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Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Black Dog Syndrome - Plight of Our Dark Furry Friends

The Black Dog Syndrome


The Stigma Facing Our Dark Furry Friends

By Kelley Diekman
July 30, 2009

Animals are being adopted from shelters every day, but for some reason black dogs rarely make the cut.

The scene is the same in shelters and rescue organizations around the country, rows of black dogs gazing hopefully at families as they pass by them on the way to play with the lighter dogs. This scene is so common, that it has become a problem known as ‘Black Dog Syndrome’. Black dogs and cats are frequently overlooked for adoption, especially if the dog is larger. The shortage of adoptions has lead to a high rate of euthanization for these dark companion animals.

Possible Reasons for Discrimination

There is no solid explanation behind the ‘Black Dog Syndrome’ phenomenon, but there are many possibilities that could contribute to people making the unconscious choice to adopt lighter colored animals.

Black dogs have been seen throughout history and literature as being evil, supernatural, and overall frightening to come across. Superstitious or not, everyone knows that if a black cat crosses your path you are supposedly doomed to have bad luck; this belief may have spilled over to dogs as well. Some believe that the centuries of folklore claiming that black dogs are undesirable may be embedded into our subconscious prompting us to avoid the large black canines.

Families may be concerned about dark dog hair on the furniture, believing they shed more than light breeds. The truth is, several breeds of dark dogs shed less than lighter ones, however the hair is more visible on furniture.

Black dogs are at an immediate disadvantage because they don’t show as well as lighter shade dogs. Dogs residing in dimly lit shelters don’t stick out as much, especially if there are a large number of them. Their whiskers turn gray faster than lighter dogs, so families visiting them in shelters may think they are older and less healthy than dogs whose whiskers aren’t noticeably gray. Black dogs aren’t as photogenic either; lighting and backgrounds need to be bright and cheerful to get them to look good in photos.

Some aggressive breeds have given darker dogs a bad reputation. Pit bull mixes, Doberman Pinschers, and Rottweilers are known for being aggressive, and they happen to have darker fur. Unconsciously people may associate dark fur with these aggressive breeds. Even on television and in movies, dark dogs are usually portrayed as the vicious guard, foaming at the mouth, with teeth bared and ready to attack.

Fighting the Stigma

Many shelters are battling ‘Black Dog Syndrome’ with marketing strategies designed to draw attention to the lovable dark coated cuties. Shelter workers are making extra effort to draw attention to the darker dogs by putting bandanas or bows on them for photos or visitors. One shelter in DuQuoin, Illinois is advertising “It’s raining black dogs at Perry County Humane Society!” and offering discounted adoption fees for black dogs.

Shelters and rescue organizations implore anyone wanting to adopt a furry friend not to overlook the darker dogs. They are just as lovable, caring, and deserving of a good home.

Consuming Kids Part 1 and 2 ~

Thank you!
Myspace Green Cooperative

Vegetarianism: Non-violence as Daily Practice

Is Meat-Eating Violence?

By partaking in eating meat, especially in the old days before prepackaged, supermarket foods, and fast food, one had to think of where to find the animal, how to kill it, how to prepare it for consumption, and then how to cook, eat and preserve it. Hence, the whole process of eating animals was ‘himsa,’ because one had to think of all this, possibly speak of it (planning the killing, etc.) and act on it by killing, preparing and eating the animal. In Indian history, we have the seminal example King Ashoka (circa 273-232 BC), who - from being a ruthless warrior - not only became a Buddhist, but also promoted ahisma and vegetarianism in his later life.

When we eat the flesh of a dead animal, we not only partake in ‘himsa’ in our own spirit, but we can also become affected by the spirit of the dead animal. In order to have been eaten the animal had to die. In dying, it felt pain, it struggled, cried, tried to continue living as long as possible. Since it was slaughtered, it died in fright, pain, mental and emotional anguish and struggle. Then it has to be skinned, gutted, processed and packaged to end up on a plate, decorated and consumed in human pleasure. In human pleasure, one does not think of the pain of the once living animals on the plate. Hence partaking in eating meat, one is not just ingesting and digesting protein and nutrients, but the feelings of violence which erupted in the animal from its unnatural death.

The “Mahabharata” states: "The purchaser of flesh performs himsa by his wealth; he who eats flesh does so by enjoying its taste; the killer does himsa by actually tying and killing the animal. Thus, there are three forms of killing. He who brings flesh or sends for it, he who cuts of the limbs of an animal, and he who purchases, sells, or cooks flesh and eats it-all of these are to be considered meat-eaters." (“Mahabharata,” 115:40)

Similarly, vegetarianism and ahimsa can be realized through the old adage “treat others as you would like to be treated.” Swami Dayananda, in his “The Value of Values” connects this to ahimsa and vegetarianism by stating that we should not think of ‘somebody’ being our dinner if we do not want to be ‘somebody’ else’s dinner.’

Further, the “Mahabharata” (18.113.8) says: “One should never do that to another which one regards as injurious to one's own self. This, in brief, is the rule of dharma. Yielding to desire and acting differently, one becomes guilty of adharma.”

Some of the spiritual reasons, we’ve discussed here may have stemmed from the practical reasons people refrained from eating meat initially. Modern meat-eating Hindus will usually not eat beef or pork (which is rapidly changing), but eat all other kinds of meat.

What Good is Meat for You?
Many know the reason that the cow is not eaten is because it is considered ‘holy’. But what about pork? Pork, coming from the pig, was considered unhygienic to eat because pigs are ‘dirty animals’. It was thought that by eating pig flesh, people could contract the diseases of the pig. This may seem far-fetched, but if we look at modern society, many diseases are transmitted to humans from the dead animals they eat.

