sin

Common Bible Mistranslation Deems us all Moral Failures

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I recently overheard a boy make a declaration to his mother as she was changing his shirt in a crowded waiting room. Eagerly pointing to a shiny gold painted crucifix hanging conspicuously high on an adjacent wall. “That makes me scared!” The anxious insistence of his words provoked immediate and restrained laughter. His mother vehemently scolded him, which seemed to make the scene all the more humorous. The crucifix is a symbol that evokes much that surrounds the most common bible mistranslation of one word, sin.

Out of an estimated 7000 languages worldwide, the complete bible, (Old, and New Testament), has seen 600 language translations. In addition, over 1400 languages have access to the New Testament, and at least some part of the bible has been translated into 3,223 languages. With well over 70 versions of the english bible in print, biblical translation remains a persistent hot topic of controversy and debate among theologians and scholars.

Tribulations of Biblical Translations

Biblical text translations have historically been costly, time-consuming projects that, at times, had to be postponed or abandoned due to issues such as budget constraints. Notably, there remains one common dilemma at issue. When words could not convey the full meaning of the original text, they were Anglicized in english translations, or adapted to other languages. This means the content and character of original texts were sometimes altered, replaced, or compromised.Gaiam Studio Select Products Banner

Sin

The Old Testament was written in Hebrew and Aramaic. Some debate the New Testament was  transcribed around 60 A.D. in Koine, (common), Greek. The word sin was translated from the Hebrew word Chait, or Chata. The definition means to miss the mark, miss, or err. There is no ancient Hebrew or Aramaic equivalent for the English word sin, although it is referenced in the King James version of the complete bible 441 times. Correspondingly, the language Jesus would have spoken would have also been Aramaic, commonly used at the time in the Assyrian empire.

What’s wrong with a Sinner?

The word sin not only implies something morally reprehensible, it dismisses the concept of free will. This is commonly demonstrated in the statement, “We are all sinners”. Expressly, the word provokes a complacency which validates and invites sin. Contrast this with the word’s origin, Chait. The word and concept of the original text implies that the pursuit of knowledge is our redemption, as life is a learning process. Ultimately, it seems more relevant to vow to learn from mistakes than to pledge our eternal moral failure.

Resources:

Benner, Jeff A. “Good and Bad”. Ancient Hebrew.Org.
[http://www.ancient-hebrew.org/m/articles-good.html]. [08/21/2017];
Lewis, Nicola Denzey. Bible Odyssey  “What was the Original Language of the Bible”.
[https://www.bibleodyssey.org/en/tools/bible-basics/what-was-the-original-language-of-the-bible]. [08/22/2017];

Christian Bible Reference. “How Many Times Does a Word Appear in the Bible”.[http://www.christianbiblereference.org/faq_wordcount.htm]. [08/22/2017];

King James Bible Online.
[https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/popular-bible-words.php]. [08/21/2017];
Silinsky, Rabbi Schmuel. Aish.com. [01/22/2000]. “Sin, not what it Seems”. [http://www.aish.com/jl/p/ph/48964596.html]

Image credits: Sofia, Samantha. “Photo of Child with Bible”.[https://pixabay.com/users/242387/].[09/04/2017].

anti-inflammatory foods: photo of cut kale greens

Anti-inflammatory Foods: Rapid Healing Recipe

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Greens are one of the fundamentals of southern cuisine. To that extent, most southern cooks are privy to traditional methods of cutting them for cooking. However, many will attest that within the ten commandments, there contains a footnote that states, “Thou Shalt Find No Superior Accompaniment to Greens than Fat-back.” I contend that not only is there a flavor-rich alternative, in addition it is one that will bring harmony to your body and mind with it’s abundance of health benefits and anti-inflammatory properties.SeaBear Smokehouse

Kale the (Anti-inflammatory) Super-Green

Kale greens are a rich source of vitamins A, C, and K. That is only the beginning. The anti-oxidant power of kale can be tested by sitting out a leaf at room temperature. Unlike other greens in it’s botanical family, kale resists the rapid oxidation that causes greens to wilt. Consequently, it is one of the most Lutein rich foods. Lutein is an anti-oxidant carotenoid that is scientifically proven to protect eyes from degradation. Kale also contains Alpha-Lipoic-Acid, which lowers glucose levels in the blood. Another key element, the chlorophyll contained in greens binds with toxic cancer causing agents, and prevents the body from absorbing them. Oxalic acid is an enzyme that prevents the body from absorbing calcium. Although kale contains one of the lowest concentrations of oxalates in comparison to other greens, cooking these super-greens lowers oxalic-acid even more. Further, kale is also a good source of Omega-3 fatty acids.

Cutting Greens

After washing greens well, trim the tougher portions of the stems. If preferred, you can cut around the stem of leaves and remove them, keeping the leaf in tact. First, fold lengthwise. Then fold down, and roll. Hold rolled leaf firmly, and cut along edge. You can layer two or three leaves, then repeat the process. I used the Dinosaur kale variety, (which has softer stems).

1. Fold lengthwise.

2. Roll.

                                                    

anti-inflammatory kale,

3. Cut strips along edge

Ingredients:

Kale: 1 bunch

Red Onion: 1 whole

Garlic: 2 cloves

Black Pepper: 1 tbsp. (fine ground)

Water: 1 liter (spring water)

Extra Virgin Olive Oil: 3 tbsp.

Rosemary: 1 sprig

Whole Poultry Fryer: 4-6 lb. (organic)

Brown rice: 1 lb.

