Good Old Friday the 13th

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Do you believe that Friday the 13th is an unlucky day?  I’m pretty much up in the air about this one, although I did turn 13 on Friday the 13th, and it was a pretty rotten year.  Looking back on it though, I feel that had more to do with being 13 than anything else.  If you believe in the superstition, just steer clear of black cats and don’t walk under ladders!

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Education and Learning

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As usual, I’ve come to the party late, however, I’m here and I’ve paid attention.  I’ve recently read the Young Adult novel, The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas.  This is an extraordinary novel.  To prove it, it’s already been banned in more than one location in the United States.  A book being banned only means that it will make you think, something too many people don’t want to do, especially if what you learn from it is in opposition to what it is that you may have been taught.  The novel follows the life of Starr Carter, who by the age of sixteen has held two of her best friends in her arms as they lay dying after being shot.  This is not only her story, but the story of too many.  The poor, the over-looked, and the reviled.

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For those of you who may not have read this novel, I hope that you will.  Go out and buy it, or borrow it from your local library.  It covers so much of the experiences of children growing up as part of a reviled people.  The poverty, the inability to “rise above” due to lack of livable wages, poor education systems, and the grinding down of an entire segment of society.  Poverty is hard.  How can it not be when you are choosing between food and rent?  We need to understand, choose compassion and help our neighbors.  Only then will our country be better.  Together we stand, divided, as we are, we are falling.  And in this falling, it is all of us, not just a few of us.  Everything is interconnected.  We are all one.

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Friday the 13th!

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Yes, today is that scary day of days, Friday the 13th.  Do you believe the superstition?  Do you run screaming from black cats?  How about walking under a ladder?  Or, do you just go about this day with an oh hum…how boring.  All I know is, I turned 13 on Friday the 13th, and it was one of the worst years of my life.  I’m sure that puberty had nothing to do with it.

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Anyway, avoid those black cats, don’t go into haunted old houses, and turn the lights on!  Other than that, have a great day!

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Updating Monsanto

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I first wrote about the trial of Monsanto at The Hague.  Just a quick update with how that turned out.  The company was found guilty on all charges, and the ban on any and all Monsanto products being sold in the European Union still stands.

However, I also wanted to write about newly released documents that show how Monsanto has been paying off government regulators and scientists in an effort to keep them from publishing scientific studies that show the harm that Monsanto products (in this case, Roundup) do, along with using their influence to stop scientific studies that show Roundup to be a health hazard.  There are lawsuits around the country that claim that Roundup is a carcinogen.  These documents have been made available to the public, since this is a public health concern.

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I hope that you go to the links provided below and read the articles.  This is an important discussion to have, since there is an effort in the U.S. to allow corporations to self-regulate.  I feel that this shows that no corporation should be allowed to self-regulate, but that the entire process needs to be made completely public, with all scientific data peer-reviewed and released to the general public.

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Have you used Roundup?  What are your thoughts on this?

 

https://corporateeurope.org/food-and-agriculture/2017/04/monsanto-tribunal-outcomes

 

http://www.alternet.org/environment/just-released-docs-show-monsanto-executives-colluding-corrupted-epa-officials-manipulate?akid=15952.302291.OmHT9X&rd=1&src=newsletter1080638&t=25

 

 

I Just Don’t Get It

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It seems like this country is simply going crazy.  There is more hatred being verbalized (and people being brutalized) all over.  I’m sure we’ve all seen the rants posted on social media of people verbally abusing others.  Where in the world is this hate coming from?  I simply cannot imagine anyone having the time in their lives to worry about the following:  where another person is from; what religion they choose to follow; what color someone else is; what gender they are; or what sexuality they practice.

Really, I’d like to know what is going on (or not going on) in the lives of these haters.  Seriously, how can they find the time to get involved in other people’s lives like this?  Don’t they have their own lives to worry about?  Don’t they also have to go to work, raise their children, worry about their loved ones?  How in the world do they have the time to worry about what other people are doing in their own private lives?

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And, the most important question of all – what the he** business is it of theirs anyway?  Really, is a medical doctor from India taking their job away?  Is a migrant worker who earns a living picking produce taking their job away?  Is the very fact that someone worships another “god” making their “god” smaller?  Does a different skin tone change their skin tone?  Does the love that someone has for another person change the love they have for their loved ones?  What difference does it make?  I just don’t get it.

I’ve heard all the “arguments” that people try to use to defend their hatred, and seriously they are simply and completely flawed.  Not to mention illogical.  I simply cannot imagine ever having the time or the inclination to stick my nose into something that is just not my business.  If you understand this, please explain it to me.

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Wonder Woman

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My daughter and I finally went to see this movie the other day, and I must say that I was thrilled.  I have never read comic books, so my only background for Wonder Woman was that of the 1970’s TV show staring Lynda Carter, so I went into the movie with no preconceived notions.

I have to say that I loved this movie.  What a tribute to “female power”.  I loved that first and foremost, Diana Prince, along with the rest of the Amazons, both looked like a woman who could fight, and fought like a hardened warrior.  These were not super skinny women, these were extremely fit women who could take care of themselves.  I also loved the way that Diana Prince walked.  She strode with all the confidence in the world.  That confidence was breathtaking, and I must say that I want some of that!

I don’t want to give too much away for those of you who haven’t seen it yet, but I loved the movie.  In the realm of “power women” movies this is the best so far.  I encourage you to watch this, just to see what a confident woman looks like!

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What is Wage Theft, and Are You a Victim?

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Wage theft commonly refers to workers illegally not being paid their full wages.  Usually this refers to low-wage workers who are denied full pay for a variety of reasons.  Some of these include:  refusing to pay the legal minimum per hour wage, not paying for all hours worked and/or not paying over-time pay.  This is a wide-spread problem, and costs the workers in the U.S. approximately $8 billion per year.  Obviously, this is another social issue that effects the poor more than others, since earning a minimum wage is not really a sustainable wage.  To steal from people like this is particularly nasty.

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However, there is another kind of wage theft that also happens.  Frequently people are told that their health insurance costs a certain amount and that amount is withheld from their paychecks by their employer to pay their portion of the health insurance costs, only to find out later that what was being withdrawn was a higher amount than the insurance actually cost.  This is particularly hard to prove, since (at least in my state) the insurance company will decline to tell you how much your employer-offered health insurance actually costs.

Another type of wage theft is when a “salaried” employee routinely works many hours of overtime, but is not paid because they are considered “salaried”.  The usual answer for not paying salaried workers is that they will be “given” the same number of hours as extra time off.  However, trying to receive any of that promised time off is difficult, to say the least.

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This whole concept is particularly evil, since you have a right to be paid for the work that you do, and you should have the right to find out exactly how much your own health insurance costs.  Has any of this happened to you or to anyone you know?  If so, let me know in the comments below.  I’ve included some links below that give you more information regarding this issue.

http://www.epi.org/publication/employers-steal-billions-from-workers-paychecks-each-year-survey-data-show-millions-of-workers-are-paid-less-than-the-minimum-wage-at-significant-cost-to-taxpayers-and-state-economies/?utm_source=Economic+Policy+Institute&utm_campaign=f46b5aacc2-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_05_17&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_e7c5826c50-f46b5aacc2-58297025&mc_cid=f46b5aacc2&mc_eid=d8e2a8427b

http://www.nclnet.org/wage_theft_six_common_methods