Archive | March 15, 2014

Mississippi Baptists Busted Urging Ministers and Congregants to Lobby for Passage of Anti-Gay ‘Religious Freedom’ Bill

PIC: EnigmaticLand(PD)

PIC: EnigmaticLand(PD)

The guy quoted in the story, Eddie Outlaw,  is a friend of mine (video story about him here) who is really trying to make a difference down here in Mississippi. The email came from a Dr. Jimmy Porter, a Baptist minister (He has his own church at which he preaches), and Rob Chambers, a “Senior Consultant.” Both are employed by the Christian Action Commission, a “ministry of the Mississippi Baptist Convention.” (And yes, if you’re thinking that “ChristianAction.com” sounds like a hook-up site, then you’re not alone.) The Mississippi Baptist Convention is one of nine such conventions affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention, whose logo I used in this article.

The email urged congregations to “remind” their pastors to urge worshippers at Sunday service to put pressure on their legislators to pass the bill, yet another “religious freedom” bill like the ones that are popping up all over right-wing America.… Read the rest

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Meet The Harvard-Educated Monk Who’s Bringing Ancient Wisdom To YouTube


via Huffington Post

Hwansan Sunim is anything but your typical Harvard grad. After college, he earned a post-graduate degree in psychology at NYU, and then rerouted his life to South Korea, where he became a Buddhist monk and spent 25 years in a monastery studying the principles of Seon Buddhism.

A disciple of Korean Seon Master Songdam — the most respected Buddhist Zen master in Korea — Sunim has devoted his life to the Seon way. And despite his traditional lifestyle, Sunim — or Ted Park, as he is known in English — is anything but out of touch with the modern world: he now shares the teachings of Seon Buddhism with a global audience via his YouTube channel, “Hwansan Sunim: Son Meditation for the Modern World.”

“Seon meditation aims to eradicate the very roots of suffering, as well as awaken us to our infinite human potential,” Sunim explained in a recent video.

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Why We’re Addicted to Online Outrage

How does outrage serve us? How does it serve you? Share your thoughts disinfonauts.

Zola aux outrages

Zola aux outrages (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

via The Week

When faced citizen to citizen in real-life social situations — with the notable exception of mass political demonstrations — the instincts that outrage porn tries to awaken in us are mostly suppressed or barely felt at all. Imagine treating the person sitting next to you at a bar with the touchy insolence of an internet flame war, or re-interpreting his colloquial impressions about the world according to the tendentious and aggrieved norms of the combox. It’s almost impossible. A guy could get his ass kicked trying. We usually tolerate the bar-stool ingrate, seek points of understanding (and often find a few), or dismiss him as deluded and mostly harmless.

But bathed in the glow of our computers, we imagine that we are in a battle of titanic scale.

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Atomically Thin Solar Cells

Pic: Smokefoot (CC)

Pic: Smokefoot (CC)

Yet another breakthrough in solar technology (via EurekAlert):

It does not get any thinner than this: The novel material graphene consists of only one atomic layer of carbon atoms and exhibits very special electronic properties. As it turns out, there are other materials too, which can open up intriguing new technological possibilities if they are arranged in just one or very few atomic layers. Researchers at the Vienna University of Technology have now succeeded for the first time in creating a diode made of tungsten diselenide. Experiments show that this material may be used to create ultrathin flexible solar cells. Even flexible displays could become possible.

Thin Layers are Different

At least since the Nobel Prize in physics was awarded in 2010 for creating graphene, the “two dimensional crystals” made of carbon atoms have been regarded as one of the most promising materials in electronics. In 2013, graphene research was chosen by the EU as a flagship-project, with a funding of one billion euros.

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When The Government Compounds Crimes Rather Than Fights Them: The Case of Mortgage Fraud

The Crime of Our TimeWe were all victims of the financial crisis that began in 2007 (not 2008) but some of us suffered more than others. And, hundreds of millions of us are still living with the painful aftermath as its consequences began to be felt worldwide.

The first order of business in Washington back then was to bail out the victimizers, who have done quite well, thank you very much, in rebuilding their citadels of profit.

They were only marginally impacted  by some fines that were finally assessed in lieu of jail sentences.

