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takingsidesWe have come to the end of the year. Let us review: we have learned about the Maya, their world, their culture, their history, their beliefs; we learned the mechanisms of their calendars; we learned something of the various interpretations given them by modern fields of inquiry; then we tried relating all that back to the Maya Calendar End-Date. And we have reviewed again the myths and beliefs of the Maya as well as a few that we hold dear. And we are left with… Well, what exactly? To which answer has this evidence led us? If all the current popular theories are erroneous, where can we turn for understanding? We are so close to the answer.

Let us turn again to the Maya. Forget everything we think they meant and rather simply listen to what they said – with a completely open mind.

Actually, we knew at the start what they said as they stated it very clearly. Unfortunately, we have chosen not to listen. We were using a lens of our own construction which colored our interpretation, falsified our understanding of their message; we had a bias with which we have been nurtured. It is a case of their myths in a head-to-head battle with our myths, those which we call “science”.

Remember: their obsession was with the Sun.

The Sun

We always return to their obsession with the Sun. But what could they have meant? If we just listen to their words, we may find the answer. They have never changed their story.

If we can simply remove the pre-conceptions that prevent our understanding, we will be able to grasp the rather simple meaning of the Mayan End-Date.
And what is the meaning? Something so dire they would construct a calendar lasting millennia to point out one day; a single day for a very specific event.

They told us this period was the Fifth Sun and that the previous Sun had ended. It has been mentioned over and over on their monuments, their texts, their tales, only to be misunderstood by modern scholars. They scoffed and changed the concept to an “Age” rather than a “Sun” so it suits our own worldview. We have altered the meaning – and the warning – to fit our understanding, and thereby misunderstood their entire message. We know the Sun cannot “end”. It has been around unchanged for billions of years. We know this, but only because of a modern scientific “myth”, which we call a theory.

In our modern world we are apt to disbelieve an eyewitness because our researchers have studied the mind and tell us people can be delusional. We should believe our “common sense” – that is, what we already know to be true – rather than the statements of ancients who apparently did not have as complete a grasp on reality as ourselves. What is the reality, the warning? Quite simply, the Maya Calendar claims that on the 21st of December in our year 2012 AD, the Sun will go out. This means 12•20•2012 was to be our last golden sunset. Now, before anyone starts saying that both myself and the Mayans are lunatics, let’s look a little closer at this issue.

First, they would not construct a very complicated calendar, building it up over a long span of time, without cause; they had to have seen something that frightened them to a great degree. And what could that have been? I offer the Sun going out, just as they mentioned from the beginning.

Second, they had to know such a thing was possible. They did not just make it up, they mentioned that the Fourth Sun had just ended and a Fifth one was born. That’s how they knew such a thing was possible: they witnessed it. In the Second Book of the Chilam Balam there is this passage: “And the face of the sun was corroded, and its face became darkened and was put out. And then, above, they became frightened. ‘It has burned up! Our god has died!’ their priests said. “Sounds pretty straight-forward, don’t it?” According to their records the Fourth Sun ended some time before the new, Fifth Sun was born, August 13th, 3114 B. C., apparently at the time of the birth of Venus. You might say, “But the Mayans said it was the birth of Venus, not the birth of the Sun.” Except they had already said it was the birth of the Sun… remember, they called it the time of the Fifth Sun, it just happened to coincide with the birth of Venus. Is there any proof of this? Records from this period are non-existent. All we have are the myths and tales that we have already examined. Perhaps we should look further afield to see if we can find some sort of corroboration.

Other Points of View Modern scholars hypothesize that Stonehenge was built when a priest or shaman convinced the populace that they had to build a large temple to coax the Sun back – it seemed to be leaving as it approached the winter solstice and the days got shorter and colder. So they brought a lot of large stones and created this stone ring to bring the Sun back every year. I should imagine that any people who had witnessed winter arrive and pass even a few times would know the Sun returned without their intervention. How was a priest going to convince them that it needed their coaxing to come back. They would think the priest was crazy.

This is unless the Sun had gone away. This is not quite the same as the  Mayan tale but it does cause one to wonder. And there are the famous prophecies from the “Book of Revelations” in the Holy Bible. Most scholars and historians today agree that this book is postdiction rather than prediction, meaning it describes events having already occurred as opposed to things going to happen in the future.
They claim all the events happened in the First Century and that the beast was the Emperor Nero – deriving the 666 from his name in Greek: Neron Caesar.
Unfortunately, there is one thing in the scripture that I cannot find a First Century equivalent for: And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood [Rev.6:12] Nothing like this happened in the First Century. No one records the Sun dimming to the color of sackcloth. And it is rather odd that the description sounds a little like the appearance of a jaguar’s pelt.
Can this be a description of the event at the Mayan End-Date? Could the Sun merely have dimmed and not gone completely black? Remember, the Popul Vuh said the faces of the Sun and Moon were covered. If this does, indeed, describe the same future then the Book of Revelations cannot be post-diction at all. It might have to be re-examined as true prophecy. We might be able to find other evidence if we choose to look at the data differently, with this new mind-set. But let’s ask a more important question for now.

Could this really happen?

It is hard for us to imagine the Sun going out. And it is not just the assurances from science that it has been unchanged for billions of years, there is something within us that denies it could happen. I mean, this is The Sun we’re talking about! The source of all life on this planet!

