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112515-religious-pix-1Ice cream is good for the soul

Last week I took my children to a restaurant. My six-year-old son asked if he could say grace.

As we bowed our heads he said, “God is good. God is great. Thank you for the food, and I would even thank you more if Mom gets us ice cream for dessert. And Liberty and justice for all! Amen!”

Along with the laughter from the other customers nearby I heard a woman remark, “That’s what’s wrong with this country.  Kids today don’t even know how to pray.   Asking God for ice-cream!   Why, I never!”.

Hearing this, my son burst into tears and asked me, “Did I do it wrong? Is God mad at me?”

As I held him and assured him that he had done a terrific job and God was certainly not mad at him, an elderly gentleman approached the table. He winked at my son and said, “I happen to know that God thought that was a great prayer.”

“Really?” my son asked.  “Cross my heart.”  Then in a theatrical whisper he added (indicating the woman whose remark had started this whole thing) “Too bad she never asks God for ice cream.   A little ice cream is good for the soul sometimes.”

Naturally, I bought my kids ice cream at the end of the meal. My son stared at his for a moment and then did something I will remember the rest of my life.

He picked up his sundae and without a word walked over and placed it in front of the woman.  With a big smile he told her, “Here, this is for you.

Ice cream is good for the soul sometimes, and my soul is good already.”

What I Am Thankful For

Thanksgiving, as the name would suggest, is a time to give thanks for the things we are grateful for in this world. It is a time to sit at an overcrowded table with family members that you rarely see surrounding you. A time to eat pumpkin pie, cranberry sauce, turkey and stuffing. Thanksgiving has also become synonymous with football.

In that vein, let me put in words the many things that I am thankful for. I am thankful for my mind, strong and free-flowing. I am thankful for my knees and the fact that they don’t give me any trouble when I wake up in the morning. I am thankful for my fingers and their lack of constant arthritic pain. I am thankful that I only have to go to the doctor once a year and only go to the hospital for emergencies. I am thankful for my memory, for I have no lapses and never forget where I put my keys. I am thankful for my temperament, for it has never been adversely affected by continuous hits to my head.

I guess, in short, I am thankful for not playing football for more years than I already have. As more and more brains are donated to science by former football players, the damning evidence continues to grow. Over 96% of the former NFL players that have donated their brains have suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE. This isn’t just a trend or a battle, this is war that NFL players are losing, and losing badly.

I understand why that may not shake you as it has shaken me. Few football players actually play in the NFL, where the action is faster and the hits are harder. Surely, the numbers aren’t nearly as damning for players that never reach the pinnacle of the sport? You’re right. 165 different deceased players from football backgrounds ranging from high school football to professional football had their brain tissue tested for CTE post-mortem. 131 of those individuals were struggling with CTE. That is nearly 80%. Do I have your attention now?

With advancements in technology and a greater understanding of the human brain, we now know what these modern-day gladiators are doing to themselves in order to play a game for us every week. We now know what sacrifices they have to make. We now know what their job entails. Is it acceptable that we continue to vociferously cheer on our team and its players when we know that once they step out of the spotlight they will never be the same? What is the cost of keeping the American people entertained?

I am grateful for many things in my life, but I am the most grateful that my football career was cut short. I am the most grateful for the fact that I will be able to enjoy my own family for many decades. You inevitably will see an NFL player laying on the ground, clutching his head on Thursday, just like Case Keenum was on Sunday. When you see that, remind yourself of the many things that you are grateful for, and maybe reach for that remote control. Then again, maybe you won’t. Maybe you will cheer and rejoice in the fact that a key player for the opposing team will not be able to finish the game.

I know what I will be doing this Thursday, do you?

takingsidesThe time is now!

As the stream of bad news for Scott Walker continues, during his post failed Presidential candidacy, Wisconsin continues to witness the failing policies of his administration with the reporting of corporate exodus from Wisconsin and jobs being lost because of it.

Why are jobs and corporations leaving Wisconsin?

Recent reports state that Walker’s WEDC may have awarded tax credits illegally. The Department of Justice has been asked by U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin to investigate WEDC. This kind of news does not bode well in many corporate board rooms.

Walker’s Administration Bad for Wisconsin People & Brand

Wisconsin has lost its once powerful reputation of being a transparent government, which was a model for the rest of the nation. Walker’s administration and WEDC corruption has turned Wisconsin into an example of bad government closing its books by changing campaign finance laws to avoid public oversight

The recent news that Wisconsin did well with jobs growth in October is overshadowed by the fact that only 30,000 jobs were added year to date in 2015. Walker should have focused on jobs growth from day one on after taking office in 2011.

Loss of jobs. Corrupt WEDC. Failed communication with businesses. Changing laws to prevent transparency in government. Failed presidential candidacy by the governor. Is it any wonder why Tyson, Oscar Mayer and other companies are leaving. Even key Republicans such as Michael S. Murphy are leaving the Republican Party. The GOP brand is sinking.

Walker’s first gubernatorial campaign was centered around his promise of creating 250,000 jobs. He never even came close. And now that more and more companies are leaving the state, taking their jobs with them, achieving 250,000 jobs is nothing but a pipe dream.

Add to that an embarrassing and horrifically expensive run at the presidential nomination and you have a monumental loser in Walker.

Walker is the Republican Party bad news storm. When it rains it pours on the GOP with Walker leading the helm. The Marquette Law School poll not only shows thatWalker’s job approval is among the lowest in the country,but also that the Republican Legislators are feeling the heat from the public.

Moderate Republicans, the ones who decide elections, are dissatisfied with Walker and the Republican Legislators.

Given the growing corruption at the Capitol, lack of consistent job creation and plant closures, Walker and Republican Legislators are destroying the Republican brand. If the Wisconsin Republican moderate and independent base continues to refuse to exert authority on Walker and the Republican Legislators, the GOP will lose Wisconsin.

What is DPW waiting for? The time to strike is now. The time to bring out this massive corruption Walker has been supporting into the public arena has arrived. Now is not the time to sit back and allow Walker and his network of political thugs to hide their dirty work!

The time is now to expose that dirty laundry and show Wisconsin what Walker has done to our state. To show what Walker has done with our money. To show what Walker has done to Wisconsin’s working families. To show what Walker has done to our system of education and to our state’s reputation. The future of our state is at stake.

The time is now for Wisconsin Republicans to stand against Walker for the sake of Wisconsin.

En este Día de Acción de Gracias los refugiados no son bienvenidos en la mesa estadounidense

Los terribles ataques en París del pasado 13 de noviembre han generado fuertes reacciones contra los refugiados de las guerras de Siria, Irak y Afganistán. En las redes sociales está circulando una caricatura de un indígena estadounidense que le dice a un peregrino: “Lo lamento, pero no aceptamos refugiados”. Mientras los estadounidenses nos preparamos para celebrar una de las fiestas nacionales más importantes de Estados Unidos, el Día de Acción de Gracias, se ha desatado una ola de xenofobia en todo el país. Paradójicamente, el Día de Acción de Gracias conmemora la ayuda y los alimentos proporcionados por los indígenas a los refugiados ingleses que llegaron en busca de una vida mejor, libre de toda persecución religiosa.

