Thursday, October 30, 2008

Food for the Poor—Haiti

Food For The Poor, the 2nd largest international relief and development organization in the United States, does much more than simply feed the millions of hungry poor in 16 countries of the Caribbean and Latin America. They provide emergency relief assistance, clean water, medicines, educational materials, homes, support for orphans and the aged, skills training and micro-enterprise development assistance, with more than 96% of all donations going directly to programs for the poor. They have the highest rankings from Charity Navigator and Ministry Watch. Today, we will be helping feed families in Haiti, with $144 feeding an entire family for all of next year, and our goal is to feed 52 families in 2009. You can call 1-800-433 HOPE (4673) or click here to help us meet our goal.

Food For The Poor - Rating by Charity Navigator
Food For The Poor, Inc. by Ministry Watch
Click here to donate -

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Wacky Wednesday--Christians Shouldn’t Participate In Halloween

Note: Before reading the following arguments, please understand that they are not what I believe. On Wednesdays, I deliberately argue for wrong ideas, challenging my listeners to call and defend the obvious right answer, which is usually far harder than one would expect. This is a summary of what Wacky Andrew will be arguing, not a representation of what real Andrew believes.

~Halloween is not merely a non-Christian holiday, it’s an anti-Christian holiday, when people celebrate the occult and evil. If Satan has any annual party, this is it, right?
~Children dressed as demons and devils.
~Children dressed as evil characters like Darth Vader.
~Teenage (or younger) girls dressed provocatively.
~It doesn’t glorify God. When a child asks how it serves Jesus, you can’t say.
~How can you reconcile skeletons, zombies, witches, and scary stuff with the idea that we should focus only on the pure and noble things?
~Apple-bobbing was a fortune-telling exercise.
~We’re supposed to take a stand against Satan, not stand with him.
~Humans have been tricked by Satan before, all the way back to Eden
~Some things we think are fine, God may dislike.
~God hates witchcraft.
~We are enthralled with supernatural things, and this is a tendency we must rein in and control.
~We are supposed to be different from the world. To come out from among them.
~We must be willing to say no to popular but wrong things.
~There’s nothing wrong with teaching our children that some things the world does, we don’t do.
~Children will watch you taking a righteous stand.Satan is a master of disguise, and ignorance of how he operates is our downfall.

Post-show thoughts: We participate in Halloween. Our kids dress up. We go around and give great joy to lots of other people. At our home, we give out candy with inoffensive, age-appropriate information about Christ on it. Our goal is to be a blessing and to redeem something which does not inherently glorify God. Since Jesus loves little children and dressing up is fun, it's hard to comprehend why so many Christians oppose this event. Whatever murky origins it may have, and no one knows for sure, the reality of it today is entirely benign. If we hide in our houses, we have either no influence or anti-influence for Christ. If we participate, we have postitive influence both in relationships and in bringing joy to others. I think most Christians opposed to Halloween are terribly inconsistent about their opposition. Hiding inside your home is not loving if this thing is evil. Explaining that evil to others while they are doing it would be the correct course of action. But the reluctance to do so is exactly from the recognition that it's not nearly as bad as you make out. If we are supposed to be salt and light in this world, it's hard to see how that is accomplished by turning out our porch lights and hiding behind dark windows. Nonetheless, if your own personal conscience is troubled by participation in this, I would never tell you to participate. My concern is that Christians eager to find another reason to be hostile to the culture have propagated the notion that this is a key identifier of true Christian holiness. With as much respect as I can muster, I disagree vehemently. If we're going to take a stand and look like weirdos and expend our social capital on something, we'd better be really sure it's worth doing. Halloween as it exists and is practiced in 2008 in the United States is not that something.

Bible References: Deut 18:9-14, Ezek 44:23, Hosea 4:6, Matt 18:6, Acts 15:19-20, Acts 19:18-20, Rom 12:9, 1 Cor 8:4-13, 1 Cor 10:21-30, 2 Cor 6:14-17, Gal 5:19-23, Eph 5:1-21, 1 Thess 5:14-22, 1 Tim 4:1, James 1:27, 3 John 11, Rev 21:5-8

Misc: Halloween and Christian views of Halloween by
For: Can Christians celebrate Halloween by Richard Bucher
For: What to do about Halloween? by James Dobson
For: Hallowing Halloween by Christianity Today
For: Is Halloween a witches brew? by Chrsitianity Today
For: Why I let my kids go trick-or-treating Today's Christian Woman
For: The inevitable Halloween discussion by Tim Challies
Against: Should Christians participate in Halloween? at
Against: Halloween at
Misc: Halloween on Heels by Allison Glock at New York Times
Misc: Halloween and Christmas by Hank Hanegraaff

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Proposition 101—Medical Choice

Prop 101 would establish a Constitutional right to medical choices and would prevent the government from restricting access to any private pay plans or doctors or treatments and would also prevent any law passing that would penalize anyone for obtaining or declining to obtain any sort of medical coverage. Advocates say that government imposed medical plans are possibly the greatest threat to our quality of medical care and freedom to choose. They also note that freedom means being able to pick a plan or type of care that is right for you based on your own individual choices. Opponents say that this protects the for-profit medical industry against government trying to help the situation and that it might be used to undo any restrictions on abortion.

