Gay Military Couple On Spousal Benefits For Same-Sex Partners After ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Repeal (VIDEO)

Good News – The Huffington Post
Gay Military Couple On Spousal Benefits For Same-Sex Partners After ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Repeal (VIDEO)
The U.S. Department of Defense released a heartwarming video Sept. 25 depicting the lived impact of the recent extension of spousal and family benefits to same-sex military couples.

In the above video, Senior Chief Dwayne Beebe-Franqui and Jonathan Beebe-Franqui discuss both the symbolic and tangible importance of being able to apply for a military ID card as the same-sex spouse of an official, and the changing perception of same-sex relationships in the U.S. military since the 2011 repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

“This is a huge step forward, because if you look at history every advancement in human rights for people started in the military… really what it boils down to is that we’re taking care of families, and the service member can go protect this country and do what they need to do,” the couple noted.

Check out the video above for not only the interview with the Beebe-Franquis, but pictures of other same-sex military couples following the extension of full benefits to gay and lesbian military families.

Firefighter Rescues A Kitten From A Burning House, Catches It All On A GoPro Camera (VIDEO)
This video will definitely restore your faith in humanity.

The dramatic rescue was shot with a GoPro camera strapped to firefighter Cory Kalanick as he was responding to a call in Fresno, Calif. In the video, Kalanick spots an unconscious kitten lying amid a burned, smoke filled room and immediately takes it to safety and resuscitates him.

The little fellow was later given the name “Lucky.”

The Humane Society of the United States strongly recommends you make a disaster plan for both you and your pets in the case of an emergency. Simple steps include IDing your pet, creating a disaster kit with both human and animal inclusions, and of course, taking your pet with you should you evacuate.

Take a look at Kalanick’s original rescue video below:

ScienceDaily: Dieting and Weight Control News
Eating fish, nuts may not help thinking skills after all
Contrary to earlier studies, new research suggests that omega-3 fatty acids may not benefit thinking skills. Omega-3s are found in fatty fish such as salmon and in nuts.

GPS for the Soul – The Huffington Post
Social Experiment Reveals The World’s Most Honest Cities (VIDEO)
Looking for the world’s most honest city? You may need to go outside the U.S.

Reader’s Digest recently conducted a “Lost Wallet” Test to find which cities around the world had the highest return rates. Reporters dropped 12 wallets in 16 different cities, each containing a card with a name and phone number, a family photo and $50. The city of Helsinki in Finland was named the most honest city, with 11 of the 12 lost wallets returned.

New York City tied with Budapest, Hungary, as the next most honest city, with eight of the 12 dropped wallets being turned in. Libson, Portugal, was the least honest city, with only one wallet returned to its owner by a tourist.

Watch the video clip above to learn more about the social experiment, and head over to Reader’s Digest to learn more.

For more on The Third Metric, click here.

You’re Only as Good as Your Last Tweet
It wasn’t so long ago that the expression you’d hear was: “You’re only as good as your last press.” That was a nifty way of moving along to make sure the next press you put out there was bigger and better. However, we don’t live in that realm of media now because social media has changed all that. In today’s world, as I always say, you are only as good as your last tweet because too many tweets are streaming through thousands of windows and accounts. There is no way to keep up this pressure without exploding and people eventually do explode. That’s when we get the rage on the page.

So what do we do about this? How do we manage to make ourselves felt with that one important post long enough to sustain a career of them? From my perspective I would say that you don’t because you simply can’t. There is competition at every turn and judgment follows, pro and con. We become so busy with the judgment that we don’t realize that we are more involved in the race than we were are about our role in the big picture. My suggestion is simple and outlined below. It might make a difference in how well you accomplish what you set out to with that tweet. After all, you designed it so that your intention can be felt and afford you the awareness of making real connections, rather than streams of strangers who actually skip over your tweets and posts.

When composing your tweet, be clear and concise and use hashtags that that will directly reflect your message. Make your own up to create a larger following.