Before we go into hysterics, let’s think about this rationally. And rather than attack it from our modern perspective – namely that such an occurrence is impossible! – Let’s take it from their viewpoint: assume that the Sun had already gone out. First, could people survive? Obviously! They did and wrote about it. Second, could any plants survive without sunlight? They need photosynthesis to keep growing. Again, their survival is obvious. Third, how could anyone stay warm? Wouldn’t the Earth become a frozen marble floating through space without the burning heat from the Sun? Actually, the Earth is not warmed by the burning flames on the surface of the Sun. The ten thousand degrees of heat would be quickly dissipated during the ninety-three million mile journey to Earth. It is the bombardment of solar radiation that heats our atmosphere. And this last item leads us to think that perhaps the Sun did not completely go out, only dimmed – but dimmed a lot. Just like it was mentioned in the Book of Revelations. It was enough to create a myriad of problems. But is there any evidence for this?

Yes, actually, the Maya wrote at length about that as well. The tale of the Jaguar Sun being the ruler of the Underworld – strange that the nighttime world would have a sun of its own – and the Hero Twins story has one of the twins with skin spotted like a jaguar and the other has small patches of jaguar skin stuck to his body. Why the skin of a jaguar?

It is also very strange that the sacred caves – places of safety – were depicted as jaguar mouths. Normally, climbing into a jaguar’s mouth would be the opposite of a safe haven: it would signify that you are lunch!

The jaguar has a dark tawny pelt with black spots. The tawny color is reminiscent of burlap or, as it is in the quote from Revelations above, sackcloth. And the black spots could be a massive number of sunspots covering the Sun’s surface at once, diminishing its light, almost to the point of appearing to “go out”. So perhaps the Sun will not completely go out but continue burning but with much less illumination than before.
And the Moon would also become darker since it merely reflects the light of the Sun; as in the Revelations quote, it could become the color of blood. It may sound better than total blackness, with only the distant starshine reaching our planet, but what does this actually mean? Primarily, it means we will survive.

What Next?

In this reduced light scenario, what can we expect to happen next, before the birth of the next Sun?
According to the Maya people, earthquakes. They named this Fifth Sun, “Earthquake Sun”. And it is interesting that the Book of Revelations mentions something similar just after the passage about the Sun growing dim: And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. [Rev.6:14]

The daytime sky apparently vanishes quickly (remember it is just the radiant sunlight which lights up the atmosphere anyway) and earthquakes cover the globe. Not a very pleasant thought but a far better result than the frozen marble scenario. And without the brightly lit sky, we will be able to see the stars much better and the planets as well.

So, after a time (and the Maya tell us it was several months) the Sun is reignited. And if the process repeats itself as in the previous Birth of the Sun, we may see something similar to what the Aztecs spoke about. Though their tale is quite late in the chain of stories, it might have enough truth left in it to be instructive. The gods met in the darkness at Teotihuacán. There were two gods that offered themselves to the flames, to “become” the new Sun. One was a proud and haughty god and one was a smaller and scabby god. (For “god” here, remember that the ancients assigned this term to the planets, so you could substitute the word “planet”.)

The two gods approached the glowing solar surface. The larger one was met with a bright Solar flare that pushed it back possibly due the its larger magnetic field, but the smaller one was able to fall into the Sun and it was reignited. Is that what it will take to restart the solar furnace? I don’t know but it seems to be what it took the last time.
A very special day

Does this mean that the Sun will go out on December 21st, 2012, when the cold has already gripped the Northern Hemisphere (where I reside) and possibly reduce the temperature further?

I do not know

Certainly, such a thing is possible. After studying the Mayan texts, we know it happened once before. Even if I did not think it possible, I am convinced of one thing: this is what the Maya were predicting with their Calendar’s EndDate. It was a specific event for one specific day. Not a gradual enlightenment of the population to stretch out for a decade. Not global warming. Not alignment with a purported black hole in the center of the galaxy. Not a random meteor strike which cannot be calculated from such an ancient period. So how did the Maya calculate the sun going out?
There must have been some celestial actions – remember how much time
they spent observing the heavens and the planetary motions – which led them to believe they could predict the next one. Perhaps some motion connected with the Sun itself that has now long since discontinued. Or whose importance has lessened. Either way, it was some celestial  behavior they had noticed.

Were they right?

I cannot say with any certainty that this will happen on December 21st, 2012, but I can state with certainty it is what the Maya believed. And I cannot explain how it will occur. I do not have the tenacity of Velikovsky to wade through the scientific texts to find answers. I never intended to explain how it happened only that this is what the Maya were talking about.

Times Forgotten 

If this was such an important prophecy, how could the Maya have forgotten it? Even at the height of their civilization they had cast the Long Count out of the window, abandoned its use and its meaning.

Why would they do that? Evidently, after years of celebrating each successive baktun- and katun-ending without anything of great importance occurring, someone must have figured it was not working. Nothing spectacular occurred at those great moments in their history. Why bother keeping track? The lesser calendar, their augury, the tzolkin, seemed to still work fine and it was not discarded. The later Books of Chilam Balam testify to their continued importance even after the Spaniards had taken over the region. How could the Maya have forgotten what their calendar meant? It could be something similar to our thinking of Christmas. Sure we (mostly) still remember that it was the birth of the Christian Son of God, but we seem to have forgotten why it is called Yuletime, or why we give presents at that time.

