Inequality and the 1%

Funny thing how humans work.  And even funnier to hear about monkey’s behaving like humans.  I love this short video which explains the complaint of the Occupy Wall Street movement.  Apparently it’s not just human’s who are upset about not being paid fairly.Wealth Inequality in America The actual distributions of money in the US in a video infographic

It’s funny because I just heard about a TED Talk (first story) that explains in more detail the research on how monkey’s can understand the concept of money and the consequences of treating them unequally.  The rest of the show covers other talks about money which are just as fascinating.  Especially the third story, Does Money Make You Mean? which studies the effects that wealth has on changing people.  Really it just points out how self-centered we can be, and how ignorant of the factors contributing to our success we might be.  If you think for a moment this may not be true, then listed to the third story in this episode of the NPR Ted Radio Hour.  It’s fascinating, and it’s important to understand how money affects our perception, and our compassion.

I’m not in favor of handouts, but decent pay for decent work just makes sense to me.

If Hate and Prejudice is Taught, then Love and Acceptance can be Taught too

Life Is Too Short

AM.jpg-25f11a2331401bc3747794c9315ffe28 It’s sad when people are so consumed by hate, that they don’t even recognize love.

In response to a group of religious fanatics carrying signs of hatred towards certain people, the yellow banner in this photo was created to give a positive alternative for people’s viewing.  After the pastor of the religious group passed away, protestors held up the white banner to offer their condolences for the baptist congregation.  Some of the church members are so filled with hate, they don’t even understand the meaning of the white banner and it’s significance.

If we can teach this level of hatred toward others that they would hold up signs of criticism in public, surely we must be able to teach an equal amount of love.  The yellow and white signs are the first step in that teaching.

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Parks or Profit?

This battle wages in many countries.  Last summer the unrest in Turkey started with an act to protect Gezi Park in the middle of bustling Istanbul.  Similar conflicts are erupting everywhere.  In the nearby country of Georgia, Guerrilla Gardeners are trying to preserve Vake Park, which they consider their version of Central Park from New York City.


Central Park, New York City

As a person who needs access to nature to rejuvinate my energy, the desire to protect the parks is high.  When I’m having a stressful moment, or something emotional is bothering me, a walk along the river near work, away from the noisy road, helps calm my emotions to get through the rest of the day.

Given that parks generally contribute to budget shortfalls instead of profits, what is the incentive to cities to protect these public spaces?  How can we fight the drive for profits?

When you buy an iPhone, where does the money go?

Where people expect the money goes

Where people expect the money goes

Where the money actually goes

Where the money actually goes

I find this pretty surprising myself.  For the 5 minute explanation from Robert Reich, see this video on It’s funny that he talks about the economy and the decrease of unions being linked to income inequality.  Today I saw another video explanation, also by Robert Reich, on the rising gap in the U.S. economy, talking about the number of unions rising after WWI.  It’s part of a series of videos called Inequality for All.  Another in the series talks to some people working at an energy plant, and really brings home the question about corporate profits and what is the value of the work people do.  Productivity has been increasing and stress is so high.  I support the recent discussion to raise minimum wage.  It’s not a simple answer, and it may not fix the problems as John Green explains here.   Personally, I can’t believe Walmart can use the catch phrase “Save Money, Live Better” in their ads, as it turns out, we pay $6,000 or more per Walmart Employees due to their low wages.  The government is busy chasing their own tail in elections, they will never fix the problem, because corporations have no incentive.  But someone out there has the answer, and collectively we have the ability to make things better.  That’s why I have increased my spending at stores offering a decent wage and benefits to their employees.  If it means I have to eat out less to save money, that is fine.  If it means I buy more second hand, no problem.  We have more than any other country in the world, we will not suffer. Personally I love the work Mike Rowe (former Dirty Jobs TV show host) is doing.  His promotion of skilled labor is idea for getting people into decent jobs, and improving the situation in the US.  It’s time we stop doing crappy work because we’re being treated like crap.  Personally, when I go on a construction site, I want to see the work being done well.  Check out his website Profoundly Disconnected.

