Thursday, October 31, 2013

U.S. Congress Cuts Work Schedule


Who creates their own salary and gets paid $174,000 for working less than a third of the year? The answer: the members of the U.S. House of Representatives.
The 2014 work day schedule for the U. S. Congress was released on October 31, 2013, Halloween (how appropriate) by Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and it says that members will only work only 113 days. That's down from 2013 (dubbed “The Do-Nothing Congress), during which House lawmakers were scheduled to meet for only 126 days. And during 2013, the Republicans shut down the U.S. government, during which the members of Congress got paid for doing nothing while many Federal government employees did not get paid. Senate Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid called attention to the House's sparsely populated 2013 schedule in July 2013, highlighting the fact that the House had only nine workdays scheduled for September. HuffPost reported in July that the 113th Congress was on pace to be the least productive in history.  
During the 2014 session of Congress, a Congressperson will make $1500 a day which is more than the average American makes in a week- and that does not include under-the-table money and so-called “political contributions” which if they do not spend, they can keep. They also have free medical care, expense accounts, a retirement plan and get tax-free gasoline. In short, the Republican majority in Congress derides the American people, the President, the majority of Americans and the U.S. government and get paid for it. At the same time, the Republicans talk about lazy school teachers, lazy immigrants, and lazy laborers who are protected by unions! U.S. Republican politicians are a disgrace and make the U.S. the laughing stock of the world. Unfortunately, it is just another case of Republican hypocrisy and their “do as I say and not as I do” policies.



Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Circumcision

Male circumcision is the subject of controversy on a number of grounds including religious, ethical, sexual, and health.

Circumcision is the world's oldest planned surgical procedure. Evidence suggests that the procedure is over 15,000 years old and pre-dates recorded history. There is no firm consensus as to how it came to be practiced worldwide. One theory is that it began in one geographic area and spread from there. Another is that several different cultural groups began its practice independently.

The Ancient Greeks and Romans were opposed to circumcision and viewed exposing the penis head as distasteful and vulgar. This opposition was inherited by the canon and secular legal systems of the Europe that lasts until today. In addition, both Jews and Muslims practice male circumcision as a religious obligation and because anti-Semitic and anti-Islam feeling were and continue to be very strong in Europe, religious practices associated with them were not acceptable to Christian Europe.

The ethics of circumcision are sometimes controversial. From the mid-19th century, there has been advocacy in some English-speaking countries on medical grounds. Modern proponents argue that circumcision reduces the risks of a wide range of infections and diseases (including HIV) as well as conferring sexual benefits. In contrast, opponents often question its effectiveness in preventing disease and question whether it has any value at all. They also object to infant circumcision on the grounds that the procedure should require the consent of the boy. However, this issue of consent has only been raised concerning neonatal circumcision and not with vaccinations, surgery, medications or with any other medical procedure. And, delaying circumcision until the boy is older or reaches the age of consent involves a much more painful and costly operation.

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Male circumcision (from Latin: circumcidere, meaning to cut around) is the surgical removal of the foreskin (prepuce) from the penis. In a typical procedure, the foreskin is opened and then separated from the glans penis (penis head). In hospitals, a circumcision device is used to remove the foreskin. With infants, a topical or locally injected anesthesia is used to reduce pain and there in minimum bleeding. For adults, it is a major operation taking as long an hour. A general anesthesia is used, the procedure is often performed without a specialized circumcision device, and there is a great deal of bleeding. It is a treatment option for phimosis (non-retracting foreskin), refractory balanoposthitis (inflammation of the glans penis and/or the foreskin), and chronic urinary tract infections (UTIs). It is also a recommended method of preventing HIV, correcting genital structure abnormalities, of dealing with poor hygiene conditions, or poor general health. No nation requires circumcision; however, the World Health Organization (WHO) of the U.N. strongly recommends it as a way to stem the HIV epidemic in Africa.

Uncircumcised Penis and Circumcised Penis

About one-third of males worldwide are circumcised. The procedure is most prevalent in the in Muslim nations, Israel and South Korea (where it is near-universal), the United States and parts of Southeast Asia, Polynesia, Africa, and by Australian Aborigines. There is also some evidence that it was practiced in the pre-colonial Americas, but few details are available about its history.  It is relatively rare in Europe, Latin America, parts of southern Africa and most of non-Muslim Asia.

The origin of circumcision is not known. Various theories have been proposed as to its origin, including as a religious ritual and a rite of passage marking a boy's becoming a man capable of reproduction. The oldest documentary evidence for it comes from Ancient Egypt. Egyptian men were circumcised and eliminated all of their body hair for probably hygienic reasons. No well-accepted theory explains the significance of circumcision to the Egyptians, but it appears to have been endowed with great honor and importance as a rite of passage into adulthood, performed in a public ceremony emphasizing the continuation of family generations and fertility. The Egyptian Book of the Dead describes the sun god, Ra, as having circumcised himself.

Circumcision is part of religious law in Judaism and a ritual practice in Islam, Egyptian Coptic Christianity and in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. There is also evidence that it was practiced in the Americas, but little detail is available about its history.

Circumcision features prominently in the Bible. The book of Genesis (chapter 17) describes the circumcision of Abraham and his relatives and slaves, making him the first named individual to undergo the procedure. In the same chapter, Abraham's descendants are commanded to circumcise their sons on the eighth day of life. Many generations later, Moses was raised by the Egyptian royal family and was circumcised. And. Jesus was circumcised on the eighth day after his birth. For the Jews both then and now, circumcision was a physical sign of their covenant with God. In addition, Biblical scholars have pointed out the there are many Biblical laws which are concerned with hygiene and circumcision to make penile hygiene easier. It was St. Paul, the Apostle, a Jew, who was eager to convert the Greek and Romans, both of whom were vehemently opposed to circumcision, who reinterpreted circumcision as a spiritual concept, arguing the physical one and no longer necessary- in direct contravention of Jesus’ statement, I come not to change the law, but to fulfill it.

