The Real Cost of Mormon Temple Work

The Mormon Church believes that we can perform ordinances such as baptisms, marriages (sealings) and Endowments for those people that are dead. These rites are performed in Mormon Temples

There are about 150 temples worldwide. They are beautiful, massive buildings that are constructed with the finest materials and engineering. Their cost has to be enormous. (The church does not release the cost of anything.

Annual estimates to the church in building and maintaining the temples as well as the cost to members ranges from about 1 to 3 $Billion / year.

Even though the LDS Church has at times performed temple ceremonies in rivers, tents and cabins, they insist on building $50 million ornate buildings while knowing of the suffering, hunger and poverty around the world.

It is a common story taught in LDS churches of a poor family from an island in the Pacific or somewhere deep in the Amazon saves money for years to attend the temple at a distant location rather than use the money for education or housing. The story refers to the great sacrifice and faith of those people, essentially promising them eternity in Heaven.

The real cost of all this might be in the shaming and social loss of those who leave the faith or part member families who cannot attend the temples weddings of their loved ones.

US religion is worth $1.2T/year, more than America’s 10 biggest tech companies, combined

The largely tax-free religion industry is one of the biggest in America, worth $1.2 trillion/year, a number that includes religious “healthcare facilities, schools, daycare and charities; media; businesses with faith backgrounds; the kosher and halal food markets; social and philanthropic programmes; and staff and overheads for congregations.”

The figure comes from The Socio-economic Contribution of Religion to American Society: An Empirical Analysis, co-authored by Georgetown’s Brian J Grim and Newseum’s Melissa E Grim, and published in the Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Religion. The authors describe the estimate as “conservative” and note that while religion as a whole is declining in the US, spending on religious “social programs” has tripled since 2001, to $9T.

Grim and his co-author Melissa Grim of the Newseum Institute in Washington came up with three estimates of the worth of US religion. The lowest, at $378bn, took into account only the revenues of faith-based organisations. The middle estimate, $1.2tn, included an estimate of the market value of goods and services provided by religious organisations and the contributions of businesses with religious roots.

The top estimate was based on the household incomes of religiously affiliated Americans, and placed the value of faith to US society at $4.8tn annually.

The analysis did not take account of the value of financial or physical assets held by religious groups. Neither did it account for “the negative impacts that occur in some religious communities, including … such things as the abuse of children by some clergy, cases of fraud, and the possibility of being recruitment sites for violent extremism”.

The Socio-economic Contribution of Religion to American Society: An Empirical Analysis [Georgetown’s Brian J Grim and Newseum’s Melissa E Grim/nterdisciplinary Journal of Research on Religion]

Saddleback Church -Defines Marriage

The issue is this: Did Obama mean what he said in 08 or was he merely pandering to the general base? My money is on the latter. It flies in the face of everything he purports to be about since his weed smoking days in Hawaii so why should we believe he actually thought that in 2008 marriage was between a man and a woman. Even his gay-proponent sycophants at the time thought he was placating with this position. On this one I have to concede that his lying impulses were front and center, but because they justified the means he’s given yet another pass with his liberal base.

I honestly can’t pinpoint a certain time. I just remember, as someone being from Connecticut, being ashamed that my state was the second to legalize gay marriage.

I think it changed when I realized that I was wrong to look down on someone just because they love someone of the same gender. We’re all people, but some are just odd like that…

He was actually supportive of same-sex marriage in 1996 but had to play the religious angle to avoid people thinking he’s a Muslim radical that wants to burn all the bibles.

In addition, let’s say he was really against it before becoming president, shouldn’t we applaud him for keeping an open-mind and evolving his viewpoint? After Obama came out in favor of it, Romney said that he would never change his mind about being against same-sex marriage. Is that kind of closed-mindedness the wrong way for a politician to think?

Regardless of whether or not most conservatives agree with it, I think it’ll be advantageous for the Republican Party. Now that this is done and out of the way, hopefully the debates will be focused more on real political issues and less on social issues and pandering.

