Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Just like Hurricane Katrina...

It's a sad fact of living in the USA that most government officials and politicians will not do anything to protect our health and welfare until AFTER a disaster has struck or a State of Emergency declared...

Take hurricane Katrina for one example -- the levies had to break before ANYTHING would be done about them. Over 1,000 people had to die to prove a point, the point being the levies were underbuilt for that area. And the health, safety and welfare of tens of thousands of people were at risk for a very long time, blissfully unaware of the danger.

The polititians knew BEFORE it happened. The studies had been done, the reports filed, even the media reported what "could happen" if something wasn't done. A National Geographic article a few years BEFORE it happened painted a picture in striking detail -- frighteningly similar to what actually happened in the aftermath.

Just like hurricane Katrina, another "disaster about to happen" is nearing it's "race against the clock" as the hog factory moves forward with construction.

And just like Katrina, the government is well aware of the scientific studies and reports that have been completed. In fact, they funded a large amount of them.

They know the dangers to public health these factories represent:

- Salmonella Outbreaks Linked to Produce on the Rise
- Antimicrobial Resistance of Enterococcus Species Isolated from Produce
- Development of New Tools to Control the Swine Production-related Emerging Threats to Public Health
- Fate of Salmonella enterica Serovar Typhimurium on Carrots and Radishes Grown in Fields Treated with Contaminated Manure Composts or Irrigation Water
- Occurrence and Diversity of Tetracycline Resistance Genes in Lagoons and Groundwater Underlying Two Swine Production Facilities
- Researchers Discuss Health Implications of Meat Production and Consumption
- Prevalence and Antimicrobial Resistance of Enterococcus Species Isolated from Retail Meats

And even this one regarding a food poisoning outbreak after a fair...

- An Outbreak of Escherichia coli O157 Infection Following Exposure to a Contaminated Building

Which concludes: "Absence of evidence implicating specific food or beverage sources and the recovery of E coli O157 from the rafters suggest that airborne dispersion of bacteria contributed to the contamination. Because E coli O157 can survive in the environment for more than 10 months, humans may be at risk of infection long after an environment is initially contaminated."

They know the dangers to air, water, soil and wildlife:

- Teschoviruses as Indicators of Porcine Fecal Contamination of Surface Water
- Field-Scale Evaluation of Phosphorus Leaching in Acid Sandy Soils Receiving Swine Waste
- Preliminary Investigation of Air Bubbling and Dietary Sulfur Reduction to Mitigate Hydrogen Sulfide and Odor from Swine Waste
- Enteric Viruses of Humans and Animals in Aquatic Environments
- Manure -- Can it cause harm to wildlife/environment through soil?

And just like Katrina, several major press articles and books have already been written about what "could happen" when you mix such a large concentration of swine into a large population of birds into a large concentration of people:

- Democracy Now! Radio - Mike Davis on The Monster at Our Door: The Global Threat of Avian Flu
- Pork Production is Linked to the Risk of Flu Epidemics and Infections
- Are Swine Workers in the United States at Increased Risk of Infection with Zoonotic Influenza Virus?
- USA Government's
"Field Manual For Wild Diseases - chapter 22/avian flu
- Avian Flu And Dangers to Migratory Birds (.pdf)
- Influenza viruses in birds, humans, swine
- History of Spanish Flu
- More Waters Test Positive for Drugs
- Vetrinary Tutorial: Standard Avian Viruses Found in Pigs
- Building Sewerless Cities
- Overview of Avian Influenza
- Molecular Basis for the Generation in Pigs of Influenza A Viruses with Pandemic Potential

Important Quote: "Human infections with swine influenza viruses have been documented in the U.S. at least 9 times since 1974, including fatal infections, as well as in Europe and in New Zealand. A recent study of swine farm families in Wisconsin documented statistically significant levels of exposure to swine influenza viruses, compared to an urban control population from Milwaukee."

Another important quote: "H5N1 is able to infect people because it is able to cross the species-barrier. In human populations, where domestic pigs and wild and domestic birds live in close proximity with people, the mingling and exchange of human and animal viruses can more easily occur."

And from the U.S. Agricultural Department - Animal Production and Health Division Report/Epidemiology Section: "Swine appear to be important in the epidemiology of
infection of turkeys with swine influenza virus when they are in close proximity. Other mammals do not appear to be involved in the epidemiology of HPAI. The infection of humans with an H5 avian influenza virus in Hong Hong in 1997 has resulted in a reconsideration of the role of the avian species in the epidemiology of human influenza."

And just like hurricane Katrina, the National Geographic has done an interesting documentary. See "Need more worries? Watch this..."

And so, here in a tiny community nestled on the boarders of Jasper and Polaski Counties, the ticking time bomb shall begin soon.

But polititians and Government officials are standing back with their "wait-and-see" shades on. How much of our environment will have to be destroyed before they take action? How much of our fresh water, air and soil will have to be ruined? How many wild animals and birds will have to die first? How many people will have to be harmed first? How many will have to die first?

If this past decade is anything to go by ...anywhere from 1,000 to 3,000+ people will have to die first, before they actually do anything. By the time they finish cleaning up the mess, who knows how many... ?

That's a little disconcerting when you really think about it.

Keywords: , , , , , ,
, , , ,

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Bird Flu Pandemic Recipe

Here is the recipe...

- Take a high concentration of about 2,496 disease-prone pigs.
- Mix them into a large bird feeding area, about 20,000 birds.
- Mix in a large concentration of humans, about 40,000 to 50,000.

Secret Ingredient:
Now, make those pigs start having babies -- thousands of piglets a year. After all, piglets are much more susceptable to airborn diseases and other pathogens.

Special Instructions:
Next, the piglets that survive and are strong enough, pack them into trucks and haul them right through that large concentration of birds all over the country for fattening before slaughter. (You want to make sure those germs carry around the USA fast, right?)

Optional Toppings:
Just for good measure, compost the dead piglets that don't survive right on the "farm" property. (You attract a whole lot more insects this way so you can increase the chance for success of your recipe.) Oh... and mix in the pig sewage with all of its pathogens and drugs right into the soil that all those birds are eating on. (After all, you want your recipe to carry as far and wide as you can. Don't let it sit just in our country... let the migratory birds carry it to 3 or 4 countries to share with their friends.)

Ask any expert on avian flu what he thinks of this recipe.

Want to stop it before it has a chance to "bake" in the Jasper County, Indiana, USA oven?

Write to the following senators -- Sen. Richard G. Lugar, Sen. Evan Bayh, Sen. James A. Lewis, and a few more. While you're at it, how about Gov. Mitch Daniels ...

And Protest The
Belstra/Harper Sow Unit - Farm ID # 6383
Jasper County, Indiana

-- and be sure to send your protest to the Office Of Environmental Management, too!

For your convenience, all above links open in a separate window. Help us stop this hog factory farm today. Thank you! We appreciate you!

Keywords: Richard Lugar, Evan Bayh, James Lewis, Indiana Senators, factory farm protest, hog farm protest, bird flu, bird flu pandemic, avian flu pandemic, avian flu, Jasper County, Jasper County Indiana, Indiana hog farm, Indiana Office of Environmental Management

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

DNR Letter to IDEM re Hog Factory in Jasper County

I'm surprised the link I posted to the Post-Tribune article is no longer working. (It now leads to a blank page over at their website. Sorry about that, folks.)

So, I'm not 100% certain how long this link to the new Associated Press article will be active, but I thought I would post it anyay. Another batch of quotes from the DNR catches my attention in the above article. Quote:
Jim Bergens, the property manager of the Jasper-Pulaski area, told the Post-Tribune of Merrillville he isn’t concerned about the cranes eating the manure as they scavenge for waste grain in harvested fields.

