Life is grand

Why We Must Occupy


We must participate, in any way, large or small, in the Occupy Wall Street movement because our democracy and our freedom depend on it. The OWS movement is about re-claiming our political power. It is about asserting our best interests as people and as a society. It is about creating a separation of Corporation and State. If we want a government that is “of the people by the people for the people,” we have to make it so, by actively participating in that government. It is our civic duty. Democracy is not a spectator sport.

The real crisis in our country is not financial. America is not broke. We are still an incredibly rich country, with vast resources and the largest single GNP in the world, by far. What we have is a crisis of consciousness. A crisis of national character. A crisis of collective will. A crisis of priorities that favor corporate interests, which benefit the top 1% of the wealthiest among us, over the interests of the bottom 99%. Not to mention the expense of clean water, air and land; and an inhabitable planet. We continue to fund multiple wars, bailout criminal financial institutions, and subsidize the fossil fuel industries/ecological collapse. Our government uses OUR tax money to do all these things INSTEAD of maintaining and improving social services and a public safety net, INSTEAD of funding public education for all, and INSTEAD of providing national, or even affordable, healthcare. This is not happening because the majority of Americans wish it so. It is happening because capitalist/corporate interests have subverted our democracy.

Now is the time to make our voices heard. Whatever and wherever they are. Now is the time to speak up for our best interests. Now is the time to declare the nature of our character and the values of our society. I say let’s occupy what’s best in humanity. Occupy Love. Occupy Generosity. Occupy Abundance. Occupy Inclusivity. Occupy Community. Occupy The Common Good. Occupy Everything…

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 »

Weight Watchers-Oppressive or Empowering?


To The Women I Love Who Love Weight Watchers

I have to begin with a disclaimer, which is that I have never been to Weight Watchers. However, many of my friends do or have. Most women and girls are obsessed with weight and size. And as a woman, I can speak from experience about the struggle women have to develop self-worth, self-esteem and self-love in a misogynist society. The racist American standard of beauty for women includes an unrealistic and unhealthy, ideal of thin. This cultural drive to diminish the very existence of women is difficult to ignore.

Eating disorders are rampant in this country. The most pervasive eating disorder is chronic dieting, which makes us miserable and doesn’t work. Furthermore, I believe one of the most successful tools of patriarchy, unfortunately perpetuated by women, is the obsession with women’s appearance, including weight. The amount of time, thought, energy, money and other resources we women spend on “beauty” and fashion, might be enough to change the world should we spend it more wisely.

That being said, Americans are the fattest people on the planet, despite our addiction to dieting. There are many good, health-related reasons for truly overweight women to lose weight. Obesity raises many risks of disease including heart disease, cardiovascular problems, several forms of cancer, strokes, diabetes, and knee arthritis. I also think the obesity epidemic is rooted in economics. Fast foods and convenience foods, (fattening and nutrient-poor,) are the cheapest and often only food choices in low-income communities. But it is not only the poor who eat highly processed foods. We have developed a culture of fast foods at all levels of society. Then we have the conspiracy of corn, the insidious infusion of high fructose corn syrup into nearly every processed food, which jacks up the empty calories and increases addiction to sweets.

So what’s wrong with Weight Watchers? I want women to be healthy, and I want women to love and accept ourselves as we are. I don’t want to judge ourselves by numbers on a scale, or what size jeans we can fit into. When I moved to California, I found myself in the self-help capitol of the world. While I find the desire to better oneself admirable if the path is truly spiritual, I believe the great revelation is that we are already perfect. I want women to be healthy in body, mind and soul. This also means that women must love and value ourselves enough to make our health a priority. Do women find this at Weight Watchers? If so, fantastic. But why measure success on a scale? Why set goals by the pound? Why the monetary punishment (and self-repudiation) for gaining back a few pounds?

What if there was a program whose goal was overall health and not just weight loss? What would that look like? Certainly a foundation of nutrition and healthy eating is a must. As Michael Pollan writes, “Eat Food. Not Too Much. Mostly Plants.” Eat organic whole foods in season, locally grown whenever possible. Avoid processed foods. Reduce portion sizes. Eat fewer animal products, more as a side or a condiment than a main course. Enjoy food! Share meals with people that you love.

Instead of keeping records of what we’ve eaten, what if we kept records of other things: How many times did we exercise? Did we make time to do something that brings us joy? Did we spend time in nature? Did we have any time for self-reflection, meditation or yoga? Did we connect with friends or family? Did we do anything in service to others, to improve someone’s life or make the world a better place?

Instead of measuring our progress by pounds lost, what if we looked at other indicators: How well are we sleeping? Are we getting enough sleep? How do we feel about ourselves? What kind of moods are we in? What is our heart rate? Blood pressure? Lung capacity? Muscle strength? How do we rate our energy levels?

For some women, Weight Watchers might be a valuable means towards creating health. For others it might be a step deeper into the self-loathing cycle of weight loss and weight gain. Reaching some “ideal” weight might win some degree of social acceptance, but it does not guarantee self-acceptance or even happiness. My hope is that by cultivating true self-love, we will feel better, live better, experience more joy and create greater personal and planetary health.

Organic Shopping Guide


Not all foods are created equal. Some foods are grown with more pesticides than others. Some foods absorb pesticides more readily than others. Most of us want to minimize our exposure and our family’s exposure to chemical pesticides. Buying organic produce whenever possible also protects the safety of farm workers from toxic exposure, and protects against the contamination of topsoil, ground water and the environment in general.

While we might not be able to buy all organic all the time, thanks to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), we can make informed choices about which foods are the most (and least) important to eat organic. In fact, EWG found that “consumers could cut their pesticide exposure by almost 90 percent by avoiding the most contaminated fruits and vegetables and eating the least contaminated [or organic] instead.”

To print a pocket-sized version EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce, including the lists of the 12 most contaminated, and the 12 least contaminated foods CLICK HERE!

To see the full data set compiled by EWG based on the results of nearly 51,000 tests for pesticides on produce collected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, CLICK HERE!

posted under Food, Politics | No Comments »

National Protests November 15th

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