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Sunday, November 16, 2014

The School Experiences of LGBT Youth: GLSEN's National School Climate Su...

Dear GOogler,
Please watch this video as a way of educating yourself to support LGBT students/youths.
Please join the LGBT-Straight Alliance and GLSEN.org, and end discrimination against members of LGBT community!
With agape,
Mondo






"Colin Farrell's amazing heartfelt plea to Irish people on gay rights"


I think I found out my brother wasn’t grovelling in heterosexual mud like most boys our age when I was around 12. I remember feeling surprised. Intrigued. Curious. Not bi-curious before you start getting ideas. 

I was curious because it was different from anything I’d known or heard of and yet it didn’t seem unnatural to me. I had no reference for the existence of homosexuality. I had seen, by that age, no gay couples together. I just knew my brother liked men and, I repeat, it didn’t seem unnatural to me. 

My brother Eamon didn’t choose to be gay. Yes, he chose to wear eyeliner to school and that probably wasn’t the most pragmatic response to the daily torture he experienced at the hands of school bullies. 

But he was always proud of who he was. Proud and defiant and, of course, provocative. Even when others were casting him out with fists and ridicule and the laughter of pure loathsome derision, he maintained an integrity and dignity that flew in the face of the cruelty that befell him. 

I don’t know where those bullies are now, the ones who beat him regularly. Maybe some of them have found peace and would rather forget their own part of a painful past. Maybe they’re sitting on bar stools and talking about “birds and faggots” and why one’s the cure and the other the disease. 

But I do know where my brother is. He’s at home in Dublin living in peace and love with his husband of some years, Steven. They are about the healthiest and happiest couple I know. They had to travel a little farther than down the aisle to make their vows, though, to Canada, where their marriage was celebrated. 

That’s why this is personal to me. The fact that my brother had to leave Ireland to have his dream of being married become real is insane. INSANE.

It’s time to right the scales of justice here. To sign up and register to vote next year so that each individual’s voice can be heard

How often do we get to make history in our lives? Not just personal history. Familial. Social. Communal. Global. The world will be watching. We will lead by example. Let’s lead toward light.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Love Is Love


Love Is Love

I soar like the eagle
With my rainbow pride,
Much like two lovers
Holding hands in the rain
Without any shame;
I purr with every leap,
In the air out of anyone's hate,
Like a nine-lives cat
On her very first one.
And I shall rise
Like the phoenix
Out of the dust of the world's disapproval
Of any Lover's Love.

With agape,
Mondo
Thanks for sharing and resharing, GOoglers.



Sunday, October 19, 2014

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

"Emma Watson To Men: Gender Equality Is Your Issue, Too"

"Emma Watson To Men: Gender Equality Is Your Issue, Too"
Here is the transcript of the Emma Watson's speech at the U.N.:

"Today we are launching a campaign HeForShe. I am reaching out to you because we need your help.
We must try to mobilize as many men and boys as possible to be advocates for change. We don’t just
want to talk about it. We want to try and make sure it’s tangible. I was appointed as Goodwill
Ambassador for UN Women 6 months ago.

The more I spoke about feminism, the more I realized that fighting for women’s rights has too often
become synonymous with man-hating. If there is one thing I know for certain is that this has to stop.
For the record, feminism by definition is the belief that men and women should have equal rights and
opportunities. It is the theory of political, economic and social equality of the sexes.
When I was 8, I was called bossy because I wanted to direct a play we would put on for our parents.
When at 14, I started to be sexualized by certain elements of the media. At 15, my girlfriends started
dropping out of sports teams because they didn’t want to appear masculine. At 18, my male friends
were unable to express their feelings.

I decided that I was a feminist. This seemed uncomplicated to me. But my recent research has shown
me that feminism has become an unpopular word. Women are choosing not to identify as feminists.
Apparently, [women’s expression is] seen as too strong, too aggressive, isolating, and anti-men,
unattractive even.

Why has the word become such an uncomfortable one? I think it is right I am paid the same as my
male counterparts. I think it is right that I should be able to make decisions about my own body. I think
it is right that women be involved on my behalf in the policies and decisions that will affect my life. I
think it is right that socially, I am afforded the same respect as men.

But sadly, I can say that there is no one country in the world where all women can expect to see these
rights. No country in the world can yet say that they achieved gender equality. These rights are
considered to be human rights but I am one of the lucky ones.

My life is a sheer privilege because my parents didn’t love me less because I was born a daughter.
My school did not limit me because I was a girl. My mentors didn't assume that I would go less far
because I might give birth to a child one day. These influences are the gender equality ambassadors
that made me who I am today. They may not know it but they are the inadvertent feminists needed in
the world today. We need more of those.

If you still hate the word, it is not the word that is important. It is the idea and the ambition behind it
because not all women have received the same rights I have. In fact, statistically, very few have.
In 1997, Hillary Clinton made a famous speech in Beijing about women’s rights. Sadly, many of the
things that she wanted to change are still true today. What struck me the most was that less than 30%
of the audience were male. How can we effect change in the world when only half of it is invited or
being welcomed to participate in the conversation?

