Dignity for the Unemployed?

Today is a big day! It’s our first guest blogger, Jenna Howard. Jenna and I often have conflicting views on policy, legislation, candidates and everything else, however, we both oppose ridiculous governmental requirements.

Jenna holds a B.A. in Political Science from Georgia State University. She works at the Southern Arts Federation, a regional nonprofit, and plans to begin her Masters in Public Policy next fall.
—-

I’m pleased to do a guest blog on “The Perspicacious Conservative,” mostly because our views usually differ a great deal. I sometimes tackle my local town’s alternative newspaper, The GRIP, which covers community news and events in Spalding and other surrounding counties. I’m glad to express my views to a larger constituency! I sent some information about this topic over to The Perspicacious Conservative and was asked to write about Senate Bill 294 – a.k.a “Dignity for the Unemployed.”

If passed, the bill would require state unemployment applicants to complete 24 hours of volunteer work for a non-profit organization in order to receive state benefits. It’s worth mentioning that many states have already attempted this, but none have been successful. If this bill passes the Georgia Legislature, we would be the first state to require citizens to volunteer. It should seem a bit oxymoronic (no pun intended) to require someone to volunteer since the very definition of the word lacks any requirement other than one willingly give him or herself up for a service without penalty.

The bill’s chief sponsor is Roswell’s finest, Senator John Albers. Senator Albers did an interview on CNN where he said he thought this bill would make unemployed citizens feel better about themselves by getting up early, doing something valuable to put on their resumes, and meeting new people. This bill is inherently flawed.

Unfortunately for John Albers, the majority of the problem with unemployment isn’t that there are people out there who are unqualified for jobs. Certainly, there are situations in which that may be the case, but Georgia already has programs in place to tackle these problems (see GEDs, college, Georgia Works, and Georgia Work Ready). But incompetency isn’t the major problem here. Georgia was creating jobs in 2007 and we had a fairly healthy economy. People didn’t all of a sudden become incompetent and lose their valuable employee skills. The major problem with unemployment is that no one is hiring. The job market is simply oversaturated with applicants looking for work.

In March, Georgia’s unemployment rate hit a record high. Georgia has had higher than average unemployment in the nation for the past 4 years. Georgia continues to lose jobs instead of creating them. What good is requiring someone to volunteer when it isn’t going to force employers to create jobs in order to hire them?

Senator John Albers stated in the CNN interview that this bill would work much like the WPA (the Works Progress Administration) that President Roosevelt initiated in the Great Depression. So, why can’t the Dignity for the Unemployed work in the Great Recession like the WPA worked in the Great Depression, Senator Albers? Because the WPA employed people. It gave them jobs, income, and provided communities with much needed infrastructure. The Dignity for the Unemployed bill is nothing like the WPA. It is requiring people to work in return for no income – or they can lose the only income they are currently receiving, their unemployment package.

Now, I graduated from college in May 2011. I started applying for jobs in June (I had a part-time job that would end in August). I applied for literally hundreds of jobs that I was fully qualified, under qualified, and overqualified for. I applied everywhere including for-profit companies and non-profit organizations. Now, I don’t know when the last time Senator John Albers applied for a job, but most applications take about an hour, at least, to complete. You have to write a cover letter and tailor it to every job in which you apply. You have to tweak your resume’ so it highlights the duties of certain positions. In addition to a resume’ and cover letter, some applications require you to manually input every job you’ve had, write about why you’re the best for the position, and pass a qualifications test to weed out applicants. Requiring someone to complete 24 hours of community service when they can be applying for a job is absurd.

Bottom line, I understand some people think unemployment benefits are too lenient. I understand people have bad tastes in their mouths about unemployment entitlements. But, most people are doing the right thing on unemployment. They should not be required to complete certain hours of volunteer work to “make themselves feel better.” Many have families, had great jobs, have incredible resumes… working for free is going to give them a boost in morale. They should be doing one thing while they are receiving unemployment benefits and that’s looking for work. It is not the state’s place to force someone to “do good.” It seems that Senator Albers has his economics a little backwards. If he wants to help the unemployed, he should spend more time helping companies and organizations get back in the business of hiring and less time trying to make the unemployed have a warm and fuzzy feeling inside.

20111205-125144.jpg

Advertisements

Hope You Like That Candy, Cause It’s Bug Poop.

I recently read an article posted on a friends Facebook wall describing all the nasty ingredients that are included in foods without our knowledge. It reminded me of all the foods that I’ve given up over the last year because of the true ingredients or effects of those foods on the body. The things that are adding to our food are truly disturbing (in addition to being disgusting) which is why Tuesday’s will now be ‘Toxicology Tuesdays’. (But we’re kicking off on a Thursday!)

