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Friday, February 5, 2016

February 5 Link Log

Happy Twitterday! I don't start new hack writing jobs on Friday (except for clients who agree to expect the finished job on Monday); Blogjob is being shut down for maintenance, and Persona Paper is, unfortunately, just going down...so today's a loss for me in terms of earning money, but my loss is yourall's gain. Today's the day I catch up with Twitter, Live Journal, and possibly even Google +. Categories: Obligatory Fundraising Links, Airline Security, Animal, Charity, Christian, Civil Liberties, Food (Yuck), Food (Yum), Gardening, Language, Music, Obituaries, Phenology Link, Politics, Safety Issues, Sports, Women's Issues

Obligatory Fundraising Links 

There's some indication that, due to a system glitch, some Indiegogo links I've posted may have disappointed some potential sponsors. Oh, how sorry I am about that. Please, please forgive me! Here's the link the site recommends that youall use as of today:

http://igg.me/at/frugalgraciouslivingchallenge/x/997637

As noted in the latest update on that site: If I'm still around in November, I will definitely not be taking a $2000+ cruise with Jonah Goldberg and other National Review celebrities, much as I'd like to meet the Goldberg family, especially the dingo. (I've wanted to meet a tame dingo ever since I read Ajax in grade three.) I will be reading his new books, and I may be "reading" them on Twitter, the way I've been "reading" The Conservative Heart--which inspired this whole project. I do see the Frugal Gracious Living Challenge as profoundly political, because it's about reversing the long-predicted tendency for democracies to collapse by offering public pensions to able-bodied people. That does not, however, mean that the individual blog posts will be about fiscal conservatism. What I want to do with this blog is discuss the practical details of having more fun with less money than you thought was possible. That means minimal opinions, maximal facts--menus, recipes, do-it-yourself projects, free and cheap stuff, homemade music--content that can be useful to as many different kinds of low-income people, in as many different countries, as possible. So, if you're a left-winger who wants to be able to read my blog without reading political content that causes cognitive dissonance, you absolutely should fund the Frugal Gracious Living Challenge. You could even get in a legitimate left-wing charity--fyi, +Garrison McDavid , the (left-leaning minority) Democratic Party in my home town have set up a beautiful little tuition scholarship fund, which I could support with a clear conscience.

Airline Security 

Go ahead and laugh; this phrase is a joke. Dan Lewis reports:

http://nowiknow.com/unchecked-baggage/

Animals 

There's nothing quite like watching a wounded eagle fly again. Here are some photo clips.

http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/state-parks/blog/birding-at-its-best-at-virginia-state-parks?

Books (and Magazines)

+Neil Gaiman thinks this sounds like fun. So do I. If anybody out there has a lot of money, and has money left over after funding the Frugal Gracious Living Challenge, they should fund this wacky, arty magazine...its prospectus reminds me strangely of Andrei Codrescu.

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/outlook-springs/x/997637#/

Charity 

Right. This web site stopped nagging you about helping Syrian refugees after it became obvious that those trying to rescue Syrian refugees were instead receiving masses of miscellaneous Middle Eastern deportees, many of whom now seem to have been deported for good and sufficient reason. ISIS is obviously quite nasty enough to send shiploads of violent criminals into the U.S., probably promising them pardons if they succeed in committing crimes against us etc. etc. Our more paranoid correspondents were right; I was wrong. But some conservatives do have hearts. Some conservatives are in the Middle East, trying to help bona fide refugees.

http://www.grassrootsaction.com/r.asp?U=661947&CID=201412&RID=45434200

(Yes, as Scott Adams pointed out, some bona fide refugees are young men...but when a picture marked "refugees" shows only young men, I mean not just two guys posing for a snapshot but hundreds of young men, all of whom have apparently abandoned any parents, children, or wives they had, something is definitely wrong with that picture.)

Christian 

What it's all about...

http://www.brookelynnbooks.com/blog/the-cross-is-enough

Civil Liberties 

Nice people always use cash. If we seriously converted to a "cashless digital economy," you do know what would happen...Read The Handmaid's Tale. Recognize that we don't currently have an epidemic of sterility, and the generation in power are at a less sex-ridden stage in life, so the kinky sex motif probably will not be a factor in determining who become second-class citizens or non-persons. Want to guess what will? Or would you rather just burn your plastic, disconnect any online payment systems you may have used in the past, and (if you have a business) advertise substantial discounts for cash payment?

http://grassfire.com/the-global-conspiracy-to-ban-cash-regulated-restricted-and-phased-out-of-existence/

Food (Yuck) 

Is this "salad" healthy? There's another problem: Raw kale, like raw green beans, is not the easiest food to digest. I eat both, in moderation, and like them, and they don't make me sick--we're not talking about GMO corn!--but humans seem to get more of the nutritional benefit of kale after it's been cooked.

http://grassfire.com/mcdonalds-just-came-out-with-a-healthy-kale-salad-but-theres-just-one-problem/

Glyphosate is not only used as an herbicide. It's toxic enough that some food processors in the U.S. have been using it as a preservative. Which I suspect is why there was a year when peanuts made me sick, and in December potato chips made me sick.

http://detoxproject.org/1253-2/

Food (Yum) 

Vegan? Allergic? Here's how to use flaxseed for a nutritious egg substitute that works...better in some recipes than in others, but it does work. I've tried it.

http://www.food.com/recipe/flax-vegan-egg-substitute-104832

Gardening 

Milkweed is called a weed, and to my eyes it's not the loveliest of flowers...but if you plant it you'll have flying flowers all summer. Monarch butterflies are only a beginning.

http://livemonarch.org/

Language 

Good news in case the Internet collapses, and we all have to go back to using typewriters that don't have all the fancy accent marks: The French Academy has declared some of the accent marks in French optional.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/shortcuts/2016/feb/05/why-are-the-french-so-upset-about-the-circumflex?CMP=twt_gu

Music

Neil Gaiman rocks. In what sense? Listen and find out?

http://www.nme.com/blogs/nme-blogs/were-seeing-the-end-of-an-era-amanda-palmer-on-david-bowie-and-her-new-tribute-ep?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social

Obituaries 

No link, but this web site notes the passing of U.S. Army Corporal Frank Buckles, the last surviving veteran from World War One (my grandfather's war).

Phenology Link 

This Seattle blogger's committed to do a daily phenology post, and has a better digital camera than I have.

http://www.metrofieldguide.com/365-nature-day-34/

Politics 

Donald Trump, #BankruptcyBillionnaire , has a foul mouth and an infantile temper. The White House has seen those things before. "Give'm Hell Harry" Truman was known for his foul mouth, and many loved him; Theodore Roosevelt was known for using "bully" as a term of high praise, and many still cherish his memory. But neither Truman nor Roosevelt was infamous as being a bully, in the sense of a jerk, throughout his private career. Bill Clinton, who is not a gentleman, liked Trump because Trump made Clinton look like a gentleman, in a comparative sense; people in Washington despised Trump for that reason. (People like my husband, who liked Clinton personally and admired Alan Greenspan's work.) He's not merely an outsider in the sense that Jimmy Carter was one, or that Rand Paul or Ben Carson would be one. Trump is a a reptile.

The difference is that if you're at a reception and you're introduced to an outsider, you shake his or her hand, but still, you've only just met the person; you're not--yet--friends. Being an outsider can impede a politician's work unless the said politician has a few friends who are insiders; otherwise, there's nothing wrong with being an outsider. If you're introduced to a reptile, you step back, boggling, and want to find out who brought this undesirable person in...that person is likely to become an outsider.