Men, I would like to give this opportunity to extend your formal invitation. Gender equality is your
issue, too. Because to date, I’ve seen my father’s role as a parent being valued less by society. I’ve
seen young men suffering from mental illness, unable to ask for help for fear it would make them less
of a man. In fact, in the UK, suicide is the biggest killer of men between 20 to 49, eclipsing road
accidents, cancer and heart disease. I’ve seen men fragile and insecure by what constitutes male
success. Men don’t have the benefits of equality, either.

We don’t often talk about men being imprisoned by gender stereotypes but I can see that they are.
When they are free, things will change for women as a natural consequence. If men don’t have to be
aggressive in order to be accepted, women won’t feel compelled to be submissive. If men don’t have
to control, women won’t have to be controlled.

Both men and women should feel free to be sensitive. Both men and women should feel free to be
strong. It is time that we all see gender as a spectrum instead of two sets of opposing ideals. We
should stop defining each other by what we are not and start defining ourselves by who we are. We can
all be freer and this is what HeForShe is about. It’s about freedom. I want men to take up this mantle
so that their daughters, sisters and mothers can be free from prejudice but also so that their sons
have permission to be vulnerable and human too, reclaim parts of themselves they abandoned and
in doing so, be a more true and complete version of themselves.

You might think: who is this Harry Potter girl? What is she doing at the UN? I’ve been asking myself
the same thing. All I know is that I care about this problem and I want to make it better. And having
seen what I’ve seen and given the chance, I feel it is my responsibility to say something. Statesman
Edmund Burke said all that is need for the forces of evil to triumph is for good men and women to do
nothing.

In my nervousness for this speech and in my moments of doubt, I told myself firmly: if not me, who? If
not now, when? If you cast doubts when opportunity is presented to you, I hope those words will be
helpful. Because the reality is if we do nothing, it will take 75 years or maybe 100 before women can
expect to be paid the same as men for the same work. 15.5 million girls will be married in the next 16
years as children. And at current rates, it won't be until 2086 before all rural African girls can have a
secondary education.

If you believe in equality, you might be one of the inadvertent feminists I spoke of earlier and for this I
applaud you. We must strive for a united world but the good news is we have a platform. It is called
HeForShe. I invite you to step forward, to be seen and I ask yourself: if not me, who? If not now, when?
Thank you."
--Emma Watson's speech at the U.N.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

"O Mio Babbino Caro" sung by Soprano Pumeza Matshikiza

Dear GOogler,
Please give the Soprano, Pumeza Matshikiza, a well-deserved listen!  Pumeza will surely educate your very Soul to Her own peace, if you allow her to borrow your listening ears for just a brief moment.
With agape,
Mondo

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

"To Be White and Reckon with the Death of Michael Brown" by Courtney E. Martin

To Be White and Reckon with the Death of Michael Brown

BY COURTNEY E. MARTIN (@COURTWRITES), WEEKLY COLUMNIST from Onbeing.org with Krista Tippett
No doubt by now you have heard the news about the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. About the protests. About the police response.
You may even be one of countless Americans who has expressed your horror over what’s happened — by attending a vigil, perhaps; by retweeting #iftheygunnedmedown; over dinner with people you love. You may have shaken your head as you stated the horrifying and obvious, “It’s 2014 and this is still happening?!”
And by you, I am specifically talking to white people. When confronted with a moment like Michael Brown’s death, white America is forced to reckon with racism. We are compelled to feel something, to say something, to signal our outrage about the continued existence of deadly prejudice.
Non-white America, of course, is eternally reckoning, but for white Americans, a moment like this can feel like a time apart, an opportunity to recommit oneself to anti-racist attitudes and actions. That’s powerful, potentially courageous even.
But too often I fear that we look to express outrage, in part, so that we may perform our identity as 'one of the good ones.’ If we condemn the acts of that “evil police officer in a small, backwards town,” particularly if we do so in a public way, we feel the comfort of separateness and even a small smugness that we are positioning ourselves on the right side of history.
I don’t believe in evil and I don’t believe in good, at least not that kind, when it comes to race in this country. I believe we, white Americans, are still — 150 years after slavery ended — dabbling in racial courage, specializing in amnesia, flummoxed by the acts of our ancestors and our responsibility for the past, and continuously struggling to wrap our minds around the structural racism that is our present.
"Now we have half-stepped away from our long centuries of despoilment, promising, 'Never again.' But still we are haunted. It is as though we have run up a credit-card bill and, having pledged to charge no more, remain befuddled that the balance does not disappear. The effects of that balance, interest accruing daily, are all around us."
White America rarely talks to our own ghosts on this matter. We don’t unpack our own “invisible knapsacks,” in the words of Peggy McIntosh, nearly enough. It’s easier to point the finger at the truly ignorant and violent among us and call them the bad guys.
To be sure, they deserve all the shame that we can muster; they deserve their punishment. But in a country that imprisons one out of three black men at some point in their lives, even “punishment” is a strange medicine for deadly racism.
The only way to honor Michael Brown and his family, to honor all Americans who reckon with the scourges of racism every single day, is to own that we may not be murderers, but we are inheritors. We must talk to our ugliest ghosts. We must work on strategies to dismantle structural racism. We must express our outrage at what is happening out there — in Ferguson, in Staten Island, in Oakland. But, we must also investigate what is happening in here, inside every one of us — our own unexamined privilege, our own patronizing cure-alls, our own fears. We are not bad. We are not good. We are part of the tragic story and the opportunity for transformation.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

To: All My Jewish GOoglers...L'shana Tovah!

