Thursday, October 27, 2011

Rich get richer

Income for the wealthiest Americans has sharply increased in the last 30 years - 275% for the top 1%. Meanwhile, the bottom 20% saw income rise by just 18%. Middle class saw their income rise by about 40% ~ Congressional Budget Office (NPR article or CNN)

Meanwhile Republicans in Congress weeks ago were willing to have the United States default rather than repeal a portion of the Bush tax cuts and raise taxes for the rich by 3.5%.
In a lovely letter from A Voice From the 1% - "Here is a secret about rich people:  we wouldn't have noticed a 3.5% tax increase.  That is not only because there isn't a material difference between having $1 million and $965,000, which is obvious, but also because most of us don't actually know how much money we are going to make in a given year.  Most income at that level is the result of profits rather than salary, whether it comes in the form of bonuses, stock options, partnership distributions, dividends or capital gains."

Many are saying if we "punish" the "job creators" they won't be able to help the unemployment rate.   A Voice From the 1%  says “I was not amazed but disgusted when John Boehner and his crew tried to justify the extremity of their position by rebranding the wealthy as "job creators."  While true in a very basic sense, it obscures the fact that jobs are a cost that is voluntarily incurred only as a result of demand.  Hiring has no correlation at all to profits or to income - none.”

Over at Occupy Oakland...
Tuesday evening police used tear gas and baton rounds to force protesters to leave their camp. Scott Olsen, a 24-year-old former US Marine who has served two tours in Iraq, was struck in the head with a heavy object. He remains in the hospital in critical condition with a fractured skull. “The irony is not lost on anyone here that this is someone who survived two tours in Iraq and is now seriously injured by the Oakland police force” (BBC article)

Today I'm meditating on the following quotes from the Bahá’í, Muslim and Christian background....and shaking my head at the state of my country.

"Some being enormously rich and others lamentably poor....It is important to limit riches, as it is also of importance to limit poverty. Either extreme is not good. To be seated in the mean is most desirable. If it be right for a capitalist to possess a large fortune, it is equally just that his workman should have a sufficient means of existence." `Abdu'l-Bahá's Paris Talks

The Prophet (PBUH) said, "The one who looks after a widow or a poor person is like a Mujahid (warrior) who fights for Allah's Cause, or like him who performs prayers all the night and fasts all the day." Bukhari Volume 7, Book 64, Number 265

“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’  Matthew 25:41-45

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Think you can't run a marathon? Inspiration from a 100 year old runner

Fauja Singh, who is 100-years-old and the world's oldest marathon runner.
He ran the 2011 Toronto Waterfront Marathon in 8 hours : 25 mins.

"The blessings of the beneficiaries of charities (I am raising money for) give me the strength to continue"

 He started running when he was 89 years old.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sunday, October 9, 2011

A marathon full of gratitude

"All praise, O my God, be to Thee Who art the Source of all glory and majesty, of greatness and honor, of sovereignty and dominion, of loftiness and grace, of awe and power." ~Bahá’u’lláh

I finished my first marathon 20 minutes faster than my goal time of 4 hours (3:40:37 = 8:25 pace). The whole time I was running and even post-race I couldn't stop thinking how many people I want to thank and how grateful I am. So here's my marathon list of thanks:

Thank you.....
1.) God, for giving me the health and endurance to run 26.2 miles. Also for getting me through some of the tougher points.....I must of said "Alláh-u-Abhá" at least a hundred times today.
2.)My loving husband for his constant support. Like waking up at 5:30 am today convinced that I would have an excellent race.
3.) All my friends, family and co-workers. Not only have they sent encouraging emails and facebook message but they've donated money to The Olive Branch for the Children to support my fundraising marathon. With your help I raised $1000!
4.) All the friendly and enthusiastic race volunteers and local Steamtowners. I really appreciated the cheering and oranges/bananas/water.
5.)  Steamtown race directors. The course was beautiful. My favorite part being the 3 miles of trail by the stream surrounded by the fall foliage.
6.)  St. Joseph's Children Center. I almost was overcome with emotion/tears towards mile 21 where tons of children from the center where cheering me on. I'm happy that most of my marathon fee will go to this center.
7.) Girl who tapped me on the shoulder. At mile 25 I was in a lot of pain, there was a slight hill so I figured, 'I'm pacing 20 minutes ahead of my goal, I'll just walk the last mile.' I only had time to walk for 5 seconds before a fellow racer tapped me on the shoulder as she ran by and said "Only 1 mile left. I know you can do this." She sounded so sure of me that I forced myself to run through my sore knee, aching left foot and throbbing left hamstring. 

So I'm sending out these many thanks into the cyberspace. It's been a great day.

PS I just realized I qualified for Boston Marathon 2012......I won't be running it because #1 it's sold out #2 Not sure I want to run another marathon #3 It happens in April right after my 19-day fast.....But still bragging rights for qualifying :)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

3 days until Steamtown Marathon, ~$900 raised

In this picture: Montessori teacher, Eliza and Children at the Gomoshelo Montessori Kindergarten

My first marathon is this Sunday. I've dedicated my run to all the lovely children and people I met during my 2.25 years living in Tanzania. So I'm raising money for  The Olive Branch for the Children. I have raised ~$900 so far and I am attempting a last minute dash to reach $1000.

The Olive Branch for Children was started by one of my best friends Deborah McCracken-Nangereke in 2005. Because of her amazing work she received the Rolex Awards for Enterprise’s Young Laureates Program and various PEPFAR grants (US President's Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief). She lives in Mbeya with her husband Putiyei Kimala Nangereke and her 9 adopted Tanzanian children (one of whom is Davis, my Godson :)

The Olive Branch for Children:
  • Provides home-based care for more than 500 people living with HIV/AIDS.
  • Runs kindergartens in 22 communities
  • Manages Agricultural Projects for the community: providing the residents with small business grants, irrigation setup and basic supplies for farming including simple shovels and pails.
  • Provides education scholarships for children to pursue University/College education via The Olive Branch’s Education Fund
  • Operates a permanent medical clinic and hosts monthly medical clinics in remote villages
If you chose to donate, please post a comment and I'll email you the details. 

PS. On October 26 I received a post-marathon donation enabling me to reach my $1,000 goal :)