Some sicknesses come from under cooking the meat or not preparing it properly before cooking it. However, some sicknesses stem from the ways in which humans selfishly try to increase meat production by unnatural methods. Most common of these is the ‘mad cow’ disease, which resulted from people mixing cow fodder with pieces of dead animals to ‘fatten the cows’ quickly.

God created many vegetarian animals, one being the cow, and so this would naturally disturb the god-given balance of the cow and then also affect all members forthcoming in the food chain.

Humans, unlike other animals that work on instinct alone, have the god-given ability to make conscious choices about the food they enjoy, ingest and digest. This food, in turn helps to fuel our bodies and keep us in good health emotionally, mentally and physically. Food that robs us of energy, such as heavy products that are hard on digestion, like meat, weigh us down emotionally, mentally and physically, even if we do not realize this immediately.

These are the major reasons, all related to ‘ahimsa,’ why Hindus naturally take to vegetarianism as a daily ‘sadhana’, and abstain from eating flesh.

Swami Dayananda, “The Value of Values,” Arsha Vidya Gurukulam, Saylorsburg, PA, 2993, pp. 31-34.
Swami Tejomayananda, “Hindu Culture: An Introduction,” Chinmaya Publications, Piercy, CA, 1994, pp. 100-103.
Gopi Nath Aggarwal, “Vegetarian or Non-Vegetarian: Choose Yourself,” Books for All, Delhi, India, 1998, 27-33.
Shri J. Narayanaswamy, “Thirukkural in English”

Suggested Reading:

Other Articles


Subhamoy Das

Subhamoy Das
Hinduism Guide


 Vegetarianism: Non-violence as Daily Practice

Saturday, December 26, 2009

wrapping gifts in beautiful cloth~Furoshiki

30 Tips by an "Eco Extremist" on Caring for Earth

Reposted by Lexi with Love
From: Kindness of Strangers for the Earth & Animals (www.myspace.com/120295405)

30 Tips on by an "Eco Extremist" on Caring for Earth

From the blog 30 Tips for being an Eco Extremist

Shop at a People's Food

Tour 1of 2

youtube source

"How do you avoid plastics,

if you do not live near a natural food store?"

I am 60 years old, old enough to remember when we hardly used any plastic. Amazingly I never knew anyone whose glass shampoo bottle broke in the shower. However I doubt you can find a glass shampoo bottle today. I shop infrequently and buy a lot when I do. I refill my shampoo bottles and cream rinse and any other products from bulk with organic ingredients as often as possible.

I fit dishes over bowls of food for storage. I have never used plastic wrap, ever! My mother used to have something that looked like shower caps to cover leftovers, so I tried them, but they wore out too soon.

Mom also used to use waxed paper and rubber bands to cover food, again I do not use disposables if at all possible (if you have seen my videos you know I do not even use much toilet paper!)

Mom used to line garbage cans with newspaper and wrap food scraps in that. I do not find newspaper necessary as we compost all our kitchen waste and do not consume animal foods. And we do not subscribe to newspapers anyway as we love trees and rivers (the production of any product uses energy and creates pollution.)

My kitchen garbage gets dirty occasionally, right now it is outside in the rain cleaning off. In the summer I wash it outside and use the water to water the garden.

You can work to develop a green community were you live, find others who are interested in forming a food coop or farmer's markets if you do not already have them.

Food Cooperatives provides natural food through community participation and cooperative principles. You save money and the environment by buying in bulk and usually share the workload.

Farmer's markets are also an excellent way to encourage your local organic farmers, create community, and a real pleasure to shop at.

Visit these resources
to learn more

Edible Landscaping

Edible landscaping for apartment dwellers

The Simplicity Resource Guide

Voluntary Simplicity Resource Guide

Coop Directory Service: Find A Natural Food Coop Near You

National Directory of Fruit Stands Farmers Markets

Race Against Waste

Learn how to go car free at:

One Less Car

This list created in cooperation with
Quantum Environmentalis..​ts


1 THINK intelligently about the consequences of all you consume, where it comes from and where it is going

Think three times before making a purchase, asking the question, "Do I really need this? Will it make me happy, or serve? Or will it break soon, need maintenance, cleaning, dusting and end up as just another piece of junk I need to recycle or fix?"

Conscious Consuming

the status quo.

3 LIVE well with less
so you will generate less trash and clear your space.

4 Eat a plant-based diet
Healthy for you, the planet;

Climate Change and Meat Consumption

Eco Eating Eating as if the Earth Matters

Biotech whiz Pat Brown makes the global-warming case against animal farming

Climate chief Lord Stern: give up meat to save the planet

And a plant based diet is far more humane, in fact consider respecting all life, even spiders, ants, and other bugs. (We consider them our tiny pets and keep the house clean enough so they are not a problem)! Choose not to use pesticides or herbicides.

5 Make intelligent choices when purchasing, supporting eco friendly companies like the clean energy company
www. greenmountainen..​.​.​ergy.​com and Standard Solar®

• Drive less often by buying in bulk

• Read the ingredients list

• Choose less packaging

• Bring clean containers and refill from bulk bins

6 CONSERVE ENERGY when possible:
We hung pretty blankets in our living room to close off other rooms that do not need to be heated so much. We keep the other rooms just warm enough to discourage mold in the winter. I find them refreshingly cool, in contrast to the living room which we keep toasty with a air tight wood burning stove.

7 Turn your hot water heater off or down when not in use,
we have done this for years! (We have a little sign so we do not forget to turn it on when we need it.)

8 Boil water in a whistling teapot in the morning, put the water in a big insulated carafe (the kind they dispense coffee in) and have hot water available all day
Use a whistling teapot so you don't waste energy forgetting to turn the water off.

9 Hang dry clothes,
eliminating the need for owning/using a dryer (we have even strung up a clothes line in the living room on rainy days, not very pretty, but eco friendly.)