En el Congreso de Estados Unidos se presentaron al menos seis proyectos de ley diferentes para impedir que se destinen fondos federales al reasentamiento de refugiados de Siria e Irak, y para otorgar facultades a los estados para que les impidan ingresar a “su territorio”. Es como si de pronto hubiera 50 “miniestados” que crean sus propios puestos de control fronterizos y detienen a todos los viajeros en busca de un sospechoso, es decir, de todos los sirios. Esto es básicamente lo que han solicitado hasta ahora 31 gobernadores de Estados Unidos. El gobernador de Kansas, Sam Brownback, emitió una orden ejecutiva que prohibe a los organismos del gobierno estatal cooperar de cualquier forma con las iniciativas de ayuda a refugiados sirios. El presidente de la Cámara de Representantes, Paul Ryan, y el líder de la mayoría del Senado, Mitch McConnell, con el apoyo del senador demócrata Chuck Schumer, solicitaron que se suspendiera el programa para refugiados sirios.

En Europa, se están proponiendo políticas similares. Polonia anunció que ya no cumpliría con el compromiso asumido por la Unión Europea de aceptar refugiados sirios. Los partidos de extrema derecha de Francia y Holanda también han ganado terreno con el discurso en contra de la inmigración.

Peter Bouckaert, director de emergencias de Human Rights Watch, dijo en el noticiero Democracy Now!: “Es moralmente condenable y a la vez erróneo desde el punto de vista de los hechos equiparar a estas personas con terroristas”. Bouckaert ha estado los últimos meses en los Balcanes y Grecia siguiendo de cerca la crisis de los refugiados. “De hecho, ellos están huyendo de los terroristas y han tenido que sufrir los horrores de las guerras de Irak, Siria y Afganistán. Muchos de ellos vienen con sus familias, intentando darles seguridad y un futuro mejor en Europa, y deberían ser bienvenidos. Ellos contribuirán a nuestra sociedad y tienen derecho al asilo”, afirmó.

Si bien la caricatura del hombre indígena y el peregrino puede resultar graciosa, la crisis no lo es y las imágenes de las guerras y el éxodo de los refugiados son escalofriantes. Bouckaert fue una de las primeras personas que compartió la foto de Aylan Kurdi, el niño de tres años de edad que apareció tirado boca abajo en una playa de la localidad costera de Bodrum, en Turquía, tras haberse ahogado luego de que el precario bote en el que viajaba junto a su familia y otros refugiados sirios naufragara. En el mes de septiembre, la familia Kurdi estaba intentando llegar a Grecia desde Turquía, a tan solo unos 20 kilómetros de distancia al otro lado del Mar Egeo. Compraron pasajes en el bote de un contrabandista, que naufragó. Aylan, su hermano y su madre murieron ahogados junto con al menos otras dos personas. Las fotos del pequeño cadáver de Aylan, primero tirado en la arena y, luego, en brazos de un soldado turco, sacudieron la conciencia del mundo. Bouckaert indicó: “Esa sigue siendo la realidad de las playas de Europa, se siguen ahogando dos Aylan Kurdi por día”.

Uno de los principales argumentos utilizados por quienes quieren negar el ingreso de refugiados sirios es que en la escena del crimen de los atentados de París se halló un pasaporte sirio, que presuntamente pertenecía a uno de los atacantes suicida, lo cual contribuye a la creencia de que yijadistas violentos pueden ingresar a Europa haciéndose pasar por refugiados.

Bouckaert explicó: “Si cerramos la puerta a estos refugiados, estaremos contribuyendo a la propaganda de victoria del ISIS. Y creo que es justamente por ese motivo que dejaron un pasaporte sirio falso en la escena de los ataques, porque les encantaría que le cerremos las puertas a la gente que está huyendo de su llamado califato islámico. Los valores estadounidenses se basan en acoger a refugiados. Nuestra herramienta más poderosa en la guerra contra el extremismo islámico son nuestros valores. No son nuestros aviones de combate ni nuestras bombas. La única forma de combatir esta brutalidad y esta barbarie es mediante nuestros valores”.

Sin embargo, la respuesta de Estados Unidos, Francia y Rusia al terrorismo es destruir la ciudad de Raqqa, considerada la capital del autodenominado Estado Islámico, pero también el lugar donde viven cientos de miles de civiles que ahora se convertirán en refugiados atemorizados que seguirán a los millones que ya han huido para darse cuenta de que no tienen un lugar a donde ir. Además, están los refugiados de países como Irak y Afganistán, personas que huyen de las guerras libradas por Estados Unidos.

Han pasado casi 400 años desde aquel primer banquete de Día de Acción de Gracias en Massachusetts. Si se permite que continúen en pie políticas xenófobas como las que amenazan con impedir el ingreso de refugiados de estas guerras, éstas se convertirán en el vergonzoso centro de mesa de las celebraciones del Día de Acción de Gracias de este año.

An explanation of God

This one was written by an 8 year old, Danny Dutton of Chula Vista, CA, for his third grade homework assignment.  The assignment was to explain God.

I just wonder if any of us could do as well???

One of God’s main jobs is making people. He makes them to replace the ones that die, so there will be enough people to take care of things on earth. He doesn’t make grown-ups, just babies. I think because they are

smaller and easier to make. That way He doesn’t have to take up His valuable time teaching them to talk and walk. He can just leave that to mothers and fathers.

God’s second most important job is listening to prayers. An

awful lot of this goes on, since some people, like preachers and things, pray at times beside bedtime. God doesn’t have time to listen to the radio or TV because of this. Because He hears everything, there must be a terrible lot of noise in His ears, unless He has thought of a way to turn it off.

God sees everything and hears everything and is everywhere which keeps Him pretty busy. So you shouldn’t go wasting His time by going over your Mom and Dad’s head asking for something they said you couldn’t have.

Atheists are people who don’t believe in God. I don’t think there

are any in Chula Vista. At least there aren’t any who come to our church.

Jesus is God’s Son. He used to do all the hard work like walking

on water and performing miracles and trying to teach the people who didn’t want to learn about God. They finally got tired of Him preaching to them and they crucified Him. But He was good and kind, like His Father and He told His Father that they didn’t know what they were doing and to forgive them and God said O.K.

His Dad [God) appreciated everything that He had done and all

His hard work on earth so He told Him He didn’t have to go out on the road anymore. He could stay in heaven. So He did. And now He helps His Dad out by listening to prayers and seeing things which are important for God to take care of and which ones He can take care of Himself without having to bother God.  Like a secretary, only more important.

You can pray anytime you want and they are sure to help you

because they got it worked out so one of them is on duty all the time.

You should always go to church on Sunday because it makes God

happy, and if there’s anybody you want to make happy, it’s God.  Don’t skip church or do something you think will be more fun like going to the beach.

This is wrong.  And besides the sun doesn’t come out at the beach until noon anyway.

