Lack of Food Pushes S.Sudan Opposition Troops to Desert Training Camps

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

Lack of Food Pushes S.Sudan Opposition Troops to Desert Training Camps

Sunday, 20 October, 2019 – 09:15
A South Sudanese SPLA soldier is pictured in Pageri in Eastern Equator state on August 20, 2015. (Getty Images)
Asharq Al-Awsat
Hundreds of South Sudan opposition fighters are leaving cantonment sites set up to register and train them under a deal to end the country’s war, claiming lack of food and medical supplies, authorities say.

The process of gathering fighters into military camps with a view to forming an 83,000-strong unified army is a cornerstone of a September 2018 peace deal.

But the operation has been riddled with delays and lack of funding, hampering the readiness of the force.

The problem is one of the major stumbling blocks as a deadline looms on November 12 for President Salva Kiir, his longtime rival Riek Machar and other rebel groups, to form a power-sharing government.

At one of the largest opposition cantonment sites in the village of Pantit near the northern town of Aweil, hundreds of soldiers sleep under trees and are forced to shelter with locals in their mud huts, known as “tukuls,” when it rains.

Lieutenant General Nicodemus Deng Deng, who is in charge of the cantonment site, told AFP that it had been over two months since they had received any food.

“The food got finished and now we are left with no food on the ground,” said Deng, adding that about 700 registered troops had since left the camp due to the conditions.

“We do survive on community food, we go to cultivate with them, go and collect groundnuts from their farms as a way of survival,” said Deng.

The peace agreement required that at least half of the 83,000 forces be barracked, trained and deployed by September 2019.

Last week the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC) which is tasked with overseeing the implementation of the peace agreement, said that of 25 designated opposition cantonment sites, 24 were operational and of 10 barracks for government forces, six were operational.

However, registration was still ongoing and training had yet to begin.

‘Desperate, angry’

William Gallagher, head of the ceasefire monitoring entity CTSAMM, told AFP during a visit to Pantit that it was positive the forces there had been registered.

“However, unfortunately, many of those soldiers that have been registered have since deserted because of unacceptable living conditions,” he said.

“It is a very, very, severe problem that thousands and thousands of soldiers and their family members are facing right now across South Sudan at the cantonment sites, without food, mostly without water, and all of them without medicine of some kind and they are desperate, they are angry and they see no solution to the problem.”

Japan and China have donated money for water and rice at the cantonment sites, but western donors have been loath to fund the process, with diplomats fearing it could be used as a recruitment exercise, and citing a lack of fiscal transparency from Juba.

Meanwhile, the situation at the barracks has heaped pressure on local communities, themselves struggling to survive.

“We have (soldiers) who come to us here and they have no water for drinking and they also don’t have jerry cans for collecting water, but we the hosts are also suffering, when… our children fall sick with malaria we don’t always get medicine,” said 50-year-old Pantit resident, Ajok.

South Sudan’s war, which broke out two years after achieving independence in 2011, after a falling out between Kiir and Machar, has left nearly 400,000 dead and displaced nearly four million people.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said last week that while food security has improved, more than half of the population was still going hungry and millions depend on food aid.

Machar arrived in Juba Saturday for another round of talks with Kiir in a bid to salvage the peace deal and resolve the security issue and the thorny question of determining the number of states and their boundaries.

Taco Bell Failed In Mexico — Here’s Why

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIP TRIVIA)

 

Taco Bell Failed In Mexico — Here’s Why

Taco Bell, the Mexican-inspired restaurant chain, is often mentioned alongside fast food heavyweights such as Burger King and McDonald’s, and it’s what some Americans imagine when they think of Mexican food. Drive through or live in any small town or large city in the United States, and you’re bound to know where the nearest of Taco Bell’s 7,072 restaurants can be found.

But you won’t find a Taco Bell in Mexico.

Taco Bell has tried and failed to bring the eatery to the Mexican market twice since first opening its doors.

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Taco Bell Voted Best Mexican Restaurant in U.S.

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To understand why Taco Bell failed in Mexico it’s best to realize just how loved Taco Bell is in the United States. The fast food chain first found its footing in California in the early 1960s, and since then it has become the nation’s number one taco joint.

