Proof that Global Warming is not the “H” word

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There is actually truth behind those tree huggers’ cry for saving the polar bears.

By Clara Elliott

Okay. So let’s get real… I hope I’m not the only one that cringes or rolls their eyes every time someone brings up polar bears becoming extinct or the fact that we will be swimming/melting before we know it. And I have certainly been one to say the “H” word in response. Yup, it’s just a “hoax” I would say and only groups of uneducated hippies are the ones buying it. Seriously though it seems like a big conspiracy that only ignorant people are buying into. A logical mind would say “hmm well according to NBC Illinois this year had its 17th coldest February on record. Cold hard facts (no pun intended) seem to point to the world not getting warmer.” That’s what I would have said too, until I sat through a guest lecture concerning climate change and global warming.  It was then that I started to grasp what it really was and that it is certainly not a hoax. 9 times out of 10 people don’t really understand what global warming is or what it means. Yes it has to do with the world getting “warmer,” but not the “we are all going to melt in a hundred years” kind of way. In this post I’m going to lay out some of my findings from the experts and enlighten you a bit on what some of the global effects are. It is up to you what you do with this information, whether you just end with more perspective or maybe it will be encourage you to explore ways in which you can take action.

Let’s talk a little science right quick. Don’t freak out on me, I got bored in Science at school too. I’ll make this as painless as possible. So first off global warming; this little sucker is a result of greenhouse gases making a sort of blanket in the atmosphere thus trapping (essentially in simple terms) the sun’s heat. Now it does not trap all of the sun’s heat, just more than it should be as of late. It kind of works like a windshield on a car, sun shines in and the heat gets trapped if the other windows are not open. And because of this blanket getting thicker due to humanities influence, the amount of heart that gets trapped increase ever so slowly. Now the result is climate change, as in the climate is getting warmer of course. I want to pause and point out something very crucial that is pretty much the biggest misconception among this generation and clearing this up will be the key for many of you. It is ‘global’ warming, not the specific place you are standing in warming. We are talking the overall global average temperature, which is very different than Illinois’s temperature in February. According to this link www2.ucar.edu/news/what-average-global-temperature-now the average global temp is about 58.0 F degrees, not very hot right? No big deal. This is Global Warming we are talking about right and that is not really that hot…. Exactly, it is Global Warming we are talking about, which according to NASA’s website on climate change (which in the ‘facts’ section it has all of this info and more..) the earth has had a rise in temperature of 1.3 degrees. This doesn’t seem like much or very hot, but when we are looking at the effects of just one degree increase for the earth as a whole, it’s huge.

"Betrayal," by Mario Sánchez Nevado (Aégis Illustration, http://aegis-strife.net)

“Betrayal,” by Mario Sánchez Nevado (Aégis Illustration, http://aegis-strife.net)

Now that we know what Global Warming really is, let’s look over this “proof” stuff. This climate change and mega increase in greenhouse gases is undeniably from humanities influence. Evidence and proof is in the effects. Shrinking Ice sheets, which has led to sea levels have rising over the last century a little over 6 inches and the rate it has increased over the last decade has doubled. Ocean acidification which is caused by the water absorbing the greenhouse gases particularly the biggest one Carbon Dioxide (this is a big thanks to our little industrial revolution) this is in result killing species of fish and effecting coral reefs growth. Extrme weather events are also an effect of Global Warming which we have seen a major increase over the last decades. All this info is not from me a simple little undergrad, but the experts from NASA. Something I would like to add is that not only is Global Warming not a hoax, but it’s global effects on human security isn’t either, it’s very very real. Things like agricultural and food security are really effected by an incrrase in extreme weather events such as draught, in which case impoverished countries are the ones that get the brunt of it. You see? And this is only one quick example.. I hope this brief overview of a simple student’s findings over the obused term ‘Global Warming,’ has given you more persective on this touchy subject. It is undeniable that Global Warming is happening, but what I wonder is; are you the person reading this going to take the next step and look into what you can do to help the adaptation process? To look into what this proof and evidence really means in light of it’s effects? If not for your sake will you look into it for the sake of those within impoverished countries that can’t?