If you don’t believe in God, besides being an atheist, you will

be very lonely, because your parents can’t go everywhere with you, like to camp, but God can. It is good to know He’s around you when you’re scared in the dark or when you can’t swim and you get thrown into real deep water by big kids.

But…you shouldn’t just always think of what God can do for you.

I figure God put me here and He can take me back anytime He pleases.

And…that’s why I believe in God.

111815-roberto-ruiz-pix-1Packers Proven to be Pretenders

Losing to Peyton Manning and the undefeated Denver Broncos is one thing, losing to the balanced attack of the Carolina Panthers is acceptable, but losing to the Detroit Lions at home is simply despicable.

Lacking any kind of confidence or swagger, the Green Bay Packers walked into Lambeau looking to avenge the defeats handed to them the previous two weeks. The problem with lacking confidence and swagger when walking into a contest is that you immediately get figured out. If you walk into a fight not sure if you can win, you are going to lose. It doesn’t matter if you have the best quarterback on the planet. It doesn’t matter if your running back was widely considered one of the best backs in the NFL. It doesn’t matter if your linebackers are the fear of offensive lines across the country. If you are spineless, you will lose.

This Packers team lacks a spine. Is Aaron Rodgers not the leader that he has been touted to be? Is Mike McCarthy more Marc Trestman than Vince Lombardi? Is Eddie Lacy more Ron Dayne than Jerome Bettis? Is Clay Matthews more diva than mercenary? The backbone has to come from one of those four, but currently none of them appear to be anything other than deer in the headlights.

The Packers may win just enough games to go into the playoffs but nobody wants to see more playoff losses. A Super Bowl victory is the only acceptable finish to any season that Aaron Rodgers is your starter from game one to game nineteen.

Losses are fine, they are even good in some cases, but not the way the Packers have been losing. Ronda Rousey lost on Saturday not because she was afraid of Holly Holm, but because she was overconfident. Overconfidence is a horrible trait but it is acceptable when you are the best in the world at what you do. If Rousey had walked into that fight and fought afraid, nobody would still respect her today. Nobody should still respect this Packers team.

The offense has struggled to move the ball against even the most mediocre of defenses. The defense has struggled to contain even the most mediocre of offenses. Neither of these facts is even remotely acceptable.

There are two possible ways that this season plays out: either Mike McCarthy will prove to be a much better coach than even I give him credit for, or these Packers will fall apart and there will be a mass firing at the end of this season. Tom Clements will be looking for a job at a state college while Dom Capers will wallow away into retirement. McCarthy will be lucky to be given another chance, and I expect he will with the contract he currently holds. Still, his days will be very publicly numbered.

The season of redemption has turned into the season of tumult.

I am angry. You are angry. If you are holding out hope than you better pray that the Packers are angry too.

The Milwaukee Bucks sure look fun though.

takingsidesDemocratic Milwaukee Losing Ground to Growing GOP Influence

In the last 30 years, the Democratic Party stronghold in Milwaukee has been weakening since the rise of private voucher schools. Before former Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) Superintendent Howard Fuller started the direct assault against public education in the early 1990s, and after Black leaders grew frustrated, expressing concerns that MPS was not reflecting the cultural and racial make-up of Milwaukee in the ranks of MPS.

Much of the early festering can be read in the book, “Seeds of Crisis : Public Schooling in Milwaukee Since 1920″.

On the heels of the Civil Rights movement, Black leaders began to aggressively complain in the late 1970s that Black children were not receiving an education comparable to the rest of the public schools around Wisconsin. The target of their complaint was the teacher’s union, which did not respond to demands that MPS hire more Black teachers to deal with the growing number of Black children enrolling in MPS. 

The lack of responses by MPS leaders throughout the 1980s to address the concerns of Black community leaders, who mostly were Democrats, forced leaders of the Black community to seek alternative relief, which would strengthen their resolve against teacher union indifference.

Then Governor Tommy Thompson and his GOP were eager to provide an ear for Black leaders to voice their contempt and, more importantly, gain entry into Milwaukee’s growing Black electoral voting base.

GOP Privatizes Public Dollars

In the early 1990s, Fuller was joined by then Democratic Wisconsin state Assemblyperson Annette “Polly” Williams and the push to advance private voucher schools began.

The GOP was more than happy to support their effort because they saw this as an opportunity to begin the drive to create a GOP stronghold in Milwaukee.

Establishing a GOP base in the Black community by using private voucher schools gave the GOP the opening to begin organizing in Milwaukee in order to weaken the Democratic base in the city the Democratic Party counted on for years.

Since Fuller’s departure as superintendent of MPS in 1997, the private voucher school movement has grown in Milwaukee and in doing so, the Democratic Party has slowly grown weak in the Black community. Witness the recent vote of MPS Director Wendell Harris, a long time advocate for public education, but who voted against the union opposition to a charter school being established at Pulaski High School.

Now, it seems that the GOP has found a new base in which to establish another GOP front in Milwaukee.

After more than 30 years of police brutality and unarmed Black citizens losing their lives at the hands of a majority White police department, frustrated Black leaders have once again taken to reaching out to the GOP in search of resolve.

The recent action by Black activists to charge Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm with malfeasance, neglect of duty and official misconduct, by asking Gov. Scott Walker to begin the process of removing the DA from office, is yet another GOP strategic effort to increase its presence in the city and serve revenge to Walker, who believes that Chisholm overreached in the D.A.’s John Doe investigation on Walker; in essence, killing two birds with one stone.

The Democratic Party has no one to blame but themselves for not acting and doing what needs to be done to ensure its Democratic base stays strong.

Black lives may not matter, but Black votes do.

También las guerras tienen reglas

Nadie discute que fue el ejército estadounidense el que en la madrugada del sábado 3 de octubre llevó a cabo el ataque aéreo contra un hospital de la ciudad de Kunduz, en Afganistán. El ataque contra el centro asistencial de Médicos Sin Fronteras, el Centro de Trauma de Kunduz, fue devastador y provocó la muerte de al menos 30 personas. Los pacientes de la única unidad de cuidados intensivos de la región murieron incinerados en sus camas. Integrantes del equipo médico perdieron la vida a causa de bombas de metralla que les arrancaron las extremidades. Al menos una persona fue decapitada por el impacto. Mientras la gente huía del edificio en llamas, el helicóptero de combate aéreo AC-130 de Estados Unidos los masacraba desde el aire con armas automáticas. Médicos y otros integrantes del personal hospitalario recibieron disparos cuando corrían hacia otro sector del complejo intentando ponerse a salvo.

