There are 77 countries that criminalize homophobia, according to the United Nations; seven of those implement the death penalty. Russia has recently been in the spotlight for its anti-gay laws, and Uganda’s anti-gay bill has been widely covered, as has the fact that American evangelical activism was an influence in the decision to harshly punish gay Ugandans. A proposed anti-gay law in Arizona was struck down by Gov. Jan Brewer in February, but a previous discriminatory bill that targeted undocumented immigrants cost the state $140 million in revenue.
Ethiopia is another nation where homosexuality is a crime, often with devastating consequences. Today in The Boston Globe, Maria Sacchetti wrote about a 19-year-old Ethiopian man who is facing deportation in Boston after losing his student visa, but who maintains that his life would be put in jeopardy if sent back home. The State Department said that gays in Ethiopia face jail time, abuse and interrogation.
Sales of Fairtrade products have increased by 18% in Ireland, despite the recession, according to Dunstan Burke, financial controller of Fairtrade Ireland who spoke recently at Athlone Institute of Technology (AIT).
Mr Burke added that Irish consumers continue to support Fairtrade despite the economic downturn experienced since 2008. Ethically produced and sourced goods of a consistent quality, as diverse as cotton, coffee, fruit, nuts, pulses and handcrafts, are very much in demand, he said.
The Fairtrade concept evolved from the fact that producers of primary products in developing countries were not receiving an economically viable price for their produce. Fairtrade certification ensures that producers and cooperatives across the developing world get prices that will ensure feasibility, in addition to a social premium that is used to fund health, education and community development projects.
Burke was accompanied by Alex Flores, manager of ACOPETA, cashew nut producers cooperative, located in southern El Salvador. Senor Flores detailed the huge difference that a Fairtrade base price and social premium has made to the community of fifty-five members. Children who previously worked on the cashew plantations can now attend school regularly thanks to the regular income provided to families through Fairtrade Certification.
Each year, as part of Fairtrade fortnight, Fairtrade Ireland sponsor two representatives from beneficiary communities to share their experiences throughout Ireland in educational institutions and other spaces.
AIT (Athlone Institute of Technology) has been involved in the Fairtrade movement since 2005. As part of the Fairtrade towns initiative in 2005, it was nominated as the flagship organisation in Athlone to promote the Fairtrade ideal. In 2009 the institute worked closely with the Dioceses of Ardagh and Clonmacnoise recognised as Ireland’s first Fairtrade dioceses.
Right Wing Watch points out that Fundamentalist “Christian Historian” John Benefiel insists our problems all started when ancient Egyptians came here and dedicated this land to Baal.
So we are to believe that God is punishing us because someone came here in the past and dedicated this land to a false god? So why exactly would God punish people for this when they had nothing to do with it? Why would it give Satan the right to destroy the “Christian nation” of America? At least when the religious right, blames the gays, feminists, abortionists, and secularists, for America’s problems, they’re usually blaming our problems on what people are doing now.
Also the evidence he sites for the Egyptians coming here in the first place, is rather underwhelming. I have to ask, if the Egyptians came here, why didn’t they conquer the natives and build pyramids in America? At the very least, If they hadn’t intended to colonize this land, why haven’t we found any evidence that they traded with the native Americans? Also why dedicate this land to one of their Gods if they hadn’t intended to colonize it? Why is it that I ought to take their “spiritual archeology” seriously?
Also if the Egyptians were going to dedicate this land to one of their gods, why Baal? Baal was one of the many Canaanite gods. He was not from Egypt, at least not originally. He was an import. Like Benefiel, I’m not a historian, but unlike him, I don’t claim to be. However, based on what I know, I don’t think Baal was ever the most popular god overall in ancient Egyptian. If the polytheistic Egyptians actually had come to America, prior to Columbus, wouldn’t they have been more likely to have dedicated this land to one of the gods that we normally think of when we think of ancient Egypt? Say the supreme god in the traditional Egyptian pantheon, Amun-Re?
I’m guessing Benefiel only said Baal because, he’s is mentioned in the Bible and often associated with evil nowadays. Most people today don’t think of the well known ancient Egyptian gods like Amun-Re as evil.