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Religious Freedom Laws vs. the LGBT Community in the U.S.

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By Eric Martinez

Source: glaad.orgIn today’s America, 2015, we live in a world where the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, & Transgender community is under constant attack, scrutiny, and discrimination from intolerant religious fundamentalists who take refuge for blatant acts of hatred behind the constitutional protections of the First Amendment. In the same free country, at this same time in history, neo-liberal progressives along with the far-left mainstream media are at war with America’s traditionalists who simply wish to preserve the rights guaranteed to them and uphold their moral values unlike the “anything goes” policies of current day Europe. Are you with me? Here’s what I’m getting at: every coin has two sides, and in this day and age, if you want to effectively advocate for anything, you have to start by being wiling to step out of your self-consumed idealistic bubble of how the world “should be” and have the modesty to embrace the idea of negotiation. Otherwise, there’s not much that distinguishes you from the rowdy, screaming, angry protester picketing outside on a street corner except for your common exercising of free speech. And that said, I’m speaking directly to folks on both sides of this issue.

Facts & Discrimination

At this point, I’m going to assume that by now we are all aware of the issues transpiring within our country, particularly in Indiana with regards to business owners turning away LBGT people on the precedent that it’s against their religion and it’s their first amendment prerogative to do so. Let me begin by establishing some facts on the issue and by that we can further delve into this topic and hopefully come away with some productive conclusions.

According to various sources:

  • As of 1993, there are 21 states which have enacted Religious Freedom Restoration Acts which ensures the notion of “religious freedom” for citizens is protected (NCSL 2015).
  • Contrary to the former, the ACLU illustrates that currently 21 states have passed non-discrimination laws based on sexual orientation, 18 of which have anti-discrimination laws against sexual orientation as well as gender identity (ACLU 2015).
  • To gauge where we the country stands on the gay marriage issue from a comparative approach, today there are 37 states that recognize same-sex marriage in addition to the District of Columbia, 11 states (including Texas) where pro-gay marriage court cases are pending, and only 2 states in the U.S. that have effective gay-marriage bans and lawsuits have been filed (Freedom 2015).

These facts shine a light on how split the American public, or legislatures are on the LGBT rights. Much like segregation experienced by African Americans in the 1950s and 60s, the LGBT community has faced its fair share of inequality and have had to fight tooth-and-nail politically to accomplish the progress that they have today. It is an absolute violation of human rights when this demographic of Americans citizens are denied the privileges and rights that are enjoyed by other Americans. It is similarly discrimination to fullest extent, and the only difference that distinguishes this issue from the segregation issues of the past, are the specific people being targeted which exposes the irony that perhaps the Civil Rights Act of 1964 failed to include the words “sexual orientation.”

The Constitution

President Bill Clinton signs the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in the White House Rose Garden on Nov. 16, 1993.

President Bill Clinton signs the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in the White House Rose Garden on Nov. 16, 1993.

In opening my article, I pledged to be objective and empathetic towards both sides of the issue. In doing so, I’d like to shift our attention to the matter of religious freedom of expression. As you’re already aware, our First Constitutional Amendment grants every U.S. citizen the right to freely practice their own religion uninhibited by Congress or the government. Following this is the Free Exercise Clause, which specifically states that “opinion, expression of opinion, and practice were all expressly protected.” (Findlaw 2015) This law serves as a model for our society’s tolerance of religious differences and the celebration of those individuals who believe different from us. It’s not a tool to oppress just as it’s not a device to degrade or demean. This hypocrisy is completely apparent to me when opponents of religious freedom acts are intolerant of private business owners who feel completely uncomfortable with engaging in providing particular services to patrons that starkly contrast with their moral and religious beliefs. And as if that we not enough, hard-liner leftists wish to penalize those owners who refuse service. That idea in itself is extremely radical and specifically discriminatory towards the rights of private business owners. Now that we’ve looked at the full-spectrum of debate, we’re brought back to square one.

