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Food Inc

I’m an avowed constitutional libertarian, and as such I thoroughly break out in a rash at the idea of heavy government regulation of just about everything. Below is an example of WHY I’m so anti federal regulation of so many things.

I watched a PBS show last night called Food, Inc. I believe the piece was created in order to cause regulation to either occur, or change, in order to make things work the way they should for the US consumer. Very well intentioned; however, the facts of the video only demonstrate that Uncle Sam is a master at not regulating things he should and sticking his nose where it doesn’t belong when he shouldn’t. And when he isn’t doing that, he’s just generally fouling up the process.

The Constitution is pretty clear that the federal government does have the right to regulate commerce within the states. This would include the food that is grown/raised and then processed for consumption by the general population. So, theoretically, if there is a problem with the food supply, the Federal organisations which were created to do so have the right to step in and make things right.

But, according to the Men in Black, they do not have the authority to close down food packaging plants and slaughterhouses which continually test above the acceptable limit for E-Coli and other nasties. Excuse me? What good is having a federal food regulator if it can’t? It’s not like I have the time to investigate which of my hamburger patties are ground at which plant and then check out the results of their tests on a daily basis. That is within the federal government’s right and it is logical, sensible and necessary to make sure our food is safe for the population to eat.

Instead, what does the federal government spend it’s time doing? Well, there are laws which state that one cannot criticise the food industry overmuch (what happened to freedom of the press?). This is but one example of oppressive legislation on the topic. Oprah may have won her case with the Beef industry, but she’s loaded. The rest of us would not be so lucky.

And there are laws which allow companies like Monsanto (the chemical company that created Roundup herbicide) to create Genetically Modified seeds and then get a patent on them. Theoretically, if one manipulates a living thing overmuch it is no longer natural and could be patented.

The problem is that when this is a plant, the DNA from these modified, patented plants can mix with the DNA in plants never modified by the company in question (via pollination).

In practice, this means that Monsanto thinks it has the copyright on some farmer’s soybeans when the farmer never purchased any seeds from them. And when the farmer takes these seeds which have been unknowingly mixed with Monsanto genes to a seed cleaner to store for next year, he could be guilty of copyright infringement. This means that fewer and fewer farmers are a. legally able to store their own seed (Farmers who use Monsanto knowingly are not allowed) b. find non-GMO/Monsanto seed to plant and store and keep it pure.

Typical, really. The government over regulates some things, passes laws which favour those who do not have the citizen’s best interest in mind, and cannot act on the things they should be able to act upon. What to do about it?

Well, I don’t hold out the false hope that any new regulation will help the problem, even if I were into seriously oppressive regulations. It would probably only make it worse for us all (Google EPA and Superfund for examples of this sort of thing). I got the general impression while watching the video that Monsanto was sort of like some food mafia which would come into a community and strong arm all the local farmers into using their stuff. They attack the people who clean the seeds for farmers not using Monsanto and keep them in court so that they go out of business. And the feds are ok with this apparently.

Personally, I wasn’t and never have been personally concerned with whether or not my food was organic, it tends to be more expensive. I was never too awfully concerned about whether there was too much GMO stuff in processed foods because I used them rather infrequently. I figured they were bad for me and when I ate them, I knew I was ingesting too much sugar, salt and preservatives for my own good.

But, at the end of the show there was a few good points made. First, one never knows if the food we eat is GMO because it’s not necessary to label it (there are laws about that too). GMO food could be fresh produce and meat as much as Hamburger Helper.

Secondly, the reason any of this can go on is economical. Monsanto, et all, have a vested interest in dominating the food market. However, economics can do as much for the good guys as it does for the bad guys. For example, Stoneybrook Farms is an organic dairy. Walmart carries their yogurt. Walmart does this not because they are all about green, whole foods and organics. I’ve shopped there and found them to be rather poor at carrying such things. But when the market for organic yogurt got to be large enough, they acquired Stoneybrook products.

Monsanto gets away with what it does because people buy the things their seeds make. If no one bought them, they would not have the revenue to pick on independent farmers and seed cleaners. Therefore, it is possible to stop this abuse by shopping differently. Which is what I intend to do.