DNR spokesman Michael Ellis said a letter that Glen Salmon, the DNR’s director of Fish and Wildlife, sent to IDEM declares that the wildlife area’s wetlands “are major use areas for the sandhill crane and other water birds in both the spring and fall migrations.”

Although the DNR believes the hog farm will not have a detrimental effect on the wildlife area, Ellis said, “in case anything would happen, our concerns are on the record.”
I have a copy of the letter mentioned by Michael Ellis in the news article above. Here is a copy so you can see for yourself the "concerns" they have mentioned "for the record".

------ copy ------

Indiana Department of Natural Resources
Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr., Governer
Kyle J- Hupfer, Director

October 24, 2005

Office of Land Quality
Solid Waste Permits Section
Confined Feeding Operation
100N. Senate Ave., N 1154
Indianapolis, IN 46204


oct 26 2005

Environmental Management

RE: Belstra/Harper Sow Unit application dated 20 September 2005

Section 22, T31N,R5W

Jasper County

Farm ID #6383

Annual Waste Number AW-5517

The land immediately north of the sow unit is owned by the State of Indiana, Department of Natural Resources and operated as Jasper-Pulaski Fish & Wildlife Area. While we do not oppose the construction and operation of the sow unit there are a few management concerns that we would like call to your attention.

As a "State Fish & Wildlife Area, one of our main-programs is to provide hunting opportunities. The State property adjacent to the proposed sow unit is one of our more popular hunting areas, especially for turkey hunting in the spring and squirrel and deer hunting in the late summer and fall. Also, our public rifle shooting range is located approximately 1 mile NE of the sow unit.

It should also be noted that the fish and wildlife area contains some high quality water areas that are important to wildlife including endangered or threatened species. The wetland areas are major use areas for the sandhill crane and other water birds in both the spring and fall migrations.

We use many habitat manipulation methods in the operation of the fish and wildlife area.

One that should be noted is prescribed fire control burns. Much of the fish and wildlife area is burned on a 3 to 10 year rotation. The 160 acre block immediately north of the proposed sow unit is scheduled to be burned in the late winter or early spring of 2007.

We trust that the adherence of your project to IDEM regulation will ensure compatibility with the operation of this public fish and wildlife area. The land use management for this fish and wildlife area is not expected to change. Thank you in advance for recognizing the above management points.

Glen Salmon
Division of Fish & Wildlife

cc: Malcolm De Kryger
Belstra/Harper Sow Unit
P.O. Box 460
DeMotte. IN 46310

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Jasper Co Indiana Hog Farm draws more attention

It hit the front page today of the Chesterton/Valparaiso Post-Tribune with the headline: "Hog farm could ruffle crane migration haven"

Excellent article. Way to go Post-Tribune!

And the article emphasizes something I mentioned before on this blog. Here's quotes from the self-proclaimed expert-on-Cranes DNR official, Jim Bergens, who has been told by his boss that he can no longer talk to press (or anyone else) on this subject.
Bergens said he is not concerned about the cranes eating the manure when they probe into the soil with their beaks for food. Most of them are eating waste grain off fields that people have already tampered with, Bergens said.

“There’s fertilizer, there’s all kinds of other things in the soil,” Bergens said. “When they’re feeding on waste grain, they’re probably not probing the soil at all.”

Bergens said his two-decades worth of background knowledge on the birds is enough to help him come to these conclusions.
And now I have to wonder what cranes Jim was actually observing to gain this knowledge?

Since marrying my husband and moving here less than 2500 yards from the new hog factory under construction, I've been thrilled to watch the majestic Sandhill cranes surrounding our yard -- hundreds and hundreds of them -- feeding on the leftover corn that is usually disced into the ground after harvest.

Jim, being the expert he claims he is, should already know that CORN is their favorite food. He should also be aware that they will dig as deep as they can to get it, even if it has been disced down deep after harvest. Yes, maybe he is completely aware of this...

But maybe Jim isn't all that well-versed on hog sewage, and perhaps that's why he "thinks" it will pose no problem, even if it's knifed 6" to 8" into the soil.

Considering that pig sewage will contain the bacteria and drugs that those 2,496 pigs excrete every day, and considering it will be collecting into manure pits mixing nicely together BEFORE being spread on the soil -- without purification treatments of any kind -- here's a few links to some research Jim REALLY NEEDS to read, in my humble opinion:

1. Fate of Escherichia coli O157:H7 in Manure-Amended Soil

Above report indicates the length of time E. coli (common in livestock manure, particularly swine manure) can survive in soils, and the serious threat to public health.

- "Escherichia coli O157:H7 cells survived for up to 77, >226, and 231 days in manure-amended autoclaved soil held at 5, 15, and 21°C, respectively."
(That's anywhere from over 2 months to as high as 7-1/2 months!!)

- "E. coli O157:H7 cells were inactivated more rapidly in both autoclaved and unautoclaved soils amended with manure at a ratio of 1 part manure to 10 parts soil at 15 and 21°C than in soil samples containing dilute amounts of manure."

(Remember, Jim, in the BZA meeting Belstra reps. stated they only plan to use 500 acres in this area to spread TONS of hog waste. Now Jim, do you honestly think they won't be spreading it where it's likely to be "foraged" through and eaten by wildlife? Jim, IT'S RIGHT BESIDE THE WILD GAME RESERVE for which you are the DNR "property manager".)

An interesting point made in the above scientific study:

"Animals from which food is derived are recognized as reservoirs of many significant food-borne pathogens, including Escherichia coli O157:H7, Salmonella spp., and Campylobacter spp."

The study was intended to be used to reduce the risk of E. coli O157:H7 transmission to foods produced from soils using livestock waste for fertizlizer.

Now, if it's dangerous to OUR health, and dangerous to use without CAREFUL application on land proucing fresh fruit/veggies... and since E. coli can be LETHAL to birds (you know this, right Jim?) do you think it just might affect the more than 20,000 cranes stopping to eat here each year? Now picture those birds flying off with their new viruses as they continue on their migratory journey...

What do you think, Jim?

2. In another study: "The persistence of L. monocytogenes for several weeks in manure-amended soil suggests listeriae could be transmitted through soil to fresh produce or to shoes, clothing, and hands of field workers, especially during the cold months."

3. In yet another study - "Thus, flies that come in contact with contaminated materials (i.e., manure, food, and water) are capable of transmitting Salmonella." ...and it also states... "In summary, the high nutrient content of sewage results in a good fertilizer, but the ability of Salmonella to survive in the fertilized soil may help perpetuate the presence of Salmonella species outside animal hosts."

And how about this quote from the same scientific study mentioned directly above... "Salmonella is frequently isolated from water sources, which serve as bacterial reservoirs and may aid transmission between hosts."

It won't just be our maginificent Sandhill Cranes drinking from ditches that may (or to be fair, may not) contain this bacteria from possible [in my humble opinion -- likely] leaching into water sources surrounding the manure spreading acres designated by this hog factory. Just think of all those wild deer, rabbits, foxes, moles, frogs, and... the list goes on.

Look, I can quote study after study after study that has been done regarding the bacteria associated with swine manure (and other concentrated farming livestock manure) -- it's enough to make some people sick just in reading about it.

I haven't even started on the avian flus that are found naturally in swine. Of course, you're already aware of the dangers of mixing a large concentration of swine in amongst a large concentration of birds, right Jim?

