Friday, January 13, 2012

Friday Hope Blogging

The United Methodist Church has divested its stock in the private prison system:

Religious collusion with destructive forces is a horrible thing to openly confess and even more difficult to break.

So, it was stunning to begin 2012 learning that the United Methodist Board of Pensions, the board that controls the investments of the United Methodist Church, decided not only to divest from CCA and GEO Group entirely, but to permanently put into place a screen that will not allow us to invest in the future into any corporation that has gross revenues of 10% or more from private prisons.

Craig Stowell fought with the U.S. Marines in Iraq in 2004 and now is fighting for the right of gays, like his brother, to marry in New Hampshire....

"When New Hampshire extended marriage to gay and lesbian couples, two years ago, he finally felt accepted. He finally felt like he belonged. Since that day 1,800 loving and committed gay and lesbian couples have married."

As the New Hampshire Legislature prepares to vote on whether to repeal the law, HB 437, Craig Stowell - who serves as the Republican co-chairman of Standing Up For New Hampshire Families - has launched an online campaign to keep the law as it is.

Nine Native Americans have served in the Minnesota state legislature since the state's founding, and all of them have been men. But on Tuesday, The Land of 10,000 Lakes chose via special election its first ever Native American woman to serve on its state legislature, and the first Native American lesbian to ever serve in any state legislature anywhere.
Apropos of which, the anti-gay zealot Mike Goeke asks an interesting question:
Homosexuality is the only sinful behavior that has a cultural identity and movement surrounding it. What other sin is encouraged to be celebrated? What other sin has a “pride” movement attached to it?
I'm gonna go out on a limb and say greed. And wrath. And bearing false witness.

So far, Girl Scouts of America seems to be shrugging off a boycott of its cookies by sex-obsessed busybodies:

Last October, Girl Scouts USA welcomed a 7-year-old transgender girl among its ranks. The organization released a surprisingly but welcomingly progressive statement: “Girl Scouts is an inclusive organization and we accept all girls in Kindergarten through 12th grade as members. If a child identifies as a girl and the child’s family presents her as a girl, Girl Scouts of Colorado welcomes her as a Girl Scout.”

The action provoked outrage among cissexist parents, who have been– at least, as it appears in pro-boycott videos– teaching their daughters that these transgender girl scouts threaten the safety of others and the integrity of the program. These parents and scouts have indicated that it’s now easy for young “boys” to rape girls, since they simply have to pretend to be transgender at age six, then rape and assault other girl scouts while sharing a tent with them. Because it’s that easy to be a sexual predator who pretends to be trans, with your parents’ support, when you’re barely old enough to read.

This just in: When your ideology obliges you to demonize seven-year-olds, it's a safe bet that there's something seriously wrong with it. If you want to reward GSA's good behavior -- or punish the boycotters' bad behavior -- consider donating to Girl Scouts of Colorado. Failing that, you could always buy some cookies.

The Obama administration has finalized a 20-year-ban on uranium mining near the Grand Canyon:
Today’s Interior Department “record of decision” establishes a 20-year ban on new uranium mining and mining of current claims without valid permits across 1 million acres (more than 1,500 square miles). The ban will protect Grand Canyon’s springs and creeks, as well as imperiled species like the humpback chub, from uranium-mining pollution.

“This landmark decision closes the door on rampant industrialization of Grand Canyon’s watersheds,” said Roger Clark of the Grand Canyon Trust. “Uranium mining imposes well documented and unacceptable risks to the people and natural resources of our region.”

In 2011, no rhinos were killed by poachers in Nepal:
"This is the first time in 29 years that Nepal has gone an entire year without a single poached rhino, and it’s a testament to the efforts of the Government of Nepal, WWF and many partners," said Barney Long, Asian species expert at WWF. "We hope the new year will bring additional good news from other countries like South Africa as they continue to crack down on rhino poaching."
And India has gone a full year year without any reported cases of polio:
"It's an incredible milestone for polio eradication," said Rod Curtis, a New Delhi-based specialist with UNICEF. "But complacency is perhaps the biggest threat to the program today. You could get down to the last three children in the world, but unless you [immunize] those kids, it could explode again."
Behold our best and brightest:
Texas Rep. Lamar Smith, R-San Antonio got schooled at his own game while Congress is at recess. Smith, who chairs the House Judiciary Committee, may have underestimated the trolling habits of Internet techies scorned by his Stop Online Piracy Act....

Vice found that Smith’s official campaign website featured a background photo of a lush forest scene–without a photo credit. After a quick search, they found the image belonged to DJ Schulte, a photographer who captured the scene in Bear Creek, Texas.
I blame Teh Gays.

Citizens in Wisconsin have gathered enough signatures to recall Scott Fitzgerald:

Recall organizers still have the rest of today and all day tomorrow to increase their margin to help fight off any challenges from Fitzgerald.

This is the one they said couldn't be done. The Democratic Party and United Wisconsin both passed on this opportunity, so one local citizen, Lori Compas of Fort Atkinson, started the recall against Fitz on her own.

The EPA has launched a new website that allows you to identify the largest greenhouse-gas emitters in your area:
Carbon pollution is pretty abstract for most people, and they don’t where it comes from and who’s responsible,” said David Doniger, policy director for the Climate and Clean Air program at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “These kinds of right-to-know tools are very popular and can make a difference. Once people know the level of greenhouse gases in their backyards, they will demand to know what company officials and elected officials will do about it.”
German researchers are working on an alternative to animal testing:
"We're basically using a test tube to study the effects of chemicals and their potential risks. What we do is take living cells, which were isolated from human and animal tissue and grown in cell cultures, and expose them to the substance under investigation," explains Dr. Jennifer Schmidt of the EMFT. If a given concentration of the substance is poisonous to the cell, it will die. This change in "well-being" can be rendered visible by the sensor nanoparticles developed by Dr. Schmidt and her team.
In Lowell, MA, veterans rallied around an Iraqi woman whose restaurant was vandalized:

An area veterans group pledged to fill every seat in Babylon, a downtown Iraqi restaurant where owners feared hatred drove a man to throw a 20-pound rock through a window last Wednesday....

Ahmed Al-Zubaidi said the incident drove his wife to tears, and prompted her to question whether the family should close the restaurant. The show of support from veterans and the community drove her to tears of joy last night, he said.

"This solidarity gives us the courage to stand," said Al-Zubaidi. "There is no more fear in my heart because there are such nice people behind us."

Gordon Hirabayashi, a brave Japanese-American who refused to report to an internment camp during WWII, died this week in Canada at the age of 93. His argument against obeying an unjust power bears repeating, at the very least:

“If I were to register and cooperate… I would be giving helpless consent to the denial of practically all of the things which give me incentive to live,” he said then. “I must maintain the democratic standards for which this nation lives. I am objecting to the principle of this order which denies the right of human beings, including citizens."

Photographs by Adam Magyar (take the time to watch the video; it's gorgeous and oddly moving). A Man Escaped, or The Wind Bloweth Where It Listeth. Abandoned love hotels. Photographs by Hein Gorny. Contemporary pinhole photography. The photographic collection of the Austrian Geographic Society:

(Painting at top by Brion Gysin, 1959.)


Makarios said...

Appreciate your time and effort in collecting and presenting this material--as always.

Phila said...

Thanks, Makarios!

The Thought Criminal said...

Thank you for the sheet music collection from last week, Phila. I've found several things I've always wanted but never found.

What Makarios said, Bouphonia is always worth reading.