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Join the Harass the Anti-Choicers Club!

One man has found a way to fittingly pay back the picketers with civility.

The fact that people can stand outside abortion clinics and harass women during the most difficult times of their lives legally has always upset me. Someday I’d like to train to be a clinic escort, though it will have to be once my daughter is older and capable of caring for herself, since it’s unfortunately a dangerous job to do.

One thing I can do right now, however, is join the Voice of Choice movement. Todd Stave is the property owner who happens to have an abortion clinic as one of his properties. He has been used to the public harassment and phone calls that anti-choice protestors have so generously bestowed upon him for years, but when they started showing up at his child’s school with their protest signs, harassing the girl, he knew something had to be done. So he started a phone tree where family and friends could call the people who called him back, giving them a piece of their own medicine.

Average-paid Americans to be left behind

Where’s our doomsday shelter?

Though I have plenty of bad things to say about the Midwest where I live—from the redneckiness to the lack of diversity (or simply the disdain for it) to the general complacency juxtaposed against the conspiracy theorist gun hoarders—it’s actually a wonderful place, too. We have actual trees, for examples, and family farmers are often some of the kindest people you’ll meet. The area is filled with people you could call upon for help, unlike many other areas of the nation where people are too busy having a “Me Day” or whatever. Again, this is just from my personal experience.

Apparently the Midwest is also the place to be during the zombie apocalypse. Right now, there is a confirmed doomsday shelter being built beneath the soil of Kansas—millionaires only, of course—and it’s being labeled as a stack of so-called luxury flats. These apartments are supposedly built to withstand everything from a terrorist attack to solar flares, and only four people have spent millions of dollars on their own emergency flats so far.

Prison reform via kittens

Using animals and compassion to help keep the peace sounds like a good idea to me.

Where I live in the Midwest, people don’t take too kindly to criminals. I’m not making a Western joke here, either; if you serve jail time, people don’t have much respect for you. In fact, I know people whose hobby it is to simply look up outstanding warrants and other legalities online, seeing who they know has records, lawsuits, etc. That’s sort of pathetic to me—do you really have nothing better to do?—but that’s Missourians for you.

Most of the people I know who work at corrections facilities are really good people. And though I don’t know how they are at work, I know that as friends they are loving, caring individuals. We are all different at work, however, and most of these people have made jokes to me about what they’d like to do to inmates (usually involving some sort of harm) or how they wish they had more power, or more restrictions for inmates, and other complaints that bother me. None of them ever say, “I wonder if we treated each other with more love and compassion, if things would be better.”

Minimum wage for all abilities

It’s a great idea, but it’s also complicated.

My aunt has worked at a sheltered workshop for nearly 30 years. It’s right down the road from our house, and her van picks her up and brings her home safely every day, which is automatically deducted from her check. Through the workshop, she gets meaningful work that she takes pride in, activities with her friends that she makes there, as well as activities through a local support group that she has connected to via the workshop.

She is developmentally delayed, so it’s nice to have a place where she can do all of this where we know she is safe, where she will not be required to work for more than six or six and a half hours a day. People with disabilities are often very vulnerable to abuse, even from employers, and it’s important to us that she be somewhere trained to help her in the best way possible. All of this said, my aunt works very hard only to bring home a few dollars, sometimes even less, an hour. She often makes less than $50 a week for what she does—which is akin to sweatshop labor anywhere else.

The Internet News Effect: Turning Voters Into Political Parrots

Eli Pariser and his colleague argue that the search filters for our news are protecting our ideological comfort zone.

There’s no question that we’re experiencing a spike in political and social division in this country, and that as we come closer to the Presidential election, the arguments across the chasm are likely to become louder and more inflammatory. There have also been plenty of claims as to why the national conversation has become to partisan and ideologically charged. Some point to fear over the economy and joblessness, others to government policies under Barack Obama or a new, radical, Republican center. Illegal immigration, reproductive rights, federal spending, and a host of other issues have all served to polarize the political discussion. Eli Pariser, former president of MoveOn.org, and University of Virginia professor Siva Vaidhyanathan, point to another possible culprit: the internet.

When we use a search engine like Google, or log on to a social networking site like Facebook, we are accessing a kind of personalized vault of consumer information. Facebook makes money showing ad banners that have been tailored to our interests based on previous online searches. Similarly, the Google search algorithms attempt to tailor our “hits” to what we’re most likely looking for based on previous activity. For things like car loans, tablecloths, and music downloads, this may be a perfectly harmless way of going about our consumer “research”. However, what happens when you apply the same filters and screening processes to searches for more complex things, like your news?

War in Sudan?

 

The conflict between Sudan and South Sudan has been ongoing for decades.  The tension between these two countries ebbs and flows daily, sometimes leading to dangerous and violent situations for their people.  2005 saw the approval of a peace agreement, the end of a very long civil war and the establishment of South Sudan as its own independent country, though this seems to have had little effect.  The violence continues as each country tries to seize key areas along their shared border.

The most recent of these conflicts involves Sudan conducting aerial bombardments within South Sudanese territory.  The targets of these bombardments are civilian in nature, with civilian casualties being the result.  To make matters worse, the control of the Heglig region – an area of key oil production and responsible for approximately half of the two countries’ oil production – has been under dispute and changing hands as of late.  This has caused a near complete halt of oil production in Heglig and resulted in disaster for both economies.

Hostess threatens to abuse bankruptcy laws to force workers into accepting reduced pensions

 

Hostess has found yet another way to walk over their workers and if it works, it could be seen by other companies as a way around unions and a way to take advantage of workers that are left choosing between their individual rights and the right to work. According to recent reports, Hostess will be offering their workers a final chance to agree with their proposal to cut back cost through reduced worker pensions. This final offer comes with a threat that the company will be using the bankruptcy court to remove worker contracts that are currently in place.

If Hostess manages to be excused from their contract obligations then it will be a sad and damaging day in history. The bankruptcy court will single-highhandedly reverse everything that unions have fought for from the very first time that a small union stood up for an American worker. For the first time in decades, workers will be left exposed and unprotected.

Fenway Park celebrates 100 years of baseball

America's favorite pastime makes history again

 

Baseball is America’s pastime and dates back to the first pitch that crossed home plate. America’s pastime has stood tall against any struggle that American citizens have faced. Whether Americans faced war, the depression or the redundancy of normal daily life, baseball has provided an outlet of happiness, enjoyment and in some cases escape. It is with pride that America now stands to celebrate their favorite pastime.

The Boston Red Sox stadium, Fenway Park, opened its doors 100 years ago for its first major league game. The Boston Red Sox played against the New York Highlanders, later to be renamed the New York Yankees on April 20, 1912. Boston won that first game with a victory score of 7-6 over the course of 11 innings.

Four ways to celebrate Earth Day 2012

 

We all try each day to maintain a healthy Earth and in the process, maintain our own health. This isn’t always easy, especially in today’s world that is filled with not only obvious toxins, but also hidden toxins. Try to promote health by celebrating with these four easy changes this Earth Day.

Buy Organic – Support organic farmers by buying organic. Organic farms produce fruits and vegetables that are free of pesticides. Furthermore the air and soil is spared from the damage that can be caused by heavy machinery.

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