10 Water is precious, water is life, respect the water
Wash clothes in warm or cool water, not hot, 80-85 percent of the energy consumed to wash clothes comes from heating the water.

11 TURN off the water whenever you do not need it, for instance
when brushing teeth, save four gallons. That's almost 3,000 gallons a year, if you brush your teeth twice a day.

12 Think twice before purchasing or using
a dishwasher, often it is just as easy to wash by hand.

13 Wash dishes in with a small bowl of soapy water,
do not put the dishes in the water, keep it clean by putting your cleaning cloth (not a plastic sponge) in the water, this way you use less water, and soap and it can last for days.

14 QUESTION the need for harsh detergents for washing dishes
If this has been a vegan meal, and wasn't an oily food, we can wash the dishes in hot water right after a meal, and won't need much, if any, dish soap.

15 Flush your toilet with water from collected from your shower or bath,
while waiting for our water to get hot, we catch it in a five gallon bucket and flush the toilet, (during the first drought I experienced we even took the bathroom sink pipe off so water would go right into a bucket to collect for usage.

16 Invest in a grey water system

17 Avoid plastic! And as far as plastic recycling see my blog The Myths about plastic recycling

San Francisco, New York City, and Whole Foods Stores are all taking the lead and banned plastic shopping bags; focus on this becoming a national trend! Avoid Styrofoam at all it is not recyclable… Don't use plastic bubble wrap or Styrofoam "peanuts" when packaging boxes. Reuse newspaper, junk mail, etc instead.

• I do not use paper bags at all, and have used 100% organic string bags instead (they hold over 40 pounds of groceries and fit easily into your pocket, car, bike, or purse.)

• If you still have paper bags gathering dust, consider doubling or tripling up paper grocery bags and reuse them indefinitely.

18 Live without air conditioners. Open windows and door whenever possible
(we are blessed with a lovely breeze, but on really hot days we keep the house cool by shutting all drapes, and opening again during the evening and early morning, a fan can be used to blow out hot air and bring in cool air at that time.

19 Purchase clothes from thrift stores, garage sales, and flea markets

20 Rescue furniture, household items, etc from tree lawns on trash day, if needed

21 CREATE "free boxes" at work, school, and community centers

You can freeze compostable materials, find a friend with a compost pile, and add the frozen compost to friends' compost when visiting, if unable to compost at home.

23 Buy organic food, cosmetics, and clothing whenever possible
(even our cotton is organic and we make q-tips with an orange stick instead of wasting natural resources)

Check out this blog:
Organic vs. Conventionally grown foods, charts, video, and graphics

24 GROW your own organic food even a little can go a long way as you can see Edible landscaping for apartment dwellers

25 Let the grass grow longer,
save fuel, time, energy, and money, cut your grass half as often. Better yet convert that lawn to an Edible Landscape.

26 Use a push Mower or scythe and eliminate the use of fuel, you are the FUEL!

27 Share with neighbors
We still have a push mower available for all our neighbors to borrow.) Better yet convert that lawn to an Edible Landscaping

28 Shovel the snow
instead of using a snow blower or plow, it's good for the body and good for the environment. Avoid salt to melt the snow or ice, it's harmful to the soil, the plants, the water, you.

29 Ride a bike or take public transport, work with your community to improve public transportation...​.​.​
Davis California has free bike left all over town for people to ride and leave when they are done with them!

Learn how to go car free at

One Less Car

30 My good friend adam antichrist suggests:.... "If like me you don't fill your garbage or recycling bin all the way up each week, don't put it out for collection. Garbage trucks don't turn their engines off when collecting, so if you can manage to hold out for an extra week there will be less fuel used and less emissions produced because you put your bins out less frequently.

Small actions taken by many people make big differences!

Our Consumption Effects 6 Billion Others

Subscribe to Kindness's blog


Posted by Kindness of Strangers for the Earth & Animals
the following links are added by Kindness of Strangers, not as a endorsement of any organization, but to share information on how and why to eat a plant based diet.

Links To Independent USA News

USA > Media > USA News > Newspapers> Radio Stations > Television> Weather

Alternet: Alternative News and Information

Deep Dish TV: Deep Dish TV is the first national grassroots satellite network, linking local access producers and programmers, independent video makers, activists, and other individuals who support the idea and reality of a progressive television network.
CSPAN: Capitol Hill, The White House and National Politics.
Common Dreams: Breaking news and perspectives that are increasingly hard to find with our corporate-dominated media.
EnviroVideo produces environmental and social justice programs for television - including interview and news shows, specials, and documentaries.

Free Speech TV is a publicly-supported, independent, non-profit TV channel that is a project of Public Communicators, Inc., a 501(c)3 non-profit, tax-exempt organization. It is available nationally, 24/7, on DISH Satellite Network. Selected programs are available on 172 community access cable stations in 35 states.

Independent Media Marketplace:
The Independent Media Marketplace(IMM) is an online market where citizens can find independently produced media products (books, magazine, videos etc..). All purchases help support independent media producers.

The World-Wide Network of Independent Media Centers. Founded in the Battle of Seattle, the IMC's have spread to over 60 cities across the globe. A crucial source for international information that challenges the censors worldwide!

Liberty News:
Liberty News TV, the nation's only monthly progressive TV news show that focuses exclusively on U.S. politics and power

Link TV is a non-commercial American satellite television network providing diverse perspectives on world and national issues.

Paper Tiger Television:
Paper Tiger Television is a non-profit volunteer video collective. Paper Tiger has been creating fun, funky, hard-hitting, investigative, compelling and truly alternative media for 25+ years.
The Global Report; News from the front lines. The Global Report is a 501c3 nonprofit news organization.

The Real News:
The Real News Network is a non-profit news and documentary network focused on providing independent and uncompromising journalism.

