Celebrating the Beauty of Black Melanin-Dominant Women!!

“This is a sight to behold. Almost made me shed a tear.

Don’t care too much about the fact they’re a part of with a sorority. It is what it is. Nevertheless, they are attractive, presumably intelligent young women. This was the most beautiful thing (besides my wife and two daughters lol), that I’ve seen today.

To all of my Black sistas, no matter the shape or size, no matter the struggles you are going through in your life, YOU ARE THE MOST BEAUTIFUL CREATURES CREATED BY THE CREATOR! I have mad love for all of you!

Be encouraged and keep fighting, ladies!”

-The Melanin Man


Article originally posted on Atlanta Blackstar (click link for original)


By Kiersten Willis

Florida A&M University alumnae and sorority sisters are making waves for their photographic beach celebration of the beauty of Black women.

“We wanted to do something that celebrated not just ourselves, but Black excellence, beauty and womanhood,” Amanda Bryd of the Beta Alpha chapter of Delta Sigma Theta told NBC Miami Wednesday, July 26, of the shoot.

Deemed “Melanin Illustrated,” the viral Instagram photo shoot features 28 line sisters posing in nude bikinis against the blue ocean and white sands of Costa Rica. While soaking up the sun for a three-day celebration of a decade of sisterhood, the business professionals bonded by relaxing in pure-water hot springs and mud baths, and going zip-lining and horseback riding, according to NBC.

“Black women are often overlooked in beauty,” said LaToya Owens, who organized the trip, to Yahoo Style. “This was our way to shine a light on all types of Black beauty.”

(First picture is a slideshow)


✨#titeturns10 #TITEtakescostarica #melaninillustrated

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More Life. #TITEtakescostarica #10yearsinthegame #TITEturns10 📸cred @moecaramel

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a repost: Black Woman Creates Comics Universe Where all the Superheroes are Women of Color

“Do your thing, sista! Lovin’ it”


Article posted on Atlanta Blackstar (click link for original)

By Gabrielle Clark
Truesdale’s pitch rings with an upbeat optimism. Like many Black women with backgrounds in the corporate sector, her assertive personality reflects experiences that have required her to be more competent than those around her just to gain a seat at the table.

In a strong, yet humble tone, Truesdale paints the picture of a society where the media is filled with complex images of brown people, reaffirming their humanity and a sense of pride in their diverse cultures. Thanks to her imagination, an entire literary universe of empowerment now exists where the superheroes are nonwhite women.

Truesdale’s path to becoming the owner of AZA Comics, a Black-owned comic imprint, was anything but a straight one. Although DC Comics had planted the seeds of storytelling in her childhood, Truesdale was on course to becoming a doctor while attending the University of North Carolina. After realizing her passion was not in health care, but in business, the undergraduate shifted her focus to finance.

“At that point, I envisioned myself as the chief financial officer of a corporation,” Truesdale reflects. After amassing an impressive amount of experience interning at various companies, Truesdale found herself overqualified for the job market. It was then that she felt the itch of entrepreneurship.

Being a boss is often romanticized, especially in the Black community where Black enterprise is viewed as a solution to upward mobility. The first few years of a small business are the most crucial to determining its success. According to the Small Business Association, 67.2 percent of businesses survive their first two years in operation, but only about half are still in operation at the five-year mark. Truesdale’s first attempt at starting a business was not a rousing success,but it provided her with valuable information and solidified her desire to be an entrepreneur.

“It was the best internship of my life. … I thought, ‘Now that I know what failure is like and I’m okay with it, I can do something I always wanted to do,’ which was storytelling, particularly superheroes.”

The AZA Universe Is Born

It was 2013. Armed with little knowledge of the comic business, the long-loced writer got to work contacting as many experts in the field as she could. Networking earned her knowledgeable mentors who passed on invaluable advice gleaned from years of experience and Truesdale absorbed as much as she could. Although she did not yet know it, her background in business training had prepared her to manage a team of creatives, and her love of storytelling insisted she become an author. Truesdale knew she could create an imprint of her own, so she went to work researching the comic industry to find her niche.

The writer quickly observed that not much had changed since her Wonder Woman fangirl days. There were still few comics catering to women, specifically nonwhite women. “I wanted to create something that women could have for themselves, something they could have a voice in,” Truesdale said. “A lot of the things I write and the characters that I develop are what women tell me they want to see.”

Truesdale said she was deeply touched by an email from an Afro-Latina supporter who made a strong case for a Latina character in the AZA Universe. The letter inspired the creation of Ixchel, a technological prodigy raised in Bogota, Colombia.

The entire AZA Universe, down to the publishing format, is designed with nonwhite women in mind. Unlike most comics, which are issued weekly or monthly, Truesdale’s superhero novels are full-length books with illustrated action scenes dispersed throughout. Her readers, many of them working women and mothers with limited time, appreciate being able to hold onto a book and read it at their own pace. Illustrated scenes provide an engaging visual experience that attracts comic lovers.

“The Keepers” series centers around a group of gifted superheroes who, because of danger in their own realm, migrate to Earth and stick around to save humans from themselves.

The Keepers’ leader, Kala, was the deciding factor in whether Truesdale would weave illustrated action scenes into the novel or deliver it purely in prose. Apparently, finding an illustrator who could do justice to Black women’s bodies was no easy task. Truesdale envisioned Kala, an unrivaled warrior and heir to the Arjana realm, having smooth cocoa brown skin and endless locs. She was inspired by the African warrior women of Dahomey and the abundance of historical female leaders in Africa. Truesdale knew that Kala’s look had to be just as precise as the legacy she represents. Fittingly, the hero bears a striking resemblance to Truesdale.

