at the end of a rather lengthy discussion with Reid about the legislative obstacles and hurdles that have been cleared by the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) and those that lay ahead, particularly in the Republican controlled House … [Read more...]

Obamacare, Student Loans, and the Future of the Republican Party

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If you went to college, you probably have student loans.  This year nearly 2/3 of all college graduates will graduate with debt.  It has become a common reality for many young people to take out student loans to fund their education.  But, while student loans are allowing more people to attend college, the federal government is also using them as a way to pay for Obamacare.Here is how it works: In 2010, Congress passed the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).  The bill included a provision which … [Read more...]


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