Dear GOogler,
Rosh Hashanah is coming up soon, so here are some important information to educate yourself on this Jewish High Holidays!                       ***L'shana Tova, to all my Jewish GOoglers!***


***Significance: New Year
Observances: Sounding the shofar (ram's horn trumpet)
Length: 2 Days (Some: 1 Day)
Customs: Dipping apples in honey; Casting off "sins" into a river
Greeting: L'shanah tovah! (For a good year!)*
***In the seventh month, on the first of the month, there shall be a sabbath for you, a remembrance with shofar blasts, a holy convocation. -Leviticus 16:24
Rosh Hashanah occurs on the first and second days of Tishri. In Hebrew, Rosh Hashanah means, literally, "head of the year" or "first of the year." Rosh Hashanah is commonly known as the Jewish New Year. This name is somewhat deceptive, because there is little similarity between Rosh Hashanah, one of the holiest days of the year, and the American midnight drinking bash and daytime football game.
There is, however, one important similarity between the Jewish New Year and the American one: Many Americans use the New Year as a time to plan a better life, making "resolutions." Likewise, the Jewish New Year is a time to begin introspection, looking back at the mistakes of the past year and planning the changes to make in the new year. More on this concept at Days of Awe.
The name "Rosh Hashanah" is not used in the Bible to discuss this holiday. The Bible refers to the holiday as Yom Ha-Zikkaron (the day of remembrance) or Yom Teruah (the day of the sounding of the shofar). The holiday is instituted in Leviticus 23:24-25.
Shofar: The shofar is a ram's horn which is blown somewhat like a trumpet. One of the most important observances of this holiday is hearing the sounding of the shofar in the synagogue. A total of 100 notes are sounded each day. There are four different types of shofar notes: tekiah, a 3 second sustained note; shevarim, three 1-second notes rising in tone, teruah, a series of short, staccato notes extending over a period of about 3 seconds; and tekiah gedolah (literally, "big tekiah"), the final blast in a set, which lasts (I think) 10 seconds minimum. The Bible gives no specific reason for this practice. One that has been suggested is that the shofar's sound is a call to repentance. The shofar is not blown if the holiday falls on Shabbat.
No work is permitted on Rosh Hashanah. Much of the day is spent in synagogue, where the regular daily liturgy is somewhat expanded. In fact, there is a special prayerbook called the machzor used for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur because of the extensive liturgical changes for these holidays.
Another popular observance during this holiday is eating apples dipped in honey, a symbol of our wish for a sweet new year. This was the second Jewish religious practice I was ever exposed to (the first one: lighting Chanukkah candles), and I highly recommend it. It's yummy. We also dip bread in honey (instead of the usual practice of sprinkling salt on it) at this time of year for the same reason.
Another popular practice of the holiday is Tashlikh ("casting off"). We walk to flowing water, such as a creek or river, on the afternoon of the first day and empty our pockets into the river, symbolically casting off our sins. Small pieces of bread are commonly put in the pocket to cast off. This practice is not discussed in the Bible, but is a long-standing custom. Tashlikh is normally observed on the afternoon of the first day, before afternoon services. When the first day occurs on Shabbat, many synagogues observe Tashlikh on Sunday afternoon, to avoid carrying (the bread) on Shabbat.
Religious services for the holiday focus on the concept of G-d's sovereignty.

The common greeting at this time is L'shanah tovah ("for a good year"). This is a shortening of "L'shanah tovah tikatev v'taihatem" (or to women, "L'shanah tovah tikatevi v'taihatemi"), which means "May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year." More on that concept at Days of Awe.
You may notice that the Bible speaks of Rosh Hashanah as occurring on the first day of the seventh month. The first month of the Jewish calendar is Nissan, occurring in March and April. Why, then, does the Jewish "new year" occur in Tishri, the seventh month?
Judaism has several different "new years," a concept which may seem strange at first, but think of it this way: the American "new year" starts in January, but the new "school year" starts in September, and many businesses have "fiscal years" that start at various times of the year. In Judaism, Nissan 1 is the new year for the purpose of counting the reign of kings and months on the calendar, Elul 1 (in August) is the new year for the tithing of animals, Shevat 15 (in February) is the new year for trees (determining when first fruits can be eaten, etc.), and Tishri 1 (Rosh Hashanah) is the new year for years (when we increase the year number. Sabbatical and Jubilee years begin at this time).*

from http://www.jewfaq.org/holiday2.htm ("**Judaism 101"**)

Thanks for sharing and resharing, GOoglers.
With agape,
Mondo

On Her Birthday!