Off course Benefiel would probably tell you that all other gods besides the god of the Bible are really demons anyway.
They’re still clearing away the debris along Park Avenue in Harlem. A natural gas explosion already has taken six lives officially, and there likely will be more victims to be found. People said they saw pianos flying through the air. And then, of course, there’s this:
Less than two weeks before two East Harlem buildings exploded leaving at least six dead, Consolidated Edison workers checked the 127-year-old gas main in front of the site and found no apparent leaks, according to a ConEd spokesman.
A 127-year old pipe.
This might have been a bridge in Indiana, or a levee in Mississippi, or a potholed highway on the Kansas plains. Instead, it was a cast-iron pipe that was laid down in the first Cleveland administration. The country is falling apart. Everybody knows it. (Yesterday, on my usual morning walk along the Charles, I crossed a footbridge over the river and stepped over what appeared to be a fault line in the middle of the span. You could see the geese swimming by below. And the Commonwealth — God save it! — is one of the states that takes this sort of seriously.) In 1984, when he ran for president, Gary Hart, American Cassandra that he is, warned the country about its crumbling infrastructure. He pounded the theme so relentlessly that people mocked him for it. But he was right, and the problem is worse now than it was.
The country needs some combination of the WPA and the space program to put itself back together again. Real unemployment is stubbornly in the low double digits. Meanwhile, bridges fall into rivers, and sinkholes devour houses, and 127-year old gas pipes explode and kill people. And yet we’re too lazy, or too goddamn cheap, to tax ourselves to rebuild what everybody with eyes knows needs to be rebuilt. In 2011, the president proposed a $60 billion infrastructure bill as part of a hobs package. It died in the Senate. He beat the drum for an “infrastructure bank.” The Republicans in the House voted 50 times to repeal his health-care law. This is what John Boehner, that fop, said about the idea.
Republicans responded by saying they also wanted to upgrade American roads, bridges and other infrastructure, but only if it could be paid for. Speaker John A. Boehner’s office distributed comments he made last month after Mr. Obama’s State of the Union address. “It’s easy to go out there and be Santa Claus and talk about all the things you want to give away,” Mr. Boehner said. “But at some point, somebody has to pay the bill.”
Go to Harlem today, Mr. Speaker. The bill is being paid in blood.
video at link
After watching Aasif Mandvi’s segment on Thursday’s “Daily Show,” two things are clear: 1) America has the greatest healthcare system in the world (if 37th place is considered the greatest), and 2) some people shouldn’t do interviews with “Daily Show” correspondents.
Case in point, “Fox Business” commentator and NYSE Euronext Managing Director Todd Wilemon has a couple of jaw-dropping moments in this interview about “third world” healthcare conditions in Knoxville, Tennessee, not the least of which is his statement right at the end: “If you’re poor, stop being poor.”
In the audio, posted online by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), Boykin accuses President Obama of using “subliminal messages” to promote the agenda of al-Qaeda.
“If you understand anything about Islam, there are subliminal messages,” Boykin says in the audio. “His message, really, I believe was, ‘I understand you, and I support you.’”
Boykin was then approached by Henry Schwartz, a reporter for Israeli National News, according to the SPLC, who asked the retired general for an interview. Boykin responded by sharing his opinion of Jews, saying in a kind of joking manner, “The Jews are the problem. The Jews are the cause of all the problems in the world.”
Boykin is known for making outspoken and offensive comments, particularly about Muslims, once claiming that Islam should not be protected by First Amendment rights. Most recently he came into the spotlight for predicting a gun-toting Jesus’ resurrection, complete with white horse and blood-stained robe.
Bachmann recently “retired” from Congress, but in reality she quit because the criminal investigations were closing in on her. This is the first time Marcus Bachmann has been named in reports as part of an investigation. The shenanigans of her failed presidential campaign are what the Department of Justice is looking into, and they are also the subject of investigations in Iowa, an FBI investigation, and a House Ethics Committee investigation.
