Category Archives: economics

Gluten Free Wish List

gluten free symbol

Yesterday I started talking about being gluten-free. I have a myriad of food allergies so finding out about one more just kind of rolled off my back. I’ve been taking allergy shots for over two years for a variety of foods, pollens, molds, and other irritants like dust and cat fur. However, with gluten, I have had to adjust my diet.

I posted that a chart I found said “small amounts may be tolerable”. I have often found that I am tempted by loopholes. No one has ever quantified “small”. For most the time I am good to myself. I have cut out breads almost entirely. I very seldom eat sweets like cakes, pies, or other baked goods. Those cuts have been extremely hard to accept but I’m getting better at it. Occasionally I will buy a loaf of gluten-free bread but the cost is so much higher that it is only an every-so-often purchase. I just don’t make sandwiches any more.

I have found rice pasta (spaghetti and penne) and Asian rice noodles but the thought of being able to dive into a plate of restaurant spaghetti and bread sticks really tempts me. I have also found individual size rice crust pizza. The last time I was in my local grocery store I discovered that they had discontinued carrying their Amy’s rice crust spinach and feta cheese pizza in favor of the organic wheat spinach pizza instead. I was really upset because that dish is scrumptious. I guess it is the changing neighborhood that is causing changes in what they carry.

The neighborhood surrounding the grocery store has been changing ethnically for some time now. The store’s supply of gluten free products is very limited and seems to be dwindling in response to the buying habits. The same chain has a store about seven miles from my house that carries more gluten free items but I prefer the convenience of shopping closer to home. I guess the clientele at my neighborhood store does not request gluten free items for several reasons. The other store is in a more health conscious and higher income area. 1) Many are probably not aware of sensitivity and celiac disease. It is estimated that 97% of celiac disease sufferers are undiagnosed. 2) Their ethnic diets are tied to other food products. 3) The cost of gluten free foods is higher than they can afford. Many of them have to buy what is cheapest rather than what is the healthiest for their families just to feed them.

People have started becoming more aware of the problems with gluten. Elizabeth Hasselbeck from The View is one of the more prominent celebrities who is speaking out about the problems associated with gluten after finally discovering what was causing her health concerns. She has authored the G-free Diet. 

Parents have stated that their child’s autism is improved when eating a gluten free diet. Jenny McCarthy, an advocate for her autistic child, is a spokesperson for connecting autism and gluten. So far, the medical studies that have been done have not found the connection even though parents can see the improvement.

“Like many other treatments, the autism diet isn’t scientifically proven to improve symptoms or help children recover from autism. So far, there’s only anecdotal evidence from parents of autistic children, which isn’t enough to establish whether the diet really works. The diet usually requires excluding gluten (a protein found in wheat) or casein (a protein found in milk)”. 

I have a dream list. I would love to see a petition with thousands of signatures requesting that the FDA would no longer consider gluten as generally regarded as safe. Although I am trying to cut down on pizzas, I’d like to see the major chains offer a gluten free crust. It would be great if the major bakeries offered at least one gluten free bread for sale thus lowering the cost. The same goes for restaurants that serve pasta. Just making one of their menu items gluten free to start would make it much simpler to choose when friends dine out together. I’d like to see Subway bring back its gluten free bread. I was so happy my son would be able to go to Subway when he visited home. By the time I was diagnosed, Subway had discontinued the bread. I’d appreciate other sandwich shoppes offering the same choice as well.

As more people become aware of gluten free diets, the greater the demand will be. It may be slow for businesses in the beginning but I have a feeling the popularity of gluten free products would grow if they advertised their desire to see a healthier clientele.

Namaste. Attic Annie

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Are We All FRACKED Up?

Fracking Farmland 615pxWhat the FRACK are we allowing to happen?

This graph is in an article about fracking and our food supply. It tells the story of Jacki Shilke and her cattle on a ranch in North Dakota. Two years ago gas companies started massive drilling operations surrounding her ranch. Soon afterwards her cattle became seriously ill and many died.

