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Monday Morning News

Facebook is taking over the world. The latest news? They plan on coming out with a full email product!

At this point the unrolling of an e-mail product is pure speculation, however could fast become a reality if sources are spot on with their assessments. Popular technology blog, TechCrunch, seems to indicate the rumors about what has been referred to in the past as “Project Titan” are indeed true; the blog is well-known in the industry as a reliable source for breaking news in technology.

Is social networking changing our lives in a negative way? Email me your thoughts at littleisisisbada$$@facebook.com.

Having problems with hair loss, graying or just need to grow out your hair a little bit? Rosemary oil is the solution.

A study conducted in Scotland showed that rosemary can work for alopecia areata in helping to grow hair. Participants of the study rubbed a mixture of rosemary oil along with other essential oils such as cedar wood, thyme, and lavender onto their scalps. You can make your own rosemary hair tonic by purchasing these essential oils form your local health food store, and they can be directly applied to the scalp to prevent hair loss and graying. One such concoction calls for rosemary oil to be mixed with apple cider vinegar, and after shampooing, it can be used as a rinse to help strengthen your hair.

Some people do not wish to use prescription medications and chemicals which are now available for the treatment of hair loss, and this is a natural treatment. For those who are adverse to using drugs and are looking for a more holistic approach, the use of rosemary oil is worth a try. Pregnant women should avoid using rosemary oil as it can harm the fetus and possibly cause a miscarriage. Please consult with your doctor before using rosemary oil.

I’ve personally found that natural remedies tend to work better than drug store products. And since I look fantastic, I’d say I’m a reliable source. Rosemary is also excellent for relieving sinuses and headaches.
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Hillary to LGBT Youth: “It gets better… take care of yourself.”

From Secretary Clinton:

Like millions of Americans, I was terribly saddened to learn of the recent suicides of several teenagers across our country after being bullied because they were gay or because people thought they were gay. Children are particularly vulnerable to the hurt caused by discrimination and prejudice and we have lost many young people over the years to suicide. These most recent deaths are a reminder that all Americans have to work harder to overcome bigotry and hatred.

I have a message for all the young people out there who are being bullied, or who feel alone and find it hard to imagine a better future: First of all, hang in there and ask for help. Your life is so important—to your family, your friends, and to your country. And there is so much waiting for you, both personally and professionally— there are so many opportunities for you to develop your talents and make your contributions.

And these opportunities will only increase. Because the story of America is the story of people coming together to tear down barriers, stand up for rights, and insist on equality, not only for themselves but for all people. And in the process, they create a community of support and solidarity that endures. Just think of the progress made by women just during my lifetime by women, or ethnic, racial and religious minorities over the course of our history —and by gays and lesbians, many of whom are now free to live their lives openly and proudly. Here at the State Department, I am grateful every day for the work of our LGBT employees who are serving the United States as foreign service officers and civil servants here and around the world. It wasn’t long ago that these men and women would not have been able to serve openly, but today they can—because it has gotten better. And it will get better for you.

So take heart, and have hope, and please remember that your life is valuable, and that you are not alone. Many people are standing with you and sending you their thoughts, their prayers and their strength. Count me among them.

Take care of yourself.

Melisssa Bell at WaPo’s BlogPost reports that “The campaign to tell teenagers ‘It Gets Better’ received huge political backing Tuesday when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton took to YouTube to address teen bullying and tell them: ‘Hang in there.'”

From CNN Foreign Affairs Correspondent Jill Dougherty — “Hillary Clinton tells bullied gay teens: ‘Hang in there and ask for help‘”:

Clinton has been in the forefront of the Obama administration’s efforts to expand rights for gay and lesbian government employees. She instituted equal benefits for same-sex partners of State Department employees, a move that encouraged President Barack Obama to authorize such benefits for gay men and lesbiasn throughout the federal government. The State Department also has made it easier for transgender people to change their passports and, for the first time, the agency’s “equal opportunity statement” includes gender identity and sexual preference.

From Tammye Nash at the Dallas Voice, “Secretary of State Clinton joins the ‘It Gets Better’ effort“:

Most of the celebrities joining the “It Gets Better” campaign and posting their videos online are openly LGBT people. But now, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has added her voice to the call for LGBT young people contemplating suicide to hang on because brighter days are ahead.

Here’s Secretary Clinton’s video, “Tomorrow Will Be Better.” Now I wonder when we will see a video from President Barack Obama, or perhaps from First Lady Michelle Obama? The president is our “fierce advocate,” after all.

That’s a good question, but I think the infamous “Nobody” who could have predicted the disasters of the last decade knows better than to sit around waiting for that Fierce Urgency of Maybe Someday from brand Obama.