Don’t just post tweets to people you don’t know unless they can directly use your information; that includes celebrities.

Know your audience and familiarize yourself with your followers and friends in social media. Communicate with them in personal ways to indicate that you have a real connection and not just one that you are using to tweet to numbers.

Remember there are real people receiving and posting messages. Take the time to get to know them and you will be making friends in your business and personal life. These are the people you can actually bond with that can make a difference to your days and the time you take to be on social media sites.

I have one “don’t” on my list. Don’t spam by retweeting everything and anything. If it does not serve a positive purpose, then think twice about posting because you always want to leave your followers with positive energy so that you always create more in life.

Drama as a Distraction
When we have a lot of drama in our lives, it’s because we aren’t looking within or being mindful of our circumstances.

It’s a form of denial. If I’m doing something purposely or unconsciously to get attention, I’m creating drama.

If I meet someone who rescues me from my drama, they will sooner or later go from rescuer to perpetrator. If I hand them all of my problems, allowing them to rescue me and still continue to treat my life in the same way… drama will follow. Instead of playing alone in the sandbox, we’ve now invited another person to play along with us. That is until we take ourselves in hand and grow up! We decide dressing up and playing victim, persecutor and rescuer is just not fun anymore!

Most relationships that are worthy of a soap opera or a dramatic miniseries have the individuals playing a role unconsciously, as they traipse around that drama triangle.

If I get involved with someone through a mutual case of loneliness, the relationship will eventually end in mutual loneliness.

Truly, after we’re done saving each other from being alone… what truth will we share?

We will create drama as the bond to keep us together.

When we wrap ourselves in a big bow, so we can pretend to be the perfect gift for our mate, we will eventually once again… create drama. Not being real, whether we’re normally the center of attention, or the quiet one is not a way to forge a true bond, eventually the real us will come right out!!

Drama comes along, because just as quick as one mask comes off, another one is created to sustain the relationship and yet, it won’t stop the drama.

Whatever is inauthentic in us that we bring into a relationship will come out as drama at some point. When we pay no awareness to our truth and live in a fantasy, then drama is a fundamental basis of connection in the relationship.

Once the honeymoon phase is over, we can expect drama if we weren’t paying attention to how we felt around this person. Meaning, if our focus was on a few good qualities that we so desperately wanted this person to fit, but we missed the flicker of anxiety every time he was rude to the waiter, then we can be assured drama will be a top priority.

Drama comes up in all sorts of way, when we practice no self-awareness and expect the other person to be our awareness. We want them to make us happy, and do all the heavy lifting associated with creating trust. This dooms the relationship to failure, because no one can do this for us. If we try to give responsibility of our emotional state to someone else, we can expect to be disappointed. It’s a perfect opportunity for more drama!

Insecurities that remain unchecked, create drama.

If we meet someone and we’re lonely, unhappy, fearful or in some insecure state, which indicates we’re not connected to ourselves… we can expect the same to be mirrored back to us by our partner in the future. The individual we draw into our drama usually shares the same unconscious way of operating in relationships.

Even so, drama is never about the other person. It’s about what we believe we’re supposed to receive and didn’t, whether it is a gesture, a word, an object or action. We feel let down and therefore entitled to create a hailstorm.

We create drama to keep everyone engaged in the soap opera. We do it out of fear. Fear of rejection, fear of loss, or even fear of being found out! We’d rather hide behind the curtain than be who we really are when we’re creating dramatic distractions.

We do it so we have to be rescued from ourselves. We do it maintain a distance, to survive, because we’re completely disconnected from loving ourselves. Those who join us on this stage love the opportunity to also dismiss their problems and jump right into helping us create drama. This way we both stay completely unaware of what is really going on for each of us as individuals. It’s an awesome match!

How do we stop the drama?

It starts with getting real. If we take a journey inside, we can find out what the impetus is for us to be the drama starter. We can understand why we need the attention and heightened sense of care we desperately cannot give to ourselves.

