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Everything posted by Amulek

  1. Well, technically, the instruction is just to ask people to wear masks - which isn't the same as requiring masks to be worn. Without an effective enforcement mechanism, I suspect a fair number of people will continue to just do whatever they like. Even in the temple.
  2. Well, the kiddos still rule on movie night, so last weekend we watched Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made. It's apparently based on a children's book, but not one that I had ever heard of. You can check out the Wikipedia page for the film to get a complete, spoiler-filled rundown of the entire plot should you so desire. The production values were good, but I found the storytelling to be annoyingly episodic - kids won't be bothered by that though; it works with their attention spans. It's the kind of film that I think is perfectly fine to watch...once. But it's not one that I would come back to again and again. Mainly because it's one of those films where, the more you think about it, the more problematic it becomes. The story revolves around Timmy Failure (yes, that's his actual name) and how he kind of bebops through life wrapped up in his imaginary world. Which would be totally fine, if it weren't for the fact that his fantasies cause all sorts of real-life problems - none of which are ever really addressed in any meaningful way. The absence of consequences or any accompanying character growth and development are what (as a parent) would prevent me from letting my kids get attached to it as a film favorite. But I thought it was a fine diversion for a one-off movie night.
  3. Ah ha! The truth behind infant baptism finally comes out!
  4. I'm on good terms with at least three real estate agents in my ward, so if you ever decide you want to move to the real Zion (i.e., Texas) just let me know.
  5. There are two on the board in the ward I'm in right now: one serving in the Army and the other in the Marines. They are right up there along with the 3 elders, 2 sisters, and 2 senior couples who are currently serving missions. Our bishop is proud of every single person on that board, and so am I.
  6. I'm sorry that was your experience. Had you been in my ward, we would have asked for your favorite quote or scripture (same as with anyone going on a mission) and then ordered a military service plaque for our ward bulletin board.
  7. You may not know this, but In real life my daughter actually has a history of health issues. Her first two months of life were spent in the NICU, and to this day I can still remember the smell of the soap we would use to scrub ourselves from fingertip to elbow every day when we went to spend time with her - it's strange, the things that stick with you. Anyway, to help preserve her health and give her the best chance at having a long, full life, she has had to undergo a number of treatments and procedures over the years. One that I remember distinctly took place when she was about ten years old and had been admitted to the hospital for what ended up being a two week stay. There came a time during that particular admission where myself and two other male nurses had to physically hold her down while a painful procedure was administered. I honestly don't know if I can put into words how difficult it was for me to listen to my daughter scream in agony the entire time. I would love it if there were a way for my daughter to have a normal life expectancy without having to treat her disease. But that isn't an option. It's either suffer through intermittent bouts of discomfort and pain in order to have a long and fulfilling life, growing old enough to have children / grandchildren, or ignore the disease in exchange for a small period of temporary happiness now, which will invariably be followed by a shortened life and end in a painful death. My wife, myself, and (now that she's old enough to participate in her medical decisions) my daughter have all chosen to suffer through the pain in order to get what can only be possible by going through it. And I believe that's the same choice that we were all presented with before we came into mortality. It isn't that he doesn't have to power to prevent evil - it's just that I believe it is not logically possible to both prevent all evil and maintain free will. And if free will is necessary for us to become like God, then he can't just take away the former without also taking away the latter. Sorry, I wish I had time to say / write more, but I've got a crazy busy weekend and need to take off. I'll try to swing back later if I can though.
  8. I agree that the parent analogy is actually a pretty good one. I certainly don't want my children to experience any pain or suffering, but what if it isn't possible for them to experience some other good / wonderful thing without the possibility of them experiencing some amount of pain and suffering as well? I mean, I could lock my daughter up in her room to prevent her from ever being in a bicycle accident, but doing so would then deprive her of the opportunity to ever experience the joy of riding a bike. It simply isn't possible to prevent all bad things from happening without simultaneously preventing some other, greater good(s) from being attained. I think our heavenly parents are faced with this same reality. How would it be possible for us to freely enter into an authentic relationship with them and then grow to our maximum potential without the free will necessary to do so? Sure, God could (theoretically) remove our agency, follow us around like some kind of divine helicopter parent, and ensure that no evil is ever perpetuated here in mortality. But he couldn't do so without sacrificing our agency - agency that he knows is necessary for us to learn how to exercise in order for us to become like him.
