Saudi woman beheaded for ‘practicing witchcraft’

All Religion is sick. Killing people in the name of religion is sicker yet.

From Raw Story:

By Agence France-Presse
Monday, December 12, 2011

RIYADH: A Saudi woman was beheaded Monday after being convicted of practising sorcery, which is banned in the ultra-conservative kingdom, the Interior Ministry said.

Amina bint Abdulhalim Nassar was executed in the northern province of Jawf for “practising witchcraft and sorcery,” the ministry said in a statement carried by SPA state news agency.

It is not clear how many women have been executed in the desert-kingdom, but another woman was beheaded in October for killing her husband by setting his house on fire.

The beheading took to 73 the number of executions in Saudi Arabia this year.

In September, Amnesty International called on the Muslim kingdom where 140 people were on death row to establish an “immediate moratorium on executions.”

The rights group said Saudi Arabia was one of a minority of states which voted against a U.N. General Assembly resolution last December calling for a worldwide moratorium on executions.

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Occupy Protesters Set Up Barricade To Shutdown Port Of Seattle

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Big Apple, Big Divide: Where super-rich don’t see the super-poor

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Unreal Faces and Bodies: Should The Truth About Photoshopped Fashion Photos Be Exposed?

One of the major problems with the gender obsession way of defining women and men too is that it sets up an unreal model as some sort of ideal, whether it is the plastic porno-fied female or the hyper macho jock.

They aren’t real.  They are plastic people used to sell us crap made elsewhere for the profit of the corporations.

From Alternet:

The “perfect” photo is pervasive in magazines and advertising, but with cautious optimism, there might be an end to the fakery.

By Julianne Escobedo Shepherd
December 11, 2011

Of all the things to criticize about women’s magazines and fashion advertising, nothing is more universally reviled than the airbrush. The world of the digital photo retoucher is that of a beauty-standard Frankenstein: normal-sized women are made to look wan and waifish, older women are remade into ageless nymphs, limbs are lengthened, breasts are enlarged, skin is whitened. Men aren’t exempt, either: wrinkles are massaged out, guts and love handles whisked away. Even those we perceive to be nigh-perfect are often altered to be ridiculous, obviously fake, and robotic. But as it becomes more prevalent, and more people are interested in tracking it — whether for feminist or tabloid purposes — is it possible that the era of the obscenely Photoshopped image could be reaching an end?

In the last decade or so, as photo airbrushing has become both more sophisticated and more accessible, we’ve seen a rapid expansion of its use to make magazine images the very definition of perfection, at least in the opinions of editors and other gatekeepers. Sarah*, a professional photo retoucher who’s worked with most major women’s magazines, says that photo retouching has been common since yearbook pictures acquired a glossy dew in the 1980s, but says there’s been a “Cambrian explosion over the last 15–20 years, with the advent of Photoshop.” Largely influenced by commercial fashion, the demand for images that depict the supreme Western beauty standard exploded, tending towards tall, tiny-waisted, wrinkle-free, and light-skinned — and rarely has it deviated from those unrealistic demands, as feminists have riled against for decades. Even Crystal Renn, the fashion world’s most famous “plus-sized” model, now wears a size 8, slim for most nonmodel women. The most obvious and frequent complaint about Photoshop, of course, that its increased use makes both women and men feel completely insecure with their realistic bodies, leading to poor self-esteem, racial insecurity and discrimination, body dysmorphia, fear of aging (and youth worship) and, in the worst cases, life-threatening eating disorders. It was enough to lead the American Medical Association to adopt a policy against airbrushed images in publications directed at children and teens. “The appearance of advertisements with extremely altered models can create unrealistic expectations of appropriate body image,” said the AMA’s Dr. Barbara McAneny. “We must stop exposing impressionable children and teenagers to advertisements portraying models with body types only attainable with the help of photo editing software.”

The AMA followed liberal Democratic members British Parliament, who in 2008, sought to ban overt airbrushing in magazines directed toward kids under 16. MP Jo Swinson, who headed the movement, told the Daily Mail:

“I am not suggesting that advertisers should stop using models who are perhaps more beautiful than the average person. But there is a difference between doing that and using a beautiful model and nipping in her waist by two inches or taking slathers of flesh off her thighs. There is lots of evidence to show that children under 16, particularly those aged around 7 or 8 years old, are not particularly good at telling the difference between adverts and editorial content on TV or magazines. They view it all the same way.”

