Saturday, January 21, 2023

SNAP Reform: Iowa Does It Right. Food Snobs SO VERY Wrong (A FACS Teacher Explains)

 On October 27, 2022, this blog published The Farce of Food Insecurity: How Federal Spending Fosters Hunger (and illness) in America which exposed some pretty harsh realities how food is used to grow an economy rather than feed citizens.  The following post will explain how wrong Obama-era food program were particularly for low income families and children.  

Within a few days, those internet advocacy news rags that pounce on political stories with little or no research will be experiencing some digestive distress after calling out Iowa's state proposal of some badly needed reform to the SNAP food assistance program  In the end, these "cruel" (therawstory.com) measures are going to make those who voted in the affirmative look both knowledgeable and fiscally responsible.  Sources such as Salon , The Raw Story , and even  Business Insider will have to eat their words when science proves these changes to be good for citizens as well as at a lower cost to tax payers. 

 

Contributing to the inflation that has elevated food prices for over two years, the sad, and rarely acknowledged truth, is that Federal Food Assistance dollars regularly purchase items that have no food value (diet drinks, almond milk,etc.), and, high dollar splurges such as premium cuts of meat, imported out of season fruits and vegetables and high glycemic snacks that contribute to type 2 diabetes and childhood obesity. 

Perhaps this will be the first step in squashing the "fresh food snob" mentality that has kept quality foods and hunger relief from those who receive benefits.

Started by former First Lady Michelle Obama, the unreasonable expectation of providing fresh food on a daily basis for school lunches was a pipe dream from the beginning. Anyone working in agriculture and around food service understands all too clearly that mankind did NOT survive for five thousands years on fresh fruits and vegetables.  To believe it is possible even in a global economy is simply naive. 

Before further explaining what the bill likely says, readers need to recognize that fresh foods are largely unregulated, highly prone to food contamination, spoil easily, cost more, and are not  tested for food value. Frozen and canned foods have most of the prep work done for you and are tested regularly for quality. In short, NO ONE should be buying fresh food when a canned or frozen food option is available (except eggs).

**ONE MORE THING: Good nutrition is not about how fresh a food is but about how much food can be purchased for a dollar.  By banning the expensive options, lawmakers make MORE food available at a lower cost.  Good nutrition starts with good shopping.

Let's educate readers (and journalists) as to what foods are REALLY banned. 

American Cheese (Food) - Likely shortened by a writer who has not idea what it is American Cheese and American Cheese Food are two different things.  The American Dairy Association has been trying to get the USDA to heavily regulate the use of cheese food for decades.  Consisting of less than 50% milk, cheese food is mostly fat and offers little or no protein to children who like its single slice packaging. If it's slices come wrapped in plastic look elsewhere because that is the sign of a low quality food. 

White Bread - Long on the list of low quality foods, white bread is used far more than it should be in low income lunches.  Tortillas, flat bread or even crackers make a better energy source.  Sure to cause your blood sugar to spike unless you are very active.

Fresh Meat - This is a legal term used for exports as well as retail grocery sales. Fresh meat DOES NOT mean all meat but only that meat which is cut and package but never frozen.  Frozen and canned meat options have come a long way since the days of Spam (the food) and Treet (its competitor).  Top quality beef, chicken, pork and turkey can be found in one pound cans that only need to be reheated. The cost is likely half of fresh and some can be as low as $1.00 per 4 oz serving (think Quarter Pounder).  Frozen chicken breasts, fish, and sausage add variety in a way fresh meats cannot.  

** This is the extent of the highlights most sources mentioned. Here are a few others that might also be added to the list. 

High Water Beverages - From diet drinks to Hi-C and Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice Cocktails.  Many beverage makers sell sugar water as foods.  Lining the shelves these products take the place of 100% juice products.  The profit margin of these drinks is enormous. 

Deceptive Snacks - Everyone deserves a piece of candy or a good chocolate chip cookie once in a while but items like granola bars and fruit snacks sound healthier than they are.  Expect to see a few of these items banned. 

Chips - Contrary to some dietary advice, potatoes chips offer a good supply of essential sodium and potassium.  Other chips like Cheetos, Doritos, corn chips and pretzels are in the same basic category as flour and white bread.  

WARNING - Finally a word of warning about how some websites are using this new item to raise money for questionable charities promising to feed children.  The USDA school lunch program is one of the most comprehensive food access programs there are to children of all ages, rich or poor.  Each lunch meal must provide approximately half of all the calories a child needs in a day. If they eat breakfast as school there access is up to about 80% of needed calories.  It might not be the food they want to eat but to say charities are supplying money to federal school lunch programs is likely fraudulant.  Think twice before you give. The local food bank is the best way to support your neighbors who need help. 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Atmospheric Rivers: How Urban Infrastructure Contributes to Weather's Desperate Measures

**This article is intended to start a discussion not fan the climate change flames.  There is no computer study that can prove or disprove this theory. There ARE computers which can be programed to spit out data that gives a desired conclusion-- good and bad. Those who believe in melting ice caps and out of control global warming need to see that climate variations are about changes in human lifestyle that have come over the last hundred and fifty years, not an end times scenario over which we have no control. Enjoy the read. 

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For all the hype, neither scientists nor journalists do a good job of explaining weather events. What they now label as an atmospheric river is not a new phenomenon but one that has been predictable and understood for centuries. With a bit of clear communication, this belief that the Earth's climate is changing might resolve itself in short order.

What is an Atmospheric River?

The jet stream (the way weather flows around the planet) has always moved along the same west-to-east path in the northern hemisphere. In like fashion, the southern hemisphere has a similar east-to-west flow.  Nothing has changed in that regard. 

