Showing posts with label Current Events. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Current Events. Show all posts

Tuesday

On The Importance of a Comma

I read an enlightening article last night on Yahoo News.  It appears as if our president is a cross-dresser.  Specifically, he likes dresses from Gap.

You can see the entire article on Yahoo Shine.  Let me quote a specific section for you:
"On Friday, Obama left for Camp David with the president wearing a blue-patterned dress from the Gap."
This sentence proclaims, quite boldly I might add, that the president left for Camp David on Friday while wearing a blue-patterned dress from the Gap. 

The sentence would have been entirely different had they simply put a comma after the word "president".  Doing so would have then indicated that another Obama (Michelle would be assumed in this case) went to Camp David with the president...and that the OTHER person (as opposed to the president) was wearing the aforementioned blue-patterned dress from the Gap.

Who knows?  Maybe the absence of a comma was intentional because the author knows something that we don't.  Perhaps President Obama is attempting to reach out to cross-dressers in his own personal way.

Or perhaps they just forgot a comma.

Thursday

Westboro aka Why I'm Ashamed of Americans

This isn't what you think it's going to be.  No.  Really.  It's not.  You might not even like me very much after I say what I'm going to say. 

Americans...I am ashamed by you.

As if it wasn't enough that there were such deplorable people as those at Westboro Baptist...there are those who think themselves so much better than those at Westboro that they have the right to threaten to KILL those of Westboro simply because they do not agree with their speech or their actions.

Really, people?  Really?

OUR response to people who are behaving in a reprehensible manner in the name of Christ...is to threaten to KILL them just because we don't agree with their speech or their actions?

Don't get me wrong.  I DO think those of Westboro are behaving in a reprehensible manner.  What they are doing is nothing close to Christ-like. 

However, someone ELSE'S reprehensible behavior does not excuse OURS.  And I DO find threatening to KILL someone utilizing an object that your 2nd amendment rights guarantee you JUST BECAUSE they are exercising THEIR 1st amendment rights to be reprehensible.

Here, I'll say it again.  Reprehensible.

Voltaire once said, "I disagree with what you're saying, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."  I find that appropriate here.  I don't agree with what Westboro Baptist does or says, but I DO defend their Constitutional right to say it.

Tuesday

SOS Mom Saver: How To Minimize the Impact of Rising Produce Prices

Back in January, the big news was that a freeze in Florida had destroyed much of their crops.  No biggie.  They'll just import more from Mexico.  And then the freeze hit Mexico and was so bad that it even took their greenhouse crops.

They say this could affect produce like green beans, eggplant, and asparagus.  The hardest hit is expected to be on cucumbers, various squashes and peppers, and tomatoes.  There's no panic expected here, but they do expect prices to go up significantly until they can re-grow the crops which could take as little as 60-90 days.  In the meantime, we could expect that prices will go up on cucumbers, squashes, green beans, and tomatoes...all favorites that are frequently used at our house.

You can't do much about the fresh produce.  If you want it, you'll have to pay the temporarily increased prices.  However, you CAN take fresh produce that you get now and preserve it so you at least have that produce in a fresh-frozen form to use in cooking.

I actually do this a lot and it takes very little time and no special tools!

My favorite things to pre-dice are onions and bell peppers.  I cut them as soon as I get them and toss them in the freezer in small baggies.  When I am in a hurry but want the "fresh" produce, they're ready to go...and don't require any pre-processing!

Any other produce will require blanching before freezing, but that is incredibly simple.  You cut the produce as you want it (shredded, diced, etc).  Once the produce is cut, you throw it in a pot of boiling water. After boiling for the required amount of time, you submerge the veggies in ice water to stop the cooking process.  Once that's done, you freeze.  This gives you fresh-tasting veggies from the freezer.  The "Southern Food" section of About.com gives detailed instructions on freezing just about any vegetable.

You can use glass jars to freeze things in (be sure to leave an inch of head space or empty room) or you can use baggies.  (You can freeze them in portion-sized small baggies then put those small baggies in a gallon freezer bag to prevent freezer burn.)

This can not only help you keep those veggies in stock even if prices go higher for a bit, but will also save you time on prep later!

Thursday

Men Receive 23 Quadrillion Dollar Surprise!

This week, Jon Seale of Texas and Josh Muszynski of New Hampshire received the surprise of their lives.

No. They didn't win the lottery. Although they may need to.

These men received credit card statements this week reflecting charges of OVER 23 quadrillion dollars. That's not a typo. 23 quadrillion!

That looks something like this: $23,000,000,000,000,000.00.

Can you imagine? That's more than our national debt!

It was an error that is being corrected, but with they way our country's been spending since the 1930's, I'd have been a little worried if I'd have received that statement!

-Me

Senator...Ma'am?

I for one am absolutely floored that a General would show such GRAVE disrespect as to call someone "Ma'am". Really! What was he thinking? Well. All I can say is thank GOODNESS Ms. Barbara Boxer (D, CA) was there to set him straight! Where would our world be without her?



Ms. Boxer. I would like to have a few words with you myself; if I may. Last time I checked, YOU hadn't worked hard for ANYTHING! You have been elected by the people of California to represent them in the United States Senate. It is an honor and a privilege for you to serve in the United States Senate. It is a title that the people of California choose to give you. You should wear that title recognizing that it could (and from what I've seen probably should) be stripped away from you when you come up for re-election.

Perhaps, ma'am, you should spend less time focusing on correcting and belittling others and more on what your constituents hired you to do!

Monday

Do We Really Have a Right to Liberty?

Occasionally, I'll come across a blog post that inspires me. Usually, it's about a new resolution before Congress and is full of the rumors regarding what that bill does or doesn't contain. I'm inspired by that blog to find the truth, and will head to Open Congress to find it by reading the actual resolution myself.

