Saturday, August 31, 2013

Via Tricycle Daily Dharma:

Tricycle Daily Dharma August 31, 2013

Constant Okayness

It’s not impermanence per se, or even knowing we’re going to die, that is the cause of our suffering, the Buddha taught. Rather, it’s our resistance to the fundamental uncertainty of our situation. Our discomfort arises from all of our effort to put ground under our feet, to realize our dream of constant okayness.
- Pema Chödrön, "The Fundamental Ambiguity of Being Human"
Read the entire article in the Wisdom Collection through September 1, 2013
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Friday, August 30, 2013

What I want to be when I grow up: Daniel Orey at TEDxSacramento

Now with 100 hits and  Brazilian Portugese subtitles!



Via JMG: HRC's Chad Griffin Slams Sochi Sponsors


Image via Memeographs.


Reposted from Joe

Via JMG: IOC Responds To New York's LGBT Pols


The International Olympic Committee has responded to a letter sent them by New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and other local LGBT elected officials which asked the IOC to publicly condemn Russia's abuses of LGBT people.  Here's the IOC's response in full:
Dear representatives of the state and City of New York,  We would like to confirm receipt of your letter of 9 August to IOC President Rogge. Thank you for having shared with us your concerns and proposals on the important topic of LGBT rights in Russia in the context of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games.
The IOC agrees that the Olympic Games should be free of any kind of discrimination and I can reassure you that we work hard to make this a reality at each of the games. However, it is important to stress that the IOC remit is limited to the scope of the Games. For instance, the IOC cannot influence national legislation and has to respect the law of any host country.
In regard to Sochi 2014, the IOC is currently in close discussions with the highest government level in Russia and has received a number of assurances, but we are continuing the dialogue with Russian authorities on this important topic. As you will understand, it would be inappropriate and counterproductive to comment publicly on the details of the discussions while they are on-going.
However, we have widely communicated our position which was also published on our website at the end of July. Rest assured that the safety of athletes, spectators and others attending the Games remains a top priority for the IOC and we will continue to work to ensure that this will be the case in Sochi and future editions of the Games. I hope you find this background information helpful. Thank you for your important work and for your commitment to ensuring an environment free of discrimination.
The letter is signed by Christophe De Kepper, Director General of the IOC.


Reposted from Joe

A letter to the Guardian of the Baha'i Faith about Homosexuality, and his response


Via HRC / FB:


Via Tricycle Daily Dharma:

Tricycle Daily Dharma August 30, 2013

Good Anger

Anger that is motivated by compassion or a desire to correct social injustice, and does not seek to harm the other person, is a good anger that is worth having.
- The Dalai Lama, "The (Justifiably) Angry Marxist"
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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Via JMG: Queer Nation Responds To Coca-Cola


Yesterday Coca-Cola issued a statement declaring their support for the LGBT community after Queer Nation staged a protest in Times Square and denounced the company's sponsorship of the Sochi Olympics.  Today Queen Nation responds to Coca-Cola's statement via press release:
Coca-Cola made a horrendous error when it sponsored the 1936 Olympic Games in Nazi Germany. This company knows better and it must not sponsor any Olympic Games in Russia as long as Russia’s anti-gay laws remain in force. We also commend Coca-Cola for its Global Mutual Respect guidelines. Unfortunately, they are just that — guidelines. They are not binding. The guidelines close as follows:
“The Company reserves the right to amend this policy at any time. Nothing in this policy says or implies that a contract exists between the Company and its employees or that participation in this program is a guarantee of continued employment with The Coca-Cola Company.”
Coca-Cola’s U.S. non-discrimination policies and benefits packages are binding, and they are to be praised. That is why we demanded that Coca-Cola implement those policies worldwide. The LGBT community has won respect on its own since the 1969 Stonewall Riots. What we demand is equality before the law in every nation around the world. Coca-Cola cannot provide that, but it can and must extend its non-discrimination policies and benefits packages to all of its employees around the world.
And so we reiterate our demands.
Among those demands is a call for Coke to withdraw from sponsoring the Sochi Olympics and for the company to "publish and publicize its LGBT employment policies on its Russian website in Russian and on physical bulletin boards and websites at all Coca-Cola owned and operated facilities."