What If?…

As mentioned earlier, discrimination of any form by way of gender, race, religion, ethnicity, age (over 18), and sexual orientation or identity cannot and should not have a place in today’s society. Likewise, private business owners should not be forced to provide “particular” services to patrons that starkly infringe on their constitutional rights. What do I mean by particular? Well, let’s assume private business owner John Smith owns a bakery. A homosexual couple enter into his place of business and ask for a cake to be made with their intention of serving it at their wedding. John Smith has no right to encroach on the couple’s privacy, their right of the 14th Amendment, by interrogating them with questions as to why their cake ought to be made or for what purpose the cake will serve. Under that same constitutional amendment (14), that couple also has legitimacy to be in John Smith’s store, as they are U.S. citizens who employ “equal protection under the law.” John Smith, assuming that the couple is homosexual, makes it clear to them at that point in time that he can bake the cake, but for reasons of “personal interests”, he will not be catering to wedding. In addition to that, he can “restrictively” decorate their cake. John Smith is not forced by law to apply suggestive figurines, endorse names or apply suggestive phrases. He is simply compelled by federal law to bake the couple a big nice beautiful cake and to not discriminate them in any way made apparently obvious. A contract is then formed and owner & customer are both benefactors.

Takeaways

untitled2That is a gloriously idealistic portrait of how things could be. It’s really how things should be. In all reality, we presume that the homosexual couple would probably not go to John Smith’s store in the first place. If they had no choice, at the very least they know that they wouldn’t be discriminated against. What I’ve attempted to do here is provide you a situational example of what constitutional law and LGBT equal rights would look like in a 21st century America. The extreme supporters for and against this polarizing issue will not and are not ever going to come together to compromise. It’s not a perfect solution, but I can guarantee that it’s better than what we have now. I strongly advocate for the creation of federal legislation that bans discrimination of the LGBT community in public and private businesses while protecting the basic religious freedoms of public and private business owners. What kind of bill is that? You may ask. It’s a bill that the gives LGBT citizens the right to basic services offered by public and private businesses alike, specifically outlined for avoidance of discrepancy, and offers the LGBT people certain but perhaps restrictive services bound to the confides federal guidelines. In other words, LGBT are provided equal and fair services of public and private business so long as they do no blatantly impede the religious views of those businesses. I’m asking you today to join me in advocating for a cause that is actual obtainable. Fight for something that has a breathing chance and that people will actually listen to. In 2015, small, progressive steps is the key to how monumental change can be made. This idea in itself may seem arrogant or blasphemous, however when you are advocating for a middle-of-the-road solution, there’s always going to be backlash. In a perfect world we could all get what we want, but as for now, we must live with all live together regardless of our differences, and continue to strive for the equality of all humans while preserving the constitutional laws that got us here. This is not a matter of state’s rights but rather a matter of universal human rights and civil liberties.

A Generation of Poverty

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By Joe West

Picture this: a place where almost half of the population lives below the poverty line, that’s infested with rats, is battling with a major AIDS epidemic, and home to the worst food insecurity in its country. Some of you might immediately picture a region or city in Sub-Saharan Africa or one of the many slums in South America.

Not Nigeria, not the Congo, not a favela in Rio. This place is right here in the United States.

Just a 10-minute drive from Yankee Stadium, actually. The South Bronx.

In 1995, Jonathan Kozol, an award-winning educator/writer/activist, published yet another incredible work on schooling and poverty in America, Amazing Grace: The Lives of Children and the Conscience of a Nation.

Kozol-1996Amazing Grace puts a spotlight on Mott Haven, one of the poorest areas of not only the South Bronx but the United States. Kozol describes schools, hospitals, and the often rat-infested homes of Mott Haven…all of which are dangerously overpopulated and drastically underfunded.

Much of what Kozol details is tough to read. Between the drug addiction, violence, sickness, depression, and death, it is hard to picture Mott Haven as anything but a dark and hopeless neighborhood.

