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 Stories/Poems: Am I Less Evolved Than a Plant?

Art

Am I Less Evolved Than a Plant?

By Sherlyn Meinz (aka Blue1moon)


One morning while I drank my coffee, I found myself considering:
Could it be that plants are more evolved than humans?

In order to feed me, both animals and plants die.
It may be the way of our world, but somehow I can't feel good about it.

Sadly, to just stop eating,
does not seem a viable alternative. ...



Posted by Blue1moon on Tuesday, August 18 @ 15:53:32 EDT (116 reads)
(Read More... | 1057 bytes more | Comments? | Stories/Poems | Score: 5)

 Opinion: Hillary-Bernie Skirmishes Begin, Can All-Out War Be Far Behind?

PoliticsBy William Boardman

Hillaryite Senator McCaskill shoots from her hip, hits her foot

A month after attacking Game of Thrones, Democratic senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri shifted her attack from fiction to her very real fellow senator, Bernie Sanders. She took the Independent senator from Vermont to task for having the temerity to challenge Hillary Clinton’s divine right to ascend to the American political throne of the presidency. Or as McCaskill put it on MSNBC June 25:

Any other candidate that had the numbers that Hillary Clinton had right now would be talked about as absolutely untouchable….

That’s the first line of Hillary Clinton’s defense, her inevitability, based on polls taken when she was the only Democratic candidate in the race. The argument is more monarchist than democratic and should be offensive to anyone who thinks elections should be about substantive issues.

Team Clinton’s basic tactic of ignoring the Sanders campaign ended with the sacrifice of surrogate pawn McCaskill’s attack on Sanders on MSNBC when she said, quite falsely:

The media is giving Bernie a pass right now, I very rarely read in any coverage of Bernie that he is a socialist.

This is evidence that McCaskill doesn’t read much coverage of Bernie, since he regularly self-identifies as a “democratic socialist” and most media coverage follows suit. By implication, McCaskill is calling Sanders out for his policy positions, such as universal health care, universal college education, a living wage, good, affordable childcare, and other policy choices that have been sacrificed to “outrageous tax loopholes for billionaires and large corporations.” (The Hill notes that “Sanders’s ‘socialist’ policies sound a lot like Teddy Roosevelt’s and Reagan’s,” and later adds President Taft.)

These days, the “socialist” label is more meaningless than ever, though for some it serves as a pallid form of Red-baiting (call it Pink-baiting). Calling Sanders a “socialist” is not only redundant and irrelevant, it’s an intellectually dishonest tactic for avoiding the substance of the issues Sanders is running on. ...


Posted by Blue1moon on Monday, July 06 @ 21:59:48 EDT (507 reads)
(Read More... | 12659 bytes more | Comments? | Opinion | Score: 5)

 Reviews: Pixar’s Lesson for Kids — and Adults

Art
We need all our emotions to be healthy, even the ones that hurt.

By Jill Richardson

Pixar’s latest flick holds some major life lessons for kids — and adults, too.

Inside Out takes place inside the head of an 11-year-old girl, Riley, as she and her parents move from Minnesota to San Francisco. The main characters are cute personifications of the main characters inside of each of us: Joy, Sadness, Anger, Disgust, and Fear.

Joy, played by Amy Poehler, runs the show, attempting to keep Sadness from bringing Riley down as she struggles with her family’s move. As far as Joy’s concerned, Sadness is a downer. And really, what’s the point of being sad anyway?

Riley’s parents pile on by encouraging her to be happy all the time and praising her when she manages a smile.

You might recognize this parental behavior, because it’s a common one.

At one point or another, parenting means finding yourself in a situation when your child’s emotions are really, really inconvenient. Sometimes in a public place, frequently over an issue that — to you, as an adult — is no big deal, and often with loud sobs and crocodile tears.