Instructions:

First, to braise chicken, either cook chicken whole or cut into 6 parts, (2 legs, 2 wings, 2 breast). Place in pot with 3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, 1 tbsp fine ground black pepper, 1 sprig of rosemary, and 1 liter of spring water. Bring to a boil, then allow to cook, (total cooking time: About 30-45 minutes, (or until blood no longer emerges from center when pierced). Set aside. Pour off liquid from boil, and combine kale, 1/2 red onion, and 2 cloves garlic in pot. Bring to a boil. Cooking time: About 30 minutes. When cooked, greens should be an olive green color. Remove from heat, separate liquid from kale, and add liquid to brown rice. Cook rice until done. Cooking time: about 35 minutes. Rice should not be mushy. When brown rice is cooked, you will see small white flecks throughout. This is the bran contained within the center of the rice grain. Note, it is removed in white rice. Dice the remaining 1/2 of red onion, and mix with rice.

Notes, Recommendations

  • Cooking rice: 1 cup rice to 2 cups water or liquid.
  • Organic poultry and meats must meet strict requirements that are in alignment with an anti-inflammatory diet.
  • Long grain brown rice is an excellent source of B vitamins: Thiamine, Niacin, B6. The B vitamins, (often called the brain messenger vitamins), are all essential to brain and nerve function, as well as metabolism.

Notice the fresh juice exposed upon cutting into a fresh onion.

Benefits of Red Onions

To retain the beneficial enzymes, it is best to consume red onions raw or lightly cooked; either crushed or chopped. Onions generally contain Quercetin, an anti-inflammatory enzyme that prevents tumor growth, and removes toxins from the body. In addition, it keeps blood glucose levels low. Anthocyanins are flavonoids which color the red skin of these onions and other purplish foods. They are also an anti-oxidant that suppresses cancer cells’ ability to further develop by inhibiting Angiogenesis, (the growth of new blood vessels that feed cancer cells). Lastly, Allicin, a compound found in garlic and onions, combats bacteria, fungus, and viruses. Chopping or crushing releases this enzyme.Yoga-Wheel Banner

 

Sources:

The Truth About Cancer. (07/18/2017). “Health Benefits of Red Onions: Four Ways Red Onions Reduce your Cancer Risk.”  [https://thetruthaboutcancer.com/health-benefits-red-onion/]

Nutritiondata.self. “Kale, Raw Nutrition Facts & Calories”. [http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2461/2]. [07/19/2017].

Nutritiondata.self. “Rice, Brown, Long-grain Cooked Nutrition Facts & Calories”. [http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/cereal-grains-and-pasta/5707/2]. [07/19/2017]

Wikipedia. “Kale”.  [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/kale]. [07/19/2017].

relationship - photo of child at playground, mother in background

Learned Relationship Patterns Predetermine our Partners

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In one way or another, we have all been tattooed by the experiences of our formative years. If you have evolved to the level of assessing relationship patterns in your life, self-congratulatory praise is due. These influential patterns that affect our personal journey are extremely covert. Quiet reflection is necessary to face and unravel their control over our lives. Additionally, it takes courage to look at your life and say, “How did I get here?” and “What have I done?” These important questions are just the beginning of the process that is the quest for truth and inner peace.

The Relationship Continuum

Anxieties we experience in the past don’t leave us. They manifest in other sub-conscious ways. The concept of continuum can be found in the  dialects of other cultures. For example, in Mandarin-Chinese grammar, verbs don’t change regardless of tense; past, present or future. Likewise, relationship patterns repeat throughout our lives. How we relate or don’t relate to a mother or father becomes how we relate to a husband, wife, child, or co-worker. In assessing these relationship patterns, the objective is not so much to look at the subjects in our lives as much as it is our relationship to the subjects. This is where patterns are found; in what one seeks out or requires from a relationship.

Repetition Compulsion

Repetition Compulsion was a term associated by Austrian Neurologist, Sigmund Freud to describe humans’ tendencies to repeat situations and patterns of behavior that were difficult and stressful in earlier life. Traumatic events are sub-consciously re-enacted, or a person behaves in ways that engender specific responses from others that are consistent with past experiences in interpersonal relationships. Freud based the concept of Repetition Compulsion on several behavioral observations. One of these observations was of a child, who after throwing his favorite toy from his crib, becomes upset at the loss, reels the toy back, and repeats the process. Correspondingly, Freud theorized that the child was attempting to master the sensation of loss in allowing his mother to leave without protesting.
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Furthermore, there is an underlying duality that complicates these experiences. The repeated behavior is both a source of joy and a source of pain. The pain lies in the repetition, the joy, from the sense of conquering the initial defeat of the experience. Essentially all unresolved conflict is repeated until a real solution is found. Moreover, the solution lies in ceasing to engage in situations and behaviors that lead to that repetition.

 

Sources:

Wikipedia. “Repetition Compulsion”. [https:en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Repetition_compulsion#/editor/2]. [07/15/2017].

headache

Remedies for Headaches that are Alarmingly Simple

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Headache Facts

The Migraine Research Foundation estimates that migraine headaches affect 38 million Americans, (about 13% of the US population). Of this, 2-3 million are chronic disorders. Women are three times more likely than men to suffer from headaches. However severe symptoms are, there are solutions available to minimize, diminish, and remedy this common condition.

All pain is a result of inflammation. However, headaches have the additional attribute associated with muscle spasms. Defining the sources of inflammation is essential to the resolution and prevention. Migraines are typically characterized by additional symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, and light and sound sensitivities. Headaches can often be alleviated by correcting what is often either an excess or a deficiency.

