Saturday, April 30, 2011

Rule of Law

Dear Madame L,

I'm so confused, with people on the Right and Left ends of American politics accusing each other of breaking the law and depriving us of our rights. And I'm sick of all the shouting and incivility I'm seeing all around me.

What can I do about it?



Dear Friend,

Madame L has also been struggling lately with how to find out the truth about who is doing what to whom, and with what financial backing; and why incivility, clownishness, greed, and corruption seem to be pushing their way to the forefront of politics. 

Your question, and the issues, are huge, and a quick Internet search won't always lead to good answers, as you know.

However, Madame L has recently read a review of a book titled "The Rule of Law," by Tom Bingham, which helped her think about whether America remains true to the ideals which have in the past defined us. Tom Paine wrote that in America, law is king, meaning the law as written and practiced is fair, impartial, and reflects actual justice. 

So, when you, Dear Reader, look at the following list of axioms that would ensure that law is king, you may ask yourself if these apply in America now:

1. Laws must be clear, predictable and public.

2. As far as possible, laws, not an executive’s discretion, should govern.

3. Laws must apply equally.

4. Laws must protect fundamental human rights, the rights of living people.

5. The cost to use the law, to defend our rights, must be reasonable, with public aid provided to make it so.

6. Public officials have a duty to act in good faith, to use restraint, to operate within the recognized limits of their powers.

7. Procedures in court must be open and fair. They must bind the state in the same way they bind those in conflict with it.

8. Binding law inherently includes international treaties and customary laws.

If it appears to you that even one of these principles is not being practiced now, you may want to vote in such a way as to place in office leaders who will put these into practice. You may even want to campaign for such candidates.

Good luck, and may God bless America,

Madame L

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Trumped by Trump?

Dear Madame L,

I was amazed that President Obama gave in to Donald Trump's demands to show his "long-form" birth certificate. You know that still doesn't prove that Obama is worthy to be president. Trump has pointed out that Obama still has a lot to prove.

And now I read that the Republicans are blaming Obama for all the publicity, as if HE were the one trying to distract the American people from the important issues facing them.

Why would Obama want to do that?
Un-re-born birther

Dear Birther,

President Obama most definitely would NOT want to bring up all that publicity, so I don't know why he gave in to it. It's like giving in to a bully: instead of making the meanness stop, it encourages the bully to keep doing it.

Madame L believes that Trump and his ilk are appealing to deep-seated racism when they claim Obama is not really quite an American, that he couldn't have gotten good grades in college and law school, didn't deserve to be editor of the Harvard Law Review, etc., etc., etc.

In fact, MSNBC has admitted that Trump's whole supposed bid for the presidency is "a cynical PR stunt" for his next season's show.

Madame L wonders why Obama and the Democratic Party keep giving in to this stuff. Where's their backbone? Maybe their liberal stance makes them not want to engage in the demagoguery and lies of people like Trump, Gingrich, Bachmann, Palin, Taitz, and that whole gang. 

But, Madame L asks, why not stand up for yourselves and the Middle Class? Do you doubt the intentions of the moneyed conservatives to destroy Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Pell grants, and other social mechanisms that have enabled the rest of us to live decently? Madame L has no doubt that those wealthiest 1% of Americans (who earn more than everyone in the bottom 50% combined) would love to continue to amass wealth, power, and political influence without a thought for the rest of us.

Madame L must end her reply before she pops a blood vessel. However, she would like to encourage all of you Dear Readers to keep reading the news and questioning the "facts" and your own previous assumptions about politics and politicians.

Also, although Madame L has said this before, she must repeat her plea to all her readers to pray for the future of our country and our people.

Also Praying,

Madame L

Useless Fact O' The Day

Dear Readers,

Would you be astounded to know that a regulation golf ball has 336 dimples?


Best, Madame L

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Born in the USA

Dear Madame L,

I have a friend who says President Obama was born in Kenya and hates America. What do you have to say about that?

Sincerely, or not,


Dear Semi,

Madame L wonders how literate your friend is. Does your friend have internet access? Does your friend read the newspaper? Does your friend watch news on any channels besides Fox?

President Obama's birth certificate has been made available literally for years now (since 2008). It's online, just in case you're not sure.

Madame L notes that even Michele Bachmann has recently acknowledged that so-called Birthers are wrong, and, worse (in Rep. Bachmann's opinion), damaging the Republican Party.