El Centro de Trauma de Kunduz estaba en el mismo lugar, practicando miles de cirugías y brindando tratamiento a decenas de miles de personas en la sala de emergencias, desde hacía cuatro años. Médicos Sin Fronteras, conocida internacionalmente por su nombre en francés Medecins Sans Frontieres o MSF, le había proporcionado en repetidas oportunidades las coordenadas de GPS exactas del hospital a funcionarios de gobierno de Estados Unidos y de Afganistán. Jason Cone, director ejecutivo de Médicos Sin Fronteras Estados Unidos dijo en el noticiero “Democracy Now!”: “Como condición previa a la apertura del hospital, negociamos con Estados Unidos, con Afganistán y con la OTAN, así como con las fuerzas de la oposición, con el Talibán. Recibimos el apoyo de todos esos grupos para operar este hospital”. Cone continuó: “Como parte de las negociaciones se acordó que proporcionaríamos nuestras coordenadas de GPS a las distintas partes. Se las proporcionamos incluso recientemente, el 29 de septiembre. Eso fue para reforzar el hecho de que sabíamos que estaban pasando cosas. Empezaban a llevarse a cabo más bombardeos y se nos dijo que esa era la forma de garantizar la protección de nuestras instalaciones”.

El 29 de septiembre fue un día de gran importancia en Kunduz, donde se venían librando batallas por el control de la ciudad entre el Talibán y las fuerzas afganas desde el mes de abril. El 28 de septiembre, una unidad del Talibán de tan solo 500 hombres, según se informó, logró derrotar a los 7.000 soldados del Ejército Nacional Afgano allí apostados, tomando así el control de Kunduz. Fue la primera ciudad importante que el Talibán reconquistó desde el inicio de la invasión y posterior ocupación por parte de Estados Unidos en octubre de 2001, cuando los talibanes fueron expulsados del poder. Médicos Sin Fronteras sabía que la primera línea del conflicto les golpeaba la puerta y que el hospital se vería inundado por muchas víctimas más. Cone afirmó: “Este hospital estaba abierto desde hacía cuatro años. De hecho, esa noche se trataba probablemente del edificio más iluminado de toda la ciudad de Kunduz, que tiene una población de unas 300.000 personas, porque teníamos generadores funcionando esa noche. Por lo que estaba bien iluminado y resultaba fácilmente visible desde el cielo. Además, se trataba de uno de los edificios más conocidos de la zona”.

Cuando le preguntamos si el ataque constituía un crímen de guerra, Jason Cone empleó las palabras precisas de un trabajador de ayuda humanitaria: “Se ha discutido mucho si se trató o no de un error. La intencionalidad o no no es necesariamente el umbral que hay que atravesar para que constituya una grave violación del derecho humanitario internacional. Si el ejército no logra distinguir entre blancos militares y civiles, como en este caso, desde nuestro punto de vista y en función de todo aquello que sabemos, consideramos que son culpables de violar el derecho humanitario internacional”.

MSF llevó a cabo una exhaustiva investigación interna y compartió sus conclusiones con el gobierno de Estados Unidos, la OTAN y el gobierno afgano. Al día siguiente, la dieron a conocer públicamente. Cone sostuvo: “Es parte de nuestros esfuerzos para cooperar con la investigación. Pero aún así, sentimos que es necesario que se lleve a cabo una investigación independiente e imparcial del bombardeo”. MSF solicitó al gobierno estadounidense que acepte la intervención de la Comisión Humanitaria Internacional, un organismo con sede en Suiza fundado hace casi un cuarto de siglo en el marco de la Convención de Ginebra con el cometido específico de investigar posibles crímenes de guerra. Hasta la fecha, nunca se le encomendó a la mencionada comisión que realice ninguna investigación. Paralelamente, quienes perpetraron el ataque, es decir el gobierno de Estados Unidos, la OTAN y el gobierno afgano, llevan a cabo sus propias investigaciones. El pedido público de Médicos Sin Fronteras de que se lleve a cabo una investigación independiente cuenta con el apoyo de una petición mundial que hasta el momento ha sido suscrita por 500.000 personas.

Tres semanas después del ataque registrado en Kunduz, otro hospital de Médicos Sin Fronteras sufrió un ataque; esta vez en Yemen. El hospital recibió varios ataques en el transcurso de dos horas, aún cuando en el techo figuraba el logo de MSF y las coordenadas de GPS habían sido proporcionadas en múltiples oportunidades a la coalición que encabeza Arabia Saudita. Todo indica que el Ejército de Arabia Saudita lanzó el ataque, haciendo uso de los bombarderos y las armas proporcionadas por Estados Unidos.

Cone afirmó en relación con el ataque en Yemen: “Definitivamente constituye una violación al derecho humanitario y hemos estado en contacto directo con autoridades saudíes en relación a ello. Desafortunadamente, han modificado su versión en varias oportunidades. Para nosotros, se trata simplemente de reforzar el hecho de que existe la Convención de Ginebra, de que esa Convención rige las leyes de guerra. No somos ingenuos. Somos conscientes de los riesgos de trabajar en zonas de guerra. Venimos trabajando en ellas desde hace más de 40 años. Sin embargo, es necesario saber que los gobiernos continúan respetando esas reglas, porque son las reglas que nos permiten seguir enviando gente a las regiones en guerra para tratar a las víctimas”.

El horror vivido durante el ataque al hospital de Kunduz nunca abandonará a la enfermera de MSF Lajos Zoltan Jecs, que dormía en un lugar seguro dentro del hospital cuando impactaron las bombas. “Intentamos entrar a uno de los edificios en llamas. No puedo describir lo que se vivía en el interior. No hay palabras para transmitir lo terrible que era. En la Unidad de Cuidados Intensivos había seis pacientes que se estaban quemando vivos en sus camas. Vimos morir a nuestros compañeros. A nuestro farmacéutico… La noche anterior había estado hablando con él y planificando el stock y después murió ahí en nuestra oficina”, relató.

Por el momento, ninguno de los ataques contra los hospitales ha sido mencionado en los debates o foros presidenciales de Estados Unidos. Es necesario que se lleve a cabo una completa investigación de estos crímenes para hacer que los responsables rindan cuentas. Y es necesario que se lleve a cabo un profundo debate en este año de elecciones presidenciales para determinar si se permitirá que continúen perpetrándose ataques como estos que únicamente perpetúan el terror.

Checking In Today

A minister passing through his church in the middle of the day,

Decided to pause by the altar and see who had come to pray.

Just then the back door opened, a man came down the aisle,

The minister frowned as he saw the man hadn’t shaved in a while.

His shirt was kinda shabby and his coat was worn and frayed,

the man knelt, he bowed his head, then rose and walked away.

In the days that followed, each noon  time came this chap,

each time he knelt just for a moment, a lunch pail in his lap.

Well, the minister’s suspicions grew, with robbery a main fear,

He decided to stop the man and ask him, “What are you doing here?”

The old man said, he worked down the road.

Lunch was half an hour.

Lunchtime was his prayer time, for finding strength and power.

“I stay only moments, see, because the factory is so far away;

as I kneel here talking to the Lord, this is kinda what I say:







The minister feeling foolish, told Jim, that was fine.

He told the man he was welcome to come and pray just anytime.

It’s time to go, Jim smiled, said “Thanks.” He hurried to the door.

The minister knelt at the altar, he’d never done it before.

His cold heart melted, warmed with love, and met with Jesus there.

As the tears flowed, in his heart, he repeated old Jim’s prayer:







Past noon one day, the minister noticed that old Jim hadn’t come.

As more days passed without Jim, he began to worry some.

