Archive | Higher Ground

‘The eagle inside belongs to us’

Philadelphia Tourists

Yesterday I was downtown, driving through the historic area so many Philadelphians take for granted. As always, I was both surprised and deeply moved by the sight of the visitors who come all over the world to spend Independence Day in my home town.

Think about that. They could have gone somewhere else, or stayed home for a backyard barbecue. Instead, they came to Philadelphia for July 4th because they’re drawn by the idea of liberty, and the ideals expressed in our Declaration of Independence.

It seems our elected officials forget about those ideals. But we haven’t! Sure, there are many reasons to be depressed, but don’t give up. Get mad, get organized! Remember, it’s our country. It doesn’t belong to Donald Trump, or corrupt Republicans.

It belongs to us.

Adams:
It’s a masterpiece, I say!
They will cheer every word, every letter

Jefferson:
I wish I felt that way

Franklin:
I believe I can put it better
Now then attend, as friend to friend
Our Declaration Committee
For us I see immortality

All:
In Philadelphia City

Franklin:
A farmer, a lawyer, and a sage
A bit gouty in the leg
You know it’s quite bizarre
To think that here we are
Playing midwives to an egg

All:
We’re waiting for the chirp, chirp, chirp
Of an eaglet being born
We’re waiting for the chirp, chirp, chirp
On this humid Monday morning in this
Congressional incubator

Franklin:
God knows the temperature’s hot enough
To hatch a stone, let alone an egg

All:
We’re waiting for the scratch, scratch, scratch
Of that tiny little fellow
Waiting for the egg to hatch
On this humid Monday morning in this
Congressional incubator

Adams:
God knows the temperature’s hot enough
To hatch a stone

Jefferson:
But will it hatch an egg?

Adams:
The eagle’s going to crack the shell
Of the egg that England laid

All:
Yes, so we can tell, tell, tell
On this humid Monday morning in this
Congressional incubator

Franklin:
And as just as Tom here has written
Though the egg may belong to Great Britain,
The eagle inside belongs to us!

All:
And as just as Tom here has written
We say to hell with Great Britain!
The eagle inside belongs to us!

Young man helps old one down the escalator

Rundle Mall Plaza - Narrow Escalator

This photo of a 23-year-old helping a frightened senior down an escalator is restoring people’s faith in humanity. The image was posted by Paula Piccard at the Holyoke Shopping Mall of Ingleside, Massachusetts, and has since been shared across social media. style=”display:inline-block;width:300px;height:250px” data-ad-client=”ca-pub-8420654331411867″ data-ad-slot=”1313712966″> Paula was waiting at the top of an escalator when she noticed… Continue Reading →

Funding the psychedelic revolution

Ayahuasca

Nice to know somebody’s funding this important research!

For much of his life, Sarlo suffered from one of depression’s cruelest tortures: anhedonia, or the inability to feel pleasure. Anhedonia insidiously drains joy from formerly enjoyable social interactions and experiences—and worse, replaces it with dullness, dread, or apprehension.

In fact, Sarlo first realized that he might be depressed when both of his daughters complained about his constant dissatisfaction when they were teenagers. “They would ask, ‘Dad, how come you’re not having fun ever? You never laugh,'” he recalls. It wasn’t until he began to find himself weeping for no discernible reason that he finally sought help—and began a journey that would ultimately take him to places he did not think it possible to reach.

These days, evidence of a psychedelic renaissance is everywhere in America. MDMA—best known as ecstasy, or, more recently, Molly—is set to begin Phase 3 clinical trials for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which means it could be FDA-approved and on the market as early as 2021. Psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms, is at a similar stage, with research suggesting it can help with the anxiety and depression associated with cancer, and with quitting smoking.

Ketamine—the club drug, a.k.a. Special K—is already widely used for intractable depression, following a series of trials that showed it could act rapidly, unlike existing antidepressants, which often take weeks to have an effect.

Meanwhile, a YouGov poll this month found that nearly two thirds of American adults would personally be willing to try MDMA, Ketamine, or Psilocybin if it was proven safe to treat a condition they have. And in April, a scientific conference on research about drugs that produce visions, out-of-body and transcendent experiences like ayahuasca, psilocybin and LSD was attended by over 3,000 people—including Tom Insel, the former director of the National Institute of Mental Health.

The understated affection of fathers

mutual admiration society

By Kory Floyd, Professor of Communication, University of Arizona. dvdflm/flickr, CC BY-NC Men may not be from Mars, but – compared to women – they do communicate in very different ways. Perhaps nowhere is this more evident than in the relationships of fathers and sons. Outwardly, many father and son pairs may appear distant and disengaged.… Continue Reading →

One of the good guys

Paris Agreement: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)

John Oliver:

NEW YORK (WCMH) — Comedian John Oliver says he bought the medical debt of nearly 9,000 people and forgave it on his TV show “Last Week Tonight”.

According to CNN, Oliver announced his giveaway on his HBO show Sunday night.

Oliver said his show created its own collection agency and paid $60,000 for $15 million in medical debt. The segment was during a scathing takedown of the debt-purchase industry.

In what he calls TV history, Oliver forgave the debt of nearly 9,000 people in an unprecedented move that will begin the process of wiping it clean from people’s records.

The Obamas donate $2M to Chicago youth jobs

Michelle and Barack 0bama are inspirations to me each time I come to volunteer in Bayview. #obama #michelleobama #barackobama #streetart #graffiti #volunteer #bayview #sanfranciscodayssanfrancisconights #sf #sanfrancisco #jdc #justiceanddiversitycenter #c

Let’s remember what community organizing and public service look like, for just a moment. In addition to the announcement that the Obamas will personally donate $2 million to Chicago Jobs for Youth programs, they released plans for the “campus” at the Obama Foundation center along Lake Michigan. Chicago Sun Times: The former first couple envision the… Continue Reading →

Catholic Health Association checks in on ACA repeal

Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital Philadelphia PA

Every once in a while, the Catholics step up:

The recent amendments to the bill, intended to make it more palatable to those who did not support it initially, are even more disastrous for people who have just gotten health care. Changing the current rules to undermine essential benefits requirements and protections for people with pre-existing conditions, as well as allowing insurers to set annual and life time caps on the care they cover, would seriously undermine health security and leave many individuals with substandard protection. Even the proposed state high-risk pools would be an inadequate and under-funded solution to a problem that need not exist in the first place.

It is critically important to look at this bill for what it is. It is not in any way a health care bill. Rather, it is legislation whose aim is to take significant funding allocated by Congress for health care for very low income people and use that money for tax cuts for some of our wealthiest citizens. This is contrary to the spirit of who we are as a nation, a giant step backward that should be resisted.

Rev. Barber is the moral leader of our time

The Rev. William Barber, architect of North Carolina’s Moral Mondays, lifts us up:

“I need you to turn to your neighbor and say, ‘Neighbor, Nebuchadnezzar is scared of you.’ That’s why he’s trying to get you to bow. ‘Cause he knows that if you stand, it’ll be all right.

“There’s strength in our standing.

“I stopped by to tell you we may be headed into some fiery times. But bowing down is not an option. Falling down is not an option. Looking down is not an option.

“We can’t bow until justice comes. We can’t bow until mercy comes. We can’t bow until the glory comes.

“Now, one day, we’ll be able to bow. When every heel is made low, and the rough places are made smooth, and the crooked places are made straight, and the glory of the Lord is revealed — I’m bowing then.

“But until then,
Until then,
Bowing is not an option.”

Now watch the video. You’ll feel better.

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