This week…foods with ingredients that you’d never eat alone but are considered “acceptable” by the FDA because it’s a ‘low ratio’. They claim that these ingredients are not hazardous to health and are perfectly acceptable for human consumption. It’s certainly not for those who have a weak stomach, but eye-opening information nonetheless.

Ingredient Name

What it actually is…

Found in…

Confectioners glazeResinous glaze Bug poo Shiny candy, chocolate, jelly beans, shiny apples, mascara, lipstick
Natural Red # 4
Cochineal
Carmine
‘natural color’
Ground up bugs Cherry icecreamStrawberry/cherry yogurt
Ammonium sulfate Fertilizer Breads & Subway products
Castoreum
‘natural flavor’
Beaver anal glands Raspberry candies
vanilla flavored icecream
L-cysteine
Cysteine
Human hair
duck feathers
Bread, dough conditioner
Allura Red AC Coal Tar Red candies, soda
Cellulose Wood pulp Foods with “dietary fiber”
bottled milkshakes, flour
shredded cheese
Lanolin, gum base Sheep secretions Bubble gum, shampoo/condit/soap
Silicon Dioxide Sand Wendy’s Chili, condensed milk, pudding, mustard, vinegar, American cheese
Rennet Calf stomach Cheeses
Shellac Beetle juice Cupcakes, shiny candies, sprinkles
Gelatin
collagen
Boiled bones, skin & connective tissues of cows, pigs & horses Jell-o
Barbacoa Cow face Tacos
Menudo ‘tripe’ or skin peeled off the cows stomach Mexican food
Worcestershire sauce Liquefied anchovies melted down in vinegar (bones & all)

Are you grossed out yet? Take a look at items listed in the FDA Defect Handbook. This is a list of food items that are permitted to have mold or insect parts based on their non-defect ratio. This is PUBLIC INFORMATION. Parts per million or not, I don’t want these things in my food.

Food

Amount of ‘additive’ allowed per packaging serving

Apple Butter Rodent hairs, 5+ whole/equivalent insect parts per 100g (excludes mites, aphids, thrips, scale insects)
Apricots (Canned) 2% damaged/infected with insects
Berries (frozen, black & raspberry) 4+ larvae per 100 grams
Asparagus (Canned, frozen) 10% damaged/infested with insects
Broccoli (Frozen) 60+ aphids/thrips/mites per 100 grams
Brussel sprouts (frozen) 30+ aphids/thrips/mites per 100 grams
Ground capsicum Average 50+ insect parts per 25 grams
6+ rodent hairs per 25 grams
Group paprika Average 95+ insect fragments per 25 grams
11+ rodent hairs per 25 grams
Ground cinnamon 400+ insect fragments per 50 grams
11+ rodent hairs per 50 grams
Cocoa Beans Avg 10+ mg of mammalian excreta per pound
4% damaged by insects
Canned Sweet corn 2 or more 3mm insect larvae
Cornmeal 1+ whole insects per 50 grams
1+ rodent hair per 25 grams
Cumin seed 9.5% allowed to be ash
Curry powder Avg 100+ insect fragments per 25 grams
Dates (sliced, chopped) 10+ dead insects
Figs 10% infested with insects
Macaroni/noodle products 225 insect fragments per 225 grams
(AKA 1 insect fragment per gram!)
Nutmeg (Whole) 10% infested by insects
Nutmeg (ground) 100+ insects per 10 grams
Black olives 10% infested by fruit flies
Oregano 1250 parts per 10 grams
Peanut Butter 30+ insect parts per 10 grams
Peas (black eyed) 10% infested by insects
Pepper (ground) Avg 475+ insect parts per 50grams
Raisins (gold) 35 Drosophilia eggs per 8 ounces
Sage (ground) 200+ insect fragments per 110 grams
Sauerkraut 50+ thrips per 100 grams
Thyme (ground) 925 insect fragments per 25 grams
Tomatoes (canned) 10+ fly eggs, 2+ maggots per 500 grams
Tomato puree 20+ fly eggs per 100 grams

Maybe you’ll think twice before you head to the grocery store, no? I can’t think of a better argument for local foods and homegrown products–Anything without a bar code. You can find a local market close to you here.

Person of the Week: 11/30

This weeks PC POW WOW goes to the gentleman in Seattle who returned the money he stole from Sears Department store 65 years ago. Anonymously, the gentleman walked into Sears and left a note with $100 at the Customer Service desk. In the note, the man explained that he had stolen around $25 in the 40’s but felt so guilty, he wanted to repay with interest. Sears intends to donate the money to needy families this Holiday season.