Just like Hillary saying marriage is between a man and a woman which is a “fundmental bedrock going back in to the mists of history” or something along hose lines just a few years ago.

$13.7m NZ Taxpayer Funds Pledged To Shady Clinton Charity

It has been revealed that millions of New Zealand taxpayer dollars have been donated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) to Hillary Clinton’s charity, the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), a non-profit organisation created from the Clinton Foundation with the stated goal to reduce HIV/AIDs in Africa.

An MFAT spokesman confirmed to the NBR that between January 2010 and June 2016, $7.7 million of taxpayer funds had already been donated and another $6 million was to follow, keeping to a pledge to donate $13.7 million made by the government organisation in 2013.

ACT party member David Seymour commented “In a world where New Zealanders can crowdsource to buy a beach, it’s not clear what role there is for the government to collect taxes and contribute it to a global charity which is more than capable of reaching out and raising its own money.”

The big question is, why is our government sending millions of dollars overseas while at the same time cutting funding for crucial services which desperately need the money here in New Zealand?

To fully understand how Clinton charities operate and decide whether a single taxpayer dollar should have been donated, we first need to look at some of the controversies.

Over the past 15 years, the Washington Post can reveal the charities have raised over $2 billion dollars, mainly from big corporates, foreign governments and political donors. Many have called the contributions ‘pay for play’, where powerful donors exchange funds for future political favours. Speeches make up a large part of the revenue stream, with the Clintons earning hundreds of thousands per speech from the likes of big Wall Street banks including Goldman Sachs as revealed by WikiLeaks.

Clinton’s charity has confirmed that in 2012, Qatar donated US $1 million to the Clinton Foundation raising a question of ethics after Hillary promised that while she was serving as secretary of the state donations from foreign governments would no longer be accepted due to the potential influence on foreign policy.

It was also been revealed the Clinton charities utilised the devastating Haiti earthquake to implement disaster capitalism, funneling funds into Haiti under the pretense of aid but only for the funds to flow away from the Haitians desperately in need and instead to companies who had made previously large donations to the Clinton Foundation.

Then there is the $145 million ‘pay for play’ contributions made to the Clinton Foundation by shareholders of Canadian company Uranium One, a mining company with concessions in Kazakhstan and the US. Uranium One sought to sell these concessions to the Russians, but the deal had to be approved by a government committee due to the implications to national security.

In return for the contributions and the extra $500,000 Bill Clinton received in speaking fees from a Russian investment bank, the 20% purchase of US uranium assets by the Russians was approved, knowing this purchase would mean the production of more nuclear weapons against America’s own interests.

The Clinton Health Access Initiative has also had its share of controversy.

US Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn recently released a 71 page report which slammed CHAI’s “self-serving” philanthropy in Africa, after the charity was found distributing watered down HIV/AIDS medications to sick Africans.

According to the report, these cheaper drugs which were provided by Ranbaxy Laboratories “subjected patients to increased risks of morbidity and mortality”. Ranbaxy later was found guilty of selling badly made generic drugs and fined a record US$500 million.

If Hillary is elected president, she has committed to changing how the Clinton Foundation operates. Bill Clinton has said “The Foundation will accept contributions only from U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and U.S.-based independent foundations, whose names we will continue to make public on a quarterly basis. And we will change the official name from the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation to the Clinton Foundation. While I will continue to support the work of the Foundation, I will step down from the Board and will no longer raise funds for it.”

However, CHAI, which receives around 60% of the funds from the Clinton Foundation, has yet to decide whether it will also refuse foreign government donations if she was to win, and when asked for comment on CHAI the Clinton campaign spokesman declined.

There’s no doubt the Clinton charities have done some incredible work overseas through CHAI, but the manner in which these charities are utilised as vehicles for personal benefit can not be ignored. With strong financial ties to Wall Street, big pharmaceuticals and other large corporate sponsors, it’s clear the charities are being used as avenues to channel funds under the guise of philanthropy.

