Page 183

Funny video: the Amazon Echo Silver

The Amazon Echo Silver is specifically designed for the Greatest Generation. It’s super loud, and it responds to any name even remotely close to “Alexa.”

Watch the video below.

Frugal Prepping: 12 Cheap Ways to Prep Like There’s No Tomorrow

Photo: Pixabay, Brett Hondow CC0

With economic times being what they are, it only means that we become more frugal when it comes to prepping. No one wants to be overdrawn in their accounts because they were trying to prepare for emergencies. Frugality is an art form, and if used properly, it can save you lots of money. The key is to know where to find these hidden gems. With a little “out of the box” thinking and some patience, you can acquire prepper items like food, tools, shelter, first aid and weaponry for pennies on the dollar.

Before you begin, keep these tips in mind:

  • Find out what your budget it and set aside an allotment each month for preps.
  • Take inventory of what you already have so that you don’t purchase multiples of items.
  • Have a list of items you need and don’t deviate from the plan!
  • When you are prepping on a budget, be patient and wait for the right opportunity to purchase.
  • Don’t ever panic buy or shop impulsively. This is where you lose money and the key here is to save it.

There are many strategies you can take to save money on your preps, you just have to choose which one is best for you. Here are 12 suggestions you can take to frugally purchase preparedness items.

12 Cheap Ways to Prep Like There’s No Tomorrow

  1. Buy in bulk. A lot of preppers use this frugal shopping strategy so they get more bang for their buck. Discount warehouses are great for this type of purchasing. As well, when you buy in bulk, you will enough of this item for a short-term emergency, so you can cross the item off your prepper list until you need to buy more. The LDS warehouse is another place to get bulk items inexpensively.
  2. Purchase a small item at a time. If your budget is so tight that you only have $5 extra in your account – you can make that work. Take a look at these prepper food items that are $5.
  3. Barter in your community. Your skills and services can carry you far if you allow them to. Consider what abilities and knowledge you possess that can be shared with others and barter them for goods or other services. Here are some great tips on how to barter better.
  4. Go to farmer’s markets and get in contact with local growers. If you work a deal with a vendor at a farmer’s market, you can get lots of food relatively inexpensively. Work a deal such as, get 5 lbs of strawberries to turn into jam and give 4 jars to the vendor. This is a great way to practice self-reliant skills and put food in your pantry. If you are an avid hunter, work a deal and see if someone will preserve the meat. See what I mean?
  5. Thrift stores. Thrift stores are a great way to collect vintage or antique items for a fraction of the cost. Ready Nutrition writer, Ruby Burks found cast iron pots, old cookbooks and kitchen utensils to use in her home. Remember, keep a list of items you are looking for and don’t deviate. This will keep your budget in check.
  6. Look for free stuff. I know this one is a long shot, but there are items you can get for free at garage sales, Craigslist, and even rummaging through items people have thrown out. is another place to look for items. At this website, people recycle previously owned items and give them away for free.
  7. Go to the Dollar store. Not only can you buy food at the Dollar stores, but tools and medical supplies. This could be an untapped local source of preps for you!
  8. Use coupons. Finding coupons in the Sunday newspaper, magazines, local grocery stores or even online is a great way to start the search for what you need.  Not only can you use coupons to use for short-term and long-term food supplies, but you can find deals for camping equipment or warm clothes, etc.  You can literally save hundreds of dollars using coupons.
  9. Purchase gently used items. Pawn shops, Ebay, military surplus stores, and Craigslist are great places to look for used items. You can save a lot using this method, but take all necessary means to ensure the products are not damaged in any way. As well, if you are meeting someone at their home, practice safety and go with someone else.
  10. Look for deals – When you are shopping and you come across a deal such as 10 canned goods for $5 – get it! This is a great way to save money and stock up your pantry. This cumulative savings strategy can go for any of your prepping needs – medical supplies, dental care, garden seeds, etc. Typically, these type of deals can be found in your local newspaper. Don’t forget that coupons are your best friend in this situation.
  11. Do-It-Yourself – Whether it’s DIY projects or dehydrating your own food, this method can save you a lot of money. For example, instead of spending $4 on waterproof matches, dip them in wax yourself and viola! Or, if you need dehydrated food, buy a dehydrator and do it yourself.
  12. Grow your own food. Having food stashed away for a rainy day is one of the must-have items in your preps. Why not start a garden and grow your own. Any food that comes from our harvest can be dehydrated or canned for long-term use. This instantly saves you money at the grocery store too and is a great way to practice self-reliance.