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/430628/donald-trump-business-record-bully

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/430126/donald-trump-conservatives-oppose-nomination

Now, on a more pleasant topic: U.S. Representative Mia Love just introduced--reintroduced, actually, a revised and updated edition of--a bill that would require legislation presented in Congress to stick to one subject and be written coherently enough that members of Congress would never have to "pass it to find out what's in it." Her bill now has eleven co-sponsors in the House, and Rand Paul has a "twin" bill in the Senate. Currently, although these bills are about as bipartisan as legislation can get--do Democrats want their representatives to have to vote for things they hate in order to get a vote on things they want?--they've been sponsored only by Republicans. As Jim Babka notes, this is just not right. If you are a Democrat, know Democrats, or live in a bipartisan State and are therefore (mostly mis)represented by Democrats in Congress, please help encourage Democrats to support the One Subject At A Time Act. The link below is a toolbox you can use to see the bills on Popvox, write to your Congressfolk about them, "Like" Rep. Love on Facebook if you still use Facebook, and more.

http://us7.campaign-archive1.com/?u=6a89b73599e68a4cdf6730e21&id=d938eb0ba6&e=e038f280b8

Dave Barry sees the funny side in Iowa...I think DB would want youall to know that, in a related study conducted at the University of Maryland, several people who grew up in the state of which he was governor weren't sure which party Martin O'Malley belonged to. (I'm not altogether sure that Governor "We Have Plenty of Rainfall, Why Can't We Tax It?" was sure, either. He sounds very confused.) Maryland teenagers were also hazy on the location of New Hampshire...presumably not the same Maryland teenagers who go to New Hampshire for summer vacation, but it's hard to tell.

http://www.miamiherald.com/living/liv-columns-blogs/dave-barry/article58673073.html

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2016/02/05/reporter-asks-college-students-to-point-to-new-hampshire-on-a-map-check-out-the-responses-he-gets/

The good thing about teenagers is that they do eventually grow up. (Confidentially, Nephews, when my natural sister was the age some of you are now, and I was a college freshman in Maryland, my sister missed the question "Between which states is Washington, D.C., located?" She has since absorbed that information.) Now, for those between ages 15 and 30--well, they're saying up to age 36--who can find each of the United States on a map, first try, and who are interested in politics, and who would enjoy a day trip to Cincinnati, some of this web site's correspondents would like to meet you. Those who type in the most interesting (serious) answers to this survey can win a free trip to Cincinnati. All they're promising is transportation and networking opportunities, Older Nephews. Shopping, restaurant, and sightseeing money are your affair.

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/HWWVF8Q

Safety Issues 

Fair disclosure: this hasn't seemed to be happening in my part of the world, but out on the Pacific Coast...

https://takebackyourpower.net/1000s-of-smart-meter-fires-new-whistleblower-court-evidence-video/

More fair disclosure: Glyphosate is not the only agricultural chemical associated with bone cancer. These people had probably handled others. No importa! Glyphosate contributes to cancer; it should be banned.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-monsanto-lawsuit-idUSKCN0RT2L220150929

Meanwhile, from Senator Kaine...it's called a press release, but it's on his web site.

http://www.kaine.senate.gov/press-releases/sens-warner-kaine-call-for-additional-funding-to-respond-to-zika-virus

Sports 

Wise man on the history of the Super Bowl:

http://www.heraldcourier.com/sports/oral-history-of-super-bowl-i-with-wise-native-carroll/article_4b24793a-cc3d-11e5-80f6-2fb0c662e3e4.html

Women's Issues 

Helen Lewis writes about the Cologne attacks.

http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/feminism/2016/02/no-feminists-aren-t-scared-write-about-cologne-attacks

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Flint Update (Nag?)

The e-mail from the Rising Mom known as Dream, below is about a time line. Gentle Readers, we in Virginia started hearing that Flint, Michigan, had a water problem...last year. Did everyone see Congressman Griffith's comments, posted here?


http://priscillaking.blogspot.com/2016/01/morgan-griffiths-snow-days.html


(Riff on the old traditional pun about "denial is not just a river in Egypt" pre-deleted here. You're welcome.) The position of this web site is that Michigan can and should take care of its own one-time crisis, preferably without any new tax-and-spend schemes, because whenever government is authorized to raise taxes to address a crisis, the crisis may be resolved before the tax money can be collected, but the tax never, ever, goes away. We may be talking about some low-income neighborhoods, but we're still talking about one of the richest parts of one of the richest countries in all of human history. Michigan should be able to raise funds without raising taxes.


http://priscillaking.blogspot.com/2016/01/what-in-flint-rant-followed-by.html


A city manager just "switched" from the existing water supply to a more polluted water supply...and, yes, this does sound as if it's time for the city to switch managers.


"
I wanted to make sure you saw the outrageous news coming out of my home state, Michigan. It was maddening to learn that emergency managers, appointed by Governor Snyder, sacrificed the health of children to slash costs. Until recent evidence, we believed state and city officials believed what they were saying when they told residents of Flint that their water was safe for drinking and bathing.
But while state and city officials were telling the general public to pour their children lead contaminated drinking water, they were buying themselves coolers of clean water. Elected and appointed officials told the families of Flint to use water they wouldn't consider drinking themselves. [1]
What happened in Flint, Michigan is disturbing, terrifying, and unacceptable to say the least. The people of Flint need us to stand with them during this time of crisis. They are telling us what they need: drinking stations, no barriers to relief—everyone, including undocumented families, should have access to the relief water being sent to Flint. But just as important, Flint residents deserve accountability and—finally—transparency.
We must continue to stand with them as they demand justice from the state legislature.
Please take a moment to add your name.
**When you click this link, you instantly sign on if we already have all your information.
http://action.momsrising.org/sign/Flint_2016/?t=2&akid=7573.1995681.4eO_6J
Families in Flint knew there was a problem but officials denied anything was wrong. We are outraged. It's time for urgent and comprehensive action on behalf of the families in Flint.
"

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Morgan Griffith on Allergy Shots

From U.S. Representative Morgan Griffith (R-VA-9):

"
Recently, I was contacted by my allergists about the United States Pharmacopeia’s (USP) proposed revisions to sterility standards for the compounding of drugs, including allergen immunotherapy. USP is a non-profit organization that publishes drug formularies and quality standards, and these standards are sometimes enforced by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for drug manufacturers and pharmacies. My allergists are concerned that these new standards may have adverse effects on the availability and affordability of allergy shots, so my office is reviewing the proposal and plans to meet with USP to discuss it.

As you are aware, I led the charge in Congress to enact new, common-sense regulations on compounding pharmacies which distinguished them from illegal drug manufacturers like the New England Compounding Center, whose tainted sterile injections led to a fungal meningitis outbreak of 2012. In fact, the bipartisan legislation that I worked on called at one point for national adoption of USP sterility standards for all compounding pharmacies. I believe we need such a standard to protect the public health of our citizens, but likewise, I want to ensure that any revisions do not become so burdensome that we eliminate affordable access to useful treatments like custom allergy shots that many in our tree- and forest floor-rich area receive.

If you, like my allergists, may have a federal problem, please don’t hesitate to let my team and I know. Part of my job as your Representative is to try and help you address federal issues you may be having. Of course, I can’t work to fix a problem if I am not aware it exists.

If you have questions, concerns, or comments, feel free to contact my office. You can call my Abingdon office at 276-525-1405 or my Christiansburg office at 540-381-5671. To reach my office via email, please visit my website at www.morgangriffith.house.gov. Also on my website is the latest material from my office, including information on votes recently taken on the floor of the House of Representatives.

