Now you see it, now you don’t….CULTURAL SHIFTS WITH RIGHT AND WRONG.

Change is continual and ranges from minor to major to overwhelming. What apparently is now occurring in North America will soon, probably, be overwhelming.
I have seen first hand the adoption of changed definitions of Right and Wrong. USA cultural understanding of right and wrong used to be commonly understood as specific and accepted definitions rooted in historical understandings. Most civil law used these definitions in law and interpersonal relationships. These were able to be applied in legal, personal, and civic situations. Personal understandings were rejected unless they agreed, or at least accepted, those definitions. True that in some cultures there are a few different specific definitions, but the vast bulk are similar.

This morning in elementary school I witnessed three remarkable and unexpected actions from students. In every situation, their behaviors completely surprised me.
The first child, a kindergartener, was throwing a physical fit in the hallway. That was not that unusual. The principal was carefully restraining her as needed to avoid injury to himself and her, and then two teachers joined in. Soon they all disappeared out of my sight.

The second child was walking down the hallway with an administrator. She turned off the hallway lights. Teacher turns them on. Child turned them immediately off again. Sequence repeated three or four times. Teacher manages to coax child into the next section of the hallway, and closes the doors to that section. Child ponders this, then notices another light switch and turns it off. Several more repetitions before I was called away.

The third student was refusing to obey instructions of the test giver, over and over, then began to run away from the teacher. I happened to block the isle and moved us forward toward the student’s assigned seat. He suddenly bolted under the connected desks students were using for their computer tests, and doubled back behind me. He finally was escorted to the office.

The current rules governing our USA school systems regarding discipline of students have been transformed. Today, positive discipline is all the rage. Negative words or actions are forbidden except for self-protection. Teacher options for dealing with student disobedience are now very mild.

One of the reasons for this is the change of the definition of Right/Wrong.
Rather than an objective unchanging definition, the rule for determining Right/Wrong now depends on the individual feeling of what is allowed or not allowed. Emotional feelings and decisions are now the standard for determining such values. Recently, there is significant onus put on those who are unwilling to join with these shifting value judgements. Bigotry, prejudice, and other disparaging states are placed on those who disagree with our new cultural norms.

Thus, for example, the freedom of deciding which rest room anyone can enter now is the individual’s choice, regardless of sex. This is taken as solely the individual’s decision. To disagree is, at the least, insensitive and narrow, small minded prejudice.

Just some thoughts on current state of affairs here in Michigan and the USA.
Bruce Kirkpatrick, aka Fr. Orthohippo

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Georgia (USA) fires employee for church sermons

By Todd Starnes
·Published April 20, 2016

Courtesy First Liberty

Bi-vocational pastors be warned – what you say from the pulpit on Sunday could get you fired from your public sector job on Monday.

Dr. Eric Walsh, a renowned public health expert who also serves as a lay minister, has filed a federal lawsuit against the Georgia Department of Public Health alleging he was terminated for delivering sermons on issues ranging from homosexuality to evolution.

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“No one in this country should be fired from their job for something that was said in a church or from a pulpit during a sermon,” said First Liberty attorney Jeremy Dys.

First Liberty, one of the nation’s largest law firms defending religious liberty, is representing the Seventh Day Adventist lay minister.

They contend that the Georgia Department of Public Health assigned workers to investigate sermons Dr. Walsh delivered on health, marriage, sexuality, world religions, science and creationism. He also preached on what the Bible says about homosexuality.

“He was fired for something he said in a sermon,” Dys told me. “If the government is allowed to fire someone over what he said in his sermons, they can come after any of us for our beliefs on anything.”

First Liberty has accused the government agency of religious discrimination and retaliation.

“I don’t believe I did anything wrong,” Dr. Walsh told me in an exclusive interview. “This has been very painful for me. I really am a strong believer in the Constitution. But now I feel like maybe all these ideals and values that I was raised to believe – the ideals they country was founded upon – no longer exist.”

A spokesperson for the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) did not return telephone calls nor did they respond to email inquiries.

First Liberty said Walsh was hired as a district health director on May 7, 2014. A few days later, DPH officers and other government workers began investigating his religious activities.

“DPH officers and other employees spent hours reviewing these and other of Dr. Walsh’s sermons and other public addresses available online, analyzing and taking notes on his religious beliefs and viewpoints on social, cultural and other matters of public concern as expressed in the sermons and other public addresses,” the lawsuit states.

The behavior of the DPH was so egregious that its own counsel twice warned them on May 15 that “under federal law Dr. Walsh’s religious beliefs could play no role in any employment decision by DPH.”

But on May 16, the DPH announced it had rescinded the job offer that Dr. Walsh had already accepted.

