Gangs, Forced Labor, and Slavery in America

There are an estimated 33,000 violent street gangs, motorcycle gangs, and prison gangs criminally active in the U.S. today. Most of these Gangs feed the prison system with new or repeating inmates.

Afraid your child may be falling under gang influence? Check out the parents guide to gangs. Once gang members and other criminals are behind bars, they are eligible to become forced labor, or Legal Slaves. Some may work for a tuppence which is minimal.

There are about 2,220,300 inmates in state and federal prisons. Many of these inmates, survive just like the prison movies…Forced labor in all weather conditions, and armed Watchers ensuring no one escapes alive.

While an argument may be tabled that some of these inmates are paid for their work, it isn’t the same as a real job. These jobs are jobs are not jobs anyone not in the prison system would want to do. Hours are long, and pay is short or not at all. Average pay is a couple of dollars a day, with no benefits. Hardly an amount anyone would willingly work for.

Then there are the chain gangs. Dangerous work using the forced labor of about 870.000 inmates. With little or no pay, basically Convicts are America’s Legal Slaves. Many of these inmates are in chain gangs. Just like the movies…forced labor, all weather conditions, and armed Watchers ensuring no one escapes.

As out of sight,  is human trafficking, or Slavery in America. Hard to believe, but the United States is far from the bottom of the list of countries with a Slave population.

The Federal Government does appropriate monies to combat slavery, but with forced inmate labor, and other issues, the monies are little more than a splash in the bucket.

From the Office on Trafficking Persons, yes there is such a place, we have a budget:

Federal Strategic Action Plan on Services for Victims of Human Trafficking in the United States 2013-2017.

Fiscal Year     Programs for Foreign National Victims   Programs for Domestic Victims  Total

2018              $17,000,000                                         $6,755,000                  $23,755,000

So, does forced labor start with Gang Members and other Criminals feeding the system, or is forced labor inherent in America, being a part of the American System as long as America has been around?

Possible Link Between Cold Sores and Alzheimer’s Disease

There is a possible link between Cold Sores and Alzheimer’s Disease. From what I read, the Herpes virus that causes cold sores which goes dormant appears to eventually move into the brain, and create what we know as Alzheimer’s Disease.

We all have a blood-brain barrier that stops almost all virus’ from entering the brain itself, but as we know, there are some brain issues that show some virus’ are able to make it through the brain-blood barrier and cause brain infections.

Here is a link from the most comprehensive article I stumbled across. There was another article commenting on this study, but I could not retrieve the link.

Possible Link Between Cold Sores and Alzheimer’s Disease

Personally, I hope this link proves to be false….

Veiled Racism in Advertising

If you watch network television or other media using general family advertising, it is likely you are unknowingly being sublimely influenced by well Veiled Racism. This current approach is so subtle, that unless you are doing the almost unheard of – thinking while watching – you do not even realize what is going on.

There are only a few of these commercials showing in the moment, but more are likely on the way. These few commercials are getting a lot of air time. These commercials are, “Family” scenario commercials, in that they take place using a basic family unit for the commercial. The family unit consists of a White Father, Black Mother, and a Black Child, a girl of course.

On the surface these commercials seem perfectly harmless. On the surface they are Family oriented commercials with a story wrapped around the selling of a product. We sit and watch these commercials, brain off, waiting for the show to resume. Turn your brain back on, and give these commercials some thought and you should become angry over what you are seeing!

Are your thoughts on Racism and the Family Unit being manipulated?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Or perhaps and more to the point, angry about what you are not seeing. The family unit in each of these commercials is a White Father, Black Mother, and Black girl. Get it? Of course the White Father is the role model of all Fathers. The Black Woman and Child are of course, the perfect compliment to the perfect White Father.

In one commercial, the White Father is suffering some intestinal disease. The Black Mother and Black Child look on with dismay and concern as the White ignorant Father struggles with his dilemma. Really? Is this how it is in the real world?

