July 30th, 2012

thebirds, que

L.A. Times' "Beyond 7 Billion" Series: Dream Out of Reach

From The Atlantic Gallery: "The crowded maternity ward of the government-run Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital in Manila, Philippines, on June 1, 2011. The ward, the busiest in the country, sees an average of 60 births every day. The Philippines' population growth rate of around 2.0 percent is above Southeast Asia's average of around 1.7 percent, with an estimated 200 babies born every hour. Lack of a national policy on birth control and access to modern family planning methods - frowned upon by the powerful Catholic church - are some of the factors that have led to the country's population ballooning to nearly 100 million, according to various government and private sector estimates, with the Philippines the second most populous nation in the region after Indonesia. (Reuters/Cheryl Ravelo)"

Writer:  Kenneth R. Weiss

L.A. Times' short summary: In the Philippines, access to contraceptives is limited for the most part to those with the means to pay. The Catholic Church has fought a "reproductive health bill" in the legislature that would change that.

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Source is worth a visit due to additional informative graphics that I did not add to the post.  Also, my apologies at the inserted [OP: ...] comments.  I get really into this stuff and some of the quotes from the church folk are just indescribable.

Part of L.A. Times' "Beyond 7 Billion" series, the writer explores how the population boom is going to have a global impact as the biggest generation start having children.  chose this article among other pieces because it mirrors the current struggles we in the U.S. (women and supporters of birth control rights) are having with certain parties who have no business discussing encroaching on our decisions about private parts and private choices and private lives.  Private.  

It's a relief that there are discussions and a movement that's in favor of the RH Bill.  The rich have access to BC methods, but the poor need it; not just pills and condoms, but sex education overall, as well.  As mentioned in the article, the current president has been threatened by the church with excommunication.  Some of his constituents welcome the threat of excommunication if it means the passage of the bill.

I wish them the best.

For those who are interested, here are the other installments currently available:
The Biggest Generation

Tinderbox of Youth
Hunger Without End
The China Effect

Previous ONTD_P posts about the 7 billion population issues.

Rob Ford’s office issues statement after photo with neo-Nazi posted

Mayor Rob Ford was once again thrust into the spotlight after a photo of him grinning alongside a local neo-Nazi musician was made public on Thursday.

The photo taken at the 2012 New Year Levee shows a perspiring Rob Ford with his arm around Jon Latvis, who is allegedly a member of a band called RAHOWA (Racial Holy War).

The photo was uploaded by former Liberal strategist Warren Kinsella to his personal website in a post entitled “Toronto mayor’s far-right friend,” with the question “Why is Toronto’s mayor palsy with a former neo-Nazi icon?”

This prompted Rob Ford’s office to issue a statement saying the mayor was unaware of the man’s past comments and behaviour and the photo was one of several hundred he took that evening.

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Metro News

israelis r just better amirite

Romney: Israel’s Superior Economy To Palestinians Result Of ‘Culture,’ ‘Providence'

Mitt Romney offered up a curious assessment of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at a fundraiser in Jerusalem on Sunday, suggesting that Palestinian suffering — rather than an obstacle to peace — was actually an encouraging sign of Israel’s greatness.

“I was thinking this morning as I prepared to come into this room of a discussion I had across the country in the United States about my perceptions about differences between countries,” Romney told a group of high-dollar donors at a fundraiser in Jerusalem’s King David Hotel. “As you come here and you see the GDP per capita, for instance, in Israel which is about $21,000 dollars, and compare that with the GDP per capita just across the areas managed by the Palestinian Authority, which is more like $10,000 per capita, you notice such a dramatically stark difference in economic vitality.”

As the Associated Press noted, Romney actually got the numbers very wrong: Israel’s GDP per capita was $31,000 in 2011 and Palestinians’ per capita GDP was just $1,500. Romney at no point mentioned that the Palestinian territories have for decades been occupied without sovereign control, where residents face significant restrictions on movement and employment.

“It is a racist statement and this man doesn’t realize that the Palestinian economy cannot reach its potential because there is an Israeli occupation,” Saeb Erakat, a senior Palestinian Authority official, told the AP.

Romney attributed the gap in success in part to Israel’s “culture.”

“Culture makes all the difference,” Romney said. “And as I come here and I look out over this city and consider the accomplishments of the people of this nation, I recognize the power of at least culture and a few other things.” Among them, he cited “the hand of providence.”

