Category Archives: American Infrastructure

Do You Know What You Are Putting In Your Mouth


march_against_monsanto_2BABYNOTEXP

When we go to the grocery store to shop for our food, typically we have over 47,000 products to choose from. Do you have any idea where some of this food comes from, how it’s made, who’s controlling it, who’s making the profits, and who’s overseeing the safety? I’ve been hearing rumblings that were quite disturbing for years, but lately, it’s hard to get away from the “rumors” with so many different ways for people to communicate.

Regarding grocery store produce, since there are no seasons anymore, fruit is usually picked before it’s ripe, ripened later with ethylene gas. And just what is ethylene gas?

After doing some research, I have discovered that the way we eat, meaning the way our food is grown, has changed a lot in the last 50 years, more so than in other time frame of our history.  I have tried to ensure I have done valid research, on this subject in particular, because it affects my family, my grandkids, me, and you and yours.

I am old enough to remember that when I was growing up autism was rare. I knew no one with it. I knew a lot of kids and I was the only one I knew with asthma, which my mother also had from the time she was a little girl. There was no ADD or ADHD, and a good percentage of children were not on prescription medication.  It is no longer that way.

From early on, I wanted to raise a few livestock of my own, and have my own garden, and buy other essentials in their natural state from my neighbors. I almost made that dream happen. See, I was paying attention to what was going on long before I even realized it.

As I began to really pay attention to what I was serving my family, I noticed that in tracing food back to its origins, that most of it was not grown or raised on farms, but produced in factories, factories that from the outside look like farms, but are anything but when you begin to understand how they operate as large assembly lines and/or scientific experiments.

Just as some have said about our communication and media sources becoming too sanitized distributing the same messages via a very small group of owners with specific interests being dangerous (another topic for another day), so too is our food supply.

Much of the food found on the shelves of the average grocery store is made and controlled by a small group of multi-national corporations – from the seed to the end product. Technically, a handful of companies are controlling our food system in the United States – what we eat and how it’s produced.

Big pharma and corporate chemical companies, with their genetically modified experimental commodities, are threaded thick through this food tapestry. And you might be surprised at the number of people who work back and forth between these corporations and government regulatory agencies over the years – I know I was.

Though food is absolutely necessary to our survival, don’t ever kid yourself, IT IS BIG BUSINESS and it is not about sustaining the population and its health, it is about PROFIT, pure and simple.

Stay tuned if your interested, as I have more to say on this subject, just don’t want to make this post too long.

Anyway, just something I’ve been thinking about, for quite some time now . . .

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Tupperware® Got Me Thinking


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So my last post got me to thinking about Tupperware®. I love Tupperware® and have many pieces I bought years ago from a party I had. I even have a couple of very old pieces from my grandmas, back from the late 1940s and 1950s. After World War II, Earl Tupper modified his factory machines to mold raw polyethylene (developed for weapons use) into food containers – using a paint can as inspiration for the tight-fitting lids. Originally, Tupperware®  was made in the Massachusetts’ plastics industrial complex.

I emailed them last week, using the “Contact Us” link on their website, inquiring about where their products are manufactured. Several emails went back and forth, and I must admit they were very prompt with their responses. I was told that Tupperware® products are made all over the world – Mexico, Brazil, Venezuela, Portugal, France, Belgium, Greece, India, China, Korea, Japan and United States.

I was assured of their continued history of high quality and design and “all Tupperware® products meet all applicable laws and regulations for product safety in each country they are made.” I’m not sure what that means exactly. Do they mean that all countries manufacture products that meet all U.S. laws and regulations regarding health safety, or are they different in different countries? Pretty sure it was stated that way on their website, too.

Though their home office is in Orlando, Florida, their Customer Care Center is located in Mexico City. You know I asked, and I asked because I could tell from the way the email was composed. Again – that shit just pisses me off, though they were – again – prompt and most informative and polite. But their English writing skills weren’t great. Kind of scares me when big corporations don’t find good clear concise written communication important.

A Google search turned up a WP blog that stated “the Tupperware®  factory in the United States is located in Hemmingway, South Carolina.” Debra Todd Jordan, a Tupperware®  consultant, went on to say, “Each plant makes the items that are indigenous to their region.” So, if that’s correct, I can get on board with that – if nothing else saves on shipping and props up the economies using the products. Unfortunately, how those corporate taxes are handled I probably would not agree with.