Another study for you Jim, in regards to avian HA viruses -- "These results show that the receptor-binding specificity of the HA is altered early after the transmission of an avian virus to humans and pigs and, therefore, may be a prerequisite for the highly effective replication and spread which characterize epidemic strains."

Yes Jim, you've probably already read some of the many vetrinary tutorials out there on the subject of avian flus and swine.

The Grey Book on Animal Disease: "Swine appear to be important in the epidemiology of infection of turkeys with swine influenza virus when they are in close proximity."

Jim... did you forget about the wild turkeys and quail running around this area?

Now let's take a little journey into antibiotic resistent pathogens. (Keep in mind, Jim, they feed a LOT of drugs to these pigs and plenty of it will be excreted into the manure pits.)

- check out "Occurrence and Diversity of Tetracycline Resistance Genes in Lagoons and Groundwater Underlying Two Swine Production Facilities"

There's a WHOLE LOT more studies similar to the above. Just search the journals, Jim.

What about other diseases and/or pathogens?

Here's something you might want to read, Jim:

Infectious Swine Hepatitis E Virus Is Present in Pig Manure Storage Facilities on United States Farms... Quote from Abstract: "Pit manure slurry is a potential source of HEV infection and for contamination of the environment. Contamination of drinking or surface water with HEV was not found on or near the pig farms."

Whew! It's not in our water (maybe) ...but what about the soil?

What other diseases can pigs carry?

Let's take a quick trip to China's mysterious pig disease that was killing humans earlier this year through this link.

Or here's another study - "Results of this study indicate that swine in the United States harbor STEC that can potentially cause human illness."

Look, maybe you know a lot about Sandhill Cranes, Jim (I'm a bit doubtful) but I'm thinking maybe you don't know a whole lot about concentrated livestock operation manures and the pathogens they carry, so let me help you out even further:

- how about starting here Analyses of Livestock Production, Waste Storage, and Pathogen Levels and Prevalences in Farm Manures

- and another study "...Our results indicate that not incorporating contaminated livestock wastes into soil is a potential intervention measure that may help to limit the spread of zoonotic agents further up the food chain. The implications of these findings are discussed in relation to current advice for livestock waste disposal."

- and another study "...concerns have been raised that increased slurry generation as a consequence of more intensive farming practices could lead to increased survival of zoonotic agents in the environment."

- and another study "The long-term survival of E. coli O157:H7 in manure emphasizes the need for appropriate farm waste management to curtail environmental spread of this bacterium..."

- and another study "Overall, the diversity in E. coli populations in manure slurry storage facilities is significant..."

There are hundreds more studies, Jim, but I don't want to overwhelm you.

Now, there was one particular comment you made that really UPSET me. It is most CERTAINLY NOT something anyone charged with the responsibility of protecting our wildlife should ever say:

"Recently, Bergens said, endangered whooping cranes have joined the migration path. Some of them have been found in Jasper County as recently as mid-November. They are part of a 'nonessential experimental' project, Bergens said. 'If something were to happen to these birds,' Bergens said about the whooping cranes, 'they're not essential to the actual wild population.'"

I'm wondering if both Jim Bergens and Malcolm DeKryger, Belstra’s vice president, think the same way about "the small population of people in the surrounding area."

Looks like they BOTH completely forgot about the thousands of people who visit the Game Reserve each year, directly in the path of those warm summer breezes that blow up from the south. Kinda seems to me like the entire State of Indiana might be opening itself up for some Common Law civil suits on this issue once the hog factory is in operation.

But, I'm no lawyer. And I'm no scientist. And even more important, I'm not the person in charge of protecting wildlife and/or tax-paying voting residents in this region, or the many visitors to this area.

Jim, on the other hand, is going to have an awful stink to deal with (pardon the pun)...

Hey Jim, I'm thinking it's time for you to take a long sabatical, go back to school and freshen up on a few of those many courses you claim to have taken, and while you're gone, how about letting someone who REALLY CARES about our wildlife step up to manage the Jasper-Pulaski Fish & Wildlife Area game reserve.

Would you like me to put in a recommendation for you with your boss, Glen Salmon (Director/Division of Fish & Wildlife/DNR), to see if it will help you take the time off for this important study? I'd be happy to!

Uh-oh, on second thought Jim, we might not find much luck with Glen's support for you to take time off and learn more about this situation. You see -- I just read a copy of the letter Glen sent to IDEM regarding approval of this whole mess. Hmmm... maybe I should post a copy here for the public to read.

What do you say, fellow Netizens? Would you like me to post a copy Glen's letter to IDEM here?

Place your VOTE in the comments section.


Monday, November 28, 2005

USA Ranks Number 1 in the World for Deaths by Combined Immunodeficiencies

You know the biggest part of writing for a living is the tremendous amount of research you have to do on topics before you even put the first word down on paper.

Here's an interesting -- rather startling -- statistic I uncovered over the weekend while researching for a project I've taken on from a new client:

The USA ranks FIRST in the World for deaths by combined immunodeficiencies!

Imagine that! Here we are, supposedly the leading so-called "super power" and what some have called one of the leading nations in health technology and health sciences -- and yet, we lead the way in deaths by combined immunodeficiencies?

I mean it's nice to be #1 now and then, but for THIS?!

We'll soon be leading the way in a number of other things, too. Including contamination of water, land and air -- plus in destruction of wildlife habitat -- plus in creating new strains of bacteria, flus and incurable diseases -- through the massive amount of factory farms springing up all over the country.

Yes -- E. coli and salmonella in our waters, soils -- and even our fruits and vegetables now.

Check it out for yourself -- here -- and here.

"The CDC estimates that 76 million Americans get sick and 5,000 die from foodborne hazards each year."

And it's been linked directly to manure spreading/spraying from factory farms.

You would be absolutely stunned to know how many people might have already died because of the factory-style farming methods being pushed by governments and greedy corporations today... and I doubt scientists have even begun to find all the links yet.

It's too bad our government, and even the CDC, isn't taking a more active and URGENT role in investigating the hazards already flowing through our food chain. I wonder how many people have to die before they do?

Instead, the research has been left to a handful of concerned citizen groups and independent health groups and scientists scattered throughout the world.

Which side of the "fence" will you be on?

Will you be on the side that is taking action and doing something about it?

Or will you be one of the people who ignores it?

You do have a choice.

, , , , ,

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Hog Sewage From Factory Farms - Would You Eat It?

My husband was out for a short drive Thanksgiving Day while our "sustainable farming" range-fed turkey cooked slowly in the oven -- in preparation for our feast to give thanks for all we have.

Not far from our home, another Thanksgiving Day Dinner was underway:

Sandhill Cranes Thanksgiving Day Dinner Pictured Above

Next year, the land they are eating on right now will be flooded with hog sewage from the hog factory currently under construction in the background -- directly in front of the lush forests of the Jasper-Pulaski Fish & Wildlife Area game conservation area.

Above - Zooming In For A Closer View

If I were to pour a 40 gallon drum of hog waste on the courhouse lawn, I'd be prosecuted. Nobody eats off that lawn. However, in the picture above, hundreds of Sandhill Cranes are eating off the very same "lawn" that they have foraged for food on for years in this region. It's their dinner plate. Next year, it will be sprayed with tons of pathogen-laden drug-laden raw hog sewage from 2,496 pigs!

Hog Hell next door to Game Reserve

And Hundreds of Other Wildlife Creatures Will Be Eating There Too!

Imagine deer, fox, coons, rabbits, moles, frogs ...and even snakes, hundreds of different species of wildlife foraging for food on this land next year after it has been sprayed with tons of hog sewage. It's their dinner plate, too!