We are all looking for ways to save money in our prepper ventures and hopefully some of these suggestions can help you. What are frugal strategies you use to save money on your preps?


Tess Pennington is the author of The Prepper’s Blueprint, a comprehensive guide that uses real-life scenarios to help you prepare for any disaster. Because a crisis rarely stops with a triggering event the aftermath can spiral, having the capacity to cripple our normal ways of life. The well-rounded, multi-layered approach outlined in the Blueprint helps you make sense of a wide array of preparedness concepts through easily digestible action items and supply lists.

Tess is also the author of the highly rated Prepper’s Cookbook, which helps you to create a plan for stocking, organizing and maintaining a proper emergency food supply and includes over 300 recipes for nutritious, delicious, life-saving meals. 

Visit her web site at for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Tips to get the most out of your HSA dollars

Image: Brandpoint

(BPT) – Millions of Americans with high-deductible health insurance plans rely on health savings accounts to help them manage the costs of health care. If you’re among them, you know how important it is to maximize the value you get out of every HSA dollar.

If you don’t yet have an HSA, you may qualify for one if you receive health insurance through an employer-sponsored plan with a high deductible. Individuals may qualify if their deductible is at least $1,300, and families may qualify with a deductible of at least $2,600, according to the IRS. With an HSA, you can deposit pre-tax dollars into the account to pay for certain health and medical-related expenses — up to $3,400 for an individual and $6,750 for a family in 2017.

While there are approximately 17 million HSAs currently in use in the U.S., insurance industry watchers predict that number could rise significantly as the federal government again addresses health care reform, the Boston Globe reports.

You can maximize the value of your HSA in several ways, including:

* If you’re at risk for arterial or heart disease, you and your doctor may decide preventive screenings are in order. Screening proactively can help catch warning signs of trouble before a more serious problem develops. However, most insurers won’t pay for preventive screening for arterial health.

You can use your HSA dollars to schedule vascular health screening through Life Line Screening. You don’t need a doctor’s referral to schedule a simple, safe and painless ultrasound to detect possible plaque buildup in arteries — a leading factor in stroke and heart disease. Life Line Screening tells you the price of the screening up front and offers appointments in convenient locations throughout communities. Visit to learn more and schedule an appointment.

* Keeping track of HSA-eligible expenses can be challenging, but budgeting software can help. Numerous free programs are available online. Most HSA providers also offer online access and digital tools to help you monitor your account, track saving and spending, and better understand the tax impact of your contributions.

* If your employer doesn’t provide vision insurance, you can use HSA funds to pay for eye exams, corrective lenses and even Lasik surgery. Studies show regular vision care is an essential component of overall health, and helps not only preserve your eyesight and eyes, but can also help detect other serious health problems.

* Only about half of American workers have dental insurance through their employers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. For those who do have dental insurance, it typically does not cover all expenses. Yet dental health is intrinsic to overall health. You can use HSA money to pay for dental care, including exams, X-rays, braces, dentures, fillings and oral surgery.

* Smoking is one of the most damaging things you can do for your health, and your HSA dollars can help you kick the habit. Smoking cessation treatment is a qualified medical expense that can be paid for through health savings accounts. When you quit smoking, your body immediately begins to repair the damage caused by smoking, and you reduce your risk of heart attack, stroke and cancer, according to the American Lung Association.

“Smoking is associated with multiple chronic diseases, so quitting is one of the best things you can do for your overall health,” says Dr. Andrew Manganaro, chief medical officer at Life Line Screening. To help people understand their personal risk, Life Line Screening offers a program called “6 For Life” that outlines an individual’s risk for six chronic diseases and includes blood tests.

* Although controlling your weight is another important factor in overall health, few health plans will cover any kind of weight loss program. However, a doctor-prescribed weight loss program aimed at treating a specific disease such as obesity, high blood pressure or heart disease can be paid for with HSA money.

Your health savings account comes with many benefits and cost savings and tax breaks are just two of them. More importantly, when used wisely, your HSA can help you achieve better health.

New bandage lights up for infections

Glow bandageThe early detection of wound infection can dramatically improve patient care and clinical outcomes. So imagine if your bandage could signal when a wound starts to fester.

Wait no more, from the UK’s University of Bath comes this prototype wound dressing that glows when it detects pathogen activity from the ‘biofilm,’ a slimy substance made of external DNA, proteins and complex sugars. It will then deliver antibiotics automatically.

