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Alabama Poor People's campaign launches six weeks of protest (5/14/18)

Source: AL.com, by Amy Yurkanin


The campaign takes its name from an effort organized by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the late 1960s. In 1968, King and members of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference began calling for federal funding to improve conditions for the poorest Americans and guaranteed jobs for those seeking work. The campaign lost momentum after James Earl Ray assassinated King in April 1968 during a Memphis sanitation strike.

"We are really passing on the mantle to today," said Angela Balfour, a board member of Greater Birmingham Ministries.


Balfour said Greater Birmingham Ministries has taken the lead in organizing the protests in Alabama, which will take place every Monday at 2 p.m.

The Montgomery rallies will address poverty, ecological devastation, voting rights and the "war economy," Balfour said. She described the war economy as the emphasis on military spending over social programs for the poor.

Each protest will feature speakers who will share their experiences of racism, surviving on minimum wage work and environmental destruction, Balfour said. Organizers will also be registering voters for the mid-term elections.

"It's going to be a protest to raise awareness and to speak to our politicians so they speak to those issues," Balfour said. "We will also be letting them know we will be moving out with voter mobilization."


Read it all at: https://www.al.com/news/index.ssf/2018/05/alabama_poor_peoples_campaign.html

Revs. William Barber (left) and Liz Theoharis (right) visited Lowndes County in March 2018 as part of an effort to organize a Poor People's campaign.

"Too many jobs in China lost." - President Donald J. Trump, May 13, 2018


“In AI and robotics, China clearly is interested in emerging as a global leader,” says Professor Yu Zhou at the department of earth science and geography at Vassar College. “Moving up the value chain is what is really behind China’s move into robots. Working wages have been increasing and there have been shortages of low-level labour.

“You have to replace this labour, and automation and robots became a natural area to look into. Robots are really seen as an upgrade – better products, more efficient and cheaper.”


Bank teller.


Notice anything missing?

Taco Bell Is Officially America's Favorite 'Mexican Restaurant'

By Sam Blum at: https://www.thrillist.com/news/nation/taco-bell-americas-favorite-mexican-restaurant

Perhaps there's no better marriage than America and a quesadilla stuffed with Kit Kats. That certainly seems to be the case, given a new Harris Poll EquiTrend Study, which determined that the most cherished Mexican restaurant in the United States is Taco Bell.


Taco Bell led the charge not because it serves authentic and fresh Mexican cuisine -- it definitely doesn't -- but because of the brand's tendency to create wild stunt foods that stoners love. As Amir Kanpurwala, the director of the survey, said: "Taco Bell’s marketing is ubiquitous so it wasn’t surprising to me that they came out on top this year. It’s not so much that Moe’s or Chipotle are falling off the map. Taco Bell has just been a stronger brand as of late, as demonstrated by the strong familiarity and consideration marks.”

"Dude. It's a taco made out of a fried egg! Dude!"

Chipotle, while still a wildly popular brand with its own share of cultish fans, has suffered remarkably in recent years, due to its sluggish recovery from a series of food borne illness outbreaks in 2015 that tarnished its public image.


But please just remember <stoners> that it's not actually Mexican food.


Why 80% of American Muslims fast during Ramadan. (It's not about the food.)

One of the Five Pillars of Islam

Source: CNN, by Omar Suleiman


One clue may lie in a recent Cigna study showing that loneliness has reached epidemic proportions in the United States, with about half of Americans feeling alone or finding that they lack meaningful daily social interactions, such as extended conversations with family or friends.

People crave a sense of being valued by others, feeling an attachment to a community, and that may be why so many Muslims hold on to Ramadan, even -- or maybe especially -- when tough times face the community.

Many Muslims who do not attend the mosque year-round come almost nightly during the month of Ramadan. Every night the mosque is filled with prayers, food, socializing and fundraisers. In truth, almost every Muslim will attest to reading more Quran and praying more in that one month than they do throughout the entire year. It's a team effort that picks up, even if temporarily, the weakest member.

It's also that positive, feel good representation of unity within diversity and culture that most Muslims want to be a part of, as well as proudly express to the world. It's not uncommon to find Christians in places like Syria and Egypt fasting with the Muslim majority. (And no, it's not because they've been threatened with murder if they don't.)