Reposted from Joe

Via JMG: CALIFORNIA: Appeals Court Upholds Law Banning "Ex-Gay" Torture For Minors


The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has rejected the attempt to block California's law that bans "ex-gay" torture for minors.
In resolving two separate legal challenges to the new law, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the arguments of a group of therapists and families who sued to block its enforcement. The three-judge panel was unanimous in upholding the statute, the first of its kind in the nation.
"(It) does not violate the free speech rights of practitioners or minor patients, is neither vague nor overbroad and does not violate parents' fundamental rights," Judge Susan Graber wrote for the court.
The therapists and families sued over the ban, arguing that it violates the free speech rights of therapists to discuss gay conversion with young patients, and families argued that the law tramples on religious freedoms to seek therapy to convert their children from homosexuality. The law barred licensed mental health professionals from using the therapy on those under the age of 18.
Another big loss for the Liberty Counsel! Stand by for the sadz AND threats about SCOTUS.
UPDATE: Courtesy of JMG reader Joe, I've posted the full 42-page ruling to my Scribd account.
UPDATE II: The National Center For Lesbian Rights responds via press release.
NCLR Legal Director Shannon Minter, who argued the case on behalf of Equality California in the Ninth Circuit, said: “This decision clears the way for this life-saving law to protect California youth from cruel and damaging practices that have been rejected by all leading medical and mental health professional organizations. The court of appeals ruled in very clear terms that state-licensed therapists do not have a constitutional right to engage in discredited practices that offer no health benefits and put LGBT youth at risk of severe harm, including depression and suicide. We thank Attorney General Kamala Harris, Deputy Attorney General Alexandra Robert Gordon, and the entire legal team at the California Department of Justice for their brilliant and tireless advocacy in defense of these vital new protections for LGBT youth.” “The court's decision today on Senate Bill 1172 is a major victory for anyone who cares about the well-being of our youth. It will directly impact the lives of thousands of young people by protecting them from this horrific practice," said John O’Connor, Equality California executive director. "We thank Sen. Ted Lieu for authoring this bill and Speaker John A. Perez for his bold leadership in getting the law passed."

reposted from Joe

Via JMG: BREAKING: Married Gay Couples To Get Federal Tax Status In Every State


 
Sam Stein reports at Huffington Post:
The U.S. Department of the Treasury announced Thursday that when it comes to taxes, it will recognize same-sex couples' marriages even if they live in a state that does not. The decision, which was prompted by the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act, marks the latest political progress for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.
Prior to this spring, the Internal Revenue Service did not recognize same-sex married couples pursuant to section 3 of DOMA. Once DOMA was overturned in June, the question became: What about same-sex married couples who moved to a state that didn’t recognize their marriage (a couple married in Massachusetts who moved to Arkansas, for example)? Thursday’s ruling by Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew provides a uniform policy for the IRS; the state of celebration -- where the wedding took place -- now trumps the state of residency when it comes to federal tax status for same-sex married couples.
Freedom To Marry head Evan Wolfson reacts:
“This announcement makes today a day of celebration and relief for married same-sex couples all over America. At long last, the IRS will treat them as what they are: married. Freedom to Marry commends the administration’s swift implementation of the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling for federal equality in an area that will have a direct, tangible impact on families’ financial health. The fact that this new respect applies only to married couples – not those joined by domestic partnerships or civil unions – highlights the need for an America where everyone can marry the person they love in any state, and have that marriage respected at all levels of government.”