Does Madame L think that Rep. Bachmann's turnaround is a coincidence, or somehow related to publicity-hound clown Donald Trump's latest bid for attention? (Answer: You're right! Madame L thinks it is not a coincidence.)


Madame L

Friday, April 22, 2011

Wedding of the Century

Dear Madame L,

Are you going to watch Will and Kate's wedding on April 29? Some people I work with say they're going to call in sick so they can watch it, and I've heard that other people will be staying up all night, getting up at 2 in the morning, and all kinds of crazy things so they can watch it. 

So I'm wondering,

What about you?

Dear Wondering,

Madame L has many more important things to do than change her schedule in order to watch some frou-frou wedding full of pomp and circumstance, involving a monarchy which some of her great American heroes died fighting, to free Americans from all that nonsense.

So Madame L will be DVR'ing the wedding.


Madame L

Thursday, April 21, 2011

105 Titles to Add to Your Reading Wish List Now

Dear Readers,

Madame L is just, how do you say in the vernacular, kidding.

She got that title about 105 titles from an email message she received from her favorite guru, Oprah. 

One of the sub-headings in this message is "Instant Zen," which made Madame L, how do you say, crack up. 


Dear Readers, if any among you has a suggestion for achieving instant zen, other than sitting on the deck of a sailboat called Plastiki in the middle of who-knows-what ocean, please share it with all of us.

Yours, the very un-zen-feeling at the thought of adding 105 books to the piles of unread, read, partially read, discarded out of disgust, and cherished books already cluttering her home,

Madame L

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Congressional Record

Dear Madame L,

U.S. Senator Jon Kyl (R-Arizona) claimed the other day that "well over 90% of what Planned Parenthood does" is provide abortions. A staffer later explained that Kyl's lie "wasn't intended to be a factual statement."

Well, duh. It was obviously intended to be a lie, to incite anger or dismay among people who didn't know the truth and wouldn't bother to check.

And now I read that Kyl's original statement won't be recorded in the Congressional Record the way he said it. The Congressional Record says that Kyl said, "If you want an abortion you go to Planned Parenthood and that is what Planned Parenthood does." What gives?


What's a record for, anyway, if not to record what happened?

Dear What's-It-For,

The Congressional Record explains on its website, "The Congressional Record is not an exact record of the proceedings and debate in the House and Senate. As previously stated, it is a substantially verbatim report...

"In addition, Members of both Houses are allowed to edit the transcript of their remarks before publication in the daily Record, permanent Record, or both. Also, by unanimous consent, House Members may be granted leave to revise and extend their remarks. Senators may be given permission to have inserted in the Record, at the point where they stopped speaking, any unfinished remarks."

The key here: "a substantially verbatim report," which, in the language of Washington, means, "Members of Congress can say anything they like, then pretend they were speaking knowledgeably, telling the truth, or being intelligent."

Madame L happens to believe that the Congressional Record's version of what Kyl said is even worse than the original statement. And everyone can still go to YouTube to see the actual statement.

Madame L suspects you won't be going into politics any time soon, and she's sorry about that. This country would benefit from having a few politicians who would tell the truth and challenge lies.

Good luck, America,

Madame L

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Don't Make My Eyes Go Wacky!

Dear Madame L,

I very much enjoy your blog and learn so much from it, but I would like to make one suggestion. Don't use pink words on a blue background. It makes my eyes go a little wacky. 

Dear Eye-Strain,

Thanks for your suggestion! Madame L looked back at the post to which you're referring, and she realized the colors were having the same effect on her eyes.

Eye'll try to do better from now on,

Madame L

Monday, April 18, 2011

Where's Your Crystal Ball?

Dear Madame L,

What do you believe are the chances that Obama will be re elected in 2012 considering the near government shut down, the troubles the government is having with determining a budget to prevent a government shut down, his claim that his budget would cut the deficit by half by the end of his term (which I think now is apparent is not going to happen), the things that he's told the people and then been exposed on, etc etc. Also, who do you think will be his republican opponent?


Newly registered to vote and worried about the outlook of things

Dear Voter,

Madame L sincerely wishes she had a political crystal ball. However, not being blessed in that way, nor being any good with tarot cards, palm reading, or any forms of necromancy, she is in the dark as to the political future of the U.S.