There is plenty of controversy in this explanation (and every step is still hotly debated) but originally, the birth of Christ was celebrated on the 6th of January and the pagans celebrated Yule on the 25th of December so the Church decided to celebrate twelve days of Christmas, from the 25th through the 6th.

Of course, this period encompassed the Roman New Year celebrations, when it was customary to greet
people into the New Year with gifts. The gift-giving was transferred to the Christmas celebrations to remove the pagan overtones and the twelve days was later reduced to the first day of Christmas – evidently for economic reasons. A twelve-day long holiday was anathema to commerce. With nothing of importance happening on the celebratory dates of the Mayan Calendar, it is no surprise they eventually abandoned it. It had no relevance to them.

Relevance in the Present 

It lost its relevance to the Maya but does it have any relevance for us? The prophecies and portents of the end-of-the-world are scattered throughout our history. Someone is always expecting the worst, it seems.

The prophecy could be telling us to be prepared, like the Boy Scout motto. But we should always be prepared for any eventuality. After all, a comet or meteor could come crashing down on us at any time, even without the intercession of some calendar predicting it. Preparedness takes many forms and is seen differently by various people. Some see getting a stockpile of food and water, a shelter, and maybe even some ammunition. Some turn to religion, reasserting their faith. Some take on a completely new lifestyle, closer to nature, closer to what they think life should really be about.

The Purpose of Science 

Science is a wonderful tool we have to examine the world and universe around us and try and understand what it all means to us, both presently and for the future. Aside from the jibes from humorists like Mark Twain and his “science” and the length of the Mississippi River (see Appendix for the article “Extrapolation”), the subject has grown remarkably over the centuries.
Science has made some remarkable strides over the past couple of centuries. We have a standard of living that was unthinkable even a hundred years ago. Science tackles the tough questions on everything around us. That it oversteps the bounds into many religious beliefs is a problem for many people today. Still these people can reap the profits that science has brought because science does not discriminate from one user to the next. The benefits can be had for believers as well as those who do not believe.

Much of the immense corpus that is science is still theoretical, meaning it has not been proven, though many parts of the construct are useful nonetheless. One of the basic scientific theories is that what we see today is nothing more than the small view of the sameness continuing far into the past because all things adhere to certain scientific laws that are seen as immutable.

Unfortunately, that interferes with much of the studies of the ancient times inasmuch as there is no way to exactly prove the theory. From many old cuneiform texts it would appear that the system we see today is the same as recorded by the ancients. Admittedly there are some few texts that present a differing view but the vast majority of the ancient texts reveal a solar system that looks very much like the one we  see today. So, by extension, it must have been the same in even an earlier epoch of human history.
And, until some proof appears to alter the perception that is the stance modern science will take in the face of all the myths and all the pseudo-scientific theories that come along.

Neither stance can be refuted by existing evidence. And in the impasse, we have to bow to the scientific theory because it works in many instances. But I have always wondered if other great minds, other great thinkers, could apply themselves to this subject, could we not move further toward an understanding of the subject and its meaning to us today in understanding where the ancient writers were coming from.
How Can This Actually Happen?
Well, you got me on that one! I am not a cosmologist or physicist and can give no rationale for any mechanical actions behind such a thing occurring. I never set out with this volume to do more than point out what the Maya were pointing at with their Calendar.

There was no intent to set the foundations for a new pseudo-science or some sort of cult following. Since the focus of the Maya was on the Sun, I figure there has to be something about the Sun that changes though I really have no ideas on the subject.

I remember seeing an article several years ago about a fluid magnetic construct within the Solar body that the author noticed seemed to be getting more elastic with each magnetic reversal. The hypothesis was that at the next event the structure should have been doubled-over on itself and might do something bizarre. Unfortunately, I kept no record of the source and have not been able to find any mention of such a thing since. Who knows? Perhaps I merely dreamed it. Which says a lot about my dreams, I know…

Enlightenment 

Now, many of the seemingly strange behaviors of this ancient civilization can suddenly make sense. Perhaps not exactly with this volume, but with this understanding of their intent.

I am certain the answer is not the one you would have guessed nor, perhaps, anything close to one you should have wanted. As I said before, I much prefer the “gradual enlightenment” envisioned by Argüelles, Jenkins, and their following, over any other scenario. It just a shame that scenario makes no sense when it comes to the Maya Calendar.

The Maya themselves never tried to tell us their calendar was meant for any other reason. They said repeatedly, the Fifth Sun, not the “New Age”. With this understanding perhaps we can make further sense of our world, our history, and our universe.

If the new Sun should come as they have warned perhaps there is still time to prepare for the eventuality. I for one do not know what can be done, but we have the resources and the technology to do something before even the short time remaining is gone. Of course, you can choose to disbelieve this interpretation of the EndDate for another of the hypotheses. You may not see any reason to change your own opinion. You might even have a better hypothesis.

But I believe none of the others follow what the Maya themselves claimed: this calendar, this period, leads to the end of the Fifth Sun. And the eventual birth of another, newer Sun, hence, the beginning of a new era.

In a recent study, couples exposed to environmental toxins took 20% longer to become pregnant.

In a recent study, couples exposed to environmental toxins took 20% longer to become pregnant.

Chemicals, including PCB 118,167 and 209 and PFOSAs—a component of Scotchgard stain- and water-repellant which accumulates in the human body and in wildlife and produces severe birth defects in lab animals. The chemical was phased out beginning in 2000, but human exposure continues. And the chemical concentrations found to produce these impacts on couples’ ability to get pregnant were lower than averages found in the U.S. population as reported by theCenters for Disease Control.

