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Everything posted by lagarthaaz

  1. Reading your post made me feel woozy - I had vertigo once for about three days and it was the worst so I can empathize! I was hoping to read how others have coped with it as a sister from my ward suffers with it regularly but her doctors don't seem to have figured out a cause. She is often so out of kilter that it's too dangerous for her to walk or stay at home on her own because she can't even fetch a glass of water or prepare food. Family members have to come and stay with her until the episode passes. I would love to know how to help her!
  2. Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas now mine is past and yours is just beginning! :)
  3. For the first time in decades, I decided to try a laid back Aussie Christmas dinner. Usually I spend half the day cooking and baking and carrying on, but this time we fired up the barbecue and made hamburgers served on rolls with salad and beetroot. It was great! Not sure I'll do it again though, I realized I kind of like the traditional trimmings :)
  4. No, of course we aren't teaching our children that sexual violence is acceptable - I don't, and I'm sure no-one else on this board does either. While I empathize with anyone who has been a victim of sexual abuse and can see how the quote above might make you feel, I do not believe that President Kimball would have ever intended his words to be interpreted as blaming a victim for the sins of their attacker. The key part of the quote for me is this: "There is no condemnation when there is no voluntary participation.". Having read many of his talks and listened to him in various conferences, I know that President Kimball greatly valued and loved women in the church and he had compassion for the struggles that many women face. Yes, some of his comments were reflective of his time (and therefore may seem old-fashioned today), but I do not for one minute believe he would have ever condemned a victim of sexual abuse. As a convert when Pres. Kimball was prophet of the church, I recall reading the "Miracle of Forgiveness" and took from it a powerful message of Christ's atonement and forgiveness for each of us. I too was abused as a child, and did not take from the book that I was somehow unworthy because of what happened to me, I just thought the message was beautiful in that each of us can become clean and pure through Christ's atonement, no matter what we have done. What's most important to remember about the issue of sexual abuse, is that the church today most definitely does not blame victims of abuse or assault. The church website states:"Victims of abuse should be assured that they are not to blame for the harmful behavior of others. They do not need to feel guilt. If they have been a victim of rape or other sexual abuse, whether they have been abused by an acquaintance, a stranger, or even a family member, victims of sexual abuse are not guilty of sexual sin." Elder Richard G. Scott reinforced this: "I solemnly testify that when another’s acts of violence, perversion, or incest hurt you terribly, against your will, you are not responsible and you must not feel guilty."
  5. I'm the same, I don't like going to the temple much either. I'm not comfortable with large groups of people, or with repeated ritual, and all the hustle and bustle moving around from one thing to the other leaves me feeling bothered every single time I go. I've tried to like the experience, but really, if I'm honest, I just don't.
  6. Well, in Australia that's who you would see most of working at soup kitchens - the Lefties are the bleeding hearts, the ones who will get involved in causes for the underdog. My son-in-law is an atheist and he wouldn't lift a finger to help anyone down and out - but that doesn't mean we can tar all atheists with the same brush. I know plenty of caring and compassionate atheists, particularly those who work in the science industry. If we don't like being negatively stereotyped and labeled, we should try and avoid doing it to others. even those 'Lefties'.
  7. Teachers’ hefty salaries are driving up taxes, and they only work nine or ten months a year! And with the focus on getting the budget back into surplus, I thought it’s time we put things in perspective and pay them for what they do — babysit! Let’s be honest, parents can get that for less than minimum wage. But I guess they do have some kind of qualification, so we really can’t offer less than the minimum. That’s right. Let’s give them AU$16.37 an hour and only the hours they worked; not any of that silly planning time, or any time they spend before or after school. That would be AU$65.48 a day (9-3 but I’ve taken an hour off for lunch, 15mins for recess and another 45mins for the odd free period they might get – let’s just call their working day 4hrs.) So each parent should pay $65.48 a day for these teachers to baby-sit their children (My 3yo’s daycare is about AU$90 per day… so pretty good value!). Now how many students do they teach in a day…maybe 30? But I’m not counting those kids who just sit there and do what they’re told… seriously monkeys could do that… so let’s just say only about about 15 or so kids really need ‘looking after’. So that’s AU$65.48 x 15(kids) = AU$982.20 a day. I’m sure we can work it out so the costs are spread evenly across parents. Sounds like a lot, but don’t worry… these bludgers only work 40 weeks a year! I ain’t paying for them to go on their luxury yachting holidays I can tell you that! And just to be on the safe side, we’ll knock off another week or two to cover public holidays and sick days… sod it… I’m taking off another month! So rounding it down to 36 weeks, these jokers are only working 180 days a year! Let’s see if my primary school math teacher did anything right… That’s AU$982.20 X 180= $176,796 per year. Erm… hang on… what’s happened here? A classroom teacher of 8 years experience at the top of the scale earns around 90 grand. AU$90,000/180 days =AU $500 per day ÷ 30 students = $16.67 (just over minimum wage) ÷ 4 (working) hours = AU$4.17 per hour per student (and that’s before tax!) — a very inexpensive baby-sitter and they even EDUCATE your kids!) WHAT A DEAL!!!!