Basically, the researchers are using nanotechnology to develop a medical dressing which will detect and treat infection in wounds. The bandage will work by releasing antibiotics from nanocapsules triggered by the presence of disease-causing pathogenic bacteria, which will target treatment before the infection takes hold.

The bandage will also change colour when the antibiotic is released, alerting healthcare professionals that there is infection in the wound.

This is an important step in treating burns patients, particularly children, where infections can lead to toxic shock syndrome, a potentially fatal condition.

In the tests, the bandage detected strains of Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus, and Enterococcus faecalis.

Cool, right?

How to stay safe in a crowd

Image: Robert Swier: Still, in a Crowd CC x2.0

It’s finally summer, which means it’s time for traveling, festivals, holidays and sporting events. Unfortunately, the warmer weather and seasonal holidays often lead to crowded streets. Humans are social beings, so it isn’t surprising that you may end up in a big crowd at some point this summer. However, it’s important to stay cautious in a crowd, if only because the increased number of people can translate to an increased number of muggers, identity thieves and other individuals who wish you harm. I like to look for the best in people, but it’s essential to prepare for the worst!

Here are some tips to keep you and yours safe in a crowd this summer:

1.) Carry your belongings in a cross-body bag. It can be tempting to distribute the weight of your bag on both shoulders by using a backpack, but fight the urge! Backpacks are easy to break into, and most times you won’t even know you’ve been robbed until you get out of the crowd. A cross-body bag is hard to break into and sticks tight to your side. Get one with a secure zipper, and keep a hand on it while you’re in a crowded area.

2.) Park in a busy and well-lit area. It’s not unusual for thieves to target parked cars at many concerts and sporting events– the owners are at the event, completely unaware that their car is being robbed. To avoid this, get to your event early and find a parking spot close to the entrance and surrounded by other cars. Preferably, get close to a busy street with foot traffic. The best way to protect your car is to park in a pay lot, since many of them have guards. However, if you are abroad or in an area threatened by terrorist attacks or natural disasters, you should also balance the need to park in an area you can easily escape from. Underground parking garages, while safer for your car and belongings, can be hard to escape from in a hurry. In this case, it depends on the situation.

3.) Have a planned meeting place. If you’re traveling with a group, it’s important to have a plan in case you get separated in a crowd. Speak to every member of your group before you enter the crowd and make sure they know where to meet if they get separated. Easily recognizable and public landmarks are the best for meeting spots– a specific food vendor, outside a restroom, at a ticket booth, etc. Make sure your meeting spot is in a busy, public area. You don’t want to get even more lost trying to find your meeting spot!

4.) Keep your phone charged and bring an external charger with you. Pretty self-explanatory. Your phone is your lifeline in a dangerous situation, make sure it’s ready to go.

5.) Steer clear of drugs and alcohol. Both recreational drugs and alcohol can dehydrate you and make you more susceptible to thieves and others who wish you harm. They also impact your judgement and make it harder to stay safe. If you’re in a crowded area, drink lots of bottled water and keep yourself alert. It’s tempting to have a few drinks at a concert or festival (and by all means, have a good time!) but remember to stay aware of your surroundings and remember your emergency escape plan.

Stay safe this summer!

Is this the missile North Korea will launch at Americans?

The dictatorship of North Korea successfully tested a new missile that appears to have greater range than anything they’ve fired before.

The regime claims it is a new class of Hwasong missile, and one that can carry a large nuclear warhead.

MSN reports:

The missile was launched at the highest angle so as not to affect the security of neighboring countries and flew 787 kilometers (490 miles) reaching an altitude of 2,111.5 kilometers (1,312 miles), KCNA said.

Experts said the altitude reached by the missile tested on Sunday meant it was launched at a high trajectory, which would limit the lateral distance it traveled. But if it was fired at a standard trajectory, it would have a range of at least 4,000 km (2,500 miles), experts said.

Two things about it appear to make it more threatening than ever.

While this missile landed only 439 miles away, it reached an altitude of over 1,300 miles.  North Korea has long had the ability to strike targets in Japan, including U.S. forces there.  This greater ability to strike from increased altitude means North Korean missiles can hit a target at a sharper angle, helping it evade anti-missile systems.

The ability to carry larger and larger warheads is a top concern.  North Korea has 30 nuclear warheads, but none small enough to be carried by any of their missiles.  Efforts to build larger missiles may succeed before their efforts to miniaturize warheads do.