When we know why we feel needy, we’ll know why we create all the distractions, arguments and crazy making. We’ll see how we’ve been seeking outside of us, what we think we can’t fulfill within us.

If we really want to stop the drama pattern and get off the triangle, we should take some time to be alone and really, deal with our feelings and the anxiety they provoke. Shining the light of awareness inside of our emotions can bring us far more peace than being engaged in drama. Being rescued from our self-made dramas, doesn’t allow us to grow. It keeps us stuck in our childhood patterns, where we needed attention and drama is how we got it!

Healthy Living – The Huffington Post
How Technology Has Made Parenting Harder
By: By Tia Ghose, Staff Writer

Published: 09/25/2013 07:59 AM EDT on LiveScience

Cellphones, tablets, video games and computers — the average youngster has logged thousands of hours on digital technologies by the time they leave home.

And all these technologies have changed the way parents do their jobs.

Though digital technology allows parents to entertain or keep tabs on their youngsters, for the most part, all of these apps and websites have created more decisions, more research (to figure out what’s kid-friendly and what’s not) and more rules to negotiate with their children, often on the fly, media researchers say.

In many ways, digital technologies have made parenting harder, experts say. [10 Scientific Tips for Raising Happy Kids]

No parent replacement

Although it may seem like parents are increasingly using technology as a babysitter, that’s not true for most parents, said Alexis Lauricella, a researcher at the Center on Media and Human Development at Northwestern University in Illinois.

“We felt like we kept seeing iPads at every restaurant we went out to with every young child,” Lauricella told LiveScience. “We wondered: Was that really the case? Are parents just forking over an iPad to keep kids quiet?”

So Lauricella and her colleagues asked about 2,300 parents about their strategies surrounding parenting and digital parenting.

About 70 percent of parents said that smartphones and tablets didn’t make parenting any easier, according to the June 2013 survey.

About 37 percent of parents said they’re likely to turn to a smartphone or tablet to distract kids while cooking dinner, and 17 percent said they had relied on tablets or other mobile devices to placate an upset child. More often, parents used technology as carrot or stick: either as punishment for bad behavior or a reward for good behavior.

Kid tracking

The advent of technology has also allowed parents to track their children in various ways. Whether it’s GPS phone tracking to keep up with their kids’ whereabouts or Internet monitoring, more and more parents use digital technology to keep up with their youngsters, said Lynn Schofield Clark, a media studies researcher at the University of Denver and the author of “The Parent App: Understanding Families in the Digital Age,” (Oxford University Press, 2012).

For some parents, keeping up with schoolwork may be the most tempting mode of surveillance. No longer do parents have to rely on children to bring home their report cards.

“Now, it’s possible for parents to log on and see all of what’s happening with their kids’ school assignments, and that’s from kindergarten up through high school,” Schofield Clark told LiveScience. “It makes it possible for parents to engage in helicopter parenting.”

More decisions

The biggest difference, however, may be how many more decisions come with digital parenting.

Before the digital age, parents may have set kids loose on their bikes and given them a few rules: “Don’t talk to strangers, and be back by dinnertime.”

Nowadays, children burn hours playing mobile games or posting pictures on Facebook.

Making sure kids stay safe online now means navigating myriad apps, social websites and games — and possibly coming up with different rules for each of them. [Tech Tantrums: 6 Things Parents Need to Know]

“There really are a lot more options, which means parents have to dig into them a little bit more,” Lauricella said. “Growing up, we had a PBS station — and that’s basically what my parents considered good television, and that’s what we were allowed to watch. It’s not that easy anymore.”

Dangers lurking

Sometimes, the consequences of not creating Web safety for children may be dire.

Twelve-year-old Rebecca Ann Sedwick committed suicide earlier this month after being bullied relentlessly online. Though the Florida girl changed schools and her mother deleted her Facebook account, the young preteen downloaded newer apps that her mother didn’t know about, such as ask.fm, Kik and voxer, and the bullying followed her there.