Sources of Excess, and Deficiency

Excess:

*Exhaustion
*Frequent consumption of blue lights or low quality screens from phones, computers, and electronics;
*Overconsumption of certain vitamins or minerals;
*Overconsumption of supplements or medications

Deficiencies:bareMinerals

*Vitamin and mineral deficiency;
*Inadequate hydration;
*Oxygen deficiency.

Vitamin and Mineral Deficiencies

Eating whole foods is one of the most solid ways to get the natural and essential vitamins and minerals required for the body to function properly. Center for Disease Control, CDC statistics conclude that less than 13% of Americans meet the minimum daily recommendation for fruit and vegetable consumption. They suggest a daily minimum intake of 1,1/2 cups of fruit, and 2 cups of vegetables. Diets rich in processed foods will invariably contribute to nutrition deficiencies. This can be corrected by replacing processed foods with whole foods such as fresh produce, fish, naturally raised or organic poultry and meats, and whole grains such as brown rice.

Essential Nutrients for Headache Preventionheadaches - photo of coconut water product

The following vitamins and minerals are essential to preventing headaches due to their effects on blood vessels, regulation of blood pressure, and regulating muscle contractions.

USRDA, (US Recommended Daily Allowance)

Nutrient, USRDA, Food Sources

  • Vitamin C: Men: 90mg; Women: 75 mg; Smokers: additional 35 mg; Foods: Oranges, strawberries, citrus fruits, pomegranate, cranberries, kiwi, peppers, tomatoes, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli,
  • Vitamin E: Adults: 15mg; Foods: Corn, nuts, seeds, whole grains, broccoli, spinach, vegetable oils, green vegetables, wheat germ.
  • Calcium: Adults: 100mg; Over age 50: 1200mg; Foods: Oats, dairy, broccoli, collard greens, figs, kale, almonds
  • Magnesium: Men: 420mg, Women: 320mg: Foods: Avocados, beans, broccoli, green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds, potatoes, raisins, bananas, kiwi, pumpkin, whole grains
  • Potassium: 2000mg; Foodsfigs, dates, oranges, pomegranate, carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, green leafy vegetables, prunes, yogurt, prunes
  • Sodium: 500mg; Foods: Most foods

Electrolytes ensure the body’s healthy blood Ph and adequate hydration. They are essential for proper function of muscles and nerves. Deficiency in the electrolytes, Potassium, Calcium, and Sodium can cause muscle weakness, or muscle spasms.

Hydration

The average person loses about 3-4 liters, (10-15 cups) of fluid daily through perspiration, respiration, kidney, and colon elimination. Thirst is an indicator of dehydration. The effects of dehydration include: Fatigue, blood pressure changes, headache, and stress. The body requires about half of the body weight in ounces. So, for a 200 lb. person, 100 oz., or 3.13 Qts., (10-12 cups), daily. A 100 lb. person should consume 50 oz., or 4 12 oz. cups of water per day. Increased physical activity, and hot climates result in increased fluid loss, requiring more water to replenish the system.headaches - photo of bottle water

 Soda, tea, and coffee flush water from the body, though they do not replenish lost fluids. In addition, they contain enzymes and additives that block the body’s absorption of certain vitamins and minerals; which can ultimately contribute to headaches and inflammation.

Oxygen

The brain weighs 2% of the total body weight. Although, it receives 20% of its oxygen consumption. Brain cells are extremely sensitive to inadequate oxygen supply. Air pollution, smoke, and chemicals in and around your environment can lower oxygen intake and consequently result in fatigue, depression, irritability, and inflammation.

Red blood cells carry oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body to carry out necessary functions. Oxygen oxidizes, or burns food to create energy and heat for the body. Deficiencies, such as Anemia are characterized by an inadequate supply of oxygen to the cells. Deficiency in iron can result in Anemia. It’s symptoms include chronic headaches.
Other important nutrients that carry and regulate the flow of oxygen to the cells include calcium and Vitamin C.

Excessive Nutrients and Behaviors that Contribute to Headaches

The body only requires a minimal quantity of certain nutrients. For instance, Iron is a mineral that is critical for blood-oxygen functions.Though, too much iron in the system can cause or contribute to flu symptoms including headache. The Recommended Daily Allowance, RDA for Iron is 18 mg. for women, and 8 mg for men. For men, and women over 50 the RDA drops to 8 mg. Shellfish, such as oysters contain up to 27% of the RDA per 4.9 mg. In addition, they have a high protein content. This is one food that can easily be eaten excessively.
Moreover, diets high in proteins, and low in carbohydrates can also bring on headaches as well as fatigue.

Blue lights are the lights present in electronics, including phones and laptops. Viewing these screens at night is not only harmful to the eyes, it also disrupts the body’s circadian rhythm, which is the body’s internal clock. This can disrupt sleep patterns.
Additionally, staring at screens excessively can also cause eye strain and headache. Avoid the harmful effects of staring by blinking often. Vision researcher, Orlin Sorensen recommends the 10-10 rule. For every 10 minutes of screen viewing, focus on a distant image for 10 seconds. A final note, sleep deprivation, stress, and visual impairments can all lead to  inflammation.

Rapid Healing Foods

There are certain foods that are immediately effective in alleviating headaches, if the condition does not stem from a more serious problem. Ground cinnamon from the bark of the cinnamon tree helps prevent inadequate blood flow by inhibiting the release of an anti-inflammatory fatty acid called Arachidonic Acid. To prepare, combine 1/2 tsp. Cinnamon with 1 pt., (or 16 oz.), spring water. Shake vigorously, and sip as necessary.

