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Grand Jury Decision on Murder of Mike Brown November 25, 2014

Yesterday, the jury decision was released on whether or not to indict Darren Wilson. Indictment is the bringing of a criminal or suspect into trial. This does not mean arrest or incarceration- all it is, is a trial.

Before I deliver to you the verdict, I’d like to tell you a few things about America.

There’s this law called, oh I don’t know, something like, “If you murder someone, you go to jail.”

There’s also a law regarding manslaughter, the unintentional murder of another human being. You can be tried for manslaughter for something as simple as building a house in which someone died (and they have reasonable doubt that the house was involved, such as: they died of a collapse or toxic building materials).

If you shoot an unarmed person, even if you (untruthfully) claim self-defense, you should, at the very least, be tried in court. 

I think you can all see where this is going: Darren Wilson will not be indicted for the murder of Mike Brown.

It is purely common sense  to try a man in court for the murder of an unarmed man.

However, this decision is not final: the Double Jeopardy terms do not apply to indictment. (Double Jeopardy prevents a suspected criminal, or in Wilson’s case, a known criminal, from being tried twice for the same crime. However, as Darren Wilson has not been tried, there may be another discussion as to whether or not he should be indicted.)  So there is still a chance to try and capture the criminal.

You can help

This petition calls to hold Darren Wilson accountable for murder.// <![CDATA[
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// ]]>//

Anytime you hear someone claim that Darren Wilson or the Grand Jury was justified, call them out on their misinformation and educate them. You can find some information and evidence here.
Please remember:
Do not share photos of Michael Brown’s dead body: It is disrespectful and his parents have asked everyone not to.
Do not make this about “but not all white people are racist”. We know, please focus on the ones that are and how to stop them.
Please do not change “Black Lives Matter” to “All Lives Matter” on websites or posters. Of course all lives matter, again: We know. Black lives are the ones in danger here, so it’s important to tell the world they do matter. Saying “All Lives Matter” takes away from the real danger of the issue and how black people are oppressed in this world.
Do not call this an issue for “people of color.” This is specifically about the police force being anti-black.
Please do not spread misinformation. If you are unsure, you can look something up on Google or at least tell people you’re not certain.
Remind everyone who tries to support Darren Wilson that the Ku Klux Klan is on his side. If they side with him, they side with the KKK.
I’m sorry for the angry post. Mostly, I’m just so sad that this is happening.
 

Could It Possibly Be? August 26, 2013

After paper is made, there is left over wood pulp that has been sheared off so the surface of the sheet is smooth and able to be written on or ran through a printer. Once this pulp is gone it cannot be reused, as it is already dried and would not work properly if re-wet.
Where does it go, exactly? Wouldn’t you love to know – wait…promise you won’t hate me. This surplus of wood pulp goes into your food, that’s what. Can you believe it? No?
Well, you will.
McDonald’s McFlurries: (By the way , note how they do not say ‘McShake’s’ or something equally corny. Why, you dare to ask? Because it is not real milk. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg.) They are thick, creamy, delicious goblets of liquidated heaven, with maybe a few OreoTM bits stirred in. Or, that’s what they want you to think. In reality, you are so eagerly slurping up wood. Cellulose, one of the key compotes produced and inside wood, thickens food and gives it the texture similar to what flour or oil would provide. Some absolute genius discovered this, and now the cheapskate fast food restaurants are thinking…’JACKPOT!’ And not just restaurants… but companies as well. They have gone to the dark side.
Kraft Bagel-Fuls
Aunt Jemima’s ‘home made’ Maple Syrup
Processed Cheese
Guess what one organic ingredient these have in common? (HINT: …cellulose….)
Surprise! I think I ruined somebody’s happy illusion of delicious fast food. And I’m sorry, if that indeed is the case. But you people need to know what you’re really eating. If the human body ingests cellulose, it is completely indigestible. Instead, it sloshes around your stomach for a while until your body decides to get rid of it (don’t pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about)
How disgusting is that?!
Well, happy fast-food eating! BEWARE THE EXCESS WOOD PULP!
-Kat

Sources: http://www.cracked.com/article_19433_the-6-most-horrifying-lies-food-industry-feeding-you.html
http://mcdonalds.org

Oh, Fun Fact Of The Day! Some loaves of bread have equal wood concent of the (yep! you guessed it!) wooden cutting board they may be sitting on.

 

3 Ways You Might Body-Shame Without Realizing It June 24, 2013

When you leave the safety of your house and its wondrous wifi, you’ll see a multitude of people in different shapes and sizes. Some of them will be your friends, and that’s awesome. Some of them you may not know or like. I bet, however, you and a friend have discussed your bodies at some point, or you know somebody who has recently  lost weight. You probably haven’t noticed it, but you may have been insulting their body type when you were trying to compliment them. How?