One last tidbit, how does this relate to health care costs in the US.  Yep, saw a John Green video on that today too.  Because we don’t have bargaining power with the providers of medical devices and medications… sounds a lot like the problem of not having bargaining power for salaries due to the lack of unions.  I wonder…

I’m Reading a Book…

Yes, this is a real book.  It has paper pages that you turn to see the next chapter.  I can take this book anywhere, and it never runs out of power so I can read it anywhere.  On a sunny beach, during take-off and landing, and in the bath if I’m careful.

reading-in-the-bathNow I happen to own this particular book.  But I also love to get books from the library too.  Thanks to Benjamin Franklin for creating the free library system, we can use books to travel to a new land, to imagine the impossible, to learn the story and lessons from important people, or to teach ourselves something new.  In fact, that’s why Benjamin Franklin created free libraries, so that poor people can get themselves out of poverty by learning a skill or trade.  At the time, books were only available to people with money who could afford to purchase them or join subscription libraries.

So books can help people lift THEMSELVES out of poverty!  But you have to be able to read first. Illiteracy prevents people from reading street signs and bus signs to get around efficiently, from doing simple accounting to make sure they are getting the correct change for a purchase, or from reading the religious manuscript that guides their life.

buildon-worldwide-mapI know a group that has built over 500 schools in rural areas of developing countries around the world.  Right now, 85,060 children, parents, and grandparents attend those schools and learn to read.  First, buildOn meets with the community members and they elect 3 men and 3 women to form a committee.   The committee works with buildOn to coordinate all the details.  Before the construction starts, all of the community members sign a covenant along with the buildOn members, that promises to send boys and girls in equal numbers to the school and other policies.  buildOn works with the local government to ensure that an educator is provided for the school.  After 22 years since the first school was built in a Malawian village, that community now has 4 more just like it that they built themselves.  Students from those schools are able to learn to be teachers, etc.   It has also improved the standing of women in the community, who are in turn speaking out against some of the awful practices committed against women.

So go read a book, and remember how lucky you are to be able to read.

Do you believe in God? Yes, No, or Maybe?

If you believe in God, then maybe it was god speaking to me as I woke up this morning with these thoughts in my head.  If you do not, then it’s my brain assembling the teachings from recent TED Talks in my head.  For you maybes out there, does it matter which is true?

Things in my Head

Our first human instinct is survival. We learn to adapt and persevere in the most desperate of situations.  Three young women in Cleveland, held hostage, near the place they call home, eventually found help to get rescued.

Yet we also hear news about suicides over something as trite as teasing on Facebook. It does not involve physical assaults, and some of these people do have people around them who love them.  How can someone be treated so poorly, that they lose all hope for a better life?

If our instinct to survive is so basic as human nature, how can we continue a lifestyle that threatens and exterminates the worlds biodiversity?  It feels morally wrong to cause, intentionally or by accident, a species to cease to exist on this world.

Humane Connection Blog

Humane Connection Blog

Nature Knows Best- A recent TED Talk I listened to uses sound recordings to show human impact on wild nature. You can imagine the devastating results.  We need to approach our choices and practices with scientific analysis.  And the scientists are learning how each our actions affects nature and its biodiversity.  Another TED Talk describes how the imbalance when a predictor is removed from an ecosystem, such as reduced whale populations in the southern oceans, actually breaks the circle of life and kills off smaller species of that system.  Google images of the “plastic gyre” and you’ll see the island of plastic packaging and containers floating in the ocean.

It’s not just plants and animals that are suffering.  The impact on our water sources, the loss of pollinating bees in agricultural locations, the loss of our protective ozone layer, it affects our Health, our Food Production, and our Bottom Line (dollars).

There are things we can do to help.  No matter your education level or economic status, we all can improve. We all can learn and support the science to a better understanding.

You can do as little as planting flowers in your garden, or buy some organic foods, encourage others to reduce and recycle waste, TEACH children/adults about nature and our effects on nature, stop spraying chemical indoors kills those spiders with a shoe or paper towel, enjoy nature as it has been shown to have a restoring effect on us.  Whether you make little changes in your daily life, or you go back to school to become a Humane Educator, we all have the power to help the world and everything living on it.