Today, though, I was directed to a blog that was written so well, I find I can do no better than them. They're not saying anything profound, but rather posing profound questions. I'd encourage you to consider them.

My thanks to Veda at Purple Oak Politics for a well-written blog!
"Here’s a question:
Do we have a right to liberty?

Here is part of a quote (author will remain anonymous): '…I understand that people want liberties, but creating some national standards enforced by the Federal Government I think are necessary while others are handled better by the individual states…'

Here’s the question, do we merely want liberties? Are we to ask our government for liberties? Is it our governments place to decide on our liberties? Does the Constitution grant us liberty?

Or.. were we born with liberty? and if that is so, then is it justified for any governing body to interfere with, infringe upon or devalue that liberty? When you are born, who owns you?

…and finally, what does liberty actually mean? If it is different for everyone does that promote anarchy? Or does a society need to be regulated in order to ensure
proper behavior.

Is a society capable of moral and ethical behavior without a central governing body enforcing guidelines and providing a definition of said “moral behavior”?

Do the vast majority of people need herding (as sheeple) in order to do the 'right' thing? And who defines what is 'right?'

What say ye?"
What say I? That sometimes it's only in posing the right questions that we find the right answers.

Your thoughts?

-Me

Friday

Will We REALLY Audit the Fed? HR 1207

I have a breaking news update!!!! I just heard that HR 1207 will be going to the house floor!!!

My usual source of confirmation, Open Congress, has yet to show the status move. However, according to their Twitter, they do have the information and are working on updating it as quickly as they can.

A resolution can find its way out of committee and onto the house floor in one of two ways. The committee can vote for it to be pushed on to the floor, or the bill can get enough co-sponsors that it passes a majority and therefore is automatically put to a house vote.

Today, HR 1207 which is a duplicate of a resolution Ron Paul has proposed for FIVE years in a row reached 222 co-sponsors surpassing the needed 218 and will, therefore, be going to the house floor for a vote!!!!

Praise God! This is definitely a step in the right direction!

We have an incredible opportunity here! For those who are unfamiliar with HR 1207, it is a resolution that will require a full audit of the Federal Reserve.

You can read the press release on Ron Paul's site here. The Campaign for Liberty lists the new co-sponsors here.

-Me

Tuesday

Warrant Issued for Mom's Arrest...

...because her son has refused chemo and she and her husband are supporting his decision. You can read more here.

Anyone who reads my blog knows that I am a STAUNCH supporter of parental rights.

I also STRONGLY believe that those rights extend to being able to dictate your child's healthcare (or lack thereof). We were initialy delayed vax parents. However, after years of being unable to obtain the separate serum vaccinations that would be best for our children, we have unofficially become non-vaxing parents. I reserve the right to refuse vaccinations for my children. When they are adults and have stronger immune systems then they can decide for themselves whether they want to receive those vaccinations or not.

I believe parents also have the right to choose alternative healthcare for their children if they deem it necessary (or better than "traditional" treatments) after research.

Certainly even if one doesn't believe in parental rights, then they believe in the rights of the child...right? That's what many in leadership are fighting for as they push for ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. They claim that the child has more rights than the parent and should get to dictate what they do and don't do with their lives whether their parents agree or not.

So...going on THAT horrendous argument for a minute...this child (of 13) is wanting to refuse the chemo for HIMSELF and instead elect to have alternative treatments. Therefore, he should get what he wants because he's the child and he has rights.

In other words, whether you support parent's rights or children's rights, you should support the decision being made jointly by the son and his parents to refuse chemo.

Note, they are NOT refusing treatments, they are merely choosing an alternative treatment. Could it have side effects? Yes...as any treatment (ESPECIALLY chemo) could and does. Could it work? Yes. An alternative treatment might work as well as or better than chemo. Could it fail? ABSOLUTELY!!! As could chemo, radiation, bone marrow transplants, etc. ANY treatment could work or fail based on the body of the person receiving the treatment and any other underlying conditions they may have.

Chemo as a treatment is a CHOICE!!! Just as any other treatment is. No child or parent should be forced to obtain a treatment because a doctor, social worker, or judge feels they should obtain a certain treatment!

This is a DANGEROUS road that we do NOT want to go down!

-Me

Saturday

Martial Law?

For a couple of years now, I’ve heard those who were saying martial law was on the horizon. I’ve also heard MANY, MANY people say they were crazy. I’ve never said they were crazy. I’m not so na├»ve as to think our government wouldn’t do something to attempt to bring martial law down.

I saw first-hand accounts (via video) of people losing their Constitutional rights shortly after Katrina. I watched in horror as men searched houses without permission despite being told by the occupants that everyone there was fine. I also watched in horror as they took weapons away from people because it was an emergency. These people had committed no crime. They had made the decision to stay in their homes, there was no immediate danger or flooding in their homes (nor was there), and they were legally holding their legally purchased weapons in their homes. It IS legal to use a gun in defense of your home should someone try to break in. However, in crime-ridden New Orleans, these law-abiding citizens were stripped of the right to defend their homes…yet the criminals still had THEIR guns.

I am again watching in horror. Last Tuesday (April 28th), the Massachusetts Senate approved S18. This bill still has to go to the house for approval and then must be signed by the governor of the state. I would encourage you to read every word of this bill. It is what martial law will look like.

In short, “they” (meaning anyone whom the government places in authority) will have the supposed “right” to force entry into your home to inspect your home, its contents, your family members, and your pets. They can also force innocluations and decontamination. If you refuse, you will be placed in forced quarantine which may or may not be in your residence. Also, while you can initially refuse, they will send orders up to get your forced to comply while you are in quarantine. In other words, if you don’t, you’ll get away with it for a bit…but then, you’ll have to really do it.