What seems to have changed is the volume of water in the atmosphere, although concerns based on historic records is a bit dishonest since detailed records are rare and unverifiable. So if the jet stream has always been the train tracks for global water distribution, then what has change that requires such drastic action by current weather patterns.

At this point it is good to remember that those with the power to make great changes to the human experience rarely understand HOW their actions will impact the environment.  With only themselves to answer to, they assume their choices are safe and  effective for the planet.  Human initiated change is a much more likely culprit for causing drastic weather as we will see.

So What Has Change to Cause Atmospheric Rivers

Climate change anxiety is based on the premise that the environment is the same and only weather has changed. That is fundamentally false. Every scientific study or media report that compares similar historical numbers is breaking the first rule of Scientific Inquiry - Control all Variables. In other words make sure you are looking at the big picture instead of jumping to conclusions to get on the evening news or be more opular in the right political circles.

Think about it. A hundred and fifty years ago, all energy was based on the use of fossil fuel, now considered to be the cause of climate change. Does that make any sense at all?

There was no large scale use of electricity. Wind and water were only used for specific mechanical applications such as steam engines and gear-driven machinery.  ALL other energy used for heat, cook stoves and lights came from some form of carbon emitting fuel source.  If it didn't destroy the planet in the previous 5000 years of recorded history, why would it suddenly cause problems now? 

While the move to electricity is the primary environmental change that has occurred over the last 150 years, there are others that have also taken a toll as well.

For this post we will look at how improving urban life worked against Nature's way of hydrating a sustainable land mass.  Maybe then we can all see that a small change in our behavior can make a big change in planetary health.

Urban Infrastructure's Hidden Environmental Costs

Since California seems to be at the center of whether today's weather is normal or a sign of ecological disaster, we will use that location for this explanation. 


Certainly, the early days of San Diego and San Francisco had their challenges. The problem of too many people and not enough water has never been overcome. Sanitation is another ongoing challenge.  But, could this be a man-made problem and not a natural one? 

Back then, short  rain showers washed away the smell of animal waste and open sewers.  Ditches, cobble stone streets and brick or plank sidewalks allowed the rain to soak into the ground and do the job Nature intended.  Cisterns and rain barrels collected water for washing and other uses. Well water was used sparingly. All was good  until it wasn't.

With more people and heavier traffic, dirt roadways needed constant maintenance.  Paving stones and wood planks were used in some areas but eventually a mixture of tar and gravel offered a hard surface that was water resistant and durable. With public water, indoor plumbing and underground sewers soon to follow, water conservation was quickly passe. Now, concrete and asphalt separate rainfall from the ground it is supposed to reach.

But for all their efficiency, what these improvements did to the environment could not have been anticipated.  As California and other parts of the United States deal with strange weather and geological events, laying blame on carbon gases seems more finger pointing and desperation than scientific proof.  Isn't it time to fess up and admit mankind put comfort ahead of environmental protection.  Now with eight times the global population, nature simply cannot carry the burden of as urban locations make it harder.

Rainfall: The Unwanted Necessity

It has been a hundred years since California persuaded the Federal government it was economically necessary to take water from a river  approximately 300 miles away. The Federal government complied and built the Hoover Dam to solve California's water problem.  But what was California's water problem? Was it really a lack of rain or was it how they managed the rain they got. Now we do the math.

Here's how it works.  

For every inch that falls, 17.4 million gallons of water is distributed over each square mile of land (www,weather.gov). Happening over several hours, the process is very effective and without danger to property or life. Urban infrastructure, however, blocks such rainfall from getting to thirsty ground and instead sends it back to the oceans without much benefit.   Can this simple wasting of water REALLY make a difference to the environment? Obviously science does not think so or the Environmental Protection Agency would have banned it decades ago.

For the purpose of exploration, let's assume that California's cities send half of their annual rainfall back into storm drains and out to sea within a few hours of it falling. Exactly how much of an impact can there be?  Here's your answer.

*San Diego - With annual precipitation of about 10 inches, losing 5 inches would cost the city proper 87 million gallons per square mile. The city of SanDiego is 372 square miles in size so the amount of rainfall lost into the ocean in one year is approximately 32.4 BILLION gallons.  if you add a frugal 100 gallons of water per person per day to the flow, SanDiego flushes just less than 78 billion gallons of water back into the ocean each and every year.   That's enough water to provide each resident with half a million bottles of water annually. (please check the math because it seems a bit unrealistic to me too!)

* SanFrancisco City - Even though SanFransisco proper has a much smaller footprint and population, its annual rainfall amounts are 2.5 times that of SanDiego.  Annual rainfall loss would be 9.75 Billion gallons.  Daily wasted water at 100 gallons per resident would add another 30 billion gallons for total water loss of approximately 40 billion gallons or 3.3 million bottles of water per resident per year.  (again, feel free to check the math)

Certainly, these figures seem too large to be factual but this is simple math and not computer manipulated data.  Could these examples indicate that storm drains, sewers and erosion control, while an important part of urban growth, may be a contributor to the drought conditions that nag the state. Doesn't it seem that the discussion needs to turn towards civic responsibility for water management and away from current climate rhetoric that allows bad environmental habits to continue and fester? But then blaming a tiny molecule which can't defend itself does seem a good political maneuver to distract citizens from the truth.


Nature's Response

Divergent thinking always has value.  Let's look at this from Nature's perspective. If every coastal community in the world, unnaturally forces billions of gallons of water back into the seas could this explain why they appear to be rising even though the polar ice caps remain comfortably below freezing.  Can mankind not see that leadership's obsession with building an artificial lifestyle is at the heart of Nature's desperate measures to rehydrate every continent. 

