Thursday, November 24, 2011


Holding down two part time jobs (yes, one of them is at a yoga studio! ...the other is not so fun, it involves legislation & policy research) while attending grad school full time has a way of eating up all my time, so I’m staying in NYC to get work done this holiday. I'll be honest, a little part of me is glad to avoid the terror that is Chinatown Bus, but I am truly going to miss spending time with my friends and family. When I graduate summa cum laude, this will all be worth it (at least I keep telling myself it will be).

But there is an upside, I get to check out the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, have a nontraditional sushi t-giving dinner with a good friend in (ironically) the meatpacking district of NYC and don’t have to come up with an excuse for why I won’t eat the turkey.  I’m not a vegetarian, but I have a hard time eating meat that was inhumanely treated when it was alive (that’s right, I’m one of those people).  It isn’t like I get on a pedestal everytime I see someone eating street meat, it’s just that I become physically ill at the prospect of eating chicken that at one time was a little creature living in a tiny metal box with no beak, an oversized breast so large it cannot stand up on its own and eating the remains of its fellow chickens (OK, I’m not sure about that last part, but it helps paint the picture).  Anyway, we have all seen those PETA films (and if you haven’t, you can check them out here although I would suggest waiting until after T-Giving dinner). 
                                         (there's animal cruelty, and then there's animal cruelty)

It was while studying medical ethics in undergrad that I came across a philosophical belief that, quite frankly, astounded me.  It is the idea that because animals have no souls, we can basically do whatever we want to them (the guy who tried to sell this idea was a huge believer in live dissection).  While I try to respect other philosophies, I am having a hard time tolerating this one.  Firstly, I’m a Humanist, (no, we aren’t a religion, just a community of non-believers, but more on this in another blog) and one of the basic tenets of our Humanistic belief is that we are skeptical of untested claims.  Obviously, we can’t test if animals have a soul, gosh we can’t even find the soul in people, so right there this philosophy is debunked.  Also, the assumption that in order to feel pain one must have a soul is just not so. I don’t believe I have a soul, but believe me when I tell you that I felt my ankle snap like a twig when I broke it some years ago.  I definitely feel pain, like all animals do, and think that some considerations for this should be made in the treatment of animals. 

A friend of mine from work told me her philosophy on the subject.  She said that all those animals experience pain, anguish and terror for months, sometimes years, before they are slaughtered.  She said what we are putting in our body, is all that pain and terror, all that bad energy and that there is no way this can be good for us.  Although I may not fully believe in the whole transfer of energy idea, I think she has a point.  Everytime we buy and eat cow or pig or chicken meat from factory farms, we are making a choice.  We are choosing to subsidize the grossly negligent and cruel treatment of animals, and if I can help it, not one cent that I earn is going to pay for the torture of animals.  Until factory farms adopt more humane principles, I’m eating free range and organic.  If we all did this, how long do you think factory farms could stay in business?

Ps. Cracked fun fact of the day: Did you know that the day we celebrate Thanksgiving is determined by the day the retailers decide will make a good Black Friday?  

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Gov't biz

Some people argue that the government ought to be run like a business.  I implore them to consider the implications of this.  Any programs that did not bring in a profit would be shut down, so this would mean the end of public libraries, national parks and even emergency services, as we all know these services do not bring in a profit.  Next, the government would, like any business, try to maximize their revenue, so this would manifest as the over-taxation of all goods and services.  It would try to decrease costs and what is the easiest way to do that? Outsourcing!... and you thought going to the DMV was bad now.  Oh and who cares whether or not the customers are represented in the business’ management?  Say goodbye to Congress.