Top court hears landmark spousal abuse case

CBC June 14th 2012

The Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa on February 17, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean

The Supreme Court of Canada heard arguments Thursday on whether victims of domestic abuse can hire a hit man to kill their partners, a controversial issue which tests the limits of the defence of duress.

The case involves a Nova Scotia woman, Nicole Doucet, who tried to hire an undercover RCMP officer to kill her husband Michael Ryan.

The high school teacher was arrested in March 2008 and charged with counselling to commit murder.

She was acquitted of the charge two years later after the Nova Scotia Supreme Court accepted her argument that she thought she had no other way out of an abusive 15-year marriage to a man who repeatedly threatened her and her daughter.

At trial, her lawyer successfully used the criminal defence of duress, arguing that she had no other avenue of escape from the situation. Duress is usually used when someone involuntarily commits a crime after being threatened by another person.

The Nova Scotia Court of Appeal upheld the ruling, saying the marriage amounted to a “reign of terror.”

The Supreme Court recognized battered woman syndrome in a landmark 1990 case. It outlined how a woman in an abusive relationship who kills her partner can use the Criminal Code’s self-defence provisions to argue for an acquittal.

But Nova Scotia prosecutors say the self-defence provisions and the defence of duress were incorrectly applied in this case.

During Thursday’s proceedings, the prosecutor’s office argued that the defence of duress has been mixed up with the defence of self-defence, CBC’s Leslie MacKinnon reported from the court. They argued that a future jury would find it confusing to deal with trying to filter which defence applies to which case.

Delaney also argued that the “air of reality” was not there for the duress defence and that the two had been separated for seven months and that Doucet was well on her way to independence.

He also said Doucet had an avenue of escape — a transition house — something the trial judge had rejected.

But Joel Pink, a lawyer representing Doucet, argued that the trial judge accepted all the facts and that she didn’t tell police about the sexual assaults because police would have gone to her husband and he would deny it.

He said the breaking point was when Ryan showed up at the school where Nicole Ryan worked. Less than a month later she looked for a hit man.


How the Unrelenting Threat of Death Shapes Our Behavior

Hans Villarica writes for and produces The Atlantic‘s Health channel. His work has appeared in TIME, People Asia, and Fast Company.

May 4 2012, 6:37 AM ET5 – This article was reposted from “The Atlantic” by GuruDan

To investigate the effect of mortality awareness, researchers behind the influential “terror management theory” first experimented with judges and prostitutes. 


Studies on how we cope with the inevitability of death, or terror management, have a fundamental flaw — they lack a control group. It’s impossible to test if or how a person changes their beliefs or behavior when reminded of their mortality, because our awareness of this human condition never ceases. Our brain’s superfrontal gyrus sees to this neurologically, while culture and our physicality highlight it further with books like the Bible and with every new wrinkle.

To examine death despite this conundrum, psychologists at the University of Kansas in 1989 did what academics do best: they rationalized the problem away. Just as philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre affirmed man’s existence through his own Cartesian tautology (“I am, I exist, I think, therefore I am”), Jeff Greenberg, Sheldon Solomon, and Tom Pyszczynski simply assumed that there is a universal, baseline cognizance of the threat of death, and then investigated the instances when death was on people’s minds more than usual.

Decades later, hundreds of published academic papers have shown that worrying about death affects everything from our prejudices and voting patterns to how likely we are to exercise or use sunscreen. More broadly, they’ve proven Greenberg and company’s original terror management theory right all along: that people deal with death by upholding worldviews that are larger and longer-lasting than themselves, and opposing anyone or anything that violates these “cultural anxiety-buffers.”

In the Q&A below, Greenberg reflects on his team’s pioneering work in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (PDF). He elucidates the intricacies of their theory, recalls how prostitutes and judges proved invaluable in their first few experiments, and shares the curious way their research, which easily became “big in Europe,” finally caught on in the U.S.

What was the original intent of your research?

As social psychology graduate students at the University of Kansas back in 1980, Sheldon, Tom, and I felt that our field had become narrowly focused on questions far removed from the whys and hows of everyday life. We didn’t buy the prevailing view in psychology at the time that people are essentially information processors guided by cognitive schemas and heuristics because we were raised by working class families surrounded by joy and anger, sibling love and rivalry, passion and sarcasm. The people we knew were driven by ethnic, regional, and occupational pride and conflict; and weren’t dispassionate androids. So one broad intent of our research was to encourage the field to think outside the lab and consider the basic motivations that guide people’s actions out in the real world.