Anyway, since I didn’t have my fingers in enough pies this week, I had to research this 😉 I am a glutton for punishment lately. Just thought I’d share what I found out. I haven’t bought any lately, but read in my research that now they are not marked with where they are made, just the Tupperware® mark. Where our medicines come from is next on my agenda – after . . .

Still working NaNoWriMo . . . still behind, but continuing to work it. I may not meet my goal, but damn it, I will be further along in this story than I have been. I posted a couple of snippets from the novel on my other blog, in the event you are interested in this type of reading. It is very different from this blog – that’s why I have more than one, my interests are varied, random, eclectic for sure.  My novel is fiction, with a little romance thrown in, more a story of life and how it plays out sometimes. There’s a lot of dialog. If you check it out, please leave me some feedback. I value and respect all of your opinions as writers in general. Having said that – don’t make me cry now 😉

All of a sudden I have a bunch of people wanting apple butter and this week blackberries are on sale for 88-cents a six-ounce container, so I have a few orders I have to fill this week. Doesn’t make much money, but brings in a little cash and I enjoy doing it. (Though my hands aren’t as good as they used to be and when you make this shit – if you’re doing it right, you’re gonna get burned LOL – seriously! Looking forward to that blackberry jam, though!!)

Listening to this right now – I find this to be good writing music sometimes, depending on my mood . . . plus it’s raining and the wind’s kicking, and the windchimes are singing – n~i~c~e.

Also, trying to keep up with y’all, slowly but surely 😉 I’m definitely becoming a binge reader, seemly stalking sites 🙂

Just some things I was thinking about ☮☮☮

[POSTSCRIPT – OH NO, the video I linked to has been removed . . . that’s never happened to me before. I hope I didnt just get added to some LIST somewhere, ya know what I mean 😉 I’m going to look for another link, but in case I don’t find one, the music was the soundtrack to the movie “Rush” from 1992, mostly instrumentals by Eric Clapton. Soulful, contemplative music for sure!]

nanoPoblano                                                                           NaBloPoMo_1114_465x287_NOV

Made in ‘WHERE?”


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I was so excited today when I found these little plastic containers (like Ziplock storage containers) that have snowmen and Merry Christmas and other holiday stuff on them to use for putting cookies, candy, other baked goods in for the holidays. They weren’t on my shopping list, as I was only going for more apples on sale for the apple butter I am making and selling now.

They were only about $1.69 a package (three in one package, and five in the other), BUT what made me so excited about these cheap plastic products is that they were not only BPA-free but MADE IN AMERICA!!! Not made in China, like just about everything else we come in contact with. (Again, let me say, I have nothing against China, per say, I just think we need to be making our own products and putting Americans to work.)

I was going through my grandkids Halloween candy yesterday, and I had to throw away a bunch of candy bracelets and rings and stuff – all made in China. I will not indulge in any food products made there, or pet products either. Especially not for my grandkids – food stuff, not pet stuff. Quite frankly, I can’t help but wonder if China is trying to poison us and the rest of the world with their inferior products – but that’s a whole blog post on its own!

This led me to start thinking about, and not for the first time, where in the hell all of our drugs – name brand and generic are being made, since that is not information we are typically privy to as consumers – though maybe we should be. I know I would like to know where the drugs I may have to take are coming from, since I take that much care in selecting other consumable goods I buy.

Do any of you know where your medications are made? Do you think this is important?

Okay – off to NaNoWriMo land – need to get in an hour or so tonight. Didn’t get much done last night, had to catch up with a few of your blogs – I was blog-jonesin’ 😉 But I am still at it!!

Just something I was thinking about . . .

nanoPoblano   NaBloPoMo_1114_465x287_NOV

 

Now the Panic Sets In


I am watching the Congressional Hearings on Ebola now. The CDC is looking really bad and in my opinion is not currently up for the task of protecting this country. Dr. Frieden, head of the CDC, was asked if he knew of any hospitals in Ohio that have practiced procedures for handling an Ebola patient. (Ohio is where Vinson flew to.) Dr. Frieden did not know if this has been done. If I was him, that would’ve been one of the first things I did after learning about Ms. Vinson’s travel.

Someone mentioned that Pham’s dog is being quarantined, and that old CDC reports noted that transmission to/from dogs is unknown, but suspect. This congressman then asked if we shouldn’t be imposing travel restrictions on animals – yet still no mention of actually imposing travel restrictions on people. And when I say restrictions – I don’t just mean preventing airplane travel.