The study lends further validation to previous findings connecting exposure to persistent organic pollutants to decreased fertility and underscores the importance of including men in such studies—and beginning such studies prior to conception. Writes Environmental Health News: “This study is one of the first to show that men’s chemical exposures are just as important—if not stronger—than women’s in determining fertility issues.”

Screen Shot 2012-12-28 at 4.52.12 PMLondres— Una protesta en India en rechazo a la violación en grupo de una joven en un autobús de pasajeros desencadenó enfrentamientos con la policía, que dejaron un saldo de un muerto, unas 30 personas heridas y alrededor de 40 detenidos.

Por segundo día consecutivo, la policía dispersó con bastones metálicos, gases lacrimógenos y chorros de agua a miles de manifestantes que exigían mayor seguridad para las mujeres y la pena de muerte para los seis violadores de una joven que permanece grave. … Continue Reading

imagesSan Juan- El representante estudiantil alterno ante la Junta Universitaria de la Universidad de Puerto Rico, René A. Vargas Martínez, exigió la renuncia inmediata del doctor Miguel Muñoz como presidente de la Universidad de Puerto Rico y de Ibis Aponte como vicepresidenta de Asuntos Académicos de la Universidad. “Ambos funcionarios le hacen un flaco servicio a la comunidad universitaria. Evidentemente, el presidente de la Universidad y la vicepresidenta de Asuntos Académicos le faltaron a la verdad ante los integrantes del comité de transición en varias ocasiones. Ante esto, exigimos la renuncia de ambos funcionarios y le solicitamos a la Junta de Síndicos de la Universidad de Puerto Rico a que eliminen la cuota de estabilización fiscal de inmediato”. El pasado 21 de diciembre se realizó la última vista de transición entre el gobierno … Continue Reading

Screen Shot 2012-12-28 at 4.22.30 PMDistrito Federal— Al menos 18 muertos, 8 heridos y tres vehículos calcinados dejó ayer una jornada de balaceras y emboscadas en los límites de Michoacán y Jalisco, zona de disputa entre el Cártel Jalisco Nueva Generación y la banda llamada Caballeros Templarios.
Además, la PGJE de Sinaloa reportó que en las últimas horas ocho personas perdieron la vida, y, en Guerrero, dos hombres fueron asesinados con lo que suman 28 muertos en cuatro estados del país. Entre los asesinados por la emboscada en los límites de esos estados hay cuatro policías de Michoacán, tres de Jalisco; ocho presuntos delincuentes y tres civiles. Las agresiones fueron protagonizadas por un convoy de 10 automóviles en el que viajaban unos 40 criminales.

… Continue Reading

The world hasn’t ended, so I guess that’s a good thing. We move forward ready to face 2013 with resolve and hope that our nation won’t go broke.
Yes, 2012 is over but 2013 will continue our national economic uncerEditor’s Year in Review 2012 Miguel Colón Y su Banda 4ktorce page 9 tainties and the political chaos that is Washington.
Here are some high lights I compiled from this past year. Happy reading. … Continue Reading

Screen Shot 2012-12-28 at 3.50.26 PMWauwatosa – The husband of slain Wauwatosa Police Officer Jennifer L. Sebena has been arrested and is expected to be charged with her shooting death which took place early Christmas Eve, authorities announced Thursday.

Benjamin Sebena was booked Wednesday night into the Milwaukee County Jail on a tentative charge of first-degree intentional homicide, according to the state Department of Justice’s Division of Criminal Investigation.Sebena, 30, of Menomonee Falls, was gunned down on December 24, while on duty. When she didn’t respond to a dispatcher trying to reach her on a police radio, a search was launched. She was discovered shot several times. Police believe she was killed sometime between 3 and 5 a.m. … Continue Reading

Screen Shot 2012-12-28 at 3.39.46 PMThe benefits of making a major commitment to building up and efficiently managing a larger and more
comprehensive public transit network are many.
According to the National Alliance of Public Transportation Advocates (NAPTA), an organization that represents grassroots transit coalitions, organizations and advocates, expanded public transit,
TheBenefits of Public Transportation coordinated with greener development and other “operational efficiencies,” can reduce our carbon footprint by some 24 percent, which is significant given that carbon dioxide (CO2) output from the transportation sector as a whole account for 28 percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. After all, buses and trains burn much less fuel per rider than a car with a single rider in it.  … Continue Reading

Por Miguel Ignacio Acabal

Una noticia que ha dado la vuelta al planeta tierra en los últimos meses recientes: el anuncio del fin del mundo este 21 de diciembre, de acuerdo con la predicción de la cultura milenaria Maya.

Y es de ponerse a reflexionar acerca de los acontecimientos de los últimos días que ha azotado a la humanidad entera en lo que concierne a fenómenos naturales: “tsunamis”, tornados, terremotos, desbordamientos de ríos, inundaciones, etcétera; los cuales han cobrado miles de vidas humanas.

Y dónde quedan los provocados por el hombre: guerras  entre naciones, el uso de la fuerza militar contra civiles, destrucción de una porción de la tierra por una bomba atómica –hace ya unos años-, la invención de armas químicas, el uso de misiles, matazón de gentes en iglesias o escuelas, como el caso más reciente en Newtown, Connecticut, donde un joven con problemas mentales mató a 20 niños, m! ás a unas personas adultas, entre ellas su señora madre.