The Threat of Old-School Infrastructure

At the beginning of this piece, we talked about what had changed in the world. For those not up on their history, it was called the Industrial Revolution and along with world wars and global economic woes, it has been 150 years of changing the environment to suit one species -- humans.  Now, we need to decide if we are smart enough to keep the lifestyle while adapting it to be environmentally friendly.

Unfortunately, President Biden, and several others before him, see infrastructure as being the same as what it was in the late 1800s.  Creativity, problem solving and forethought have no place where the economy makes the rules.  Perhaps the greatest gift the environment will get over the next two years is political gridlock. 

 Environmentally sound infrastructure is not hard. Consider these options, not just for coastal cities but for all communities. 

1. Recycle gray water (dirty water that has been used but not contaminated) by having property owners install drain fields or plumbing for washing cars, watering the lawn, etc. Why use potable water for anything but personal use and food. Change will also come faster if individuals take the lead rather than wait for decisions to be politically sanctioned.

2. Encourage plant growth from which water evaporates to increase humidity levels reduce atmospheric volatility. Air can only retain so much moisture. Dry air is a great place to dump huge amounts of water from the atmosphere.

3. Revert to septic tank use for new construction so that water is continually returned to the ground and underlying bedrock.

4. Use gray water for public use such as fighting fires, washing planes and runways, operating steam driven boilers and machinery.  Using potable water for such operations not only is expensive but questionable for the environment. Nature loves its dirt. 

That's enough thought for one day.  Look for some more postings to get politicians to think first and spend last.  Good luck Mr. McCarthy. 


 

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

NBC's Climate Clique: A Future of White Christmases (Repost)

 

CNN White Christmas Map

** A year ago , this article was posted to highlight the climate change hype that had NBC reporters concluding that the days of a White Christmas were all but over as a result of climate change. NOW, the media is bemoaning the appearance of snow as a prophecy of climate change. 

The facts have not changed nor has the science.  Snow, rain and drought are a function of human civilization. We strip the atmosphere of naturally occurring gases and wonder why it isn't raining. Then the World reverts to fossil fuels because of a War in Ukraine and we complain because now we have too much weather.  Oh and that volcano in Hawaii is likely doing its job to bring rain and snow to the mountains of Mexico and the US. 

As long as governments think politically instead of scientifically, the World will bounce back and forth between good weather and bad.  Replacing fossil fuels to punish a  country only harms the environment and the World's citizens.

Original Text Below

More like a high school clique than a knowledgeable group of writers looking to spread good news on Christmas, NBC's climate change reporters share more similarities with the popular kids' table than many would like to admit.  We have all seen it and some of us have even been a part of that highly restrictive, narrow-focused mindset that feigns superiority while being ignorant of even the basic principles of good form. Thursday's Future White Christmas coverage during the NBC Nightly News airing was not only disappointing in its timing but also wildly prejudicial in blaming the unseen and undefined evil of our time--Climate Change.  

Declining White Christmases--Truth or Hype?

Climate change coverage today is a popularity game. There are three things you must have to be considered an enlightened media source. Those three things are simple: 1) Do not offer any scientific explanation, just trends 2) Use math to make things seem awful 3) Find an expert who belongs to the same doom-n-gloom club.  NBC does that very well. It is a shame they are not interested in looking at climate change as a function of changing times rather than the end-of-the-World scenario that gets viewer attention. 

Read on if you would like to get some relevant information that explains why different locations may or may not see snow for Christmas. 

A La Nina Year

On October 14, 2021, NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) announced the official presence of the La Nina phase in the Pacific Ocean. La Nina years typically mean warmer and drier weather during the winter months for at least the lower half of the country.  Regardless of climate change, these years have always meant a year with little or no snow for many locations. NBC is well aware of this phenomenon and reported on it in October.  Instead of explaining that La Nina was going to make it more difficult for snow to form, this reporter went to the blame-climate-change format and took the easy, and politically correct, way out. 

Math Misused

To be expected, the reporter and expert compared trends by referring to mathematical differences between now and the 1980s.  Acknowledging that in 1980 ( which just so happens to be one of the most erratic weather years on record), half of the country saw snow while only 40% of the country now enjoys the event, the viewer is left with the impression that the country is losing our White Christmas legacy. While technically correct, using math as factual proof of climate change without understand how those numbers were obtained, amounts to spreading misinformation no matter how accurate the computation. Interestingly, several media outlets have published similar articles based on a NOAA press release which manipulates the number even further to tug at the emotional heartstrings of readers.  (Reminder: President Biden's climate change funding is being held up at the present time and NOAA may have written the piece in support of this funding)

Snow: A Fickle Flake

If you live in the band of the country where the Jet Stream moves up and down on a regular basis, your understanding of weather and climate change is completely different than those who live in the upper Northeast, the Pacific Coast and the Gulf Coast.  You learn early on that snow only happens under the right conditions and it is temperamental a best.  Just the right combination of air movement, temperature and moisture are needed.  If that doesn't sound like a rarity, factor in the weaker upper atmosphere that is the result of Clean Air policies and mining of gases such as oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide for use in the healthcare, cryogenics and food storage industries.  You see snow only occurs in the upper atmospher and when there isn't enough movement and moisture WAY up in the atmosphere, snow simply doesn't have the chance to form.  The future of our White Christmas may have more to do with how strictly the EPA regulates the atmosphere than anything else in the environment. 

