Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Saturday, December 20, 2008


Will work for food? The Mormons really let you-
The Denver Post December 18, 2008 http://www.miamiherald.com/living/v-print/story/816079.html

I've lit candles with Hindus in Malaysia, raised toasts with Muslims in Tunisia and danced with Buddhists in Bangkok. I never thought about breaking bread with Mormons in Salt Lake City.

They've been made into organized religion's comic strip, what with the mysterious underwear, weird liquor laws and more rules than the monastery I visited in China.

But there is one aspect of Mormon culture that not even Bill Maher could satirize. It stands in a 13-acre lot just south of downtown Salt Lake City.

If you've been there, you've seen Welfare Square without knowing it. Its trademark white grain elevator stands 178 feet high. It holds 16 million pounds of wheat.

That's only part of the food the Mormon Church gives to the needy. The guiding principle: Come for food, but work for it later. From 60 to 200 people of all faiths come through what they call the bishop's storehouse every day.

''Government welfare is primarily a dole system,'' said James Goodrich, group manager of Welfare Square. ``We think that dole leads to dependence rather than encourages people to be independent. We've chosen to stay independent.''

Fiftyish and wearing a dapper suit, Goodrich hails from the tiny town of Tridell, Utah. He went on a mission to New Zealand and has a master's degree in public health from Brigham Young University.
The system works like this: Mormons in need go to their bishop, who spends two weeks evaluating their needs. They fill out a form and take it to the bishop's storehouse, which is like a well-stocked small-town grocery. It has about 145 products ranging from fresh bread to canned tomatoes to cartons of milk. There are 139 bishop's storehouses nationwide.

Then comes the twist: ''It's the bishop's role to find something the family can do to work for what they've received,'' Goodrich said. ``They may cook meals for a widow who's ailing. They may tend to children so a woman can go to the doctor. They may clean the buildings where we work. People receive according to their needs and work according to their abilities.''

It's not just church members who are eligible. ''It's up to the bishop,'' Goodrich says, but ``the majority are not members of our faith. If they're willing to work, we'll provide them with some food.''

I asked him if this was a subtle way to populate the flock.

''It is not an objective,'' he said. ``If an individual is desirous [to learn] about the church, we are certainly willing to accommodate. But we do not . . . seek welfare converts.''

In 2003, Ethiopian officials impressed with the church's efforts asked if it could help produce atmit, a nourishing porridge. It was originally made out of oat flour and goat's milk, but BYU helped the church develop a powdered product that could be reconstituted with boiled water. They added vitamins and minerals and a little salt and sugar for taste. In the first year, the church sent 600 tons of it to Ethiopia.

''Here, look at this,'' Goodrich said.

He handed me a picture of a bald 8-year-old girl who weighed 20 pounds. Next to her was a 6-month ''after'' picture.

Her smile was nearly as big as her hair.
This article was sent to me by a friend and I located the article online at the above Miami Herald url, but apparently photo is not available online for non-subscribers. I would assume her hair is as big as some of the BYU co-eds.'

Tuesday, December 16, 2008



A rather dire prediction from abroad.

A leading Russian political analyst has said the economic turmoil inthe United States has confirmed his long-held view that the country is heading for collapse, and will divide into separate parts.

Professor Igor Panarin said in an interview with the respected daily IZVESTIA published on Monday: "The dollar is not secured by anything. The country's foreign debt has grown like an avalanche, even though in the early 1980s there was no debt. By 1998, when I first made my prediction, it hadexceeded $2 trillion. Now it is more than 11 trillion. This is a pyramid that can only collapse."

The paper said Panarin's dire predictions for the U.S. economy, initially made at an international conference in Australia 10 years ago at a time whenthe economy appeared strong, have been given more credence by this year's events.