La pregunta del millón sería: habrá coincidencia entre la predicción maya y la Biblia? Porque lo tratado arriba son datos bíblicos –al menos las guerras-, lo que desembocaría en la peste y el hambre.

Respecto de los acontecimientos de hoy, 21 de diciembre, en los que se anuncia el fin del mundo, según el calendario maya, muchos académicos e intelectuales han opinado al respecto y, muchos aseguran que, no es exactamente la desaparición física de la tierra, sino el fin de una era, de un ciclo; sin embargo, quién realmente cuenta con el conocimiento que se aproxima al menos a la realidad de los &u! acute;ltimos días del hombre?

El tema en cuestión ha despertado mucha inquietud en muchas personas, hay quienes que han dado fechas exactas del fin del mundo, y ese anuncio fatal no ha sido acertado, el mundo con la humanidad sigue el curso de su vida… de su existencia. Hay quienes, también, que se han gastado toda su fortuna porque ya se acerca ese fin del que tanto se habla; otros han construido hasta búnkers subterráneos para poder sobrevivir a cualquier desastre natural que pudiera acabar con el mundo.

Por otra parte, debe mencionarse una situación del hombre sobre: su condición de criatura indefensa y vulnerable ante cua! lquier furia implacable de la naturaleza lo acabaría, no importa cuánta tecnología tenga a su alcance. Los mismos fenómenos recientes lo han demostrado.

En consecuencia, y como nadie está seguro de lo que pudiera afrontar la humanidad en el futuro a corto plazo, cómo no es posible, entonces, que este 21 de diciembre no sea el fin del mundo, y no porque se sea fatalista, sino porque nadie conoce con certeza el mañana del hombre.

Ceremonias mayas

Desde ayer jueves, por la tarde, líderes indígenas de toda América y del mund! o iniciaron las actividades culturales en el parque arqueológico de Tikal, Petén, Guatemala, donde sobresale el templo El Gran Jaguar, sitio localizado a unos 460 kilómetros al norte de la Ciudad de Guatemala.

Según una fuente del Instituto Guatemalteco de Turismo (Inguat), indicó que este jueves se habrían oficiado ceremonias mayas por sacerdotes indígenas, quienes habrán prendido sendas velas, habrán  quemado incienso y pom (copal, un árbol muy oloroso cuyo tallo es cortado en pedacitos y quemados para que el humo se eleve al cielo en agradecimiento a los dioses; este árbol es muy significativo para esta cultura) y otras ofrendas que ofrecerán a la madre tierra, al sol, a la lluvia. Debe de recordarse que los mayas eran de una religi&o! acute;n politeísta.

De acuerdo con esta cultura milenaria, el fin del mundo se debe a su calendario el cual cada mes consta de 20 días, que en un idioma vernáculo guatemalteco se le denomina jun winaq; el año es de 260 días, y en ese mismo idioma es llamado Tun; 20 años es un K’atun y 400 años un B’aktun. Y a esta fecha (21 de diciembre del 2012), se habrá llegado a 13 B’aktun; y 13 B’aktu por 400 años, hacen un total de 5,200 años.

Este 21 de diciembre está finalizando la cuarta era a partir de la cuarta creación del hombre de maíz, según esta cultura.

Cuando las autoridades organizaron este acontecimiento, y, para ello se invitaron a altos funcionarios de gobierno de países amigos de todos los continentes, la prensa guatemalteca publicó el agotamientos de la industria hotelera de Petén, como algunos de la ciudad  capital.

The Make Your Money Talk program, a financial education course offered by the Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee (HACM) and the Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation (WWBIC), continued its outreach into the Milwaukee community by recognizing 96 graduates. An additional 129 graduates were recognized in June, leading to a record number of graduates for the year.

“In 2012, 225 Milwaukee residents successfully completed the Make Your Money Talk Program, a new record for us,” said HACM Secretary-Executive Director Tony Pérez. “With financial education and a sound savings plan as the foundation, this program has moved hundreds of individuals toward self sufficiency and helped strengthen our community.”  … Continue Reading

La Asociación Nacional del Rifle (NRA, por sus siglas en inglés) dijo el martes que está “preparado para ofrecer contribuciones significativas” para prevenir futuras masacres como la ocurrida en Connecticut el viernes.

“La Asociación Nacional del Rifle de EE.UU. está compuesta por cuatro millones madres y padres, hijos e hijas -y nos quedamos conmocionados, tristes y desconsolados por las noticias de los terribles y sinsentidos asesinatos en Newtown”, dijo la organización en un comunicado enviado a la prensa.

Con esta declaración, la mayor y más poderosa organización de EE.UU. -que defiende el derecho a poseer y llevar armas- establece un notable cambio en su tono.

La NRA tiene previsto ofrecer una conferencia de prensa el viernes, tras mantener silencio como señal de respeto a las familias en Newtown, Connecticut, y por una cuestión de decencia común, según el comunicado.

Screen Shot 2012-12-21 at 10.24.31 AM

Screen Shot 2012-12-21 at 10.24.31 AMEl Abierto de Estados Unidos cambió su final de mujeres para el domingo y la de hombres para el lunes en 2013, agregando por primera vez un día de descanso antes de cada final.