Human Interference

 Have you heard the phrase "Comparing Apples to Oranges"? It generally means that people try to treat difference situations as the same (Apples and Oranges are both fruit) when they are basically very different (applies are many different colors, Oranges are. . well. . orange. You get the drift).  This happens all the time with climate change studies which from a science perspective makes most of the findings invalid.  These interesting facts show how we, as in humans, are likely more to blame by our simple presence than any weather related reason for a reduction in snow fall. 

  1. One third of the US population wasn't here in 1980. That's 100 million people who are giving off heat in an environment that has not changed that much. A simple one degree increase in ambient air temperature because of all those people would be enough to disrupt snow production. Sad but true.

  2. There are 80 million more vehicles giving off heat, regardless of fuel source, than 40 years ago. That is in addition to the approximately 175 million cars, truck and other vehicles that were in use in 1980.  A bit of additional heat is the difference between beautiful snow and cold rain. 

  3. The increase in buildings needed to accommodate 330 million people that now call the United States home extends into places that have never been used for homes before.  Buildings, like people and cars, give off heat and can warm the air near the ground causing any snow that does form to melt before it reaches the ground.  Larger buildings such as warehouses, high rise apartments and office buildings can break the flow of air that is necessary for crystals to form.  Progress comes with a cost.  

In Conclusion

By now, you are beginning to see that what authority figures and advocates call climate change might just be unrealistic expectations.  The world of fifty years ago was fundamentally different because there was less of all the things mankind must have to survive. The additional 4 billion people of the world have done nothing wrong  There is a price that mankind has paid in poorer health, less wealth and more chaotic lives because of our dependence on every convenience. That price includes less chance for a White Christmas in many areas of the country.  All we have to do to bring it back to reduce our heat signature (not related to carbon footprint) and welcome a more simplistic lifestyle.  

Regrettably, NBC, other media outlets and most of all our government is more interested in economic growth than bringing back predictable weather.  More is the shame that like high school, the kids at the popular table, make life miserable for the rest of us. 

Monday, November 28, 2022

Advertising Basics: Facebook "Cooks the Books" with Account Restarts to Add Profit Without Customers

** To help make this article's point that Facebook data is, at best, erroneous, this author is listed as an administrator on no less than six Facebook pages.  Truth is that only one of those pages has been used in the last three months and only two have been used in the last year.  The idea that six pages provides six unique opportunities for ad exposure is completely false.  

As if Facebook doesn't make enough money from its platform, the recent push to get users to reset their accounts is one quick and rather unethical way to scam advertisers and manipulate user data.   

In the advertising world, this is a common practice. Change the way you define your viewers and you change the way it appears to those placing ads.  After all, if you do not make it look good on paper then advertisers will take their money elsewhere.  By renaming the company, re-profiling users, and changing up the way ads are received, Facebook (like Twitter and other media) applies false advertising methods to trick its own advertisers.  

Recently, Facebook re-profiled our Just a Touch of Sass page.  Only after the process was completed did FB explain that the separation was irreversible with a clean slate and five years of lost posts. Rather than take the time and effort to re-post all our articles and then re-link them to older posts, Just a Touch of Sass has said good bye to Facebook for good. 

So WHY? does America tolerate this level of fraud and sleazy business models in our technology sector.  We reward greedy and abusive start-ups as long as they promise us a job.  In attitude, we are still the refugees who escaped poverty in Europe, worked the mines, forged the steel and were injured in countless factory fires because  we believe hard work pays off.  It seems today's technology operations believe something very different. , 

Interestingly, European countries have not only fined Big Tech for these practices but also levied heavy tax rates on income. After all, technology does not really build anything lasting. Without electricity, technology doesn't exsiste and that should tell us exactly what it is worth--NOTHING.  

Furthermore, Its expenses are low compared to its revenue (that's call a high profit margin) and it accepts NO responsibility for copyright infringement, misrepresentation of the original author's work and is driven solely by supporting its own narrow cultural philosophy.  It can't even claim to be an advocate of Free Speech since advertizers cannot say or promote any business in direct competition to itself. 

Just a Touch of Sass will continue to operate as it always has--with little or no thought to advertising revenue.  Perhaps this break with FaceBook is just the push that is needed to take this blog to a wider and more diverse audience. 

Look for us after the New Year to see if we make that dream come true.  



Saturday, November 19, 2022

Election 2022: Divisive Privilege in American Neighborhoods (Are No-Leash Cat and Fence-Out Laws Unconstitutional?)

With the election over and the media drumming up the illusion of a great shift in power, voters who kept the "red wave" from materializing understand that they made a conscious choice to maintain gridlock in Congress.  Some were Republicans. Some were Democrats.Some were young and some were old but together they corralled the runaway agendas that give privileges to some and take rights away from others.

As media outlets such as NPR (National Public Radio) and the Washington Post, publish concerns of public unrest and potential civil war, nary a one takes the time to identify the small issues which impact far more people than abortion or student loan debt or transgender lifestyles.  As small and insignificant as this list seems, just one can send a neighborhood into divided camps of opinion and recrimination. 

Take a look and see how these would effect you.

Unregulated Cat Ownership

As beautiful and funny as they can be, porch cats (outdoor, free roaming) are not well loved by all.  There is little that will set off a neighbor faster than a free-range cat that uses a well-maintained flower bed as a litter box or one that taunts a leashed/confined dog by traveling back and forth just out of reach.  Yes, it happens all the time. The question is why should cats be allowed to cause such distress while dog ownership is heavily regulated. Just the first example of divisive privilege in supported by weak leadership.