However, there are still some bright spots in Amazing Grace. This bright spot comes from the children of Mott Haven. Throughout Amazing Grace, Kozol befriends several of the youngsters of the South Bronx. Many of them would defy the typical urban stereotype we have come to correlate with the ghetto. Bright, hopeful, generous, God-fearing, and sometimes quite funny, the children of Mott Haven are the lone face of resilience in this often destitute place.

Although Amazing Grace was published nearly 20 years ago, it bears just as much relevance now as it did then. As of last year, the South Bronx had around 260,000 of its residents living below the poverty line. That’s 40%, making it once again the ‘poorest neighborhood in America.’

Kozol, though stopping short of offering a specific solution to the problem, does plenty by telling the stories of the teachers, students, ministers, and even drug dealers of Mott Haven. If anything, Kozol seeks to answer the question: how long will we stand idly by while a quarter of a million of our own people rot away in poverty?

Here we are, 20 years later, still awaiting an answer.

“I have seen a generation die. Some of them was killed with guns. Some lost their minds from drugs. Some from disease…I’ve been here in this building 24 years and I have seen it all.” ~Mrs. Flowers

For further reading on the South Bronx:

http://americanrealities.org/locations/south_bronx/

Kozol’s “Education Action!” fund:

http://www.jonathankozol.com/education-action-fund/

Adopt, Don’t Shop!

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By Sophia Constantine

dog photoI recently became a volunteer for the brand new Denton County Animal Shelter and after comparing it to the conditions of the old facility, it gives a whole new meaning to the word makeover. The old shelter had paint ripping off the walls, doors that wouldn’t shut, and of course it reeked of animal urine. The new shelter opened the first week of March, its windows are always clean of animal slobber, the play yard gives the animals plenty of space to run around, and you can smell a light hint of vanilla air freshener.

The whole purpose of animal shelters is to return lost pets, and adopt those who are abandoned or surrendered. Most animal shelters, including the Denton County Animal Shelter, offer all inclusive animal adoption fees. This means the spay/neuter, microchip, all vaccinations, de-worm treatments, and all basic veterinary care is included in the adoption fee. Generally shelters or humane societies range in price from one hundred to two hundred dollars but the Denton County Animal Shelter is just sixty dollars. Many of their older pets, or pets who have a harder time being adopted, have an adoption fee of just thirty dollars. That’s right! That low price includes all the veterinary care and microchip.

I work for North Texas Television, the UNT news station, and I recently did a story on my experience and a review of the Denton County Animal Shelter. Check it out here (16:40-18:27).

The Denton County Animal Shelter is one of the cleanest facilities I’ve seen. The facility is run by the Denton Police Department and the staff are some of the friendliest people in Denton. It is obvious that they truly care about the animals. They recently hired a new marketing specialist and they have seen a 15% increase in adoption rates since they were hired two months ago. I joined their Facebook page this past January and although it saddens me when I see a post on my news feed advertising an animal who was recently surrendered, or one who was found as a stray, my favorite thing about this shelter is that they post a photo of every animal and its new owner to their page once its been adopted. It’s so uplifting to see all kinds of people who have a heart for these animals that were once thrown away without a second thought.

Two years ago I rescued a 2 year old German Shepherd/ Lab mix and I’m currently looking to rescue another so she’ll have a play mate. I’m looking for another German Shepherd and I used to believe that you couldn’t necessarily pick the breed of dog if you wanted to adopt from a shelter. However, over the past three months I have seen multiple siberian huskies, a corgi, two great Pyrenees, a doberman, and even a pomeranian. So if your looking for a specific breed of dog or cat, give it time. The shelter sees between four hundred and five hundred animals a month so with a little patience you are bound to get just the dog you’ve been waiting for.

There are millions of animals each day that sit in cages waiting to be rescued. Most all of us are capable of taking care of a pet so I’m asking you to consider adopting one yourself. If you’re considering bringing an animal into your life, please don’t buy from a breeder. The love and affection you receive from a rescue animal is ten times more than a breeder animal. These animals deserve a second chance and after my review, I believe the Denton County Animal Shelter is a great place adopt your pet!