St. Thomas Aquinas in his Summa Theologica questioned why, if under Jewish doctrine circumcision removed original sin, Jesus was circumcised because Jesus being God incarnate was born without original sin. Theological scholar, Steve Jones, said there is a theological tradition that Jesus regained his foreskin at the Ascension. Had he failed to do so, the Saved would themselves have to be operated upon in Paradise so as not to be more perfect than their Savior, he wrote. (???)
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The Facts

1. There is strong evidence that circumcision reduces the risk of HIV infection in heterosexual men in high-risk populations. Evidence among heterosexual men in sub-Saharan Africa shows a decreased risk of between 38 percent and 66 percent over two years, and in this population studies rate it cost effective.

2. The Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is the most commonly transmitted sexually transmitted disease affecting both men and women. While most infections are asymptomatic and are cleared by the immune system, some types of the virus cause genital warts and other types of warts. If untreated, they cause various forms of cancer, including cervical cancer and penile cancer. Genital warts and cervical cancer are the two most common problems resulting from HPV. Circumcision is associated with a reduced prevalence of oncogenic types of HPV infection, meaning that a circumcised man is less likely to be found infected with cancer-causing types of HPV than an uncircumcised man and less likely to transmit HPV to his partner. Circumcision also decreases the likelihood of multiple infections.

3. A 2006 meta-analysis found that circumcision was associated with lower rates of syphilis, chancroid and genital herpes.

4. A 2010 review of clinical trial data found that circumcision reduced the incidence of HVS-2 (herpes simplex virus, type 2) infections by 28%. The researchers found mixed results for protection against trichomonas vaginalis and chlamydia trachomatis.

5. A 2010 world-wide review of literature found circumcisions performed by medical providers to have a median complication rate of 1.5% for newborns, a 6% rate for older children and adults. Excessive and prolonged bleeding, and infections were the most common complications cited.

6.  Contrary to popular opinion, circumcision does not appear to have a negative impact on sexual function or sensitivity.

7. Phimosis is the inability to retract the foreskin over the glans penis. Depending on the country, between 4 and 18% of uncircumcised boys and men have phimosis. If the inability to retract the foreskin becomes problematic (pathological phimosis), which is commonly due to the skin disease belanitis xerotica obliterans (BXO), circumcision is the preferred treatment option because other treatments such as stretching are painful and/or take a long time. However, circumcision can be used as a preventative to prevent the development of phimosis.

8. An inflammation of the glans penis and foreskin is called balanoposthitis. When it only that affects  the glans, is called balanitis. Most cases of these conditions occur in uncircumcised males affecting 4–11% of that group. The moist, warm space underneath the foreskin is thought to facilitate the growth of pathogens, particularly when hygiene is poor. Yeasts, especially Candida albicans, are the most common penile infection and are rarely identified in samples taken from circumcised males.

9. A urinary tract infection (UTI) affects parts of the urinary system including the urethra, bladder, and kidneys. There is a 1.5% risk of UTIs in boys under the age of two years of age. There is good evidence that circumcision reduces the incidence of UTIs in boys under two years of age.

10. Circumcision has a protective effect against the risks of penile cancer in men, and cervical cancer in the female sexual partners of heterosexual men. Penile cancer affects 1 in 100,000 people per year in developed countries. The rates of penile and cervical cancers are much higher in Africa affecting between 1.5 and 3.5 per 100,000 in sub-Saharan Africa. Childhood and adolescent circumcision is associated with a reduced risk.

11. Neonatal circumcision is generally safe when done by an experienced practitioner

12. Opponents to circumcision are based more on preferences than on the facts. They claim:
·       Circumcision is genital mutilation, the male counterpart to female circumcision (FGM). Wrong. Organizations actually involved in combating FGM have been at considerable pains to distinguish the two, as this UNICEF statement explains: When the practice first came to be known beyond the societies in which it was traditionally carried out, it was generally referred to as female circumcision. This term, however, draws a direct parallel with male circumcision and, as a result, creates confusion between these two distinct practices.
·       There are too many instances of complications. Wrong. Complications occur in less than 1% of procedures and these constitute the vast majority of all acute circumcision of adult men. Minor complications are reported to occur in 3% of procedures. Complication rates are greater when the procedure is performed by an inexperienced operator, in unsterile conditions, or when the child is at an older age or an adult.
·       It decreases pleasure or sensitivity. Wrong. Most adult men who went from being uncircumcised and circumcised say that there is no difference. And, some said that initially, there was more sensitivity which then subsided.
·       Circumcision is a barbaric custom. Wrong. It is a preventive medical procedure.

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Prominent American advocates for infant circumcision include Dr. Thomas Wiswell, who began publishing research on the relative incidence of urinary tract infections in the mid-1980s; Dr. Edgar Schoen, former chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics' Task Force on Circumcision, who maintains a web site promoting circumcision and claims physical benefits in sexual performance in addition to medical arguments; and Aaron J. Fink, M.D. self-published Circumcision: A Parent's Decision for Life to promote his pro-circumcision views.

The U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) issued a report in 2013 saying that male circumcision reduces the risk that a man will acquire HIV from an infected female partner, and also lowers the risk of other STDs , penile cancer, and infant urinary tract infection. For female partners, male circumcision reduces the risk of cervical cancer, genital ulceration, bacterial vaginosis, trichomoniasis, and HPV. Although male circumcision has risks including pain, bleeding, and infection, more serious complications are rare. It is recommended that in neonatal circumcision, a topical anesthesia be used. But, although the CDC endorsed infant circumcision and said that the procedure’s benefits surpassed its drawbacks, it left the option to parents whether to circumcise or not.

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Personal Knowledge

I have personally known several men who had adult circumcision because their parents did not believe in it. Two of them had no indications that they had phimosis as a child but as their penises grew larger, they developed it with the result that intercourse was very painful. Another man was born in Portugal were circumcision is rare. He had an unusually long foreskin, had a great deal of smelly smegma which turned off his female partner, and had difficulty keeping his foreskin clean. The three men spent over $3000 to be circumcised (as opposed to less than $100 for neonatal circumcision). And for the three men, the procedure was painful and they experienced a great deal of bleeding afterward.  One in particular started to bleed profusely at work one week after the surgery to the horror of his colleagues who had no knowledge that he had had the procedure.