There are certain government bodies in charge of:

- protecting our health
- protecting our environment
- protecting our waters
- protecting our wildlife
- and protecting our rights!

It's time for them to "earn" their pay, don't you think?

Stop the damages being done by factory farms everywhere -- and most important -- halt this hog farm from ever going into operation now -- before it's too late!

Monday, November 21, 2005

Sickening Realities - Factory Farming

Have you seen any of these online flash movies yet?

- The Meatrix

- Playing Games With Public Health

- StoreWars

Our son wanted to watch all of them, over and over and over again.

I swear he's going to be one of the most highly educated little kindergarten students in the whole USA regarding the subject of factory farming by the time he goes to school next fall.

The big question is, will he be going to school in this area?

If the hog factory farm less than a half mile away goes into full operation and is allowed to contaminate our area with its waste, fumes and related damages -- the answer is a definite -- NO!!

In fact, the state of Indiana will lose two tax payers, and a third soon-to-be taxpayer (our son) soon after that factory goes into full production -- if it does make it that far. I'm thinking surely there is a State in the USA that would welcome 6-figure income earners into their area and that DOESN'T allow this type of farm anywhere near protected wildlife areas and protesting citizens -- isn't there?

Hmmm... maybe not.

The good news is, working full time from home, we can pretty much work from anywhere providing we have Internet access and our computers...

The sad news is, we really like our home -- love the wildlife around here -- love our neighbors and family in this area. What a sad position to be placed in owing to uncaring public officials and thoughtless -- cold-hearted, in my opinion -- factory farm owners.

Keywords: , , , , , , , ,

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Indiana Citizens Against CAFO/CFO Hog Factory Farm Unite

There's just over 40 minutes to go before we all meet at the church today to discuss the new hog farm under construction beside Area 8 of the Jasper-Pulaski Fish & Wildlife Area in Japser County, Indiana.

On the one hand, some of us feel we've been defeated before we begin...

On the other hand, we've noticed several people picking up on this story, such as the Indiana lawyer who writes Kemplog. Trackback URL -- Article URL

Here is another report that hit the newstands:

NWITimes - Battle over Wheatfield hog farm brewing

And there are more -- but we need plenty more!

You know, one of the BIG things often overlooked in these types of factory farming operations are the associated health risks. Even the House put forth a Bill in May of this year - 2005 - providing plenty of references to one risk often overlooked: the growing menace of antibiotic use in large livestock operations such as CAFOs.

You can see a copy of the new bill presented here.

Also, if you want to see a long list of Health Concerns we've drawn up (which really only scratches the surface) here is a link to a report I did up for an educational handout.

I'll be back with more news on this disturbing subject soon. Until then, wish us luck. We really really really need it!

Friday, November 18, 2005

Whooping Crane Sighting in Indiana Today!

Great news for all the bird lovers watching the progress of the Whooping Crane migration right now...

A total of 4 whooping cranes were sighted by John Kendall at 8:15 a.m. from the Observation Tower on the Jasper-Pulaski Fish & Wildlife reserve! A quote from his email:

"Whooping Cranes sighted at Jasper-Pulaski -- At 8:15 am, I sighted 4 Whooping Cranes on the ground from the Observation Tower. One bird was initially with a large floc of Sandhills on the ground and the other 3 came in a short time later. As of a couple of days ago, half of the reintroduced birds from previous years were still in Wisconsin and as predicted, the cold front is moving them through our area."

This is such wonderful news for me personally, being originally from Canada.

Unfortunately, the sad news is that the new hog factory farm (CAFO) is also under construction less than 2-1/2 miles southwest of the exact location where the whooping cranes were seen.

Much of the wind in our area comes from the southwest... which will spread the fumes (and related toxic gases, if any) emitted from that factory clear across the exact path -- straight towards the Observation Tower itself.

So much work has gone into bringing back migratory whooping cranes in the Eastern part of the USA (and Canada) will be sad to see them and their habitat put at risk by such a factory in that location.

To think that November 1/2005 ...just a few short weeks ago... this area received its official International IBA (Important Bird Area) designation from the Audubon Society ...and only 2 weeks later, November 14/2005, the Jasper County BZA approved the construction to continue on a 2,496-head genetically engineered hog farm factory... I just can't believe how crazy that is!

To be fair, I don't think IDEM had all the details they needed before they issued the factory its "special exception permit" givng them the green light. I wish they knew about the BIG PICTURE here, and how important this habitat is to precious birds such as the whooping cranes that visited here today.

As residents in this area, we managed to stop the factory for a short while until this Board of Zoning Appeals, but things aren't looking too good for us being able to stop them completely.

Imagine it - the excavation construction is only about 30 yards from the border of the Jasper/Pulaski Fish & Wildlife Area game reserve ...only about 3 miles from the center of the reserve's major fresh water lake/pond into which most all the surrounding tributaries and ditches feed.

And not long from now, they're going to be spreading hog manure waste on land all around that area ...antibiotic-laden waste, probably loaded with pathogens and bacteria like E. coli (which is lethal to migratory birds) and other harmful byproducts, too...

How sad is that??

We'll keep fighting it, but the DNR property manager for the J/P reserve has absolutely no sympathy for the birds or wildlife in this region, claiming the hog factory poses no threat to them. When he went up and hugged one of the people involved with the hog farm operation after the Appeals meeting, congratulating them on a victory at the court house ...well, you can just guess how much he really cares, right?

Wish us luck. We're going to need it!!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Indiana USA Avian Flu Experiment?

Here's a scary experiment.

Let's plop 2,496 head of genetically engineered pigs down into the center of a huge migratory bird population and see what happens.

According to the World Health Organization website:

Avian influenza, or "bird flu", is a contagious disease of animals caused by viruses that normally infect only birds and, less commonly, pigs.

Avian influenza viruses are highly species-specific, but have, on rare occasions, crossed the species barrier to infect humans.

What changes are needed for H5N1 to become a pandemic virus?

The virus can improve its transmissibility among humans via two principal mechanisms. The first is a "reassortment" event, in which genetic material is exchanged between human and avian viruses during co-infection of a human or pig. Reassortment could result in a fully transmissible pandemic virus, announced by a sudden surge of cases with explosive spread.

The very real threat the H5N1 avian flu strain is posing to migratory birds, domestic poultry populations, and even human populations in other areas of the world might be nothing when compared with the potential for disaster that landing 2,496 pigs directly into the center of a major migratory bird resting/feeding area might create, right?

Not according to DNR representative, Jim Bergen, property manager for the Jasper/Pulaski Fish & Wildlife Area game reserve in Jasper County, Indiana. According to him, operation of a 2,496-head genetically engineered hog factory farm located on land bordering the reserve, in the center of one of the largest Sandhill Crane migratory resting/feeding grounds in northern Indiana, poses no threat to wildlife population at all.

Other experts strongly disagree with his opinion, and studies appear to back them up.

In fact, it would appear even the Federal Government disagrees with his statements -- comments for which he did not provide any envrionmental studies, impact assessments, or proof of any kind at the recent Board of Zoning Appeals meeting held in Jasper County, supporting the hog factory owner's right to proceed.

For example, from what I understand reading the new "Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act of 2005", an estimated 70 percent of the antibiotics and other antimicrobial drugs used in the United States are fed to farm animals for nontherapeutic purposes.

According to the new legislation, "the United States Geological Survey reported in March 2002 that -- (A) antibiotics were present in 48 percent of the streams tested nationwide; and (B) almost half of the tested streams were downstream from agricultural operations."

I'm not sure if any water has been tested in the Northern Indiana counties near the many factory farms that have been springing up like wildfire, but I would be curious to find out.