~80% support. I encourage a YES vote.
~The idea here is to protect people in their ability to seek medical solutions for themselves and prevent any government program or approach to health care which would require or restrict particular choices in health care. It's almost hard to see why people would be opposed to this, since it seems like such a simple individual liberty. Nobody should be forcing you into health care or into a certain type of health care.
~This is a perfect thing to put in the Constitution since it deals with fundamental human rights. Also, this is a right which Benjamin Rush had wanted to include in the Bill of Rights of the US Constitution.
~Health care in the US isn't perfect, but it is very good in my opinion. I don't want to live anywhere else. Government is not the solution to whatever problems do exist because whatever government touches generally seems to become more expensive and less productive, the basic problem of interfering with markets and competition.
~So many of the arguments made against this propositon are disingenuous or fraudulent that this alone pushes me in favor of it to a degree.
~If anything gives me pause here, it's the names of some of the groups that oppose the proposition: the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association, the Association of Community Health Centers, AARP, and virtually every chamber of commerce in the Valley. But they haven't made arguments which persuade me, and I'm not going to side with them just because there are many of them.
~The basic issues here seem to be freedom and options, but with incompatible kinds of freedom and options. Advocates want to keep freedom and options open for individuals, while opponents want to keep freedom and options open for governments. But all Constitutional rights protect people and restrict governments, so the idea that this will limit the government's options isn't so much an argument as it is a restatement of the definition of terms. As a conservative, I say it's okay to protect people's right to medical care against government intrusion.

PBS info on Prop 101
AZ Republic on Prop 101
Medical Choice for
Comments by Goldwater Institute
Stop the Prop

Monday, October 27, 2008

What Alienates You At Church?

Many people attend church out of a sense of obligation. Others go because it’s meaningful to them. But whatever is going on with people in attending church, I think most churches would agree that they don’t want to make churchgoing harder on people unnecessarily. Yet what happens when a church does things in a way that actually alienate people who come there, even if they otherwise would really like to be there? Based on a blog posting I read from Mike Kenney (a sports journalist and listener of the show), I thought we’d talk about some of these obstacles our church’s culture doesn’t even realize we’ve put in people’s way.

On Avoiding Physical Contact... by Mike Kenny
The case of Chinese Christianity (PDF) by Archie C.C. Lee

Ethics: Are We Obligated To Fix Iraq?

With the impending election and the vast differences between the two candidates on what they intend to do regarding Iraq, I thought it might be useful to revisit the question of what (if anything) the United States owes Iraq as a result of invading the country, deposing it’s leader, and everything that’s happened since. In all the discussions that people have about the war, this one simple question has rarely been addressed. Regardless of whether the invasion was a good idea and regardless of whether staying there now is the best alternative for us, the more basic question we must answer is whether we are obligated to take responsibility for our involvement in the condition of Iraq. Is it as simple as, “If you broke it, you bought it?” Many people think the answer is yes, even though they opposed the war initially.

Iraq by Wikipedia
Iraq war by Wikipedia
The ethical case against withdrawal by
The Change - blog by
How long in Iraq? (PDF) by
The rules of war by Eagle Tribune
All the King's Horses... by The Questionable Authority
Moral imperitive as a postscript by Newsweek
Kucinich best chance for change by Cumberland Times News

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Proposition 202—Employer Sanctions

Prop 202 would change the current employer sanctions law in a number of ways, essentially serving to protect employers from many of the consequences they currently would suffer for employing illegal aliens. It exempts in practice large groups of employers, discontinues mandatory use of E-verify, requires that all allegations against an employer be notarized and not anonymous, requires that owners or officers of the company be aware of the illegal hiring for any penalties to apply, and provides an iron-clad legal defense for any business that follows 202’s procedures.

