Absotively, posolutely incredible…and inspiring beyond words!
So has the Transportation Security Administration; it’s called TSA kids. It has a little cartoon doggie and explains security check points and searches.
The FBI calls their page Fun and Games. It is aimed at kids from kindergarten through to 12th grade. Lots of interactive fun to be had here for mini feebies.
The NSA has opted for Cryptokids which features games, secret code making tips, battles with crypto-baddies and an entire section called ‘How can I work for the NSA?’
The CIA has opted for Kids Zone which features a cartoon spy with a cell phone embedded in a stiletto heeled shoe. Aimed at kids from kindergarten to 12th grade, with age-related activities.
The United Nations has tons of stuff for children. The Cyber School Bus provides lots of ‘fun’ activities with titles like “What should be done about child soldiers?”, “Stop Disaster” and a “super” online game called “Against All Odds” which increases awareness of refugee situations…”
US government scientists have for the first time found direct evidence of toxic exposure in the Gulf of Mexico
US government scientists have for the first time connected the BP oil disaster to dolphin deaths in the Gulf of Mexico, in a study finding direct evidence of toxic exposure.
The study, led by scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, found lung disease, hormonal abnormalities and other health effects among dolphins in an area heavily oiled during the BP spill.
Wake-up, wake-up…we cannot continue to live as we have been or keep causing such destruction…sooner or later our bill is going come due and it will be innocent people who pay it for us all…
SoLa: Louisiana Water Stories investigates how the exploitation of Southern Louisiana’s abundant natural resources compromised the resiliency of its ecology and culture, multiplying the devastating impact of the BP oil spill and Hurricane Katrina.
KOB-4 “The New Mexico Supreme Court has cleared the way for gay marriage in the state.
In a unanimous decision on Thursday, the state’s highest court declared state marriage laws unconstitutional and upheld New Mexico county clerks’ decisions to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
The state Supreme Court will now define “civil marriage” as the voluntary union of two persons to the exclusion of all others. In addition, all rights, protections and responsibilities that result from the marital relationship shall apply equally to both same-gender and opposite-gender married couples.
Writing for the court, Justice Edward Chavez said that “barring individuals from marrying and depriving them of the rights, protections, and responsibilities of civil marriage solely because of their sexual orientation violates the Equal Protection Clause under Article II, Section 18 of the New Mexico Constitution. We hold that the State of New Mexico is constitutionally required to allow same-gender couples to marry and must extend to them the rights, protections, and responsibilities that derive from civil marriage under New Mexico law.”
Located just a few hours outside of Munich, Starkenberg’s Castle is a brewer in Austria that has been blessed with the world’s only beer swimming pools. Swimming pools filled with nearly 42,000 pints of warm beer. While it might be nice to soak your sore muscles in booze, they definitely don’t recommend that you drink the “pool water.” You can however order a drink while taking a dip.
Excerpts, The Telegraph – “Despite trees’ prominence in the Bible, Christians were suspicious of tree worship. The run-in with the tree of knowledge in Eden had had mixed results, after all. Worshipping trees was a form of idolatry, in Islam as well as Christianity.
Christmas trees are pagan in origin,” says Jim Robbins, American author of The Man Who Plants Trees. “The question is, why did the pagans worship trees?
“Many cultures thought trees were antennae for divine energies. If you look at the culture of Ireland, they had the Brehon law of the forest, and had all these rules about how to treat it. The forest was a sacred place.” Though it sounds almost hippyish, “there have been studies of Sitka spruce trees in Scotland that suggest they bear traces of exploding supernovae in their trunks. There is a persistent idea in mythology all over the world that trees are related to the heavens. It looks as though early societies might have been on to something.”
The yew tree was sacred to Celts, who would gather in glades for rituals. When the Christians arrived, they often built churches in the existing holy areas, as part of an early PR campaign to win over the pagans. New rituals were merged with the ancient, pre-Christian ones. Oaks were another commonly worshipped species.
