technocracygirl: Cartoon Raven from "Teen Titans" glaring at you from over the top of her book (Default)
I think that this slideshow from the Huffington Post is a decent rundown of the stuff in the new food safety bill. All in all, it doesn't look too bad. Now, the question is, will the FDA actually implement the bill as stated, or will they knuckle under to lobbyists? No idea, nor am I likely to write out my opinion for the Internet. But we can hope.

As with all FDA-related stuff, this is my opinion, and my opinion alone. I do not speak for any part of the FDA.

1) Food Recall Power -- This is the one in most of the news reports, and well should it be. Neither the USDA nor the FDA had the power to recall a darned thing. It was all voluntary. When people refused to recall, it wasn't FDA who would do the forcing. We'd have to call in the appropriate state agency, and they'd do the forcing. It worked okay with food; most states have a food recall law and agency. Drugs? Not so much.

2) Fees for Reinspection -- Could be good, could be bad. It will hit violators in the pocketbook, which is where it should hit them. But I can definitely see some problems, especially with small and very small firms.

3) Update Performance Standards -- Great, if we have the manpower to do it.

4) Establish Foreign Offices -- I guess we're allowed to do this, but I really wonder about international treaties. I want to know more. Right now, though, firms generally invite us in to inspect, because they want to be able to ship their goods to America.

5) Access to Records -- I suspect this is to bring food firms to the same levels of record compliance as drug firms. It's a good thing.

6) Power to suspend -- I suspect the reasoning for the addition here is is similar to number 1. I could be wrong.

7) Risk/Hazard Prevention -- HACCP for everyone! Seriously, this is a really freaking good idea. It works well for meat, poultry, and fish, and it should work well for other foods, too. I's a bear to implement in the beginning, though, so I hope we have the staffing to teach firms (especially, again, the small and very small firms) about how to implement it.

8) Produce Safety Standards -- Yes. Good.

9) Regulations on Food Unfit to Eat -- If it's unfit to eat, isn't it adulterated? I need more information to understand this one.

10) Food Allergy Management -- Good stuff. Not much to say.

11) Response and Recovery -- Very good. No one goes to the FDA website before going to the grocery store, unless it's a multi-state, front-page news recall.

12) Inspection frequency -- It was law that drug and device manufacturers had to be inspected every two years. So when you don't have enough inspectors to inspect everyone, who gets left out? My only issue is that in order to do this, the field NEEDS MORE INSPECTORS. Seriously, even a short, easy, one-day inspection with no collection is going to take a day of research, a day of inspecting, and then one or two days of writing up the findings, minimum. Inspectors work *hard*.

13) Tracking Produce -- Seems like a good idea. It's a lot easier to track bar-coded stuff, but most bar-coded stuff isn't eaten raw.

14) Imported Food Certification -- Seems like a good idea.

15) Foreign Regulatory Power -- Interesting. Very, very interesting. Not quite certain how this plays out...

16) Funding for Staff Expansion -- YES! MORE PEOPLE IN THE FIELD THANK YOU! Seriously, most of this stuff is worthless if we don't have the boots on the ground in all 50 states.

17) Whistleblower Protection -- Um, yes. Absolutely; this should have been in the FD&C before this.

18) Foreign Inspection Increase -- Directly ties into #16. Foreign inspection is hard, grueling work. You need good inspectors and good analysts who are willing to do that, and it takes *training*. I'm a little sad that my new job doesn't let me go out on either foreign or domestic inspections.

And now, to breakfast, and baking. I am not down with a lot of Christmas, but here's just something lovely about a breakfast of freshly baked sticky buns/cinnamon rolls.
technocracygirl: Cartoon Raven from "Teen Titans" glaring at you from over the top of her book (Default)
What Will Happen If the Republicans Force a Government Shutdown?