"

Morgan Griffith on Operation Fast and Furious

From U.S. Representative Morgan Griffith (R-VA-9):

"
Though it didn’t receive widespread coverage in the press, there have been recent developments related to Fast and Furious that I want to be sure was brought to your attention.

As you may recall, the Fast and Furious program was run through the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives ostensibly in an attempt to track the sale of weapons to Mexican drug cartel leaders to help lead to their arrest. However, an estimated 1,400 of the 2,000 guns involved in the operation were lost* and few high-level cartel leaders were arrested, thus leading me and others to believe the operation may have been designed in part to politically move more Americans to favor gun control.

Bloomberg recently reported that U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson in Washington rejected the President’s assertion of executive privilege, ruling that “The Obama Administration must hand over documents sought by a congressional committee that has been reviewing the failed U.S. Justice Department weapons-trafficking probe known as Operation Fast and Furious.”

Additionally, a .50-caliber rifle funneled through Fast and Furious was among the weapons found at the hideout of the drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman who had escaped from a Mexican prison last year. At the time of the writing of this column, we can find no information as to a criminal charge related to the .50-caliber rifle.

As you may recall, in June 2012, my colleagues and I in the House of Representatives voted to hold then- Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with a subpoena issued by the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform requesting documents related to the Fast and Furious operation. To many of us, it appeared that Holder intentionally had misled Congress.

These developments ought to make clear that the Fast and Furious gun-smuggling scandal is not actually over. Rest assured I am continuing to track this important matter.

This Administration has repeatedly advocated more gun control, turning tragedies where a gun is involved into political opportunities. While certainly our laws should be reviewed periodically, the acts of terrorists or deranged individuals should not be used to take away the gun rights of law-abiding citizens. I will continue to protect our Second Amendment rights and also will continue to work for better mental health options in order to hopefully prevent as many mass shootings as possible.
"

Robert Hurt on the Economy

From U.S. Representative Robert Hurt (R-VA-5):

"Earlier this month in his State of the Union Address, the President painted a rosy picture of our nation’s economic future, claiming that we have created jobs while cutting deficits. The President seems to believe that we have done enough to reduce our massive spending deficits, but I believe – and most Americans believe – that the future fiscal health of our nation remains one of the most serious problems facing our children and grandchildren.
Last week, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its budget projections for 2016. These projections paint a daunting picture that centers around the fact that, according to their findings, the budget deficit for the upcoming year will increase for the first time since 2009. The CBO’s estimation of a deficit of $544 billion is over $100 billion more than last year. This is another stark reminder of how important it is for us to get our fiscal house in order.
A significant portion of this deficit increase is due to growing mandatory spending programs – namely Medicare, Medicaid – and the ever-increasing taxes and subsidies created by the President’s healthcare law. The CBO estimates that spending increases for these programs will increase by $104 billion, and there is no indication they will slow down in the foreseeable future.
Furthermore, the CBO warned that these increasing deficits mean the federal debt held by the public will increase to nearly $14 trillion – that will be 76 percent of Gross Domestic Product. To put that in perspective, that is the highest it has been since the years immediately following World War II. There is no doubt we must get our fiscal house in order and stop spending money we simply do not have.
There was some good news in the CBO’s report. It forecasts an expanding workforce and job market, which are critical to growing our economy. This is an encouraging indicator, and the Congress must continue to make this one of our top priorities, so that this becomes a reality, not just a prediction.
We also must continue to focus on policies that address the need for more jobs and more growth, including mitigating the harmful impacts of the President’s healthcare law. Our increasing deficits and irresponsible spending must be put to a stop before it is too late. We have taken some positive steps in recent years to cut spending and reform unsustainable government programs, but we must take further action to rein in the programs that represent trillions of dollars in unfunded liabilities for future generations because this burden will bankrupt our country if we do not act.
Though there are some troubling findings in this week’s CBO report, it should be seen as a renewed call to promote the policies we need to deliver a brighter future to our children and grandchildren. I am confident the combination of growth and responsible reforms will steer our country away from the dangerous path we are on and place our great nation on a path to opportunity, prosperity, and success for all.
If you need any additional information or if we may be of assistance to you, please visit my website at hurt.house.gov or call my Washington office: (202) 225-4711, Charlottesville office: (434) 973-9631, Danville office: (434) 791-2596, or Farmville office: (434) 395-0120.
I met with Englon Roberts of Danville.
I presented a commemorative pin and certificate to Vietnam veteran
Robert Nowak of Aroda.
Sincerely,
" [signature graphic: Robert Hurt]

Monday, February 1, 2016

February 1 Link Log

Categories: Obligatory Fundraising Links, Animal, Christian, Food (Yum), Politics

Obligatory Fundraising Links

For those who'd like to see less political content on my Blogjob, these links contain the secret of how that can be achieved. Frugal Gracious Living Challenge posts will consist of facts not opinions and thus, unless I'm reviewing political (or religious) books, they'll edge the political (and religious) content off the Blogjob.

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-frugal-gracious-living-challenge–2#/

http://blogjob.com/priscillaking/2015/12/29/so-then-i-told-the-senator/

Animal

The Twit known as Pilgrim Traveler offers lots of appealing Christian-oriented nature photos. Here's a terribly cute duck:

http://pilgrimtraveler.com/the-peace-of-god-which-passeth-all-understanding/

Here's a detailed run-down on how poisoning nuisance animals in the garden can endanger your pets (and you), or why the position of this web site is that we should be predators if we can't recruit predators but should not be poisoners.

http://davesgarden.com/guides/articles/view/782

Here's one of the harmless little animals who tend to become casualties of "gardeners" who try to protect their gardens with poison:

http://blogjob.com/insights/2016/01/30/the-amazing-walking-stick-or-stick-insect/

Books 

Here's a review of a new book by a great, topophilic, Western U.S. writer, at a web site dedicated to the encouragement of topophilia. If you've not discovered Terry Tempest Williams yet, run don't walk. Oh...the reason why I stumbled across this'zine was that they're holding a topophilic poetry contest; thanks to Hope Clark for sharing the link.

http://www.zocalopublicsquare.org/2008/12/22/finding-beauty-in-a-broken-world/book-reviews/

Christian

I think the surprise here is that anyone didn't predict what any member of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church is likely to say to, well, one of the questions that define that denomination's identity...

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2016/02/01/ben-carsons-pointed-response-to-biblical-end-times-question-is-jesus-coming-back-in-our-lifetime/?

Food (Yum)

Vegan yumminess from Mary McDougall, whose recipes usually seduce carnivores:

https://www.drmcdougall.com/misc/2016nl/jan/recipes.htm

Medlars aren't meddlers. They're a species of fruit tree, mostly cultivated in Europe, that need some encouragement to survive even where they're planted. But do you want to try them? (I didn't realize that a pearlike fruit from Europe would have something important in common with the banana!)

http://davesgarden.com/guides/articles/view/376

Funny Things

If I were in Florida and had $25, I'd go to this.

http://davecarlelection2016.bpt.me/

Politics

Publius Huldah live:

https://publiushuldah.wordpress.com/2016/02/01/phs-natural-born-citizen-art-v-convention-event-in-fairfield-glade-tn-2/

Television thrives on "controversy," meaning clever verbal abuse. But is that really the key qualification for the President of the United States? Tip for some Fox staff: you did the right thing by dumping Trump, now why not carry it forward and learn how to make conversation with an intelligent gentleman? I for one don't think a smart-mouthed Will-Smith-character-wannabe is what we need in the White House. I'd rather see a quietly effective, mature leader who commands respect...even if the novel sensation of having to respect an adult is putting some TV personnel off their stride.

http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/presidential-races/267577-carson-rips-fox-debate-moderators-over-speaking-time

I'm not finding a link for this one so, with all due respect, I'm ganking it:

Embedded image permalink

Now, even more seriously...Should the President be authorized to declare war without the consent of Congress? Should Congress just sign away this Constitutional protection?

http://us7.campaign-archive2.com/?u=6a89b73599e68a4cdf6730e21&id=684d6d9235&e=e038f280b8

Election coverage, about as serious as this particular moment in the election probably deserved...No, I want to highlight one phrase from Dave Barry's commentary for special endorsement: "Trump has...an incredible family." That, indeed, he has. It's incredible that he has an adult child who's willing to claim him in public. I don't know that I'd trust Ivanka Trump any further than I'd trust her father, but I give her full points for loyalty.