An even better argument against this preferential ruling is that domesticated cats are an invasive species. With no natural predator other than the coyote in the East, domestic, free-range cats are no different than a python released into the Florida Everglades or Kudzu planted on a highway bank. Besides being carriers of all manner of respitory disease, they are just as subject to rabies and not always vaccinated.  Even if "fixed", domestic cats can damage landscaping with their high nitrogen (and smelly) poop, strip the bark from young trees when sharpening their claws and decimate the song bird population in short order.



On the flip side, fed cats do not necessarily hunt for food. Owners who leave food out encourage wildlife to abandon their natural feeding habits, take up residence near homes and invite predators (coyote, hawks, bear) into the backyards of families and individuals. Moreover, why should the slow moving possum or touchy skunk dine on bugs and carcasses when a feeder of yummy kibble sits on every back porch in the community.  With a range of several hundred feet in any direction, the concept of this being a victimless crime is unjustified.  Sadly, the wildlife that has been invited in by irresponsible human behavior is trapped, shot, or poisoned believing they are harmful to residents.  Owners never consider their cats are MORE likely to transmit disease because of their close personal contact with humans. 

Does the Constitution not provide for equal treatment under the law? Should cat owners not be held to the same standards as dog owners? With millions of tax dollars being spent each year to deal with the feral cat population, why aren't owners held accountable?

Because some politician is too afraid of losing votes and too focused on economic growth which always brings inflation to act responsibly and treat citizens equally under the law. 

Fence-Out Laws

Contributing to the cat issue and other boundary landmines in a modern world, Fence-Out jurisdictions protect irresponsible landowners by forcing responsible ones to build and maintain expensive fencing (aka Fence Out danger).  Started when range wars were settled with guns and violence, fence-out laws may have worked when dealing with livestock but do little to protect property from such dangers as wildfires, pesticide usage, over bearing landscapers, obsessive environment protection policies, hikers/camping and yes, cat owners who think the best cat is an outdoor cat. 


As the law is currently enforced, boundary lines are owned equally by each side. A neighbor can tear down a fence or hedge without notification, mow your yard if you don't take care of it to their satisfaction, spray pesticides indiscriminately, and install a fence on your property without verification of the property line.  In other words, the neighborhood bully has the right to be a bully without impunity.  How is this policy constitutional in a country that was founded on the protection of individual rights? 

Today, those elected to govern care more about wealth and avoiding bad press than standing up for what is right.  Is it no wonder that people fear violence from those who have no respect for private property?

Where Does It Leave Us?

As a result of decades of legally permitting one group to take advantage of another, this country has slipped into a mindset that fraud and persecution is acceptable, even normal.  While the Beatles tried to persuade the World that "All we need is Love" (dun, da, dun, da duh), such an attitude is naive at best and only increases division and anxiety in this country.

Only when Congress, state legislatures and local government govern for the majority and not the special interest can America ever be great again.  As the 2022 mideterm shows, citizens have a lack of confidence in both political parties.  Until Congress abandons special interests which feed economic growth and buy votes, citizens will need to clog the courts system with lawsuits and civil actions that regulate one person at a time.

What an incredible waste of time, effort and money because the focus of today's leaders is being elected rather than serving the whole. 




 

Thursday, October 27, 2022

The Farce of Food Insecurity: How Federal Spending Fosters Hunger (and illness) in America (A FACS Teacher Explains)

** Kudos to the Iowa state legislature for standing up to the Food Snobs who are showing exactly how little they know about food and nutrition in this county. This public lack of understanding by those who report on government issues shows exactly why the Federal government needs to be out of the public assistance game.  From student loan debt to food stamps, the only goal here is to spend money.  Its time every state puts nutrition first. 

To put it short and sweet, NO ONE in America should ever go to bed hungry and yet, as the holidays approach, the media sends out emotion laced storie stating that food is scarce in this country and that something needs to be done about it.  Is that the truth or is it a subtle method of persuasion designed to lower residents expectations while increasing tolerance of government inefficiency.  Read  below and make up your own mind.  

 America, The World's Bread Basket

According to Investopedia, the US is one of the four largest food producing countries in the World. Ironically though, how that food is distributed changes it from a necessity of life to an economic growth tool. Sadly, malnutrition and hunger are very much woven into American politics as both parties use food as a weapon against its own people. Not surprisingly, Americans pay high prices and get little food value for their money as a result.

Simply put, government agriculture and trade policies are not designed to FEED people but to FEED the economy and bargain for loyalty around the globe.

Yes America, federal policy laid out by the Food and Drug Administration, US Departments of Agriculture and Commerce and other regulatory agencies choose to foster hunger and poor health in its general population. They do this by taking a hands-off approach with corporate interests such as Nestle, General Mills, PepsiCo, and many others.

Why do both Republicans and Democrats support food production methods which put people at risk for illness and death?  Because it is good for Wall Street and Wall Street is everything in today's global economy.

Food Labeling Shows Declining Food Value

To get a better idea of where Congress puts its priorities, all it takes is a look at food labeling. So complicated to understand, the numbers on a label tell the story.  One does not need to be a registered dietitian to understand low numbers and lots of zeros translate into food that has little quality. In today's market, it would take 10 snack bags of potato chips and you still would not get the sodium and potassium which are needed for good hydration.

Interestingly, the FDA allows countless products with little or no food value to be purchased with food assistance dollars.  One specific example is alternative milk products. California's almond milk is an acceptable food source even though a serving of this high priced milk look-alike is the equivalent of eating three almonds and drinking a glass of salt and vitamin infused water. 