What do you do? ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Monday, July 06 @ 21:06:46 EDT (455 reads)
(Read More... | 4401 bytes more | Comments? | Reviews | Score: 0)

 History/Culture: Some Call It Litha - Midsummer/Summer Solstice

HolidaysBlue1Moon
AlienLove Editor

Litha (pronounced LITH-ah) occupies the opposite place on the wheel of the year from Yule. It is celebrated on the Summer Solstice, which falls between June 20th and June 23rd, when the Sun enters zero degrees Cancer. It is also celebrated on the fixed date of June 25th or Old Litha. It is thought that the ancients began holding Druidic celebrations of Summer Solstice at Stonehenge around 2183 BCE.

Litha is a time of abundance, and energy abounds! Can you feel it in the air? Midsummer marks the time of year when the day is longest and the night is shortest. Light is triumphant - take time to absorb some of the Sun’s warming rays. Be joyful and enjoy the fullness of the Earth and her bounty, for after this the sun once again begins slowly to wane – yet there are still many days of long light ahead before thoughts of winter return.

In Pagan tradition, it is the time when the Sun God has reached the pinnacle of his strength. He is often pictured as the Lord of the Forest, wearing masks of leaves and foilage, or perhaps sitting upon his Greenwood Throne. At this time of year the Goddess is with child, having conceived at Beltane. Her body is nurturing the future King, just as the Earth is nurturing the crops that will feed us through the coming winter. So, Litha is much related to nurturing and love. ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Sunday, June 21 @ 16:34:55 EDT (709 reads)
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 Screwed Again: Robin Hood in Reverse

Politics
The gap between the rich and the rest is growing partly because we keep electing politicians who promise nothing less.

By Donald Kaul

One of the biggest questions of the day is: Why do the rich keep getting richer and the middle class keep getting poorer?

This also ranks as the dumbest question of the day, week, month, or year. To anyone who’s been paying attention, it’s obvious why economic inequality in our land is growing:

That’s what we asked for.

For at least 35 years, since the reign of King Ronald the Reagan, our democratic society has waged relentless economic war on the middle class and the poor, giving their share of the pie to the rich and the well-to-do.

It didn’t happen in secret. The Republican Party is built on the reverse Robin Hood principle of taking from the less affluent so the rich can have what they think they need — a word that not coincidentally rhymes with “greed.”

Democrats follow the same principle too, but not as openly. Only they throw more scraps to the “disadvantaged” every once in a while than the GOP. ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Saturday, June 20 @ 17:10:16 EDT (688 reads)
(Read More... | 5284 bytes more | Comments? | Screwed Again | Score: 0)

 The News: The Anti-Empire Report #139

PoliticsBy William Blum

Their precious young minds and our precious young minds

She was a redheaded rebel, the singer in the family, a trash-talking, tattooed 21-year-old wrapped up in a hip-hop dream of becoming Holland’s Eminem. Then Betsy found Allah. After her sudden conversion to Islam last summer, Betsy began dressing in full Muslim robes. By January, the once-agnostic Dutch woman, raised in a home where the only sign of religion was a dusty Bible on a shelf, began defending homegrown terrorists. … Denis Cuspert, a German hip-hop artist known as Deso Dogg who converted in 2010 and later joined The Islamic State [ISIS], delivers a rap-like chant portraying the path to jihad as a chance for empowerment, spiritual fulfillment, vengeance and adventure. … ‘The door to jihad is standing there waiting for you,’ says a Swedish convert to Islam in a video. ‘It is the fastest way to paradise.’ [1]

Tales told many times in recent years, all over Europe, at times in the United States. Parents and authorities are deeply distressed and perplexed. How can young people raised in the West – the freedom-obsessed, democratic, peace-loving, humanitarian, fun-filled West – join the Islamic State and support the public cutting off of the heads of breathing, living human beings? Each of us in our own way are lost souls searching for answers to the awful mysteries of life. But THIS? What life-quest does The Islamic State satisfy that our beloved West can’t satisfy? ISIS is unique in the world in making US foreign policy look good. The Defense Department and the State Department have special task forces studying the new enemy; the latter regularly puts out videos to counteract the many Islamic State videos.

