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World Pangolin Day
The fourth annual World Pangolin Day will be celebrated on 21 February 2015!
World Pangolin Day is an opportunity for pangolin enthusiasts to join together in raising awareness about these unique mammals — and their plight. Pangolin numbers are rapidly declining, particularly in Asia. Pangolin trafficking is now recognized as a serious problem in Africa.
In 2013, an estimated 8,125 of these shy creatures confiscated in 49 instances of illegal trade across 13 countries. Because seizures represent just 10 to 20 percent of the actual illegal trade volume, this strongly suggests that approximately 40,625 to 81,250 pangolins were killed in just one year
The demand for pangolins comes mostly from China, where pangolin scales are unfortunately believed to be a cure-all of sorts and pangolin flesh is considered a delicacy. In Vietnam, pangolins are frequently offered at restaurants catering to wealthy patrons who want to eat rare and endangered wildlife. There is no evidence to support claims regarding medicinal properties of pangolin scales or any other part of the pangolin.
Connect, get updates and share ideas for #worldpangolinday at facebook.com/WorldPangolinDay
Critically endangered pangolins rescued, then sold as food
Vietnamese officials illegally trade 42 protected pangolins, placing a spotlight on the creatures, which are the most trafficked wild mammals in the world
In some of the more bizarre food news this month: Police in Vietnam’s northern Bac Ninh province recently seized 42 live, critically endangered Sunda Pangolins from poachers, fined the culprits, and delivered the animals to forest rangers for safekeeping—at which point those forest rangers proceeded to undo all this valiant action by selling the animals off to local restaurants. They secured almost $12,000 for the illegal meat, leaving the creatures to have their tongues cut out and their scales plucked off.
That’s the fate of poached pangolins, also known as ‘scaly anteaters’. Although, perhaps surprisingly, many people don’t seem to know what these creatures are, the prehistoric-looking mammals feel the brunt of a trade that makes them the world’s most trafficked mammals on earth, says the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Over a million animals have been taken from the wild in a decade, upholding a thriving trade primarily in China and Vietnam, that continues to supply chefs with the animal’s meat.
Armed with our bottomless appetites, humans have converted every feature on this animal into a highly marketable delicacy: The pangolin’s tongue is incorporated into special soups, its blood is drained for drinking, and some animals are preserved whole in alcohol, used to brew a kind of tonic wine. Finally, the scales, which give the animal its almost mythical body armour, are sold on the blackmarket for traditional medicine, or as jewelry. The pangolin’s body parts, which can fetch hundreds of dollars per kilo, are believed to have a range of (scientifically unproven) qualities, from nourishing the kidneys, treating psoriasis, and, of course, working as an aphrodisiac. Last year the IUCN issued a report on pangolin poaching and found that as a result of this enthusiastic appetite, the creature “is literally being eaten out of existence.”
That brings us back to the Vietnamese officials who capitalised on that appetite instead of trying to plug it. According to Thanhnien News, the head of Bac Ninh’s forest management department vouched for the forest rangers by saying that the animals were too weak to be rescued anyway. Besides, the official reasoned, limited trade of pangolins is allowed in Vietnam—although it turns out that he was citing an old law that changed over a year ago.
All 8 species of pangolins being eaten to extinction
The IUCN Red List has changed the Ground Pangolin in Africa from Least Concern to Vulnerable, highlighting the threat of extinction to this and the 7 other species of pangolins.
New findings reveal that all eight species of pangolin, the world’s only scaly mammal, are now threatened with extinction. According to the latest update of The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, the pangolin is literally being eaten out of existence.
More than one million individuals are estimated to have been poached from the wild over the past decade, which makes pangolins the most illegally traded mammal in the world, warns the IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC) Pangolin Specialist Group.
Despite a commercial trade ban for wild-caught pangolins in Asia, the illegal trade is thriving. Consumers are willing to pay increasingly high prices for their meat, which is being served as a luxury food across many countries in Asia. In traditional Chinese medicine, pangolin scales are also believed to treat a wide variety of conditions including psoriasis and poor circulation.
TV news anchor Hoai Anh calls on the public to protect pangolins
Posted by xocet | Sat Feb 21, 2015, 06:46 PM (4 replies)
By Andrea Shalal and Emily Stephenson
WASHINGTON Tue Feb 17, 2015 7:46pm EST
The U.S. government on Tuesday established a policy for exports of military and commercial drones, including armed ones, and said it plans to work with other countries to shape global standards for the use of the controversial weapons systems.
The State Department said it would allow exports of lethal U.S. military drones under strict conditions, including that sales must be made through government programs and that recipient nations must agree to certain "end-use assurances."
The policy, the details of which are classified, comes after a two-year review amid growing demand from U.S. allies for the new breed of weapons that have played a key role in U.S. military action in Afghanistan, Iraq and Yemen.