Most of the time, however, the risks associated with digital technologies are much more mundane — the worry that children won’t learn moderation or good manners, or will fall behind on their homework because they’re spending so much time on social media.

Making parenting even harder is that there aren’t universally agreed-upon social rules governing technology use, Schofield Clark said.

For instance, is it rude or clever to hand a child an iPad in a restaurant to keep him or her quiet? Is it acceptable for children to talk on a cellphone as soon as they get home from school, or should they first greet their parents and describe their day? Are children obligated to pick up phone calls from their parents?

“There are some things now that parents and young people have to negotiate that they didn’t before,” Schofield Clark said.

Follow Tia Ghose on Twitterand Google+. Follow LiveScience @livescience, Facebook & Google+. Original article on LiveScience.

7 Ways to Short-Circuit Kids’ Mobile Addiction 9 Odd Ways Your Tech Devices May Injure You 10 Gadgets and Apps to Keep Your Kids Safe Copyright 2013 LiveScience, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. ]]>

Green – The Huffington Post
At Former Citrus Farm In Fellsmere, Florida, National Elephant Center Opens For Displaced Pachyderms
FELLSMERE, Fla. — Forget peanuts. In the heart of Florida’s citrus grove region, it’s the oranges elephants are after.

At the newly opened National Elephant Center in Fellsmere, Fla., the pachyderms have discovered how to pluck the fruit from the trees with their trunks and pop it into their mouths. Fresh Valencia oranges are not the only thing that makes the 200-acre center unique. It is also the only such site operated by the U.S. zoo community to house displaced elephants.

The center is open to two categories of the mammoth mammals: those sent for a limited stay by zoos that need to temporarily free up space for renovations or breeding; and elephants that need a permanent home when their previous institutional or private owners can no longer care for them.

The center’s primary goal is to ensure the elephant’s long-term survival. The animal is listed as endangered, or at high risk of extinction, in Asia, and vulnerable in Africa.

“There’s an estimate that maybe 10 percent of the entire African elephant population was poached for ivory last year,” John Lehnhardt said. “Give that 10 or 15 years, and there may be nothing left.”

Currently residing at the center are four African elephants whose permanent home is Disney’s Animal Kingdom, located about an hour north of the refuge.

Moyo, a 32-year-old female with only one tusk, was the first to discover and appreciate the oranges. She is accompanied by her calves, 10-year-old Tufani and 5-year-old Tsavo; and Thandi, a 33-year-old female affectionately known as the group’s “auntie.”

Tufani is starting to grow up and the older females are trying to move him out of the group, which typically only includes females and calves. Adult males live alone and the center is set up to help him in that rite of passage.

“It’s a good place for transitioning for this young boy from his family group” while still allowing him to be close to them, Lehnhardt said. “They need to go out there and compete with other males. Learn the hierarchy.”

The family spends most of its days roaming a 25-acre patch that includes a pond and muddy area.

Lehnhardt, who has worked with elephants for four decades at Disney and elsewhere, says he hopes eventually to take advantage of the site’s full 225 acres, which he envisions with an education center and five barns to house up to a dozen elephants or more.

“A lot more elephants could live here and live here very well,” he said.

The land was leased in September 2011 from a private citrus grove for 40 years at $1 a year. That allows for the bulk of funding, which comes mostly from roughly 70 zoos, to cover construction costs estimated at least $2.4 million, and operating costs that reach about $50,000 a month. Most of the operating expenses pay for supplemental food for the elephants, although the property provides roughly 100 different varieties of plants, almost all of which are edible. The elephants are foraging on them as they would in the wild.

The center’s board of directors originally set their sights on a larger, 326-acre parcel in St. Lucie County, but the county wanted to impose limits on the number of elephants on site and require a pledge from the center that it would not use bull hooks on the animals. The hooks look like pokers and are used in some circuses to train and discipline elephants.