“When it came down to Kala, [the illustrators] were essentially giving her Eurocentric features and putting brown skin on her,” Truesdale said. “They did not have a concept of what Black women’s bodies look like.”

While scrolling on Instagram, Truesdale found Remero Colston, a Canada-based graphic artist from Detroit. Colston and Truesdale bonded over their shared interest in strong female characters and a desire to see nonwhite people better represented in comics. When asked for a sketch of Kala, Colston sent it over in an hour and was hired the same day. In January 2016, Truesdale rolled out the first edition, “The Keepers: Origins.”

Truesdale and Colston began with an idea, three interns and a website. Now, on the heels of its’ two-year anniversary, the AZA Comics Universe is still thriving. The CEO reports that book and merchandise sales are steadily growing between 25-30 percent each month. Still, growth can be sporadic at times. Truesdale notes that things may slow down, but after every speaking engagement, article or press coverage, new orders for Kala T-shirts fly in about a month later. Word-of-mouth referrals also play a big role in the company’s development.

“Right now, we’re trying to put the word out and make a name for AZA Comics,”  she said.

Saving the World One Young Entrepreneur at a Time

Truesdale’s trials and successes with entrepreneurship exposed her to how difficult it can be for Black people to gain access to the resources necessary to build a successful startup. While working as a consultant for a group of venture capitalists, the superhero creator was given an opportunity to assess business plans for hopeful entrepreneurs. She was the only nonwhite person and the only woman with a seat at the table. When the group decided to create programs to build business skills for young people, Truesdale was excited. It was an idea she had nurtured on her own for a long time. During a focus group for the program, Truesdale suggested that the venture capitalists engage students at North Carolina Central University. She was immediately met with resistance.

“To actually see firsthand the level of racism, how we’re literally excluded from discussions at the table … it really hit home for me,” she said. Truesdale knew that in order to encourage more young people of color to become entrepreneurs, she would have to do it herself.

From that aha! moment, the Dare to Be Legendary program was conceived. Launched in May 2017, Dare to Be Legendary is a free, online-based learning lab that teaches business basics to young people who want to start their own companies. Truesdale narrowed in on nonwhite youths and schools in urban communities to pilot the program. She was astonished by the large amount of feedback and the willingness of other entrepreneurs to contribute lesson plans to the program. (For those interested, DBL is currently accepting interested schools and students. Entrepreneurs and investors interesting in volunteering their time, talents and donations are encouraged to contact Jazmin Truesdale.)

Truesdale’s mission for Dare to Be Legendary fit right in with the vision of AZA Comics: that youth can grow up in a multicultural, diverse world where nonwhites have a sense of mutual respect and support for each other, like she was raised.

“A lot of the oppression we face, especially as women of color … overlaps,” Truesdale said. “With ‘The Keepers,’ I just wanted to show that these girls are sisters.

“They respect each other’s differences and struggles, they listen to each other and support each other.”

Black is Invalid (Part 2)- A Bittersweet Opportunity


From The Melanin Man:

It’s been about four months since the incident I went through in reference to my endeavors to sit for the Professional Engineering exam, which I discussed in detail in Having a Moment- Black is Not Valid (Part 1). Alot has happened in that time frame from a personal perspective. I had planned a followup even before I posted Part 1, wanting Part 2 posted no more than a week after Part 1. I had many, many premises and ideas I could have gone with (that would have been good!) just to have Part 2 posted within that time frame. I put it on the back-burner in lieu of other tasks (i.e. my memoir), and I totally forgotten about it.

But I’m glad I did.

Recent developments and experiences in my life have given Part 2 new life, and I feel it is the perfect time to post it.

If you remember, for those of you who have read Part 1, I was denied the opportunity to sit for the Professional Engineering (PE) license in Alabama, due to the “insufficient experience” I received through my employer, an small Black civil engineering consultant firm. I detailed my feelings and thoughts thoroughly on the fact that Blacks, no matter the career, must be validated and approved through the lens of white supremacy in some capacity before, recalling The Jeffersons theme song, “move on up!”

It seemed following that unfortunate experience I was done, so to speak. Not that I couldn’t continue working in the field, more than likely change employers, and get the remaining 18 months I needed to sit for the PE exam. Deep down, though, I didn’t want to play that game. I believed my previous work experience was, is, valid and should have been afforded the opportunity to take the exam, in spite of the fact I had no references of the Caucasian persuasion to give me the seal of approval to their fellow brethren who dominate the Board.

“Why must I be validated even though I fulfilled their requirements?” I asked myself.

Tough titty! It’s their system, their rules. Deal with it, my subconscious responded.

I was exploring the possibility of giving up civil engineering. It wasn’t just because of being to denied to take the exam either. In the last four years though, I never got any bite from other companies in my field to hire me when I would apply from time to time. The incident with the Board was just the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Maybe I wasn’t cut out for this engineering thing, I would think time to time. Plus, I knew I had more to offer besides practicing civil engineering. Undergoing my transformation, I realized that working in the civil engineering field was now only an option amongst the many skills/talents I had but neglected to develop in my adolescence (e.g. writing.)


At the same time, I have a family to take of even if my wife (whose in the eight months of medical residency, thank goodness!) can support me and my daughters without financial assistance from me.

What if she has to stop working for whatever reason? WHOSE gonna have to pick up the slack???

My girls are getting older and smarter by the day, and I’m realizing they don’t need me like they used to as newborns and budding toddlers ( I’m boohooing inside!!!) Plus, for any man’s mental and spiritual stability, especially Black Melanin-Dominant men, it’s IMPERATIVE that he knows that he has the ability to take care of himself and family in a financial capacity. And at this current stage in my life, my degree and background in civil engineering is my most stable and feasible option to do just that.