  9. Uncertain. Perhaps no discernment was given. I don't believe that God unfailingly provides discernment to every leader at all times always, nor do I believe that there is any scriptural or doctrinal expectation that He should. Another possibility would be that discernment was given but ultimately ended up being ignored. I have certainly done this before, and I doubt I am the only one. And, since we are talking about possibilities, I'm going to go ahead and risk the down votes and also mention it is conceivably possible that discernment was given and was not in error. Now, given that there are two separate individuals involved here, I'm doubtful the guy is actually innocent, but admittedly I hardly know anything about the case or anyone involved, so it's theoretically within the realm of the possible still.
  10. And by the same metric - aggregate numbers - SCOTUS has reversed more cases from the Ninth Circuit than any other circuit as well. But, for comparison purposes, how does that stack up? What is the gap between them and, say, the next most prevalent court across the same period of time? Well, on the approval side you are looking at 42 cases affirmed from the 9th followed by 28 from the 2nd: a difference of 15. (good times) But for reversals you are looking at 164 cases reversed from the 9th compared to 60 from the 6th: a difference of 104. (hmm...bad times) So yes, the Ninth Circuit has had more cases affirmed than any other circuit, but they've got way more reversed. And it's pretty clear that the reversal gap is much wider than the difference in affirmations. Yeah, this is kind of what I was hinting at earlier when I talked about messaging the numbers. If you ignore the big picture, run the clock back far enough, squint really really hard, and focus only on percentages then you can finally get to a place where the Ninth Circuit isn't the most reversed Circuit Court...by < 2%. But if you look a little closer, the trends are pretty clear. For example, let's look at data from the last five terms - summarized from the site above in the table below. Over the past five years the Ninth Circuit has been (hands down) the most reversed court, period: both in terms of the aggregate number of cases reversed (55) and in the percentage of reversals (87.30%) as well. And that is pretty representative for them. They are consistently at the top of the pack in terms of getting the Constitution wrong, and that's just by looking at the raw numbers. It doesn't get much better once you start digging into the cases themselves and examining the legal reasoning behind them. That's why they have gotten the reputation they have. +==================+==========+==========+===========+===========+===========+===========+===========+===========+===========+===========+=========+==========+==========+============+ | Circuit | 2020 | 2020 | 2019 | 2019 | 2018 | 2018 | 2017 | 2017 | 2016 | 2016 | TOTAL | TOTAL | TOTALS | TOTAL | | Courts | Affirmed | Reversed | Affirmed | Reversed | Affirmed | Reversed | Affirmed | Reversed | Affirmed | Reversed | Decided | Affirmed | Reversed | % Reversed | +==================+==========+==========+===========+===========+===========+===========+===========+===========+===========+===========+=========+==========+==========+============+ | First Circuit | 0 | 1 | 0 | 1 | 1 | 1 | 0 | 1 | 1 | 0 | 6 | 2 | 4 | 66.67% | +------------------+----------+----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+---------+----------+----------+------------+ | Second Circuit | 1 | 2 | 2 | 6 | 2 | 3 | 2 | 2 | 1 | 4 | 25 | 8 | 17 | 68.00% | +------------------+----------+----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+---------+----------+----------+------------+ | Third Circuit | 2 | 4 | 2 | 2 | 1 | 2 | 0 | 3 | 0 | 2 | 18 | 5 | 13 | 72.22% | +------------------+----------+----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+---------+----------+----------+------------+ | Fourth Circuit | 0 | 3 | 3 | 1 | 2 | 2 | 0 | 0 | 1 | 1 | 13 | 6 | 7 | 53.85% | +------------------+----------+----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+---------+----------+----------+------------+ | Fifth Circuit | 2 | 5 | 1 | 6 | 2 | 2 | 1 | 3 | 2 | 2 | 26 | 8 | 18 | 69.23% | +------------------+----------+----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+---------+----------+----------+------------+ | Sixth Circuit | 0 | 5 | 3 | 0 | 4 | 3 | 0 | 4 | 1 | 6 | 26 | 8 | 18 | 69.23% | +------------------+----------+----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+---------+----------+----------+------------+ | Seventh Circuit | 0 | 1 | 0 | 1 | 0 | 1 | 3 | 4 | 0 | 2 | 12 | 3 | 9 | 75.00% | +------------------+----------+----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+---------+----------+----------+------------+ | Eighth Circuit | 1 | 3 | 1 | 0 | 1 | 3 | 1 | 2 | 0 | 2 | 14 | 4 | 10 | 71.43% | +------------------+----------+----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+---------+----------+----------+------------+ | Ninth Circuit | 1 | 15 | 1 | 9 | 2 | 12 | 3 | 12 | 1 | 7 | 63 | 8 | 55 | 87.30% | +------------------+----------+----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+---------+----------+----------+------------+ | Tenth Circuit | 0 | 3 | 2 | 2 | 1 | 1 | 2 | 1 | 0 | 3 | 15 | 5 | 10 | 66.67% | +------------------+----------+----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+---------+----------+----------+------------+ | Eleventh Circuit | 2 | 3 | 3 | 4 | 4 | 3 | 1 | 5 | 2 | 3 | 30 | 12 | 18 | 60.00% | +------------------+----------+----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+---------+----------+----------+------------+ | D.C. Circuit | 0 | 4 | 1 | 3 | 2 | 1 | 1 | 4 | 1 | 2 | 19 | 5 | 14 | 73.68% | +------------------+----------+----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+---------+----------+----------+------------+ | Federal Circuit | 0 | 3 | 1 | 3 | 2 | 2 | 1 | 2 | 1 | 6 | 21 | 5 | 16 | 76.19% | +------------------+----------+----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+---------+----------+----------+------------+
  11. Yeah, if I'm reading the timeline right the abuse began ten years ago, back in 2011. If he's 33 now, that would make him 23 at the time the abuse started, so some sort of family relative seems like a definite possibility. That would also possibly explain why the case has gone into mediation. I can see how family members might want a way to settle this quietly and involve the public as little as possible.
  12. Did you hear the one about the lawyer opening his arguments before SCOTUS: "Your Honors, I'm here to appeal a decision by the Ninth Circuit Court. But I also have other arguments in my favor ..." CJ Roberts interrupts: "That's fine, but they won't be necessary. You win." Seriously, this is not even especially controversial. The Supremes beat down on the Ninth Circuit so often you would think they owe them money. Just take a look at the numbers and see for yourself: https://ballotpedia.org/SCOTUS_case_reversal_rates_(2007_-_Present) SCOTUS decided 16 cases coming out of the Ninth Circuit this last term - more than twice the amount originating from any other Circuit - and all but one were reversed. Term before that? 9 out of 10 reversed. And the term before that? 12 out of 14 reversed. Etc. People can try to massage the numbers to suit their liking, but the facts are the facts, and the Ninth Circuit's reputation is pretty clearly deserved.
  13. That's pretty funny. However, the tune is actually to "The Prophet Said to Plant a Garden." (link) My inner music Nazi can now rest.
  14. Starting in the 2023-2024 athletic season: https://byucougars.com/story/athletics/1297568/byu-join-big-12-conference Will be interesting to see how the conference does without Oklahoma and Texas (who both jumped ship for the SEC). Anyway, didn't see that anyone else had mentioned it yet, so here's your thread to discuss...
  15. Well, maybe you can make it into a fun game by playing 'guess which actor / actress is most auto-tuned.'
  16. Well, it was my daughter's turn to pick the movie last night, and this was what she landed on. It wasn't unbearable, but it's definitely my least favorite Cinderella movie. Literally every other version of Cinderella is better: Cartoon original? Yes. Live action remake? Definite yes. Ever After? Ella Enchanted? Yes, and yes again. The CGI mice were just painfully bad appearance wise - though they were one of the highlights of the film in terms of comic relief. And the music selection was distractingly all over the map. So much of it just didn't fit at all - character wise, setting wise, etc. Watching Idina Menzel prance around in a renfare outfit singing Madonna's Material Girl was just plain cringeworthy (despite the spot-on vocals). If these were the songs they wanted to run with they should have pulled a Mama Mia and just made a story to fit them all into, rather than trying to cram them into a Cinderella remake. However, I did have a couple of proud dad moments during the film when my son accurately identified both Queen and The White Stripes. So, at least I'm doing something right as a parent.
