Mandatory Service Requirements for Youth

Ok, class, time for a quick current events pop quiz:

Which country just approved a $6 billion initiative that includes the following, directing its legislative body to determine:

“….whether a workable, fair, and reasonable mandatory service requirement for all able young people could be developed, and how such a requirement could be implemented in a manner that would strengthen the social fabric of the Nation and overcome civic challenges by bringing together people from diverse economic, ethnic, and educational backgrounds.”

Your answer, please.

Russia? No.

China? No.

Sorry…..the correct answer is the United States of America.

I’m not kidding. HB 1388 passed in the Senate today. This is scary stuff. The fine print includes descriptions of young people wearing uniforms and being trained on campuses (the term originally used was ‘camps’ but they changed that, I wonder why?) It’s even been suggested that middle schoolers and high schoolers should be included.

Ironically, despite the use of the word ‘mandatory,’ the name of the bill is GIVE (Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education Act). Isn’t ‘mandatory volunteerism’ an oxymoron?

If there was ever a time for homeschoolers, as busy as we are, to pay close attention to the quickly changing agenda of our government, it’s now.

Learn more from:

San Francisco Examiner

Spectator (UK)

American Thinker

Michelle Malkin

Recycling Thrift-Store Finds Into Braided Rugs

I think handmade household items are going to make a comeback, and that’s good. Making things not only saves money, but in most cases you can make something of higher quality than what you’d find in the store.

Case in point: we have a very sturdy round braided rug made for us in the early 1980s by my grandmother. It’s still in great shape. Gram used to go to thrift stores and buy wool or polyester coats, pants and skirts that she could cut up into strips. Then she’d braid the strips and sew them in a circle. Most of the household items we bought in the 1980s have long since fallen apart, but not Gram’s rug.

Here’s an interesting article that explains how to make braided rugs. This would be a great creative project for older kids and teens, or for adults who’d rather not buy a Chinese-made rug that’s going to come apart in a few years.

No, Not Money-Laundering….Honey-Laundering

Once I learned about the prevalence of high-fructose corn syrup in the foods we eat, and how it makes people fat, I began making even more foods from scratch using sugar or honey. I also like honey in my tea.

Now I find out that some of the honey being sold here in the U.S.A.  is actually made in China and then labeled as coming from a different country. Yes, the process really is called honey-laundering, and it’s becoming a real problem.

China is finally getting the negative attention it deserves for allowing all sorts of awful things in the foods it exports (see my recent post on fish), and is responding by sneaking its foods into this country using the subterfuge of mislabeling.

I’m going to have to find a local resource for honey, that’s for sure.

What’s for Dinner? Fish Raised on Sewage…Yum

I work hard to make sure my family eats nutritious meals. I’ll bet you do too. But even if you’re a cook-from-scratch kind of parent, it will do your family no good if the ingredients you use have toxins in them.

That’s why it’s so important that we know the sources of the food we buy. Other countries may not be as strict as we are when it comes to making sure food is not contaminated. Some don’t even check. I was buying newly affordable tilapia weekly until I learned that in China, where most of the tilapia comes from these days, fish raised for exporting live in filthy water full of sewage. We haven’t eaten tilapia since.

Then there was the news that melamine was found in baby formula. Even Chinese babies had died from this, yet China allowed it to continue until the global press publicized it, creating an outcry around the world.

Now we learn that French organic farmers have discovered that the imported-from-China soymeal they’ve been feeding their poultry is contaminated with melamine. Testing on the poultry has not shown contamination, but since the testing of the soymeal showed up to 30 times the allowable level of melamine (why is any amount allowed?), you have to wonder.

So French citizens who bought organic poultry from organic farmers at extra expense, presumably because they don’t want to eat poultry raised on antibiotics and who knows what else, got poultry that ate contaminated soymeal. I would be pretty ticked if I were them, and it makes me wonder what’s getting through to our food supply here in the U.S.

But we don’t even know where much of our food comes from. We have a six-year old country-of-origin labeling law that our government has not enforced. In fact, the USDA believes labeling should be voluntary, having already decreed that it’s not worth the cost.

I want all the food I buy to be labeled, and I don’t mean with useless phrases like “Distributed in the USA.” Yes, we know it’s distributed in the USA (duh)….what we want to know is, where did it come from? If it’s from China, I’ll take a pass. Given their track record, I just don’t trust them.