Friday, July 30, 2010

Book Says Many U.S. Universities are a Waste of Money (Agreed!)

Spending as much as $250,000 on a bachelors from world-renowned U.S. universities such as Harvard University and Yale is a waste of money, a new book asserts.

"Higher Education? How Colleges Are Wasting Our Money And Failing Our Kids - And What We Can Do About It," urges parents and students to consider colleges that spend on teaching instead of sports and which encourage faculty to interact with students instead of doing research, taking sabbaticals and sitting on campus committees.

"Undergraduates are being neglected," author Andrew Hacker, who co-wrote the book with Claudia Dreifus, told Reuters in an interview.

"Higher education has become the preserve of professors ... (who) really have lost contact with the main purpose of higher education, which is the education of students."

Hacker and Dreifus are critical of many U.S. universities, noting the cost of a 4-year degree has doubled in real dollars compared to a generation ago. But education, they say, has not become twice as good as many colleges lost their focus.

Many Ivy League professors don't teach undergraduates at all and at many colleges teaching is largely farmed out to low-cost adjunct teachers, Hacker said.

And, he said, many undergraduate degrees are vocational -- from resort management to fashion merchandising -- and vast sums of money have been spent on deluxe dining and dorm facilities and state-of-the-art sports centers. As the number of administrative staff has risen, he said, $1 million annual salaries for college presidents have become common place.

"Bachelor's level vocational education is, I don't want to say a fraud, but close to it," Hacker said.
"Undergraduate business classes ... are just a charade; 19-year-olds play as if they are chief executives of General Electric. It is a waste of time and money."

Story continues here

Related:   The Best High School Valedictorian Speech (


Saturday, July 24, 2010

The French Burqa Ban

This is an excellent, very touching article written from the perspective of a Saudi woman, who expresses how she feels about the burqah, the niqab and other coverings Muslim women are expected to wear by their male controllers. 
I tell you this - I'm sure it's Muslim women; especially in countries that are the most repressive to them, who are the KEY to the spiritual transformation of Islam, that Muslim countries and the entire world need so direly.

"Kill me if you like, but you can't stop the emancipation of women!"

~Táhirih of Qazvin
  Poetess and First Woman Suffragette of Persia (c. 1817-1854)

Islam's heart has been lost for centuries, and it is underneath those oppressive black veils that She will find it!

 ~Madison Reed

The French Burqa Ban

"These are the women “choosing” to cover, brainwashed into living to die. I wish I had the power to take the choice away from them."

From A Saudi Woman's Weblog

Covering the face has been a highly emotional and politicized issue in the Muslim community for the past two decades. I have written about it before and called it the sixth pillar of Islam. It has become a false banner for Islamic piety. Islam is now reduced to a dress code. It does not matter if you lie, steal or slander your friends and neighbors, if you cover your face you are perceived by society as an untouchable religious God fearing person.

When I read that the ban has gone through the French parliament with an overwhelming majority, I was unexpectedly ecstatic about it. I don’t live in France and I don’t even to plan to visit anytime soon and yet it made me happy that women there don’t have a choice. Yes this is one area where I’m anti-choice. Covering the face is the very essence of objectifying women. With her face covered, a woman is reduced to an object that needs to be protected by a male guardian. For every woman who truly chooses of her own freewill to cover her face, there are hundreds if not thousands forced and pressured to by the religious establishment, family and society. Who would you sacrifice, that one woman who can manage to find God in something else or those hundreds, so that one can liberally  choose?

The number of  times I have heard Saudi women here, who are conditioned to believe that covering is an unquestionable issue, sigh as they watch uncovered women on TV and say لهم الدنبا ولنا الأخرة (they get the world and we get the afterlife). These are the women “choosing” to cover, brainwashed into living to die. I wish I had the power to take the choice away from them. Article continues here 

IMPORTANT Related news! 

About HRH Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal's Work in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia to Advance Women (

Saudi Cleric OK Removal of Face Covering in Anti Burqah Countries


Friday, July 23, 2010

No Apology to 1st Lieutenant Dan Choi.....!! Are You Fed up?

By Madison Reed

1st Lt. Dan Choi has been discharged for refusing U.S. military and government coercion to lie about his being a homosexual man.

Shirley Sherrod has been offered a promotion and has received a phone call apology from the President for being abused by bigots who falsely accused her of being a black racist.

Both Dan and Shirley are Americans who have stood for truth, and added to our country's integrity.

But Dan - only because he's homosexual - is the one who has lost his military career, with no apology from President Obama.  President Obama has the capacity to be a great leader.  He needs to lead and stop giving deference to the bigots.

These religio-bigots are telling all GLBT Americans to shut the f*ck up and be grateful that we haven't been incarcerated or executed, because that's what we really deserve!

They threaten us from coast to coast with their stillborn, inhuman statutes made specifically for us, backed by threats of jail time and fines, enforced by government executive powers from the federal to the local levels.

They are denying us our American God-given freedoms.

