Category Archives: Common Cents

Val’s (and your) shopping saga to buy products that don’t destroy the planet, from companies that don’t trash human rights and that support local economy.

Tax Day

As you drop that envelope in the mailbox to uncle sam here’s something to ponder….
You know all those corporations that move out of the U.S. so they don’t have to pay taxes? Halliburton moved to Dubai, there’s plenty in Grand Cayman and the Bahamas. Well, “we” the tax payers have to pay out the nose but they don’t. Tennessee is really hurting these days with “budget shortfalls” and the Governor has ordered cutbacks, hiring freezes, layoffs etc. It’s rough out there and part is because of the state of the economy in general and part is because these corporations are NOT paying their fare share. They use our “commons” (legal system, roads, police, fire, etc) to make huge profits and pay nothing in taxes. Here’s what it’s costing us right here in Tennessee every year….
$1,807,595,246

Just think what the state could do if we had that in the state budget to use. (teachers, parks, environmental cleanup, clean energy programs & incentives, public transportation etc)

It’s messed up and it’s not fair. All corporations need to pay for the use of the commons. They shouldn’t be allowed to avoid taxes simply by closing up their offices here and opening a p.o. box in my favorite vacation spot offshore. (not dubai…the islands) Check out this article in today’s huffington post. the GOP wants to protest taxes for the ultra rich with tea parties today. Obama reduced taxes for 95% of us. They are nothing but shills for the big companies that are robbing us blind and taking all that bounty offshore.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/04/15/offshore-tax-havens-a-sta_n_186640.html

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Know what’s in your Salmon

If you buy salmon at the local big box store and think you’re eating healthy you may want to read this article.
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/27/world/americas/27salmon.html?ex=1364356800&en=4b2fce1db851825c&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss

I don’t mean to say don’t eat it…just check the package and see if it was caught in the wild or raised in an underwater pen in the waters off Chile.

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Thinking about my garden

This time of year I’m thumbing through my seed catalogs and dreaming about vegetables. My garden plot calls to me when I go feed the horses and these global warming induced days of 65 degrees in january are no help. It feels like spring around here even though my mind knows it’s the “dead of winter.”

I am totally absorbed in this wonderful book which isn’t helping either. Barbara Kingsolver who wrote another great book called The Poisonwood Bible has written a new one. It’s all about her family giving up big box store and fast food eating and choosing instead to eat what grows local in their county and/or from their own farm. Eating what is in season instead of buying stuff that has been shipped half way around the world.

Not only are her descriptions so wonderful of her personal experience in agriculture and nutrition but she is keeping it going via a website: http://www.animalvegetablemiracle.com
http://www.animalvegetablemiracle.com/Recipes.html

I’ve ordered a few things to start indoors because I know “the real spring” is just around the corner…

We wish you a bountiful harvest
Southern Exposure Seed Exchange

Arkansas Little Leaf H-19 CUCUMBER, PICKLING 2g seed, USDA Certified Organic

Basil, Dark Opal HERB / NATIVE PLANT .15g seed

Black-Seeded Simpson LETTUCE .5g seed, USDA Certified Organic

Buttercrunch LETTUCE .5g seed, USDA Certified Organic

Little Marvel PEA, ENGLISH 57g seed

Golden Self-Blanching CELERY .5g seed

Roma VF TOMATO .16g seed, USDA Certified Organic

Amish Paste TOMATO .16g seed, USDA Certified Organic

Principe Borghese TOMATO, DRYING .16g seed, USDA Certified Organic

Delicious TOMATO .16g seed

Homestead 24 TOMATO .16g seed

American Flag (Broad London) LEEK 3g seed

Early Wonder Tall Top BEET 5g seed, USDA Certified Organic

Chantenay Red Core CARROT 3g seed, USDA Certified Organic

Granex – hybrid ONION, DRY BULB 1g seed

Dill, Bouquet HERB / NATIVE PLANT .75g seed, USDA Certified Organic

Chamomile, German HERB / NATIVE PLANT .35g seed, USDA Certified Organic

Oregano, Greek HERB / NATIVE PLANT .05g seed, USDA Certified Organic

Rosemary HERB / NATIVE PLANT .1g seed, USDA Certified Organic

Thyme, German Winter HERB / NATIVE PLANT .2g seed, USDA Certified Organic

Here’s a great site to find local meat & produce. Just type in your zip code!
http://www.localharvest.org

