Category Archives: Culture

How Syrians Saved an Ancient Seedbank From Civil War

Wired

A year and half after the war began, the fighting drew close enough to Aleppo that the Center’s international staff was advised to leave Syria. That left about 50 Syrian staff members responsible for completing the second round of the evacuation: shipping as many samples as possible to the Svalbard Seed Vault in Norway. That’s the “backup to the backup,” the genebank designed to outlast all other genebanks from its location in the Arctic Circle and come to the rescue in case of worldwide, catastrophic crop destruction, explains Salazar, whose organization oversees the Svalbard collection.

Even as the area around the genebank fell under the control of two competing armed groups and the remaining staff reckoned with several kidnappings, they managed to backup 80 percent of the center’s collection in Svalbard. The last shipment farrived at Svalbard in March 2014—nearly two years after Amri and much of the rest of the international staff had relocated to Rabat, Morocco. Last month, the Center won the Gregor Mendel Innovation Prize—coveted among plant breeders—for its rescue and preservation of the genebank. And amazingly, the Aleppo site continues to be operational. The Syrian staff has managed to keep the electricity on and the genebank intact through four years of war.

Now comes the hard part: planting the seeds the team sent away and regenerating those crops far from home. Usually, genebanks store about a pound of each kind of seed they collect, but the “safety duplicated” samples stored at other genebanks are only about half an ounce, says Thomas Payne, the head of the genebank at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center outside of Mexico City, which stores many of ICARDA’s emergency backups.

Half an ounce isn’t enough to share with farmers, one of a genebank’s central missions. “What is the value of having all that material secured but not accessible?” Payne says. The Center has granted Payne and his team permission to open their duplicated wheat samples and start planting them at the Mexican center, both to help bulk up the collection and make sure the samples are still viable. After all, “just because something’s in the refrigerator, it doesn’t mean it’s alive,” Salazar points out.

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Filed under Culture, Farming, Middle East

A horrific statistic

“He told me that if I told anybody, my parents wouldn’t believe me; he’d come get me. As a matter of fact, he told me my parents wouldn’t love me anymore. He brainwashed me,” Merryn explained. “No one had been educating me, ‘You don’t keep these kinds of secrets. You’ll be believed; this isn’t your fault.'”

“There’s no sign across the forehead that says ‘I was abused.’ And yet one in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused by their 18th birthday,” — Erin Merryn.

Now the little girl turn activist is working to pass a law that would empower children. She wants to protect them from the nightmare she experienced for years.

Author and activist Erin Merryn is on a mission to protect children from being sexually abused. With millions of victims in the United States alone, the Illinois woman is taking her fight to all 50 states and beyond.

People magazine named her one of 15 women changing the world. With a bubbly baby girl, supportive husband, and infectious personality, you’d never guess Erin Merryn has endured tragic, unimaginable acts.

This vibrant 30-year-old is a survivor of sexual abuse.

Many are. I am a survivor and I do not want others to endure what I did. Implement this law in each state.

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Filed under Culture, Preventing child sexual abuse

Native Americans Tribes Defend Traditional Marriage

CBNNews

Months before the U.S. Supreme Court rules on the issue of gay marriage, Native American tribes have taken steps to defend traditional marriage.

Eleven tribes with a total membership approaching a million people will not recognize same-sex marriages.

Just weeks after North Carolina began issuing marriage licenses to gay couples, the state’s Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians updated its law to prevent gay couples from having marriage ceremonies on tribal land.

Tribes that don’t recognize same-sex marriage include the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma and the Navajo Nation.

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Indiana Shows the Left Has No Concept of Freedom

TheFederalist

Work with me a little bit to follow this logic. If the government says gay marriage is legal, then it is required for all private citizens to approve of and cooperate with it. That which is not forbidden is mandatory.

Now, when we say that gay marriage is legal, what we actually mean is that the government is required to offer and recognize these marriages. But Tomasky assumes that what the state must do, private citizens must do also. If a law binds the actions of the state, it is also binding on Mr. and Mrs. John Q. Public. There is no distinction, in Tomasky’s mind, between government action and private action.

