I've been a Wiccan for over 18 years.
*2010 : 80 books*
*2011 : 91 books*
*2012 : 196 books*
*2013 : 185 books*
I loved the book, I gave it 5 stars and wish I could've given it more. To me this series is one of my 6 favorite heroine series.*
1. Jane Yellowrock series by Faith Hunter
2. Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs
3. Elemental Assassin series by Jennifer Estep
4. Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series by Laurell K. Hamilton
5. Kitty Norville series by Carrie Vaughn
6. Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews
- Host of The Helping Wiccan
By by German Lopez | July 1, 2015
After the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states, a hardware store in Grainger County, Tennessee, put up a sign with a terrible message: "No gays allowed." And while this might seem abhorrent to most people, it turns out that it's totally legal.
Jeff Amyx, a baptist minister who owns Amyx Hardware & Roofing Supplies, told WBIR 10 News that he put up the sign because he's religiously opposed to gay and lesbian couples, and that he has no intent of taking the sign down.
The storeowner's actions invoke memories of similar signs that were used in the South prior to the Civil Rights Movement to enforce segregation, which is now illegal under federal law. But unlike discrimination against black people and other racial minorities, this type of discrimination against gay and lesbian people is totally legal — not just in Tennessee, but most other states in the US.
31 states don't ban discrimination against sexual orientation or gender identity
Thirty-one states lack civil rights laws that would ban discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in the workplace, housing, or public accommodations (hotels, stores, and other places that serve the general public).
As a result, more than half of LGBTQ Americans, according to the LGBTQ advocacy group Movement Advancement Project, live in a state where, under state law, an employer can legally fire someone because he's gay, a landlord can legally evict someone because she's lesbian, and a hotel manager can legally deny service to someone who's transgender — for no reason other than the person's sexual orientation or gender identity.
Currently, 19 states ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, while three additional states ban discrimination based on sexual orientation. Some other states protect public but not private employees from discrimination. Many municipalities have nondiscrimination laws that only apply within their local borders, even in states that don't have such laws. And some companies prohibit discrimination in their own policies.
The protections can further vary from state to state. Massachusetts's protections for gender identity and Utah's protections for sexual orientation and gender identity don't apply to public accommodations. Some states also include exemptions for discrimination based on religious grounds. Enforcement varies, as well: Depending on the state, private lawsuits, fines, and jail time are all possible forms of punishment for discrimination.
These nondiscrimination protections build on existing federal and state laws — most notably the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Fair Housing Act, which protect people from discrimination based on their race, color, national origin, religion, and sex. (Some LGBTQ advocates argue that legal prohibitions against sex discrimination already protect LGBTQ people. But that interpretation hasn't been affirmed by higher courts, casting uncertainty over whether it would hold up in legal disputes.)
Most Americans think anti-LGBTQ discrimination is already illegal
Surveys show that most Americans widely support nondiscrimination protections, but a major hurdle to getting the laws passed may be that Americans already think they're in place.
In a 2014 poll from YouGov and the Huffington Post, 62 percent of respondents said it was already illegal under federal law to fire someone for being gay or lesbian, 14 percent said it was legal, and 25 percent weren't sure. The same poll found most Americans — 76 percent — said it should be illegal to fire someone for being gay or lesbian, while just 12 percent said it should be legal.
The YouGov and Huffington Post poll isn't the first to find strong support for civil rights protections for LGBTQ people. Another 2014 survey commissioned by HRC, an LGBTQ advocacy group, found 63 percent of US voters favored a federal law that protects LGBTQ people from employment discrimination, while just 25 percent opposed it.
For LGBTQ advocates, the overall results present a tricky situation: Most Americans support nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people, but they don't appear to know that these protections aren't already law.
"When people already think these protections are in place, it can be difficult to work up the motivation that's necessary to push for them," Ian Thompson, LGBTQ legislative director at the American Civil Liberties Union, said in April.
So in the case of Amyx Hardware & Roofing Supplies, the owner's actions are totally legal — even if most Americans think they're not and shouldn't be.
The World Health Organization announced that Cuba has become the first country to eliminate the spread of HIV and syphilis from mother to baby, the Guardian reports. This development comes after Caribbean countries have had increased access to antiretrovirals over the last five years to curtail the mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
My response to the redefinition of the terms “marriage’ and “religious liberty.”
Look out your window. Isn't a beautiful day? You're probably brimming with optimism as you prepare what in your mind is going to be a perfect, glorious day of positivity. But just in case you were feeling really good about yourself today, allow us to hit you with a strong dose of depressing reality (because who doesn't like reality...actually there's a lot of people who don't like reality). These are 25 depressing statistics about the world we live in.
