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Comment Re: Natural Born Citizens (Score 1) 290

Can somebody explain why country of birth is even important. I know it's in the constitution, but for a country that prides itself on the idea that anyone can achieve anything with hard work it seems a little hypocritical.

The US Constitution says that among other qualifications the President must be a "natural born citizen". Being in the Constitution - the highest law of the land - is what makes it important. "Natural born citizen" means the individual is a citizen based on the facts / conditions of their birth. Anyone born in the US is a natural born citizen. Current interpretation also includes individuals with at least parent being a citizen at the time regardless of place of birth.

You didn't actually answer the question as to importance. You just repeated what was already stated to be known, without realizing that all your yammering about being in the Constitution only demonstrates a lack of substance because of it. They didn't even ask what natural-born citizen meant. They asked for an explanation for its importance, and stated why they found it hypocritical. You didn't address the concern at all. Explain it.

It being in the Constitution means we must follow it until the Constitution is amended. Read the Wikipedia article if you want a full list of why it was included (mostly to avoid having a President with possibly conflicting loyalties) and the various attempts to change it (including Orrin Hatch trying to make the Governator elligible).

Comment Re: Natural Born Citizens (Score 1) 290

Can somebody explain why country of birth is even important. I know it's in the constitution, but for a country that prides itself on the idea that anyone can achieve anything with hard work it seems a little hypocritical.

The US Constitution says that among other qualifications the President must be a "natural born citizen". Being in the Constitution - the highest law of the land - is what makes it important. "Natural born citizen" means the individual is a citizen based on the facts / conditions of their birth. Anyone born in the US is a natural born citizen. Current interpretation also includes individuals with at least parent being a citizen at the time regardless of place of birth.

Comment Re:Questions to Hillary's fans (Score 1) 290

I personally doubt the birth certificate which has been released, but it is a moot point.

Conspiracy theories are a hell of a drug. You might want to talk to a doctor instead of self medicating.

Perhaps my tone didn't come through. Yes, I doubt the birth certificate, but based on how "natural born citizen" is currently understood, it's not worth my time. Because Obama is a natural born citizen via his mother, proving he was born in Kenya would have zero legal implications; at most it would create doubts in the minds of potential voters. Since Obama was elected (then re-elected), there is little to no value to beat the dead horse.

Comment Re:Questions to Hillary's fans (Score 3, Informative) 290

1) It's controversial because of how and when he said it. Specifically, one of his campaign managers fired a woman for being pregnant, and Trump was excusing this inexcusable behavior.

2) The birther lie was rascist. (Also if you FOLLoWED that link you posted, it has snopes saying Hillary did NOT bring it up first).

That Hillary Clinton supporters circulated such an e-mail isn't in question, but the claim that that's the moment the birther theory "first emerged" simply isn't true. The likeliest point of origin we've been able to find was a post on conservative message board FreeRepublic.com dated 1 March 2008 (which, according to a report in The Telegraph, was at least a month before Clinton supporters got on the e-mail bandwagon).
Snopes (emphasis mine)

Read that first sentence. The point is that Hillary and / or her supporters were birthers during the 2008 campaign. I personally doubt the birth certificate which has been released, but it is a moot point. Under the current interpretation of natural born citizen, as long as either parent is a US citizen at the time of the child's birth, the child is a natural born citizen.

Comment Re:Tax (Score 1) 539

Our tithing does not make its way into leaders' pockets.

Then who pays their salaries?

We have a lay clergy. Local leaders have careers outside the Church to earn money to care for their families. Leadership positions do not require studies at a seminary. Only General Authorities (such as the Prophet and the Twelve Apostles) receive a living allowance, as these are full-time responsibilities. All worthy men are eligible for the Priesthood.

I should like to add, parenthetically for your information, that the living allowances given the General Authorities, which are very modest in comparison with executive compensation in industry and the professions, come from this business income and not from the tithing of the people.

Gordon B. Hinckley, October 1985

Comment Re:Tax (Score 1) 539

During my mission, those from the US paid $350 / month while Brazilians paid R$100 / month. There is a general missionary fund available for those unable to pay.