  8. But aren't high school teachers expected to be specialists in their subject areas?
  9. Same here - I get in trouble from both sides, so maybe we are more libertarian than anything. One example - I remember at university getting into heated arguments over the topic of abortion (pardon me, I am supposed to say 'termination of pregnancy'). The same people who were in favor of elective abortion would drive around with pro-animal rights stickers on their cars saying "Meat is Murder". Hello - killing a human fetus is ok, but killing a cow isn't? Having said that, I also agree with the church's compassionate stance on abortion in 'rare cases'. This gets me in trouble with friends who are both pro-choice and anti-abortion... can't win either way
  10. Vort, I appreciate your articulate response to my limited understanding of the concept of "rights" as its been discussed in this thread. After reading your comments I did some reading on the origin of the Declaration of Independence, which took me on a trip through the the Age of Enlightenment, and the concept of 'natural rights' espoused by Locke and other Enlightenment thinkers. That's all helped me understand what you were trying to explain about the difference between natural rights and government protected rights. I also read up on what other posters said about the 'unalienable/inalienable' rights referred to as well. So, bearing all that in mind, when I say that 'healthcare is a basic human right' as outlined by international agreements that a country may be signatory to, I am not referring to 'natural' human rights, but to social rights decided on by citizens that the government is then obligated to protect. Does that make sense or am I still not getting it? Having lived in a society for most of my life where services like healthcare and education are taken for granted and always referred to as a 'basic human right', my ideas have very much been entrenched in this understanding. Australia, like the USA, is signatory to various international agreements on human rights, and citizens' rights are further protected by federal and state laws. And yet, for a country with cultural sense of entitlement to 'rights', we don't even have the concept enshrined in our Constitution (and we don't have a Bill of Rights). Rather, rights for individuals may be necessarily implied by the language and structure of the Constitution. That's where I've been coming from, hopefully it gives some perspective about how we've been viewing the concept of 'rights' in very different contexts. There is a difference between a government protecting rights, a government defining responsibilities, and a government doing its duties. Rights have to do with allowable actions, exercise of conscience, and human interaction, never about possessions. In no case is health care a human right to be protected, any more than education is a "right" or property is a "right". We have a right to possess such things, but you have no right to demand that I give you such things. Yes, I understand that. A simple and pretty good way to test if something is a "right" is to ask: "Can I reasonably demand my neighbor to supply me with this?" If the answer is "yes", then the thing under consideration might be a right. If the answer is "no", then it is not a right. Examples: In general, can I reasonably demand that my neighbor give me: My exercise of religion, without interference? Yes.An automobile? No.The freedom to speak my mind about politics, even if he doesn't like them? Yes.Health care insurance? NoSo exercise of religion and freedom of political speech are true rights; cars and health insurance are not. If the UN doesn't understand that, that just goes to show that we should not take our legislative understanding from the UN. One question here - do you know if the idea of universal 'natural rights' as determined by Enlightenment thinkers and then enshrined in the Declaration of Independence - are considered to be culturally variable - or, do they only subscribe to a European construct of 'true rights'? [Edited to add - never mind, I just read this site and read that the issue was not clear cut even in the 17th century!) Maybe you can add to this? A government has a few primary responsibilities. Foremost among those is defending the rights of its citizens. What other things a government takes responsibility for is up to those who establish the government. In the case of US and western democracies, that means it's up to the people, since it is the people who establish the government. But people must then be wise about what they demand of their government, because government is a huge and immensely powerful tool. It is a genie that, once out of the bottle, won't go back. Americans have traditionally understood this, and many Americans have thus argued forcefully for a very limited government. Thus we have the apocryphal quote, supposedly from Thomas Jefferson, "That government is best which governs least." If the people get together and decide they want their government to tax people and use the money to pave roads, then that becomes a duty of that government. But "paved roads" do not magically become a human right. There is no human right to paved roads, any more than there is a human right to automobiles or health care. Similarly, people might decide they want their government to tax everyone and use the proceeds to fund public health care. If they so decide and legislate -- and that is a foolish choice, in my estimation -- then that becomes a duty of the government. But never confuse that with a right. it is no right. A good, righteous government might very well do away with publicly funded health care, publicly funded child support, publicly funded education, publicly funded welfare payments -- heck, even publicly funded roads. But by definition, a good, righteous government can never do away with defending the rights of its citizens. Thanks for the insights!