They are depriving us of our humanity and joy of life in the United States.

They are withholding recognition of our families, and are destroying our families.

They are putting our innocent, dearly loved foreign-born family members into detention prisons and deporting them into other countries; sometimes into life threatening situations.

They are overtaxing us and pushing us into poverty, loneliness, dysfunction and misery, to force us to eat our "sin of homosexuality".

They are forcing us to comply with a U.S. government sponsored and backed religion.

And finally, after endless petitions, pleas, and screams for help, the bigot-infested government of the United States is still in effect, turning a deaf ear to us - refusing to redress our grievances, and even persecuting us - for exercising this critical right guaranteed by the First Amendment to our Constitution!

The assault on Dan is an assault on me, and it is an assault on all GLBT Americans and our allies!

How many of us are FINISHED with this medieval mob?

We need President Obama and our allies in Congress to lead, now!

Related news:
Helaman Iquique Deported - U.S. Immigration Destroys Bi-National Same-Sex Couples


Saturday, July 17, 2010

Bank Of Russia's Alleged .999 Gold Coins Appear to be Mixed with Iron

Here's a head scratcher: as everyone knows from elementary chemistry courses, gold is the most inert metal in the world - it  does not rust, nor corrode. Yet this is precisely what Russian commercial precious metal trading company, International Reserve Payment System, discovered on thousands of (allegedly) 999 gold coins "St George" (pictured insert) issued by the Central Russian Bank.

The serendipitous discovery occurred after various clients of the company had requested that their gold be stored not in a safe, but in a far more secure place: "buried under an oak tree."

As the website of IRPS president German Sterligoff notes:  once buried, "the coins began to oxidize under the influence of moisture." And hence the headscratcher: nowhere in history (that we know of) does 999, and even 925 gold, oxidize, rust, stain, spot or form patinas, under any conditions.

Furthermore, as IRPS discovered, Sberbank of Russia released an internal memorandum ordering the purchase of the defective coins with the spotted appearance. Sterligoff concludes: "It should be noted that the weight and density of the rusty coins coincide with the characteristics of gold that would be expected after after conventional testing methods would reveal. We think that the experts will be interesting to determine the nature of this phenomenon." So just how "real" is 999 gold after all, either in Russia or anywhere else?

As a consequence of this discovery, IRPS decided to "rid itself of all stocks, bought up earlier from the Central Bank on behalf of investors. Investment coins "St. George The Conqueror", as well as other gold coins of the Bank of Russia, are now excluded from the company's operations until all circumstances in the case are determined." Additional, as disclosed in the interview below for Here and Now show on TVRainRu, the Russian Central Bank would buy back the coins at a price of 9,300 rubles, despite prevailing prices for the bullion at well over 10,000.

As Zero Hedge has pointed out previously, the Central Bank of Russia has been one of the biggest purchasers of gold in 2010, having bought gold every single month. It would be embarrassing if it were discovered that not only is the bank diluting the gold content once received with oxidizable materials, but subsequently passing it off for 999 proof precious metal.

And if this is happening in Russia, one wonder what trickery other Central Banks, with a far lower amount of gold in their vaults, resort to...


Friday, July 16, 2010

Taliban Lynch 8-Year-Old Boy named Delawar, to Punish Father for not Paying Tithes

By By Mohammad Ilyas Dayee

Reporting from Afghanistan, for
Institute for War & Peace

The Taleban execution of an eight-year-old boy for allegedly collaborating with coalition forces in Afghanistan’s Helmand province has caused deep anger among local residents.

The hanging of a child is seen as completely unacceptable by Afghans in the province, and contradicts the Taleban’s own rules of engagement. What is worse, it seems he was murdered not as a suspected collaborator, but because his father was unable to hand over cash that the insurgents wanted to extort from him.

Condemnation of the killing has come from religious scholars, tribal leaders and villagers in Helmand, who say this brutal act was a desperate attempt by Taleban commanders to terrorise the civilian population.

Mawlawi Mehr Del, deputy head of the Muslim clerical council in Helmand, said the extrajudicial killing in no way qualified as an execution under Islamic law.

“Islam does not permit anyone to sentence a minor to execution. It is against Islam, against shariah law,” he said. “God may be extremely upset with them. Those who do something like this are neither jihadis nor Taleban, they are enemies of human life.”

He added that the killing showed the Taleban were under great pressure in their war with coalition forces.
Eyewitnesses said the child, named Delawar, was hanged by a dozen Taleban in a garden by his home in the village of Heratian in the Sangin district. The men accused Delawar of spying for British forces.

Sangin resident, Taza Gol, 60, said the boy screamed for his parents as the militants put a rope around his neck.

“I am very scared,” he said. “Taleban executions without trial had stopped for a while but have now started again. knows how many more will be executed without trial.”

The child’s father, Abdol Qodus, who initially said that his son was killed by the Taleban, now denies this and maintains the boy was killed by “ghosts” in the garden. Abdol Qodus has declined to talk further.