1) Congratulating someone for losing weight

You may feel like you’re giving them a compliment, but when you say ‘congrats’ about their new size, it has implications that they’re better than they were before, and if they were larger for a long time, they may feel like you didn’t accept their body until now. In most cases, people gain back the weight they lost, which will make your earlier praise feel like an insult now that they’ve grown it back. It doesn’t matter what they look like, so tell them how happy you are that they’ve accomplished a goal rather than how happy you are with their new weight.

2) Mentally adjusting someone’s looks

I’m talking about saying things like, “She would be so pretty if…” and filling in the blank. Noooooo. She is pretty just the way she is. If she changes for what you think she’d look better, that person will no longer be the person they once were. They’ll be a fake. Don’t tell someone what’s wrong with them, because they don’t need to change.

3) Telling people what they ‘need’ to do

I hear people saying sometimes that thin people need to eat more, or looking at someone across the street and commenting that they could stand to lose a few pounds. This goes with Number 2- they don’t need to fit your cultural stereotype. As long as they don’t have a disorder or anything potentially harmful, then they don’t need to change. If they want to exercise, good for them. If they want to stay the weight they are, good for them.

The bottom line? As long as their weight isn’t a dangerous problem, they’re  beautiful. This goes for men and women. Let them be themselves, and they’ll appreciate that you are yourself as well.

Ceej

 

Spotlight on Religion: Zeroastrianism June 22, 2013

Hi everyone! I know it’s been a while since our last Spotlight on Religion, but now it’s time for the next one — Zeroastrianism! (I have no idea how to pronounce that, by the way.)

Religion: Zeroastrianism is considered one of the oldest monotheistic (which means you believe in only one God) religions. It was founded before Islam and Christianity in the sixth century BC, though it holds many of the same beliefs. It was founded by a prophet who, like most prophets, thought he saw visions of God (or, as he called it, Ahura Mazda). His name was Zarathustra. Zeroastrianism used to be a huge religion, one of the largest in the world, but in recent years the number of followers has dwindled down, now at only 140,000.

Where it is Practiced: Zeroastrianism was founded in Persia, but over the years it has made its way down to India, where the religion is called Parsiism and the majority of the followers live. Now, besides India, people practicing Zeroastrianism can be found in Iran, the US, Afghanistan, the UK, Canada, Pakistan, Singapore, Azerbaijan, Australia, and New Zealand.

Beliefs: The core of Zeroastrianism is good and evil. The two representatives of these concepts are Ahura Mazda (good) and Aura Mainyu (evil). If you spend your life doing good and being good, you will go to heaven with Ahura Mazda and you will be guided there by a beautiful woman. If the bad you have done in your life outweighs the good, you will be taken to hell, guided by an ugly old woman. There are many different levels and degrees of hell depending on how good you’ve been during your lifespan. In Zeroastrianism you are given free choice, and you will either be rewarded or punished for what you chose to do. All of these beliefs and more can be found in their sacred texts, the Avesta, which translates to “The Book of Law.”

Practices: Today, the practices of Zeroastrians (or Parsis) have several important practices, including a coming of age ritual, penance, ceremonies, sacred objects, festivals, burial rites, and much more. In the coming of age ritual, children are either 7 or 10 (depending on whether they study the form from either India or Persia). They are initiated into the religion and receive either a shirt and a girdle which they are supposed to wear their whole life. Penance is very much like the Catholic version of confession, where you confess to a priest, but first must recite the patet, whereas Catholics recite the Act of Contrition. The chief ceremony is known as the Yasna, which is basically a sacrifice of sacred liquor and celebrated before the sacred fire (which is left burning at all times), and recitation of large portions of the Avesta. There are six seasonal festivals in Zeroastrianism, the most important of which is the New Years Festival. Lastly, burial rites are very important to Parsis. A “four-eyed” dog (a dog with spots above each eye) is brought before the corpse and brought back five times a day, which goes on for three days. This is thought to expose the dead.

References: I got my information from these places: http://www.religionfacts.com/zoroastrianism/index.htm and http://globalgoodgroup.com/blog/2011/12/17/three-awesome-world-religions-you-didnt-know-existed/

 

Religious Literacy June 12, 2013

You probably know somebody from a different culture or set of beliefs. They may not celebrate the same holidays as you or have the same customs as you. You know the name of their religion, maybe some of the holidays they celebrate, but you probably don’t know the basis of their beliefs, their practices, or what higher being they worship, if they believe in one. And that’s where religious literacy ties in.

While looking for images that showed a diversity of religious standpoints, I found a lot of thought-provoking things that are sometimes tread lightly around, but I think I'll make posts on those later.

While looking for images that showed a diversity of religious standpoints, I found a lot of thought-provoking things that are sometimes tread lightly around, but I think I’ll make posts on those later.