I didn’t really ‘see’ what I have been watching in these commercials until today when something triggered how well Veiled Racism is alive and well, buried in these disturbing commercials. If these marketers are trying to break down racial barriers and further promote interracial relations while promoting their product, they are doing a rather poor job. If they are trying to reflect current reality, they are doing a worse job. That only leaves on other option, and it is ugly.

Why don’t we see a Family Unit commercials consisting of a Black Father and a White Mother, with a White Child who is also a girl? Are we only accepting of the idea of White Men and Black Women with a Child who may or may not be theirs together?

Do we see in our everyday day life any semblance of what we see in these commercials? I don’t. How about a commercial with a Hispanic Father and a White Mother and White Child, also a girl? How about an Asian Father and a White Mother and White Child, also a girl? Perhaps Marketers see this scenario in the same light they see a Black Father with a White woman and White child?

This idea of one acceptable racial family unit may or may not be influenced by the current President and his politics. However, we need to think about this and express the right and need to vote with our pocketbooks. Let these racially biased advertisers and the product they represent know without a doubt that making selectively, “approved” commercials needs to expand to other family units, and quick. Either advertise using mixed race combination of family units across all markets, or stop these types of commercials completely.

Every Race has outstanding Fathers, Mothers, and Children. Almost every community enjoys mixed race family units as part of their population. Except for some very shortsighted people, we do not think twice seeing a mixed race family unit during our daily activities. We must not be willing to allow advertising to reshape our view of what is acceptable, and what is not for a family unit?

Mixed Race Family Units is reality. Selectively using, “approved” mixed race families in advertising is just plain wrong. Take a moment, when you see one of these very slick, focused, White Father, Black Mother and Black girl family unit commercials, and let the the product manufacturer know you live in the real world, and they either need to get with the program, or you may prefer to purchase a competitor’s product, which may be better than their product.

Dieting Decoded, The Simplest, Easiest, Ultimate Healthy Diet

The diet light bulb came on last evening, or put another way, I experienced a diet epiphany! This refreshing thought came about while trying to explain what the Whole30 and Paleo diet are in there essence. I do not assume to speak for either of these diets, but rather provide a simple explanation of what their long term goal is.

This is the last diet advice you will ever need. You can stop searching the Internet for the latest and greatest diet advice. You may give away your diet books as you won’t need them any more. You can say goodby to your frustrations from trying to diet, and enjoy all the positives a better way of eating provide.

If you are not familiar with a better way to eat, here is my explanation, which is not formal, nor accepted as a proper explanation. I am sure many diet authorities would be willing to say I am wrong, so be it. First, as you know I recently completed the Whole30 program. Whole30 eating program removes all foods known to cause problems when eaten. Food allergies, intolerance, or simple indigestion followed by constipation and/or diarrhea are taken out of the 30 day diet.

I changed to the Paleo diet, which attempts to go back to the way our ancestors ate before the rise of farming and ranching. Both ways of eating are very similar from my understanding, though Whole30 is more restrictive. Either one is a great choice, but they do not easily get down to the essence of making food choices simpler. In both eating styles, there are a lot of vegetables, with some type of protein. Though knowing this does not make for a simple explanation to family and friends.

My light bulb moment was the relationship not only between these two eating styles, but comparing them to a general diet as an understandable spoken explanation of, “What I can eat”, which is the topic of much conversation these days. Now, that I made the leap to a simple explanation everyone can understand, I simply say, “I eat what you and I were fed as a baby”. Obvious and transparent with no ambiguity.

When feeding an infant starting on solid food, vegetables generally comprise the whole meal. Typically, a jar of green beans is a complete meal for an infant. Or when a little older, perhaps two vegetables, or a vegetable and fruit. Further along the infant diet, meat is added.

Stop Diet Hopping!

The last words you will ever need to read about Dieting!