Obviously this man committed a crime but I think the situation was handled with great dignity. It seems these days that so many things are taken to extremes. I half expected to see that Sears called the cops to try to identify the man from security video in order to press charges. I am happy to see that the gentleman who stole the money has a conscience that drove him to repay the money and the store manager who accepted the repayment without causing any grief- especially since so much time had passed.

Birth Control: We Can’t Afford it!

Amidst the health care debacle and the ensuing arguments over the last 2 years, a few themes have been recurring: women’s health care rights. There has been a huge movement to, in the new health care law provisions, grant all women access to birth control for free. But who is going to pay for this?

According to the US Census, 2010, there were 308,745,538 {documented} people in the United States. 50.8% of those people were women (156,842,733) and studies show that roughly 80% of women have used birth control at some point. So…125,474,186 women. Granted, not all of those women would concurrently be taking birth control, so let’s take Age 2000 estimates of 81.5 million women ages 15-49. According to US News-Money, birth control pills cost on average $160 to $600 annually. On the low end, you’re looking at:
      $160/year X 81.5 million women= $13,040,000,000 A YEAR!

Fighting for exceptions to allow for coverage for the pill for women who suffer from disorders is one thing. An argument claiming that all women should have the pill covered – at the expenses of others- for them is another. Women already have free access to birth control – it’s called saying no, or at least “not until you put a condom on”. Why should taxpayers, who morally and religiously don’t agree with the concept, be forced to pay for others’ irresponsibility? Okay, that’s a tangent. Bottom line: It’s too expensive!!!

Avoiding pregnancy is not a difficult concept to grasp. It really pushes on the concept of necessities versus luxuries, or rights and privileges.  Don’t get me wrong: I believe people should have the access to whatever contraception they deem appropriate (i.e.- birth control should not be banned) however, it cannot be at the expense of taxpayers.

This brings up another interesting aspect that is often forgotten: Nonprofits. Nonprofit organizations are supposed to be the bridge between the public and private sector. They often fail because they seek federal grant money which muddies the water of religion, morals, etc. (Example: Planned Parenthood using federal monies). If nonprofits sought private donations and provided to these underprivileged women, it would no longer be a burden on the taxpayers nor would be a government issue. To go full circle, the government has no business in health care especially if you look at it from a simple financial standpoint.

I like one rebuttal to the feminist notion that women are entitled to birth control: “Frankly, it paints a pretty dim view of women to claim that they need access to the pill in order to prevent unwanted pregnancies. They should be strong enough and smart enough on their own to avoid doing that before they are ready.”

Giving Thanks

 

A Thankful Thanksgiving

The America we witness today has seen much sacrifice
This sacrifice for many, has meant a total giving of life for liberty
Do all truly realize what the human cost of freedom is
All citizens should understand what has kept us whole
Should it not be the duty of each American to know this
To become familiar with the reasons of why we exist today
The notion that “that’s the way things are” is ludicrous
When a firm explanation is so easily understood
We’ve survived because of faith, determination, and great sacrifice
The backbone of this country is the strength of its good citizens
Each true American is worth more than all the gold found in history
Selfishness does not rule their home, nor does it drive their thought
And don’t just look at our military as a magnificent force
Rather look at each member of our soldiered family with pride
“Ready, willing, and able” have been the finest of each generation
Whether in Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, or any other place of danger
Whenever an American military presence moves into action
Behold the continuation of an outstanding tradition
Formed through freedom, it bravely faces all adversaries
And the flag under which it stands will always fly in freedom
We are and always will be one nation under God
He is the strength we have turned to time and time again
If we did not have Him, we would have perished long ago
God Bless America is more than a song, it is our national prayer
Finally, I wish each fine American a thankful Thanksgiving Day
May you truly realize what we are, and pray to Almighty God for continuation
Be ever thankful for our Armed Forces, and give them the total support they need
And please pray for all American families who have paid the price for freedom
                   –Roger J. Robicheau

May you give thanks for your Faith, your Family, your Freedom and your Friends.

Person of the Week: Andrew Wordes, Roswell Chicken Man

This weeks PC POW WOW: Andrew Wordes, The Roswell Chicken Man

Many of you have closely followed the Roswell Chicken Man saga and his fight against the city of Roswell. He was recently released from his stint in jail and it’s time to update his supporters.

Mr. Wordes is the PC POW WOW due to his hopeful and positive attitude despite the hardships he has continuously encountered.

Thanks to an article in the AJC, it was public knowledge that Mr. Wordes’ home was sitting vacant during his absence. Andrew returned to a ransacked home with hundreds of legal papers strewn about, antiques and guns missing and the overall property in dire condition.

