The worst fears of Chicago Public School teachers and staffers were confirmed Friday when district officials announced it was laying off some 850 employees.
There’s been a lot of talk recently of GMO’s (Genetically Modified Organisms). Some think it’s no big deal, they think, what will a little every now and then hurt, or even all the time? Others, have no clue at all, and some people just love their food the way it is. They would rather have McDonalds than to try out the new vegan spot that just opened.
In the next few minutes I’ll attempt to clear the air a bit and put a few facts on the table by telling where it is GMO’s come from and how bad they actually are for you.
We find that GMO’s are found in almost everything from meats and vegetables to beverages and snacks. So what exactly are they and when did they first appear in our food supplies? “Genetically modified organisms” are plants or animals created through gene splicing techniques. This experimental technology merges DNA from different species creating unstable combinations of plant, animal, and bacteria genes that cannot naturally occur in nature or in traditional crossbreeding. These newly well-known organisms first made their way into our kitchens around 1994, when the first genetically known vegetable the ‘tomato’ (called Flavr Slavr) was modified to grow resistant to rotting by California company Calgene. Shortly after the tomato’s were released into the market and sold without labeling. Between 1997 and 1999, fueled by a Supreme Court ruling, we saw genetically modified ingredients appear in more than 2/3rds of all U.S. processed food. By 2005 the total surface of land affected had increased by a factor of 50, from 4.2 million acres to 222 million acres, 55% of which were in Brazil.
Today the Grocery Manufacturers of America estimate that 75% of all food in America contains a GMO ingredient. So the question now is, how bad are they for you? We shouldn’t expect that manufacturers would put anything in our food that is a huge health risk, or should we?
Scientists argue that there is more than enough food in the world so people should not be offered food that may carry some or any degree of risk. There has been several major events since the appearance of GMO’s that nudge the thought of this not being the brightest idea.
Here are a few of those events:
In 1996, Brazil nut genes were spliced into soybeans by a company called Pioneer Hi-Bred. Some individuals, however, are so allergic to this nut, they go into anaphylactic shock (similar to a severe bee sting reaction) which can cause death.
In 2005 Environmentalists say Australia faced "the most serious genetic contamination event" in its history, after the West Australian government confirmed low levels of genetically modified canola had been found in non-GM canola.
August 18, 2006, American exports of rice to Europe were interrupted when much of the U.S. crop was confirmed to be contaminated with unapproved engineered genes, possibly due to accidental cross-pollination with conventional crops.
As you can see, GM organisms can be fairly dangerous to human and animal health. The unprofessional mistake of “mixing the wrong batch” could possibly plague a small-to-moderate portion of a population. Or even the lack of labeling could lead someone who is highly allergenic to consume product with GM ingredients. Human studies show GM food can leave material behind inside us, possibly causing long-term problems, depending on the body. Genes inserted soy, for example, can transfer into the DNA of bacteria living inside us. The toxic insecticide produced by GM corn has been found in the blood of pregnant woman and their unborn fetuses. After the introduction of GMO’s the percentage of Americans with three or more chronic illnesses jumped from 7% to 13% in just 9 years. Since then, food allergies have skyrocketed, and disorders such as autism, reproductive disorders and digestive problems have become all the more common. Scientist believe that it is impossible to fully clean up our contaminated gene poll. And self-propagating GMO pollution will outlast the effects of global warming and nuclear waste. The potential impact is unbelievable, and threatening the health of future generations.
And so you have it, where do GMO’s come from and how bad are they. Well, how’s that for clearing the air? It’s still a bit smoggy, and there’s a lot of other facts about GMO’s out there waiting to be found, so begin your search. And remember, think cautiously before choosing McDonalds over the new vegan spot. Be Happy, Eat Healthy. ;)
“In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved on the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.”
Whether religious or not we have all heard this shockingly glorious tale of the creation of life. God created everything in the universe in just six days and rested on the seventh, we all know it. But what really causes people to believe in God, to believe in a story they would never sit through if it was coming from there neighbor or even a relative.
Over the years there has been extensive research conducted, studying both the psychological need and state of those who believe in God or had recently turned to religion for whatever reason. Nathan Neflick (Ph.D), believes there to be five reasons in particular to what causes the belief in God. Two of which I will talk here about most.