Naqibollah, the boy’s grandfather, told IWPR that Abdol Qodus was now unable to leave his house for fear the Taleban would kill him for reporting his son’s murder to the authorities.

“Many innocent people have been killed by the Taleban and the foreigners, but nobody cared about them,” he said. “Maybe God will care for this oppressed nation.”

Naqibollah said the Taleban killed the boy not because they really believed he was a collaborator, but because his father was too poor to pay them the “contribution” of 600 US dollars they were trying to extort from him.

“Abdol Qodus’s relationship with the Taleban had got worse recently,” he explained. “For this reason, the Taleban asked him for money as a tithe, but he didn’t have the money. The regional Taleban commander, Hajji Malem, was upset with him and then hanged his son the next day under the pretext he was spying.”

The Alokozai tribe, to whom Delawar belonged, expressed collective anger. Tribal leaders issued a statement demanding that the Taleban provide an explanation for the boy’s death.

“If the Taleban do not have reliable evidence, then the Alokozai tribe will take a stand against the Taleban. Should they treat the Alokozai in this manner again, severe action will be taken against them,” the statement said.

Faruq Nangialai, 35, a resident of Helmand’s main town Lashkargah, spoke for many when he condemned the lynching.

“As a result of this action, people have developed an extreme hatred of the Taleban. It is a great sin to do violence to a child, to hang him. If I were a judge, I would not forgive them for this act… but would punish them severely.”

Even if the Taleban claim the right to carry out executions, Islamic law prohibits capital punishment anyone under 18. The Taleban’s own code of conduct, drawn up by the movement’s council in Quetta two years ago, clearly stipulates that no commander may order the execution of minors, and anyone disobeying this rule will face retribution.

At the time, observers saw the Taleban rulebook as an attempt to win popular support by demonstrating leniency and adherence to some kind of regulations.

A senior Taleban member, Mullah Abdol Bari, suggested that the Quetta document did not really apply in Helmand.

“The code has been changed for Helmand because the number of infidels there has increased, and the Taleban have a problem in that they don’t have the time or place to hold trials,” he said.

That, he said, meant any influential Taleban commander in Helmand was allowed to use his own discretion to pass judgement on people for spying and punish them in public.

Neither Mullah Abdol Bari nor Taleban spokesman Qari Yusuf Ahmadi was prepared to comment specifically on Delawar’s murder.

The district government chief in Sangin, Sharif Khan, said he had only heard about the hanging from media reports, but stressed that the Taleban were infamous for their cruel treatment of minors. For example, he said, the militants forced children to carry landmines past Afghan government checkpoints.

Dawud Ahmadi, spokesman for Helmand’s provincial governor, said the Taleban killed the child to scare people away from contact with the Afghan authorities and the international military forces.

“The government and the international forces have recently succeeded in establishing positive relationships with the people,” he said. “That doesn’t suit the Taleban. So by killing this child, they are intimidating people to make them distance themselves from the government and the foreign forces.”

A resident of Sangin district, Toti Shah, said he believed the murder would cost the Taleban dear in terms of local support.

“The Taleban are puppets of Pakistan, and will do anything to please their masters. I think this action has lost them the people’s support,” he said.

He also said the Afghan authorities should have tracked down the killers.

“If our officials cared about us, they would have prevented this incident. If they were unable to do so, they should have found the perpetrators,” he said.

A spokesman for the Human Rights Commission of Afghanistan, Nader Naderi, said his organisation was not yet fully informed about the incident, but it was clearly beyond the pale.

“This act by the Taleban is a crime under national and international law, and can never be acceptable. We have information that the boy was hanged in public and in the presence of other children. This was done simply to sow terror,” he said. “Via the religious scholars, we have told the Taleban on several occasions to respect human rights.”

More news about Delarwar's execution:
Taliban Executes Boy, 7, for Spying (


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Q & A Interview with Belarusian Presidential Candidate Andrei Sannikov

From the Kyiv Post

By Peter Byrne

Q & A with Belarusian presidential candidate Andrei Sannikov

Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko recently announced he will run for re-election for the third time, when he is expected to attempt to extend his 16-year autocratic presidency through a rigged vote. The election may happen as early as this fall.

A leading opponent, former deputy foreign minister, Andrei Sannikov, is predicting a surprise for Lukashenko this time. He is predicting street protests against any fraudulent election, similar to the 2004 Orange Revolution in Ukraine in which demonstrators succeeded in getting a presidential election rigged in favor of Viktor Yanukovych overturned. Viktor Yushchenko became president instead after a Dec. 26, 2004, re-vote.

Sannikov, son of a noted Belarusian art researcher, graduated from the Soviet Union’s Foreign Affairs Ministry Diplomatic Academy in Moscow in 1989. After Belarus declared independence, he advised the Belarusian diplomatic mission in Switzerland and headed the Belarusian delegation on nuclear and conventional negotiations from 1993 - 1995.