School districts in Texas and Ohio have now closed some schools due to the risk of exposure.  I heard that Frontier Airlines has grounded their exposed employees – finally someone with a brain. Hopefully they are going to decontaminate the plane – though that is just one of the places Vinson exposed to the virus.

A nurse at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas stated that she had questioned the protective apparel at the time. She also said if she got sick, she would NOT go to the hospital she works for. Apparently, quite a few people are refraining from visiting that hospital – thank goodness.

And one last thing that keeps going through my mind – what exactly is meant by “monitoring” of the exposed people. (They may have asked that during the hearing, but if so I missed it.) And why are so many being allowed to “self-monitor?”

Just something I was thinking about . . .

Catching up with NASA & Ebola


There are a lot of things going on in the world these days. I need to catch up on a couple of things that are on my list of interests I like to keep an eye on. After editing, it dawned on me the title of this post might be a bit misleading – I apologize for that – but the NASA piece was short, and I liked the image. So, I’ll start with the cool stuff, and finish with the scary shit.orion-boarding-pass

NASA’s Human Exploration Space Program: NASA awarded Boeing and SpaceX the contracts to provide crew transportation – beginning with trips to the International Space Station targeted for 2017. I pretty much anticipated that they would get these contracts, as their designs were probably the furthest along. It helps that these companies are full of ex-NASA engineers, flight controllers, program managers, and even a few astronauts, as well as contractors in various positions,  that left NASA to build something in the way a new generation might. I sure hope we can eliminate our dependence on Russia by 2017. Not sure what else is going to shake out for the future . . . only time will tell at this point. But NASA’s Orion crew module – with Mars and other destinations in mind – is scheduled for its first exploration flight test this December. I’ve got my boarding pass 🙂 (Which is ironic, since I don’t fly!)

Ebola:  With the disease continuing to spread and the number of fatalities rising (close to 4500 so far), new cases have have been reported in Spain, and a few cities here. I’m afraid other places will also experience people contracting this virus. The U.S. has experienced its first case of the virus being spread from one person to another. Nina Pham, a nurse who had contact with Thomas Duncan the patient who died in Dallas earlier this month, has been diagnosed. I hope everyone that has come in contact with these patients is being quarantined and monitored. I can’t help but worry that someone has been missed, unnoticed, or unidentified.

Nurses in various cities have held rallies to voice their concern for the lack of preparedness for this infectious disease, though their employers (the hospitals) are saying they are fully prepared to handle these types of diseases. CNN reported nurses from the Texas hospital involved have anonymously complained to their union stating, “guidelines were constantly changing” and “there were no protocols” – the situation described of the handling of Duncan is exactly as I feared.

I read an article a few days back stating several issues that could increase the odds for a pandemic. I can’t remember all the points cited, and I didn’t get to read it all either, but the two that stuck out were if an infected person traveled to India or China, and the possibility for mutation and increased virility. (I have been trying to find that article so I could finish reading it, but haven’t yet.)

Stanford University Dr. David Sanders, who has studied the virus since 2003, commented on a news interview that Ebola can enter the lungs, via the airway side. With continued spreading of the virus, mutations could occur increasing virility, which could result in it becoming airborne.  He added that suppressing the outbreak in Africa is key to preventing it from continuing to spread globally. Well, we already know they have not been exactly successful in this endeavor.

Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, the CDC and a host of others are trying to figure out how Mr. Duncan’s nurse became infected. They believe it has to do with the removal of protective wear. Last I heard, they have honed in on the possibility that the nurses necks were exposed in some way. Pham is improving, since having a blood transfusion from one of the recent Ebola survivors.

As a side note, I heard the patient in Spain had a dog that was euthanized. Pham’s dog is in quarantine. I wonder if anything might be learned from this.

Some people feel that travel should be suspended from the affected countries where the outbreak began and is concentrated. Though I can certainly agree with that sentiment, I get the impression, in today’s global village mentality, this is not going to happen. After hearing what Dr. Sanders and others have said, I think those in charge need to re-examine how to proceed further for the best interests of the global community.

When I took a training class on Pandemic Preparedness a few years ago (they were mostly targeting influenza) it was noted that a pandemic would cause major impacts on society due to widespread restrictions on travel, as well as other closings and cancellations affecting schools, large gatherings, and businesses. It was stressed a pandemic could have the “potential for severe impact on domestic and world economy.” Hmm . . . (yes, I have to admit, it was not a subtle hmm!)

What do you think about suspending travel? Do you think they are handling this crisis properly, or in a lackadaisical manner? Do you believe a robust Pandemic Plan is in place nationally in your country or globally?