La Asociación de Tenis de Estados Unidos, que organiza el torneo de Grand Slam en Nueva York, anunció los cambios, aunque sólo son para el próximo año.

Una decisión sobre 2014 y el futuro probablemente se tomará después del torneo de 2013, dijo el vocero de la Asociación, Chris Widmaier.

La lluvia obligó a posponer la final de hombres de domingo a lunes en cada uno de los cinco últimos años.

Algunos de los principales jugadores de la rama masculina se quejaron de que el Abierto de Estados Unidos es el único torneo de Grand Slam que juega sus semifinales

y la final en días consecutivos.

La decisión frena la tradición de lo que el US Open llamaba desde 1984 el “super sábado”, con las semifinales de hombres y la final de mujeres ese mismo día, y luego la final de hombres el domingo.

Wimbledon, el Abierto de Francia y el Abierto de Australia tienen otra programación: las semifinales de mujeres el jueves, las semifinales de hombres el viernes, la final de mujeres el sábado y la final de hombres el domingo.

Como parte del nuevo itinerario, la Asociación eliminó la sesión nocturna en 2013, ya que la final de mujeres se disputaba en ese horario desde 2001.

takingsidesI guess if I would try to understand Christine Neumann – Ortiz’sattempt to spin a major defeat into a victory, I would use the Alamo as my metaphor to somewhat see her point.

Remember the Alamo! A victory cry from a total defeat. The end result of the Alamo was a total victory of the war by the Americans over Mexico.

But this is not the Alamo, and the defeat Voces de la Frontera(VDLF) suffered was not on the battlefield.

No matter how hard VDLF will try, the bottom line is this -Palermo’s was able to prove it did nothing wrong when they removed over 75 undocumented workers from its workforce.

The NLRB investigated and found Palermo’s did not engage in unfair labor practice against the 75 undocumented workers still striking under the name, Palermo’s Workers Union.

After being ordered by Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE) to act on the findings that ICE uncovered after auditing Palermo’s workers–ICE found over 80 undocumented workers working at Palermo’s–the company found itself in the middle of a brouhaha led by Voces de la Frontera.

In their latest spin, Voces and the union claim they were instrumental in getting Palermo’s workers a pay raise and shorter work week.

Right!

This claim is akin to a shaman doing a rain dance and then claiming the subsequent torrential downpour was caused by their two-step boogie.

Sorry, you can’t do that.

Evidence clearly shows that Palermo’s was going to give raises to its workers, but was unable to because of the investigation it was subjected to by the NLRB.

Had Palermo’s given the pay raises sooner, I’m sure the argument would have been that Palermo’s was trying to bribe the workers into voting against unionizing.

As for a shorter work week, Palermo’s states that pizza orders have gone down recently, which is not unusual for this time of the year. Because of that, production is down; thus, hours are reduced. But the shaman dancers at Voces appear to have hit the pipe a little too hard, and in their altered state of mind believe they magically forced Palermo’s to reduce its work week.

Tricks are for kids, is the slogan of one cereal brand. The tricks being played here against Palermo’s by Neumann-Ortiz is only advancing the notion in the community that Voces’ leaders are cuckoo for pizza justice.

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article-0-0D213AC200000578-641_634x412Londres— La muerte de Amy Winehouse volverá a ser investigada por un juez forense en enero, después de que la primera pesquisa fuera invalidada al descubrirse que la magistrada encargada carecía de las calificaciones necesarias.

Un portavoz del Ayuntamiento del Distrito londinense de Camden, donde residía y donde murió la cantante británica, indicó hoy que la nueva pesquisa judicial se iniciará el 8 de enero en el Tribunal de Saint Pancras y, como la anterior, buscará esclarecer las circunstancias del fallecimiento.

La primera investigación tras la muerte a los 27 años de la autora de ‘Back To Black’ fue dirigida por Suzanne Greenway, quien en octubre del año pasado determinó que su fallecimiento había sido “accidental” y posiblemente ocurrido a causa del consumo excesivo de alcohol.

Un portavoz de la familia Winehouse achacó a “razones de procedimiento” el hecho de que vuelva a investigarse la muerte de la cantante y opinó que lo previsible es que no cambie el veredicto.

En noviembre de 2011, la jurista Suzanne Greenway, nacida en Australia, dimitió de su cargo tras comprobarse que le faltaba el periodo de experiencia necesario para ejercer en Reino Unido.

La letrada había sido nombrada juez forense adjunta por su marido, Andrew Reid, en 2009, sin cumplir con el requisito legal de llevar cinco años registrada como abogada en el Reino Unido, pese a haber ejercido su profesión durante una década en su país natal.

Desde entonces, Reid, que también es juez forense en Londres, ha dejado igualmente su cargo, pese a insistir en que los procedimientos seguidos en la pesquisa de la cantante fueron los correctos.

El soldado Bradley Manning pudo, por fin, hablar públicamente en su defensa, en una audiencia preliminar al consejo de guerra al que será sometido el próximo año. Manning es la presunta fuente de la mayor filtración de inteligencia en la historia de Estados Unidos. El soldado, que se desempeñaba como analista de inteligencia en el Ejército de Estados Unidos y tenía acceso a información ultra secreta, fue enviado a Irak. En abril de 2010, WikiLeaks, el sitio web que publica documentos confidenciales filtrados, hizo público un video en el que se ve cómo un helicóptero Apache de las Fuerzas Armadas estadounidenses dispara a una docena de civiles, entre ellos dos empleados de Reuters, un camarógrafo y su chofer, en Bagdad.