I just wasn’t getting any bites from other companies who had the ability to pay me a living wage! It got to the point where I was entertaining the idea of truck driving to accomplish this. Then out of nowhere, the “perfect” opportunity, within my field no doubt, fell flat in my lap.

A recruiter came across an old resume of mine I had posted on her company’s website a couple years prior. She had matched it with a job opening for a large consultant firm  (albeit majority ran by those of the Caucasian, European flavor of course), in conjunction with the Georgia DOT, that offered everything that I wanted:

-an opportunity to work with the Georgia DOT located smack-dabbed in Downtown Atlanta, 

the opportunity to be a part of a roadway design team…

and last but not least…

…a paying salary!!! And a decent one at that! I threw my name in the hat, and needless to say, the firm and the DOT representative I interviewed were thoroughly impressed with me and the skills I brought to the table and…

…you know the rest. It is on a six-month to  hire contract, so I have to come correct to stay on a permanent basis.

Life is funny. As I kid from Mobile, Alabama, it was my ambition, my dream, to live and work in a city like Atlanta, building and designing highways and byways with/for the DOT. After everything I’ve been through, to almost succumb to the idea of giving up that dream, I making another step toward that reality. I still in shock.

And yet…

I’m a little disappointed. If any of you are familiar with the new me or have read What Sparked My Transformation series, as mentioned a moment ago, I am not the same as I once was in the past. Besides the trying task of dropping over 100 pounds, I have become whole within myself like never before.

I eat the foods that are natural and nutritious to my temple when necessary. I have become disengaged from the hoopla of this material paradigm, choosing to seek what is actually real and THE TRUTH!  And now more than ever I have an insatiable love for my Black Melanin-Dominant skin, and my Black Melanin-Dominant peoples, no matter their lot in this life…

which is why it breaks my heart to leave my employer and the only firm I’ve been associated with for the last seven years.

I’ve learned alot from the founder/my supervisor (aptly named Terry in my memoir), professionally and personally, during my association with his firm. I am indeed very grateful to him. I entered in the beginning stages of this budding black-owned business, and was excited with the potential it could reach. Long story short, (this part is mentioned in the Transformation series and my memoir, which hopefully will be published sometime next year) the firm hit some pretty big speed bumps and it has taken longer than expected to get back on its feet. I stayed attached to the firm, probably longer than I should have from a professional standpoint, on little to no pay, hoping that fortunes would turn back promising once more.

This is a Black civil engineering firm, one of the very few of its kind in this country I’m pretty sure. At times I waffled back in forth with leaving the firm, knowing I had a wife in medical school and two newborn daughters to care for. Yet at the same time, I wanted to fight through the fire with my supervisor Terry. I didn’t want to quit on him or the firm either. Unbelievably, my wife was supportive no matter what direction I chose to walk and I am truly thankful for her being understanding (I love you so much, babe!)

Finally, and unfortunately to some degree, some time after the Board’s decision, it occurred to me that the firm possibly may never reach its true potential. I began to think this in part that Terry began to lack a clear vision and plan for the firm, taking  projects on a whim to make ends meet without a certified guarantee that we’d get paid. The other reason is that the environment was/is of course currently constructed against true Black business advancement and sustainable success, especially in the STEM and construction fields. In my opinion it is a insult to be labelled a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) or Minority Business Enterprise (MBE), to settle for the scraps from the larger white, Caucasian firms and contractors who basically have a monopoly on the system because they practically created it that way.

Damn, white supremacy.

But on a whole as a people, that’s what we  have resolved ourselves to accepting. And regardless if we owned a business or not, all in all, we’re still perpetuating a existence that is ABNORMAL to our TRUE NATURE. We have no voice, no unity, no true vision collectively as a people.  The majority are just doing what we have to do to survive. If we only knew our TRUE HISTORY, maybe, just maybe, things will change for the better. We’ll decide that this  current parasitic paradigm is not for us and we’ll seek to destroy it for good. And I believe at some point in the distant, or maybe near, future that will happen.

But I know I have to take care of my own personal affairs. Ultimately it is my responsibility to take care of my family at the end of the day. I wasn’t able to do that working for Terry, and like so many other of my ilk have said…

“I gotta to do what gotta do.”

But trust, I will continue to do my part to educate my Black brothers and sisters through my blog and other means necessary so one day our current reality can truly change. Besides, I don’t envision myself continuing in the engineering field exclusively too much longer; I am just taking advantage of an opportunity to fulfill this childhood dream of mine. I have bigger ideas and plans that are more beneficial to my newfound goal of freeing the physical, mental, and spiritual shackles from my people.

And if I was able to visualize myself at a young age becoming a civil engineer designing highways and byways, I’m pretty sure I can do the same with

…possibly owning a farmers market selling reasonably-priced healthy foods grown from my farm to the peoples I wish to help…

Or starting a publishing company that promotes authors and material who seek to enlighten the Black Melanin-Dominant masses…

Or…I have countless ideas. I’m just vetting a few of them.

I truly understand that dreams can come true if you set your MIND TO IT!




Let’s make it happen, fam!


Peace and Love to my melanated family,

The Melanin Man





a repost: Colleges and universities increasingly seen as scams that fail to prepare students for the real economy

Article posted on Collective-Evolution (click link for original)



Image: Colleges and universities increasingly seen as scams that fail to prepare students for the real economy

By Ethan Huff


To many, it serves as a shiny badge of upward mobility – a milestone that someone took their education seriously and is now ready for the next level of responsibility in the world. But a college degree doesn’t always deliver on its promises anymore, as many graduates today are learning the hard way. Not only are many of these freshly-minted degree holders discovering that they can’t just waltz into their dream jobs simply because they hold a piece of paper. Some of them are also coming to the stark realization that they were duped by their alma maters, which failed to teach them the necessary life skill for facing the “real world” post-commencement.