A more specific intent was to develop a way to test terror management theory, or TMT. The theory is a formal elaboration of ideas that had been floating around since at least the time of the ancient historian Thucydides and that were first introduced in psychology by Otto Rank. Basically, the idea goes: the fear of death drives people to maintain faith in their own culture’s beliefs and to follow the culture’s paths to an enduring significance that will outlast their own physical death, often to the detriment of others who seem to block their pursuit of these goals.

Could you explain the theory further with an example or illustration?

TMT began with two simple observations about human beings. First, humans share with other mammals many biological systems oriented toward keeping themselves alive. Included among these is a fight-flight-freeze response to imminent threat of death, usually in humans accompanied by the subjective experience of terror. Second, unlike other mammals, adult human brains have highly developed prefrontal lobes that allow them to realize that no matter what, sooner or later, death will come. Thus, part of the human condition is living with a desire to continue to live and an inherent fear of death on the one hand, and, on the other, the knowledge that this desire will inevitably be thwarted and that what is feared will inevitably occur. The theory consequently posits that this existential predicament creates an ever-present potential to experience a terror of no longer existing.

“As children develop cognitively, they begin to understand the threat of death,” says Greenberg. “Their basis of security shifts from the parents to large cultural concepts, such as deities and ideals.”

As this awareness of mortality dawned on our ancestors, they were drawn to belief systems that helped them continue to function with equanimity. These cultural worldviews portrayed the world as a meaningful, purposeful place in which death is not the ultimate end. Until very recently, these worldviews virtually always included the idea of a literal afterlife for some aspect of oneself — a soul — but also included modes of transcending death via permanent symbolic marks of the self, such as heroic deeds, great achievements, memorials, and heirs.

These worldviews are typically constructed such that qualifying for these literal and symbolic modes of immortality require being a valued contributor to the culture. Not coincidentally, this mirrors the way children develop and sustain a sense of psychological security. Born helpless and dependent, their first basis of security is parental love. But within the first year or so, this protective love becomes dependent on being good and thus of value in the eyes of the seemingly omnipotent parents. As children develop cognitively, they begin to understand that the threat of death lurks behind their early fears of big dogs, monsters, the dark, and so forth. Their basis of security shifts from the parents to large cultural concepts, such as deities, their nation, and cultural ideals. That is, from being good little boys and girls in the eyes of their parents to being good, valued Christians or atheists, Americans or Germans, artists or scientists. The result of this socialization process is fully enculturated adults who sustain psychological security, despite knowing how vulnerable and mortal they are, by maintaining two psychological constructs: our faith in our worldview and our sense of self-worth.

How did everything come about?

As grad students, we knew from the existing evidence in social psychology that people seemed to protect their self-esteem and are prone to be biased against out-groups, but no one in our field was explaining why. So we started looking outside our field for answers, and we found them in a 1973 book by cultural anthropologist, Ernest Becker, called The Denial of Death. We found his dazzling interdisciplinary synthesis of ideas terrifying, compelling, and able to answer those ‘why’ questions; and indeed explain much of what we knew about human behavior, including such matters as the ascent of Hitler in Germany. After reading his other books and the key scholarly work he built upon, we tried to capture the essence of his rich analysis in a simple formulation, which we dubbed terror management theory.

The tricky part in assessing TMT was that it assumes that, while all humans are driven to stay alive, they are at the same time aware that death is inevitable. Hence, all cognitively able humans fear their mortality and must cope with this fear. But since this unconscious fear is a constant, not a variable, how do you test an idea this big, based on a constant universal of the human condition?

As we struggled with this problem, Deb Lyon, a 30-year-old undergrad I was supervising, wanted to study judicial decision-making. She told me that, fortunately, she was dating a municipal court judge who was willing to encourage his colleagues to participate in a study. It struck me that judges uphold the culture’s beliefs by punishing those who violate them. If fear of mortality motivates upholding cultural beliefs, then perhaps the more people are thinking about death, the more they will uphold those beliefs by treating an alleged cultural violator more harshly. So I told Deb, “Let’s give the judges some personality measures, prompt them about their mortality, and then have them make a judgment of a hypothetical case typical for them” — in this case, setting bond for an alleged prostitute.

