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In the Arms of the AngelFollow

#1 Jan 03 2012 at 9:07 AM Rating: Excellent
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According to Alyssa Milano, I can save a dying African child for fifty cents a day.
According to Sarah McLachlan, I can save an abused cat for sixty cents a day.

By my math, this means each cat is worth 1.2 African children.

Assuming each organization is fulfilling its mission to the best of its ability...

Is it morally acceptable to send Sarah McLachlan money?
Yes:17 (54.8%)
No:7 (22.6%)
An answer that is neither "yes" nor "no":7 (22.6%)
Total:31


Off topic, the song "In the Arms of the Angel" is about heroin addiction. I guess it's Ms. McLachlan's song so she can repurpose it for whatever she wants but it's still my first thought each time I see that commercial. On the other hand, Ms. Milano's plea came on during my hotel stay so each time she asked "What would you do if you saw a starving child right in front of you?", I thought "Call the front desk?"
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#2 Jan 03 2012 at 9:08 AM Rating: Excellent
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I wonder how much cat food you could make from a sarah mclauchlan?
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#3 Jan 03 2012 at 9:13 AM Rating: Excellent
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50 cents to fatten up some African kid. An extra 10 cents to cut him up and serve to the cats.
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#4 Jan 03 2012 at 9:17 AM Rating: Decent
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Uglysasquatch wrote:
50 cents to fatten up some African kid. An extra 10 cents to cut him up and serve to the cats.
Huh, watermelon flavored cat food.
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#5 Jan 03 2012 at 9:19 AM Rating: Good
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lolgaxe wrote:
Uglysasquatch wrote:
50 cents to fatten up some African kid. An extra 10 cents to cut him up and serve to the cats.
Huh, watermelon flavored cat food.


With a side of "lemonade" Kool-Aid to wash it down.
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#6 Jan 03 2012 at 9:44 AM Rating: Excellent
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I see Starving African Kids commercial and think to myself "is Alyssa Milano gonna turn into Sally Struthers?" That's a depressing thought.
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#7 Jan 03 2012 at 9:47 AM Rating: Excellent
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Gosh, and Make-a-Wish foundation is like, what, $15 a month to make a dying kid's wish come true. That's like 30 kids who could be saved versus one who's a goner no matter what!

This topic makes me feel like a jerk Smiley: lol Well, more of one.

Edit: Also, what is that 50 cents buying? Ramen?

Edited, Jan 3rd 2012 10:47am by LockeColeMA
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#8 Jan 03 2012 at 10:03 AM Rating: Excellent
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Nutri-Paste from the look of the commercial.

There was some other commercial I saw for saving polar bears or something that worked out to 20 cents a day. So, yeah... 3 bears = 1 cat.

Edited, Jan 3rd 2012 10:04am by Jophiel
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#9 Jan 03 2012 at 10:15 AM Rating: Good
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Jophiel wrote:

By my math, this means each cat is worth 1.2 African children.

Only the American cats. American dogs are valued closer to 1.5 African tots.






Edited, Jan 3rd 2012 5:15pm by Elinda
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#10 Jan 03 2012 at 10:42 AM Rating: Good
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It's 2012 already. I'll think about donations for tax reasons towards the end of the summer. 2011 tax donations already done.

Cats, kids (living or dying), I'll donate. I need the tax breaks.
#11 Jan 03 2012 at 2:13 PM Rating: Excellent
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I spent about 20 cents a day this year to train a rat to sniff out TB. So 2.5 African giant rats is equal to one African child, and worth three US homeless cats? math fail: three rats are worth one cat.

Edited, Jan 3rd 2012 3:32pm by catwho
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#12 Jan 03 2012 at 2:20 PM Rating: Excellent
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catwho wrote:
I spent about 20 cents a day this year to train a rat to sniff out TB. So 2.5 African giant rats is equal to one African child, and worth three US homeless cats?