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Pictures of Circumcised Men 














Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Between 9,000 and 28,000 Deaths

When between 9,000 and 28,000 people die in Syria, this nation of hypocrites is ready to go to war. When between 9,000 and 28,000 soldiers die in Afghanistan, the nation mourns their deaths and wants to do something about that seemingly never-ending conflict. When there was a marathon bombing in Boston by terrorists who killed 3 people and who maimed and injured 267 others, this nation got hysterical.  But, when between 9,000 and 28,000 die because of gun violence in the U.S there is no reaction by the American or the politicians in the do-nothing Congress. Why? Blame the corrupt Supreme Court, the NRA, both political parties, the churches and their silence, the culture of violence, politicians who care more about their re-elections than the nation’s good, the gun industry, and American apathy.

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On December 14, 2012, 20-year-old Adam Lanza armed with his mother's guns stormed into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, U.S.A., and murdered 20 young students and 6 adult members of the school’s staff. As the nation mourned in the wake of that unthinkable tragedy, many citizens and lawmakers demanded stricter gun control laws. President Obama vowed to use his power to curb gun violence.  He said at the Newtown vigil, We're not doing enough and we will have to change.  Not only has little changed since the incident, in some places, guns laws were loosened.

According to Slate’s gun death s tally project, at least 9,001 gun-related deaths in the United States have been reported by the media since the Newtown shooting. This number, says Slate, is a gross underestimate of the actual number of deaths caused by guns in the last 10 months. As time goes on, our count gets further and further away from the likely actual number of gun deaths in America because roughly 60 percent of deaths by gun are due to suicides, which are very rarely reported, the news outlet says. When discussing this issue, please note that our number is by design not accurate and represents only the number of gun deaths that the media can find out about contemporaneously.

Using 2010 data on firearm deaths provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Slate estimates that the number of gun deaths since the Newtown tragedy is likely closer to 28,600. That works out to about 90 deaths a day. It seems shocking that when guns are in the headlines every day, there’s no one attempting to create a real-time chronicle of the deaths attributable to guns in the United States, Slate's editors said.

The Romani (Gypsies): a people without a national state

The Romani are an ethnic group who live mostly in Europe and in the Americas.  Romani are widely known in the English-speaking world as Gypsies but they are also known as Romany, Romanies, Romanis, Roma or Roms.  They are collectively known as Romane.

Their language is called Romani and is spoken by about two million people. The Romani language is divided into several dialects. Many Romani are native speakers of the language current in their country of residence, or of mixed languages combining Romani and another language. This is sometimes called Para-Romani.

Romani have no national state and are widely dispersed. Their largest concentrated populations are in Europe especially Central and Eastern Europe, Spain, Italy and southern France. They are originally from northern India and left India sometime between the Sixth and the Eleventh Centuries. Because Romani did not keep any written or oral accounts of their history, most of hypotheses about Roma early history is based on theory. There is also no known record of a migration from India to Europe that can be connected to the Romani. However, linguistic evidence has indisputably shown that roots of Romani language lie in India. The language has grammatical characteristics of Indian languages and shares with them a big part of basic lexicon. More exactly, Romani shares the basic lexicon with Hindi and Punjabi. It also shares many phonetic features with Marwari and its grammar is similar to Bengali. Also, genetic findings in 2012 suggest they originated in northwest India and migrated as a group.

The Romani arrived in Europe by the Fourteenth Century. In the Nineteenth Century, some Romani   migrated to the Americas. There are now an estimated one million Roma in the U.S. and 800,000 in Brazil. In migrations since the late Nineteenth Century, Romani have also moved to Canada and other countries in South America. It is probable that the total number of Romani people world-wide is at least twice as large as current estimates.

During World War II, the Nazis embarked on a systematic genocide of the Romani, a process known in Romani as the Porajmos. Romanies were marked for extermination and sentenced to forced labor and imprisonment in concentration camps. They were often killed on sight, especially by mobile killing units on the Eastern Front. No one knows exactly how many Romani were killer by the Nazi because they were all classified as criminals. The total number of victims has been variously estimated at between 220,000 and 1,500,000. Even the lowest number would make the Porajmos one of the largest mass killings in history.

The Romani are often called the Gypsies. The English word Gypsy comes from the Middle English word gypcian, short for Egipcien. It was once believed that the Romanies originated in Egypt, and in one narrative were exiled as punishment for allegedly harboring the infant Jesus whose family fled to Egypt shortly after he was born. The word gypsy is more used to name these people than the correct word, Romani. However, as a term gypsy is considered derogatory by many members of the Roma community because of negative and stereotypical associations with the term.  The word gyp is derived word the word gypsy. Instead of gypsy, the term Romani is used by most organizations including the United Nations, the Council of Europe and the United States Library of Congress.

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The traditional Romanies place a high value on the extended family. Both men and women often marry young and virginity is essential in unmarried women. Romani custom says that the man's family must pay a ”bride price” to the bride's parents.
Once married, the woman joins the husband's family, where she must take care of her husband, her children's and her in-laws needs. The power structure in the traditional Romani household has at its top the oldest man or grandfather, and men in general have more authority than women. Women gain respect and authority as they get older. Young wives begin gaining authority once they have children.

Romani social behavior is strictly regulated by Hindu purity laws. These regulations affect many aspects of life. Parts of the body are considered impure, in particular the genitals and the rest of the lower body. Clothes for the lower body and the clothes of menstruating women are all washed separately. Items used for eating are also washed in a different place. Childbirth is considered impure, and must occur outside the dwelling place. The mother is considered impure for forty days after giving birth. Death is also considered impure and the impurity affects the whole family of the dead who remain impure for a period of time. Unlike Hindus, Romani dead are buried and not cremated. Finally, some animals are also considered impure, for instance cats, because they lick themselves.

The ancestors of modern day Romani people were previously Hindu but adopted Christianity or Islam depending on their respective countries.  Blessed Cererfino Gimenez Malla  is the patron saints of the Romani people in Roman Catholicism. However, the Roma continue to practice Shaktism,(Sanskrit: doctrine of the Goddess; denomination of Hinduism concentrating on the Divine Mother as the ultimate Godhead) a practice with origins in India, whereby a female consort is required for the worship of a god. Adherence to this practice means that for the Roma who worship a Christian God, prayer is conducted through the Virgin Mary or her mother, Saint Anne. Besides the Roma elders, who serve as spiritual leaders, priests, churches, or bibles do not exist among the Romanies. The only exception is concerning the Pentecostal Roma.