~05% support. I encourage a NO vote.
~This one is very simple to me. Russell Pearce is against it, and he's the best indicator of whether a proposition on illegal immigration is good or bad for Arizona.
~The current law is the toughest in the nation, it is working, it has withstood several legal challenges, and it was crafted in a bipartisan manner with the concurrence of businesses and the signature of the Governor. Why are we thinking about tinkering with it now?
~After reading the arguments given for it, they are some of the best reasons to oppose it, particularly the elimination of anonymous complaints. This proposition would put any person who alleged a violation in danger of committing a Class 3 Misdemeanor. They must sign and date any complaint, complaints can only be investigated using very limited methodology, and any complaint that turns out to be false OR frivolous subjects them to this penalty. Talk about having a chilling effect on people reporting these violations or suspected violations. Not only do you lose your anonymity, but you put your own liberty at risk even if the thing can't be proved?
~It makes use of E-verify optional, whereas the current law mandates it.
~This could very possibly be ruled unconstitutional, which would then mean that there would be no employer sanctions law on the books at all since this one replaces the current law.
~A company is only in violation if the corporate officers or the owner knew about the illegal hiring, regardless of who else might have known.
~The people who opposed current law in the legislature and brought suit against it in court are the ones who are supporting this "reform" now. This is every bit as deceptive as the payday loans proposition.
~Because it takes incorporation documents and LLC registrations out of the definition of licenses subject to revocation, it would not appply to a wide range of businesses at all.

PBS info on Prop 202
Arizona Republic on Prop 202
Stop Proposition 202

Various Current Events

Undecided? Then don't vote by Joel Stein, LA Times
Obama campaign obstructs Michelle bio by
Biden says Obama will be tested by Chicago Sun Times
Obama tries to explain away Biden's comments by CNS News
Hotel offers discounts to women who abort by
Swiss concern about plant dignity by Wall Street Journal
Moral consideration of plants (PDF) by
Obama's abortion extremism by Robert George

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Far East Broadcasting Company

Today, we’ll be talking with Greg Harris, the president of Far East Broadcasting Company about their efforts to reach people living in remote areas of Asia and the Middle East with their Christian radio broadcasts. With a potential listenership of around 3 billion people, they receive 850,000 direct responses to their ministry every year, which is an unbelievably high response rate for radio. Today, we are sending portable wind-up radios to people who live in areas without electricity. For just $30, you can bring this Christian radio ministry to people with no other access to the Gospel. If you donate $300 (10 radios), FEBC will send you a complimentary radio to be used in case of emergency for your own home. Please call 866-375-0770 or click here to help people hear the Gospel in their own language in India, China, Japan, the Philippines, Russia, Korea, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, and more.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Proposition 100—Real Estate Sales Tax

This would prohibit the imposition of a real estate sales tax in the future by any level of government in Arizona. The opponents seem convinced that such a sales tax will become necessary in the future. Supporters want to prevent the government from imposing a new tax just to generate more revenue in tough budget times.

~97% support. I encourage a YES vote.
~Pretty everyone except the Arizona Education Association supports this proposition. Seriously. Everyone.
~Since we already pay property taxes, there is no justification for attempting to generate more revenue in a budget deficit scenario by creating a new and creative tax.
~It winds up slowing the sale of homes in an already down market.
~Whatever the tax would be (probably around 1%), this would become an automatic loss from your equity because it would become a part of the closing costs in every transaction.
~Not merely sales would be affected, but also every transfer, which could include divorces, movement into trusts, gifts, or even foreclosure potentially. It would, of course, depend on the precise nature of the law created.
~Why tax only one investment commodity like this and not others, such as bonds, stocks, gold, or velvet art?
~Governments need to learn to live within their means, not create new sources of revenue for no additional services when they have failed to do so previously.

Proposition 100 - Protect Our Homes by PBS 8
Prop 100 - Protect Our Homes by
Yes on 100 by
Home-sale fee may be put in jeopardy by
Yes on 100 by
No on 100 by

Proposition 300—Legislator Salaries

This would raise the annual salary of Arizona legislators from $24,000 to $30,000. In 2006, a measure to raise it to $36,000 failed by a 52-48 margin.

~97% support. I encourage a YES vote.
~Even though it is not a full-time position, it is absurd to pay state legislators this little. The governor makes $95,000, and several of her cabinet make $135,000 to $145,000.
~The pay for a legislator is nothing but a discouragement to decent people who don't have the luxury of other income sources, or of other ones that will put themselves on hold for half the year. Also, the hours they work are quite long, and it's not right to discourage decent people from seeking office by the mere fact that they can't make enough to live off of in doing so. I supported Prop 302 in 2006 for a raise to $36,000, and, quite frankly, I think it's embarrassing if we even paid them that little.

Proposition 300 - State Legislator's Salaries by PBS 8
Prop 300 - Legislative Salary Increase by
Legislative Salaries Per State by

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Proposition 102—Protect Marriage

“Only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in this state.” How much more simple can it be? This second effort at protecting marriage is a much simpler, more streamlined variation on Prop 107 which failed barely last election cycle.