I hope those researching the question look inwardly as well as at ISIS. ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Friday, May 29 @ 09:29:48 EDT (1024 reads)
(Read More... | 16494 bytes more | Comments? | The News | Score: 0)

 Truth To Power: The Latest Victim in the War on Whistleblowers

Politics
Jeffrey Sterling learned the hard way that the feds will throw the book at anyone who embarrasses them.

By John Kiriakou

Jeffrey Sterling recently stood before a judge as his sentence was read. The former CIA officer, the judge declared, would spend 42 months — that’s three and half years — behind bars. The feds had convicted Sterling on nine felony charges, including seven counts of espionage.

He didn’t sell secrets to the Russians. He didn’t trade intelligence for personal gain. He made no attempt to disrupt the American way of life.

What did he do, then?

He reported to the Senate Intelligence Committee that the CIA had botched an operation to feed false information about nuclear technology to Iran — and may have actually helped Iran’s enrichment program instead.

Largely based on this, the government accused Sterling of leaking details about the program to journalist James Risen, who wrote about it in his book State of War.

Even worse, the feds claimed that Sterling, who is black, did it out of resentment over a failed racial discrimination lawsuit against the agency — in effect using Sterling’s willingness to stand up for his rights against him.

There was no actual proof, though, that Sterling was Risen’s source. The only evidence the prosecution had against Sterling was metadata that showed he had spoken to Risen by phone. ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Thursday, May 21 @ 23:27:57 EDT (1123 reads)
(Read More... | 5573 bytes more | Comments? | Truth To Power | Score: 0)

 Opinion: Send in the Clowns

Politics
As the 2016 presidential candidates belatedly get worked up about inequality, they're losing touch with reality.

By Donald Kaul

Hardly a day goes by that another candidate doesn’t announce his or her intention to run for the presidency. One day it’s Carly Fiorina, the next it’s Mike Huckabee, Bernie Sanders, or Hillary Clinton, even.

It’s like the circus — when the little car rolls into the center ring and a clown gets out, then another, then two more, and on and on until the ring is overflowing with 1,000 clowns, or so it seems.

We won’t get up to 1,000 politicians yearning to lead the “free world,” or what’s left of it. But we should reach two dozen presidential aspirants who are asking us voters to take them seriously before we’re done.

It’s still early, but it looks as though the major message of this election is going to be about closing the cavernous gaps between the rich and the poor. Democrats have always suspected that the poor are being victimized by our economic system, but now it seems that the Republicans are singing that song too.

Former First Brother Jeb Bush, whose family has been rich ever since his grandfathers got into oil and weapons 100 years ago, is now excoriating the “elites” who’ve stifled growth and left the middle class to twist slowly in the wind. ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Saturday, May 16 @ 00:12:12 EDT (1247 reads)
(Read More... | 5499 bytes more | Comments? | Opinion | Score: 5)

 Holidays: Mother's Day

History / Culture

Julia Ward Howe's
Mother's Day Proclamation

(1870, Boston)


"Arise then...women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts!
Whether your baptism be of water or of tears!
Say firmly:
'We will not have questions answered by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage,
For caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience. ...


Posted by Blue1moon on Friday, May 08 @ 22:41:09 EDT (1337 reads)
(Read More... | 1897 bytes more | Comments? | Holidays | Score: 0)

 History/Culture: The History and Traditions of Beltane/May Day

Holidaysby Sherlyn Meinz aka Blue1moon
AlienLove Editor

Beltane is considered one of the most important of the ancient holidays. It’s history goes back further than records exist. It is a time for renewal, regrowth and fertility - for the land, livestock, wild animals, and humankind. It welcomes summer, the awakening of the earth and personal growth. The holiday begins at sundown on April 30th and continues through sundown on May first. However, due to calendar changes over the centuries, in years past, it was actually celebrated several days later allowing for more plants to be in bloom. Celebrations of this holiday are held as late as May 5th.

The holiday has many names: Beltaine, Beltane, May Eve, May Day, Walpurgis Night, Roodmass, to name a few. Many try to stay up all night on Beltane Eve to welcome the dawn with singing and dancing. It is also said that if you sit under a tree, you may be lucky enough to hear or see the Queen of the Faeries as she rides her white horse.