Sannikov resigned as deputy foreign minister in November 1996 in protest to a rigged national referendum to expand presidential powers. The 56-year-old former diplomat is married to Iryna Khalip, a leading Belarusian investigative journalist, who has been persecuted by law enforcement agents in Minsk for chronicling the misdeeds of the authorities.

KP: Opponents of President Viktor Yanukovych criticize the penchant of Ukrainian authorities to kowtow to Moscow. What would be Belarusian foreign policy toward Russia if you become president?

AS: Establishing normal relations with Russia is long overdue. The Russian Federation will always be Belarus' strategic partner. My main goals - a free Belarus in 2011 and Belarus in the European Union in 2016-2017 – are should be perfectly acceptable to Russian leaders, and we can discuss all issues which are of concern both to us and to Russia. The example of such a relationship is Ukraine. Russia has taken in stride Ukraine’s strategic choice of to seek closer ties with Europe. Moscow deals with a legitimately elected president who had been recognized by the international community. The Russian-Ukrainian relationship is a work in progress, and it could be the model for Belarus.

KP: No one knows when the presidential election will take place. Would you prefer the poll took place sooner or later?

AS: The sooner the better. It would be nice if they were held during the autumn, because the weather will be fine and people will take to the streets in pleasure to say “No!” to the current authorities. The election date is unimportant really because there are no [democratic] elections in Belarus. The opposition does not have access to electronic media, television and FM radio stations, and it’s naive to think new channels of information dissemination will appear. So the date of the poll really doesn’t matter. The simple fact that no one knows when the election will take place is another example of the nature of the current regime is.

KP: Do you think people will take to the street in revolt?

AS: It is not only me who thinks this. Probably for the first time a consensus has emerged among Belarus’ democratic camps that it is necessary to take to the streets in protest. We have no other way to show our protest. We don’t have newspapers. We don’t have radio. So this is the only way we can attract attention to the fact that we disagree with this regime and are not willing to live under this regime.

KP: How many opposition leaders want to become president? How does your vision of the future of Belarus differ from that of Aleksandr Milinkevych, another opposition leader.

AS: I take it as a positive sign that so many political leaders have announced their intention to run against Lukashenko for president. This means that they sense a power change is imminent. But only a few of the candidates stand a chance. In this respect, the situation is similar to what it was in Ukraine during 2004, when the only real opponent to the candidate of the authorities was Viktor Yushchenko.

My fundamental differences with Milinkevych are over a very important issue. I agree that Belarus can move forward only through dialogue within the country. But he is lobbying for dialogue between Brussels and Lukashenko, which only weakens the opposition. The effort has deprived the opposition of the chance to influence policy. We were earlier able to get democratic countries to pressure Belarusian authorities to take certain decisions, but the European Union-Luakshenko dialogue took away the opportunity. This is why Milinekvych’s position on this issue is unacceptable for me.

KP: Is there any unified position of EU leaders on Belarus and what to do? Has the reset of U.S. relations with Russia changed American policy toward Belarus?

AS: I don’t think that EU leaders will take any decision on Belarus now because the bloc is scheduled to review EU-Belarus ties during the fall. The EU bureaucratic machine grinds slowly, and if a decision has already been taken to review relations, there will be no sudden shift before the review. The EU may react to events in Belarus before then, but the bloc will take not concrete steps.

EU politicians responsible for ties with Belarusian are very disappointed by the lack of results of the Brussels-Minsk dialogue, but are probably unwilling to acknowledge their mistakes. Nevertheless, the rhetoric is changing. They aren’t afraid to say today that the dialogue has borne no results and the onslaught on civil liberties in Belarus continues. They were shocked by the recent sham of holding local elections in Belarus. They probably expected changes, but this is a naive hope that we tried to disabuse them of.

KP: What do you expect from officials in Kyiv in the upcoming months?

AS: I am waiting for officials Kyiv to signal their support for change in Belarus. I don’t see how Kyiv that declared its strategic goal to integrate with EU could support a dictator. I understand that it is probably not realistic to expect Kyiv to support democratic forces in Belarus, but our country is at a dead end with Lukashenko. If the situation persists, the interests of Belarus and Ukraine will suffer. This is why a change of leadership is necessary in Belarus, a country sorely in need of systemic economic, political and social reforms. I am waiting for government officials in Kyiv to understand this fact.

KP: A lot of attention was paid during the Ukrainian presidential election campaign to which presidential candidate would be supported by the Kremlin. The same will be true for Belarus. Which opposition candidate does Moscow support, if any?

AS: Russian support for Lukashenko over the years has been considerable – in political, international affairs, and economic terms. According to Belarusian analysts, Russia has provided Belarus with some $37 billion in subsidies over the past six years. This more three times the cost of building the “Northern Stream” natural gas pipeline, or two and a half times the price for preparing for the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.

Now, I hope, Russia is convinced that it is impossible to have a dialogue with Lukashenko. They played Union Treaty, Slavic brotherhood game with Moscow, and Lukashenko received whatever he wanted. Russia, on the other hand, received almost nothing in return.