This event is not an isolated case, unfortunately. It is happening all over the United States as water continues to become contaminated. The citizens of the United States are allowing gas and oil companies to continue to pollute our land and water. It is either because of lack of knowledge of what is really happening or lack of caring as we continue to believe the propaganda spilling from the companies that tell how safe everything is.

There is a commercial running currently on television from one of the major natural gas companies in North Texas. The voice of the father explains his role in keeping water safe for his children. The children are seen swimming in the crystal clear water of a swimming pool. You see the blue water, the blue sky, the happy children. You hear the proud voice of the father explaining his role in protecting his children and protecting the water which sustains their lives.

Not surprisingly, this commercial is in complete opposition of what is actually happening to our water supply not only here in North Texas but also everywhere throughout this country.  When they can get away with it, they are even taking our treated drinking water out of the hydrants. When that water is used, it is permanently contaminated.

The oil and gas companies have such a stranglehold on our Congress that it is impossible for environmentalists to even get heard. From a 2010 article from CBS, “… environmentalists are naive to think that the current crop of milquetoasts on Capitol Hill will engage in anything more than distracting (and useless) policy debates. It’s going to take more than an earthquake to alter Chesapeake Energy’s beguiling “clean and green” gas drilling activities.” It is referring to the earthquakes measured at the airport in addition to the pollution.

The article on the ranch states that the carcasses of the cows are being sold to middlemen who sell them to makers of animal foods including chickens. That means there is a direct connection between the ranches and our own dinner tables or the food of our beloved pets.

Personally, I think the United States, if not already, will soon be permanently FRACKED UP! In our pursuit of cheap energy we allow the lobbyists to dissuade the best Congress money can buy to keep safe, clean alternative sources of energy from being produced. The industry keeps reminding us of the jobs it creates and how vital the producers are to our nation. Don’t other sources of energy need workers as well? I truly believe this is a specious argument. Who will be around to hold down the jobs if those in the US continue to be poisoned or die of thirst due to water that can no longer be drunk?

Once again, I feel it comes down to a matter of greed. How all the decision makers who sanctify the ruining of our earth think they and their families can forever escape from the effects of what they are doing is beyond me. They too have to eat and drink in order to live. I don’t care what anyone says, even they can’t eat money. Namaste. Attic Annie

 

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Get off our bodies and out of our bedrooms!

I am totally upset by the trend I see happening in the United States concerning the control of women’s bodies by the men (and more than a few of the women) in our governments. I’m sure there are a godzillion posts by now about yesterday’s news concerning the Komen Foundation and Planned Parenthood.

Since the 1960s, men have been losing control of women, en masse. It had been happening gradually since before women started wearing bloomers. It has been in the last fifty years that women in the United States have really asserted their rights to the control of their own bodies and their own lives.

It has not been a surprise that the men in power want to reclaim and hold on to that power. They see their position as “head of the household” as one ordained by God as the natural order. They have resisted the lessening of the women’s bonds for so many years that they now view themselves as “less than” a man when it comes to relationships with the women in their lives due to the freedom women have achieved.

This power struggle has now come to a head with the withdrawal of funds by the Susan G. Komen Foundation to Planned Parenthood. Their excuse is that they will not fund organizations that are under investigation by the U. S. Congress. Although they deny it, from what I have heard in the past twenty four hours, it is a flagrant attempt to disband Planned Parenthood because part of their services are for abortions. To do that, they are willing to sacrifice the lives of thousands of women every year who would no longer be screened for breast cancer. Life of the unborn is more valuable than life of the mother. They are making that perfectly clear. The irony is that Planned Parenthood is one of the few “crisis pregnancy” groups that do counsel the women in their three choices: parenting, adoption, or abortion.

I am not in favor of abortions. I feel that should be the very last option a woman should choose. That being said, I believe that women should still have that choice and be treated in a sterile environment. Outlawing abortions would not stop abortions. History has clearly shown that. Women have chosen abortion since at least before 1500 BCE according to written Egyptian records. It probably started happening as soon as the first prehistoric woman realized the pregnancy could be ended.

Not every child is a wanted child. Not every child can be afforded. The reason for abortions vary with every single woman who seeks out that service. Ending legal abortions would simply drive women back to the back alleys into deplorable conditions. They would seek out powerful herb concoctions. They would implement coat hangers to attempt to do the job themselves. They would desperately seek an end to their unwanted condition regardless of whether it cost them their own lives or not.

