Economy


I know…..I know….My blog has been silent over a year and I apologize.

 

Anywhooo, I submitted my comments to the FDA today and since so many of you guys wanted to know what I said I figured Id put it here.

So here is what I submitted: (My tracking # is:  1jy-8dh8-3×75)

 

 

“FDA, Docket No. FDA-2014-N-0189, Regulatory Information Number (RIN) 0910- AG38”
Submitted July 28, 2014
Dear FDA Center for Tobacco Products,

My name is Sheila Faulstich and I smoked two packs of cigarettes for over 30 years. I no longer smoke thanks to electronic cigarettes. Since I began vaping a little over 500 days ago, I have also been able to reduce my nicotine level from 24 mg to 3 mg and even sometimes vape 0 mg.
As with others like me, FDA approved methods to quit smoking did not work for me for various reasons. My doctor attempted to help me quit smoking many times due to my health deteriorating. Some FDA approved methods were not compatable because of their side effects and I even attempted hypnosis. Even during my longest stretch without smoking, I still wanted to smoke and eventually went right back to smoking 2 packs a day.
Right before I discovered electronic cigarettes, I was diagnosed with COPD and needed to use a rescue inhaler several times a day. I also suffered from a myriad of other health issues. Ever since I started using the electronic cigarette, I have not needed to use my rescue inhaler and my other health related issues and begun to improve.
*****
While we, the consumers, have no way of knowing the impact of the proposed FDA regulations, there is ‘talk’ in our community that only cig-a-likes would be available. This is a big problem for me. For one, these products are being manufactured by ‘big tobacco’. The same manufacturers who have poisoned me for 30 years. Its also worth noting that these cig-a-likes cannot be refilled with the nicotine level than I currently use, which is significantly lower than what is available with these products.
I am fearful that if these regulations are put into place in the way they are perceived to be, that there will be an underground movement for these products. This increases the risk of the consumer since many of the vendors we work with now, may be put out of business due to the burden of the regulatory process. Many of us, the consumer, personally know our vendors. So many of the vendors we use are living the American Dream of owning a business for the first time in their lives, and employing people. In this economy, I dont think putting people back out of work is any answer.
Many legislators, as well as what is contained in the proposed FDA regulations, are skirting around the issue of flavored e-juice. Quite honestly, I dont vape tobacco or menthol flavored e-juice. I personally do not like them. If I were to list all the flavors I vape, I would exceed the word limitations for commenting. Adults like flavors. Its just that simple. If you ban flavored e-juice, then where is the logic in allowing flavored alcohol or flavored nicotine gum, which is currently approved by the FDA.
Should the proposed regulations go into effect as they are currently written, many would have no choice to go back to smoking. While I am not personally one of them, it is worth considering that many thousands of current non-smokers would be reduced to smoking after (in many cases) a substantial absence from cigarettes.
Not all the proposed regulations are arguable though. I believe that most of us in the vaping community would gladly adhere to putting restrictions of these products out of the hands of minors. However, every vendor and electronic cigarette store Ive used, does not sell to minors already, so Im unsure of the necessity to over-regulate what is already being followed as an ‘industry standard’.
In closing, I am perplexed as to why the FDA would need to step into this growing industry that has had no problems in the 5 years it has florished.

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I apologize in advance if this post is long. I have covered many areas of contention, so please read to the end.

During the election season Ive seen many of my friends make posts that make them seem like, for lack of a better word, jackholes.

You see, I have liberal friends, and I have conservative friends. At times, both sides make generalizations and assumptions that flabbergast me. Sometimes these posts make my brain want to explode.

But right now…..its pretty much the conservative side that has done the generalizations and assumptions.

Depending on your ‘lean’ you might be one of the friends Im going to talk about.  I wont be calling you out by name though, since there are so many of you stating the same generalizations and assumptions.

Most, if not all, center around the entitlements argument.

*Welfare – First some history

Welfare programs similar to AFDC and food stamps existed since the early days in the United States (http://www.welfareinfo.org/history/) In reading the history in the link I provided, programs have pretty-much always existed to help those in need. In the 1930s Roosevelt enacted the Social Security Act and then it was amended to include the AFDC program that still exists today.

We can go further back to even state that programs to help the needy even existed in ‘biblical’ times. It is seen in Judaism and Islamic cultures as well as Christian cultures. (The New Testament even goes so far as to state that Jesus said to feel the hungry and take care of the sick)

Which brings me to the argument about President Obama and the ACA

* Heathcare

First of all, if you are religious, you SHOULD be wanting to take care of the sick, and conservatives…..just as an FYI, republicans were FOR an individualized health care mandate.

