Tag Archives: American infrastructure

It’s gonna be an entertaining year!


{Laughing} Not sure what to say about this picture that is going around on Facebook. It was even more interesting reading the comments {laughing again}. I have no idea who Jim Ballard is, other than he works at Tea Party Patriots – well that says a lot. Is it just me, or is this the stuff nightmares are made of? Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have major issues with every person on this “dream ticket,” just most of them. Two of them, I don’t know anything about, yet. I’ve heard Dr. Ben Carson speak, and he seems to have some sensibility. But the top three in the photo – oh my lord, sounds like chaos to me . . .

What do you think about all of this? Do you think Donald Trump has any real staying power? I have always said we need someone in office who is not a politician, but I also concluded that thought with someone who understands what it’s like to struggle to pay their bills, you know the common person – not someone even further removed from reality. Is it just me, or does it seem like the only thing worse than a true politician is a one-percenter?

Just something I was thinking about . . .

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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

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 . . .

She Flew With a Fever


I swear this was not what I had in mind for my next post. I have some other things I am working on, but I just can’t believe healthcare worker Amber Vinson got on a plane knowing she had a fever and knowing she had been exposed to Thomas Duncan, and Nina Pham, the other nurse who has been diagnosed with Ebola. She of all people KNEW BETTER! Vinson has now been diagnosed with Ebola, and flown to Atlanta for treatment.

When asked how this could happen, that one of these exposed healthcare workers could get on a plane and travel during the incubation period when they were supposed to be being monitored for symptoms – the answer the official gave was the one we keep hearing over and over – Well, somebody dropped the ball there.

I heard another official say that the risk of the infection spreading was “very very low,” but we all know that’s bullshit. Why don’t they just tell the truth – though the risk appears to be low, this is a dangerous disease, and everyone must be vigilant, period. AND they haven’t been!! Those that could be exposed need to be trained thoroughly and provided the appropriate protective equipment. AND they haven’t been!! It’s been reported that the nurses who treated Duncan also treated other patients. Those in charge really are not taking this issue seriously. How could they be, with this type of decision-making and resulting behavior?

And I’m sorry, regardless whether anyone kept Vinson from flying or not – SHE should’ve known better, she did know better, she just didn’t care. Shit, I take more precautions to keep from exposing people when I have a cold. I have to admit, I was fucking blown away when I heard she got on a plane knowing she had a fever and her exposure history. I could go on about that, but serves no purpose.

[I have to add a post-script here: A few hours after the initial report that Vinson traveled by plane, it was discovered that she DID contact the CDC and inform them that she had a fever. The CDC, in their infinite wisdom, told her to go ahead and fly, as her fever was still under the threshold they had set. The CDC , in my opinion, have just lost an immense amount of credibility by not erring on the side of caution. I pray that mistake doesn’t come back to haunt them, as well as the rest of us.]

I said in my last blog – 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. Well, we now have proof that exposed people are out there in the general population coming in contact with others who have no idea.

There are 70+ other healthcare workers who came in contact with Duncan, not counting how many others who have come into contact with Pham and Vinson. So far, none of the original 70+ people are being quarantined, knowingly allowing them to possibly expose others.

AND while all of this is going on, and we have turned our attention to our own inattention to precaution against Ebola and are now scrambling to stop the possible impending crisis, I can’t help but wonder what else might be going on elsewhere – while we aren’t paying attention?

Just something I was thinking about . . .

Fine & Boycott the Bastards


stop-outsourcing

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

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.

