January 4, 2017

Thank God for Coffee

Goddess of Energy and Stamina
Lady of Coffee Shops and Breakfast
Patron Goddess of coffee, tea, and other caffeinated drinks or foods

Caffeina is the Roman goddess of energy, stamina, and determination. Usually portrayed as a beautiful woman rising from a coffee cup, the goddess Caffeina gives clear thought, energy and creativity.

Here is a legend about the origins of the goddess Caffeina:

During the third century there lived a Roman nobleman named Julianus. A good and pious man, Julianus was a follower of the gods and spent a great deal of time in meditation and prayer.
A little background, this is late Roman Empire period so pagan worship had fallen out of favor with the government and worshippers were often persecuted. Consequently, Julianus prayed only at night. Often he would get so weary that he fell asleep without finishing his prayers. He prayed that the Goddess would send him a way to stay awake at night to pray.
One day while he was out for a walk Julianus met a shepherd who was surrounded by a frolicking herd of leaping and dancing sheep. Julianus had never seen sheep behave like this. Julianus asked the shepherd why the sheep were so lively. The shepherd pointed to a bush and explained that the sheep had started cavorting just after eating some of the beans growing on the bush. Julianus plucked one of the beans and popped it in his mouth. He suddenly felt so energized that he wanted to dance too! The Goddess had answered his prayers!
So Julianus boiled the beans and made a beverage from them. The drink, of course, was coffee. It was quite tasty, and he decided that he would drink it every night. Now he found it easy to stay awake to pray and meditate. He thought "This must be a miracle sent by the goddess herself."
And so began the Romans' devotion to the goddess Caffeina.
Soon Julianus became the emperor of Rome (Julianus II). Even though he had been educated as a Christian, he worked to restore the paganism.
For this reason he is often called Julianus the Apostate. Following his death in Persia in 363 A.D., no other champion of religious freedom emerged to assume leadership and the empire returned to Christianity, as the only government sanctioned religion.

The history of coffee itself I believe should be made a movie. It has espionage, romance and humor. 

December 31, 2016

Goodbye 2016

Top Reasons 2016 is one hell of a year

Brexit is an abbreviation for "British exit," which refers to the June 23, 2016, referendum whereby British citizens voted to exit the European Union. The referendum roiled global markets, including currencies, causing the British pound to fall to its lowest level in decades. UK Prime Minister David Cameron, who supported the United Kingdom remaining in the European Union, resigned on July 13 as a result. Home Secretary Theresa May, leader of the Conservative Party, became Prime Minister, who has to deal with this crisis.
Projections differ significantly over the precise economic effect, but there is a consensus that leaving would hurt Britain financially, at least in the short term. Without access to the union’s open markets, Britain would probably lose trade and investment. And while the influx of migrant workers has created anxiety over British culture and identity, losing that labor force could lead to lower productivity, slower economic growth and decreased job opportunities, a study by Britain’s National Institute of Economic and Social Research found. New trade deals could takes YEARS establish and requiring border control for the Channel and the Republic of Ireland.
The UK economy appears to have weathered the initial shock of the Brexit vote, although the value of the pound remains near a 30-year low, but opinion is sharply divided over the long-term effects of leaving the EU. Some major firms such as Easyjet and John Lewis have pointed out that the slump in sterling has increased their costs.
Britain also lost its top AAA credit rating, meaning the cost of government borrowing will be higher. But share prices have recovered from a dramatic slump in value, with both the FTSE 100 and the broader FTSE 250 index, which includes more British-based businesses, trading higher than before the referendum.
The Bank of England is hoping its decision to cut interest rates from 0.5% to 0.25% - a record low and the first cut since 2009 - will stave off recession and stimulate investment, with some economic indicators pointing to a downturn.
In November, the British High Court ruled that the government needs the Parliament's approval to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty and begin the process of withdrawing the UK from the EU. The government has said it will appeal the verdict to the Supreme Court in December. If the Supreme Court agrees with the High Court's decision, the Parliament will have to vote on whether Brexit should take place. Otherwise, Theresa May plans to trigger Article 50 at the end of March 2017.