Un mes después de la publicación del video, Manning fue arrestado en Irak y acusado de haber filtrado el video y otros cientos de miles de documentos. Así comenzó su calvario de encarcelamiento en confinamiento solitario, en condiciones crueles y degradantes que muchos sostienen que equivalen a la tortura, desde su detención en Kuwait hasta los meses de detención en la base militar Quantico, en Virginia, Estados Unidos. A raíz de la condena mundial contra sus condiciones de detención, las fuerzas armadas estadounidenses trasladaron a Manning a un centro de detención en Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, donde las condiciones no son tan severas.

Mientras Manning afronta 22 acusaciones en un consejo de guerra que podría condenarlo a prisión por el resto de su vida, su abogado argumentó en la audiencia preliminar que el caso debería ser desestimado sobre la base del castigo ilícito aplicado al soldado previo al juicio.

El abogado constitucionalista de larga trayectoria, Michael Ratner, se encontraba en la sala de audiencias en Fort Meade, Maryland, el día en que Manning realizó su declaración. Ratner describió la escena: “Fue una de las escenas más dramáticas que jamás haya visto en una sala de audiencias. (…) Cuando Bradley comenzó a hablar no estaba nervioso. Su testimonio fue extremadamente conmovedor, realmente emotivo para todos nosotros, pero especialmente, como es evidente, para Bradley mismo por todo lo que tuvo que soportar. Fue terrible lo que le sucedió en dos años, pero lo describió con lujo de detalles de un modo elocuente, inteligente y consciente”.

Ratner dijo que Manning describió cómo estuvo detenido en una jaula en Kuwait: “Había dos jaulas. Dijo que eran como jaulas para animales. Estaban bajo una tienda, solo estas dos jaulas, una junto a la otra. Una de ellas contenía algunas de las posesiones de Manning, y en la otra, en la que estaba él, había una pequeña cama, una estantería y un inodoro. Permaneció en esta jaula oscura durante casi dos meses. Lo sacaron por un corto período de tiempo y luego, sin dar explicaciones, lo volvieron a colocar en la jaula. (…) Bradley dijo sobre ese período: ‘Creo que perdí la noción del tiempo. No sabía si era de día o de noche. Mi mundo se volvió muy, muy pequeño. Se convirtió en esas dos jaulas’”. Ratner agregó: “Eso casi lo destruyó”.

Luego de su detención en Kuwait, Manning fue trasladado a una base militar en Quantico. Su abogado defensor, David Coombs, dijo este mes: “El modo en que trataron a Brad en Quantico quedará grabado por siempre en la historia de nuestro país como un momento lamentable. No solamente fue estúpido y contraproducente, sino que fue criminal”.

El abogado Michael Ratner también describió el momento en que Bradley Manning explicó lo sucedido en Quantico: “Bradley contó cómo era estar en esa celda, en la que debía dormir en una pequeña cama, con una luz frontal apuntando hacia él, que dejaban encendida para poder observarlo. Si se movía para evitar la luz iban a despertarlo. Eso sucedía en la noche. Durante el día pasaba de 23 a 23 horas y media en la celda, quizá tenía 20 minutos de lo que denominan ‘ejercicio al sol’, que no es nada. ¿Y qué podía hacer? Porque supuestamente está en servicio, debe o bien estar de pie o sentado en esa cama de metal con los pies en el suelo y no puede apoyarse en nada. Eso durante 10 o 15 horas al día, lo que debe denominarse privación de los sentidos”.

El relator especial de las Naciones Unidas sobre la tortura, Juan Méndez, intentó visitar a Manning, pero luego se negó debido a que las fuerzas armadas le dijeron que podrían vigilar y grabar la visita. Méndez informó: “La detención en confinamiento solitario es una medida severa que puede provocar grave daño psicológico y fisiológico a los individuos, independientemente de su situación específica”.

Los oficiales del ejército describieron el trato cruel aplicado a Manning como necesario, debido a que, según afirmaron, había riesgo de que intentara suicidarse. Sin embargo, el Capitán de la Armada William Hocter, un psiquiatra forense de Quantico, dijo que no existía tal riesgo, pero no lo escucharon. “Soy médico jefe desde hace 24 años y nunca vi algo igual”, declaró Hocter. “Estaba claro que estaban decididos a tomar un determinado curso de acción y poco importaron mis recomendaciones”.

La primera etapa del consejo de guerra, que Coombs denomina “la etapa de las mociones de castigo ilícito previo al juicio”, consideró una moción de la defensa de desestimar el caso. Si bien es improbable que esto suceda, quienes siguen el caso sostienen que la defensa solicitó, como alternativa, que el consejo de guerra considerara reducir la pena de Manning que resulte del juicio a razón de 10 días por cada día que tuvo que soportar el trato cruel y degradante en Kuwait y Quantico, lo que en teoría podría significar una reducción de seis años de su condena a prisión.

Bradley Manning está acusado de filtrar una serie de documentos a WikiLeaks, que incluyen el video de la masacre de Bagdad, dos grandes series de documentos relacionados con los registros militares estadounidenses de las guerras de Irak y Afganistán y, quizá lo más importante, la gran filtración de más de 250.000 cables del Departamento de Estado de Estados Unidos, conocida como “Cablegate” (en referencia a Watergate). Tras una evaluación realizada en agosto de 2010, el entonces Secretario de Defensa, Robert Gates, sostuvo que la publicación de los documentos “no reveló fuentes ni métodos de inteligencia importantes”. Manning se ofreció a declararse culpable de la filtración de los documentos, pero no de las acusaciones más graves de espionaje ni de haber ayudado al enemigo.