The results exceeded our expectations. Judges reminded of their mortality set an average bond of $455 while judges not so reminded set an average bond of $50. Many subsequent studies have shown that reminders of death arouse negative responses to others who violate or challenge our own worldview, supporting one basic implication of TMT: that our need for terror management plays a substantial role in prejudice and intergroup conflict.

What other questions have been answered since TMT was first introduced?

After hundreds of studies, many questions have indeed been answered. Research guided by TMT has revealed how concerns about mortality influence many types of human beliefs and behavior: bad things like prejudice, intergroup conflict, terrorism, and aggression; largely good things like achievement, risk-taking, art, and creativity; very personal things like sex and other bodily activities; health-related lifestyle choices, cancer prevention, and mental health problems; matters of practical import like marketing, consumerism, robotics, and environmentalism; and a host of other aspects of life, such as legal decision-making, patriotism, political preferences, romantic relationships, parenting, and religious belief.

A character in one of Philip Roth’s novels nicely sets up the fundamental question TMT research addresses: “In every calm and reasonable person there is a hidden second person scared witless about death.” TMT asks: how do most of us keep that second person hidden most of the time? Studies revealed that when people consciously think about death, they just want to get it out of their minds, largely by convincing themselves, as my colleague Steve Chaplin puts it, “Not me, not now.” They say, “I’m young, I’m healthy, I’m going to start eating right.” But when death is on the fringes of consciousness, threatening to pop up, we keep it at bay by leaning on the defenses we learned as children. We try to comfort ourselves: “I’m good, so I’m protected; I’m special, I’m part of something great; I last, I’m above the fray, an eternal soul, not a mere material thing.”

Two Old Men Eating Soup--Goya--1823

So people are more proactive when it comes to surviving when they consciously think of death? And, in contrast, when they have unconscious thoughts about their mortality, they become more existential in their thinking and more beholden to their beliefs in their behavior?

When people consciously think about death, they either act proactively to forestall it — eat healthy water, exercise — or rationalize why it won’t be a problem for a long time – “I take Lipitor,” “I’ll quit smoking soon” — or just try to distract themselves by turning on the TV, calling a friend or having a drink. The goal is just to get those thoughts out of consciousness.

When thoughts of death are activated outside of consciousness, it’s not that people become more existential in their thinking since they’re not thinking about death at all. Rather, they bolster the psychological resources that they have learned to use to cope with the existential problem of death, their worldview and sense of significance. And so when death is close to mind — after watching an action flick, hearing about a celebrity death, reading about an act of terrorism online, noting a weird spot or new wrinkle, driving past a cemetery — people become more adamant in their beliefs and get extra-motivated to distance themselves from their physicality and to assert their symbolic value — their intellect, achievements, and so forth. They increase prejudice and aggression against others who are different. They reject the physical aspects of sex, avoid bodily activities, and use euphemisms for them. They show off their skills, smarts, fitness, and generosity. And indeed research has shown all of these things.

Where is the line between a simple reminder of death and consciously thinking about death? Does one lead to the other or not necessarily?

The conscious — proactive or evasive — defenses are only likely to be activated by consciously thinking about your own death. But most reminders of death that we are exposed to at least fleetingly enter consciousness, and that’s more than enough to activate our unconscious defenses. We can’t be absolutely certain conscious thought of death will always lead to unconscious defense, but the existing evidence suggests that the answer is likely yes. Even if a reminder of death isn’t consciously noticed, any way people are led to think of death is likely, sooner or later, to trigger unconscious efforts to bolster one’s worldview or self-worth. We have shown, for example, that simply subliminally flashing the word “death” on a computer screen to Americans for 28 milliseconds is enough to amplify negative reactions to an author who criticizes the U.S.

Is there any other way to be terrorized besides by death such that the theory still holds?

Neither the theory nor the research implies that mortality is the only factor that worries people or motivates their behavior. However, our evidence shows that the ways people keep their concerns about mortality at bay play a role in a wide range of aspects of human behavior that seem on the surface to have nothing to do with death.

“For years at conferences, people looked at us, generally from a safe distance, as ‘the death guys,’ says Greenberg. “We used to console ourselves with ‘We’re big in Europe’ since, in the U.S., we didn’t get a whole lot of attention until after 9/11.”