Flint Water Crisis Continues
Work is still needs to be done for this problem.
The Flint water crisis is a drinking water contamination issue in Flint, Michigan, United States, that started in April 2014. After Flint changed its water source from treated Detroit Water and Sewerage Department water (which was sourced from Lake Huron as well as the Detroit River) to the Flint River (to which officials had failed to apply corrosion inhibitors), its drinking water had a series of problems that culminated with lead contamination, creating a serious public health danger. The Flint River water that was treated improperly caused lead from aging pipes to leach into the water supply, causing extremely elevated levels of the heavy metal neurotoxin. In Flint, between 6,000 and 12,000 children have been exposed to drinking water with high levels of lead and they may experience a range of serious health problems. Due to the change in water source, the percentage of Flint children with elevated blood-lead levels may have risen from about 2.5% in 2013 to as much as 5% in 2015. The water change is also a possible cause of an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease in the county that has killed 10 people and affected another 77.
The water disaster called attention to the problem of aging and seriously neglected water infrastructure nationwide.  The Flint crisis recalled recent lead contamination crises in the tap water in various cities, such as the lead contamination in Washington, D.C. drinking water (2001), Columbia, South Carolina (2005); Durham and Greenville, North Carolina (2006); Jackson, Mississippi (2015); and Sebring, Ohio (2015). The problem is ongoing and getting worse in some areas.
Orlando Pulse Shooting
On June 12, 2016, Omar Mateen, a 29-year-old security guard, killed 49 people and wounded 53 others in a terrorist attack/hate crime inside Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, United States. He was shot and killed by Orlando Police Department (OPD) officers after a three-hour standoff. Pulse was hosting Latin Night and most of the victims were Latino. It was both the deadliest mass shooting by a single shooter and the deadliest incident of violence against LGBT people in United States history. It was also the deadliest terrorist attack in the United States since the September 11 attacks in 2001.
In a 9-1-1 call shortly after the shooting began, Mateen swore allegiance to the leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and said the shooting was "triggered" by the U.S. killing of Abu Waheeb in Iraq the previous month. He later told a negotiator he was "out here right now" because of the American-led interventions in Iraq and in Syria, and that the negotiator should tell the United States to stop bombing ISIL.
Initial reports said Mateen may have been a patron of the nightclub and used gay dating websites and apps, but Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) officials said they have not found any credible evidence to substantiate these claims. However people who knew Mateen have speculated that he might have been gay or bisexual. A male friend of his from 2006, when the two were in police academy together, said that Mateen went to gay clubs with him and that Mateen once expressed an interest in dating him. Club-goers also recalled Mateen dancing with another man. The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) also conducted an investigation and said it found no links between ISIL and Mateen.

Record Number of Women of Color Elected to the Senate & Inspires Thousands More Women to Run For Office
The number of women of color in the Senate not only increased this past election cycle, it quadrupled, a huge stride for minority women in elected office. Illinois’ Rep. Tammy Duckworth became the first Thai-American woman elected to the Senate. California Attorney General Kamala Harris, who is black and Indian American, made history as the first Indian-American woman to be elected the Senate. And in Nevada, Catherine Cortez Masto became the first-ever Latina senator and the first woman ever elected to the Senate from her state.
Perhaps one of the most underreported and promising stories of the post-election aftermath was the surge of women who are now looking to run for public office. In the wake of the election and Clinton’s disappointing loss and in resistance to Trump, women are now stepping up to run and are supporting more female representation in politics moving forward.