The center did not make that commitment to get the St. Lucie property but now has in Fellsmere. No bull hooks were seen on the property during a recent visit.

The elephants arrived in May – peak orange season – and Lehnhardt says Moyo was the first to discover the fruit. Smelling the trees, she tried to grab one that kept getting away from her. Finally, she sucked the orange with the end of her trunk and put it in her mouth.

“Then you saw her go, `Oh my God,’ and she started grabbing and shoving oranges down her mouth as fast as she could,” Lehnhardt said. Moyo and her companions roamed from row to row, feeding on roughly 300 oranges each a day, until not a single one remained. Come next spring, they’ll be at it again.

“We were surprised about that because generally citrus hasn’t been something you feed elephants,” said John Lehnhardt, the center’s volunteer executive director. “We didn’t think they would be all that excited, but they discovered how to pick the oranges themselves.”

On a recent morning visit, the elephants were called from the habitat to the barn for a bath and medical checkup. Each elephant was brought in separately, through moving steel bars and gates resembling a maze. Jeff Bolling, the center’s chief operations officer, held a bucket of food – some elephants were given bite-size Twizzlers – while using a clicker to reinforce their good behavior. All were fed pellet-sized bites of manufactured grain made specifically for elephants.

“Good. Steady. Good job,” Bolling told Thandi as she turned to get her other side washed. Bolling has worked with her for 15 years at Disney and the two know each other well. She allowed Bolling to scratch her tongue and throw food in her mouth. “You’re a good girl,” he told her as her worn-out tusks knocked on the steel bars, creating a ringing sound that drowned out the sound of the clicker.

With the other elephants, particularly troublemaker Tufani, the caretakers distance themselves at trunk’s length for safety, even though both Lenhhardt and Bolling were at Animal Kingdom in Orlando when he was born.

Disney will eventually decide whether to take the elephants back, leave them at the center indefinitely or break up the group and send them to other institutions. The situation has drawn some criticism from other animal welfare groups, which say the elephants shouldn’t be moved frequently.

“That’s really like a revolving door for the elephants,” said Catherine Doyle, director of science, research and advocacy for the Performing Animal Welfare Society in northern California. The eight Asian and African elephants at her sanctuary are there indefinitely.

“If you are really trying to do what’s right for an elephant, you would be providing a lifelong home for these animals and you would be trying to establish larger social groups that were stable and permanent.”

Some advocates say that if the center starts offering lifelong care for the animals, it could fulfill a need in North America for a place where elephants’ health can be monitored and the elderly and neglected properly cared for.

“They would be perfect candidates to retire there,” said Nick Atwood, campaigns coordinator with Animal Rights Foundation of Florida.

The center’s directors have considered also welcoming other threatened and endangered animals, such as rhinos. For now, though, the focus will remain on elephants.

“This is my retirement giveback to elephants,” Lehnhardt said, a way to help a species that “was very kind to me over 37 years.”

“They are going to have to carry me out in a box,” Lehnhardt, 65, said, his voice cracking. “And that day will be great. It would have been very worth it.”

____

Follow Suzette Laboy on Twitter: https://twitter.com/SuzetteLaboy

Farm Bill Could Overturn Dozens of State Laws. Why Does Tea Party Darling Steve King Want to Centralize Power in Washington?
Although the House and Senate have now passed competing versions of the Farm Bill, and although the Senate appointed conferees before the Congress’ August recess, the House has yet to do so.

Nevertheless, the buzz from Capitol Hill is that farm state members are pushing for passage of a new Farm Bill, if not before last year’s extension expires on Monday (unlikely but not entirely impossible), at least before most of the provisions expire at year’s end.

One provision of the Farm Bill that should be rejected by everyone who cares about consumer safety, animal protection, the environment, workers’ rights, or federalism is the amendment proposed by Iowa Rep. Steve King and passed by the House with no discussion.