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Peace, Love, and Social Security: Baby Boomers Retire to the Commune

From The Atlantic:

As they simplify their lives in middle age, former hippies find themselves returning to the land

Anna Spinner
Nov 21 2011

When she first found the place that would one day become her retirement home, Kathy Connors was 16 years old and seven months pregnant. She left the Chicago suburbs and hitched a ride with a trucker she knew to a commune in south-central Tennessee. The commune, called the Farm, had about a dozen midwives who would deliver any woman’s baby for free. Kathy had arranged to have her child there.

In late June of this year, Kathy, now 50, and her 62-year-old husband Bob drove with their 28-year-old daughter Joyce from Charlotte, North Carolina, to the Farm. Kathy visits about three times a year, but this was a special visit. It was the Farm’s 40th reunion, but it was also, more importantly, the visit when Kathy would finalize plans to build the home where she and Bob planned to spend the rest of their lives.

On the drive down, Kathy’s phone buzzed with texts and updates from the Farm Facebook group. Friends were posting photos and status updates. It was a big party and Kathy couldn’t wait to get there.

Crossing the Tennessee border, Bob, usually a quiet man, shouted, “Welcome to Tennessee!” The family cheered. Kathy’s stomach fluttered and her heart beat faster. She sent a text to an acquaintance, “the closer I get to my true home, the better I always feel.”

Kathy and Bob Connors are among a handful of former Farm members who are moving back in middle age. This choice reflects that of a growing number of Baby Boomers who are choosing to retire to intentional communities, an umbrella term for living situations organized around a common value structure or vision.

Although hard figures are impossible to determine, Laird Schaub, the executive secretary of the Fellowship for Intentional Community, estimates that the United States has about 4,000 intentional communities with a combined population of about 100,000. The number and population of intentional communities grew most dramatically between 1965 and 1975. Some were artists’ collectives, religious communes, or self-help oriented communes, says Timothy Miller, a professor of religion at the University of Kansas, in his bookThe 60s Communes: Hippies and Beyond. Others were born out of a broader idealism that aimed to rebuild the world from the ground up.

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Police crackdown on occupy protestors raises Human Rights concerns

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Collecting Rainwater Now Illegal in Many States as Big Government Claims Ownership Over Our Water

From Major Trends:

By Eddie Sage
09 December 2011

Many of the freedoms we enjoy here in the U.S. are quickly eroding as the nation transforms from the land of the free into the land of the enslaved, but what I’m about to share with you takes the assault on our freedoms to a whole new level. You may not be aware of this, but many Western states, including Utah, Washington and Colorado, have long outlawed individuals from collecting rainwater on their own properties because, according to officials,that rain belongs to someone else.

As bizarre as it sounds, laws restricting property owners from “diverting” water  that falls on their own homes  and land have been on the books for quite some time in many Western states. Only recently, as droughts and renewed interest in water conservation methods have become more common, have individuals and business owners started butting heads with law enforcement  over the practice of collecting rainwater for personal use.

Check out this YouTube video of a news report out of Salt Lake City, Utah, about the issue. It’s illegal in Utah to divert rainwater without a valid water right, and Mark Miller of Mark Miller Toyota, found this out the hard way.

After constructing a large rainwater collection  system at his new dealership to use for washing new cars, Miller found out that the project was actually an “unlawful diversion of rainwater.” Even though it makes logical conservation sense to collect rainwater for this type of use since rain is scarce in Utah, it’s still considered a violation of water rights which apparently belong exclusively to Utah’s various government  bodies.

“Utah’s the second driest state in the nation. Our laws probably ought to catch up with that,” explained Miller in response to the state’s ridiculous rainwater collection ban.

Salt Lake City officials worked out a compromise with Miller and are now permitting him to use “their” rainwater, but the fact that individuals like Miller don’t actually own the rainwater that falls on their property is a true indicator of what little freedom we actually have here in the U.S. (Access to the rainwater that falls on your own property seems to be a basic right, wouldn’t you agree?)

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