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Ginger Marin, Bionic Lady, Journalist, Actor, Author

With a Little Something to Say

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NONHUMAN RIGHTS, IT’S ABOUT TIME

Last week, the Los Angeles Times reported a horrible tragedy that took place at Thailand’s Khao Yai National Park. At least 11 elephants died after plunging over the Haew Narok Waterfall in a vain attempt to save a calf. The very short report said the death toll had risen since earlier in the week when officials first found six of the elephants that had died trying to prevent the three month old from drowning.

Courtesy Los Angeles Times

Elephants are herd animals with strong social bonds in tight families. They will rally around to protect each other, especially the young. I’ve certainly seen enough wildlife shows to verify this action.

Last week, I also read an article that discussed the concept of “pointing” in apes. The idea was that animals could be considered more sentient if they understood that pointing meant a direction or that it was a directive and could perform the act themselves. It discussed a theory that went back several decades. I read with amazement as I thought, are they kidding? A monkey once told me exactly how to deliver the peanut he wanted by pointing to his prehensile tail. I was offering up the nut as he ran atop a grid above me at some kind of monkey zoo in Florida I visited many years ago. I couldn’t reach his hand so he pointed directly to his tail that swung down through the grid. Finally, this stupid human got what he was telling me. I put the peanut at the tip of his tail and he grabbed it and brought it up to his hand and ate the nut. Back then, I really was amazed. I had a successful communication with a monkey. That was in the early-mid 1970s!

Scientists, ethicists and the courts today are still debating whether or not animals should have rights. They debate their emotions, their needs and all sorts of things that are so self evident, you want to throw up your hands and punch them all in the face.

THE NONHUMAN RIGHTS PROJECTS (NhRP)

It starts with the premise that animals are sentient beings. They think. They feel. They are not simply property for us to do with as we please. There must be consideration. There must be empathy . There must be rights afforded to them.

Not someday. But today.

That’s where The Nonhuman Rights Project comes in. They advertise themselves as the only civil rights organization in the United States dedicated solely to securing rights for nonhuman animals through litigation, legislation, and education. Their main objection is defined thus: “To change the common law status of great apes, elephants, dolphins, and whales from mere “things,” which lack the capacity to possess any legal right, to “legal persons,” who possess such fundamental rights as bodily liberty and bodily integrity.” Their work is to be applauded.

Right now, among other cases, they are battling it out with New York’s Bronx Zoo that wants to keep a lone elephant in captivity. NhRP would like to see the elephant named “Happy”, of all implausible things, released to a sanctuary. Keeping any kind of herd animal alone in captivity is abuse in and of itself. The Bronx Zoo defends its action by using a Bronx County Supreme Court ruling from 2014 which asserted that to be a legal person with even a single legal right you have to be able to bear duties and responsibilities.

Happy the Elephant
Happy at Bronx Zoo, New York. Photo: Gigi Glendinning

Patently absurd. A human baby cannot bear duties and responsibilities and yet it very clearly is a legal person under our laws. A person deemed legally insane cannot bear duties and responsibilities; nor can any number of other incapacitated individuals. And yet no one has suggested they can be easily deprived of any rights whatsoever.

Why are certain venues adamant in opposing legal rights for animals? Greed. They operate for profit and they are willing to torture a single animal for the pleasure of their continued profits. The Bronx Zoo’s lone elephant “Happy”, who against all common sense standards, is relegated to a solitary existence and is most likely being driven insane. Yet, the Bronx Zoo resists all efforts by NhRP to get Happy transferred to a sanctuary. Would Happy’s absence from the Zoo really create a terrible hardship to them? NO. But of course it might set a precedent against their never-ending profit scheme to keep elephants or any other species in captivity. Not just the Bronx Zoo, of course, but many more that operate just like it. A sanctuary, on the other hand, would afford animals the right to form their own families and bonds and allow them space to interact with their own kind and breed with whom they choose.

We humans have done great injustices to other species for so long, it’s high time for us to do the right thing. The Nonhuman Rights Projects is their salvation. It has taken basic animal rights a step farther. Now if only the courts will do the right thing and secure animal rights on the level they deserve.

To read more about NhRP’s client Happy the elephant and to see a timeline of events, go to https://www.nonhumanrights.org/client-happy/ What is particularly sad is that the timeline shows that Happy will probably be dead by the time U.S. courts defend common sense principles.