I wanted to segue into the Monty Python swallow joke here somehow, but you already said that they're African giant rats. Smiley: glare
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#13 Jan 03 2012 at 2:54 PM Rating: Decent
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Jophiel wrote:
Nutri-Paste from the look of the commercial.

There was some other commercial I saw for saving polar bears or something that worked out to 20 cents a day. So, yeah... 3 bears = 1 cat.

Now that exchange rate seems off. Polar bears are pretty big; you'd need something like three snow leopards to match.
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#14 Jan 03 2012 at 3:22 PM Rating: Good
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LockeColeMA wrote:
Edit: Also, what is that 50 cents buying? Ramen?

Edited, Jan 3rd 2012 10:47am by LockeColeMA


Rice is so much cheaper than Ramen.
#15 Jan 03 2012 at 7:24 PM Rating: Good
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I need the tax breaks.

Is there something I'm missing? Tax deductions for charitable giving can make your giving cheaper or even free, but I never known any to net you an increase.
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I know you guys are having fun, but I'd I'm slightly interested in taking the topic seriously.

Is it morally acceptable to send Sarah McLachlan money?
Well, how many morals is one child worth and how many morals is one cat worth. I know this is the very concept you were poking fun at in the OP, but it really is the question that is being asked.

To not discuss this aspect is akin to asking "what is the tallest mountain" and hearing a debate between Everest and Mauna Kea when you should be clarifying how tallest is defined.
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And still serious, but off topic, charity is one fudged up world. It's often viewed from a very emotional perspective--easily evident in how nearly all advertisements try to appeal for donations---rather than a rational one, which leads to highly problematic situations where charitable organizations are highly inefficient with donations or occasionally make the lives of those they are "helping" demonstrably worse.

Giving canned food to a food shelter may make you feel very good about yourself, but in terms of helping people, it's absolutely terrible. You'd be better off just giving cash. Some projects, such as play pumps, made people's lives more difficult than they were originally.
#16 Jan 03 2012 at 8:24 PM Rating: Excellent
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My take on the topic is, give where your heart tells you to give. Do the best you can. Are you going to save every child, extending the human population by a million or so person-years per year, before you save a single animal? Cause I'm not.

As far as which kids, my reflex is usually to donate to the Red Cross, because they've been doing the charity thing long enough to know how to cope with corrupt governments and what not. I'm sure everyone has totally altruistic motives, but I hate the thought of charitable contributions rotting in a warehouse or being sold to fill some tinpot's pocket. A certain amount of that is inevitable, but it should be limited as much as possible.

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#17 Jan 03 2012 at 9:07 PM Rating: Excellent
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I've always had an affinity for organizations like Amnesty International. Human rights violations have always been a hot button issue for me, I suppose.

I used to have arguments with a very activist ex-girlfriend. She would get upset with me for not getting worked up about every single cause that she brought to my attention. I used to try to tell her that there's a limit to the amount of things that a single person can care about. I always felt that taking her argument to its logical conclusion showed her to by hypocritical, as I could name myriad other causes that she didn't contribute to, and she still purchased luxuries and such.

Edited, Jan 3rd 2012 10:08pm by Eske
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#18 Jan 03 2012 at 9:28 PM Rating: Excellent
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Allegory wrote:
Giving canned food to a food shelter may make you feel very good about yourself, but in terms of helping people, it's absolutely terrible. You'd be better off just giving cash.

We actually just went through that. I felt my family was pretty blessed this year financially and wanted to contribute back. As touchy-feely as the idea of donating a turkey dinner or something may have been, we ultimately decided that a cash donation to a local food pantry would be most beneficial. They have more buying power via bulk channels and tax-exempt status than I do at the grocery store buying retail canned cranberries.
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#19 Jan 03 2012 at 9:31 PM Rating: Good
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It might be 50 cents a day now, but once the demand increases it'll be a bit more
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#20 Jan 03 2012 at 10:50 PM Rating: Good
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Quote:
Is it morally acceptable to send Sarah McLachlan money?
Well, how many morals is one child worth and how many morals is one cat worth. I know this is the very concept you were poking fun at in the OP, but it really is the question that is being asked.

To not discuss this aspect is akin to asking "what is the tallest mountain" and hearing a debate between Everest and Mauna Kea when you should be clarifying how tallest is defined.


That's only one half of the question - and the less important half, because the question makes its own implicit assumption about the moral worth of child and cat (that the cat is not worth 1.2 times more, though as you note the question seems to be asked somewhat in jest).

The more important question to answer is this: is it morally acceptable to give sub-optimally? Is doing something positive, when you could just as easily do something better, good? If you answer in the affirmative, the issue of moral weighting doesn't need to be addressed. Even if you determine a cat is worth more than a human child, you still need to consider the other half of the question to answer the obvious follow up: is it morally acceptable to give to Alyssa Milano?

Another problem with your re-phrasing of the question is that it assumes that people and cats are measured on the same scale, and that some amount of either one must be worth more than a given amount of the other - many people would say that no quantity of cats is worth a single human.
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#21 Jan 04 2012 at 12:00 AM Rating: Good
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Kavekk wrote:
The more important question to answer is this: is it morally acceptable to give sub-optimally?

There are a lot of important questions that follow, and just because I chose one does not mean I'm dismissing the others. I just thought it important to start by rejecting the the joke that quantization of these issues is somehow ridiculous. I was already branching out into three different directions in a single post, can't I get a break?
#22 Jan 04 2012 at 12:18 AM Rating: Excellent
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When i donate, I give cash to my wife and food to my son. I have precious little of either left for myself...
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#23 Jan 04 2012 at 12:24 AM Rating: Decent
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All right, but only because I like the cut of your jib.

Were your jib cut differently, we'd have a problem.

Edited, Jan 4th 2012 6:24am by Kavekk
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#24 Jan 04 2012 at 1:00 AM Rating: Excellent
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Giving canned food to a food shelter may make you feel very good about yourself, but in terms of helping people, it's absolutely terrible. You'd be better off just giving cash. Some projects, such as play pumps, made people's lives more difficult than they were originally.
However, giving fresh fruits and/or veggies, or fresh/frozen meat to an active "soup kitchen" or shelter with a kitchen is the opposite of terrible. These are things that food banks (who do distribute to shelters) rarely have or get in stock to distribute.

At least that's been my experience after working 5 years at a homeless shelter/mission.
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#25 Jan 04 2012 at 5:09 AM Rating: Excellent
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Yeah, some friends and I used to participate in "Grow a row" (I don't know if this is still active and I'm too lazy to look), where you add a row to your garden that's just for donation to the local food pantry. I think I grew peppers, tomatoes, and summer squash since I figured those were easy to use in a variety of dishes.

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#26 Jan 04 2012 at 6:34 AM Rating: Excellent
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Many participants in the local farmers' market here donate their unsold produce to food shelters every week rather than haul it away. Tax break for them, fresh food for the shelters.

Of course that might get pretty monotonous in a bumper year for cauliflower, or whatever.

"Oh, more turnips. Yay."

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#27 Jan 04 2012 at 6:55 AM Rating: Good
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Samira wrote:
Many participants in the local farmers' market here donate their unsold produce to food shelters every week rather than haul it away. Tax break for them, fresh food for the shelters.

Of course that might get pretty monotonous in a bumper year for cauliflower, or whatever.

"Oh, more turnips. Yay."

Not allowed to do that here. Can't donate fresh baked goods either. Anything perishable, the local food banks can't take. Canned or cash. I don't know if it's their policy or some local health law, but they don't accept anything that can't be stored for a long time.
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#28 Jan 04 2012 at 7:01 AM Rating: Excellent
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Samira wrote:
My take on the topic is, give where your heart tells you to give. Do the best you can. Are you going to save every child, extending the human population by a million or so person-years per year, before you save a single animal? Cause I'm not.

As far as which kids, my reflex is usually to donate to the Red Cross, because they've been doing the charity thing long enough to know how to cope with corrupt governments and what not. I'm sure everyone has totally altruistic motives, but I hate the thought of charitable contributions rotting in a warehouse or being sold to fill some tinpot's pocket. A certain amount of that is inevitable, but it should be limited as much as possible.

While I can follow your logic, I think that in practice these "save a kid" ongoing donations usually ensure that that child receives at least a decent primary school education. And it is demonstrably true that females who can read and write have FAR FEWER less children than illiterate females. In fact, get a nations children to a certain literacy level, and the birthrate drops to at or below replacement level without ANY government intervention in reproduction.

So I think that "save a kid" would probably have a good chance of leading in the long run to fewer offspring in that child's community overall.

I favour Community Aid Abroad because they guarantee that no more than 30% of their donations go into administration, and they specialise in long term on the ground comunity projects, that are far less likely to be stolen by armed tyrants. Things like wells, small damns, schools, farming tuition, that sort of thing. They do do more stealable items like goats and mosquito nets, but meh.
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#29 Jan 04 2012 at 7:53 AM Rating: Excellent
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Uglysasquatch wrote:
Not allowed to do that here. Can't donate fresh baked goods either. Anything perishable, the local food banks can't take. Canned or cash. I don't know if it's their policy or some local health law, but they don't accept anything that can't be stored for a long time.

It's because your socialist government doesn't want anyone helping privately and potentially making Canadians less dependent upon the government for their every need.
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#30 Jan 04 2012 at 8:15 AM Rating: Good
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For years I gave up a small portion of my paycheck to The United Way. It was an easy unconscious way to do my part.

When I took my current position about ten years ago, one of my employees was the United Way Coordinator for my org. I saw all the fluff and junk and red tape that went into coercing people to donate and decided to do my bit of philanthropy elsewhere.

For the most part I try and give locally. The largest share of my cash donations probably end up going to a neighborhood soup kitchen/homeless shelter that my office regularly does collections for.


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#31 Jan 04 2012 at 8:15 AM Rating: Good
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I was double-posted. Smiley: mad



Edited, Jan 4th 2012 3:32pm by Elinda
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#32 Jan 04 2012 at 8:35 AM Rating: Excellent
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Yeah, United Way ranks up there with the Susan G. Komen stuff that I won't give a dime to.
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#33 Jan 04 2012 at 9:28 AM Rating: Good
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Elinda wrote:
When I took my current position about ten years ago, one of my employees was the United Way Coordinator for my org. I saw all the fluff and junk and red tape that went into coercing people to donate and decided to do my bit of philanthropy elsewhere.


What kinds of fluff/junk/red tape, specifically? I'm curious.
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#34 Jan 04 2012 at 9:39 AM Rating: Excellent
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Eske Esquire wrote:
Elinda wrote:
When I took my current position about ten years ago, one of my employees was the United Way Coordinator for my org. I saw all the fluff and junk and red tape that went into coercing people to donate and decided to do my bit of philanthropy elsewhere.


What kinds of fluff/junk/red tape, specifically? I'm curious.
My wife used to do work with them, raising funds as a volunteer and gave up on it because so much crap was tied up in administrative wages and such.
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#35 Jan 04 2012 at 9:49 AM Rating: Good
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Eske Esquire wrote:
Elinda wrote:
When I took my current position about ten years ago, one of my employees was the United Way Coordinator for my org. I saw all the fluff and junk and red tape that went into coercing people to donate and decided to do my bit of philanthropy elsewhere.


What kinds of fluff/junk/red tape, specifically? I'm curious.
They had all sorts of incentive freebies. There were weekly drawings for the freebies. The number of chances you got in the drawing was dependent on how much you donated - prizes were t-shirts, water bottles, candy etc. There was a final drawing for the 'big' prize - usually a gift card to some national retailer. There were two forms to fill out to 'enroll' - every year. They needed all your info as they deducted the money from your pay. Not a big deal on the part of the individual but it created a lot of work for the volunteer organizer.

Anyways all the hoopla caused me to think harder about my donated dollar.
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#36 Jan 04 2012 at 9:52 AM Rating: Good
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Uglysasquatch wrote:
Eske Esquire wrote:
Elinda wrote:
When I took my current position about ten years ago, one of my employees was the United Way Coordinator for my org. I saw all the fluff and junk and red tape that went into coercing people to donate and decided to do my bit of philanthropy elsewhere.


What kinds of fluff/junk/red tape, specifically? I'm curious.
My wife used to do work with them, raising funds as a volunteer and gave up on it because so much crap was tied up in administrative wages and such.

Yeah, if you take a look at their financial statement it's hard to figure out how they have any money at all to actually support a cause.
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#37 Jan 04 2012 at 10:00 AM Rating: Excellent
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That and the cult-like attempts to make you donate.
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#38 Jan 04 2012 at 10:04 AM Rating: Excellent
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Still not nearly as bad as the ASPCA commercials.
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#39 Jan 04 2012 at 10:07 AM Rating: Excellent
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Sarah McLachlan should come around my office and ask me to donate in person.
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#40 Jan 04 2012 at 10:27 AM Rating: Excellent
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Allegory wrote:
Thumbelyna Quick Hands wrote:
I need the tax breaks.

Is there something I'm missing? Tax deductions for charitable giving can make your giving cheaper or even free, but I never known any to net you an increase.


I never donate to try to net an increase. But I meant I donate for the tax deduction, not a tax break. Semantics got the better of me this time.
#41 Jan 04 2012 at 11:30 AM Rating: Excellent
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I picked up two kids and ditched the cat. I'd like to think I came out ahead.

And now I'm fantasizing about getting cats addicted to heroin. This should be a fun afternoon. Smiley: rolleyes
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#42 Jan 04 2012 at 12:32 PM Rating: Excellent
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The food banks around here cannot take unwrapped foods, but can take wrapped and sealed foods, even breads and veggies. So while a bag of potatos sealed at the factory can be donated, a loose potato from a garden cannot.

Doesn't matter, the local soup kitchen here gladly takes everything. ****, there was a local executive chef who donated three months of his life there to train the regular staff cooks on making healthy, delicious food with the ingredients.
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#43 Jan 04 2012 at 2:51 PM Rating: Excellent
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Jophiel wrote:
Sarah McLachlan should come around my office and ask me to donate in person.
I'd donate if they did it Wikipedia style.

"If everyone watching this commercial right now donated $5, we'd have made enough money to not play this commercial again til next year." Would be a **** of an incentive.
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#44 Jan 04 2012 at 3:31 PM Rating: Excellent
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The One and Only Poldaran wrote:
Jophiel wrote:
Sarah McLachlan should come around my office and ask me to donate in person.
I'd donate if they did it Wikipedia style.

"If everyone watching this commercial right now donated $5, we'd have made enough money to not play this commercial again til next year." Would be a **** of an incentive.

Followed by the commercial: Nope, we didn't get enough money to not play the commercial again. If more people donate $5 and we hit our target, we'll stop.
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#45 Jan 04 2012 at 3:38 PM Rating: Good
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Eske Esquire wrote:
What kinds of fluff/junk/red tape, specifically? I'm curious.

I can't speak about United Way, I can offer another example of red tape getting in the way.

Haiti and Japan both had major disasters, but both are very different environments. Japan is a first world country, and money really wasn't an issue for them. If you gave to disaster relief in Japan chances are it didn't go there but was instead saved away for another disaster situation. Japan's primary problem with getting relief to certain areas was property rights. There were people who needed relief and trucks stuffed with aid but there is rubble on the roads, and that rubble can't always be cleared because it belongs to someone. Lack of funds wasn't an issue.
#46 Jan 04 2012 at 4:02 PM Rating: Good
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Samira wrote:
My take on the topic is, give where your heart tells you to give. Do the best you can. Are you going to save every child, extending the human population by a million or so person-years per year, before you save a single animal? Cause I'm not.