On Her Birthday!

And let each new morn
bring your lovely smile to my lips,
your eternal Light to my heart,
your soft, loving touch to my body,
your melodious voice to my ears,
your kindness to my actions,
your magnanimity to my life's philosophy,
your beauty to my beholding eyes,
your sexy-perfumed scent to my nose,
And let my mind have 
no memory for another,
but my sweet Fab Fabie's!

(Happy Birthday, my sweet Fab Fabie!)

Saturday, September 6, 2014

"How Do You Spell Ms." by Abigail Pogrebin

"How Do You Spell Ms."

"Forty years ago, a group of feminists, led by Gloria Steinem, did the unthinkable: They started a magazine for women, published by women—and the first issue sold out in eight days. An oral history of a publication that changed history."  by Abigail Pogrebin


Ms. staff meeting in June 1972. From left: Letty Cottin Pogrebin, Gloria Steinem, Margaret Sloan-Hunter, Suzanne Levine, Mary Thom, Harriet Lyons, Patricia Carbine, and Ruth Sullivan.  
Excerpts

"In the years leading up to the birth of Ms., women had trouble getting a credit card without a man’s signature, had few legal rights when it came to divorce or reproduction, and were expected to aspire solely to marriage and motherhood. Job listings were segregated (“Help wanted, male”). There was no Title IX (banning sex discrimination in federally funded athletic programs); no battered-women’s shelters, rape-crisis centers, and no terms such as sexual harassment and domestic violence.
Few women ran magazines, even when the readership was entirely female, and they weren’t permitted to write the stories they felt were important; the focus had to be on fashion, recipes, cosmetics, or how to lure a man and keep him interested. “When I suggested political stories to The New York Times Sunday Magazine, my editor just said something like, ‘I don’t think of you that way,’ ” recalls Gloria Steinem. “It was all pale male faces in, on, and running media,” says Robin Morgan, who was Ms.’s editor in the late eighties and early nineties.
But in the mid-sixties, feminist organizations such as New York Radical Women,Redstockings, and NOW began to emerge. On March 18, 1970, about a hundred women stormed into the male editor’s office of Ladies’ Home Journal and staged a sit-in for eleven hours, demanding that the magazine hire a female editor-in-chief. Says feminist activist-writer Vivian Gornick, “It was a watershed moment. It showed us, the activists in the women’s movement, that we did, indeed, have a movement.”
By age 29, Gloria Steinem had forged a reputation as a smart, pithy writer with her 1963 exposé in Showmagazine about going undercover as a Playboy Bunny. She was a staff writer at New York Magazine when it debuted in 1968, along with Jimmy Breslin and Tom Wolfe. Radicalized by an abortion speak-out, which she covered for New York in 1969, Steinem started spending more time thinking, writing, and giving talks about feminism. She testified in the Senate in 1970 on behalf of the Equal Rights Amendment, and co-founded the Women’s Action Alliance and the National Women’s Political Caucus in 1971. That same year, she helped launchMs. magazine,which became the first periodical ever to be created, owned, and operated entirely by women. A forty-page excerpt of its preview issue was published in the December 20, 1971, issue of this magazine. Here are the stories of the women who were there."
from "How Do You Spell Ms." by Abigail Pogrebin

"Stand Up To Cancer"

Dear GOogler,
Please STAND UP TO Cancer!  STAND UP!
With agape,
Mondo

Friday, August 29, 2014

"NewYorkStories: Misty Copeland "


Kudos to Coach for featuring a Black Professional Ballerina in this video ad!
Please check her out; she is divine elegance!
With agape,
Mondo

SciStarter's Back to School Citizen Science Backpack! - Citizen Science Salon | DiscoverMagazine.com : Citizen Science Salon

It’s that time of the year when SciStarter goes back to school! Our Project Finder is full of citizen science projects perfect for the classroom. Why citizen science in the classroom you ask? Well here are 8 great reasons why citizen science works in the classroom!
We highlight 10 projects here that can be used in the classroom, as homework assignments, or as after school family activities across a variety of subjects and age groups. For more classroom projects take a look at ourclassroom picks!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

"Five “L’s” that are Essential to Every Long-lasting Marriage" by Karen Stevens

"Five “L’s” that are Essential to Every Long-lasting Marriage" by Karen Stevens
I will be married for two years in the next couple of months. Granted, we’re still new to marriage, but I have to say that my husband and I have grown and grown up so much in our marriage. I love our marriage and over the last two years have noticed that these were some of the elements that have strengthened it.

Laughter

My husband says that I am a two-year old. He thinks that he is three. We play and we laugh every day about something that happened on his job, on my job, in our family foolishness, or from the Internet. Laughter makes memories and it makes time fly by. On top of that, when things get serious, as they always will, laughter can be a healthy way to cope with life’s uncertainties and stress.

Letting Go

My husband and I had to learn this the hard way. With two strong, sensitive personalities, our fights would last longer than they needed to. After months of ups and downs, we came to the conclusion that every topic, concern, or insight did not hold the same weight. And consequently, did not need to be unpacked, discussed, or analyzed. We also learned that wanting to be right is stupid in a relationship if you look at your marriage as a partnership. If one person loses, then you both lose. Understanding this has decreased the number of our tiffs and how long they last.

