May 8th, 2012


The Least and Most Violent States in the U.S.

The United States is more peaceful now than at any time in the past 20 years. Nevertheless, violence still cost the economy at least $460 billion in 2010, through a combination of lost productivity and direct costs, according to a new report published by the Institute for Economics and Peace. 24/7 Wall St. analyzed the report in order to identify the most and least peaceful states, as well as how much they spend on violence.

Louisiana, which is the least peaceful state, has the highest rate of homicide. Maine is the most peaceful state and has the lowest rate of violent crime.

Peace, according to the Institute for Economics and Peace, is a combination of the absence of violence and the institutions required to address it. In an interview with 24/7 Wall St., chairman and founder of the IEP, Steve Killelea explained, “In perfect states, there’d be no crime, therefore you’d have no need for police, nor would you lock anyone up.”

Most PeaceFul States: (Long list of stats in the article - left out here for brevity)
* Maine
* Vermont
* New Hampshire
* Rest of list here

Most Violent States:
* Lousiana
* Tennessee
* Nevada
* Rest of list here

I know this has been seen before but It's ironic enough on several levels it was worth showing again with 2010 numbers:

some of the factors listed for violence include poverty rate, labor force participation, and income inequality.
The irony is that many of the peaceful states are "Blue States" and the most violent ones are "Red States" traditionally.

That the Republicans often advertise that their policies would help the economy, help people lift themselves out of poverty, that
looser gun control laws will reduce crime -- and yet, when you look at the results of states that follow these policies on State and Local government levels -- we see some of the worst results in the country.

Especially as the election marches closer, I think it would be a good reminder to take a look at the shape of areas that are
closest to enacting the policies being recommended for the country -- as they say, the proof is in the pudding.


Rendering unto Caesar: Roman Intervention in America Politics‏

A few weeks back I heard a story of a Catholic nun who had been "silenced" by the Vatican. A reporter interviewing her asked how she could consent to the interview given her status with respect to being silenced. She remarked that tyranny only works when you cooperate with it. The story prompted me to check the Net for the latest antics of the Vatican with respect to Catholic women. What I found did not surprise me, but it may come as a shock to people who are naive to Roman interference in American politics.

The Vatican seems to be attempting to organize its forces for the coming election. They are using their despotic authority in an effort to get American Church officials to conform to the Vatican campaign platform. The power of excommunication has been threatened in the cases of Catholic officials who refuse to obey their Roman "superiors." It is clear that the forces of ignorance have their knickers in a twist over policy differences here in the US.

Those of us who have been raised outside of Roman ritual can not easily comprehend the significance of the process of excluding Catholics from communion. We can only imagine the fear that such an act inspires in the heart of the superstitious. I suppose it would be like having dad tell you that he will kick you out of the house if you do not stop smoking cannabis. Some kids would kowtow to the ban where others would hit the streets and camp out with the gang from Hippie Hill. "You can't kick me out if I don't live there anymore."

The latter day version of the Inquisition has issued a rebuke to American women in the Church who have failed to toe the Party Line from Rome on issues of interest to Roman domination (Full text here.). An organization of religious Catholic women was cited for not being adequately vocal in opposition to American civil liberties such as birth control and gay marriage. Members of the organization have even gone so far as to advocate the ordination of women clerics. The inquisitors from Rome (and San Francisco) have attacked the group for espousing "radical feminism."

Although some see this recent action as being the result of a lengthy process, the political timing points to an interference in American politics. The organization became a burr in the Roman saddle when it took a stand against Roman bishops in favor of health care reform. The inquisitorial action of imposing male supervision over the women's organization comes during the presidential election campaign season and is chartered to extend through the next presidential election in 2016.

There are a variety of perspectives on this action from lay leaders in the US. Some Catholic men side with the freedom of their female compatriots where others stand firmly behind the Vicar of Caesar Jesus and his inquisitors. Here is an opinion piece from a Catholic at the Washington Post on the totalitarian aspects of the Vatican's actions. A woman who lobbies Congress on social justice issues credits education for the position of women at the vanguard of social reform. Here is a humorous piece on the affair by a Dominican monastic.

Do you see this as a form of interference in American politics? Do you support the Vatican in their efforts to homogenize the message of the Church? What would Jesus say?

Nothing is decided by this.

