Obama administration declares surge at TX-Mexico border of unaccompanied minors a “humanitarian crisis” | La Prensa San Diego

Fleeing life-threatening violence, extreme poverty or just wanting to be with their parents are reasons cited as to why there has been a 90 percent increase over last year of children from Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador and Mexico making the dangerous journey to the United States by themselves.

While various immigrant advocates have been sounding the alarm over the past several years regarding the issue, it’s finally gotten the attention of Washington.

It’s because the increase, happening mainly at the Texas-Mexico border in the Rio Grande Valley, is overwhelming local officials and has triggered recognition from the Obama administration that this influx of “unaccompanied alien children” is a humanitarian crisis. To address the crisis, the President has created an “interagency Unified Coordination Group.”

via Obama administration declares surge at TX-Mexico border of unaccompanied minors a “humanitarian crisis” | La Prensa San Diego.

Brooklyn Will Vie to Host 2016 Democratic National Convention, de Blasio Says – NYTimes.com

Brooklyn, a nexus of the new Democratic left that has morphed from working-class enclave to a gritty, global arbiter of cool, will vie to host the Democratic National Convention in 2016, Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City said on Friday.

via Brooklyn Will Vie to Host 2016 Democratic National Convention, de Blasio Says – NYTimes.com.

Two Ends of Life #death #birth #haiku #photography

penned in moon dust

awaiting birth

light shifts on forest floor

silent together


silent together

hands held through the night

his last breath

The prompt at Carpe Diem today is “Oneness.” I have just witnessed a wonderful oneness at the edge of death.

What thoughts or images does the word inspire in you?

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MERS in KSA: Age Distribution

Age alone seems a huge factor and any health challenges already existing – double down!

Mens et Manus

Last week, I took another (more informed) shot at exploring the relationship between comorbidity and mortality among MERS cases – both during this spring’s outbreak and prior to it. I ended the post by promising further insight into two potential confounders – age & sex. We’ll start our discussion on age here today… But I present the following information with a very important caveat. Earlier this week, 113 previously unannounced cases (and 92 deaths) were added to the KSA MERS tally – but we don’t know much about them yet. Because of this, I couldn’t include these newly reported cases in the analysis below; when we learn more about them, I’ll revisit and revise as necessary. The situation is constantly changing and what we think we know now may be flipped on its head come the morning!

With this in mind, let’s now take a closer look at the age…

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A Republican World – ‘Texas Republican Party Drafts New Platform Advocating For Ex-Gay Therapy’

The Last Of The Millenniums

marriage inequality

ted cruz14

Next week, the platform will have Christianity as the only ‘true’ religion in America.

And the week after that, you must be white to vote.

And the week after that……



Or have the ‘small government’ Republicans tell us how we will live.

‘Earlier this week, the Dallas Voice reported that the Texas Republican Party had stripped language from its platform that claimed that “homosexuality tears at the fabric of society and contributes to the breakdown of the family,” but the Houston Chronicle now reports that the language has been replaced with a different kind of condemnation’.

  • “Homosexuality must not be presented as an acceptable alternative lifestyle, in public policy, nor should family be redefined to include homosexual couples”.
  • “We believe there should be no granting of special legal entitlements or creation of special status for homosexual behavior, regardless of state of origin”.
  • “Additionally, we oppose any criminal or civil penalties…

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The Bergdahl blowback: Did he deserve to be rescued? – Los Angeles Times

Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who wrote that “the questions about this particular soldier’s conduct are separate from our effort to recover any U.S. service member in enemy captivity. This was likely the last, best opportunity to free him. As for the circumstances of his capture, when he is able to provide them, we’ll learn the facts. Like any American, he is innocent until proven guilty.”

via The Bergdahl blowback: Did he deserve to be rescued? – Los Angeles Times.

I still get abuse from Twitter trolls, says Olympic swimmer Rebecca Adlington | Media | The Guardian

Rebecca Adlington is far from the only high-profile female to receive abuse and criticism on Twitter. Other public figures have been attacked over their appearance – and much worse. The activist and writer Caroline Criado-Perez, the academic Mary Beard and the MP Stella Creasy were among the women targeted. Following public outcry Twitter has introduced an in-tweet “report abuse” button on all platforms.

Caroline Criado-Perez

The feminist activist and writer, who ran a successful campaign to keep a woman on a British banknotes, received persistent graphic rape and death threats on the site. She later said of the abuse: “Men get attacked because they’ve said or done something someone doesn’t like, whereas women get attacked because they’re visible”. Two people were later jailed.