Uncle Sam will not save me, but I can change things with every bite I eat. I know that our local butcher accepts food stamps; I can stop shopping elsewhere and go there. There are also local farmer’s markets which accept them. And if I use my stamps mostly on meat, organic canned products, cereals and grains, I can afford to pay cash for my fresh veggies…

Happy Birthday to Me....

Yesterday I was very happy. I was thankful for my new van, happy to be independent and looking forward to spending more time with Ian and his new family. I took the kids out for dinner and bought some books. It was a day of frivolity and a day when I did almost nothing in the house. Today was my birthday. I had a little money left in the bank and looking forward to a trip north with my dad to my sister’s wedding. Got the normal happy birthday calls.

Then, as is common for my life, what goes up must come down. The happiness I felt has been overtaken by a large, heavy cloud. It’s like depression just rolled in and began strangling me. I might lose my father. Soon.

It’s not like we didn’t know. My aunt had posted something to his wall a few months ago, tipping us off. My sister and I decided to try not to worry, if he didn’t think it was serious enough to tell us himself, it wasn’t serious. Well he admitted what my sister and I already knew today. Happy birthday me….

I know that he’s in his seventies and he’s had a pretty full life. His children and most of the grand-kids are raised. He’s also been in bad health with his leg and his cough and his arthritis and chronic pain. It’s just that I’m not ready to lose him yet. Especially to what might take him. Lung cancer? Not a heart attack or stroke or other heart problem; and about 10 yrs past my mother’s death of the same thing.
To me it’s just not fair.

I know that I do not have the right to pass judgments like this but…people who smoke all their lives and die old of something unrelated really piss me off. My parents quit years ago. They ate as healthy as they knew how and worried about their weight enough to actually make sure they never became obese. They took vitamins and supplements, kept up with their doctor’s appointments.

They should have had the right to die in their sleep from simple old age. But Mom died after she became unable to use the toilet for herself and unable to accurately communicate her wants and desires to the rest of the family. She was too tired to eat, yet she took the radiation because she knew her family needed more time with her. It didn’t work, she died less than a month after she found out she was sick.
I didn’t want that for my mother and I surely don’t want it for my Dad.

It was hard enough to watch him unable to deal with his back pain a few years back. It is hard enough to watch him shuffling along and dragging his leg behind him unable to walk the way he could a year or so ago. To know that he might just waste away…I just don’t know that I can do this.

I feel like I don’t have the right to feel this way even though I do. I’m not the one facing the possible diagnosis of cancer. I may end up taking care of him, but I’m not the one that will experience the whole thing first hand. To Chemo or not is not my decision, I wont be the one embarrassed or irritated that my child will have to help me. I won't get sick and I won't wonder (just yet anyway) if dying will hurt in and of itself.

They say that God doesn’t put more on your plate than you can eat (with His help of course). I suppose then perhaps I can eat this. But I know I’ll get emotional indigestion at the very least.

Life, As it Were

Well, not much has changed around here on many levels. However, there is one good piece of news. I just purchased a 98 Ford Windstar for 800$. Now, after two years I have transportation and freedom to come and go as I please. I also have not completely used up my income tax money. I can feel it burning a hole in my bank account, I want to spend it and get all this stuff I need for the house. But I plan to move after my sister's wedding in June, so I will need money to do that. SO I can't spend it all.

I have to throw pizzas tonite, blah, until close. Weekends are starting to suck in a major way. I can't wait until I get disability.

Quit Whining

I hate whining. Especially about something that I am not required to do from people who seem to think they are owed something. Before I explain my comment, let me make a few disclaimers here.

1. All presidents from the birth of the USA are human. Some show their human frailty and tendency to err more than others. Some also have a pitiful view of the constitution and display their rank disregard for it more than others. I haven't really "liked" any of the presidents that have been in office since I was born except for Reagan and I am quite happy to admit that he didn't have it all correct. Therefore the following comments are not an endorsement of any president, living or dead.

2. I am not against charity. I've been the recipient of a good deal of it and am quite thankful for eveyr bit that I have received from any source from which I have received it and to God who pricked the hearts of those who gave...

