Thursday, July 31, 2014

Religion - can you prove the negative?

Religion - there lies arrogance

Why so many wars are fought - whose god is more real?

I'm not getting religious, but sometimes you find a religious group that has read the Bible

The Inspiring Work Being Done To Show What Jesus Would Do At The Border (Click here to read more)

by Jack Jenkins Posted on July 24, 2014 at 10:18 am Updated: July 24, 2014 at 11:50 am
McALLEN, TX - It was only 2:30 in the afternoon, but they were already running low on children's shoes. "We're out of certain kid's sizes," a worried-looking volunteer said as she pointed toward the back of the large, merchandise-filled room. Between her finger and the shoe rack stood several colorful mountains of neatly-arranged t-shirts, pants, and shorts, each marked with helpful signs that read "Boys 8-9" or "Girls 10-14."
This humid warehouse in the border town of McAllen, Texas isn't an off-brand children's clothing outlet or a trendy thrift store. It's a church, specifically a parish hall usually reserved for small congregational events. And the shoes weren't meant for frugal shoppers, but for the scarred, aching feet of the exhausted immigrant parents and children sitting quietly near the back door. Many of their own shoes had been worn through by the grueling journey to the U.S.-Mexico border, and while the parents had done their best to carry their children for as long as they could, the trip had still taken its toll on a number of tiny sneakers.
That day, it seemed, there were simply too many kids, and not enough shoes.
A dedicated coalition of volunteers and faith groups have banded together at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in downtown McAllen to create an oasis of relief for the ever-increasing number of immigrant families crossing the border between the U.S. and Mexico. Lawmakers spar daily over how - or even if - to bolster programs to address the recent surge of immigrants, in the tens of thousands, coming across the border. But for Americans in towns like McAllen, which sits about five miles from the border, the immigration crisis is already a part of daily life - and so are efforts to care for immigrants.
The program at Sacred Heart started when people noticed a growing number of bewildered-looking men, women, and children being dropped off by U.S. Border Patrol at the downtown McAllen bus station. These were not the much-discussed unaccompanied minors - they are processed and housed separately by the federal government. Instead, these were undocumented immigrants who had been apprehended by authorities, processed, and then given a bus ticket to reunite with a family member before returning for a court hearing to determine their status. They were part of an explosion of small family groups attempting to enter the U.S. - mostly mothers traveling with young children. According to the Women's Refugee Commission, the number of families crossing the border has increased at a similar rate to the number of unaccompanied children, with 55,000 adults with children apprehended just this year. They, like the unaccompanied children, are primarily fleeing horrific violence and crushing poverty in El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala, and both influxes of immigrants have been concentrated in the Rio Grande Valley, a region that includes McAllen.

Shooting report

It's time to slow the gun violence - pass gun control legislation today!

Gun control: It's at least partly about perception

These could be 4 of the nicest guys in the world - perhaps even military or police officers. But does your perception of open carry change when the color of the skin, or the cut of the clothes, is different?

We need to stop putting everyone in jail...

States That Slashed Their Prison Populations Have Seen Disproportionate Drops In Crime, Too (Click here to read more)

by Nicole Flatow Posted on July 24, 2014 at 9:00 am
The United States still has the highest incarceration rate in the world, but those few states that managed to significantly reduce their prison population over the last decade saw benefits other than reduced lock-up costs. They also saw their crime rate go down at a higher rate than the national average, according to a new report from the Sentencing Project.
The report bolsters the notion that locking up the wrong people doesn't improve public safety. In fact, "smart on crime" policies not only minimize punishment toward non-violent offenders; they can also re-alloca.te resources toward violent crime.

"The experiences of New York, New Jersey, and California demonstrate that it is possible to achieve substantial reductions in mass incarceration without compromising public safety," wrote Marc Mauer and Nazgol Ghandnoosh of the Sentencing Project.

A few thoughts on GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms)

First there's this...

Neil deGrasse Tyson Hammers 'Fear Factor' of GMO's: 'I Don't Have a Problem' with them, 'So Chill Out' (Click here to read more)

July 31, 2014 By Allen Clifton Leave a Comment

On a video that appears to have been shot on someone's phone, Tyson said:

    "I'm amazed how much rejection genetically modified foods are receiving from the public.  It smacks of the fear factor that exists at every new emergent science, where people don't fully understand it or don't fully know or embrace its consequences, and so therefore reject it."

    "There are no wild, seedless watermelons. There's no wild cows.  There's no long-stemmed roses growing in the wild - although we don't eat roses.  You list all the fruit, and all the vegetables, and ask yourself, is there a wild counterpart to this? If there is, it's not as large, it's not as sweet, it's not as juicy, and it has way more seeds in it."

    "We are creating and modifying the biology of the world to serve our needs.  I don't have a problem with that, because we've been doing that for tens of thousands of years. So chill out."