Mary Beard

The historian Mary Beard fell victim to a torrent of abuse, which she called “truly vile”, following an appearance on BBC1’s Question Time. Beard, professor of classics at Cambridge University, said of the experience: “[T]he misogyny here is truly gobsmacking … It would be quite enough to put many women off appearing in public.”

Stella Creasy

The Labour politician received a barrage of rape and death threats via Twitter after she offered her support to Caroline Criado-Perez. The MP said later there should be no distinction between online and offline behaviour. “It’s absolutely harassment; it’s absolutely designed to intimidate, to scare, to frighten you; and it’s absolutely an issue we need to see both technology companies and police understand is part of the modern world,” she said.

via I still get abuse from Twitter trolls, says Olympic swimmer Rebecca Adlington | Media | The Guardian.

No candle-lit vigils for raped and murdered girls — New Internationalist

It’s been pointed out that these girls are not dalit, though most Indian newspapers reported otherwise. They were, nevertheless, extremely poor, powerless and from a lower caste. The perpetrators, apparently, routinely molested and raped lower caste women and this particularly brazen rape and murder, was to teach the poor and powerless a lesson, to show them their place in the feudal, caste hierarchy. Recently, dalit and lower caste people had protested against the behaviour of the dominant caste Yadav men who until now have ruled the roost in the surrounding villages. The local policeman who slapped the victim’s father belonged to the same caste as the perpetrators. And two policemen reportedly, not merely abetted in the crime, but participated in the assault too.

The girls’ bodies bore marks of excessive brutality. The usual scratches, bite marks, bruises, but also  a pattern of  blood clotting which indicated beating and torture. And the post mortem revealed they were hanged while still alive. Commentators have pointed out that the levels of violence and viciousness in the new rape culture is frightening, calling for immediate and effective action. Much of it comes from the porn which circulates freely on mobile phones. It’s not merely rape now. And  the fact that I write ‘merely rape’ illustrates how terrifying  the situation is.  Almost as though one has to be grateful one is ‘merely raped’.

It is with a heavy heart that I note, that the outpouring of grief and outrage which rocked India in December 2012 for the Nirbhaya Delhi rape victim, is noticeably absent in cities across India, for the Badaun cousins. They are not middle class, dominant caste, city women. These were two lower caste, village girls. Not ‘people like us’.

via No candle-lit vigils for raped and murdered girls — New Internationalist.

Egypt’s first veiled rapper is sick of sexual harassment | GlobalPost

She describes how Egyptian women often feel self-conscious for simply being out in public because sexual harassment can be found at every corner. Though women played a central role in both the uprising against strongman Hosni Mubarak in 2011, and the military-backed movement that removed Islamist leader Mohammed Morsi last year, hopes that the Arab Spring would empower women have been dispelled.

In fact, Egypt is considered the worst country in the Arab world to be a woman, according to a survey by the Thomson Reuters Foundation. The report cited political instability and the rise of Islamist groups among the reasons for the repression.

Levels of sexual abuse in the country have reached new highs, according to the United Nations, which reported in 2013 that 99.3 percent of women in Egypt have experienced sexual harassment at some point in their lives.

“Girls are constantly paranoid when walking to the store or school,” Mahmoud said with frustration. “Harassment has become so widespread, some women rarely leave their homes.”

Victim-blaming is pervasive. “I see male rappers in Egypt writing songs to blame women for the sexual harassment inflicted upon them,” she said. “They say we deserve to be harassed because of the clothes or makeup that we wear.”

Mahmoud said she’s had it with the “double standards.”

“Girls are told what to do from day one — ‘dress conservatively, don’t be loud’,” she said. “I used the teachings I heard while growing up to write lyrics that show the previous generations in Egypt how they contributed to confining their daughters in boxes.”

Mahmoud’s hard-hitting lyrics are vexing Egypt’s ultra-conservative Islamists, who believe a woman shouldn’t be in the spotlight, especially if she wears the Islamic veil.

Mahmoud, in fact, faces discrimination because she’s veiled. Some critics go as far as calling her an “infidel” who is giving Egypt and Islam a bad name for openly discussing sexual harassment.

“One extremist man on Facebook threatened that he would find and kill me after my audition for ‘Arabs Got Talent,’ because I was a disgrace,” she said.

via Egypt’s first veiled rapper is sick of sexual harassment | GlobalPost.