According to a survey conducted by The Harris Poll, Taco Bell was voted America’s favorite Mexican restaurant in 2018, beating out competitors like Chipotle and Moe’s Southwest Grill.

It’s only natural for a fast food chain that serves billions of customers to want to bring their food and success to other countries.

Taco Bell Enters the Mexican Market

Credit: Joshua Resnick/ Shutterstock

The people of Mexico weren’t as keen on the Taco Bell brand as their neighbors to the north. Tacos are famously Mexican food. What we call tacos today likely got their name from 18th century silver mines in Mexico when miners used to excavate ore “tacos.” Granted, tortillas filled with ingredients were probably eaten before that time, but, still, tacos are inherently an “authentic” Mexican dish.

With that in mind, it seemed almost sacrilegious for a company like Taco Bell — which was started by an American who first ran hot dog and hamburger stands — to try and bring its Americanized tacos to the country. But that’s exactly what happened in 1992.

The First Taco Bell Attempt in Mexico

Credit: Duplass / Shutterstock

The first Taco Bell in Mexico opened as a food cart in Mexico City in 1992, and the chain had plans to open at another location in the city as well as in Tijuana soon after. Unfortunately, customers were quickly confused when the names of menu items didn’t jive with authentic Mexican counterparts. Taco Bell’s crunchy taco had to be renamed the “Tacostada” because it more closely resembled the Mexican tostada.

The market was so unkind to the fast food brand, and the people so averse to the pseudo-Mexican food, that Taco Bell left the country only two years later.

The Second Taco Bell Attempt in Mexico

Credit: David Tonelson/ Shutterstock

Taco Bell took another stab at opening in Mexico in 2007, but the same stumbling blocks stood in the way. Locals felt like Taco Bell tacos were inauthentic, even though the company rebranded with a clear message that Taco Bell wasn’t trying to be authentic Mexican food. The fast food chain went as far as to include fries and soft-serve ice cream on the menu to sell its Americanized image.

According to the Seattle Times and pop culture historian Carlos Monsiváis, bringing Taco Bell to Mexico was a lot like bringing ice to the Arctic. It just wasn’t necessary.

By 2010, Taco Bell once again closed all of its restaurants in Mexico due to low patronage.

Taco Bell May Never Find a Home in Mexico

Credit: www.eddie-hernandez.com / Shutterstock

It’s easy to see why people in the country aren’t quick to flock to a quick-service chain that’s doesn’t stand up to local standards.

It’s likely that the fast food restaurant will always have trouble finding a home in Mexico, especially when Mexican customers who try the food decry Taco Bell’s folded tostadas (crunchy tacos) as not tacos and ugly.

While Yum! Brands — the company that owns Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, and KFC — isn’t suffering, it does see a decrease in sales year-over-year. Yum! went from making five billion dollars in 2012 to making only two billion in 2018. Chances are the company is always looking for new markets. Mexico, however, doesn’t seem like a market that will work.

China Is Breeding Giant Pigs the Size of Polar Bears

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF BLOOMBERG NEWS)

 

China Is Breeding Giant Pigs the Size of Polar Bears

A visitor rides on the 750-kilogram pig at a farm in Zhengzhou city, Henan province.
A visitor rides on the 750-kilogram pig at a farm in Zhengzhou city, Henan province.Source: Imagine china via AP Photo

In a farm deep in the southern region of China lives a very big pig that’s as heavy as a polar bear.

The 500 kilogram, or 1,102 pound, animal is part of a herd that’s being bred to become giant swine. At slaughter, some of the pigs can sell for more than 10,000 yuan ($1,399), over three times higher than the average monthly disposable income in Nanning, the capital of Guangxi province where Pang Cong, the farm’s owner, lives.

While Pang’s pigs may be an extreme example of the lengths farmers are going to fill China’s swelling pork shortage problem, the idea that bigger is better has been spreading across the country, home to the world’s most voracious consumers of the meat.

READ: The Deadly Virus That’s Killing Off Millions of Pigs: QuickTake

High pork prices in the northeastern province of Jilin is prompting farmers to raise pigs to reach an average weight of 175 kilograms to 200 kilograms, higher than the normal weight of 125 kilograms. They want to raise them “as big as possible,”said Zhao Hailin, a hog farmer in the region.