As far as which kids, my reflex is usually to donate to the Red Cross, because they've been doing the charity thing long enough to know how to cope with corrupt governments and what not. I'm sure everyone has totally altruistic motives, but I hate the thought of charitable contributions rotting in a warehouse or being sold to fill some tinpot's pocket. A certain amount of that is inevitable, but it should be limited as much as possible.



Yeah, the RC is pretty much the only one I bother with as well. I broke down last year as our company did a drive for donations after the Japan fiasco, being as we have a branch office over there. I assumed they picked a good one, AmeriCares. So I donated 50 bucks, and now get loads of junk mail and email from them for everything under the sun. I don't know about how well they handle their donations, but after all the junk mail I've gotten from them I'm inclined to never donate through them again.

Now as for Sarah vs. Alyssa, I'd be inclined to do whatever Alyssa said as I had a crush on her since the Who's the Boss days. (Not really creepy, we're the same age)
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#47 Jan 04 2012 at 5:52 PM Rating: Good
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Kakar wrote:
Now as for Sarah vs. Alyssa, I'd be inclined to do whatever Alyssa said as I had a crush on her since the Who's the Boss days. (Not really creepy, we're the same age)


Tough call. I like Alyssa, because I get her confused with Eva Longoria, who is a Spurs fan. Any spurs fan is okay in my book, and apparently so too for people who I constantly confuse for being a Spurs fan.

On the other hand, I love Sarah's lab in the commercial. It looks so doofy/happy. Think I'll go with Sarah, as IIRC the camera in her commercial isn't as uncomfortably close.

Edited, Jan 4th 2012 6:52pm by Eske
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#48 Jan 04 2012 at 6:59 PM Rating: Good
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Kakar wrote:
Now as for Sarah vs. Alyssa,

In a Jell-O wrestling match? I'd donate to whatever the fuck they tell me to!

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publiusvarus wrote:
we all know liberals are well adjusted american citizens who only want what's best for society. While conservatives are evil money grubbing scum who only want to sh*t on the little man and rob the world of its resources.
#49 Jan 04 2012 at 7:08 PM Rating: Excellent
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someproteinguy wrote:
And now I'm fantasizing about getting cats addicted to heroin. This should be a fun afternoon. Smiley: rolleyes



Druggie Cat: Hook me up, and I'll let you play with this ***** all night long. Smiley: wink
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"We don't just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary."
— James D. Nicoll
#50 Jan 05 2012 at 4:45 PM Rating: Excellent
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Aripyanfar wrote:
Samira wrote:
My take on the topic is, give where your heart tells you to give. Do the best you can. Are you going to save every child, extending the human population by a million or so person-years per year, before you save a single animal? Cause I'm not.

As far as which kids, my reflex is usually to donate to the Red Cross, because they've been doing the charity thing long enough to know how to cope with corrupt governments and what not. I'm sure everyone has totally altruistic motives, but I hate the thought of charitable contributions rotting in a warehouse or being sold to fill some tinpot's pocket. A certain amount of that is inevitable, but it should be limited as much as possible.

While I can follow your logic, I think that in practice these "save a kid" ongoing donations usually ensure that that child receives at least a decent primary school education. And it is demonstrably true that females who can read and write have FAR FEWER less children than illiterate females. In fact, get a nations children to a certain literacy level, and the birthrate drops to at or below replacement level without ANY government intervention in reproduction.

So I think that "save a kid" would probably have a good chance of leading in the long run to fewer offspring in that child's community overall.

I favour Community Aid Abroad because they guarantee that no more than 30% of their donations go into administration, and they specialise in long term on the ground comunity projects, that are far less likely to be stolen by armed tyrants. Things like wells, small damns, schools, farming tuition, that sort of thing. They do do more stealable items like goats and mosquito nets, but meh.


We could just spay and neuter them. That's what Sarah MacLachlan does.
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Just as Planned.
#51 Jan 05 2012 at 4:55 PM Rating: Excellent
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Can we spay Sarah MacLachlan?
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