Exorcisms Rising, Sex, war on drugs, Much More

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Exorcisms Worldwide on the Rise

Regardless of your faith, possession by spirits is found in almost every world religion. Not all believe the possessing spirits are demonic or evil.

However, according to the Catholic Church, demonic or evil spirit possession and activity are on the rise.

Unlike the exorcisms depicted in movies, some exorcisms of those possessed can take a long time to conclude.

There are degrees of possession and some people who seek exorcism are on the path of possession but haven’t completely given over their free will.

Several real life cases of possession have been documented and turned into movies.

The most recent exorcist movie based on real life events is “The Exorcism of Emily Rose”. The story was loosely based on the true story of a German woman named Anneliese Michel (1).

Anneliese was 16 when she was first diagnosed with “temporal lobe epilepsy” and by age 20 her condition had worsened. Medication no longer helped.

She and her family began to believe she was possessed and requested an exorcism intervention. She died as a result of malnutrition and dehydration. Her parents and the priests involved in her exorcism were charged with “negligent homicide” (2).

Much more on this subject found HERE.

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Wife texts husband on a cold winter’s morning:
“Windows frozen, won’t open.”

Husband texts back:
“Gently pour some lukewarm water over it
and gently tap edges with hammer.”

Wife texts back 5 minutes later:
“Computer really messed up now.”

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Let’s Talk (Frankly) About Sex

A new approach uses openness and humor to make “The Talk” less dreadful for parents and children alike.

Reasons Why I Shouldn’t Have to Go Tonight: If I wanted to talk about it, I would. / It’s my body. / It’s a waste of time. / It’s a waste of money. / I know what I need to know. / It sounds pretty stupid to me. / It’s so stereotypical because obviously I know this happens to everyone. / Considering I took the time out of my morning to write you these extremely reasonable and great reasons not to make me go (and it took forever because I can’t type very well), and the fact that I really, really, really, really .?.?. really, really, really strongly don’t want to go, please don’t send us to this horrible torture.

PLEASE DON’T MAKE ME GO. I DON’T WANT TO GO.

The plea came from Leah Likin, a fifth grader. It was addressed to her mother, who had registered both of them for a two-part course on puberty called “For Girls Only.” The missive, which included additional objections, failed: Mother took daughter anyway. But Leah had plenty of company, peers who shared her resistance, their arms crossed, their eyes downcast. Last year, the course, which is split into sessions for preteen boys and girls and held mostly in and around Seattle, and also in the Bay Area, pulled in 14,000 attendees. They heard about it from their pediatricians, or through word of mouth.

The creator of the course, Julie Metzger, has been trying for nearly three decades to turn what’s so often at best a blush-inducing experience — the “facts of life” talk — into a candid dialogue between parents and children. In the mid-1980s, she was a graduate student at the University of Washington School of Nursing when she reviewed survey data on how women had learned about menarche, or the onset of menstruation, for her master’s thesis. Most reported getting information from gym class or their mothers. “You can picture those conversations lasting from 10 seconds to 10 hours,” Metzger says. “And I thought, Wouldn’t it be interesting if you actually had a class where you sit with your parents and hear these things from someone? What if that class were fun and funny and interactive?”

Metzger, who is 56 and vigorous, with flushed cheeks and blue eyes, says she has always been comfortable talking about sexuality; her father was a urologist, her mother a nurse. “Hand me a microphone,” she says. “I get so into this topic that I can make myself cry in front of the class, and it’s real.”

Her class on puberty debuted in 1988 at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh, where she was the nurse manager of the pediatrics unit. The class was so crowded, she says, that “we had to run it twice.” That reception convinced her that there was an appetite for a forthright talk about growing up. Soon after she moved back West in 1990 — she was raised in Portland, Ore. — Metzger began offering the course at Seattle Children’s Hospital.

“Parents walk in feeling almost victimized by preteens and puberty, and my job is to utterly transform their ability to connect,” she says. “That sounds so arrogant, but I know when I walk in that room, that is my work.”