The trend isn’t limited to small farms either. Major protein producers in China, including Wens Foodstuffs Group Co, the country’s top pig breeder, Cofco Meat Holdings Ltd. and Beijing Dabeinong Technology Group Co. say they are trying to increase the average weight of their pigs. Big farms are focusing on boosting the heft by at least 14%, said Lin Guofa, a senior analyst with consulting firm Bric Agriculture Group.

The average weight of pigs at slaughter at some large-scale farms has climbed to as much as 140 kilograms, compared with about 110 kilograms normally, Lin said. That could boost profits by more than 30%, he said.

The large swine are being bred during a desperate time for China. With African swine fever decimating the nation’s hog herd — in half, by some estimates — prices of pork have soared to record levels, leading the government to urge farmers to boost production to temper inflation.

Go Big

Chinese Vice Premier Hu Chunhua warned that the supply situation will be “extremely severe” through to the first half of 2020. China will face a pork shortage of 10 million tons this year, more than what’s available in global trade, meaning it needs to increase production domestically, he said.

During a recent visit to major livestock provinces of Shandong, Hebei and Henan, Hu urged local governments to resume pig production as soon possible, with a target of returning to normal levels next year.

Still, many farmers are wary about restocking swine after being hurt by an earlier outbreak. Also, piglet and breeding sow prices have surged, making it more expensive for backyard farms to afford rebuilding their herds. Increasing the size of pigs they already own may be the next best step.

— With assistance by Shuping Niu, Jeff Black, and Alfred Cang

4 Ancient Cooking Devices Still Used Today

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIP TRIVIA)

 

4 Ancient Cooking Devices Still Used Today

In our world of pressure cookers, smart coffee mugs, and air fryers, it’s clear that cooking technology has come a long way over the years. But then, you take a look back at how ancient civilizations cooked and you realize that, despite our modern technology, we’re still using many of the same strategies and tools that were used back in the day. In particular, these four ancient cooking devices have stood the test of time in our modern era.

Clay Cooking Pots

Credit: Hagi / iStock

This one’s more of a modern take on an old idea.

In ancient Greece, a common cooking method was to place prepared meats and vegetables in tightly-sealed ceramic pots, which were often buried in the ground underneath hot coals. The concoction would be left to cook for several hours before being served—a “low and slow” method that bears a striking similarity to one of the modern era’s favorite cooking methods: slow cooking.

It’s not hard to see the resemblance. Many slow cookers have inserts made from ceramic, porcelain, or stone, and they’re fitted with snug lids that keep the heat locked in. And rather than heating over the fire, the use of coals allowed the ingredients to cook slowly and simmer over time until they reached tender, tangy perfection—just as modern slow cookers do. And while we’ve adapted the ancient device to fit our modern sensibilities, the fundamental concept is the same.

Mortar and Pestle

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The mortar and pestle has to be one of the oldest cooking tools in recorded history, with ancient specimens found as far back as 35,000 B.C. It’s a simple device usually made from stone, bronze, ceramic, or wood, with only two components: a small bowl and a club-like tool with a rounded edge.

Most of us are familiar with how it works. The mortar and pestle was (and still is) used for grinding up spices, herbs, and seasonings, though it also saw plenty of use in medical settings. In fact, the mortar and pestle may be one of the few ancient cooking tools that modern-day chefs use exactly as it was intended. The grinding action is perfect for preparing raw herbs and hard spices in ways that knives and other cooking tools can’t manage, and given that we’re still using it thousands of years after its invention, it’s clear that it still has value in the modern era.

Colander

Credit: Dragan Smiljkovic / iStock

Best known as our go-to tool for straining cooked noodles, sauces, and vegetables, the humble colander has a long history on the world stage. Colanders from ancient Rome and ancient Egypt sit in museums as historical artifacts, and historians believe that the straining device had a rich history of use across these cultures.

Modern colanders tend to be made from wire, plastic, or steel, but in the olden days, colanders were often cast from bronze—meaning they were reserved for the wealthy. More evidence of this comes from reports suggesting that colanders may have been used to strain and prepare wine, a luxury typically afforded to the rich.