Healthcare providers will be forced to do these searches, decontaminations, &/or innoculations or face losing their license.

Honestly, this makes me sick to my stomach. I would encourage you to call the state house and governor of Massachusetts as soon and often as you can to protest this bill! You don’t think it will apply to you because you’re not in that state? Think again. What happens in one state often filters down to others. You can find a complete list of all of the state house members here.
I believe the area code is 617.

-Me

Wednesday

Resolutions Before Congress (i.e.-My Afternoon)

Two of my kids are at the neighbor’s house. One is laying on the bed because she’s tired.

Me?

I’m having an incredibly busy afternoon. I’m at my computer reading what Congress is trying to do with (to?) our country right now.

I’m currently reviewing the following bills:
  • HR956: HealthCARE Act of 2009
  • S21: Prevention First Act
  • S179: Health Information Technology Act of 2009
  • HJ5: Repeal the 22nd Amendment (Presidential Term Limits)
  • S350: Health Information Technology for Economical and Clinical Health Act
  • HR881: Right to Life Act
  • HR676: United States National Health Care Act or the Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act
  • HR1205: Achieving a Better Life Experience Act of 2009
  • HR1256: Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act
  • S773: Cyber Security Act of 2009
I’d love to see what (if anything) others are saying about these bills. If I see anything of concern myself, I’ll be sure to let you know.
If you don’t currently do so, I’d encourage you to head over to Open Congress yourself and check out legislation that is currently pending &/or has been recently passed.

-Me

Tuesday

Why I Don't Support the Parental Rights Amendment

I’m sure many of you by now have heard about the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Many of you have also heard about the Constitutional amendment to guarantee parental rights that was proposed by none other than my representative, Pete Hoekstra (R, MI-2). This amendment also has 70 co-sponsors in the house; every one of them is a Republican. The amendment currently sits in the House Judiciary committee. There is also a senate version that currently sits in the Senate Judiciary committee.

The House resolution to which I’m referring is House Joint Resolution 42 (or HJR 42). The Senate resolution is Senate Joint Resolution 13 (or SJR 13). All this means is that someone from the house and someone from the senate both agreed to present this resolution to their respective chambers at or around the same time. They are the exact same resolution.

The purpose of a joint resolution is typically to speed things up. This ideally works because the resolution can be passed by the Senate and the House at the same time thereby saving a step (of having to go from one to the other with the respective necessary waiting periods in between). Once both chambers have approved the resolution, it then goes straight to the president; provided of course that they were both passed as is without any amendments. You get the idea.

The reason they proposed a joint resolution with this particular amendment is because this amendment is intended to protect us from the UN Convention on the Rights of a Child which is expected to be signed by our president sometime this spring or summer.

You can find detailed info regarding the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child including a full text of the resolution at the Parental Rights homepage. The resolution to amend the constitution, on the other hand, is quite simple. I’ll give you the full text here:

"Section 1. The liberty of parents to direct the upbringing and education of
their children is a fundamental right.

Section 2. Neither the United States nor any State shall infringe upon this
right wIithout demonstrating that its governmental interest as applied to the
person is of the highest order and not otherwise served.

Section 3. No treaty may be adopted nor shall any source of international
law be employed to supersede, modify, interpret, or apply to the rights
guaranteed by this article."
Many look at this and think it would be a great solution to protect us from the UN Convention on the Rights of a Child (UNCRC). Then there those of us who say we shouldn’t pass the UNCRC in the first place; with or without protection from an amendment. Yet others will counter saying that having the amendment is better than not because we cannot stop the treaty from being passed. While I understand what they are saying, I completely disagree.

Why all this worry about a UN treaty? An amendment to our Constitution says that any international treaty ratified by a 2/3rds majority of our Congress will take precedence OVER all of our existing state and federal laws. The only document it cannot override is the Constitution. Hence, the amendment to ensure that our rights are protected against this treaty.

Why the worry over THIS treaty specifically? If you haven’t read it yet, I would encourage you to do so…HIGHLY! Like now. If you do not understand the danger with the UNCRC treaty, then you cannot possibly understand why anyone would even want an amendment to our Constitution guaranteeing protection of our rights in the first place. You must understand one to understand the other. In a nutshell, the treaty says that the CHILD is the head of the family. If your child doesn’t want to go to church (at 5), he/she doesn’t have to. If you discipline your child by saying he can’t go to out with his friends, but your child still wants to go out with his friends…you must let him. If you don’t, you are violating his rights. See where I’m going? This is DANGEROUS territory into which we do NOT want to go!

The problem with passing this amendment to fix the problems the treaty would bring is that it is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. It looks good on the surface, but trouble lurks beneath. It gives power to the federal government that the federal government would not otherwise have. It says that your rights are protected unless the government decides they shouldn’t be. When would that be? What will be the governments unit of measure? How will they decide when they can and cannot take away our rights?

So what do we do? How do we protect ourselves against a treaty which the leaders in our government have said they will pass? How do we ensure our Constitutional rights on paper?

I do NOT have a problem with a Constitutional amendment. Frankly, though, I think it should be more open. What I’d like to see is either a repeal of the portion saying that an international treaty takes precedence over our state and federal laws. If that cannot be done, then I’d like another amendment saying that we will abide by international treaties so long as they are not in conflict with our federal or state laws at which point our they are our governing authority.

I firmly believe we must look more deeply at anything the government proposes. Remember, we must look at what any proposed resolution will have the ABILITY to do, not at its current intent. By doing so, we ensure we are happy with its results now AND in the future when a different set of people is in charge.

-Me

Saturday

It's Not About Left or Right!!!

When will people get this? Am I naive to think they will?