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/politics-government/elections-2016/article57260143.html

Today's Politics links are quite a jumble...As regular readers remember, it's possible for people who don't make it a full-time job to read the bills proposed in the Virginia General Assembly, because they are usually nice, straightforward bills that say one thing, usually a reasonable thing even if it's wrongheaded, in such a way that you can read them in one sitting. In the U.S. Congress, some bills, notably the "Affordable Care Act" that brought us Obamacare, are deliberately written with the intention of being unreadable, such that members of Congress have actually said things like "We'll have to pass it to know what's in it." E-friend Jim Babka has been opposing this practice for years, and so, as of today, do U.S. Representatives Mia Love, Jim Jordan, and about a dozen more at last count. Here's JB's temporary link sharing the good news:

http://us7.campaign-archive1.com/?u=6a89b73599e68a4cdf6730e21&id=d4e24e5c16&e=e038f280b8

And here's an easy way to be counted supporting U.S. H.R. 4335:

https://www.popvox.com/bills/us/114/hr4335

Btw, Rand Paul proposed a similar bill in the Senate last year:

https://www.popvox.com/bills/us/114/s1572

Traffic Safety

Hmm...this petition seems like another judgment call, and another close one, like the Flint water petition discussed below. I'm sharing the link in case you want to sign it. You may notice that I didn't sign it. Here's why: Yes, I know it's possible for a car's exhaust system to leak carbon monoxide into the car. A relative had a car like that in 1970; my parents drove one between 1983 and 1987. And when that starts to happen, people will notice it. You feel tired after a short drive, or sleepy, or sick; you feel more alert and less sick within minutes after stepping out of the car. That's a wake-up call, Gentle Readers. The leak may or may not be growing. If it is growing, or if someone takes a long drive in that car, it's rare but certainly possible that the driver could pass out while driving in traffic. So, if you feel that you're driving or riding in a "Smogmobile," don't wait for the leak to grow or for an expensive mandatory test to explain to you that you have a leak. Get it fixed now.

https://www.change.org/p/pass-savannah-s-law?

Virginia Legislature 

Here's the Virginia Tea Party Patriots Federation's list of bills they support and oppose, in Word format. (Members of this web site generally, but not absolutely always, agree with their lists; when we disagree with them we're likely to be disagreeing with each other as well. Their list is a splendid piece of work, as always, for which we thank them.)

http://www.vtppf.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/2016.1.26_Support-Oppose-List.pdf?mc_cid=1d1ccf5d3c&mc_eid=bc15bff284

Words 

In English "house" has traditionally been used as a metaphor for "household, family, tribe, society," etc., in phrases like the Bible's teaching that "A house divided against itself cannot stand." (And "stand," of course, is used as a metaphor for "surviving as a group.") Dan Lewis shares photographs proving that a literal, physical house--the building--can stand being divided:

http://nowiknow.com/a-house-divided/

You wanted to learn a more obscure, S.A.T.-type word? Jonah Goldberg explains apophasis:

http://link.nationalreview.com/view/55c8a77718ff4357208b47083kr10.7c7j/984ad998

Here's a professional writer using words in a way that is just sooo...deeply...wrong: (1) President Obama may have done the country a lot of harm, by pursuing an agenda that's basically anti-American, but he's not stupid, which is the word Ann Coulter was looking for. (2) "Retarded" has a literal meaning--it refers to people who mature at a slower than average pace, who are not stupid, or short, or whatever, but who, at any stage during childhood or youth, look or function like people who are younger than the average person their own age. (Example: "Although his physical growth was retarded by polio, such that he was the same height at age 12 that he'd been at age 7, by age 21 my father was 6'2".") (3) Calling someone "a ree-tard" is typical of people between ages 4 and 10, so what does that tell us about Coulter?

That she needs to grow up and apologize, that's what. Sometimes I think Coulter is smart, and sometimes I think she's funny, and then again sometimes she just falls flat on her face. And this was one of those times:

https://www.facebook.com/FightForEquality/photos/a.847361071948065.1073741828.119872344696945/1214858051865030/?type=3&theater

Work 

What's the purpose of your work?

http://www.dailygood.org/story/1211/president-abdul-kalam-on-life-s-pursuit-gavin-aung-than/

Mark Warner on the Cost of College

From U.S. Senator Mark Warner (D-VA):


"
Friends,

For too many young people across Virginia, college is nearly out of reach because of rising costs. And for too many graduates, options and opportunities are being limited due to mountains of student debt.

The average college student in Virginia today can expect to graduate with more than $26,000 in student loans. Nationwide, Americans owe more than $1.3 trillion in student loan debt, outstripping credit cards and auto loans as the country’s leading source of non-housing debt.


Earlier this week, I invited students from 20 colleges and universities across Virginia to come to Capitol Hill to share their concerns about the rising costs of higher education. They discussed the impact of rising levels of student debt on their futures. Here's what some of them told me and Sen. Tim Kaine:

  • A senior at Longwood University has worked two campus jobs to help cover the costs of room and board, yet she still expects to graduate owing more than $35,000 in student debt.
  • A senior at Mary Baldwin College discussed the physical and emotional impact of the financial stress: “I was forced to miss the first couple of days because my mother did not have the funds to pay for the semester. The financial burden caused severe stress on me that caused me to become ill,” she said. She expects to graduate with $30,000 in student debt.
  • A Virginia Union University student worries about the ways college debt can limit opportunities outside of the classroom. She said the need to work while also attending school limits the ability of many students to pursue internships and other opportunities which might give a head start to a career.

As these stories show, the cost of college is having a crippling impact on a generation of young Virginians. That’s why I’ve introduced bipartisan proposals to provide some new tools.

  • The Dynamic Student Loan Repayment Act will streamline the confusing array of federal income-based repayment programs. It caps repayments at 10% of income, allowing borrowers to repay more as they earn more.
  • The Employer Participation in Repayment Act will help employers recruit and retain talented workers by allowing them to help pay down an employee’s student loan debts with pre-tax income. Right now, an employer can help cover the cost of ongoing education — but they cannot help employees by applying pre-tax earnings to pay down student loans for education that’s already occurred. That’s crazy.
  • And to provide greater transparency on college affordability issues, and to help students and their families make better informed decisions about where to go to college, I’ve introduced The Student Right to Know Before You Go Act. It puts on a single website, by degree program and by university, a bunch of really relevant information: What’s the cost? How many students complete the program? What’s their average student debt? How many find jobs in that field of study? What are the average starting salaries?

As Congress prepares to work on comprehensive legislation to reform higher education, please know that I’ll be fighting to make college more accessible — and college loan debts more manageable — for all Virginians.

Thank you,


Mark R. Warner
"

January 29 Link Log

Categories: Animals, Books, Environment, Scams.



Animals 

How do you prefer to hunt rabbits? With a camera, with traps or guns, or do you just let your dog or cat deal with them? There are actually two distinct types of animals that people who see them hopping away are likely to call rabbits. People who prefer to be precise call one family hares...although the most common names for some species of hares include the term "rabbit." All species are edible in cold weather. (They can transmit "rabbit fever," also known as undulant fever and nothing to trifle with, in warm weather.) Spider Robinson explains the difference:



http://fishingandhuntinginoswego.blogspot.com/2016/01/late-season-hunting-in-oswego-county.html



Books 

I just posted a review of Moving to the Country as a Fair Trade Book on the Blogjob, which is where my book reviews have gone, along with several of my Link Logs, rants, articles, knitting patterns, and recipes--the rule is one book review and one other post per day at Blogjob.



http://blogjob.com/priscillaking/2016/01/29/book-review-moving-to-the-country/



...and I'm impressed by this publications page. This is what a web page for any writer, living or dead, should look like...even if the writer chooses to have a blog and web site, this is the ideal for the home page.



Reeve Lindbergh (1945-) Biography - Personal, Addresses, Career, Honors Awards, Writings, Adaptations, Sidelights



Environment 

Steve Milloy shares a report on how "cap-and-trade" schemes aren't working for China:



http://junkscience.com/2016/01/cap-and-tax-failing-in-china/

Scams 

I think U.S. culture at least forces scammers to be a bit more sophisticated than this one:



http://blogjob.com/myarticles/archives/218

Friday, January 29, 2016

What in Flint...? (Rant Followed by Fundraising Links)

Flint, Michigan...it's a real place. (So is Hell, but Flint is bigger and, in some ways, more unpleasant; in real life I often say "What in Flint...") I didn't spend much time in Michigan and don't plan to go back there, but my emotional "heart" does contain a tiny glow of warmth toward this beleaguered, often benighted, horribly polluted State.

Home of Gerald Ford..."President Nice Guy" wasn't our most memorable President, but he was nice.

Home of Michael Moore...a lot of this web site's correspondents bash him, and there were a few years when he bought into a conspiracy theory and even my Democrat husband was saying "Don't support that kind of lunacy," but he's a good writer and I've always liked his work. Conspiracy theories apart.

And the home of some, not all, of the "Moms" in a nationwide organization called Moms Rising. As an aunt I support some of their efforts in aid of children. Some, not most, because there are too many left-wingers in the group. Left-wingers are really good at publicizing problems. At generating workable answers they're not so good.

I mean to say...take a look at the e-mail below. The problem is that these people are poor...so their idea of a solution is to spend more tax money...but tax money has to be collected from local folks, and the local folks don't have much, so they're basically talking about a boondoggle that's going to require a bailout. There are disaster areas, like New York in 2001 or New Orleans in 2005, where a bailout may seem like the only remaining way to help. That's not what Mom Dream is describing to me, though. What she's conveying to my mind is definitely a problem, but it looks, sounds, feels, whatever, more like a problem that might be better addressed by collecting and spending less tax money.

I want to know, if the following commonsense suggestions don't work for Flint, why they don't work better than the ones the left-wingers are proposing:

1. Flint's city water is polluted. Buy filters. Lots of filters, because the chances are that residents of Flint are going to go through them like toilet tissue this year. Take up a collection to buy filters for those who can't afford them.

2. The city manager switched the water supply? Well, then, the city manager should switch it back. (Whether the city should switch managers, and/or take a switch to the manager who switched to the polluted water supply, is up to them.)

3. After exposure, the body recovers from lead poisoning...slowly. Some people benefit from chelation therapy to speed up recovery; most don't need it. A clinic to help identify anyone who does need treatment, and advise other residents of Flint about nutrient supplements during the recovery process, would be a good thought. Should the state use tax money to set up the clinic...taxes collected from poor people...or offer private people and organizations whose image could use a boost, of which Michigan has plenty, the opportunity to get credit for funding it?

Not being from Flint, I can't claim to know, but I would think that in a place as rich as Michigan a good marketing campaign could get richies competing over which of them could chip in most. There's the Meijer store chain fortune, Amway, Little Caesar's, Quicken, Penske, Stryker, Henry Ford's heirs, Dan Gilbert, what's left of General Motors, the university built on the ruins of the Battle Creek Sanitarium, and that one's not even close to being the biggest university/hospital system in Michigan. By now, for pity's sake, never even mind Roger Smith, Michigan has Michael Moore! Admit it, conservative readers--no matter how much you disagree with his politics, there are times when you have to like Michael Moore:

http://michaelmoore.com/walk-with-mike

At the right point in the recovery process, walking helps people recover from lead poisoning, too.

So, Mike From Flint, this is for you, from the friendly-looking fair-skinned woman who dragged in the judgmental-looking dark-skinned man, and sat at the back and didn't buy a book, at the Arlington book party after 9/11. (Oh, of course, at a mob scene like that any writer would remember the people who didn't buy the book after fifteen years...all two of them? Maybe.) If I'd written a book that had earned as much as any of your books, even the one my husband hated, and if my home town had a crisis, would I sit back and let people raise taxes on working parents to salvage my town? Like the Pope would convert to Judaism, maybe. Like thunder! What are you going to do for your townsfolk? Book? Movie? You could singlehandedly give the world something that could raise enough money to fix the water supply in Flint and open the clinic. Writers have power. Writers have fortitude. You, Michael Moore, could not only get the hard-working and laboriously poor-mouthing people in Gate City to shell out money to help Flint; you could make us laugh out loud as we did it. And it's about time we had another good laugh out of you anyway. I'm not about to sell my copy of Here Comes Trouble, which I believe my husband would've liked too, but it is practically old enough to be a Fair Trade Book.

But honestly...Penske people, I know you're going to read this because I mentioned your company, are you going to leave everything to Michael Moore? Youall could put something about Flint on a racing car and take up collections at races. You have fans. You could probably collect enough to open a clinic at Charlotte alone...

Andrews University, where I met most of the real-world people I know in Michigan. How long are you going to be the only Adventist university that's not affiliated with a well-known present-time health care institution? Seventh-Day Adventists are not poor. Not all of them are rich, either, but they donate religiously to church, mission, and humanitarian causes. That whole clinic idea is calling yourall's names. "Holistic," Dream wrote. Think "naturopathic," A.U. people. And build it to last. A hundred years is long enough to coast on the memory of the Battle Creek Sanitarium.

I'm not saying the legislators should sit on their hands either; they're human too, they'd have to have had quite a bit of lead poisoning themselves to want to sit on their hands. Virginia and Tennessee legislators "never allow a crisis to go to waste"; in any kind of community disaster they're out there raising funds, boosting morale, and basking in free publicity. I'd be surprised if a Michigan legislator weren't in Flint as I type. But I am saying that raising taxes is not the ideal solution to everything. Raising taxes seems likely to be an especially non-ideal solution for a place like Michigan that still has way more than its share of money, but seems to be stuck in a state-wide, thirty-year-long shortage of healthy pride. A one-time crisis seems to call out for a one-time display of that "We can take care of our own" sort of pride.

Penniless as I am, I do want to be part of that one-time display. So here's what I can do: If any Michigan writer, ideally but not necessarily Michael Moore, it could be un-funny Dan Gilbert for that matter, cranks out a new documentary book about the Flint water crisis and/or what Michiganians are doing to solve it, and sells it at fundraising prices up to $50 per copy, I will personally walk into Kingsport and buy that book at the Fort Henry Mall bookstore. And I will photograph that walk. And that book. And tweet the images, using the "WalkWithMike" hashtag.

Here's Mom Dream's alternative solution...and it's not all bad; it just seems to me less efficient and less good. I could be wrong, and if convinced that I'm wrong I could support Moms Rising on this one. But I'd be greatly disappointed in Michiganians if they had to fall back on any solution that involved raising taxes.