This game was premised on agreements no one knew about, including the price for natural gas. We in Belarus are only just now learning the price for gas negotiated last year and renegotiated at the start of 2010. No one bothered to inform ordinary citizens about the details or the outcome of the talks.

These opaque relations harmed Russia more than anyone because on one hand there are some ideological, political interests and on the other concrete economic interests, including the transit of natural gas across Belarus to Europe. I hope that Russians will understand that the perpetuation of this model of relations with Belarus will slow down trade and harm economic ties, not only with Belarus, but with European countries and Ukraine.

KP: Do you really expect people in Minsk to take to protest in the streets, as they did in Ukraine in the early 2000s. Does Belarusian civil society have the capacity to sustain similar nationwide demonstrations?

AS: First of all, I am not speaking about the electing the next Belarusian president in street protests. I am talking about a popular protest against the falsification of elections. I am not revealing any secrets when I say that Belarus doesn’t have the level organization and resources, which were present on Independence Square in Kyiv.

On the other hand, Ukraine has had four presidents, while Belarus for the last 16 years has been forced to watch the same tired Lukashenko soap opera. People’s reaction to upcoming election gives me hope that Belarusians will be able to organize themselves and act in their best interests. This is something that Ukrainians achieved during the 2004 demonstrations on Independence Square. Our opposition and its supporters have fought with the regime, taking to the streets. Bystanders observed, thinking, “Well, if they succeed in achieving anything then maybe we will support them.” I want people in Belarus to join in at this early stage, because, if this happens, anything will be possible.

Kyiv Post staff writer Peter Byrne can be reached at


Human Rights Activist Aminetu Ameidan Attacked and Beaten by Moroccan Police

Moroccan police have allegedly beaten up and verbally abused a female activist from Western Sahara who claimed her right to her passport, seized by the invading Moroccan authorities, so as to be able to travel. Aminetu Ameidan was beaten on the morning of July 13 in El Aaiun, the capital of Occupied Western Sahara.  Hillary Clinton, where do you stand?  

The Saharawi human rights activist, Aminetu Ameidan, was attacked yesterday morning, July 13, by a group of Moroccan police when she demanded that her passport be handed over at the police headquarters in the Moroccan city of El Aaiun, the occupied capital of Western Sahara, informed the Association of Victims of Grave Human Rights Violations committed by the Moroccan State (AVGHRV).

According to the same source, the Saharawi activist Aminetu Ameidan suffered insults apart from physical attacks.

The ASVDH stresses that this is one more example of daily human rights violations by the Moroccan authorities in the occupied territories, where the Saharawi people are victims of their own country. They are appealing to all international organizations to intervene immediately to end this series of crimes committed by the state by Morocco against defenseless Saharawi citizens. 

Since 1975, nobody has cared about Western Sahara, while Morocco raped its women.

The Moroccan armed forces invaded Western Sahara in 1975 (the Green March), annexing it after the Spanish walked out of their last colony in northern Africa and promptly sent thousands of Moroccan citizens southwards to repopulate the territory, altering the ethnic and nationality balance.

In 1991 the UNO brokered a peace agreement between the Moroccan armed forces and the Polisario Liberation Front, under which the UNO and Morocco promised to organise a referendum on self-determination. Morocco has since blocked and stalled at every turn, defying international law. Meanwhile around 200,000 Saharawi refugees brave the stark conditions of the Algerian desert in Tindouf, across the border.

The quandary regarding the referendum is the terms under which it is organised : on the population/ethnic balance in 1975 or the current one after so many Moroccans poured southwards? 

News About Aminetu Smeidan and Her Saharawi People continues here (

See video documentary the "We are Saharawis," a history of the struggle of the Saharawi People, narrated in English, and told through the life of a young boy named Hussein.  Hussein speaks in Spanish, but it's subtitled in English.


Korean Scientists Discover Single 'FucM' Gene that Causes Heterosexuality in Female Mice

Deletion of a single gene switches the sexual orientation of female mice, causing them to engage in sexual behaviour that is typical of males. Korean researchers found that deleting the FucM gene, which encodes an enzyme called fucose mutarotase, causes masculinization of the mouse brain, so that female mice lacking the gene avoid the advances of males and try to mate with other females instead. The findings probably have little relavence to human sexual orientation, however. 

FucM is one of a family of enzymes involved in rearranging the atoms in small sugar molecules called monosaccharrides. In 2007, Chankyu Park of the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology and his colleagues reported that these rearrangements facilitate the incorporation of the monosaccharide fucose into cellular proteins. This process is one of numerous chemical modifications that are well known to regulate the function of proteins, but the biological significance of FucM function in mammals was until now unclear.

