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Judi Lynn

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Member since: 2002
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Missouri bill to create ‘parental warning’ requirement to teach evolution debated

Source: Raw Story

Missouri bill to create ‘parental warning’ requirement to teach evolution debated
By George Chidi
Saturday, February 15, 2014 22:04 EST

Education in science will be opt-out in Missouri, if a bill requiring schools to notify parents if “the theory of evolution by natural selection” is being taught at their child’s school passes.

The bill proposed by Republican State Rep. Rick Brattin had its first public hearing Thursday. Brattin has described teaching only evolution in school as “indoctrination” to local TV.

The language of the bill makes little provision separating discussion of the specifics of evolutionary biology from any other element of biology upon which evolutionary theory rests, like anthropology, examination of dinosaur fossils, genetic sciences, disease or modern medicine.

“My fear is that every mention of a fossil, every conversation about the development of organs and vital structures, every single mention about the genetic similarity that we share with other organisms could potentially be systematically whittled out of these student’s education,” wrote Maxton Thoman, a student columnist for the University of Alabama’s Crimson White. “In the end, a lack of an education in this field will put students behind the rest of their class, and the rest of the world for that matter, in a way that they will not be able to recover from – much like leaving out multiplication would severely hinder any further advancement in mathematics.”

Read more: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/02/15/missouri-bill-to-create-parental-warning-requirement-to-teach-evolution-debated/

Crowe supports the Venezuelan Government’s call for dialogue

Crowe supports the Venezuelan Government’s call for dialogue
14 February, 2014 - by Seán Crowe TD

Sinn Féin’s Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Seán Crowe, has said that the violent protests in Venezuela, which have led to three deaths, have little domestic support.

He stated that the vast majority of Venezuelans are committed to the democratic process and the organisers should heed President Maduro’s call for dialogue.

Deputy Crowe said:

“Since the victory of President Maduro in free, fair and transparent democratic elections in April 2013, right-wing reactionary forces have tried to undermine Venezuela’s democratic process and destabilise the country.

“This week these right-wing forces took to the streets to incite violence, encourage discontent, and bring down the democratically elected Government.


Venezuela: The Right Wing Deploy Their Fascists. Feb 14 Important Updates

Venezuela: The Right Wing Deploy Their Fascists. Feb 14 Important Updates
By Les Blough in La Victoria. Axis of Logic
Friday, Feb 14, 2014

[font size=1]
Leopoldo López (R), right-wing opposition leader who promoted the student protests and violence
over the last 10 days in which 3 people died. A warrant was issued for his arrest yesterday. López
has been in hiding and trying to flee to Colombia according to Diosdado Cabello, President of
Venezuela's National Assembly. (more details in the report below) Photo: VTV [/font]


In this report we summarize the violence against the government launched by the opposition during the last two weeks, provide context for the timing of these attacks, the government's response, a brief analysis followed by a proposal.

The Attacks

Week of February 3: Last week "protests" by rioting opposition students and violent attacks took place in two Venezuelan states: Tachira, on the Colombian border and Merida. On February 4th demonstrations orchestrated by the right-wing were launched in San Cristóbal, Tachira and students from University of the Andes (ULA) in Merida and a few other institutions. These operations began peacefully before turning violent with many of them, masked and hooded, throwing rocks, bottles and molotov cocktails at motorists, blocking streets and roads. Venezuela Analysis, based in Merida reported that according to Socialist Governor of Tachira Vielma Mora, on February 6 a group attacked his residence. They broke down the front gates to the residence, destroyed a police sentry post and threatened the governor's wife who was being protected by the police. Mora said that some had turned up at the nursery where his young children were in care "with the intention of taking them out and causing them harm."

Week of February 9

February 10: The riots in Merida and Tachira continued through February 10th with these thugs burning tires, firing live ammunition indiscriminately into buildings, throwing rocks, attempting to storm a communal house in Merida and forcing people off buses at gunpoint. Tamara Pearson, a journalist writing for Venezuela Analysis reported that one of their reporters was held in the street at gunpoint with captors threatening to kill her if she didn't give them her camera.

Merida state governor, Alexis Ramirez, also released photos of the armed "protestors" whom he said was detained and later said he was paid by an opposition leader, Villca Fernandez to protest.

Villca Fernandez is the national coordinator of a right student movement named "Liberation." Tamara Pearson also reported that Fernandez is, "one of the people who held a 'hunger strike' (he was filmed eating) in 2011 for supposed 'political prisoners” ... He claimed the protests were about 'growing insecurity' in the country. However he also stated, 'Maduro has to understand that the student movement will never recognise him as president... he should resign, and we’ll be in the streets until we recover freedom' then invited 'all Venezuelans' to 'go out into the streets and raise your voice against the violence'."