See video with Newt Gingrich and Hilary Clinton back in 2005

There is also a discussion regarding health care that makes me LIVID.

Yes, LIVID.

There is a belief that people who support the ACA are lazy and claiming they are entitled. Ill explain.

Those of us with multiple health issues or pre-existing conditions are not supposed to be turned down due to our health histories. While this is a partly true statement, insurance companies charge us out the wazoo for coverage that doesnt include the illnesses we will be treated for the most.

For instance: I have lupus and yet, health insurance would not pay for medications to treat the arthritis, steroids, anti-malarials etc that would be needed to treat that condition.

So, what would I get for my money? Apparently nothing……

Ive been told to apply for medicare. You need to be on disability to be approved for that program. In my case, to be approved for disability would mean that I can no longer work. (Funny how people suggest this considering their argument)

This is where the ACA benefits me directly. No longer will I have to pay the extraordinary cost to begin with because of my health issues, but that coverage would pay for the medications and treatments I would need.

And you know what? I could STILL work FULL TIME and receive these health benefits.

ADMISSION – Ive been on Medicaid because the cheapest insurance I could get was well over $2000 a month and wouldnt cover ANY of the medications I needed to take on a regular basis. Some of you have called me a mooch who is claiming ENTITLEMENT! ENTITLEMENT! because yes, I HAVE worked since I was 16 and I SHOULD be able to afford to keep myself alive.

* Abuses

I will not act like there arent people on social programs who arent abusing the system, because we all know thats not the facts. But we dont know those people or how they got into the situation that led them into the social service office.

We all hear those stories about the lady in the grocery store with 4 kids and food stamps getting into a nice car…..but whos to say she wasnt just recently dumped by her significant other and left penny-less? Whos to say that her husband wasnt recently killed? We dont know how long shes been using food stamps and we dont know how long shes had that nice car. Stop judging people you dont know!

* The luxury of having internet service

For the last two days, I have heard this phrase more than I can even count. Even this morning this phrase was posted in a discussion on my facebook wall.

FACT – We live in a time in which our schools expect our kids to have a computer and access to the internet.

It is a fact that high schools do not have the necessary accommodations or time to allow students to do their work on site. (Remembering how my daughter used to be up til midnight to work on school work)

It is also a fact that even the nicest public libraries do not have enough computers on site to accommodate every student, nor do they allow access for long periods of time if there are other students waiting to use those computers.

Local colleges (including community colleges) usually do not allow high school students access to their computers because they arent students of the school. They also do not allow these kids to check out library books…..

This morning, a friend of mine said that schools should provide computers. It was then that I did actually laugh out loud. Tax payer dollars pay for those supplies. Her response was that this was different. Education money is different than individual money…..

* Free Cell Phones / Obama phones

One has to scratch their head when people start talking about Obama phones. This program can be traced as far back as 1934 with The Telecommunications Act. There were specific provisions to ensure that everyone had access to phone services.

The Lifeline plan was started in 1984 (Ronald Reagan was President at that time) It was further expanded in 1996 (Bill Clinton was President at that time) to ensure that low income and rural citizens had access to these services (http://www.factcheck.org/2009/10/the-obama-phone/) In 1997, they added cellular services. And, furthermore, the Safelink program that everyone likes to associate with President Obama was started under President Bush.

It should be also noted that taxpayer dollars do NOT pay for these phones. The program is fully funded through the telecommunications industry.(http://www.fcc.gov/guides/universal-service-support-mechanisms)

* Lack of empathy

Without going specifically into the Presidential election and differences between the candidates, I can only gather to guess that those who voted against the principles outlines above have a lack of empathy.

And before you start in on the attack for that statement, let me explain…

I paid attention to the election. I listened when one of the candidates actually gave statements like (and Im paraphrasing) making $250000 a year is middle class, ask your parents for a loan, take the money from your savings…..

Those statements are why those of us who live paycheck to paycheck without savings or having rich parents voted for the other candidate.

So, this entire election the GOP has been on the attack about how President Obama hasnt created enough jobs, how unemployment is up…..blah blah blah

Well, the Senate Republicans keep blocking all the jobs bills. (Link: http://www.policymic.com/articles/11510/senate-republicans-block-another-jobs-bill-face-backlash-from-american-public )

As with almost everything political, it doesnt surprise me.