Bradley Manning cumplirá 25 años el 17 de diciembre en la prisión, fecha que también marca el segundo aniversario de la muerte del joven tunecino que se inmoló en protesta contra el gobierno corrupto de su país, lo que dio paso a la Primavera Árabe. Hace un año, cuando la revista Time nombró al “manifestante”, en términos genéricos, como Personaje del Año, el legendario informante de los Documentos del Pentágono, Daniel Ellsberg, elogió esa decisión en una declaración que también se aplica a la realidad actual: “La tapa de la revista Time nombra al manifestante, a un manifestante anónimo, ‘Personaje del Año’, pero es posible ponerle un rostro y un nombre a esa foto del ‘Personaje del Año’. El rostro estadounidense que pondría en esa tapa sería el del soldado Bradley Manning”.

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Screen Shot 2012-12-21 at 9.24.08 AMNUEVA YORK — La temporada de gripe en Estados Unidos ha comenzado con la mayor anticipación en casi una década y podría ser peor que la común.

Las autoridades de Salud dijeron el lunes que los casos de supuesta gripe se han disparado en cinco estados del sur y la propagación de la cepa principal tiende a enfermar más a la gente que los otros tipos.

La gripe es particularmente severa con los adultos mayores.

“Parece tomar la forma de una temporada maligna de gripe, pero sólo el tiempo lo dirá”, dijo el doctor Thomas Frieden, director de los Centros para el Control y la Prevención de Enfermedades (CDC, por sus siglas en inglés).

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Screen Shot 2012-12-21 at 9.21.09 AMBagdad— Una ola de atentados dejó al menos 48 muertos y más de 100 heridos en Irak ayer lunes, un día antes de que se cumpla un año de la salida de los soldados estadounidenses del país, indicaron fuentes médicas y de la Policía.

Los atentados tuvieron lugar en una decena de ciudades o localidades del país.

Un atentado con coche bomba en la parte norte de Bagdad dejó por lo menos 11 muertos e hirió a 40 más.

En una autopista en el oeste de Tikrit, tres hombres armados dispararon contra un

puesto de control. Luego salieron del coche en el que iban y éste estalló. Un total de cinco policías murieron y cinco más resultaron heridos.

En el pueblo de Al Buslaibi, en el norte de Bagdad, una bomba explotó en la carretera cuando pasaba una patrulla militar y dejó tres muertos. Un ataque llevado a cabo por hombres armados en ese mismo lugar causó la muerte de tres soldados más.

En Tuz Jurmatu (norte), dos atentados con coche bomba contra una mezquita chiita dejaron cinco muertos y 26 heridos. La comunidad chiita, mayoritaria en Irak, es con frecuencia blanco de estos ataques llevados a cabo por insurgentes sunitas.

Cerca de Mosul (norte) otro atentado con coche bomba dejó siete muertos y 12 heridos en el pueblo shabak de Jaznah. La comunidad shabak, una secta esotérica que forma parte del chiismo y tiene cerca de 30 mil miembros, fue perseguida bajo el régimen de Sadam Husein y luego ha sido blanco de los ataques de Al Qaida.

El domingo había habido otra ola de atentados en el país, que dejó 19 muertos y decenas de heridos, principalmente en dos mezquitas chiitas y en la sede de un partido político kurdo en el norte del país.

La violencia en Irak ha disminuido considerablemente con respecto a los años 2006 y 2007, pero sigue siendo habitual, nueve años después de la invasión del país llevada a cabo por fuerzas internacionales lideradas por Estados Unidos, las cuales derrocaron a Sadam Husein.

Al no lograrse un acuerdo con Bagdad para mantener una pequeña presencia militar en Irak, el presidente estadounidense Barack Obama ordenó la retirada de todos los soldados de su país de Irak el año pasado.

Tras retirarse estas tropas estadounidenses el 18 de diciembre de 2011, a Irak le quedaron varios problemas por solucionar.

Muchos iraquíes lamentan que Estados Unidos haya introducido una dimensión confesional que no existía en el Irak de Husein, derrocado tras la invasión de 2003 liderada por Washington. El actual gobierno, dominado por chiitas, acusa a ex partidarios sunitas de Husein de organizar conspiraciones y los reprime severamente.

Screen Shot 2012-12-21 at 9.11.26 AMEl superintendente de la Policía, Héctor Pesquera, explicó hoy que una nueva versión de los hechos en donde fue hallado un bebé en un refrigerador detalla que el menor fue congelado entre el 12 y 13 de diciembre, aunque se desconoce cuántas personas tenían conocimiento de ello durante la fiesta que se celebró en el hogar el 16 de diciembre.

“La fiesta sale como consecuencia de las entrevistas a los vecinos. Entonces si nosotros decimos el cadáver lo pusieron (en el refrigerador) en el 12 (de diciembre) como testimonio de ellos, en el 12 o el 13 y la fiesta ocurrió en el domingo (16 de diciembre) y nosotros nos llamaron ayer, entonces el bebé estaba durante la fiesta”, indicó el superintendente.

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