Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Pass this along!

Are you Poor? Black? White? Mexican? Young? New voter this election season?
Registered Democrat? Independent? Maybe even Republican?

Well you could possibly be disenfranchised this year. The warning is out. Forgot voter registration fraud the media keeps speaking about....I am talking about real voter voting fraud. Two entirely different things.
And before you read the "what to do section" below please also realize, no matter who you vote for, that some districts have ballots that if you register straight ticket it will not automatically register your Presidential vote --- you must fill in separately for the President even if it is the same straight ticket party you choose for the remainder of the ballot.

So, just in case you are challenged when it comes time to cast your vote here's what to do:

They're stealing your vote, but you can steal it back. Here are some steps you should take to protect your vote. First, avoid the November 4th minefield. Voters, wherever possible, should vote early and in person. Where feasible, avoid mailing in your ballot, many are rejected for flimsy reasons, and first time voters in many states must include a photocopy of ID. However, if you have a mail-in ballot, don't throw it away. Follow directions, use the correct postage (that's an error that cost a hundred thousand votes last time) and, if possible, walk it in to your elections office.

At the polling station, should you find yourself one of the 2.7 million purged, or your ID rejected, then do your best to resist a "provisional" ballot--one third of which are not counted. Return with proper ID, or call 1-800-OUR VOTE for legal assistance. And never just walk away discouraged. That's just what they want you to do.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Will your vote count?---you should check.

In the recent media coverage of Acorn we are all hearing, yet again, about voter fraud. However there are a few things we aren't hearing covered adequately and that we need to understand....then check to make sure our vote will count.
The recent media blitz began when we learned that Acorn may have some "bad" registrations. And just so you know...bad registrations do occur however Acorn is not, by law, allowed to purge a registration it thinks may be bad. It can only flag them and point them out. Like Mickey Mouse---it gets flagged. Now...truly in this day and age there could be someone named Mickey Mouse. Which is why Acorn has to flag it and can't purge it. The state government is the one that will do that after it checks out whether it does or does not have a state resident named...you guessed it: Mickey Mouse. By hiring down on it's luck people (drunks, homeless etc) Acorn has helped get some individuals paying jobs. Some of these individuals, however, have shirked their duty and responsibilities and instead of finding unregistered voters have instead filled in random names. Now, let's at least applaud the fact, that like the Salvation Army, Acorn has used people that generally can not get jobs. Unfortunately they are paying a price for it. And instead of going on about this I would like you to read a very good article about voting fraud and disenfranchisement both of which are different than Acorn's voter registration issues.

If you haven't seen Robert F Kennedy Jr. interviewed this week, or read his article yet in Rolling Stones magazine titled "Blocking the Vote" do so now. Please.

Did you read it? Now pass it on to someone else. Voting is important and voting fraud and disenfranchisement outweighs voter registration fraud (or more accurately registration problems) by a long shot.

Then? Find your Secretary of State web site. It will have all the information about voting on it somewhere. Check information as to whether or not your state requires exact id match --- and I do mean exact in some states. Right down to whether you did or did not use your full middle name or just the initial. Or maybe your name is similar to someone who committed a crime and so it is purged for that reason. Or a data entry clerk made a mistake...and your purged.
If your state does require such exactness...and your name doesn't match correctly...or maybe your were illegally purged....you still have time in most places to fix it. (Don't wait, and don't not do it, every vote is important and every vote should count)
I don't know exactly how the web site will be set up but if you live in Georgia, their poll checker site here. When you click on that link go down to the section titled voting procedures. Read the paragraph and you will come across a somewhat hidden blue colored link that says: poll locater. Click on it and you can fill in your information. It is a link to help you find your voting precinct, and if it gives you your polling site then you are still on the rolls as of today. As far as I understand anyway.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

posse comitatus

In the beginning the founding fathers felt it was wrong to have a standing army keeping the citizens in line as King George did. As we all know or should, from our history books, using an army to keep civil unrest down (or technically: laws from being broken) can lead to abuse of powers.
Later, during various times of our history and especially after the Civil War, there were supposed or "imagined" abuses of power by the army. So...we got the Posse Comitatus Law of 1876. A bit more about the history is here.

