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Member since: Fri Apr 4, 2014, 04:21 PM
Number of posts: 16,104

Journal Archives

Do you ever get the impression you're being ignored?

You might just be right.


Iconic 'Go to Church or Devil Will Get You' sign is restored to its place along I-65

Source: AL.com, by Kelly Kazek

Social media is buzzing today with the news that an Alabama landmark is back. The "Go to Church or the Devil Will Get You" sign along Interstate 65 near Prattville has been gone since 2016 when it was toppled in a storm. Since then, motorists have been posting on social media, bemoaning its absence.

Sing along, please! "What a friend we have in...wait, what?"

See it all at: https://www.al.com/living/index.ssf/2018/05/iconic_go_to_church_or_devil_w.html

"Impeachment: A Guide For Candidates"

Tom Steyer launched the Need to Impeach movement on October 20, 2017, calling on supporters to sign an online petition. More than 5 million people have since signed the petition, creating a digital army of supporters that many political strategists call a formidable and powerful political tool. Learn more at: https://www.needtoimpeach.com/


U.S. Fertility Rate Fell to a Record Low, for a Second Straight Year

Source: New York Times, by Sabrina Tavernise


Fertility rates are essential measures of a society’s demographic balance. If they are too high, that can strain resources like housing and education. If they are too low, a country can face challenges replacing its work force and supporting its older adults, like in Russia and Japan. In the United States, declines in rates have not led to drops in the population, in part because they have been largely offset by immigration.

The country has been living through one of the longest declines in fertility in decades and demographers are trying to figure out what is driving it. Rates tend to drop during difficult economic times as people put off having babies, and then rise once the economy rebounds. But the rate has not recovered since the Great Recession. A brief uptick in 2014 did not last. The number of births has also declined, and last year was its lowest level since 1987. The fertility rate is the number of births per 1,000 women ages 15 to 44.


It could be that the new generation of millennial women is delaying having children even longer than the women who came before them, as prime childbearing years are also critical years for advancing in a career. A recent study shows that the marital pay gap that springs up after a first child is born typically does not close if the birth happens between age 25 and 35.


A bright spot was the rate of births to teenagers, which has dropped 55 percent since 2007 — nearly 8 percent a year — a decline Dr. Hamilton called “phenomenal.” The teenage birthrate is down 70 percent since its peak in 1991, he said.

Read it all at: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/17/us/fertility-rate-decline-united-states.html

Lynching memorial may be game-changer for Montgomery tourism

Source: Associated Press, by Beth J. Harpaz

A memorial to the victims of racial lynchings and a new museum in Montgomery, Alabama, have gotten a lot of attention since opening in late April.

Some 10,000 people visited the memorial and museum in the first week. Tourism officials estimate they could attract 100,000 more visitors to this Southern city in the next year. One young man, Dimitri Digbeu Jr., who drove 13 hours from Baltimore to see the memorial, said he thought it had singlehandedly “rebranded” Montgomery.

“How do we get people to come here and make the pilgrimage here?” said filmmaker Ava DuVernay at a conference marking the memorial launch. “We have to be evangelists to go out and say what you saw here and what you experienced here. ... Don’t just leave feeling, ‘That was amazing. I cried.’”

DuVernay, whose Oscar-nominated movie “Selma” described the 1965 civil rights march from Selma, Alabama, to Montgomery, noted that the memorial and museum were built by legal advocacy group the Equal Justice Initiative . “These people are lawyers fighting for people on death row,” DuVernay added. “They’re not thinking about how to market this to the wider world.”

Some travelers say the new memorial and museum have changed their minds about visiting the Deep South. “As a black American, I’m not crazy about the idea of driving down streets named after Confederate generals and averting my eyes from Confederate flags,” said New Yorker Brian Major. “But reconciliation and peace-making has to begin somewhere and for a project as worthy and important as the lynching memorial, I would be willing to make the trip.”

Much more at: https://apnews.com/1603c370733140bba371032a60a5e858/Lynching-memorial-may-be-game-changer-for-Montgomery-tourism

So beautiful, so sad.

65,000 Fans Break Into a Singalong of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” at a Green Day Concert in London’s Hyde Park

Last week, Green Day played a massive concert in London's Hyde Park. But arguably the climax happened before the band even took the stage. Prior to the show, the stadium piped Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" through the speakers, at which point a massive singalong got underway. As one YouTuber put it, "Only Queen can rock a stadium without even being there," a testament to their enduring influence. Enjoy the show.

Doug Jones to oppose Haspel as CIA chief

Source: The Hill, by Jordain Carney

Red-state Democratic Sen. Doug Jones (Ala.) said Tuesday that he will oppose CIA Deputy Director Gina Haspel's nomination to lead the spy agency.

Jones pointed to Haspel's role in the George W. Bush-era "enhanced interrogation" programs — now widely viewed as torture — as key to his opposition to her.

"There is a legal and moral responsibility that comes with operating in secrecy. Some of Ms. Haspel’s past actions and beliefs did not meet that standard. We must choose leaders that consistently embody our highest ideals, rather than our darkest moments," he said in a statement.