There are no sweet fruit juices, candies, cakes or cookies given to a baby. At least not more than a taste. We want our babies to be healthy, wealthy, and wise, not chubby and sickly. We know how to feed an infant. My comparison to an infant’s diet struck me as a perfect explanation for an answer to, “What do I eat”? “I eat what we both ate as babies.” How succinct.

Suddenly, as if coming out a fog, friends and family understand I am not on some exotic, secret diet plan with exotic foods. They remember what they have fed to their children as infants, or have seen the foods other parents feed their infants. “What can I eat”, is clarified and taken out of the category of mystery and placed in the, well, that is obvious now category.

I no longer have to go through any long drawn out explanation, of what foods I wish to eat, and what foods I no longer eat. I simply say, I eat those types of foods we ate as infants, the same foods you were fed and fed your children as infants.

I am not sure where we transgressed from being fed wholesome healthy food to living on fast food, soda, and sweets. We did this very bad food substitution, and convinced ourselves we are eating healthy. Surprise, we’re eating like everyone else is, not eating healthy. Eating as healthy as our friends who take an average of five pills a day to offset their serious medical conditions. High blood pressure, High Cholesterol, Diabetes, Arthritis, and a host of other common diet related medical conditions which were practically unheard of a few hundred years ago.

Now don’t go out an buy baby food, the cost is too high, and the taste too bland. Instead buy the same foods you find in the infant section of the baby food aisle. In ending, you no longer need a diet plan, all you need is apply the common sense your Mother had when she fed you for your first year of life.

Bodhi and Q4OS Linux Short Minor Review

I downloaded and ran Bodhi Linux, which turned out to be a short session. I also did the same with Q4OS. Neither Linux distribution is ready for the average users desktop judging from my experience. Both distributions quit functioning at different times, during my first initial use period.

If you are not a new user, and know why you want either Bodhi or Q4OS linux, they are perfect for your needs. If you are a general user, and you need more programs than are included or in the repositories, you may be up to a bit of a challenge to use these distros.

Bodhi Linux crashed and burned rather quickly. I installed Bodhi Linux to a hard drive. Bodhi Linux looked a lot like an old version of Vector Linux, which is a lightweight straight forward simple to use Linux, unless it has changed. Once Bodhi installed to my hard drive I rebooted into Bodhi. All went well, until I opened the web browser.

What happened next, I wasn’t sure if it were a Bodhi issue, or a Midori issue, but the end result was the same. When I try out a new Linux Distro, I like to see if the browser can handle two web sites, both main stream sites, Youtube.com, and Ted.com.

I never made it to Youtube. I entered the url for Ted.com first. The page loaded, and I clicked on the first video. The browser locked up and itself shut down. When I reopened the Browser, the browser went directly to Ted.com, displayed and error message. That was it, the browser refused to clear itself of the error message. The only option that worked was shutting down the browser. I took the browser through a few cycles, rinse, repeat, until I decided it was not going to clear the error caused by Ted.com. Now you know everything I know after trying out Bodhi Linux.

Built for a purpose, but not for an average or beginning user?

Q4OS linux started out very well. I looked like an old windows version, but everything worked as expected. I was starting to like Q4OS, and was wondering how it would work for me as a desktop Linux. Q4OS was growing on me. It was dated looking, as I mentioned, but it was solid and fast.

After a short time period Q4OS wanted to update itself. I told it go ahead. What I thought would be an update, turned out to be distribution upgrade, or close to it. Once the update completed, that was the end of Q4OS. It refused to work any longer.

Now it may be possible, I missed something about not letting it upgrade, or went about the update wrong. Anything is possible. All I know is Q4OS quit working after update. If you know what you want to do with Q4OS, and are not new to Linux, Q4OS bills itself as an adaptable Linux for you to use.

One big note of caution, if you try and install Q4OS, and the install tells you it will erase the whole disk and install itself, it means literally. I had the disk divided into two separate partitions, and wanted to install Q4OS on the second empty partition. When the install was done, I had one large partition with a very small Q4OS as the only OS on the drive. You have been warned.