Is that worth 10% more than whole milk with 5 times the calories, 8 times the protein and naturally sourced vitamins and minerals? Economically, sure it is. In terms of feeding the poor, its a scam on every level.

What does the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Do?

At this point in time, no one is really sure. What they are supposed to do is ensure safe food products and medicines be delivered throughout the country.  Unfortunately, they seem to be more concerned with punishment after the fact than preventing food safety issues as the baby formula, pet food and drug shortages continue to cause problems for many. Recently, Clorox recalled a cleaner which had been shipped and sold over a year ago. What good does it do to recall a product a year after it has been shipped and sold?

Secondarily, there appears to be no FDA food policy that stops tax dollars from being redirected to companies through products which are colored and flavored water or calories that provide few of the micro nutrients that improve general health, strengthen muscles, or regulate metabolism.  The same, generally, holds true for medications even when their proven efficacy is less than 50% and their list of side effects is dangerously long.

As an instrument of Republican and Democratic administrations, the FDA and USDA willing allow low food value products to flood the market which reduces the buying power of individuals. Claiming to be treating those who live in poverty fairly,funds can be used to buy popular foods even when high quality food products are cheaper.

Supply Chain Problems? Not likely. 

There is an old saying in business--Say it Enough. They'll Believe It.  The truth is that food companies have been shorting the American public on nutrition for decades.  Worse, they are now using the "Supply Chain" myth to alter recipes, reduce the nutritional content of their products and increase profits.  This practice has increased with deregulation and has made commercial foods more susceptible to contaminated and less nutritious overall. 

Add the sound of celebrities and talk show hosts proclaiming that there is a food shortage in this country and it isn't hard to realize they help make misinformation appear as truth.

Where does the REAL food go?

Naively, Americas want to believe in farm to table marketing that supports local agriculture. Commercial agriculture is very different. Actual food distribution in this country is a complicated system of tiers (see below) with the local grocery store being at or near the bottom  Politicians will not mention that they trade food products as if they were gold or silver.  While they ship food produced here to other countries, they import food that ends up on our tables.  Economics is everything, after all.

  1. Government Interests: It should be no surprise that government takes its cut at or near the top.  Active and reserve military bases, federal prisons and detention centers and, of course, the exports that are part of the every day wheeling and dealing called "foreign policy" take large quantities of food out of circulation without it ever entering a store.  With little packaging, large recurring orders and quick payment, it is good business to supply these operations first. Unfortunately, it is also susceptible to waste and mismanagement due to strict food safety guidelines which have unused food thrown away.  The FDA is currently recalling record amounts of food of all kinds.
  2. Non-Food Products:  From cosmetics and vitamin supplements to ethanol and cleaning products. Food is used for many things other than nutrition.  Today's gourmet pet food industry is also a drain on supplies in which there have been massive recalls over the last year or more.
  3. Commercial Operations:  This group includes any type of food prepared outside of the home.  Hospitals, residential facilities such as dormitories, school lunch programs(not actually a federally run program), convenience stores, vending machines, restaurants and catering businesses get the next cut of the pie (no pun intended). As restaurant owners explained at the beginning of the pandemic, these kitchens purchase bulk sized containers.  Good managers can keep waste to a minimum but because serving size is predetermined customers may simply not need or want as much food as is served.  In most cases, these chefs have access to whole foods and do not get the watered down versions which are found in many grocery outlets. 
  4. Value Added Foods:  There is one last attempt to turn an abundance of basic food into something pricey and that is called "Value-Added Products."  These products include the rotisserie chicken and sliced meats at the deli counter, servings such as juice boxes or individual containers and already molded hamburgers or specialty seasoned meats. Then you have quick fix boxed dinners like Hamburger helper and microwave pouches for steamed vegetable.   Any change from a food's original form is considered better and therefore more expensive.  For example, the rotisserie chicken that you pay $8.99 for is a 2 to 3 pound, mostly bone, bird that costs the store a dollar and a half.  The nutrition is the same but the size is a third of what an uncooked bird with a similar price would be.
  5. Local Grocery Outlets:  After all these other groups buy what they want, then food producers take whats left and package it for the most profit. Cheese that is cheese food.  Juices that are juice drinks.  Milk that is from a plant based mixture and meat that has been canned or breaded and fried.  Even more interesting is the number of imported foods that are found in the produce section or the meat section.  Besides foods which are largely devoid of anything but calories, the cost of these available products has gone up because of a scarcity result from preferential service to the federal government. 
**Recently, McKee Foods informed the US military that it would no longer supply products to military facilities. Its reasoning appears to be a conscious choice to supply the public rather than accommodate the large volume order required for government contracts.

Implications for Health

 As the World learned during the Covid-19 pandemic, not even the greatest healthcare system can fend off a virus when good nutrition is lacking. For fifty years, educated populations believed that healthcare was more important than nutrition. Now many are dependent on vitamin supplements and medications to maintain the illusion of health.  Still, the federal government skims the best off the top and fails to regulate what foods are marketed to children and the elderly. Sadly, a look at food labels quickly shows  that a fast food hamburger offers more balanced food value than a boxed mac and cheese with organic pasta prepared at home. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2022

WE ARE BACK! Sort of

**Interestingly, Version and other companies are now offering FREE upgrades with no increase in phone charges.  Perhpas they are getting the message that American business is getting to big for its britches and the American people are getting ready to take it to the woodshed. What a wonderful thought. :)

I have also repaired four older computers at a fraction of the cost of sending them to a repairman.  But it is the Internet that keeps us frustrated.  