“Today’s action by the department follows a thorough examination of Dr. Walsh’s credentials and background as well as consultation with the six local boards of health which comprise the district,” spokesman Ryan Deal said in a news release.

And the Department of Public Health wasn’t the only organization concerned about the pastor’s sermons.

The Georgia Voice reported that the Health Initiative, an Atlanta-based group committed to LGBT health issues, strongly opposed Welsh’s hiring.

“Dr. Walsh’s public displays of anti-gay propaganda and religious rhetoric will become symbols of the department and will further isolate an already vulnerable population. We believe this hire is detrimental to the wellbeing of our community, as well as to the effectiveness of the Department to conduct meaningful outreach to LGBT Georgians,” Executive Director Ellis told the publication.

Based on documents First Liberty obtained through a FOIA request, it is clear there was some internal concerns about how Dr. Walsh had been treated.

In spite of the DPH’s internal witch hunt against Dr. Walsh, at least one unnamed staffer wrote a memo warning that the entire controversy had been blown “impossibly out of proportion.”

“Not only is there no smoking gun, there is every reason to believe, even from his detractors own words, that he is the excellent health director we believed he would be,” the staffer wrote in a document obtained by First Liberty through a FOIA request.

“If we do not hire this applicant on the basis of the evidence of job performance and disqualify him on the basis of discrimination by those who seek to advance their own agenda and do him harm, I believe we are no better than they are,” the staffer concluded.

The unnamed staffer’s concerns were ignored and Dr. Walsh was terminated.

Dr. Walsh was catapulted into the national spotlight earlier in 2014 when he was invited to deliver the commencement address at Pasadena City College in California.

Walsh, who was then the director of the city’s public health department, came under fierce scrutiny from LGBT activists and students. He backed out of the speaking engagement. But critics persisted and he was forced to resign his post – after reaching a financial settlement with the city.

Dys tells me that what happened to Dr. Walsh should give every American the chills.

“The idea of those government employees dividing up the sermons is unthinkable,” he said. “Religious liberty means we should be able to find sanctuary in our own sanctuary.”

In recent days, the state of Georgia has become a battleground over religious liberty.

Governor Nathan Deal, a Republican, vetoed legislation that would have provided protection for pastors and other faith-based organizations from attacks by LGBT activists. The veto was levied under fierce pressure from big business bullies like Disney and Coca-Cola.

It’s unclear whether such a law would have protected Dr. Walsh.

“Any law a state passes that helps protect religious liberty – especially a law that allows pastors the right to preach and not lose their jobs – is a law we would certainly apply in this case,” Dys said.

It’s becoming clear to me that people of faith – people like Dr. Walsh — will not find safe refuge in the state of Georgia.

First, they silenced the sheep – and now they are trying to silence the shepherds.

Todd Starnes is host of Fox News & Commentary, heard on hundreds of radio stations. His latest book is “God Less America: Real Stories From the Front Lines of the Attack on Traditional Values.” Follow Todd on Twitter@ToddStarnes and find him on Facebook.

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Blogging can be more dangerous than expected

Mauritanian blogger’s death sentence upheld

3 hours ago

From the section Africa

Mohamed Cheikh Ould Mohamed M’khaitirImage copyright Mohamed Cheikh Ould Mohamed M’khaitir
Image caption
M’khaitir says the article was misinterpreted and he did not mean to cause offence

An appeal court in Mauritania has upheld the death sentence of a blogger convicted of apostasy, but referred his case to the Supreme Court.

Mohamed Cheikh Ould Mohamed M’khaitir was arrested in January 2014 for an article criticising those who use religion as a means of discrimination.

M’khaitir has apologised and said he never meant to insult the Muslim Prophet Muhammad.

The Supreme Court can pardon him if it feels his repentance is sincere.

The original announcement of his death sentence was met with public celebrations, the AFP news agency reports.

Mauritania last applied the death penalty in 1987.
◾Africa Live: BBC news updates

The blogger, who is in his early thirties, had posted an article on the Aqlame newspaper’s website in December 2013 that was later taken down as it was deemed blasphemous towards the Prophet Muhammad.

It reportedly criticised Mauritania’s caste system, a sensitive subject in a country with deep social and racial divisions, and criticised those who used religion to marginalise certain groups.

Apostasy, which means the abandonment of one’s religious faith, is considered a criminal offence in many Muslim countries.

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) says the appeal court hearing on Thursday was held under tight security – and it condemned the ruling.

“This mockery of a judicial process, which could end someone’s life for writing an article, should be consigned to the history books,” the international press freedom group’s Sherif Mansour said in a statement.