The irony of government seeking to end abortions is that throughout history, men in power, or the sons of men in power who outwardly oppose abortion, are the first ones to pay for and drive or fly their girlfriends or wives to the abortionist in the first place.

The government that is opposing abortions is the same government that is complaining about the safety nets that are in place (as fragile as they are) to keep the unwanted children that are born from starving or dying from disease once they are born. They are the ones to continue to cut funding for their education, health, and housing.They are the ones who forbid the woman from having the abortion yet punish her for the rest of her life for the sin of getting pregnant.

They are also the ones who condemn the growing number of women who choose to keep their children when they have limited sources of income to do so. They gripe at having to provide food stamps, health care, and housing, wishing always to cut funding in those areas. They speak out of both sides of their mouths. To me, that signals multiple personality disorders.

One thing governments can not do is legislate morality. In a fairy tale land, according to them, all children would be planned for and wanted and well cared for by a mother and father who have the financial means to do so. There would never be any “accidents” even if the couple did not practice contraception as some religious groups advocate. Both the mother and the father would be loving and faithful to each other until death does them part. But, alas, that is not the real world. It never has been.

In the meantime, until that fairy tale land exists, governments should get out of the business of trying to control women. It may work for a while but, as evidenced throughout the world today, there will again come a point when women will have the courage to resist such control. The backlash from the Komen decision is a good indication that that time is now. Namaste. Attic Annie

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Do “They” Really Just See Us As Crabs In A Bucket?

Crabs in a bucket

How and why did our country become divided into two such hostile camps? What will need to happen to begin to mend the tears that have occurred in the fabric of our daily lives?

Some days I give in to the urge to turn on the television in the morning to take the edge off the silence of the house. This morning I tuned into CNN during the discussion of the Romney victory in New Hampshire.

Some spokesperson was being interviewed. He was talking about the number of people who are jealous of those who are “successful”. He said many Americans are against achieving success. I assumed he was saying too many people have a sour grapes attitude.  I didn’t listen to the rest of the interview because, as is often the case, my mind was already reeling with what could be a rebuttal.

If those who are “successful” feel that the only reason they are being singled out is because the vast majority are envious or jealous, I think, to a certain extent with a few exceptions, they are not right. The great majority, I believe, do NOT have a crabs in the bucket attitude as he seemed to be saying.

However, I think they are missing the point and trying to fool themselves. I don’t agree that Americans are against success. Many children in today’s classrooms are still hopeful of achieving that status. By success, I am assuming this spokesperson was referring to monetary success.

“They”, the successful, are resented when the success is achieved through fraud, greed, and manipulation of laws. I don’t think many would resent someone who gained success simply because of honest hard work without the exploitation of others. After all, that’s the American Way…or we believed the fairy tale that it is.

“They” the successful, feel attacked when the rest resent that the amount contributed to the upkeep of our country is not their fair share. One of the things I remember learning in church is Luke 12:48  “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” That adage has been around at least 2,000 years. Why is there so much resentment among the successful that they are still being reminded of that fact?

Yes, among the successful, there are those who are very philanthropic. Their gifts to the public are very beneficial. Some do it for the reason stated above….much has been given to them so they give. However, I would love to be a tiny mouse in the offices of their tax accountants who tell them how much to give in order to avoid x amount of taxes, thus avoiding their fair share of the fair share they should be paying.  I was reminded of that when the minister on Sunday commented on the increase in giving the last week of last year stating how grateful we are for such contributions. We are grateful. They money is sorely needed. However, how much tax is avoided by those who gave for such reasons?

It is sad that we are, or are rapidly becoming, a nation of haves and have nots. It is even sadder when the majority only want the minority to gain their wealth honestly and pay their fair share. Namaste  Attic Annie

I found this article about Romney‘s interview on the Today Show this morning. Evidently the talk of envy is coming from him.

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Will an Honest Lawmaker Please Stand Up?