However, Madame L would like to request that you, and all her dear readers, do the following:

---Keep reading the newspaper every day. Okay, you can watch the news on TV or read the online news, too. But read the paper. You'll learn a lot more that way.

---No matter what your own political leanings are, check out the opinions of those on the "other side" of the political fence, at least once a week. This exercise is not only to help keep you informed, but mainly to help you learn to understand how different people can take exactly the same facts you have, and come to such bizarrely different opinions.

---Talk to friends who disagree with your opinions as well as those who hold the same opinions you do. As you talk, practice courtesy and restraint. As you listen, listen.

---Keep praying to God, begging Him to preserve and strengthen our nation. 

---Finally, Madame L congratulates you for registering and preparing to vote. Stay involved, maybe even find a community group where you can volunteer, make friends, and broaden your circle of contacts.

Best wishes,

Madame L

Sunday, April 17, 2011


Dear Madame L,

My boyfriend is taking some kind of martial arts class at our local community college. He says it's just to help him get stronger and feel more self confident. Maybe I've seen too many action hero movies, but I'm worried he might become violent. What do you think?

Thanks for your opinion,

Non-Violent Girlfriend

Dear Non-Violent,

Madame L, like you, has seen way too many action hero movies, so she appreciates your concern. 

However, she doesn't share it because she has friends who practice various martial arts, and her experience is that they are in it for exactly those reasons your boyfriend gives: to become stronger and more self confident.

Additionally, the martial arts instructors Madame L has talked to reassure her that they spot very easily and quickly those people in their classes who are taking them for the wrong reasons, i.e., to be able to bully their friends or intimidate people in general; and the instructors take pains to ensure that those students do not advance as long as they have those attitudes.

Madame L hopes YOU will consider taking a self-defense class if an opportunity presents itself. She hopes all women of all ages, including young girls, will find ways to gain physical and mental strength and confidence that will help them in every situation in life. 

In a future column, Madame L will invite a martial arts instructor to discuss how you and your boyfriend can find a class where you'll learn the skills that will best serve you, without spending too much money.


Madame L

Friday, April 15, 2011

Social Security Question

Dear Madame L,

I know today is the Ides of April, or, as it's known in the U.S., tax day, so maybe you're too busy for a Social Security question, but I don't know who else to ask. 

I've just received a statement from the Social Security Administration showing all the withholding over the years at all the jobs I've worked at, and they're missing 4 years, which I think could make a big difference on my Social Security benefits when I retire.

What can I do about this?

Thanks in advance,

Will Never Be Able to Retire At This Rate

Dear Middle-Class Worker,

Never fear! Madame L has checked on this for you, and it should be easy to fix the errors on your Social Security statement.

In the second paragraph of your statement, you'll read, "Please read the statement carefully. If you see a mistake, please let us know." 

Ah, but now, you're asking, "How do I let them know?" 

First, try calling this number: 1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday, 7 am to 7 pm, Eastern time, with your tax returns or W2 forms from the year(s) with errors right there in front of you. If you get stuck in the automated system and get put on hold, you can visit your local Social Security office. To find where it is, go to the Social Security Administration's Online Regional Web Sites or to the Local Office Search page, where you can enter your ZIP Code to find the nearest office.

You may also want to write a letter to:

Social Security Administration
Office of Public Inquiries
Windsor Park Bldg.
Baltimore, MD 21235

Best of luck,

Madame L

Thursday, April 14, 2011

But How Do You Handle That Situation?

Dear Madame L, 

You and your commenter are so right about not making fun of other people
But what do you do when you're around someone who is making jokes about another person, or, even worse, making snide or snarky comments about them?
Is your reaction different depending on whether they're talking about a specific person vs. a whole group of people (for example, people of color, women, short people, tall people, people with other religious beliefs or values)?


Been There, Don't Know What To Do

Dear Uncomfortable,

Madame L is glad you asked that question. There are as many ways to handle this difficult situation as there individuals.

Madame L also has difficulty in these situations. She has tried a number of things:

---Replying firmly, "I'm a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and the church really doesn't teach that."
---Remaining silent. (This may seem like a cop-out, but sometimes it's all the speaker needs to hear his/her words reverberating in the embarrassed silence.)

---Walking away, quietly. (Again, not a cop-out, makes the speaker wonder what he/she said.)