Now, I have a lot of respect for Neil deGrasse Tyson and his intellect, but I'm afraid, on this issue, he's missing some of the forest for the trees. One of the larger issues, for me, is the fact that huge companies are being allowed to patent the seeds for the very foundation of our existence - putting into the hands of a very small group of people over whom we have no control ownership of our very food supply. Think of the power they would have in bilking us out of our very last penny just for our survival. Or their ability to control governments. It is terrifying.

Supreme Court hands Monsanto victory over farmers on GMO seed patents, ability to sue (Click here to read more)

Published time: January 13, 2014 21:51
Edited time: January 15, 2014 10:42
Reuters / Darren Hauck
​The US Supreme Court upheld biotech giant Monsanto’s claims on genetically-engineered seed patents and the company’s ability to sue farmers whose fields are inadvertently contaminated with Monsanto materials.
The high court left intact Monday a federal appeals court decision that threw out a 2011 lawsuit from the Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association and over 80 other plaintiffs against Monsanto that sought to challenge the agrochemical company’s aggressive claims on patents of genetically-modified seeds. The suit also aimed to curb Monsanto from suing anyone whose field is contaminated by such seeds.

Another thought on Wal*Mart

The GOP wants control, not democracy

Distraction - or how the big corporations refocus the small minds

Facts are actually a pretty-weak tool when arguing with Rapublicans

Americans are susidizing Wal*Mart for no apparent reason

The Republican game plan

Ahh, but CSK does not think like a Republican

CAT: Conservative Attack Team shield

I could accept the Benghazi rants as legitimate if there was some balance.

Trickle down? There's not one shred of evidence that it works.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

When political views overshadow the constitution, common sense, and doctor-patient privilege.

Court Upholds Florida Law That Punishes Doctors For Talking About Guns (Click here to read more)

shutterstock_doctor doc worried 
CREDIT: Shutterstock
Several years ago, the American Medical Association advised doctors to ask their patients about firearms and “educate patients to the dangers of firearms to children” in the name of public health. But doctors in Florida may be suppressed from giving this medical advice, now that a federal appeals court upheld a Florida law that became known as the “physician gag rule” because it punishes doctors for talking about guns.
The ruling could have major implications as policymakers examine gun violence as a public health issue. The National Rifle Association-backed law it upheld imposes severe limits on when doctors can ask their patients about guns or keep records in their patients’ charts about firearm safety. Doctors who are found to have violated the provision risk sanctions or loss of their license.
At least ten medical associations and the American Bar Association argued that the law should be struck down because doctors must be able to discuss safety topics freely in engaging in preventive care.
In an American Bar Association resolution opposing Florida’s law, the organization reasons, “Preventive care through safety counseling is a pillar of modern medicine, and is vitally important to the health and welfare of patients.” Among other public health topics doctors may discuss with adult patients are alcohol and drug use, wearing bicycle helmets and seat belts, and storage of household toxins. Discussions of gun violence, also, may come into play, both for doctors advising parents on keeping their children safe, and psychiatrists concerned about the psychological well-being of their patients. The American Psychiatric Association has recommended that “health professionals and health systems should ask about firearm ownership whenever clinically appropriate in the judgment of the physician.”
The doctor plaintiffs in this case had argued that they have a First Amendment right to discuss these issues with their patients, and a federal trial court agreed, reasoning that the Firearm Owners Privacy Act “chills practitioners’ speech in a way that impairs the provision of medical care and may ultimately harm the patient.”
But a two-judge majority on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit reversed that ruling and upheld the law, concluding that this speech is “professional in nature” and only has an “incidental” impact on free speech. The majority judges — appointees of Nixon and Bush — reason that the law is limited to “harassing” or “unnecessary” speech, so the law shouldn’t limit doctor remarks that are directly related to patients’ health.

In case you're in the mood to boycott someone

Tuesday, Jul 24, 2012 10:39 AM EST

Right-wing food companies (Click here to read more)

These food chains are owned by far right-wingers who've funded conservative super-PACs

Lauren Kelley, Alternet
For all the Oreo Cookies out there - companies that support gay rights, if only because doing so is good for business - there are plenty of food companies that have not come around on progressive social issues. In fact, a number of food companies are owned by far right-wingers who've spent significant money opposing gay rights, abortion rights, and other important causes and funding attack ads against left-leaning politicians.
The companies in question include many popular chain restaurants that you may eat at occasionally, or even all the time. It's wise to know where your dining dollars are going.
To that end, here are five food chains that are helmed by owners who support right-wing politics.

1. Chick-fil-A

2. Carl's Jr.

3. Domino's Pizza

4. White Castle

5. Waffle House

An intentional repost (3)

An intentional re-post (2)

An intentional re-post

Not sure - how do we tell the difference between the good guys and the bad guys? Oh! Wait...

Will churches destroy the American dream?

The Republican thought process can be VERY confusing

More evidence of the Republican double-standard

Fracking - now THIS is funny!

Ronald Reagan - keeping the record straight.

Many Christian right-wingers have created a distorted view of Christ - one who's views match their views exactly, even though none of it is true. Such is the vision they would now profer on Ronald Reagan - he was NOT the conservative saint they claim he was.

