Thursday, April 27, 2006

USA Food Fight!

Have you read "USA Food Fight" yet?

Take a close look at how food industry giants are using their collective clout to get their own way.

Who pays in the end?

You -- and me!

Imagine the tax dollars that will be required to get current state food safety laws back on the books if this new brain-dead legislation passes -- at Federal level for the FDA personell required to process state requests, at state level for personell required to re-instate laws that are currently already in place, but which will be wiped out by this new federal legislation.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

People willing to pay more for food safety

Speaking of the "issues" that concern me (from my previous post), it appears a large percent of population agrees in part to the public health/environment concerns I mentioned -- or at least they agree to those concerns that relate to food safety, according to one survey published recently.

Survey results showed people would be willing to add 5% to their food bill if foodborne illnesses could be cut by 50% --- if they only realized how much foodborne illnesses increase via factory farming methods...

The Chron's disease issue as it relates to dairy farming/milk parasites being explored in Europe right now is a powerful example, particularly in how those parasites are NOT killed by standard pasteurization metods... but that's another story.

Since Chron's Disease is not a mandatory CDC reportable disease here in the USA (it's voluntary), I guess we'll never know how much those parasites are contaminating our water supply in concentrated areas around dairy farms. It's already been proven in the UN that far more expensive filtration systems are required to eliminate those parasites from public water supplies... an expense most counties in Indiana would not be able to bare, from what I hear.

I'm guessing most of that kind of information hasn't hit mainstream media enough to fully educate the public -- yet. Maybe the Meatrix II will stir up more attention for what happens on factory farms?

Interestingly, about 38% of those surveyed identified the federal government most as the group they expect to keep food safe -- and oddly a full 88% said they think government agencies such as the FDA and the USDA are capable of keeping food safe.

And yet... only 49% say they feel the government has enough resources to do the job properly.

"The survey, by the Institute for Public Policy and Social Research at Michigan State University (MSU), takes the pulse of a pubic at a time when regulatory action is focused on increasing the safety of the food chain. The survey was conducted on behalf of the Food Safety Policy Center." Source - FoodQualityNews

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

21st century illiterates

"The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn."

-- Quoted from Alvin Toffler --

My computer died Sunday night... actually, the hard drive stopped spinning. It's done that before, so I know it was slowly limping its way to RIP.

Alvin Toffler's quote above really hits home for me right now as I prepare for the arrival of my new computer later this week.

Now I have to hunt down all my fave software programs,
- re-download them
- relearn how to set them up
- learn how to transfer my backed up files
- unlearn some bad file habits
- learn some new programs I've been planning on getting

Here's hoping I'm not a 21st century illiterate by Alvin Toffler's description -- LOL!

Connecting the dots...

I received a political campaign brochure yesterday from an area politician hoping to win in upcoming elections.

I read the "issues" he's chosen for his "platform" and couldn't believe how "old" it sounded. He used the same issues that past politicians have used to target specific voting population groups. You'd think that after 20+ years, those issues would have already been resolved??

Here's my profile:

I'm a work at home mom with a small child about to enter the school system this fall, and seriously considering home-schooling -- not because of the quality of eduction, but because of the social problems, threats and dangers that appear to be growing in this region.

I'm a small non-farmer business owner, living in a rural Indiana area and I'm not particularly pleased by all the tax breaks farmers get when compared to the few breaks I get -- considering there are many days I work just as hard and long (or longer) for the money. The hog factory farm entering my neighborhood hasn't exactly made me empathetic to the so-called plight of the farming industry, either.

I'm at times appalled and disgusted by the quality and cost of health care in this region. It also makes me ill seeing some of the environmental damage proliferating in this state, the threats to public health they pose and the seeming lack of concern by administrative bodies in charge of protecting our environment.

I'm disgusted by the low-tech (read low-pay) job focus the State appears to have in its bid to attract new jobs to the region. I'm not at all happy with the adult education opportunities and/or incentives provided in this region to help people improve their lives and their careers.

And I'm not unique on all the issues I've mentioned above. Some of the issues are part of a growing silent majority who truly believe this can be the land of unlimited opportunity ...if only we had leaders in place to make it so.

Yet, most politicians seem to be approaching the voting population with the "same-old-same-old" approach -- help the "poor" farmers, embrace new farming practices to increase industry (read low-pay jobs), improve child education, yadda yadda...

Maybe they haven't polled enough people yet to get their fingers on the pulse of voters in our area?

Or maybe they're just "21st century illiterates" by Alvin Toffler's definition?

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Rumors of my illness

Rumors of my illness have been greatly exaggerated.

Yes, I had two broken ribs -- from coughing convulsions -- and they hurt. The location of the breaks made it impossible to bind my ribs, so needless to say the healing process was both awkward and painful. Every little move...

A few good night's rest would probably have helped -- but the pigs moved in.

Now, I'm not blaming the pigs, or the hog farm, but I can't help thinking it's somehow connected to something that's been going on in this area ever since they moved the hogs into the building.

Our dog is basically very quiet. In fact, ever since we got her you'd rarely hear even a peep out of her. The only time you'd ever hear a noise out of her would be if someone drove into the yard...

All of that's changed since the hogs moved in.

Almost every single night -- after dark -- the barking starts. And it's not just annoying barking that you might hear from a dog that just won't shut up. No -- it's fierce, angry, protective barking -- as though she's protecting the house/yard from predators of some kind.

Ever seen movies of half starved junkyard dogs attacking? Know the sounds they make? You know the kind, that deep throaty growl followed by furious barking and gnashing of teeth. Well, that's the sounds we hear... almost every night.

Sometimes she'll do it from the deck of the house. Other times, she runs frantically around the yard...

We've tried keeping her in the house, but the growls and angry barks persist, like she knows something is out there ...and we don't.

My husband and I theorized that maybe they do something at the hog building every night after dark that might be setting the pigs off to squealing? Maybe the high pitch of the noises over there can't be heard by human ears, but can be heard clearly by dogs??

It's not just our dog.

The odd thing is, in the past other area dogs would sometimes bark late into the night, but our dog would never join in. She would be her quiet and calm self, only barking if a deer strayed into the yard, or a strange vehicle would show up and park too close.

Since the hogs arrived, it's an entirely different story.

One thing is for certain -- something is upsetting the dogs in this area after dark. And whatever it is, it started AFTER the hogs showed up, not before.