What is of great concern here in New Zealand is the level of taxpayer funded donations made to Hillary’s charity without public knowledge, and how quiet the mainstream media has been about it.

John Key and the National Party clearly have no issue using millions of taxpayer funds as bribes, revealed by the corrupt Saudi sheep deal, so it should be of no surprise to see the government fund a shady charity found to be acting only for ‘self serving’ interests.

We need to hold our government accountable for where taxpayer funds are being applied, especially when gifted to charities operated by corrupt American political figureheads.

Our country currently can not afford to be sending millions of dollars overseas. Instead of donating the remaining $6 million pledged to CHAI, we demand that MFAT reallocate the funds within New Zealand to help assist those struggling under our poverty and homelessness crisis.

For an excellent review of the Clinton Foundation, please have a read through the Washington Post’s feature ‘Inside the Clinton Donor Network’.

Stephen A. Smith tops vote for most annoying person in sports media

ESPN personality Stephen A. Smith has made plenty of headlines lately, from threatening Kevin Durant to feuding with Glenn Robinson to flip-flopping on Greg (or is that James?) Hardy. Now he’s made another one for standing out from the crowd, but not in a good way; Smith was voted the most annoying person in sports media this week, capping off CollegeSpun’s 64-person bracket with a close 52 percent to 48 percent victory over Skip Bayless, his regular debate foil on First Take and a fellow 1 seed in this tournament.

What was Smith’s path to the championship? Well, he started off with a dominant win over 16 seed Cris Collinsworth, picking up 88.7 percent of the vote, then rolled with 82.9 percent in a second-round win over eight seed Mel Kiper Jr. and 82.7 percent in the Sweet 16 against five seed Curt Schilling. Second seed Mark May put up more of a fight in the Elite Eight, but Smith still picked up 69.7 per cent of the vote, and he then knocked off 11 seed Jemele Hill in the Final Four with 66.3 per cent of the vote. So, according to CollegeSpun’s voters, the only person in sports media anywhere close to as annoying as Smith appears to be Bayless. Good thing they have a show together, isn’t it?

Let them fidget! Squirming around helps children with ADHD focus

Children with ADHD are more likely to succeed in cognitive tasks when they are fidgeting. Rather than telling them to stop, is it time to let them squirm in class?

The results, from a small study of teens and pre-teens, add to growing evidence that movement may help children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder to think.

One of the theories about ADHD is that the brain is somehow under-aroused. Physical movements could help wake it up or maintain alertness, perhaps by stimulating the release of brain-signalling chemicals like dopamine or norepinephrine.

Fidget britches

In the latest study, Julie Schweitzer of the University of California, Davis, and her colleagues asked 44 children with ADHD and 29 kids without to describe an arrangement of arrows. The children with ADHD were more likely to focus on the task and answer correctly if the test coincided with them fidgeting, as tracked by an ankle monitor.

Intriguingly, Schwietzer found that it is the vigour of movements, rather than how often children make them, that seems to be related to improvements in test scores. This might mean, for example, that it helps children to swing their legs in longer arcs, but not to swing them faster.

“I think we need to consider that fidgeting is helpful,” says Schweitzer. “We need to find ways that children with ADHD can move without being disruptive to others.”

Dustin Sarver at the University of Mississippi, who recently found a link between fidgeting and improved working memory, agrees. “We should revisit the targets we want for these children, such as improving the work they complete and paying attention, rather than focusing on sitting still.” He suggests that movements that are not disruptive to other schoolchildren, such as squirming, bouncing and leg movements, as opposed to getting up in the middle of lessons, could be encouraged in classrooms.

Wakey wakey

“It might be interesting to think about developing treatments that work in the same way as physical activity, or perhaps think about combining exercise with medication to reduce the dose,” says Schweitzer. The ADHD drug Ritalin likely acts by having the same effect as physical movement, only more pronounced, Sarver says, serving to “wake up” the brain.