So, knowing the history do you think it's a good law or bad? Personally I think it's a great law, reflective of our founding father's thoughts on Democracy, and a law that makes our country stand out above many others that use their military to control their population (also known as Fascism).

Recently though, our rights have been eroded, yet again, by our standing President. Democracy Now!

Now that you know what's recently happened let's go back a little farther to 2001 after the September 11th attacks to where some of this first began in an article on Fox News.
Then on to Hurricane Katrina.

Abuse of power can happen even in the most simple sounding of cases.

This just goes to show why sometimes people are so against things that sound "good". In an unrelated post earlier this year (I feel overwhelmed) an anonymous commenter said not to get worked up because the article I quoted from was an alarmist/extremists position.
I don't know....I may be an alarmist sometimes or quote from alarmist articles, however history shows that positions of power can and will be abused often enough that we don't need to weaken our laws to accommodate them.

As soon as we get a new President...no matter which one it is....I have this Posse Comitatus jewel on my list to write in opposition to. (clarification added 10/20/08---I am going to write in opposition to the changes to Posse Comitatus, not the actual law. I realized when I re read my post that I was ambiguous as to what I was against. Sorry)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

I know it's not on our mind but.....

With all the economic problems, health care problems, gasoline problems and job problems we face as a nation some things may slip to the back burner...so to speak.
However this has come across from the associated press today and I feel we need to....I don't know. Write our Senators? Wait until we have a new President and write him? Write homeland security?

And before you click on the link below (update 12/17 --informed that link not working so I pasted in the information -- sorry about that) let me ask you one thing to mention if by chance you do write or call your representatives or the President. Please point out that while they have, and still are, spending millions to try and have small farmers (not industrial farms---their excluded) tag every single food producing animal down to fish with their idiotic NAIS (national animal identification system) they are allowing something far more dangerous to go unfunded. Something that is ultimately more dangerous to me than if my neighbor sells his cow to someone a few miles away and (GASP!!) the government doesn't know about it.

updated 5:42 a.m. ET, Thurs., Oct. 16, 2008

WASHINGTON - Intruders could easily break into two U.S. laboratories where researchers handle some of the world's deadliest germs, according to congressional investigators. The Associated Press identified the vulnerable lab locations as Atlanta and San Antonio.

The serious security problems at the two labs were described by the Government Accountability Office in a report expected to be released publicly as early as Thursday. The GAO, Congress' investigative and auditing arm, did not identify the labs except to say they were classified as Biosafety Level 4 facilities, but the report included enough details for the AP — and others knowledgeable about such labs — to determine their locations. Biosafety Level 4 labs do research on deadly germs and toxins.

In Texas, the Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research features an outside window that looks directly into the room where the deadly germs are handled. The lab, which is privately run, also lacks many security cameras, intrusion detection alarms or visible armed guards at its public entrances. Officials there said they will tighten security.

"We already have an initiative under way to look at perimeter security," said Kenneth Trevett, president of the lab in San Antonio. "We're waiting for additional input but we're not waiting long. The GAO would like us to do some fairly significant things. They would like us to do it sooner rather than later."

Unguarded loading dock
The other lab described with weak security in the report is operated by Georgia State University in Atlanta. That lab lacked complete security barriers and any integrated security system, including any live monitoring by security cameras. During their review, investigators said they watched an unidentified pedestrian enter the building through an unguarded loading dock.

"Georgia State clearly wants its BSL-4 to be as safe as possible," said DeAnna Hines, assistant vice president for university relations. "We are already taking steps that will enhance the lab's safety and security standards." Hines did not confirm the school's research lab was the one mentioned in the congressional report as lacking proper security.

Investigators said the lab in San Antonio used unarmed guards inside antiquated guardhouses with a gate across the access road. An outside company monitors alarms at the lab and calls police in emergencies, which investigators said could delay a quick response in a crisis. They called the San Antonio lab the most vulnerable of all the labs they studied.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approved the labs in San Antonio and Atlanta to handle the deadly organisms despite the security weaknesses. The three other BSL-4 labs in the U.S. feature impressive security, the report said. Those include the CDC's own facility, also in Atlanta; the Army's lab at Fort Detrick, Md.; and the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston.

