Brave

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Photograph by Styliani Giannitsi | http://www.500px.com/stellgp

Santa Fe Blues

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Is Cecil any Different from All the Other Lions and Animals Killed Every Day in the Name of Sport?

This is an excerpt from Jane Goodall’s full statement, released on Thursday by The Jane Goodall Institute:

And the question we should ask ourselves is this: Just because he was named, and loved and part of a scientific study, does that make him any different, in the world of the lion, than the other lions killed by “sport” hunters? All those splendid individuals whose decapitated heads disfigure the walls of countless wealthy homes?

… I simply cannot put myself into the mind of a person who pays thousands of dollars to go and kill beautiful animals simply to boast, to show off their skill or their courage. Especially as it often involves no skill or courage whatsoever, when the prey is shot with a high powered rifle from a safe distance. How can anyone with an ounce of compassion be proud of killing these magnificent creatures? Lions, leopards, sable antelopes, giraffes and all the other sport or trophy animals are beautiful – but only in life. In death they represent the sad victims of a sadistic desire to attract praise from their friends at the expense of innocent creatures. And when they claim they respect their victims and experience emotions of happiness at the time of the killing, then surely this must be the joy of a diseased mind?

There are many ethical issues, which we seldom face up to, whenever an animal is killed. For example, is it “worse” to shoot a wild boar for food than to slaughter an imprisoned factory farmed hog? Does the life of a wild turkey matter more than the life of a free range domestic turkey? Is the person who grants a license to the hunter, or the one who authorizes that person, or the one who drafts the laws that make it legal to do this, as guilty as the person who pulls the trigger (or fires the crossbow)? These and many other such questions are seldom asked. And when they are, they sometimes seem impossible to answer.

But trophy hunting is hard to defend. And the outpouring of anger and hatred occasioned by the killing of Cecil shows how many people feel that the days of the great White Hunter should be brought to a close. It is excellent news that many airlines have now refused to carry trophies. Cecil has become, albeit unknowingly, a martyr for a cause.

JaneGoodall.org

GOODALL

It’s Been One Year since James Foley’s Execution by ISIL | May We Always Remember the Things that Matter

FOLEY

Foley’s execution at the hands of the Islamic State was made public on Aug. 19, 2014. His death followed nearly two years of captivity in Syria, during which time the Foley family and GlobalPost worked tirelessly for his release. He was kidnapped on Thanksgiving Day, 2012.

Foley’s conflict reporting — from Afghanistan to Libya to Syria — exemplifies the intrepid and selfless work of someone willing to risk his life so the world could understand the horrors of modern war.

This short video is a sample of his finest work for GlobalPost.

Identity + Moral Compass

Research on neurodegenerative diseases suggests that, more than anything else, moral traits like kindness and integrity define who we are.

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[Following up with a more detailed analysis, Strohminger and Nichols discovered that symptoms of declining morality were strongly associated with the perception that a patient’s identity had changed, while failing memory, depression, and more traditional measures of personality appeared to have almost nothing to do with a person’s identity. The only other symptom that had any discernible impact on identity was aphasia, a language impairment.] Full article here | THE PACIFIC STANDARD

KINDNESS

Chronicle of a Story Foretold | John McCain on Dine’ (Navajo) Land

[Protesting members of the Navajo Nation literally chase Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) off of their reservation. McCain was running from their frustrated questions, demanding answers for the Senator’s decision to trade away land containing a Navajo sacred site to a foreign mining company. In addition, they are enraged by the slow response to the recent Gold King Mine spill, which has contaminated local drinking water with arsenic, lead, and mercury.

After declining to address the issues, McCain flees to his SUV while being pursued by chanting and drumming Navajo protesters. It’s a humbling moment for an outspoken man whose Native American constituents have called for him to be removed from the Senate Committee for Indian Affairs. “This man has no regard for human life. In his state alone the Navajo Hopi Land Dispute continues, tribes are losing their water rights, and over half the Navajo Nation now lives off the reservation” reads the letter. It is far past time Arizona elected itself a government that will fight for the rights of minorities.]

Read the full article here

The Prosperity Gospel | Mega-Churches in America

(comments from AlterNet)

On Sunday’s “Last Week Tonight,” John Oliver took on the fraudulent behind-the-scenes (and occasionally, not so behind-the-scenes) practices of America’s mega-televangelist ministries — specifically, those that have exploited people’s faith for monetary gain with the promise that “donations will result in wealth coming back to you.” It’s called “The Prosperity Gospel,” and is built on the idea that every donation a congregant gives its pastor is a “seed” that will one day be harvested. “Wealth is a sign of God’s favor,” after all.

After learning of these shady practices embedded in mega-ministry culture, Oliver resolved to embark on a thought experiment: Why not file some paperwork and establish a church of his own (“a disturbingly easy process,” Oliver said), call it “Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption” and then ask congregants to meditate on the fraudulence of megachurches?