"
As parents, we do all we can to keep our kids healthy. And we rely on our government to make sure we have access to essentials like clean water. That shouldn't change depending on what color we are, our income level, or where we live.
That's why we're beyond mad about the lead contamination of drinking water in Flint, Michigan. Join us in demanding justice from the Michigan State Legislature: http://action.momsrising.org/sign/Flint_2016/?t=5&akid=7553.1995681.1kHsbh
Here's what happened. In April 2014, in an effort to cut costs, an emergency manager appointed by Governor Snyder switched the Flint water supply from the Detroit water system to the Flint River. Long story short: dangerous levels of lead seeped into the water supply, posing long-term and serious health risks for local residents.
Families in Flint knew there was a problem when the water turned brown, young children broke out in rashes, and the hair of some residents began falling out. Yet officials denied anything was wrong, as they failed to follow federal guidelines around lead safety and utilized faulty water testing techniques. [1] Can you imagine?
Refusing to stay silent, residents started organizing. Researchers found the water supply contained over 900 times the recommended amount of lead [2]. Even the City Council voted to reconnect to the Detroit Water Supply in March 2015. Yet Emergency Manager Gerald Ambrose continued to insist that the water was safe to drink [3].
Indeed it took WELL OVER A YEAR for the city to acknowledge that there was a BIG problem, and that the water in Flint was NOT safe to drink. There are no words for this kind of failure. Are the children and families of Flint so disposable that local officials didn't act more quickly and comprehensively?
Governor Snyder himself now refers to the situation as a "catastrophe". [4] The New York Times wrote: "Officials at all levels of government acted in ways that contributed to the public health emergency and allowed it to persist for months" [1].
We are outraged. It's time for urgent and comprehensive action on behalf of the families in Flint. Join us in demanding justice from the Michigan State Legislature: http://action.momsrising.org/sign/Flint_2016/?t=7&akid=7553.1995681.1kHsbh
Earlier this month Governor Snyder finally declared a state of emergency in Flint, over a year and a half after the problem began. [5] Residents are now being told to use water filters and/or bottled water, and no one knows how many of the city's almost 100,000 residents have been affected by lead, and to what degree. What we do know is that ingesting high amounts of lead can have devastating and long-term effects on children, the elderly, and the sick. Current estimates are that it could take as much as $1.5 billion to fix the problem. [6]
Would officials have ever been so careless about the drinking water if over 50% of Flint's residents weren't black, and over 40% live below the poverty line, making Flint one of the most impoverished cities of its size in the US? [7] The appointment of an emergency manager in Flint, one of several Black cities across the state to have their elected officials replaced by an appointee from the Governor, is at the center of this crisis.
These kinds of environmental injustices happen time and time again in communities of color. Indeed, "Black people in America - especially those living in rural and poor areas - have long been denied the same access to clean drinking and water for bathing and sanitation as everyone else. The crisis in Flint is not an isolated incident," Black Lives Matter has stated. [7] We must do better.
Following the lead of our local allies, we're demanding the Michigan Legislature do the following:
  1. Replace all public water infrastructure at no cost to residents or businesses.
  2. Refund all water bills since the switch to the Flint River water supply, and create a fund to repair property damage caused by toxic water.
  3. Launch an independent state and federal investigation into what happened in Flint. Lift executive immunity from the Governor’s office and release all communications.
  4. Create a Flint Citizen Civilian Core to train workers to repair infrastructure.
  5. Create a holistic medical care facility in Flint to offer therapies and other methods to treat lead poisoning.
Join us in speaking out, on behalf of families and parents in Flint: http://action.momsrising.org/sign/Flint_2016/?t=9&akid=7553.1995681.1kHsbh
ALL of our children and communities deserve access to safe drinking water. What's happening in Flint is a tragedy and a disgrace. Our leaders must be held accountable, and we must do all we can to ensure it never happens again.
Thank you,
- dream, Elyssa, Monifa, Karen, Gloria, Felicia and the rest of the MomsRising.org team

[1] Abby Goodnough, Monica Davey and Mitch Smith: When the Water Turned Brown, the New York Times. January 23, 2016.
[2] David Graham, What Did the Governor Know About Flint's Water, and When Did He Know It? The Atlantic. January 9, 2016.
[3] Stephanie Gosk, Kevin Monahan, Tim Sandler, Internal Email: Michigan 'Blowing Off' Flint Over Lead in Water, NBC News. January 6, 2016.
[4] Julia Jacobo, Flint Water Crisis: Michigan Governor Apologizes, Takes 'Full Responsibility' for 'Catastrophe’, ABC News. January 19, 2016.
[5] Paul Egan, Snyder declares emergency as feds probe Flint water, Detroit Free Press. January 15, 2016.
[6] Paul Egan, Flint mayor: Cost of lead fix could hit $1.5 billion, Detroit Free Press. January 15, 2016.
[7] Solidarity Statement with Flint, Michigan, Black Lives Matter.
"

Communication Analysis: What's Going Wrong?

First, please read this story:

http://blogjob.com/ladyfingers/2016/01/29/one-of-those-people/

I started to include it in a Link Log, then decided to comment at length and make this a separate post, mainly because of the nature of the distraction that came up while I was writing.

I've said, and received hatespews for saying, and therefore feel obliged to say again: Real introverts do not want uncongenial people to try to "draw us out" and "be friendly."  During the twentieth century many of us were miseducated to believe that we ought to be more gregarious, but we simply are not. Deep down, we'd prefer that people not clutter our lives with idle chatter, but do things they really enjoy, with people they really like, and allow us to do the same. If you share our interests you're likely to become a close friend. If not, the friendliest thing to do is to accept that you're a familiar stranger, be cordial when talk is necessary and helpful or appreciative when help is necessary, and not waste more of our time than you can help in any other situation.

We're introverts because we have more completely developed, better-functioning brains than extroverts have, but that alone does not automatically make us perfect. If we've not been blessed with opportunities to bond with fellow introverts, in our own way, introverts can actually become as antisocial as extroverts want to believe we are.

How can you tell? Well...in this story Louise goes from making it clear that she doesn't want to be "befriended" to making it clear that she actively dislikes and wants to punish the people who've insisted on trying to "act friendly." Although she limits her "punishment" to verbal/social displays, an introvert whose social personality had been less damaged wouldn't have bothered with those either. If Louise hadn't become antisocial and hostile, she might still be a bad listener and an awkward talker, but she wouldn't continue hanging around the group after she'd rejected Sharon's invitation; they'd see her looking out the window or bringing a book or newspaper to the table at lunch time, taking her lunch out into the park when the weather permitted, chatting with other people (probably men) if she went to luncheons or parties, moving away from their group altogether as she found other uses for her time.

Louise needs help--I wish more introverts organized and attended communication skills study groups, the way Ozarque did while living. People like Louise don't need to be distracted with garbage about something being wrong with them. They do need to know that they can improve their communication skills, just as they've probably spent time improving their math or computer or car-driving skills.

The other young people in this story also need some guidance. They need to be especially aware that, even though they've seen Louise (shudder! gasp!) eating lunch alone, that does not mean she feels any "need" to drown out those terrifying inner voices with constant chitchat. She may not be hearing those inner voices, or that inner roaring silence, or whatever else it is of which extroverts seem to live in such horror. She may be relaxing and meditating; she may be listening to her own, rational, confident, task-focussed inner voice, and enjoying it, thinking intelligently about her job or her creative pursuits or her family. That might be why the group should want her--they may need her talent, know it, and have something to say that she'd be interested in hearing. In this story, however, the group obviously don't want Louise's help to do anything Louise is interested in doing, so Louise's indulging them in that first invitation is indeed a matter of her doing them a favor. If they're not abjectly grateful for the honor of her indulgence, they shouldn't demand it.

