Life is grand

New Organic Shoppers’ Guide


The fifth edition of Environmental Working Group’s Shoppers’ Guide to Pesticides is here. This includes the latest government data on pesticide residues. It is helpful to know which conventionally grown foods are basically clean, and which ones are the most important to buy organically. From their website you can download a printable pocket-sized guide, and you can see the complete list of the 47 foods that were tested.

Below is the Shoppers’ Guide and additional information from EWG:

Why Should You Care About Pesticides?
The growing consensus among scientists is that small doses of
pesticides and other chemicals can cause lasting damage to human
health, especially during fetal development and early childhood.
Scientists now know enough about the long-term consequences of
ingesting these powerful chemicals to advise that we minimize our
consumption of pesticides.
What’s the Difference?
EWG research has found that people who eat the 12 most contaminated
fruits and vegetables consume an average of 10 pesticides a
day. Those who eat the 15 least contaminated conventionally-grown
fruits and vegetables ingest fewer than 2 pesticides daily. The Guide
helps consumers make informed choices to lower their dietary
pesticide load.
Will Washing and Peeling Help?
Nearly all the studies used to create these lists assume that people
rinse or peel fresh produce. Rinsing reduces but does not eliminate
pesticides. Peeling helps, but valuable nutrients often go down the
drain with the skin. The best approach: eat a varied diet, rinse all
produce and buy organic when possible.
How Was This Guide Developed?
EWG analysts have developed the Guide based on data from nearly
87,000 tests for pesticide residues in produce conducted between
2000 and 2007 and collected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture
and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. You can find a detailed
description of the criteria EWG used to develop these rankings and
the complete list of fruits and vegetables tested at our dedicated
website, www.foodnews.org.

posted under Food, News, Politics | No Comments »

Happy International Women’s Day!


It’s March 8th- International Women’s Day! (IWD) A national holiday in some countries. The 100th Women’s Day in the USA. A day to honor the economic, political and social achievements of women. Also a historic day to set goals, organize in our communities and make demands. Women’s organizations and governments around the world create different themes for IWD. This year, the United Nations’ theme is: Women and men united to end violence against women and girls.

Our struggle continues to achieve the right to full humanity for all people, including freedom from violence, poverty, war, racism, sexism, homophobia, religious intolerance and all forms of injustice and repression. However, we’ve come a long way in the past 100 years since the first IWD was proposed. Here are some highlights from just the last year…

  • Johanna Sigurdardottir PM of Iceland, became the first openly gay(lesbian) head of state in the world.
  • Barack Obama became the first African American president. According to Eleanor Smeal, “Obama/Biden [ran] on the strongest platform for women’s rights of any major party in American history.” Unmarried women voted 70% for Obama.
  • N.H. became the first state in US history to elect a majority of women to the state senate. Overall, state legislatures are made up of 24.2% women.
  • Women increased their numbers in the US Congress by two, resulting in 17% in both Senate and House. (Still pathetic actually.)
  • Linda Sanchez from CA became the first unwed mother to be elected to Congress.
  • Rwanda and Spain became the first countries in history to have the majority of their government cabinet positions held by women.
  • FIFA held its first U-17 Women’s World Cup, achieving gender parity in all age groups for the first time.
  • The Church of England endorsed the idea of women bishops for the first time.
  • Ingrid Betancourt, a Columbian candidate for president, was released after being held hostage for 6 years by FARC.
  • Obama lifted the “gag rule,” a Reagan policy that forbade international family planning organizations receiving US money from offering information on abortion.
  • Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Bill into law, a Fair Pay Restoration Act.

Please share any achievements that you celebrated last year…

On a personal note, I have to thank all the wonderful women and men who supported me through the most difficult year of my life. I am so grateful that my daughter has survived and flourished through an unimaginable surgery.

I am blessed by the inspiration of creative, caring, intelligent, and hard working women all around me. May we all find peace, purpose and joy in the evolution of our revolution.

posted under News, Politics | No Comments »

Invalidate Prop 8


“Fidelity”: Don’t Divorce…
Courage Campaign: Divorce

posted under News, Politics | 4 Comments »

The Price of Silence


December 10th will be the 60th anniversary of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations in 1948. The time is now to renew our commitment to political, social, economic, civil, and cultural human rights.