Over the past few months I have become involved with sharing news items I find interesting with friends on Facebook. I have resorted to being incensed several times but I limit my frustration to sharing the actual site with the addition of a sentence or two instead of devoting time to blog about it.

I do  find blogging a great way to vent my frustrations. Back when I was writing every day I realized I was starting to have a following. It was small, but people were actually responding. Then life got in the way and I stopped blogging on a daily basis.

There is so much happening that I have an opinion about, I’ve got to start talking again.

This is the article that captured my attention today in the New York Times. I posted it for my friends on Facebook saying

“Is there ANY management ANYWHERE that isn’t milking Medicare and screwing the workers who actually provide the service?”

It is the story of part-time workers in New York who “go into the homes of developmentally disabled people to teach them simple tasks, like grooming or how to take a bus.” Since they do not need any particular credentials, they are paid $10 to $15.00 an hour. The non-profit agencies who employ them, bill the state three to four times that amount for their services. According to the article, the agencies are swimming in money from this enterprise. The head of one of the agencies is drawing a salary of $400,000. The article states that the agencies which are doing this are sitting on multi-million dollar surpluses.

The agencies are designed to serve those children and adults with disabilities such as cerebral palsy, autism, and Down’s Syndrome. The workers teach them life skills which allow them to live outside state financed group homes.

And who is providing all of these funds? Medicare, of course: public funds.  And who is overseeing these agencies? Nobody, although people have started to pay attention and investigate. I am 100% positive similar events have been happening throughout the United States for as long as there have been safety nets set up.

In Congress, our illustrious leaders are debating cutting funding to Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security. There is rampant abuse of finances in the companies who dip into the public funds. There is probably enough misappropriation of public funds to provide insurance to those who can’t afford it.

We know if they cut funding, it will be the patients, the senior citizens, the least able in our society who suffer. It won’t be the executives who have lined their nests with silks and gems. These organizations have already helped thousands or more of people across the United States to commit fraud.

This summer, in a related event, I had two sleep studies. I am now on Medicare with secondary coverage through another insurance company. The first test had to be repeated another day because there was another patient in the same testing facility who kept me from getting an adequate amount of sleep the first night. I was supposed to sleep half the night and then be hooked to a C-Pap machine the second half the night. I only got about four hours of sleep the entire night and not all at once. The test involved having leads placed in various areas of my body to monitor my brain and other organs during sleep. I was monitored by one technician. The hospital charged for both studies.The hospital said the cost was close to $12,000. This did not include a physician’s report which was extra. Of course Medicare had a set agreement with them and did not pay full price but they did pay a significant amount. With my secondary insurance, my part of the bill for both nights was somewhat over $100.00.

A couple of months ago my primary care physician ordered a urinalysis. The hospital lab said that the cost of this service was $900.00. This involved spreading a drop or two of urine on agar plates and letting the bacteria grow for a couple of days. They did not send the bill to Medicare but to my secondary insurance who denied payment. That’s how I know the charge. That’s one technician, one or two agar plates, and one incubator using electricity. $900.00! I have no concept of hospital accounting, but I think the hospitals are allowed to “write off” costs that are not covered thus lowering their tax bills.

The ones who are yelling the loudest about cutting government spending are many of the same people who are participating in the bankrupting of America for their own greed. Of course they want less government intervention. These are just two examples of what is happening in this country. I’m wondering if there is any hope left for our morally bankrupt country. Patients go without services while hospitals are being built to rival the great temples and grandest hotels in the world. The cost for one night is not even being questioned. It is sometimes more than a week’s stay at a five star establishment.

When are we going to wake up and start challenging these agencies and rein them in? Where are the Congress persons who will stand up and see where the cuts and oversight REALLY need to be?  Is there any hope?  Namaste Attic Annie

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Define Necessity

There are some new pictures floating around the internet entitled “Define Necessity”. They  compare the dire poverty seen in parts of the world with the abundance of presents in shopping carts or surrounding a well decorated Christmas tree.

I don’t think there are children in America who are quite that skeletal…yet. The way the safety nets are being pulled out from under unemployed parents, it might come to that yet.

