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Member since: Sat May 15, 2010, 03:48 PM
Number of posts: 7,575

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If the Court strikes down the healthcare legislation...

... , and it is looking more and more like they probably will, then all I can say is that the voters ought to demand that Congress immediately get to work on passing and implementing a single-payer, Medicare-for-all type of system (which always was a better option anyway); and if Congress is unwilling to do that, then voters should demand that ALL taxpayer provided healthcare coverage provided to ALL members of the legislative and judicial branches, and their families, be immediately terminated and remain so until such time as Congress can figure out a way to make affordable healthcare accessible to ALL of the rest of us!
Posted by markpkessinger | Wed Mar 28, 2012, 05:21 PM (12 replies)

Rescued elephant herds inexplicably gather to mourn South Africa’s “Elephant Whisperer”

Amazing story!

For 12 hours, two herds of wild South African elephants slowly made their way through the Zululand bush until they reached the house of late author Lawrence Anthony, the conservationist who had saved their lives.

The formerly violent, rogue elephants, destined to be shot a few years ago as pests, had been rescued and rehabilitated by Anthony, who had grown up in the bush and was known as the “Elephant Whisperer.”

For two days the herds loitered at Anthony’s rural compound on the vast Thula Thula game reserve – to say good-bye to the man they loved. But how did they know he had died March 7?

< . . . >

“They had not visited the house for a year and a half and it must have taken them about 12 hours to make the journey,” Dylan is quoted in various local news accounts. “The first herd arrived on Sunday and the second herd, a day later. They all hung around for about two days before making their way back into the bush.”

Read more: http://blog.beliefnet.com/news/2012/03/rescued-wild-elephant-herds-inexplicably-gather-to-mourn-lawrence-anthony-south-africas-elephant-whisperer.php#ixzz1qA5byxCn
Posted by markpkessinger | Sun Mar 25, 2012, 03:19 PM (69 replies)

Omar Sharif's grandson's couragious coming out and his challenge to the new Egypt

A college friend of mine shared this with me. It is an open letter to the people of Egypt in which actor Omar Sharif's grandson comes out of the closet not only as gay, but also as being half Jewish. Mr. Sharif goes on to challenge the government and people of Egypt to embrace full inclusion of sexual and religious minorities, and to resist the forces of fundamentalism now attempting to hold sway.

As I read it, I am absolutely in awe of what an extraordinary act of courage it was for this young man to write this piece. And also how inspiring: here's a man who, given his social status, would be likely to be able to go about living his life any way he wanted to with little danger of being harassed, irrespective of how tolerant or intolerant the society of post-revolution Egypt turned out.l The fact that he is willing to put all of his social status and reputation on the line in order to try to bring about a society that is more just for members of all sexual, religious and cultural minorities makes him an exemplar of the kind of humanity to which all of us should aspire!

Below is an excerpt and a link:

. . .
The troubling results of the recent parliamentary elections dealt secularists a particularly devastating blow. The vision for a freer, more equal Egypt — a vision that many young patriots gave their lives to see realized in Tahrir Square — has been hijacked. The full spectrum of equal and human rights are now wedge issues used by both the Supreme Council of the Egyptian Armed Forces and the Islamist parties, when they should be regarded as universal truths.

I write this article despite the inherent risks associated because as we stand idle at what we hoped would be the pinnacle of Egyptian modern history, I worry that a fall from the top could be the most devastating. I write, with healthy respect for the dangers that may come, for fear that Egypt's Arab Spring may be moving us backward, not forward.

And so I hesitantly confess: I am Egyptian, I am half Jewish, and I am gay.

That my mother is Jewish is no small disclosure when you are from Egypt, no matter the year. And being openly gay has always meant asking for trouble, but perhaps especially during this time of political and social upheaval. With the victories of several Islamist parties in recent elections, a conversation needs to be had and certain questions need to be raised. I ask myself: Am I welcome in the new Egypt? . . .

Read full story at: http://www.advocate.com/Print_Issue/Features/Coming_Out_Story_Were_Not_in_Cairo_Anymore/
Posted by markpkessinger | Sun Mar 25, 2012, 06:10 AM (3 replies)

It SHOULD backfire, and one certainly hopes it WILL backfire . . . and yet . . .

. . . I've noticed, certainly among friends and family of mine who are Republicans, there seems to be an almost impenetrable wall of denial as regards the radical extremist agenda that is being pursued by elected Republicans. Rank-and-file Republicans, en masse, seem to be doing their very best ostrich imitation. One of my sisters and her husband falls into this category. They are perfectly reasonable, decent people insofar as their own beliefs are concerned -- sure, they are a bit more conservative fiscally speaking, but they aren't really interested in dismantling the social safety net, and they certainly aren't interested in the extreme social agenda that the GOP is currently pursuing. Yet, when I try to have a discussion with them about the facts of what elected Republicans are actually pushing by way of legislation across the country, their eyes sort of glaze over and they fall into rote dismissals of the concern, invoking (false) equivalency, etc. They simply refuse to look at what is going on. So I wouldn't bet on it necessarily backfiring, at least not to the extent it really should.
Posted by markpkessinger | Thu Mar 1, 2012, 09:16 PM (1 replies)
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