~100% support. I recommend a YES vote.
~There is really only one question in the debate over this proposition: how difficult do you want it to be to redefine marriage to include gay marriage or polygamy in the future? Current Arizona law prohibits both, a law which has been upheld by the Arizona Supreme Court as Constitutional. Thus, this Amendment would do absolutely nothing to the current practice of Arizona. So, there is no reason to oppose it except if you would like to change current Arizona law and keep that possibility easier. Similarly, there is no reason to favor it except that you are concerned that the legislature or the Arizona courts might in the future decide to bypass the people and redefine marriage on its own. I want that as hard as possible, which is why I favor this. The correct question to ask anyone who opposes Prop 102 is, "Why do you want to keep it easier for politicians or the courts to redefine marriage?"
~All arguments offered against this Amendment are also arguments against current Arizona law. Seriously, all of them. Thus the utter hypocrisy of people who say this is unnecessary because it's already the law. These same people turn around and talk about why this is wrong, discrimatory, hateful, unfair, etc. Those same claims would apply against the current Arizona Revised (as in, can be revised again) Statute defining marriage as a man and a woman.
~Given the environment of uncertainty about how judges might usurp the right of the people to keep marriage as what it has always been (as evidenced by Massachussets, California, and now Connecticut), placing an additional barrier in the path of revisionists makes perfect sense.
~"Keep the politicians out of marriage?" Yes. That's why we want to pass Prop 102.
~"Trust the people." Yes. That's why we want to let them vote on Prop 102.
~"We did this before." No. Prop 107 would have been a significant change in Arizona law in addition to raising the bar for changing it. That previous issue only failed by a 52:48 margin with lots of collateral concerns. This should pass by a wide margin precisely because it is merely a restatement of current law in a much more protected environment. Also, many initiatives (including US Constitutional Amendments) as well as many politicians fail the first, or subsequent, time around. Does that mean that everyone ought to quit after the very first attempt? Here's one thing I can guarantee. The same people who are saying that we already decided this will surely be working to rescind it in subsequent elections if they can. So be it. But I'll be the first to remind them of their own silly rhetoric at that point.

Prop 102 - Gay Marriage Ban by
Proposition 102 - Marriage by PBS 8
What is Prop 102? by
Vote no..."Trust the people" by

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Proposition 105—Majority Rule

This would apply to all future Propositions that are put on the ballot by the voters rather than the legislature, and it would require that all such initiatives which raise taxes in any way must be enacted by a majority of all registered voters rather than just a majority of all votes cast. In other words, any Proposition in a normal 60% turnout election that will cost money will have to get 85% of the votes cast in order to pass. This would have meant that many past initiatives would have failed, but it also tends to mirror the 1992 requirement that all tax increases in the legislature be passed by a 2/3 super-majority.

~15% support. I recommend a NO vote.
~In practice, this would eliminate all future ballot-initiative propositions because they all require funding of some sort for the simple reason that the numbers will never be there to pass with enough votes to overcome the non-votes.
~There are serious philosophical problems here. The major one is that it treats non-votes as No votes. But no one can know whether a non-vote would have been a Yes or a No for the simple obvious reason is that the person didn't cast it. In fact, since we have declined to mandate 100% voting by law, one could very easily argue that a non-vote is itself the expressed will of a person and to count it yea or nay is to violate the right of the person to not cast a vote at all. To point out the serious error here, imagine if the initiative were reversed to read, "All ballot initiatives that increase spending will pass unless they are opposed by a majority of all eligible voters." In other words, count all non-votes as Yeses instead of counting them as Nos the way this plan would. That would be so beyond absurd that it shows the essential flaw here.

~The pool of eligible voters is itself already inflated and inaccurate due to the presence of lingering registrations for people who have left the state or died and also fraudulent or ineligible registrations. The reason we are more eager to put people on the list rather than to pull them off is so that we run less risk of turning people away at the precinct. This is good. But it means the rolls are already inflated from inaccuracy, and requiring a majority of 110% of all voters means actually requiring 55% rather than 50%+1.
~This plan is self-refuting. If it had already been in place, it would certainly have made its own passage impossible. How can a mere majority of actual voters implement a Proposition that all future Propositions will require a majority of all possible votes for passage? If they had been consistent, they would have applied their own test to the passage of this Proposition.
~This is a forest fire solution to a problem that would best be served by some tree-trimming. Given that the Legislature requires a 2/3 supermajority to raise taxes, it would have been perfectly consistent to raise the standard to a 2/3 supermarjority for passing Propositions. Given my sense that Props should be opposed unless more than 75% certain to be useful, I could eagerly have supported this. But an even more nuanced solution would be to require a supermajority in cases where the increase in taxation is above some threshhold (perhaps one referenced to a percentage of the AZ GDP), and that ones which incur only minimal adminstrative costs (below that threshhold) could pass with simple majorities. That would both be proper and accommodate all the objections being raised by the opponents.