Not everyone is convinced. Of the study’s 44 children with ADHD, nearly half were girls, but in reality boys with ADHD outnumber girls with the condition by 3 to 1. “The sample of the study was small and somewhat unusual,” says James Swanson at the University of California, Irvine, who also notes that the effects detected, though significant, were subtle. “I am not sure this finding should be the basis for recommendations for the school or classroom setting,” he says.

Why Are Bitcoiners Going to Jail for Money Laundering While Big Banks Walk?

BitInstant CEO Charlie Shrem, along with alleged co-conspirator Robert Faiella, was arrested by federal authorities last week for allegedly laundering more than $1 million worth of Bitcoins. This is a tiny amount compared to the largest drug-and-terrorism money laundering case ever. Yet when British bank HSBC was found guilty in 2012 of laundering billions, the firm paid a fine of $1.9 billion. Authorities made no arrests, and HSBC still turned a $13.5 billion profit that year.

Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi detailed the crimes HSBC helped fund, including “tens of thousands of murders” and laundering money for Al Qaeda and Hezbollah. By contrast, Silk Road users have only been shown to have bought and sold drugs. (The six murders-for-hire commissioned by alleged former Silk Road head Ross Ulbricht were never carried out.) In fact, by moving transactions online, Silk Road likely decreased the violence associated with the drug trade.

Again, no individual associated with HSBC paid any money or spent a day in jail. Shrem is currently in custody. Why is there such a disparity? Clearly the size, scope, violence or effect of the crime can’t justify the discrepancy in response. The Justice Department explained it by saying that HSBC is, in essence, Too Big to Jail.

“Had the U.S. authorities decided to press criminal charges,” said Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer during the announcement of the HSBC settlement. “HSBC would almost certainly have lost its banking license in the U.S., the future of the institution would have been under threat and the entire banking system would have been destabilized.”

What are the moral and practical underpinnings of a law whose punishments are harshest for those who violate it least? The Justice Department is here admitting that the costs of fairly enforcing the money laundering laws as written — potentially shaking up a major bank — outweigh the benefits.

Charlie Shrem founded BitInstant, a service that let users quickly buy into Bitcoin, in his family’s garage with $10,000 of their money while still in college. He became a founding member of the Bitcoin Foundation and served as vice chairman of the board — a position he’s since stepped down from. But his startup was plagued by regulatory troubles from the start, fueled by a lack of clear regulation pertaining to Bitcoin. In a trailer for the Bitcoin documentary “The Rise and Rise of Bitcoin,” Shrem claims to spend “thousands of dollars on lawyers every day just to make sure that I’m not gonna go to jail.”

While Shrem operated in regulatory uncertainty, and didn’t know the charges against him on the day he was arrested, HSBC received 30 different formal warnings in just one brief stretch between 2005 and 2006. Even then, HSBC was openly flouting the rules. The bankers knew, for instance, that they were funneling money for people such as one of 20 early financiers of Al Qaeda, a member of what Osama bin Laden himself apparently called the “Golden Chain,” according to Taibbi. Another customer was powerful Syrian businessman Rami Makhlouf, a close confidant of the Assad family.

Some, including Taibbi, have called for equal jail time for all offenders. There is no doubt that the Justice Department is overstating the lasting, worldwide effect of justly applying money laundering laws. However, the drawbacks to enforcing laws against what’s estimated to make up a third of all transactions are very real. In this reality, it’s legitimate to ask whether laws against money laundering should be applied to anyone.

Money laundering is, simply, the process of concealing sources of money. While the standard image of money laundering involves murders, Mexican narco-gangs, and Al Qaeda, in reality there are many reasons that normal people would want to keep their transactions anonymous — which is a big reason why Bitcoin gained popularity with libertarians in the first place.

As J. Orlin Grabbe wrote, “Anyone who has studied the evolution of money-laundering statutes in the U.S. and elsewhere will realize that the ‘crime’ of money laundering boils down to a single, basic prohibited act: Doing something and not telling the government about it.” Criminalizing this means that by default government has the right to know the source of all of every citizen’s money. In some jurisdictions, money laundering can be just using financial systems or services that do not identify or track sources or destinations.