It could help U.S. companies boost sales of military and commercial drones in an increasingly competitive global market.
Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/02/18/us-usa-drones-exports-idUSKBN0LL21720150218
Posted by xocet | Tue Feb 17, 2015, 10:32 PM (7 replies)
Oklahoma legislative committee questions legality of Advanced Placement courses in public schools
By RANDY KREHBIEL
World Staff Writer
Fisher, who has been active in a church-and-state organization called the Black Robe Regiment, said the AP U.S. history course framework emphasizes “what is bad about America.”
Larry Krieger, a teacher who spoke to the committee via conference call, implied that the AP framework was created by some of the same people responsible for Common Core.
Both said the framework omits the concept of “American exceptionalism.”
The framework has come under fire in several states, including Texas and South Carolina.
Some more about State Rep. Fisher:
Representative Fisher, Dan
District 60 - Republican
Bringing Back the Black Robed Regiment
-Senior Pastor, Trinity Baptist Church, Yukon, OK
-One of the first original Pulpit Freedom Pastors
-National leader in the Bringing Back the Black Robed Regiment
-Oklahoma State Representative, District 60
Family and educational background:
Dan Fisher grew up in Van Buren, Arkansas and is a graduate of Van Buren High School, Westark community College and Arkansas Tech University. He and the former Pam Loftin have been married for 31 years and have two children, Jacob, 25 years and wife Brittany, and Rebekah, 20 years and husband Tony Wise. Jacob is presently a student at the Oklahoma State University Medical School in Tulsa and Rebekah is a pre-med student at Southwestern Oklahoma University, in Weatherford, OK. Dan and Pam raise a few horses on their 20 acres just west of Yukon, OK where they live in a log house they built themselves.
The "Black Robe Regiment" seems to be traceable to Beck and Barton though that is probably not the complete story:
What we know about Beck's Black Robe Regiment
Blog ››› August 30, 2010 5:29 PM EDT ››› FAE JENCKS
This weekend, Glenn Beck announced the re-creation of a revolutionary force called the Black Robe Regiment. At his Restoring Honor rally on Saturday, Beck claimed that "our churches have fallen asleep" and that the "thousands of clergy" in the Regiment who subscribe to his particular views on the role of religion in American life, will "start the heart of this nation again and put it where it belongs: our heart with God."
On his radio show this morning, Beck delved into a little more detail about how the group was formed and who, exactly, some of these members of the Regiment are.
Apparently, the idea began with Beck's favorite historian, David Barton. When Beck told Barton he wanted to "get religious leaders together," Barton suggested forming a Black Robe Regiment -- named after what Barton had said was a group of preachers who supported the American Revolution from their pulpits. Beck decided that was "exactly" what he was looking for because it was a movement supposedly like his that was "not about politics."
Beck then described the first meeting he held with "the largest evangelical leaders in the country" some of whom had been involved in the Christian Coalition. Beck explained that at first the leaders he was recruiting were "very skeptical," as David Barton told him, "because of faith." When Beck spoke to these "skeptical" leaders, he apparently told them that "we're about to lose our country, and we need to teach the correct principles of liberty and freedom, and it has nothing to do with politics." He also warned that: "we're all going to lose our religious freedom if we don't" stand together.
Beck interviewing Barton:
'Glenn Beck': The Black Robe Brigade
Published April 29, 2010
BECK: We're back with David Barton, by the way, to learn more about the forgotten history stories. Check out David's DVD set, "The American Heritage Series," available at WallBuilders.com.
All right. We're talking about the Black Regiment, which is now known as the Black Robe Brigade.
BECK: They were responsible for the revolution according to the British. And I mean, everything I read —
BARTON: And John Adams and all the other Founders as well.
It seems that Fisher wants to be John Peter Gabriel Muhlenberg who anecdotally stripped off his clergyman's robe to reveal an officer's uniform after preaching a farewell sermon to his frontier congregations at Woodstock, VA and thus commenced to recruit 300 for a Virginia regiment in a single day back in 1776. Here is more on that:
Muhlenberg a recruiter for the Revolutionary War?
PBS History Detectives host Elyse Luray (left) talks with Mary Redline, library archives/project manager at the Lutheran Seminary at Philadelphia, about a cloak that’s part of the school’s historical collection.
In a History Detectives segment in July, Luray delved into rare period accounts from Lutheran pastor Peter Muhlenberg’s family, friends and contemporaries to learn whether the cloak was really the one Muhlenberg tore from his shoulders during a fiery sermon in January 1776, revealing a uniform. It’s said that he rallied some 300 parishioners to the patriotic cause with that act. While it was determined the robe was authentic, the dramatic disrobing was deemed a myth.