An interesting discussion on the subject can be found here https://www.dissentmagazine.org/article/can-elephants-be-persons

Ginger Marin Interviewed for Authority Magazine

Recently, I was interviewed by Yitzi Weiner for Authority Magazine on Medium and Thrive Global.  I appreciated the opportunity and found the questions thought-provoking on many levels.  The topics ranged from career moments to discussions about how I viewed the world.

Mr. Weiner is a journalist, author, and the founder Authority Magazine, and CEO of Authority Magazine’s Thought Leader Incubator, which guides leaders to become prolific content creators.  In 2017, he created the popular, “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me” series that highlights the empowering lessons learned from the experiences of high-profile entrepreneurs and public figures.

View at Medium.com

Rising Star Ginger Marin: “It is the responsibility of every human to care for the planet; It is, after all, our only home.”

I believe wholeheartedly that it is the responsibility of every human to care for the planet. It is, after all, our only home. That means to care for each other and every other species in existence along with our natural resources. To abuse our world the way humans have done for so long is insane. […]

Arctic (2018) Movie Review

Director: Joe Penna
Writers: Joe Penna, Ryan Morrison
Stars: Mads Mikkelsen, Maria Thelma Smáradóttir, Tintrinai Thikhasuk

Arctic is an engrossing and intense survival tale about a man, stranded in the Arctic after a plane crash, making the difficult decision to leave the relative safety of his campsite to take a grueling trek to a far-off rescue station.

It’s superbly acted by Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen, who masters the screen with his every gesture and emotion from the time we first see him going about his daily survival routines to gently caring for a young woman severely injured in a helicopter crash while attempting to rescue him.

Once Mikkelsen’s character H. Overgård makes his decision to leave his plane, he must haul the woman and crucial supplies, brave a polar bear attack and survive the brutal cold and storms while exhausted and injured. I can’t remember the last time I felt so invested in a film, an actor and the story’s outcome.

It was filmed in Iceland by first-time feature film director Joe Penna who started on Youtube in 2006 making videos as the channel MysteryGuitarMan. Cinematographer Tómas Örn Tómasson gets a special shout out.

The Greatest Showman (2017) Movie Review

Director: Michael Gracey
Writers: Jenny Bicks and Bill Condon
Music: John Debney, Joseph Trapanese; Lyricists: Benj Pasek and Justin Paul
Stars: Hugh Jackman, Michelle Williams, Zac Efron, Zendaya, Keala Settle, Sam Humphrey

The Greatest Showman is inspired by the story of how America’s P.T. Barnum rose in social ranks to create the Greatest Show on Earth – his circus of human oddities and curiosities – with the love and support of wife Charity (Michelle Williams) and daughters Caroline and Helen (Austyn Johnson and Cameron Seely, respectively).

You’ll be treated to excellent acting by all, dialogue transitioned seamlessly into snappy and emotionally laden songs, and wild and joyful choreography, including a well-executed aerial dance with Zendaya and Zac Efron.

There is nothing not to like in this masterful musical. The lyricists are Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, who also wrote for “La La Land”, a film I absolutely detested (an incompetent film musical on all levels). Their showstopper song this time around is “This Is Me” which was nominated for an Academy Award.

Overall, the decision of the filmmakers and music composers to update the film’s setting from the mid 19th century with the use of pop/hip hop style music to tell this story was one that sends this film over the top. Bravo to them all.

Review of “251 Things to Do In Tofino”

Review by Ginger Marin as posted to Goodreads in July 2016

251 things to do in tofinoOkay, I’m pretty certain I’m ready to pack my bags and head off to a fabulous long-term stay in Tofino, British Columbia, Canada after reading Kait Fennell’s “251 Things to Do in Tofino”.

Her book is a wonderful resource guide of the community and environs, including that of its indigenous peoples. It’s part history, geography and delightful visitors’ guide listing everything from what you can expect at different times of the year, best beaches and hiking trails, restaurants and eateries, places to stay, what to do and where to shop amidst what sounds like a surfer’s and environmentalist’s dream vacation experience.

Ready, set, go! And make sure to take this guide with you.

As Kait explains, Tofino is on the west coast of Vancouver Island, in British Columbia at the southern edge of Clayoquot Sound which has been designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. That should tell you a lot right there. Respect for the environment is high on the list of things you need to know when visiting. As for anything else, well, you just need to read the book if nature, peace and quiet, beautiful vistas, water sports and hiking in an environment that is largely rainforest appeals to you. It all sounds like a treasure of a find if you ask me.

Who knows, you might become lost forever, not so much wandering the woods, but lost to its beauty – that’s how well Ms. Fennel has managed to sway me to Tofino’s charms. I’ve already started using her links to discover some of the fabulous shops that abound in Tofino.