Week of WordPress – A Life Worth Living

P1030553Another plentiful supple of posts, but just as worthwhile as the compassion list.   Thank you to all of these writers who spend the time to share with the world.  Even if it seems like no one is paying attention.  Sorry for the lengthy list, but there were just too many great posts!


Nikkiko celebrates her anniversary with a lovely post about her relationship.  Ahhh, young love.

Better Than Reality shares a few of the 9 Habits or Healthy Relationships.

Kia talks about the loving ourselves, and the things we see with our hearts make life worth living.

Lara quotes John Green “Death Doesn’t Change Us, It Reveals Us.”  She has learned to cope with the loss of her best friend by becoming the person her friend believed she is.

Focus on the Positive

I am amazed and super impressed to find a post written in Pirate Speech (Sept 19 is talk like a pirate day) and also include this week’s search phrase.  Thank you Peekay’s Positive Thoughts for totally making my day!

My Blissful Journey writes about the difficulties when our thoughts take over our minds, I’m soooo guilty of over-analyzing.  I “liked” this post.  Psych+ gives a breakdown on how to reverse this negative thinking.  YOU are worth it.  These 10 tips from FashionAvenue4You also help get us on the right path.

I love this post from kindasad, while dealing with major uncertainty they are able to focus on the positive aspects of their life and “stop looking inwardly and start looking forward.”

Human Struggles

Dance of a Warrior describes dealing with breast cancer.

Narconon details an honest history of drug abuse.

Thought Catalogue describes a trying time of her life, struggling to be everything she thought she could for others.  I also love this post about the best 5 word sentences people might say to each other.  Imagine if we heard one of these sentences from someone each day?

I think we all can relate to Tuggle Struggle’s post about getting fit.  I battle the same challenges trying to manage my weight but loving too many bad foods.

Stan Jones’ Journal includes a moving description of the despair a person can suffer and the way to redemption.  I “liked” this post.

Rohit touches on one of my questions about happiness/sadness.  Can we really achieve happiness or are we programmed to a certain level with life events momentarily fluctuating happiness up and down?  This is a very sad post of a person in need of love. Jbird grew up addicted to negative thinking, resulting in serious consequences.  Lucky to still be alive, she is fighting to create a positive life worth living.

Missy Rogers is an essential for anyone dealing with suicidal thoughts, or bipolar disorder, or mental illness.  I “liked” this post.  Tanner Snider shares a post from Reinier Krol who also talks about depression.

Miss Fit has the perfect point of view on dealing with difficulties: There will always be a tomorrow until God wants you back, so make the most of it.  I “liked” this post.

Nancy Schimelpfening has a moving post about the right to suicide.  The attention on Stephen Hawking and his recent comments on the subject present an interesting juxtaposition.  For someone who has lost so much physically, but has maintained so much value and purpose in life, we have a lot to learn from him about taking the hand we’re dealt and making a life worth living.

How many of us associate our own value with the value of money?  White Apron is bluntly honest about the trap she fell into, and how it led to a destructive lifestyle.  What’s amazing, is her courage to confront the demons and pull herself out of the trap.

I never heard of Boarderline Personality Disorder before finding chloenoble89’s blog.

Surround Yourself with Amazing People

Sara Secrets lists several addicting feelings, feelings that make you feel good, and says that people who “genuinely listen” make life worth living.  I “liked” this post.

Epyk Health & Living shares that the people who make us smile are worth more attention and acknowledgement than we typically show.  So let’s stop wasting time arguing with those who do not enrich our lives.

Le has missed her best friend, a person brightens up her world.

Farah Colette writes this personal thank you to a friend Meryle.  She does this in order to boost her happiness level.  Studies have shown that one of the ways to be happier is to express your gratitude to people in your life, and a little secret about money.


Grow Up Novelist just started the blog to become a writer, after retiring from teaching it’s time for a new profession.  I wonder how long he can keep the secret from (his?) wife.