For example, we’ve found that the fear of death plays a significant role in many phobias — not just fears of things that can kill you like germs, spiders, and heights, but also social phobias because they raise concerns about being embarrassed or ridiculed, and so, with self-esteem. In one study, we found that reminders of mortality increase social reticence in socially anxious people. And another study found that when participants expected to have to present an ill-prepared speech to an audience, thoughts of death became more likely to enter consciousness.

What questions remain unanswered?

Many questions remain. How do the conscious ways we think about and react to death affect our unconscious reactions to it? Can extensive conscious contemplation of death or other forms of heightened death awareness make people less reliant on cultural belief systems and a sense of personal significance to manage their fears? Can knowledge of our shared mortality be used to reduce rather than intensify intergroup conflict? How does our need for terror management affect how we humans treat other animals? Can knowledge of TMT facilitate growth and compassion and help people become more in touch with and in control of the choices they make in their lives?

How do you feel about these lingering issues?

Sometimes I think they’re exciting to consider and important to try to answer. Other times, they bring death thoughts closer to my consciousness. I quickly defend my enduring significance by noting that science involves a continuous process of discovery and assessment and the best theories continue to generate interesting new questions and issues decades or even centuries later, thus ensuring my symbolic immortality until the field of psychology is completely obliterated along with the rest of the human species, whether by environmental depletion or poisoning, nuclear holocaust, or perhaps like Tyrannosaurus rex, by comet. Come to think of it, only then will there be no more questions.

Any pet peeves or ways in which TMT has been misused or misunderstood?

There is a tendency for researchers to focus in on the nanoparticles that make up the atoms that make up the molecules that make up the bark on the trees rather than on the bark or the trees, no less the forest. I think some researchers focus in so narrowly on a specific finding from one specific study that they don’t really think deeply about the theory or the larger context of hundreds of other studies and data from anthropology, archeology, history, and other fields that are all pertinent to what the theory was developed to explain. A lot of people in our field — and I am sure other sciences as well — jump into research prematurely and are more concerned with quickly making names for themselves than they are with good scholarship and advancing knowledge. I think there’s a theory that could explain this.

Yes, we now know of at least one. On that note, what was the initial reaction to the research and what has been its long-term impact on the field and to you personally?

Immediately after its publication, the work had some impact in the press, but seemed to engender mainly puzzlement or disdain within academic psychology. Most psychological scientists at the time were trained to view people and science narrowly, and to be suspicious of big theories, a vestige of the anti-Freudian stance that began to take hold in academic psychologists in the 1960s. In contrast, we were proposing a big theory of human motivation based on a combination of existential philosophy and, of all things, psychoanalytic theorizing, along with influences from anthropology and sociology.

On top of that, most people in our field were living largely in denial of death. For years at conferences, people looked at us, generally from a safe distance, as “the death guys.” We used to console ourselves with “We’re big in Europe” since, in the U.S., we didn’t get a whole lot of attention until after 9/11. I recall at a conference the month after the attacks, a very prominent social psychologist stopping me briefly and saying “OK, now I know what you’re talking about,” as if death didn’t exist or somehow wasn’t a problem until 9/11.

Over time, I like to think TMT has helped open the field up to theorizing about and empirically investigating the roles of the unconscious, motivation, culture, religion, and existential concerns in human behavior. But I am more focused on the impact I hope it has on people in their daily lives and on professionals who may find it useful to promote physical and mental health, and social progress.

Personally, I also hope that the understanding of human beings this research supports — that we’re all vulnerable creatures clinging to fragile beliefs to handle the existential predicament inherent in being human — has helped me become a better, more compassionate person. It’s helped me realize that, no matter how absurd someone else’s beliefs seem to me, mine are likely no less absurd. And if such beliefs are helping that person function with equanimity and not leading him to harm others, I should respect them.

LiveJournal Tags: ,,,,

Posted by on May 11, 2012 in Lifestyles


Iranian actress faces 90 lashes for role

Iran reportedly sentences film actress to 90 lashes

By Laura Rozen | The EnvoyMon, 10 Oct, 2011


An Iranian court has sentenced an Iranian actress to one year in jail and 90 lashes related to her role in an Australian-made film portraying social alienation, artistic repression and drug use in Iran, according to an Iranian opposition website.