Deep Fryer

Credit: Stefano Barzellotti / Shutterstock.com

Yes, although fried foods have become inexorably tied to American culture, deep frying as a practice has been around for thousands of years. The practice of frying foods in oil dates back to ancient Greece and Rome, though other countries — such as Egypt and Japan — also have a substantial history of frying. Of course, they didn’t have the fryer technology we take for granted today, which is probably a good thing. Fried foods can’t be considered healthy by any stretch of the imagination, and while ancient cultures used to enjoy fried options in (relative) moderation, our modern society goes all out, frying anything and everything we can find.

Time-Tested Cooking Classics

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New cooking technology is great, but as this list shows, you just can’t beat the classics. Many of the basic cooking tools we use every day—knives, pots, ovens, skillets—have all been used for years by cultures around the world. And while our air poppers and pressure cookers have their uses, ancient cultures seemed to do just fine without them.

China stops buying US farm products

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI CHINA NEWS AGENCY ‘SHINE’)

 

China stops buying US farm products

Shine

China’s Commerce Ministry said on Tuesday that Chinese companies have stopped buying US agricultural products, and that China will not rule out imposing import tariffs on US farm products that were bought after August 3.

“Related Chinese companies have suspended purchases of US agricultural products,” the ministry said in an online statement posted shortly after midnight in Beijing on Tuesday.

The statement said China hoped the United States would keep its promises and create the “necessary conditions” for bilateral cooperation.

US President Donald Trump said last Thursday that China had not fulfilled a promise to buy large volumes of US farm products and vowed to impose new tariffs on around US$300 billion of Chinese goods, abruptly ending the China-US trade truce.

In response to the US accusations, an official with the China’s top economic planning agency said “such accusations are groundless.”

Cong Liang, secretary-general of the National Development and Reform Commission, said from the conclusion of the Osaka meeting to the end of July, a total of 2.27 million tons of US soybeans were newly shipped to China, and another 2 million tons of soybeans are expected to be loaded in August.

Since July 19, Chinese companies have made inquiries about purchasing US soybeans, sorghum, wheat, corn, cotton, dairy products, hay, ethyl alcohol, soybean oil, wine, beer, fresh and processed fruits and other agricultural products.

By the evening of August 2, a number of deals had been concluded, including 130,000 tons of soybeans, 120,000 tons of sorghum, 60,000 tons of wheat and 40,000 tons of pork and pork products, Cong said.

“China and the United States are highly complementary in the agricultural sector and the trade of agricultural products is in line with the mutual interests of both sides,” said Cong.

Cong said the reason that some US products, including ethyl alcohol and corn, failed to clinch a deal in the Chinese market is because their prices are less competitive.

“We hope the United States will do more to clear obstacles and create conditions for China’s purchase of US agricultural products,” said Cong.

Worst ice cream flavors ever created

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIVIA GENIUS)

 

Worst ice cream flavors ever created

As Howard Johnson proclaimed in his 1920s hit: I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream. Whether it is the joy of hearing the chime of the ice cream truck, planning a visit to your local parlor, or simply purchasing a tub from the grocery store, there’s a great sensory excitement about eating ice cream. Nevertheless, there are flavors that have us screaming in fear rather than pleasure. Here’s a rundown of some of the most obscure ingredients used in our favorite summertime treat.

Akutaq Eskimo Ice Cream

There’s plenty of reasons to visit Alaska and this delicacy served throughout the state’s remote eskimo villages may or may not be one of them. The name akutaq comes from the Yup’ik language and means “something mixed”. While it can include berries, it also has ingredients such as hard animal fat, seal oil, and tundra greens. The frozen element is created by adding freshly fallen snow. Check out what the guys of Bizarre Foods thought about it.

Beef Tongue Flavor

Credit: Alp Aksoy/Shutterstock

The Japanese have been responsible for some incredibly weird flavors over the years, but adding the content of a fatty cow tongue to a sweet frozen snack has to be the height if insanity. This was once a classic at the former Ice Cream City in Tokyo’s Namco Namja Town. While it may not appeal to most palates, beef tongue ice cream was actually a big hit at the 2008 Yokohama Ice Cream Expo. Saying that, its competition was crab, eel, and raw horse.

