Tom Hayden notes Republican obsessions with dredging up Barack Obama’s roots, and says it’s time to take a look at Mitt Romney’s Roots:
In conclusion: A Romney relative, the head of the Mormon temple in Chihuahua, was kidnapped along with another Mormon in probable retaliation for 1970s murders carried out by a son of the founder of Colonia LeBaron, the polygamous enclave that gave rise to George, and now Mitt, Romney.
Speaking of roots, Jason Drexler takes a look at the roots of Romney’s spiritual leader, con-man Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon religion.
From Huffpo, Bill Maher discusses Todd Akin’s religious fundamentalist thought process:
Here’s the only thing you need to know about Todd Akin and human anatomy: he’s an asshole. What I want to talk about is how it’s not a coincidence that the party of fundamentalism is also the party of fantasy. When I say religion is a mental illness, this is what I mean: it corrodes your mental faculties to the point where you can believe in tiny ninja warriors who hide in vaginas and lie in wait for bad people’s sperm.
Evangelicals might like to pretend that the magical thinking that they indulge in at home doesn’t affect what they do at the office, but it absolutely does. The brain that believes in angels and miracles and Jesus riding a dinosaur is trained to see the world not as it is, but as you want it to be.
This is not just about money, but lives. This article in Foreign Policy explains how Wall Street speculation is driving up cost of food and killing people:
The result of Wall Street’s venture into grain and feed and livestock has been a shock to the global food production and delivery system. Not only does the world’s food supply have to contend with constricted supply and increased demand for real grain, but investment bankers have engineered an artificial upward pull on the price of grain futures. The result: Imaginary wheat dominates the price of real wheat, as speculators (traditionally one-fifth of the market) now outnumber bona-fide hedgers four-to-one.
Today, bankers and traders sit at the top of the food chain — the carnivores of the system, devouring everyone and everything below. Near the bottom toils the farmer. For him, the rising price of grain should have been a windfall, but speculation has also created spikes in everything the farmer must buy to grow his grain — from seed to fertilizer to diesel fuel. At the very bottom lies the consumer. The average American, who spends roughly 8 to 12 percent of her weekly paycheck on food, did not immediately feel the crunch of rising costs. But for the roughly 2-billion people across the world who spend more than 50 percent of their income on food, the effects have been staggering: 250 million people joined the ranks of the hungry in 2008, bringing the total of the world’s “food insecure” to a peak of 1 billion — a number never seen before.
Representative Todd Akin made it clear he has been legislating on the topic of abortion in almost total ignorance. He doesn’t believe that there are many pregnancies caused by rape. The well-respected Guttmacher Institute disagrees, reporting that 1% of all abortions are the result of rape. Guttmacher further reports that almost 14,000 abortions occur each year as a result of rape or incest. That is a huge number of pregnancies.
Here’s what Akin recently said about abortion and rape:
“From what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare,” said Akin said of pregnancy caused by rape. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let’s assume maybe that didn’t work or something. I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist.”
Let’s set aside for the moment that if Akin one day magically found himself carrying his rapist’s baby, he would immediately do whatever would be necessary to “shut the whole thing down.” That is the nature of modern conservative hypocrisy when it comes to reproductive rights. But his quote also raises an issue the media is overlooking. Who is it that “shuts the whole thing down” (according to Akin) when a woman is raped? Once again, it’s OK for “God” to do what humans (according to Akin) should never do. Akin’s approach is consistent with God’s treatment of infants reported in the Bible.
There is more to this story about Akin, of course, most of it centering on his lack of concern for rape victims. I would be the last person to tell a rape victim that she must carry the baby of her rapist. Amazingly, there are more than a few members of the GOP who would disagree, including the current presumptive nominee for VP, Paul Ryan. “Ryan’s longtime position has been to permit abortion only when a woman’s life is endangered by a pregnancy.”
Jonathan Haidt makes a good case that humans are 10% bee–we are ever-seeking the comfort and resources and overarching meaning of life that can only be found as part of a collective.
But peel the onion down deeper and you’ll see that each of us is comprised of a vast community, as discussed by this article at The Economist:
The traditional view is that a human body is a collection of 10 trillion cells which are themselves the products of 23,000 genes. If the revolutionaries are correct, these numbers radically underestimate the truth. For in the nooks and crannies of every human being, and especially in his or her guts, dwells the microbiome: 100 trillion bacteria of several hundred species bearing 3m non-human genes. The biological Robespierres believe these should count, too; that humans are not single organisms, but superorganisms made up of lots of smaller organisms working together. . . .The microbiome does many jobs in exchange for the raw materials and shelter its host provides. One is to feed people more than 10% of their daily calories . . . The microbiome also makes vitamins, notably B2, B12 and folic acid. . . . .The microbiome also maintains the host’s health by keeping hostile interlopers at bay.
Check out this article for much more information, including the possibility of a “stool transplant” as a potential fix for deficiencies in one’s microbiome. I commented on this fascinating topic of the human biome in an earlier post.
Population Media Center is willing to discuss the elephant in the room–that number of human animals appears to have exceeded the ability of the Earth to sustain them. It’s not that simple, of course, because the number of people combines with the type of lifestyles they are living to determine carrying capacity. Here is the Mission of PMC:
Our mission is to collaborate with the mass media and other organizations worldwide to:
- Bring about stabilization of human population numbers at a level that can be sustained by the world’s natural resources
- Lessen the harmful impact of humanity on the earth’s environment
The emphasis of the organization’s work is to educate people about the benefits of small families, encourage the use of effective family planning methods, elevate women’s status and promote gender equity.
Who else is willing to speak frankly about this critically important issue? Global Population Speakout. The GPSO home pages states: Population Seven Billion: It’s Time to Talk. Here is the GPSO mission:
The United Nation’s Population Division reports that on October 31, 2011, world population reached the 7 Billion mark. The U.S. Census Bureau says it will happen in April, 2012. Regardless of the exact moment, each and every day world population grows by 227,000 people. That means we are adding more than one million people to the planet every five days. The implications for people, posterity, and the planet are of global importance.
Because the population of the world ultimately affects most of the issues that we all really care about, the 7 Billion: It’s Time to Talk campaign is working to open up the conversation on population to new audiences around the globe. When everyone recognizes that there is a need to talk openly about population growth and the importance of family planning, the empowerment of women, and reproductive health and rights, we can more easily find the solutions to issues like global hunger and the environment. When people discover how a rapidly growing world population affects them and their hopes for the future, we know that more people, particularly young adults, will want to lend their voices to the global discussion.
I recently attended a lecture by Dr. Peter Raven, who also directly addressed the issues of overpopulation and carrying capacity of the planet. This is an excellent presentation, which begins at the 6 min mark (and see here):
A friend noticed this label on a step stool at work, and commented: “Look at that weight limit. This stool should not be sold in America.”
I have to agree, especially since people using these stools are often carrying something. If they are carrying 20 pounds, the weight limit of the person is only 180. And consider that the weight of the average American man is now 196.