Is Pine Pollen Your Homegrown Super Food?

Photo source: Pixabay, lancealot21ys, CC0 Public Domain,

This piece is designed to make you aware of the many benefits of pine pollen.  That’s right, it’s a superfood that can be put to many uses, and we’re actually coming up on the time that it can be harvested in the wild.  Raw pine pollen is good for a lot of different things, especially exercise and physical training.  Let’s outline some of the qualities of it and cite some references for your perusal.

Pine Pollen is a Powerhouse of Nutrients

Pine pollen is, technically, the male “sperm” cells of the pine tree, and is analogous to a plant-formulated testosterone.  Don’t smirk, ladies: in this form, it is very beneficial for you as well.  Studies prove that low testosterone levels in both genders (yes, women also have a minute quantity of it in their bodies) cause cholesterol levels (the “bad” form of it) to increase.  Low levels also cause losses of bone and tissue that translate into aging prematurely, and also significant weight gain (fat), sexual problems, and cardiovascular problems.

With men, in particular, low testosterone levels lead to a higher probability of cancer.  Pine pollen can fight all of these with its components of Phyto-androgens, which are the sexual hormones found in human beings but produced in plants.  This is really neat stuff because the pine pollen gives you androstenedione, testosterone, DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone), and androsterone.  Sift through the archives and you’ll find some articles I wrote on DHEA and testosterone that go into detail.

Some of the ailments that raw pine pollen can fight off are high cholesterol, chronic fatigue, and diabetes.    These conditions have been dramatically improved by the regular addition of pine pollen to the diet.  Although these Phyto-androgens are almost identical to the ones produced by the human body, there is still a slight difference, and this is beneficial: the difference enables the body to continue producing its normal levels of the androgens without being affected by the addition of the pine pollen.

It can be taken in the form of powder or tincture, and with either case mixed with a beverage.  The tincture is the more easily-consumed out of the two forms.  Here are a few websites to help you in your quest for further information:…

The pine pollen is also made up of about 35% protein and contains 7 essential amino acids.  To refresh your memory from the articles I have written previously, essential amino acids are those necessary to the body that are not produced within the body, i.e., we must obtain them from food.  Here they are, with the 7 essentials being underlined:

  • Alanine 17mg
  • Arginine 30mg
  • Aspartic acid 33mg
  • Cysteine 3mg
  • Glutamic acid 47mg
  • Glycine 21mg
  • Histidine 6mg
  • Isoleucine 16mg
  • Leucine 25mg
  • Lysine 24mg
  • Phenylalanine 17mg
  • Proline 26mg
  • Serine 16mg
  • Threonine 15mg
  • Tryptophan 4mg
  • Tyrosine 11mg
  • Valine 19mg

The recommended amount to consume is ½ to 1 tsp per day.  Pine pollen is also chock full of vitamins and minerals, as well as acids and a ton of substances that normally we buy in bunches, such as resveratrol and MSM.  These substances are all right there in the pine pollen.  I have seen many places to order it online, and your finer health food stores will (at the bare minimum) be able to order it for you.  As with all things, consult with your physician prior to using any of the information or materials mentioned in this article.  JJ out!


Jeremiah Johnson is the Nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces (Airborne). Mr. Johnson was a Special Forces Medic, EMT and ACLS-certified, with comprehensive training in wilderness survival, rescue, and patient-extraction. He is a Certified Master Herbalist and a graduate of the Global College of Natural Medicine of Santa Ana, CA. A graduate of the U.S. Army’s survival course of SERE school (Survival Evasion Resistance Escape), Mr. Johnson also successfully completed the Montana Master Food Preserver Course for home-canning, smoking, and dehydrating foods.

Mr. Johnson dries and tinctures a wide variety of medicinal herbs taken by wild crafting and cultivation, in addition to preserving and canning his own food. An expert in land navigation, survival, mountaineering, and parachuting as trained by the United States Army, Mr. Johnson is an ardent advocate for preparedness, self-sufficiency, and long-term disaster sustainability for families. He and his wife survived Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Cross-trained as a Special Forces Engineer, he is an expert in supply, logistics, transport, and long-term storage of perishable materials, having incorporated many of these techniques plus some unique innovations in his own homestead.

Mr. Johnson brings practical, tested experience firmly rooted in formal education to his writings and to our team. He and his wife live in a cabin in the mountains of Western Montana with their three cats.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

These Super-Rich Survivalists Are Preparing for an Apocalypse

Photo credit: Pixabay, CC0 Public Domain,

Have you ever imagined what you would do in the event of a zombie apocalypse without the zombies? End times without the return of the savior? A nuclear winter? An environmental catastrophe? A bloody revolution?