 

feren OS Minor Review

feren OS Linux Distribution, was next on my test list. feren OS caught the attention of Distro Jumpers (Linux distribution jumpers – I used to be one), and I wanted to know why feren OS is so well liked in the community. I downloaded the feren OS iso, and ran it. I was pleasantly surprised! While feren OS is a long way from the future lightweight desktop in the plans, feren OS is an impressive distribution. An obvious amount of work and attention to detail being put in it.

Did I mention I appreciate the quality of thought and work going into feren OS? feron OS is a newer distribution and a work in progress. The distribution borrows a lot from the big Linux distributions, though it manages to stand out on its own. Taken from the feren OS website,

“…Cinnamon DE that’s simple to use as well as showing off many user contributions to Cinnamon. Soon enough, in a couple of years, feren OS will get an upgrade to its design with a new Qt-based Desktop Environment to look like the concepts of feren OS’s design.”

In the moment, feren OS is running a Cinnamon Desktop. feren OS’s closest competition is Mint Cinnamon, I am guessing. feren OS is currently not the lightweight the feren OS team hopes it will become as it transitions to Qt Desktop Environment, feren OSweighed in at 544 Mb usage at boot-up. For comparison, Mint Cinnamon booted up using 441 Mb. Not a lot of difference, but if memory is at a premium, feren OS may be too heavy for your system right now.

feren OS is a solid Linux OS being made even better. Check it out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two points really stand out with feren OS’s for me. The Desktop is pretty upon boot-up. A few mouse clicks provide several more desktop background images to choose from. Personally, I do not enjoy a dark desktop, so changing the background was my first priority. Perhaps if I sat in front of my computer eight hours a day, I would prefer a dark desktop. For now I do not.

The second best thing feren OS has going for it is the software. The menu is filled with programs I would probably pick myself if I was starting with a bare bones operating system. One major gripe of mine with a number of Linux Distributions is the overflow of software, or the overly minimalist approach. I think every computer user has their won default set of programs they prefer to use. feren OS, hits a perfect balance with their application selections.

The feren OS menu itself is clean and well thought out. I think almost any user, new or not, that is not set on the XFCE way of right clicking for the menu will find little fault with the menu layout. I think this comes from having a design in mind and working towards it.

If memory is not an issue, and you want a clean, well designed Linux OS, you could do a lot worse than feren OS. For myself, I am looking forward to the transition to the lighter Qt Desktop environment.

Wrapping up, feren OS, feels a little more polished than other Cinnamon Desktop Distributions I have looked at. feren OS has the right amount of applications for almost any user. Definitely resource hungry in the moment, I think you will find feren OS an enjoyable experience.

Solus 3 Linux Minor Review

I tried out at a number of Linux distributions this week with the goal of identifying one or two Linux distributions that could be used by several people who would be new to Linux. The Linux distribution needs to be simple, so anyone can operate the Linux OS without help. From that perspective there are several Linux distributions I looked at for this environment. Of course each one of us has their own opinions of what works and what does not. This is my initial experience with Solus 3, a Linux distribution which is starting to be noticed.

Solus 3 Linux was my first choice as a Linux system to be used by Windows users. I read many good things about Solus, and I thought it might be a great Linux OS to install on an older multi-user laptop. Solus 3, I found, does many things right, and is well thought out. There are just enough programs to satisfy a basic user, but not overwhelm or annoy them. The new user is shielded from too many settings, and too much software. Solus 3 looked like a winner right from the start.

Solus 3 is a winner if you have the correct printer, or do not need to print.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then a major limiter made itself known. I have a Brother printer, and there was no included printer driver for my particular printer. No problem, I downloaded the correct driver from Brother website and started to install. I then found I could not install the driver for two reasons.