Peter Muhlenberg’s father was Henry Melchior Muhlenberg, considered a founder of U.S. Lutheranism and of many congregations that still exist today.
Season 5, Episode 5
July 23, 2007 (from http://epguides.com/HistoryDetectives/)
Investigations: Muhlenberg Robe
Elyse: But what about the story of the disrobing? Gregg says the first mention of Muhlenberg stripping to reveal a rebel uniform comes in 1849, in a biography written by Muhlenberg's great nephew.
Gregg: "Deliberately putting off the gown, which had thus far covered his martial figure, he stood before them a girded warrior." That's what, at least, makes it into print in 1849.
Elyse: But this was nearly 75 years after the event. And Gregg has been unable to find contemporary accounts of Peter Muhlenberg's flamboyant farewell sermon. And just to make sure that I’m perfectly clear, there is absolutely nothing in any written text at this point, that you've been able to find, that talks about the robe before this book?
Greg (sic: Gregg): There are no letters, there are no books. There are no journal entries. There are no memoirs from his sons, for example, that we might expect. Nothing.
For the sake of completeness, here is the webpage of the history professor who was interviewed:
A. Gregg Roeber
Professor of Early Modern History and Religious Studies
Co-Director of Max Kade German-American Research Institute
Of course, the Representative who wants to do away with Oklahoma's AP US History would rather follow a "historian" like David Barton:
Of course, one wonders what is out there on the topic of the sermon at Woodstock. Here is an interesting article discussing the unlikely veracity of the legendary disrobing/recruiting:
PBS Show Gets it Right with the Story of Peter Muhlenberg's Robe
Sat Aug 04, 2007
at 08:15:59 PM EST
As some of you probably already know, I haven't been able to do much writing about history lately because I've been splitting my time between my usual work and doing research for the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF). Bruce Wilson, also on MRFF's research team, has already posted the latest MRFF news here and here, so I'm going to get back to some history with a story I've been looking into for the last few weeks.
With the beating PBS has been taking lately over its unfortunate decision to air the pseudo-documentary, "Wall of Separation," I wanted to write something about one of my favorite PBS programs, one that never fails to live up to the standards that we expect from PBS. In stark contrast to the perpetuation of the religious right's American history myths with its recent airing of"Wall of Separation," a recent episode of PBS's History Detectives included a segment disproving one of the most popular of these myths -- a myth that not only adorns the cover of one of David Barton's books and appears on a mousepad sold by WallBuilders, but is depicted in stone in the U.S. Capitol Building.
The myth is the story of Peter Muhlenberg, the Lutheran minister who, since the mid 1800s, is said to have stood before his congregation in January 1776, and, after delivering a stirring, patriotic farewell sermon, removed his clerical robe to reveal the uniform of a Revolutionary Army officer, enlisting three hundred soldiers for his "German Regiment" on the spot.
So, what are the chances that both Kercheval and Smith would have forgotten an event as memorable as Muhlenberg's dramatic sermon and disrobing? ...that Colonel Smith, a nearby army officer in this sparsely populated area, wouldn't have remembered that three hundred soldiers were recruited in a single day? ...that Samuel Kercheval would have omitted such a striking local story of patriotism in a book full of far less significant anecdotes?
Posted by xocet | Tue Feb 17, 2015, 09:55 PM (1 replies)
Why All the Anger?
by Dr. Jack Wolfson
Special to Health Impact News
I recently did an interview which was aired on NBC Phoenix. I was asked my opinion on vaccinations in response to the current measles outbreaks that have occurred at Disneyland in California. My reply has generated quite a bit of anger in thousands of people.
There has also been a tremendous amount of support to my comments and opinions. In short, The Society Against Injecting Our Kids With Chemicals (TSAIOKWC for short) has a lot of followers.
I want to address all this misguided anger and see if we can re-direct it where it belongs.
8. In fact, be angry with Steve Jobs and Bill Gates for creating computers so you can sit around all day blasted with electromagnetic radiation reading posts like this.
Unless he has been sticking his head into an operating microwave oven, getting regular sunburns or hanging out around x-ray/gamma ray sources, there is not much of a reason for him to be worried about being "blasted with electromagnetic radiation."
Visible light, after all, is a form of electromagnetic radiation, So, if the monitor were not "blasting (one) with electromagnetic radiation", it would not be operating properly.
One should note the following information:
Radiation from Computer Monitors
Radiation is a broad term used to describe energy emanated in the form of waves or particles. Radiation in the form of waves is referred to as electromagnetic radiation. Electromagnetic radiation of sufficient energy can cause atoms to become electrically charged, or ionized, and is referred to as ionizing radiation. Lower energy electromagnetic radiation is referred to as non-ionizing radiation. All electromagnetic radiation combined can be represented in an array known as the electromagnetic spectrum.
