All religions suck. I even have my doubts regarding Wicca, although nature based religions suck less than patriarchal religions.
The idea of the top god being a male imaginary being automatically leads to a structure privileging males above females and heterosexuality over homosexuality.
Buddhism is no better than the monotheism of the desert religions, nor is Hinduism. they all hold women in contempt at best and all have been guilty of pushing hatred of LGBT/T people.
Screw the Dalai Lama. He’s no better than the Nazi Pope when it comes to misogyny, homophobia and transphobia. Tibet is better off without him and the parasitical monks. For that is what religion is, a parasite upon humanity and a destructive force.
No gods, no masters.
By Agence France-Presse
Saturday, July 16th, 2011
CHIANG KHONG, Thailand — The 15-year-old aspiring “ladyboy” delicately applied a puff of talcum powder to his nose — an act of rebellion at the Thai Buddhist temple where he is learning to “be a man”.
“They have rules here that novice monks cannot use powder, make-up, or perfume, cannot run around and be girlish,” said Pipop Thanajindawong, who was sent to Wat Kreung Tai Wittaya, in Chiang Khong on the Thai-Laos border, to tame his more feminine traits.
But the monks running the temple’s programme to teach masculinity to boys who are “katoeys”, the Thai term for transsexuals or ladyboys, have their controversial work cut out.
“Sometimes we give them money to buy snacks but he saved it up to buy mascara,” headteacher Phra Pitsanu Witcharato said of Pipop.
Novice monks’ days pass as in any other temple — waking before dawn, collecting alms and studying Buddhism — but every Friday attention turns to the katoeys at the attached school.
“Were you born as a man or a woman or can you not specify your gender – not man or woman?” asked Phra Pitsanu at a recent assembly. “You cannot be anything else but your true gender, which is a man. As a novice you can only be a man.”
Continue reading at: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/07/16/monks-try-to-teach-maleness-to-thai-ladyboys/
From Mother Jones: http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/07/budget-cuts-hysteria-legal-aid-poor
A new proposal would take away $104 million from legal aid at a time when demand is soaring.
By Kat Aaron
Tue Jul. 12, 2011
Legal assistance for the poor will take a huge hit under a proposal just released by the House Appropriations Committee, which aims to slash the budget of the Legal Services Corporation back to 1999 levels. Officials at LSC, which has been around for four decades and supports 136 independent legal-aid outposts all over America, knew big cuts were coming—the program was by no means exempt from DC’s budget-slashing hysteria. But supporters were betting on losing $70 million, the figure proposed last year during budget negotiations.
The new proposal would take away $104 million—26 percent of the program’s resources—at a time when demand is soaring. Legal-aid offices from Texas to Maine report that the need for their services already has been outstripping funding for years.
“Demand is just going to keep going up. People are still losing their jobs. People are still struggling to put food on the table. Foreclosures are still happening,” says Cynthia Martinez, spokeswoman for Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, the state’s largest legal-services agency. “Last year, we had to turn away half of the people that came to us because we just don’t have the resources. And it’s not like when we say no, the legal problems just go away.”
You’ll hear similar stories nationwide. “We know that in February we were only able to handle about 20 percent of the calls that were actually tracked on our voicemail system, in one office location,” said Nan Heald, executive director of Pine Tree Legal Assistance, Maine’s largest legal-services provider. “And a lot of people don’t even get through on the phones because they’re busy.”
More of those who do get through, Heald says, “are getting limited service rather than full representation, because we’re trying to manage the demand with reduced staff.” She has lost seven staffers since 2009. It’s not just the federal cuts that are hurting these agencies. “We get foundations, we get individual donations, state grants, state funding. All of our funding sources are dropping,” Heald adds.
Continue reading at: http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/07/budget-cuts-hysteria-legal-aid-poor
From Yomiuri Shinbun: http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/national/T110715005727.htm
July 16, 2011
FUKUSHIMA–Beef cattle at a farm in Asakawamachi, Fukushima Prefecture, have been fed with straw tainted with high levels of radioactive cesium, and 42 cows from that farm have been shipped to Tokyo and three other prefectures, according to the Fukushima prefectural government.
The prefectural and central governments, which have begun investigating the marketing route, asked all cattle farms in Fukushima Prefecture to refrain from shipping or moving any cows until Monday, when the on-the-spot inspections will be completed.
Earlier this week, beef cows shipped by a farm in Minami-Soma in the prefecture were found tainted with radioactive cesium exceeding the provisional regulatory limit of 500 becquerels per kilogram.
Since late April, the prefectural government has measured levels of radioactive substances on the hide of cows in designated evacuation areas close to the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant before they were shipped or moved. Asakawamachi, which is more than 50 kilometers from the plant, is outside the region where measurements were being taken.
However, these measurements are unlikely to detect internal radiation exposure caused by contaminated feed and other factors.