At the very moment that I began typing this post, in the computer center, a little child wandered up and started nattering to me about a movie. Whoa! Say whaaat? Who is this child and why is he approaching me? He wasn't even born when I was interviewing children about children's toys for Associated Content. Where are his parents--it's dangerous for an adult to be seen talking to some random child without parental supervision these days! Fortunately the parents were wandering around in the computer center, talking out loud, eating all over the place, leaving little trails of crumbs, and reclaimed their offspring before I got up to look for them.

They didn't even warn the kid. What happened to "Never talk to strangers!"? What about "Don't bother people who are working!"? I'd settle for "That's your second cousin twice removed, Priscilla King, and as you can see she's busy." The fond parents didn't say anything like that. We are still a culture that coddles extroverts, that encourages them to believe that the brain damage that prevented that poor, cute little boy from realizing he was annoying a stranger is normal, or healthy, or at least "more fun" than having a healthy sense of respect for other people.

We need to become a culture where everyone understands that most people have their own lives to live, their own work to do, and that normal, healthy, happy people do not want to be interrupted without a very good reason. We need to teach children that, even if I have been known to talk to children about Disney movies, I did that while I was selling toys, tutoring, or baby-sitting, not while I was writing.

(Obligatory warble: Even though I'm not that one unknown adult in a million who would ever consider kidnapping or molesting or even slapping a chatty child, that little boy had no way of knowing this. For all he knew I might have been Ms. Stranger-Danger, with a stick of candy, a rope, and a roll of duct tape stowed under the back seat of my car! In some ways that's a separate issue from teaching children to be polite and not pester people who are busy...and then again, maybe it's not completely separate. People like Louise are a minority already, and maybe one in a million even of them would consider punishing a pushy pest with anything worse than a verbal slap--but do parents want to take that chance with little children?)

We need to become a culture where everyone looks at that little boy with the mix of horror and pity I am feeling for him, now, and asks, "What went wrong? No, he didn't just nearsightedly approach someone who looks a bit like his mother from behind--even after making eye contact with a stranger who'd been working on something else, he went right on blathering! Something's not right...that child should be in a special school if he ever goes to school."

We need to become a culture where, if Sharon feels a need to "reach out" to Louise and try to "break the ice," she can at least be honest with herself about what she's feeling, and why.

"I wish I had the courage to sit alone in a cafeteria. When I see you sitting alone and think about sitting alone, I remember things that used to happen when I was in primary school and worry that somebody's going to start throwing things at you. I went to a horrible primary school."

"I wish I weren't so afraid of being alone or being quiet. When I tried meditating, I seemed to hear voices in my head that seemed to come from dead people calling me to join them."

"Are you by any chance unattached? My friends are starting to pair off, and I'm looking for another (male/female) buddy to hang out with until I find someone to date."

We need to become a culture that teaches extroverts, from early childhood, to recognize the signs that people are busy, or are just not interested in them; to accept that most people aren't interested in them, most of the time. I have, and I suspect that many introverts have, experienced most extroverts primarily as obnoxious manipulative jerks. I suspect that most extroverts could have been trained not to be obnoxious manipulative jerks; they can even be trained to think through that urge to approach a new acquaintance, ask themselves whether they really want to talk to this person and why, and then, if they have a reasonable reason to want to approach the person, actually make themselves interesting to that person.

If we as a culture stopped indulging extroverts in the belief that they're the center of the universe and everybody wants to hear from them at every minute, we could actually train them to make themselves useful to humankind. What happens when a child is born intelligent and brought up well, yet still likes being the center of attention, wants to be a leader, even feels an interest in people-as-such? Well...one possibility is that, if that child doesn't waste his energy being a pushy pest, he might go into politics and be a really good representative of his constituents. (I really ought to be following a few examples of that pattern in the state legislature today. I am being lazy and self-indulgent.) Or she might go into business and become rich. There's no reason why extroverts have to remain clueless, practically autistic, about what probably could and should become real talents.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

January 28 Link Log

Categories: Obligatory Fundraising Links, Animals, Feminist, Food, Frugal, Health, Politics.

Are these getting familiar? Fund the project, or share the links, to make these links go away:

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-frugal-gracious-living-challenge–2#/

http://blogjob.com/priscillaking/2015/12/29/so-then-i-told-the-senator/

Animals 

Personally, I think these little garter snakes are cute and lovable...I couldn't live with them, though. My house snake Gulegi was sent into this world on a mission to keep all other snakes, except a friend or two who visits him in the spring, away from his house. (In his mind I'm sure the Cat Sanctuary is his house.) He has been carrying out this mission for more than forty years now; during that time he's shed a slightly longer skin each year. If cornered by a human he's big enough to chomp hard, maybe crack a bone--but he's very good at avoiding being seen by humans. And other snakes are his favorite thing...for breakfast.

http://blogjob.com/insights/2016/01/28/all-types-of-animals-are-important/

Crows...y'know, before West Nile Virus, many of us in the U.S. didn't notice or even care how cute and clever they are.

http://blogjob.com/pets/2016/01/crows-stealing-clothes-hangers/

Feminist Activist Updates 

Here's a town that desperately needs to rethink a stupid law. If everyone out there sends the town a few postcards expressing support for this heroic teenager, we can literally lean some weight on the town officials to commend the girl instead of squawking about her (awesomely brave) decision to risk relying on a relatively less lethal weapon.

http://pjmedia.com/instapundit/225119/

Food (Yum) 

Have you ever tried baking vegetables, and/or cooked or canned meat or fish, right into bread? I have; it can work well with gluten-free breads. Fruit is excellent in sweet breads, too.

http://blogjob.com/baking/vegetable-bread/

Frugal Fun 

Frugal fun in Australia:

http://blogjob.com/funismymiddlename/2016/01/27/jogging-walking-and-having-fun/

Health News 

Zika virus explained:

https://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2016/01/27/zika-virus-what-you-need-know?

Doctors for vegans:

http://www.theveganjunction.com/top-20-plant-based-health-professionals-to-follow/

And a startling study shared by Steve Milloy...sometimes studies just get an atypical sample group, but this one is interesting.

http://junkscience.com/2016/01/claim-secondhand-smoke-makes-kids-fat-and-stupid/

Politics 

Jonah Goldberg:

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/430324/donald-trump-conservative-crackup-here?


Morgan Griffith's Agenda for 2016

This was in Congressman Griffith's E-Newsletter last week; it's been sitting at the bottom of a pile of e-mail since the Big Continuous Snow began. Its belated appearance here means I'm within sight of the end of the e-mails that have been piling up for nine or ten days.

