Tea party activist says U.S. may be conquered for allowing atheists, Wiccans and abortion

From Raw Story:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/12/02/tea-party-activist-says-u-s-may-be-conquered-for-allowing-atheists-wiccans-and-abortion/

By Travis Gettys
Monday, December 2, 2013

A tea party activist suggested the United States may be conquered by foreign armies because abortion and Islam were permitted.

Brooke McGowan, who was introduced as a representative of the Tea Party News Network, told the Reclaim America rally on Nov. 19 that the U.S. faced judgment for its religious tolerance.

“In this nation we have turned away from the God of the Bible and we’ve told him he’s simply not welcome here,” McGowan said. “We have welcomed pluralism, atheism, secular humanism, Wicca and even Islam.”

She said the nation’s downfall began 50 years ago, when public school-sponsored prayer was limited and continued 10 years later when abortion was legalized.

“We sacrificed 55 million children in 40 years to the god of convenience and self-importance,” McGowan said. “The tune of 55 million. That’s our children, that’s our people; that’s Americans. Fifth-five million Americans have been tossed into the fire, the Dumpster and the toilet.”

She grew nostalgic for the weeks immediately following the terrorist attack on Sept. 11, 2001, when she noticed a lot of religious and patriotic messages in Pensacola, Florida, where she lived at the time.

“Everywhere you looked, every marquee, every sign in the yard, every flag, the signs would say, ‘God bless America’ or ‘God bless our land,’” McGowan said.

Continue reading at:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/12/02/tea-party-activist-says-u-s-may-be-conquered-for-allowing-atheists-wiccans-and-abortion/

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Free From Jail But Still Trapped in Russia, ‘Arctic 30’ Seek Exit Visas

From Common Dreams:  http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/12/04-7

Out on bail, activists say prison was “worth it” for the attention it brought to Arctic drilling

Lauren McCauley

Free for now but still trapped within the confines of Russia’s borders, the 26 non-Russian members of the Arctic 30 are seeking exit visas after being released on bail for a peaceful demonstration atop a drilling platform in September, Greenpeace lawyers said Wednesday.

According to Greenpeace, lawyers representing the international group have begun to lodge applications with Russia’s Investigative Committee seeking exit visas for the non-Russian nationals.

“They have already paid an absurd and excessive price for an entirely peaceful and justified protest against the dangers of Arctic oil drilling,” said Ben Ayliffe, Arctic campaigner at Greenpeace International.

Ayeliffe said that Greenpeace cannot guarantee when and even if the protesters will be granted the visas, but that they are doing their best to get them home as soon as possible.

“This is a unique situation where the Arctic 30 were charged and then bailed inside Russia after they were detained in international waters beyond Russia’s territorial waters,” said Jasper Teulings, General Counsel at Greenpeace International. “We are hopeful this issue can be resolved.”

On November 29 the last of the Arctic 30 was released on bail. Through a series of interviews following their discharge, the New York Times reports on the “legal limbo” that has shrouded the activists’ arrest and imprisonment.

The Times reports:

Working through translators, because most of the crew spoke little or no Russian, the investigators produced sheet after sheet of documents for the detainees to sign, chronicling the slow progression of the criminal case but not delving into the facts of the allegations themselves.

“They haven’t been asking me, ‘What did you do? Why did you do it?’ ” said Sini Saarela of Finland, an experienced rock climber who briefly scaled Russia’s first offshore oil platform in the Pechora Sea the day before armed border troops seized the crew and their ship, the Arctic Sunrise. “At some point in the process, we realized this is not actually about what happened.”

The piece details the “slavish and at times comic attention to bureaucratic protocol” paid by the Russian investigators and the activists’ confusion and surprise following their initial charge of piracy and, again, after the charges were reduced to hooliganism.

Though their time spent in Russian detention was described as “grim and uncertain,” the crew members believe their personal sacrifice succeeded in drawing attention to the dangers of Arctic drilling.

“We’ve achieved in two months what it took years for the Arctic campaign to do,” Alexandra Harris of Britain told the Times. “And that made our being in prison worth it.”

Since their release the Arctic 30 have had medical checks, have talked to or had visits from loved ones and “are getting plenty of food, care and rest,” Greenpeace reports.

All the protesters are staying at a hotel in St. Petersburg as they await the proper exit visas. The Investigative Committee is expected to respond to the request within three days.

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Off-grid, handcrafted life on Oregon farm & workshop

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The Great Sparrow Campaign was the start of the greatest mass starvation in history

From Mother Nature Network:  http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/animals/stories/the-great-sparrow-campaign-was-the-start-of-the-greatest-mass

In 1958, Mao Zedong ordered all sparrows to be killed. As a direct result, millions of people starved to death.