 

Russia and Your Space Station


I read an interesting article in the paper a few days back regarding all the upheaval in Ukraine with Russia, and how this is affecting the relationship between Russia and the U.S. when it comes to the International Space Station (ISS). I know a little about NASA and the ISS and its operations, and I can tell you this issue is troubling to me. We have an ISS mission operations control center in Russia, as well as here in the U.S. at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. Our astronauts train in Russia for the Soyuz flights that ferry them back and forth to the ISS. The following is an excerpt from an internal NASA memo:

“Given Russia’s ongoing violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, until further notice, the U.S. Government has determined that all NASA contacts with Russian Government representatives are suspended, unless the activity has been specifically excepted. This suspension includes NASA travel to Russia and visits by Russian Government representatives to NASA facilities, bilateral meetings, email, and teleconferences or videoconferences. At the present time, only operational International Space Station activities have been excepted. In addition, multilateral meetings held outside of Russia that may include Russian participation are not precluded under the present guidance.” SOURCE: NASA Watch

From what I know, there are teleconferences at least weekly and emails probably daily. Before each flight of a vehicle to the ISS, Flight Readiness Reviews and Stage Operations Readiness Reviews are typically held and ALL international parties attend in person or via teleconference. Most configuration changes of any kind often require all international partners to agree and sign-off on. I have no idea what exactly has been deemed essential and how this is impacted by the sanctions the U.S. currently has in place with our partner in space.

We are dependent on Russia to get our astronauts to the ISS. We have much invested in the way of funding and are gaining enormous benefits in areas that will not even be realized for years – the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer could possibly change the basic concepts of physics; medical studies regarding cancer, aging, medications, etc.; as well as many other important scientific and technological advances.  When NASA’s Space Shuttle Program ended, with no crew vehicle to take its place, the price of the seats on the Russian Soyuz went up, now costing approximately $70 million. Sometimes two of those seats belong to us, meaning that cost doubles.

I’ve read that Charles Bolden, NASA’s administrator has said Russia’s space agency Roscosmos will continue to cooperate with NASA as far as providing our astronauts a ride to and from the space station. He has assured that Russia depends on us and can’t run the station as we supply many essential power and operating systems. He mentioned in 2008, when there were diplomatic issues involving Georgia, there were no problems. Well at that point the ISS was not completely assembled. I doubt both of the robotic arms were onboard and I’m pretty sure the satellite deployers had not been delivered. The robotic arms are used for so many tasks and operations and the small satellite deployers are a definite advantage in this newer area of technology. In my opinion, the only guarantee we have is that Russia wants our money.

My understanding is that the Russian cosmonauts spend the majority of their time living and working in the Russian modules and predominantly only work on their own science investigations – which if you ever look at a NASA Expedition Press Kit, these science experiments/investigations are written in Russian, so if you do not know the language or have an interpreter, most people have no idea what the Russians are really working on. (Though I am sure someone at NASA does.) They may even use their own communication systems separate of NASA’s, as well.

Also, if I understand correctly, the Russian Zvezda Service Module is the main piece of the station when it comes to powering all other systems and if it goes down – the whole thing can die. Having said all that, the Russians could just shut the parts of the U.S. side of the station down that they didn’t want to use and that would be that. I’d be willing to bet, there’s probably ways to disconnect the U.S. modules and let them deorbit, if so desired.

The space station was conceived as an engineering feat, to result in not only great advances in science and human space exploration, but also as a model for international cooperation – peace, compromise and teamwork. Under the circumstances though, I can’t help but wonder if Russia would try and use their advantage and take over the station.

I don’t know, and I am not an expert on any of these things. I am just thinking about the possibilities of what can happen with operations of the space station and the ramifications of the state of the world and our own affairs in this country presently. WE have a lot at stake here and I don’t think most of us really even know it. It’s not just about who owns, runs, funds the ISS and the science we get from that – it’s about who ultimately owns the skies with satellite technology and just as an aside, human space exploration.

I just realized North Korea has a space agency. North Korea has a space agency and China has landed a rover on and is exploring the moon and Russia is the only way our astronauts can travel back and forth to the space station that we as a nation and as taxpayers own a big part of. Regardless of your opinions of NASA, space exploration, and its funding . . . Is it just me or is this picture disturbing?

Just something I was thinking about . . .

Why Do We Keep Giving Our Jobs Away?


This is an article I originally wrote back in December 2004 about the problem of outsourcing American jobs to other countries. I recently found it and was surprised at how nothing has changed in the last ten years and this piece is still pretty spot on. Actually things may be even worse. There’s a greater number of aging baby boomers to work some of these jobs, and they are having an even harder time, often being terminated from their jobs 10-15 years before retirement age, now dipping into their retirement savings to live – but that is another story for a different day.

