Archive for April 30, 2013

Torture Animals: It’s Your Right

Maim and kill an animal so you can film it. It’s your Constitutional right, according to a Texas judge, U.S. District judge Sim Lake. Prohibiting you from making animal snuff films is infringing on your  First Amendment rights. Therefore, Judge Lake decided in favor of the couple who makes and distributes films in which puppies, kittens, rabbits, and other animals are tortured to death.

For more information, read Sam Wood’s article at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/nation_world/Judge_Animal_snuff_films_protected_by_1st_Amendment.html.

 

 

Buy a Gun (Vote)

Of the 45 senators who voted NO on the gun control legislation in Congress last Wed (4-24), 42 had received money from pro-gun lobbyists.* Some of the donated money was given as little as three weeks before the vote, when it seemed probable that extending background checks would pass.

*Sources: The Guardian 4/18/13, Sunlight Foundation

 

 

Earth-Friendly Tip: Power to the Earth

40% of the electricity used in the average home goes to electronics when they’re powered off but still plugged in.  If we avoided all that phantom load we could close down 17 power plants.  The easy, safe way to “unplug” one or more items is by using a power strip with surge protector.

 Leaf 6

[For more easy, money-saving, Eco-friendly tips, download a FREE copy of Green Riches: Help the Earth & Your Budget. Go to www.Smashwords.com/books/ view/7000, choose a format, and download to your computer or e-book device. Or download a free copy from your favorite e-tailer.]

 

 

Suspicions re: Air Traffic

Call me suspicious. Or jaded. Or weary. I’m glad that Congress is speeding a sequester-necessitated bill through to switch funds so that all air traffic controllers can get back to work, meaning the end to flight delays and cancellations. Travelers can give a sigh of relief. But what if the situation affected only travelers? What if business were not being affected, like delays in transporting goods and important people? Would the speed of the bill be closer to 20 mph than 150 mph?

 

 

Thoughtful Thursday: Harmful Muslims

“Do not kill an old man/woman. Do not harm a child. Do not destroy a tree or water wells. Do not kill an animal.” (Prophet Mohammed, in the Hadith)

These are instructions given by Mohammed to his army as they headed into war.  The Hadith books are collections of his sayings on various occasions and are considered to be almost as important and sacred as the Coran.*

If only the few militant zealots would follow these words of their Prophet, like most Muslims do, this would be a far more peaceful, loving world.

 

*My source is Salim Yam, a devout Muslim friend in Moroco, who feels that terrorists’ actions in the name of Allah are abhorrent.

 

 

Why More Police?

More police?  I keep hearing that cities (e.g., Oakland) are scrambling to increase the size of their police forces.  I agree that it’s important to have people to keep us safe from muggers, break-ins, shootings, gangs, rapes, and all the other terrible crimes being perpetrated.  However, I can’t help wondering if a better approach might be to worry as much about solving the root cause of most crimes–poverty–as we do about increasing our police forces.  Definitely, spending the time, money, and resources up front, to alleviate poverty in our cities, would lessen the need for people to protect us.  That approach seems like a win-win situation to me.

 

 

Verse From Politicians’ Bible

Here’s a version of a passage/passages from the Bible, translated from a politician’s point of view:

“There’s more joy when we get one to switch over to us than there is for the ninety-nine we’ve already got in our pocket.”  (Richard Stark, in his book BACKLASH)

OK, Bible scholars…what passage(s) is this a very rough translation of?

 

Earth-Friendly Tip: Walk

What would happen if all Americans aged 10-74 walked or biked half an hour a day instead of driving?  We would save 6.5 billion gallons of gas (think of all the pollution NOT hitting our air) and lose 3 billion pounds off our bodies.  

 Leaf 6

[For more easy, money-saving, Eco-friendly tips, download a FREE copy of Green Riches: Help the Earth & Your Budget. Go to www.Smashwords.com/books/ view/7000, choose a format, and download to your computer or e-book device. Or download a free copy from your favorite e-tailer.]

 

Military Sexual Assault

I was startled by the number of sexual assaults in the military and how they’re handled.  Read this article by Lisa Maatz, AAUW Director of Public Policy and Government Relations, then do something about it (click on links).

Bear with me for a moment as I share some numbers:

  • More than 200,000 women are in the active-duty military, making up 14.5 percent of the active-duty force.
  • Nearly 3,200 cases of sexual assault in the military were reported in 2010, yet the Department of Defense estimates the actual number of assaults to be at least 19,000 since most cases are never reported.
  • Of the sexual assault cases reported to military officials, only 8 percent of the attackers in those cases were prosecuted in the military court system – compared with 40 percent of similar offenders prosecuted in the civilian court system.

Eight percent. And even if the military justice system convicts a perpetrator of sexual assault, the perpetrator’s commander, someone with no legal training whatsoever, can throw out that conviction at their own discretion – even the president of the United States cannot overturn their decision.

Yesterday I stood with two of our nation’s veterans as they recounted their experiences with sexual assault in the military. When Kelly Smith first reported her assault at age 19, investigators interrogated her for eight hours and accused her of lying. Although her attacker eventually signed a confession, Smith says he never appeared before a court martial and instead retired with full honors and benefits.

I also stood next to Jeremiah Arbogast, a retired Marine Corps member, who told his story from a wheelchair. He was left a paraplegic after his failed suicide attempt – a desperate action he took after he was sexually assaulted by a fellow Marine. As Arbogast said, we still have the world’s finest fighting force – but it is being threatened by too many sexual predators who are protected and allowed to stay in the military.

I joined these truly courageous veterans and our congressional champions on Capitol Hill yesterday to call for passage of the Sexual Assault Training Oversight and Prevention Act, or STOP Act, which would create an independent, professional office within the military to investigate, and prosecute sexual assault, instead of leaving the decisions in the hands of commanders who can act at their own discretion. The STOP Act would still keep the authority over sexual assault cases in the military—just not in the hands of individual commanders who are not trained to handle these cases. AAUW believes the result will be the kind of confidential and thorough investigative process necessary in the face of such crimes.

Join me in urging your representative to cosponsor the STOP Act and fundamentally change how sexual assault is handled in the military. 

We have to do something about those numbers I mentioned. We have to do something to prevent experiences like those of Kelly Smith and Jeremiah Arbogast from happening again. Urge your representative to cosponsor the STOP Act (H.R. 1593) today. 

 

 

 

Thoughtful Thursday: Whose Happiness?

The Dalai Lama says, 

“If you want others to be happy,  practice compassion. If you want to

be happy, practice compassion.”

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