The first, is ‘A Need For Control.’ People tend to be less religious when their economic and health states are in good standards. Studies show that when one may be feeling uneasy mentally, or not in control of their current situation they become more aware of their faith. “It’s in God hands” you’ll hear people say. Or even in movies where the protagonist has to make it from point A to point B, and before he leaves someone grabs him and say’s “God’s speed.” The theory is that people simply like the thought of having an incredible linebacker in the cosmos blocking for them while they play quarter back down here on earth. Although, this isn’t to say that everyone with a psychological need for control will look to religion, there are often those who go through secular routes like government, or police.
The second cause I am going to focus on is ‘A Need To Cope With Death.’ Typically a person at a funeral, or one who is contemplating death, may feel that they’re under less psychological distress when considering that there is an afterlife. This could also be looked at as ‘a need to cope with life’ in general. One who may be flustered by their very own existence could possibly be reassured by a quick reading of Genesis I.
I’m not suggesting that everyone who goes to a funeral, or everyone that loses their job will suddenly go to church every Sunday. What I am saying, however, is that psychological research gathered over the years does in fact show people believe in God more strongly after being exposed to a sort of unexplained suffering. And how strong of a belief may vary dependent on if the issue is personal or is dealing with the general public.
My problem with the thought of Contemporary Christianity is that its extremely abstract. That is to say, I dislike it because it places all its emphasis on something distant and unknown. To be specific, I think the particular focus on the apocalypse, or ‘end of the world’ is rather damaging to…
It is not an accident that two black women (I’m guessing welfare moms) are in the center front of this photo-op.
This perpetuates the idea that black women are the number one beneficiaries of welfare (false: white women are as they always have been) while also simultaneously supporting the idea that because welfare moms are black they deserve less benefits and more control over their lives is warranted.
This picture represents everything wrong with patriarchal white supremacy.
The Massachusetts anti-gay group MassResistance, which previously called on the Boston Red Sox to apologize for making an “It Gets Better” video, is now demanding that the team cancel a gay pride event. The group put out a statement attacking the baseball team for “celebrating a week of obscene perversion” that features a “hideous, obscene, and outright disgusting display of perverse activities.”Celebrating a week of obscene perversion
The Red Sox have been around long enough to know that “Pride Week” in Boston is a hideous, obscene, and outright disgusting display of perverse activities. (Plus, in recent years, more young people have been drawn in through Boston Pride’s management of Massachusetts Youth Pride every May.)
And the Boston Red Sox organization are not only going to celebrate it at their ballpark, but will be financially supporting it from their ticket sales.
In an interview with the American Family Association’s news service OneNewsNow, the MassResistance’s president Brian Camenker called on fans to contact the team urging them to cancel “Pride Night at Fenway Park.” Camenker insists that he is just thinking about the children:Homosexual-rights group Boston Pride says it is partnering with Fenway Park to sponsor “Pride Night,” but a search of the Red Sox and Fenway Park websites by OneNewsNow did not show the event listed.
However, there is one event listed for Thursday night at Fenway Park - the Red Sox are kicking off their June after-school celebration, “Calling All Kids.”
“Baseball is largely for kids, so why should homosexual activism be part of that?” asks Brian Camenker, president of the pro-family organization MassResistance.
“And you know a lot of just regular fans don’t want to be part of that kind of thing when they go out for a baseball game,” he adds.
“It’s certainly nothing you expect.” Camenker says the Red Sox organization is “going out of their way” to support the homosexual cause, including donating a percentage of Thursday night’s proceeds to Boston Pride.
A special section of Fenway reportedly will also be designated for homosexuals who attend the ballgame.
“I called [the Red Sox] up and they don’t seem to see how this is going to bother people,” says Camenker. “They need to hear from people.”