In another USA Government document published in 2002 by the USA Fish & Wildlife Service titled, “Migratory Bird Mortality” it was stated, “The greatest threat to birds, and all wildlife, continues to be loss and/or degredation of habitat due to human development and disturbance. For migratory birds and other species that require multiple areas for wintering, breeding, and stopover points, the effects of habitat loss can be complex and far-reaching.”

Hmmm... so now we have two FEDERAL GOVERNMENT documents contradicting Mr. Bergen's "assessment" regarding any potential threat to wildlife such a factory might present, one of which documents is actually important new legislation meant to protect the environment, and more urgently, meant to protect human health against the threat of bio-terrorism and the continuing rise of antibiotic-resistant diseases. (Jim Bergen should read it. It's a real eye-opener.)

Here's something which may prove to be disconcerting for some of us...

More than 30,000 Sandhill Cranes and other migratory birds forage for food upon the same ground that the waste from this swine factory is to be discharged on each winter; waste that includes any anitbiotics, bacteria and other potential pathogens contained in a year's accumulation of feces from the 2,496 genetically engineered pigs.

Cranes do a great deal of digging with their bills, often penetrating several inches below the surface in search of a morsel, according to Baker Sanctuary's website (located in Calhoun County, Michigan). Animals such as snails, crayfish, worms, mice, birds, frogs, snakes, and many kinds of insects are consumed in addition to their favorite -- harvested grain such as corn, wheat, and barley -- often left and disced in the fields in this area following harvest time.

Considering the amount of pig waste that will be spread in this region after the hog factory begins operation, be honest, does this sound like a potential threat to wildlife to you?

I'm no expert on the subject, and I'm certainly no scientist, but I like to think I at least have some common sense. But I'm beginning to think it might be in short supply elsewhere (right Jim?)...

Who hires these people, anyway? Sheesh!

One more important quote to consider from the World Health Organization webiste:

A pandemic can start when three conditions have been met: a new influenza virus subtype emerges; it infects humans, causing serious illness; and it spreads easily and sustainably among humans. The H5N1 virus amply meets the first two conditions: it is a new virus for humans (H5N1 viruses have never circulated widely among people), and it has infected more than 100 humans, killing over half of them. No one will have immunity should an H5N1-like pandemic virus emerge.

All prerequisites for the start of a pandemic have therefore been met save one: the establishment of efficient and sustained human-to-human transmission of the virus.
In any case, I saw construction proceeding on the hog factory farm again today.

It's just a short matter of time before, in my humble opinion, the big Indiana avian flu experiment begins.

I'm disappointed...

I'm upset...

I'm scared...

Stay tuned.

, ,
, , ,
, ,
, ,

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Hog Farm Factory Cruelty - To Animals And Humans

It was 10 minutes before the meeting. I'd just managed to get our little boy settled in his seat. The lady sitting on the other side of him stood up up her seat to an elderly lady and her husband... Her frail, thin husband struggled with his oxygen tank, carefully positioning it in the narrow confined space. His hands shook slightly, and I could tell it was quite an effort for him to be here in this hot, stuffy court house.

Five minutes to go and the man at the front of the room leading the meeting stated... "We have to change rooms. We'll move to the Judge's Chambers to see if we can fit more people in. Give us 5 minutes to get the AV equipment set up... then you can all file in."

The Audio-Visual equipment wasn't for the more than 200 highly concerned citizens who had shown up. The equipment was for the lawyer and company representatives of the new hog factory farm before the Board of Zoning Appeals.

Needless to say, there wasn't much more room in the other chambers... and several people still had to stand out in the halls, unable to hear the full proceedings.

If you are unfamiliar with what a hog farm factory is, once you know the details of how they run --- you might never want to buy pork that comes from such a source again. By rights... and by law, in my humble opinion... they should be required to BRIGHTLY label their meat before reaching the grocery store shelves, so that concerned and caring people such as myself have a choice NOT TO BUY from factory farm operations, like those operated by Belstra Milling Company in Northern Indiana.

For those who don't know, the breeding sow's agony is prolonged for years. As the HFA describes it:

"After impregnation, the sow is locked in a narrow metal gestation crate. The width of the crate varies from 18 to 24 inches, and the length is 7 feet, extending just beyond the sow's own body. She is restrained in this unbedded, cement-floored crate for her entire pregnancy - nearly four months. She is unable to walk or turn around.

She is fed at one end of the crate, while her feces collects at the other. Some crates are so narrow that simply standing up and lying down require strenuous effort. On some factory farms, the sow is literally tied to the floor by a short chain or strap around her neck. Deprived of all exercise and any opportunity to fulfill her behavioral needs, she lives in a constant state of distress."

Picture hundreds upon hundreds of pigs stuffed into a building like sardines excreting their waste -- in fact, studies show that hogs produce 2-4 times the amount of waste than humans do -- and you might begin to imagine the smell... but you may not be aware of the toxins that can become airborne and be emitted into the environment, spreading as far and wide as a five mile radius around such factories.

You might not realize this, but because they are classified a "farm" they don't have to abide by certain sewage treatment laws normal factories of this size would be forced to meet.

You probably aren't even aware of the neurological damage the fumes cause for workers inside such factories... and how their olfactory senses can be permanently damaged. It's no wonder that many of them claim there isn't much smell. The sad truth is, statistically 58% of all hog factory farm workers will develop chronic bronchitis, and as high as 78% will have upper respiratory problems later in life. Most of them aren't even aware that factories such as these are not under OSHA guideline requirements. An employee gets sick, or permanently damaged, working in such environments and it's --- tough luck, next!

The primary gases produced that are of major concern include Hydrogen Sulfide, Carbon Dioxide, Ammonia, and Methane. Each produces it's own range of symptoms. One website claims workers have died from the HS that can reach lethal limits within 2 minutes during periods when the waste is agitated ...and that rescuers have also died in an attempt to save them.

Which brings up the point of how many pigs die on such farms. It's estimated that a swine facility of 1,000 hogs typically produces about 40,000 pounds of dead animals per year. Not only do the decomposing bodies produce odors during storage and transport periods -- if they're even transported out of the vicinity -- they can also attract all manner of pathogens, a cesspool for disease, particularly tuberculosis.

Bellstra Milling Company has no intention of transporting the dead bodies away from it's proposed new 2,496-head hog facility, but instead are planning to use traditional composting methods... you know the kind -- where you put a layer of dead pigs in the ground, poor some sand over them, then add another layer of dead pigs, then poor some more sand over them... and so on... letting the bodies rot and decompose naturally. Picture it! Just imagine what one hot day will do to that compost heap!

"Odor is usually the most obvious impact of hog livestock factories. Odors from livestock factories typically come from four areas: The buildings that house the animals, waste storage and treatment procedures, land application of the waste, and carcass disposal. The swine buildings contribute to about 35% of the odor emissions. The land application of manure contributes to about 40% of odor, and waste storage facilities account for about 20% of swine odors."

And, in this day of fresh water shortages -- indeed, crisis in some countries -- the contamination to groundwater supply, and reduction in water availability caused by such factory farms is almost criminal. It takes 3 gallons of water per day for each pig ...and that does not count the water required for other uses. Some areas surrounding large hog factory farms have experienced water table drops of as much as 150 feet! As for contamination, that's an entire article in itself.

There's more I could tell you, but back to the meeting...

