Always Had a Mighty Fine W(h)ine …

The post previously occupying this space has been removed. The author thereof has tired of whine and will be drinking more water as time goes by … ūüôā

Has anyone got any ideas for something constructive to do to help those affected by the BP Oil Spill? I wish I were in a position to up and go down to volunteer to work on cleaning up, although I do wonder how much this will accomplish. I keep thinking of poor old King Canute … ordering the tide back.

What’s ugliest about this are the two constants: BP’s lies and our government’s inaction. You’d think they WANT the area destroyed. Maybe they do. I’m almost cynical enough to believe it, although I don’t understand why they would.

Please God, keep these idiots from destroying Your creation. Amen.

On Rhapsody: “Born on the Bayou”, CCR

When they own the information, they can bend it all they want …

I watched the news for the first time in a long time. The national news, I mean, not the local variety. (Not that the local variety is all that special either.) I haven’t missed much.

I’ve been trying to track down a quote by C.S. Lewis that I thought I remembered from “Surprised by Joy” where I believe he mentioned that he lost a lot of anxiety by not spending a lot of time reading newspapers and listening to the radio. I’d have to agree with that. I can make a pass at a couple of websites every day and have some idea of whether or not something is going on that I need to know about. The rest of it … Oh, I get so sick of the tabloid nonsense! What do Paris Hilton and her ilk have to do with me? Why do I care who “The Bachelor” wound up with? Or about that poisonous couple (Kate and Jon, I think?) whose every move for months was followed by the rags on the grocery rack?

I lost a lot of respect for the ‘mainstream media’ a long time ago. Even when I was a lot younger, I could see the manipulation and I never understood why more people weren’t aware.

I’m sure I sound very cynical, and I’m sorry. I guess when it comes to this issue, I am just that.

On my Sansa: “Moment of Surrender”, U2

Oh, Come On — It’s Not ALL About Safety!

If your church in Pennsylvania has home-baked pies at their meals, watch out!

According to the Wall Street Journal, parishioners at one Pennsylvania church broke out home-baked pies for their Lenten fish fries, a local tradition. A Pennsylvania inspector spotted them and presto! no pies.

The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture declined to make the inspector available for comment. Bill Chirdon, the department’s food-safety director, says it has cited only one church in the past three years for unsanitary conditions. In that case, he says the church held outside picnics every week and let food sit in the sun and didn’t respond to changes recommended by food-safety inspectors.

Mr. Chirdon says the pie episode has shed light on an often-overlooked aspect of food safety. “I’ve gotten a lot of letters from churches that are tattletaling on churches down the street that aren’t licensed and don’t meet standards for food service.”

How Christian. Really says something about how helpful “the church” will be in an end-times scenario. Don’t expect much from the local boulevard church if you’re running for your life, eh?

According to website FourWinds10, the man quoted above, Bill Chirdon, “is the same Bill Chirdon responsible for raids against Mark Nolt, a horse and buggy Mennonite dairy farmer, in Pennsylvania. Chirdon, before he became part of Pennsylvania’s Department of Agriculture’s new policing power over traditional community food, worked for industry – Dean Foods and Hershey’s.

So, in both this attack on a church and on a Mennonite farmer (3 raids against him so far and tens of thousands of dollars in loss of equipment and food), the government, in concert with people from the corporate food industry, is crushing harmless non-corporate competition.”

It would be bad enough if this sort of action was limited to the instances above. But when you add the raid on the Stowers in Lorain County, Ohio (which not only took the co-op food, but the Stowers’ own personal food), and many other farms and dairies around the country, it becomes obvious that this is once again about controlling our food supply, rather than food safety.

For the record, once again, I am highly suspicious of the ongoing allegations of food problems. There was another story I saw in passing this morning, about another alleged “scare” with another food.

My political journey has gone from Kennedy liberal in my youth/young adulthood to moderate Republican in my 30s to contrarian/libertarian today. I am skeptical of anything political, no matter how it’s disguised.

While I didn’t always agree with the late Michael Crichton, I do agree with one of his later books, “State of Fear”. Not the writing — from that standpoint, it’s definitely not one of his best books — but the premise, which is that the Powers That Be aren’t happy unless all us ‘little people’ are living afraid. Of what? — it doesn’t matter. Alar on our apples, hijackers, nuclear war, terrorism or unsafe foods; any of these will do as long as we are all paralyzed and asking “Mama Government” to take care of us. Freestanding individuals who are self-reliant and self-supporting are anathema to the nanny state we are rapidly moving into. People like that can’t be controlled. It’s no accident that the time 1980-2007 were marked by people living on credit, whether it was buying consumer goods we didn’t need, larger cars than we really had to drive or houses that were beyond our means. What lender with any sense gives a sub-prime borrower a loan for 150% of the value of their planned purchase? One who wanted the borrower controlled; a controlled populace is a safe one.

I want to live free. But these days, it’s getting harder and harder to do. How long before it stops being businesses (even churches) and starts being individuals? How long before it’s YOU?