Read it all at: https://www.cnn.com/2018/05/10/us/ramadan-omar-suleiman/index.html

"Top Millennial Injuries Reported at Urgent Care Facilities"

Source: McSweeney's, by John Davis and Kyle J. Britt

1. Avocado-slicing-related lacerations to the hand

2. Uber-related injuries

3. Job-security-related anxiety attacks


11. Panic attacks caused by the existential dread of realizing that while being the most technically savvy and educated generation in history you still have to live with your parents or rent a small shitty apartment because the technocratic Gen-Xers and Early Millennials created a gig economy that serves the needs of the upper middle class at the expense of job security and the hope of retirement at any age for middle and working class people and even though you have a masters degree and two bachelors degrees the steadiest work you can find is driving for Uber and delivering for Postmates which barely covers your car payment, insurance, and gas and when the Boomers that still control the pursestrings of hiring look at your resume they look down on gig-economy jobs and implore you to get an unpaid internship that would cost you as much to bankroll as your last year of college and besides, you already filed your last extension on the student loan deferment so you’re about to have to pay an entire mortgage payment’s worth of monthly debt repayment for the privilege of getting an education that it turns out didn’t help you anyway and you used to look down on your classmates who went into retail and now have managerial jobs at Gap and Kroger but — I mean, shit — they’re making $50-60K a year and and you’d kill for a job that paid that but you’re already too far down this road so I guess you’ll just lie about an internship and hope they never call to check on it but when you finally get a job you’re immediately and repeatedly chastised for being part of the generation that received participation trophies by the generation that came up with participation trophies so fuck them anyway, but you can’t say that because then it’d be back to Uber for you and you wish your older coworkers would stop talking about how healthy the stock market is, as if that’s an indicator for national success when you had Top Ramen as your only two meals yesterday because the office had a box of them you snuck back to your desk so you could eat until payday, but it’s fine, I mean, fuck those other trust-fund and upper-middle class millennials for being able to afford avocados that they slice their fucking hand cutting open, because in reality that’s a minority slice of the millennial population which sets the bar of laziness and affinity for exotic bland fruit and expensive workout routines to overcome the over-carbed diets imposed on us by multinational food conglomerates who forced politicians to subsidize corn and allow them to patent seeds and prosecute small farmers who use them to plant their crops, but no, I get it, we’re entitled and YOU’RE the best generation, with your massive federal debt and your fundamental misunderstanding of the risks of over-leveraging the sub-prime housing market to pad your pockets with outrageous fees and send millions of homeowners into foreclosure, but yeah, I’d definitely like your investment advice for the 401k I can’t afford to invest in.

12. Tinder-thumb

Read it all at: https://www.mcsweeneys.net/articles/top-millennial-injuries-reported-at-urgent-care-facilities

"Our goal as a civilization should be full unemployment, not full employment."

Foundations of Universal Basic Income


John Bentley on Philorum: http://www.philorum.org/speech/20051207JohnBentley.html#heading28

Scott Santens: https://twitter.com/scottsantens

Firstly, there is the retort that work is desirable as an end. That is, work is good in and of itself.

Too often people say: "I think I'd be bored if I didn't have to work." It's disturbing that a persons' sense of possibility has atrophied to such an extent. It's as if they can only see a choice between working and doing nothing.

They probably will be bored if they can't imagine having such things in their life as sports, travel, art, music - a whole train of activity that is desirable as an end.

Perhaps they simply can't act unless under forced instruction. If that's the case, we don't need work for that. We can build a web site: www.yourdailytask.com.

Today you take a big inflatable ball to the park. Roll it up the hill, when you get to the top of the hill release it, let it roll back to the bottom.

Those that are free of work might even volunteer to monitor those who require forced instruction for their satisfaction. They could offer harsh words, for example.

This view that work is good in itself another has called "Work Fetishism."

Evangelicals are having their own #MeToo moment

Source: WaPo, by Michael Gerson

Evangelical Protestantism, thank God, is experiencing its own version of a #MeToo moment.

Paige Patterson — head of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and icon of conservative Baptist belief — is being called out for a story he told in 2000. An abused woman had come to him for counseling. Patterson recommended prayer. Later, the woman returned with two black eyes. In Patterson’s telling: “She said, ‘I hope you’re happy.’ And I said, ‘Yes . . . I’m very happy,’ ” because the woman’s husband had heard her prayers and come to church the next day.

This, presumably, is Patterson’s version of a happy ending: A wife gets battered, but the church gets a new member. God works in misogynist ways.


But it was the response of prominent Baptist teacher Beth Moore that laid bare the reality of being a woman in some evangelical circles. In “A Letter to My Brothers,” she recounts decades of being demeaned, dismissed, ignored and patronized by colleagues. “I came face to face,” she says, “with one of the most demoralizing realizations of my adult life: Scripture was not the reason for the colossal disregard and disrespect of women among many of these men. It was only an excuse. Sin was the reason. Ungodliness.”


As a historical matter, Moore is correct. The authors of the Gospels would have had no incentive to highlight or exaggerate the role of women in the life of Christ, given their relatively low status in the ancient world. But they appear at nearly every decisive moment. Mary willingly accepts a strange calling. An elderly prophetess named Anna welcomes Jesus’ dedication at the Jerusalem temple. Mary and Martha are among his closest friends. Joanna and Susanna gave financial support to his ministry. Mary Magdalene became a loyal disciple. Women accompanied Jesus to the Cross after the men had fled. In the biblical account, women were the first witnesses of the Resurrection.