  11. Erm, no,it wasn't me who said that. Our system doesn't even work that way. And I'm a she, not a he.
  12. What prestige? What pedestal? Oh, you mean in discussions like this one? I typed a lengthy response to many of the things you have said, but your comments about teachers are so unpalatable that I don't even want to engage. It is good to know that someone with a whole ONE year of experience as a substitute teacher can tell the rest of the profession about what "really" goes on in schools.
  13. Well, actually it does matter - how can an idea you are arguing for be 'irrefutable' if you can't even provide evidence for where it came from? Just for fun... see here for an example of why Einstein probably never said half the things that have been 'attributed' to him.
  14. Something to think about... we pay teachers waaaay too much. (An Australian perspective and response to an American argument online.) Forbes has this to say about supposed teacher salaries - the reader comments are reflective of the reality of teacher workload, pay and conditions. As for comparing engineer and teacher salaries - I think all you engineers should move over here as engineers enjoy very good pay here. Graduate engineers in Australia start out quite well and after five years they are earning more than teachers at the highest level of experience (which peaks at 12 years service), and in fact after five years they are earning as much, if not more than most principals. "Annual starting salaries for graduate [engineers] start at $63,000 with some earning up to $80,000. That figure can grow to more than $150,000 after five years." Most of the people I know who are engineers in the prime of their careers, are living very comfortably while enjoying lucrative salaries. My friend's husband is earning $200,000+ working for Australian Rail, and receives bonuses and incentives for getting projects completed within certain time frames and so on. IF he works overtime on a project, he gets paid OVERTIME. This is never more evident to my friend when he's working on the weekend from home, and so is she... but he is getting paid for it. In contrast, graduate teachers start on around $56,000 to $61,000 (depending on the state they live in and if they have a four year degree). This will peak at around $92,000 after 12 years of service. Most principals are barely reaching $150,000, most with a good 20+ years in the profession. Private schools pay a lot more, and I have heard of principals of large and prestigious schools in the private sector being paid $200,000+ (this however is not the norm for most principals in Australia). From where I'm sitting, engineers are doing way better when it comes to salaries and conditions than teachers ever have - in this country at least. I always thought it was the same in the USA.
  15. I'm in the same boat - I appreciate the time it takes to write a response and will also get back here tomorrow when I have some time to read and respond properly to what you have written.
  16. I'm curious where this "inalienable right" came from, lagarthaaz? Where did the term 'inalienable right' come from? It came from minds more analytical and articulate than I can ever hope to be. In this modern world it comes from the UN Declaration of Human Rights. According to Cornell University,human rights are defined as "inalienable rights of all members of the human family...Thus, human rights are, in principle, applicable to every person, regardless of their nationality." Did it come from God? Not specifically as it's stated in the sources above, but I believe both the Bible and the BoM make it clear that human beings were created in the image of God and are of infinite worth. The Savior's life and example was centered around upholding with compassion the dignity of all human beings, of service to others, of valuing the poor and oppressed, no matter if they were lepers, children, widows, tax collectors or prostitutes. He taught us to care for the downtrodden. Every single one is deserving of God's love. If we are all inherently valuable to the Savior, then I don't find it a leap to support a document that promotes the 'inalienable rights of all members of the human family'. And if it didn't, can you explain how it can be "inalienable"? I mean if we acquired that right from men then it certainly can't be described as inalienable, can it? What men have the right to bestow, they also have the right to take away. The UN Declaration describes human rights as 'inalienable' - whether men can take those rights away or not is hardly the point. What matters is that the ideal is at least promoted and that nations, in principle, agree that people's rights should be protected. The fact of the matter is, there is NO SUCH THING as an inalienable right to the basic necessities of life. Otherwise you must argue that you have the RIGHT to force someone to supply you with whatever it is you believe you're entitled to; that you have the RIGHT to forcibly conscript someone to do your bidding. I couldn't disagree more. As a civilized society, and more importantly as people who have been enlightened by the Christlike attribute of charity, we should protect the basic rights of every individual to at the very least, food, shelter, education and healthcare.In turn, we too should expect to be taken care of should we become vulnerable at some point in our lives. How any member of the Church can believe that they have a God-given right to the capitol or labor of another person is beyond me. Aside: That's just really rude - don't speak to me as if you know anything about my church membership or that I'm somehow not a good enough member if I don't have the same views as you do. Back on topic: Do you have children who attend public schools? If so, then you must believe you have the right to the capitol and labor of every taxpayer whose money goes into paying for your children's education. Shame on you then, for thinking you have that right - right? What would you do if the government decided that from now on, all elementary and high-school education should be paid for because after all, they decide, 'education' is not a right. Anyone who insists that education is a right must be relying on some esoteric perspective that is not grounded in human logic or spiritual understanding.
