Monday, March 30, 2015

Dedicated to Her Father's Death from Police

Erica Garner's father Eric Garner died after a police officer put him in a chokehold on Staten Island. Eric Garner's death attracted little media attention as all eyes were on Ferguson, until months later when the video of his final cry, "I can't breathe," was shared around the world.

Erica Garner leads marches that start after business hours, so the working class folks of her community can join. They march from the ferry to the Supreme Court, and from the Supreme Court to the 126th precinct. "Then I walk the back street down Baystreet, to the actual spot where my father was murdered," said Erica.

Every Tuesday and Thursday at six in the evening - sometimes folks come, sometimes they don't. "I usually wait for people for an hour," said Erica. "They come every 15 minutes from the ferry boat."

We Love Our Pets, Don't We

Look at how these men love their cats. So Creative!!

So many people know that animals belong off a hierarchy created by humans that put animals way on the bottom. We all create better lives by jumping off any hierarchy.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Hiring Women Better for Bottom Line

The reason to hire and retain women in a diverse workforce – good for business. Move over argument that it is the right thing to do, now add a partner in the fact that business is better.

Companies are trying to increase the number of women in executive positions, yet many are struggling to do so because of a failure to adapt workplace conditions in a way that ensures qualified women do not drop off the corporate ladder, surveys show. One of the major ways business needs to address this problem is to change the working environment itself that discourages women from working to their full potential, and treats women as outsiders.

Companies with more balanced leadership do a better job recruiting and retaining talented workers, reducing the costs associated with replacing top executives. They also have stronger customer relations because management better reflects the diversity of society, and they tend to make better business decisions because a wider array of viewpoints is considered.

Apple CEO Tim Cook, who came out as gay last year, told PBS it was important to hire people who “complement you, because you want to build a puzzle.”

Indiana Governor Pence's Claims - Not True

In an appearance on ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos this morning Indiana Gov. Mike Pence defended the "Religious Freedom" law which is designed to allow businesses, organizations and individuals to discriminate against anyone in Indiana if the person discriminating declares it happens on religious grounds.

Lambda Legal explains the truth about the law. Though Gov. Pence says the law is like the one in Illinois, he fails to point out that Illinois has robust nondiscrimination clauses in its state Human Rights Act that specifically protect LGBT people. Indiana does not. Different from what Pence claims, this law goes past established law in Indiana, that now someone can sue even without their religious beliefs having actually been burdened simply by claiming that is "likely" to happen.

Even though Pence claims otherwise, SB 101 is substantially broader than the federal law. The federal RFRA can only be invoked against government action. SB 101 goes much further, inviting discrimination by allowing religious beliefs to be raised as a defense in lawsuits and administrative proceedings brought by workers, tenants and customers who have suffered discrimination as "any exercise of religion, whether or not compelled by, or central to, a system of religious belief."

Tea Party in Indiana "Religions Decide" Law

According to Richard Brodsky, Indiana went well beyond allowing religious organizations to practice what they want. The law states that they can move those practices into the realm of commerce.

The law extends the inside-the-church exemption to commercial enterprises. Business corporations get the same protection that a church gets.

Brodsky continues that if we think we've heard this before, we're right. It's the same argument used to attack Obamacare in the "Hobby Lobby" lawsuit. That time is was about insurance coverage for contraception, but the argument was the same.

And we have also heard a variant in Citizens United, where the Supreme Court conservative majority said corporations have the same constitutional free speech rights as do living, breathing people.

He states that this law isn't the least bit traditionally "conservative". It is a radical, un-American, reactionary re-writing of our basic freedoms, engineered by the Tea Party conservatives.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Hierarchies Masquerading as Religion Again - Indiana

 In Indiana, Governor Mike Pence has signed a bill allowing discrimination in the name of "religious freedom," stating that businesses can deny services to gays and lesbians.

As we explain on our website, in hierarchical religions, "Man" is not made in the image of "God," but "God" is made in the image of a man on top of a hierarchy.