3 Keys to a Successful Relationship

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By Kyle Atwater

Part of being a human means having relationships. When you are with a group of friends, relationships will always occupy some portion of the conversation, if not the majority. Because of that, relationships have the ability to bring the greatest joys of life or the greatest hurts. The reason I wanted to write this blog post was not because I know everything there is to know about dating, but rather to share what has worked for me and what I have seen in successful, healthy relationships. I’ve seen first hand relationships fail. My parents were married for almost 30 years and recently divorced. Because of that I have watched successful relationships, sought wisdom and come up with 3 crucial components a relationship must do well in order to be healthy. Hopefully by sharing these, it will help to eliminate some of the heartache, anger, and strife that come from broken relationships.

1. Gentleness

Where gentleness is void a relationship crumbles. There is a difference between being close to someone and being close by someone. Being close to someone includes sharing the depth of your dreams, feelings, and fears where being close by someone revolves around duty and responsibility. If there is gentleness, it lays a foundation that sets the other person up for success. Each person will seek affection and gentleness no matter what, so you would rather it come from you than a co-worker, friend, or someone outside the relationship. Ultimately, gentleness leads to a deeper intimacy with one another.

2. Selflessness

In a relationship there has to be a “we” mentality, not an “I” mentality. Healthy relationships are more concerned with the other instead of yourself. For example, if you are more concerned with winning an argument than growing the relationship, then you might have a lot of wins under your belt but a very dissatisfied and frustrated partner. Being selfless means you treat the other lovingly no matter how they react or respond to you. Love is not contingent upon circumstance or emotion.

3. Sex

Sex is designed for marriage. This takes a lot of patience and self-control to implement but if you don’t have patience you will harm a healthy relationship or prolong an unhealthy one. Sex before marriage teaches couples to communicate on a surface level. Instead of talking and sharing intimately through words, sex teaches you to communicate without words. What happens when she is not attractive? What happens when he gets deployed? What happens when there is anger present? Sex is not meant to be the first step of communication, but rather the follow through of affection and love.

Giving Birth — Who is actually in charge?

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By Daniel Chavez

Back in August 2014, I found that as a 24-year-old 5th year senior, I was having a baby of my own. Keep in mind, I am a male, so the idea usually hits men and women differently. To me, it wasn’t the perfect timing, but it was pretty much the closest thing to perfect it can be. I mean, I’m graduating my undergrad in May 2016. But boy what I scared. Definitely couldn’t show it, I needed my girlfriend to know I wasn’t some scrub and would leave, so I stepped up. I ended up reading all of the books, watching all of the movies, reading all of the blogs, just trying to figure out what I needed to expect. I felt so ready–then April 14, 2015 came along. My daughter was born at 5:24pm after only 5 hours of labor (luckily).

As the days passed in the pregnancy, I felt more and more excited. She, on the other hand, was getting more and more scared. Another reason I had to step up. Eventually she was asking ME questions about HER pregnancy. Once we reach about 36 weeks, I start wondering the exact process of labor & delivery. I found out the exact route I’d take to the hospital, where she needs to go, who I need to talk to, everything. I was ready. But I didn’t know what was going to happen when the “time” comes. I’ve noticed that older men and women had different views on their choice of advice, but nonetheless they all have their own specific way of doing things. And if you’re not doing it the way they are, you’re wrong. Sometimes I was confirmed with my preparations and sometimes I was apparently incompetent. When the day came, I had no idea what was to happen. I kept feeling my body drop to flush white, super sweaty, I was super nervous.