That  money was paid by the financial institutions,  and their shareholders,  not by decision-makers who were never held accountable. It was written off as a “cost of doing business” just as fraud became a way of doing business.

We have all read about the outrageous compensation schemes that offending executives have been rewarded with, even as the media has finally discovered deepening income inequality.… Read the rest

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Is Religion Good for Your Brain?

Eastman Johnson, Child at Prayer, circa 1873A scientific justification for otherwise inexplicable belief systems? From Discovery News:

If you live in Georgia, you’re more likely to have a healthy brain than if you live in Minnesota. That’s according to an annual state-by-state ranking released this week by a national health education campaign called Beautiful Minds.

While Georgians could use more “mental stimulation through reading and game playing,” their high level of religious activity elevated them to a No. 10 ranking. And while Minnesotans read more and are active in their communities, their low level of religious activities contributed to their No. 31 ranking.

Why the emphasis on religion? Research has linked religious activity with everything from reduced stress to better memory retention.

One recent study, published in December of 2013 in JAMA Psychiatry, found that people at risk of depression were much less vulnerable if they identified as religious: Brain MRIs revealed that religious participants had thicker brain cortices than those who weren’t as religious (those with a family history of depression often have a thinning of the cortices).

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Republicans Hope to Force Obama to Crack Down on States With Legalized Cannabis

Pic: Rep. Trey Gowdy and his impossibly Yeti-like hair-cone, both sponsors of the Enforce the Law bill. (PD)

Pic: Rep. Trey Gowdy and his impossibly Yeti-like hair-cone, both sponsors of the Enforce the Law bill. (PD)

The majority of Americans support cannabis legalization, but why worry what the people want, right? Enter the “Enforce the Law” Act. These three douchebags, along with Rand Paul (R-KY) , consider both Obama’s decision not to go after states with legalized cannabis, and the Justice Department stating that it will stop prosecuting low-level drug offenders under harsh mandatory minimum sentencing laws, to be infringements on congressional authority.

Via Raw Story:

Legislation approved by House Republicans would seek to force President Barack Obama to crack down on marijuana in states that have made the drug legal for medical or recreational use.

The House passed the Enforce the Law Act by a vote of 233-181 on Wednesday. The bill was introduced by Reps. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Jim Gerlach (R-PA) to allow Congress to sue the president for failing to faithfully execute laws.

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Breaking the Set: Abby Calls Out CNN on CNN, Oscars & Drone Strikes, AIPAC 2014, Free Barrett Brown

Abby Martin Breaks the Set on the Media Craze over RT, the Dangers of Pesticides, Academy Award Distractions, AIPAC 2014, and a Small Victory for Barrett Brown.
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EPISODE BREAKDOWN: On this episode of Breaking the Set, Abby Martin remarks on the ongoing media craze surrounding her remarks on RT regarding the crisis in Ukraine and features a clip of her appearance on CNN where she took the opportunity to call out the corporate media. Abby then speaks with Alexis Baden-Mayer, political director of the Organic Consumers Association, about a recent lawsuit filed against the EPA in an effort to disclose the ingredients found in pesticides, discussing the dangers and negative effects associated with these chemical sprays. Abby then calls out the overwhelming media coverage of the Academy Awards, all the while avoiding coverage of US drone strikes that killed 10 people during the Oscars.… Read the rest

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Thoughtless BMXers Shoot Video of Themselves Bunnyhopping Bikes Over Homeless People – Public Not Amused

Some BMX bikers have found themselves the subjects of well-deserved criticism after filming themselves “bunnyhopping” their bikes over what appears to be homeless people. The video went viral after Adam Grandmaison, owner of Los Angeles biking apparel company ONSOMESHIT and a friend of the bikers, shared the video on the company’s Facebook page. Grandmaison took the video down and apologized after the local news reported on it, but later returned to voice his exasperation that the story was considered newsworthy and to say that by sharing it he hoped to inspire children.

Via TheComeUp.

I suppose this is where I should apologize for sort of kind of condoning my friends bunnyhopping over a couple of homeless people. Honestly I’ve never bunnyhopped over a homeless person but I wasn’t exactly offended seeing my friends do it either. That video captured the anti-social aspect of riding street that I’ve always loved. The news are trying to pass this off as us having no respect for the homeless, which apparently passes for a legitimate news story in 2014.

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