What is religious literacy?

It’s knowledge about the different religions of the world and their practices. This includes the holy text, the laws that they live by, if they believe in a deity or god, and which one or ones they do, as well as other important facts. Someone who is religiously illiterate isn’t culturally enlightened, and may have trouble being open-minded. A lot of religion-based prejudice comes from a lack of understanding, therefore creating a lack of acceptance. Stephen Prothero wrote a book about it’s importance that inspired this post, which I plan to read sometime.

 

Why is it important to be religiously literate?

Not only will you be able to better understand the people around you, you will have a greater acceptance of people who believe different things. It will increase your cultural knowledge, and people will thank you for understanding and accepting their religion. As you learn more about different religions, you can help to erase the misconceptions and narrow-mindedness. You will also be able to get in touch with your own spirituality (or lack thereof) and learn things about your religion’s history that you never knew. Or, you may decide that you do not want to be part of any category. It is an internally rewarding journey as well as one that will help you and others to understand.

 

How can you improve your ‘religious IQ’?

I’m taking a religious study class over the summer because I’m required to. (But seriously, I think it will be a very good opportunity for me to become more religiously literate, and the class is actually very interesting! Yes, though, I am required to by my school.) You can search online about different religions, purchase a book or check one out from your library, ask your friends about their individual customs, or attend a talk or workshop. I promise it will make a difference!

 

And finally, a shout out to the Bonsai ruler of religious literacy…

That’s right, Mary, I’m talking to you! We can’t thank you enough for inventing and taking on the project of Spotlight on Religion. It’s definitely enlightened us and the readers, and we eagerly await all the posts from that category!

 

Ceej

 

Two Incredible Tricks to Save Energy June 7, 2013

Wasting energy harms the atmosphere and increases your carbon footprint. When you waste water, not only are you contributing to the shortage, you’re also getting rid of energy that’s used to transport the water to your home, so it’s a doubly heinous crime. And I hate to remind all you homeowners of it, but I’m pretty sure the electricity bill doesn’t pay itself!

 

Rapid Wash Cycle

If your washing machine has a ‘rapid wash’ setting, use that instead. As the name suggests, it will be faster, and it will save energy.

 

Save Water

Replace the water in the back tank of your toilet with a filled water bottle or a brick. You’ll save so much water. I’m not sure of the science behind this, but I think it may be there just to weigh down the toilet, so a heavy item will be just fine.

 

I hope you enjoy conserving amazing amounts of energy. It’s your duty.

Ceej

 

Spotlight on Religion: Jainism May 8, 2013

It’s been a while, but it’s finally time for our third spotlight on religion. This time, as you can tell from the title, we’re going to be talking about is Jainism.

Religion: Jainism is a religion that believes in non-violence to all living things, and one of the oldest religions on the planet. The founder is unknown, but the beginning of this religion has been traced to the Indus Valley Civilization, though nobody knows for sure.  Jainism used to have a great many worshipers, but now there aren’t as many (only 4.2 million) because of the growing popularity of Hinduism.

Where it is Practiced: Jainism, as I mentioned before, has been traced to have started somewhere in the Indus Valley Civilization, which was in current-day India. It is now mostly practiced in India, but immigrants have spread/now practice it in countries like Belgium, the US, Canada, China, Japan, and Singapore.

Beliefs: Jainism’s main belief (or, as it are more commonly referred to, principle) is non-violence (ahimsa). Non-violence is seen as the biggest religious duty for all Jains, which means that it is the most important thing for them to follow/do. Jains strictly hold in place this view, which means that they are vegetarians, pacifists, and don’t fight each other with fists — ever. They also try not to injure plants more than they have to, and consider arguments and harsh words another form of violence. However, Jains know that they cannot go through life without hurting anything, so they rate the thing from 1 to 5 based on how many senses they have. Things with more senses are valued more and they do their best not to hurt them more than  those with less senses.

Practices: Jainism has many rituals and practices. The Navkar Mantra is one of their most important prayers. They do not mention names or ask for favors, but they do try their best to respect all beings with the prayer. They may thank them for what they have done or compliment them or something like that. Jains preform prayers like this so that they can break barriers of worldly desires/attachments and therefore help to liberate their soul. They also follow six rituals to liberate souls, as well. Some important festivals in Jainism are Paryushana, Mahavira Jayanti, and Diwali. During these festivals, Jains don’t really party like you’d expect — they mostly fast and meditate and pray. Meditation and fasting are a huge part of the Jainism practices, which also, I suppose, helps them to liberate their souls. In that way, they are similar to Hindus — they try to be good in this life so they can reach nirvana, or the point where they don’t have to do life over anymore and can simply be with God.

If you want to find out more about Jainism, I used this Wikipedia page to do my research:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jainism

 

 
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