There are some things in this place to be seen only without eyes. For I am a blind lover, nothing more nothing less. I am addicted to a kind of happiness which brings me to fall in love with emptiness. For I am a lover who shall never amount to anything more. My only occupation, in theory, is similar to that of an architect; I fabricate the blueprints of modern marvels for man to celebrate life in. Some say I am lost, but I am not. I’m just hoping that the right people find me during my walk with Chirst through the sand or my daily meditation with Buddha. For I am a lover without judgment, I hate only in fiction, I laugh out loud and advise the same of anyone that listens. For I am a picture, a picture of chance. And chance isn’t something you come across, something that miraculously happens. No, you take chances, literally take them out of thin air and never take them for granted. For I am not a skeptical lover, other than exactly where I am there is no place I’m meant to be. For I am a youthful lover, I believe that time flies only because it does not exist in this realm of intimacy. I believe in the kindness of strangers and the inevitable magnetic field which connects us all to this universe. For I am lover, free for you to seek safety within. I pledge independence from all social norms. And to the stars and the way they shine, I pray that not only these states are united but the countries and lands to the east and west combined. One earth, devoured by Peace. Indivisible. With Appreciation and Justice for all…
I believe one day the sky will fall, I hope by then we’ve exhausted all our possibilities, created a life in touch with all our darkest fantasies. I hope that then we are prepared to catch the sky as it falls onto us, that we’ve left this world not only satisfied but our lives justified by our devotion to conducting random acts of kindness. One day asteroids will make contact with the grounds before us, leaving our eyes dancing in a very rhythmic fashion at the wonders of the world as they wash away. In this moment, we will represent the true architecture of happiness, as mother nature deconstructs we shall admire the ruins developed through her imminence. The cameras used to capture this rapture will remain disposable, yet the memories hidden within the depths of their film. Either we will know nothing past the point of devastation or live to tell prophecies in a world light-years from now. I hope the privileges we are granted are none but those to welcome and emit love with a remarkable yearning for peace. One day a solar eclipse will forever darken the consolation, leaving kaleidoscope eyes in a sequence of humanitarian hallucinations. I hope there’s something out there. I hope there’s someone out there, not to save us but to tell of this twisted reality which we graciously fell victim to.
For readers interested in learning more about how not to be labeled as registered sex offenders, a good first step is not to rape unconscious women, no matter how good your grades are. Regardless of the strength of your GPA (weighted or unweighted), if you commit rape, there is a possibility you may someday be convicted of a sex crime. This is because of your decision to commit a sex crime instead of going for a walk, or reading a book by Cormac McCarthy. Your ability to perform calculus or play football is generally not taken into consideration in a court of law. Should you prefer to be known as ‘Good student and excellent football player Trent Mays’ rather than ‘Convicted sex offender Trent Mays,’ try stressing the studying and tackling and giving the sex crimes a miss altogether…
Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richardson are not the “stars” of the Steubenville rape trial. They aren’t the only characters in a drama playing out in eastern Ohio. And yet a CNN viewer learning about the Steubenville rape verdict is presented with dynamic, sympathetic, complicated male figures, and a nonentity of an anonymous victim, the ‘lasting effects’ of whose graphic, public sexual assault are ignored. Small wonder, then, that anyone would find themselves on the side of these men—these poor young men, who were very good at taking tests and playing sports when they were not raping their classmates."
— Mallory Ortberg of Gawker, critiquing CNN’s disgusting response to the Stuebenville rape trial verdicts.
YouTube’s slogan is “broadcast yourself” and it’s been celebrated as the new media platform that will revolutionize how marginalized groups are presented in the media. But the network is not much different than old media—90 of the top 100 YouTube video creators are white and mostly male.
In 2009 YouTube launched what they call the Partner Program that allows some of the popular content owners to make money from the videos they uploaded to the video sharing site. YouTube will not say how much people are paid for their content but according to earning reports there are thousands of video content creators on YouTube who are making more than $100,000 a year.
In the Colorlines.com video above YouTube stars Franchesca Ramsey and Andre Meadows along with scholar Jenny Ungbha Korn discuss YouTube Racism and how black video content creators have to work much harder to be seen.
Police violence meets anti-police brutality protesters in Montreal
March 15, 2013
A few hundred protesters gathered at the corner of Ontario St. and St. Urbain St., just north of the Service de Police de la Ville de Montréal headquarters to protest against police brutality. The annual demonstration, now in it’s 17th consecutive year, started somewhat unusually, with the SPVM blocking every road leading out of the corner in an attempt to halt the march from beginning.
The demonstration was declared illegal almost immediately after its start around 5 p.m., due to organizers failing to provide an itinerary for the demonstration.
Arrests began when the crowd had yet to leave the square, resulting in a brief brawl and at least one injured protester.
As the police unblocked St. Urbain St., the crowd marched south but were forced to disperse into various groups—before making it one block down the road.
A few firecrackers were lit by protesters but the crowd was less violent than in previous years, when marches had quickly devolved into riots.
Different crowds throughout downtown were kettled, stopping the hundreds of protesters from ever regrouping. Police were reluctant to let any one out of the blockades.
For the next three hours the fractured demonstrations were broken up by SPVM officers blocking multiple street corners, forcing protesters into smaller groups, where they were then kettled and arrested.