Reposted from Joe

Via Tricycle Daily Dharma

Tricycle Daily Dharma August 29, 2013

The Best Possible Habit

What is your automatic reflex to life situations, especially difficult ones? Do you think about yourself and how you might profit or escape from a situation? Or do you think about others and how you can help? Progress on the path, and a sign that you’re well prepared for death, occurs when the former changes into the latter, when you default not into selfishness but into selflessness.
- Andrew Holecek, "The Best Possible Habit"
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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Via Tricycle Daily Dharma:

Tricycle Daily Dharma August 28, 2013

A Powerful Motivation

When I think of the Buddhist precepts, which are ethical precepts, they are all about relationships. I’ve boiled them down to one: vowing to live in a way that is not at the expense of other beings. In a sense it’s very grand and impossible, but it’s also a really powerful motivation.
- Alan Senauke, "Wrong Mindfulness"
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Op-Ed: Activists raise a voice against Baha’i discrimination of gays

Op-Ed: Activists raise a voice against Baha’i discrimination of gays

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Via JMG: NEW MEXICO: Two More Counties To Issue Same-Sex Marriage Licenses

We're up to five counties in New Mexico:
San Miguel County in New Mexico joins Valencia County as the latest in the state to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. San Miguel County Clerk Melanie Rivera has confirmed that she will issue new gender neutral marriage licenses later this week, though couples who don’t want to wait can receive a license today: Rivera also stated that couples who did not wish to wait could apply and receive a license today. Until the new licenses arrive Rivera will make the changes to the old forms by hand.
Zoom, zoom, zoom!
UPDATE: More from Albuquerque.
More than 100 people lined up in Albuquerque Tuesday morning as the clerk in New Mexico’s most populous county began issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples. The clerk opened her office to the excited crowd at 8 a.m., and a mass wedding was planned at noon in Albuquerque’s Civic Plaza. Patricia Catlett, a 61-year-old graphic designer from Albuquerque, and her partner of 25 years, Karen Schmiege, a 69-year-old retired librarian, were the first to get their license in Bernalillo County. “I am so excited, I can’t stand it,” Schmiege said as they signed their papers.
As the couple walked out of the booth where they received their license, the crowd applauded and cheered. The two raised their hands, and the crowd responded by putting their fists in the air. “I want her to take me to Costa Rica,” Schmiege said. “She promised.” Bernalillo County Clerk Maggie Toulouse Oliver began recognizing same-sex unions after State District Judge Alan Malott on Monday declared gay marriage legal, saying New Mexico’s constitution prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

Reposted from Joe

Via Tricycle Daily Dharma:

Tricycle Daily Dharma August 26, 2013

Waking up to our Responsibility

As Buddhists, we might see the task of preserving the world’s food system as entailed by our commitment to the twofold good: to achieving our own good from a pragmatic concern for our own long-term welfare, and to promoting the good of others from a compassionate concern for those whom our actions may affect, whether they be our contemporaries or generations as yet unborn.
- Bhikkhu Bodhi, "Into the Fire: Food in the Age of Climate Change"
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Sunday, August 25, 2013

Greed for Peace


I contemplated my greed for peace. And I did not seek tranquillity anymore.
- Ajahn Sumedho, "A Contemplation"
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Saturday, August 24, 2013

Via Tricycle Daily Dharma:

Tricycle Daily Dharma August 24, 2013

The Practice of Everything

In reality, everything is potentially a means to awakening. It is simply a matter of seeing this and knowing how to apply each thing in each particular case. Bodhisattvas practice skillful means to help all beings without exception to awaken. There's nothing that can't be part of a program for awakening. Everything is practice.
- Norman Fischer, "Revealing a World of Bliss"
Read the entire article in the Wisdom Collection through August 25, 2013
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Friday, August 23, 2013

Via Tricycle Daily Dharma:

Tricycle Daily Dharma August 23, 2013

Like an Archer

Like the archer straightening his arrow and perfecting his aim, the practitioner of meditation straightens out the mind while aiming his or her attentional energy at its object. Learning to drop what we’re doing, however momentarily, and to genuinely pay attention in the present moment, without attachment or bias, helps us become clear, just as a snow globe becomes clear when we stop shaking it and its flakes settle.
- Lama Surya Das, "The Heart-Essence of Buddhist Meditation"
Read the entire article in the Wisdom Collection through August 24, 2013
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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Via JMG: New Mexico County Begins Issuing Marriage Licenses To Same-Sex Couples


Big news! This morning the New Mexico county of Dona Ana began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Via an alert from Progress Now New Mexico:
Same-sex couples in Doña Ana County began receiving marriage licenses this morning after the county clerk announced he was issuing them based on a legal opinion endorsed earlier this year by the City of Santa Fe and a recent filing by the attorney general stating that New Mexico’s laws demanded that the state issue licenses to same-sex couples. County Clerk Lynn Ellins began issuing the licenses at 8:00 am this morning from his office. At ProgressNowNM, we couldn’t be happier for the couples in Doña Ana County – and those across the state who will soon, no doubt, make their way there – who have waited far too long for public sentiment and political courage to evolve far enough to publicly acknowledge their relationships as being just as equal as that of their neighbors.
Progress Now will be posting photos to their Facebook page. (Tipped by JMG reader Elise)
UPDATE: The Las Cruces Sun-News has a quote from the county clerk.
"I am mindful that I took an oath of office to uphold the Constitution of the State of New Mexico as Doña Ana County Clerk. I am an attorney, and I have read the AG's opinion, and I find it to be sound. After careful review of New Mexico's laws it is clear that the state's marriage statutes are gender neutral and do not expressly prohibit Doña Ana County from issuing marriage licenses to same-gender couples. Any further denial of marriage licenses to these couples violates the United States and New Mexico Constitution and the New Mexico Human Rights Act. Doña Ana County is upholding New Mexico law by issuing these marriage licenses, and I see no reason to make committed couples in Doña Ana County wait another minute to marry."

Reposted from Joe

Via JMG: AUSTRALIA: Former Deputy PM Warns Against Travel To Murderous United States


"Just for the record, Australia has had zero gun massacres since 1996, and in the United States, 80 people are killed by guns every single day. So, it is another example of murder and mayhem on Main Street. Yes, people are thinking of going to the USA on business, vacation, trips, should think carefully about it given the statistical facts you are 15 times more likely to be shot dead in the USA than in Australia per capita per million people. We don't have gun shows where you can walk up and not even be subject to a background check in one of the most dumbest decisions so far in the litany of agony over the gun laws and gun policies of the NRA and the USA." - Former Australian Deputy Prime Minister Tim Fischer, responding to the Oklahoma murder of an Australian college student who was shot dead by three local teens who told police that they were simply "bored."
Many American right-wing sites are attacking Fischer today for "capitalizing on a tragedy."  One example:
Fischer's comments are disgraceful in myriad ways. To advance one's political agenda by tapping into the powerful emotions that continue to emanate from this tragedy is beneath the dignity of anyone, let alone a former deputy prime minister. No law controlling or banning guns would have prevented those Oklahoma thugs from opening fire into the back of Chris Lane. Sadly, Fischer and other Australians who reject the right of people to protect themselves have lately taken advantage of gun-related deaths in the United States to support the continuation of gun control in their home country and to make Australians think that they are the beneficiaries of such measures.
The three teens were formally charged yesterday.
Fischer's comments are disgraceful in myriad ways. To advance one's political agenda by tapping into the powerful emotions that continue to emanate from this tragedy is beneath the dignity of anyone, let alone a former deputy prime minister. No law controlling or banning guns would have prevented those Oklahoma thugs from opening fire into the back of Chris Lane. Sadly, Fischer and other Australians who reject the right of people to protect themselves have lately taken advantage of gun-related deaths in the United States to support the continuation of gun control in their home country and to make Australians think that they are the beneficiaries of such measures.
FACT: The US rate of firearm murders per 100,000 population: 3.60. The rate in Australia: 0.13.  Source.
 