Easy reading and charming graphics also highlight the book.

Review of “Prescription for Life: Three Simple Strategies to Live Younger Longer”

Prescription for Life by Richard FurmanBook Review by Ginger Marin as posted to Goodreads in 2015.

 

I’ve read many nutrition and diet books and articles over the years and I have to say I was not very impressed with Dr. Richard Furman’s “Prescription for Life” mainly because I was expecting something new. This book, however, reads like a nutrition treatise for the complete novice as it largely advocates a Mediterranean-style diet along with exercise after forcing us to wade through numerous case studies of his patients’ and friends’ health issues, all a result of clogged arteries and high cholesterol.

A vascular surgeon, Dr. Furman’s mantra is to avoid foods with cholesterol at all costs. Maybe that’s the right prescription for some people but maybe not everyone. Some foods like an egg contain valuable nutrients in the yolk which also balance out other nutrients in the white. The good doctor ignores that part of the equation as well as telling us to stop taking vitamins and herbs, even though other doctors have informed us repeatedly that the nutritional value of our produce has declined markedly in the last 50-years. And his advice on the best breakfast of oatmeal with a ton of fruit piled on top would make other doctors’ heads spin – diabetes anyone? That’s a blood sugar spike for sure.

The book is too long and redundant. Dr. Furman also spends 3 chapters on erectile dysfunction and the last part of the book, the actual 21-Day Outline, is roughly 45 pages telling you to go back and read other pages of his book. A disappointing experience.

 

Award of Attorneys Fees: The False Non-Equivalency

William-Shakespeare-Quotes-1024x625.jpgNo one forces any party to get an attorney. It’s for that party’s own convenience.  On the other hand, the party litigating pro se (self represented; also “pro per”) usually does so for lack of funds to pay for an attorney.  The party with an attorney saves his/her own time and effort; the party without any attorney must work full-time as his own attorney.  He is required by the courts to follow every rule and meet a standard of the court’s own making. Right now the courts refuse to award any attorneys fees to a litigant operating as his own attorney with the rationale being that the pro se did not expend any money for a “real” attorney to represent him.

Why should the “wealthier” of the two parties be rewarded for paying for an attorney? Or rather, why should the person representing himself be denied compensation for all the work he had to do in a case?  When a pro se litigant is a defendant in a case, it becomes even more unfair, because he is the one being hauled into court by someone else and being forced to defend himself.

Many people operating pro se work a regular job.  Is one to assume that those people magically get to attend every court appearance for free or that the filing of a document in court may not require them to take time off from work?  Who’s paying?  I would argue that the pro se litigant pays as much as the wealthier one and that pro se litigants should be able to recover “attorneys” fees just like those who pay to have someone else represent them so they can go about their lives carefree.

The legal system is entirely unfair in this regard.  Either all parties are entitled to fees or no parties are entitled.  I prefer that no party get fees.  Often the legal system requires that each party pay his/her own way, however, there are many statutes that allow for the award of attorney fees and costs. In many states if you simply make a motion and lose or oppose a motion and lose or you act or don’t act, you can be subject to sanctions and have to pay the other party’s attorneys’ fees.  The whole process should be done away with. If the wealthier party can afford an attorney, good for him, but the less fortunate should not be penalized which is precisely what’s happening now.

A lawyer can change anywhere from $250 to $1,000 or more an hour. That’s well beyond above your average worker’s salary. That means you might have to pay those exorbitant costs if attorneys’ fees are awarded against you. And since the attorney can just claim that he spent 10 hours working on a motion, for example, you’d have to pay for his 10 hours and more in the way of costs (filing the motion, travel, parking fees, etc.).  He has offered no real proof, for one thing. It’s simply his word. And if he did spend 10 hours preparing a motion, you can bet the pro se litigant was forced to spend ten times as much time on a motion or an opposition to the attorney’s motion because the pro se has far fewer resources to pull from. 

If the wealthier party had to absorb his own costs at all times, maybe then they’d be a little more judicious in how they work the case. A wealthier party up against a less fortunate party will try to take advantage, knowing that the opposition can never prevail in getting his or her own attorney fee awards. They’ll just keep rolling over you.

This is not a justice system. This is a farce.

Article by Ginger Marin. To learn about her acting, visit Ginger Marin’s IMDB page.

America’s Fake Outrage

Last week, the Syrian government used chemical weapons, sarin gas specifically, that took the lives of 70 of its citizens, children among them, “beautiful babies” as Trump called them.  America was OUTRAGED.