More on controlling food …

This is one to write to your Representatives about.¬† In the ongoing spirit of the nanny state, the kindly, benevolent federal government wants to control our food supply.¬† The new House Bill 875 will effectively federalize all sources of food, from the smallest farm (and potentially even smaller — our own gardens) to the largest factory farm.¬† Here’s¬†some discussion on the subject.¬† Here’s another article.¬† And here’s another; this one has contact info and a suggestion for how to contact people and talk about this issue.

To be honest, HB 875 (and I believe there may be other bills along this line) terrifies me.¬† I grew up on a nice-sized acreage with a LARGE garden, and my grandparents owned a farm.¬† As long as I can remember, I’ve had home-grown food we saw to ourselves, animal and crop¬†— at least up until my parents passed away and it was necessary for my sister and I to sell.¬† The idea that Americans could potentially be blocked from growing our own food is incomprehensible to me.

I wonder about the alleged contamination issues that have been raised over the past few years.¬† I wonder how real they were and how many real people were hurt.¬† These are the kind of “issues” that make this legislation even remotely possible.¬† I wonder if there is a journalist out there with significant courage and honesty to investigate this.¬† Somehow, I don’t think so.¬† Most of them seem to be in the “boat” with our current government to the point that they wouldn’t even be interested in looking into this — wouldn’t see any reason to.

In the meantime, there is a petition here¬†— please consider signing this and asking the government to leave our food alone.¬† Better still, it’s worth looking into the state sovereignty movement, and asking the federal government to do what it’s supposed to do (militia, treaties, etc.) , and letting us run our states.¬† If your state hasn’t passed a motion, considering writing your state reps and the governor of your state to encourage it.¬† Do you have any idea how much more money would be available at the state level if federal spending was pushed back to the things that the federal government should be legitimately doing and letting the states run things? (Probably we wouldn’t have funded AIG, to begin with).

Considering prophecy, I don’t know if this can be stopped.¬† But it’s worth a try.

Forget shelter, gimme food!

The powers that be, whomever they are, have succeeded in dismantling the economic infrastructure of this country.  Banks were arm-twisted, under the guise of good social policy, to lend money to unqualified borrowers.  Result:  the present economic crash.

Our industrial capacity has been reduced to the point where there is hardly a thing Americans can buy to wear or use which has been made in whole in the United States.  If someone wanted to blockade us, we would be in a world of hurt.

If the Senate has its way and Detroit goes down, the crash from that domino will start a chain reaction that will trickle far beyond the direct effects to the auto industry and consumers.

Now food is under attack.¬† As a believer in Jesus Christ and a reader of God’s word, I know the day will come when those of us who hold on to the Lord will not be able to ‘buy or sell’ (Rev. 13:17).¬† What’s happening now¬†or is being planned will make that even easier when it comes to stopping us believers buying a meal for our families.

1.¬† The government raided an organic food co-op here in NE Ohio, in Oberlin and shut it down.¬† Ostensibly it was about licensing, but it was really about making choices for us as to WHERE we can buy food.¬† Watch — next it’ll be those little stands out in the country where you can buy produce, like the one we had when I was a kid (no points for guessing who got to sit by the stand and sell vegetables!).

2.¬† The EPA wants to fine farmers for owning cows ¬†and other food animals (all that methane, you know — I’d better watch out or they’ll likely fine me for my husband!), a move almost certainly guaranteed, as it now stands,¬†to knock small farmers out of business.

3.  It is now illegal for a farmer to slaughter meat on his/her own farm and give it to a neighbor.

4.¬† The brilliant scientists who have given us genetically engineered seeds have a.¬† created many seeds whose “children” will not germinate the following season, and b.¬† created a situation where the pollen grown from the initial seeds contaminates adjacent fields and “sterilizes” them as well.¬† When I was growing up, some of our best produce came from seeds saved from good exemplars from the previous year’s crop.¬† With this ‘genetic drift’ (so to speak), this may no longer be possible.¬† This would mean that you have to buy new seed each year — one more source of government control, and

5.¬† Oh, yes.¬† They want to irradiate our food.¬† I don’t really think it’s necessary (and is probably the motivating force behind the engineered “scares” with contaminated spinach and tomatoes).¬† But if you irradiate something long enough, you effectively neuter it (assuming it has the capability to reproduce).¬† So if you had a really great tomato and wanted to grow more from its seeds, if it’s irradiated (and also assuming it wasn’t GE in the first place) you won’t be able to that way, either.

I hope I don’t sound too nuts.¬† I myself tend to reject the wilder forms of paranoia I see around me — I have a lot of good friends on my home board who I think go overboard with this stuff — but to me, as having grown up with farm-raised parents and a very large garden and food animals, this threat is very obvious.

Hoard those heritage seeds, folks.