Though its action is instantaneous, it is necessary to use caution with this common spice. Cinnamon contains Coumarin. At high levels, this substance can cause liver damage in those that are susceptible. In 2008, the European Union passed strict limitations on the amount of Cinnamon allowed in foods. Although no such restrictions are imposed in the US, over consumption can be toxic.

Initially developed as a medicine, tonic water contains the anti-Malarial drug, Quinine. Though Quinine is associated with extreme reactions in some people, in tonic water, it is diluted. Avoid tonic water if pregnant, sensitive, or allergic to Quinine.

The juice from red fruits such as pomegranate and cranberry also provide relief from headache. Make sure the juice label states, 100% juice. Basically, the ingredients should list the fruit and water, or minimal added ingredients. The high vitamin C content that is naturally contained in the fruit provides a natural and effective remedy.headaches

Sources:

Http://migraineresearchfoundation.org/about-migraine/migraine-facts

http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/listing_of_vitamins

www.watercure.com

http://www.oxygen-review.com/human-body.html

Https://www.peoplespharmacy.com/2013/12/30/cinnamon-offers-health-benefits-but-also-carries-serious-risks/

Image Credits: Featured image: de monn, Aylene. [http://www.freeimages.com/photographer/aylene-54566]. [09/09/2017].

Charities; No Meaningful Solutions to Communities Reeling from Economic Disinvestment

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economic disinvestment : photo of vandalized houseIn every major city across the US, there are pockets of urban poverty. Blighted areas, peppered with housing projects and dilapidated houses. The typical businesses that survive these locales are check cashing stores, fried chicken fast food restaurants, and dollar stores. Additional retailers that locate in these tracts include, often foreign-owned liquor stores, ambiguous corner stores, beauty supply retailers, and convenience stores. The lack of economic development and opportunity are the outgrowth of economic disinvestent. It is often too easy to conclude that the fault of these conditions is strictly that of local residents. Consequently, these urban tracts of despair are oppressive, sweltering urban desserts. They offer communities no solutions to poverty. What they offer is further exploitation.

Federal Monies Re-routed from Marginalized Communities

Federal dollars don’t reach disenfranchised communities. Subsequently, what you see as a result are littered trash along highways and roads, overgrown grass, and un-maintained public spaces and sidewalks. This neglect becomes a safety issue. Old boarded up houses in disrepair on neglected lots have long been a tolerated nuisance. They are safety hazards that welcome and nurture crime. Furthermore, streets are riddled with disrepair. In one metropolitan city in the Midwest, rows of charred houses, partially burned in the 1990’s remained standing a decade later.

Charities no Consolation for Economic Disinvestment

Although charities provide temporary relief to individuals and families struggling with the trials of poverty, they do not offer real community solutions. Neither are they a consolation to economic disinvestment. With economic development and opportunity comes a certain dignity and respect that charities can neither replace nor substitute. Moreover, in their role, they do not invest in communities. Charitable organizations benefit directly from the communities they serve. Yet, they contribute no tangible solutions to end the cycle of poverty.

Rising Above Conditions

Although progressive anti-discrimination housing legislation was enacted during the Lyndon Johnson administration, it lacked provisional oversight to counteract widespread discriminatory practices in the housing and financial industries. Furthermore, administrations that followed were far less attentive, or politically savvy in combatting long established racially segregationist policies. This has left prospective, optimistic home buyers exposed to predatory lenders, corrupt landlords, and unscrupulous politicians, desperate to maintain political office. Now, nearly 50 years later, those shortcomings are more apparent as children struggle to rise above the conditions of their surroundings.

easy healthy recipes

Slim Down with Healthy Fats; Easy, Healthy Recipes

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Vitamin F, otherwise known as EFA, (Essential Fatty Acids), is one of the nutrients required for a healthy mind, and healthy body. The USRDA, (Recommended Daily Allowance), for adults 18 and older is 20-35% of daily calories. For men, the total recommended daily calorie intake is about 2500, and for women, aproximately, 2000. The body converts fat into energy. Growing children require more of it. The USRDA for children for Vitamin F is up to 40% of their total daily calories

Key to Staying in Shape

Understanding our food cravings and finding healthy solutions are key to staying in shape. The following recipe is just one of many easy healthy recipes that you can prepare quickly, does not require cooking, and incorporates 5 whole “Super Foods” that contain all the benefits of healthy monounsaturated and poly unsaturated fats, as well as other essential vitamins, antioxidants, and cancer prevention flavonoids. The immediately noticeable benefit to these healthy, fat containing foods is that they satiate the appetite, cut cravings for unhealthy foods, and help to keep the body in shape, inside and out.
The flavors in this dish are light and savory. The garlic compliments the avocado. Lemon adds a citrus zest to the red onion and pepper.

INGREDIENTSeasy healthy recipes

1             Avocado
1/2          Red Onion (medium)
1 (clove) Garlic
1             Lemon
5             Almonds
1 tbsp.    Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tsp.      Black Fine Ground Pepper
3 oz.       Pita Chips, (whole wheat)

DIRECTIONS

easy healthy recipes

Start by cutting one medium avocado in half, remove seed and dice. Peel, and dice half of one medium red onion. Peel, and dice one clove garlic. Cut one lemon in half and squeeze juice over avocado, onion, and garlic. Add one tbsp. Extra Virgin olive oil. Sliver, slice, or chop 5 almonds. They can be raw or toasted. Make sure the almonds you choose do not contain additional oil, just simply whole almonds. Add 1 tsp. of black ground pepper. Serve with whole wheat pita chips. Ideally, select pita chips with no more than 10 ingredients.