Fiercely beautiful. A challenge to the chauvinism of his time, and of our own.


No one can be fully seized by this truth all of the time. Some of us have trouble any of the time. But this is the calling of faith. It is not a form of nostalgia. It is essentially disruptive; an eternal revolution in human affairs. And it requires people to be outraged at every violation of human dignity that crosses their path, including abuse and misogyny in any form.

Read it all at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/evangelicals-are-having-their-own-metoo-moment/2018/05/07/e97be51e-5219-11e8-a551-5b648abe29ef_story.html

Did the dying Stephen Hawking really mean to strengthen the case for God?

In his final paper on the multiverse hypothesis, the world’s best-known atheist made a supernatural creator more plausible

Source: The Guardian, by Philip Goff

Scientists have discovered a surprising fact about our universe in the past 40 years: against incredible odds, the numbers in basic physics are exactly as they need to be to accommodate the possibility of life. If gravity had been slightly weaker, stars would not have exploded into supernovae, a crucial source of many of the heavier elements involved in life. Conversely, if gravity had been slightly stronger, stars would have lived for thousands rather than billions of years, not leaving enough time for biological evolution to take place. This is just one example – there are many others – of the “fine-tuning” of the laws of physics for life.


In Hawking’s older version of the multiverse hypothesis, there is great variety among the laws in different universes. In some gravity is stronger, in some weaker, and so on. However, physicists have come to see problems with such a heterogenous multiverse, especially if the number of universes is infinite. We work out the predictions of a given multiverse hypothesis by asking how probable our universe is according to that hypothesis. But if there is an infinite number of universes, that question becomes meaningless. And hence in his final paper, A Smooth Exit from Eternal Inflation?, Hawking and his co-writer, Thomas Hertog, formulate strict limits to the kind of universes that populate the multiverse.

The problem is that the less variety there is among the universes, the less capable the multiverse hypothesis is of explaining fine-tuning. If there is a huge amount of variation in the laws across the multiverse, it is not so surprising that one of the universes would happen to have fine-tuned laws. But if all of the universes have exactly the same laws – as in Hawking and Hertog’s proposal – the problem returns, as we now need an explanation of why the single set of laws that govern the entire multiverse is fine-tuned.


There is still hope for a scientific account of fine-tuning. However, by ruling out one of the two scientifically credible options for doing this, Hawking and Hertog have slightly strengthened the alternative explanation in terms of God. It is ironic that the atheist Hawking should, in his final contribution to the science, make God’s existence less improbable.

Read it all at: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/may/07/stephen-hawking-god-multiverse-cosmology

Something to keep in mind when considering the infallibility of science.

Source: Patheos, by Timothy Rowe


The fact is that God is not any one, single idea, but a family of different hypotheses connected by a common theme. This is not a unique property of the idea of God. For example, there are literally hundreds of different versions of the theory of cosmological inflation—the idea that the early universe underwent an extremely brief moment of exponentially accelerating expansion. Discovering that one of these models is false doesn’t necessarily tell you anything about the truth or falsehood of the many others.

The idea of God is similar. There are many different ways in which to model the divine, and having reasons to doubt one version does not negate the possibility that truth sits somewhere among the remaining ones.

Religions have historically had the loudest voices over what God is, so it’s not surprising that religious accounts have predominated human thought.


Happily, just as with the failure of a particular scientific model for cosmological inflation, the failure of a religion to provide a plausible and coherent account of God does not indicate that doing so is impossible.

This is why the increasing tendency of people in the United States to avoid identifying as religious may be the start of something positive, for it opens the door to new and interesting collective explorations of the idea of God.

Read it at: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/religionnow/2018/04/the-idea-of-god-beyond-religion/

Many versions of Big Bang - including Hawking's last and latest suggesting our universe is a holographic projection!

A Smooth Exit From Eternal Inflation?

NBC Shows The Difference Between Responsible Journalism And Fake News With Cohen Correction

Source: PoliticusUSA, by Jason 'Keepin' It Real' Easley

Before Trump and his allies jump on NBC News for correcting their report about Michael Cohen being wiretapped, ask yourself when has Donald Trump ever corrected any of his intentionally false statements? (Hint: The answer is he never has).

Responsible journalism isn’t making a false statement and repeating it, as Trump and his conservative media allies often do. Responsible journalism means putting the facts first so that corrections can be explained and people come away better informed.

Trump and his friends will use this correction to discredit the Cohen investigation, but the original point still stands. The President Of The United States was caught in surveillance related to a criminal investigation. The fact that NBC News had to correct a detail doesn’t change the big picture.

Trump and Cohen are in real trouble, and instead of raking NBC News over the coals people should be learning from their example of what responsible journalism is supposed to be.

Read it all at: https://www.politicususa.com/2018/05/03/nbc-michael-cohen-wiretap-correction.html
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