Filmeware presents the idea that art is an essential part of life, citing a study about rats activating their pleasure centers more than wanting food, it makes me wonder …  are artists all people who are addicted to pleasure?  If you like art, check out the paintings by Charlie Isoe on Mutant Space’s blog.  Or hear new live recording of Marc Broussard.

Labyrinth of a Psychotic Mind provides a great example of creating a life worth living.

Although we may feel sadness for Food (Love) tography after losing their grandmother yesterday, this post shows the joy of their relationship and we are happy for their strong connection and the time they shared together.  We’re also reminded “Spend time with our grandparents.”

Lauram Hennings writes a post that I identify well with.  What are the challenges with having a passionate personality?

#97 on the list of things every 20-something should know: Passion Makes Life Worth Living.  Plenty of people copied this list on their blogs, only some of them cited the source.  Adele explains how the list is overly sexist and a complete waste of time. Other disapproving bloggers: Angry Birds, My Food is Problematic, and Let It Be.

Tom Odell finds a life worth living in music, and I have to agree.

Is Lisa’s idea that creativity and play provides energy for the soul, true for everyone?

Connection to Others

At the Drop of a Mat expresses their gratitude for the world around them, and for all of those who read the blog.

I feel a strong connection to this post by Oh the Places You Will Go, why do we think there is “The One” person, a soul mate?  I too am looking for friendships, adventure, and memories.  I “liked” this post.

Only Sometimes Clever shares the lovestory of her stepfather and mother, while coping with the recent loss of each.  I love hearing about the inner workings of a successful relationship, thank you for sharing.

The Merna describes how serving others can bring us satisfaction and fulfillment as well.

Musings and Little Rants wonders, what prevents us from telling people we love how we feel.  So he writes a letter to a friend.

Adriana Miele copes with the loss of a close friend by finding new connections with people.

Even Crazy Dreams Come True gives the recipe for creating a life worth living.  I “liked” this post.

Danielle shares the lesson of learning to love, through the story of getting engaged and then calling of the wedding.

Rebecca Straley writes the post I might write on this topic, what makes life worth living, our connection to others and how we give and help those around us.

Julie Boyd made a stop motion video for the Australian group R U Ok.  Her post describes the video making process, and gives a little background on why this group is encouraging friends and family to stop and ask each other R U Ok?

I love how Stories, Thoughts, Ramblings finds the kindness of others that makes life worth living.  I “liked” this post.

Awareness in Action reconnects with past friends on Facebook.


The Tao of Pig Pen humorously details his experience with the IVF process of procreation.

Parenting Uninspired writes a detailed apology to her 18 month old daughter, the struggles of life are just beginning and the forecast is full of future battles.

Many different blogs reference a UNESCO report on education.  Stephanie Smith gives us the breakdown of the report content.

Elizabeth Gomart gives some tips on how to organize life at home to accommodate the busy activity levels of families these days.

For fataltoprejudice, a visit to Lake Come makes life worth living.

Lovely World circles through the discussion, does happiness bring peace, or is peace needed in order to gain happiness?  I plan to appreciate each as they come along.

Philosophical – The Unexamined Life is Not Worth Living – Socrates

Sarah Halford gives a detailed explanation of Socratic Self-Examination and Philosophy Reaction Blog explains the three groups of dialogues of Plato and Socrates.

Three Cats and a Bunny describes why sometimes we have to stop examining life.  Congratulations on your first Triathalon!

If I was more philosophical, I could attempt to summarize this political letter of Guo Yushan, head of the Transition Institute in China which has now been banned.

The Existential Notebook is written in response to an existentialism class.  Again, another subject I do not understand well enough to summarize for you.  But I appreciate the movie recommendation, I love Samual L. Jackson characters and I’m curious to see what this play is all about.

Art: Music, Poetry, Film

Paddy Noble includes the poem I’m here!

The Musical Poet writes a poem about the things that make life worth living.

In the Moment made a cool stop-motion video for the song Paradise by Cold Play.

Calvin J Forbes starts of with a really cool picture, well a combination of 3 pictures and describes how he created it on his iPhone.  Then the post goes on to talk about how Jesus shows us a life worth living.