Park and his colleagues therefore created genetically engineered ("knock-out") mice lacking the FucM gene. Apart from a slight reduction in body weight, the mice seemed perfectly healthy and were no different in appearance from their normal littermates. But the researchers noticed something unusual when they put the mutant females into mating cages with normal, sexually vigorous males. Typically, the stud will approach a female, touch her body and then sniff her anal-genital region. If the female is receptive, she will invite the male to mount her, by arching her back and raising her hind quarters. But the mutant females actively avoided the advances of the males, suggesting that deletion of the FucM gene had somehow interefered with their sexual and reproductive behaviour.

In mice, sexual behaviour is mediated largely by pheromones secreted in the urine. These chemicals carry sexual signals - they enable the animals to recognize, and motivate them to approach, members of the opposite sex. Normally, females prefer the smell of male urine and vice versa, but females lacking the FucM gene were found to prefer the urine of other females to that of males, spending more time sniffing it when simultaneously presented with both. Their sexual behaviour was similar to that of males, too: they not only rejected the advances of males, but also attempted to mount and mate with other females. Nevertheless, they remained fertile - most became pregnant when forced to mate with a sexually experienced male, and the way they subsequently behaved towards their offspring was no different from normal females.

When the researchers examined the brains of the mutant females, they observed a reduction in the number of dopamine-producing cells in the anteroventral periventricular nucleus (AVPv), a part of the hypothalamus which regulates the release of hormones required for ovulation. The AVPv is known to differ in size between males and females - it is between two to four times larger in females, and contains more cells. It is smaller in females missing the FucM gene, and thus closely resembles that of normal males. The researchers therefore hypothesized that deleting the gene causes changes in brain development that masculinize the brains of the females.

They also speculated that the observed changes occur because deleting the FucM gene perturbs the function alpha-fetoprotein (AFP). AFP normally protects the female mouse brain from masculinization, by binding to and sequestering the hormone oestrogen during development, and its function is thought to be regulated by the addition and removal of fucose molecules. To test this prediction, the researchers analyzed expression levels of AFP in the mutant females, and the chemical composition of the protein circulating in their bloodstream. This revealed that AFP was present at normal levels, but that there was a significant reduction in the number of AFP molecules that had fucose attached to them.

News continues here


Jasmine flower aroma shown to be as effective as valium on laboratory mice

Laboratory tests found the fragrance and its chemical substitute dramatically calmed mice when their cage was filled with it, causing them to cease all activity and sit quietly in a corner. 

When the air was breathed in the scent molecules went from the lungs into the blood and were then transmitted to the brain.

Brain scans showed the effect on a chemical called GABA on nerve cells was enhanced by the fragrances and helped soothe, relieve anxiety and promote rest. 

Professor Hanns Hatt said the results published online in the Journal of Biological Chemistry can "be seen as evidence of a scientific basis for aromatherapy". 

His team also hope that by changing the chemical structure of the scent molecules, they can achieve even stronger effects. 

They tested hundreds of fragrances to determine their effect on GABA receptors in humans and mice and found jasmine increased the GABA effect by more than five times and acted as strongly as sedatives, sleeping pills and relaxants which can cause depression, dizziness, hypotension, muscle weakness and impaired coordination. 

Prof Hatt, of the Ruhr University in Bochum, Germany, said: "We have discovered a new class of GABA receptor modulator which can be administered parentally and through the respiratory air. 

"Applications in sedation, anxiety, excitement and aggression relieving treatment and sleep induction therapy are all imaginable." 

Jasmine is a type of essential oil widely used in aromatherapy, which was pioneered by the ancient Greeks and Egyptians. It is thought to offer various healing effects. 

Inhaling jasmine oil molecules is said to transmit messages to a brain region involved in controlling emotions.
Known as the limbic system, this brain region also influences the nervous system. 

Aromatherapy proponents suggest that essential oils may affect a number of biological factors, including heart rate, stress levels, blood pressure, breathing, and immune function. 

Jasmine oil is often touted as a natural remedy for stress, anxiety, depression, fatigue, menstrual cramps and menopausal symptoms. It is also said to act as an aphrodisiac. 

The name Jasmine is derived from the Persian yasmin which means "a gift from God" so named because of the intense fragrance of the blooms.

The news about Jasmine's calming effects continues here

Related news:
Jasmine 'as good as valium' claim
Anti-Cancer Flower Power: Researchers Combat Cancer with a Jasmine-Based Drug


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Hidden Face of Ali Hili, Founder of Iraqi LGBT

What you'll read below, reveals the hidden face of Ali Hili, founder of Iraqi LGBT. After he sent me this private email about a half hour ago, and berated me on his Facebook page, because I disagreed with him about the French ban of the full veil, he deleted my presence from his Facebook page - all because I had the audacity to support the rights of women, under attack all over the world by an intolerant and ugly form of Islam, views that he said, offended even secular Muslims.