Let's talk large view for a moment. In 2008, there were 2,768,886 people employed as civilians by the US Federal Government. (Data from here.) That's almost three million folks. What's the current number of unemployed people? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, that's 14.9 million people. So, if the federal government shuts down, that's an approximate 16% increase of people who don't have the money that they expected to be coming in to be coming in. Do you really think that the economy can afford to have that many more people to be out of work? Really?

I'm trying to write out how this would affect me personally, but when I do, I just think of all of my friends who are in financial difficulties, and who have been dealing with this horrible, horrible economic crap for a very long time. And I feel like a heel for talking about this and not all the stuff that they have already gone through and are still dealing with, while I discuss hypotheticals.

So I'll just say this, and if anyone wants to question in the comments, they can. If I don't get paid but am still employed, I can't collect unemployment insurance or access most of the other safety nets available to the unemployed. Therefore, our household budget would get cut to the absolute bone as fast and as harshly as possible. We have savings, but with no idea of when the Republicans would be willing to let me work for pay again, we would have no idea how long of a storm we would have to weather. There's temporary jobs, but I doubt they would be scientific ones. (There are a lot of scientists in the area who are employed by the federal government. All of us would be out of work.) I doubt I could even get a McJob -- they'd see that I was most recently employed by the federal government and assume that I'd bail on them at the first opportunity. (Not to mention that I can't get money from anyone the FDA inspects while I work for the FDA. So no fast food at all.)

Shutting down the government means that 3 million people are suddenly out of work with all of the badness and none of the safety net or future new job that it normally entails.

That's what the Republican plan gets you. No social services, and less money flowing into the economy.

On the plus side, I'd have a lot more time to be involved in politics...
technocracygirl: From A&E's Horatio Hornblower, Major Edrington is smirking and Horatio is looking abashed. (amusement)
Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

(I have been doing this every few minutes or so since 3:40.)

Eeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

G-d bless Judge Vaughn, G-d bless the prosecutors, G-d bless the wonderful couples who brought the suit, G-d bless everyone who worked for this.

This is a worthy victory.

Blessed art thou, Adonai Our G-d, for sustaining us and for enabling us to reach this season.

Mazel tov!

(And no, I don't really have anything more in depth to say about this. I'm just happy.)

Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!
technocracygirl: Cartoon Raven from "Teen Titans" glaring at you from over the top of her book (Default)
"F.D.I.C. is going to cost us a lot of money."

That was said by Jaime Dimon, the chief executive of JP Morgan Chase. Go ahead, read the rest. The man is a whiny baby who wants to privatize the profits and socialize the risk. (Seriously, read what he's whining about.)

But it's that top quote that's the worst. The FDIC insures that even if a bank goes under, the little people who put their money in the bank (up to $100,000, like it says on the plaques) will not lose everything. Because that's a big freaking chunk of what happened in the Great Depression; people had their life savings in banks, and the banks died. Look at the run on the S&L in It's a Wonderful Life, look at Matthew's death in Anne of Green Gables, look at a goodly chunk of novels with sudden poverty in them written before the 1930's. Bank collapses were very common, and they would take hundreds, thousands, or more with them when they did.

Guess what? That trope is gone, because of the FDIC. And this bleeper wants to defund FDIC further? The reason the FDIC needs more money is because so many banks have gone bankrupt over the last two years. Thanks in no small part to your work, Mr. Dimon.

Suck it up, JP. Suck it the bleep up.
technocracygirl: Cover of Joe Conason's book _It Can Happen Here_ (Authoritarianism)
Dear Political System of California,

I have had kind of a crap day, and I'm tired, so I'll just be succinct.

STOP BEING STUPID.

No love,
Me
technocracygirl: Cartoon Raven from "Teen Titans" glaring at you from over the top of her book (Default)
There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.

-John Rodgers - http://kfmonkey.blogspot.com/2009/03/ephemera-2009-7.html

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technocracygirl: Cartoon Raven from "Teen Titans" glaring at you from over the top of her book (Default)
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