3. I don't have anything against international aid of any sort provided the citisens of the nations involved were happy to lend it and so forth.

4. The earthquake happened in Haiti was indeed awful, catastrophic, calamitous and all of that. I am very glad that the rest of the world, people who have scads of money, nations which are equipped to help, etc, are doing something for the people there. I hope no one I know ever has to experience the tragedy that has befallen those in Haiti.

In other words, I'm not a cold hearted %#@&* who doesn't believe in giving anyone anything or whatever. But I am sick and tired to death of people criticising the Obama (and the US and other countries who have also sent aid) because, supposedly, aid has not reached Haiti "fast enough." I think some cold, ruthless truths need to be spoken right here and now.

1. Haiti is not part of the United States. Because of this, Obama and the US government owe the citisens of Haiti absolutely nothing. Nada, zip, nunka, zero dinero. It is his role to see to it that help reaches people in the USA when tragedy strikes (like another Katrina, perhaps?). He (and the government he represents) does not owe anyone outside of the US a blessed thing. How dare anyone from anywhere complain that anything he choses to do about any catastrophe outside of our borders is less than adequate!!??!!.

2. The US government response to Haiti at this present time has been much more expedient and less bungled than what happened/didnt happen during Katrina. Anyone outside the US should have been pleasantly suprised that things have gone so well considering how ineffective Katrina relief proved.

3. While there still were infrastructures available during Katrina to handle incoming aid, there were none available in Haiti until recently. The airport was trashed, the government is still not completely accounted for, the UN is missing people, the US ambassadors and missions were mired in their own recovery efforts onsite (and aren't they still missing people?). How exactly was anyone supposed to get anything to Haiti overnight? It was not going to happen because it could not happen. People who went into the country had to set everything up and attempt to get it to the people who need it most in the blind. I'm sorry but when you are dealing with the numbers of people, material and food necessary to provide relief, working in the blind is just ineffective. Anyone with half a brain should be able to see that.

a.The appropriate response to the situation in Haiti would have been for those who needed the aid to arrive, at least in part, at the airports and seaports to help whenever aid arrived because it was going to be such a problem. Hungry people with half a brain left should realise that it is far more effective to "clear the path" so that aid could arrive unimpeded than to block roads and passageways with dead bodies so that the aid which has taken so long to get there could not arrive. If one wanted to make a statement about the expediency of the relief effort, one might stack the SIDES of the road with these dead so that those who arrive with aid would look at them and say "aw gee, maybe if we'd gotten here two days ago some of them might still be here" and feel bad. Blocking the path with them however instead invokes feelings of "Look buster either you want this food or not. Apparently you arent too hungry if you're preventing me from giving you food." The appropriate response is "Finally, you're here" or "WHew, there you are - not "well you took so long getting here that we're going to make it worse for you".

b. Besides, isn't it disrespectful of the dead to use their corpses like that??!!

5. Nobody has any right to criticise the US in relation to Haiti relief. As a nation and as individuals there have been millions spent already and millions more will come in time. Americans are pretty good at sending relief all over the place. People laud Chavez and the leader of Cuba and what exactly have they sent? One plane of stuff each? If that is the standard then the US, China, Britain et all have far exceeded this standard. How dare anyone criticise what we as a whole have done in light of those comparisons and the already stated fact that none of the aforementioned owe anyone a red cent.

5. And, finally, the most important point... Charity by its very nature is voluntary. That is why it is considered by every culture to be one of the signs of a person's good nature and humanity. Because it is voluntary, it is, by definition, not compulsory. Ergo, the people on the receiving end have absolutely no right to EXPECT anything. People who give millions of dollars (as an individual or as part of a group of 2$ gifts that add up to millions) do not do so because they have to. They WANT to do it. It is a KINDNESS. Getting angry because help is slow is just not acceptable. Gratitude is, apparently, a forgotten virtue and needs to be retaught apparently.

I am not heartless, I hope that the situation in Haiti is remedied quickly. But I am very put out about the general tone of things lately.