USA news

Monday, December 21, 2009

Food Wars

Ninjin - The Way Of The Vegetable Assassin

The story of a man with a gun and a mission - to eliminate all instances of unseasonal vegetable consumption. Written and directed by the brilliant Michael 'Watercress' Wright and starring the magnificent Daniel 'Legume' Lapaine with deft editing by Simon 'Water Celery' Wilcox and a purringly perfect soundtrack by Michael 'Mango' Mertens. Produced by the kind people at Mustard in association with the equally kind people at Eat Seasonably


Saturday, December 19, 2009

Starting a Vegetable Garden


Starting a Vegetable Garden

Starting a vegetable garden is one of the first steps toward homesteading self reliance, whether you live in town or on your own acreage. Are you ready for your own fresh, organically grown produce? Here are some tips.

Prepare Your Soil

There is nothing more frustrating than to spend hours digging a garden bed, then planting and watering it and reaping next to nothing in produce. The right type of soil is crucial to your success, and the easiest way to get that kind of soil is through building raised beds using the lasagna gardening techniques recommended by Patricia Lanza in her book, Lasagna Gardening.
In the fall or on a mild winter day, devote a few hours to building your beds by tramping down the grass and other vegetative matter and covering the area with wet newspapers. Then pile on organic matter such as leaves and moldy hay and cover it with black plastic. Come spring you'll have a good healthy soil ready for starting a vegetable garden.

Pick Easy Vegetables

Organic Garden If you are starting a vegetable garden for the first time, you will do best by choosing vegetables that are fairly easy to grow, including tomatoes, bush beans, carrots, squash and potatoes.

Build Compost

When starting a vegetable garden, also start your compost pile. Never put old lettuce and carrot rinds down the garbage disposal again. Instead, save those scraps, along with coffee grinds and egg shells and put them in a compost pile instead.
You can add anything to your pile that is biodegradable, including manure. Just avoid meat scraps and dog and cat feces, as these will attract rodents to your pile.
You can also start a compost pile indoors using worms. The compost they produce will be worth their weight in gold when you're starting a vegetable garden. Learn more here.

Make a Natural Pest Control Spray

my daughter holding a flower You can make your own organic pest spray by buying a spray pump water and filling it with soapy water, vinegar, garlic powder and cayenne pepper.
Mix these ingredients together give your mixture a good week or so to completely dissolve before using for the first time. (Otherwise the cayenne and garlic powder are likely to clog up your pump).
Spray around the base of each plant once a week to discourage beetles and other pests when you are starting a vegetable garden.

Pick a Good Location

Before starting a vegetable garden, spend some time thinking about the location you want to use. You will want a spot that gets plenty of sun, but is also convenient to get to every day. A vegetable garden that is close to your back door is likely to be weeded more. Better still, plant your garden right by your front steps. You'll be encouraged to pull a weed or two every day after you get home from work.

Attract Bees

Pollination is crucial to starting a vegetable garden that will provide you with a bountiful harvest. If you have done everything right and your garden is still not producing many vegetables, the answer may be a lack of bees. Having these wonderful little insects around are crucial to a successful garden.
The best solution is to keep bees yourself, but that's not always possible, especially if you live in an urban area. But what you can do is plan on planting some flowers along with your vegetables to attract more bees to your garden.
When starting a vegetable garden, plan at the very beginning to attract more bees and butterflies to your spot by choosing non-hybrid flowering plants that are native to your area, and plant them in clumps throughout your garden. Provide your bees and butterflies with different types of flowers in a wide variety of shapes and colors that will flower throughout the season.

More Helpful Information on Homesteading and Starting a Vegetable Garden

Most of us keep a homestead for the practical purposes of raising our own food, but cottage gardening can show us the importance of adding beauty to our surroundings. Here's how.
A great step towards self reliance is learning to grow medicinal herbs. Learn what healing herbs you can plant in your homestead garden by clicking here.
A great way to cut back on costs is by purchasing your seeds in bulk, but unless you learn how to store those seeds properly, you'll end up wasting your money. Learn tips on purchasing and storing bulk seeds by clicking here.
You can get an early start on your gardening and save money by starting seeds indoors. Here are a few tips.
Are you looking for easy vegetables for beginning gardeners? Here are a list of some of the easier vegetables to grow.
One of the most crucial decisions you'll make in planning a garden is the best garden location. To find the right spot for your garden, here are a few tips.
By using raised beds, you'll have a spot that is easier to work with soil that warms up much faster in the spring. Here are some tips.
Better still, by using Patricia Lanza's Lasagna gardening principles, you can have easier raised beds without the digging. You can get the know-how here.
When starting a vegetable garden, you won't have a bountiful harvest unless your garden soil has sufficient nutrients. Making compost is the best way to return those nutrients back to the soil. Learn how.
By mulching around your garden plants, you not only retain crucial moisture in your beds, but you also add nutrients to the soil. Here are some tips.
In addition to making your own organic spray, you can also control pests through the flowers you add to your garden. Here's how.
Work in your garden long enough, and you're bound to cross paths with poison ivy. For help on dealing with that awful, itchy rash, click here.
Do you have limited space? With container gardening you can grow a garden in a limited space, even on a balcony. Learn more.
Thinking of pursuing container gardening? You'll need the right container for the type of plant you're growing. Here's how.
If you're ready to pursue the self sufficient life through gardening, you'll want to read this article.
Did you ever think you could compost indoors? You can through the use of vermiculture, the practice of composting with worms. learn more here.
How about growing your own lettuce and other salad greens in winter? You can with the use of a cold frame. To learn how to build and use one, Click here.


Starting a Vegetable Garden

Are You A Vegan Who Loves Cappaccino/Flavored Coffee ?