Just some things I was thinking about . . .

Fine & Boycott the Bastards


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Okay – so in the last three days I have had to call Comcast, Chase and my local credit union. Do you know where their customer service call centers are located – The Philippines (yeah, I asked!), every last one of them, even my credit union (which I must say surprised the shit out of me).

It’s no wonder people here can’t find jobs . . .

And don’t get me wrong, I want people in the Philippines to be able to work and eat and raise their families, but not at the expense of American’s doing without these jobs that President Bush-43 called the jobs of the 21st century.

Now, mind you, I have been out of work for over a year, though I am not a customer service person, but this kind of business practice affects us all!

I think everyone who does business this way should be heavily fined, and if possible boycotted!

Okay my rant for the day is done . . . (yes, this pisses me off!)

Just something I was thinking about . . . something I think about often, as a matter of fact! ☮

 

 

Autumn Leaves – The Politics at Hand


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Sept 21 WordPress Daily Prompt: Autumn Leaves

Changing colors, dropping temperatures, pumpkin spice lattes: do these mainstays of Fall fill your heart with warmth — or with dread?

I have mentioned that politics do not dominate my landscape per say. But I have to admit, when I read this prompt, I couldn’t help but think of politics and how the mid-term elections are coming up. I have also heard that mid-term elections typically have poor turnouts, which I understand, as I myself have skipped a few over the years.

I have to tell you, I am now making it my business to know who is running and who I am voting for. We have got to start instilling some change in this country, in the way problems/issues/legislative actions are approached and then dispositioned, in the way those who WE elect into office represent us once they are elected, and in the way we are actually represented overall as a whole – a constituency.

This takes a lot of research and a lot of time, but I am dedicated to it. I can’t afford not to – none of us can! Complacency leads to neglect, which leads to contempt – I can promise you, not because I want it to, but because it does.

Regardless of how you vote, and what your ideologies are – you have to ensure you educate yourself and make your voice heard. The “Old Guard” just doesn’t have their hand on the pulse of America, and they certainly aren’t hearing us.

Just something I was thinking about . . . ☮

biggestloser-didntvotenon-voter

What Was He Thinking??


Watching the news today – I know, it’s always an experience and often entertaining, and it has been a few days since I’ve watched any because I had to check out for awhile – and as I’m listening, the reporter starts talking about the color of President Obama’s suit at a news conference yesterday. It was tan, or what some would call taupe. Seriously, I’m not shitting you. I saw it, of course you know they had to show it, and it was a nice suit; I saw nothing wrong with it. (I haven’t seen the news conference yet, wasn’t engaged yesterday and have been busy today – but I will find it and watch it.)

Those that know me know I am not a fashion icon by any means, BUT come on people – with all the problems in the world, in our country and in our own lives – does the color of his suit really matter? Am I just an idiot for thinking it doesn’t??

Then one of my Facebook friends commented that some news reporter/commentator went on to chastise saying – after mentioning the suit debacle, of course – that President Obama stated that first he wanted to say something about some revised numbers on the economy, like real Americans cared about that after the beheading of James Foley and ISIS concerns. Then the president went on to say that we don’t have a strategy for ISIS.

Now I am a real American, and for the first time in decades, I have been unemployed for 15 months. I’m living off my retirement money and I have at least 15 years until I can retire. So I do care about the economy. That is most important to me at this moment. Having said that, what we ALL better be concerned about is that we don’t have a strategy to deal with ISIS, and if that’s not bad enough, now the whole world knows. The whole world also knows that those crazy ass Americans are in an uproar about the president’s suit color, not that their military has no plan.

Oh my goodness – as I am writing this, just heard the news reporting the color of Obama’s suit was the top trend on Twitter. That, my friends, is exactly why this country and maybe some other parts of the world are in the shape they are in. Look at the shit the “important people” – the communicators, the decision makers, the money makers/spenders, the policy makers – are focusing on. What the fuck is wrong with you people?!?

Okay – I am so not related to these people, I can tell you  . . .

I’m curious what y’all think about this, too.

Anyway just something I was thinking about it . . . and felt the need to rant about 😉

You Best Be Paying Attention ‘Cause Shift Happens


Many years ago I watched a video called “Shift Happens” – a real eye-opener on the world we now live in. Since then it has been updated a few times and has changed a bit. I found several out there, but this revision is by one of the the original creators and I found the info presented here, as far as numbers go, is the same used in the 2013 and 2014 versions. (Plus, I am not entirely sure who actually updated those with additional info.)