If you recall, Roswell stated that they would secure the property while Mr. Wordes was incarcerated. Once again, Roswell…BRAVO!!

Mr. Wordes has no word on the state of his home. He has not received formal foreclosure papers, though he was in jail and anything could have happened to them had they been served. He has not been evicted from the premises either. The home has been advertised as foreclosed and rumors are circulating that the home has been condemned by the City of Roswell. This idea presents a few questions, like, if it were a health concern, wouldn’t condemnation come from the County Department, not the City? And if it’s a structural problem, wouldn’t this again be associated with the excessive flooding situation that the City of Roswell has yet to rectify? (See prior Chicken Man blogs explaining these issues here and here.)

The great news is all of Andrew’s birds are in the care of sweet friends who have been so kind to nurture them in his absence. They are all healthy and thriving. For now, Mr. Wordes will seek employment, continue his fight against the City of Roswell, petition for his STILL outstanding Open-Records Requests to be answered (30 to be exact) and work on reuniting with his birds.

You can show your support by writing and calling Roswell City Officials and contacting Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens:
Office of the Attorney General 40 Capitol Square, SW Atlanta, Ga 30334-(404) 656-3300

Also, visit the Roswell Chicken Man Facebook Page for updates.

Student Loans: A Free Investment In Your Future?

Any discussion about student loans gets me very fired up, mainly because the concept is so broadly misunderstood. I’m often offended by the desire of others to ‘write off’ or default on their student loans….because I have them!

Student loans are an investment in your future. And just like a home loan or a credit card, or the services like I need Money Today ASAP – you are borrowing on the condition that you will pay it back. I don’t know of any circumstances where you pay your mortgage every month for 18 years and one day your lender calls and says, “You don’t have to pay any more! The house is yours!” It just doesn’t happen. Obama’s recent “Student Loan Overhaul” is a real slap in the face to faithful borrowers. Of course, if you work for the government for 10 years, your debt will be relieved. But now, after 20 years of faithful repayments while working in any sector, the government will excuse your loans. How does this make sense? And how is it fair? It increases the costs of future loan holders who will essentially be repaying the debt of those who were pardoned from paying.

Sure, it all goes back to the morals and current direction of our country. What are we teaching youth? It’s okay to default. You don’t have to fulfill contractual agreements to repay funds. The government will bail you out and pay it for you.


Just this morning I read a Huffington Post article detailing the new movement to ‘Occupy Student Debt”. The movement is asking that borrowers default on their student loan payments after one million individuals have similarly signed the debtors’ pledge. Are you kidding me? I understand that there is high unemployment, and yes, things are a little cut throat out there. But you can’t just throw your hands up and say “We quit!”. Why don’t you use the ambition you had in attaining all that post-secondary education and use it to find a job. Our economy is struggling and you have $500+/month student loan payments and you think you are above working at Chick-fil-a or driving a delivery truck?

This Occupy Student Debt movement also wants to draw attention to the increased cost of tuition. The movement seeks interest-free loans from now on and relief of all current debt. This movement is a true disgrace to those who took out student loans and make a legitimate effort to pay them back every month-until they are COMPLETELY repaid. There is no accountability. If $200,000 in student loan debt sounded unreasonable, maybe another, less-expensive school choice was in order. Or maybe work a little and save money, THEN go back to school. Or maybe maintain a job while in school and pay your own expenses instead of taking out loans to cover tuition, housing, AND entertainment. Don’t tell me it can’t be done.

Bottom line: It’s obnoxious for students or recent graduates to go around complaining about student loan debt. It was a choice. Undergraduate, Graduate and Doctorate level educations are not a right, they are a privilege. And they’re not for everyone. The -high- cost of education is a barrier to entry: not everyone needs a post-graduate degree and it allows for diversification in the work force. Don’t expect any of these “solutions” to rectify the “problem”. That is, if you define a ‘problem’ as fulfilling a contractual agreement.

I liked one of the comments on the article “If you throw away the loan, they should take back the degree”.

All Board Games Are Bad

I’ve done quite a few pieces on underlying messages in movies, games, books and things of the like that are aimed at children. One of my very first blogs was on the Game of Life and examined how the game has evolved to reflect several liberal- borderline socialist- foundations. The criticism I presented was much different from that presented in a recent Huffington Post article analyzing messages in board games.
At first I REALLY thought it was a joke. The author of the article mentioned the damage caused to children when they find out the hippos in real life aren’t pastels like in Hungry, Hungry Hippos or that it isn’t ethical to perform open-heart surgery on a conscious patient.