In a recent discussion it was asked if civilized people can actually win against uncivilized people in a conflict of ideas while staying civil? and if not, is it preferable to accept defeat with one's principles intact or betray them in order to win?

Being a sucker for a good fight I feel that both of these questions really deserved thier own post.

In regards to the first point I am remind of a quote attributed to Ahmed Raisuni Al Rif but in all likelyhood apocryphal.

...I'd prefer to fight the European armies, but they do not fight as men. Men fight with swords, so they can see each other's eyes! Sometimes, when this is not possible, they fight with rifles. The Europeans have guns that fire many times promiscuously and rend the Earth. Nothing is decided by this. Therefore, I take women and children.

To me this quote illustrates the chief fallacy of the US/NATO's approach to modern warfare. We can declare "Mission Accomplished" all we want but the war isn't really over till both sides agree on who won. Because a fanatic would rather die than admit defeat this the so-called cvilized nations find themselves in a pickle. Either annihilate the opposition (a course of action discouraged by liberal values) or allow the conflict to continue.

This brings us to the 2nd point.

Tolerance of opposing views is seen as one of the pillars of our culture but is the tolerance of intolerance still a virtue? Does the principal of multi-culturalism apply equally? Or do some cultures have more value than others? If the latter, do we sacrifice the principal of tolerance to destroy one culture or save another?

It's a conundrum.

Is it ok to kill babies?

You have a choice. Before you stands a magical hermit with many powers, one of them being the ability to present you with a powerful choice. The magical hermit hands you a baby and says, "If you strangle this baby, you will free women from the oppressive Muslim hordes."

What would you do? Would you have the will to win? Would you have the mettle to pass this test? Would you steel yourself from the impending difficulties involving the unpleasant side-effects of liberating women? Side-effects may include: baby tears, broken bones, rag-doll appearance, guilt, self-loathing and suicide.

Remember, all that stands between you and being the greatest Hero To The Women of the World is one baby. One little baby. All you have to do is ignore the soft feeling of baby flesh bulging between your fingers for a few minutes to be the Greatest Hero on Earth.

Do you have the will?

Russian view on war 1941-1945

Tomorrow Russia celebrates The Victory Day (over nazi Germany). During The World War II Germany attacked USSR on 22 of June 1941 and capitulated at 22:43 on 8 of may 1945. It was already 9 of May in Moscow, so in Russia the Victory Day is celebrated on 9 of May.
I recommend to visit a very informative site that represents the Russian view on war. Rare photos and videos from the fronts, interview with former soldiers of that war, the whole story of Eastern front from heavy first defeats to great victory in Berlin. The Russian site is translated into English. Here is the link:


I will give my opinion as it is needed for this community.
Russian society is split into many political groups but for all of them Victory Day remains a sacret date. USSR lost 26 million people (not to mention wounded)in that war. Millions got in German concentration camps and died there. But It seems that for many people in western countries "Soviet period" of World war II is almost unknown. So this site is going to inform those who are interested in the history of WWII.
Groovy Kol

Bombs, batons and boycotts

Ukraine postpones summit after 13 EU countries pull out

The diplomatic clouds are gathering over Ukraine these days because of the treatment of Yulia Tymoshenko while in prison. But the cancellation of this summit is just a minor part of the pain Ukraine is about to endure, and certainly the lesser among several sources of trouble. There could be other forms of boycott that would reach somewhat deeper into Ukraine's pocket in a year that's obviously going to be very important for the country. Why? Let's see why.

Being a former football (okay, soccer) maniac myself (semi-pro player, and footie fan and all that), I can't help but worry about the Euro'2012, the biggest international competition of the continent. It takes place once in 4 years - this year the joint hosts are to be Poland and Ukraine.

Now, the international football competitions of this sort usually remind us of summer, sunshine and a festive atmosphere. After all that's what I'm going there for. Millions of people attend those huge events and even more watch the matches on TV, basically looking for two things: entertainment and leisure. But somehow Ukraine, a country of spectacular natural beauty, arguably the most beautiful women in the world (wink), and the home of the gorgeous Crimea and the elegant Odessa, the pearl of the Black Sea, ain't calling such nice associations at all these days. It's as if one of the two hosts of Euro'12 has a heavy iron chain of problems hanging around its neck, just a month before the start of the tournament. And this time the concerns aren't coming from where UEFA was expecting, namely the problems with the preparation of the infrastructure. Nope. It's coming from the domain of politics.

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