At the factory, he asked about him, learning he was ill.

The hospital staff was worried, but he’d given them a thrill.

The week that Jim was with them, brought changes in the ward.

His smiles, a joy contagious. Changed people, were his reward.

The head nurse couldn’t understand why Jim was so glad,

when no flowers, calls or cards came, not a visitor he had.

The minister stayed by his bed, he voiced the nurse’s concern:

No friends came to show they cared.  He had nowhere to turn.

Looking surprised, old Jim spoke up and with a winsome smile;

“the nurse is wrong, she couldn’t know, that in here all the while

everyday at noon He’s here, a dear friend of mine, you see,

He sits right down, takes my hand, leans over and says to me:









111115-roberto-ruiz-pix-1Packers Seek a Statement Win

When Tom Clements took over play-calling duties from Mike McCarthy before this season, many expected the juggernaut offense of the Packers to continue rolling as usual. That has hardly been the case through the first half of the regular season as the Packers have had to rely on their defense to win games as their offense continues to struggle. Three-and-outs are rare sights in Green Bay, but the Packers offense has averaged .5 yards per play less than they did last season and this has made stringing together long drives harder than expected.

Last season the Packers averaged 2.63 points and 6.12 plays per drive. This season those numbers have dropped to 2.16 and 5.46, a staggering drop considering the offensive personnel that the Packers employ. Yes, Jordy Nelson was a key cog in the offensive scheme but there is no way a receiver makes or breaks an offense.

With a slew of key division games facing the Packers in the next four weeks, it is put up or shut up time for this Packers team. If the Packers offense continues to struggle through week 12 which is a home game against Chicago, expect McCarthy to resume play-calling duties. Changing play-callers mid-season is not exactly a move that exudes confidence, but McCarthy has shown that he is one of the better offensive minds in the NFL currently and he should feel comfortable calling plays in a short amount of time. Facing a hapless Detroit Lions team in week 13 should also serve as a confidence booster for McCarthy’s first game back as play-caller.

Speaking of the hapless Lions, they visit Lambeau on Sunday and are likely expecting to walk into a meat grinder. If the Packers don’t play angry in this upcoming game, they are not Super Bowl contenders. If the Packers don’t come out and make a statement, they will not truly compete in the playoffs. What Green Bay needs to do on its home field is come out and decisively beat a team that has no business putting up a fight. A four touchdown spread shouldn’t be enough to cover this game.

However, if the Packers come out and allow the Lions to be competitive, kiss the 2015 season goodbye. Not at home, not when the Lions can’t buy a win and the Packers are supposed to be NFC contenders. Aaron Rodgers better break some obscure record for completions or something and be shown smiling on the sidelines. Eddie Lacy better make a return to the Eddie Lacy that dominates defenses, not continue this Eddie Lacy that can’t cross the line of scrimmage trend.

If this game is anything but a blowout, this column next week will not be a positive one, so be forewarned.

My prediction: Packers 35 Lions 3

takingsidesWalker’s Cup Overflows with Failure

On November 6, Walker started asking for donations to pay his debt for his failed presidential campaign. Will the Republican base and Wisconsinites dish out money from their pockets to help Walker get out of debt?

But before the GOP base starts to dig in their pockets to fill Walker’s panhandling efforts, consider the other failures Walker has cost Wisconsin. The Republican base and all Wisconsinites should consider the following facts before considering bailing out Walker.

If you bailout Walker:

You support the corruption that Walker has allowed to occur at the Wisconsin Economic Development Agency (WEDC) which has, since 2011, granted $140,000 million dollars to Walker donors in fraudulent loans and tax credits. No jobs were created;Wisconsin’s job ranking fell to 40th in the first fours year of Walker administration. You can only imagine what corruption we may not know about that Walker is seeking by continuously trying to block open records laws to prevent the public from knowing.

If you bailout Walker:

You support the attack on open records law that Walker, Fitzgerald, and Voss spearheaded and which – thanks partly to our collective outcry- was curtailed. However, Walker has continued to weaken open records law to shield himself from having to explain to the public what is being done with taxpayer money.

If you bailout Walker:

You support Wisconsin job ranking creation falling from 20th in December 2010 to 40th in December 2014. When using the unemployment rate as good news, Walker conveniently fails to mention the definition of Unemployment Rate, which does not count people who have dropped from the labor market, etc.

Walker Recently Fails Wisconsin Again

The reality about the Oscar Mayer plant closing is that Walker should have called Kraft and Heinz leadership the moment the merger was executed several months ago. Right now, it is too little too late.

What was Walker doing? Well, he was debating building a wall on the border between US and Canada or changing positions on issues so many times he did not know whether he was coming or going. Clearly, he was attempting to be the Koch Brothers and Mike Grebe’s servant in the oval office.

Walker’s failure to fulfill the promise of 250,000 jobs to the Republican base as well as all Wisconsinites, and his failure to protect the public’s money from waste and abuse is cause and reason enough to demand that he resign.

Siempre es la misma guerra

“Para comprender la naturaleza de la guerra actual —pues, a pesar del reagrupamiento que ocurre cada pocos años, siempre es la misma guerra— hay que darse cuenta en primer lugar de que esta guerra no puede ser decisiva”.

“1984”, George Orwell

Cuando Barack Obama se postuló a la presidencia por primera vez, se presentó como el candidato opositor a la guerra. Ahora, cerca del fin de su segundo mandato, las dos guerras que George W. Bush inició y Obama continuó han retomado envión y se está librando una tercera guerra en Siria. Las fuerzas armadas estadounidenses están en todas partes del mundo, lanzando ataques con aviones no tripulados en Yemen y Somalia e intensificando así la conflagración mundial. Estados Unidos está en un estado de guerra permanente.

La crisis de la guerra y las millones de personas que huyen de ese infierno ha alcanzado niveles históricos, como no ocurría desde la Segunda Guerra Mundial, y dio lugar a que las Naciones Unidas y el Comité Internacional de la Cruz Roja emitieran lo que denominaron una “advertencia conjunta sin precedentes” para que los Estados pongan fin a las guerras, respeten el derecho internacional y ayuden a los 60 millones de refugiados que quedaron sin hogar como consecuencia de los conflictos recientes.

El Secretario General de las Naciones Unidas, Ban Ki-moon, dijo: “La persistente violencia es una clara señal de que se necesita urgentemente una solución política al conflicto en Siria. El combate debe terminar ahora. No existe una solución militar para la crisis en Siria ni para ningún conflicto en otra parte del mundo. De Afganistán a la República Centroafricana, de Ucrania a Yemen, los combatientes y quienes los controlan están violando las reglas más básicas de la humanidad”.

El Presidente del Comité Internacional de la Cruz Roja, Peter Maurer, añadió: “Cuando se ignoran las leyes y los principios humanitarios, cuando las agendas políticas son más importantes que las necesidades humanitarias, cuando se niega el acceso a los heridos y los enfermos, y cuando la preocupación por la seguridad hace que se suspendan las operaciones, las personas son abandonadas, la noción de protección pierde su significado y la humanidad es pisoteada. Solicitamos a los Estados que reafirmen nuestra humanidad compartida mediante medidas concretas y cumplan con su responsabilidad de respetar y asegurar el respeto del derecho internacional humanitario”.