When we changed court rooms, I ended up having to stand way back in the hallway, barely able to hear the proceedings. In fact, I stood directly behind 3 or 4 workers from one of their other factory farms -- and I gotta tell ya, the fumes coming off their clothing scortched my throat, burned my eyes, causing me several bouts of dizziness... so I'm assuming -- keep in mind, I'm just guessing here -- that maybe the farm they work on does not follow the very stiff "shower-in/shower-out" polices PIC insist on...

But I'm also guessing, in small communities like Jasper County, managers and owners of such factory farms can get away with bending a few rules...

For instance, after already having been kicked out of another area they had planned to build just north of this planned location, they rushed the original "special exception permit" through the Zoning Board by using a land deal where they were going to buy 20 acres contained inside 20 acres owned by the sellers of the land, Harper Farms. In this way they wouldn't have to inform other area landholders about what they proposed to do... but they screwed up. The land deal wasn't completed in time, and by law, they were required to inform adjoining landowners of their proposal.

One adjoining property owner didn't even know what was going on until she looked out her kitchen window and saw the construction in progress.

Needless to say, I'm beginning to think they have the local politicians "eating out of their hands" ...since this isn't the only formality the were able to get away with...

The IDEM permit, a large part of what this meeting was about, was issued without any notification at all to any of the many residents within a wide range of the proposed hog factory site.

It's interesting to note that the meeting was held in Rennselaer -- almost an hour's drive south from the proposed site. And that the owners, workers and managers live almost an hour's drive north of the proposed site. Neither the decision makers, nor the owners will be affected by any potential contamination and/or destruction to their homes, air, and environment.

In fact, when the Board convened the meeting and asked if any residents had a lawyer there to present their case, he practically sneered at them for not being able to bring one. You see... the residents did have a lawyer from a very large firm ...a lawyer who was very eager to take the case, had even drawn up a complete strategy... then 2 days before the hearing he quit -- citing "conflict of interest" for his firm. Yes, in small towns, big companies have a long reach of power.

Why did Bellstra Milling Company chose the number 2,496 head of hog for their facility (even though they are building it for a much higher capacity)? According to one individual present at the meeting ...because this keeps them under the radar of Federal regulations -- that magic number 2,500. Oh, did I mention they supply the majority of seed and feed to farmers in this region? That's gotta be some kinda leverage to keep some people's mouths shut, don't you think?

I was disgusted by the small town politics, the flagrant disregard for residents who will be forced to suffer and endure the contamination to their area -- some already fighting major illnesses, some cancer survivors, and many old, frail ...trying to live out their retirment years in peace. It's truly heartbreaking.

But here's what really BURNED me... in fact, made me FURIOUS!

The representative from the DNR.

You know, a lady from the Audobon Society was there, quoting the dangers and impacts to Sandhill Cranes in this area that such a factory farm can cause. The DNR rep -- who gets paid by taxpayers and hunting/fishing license revenues -- basically stated that was "hogwash" but he neglected to provide any environmental studies or any other proof to substantiate any of his statements.

Now, you see... here's something the entire USA should be truly upset about in my humble opinion.

The proposed cesspool of hog waste and factory CAFO style farming is planned to be built right next to the Jasper/Pulaski game reserve, one of the largest Sandhill Crane migration resting areas in the State. This is the largest wildlife conservation and reserve area in North Central Indiana ...and they already have concerns over tuberculosis, in fact are right now closely monitoring deer in the region. Plus, the grasslands, small lakes, rivers and streams feeding the reserve have had algae problems in the past -- problems which have high probabilities of resurfacing, according to some studies completed on environmental damages caused in and around hog factory farms.

Bottom line, Bellstra Milling Company won their right to proceed in a 4-1 vote in their favor -- however the more than 1,000 on the protest petition and more than 200 angry residents who showed up for the meeting plan to appeal --- if they can just scrape enough money together for a good lawyer well-experienced in matters such as this --- and gather support from people who truly care about the future we're leaving behind for our children.

If you're interested in helping fight the good fight, contact me and I'll put you in touch with the people leading the way to hopefully prevent this factory from operating next to so many precious wildlife resources.

, , , , , , ,
, , , , , ,
, , ,

Monday, October 31, 2005

Happy Halloween

Here's our 2005 Halloween Picture

Enjoy the fun and frolic of halloween!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Most Extreme Writing

One and a half weeks from today, the most extreme writing begins...

And I haven't even chosen my plot and subplots yet.

It's kind of like a writer's block. I've been buried under copywriting contracts for the past 3 years, and now -- the challenge to write fiction, my first love in writing -- and I can't seem to make a commitment down any specific path.

On a high note, I do have my "tools" to help me see it through:

- 2 extra cases of Goji juice
- 1 case of KillerBuzz
- 2 large vials of therapeutic grade Peppermint essential oil
- Mozart CDs

Also, I've worked hard enough (and far enough ahead) to receive a very NICE check next month so income for the month will be excellent, even while I'm "off writing" for myself for a change.

Plus, I'm in the final stages of setting up the "ultimate recruiting system secret" -- this blows the doors off any other system out there -- PERIOD. And my husband will be looking after it while I dive into the sci-fi arena and begin penning my first sci-fi book.

50,000 words in 30 days.

Is it possible?


Get ready folks. The Most Extreme Writing begins on November 1, 2005...

My posts here will be very short for the entire month of November. Hope you will understand.

Have a SUPER day and thanks for dropping in!

Saturday, October 15, 2005

an idiot and bird flu - my VENT

To start this VENT, I'd like to first state right up front, this is what I'm taking to boost my immune system this flu season.

And yes, if you decide to use it too, I will be earning a small commission if you buy it through my link -- I'm telling you this right up front -- not because I'm "profiteering" on a negative message like the writer of the email below would like people to believe when anyone recommends anything that may help -- but just so that if you have a problem with that, then you don't have to get it through my link -- you don't even have to use it.

With that said, however, I do recommend you do something ...rather than nothing at all.

Now, on to the VENT part of this post.

I just received an email from someone pimping a self-improvement course and I gotta tell ya, it really made me angry...

Not because of him wanting to get people to sign up in his downline at the f.ree course he's pushing, but because of the potentially harmful advice he brings to his readers.

I used to have a somewhat guarded respect for this guy. But he'll have to work super hard to regain that...

Here's a copy of the email I sent back to him on the subject of bird flu followed by a copy of his original email to me.

---------------- copy of my email response -------------

Dear D.M.,

A few corrections...

Contrary to what your email implies, governments
are right now preparing for a possible Bird Flu

The fact is, the USA govt. has already purchased
2 million doses of a new vaccine from France,
plus have more on order and have recently approved
USA production of a vaccine that has proven to
be effective.

However, this will not be enough if the virus
mutates further (which some experts believe it
already has, however, to what extent is yet unknown).

Two main ways it can mutate to such a degree to cause
worldwide pandemic:

1. by mixing with another flu bug within a human host

2. by mixing with another flu bug within pigs or similar mammals (seriously, pigs - long story why this would be serious to humans)

Right now, the main concern is for people who
come into contact with the virus through poultry and/or
migratory bird "droppings" and/or saliva, etc.

H5N1 quickly destroys a patient's lungs. Most flu
has a fatality rate of less than five percent, but
H5N1 has so far killed half the people who
contracted it in Southeast Asia.

If you're actually serious about taking positive
pro-active steps for yourself, and people in
your "neighbourhood" here is some advice:

a) boost your immune system

b) avoid contact with infected birds/poultry
and their excretions (not easy)

c) know the "symptoms" and see your doctor
ASAP if you feel you are experiencing
any of them (see link to blog)

For more info, see a recent article I wrote
on the subject at:

Perhaps the World Health Organization doesn't
"appear" to be too concerned about a potential
pandemic at this point, however governments in
several countries are, and YES they are taking
as many steps as they can at this point to do
something about it BEFORE it becomes a crisis,
contrary to what you have written in your email.