Fort Detrick is on a secure military base, but it is known for a recent internal problem. Bruce Ivins, a scientist at the Army's biodefense lab at Fort Detrick, killed himself in July as prosecutors prepared to indict him for murder in the anthrax letter attacks, which killed five people.

Ebola research
The CDC lab is on the agency's high-security campus.

The viruses researched in the highest security labs include ebola, marburg, junin and lassa. All can cause incurable illnesses.

The chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., urged the CDC to quickly identify all security weaknesses at the high-containment research labs and fix any problems. Dingell has been investigating security problems associated with such labs around the country. He said at least six additional high-containment labs are under construction.

The Associated Press reported in October 2007 that U.S. laboratories working with deadly organisms have experienced more than 100 accidents and missing shipments since 2003 — and the number is increasing as more labs do the work.

A CDC spokesman, Von Roebuck, said each of the five labs described in the new report has its own security plan designed to fit the lab's particular security assessments.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

What does this bailout mean?

This just gets worse and worse.
Now I have to admit that I (not being an economics major) thought that infusing the banks with a bit of cash so they could/would loan again might be a good idea. A good idea as long as the government got the heck out of dodge when they were no longer needed.
However it looks by this recent article in the Washington Post that the government is going to force smaller banks to take these loans irregardless of if they want them or not.

Read it yourself (click on the box/words) -- and good luck to all of us. We may need it more than we think:

Smaller Banks Resist Federal Cash Infusions

Monday, October 13, 2008

Guinea Hog piglets!

Two days sooner than expected and we have guinea hog piglets!
2 girls and 2 boys.

Actually it was 3 girls and 2 boys but it looks as if mom, being a newbie at this, didn't get the first piglet cleaned off and it suffocated. Too bad---but we're still happy with our take.

They are cute as a button and mom and dad are in with them and don't have a problem with us "loving them up".

This is a wonderful breed of pig we have found easy to care for. We will be also selling these babies so contact me if your interested.

One last thing: We would LOVE to trade a proven adult guinea hog boar (or a youngster) with someone -- want to trade? Let's work a deal!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

I HAVE to??

Whether you watched Tuesday's Presidential debate is irrelevant. More than likely you have by now heard that McCain has come up with a new program to help struggling homeowners. This new program, which McCain wants started immediately is to have the Treasury buy back the defaulted loans at loan value.
What this means is that if the home was purchased at 250,000 but is now only worth 200,000 ---we (the taxpayers) get to eat completely that 50,000. Here's a quote from McCain's adviser from an article about this in the Washington Post (article here):

Douglas Holtz-Eakin (McCain's senior policy adviser) said that taxpayers have to cover the loss because the economy has deteriorated so rapidly. "That's the only way to get a rapid and broad-based response."

I say....Bu$$crap!!
Now I am one of the most bleeding heart liberals that I know. However I think the mortgage companies that made these bad loans should eat that 50,000. Not ME. I PAY my mortgage---and have "made do" without a number of things recently that I would have liked to have had if the economy wasn't so bad-- but I have still paid my mortgage. Don't get me wrong I realize that some people have lost their jobs...and I think we should help them but there is a difference between that and buying a home to expensive for what you make. I do know that some people were "preyed" on. However, I also believe that anyone that has ever lived out on their own should have a least a basic idea of how much home they can, and conversely can't, afford.

I think food and medicine are a God given right---especially in as rich of a country as we used to be or even still are comparative to most countries. However, buying someone a house is crap. No one bought my house and I started out with a small one that was in a bad neighborhood for my first. I have saved and worked to build equity to afford what I have now. My home is now worth about 35,000 less than it was---since I would like to sell it will the government come pay me that difference of what I will lose?? You betcha they won't.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Some of the hardest things

Please see Womennotdabbling for more continuous homesteading information. I write on Mondays but each day is filled with useful information from a variety of writers.