Hypocrisy by the Numbers

I should state right up front (as you might expect) that I have no love for gambling.  I do confess that there was a time (before I really understood what it meant to be a believer in Jesus Christ) that I did buy the odd instant lottery ticket.  I even won once or twice.  Since then, I have been convicted that:

  1. The lottery preys on the people who can least afford it.
  2. Buying lottery tickets (on my part) means that I don’t trust the Lord to provide what I need, and
  3. Since the odds of winning anything that matters are sky-high, it’s also not good stewardship of what the Lord has given me.

So I don’t buy lottery tickets.¬† But a lot of other people do.

What really occasioned this rant on my part is that once again, a gambling initiative has been placed on the November ballot.¬† As is usual in Ohio, two camps have formed:¬† people who say “Why not?” because either they really don’t care about gambling one way or another, or because busloads of Ohioans debark for Windsor, Detroit and Erie, among other places, to spend their gambling dollars, and the people who hold this stance want to see the money stay in Ohio.¬† The other camp is made up of a motley crew of oddfellows consisting of people like me, the Catholic Church, racetracks and other groups who currently have a stranglehold on what gambling exists in Ohio, and the State of Ohio.

Actually, if you remove “people like me” from that second group, you could lump all the rest of¬†those folks under “currently have a stranglehold on gambling in Ohio”.¬† And that’s what really riles me.¬† The State of Ohio can get all “righteous” and steamed up about casino gambling, but what they’re really afraid of is losing their Lottery monopoly.

The little sundries and supplies store in my office building is a great example of what I’m talking about.¬† There’s a Lottery instant game vending machine as you walk in the door.¬† There’s a waterfall of instants behind the counter.¬† There’s a machine to print all the games (it’s not just Lotto any more) that the Ohio Lottery operates.¬† They even have this little scanner that lets you check your printed Pick-3, Pick-4, Rolling 5, Lotto, etc., etc. tickets so you don’t have to read through all those numbers to see if you won.

And people are playing.¬† I have stood behind people and watched them slap down $40-50 per day and sometimes more, and do it on a daily basis.¬† Twice a day, if they play the morning and evening Pick-3 and Pick-4.¬† And if the big game is up over $20 million or so, forget going in for anything but Lottery tickets, because you’ll stand in line for a very long time waiting to pay for that Diet Coke.¬†¬† I honestly doubt that this store could stay in business if not for the lottery.¬† Shops like these are all over the state of Ohio.¬† This is a gold mine for the State of Ohio, and they can’t afford to have it diminished or destroyed by the prospect of readily available casinos.

They’ve even gone so far as to co-opt a game that has been so addictive in That State Up North that they call it “Crack-Keno”.¬† By adding this to bars all over Ohio, they’ve created their own de-facto casinos.¬† Thankfully, for the time being, it doesn’t seem to be a great success.¬† Frankly, I hope it crashes and burns.¬† Even if it isn’t being played at the levels it was in Michigan, somewhere, right now, someone is tossing good money that they should be spending on something worthwhile after bad.

So I wish the Powers That Be at the Statehouse would at least be honest about their motivations, but since politics is about 90% hypocrisy, I don’t expect that to happen in the near future.¬† Actually, I wish the Lottery would just go away, but I know that won’t happen any time soon either.

[Note:  The guy who runs our sundries shop also runs a little lunch shoppe in the building.  After not having bought anything there for a while, I went in for lunch the other day.  Guess what he installed next to the salad bar?  A brand new lottery vending machine.  Sigh.]

On My Sansa:¬† “True Companion” by Marc Cohn

Willow weep for me …

No, I’m not following up the ‘McGuinn/Sebastian’ concert review with one for Chad and Jeremy (although we did see them a couple of months ago at the Kent Stage — good show, too).

I read the news today, oh boy (obligatory Beatles comment — having a very musical week here, aren’t we?). I know a lot of my friends at East’s¬†read this stuff and get mad, but it just makes me unhappy.¬† I’ve lost count of the number of people who just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time, locally, and have been shot and wounded or killed.¬† A Christian in China was arrested on his way to church this week, apparently because he would have been in the same church as President Bush.¬† I just recently heard about British Prime Minister Gordon Brown attending a multi-course sumptuous feast at a G8 gettogether in Japan (I think this may have been a while back, not sure) after telling the British people to cut back (and all but ordering grocery stores to stop 2-for-1, etc. sales so people couldn’t stock up).¬† By the way, three African heads of state who were there — and whose countries the dictum about waste was allegedly in aid of — weren’t invited to the dinner.¬† Things are¬†hot in Georgia (former USSR) despite an attempt at a ceasefire.¬† And CNN just e-mailed me to let me know that the head of the Democratic Party in Arkansas was shot in party headquarters.

I honestly don’t know where things stand on the eternal clock.¬† A lot of people think time is getting short.¬† All I know is that watching all this apathy and hate and selfishness makes me hope they’re right.¬† Jesus wept when he was on earth over the state of Jerusalem and his people.¬† I’ve got to believe He must want to cry now over the state of things.¬† I know I do.

On my Sansa:¬† “There is a Redeemer” by Keith Green