It's NOT about black or white! It's not about left or right! It's not about Democrat or Republican! It's about a government that has been slowly taking away our rights, freedoms, and money for YEARS! This didn't start with Obama. This didn't start with either Bush. This didn't start with Clinton! Some say it started with FDR and the New Deal; others believe it goes even furthur back than that.

I am NOT partisan! I could care LESS what party someone is from! I care about their ideals as evidenced by their previous voting history and history (or lack thereof) of keeping their word. I will vote for a Democrat, Republican, Independent, Libertarian, Constitutional, Green, or any other party candidate...as long as they will TRULY uphold our Constitutional rights!

I am SO sick of the right trying to co-opt a just message to the government and attempting to turn that message into an anti-Obama cry! The message of the Tea Party was not originally an anti-Obama cry. I will concede that Fox News and the right media turned it into that (or tried to in some cases). However, the original message was outrage over unchecked, unfettered government spending without TRUE representation of the people.

Do we have elected officials? Yes. There are people whom we have elected to represent us. However, previous history has led me to believe that we do not have TRUE representation. If those people (Republican, Democrat, or otherwise) vote according to their pocketbook or what they feel will best benefit their sponsors &/or just plan ignore those who elected them, then they are NOT truly representing the people. They are merely symbols...an appearance of true representation. The fact that we voted for them does not mean they will represent us. Unfortunately, one does NOT automatically equal the other.

I am not someone who is upset with Obama because I liked Bush. I didn't like Bush! I don't like how he & the standing Congress at the time passed the first stimulus measures with no regard to the thoughts or opinions of the people of the United States who were crying out for them not to be passed. I also don't like how Obama pushed through his "emergency" stimulus without even giving those whom we elected to represent us a chance to read it first...let alone the American people. (Something he promised in his campaign.)

I'm also tired of those saying neither president had any other choice but to attempt to pass these measures in the manners in which they did. If I cussed, I'd have a great word for that right now. I believe it's also a popular card game. Instead, I'll say this: What a load of crap! IF these measures where such true emergencies then why did many of our representatives vote down the first one and only agree to pass it after manipulation, threat, and fear from the president (Bush)? IF the first stimulus Obama passed was SUCH an emergency, then why did it have more pork than your local pig farm?

I don't know about you, but when I'm in an ambulance because of an emergency, I don't want the paramedics stopping for gas, doing their laundry, paying their electric bill, etc. on the WAY to take me to the hospital. I don't want the doctors in the ER to check the labs for a non-emergent patient they saw before me, stopping to go potty, or ordering that a barber come in & cut my hair. I want them to tend to my EMERGENCY!!!!...and ONLY my emergency until said emergency has passed! During an emergency is NOT the time to do extra things. It's the time to do only what is necessary in order to save a life (or in this case...the country). Anything extra can wait until later.

Might I need a haircut? Might the doctor need to use the restroom or check the other patient's labs? Might the paramedics need gas? Might they need to do their laundry or pay their electric bill? Sure. Those things might even need to be done soon. However, they are NOT an emergency and therefore should not be tended to during an emergency situation, but only AFTER the emergency has passed!

This abuse of terms (emergency) and misuse of power leading to a literal financial rape of ALL Americans is what we are enraged about! THAT is what we were protesting! I'd have protested if McCain, Bob Barr, or Ron Paul were in office and were taking the same actions.

Once again, I will say it. This is NOT about left or right! When I attend the Tea Parties on July 4th, I pray there won't be one anti-Obama sign. I fear I may approach one of them and hand them a copy of this blog. I'm sure they'll assume I'm a liberal just as those who hear I don't support Obama's policies thus far assume I'm conservative. When, oh WHEN will people realize there are more than two parties and more than two ways of doing things?

Lord, please help this country! We need your help! Desperately!

-Me

Thursday

They Call THIS Journalism?

If THIS is what CNN calls journalism, then they need to go back to school!

As a follow up to this video, I am going to change our previously scheduled school plans. Instead, the kids and I are going to study about the state of Lincoln. Apparently, I'm lacking in my education as I was not previously aware there WAS such a state. State of confusion? Yes. I'm a mom. We all know about that. State of Lincoln? Must of missed that one in school.

-Me

Tuesday

Extend the Patriot Act HR 1467

I promise my intent is not to turn this into an entirely political blog. It just seems that if we don’t keep on top of things they’ll get out from under us. Or something like that.

There aren’t many Americans I know, regardless of party, who were happy with the Patriot Act. Sure some didn’t mind at first, but then when the truth of it came out they started to care. Now, more often than not, you’ll hear cries of, “REPEAL the Patriot Act”.

I guess it should come as no surprise that a Republican proposed this legislation. I’m hoping, though, that we can count on the Democrats to not let this get very far. I can’t believe I said it either. Then again, our congressmen & women seem willing to do just about anything in the name of safety.

I would like to remind them of Benjamin Franklin's words, "He who would give up a measure of liberty for security deserves neither and will lose both." I don't believe we need to give up our freedoms to ensure our security, and I do fear that we may lose both.

There is not much to this resolution. It’s actually quite simple. Instead of the patriot act expiring on Dec. 31, 2009 it will extend it to Dec. 31, 2019. They are calling it the, “Safe & Secure Act of 2009”.

If you don’t want more of what we saw in the Bush era continuing on for the next TEN years, then I would encourage you to call your congressmen/women now.

You may find this bill (what little there is) by going here & entering “1467” (without quotes) into the search field. You can find your Senators by selecting your state from the drop-down menu. You can find your Representative by entering your zip code in the top, left corner.