  17. I am going to have to learn how to do the part-quote thing here... sorry for the weird quote to start the post. I'll just have to put your comments in italics for now. "Right" means nothing in the sense of access to vital services. Thank you for sharing your definition of what "Right" means. I come from a society where vital services are most definitely considered "rights", so obviously that has shaped my understanding. Look at the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed Rights are liberties granted by God (or, if you prefer, natural, as opposed to something granted by the fiat of a king). The duty of any government is to protect such natural rights. So, for example: You have a right to speak your mind, politically. The duty of the government is to insure that you can exercise that right, and that your neighbor doesn't shut you up because he doesn't like your politics.You have a right to religious expression. The government's duty is to protect your right to believe and worship as you choose, without the interference of others.You have the right to own property. Your property may not be seized by others without due process that establishes that you do not actually own the property, or that you have forfeited that ownership for some legitimate reason.Well, yes, that all seems logical. No problem there. It is not the government's duty to procure you some health care, any more than it's the government's duty to feed you. How can it not be the government's duty to provide health care, food and shelter for people who cannot afford such things? Surely, as a signatory to various international agreements, the government is obligated to uphold certain principles underpinned by the UN Declaration of Human Rights? If I pay taxes, and I uphold the democratic (and in some cases socialistic) principles of my government which states that every person in the country has the right to access certain basic necessities - then it IS the government's responsibility to provide for it's citizens in this way. Quality of life also depends on having friends. Do you suppose this means that the government is required to make friends for you? Perhaps I should have specified that what I meant by quality of life, was related directly to basic healthcare issues such as infant mortality, etc. And yes, the government SHOULD be required by voters and taxpayers to uphold the basic rights of citizens as per its national and international agreements to uphold those rights. "Freedom" means that we get to choose our own path. "Freedom" does not mean that we somehow get to choose the consequences of our free choices, or that the government exists to take care of us. That is what children need, not adults. The government exists to protect our rights, not to take other people's goods and give them to us. To some extent I agree with you, but if as a society we agree to our taxes being used to help the most vulnerable, we form a safety net whereby we too can benefit should we some day become one of those vulnerable people. This isn't a 'taking' as it is a kind of reciprocal contribution to ensure that no person ever becomes completely destitute without access to food, shelter, basic education and healthcare. No, it does not. There is no such "right".Publicly funded health care may, or may not, be chosen by a society as a desirable thing. It may, or may not, work well. But it is in no way a right. Not in the sense that you originally defined "right" as, but surely it is a right if it is set down in government legislation or international agreement? I think of the wording contained in the Geneva Conventions or the UN Convention Against Torture which use terms such as "the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family...Recognizing that those rights derive from the inherent dignity of the human person...which provide that no one may be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment,". This wording makes it clear that simply by virtue of our humanity alone, we are entitled to certain rights, and carries over to other documents that most civilized countries are signatories to with regard to the basic rights of human beings to food, shelter, education, healthcare, etc. Signatories to international agreements on human rights do imply that our governments agree with the wording on the documents they signed, so I'm not sure how we can say that 'no such rights' to healthcare and other basic human rights do not exist.