"
A Year of Ideas and a Bold, Pro-Growth Agenda
For several days each year, Republicans and House Democrats gather for separate annual policy retreats. At the Republican retreat, which was last week, Republican members of the House and Senate joined together in an effort to sort out our bold, pro-growth agenda for this year.
Five areas in which we are planning to make a mark are national security, jobs and economic growth, restoring the Constitution, health care, and poverty and opportunity.
Meanwhile, I and others are continuing to push for more change towards a better internal procedure, including a more transparent rules process, greater input on legislative action from the House Republican Conference membership at large, and considering more bills of consequence.
One of the more specific processes we are working on is the appropriations process. There are 12 appropriations bills which authorize funding for certain government activities such as national defense, homeland security, education, etc. These bills require regular (usually annual) authorization. Under the Constitution, all appropriations bills must begin in the House. But like any other bill, the Senate must agree to it and it must be signed by the President in order to become law.
However, as reported by Roll Call, “Last year, Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev and his caucus imposed a blockade on moving spending measures to force budget negotiation, a strategy that proved successful.” We in the House passed several appropriations bills, but because Senate Democrats hijacked the process, Congress as a whole wasn’t able to pass any.
Doing so would have allowed Congress and the President to work out differences of opinion within each of the government activities without the threat of shutting down the whole government. Health and Human Services (HHS) funding would have been approved separately from national defense, etc.
As the result of this broken process, Congress passed without my support a massive “omnibus” bill that will fund the government for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2016.
I am cautiously optimistic that this year we can restore the appropriations process to what it once was.
But in the weeks that have passed since Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI) became Speaker, progress has already been made on other objectives.
Legislation to form our agenda is now being crafted from the bottom up, meaning that Members of Congress will have a more equal say than in a top-down speakership.
Broader steps have been taken toward reforming this body, and I am proud to have served on working groups tasked with doing so. One of these working groups is to propose rules changes, and another was to reform the House Republican Steering Committee, which determines committee chairmanships and helps to set policy.
Additionally, under Speaker Ryan, we have been able to do what hadn’t been done previously (due in part to the Senate’s modern filibuster rules), sending to the President’s desk a bill repealing the Obamacare health care law. Congress also sent two Resolutions of Disapproval (H.J.Res 71 and H.J.Res 72) under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to block two final rules for new and existing power plants issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
President Obama vetoed this legislation, and is expected to soon veto legislation on his desk that would use the CRA to block the President’s Waters of the United States rule, which seeks to assert federal control over puddles, ditches, areas that are occasionally wet, etc.
While I regret his vetoes, I am glad we are sending him bills that not only make clear what we stand for and believe in, but also what he believes. We will continue to do things like this whether the President likes it or not.
A more detailed legislative agenda is still under development, as crafting such detailed policies in a short amount of time is difficult. However, this plan could be unveiled as early as March. I would encourage votes on these legislative proposals at the proper time so as to help further create a clear contrast between the policies of this Administration.
Realistically, we will need to elect a President who will work with us in order to see the most profound difference. But in the interim, to borrow from Speaker Ryan: “If we’re ever going to get our country back on track, we need to make this year about ideas, not about Obama’s distractions,” he said. “And that is exactly what we’re going to do.”

If you have questions, concerns, or comments, feel free to contact my office. You can call my Abingdon office at 276-525-1405 or my Christiansburg office at 540-381-5671. To reach my office via email, please visit my website at www.morgangriffith.house.gov. Also on my website is the latest material from my office, including information on votes recently taken on the floor of the House of Representatives.
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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Funny Thing About Glyphosate...

(This post was excised from today's Link Log because it's long enough to be a separate post.)

It's a funny thing about glyphosate. One reason why getting this stuff labelled and banned seems to be so difficult, apart from the huge amounts of money Monsanto is throwing into the fight, is that, in fact, the observable effects of this poison vary from person to person. Effects on the same person may also vary depending on the level and method of exposure.

You may have read that a Monsanto employee blustered that he'd drink a cup of "Roundup" on television, then, when invited to do so, backed down. Actually, it's slightly hazardous to your health, but it's very interesting, to observe different people (and animals) in a place where "Roundup" has been sprayed. I've done it. No two results are alike. Most people exposed to "Roundup" don't immediately get cancer; many don't even display "their usual" allergy-type reaction--but if you observe closely, everyone shows some kind of adverse effects.

In one household I observed that (1) I didn't just have "hayfever" symptoms--my nose started spouting like a fountain, immediately; (2) another woman, who had had a stroke, had no "hayfever" symptoms, but during that day's physical therapy session she fell back to the level of progress she'd reached four or five weeks ago, and made very little further progress over the next two weeks; and (3) a man, who was normally energetic and intelligent with no particular memory issues, said he felt "low," took several naps during the next few days, and seemed forgetful enough to be accused of "getting old." (That "low" feeling and urge to nap--sometimes positive narcolepsy--is evidence of harmful effects on the kidneys; glyphosate has been implicated in some patients' kidney failure.)

My cat Mogwai survived exposure to airborne "Roundup" residues, but her personality changed during exposure; my cat Bisquit died, slowly and painfully, a few days after eating an exposed bird. And so it goes...babies may have more colic, children might have more learning problems, Dad might have a headache, Mom might have stomach cramps, on and on and on.

I'm a celiac; grain crops that have been genetically modified to be "Roundup-Ready," more like grass and wheat, are known to produce celiac reactions to E. coli corn (as distinct from natural corn, or BT corn--and if corporations want us to call bioengineered corn something other than "BT" or "E. Coli" after the disease germs from which DNA has been spliced into it, they'd better put brand names on it and advertise it). I've had celiac reactions to corn and rice, which I shouldn't have to worry about, during the past two years, but that's not the complete explanation of why I've spent so much of these two years feeling sick. After people started spraying "Roundup" on fresh produce as a "preservative" (since it kills many insects as well as plants), I've had occasional celiac reactions to things that aren't even grain.

For several months in 2015 I couldn't eat peanuts. Peanuts are a safe food for celiacs, they're cheap, they can be considered local, and I happen to like them, but for some strange reason, peanuts from our main local supplier and the store brands it supplies started to affect me just as if they contained wheat. Then the next year's crop came in, and lo and behold, peanuts were once again a safe food I could enjoy eating.

At the moment, potatoes seem to be a problem food. I'm not really keen on potatoes, but they're a safe food for celiacs and I've always thought of locally produced Lay's potato chips as a safe party food. At two parties last December I ate potato chips, and was sick. Was "Roundup" sprayed on the potatoes? Were the farmers experimenting with some wacky new GMO potatoes? All I know is, no more potato products for me this year.

A Real Twit and a really scientific reader asked me how I know whether it's the GMO corn, or glyphosate residues in the corn, making me sick. I don't know, of course. I can't know. Since the two things occur in combination, since there's no reason to plant E. Coli Corn unless you're going to drench it in glyphosate, it's likely to be both of those things...making me sick, making masses of other celiacs sick, and causing many people who are not genetically gluten-intolerant to have celiac-type symptoms.

Many people exposed to "Roundup" never get cancer, but there's reason to believe that "Roundup" is one of the more potent carcinogens that contribute to the cancer some people do get. Anything that damages the kidneys obviously contributes to the progress of any type of cancer, even if it's not kidney cancer.

If your neighbors still use this nasty poison, you can see that everyone who's been exposed to "Roundup" shows some sort of adverse reaction--but, when no two individuals show the same reaction, it's hard to pinpoint exactly how this poison is harmful to humans, cats, dogs, and wildlife.

http://www.reuters.com/article/usa-monsanto-glyphosate-idUSL1N12K2P820151020

What can we do? There's one guaranteed way to stop Monsanto poisoning the food supply...stop buying the food. Leave food producers and distributors with mounds of rotting food to try to burn, or feed to hogs, or dispose of as best they can. Meanwhile, write them nice, polite letters explaining how much you've always liked Lay's potato chips, or Fritos, or Zatarain's rice mixes, or Success Rice, or whatever other food products you like that may contain GMOs and/or glyphosate, but you're concerned about these GMO and glyphosate issues...you want to know it if you do buy anything that contains either GMOs or glyphosate. Ask them to test the foods they use and print the results of their tests on their labels.

Writing to elected officials is also nice, and Change.org is a wonderful way to encourage this type of changes, and some of you might even want to use Avaaz.org...but food manufacturers, faced with the fact that about 75% of Americans want GMOs banned and 90% want them at least labelled, are likely to be our best hope of getting the poison out of our food.