Mr. Hili's emailed statement to me:
"Just for every islamophobic like you, you are loosing the support of secular Muslims by the way you attacking our faith, believe, and lifestyle , you never mention the killing of millions of Muslims by your governments in Palastine, Iraq , Afghanistan, Somalia and so many other part of the world, This Crusader/ Nazi movemnet is coming to an End In Sha Allah"
Although I guess I'm one of those "crusaders" as Ali sees it, the faith of my upbringing was Baha'i, a religion that emerged from Shi'ih Islam in Persia, and whose members have been persecuted and murdered by Muslims from the beginning of the Baha'i Faith's birth in the Garden of Ridvan in May 1863, in what is now Baghdad, Iraq  (See also the "Proclamation of Baha'u'llah"). I have no issue whatsoever with people because they're Muslim.  Islam is the Mother Faith of the Baha'i Faith!  My issue has been and will always be with human ignorance, fanaticism and bigotry - and it comes from many kinds of people, even from persecuted gays.

I wish the very best for Ali, and especially for all the innocent, helpless gay brothers and sisters in Iraq.

It is beyond a disgrace, that that United States and other western countries are sitting idly by, allowing innocent gay blood to flow in Iraq. And it seems deliberate to me, and follows a familiar pattern of heterosexual supremacy that turns away while we all suffer.

Where has 'Ali gotten his political, legal and financial support for gays under siege in Iraq, including for himself? All from Muslims?

I'm so finished with politics, ignorance and apathy.

Madison Reed

A Copy of the Thread that Caused Hili to go into a Rage:

Ali Hili:  The French Ban on Viel law will stigmatise Muslims in general, it ploy to attract far-right voters.Women should have the right to weather to wear it ot not, Islamophobic Sarkozi.SHAME ON France.

Madison Reed:  Ali, I don't believe the law will stigmatize Muslims anymore than anti-polygamy laws in the United States have stigmatized Mormons, anti-human sacrifice laws in India have stigmatized Hindus, or laws against burning Witches have stigmatized Christians.

Sure, for a while laws banning a full veil or burqah will thrill the right-wingers, but ultimately it will help freedom for people of faith and of no faith in France. More important than that, France's refusal to embrace a symbol of subjugation and inequality of the sexes, sends a direly needed message to societies who oppress women all over the world, that it is unacceptable.

Did you see my wall news post yesterday about the same subject? Because there is another very important issue that touches this subject; namely, citizenship and loyalty to one's country. This needs to be considered.

Ali Hili:  Madison, what about these womens right to choose to wear the viel, they French snatched away their right of choice and left hopeless with NO choice of whatsoever.
about an hour ago.

Madison Reed:  Ali, Islam never intended for women to wear a veil or burqah. This is an Arab tradition that predates the arrival of Islam, and is linked into that region's ancient, rooted fear of women's equality and freedom. I say, Muslim women all over the world should rip off their veils as one of Iran's heroine's and early followers of the Bab, Tahirih  (Qurrat'ul-'Ayn) did in the 1850's, when she said to the aghast crowd of Shi'ih men as she uncovered her face: "You can kill me as soon as you like, but you cannot stop the emancipation of women." Later, Tahireh was murdered by strangling.

I understand your point about a choice to wear a veil, but in this unusual case, putting on a simple cloth is a symbol of violence and human degradation.
about an hour ago.

Ali Hili: I have had enough of your racist disrespectful endless comment, all you do here is sending negative message about Islam and arabs. As nothing evere good comes from Islam and Arab world
about an hour ago.

Ali Hili: I have had enough of your racist disrespectful endless comment, all you do here is sending negative message about Islam and arabs. As nothing evere good comes from Islam and Arab world
about an hour ago · LikeUnlike

Ali Hili: You just don't get it do you? This is about taking away the freedom and right to choose, just like introducing a law for gay people to go straight or face fines
about an hour ago.

Madison Reed:   No Ali, it is you who don't get it. If racism is supporting the full equality, freedom and dignity of ALL women, then I am definitely a racist.

Islam IS a major problem - for you, for gay Iraqis and Iranians, for Baha'is, and for civil societies all over the world. As I said, it needs major reformation. Some Muslims are cry babies just like corrupt Catholic hypocrites who are in denial about their boy lovin' priests and cardinals. You are in denial about the monster that has been trying to devour you, and is killing our gay brothers in Iraq.  

Related news:
French Parliament Approves Ban on Face Veils  
Is France Right to Ban the Veil?
France MP's Report Backs Muslim Face Veil Ban
Calls for Burka Ban Grow in Britain as French Outlaw Islamic 'Walking Coffins'


Create a Global Prayer Circle to Heal Zhenya Sevostyanov

I just learned about a beautiful little boy named Zhenya, in Russia, who is suffering from hydrocephalus.  He needs the focused attention of millions of people all over the world, sending him their prayers and visualizations, to see him protected and his health completely restored.  Pray to guide his doctors.  His mother and grandmother need comfort too, and have asked for a miracle.

When you read this, please take a moment or moments in your day, for Zhenya.  Share this widely, to create a global prayer circle for him.