Cheeseburger Ice Cream

In a bid to push culinary boundaries to their limits, a New Jersey diner celebrated National Cheeseburger Day in 2018 by combining two of America’s most-loved foods. Blending cream, ground beef, cheddar cheese, bacon, and more cheddar cheese, they conjured up a truly adventurous snack. Every order came with a side of fries to dip into the ice cream, too. In a variation, food trucks at Florida State Fair have previously served burgers topped with a scoop of Mexican-style fried ice cream.

Craft Beer Flavor

Credit: Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

Craft beer is great and available on almost every corner. Ice cream is great and has also been available on every corner for decades. However, should the two ever go together and do they go well together? Enter the Atlanta-based craft beer brewers Frozen Pints, who got the idea after someone spilled beer into an ice cream maker at a party. The result is now tubs of curious pairings such as Honey IPA, Pumpkin Ale, and Cinnamon Espresso Stout ice cream.

Durian Flavor

If you aren’t familiar with the smell of the durian fruit then perhaps it’s a good thing. Food writer Richard Sterling once described it as “turpentine and onions, garnished with a gym sock.” The odor is so aggressive that it has been prohibited from public spaces in Malaysia, public transport in Singapore, and hotels in Hong Kong, Japan, and Thailand. If you are in New York and fancy tackling this potent charmer then stop by the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory.

Vegetable Flavor

Credit: Ledo/Shutterstock

Häagen-Dazs has done many excellent things for the ice cream industry, although the SpoonVege range launched in Japan is perhaps a step too far. Apparently the idea was to produce a slightly healthier dessert by adding elements of fruits and vegetables to an already tried, tested, and much-loved recipe. The result was the choice between either tomato and cherry or carrot and orange flavor. Maybe better to eat a plate of greens first and then finish with a pint of cookie dough chip.

5 Essential Indian Spices to Have in Your Kitchen

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIP TRIVIA)

 

5 Essential Indian Spices to Have in Your Kitchen

Spices are a defining element of all Indian cuisine. No matter the complexity level of the Indian dish you are preparing, somewhere along the line it will call for a combination of spices. Marrying the flavors of spices in Indian cuisine is something of an art form. Make sure you’re ready for whatever Indian dish you want to prepare by keeping these five essential spices in your kitchen.

Cumin

Credit: risus / iStock

Cumin is a strong aromatic spice, typically sold either as seeds or in a ground form. Cumin is typically used to impart a warm and earthy flavor to many different Indian dishes and is well known for its ability to be paired with other common spices. Its straightforward flavor profile means that it works well on its own with vegetables such as potatoes and carrots and simple meat dishes like chicken.

Coriander

Credit: aristotoo / iStock

One of the most ubiquitous spices used in Indian cuisine, coriander is one of the oldest-known spices in the world. Coriander has a nutty flavor with citrus notes that makes it a key ingredient in spice mixtures such as garam masala and is used heavily to make popular dishes such as chicken tikka masala.

Turmeric

Credit: lathuric / iStock

Instantly recognizable from its bright hue, turmeric is used in many Indian dishes to give it a distinctive color and flavor. Turmeric has an earthy fragrance and a warm, peppery flavor that make it wildly popular in many curries and rice dishes. Turmeric is made from pulverizing rhizome, a relative of ginger, and is also renowned for its many health benefits. It is known to provide anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal benefits for individuals who consume it regularly.

Mustard Seeds

Credit: dianazh / iStock

Another common spice in Indian cooking are black and brown mustard seeds, which can be used interchangeably. These distant cousins to white and yellow mustard seeds, which produce the deli mustard that is common in many American refrigerators, impart a smoky, nutty flavor after they are “bloomed,” a process in which they are heated briefly in oil before they pop open. Their warm flavor makes them a common ingredient in curries and curry powders.

Cardamom

Credit: ben phillips / iStock

Like mustard seeds, cardamom comes in two different colors, green and black, both of which are used in Indian cuisine. However, unlike mustard seeds, these different colors are not interchangeable and impart very different flavors to different types of dishes. Green cardamom is the more common type, and it is known to impart a light, sweet flavor with strong eucalyptus and pine notes. It is commonly used by adding whole pods to curries or steamed pots of rice.

On the other hand, black cardamom is a very powerful spice, which must be used with caution to keep it from overpowering the dish. The powerful smoky flavor associated with it is achieved by adding only a few seeds to a dish. If a whole pod is used, it is best to remove the pod before serving as biting into one can be an unpleasant experience for the casual diner.