But the point is that, since the LDS church has billions of tax-free dollars stashed away, it's ridiculous that missionaries have to pay anything.

Wikipedia's article on the finances of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints offers some insight. Most of the Church's estimated 25 billion dollar worth is tied up in temples, chapels, stake centers, mission homes, etc, which do not produce income. Another chunk of the estimated 5 billion dollar annual revenue is used for maintenance. Remember that the for-profit entities (such as Hawaii Reserves Inc) do pay taxes. The Church does pay Social Security for its employees.

Comment Re:Tax (Score 1) 539

There is a standard amount for each missionary based on home country. During my mission, those from the US paid $350 / month while Brazilians paid R$100 / month. There is a general missionary fund available for those unable to pay. All money is pooled together and missionaries get an allowance based on mission. I received about R$100 / month (rent and utilities were paid before I received my allowance). As your dad left the Church at 17, I guess that shows your bias.

It may have changed since then, (in fact, brief googling suggest 1990) but at the time, (early 70's) it was a fact, you HAD to pay for your own mission, unless your parents paid for it.

I had two brothers serve missions in the 70s. At the time the older one served, the amount the missionary paid was based on the mission field. The second one paid based on where the missionary was from. I don't know when the general missionary fund and individual ward (congregation) mission funds became available.

Anyways, my bias probably comes from the Book of Abraham, and maybe the fact that Joseph Smith would divine for water by putting a rock in a hat and stare into it, and his father commented that it never worked. But somehow, miraculously, it worked for translating scriptures that nobody ever saw, and the one that other people besides himself did actually see and read was found to be nowhere close to being what he supposedly "translated" it to. In fact it had nothing at all to do with Abraham or any other biblical figures whatsoever.

It is hard to unweave the fact from fiction which you've heard. Joseph used seer stones to translate the Book of Mormon from "reformed Egyptian" to English. Eleven other men say and handled these plates and published their testimonies to the world. None of these eleven ever denied the Book of Mormon. The papyrus from which the Book of Abraham was translated is lost. The mummy contained multiple papyrus writings, some of which have been found. Joseph did not claim the ability to find water sources, though he tried a few times.

Comment Re:Tax (Score 1) 539

life-size oxen made out of what appeared to be gold

Uh weird, I seem to remember there being a rule about that somewhere.

Check out a New Era article from 1976. Baptismal fonts in the temple do indeed rest on the back of 12 oxen representing the 12 tribes of Israel and mirrors the temple of Solomon. The material used varies from temple to temple. None of the fonts is pure gold. Some are bronze, others are stone, a few are wood.

Comment Re:Tax (Score 1) 539

I think a lot of that, for the religious orgs, goes into building massive churches. LDS is insanely wealthy and spares practically no expense in making huge, ornate temples. When they're about to re-dedicate one, us "impure" commonfolk can go inside, and I did that one time and saw some life-size oxen made out of what appeared to be gold surrounding a big ornate pool presumably used for baptisms, and then some expensive looking theaters (practically a multiplex) used for displaying religious propaganda to the public, and practically all of the floors and walls adorned with either granite or marble in pretty much the entire temple, with each room (and there are many rooms) being about two stories in height with really big chandeliers. I guess another way of describing it would be something four times as big, expensive, and decorated as the whitehouse. And in spite of the massive size of this thing, very few people even go inside, and they have about 170 of them throughout the entire US.

I'm a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We have chapels and temples. You're off on some of your description of our temples. There are 151 temples throughout the world, not 170 in the US. We pay cash for our temples so we do studies to find how to lower costs without lowering quality and workmanship. The White House is approximately 55,000 square feet; approximately 25 temples are at least that large. The largest temple is in Salt Lake City (253,000 square feet); our smallest temple (Colonia Juárez Chihuahua Mexico) has 6,800 square feet. Only a few rooms in each temple have those huge chandeliers and 20+ foot ceilings. Building materials vary. The Provo City Center temple has mostly wood walls, for example.

And for some reason they see fit to ask that their members pay all of the expenses for their own missionary work, even though people of that age typically don't make much at all and it takes them years to save up for that. (My dad was required to save up for it by his parents for about 5 years, and then when he turned 17 he moved away from home and spent it on college and pretty much just ignored the church for the rest of his life.)