I hope this trend of corporate greed at the expense of this country’s health and welfare changes soon. Personally, I think if you outsource jobs to other countries that can be done by American workers, you should be heavily taxed. I think companies who maintain their workforce in the United States should be given tax breaks, at least for a period of time.

I note in my article I am NOT an economist or historian, nor am I necessarily politically inclined, so I don’t know all the background about these types of things, but I know enough to know they can be done judiciously and pragmatically. Of course, this will most likely cut into some profit margins – so though it can be done, I am sure it would be a fight. In honor of Throwback Thursday, I thought I would share it with you & see what you think.

 Outsourcing American Jobs Dangerous Trend

I love to read Molly Ivins’ nationally syndicated column. Today’s article was Ivin’s review of two books. One of the books mentioned, “When Work Disappears: The World of the New Urban Poor” by William Julius Wilson, discussed the problems with joblessness in the inner city ghettos. She uses a quote from the book discussing his solutions, which she states as critical for all of us not just for poor inner-city blacks – “The problems of joblessness and social dislocation in the inner city are, in part, related to the processes in the global economy that have contributed to greater inequality & insecurity among American workers in general & to the failure of U.S. social policies to adjust to these processes. It is therefore myopic to view the problems of jobless ghettos as if they were separate from those that plague the larger society.”

This made me think, as I read, that a large percentage of the American workforce is now in danger of this “jobless ghetto” syndrome. I heard President Bush say, during one of the debates, that the key to ending unemployment and government assistance needs is EDUCATION for 21st century jobs. The way I see it, the market is becoming considerably service and technology based. The jobs of the 21st century are huge in the area of technical assistance (development, programming, maintenance) and customer service. These are also the jobs that have been outsourced to other countries, for considerably cheaper labor costs. This is a dangerous trend that has been on the rise in the last five years.

Now, I am not an economics or history expert, but the way it appears to me is that in the last half century jobs have increasingly changed in proportion concerning manufacturing and service-oriented jobs. In the early years of this country up until the first half of the 20th century, manufacturing was a huge part of the economic base. The last half of the 20th century saw a large majority of these jobs being outsourced to other countries because it was cheaper for the manufacturer. This left the service-oriented and technology fields as a way of providing jobs for American citizens. As proved from my last five calls to Dell, and other computer parts manufacturers they are involved with, ALL of their technical support has been outsourced, often times to places where the technicians’ English is accented so heavily, even if they are the most intelligent in the world, I can’t understand a word coming out of their mouths.

If we are sending all the manufacturing, customer service-oriented and technology jobs overseas, what jobs does that leave for Americans? Medical professionals, lawyers, dry-cleaners, and fast-food/restaurant jobs are a few of the jobs left. Do you recognize the large gap in salaries between the first two jobs I mentioned and the second two jobs – the haves and the have-nots?

Do not misunderstand me, I understand the importance of a global economy, but in my opinion we have taken the concept entirely too far. When there is no balance, a considerable amount of middle-class jobs disappear from the U.S. landscape. If this trend continues, jobless ghettos could be as common as tent cities during the Great Depression.

Just something I was thinking about, something I think about often actually.

(And RIP Molly Ivins, you are missed by many!!)

China’s Moon?


When our government decided to cancel NASA’s Constellation Program several years back, which would have taken us back to the moon and to Mars, Homer Hickman (author of Rocket Boys and October Sky) wrote a short story set in the not-so-distant future. This was his take on America in a “post-NASA” world, a world where the United States is not the leader in human space flight exploration.  I wanted to share it with you, as I have some specific opinions that are of a similar topic I will be writing on in the future, and thought this would be a perfect preface.  It’s an interesting tale, for sure – and a little disturbing to say the least.

I hope you find it interesting, as well, whether you support NASA’s endeavors or not. Oh, and were you aware that China landed its first rover on the moon last December?

The Boy Who Looked at the Moon by Homer Hickman

Just something I was thinking about . . .