First, I learned Solus Linux uses Eopkg and not .deb or .rpm as is common. I thought this was a minor obstacle. I would unpack the printer driver on another computer and copy the files to the Solus computer, and install them.

Only root may install drivers or other software. I tried, SU, sudo, and sudo su as I had read in a forum note. None of these commands allowed me root privilege. I thought initially this problem was because I was using Solus 3, as a live cd. I proceeded to install Solus 3 to an empty local hard drive, which is a simple process.

During the install, I created two users, one with admin privileges and one ‘normal’ user. Once again however, I could not gain root access with either user. In fact I could not determine any differences in the privileges of the two accounts. To shorten this story, I was completely unable to gain root privileges and install the Brother (or any other brand), downloaded printer drivers.

Solus Linux uses an EOPG packaging, which is a packaging format few if any vendors support for their peripherals. Not being able to print, made an otherwise very pleasant Solus 3 Linux experience unusable for my needs. Per the website, only Hewlett Packard and some Espon printers are currently supported.

Solus 3 is very good for use, if the standard (across most Linux distributions) printer driver is present, or you have no need to print. Sadly, the idea that printer drivers cannot be installed, brings me back a decade or more in Linux life. Years ago, many peripherals were hit and miss for working in a random Linux distribution. You had to find a Linux OS where the Distribution Development Team used the monitor and printer you owned.

For myself, this printer driver issue, makes Solus 3 another Windows OS, in that it is a closed system. I hope in the future to see better from Solus Linux. Solus Linux has the potential to be one of the best, but it has to create some solutions for their currently closed operating system.

As a side note, if you really wish to to use Linux with the Budgie desktop, Ubuntu Budgie is an alternative, though Ubuntu Budgie has higher minimum operating requirements and may not be a good fit for an older laptop or desktop.

Feeling Better, Eating Differently

This is an edited copy of an email to a family member. I thought you may wish to read it too. I removed the eating plan name and the places I ate at, as my experience may or may not be the result of eating there. Fwiw, everything I have written is true for now. If anything changes, I will update this post.

You may like reading my thoughts about a eating plan? I have passed the thirty-first day on the xxxxxxxx eating plan. I can call it quits if I wish. Thing is, I’m sticking with this because I feel so much better.

I have found I may have a few more food issues than I thought. I find I can not eat orange beef and brown rice at xxxxxxx. I never thought it was possible, but I felt like I had three different headaches going at one time, starting about an hour after I ate! Lasted until I fell asleep for the night. I wasn’t a happy camper as I have eaten the same dish at the same place many times.

Even a few more foods are strongly suspect. Tacos are suspect, maybe the corn? Then there is this almond butter bar that is supposed to be healthy. Guess what? Eating one bar raised my blood pressure 20 plus points, and it stayed up for several hours! One little (claimed to be healthy) almond butter bar did this to me. I know it is the bar, because I ate one bar every other day over six days, with the same results. Before this eating plan, I thought all these foods were okay for me. And there are probably more foods I will find out I do not want to eat. I haven’t ventured too far from the eating plan, so I don’t know yet. I feel so good now.  I don’t want to ruin it.

On the bright side. Eating as much as I want to, I have lost almost 14 pounds without feeling (need to eat) hungry! My blood pressure dropped 20 points and is now in the young person normal range. My sugar level is as low as its ever been. I do not feel like I’m going to fall over from trying to keep it in a low range.

Best Health question I ever read!

And I owe it all to changing what I eat! My muscles and joints no longer get stiff for no obvious reason. My stiff neck, which I have had for over two decades, gone! My knees, sometimes aching at night, gone. I thought these were a part of getting older. Finding out that was wrong think.

All this has led to thinking more about food. Do I want to be as healthy as possible, or do I want to take and have my sugar and blood pressure keep going higher, and my muscles and joints hurting, because food makes me sick? When I started this way of eating, I thought, okay, food is now going to be a maintenance function. That said, most of the xxxxxxx plan meals, once I have added chili too, are pretty tasty. Living in New Mexico I guess. Some meals taste awesome, and some need help.