Depending upon which school a student attended and the primary subject he specialized in, a degree admittedly holds varying degrees of value. A computer scientist, for instance, will have more than likely interned at a large company prior to graduating, after which time he’ll take up a full-time position for great pay. A women’s studies major, on the other hand, will find that she basically shelled out several hundred thousand dollars for a four-year safe space, and now has no marketable skills to find a real job.

There are various other factors that determine whether or not a college degree is valuable, of course. But the main point is this: College isn’t for everyone. For many young people coming out of high school, community college or technical school is a much better and typically more affordable option that offers real-life training in actual skilled work. But how many students are being told this by their guidance counselors before they sign right up for traditional college or university, a.k.a. agreeing to ratchet up huge debt unless they’re independently wealthy?

“Colleges have convinced nearly everyone that you need a degree to be an effective employee or higher-income adult, but this is just not true,” writes Daniel Ameduri from FutureMoneyTrends.com (as published in an article by SHTFplan.com).

“I can tell you as an employer that I’ve never asked a single person what their grades were and I’ve never asked to see a degree. The ugly truth is the ones with college degrees usually end up writing SEO articles for $15 an hour and the skilled workers who’ve been writing code as a hobby or editing videos for years on a MAC end up as managers making $75+ per hour.”

Unless a student is awarded grants or scholarships, attending college is expensive. According to the College Board, the average cost to attend an in-state public college is now nearly $25,000 per year. At a private college, this yearly cost doubles to almost $50,000.

This means that by the time a student graduates – assuming he pays these costs out of pocket or with loans – he will already be between $100,000 to $200,000 in debt. Based on job availability, this debt could haunt him for decades, or worse – ruin his credit if he ends up defaulting due to an inability to pay.

There are so many other options besides going this precarious route, including taking short courses online or at a local training facility, or even on the job depending on the industry. There are many ways to learn useful information that don’t have to cost tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“When I was 18 years old, I made $55,000 while my peers sat in a classroom learning things that were forgotten before they even left the campus that day,” Ameduri adds, noting that the four years that many young people typically spend to earn their Bachelor’s degrees could have been spent getting a head start in life.

ED vs. EL-a repost: Dean Foods just acquired Uncle Matt’s Organic… watch out for ingredient alteration and unethical business practices

Article posted on Natural News (click link for original)


Image: Dean Foods just acquired Uncle Matt’s Organic… watch out for ingredient alteration and unethical business practices

By Isabelle Z.

Dean Foods announced in a press release that it has acquired organic juice company Uncle Matt’s Organic, prompting concerns about just how “organic” their beverages will remain moving forward.

According to the press release, Uncle Matt’s Organic is the oldest organic juice company in the U.S. Their offerings include juices such as orange, grapefruit, apple and lemonade, along with fruit-infused waters and probiotic-infused juices, and their products are popular among health-conscious consumers.

The Dean Foods press release says: “Uncle Matt’s Organic is committed to producing the highest quality juices, using only premium 100% organically grown fruit that is free from GMOs, synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.”

It’s a commendable stance, but how long will that continue to be the case? If Dean Foods Company’s track record when it comes to acquisitions is any indication, fans of Uncle Matt’s products had better stay on their toes.

When Dean Foods Company acquired the Silk brand soy milk, they engaged in some very deceptive practices that left a lot of consumers so angry that many continue to boycott them to this day. Silk’s soy milk had been made using organic soybeans until early 2009, and customers who sought organic products at that time knew this milk was a safe bet.

However, after taking over the brand, Dean essentially employed a “bait and switch” tactic that left a lot of consumers with a very bad taste in their mouths. They started to use conventionally grown soybeans rather than organic ones, but they continued to use the same bar codes on their products and only slightly shifted the wording on their label to make it say “natural” instead of “organic.” Many consumers believed it was still organic, not realizing that “natural” is not a word that is regulated and that any product can claim to be natural regardless of whether it has been sprayed with toxic pesticides, as many soybeans are.

Adding insult to injury, they kept selling it for the same price, which meant people were paying organic prices for toxin-laced milk.

The deception was so underhanded that even retailers didn’t realize what was happening at first, with watchdog groups calling out Target for misleading shoppers by continuing to advertise the product as “organic” even though it no longer was.

This was more than just a one-off incident. Dean Foods has long shown a lack of honesty when it comes to organic food. They are the parent company of Horizon Organic, whose milk was once the subject of a boycott for not being legitimately organic. Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, once called the company “the Enron of the food industry” on account of its lack of ethics. Dean also contributed more than $250,000 in an effort to defeat the GMO labeling initiative Prop 37 in California in 2012 – something that Uncle Matt’s, on the other hand, supported.

It’s hard to say whether Uncle Matt’s juices will pull a similar trick on the public. There are some positive signs, such as the fact that Uncle Matt’s will become a subsidiary of Dean Foods but will continue to operate from its current offices in Clermont, Florida.

In addition, the company’s founder, Matt McLean, will continue to lead the brand. According to Uncle Matt’s website, he became passionate about an organic way of life in 1995, which he said is akin to the way his grandfather and great-grandfather grew their fruit. He believes in making soil healthy to nurture trees that can defend themselves naturally against disease. One can only hope that he will be able to convince his higher-ups to adopt the same philosophy.

a repost: Legalized Pedophilia In The US: More Than 200,000 Children Married In The Last 15 Years

Whoa. Did not know this was going on, but I shouldn’t be surprised either.