My Recipes for yummy vegan, guilt free flavored coffee

I use a 10 ounce mug.

Heat water in microwave on high for 3 minutes.

1. Add rounded teaspoon (or to taste) of instant coffee.
2. Add 2-3 rounded tablespoons of powdered soy milk.
3. Add 1-2 Teaspoons spoons of non-dairy creamer.
4. Add any of the following:
1-3 drops of Almond Extract, Vanilla Extract:  -or- A dash of cinnamon, nutmeg or Pumpkin Pie Spices, Cardamom........use your imagination....go crazy!

I make  caffeinated coffee in the AM &   decaf in the PM. 


10 Ways to Screw Over the Corporate Jackals Who've Been Screwing You
By Scott Thill, AlterNet. Posted December 19, 2009.

Tired of getting pushed around by faceless big business? Here are 10 ways to push back!

Wait, what's that? Nothing major at all has happened, you say? Oh right, we've been stuck in neutral since dumping the toxic trash of the Republican Bush administration and embracing Democratic pro
mises of hope and change, neither of which have blossomed. A year of our collective life has flown by and our global culture is still rife with schemers, screw jobs and sorry excuses for solutions. And we just sit back and take it, year after year. But no more. When you make that hefty list of New Year's resolutions, drop some of these bombs. Then duck. You'll get your change faster than you can say, "Teabag this!"
1. Mortgage underwater? Just walk away from it. Even academia says it's OK. Move to the city and rent.
"Homeowners should be walking away in droves," University of Arizona law school professor Brent T. White told the Los Angeles Times. "But they aren't. And it's not because the financial costs of foreclosure outweigh the benefits. One can have a good credit rating again -- meaning above 660 -- within two years after a foreclosure."
In a scholarly paper called "Underwater and Not Walking Away: Shame, Fear and the Social Management of the Housing Crisis," White tells cash-jacked homeowners that they can return the screw.
We've been championing that course for years, with reports on walkaways and trashouts, as well as violent homeowner blowback. Hell, we called the Great Recession before most did, and we're still calling it another Great Depression in the making. So trust us. And if not us, then take it from the professor, who will soon be joined by a chorus of similarly credentialed whistleblowers as the financial crap truly hits the fan in the years to come. Go ahead, move back to the city and rent. You'll end up there anyway when your suburb runs out of water and malls.
2. Unplug your cable. The easiest way to kill the so-called news networks is to cut them off at their enablers. Don't like the hate spewed by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp nutjobs? Pull your cable bill's plug, or shut down your satellite. Tired of the way that Reality TV, in entertainment and otherwise, has replaced reality itself? Withdraw life support.
First, there's no holy reason you shouldn't be able to subscribe to a channel package of your own choosing. Listen to the voice of wisdom: "It is regrettable that the cable companies continue to balk at offering channels on an a la carte basis and instead continue to raise the price of their bundled offering[s]." You know who delivered that dose of media sense? John McCain. Yeah, it's that bad.
Plus, you don't need old-school TV anymore. In our digital age, you can go online for your news and entertainment, even if you can no longer tell the difference between the two. How? Streaming video sites like YouTube and more, or better yet torrents, which are the future now. Looking to watch your favorite episode of The Colbert Report right now? You can already do that online. Can you do it through your cable network? Exactly. Looking to watch something you can't screen anywhere online? There's a torrent for that. Like Napster's file-sharing platform before it, the BitTorrent protocol houses the people's media library, dedicated not just to pimping out the same crap seen on network and cable, but work you have never seen before, often stunning artistry left for dead by the side of the mainstream. Not anymore. Trust us, you do not need your cable. Murdoch and other old-media asshats will hate you for unsubscribing. Most importantly, you won't miss 80 percent of the shit you watched when it's gone.
3. Kill your landline. Chances are, your carrier is a privacy sellout you're already paying double. What's that you say, you're on a package deal that gives you a landline, a cell account and a cable subscription? Why? If you have a cell account, you don't need a landline, so they're just jacking you for money. And didn't we already discuss how you should unplug your cable? Nowadays, there are easier ways to chat up your pals, from Twitter and Facebook to Apple's iChat, with lets users talk face-to-face for free, riding the internet, which is probably already controlled by your copper, wireless or fiber-optic carrier. Plus, there's always email and other online options. Bottom line? Landlines are just ways to chain your wallet to the wall.
4. Reacquire your wealth. The easiest way for the Federal Reserve, led by Time Magazine's ludicrous Person of the Year Ben Bernanke, to pick your pocket is through your accounts and investments, which can be liquidated in the blink of a discount window's eye. Withdraw any extra cash you have, close whatever extra accounts you have, and take it somewhere besides Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase or another bailout addict. Better yet, keep it on the sidelines. The Fed hates that and so do the markets, which have nothing to do with you anyway. That game is above your head, and rigged outright. You either play with the house, or you play your conscience. Right now, your conscience should be worrying about another economic clusterfuck. Plus, the banks left standing after the financial crashes of the last few years are fatter than ever, and are still hoarding cash instead of lending it.
“It’s insanity that the too-big-to-fail institutions are even bigger today than they were,” Vermont's independent Senator Bernie Sanders told Bloomberg. “God forbid we have another financial crisis.”
God forbid? These banks have gotten bigger specifically to survive the next crisis they have already priced into the market. Thanks to Congress, the Fed and the last two administrations, they've got your cash sitting in their vaults, whistling while they wait. Take it out.
5. Pacify your portfolio. Whether through your job or your own efforts, chances are you probably own a retirement or investment portfolio. And if you haven't checked it out recently, chances are it's probably still poisoned by hyperleveraged funds or other financial stratagems, invested in oil, housing, malls, SUVs or some other shady Ponzi scheme. Get out now, unless you want to be a dick about it. Sure, commodities like oil and food are hot, but they're infested by speculators, to whom they are just playthings designed for maximum profit. Remember when oil was at $145 per barrel in 2008? The last year of the Bush administration's rule? Captain obvious.