~Who is for it: Liquor and tobacco industry and lobbyists, private citizens. Americans for prosperity. Arizona farm bureau, Arizona free enterprise club.
~Because of voter-approved spending measures, the legislature and governor are not allowed to cut spending on those projects, even if they can’t meet obligations for other far more vital issues.
~We have the largest proportional budget deficit of any state, and it suffers from previous ballot initiatives.
~This raises the threshold for future Proposition based spending initiatives.
~Would make it harder for special interests to raise taxes through proposition initiatives.
~Currently, low voter turnout elections can still impose significant burdens on everyone even though only a real minority has voted for it.
~You shouldn’t have to show up to say, “No,” to new taxes.
~The fact that advocates of an initiative can’t get enough people out to the polls to vote for it means it shouldn’t be enacted anyhow.

~It could really cut down on "frivolous" propositions.
~It would force government to lower spending rather than raising taxes to balance the budget.
~It’s more difficult in the legislature, why not make it more difficult at the ballot box, too?
~High turnout elections would only wind up requiring 2/3 of actual voters to pass, which is practically the same as the super majority in the legislature.
~You can still go through the legislature if you’re worried about this.
~How else will you put the power back in the hands of the legislature to remedy budget problems created by unassailable and inflexible spending from previous Propositions?

~Who’s against it: Um, like everybody. This thing should get clobbered at the polls. AZ education assn, AZ school boards, AZ hospital and healthcare assn, Church women united, League of women voters, Westmarc, Animal defense league, Arizona conference of police and sheriff, Greater Phoenix Chamber of commerce, AARP, Humane society, Valley interfaith, Arizona interfaith, AZ NOW, AFL-CIO, American Cancer society, Planned Parenthood, American Lung Association, Virtually every chapter of Fire Fighters and Police, East Valley Chamber of Commerce Alliance
~In practice, this would mean that no Propositions that increased taxes would ever pass. You’re never going to get 75% on anything.
~Gives too much apathy inertia to the people who don’t care enough to bother voting.
~People who stay home thereby forfeit their right to be heard. Imagine the absurdity of saying that a proposition needs a majority of all registered voters to support it to pass, and anyone who does not vote will be counted as a Yes vote!
~The people who don’t vote choose by not voting to not be heard. You can’t blame the rest of the electorate for their apathy. If you don’t want a measure, vote against it by showing up to vote.
In fact, it gives veto or filibuster power to a minority of actual voters by giving them the benefit of all the “present” votes.
~1998 45.8% voted. No proposition could pass.
~2006 64% voted. 82% to win. In other words only a 18% minority of actual voters could stop any Proposition.
~Even initiatives that incur small spending increases would be thwarted by this.
~What about people who are registered but illegitimate, moved, deceased, etc? it seems like the number need to pass would actually be more like 55% or 60% of the real registered voter base just because of such problems.
~Programs that wouldn’t exist: Clean elections, Smoke-free AZ, Heritage fund for public parks, Independent redistricting commission, Classroom funding—the $0.006 sales tax that has funded $2 million to schools, Early childhood development funding $0.80 tax on cigarettes 57% passed, would have failed, Tobacco lawsuit tax for healthcare, AZ Indian gaming initiative—funds emergency rooms and trauma centers, Humane treatment of animals, English as the official language. 74% passed, would have failed, Eminent domain protection. 65% passed, would have failed, Healthy Arizona, health insurance for working poor, No initiative passed since 1974 would exist if this had been the law.
~Since it would really reduce propositions, it would also really reduce amending prior propositions. Anyone who squeaked in under the wire would be very safe. If this passed by 51%, it would take 83% to undo it in the very next election.
~Liquor industry wants to preempt sin taxes by the people. They can control the legislature more effectively.
~We already require that any initiative identify specifically how it will be funded.

Proposition 105 - Majority Rules by PBS 8
Prop 105 by
No on Prop 105 by

I couldn't find a decent Yes site. Email me if you know of one.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Proposition 200—Payday loans

The law which permits payday loan offices to operate will expire under a sunset provision in July of 2010. Payday loan companies do not believe they will be able to get this permission extended through the legislature. So they are pushing a series of reforms of the industry along with an unending permit to continue doing business. Are these good reforms? If they are good reforms, why isn’t the industry doing them voluntarily? If they are good reforms, are they good enough to justify a permanent (barring future referendum revoking them) business permission?