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Gay Marriage Plank Will Be In Democratic Party Platform At Convention

WASHINGTON -- A Democratic Party source confirmed to The Huffington Post that the party will include a plank supporting marriage equality in its official platform at the upcoming convention.

The news, first reported by the Washington Blade, represents a historic and phenomenal win for LGBT rights groups, which could hardly have envisioned progress being made so quickly on this front.

The Democratic source relayed that officials unanimously agreed at a recent platform drafting committee meeting in Minneapolis to adopt language endorsing same-sex marriage. Several steps must be taken before the language is codified. A full platform committee will consider the draft in a meeting in Detroit in two weeks. It will then go to the convention delegates in Charlotte for final approval. But the deal is more or less final.

Retiring Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass), a member of the drafting committee who recently married his longtime partner, told the Advocate that the decision was reached without dissent.

"The fact is, by every action that should be taken, the Democrats in Washington have repudiated DOMA," he said, referring to the 1996 law signed by President Bill Clinton that barred the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriage.

According to the Blade, the "language in the platform approved on Sunday not only backs marriage equality, but also rejects DOMA and has positive language with regard to the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. The exact wording of the language wasn’t immediately available."Collapse )

Interracial Relationships Seen Through Eyes of Racist Young Adult Author

This is an essay written by the author of this quality publication (warning, autoload video which will blow you away with its offensiveness) that appeared in the Huffington Post.

I was wondering if there would be a backlash to the twist on racial issues I present in my new Young Adult novel, Save The Pearls, Part One, Revealing Eden.

This lack of objection does not come in a vacuum, either. Literally, dozens of bloggers, mostly in the YA and romance book community, have reviewed the book, along with such mainstream sources as The San Francisco Book Review, Fresh Fiction, The Midwest Book Review, and others.

Before you assume that this post is merely a means to flaunt those rave reviews, pay attention to what exactly this lack of racial commentary might mean.

First, some context: In the dystopian world of Revealing Eden, extreme solar radiation has wiped out most of the white race whose lack of melanin causes them to succumb to the Heat. The survivors, called Pearls, suffer from oppression under the new majority of dark-skinned Coals.

When Eden unwittingly compromises her father's secret biological experiment, perhaps mankind's only hope, she is cast out -- into the last patch of rainforest and the arms of a powerful beast-man she believes is her enemy, despite her overwhelming attraction to him. To survive, Eden must change -- but only if she can redefine her ideas of beauty -- and of love.

Her love interest, Bramford, is a Coal. So yeah, this is about an interracial relationship in a post-apocalyptic world. Or more narrowly, if you take out the question of race, a Beauty and the Beast story in which both parties must find self-acceptance (no story spoilers) before they can discover true love.

Not too many years ago, I can imagine that this story might have generated heated comments about the sexualized fantasies about black men. And yeah, there was one. And having checked out that blogger, I strongly suspect that he belongs to a much older generation than young adults.

Otherwise, I'm happily surprised to say there has been not a blip of protest.

So what does the lack of any racial outrage or puzzlement or fervor amidst the tremendous rain of positive reviews possibly say?

Conceivably, if the book had not reached the African-American community of readers, if such a category still exists, perhaps there might be some backlash. The first young African American reader who responded to me loved the book. But then, she's the kind of free spirit who would eschew limiting herself to a single category.

Or perhaps -- and this is what I hope -- the YA generation sees race in a way that is unique to them, unique in our history. After all, they have arrived on the scene decades past the integration of schools and Jim Crow, even well past the days of The Cosby Show.

Soap-mouth-washing words that were forbidden in my youth now populate rap songs so often I wonder if, happily, they have lost their vile connotations.

I have endeavored to raise my children with a color-free mentality. My son once mentioned that his color was white while mine was tan. This was said with no more feeling than if he'd been describing the different colors of our bedrooms.

No doubt most kids today would laugh at or find puzzling an incident that I now see influenced the way I thought about race in a blink of an instant.

Imagine this: a fourth grade girl with wild curly hair, huge green eyes and large bee-stung lips, her skin perpetually tanned from the Florida sun, stands alone waiting for her mother to pick her up after school. A large yellow school bus begins to pull away when a young boy sticks his head out of the window and hurls a racial slur at the girl.

Her first reaction is shame. He has slandered her with an ugly epithet -- a disgusting remark about her lips. Later, she wonders how he could possibly have mistaken her race. She is white, the remark usually targeted at blacks. (The term "African American" did not exist in that day.)