Article posted on Collective-Evolution (click link for original)

By Kalee Brown

At least 100,000 children are prostituted annually in the U.S., adding to the $9.8 billion U.S. sex trafficking industry. Children all over the country are subject to physical and sexual abuse, and most of the time it happens a lot closer to home than we would expect. Ninety percent of child sexual abuse victims know the perpetrator, and an astonishing 68% are abused by family members.

What’s worse, some of the laws surrounding child sexual abuse and child marriage (or lack thereof) actually enable their practice. As a result, more than 200,000 children in the U.S. were married in the past 15 years alone. We often view child marriage as only being an issue in third-world countries, but in reality, it occurs right here in North America, too. Children as young as 10 have been married to far older adults, despite the legal requirement to wed being 18, or legal adulthood, nationwide.

This is because many states have “legal loopholes” that allow adults to marry children. Not all states are willing to provide statistics on this problem, and many have provided only some details rather than the full scope, so that 200,000 is likely far below the real number of American child brides and grooms.

Why Child Marriage Is a Huge Problem in the U.S.

In May of this year, the Republican governor of New Jersey declined an offer to sign a law that would have made New Jersey the first state to ban child marriage without exception. Many people probably assume that child marriage is illegal in the U.S., but the sad reality is that these loopholes allow children to get married at a very young age. In New Jersey alone, approximately 3,500 children were married between 1995 and 2012.

The governor claimed that signing the law would have “conflicted with religious customs.” Some of these loopholes include if the child has gotten pregnant or if the child receives parental consent. Can you imagine your parents arranging a marriage for you, prior to the age of 18? Yes, this is the reality for many people all over the world, but few realize this happens in America too. Alternatively, could you imagine getting pregnant at the young age of 13 and then being forced to wed? This is a terrifying reality for many victims of child marriage.

207,468 minors are known to have been married in the U.S. between 2000 and 2015, but 10 states provided absolutely no data or inaccurate statistics on child marriage, so this number does not reflect the true scope of the issue. Of this number, most of the children were girls who were married to much older men, and many were as young as 13. Eighty-seven percent of these minors were girls, and although the majority were aged 16 or 17, many were much younger.

Amongst the youngest to get married were three 10-year-old girls in Tennessee, who married men between the ages of 24 and 31. Another young boy was married at the age of 11 to a 27-year-old woman in the same state.

It’s not just Tennessee; children as young as 12 were married in Alaska, Louisiana, and South Carolina, and 11 other states permit 13-year-old children to get married. Keep in mind that, in most of these cases, the minors were marrying older adults, not other minors. Only 14% of these minors were actually marrying other minors, but even still, is it really okay for a 17-year-old to marry a 13-year-old?

Although most of them married adults no older than 30, in some cases, children were permitted to marry adults decades older than them. There was one case in Alabama where a 14-year-old girl married a 74-year-old man, and another in Idaho in which a 17-year-old married a 65-year-old man.

Let’s remember that, although most states recognize that sexual consent can be granted by those aged 16 to 18, a person can still be charged with statutory rape for having sex with a minor. Despite this, many states are granting children with marriage licenses, including minors who are much younger than 16.

Senior Counsel for Policy and Strategy at Tahirih Justice Centre Jeanne Smoot explained that most of the children who get married as minors are those living in poverty. She stated: “Almost all the evidence indicates that girls in cities don’t get married young, that girls from middle class or wealthy families, don’t get married young. This is a rural phenomenon and it is a phenomenon of poverty.”

An astonishing 27 states don’t even have laws to set an “age floor,” meaning that no laws exist to establish the youngest age a minor can get married. Loopholes like this one are what allow minors to get married in the first place. The irony is that sexual abuse is “illegal,” yet the government is allowing minors to get married as young as 10 years old. What do these judges expect will occur in these marriages? This is not a way to protect these children, as child marriage can enable abuse and pedophilia.

It’s clear that child marriage isn’t just an issue in third-world countries. If we truly want to become leaders in this world and set the stage for other countries, we need to reflect that both in our laws and in our morals. Children deserve rights and protection, and this desperately needs to be reflected in our judiciary system.

a repost: What Happened To My Body When I Didn’t Eat For 21 Days

Article posted on Collective-Evolution (click link for original)
By Alanna Ketler

I recently did the unthinkable – I stopped eating food altogether for 21 days, and you know what happened? I healed my body, gave my digestive system a much needed rest, cleared up my candida, passed some parasites, and got my cystic acne under control –and would you believe it? I am still here to tell the story.

I have been battling with what I had been diagnosed as having an issue of candida overgrowth– for almost two years, but now I question whether it may have just been a parasite all along. There are tons of illnesses out there that are commonly labeled as mystery illnesses because mainstream medicine has neither discovered a cause or a cure, leaving many people in the dark when it comes to healing.

When I first learned about the Master Fast System I felt that the idea of fasting resonated with something that could help me once and for all and I was excited about the idea of challenging myself, although the recommended 40 -108 days felt like a little bit too long for me. I decided to try out the fast, but customize it towards my needs and what I felt intuitively would help my body.

I did 21 days of the full on master fast system, which means only grape juice mixed with lemon, herbal tea and potent tinctures, daily enemas, a mixture psyllium husk powder, bentonite clay and activated charcoal mixed with grape juice and lemon this is known as plasma “pudding”and daily dry fasts (nothing at all in the system) of between 14 – 18 hours.

Won’t You Lose A Lot Of Weight?

