News: December 2007 Archives

A Worldwide Climax For Global Orgasm Day

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DM_Orgasm_5032264.jpgThe winter solstice has been declared Global Orgasm Day. Organizers, the anti-war organization Baring Witness, are asking participants to simultaneously climax at 06:08 a.m. GMT on Saturday December 22nd (10:08 p.m. PST on Friday Dec 21st on the West Coast and 1:08 a.m. EST on Saturday on the East Coast). The goal is "to effect positive change in the energy field of the Earth through input of the largest possible instantaneous surge of human biological, mental and spiritual energy." So get jiggy in the name of world peace y'all. But remember a really good time doesn't have to lead to babies, and since over-population is a major cause of our planet's crisis the emphasis here is on orgasmic energy rather than fertility.

DM_Mary Joseph_7147939.jpgA British hotel chain is hoping to make amends to the ghosts of Christmas past by offering free hotel rooms to couples named Mary and Joseph this season. Married couples wanting to take up the offer must register online and provide proof of identity. Qualifying Marys and Josephs will be sent a voucher for a free room at any of Travelodge's 322 U.K. hotels, which can be redeemed for one night's accommodation between Christmas Eve and Twelfth Night.


According to a Travelodge press release, "the 'gift' of a free night's stay is to make up for the hotel industry not having any rooms left on Christmas Eve over 2000 years ago when the original 'Mary and Joseph' had to settle for the night in a stable." Mangers will be available upon request, and a complimentary parking spot will be provided for the modern day Marys & Josephs' donkeys. In addition, any shepherds and wise men in the party can get a discounted room from just £29 ($60) per night.


A spokesmen for Travelodge said, "The phrase no room at the inn is something that resonates with us in the hotel business. Therefore this year we have decided to evoke the true spirit of Christmas and invite Mary and Joseph as our guests."


One word of warning however, as the Daily Mantra reported earlier this year (see story), the hotel chain has been troubled by a plague of naked sleepwalkers, so any Mary and Josephs sleeping at Travelodge's inns this season should not suffer from a delicate disposition, or be easily shocked.

DM_Got Pus.jpgThe California Milk Processors Board (CMPB) has threatened PETA with a lawsuit over their parody of the Got Milk? slogan. Lawyers representing the CMPB allege that PETA's Got Pus? campaign infringes on the Got Milk? trademark, and have demanded that the animal rights organization cease using the phrase in its campaigns. In addition, the CMPB wants PETA to hand over all merchandise stock bearing the contentious slogan, and profits from all Got Pus? goods sold to date.


PETA deny the allegations since parody is protected under law, as long as it "does not confuse the public as to the source of the usage." Their lawyers have fired off a response stating that, "As part of its mission to educate consumers about the industry's practices, PETA has, among other things, parodied the 'Got Milk?' slogan that the milk industry uses to market milk. Such parodies include PETA's 'Got Zits?,' 'Got Heart Disease?,' 'Got Breast Cancer?,' 'Got Sick Kids?,' 'Got Diabetes?,' and 'Got Veal?' campaigns as well as the 'Got Pus? Milk Does' campaign at issue here. PETA launched each of these campaigns to draw attention to the fact that drinking milk is linked to these various health ailments as well as to support for the veal industry."


Pus gets into the milk supply due to infection in a cow's nipple, which causes inflammation. The condition, known as mastitis, has been linked to the use of Monsanto's bovine growth hormone Prosilac, which stimulates cows to produce milk in unnaturally large quantities. Dairy farmers feed cattle antibiotics en masse in an attempt to control the problem.


To combat this issue the milk industry have developed a system called the "somatic cell count," somatic being a fancy word for pus. According to standards set by the dairy industry, the somatic cell count shouldn't exceed 200 million per liter, though Milk Sucks, an anti-dairy organization, claims that milk entering the food chain often exceeds these safety standards, with the national average being 322 million per liter.


"Chances are good that when you consume milk, you're consuming pus," says PETA Vice President Bruce Friedrich in a statement. The organization reckons that each glass of milk contains between one and seven drop of pus. "Instead of squandering money on groundless threats, the milk industry should be more concerned with the pain and misery that it causes for millions of cows and their calves."


The CMPB contends there's no truth to the pus claims however. "Milk is one of the most regulated, tested and therefore safest products that consumers can buy," said Steve James, CMPB's executive director. "Pasteurization has been required for almost a century in order to remove harmful organisms and bacteria so it's safe for human biology."


Until all cows are happy natural cows, The Daily Mantra's sticking to hormone-free organic milk in our morning coffee, but this still leaves us wondering what else is floating around in our cup!

DM_Sick America_3354077.jpgIt's all a question of priorities. On Wednesday George Bush vetoed legislation, which had bi-partisan support, that would have expanded state health insurance to cover more children. His reason for the veto was that the expanded program would cover children from above-median income families.