“In an outcome that could have been lifted from the pages of the movie’s script”–“My Tehran for Sale“–the film’s lead actress, Marzieh Vafamehr, “was arrested in July and received her sentence at the weekend, according to reports quoting Iranian opposition website,” the Sydney Morning Herald reported.


In the 2009 film, Vafamehr portrays a Tehran actress whose theater work is banned by the authorities and is thus driven to Tehran’s cultural underground. Ultimately, she contemplates whether to leave Iran for exile abroad.

“Vafamehr often appears with a shaved head and no headscarf in the film, which also explores cultural oppression in Iran and taboos such as drug use,” the paper said.

Vafamehr’s attorney has reportedly appealed the sentence which was handed down on Saturday. Technically, she was accused of participating in a film whose shooting did not have the required permits. However, both the film’s director and the actress’s filmmaker husband Nasser Taghvai said the charge is baseless.

“The accusations against Marzieh have no grounds,” Granaz Moussavi, the Melbourne-based Iranian-Australian director of the film, said in a statement Tuesday, the AP reported. “All the documentation has been provided to the Iranian court to show that permits were in place for the production of the film.”

Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd also expressed concern about the sentence Tuesday.

“The Australian government condemns the use of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and is deeply concerned by reports that Ms. Marzieh Vafamehr has been sentenced to one year in jail and 90 lashes for her role in an Australian-produced film,” a spokeswoman for Rudd said in a statement, the AP wrote. “The Australian government urges Iran to protect the rights of all Iranians and foreign citizens.”


Iran’s Orwellian justice system has provoked past controversies.  Last year, for example, Iranian courts approved a death-by-stoning sentencefor Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, a woman accused of adultery and murder charges. Ashtiani’s sentence was stayed, but only after a global outcry from international human-rights groups.

A moratorium had been declared on stoning in 2002, but the nation’s Islamic courts have continued to hand down stoning sentencesin accordance with the strict wording of the law.

On Tuesday, Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad reportedly took to his websiteto criticize a flogging punishment handed down to a student who had criticized him.

“When high-profile figures freely insult the government, I disapprove that a youth is flogged for insulting me,” Mahmoud Ahmadinejad wrote at his presidential website, the Associated Press reported.

Lashing sentences are not unheard of in the region. Last month, the Saudi king reportedly overturned a lashing sentence handed down to a Saudi woman who had been arrested for driving.


READ More…Video News from the NEWSY Community… provided by
Rachel Coleman
Newsy Community
Twitter: @newsyvideos

This article brings to mind the follwoing quote:

“We want a society where people are free to make choices, to make mistakes, to be generous and compassionate. This is what we mean by a moral society; not a society where the state is responsible for everything, and no one is responsible for the state.” — Margaret Thatcher, British prime minister


The most powerful woman in U.S. business

Kraft boss bumps Pepsi chief as top U.S. woman exec


On Friday September 30, 2011, 9:32 am EDT …Editing by Cynthia Osterman

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Kraft Foods boss Irene Rosenfeld is the most powerful woman in U.S. business, Fortune magazine said on Thursday, bumping PepsiCo Inc chief Indra Nooyi into second spot after five years on top.

The 14th annual ranking was determined by the size and importance of the woman’s business in the global economy, the health and direction of the business, the arc of the woman’s career and her social and cultural relevance.

“Rosenfeld made a big show of power this year with her decision to split Kraft into two companies, a reversal of her previous strategy of expanding through acquisitions,” Fortune magazine said of the Kraft chief executive, who led a hostile $18 billion takeover of Britain’s Cadbury last year.

“On Nooyi’s watch, PepsiCo has forged further into nutrition-focused products,” Fortune said. “But Nooyi has been criticized for taking her eye off the core North American soda business, which has lost share to Coke.”

Nooyi was the only woman in the top 10 most powerful to be among the top 10 highest paid, coming in at No. 9 after earning $14 million last year. The highest paid woman was Oracle President Safra Catz with $42 million.

Just a week after being appointed chief executive of Hewlett-Packard Co , Meg Whitman — who was chief executive of eBay Inc until 2008 and last year ran a failed bid to become governor of California — returned to the ranking of the top 50 most powerful business women at No. 9.

“While her ascent to the role is a sure sign of her power, it remains to be seen if she can fix the computer maker and bring order to its dysfunctional board,” Fortune said.