What do y’all say? Will Hillary’s example EVER rub off on Obama? Or, will he just keep relying on Hillary’s public service to fill the void left by his inability to lead?

That arc of the moral universe that he’s so eager to walk all over on a rug keeps on bending toward justice, but Obama has yet to be fired up and ready to go when it comes to bending with it. Here’s the latest on that sad pattern from our supposedly Democratic White House… from USA Today, “Military to accept openly gay recruits“:

WASHINGTON — Openly gay recruits can now join the military as a result of a federal court ruling striking down the “don’t ask, don’t tell” law, but they are being warned that they can still be discharged if the ruling is overturned.

Cynthia Smith, a Pentagon spokeswoman, said the suspension of “don’t ask, don’t tell” is in response to the Sept. 9 decision of a central California federal judge that ruled the law implemented under President Clinton in 1993 was unconstitutional.

The judge, Virginia Phillips, on Tuesday denied a government request to delay her order, the Associated Press reported. The Justice Department said the Obama administration will appeal to the appellate court in San Francisco.

And, from the Advocate’s Kerry Eleveld:

Lopez later told The Advocate that the recruiters didn’t seem to know of the injunction.

“Any changes in policy hadn’t been disclosed to them, so they had to turn me away,” Lopez said, adding that they suggested he shouldn’t trust everything he reads in the media. “They said, you should wait for an actual order form the president saying the policy’s been lifted.”

Lopez’s case, first reported in The New York Times Thursday morning, prompted Log Cabin Republicans attorney Dan Woods to send a letter to the Department of Justice just before 2 p.m. Eastern time Thursday.

“Please let us know immediately what steps the government has taken to communicate the terms and requirements of the Court’s order to military personnel, including field commanders and military recruiting offices, who are in a position to violate the requirements of the injunction under the cover of ignorance of its terms of existence,” he wrote.

If the reports were true, Woods continued, “the Department of Defense would appear to be in violation of the Court’s injunction and subject to citation for contempt.”

Around 2:30 p.m., White House press secretary Robert Gibbs assured reporters at the briefing that the Pentagon would be addressing the matter of DOD compliance with the injunction shortly.

“The Department of Defense is working on the guidance for the entire chain of command that should be out soon,” he said.

Pentagon spokespeople informed the press just before 4 p.m. Eastern that the staff JAG had sent an e-mail to all service branches informing them that the military would “abide by the terms in the court’s ruling.”

Where is President Obama on any of this? Where is his Audacity to speak up on behalf of doors opening up for LGBT like never before? For all Obama’s talk of change, his silence is deafening when real change is actually happening in spite of him, with its genuine advocates having to fight his fierce resistance.

Since Obama is a Nowhere Flim Flam Man, we just get to hear some gobbledy gook through the buffer of his buffoon press secretary. And, yet our very moral president has the “audacity” to speak of being guided by some kind of a North Star? (link goes to his Rolling Stone interview from last month, although I recall he spoke of a North Star in his Nobel accepatance speech as well).

Sadly, for Obama it’s all about him, and it always has been. His audacity to hope, his audacity to run, his audacity to win. He has not paid any of that forward to the ordinary people and their audacity to survive. Since he won in 2008, President Obama’s north star has only ever pointed in the direction of his 2012 re-election prospects. It seems like aside from Hillary, there is no one in the room looking out for actually getting something done and governing.

I’d like to close with these words from my Hill-blogging pal stacyx, who says it well and speaks for me in a post called, “Secretary of State Clinton Speaks Directly to GLBT Youth: Tomorrow Will Be Better“:

This is really, really moving and I give her major props for doing this. The recent wave of suicides by gay youth/young adults is tragic, as is the hate speech issuing forth from conservatives who are trying to use this as a wedge issue.

It’s amazing that such a high-level government official would do this. It is INCREDIBLY important. I can’t think of any one else in this administration who would speak not only with this much feeling and honesty, but speak directly to kids. Anyone who is gay knows how tough it can be during youth and adolescence to feel isolated not only from friends, but in some cases, also from family.

Bullycide at ??? High

My High School alma mater has become famous in recent months. Earlier today, the actor from that new show on NBC I can’t be bothered to watch, The Event, Scott Patterson, posted the address, location and phone number of the guidance office of Mentor High School on his Facebook page. It was wrong of him to do that. Posting addresses online is low, and Scott Patterson knows little about the town he refers to.