---Walking away, muttering. (Not so good---makes Madame L look like she's sulking, doesn't give the speaker a chance to confront the issue, doesn't make for a teaching moment at all.)

---Saying, "I'm really sorry to hear that.  I know So-and-so is having a rough time, and maybe he/she could use our help."

---Saying, "I feel so uncomfortable right now. What are you planning to do next weekend?"

There are LOTS of ways to deal with such situations. 

Readers, Madame L would love to hear from you what you've done that has worked to silence unfriendly criticism or unkind laughter.


Madame L

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Who Can We Laugh At?

Dear Madame L, 

I believe there is one other person that "Bigot" or "Wants to Laugh" can make fun of, and that's him(her)self. 

When people can laugh about their own experiences, and share those experiences for others' enjoyment, their humor is gladly received. 

For examples, read or listen to some talks from the recent LDS General Conference. Many of our General Authorities, including the late President Gordon B. Hinckley, are (were) masters of self-depracating humor. 

I'm Just Saying...

Dear Friend,
Thank you so much for your comment. You are absolutely right. The best comedians, the people who are the life of the party, the ones we all like to be around, are people who can laugh at themselves.

Laughing at other people not only hurts the feelings of the people you're laughing at or poking fun at, but it diminishes the confidence of the people you're talking to. Haven't we all had that horrible feeling when we laugh at an unkind joke that we may be the butt of the next one, as soon as we're not around? 

Making fun of other people shows a certain immaturity and lack of self-respect, while being able to laugh at yourself requires the self-confidence that comes from being grounded, happy, and mature.

Madame L

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

National Parks FREE For a Week

Dear Readers,

Madame L has just heard of a great way to spend some time starting this Saturday (April 16) and all the way through Easter Sunday (April 24):

That's National Park Week, and all the national parks will charge no admission during that time, so it will be a great time to get acquainted.

Other fee-free days this year will be June 21 (first day of summer), September 24 (Public Lands Day), and November 11-13 (Veterans Day weekend).

(All this of course depends on the government not being shut down. Please pray for Senate and Congressional leaders to find a way to work with each other and with President Obama to keep our government running!)


Monday, April 11, 2011

Madame L Wants to Hear From YOU

Dear Readers,

Madame L has appreciated your comments and questions.

In case you don't want to leave a comment on the blog itself (or if the Comments box doesn't work on your computer), you can write to Madame L at:

ellemadame [at] gmail dot com

Madame L checks for messages about once a week and would love to hear from you!

Best wishes,

Madame L

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Spa Week

Dear Madame L,

One of my friends thinks I should go to an event at a local spa with her. The event is called "Spa Week," and these places that usually charge a lot of money are only charging $50 for some of their most popular services. It's coming right up. What do you think?


Wanting to Get Beautiful for Spring

Dear Beautiful,

Here's the thing. This is a big marketing gimmick, and Madame L is embarrassed to be answering this question.

And, because truth is beauty and beauty is truth, Madame L has got to tell you this: YOU ARE ALREADY BEAUTIFUL! So is your friend, even though it seems she doesn't think so.

Not to get all Oprah on you or anything, but Spring will absolutely adore you, whether you go to some spa or not. 

Personally, Madame L wouldn't waste the fifty bucks. But she would also never tell you not to.

If Madame L did want to spend some fun time with a friend getting even more gorgeous than she already is, she would do it at home.

Yours always,

Madame L

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Class Warfare

Dear Madame L,

I didn't vote for my current representative in Congress from my district, but at least I hoped he would keep his promise of working on creating jobs. 

But all I see him and all the other Republicans in Congress doing right now is raising taxes on poor people and the middle class while lowering taxes on rich people and corporations, trying to destroy unions, reducing Medicare and Medicaid programs, threatening Social Security, and enjoying the best medical insurance program available in the country while saying they'll destroy Obama's medical insurance program. 

Meanwhile, some big corporations don't even pay taxes, and Obama, whom I used to admire, has given the head of General Electric a job in his government (head of the Council on Jobs and Competitiveness). I guess I didn't see this item on NBC News because GE owns NBC.

What the heck?

Please Throw Me a Line

Dear Drowning,

Madame L is no politician, nor is she an economist, but she does read her daily newspaper, and she must admit that she's as worried as you are about what's happening in Washington.
Madame L hopes you will read this article by E.J. Dionne Jr. about the budget goals of current far-right politicians. It's an antidote for what you may have been hearing on some TV news channels.