Progressive Movement
What the difference between a “liberal” and a “progressive” is. The questions from the media on this subject are always something like, “Isn’t ‘progressive’ just another name for ‘liberal’ that people want to use because ‘liberal’ has become a bad word?”
The answer, in my opinion, is no - there is a fundamental difference when it comes to core economic issues. It seems to me that traditional “liberals” in our current parlance are those who focus on using taxpayer money to help better society. A “progressive” are those who focus on using government power to make large institutions play by a set of rules. Here are some examples of the progressive movement:
Progressives believe that stagnating wages perpetuate income inequality and that raising the minimum wage is a necessary step to combat inequality. If the minimum wage grew at the rate of productivity growth in the United States, it would be $21.72 an hour, nearly three times as much as the current $7.25 an hour. Popular progressives, such as socialist Bernie Sanders and Keith Ellison, have endorsed a federally mandated wage increase to $15 an hour. The movement has already seen success with its implementation in California with the passing of bill to raise the minimum wage $1 every year until reaching $15 an hour in 2021. New York workers are lobbying for similar legislation as many continue to rally for a minimum wage increase as part of the Fight for $15 movement.
Progressives began to demand stronger Wall Street regulation after deregulation and relaxed enforcement as leading to the financial crisis of 2008. Passing the Dodd-Frank financial regulatory act in 2010 provided increased oversight on financial institutions and the creation of new regulatory agencies (CFPB), but many Progressives argue its broad framework allows for financial institutions to continue taking advantage of consumers and the government. Bernie Sanders, among others, has advocated to re-implement Glass-Steagall for its stricter regulation and to break up the banks because of financial institutions' market share being concentrated in fewer corporations. Another financial crisis could be on the rise with a new president.
Are You a Progressive? This article: The Definition of a Progressive: Are You a Progressive? by Michael Schwalbe should answer your question.

For this last post of 2016 I want to say that maybe this wasn't the best year so lets hope 2017 is better for all of us. Remember, you gotta keep fighting, believing in your dreams, in what you want to achieve. Don't let other people bring you down. It's hard sometimes but you have to keep looking ahead. CARE ABOUT YOURSELF FIRST! If you don't care about yourself, then who will? Lets face it, we LGBTIQ people, have it harder than anyone else in this world, that's why you have to find the strength within you to keep standing up every day.
Also remember to NEVER take anything for granted!

I wish you all success, health, happiness and joy for this New Year!

December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas

December 21, 2016

Shine through the darkness

Happy Winter Solstice everyone! I hope these example of the Sun God from different mythos around the world would brighten your day and chase away the darkness (Trump).

Ra is a former pharaoh of the Egyptian gods and the most powerful god in existence. He has four aspects: Khepri as the morning god, Ra as the day god, Khnum as the evening god, and Atum as the afternoon god. To the ancient Egyptians, he represented light, warmth, and growth making him an important god and ruling over all the other gods, humans, etc. The myths of Ra represent the sunrise as the rebirth of the sun by the sky goddess Nut, thus attributing the concept of rebirth and renewal to Ra and strengthening his role as a creator god. Ra is a Protogenos (god that emerged directly from chaos).

Šamaš/Shamash (Sumerian Utu) is the Mesopotamian God of the Sun. He brings light and warmth to the land, allowing plants and crops to grow. At sunrise Shamash was known to emerge from his underground sleeping chamber and take a daily path across the skies. As the sun fills the entire sky with light, Shamash oversaw everything that occurred during the daytime. He thus became the god of truth, judgements and justice. Shamash also played a role in treaties, oaths and business transactions, as he could see through deceit and duplicity. As a defender of justice, the sun god also had a warrior aspect.

Mithras (Persian-Roman) the God of Soldiers, Light, Truth, and Honor who often referred to as the soldier's god.  He is the son of Ahura Mazda, Supreme God. Mithras was a popular Roman god adopted from the Persian sun god Mithra. His name is derived from the ancient Persian (Indo-Iranian) word meaning 'to bind, contract, agreement'. Mithras, also called Mitra, was popular among the military in the Roman Empire, and the Mystery Cult of Mithras was a potent religious force during the first through fourth centuries A.D.  Major rituals included bull worship and sacrifice and a communal feast amongst “brothers” which strongly appealed to Roman legionnaires.