-Me

Monday

Let's Fix the Bailout Banks

I think we all can agree that there is a problem with the banks receiving our money. (You know…the “bailout” funds?) In my opinion, the number one problem is a set of executives who are self-entitled. They are fat-cats who are used to living the high life, at all costs. That “at all costs” is what led to their fraudulent activity. I’m sure they were certain that their behavior would never cause problems. I’m sure they thought that even if it did, they’d never be caught. I’m sure they thought that even if they were caught, they had enough money to buy their way out of any trouble. At least they were right on one count.

Given the situation with the banks (and the fact that I now own up to 80% of some of them), I have a few proposals as to how we can better the situation.

I think we should withhold any more money from any company that doesn't agree to forgo ALL bonuses as well as cut executive pay by at LEAST 50% if not 75% to 90%.

Will it totally change the lifestyle of the executives? Not really. They'd still be far above the rest of us because a 90% cut for someone making $150 million would bring them down to $15 million. Most of the execs are making well above $1million. Even if they were JUST making $1 million, a 90% cut would have them still making $100K. That would mean a drastic cut in lifestyle for them, but would still have them WELL ABOVE most Americans.

More math to help put it in perspective? Sure. Let's say an exec is just making $500,000 (possible for lower-paid, newer or younger execs). A 90% cut would still have them making $50K. Again, a DRASTIC change in their lifestyle, but puts them above a good portion of Americans. (Average salary is something like $42K.)

I think this should have been done in the first place before even $1 was handed to them by our government. It would have SIGNIFICANTLY reduced the payout amount needed. Just think, they don't have just one or 2 execs making $1 million or over, they have SEVERAL...as in up to a HUNDRED at some of the companies. You do the math! Even 100 execs making JUST $1 million would equal $100 million; and most of them are making WELL over $1million.

Think this is drastic? As my MIL pointed out, they wouldn’t have ANY money for ANYTHING if the people hadn’t taken control of their company and given them money to bail their fraudulent tushes out. They should be SO grateful for our help that they’re willing to make whatever concessions are necessary in order to help the company survive with the least amount of money. They should be THANKING us for giving them the money to pay the bills not calling their lawyers to have them threaten to sue if they don’t get their bonuses.

Something to remember AIG? Without our money you’d be dead right now and not ONE of you would have a job ANYWHERE! Think THAT’S better than a pay cut and no bonuses? Tough! I now own more than a majority share in your company. I am now your boss. Deal with it, or leave. You’d be saving us a lot of money either way.

-Me

Sunday

AIG to pay MORE bonuses!

I could throw up! AIG is going to pay out $165 million in BONUSES!!!!!!! WHAT! WHY? Look…if I am the one paying YOUR salary then you don’t have the RIGHT to pay out $165 MILLION in BONUSES!!! When you accepted government help, you put ownership of your company in MY hands and I say the bonuses are DONE!!! Each person in the company will be receiving $112,000. Do those fat cats on Wall Street not realize that $112,000 is more than double what most Americans make every YEAR??!?!? And that’s their bonus????

WAKE UP to REALITY!! Come down to OUR way of living. For, say, even a day!

The problem is that the people who got us into this mess don’t WANT to wake up! They would rather keep living their fat cat lifestyles than admit they made a mistake. I wonder if some of them aren’t worried they’ll get fired soon so they’re trying to stock up as much money as possible. That might be wise, if they hadn’t committed fraud to get us into this mess in the first place.

What infuriates me the MOST, though, is that the execs actually had their lawyers threaten to sue AIG if they didn’t make the payments. What threats do THEY get for committing fraud and getting us into this mess?

It’s time for us to let them fall flat on their faces and see the consequences of their actions. If we don’t, they will just continue to do the same things that got them into this mess expecting that America will bail them out again…afraid of what will happen if we don’t.

Okay. Rant done. For now.

-Me

Saturday

HR 875: The Truth

There are a lot of misconceptions out about House Resolution 875 and Senate Resolution 510, the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009. A lot of this misinformation has people fearing this bill will do things that it just won’t do. Does that mean I think it’s a good bill that should pass? ABSOLUTELY NOT! However, if we are going to be concerned about it, then we need to be concerned for the right reasons.

I have found that we are much more likely to be taken seriously when we call and/or write our congressmen and women if we are well-informed about the issues. Granted, many of our congressmen and women wouldn’t know what the bill you were calling about included if it bit them in the face. Still, that shouldn’t stop US from reading and being informed!

I’ve heard lavish claims regarding this bill.

I’ve heard that Monsanto sponsored the resolution. I don’t know if this is true or not, but I don’t like Monsanto nor the things they have been doing. It wouldn’t surprise me if they had put money into this bill. However, I’ve yet to see anything concrete that tells me they definitely had something to do with it. I am told that people believe Monsanto is involved because one of the main sponsors of the bill (Rose Delauro) is married to a Monsanto employee (Stanley Greenberg). I'm in the process of investigating that right now. Still, even if he DID work there, that isn't concrete evidence that they were involved, but it certainly smells of conflict-of-interest...at the least.

According to Monsanto, Greenberg merely did contract work for them more than ten years ago. Being that this information comes directly from Monsanto and that most of the rest of what they say in this article regarding HR 875 isn't true, I don't know that we can trust the validity of that information. The Las Vegas Review Journal gives a little more information on Mr. Greenberg and his supposed connection to HR 875. I know that politicians have been known to lie (stop snickering). I also know that Monsanto has NOT had the best intentions regarding our food supply. So, take the information and the possible connections given the information we know as you will.

Some have said there will be a $1 million fee for each infraction. Again, I'm just not seeing it. I see where the groups formed will determine fees, but no fees are yet listed within the legislation. For what it's worth, I don't think any legislation that doesn't lay out details like this in advance should be passed. The claims of $1 million, though, just aren't there. (Update: I had a commenter point out to me that I had, in fact, missed something in my original reading of this bill. I apologize. Call it tiredness after reading through the entire bill. By the time I got to the 400 section, I apparently missed something. I have updated with the bill text below. Here's an overview: It states that the civil penalty for violating any portion of the act could be up to $1 million. However, it THEN goes on to say that each day that the violation continues will be considered a separate offense generating yet another fee. So yes. It is there.)