The horse’s bells ring as she rides through the night. Legend has that if you hide your face, the Faery Queen will pass you by, but if you look upon her she may choose you to accompany her to Faeryland. This is a time when the ‘veil’ between worlds is at it’s thinnest, as it is at Samhain (Halloween). It is considered to be the time when Faeries return full of mischief and delight, and rowan branches were often placed over doorways and windows for protection.

May Day is also acknowledged as the world’s first ‘workers’ holiday. Red (the color of fire) is associated with both holidays. In the celebration of the International holiday of May Day, red (flags) represent the splash of blood as organized workers lost their lives while fighting for basic rights. Traditional Beltane colors are red, white and green. Red is thought to have represented a woman’s menses; white either mother’s milk or a man’s semen; and green - growth and abundance. ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Thursday, April 30 @ 21:19:27 EDT (1524 reads)
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 Truth To Power: Sister Rice Goes After the Bomb

Peace
Federal authorities are treating an 85-year-old Catholic nun like a nuclear saboteur.

By Peter Weiss

Last March, Sister Megan Rice stood before a federal court in Cincinnati. Along with her companions Michael Walli and Greg Boertje-Obed, the 85-year-old Catholic nun was appealing a serious conviction.

Their charge? Sabotaging the “national defense.”

Sabotage, which conjures up images of derailed troop trains or water poured into the gas tanks of military vehicles, is a charge prosecutors hardly ever invoke in peacetime. What could these gentle activists have done to warrant it?

On a summer’s eve in 2012, they made their way to the federal Y-12 Nuclear Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. There, the Department of Energy warehouses the enriched, weapons-grade uranium used in the manufacture of nuclear weapons.

Armed only with bolt cutters and small hammers, the three defendants cut their way through a number of fences to reach the storage building. In a series of symbolic gestures of protest, they poured some of their own blood on the outside of the building and hammered away a tiny piece of one of its corners.

Then they prayed, sang hymns, and waited to be arrested. They caused no functional damage to the building and didn’t attempt to enter it.

Pressed by federal prosecutors, the three people of faith refused to accept a guilty plea for “depredation of government property.”

They believed that the object of their protest — a nuclear weapons arsenal capable of wiping out the human race — was infinitely more criminal than their act of protest itself. So the government, in an unprecedented demonstration of spitefulness, raised the charges to sabotage. ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Sunday, April 26 @ 16:27:47 EDT (1473 reads)
(Read More... | 4515 bytes more | Comments? | Truth To Power | Score: 0)

 International: Did Slaves Catch Your Seafood?

The News
Men who live in cages may have caught the shrimp at your supermarket.

By Elizabeth O’Connell

A few years ago, a friend promised Asorasak Thama a job in the Thai fishing industry. The job offered good pay for a few weeks of work.

Instead, he wound up trapped at sea for a year, working in terrible conditions for no pay at all. Thama had become a slave.

Authorities rescued Thama and his crewmembers when they stopped the boat he was trapped on for fishing illegally in Indonesian waters. A few years later, however — after a stranger drugged him at a bar in southern Thailand — Thama found himself enslaved again.

When his boat came into shore to get a fishing license from Malaysia, he waited until the captain had had a few drinks, then punched him and fled.

Despite these terrible ordeals, Thama is one of the lucky ones — he escaped. ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Thursday, April 23 @ 21:27:29 EDT (1286 reads)
(Read More... | 5124 bytes more | Comments? | International | Score: 0)

 Truth To Power: The Anti-Empire Report #138

PoliticsBy William Blum

Cold War 2.0, part I

In last month’s Anti-Empire Report I brought you the latest adventure of US State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki trying to defend the indefensible. She said then: “As a matter of longstanding policy, the United States does not support political transitions by non-constitutional means,” which prompted me to inform my readers: “If you know how to contact Ms. Psaki, tell her to have a look at my list of more than 50 governments the United States has attempted to overthrow since the end of the Second World War.”