These have got to be some of the saddest most depressing statistics about our world:
25.) There are nearly 210 million orphans in the world
24.) Nearly 15% of them will commit suicide before turning 18
23.) 75% of the total deaths during World War II were civilians (nearly 50 million people)
22.) 22,000 kids die every day because of poverty
21.) A typical cow in the European Union receives a government subsidy of $2.20 a day. The cow earns more than 1.2 billion of the world's poorest people.
20.) The US now spends some $200 billion on the correctional system each year, a sum that exceeds the gross domestic product of twenty-five US states and 140 foreign countries.
19.) At least 10 times as many girls are now trafficked into brothels annually as African slaves were transported to the New World in the peak years of the trans-Atlantic slave trade.
18.) Your brain starts to deteriorate when you are 27
17.) The amount the U.S. military spends annually on air conditioning in Iraq and Afghanistan is $20.2 billion. That's more than NASA's budget.
16.) Both in rich countries and poor, a staggering 30-50% of all food produced rots away uneaten.
15.) 80% of the world population lives on less than $10 per day
14.) Studies at the University of Kent have shown that the majority of people donate to charity to feel good about themselves
13.) According to a study by NASA engineers, it was found that 60 out of 1000 drivers would go out of their way to hit animals on the road (don't worry, they were fake, and yes, NASA engineers actually performed this study)
12.) 2 million children die of preventable diseases every year (diarrhea, pneumonia) because they are too poor to afford treatment
11.) One fourth of humanity lives without electricity
10.) 1.2 billion people live in places without an adequate supply of water
9.) 1.6 billion live in places where they do have access to water, but they simply cannot afford it
8.) Cargo ships and cruise liners dump 14 billion pounds of garbage into the ocean every year
7.) 34% of the homeless population in the United States is young people under 24.
6.) 250 million children between the ages of 5 and 15 are working under forced labor conditions
5.) There are 300,000 child soldiers around the world
4.) Although most of the world has abolished the death penalty, 1,591 people were executed in 2006. 91% of these took place in the US, China, Sudan, Iran, Pakistan, and Iraq
3.) 315,000 women die in childbirth every year because they were malnourished and lacked basic nutrients
2.) 805 million people go hungry every day, 98% of them live in underdeveloped countries, and the vast majority are children.
1.) And since this list is about depressing statistics, I'll end with the fact that 350 million people around the world are struggling with depression right now.
Published on Jun 27, 2015
Healthy foods are good for us, but there’s a weird way they might be making you fat!
'Fitness' foods may cause consumers to eat more, exercise less
“According to a new study, such "fitness branding" encourages consumers to eat more of those foods and to exercise less, potentially undermining their efforts to lose or control their weight.”
Obese Americans now outnumber those who are merely overweight, study says
“Americans have reached a weighty milestone: Adults who are obese now outnumber those who are merely overweight, according to a new report in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.”
12 Supposedly Healthy Cereals With More Sugar Than A Doughnut
“Sugar should be only 5% of your daily calorie intake, according to the World Health Organization. For a healthy adult, that comes out to about 25 grams of sugar.”
Side Note : in this reality it can get you about 10 to 20 but in the reality next to ours it's on sale for A Mere $ 199.00
By Thom Patterson | Jun 19, 2015
(CNN) -- Drunk Field Day, Hangover Yoga and sober archery practice: Welcome to Camp Throwback, an adult summer camp with no kids, plenty of alcohol and a little romance.
It's just one of many co-ed sleep-away camps that have popped up around the U.S. geared toward grown-ups.
Brittany Gibbons launched Camp Throwback last year in Clarksville, Ohio, inspired by the summers of her childhood.
"At Camp Throwback you do everything you did at camp as a kid," said Gibbons. Campers make friendship bracelets; they compete in watermelon-eating contests; they chow down in the mess hall.
But unlike kid camps, the fun rises to a higher level. Booze flows and good times fill the air at nightly parties.
There are games, costumes -- and even a little naughty behavior.
"You'd think that once you reach a certain age, you'd be an adult," Gibbons said. "But something about camp brings you right back to that 15-year-old debauchery."
In Chicago, Los Angeles, Nashville and upstate New York, Adam Tichauer's company has created three-day escapes for adults called "Camp No Counselors."
Like many kids, Tichauer spent boyhood summers at sleep-away camp, where he forged happy memories and lifelong friendships. When he turned 30, he found himself reminiscing about those days.
"I thought, 'Wouldn't it be hilarious if we rented out a sleep-away camp and invited our friends,'" Tichauer said. "We could play all the activities like we did as kids ... and maybe party at night." That's how it all started in 2013.
"The coolest thing is you get to meet all these new friends in a unique environment with shared experience," Tichauer said.
The camp has a major rule: No asking about work.
At the end of your stay, "you go back to your normal setting and have great new friends across many different industries and walks of life," he said.
Gibbons, author of "Fat Girl Walking" and the popular blog Brittanyherself.com, feels many adults need a refresher course in how to make friends.