But then! Then, the article starts in, stating, Monopoly teaches children “how to stifle competition, squeeze rent from squatters that stop by their properties and exert maximum profits at all costs” or that Guess Who focuses on “Is it a man? Does he wear glasses? Is he white? These are the sort of ways that kids are encouraged to categorize people” or even that the Game of Life “teaches us that you MUST get married (to someone of the opposite sex, of course), that purchasing insurance or pursuing a college education really have very little impact on your future, and that you should only help the homeless if you’ll get a reward afterward”. They even go as far to say that Operation will lead children to believe that a black market for organs is okay and that Old Maid shames unmarried women. What the…

This article is just a shameless attack on conservative values. I can’t figure out if the author is angry at the companies who produce these games, the people who play them or just herself because all she ever turned out to be in her ‘Game of Life’ is a writer for the Huffington Post. To imply that a daughter will assume it’s ‘okay’ to sneak out and meet her ‘motorcycle-riding boyfriend’ in the middle of the night after playing Don’t Wake Daddy is absurd. If your child is sneaking out or selling organs (or drugs) or is racist or values money and nothing else it is simply a reflection of your parenting and the values you instill. If you feel attacked by the game Old Maid, you may have some self-esteem issues to work on yourself.

It ends with asking whether or not children are better off playing video games…What do you think?

Take a look at the generalizations they made for the corresponding games.

Game

Claimed Message

Monopoly “How to Be the 1%”
Guess Who? “How to Profile”
The Game of Life “How To Equate Lifelong Success With Money”
Operation “How To Perform A Live Dissection”
Oregon Trail “How To Laugh When Your Kin Die Of Dysentery”
Where’s Waldo “How To Stalk People”
Don’t Wake Daddy “How To Sneak Around Your Parents”
Hungry, Hungry Hippos “How To Overestimate Dangerous Animals”
Mall Madness “How To Develop A Shopping Addiction”
Old Maid “How To Shame Unmarried Women”
Candyland “How To Get A Sugar Habit”

PC POW WOW 11/17

This weeks PC POW WOW shout out goes to Luke, the 11 year-old in Minnesota who turned his mom, a probation officer, and stepdad into police for excessive marijuana use.

Apparently the boy was sick and tired of his home being consumed by marijuana smoke. He often complained to his mom that it smelled, but she did nothing about it. Fed up, he photographed the drugs and turned the evidence over to police.

The couple was arrested last month for having eight pounds of marijuana in their bedroom. In a statement, the stepfather claimed he uses it for medicinal purposes, though that is not legal in Minnesota. “I smoke marijuana and I’m not ashamed to say it,” he told KMSP-TV.

Luckily, Luke has a moral father who does not smoke marijuana and can assume care.

So here’s to you, little guy, for knowing better than your parents!

**While searching the topic, I stumbled upon this link
http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/0976011727/ref=redir_mdp_mobile
“It’s Just a Plant: A children’s Story of Marijuana”– The things that parents believe are okay.

Person of the Week: David Belle Isle

The Perspicacious Conservative is starting a new feature! A Person Of the Week that did something that deserves a Wow!, thus the PC POW WOW! I can’t think of a better person to begin the feature with than Mayor-Elect David Belle Isle!

David sprung out of the gates in February at his kick-off party and never stopped running. Knocking on doors (I believe he covered ~2,500), speaking to community groups, debates, making phone calls, attending Meet & Greet’s hosted by generous members of the community, and everything else, David never stopped.

Running for public office isn’t easy. It takes dedication, time and sacrifice. David’s family and circle of friends are second to none. Candice is one of the best wives I’ve ever seen. That woman ran the office, the campaign and the household. I know her journey through this campaign was anything but easy but her positive attitude kept us all going when things would hit the fan.

It seemed in the final 96 hours of the race, opponents made last ditch efforts -fueled by panic- to try to destroy David. It didn’t work. David and his campaign kept the faith and powered through and it paid off. The best man for the job was elected!

I’ve never seen someone have such a wonderful following of volunteers. Like I said in ‘Why Belle Isle is the Best Choice’, everywhere David goes, he has support. From the initial kick-off party at the Old Blinde Dog, to the people standing at the polls to call in results to Smoke Jack (and the plethora of events in between) people showed with their shirts, their smiles and their support. As the person who coordinated these people over the course of the campaign, I couldn’t be more grateful.

It has been a true blessing to work for David during his campaign over the last eleven months. It’s been inspiring to take part in a campaign that ALWAYS took the high road and never slung mud. David’s family is a joy to work with and I am thrilled, elated and so-darn-happy that he will soon be the Mayor of Alpharetta, Georgia!! I can’t wait to see his wonderful journey as Mayor begin!