John Platt
Mon, Sep 30 2013

History is littered with environmental disasters, but few compare to the one kicked off in 1958 in China. That was the year that Mao Zedong, the founding father of the People’s Republic of China, decided that his country could do without pests like sparrows. The impact of this ill-conceived decision — along with many other policies he put in place — caused a domino effect of destruction. Three years later, as many as 45 million people were dead.
How did this happen? It all started nine years after the Communist Party of China took power. That year Zedong initiated what he dubbed the Great Leap Forward, a massive social and economic campaign that, among many other things, turned farming into a collective, state-sponsored activity. Individual, private farming was banned as part of China’s transformation into a communist system.
One of Zedong’s first actions after collectivizing agriculture was probably intended to protect the farms. Sparrows, he was told, ate a lot of grain seeds, so Zedong ordered the people to go forth and kill all the sparrows. During the Great Sparrow Campaign, as it has been called, hundreds of millions of sparrows were killed, mostly because people chased them until the birds were so tired that they fell out of the sky. (The campaign was part of the broader Four Pests Campaign, which also targeted rats, flies and mosquitoes — all with the aim of improving human hygiene. )
The problem with the Great Sparrow Campaign became evident in 1960. The sparrows, it seemed, didn’t only eat grain seeds. They also ate insects. With no birds to control them, insect populations boomed. Locusts, in particular, swarmed over the country, eating everything they could find — including crops intended for human food. People, on the other hand, quickly ran out of things to eat, and millions starved. Numbers vary, of course, with the official number from the Chinese government placed at 15 million. Some scholars, however, estimate that the fatalities were as high as 45 or even 78 million. Chinese journalist Yang Jisheng, who chronicled the famine in his book “Tombstone,” estimates the deaths at 36 million people. (The book, published in the U.S. last year, is banned in China.)
But the people did not go down quickly or easily. “Documents report several thousand cases where people ate other people,” Yang told NPR last year. “Parents ate their own kids. Kids ate their own parents.” The behavior was so awful — with thousands of people murdered for food or for speaking out against the government — that the topic of what has become known as the Great Famine remains taboo in China more than 50 years later.
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Climate Change’s Biggest Threats Are Those We Aren’t Ready For: Report

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/03/abrupt-climate-change_n_4378864.html

12/03/2013

WASHINGTON — Climatic changes — and the results of those changes — could occur within decades or even sooner, and they are becoming a greater concern for scientists, according to a new paper from the National Academy of Sciences.

“The most challenging changes are the abrupt ones,” said James White, a professor of geological sciences at the University of Colorado in Boulder and chair of the report committee. White and several coauthors of the paper spoke at a press conference Tuesday morning.

The paper focuses on those impacts due to climate change that can happen most quickly. Among these are the rapid decline in Arctic sea ice that scientists have seen in the last decade and increased extinction pressure on plants and animals caused by the rapidly warming climate.

Many such changes, according to Tony Barnosky, a professor in the Department of Integrative Biology at the University of California, Berkeley, are “things that people in this room will be around to see.” He emphasized that scientists are “really worried about what’s going to happen in the next several years or decades.”

“The planet is going to be warmer than most species living on Earth today have seen it, including humans,” said Barnosky. “The pace of change is orders of magnitude higher than what species have experienced in the last tens of millions of years.”

Other, more gradually occurring changes can still have abrupt impacts on the ecosystem and human systems, such as the loss of fisheries or shifts in where certain crops can be cultivated. Rapid loss of ice, for example, would mean that sea levels rise at a much faster rate than the current trend, which would have a significant effect on coastal regions. A 3-foot rise in the seas is easier to prepare for if it happens on a 100-year horizon than if it happens within 30 years.

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History’s Biggest Freeloader

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For Gay Community, Finding Acceptance Is Even More Difficult on the Streets

San Francisco sucked big time in 1967 when the Haight was the hippie haven.  It was only a good place for poor LGBT folks in the 1970s.  After Di fi became Mayor it went down hill.

You couldn’t pay me enough to get me to live there.

From The New York Times:  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/03/us/for-gay-community-finding-acceptance-is-even-more-difficult-on-the-streets.html?_r=0

By
Published: December 2, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO — There were times — after he told his parents he was gay, for example, and his mother wept and his father tried to hit him — when Fredy Bolvito curled up on a bench in Union Square here and cried because he had AIDS and no job and no place to stay and he felt, he said, that “my life was over.”

But there were also days when he sat on the bench in the square and sang “The Star-Spangled Banner,” looking up at the flags atop the Westin St. Francis hotel and thinking, “That’s breathtaking, that’s my American dream.” Or when he mingled with tourists, giving them directions to the cable cars, or gazed through the windows at the shoppers in Macy’s and was saddened by how rich and healthy they looked.

He scavenged for meals in garbage bins. He avoided the homeless shelters, where he had heard that gays were taunted, or worse. His “angel,” he said, was in the center of the square: the statue “Victory,” a trident in one hand, a wreath in the other.

“I would look at it at night and think, ‘Oh my God, that’s my hope,’ ” he said.

San Francisco is often viewed as a Mecca for gay people. But the warmth of the city’s welcome can quickly vanish for those who are poor.

City leaders were startled this year when a survey revealed that 29 percent of the homeless population —about 2,100 of the 7,350 people counted — identified themselves as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.

Bevan Dufty, the director of the city’s homelessness initiatives, said he was surprised the percentage held true for all age groups, even adults and the elderly. “What was really staggering was to see that it didn’t change as you got older,” he said.

The survey found that gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender people who are homeless had higher rates of disability than homeless heterosexuals and were more likely to be homeless when they arrived in the city. Some of them were older gay men with AIDS who had been evicted from their apartments or people who had been cast out by their families in other states. Others, like Mr. Bolvito, a native of Guatemala who graduated from college in Hayward, Calif., with a degree in political science and once worked as a real estate agent, had good jobs that disappeared during the recession.

Continue reading at:  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/03/us/for-gay-community-finding-acceptance-is-even-more-difficult-on-the-streets.html?_r=0

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