Here Comes Miami! The Scramble for Cuba

February 04, 2014
Here Comes Miami!

The Scramble for Cuba


Consider it done: in the United States, the figurative hurricane barriers against access to Cuba are opening. Given they have been clamped shut for half a century, there is a lag time between turning the screws and actuating the gates. Put it this way: the lubrication is done.

On Monday, the conservative Capitol Hill Cubans blog hoisted a warning as the Washington Post published, “Sugar Tycoon Eyes Sweet-Deal With Castro”. Pay attention wherever Big Sugar surfaces. Cafecito is not the currency of the realm in Florida: sugar is. And not just Florida. Half of American health care costs are tied to the ill effects of sucrose in its various forms.

In June 2012 the blog, Eye On Miami, noted the first visit of Alfie Fanjul in Havana. Alfie is one half of the Florida Crystals family, the billion dollar brand that dominates anything related to land use, water management, agricultural subsidies and pollution control in the Florida legislature, Congress, and the White House.

It was more than a curiosity to learn that by 2012 wealthy Cuban Americans had publicly crossed the Florida Straits, risking the antagonism of the right wing message machine in Miami.

That message machine — embodied by vitriolic anti-Castro, Spanish language AM radio – routinely enforced political orthodoxy in Florida’s most politically influential county, Miami-Dade. Instructions came from the top down, and at the top: money from Big Sugar. The booming shrink wrapped luggage and long lines of passengers en route from Miami to Havana defied the stigma of the embargo. In other words, a brisk business between Miami Cubans and families on the island had already started beneath the AM language rants. Notwithstanding old hard liners banging war drums, by 2012 the gold rush was gearing up and by the presence of at least one Fanjul brother — Alfie — in Havana, political cards were being played.


AP PHOTOS: Cubans 'bury' man alive in mock funeral

AP PHOTOS: Cubans 'bury' man alive in mock funeral
Associated Press
February 7, 2014 Updated 3 hours ago

SANTIAGO DE LAS VEGAS, Cuba — Cuban villagers staged a mock funeral and burial of a living man this week in a boozy festival that has become an annual tradition in a small town near Havana.

A tractor pulled a trailer slowly through the streets in the early morning carrying the man in a coffin and a four-piece tropical band. Behind it, dozens of people drank, clapped and sashayed to the music, as a white-haired woman pretending to be the bereaved widow wept loudly for the "deceased."

"What a good man he was," Carmen Zamora cried, dabbing at her eyes with a kerchief. "He's leaving me all alone. I don't want them to bury him in the ground. My God, no."

The celebration in Santiago de las Vegas, about 12 miles (20 kilometers) south of the Cuban capital, has been held each Feb. 5 for the last 30 years and is known as the Burial of Pachencho.


12 paramilitary bosses charged with crimes leaving 15000 victims

12 paramilitary bosses charged with crimes leaving 15000 victims
posted by Camilo Mejia Giraldo
Feb 4, 2014

Colombai’s Prosecutor General’s Office has charged 12 major paramilitary bosses with around 15,000 victims of a collection of war crimes and other criminal acts before they are set free in June, reported weekly Semana.

After seven years of careful investigations during the so-called Justice and Peace process which has brought a lack of official condemnations so far, prosecutors compiled a dozen major cases—also called “cases of connotation”— which are crimes that are particularly notable or of public importance, such as massacres and selective killings, against the paramilitary bosses and a number of their lieutenants.

This does not mean that in all the cases that the commanders are responsible for have been prioritized. Only those that coincide with sexual violence, illegal recruitment and disappearances, and forced displacement, and others and where there is sufficient evidence for the charges are applied.

Several of the charged paramilitary members have previously been extradited to the United States even though their judicial processes continues in Colombia.


(See link for stats on crimes, atrocities per person.)

Left-Leaning Candidates Continue to Sweep Latin America

Left-Leaning Candidates Continue to Sweep Latin America

Published on Monday, February 3, 2014 by Common Dreams

Paraguay could be only country from the Rio Grande to Patagonia 'where a firmly right-wing leader remains in power'

- Jacob Chamberlain, staff writer

Celebrations broke out among left wing supporters across two Central American countries this weekend as elections in Costa Rica and El Salvador showed right wing candidates are increasingly loosing ground, Agence France-Presse reports.