There is a standard amount for each missionary based on home country. During my mission, those from the US paid $350 / month while Brazilians paid R$100 / month. There is a general missionary fund available for those unable to pay. All money is pooled together and missionaries get an allowance based on mission. I received about R$100 / month (rent and utilities were paid before I received my allowance). As your dad left the Church at 17, I guess that shows your bias.

Comment Re: Tax (Score 1) 539

How about religious group Hobby Lobby, who wants to allow their employees to have health insurance, with the string attached that the health insurance not cover birth control pills?

Why should Hobby Lobby be forced to pay for something which goes against its beliefs? Employees can get supplemental insurance for birth control.

How about religious group Salvation Army, who wants to allow their employees to have spousal benefits, with the string attached that those employees not be gay?

Why is it wrong that a religious organization get to dictate such standards? I doubt a religion would want to pay someone for breaking their commandments.

How about religious schools such as InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, who employ people with the string attached that they not get divorced (but only if they're women)?

My sect has several schools. It is right and just that religions get to dictate conditions of employment. If someone doesn't wish to abide by these conditions, they can obtain employment elsewhere.

These few examples are but a drop in the bucket. True, they're not "religions", they're only organizations run by religious people. But they all claim to be exempt from the law because of religion. Also, you can find as many and more examples of religions doing the same. Religions attach strings to their money because they feel it is their moral duty (in the most generous interpretation). Do not pretend that they're just helping people; they're helping the deserving people, and they get to decide which ones are deserving. Also, do not read this as a defense of government as the highest good; there are plenty of problems there, as well.

If you don't like an organization, then don't support it.

Comment Re:Tax (Score 1) 539

Interesting thought; I'm genuinely curious: Who contributes more to doling out welfare: private funded charities (including religions) or the government?

I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This sect does have for-profit divisions which pay appropriate taxes. Give unto Caesar that which is Caesar's and all that. We open our chapels for temporary housing following disasters. Our fast offerings go to help the needy regardless of religious affiliation. Our "Helping Hands" groups are often the first ones on the scene to clean up after disasters. Our tithing does not make its way into leaders' pockets.

Comment Re:Day to day (Score 1) 220

I know there are words that others find vulgar or offensive, but I don't care about words, I care about ideas. And how the hell do you filter out ideas? For an example, I don't care about any of these words: "I can't wait to shred your daughter's vagina", but when put in that order, I do. Another example: "Black lives matter".

What gets me is that most swears have legitimate uses, but I don't want to be bombarded by gratuitous vulgarities. I doubt a computer would ever be smart enough to block what I find offensive without a ton of false positives. Sometimes someone is so emotionally charged that only a vulgarity conveys all that emotion, but I dislike vulgarity to compensate for a small vocabulary.

Or are other people's lives so simple that they merely excluding certain words makes the pain go away? I'm interested to know which words people find, under all circumstances, offensive.

I find the F-bomb offensive, but if I mentally filter it out if it's not used with abandon. I've walked out of movies for hearing the F-bomb 10 times in the first 5 minutes. Even more offensive to me is to hear people profane the name of Deity, but computers will never be smart enough to parse context.

Comment Re:PLEASE do NOT open one here in My STATE... (Score 1) 167

I hope they do NOT open an Amazon store in my state.

If they do, then I'll have to pay fucking 9%+ sales tax on my amazon orders, and well......why would I really wanna buy from them as much then?

That savings and free shipping is what makes them so desirable right now, but add in that 9%-10% sales tax, and well, I don't see that much a reason to get everything from amazon anymore.

See if your state has a "use tax" in addition to sales tax. Technically, I'm supposed to pay a use tax on everything I buy out of state (including online) for use in state. The use tax in my state is equal to the sales tax. If I don't pay the use tax, I am technically committing tax fraud and open myself up to an audit.

Comment Re:I'd consider it (Score 2) 367

You would have to think about it??? Why wouldn't you do it, assuming no side effects?

The rub is this "assuming no side effects". We don't have any "junk" DNA, just DNA whose function we haven't yet determined. We don't know how different sections of DNA play together. We simply can't fathom the side effects until it's done.

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