Under Mauritanian law, if the Supreme Court rules that a defendant is repentant, it can reduce the sentence to up to two years in jail and up to about $173 (£120), the CPJ reports.

Last year, Mauritania introduced a tough new anti-slavery law which makes the offence a “crime against humanity”.

The country had abolished slavery in 1981, but activists said it was still widely practised and many in the West African country inherit their

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We think Washington is unbalanced? Today Brazil is much worse.
Brazil’s Dilma Rousseff accuses deputy of coup plot

46 minutes ago

From the section Latin America & Caribbean

Media captionBrazil political crisis: Why Dilma Rousseff faces impeachment calls

President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil has denounced a “coup” plot against her, suggesting that Vice-President Michel Temer is one of the “conspirators”.

The president – who is facing impeachment in the national Congress – hinted that he was one of the ringleaders of a plot to overthrow her.

She said an audio message released on Monday by Mr Temer, whom she did not name, was evidence of the conspiracy.

In the message, Mr Temer appears to accept replacing her as president.

He also calls for a government of national unity.

Correspondents say that it implied that Ms Rousseff’s impeachment had already happened. Mr Temer says the message was released by accident – his office said it was sent to aides erroneously.
◾Could Rousseff be impeached?
◾Critical month for Rousseff
◾What has gone wrong in Brazil?
◾Rousseff faces a perfect storm

In it he appears to be rehearsing an inaugural speech. The tape was run by Brazilian media hours before an important vote by a congressional committee to decide whether impeachment proceedings against President Rousseff should continue.

Brazil’s Vice President Michel TemerImage copyright Reuters
Image caption
Vice-President Michel Temer says the audio of him calling for a government of national unity was released by accident

“Many people sought me out so that I would give at least preliminary remarks to the Brazilian nation, which I am doing with modesty, caution and moderation,” he says on the recording.

The BBC’s Wyre Davies in Brazil says that, given the fact that Mr Temer may also face impeachment proceedings, his words appear somewhat premature.

Watch Wyre’s Facebook live here

The 65-member congressional committee voted 38 to 27 to recommend going ahead with impeachment proceedings.

All eyes will now be on a full vote in the lower house starting on Sunday in the capital Brasilia.

Security will be stepped up around the Congress building, with thousands of police deployed in the area, local media report.

‘Unimaginable abuses’

“They now are conspiring openly, in the light of day, to destabilise a legitimately elected president,” Ms Rousseff said.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff in Brasilia, 12 AprilImage copyright EPA
Image caption
Ms Rousseff spoke to students and teachers in Brasilia on Tuesday

In an apparent reference to Vice-President Temer and lower house speaker Eduardo Cunha she referred to “the chief and… the vice-chief” of the plot.

The president said that one was guilty of “unimaginable abuses” in the impeachment process while the other was “rubbing his hands in glee while carrying out a farcical leak of an inaugural speech”.

Brazil is “living [in] strange times”, she said, “times of a coup, of farce and betrayal”.

Rally in support of President Rousseff in Rio de Janeiro. 11 April 2016Image copyright Reuters
Image caption
Thousands of President Rousseff’s supporters rallied in Rio de Janeiro

President Rousseff said she was shocked by the audacity of the leak of the recording.

“One of the chief conspirators assumes the condition of president of the republic,” she said.

She said the audio “reveals a betrayal of me and of democracy” and showed that Mr Temer had “arrogance and contempt for the people”.

The president said “the mask of the conspirators had fallen”.

President Rousseff faces impeachment over allegations that she massaged deficit figures ahead of her election campaign two years ago – accusations she denies.

While her opponents say the impeachment is supported by most Brazilians, the president’s supporters have labelled it a flagrant power grab by her political enemies.

If the president and Mr Temer are both suspended from office, the next in line to assume the presidency is Mr Cunha.

However, he is facing money-laundering and other charges.

Mr Temer was until recently a close ally of Ms Rousseff but his party has formally withdrawn from government as is now supporting calls for the president’s impeachment, our correspondent says.

Rousseff under pressure

The Brazilian president faces a battle to stay in power

513 members of the lower house of Congress

342 votes needed to move process to the Senate

41 senators out of 81 must vote in favour to begin impeachment trial

180 days she could be suspended for during the hearings

Source: Reuters, AFP


Grey line
What happens next?

Lower house vote: An impeachment vote is expected in the lower house on either Sunday or Monday. A two-thirds majority is required for it to go forward to the Senate. Latest surveys suggest the number in favour is short of the total needed to carry the motion.

Senate vote on trial: If Ms Rousseff case is sent to the Senate, a simple majority is enough to suspend her for up to 180 days while she is put on trial. Vice-President Michel Temer would step in during this period.