The GOP will stop at nothing to attempt to make the President look bad, when with this, its all on them. This is the NINETEENTH (19th) jobs bill they have blocked.

Even CNN has taken notice (See Link: http://www.cnn.com/2012/07/19/politics/senate-bring-jobs-home-bill-blocked/index.html?hpt=hp_c1 )

The American people have been consistently let down by those in Washington who potentially have the power to make real changes. But instead, partisan politics rules.

They wont even allow debate on this subject, by their use of a filibuster.

I guess its more important to them to see the American people suffer, and the economy to tank to make them look good.

Im not a ‘fan’ of President Obamas policies for the most part, but lets stop this ridiculousness and make our country better by working across the aisle for the betterment of our country.

And lets put the blame on things that havent improved on the specifics of just exactly WHO is making sure things arent improving for once. And lets give politicians (including those we dont exactly support) the credit.

Jeesh.

Its a shame that there really isnt anything to do down in Eldersburg.

Shortly after I moved to Eldersburg (and saw the XFiles 2 movie) the Flagship Cinema movie theater behind the KMart closed due to various concerns. (http://www.eldersburg.net/news/business/290-carrolltowne-movie-theater-closes-not-set-to-re-open)

The closest theater is in Westminster (inside the mall). Or, if youre able to travel, you could go to Columbia or Owings Mills.

Then, we heard that the bowling alley down at Liberty Rd and Rt 32 closed. (http://eldersburg.patch.com/articles/cross-roads-bowling-center-closed-up-for-sale)

Granted, I dont bowl (and yea, Im from Dundalk-so much for stereotypes, huh?) but I dont even believe that there is another bowling alley in Carroll County. And because I dont bowl, I dont even know where the next closest alley would be. So, if you enjoyed that past time, so much for your enjoyment.

Last night, I heard that the Buffalo Wings and Beer in Eldersburg was closing February 6th. (http://votenomalley.blogspot.com/2012/01/closing-in-eldersburg-buffalo-wings.html)

Other than Bellisimos on Liberty and Klee Mill, I dont even know where theres another place with pool tables. And Bellisimos only has one pool table and an air hockey table. So I guess its down to Ellicott City to the VIP if we wanna go out and shoot some pool.

I understand the economy is bad. Really, I do. But without anything of entertainment in Eldersburg, what would a teenager do in Eldersburg? I guess hanging out in half vacant shopping center parking lots would be the alternative.

Development-Schmeveloment!

There are several problems that I can see occurring in Eldersburg. We have the half vacated shopping center where KMart is. When I first moved to Eldersburg, I heard all the stories regarding Black Oak and that assorted mess.

We have some Main Street Project behind the Walmart, that I STILL dont see anything built.

We have this Liberty Exchange project that still doesnt seem to have anything happening in despite articles in local papers saying otherwise. (http://eldersburg.patch.com/articles/liberty-exchange-business-community-signs-first-tenant)

And Peebles is closed (http://eldersburg.patch.com/articles/eldersburg-peebles-to-close-its-doors-in-january)

And not that Im against Starbucks or anything, but the K Bank is going to become one. (and there is a Starbucks inside Safeway) (http://eldersburg.patch.com/articles/starbucks-to-replace-k-bank)

Are our teenagers supposed to just hang out there? Some alternative huh?

I guess everyone can hang at the gas stations that are rumoured to be built. I have to wonder where the planners get their ideas from. Just how many gas stations does Eldersburg need?

Alternatives?

Im guessing that teens and the parents of teens that dont drive yet, will be forced to take their money into other areas in order to be entertained. This is bad news for Eldersburg.

No matter which way you to attempt to spin it, having residents travel out of the area to spend their money will kill the area. When and if another business opens in the area, people will already have been used to going out of the area, and more than likely wont give new establishments a chance.

Someone, please tell me just how Eldersburg can survive?

Someone, please tell us what our kids (as well as adults) are supposed to do for entertainment?

Im really tired of all the partisan games down in Washington DC. No one knows how to compromise and everyone wants credit. Literally!

The past year, all Ive heard about is raising the debt ceiling, which – in laymans terms means that the government will be able to borrow even MORE money to add to our ever increasing debt.

Quite honestly, this all seems ridiculous considering that it was just a few months ago, they raised the debt ceiling. How many of us can do this when we get ourselves into a financial quandry? No one I know can do this.

Which brings me to how -I- would solve this problem.