One interesting observation about overweight people eating deserts and other unhealthy foods. This is something I read about why you won’t overeat on a Paleo diet: “An overweight person has no trouble eating a quart of ice cream after a heavy dinner, but they would not wish to eat a quart of Broccoli instead.” The truth in this thought really hit home.

No more cravings! For the last half of the first week, through the second week, I occasionally had cravings for something sweet. Then they went away completely. I just ate more food! In fact, some days when I wake up, I delay eating because I do not feel hungry. On other days though, I am famished. Same goes with lunch and dinner.

It is amazing! Just like when I quit eating wheat, how much better I feel, though it took a few weeks longer! How different I eat now, and it feels normal. Sometimes meals are a little strange, like sweet potatoes with eggs for breakfast. This has since changed to meat or eggs with leftover vegetables or an apple or two. Also I find I am perfectly happy drinking water. For some unknown reason, water now tastes really good.

I am going to transition to a Paleo diet. I enjoy the way the xxxxxx has made me feel, and I don’t miss guessing whether some processed food has gluten in it or not. With xxxxxxx and eventually Paleo diet, Gluten is not a concern as grains are not on the menu to start with. This is another one of those, “I wish I would have tried this years ago!”. I am eating and feeling so much better!

Ending on a funny note. I find some of the recipes call for half of some vegetable or other, usually bell pepper. The other half used to go into the refrigerator only to be thrown out when I found it on a back shelf some time later. I no longer have that problem. Now when I am prepping to start dinner, I now just eat the other half of the bell pepper. No more food waste.

Better Baseball Players

Many years ago I was a ski bum. I skied downhill on weekdays when I had the money. On weekends when the, “Flatlanders” arrived from Los Angeles and surrounding areas, I was out Cross Country skiing.

The two types of skiing are more different than similar. Downhill skis are shorter, wider, and stiffer. Heavy stiff boots are needed to manage the forces of gravity pulling you down the hill. High speed is the norm with lots of turns, small jumps, moguls, and such. One skies down the mountain and takes a lift back up the hill.

When Cross Country skiing, smaller downhill slopes are relaxation from the work not a having gravity assist to keep moving. Cross country skis are lighter, thinner and more flexible. Cross Country ski boots can be as simple as a pair of specially made tennis shoes.

It was surprising how much difference Cross Country skiing makes to downhill skiing. After a day or two on a skinny pair of Cross Country skis, downhill skiing feels like the downhill skis are three feet wide each. It would be as if it were impossible to fall.

Build your skills for Hardball using smaller bats and balls.

Stickball uses a, ‘Pimpleball’ or Handball for the ball. A cut off broomstick is all that is needed for the bat. Half Ball uses the same equipment except the ball is cut in half. Generally, the ball is tossed slowly towards the plate. Some players prefer a faster ball to be thrown.

Imagine the enhanced skill set it takes to hit an undersized ball with a broomstick handle bat. Hand eye coordination is higher for stick and half ball players, speed of the ball notwithstanding.

Players from Pre-Teen Private League Baseball to the American Legion hold baseball practice using the same Bats and Balls that are used in an ‘official’ game. What if Players used a smaller ball for batting and fielding practice? Players would enjoy increased hand eye coordination, and batting and fielding averages would rise.

Practicing with smaller practice balls and slimmer bats would hone skills. When batting in an official game, to the Batter it would look and feel as if an oversized ball was being used. Stickball or Halfball, both mostly inner city sports are good for a visual comparison.

Finally, confidence factor needs to be considered. If a Batter has a reasonable batting average with an undersized ball and bat, confidence is increased. The regulation size ball and bat would feel oversized to the batter and be easier to hit.

If Stickball or Halfball sound like fun, they are. The both can be played in the street, with no special equipment other than a broom stick and a ball.