Then, for an antidote to despair you may feel, read this counter-intuitive solution to at least one of these problems, by economist Robert J. Samuelson.

All that Madame L can offer on the political front is that you write to all three of your members of Congress. They'll write back, and even if it appears that they didn't really read your letter or message, because all they send you is a list of reasons for why they're going to keep voting the way they've been voting, the fact is that they're keeping track of the numbers. 

There are a number of websites where you can track issues and congressional responses.

Madame L knows this is just a start, and she hopes you will take it beyond this, becoming involved in any way you can, to ensure that our country remains (or goes back to being) the bastion of liberty, equality, and justice that she imagines it used to be.

Good luck,

Madame L

Friday, April 8, 2011

What's a Bigot To Do?

Dear Madame L,

I'm really a very funny person, and I think the best jokes are the ones that are aimed at other people.

However, so many of the jokes that used to make people laugh uproariously now get me blank stares or even outrage.

Can you please tell me if there's any group left in the world that it's safe to make fun of?

Sincerely, sort of,

Just Want to Laugh

Dear Bigot,

As much as Madame L hates your question AND her answer, she must admit it's true: There are two groups left in the world that you and your bigoted so-called comedian pals can still make fun of: members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and overweight people.

Sorry it's true,

Madame L

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Earthquake Comparisons

Dear Readers,

Madame L thinks you may be interested in this comparison of "notable" earthquakes. On this graphic, when you run your cursor over each "notable" earthquake, details about date, Richter scale value, damages, and casualties are revealed. 

Madame L has felt a few earthquakes in her time, and not one of them was NOT "notable" to her. However, she does understand that some more more "notable" than others. 

Madame L

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Breaking Those Bad Habits

Dear Madame L,

I have a question about establishing habits. I have often heard it said that if I repeat an action every day for 21 days, that action will become a habit in my life. I'm wondering how we know that to be true? Is there a scientific study about it?

I'll tell you what I heard once. I heard that people who have had a limb amputated forget that they no longer have the use of that limb, and they try to use it before remembering that they can't, and that it takes about 21 days for a person in that situation to remember to not try to use that limb.

Well, even if that story were true, can it really be used as evidence that someone like me, who isn't forced by circumstances to change her ways, can will herself to do things differently through repeated behavior over a period of 21 days?

Wondering about Those Habits 

Dear Wondering,
It's true! Madame L assures you that it's possible to establish a new habit with 21 days of working on it.

She knows this because she herself has done it quite often, sometimes consecutively, i.e., sometimes right after breaking the hard work of a previous 21-day stretch of good-habit formation.

Madame L wishes you all the best of luck in your effort to establish new habits.

Keep us posted! 

Yours in self-improvement,

Madame L

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Concerned About Dentition? This One's For You!

Dear Readers,

In case you haven't checked the Comments lately, here is a recent comment written by Pricklypear in reply to Madame L's answer about teething babies, with a brief reply:

Dear Madame L,

I have another question about teeth, well, about toothpaste really. I have a tube of toothpaste here that says on it in small print, "For better results, squeeze tube from bottom." Could consistently squeezing the toothpaste tube from the bottom really give you a better toothbrushing experience and cleaner teeth?


Concerned About Dentition

Dear Concerned:

Madame L is as concerned as you are about your having a healthy and productive toothbrushing experience! 

She remembers fondly a friend who said she almost left her husband because he persisted in squeezing the toothpaste tube from the bottom, while she preferred the middle. 

Madame L's friend and her husband went into serious therapy over it and were featured in a prominent women's magazine article which explored whether their marriage could be saved. It was. 

The solution was to buy separate tubes for each of them, using the money they got from the publicity. They also each chose different brands. She is now trying to work out a deal with a major cable TV distributor for a reality show on bathroom hygiene. Madame L believes her friend is delusional, because not even cable TV audiences would watch a show on bathroom hygiene. 

On the other hand, Madame L's friend claims her teeth are whiter than her husband's. So there's that.

Madame L

Monday, April 4, 2011

Write Hope

 This is Nozomi: Hope.

These amazing women are auctioning off books, opportunities to interact with authors, and other fantastic items, with all proceeds going to the Save the Children's emergency relief fund.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Why does love suck so much?