Ever heard of Matthew Lesko? If you were ever suffering from insomnia back in the 90s, Im sure youve seen his infomercials. This might jog your memory:

This guy basically showed us how to get ‘free’ federal money…..Sounds good? Right? Well, apparently a simple google search tells me his entire spiel was a scam, but what if ANY of his books did tell us how to get that ‘free’ money?

Lets just say…..for pure conversation sake…..that out of all Leskos books, there were 50 programs that us regular people qualified for. So, you apply and get your federal check (remember, its ‘free’ money). Who inevitably pays for that check? That ‘free’ money gets paid for by United States taxpayers and adds to our debt.

Wanna know how else we add to our debt?

A simple look at the budget (and Im talking line by line) will open your eyes to the waste that occurs in our country. We have, quite literally, several thousand programs that are over a decade old. Some of these programs may only benefit a handful of people. These types of programs typically never end, they just keep going and going, like the Energizer bunny. Why arent programs like these stopped?

How about what our government pays for supplies? Ever seen those websites that lay out how a lightbulb can cost the government hundreds of dollars? If anyone could ‘buy in bulk’ its the government.

How about some of those ridiculous studies? Im not talking about true studies that actually benefit science here. Im talking about the millions of dollars that have been spent on researching the most glaringly obvious idiocy-like these examples: http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/government-waste-20-of-the-craziest-things-that-the-u-s-government-is-spending-money-on

Why is our government NOT stopping THIS? Granted, I understand that cutting some of these wont put a dent into the trillions of dollars we are struggling with, but isnt it a start?

Lets stop lobbying in general. Lobbyists get paid to stroke our elected officials egos in order to get their pet projects okayed. Not only is it a waste of our money, it does nothing for good legislation. Basically, let your projects and legislative ideas speak for themselves – if they cant do that, what good are they?

Lets stop this picking on our senior citizens and our military all the time everytime theres money problems in Washington. If anyone deserves to be paid, its those two groups. Our elected officials should do without THEIR pay to show a real sacrifice.

Quite honestly, our country needs to learn how to live within our means. Stop taxing the middle and lower class to death. You cant fix the economy if all those who would be spending money have to do without the necessary cash in  their pockets because of higher taxes now…..can you?

***stepping off my soapbox***

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As someone who has lived in the United States her entire life, I can tell you that Ive been brought up to support Israel because they are our countries ally. In the past year or so, my eyes have been opened regarding some of the things Israel has done in the past….One of my friends sent me a link to watch some of Robert Fisks documentaries and I didnt just stop at watching just one. I suggest that if you are on the fence regarding the types of things that Israel has been involved in (specifically about Gaza) look up Robert Fisk on google videos. Believe me, your eyes will be opened.

It is very difficult to understand the history of both Israel and Gaza. There has always been ongoing struggles in this region and neither side can come to any type of agreement….

It doesnt surprise me tho…After years of hearing about sanctions on different countries around the world, coming from the political perspective – I can now admit that I was naive regarding who are the ones punished when sanctions are imposed. It isnt the political leaders who are punished by sanctions, it is innocent families. And dont give that sanctimonious crap either, saying those innocent people are just as bad. How would you feel if you couldnt get much needed supplies because some other country got together with their allies in the United Nations and imposed sanctions because they disagreed?

(A perfect example of this is that the United States and Israel want all these other countries to disarm. I understand why. My issue is that no matter which country complies, The US and Israel will not ultimately disarm. Now – do you wonder why Iran or other countries arent completely complying?)

I have to say that I have doubts about the authenticity of Israels version of what transpired in this latest conflict with Gaza.

You see – every single story Ive seen about this states that all passengers on these boats were taken off the ship and all items (including their video) was confiscated. All weve seen on tv is a video that many online have stated is a fake. For those who have been able to conduct interviews following their ordeal, the facts differ from the ‘official’ story that Israel would have you beleive.  (Flotilla Survivor says Israeli marines boarded unarmed American ship throwing grenades http://deadlinelive.info/2010/06/02/flotilla-survivor-says-israeli-marines-boarded-unarmed-american-ship-throwing-grenades/ Here is another survivor/eyewitness (Huwaida Arraf, US activist) recounts the deliberate murder of civilian activists. http://www.sott.net/articles/show/209749-Israel-Deliberately-Murdered-Civilians-Aboard-Freedom-Flotilla-Says-Eyewitness-and-Victim )