Hierarchy hides sometimes, but in this case, it is out in the open for all of us to see very clearly.

Let's hope that people with leverage that politicians can hear, meaning people traveling and bringing convention and other business, will boycott Indiana.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Women Age Beautifully

 Four sisters, the Browns, have been photographed every year for forty years. We can watch them age year by year, and see that women are as beautiful as they reach their later years as their earlier years.

In our sexist society, we view the sexiest women (even when they are called that by magazines, etc.) as young women, but men in their later years can be deemed the most sexy man alive. Time to change that, if, indeed, we insist on stereotypes to decide who is sexy.

Males - Is it Time to Stop Insulting Women Using Derogatory Sexual Terms?

 Joey Casselberry has been kicked off his college baseball team because he called 14-year-old female Little League World Series phenom Mo'ne Davis an SLUT.

Males think they can demean a female by referring to them in a derogatory manner using terms that don't even exist for men when it comes to their sexuality. What is the word for a male slut, or whore?

For instance, what if a commentator wanted to call the men's team at Rutgers a name comparable to Don Imus calling the women's basketball team "nappy-headed hos?" No term exists.

While men seem to not find anything wrong with constantly referring to women as such, is the time coming when we will understand as a society the link with sexism and misogyny?

Presbyterians - Christians in Tune WIth Basic Rights

The Presbyterian Church (USA), the largest body of Presbyterians in the country, approved a change in the wording of its constitution to allow gay and lesbian weddings within the church. This ruling will go into effect on June 21.

The vote could splinter the organization more than it has already. The church has lost 37 percent of its membership since 1992. Most of the congregations that depart opt to affiliate with either the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC) or a newer body called A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians (ECO for short). The formality of Tuesday’s decision could accelerate more departures.

Only hindsight may allow those who disagree to understand the trends of breaking down hierarchies that has persisted in this country for decades. Hierarchies that were once strong look ridiculous to us now, as resisting same sex marriage will look in fifty years.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Stop Drinking Bottled Water

One of the biggest wastes of money, plastic, fuel to make and deliver, environmental disasters, and scams we have ever had in this country is that we need to drink bottled water.

Grab a reusable water bottle and hydrate yourself. For thousands of years, people did just fine without all this waste, only throwing their money at corporations.

Now that soda consumption is thank goodness going down, watch for the same companies pushing soda to be making bigger efforts to get you to drink more bottled water. Don't be fooled.

Idea of US as Christian Nation Created by Capitalists

During the years following the Depression, Americans were told, time and time again, not just that the country should be a Christian nation, but that it always had been one. They soon came to think of the United States as “one nation under God.” They’ve believed it ever since. But it is not true.

Back in the 1930s, business leaders found themselves on the defensive. Their public prestige had plummeted with the Great Crash; their private businesses were under attack by Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal from above and labor from below. To regain the upper hand, corporate leaders fought back on all fronts. They waged a figurative war in statehouses and, occasionally, a literal one in the streets; their campaigns extended from courts of law to the court of public opinion. But nothing worked particularly well until they began an inspired public relations offensive that cast capitalism as the handmaiden of Christianity.

Read all about it in the New York Times. We're been manipulated by Big Business and hierarchy builders again.

Those Building HIerarhcies Make Sure the Rich Get Richer

As we continue to elect policy makers who drastically favor the rich, and whose goal in life is to strengthen hierarchies, the gap between the rich and the poor just widens.

As an example, we are all subsidizing the employees of Wal-Mart while their profits soar and the family members who own Wal-Mart just climb up the world's most wealthy list.

Here is a good summary of where we have been in this country, and where we are now:

Friday, March 13, 2015

Bringing Fido to Shop

Years ago, when visiting London, we noticed how unusual it seemed that dogs were welcome in upscale Harrod's Department Store. But times have changed.