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Retailers giving money to political campaigns

There’s more over at http://www.opensecrets.org but I found this list over at http://www.capitaleye.org just in time for your last minute holiday shopping. Isn’t it nice to know where your money goes after it leaves your hands? -val

Barnes and Noble
2006 total contributions: $156,180 (84 percent to Democrats)
2008 total contributions: $55,067 (100 percent to Democrats)
No. 1 recipient among presidential candidates: Democrat John Edwards
2007 total lobbying expenditures: $20,000

Bed Bath & Beyond
2006 total contributions: $100,800 (91 percent to Democrats)
2008 total contributions: $33,200 (87 percent to Democrats)
No. 1 recipient among presidential candidates: Republican Rudy Giuliani
2007 total lobbying expenditures: $0

Best Buy
2006 total contributions: $134,300 (87 percent to Republicans)
2008 total contributions: $31,175 (64 percent to Republicans)
No. 1 recipient among presidential candidates: Republican Rudy Giuliani
2007 total lobbying expenditures: $235,000

Borders
2006 total contributions: $9,600 (54 percent to Democrats)
2008 total contributions: $1,350 (100 percent to Democrats)
No. 1 recipient among presidential candidates: None
2007 total lobbying expenditures: $0

Circuit City Stores
2006 total contributions: $4,300 (72 percent to Republicans)
2008 total contributions: $2,750 (100 percent to Democrats)
No. 1 recipient among presidential candidates: Democrat Barack Obama
2007 total lobbying expenditures: $0

CompUSA
2006 total contributions: $3,000 (67 percent to Democrats)
2008 total contributions: $300 (100 percent to Republicans)
No. 1 recipient among presidential candidates: None
2007 total lobbying expenditures: $0

Costco Wholesale
2006 total contributions: $166,150 (87 percent to Democrats)
2008 total contributions: $77,190 (98 percent to Democrats)
No. 1 recipient among presidential candidates: Democrat Barack Obama
2007 total lobbying expenditures: $0

Gap
2006 total contributions: $250,900 (76 percent to Democrats)
2008 total contributions: $68,550 (72 percent to Democrats)
No. 1 recipient among presidential candidates: Democrat Hillary Clinton
2007 total lobbying expenditures: $100,000

Hallmark Cards
2006 total contributions: $230,170 (78 percent to Republicans)
2008 total contributions: $66,350 (66 percent to Republicans)
No. 1 recipient among presidential candidates: Democrat Hillary Clinton
2007 total lobbying expenditures: $200,000

Home Depot
2006 total contributions: $1,119,360 (77 percent to Republicans)
2008 total contributions: $510,050 (57 percent to Republicans)
No. 1 recipient among presidential candidates: Democrat Barack Obama
2007 total lobbying expenditures: $570,000

Limited Brands
2006 total contributions: $408,200 (76 percent to Republicans)
2008 total contributions: $228,100 (80 percent to Republicans)
No. 1 recipient among presidential candidates: Democrat Hillary Clinton
2007 total lobbying expenditures: $360,000

Linens N Things
2006 total contributions: N/A
2008 total contributions: $2,500 (92 percent to Republicans)
No. 1 recipient among presidential candidates: Republican Rudy Giuliani
2007 total lobbying expenditures: $0

Lowe’s
2006 total contributions: $18,150 (79 percent to Republicans)
2008 total contributions: $23,150 (71 percent to Republicans)
No. 1 recipient among presidential candidates: Democrat Hillary Clinton
2007 total lobbying expenditures: $20,000

Macy’s
2006 total contributions: $130,200 (66 percent to Republicans)
2008 total contributions: $32,700 (61 percent to Republicans)
No. 1 recipient among presidential candidates: Republican Mitt Romney
2007 total lobbying expenditures: $40,000

OfficeMax
2006 total contributions: $5,550 (77 percent to Republicans)
2008 total contributions: $2,725 (91 percent to Republicans)
No. 1 recipient among presidential candidates: Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain (tie)
2007 total lobbying expenditures: $45,000

Sears Holdings Corp (parent of K-Mart)
2006 total contributions: $450,550 (66 percent to Republicans)
2008 total contributions: $89,450 (52 percent to Democrats)
No. 1 recipient among presidential candidates: Republican Mitt Romney
2007 total lobbying expenditures: $140,746

Target
2006 total contributions: $663,140 (73 percent to Republicans)
2008 total contributions: $277,400 (72 percent to Republicans)
No. 1 recipient among presidential candidates: Republican Rudy Giuliani
2007 total lobbying expenditures: $100,000