~Madison Reed

Doctors from St. Petersburg examine the boy with gigantic head, who had arrived in the city from Chelyabinsk with his mother and grandmother. The little boy, Zhenya Sevostyanov, suffers from a rare disease known as hydrocephalus.

Hydrocephalus, also known as "water on the brain", is a medical condition in which there is an abnormal accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in the ventricles, or cavities, of the brain. This may cause increased intracranial pressure inside the skull and progressive enlargement of the head, convulsion, and mental disability. Hydrocephalus can also cause death. 

Medics of Polenov’s Research Institute in St. Petersburg were expecting the child. The city’s most prominent medical specialists will examine the little boy and appoint all necessary analyses. The medics will then gather for a consultation to set the date for the important surgery. 

“I hope so much that surgeons will change the shape of my son’s skull. I don’t want to think about the worst, I am sure that such experienced doctors as they have here can work miracles,” the boy’s mother said with tears in her eyes. 

As soon as Zhenya arrived at the hospital, the boy fell asleep as soon as he was put on his bed with a special pillow, which the doctors had designed for him.
“I will live here, in the ward with my son. Doctors say that there are no contraindications to surgery. He can see and hear, which means that we have a chance,” Zhenya’s mother said.



Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Global support for regime change in Belarus grows

It’s not often that Brussels and Moscow see eye to eye on the politics of the former Soviet Union. But both want Belarussian president Alexander Lukashenko gone, preferably after elections slated for early 2011. The EU has long criticized Lukashenko for abusing opposition activists and censoring local media. Now he’s alienated his onetime great protector, Russia, as well. His unpaid gas bills to the tune of $200 million led Gazprom to briefly cut off supplies last month. He called Prime Minister Vladimir Putin “the main enemy of the Russian people,” and refused to recognize Russian-occupied Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states in defiance of Kremlin pressure. He also offered asylum to former Kyrgyz president Kurmanbek Bakiyev, whom Russia helped oust earlier this year.

Now “the Kremlin’s patience with Lukashenko has finally run out,” says Belarus opposition leader Alexander Kazulin. “Russia had invested $50 billion in Lukashenko’s regime, but he still does not behave like a loyalist.” Russian television recently aired a documentary on Lukashenko, accusing him of using death squads and of praising Hitler. More revelations could follow—and because Russian TV reaches many Belarussian homes, they could be deeply damaging to Lukashenko’s popularity.

Article continues here


Sunday, July 4, 2010

U.S. Congress moves to ban 'binational marriages' between Americans and foreign nationals

By Madison Reed

What would you do if you, an American, and your Sweetheart, from Ireland, wanted to get married, but when you applied for a marriage license you were told that binational marriages were illegal in the United States?  Then, you discovered that it was impossible to bring your Irish Sweetheart to the U.S., because the federal immigration law required you to have a marriage contract to prove that you had a family relationship?

Your only choices - if your relationship were to survive - would be to leave the United States and live together in another country that will accept both of you with your different nationalities (sometimes very difficult to do), or to resign yourselves to live apart in two different countries, forever!

Fortunately, U.S. Congress is not rushing to ban binational marriages in the United States.  But can you imagine the outrage and mass protests if the states were to outlaw them, and the federal government stood idly by and allowed binational families to be split apart - denying foreign partners entry into the United States?

But hold on and please read to the very end.  This is EXACTLY what's happening to me and my Belarusian partner Dzmitry, as well as an estimated 100,000 to 250,000 Americans who have foreign partners or spouses.

The reason this is happening to us, and why it's not causing an outcry and mass protests, is because many Americans believe it pleases God to do everything within their power to destroy the lives and families of a certain targeted group of Americans; and still other Americans don't care about us; and others ignore our suffering because it's politically expedient.  It brings them a lot of money and greater political power to keep quiet about it.  But the vast majority of Americans simply have no idea that this is happening to American Citizens like me.  So, who are we and why is this happening?  We are Americans who are NOT HETEROSEXUAL.  Our foreign-born partners and spouses are of the same-sex.

Dzmitry and I, and countless thousands of others, need the support of other Americans to stop states and the federal government from discriminating against us.  We want to marry our partners, to enjoy our lives like other families do, and to receive the social status and bundle of rights that come with the recognition of legal marriage, but most states and the federal government are singling us out, and denying us those freedoms and rights.  We would love to live happily with our foreign partners and add our combined strengths and talents to the fabric of American society, but it is illegal for us to do this.

Will you please read some of our stories and think of ways to help us?

We also have a petition at, that's asking President Obama and Congress to pass a bill called the Uniting American Families Act (H.R. 1024, S. 424), which will allow us to bring our partners to the United States.  Please click on the button below.  You'll be taken to more information about the UAFA (Uniting American Families Act) and be able to sign it.  Your letter will be sent to the President and to your members in Congress automatically.
Petitions by|Start a Petition »

Related articles:
Gay U.S. Citizens Seek to Claim Residency for Foreign Spouses (
Immigration Officials Allow Gay Couple to Reunite  (