The “King Amendment” (Sec. 11312 of H.R. 2642) dictates that “the government of a State or locality therein shall not impose a standard or condition on the production or manufacture of any agricultural product sold or offered for sale in interstate commerce if (1) such production or manufacture occurs in another State; and (2) the standard or condition is in addition to the standards and conditions applicable to such production or manufacture pursuant to (A) Federal law; and (B) the laws of the State and locality in which such production or manufacture occurs.”

In simpler terms: King’s amendment will create a race to the regulatory bottom on issues from consumer protection to fire safety to animal welfare by dictating that no state can require any condition on the sale of any agricultural product that falls even one step above that of the least restrictive state. Despite states’ clear interest and longstanding authority in these areas, Steve King thinks that the federal government knows best and should tell Iowa, Mississippi, Oklahoma and all other states what they can and can’t do.

It’s worth noting that Rep. King is a darling of the Tea Party who claims to support states’ rights and local governance. So it’s curious that his most high-profile legislative effort is focused on consolidating power in the federal government to a degree that would make members of the Politburo proud.

A letter from more than 150 House members to agricultural committee ranking member Collin Peterson explains that King’s provision “has the potential to repeal a vast array of state laws and regulations covering everything from food safety to environmental protection to child labor to animal welfare. For example, labeling and other rules for products and ingredients such as artificial sweeteners, maple syrup, milk fat, farm-raised fish, tobacco, and additives in alcohol could be swept away, as could restrictions on import of firewood carrying invasive pests, rules on pesticide exposure and lagoon siting, safety standards for farm workers handling dangerous equipment, and laws restricting practices such as the killing of sharks for their fins and the sale of dog and cat meat.”

Two statutes that we’re especially concerned about at Farm Sanctuary are the bipartisan laws we helped to pass in California that protect ducks, hens, pigs, and calves.

First, in 2004 the California legislature overwhelmingly passed, and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed, a law that makes it illegal to “force feed a bird for the purpose of enlarging the bird’s liver beyond normal size.” The target of the law is foie gras, the production of which is illegal in dozens of countries and is condemned by every animal protection organization of which I’m aware, from the World Society for the Protection of Animals to the Humane Society of the United States.

The product is so cruel to ducks that death rates skyrocket by 10 to 20 times during force-feeding, and all of the animals become sick and lethargic. The Chair of the Democratic Party of California, John Burton, explained that “ramming food down a duck’s throat to make a gourmet item known as foie gras is not only unnecessary, it’s inhumane.”

Second, in 2008, California voters banned confinement systems for hens, pregnant pigs, and calves that prevent the animals from being able to turn around or fully extend their limbs.

These systems, which destroy the animals’ minds and bodies, are among the cruelest of all factory farming abuses. We spent significant resources, and countless staff and volunteer hours, putting the measure on the ballot and encouraging California voters to support it. The measure garnered more votes than any other in California ballot history to that point and was supported by a majority of voters in every demographic.

King’s Amendment could nullify (or at least render toothless) both of these democratically enacted laws and, according to the House sign-on letter, an “untold number of [other] duly-enacted state laws and regulations affecting agricultural Production.”

Members of Congress who care about the environment, animals, or consumers should oppose the King Amendment because of the horrible effect the law will have on these interests. The broad reach of the law explains why more than 85 consumer, labor, environmental, and animal protection organizations have signed a letter that was delivered to every member of congress decrying King’s anti-democratic effort to consolidate power in Washington.

Members of Congress who care about states’ rights, smaller federal government, and localized decision-making should join in the effort to remove the King Amendment from the final version of the Farm Bill, both because of the radical trampling of the traditional powers of the states to regulate important issues that impact its citizens, and for the precedent such overreach will set. Because of its broad reach, King’s amendment is opposed by groups and individuals ranging from the National Conference of State Legislators and the Fraternal Order of Police to the Humane Society of the United States and the League of Conservation Voters–

#alkalinity #alkalinitymovement #7.2 #sevenpointtwo

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