In Britain, the Christmas tree’s place was cemented in Victorian times by Prince Albert and Charles Dickens, who separately created the image of the happy family gathered at the base of a tree. The idea has endured, and neatly fits today’s more commercial era. The tree is now a kind of totem pole to capitalism, inviting things to be sold, bought and given. It is hard not to think Jesus would have objected.
Other religions have a less troubled relationship with trees. To early societies, trees were a source of food, fuel and shelter. Aside from the odd pyramid or cathedral, trees were also taller than nearly every man-made structure until the mid-19th century. As living organisms on a much longer timescale than humans, they are obvious focal points for spirituality.
The environmental movement has inspired a reappraisal of our relationship with trees. A more secular society recognises trees’ more tangible contribution to the world. “They are pieces of eco-technology,” Robbins says. “They accomplish a whole range of amazing things. They filter water, cool cities, reduce air pollution in urban areas. We are waking up to just how important they are.” Full Article on The Telegraph
“A college atheist group has set up a Flying Spaghetti Monster display at the Wisconsin State Capitol to make a point about religious expression on public property.
The Atheists, Humanists, and Agnostics group at the University of Wisconsin set up the satirical religious display alongside a “Festivus” pole and a “Winter Solstice Nativity” scene featuring Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein and Mark Twain that was set up by the Freedom From Religion Foundation.
“The rotunda is getting very cluttered,” said Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president of the Freedom from Religion Foundation. “But if a devotional nativity display is allowed, then there must be ‘room at the inn’ for all points of view, including irreverency and free thought.” – RAmen!
Seems like no matter how hard I try, I cannot get through a day now without the sensation that I’ve left too many things Unfinished…from thoughts to chores to blog readin’ and chatting…I am lost in a world of Unfinishedness.
I know there’s that awesome post and comment thread I’ve wanted to get back to over on Tubular’s blog but after 3 times of trying to rejoin the convo only to get interrupted and lose my thoughts every, single time…well, I left it Unfinished. There are all of those delightful posts from Valerie Davies that I’ve set aside and have been saving for that magickal time when I can read, absorb and leave a proper comment…only that time hasn’t come yet and so the notices and reading sit there…Unfinished. On & on…the list is growing…missing Moorbey’s Revolutionary Daily Thoughts, missing all the musical theme fun with Johnny, Willow, Bear and White Buffalo, dammit…and oh geez, I should reply to that comment on the prison blog…how long can my Google + sit idle before they toss me off…I still haven’t planned for the Solstice meal this Saturday…yegads, did I ever get back over to finish the work I said I’d do in Dad’s rental house???
Some days are crystal clear and sharp and, for a short while at least, I can get a really good run of activity going. I zip and zoom through odds and ends that have been Unfinished for weeks. That friend’s blog was freshened, that closet tidied and organized…wheeeeee! Lookit me go, Ma…er, until the burst burns off and I fall flat on my face again…without a care for whatever I am leaving Unfinished.
The clear days don’t seem to come around as often as I want them to so I suck every ounce of Finishing out of them that I possibly can. Most days are mucky and slow…feels like I am fighting to keep my head above water. A lot of days are a mixed bag and those are the trickiest bastards…it’s rotten to start off strong only to get knocked off your stride midway through the race. I’ll be up and “On it”…cleaning, posting, replying…*Wham* one phone call, thought, comment…I’m spinning, falling… and back to Unfinished Land I go.
The highest priority of all and the one *thing* I drop all else for is still my dad. No matter what other Unfinished stuff I leave on my table, I cannot leave anything Unfinished with him now. He decided to join Facebook to reconnect with out-of-state family & since Online is kind of what I do, we’ve been Facebooking together. My priority each morning is to gather and share a few odds and ends that will entertain or interest him…
Bless all of you WordPress authors – those I listed above and the several hundred more that I could not possibly list without running this post 20 miles long – for being such an incredible resource for me to pull from every day. I can literally offer Dad the gift of seeing the world – all because of YOU. Do you all have any idea what a gift your daily posts and articles are? I wonder if you realize…? I would be lost and not know where to go if I could not come here – even if I do end up leaving more things Unfinished than I’d like to.