If you want to take part in that hosing, fine; just try not to cry aloud about Bush, Obama, the Fed or climate change on the way to the bank. The easiest way to make change in capitalism gone awry is by manipulating your money. Think the fossil-fuel industry is bullshit? Make sure your retirement isn't invested in a mutual fund featuring Exxon or worse. Put your money in solar stocks, or other forward-looking investments, if you must fund anything. In capitalism, you are what you pay for, not what you say about what you pay for. No matter how nice it may be.
6. Take credit. If you have more than two credit cards, you're simply asking for trouble. And not just because credit tempts people into buying crap they don't need at prices they shouldn't pay. Do banks responsible for privatizing your profits to pay off their considerable losses really deserve more of your money? Even in a recession they're cleaning house; from scoring over $38 billion in corrupt overdraft fees in 2009 to dragging their well-heeled feet on foreclosure modifications, banks aren't done squeezing an already compromised public out of its last pennies. You can stop them by cutting off the money, and you'll be doing yourself a disciplined favor. No extra credit? Great, no extra crap.
For the cards you must keep, pay them off by any means necessary, and then pay them off monthly. That pisses the credit card companies off to no end.
7. Avoid CDs and DVDs: At least, stuff that isn't in collectible form. There is still a place for material goods in our mounting environmental chaos, but it is shrinking fast. Kind of like our natural resources. As we discussed in the cable section, you can get anything you want these days online, and if you can't, whoever is stopping you from being able to do so deserves their fate. Plus, discs are wasteful. And obsolete. And they know it.
From the plastic, and therefore oil, it takes to make their cases to the reams of paper, and therefore trees and water, it takes to make their press and product packaging, CDs and DVDs are the easiest fat to axe. Which is why in the last decade CD sales have dropped precipitously, as online sales have caught up. Might as well seal the deal by never buying another disc again. Here's how the media arrangement for the future works: Some entity sends whatever you want to watch wirelessly to your phone, computer and TV. Everything else is just wasted resources, money and time, no matter what the industry says. You can speed up that evolution by forcing the industry's hand. If you don't, it will squeeze cash from a disc's stone until you make it stop. While we're on this subject....
8. Stop buying bottled water, factory-farmed beef and new cars, especially hybrids. The first offense is a bailout for the oil industry, the second is a climate-change massacre, and the third is a waste of your time and money. The electric cars will be here soon. If you can walk or use public transportation until then, please do so. That is, if you really need a car at all. Most of us don't. Have to drive miles to work? Consider how much money it costs you every month to get paid, and add that to the probably less impressive paycheck you could get from a gig closer to home, perhaps within walking distance. Our climate crisis demands that we kill as many emissions as we possibly can to keep the planet from overheating. Who knows? A few more degrees and we could be looking at everything from sea-rise catastrophe to the outright extinction of the human race, thanks to a species-killing dose of hydrogen sulfide. Don't go blank on me, now. Extinction events have happened before, and can easily happen again.
One helpful way to stop them from happening is to decrease the amount of methane farted out by hordes of bovine prisoners herded into Cow-schwitzes across America and beyond. If you think carbon dioxide is a killer, it's nothing compared to methane, which is increasing annually as the ice melts away and the sea coughs its stored poison into the sky. Throw in the heresy of using oil to make plastic bottles to store the same water that's no more pristine than what's already in your tap, and you have the hat trick from hell. If you can do only one thing on this admittedly ambitious list, do this one....or, uh, these three things. Instant impact.
9. Do not watch whiny bitches. Especially so you can tell us how whiny they are; trust us, we already know. Glenn Beck, Lou Dobbs, Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh and other compromised gossips ranting about everything from Tiger Woods to Barack Hussein Obama are a waste of everyone's time, except of course the people who pay them to spout their nonsense. And those who watch it to confirm their already mindless prejudices and political objectives.
Those unhinged jackasses are exactly what the hardy souls at Media Matters are for. If you ignore them, they really will go away, at least for you. Which is what matters, in the end. Is there really room in your busy mind for their doltish nattering? When you read a story about how Bill O'Reilly cut some poor sap's mike, you're learning too much about something you already know too much about. Much better to occupy your time with solutions to the proliferating problems that are coming your way, from probable economic misery to promised environmental devastation. Don't worry, if something legally actionable happens, you'll hear about it. Until then, spend your time reading and ranting about more important matters. Like your sex life.
10. Start or join a third party. "You want the puppet on the right or the puppet on the left?" the self-destructive man in Richard Linklater's animated mind-wiper Waking Life asked. Sure, he doused himself in gasoline and set himself afire, after dryly joking "Let my own lack of a voice be heard." But still. Beyond the propaganda of fear promoted by the Bush administration or the hope promised by the Obama administration, what has become exquisitely clear is that our country is actually run by a single party comprised of political animals assembling on the fence. And they will do whatever they can to stay in power, regardless of whether or not it is madness.
"As someone who voted to repeal Glass-Steagall, maybe that was a mistake," Democratic Rep. Steny Hoyer said of the law that kept investment and lending banks separate, a dissolution that has led directly to our current econopocalypse. The Glass-Steagall Act's repeal happened under the watch of President Bill Clinton, whose administration worked together with Republicans and Wall Street criminals to torpedo financial regulation. Sure, the guy who wanted to succeed him, Al Gore, is a climate-change visionary. But his running mate? Right, the same fence-hopping Joe Lieberman who just eviscerated health care reform's public option. With Democrats like these, who needs Republicans?
The two-party system you have today is already a three-party system. It houses a well-meaning minority, middle-way sellouts and batshit loonies. Someone needs to babysit all those kids. Why not you? Let the fence-squatters have their pity parties. Eventually, they will be whittled down to their core essence, which is nothing more than compromise stained by self-possession. Worried about leaving your party? Don't be.