Writing in American Banker, Bitcoin advocate Jon Matonis explains that “from President Roosevelt’s 1933 seizure of personal gold to the Nazi confiscation of Jewish wealth to the recent deposit theft at Cyprus banks, asset plundering by governments has a long and colorful tradition. Protecting wealth from oppressive regimes continues to this day.”

In that piece, Matonis calls money laundering the thoughtcrime of finance, a sentiment that’s gained traction in libertarian circles. Hiding or failing to report where money comes from is, in and of itself, a victimless crime. The theory is that everyone owes it to the government to make enforcing laws against violent crime easier. But that’s not really accurate, as most of the laundered money is used in other crimes whose violence stems from their being illegal, such as gambling and the drug trade.

This reporting to the government comes at a significant cost, both in terms of resources and privacy.

The Economist has estimated the annual costs of anti-money laundering efforts in Europe and North America to be in the billions. Even its most legitimate function, trying to keep people from financing terror, has been deemed a costly failure by the magazine. Curiously enough, the Economist concedes that efforts to reduce identity theft and credit card fraud are most effective at combating money laundering.

Perhaps this cost could be justified if the information gathered through the reporting requirements was used to cut off funds to terrorists. But as the HSBC case shows, that’s not the case. After getting notice after notice about failing to properly report on its customers, HSBC simply hired former call center employees to “investigate” cases of money laundering to unsavory characters. And when one employee actually did, he was fired.

Besides costing billions, efforts to stamp out money laundering also erode privacy. Ensuring every transaction is above board forces banks to be cops through so-called “know your customer” laws. These laws essentially conscript private businesses “into agents of the surveillance state,”according to the American Civil Liberties Union. Bitcoin offers an interesting counterpoint: Even if accounts may be anonymous, transactions are all public, which is a level of transparency not seen in the fiat currency system.

So why does alleged Bitcoin laundering deserve jail time? On a pure cost-to-benefit basis, perhaps it makes sense to jail Shrem while giving HSBC executives a slap-on-the-wrist fine. Revoking the bank’s license would rock the entire financial system, while Shrem’s enterprise was already on hold at the time of his arrest.

However, laws which result in jail time for minor infractions while the worst offenders walk free deserve their own cost/benefit analysis. If money laundering laws are worth their cost to companies, to the government, and to privacy, surely they are worth applying fairly and evenly. If not, perhaps its time to rethink whether they make sense at all.

Wearing a mask at a riot is now a crime

A bill that bans the wearing of masks during a riot or unlawful assembly and carries a maximum 10-year prison sentence with a conviction of the offence became law today.

Bill C-309, a private member’s bill introduced by Conservative MP Blake Richards in 2011, passed third reading in the Senate on May 23 and was proclaimed law during a royal assent ceremony in the Senate this afternoon.

Richards, MP for Wild Rose, Alta., said the bill is meant to give police an added tool to prevent lawful protests from becoming violent riots, and that it will help police identify people who engage in vandalism or other illegal acts. The bill is something that police, municipal authorities and businesses hit hard by riots in Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal and other cities in recent years, were asking for, according to Richards.

“The provisions of my bill are effective immediately, which means police officers across Canada now have access to these tools to protect the public from masked rioters,” Richards said in a statement being released today.

The bill creates a new Criminal Code offence that makes it illegal to wear a mask or otherwise conceal your identity during a riot or unlawful assembly. Exceptions can be made if someone can prove they have a “lawful excuse” for covering their face such as religious or medical reasons.

The bill originally proposed a penalty of up to five years, but the House of Commons justice committee amended it and doubled the penalty to up to 10 years in prison for committing the offence.

Richards noted in his statement how rare it is for a private member’s bill to become law and said that its final passage is the culmination of two years of work and a lot of consultation with police and business owners.

Bill comes into force immediately upon royal assent

“We can all rest easier tonight knowing our communities have been made safer with its passage,” said Richards.