In your email, you write:

A. Be the example
B. Prepare
C. Have a Plan

If you are serious about helping others and want
to be pro-active about the serious nature of H5N1,
I humbly suggest you properly arm your readers with
facts and actual steps they can take -- rather than
stir up a host of negative emotions. Hopefully
the information I've provided above can help you
take a more positive pro-active approach on the
subject of avain flu.

You've planted some very negative messages in the
minds of your readers through your email.

I'm all in favor of self-development and
remaining positive, pro-active and calm in
a crisis, but the fact remains that the
less people who contract any flu this
season (and in flu seasons to come) the
more pro-active all of us will be in
reducing and/or eliminating the potential for
threat that HN51 presents. In this particular case
it takes ALL of us to change the world, not
just our respective governments.

You write:

"See, I don't know the answer to that
question, and I don't know how to take
the right precautions, but I'm going to
find out and I'm going to make sure my
neighborhood knows."

Well, now you have some additional information
to do something truly pro-active. I'm curious to
see what you will do with it.

You also write...

"Just be careful as I'm sure people will start
profiteering on this any day now. Be careful about
'magic' cures and overpriced emergency goods..."

I would like to believe people are not as
easily "duped" as you imply, and those who
do care about health and wellness know our
best defence is a strong immune system.

On the other hand, I hope your message doesn't
put people in harms way... because the message
to stay healthy through flu seasons will be very
strong and important advice this year and in the
years to come.

I would hope you haven't inadvertently made it
sound like it would be a "profiteering" slogan,
instead of the important measure it is to hopefully
prevent further mutation of the H5N1 virus.

I hope you will correct your "message" and
properly advise people on what they can
do, rather than harm them any further with
poor advice on a very serious subject.

Sincere Regards,
Karen M.
Ph: 219-956-3590
3090 E 850 N
Wheatfield IN 46392

---------------- copy of my his email -------------

From: "D.M."
Date: Fri, 14 Oct 2005 15:42:53 UTTo: karen@myemailaddress
Subject: Bird Flu

Do you know what a "catharsis" is?
I just had one, and maybe you will too, by the end of this email.
Read on ....

You might have heard some of the media buzz about bird flu going around?

When I first heard it, I have to admit itjust droned past me - lost in the din of the news we get every day about bombings,beheadings, and Bush-bashing.

But then something caught my eye ...

"Bird Flu Pandemic"

That stopped me dead in my tracks.
Bird flu pandemic?

A pandemic is a "widespread epidemic ofdisease covering a wide geographic area."
That can't be good.

So, I dug in a bit more and what I found was really shocking.
Now listen, I don't want to be a downer, but these are some facts here you really need to know. And I daresay,what I say at the end here is far more important than even a pandemic.

Read on ...

Well, here's what I found.
Bird flu is not new, but in 1997 a new strain was found that has killed tens of millions of birds.
That strain is called HN51.

Since then around 100 or so humans have contracted the virus and 50% of them have died.
Now, brace yourself for this. Don't panic. Don't freak out. Just read on and understand.
The World Health Organization is right nowpreparing for a pandemic of HN51.

They estimate that up to 150,000,000 people could die from the pandemic before it's over.
That's 150 *million* people.

Around 2,000 people died in 9/11.Around 10,000 have died from Hurricane Katrina.
Around 100,000 died during the great Tsunami.
Around 60,000,000 died in all of World War II.
I cannot even fathom the impact of 150,000,000 deaths, can you?

Now, here's what's shocking.
It is now predicted that:

A. The pandemic could start as soon as the next few months.
B. We simply do not have enough vaccine to protect everyone and even if we started right now, we could not manufacture enough in time.

Let that sink in for a minute.
We may very well, right now, be on the cusp of the greatest human tragedy in history and there isn't much we can do to prevent it.

I let this depress me for about 1/2 a day and then it happened ...
It was like a lightning bolt struck me from the sky.
That moment of "catharsis" hit and I have not been the same since.
If you don't know, a catharsis is a moment of emotional purging.
All of a sudden you've let go of some past baggage and suddenly you see the world with awe-inspiring clarity.

This catharsis started out as anger.
To my surprise, though, I was no longer angry about the pandemic.
What really burned me was that I was being sold *despair*.

If we believe what the news would have us believe today, we are supposed to sit back idly and accept that:

a. The greatest tragedy of all mankind is about to strike.
... and ...
b. Our governments have been asleep at the wheel in preparing for it, so we the people need to sit back and suck it up.

Think about this ...
The underlying "presupposition" here is that we, as private citizens of our various countries, can do nothing to change the world without the permission of our governments and institutions.
Now look, I'm not some kind of anti-government zealot.

I'm a pretty normal guy and a law abiding citizen.

And I'm not about to get up on some moral high horse here and try to rally the people around some effort to save the world from the pandemic. I don't have any idea how to do that, and I think a lot of times when people try to get people rallied behind charity efforts its more about their egos than it is about a genuine desire to help.

At that same time, I recognize that it is everyday people like you and me, when struck with moments of passion and vision, who have made the biggest impact on the world.
So, what am I proposing?

Well, I'm going to tell you what I'm going todo. I'm not going to jump on a soap box and tell you that my way is right for you.

If you want to join me in my little plan, that's great. If not, make your own plan and follow it. The important thing is that you act.

1. I'm going to get my own life in order starting today.

Don't get me wrong - I would be lying if I said I wasn't an extremely diligent and effective worker. I love what I do, and I put my passion in it every day. I'm sure you can tell just by looking at my actions.

But I do have my flaws, as we all do.

Maybe you can relate to mine: I want to do everything myself.

I put my all into everything, and I just don't have the patience to train someone to duplicate my efforts.

This is really foolish, of course. If I'd just learn to let go of my "ownership" of my projects I could probably get 4 to 5 times more done.

You may already know that Monday is my birthday.
In my flash of catharsis I realized that my*birth*day was a great metaphor...
If the media is going to sell me on despair and death, I'm going to REJECT that and celebrate my birth.

From this day forward, October 17th is going to be DDay!

For this first DDay I'm resolving tomyself to kick my life into the next higher gear.

I've been watching jealously as everyone istaking this new x-course and having their lives changed 15 minutes at a time.

So, starting Monday I'm going to begin Day 1 of the course and stick with it until the end.

It's fr.e and if you want to celebrate DDay with me this Monday, you can start it on the same day and we'll go through it together:

[his personal link to the x-course he's pushing]

I'll be setting up a DDay blog I'll tell you about soon and you can come in and watch my progress.

And I hope you join me. They say that if you want to change, change with a group. Join me and hundreds of others on DDay and let the power of the group get your life in order, too.
Now, I'm sure some misguided and bitter people will be angry that I talk about a "personal development" course in the same email as bird flu, but I don't care. My only aim is to help you and if that ruffles a few "feathers" then so be it.

2. If you want to change the world, start with your neighborhood.

Why is this number 2 on my list?
Am I looking out for #1 first and then everyone else?
Well, as the creator of X-Course said, if your plane is going down, you put your own oxygen mask on first.

Once I start sorting myself out with my 15minute daily use of X-Course, I'm going to see what I can do to protect my neighborhood.


A. Be the example
Remember how Rudy Giuliani inspired theworld by remaining calm and upbeat in the wake of 9/11?
You, too, should aspire to be that voice in your community.
If people are panicking - you should be theone who shows everyone its OK to keep calm.
If people give in to despair - you should bethe one who shows everyone how to stay positive in the face of adversity.