What is a “necessity’? Take a look at the definition:

ne·ces·si·ty

something necessary  or indispensable: food, shelter, and other necessities of life.
We have always had on this planet people who lack even the necessities of life. There will always be, barring the end of the world in 2012, the starving homeless among us. That’s not any news to us.
What is so bothersome to me are those at the other end of the spectrum and the attitudes of disdain which are being so openly expressed towards those in need.
A friend of mine posted a snide remark about one of the Republican candidates running for national office. An obvious supporter of his fired back a scathing message.
Any of the GOP candidates are a hellova lot smarter than the idiot in the White house now! Tax the rich their fair share? What’s fair? We pay six figures in taxes, work our asses off to give it to lazy welfare people? Well find a way to hide it, don’t worry, then the middle class will pay it! Obummer is Jimmy Carter on steroids, when he left, taxes were 75% for upper income, that’s fair! You liberals make me furious”.
Because she was a friend of a friend , I had access to her web page. It shows several pictures of a very well groomed woman, a couple of her friends and her husband at a casino, spa, black tie charity event at a luxury hotel, and a group picture of obviously well nourished healthy children and grandchildren. Her jewelry can probably be guaranteed to be real and abundant. She’s leading the good life. There’s no doubt about that.
It is my prayer that this friend of a friend never has to experience welfare. There are multi-thousands of Americans who were at one time comfortably middle class who are having first hand experience. In their wildest dreams, they probably never envisioned being jobless, homeless, broke and on welfare. If that friend was more aware, she herself is only one divorce away from the possibility of that position herself. Of course she’s probably in a position to have a smart lawyer.
Why is it that the adjective lazy automatically modifies the condition of people being on welfare? Such people love to shout out “Get a job!” They have no knowledge of what brought about such a condition.
This is the right time of year to bring out the Scrooge in a lot of the very wealthy. This woman is confident enough in her money income and investments to brag about hiding assets and making the middle class pay more. She complains of six figure income taxes yet she still obviously has enough left to live a very high style life. Maybe she was the one, or one of her friends, who recently paid $203,000 for a Hermes bag. It looks as if she could handle it.
Life is not fair. It never has been. Life is a roll of the dice. This woman was fortunate. Her Prince Charming came with the potential to win mega-wads of cash. With the hard work she says “we” (probably meaning her husband and herself) do, she is able to stay trim by working her ass off. She feels everyone else should do the same. I agree. But first they need a job.
There are no longer workhouses for the Scrooges of the world to send the homeless debtors to until they can pay their debts. There are just the streets, and if they are lucky, food pantries to provide the necessities to keep them alive. But then perhaps it is better to let these lazy welfare people die and decrease the surplus population while they are at it.
Namaste. Attic Annie

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Things we own can be taken away in a heartbeat

This letter arrived yesterday in my inbox. It was sent by a man in Joplin to his sister who was a friend of a friend of my friend who forwarded it all the members in our Sunday discussion group. News travels much more quickly these days.

I have temporarily given up volunteering at the hospital for health reasons. I cannot imagine what it would be like if that hospital had been hit the way his was. I don’t know how often they have emergency preparedness drills. I hope it is often. Being prepared is the best way to handle any disaster of this proportion. My heart goes out to everyone in Joplin. Every time the tornado siren sounds in my neighborhood, I know what could possibly be the result. One never knows. This man certainly did not. Please pray healing for all those affected by this storm.

I just received this letter which was passed on by a man named John, who works at Freeman Hospital in Joplin.  What a horrific tale John tells.  Sharron

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Date: Tuesday, May 24, 2011, 3:21 PM

ok everybody.  here we go.. what a ride it has been.  I just woke up from crashing finally..

I was at work at Freeman hospital when the tornado hit.  I was the ONLY mantanaince man on the evening shift.  the alert sounded.  said it was a warning for carl junction which is 10 miles north of where we were.