Reposted from Joe

Via JMG: TENNESSEE: Church Boots Out Lesbian Cop's Relatives After City Backs Benefits


Two weeks ago I reported that the small Tennessee town of Collegedale had become the first in the state to offer benefits to the partners of LGBT employees. Among the people that supported the measure was openly gay Collegedale police officer Kat Cooper and her wife. In retaliation, a local church has booted Cooper's relatives out of the congregation.
Leaders at Ridgedale Church of Christ met in private with Kat Cooper's mother, aunt and uncle on Sunday after the regular worship service. They were given an ultimatum: They could repent for their sins and ask forgiveness in front of the congregation. Or leave the church. Their sins? "My mother was up here and she sat beside me. That's it," said Kat Cooper. "Literally, they're exiling members for unconditionally loving their children -- and even extended family members."  But the family's support of Kat Cooper was as good as an endorsement of homosexuality, said Ken Willis, minister at Ridgedale Church of Christ. "The sin would be endorsing that lifestyle," Willis said. "The Bible speaks very plainly about that." Willis, a father himself, said the church didn't expect the Cooper family to disown their daughter. "But you certainly can't condone that lifestyle, whether it's any kind of sin -- whether they're shacked up with someone or living in a state of fornication or they're guilty of crimes," he said. "You don't condone it. You still love them as a parent."
Cooper's father says they have "no sin to repent for" and that it was an easy decision to leave their church. His wife, he said, has not been able to stop crying. (Tipped by JMG reader Carver)
Reposted from Joe

Via JMG: NEW MEXICO: State AG Won't Challenge County Issuing Gay Marriage Licenses



New Mexico state Attorney General Gary King said this afternoon that he will not challenge the same-sex marriage licenses that Dona Ana County began issuing today.  Back in June, King similarly said that he will not defend the state against a lawsuit that demands marriage equality. However, King warned today that Dona Ana marriages could be ruled invalid by the state Supreme Court. (Tipped by JMG reader Tyler)


Reposted from Joe

Via JMG: Russian Gov't Defends Anti-Gay Law In Letter To International Olympic Committee



The Russian government has "reassured" the International Olympic Committee that they will not discriminate against gay people during the Sochi Olympics.  Except that they might.
The IOC received a letter from Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak giving reassurances the host country will comply fully with the Olympic Charter's provision against discrimination of any kind. "The Russian Federation guarantees the fulfillment of its obligations before the International Olympic Committee in its entirety," Kozak said. However, Kozak did not back down on the issue of the new law, which penalizes anyone who distributes information aimed at persuading minors that "nontraditional" relationships are normal or attractive. The law applies equally to everyone and "cannot be regarded as discrimination based on sexual orientation," Kozak said. The letter still leaves open the question of what would happen to Olympic athletes or fans if they make statements or gestures that could be considered propaganda.

Reposted from Joe

Via Tricycle Daily Dharma

Tricycle Daily Dharma August 22, 2013

The Reality of Love

The problem with interpersonal love is that you are dependent on the other person to reflect love back to you. That’s part of the illusion of separateness. The reality is that love is a state of being that comes from within.
- Ram Dass, “Tuning the Mind”
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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Via Tricycle Daily Dharma

Tricycle Daily Dharma August 20, 2013

Thoughts in Meditation

We have to be careful not to think that meditation is about getting rid of thoughts. On the contrary, I would say that meditation helps us to creatively engage with our thoughts and not fixate on them.
- Martine Batchelor, “Meditation, Mental Habits, and Creative Imagination”
Read the entire article in the Wisdom Collection through August 21, 2013
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Monday, August 19, 2013

Via Tricycle Daily Dharma:

Tricycle Daily Dharma August 19, 2013

Training the Mind

Training involves not just one single method but many methods. It's like building a huge airplane. It takes so many pieces that all have to fit together to make it work. In the same way the transformation of our minds—or setting the right kind of mental attitude—takes time.
- His Holiness the Dalai Lama, "Ethics for a Secular Millennium"
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Sunday, August 18, 2013