More About Growing Your Own Food


Stop Shopping the Planet to Death

The Environmental Effects of Leather

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Kindness of Strangers for the Earth & Animals


Beauty Isn't Only Skin Deep

Everything But the Moo

Meat producers joke that they make money from "every part of a cow but the moo," and indeed, since red meat consumption has been dropping since the late 1970s, the profits of the meat industry are largely dependent on the sale of animal hides.

Skin accounts for approximately 50 percent of the total byproduct value of cattle. When dairy cows' production declines, their skin is also made into leather; the hides of their offspring, "

The Whole Ark

Most leather produced and sold in the United States is made from the skins of cattle and calves, but leather is also made from horses, sheep, lambs, goats, and pigs who are slaughtered for meat. Other species are hunted and killed specifically for their skins, including zebras, bison, water buffaloes, boars, deer, kangaroos, elephants, eels, sharks, dolphins, seals, walruses, frogs, crocodiles, lizards, and snakes. Thousands of endangered olive ridley sea turtles are captured and butchered illegally in Mexico solely for their skins. It is estimated that 25-30 percent of imported crocodile shoe leather and other wildlife items are made from endangered, illegally poached animals.

Other "exotic" animals, such as alligators, are "factory farmed" for their skins. Ranched alligators are kept in half-sunken tin-sided structures of cinder blocks on concrete slabs. As many as 600 young alligators may inhabit one building, which reeks of rancid meat, alligator waste, and stagnant water. Although alligators may naturally live 40 to 60 years, on farms they are usually butchered before their fourth birthday.

Humaneness is not a priority of those who poach and hunt animals to obtain their skin or those who transform skin into leather. Alligators on farms may be beaten to death with hammers and axes, sometimes remaining conscious and in agony for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Crocodiles are often caught with huge hooks and wires and reeled in when they become weakened from blood loss or drown. Poachers sometimes kill one species of animal to use as bait to capture another. Snakes and lizards are often skinned alive because of the widespread belief that live flaying imparts suppleness to the finished leather. Flayed snakes have been observed to take more than four days to die. Kid goats may be boiled alive to make kid gloves, and the skins of unborn calves and lambs-some purposely aborted, others from slaughtered pregnant cows and ewes-are considered especially "luxurious."

Tannery Toxins

Although leather makers like to tout their products as "..biodegradable" and "..eco-friendly," the process of tanning stabilizes the collagen or protein fibers so that they actually stop biodegrading.

Until the late 1800s, animal skin was air- or salt-dried and tanned with vegetable tannins or oil, but today animal skin is turned into finished leather with a variety of much more dangerous substances, including mineral salts, formaldehyde, coal tar derivatives, and various oils, dyes, and finishes, some of them cyanide-based.

More than 95 percent of leather produced in the U.S. is chrome-tanned. All wastes containing chromium are considered hazardous by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In addition to the toxic substances mentioned above, tannery effluent also contains large amounts of other pollutants, such as protein, hair, salt, lime sludge, sulfides, and acids.

Among the disastrous consequences of this noxious waste is the threat to human health from the highly elevated levels of lead, cyanide, and formaldehyde in the ground water near tanneries. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that the incidence of leukemia among residents in an area surrounding one tannery in Kentucky was five times the national average.

People who work in tanneries are dying of cancer caused by exposure to dimethylformami..de and other toxic chemicals used to process and dye the leather. The coal tar derivatives used are extremely potent cancer-causing agents. According to a study released by the New York State Department of Health, more than half of all testicular cancer victims work in tanneries.

The leather industry also uses a tremendous amount of energy. The Kirk-Othmer Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology states, "On the basis of quantity of energy consumed per unit of product produced, the leather-..manufacturing industry would be categorized with the aluminum, paper, steel, cement, and petroleum-..manufacturing industries as a gross consumer of energy."

This does not even take into account the waste and pollution involved in raising the animals whose skins eventually become leather. Huge amounts of fossil fuels are consumed in livestock production. (By contrast, plastic wearables account for only a fraction of 1 percent of the petroleum used in the U.S.)15 Trees are cleared to create pastureland, vast quantities of water are used, and feedlot and dairy farm runoff are a major source of water pollution.


As evidenced by a May 1990 poll in Parents magazine-in which 69 percent of those polled said they were against killing animals for leather-more and more people are realizing that leather is something we can do without. There are many alternatives, including cotton, linen, rubber, ramie, canvas, and synthetics. Chlorenol (called Hydrolite by Avia and Durabuck by Nike), used in athletic and hiking shoes, is an exciting new material that's perforated for breathability, will stretch around the foot with the same "give" as leather, provides good support, and is machine washable.

Vegan shoes and accessories are inexpensive-up to 60 to 75 percent cheaper than leather. Some, like Déja Shoes (call 503-682-8814 for retailers near you), are even made from recycled materials.

Where to Shop

Leather alternatives can be found just about anywhere you might shop. But some places, such as discount shoe and variety stores like Payless Shoe Source, Fayva, Kmart, J.C. Penney, and Wal-Mart, offer larger selections. Designers like Liz Claiborne, Capezio, Sam & Libby, Unlisted, and Nike (call 1-800-344-NIKE for a current list of vegan styles) offer an array of non-leather handbags, wallets, and shoes.

For more shopping tips, send for The Compassionate Shopper (Beauty Without Cruelty, 175 W. 12th St., #16G, New York, NY 10011-8275), or send $3 to the Vegetarian Resource Group, P.O. Box 1463, Baltimore, MD 21203, for "A Shopper's Guide to Leather Alternatives." (The guide can also be downloaded for free from VRG's Web site at VRG.)