I’ve heard that this bill will make it illegal to sell, buy, or use heirloom seeds. I read the entire bill and find nothing even remotely close to that within HR 875 or HR 814 (a related bill). It is entirely possible that there is yet another related bill that includes such information. If this is the case I would ask you to please send me the info, but thus far I have seen nothing that substantiates this claim.

I have also heard that this bill will force home gardeners, local farmers, and organic farmers to use certain amounts of pesticides. Again, I have found nothing that substantiates this claim. I have found information regarding them limiting the type of fertilizer used. I understand they are trying to be safe and prevent e-coli, but I still don’t think it is right for them to attempt to regulate EVERYONE’S use of a particular substance because of the reckless regard of a few. If there is something in there that I am missing, again, PLEASE point it out to me.

There have also been those who have said that people are exaggerating regarding HR 875 and causing an unnecessary panic. Well…yes and no. There are some things (see the above 2 paragraphs) that are circulating that I have been unable to substantiate. However, their MAIN concern-that it could lead to regulation over local farmers selling at farmer’s markets and/or home gardeners- is, sadly, true. While this bill doesn’t specifically list home gardeners or local farmers, it doesn’t specifically exclude them either. With legislation, nothing should ever be assumed. If something or someone is not specifically excluded within legislation, then those considering such legislation must consider that those things or people COULD be interpreted as being subject to regulation under the legislation either immediately upon its passing or sometime down the road.

There have been cries of this resolution taking away the 10th amendment rights of states. This, unfortunately, is also true. They are doing so by making everything having to do with food federalized and saying that the states are forced, by this legislation, to adhere to the federal standards. They are effectively taking from the states something that belongs in the hands of the states. This is not new. This is not uncommon. This is and has been happening regularly which is why 32 states now have filed for sovereignty.

There is a section in there discussing the prohibition of “conflict of interest”. Given that this is the government and politics we’re talking about; I don’t expect much here in the way of true, unbiased regulation.

By far, my favorite part of the of the legislation is where they state that NAIS became a law in 2002. Um...No. The National Animal Identification System (NAIS) has NOT been passed into law yet, and certainly didn't become law back in 2002. It wasn't even proposed then!

This bill will also affect hunters who intend on processing the meat they kill. Some who self-process (very few) will get away with doing it themselves and no one will be any the wiser. If, however, a hunter takes his meat elsewhere to have it processed then it would fall under HR 875 even though it would be consumed by the hunter himself. HR 814 also has implications relating to hunters.

House resolution 814, a companion bill, is also currently before the house. If you have any questions, would like to add to what I have said, or show me where I can confirm the other rumors that are floating about 875, please e-mail me or comment below.

Could it be argued that they intended this to be used for corporations and that since we've had food issues lately we should just let them pass it and keep our mouths shut knowing what their actual intentions are? Perhaps. In my experience, though, our government doesn't work that way. If they actually intend for something to be a certain way then they need to state so in the legislation. There are few politicians who when given latitude to take something beyond its original intent will choose not to do so. My point? If they have the ability to do something within a bill, then it is likely that they eventually will. If we don't like what they will have the ability to do with a bill, then we should insist that it not be passed until it is written to our satisfaction. Remember, THEY work for US; not the other way around!

If you are not happy with what you have read so far or with what you read in the original resolution, then please contact your representatives and senators and let them know ASAP. I have heard rumors that they are trying to push this through in the next 2 weeks to avoid too much outcry. That in & of itelf should be a crime, in my oft-humbled opinion.

You can find the complete resolution as it currently stands by going here. In the search query field enter “875” (without the quotes) to see the house resolution. (You are looking for HR875 when the results come up.) Enter “510” (without the quotes) to see the senate resolution. (You are looking for S510 when the results come up.) I have yet to read the senate version.

Everything I have said thus far comes from the house version. I’ll be reading the senate version in just a bit and will update if necessary once I’m done.

I have included parts of the proposed legislation below. You will find my comments regarding each section in bold italics immediately following each section. Warning, this is long and tedious, but if you want to know what's in the bill, I'd recommend you take the time to read it here or on the Congressional sites. I do not include the entire bill below, but sections I have found to be relevant.
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Section 1, Section 3 (Definitions):

(5) CATEGORY 1 FOOD ESTABLISHMENT- The term `category 1 food establishment' means a food establishment (other than a seafood processing establishment) that slaughters, for the purpose of producing food, animals that are not subject to inspection under the Federal Meat Inspection Act or poultry that are not subject to inspection under the Poultry Products Inspection Act. (This would include local farmers slaughtering for their families &/or friends & neighbors &/or those doing so at Farmer's markets, etc. In other words, "anyone not currently subject to inspection"...everyone.)

(6) CATEGORY 2 FOOD ESTABLISHMENT- The term `category 2 food establishment' means a seafood processing establishment or other food establishment (other than a category 1 establishment) not subject to inspection under the Federal Meat Inspection Act, the Poultry Products Inspection Act, or the Egg Products Inspection Act, that processes raw seafood or other raw animal products, whether fresh or frozen, or other products that the Administrator determines by regulation to pose a significant risk of hazardous contamination. (Again...this would include local farms selling raw milk, raw cheese, raw eggs, etc. for personal use, for use by friends &/or family, or for use by those who own shares in their livestock..."other raw animal products, whether fresh or frozen...")