El pedido conjunto de estos líderes fue lanzado poco después de que el Secretario de Defensa de Estados Unidos, Ash Carter, anunciara que las fuerzas armadas de Estados Unidos intervendrían de manera directa en Irak y Siria. En una reunión informativa, el secretario de prensa de la Casa Blanca, Josh Earnest, confirmó el envío de soldados a Siria. Earnest declaró: “El Presidente adoptó la decisión de intensificar el apoyo al ofrecer el envío de un pequeño número de personal militar estadounidense de operaciones especiales para asesorar y asistir sobre el terreno a quienes luchan contra el ISIS”.

El conflicto en Siria ha pasado a tener múltiples actores internos y un número creciente de participantes externos, que libran guerras en nombre de otros con intereses contrapuestos. Estados Unidos y Rusia son algunos de esos actores, al igual que Irán y las milicias chiíes que controla, así como también sus aliados de Hezbolá. Las milicias kurdas, que cuentan con el apoyo de Estados Unidos, están siendo atacadas por Turquía, un aliado de Estados Unidos. El autodenominado Estado Islámico (ISIS) está combatiendo contra el Gobierno de Assad, pero también está luchando contra grupos vinculados con al Qaeda, como el Grupo Jorasán y el Frente al Nusra.

Andrew Bacevich, coronel retirado, catedrático de la Universidad de Boston y veterano de la Guerra de Vietnam, afirmó en el programa de noticias de Democracy Now!: “Únicamente al evaluar la dimensión total de nuestro fracaso militar en la región podremos entender el imperativo de comenzar a pensar de manera diferente nuestra política con respecto a esa región” . Andrew Bacevich añadió: “La alternativa, en mi opinión, es reconocer que hay algunas guerras que no se pueden ganar y no deberían pelearse. La posibilidad de una solución al problema debe surgir de opciones no militares”. Al igual que Bacevich, su hijo era oficial del Ejército. Murió combatiendo en Irak en 2007.

Poner fin a esta guerra cada vez más extendida es responsabilidad de todos. Cuando en 2001 el Gobierno de Bush solicitó la aprobación del Congreso para atacar Afganistán tras los atentados del 11 de septiembre, solamente un miembro del Congreso votó en contra: la representante de California Barbara Lee. “El 11 de septiembre cambió el mundo. Ahora nos acechan nuestros temores más profundos. Sin embargo, estoy convencida de que la acción militar no evitará otros actos de terrorismo internacional contra Estados Unidos”. Así habló Barbara Lee en su intervención de dos minutos ante la Cámara de Representantes. “Como dijo de manera muy elocuente un miembro del clero: ‘Al actuar, no nos convirtamos en el mal que deploramos’”.

Es mucho más difícil hacer la paz que la guerra.

Letter from Heaven

To my dearest family, some things I’d like to say.

But first of all, to let you know, that I arrived okay.

I’m writing this from heaven. Here I dwell with God above.

Here, there’s no more tears of sadness; Here is just eternal love.

Please do not be unhappy just because I’m out of sight.

Remember that I am with you every morning, noon and night.

That day I had to leave you when my life on earth was through.

God picked me up and hugged me and He said, “I welcome you.

It’s good to have you back again, you were missed while you were gone.

As for your dearest family, They’ll be here later on.

I need you here badly, you’re part of my plan.

There’s so much that we have to do, to help our mortal man.

God gave me a list of things, that he wished for me to do.

And foremost on the list, was to watch and care for you.

And when you lie in bed at night the day’s chores put to flight.

God and I are closest to you….in the middle of the night.

When you think of my life on earth, and all those loving years.

Because you are only human, they are bound to bring you tears.

But do not be afraid to cry: it does relieve the pain.

Remember there would be no flowers, unless there was some rain.

I wish that I could tell you all that God has planned.

If I were to tell you, you wouldn’t understand.

But one thing is for certain, though my life on earth is o’er.

I’m closer to you now, than I ever was before.

There are many rocky roads ahead of you and many hills to climb;

But together we can do it by taking one day at a time.

It was always my philosophy and I’d like it for you too;

That as you give unto the world, the world will give to you.

If you can help somebody who’s in sorrow and pain;

Then you can say to God at night……”My day was not in vain.”

And now I am contented….that my life was worthwhile.

Knowing as I passed along the way I made somebody smile.

So if you meet somebody who is sad and feeling low;

Just lend a hand to pick him up, as on your way you go.

When you’re walking down the street and you’ve got me on your mind;

I’m walking in your footsteps only half a step behind.

And when it’s time for you to go….from that body to be free.

Remember you’re not going…’re coming here to me.

110415-roberto-ruiz-pix-1Sanchez Predicts First Round Victory

Emmanuel Sanchez first fell in love with fighting when watching “Ultimate Fighter” on Spike TV. Sanchez had not yet envisioned becoming the submission specialist he is today, nor had he developed the mantra he currently fights by: Train hard, eat right, go out and perform. Simple words that are easier said than done, but that hasn’t stopped the 11-2 Sanchez from performing, and succeeding, on one of the biggest stages in the world.

Originally hailing from Harvard, Illinois, Sanchez has been training in the Roufusport Martial Arts Academy in Milwaukee for three years. While training in Milwaukee Sanchez has discovered a few favorite eating spots in Thai BBQ and Transfer Pizza, though he can’t indulge his cravings as often as he’d like.

Sanchez is no stranger to being thrown into a fight at the last minute. His fight on Friday, November 6th against Justin Lawrence wasn’t set until just a couple of weeks ago. Lawrence was scheduled to battle Pat Curran in his hometown for Bellator 145: “Vengeance” but Curran had to bow out with an injury.  When Bellator had to find someone on short notice, they turned to Sanchez. Sanchez had already fought before with less than three weeks of notice and he is never one to turn down a fight. He stays ready by always being at the gym, always preparing for that phone call.

Despite the short notice, Sanchez predicts that he will beat the hometown hero in the first round, hopefully by knockout. Five of Sanchez’s eleven victories have come via submission, though, and only via knockout. A first round submission would be equally satisfying, I am sure. Sanchez claims he loves to fight on short notice, though I am sure he would prefer to have time on his side, rather than fighting against him.

Sanchez has trained in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) at Roufusport, and because of that his ground fighting is his strongest style. Though he respects Lawrence’s striking and wrestling capabilities, Sanchez believes that his BJJ background will prove to be the deciding factor. BJJ is a favorite of many fighters these days, including Women’s Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey.

With only one fight remaining after this bout on his contract with Bellator, Sanchez hopes that UFC will come calling sooner rather than later. Though he made clear that he has been very fortunate to fight for Bellator, the obvious next step would be to fight for Dana White’s promotion.

Sanchez said that Lawrence needs to be eliminated, and that is exactly what he is going to do at 8 o’clock, Friday on Spike TV. Crediting the people that have helped him along the way, the support he gets from Milwaukee, and his coaches, Sanchez expects to further strengthen his record.