B. Prepare
Take common sense precautions.
Educate people about how to protect themselves.

C. Have a Plan
What would you do if someone contracted the virus in your area?

See, I don't know the answer to that question, and I don't know how to take the right precautions, but I'm going to find out and I'm going to make sure my neighborhood knows.

Just be careful as I'm sure people will start profiteering on this any day now.

Be careful about "magic" cures and overpriced emergency goods...
Anyway, it all starts with DDay this Monday. Keep your eyes out for my new DDay blog.

I hope you'll join me in celebrating DDay and make it your day to get your own house in order, too.

signed --- D

PS: DDay starts Monday. This fr.e course will ... blah-blah-blah

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Cool Science Site - check it out

I was doing research for one of my new client's on a presentation site when I tripped across this cool movie. I have a feeling I can work this into my nanowrimo book coming next month... check it out here. (opens in new window)

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

The Plot Thickens

I've been playing with several different ideas for the NaNoWriMo month coming soon ...searching for a plot that fits the SciFi mode, and something that eventually can be edited to produce an RPG for one of the gaming companies out there.

If the main plot is there,
sub-plots should be easier,
and painting in the charactors should follow easier, too.

Keeping the overall sketch in mind, I'm thinking:

1. Main plot - man vs. man finding the "secret" to the universe
2. Subplots - man vs. beast & man vs. nature & man vs. himself

I'm also thinking I should write in first-person singular.

Stay tuned as the plot thickens...

Thursday, October 06, 2005

2005 NaNoWriMo Participant Here

I've really done it now...

I just registered -- officially -- for the 2005 NaNoWriMo November challenge.

Imagine -- a 50,000 word novel (well, actually that would be a novella, but still...) and all written in just 30 days.

No it won't be my best work.

Yes it will be fiction -- not copywriting.

No I'm not expecting great things to come from it, other than the chance to unwind and let my imagination fly and seriously look at accomplishing the first in a series of novels I plan to write in the realm of scifi.

Wish me luck!!

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

From the Pumpkin Patch

Over 3 dozen pumpkins... that's the harvest for us this year.

We had planned on having about 4 or 5 good ones. We never anticipated such a bountiful harvest. So far, we've given 5 fair sized pumpkins away to my husband's Aunt & Uncle, plus we have 1 giant and 3 to 5 smaller pumpkins "earmarked" for giving to the neighbor's girls tomorrow so they can do some cool Jack O' Lanterns...

And the rest... ??

Well, we'll have two to three of our own large Jack O' Lanterns,...

...and we'll probably have enough pumpkin puree to bake pumpkin pies for the next 2 years.

Did you know pumpkins are one of the largest sources of carotenoids? The goji berry -- more specifically, the lycium barbarum line of goji berries, are believed to contain the MOST carotenoids of all compared with any other food on our planet.

And yet, the pumkin certainly comes loaded with carotenoids, too. Cheap, generally easy to grow, easy to store ...and for most people, delicious. If you can't get goji juice, then at least enjoy pumpkin season - to the MAX!

I'll be back with pictures later this week.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Imagine My Stunned Surprise...

I found this by accident while surfing through search engines - 90 Great Comments List Guidelines

When it comes to blogging, I have so much to learn ...I'm humbled by the knowledge of so many experienced in this medium. So, I tend to surf, and every now and then I leave a comment behind when a blog hits me.

Usually, my comments are short and sweet... until recently when, after reading one blogger's post regarding responsibility, I just felt like wrapping my arms around America and giving it a giant hug and a kind, gentle, loving pat on the back.

Imagine my surprise when my comment got noticed, and unbeknown to me until tonight while doing random searches, it appeared on the GlitteringMuse as an intro to their "90 Great Comments List Guidelines" ...what a wonderful way for them to share and contribute to the blogging world.

Thank you, GlitteringMuse have given me a "virtual hug" tonight.

In some small way, I hope my post here helps raise awareness for the wonderful good you are doing through your blog.

And to all readers who happen to pop in, check out the "90 Great Comments List" thread and lend your support to something uplifting, encouraging and inspiring.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Where's the Glicken?

Part 1 - Section 6 - by Michael Masterson taught me something valuable that I've been missing in my copywriting career up to this point -- "Where's The Glicken?" -- a short little question that is going to change my mindset on all future projects.

In fact, it shines a very bright revealing light on an existing client or two who have, up until this point, been taking advantage of me -- BIG TIME.

But that's another story...

Right now, I'm pulling my hair out to complete a HUGE project that should never have been so huge ... it just grew into a huge battle because it's like pulling teeth to get all the data I should have been given to write the job -- data I can't get by doing a search online or offline because it's company-specific details (such as - how much does your dang widget cost? - kinda need that to do an order form, d'uh).

Even worse, their "story" keeps changing...

First, they want to sound this way. The next week, they decided they want to be portrayed that way. The following week, they decided they don't want anyone to know about "this-and-that" ... but they now want potential customers to see them as "the other thing" instead.

As of Oct. 1, 2005 (that's today) my price went up to $150/hr. with a minimum of $2,500 per job... or I just don't accept/consider the job. Prior to today, my "street" rate this year was $85 per hour with no minimum. I retain copyrights to my work UNLESS a mutually-agreed royalty fee becomes part of the job... this hasn't changed.

Also, once every 3 months I spend two to three days working for a non-profit organization for which I don't charge a cent ...that means 4 times/year a non-profit organization has been getting anywhere from $1,600 to $2,400 in my writing services FREE -- total annual charity donation based on my old rate = $8,000 to $9,000.

Based on my new rate --> Charity = $4,500 (approx.) times 4 = $18,000 (approx.)

When you consider most journalists start out earning only $12,000 to $18,000 a year -- and they work like slaves. Yet, as a copywriter, based on my rates, I donate that much to charity each year in my time.

Think about it...

I work when I want.

I choose which clients/projects I will do.

I work full time from home and commute from my bedroom upstairs to my office on the main floor of our house.

In fact, after 2-1/2 years of working really hard, my royalty payments are now such that I don't even have to work if I didn't want to, and I would still be bringing in 5 times the amount (or more) than any starting journalist. Plus, our own home business is now creeping up there in income to a point where it will soon equal or PASS my writing royalties.

Dont' get me wrong -- we earned it. In fact, that first year we were starving broke as I took on the small jobs for next to no pay, praying for strong residuals to cover the loss in both time and suffering.

Delayed gratification.

Now I'm taking a course that is probably something I should have paid for and completed 2 years ago, but I didn't have time back then ...I was too busy, and too broke, taking any crumbs that fell, so I could feed my family and keep the bill collectors at bay.

We went without many comforts, and even some necessities (like gas to heat our home and power our water heater and power our stove -- 6 months without running hot water -- imagine!)...

Yes, delayed gratification...

Today, I only work with 6- and 7- and 8- even one 9-figure -- income earners.

They're my clients. And believe me, I give them some GOOD STUFF!

And yet, there are some who are in the 9-figure+ range out there trying to find me ...they don't know who I am, but they've seen my work, and they WANT it bad for their own company... they want me bad.

How do I know this?

Because by some strange quirk of fate, I actually found out by "word of mouth" from somebody who told me there was somebody who is looking for the person who wrote "that piece" and lo' and behold it was mine ...and they wondered if I knew who wrote it.

And this is the 7th time this has happened for me in the past 5 months.

So, I'm guessing I've "arrived" and it's time to sit back before taking on any new clients, and before doing any further work for my existing clients, and ask "Where's The Glicken?"