It's time for everyone to stop cashing in on the Katrina situation. If there's one thing I learned in my time at a non-profit, it's that people love cause-related marketing and will do anything to attach a small proceed from a cause to a larger marketing initiative.

It's great that people want to help the Red Cross, but at what cost? The Food Network is running an ad right now that says "our hearts are with the people affected by Katrina..." blah blah, then it says "to make a donation to the American Red Cross, visit Last I looked, the Red Cross didn't maintaing the domain. If you want people to donate money, send them to the Red Cross website, not through your own site to have a chance to sell them crap or gain ad impressions and clickthroughs.

One of the GoodYear locations in town is donating $1 for every tire sold to the Red Cross. They felt like that was worth advertising on a sign? Sure, anything is helpful in the long run, but this is just a money grub on the part of the GoodYear owners to snag people driving by who might need a tire and would think "oh, if we buy a tire here, it's helping." I'm all for people pitching in and doing what they can do, and for companies donating money to the cause and for people having yardsales to benefit the Red Cross--I just don't see why it always has to be advertised so loudly.

There's a place in Kant's ethics where he talks about a Good deed and how doing something good is not in itself virtuous. People do good things that help others all the time out of a sense of guilt or sympathy and Kant argues that while the results here can be beneficial, such actions are actually selfish because they are done out of a need by the individual to relieve his/her own pain. He's not ever trying to say that we shouldn't save drowning people even when our motivation is to be rewarded or to alleviate our own pain at potentially witnessing a drowning--he's just saying that good deeds not done for good and good alone aren't what we could call Good with a capital "g." Ultimately for Kant, this matters because he says that we have a duty to do Good with a capital "g," and for him this all relates to Christian salvation and Godliness. As a pragmatist, the end result that people get aid from the Red Cross is all that should matter, but somehow, there's more to the story than that for me.