See the video by Amnesty International below.

Download this song from iTunes, and all net proceeds benefit Amnesty International.

posted under News | No Comments »

National Protests November 15th

Fight the H8 in San Francisco
posted under News, Politics | No Comments »

It’s A New Day


posted under News | 1 Comment »

Righteous Mothers


posted under News | No Comments »

Laurie Hussein Wong Roberts’ Letter to Obama


Laurie Hussein Wong Roberts’ Letter to Obama (Original Post)


Dear President-Elect Obama,

Congratulations on becoming the next leader of the free world. You have inspired hope in so many, including myself. Thank you.

In your acceptance speech, you asked us to “summon a new spirit of patriotism; of service and responsibility where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves, but each other.” I know that you are being asked to do a lot of things, to be a miracle worker. We all need to work hard with you to see the change we are so desperately hoping for. I realize you are one person, but so am I, so is my husband, my brother, my neighbor, my friend. If we all work together, as we did to bring about this historic presidency, we will see change.

With this in mind, with the hope I feel in my heart, and the belief I have in transformation through hard work and reflection, I pledge to:

  • continue loving, supporting, and nurturing my children- helping them with their homework, teaching them lessons when they need it, reading them bedtime stories- in essence, to be completely involved in their lives.
  • when budget and availability allow, buy locally and/or organically, and always purchase consciously.
    become a community organizer of sorts, no matter how small the task.
  • continue to be involved in my eldest son’s elementary school.
  • continue to fight for equitable practices in public schools- this means I will continue to question our assessment system, our modes of instruction, and NCLB in general.
  • complete my Masters in Education in a timely manner so that I can get to the real work of changing our educational system.
  • work harder than I have before for the children of Richmond, California, so that they, too, will be prepared for the everchanging world we live in.

I know you have a lot on your plate, but there are some things I think you need to work on sooner rather than later. Please consider:

  • the educational system
  • the healthcare system
  • the economy
  • Darfur, the Congo, Tibet

Again, thank you. I have an amazing amount of faith in you and the American people. As you said on Tuesday night:

“…out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope, and where we are met with cynicism, and doubt, and those who tell us that we can’t, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people:

Yes We Can.”

God bless you, President-Elect Obama and God bless the entire world, no exceptions.


posted under News | No Comments »

Alice Walker’s Message to President Obama


Dear Brother Obama,

You have no idea, really, of how profound this moment is for us. Us being the black people of the Southern United States. You think you know, because you are thoughtful, and you have studied our history.

But seeing you deliver the torch so many others before you carried, year after year, decade after decade, century after century, only to be struck down before igniting the flame of justice and of law, is almost more than the heart can bear. And yet, this observation is not intended to burden you, for you are of a different time, and, indeed, because of all the relay runners before you, North America is a different place. It is really only to say: Well done….

We knew, through all the generations, that you were with us, in us, the best of the spirit of Africa and of the Americas. Knowing this, that you would actually appear, someday, was part of our strength. Seeing you take your rightful place, based solely on your wisdom, stamina and character, is a balm for the weary warriors of hope, previously only sung about.

I would advise you to remember that you did not create the disaster that the world is experiencing, and you alone are not responsible for bringing the world back to balance. A primary responsibility that you do have, however, is to cultivate happiness in your own life. To make a schedule that permits sufficient time of rest and play with your gorgeous wife and lovely daughters. And so on. One gathers that your family is large.

We are used to seeing men in the White House soon become juiceless and as white-haired as the building; we notice their wives and children looking strained and stressed. They soon have smiles so lacking in joy that they remind us of scissors. This is no way to lead. Nor does your family deserve this fate.

One way of thinking about all this is: It is so bad now that there is no excuse not to relax. From your happy, relaxed state, you can model real success, which is all that so many people in the world really want. They may buy endless cars and houses and furs and gobble up all the attention and space they can manage, or barely manage, but this is because it is not yet clear to them that success is truly an inside job. That it is within the reach of almost everyone.

