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November 16th, 2011
A Sticky Situation

The other day Jacob posted a link to an interesting article in Food Safety News. Apparently, a lot of the honey sold on store shelves has had all of its pollen filtered out. It is stated by the president of the American Honey Producers Association that the only way to remove all pollen from honey is through a process called “ultra-filtration” and that the resulting product isn’t considering honey anymore by the FDA.

A lot of honey packers (and the National Honey Board) are crying foul, claiming that traditional methods can in fact remove ALL pollen from honey, and that the FDA does in fact consider honey without pollen to still be honey.

So who’s telling the truth? I’m just not sure. The point of the article was that honey with all of its pollen removed can no longer be traced to the source, and in fact this is done to conceal the origin of illegally imported Chinese honey. (The Chinese honey is problematic because it usually contains contaminants like antibiotics and pesticides.) As a consumer, traceability is important to me. I want to know where my food comes from, and quite frankly, I don’t trust companies to be honest in their labeling. If a company is selling a product that can no longer be traced to its source, I’m skeptical.

We like honey. We have been buying Wessels for a long time, because it’s local and tasty. Their honey has pollen in it. I think the moral of the story for me is to continue purchasing local honey and supporting “the little guys.” The large packing companies can keep their pollen-free untraceable product that may or may not be honey.

Posted by Claire at 11:53 AM | Good Eats, Politics | Comments (0) | Tweet This Post

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May 9th, 2006
Stupid So-Called Moralists

So I’ve been reading a lot lately about a vaccine for HPV (otherwise known as Human Papillomavirus), specifically for the strains that are most likely to cause cervical cancer in women. It is estimated that 99% of cervical cancer cases are caused by HPV. Also, it is worth noting that it is estimated that over 80% of sexually active adults have been infected by HPV at some time, although the majority don’t suffer any ill effects or even know they have been infected. Click here for more on the vaccine.

In order to be most effective, the vaccine should be given to young people before they are sexually active, say, for example, at puberty. However, the religious right is prepared to fight this, stating that the best way to not be infected by HPV is to wait until marriage to have sex.

So I’m thinking… huh? Sure, in a perfect world maybe. But how many people make it to marriage with BOTH partners being virgins? Is it fair to condemn a woman to the possibility of cervical cancer just because she has sex before marriage, or marries a man who isn’t a virgin?

The religious right considers sex outside of marriage to be immoral, and I guess, that dying of cervical cancer is an appropriate punishment for such a sin – never mind that men are biologically prevented from sharing in that fate. Ideologically I consider it more immoral to withhold a cancer-preventing vaccine from all women, just because some of them may also be engaging in premarital sex.

Posted by Claire at 09:36 PM | Politics | Comments (0) | Tweet This Post

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August 17th, 2005

It seems like an age ago. In many ways for us, it *is* an age ago – another life. When the president announced we would be invading a sovereign country back in 2003, DH and I lived in Corvallis. We’d finished school, both of us having earned BS degrees (mine especially being a true BS degree… I mean, it was in ART for crying out loud! That’s really BS all right!), and both of us looking for work in Portland. I spent some five months unemployed, just beginning to form Soap Dreams and selling at the Portland Saturday Market. I watched the war start on CNN, and thought about how bizarre it was that we’d come to a point in human history when wars start on TV, like entertainment.

I wrote a great deal about politics back then, on this blog. I cruised my favorite sites, Salon and Common Dreams, posted links to particularly good articles, expressed my outrage.

Then we moved, first to Lebanon, and then to Portland. I worked a lot, made a lot of soap, and continued to write occasionally. Things were pertinent – we had no health insurance, I couldn’t see doctors when I got sick (and we sure did get sick, with sinus infections and nasty flus, etc) or needed happy pills, I was outraged at the plight of the working poor, since we WERE the working poor. We depended on some very kind charities to help take care of us (here’s a shout out to Outside In and William Temple House!). It makes you grateful, and humble, and angry too – angry that health care isn’t a basic human right in this country.

Eventually I think I burned out on politics. Not even the 2004 election really made much of a dent in my willingness to start writing about politics again. Oh sure, I thought about politics a lot, would occasionally discuss politics with friends. But in the last six months, my own life has been more than I can occasionally handle and I have really tuned out.

But things have changed. It’s 2005 and the war still goes on, that crazy thing I watched start on CNN an age ago. So many untruths and half-truths and bendings of the truth have been revealed.

What really has happened though is the realization that the families of the men and women serving in Iraq *can’t* tune out. They can’t forget what is going on, they don’t have that luxury. We shouldn’t either. Until those men and women are no longer in harms way, we shouldn’t tune out. It should matter to us why they’re there, and we should demand to know what noble cause it is they are dying for. We should demand to know what the plan is to bring them home. We should care about them. I may not start being all political again on my blog, but I sure as heck will start paying attention again.

Posted by Claire at 10:26 PM | Politics | Comments (1) | Tweet This Post

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March 22nd, 2005

I posted some articles about Terri Schiavo because I found them interesting. If I were in the husband’s shoes, I would have chosen to give up guardianship to the parents. I still don’t think I’ve gotten the whole story, since I’ve read conflicting reports of how much (or little) therapy was provided for her, varying reports about neglect, etc. I’m saddened by the whole situation.

I’m totally outraged at the actions of Congress because I do find it hypocritical. These same politicians are hostile to Medicaid, hostile to disability rights, hostile in general to the care and well-being of the already born, but then are falling all over themselves to help this poor woman. It’s political pandering of the worst kind.

I almost always fall on the side of disability rights advocates, so I linked to Not Dead Yet, one of the more vocal groups regarding death and dying issues. This article by their founder explains my discomfort with assisted suicide. Anyone who thinks that “society” will protect people when it’s cheaper to kill them than care for them, well… you’re wrong.

It’s all shades of grey. Myself, I would prefer to err on the side of keeping someone alive, mostly because death is pretty much final.

Posted by Claire at 02:31 PM | Politics | Comments (0) | Tweet This Post

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August 12th, 2004

Somehow, this shouldn’t surprise me.

Family Booted Over T-Shirts

A husband, wife, and daughter were attending a rally to hear Bush speak, when a campaign worker confiscated a shirt the wife was carrying, and later campaign workers tore up the family’s tickets and kicked them all out before Bush started speaking.

Anyone, regardless of what is printed on their t-shirt, should be able to hear the president speak if he comes to their hometown. Kerry is holding a rally in Portland tomorrow. Bush is holding a meeting at the same time behind closed doors.

If this is a battleground state, shouldn’t Bush be pitching himself to the general public?

Posted by Claire at 09:21 AM | Politics | Comments (0) | Tweet This Post

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