Via The Other 98% / FB:


Via Tricycle Daily Dharma

Tricycle Daily Dharma August 18, 2013

Loneliness

Suffering is what happens when we are lonely and forget that we participate in the world. People often complain about love, or at least about its consequences, but welcoming the consequences is part of the game of generosity. The earth gives a Yes without regard to what is given back, and being a human is also a gift, not a purchase. Even the No’s we get are gates to the generosity of the world.
- John Tarrant, “The Erotic Life of Emptiness”
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Via LA Times: Rulings on gay rights alter couple's retirement needs

Money Makeover

Rulings on gay rights alter couple's retirement needs

Gay couple need to change separate trusts set up before same-sex marriage became legal, advisor says, though answers to other questions remain unclear. 

After 14 years together, Mark Frey and Doug Vogel are finally finding out what it means to be a married couple preparing for retirement.

The Rancho Palos Verdes residents were elated when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down part of the Defense of Marriage Act in June. But the couple, who married in 2008, worried that the ruling raised questions about everything they had done to protect their family's financial future.

make the jump here to read the full article

 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Via JMG: MOSCOW: Swedish High Jumper Told To Paint Over Her Rainbow Fingernails


 
On Thursday, Swedish high jumper Emma Green Tregaro competed at the World Track & Field finals in Moscow with her fingernails painted in rainbow hues in support of the LGBT community. Her gesture sparked international headlines after she was denounced by the Russian pole vaulting world champion, who later backtracked.  Now comes this:
Swedish officials told the 28-year-old her rainbow gesture, which brought international attention as a protest against Russia's new law against gay "propaganda," could be a violation of the competition's code of conduct. She said the Swedish track and field federation asked her to "please respect the rules" and change the colour of her nails. "So I decided to paint them red instead, for love," she said. Green Tregaro said she was surprised the strong reaction to her subtle criticism of Russian law. "It was harder to not paint them in the rainbow than it was to choose to paint them," she said.
Swedish officials say they were warned by the event's governing body before they spoke to Tregaro.


Reposted from Joe

Via JMG: RUSSIA: Finnish Official Waves Rainbow Flag At World Track & Field Championships


 
 
Finnish Minister of Culture & Sports Paavo Arhinmäki waved a rainbow flag this afternoon during the World Track & Field Championships in Moscow.  The above-linked article is in Finnish. I'll update this post with an English report if it appears that action will be taken by the Russian government.
RELATED:  Arhinmäki ran for president of Finland in 2012 and finished sixth with 5% of the vote.  Here's how a Finnish website recapped his candidacy before the election.
Arhinmäki, 34, is the youngest and the most radical of the candidates. Before entering politics, he was active in a radical group which organised Crash the Party demonstrations in front of the Presidential Palace, packed with VIPs celebrating Independence Day. He has been fined for trespassing in a nuclear power site and when the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) was held in Helsinki he was arrested during the Smash ASEM demonstration. Arhinmäki is Minister for Culture and Sports in the present six-pack government, a six-party coalition, and he chairs the Left Alliance. A sports fan, he caused a minor scandal in autumn 2011 by attending a basketball game instead of the Helsinki Music Centre opening gala. Arhinmäki boasts of being the most anti-NATO candidate of the race and argues the rest of the candidates are in fact pro-NATO. He is known for good oratory and for being a vegetarian. He describes himself as “a green-red democratic socialist”, but not a communist.


Reposted from Joe

Via Tricycle Daily Dharma:

Tricycle Daily Dharma August 17, 2013

Spiritual but not Religious?