Yeah, give Obama grief about his policies, his love life, the choice of his pet, his diet, who he works out with, his ears, his beliefs, his family, his handling of the war(s) if that is your bag. He's human and probably deserves it. But lay off the man and the nation he represents internationally in regard to relief efforts and foreign aid. We are at war, in the middle of a recession and holding a ridiculous budget deficit after all. We have our own problems and in light of that He could have done nothing at all.

Bumping along

Well, life bumps along, yes it does....

After months and months of threatening and writing letters and annoying the bejeebers out of the trailer park I am now the happy owner of a new(ish) refridgerator. Guess who is buying a buggy load of fresh veggies and fruit this week....When I didn't have a big fridge I had to rely on frozen and cans and...when I had a vehicle to go to work and the money to do it I would buy some for immediate use after work on the weekends... I never thought I'd miss lettuce and tomatoes, yanno that is an odd feeling.

My son and his gf got married the 25th of last month. It was a nice little ceremony with some good munchies afterwards. It was the fastest wedding I was ever at though. No idea where that preacher got his program from, but who am I to complain. My son looked happy, handsome and nervous in his dark purple shirt. My daughter in law was beautiful in her purple dress which faded to pink near the bottom. Her mom wore an outfit with a purple top, I wore a lavender dress. I guess it was the purple wedding....

And...last wed my grandson arrived. He was 7 lb and 13 oz, a little smaller than mine but nice and healthy nonethless and absolutely adorable. I am told he inhales his food (like his daddy did) but he doesn't have that open-the-mouth-and-let-loose-that-ear-piercing-dig-on-your-last-nerve cry like his daddy did.

Unfortunately, we can't visit for a while...because....

Thurs my younger son stayed home from school with fatigue and a headache. The next day I told him he had to go to school... and at 945 the nurse called. He had a fever of 103. We went to ER and he was diagnosed with H1N1 (aka swine flu).

I spend all day friday looking for Tamiflu (which was about 100$ on the market) and getting stuff to have at home for flu (like drinks). And then on Sat I had to miss work because I got a fever and started coughing and sneezing. I didn't go in for a diagnosis but...I'm sure I had it too, i mean he's my kid and I am sure he sneezed on me before he was diagnosed and made to wear that bug mask. (I call it a bug mask because I think it looks like the shell on some beetle). I felt bad for a few days. His fever broke Sat night but he's still coughing so it would not be right to send him to school and his excuse is for 7 days.

I also have to help EJ haul T to the doctor. His feet are swollen like balloons and there are cuts on the tops from where the skin is splitting. He can't walk and thus cannot take care of his basic needs like dressing and hygeine and other important things like that. I hope the doc will be able to do something, the several trips he's made to the ER have been a bust. First he had gout, then he didn't. A long time ago he was told it was RA (it was in his knees too). But he was unable to walk and so his back has spasmed and now his hips are locked most of the time and he shakes when he stands up.

One of my friend's marriage is on the rocks and I doubt anyone will be able to fix it. Sad but...best to get out early rather than suffer for years when you're seperated in all but legality as it is. It's like putting peroxide on a wound. Hurts now but will be better later.

I made my last payment on my computer today, I should have it next week, YEAH!!! It's about time it's taken since March to get it....

My bills are paid and I will be broke for two more weeks cause I missed all but 4 hours of work last week.

My food stamps come in tomorrow and I get to go shopping.

Well, here I am back again

I ran off to Yahoo 360, not because there was anything wrong with livejournal but because 360 had all the features that were right with livejournal and a layout that I enjoyed just a bit better. Each person's main page was tabbed and it was really easy to use. It wasn't apped to death like Myspace and Facebook. It was small and I used it mainly to journal with friends only. And they are taking it down.

Well frankly, I'm pissed. See supposedly you could transfer your 360 blog and info onto your profile for yahoo. Spendiferious I said and moved it. But you can't customise anything on the profile, it's garish and ugly. And all the colour coding and pictures I embeded just didn't look right. And I had trouble working with the new setup.

I never had any trouble with Livejournal, and it was fairly cozy in feel, so I am back. I'd rather my pages be tabbed, but hey... you can't have everything I guess. At least it doesn't take nine years to load. Now if I can just get my friends to blog here it would be wonderful....