On a recent winter evening, Metzger stood at the door to the hospital auditorium and greeted every mother-daughter pair with animation, as if she’d known them for years, and told each girl to take an index card and a ballpoint pen with the name of her company, Great Conversations, on it. The first hour of each class amounts to an informative stand-up routine — Metzger sticks a sanitary pad on her shoulder to show that it won’t slip around — but the second hour is devoted to answering the girls’ questions. Metzger believes that having kids pose questions fosters intimacy and allows parents to hear for themselves what their children’s concerns are. In the first class, when the focus is on the physical changes caused by puberty, Metzger tends to be asked: Why do we have pubic hair? What does it feel like to have a growth spurt? How do I know when I’m getting my period?

Read more HERE.

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5 Brutal Ways America’s Drug War Is Punishing the Developing World

We insist that poor, drug-producing countries save us from ourselves, but at what cost to them?

Wealthy Western countries are undermining good governance and social and economic development in poor, drug-producing countries by pressuring them to enforce prohibitionist policies that exploit peasant farmers and waste millions of dollars a year on failed crop eradication and drug interdiction programs. That’s the conclusion of a recent report by the British advocacy group Health Poverty Action (HPA).

In the report, Casualties of War: How the War on Drugs is Harming the World’s Poorest, HPA shows how the West exports much of the harms of drug prohibition—violence, corruption, environmental damage—onto some of the world’s poorest societies and weakest states. In fact, the report argues, by forcing these countries to devote scarce resources to trying to keep the West from getting high, the West makes them poorer and weaker.

Whether it’s horrific prohibition-related violence in Mexico and Central America, the lack of funds for real alternative development in the coca growing areas of the Andes, or the erosion of public health services in West African countries tasked with fighting the trans-Atlantic drug trade, the policy choices imposed by these countries as conditions for receiving assistance have devastatingly deleterious consequences for local populations.

Here are five ways the report says global drug prohibition and rich countries’ insistence that poor ones fight their battles for them hurts poor countries:

1.      Disintegrated and accountable states: Corruption and conflict stemming from current drug policies undermine democracy and make governments unable to adequately provide basic services. States can’t function because they’re stuck in a losing war against cartels.

2.      Lost resources: The global cost of enforcing anti-drug policies is at least US$100 billion a year. Dealing with the violence, environmental destruction, and health impacts caused by the War on Drugs costs poor countries much more and diverts both resources and attention away from essential services.

3.      Undermined economies: By making poor countries more unstable and tying up government funding in the global drug war, current policies sabotage economic growth and worsen inequality.

4.      Inequality: The War on Drugs disproportionately affects the poor, further marginalizing vulnerable populations and undermining efforts towards social and economic justice.

5.      Poor health: Current drug policies exacerbate health harms such as HIV and hepatitis, and have a serious impact on the social and economic determinants of health.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Although changing the international drug prohibition regime is a glacially-paced ongoing project, the pace of change is picking up. The next UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on Drugs is set for next year, and the prohibitionist consensus is crumbling. Perhaps one of these years, we will arrive at a better, less damaging, way of dealing with the global trade in mind-altering substances.

Found this HERE.

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Beans Bred to Beat Baking Climate

Scientists have bred 30 new varieties of “heat-beating” beans designed to provide protein for the world’s poor in the face of global warming, researchers announced on Wednesday.

Described as “meat of the poor”, beans are a key food source for more than 400 million people across the developing world, but the area suitable for growing them could drop 50 percent by 2050 because of global warming, endangering tens of millions of lives, scientists said.

“Small farmers around the world are living on the edge even during the best situation,” Steve Beebe, a senior bean researcher told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“Climate change will force many to go hungry, or throw in the towel, sell their land and move into urban slums if they don’t get support.”

Many of the new varieties, bred to resist droughts and higher temperatures, put traits from less popular strains, such as the tepary bean, into pinto, black, white and kidney beans.

Beebe said the new varieties were bred through traditional crossing of different species, rather than more controversial genetic engineering whereby traits are artificially transferred.

Much more to read HERE.

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