And now it’s late; my thoughts are beginning to get impatient and even though there is more I’d like to say, the best I can do for now is to say, “Thank You” all again for all of the time, energy and effort you each put into making the WordPress community such a gift & blessing.
~Peace & Love~
Dad talking about his childhood at Thanksgiving…
A Page From: I Never Saw Another Butterfly
Just came across the copy of this book that dad gave to me years and years ago. This poem is still my favorite.
/ By Evelyn Nieves
December 15, 2013
Residents of Silicon Valley’s largest homeless encampment illustrate the widening divide between the nation’s haves and have-nots.
Photo Credit: Evelyn Nieves
By mid-morning on Thursday, the sun was shining hard enough to dry wet blankets and the residents of the Jungle began surfacing, letting each other know they were still alive.
In the words of the creator of this award:
“I am creating this award to honor WordPress bloggers who support Peace and Justice throughout the world and who are against Racism, Bigotry, Anger and Hatred. It is the for the Heroes and the Sheroes who believe in One World and All People of all Races, Sexes, Religions, Creeds and Cultures Living in Harmony.
It is my hope that recipients of this award will feel proud to know their hard work for Peace and Justice has been recognized by their fellow bloggers.
I’m not big on rules, but an award should have some, so I’m told. So here are mine:
Recipients should frequently write about Peace, Justice, Love — the goodness in the world, or putting goodness in the world.
Recipients may also frequently call attention to the bigotry or racism that happens in the world.
Link back to whomever nominated you and, since this is about goodness, politely thank them.
Spread the love to whomever and however many you believe deserve it!”
Now it’s my honour to nominate the following bloggers for the Peace and Justice Award, created by Idealistic Rebel:
Artist Andres Amador
San Francisco native Andres Amador uses a simple rake to create artworks that can span over 100,000 sq. ft (9,290 sq m). His medium of choice? A sandy beach at low tide. This means Andres not only faces a time constraint to complete his work but an understanding that once the tide comes in, his work will wash away forever.
“Compassion is not compassion without action. We need to do something.”
So, like any young child, she went with “the only business experience I had”: a lemonade stand. But, Vivienne had a bigger vision than doing it for one day. She wanted to raise $100,000. So, she “made a stand” at her lemonade stand for 365 days straight, rain or shine, to “end child slavery.”
On day #52, New York Times, Pulitzer prize-winning columnist Nicholas Kristof retweeted Vivienne, and her moment became a movement. The New York Times, Bloomberg TV, The BBC World News, ABC News, NBC News, CBS News, Parenting Magazine, The New York Daily News, The Huffington Post, FOX, Yahoo News, MSN, AOL, Food & Wine, Town & Country, Real Simple—and media outlets across the country and around the world from Australia to Brazil to France to Hong Kong—have covered the Make a Stand movement.
On day #173, Mayor Michael Bloomberg welcomed Vivienne to Times Square to sell her famous lemonade. It was there that she reached her goal—donating $101,320 to Not For Sale, a leading anti-slavery organization.
Vivienne continued her daily stand for a full 365 days, at which point she decided to bottle her organic, Fair Trade “lemon-aid”—becoming the first child in American history to bottle her lemonade-stand lemonade. She raised over $1 million to start Make a Stand, Inc. - one of the first Certified B Corps in America. Five-percent of all sales go to six leading organizations that do the most documented work in eradicating child slavery in the U.S. and around the world.
Even in the darkest hours never stop believing in the power you hold. For the true power always lies in the people, never the governments and/or corporations. Remember any day can be the 5th of November, what matters isn’t the date, it’s humanity’s spirit. For example, this winter season small acts of kindness for those less fortunate can go a long way…
Currently there’s an on going operation called “#OpSafeWinter” which focuses on helping those in need. Food banks need donations of food and water. In addition, for someone without a place to stay a simple pair a socks will go a long way. The things we take for granted are often what many pray to have. Shelter, a warm meal, blankets, even clean water, millions of people world wide are going without them, and some are dying because of it.