"Left-leaning candidates dominated presidential elections in Central America on Sunday, with polls showing El Salvador’s Salvador Sanchez Ceren and Costa Rica’s Luis Guillermo Solis poised to claim victory in their respective runoffs," according to AFP. Those elections will take place in the coming weeks.

Ceren, former guerrilla leader of the Farabundo Marti Front for National Liberation (FMLN), won 48.9% of votes in the first round of a run-off election.

In what was considered a more surprising result, Solis, a former history professor, also finished with a strong lead in the first round of voting in Costa Rica.

As AFP reports:

Ceren and Solis are just the latest candidates to ride a wave of centre-left sympathy in Latin America, where right-wing parties are struggling to attract voters.

If the former academic wins Costa Rica's runoff on April 6, Paraguay will be the only country between the Rio Grande to Patagonia where a firmly right-wing leader remains in power.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.


Sen. Tom Harkin Visits Cuba, Is Pretty Impressed With Its Public Health System

Sen. Tom Harkin Visits Cuba, Is Pretty Impressed With Its Public Health System

The Iowa Democrat drove for 186 miles over three days to examine the country's health care situation.

By Elahe Izadi
January 29, 2014

It makes sense that as chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, Tom Harkin would want to check out how other countries are doing when it comes to public health. So he spent last week in Cuba, where he saw all sorts of things that made quite the impression on him.

Cuba is a "poor country, but they have a lower child mortality rate than ours," the Iowa Democrat said to reporters Wednesday. "Their life expectancy is now greater than ours. It's interesting—their public health system is quite remarkable."

Harkin, who made a 186-mile trek over the course of three days, also cited low infection rates in Cuban hospitals and the country's success in reducing smoking among citizens through public health campaigns.

Harkin has been to Cuba before. In 2003, he visited and called on Cuba to release 75 dissidents there. Indeed, other congressional lawmakers have traveled to the Caribbean island, which hasn't had diplomatic relations with the U.S. since 1959. The most recent high-profile visit came in 2009 when members of the Congressional Black Caucus went to Cuba and met with Fidel Castro.


UN Chief Meets With Fidel Castro in Havana

Source: Associated Press

UN Chief Meets With Fidel Castro in Havana
UNITED NATIONS January 28, 2014 (AP)

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has met with former Cuban leader Fidel Castro in Havana.

Ban's office tweeted that the two met for about 55 minutes Tuesday. The U.N. chief is in Cuba for a summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States.

The U.N. office said it would provide details on the meeting shortly.

Ban met Monday with Cuban President Raul Castro, the younger brother of Fidel. Ban's office said the two discussed the U.S. embargo on Cuba and the human rights situation on the island.

Ban's office says it's his first visit to Cuba.

In her own tweet, Washington's U.N. ambassador, Samantha Power, urged world leaders visiting Cuba to meet with "everyday Cubans" and independent groups "to learn what's really happening & support democratic change."

Read more: http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/chief-meets-fidel-castro-havana-22269785

(Short article, no more at link.)

The poor deserve equal protection by the law

The poor deserve equal protection by the law
January 28, 2014
Gary A Haugen

If you’ve been a tourist or business traveler recently in Kenya, India, Guatemala or any other developing country, you probably saw uniformed guards in the stores and offices you visited or hotels where you slept. The sight of these guards is so common that their presence most likely faded into the background. But they are emblematic of a massive social transformation that is passing unnoticed: Throughout the developing world, public justice systems are being replaced with private systems of security and dispute resolution. The implications for the world’s poorest people are devastating.

Businesses and economic elites in developing countries left frustrated by incompetent police, clogged courts and hopelessly overburdened judges and prosecutors are increasingly circumventing these systems and buying their own protection. In India in late 2010 the private security industry already employed more than 5.5 million people - roughly four times the size of the entire Indian police force. A 2009 World Bank report showed roughly the same ratio in Kenya. The largest employer in all of Africa is a private security firm, Group4Securicor, and in Guatemala, private security forces outnumber public police 7 to 1.

The repercussions extend far beyond the elites and businesses that buy safety: When protection must be purchased, the poorest are left with nothing to shield them from violence. In many developing countries, if you want to be safe, you pay to be safe. And if you can’t pay to be safe - you aren’t.

As elites abandon the public security system, their impoverished neighbors, especially women and girls, are left relying on underpaid, under-trained, undisciplined and frequently corrupt police forces for protection and all-but-paralyzed courts for justice.
This is not a small problem isolated to a single context. It is the terrifying truth of everyday life for billions of our poorest neighbors. As a U.N. commission found in 2008, a stunning 4 billion poor people live outside the protection of law.

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