The way ‘spirituality’ is often used suggests that we exist solely as a collection of individuals, not as members of a religious community, and that religious life is merely a private journey. It is the religious expression of the ideology of free-market economics and of the radical 'disencumbered' individualism that idolizes the choice-making individual as the prime reality in the world.
- Robert Bellah, “Future of Religion”
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Friday, August 16, 2013

Via JMG: Coca-Cola And McDonald's: The Olympic Games Should Remain In Russia


 
 
In statements obtained by Pink News and Buzzfeed, Coca-Cola and McDonald's expressed support for the LGBT community, but both corporations agree that the Olympic Games should remain in Russia.
From Coca-Cola:
We have long been a strong supporter of the LGBT community and have advocated for inclusion and diversity through both our policies and practices. We do not condone human rights abuses, intolerance, or discrimination of any kind anywhere in the world. As a sponsor since 1928, we believe the Olympic Games are a force for good that unite people through a common interest in sports, and we have seen firsthand the positive impact and long-lasting legacy they leave on every community that has been a host.
From McDonald's:
There’s no room for discrimination under the Golden Arches. McDonald’s welcomes 69 million customers around the world every day representing different races, nationalities, religions, genders, ages and sexual orientations. McDonald’s supports the spirit of the Olympic Games and its ability to unite the world in a positive and inspirational way. We’ve been a proud sponsor of the Games for 37 years. Regarding the recent Russian legislation, we support the International Olympic Committee’s belief that sport is a human right and the Olympic Games should be open to all, free of discrimination, and that applies to spectators, officials, media and athletes.

Reposted from Joe

Via JMG: SAN ANTONIO: Openly Gay Disabled Iraq Vet Eric Alva Booed By Christian Protesters At LGBT Rights Forum


 
Openly gay USMC veteran Eric Alva was the first American soldier injured in the Iraq War and anti-gay Christian protesters actually booed him when he spoke yesterday in support of San Antonio's proposed LGBT rights ordinance. Via the Dallas Voice:
At a prayer vigil outside City Hall before the meeting, about 300 people protested the proposed addition to San Antonio’s nondiscrimination law that would add protections for sexual orientation, gender identity and veteran status. “Let them vote ‘no’ to this ordinance, and ‘yes’ to the reign of the kingdom of God,” Pastor Charles Flowers said at the rally. About 200 people signed up to speak at the City Council meeting for and against the ordinance. Alva, a Marine staff sergeant who became the first U.S. soldier injured in Iraq when he stepped on a landmine, was booed by the crowd when he spoke in favor of the ordinance. Alva lives in San Antonio.
Image via Dallas Voice.


Reposted from Joe

Via JMG: CLAIM: Apparel Chain Forever 21 Cuts Staffing Hours To Evade Obamacare


Jezebel has some details:
According to the letter, an unnumbered but significant amount of employees will no longer receive paid time off, will not be allowed to work more than 29.5 hours a week and will no longer have health insurance. The company has been inundated with numerous comments on their Facebook page from angry customers who say they will never shop at Forever 21 again and who are blaming the change on aforementioned ACA requirements. The ACA has already kicked a number of companies, retail or otherwise, into overdrive with concerns about the cost of paying employees.
The California-based chain has 480 outlets. Its owners, Do Won Chang and his wife Jin Sook, are multi-billionaire born again Christians who "reportedly attend church at 5:20 a.m. on weekdays, keep bibles in the office, and print John 3:16 on the bottom of each bag." (But no health care for their employees because Jesus, presumably.) Forbes reports that Forever 21 has been sued more than 50 times by other apparel chains for copyright infringement.


Reposted from Joe

Via Tricycle Daily Dharma:

Tricycle Daily Dharma August 16, 2013

How to Let Go

In practice there is always the dance between feeling the truth of our suffering and letting go of it, not in a dismissive way but in a way that honors it.
- Tracy Cochran, “Does Race Matter in the Meditation Hall?”
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Via Utne: The Buddhabrot


The Buddhabrot is a mathematical set of points related to the Mandelbrot set, so named for its percieved resemblance to depictions of Gautama Buddha seated in meditation. The fractal map becomes more detailed with increasing iterations. Here, the set was iterated 100 times in blue, 1,000 in green, and 20,000 in red.