The Iowa and FBI investigations involve under the table payments that her campaign made to state Sen. Kent Sorenson in exchange for his support and help in the 2012 Iowa caucuses. The House Ethics Committee is investigating Bachmann’s potential misuse of staff and campaign finances to promote her poorly selling biography Core of Conviction. Irony Alert! Looks like she might have jumped the gun on that book.
The DOJ investigation stems from information obtained in the FBI investigation that appears to show the Bachmann’s violating at least 11 election laws by coordinating their campaign with a super PAC.
Later this month, the highest court in the United States will hear two religious challenges to Obamacare’s contraceptive coverage requirement. The owners of two for-profit companies, Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties, are arguing that they should be exempt from providing this type of coverage to their female employees because they have religious objections to birth control.
The Supreme Court is taking up the highly-anticipated case on March 25, and the dispute largely centers on a few basic facts about birth control that Obamacare opponents are misrepresenting. Here’s what you should keep in mind as this debate heats up over the next several weeks:
1. Emergency contraception is not the same thing as abortion.
At the heart of the religious objection to contraceptive coverage is the incorrect assertion that Obamacare covers “abortion-inducing drugs.” Abortion opponents believe that life begins at fertilization, and claim that some types of birth control — specifically, the “morning after pill,” or emergency contraception — work by destroying a fertilized egg. But major medical groups actually define life as beginning at implantation, when a fertilized egg attaches to the uterine lining. This is the legal definition of pregnancy that has been accepted for decades. Scientists agree that contraceptive methods prevent pregnancy by interfering with ovulation, fertilization, or implantation.
There are many good questions that can be asked about Apple. We’re not going to look at any of those today, though.
Forbes contributor Lois Geller asks, “Why Doesn’t Apple Have A Real Loyalty Program?” (No link but tip o’ the antlers to @JonyIveParody.)
Yeah, like a punch card! Buy ten Macs and get the eleventh Mac free. (Mac must be of equal or lesser value. One per customer. Void where prohibited by law.)
For many years the hallmark of a well maintained home was the golf course green trimming of the yard and paved walkways surrounded by meticulously trimmed bushes in geometric patterns. Flowers and plants were selected based on carefully conceived color coordination with garden furniture and it seemed that the goal was to make the lawn look as artificial as possible.
This look was carefully crafted with liberal use of lawn chemicals and a small fleet of gas and electric mowers, trimmers, cutters, and dethatchers. Flowers are forced to bloom in precise order by use of specialized fertilizers and annuls were planted and then plucked to be replaced with the next in the planned series.
The cost of this style of lawn maintenance goes far beyond the dollars spent on potted plants, chemicals, and fertilizers. Each of these chemicals leach into the ground water, each machine used to craft this show pollutes the air with noise and burns fossil fuels through inadequately refined engines (lawnmowers often put out more carbon into the environment than a car per hour), and the natural fauna in an area is eradicated to be replaced for the year by an imported impersonation of nature that often in the end becomes an invasive species to be dealt with by even more chemical solutions well beyond the carefully manicured borders.
A Newer Earth Friendly Trend
In recent years a more natural look has gained popularity. The cultivation of local plants and grasses, selection of trees and fauna that are native to an area, and the end goal of a tranquil natural yard and garden that allows for a peaceful merging of the home and nature has taken root.
The goal in a natural garden and lawn is simple, control of weeds and plants as opposed to eradication, enjoyment of the different colors and textures that are indigenous to every area, natural water features to encourage birds and insects instead of the ceramic birdbaths.
This style allows birds and bees a place to live and make into a habitat shared with humanity instead of over run by it. Allowing trees to give shade as opposed to removing every tree and filling the yard with umbrellas for the same purpose.
The use of natural fertilizers such as compost and manure instead of phosphorous based artificial fertilizers is more than adequate when growing plants that are indigenous to an area. Instead of the chemical additives to water feature, try barley straw or or barley straw extract for water features to control algae, and ensure there is some water circulation to allow the natural nitrogen cycle to work to keep water from getting rancid. Adding fish to the water features will control insect larvae and flowering pond plants will prevent temperature extremes in circulated water.
This small step towards making homes and communities work in their natural surroundings as opposed to in competition with them will not only help the environment, it will teach us to appreciate what we have instead of strive to change all we see…..