God forbid that the concept of freedom should allow you, as an individual, to resist social changes you don’t like. Clearly, the best way to protect religious liberty is to never invoke it in defense of anything that is really, really unpopular. Or at least, anything that is really unpopular among New York and DC elites.

See what I mean when I say that the left has no concept of freedom? It may have some concept of a range of disagreement that is socially acceptable and on which the state chooses to remain neutral—though with the revival of old-fashioned Political Correctness, that range is getting increasingly narrow, even for the true believers. But they have no concept of a right to do something or think something or say something simply because it is what you think and want, regardless of whether society as a whole approves of it. And without that, there is no concept of freedom.

To be sure, the concept of freedom was damaged long ago. The whole reason the new religious freedom laws are necessary is because the ever-expanding power of the state has built up so many controls that already interfere with every little aspect of life. (The original, federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act was passed in response to a court case involving drug laws.) So the laws inevitably clash with citizens’ private judgment and personal convictions in myriad ways. And these new laws are not even an absolute protection against that interference.

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Filed under Cronyism, Culture, Democrats, Elitism, Employment, Entitlement, Homofascism, Hypocrisy, LGBT, Liberals, Politics, Religious Freedom, Stupidity, Useful Idiots, What is Diversity?

Hypocrisy at its finest…

Apple’s gay CEO slams Indiana, yet opens stores in Saudi Arabia

In what Indiana‘s governor and his supporters describe as defense of any given individual’s religious convictions, detractors roundly decry as blatant discrimination against the LGBT community. Possibly the best explanation of Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) rendered down to two sentences would be that as reported by CBS News on March 30, 2015, “Supporters say it protects a person or business owner from government persecution when following their religious beliefs. But opponents say the measure gives businesses a free pass to refuse gay and lesbian customers on religious grounds.”

Despite the Hoosier State’s Governor Mike Pence stressing the new law wouldn’t legalize discrimination against certain individuals or groups, but instead would protect the religious convictions of service providers such as pro-life pharmacists forced to sell abortifacients (abortion-inducing drugs), a number of high profile pro-LBGT advocates have slammed Pence and the Indiana legislature. One of the more prominent would be Apple CEO Tim Cook, who the Gawker.com news portal tagged in 2011 as “The Most Powerful Gay Man in America.”

As reported by CBS, Cook took to the editorial pages of The Washington Post slam the RFRA as he believes it “goes against the very principles our nation was founded on.” Not done yet, Cook also opined “On behalf of Apple, I’m standing up to oppose this new wave of legislation wherever it emerges. I’m writing in the hopes that many more will join this movement.”

However, Cook made no mention of Apple Inc. expanding to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia last year. As reported by Arabian Business on Dec. 20, 2014, Apple opened two new stores in Riyadh and Al Khobar. According to Apple’s official website, the corporation has well over 14 retail stores within the Kingdom, as well as numerous other stores the width and breadth of the Muslim World. A number of the same Muslim-majority nations also adhere to Islamic Shari’a law which clearly states homosexuality to be illegal.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia takes it a bit further. Saudi Arabia executes homosexuals. Publicly executing homosexuals isn’t the only Shari’a compliant move taken in the oil rich nation. Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah, the powerful Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, declared in 2012 that it is “necessary to destroy all the [Christian] churches of the region.” Not finished with calling for the death of homosexuals or bulldozing churches, the Sheikh also gave the official thumbs-up for 10-year-old girls to be married off against their will.

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Filed under "Community Organizers", Apple, Cronyism, Culture, Elitism, Entitlement, Government, Hypocrisy, Islam, LGBT, Liberals, Middle East, Shariah, Stupidity, Useful Idiots

Want Evidence of Hysterical Anti-Christian Bigotry? Look No Further than #BoycottIndiana

NationalReview

While it’s hardly surprising to see legally ignorant sportswriters use the language of segregated lunch counters, it’s disturbing to see well-informed CEOs such as Apple’s Tim Cook conjuring up the specter of the Old South.