A beautiful poem shared by zealouso.

I have not seen the movie Warm Bodies, but Inthekan suggests that this movie presents a serious and comical analysis of what makes life worth living.


The Sceptical Technologist writes about what life may be like when we have human robots.  “Shallow uniformity is not an accident but a consequence of what Marxists optimistically call late capitalism.”  ~Nick Cohen, Cruel Britannia  I “liked” this post.

This Fitness Blog quotes Dean Karnazes to teach us how the value of pushing ourselves beyond our comfort zone.

Olivoancea has a collection of 100 fascinating quotes about life.

Cara Will Take Over has a great post about the risk of pushing ourselves too much, and maybe the answer is to keep things simple.  I love her writing throughout the post, she takes you along her train of thought, although it was a little distracting with the number of photo interruptions.  This post did not have a “like” option.

Sermons and Studies talks about serving God to make life worth living. A Woman Like Me includes getting to know Jesus in her ideal life.  Through This Window’s Eyes describes how knowing God has helped her, and includes a lovely poem.  Inkyfoot loves books, and among the recommendations in this post is one by Pastor Joseph Prince

Griffen Admin describes how reminding ourselves of al the good and joy in our life, we’ll be happy and not feel like we’re really working.

What is the Significance of Life includes profiles of three famous people, Adolf Hitler, Mohandas “Mahatma” Gandhi, and Jesus Christ.  I don’t know the reason for these three being grouped together as there is no analysis, but there are great detailed biographies of the last two characters.

Self-Connection Coaching talks about thinking big and small, and how growing too fast can be destructive.

Who are the Superhero’s living around you?  Geog 30 wonders if it’s better to be a good  person, or perform good deeds.

Brains Before Beauty reminds us that hatred is taught.

Are you optimistic about the future?  Management Ink talks about finding happiness in a sustainable world and links to an article from the World Future Review.

Lots of Believing reminds up to Stop Wishing.  Start Doing.  We all find it easy to criticize others, and sometimes we need to look inward.  Put some effort into those things we keep wishing we could accomplish.  I “liked” this post.

YOLO – my favorite phrase since it became popular last year.  It means, you only live once.  Basically, it reminds me to enjoy everyday, and not put off until tomorrow that which I can do today.  Planetvictorhui writes their first blog post of similar concepts, Congratulations on the new blog!

How many people think it’s easy to be beautiful?  The Cultivation of Beauty explains her personal experience and struggles with beauty.  I “liked” this post.

From Muddy Waters is learning to love Peruvian food while volunteering long term in that country.

The Wisdom of Music

I just discovered this song by Sheryl Crow and it has so much meaning to me right now.  Watching events in Syria, Egypt, Pakistan, Kenya, …  also What It’s Like by Everclear has a a lot of meaning for me these days.

Lyrics to Redemption Day

I’ve wept for those who suffer long
But how I weep for those who’ve gone
In rooms of grief and questioned wrong
But keep on killing

It’s in the soul to feel such things
But weak to watch without speaking
Oh, what mercy sadness brings
If God be willing

There is a train that’s heading straight
To heaven’s gate, to heaven’s gate
And on the way child and man and woman wait
Watch and wait for redemption day

Fire rages in the streets
And swallows everything it meets
It’s just an image often seen on television

Come leaders, come you men of great
Let us hear you pontificate
Your many virtues laid to waste
And we aren’t listening

There is a train that’s heading straight
To heaven’s gate, to heaven’s gate
And on the way child and man and woman wait
Watch and wait for redemption day

What do you have for us today?
Throw us a bone but save the plate
Oh, why we waited ’til so late
Was there no oil to excavate?

No riches in trade for the fate
Of every person who died in hate
Throw us a bone, you men of great

There is a train that’s heading straight
To heaven’s gate, to heaven’s gate
And on the way child and man and woman wait
Watch and wait for redemption day

It’s buried in the countryside
Exploding in the shells at night
It’s everywhere a baby cries
Freedom, freedom, freedom

Gotta love this cover of Imagine by John Lennon