Throughout the 21 days I lost a total of 15 pounds -a lot of which was just water weight. As you can see from the picture, the main area that shrunk was my stomach, but it’s because it was always so bloated and uncomfortable before. This fast has completely cleared up the bloating and swelling that was almost a constant in my life for 2 years. This is certainly what sweet relief feels like.

Isn’t Fasting Hard?

Yes. But does that mean that it’s not worth doing? No. Of course not eating for an extended period of time isn’t easy, but that isn’t because you’re hungry, it’s because of your mental addictions to food. It’s interesting because we feel we need to eat, but most of us don’t really realize just how addicted to food we really are because it is not only a HUGE part of our culture, but we need to eat to survive. Not until you go without food do these addictions become apparent.

Fasting is a way to not only clear out the body and give the digestive system a break, but it also is great for clearing out the mind. It’s amazing how clear the head is when there is nothing in the system, no stimulants or any other distractions. I found I became a lot more aware of my emotions as well. When something comes up, and you have no escape – in the form of food or anything else, you are forced to sit with it and feel it. That was a very interesting experience throughout this whole thing as well.

I realized that we have a lot of preconceived ideas about food, we believe that we need a certain amount to be healthy, but I strongly believe that if we just tune into our body, give it what it needs, and give our digestive system a break from time to time, we will be fine. The idea of stuffing our faces with 3 large meals a day seems absurd to me, and things like intermittent fasting actually make a lot more sense.

Is Fasting For You?

I strongly believe fasting is something everyone can benefit from. But if you are suffering from any digestive health issues, then you especially could benefit from fasting. There are certain ways to go about it, however, and it is important to do adequate research and choose a method that is suited towards your needs and works for you.


ED vs. EL-a repost: Contraceptive drugs are turning fish into transgenders

My loved ones and those who know me are shocked that I don’t eat any meat of any kind. “Not even fish?” They ask me. “Nope,” I respond. Definitely not after reading this.
If they knew this information, I guarantee they wouldn’t eat fish as well.
I take that back.
They’d still it eat! They’d pray to God before consuming the trash hoping that he (or she) will protect them from their ignorance.


Article posted on Natural News (click link for original)
Image: Confirmed: Contraceptive drugs are turning fish into transgenders

By Amy Goodrich

Despite the evidence suggesting that there are many possible dangers associated with birth control drugs, an estimated 12 million women in the United States take an oral contraceptive, commonly referred to as “the pill,” to prevent pregnancy.

While birth control pills are convenient and, for the most part, effective at preventing unwanted pregnancies, they are not only harming the human body, they are also having a severe impact on the environment. Due to pollution and overuse of chemicals and drugs, a mix of endocrine disruptors is entering rivers via toxic waste and rain water at an alarming rate.

Professor Charles Tyler, a leading eco-toxicologist from the University of Exeter in Britain, and colleagues discovered that chemicals found in contraceptives and common household products (including by-products of cleaning agents, plastics, and cosmetics) that are flushed down the drain are giving rise to transgender or intersex fish in British rivers.

Their data showed that one fifth (or 20 percent) of male river fish, coming from 50 different sites, were displaying more feminine traits and some were even producing eggs in their testicles. The team also reported that the intersex fish were less aggressive and had a lower sperm count. All these factors combined made them less competitive, reducing their chances to breed successfully. Furthermore, offspring of transgender fish can be more sensitive to the effects of toxic exposure.

The research identified more than 200 chemicals

Tyler recently gave a keynote speech on the topic of transgender fish at the 50th Anniversary Symposium of the Fisheries Society in the British Isles at Exeter University, which was held at the beginning of July.

Tyler’s key findings originate from a 2008 research projectRoach, Sex, and Gender-Bending Chemicals: The Feminization of Wild Fish in English Rivers — he was involved in. During the study, the team identified more than 200 chemicals in river water.

Next to estrogen-like drugs, known to mess up the endocrine or hormonal system, the researchers also discovered other drugs, such as antidepressants, which could alter the fish’s natural behavior. Antidepressants have been shown to reduce the natural shyness of some fish species, making them more vulnerable to predators. Furthermore, the team also noted that estrogen found in some plastics may affect the valves in the heart.

“It all depends how feminized they become. If they are moderately to severely feminized, they are compromised as individuals and they really struggle to pass on their genes,” Tyler said. “One thing scientists are becoming much, much more conscious of now … is wildlife populations are exposed to a combination of stresses,” he added.

RT reported on a similar study from 2010 where researchers found that more than 80 percent of male bass fish in the Potomac River in Washington DC exhibited female traits, including eggs in their testicles.

A call for stricter regulations

The chemicals causing these effects are often flushed down the toilet without giving a second thought. Chemicals in contraceptives, cleaning products, and other household products not only threaten our health but that of the environment too. Therefore, Tyler called for better regulations and a ban on certain chemicals.

“It’s blindingly obvious when you stick a poison out and it kills something. It’s an incredibly difficult challenge to understand sub-lethal effects and how these things affect behavior,” Tyler said. “If we get sufficient evidence indicating there’s a high likelihood of a population effect, perhaps we need to be more proactive about restricting … or banning these chemicals,” he added.

The Folly of Big-Time Sports Pt. 5 -a repost: Why It’s a Problem When NBA Stars Take Less Money Than They’re Worth

(This is a continuation of my The Folly of Sports series)

Article posted on TheRinger.com (click link for original)

By Michael Baumann

On Thursday, Dirk Nowitzki, the NBA’s active leader in games and minutes played, points, free throws, and defensive rebounds, re-signed with the Dallas Mavericks for $10 million over two years. Compared to Nowitzki’s $25 million team option for 2017–18, which Dallas declined, it’s a huge haircut for the future Hall of Famer, but Nowitzki is 39 years old and coming off a season in which he played fewer minutes per game (and fewer games overall), scored fewer points per game, and attempted fewer shots per game than he had in any season since his rookie year. Nowitzki is certainly on the decline, and far from his MVP form of a decade ago.