Big agri-chemical companies poison American citizens on a daily basis.  Our bodies are filled with harmful chemicals from pesticides, lead, mercury and on and on that affect our immune systems, endocrine systems, brain, liver, kidneys, etc.  America is NOT outraged.

As many as 29 million Americans, about one in 10, lack health insurance according to a May 2016 article by thefiscaltimes.com, causing many to go without any kind of health care which can lead to debilitating diseases and death.  America is NOT outraged.

The United States still, after all these years, does not have universal health care.  America is NOT outraged.

Before the Affordable Care Act, health insurance companies did not have to cover pre-existing conditions. Many people including “beautiful babies” died slow horrible deaths from their horribly debilitating preexisting conditions.  America was NOT outraged.

The big pharmaceutical companies get away with charging obscene amounts of money for their cache of drugs, some of which are so expensive that health insurance companies won’t pay for them and people cannot afford to buy them which leads many people, including “beautiful babies”, to die slow painful deaths,.  America is NOT outraged.

In January 2014, the number of homeless veterans was cited at 49,933. They get no health care, no food; they’re becoming sick, dying from suicide, illness, hunger, exposure to heat and cold.  America is NOT outraged.

According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, 564,708 people in January 2015 were homeless on a given night in the United States. Of that number, 206,286 were people in families and 358,422 were individuals. About 15 % of the homeless population, 83,170, are considered “chronically homeless” individuals.  They die just like the homeless veterans from the very same reasons, including from violence committed against them.  America is NOT outraged.

Factory farming’s bad practices encourages nonstop use of antibiotics in non-sick animals causing antibiotic resistance in humans which leads to severe illnesses not being treatable. People suffer; people die.  America is NOT outraged.

Los Angeles, as just one example, allows the construction of homes within feet of freeways, deliberately exposing citizens to high levels of known toxic chemicals which wreak havoc on their health, shortening their life spans and yet, America is NOT outraged.

Our governments ignore infrastructure. Bridges collapse and people in cars careen to their deaths; freeway overpasses collapse and people get crushed to death. People are killed just walking on our crumbled, overlapping sidewalks; pipes burst from age, people get sick from toxic emissions, some get cancer; railroad tracks are outdated and trains derail causing death and injury.  America is NOT outraged.

How are we all NOT outraged by the supreme hypocrisy of our governments and by our own obliviousness?

The Amazing Hacksaw Ridge and Andrew Garfield

hacksaw-ridgeHere it is February 2017 and it’s time for the Academy Awards to be broadcast this Sunday.  The awards’ season opened with people jumping up and down over La La Land for who knows what reason. The movie sucks. I guess people forgot what really good musicals are like. It wasn’t that long ago when “Chicago” hit the screen. Now that was a great musical.

In any case, I could not let this season go by without commenting on the Mel Gibson directed film “Hacksaw Ridge” starring Andrew Garfield. It’s spectacular from start to finish. It tells the story of WWII American Army Medic Desmond T. Doss, who served during the Battle of Okinawa, a true conscientious objector who refused to kill people and became the first man in American history to receive the Medal of Honor without firing a shot. He saved the lives of 75 soldiers single handedly in a feat of determination, strength and undying faith.  This is what a real hero looks like.

Andrew Garfield’s performance demands more than just an Oscar nomination. He deserves the win. He physically and emotionally embodies Doss and when he talks of faith and why he cannot pick up a gun, you believe every word and truly understand the motivation.

Garfield is surrounded by excellent acting from his fellow cast members including Vince Vaughn and Sam Worthington. Exceptional are Hugo Weaving and Rachel Griffiths as Doss’ parents. There is one scene that takes place in the Doss kitchen between Desmond and his parents that is stunning and heartbreaking as the father’s pain is horribly exposed.  It is what turns Desmond into the direction of conscientious objector and becomes the very thing that causes his father to step up and commit to his son’s decision to fight the enemy in his own way, as a medic, working to save the lives of his fellow soldiers.

The film is absolutely gruesome in displaying the horrors of war; body parts blown off, intestines exposed; heads blasted; rats feasting on the remains. Yes, it’s sickening but it’s real. This movie deserves much credit this Oscar season. Garfield’s performance deserves the award for best actor.  Hacksaw Ridge is nominated for best film and Mel Gibson for best director but they’ve got some stiff competition, unfortunately also from the aforementioned La La Land.

Article by Ginger Marin. To learn about her acting, visit Ginger Marin’s IMDB page.

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