Most of us have, but preparing for the apocalypse seems pointless. At most, we might drive to the local warehouse store to buy an extra case of bottled water or canned ravioli. It’s probably never dawned on us to purchase a 3- million-dollar condominium in a former missile silo as ‘apocalypse insurance’ or a ‘safety hatch’ island with helicopter pad to escape from major population centers.

A growing number of millionaires and billionaires are anticipating the apocalypse by making these kinds of high-dollar investments, reports Evan Osnos of the New Yorker. In his article, titled “Survival of the Richest,” Osnos profiles about a half dozen super-rich “preppers,” each trying to buy himself security and peace-of-mind in case the end of days is right around the corner.

Osnos interviews one man who bought a pair of luxurious hideaways in New Zealand, a popular destination for these wealthy preppers:

An American hedge-fund manager in his forties—tall, tanned, athletic—recently bought two houses in New Zealand and acquired local residency. He agreed to tell me about his thinking, if I would not publish his name. Brought up on the East Coast, he said, over coffee, that he expects America to face at least a decade of political turmoil, including racial tension, polarization, and a rapidly aging population. “The country has turned into the New York area, the California area, and then everyone else is wildly different in the middle,” he said. He worries that the economy will suffer if Washington scrambles to fund Social Security and Medicare for people who need it. “Do you default on that obligation? Or do you print more money to give to them? What does that do to the value of the dollar? It’s not a next-year problem, but it’s not fifty years away, either.”

New Zealand’s reputation for attracting doomsayers is so well known in the hedge-fund manager’s circle that he prefers to differentiate himself from earlier arrivals. He said, “This is no longer about a handful of freaks worried about the world ending.” He laughed, and added, “Unless I’m one of those freaks.”

Freaks or not, these affluent preppers tend to be conservative, usually libertarian, and obsessed with how they’ll survive the coming apocalypse, while the masses (yes, that’s most of us) die. They stockpile weapons, motorcycles and generators like the rest of us fill our basements with canned food and bottled water.

For what kinds of disasters are they preparing? In an interview with National Public Radio, Osnos elaborates:

Some of the things that they talk about are the kind of stuff of ordinary disaster movies, but there is some real element to it. The idea that there could be a pandemic, if the Ebola virus, for instance, had affected a much larger part of the population, or an earthquake on the San Andreas in San Francisco, that’s not a completely unreasonable fear.

Or the possibility of some sort of civil unrest. They take what they’ve seen in some American cities and extrapolate onto a larger scale and they said, “Well, what would happen?”

The preppers are not without their critics. Max Levchin, creator of PayPal, thinks the Silicon Valley survivalists are off their rockers. He lampoons them for fearing the “pitchforks,” or that the poor will rise up against them, the filthy rich. Levchin recommends that these “H.N.W.I’s (High Net Worth Individuals)” expand their philanthropic activities (e.g. giving to homeless shelters). Osnos summarizes Levchin’s reservations: “In his view, this is the time to invest in solutions, not escape.”

While it’s fairly clear what the ultra-wealthy will do in the event of an apocalypse (with or without the zombies), the looming question is: What will the rest of us do?  Personally, I’m heading to the store to buy some water and ravioli.

This post Super-Rich Survivalists Are Preparing for an Apocalypse was originally published on Intellectual Takeout by Shane Ralston.

Blast from the Past! Mattel Tommy Burst and Winchester TV commercials 1960s!

Remember how kids used to be able to play with you guns? And somehow grew up to be decent people!

Here’s a rare early 60s TV commercial for Mattel’s Tommy Burst submachine gun detective set. You could load in caps (remember what great fun they were!), pull the bolt back, and it made a big noise and produced a small cloud of smoke around the barrel tip.

And here’s an ad from their Winchester versions.


Public Schools Resort to Child Abuse to Further Anti-Gun Agenda

Photo: Pixabay CC0

Several years ago, I would regularly share horror stories about innocent kids being abused by politically correct government school administrators who overreacted to anything remotely resembling a gun.

I even had a U.S. vs. U.K. stupidity contest that featured many examples of anti-gun lunacy, though Canada may actually win the prize for the most absurd case of political correctness.

But I eventually stopped sharing these types of stories because it seemed there were so many and I felt like I was making the same points over and over again.