~05% support. I recommend a NO vote.
~Almost all of these "reforms" could be voluntarily instituted by the industry if it were willing to do what it's ads claim and "toughen up the regulations" of this industry.
~I don't think the reforms will have much real impact because similar reforms have had no impact in the many other states that have tried a similar package of changes.
~The real nature of this payday-loan-industry sponsored and advertised proposition is to trade a set of seeming improvements for the real brass ring, an ongoing permit to do business that can only be undone by a repeal proposition. They know that they probably won't get a renewal of their exemption from ordinary lending laws in 2010, and they'd rather take this hail mary shot at a permanent charter with some minor tinkering than go out of such an extraordinarily lucrative business. Think of it this way, if the industry thought it was likely to get the current situation extended, why would they be pushing so hard for this? Their greatest fear is that the legislature will give them nothing at all, and they’re hoping to preempt that with this measure.
~But the unbelievable demand for payday loan services highlights a tremendous opportunity for the churches to meet an obvious need in the community and also serve people who are in the most dire predicaments. One caller suggested tying a non-interest loan to financial management classes by an independent service. This is really a great chance for the church to reach out and use its money to make friends with people, running the chance that they could come to know Christ because those who follow Him helped them.

~Only 5 to 35 days duration.
~Prohibits having more than one loan at a time. (Current law, but unenforced)
~Lowers the maximum fee from $17.65 to $15.00 per $100.00 (Still 12 times as high as the 36% maximum APR allowed by law on loans more than $500.)
~Allows users to go to direct debit, electronic payment. (They'll have access to your bank account.)
~Defines the fee for service as “not interest” specifically under the law.
~No extensions of current checks with additional fees. You can only enter into another agreement on the next business day after the current one is paid. (But if the one day waiting period falls between pay periods, this can easily still result in a de facto rolling over of the loan still.)
~Special exemptions to protect military families/spouses from credit collection tactics. (Good.)
~If the borrower requests it, the payday loan must enter into a payment plan which divides the total (no fees or interest are allowed) into four parts due to be paid near the borrower’s paydays or over four months if unemployed. Only to be used once per year. (The problem here is that this can actually wind up being more expensive than just extending the loan some other way.)
~By 10/15/09—Database for checking to insure that no applicant has used the payment plan more than once.
~$25 service fee for dishonored checks max penalty on top of bank fees.
~Can extend the period indefinitely, but cannot add fees. Restricts access of unregulated Internet lenders into the state.

Payday Loan Reform Act by PBS
Prop 200 - Payday Loan Reform Act by
No on 200 by (Browse around, lots of info)

Reform AZ payday loans by

Monday, October 13, 2008

Proposition 201—Homebuyer's Warranty

This proposition would create a “Homeowners’ Bill of Rights,” in response to the 2002 law that supposedly gives too much power to the homebuilders whenever buyers have a complaint about a new home. This proposition would create a mandatory 10 year warranty on all new homes, and it would eliminate the current “loser pays” system of court fees that serve to discourage frivolous lawsuits. Unions and trial attorneys favor it. Homebuilders oppose it.

~45% support. I recommend a NO vote.
~There are things here I love, but there are things that worry me, too, and it seems like an improperly and hastily formed Proposition.

~Every home would come with a 10 year warranty for materials and workmanship, transferable to any subsequent owner.
~Shorten complaint times to 60 days (from 90) and response time to 30 days (from 60) required before filing a legal case against the builder.
~Upon complaint, an outside inspection is required.
~Prohibit outside mediation agreements.
~Get three different contractors to bid on the job, at the discretion of the buyer.
~Advertised base price must reflect all fixtures and features of the model home.
~Replaces requirement of detailed problems lists with plain language lists.
~AZROC must keep a 10 year database of complaints

~Builders must disclose relationships with financial institutions.
~Get back 95% of your deposit within 100 days of a contract signed on new construction.
~Builder must pay for experts and legal fees if they lose in court.
~Eliminates frivolous lawsuit provisions that can turn against the buyer for court costs. Removes “loser pays” for the buyer.
~Allows even prospective buyers to bring suit.