I would further advise you not to take on other people’s enemies. Most damage that others do to us is out of fear, humiliation and pain. Those feelings occur in all of us, not just in those of us who profess a certain religious or racial devotion. We must learn actually not to have enemies, but only confused adversaries who are ourselves in disguise. It is understood by all that you are commander in chief of the United States and are sworn to protect our beloved country; this we understand, completely.

However, as my mother used to say, quoting a Bible with which I often fought, “hate the sin, but love the sinner.” There must be no more crushing of whole communities, no more torture, no more dehumanizing as a means of ruling a people’s spirit. This has already happened to people of color, poor people, women, children. We see where this leads, where it has led.

A good model of how to “work with the enemy” internally is presented by the Dalai Lama, in his endless caretaking of his soul as he confronts the Chinese government that invaded Tibet. Because, finally, it is the soul that must be preserved, if one is to remain a credible leader. All else might be lost; but when the soul dies, the connection to earth, to peoples, to animals, to rivers, to mountain ranges, purple and majestic, also dies. And your smile, with which we watch you do gracious battle with unjust characterizations, distortions and lies, is that expression of healthy self-worth, spirit and soul, that, kept happy and free and relaxed, can find an answering smile in all of us, lighting our way, and brightening the world.

We are the ones we have been waiting for.

In Peace and Joy,
Alice Walker

posted under News | No Comments »

My Letter to Obama


Dear President Barack Obama,

Thank you thank you thank you! And congratulations on your massive and historic victory. You are the hope for our future. Your success has cracked not only the ceiling of straight-white-male political power, but the wall of cynicism around my heart as well. I am proud to be an American for the first time in my lifetime. Our country has taken another step towards equality, dignity and justice for all people. You are the perfect antidote to the poison of the last eight years of fear and war.

I know you are only one man and you will not be able to make a perfect world. But you have been elected on your promise for change and you have a mandate. We will hold you accountable. Please do the right things…

  • End the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Bring the troops home.
  • Cut the “defense” budget in half. It will still be the largest in the world.
  • Establish a department of Peace.
  • End our military support of Israel.
  • Lead us to the elimination of nuclear weapons.
  • Ban the use of torture, including harsh interrogation methods by the CIA and US military.
  • End the secret transfer of prisoners to foreign governments that torture.
  • Close the Guantanamo Bay Naval Prison.
  • Close the US Army School of Americas.
  • Repeal the Death Penalty.
  • Free Leonard Peltier!
  • Put our country in a place of leadership for human rights and environmental justice around the world.
  • Repeal the portions of the Patriot Act that restrict our constitutional liberties.
  • Protect women’s rights to reproductive choices and freedoms.
  • Urge the Senate to pass the Fair Pay Restoration Act.
  • Promote an Equal Rights Amendment for women.
  • Promote an Equal Rights Amendment for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.
  • Prioritize the reversal of global warming.
  • Make those investments in alternative fuels and renewable energy.
  • Place a moratorium on nuclear power.
  • Stop the storage of nuclear waste on Native American lands.
  • Promote religious and non-religious tolerance.
  • End corporate welfare, and fund the social programs that we need so desperately.
  • Invest in our schools.
  • Invest in our cities.
  • Preserve and expand affirmative action.
  • Ban racial profiling by police and all government agents.
  • Reinstate the ban on assault weapons.
  • Decriminalize drugs.
  • Legalize medical marijuana.
  • Invest money in support of the arts.
  • Make healthcare a universal right.
  • Make higher education a universal right.
  • Make affordable housing and food universal rights.
  • Protect and increase the integrity of our food and water supplies.
  • Invest in small farms and organic food production.
  • Protect our organic standards.
  • Ban genetically modified foods and animals.
  • Reform the election process and campaign financing.
  • Make voter registration universal.

I have great hopes and expectations for you and for our nation. I know you will work towards international peace and cooperation. The whole world celebrates with us today, on finally making a wise choice of leadership.

Thank you for your inspiration.

posted under News | 7 Comments »
« Older Entries