 Additional Notes on Easy Healthy Recipes

When dicing onion, simply make several slices horizontally, vertically, then slide knife across, under first layer. You can SeaBear Smokehouseuse a similar concept with the avocado, and garlic. View more healthy recipes.

 easy healthy recipes

Elections’ Outcomes Lead to Widespread Public Mistrust

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elections - photo of artists illustration: Martin Luther King Jr.Inconsistencies in elections are creating an air of mistrust and skepticism regarding the ideals of fellow American citizens, and the voting process. Although voting appears antiquated, one fact may give cause to reconsideration. In just one 6 year period, states made 262 requests to change local voting laws, then later altered or withdrew them after they were vetted for discrimination under section 5 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Furthermore this section is the same piece of legislation determined obsolete according to Supreme Court justice chief John Roberts in the 2013 Supreme Court case, Shelby County v. Holder. He argued that states with a historical legacy of racism no longer required federal oversight when attempting to change local voting laws. “The country has changed”, Roberts stated. Although the new law does contain a provision to place jurisdictions under “pre-clearance”, or federal oversight if they demonstrate intentional discrimination.

How New Voting Laws Affect Americans

The three key results of the ammended law are:
1. Sections of the Voting Rights Act no longer deter the passage of discriminatory voting changes.
2. Challenging discriminatory voting laws and practices is now more costly, difficult, and time-consuming, as cases must be litigated, in contrast to the administrative process Section 5 previously provided.
3. The American public is no longer required to receive information about new voting laws prior to their implementation, as was mandated under Section 5. Litigations persist as a direct result of discriminatory laws passed since the Shelby case. They now cite other protections provided within the Voting Rights Act.

Additional Components of the Political Process

Voting is only one aspect of the political process when considering how elections are decided. At the state level, nationwide, the popular vote is not a determining factor in electing legislative seats. The following are two political processes that influence citizen representation, and elections:

  • Reapportionment: The census recalculates the US. population every 10 years. States use this data to determine the number of districts of each state, which determines the number of electors in each state, (also called the congressional delegation). This is subsequently the number of representatives of that state in the house and senate combined. The US. constitution assigns two congressional houses per state. The first, the senate, is composed of two representatives from each state. The second, is the house of representatives, (which consists of 435 representatives). This number is distributed among the states, based on their recorded populations.
  •  Redistricting: After states receive the data on the number of districts per state, it is their task to draw the boundaries of the districts. This process is called redistricting.

Corruption Controls Elections: Gerrymandering

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Generally, the legislators holding stronger political influence redraw the geographical boundaries into districts. Gerrymandering taints this process when politicians cunningly create districts, (based on well researched voter data), with the sole aim of maintaining political power. Opposing constituents are split up and drawn into constituencies that favor a certain party. Favorable constituents are added to competitive areas where close races are won.
 

US Census Factors into Population Distortion

 
The prison industry, which has grown fastidiously over the last 30 years, infuses a large economic and political boost to mostly rural areas where their construction has dominated. These rural towns rely on the prison industry that provides economic opportunities and increases political representation. The US. census counts prison populations as residents of the counties of those prisons. This diminishes political representation in the home towns of majority black detainees, redistributes the allocation of federal funding, and increases political influence in prison counties. According to the Brookings Institution, a leading research organization, in fiscal year 1998, federal grant programs totaling $185 billion relied on census data. While those incarcerated lose their constitutional rights, including the right to vote, they are counted as constituents, and utilized in a massive economic power grab.
 
Prison gerrymandering is corruption that exists in both processes of reapportionment and redistricting. In redistricting, legislators draw prison populations into areas of political opposition to increase the party’s influence. This results in abridgement of American citizen’s rights and reallocation of funds. Consequently, In 2010, after years of litigation, Maryland was the first state in the US. to redraw districts by counting prisoners in their home towns instead of prison jurisdictions. Maryland Governor, Martin O’malley signed the “No Representation Without Population Act”. The Maryland law is a significant first step in addressing the American epidemic of mass incarceration. This action begins to de-incentivize an industry that has risen swiftly, in conjunction with disproportionate  crime laws designed to grow and maintain a population in confinement.

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References:

Lopez, Tomas. 06/24/2014. “Shelby County: One Year Later”. Brennan Center for Justice New York University School of Law. [Https://www.brennancenter.org/analysis/shelby-county-one-year-later].;

Cooper, Ryan. 11/07/2016. “This is the First Election Without the Full Voting Rights Act – and it’s Already a Disaster”. The Week. [Http://theweek.com/articles/659599/first-election-without-full-voting-rights-act-already-disaster].; the Leadership Conference. [Http://www.Civilrights.org].; Skerry, Peter. 03/2000. “Counting on the Census?” Brookings Institution.  Policy Brief. PDF.; Morello, Carol. 4/15/2010. “Maryland Changes how Prisoners are Counted in Census”. Washington Post. [Http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/04/14/AR2010041404600.html].

Image Credits:

Eve C. 06/25/2017. photo and illustration. “Martin Luther King Jr.”

 

Water; Selecting Drinkable Solutions

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Water-Borne Illness

Despite federal standards, an estimated *1.1 million people are annually treated for illnesses
directly resulting from contaminants in drinking water. These chemicals cause a whole host of health issues. Chlorine, one of the most widely used chemicals can cause breast, bladder, and rectal cancer, and asthma. Fluorine, or Fluoride is so toxic, it is banned in most European countries and has been linked to various forms of cancer. Accumulation of lead in the body causes developmental disorders in children and impairs learning abilities. Sulphates and Nitrates can cause respiratory problems and contribute to asthma and heart disease. If there is a sanitation breakdown in your city, the tap water is all the more a health risk as ingestion of bacteria and protozoa can lead to gastrointestinal diseases.