"Nothing really tells you how to do that, once you get around 25 and up," Gibbons said. "And this is a really great place to go, and just fit in. Everybody just sort of accepts you, which is a really crazy, fun thing."
David Chestnut, a 35-year-old cloud-computing consultant, didn't go to camp as a kid growing up in Florida. When he bought online tickets to Camp Throwback in 2014, he was looking to expand his "social ecosystem."
"It becomes very much like being a part of a club," Chestnut said "You go to it and it's like these are your camp friends. Then, Facebook and social networks allow us to stay connected all year."
For these grown-ups, ranging from their mid-20s to early 60s, socializing at Throwback takes on a whole new attitude. No more worrying about "getting dressed up and looking attractive" before going out on the town, said Gibbons. For $245 they can socialize in a relaxed setting where they can "have fun and act like they're 15 again for just a couple days."
When Gibbons got the idea to start Camp Throwback three years ago, she met some resistance. "I tried to get companies on board to help fund it, and they all kind of wrote it off as a silly idea," she said. So she saved her money, rented an unoccupied 4-H facility and scheduled her first camp in May 2014. All 120 tickets sold out in 30 hours, she said.
"Then I thought, 'This isn't such a stupid idea.'"
Fun for grown-ups
During all four days of activities, the camp provides everything -- except alcohol. It's BYOB.
A photo posted on the camp Facebook page shows a sign pointing the way to the archery range. "Sober? Archery" the sign reads.
Another sign puts some Throwback attitude on a typical camp activity: "F**k yeah Arts and Crafts."
On Drunk Field Day, about a dozen 10-person cabins compete in dodgeball, watermelon-eating and a three-legged race. Drinking, "which is optional, makes it a bit more 'adult,'" Gibbons said.
"Everybody expects that you would kind of get there and go nuts," said Gibbons. "That happens with one or two people, but other than that, people are just so excited to escape the real world they pretty much just act pretty chill."
What kind of fun are we talking about, exactly? Well, Gibbons doesn't like to reveal too many details. It's kind of like Vegas: What happens at camp stays at camp.
Relationships run the gamut, from singles to couples to spouses. Honeymooners have been known to attend, said Gibbons, and at least two babies have been conceived at Camp Throwback.
The rules require men and women to sleep in separate cabins -- but that doesn't stop the romance.
It's fun "to wake up at 6 a.m. and see who's doing 'The Walk' from the girls' cabin or the boys' cabin each morning," said Gibbons.
Chestnut, who returned to the camp this past spring, said people will be people. "Some single folks show up and they become 'not-single' for the weekend," he said. "Then it seems like they go their separate ways."
Campers have come from Canada and all over the U.S., including Colorado, California, Florida, New York and Texas.
Some have found themselves face to face with raccoons and the occasional field mouse. "Just seeing the way these very citified folks interacted with wildlife was a pretty good time," recalled Chestnut.
Band camp and rock fantasy
Looking for a more unusual summer camp that might jar a few memories loose?
How about that time... at band camp?
Near Traverse City, Michigan, a six-day adult band camp starts in August at Interlochen Center for the Arts. The program is entering its 11th year. Campers "will truly get that experience of feeling young and maybe wanting to come here as a youth, or remembering times when they went to camp as a youth," said director Leslie Donaldson.
Wanna rock out? The first weekend in August, the Musicians Institute in Hollywood hosts Rock 'n' Roll Fantasy Camp, offering wannabes of all levels a chance to learn and perform with actual rock stars.
For $1,999, said spokeswoman Valerie Ince, "We put them in a band. They don't have to have any musical experience at all." They're given a rock star counselor. They rehearse in jam rooms and attend master classes. Campers will have a chance to perform with guitarist Warren DeMartini of Ratt and get access to rockers from bands like Dio, Quiet Riot, Guns N' Roses, Iron Butterfly, Bon Jovi, LA Guns and Foreigner.
"It's really a life-changing thing for a lot of people," Ince said. "They're all sharing their love and passion for music and hearing the rock stars' stories. They walk away making friends for life."
For folks who need to disconnect from the world -- while connecting with new friends -- Gibbons recommends a safe, fun camp experience in a quiet, rural setting.
There, she said, they can remember the freedom of childhood while enjoying the perks of being a grown-up.
By Jacob Koffler @JacobKoffler| June 22, 2015
"Duplicity is the currency of today...they say one thing and do another"
Pope Francis continued his week of politically charged comments on Sunday, saying arms manufacturers who call themselves Christians are hypocrites.
At a rally of thousands in the Italian city of Turin, the Pope said that those who claim to follow the teachings of Christ but also manufacture weapons “leads to a bit of distrust.”
His criticism was not limited to the manufacturers, however; Francis also called out investors, saying “duplicity is the currency of today…they say one thing and do another.”