However – those of us in the United States who are attempting to find out what happened, are basically left to wonder just what is going on….I mean, most of our media is on the side of Israel…..while the rest of the world has condemned what they did in International Waters. (The United States is the only country NOT to condemn Israels attack http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PFLSWz7BXpo&feature=player_embedded )

Now, Im not picking on any particular network because they all have pretty much been the same – but I found this clip of Glenn Greenwald on MSNBC saying very matter of factly, they have pretty much aired pro-Israel rhetoric (or shall I say, propaganda) without any real debate. He points out just how one-sided the coverage of this obvious crime against humanity has been conducted. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8j3XHHn1yWs&feature=player_embedded

So, lemme get this straight, Israel is basically allowed to fire upon a ship in International Waters? Lets say, Iran or Iraq did such a thing, would the United States still be so –blazze? http://alethonews.wordpress.com/2010/05/31/world-watches-raid-on-relief-flotilla-as-israel%e2%80%99s-pr-machine-flails/ and also see  http://www.alternet.org/story/147052/3_facts_you_need_to_know_about_the_israeli_attack_on_peace_activists_on_the_gaza_flotilla/

I then watched a clip of Helen Thomas  telling the White House how they ‘should’ be acting! I have to say, I wanted to give Helen Thomas a round of applause after watching this! http://palestinenote.com/cs/blogs/news/archive/2010/06/01/watch-helen-thomas-grills-white-house-on-flotilla-massacre.aspx

And…..Lets not forget the straight up political nature of those who are ceasing diplomatic relations with a Israel…Nicaragua is the first to cut all ties with Israel. Im sure the list is about to grow.  http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=128726&sectionid=351020706&utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

Have you ever really looked at this entire conflict in a different perspective?

Do you really think it is okay for Israel to attack a ship carrying supplies/aid in International Waters? Do you think it is okay that they did this in the presence of a child?

This truly is not a political issue – this is an issue of whether you care about humanity. Was it okay when Israel attacked Gaza for a month? Was it okay for them to hold the citizens of Gaza under so tight of a curfew that one cannot even leave to go to a hospital? Is it okay that human beings are dying just because they happen to be Palestinian?

Oh….wasnt Hamas ‘democratically elected’? Dont they disagree with the way our government does things? Hmmm, food for thought.

We, as Americans, have attempted to figure out why the rest of the world hates us. Ive heard roundtable discussions talking about extremists possible motives and while many possibilities are discussed, NONE equate their hate for us with our support of Israel.

For the most part, its my belief that no matter where your loyalty lies, this behavior will be found. However, no other country has ‘got away with’ more of these crimes than Israel.

NOW (at the advice of a friend-thanks)

I am not a ‘hater’ I am not for any type of movement that uses violence as a way to get their way. I am not for the suffering of ANY human – PERIOD!

If you disagree with me, that is fine. I wont be offended if you respectfully state your views. I ask that you please give links if referring to factual information so that I may see what you are speaking about. Im sure more information will be made public and I will post my take on that as well.

Until then…..”the truth is out there”

Will you be able to see it?

So, now that Ive gotten your attention with that captivating blog title…..I guess I should say, that YES, the BP Oil Spill is really THAT bad. The potential environmental consequences are overwhelmingly catastrophic.

Im sure by now, every media outlet has informed the public about past safety issues with BP….including the explosion that killed their employees in Texas a few years ago. Im also pretty sure that upon researching BP, you will find out that they had -what we call- ‘an in’ with the government…..

But….even with all that evidence that BP is all about the bottom line and not taking care of their employees OR the environment – Im about to give you what I beleive is behind this ‘accident’ and hopefully give you a different outlook on this situation.

I came across this article awhile ago – http://news.mongabay.com/2005/0921-weakening_hurricane.html

This was written in 2005 in response to Hurricane Katrina and asking if there was some way to lesson the severity of hurricanes. It seems that something called ‘cloud seeding’ was done to weaken hurricanes in the past (see previous blogs regarding this subject)  and now other alternatives are being tried in order to weaken these destructive storms. What is so interesting is that this article specifically mentions placing an oil slick on the surface of the ocean in order to cut off the supply of warm water that strengthens hurricanes.

This article also mentions several other ways that they would like to see if hurricanes can be weakened…..but, at this period in time, who really cares about icebergs and detonation of nuclear weapons?? Its not like BP purposely created this hole in the floor of the ocean and spilled all this oil to protect the southern coastline of the US from hurricanes or anything…..

…..or did they?

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