Where Water Comes From

Less than 1% of Earth’s water is freshwater, usable for human consumption. The US has 4.5% of the world’s population, and 8% of it’s fresh water resources. Jardine Water Filtration Plant, located on the Michigan Lake front in Chicago, Ill is the world’s largest water filtration plant by volume. It pumps about 1 billion gallons of purified drinking water through thousands of miles of piping to 5 million Chicago, and surrounding area residents. Fundamentally, water from sewers, drains, and streams runs off into the lakes and rivers. The surface water runs through the city treatment plant where it is treated with chemical processes to eliminate harmful bacteria and bring the water to levels considered potable, (drinkable), by Federal Standards which are enforced by the EPA, (Environmental Protection Agency).Ecocamel

Common Chemicals Contents of Tap Water

The most common chemicals found in tap water include:
Chlorine; Fluorine; Tritalomethanes; Sodium; Potassium; Iron; Calcium; Sulphates; Phosphates; Salts of: Arsenic, Radium, Aluminum, Copper, Lead, Mercury, Cadmium, Barium; Hormones; Nitrates; Pesticides.

Copper, Zinc, and Lead can often be traced to plumbing systems. Iron and Lead are linked to corroded pipes in old houses. PAH, (Polynuclear Aromatic Hydrocarbons) are a direct result from corrosion of linings in old cast iron mains. Water flowing through limestone, absorbs Calcium deposits. Aluminum and Nitrates are an agricultural bi-product which runs into lakes and rivers from farm waste.

Healthy Drinking Water Solutions

Testing your tap water gives you a perspective on the standards that you want from your drinking water. A TDS meter can be purchased on-line. When you test the water, you test for Total Dissolved Solids, (TDS). The test will give you a read-out in parts per million, (PPM). Over 500 is not suitable for human use. Most tap water falls between 150-420 PPM TDS. The process of Reverse Osmosis usually results in a TDS of 90-95%.
Carbon Block Filters are highly recommended for filtering water. They can capture up to 100% of toxins. You can install carbon filters in your home. Additionally, there are portable filters available on the market.

drinking water

Note the SOURCE of bottled water

Buying Bottled Water

There is a large number bottled water companies, and even larger number of brands available on the market. Generally they fall in one of four categories:
1. Spring Water – This category has one key distinction from the others. It’s source is
underground, as opposed to surface water. The springs flow to the rivers on the surface. The
water is then processed by ionization and carbon filter.
2. Purified – Source: Either from a spring or surface water. Purified through Reverse Osmosis,
Distillation, or De ionization. Contains mineral additives.
3. Filtered – Source: Surface water. Filtered through Carbon Filter, Micron Filter.
4. Distilled – Source: Surface water distilled using high boiling points to kill bacteria.

Pay Attention to the Source

Whatever class of your bottled water selection, always pay close attention to the source. The source is usually printed on the back of the label. In some brands of water, the source will change from time to time. This affects the taste and content of the water, as not all sources are the same, regardless of whether they are underground or surface derived.

 

Bibliography: * Lambertine E, et AL. “Risk of Viral Accute Gastrointestinal Illness from Non disinfected Drinking
Water Distribution Systems”. Environmental Science Technology. 2012; 46 (17): 9299-9307
Water and Health. “What’s in your Drinking Water?” [HTTP://Freshlysqeezedwater.org.uk/waterarticle_watercontent. php][06/20/2017]; “Types of Water”. [HTTP://Drinkmorewater.com/Types-of-water][06/20/2017]; Wagner, Jamey. “What Chemicals are in Tap Water”. [HTTP://www.Healthguidance.org/Entry/14913/1/What-chemicalsare-
in-tap-water.htm][06/20/2017]; Grace Communications Foundation. Water Program. “How the United States Uses Water” [06/20/2017]; Schaper, David. NPR [10/29/2014]. “As Infrastructure Crumbles Trillions of Gallons of Water is Lost”. NPR. [HTTP://Npr.org/2014/10/29/359875321/Asinfrastructure-crumbles-trillions-of-gallons-of-water-lost].

 

You Have the Right to Know About America’s Free Labor System

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right tights; federal reserve seal located on front of us. currency

Thirteen percent of the US. population has a poverty rate that is almost 3 times that of the rest of the nation. Poverty is the modern-day vehicle for the system of free labor that dominated global trade for 400 years. Within our US. constitution lies one loophole that preserves this system of free labor. The 13th Amendment of the American Constitution declares: “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.” The stipulation here lies in the word convicted. To be convicted of any alleged criminal act, a person either pleads guilty, (accepts a plea agreement), or pleads his case before a judge or jury, wherein they deliberate the outcome of the case. One key element stands between the judge or jury, and the outcome in any case. That is legal counsel.

FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT OR WRONG

The 5th amendment of the US. constitution states: “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.” The language, “To have the assistance of counsel for his defense,” suggests that an American citizen has a fundamental right to the assistance of a lawyer that will work to defend him. However, often this fundamental right is not upheld. The Bureau of Justice reports, approximately ¾ of inmates in state prisons received publicly provided counsel on the cases in which they were convicted, and imprisoned. Further, in a 2003 Department of Justice study of 75,573 US. criminal cases, 95% were resolved by guilty plea. Essentially, only an estimated 3% – 4% of the total US criminal cases make it to trial.