There are well over a dozen other spices that many Indian dishes call for, and learning how to use all of them in tandem with one another is a skill unto itself. But if you stock these five essential Indian spices in your kitchen, you can be confident in pulling off all of the classic Indian flavors you are hoping to replicate at home.

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Zucchini Caviar from Beyond the Sea — koolkosherkitchen

Tzar Ivan the Terrible was a cruel tyrant. Everybody knows that. And just like many things that “everybody knows” and thus nobody questions, the sobriquet “Terrible” should be taken with a grain of salt. Since we are in the middle of Pesach (Passover), I recommend Kosher for Passover Red Sea Salt. True, he did accidentally kill his son […]

via Zucchini Caviar from Beyond the Sea — koolkosherkitchen

Out-liars: And The ‘Savage Theory Of Equality’

Out-liars: And The ‘Savage Theory Of Equality’

 

This post is basically a question to you, my effort to get you to think about this subject yourself, so that you will ask yourself exactly what your opinion is, this post is my opinion. I didn’t learn of the word out-liars until college, maybe I was conflicting it with the term out right liars, are they actually the same thing? No, I don’t think so, but could it be lodged in with the fact or fallacy of what ‘the truth’ is. Is it a fact that if people can honestly say that one percent of what they are saying is true, then they have spoken the truth? As we all know our politicians are well schooled in never really answering any question.

 

For those who are not familiar with the term as I wasn’t, here is my definition through and example that I will be able to get back to later. Today in our world we know that everything is analyzed for data including all of the Federal Governments stats that they use to tell us how our lives and the lives of other Americans is going. This is true whether it is about what the average income is to the average home cost to the average cost of gas and toilet paper. The problem with all of these stats are skewed because of the use of out-lairs.

 

If you own/run a company that has 1,000 employees you are entitled to a nice office and a real nice wage, but how well are the 1,000 households of the employees under you doing? That is a broad question because there are different levels of skills in the office and in the factory that are required to do their jobs so they should be paid different from the non-skilled jobs. But, how about those employees doing their jobs every day for the bottom end of your pay scale? Are they making a livable wage? Do you, do we, give a damn? $10.00 per hour/or less, that the bottom 80% make if calculated in with company Presidents and CEO’s total earnings packages, this tends to skew the average workers wages. If we don’t calculate in the short and long-term laid off and the “day workers” that makes the averages look better but if you do count in that other bottom ten percent of the population the ‘averages’ get skewed the other direction. Out-liars are what helps create the adage that “you can make figures say anything you want them to”.

 

Here is a theory that I think could/should be used, you could call it the “Savage Theory of Equality”. I as a lifelong working class, now broken-down person have never related to what the media and D.C. have always told us are “the averages”. Think about it for a moment, what are the average wages in America, how about price of cars, of homes, what is the real unemployed rate? (Part-time work should not be counted as being employed) About ten years ago I was living in eastern Tennessee and the City had its own radio station where a couple of different times I heard them say that the average wage in the area was seventeen dollars and about fifty cents per hour. My wife and I checked around a little bit with our friends and neighbors to come up with the conclusion that we didn’t know anyone personally there in our community that even made ten dollars per hour and they were just everyday working folks, just barely keeping their dignity month to month. (Dignity: working a full-time job, keeping a clean place to live, food, bills paid, transportation) If a person is working a full-time job that person should always be at the very least then financially able to have the aforementioned minimum level of dignity. If the figures we are given have the “out-liars” within them it is the people on the low-end that get squeezed the hardest and the ones at the very top that get ridiculous ‘bonus’ wages. Folks, we need to find adjustment spots on what we can call as being fair and on what basic dignity is.