These are issues that are solvable today! Lets take that energy of the 5th of November and apply it everyday in our everyday lives. Rather than waiting for things to change for the better, be the change. A small act of kindness multiplies fast and soon becomes a beacon of hope, unity, and progress that lights the road for generations to come.
Wiki- “Grandpa Elliott Small, born Elliot Small in 1944, also known as Uncle Remus, is a veteran street-musician in New Orleans, Louisiana. Growing up in the Lafitte Housing Projects, Small developed a love of music as a young boy, in part to deal with the pains of an unhappy home life. Small’s uncle was a professional musician who worked with Lloyd Washington of the Ink Spots, and often let his nephew come to the Dew Drop Inn to hear them play. One day when his uncle left for work without his harmonica, Small picked it up and put it to his mouth. “Oooh, it was awful,” he said, laughing. “He chewed tobacco. I had to sterilize that thing.” The uncle gave young Elliott a harmonica, and he fell in love with the sound of the mouth harp, teaching himself by playing along with the music on his mama’s radio. At home Small’s mother favored classical music, giving the youngster diverse tastes at an early age. Teaching himself to dance from watching Fred Astaire movies on television, Small began performing on street corners for change, dancing while singing and playing his harmonica.”
“Small developed the persona of Grandpa Elliott, an old man dressed in blue denim overalls, a bright red shirt, Santa beard, and a floppy hat who played blues harp and sang for the street traffic on his corner at Royal and Toulouse streets in the French Quarter, right where he started out. He often teams with guitarist Michael “Stoney B” Stone and they have become an institution in New Orleans for the people who stop to listen to them and throw change in their bucket. His act was even written up in The New York Times in 1995. He arrives here most mornings by taxi and spends his days singing his soulful songs and playing his harmonica. It’s the place where everybody knows his name.”When I feel sick, I come out here to feel better,” he said. “The French Quarter is my medicine.” Small said he doesn’t even know what beer tastes like and he’s never touched drugs and the only thing he smokes is the exhaust from the cars that pass Royal and Toulouse.
And his listeners reward him with dollar bills and treasures, like the gold wedding band he wears on his finger. “A lot of people walk around with plastic now instead of cash, so they throw what they can,” he said. “Some of the rings I get out of my bucket even have diamonds on them.”
Small did not completely lose his sight to glaucoma until 2005. It was in that year that recording engineer and producer Mark Johnson launched a project called Playing for Change, dedicated to promoting international unity through music. He began recording performances by street performers from around the world. Johnson heard Small sing the Ben E. King hit “Stand by Me” and immediately recorded him singing the tune on Royal Street, making his performance the centerpiece of a video featuring performances of the number by a handful of artists. In 2009, after the “Stand by Me” video was posted online, it racked up over 20 million plays on YouTube, and suddenly Small had an international audience. Small signed on for a tour with a band of musicians affiliated with the Playing for Change project, He has also been on The Tonight Show and The Colbert Report. He performed to a crowd of more than 40,000 at Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, California, on June 30, 2009, playing the “Star Spangled Banner” on harmonica and singing “God Bless America.” Later that same year, the Playing for Change Band came to New Orleans to accompany Small on his debut CD Sugar Sweet, released November 3, 2009, an eclectic collection that includes gospel, blues, soul and what Small calls “some strong love songs.” Keb Mo’ also accompanied on the album. Small is the first artist to be signed to Playing for Change Records/Concord Music Group. The whole experience taught him to trust people again. “Mark Johnson changed my life,” he said. “He made me lift my head up.”
The Young Turks - "The government says 1 in 10 youths at juvenile detention facilities around the country reported having been sexually victimized by staff or by other youths.
The study by the Bureau of Justice Statistics found that among the more than 1,300 youths who reported victimization by adult staff, 9 out of 10 were male juvenile detainees reporting sexual activity with female staff members."*
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