Amazing Statistic Is Sad One

I admit to being addicted….to chocolate.  So when I read the following today I felt really sad for the little kids that are a part of this statistic. 

As more Indians begin to treat themselves to little luxuries, Cadbury PLC hopes to capture millions of new customers with chocolates that sell for a few pennies.

The British candy maker has been in India for more than 60 years and dominates the chocolate market here. Still, less than half of India’s 1.1-billion population has ever tasted chocolate.  (This is about 600,000 million people!!)  Traditional sweets or “mithai” still dominate the industry in India, where sweets are given and eaten at festivals.

Wouldn’t you love to have lots of money, travel to India, give kids their first taste of chocolate, and watch their faces light up?

New Word Found Today In Newspaper

There are not many times while reading a newspaper that I find a new word that I have not encountered before in a book  or crossword puzzle.  After all, newspapers are written so the average 5th grader can read and understand them.   So it made me stop when I found a new word I had never seen before on the front page of the Wall Street Journal in a story about Prime Minister Gordon Brown, and the European Union vote.  While I was able to discern the meaning at once, I was still intrigued by the word, and the fact it was used in a newspaper.

When I went on-line to get the story for this post I found that the word has been removed, and a more commonly used word has replaced the one found in the the newspaper.

Here is the paragraph, with my typing in the original newspaper word in bold, and placing it in parenthesises.

The U.K.’s ruling Labour Party suffered big losses Sunday in early results from elections for European Parliament seats, heaping further pressure on Prime Minister Gordon Brown and giving a (big fillip) lift to fringe parties as voters expressed their anger over the Parliamentary expense scandal.

Why the reporter felt it necessary to change the word for the on-line version of her story is unclear to me.  I absolutely loved the fact I ran across a new word in the paper.  That is a rarity, and makes the reading of the paper more delightful.

BTW, fillip means bonus: anything that tends to arouse; “his approval was an added fillip” ….A flick; the act of releasing the index finger from the hold of a thumb with a snap; Something that excites or stimulates

Supreme Court Betrays Gay American Military Service Members

gay-soldier

I have been mostly quiet on the matters relating to this White House and issues such as ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’, as I have felt for several reasons (some political) that the time to act on such matters was better left to later this year.  We are now coming to ‘later this year’, and the heat needs to start to be felt.  President Obama needs to become active in a public way on these matters.

The lack of any progress by other avenues, such as the Supreme Court today, to bring sanity to the issue of allowing openly gay Americans to serve their county in the military needs to be addressed.  Today the latest insult was felt by these citizens who feel betrayed by their nation.

The Supreme Court on Monday turned down a challenge to the Pentagon policy forbidding gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military, granting an Obama administration request to maintain the Clinton-era “don’t ask, don’t tell” directive.

The court said it will not hear an appeal from former Army Capt. James Pietrangelo II, who was dismissed under the military’s policy.

The federal appeals court in Boston earlier threw out a lawsuit filed by Pietrangelo and 11 other veterans. He was the only member of that group who asked the high court to rule that the policy is unconstitutional. In 1993, President Bill Clinton established the policy as a compromise after strong resistance from the military and Congress toward allowing gays to serve openly in the armed forces.

In court papers, the administration said the appeals court ruled correctly in this case when it found that “don’t ask, don’t tell” is “rationally related to the government’s legitimate interest in military discipline and cohesion.”

“The law requires the (Defense) Department to separate from the armed services members who engage in or attempt to engage in homosexual acts; state they are homosexual or bisexual; or marry or attempt to marry a person of the same biological sex,” Whitman said in a statement.

During last year’s campaign, President Barack Obama indicated he supported the eventual repeal of the policy, but he has made no specific move to do so since taking office in January. Meanwhile, the White House has said it won’t stop gays and lesbians from being dismissed from the military.

Last year, the federal appeals court in San Francisco allowed a decorated flight nurse to continue her lawsuit over her dismissal. The court stopped short of declaring the policy unconstitutional, but said that the Air Force must prove that ousting former Maj. Margaret Witt furthered the military’s goals of troop readiness and unit cohesion.

The decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals was the first that evaluated “don’t ask, don’t tell” through the lens of a 2003 Supreme Court decision that struck down a Texas ban on sodomy as an unconstitutional intrusion on privacy.

The administration did not appeal that ruling to the Supreme Court and Witt’s lawsuit is ongoing.

The appeals court in Pietrangelo’s case also took the high court decision into account, but concluded that it should defer to Congress’ determination that the policy fosters cohesion in military units.

The case is Pietrangelo v. Gates, 08-824.

Absolute Disgust With North Korea’s Kim Jong Il

There are no shortage of words to convey my thoughts this morning over the bizarre and utterly unconscionable behavior exhibited by North Korea regarding two U.S. journalists.  Within the warped mind of the leader of North Korea, sentencing these two journalists  to 12 years in a labor camp may seem like a fantastic power play that allows Kim Jong Il ‘leverage’.  Truth is the mentally unstable leader of North Korea needs to be boxed ever tighter into an economic power squeeze until his eyes pop. 

Enough is enough.

China needs to become engaged at a higher and more moral level in regards to curtailing the actions of this backward nation.  China has the ability to yank the money, and control the situation to a much larger degree in North Korea.  When the little freakish dictator, Kim Jong Il, blusters about extreme measures that will be taken if the civilized world makes a stand and works to stop his belligerent attitude, then China has a decision to make too.  Are they playing to the future aims of the global community, or are they constructing another power play in their backyard that will have international consequences?  China may feel they have a vested interest in seeing Japan and South Korea kept on the defensive, but real world tensions that result in chaos will injure all parties in that region in one way or another.

I usually abhor the idea of having the CIA assassinate foreign leaders.  I usually abhor the idea……….