STATISTICS LEAD THE TRAIL

Black citizens in America today account for nearly 50% of the prison population. In contrast, according to the US. Census Bureau the black population forms less than 15% of the nation, of which 27% live below the poverty level. The incarceration rate has steadily increased over the last four decades. The Bureau of Justice reports 1 in 3 black men will go to prison in their lifetime. This leads to a complete disruption in the family cycle and disintegrates the foundation necessary to build generational wealth. Men are confined to the greatest extent. According to a 2010 finding by the Bureau of Justice, men are incarcerated well over 10 times the rate of women. Families are impacted by the absence of a father figure and all that it represents. Fundamentally, communities of these broken families are left to fend for themselves, while men are utilized as free labor, medical experimentation, and further exploitation.

POVERTY AFFECTS THE NATION

This cycle of poverty is built into the American justice system. Free labor is a utility of the prison structure. Conversely, those reintegrated into society struggle to find employment, once freed, due to restrictions built into the justice system, and enforced by society at large. The value of American citizens is diminished not from crimes they have committed, though this is a common misconception. They are undervalued based on a system that castigates those living in poverty. The current system that devalues human potential, undermines the United States’ capacity to solve world and domestic problems effectively. America is the richest, most powerful nation in the world, though it has yet to resolve to acknowledge and end its own biggest undermining problem, poverty.

References:

United States Census Bureau. “Quick Facts, People”. [https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/table/PST045216/00https://]; Wagner, P. [08/28/2012]. Prison Policy Initiative. “Incarceration is not an Equal Opportunity Punishment”. [https://www.prisonpolicy.org/articles/notequal.html]; Federal Safety Net. “US Poverty Statistics”.[http://federalsafetynet.com/us-poverty-statistics.html]; US Department of Justice. “Research Summary, Plea and Charge Bargaining”. [https://www.bja.gov/publications/pleabargainingresearchsummary.pdf].

 

 

 

lawyer, photo of pawn on chessboard

Fighting for Rights in a Criminal Case? Why you Should Research and Hire a Lawyer

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Fighting for your Rights in a System of Privilege Requires a Competent Lawyer

According to the Bureau of Justice, U.S. Department of Justice statistics, in 2003, of 75,573 criminal cases, federal and state, 95% were disposed of by a guilty plea. The statistics further show that an estimated 90%-95% of those cases were resolved through a plea agreement. In addition, for those seeking to defend their case at trial, under federal laws, a pre-trial determination of “Incompetent to Stand Trial” can be made by the court if you are not cooperative with your lawyer.
In 2016, Augusta, Ga. business owner, R.D. was accused of a crime. Due to his financial hardship, he qualified for a court appointed attorney. The appointed public defender further complicated the case once he determined that R.D. was only interested in challenging the criminal allegations against him. When R.D. did not accept the plea agreement presented by the state prosecutor, the public defender responded by ordering a mental evaluation for competence to stand trial and a test for criminal responsibility. The evaluation cited the public defender’s primary concern was that R.D. did not want to plead guilty. Upon contacting the public defenders office, they stated based on their policy, they do not replace the attorney initially assigned to a case.

Public Defender is not a Private Lawyer

The forensic evaluation was overshadowed by the weight of the state prosecutor’s allegation and a vague record of 4 or 5 minor charges from the past 35 or so years that were essentially dropped, though they were presented to the court evaluator as though they were prior convictions. One of the charges, for example, was for returning a rental vehicle late, to which the charge that was later dropped was for theft. In addition to this information, provided without context, the prosecutor forwarded the case information, which included the unsubstantiated, and unchallenged allegation. The evaluator reviewed this information prior to conducting the actual forensic evaluation, a standard practice. The resulting report was presented at the court hearing regarding R.D.’s competency to stand trial, to which he did not have an alternative strategy of defense. The judge essentially obliged the prosecutor and public defender, in signing an order of committal for inpatient treatment at a mental institution, for what is referred to as “Competence restoration.”

The extreme measures to which this case has taken a turn are in stark contradiction to US. constitutional law. More specifically, amendments v, vi, vii. xiii and xiv. Amendments that pertain to the right to due process of law, right to effective counsel, right against involuntary servitude, and equal protection of the laws. The court ignores these rights in the absence of a competent lawyer. Discuss the questionable practices of the justice system with a private lawyer, and you are likely to be met with acknowledgement. However, you will be hard pressed to find a reputable lawyer that will take a criminal case pro or low bono.

Influence of Poverty in the Criminal Justice System

In 2013-2015 Federal Safety Net.com statistics cited the US. poverty rate among the black population as almost 3 times that of white non–Hispanics. Additionally, A US. Census Bureau ACS study conducted in 2014 revealed 27% of black Americans live below the poverty level. In contrast, the rate for all Americans was 11%. Although the US. Census Bureau reports black Americans make up approximately 13.3% of the US. population, Bureau of Justice statistics suggest 1 in 3 black men will go to prison in their lifetime.lawyer; photo of legal motion

Further, The NAACP reports that from 1980–2008, the number of people incarcerated in America grew from 500,000 to 2.3 million. What is more, black Americans constitute nearly 1 million, close to 50% of the total US prison population. Black Americans are six times more likely to be incarcerated than whites, in a country that has the highest recorded prison populations globally.