Impeachment vote: For Ms Rousseff to be removed from office permanently, two-thirds of the Senate would have to vote in favour. Mr Temer would remain president for an interim period should this happen.

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Coffee guerrillas fighting for the perfect cup

How are the growing number of coffee guerrillas in West Java fighting their battle?

by Asmara Wreksono

The war between coffee shop giants in Indonesia’s big cities has been going on since the beginning of the millennium. But how are the growing number of coffee guerrillas fighting their battle?

Stretching 5,150 kilometers from west to east, the archipelago is home to diverse conditions for growing coffee. From light and bright to full-bodied coffee, the result of being grown in this part of the world has blessed Indonesians with an abundance of varieties and flavors.

The nearest coffee plantations to Jakarta lie in the scenic mountains of West Java, which also happen to be first plantations developed when coffee was brought by the Dutch East Indies Company (VOC) to Indonesia in 1696. The coffee industry later expanded to the eastern parts of Java and the export trade to Europe started in 1711. That is when the term “a cup of Java” was first coined.

The coffee export trade lasted until Indonesia was struck by the so-called coffee rust disease in 1876. Coffee plantations then shifted to tea, quinine and vegetables. There were too few surviving coffee plants in West Java to produce a decent amount for the industry, hence being almost forgotten until more than a century later.

West Java coffee

Coffee farmer Yoseph Kusuniyanto, 50, grows Arabica Cattura at his plantation and nursery in Lembang, North Bandung. He left his office job in 1997 and decided to try farming, joining other coffee farmers who only began planting coffee again about 15 years ago after a long hiatus.

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Prohibition Enacted for the Entire State – No April Fool Joke

India’s Bihar state bans alcohol

7 hours ago BBC

From the section India

Nitish KumarImage copyright Prashant Ravi
Image caption
The ban was one of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s campaign promises during last year’s assembly elections

Authorities in the eastern Indian state of Bihar have announced a complete ban on the sale and consumption of alcohol.

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had earlier announced that the ban would be gradually imposed across the state in the next six months.

But he advanced the deadline on Tuesday, saying “now was the right time for social change in Bihar”.

The ban was one of Mr Kumar’s campaign promises during last year’s assembly elections.

Mr Kumar said he decided to go for a complete ban after he received “great support” from the public in the first four days of a ban on locally-brewed alcohol.

“In the first four days of the ban on country liquor [locally-brewed alcohol], it has become a social movement… And so I feel this is the right time for social change in Bihar,” the NDTV website quoted him as saying.

Mr Kumar’s decision has been supported by all political parties in the state as 243 lawmakers have taken a pledge to “stay away from alcohol”.

The ban has received support from women because they generally link drinking by men with domestic violence, harassment and poverty.

But reports say Bihar, which is one of the most backward states in India, will lose nearly 50bn rupees ($752m; £529m) in tax collection due to the ban.

Alcohol is completely banned in the western state of Gujarat while the southern state of Kerala and some other Indian states have

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Police raid Poisonous Blowfish Restaurant

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 31 March, 2016, 6:52pm

UPDATED : Thursday, 31 March, 2016, 6:52pm

Agence France-Presse

A members-only Japanese restaurant serving the banned and deadly delicacy “tiger blowfish” liver has been raided, police said on Thursday.

Blowfish – also known as pufferfish or balloonfish in the West – derive the name from their ability to expand into a nearly roundish shape as part of a defence to ward off predators.

Japanese gourmands adore the fish for the savoury light taste of its white meat, but parts of the liver and ovaries carry enough toxins to kill not just their natural enemies but human beings as well.

Chefs in Japan who prepare blowfish need a special license but are banned from offering up particularly poisonous parts such as the liver – which some brave epicureans are still willing to eat despite the risk.

In 1975, revered Kabuki actor Mitsugoro Bando died after eating blowfish liver in Kyoto.

The restaurant raided in Osaka belongs to a chain of four outlets, and could not be reached for confirmation as the company’s phone numbers are unlisted and the website offers no contact information. New customers must be introduced by an existing member, according to the website.

The raid was conducted on Monday, an Osaka prefectural police spokesman said, adding that no health problems have been reported at the restaurant.

But local food safety authorities have indefinitely banned the restaurant chain from serving blowfish, Osaka food safety officials said.

The poisonous substance in the fish, tetrodotoxin, causes dozens to fall ill every year, a few fatally, according to the Japanese Health, Labour and Welfare Ministry.

Police said that the Osaka restaurant served farmed blowfish, which some studies by Japanese marine researchers say does not accumulate poison in the body, but the legal restriction on serving up the potentially poisonous parts remains.

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