Simply put, their concerns about systematic invidious discrimination are utter hogwash, and they either know it or should know it. Why? Because RFRAs aren’t new, the legal standard they protect is decades older than the RFRAs themselves, and these legal standards have not been used — nor can they be used — to create the dystopian future the Left claims to fear. After all, the current RFRA legal tests were the law of the land for all 50 states — constitutionally mandated — until the Supreme Court’s misguided decision in Employment Division v. Smith, where the Court allowed fear of drug use to overcome its constitutional good sense. And yet during the decades before Smith, non-discrimination statutes proliferated, and were successfully enforced to open public accommodations to people of all races, creeds, colors, and — yes — sexual orientations.

So what’s really going on here? A toxic combination of anti-Christian bigotry and sexual revolution radicalism. It is simply uninformed and bigoted to believe that Christians are somehow lurking in the shadows, ready to deny food, shelter, and basic services to their gay fellow citizens — blocked from such vicious actions only by the strong arm of the state. In my entire life as an Evangelical, I’ve never met a fellow Christian who wouldn’t gladly serve a gay customer. If there are exceptions to that nearly-universal rule, they are so marginal (and marginalized) in the Christian community that they’re irrelevant not only to Christendom but also to the body politic.

While RFRAs protect people of all faiths, from peyote-smoking Native Americans to Bible-toting florists, the Left’s outrage is narrowly targeted — against the Christian people whose livelihoods they seek to ruin, whose consciences they seek to appropriate, and whose organizations they seek to disrupt. #BoycottIndiana isn’t a cry for freedom. It’s nothing more than an online mob, seeking to bully those it hates.

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Filed under Culture, Homofascism, LGBT, Stupidity, Useful Idiots

Cut a baby from a woman; kill it; it isn’t murder in Colorado

RedState

When people defend abortion, this is one of the consequences. I’m not sure the Planned Parenthood, pro-infanticide crowd sees this as a feature or a bug:

A former nurse’s aide will not face murder charges for allegedly cutting and removing an unborn baby from the mother’s womb, Boulder County, Colorado, prosecutor Stanley Garnett said Thursday.

The mother, Michelle Wilkins, answered a Craigslist ad for baby clothes on March 18.

When she arrived at the purported seller’s home in Longmont, she was attacked, beaten, cut open and her fetus was removed. The baby did not survive.

Wilkins was treated at a hospital and later released.

The woman as seven months pregnant. Why, you might ask, would this not result in a murder charge?

After the attack, prosecutors said it may be hard to muster a murder charge. Colorado state law does not recognize a fetus as a person, unless it is capable of surviving for a period of time outside the womb, a prosecutor said then.

But the extent of the period that the fetus must survive in order to be defined as a baby is not legally clear.

The reason for this is simple. If killing a baby in utero resulted in a murder charge the whole abortion industry would be shut down overnight. By declaring a fetus is not a “person,” it is completely legal to suck the brains out of a mostly delivered child so long as it hasn’t drawn breath. Colorado allows abortions up to 34 weeks, for those of you counting that is 8.5 months.

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Pornography and the family

I am watching pornography tear apart a tender and sweet family. In this case, the husband has had the obsession for many years and has tried going to a 12-step program. It was a band-aid for the true nature of his consumptive disease as he has now escalated to having random sex with nameless women.

When this no longer holds the covert thrill, what will he escalate to? This pernicious activity has torn apart his wife of 14 years and their children–though they may not understand exactly what is wrong–know their mother is in pain. Pornography makes a wife feel inadequate and never sexual or good looking enough . She questions her own identity as an inability to satisfy her husband, but with this new and added layer, she is subjected to new horrors of finding out his infidelity with other women, almost on a daily basis.

If you are the one involved in pornography, stop. If you cannot stop, get professional help. If you don’t think your family knows, they do–they see the deadness in your eyes and your need to return to the covert skimming on your computer. Get rid of your computer, if needs be. You may have children who look to you for stability and love. If a loved one is involved in pornography and they refuse help, then leave. Do not let their cesspool of pleasure drag you and your children down.