Will Emmanuel Sanchez overcome the short notice and the crowd and stand tall over Justin Lawrence?


takingsidesReince Priebus, Scott Walker and WEDC Scandal

Reince Priebus is currently Chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC). In recent days, he has faced pressure from within his party. Most of his critics come from supporters of the GOP presidential candidates, who recently revolted against Priebus for not negotiating properly the questions that were asked at the recent CNBC GOP presidential debate.

But that’s just part of the dilemma Priebus faces. It seems that, within GOP networks, the base is demanding answers to questions regarding questionable practices and highly suspect loans between Wisconsin Governor Walker’s Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) and company CEOs who donated to Scott Walker’s gubernatorial and presidential campaigns.

Indeed, Priebus does have a lot of explaining to do regarding Scott Walker and the corruption scandal at WEDC, where it has been demonstrated that donors to Walker’s 2010 gubernatorial  campaign received loans under highly suspect conditions and tax credits that netted no jobs being created, all this as Wisconsin’s position is plummeting in national job rankings, and economic growth failing.

Current RNC Chair in Cahoots with Walker, Grebe & WEDC?

In 2010, Reince Priebus was the Chair of the Wisconsin GOP Party, as well as an attorney at the Michael Best Friederich law firm in Madison, Wisconsin. During this time, Priebus was instrumental in helping Walker and the GOP drum up piles of cash in what some say were the “Niagara Cash” days, pointing out that there was so much money coming to Walker and the Party for simply just having an audience with him.

To be sure, one of the main duties of the state chair is fundraising for the Party, for Republican candidates and – of course — for the current failed presidential candidate, Gov. Walker. Priebus is also a protégé of Michael Grebe, CEO of the Bradley foundation, who has announced his retirement after the public failure and humiliation at the national level of the Scott Walker attempt to become President of the United States.

It should be no surprise that in mid-2011, there was a frenetic push for granting loans and tax credits to Walker donors. Hmmm…how did this come about? Well, It appears that Priebus should be questioned and go on the record as to whether or not he facilitated agreements or meetings with Michael Grebe and Scott Walker for donors to get WEDC loans and tax credits. In particular, Reince Priebus should show records that demonstrate:

1. Level of contact between him as Chair of the WI GOP and the donors who received WEDC loans and tax breaks and the context of those contacts.

2. Did he or Michael Best Friedrich sell access to Scott Walker under the pretense of legal services or lobbying? What were the services rendered?

3. After January 1, 2011, what level of contact did Reince Priebus and the donors have?

It would be nice if those logs listing who visited the governor’s mansion were found. But I’m sure Reince Priebus isn’t all too thrilled in seeing them returned from wherever they are.

Toma de la Bastilla en la cumbre sobre cambio climático de París

Jefes de gobierno de todo el mundo se reunirán en París dentro de tan solo un mes a fin de concretar un tratado para hacer frente a la amenaza global que representa el cambio climático. El cambio climático es real, va en aumento y, según el creciente consenso de los científicos, es claramente ocasionado por la actividad humana. Desde los albores de la era industrial, los seres humanos han estado vertiendo contaminantes al cielo como si la atmósfera fuera un pozo sin fondo, capaz de absorber una infinita cantidad de humo y gases. Estos gases de efecto invernadero han formado una especie de manta alrededor del planeta que retiene el calor del sol.

Las señales de la crisis se observan en todas partes: 2015 va camino a convertirse en el año más caluroso que se haya registrado. El Huracán Patricia azotó las costas de México la semana pasada. Patricia fue el huracán más intenso que se haya registrado en el hemisferio occidental. Y fue intenso no solo por su poder sino porque se formó a gran velocidad, prácticamente de un día para otro dejó de ser una tormenta tropical para transformarse en un huracán.

En el Golfo Pérsico, según informaron científicos esta semana, “es probable que ciertos centros poblados experimenten temperaturas intolerables para los seres humanos a consecuencia de crecientes concentraciones de gases de efecto invernadero generados por la actividad humana”. En otras palabras, en ciudades como Doha, en Qatar, y Dubai, en Emiratos Árabes Unidos, la temperatura durante el día será simplemente demasiado alta para que los seres humanos puedan sobrevivir afuera más de unas pocas horas. En las zonas polares, el hielo se derrite a un ritmo sin precedentes y el océano se calienta, lo que produce que el agua se expanda. Ambos fenómenos están provocando el aumento del nivel del mar, que ya afecta a pequeños países insulares como Tuvalu, Kiribati y las Islas Marshall en el océano Pacífico y las Maldivas en el océano Índico. Los científicos predicen que cientos de millones de personas se verán finalmente obligadas a abandonar las ciudades costeras del mundo.

El objetivo es limitar el aumento de la temperatura promedio del mundo en 2º Celsius o 3,8º Fahrenheit por encima de las temperaturas que se registraban antes de la era industrial. Esto exigirá cooperación a nivel mundial a una escala sin precedentes, así como la descarbonización de la economía. En otras palabras, la gente tendrá que dejar de utilizar combustibles fósiles, como carbón y petróleo, y depender de fuentes de energía renovable, como la energía solar o la eólica. Según sostienen los científicos y asesores en políticas públicas, si esta transición se lograra a tiempo, si se lograra antes de que la temperatura superase ese umbral crítico de 2º Celsius, entonces, el clima del planeta podría salvarse. Si los seres humanos dejan que las cosas continúen tal como están y no hacen nada o si toman medidas a medias, el cambio climático será irreversible y catastrófico.

Habrá mucho en juego en la cumbre sobre cambio climático de París. El encuentro es organizado por Naciones Unidas y su nombre abreviado es COP21, en referencia a la 21ª Conferencia de las Partes de la Convención Marco de Naciones Unidas sobre el Cambio Climático, o CMNUCC. El proceso se inició en la “Cumbre de la Tierra de Río”, que tuvo lugar en Río de Janeiro en 1992, y culminó con el Protocolo de Kyoto en 1997. Si bien ese fue un tratado vinculante, algunos países se negaron a ratificarlo, entre ellos, el mayor contaminante del mundo que haya existido en la historia, Estados Unidos. Esta vez, cada país hará promesas voluntarias para reducir las emisiones de gases de efecto invernadero, sin que haya manera de obligar a su cumplimiento.

¿Cómo hará Estados Unidos para transformar radicalmente su economía y deshacerse de los motores de combustión interna, el gas extraído por fracturación hidráulica y las plantas de carbón para el año 2050? El sector de los combustibles fósiles ejerce una gran influencia sobre cada nivel de gobierno en Estados Unidos, lo que torna prácticamente imposible llevar adelante cualquier tipo de cambio, inclusive un cambio gradual. Gracias a la notable cobertura de los ganadores del Premio Pulitzer, InsideClimate News y el Los Angeles Times, sabemos ahora que ExxonMobil estudiaba y comprendía el cambio climático ya en la década de 1970. A pesar de ello, Exxon ocultó sus propios hallazgos respecto a que los combustibles fósiles podrían provocar el calentamiento global, la modificación del clima y el derretimiento del hielo del Ártico.