Still, Nowitzki will make less over his two-year deal than free-agent bench guy Amir Johnson will make with the Sixers next season alone. He’ll make $8 million less per year than Joe Ingles (career high 7.1 PPG in his age-29 season last year), less than half as much as Zach Randolph, who’s almost as old as Nowitzki, and only a half-million per year more than Justin — not Jrue, Justin — Holiday. But this deal keeps him with the only NBA franchise he’s ever played for, and Nowitzki has already made over a quarter of a billion dollars in salary over his career. While some might question the wisdom of taking an 80 percent pay cut to keep living in Texas and playing for a lottery-bound club, he’s a grown-up and can do what he likes.

Like Golden State’s Kevin Durant, who’s fresh off a $10 million pay cut of his own, Nowitzki can do whatever he likes, but that doesn’t make it admirable.

The putative reason Durant took less money to stay with the Warriors was so that money could be redistributed to his teammates and strengthen the team’s roster. To Golden State’s credit, that’s happened: Shaun Livingston and Andre Iguodala got pay bumps, and Nick Young, the NBA’s god of folly, came up the coast from the Lakers at a cost of $5.2 million. The rules that govern NBA salaries and transactions are Byzantine to say the least — just look at all the shifting pieces behind Chris Paul’s move to the Rockets from the Clippers — but in short, Durant’s pay cut didn’t make the Livingston and Iguodala extensions possible, it made them cheaper, both in terms of the Warriors’ overall salary outlay and in terms of their luxury tax bill. Warriors ownership, led by venture capitalist Joe Lacob, could have paid Durant, Livingston, and Iguodala and just gone deeper into the luxury tax, but they chose not to. (Maybe Young doesn’t come over as the team’s midlevel exception if Durant takes the max, but I don’t think Swaggy P is going to be what puts the Warriors over the top in 2017–18.)

Meanwhile, the Mavericks, who finished 11th in the Western Conference last season, are almost certainly not going to make the playoffs this season, and have thus far failed to attract any notable free agents. That shouldn’t be Nowitzki’s problem, anyway; his job is to use his arsenal of YMCA dad moves to score points, not assemble a competitive roster.

But as The Ringer’s Danny Chau wrote when Durant first signed, “Durant’s decision makes it painfully clear that it will always be the players who have to make ‘sacrifices,’ never the owners.”

On the grand scale of global economic injustice, Durant making $25 million next year and not $34.5 million isn’t even a drop in the bucket. Since time immemorial, people have complained about how much athletes get paid, and to be totally frank, those complaints aren’t without merit. Durant is a godlike basketball figure, a former league MVP, last year’s Finals MVP, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, a four-time scoring champion, and an eight-time All-Star. Countless millions of people, including me, love watching him play basketball, and while there’s great value in entertaining the public, he’s not healing the sick, teaching people to read, or performing any function that’s strictly essential to society as we know it. On some level, Charlotte Observer columnist Scott Fowler’s much-pilloried take about Steph Curry (who is himself underpaid according to LeBron James’s treatise on the intersection of basketball and the labor theory of value) making the equivalent of 1,000 schoolteachers’ salaries is spot-on. We probably would be better off if we took $40 million from either Lacob or Curry and spent it on teachers.

Of course, that’s not the choice Durant or Nowitzki made. In an egalitarian utopia, sports teams would be public utilities, like a parks department or a library system, provided by a city for the emotional and intellectual well-being of its citizens. Sports teams are essentially civic institutions now anyway, and average people take great pride in their success, to the point where we root for the institution, sometimes — specifically when it comes to salary negotiations — against the individual athletes who make it successful.

Sports owners have co-opted that civic pride and are squeezing not only their workers but us fans. Civic pride causes us to support “Dallas” or “Golden State” or “New York,” but sports owners, who will charge you $11 for beer because they can, have insinuated themselves into that relationship, to their great profit. It’s perverse, but predictable in a society that’s so devoutly capitalist that politicians run as “pro-business” (as opposed to “pro-people”) and we vote for them by the tens of millions.

Make no mistake, the Warriors aren’t a public utility, but a for-profit business, so their labor savings here aren’t being passed on to the consumer. The average Warriors ticket — in the Bay Area, the Xibalba of Gentrification — cost 69 percent more in 2015–16 than it did the year before. Now that Durant’s taking a pay cut, Lacob’s organization is raising the cost of season tickets 16.9 percent in 2017–18. As little as $10 million means to Durant, or $20 million to Nowitzki, it means even less to Lacob and Mavericks owner Mark Cuban.

So we, the fans, the citizens who buy tickets and jerseys and overpriced hot dogs and pay the taxes that fund arena construction, aren’t getting that money back, whether in cash or in the way we would with parks or libraries or higher teacher salaries — short of worldwide proletarian revolution. It’s either going to Durant and Nowitzki, who are what make basketball compelling, or the owners, whose function in society is to turn millions of dollars into billions of dollars.

Without players, the owners would have no product at all. Without owners, players would have to hire their own administrative and marketing arms, which probably wouldn’t cost anywhere near the 50 percent of basketball-related revenue the owners get. I like watching Durant and Nowitzki play basketball, but I don’t know what function owners serve that couldn’t be filled more cheaply and effectively by hired-gun administrators in a league owned by the players. Meanwhile, Lacob is a venture capitalist. Cuban is a relic of the dot-com bubble turned reality television heel. Cuban sometimes veers into taking the title “owner” too literally, while Lacob has a weird relationship with the Larry O’Brien Trophy, but they’re relatively benign as billionaires go. For as much as Durant and Nowitzki aren’t healing the sick, though, Lacob and Cuban don’t even make you smile — unless you’re a fan of Shark Tank or throwing money at a 3-D orthodontics company.