Some protesters were released, though those who were not were identified and brought into busses to be taken to an undisclosed location.
Because of the immediate kettling, there was significantly less damage sustained than last year, when multiple store and car windows were smashed throughout the downtown core.
During one larger kettle, one injured SPVM officer was put into an ambulance on a stretcher, which elicited some cheers from the crowd. Many protesters were injured before, or during arrest, but as of now it is unknown as to how many injuries were sustained.
Last year’s demonstration saw 226 arrests. At press time, the Montreal police have announced more than 250 arrests took place Friday—most falling under article P-6, which bans the wearing of masks and requires protest organizers to provide the route of the demonstration.
The Bulgarian winter or protests against corruption, poor living conditions & high energy costs
March 16, 2013
From the beginning of February, Bulgarians in most big cities have been out in the streets, protesting against the increased electricity and heating bills. While the increase has happened gradually throughout 2012, in January 2013 the bills were considerably bigger than they would normally get. The price formation was transparently written down on the bill, but what angered many is that a significant amount of money was charged not for energy per se but for various taxes and tariffs.
Bills and bonds
A wave of contention spread throughout the country, resulting in blockades of roads, barricades, increasing popular rage and police violence. Three men died having set fire to themselves in protest at the bills and the subservience of the state to economic interests. One old man cut his veins out of sheer desperation over his electricity bill. The protesters were mostly rank-and-file Bulgarians: middle-aged men and women, young couples with children and students all went out on the streets to voice their concerns over high energy costs, mediocre living standards and perceived corruption. The protests were also joined and partly hijacked by a number of extreme-right groups, who were ready to exploit the situation for harassment and looting.
The solution offered by many intellectuals, politicians from throughout the political spectrum and the media, was – surprise, surprise – the end of monopolies and further privatization and liberalization of the energy market.
This posture disappointed many, as the whole process is actually a showcase example of how privatized entities function poorly outside state control. The national power distribution companies were privatized in 2005 and then sold out to foreign companies under very favourable conditions. This move made the state – i.e. taxpayers – indebted to the private companies, which held prices high with a cartel agreement.
Yet, it was not the monopoly in general that was a problem: the issue was eclipsed by the amnesia of 23 years of transition to a market economy. It was the monopoly in the hands of uncontrollable private companies within a free market economy with no state regulation or protection that has left the population totally vulnerable to price hikes. The clamour around the energy bills also eclipsed some contradictory actions of the Borisov government. To calm down grain producers who also threatened nation-wide protests, populist Borisov promised new subsidies. Consequently, days before his resignation, Borisov pressed Finance Minister Dyankov to issue government bonds for 800 mio lev (€409 mio). Thanks to the unexpected shock for the national economy, and to the surprise of the international markets, the country’s bond yields started to rise and the value of the Bulgarian debt went down. But it was mostly Bulgarian banks who bought most (over 80%) of the bonds, raising suspicions of a deal to help Borisov’s reelection.
The crisis becomes political
Bills and bonds aside, the crisis of political representation had started. After a few nights of running battles between police and protesters, the government made an attempt to offer some blatantly unsustainable concessions: they offered a significant decrease of energy prices and transparency of the energy sector.
A few “protesters” coming from circles close to the government called for the protests to stop, to little effect. The people demanded Borisov’s resignation. After a night of violent clashes with the police, Borisov filed his resignation, saying he could not tolerate blood on his hands. The resignation was almost unanimously approved by parliament.
President Rossen Plevneliev launched “public consultations” to find a way out of the political crisis and form a new government. In his office, along with representatives of the protesters, he invited neoliberal think-tank experts and members of oligarchic and commercial organizations. The protesters soon walked out. Plevneliev offered the mandate only to the three parties which had previously proposed to form a government: Borisov’s centre-right Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (GERB), social-democratic Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), and the Turkish ethnic Movement for Rights and Freedoms party (DPS) – all refused. This meant the dissolution of the Parliament, the calling of new elections in May and the appointment by the President of an interim “expert” government.
This outcome didn’t satisfy the protesters, who saw it as a convenient way for the current government to gain time to erase their record of corruption and avoid investigation or persecution. And this government shows no intention of reforming electoral laws ahead of the elections, when the current electoral code makes it exceptionally difficult for small parties to run for office.
People did not leave the streets. Demands for the electricity bills to be lowered were soon followed by more radical claims: a new Constitutive Assembly, elections by majority vote with no parties, only individual candidates, and the revision of all privatization deals and concessions of the last 20 years.