(7) CATEGORY 3 FOOD ESTABLISHMENT- The term `category 3 food establishment' means a food establishment (other than a category 1 or category 2 establishment) that processes cooked, pasteurized, or otherwise ready-to-eat seafood or other animal products, fresh produce in ready-to-eat raw form, or other products that pose a risk of hazardous contamination. (Note the absence of the word "sells"...simply, "that processes...fresh produce in ready-to-eat raw form..." This would include those growing food for their own family's consumption, food for consumption by their family &/or friends & neighbors, etc. as well as those selling at local farmer's markets.)

(8) CATEGORY 4 FOOD ESTABLISHMENT- The term `category 4 food establishment' means a food establishment that processes all other categories of food products not described in paragraphs (5) through (7).

(9) CATEGORY 5 FOOD ESTABLISHMENT- The term `category 5 food establishment' means a food establishment that stores, holds, or transports food products prior to delivery for retail sale. (Just in case we weren't sure before, we can now be sure that farms holding foods at their farms prior to delivery for retail sale at a farmer's market would be included here.)

(13) FOOD ESTABLISHMENT-
(A) IN GENERAL- The term `food establishment' means a slaughterhouse (except those regulated under the Federal Meat Inspection Act or the Poultry Products Inspection Act), factory, warehouse, or facility owned or operated by a person located in any State that processes food or a facility that holds, stores, or transports food or food ingredients. (This would kindly include any location...local farm or otherwise that holds, stores, or transports foods as they typically do when they're waiting for delivery to a farmer's market or delivering food to a farmer's market.)

(B) EXCLUSIONS- For the purposes of registration, the term `food establishment' does not include a food production facility as defined in paragraph (14), restaurant, other retail food establishment, nonprofit food establishment in which food is prepared for or served directly to the consumer, or fishing vessel (other than a fishing vessel engaged in processing, as that term is defined in section 123.3 of title 21, Code of Federal Regulations). (Here they kindly exclude a local soup kitchen, restaurants, or your next church dinner. Ironically, I would think food storage &/or prep practices at a restaurant would contribute significantly to the overall health of those consuming such food. But, alas, they get a pass on this one.)

(14) FOOD PRODUCTION FACILITY- The term `food production facility' means any farm, ranch, orchard, vineyard, aquaculture facility, or confined animal-feeding operation. (And just in case we had any doubts, they clarify here that "any" farm, ranch...one privately owned, operated, and consumed from would be included here, orchard, vineyard, etc.)

(19) PROCESS- The term `process' or `processing' means the commercial slaughter, packing, preparation, or manufacture of food. (Commercial only defined as made for sale? Local farms selling locally only apply?)
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Sec. 201 (a) (2) ensure that persons who produce, process, or distribute food meet their responsibility to prevent or minimize food safety hazards related to their products. ("...Persons?" Not companies, but "persons"...)

(c) Program Elements- In carrying out the program, the Administrator shall--
(1) adopt and implement a national system for the registration of food establishments and foreign food establishments, as provided in section 202 of this Act; (Remember, we already established that any person growing food for consumption by a human or an animal is included. Ready to register your backyard fruit & veggie garden?) Can we say, "Civil Disobedience" boys & girls?

(2) adopt and implement a national system for regular unannounced inspection of food establishments (Nope. Not gonna give you permission to drop in unannounced to "inspect" my home. Last time I checked, legislation that violates the Constitution does not constitute a valid warrant.)

(3) require and enforce the adoption of preventive process controls in food establishments, based on the best available scientific and public health considerations and best available technologies; (What exactly is this?)

(12) provide technical assistance to farmers and food establishments that are small business concerns (meeting the requirements of section 3(a) of the Small Business Act and the regulations promulgated thereunder) to assist with compliance with the requirements of this Act. (Don't need nor do I want your "assistance"..."technical" or not. This would cover a local farm operating as a small business via selling on their land, at local farmer's markets, or through a herd-share program.)
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Sec. 202
(a) In General- Any food establishment or foreign food establishment engaged in manufacturing, processing, packing, or holding food for consumption in the United States shall register annually with the Administrator. (We've already established that they consider a local farmer & a family growing food in their back yard as "food establishments". If they are manufacturing (i.e.-growing) food for consumption in the US then they shall be required to register. Um. NO! I am NOT registering my back yard garden with the US. Try again.)

There's a whole bunch of other junk in this section as well including how they can make you re-register, charge fees which are not defined and could likely be costly as a result, etc. You know, a bunch of other "junk".
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Sec. 203 (c) Specific Hazard Controls- The Administrator may require any person with responsibility for or control over food or food ingredients to adopt specific hazard controls, if such controls are needed to ensure the protection of the public health. (Is this what people think would force farmers &/or local gardeners to use chemicals? I guess I could see that.)
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Sec. 204 (a) In General- To protect the public health, the Administrator shall establish by guidance document, action level, or regulation and enforce performance standards that define, with respect to specific foods and contaminants in food, the level of food safety performance that a person responsible for producing, processing, or selling food shall meet. (Here again, leaves it open to anyone who produces, processes, or sells food; even home gardeners and local farmers.)

