Tag Archives: China

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

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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

 

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 . . .

Outer Space Treaty


orion-image

While reading the newspaper today, it was mentioned that on this day back in 1967 the Outer Space Treaty was agreed upon and entered into force. This agreement prohibited placing weapons of mass destruction on the moon or elsewhere in space. Space exploration was recognized as a peaceful endeavor and a benefit to all mankind , among other things.

That was almost 50 years ago . . . I can’t help but wonder what will happen in the next 50 years. Will Russia, India, China, and North Korea honor this treaty as they excel in their space exploration?

Just something I was thinking about . . .

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 . . .