Our local server is now 65 miles from our location.  It is so far from home, online purchasing is nearly impossible with a debit card.  The bank blocks purchases because I do not have LOCAL internet.  See why rural citizens distrust big business and their promises for a better life.  It doesn't matter how much speed you have if you can't connect in the first place folks. 

Original Post

After six weeks of internet and telephone troubles, we are back up and running. Is this just a preview of what rural communities will go through when 3G is turned off. Again, Congress lacks the ability to foresee the down side to its actions and only considers how good it is to for economic growth.   We will see what happens when millions of rural and low-income people have their phones turned off when companies like Verizon "make room for 5G" and more powerful internet.  All rural communities want is a reliable signal not the "fastest" or the "most powerful".  

I won’t be buying a new phone from Verizon.  This just one more example of planned inflation. Especially since rural communities will be lucky to get 4G service. 

Its nice to connect again. 


Wednesday, July 20, 2022

UPDATED: One Hot Mess: Why Saving the Planet is Making it Hotter? (A FACS Teacher Explains)

**** NOAA (our country's national weather reporting agency) has recently released yet another hyped up global warming article that is equally short on details.  Claiming that this July is the third hottest on record anyone who is familiar with computer data understands the questionable accuracy of such a statement.  As mentioned many times before in this blog, there is no standardized method of reporting temperatures and the chance of human error in such reporting methods is high. Just failing to report temperatures from Montana or Alaska in a timely fashion could shift numbers to seeming much hotter than they actually are.  Add the preference for hotter, urban areas and the only way to describe such information is "skewed".  With a climate change bill waiting to be voted on this week in the House, it is not surprising that this agency would  slant information to tip the votes in favor of passage.  Remember: this climate change bill is not about reversing human caused climate change but designed to fund infrastructure which will only make the planet hotter and our tempers more frazzled. 

*** Biden’s one billion trees is more about supporting the housing industry than climate change. Wood fired power plants produce the same type of smoke as coal and oil. This is called gaslighting the public. 


We have all done it. 

You open up a cookbook, Do-It-Yourself manual or set of instructions for your child's new toy and follow them to the letter.  DISASTER!

Not to be undone, you try again. You follow the steps exactly, assemble your equipment before starting, have all the right materials and it seems to be going well. . . except the end result isn't anything like what it is supposed to be. Welcome to Climate Change Politics.

Now you know where leaders and climate scientists find themselves today--following all the rules and coming up with a crisis that is "one hot mess". 

Brain Over Computer

As a teacher of any subject will tell you, thinking for yourself is a very difficult concept to instill in even the smartest individual. Forty years of computer generated directions and automatic answers has indoctrinated civilized people to question everything BUT the directions.  The reality of any science is that the science doesn't change, only our understanding of it.   

The question today is . . .How bad is it going to get before these educated thinkers rely on their brains rather than their computers for answers?

As Biden tries to pull a climate change 'win' out of thin air, the problem isn't his leadership style or focus.  The problem is the THIN AIR. Biden simply isn't speaking Nature's language and until he does it is only going to get hotter.

 Speaking Nature's Language

 Until modern science decided Nature could be modified without repercussions, Nature's rules were pretty basic and easy to understand. As for air quality, there  was but one concept to remember. Plants clean the air and animals/humans dirtied it up. 

Why in the world would that be part of a Family and Consumer Science background? Because before whole house filtration systems most females from homemaker to high end interior designer knew growing plants kept rooms smelling fresh without extensive cleaning and artificial deodorizers. Pretty smart, huh?

So what does that have to do with today's climate change problem?  It's simple. Humans cleaned up the air instead of letting plants do it. The chain of command for Nature was broken and not there are consequences that went something like this. 

  1. Clean air makes nature think animals and humans have died so plants stop producing food (after all, there isn't anything to eat it, right?)

  2. Nature doesn't understand why there is plenty of CO2 but none of the other essential gases which would normally be given off by dead animals, feces, cook fires etc.  Naturally, it uses volcanoes and gas plumes to add those gases back into the atmosphere. 

  3. Thin Air (clean air) has little ability to insulate the ground from the direct rays of the sun. So day time temperatures get warmer and the night time temperatures get cooler.

  4. Clean air cannot form rain clouds so rain stops falling.  Plants have root systems and humidity to give them a drink.  Remember: Clean air only exists naturally in a plant only world.

  5. Hurricanes, Nor'easters, and thunderstorms produce heavy rains to replenish ground water. 

  6. When all else fails to bring the atmosphere back into balance, Nature takes to wildfires which use up excess oxygen and spread gases like nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide.  Sound familiar?

 All this because humans thought they could do it better than Mother Nature. 

President Biden, Mother Nature doesn't need any more of this kind of help.  Go back to dirty air or pay the consequences.

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Clarification: The Royal Family and Climate Change

Special Note:  As the UN Conference on Climate Change (Cop27) nears, this will be the first time in several years that King Charles III (Formerly Prince Charles) will NOT be in attendance.  A strong advocate of climate change remediation, the rumor is that he has been asked by new Prime Minister Liz Truss to keep a low profiled.  

The key to shifting the climate change discussion to something realistic has always been to debunk the popular belief that scientists of a hundred and fifty years ago proved that carbon dioxide warmed up the planet.  The main scientist, John Tyndall, resided in both Ireland and London.  Loyalty runs deep in the UK but perhaps through the new Ms. Truss the British will look a bit harder at the facts and not believe in climate change on national loyalty alone. 

 

Original Article:

From a writer's perspective, the unpredictable audience of the internet makes it very difficult to feel that these words will be used appropriately.  You hope, if you have readers at all, that they  can understand the technical concepts explained here. You hope the information will start a discussion not a feud. But there is always worry about the lack of integrity in the climate change industry and the leaders who support it.