Untitled

Then we got word that it’s happening. Her contractions were close enough, her water was broken, and everything was going well. Just needed to push. In my head I kept saying, “this is what you’ve trained for!” as if I’m going into battle. Turns out I ended up being a pretty good breathing coach. Her epidural was kicked in and she didn’t feel a thing, so the only worry was helping her breath and push. Honestly, that was all it took. Trick I learned, though, when taking a break in between big pushes, just comb her hair. It relaxes her just enough to get a good push in without over exerting—at least, it worked for me. Luckily everything happened safe and sound. Leading up to this, I was so worried about the labor process and what I was going to do. Only thing that gave me a problem was when the nurse showed me the epidural needle right after I told him I hated needles.

So today, two days after the birth of my daughter, I can say this: It is the most beautiful thing in the world and stressing so much about the labor and delivery is just unnecessary stress. Seriously was not as bad as everybody made it sound. Plus, once you see your son or daughter you just melt and everything goes out the window. My advice to men and women in this situation and preparing for such a blessing is to take every piece of advice with a grain of salt. Consider all advice but nothing is absolute. There’s only two people that are absolute in what they have to say, that’s the woman’s doctor and of course, the woman (pregnant women are always right). EVERY WOMAN is different throughout this process and nobody else can know what they are going through. Trust in the woman and doctor, and remember, this is your time and ultimately is it your life—experience it.

Untitled2Left: First picture with Mom and Daughter. My beautiful girlfriend Kirsten and our newest addition, Blakely Dawn Chavez. Born 8lb 6oz at 21 1/2 inches.

Blind Discrimination: What You Should Know About the Struggles of Same-Sex Couples

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By Brandy Kunze

Source: PinterestWhat if you had no rights to a child you raised from birth and there was nothing you could do about it?

Across America same-sex couples are being unfairly treated when it comes to their rights. While some states allow same-sex couples to marry, even these couples aren’t offered the same incentives as heterosexual couples married in the same states. One example of a couple treated unfairly due to their sexual orientation is April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse of Michigan. These nurses and licensed foster moms have been together for 10 years. They have three children, two of which were considered special needs for a period of their childhood, and they are great, loving parents to all of their children. Sounds like a normal family, right? Wrong. Michigan law only acknowledges marriage between one male and one female. This couple performed a commitment ceremony in 2007 which some might consider to be the “alternative” to marriage but, that is not the case. Legally married citizens receive more benefits than we even think about and commitment ceremonies don’t offer these same luxuries. For instance, Michigan and many other similar states prohibit two people whom are not legally married to adopt children. That means that even though these two, DeBoer and Rowse, have jointly raised their children from infancy, only one can have legal rights to the child. This restriction started their case in the Michigan court and have now brought it all the way to the Supreme Court. This case is finally bringing to light all the discriminatory rights which are given to only heterosexual couples. “There are 1,138 benefits, rights and protections available to married couples in federal law alone,” and most of them same-sex couples aren’t eligible for. Gaymarriage.procon.org and amnestyusa.org/our-work/issues/lgbt-rights/marriage-equality have both created lists of some of the rights unmarried couples lack. I have used these lists to create a list of the challenges same-sex couples face including:

  • Prohibiting a partner from making decisions on a partner’s behalf when she or he is sick;
  • Prohibiting a partner from visiting a partner’s child in hospital;
  • Preventing couples from sharing equal rights and equal responsibility for children in their care;
  • Preventing a partner and children from receiving employment-based benefits and being covered by health insurance;
  • Preventing inheritance from a deceased partner going to a surviving partner if he or she dies without a valid will.
  • Denying some people the option to marry is discriminatory and creates a second class of citizens.
  • Denying the option of filing a joint tax return to reduce a tax burden
  • Denying US residency and family unification for partners from another country
  • Denying protections if the relationship ends, such as child custody, spousal or child support, and an equitable division of property
  • The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the US Department of Labor also recognize married couples, but not domestic partners, for the purpose of granting tax, retirement and health insurance benefits.
  • Denying marriage benefits will incur an additional $41,196 to $467,562 in expenses over same-sex couples lifetimes

