Sunday, August 21, 2016

Freedom of Agency

"For the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves. And inasmuch as men do good they shall in nowise lose their reward." D&C 58:28

"And it must needs be that the devil should tempt the children of men, or they could not be agents unto themselves; for if they never should have bitter they could not know the sweet." D&C 29:39

"And it is given unto them to know good from evil; wherefore they are agents unto themselves, and I have given unto you another law and commandment." Moses 6:56

"For the earth is full, and there is enough and to spare; yea, I prepared all things, and have given unto the children of men to be agents unto themselves." D&C 104:17

The scriptures say that we are agents unto ourselves, with the freedom to choose good or evil. The most grammatically and doctrinally accurate term to describe the privilege that we have is not "free agency" (ungrammatical and misleading to some people) nor "moral agency" (doctrinally incomplete, omits to mention what kind of moral agency we have) but rather "freedom of agency."

We are *free* agents. We have the privilege of choosing with whom to align ourselves, whether God, man, or the devil. And if we choose God, our Father, and follow in the footsteps of His Son and strive to keep all of his commandments out of love for Him, we shall inherit His kingdom and one day become like Him, through the Atonement of Christ. And anyone who does not admire God or love His law can choose to do something else, and He will regretfully allow it.

That is what freedom of agency is about.

~B.C.

--
If I esteem mankind to be in error, shall I bear them down? No. I will lift them up, and in their own way too, if I cannot persuade them my way is better; and I will not seek to compel any man to believe as I do, only by the force of reasoning, for truth will cut its own way.

"Thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart, and shalt cleave unto her and none else."

Friday, August 19, 2016

Book of Mormon hypothetical

If you were trying to pass the Book of Mormon off as a work of fiction by a 19th-century American fantasist, I would look at it and say, "Nice try. But your attempts to mimic contemporary 19th-century racial attitudes are too superfical and ham-handed to be believable. Sure, you have a superficial references to 'skin of blackness' as a curse, but then you slipped up--there is no discernible stigma against miscegenation with these supposedly 'loathsome' people. Amalickiah, Lamoni, and Amulon and all his followers all contemplate miscegenation with no qualms, and the purported narrator Mormon says not a word disparaging it. Your characters' racism is too shallow to be believably antebellum."

Also I would add, "Your attitudes toward monarchy are way too positive too. Your characters may object, but it's on purely pragmatic grounds, while speaking positively of the theoretical virtues of a good king. This is anachronistic for a book which was purportedly written in 1830, in New England no less, with memories of British misrule still vivid."

"It's an obvious fraud," I would say.

~Max Wilson, August 12, 2012


--
If I esteem mankind to be in error, shall I bear them down? No. I will lift them up, and in their own way too, if I cannot persuade them my way is better; and I will not seek to compel any man to believe as I do, only by the force of reasoning, for truth will cut its own way.

"Thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart, and shalt cleave unto her and none else."

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

A Chorus Line: The Sequel

A Chorus Line: The Sequel. Only it's so real.

Michael Blevins (who plays Mark): "I got to do a McDLT commercial and assistant choreographed 'How to Be a Man' (a kid TV show starring Capt. Kangaroo and Melba Moore). I'm being considered for a Broadway show, but in this business you can't really get excited about anything until it's signed on paper."

Yamil Borges (Morales): "It's very ironic. Here I am with my first major motion picture and I haven't worked since April."

Jan Gan Boyd (Connie): "After the film, I took more acting lessons and starred with Robert Ito and Paul Winfield in an hourlong after-school drama called 'War Between the Classes.' I'm up for three films but . . . you never know."

Cameron English (Paul): "I'm waiting for some meaningful part to come along. Meanwhile, my friend and I are developing a line of hand-painted greeting cards."

Tony Fields (Al): "After completing seven months of intense work filming 'Chorus Line,' I returned to L.A. and hit a severe 'post-partum psychosis,' so to speak. I spent the last year getting a good handle on my life. Now I'm ready for anything."

Nicole Fosse (Kristine): "I danced on Michael Blevins' 'How to Be a Man,' and . . . you know, a little of this and a little of that. Mostly I'm just taking it one step at a time."

Vicki Frederick (Sheila): "Just finished a film, 'Stewardess School.' But right now I'm being a mom for my daughter Amanda. There's nothing definite in the future."

Michelle Johnston (Bebe): "After the film, I assisted choreographer Jeffrey Hornaday on the Disney 3-D film 'Captain Eo,' starring Michael Jackson. I can't honestly say that dancing pays my rent because I live with my parents at Hermosa Beach."

Janet Jones (Judy): "I just finished filming 'American Anthem' with Olympic gold medalist Mitch Gaylord (she co-stars as his love interest). It was very strenuous. I'm taking a break, then a vacation. There are some things in the works but nothing definite."

Pam Klinger (Maggie): "After the shooting, I came to L.A. for a couple of months to try my luck. Now I'm back with the Broadway company doing Maggie again, but I'm still trying to get some film or TV work going in L.A."

Audrey Landers (Val): "My newest album, 'Paradise Generation,' went platinum overseas so I'm continuing with my European concert tours. My sister Judy and I are doing an album that I'm producing and my film 'Texas Heat' comes out next March."

Terrence Mann (Larry): "I went from 'Chorus Line' to 'Cats' to a space/horror film called 'Critters' to a space/roller-skate thing called 'Solar Babies.' I can't complain, because I'm an actor and I'm getting by on my acting."