Toys R Us
2006 total contributions: $2,100 (72 percent to Republicans)
2008 total contributions: $250 (100 percent to Democrats)
No. 1 recipient among presidential candidates: Democrat Barack Obama
2007 total lobbying expenditures: $0

Wal-Mart
2006 total contributions: $1,781,800 (71 percent to Republicans)
2008 total contributions: $727,830 (60 percent to Republicans)
No. 1 recipient among presidential candidates: Democrat Hillary Clinton
2007 total lobbying expenditures: $685,000

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Marketing to lesbians

Subaru figured it out awhile ago. Lesbians have money to spend and no one’s advertising to them specifically. When I watched an old episode of L-Word recently Dana (our favorite tennis star next to Martina) mentioned them. I’m sure they paid for a mention in the hottest lesbian soap opera.
Check out this article I found on lesbians and their spending habits. Seems we have a sizable chunk of the almost $800 BILLION DOLLARS that the GLBT Community has to spend…
P.S. Get a hint advertisers: If you think you’re reaching us by putting a couple of gay guys in your ad think again…We want strong women…Lesbians…lesbian couples…lesbians with kids…in your ads.
http://www.brandweek.com/bw/magazine/current/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1003667737&imw=Y

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more shopping tips

Here is a woman blogging about shopping and Chineese Imports, Walmart etc. She’s going natural and sharing her experiences.
http://blog.360.yahoo.com/blog-qBweSVs9dKqgMCcUe7QjqhFw;_ylt=AqCJyG.EEy6Iyx.1_hHWzkGkAOJ3

I found out about her when I read a blog on women’s space about a pair of flip flops this woman bought at walmart. no telling what is in the material but it looks like they burned the tops of her feet. guess what? walmart didn’t give a shit…no surprise there. Seems these days those “low low prices” are being offset by the high high prices for the doctors visits after using their imported products

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Welcome to a new forum!

I have decided to start documenting my research & experiences as I learn how to put my (our) money where my mouth is and buy “green.” I want to stop using stores that employ “slave labor” in foreign countries in sweatshops so they can advertise “Low, Low Prices.” I want to stop shopping with companies that control our media by pulling their ads when another point of view other than the conservative one is aired. I want to support local producers that spend their profits back into our local economy. I want to lower the carbon in our atmosphere by buying my tomatoes from Jolton instead of Chili. I want to buy products without excessive packaging that doesn’t degrade but just fills up our landfills.

Emily jokes that I’m a really good spender but this time I really want to prove her right. Long before Reagan but especially since his presidency, we have somehow come to believe as a country that the most important thing is the economy. There was a time when we as a people believed the most important thing was community. “We The People.” As a lesbian I’ve been told that GLBT people are destroying the family. I know what is destroying the family, the community, our environment and our standing in the world and it ain’t gay people…it’s unregulated capitalism…a corporatocracy.

The Walmarts, Halliburtons, Exxons and Clear Media’s of the current U.S. business scene have taken over our law makers and changed the rules to be in their own best interest. In the process they have put in jeopardy our very way of life…our democracy and our living planet. Buy handing over what little is left…our wages…to them is not just stupid it is suicidal. We must learn to change.

Our leaders get their support from the corporations and are beholden to them. They’re supposed to represent us. Our planet is being destroyed by an unaware public, corporate greed and an infantile attitude that says to hell with it if it doesn’t effect me. It will all effect everybody eventually. The super rich carry on and fail to visualize the world they too will be forced to try to survive in.

I’m pretty ignorant about where to begin this journey but as I find things out and examine business practices in this great land of ours I hope what I uncover will enlighten and inspire you to make conscious choices about where and how you spend your hard earned money. Just because you don’t see or know that worker thousands of miles away trying to decide whether to buy food OR water today because they can’t afford both doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Believe me they already know who we are. We are the Americans. We are the ones who used to practice something they wanted. We are the ones who used to stop the sadistic dictators around the world. There are generations of people in other places that grew up and dreamed of coming to America because we had something they wanted. There is a generation now growing up wanting to become terrorists to kill Americans because we have something they can’t have and we have it because they are dieing so it can be produced.

This is an open blog & forum. Please add your comments, experiences and knowledge. Together we can change the world. Our kids are counting on us. (Yes I’m a Lesbain Mom too)

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