Francis’ comments come on the tail of the leak, and subsequent release of, his 192-page climate change encyclical on Thursday, in which he said that man-made climate change disproportionately affects the world’s poor.
The Guardian has built the most comprehensive database of US police killing ever published. Compare our findings to those from the UK, Australia, Iceland and beyond
By Jamiles Lartey | Tuesday 9 June 2015
To see the database : The Counted People killed by police in the US ( http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/ng-interactive/2015/jun/01/the-counted-police-killings-us-database )
It’s rather difficult to compare data from different time periods, according to different methodologies, across different parts of the world, and still come to definitive conclusions.
But now that we have built The Counted, a definitive record of people killed by police in the US this year, at least there is some accountability in America – even if data from the rest of the world is still catching up.
It is undeniable that police in the US often contend with much more violent situations and more heavily armed individuals than police in other developed democratic societies. Still, looking at our data for the US against admittedly less reliable information on police killings elsewhere paints a dramatic portrait, and one that resonates with protests that have gone global since a killing last year in Ferguson, Missouri: the US is not just some outlier in terms of police violence when compared with countries of similar economic and political standing.
America is the outlier – and this is what a crisis looks like.
Fact: In the first 24 days of 2015, police in the US fatally shot more people than police did in England and Wales, combined, over the past 24 years.
Behind the numbers: According to The Counted, the Guardian’s special project to track every police killing this year, there were 59 fatal police shootings in the US for the days between 1 January and 24 January.
According to data collected by the UK advocacy group Inquest, there have been 55 fatal police shootings – total – in England and Wales from 1990 to 2014.
The US population is roughly six times that of England and Wales. According to the World Bank, the US has a per capita intentional homicide rate five times that of the UK.
Fact: There has been just one fatal shooting by Icelandic police in the country’s 71-year history. The city of Stockton, California – with 25,000 fewer residents than all of Iceland combined – had three fatal encounters in the first five months of 2015.
Behind the numbers: A 2013 police shooting in Iceland drew international attention because it was the first of its kind; there had literally never been a fatal police shooting recorded there before two years ago.
In Stockton, Patrick Wetter, Matautu Nuu and Carl Lao were all fatally shot by police in the 64-day span between 6 January and 4 March. According to US census data from 2013, Stockton has a population of 298,118; World Bank data puts Iceland’s population at 323,764 for the same year.
Iceland’s official intentional homicide rate is so low that it does not register in World Bank data on intentional homicides per 100,000 people. For the US, the rate is five per 100,000.
Fact: Police in the US have shot and killed more people – in every week this year – than are reportedly shot and killed by German police in an entire year.
Behind the numbers: The Counted database shows that the first week of 2015 had the fewest fatal police shootings of any this year, with 13.
The German Police University concluded in 2012 that German police had killed six people by gunshot in 2011 and seven in 2012.
According to the German data and the Guardian’s count, more unarmed black men (19) have been fatally shot by US police in 2015 than citizens of any race, armed or unarmed, fatally shot in Germany during all of 2010 and 2011 (15).
The US population is roughly four times that of Germany, and according to the World Bank, the US has a per capita intentional homicide rate five times that of Germany.
Fact: Police in the US fatally shot more people in one month this year than police in Australia officially reported during a span of 19 years.
Behind the numbers: The Counted database shows that police in the US fatally shot 97 people in March 2015, the highest one-month total recorded by the Guardian.
A 2013 study from the Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) found 94 fatal police shootings for the period between 1992 and 2011.
In Australia, as opposed to the US, all police shootings are subject to national monitoring by law. The US population is nearly 14 times that of Australia, and the US has a per capita intentional homicide rate five times that of Australia.
Fact: Police in Canada average 25 fatal shooting a year. In California, a state just 10% more populous than Canada, police in 2015 have fatally shot nearly three times as many people in just five months.
Behind the numbers: So far in 2015, police in California have fatally shot 72 people, according to the Guardian’s database – the most thorough accounting for officer-involved fatalities ever built in the US.
In Canada, reliable nationwide numbers on police shootings don’t yet exist.
But a journalist for the Independent in Canada did combine data from the provinces that report police killings – and extrapolated that Canadian police kill an average of 25 people by gunshot every year.
The US has an intentional homicide rate two and a half times that of Canada, according to the World Bank.
Fact: Police fired 17 bullets at Antonio Zambrano-Montes, who was “armed” with a rock. That’s nearly three times what police in Finland are reported to have fired during all of 2013.
Behind the numbers: Zambrano-Montes was killed in February by officers responding to reports that he was throwing rocks at cars. The incident was caught on video, with 17 shots fired; according to police, “five or six” struck Zambrano-Montes.
In Finland, according to chief inspector Jukka Salmine, police fired just six bullets in all of 2013.
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