Thursday, October 27, 2011

Putting Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

Parting with money is very difficult for me unless it is for something that directly affects my life. Buying food, drink, tickets, clothing and everything else I think I need to live my life is very easy. The difficulty lies in giving money to others or organizations.

As a child my family attended the Midwest Boulevard Christian Church, a member of the Disciples of Christ denomination. Every Sunday the collection plate would be passed down the pew and my father would place a small envelope containing some mysterious amount of money in it. I recall only a few times when I placed anything in the plate but the times I did gave me a feeling of fulfillment. I remember hearing about tithing but I never really understood what it meant until I was in my teens, or maybe even later.

Tithing has taken on several connotations over the centuries. In "biblical" times it meant giving 10 percent of your income to the priests and prophets. In the Middle Ages it meant giving 10 percent of what you had to the King. In modern times I believe it just means giving to charity. A good friend of mine, who is a christian, used to tithe to her church until she found that the leaders of the church were using the money for their own personal gain. She then began tithing to people she knew who were in need of help. I have always admired her for this but was not ready to follow her example.

I have recently given money to a few organizations whom I think are worthy of my hard earned dollars. One organization is my local NPR affiliate station, KUAF. I figure that if I-wake up every morning to "Morning Edition", tune the radio at work to "Talk of the Nation", drive home to "Fresh Air", and fall asleep to either "Performance Today" or the classical music feed-that I'd best pony up the bucks to support them.
The other organization I have given to is the National Organization for Women. This group fights hard for women's rights and, being a woman, I feel it is important to give them my support.
The only other giving I've done recently was a few bucks to a homeless man asking for help in Fayetteville. 

All of this "giving" has not come close to being 10 percent of my income but I don't really think tithing requires that. I believe that giving money AND time should count equally and I have been contemplating donating my time to something worthwhile, like our local food bank. I admit that I am the worlds worst volunteer but surely I can spare a few hours to sort food and stock shelves.  Now that I've committed the words to "paper" I will have to act on them.

I need to heed the advise of Goethe who said: "Don't say that you want to give, but go ahead and give! You'll never catch up with a mere hope." Or in other words, get up off your ass and put your money (or time) where your mouth is. Yup, that sums it up!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Occupy Wall Street

I've attended many protests in my day but the protest movement known as Occupy Wall Street is the most inspiring political happening in my adult lifetime. It would seem that the masses are finally mad as hell and aren't gonna take it anymore. I wish I had the will to take a vacation from my cushioned life and join the excitement but, even though I am one of the 99%, I am one of the 90% who is lucky enough to have a job and must work to keep it.

The coming together of so many diverse people, hundreds of whom sleep nightly in Zuccoti Park, with so much creativity in communal living makes me want to sell everything and join the movement as a full time protester. The corporate owned media paints the protesters as hippies, drop-outs and privileged liberal brats. In fact the masses at the protests are union members and regular lower and middle class citizens who are finally pissed off enough to let their voices be heard. They are teachers and librarians. They are grandmothers and grandfathers. They are construction workers and garbage collectors. They are people like you and me who believe in democracy and that banks and corporations have co-opted America.

The corporate owned politicians don't understand what the protest is really about. Eric Cantor calls the protesters "mobs" invoking all the negativism that word embodies. President Obama said that the protest "expresses the frustrations the American people feel", but he doesn't understand that he is part of the problem. I can guarantee you that the people who are occupying Wall Street are not supporters of Obama or the democratic party. As long as there are corporate campaign contributions there will never be a politician who fights for a true democracy of the people, by the people and for the people.

When your local peace activists announce a protest in your area join the movement and let your voice be added so the masses can at last be heard. I am determined to get off my ass and head off to Fayetteville, sign in hand, and join the protesters once again.

(the logo is by Drea Zlanabitnig and was "lifted" from the New York Times)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Discordant Discourse

Something horrible has happened to the United States of America. No, it’s not climate change, although that is horrible. No, it’s not the economy, although that too is horrible.
What I’m talking about is the discordant discourse amongst our representatives and our citizens. Everyone seems to think they are right and everyone else is wrong and never the twain shall meet.

I don’t watch C-SPAN so don’t have first hand knowledge of what goes on in the Senate or House of Representatives, but it seems as though the debates that went on during the debt ceiling legislation were nothing but one-sided monologues touting each persons convictions with no chance of convincing the other to compromise. I don’t think any of our representatives actually listen to each others arguments. Everyone is convinced that they are right in their beliefs and no amount of discussion can change that. And it seems as though this is the norm in all debates in our great halls of legislation.