I can’t say I hope you enjoy the video, as it is not for pleasure, more as it is for pause, consideration, education, and maybe even enlightenment. The world is so different from the one I grew up in, and is even different from the one my kids grew up in. People born in the last decade have had just about every move they have made digitally tracked in some form or fashion. (That’s another topic for another day!)

We are not the greatest country in the world anymore (yes, we Americans often think that!) – if nothing else because our “natural” resources are lacking . . . our human resource is not only out-numbered, but out-educated, and possibly even out-motivated, it seems. Taking these things into consideration, maybe we need to start thinking about “re-inventing the wheel” as it pertains to our future or the United States may find it quite difficult to keep up or even compete.

I don’t know  – just something I was thinking about . . .

What do you think?

Is the Giant Panda Sleeping?


Let me start by saying that I have nothing against China or the Chinese people. What I am fixing to talk about is bigger and far more encompassing and quite frankly it’s not about the Chinese people either. It’s about governments and their desire for control and expansion. It’s about the second-largest economy in the world.  It’s about people in general not paying attention to what’s really going on around them – which is hard to do, as there is a lot of noise coming our way these days. Sometimes it’s hard to get a clear channel on anything.

Mainstream media is good at distracting people from what’s really important and needs our attention or consideration, by providing us lots of other crap to focus on. Right now one of those focuses is North Korea, Iran and Syria, as well it should be. But, we better not lose sight of the sleeping giant panda or fire-breathing dragon – however you choose to look at it. I’d be willing to bet there is a legend somewhere that tells the story of how one became the other . . .

Most of us are aware that we , the United States, owe China an immense amount of money — in the ballpark of $1.3 trillion, if my sources are correct. The U.S. government continues to borrow from them.

The Chinese have also been buying a considerable amount of U.S. assets over the past decade, with projections in U.S. investments of $15-20 billion a year over the next decade. They appear to be focusing on acquisitions in energy, financial services, food production, real estate, and manufacturing, as well as entertainment and technology. The Chinese own One Chase Manhattan Plaza and the General Motors building, in New York – both nice commercial real estate coups for sure. They own all the AMC Theaters.

Most of these assets are owned by the Chinese government, under various state-owned entities. China needs energy to fuel their rapidly growing industrial development, and have purchased power assets in Portugal, Brazil and the Philippines. They had an unsuccessful attempt to buy the U.S. oil company Unocal in 2005.

The Chinese government also purchased private equity assets that fund GM pensions, if I understood correctly. I want to do some more research on that, & a few other things. I have so many questions. Though these are my opinions, I do try to thoroughly research topics I am interested in, verifying my info with several sources. Most of this information came from sources like Reuters, Market Watch, LA Times, USA Today, Business Week, and Forbes – encompassing a variety of agendas.

There is concern about China’s foothold in technology and possible breaches in our national security. Some analysts think that it’s in China’s best interest to stay friendly with us, as our markets thrive, so do Chinese investments. But what if their overall strategic goal is to control or even own the U.S. in some unknown manifest destiny design. They have quite an established growing assertive military presence, as well. Regardless of what might happen, I would not want to be at the mercy of a Communist country.

A month or so back I happened across CNN doing a piece on The Guardian’s Predictions for the World in 2014. Predictions shared involving China were:

  • China will eventually be the world’s largest economy.
  • Though Western brands will continue to dominate, China will own them.
  • U.S. will soon celebrate Chinese holidays.
  • Western politicians will clamor for Chinese investors.

I don’t know, maybe it’s just me, but I find all of this a little disconcerting. I am not a political person, nor do I know much about economics. I realize the world is now a global economy, but maybe the U.S. is a little too open for business? And why do we do so much business with China, in particular? The government does not allow any partnering with them involving NASA, spaceflight, or manned exploration – but then again there is considerable technology involved in those endeavors and International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) come into play.

I will be writing about this again, as I have so many questions that are not answered and concerns I wish to address. I also did not want to make this post to awfully long, as I have lots more data to share. I would love to hear what you think about this, too. Is the giant panda a good business partner or a wolf in sheep’s clothing?

Anyway, just something I’ve been thinking about . . .

locator map of China

** I watched a most interesting program quite a few years back about China – I have been keeping an eye on this development for quite a few years now – their growth, increase in consumption, and interdependency with the United States. In all honesty, it was a bit disconcerting. This link no longer shows the ABC News/Bob Woodruff video, but you can read the accompanying story.