Whitman filled a top 10 vacancy left by the firing over the phone last month of Yahoo Inc Chief Executive Carol Bartz, who has now dropped off the Fortune list.


Media mogul Oprah Winfrey fell 10 spots to No. 16 with Fortune saying her influence had waned after hosting the final season of ” The Oprah Winfrey Show ” in May. Johnson & Johnson Vice Chairman, Executive Committee, Sherilyn McCoy, filled that top 10 opening, coming in at the 10th spot.

Otherwise the top of the list was largely unchanged from 2010.

Archer Daniels Midland Chief Executive Patricia Woertz came in at No. 3, followed by DuPont Chief Executive Ellen Kullman, Wellpoint Chief Executive Angela Braly and Avon Products Chief Executive Andrea Jung.

Rounding out the top 10 was IBM Senior Vice President Ginni Rometty at No. 7, followed by Xerox Chief Executive Ursula Burns.

While women represent about half of the United States’ white-collar workers, they are a rarity in the upper echelons of business, with female chief executives running just 3 percent of companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 index .

More companies have been focusing recently on increasing their female board representation as more and more research has shown that companies with women directors or even just more diverse boards tend to do better than those with executive teams made up entirely of men.

Some countries such as Norway and Spain have introduced quotas requiring a minimum level of female board representation.

A former British trade minister wants FTSE 100 companies to have 25 percent women on boards by 2015 and EU internal market commissioner Michel Barnier has put gender diversity for bank boards on his radar in the wake of the financial crisis.

The full Fortune list of the most powerful women in U.S. business can be seen at: and the list of the highest paid can be seen at:


The Global Mindset

Think Globally – It’s part of YOUR own WORLD and in need for HELP !
written by Kurt Lykke Lindved of the Xing group “European Art, Culture and Music Gateway”.
If we could shrink the Earth’s population to a village of precisely 100 people, with all existing human ratios remaining the same, it would look like this:
81 would be from less developed countries with a gross income per capita and year of US$ 3,580, 19 would be from developed countries with a gross income per capita and year of US$ 22,060. There would be 61 Asians, 12 Europeans, 13 Africans, 9 would be from South America and the Caribbean, and 5 from North America including Canada.
75 would be non-white, while 25 would be white.
60 would mistrust their own government. (No wonder, that the governments mistrust their people.)
60 would live within 62 miles of a coastline.
50 would be female, and 50 would be male.
50 would rely in some manner on coastal and marine habitats for food, building sites, transportation, recreation, and waste disposal.
48 would live on less than US $2 a day.
48 would lack access to basic sanitation.
47 would be urban dwellers.
The world’s urban areas are expected to surpass rural areas in population around the year 2005
29 would believe in witchcraft.
25 would live in substandard housing or have no home at all.
20 would live on less than US $1 a day.
17 would be under 18 years old.
16 would lack access to safe drinking water.
16 would be unable to read and write.
14 would suffer from malnutrition.
10 would live in least developed countries.
8 would have Internet access from home.
4.5 would be citizens of the United States
1 would be infected with HIV/AIDS.
1 would be near death, and 1 would be near birth.
Only 1 would have a college education.
Half of the entire village’s wealth would be in the hands of only 6 people, and most of them would be citizens of the United States.
When we our world from such an incredibly compressed perspective, the need for cooperation, tolerance and understanding becomes glaringly apparent.
Think Globally – It’s part of YOUR own WORLD and in need for HELP !
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 28, 2011 in Diversity To Inclusion, Lifestyles


Foods with the biggest price increases

4 Rising Food Costs That Will Hurt Your Wallet


Angie Mohr, On Monday September 5, 2011, 9:50 am EDT

Prices are on the rise in grocery stores across the country. You may not notice the changes right away; that loaf of bread may be only a dime more expensive than it was last year. The soda you buy may be the same price but it’s now 1.5 liters instead of two. Many of the major cereal manufacturers, such as General Mills, have warned of impending price increases. (Which items on your list are costing you more? Find out in Foods With The Biggest Price Increases.)

Why Are Grocery Prices Going Up?
While almost every grocery store aisle is affected by rising prices, a large part of the reason all comes down to two commodities: wheat and corn. Both food staples have been hit hard for the past two years – a combination of climate change, natural disasters and crop disease. Russia has experienced severe drought for the past two years and had stopped exporting wheat altogether to ensure enough of a domestic supply. They have resumed limited exports as of July 2011 but supplies are still short. A disease called wheat rust UG99 has wiped out crops across Africa and is spreading to other wheat-producing countries at a rapid pace.