Romani music plays an important role in Central and Eastern European countries such as Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Bulgaria, Albania, Hungary, Slovenia, Romania,  and the Republic of Macedonia. The style and performance practices of Romani musicians have influenced European many classical music composers including Liszt and Brahms. The distinctive sound of Romani music has also strongly influenced flamenco, bolero and jazz. Another tradition of Romani music is the Romani brass band genre. And, the Romanies of Turkey have achieved musical acclaim from national and local audiences. Local performers usually perform for special holidays. Their music is usually performed on instruments such as the darbuka, the girnata and the cumbus. 

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A brief history of the atrocities committed against the Romani people:
·       In the Byzantine Empire, Serbia and Bulgaria, they were slaves of the of the state.
·       In 1496, without any evidence the German Reichstags at Landau and Freiburg declared the Romanies as spies of the Turks to be hunted down and killed.
·       In 1749. The Spanish monarchy ordered a nationwide raid that led to separation of families and placement of all able-bodied men into forced labor camps.
·       During the Hapsburg Monarchy under Maria Theresa (1740–1780), a series of decrees  removed rights to horse and wagon ownership, forced Romani boys into military service if they had no trade, forced all Romani to register with the local authorities, and prohibited marriage between Romanies. Her successor, Josef II (1780-1790) prohibited the wearing of traditional Romani clothing and the use of the Romani language, punishable by flogging.
·       In the 19th century, Romani immigration was forbidden on a racial basis in areas outside Europe.
·       In 1885, the United States outlawed the entry of the Roma.
·       In 1896 in Norway, a law was passed permitting the state to remove children from their parents and place them in state institutions. This resulted in some 1,500 Romani children being taken from their parents in the 20th century.
·       The persecution of the Romanies reached a peak during World War II in the Nazi genocide. In 1935, the Nuremberg Laws stripped the Romani people living in Germany of their citizenship, after which they were subjected to violence and imprisonment in concentration and extermination camps. Because no accurate pre-war census figures exist for the Romanis, it is impossible to accurately assess the actual number of victims. Estimates range from 220,000 to 150,000,000.

Discrimination against the Romani people has continued to the present day. They continue to be viewed as criminals, dangerous, unclean, thieves, liars and baby-stealers. Their children attend separate schools from the general population. Amnesty International reports continued instances of discrimination during the 20th Century, particularly in Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, Kosovo, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Slovakia and Hungary. Between 1973 and1989, Czechoslovakia carried out a policy of sterilization of Romani women. After the breakup of Czechoslovakia, the policy continued in the Czech Republic until 2001. In 2008, following the brutal murder of a woman in Rome at the hands of a young man from a local Romani encampment, the Italian government declared that Italy's Romani population represented a national security risk and that swift action was required to address the emergenza nomadi (nomad emergency). Specifically, officials in the Italian government accused the Romanies of being responsible for rising crime rates in urban areas. One police raid in 2007 freed many of the children belonging to a Romani gang who used to steal by day, and who were locked in a shed by night by members of the gang. In 2008, Roma camps came under attack in Italy, intimidation by racist parliamentarians is the norm in Hungary. In 2010 thousands of Bulgarians took to the streets to chant such slogans as "Turn the gypsies into soap". Speaking in 1993, Vaclav Havel (poet, writer and first President of the Czech Republic) said that the treatment of the Roma is a litmus test for democracy and democracy has been found wanting. The consequences of the transition to capitalism have been disastrous for the Roma. Under communism they had jobs, free housing and schooling. Now many are unemployed, many are losing their homes and racism is increasingly rewarded with impunity.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

News You May Have Missed, No. 53

New Deadly HIV

Russian scientists say that they have discovered a new and extremely virulent strain of HIV in Siberia. Announcing their discovery on Oct. 16, researchers at Novosibirk's Koltsovo science city say the HIV subtype, known as 02_AG/A, may be the most virulent form of HIV in the country. In a report in the Naukograd Press, it explained that the HIV variant is believed to be capable of spreading at a much faster rate than subtype A(I), which, according to researchers, is Russia's current leading HIV strain. The new subtype, which researchers say was first detected in the city of Novosibirsk in 2006, is said to be spreading through some parts of Siberia at an alarming rate. In the Novosibirsk area, it is now said to account for more than half of all new HIV infections. Citing the scientists' statement, RIA Novosti writes that the " number of HIV-positive people living in the Novosibirsk region has leaped from about 2,000 in 2007 to about 15,000 in 2012." Outside of Siberia, the subtype also may have been detected in Chechnya and parts of Central Asia, according to the Naukograd Press. Though rates of HIV infections have been falling world-wide, Eastern Europe and Central Asia remain the only regions on the planet where HIV prevalence is on the rise says the United Nations. According to RIA Novosti, 52%  of the HIV-positive people that live across that area are in Russia. The WHO says that intravenous drug use and sexual transmission remain the main driving forces behind the HIV epidemic in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Lack of funding for HIV prevention and low coverage of HIV treatment services are fueling the high rates of AIDS-related deaths and rise of HIV infections as well.