Time for the hiatus to end. I’ve run across a handful of stories that are so preposterous that I can’t resist revisiting the issue.

Punishing Make-Believe

Here’s our first example. A local television station in North Carolina reports that a little girl was suspended because she pretended that a stick was a gun while playing with her friends.

A local mother is outraged after her 5-year-old daughter was suspended from school because of a stick that resembled a gun.…It started Friday when her mother got a call from the principal about a playground incident. Caitlin explained that she and her two friends were using their imaginations, playing “King and Queen.” In this case, Caitlin was the guard protecting the royals and picked up the gun to imitate shooting an intruder into the kingdom. Hoke County Schools said Caitlin posed a threat to other students when she made a shooting motion, thus violating policy 4331. …Miller says Caitlin was alienated by her friends and teachers as a result of the suspension. She hopes that the school will issue some sort of apology to her daughter.

I’m not the only one who thinks this is insane.

Suspended over a Butter Knife

Now for our second story.

It’s about a very dangerous 11-year old girl who – gasp!! – a Florida television station has the details.

A South Florida couple is outraged after they said their daughter was suspended from her middle school for using a child butter knife at lunchtime to cut a peach. …Souto’s daughter is an honor roll student at Silver Trail Middle School in Pembroke Pines. …Ronald and Andrea Souto told Local 10 News reporter Michael Seiden that their 11-year-old daughter was suspended for six days for bringing the knife to school. “This is a set of a spoon, fork and knife for toddlers — one year old,” Andrea Souto said. “It is made for children to learn how to eat properly. She’s used it since she was a baby.” According to the school district, the girl violated the county’s weapon policy when she used her butter knife in the cafeteria to cut the peach. …Ronald said he hopes what happened to his daughter will bring change to the district, specifically new policies when it comes to weapons.

But this rogue child didn’t just get suspended. She may become an actual criminal.

The Soutos said they were shocked about the suspension and are now concerned that their daughter’s act of kindness could lead to criminal charges. …The Pembroke Pines Police Department said it has turned over their investigation to the State Attorney’s Office. It’s unclear whether prosecutors will file charges.

Preschool to Prison Pipeline 

Our third story comes from a St. Louis TV station and it involves a four-year-old boy who was suspended for a shell casing.

Hunter, 4, has been suspended from his preschool for bringing a shell casing from a fired bullet to school. He’d been at the preschool for about a year, she said, and now was in tears.Neither she nor Hunter’s dad knew it, but he found something he thought was pretty neat and he took it to school Tuesday to show his friends. …Hunter’s parents got a letter from the school’s director saying Hunter had been suspended for 7 days. …It turns out the casing came from a visit with Hunter’s grandpa who is a Caseyville police officer, Jackson said. …The school’s vice-president e-mailed her that he was notifying the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS).

The last sentence is particularly chilling since DCFS bureaucrats presumably have the power to take children from their families. So imagine the horrible position of Hunter’s parents, who not only have to deal with their kid being suspended for doing nothing wrong, but also have to worry about the state kidnapping their child if some anti-gun bureaucrat woke up on the wrong side of the bed.

Permanent Record

Our fourth and final story is courtesy of the Montgomery Advertiser in Alabama, where a teenager was expelled for a year because of a water gun.

A family is up in arms after their 16-year-old daughter was expelled from Prattville High School for having a water gun on campus. …she was banned from school property and any extra-curricular activities for the same period. …She said a male classmate handed the toy to her daughter “as a joke.” “…the second you picked it up, you know it’s plastic and a toy,” she said. “So we can understand the initial reaction, not knowing it wasn’t a real gun. But after the principal and school officials knew it was a water gun, things should never have progressed this far.” …The family wants any reference to the expulsion removed from Laney’s academic records, McPhillips’ letters read. …If the expulsion isn’t removed from Laney’s academic record, the family is considering filing legal action.

I suppose there are two big-picture lessons to be learned.

It’s hard to be optimistic about the education system after reading these stories. 

If bureaucrats at government schools don’t have common sense, how can they teach reading, writing, and arithmetic?

Maybe (especially given the shocking lack of results after record levels of staffing and funding) we should break up the government school monopoly and let parents choose better-quality schools.

Second, keep in mind that anti-gun statists know they can’t win the intellectual argument against private gun ownership, so they’re trying to stigmatize anything remotely connected to guns in hopes of eventually winning the political argument.