The connection between poverty and incarceration is glaring, though it is not the only factor in the racial imbalance. USA Today recently conducted a review of 3,538 police departments across the US. The review was based on data reported by police departments to FBI annually. It concluded that black citizens are more likely than other citizens to be arrested in nearly every city, and for almost every type of crime or offense, from loitering to murder. Information gathered showed 1,581 departments across the US arrest black citizens at rates higher than 3 times that of white citizens. At least 70 departments from Connecticut to California reported an arrest rate 10 times higher than that of the white population. In Clayton, a Missouri suburb, black citizens composed 8% of the population, and accounted for 57% of arrests.
The detrimental consequence of these disproportionate arrest rates is not just that they impact unequal incarceration rates, they factor heavily in how so they contribute. If these arrests or charges remain on an individual’s record, they can be utilized by prosecutors later to build a case against a defendant. This information contributes to successful indictments, higher bond sums, longer sentences, and more convictions. If not expunged, charges stemming from minor misunderstandings can later be mischaracterized to reflect a crime record. Although competent legal defense separates freedom from confinement, the current system does not provide for this fundamental right without cost. lawyer; photo of statue of liberty

Change Starts with Outrage

When the president put forth his first immigration order in February 2017, the course changed for millions of people. Plans for attaining US citizenship, taking refuge in the US, and traveling to and from America’s borders, were altered. Lawyers came forward. There was an outpouring of legal support, and defense for immigrants documented and undocumented. Where is the outrage over mass incarceration and its clear racial preference? As a nation, how is this phenomenon of epidemic proportion simply being treated as just an everyday occurrence. For anyone to say racism is no longer enforced, look again. The statistics are more than staggering.

As a society, to change a system that exploits human energy, we must first value the source of that energy. Long established attitudes of racism go well beyond our own personal, inner search for truth. They lie within the foundations of our society. In government, corporations, medicine, law. Wherever there is a lack of diversity, there is exclusion. There is a prevailing presence of boundaries, personal, as well as throughout the physical landscape. These boundaries contribute to a lack of understanding and fear that is at the root of the devaluing of certain human lives. The leadership lies within our own selves to change that landscape.Get $30* off on all Last Minute Flights. Book Now!

 

US Constitutional Amendments Cited:

  • Amendment v: …Nor be deprived of life liberty, or property, without due process of law.
  • Amendment vi: …And to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.
  • Amendment vii.: …The right to trial by jury shall be preserved.
  • Amendment xiii., section 1.: Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted , shall exist within the United States…

 

Bibliography:

https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/table/PST045216/00https://

www.prisonpolicy.org/reports/rates.htmlhttp://

www.naacp.org/criminal-justice-fact-sheet/

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/11/18/ferguson-black-arrest-rates/19043207

 

meditation

Stress and Anxiety Relief: Ancient, Natural Way to Wellness

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Ten Minutes to Better Health

In the middle of the bustling port authority bus terminal in mid-town Manhattan, I passed by two people in a turn style sitting area, eyes closed, in the cross-legged half lotus posture. How necessary and appropriate, I observed, however so appearing out-of-place. As I walked past them, I recognized the level of concentration that busy terminal demanded to receive the benefits of meditation or divine relaxation. It requires discipline, will, and above all, necessity.

the object of meditation is not to check out, it is to check in. Daily, we encounter so many energy fields that in proportion, it seems seldom that we stop and consider the effects or magnitude of the accumulation. Meditation refreshes the mind as our circulatory system recycles the blood in the body. It is as necessary to our health and peace of mind, and should be considered a crucial component of preventive medicine.

Health Benefits of MeditationHealthmateForever

Meditation is a useful tool in reducing stress and anxiety. It improves focus, concentration, mood, and memory; increases mental acuity and objectivity; lowers blood pressure; improves bodily functions, and increases the body’s natural healing process. The results of meditation are of such benefit that it is well worth your time to invest a few minutes of your day to build your natural foundation to wellbeing.

the practice of meditation transcends culture, land, and religious affiliation. Techniques, methods, and aspects vary accordingly. On a personal level, Every individual has a specific and unique chemistry or DNA. If you are just beginning, don’t worry about perfection. You may use certain common aspects as your guide. Though keep in mind that in time, you will find your own methods and techniques to focus your attention.candles, meditation

Building your Foundation

In meditation, you are a conduit for energy. To meditate, always begin with the physical senses. First, relax your body by Inhaling through the nostrils, and exhaling through the mouth. The eye lids are a thin veil of skin above the eyes. When the eyes are closed, light is still visible through this thin veil. Observe this light and the patterns of light or motion you may see additionally. These patterns resemble the motion of energy that flows all around and through us.

Listen to the quiet. You may hear an audible frequency. It may shift, get louder, or softer. Focus attention on each breath; the diaphragm gathering air, and expanding as you inhale, and retreating as you exhale. the repetition of the respiratory system is reflected in the sound of the ocean’s tide, entering the sea, and exiting through the shore.

In this way, direct the focus to the body, and the physical senses; and away from the stimuli of daily activities, words, and thoughts. The path of meditation begins with the physical senses of the body, and expands to the consciousness of the greater connection to the universe. Your meditation is the tide that enters the sea, and shuffles to the shore. When you become more objective, you are more able to see the larger picture, beyond the self.

Additional Notes

You can enhance your experience in various ways that you will find over time. For instance, try facing the sun. To increase your focus, go to a place where it is quiet. The meditation posture: “Lotus, or half lotus position” aligns the  body, and improves the respiratory, and circulatory systems. It is not necessary to close the eyes, though it can more effectively direct, and maintain your focus, and attention. Take at least 10 minutes of every day to develop your meditation. You will achieve peace within yourself, and your skills will improve over time.

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