 

Savage Theory of Equality: For a more true version of equal or average we should only use the middle eighty percent when looking for a more true average of what the middle is. The bottom ten percent should have their own category one through ten just as the top ten percent will have their bragging rights, one through ten. This theory in my opinion would give us all a more true center on just exactly what “the average American is”. In schools this theory would remove the exceptional students at both ends of the grading scale, just using the middle eighty percent to get a more true answer to what average truly is. Some may say that this would be a direct slam on the poorest of the poor especially on poor minorities but I look at this event in a different light. Yes it would point a light straight at certain parts of each city and county but that is what most of these people want. Dollars are limited so they need to go to the places most in need. Need for housing, food, clothing, education, job training and quality day care as well as quality full-time jobs in these ‘yes targeted’ areas of our populations are what is needed, it is where more targeted dollars need to go. If a household finds out that this past year they were in the bottom ten percent of income earners in your town a person would hopefully strive the best they can to come up out of this ten percent grouping the next year. The reality is that more aid such as training, jobs, and transportation are huge issues in this income bracket. What do you think Mr. Donald Trump?

 

For a moment think about the cost of housing. If the government stats say that in your city, lets us Lexington Kentucky as an example, where the average price of a home is a little over $250,000 and average rent for an apartment is a little over $1,200 per month, how does a person making anywhere near the minimum wage on their full-time job afford any place to live? What I am saying should be mandatory of all government agencies, this example in housing cost, is to remove the ‘out-liars’. The top 10% and the bottom 10% of people still matter but they should have their own separate categories. In the case of Lexington Kentucky, if the housing cost stats only used the middle 80% when looking for the ‘average’ cost of housing this would mean the stats would clip off houses that are only valued at 30, 40 or 50 thousand dollars. Also, it would clip out that houses that are at the top end of the scale, the ones that are 1,2,3,5 or 10 million dollar homes. I believe that both 10% clubs should have their own grid but it should not be counted as part of the ‘average’ home price simply because they have nothing in common with the real ‘center point’. Okay, that’s my gripe for the evening, now, what is your opinion on this? Do you believe that I am way off base here?

 

 

 

 

Cattle And Puppy Mills: Miss Treatment, Both Are A Human Disgrace

Cattle And Puppy Mills: Miss Treatment, Both Are A Human Shame

 

Earlier this evening I was reading some post that folks had made about puppy mills. I personally have never seen a puppy mill though I have heard of them for many years now, but, there is something I want to enlighten some folks on about cruelty, (in my opinion) of other animals. What I am going to speak about tonight is on how some cattle are groomed for slaughter.
As most people who have ever been out of the cities during daylight hours would know we notice cattle grazing in the fields of the country side. Until I started driving a truck for a living I never thought anything different, but I have learned different. I had heard of places that raised cattle as if they were some kind of plant instead of a living creature but I had not seen such a thing with my own eyes until the company I was working for from 02-04 out of Knoxville TN who had a shipper in Chino California who had one of these, for lack of a better term, cow mills next door to the warehouse I loaded at. It was not uncommon with this shipper where you would have to wait 6 to 12 hours before your load would be ready so you occasionally walked about looking at the neighborhood. When you pulled into this shipper you would quickly notice the aroma of manure and urine in the air, turns out that on the adjacent property to the west was a beef producing company. This area not to long before was all farm land but now warehousing was scooping up the land. What I noticed next door was pathetic, there were young cattle who were boxed into very cramped stalls to where they could not turn or move at all, all they could do was stand there. These animals were fed constantly with all they needed to grow as quickly as possible. They got their food, water and steroids imputed as they stood over latrine ditches that they did their needs into. As soon as the company got each unit (cow) up to a certain weight they sent them out to be butchered. What a life, but, is that really a life? Everything in our financial world is totally about revenue, whether it is cattle, puppies or humans the person at the top end of the financial latter only cares about their profits. For good measure for the gross factor I’ll also let you know about the situations at the slaughter houses. I never hauled live cattle before but I have hauled a lot of free swing beef and boxed meat. About five or six times I was assigned to pickup loads of cow hides from the slaughter houses. Besides the stink of the venue and of the hides there was one other thing you couldn’t help but notice, the hides were still warm and steaming as they were being loaded onto your trailer, gross when you think about it.
For good measure I will let you in on one more thing about our American food supply. It was a bit of a surprise when I first saw items like cherries fresh from the field having the coloring bleached out and then being redyed with just the right red dye to make it where the American public would buy it because we Americans are so fickle, if things don’t look just a certain way, we wont buy it. Really, is it any wonder why Americans have so much weight on us and why we get such a high rate of diseases? The things you see when you make your living out on the road can be surprising and at times disturbing.

Linda Tauhid

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