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Exercise Improves Academic Performance

Intensive exercise improves the academic performance of teenagers, according to new research. The study, of about 5,000 children, found links between exercise and exam success in English, mathematics and science. It found an increase in performance for every extra 17 minutes boys exercised, and 12 minutes for girls. The study by the U.K. University of Strathclyde and the University of Dundee found physical activity particularly benefited girls' performance at science. The authors said this could be a chance finding or reflect gender differences in the impact of physical activity on the brain. Children who carried out regular exercise, not only did better academically at 11 but also at 13 and in their exams at 16, the study suggested. Most of the teenagers' exercise levels were found to be well below the recommended 60 minutes a day. The authors speculated what might happen to academic performance if children got the recommended amount. They claimed that since every 15 minutes of exercise improved performance by an average of about a quarter of a grade, it was possible children who carried out 60 minutes of exercise every day could improve their academic performance by a full grade, for example, from a C to a B, or a B to an A. However, the authors admitted this was speculation given that very few children did anywhere near this amount of exercise. Dr. Josie Booth, one of the leaders of the study, from Dundee University said, Physical activity is more than just important for your physical health. There are other benefits and that is something that should be especially important to parents, policy-makers and people involved in education. The authors of the study, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, said further research backing the findings could have implications for public health and education policy. The study was funded by a grant from the BUPA Foundation to the University of Strathclyde.
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Pollution Causes Cancer
Pollutants in the air we breathe have been classed as a leading environmental cause of cancer by the World Health Organization. It said the evidence was clear that it causes lung cancer. Sources of pollution include car exhausts, power stations, emissions from agriculture and industry as well as heating in people's homes. The WHO said the classification should act as a strong message to governments to take action. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a part of the WHO, has now classed air pollution in the same category as tobacco smoke, UV radiation and plutonium. It said air pollution had been known to cause heart and lung diseases, but evidence had now emerged that it was also causing cancer. Said IRAC doctor, Kurt Straif, The air we breathe has become polluted with a mixture of cancer-causing substances. We now know that outdoor air pollution is not only a major risk to health in general, but also a leading environmental cause of cancer deaths The IARC said the most recent data suggested 223,000 deaths from lung cancer around the world were caused by air pollution.  More than half of the deaths were thought to be in China and other East Asian countries. Rapid industrialization has led to smoggy skies in cities such as Beijing. However, it is a global problem and concerns about air pollution were raised in Europe again in October, 2013. Data suggests there may also be a link with bladder cancer. Dr. Julie Sharp, the head of health information at the charity, said, It's important that people keep the risk from air pollution in perspective. Although air pollution increases the risk of developing lung cancer by a small amount, other things have a much bigger effect on our risk, particularly smoking. Dr. Rachel Thompson, head of research interpretation at the World Cancer Research Fund International, said, This latest evidence confirms the need for government, industry and multinational bodies to urgently address environmental causes of cancer. But there's also a lot we can do as individuals to lower our chances of developing the disease such as being more physically active and adopting a healthier diet.
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Human Bones Found in House
A cleaning crew and a realtor recently made a haunting discovery when they stumbled upon a possible occult altar forgotten for a decade and a half in a small house for sale in a Colorado, U.S.A., suburb. Animal skulls, chains, bones from a goat and possibly other animals, a skull mask with a black hood, candles and a machete were among the items that were found in the home's backyard shed. Police say that some of the bones, including a partial skull, are suspected of being human and have been sent to an out-of-state lab to determine whether any DNA evidence can be found. Up to 20 bones were found and investigators even brought in search dogs trained to find decomposing bodies. Neighbor Carlos Fraire said the discovery was very eerie. It's weird that it's this time of year, right around Halloween, Fraire told 9 News. According to a report by Westword, neighbors described the woman who lived there as a Christian and the items in the shed are suspected of having belonged to her now-deceased husband, who reportedly left the country in 1998. For the last 15 years, his wife apparently either hadn't known the items were there or left them completely alone because when they were discovered most were covered in thick dust. The two split up over a decade ago, and the altar wasn't discovered until a realtor commissioned a cleaning crew so the house could be put up for sale. When the cleaners found the bones and a partial skull in the shed, they called the police. It just appears that they were used in some type of 'occult' ceremony. At this point we have no evidence to suspect that any kind of crime has been committed, Lakewood Police Department spokesman Steve Davis said. Police say they have talked with at least one family member of the man who lived there who indicated he was an occultist. Investigators are not currently treating the home as a crime scene because human bones can be purchased on line in the U.S.

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Amazon Rain Forest Drying Up
The Amazon rain forest's dry season lasts three weeks longer than it did 30 years ago, and the likely culprit is global warming, a new study finds. Rain falls year-round in the Amazon, but most of the annual deluge drops during the wet season. (The rainy season's timing varies with latitude.) Scientists think that a longer dry season will stress trees, raising the risk of wildfires and forest dieback. The forest’s annual fire season became longer as the dry season lengthened, according to the study, published on October 21, 2013, in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The length of the dry season in the southern Amazon is the most important climate condition controlling the rain forest, Rong Fu, a climate scientist at The University of Texas at Austin's Jackson School of Geosciences, said in a statement. If the dry season is too long, the rain forest will not survive. The new findings forecast a more parched future for the Amazon rain forest than the climate report released last month by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the study authors said. The IPCC models predict the Amazon dry season will last three to 10 days longer by 2100. But with the dry season already spanning an extra week each decade since 1979, the Texas team said the future effects will be more severe. The dry season over the southern Amazon is already marginal for maintaining rain forest, Fu said. At some point, if it becomes too long, the rain forest will reach a tipping point. Global warming can limit tropical rainfall across the southern Amazon in two ways, Fu explained. First, shifts in the southern jet stream can block cold fronts that trigger rainfall. (In the Northern Hemisphere, extremes in the northern jet stream pattern have been linked to wacky weather, such as the unusually warm winter in 2012.) Rising surface temperatures, attributed to global warming, also make it harder for storms to start. The heat inhibits "convective energy," keeping warm, dry air near the surface from rising and mixing with cool, moist air above. Half of the world’s oxygen is supplied from the trees in the Amazon rain forest.