However, since prices have risen while wages have stagnated over the last few years, even middle class families are finding it harder to live from paycheck to paycheck. Gas prices have shot through the roof since 2002, and the average family is spending around $40 per month more on groceries alone compared to 12 months ago, consequently even above median income workers are finding it a struggle to provide health insurance for their families if they're not covered by group schemes.


And is it fair to hold innocent children responsible for their parent's poor decisions? If a three-year old can't get desperately needed surgery because her parents chose a flat screen TV over health insurance, should that three year old be made to pay for his or her parents bad judgment? It is often said 'a society is judged on how we protect the weakest amongst us.' I would therefore argue that as a civilized society we should cover ALL of our children, irrespective of their parents circumstances, since they shouldn't have to suffer for the sins of their fathers (and mothers), however silver their spoon.


We truly have the choice to change things; it’s not about lack of funds. The war in Iraq has so far cost $476,746,000,000 and counting. According to NationalPriorities.org, we could have insured around 285,476,000 children for one year for that amount of money (the US population as a whole is 303,588,000, so we'd have quite a lot of change if we just insured our kids). As the death toll in Iraq rises how many Americans have we lost here at home through lack of healthcare? And how many more lives have been destroyed by the financial ramifications of getting well?


We've made our hospital bed, and now we must lie in it, even if that proverbial bed is in a box in the gutter of life. Can you live (or die) with that?

Jail House Yoga

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DM_Freeing The Spirit.jpgA British charity has scored a hit amongst prisoners with their Cell Bed Yoga booklet. The instructional pamphlet, which was produced by The Prison Phoenix Trust, offers solutions to the problems incurred when yoga is practiced in cramped surroundings. The 15-step guide adapts classic yoga poses so inmates can practice yoga in their beds - even if they sleep in bunks.


"It's a great way to ease a back that's tired after lying too long on a sagging mattress," said a spokesman for the charity, which according to their website, "encourages prisoners in the development of their spiritual welfare, through the practices of meditation and yoga, working with silence and the breath."


The trust was founded in 1988 with initial support from Prince Charles' Prince's Trust after founder Ann Wetherall began corresponding with prisoners about their spiritual experiences as part of a research project. The organization promotes spiritual wellbeing in prisoners by offering books on yoga and meditation. Their two key works, Becoming Free Through Meditation and Yoga and We're All Doing Time (which are also available on tape for prisoners with reading difficulties), can be ordered from their website.


"Through yoga and meditation my peace of mind has grown beyond my wildest dreams," says a prisoner from Belmarsh Prison in southeast London. "I used to be so moody and angry and the things I used to dwell upon and hold onto don't cause me to resent anyone or anything any more. It's only the gift of meditation and breath that has made me see that I couldn't progress until I let go completely of all the anger from within me"


Illustration by Korky Paul.

DM_Belief_7342027.jpgRupert Murdoch's Fox Entertainment Group has bought itself a whole lotta faith acquiring Beliefnet, "the largest spiritual website." Founded in 1999, Beliefnet had prided itself on being "independent and not affiliated with any spiritual organization or movement." The site will now become part of Fox Digital Media, whose portfolio also includes online networking monolith Myspace.


"Beliefnet has garnered respect for its commitment to quality, editorial strength and unbiased approach to faith and spirituality from a broad range of consumers, religious and political leaders, journalists and advertisers," said Dan Fawcett, President of Fox Digital Media, in a statement released to the media late yesterday. "FEG's goal is to leverage these characteristics across a broader media canvas and provide programming, production, advertising sales, technology and marketing expertise that will enhance an already terrific product in a rapidly growing market."


"FEG's vast resources will enable Beliefnet to expand our audience, enhance our offerings and more effectively carry out our mission to help people find and walk a spiritual path that brings comfort, hope, clarity, strength, and happiness," said Steven Waldman, Beliefnet's CEO, Editor-in-Chief and Co-Founder.


The move will leave many rolling their eyes in a country that strongly associates the Fox brand with the religious right. However in the U.K., where Murdoch has been a mass market media player for much longer, his corporations' outlets are known for being more flexible, moving with the popular political currents of the time to achieve more power and influence through greater market share. (These tactics have helped Murdoch's News Corporation become the world's third largest media conglomerate, behind Time Warner and Disney.)


In the late 90's there was a significant shift in the editorial slant of Murdoch's British news outlets as Margaret Thatcher and John Major's monetarist empire was being swept aside due to increasing popular support for "New Labour" and its promise of more egalitarian trickle-up economics. Sensing the changing political tide, Murdoch held a come-to-Jesus meeting with left-wing Labour leader Tony Blair in Australia in Dec '96, where it was agreed that some of his outlets would switch teams in exchange for future political concessions. In May '97, with Murdoch's support, Blair swept to victory in the General Elections, becoming the first Labour Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in nearly two decades.


This is just one example of Murdoch's Machiavellian machinations as a king-maker. Perhaps with Beliefnet the media mogul has aspirations on influencing the offices of those above mere kings, trading fleeting political power for something more divine.