Jones added that Haspel's role is "very troubling."


Read it all at: http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/387856-doug-jones-to-oppose-haspel-as-cia-chief

This still isn't us.

Black people in NYC are 8 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana than whites

I'm seriously beginning to wonder about those white folk in New York City (says Alabama resident).

Source: Vox, by P.R. Lockhart

Black New York City residents are arrested much more often than white people for marijuana-related charges, according to a new investigation from the New York Times.

The report is just the latest in a growing body of research that highlights a persistent racial gap in marijuana-related arrests.

They found that black New Yorkers and, to a lesser degree, Hispanic New Yorkers were more likely to be arrested for marijuana-related offenses than white residents, despite government surveys finding that black and white people use marijuana at similar rates.

“Across the city, black people were arrested on low-level marijuana charges at eight times the rate of white, non-Hispanic people over the past three years,” the reporters noted. The Hispanic arrest rate was roughly five times that of whites.

Experts argue that part of the issue lies in how black communities are perceived — and how they are treated by police. “What you have is people smoking weed in the same places in any neighborhood in the city,” Scott Levy, a special counsel with the Bronx Defenders who has looked into marijuana arrests, told the Times. “It’s just those neighborhoods are patrolled very, very differently. And the people in those neighborhoods are seen very differently by the police.”

Read it all at: https://www.vox.com/identities/2018/5/14/17353040/racial-disparity-marijuana-arrests-new-york-city-nypd

The lessons of the past shape the launch of a new Poor People's campaign

Source: Washington Post, by Gordon Mantler

Today begins what Reverend William Barber calls the next phase of the new Poor People’s Campaign. Having led the Moral Mondays movement in North Carolina since 2011 to challenge the state’s regressive, right-wing politics, Barber is now beginning 40 days of national direct action to shine a bright light on poverty and demand a “moral revival” in the United States.

This effort attempts to resurrect the Poor People’s Campaign that the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. started more than 50 years ago, using King’s legacy of human rights activism to inspire a new chapter in the anti-poverty movement. While King’s campaign has remained largely a footnote in history, as if it did not matter much after its architect died, the crusade against poverty continued, giving rise to the new chapter on display today.


In this new phase of the Poor People’s Campaign, however, activists will focus less on national solutions like the 1960s Great Society programs, and more on organizing at the state level. Although there will be a significant presence in the nation’s capital, the most important work might be in lobbying the so-called laboratories of democracy in state capitals such as Nashville, Lansing and Albany to embrace anti-poverty policies. Rather than creating and maintaining a Resurrection City on the Mall — as culturally rich as that space was — activists will instead spend their energy organizing supporters, meeting with officials and working on policy solutions, mostly in their home towns and state capitals.

If the current crusade does not achieve immediate policy success, much of the news media most likely will dismiss the campaign and move on. That is certainly what happened in 1968. Yet, in the weeks and months afterward, it became clear that the campaign had made some difference, especially in terms of building relationships among individual participants, connecting members of a burgeoning Chicano movement with one another and enhancing federal anti-hunger policies through surplus commodities, cheaper food stamps and even changes to welfare. Women, in particular, found a valuable space to discuss how poverty affected them disproportionately, whether it was Coretta Scott King, native leader Martha Grass or Chicana activist Maria Varela.

Will the new Poor People’s Campaign have a similar effect? Maybe. It certainly should command our attention — not just during the 40 days of action, but in the weeks and months after the last rally is held.

Read it all at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/made-by-history/wp/2018/05/14/the-lessons-of-the-past-shape-the-launch-of-a-new-poor-peoples-campaign/

Why Jerusalem is so important to Muslims, Christians and Jews

Bad things can happen when you dismiss the beliefs of others.

Source: Washington Post, by Michael Schulson


For decades, most of the international community, including the United States, has declined to officially recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital until a peace deal could be reached between Israelis and Palestinians, since both sides claim the city as a capital. The newest debates threaten to revive decades of controversy over international borders, possible peace deals and land claims.


Around the world, Jews pray facing Jerusalem. Jewish rabbinical teachings hold that when the Messiah comes, the temple will be rebuilt. Today, one of the old retaining walls of the Temple — called the Western Wall — is a principal worship site for Jews.

For Christians, Jerusalem is also the place where Jesus preached, died and was resurrected. Many also see the city as central to an imminent Second Coming of Jesus. Jerusalem is now a major pilgrimage site for Christians from around the world.

For Muslims, Jerusalem is a site of key events in the life of Jesus and other important figures. It’s also the spot where, according to traditional interpretations of the Koran and other texts, the prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven. Mohammed was carried from Mecca to Jerusalem, and then from Jerusalem into the heavens, where he conversed with prophets before returning to earth. For more than 1,300 years, there have been Muslim shrines in Jerusalem.


Still, while Jerusalem’s history is a test-case in religious violence, it’s also a laboratory of pluralism. For better or for worse, few cities can boast such religious diversity. The question now is whether Trump’s announcement will tip whatever pluralistic balance exists today.

Read it all at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2017/12/06/questions-about-jerusalem-you-were-afraid-to-ask/

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