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Baldness Cure Possible
Scientists say they have moved a step closer to banishing bald spots and reversing receding hairlines after human hair was grown in the laboratory. A joint UK and US team was able to create new hairs from tissue samples. Far more research is needed, but the group said its technique had the "potential to transform" the treatment of hair loss. The study results were published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. There are baldness therapies including drugs to slow the loss of hairs, and transplants, which move hair from the back of the head to cover bald spots. The scientists at the University of Durham, in the UK, and Columbia University Medical Centre, in the US, were trying to actually grow new hairs. Their plan was to start with material taken from the base of a hair and use it to grow many new hairs. But, human hair has been tricky to grow despite successes in animal studies. Whenever human tissue was taken from the dermal papillae, the cells which form the base of each hair follicle, the cells would transform into skin instead of growing new hairs. However, the group found that by clumping the cells together in "3D spheroids" they would keep their hairy identity. Tissue was taken from seven people and grown in 3D spheroids. These were then transplanted into human skin which had been grafted on to the backs of mice. After six weeks, new hair follicles formed in five out of the seven cases and some new tiny hairs began to form.  Prof Colin Jahoda, from Durham University, told the BBC a cure for baldness was possible but it was too soon for men to be hanging up the toupee. It's closer, but it's still some way away because in terms of what people want cosmetically they're looking for re-growth of hair that's the same shape, the same size, as long as before, the same angle. Some of these are almost engineering solutions. Yeah I think it [baldness] will eventually be treatable, absolutely. He added, It's hard to say exactly how long that would take, but the fact that we've done it now should reawaken interest. Any future therapy would involve transplanting cells which have been grown in the laboratory so safety is a concern. There would be a risk of infection and the cells could become abnormal, or even cancerous, while being grown. Baldness cures may not be the first application of the research. Professor Jahoda believes the findings will be used to improve the quality of skin grafts used after severe burns.  Professor Angela Christiano, from Columbia University, said, This approach has the potential to transform the medical treatment of hair loss. Current hair-loss medications tend to slow the loss of hair follicles or potentially stimulate the growth of existing hairs, but they do not create new hair follicles. Our method, in contrast, has the potential to actually grow new follicles using a patient's own cells.
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Baldness and Heart Problems
Men going thin on top may be more likely to have heart problems than their friends with a full head of hair, according to researchers in Japan. Their study of nearly 37,000 people, published in the on-line journal BMJ Open, said balding men were 32% more likely to have coronary heart disease. However, the researchers said the risks were less than for smoking or obesity. A shifting hairline is a fact of life for many men. Half have thinning hair by their 50s and 80% have some hair loss by the age of 70. Researchers at the University of Tokyo sifted through years of previous research into links between hair loss and heart problems. They showed that hair that went thin on the crown was associated with coronary heart disease. This was after adjusting for other risk factors such as age and family history.  However, a receding hairline did not seem to affect the risk. Dr. Tomohide Yamada of the University of Tokyo said, We found a significant, though modest, link between baldness, at least on the top of the head, and risk for coronary heart disease. We thought this is a link, but not as strong as many other known links such as smoking, obesity, cholesterol levels and blood pressure. He said younger men losing hair on the top of their head should focus on improving their lifestyle to ensure they keep their heart healthy. However, he said there was not enough evidence to suggest screening bald men for heart problems. Any explanation for the link is uncertain. There are ideas about increased sensitivity to male hormones, insulin resistance and inflammation in blood vessels affecting both the heart and the hair. The British Heart Foundation said that men should focus on their waistline, not their hairline.
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Christians Attacked in Egypt
Three people, including a girl aged eight, died when gunmen on motorcycles opened fire on a wedding party outside a Coptic Christian church in Cairo. At least nine others were wounded in the attack in Giza, officials said. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.Egypt's Coptic Christian community has been targeted by some Islamists who accuse the Church of backing the army's overthrow of President Mohammed Morsi in July. The unidentified attackers fired indiscriminately as people left the church. A man and a girl were killed outside the church and a woman died on her way to hospital.We heard a very loud sound as if something was collapsing, one eyewitness said. I found a woman seated in a chair with lots of bullet wounds, covered in blood. Many other people had fallen around her, including a child, he added. Coptic priest Thomas Daoud Ibrahim said he was inside the church when the gunfire erupted. What happened is an insult to Egypt, and it's not only directed against Coptic Christians. We are destroying our own country, he said. Another priest, Beshay Lotfi, told Egyptian media that the church had been left without a police guard since the end of June, 2013. The Coptic Orthodox Church is one of Christianity's oldest, founded in Alexandria around 50 AD and Christians make up about 10% of Egypt's population of 80 million.
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Iceland’s UFO
A man shooting time lapse video of a town in Iceland captured an eerie, glowing light that flew into town. YouTube user Bjarki Mikkelsen went back to the tape he filmed in Northern Iceland's Akureyri on Sept. 29, and noticed the fireball, he says.  At the 1:18 mark in his video, the red glowing light falls from the heavens and straight into town. There comes a strange glowing ball that I catch on web camera, Mikkelsen writes. I wonder about that. The rest of the internet began to wonder, too. The video has since been slowed down and scrutinized by paranormal organizations like UFO Disclosure Ireland, which speculates that there are "two beacon-type lights flashing" at the moment the object lands in town. Of course, there could be an easy explanation for the object. Drones and other unmanned aircraft are causing a rise in UFO sightings. The glowing light in Iceland isn't unlike a glowing light captured on a video in Brazil in early 2013.The Sao Paulo UFO turned out to be a drone, owned by a news agency.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Poem: The Man He Killed

The Man He Killed
By Thomas Hardy (1840-1928)

“Had he and I but met
By some old ancient inn,
We should have set us down to wet
Right many a nipperkin!  
(half-quart of beer)

“But ranged as infantry,
And staring face to face,
I shot at him as he at me,
And killed him in his place.

“I shot him dead because-
Because he was my foe,
Just so: my foe of course he was;
That's clear enough; although

“He thought he'd 'list, perhaps,
Off-hand like- just as I-
Was out of work- had sold his traps-
No other reason why.

“Yes; quaint and curious war is!
You shoot a fellow down
You'd treat, if met where any bar is,
Or help to half a crown
.” (British coin, one-eighth of a pound)

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Most Common Word in the English Langauge

 I
"I" is the most the commonly used word in the English language and it refers to yourself. But, did you ever think about how often you say "I" in a day and what the frequency of using the word says about you. According to a new study, this speaks volumes about the kind of person you are, and not necessarily in the way you might expect.
A report by researchers at the University of Texas says that saying "I" frequently indicates that the person is "less powerful and less sure of themselves than those who limit their use of the word. Frequent "I" users subconsciously believe they are subordinate to the person to whom they are talking." This is contrary to the popular belief that someone who constantly uses "I" is self-absorbed, or even narcissistic. In fact, it probably shows the exact opposite, insecurity.
Linguists say that the use of pronouns in general tell a lot about you, what you are thinking and what is on your mind is. Those in power and higher positions are often thinking about the broader issues  as opposed to someone who is lower on the totem pole who is typically thinking about themselves, job security, getting ahead, or what they can do to contribute. These are not irrational or negative thing to ponder, but it is an interesting indication of, attitudes, status and power the frequency and the way we refer to ourselves. In other words, when you refer to yourself, you may give away more about yourself than you think.
The study, published in the Journal of Language and Social Psychology, is based on five different experiments which researchers conducted. Whether it included individuals assigned leadership roles or not, the person who was perceived as being of higher rank consistently, across all of the studies, used "I" less frequently than others.