The American political parties changed their positions a long time ago now. - that's why I'm a Democrat today and wouldn't have been 100 years ago.

Monday, July 28, 2014

It's tough to change the mind of a religious person.

Faith has to be taken on faith because there's no evidence that it's any more real than any other fairy tale.

Religion? Paternalism? Is there a difference?

A lot of rich people contribute very little to our economy.

Monday, Mar 25, 2013 10:00 AM EST

Defeating useless rich people (Click here to read more)

Taming wealthy, unproductive "moochers" will require a populist campaign to stop them. Here's how we can do it
Michael Lind
In two previous columns, I argued that left and right alike are confused by a failure to distinguish productive businesses that sell innovative goods and services from "rentier" interests - landlords, lenders, copyright holders and others - which use their natural or artificial monopoly power to extract excessive tolls, fees and other recurrent payments from the rest of society, including productive businesses. The fees or rents extracted by these interests constitute a kind of "private taxation" which - rather than public taxation - is the greatest threat facing America's productive economy.
Today America's powerful rentier interests, particularly those in the FIRE (finance, insurance and real estate) sector, are mobilizing campaign contributions and paid propaganda to promote what I called the Rentier Agenda: low taxes on those whose income is derived from capital gains; the privatization of public infrastructure and the deregulation of regulated private utilities, to generate windfall profits for investors in privatized or deregulated agencies; and a macroeconomic policy that serves the interests of creditors, at the expense of slow growth and mass unemployment, rather than productive businesses and workers. Similar observations have been made by many on the left and some mavericks on the right.
To counter the domination of America's rentier oligarchs, we need an Anti-Rentier campaign that would unite unlikely groups: owners of productive businesses as well as workers, populist conservatives and liberal reformers. An Anti-Rentier movement would distinguish businesses that make profits by providing worthwhile goods or services in innovative ways from rentier interests that passively extract exorbitant tolls and fees from the economy without adding any value.

Shooting report

You weren't surprised were you? More shootings and killings across the county.

When guns become an addiction, you are no longer safe with guns.

America gone insane...

Border Patrol agents hold Iowa Boy Scouts at gunpoint for taking a picture of them (Click here to read more)

By Arturo Garcia
Tuesday, July 22, 2014 21:23 EDT
A Border Patrol agent allegedly held a member of an Iowa Boy Scout troop at gunpoint while another threatened another boy with arrest and a 10-year prison term for taking a picture of him, KCCI-TV reported.
The incident reportedly took place while members of Mid-Iowa Boy Scout Troop 111 and volunteers traveling with them were attempting to drive through the border between Canada into Alaska. Troop leader Jim Fox told KCCI that the group was detained and searched after the scout took the picture. The agent allegedly told Fox that the scout had committed a federal offense.
"The agent immediately confiscated his camera, informed him he would be arrested, fined possibly $10,000 and 10 years in prison," Fox was quoted as saying.
Fox and his troop complied with the agent's order, but as another scout was unloading luggage from one of the group's vans, "He hears a snap of a holster, turns around, and here's this agent, both hands on a loaded pistol, pointing at the young man's head."
The troop was released after being detained for four hours, and made it back to Iowa this past Sunday.

And so the dismantling of America continues so we can extend more tax breaks to the rich.

Detroit schools emergency manager raises class size to emergency levels (Click here to read more) (laura Clawson) · Friday, July 18, 2014, 9:18 pm
As Detroit struggles with bankruptcy, its public schools are struggling, too. They even have their very own emergency manager, and he has a new plan. Instead of a mere 38 students per class in grades 6 through 12, the new target will be 43 students per class in those grades. I'll repeat that: 43 students per class.
Next up, we can expect a wave of publicity about Detroit's failing teachers, to which I again say "43 students per class. YOU teach under those circumstances." If you're saying "well, Detroit is bankrupt, it's to be expected," first off, you are morally bankrupt. Second, this:
    ... the proportion of general fund dollars reaching the classroom has declined under emergency management - and not just by a little bit! Spending on classroom instruction constituted 55 percent and 58 percent, respectively, of all general fund expenditures in 2008 and 2009 - the last two years that the elected board set spending targets. Since then, spending on instruction has trended downward, reaching a historic low with Jack Martin's 2015 budget at a level of just 46.8 percent.

It is our incompetents who govern us - why does this happen?

Republicans must be born optically challenged if they can't see evidence as glaring as this that they are hypocrites.

News from the comedy channels.

Archeological digs find evidence of prior intelligent life in America (Borowitz)

Is incredible to me that we've done away with NASA space missions. Didn't ANYBODY listen to JFK?

And yet, we are dismantling our public education system.

And yet, we are dismantling our public education system.

Tired of regulated capitalism? Try a little Fascism instead.

Campaign for capitalism!

The GOP - so full of shit, they can't see the trail of destruction they leave behind.

Nature has a message for big oil and coal comapnies.

Think rogue robots may take over from mankind some day in the future? How about rogue corporations doing it NOW.

Our Constitution was all about the rights of the people.