Helios is the Titan God of the Sun.  Helios‘s duty of driving the sun chariot and shine sunlight to the world. At the end of each night his sister, rosy-fingered Eos rises from her home in the east and, mounted on a chariot, she rides to Olympus to announce the approach of her brother, Helios. Once Helios appears Eos becomes Hemera (Day) and escorts him on his travels across the sky until, becoming Hespera, she announces their safe arrival on the western shores of Ocean. Helios is the son of Hyperion and Theia, brother of Selene, the moon, and Eos, the dawn. He is married to Rhodes, a nymph daughter of Poseidon. His Roman counterpart is Sol.

Apollo (Roman) is son of Jupiter and Latona, and twin brother of Diana, and of all the divinities in the pagan world, the chief Patron and Protector of the Polite Arts, and the most eye-catching character in theology; nor unjustly, from the glorious attributes ascribed to him, for he is the God of Sunlight, Medicine, Eloquence, Music, Poetry, and Prophecy. One of Apollo's more important daily tasks is to harness his chariot with four horses and drive the Sun across the sky. The Greeks have Helios as the God of Sun and for the Roman it was Apollo.

Sol Invictus "the Unconquered Sun" is the name of a Roman sun (sol) god popular from at least the 3rd century. Before Sol Invictus came to prominence, the Romans already had a sun god, Sol Indiges, who had been worshiped since the period of the Roman Republic.

Lugh is the great Celtic God of the Sun, and was greatly skilled at many things. His name translates as "Shining One". As a Divine Jack-of-all-trades, he was patron God to all manner of craftspeople; musicians, magicians, healers, and warriors. In looks he is youthful, fair and handsome.  Lugh is a master builder, harper, poet, warrior, sorcerer, metalworker, cupbearer and physician.  It's hard to envision anything at which Lugh does not excel.  He was venerated throughout the ancient Celtic world.

Freyr of the Vanir was brother of Freya and son to Njord. He is the Norse God of the Sun, Harvest and Rain, and very popular for being the bringer of peace, prosperity, bountiful harvests and fertile marriages. After the war and the joining of the Aesir and the Vanir; Freyr is called 'Lord of the Aesir' paradoxically he was both a god of peace and a warrior god, possessing a magic sword that could emerge from its sheath on its own and spread a field with carnage and death. He is handsome, powerful, and merciful and kind, Freyr as the chief god of agriculture has control of the weather, he has the power to bring sunshine or rain to any place in Midgard, to make plants grow, thus the fertility of the earth.

Amaterasu, her name means "Great Shining Heaven" Japanese Sun Goddess, Guardian of the Japanese people and Ruler of all deities. One of her tasks was to weave sacred robes for the gods. When Amaterasu's troublesome brother Susanoo wreaked havoc on her land, she had to hide in a cave to escape the misery. He destroyed the forests, rice paddies, and the Heavenly Weaving Hall, killing Amaterasu’s favorite weaving maiden. He sealed the cave that Amaterasu was hiding in so that no sunlight could reach the earth. The gods worriedly met to plan a way to free her. After many failures to induce her to leave the cave, the lewd dancer Uzume stepped forth. She danced so that the gods all were delighted and laughed so much that the cave shook.
Amaterasu opened the door of the cave a bit to see what was going on, and asked why they would laugh in such a grim time. Uzume said that they were happy because a new, better, more beautiful sun goddess has come to replace her. Amaterasu immediately demanded to see this goddess, and was shown a mirror. She was startled and spellbound by her own reflection long enough for the gods to drag her from the cave, and so the world was light again and there was much rejoicing.

December 16, 2016

Twas The Night Before Trumpmas by Lady Bunny

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