Monday, October 14, 2013

The Gospel According to St. Greed

Beatitudes

Blessed are the wealthy,
    for they will buy the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who are conservatives,
    for they will be in control.
Blessed are the arrogant ,
    for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for power,
    for they will be successful.
Blessed are the intolerant,
    for they will be powerful.
Blessed are the impure in heart,
    for they will have great wealth.
 Blessed are the war-mongers,
    for they will make enormous profits.
 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of their excessive wealth,
    for theirs is the ownership of the U.S. government.
Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and say all kinds of evil against you because you are despicable .  Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in power and wealth, for in the same way they insulted the obscenely wealthy and arrogant kings, nobility, politicians and robber barons who were before you.

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Parable
 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test St. Greed. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?” He answered, “‘Love money with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind and, Love your money as yourself]  “You have answered correctly,” Greed replied. “Do this and you will live.” But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Greed, “And who is my neighbor?” In reply Greed said: “A certain young man was going from New York to Washington, when he was attacked by the robbers. They stripped him of his money, beat him and then they went away, leaving him half-dead.  A conservative Fundamentalist preacher happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a right-wing corporate executive who paid nothing in taxes, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.  But a bleeding-heart liberal as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him.  He went to him and bandaged his wounds. Then he put the man in his own car, brought him to a hospital and stayed with him through the night.  The next day he took out some money and gave them to the young man. He then told a nurse "Look after him," he said, "and when I return, if you treat him with care and attention, I will make a substantial donation to the hospital." Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”  The expert in the law replied, “ Was he gay, or black, or on welfare?" " He was all three", said St. Greed. "Then, it was the first two who were the "neighbors" and not the fucking liberal! St. Greed told him, “Go and do likewise.”

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from The Teachings of St. Greed

You have heard that it was said to those of old, "You shall not be greedy; and whoever is greedy will be liable to judgment." But I say to you that greed is good; whoever flaunts his wealth and uses it to suppress the poor will enter the kingdom of heaven.

You have heard that it was said, "An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth." But I say to you, if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, kill him preferably with a gun. And if anyone would seems to even threaten you, whether it is true or not, stand your ground and kill him, preferably with a gun. You are always justified when you fight evil with evil.  When you fight evil with evil, your heavenly Father condones the evil and makes it good.

You have heard that it was said, "Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you." But I say unto you, Someone's got to be oppressed!

You have heard that it was said, "You shall love your enemy because your Heavenly Father makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good and sends rain on the just and on the unjust ." But I say to you, if you love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, you are being an unrealistic sucker. You should always attack first before they attack you- especially when dealing with minorities, dark-skinned people, money-grubbing Jews or terrorist Moslems.

You have heard that it was said, "When you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you." But I say to you make a big show about how religious you are. Pray in large stadiums, in mega-churches, at football game, at political rallies, and on street corners so that you may be seen by others. And, always attempt to force your religious belief on others. That is what politics is for!

You have heard that it was said, "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." But I say to you, you should flaunt your wealth or what's the purpose of striving for more and more money. Look at the Pope and The Vatican, or the televangelists, or the politicians or CEO's and then tell me that greed is not good. Besides, the economy depends on greed, conspicuous consumption, and spending on what you do not need.

You have heard that it was said, "Whoever shows kindness to a child, accepts me as well. Whoever harms one of these little ones that believes in me, it would be better for him if a millstone where tied around his neck and he were drowned in the depths of the ocean." But I say that when the parent of a child is poor, the child should suffer because the parent will see the suffering and maybe get a job. If not, they should go to the churches and the food banks to ask for help not the government. The government is there to serve the wealthy who are "the job creators". They  cannot serve two masters, their  stock-holders and their laborers.

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St. Greed is the patron saint of the wealthy, the Christian Fundamentalists, the corporations, Texas, and Republican Party.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

The U. S. Government Shut-down

or
The insane are running the asylum and the nuts are in control.

If you are upset or just interest in why a great nation and world power has had a governmental shut-down and has such a dysfunctional  government, here are some of the reasons.

·       Democracy means majority rule. But, though it touts itself as the world's oldest democracy, the U.S. is not and has never been a democracy. It is a republic. (For the record, the world's oldest democracy is San Marino.)
·       In the U.S., the Congress is composed of representatives from 435 districts. The district lines are drawn based on a census which takes place every 10 years. However, the state legislatures create the district lines. In the last election, a majority of state legislatures were controlled by Republicans who the created districts which only favored Republicans.
·       There are 50 states in the U.S, and they all send 2 senator to Washington. But, two of these states, North Dakota and Wyoming, fall below the population required for statehood. The both are heavily Republican.
·       On Inauguration Day, 2008, there was a meeting by major Republicans, among them the Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell. They decided to try to prevent any passage of anything that President Obama proposed, even if it benefitted the American people.
·       The Tea Party reactionary sub-group of the Republican Party was created largely by multi-millionaires, religious Fundamentalists and bigots who intensely hated Obama because he was African-American. Most of them insisted the President was born in Africa and some still do.
·       A very biased, corrupt, and majority Republican and Catholic U.S. Supreme Court voted 5 to 4 to allow unlimited money in elections and thus the buying of politicians. In addition, after almost 50 years as law, they eliminated The Voting Rights Act which safe-guarded minority voting rights. Minorities tend to vote Democratic. State Republican legislators in many states have made it more difficult for minorities to vote or without cause have eliminated minorities and Democrats from the voting rolls.  
·       When the Republicans with the help of the Tea Party took over Congress in 2010, the Tea Party created plans to shut down the government. The Tea Party used threats against non-Tea Party Republicans of primary challenges against them to finally get control of Congress and so the planned government shut-down finally occurred.