Long-term goals

As a couple, we have always been good at creating long-term goals and meeting them. And even in our individual goals, we have been able to support one another gain momentum, build confidence, and set up systems and structures that allow us to attend to our personal passions and keep our relationship a priority.

Love 

Love can be found in those small acts of compassion, tenderness, and kindness that you do for your spouse because you want to with no expectations. (The other day, I took my husband’s shoes off for him and brought him a glass of water. The way he responded, you would have thought that I rented a blimp, released two dozen white doves, and had a full orchestra playing.)  And love goes hand-in-hand with our next ‘l’….Lust!

Lust

And lust… lust, lust, lust is the deep desire that you have and show to your spouse to let them know that you not only care  or and respect them, but that you also want them. Together, love and lust provide the comfort and stability that makes a relationship strong and the excitement and thrill that makes it fun, light, and forever new.


About the author

Kara Stevens wrote 67 articles on this blog.
Kara is a motivational speaker, life coach, and founder of the personal finance and lifestyle blog "The Frugal Feminista" .

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

"Memo: From Nick Hanauer ... To: My Fellow Zillionaires"

Memo: From Nick Hanauer
To: My Fellow Zillionaires
You probably don’t know me, but like you I am one of those .01%ers, a proud and unapologetic capitalist. I have founded, co-founded and funded more than 30 companies across a range of industries—from itsy-bitsy ones like the night club I started in my 20s to giant ones like Amazon.com, for which I was the first nonfamily investor. Then I founded aQuantive, an Internet advertising company that was sold to Microsoft in 2007 for $6.4 billion. In cash. My friends and I own a bank. I tell you all this to demonstrate that in many ways I’m no different from you. Like you, I have a broad perspective on business and capitalism. And also like you, I have been rewarded obscenely for my success, with a life that the other 99.99 percent of Americans can’t even imagine. Multiple homes, my own plane, etc., etc. You know what I’m talking about. In 1992, I was selling pillows made by my family’s business, Pacific Coast Feather Co., to retail stores across the country, and the Internet was a clunky novelty to which one hooked up with a loud squawk at 300 baud. But I saw pretty quickly, even back then, that many of my customers, the big department store chains, were already doomed. I knew that as soon as the Internet became fast and trustworthy enough—and that time wasn’t far off—people were going to shop online like crazy. Goodbye, Caldor. And Filene’s. And Borders. And on and on.