That’s more than you could say for Clippers owner Steve Ballmer, who as the former CEO of Microsoft was complicit in making Internet Explorer your default web browser, even though it doesn’t work that well. Some NBA owners, like the Lakers’ Jeanie Buss and the Knicks’ James Dolan, did nothing more to deserve their billion-dollar piece of the basketball pie than being born into the right family.

Other NBA owners actively, often primarily, profit from the immiseration of working people. Bucks owner Wes Edens is either a “subprime scion” if you read the New York Post or the “king of subprime lending” if you read the Wall Street Journal. Rockets owner Leslie Alexander owns a stake in a for-profit student loan company. Richard DeVos, the nonagenarian owner of the Orlando Magic, made his fortune running a pyramid scheme and funds organizations that fight against LGBT rights. Dan Gilbert, the typographically creative owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers — last seen standing athwart the boneheaded double of anointing the inexperienced Chauncey Billups to run his organization, then lowballing the TV commentator into turning the gig down — rode into his native Detroit on a white horse, promising to alleviate the urban blight that his company, Quicken Loans, had been instrumental in creating.

The players aren’t blameless. Many of them, most notably Michael Jordan, who crossed over and bought the Charlotte Hornets, see themselves as tycoons in the making, not laborers. In other words, they see ownership as role models, not the people keeping them down. Under the leadership of Chris Paul, the players’ union has fought for provisions like the supermax contract (which benefits superstars and teams) instead of using that negotiating capital to go after something, like abolishing the draft or restricted free agency, or even a higher percentage of revenue, that would have been a greater benefit to the union’s poorest members. Even among workers, the rich exploit the poor.

After all, Durant and Nowitzki could have demanded to be paid what they’re worth. Nowitzki in particular, as the immensely popular face of a franchise that’s treading water, is the rare athlete who could win the PR battle in a contract dispute against the abrasive Cuban.

Perhaps Nowitzki and the Mavericks have a handshake deal regarding Nowitzki’s post-basketball career, but a sinecure special assistant to the GM role likely wouldn’t pay $10 million a year — even if the whole arrangement didn’t smack of cap circumvention. And sure, being close to Silicon Valley helps Durant network with the business leaders he might one day hope to become, though in the age of videoconferencing and private jets, physical location matters much less than it used to. Durant was a global icon when he played in Oklahoma City, after all. And though it’s been said that both Nowitzki and Durant could make their money back through endorsements, Nowitzki has famously eschewed endorsement deals, except for his Nike contract, and it doesn’t matter if Durant makes the money back through endorsements. Why couldn’t he have signed the bigger deal and still garnered all the same endorsements?

Besides, a couple of lost millions for super-rich athletes aren’t the real problem here.

In today’s American labor culture, demanding to be paid the value of your labor is frequently painted as “not being a team player,” which is a cardinal sin for a team sport athlete. Athletes are trained not only to play a game, but to be obedient and to respect people in power just because they’re powerful, and regardless of whether they’re shown the same respect in return. When Durant or Nowitzki — themselves both worth hundreds of millions of dollars — gets mesmerized by that power, it’s not a huge deal. But when the lessons of those relationships get translated to ordinary worker-employer relationships, it is. When was the last time your boss used the phrase “be a team player” and gave you good news? Why should you sacrifice for your employer?

Suffice it to say, I’d rather the odd $10 million go to the players, and not the owners. And unless you’re in the business of ripping off housewives or saddling college kids with lifelong debt or kicking people out of their homes, so should you.

Did You Know?- a repost: Congo, my Precious: The Curse of the Coltan Mines in the Congo

Thank these people for our ability to talk on our cellphones, or the use of our laptops, or any of our electronics that are wireless that we use daily. Blood has been literally shed for our ability to indulge in modern technology.

Please spare fifty-two minutes and check out the video. Very eye-opening.

(via Tales of the Conspiratum)

The Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa is one of the world’s most resource-rich countries. A wide range of rare minerals can be found here in abundance, all commanding high prices in world commodity markets. Diamonds for jewellery, tantalum, tungsten and gold for electronics; uranium used in power generation and weaponry and many others. Congo has copious deposits of raw materials that are in high demand internationally but remains one of the poorest countries in the world.

From colonisation, with the horrors of slavery and other atrocities, to a turbulent and equally brutal present in which militant groups control the mines, Congo’s richness in natural resources has brought nothing but misery. Referred to as “conflict minerals”, these riches leave only a trail of death, destruction and poverty.

Under Belgian rule, Congolese labourers were often required to meet quotas when mining different minerals. Failure could mean punishment by having a hand cut off with a machete. The country gained independence in 1960, but that didn’t put a stop to slave and child labour or to crimes being committed to extract and exploit the minerals. Warring militant fractions from inside the country and beyond seized control of mines for their own benefit while terrorising local populations.

For our translator, Bernard Kalume Buleri, his country’s history of turmoil is very personal; like most Congolese people, he and his family fell victim to the unending mineral based power struggle. Born in the year of his country’s independence, he has lived through war and seen his homeland torn apart by violent looting and greed. His story is a damning testament, illustrating how nature’s bounty, instead of being a blessing, becomes a deadly curse.


Watch more on illegal mining:  https://rtd.rt.com/tags/illegal-mining/