As I have mentioned previously changes are occurring here in our family and though I can't yet say if more is to come, I can say with certainty that we will be selling our home to move. That is partly why I have not been posting very much---we still have a bit of work on the house that needed finishing.
No, don't worry about us -- it's not the economy. We have however come to the realization that as our children have become older (and less often here) that this home is too big for us. It is a home that would be better suited to someone with a family still young enough to be home to fill it regularly.

We have worked hard on our home and will regret selling it for that reason but the chance to downsize (ie smaller square footage) and start with a clean slate (ie new garden) is not unappealing either. Yes, we will yet again have much work to improve our soil to make it grow and produce well for us but one thing I have gleaned more of than anything else from this property is: Experience

And because this property was large enough to own more than just a few of anyone animal and to raise livestock on a larger scale than ever before, we learned much. We learned volumes about nutrition, minerals, health of livestock as it relates to the quality of the soil, butchering, "the circle of life", and diversity in both plants and livestock for optimum use of resources.

So...to expand on my new found experience here are some of the hardest things I learned:

1) Digging fresh new ground for the first time ---1000's more square feet more than ever before. Whether by hand or tiller it's hard hard work. Especially when the smallest section is still 4 times larger than my previous largest section.
2) How to effectively (the key word here) use cover crops. I am still working on that one.
3) growing year round---that one doesn't take as long to figure out and my climate also helps a lot.
4)How to build a fence that is livestock proof from everything from a cow to a dog to a sheep and on down to a chicken. By this I mean how to build it once---not 4 times coming back to the same fence. Been there done that.
5) How to pack a fence post so it lasts and how to repair a fence and move livestock in the driving rain of a bad thunder and lightening storm.
6) How not to cry each time we kill, skin and butcher an animal.
7) How to eat the sheep we butchered the next day instead of weeks or months afterward. That was a really hard one.
8)To not be so squeamish that I can't finish the "circle of life" by allowing the other animals to eat the leftovers of the carcass. (Most specifically the head---that's just still kind of icky to watch the other animals chew and gnaw on)
9)To have more respect and appreciation for what it takes to make your entire living off of farming. It's not easy---ever.

Homesteading is in my soul. I can't imagine not, in some form or fashion, being somewhat self sufficient-- so my next home will include plans for feeding my family just with a smaller house. It is however full of hard physical and mental work and I realize now that we should never take for granted what it takes out of a farmer and his family. I do also realize though that to get the best food value for our money and not just the cheapest, that paying farmers living wages is something we need to address in this country. We need food that nourishes us---made on a farm where a farmer has pride in what he does. We don't need cheap food that comes from countries or places in the U.S where the only pride is in making a larger profit range.
Just my thoughts. Good week everyone.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Health Care and Tax Cuts

Here's a link to an article comparing McCain's and Obama's health care plans. The article speaks mostly about McCain's plan but at the end tells the cost of both plans and who/how many will be affected and/or reap benefits.

Also, want to know how each candidates overall tax plan will affect your yearly bill? Here's a link to a site where you can plus in your basic tax information and get an overall view of what your tax bill will be using both candidates plans. Use your last years tax information and you can comparative look based on a Bush, McCain and Obama plan.

Monday, October 6, 2008

what I would like to know (not that it matters to the economy at all)

Though I only wanted a campaign filled with ideas and solutions that is not to be the case. And though I tried to keep an open mind about each candidate I was leaning (I'll admit) a bit democratically. However Sara Palin was an interesting choice...until she opened her mouth. Now she may be able to debate by not answering the questions but when it comes to answering questions she makes me embarrassed to know that the first women VP or Pres that would stand for America could be that un smart sounding. Sorry....but during nuclear talks with Russia I REALLY doubt Putin will give a ding dang about being winked at.

So....on to the newest politcal cut the repubs are throwing at Obama. What I want to know is why:

conservatives may not want to draw attention to the issue of ties to violent radicals -- since John McCain is longtime pals with convicted Watergate burglar Gordon Liddy, who once plotted a journalist's murder (which was never carried out) and has advocated the shooting of federal law enforcement agents.

If Obama needs to answer questions about Ayers, McCain has the same obligation regarding Liddy. How about they both get started?