Realizing that, seeing over the horizon a little faster than the next guy, was the strategic part of my success. The lucky part was that I had two friends, both immensely talented, who also saw a lot of potential in the web. One was a guy you’ve probably never heard of named Jeff Tauber, and the other was a fellow named Jeff Bezos. I was so excited by the potential of the web that I told both Jeffs that I wanted to invest in whatever they launched, big time. It just happened that the second Jeff—Bezos—called me back first to take up my investment offer. So I helped underwrite his tiny start-up bookseller. The other Jeff started a web department store called Cybershop, but at a time when trust in Internet sales was still low, it was too early for his high-end online idea; people just weren’t yet ready to buy expensive goods without personally checking them out (unlike a basic commodity like books, which don’t vary in quality—Bezos’ great insight). Cybershop didn’t make it, just another dot-com bust. Amazon did somewhat better. Now I own a very large yacht.
But let’s speak frankly to each other. I’m not the smartest guy you’ve ever met, or the hardest-working. I was a mediocre student. I’m not technical at all—I can’t write a word of code. What sets me apart, I think, is a tolerance for risk and an intuition about what will happen in the future. Seeing where things are headed is the essence of entrepreneurship. And what do I see in our future now?
I see pitchforks.
At the same time that people like you and me are thriving beyond the dreams of any plutocrats in history, the rest of the country—the 99.99 percent—is lagging far behind. The divide between the haves and have-nots is getting worse really, really fast. In 1980, the top 1 percent controlled about 8 percent of U.S. national income. The bottom 50 percent shared about 18 percent. Today the top 1 percent share about 20 percent; the bottom 50 percent, just 12 percent.
But the problem isn’t that we have inequality. Some inequality is intrinsic to any high-functioning capitalist economy. The problem is that inequality is at historically high levels and getting worse every day. Our country is rapidly becoming less a capitalist society and more a feudal society. Unless our policies change dramatically, the middle class will disappear, and we will be back to late 18th-century France. Before the revolution.
And so I have a message for my fellow filthy rich, for all of us who live in our gated bubble worlds: Wake up, people. It won’t last.
If we don’t do something to fix the glaring inequities in this economy, the pitchforks are going to come for us. No society can sustain this kind of rising inequality. In fact, there is no example in human history where wealth accumulated like this and the pitchforks didn’t eventually come out. You show me a highly unequal society, and I will show you a police state. Or an uprising. There are no counterexamples. None. It’s not if, it’s when.
Many of us think we’re special because “this is America.” We think we’re immune to the same forces that started the Arab Spring—or the French and Russian revolutions, for that matter. I know you fellow .01%ers tend to dismiss this kind of argument; I’ve had many of you tell me to my face I’m completely bonkers. And yes, I know there are many of you who are convinced that because you saw a poor kid with an iPhone that one time, inequality is a fiction.
Here’s what I say to you: You’re living in a dream world. What everyone wants to believe is that when things reach a tipping point and go from being merely crappy for the masses to dangerous and socially destabilizing, that we’re somehow going to know about that shift ahead of time. Any student of history knows that’s not the way it happens. Revolutions, like bankruptcies, come gradually, and then suddenly. One day, somebody sets himself on fire, then thousands of people are in the streets, and before you know it, the country is burning. And then there’s no time for us to get to the airport and jump on our Gulfstream Vs and fly to New Zealand. That’s the way it always happens. If inequality keeps rising as it has been, eventually it will happen. We will not be able to predict when, and it will be terrible—for everybody. But especially for us.
The most ironic thing about rising inequality is how completely unnecessary and self-defeating it is. If we do something about it, if we adjust our policies in the way that, say, Franklin D. Roosevelt did during the Great Depression—so that we help the 99 percent and preempt the revolutionaries and crazies, the ones with the pitchforks—that will be the best thing possible for us rich folks, too. It’s not just that we’ll escape with our lives; it’s that we’ll most certainly get even richer.
The model for us rich guys here should be Henry Ford, who realized that all his autoworkers in Michigan weren’t only cheap labor to be exploited; they were consumers, too. Ford figured that if he raisedtheir wages, to a then-exorbitant $5 a day, they’d be able to afford his Model Ts.
What a great idea. My suggestion to you is: Let’s do it all over again. We’ve got to try something. These idiotic trickle-down policies are destroying my customer base. And yours too.
It’s when I realized this that I decided I had to leave my insulated world of the super-rich and get involved in politics. Not directly, by running for office or becoming one of the big-money billionaires who back candidates in an election. Instead, I wanted to try to change the conversation with ideas—by advancing what my co-author, Eric Liu, and I call “middle-out” economics. It’s the long-overdue rebuttal to the trickle-down economics worldview that has become economic orthodoxy across party lines—and has so screwed the American middle class and our economy generally. Middle-out economics rejects the old misconception that an economy is a perfectly efficient, mechanistic system and embraces the much more accurate idea of an economy as a complex ecosystem made up of real people who are dependent on one another.
Which is why the fundamental law of capitalism must be: If workers have more money, businesses have more customers. Which makes middle-class consumers, not rich businesspeople like us, the true job creators. Which means a thriving middle class is the source of American prosperity, not a consequence of it. The middle class creates us rich people, not the other way around.
On June 19, 2013, Bloomberg published an article I wrote called “The Capitalist’s Case for a $15 Minimum Wage.” Forbes labeled it “Nick Hanauer’s near insane” proposal. And yet, just weeks after it was published, my friend David Rolf, a Service Employees International Union organizer, roused fast-food workers to go on strike around the country for a $15 living wage. Nearly a year later, the city of Seattlepassed a $15 minimum wage. And just 350 days after my article was published, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray signed that ordinance into law. How could this happen, you ask?
It happened because we reminded the masses that they are the source of growth and prosperity, not us rich guys. We reminded them that when workers have more money, businesses have more customers—and need more employees. We reminded them that if businesses paid workers a living wage rather than poverty wages, taxpayers wouldn’t have to make up the difference. And when we got done, 74 percent of likely Seattle voters in a recent poll agreed that a $15 minimum wage was a swell idea.
The standard response in the minimum-wage debate, made by Republicans and their business backers and plenty of Democrats as well, is that raising the minimum wage costs jobs. Businesses will have to lay off workers. This argument reflects the orthodox economics that most people had in college. If you took Econ 101, then you literally were taught that if wages go up, employment must go down. The law of supply and demand and all that. That’s why you’ve got John Boehner and other Republicans in Congress insisting that if you price employment higher, you get less of it. Really?
The thing about us businesspeople is that we love our customers rich and our employees poor. 
Because here’s an odd thing. During the past three decades, compensation for CEOs grew 127 times faster than it did for workers. Since 1950, the CEO-to-worker pay ratio has increased 1,000 percent, and that is not a typo. CEOs used to earn 30 times the median wage; now they rake in 500 times. Yet no company I know of has eliminated its senior managers, or outsourced them to China or automated their jobs. Instead, we now have more CEOs and senior executives than ever before. So, too, for financial services workers and technology workers. These folks earn multiples of the median wage, yet we somehow have more and more of them.
Most of you probably think that the $15 minimum wage in Seattle is an insane departure from rational policy that puts our economy at great risk. But in Seattle, our current minimum wage of $9.32 is already nearly 30 percent higher than the federal minimum wage. And has it ruined our economy yet? Well, trickle-downers, look at the data here: The two cities in the nation with the highest rate of job growth by small businesses are San Francisco and Seattle. Guess which cities have the highest minimum wage? San Francisco and Seattle. The fastest-growing big city in America? Seattle. Fifteen dollars isn’t a risky untried policy for us. It’s doubling down on the strategy that’s already allowing our city to kick your city’s ass.