I will be the first to admit that I am guilty as charged on a number of subjects. For example, I KNOW that the climate is changing in a drastic way due to human greed; and I KNOW that the economy is in the dumps due to corporate greed. What I don’t know is how to make the changes that will truly solve these and other issues. Oh, I have my own ideas on how to fix these problems but I am open to new ones...

...too many people are not.

The Tea Party, for instance, is not open to any idea but their own. Their rallies are filled with hatred for President Obama and near-overt racism. The anger that emanates from those people is truly troublesome. One of my neighbors aligns themselves with the Tea Party and they are good neighbors and good people. I wonder how they would react in a group of like-minded Tea Partiers?

My representative, Steve Womack, will be having a town hall style meeting in a few weeks and I was thinking of attending the event. An article in my local newspaper has convinced me that it would be a waste of time as Mr. Womack has his mind made up and apparently doesn’t even listen to his constituents who disagree. Case in point...
Mr. Womack claimed that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009  produced no job growth. A constituent challenged him on that statement with the fact presented that the stimulus produced 3 million jobs. Did Representative Womack even listen to that ? No, he ignored the man and moved on to the next question. This is not discourse, this is demagoguery and I'm sick of it.

Are you as tired of this kind of combative conversation as I am? Please, give me some ideas of what we can do to make a difference in this discord of our discourse.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Milking PMS

Have you seen the new milk ad? Since I don't have television I haven't seen it but there sure seems to be a lot of talk about it in the blogoshpere.
Apparently, the ad is trying to make a connection between PMS and the hormone heavy milk on our market shelves. Or maybe not. I don't think the California Milk Processors Board (CMPB) would be happy to let people know how much crap is in their milk.

Thanks to Monsanto, most dairy cattle are given recombinant bovine somatotropin (rBST) or recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH), both of which are an artificial growth hormone. So is the CMPB saying that growth hormones will help the symptoms of PMS? Probably not but they should have thought about this campaign and its consequences ahead of time.

Of course, consumers do have a choice and there are several dairy producers that do not give their dairy cattle growth hormones and buying dairy from these producers sends a message. Voting with your dollar is much more effective than most boycotts or petition campaigns.

Better yet, there are several "milk" alternatives on the market. My personal favorites are Good Karma Organic Whole Grain Ricemilk (they now have frozen confections too) and Pacific Foods Organic Almond Milk. Both of these products are delicious and although they don't taste like milk they sure fit the bill and you won't miss that load of heart clogging cholesterol one little bit.

My utopian milk ad would be one that warns the public about not only artificial growth hormones but also the appalling treatment of dairy cattle. Perhaps a small child holding a carton of rice milk and petting a calf with the cow in the background happily munching on grass with the words "compassion over consumption" and "no growth hormones in MY milk" drifting across the screen and flashes of disturbing images of the true condition of dairy cattle. A bit over the top? Maybe so but I think it might be effective.  Compassion over consumption is my next bumper sticker.

As far as PMS cures go, one friend said sex or masturbation helped her. Sounds like a fun cure to me! has several natural remedies and lots of information about PMS. The symptoms of PMS on are similar to menopause...go figure. Maybe the CMPB will come up with a new ad for people like me who are in the throes of menopause, "Woman drugs man and cuts off his penis". Oh, I see that this happened recently. Perhaps milk would have saved him?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Why Another Blog?

I decided to call my new blog home Bleeding Heart NWA because I am a bleeding heart liberal, bleeding heart vegetarian, bleeding heart animal lover and bleeding heart sentimentalist. Having been a liberal thinking person for all of my adult life, that philosophy led to my becoming a vegetarian in my early twenties and to working in the veterinary field in my early thirties. 

As a liberal I believe we have a duty to take care of not only every human being, but of every living creature and thing. As a vegetarian I believe we have a duty to stop killing animals for food; there are too many other food choices and eating animals is bad for the environment. As an animal lover I believe we have a duty to treat all animals humanely and care for them if they are in our lives. One of my favorite quotes is "if you can't afford the vet, don't get the pet" (thanks to my friend Julie for that one).

My intention is not to preach but to write about all things compassionate and positive. I am prone to cynicism and negativity and hope this experiment will help change the way I see life. I'll save the cynicism for my other blog.