These are just some of the rights which same-sex couples are excluded from. Now, you are probably thinking what about the states which allow same-sex marriage? While it is a start, federal law does not consider these marriages which means that their rights are very limited. Couple which have the same hopes for their relationships as similar heterosexual couples are denied their chance for equality. This isn’t a fight for gay marriage, but the chance for marriage equality! What can we do? SUPPORT EQUALITY FOR ALL! Think about it, have you ever seen an African American whom is C.E.O or even manager of a company? Are you a woman who has ever voted in an election? Better yet, have you seen an interracial couple walking down a street and not thought it was unacceptable? Times have changed and we have evolved as a country for the better. Each of these are rights which have previously been prohibited and now are rights we feel we deserve. So what about them? Straight or gay we must all give homosexual couples the chances and the freedoms for which they deserve. Love doesn’t require two genders, we all love and are loved. It is our turn to help them get those rights and create families and relationships like the ones we are able to create. Until Federal law states that marriage is a union between two people, same or opposite sex, there is no justice.

Source: idahostatesman.com

How To Find Your Little Princess Her Own Christian Grey!

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By Jessen McAleer

(Because well, you’re too old and no longer innocent, submissive, OR a virgin…)

Source: Saboteur365 (saboteur365.wordpress.com)

STEP 1: Find a famous, single, hot, young billionaire. Oh, and did I mention his “playroom”?

STEP 2: Have your little Princess display innocent wonder upon seeing Grey Wannabe’s “playroom.”

Princess, “What deep, dark toys you have.”

Grey Wannabe, “The better to please me with!”

STEP 3: Your Princess simply flatters his ego, while bowing, stooping, and cowering to his every demand, desire, belt, whip, threat, or other bloodletting ritual.

STEP 4: She accepts his proposal, knowing that if she just submits ENOUGH, she can heal the abused little boy inside.

Oh yeah, happens all the time. Unless you are that 1 out of 3 women who are sexually abused or threatened due to Intimate Partner Violence.

STEP 5: They live “happily ever after,” like a fairytale!

More realistically and statistically, life is: ER visits, lying to hospital staff about injuries, and finally either restraining orders or a nice burial.

The only way this story ends “happily ever after” like a fairytale is if lots of fairies tell LOTS of tales…

Revisiting El Salvador’s Civil War

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By Royce Morales

In the Name of the People is the name of the documentary that shows the hardships and struggles that peasant farmers go through, while being oppressed with United States foreign aid. Almost all of El Salvador’s land was controlled by a few wealthy elite, and worked by thousands of poor peasants. To understand El Salvador’s civil war, one must look back to 1932, when communist peasant farmer Farabundo Martí organized a movement to break up the wealthy landowner’s estates, which resulted in the military government of the newly succeeded right-wing dictator, Maximiliano Hernández Martínez, to call for a “peace meeting” among the government and Martí’s group. This meeting went sour, and led to Martínez massacring tens of thousands of Salvadorans in what would become known as La Matanza (the slaughter). From this point on, El Salvador’s land was held by two percent of the population, and the other ninety-eight percent were peasants, all while being ruled by military dictatorships for fifty years.

Source: Magnum Photos (Susan Meisalas)

Fifty years of oppression and authoritarian rule, the Salvadoran people could only take so much. Those who believed in the struggle and witnessed it left their homes, rich or poor, to join the movement. Students who witnessed political suppression in the urban areas fled to the jungles to join one of the five groups that made up the FMLN (Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front), and fight for the struggle. Peasants like Magdaleno in In the name of the People at 4:06, explained that he had no choice, he could not feed his family, provide them with clothing or education. Magdaleno joined because of the injustices he witnessed and experienced, where no intellectual or political debate would save him from the troubles he had, only revolution.

After these people did everything they could legally, they organized themselves, essentially into civil society groups: student organizations, worker and farmer unions, and demanded that the military end their half-century rule over El Salvador. The military ruler at that time, General Humberto Romero, countered the protests with police security forces and death squads, oppressing innocent people. Leftist and moderate elements of the military realized that their country was on the verge of collapse, and staged a coup against the government in 1979, which in turn was replaced by a junta government, or a government that is made up of civilian and military members. The military junta promised to carry out major reforms: redistribution of land, legitimate elections, and an end to human rights violations.