Confused and hurt, she wonders why her appearance should elicit such hatred. She hides this incident in the back of her mind and never repeats it to anyone until many years later when she writes a book in which she turns racial stereotypes upside down.

Only when I began to answer interview question and answers, did I recall the incident, and wonder how it had informed the story. Writers pluck bits and pieces from their lives and weave them, often unconsciously, only hoping the seams between reality and fiction do not show.

I am not naïve enough to think we live in a world without racial issues. In fact, I hope that my book will give those who have never experienced prejudice the opportunity to think about it in a new way, especially in terms of how our decaying environment one day may turn around the status quo.

The majority feeling that bloggers have expressed about Bramford: he's sexy, not because of his color, but because he's a strong hero. A comment on his beastly transformation at Bookies is the norm: "...became this sexy, strong, mysterious character who I fell in love with." Or as The Cozy Reading Corner writes: "Bramford is beastly... in a good way."

Or as Jean Vallesteros at Jean Book Nerd comments: "The relationship with Eden and Ronson is quite appealing. Although they are so opposite from one another, they discover something special in each other."

Primarily, the young adult community's comments on Revealing Eden have tended to embrace the way in which the protagonist learns to value her inner beauty. As Melissa Silva wrote for The Bookshelf: "A great story showing that you can't judge a book by its cover, and that beauty comes from within."

Which is the real message of the book, and why I love writing for open-minded young adults! Let's hope they carry a better view of the world into the future.

There are a lot of links at the source that I didn't transfer over here. You might want to check those out. The comments are closed, and the two that are up are positive. Hmmmmm.
  • yeats

Romney: Socialized Health Care Good For Israel, Not For U.S.

During a trip to Israel, Mitt Romney hailed the nation’s health care system for holding down costs and broadening coverage more effectively than the U.S.

The irony: Israel contains costs by adopting a very centralized, government-run health care system — anathema to Romney’s Republican Party.

“Do you realize what health care spending is as a percentage of the GDP in Israel? Eight percent. You spend eight percent of GDP on health care. You’re a pretty healthy nation,” he said Monday at a breakfast fundraiser, according to the New York Times. “We spend 18 percent of our GDP on health care, 10 percentage points more. That gap, that 10 percent cost, compare that with the size of our military — our military which is 4 percent, 4 percent. Our gap with Israel is 10 points of GDP. We have to find ways — not just to provide health care to more people, but to find ways to fund and manage our health care costs.”

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Source. personally, i'm really starting to like this "Eurotrip" remake.

‘Zombies’ show up to counter Westboro Baptist Church protestors

After reading this story, you may begin to see zombies in a whole new light. While they get a lot of criticism for their love of human flesh, it turns out that some zombies also go out of their way to support the troops.

The Westboro Baptist Church had recently announced that it would be holding one of its protests outside the Joint Base Lewis-McChord in DuPont, Washington. But last Friday, the controversial group was met with a far larger group of counterprotesters—dressed as zombies.

The controversial, Kansas-based church did not explain exactly why it was protesting in DuPont, but it has held a number of similar protests outside of military funerals in objection to gay rights.

That's when Melissa Neace and three of her friends organized the Facebook event "Zombie'ing Westboro Baptist Church AWAY from Fort Lewis!"

"I have decided that the most violent free way to protest back is simple... a zombie apocalypse. So I ask EVERYONE who is able to attend that day, please come dressed in your finest zombie outfit," Neace wrote on the page.

The event page received such a positive response that the zombies outnumbered the protestors by a reported level of 300 to 8, the News Tribune reported.

"We wanted to turn something negative around, into something people could laugh at and poke fun at," Neace told the paper. "It was the easiest way to divert attention from something so hateful."

"I think that their message is very hateful, and Jesus was not a hateful person. He loved everybody," counter-protestor Ashley Winslow told KIRO-TV.

Spouse a soldier at JLBM and I thought this was a fantastic way to handle these Westboro protesters. Wish I knew the woman who started this so I could thank her. Video and more pictures at the source.

Edited to add picture. Thanks for the person would told me how to put the damn thing in, because my HTMLing sucks.


Navy: Submarine fire set intentionally so worker could leave early

Navy investigators have determined that a civilian laborer set a fire that caused $400 million in damage to a nuclear-powered submarine because he had anxiety and wanted to get out of work early.

Casey James Fury of Portsmouth, N.H., faces up to life in prison if convicted of two counts of arson in the fire aboard the USS Miami attack submarine while it was in dry dock May 23 and a second blaze outside the sub on June 16.

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