Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Don't idle your car

Eschew the drive-through.

Today I found some good internet sources about engine idling. Thanks to Umbra Fisk at the Grist, our beacon in the smog. I like this one especially.

If you're reading this you probably know not to idle. Perhaps these links will fortify your persuasive abilities and can help you spread the word.

peace, y'all


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

America's infant mortality rates illustrate we have a problem

One ugly truth is that infant mortality in the U.S. is higher than in many other countries. Many Americans believe ours is the best country on Earth and don’t like facts that contradict this.

A recent letter to the editor of my local newspaper proposed that anyone stating this truth name the sources and have a computer to back it up. This is silly. Since when must we drag a computer into a meeting when we state a truth?

This morning, I googled “infant mortality.” Here are is what I found in the first five hits.

According to the 2006 United Nations World Population Prospects report, our country ranks 33rd in infant mortality, with a rate of 6.3 deaths per 1000 live births. Outranking us are most European countries, Cuba, Israel, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, New Zealand, Brunei, Cyprus, Israel, and New Caledonia.

According to the CIA’s World Fact Book, last updated in April, the U.S. has 6.26 infant deaths per 1000 live births. Our own government ranks us 46th.

Information Please ranks the U.S .45th. Nationmaster doesn’t list the U.S. at all. Indexmundi ranks us 41st.

The CIA World Fact Book also lists the U.S. as 50th in life expectancy at birth.

Before we can fix a problem, we must recognize we have one. Our health care policies and practices are not working for all of us. Some of us are healthy. Most of us, sadly, are overweight, and a huge percentage of us are clinically obese. And that is only true if we survive infancy, which is harder to do in the U.S. than in dozens of other nations.

Yes, we have a problem. Now let's figure out what we can do to fix it.

Peace, y'all


Monday, September 28, 2009

Peace making ideas for fall

Fall enters gracefully around here, and I embrace it. Plenty of peace making activities come our way in the fall.

For example, elections. November 3 is not far away. In Washington and perhaps your state too, the deadline to register is 30 days before the election. That's not to long from now, so if yo need to register, do it THIS WEEK. Are we not supposed to look out for the least of us? The poor, the young, the disenfranchised, the voiceless (i.e, environment)? -In other words, those who can't vote. Shouldn't those of us who can and do vote make sure our votes protec the least among us?

Gleaning is a great peacemaking activity. It is a good group activity, which builds relationships and connections. Also it's amazing how much good fresh local food gleaning can yield for the poor in our communities. A few years ago my daughter's school gleaned an orchard. In a few hours, with a few families, we filled a pickup truck with fresh, sweet apples. Fun, worthwhile, and tasty!

Thanksgiving is a fine holiday for peacemaking. It is not too afflicted with the sin of greed (read: rampant, blatant commercialism), but does flirt with the sin of gluttony. But please, DON'T call it turkey day. It's a day of thanks, and that is what we should do.

I like the idea of a thanksgiving calendar, like an advent calendar, with little windows that open each day to reveal one more thing to be thankful about.

I like to observe "international buy nothing day," which is the day after Thanksgiving. It's a fine day to keep expressing thanks, to spend with one's family, taking it easy in the kitchen!

When the days get darker and colder, it's a good time to read. Read good stuff, nourish your mind and your soul. As it gets darker and colder it's easier to get depressed. Having a stronger mind and soul will surely help.

peace, y'all


Friday, September 25, 2009

I hope to deepen my faith and practice and think I'm on the brink. On a practical side, I think I'll bring my activities into greater alignment with my values, and on a spiritual level, I think I'm headed for greater clarity.

Bring it on!!

I have been seeking to define the new norm in my brand new empty-nest-ness. I want to affirmatively choose it, rather than realize in a year what I've become by default. I don't like default. It even sounds bad de (un, NOT) FAULT. What part of this word is good?

In a peace-promoting vein, I want to note that in 1992 California became the 7th state to ban discrimination against gays (thanks, Cat Lovers Against the Bomb calendar). Who were the first 6, and when?

And the cost of wars since 2001 is $913B. This is for both the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. And this is just the cost of the wars for the U.S. This staggering sum is just as of this moment. But when you read it that price will be history. Visit to get the latest but not greatest.

Peace, y'all


Thursday, September 3, 2009

Grrrrrr I am outraged

The New York Times article documents the ways and extent that many employers rip off their workers. What to do, what to do? I don't yet know, but am glad 1) I'm a have 2) I have a union to help me and 3) I have a blog to vent and to share. If you have other ideas on how to address the ugly conditions the NYT shows, PLEASE share!

Peace y'all