Pennies From Heaven

There is a game called "Penny in a Bottle" that is played at baby showers. The host places a baby bottle, sans lid, in the floor and guests attempt to toss pennies into it. One wins the game by getting a penny into the bottle or closest to it. Some players who might be somewhat "good" at the game might make it harder by saying the one who gets the penny inside from the farthest distance wins. And the penny bottle is usually given to the expectant mother as a gift (after the guests have placed their spare change inside of course).

This makes Birthright's latest fundraiser quite appropriate. It started on Mother's Day, but I just got wind of it recently. It ends on Father's Day. Individuals or groups are asked to fill a baby bottle with pennies. The resultant bottles are collected and the proceeds go to help Birthright deal with crisis pregnancies.

For information about how to participate, please contact Sally Chardos at 803-781-7457 or birthrightofcola@bellsouth.net. And, if sending penny-filled baby bottles through the mail just doesn't seem feasible, visit the Birthright of Columbia (SC) website for more information about how to help.

I know I said...

I know I said I wouldn't post here anymore, but I have something I want everyone to see. It's a little ditty written by a friend of mine who goes by "Jesse James Dean". If you aren't from SC, you might not understand it...but here goes

Ivory Tower Andre Bauer

Governor Sanford, you might as well give up
Them Legislators they just hate your guts
But there's something you could do for all of us
Toss that Andre Bauer out of the State House

Give the Palmetto State some real hope
Wash his mouth out with a bar of soap
You need to take that boy over your knee
And put a stop to his statewide crime spree

He races down our state's highways
Running red lights along his way
Governor you need to put your foot down
And run that loose cannon our of our town

He needs "time out" for a couple of years
Send him to anger management ya hear
Who's he think he is...the midnight rider
Knock him down off his Ivory Tower

We couldn't get away with what he's done
They would have already locked us up
And a couple thousand dollars in fines
And they let him go everytime

Put him on a good four years restriction
Or even better make him serve some detention
Send him to stay with the prison warden
And give your vote to Henry Jordan

You need to start an investigation
Sounds to us like class discrimination
Knock him down off his ivory tower
Toss out that loose cannon Andre Bauer

Well people you know what you gotta do
They keep wildmen down at the zoo
Register to vote down at Hampton and Harden
And give your vote to Dr Henry Jordan

All of My Blogs

In case you want to see all of my blogs, or subscribe to them... Here is the information you seek...

360 Page: The day to day stuff

My Space page: Typical myspace page. If I don't already know you I will not add you as a friend if I have nothing in common with you, you send me penis mail, or all your "friends" are half naked chicks. Or if I have added you and find this out, you will be removed. I will also not respond to or approve comments which i find offensive. If I was looking for sleaze I'd go to a bar, at least I'd get a free drink out of it. I'm also not interested in "whore codes"

Raven's Rantings: Politics from a Christian Constitutional Confederate Libertarian POV. If you want to have some fun say that with a mouth full of pop rocks.

Raven's Musings on Life: Pro life blog started in support of Terri Schindler Schiavo and now deals with life issues at all stages of life.

The Reforming of the Raven: Ramblings about God, religion, spirituality, that sort of thing. Lady Raven actually does have the time to spend thinking about this sort of thing....

Raven's Inner Knowledge: The deeper, awareness of self...some philosophical stuff, some self improvement, some writing exercises...sometimes lucid, sometimes deep, sometimes insipid...always raven...

Weighty Issues: Weight loss and health journal. Fairly boring really.

And of course you have my personal pages on the net:

Raven Shadowwinds: Biographical and personal site...hobbies, favourite places, why I am the way I am, what I like to do and why my furniture is covered in chenille and soft fabric.

Shadows and Light: Being Gothic and Christian...support for Christian Goths, answers for Christians and parents of goths about what the lifestyle really is, and advice for all concerned. Plus a few theological thoughts and creedal type statements.


No not physically, just on the internet. I've gotten onto Yahoo's 360 and use that blog now. I still have my other blogs on blogger too. I do check back here to post to groups, but you will not find much here in the way of updates anymore. They will be on my yahoo page. 360 Page.