When asked when the U.S. economy would collapse, Panarin said: "It is already collapsing. Due to the financial crisis, three of the largest and oldest five banks on Wall Street have already ceased to exist, and two are barely surviving. Their losses are the biggest in history. Now what we will see is a change in the regulatory system on a global financial scale: America will no longer be the world's financial regulator."

When asked who would replace the U.S. in regulating world markets, he said: "Two countries could assume this role: China, with its vast reserves, and Russia, which could play the role of a regulator in Eurasia."

Asked why he expected the U.S. to break up into separate parts, he said: "A whole range of reasons. Firstly, the financial problems in the U.S. will get worse. Millions of citizens there have lost their savings. Prices and unemployment are on the rise. General Motors and Ford are on the verge of collapse, and this means that whole cities will be left without work. Governors are already insistently demanding money from the federal center.Dissatisfaction is growing, and at the moment it is only being held back by the elections and the hope that Obama can work miracles. But by spring, it will be clear that there are no miracles."

He also cited the "vulnerable political setup", "lack of unified nation allaws", and "divisions among the elite, which have become clear in these crisis conditions." He predicted that the U.S. will break up into six parts - the Pacific coast,with its growing Chinese population; the South, with its Hispanics; Texas,where independence movements are on the rise; the Atlantic coast, with its distinct and separate mentality; five of the poorer central states with their large Native American populations; and the northern states, where theinfluence from Canada is strong.

He even suggested that "we could claim Alaska - it was only granted on lease, after all." Panarin, 60, is a professor at the Diplomatic Academy ofthe Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and has authored several books on information warfare.

What is your response to this? Please click comments & let readers know.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Bailey the Unknown Reindeer

This is such a happy, fun short video.span>
It will make you LAUGH!

We are house sitting and taking care of the pets for my sister & husband while they are in Australia. I say "we" but Alan is the real pet sitter, and he's good at it.

Pets include: 3 cockatiels, 1 dove, 2 cats. These are the indoor pets.

Outside there are more pets to feed, including: a few hundred doves, several dozen hummingbirds (8 feeders need refilling daily), various squirrels, and at least 1 cottontail which Alan spotted this morning.

Alan views most of these animals as good target practice, but left his 22 at home in Boise, Idaho. We don't feed the coyotes which visit occasionally, at least not directly. I suppose fattening the other animals here ultimately leads to good coyote feedings. There are no dogs at their house, but I suspect it is a temporary condition, since there have been dogs, the best pets in my opinion, in the past.

I went to www.dogwork.com, the website that created the above video, and it is a great page to peruse. If you like dogs, you will like it. They have the following comment:

Going to work with your dog should be allowed in most companies.
If every dog has its day, that day may be now for thousands of dogs around the country, and all they're missing is a paycheck. Many companies have begun allowing employees to bring their pets -- specifically dogs -- to the workplace.
If you would like to convince your employer to adopt a more friendly policy towards workplace dogs, here are just a few helpful discussion points:

• Dogs in the workplace increase staff morale and productivity.
• Dogs also tend to increase camaraderie among employees.
• Dogs make employees happier, resulting in enhanced job performance.
• Dogs can also serve as an effective criminal deterrent.

This website also has some more funny dog videos and some good tips if you have a dog, or (like my daughter Robin & kids, along with my son David's kids) are hoping/thinking about getting that doggie in the window for a Christmas present.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Things Mom Would Never Say

1. "How on earth can you see the TV sitting so far back?"
2. "Yeah, I used to skip school a lot, too"
3. "Just leave all the lights on ... it makes the house look more cheery"
4. "Let me smell that shirt -- Yeah, it's good for another week"
5. "Go ahead and keep that stray dog, honey. I'll be glad to feed and walk him every day"
6. "Well, if Timmy's mom says it's OK, that's good enough for me."
7. "The curfew is just a general time to shoot for. It's not like I'm running a prison around here."
8. "I don't have a tissue with me ... just use your sleeve"
9. "Don't bother wearing a jacket - the wind-chill is bound to improve"