The following is a list of mail-order companies that specialize in non-leather clothing and accessories:

Aesop, Inc.
P.O. Box 315; N. Cambridge, MA 02140; 617-628-8030

The Ohio Hempery
7002 State Rte. 329; Guysville, OH 45735; 800-BUY-HEMP

Creatureless Comforts
702 Page St.; Stoughton, MA 02072; 617-344-7496

7829 Woodmont Ave.; Bethesda, MD 20814; 301-652-3181;
Pangea Veg

7015 Ordan Dr.; Unit 12-14; Mississauga, Ontario; L5T 1Y2 Canada; 800-665-9182

Tomorrow's World
194 E. Ocean View Ave.; Norfolk, VA 23503; 800-229-7571

Heartland Products
Box 218; Dakota City, IA 50529; 800-441-4692

Used Rubber USA
597 Haight St.; San Francisco, CA 94117; 415-626-7855

Newport News
Avon La.; Hampton, VA 02072; 800-688-2830

Vegetarian Shoes
12 Gardner St.; Brighton BN1 1UP; England; 011-..441-273-691913

Source: AFC

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Living. "Cruelty-Free!"


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Monday, December 7, 2009

Santa Paws Drive: 'Twas the Night Before Christmas at the Animal Shelter


Sunday, 6 December 2009

'Twas the Night Before Christmas at the Animal Shelter

'Tis the night before Christmas and all through the town, Every shelter is full. We are lost but not found. Our numbers are hung on our kennels so bare, We hope every minute that someone will care.
They'll come to adopt us and give us the call, "Come here, Max and Sparkie ~ come fetch your new ball!" But now we just sit here and think of the days.....
We were treated so fondly ~ we had baby ways. Once we were little, then we grew and we grew ~ Now we're no longer young, and we're no longer new. So out the back door we were thrown like trash,
They reacted so quickly ~ why were they so rash?

We "jump on the children," "don't come when they call", We "bark when they leave us," "climb over the wall." We should have been neutered, we should have been spayed, Wow we suffer the consequence of the error they made. If only they'd trained us, if only we knew... We'd have done what they asked us and worshipped them, too.
We were left in back yard, or worse ~ left to roam... Now we're tired and lonely and out of a home. They dropped us off here and they kissed us good-by.... "Maybe someone else will give you a try."
So now here we are, all confused and alone.... In a shelter with others who long for a home. The kind workers come through with a meal and a pat,
With so many to care for, they can't stay to chat. They move to the next kennel, giving each of us cheer.... We know that they wonder how long we'll be here.
We lay down to sleep and sweet dreams fill our heads.... Of a home filled with love and our own cozy beds. Then we wake to see sad eyes, brimming with tears ~
Our friends filled with emptiness, worry and fear. If you can't adopt us and there's no room at your inn ~ Could you help with the bills and fill our food bin? We count on your kindness each day of the year ~
Can you give more than hope to everyone here?
Santa Paws Drive mission is to bring these lonely shelter animals a little cheer, a little love and a few gifts this holiday season. If you can spare a few dollars to donate or toy or donate some money, the animals will surely appreciate it.
Donate toys or money to Santa Paws Drive.
See the shelters Santa Paws Drive supports.

Labels: santa paws drive, shelter animals

Santa Paws Drive: 'Twas the Night Before Christmas at the Animal Shelter

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Smart savings strategies

One dollar of every $10 purchase goes to the cost of packaging, and package waste accounts for more than half the trash in the U.S. These days, clever packaging can influence a purchasing decision and can be an important component in building brand recognition.
The purpose of packaging is to prevent damage and provide important information to the consumer about ingredients, usage, manufacturer, and country of origin.
Unfortunately, the ongoing quest to find new ways to safeguard food and transport products has become a slippery slope on the road to overload.
Smart shoppers know that packaging can add as much as 45 percent to the cost of a product. Shrink-wrapped, pre-cut produce on a plastic tray is twice as costly as whole foods. Choosing popular prepackaged salad mixes can take a bite out of your food budget while adding to the avalanche of unnecessary package waste clogging our landfills.
Savvy shoppers choose the least packaged products available; a strategy that is both cost effective and practical.


1. Avoid trendy little water bottles. Those ubiquitous water bottles contribute heavily to the glut of practically indestructible plastic polluting the planet. Invest in a water filtration system and durable metal sports bottles instead.

2. Buy food staples in bulk. Natural food stores and co-ops stock bulk bins with varieties of rice, lentils, dried beans, fruit, nuts, seeds, and cereals. Buying in bulk is economical and convenient, allowing you to buy in exactly the amount you prefer.

3. Buy fabric softener and detergent and in “ultra” or concentrated strengths. Smaller containers mean fewer for the product itself and in shipping. Toothpaste packaged in conventional tubes produces 70 percent less waste than the pump-type toothpaste container. And you get almost two ounces more toothpaste in the tube then the pump.


4. Choose reusable totes to carry groceries instead of paper or plastic to reduce waste and the toxic pollutants emitted in the manufacture of plastic bags, avoid dependence on foreign suppliers of petroleum for the plastic, and save trees from being turned into paper bags. Try reusable, compact Chico Bags

5. Breastfeed your babies! Mother’s milk comes in the best packaging of all, and human milk straight from the breast is always sterile.
Breast-fed babies are less prone to childhood ailments, and don’t require all the unnecessary packaging and accessories associated with bottle-fed babies. Commercial baby formula costs over $1,000 in the first year.
Nurse your baby and you will be giving away at least 1,100 calories a day, and that means you will get back in shape a lot sooner … and it’s free! Get tips on effective breastfeeding.

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