  18. Eowyn, I'm sorry that you have been mourning the loss of your dad - it seems that the way we deal with 'death anniversaries' is as varied as the relationships we have experienced with loved ones. Some of the ways I have dealt with the passing of loved ones.... When my brother passed, I couldn't even do something like eat a slice of pizza without thinking about how he could no longer savor everyday enjoyments. He died from suicide so obviously was deeply unhappy and desperate at the time he passed and it was hard to remember him in a happy way, knowing how he struggled for most of his life. He did love dogs though, and each year I place a ceramic dog on his grave marker just to keep him company, in a symbolic way. I hope he is somehow aware of that in the spirit world and knows he was cared for and is not forgotten. When we lost my mother-in-law, we knew that during her 41 years as a first grade teacher in California, she was passionate about reading to children. She spent her short retirement volunteering to teach adults to read at the local library (it was called "Pasadena Reads" back then, but has morphed into something bigger in the past 10 years). At her funeral we asked for donations to the adult literacy program, rather than flowers, because that is exactly what she would have loved. We also bought a plaque under a reading bench in her honour at Descanso Gardens, a place she loved to take her first graders on excursions so they could sit and read,draw and write about nature. We don't do anything in particular on the anniversary of her death, rather we support reading programs and donate books to schools and children in need. One day we will take our youngest daughters back to California to sit at their grandma's reading bench and see first-hand the beautiful way she encouraged children to develop a love of reading. So, if we aren't sure what to do on 'death anniversaries', there are other ways to acknowledge and honor our loved ones who have passed. Having lived in a predominantly pacific islander ward for over a decade, I've been privileged to participate with friends in mourning ceremonies and learn how they deal with the passing of loved ones. It is so different to what we traditionally do in western culture, which is to get it all over and with as quickly as possible, and their 'death anniversaries' are a BIG deal. When someone dies in the various pacific island cultures, the body stays in a home for up to a week, as relatives and friends bring food, gifts and money to share, sing favorite songs, talk, laugh, reminisce and cry together. Death is an event that brings the family together and even very young children are encouraged to visit the deceased loved one as they 'lay in state'. Some of my Primary children come to church with big eyes as they describe their first experience of being in the house with a deceased relative, but they seem to adapt to it quickly. Then comes the funeral and a year later a 'tombstone unveiling' where everyone attends the cemetery and they unveil a beautiful tombstone that all of the family have contributed to. The grave is regularly visited during the year as relatives go to visit with heir loved one. I know I've certainly learned a lot about dealing with death in a more natural way since attending a number of pacific islander ceremonies, but it's still a hard thing to deal with, no matter what culture we come from.
  19. I've had the same experience. What I think might also be happening is a reflection of the number of 'Sunday Mormons' we have in the church - people who are going through the motions and who have been looking for a chance to get out from under the church's thumb for years. I know a whole lot of "fake faithful" people like this and really do fear that "all is NOT well in Zion". The reaction of some to recent policy changes has simply provided them with a final reason to feel outraged and leave the church.
  20. How do you figure? ALL of us who vote have limited choices in who we want to run the country - sometimes the party we elect is the 'lesser of two evils'. A party can have great economic policies but support the legalization of late-term abortion on demand, or any number of combinations that may be conflicting with one's fundamental religious views. Even worse would be to vote for a bumbling fool as leader of the country, just because he goes to church on Sundays and appears to have 'wholesome values'.
  21. I didn't say that health care was free, I said I didn't see a problem with it being 'free'. Of course public health care is being paid for through taxes - in my case it's around 2% of my gross income each year, paid during the tax season. My husband used far more than that contribution during several hospitalizations and surgeries just in the past two years. The system isn't perfect, but it works quite well considering the demand placed on it. What do you think the word "right" means in the sense of access to vital services? For me it means having an inalienable right to the basic necessities of life. Health care to me is as basic a right as food and shelter - quality of life depends on having access to it. There exists no such right, either in the US or anyplace else in the world. While countries such as the US are not legally bound by the UN Declaration of Human Rights, doesn't the fact that the US is a signatory to various international agreements imply a right to healthcare, especially for vulnerable members of society such as the disabled, expectant mothers and children? (Convention of the Child, Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, etc).
  22. Well of course someone is paying for it - government is supported by taxes. Taxes provide us with necessary services. I count health care as a necessary service - and I don't mind paying taxes to ensure that all citizens can access the care they need if they can't afford health insurance.