Dear Madame L,

My mom said I should write to you, because she doesn't know the answer to this question. She says she has loved my dad for like 20 years now and she doesn't think love sucks. I say she just doesn't remember. What do you say?


Crying into my cafeteria lunch

Dear Crying,

Madame L doesn't even know where to start on this one. Like your mom, she has forgotten some of the pains she experienced and has long wiped away the tears she cried over unrequited love. 

So Madame L would like to begin by asking YOU some questions, assuming that you're really hoping for some comfort after being spurned or misunderstood by someone you loved:

Are you really crying in the cafeteria? Don't you have some private place where you can cry? Do you have some friends to talk to about this? Are you also suffering from the desire to get even?

Not better yet? While crying, talking to friends, and demonizing your lost love may help, Madame L suggests that it's really only the passage of time that will heal you of this pain. It's kind of like physical pain, which is lessened through the gradual healing process. In fact, recent scientific research has found that when the poets talk about the pain of love, they're not just rhapsodizing idiotically because that's their job as poets: In fact, the usually reliable "Psychology Today" has posted an article about this. Also, the researchers have thoughtfully published their results in a journal which allows open access to all articles, so you can read their original report.

Madame L apologizes for being able to answer why love sucks so much but not really being able to help you get over your lost love. She hopes you will indeed be able to find comfort, soon. She invites other readers to offer any suggestions that may help you.

Best wishes,

Madame L

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Babies Teething

Dear Madame L,
It seems to me that when teething, any baby that I can recall grows straight teeth. When those kids lose their teeth and get their "grown up" teeth, it varries as to whether or not those ones are straight or crooked. Why is that? Why aren't the "baby" teeth crooked for the people that end up having crooked "grown-up" teeth?

Dear Mom,

Those are great questions! Madame L has wondered about that, too, and her Web research has not provided her with a completely satisfactory answer yet. She will ask a friend who is a pediatric dentist for an opinion and provide that later.
In her web research, however, Madame L did learn that not all babies' teeth do come in straight, which surprised her because she, like you, seems to remember every baby she has ever seen having perfect, widely spaced, little bumps of perfectly white teeth. (However, Madame L confesses to having an imperfect and hazy memory about such things, in part because she hasn't looked that closely into babies' mouths for awhile.)

Madame L also learned that crooked adult teeth (and yellowish adult teeth) are thought to be the result of a mouth and jaw not being malformed or being not large enough for the adult teeth and, in general, other hereditary issues.
At any rate, Madame L will find out more as soon as she can, and perhaps persuade her dentist friend to write the explanation.


Madame L

Friday, April 1, 2011

How Can I Help the Earthquake/Tsunami Victims in Japan?

Dear Madame L,

I'm not reading as much lately about the people who lost loved ones, their homes, their livelihoods, and so on in the earthquake and tsunami in Japan on March 11.

I know they still need help. What do you think is the best way to help them?


Would-Be Do-Gooder

Dear Do-Gooder,

Madame L is really glad you asked that question. Of course there are many charitable and relief organizations willing to take your money, and of course most of them are good organizations which will actually use your donation to help people, minus an overhead that goes to pay their directors and employees.

Madame L prefers to donate to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which uses all donations, with no overhead costs, to help people all around the world, without regard to their religious beliefs, political affiliations, or anything else.

The Church already has a presence in Japan, with volunteer church leaders, missionaries, and members on the ground where they can see immediate needs and respond quickly. 

According to its website, the Church has already distributed more than 70 tons of supplies, provided scooters to help members deliver aid to areas that can't be reached by car, and assembled hygiene kits and cleaning kits for people in affected areas. 

To donate to the Church's relief efforts, you can donate online or through any local bishop.

Madame L has also discovered a wonderful website, WRITE HOPE, created by a group of "kidlit" writers who are auctioning off some amazing books, opportunities to interact with your (or your children's) favorite authors, and other fantastic items, with all proceeds going to the Save the Children's emergency relief fund.

Madame L hopes that other readers who are Do-Gooders will comment with additional suggestions for helping the people of Japan, who still face unimaginable problems, including radiation sickness and further loss of life.
And Madame L has one final suggestion, for those so inclined: Pray for the people and their leaders.

With a prayer in her own heart,

Madame L