It makes perfect sense if you think about it: If a worker earns $7.25 an hour, which is now the national minimum wage, what proportion of that person’s income do you think ends up in the cash registers of local small businesses? Hardly any. That person is paying rent, ideally going out to get subsistence groceries at Safeway, and, if really lucky, has a bus pass. But she’s not going out to eat at restaurants. Not browsing for new clothes. Not buying flowers on Mother’s Day.
Is this issue more complicated than I’m making out? Of course. Are there many factors at play determining the dynamics of employment? Yup. But please, please stop insisting that if we pay low-wage workers more, unemployment will skyrocket and it will destroy the economy. It’s utter nonsense. The most insidious thing about trickle-down economics isn’t believing that if the rich get richer, it’s good for the economy. It’s believing that if the poor get richer, it’s bad for the economy.
I know that virtually all of you feel that compelling our businesses to pay workers more is somehow unfair, or is too much government interference. Most of you think that we should just let good examples like Costco or Gap lead the way. Or let the market set the price. But here’s the thing. When those who set bad examples, like the owners of Wal-Mart or McDonald’s, pay their workers close to the minimum wage, what they’re really saying is that they’d pay even less if it weren’t illegal. (Thankfully both companies have recently said they would not oppose a hike in the minimum wage.) In any large group, some people absolutely will not do the right thing. That’s why our economy can only be safe and effective if it is governed by the same kinds of rules as, say, the transportation system, with its speed limits and stop signs.
Wal-Mart is our nation’s largest employer with some 1.4 million employees in the United States and more than $25 billion in pre-tax profit. So why are Wal-Mart employees the largest group of Medicaid recipients in many states? Wal-Mart could, say, pay each of its 1 million lowest-paid workers an extra $10,000 per year, raise them all out of poverty and enable them to, of all things, afford to shop at Wal-Mart. Not only would this also save us all the expense of the food stamps, Medicaid and rent assistance that they currently require, but Wal-Mart would still earn more than $15 billion pre-tax per year. Wal-Mart won’t (and shouldn’t) volunteer to pay its workers more than their competitors. In order for us to have an economy that works for everyone, we should compel all retailers to pay living wages—not just ask politely.
We rich people have been falsely persuaded by our schooling and the affirmation of society, and have convinced ourselves, that we are the main job creators. It’s simply not true. There can never be enough super-rich Americans to power a great economy. I earn about 1,000 times the median American annually, but I don’t buy thousands of times more stuff. My family purchased three cars over the past few years, not 3,000. I buy a few pairs of pants and a few shirts a year, just like most American men. I bought two pairs of the fancy wool pants I am wearing as I write, what my partner Mike calls my “manager pants.” I guess I could have bought 1,000 pairs. But why would I? Instead, I sock my extra money away in savings, where it doesn’t do the country much good.
So forget all that rhetoric about how America is great because of people like you and me and Steve Jobs. You know the truth even if you won’t admit it: If any of us had been born in Somalia or the Congo, all we’d be is some guy standing barefoot next to a dirt road selling fruit. It’s not that Somalia and Congo don’t have good entrepreneurs. It’s just that the best ones are selling their wares off crates by the side of the road because that’s all their customers can afford.
So why not talk about a different kind of New Deal for the American people, one that could appeal to the right as well as left—to libertarians as well as liberals? First, I’d ask my Republican friends to get real about reducing the size of government. Yes, yes and yes, you guys are all correct: The federal government is too big in some ways. But no way can you cut government substantially, not the way things are now. Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush each had eight years to do it, and they failed miserably.
Republicans and Democrats in Congress can’t shrink government with wishful thinking. The only way to slash government for real is to go back to basic economic principles: You have to reduce the demand for government. If people are getting $15 an hour or more, they don’t need food stamps. They don’t need rent assistance. They don’t need you and me to pay for their medical care. If the consumer middle class is back, buying and shopping, then it stands to reason you won’t need as large a welfare state. And at the same time, revenues from payroll and sales taxes would rise, reducing the deficit.
This is, in other words, an economic approach that can unite left and right. Perhaps that’s one reason the right is beginning, inexorably, to wake up to this reality as well. Even Republicans as diverse as Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum recently came out in favor of raising the minimum wage, in defiance of the Republicans in Congress.
***
One thing we can agree on—I’m sure of this—is that the change isn’t going to start in Washington. Thinking is stale, arguments even more so. On both sides.
But the way I see it, that’s all right. Most major social movements have seen their earliest victories at the state and municipal levels. The fight over the eight-hour workday, which ended in Washington, D.C., in 1938, began in places like Illinois and Massachusetts in the late 1800s. The movement for social security began in California in the 1930s. Even the Affordable Health Care Act—Obamacare—would have been hard to imagine without Mitt Romney’s model in Massachusetts to lead the way.
Sadly, no Republicans and few Democrats get this. President Obama doesn’t seem to either, though his heart is in the right place. In his State of the Union speech this year, he mentioned the need for a higher minimum wage but failed to make the case that less inequality and a renewed middle class would promote faster economic growth. Instead, the arguments we hear from most Democrats are the same old social-justice claims. The only reason to help workers is because we feel sorry for them. These fairness arguments feed right into every stereotype of Obama and the Democrats as bleeding hearts. Republicans say growth. Democrats say fairness—and lose every time.
But just because the two parties in Washington haven’t figured it out yet doesn’t mean we rich folks can just keep going. The conversation is already changing, even if the billionaires aren’t onto it. I know what you think: You think that Occupy Wall Street and all the other capitalism-is-the-problem protesters disappeared without a trace. But that’s not true. Of course, it’s hard to get people to sleep in a park in the cause of social justice. But the protests we had in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis really did help to change the debate in this country from death panels and debt ceilings to inequality.
It’s just that so many of you plutocrats didn’t get the message.
Dear 1%ers, many of our fellow citizens are starting to believe that capitalism itself is the problem. I disagree, and I’m sure you do too. Capitalism, when well managed, is the greatest social technology ever invented to create prosperity in human societies. But capitalism left unchecked tends toward concentration and collapse. It can be managed either to benefit the few in the near term or the many in the long term. The work of democracies is to bend it to the latter. That is why investments in the middle class work. And tax breaks for rich people like us don’t. Balancing the power of workers and billionaires by raising the minimum wage isn’t bad for capitalism. It’s an indispensable tool smart capitalists use to make capitalism stable and sustainable. And no one has a bigger stake in that than zillionaires like us.
The oldest and most important conflict in human societies is the battle over the concentration of wealth and power. The folks like us at the top have always told those at the bottom that our respective positions are righteous and good for all. Historically, we called that divine right. Today we have trickle-down economics.
What nonsense this is. Am I really such a superior person? Do I belong at the center of the moral as well as economic universe? Do you?
My family, the Hanauers, started in Germany selling feathers and pillows. They got chased out of Germany by Hitler and ended up in Seattle owning another pillow company. Three generations later, I benefited from that. Then I got as lucky as a person could possibly get in the Internet age by having a buddy in Seattle named Bezos. I look at the average Joe on the street, and I say, “There but for the grace of Jeff go I.” Even the best of us, in the worst of circumstances, are barefoot, standing by a dirt road, selling fruit. We should never forget that, or forget that the United States of America and its middle class made us, rather than the other way around.
Or we could sit back, do nothing, enjoy our yachts. And wait for the pitchforks.