The bill didn’t have unanimous support, and was opposed by some who are concerned about its effect on freedom of expression and privacy. Critics said the measures are unnecessary because the Criminal Code already includes a section about wearing disguises while committing a crime.

Civil liberties advocates argued the measures could create a chilling effect on free speech and that peaceful protesters can unintentionally find themselves involved in an unlawful assembly. They also noted that there are legitimate reasons for wearing masks at protests; some may be worried about reprisals at work, for example, if sighted at a political protest.

“Any law that infringes upon civil liberties needs to be held to a test of absolute necessity, and I don’t think that test has been met in this instance,” said Michael Byers, a political scientist at the University of British Columbia and a board member of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, in an interview. Byers testified at the Commons justice committee that studied the bill.

Byers said freedom of expression was not properly factored into the design of the bill and that its measures could deter acts of political expression.

Richards argues that his bill will actually help protect the legitimate right to protest because it will help prevent illegitimate protesters from infiltrating a peaceful event and causing trouble. He also said police told him the existing Criminal Code provision about disguises is more geared toward armed robbery offences and is difficult to apply in protest situations.

In a recent interview, Richards said there is a lot of misunderstanding about his bill and that there will always be people who disagree with it.

He said he is proud to have identified a problem and created a solution. The bill becomes law when it receives royal assent.

Diablo 3 – How to start a Rift

if you right click on an image and click “open image in a new tab”, you can use that URL to link people directly to the image. Not only does it save people on bandwidth so they don’t have to load the whole imgur page, it works with RES so we can open it without leaving Reddit.

The more you know!!!

I ever get is people in public games running ahead, hitting all the goblins, and then not killing them as their not in T6 gear and trying to get carried.

I’ve heard the term but honestly I’ve never known what that meant. He had a bunch of random legendaries, 0 Rerolls in any of his gear, including his weapon. I tried to pm him to help him get his damage up, I’ve been maining WD since vanilla launch, he didn’t respond at all so we booted him. His sheet damage was Pre-ROS and his lack of communication made him even worst. I tried though

ive always assumed it meant zero dps, suggesting it’s a support class. Idk though, we were clearing the runs so fast we didn’t need the support situation. What good would he have done dropping his big bag voodoo when the elites at 10% already. If someone’s gonna play a support build, I’d suggest staying up front or keeping up at the least. He just fell too far behind the whole time and had to be chopped

Cannonball in mercury

It’s the only way for pure mercury to get into your system apart from directly injecting it in your blood, and that’s going to kill you from having metal injected into you, not actually from heavy metal poisoning.

you don’t have a vat of mercury in your house?! I thought that was common places now a days. Get with the times man!

I kind of winced when I saw him just drop it in there, with little droplets splashing everywhere. Watch out, guy!

Mercury and many of its chemical compounds, especially organomercury compounds, can also be readily absorbed through direct contact with bare, or in some cases (such as methylmercury) insufficiently protected, skin.

While less dangerous than other mercuric compounds, elemental mercury still produces noxious fumes, the inhalation of which produces the typical poisoning symptoms with repeated exposure.

This type of mercury isn’t very dangerous, you could even drink it and it wouldn’t have any great effect. Industrial mercury is the dangerous one.

I can’t understand what he’s saying. It sounds to me like he’s saying the mercury is short. It’s making me angry and I don’t know why.

a physics standpoint, this really isn’t very surprising – the iron cannonball is less dense than mercury. I mean, it’s actually a lot more unusual that a steel boat can float on water.

Archimedes’ Principle bruh. There’s really nothing fancy going on there. Just the weight of the submerged part of the boat is equal to the volume of the displaced water in order to maintain vertical equilibrium.

why would I even think there was a youtube video of a cannonball floating on the surface of mars? geez what a dumbass

aren’t mercury vapours extremely toxic? I may be wrong but growing up my dad always told me that it is extremely dangerous.

I was not okay with him just standing there next to a huge vat of mercury without a respirator, and then he just fucking kersplooshes the cannonball in getting mercury everywhere.