No democracy can be real which shuts out half the people. Women should therefore have equal economic, social and political rights with men.
If you’re thinking about giving money for Philippines storm relief, please seriously consider giving money to the World Food Program USA. Perhaps you’ve heard about rations — “high energy biscuits” — being flown in. The WFP provides these, and that’s the kind of practical we-need-that-now help needed now. More info about the high energy biscuits here, and what they contain.
And a video about a similar relief effort in 2009. But this last cyclone was much bigger.
In case you missed it …
read “A Homeless Man and His BlackBerry” by Kat Ascharya.
For more on the subject, see ”How Smartphones Throw the Homeless a Lifeline” by Margaret Rock.
I’m not a big fan of techo-utopianism, but these article make a good case for seeing that vulnerable and homeless people have access to powerful, modern phones.
“Why Won’t Obama Pay His Interns?” by Evan McMorris-Santoro (Buzzfeed) (Yes, there’s implied criticism of the Unitarian Universalist ministerial internship system.)
It’s been a year since the lethal attack in and around Oslo, killing 77. Spare a prayer, please.
I’d hate for my readers to think that my few comments about the Occupy movement suggests I’m uninterested. Far from it. Indeed, I’m very mad and deeply concerned about yesterday’s pepper-spraying of student demonstrators at University of California Davis. Google for it, if you’ve not seen this now-iconic photograph.
Is a lingering sense of disgust that makes “Buy Nothing Day” so especially appealing this year? That is, the deliberate decision to not shop on the Friday (or whole weekend) following Thanksgiving, in preparation for a trimmed-down or even shopping-free Christmas holiday. Certainly the campaign, long supported by Adbusters magazine, has special resonance because this is the same source of the poster that inspired the Occupy Wall Street encampment and movement. (They also do an anti-branding and “digital detox” campaign that I’ve seen many allusions to.)
And I won’t fight the “but don’t you need food” canard. Peeling back impulse shopping, therapeutic shopping, class-positioning shopping and stress shopping is the key. I’d buy oatmeal at any time, but am training myself to avoid so-called status goods always.
First step: get off of catalog lists. Even in these web-web-web days, I get many catalogs and I don’t think I asked for any of them. Fortunately, most catalog merchants seem to know that bearing the cost of the printing and postage for no return is useless and so give you an easy out. I used to recommend calling the catalog centers, but increasingly you can opt-out by the same web. Plus, it’s such a waste of paper.
Overwhelmed by them? You can start by going to Catalog Choice and opting out. I did, and suspect it has helped. (It can also help clear out the catalogs you get.)
There were just over half that many when I was born, and in four decades time there could easily be more than nine billion.
Even if one is skeptical about human-generated climate change, peak oil or environmental degradation, just the amazing heft of that many people demanding the current level of resources seems an improbable effort with that many more people. And shouldn’t the poorest and most vulnerable reasonably demand easier and more reliable access to food and water? energy and communication? housing and just government? education and health care? And just plain old peace?
Orienting resources and talent to this problem seem like key questions — and questions that persons of faith should take seriously. An aesthetic or esoteric faith fails morally when it treats the welfare of billions as an added optional extra.
Over the years, I’ve tried to lose weight and am fully aware of what works for me (eating high-fiber, low-fat vegetarian food; counting and recording calories) and what doesn’t (everything else).
My reasons for trying to lose weight, however, have changed. The vain reasons of youth have become the health-preservation demands of middle age. Why, to you the reader, might this matter?
Because it meshes well with one of two ideas I have about the Occupy movements. On the one hand, by pushing the political expectations of the country (I can’t speak to how it plays out overseas) to the left, and by encouraging activists, I think there is more possibility for an equitable political solution. (The main line of the Democratic party isn’t going to do it.) What does that have to do with weight loss? Nothing.
The other hand suggests that the fight is going to be generations-long and that the reliable help that comes will be softer, smaller-scale and sometimes insufficient. Encouragement over aid. Solidarity over programs. Pig-headedness, perhaps, over leadership. It means we’re going to have to take care of our own health, finances, social affairs and even religious needs even while others profit unfairly from our labor and government remains unresponsive to citizen demands. It means preparing ourselves bravely and creatively to have less. Sounds very tiring, but this situation has been decades in the making.
So I’m trying to lose weight to stave off diabetes and coronary disease, and rely on the support of a few good friends to make it happen. It may not be enough, but If that’s as much health care as some people have. Time, I think, to consider self-care — not in that sickly-sweet way ministers once talked about among themselves — and solidarity action. And if that works, then why not housing, food, tools, education and religion? I would rather starve the forces that try to control us than surrender.
Let’s start with the “too big to not be bailed out” banks. Then move to abusive multinationals and the producers of goods who finance the corrupt system we see. That I’m hungry for.
Today, I read an interesting and compelling article in The Atlantic magazine website called “The Bitch Is Back” by Sandra Tsing Loh. If you’reÂ menopausal, perimenopausal or know someone who is, do read this because it asks — with women’s lifespans being so much longer than they once were — what hormonal or nuturing normality is.Â In the middle of the article, she throws out, this:
On the one hand, as a longtime veteran of the nonprofit world, I can no longer afford to humor the endless requests to do everything for free, particularly because no one treats you worse than the penniless.
Well, ain’t that just true, or at least true enough. With the caveat that those organizations that think they’re penniless are just as bad, while some people who have little can be remarkably giving and realistic about money. On the one hand, I think there’s the legacy presumption that if you volunteer or contribute to a lean nonprofit then you are supposed to understand and forgive shortcuts and rough manners. Also, I suspect (without evidence) that lean nonprofits — including churches — are full of people who serve and serve and serve, and don’t have much left to give. And then there’s simple forgetfulness and inertia.
No great thoughts, except that
- perhaps church people shouldn’t be so quick to make services or events free of charge,
- that a deposit (returned in part or full) is an incentive to take activities more seriously,
- that plans are made that undervalue the time and expertise of volunteers, and
- that there should be budgets to support (transport, feed, train, say) volunteers, to hire help or both.
Because nobody can — or should have to be –Â nurturingÂ or giving all the time.