Republished from International Liberty

Daniel J. Mitchell

Daniel J. Mitchell

Daniel J. Mitchell is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute who specializes in fiscal policy, particularly tax reform, international tax competition, and the economic burden of government spending. He also serves on the editorial board of the Cayman Financial Review.

This article was originally published on Read the original article.

Amazing things happen – When you try to understand

You don’t know what’s going to happen if the SHTF. You may be thrown in with all types of fellow travelers. Understanding people will be key; crucial to your success. So watch this informative little film. Learn about autism and differently abled people whose skills could be most useful in certain situations.

Also, just as a good neighbor, it’s cool to understand what makes other people tick. This is an introduction to autism that aims to raise awareness among young non-autistic audiences, to stimulate understanding and acceptance in future generations. It is intended to be viewed, discussed and shared widely by anyone but especially teachers and parents.

Turn that old fold-up table into a fancy dining table

Aside from some wood, all you’ll need are an old banquet table, a drop cloth, a miter saw, a drill and some stain or paint. This is a great intro to DIY – and the table looks very elegant (and still folds up!).

Hometalk is a great site and they have the full instructions here.

Dandelions on your lawn? Turn them into this delicious jelly.

Photo credit: Pixabay, Hans, CC0 Public Domain,

When I see the dandelions, I know that spring has finally made its way here. It’s a time of warmer weather, more sunshine and getting the garden ready for the growing season. What better way to welcome in a new season than to preserve it.

I was telling my friend, Daisy Luther about all of the dainty dandelions popping up in my yard and she passed along a recipe for dandelion jelly for me to try from her upcoming book, The Organic Canner.

My daughters and I went out and picked 10 cups of dandelions blossoms and had the most wonderful time talking about what went on during our day. The hardest part of this was cutting the stems from the blossoms. It was, after all 10 cups worth of blossoms. But I was determined to try this recipe out, and I harvested blossoms until my fingers turned yellow from the petals. The process was easy and the result is delicious! Now that I have made this, it has become one of my top favorite jellies. It has a taste and color that resembles honey, and is delicious on baked goods, or as a topping in your oatmeal.

Next time you see dandelions in your yard, don’t run them over with the lawn mower! Remember, they are edible and pick them to use in recipes.

Dandelion Blossom Jam

If you are lucky enough to live in (or visit) an area that you are absolutely certain does not spray pesticides, you can join the bees and enjoy some Dandelion Nectar – except yours will be in the form of jam.

Set forth on an expedition to pick dandelions. You only need the tops – the yellow flowers – break them off right at the top of the stem. Pick 10-12 cups worth of blossoms. Your kids will think it is great fun initially, but then they’ll get bored and you will have to pick the rest.


• 10-12 cups of dandelion blossoms

• 4 ½ cups of sugar

• 2 tbsp of lemon juice

• 1 packet of no-sugar-needed powdered pectin


1. Prepare the blossoms by pinching them between your fingers and snipping off the green part with scissor.

2. Place the petals in a large glass bowl and cover them with 4 cups of boiling water. That’s it for today – you’re going to sleep while the petals brew up a golden yellow dandelion tea at room temperature.

3. The next morning, drain the tea through a coffee filter into another container. You should have 3-4 cups of dandelion tea.

4. (Now is the time to put a wet spoon into the freezer for jam testing!)

5. Pour the strained tea into a saucepan and stir in the lemon juice.

6. In a bowl, mix ½ cup of sugar with the packet of pectin.

7. Stir the sugar/pectin mixture into the saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. As soon as a boil is reached, stir in the rest of the sugar and continue to boil for about 2 minutes.

8. Test your jam – if the consistency is right, remove it from the heat, and immediately ladle it into sanitized jars. If it is too thin, add some more pectin from a fresh packet, about a tbsp. at a time and re-test after another minute.

9. Lid your jars and process them in a water bath canner for 10 minutes, adjusting for altitude.

You’ll be left with a topaz-toned honey-like substance that will give you a new understanding of the minds of bees.

If for some reason, your jelly doesn’t thicken, no worries! You’ve just made a version of dandelion honey and it is great to use in lieu of honey or jelly. You can also bake with it.

Be sure and keep an eye out for Daisy’s upcoming book, The Organic Canner – it’s sure to be a great resource!

Tess Pennington is the author of The Prepper’s Blueprint, a comprehensive guide that uses real-life scenarios to help you prepare for any disaster. Because a crisis rarely stops with a triggering event the aftermath can spiral, having the capacity to cripple our normal ways of life. The well-rounded, multi-layered approach outlined in the Blueprint helps you make sense of a wide array of preparedness concepts through easily digestible action items and supply lists.