  17. My experience has been that most religionists, regardless of faith, aren't overwhelmingly curious about learning more about other religious groups. If you were to walk into a random Protestant church and ask someone in the pews what the difference is between their church and some other Protestant denomination, how many of them do you think would be able to answer you? Pretty much zero. I would say that Latter-day Saints tend to know more about other religions than most people - largely because we have to spend a fair amount of time defending our own religion from (small 'e') evangelists. But I don't know that we are any more or less curious when it comes to desiring to know more about our breakoff denominations than anyone else is with respect to their religious pedigree.
  18. Generally, if a law has a religious exemption then any sincerely held belief ought to suffice - because government cannot favor religion over non-religion. That being said, I'm surprised there would even be a religious exemption for a COVID vaccination mandate to begin with - especially since California specifically repealed their 'personal belief exemption' to their vaccine requirements a few years back and won when being challenged in court (see, e.g., Whitlow v California).
  19. I've only ever met one member of the Community of Christ (formerly RLDS), and that was during a tour of their temple in Missouri as part of a church history trip we took back when I was a teenager. To be honest, if it weren't for the fact that they still own and maintain the Smith Family Cemetery (and happen to be in possession of various other items relating to church history), I wouldn't have had even that one contact. Given how small their membership is (roughly 250K according to Wikipedia), I imagine the experience of not encountering someone of their faith would be fairly common.
  20. Than what? The percentage of non-covid identified cases. If 55% of the cases are related to covid, then the other 45% are unrelated (or not identified as being related to covid, however you want to look at it), which would be a difference of 10%. So, whatever amount of increase is related to covid, the non-covid increase would be about 10% less. Though, to be honest, I'm not sure where the 591% number is even coming from to begin with. According to DSHS, there have been 159 calls so far this year, compared to 48 last year, which isn't nearly a 600% increase. The percentage change for that would be: (159-48)/48 * 100 = 231%. Even if you take the year to date number of calls (159) and annualize that out for the rest of the year (159 calls to date / 8 months to date = 19.875 calls/mo * 12 months = 238.5 calls), that still only gets you to a 397% increase: (239-48)/48 * 100 = 397%. To get closer to the 591% number you are going to have to assume some sort of progression, but I haven't seen the month-by-month data which would be necessary to even start to estimate something like that. And, even if we had it, it would still only be an estimate. The only thing I can think of is that maybe someone has got the year to date numbers through August of last year. If the year to date calls through August of 2020 were only 23, then that would get you to the number: (159-23)/23 * 100 = 591%. I didn't see that listed on the TX website though, but if it was reported in one of the other sources that's maybe how you could get to that original reported amount. But again, as I said before, it's mostly academic. We're only talking about 50 patients spread out over 8 months among a population of 29M people. The idea that this is what is putting a strain on TX hospitals is just laughably absurd.
  21. Roughly 10% lower. But the actual percentages are kind of deceiving because the numbers are so small to begin with. 48 from last year to 159 this year is a big jump percentage wise, but it's not really much in terms of absolute change in a population of 29 million. That doesn't mean we should ignore it obviously. I think it's good that we try to be aware of what's going on and do our best to nip misinformation in the bud. But we shouldn't be overstating things either. If only 52 people have gone (or been referred) to a medical facility for an overdose in Texas this year, then it's wrong to characterize that as being the cause for hospital beds in Texas being overrun.
  22. Calls to poison control may be up, but I believe hospital overcrowding is being driven by unvaccinated COVID patients, not by patients overdosing on ivermectin: https://reason.com/2021/09/06/ivermectin-overdoses-oklahoma-hospitals-rolling-stone-hoax/
  23. Over the weekend I went with my son to go see Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. We both enjoyed the film, and I thought it was much better than the last Marvel installment (sorry, not sorry, Black Widow). After the dumpster fire that was the live action remake of Mulan, I had some serious doubts about Disney being able to pull off a successful Asian film, but I thought they cleared the bar on this one.
  24. Early reviews aren't promising. Unfortunately, the source material doesn't easily lend itself to adaption, as pretty much all previous installments have shown. I'm still planning on seeing it, but from what I've read I might have to try and withhold judgement until Part 2 drops. Yeah, I watched the trailer for WoT and had some reservations. I would really like for them to not mess this one up.
  25. That's too bad. I think it's going to make it into our movie night rotation sometime soon. Oh well, maybe the kids will like it. I only remember two songs distinctively from Ella Enchanted: one by Queen (about mid way through the film) and the other by Elton John (closing scene / credits). Both were pretty great. Please tell me they didn't butcher either one of those.
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