On March 13 her regular attack on all things Russian included this exchange with Associated Press writer Matthew Lee:

Lee: On this issue, did you get any more about this request to the Vietnamese on Cam Ranh Bay and not allowing the Russians to - and not wanting them to allow - you not wanting them to refuel Russian planes there?

Psaki: Well, just to be clear - and maybe I wasn’t as clear yesterday, so let me try to do this again - it’s - our concern is about activities they might conduct in the region, and the question is: Why are they in the region? It’s not about specifically refueling or telling the Vietnamese not to allow them to refuel. [emphasis added]

Lee: So there hasn’t been a request to stop refueling them, or there has?

Psaki: It’s more about concerns. It’s not as much about Vietnam as much as it - as it is about concerns about what activities they would be in the region for.

Lee: Okay. Well, you - I mean, there are U.S. planes flying over there all the time. ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Tuesday, April 14 @ 18:06:49 EDT (1480 reads)
(Read More... | 16489 bytes more | Comments? | Truth To Power | Score: 0)

 Space: ESA's Planetary Defence Test Set For 2020

InternationalFrom: European Space Agency

[31 March 2015] If an asteroid were spotted headed towards Earth, what could humanity do about it? ESA’s latest mission is part of a larger international effort to find out.

This month marked the start of preliminary design work on ESA’s Asteroid Impact Mission, or AIM. Intended to demonstrate technologies for future deep-space missions, AIM will also be the Agency’s very first investigation of planetary defence techniques.

Launched in October 2020, AIM will travel to a binary asteroid system – the paired Didymos asteroids, which will come a comparatively close 11 million km to Earth in 2022. The 800 m-diameter main body is orbited by a 170 m moon, informally called ‘Didymoon’.

This smaller body is AIM’s focus: the spacecraft will perform high-resolution visual, thermal and radar mapping of the moon to build detailed maps of its surface and interior structure.

AIM will also put down a lander – ESA’s first touchdown on a small body since Rosetta’s Philae landed on a comet last November. ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Thursday, April 02 @ 00:07:54 EDT (2302 reads)
(Read More... | 3419 bytes more | Comments? | Space | Score: 0)

 History/Culture: Easter/Ostara and the Goddesses of Dawn

HolidaysBy Sherlyn Meinz

I think Spring must be one of the most long-awaited and welcome of the seasons, especially in northern climates. March 20 marks the Vernal Equinox and the change of season to Spring, the time when night and day are in balance. Living in Vermont (US) that’s reason for a big hurrah and celebration!

Celebrated since ancient times as Ostara (Oestara, Eostre’s Day, Rite of Eostre, Festival of the Trees, Lady Day) from this holiday comes many of our Easter traditions. Others point to the 25th of March, or the first full moon after the Vernal Equinox as the date of Ostara. Easter is timed according to the Vernal Equinox and falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Equinox, but cannot fall on the day of the full moon itself, in rejection of ancient Moon rituals that had long been celebrated marking this season.

In ancient Germany Ostara was honored, in Greece it was Eostre, both were Goddesses of the Dawn. Spring is associated with dawn and follows the season of darkness (night) or winter. The goddess Ostara was thought to be able to take the form of a rabbit or hare. April is considered Ostara’s month, and her name is related to dawn, morning light, and the direction East. Our words Easter and estrogen both come from the name of the Greek Spring goddess Eostre.

Since the ‘dawn’ of time, Spring has been the time to plant seeds, watch the Earth green, animals appear that have come out of hibernation, life returns to Earth after the ‘little death’ of winter. In areas where it is still too cold to plant, seeds are often blessed, as they hold the promise of new life. It is the time of ‘Spring Fever’, new love and new beginnings, and many clean their homes at this time – ‘Spring Cleaning’.

The tradition of cleaning out the remains of the dark season from the home also has ancient roots…

Posted by Blue1moon on Wednesday, April 01 @ 12:57:22 EDT (1691 reads)
(Read More... | 13605 bytes more | Comments? | History/Culture | Score: 5)


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