Electromagnetic radiation emanates from both natural and man-made sources. Examples of naturally occurring electromagnetic radiation include sunlight, cosmic rays, and radioactive materials in the earth's crust. Man-made sources of ionizing electromagnetic radiation include X-rays from medical and radiographic equipment, therapeutic and diagnostic radiochemicals, and nuclear power. Man-made sources of non- ionizing radiation include lasers, radar, television and radio broadcasting, communication systems such as cordless and cellular telephone systems, household appliances, and computer monitors.
Computer monitor users have expressed concerns about the possible health effects from the electromagnetic radiation that monitors produce. The concerns generally center around adverse pregnancy outcome (spontaneous abortion or birth defects). It has been postulated that these effects are due to electromagnetic radiation exposure from monitors. The biological effects of exposure to VLF and ELF fields similar to those produced by monitors have been studied for many years, and the research continues today. Cancer and reproductive outcomes are the topics studied most intensively. Current available scientific information does not identify a health risk from exposure to the electromagnetic fields associated with the use of computer monitors.
Computer monitors emit electromagnetic radiation in a broad range of frequencies. Although the electromagnetic radiation field intensities are measurable, they are not substantially above background office levels. The effect on health from the use of monitors has been studied for many years, and the research continues. The present consensus of experts is that there are no data to suggest a health risk from exposure to the electromagnetic fields associated with the use of monitors.
Radiation Protection Program
Environment, Health and Safety Office
N52-496, ext. 3-EHSS
Posted by xocet | Mon Feb 2, 2015, 06:19 PM (4 replies)
Posted by xocet | Fri Jan 30, 2015, 11:28 PM (6 replies)
31 Democrats Vote YEA:
Lamar Alexander R TN
Kelly Ayotte R NH
Tammy Baldwin D WI
John Barrasso R WY
Mark Begich D AK
Michael Bennet D CO
Roy Blunt R MO
John Boozman R AR
Richard M. Burr R NC
Benjamin L. Cardin D MD
Thomas R. Carper D DE
Bob Casey D PA
Daniel Coats R IN
Thad Cochran R MS
Susan Collins R ME
Christopher A. Coons D DE
John Cornyn R TX
Joe Donnelly D IN
Richard J. Durbin D IL
Michael B. Enzi R WY
Deb Fischer R NE
Lindsey Graham R SC
Kay Hagan D NC
Orrin G. Hatch R UT
Martin Heinrich D NM
Heidi Heitkamp D ND
John Hoeven R ND
Johnny Isakson R GA
Mike Johanns R NE
Tim Johnson D SD
Tim Kaine D VA
Angus King I ME
Mark Steven Kirk R IL
Mary L. Landrieu D LA
Patrick J. Leahy D VT
Mitch McConnell R KY
Barbara A. Mikulski D MD
Lisa Murkowski R AK
Christopher S. Murphy D CT
Patty Murray D WA
Bill Nelson D FL
Mark Pryor D AR
Harry Reid D NV
Pat Roberts R KS
John D. Rockefeller IV D WV
Brian Schatz D HI
Charles E. Schumer D NY
Jeanne Shaheen D NH
Debbie Stabenow D MI
John Thune R SD
Patrick J. Toomey R PA
Mark Udall D CO
Tom Udall D NM
John Walsh D MT
Mark Warner D VA
Roger Wicker R MS
Posted by xocet | Sat Dec 13, 2014, 11:32 PM (3 replies)
Torture victims will bear psychological scars long after CIA report scandal fades
The architects of CIA torture sought to make individuals powerless to disobey by breaking down their self-control. Restoring it can be a lifetime’s work
Spencer Ackerman in New York
Saturday 13 December 2014 10.13 EST
Jabuli prefers solitude indoors, having lost all safety once before. When he does go out he seeks crowded public spaces, so there will be witnesses if his tormentors reappear to kidnap him again. Ten years on, time and distance have not healed the damage that comes from torture.
“You live with the fear that the people who tortured you may come back to torture you again,” he said, “regardless of if you are in a safe country.”
Triggers are everywhere, even a decade later. Armored vans on the street make him think of the station where he was tortured. He fears intimacy, because he doesn’t want someone to see him having nightmares, or to watch him wake up crying. He worries he will not be “good enough to have a family”.
More than a decade ago, Jabuli endured seven months in a torture chamber in a central African country he asked the Guardian not to identify. (Jabuli is a pseudonym he recommended.) He was placed in “stress positions”: his elbows and ankles were bound to each other behind his back as he faced downward, resulting in a pain so consuming that he could barely breathe.
Posted by xocet | Sat Dec 13, 2014, 03:46 PM (0 replies)