Charles McGowan (Mike): "I've been looking at a couple of scripts. The best one is Tony Bill's project 'Five Corners.' If I get it, I'll play a villain. Meanwhile, I hope to do some commercials."

Alyson Reed (Cassie): "I did a Japanese commercial, took a long-overdue break, turned down some Broadway shows and refused two scripts. I'd love to work but I'm waiting for the right project."

Justin Ross (Greg): "I'm in the process of adapting my club act into an Off-Broadway piece. Meanwhile, I'm hoping for the best, taking my vitamins, have stopped smoking and am eating well."

Blane Savage (Don): "I appeared in a Toyota industrial film, toured with singer Lynda Carter's revue, am up for some pilots and will accept a good role if you have one for me. Call. . . ."

Matt West (Bobby): "I've been pondering my destiny while working on my house in Connecticut."

Gregg Burge (Richie): Unavailable for comment. He's in the new Broadway hit "Song and Dance."

So poignant. It's like they were actually playing themselves the whole time.

-B.C.

--
If I esteem mankind to be in error, shall I bear them down? No. I will lift them up, and in their own way too, if I cannot persuade them my way is better; and I will not seek to compel any man to believe as I do, only by the force of reasoning, for truth will cut its own way.

"Thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart, and shalt cleave unto her and none else."

Monday, August 8, 2016

Voting fraud

This seems like an important example:

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/438754/james-okeefe-voter-fraud-videos-prove-voter-ID-laws-needed

Dickerson, the anti-voter ID columnist for the Detroit Free Press, ignored the O'Keefe videos that showed the filmmaker being offered ballots. O'Keefe's investigation, Dickerson said, was nothing more than a "social-media circus." He concluded that "although [O'Keefe] and others have been advocating for tougher voter-I.D. laws for years on the grounds that fraud is rampant, none has identified a single instance in which a U.S. election turned on counterfeit votes." But there certainly are examples of elections being overturned for reasons of fraud, including mayoral elections in Miami and East Chicago, Ind.

We've also seen clear evidence of fraud in more important races. In 2008, illegal felon voters appear to have swung the outcome of the critical 2008 Minnesota Senate election. The day after the election, GOP senator Norm Coleman had a 725-vote lead, but a series of recounts over the next six months reversed that result and gave Democrat Al Franken a 312-vote victory. The outcome had a significant impact because it gave Democrats the critical 60th Senate vote they needed to block GOP filibusters. Franken's vote proved crucial in the passage of Obamacare in the Senate.

After Franken was sworn in, a conservative group called Minnesota Majority looked into claims of voter fraud. Comparing criminal records with voting rolls, the group identified 1,099 felons — all ineligible to vote — who had voted in the Franken–Coleman race. Prosecutors were ultimately able to convict only those who were dumb enough to admit they had knowingly broken the law, but that added up to 177 fraudulent voters. Nine out of ten suspect felon voters contacted by a Minneapolis TV station said they had voted for Franken. Minnesota Majority also found all sorts of other irregularities that cast further doubt on the Al Franken victory results. It's noteworthy that evidence of fraud and irregularities in Minnesota had to be gathered by a private group. The fact is that prosecutions for voter fraud are rare in part because the crime is so hard to catch, the level of proof required is high, the priority in filing such cases is low, and district attorneys are reluctant to pursue cases that will anger half of the ruling political class.

-Max

--
If I esteem mankind to be in error, shall I bear them down? No. I will lift them up, and in their own way too, if I cannot persuade them my way is better; and I will not seek to compel any man to believe as I do, only by the force of reasoning, for truth will cut its own way.

"Thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart, and shalt cleave unto her and none else."

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

5E rule variant: heavy obscurement

Heavy obscurement is so beneficial and so easy to acquire that I've decided to change the rules for it, so that being unseen or hidden does [I]not[/I] give you advantage on ranged attacks (but does enable sneak attack). It still gives advantage as usual on any melee attack (irrespective of weapon reach).

This does several things:

(1) Eliminates the worst abuse of Minor Illusion/Darkness/Fog Cloud/mundane camouflage. Under the vanilla rule, spells like Fog Cloud are disproportionately powerful compared to other spells which grant advantage (Faerie Fire) but allow a saving throw first.

(2) Eliminates the single most annoying thing about binary advantage (that heavy obscurement alone cancels out any number of disadvantage conditions like long range + prone + restrained + frightened, etc.).

(3) Makes more sense, physically. A failed melee attack can represent a successful parry, but a ranged attack cannot generally be parried--a failed attack just represents a miss. Missing on a ranged attack is easier than missing on a melee attack, because melee attacks can be redirected in-flight. Thus, it makes sense that being unseen helps melee attacks but not ranged attacks. Under this rule, camouflage will still help you defensively, but the fact that your foe doesn't know where exactly you are hiding in that bush won't somehow make you better at shooting him.

(4) Gives more of a niche for melee in the game, especially for night-fighting, because when it's dark melee attacks are resolved normally (if neither side has darkvision) but ranged attacks are at disadvantage.

-Max

--
If I esteem mankind to be in error, shall I bear them down? No. I will lift them up, and in their own way too, if I cannot persuade them my way is better; and I will not seek to compel any man to believe as I do, only by the force of reasoning, for truth will cut its own way.

I could not love thee, dear, so much,
Loved I not Honor more.