Nick Hanauer is a Seattle-based entrepreneur. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

STD Facts - Human papillomavirus (HPV)


Excerpts from the article...

Genital HPV Infection - Fact Sheet

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States. Some health effects caused by HPV can be prevented with vaccines.

What is HPV?

HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI). HPV is a different virus than HIV and HSV (herpes).  HPV is so common that nearly all sexually active men and women get it at some point in their lives. There are many different types of HPV. Some types can cause health problems including genital warts and cancers. But there are vaccines that can stop these health problems from happening.

How is HPV spread?

You can get HPV by having vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone who has the virus. It is most commonly spread during vaginal or anal sex. HPV can be passed even when an infected person has no signs or symptoms.
Anyone who is sexually active can get HPV, even if you have had sex with only one person. You also can develop symptoms years after you have sex with someone who is infected making it hard to know when you first became infected.

Does HPV cause health problems?

In most cases, HPV goes away on its own and does not cause any health problems. But when HPV does not go away, it can cause health problems like genital warts and cancer.
Genital warts usually appear as a small bump or group of bumps in the genital area. They can be small or large, raised or flat, or shaped like a cauliflower. A healthcare provider can usually diagnose warts by looking at the genital area.

Does HPV cause cancer?

HPV can cause cervical and other cancers including cancer of the vulva, vagina, penis, or anus. It can also cause cancer in the back of the throat, including the base of the tongue and tonsils (called oropharyngeal cancer).
Cancer often takes years, even decades, to develop after a person gets HPV. The types of HPV that can cause genital warts are not the same as the types of HPV that can cause cancers.
There is no way to know which people who have HPV will develop cancer or other health problems. People with weak immune systems (including individuals with HIV/AIDS) may be less able to fight off HPV and more likely to develop health problems from it.

How can I avoid HPV and the health problems it can cause?

You can do several things to lower your chances of getting HPV.
Get vaccinated. HPV vaccines are safe and effective. They can protect males and females against diseases (including cancers) caused by HPV when given in the recommended age groups (see “Who should get vaccinated?” below). HPV vaccines are given in three shots over six months; it is important to get all three doses.
Get screened for cervical cancer. Routine screening for women aged 21 to 65 years old can prevent cervical cancer.
If you are sexually active
  • Use latex condoms the right way every time you have sex. This can lower your chances of getting HPV. But HPV can infect areas that are not covered by a condom - so condoms may not give full protection against getting HPV;
  • Be in a mutually monogamous relationship – or have sex only with someone who only has sex with you.