Know that if you do not get help, your obsession will escalate as you seek to satiate your need. Watching/looking at pornographic materials will not be enough. You will then seek that high from physical gratification or attempt to obtain it through even deeper perversions of pornography. And you will destroy those who love you. But, you won’t care who is devastated in your quest for pleasure-seeking.

For those spouses of pornography addicts, you can’t cure him. Much like alcohol and drug addictions, the person is alone and must seek help. If you lose weight in your effort to mimic the women seen online, the addiction will still be there. Nothing you do will cure him of his craving. Do not succumb to his sexual needs in the hopes of being compatible in an attempt to fix what you think is broken. Do not give up your sanity or self-respect in the hopes of changing him. It will only change you.

There is help. This cannot be overcome on one’s own. Sexaholics is nationwide and will help overcome this addiction. Do not let it destroy your family. Seek help.

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Filed under Culture

US allies fear Obama admin leaking information to Iran

Hotair

Just how badly has Barack Obama and his administration damaged relations with our allies in the Middle East? NBC’s Richard Engel reports that the Sunni nations in the region have begun to fear that the Obama administration leaks intel to Iran as part of its efforts at rapprochement with the mullahs, which is why the US got blindsided by the Saudi-led coalition’s operations in Yemen. The White House’s “incoherence” in policy, Engel reports, has most of them losing confidence in American leadership, according to Engel’s contacts (via Free Beacon):

ENGEL (1:58): I know several people in the US military who were taken by surprise by this [action in Yemen]. Senior officials who would have been expected to know that there was going to be an operation in Yemen, they didn’t. They were finding out about it almost in real time.

And they believe, and some US members of Congress believe, that the reason Saudi Arabia and other states didn’t tell the US that it was going to launch this war against Shi’ite backed, or Iranian-backed rebels in Yemen, is because Saudi Arabia and other countries simply don’t trust the United States anymore, don’t trust this administration — think the administration is working to befriend Iran to try and make a deal in Switzerland, and therefore didn’t think that the intelligence frankly would be secure.

I think that is a situation that is quite troubling for US foreign policy, where traditional allies — like Saudi Arabia, like Egypt, like the United Arab Emirates — don’t know if the US is reliable at this stage to hold onto this information when it comes to Iran.

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Filed under "Community Organizers", "Intelligence", "Transparency", Cronyism, Democrats, Elitism, Entitlement, Foreign Policy, Government, Hypocrisy, Iran, Liberals, Middle East, Politics, President

Where will this all end?

Chaffetz Reveals ‘Stunning Revelation’ Secret Service Director Disclosed in Meeting: ‘Unfathomable’

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) said Wednesday that it’s possible the Secret Service erased surveillance tapes of two supposedly intoxicated agents driving a vehicle through an active bomb-scene investigation site.

Speaking to CNN and CBS News, the House Oversight Committee chairman said the revelation was made known to several lawmakers during a closed-doors meeting with Secret Service Director Joe Clancy.

“We inquired if there were additional tapes and angles and the director informed us that there may not be because it’s their policy to erase them 72 hours after they record, which is just unfathomable,” Chaffetz told CNN. “I can’t think of any good reason to do that.”

“This is not your local 7-11. This is the White House,” he added.

The Republican lawmaker told CBS News that the news left the entire room in astonishment.

“I don’t think anyone in that room could believe it,” Chaffetz said. “That’s just a stunning revelation that 72 hours after they make a tape they destroy it? That doesn’t make any sense to us.”

Chaffetz also questioned why some tapes would be destroyed, when others were preserved.

“If it’s regular policy to destroy them after 72 hours, why did they have two of the tapes, and where are the rest of the tapes? And so far the Secret Service has not been able to answer the question,” he told CBS News.

The two senior agents — including Mark Connolly, the No. 2 on Obama’s security detail — had been with other agents drinking at a bar last week when they returned to the White House in a government car, a U.S. official said. The vehicle entered an area already closed off by the Secret Service, who were investigating a suspicious package and had put the White House on lockdown. Officers on the scene saw the agents’ car, traveling slowly, make contact with a barrier, the official said.

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