There have been many corn crop failures across North America also, but the real culprit for corn is that it is being used to make ethanol, an arguably sustainable fuel. Hundreds of thousands of acres that once grew corn for people now grow it to power our cars.

At first glance, it may seem like these increases will only mean you’ll be paying more for a few grocery items like bread and popcorn, but wheat and corn are included in the vast majority of foods that you may eat every day. Here are four areas where you will see rising prices.

1. Cereals, Breads and Pasta Products
Most processed cereals are made from corn and these will be hit hard by price increases in the next year. The commodity price of corn has nearly doubled since 2010 and is rising again due to the massive drought Texas is facing. Breads, rolls, cakes and cookies will all rise in price from the steep jump in the price of wheat. According to food manufacturers, the industry has been holding back from increasing retail prices but cannot absorb the costs any longer.

2. Sweets
Most processed “sweets,” from soda to cookies to jam, are made with high fructose corn syrup. The lack of corn supply is causing prices in these areas to steadily rise. Watch out for shrinking packages, as well. Many companies will keep the same price point but drop the amount you get.

3. Beef, Pork and Chicken
Almost all industrialized meats fed on corn, mainly because it was the cheapest feed available. As the price of corn rises, there are still no cheaper alternatives, so the price of meat rises because of the higher input price.

4 .Cat and Dog Food
Pet food contains grains in one of two ways: processed dry food often contains corn as one of its primary ingredients and canned food contains meat chunks or wheat-based thickeners. It’s not just the cost of human food that will go up.

The Bottom Line
You might not be able to do anything directly about rising grain prices, but you can shop smarter. Look for loss leader sales on those groceries that you purchase regularly. Make more of your own food directly from raw ingredients, such as cookies and rolls. Pet food can be stored for six months to a year so stock up when you can find a good price. Paying more attention to prices in the grocery store will help you stretch your food budget the farthest. (To help you tackle to rising cost of food, check out 5 Easy Ways To Save On Groceries.)

LiveJournal Tags: ,,
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 7, 2011 in Current Events


Experiencing the Journey of Life…

There are certainly not two people who will experience the same throughout life … not even identical twins

Posted on August 31, 2011 by lindvedpress… written by moderator Kurt Lykke Lindved of the group “European Art, Culture and Music Gateway”.
Visit the group here: 


Many might ask why my life has been as we see it in retrospect and the answer can often be described as a coincidence or part of nature right from birth. I have no crystal clear answer to this, because I do believe that many different causes are playing in a comprehensive assessment of life’s countless changes throughout the life span.

Man is by nature gregarious, but even pack animals can spread in all four corners of the world, where new tasks or behavior will be implemented as a part of everyday life and adaptation to a possibly totally new culture. People who travel extensively throughout the world are often regarded as “rootless” without a real sense of belonging to a particular area. Many people will pass in and out of one’s own life – some forgotten and others have manifested themselves as a person characters we remember.

The question is whether the “sat” and “rootless” people have had the overall effect on own actions and how much influence inherited genes, social upbringing, environment, and more have pushed the entire process in either negative or positive direction.

Of course there are different views of life’s “invisible controls” – Some believe that we are guided by the subconscious or God – Others believe that life is a big coincidence or illusion while scientists toil to find out the origin of life and everything else we include in this complicated structure called man.

Is it possible to shape life as we want it …? We can do a lot with our consciousness…. if it works as intended is another matter, but it is possible of course to enforce acts of deliberate and if we listen to our body signals for these acts, it is always possible to get answers on whether it’s good or bad.

The Internet is used as a mean of communication and can naturally extend our general knowledge, but not human nature or personality. Facebook and other portals are precisely the places where most people pass through one’s own life, but only in pictures and words.

…..” Fasten your seat belts “…. is the phrase I have heard many times when traveling from A to B …. But life`s safety belt may exist only as an illusion.!!

Have a wonderful time wherever you are or traveling in the world and remember that your life is as important like any others for the entire contribution of a better place to stay on earth.

Leave a comment

Posted by on September 1, 2011 in Diversity To Inclusion, Lifestyles