I lived in Mentor from the time I was seven to the time I was seventeen. It is typical of suburbia across the country in it’s conformity, simplicity and repression. It is a beach front town, located on the shore of Lake Erie, and sometimes my friends and I would go to the Headlands and climb the rocks near a lighthouse, brushing cottonwood seeds off of our clothes from the trees in the parking lot, hopping over dead fish and cigarette butts.

At times Mentor can be not entirely unpleasant. I still have fond memories of some of my teachers. Mr. Wolski, my history teacher from Sophomore year, was a lefty clown (not unlike myiq) and he and I had a running commentary with each other. When I was a junior and passed him in the halls, I would mutter “Mr. Wolski is a loser,” and pretend not to have noticed him when he turned around. Mr. Raiff,  from AP Government, told me I was an anarchist. The Hopkins Airport once had an air show and a few people were photographed protesting the War in Iraq, and he wrote my name above one of the girls carrying the signs. Because of  my old English teacher, Mrs. Stucky I can write a three page research paper in ten minutes or so in perfect MLA format.  I feel privileged to have been taught by them and others. If it hadn’t been for them I wouldn’t be writing this post right now and I would never know my right to search for my own opinion and stand by my convictions, to always learn and never stop, because you can never really know everything.

But those fond memories, I’m sorry to say, pale in comparison to others. Lately, the media seems particularly interested in Mentor’s secret little world of shit. Out of all the schools we’ve heard about where teens have taken there own lives due to “bullycide,” Mentor has been singled out. In Mentor, four suicides have occurred in the past couple of years, and almost all of them were due to bullying. Here’s an article about it from the AP, it gets most of the facts right, and I recommend reading the whole thing:

Eric Mohat was flamboyant and loud and preferred to wear pink most of the time. When he didn’t get the lead soprano part in the choir his freshman year, he was indignant, his mother says. Continue reading

The Silence of the Lambs

It all hurts. The Health Insurance Profit Protection Plan. The government mandate to fork over money to private companies. The lies. The flimflam. (“It’s called ‘Health Care Reform.’ That means ‘Health’ and ‘Care’ and ‘Reform’!”)

But what hurts worse is all the people who I thought knew which end was up, who knew right from wrong, who cared. Krugman, even, so help me God, Kristof — practically the only widely visible man out there who’s aware that women are people. All of them not noticeably conscious that women’s most fundamental right was trampled for . . . well, for the obligation to fork over money to private companies. For nothing.

Because that’s what this is. The right to control your own body is so basic that you can even kill in self-defense. The right to control what is done to your body is fundamental to every other right. There is no freedom of speech or thought, no life, no liberty, no pursuit of happiness, if there is no control over your body. This is an issue like slavery. It is fundamental. It cannot be harmlessly traded away for anything.

But people don’t see anything wrong. A headline on the McClatchy site is about the eventual silence of the Tea Partiers. The delusions of a few paranoids are visible. The human rights of half the population are not.

Knowing right from wrong is like knowing which way is up. It’s essential to digging out of a hole.

How did we come to this place where women get shoved further and further down, and even women barely notice?

That hurts worst of all.

Author of Uganda’s anti-gay bill to attend Washington prayer breakfast

I can’t believe this.

In February, David Bahati, the mover of the controversial Anti-Homosexuality Bill is expected to attend a prayer breakfast in the American capital of Washington DC.

David Bahati

Mr. Bahati, according to reports, may speak at the event where President Barack Obama – a gays-tolerant liberal president, is also expected to attend. On Friday, Mr Bahati said he would attend. The event is organised by The Fellowship- a conservative Christian organisation, which has deep political connections and counts several high-ranking conservative politicians in its membership.

“I intend to attend the prayer breakfast,” said Mr Bahati – himself a part organiser of the Ugandan equivalent of the national prayer breakfast.

The bill assigns a penalty of life imprisonment for a person convicted of homosexuality and the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality,” defined as homosexual sex with someone under 18 or a disabled person or if the “offender” is HIV positive. All activities that would promote homosexuality–even blogging–are banned, and the bill requires anyone who knows of anyone engaging homosexual activities to report them to authorities. The entire text of the bill is at the above link.

According to the Box Turtle Bulletin, Mr. Bahati is

a member of the secretive American evangelical group known as the Family, which founded and organizes the National Prayer Breakfast held on the first Thursday in February, typically at the Washington Hilton on Connecticut Avenue N.W. The Monitor reports that the Family has invited Bahati to the prayer breakfast.

This profile in The Independent UK provides some interesting background on Bahati and perhaps gives some clues to his motivations.

Left orphaned when he was three-years-old Bahati was sent to live with his grandmother. Later she also passed away and the boy had to work at the local market selling and carrying bananas to raise money for school fees. He was separated from his siblings and only reunited with them at 13 when his sister came to the market to buy fruit and recognised him….