Here in the United States, we are similarly breaking down the animal/human hierarchy. Recognizing that dogs are members of the family, and possibly understanding that many people won't stop to shop if they have to leave their dogs in a warm car, many local stores and major chains are welcoming dogs.

Barkpost gives us a list of places where you can bring your dog. At the bottom of the article, there is a link to local establishments by region and city. Before you get to that link, there are nineteen major store chains clearly listed with a picture of each.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Animals Have Feelings Too

A man in China found a stray dog laying in the parking place he wanted to occupy with his car. The man got out of the car and kicked the dog to get the dog to move.

Surprised was the man, when the dog returned with a pack and chewed up his car, causing damage to the body of the car and the windshield wipers.

As our hierarchies are falling, one involves how we treat animals. Many of us support the fact that animals can be great friends and have emotions that they share with us freely. And they are very smart, and valuable as part of our world.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Break Um Down University of Oklahoma

The speech today by University of Oklahoma president David Boren blasting the SAE fraternity for an obviously well-practiced chant about lynching and exclusion of African-Americans in their fraternity brought these words:

 “You have violated all we stand for. You should not have the privilege of calling yourselves ‘Sooners. We vow that we will be an example to the entire country of how to deal with his issue. There must be zero tolerance for racism everywhere in our nation.”

“Effective immediately, all ties and affiliations between this University and the local SAE chapter are hereby severed.” The students involved will have to make their own housing arrangements after that, Boren said at a Monday news conference, during which he declared: “We don’t provide student services for bigots.”

Those hierarchies - weakening as we watch, every day. We are at a critical mass to come together to bring Hierarchies a capital H down in the United States and in the world.

Like Obama Said - Not Perfect - But Moving

President Obama made a stirring speech at Selma this weekend, on the 50th anniversary of that historic march that brought our nation one step closer to bringing down the race hierarchy.

As we put holes in so many hierarchies in this country - race, gender, physical ability, animals to humans, sexual orientation, etc., we can appreciate Obama's words that remind us that patriotism is realistically recognizing where we have been, where we are, and where we have to go.  

Obama points out that in America, what greater form of patriotism is there than when, "we are strong enough to be self-critical, that each successive generation can look upon our imperfections and decide that it is in our power to remake this nation to more closely align with our highest ideals?"

As we keep breaking down our hierarchies, we are inching one step at a time to building the country most of us envision.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Older Women – Time to Be Leaders

At least in one species, older females are valued for their accumulated knowledge and wisdom.

Researchers have determined that female killer whales become key leaders in their pods after they age out of fertility.

We can trace many of our problems in our society to male top-of-the-hierarchy attitudes and behaviors. Just look at political cartoons and see that the "establishment" is almost always depicted as older white males. We all know who they are.

Time for them to move over and let women have a crack at a bigger role in running this country.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Puting Your Athletic Program where Your Values Are

The Emmanuel College has decided it will not longer compete in athletics with Gordon College, a Christian college in Boston who is trying to obtain a religious exemption that would allow it to discriminate due to sexual orientation.

On July 1, 2014, Gordon College President D. Michael Lindsay signed a letter to President Obama  asking to be released from obligation to hire federal contractors not allowed to discrimination in hiring practice on the basis of sexual orientation. 

Emmanuel athletic director Pam Roecker decided that Emmanuel will no longer compete against Gordon College in any sport, as it goes against the mission of Emmanuel.

Breaking down the sexual orientation hierarchy one step at a time, by not participating in it.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Zay Crawford - A Pioneer in Teaching the Rest of Us

Four in ten transgender teens in the United States attempt suicide. Zay Crawford and her family share her story to help the rest of us accept and understand that other people's journeys might not be like ours, but they are just fine.

The beauty of a diverse world is that we all can learn about and share the lives of others. Getting rid of hierarchies allows us to live life to the fullest and not judge other's paths.

Over three million people have watched this video:

Here is a wonderful story of a Zay, who lives in the Cincinnati area. She and her parents have chosen to share their journeys.