According to the prefecture, up to 97,000 becquerels of radioactive cesium per kilogram was detected in dry straw in Asakawamachi.
Continue reading at: http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/national/T110715005727.htm
The real reason Big Macs are cheaper than more nutritious alternatives? Government subsidies
By David Sirota
July 15, 2011
The easiest way to explain Gallup’s discovery that millions of Americans are eating fewer fruits and vegetables than they ate last year is to simply crack a snarky joke about Whole Foods really being “Whole Paycheck.” Rooted in the old limousine liberal iconography, the quip conjures the notion that only Birkenstock-wearing trust-funders can afford to eat right in tough times.
It seems a tidy explanation for a disturbing trend, implying that healthy food is inherently more expensive, and thus can only be for wealthy Endive Elitists when the economy falters. But if the talking point’s carefully crafted mix of faux populism and oversimplification seems a bit facile — if the glib explanation seems almost too perfectly sculpted for your local right-wing radio blowhard — that’s because it dishonestly omits the most important part of the story. The part about how healthy food could easily be more affordable for everyone right now, if not for those ultimate elitists: agribusiness CEOs, their lobbyists and the politicians they own.
As with most issues in this new Gilded Age, the tale of the American diet is a story of the worst form of corporatism — the kind whereby the government uses public monies to protect private profit.
In this chapter of that larger tragicomedy, lawmakers whose campaigns are underwritten by agribusinesses have used billions of taxpayer dollars to subsidize those agribusinesses’ specific commodities (corn, soybeans, wheat, etc.) that are the key ingredients of unhealthy food. Not surprisingly, the subsidies have manufactured a price inequality that helps junk food undersell nutritious-but-unsubsidized foodstuffs like fruits and vegetables. The end result is that recession-battered consumers are increasingly forced by economic circumstance to “choose” the lower-priced junk food that their taxes support.
Being a woman or being a man means having to live by the same rules every other woman or man has to live by. If you have sex reassignment surgery in a place that doesn’t recognized same sex marriage then you should have to decide if you want the legal change of sex or the marriage.
Why should transsexual or transgender people get special treatment in this area? The alternative is to work for marriage equality. Or play by the same rules gay and lesbian people are forced to play by.
By Julie Bolcer
July 15, 2011
New legislation to recognize gender identity in Ireland has raised concerns because of the conditions it imposes on people who wish to obtain recognition, for example, by forcing married couples to divorce.
The Journal reports on an announcement this week from the Gender Recognition Advisory Group that legislation would be published in the next year. The bill results from the case of Dr. Lydia Foy, which last year won her 13-year fight to be recognized as a woman.
According to The Journal, the bill will establish a three-member panel to assess applications and issue legal gender recognition certificates in addition to new birth certificates. Strict conditions are to be imposed.
“The bill sets out that a person whose gender has been legally recognized would be entitled to marry a person of the opposite sex, or to enter a civil partnership with a person of the same sex,” reports The Journal.
From The Business Insider: http://www.businessinsider.com/its-official-the-whole-world-thinks-republicans-are-dangerous-maniacs-2011-7
Jul. 15, 2011
Yes, the rest of the world is watching this embarrassing debt ceiling nonsense, and it is growing dismayed.
Der Spiegel has a roundup of commentary in German newspapers about the fight, and the universal message is this:
The US is holding the entire world hostage, and it’s the Republicans that are playing with fire.
Hard to accuse the Germans (who are no fans of fiscal profligacy) of being motivated by politics, or of having some inherent reason to attack Republicans. This is just the reality of what they’re doing.
Here’s the passage from Bild, the newspaper of the masses:
“Playing poker is part of politics, as is theatrical posturing. That’s fair enough. But what America is currently exhibiting is the worst kind of absurd theatrics. And the whole world is being held hostage.
By Pat Garofalo
Jul 15, 2011
Earlier this week, President Obama warned that he “cannot guarantee” that Social Security checks will go out on schedule on Aug. 3 if Congress doesn’t raise the debt ceiling by Aug. 2. As a report from the Bipartisan Policy Center laid out, “the government likely would not have enough revenue to pay the full $23 billion payment to Social Security recipients due on Aug. 3″ were the debt ceiling not raised, because of the high amount of Social Security payments that are due that day.
Two days ago, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) criticized Obama for employing this rhetoric. “We were all shocked and appalled that President Obama dangled out in front of the cameras that senior citizens may not get their checks. That is a very dangerous statement to make,” Bachmann said, calling on the President to “tell the truth.”
Republicans have put forth the theory that Social Security is not subject to debt ceiling limitations because it is financed by payroll taxes. But it seems like Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) agrees with Obama, and not his GOP colleagues, on this one. During an interview last night with Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren, Boehner agreed that if the debt ceiling isn’t raised, Social Security is one of the programs that is on the chopping block: