Light in the darkness.

A colleague of Super Sally's forwarded her this*:


It's funny because it's true, and the pain isn't just from laughing so hard.

This seems like a very scary time to be near retirement age, since the value of so many retirement funds (invested in the stock market) has dropped so significantly. On the other hand, to the extent that the market mess leads to a decrease in jobs, it's not such a red-hot time to be years away from retirement age, either.

We can shake our tiny fists at all this. Or, to the extent that we can, we can shake our tiny checkbooks and try to bring a bit more light to the darkness.

Especially since doing it before the last minute of 2008 (at least in the U.S.) may give you a tax-deduction on your 2008 taxes.

(Minor sidebar here: As the tax code stands in the U.S., rich people who make charitable donations effectively get more of a tax-deduction than do lower income people. I don't know if this is supposed to encourage those with piles of money to be more charitable than they would otherwise; if it is, I don't know if it works. In any case, given the current tax rules, this means that the people on the financial edge who find a few bucks to give to a charitable cause are the real heros. Also, that it may be worth reexamining the tax code.)

In the event that you have even a little money to spare and you want to see 2008 out doing something to help others, here are a few organizations near to my heart:

DonorsChoose, which helps classroom teachers get the funds they need to give students the educational experiences they deserve.

Americans for Medical Progress, an organization that tries to build public understanding of and support for the humane, necessary and valuable use of animals in medicine.

Medical Students for Choice, a group working to ensure that medical schools and residency programs include abortion as a part of the reproductive health services curriculum.

If you want to drop a link to a charitable organization doing work you think would be of interest to ScienceBlogs readers, please do so in the comments.
*In case you can't it make out, the image looks kind of like a Christmas tree whose right side is a graph of the falling stock market, and the inscription beneath says:

a generous donation has been made in your name to:

Goldman Sachs
Fannie Mae
Bear Stearns

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