The United States was quick to identify itself with the junta as being a legitimate government, and supplied the regime with significant military and economic aid. Large landowners and right-wing elements of the military were not pleased with the junta’s radical reforms, and it soon became clear that the new government could not control these extremist elements of the military and the death squads. The Archbishop of San Salvador, Oscar Romero, begged the United States publicly to stop sending aid to the junta government and that the Salvadoran soldiers quit killing people, he was murdered in broad daylight not even twenty four hours after his message. During his funeral, thousands of people gathered in the streets of San Salvador, and suddenly bombs go off, killing hundreds of people within minutes.

These two acts of violence are what sparked the Salvadoran civil war, and led to the formation of guerillas against the junta government. Many other crimes against humanity happened during this war, such as the El Mozote Massacre, in which paramilitary death squads trained in the United States by the C.I.A. and armed with weapons paid for with American tax dollars killed over eight hundred people including hundreds of women and children. The Río Lempa massacre, where around six hundred peasants, mostly women and children, were murdered trying to cross the river out of El Salvador into neighboring Honduras. These events among the slaughtering of numerous priests, midwives, doctors, and patients needing medical attention were common during the El Salvador civil war.Source: Daniel Schmidt (latinamericanmusings.wordpress.com)

For me, these events are not something that should just be swept under the rug. Not only are they too close to home, in America’s “backyard”, but also that just brushing these events off as “collateral damage” or “historical inefficiencies” is simply ignorant. These massacres were paid for and supported in full by elements of the United States government, to the point that paramilitary death squads were personally flown to Benning, Georgia to be trained in counterinsurgency tactics at the School of the Americas. When is it enough? When will the average American be historically aware of the violations and atrocities we have supported? This is not ancient history, there are videos, pictures, detailed reports on these things that have happened, and very recently. What are your thoughts on this documentary? I encourage you to watch this film and provide feedback on my post; I would enjoy hearing from other people and also contending viewpoints on the subject. Please, watch this film and enjoy:

5 Tips to Get Hired at a Sweatshop

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By Kaitlyn Massie

Are you unemployed? Are you in desperate need of a job to provide for your family? Then look no further! There are thousands of job opportunities in the Sweatshop field. Here are five tips to getting hired at a sweatshop.

1. Look the part. Employers at these sweatshops prey on… I mean… look for a particular kind of person to help build their businesses. Generally they hire those that are under the age of 15, look impoverished, and are desperate to provide for their family. Source: http://pixshark.com/child-labor-today-sweatshops.htmIn developing countries, an estimated 250 million children ages 5 to 14 are forced to work in sweatshops.

2. Be a diligent worker. Most employees at sweatshops work 70 hours a week. Sometimes, 18-hour days with one lunch break. You need to be able to match this or more, or you will be looked over.

It takes an apparel worker in a sweatshop an average of working 70 hours per week to exceed the average income for their country.

3. Don’t be picky with your hourly wage. Yes, you may have made a decent wage at your old job, but now you will do anything to put food on the table for your family. You must be willing to accept a little pay cut. If you’re lucky, $2.50 per hour.Source: http://fashion.lilithezine.com/Nike-Sweatshops-in-China.htmlIn China, more than 482 million people live on less than $2 a day.

4. Be female if possible. Let’s face it, employers see women as vulnerable, easy labor. If you already have this going for you, you’re ahead of the game. Just as long as you are okay with being forced to take birth control and routine pregnancy tests to avoid having babies. Employers feel that they will just get in the way of all your hard work you provide to their company.

Women make up 85 to 90% of sweatshop workers.

5. Love your job. Once you get the job. it will be your life. Day in and day out will be consumed with sewing jerseys or lacing athletic shoes. You will be criticized, given maybe one break a day, and work your fingers to the bone. So you better enjoy it.Source: http://www.saybrookproductions.com/photography/labor.php