Bill McKibben, fundador de, grupo activista que lucha contra el cambio climático, me dijo: “Se trata de uno de los más importantes, o tal vez del más importante golpe de investigación que se haya dado en décadas. La notable labor de esos periodistas merece convertirse en parte del consenso que el planeta entero deberá lograr en relación a la mayor crisis a la que se han enfrentado los seres humanos. Probablemente Exxon sea la única institución de la Tierra que podría haber ahorrado estos 25 años de falso debate que hemos mantenido en relación al cambio climático. Si en 1989, cuando Jim Hansen, de la NASA, de pie ante el Congreso, dijo ‘Sí, el planeta se está calentando’, si en ese momento Exxon hubiera dicho: ‘Saben que sí, tiene razón. Nuestros científicos, que son expertos es este tema, confirman todo lo que está diciendo. El mundo se ve ante un claro problema’. No habríamos resuelto el calentamiento global, pero estaríamos bien encaminados. No nos habríamos embarcado en un cuarto de siglo de negación y debate”. McKibben se sintió tan indignado con las revelaciones de que Exxon ya tenía información sobre el calentamiento global desde los años 70 que hace algunas semanas caminó hacia la estación de servicio de Exxon de su localidad en Vermont y obstruyó el acceso a una bomba de combustible portando un cartel que decía: “Esta bomba fue clausurada temporalmente porque Exxon mintió acerca del cambio climático”. McKibben fue arrestado, pero hasta la fecha ninguno de los directivos de Exxon ha enfrentado cargos por encubrir sus hallazgos o por mentirle al mundo entero.

Mientras los líderes del mundo se encuentren reunidos para la COP21 en Le Bourget, un imponente centro de convenciones ubicado en París, se espera que cientos de miles de personas se vuelquen a las calles. Los organizadores de la manifestación llaman a llevar a cabo acciones a nivel mundial el 28 y 29 de noviembre en demanda de un acuerdo justo, ambicioso y vinculante que haga frente y que, en definitiva, revierta el potencial catastrófico del cambio climático provocado por la actividad humana. Si los líderes fracasan, muchas personas estarán allí, listas para tomar la Bastilla.

102815-religious-pix-1Mental Illness and Suicide among Hispanics

By Cathy Rodriguez-Malave

Documentation shows that the suicide rate among Hispanics islower compared to non-Hispanic whites in the 15-19 age group. Unfortunately Hispanics are more likely to suffer from serious psychological stress when over the age of 18, according to the CDC.

While actual suicide rates are lower and even though most Hispanics are raised to believe that suicide is a sin, the idea of committing suicide and suicide attempts happen at a higher rateamong Hispanics and especially among Hispanic girls.

Why? I can only speak from my experience as a Latina.

As the first generation born in the U.S. by immigrant parents, I felt many times that things were a bit harder for me than they were for my American school mates.

I was the voice for my parents, whose limited English hinderedproper communication at appointments, grocery stores, or even school events. I felt that I had to be the voice for my parents so that they wouldn’t be taken advantage of. This was actually the case for many of my Hispanic friends as well. That is a lot of pressure for a child. In essence it was kind of like being the parent sometimes.

Assimilation to the American culture can be difficult for Hispanic families as well. Some aspects of American culture clash with Hispanic culture. I used to watch in awe, the way my American friends spoke to their parents or any adult, thinking all the while how, if that was me; I would’ve gotten a chancleta so immediately!

As a Hispanic woman I have felt a lot of pressure to keep my culture, assimilate, be the caregiver for my parents, raise children who are culturally aware, respectful and successful, be a super wife, keep my problems well-hidden and be successfuljust to name a few.

At times I felt duties overwhelmed anddepressed; there was no place to turn. After all I didn’t want someone to think that I was loca; but there is so much more to mental illness then just feeling sad or depressed.

There are many Latinos battling mental illness. We need to remove the stigma attached to mental health issues in the Latino community. We need to view mental illness as the treatable medical condition that it is.

Everybody needs some help at one point or another in their lives and we need to stand behind our friends and family and let them know that it is ok to ask for help.Feeling overwhelmed, depressed and anxious makes us human. We are perfectly imperfect beings.

Even through our vulnerabilities and imperfections, we show how strong and courageous we can be. We can never give up.

If you or someone you know is struggling with depression or thoughts of suicide please get help by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

102815-Tom-BradyBeing Undefeated Comes With Company

For the first time in NFL history the league has five undefeated teams heading into week eight. The Green Bay Packers, Denver Broncos, Cincinnati Bengals, Carolina Panthers, and New England Patriots all sport a spotless record. That number is sure to decrease this week with our Green Bay Packers heading to Denver in Sunday night’s game. In fact, the Packers have the Broncos and Panthers, both on the road, as their next two opponents, so it’s very possible that two teams will kiss their untainted records goodbye in the near future. Surprisingly, the only team that doesn’t have another undefeated team remaining on their schedule is the Cincinnati Bengals.

The Bengals aren’t the most surprising team on this list, but they haven’t done very much to get here either. Their marquee win thus far has come against the Seattle Seahawks which is proving to be easier than expected this season. None of their victories have come against teams with winning records, and despite that they’re only beating teams by an average of ten points a game. Though the Bengals have the easiest remaining schedule, their undefeated moniker will likely not last until December.

Unlike the Bengals, the Panthers are the most surprising team on this list. Cam Newton has hardly been spectacular as the leader of this team but the Panthers continue to do just enough to win. Like the Bengals, the Panthers have not had to face a team with a winning record this year, but their margin of victory is less than nine points a game. Beating on perennial punching bags like the Jacksonville Jaguars and Houston Texans will not do much to inspire confidence in your team, but they can certainly earn that confidence with a game against the Packers and two against the Falcons looming in the near future.

The Broncos are the worst undefeated team remaining in the field. Their once stellar quarterback has been below average, but their defense has been doing just enough to win games. Peyton Manning has looked every year of his age at 39 years old; he simply doesn’t have the ability to make the throws he once made. The Broncos have beaten one team with a winning record but sport a dismal six point margin of victory average this season. Their undefeated streak should come to an end this week against the Packers.

The Patriots are the crème of the crop so far this season, having beaten two teams with winning records winning by over two touchdowns a game on average. Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are clearly in a very angry state of mind after being targeted by the league this offseason, and an angry Brady and Belichick is a scary thing to go up against. Of all of the undefeated teams, the Patriots have a fairly easy remaining schedule and are the most likely to continue their undefeated ways deep into the season.

The Packers are considered the second best of the undefeated teams but they also have yet to defeat a team with a winning record. Their average margin of victory is over 10 points a game and they are actually winning games with their defense. Aaron Rodgers remains the best quarterback in the league but it is difficult to win games on offense when your three biggest weapons are hampered or sidelined with injuries. The Packers have a dangerous schedule remaining this season but if they are able to navigate it they will certainly have a ton of confidence heading into the postseason.

Packers 30 Broncos 17