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Advice from Mother Jones

I’ve been doing homework. I like the column to be informational besides being enjoyable. I’m going to give you information from “Mother Jones.” It’s a free sample and I can’t find a date on it, but it has a lot of good information in it. (Visit www.motherjones.com for more information on the publication). For example, here is some real news.

1. While the rest of us sweat out our taxes, two-thirds of U.S. corporations pay no income tax at all.

2. If global warming goes the way scientists forecast, within a few decades 30 percent of the earth’s species will go extinct and 200 million people will become climate refugees.

3. Four of America’s 10 richest people are Walmart heirs. Even after a major economic collapse, their joint wealth is $107 billion.

4. Sixty percent of processed foods in your supermarket may be made with genetically modified ingredients that have never been proven safe.

5. The Pentagon admits it has lost 10 nuclear bombs.

6. Americans’ productivity has surged in the past three decades, but our income hasn’t. The median household income is now $50,000, but if it had kept up with the economy it would be $92,000!

Mother Jones says, “Media conglomerates won’t risk offending corporate America, they are corporate America. Their business is making money. Ours is making waves.” Mother Jones makes a difference. I like that. Here are some answers she gives to questions.

1. Do your veggie burgers contain a neurotoxin? Probably. Most non-organic veggie burgers are made with hexane, an EPH-registered air pollutant and neurotoxin.

2. Is the number 350 key to our survival? Yes. According to NASA’s top climate scientists, we must bring down atmospheric carbon levels to 350 parts per million in order to halt catastrophic global warming. The trouble is that we’re already at 394 ppm, and rising 2 ppm per year.

3. Could unplugging gadgets at night save you hundreds of dollars? Yes. Many electronic devices use energy even when turned off, costing the average household $100 per year. The worst offenders are computers, cable boxes, audio players, televisions, digital picture frames, and video game consoles.

Here are some tips on how to save money on gas, perhaps up to 20 percent.

1. Go easy on the brakes. Braking is inefficient because it kills your car’s momentum. Start-and-stop driving can increase your car’s gas consumption by 37 percent. Coast to a stop. Take alternative routes to avoid traffic. Time your driving to roll through green lights.

2. Don’t speed. For every 5 mph you drive over 60, you lose about 7 percent fuel efficiency, largely due to wind resistance. Be sure to close your windows and remove your roof rack. By the way, remember when the speed limit was 55 mph?

3. Inflate your tires. Follow manufacturers’ instructions.

4. Don’t idle. It uses gas and gets you nowhere! Turn off your motor when you stop for trains, stoplights or gridlocked traffic. Have you been in the habit of doing these things? I haven’t.

Mother Jones was really a woman named “Mary Harris.” She marched with a bunch of kids from the White House to President Teddy Roosevelt’s house in Oyster Bay, N.Y., to protest child labor, a crime that killed thousands of kids and maimed thousands more in the name of corporate greed. Her march led the reform on child labor laws. Because of her interest in children they called her “Mother.” “Jones” was her real last name. Her realization that knowledge is power grew out of her involvement. To make a difference you have to know what’s going on and let people who are in power know that you are watching them. We can make a difference, but only if we act! Doing nothing brings results, too, but not the results we want. People who are in business, in the media and in the government have to be held accountable.

Here’s some humor. Once when visiting a prison, Mother Jones asked a prisoner why he was in jail. He said he had stolen a pair of shoes. She told him if he had stolen a railroad he could be a New York senator!

Don’t forget – our organization for stimulating the economy will take place March 7 at 6 p.m. in the Fredonia Village Hall. We’re still looking for a name. I thought of “Ideas Make Progress.” The initials would be I.M.P. (and I hope it will be important)! What do you think? Call me.

Margaret Valone is a Fredonia resident. Send comments on this column to lifestyles@observertoday.com