Sec. 204 (c) (1) (D) in the absence of data to support a performance standard described in subparagraph (A), (B), or (C), standards that define required performance on the basis of reliable information on the best reasonably achievable performance, using best available technologies, interventions, and practices. (I’m pretty sure this is another area where people think, “…using best available interventions…” could require the use of chemicals or pesticides even on a home garden, local farm, &/or organic farm.)
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Sec.206
(d) Variances- States and foreign countries that export produce intended for consumption in the United States may request from the Administrator variances from the requirements of the regulations under subsection (c). A request shall--
(1) be in writing;
(2) describe the reasons the variance is necessary;
(3) describe the procedures, processes, and practices that will be followed under the variance to ensure produce is not adulterated; and
(4) contain any other information required by the Administrator. (What matters here? The fact that FOREIGN countries that export produce intended for consumption in the US CAN ASK FOR AN EXEMPTION TO THESE REGULATIONS!!!! Help me out here!! If their intent is to ensure our food is safe and MOST of the unsafe food has come from overseas then WHY exactly are we going to allow overseas companies to exempt themselves? Isn't this defeating to their alleged purpose for this act? Unless, of course, they actually have another purpose that has nothing to do with protecting our food supply at all.)
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Sec. 210 (2) EXISTING LAWS- For purposes of this subsection, the Administrator should review the following:
(d) Relationship to Other Requirements
(D) The National Animal Identification System as authorized by the Animal Health Protection Act of 2002 (7 U.S.C. 8301 et seq.). (Um…The National Animal Identification System (NAIS) is NOT currently law and CERTAINLY wasn’t law in 2002!!! It was fought HEAVILY last year because of its strict requirements that would only charge one fee for a corporation such as Tyson which has thousands of chickens, but would charge an individual farmer a HIGH fee PER animal…the cost wouldn’t have even been close to comparable.)
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Sec. 301 (c)
(2) COMPONENTS OF ANALYSIS- The analysis under subsection (b)(1) may include--
(A) a comparison of the safety of commercial processing with the health hazards associated with food that is harvested for recreational or subsistence purposes and prepared noncommercially; (In case you didn't read that right, it will require, "...comparison to foods harvested for recreational or subsistence purposes or prepared noncommercially" Still doubting whether individuals growing food for their own consumption will be included in this legislation?)
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Sec. 302 (b)
(2) to develop standardized formats for written and broadcast advisories; (I don't know about you, but I'm all kinds of happy that they'll be attempting to control media with this bill as well. Hope they know that bloggers don't listen very well to intimidation or fake, unconstitutional legislation.)
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Sec. 303 Research (a)
(5) develop food consumption data; (I'm curious to know how
they intend on developing "food consumption data" with
current methods. I suspect how they'll do it, but I haven't
seen confirmation so I won't mention it here...yet)
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SEC. 401. PROHIBITED ACTS.
It is prohibited--
(3) for a food establishment or foreign food establishment to fail to register under section 202, or to operate without a valid registration; (How about it's unconstitutional to make people register their home gardens? That's what I thought. No. I won't be registering. And again...can everyone say, "CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE" with me!)

(4) to refuse to permit access to a food establishment or food production facility for the inspection and copying of a record as required under sections 205(f) and 206(a) (See note on #3)
(5) to fail to establish or maintain any record or to make any report as required under sections 205(f) and 206(b) (Again...see note on #3)

(6) to refuse to permit entry to or inspection of a food establishment as required under section 205; (Again...note on #3)
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SEC. 405. CIVIL AND CRIMINAL PENALTIES.
(a) Civil Sanctions-
(1) CIVIL PENALTY-
(A) IN GENERAL- Any person that commits an act that violates the food safety law (including a regulation promulgated or order issued under the food safety law) may be assessed a civil penalty by the Administrator of not more than $1,000,000 for each such act. (This would be the $1 million for each offense that people are worried about. Unfortunately, it doesn't stop there.)
(B) SEPARATE OFFENSE- Each act described in subparagraph (A) and each day during which that act continues shall be considered a separate offense. (Not only is there UP TO $1 million for EACH offense, but EACH DAY that you continue in your violation of this act will count as a SEPARATE offense! This could add up quickly for the backyard farmer...even if they're NOT charged the full $1 million.)

Thursday

Parents to Blame for Childhood Obesity?

Some genius felt the need to do a survey or study (no doubt paid for by our government). According to Live Science, that study had mind-blowing results: Parents are to Blame for Childhood Obesity.

Gee. Ya’ Think?

That doesn’t mean that genetics can’t play a role for both thin & overweight children, but the bottom line still stands. You ARE what you eat. Or, more aptly put, your children are what you feed them!

Did we really need a probably multi-million dollar study to tell us this? I’m sure someone, somewhere felt that this study was necessary (like those getting paid for conducting the study).

However, when it’s MY money being used please consult me first. ‘Cause I could have given you the answer for MUCH cheaper. Like, I only charge $100,000 for such answers (or a new, fancy house…whichever is cheaper in today’s economy).

-Me

Friday

Designer Babies?

What if you could know what your child "should" be?

Great news! You can! And I think it's downright insane.

Do people in the US really not know that this is already being done in China & Russia? They may not use actual DNA tests (although they might now), but they hand-pick the young children whom they decide will begin training for the Olympics based on their family history, athletic ability, & body size/shape.

Let me reprhase that...This was started in two COMMUNIST countries! I know Russia is not officially communist now, but they still practice this model.

I think it's outrageous to DNA test your child to see if they could/should be a particular type of athelete. How about letting your child try different activities and letting THEM...NOT a DNA test decide who and what they want to be?

Yes, it might mean Jr. chooses to play the Cello instead of becoming an Olympian. Don't you think that's HIS choice to make, though?

As parents, we are to train our children in the way they should go (in Christ), not force a particular profession on them!

-Me

Thursday

Internet Securiy Concerns?

Call me pessimistic. Call me jaded. Call me distrustful of governmental authorities who begin expressing supposed concern for my safety.

History has shown that shortly after a governmental authority begins to express concerns about my safety in a particular area...I lose more of my privacy, more of my rights, and more of my freedoms...all in the name of "protecting me and ensuring my safety".

NO THANK YOU! I don't WANT your concern! I don't WANT your protection. I don't WANT your safety...especially not if they come at the loss of my Constitutional freedoms and rights!

If you read this article you'll see that the "deep concern" for safety is right now safely in the hands of German officials. Again...history has shown that what starts in one developed country will slowly...but ever so surely seep into the others.

-Me