Today, it might be Prince Harry who was the victim of climate change politics. Yet again, leaders like United Nations Secretary General António Guterres are not above using a well connected young man to promote a scientifically flawed position that cannot be justified by spreadsheets and computer data. (See speech here)  Sadly, the United Nations would rather hold on to 50 years of poor judgement than do what is best for the global environment and economy.  Here's where this blog may have come into the picture. 

 What Brits Should Know About Climate Change

A few weeks ago, during a particularly hot Royal Ascot, the article  What Brits Should Have Always Known: John Tyndall Knew Nothing about Climate appeared on this platform. (see original here)  The reason was start a discussion about whether John Tyndall was really a man who understood climate nor one who simple carried out several experiments which would later be mostly countermanded.  He did, however, explain the insulated properties of clouds quite perfectly.  Modern science just turned it into something else.

As a quick summary, the conclusion was that a history based difference in language caused young computers to link Tyndall and climate change.  The well-respected professor never studied climate or even considered it because the study had not been established until just before his death.  

Where do the Royals Come In?

Understanding that the USA and UN were locked into its illogical position of carbon-based gas theory, the article challenged Prince Charles and the Royal family to take a more political stand in helping the World understand differences in terms and how they can be destructive when misinterpreted by computers.  

Apparently, it was Prince Harry that was feed a diet of misinformation and then put on display for the World to see.  It doesn't seem to have gotten the desired response. If this blog was in any way used to encourage that, I am truly sorry. 

Manipulating data is a common occurrence for leaders. As this blog has stated before, all climate scientists have to do is prove their point without a computer and the world will listen.  Guilt, shame, fear and emotion are not the tools of real science.  

Monday, July 11, 2022

10 Things Insurance Agents Should Stop Doing! (A FACS Teacher Explains)

Certainly, it was going to be different after COVID.  And yet, the crashing suddenness of the transition from work-focused Baby Boomers to the adulthood-avoiding younger workforce came with a high price.  The older worker could almost feel a machine going down in time to stop a complete breakdown or smell the difference between clean stainless steel pipe and invisible contamination of a baby formula factory that would embarrass the United States in a way that other countries will not soon forget. 

The problem isn't the young adults comin' up. Its how they were educated and trained.

As a Family and Consumer Science Teacher, career readiness was part of the curriculum.  By the time the Bush administration revamped education by focusing on testing, the Obama administration changed directions and made computers and gadgets the most important part of leaning.  

To better illustrate what was once taught before enering the workforce, us old people listed a few no-nos to keep in mind.

1.  Using "Gotcha" as in a professional context. 

It might sound new and non-committal but that word translates into being used, swindled or fooled for most older adults. To understand it in a visual context, Google Laugh-IN Gotcha and see what YouTube has to offer.  Artie Johnson was the king of the lewd and crude "Gotcha" moment. I talked with 9 agents in a introductory call and found half used the term regularly. Another three used it at least once in the conversation.  Your trainer was WRONG!

2. Showing up at Dinner Time

A great joke in rural communities, showing up at after the office closes be convenient for the agent but it is still rude and disrespectful for the potential client. Use the Golden Rule if you want to make that sale. 

3. Downloading personal histories, credit reports etc. before you meet. 

Privacy is important and it only takes one slip up to go from respectful agent to invasive and untrustworthy creep.  It isn't worth the risk. 

4. Showing up without an appointment.  

Retirement does not mean "doing nothing".  You are invading their home and turning it into a place of business.  Clients are people first and profits second. They do not owe you a living.

5.   Using the phrase "Your kids would want you to"

No child wants their parents living a solitary lifestyle because they are spending 50% of their income on insurance and healthcare. Insurance is not a means of inheritance although it is often sold as such.  Moreover, using guilt as a sales tool is just plain despicable, not to mention unethical and possibly elder abuse (federal definition)

6. Using the phrase "Let me decide for you"

Again, they are the client not your ticket to a large home. Agents are licensed as advisors not guardians.  Walk that like carefully to avoid the appearance of financial mismanagement. 

7. Assuming mental incapacity

LIke Mark Twains quote of his death, reports about dementia have been found to be side effects of medical treatment and poor nutrition rather than age alone. One day you will be old and you may be treated as a second class person.  Again, just because you are legally providing a service does not mean you are not guilty of taking advantage of an older client. 

8. Adopting the attitude that you are doing it for them

Lieing to yourself about why you sell insurance is a great way to cross a line that can have some serious consequences. You know if your client is struggling because of the level of coverage you or your company push.  Karma always pays back greed and unkind actions. 

9. Using criticism as a way to instill fear. 

Your training may say to point out all the flaws in the property so as ti justify the need for insurance."A few branches can cause the whole roof to go in a storm Is this a plug for your brother-in-laws lanscaping service or a reference to a previous claim that has long since been resolved.  Either way, using fear is a pretty poor way to make a living. 

10. Forgetting that insurance has its roots in organized crime and extortion.

The line between legal and illegal use of insurance sales as a requirement for home ownership is approaching the old days of the "protection rackets"  Al Capone would be impressed how insurance companies have gained Congressional and State Support for something he had tried to do a hundred years ago.

Bottom line


Insurance like health care is a very large component in an artificially inflated and service dominate economy. Curbing insurance costs is an important part of a long and financially viable lifestyle for all Americans, not just its older citizens. 

Think twice before you advise seniors to carry masive amounts of insurance. Its our Country's economic viability that is really at stake.