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Tom's - Made in China under human unfriendly conditions, oh but you're helping the poor, honest!

There are two reasons for every action. The good reason… and the real reason.”
-J.P. Morgan

Did you ever want to consume AND feel good about helping others all at the same time?  Companies like Tom’s shoes take White Liberal Guilt and build a empire on the fuzzy feel good notion of helping others just by buying their brand of shoes.  Hey, what could be wrong with getting shoes and having another pair donated to a needy person elsewhere on the globe?  The notion of BOGO or “buy one, give one” is a cagey play by Tom’s as it exploits our altruistic instincts; we want to be good generous people, we want to be seen as people that help.  It is a nice feeling, but should nice feelings escape critical examination?  Of course not, especially when the noxious tentacles of greed are wrapped firmly around our feel-good assumptions about a product or service.

NEWSFLASH – The poor of the world do not need more shoes!  Sustainable jobs, debt forgiveness, clean water (etc.) – hell yes, but shoes, unless they are edible are far down the frakking list.  Worse, the shoe donations may be strangling the local economy, denying jobs and economic prosperity for the local people who sell and make shoes.  Consider the case of Haiti and what  Alanna Shaikh, a global health professional, has to say about donating goods such as shoes –

Don’t donate goods. Donating stuff instead of money is a serious problem in emergency relief. Only the people on the ground know what’s actually necessary; those of us in the rest of the world can only guess. Some things, like summer clothes and expired medicines are going to be worthless in Haiti. Other stuff, like warm clothes and bottled water may be helpful to some people in some specific ways. Separating the useful from the useless takes manpower that can be doing more important work. It’s far better to give money so that organizations can buy the things they know they need.

Some people like to donate goods instead of cash because they worry that cash won’t be used in a way that helps the needy. If that’s you, I have two points. 1) Why are you donating to an organization you don’t trust? 2) What’s to stop them from selling your donated item and using the money for whatever they want?

After Hurricane Mitch in 1998, Honduras was flooded with shipments of donated goods. They clogged ports, overwhelmed military transport, and made it nearly impossible for relief agencies to ship in the things they really needed. Those donations did harm, not good. Expired drugs had to be carefully disposed of. Inappropriate donations had to be transported away and discarded. All of this wasted time and money.”

Whoops.  So donating goods to people is the wrong way to go about things as we do not actually know about the conditions other people are facing and what their needs are.  But hey, our feel good intentions make us feel good.  Way to go us!  Of course this feeling (as misplaced and misguided as it is) is cloyingly pandered to, the profits do not lie.  The sheer amount of philanthropic tripe is something to behold, if you have just refurbished your irony meter, then check out the official website to see all you can do to market and sell more TOM’s shoes with your time. (bleh – then go here for a take down of the whole shoe fiasco)

So you are wasting (have wasted) your money on overpriced shoes (they cost anywhere from 2 to 5 dollars to make) because you bought into the advertising that played on your altruistic impulses.  Get educated so it does not happen again, and when you are feeling the need to help others, you will do so effectively instead of padding the pocketbooks of corporate entity.  Kelsey Timmerman states the problem succinctly:

The problem isn’t that people don’t have shoes. It’s that they don’t have the means to buy shoes  -The problem isn’t shoelessness. The problem is poverty.


  Oh, and recently another First World Problem has rocked the blogosphere – A Tom’s knock off, BoB’s is just copycatting their AWESOME idea so you consumers should like ‘totally not’ support those rip-off artists. *sproing!*  Oh dammit all to hell, I just had my irony meter fixed.



Working toward a better future for everyone.



Former Preacher Dan Barker summarizes the ‘good news’ in less than two minuets.  How many people would sign up if they were actually served up the truth about christianity as presented by Mr.Barker.  I’m guessing that the cognitive dissonance would be too much for most people in the non-gilded form presented below as the god who loves/tortures is quite a stretch for most people.

The problem is that people do not get this version.  It starts at a young age, children do not have the capacity to make rational decisions and have to rely on their parents for much of their information about the world.  Being indoctrinated with the poison of religion diminishes the capacity of the human spirit and the intellect.  The damage can be undone and many do embrace reality and rationality, unfortunately though, many do not.

I propose that religion should be framed as Dan Barker proposes because people would at least have a better idea of what they were getting into.

Damn…posting this straight up makes me “feel right” too.

The Shape of Things to Come theme

This theme, also referred to as the “Passacaglia“, “Allegro“, or “Opera House theme“, is one of the few recurring motifs in Battlestar Galactica — along with “Worthy of Survival” — not associated with a particular character or group of characters. Appearing in the first season soundtrack as “Passacaglia” after the Spanish and Italian musical form that it follows, the theme was first introduced over the opening montage of episode “Kobol’s Last Gleaming, Part 1“. In “Kobol’s Last Gleaming, Part 2″, it plays as Baltar has a vision amid the ruins of the Opera House on Kobol of that structure as it was during Kobol’s glory days. He is informed by his internal Number Six that the mysterious infant he sees within — apparently Hera Agathon — is “the first of a new generation of God’s children” and “the face of the shape of things to come.” The theme also accompanies Number Three’s visions of the Final Five set in the Opera House in “Hero“, but its usage is not limited to the Opera House setting: in “Home, Part 2“, “Pegasus”, and “Unfinished Business” it accompanies emotionally resonant scenes that concern the fate of characters or their relationships. In the third season soundtrack, it features in the track “Violence and Variations”, where it is interwoven with Lee and Kara’s love theme, and “Under the Wing.” The final version serves as the outro to “An Easterly View”, which plays as Admiral Adama sits next to Laura Roslin’s grave in the series finale.

Each major variation of this theme is in a different meter: “Passacaglia” is in 3/4, “The Shape of Things to Come” is in 6/8 and “Allegro” is in 4/4.

We’ll be seeing Passacaglia and Allegro in the future as well.


Watch how TV helps women garnish the yummy shit sandwich of patriarchal norms.

Thanks Clorox, because we need more vectors of misogynistic oppression, not less!




So, is this how it must be?

I’m thinking that we get Anonymous when the structures of your democratic institutions are corrupted and ineffective.  When the voice of the people is lost in the swirl of corporate dollars and lobbying, we get Anonymous.  When the elites believe that they are truly untouchable and are a gift to the rest of us, we get Anonymous.

Do I agree with their all of their methods?  No, but the message they broadcast has a certain resonance that I’m sure the power-brokers of the world detest and fear, and that, friends, is a good thing.

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