~Shouldn’t your house come with at least as good a warranty as your car?
~Homebuilders must correct defects or compensate buyers.
~Buyers should get a say in who does the repairs.
~My own experience with a home that was made but had defects that we didn’t notice until we were in it already.
~Improves leverage when dealing with home builders.
~Bad for AZ economy to give a fair deal to home buyers?
~Current law discourages lawsuits because you can wind up paying court costs if lose.
~Will allow class action suits against builders.
~Anyone building a quality home at a fair price dealing honestly with people shouldn’t object to this.
~This undoes the damage created by the 2002 law urged through by homebuilders advocates.
~Deceptive tactics are particularly odious in retirement communities.
~Prospective buyers suits make sense to find out who’s going to pay.
~Everything won’t have to go to court, only if the builder doesn’t deal with the problem quickly.
~You can’t agree to arbitration in sales contract, but you can certainly do so on your own if you want to.

~Costly—inspections and experts cost money.
~Home builders are suffering right now.
~Bad for AZ economy.
~100 days is a long time to give a “whoops, I chaned my mind” clause.
~Could/would lead to unionized construction industry.
~Forbids private arbitration without court
~Will waste taxpayer money.
~Great for trial lawyers.
~Loser pays system means that people only go when they have a real claim.
~Loser pays gives both parties an incentive to do right and keep costs down.
~Too much power will be given to home buyers.
~Everyone will pay for this in the cost of homes sold.
~Drafted in private without public discussion, unamendable.
~It could be held to cover resellers and current owners of homes. And if held so, it would mean a ten year warranty had to be included in every sale of a home. Two bits of language seem to indicate this wouldn't happen, but I'm not 100% assured by the ambiguity.

~Current law gives an implied 8 year warranty, so this only increases it by 2 years.

Prop 201 by PBS 8
Prop 201 by Arizona Republic

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Wacky Wednesday--Negative Ads Are A Good Idea

Note: Before reading the following arguments, please understand that they are not what I believe. On Wednesdays, I deliberately argue for wrong ideas, challenging my listeners to call and defend the obvious right answer, which is usually far harder than one would expect. This is a summary of what Wacky Andrew will be arguing, not a representation of what real Andrew believes.

~This is how things have always been.
~In sports, you do whatever it takes to win
~In politics, if you won’t do whatever it takes to win, you don’t belong in the office in the first place.
~Politics is proxy war, so nothing is unacceptable.
~Those who can’t stomach politics, don’t have the stomach to wage war and to do what is necessary even in more ordinary political scenarios.
~If you don’t like them, what about political cartoons which are so regularly satirical and negative?
~Pie-in-the-sky idealism is the alternative.
~If a candidate can’t handle attack ads, maybe he shouldn’t be elected.
~If you are well-known, you can only adjust the perceptions of your opponent.
~They’re more memorable because we have better negative emotion memory and emotion memory at all.
~They allow the candidate to use the news to his advantage by generating coverage of the ad and the controversy. Nice ads don’t impact the news cycle.
~They’re more reliable because they must be more specific and documented to have any merit.
~Didn’t Jesus run negative ads against the Pharisees?

Attack ad by Wikipedia
Negative campaigning by Wikipedia
Effectiveness of negative ads by OSU Mass Comm Journal
Do negative campaign ads work? By
Going negative by Stanford
In praise of negative campaigning by Don Feder

Wacky Wednesday--Littering Is Good

Note: Before reading the following arguments, please understand that they are not what I believe. On Wednesdays, I deliberately argue for wrong ideas, challenging my listeners to call and defend the obvious right answer, which is usually far harder than one would expect. This is a summary of what Wacky Andrew will be arguing, not a representation of what real Andrew believes.

~In a free market, we let people show by their behavior that something is a good idea, and, given the number of litterers, one must conclude that littering makes sense.
~Littering creates jobs for people who have to clean it up. You wouldn’t want to cause unemployment, would you?
~If it happens enough, we might even be able to create a whole new workforce which might lead to road beautification as well as reusing the recyclable waste.
~It reminds us how much garbage we always throw away and maybe encourages us to be more conserving of resources.
~It lets people who don’t litter have a sense of pride in judging those who do.
~Isn’t it better to throw an apple out your window onto a field instead of filling up a landfill?
~Why should smokers have to have super-stinky cars filled with butts?
~It’s far more convenient than finding a garbage can and doesn’t waste trash bags.
~Even if it’s ugly, that ugliness reminds and encourages others to not litter even more. A little littering deters a lot of littering.
~By fining litterers, the government makes money and doesn’t have to tax us as much.

Could littering be good? by Yahoo answers
Are litter taxes good economics? by
Litter heroes by

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Theological Tuesday

Bible Stories 34: Apostles Imprisoned (Acts 3-5, 16)
Is “Be yourself” a good Christian principle?

Monday, October 6, 2008

Ethics: Should Pastors Preach Politics?