Shutting down the government to get their way is a tactic used by right-wing extremist Republicans. They also used it during the Presidency of Bill Clinton who without any evidence, they also accused of murder.
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As a consequences of the shut-down:
·       The Food and Drug Administration has been forced to suspend all routine food safety inspections for the duration of the government shutdown. Eat at your own risk.
·       Airline and aircraft inspections have stopped. Fly at your own risk.
·       Afghanistan military war dead are not being transported home and survivor benefits are not being paid. Die for your country for nothing.
·       The Republicans voted down a Democratic proposal to not have Congress be paid during   the shut-down. Meantime, you pay taxes for lack of governmental services and to pay government employee's salaries which they do on receive. Isn't that robbery!

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Insane Statements from the Republican Asylum

1. Neurosurgeon Ben Carson said Obamacare (a law which mandates health insurance) is the worst thing to happen to America "since slavery" while speaking at the 2013 Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C. You know Obamacare is really I think the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery, Carson said Friday. And it is in a way, it is slavery in a way, because it is making all of us subservient to the government, and it was never about health care. It was about control. Carson,  an African-American, was recently hired by right-wing Republican Party mouth-piece, Fox News, as a contributor. He served as the director of pediatric surgery at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center for 39 years. Carson has made other shocking comments in the past, once calling white liberals "racist."  White liberals are "the most racist people there are," Carson said in April 2013.You know, they put you in a little category, a little box; you have to think this way. How could you dare come off the plantation?

2. Republican Congressman Steve Pearce of New Mexico is a millionaire congressman who voted for the government shutdown but who continues to get paid while the shut-down is in effect. In a post on his personal Facebook page, Pierce said that the hundreds of thousands of furloughed and unpaid government workers should take out a loans to pay for their living expenses. The Facebook page post was eventually deleted. Pearce urged government workers to call their banks and take out a short-term loan if money is tight. If you are a furloughed government employee, we encourage you to reach out to your financial institution as soon as you worry you may miss a paycheck, read the post. Don't wait until you are behind on a bill; call now and explore your options. Roll Call ranks Pearce the 46th richest member of Congress with an estimated worth of about $8 million. Patrick Davis, of ProgressNow New Mexico, said the Facebook post shows how out of touch the wealthy Pearce is with his constituents. His constituents are among the poorest in the country, so going to the bank to take out a quick signature loan is not an option, Davis said in a statement. We urge New Mexicans to call Pearce and ask for a loan from him. He’s one of the richest millionaires in Congress. If he thinks private loans are the answer, he should be the first to offer them.

3. Tea Party Republican Congressman Louie Gohmert of Texas took tea party his dislike for his fellow non-Tea Party Republican Senator, John McCain, to a new low. He charged that McCain (Republican nominee for President in 2012 and outspoken Tea Party opponent), McCain supported Al Qaeda while on a fact-finding mission in Syria. Speaking at the Values Voter Summit, Gohmert referred to some senator from Arizona, unambiguously referring to McCain. The crowd laughed. Gohmert called McCain a guy who liked Gaddafi before he wanted to bomb him, a guy who liked Mubarak before he wanted him out, a guy that's been to Syria and supported Al Qaeda and the rebels. McCain spokesman Brian Rogers told the Huffington Post in an email that the Senator McCain wouldn’t dignify that with a response when asked about Gohmert's statements.

4. Texas Senator Ted Cruz instigated the Congressional shut down of the government and said several times that the polls "lie" when the report that the Republican Party's approval rate is at 21%, the lowest in history.  At the Values Voter Summit on October 12, 2013,Cruz repeated the inaccurate conservative talking point that the birth control coverage rule included in Obamacare forces employers to cover abortion-inducing pills. Cruz said that the Obama administration is forcing Christian-owned businesses to provide "abortifacients" or pay millions of dollars in fees. The Affordable Care Act requires most employers to cover birth control, including emergency contraception (aka: the morning-after pill or Plan B) in their health insurance plans. But employers are not required to cover RU-486, an abortion-inducing medication that is sometimes confused with emergency contraception. Many conservatives, including former presidential candidates Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, have claimed that emergency contraception causes abortions by preventing a fertilized egg from implanting into the uterus. They argue that a fertilized egg is essentially a person, the same logic that is used to lobby for fetal personhood laws. But scientists and medical experts have debunked the claim that the morning-after pill causes abortions. The New York Times wrote in June 2012 that the politically charged debate over morning-after pills and abortion...is probably rooted in outdated or incorrect scientific guesses about how the pills work. Emergency contraception works before pregnancy begins by delaying or inhibiting ovulation or thickening cervical mucus so sperm have trouble swimming.

5. Bill Maher had plenty of material to work with on his HBO television show, Real Time, because both Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and Republican Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia publicly addressed their concerns about the end of days and the devil (respectively) in the same week. At the end of his New Rules segment, Maher took aim at Bachmann's recent comments that we're living that the end of the world is about to take place. Maher suggested that we consider that theory when it comes time for her to perform her Congressional duties. If you think the world is about to end, that's your right, Maher said. But you don't get to vote on next year's budget because it doesn't concern you."  But, Bachmann's fear of Judgment Day is hardly shocking when compared to Justice Scalia's recent interview in which he discussed his belief in the Devil. Maher concluded that while most reasonable people see Michele Bachmann as a total loon, but Scalia as a serious intellectual. Maher added that they are actually, the exact same idiot. After reviewing Scalia's theories on why the Devil doesn't seem to be around anymore (because he isn't possessing people, running pigs off cliffs or doing other things described in the Old Testament) Maher admits that it isn't Scalia's beliefs that bother him, but it is the whole "making decisions for the rest of us thing. It'd be one thing if Mr. Scalia sold pizza for a living, but this is a man we go to interpret our laws. It's like smelling a gas leak and calling an exorcist. Antonin Scalia was appointed by President Ronald Regan. He is often sarcastic and contemptuous when sitting on the highest court in the U.S. and often bases his decisions not on the law or past precedence, but on his personal preference, his right-wing ideology, and what he has been told when he attends Republican Party and other radical organization meetings