The story of how Bahati came to be the face of the anti-gay campaign in Uganda goes back a couple of years. The MP, a father himself, first became interested in the issue of homosexuality after hearing testimony from sexually molested children. “I’m passionate about the issue of homosexuality because of both the danger for our children and our society,” he said.

Is President Obama really going to attend this prayer breakfast in February? If so, what is he planning to say to Mr. Bahati? Inquiring minds want to know.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Unveils New U.S. Human Rights Policy

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at Georgetown University

That Hillary Clinton–she just keep on truckin’–doing her best to make the world a better place. In a speech at Georgetown University this morning, Clinton announced a new human rights agenda for the U.S., putting the emphasis on “principled pragmatism.”putting the emphasis on what she called “principled pragmatism.”

Just days after President Barack Obama accepted the Nobel Peace Prize while defending the concept of a just war, Clinton outlined a human rights policy calling for people to be free from tyranny but also free to “seize the opportunities of a full life.”

Human rights experts said the speech was important, coming at a time when the Obama administration’s message on human rights had become increasingly muddied but they said the proof would be in the administration’s actions.

[....]

Clinton said a commitment to human rights started with universal principles. She noted that Obama wanted Guantanamo prison closed and had issued an executive order his second day in office prohibiting the use of torture by any U.S. official.

She said the United States would report next year on human trafficking both at home and abroad, and would participate in a U.N. review of “our own human rights record, just as we encourage other nations to do.”

Human rights advocate “Sarah Mendelson, head of the Human Rights and Security Initiative at the Center for Strategic and International Studies” said that Clinton’s speech signaled a change from the policies of the Bush administration, but only if the Obama administration follows through.

Unfortunately, at this point we are all a little skeptical about Obama’s motives and goals, but at least he apparently approved of Clinton’s *words.* Here is a little more from the speech:

“Now, the champions of human potential have never had it easy. We may call rights inalienable, but making them so has always been hard work. And no matter how clearly we see our ideals, taking action to make them real requires tough choices. Even if everyone agrees that we should do whatever is most likely to improve the lives of people on the ground, we won’t agree on what course of action fits that description in every case. That is the nature of governing. We all know examples of good intentions that did not produce results. And we can learn from instances in which we have fallen short. Past failures are proof of how difficult progress is, but we do not accept claims that progress is impossible.”

At Vox Populi, the Georgetown blog, there was a little more detail about Clinton’s appearance. It sounds like it was a popular event even though it’s finals week:

They were reading textbooks intently in the stairwell of Gaston Hall before the event, and proofreading their essays as they waited to be let out of the Hall afterwards, but despite being in the heat of finals season, Georgetown students had packed Gaston Hall by 11:15 a.m. to hear Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speak about the Obama Administration’s Human Rights Agenda for the 21st Century at noon.

At the end of Clinton’s speech, students were allowed three questions, and they were good ones:

Students asked about how the U.S. can protect LGBT rights in Uganda, where there is pending legislation to make homosexuality an offense punishable by death, and to balance support for Iranian protesters while pursuing a security strategy.

Clinton said the U.S. had expressed its concerns about the anti-LGBT legislation directly and indirectly, and that Iran was “a good example of a hard call.”

In that case, they “didn’t want attention to be shifted from the legitimate concerns to the United States” by speaking out too vehemently she said.

Finally, a student asked about the role of artists in the campaign for human rights, to which Clinton said, “artists are one of the most effective tools we have” for promoting human rights.

You can watch the video of the speech here.

I’m so happy that Clinton talked about both the Uganda situation and human trafficking. If only she can hold Obama’s feet to the fire and get him to go beyond “just words.” If anyone can do that, it’s Hillary!

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America isn’t easy: balancing competing moral claims in advanced citizenship societies

down-the-drain-300x231

America isn’t easy

Building and sustaining a diverse community is not easy.

What should we celebrate?

Celebrate: to perform (a sacrament or ceremony) publicly and with appropriate rites; to honor by solemn ceremonies and refraining from ordinary business; to hold up or play for public notice.

What should we tolerate?

Tolerate: to endure or resist the action of without grave or lasting injury; to suffer to be or to be done without prohibition, hindrance, or contradiction.

What should we not tolerate?

Freedom of Speech: speech as a celebratory, tolerable, or non-tolerable moral action

The right to free speech celebrates the toleration of alternative views and the expression of those views.

“Monsieur l’abbé, I detest what you write, but I would give my life to make it possible for you to continue to write” – Voltaire (potential misattribution)

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