Two Sundays ago, Alliance Defense Fund worked with a group of about 30 pastors to deliberately break the Johnson amendment that the IRS has been following since the 50s which requires tax exempt organizations such as churches to avoid participating in partisan activities by preaching politics in their Sunday services. Does this seem like a good idea or not? Is this a justified example of civil disobedience? Would you prefer your pastor to give his view on political matters from the pulpit? Is this a violation of the separation of church and state? Did Jesus give us this example to follow? What about other prophets in the Bible? Are politics worth dividing over?

Pulpit Initiative by Alliance Defense Fund
Ending church silence by
Tempted by politics by Mark Galli
Pastors do politics from pulpit by Washington Times
When government owns our churches by Alan Sears

Constitution on pulpit preaching by FindLaw

How Have You Changed Since High School?

In high school, I suppose most of us think two things: high school really matters, and we’re sure who we’ll be in 10 or 20 years. But as time goes by, I think most of us realize that we were grossly wrong about both of these ideas. Still, I think it’s interesting too look back and think about which groups we were in or felt comfortable with then and now. What things about your life now would most surprise you or your friends back then? Have you changed significantly or not? Are you embarrassed by your yearbook pictures? Would you change a lot of your high school experience if you had it to do over again?

What's your clique? by University of Michigan

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Wacky Wednesday--It’s Good to Ban Books

Note: Before reading the following arguments, please understand that they are not what I believe. On Wednesdays, I deliberately argue for wrong ideas, challenging my listeners to call and defend the obvious right answer, which is usually far harder than one would expect. This is a summary of what Wacky Andrew will be arguing, not a representation of what real Andrew believes.

~The louder the microphone, the smaller the amount of deviance that can be allowed.
~Society has a right and a strong interest in controlling speech.
~Look at what happens when people don’t restrain themselves?
~Words have tremendous power, and power in the mouths of fools is nothing but damaging.
~Blasphemy, heresy, indecency, vulgarity, and general immorality are all spoken under the banner of free speech. Are we better off for this freedom?
~Speech leads to thoughts. Thoughts lead to actions. We have no problem restricting actions. ~Why would we have a problem restricting the speech that gives birth to them?
~The disciples burned books in Acts 19, are we not supposed to think of this as an endorsement of book banning?
~An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure
~You can’t unsee things, nor can you unread them.
~People, and especially children, should be protected from things that will damage them.
~Ideas have consequences, and if we actually believed this, we’d prohibit certain ones.
~You can’t simultaneously maintain that ideas matter so much that they should be protected and yet also claim that none of them are so awful as to deserve prohibition.

Books banned in the US by Adler Books
Banned books week by American Library Association

Wacky Wednesday--Prostitution Should Be Legal

Note: Before reading the following arguments, please understand that they are not what I believe. On Wednesdays, I deliberately argue for wrong ideas, challenging my listeners to call and defend the obvious right answer, which is usually far harder than one would expect. This is a summary of what Wacky Andrew will be arguing, not a representation of what real Andrew believes.

~Our goal should be that prostitution be safe, legal, and rare.
~We could protect the women involved from the usual dangers of crime, disease, and pimps.
~Only legal trades generate tax revenue.
~It’s a reality right now, so obviously efforts to make it illegal haven’t worked.
~How can the world’s oldest profession be illegal?
~What’s the difference between giving a girl jewelry to stay with you over time and giving her money to be with you once?
~Isn’t marriage itself even an economic proposition based on giving a woman money for her various services as she chooses not to work?
~Given the legality of contraception, adultery, and premarital sex, it’s hard to see how you can craft a philosophically coherent argument against legalizing prostitution.
~Doesn’t the principle of privacy established in Griswold v CT, Roe v Wade, and Lawrence v TX require this?
~How can you have legal pornography (including the making of it) and keep prostitution illegal?
~Would you rather have a lusty teenager go to a professional or date your daughter?
~Would you rather have a lusty man pay a prostitute or try to seduce your wife?
~When it’s illegal, you don’t know whether a guy avoids it for fear or character. If it were accepted, you’d learn for sure who the decent guys are.
~Should a man be banished to loneliness and frustration only because he can’t convince women to be with him free of charge?
~Look at how much simpler this would make the exotic dancer industry.
~Who is the victim in a consensual sex act?
~You can pay for a massage, a model, a conversationalist, and you can even indulge in the lewdest of acts on the phone for money. Why not this?
~How else do you get rid of organized crime but by taking away their industries?

Prostitution Pro-Con
Prostitution Research and Education (Browse around)
How Prostitution works by Joe Parker
Prostitution as violence against women by CATW
Information on Proposition K by
Decriminalizing prostitution divides San Francisco by LA Times
Vote yes on Prop K by SF Chronicle
Should prostitution be legal? by
SF task force on prostitution 1996 report by
Legalize Prostitution by