I started all the generators.  10 of them.  just in case… when the storm hit  we did  not realize what had happened only 1/4 north of us at St Johns.  not until the caravans of people started coming in.   St Johns took a direct hit.  blew out all the windows, then had a gas leak and an explosion.   the tornado was about 8 blocks wide and went through Joplin.  west to east.. never left the ground.  residential… business… residential… main business.. residential.

we had people coming in pickups with wounded.. cars with all the windows blown out.  people on boards, doors, tables.  we emptied 4 conference rooms of the rolling chairs .. about 100.. to use as wheel chairs.  we had 4 triage areas going full blast.  one at each entrance.  people were lined up for 10 blocks or more just to get to our driveways.  we had just gone through an earthquake drill last week, so every one knew their supplies were.  it was calm chaos.  hundreds of wounded,  covered in blankets, sitting in chairs, lying on the floor in rows.  blood every where.. new chairs coming now for sure…. the nurses and doctors were great.

our phones were out instantly… the cell towers were inundated, couldn’t get out.  we couldn’t call for reinforcements.. they just started showing up.  from every where.. emt’s, nurses, doctors, local and even from out of town.  the few in the kitchen started making sandwiches,  we brought out all the blankets we had, brought up rolling supply carts of bandages, cases of bottled water.

formed small groups of volunteers to manage traffic so the ambulances could get in and out.  school buses of injured started coming it.  truckers were bringing in semi loads of injured.  no lights in joplin, we have a six story tower and all you could see were blue and red lights everywhere.

I personally took the 1st six bodies and started a temporary morgue.  The stories people were telling were beyond belief… we had probably 10 or 12 dogs running somewhat loose in the hospital that people had brought in with them.  smoking in the hospital on a no smoking campus. cries of pain, sorrow and yes even joy when people would find loved ones.

The situation in town is way WORSE  than you see on tv.  I came home in the dark and did not know where I was because of the destruction, untill I came to a round about in the road and realized I had gone a mile too far.  I couldn’t get through to Sandy on the phones and people started coming in from the area I lived in with horror stories of total destruction.

the home depot you see on tv is just blocks from us… finally another employee came in and said his mom was ok.  and she just lives two blocks from us.  the tornado just missed my son by two blocks as well.  My daughter in law is a therapist and has no office building to go to anymore.  her father is a dentist who has no office building to go to anymore.

Joplin will take years to rebuild.  kinda like the twin towers.  you can actually see all the way through town, end to end.  the high school is gone.  a major business street, going east and west on the east of town is flat on both sides of the street for two miles.  nothing left standing.  thousands of people have lost their homes, and their possessions, AND  their income because their places of employment have vanished off the map.

on the other hand, THANK THE LORD,  I have my home, my possesions and my job.  I never had to serve in combat, but surely this has to be somewhat similar in relation of chaos.  I kinda know what the Japanese must feel like after the sunami now.   yes I know some of the dead in joplin personally.

Freeman hospital still looks kinda like it did that night.  we still have STUFF everywhere.  the floor is still dirty because joplin has virtually no water pressure. we barely have enough water to run our sterilzers for instruments.   only two bathrooms work in the hospital.. don’t know whey they do… the water company has SO MANY broken pipes in houses that are gone, that they can’t get the pressure to come up.  a large area of the roof blew off and the rain collected and ran down inbetween the layers of roofing and into the areas full of pipes and wires and is still dripping and of course the rain won’t stop so we can fix the roof.  we have buckets all over the halls and even have a couple of areas of rooms we can’t even use because the water keeps coming out of the ceiling area.  we have removed hundreds of ceiling tiles that have gotten wet and were coming down anyway.

the fire alarms keep going off all the time because the  wiring system is getting wetter and wetter with all the leaks.  we have to check each alarm to make sure there is no fire and then silence it.

PLEASE PRAY FOR US.  A LOT OF PEOPLE’S LIVES ARE CHANGED FOREVER.
MINE IS. AND I AM ALRIGHT.  THANKS FOR ALL THE CALLS, SORRY THE PHONES STILL DON’T WORK VERY WELL.  WE ARE ON A CURFEW DUSK TO DAWN WITH NATIONAL GUARD AT HUNDREDS OF INTERSECTIONS.  A 15 MINUTE DRIVE TO HOME  TOOK  ME AN HOUR.  ONLY MY FREEMAN BADGE LET ME THROUGH.  MAYBE I  WILL WRITE MORE LATER.  NOW I’M GOING BACK TO SLEEP.  JOHN

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