Tess is also the author of the highly rated Prepper’s Cookbook, which helps you to create a plan for stocking, organizing and maintaining a proper emergency food supply and includes over 300 recipes for nutritious, delicious, life-saving meals. 

Visit her web site at for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

How to Make and Store Simple Veggie Stock With Kitchen Scraps

This chefs over at Tasty know their onions! This is a great way to save up scraps and put them to good use — and how to store the stock in different ways and amounts.

How to Make Easy Veggie Stock With Kitchen Scraps
Makes roughly 3 quarts

Onions (tops, bottoms, and skins)
Celery (tops and bottoms)
Carrots (tops, bottoms, and skins)
Mushrooms (stems)
Garlic (tops, bottoms, and skins)
Potatoes (tops, bottoms, and skins)
Parsley (stems)

You can add many other vegetable scraps (think sweet!) – i.e. corn cobs, winter squash, zucchini, and other squash, beet greens, fennel, chard, lettuce, parsnips, green beans, pea pods, bell peppers, eggplant, mushrooms, asparagus, and herbs like dill, thyme, parsley, cilantro, and basil.

Remove the tops/bottoms/skins/stems from any vegetables you are preparing (avoid vegetables like Brussels sprouts, broccoli, or cauliflower as they will add a bitter taste to your stock) and place them in a ziplock bag – they can stay frozen up to 6 months.
Continue like this until bag is full.
Dump bag into pot and fill ¾ of the pot (or until scraps just start to float) with water.
Bring water to a boil and then let it simmer for at least 30 minutes.
Strain water out of stock.
Refrigerate stock up to 4 days, or freeze up to 3 months.

Phone Calls Are Perfect Now (And Everyone Hates Them)

“Old phone … That’s not a phone.. It’s a intercom..!” by Glenn Dettwiler is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Apple just rolled out its high-definition voice protocol, and it’s amazing. It’s like the person is standing next to you. You can hear everything crystal clear, even slight breathing inflections.

That new technology gives it an edge over the competition. And there’s plenty of it. You can make voice calls on the Facebook app, on Google Plus, on Skype, and probably one hundred other applications. And get this: they are all free.

The last time I made a Facebook audio call from my phone, the person on the other end was shocked. “I didn’t know you could do this!” Well, it’s a button on the app, shaped like a ringing phone. You click it.

And so much for long distance charges. I can recall a time when you would be in some other city and use the chance to call Aunt Julia just because it didn’t cost anything. Now you can call all over the world, person to person, at no charge. It’s a service the providers are begging you to use.

I remember as a kid fighting over the phone in the house. To be holding the receiver was the most envied activity in the household. Then phones left the household and came to our pockets. Then everyone in the world had magic devices that allowed an instant connection to everyone else in the world.

The first cell phones were a dream come true. Now they are ubiquitous.

The audio phone seems perfect, finally. It can’t possibly be improved any more than it is, not that I can see.

Then there’s the video phone, the dream of the 1960s, finally having arrived, with no fanfare. The quality is stunning. It too is free, and all the providers — and there are so many — are just begging you to use their service.

It’s a utopia of phone communication.

And wouldn’t you know it, at this exact moment in history, people have turned against it.

I’ve suspected for a while that no one under the age of 30 wants any phone calls. Ever. Voice mails are considered to be so passé that they elicit eye rolls. “Let it go to voicemail” really means: “I’ll pretend this isn’t happening.”

Even I’ve felt it. The phone rings, and I see the name and think: this had better be life and death or else. Parents and loved ones can call, but no one else.

It took the magnificent and gradual evolution of technology working with markets, brought along through the efforts of countless millions and billions of users, over the course of the 150 years between the first phone call and the latest Facebook audio program that no one uses, to arrive at this new utopia.

Then humanity just walks away from it.

Just to check my sense, I searched around a bit and found this Quora question: “What’s behind many millennials’ aversion to speaking on the telephone?”

The answer is obvious, on reflection. When you are on the phone with a person, both people have to want to do the same thing at the same time. You can’t choose. No multitasking. There has to be what economist call a “double coincidence of wants.”

Talking on the phone, then, is like barter: good exchanges for good, directly and simultaneously. Text or emailing or chatting, in contrast, holds out the possibility that the other person can answer at his or own convenience. It is the difference between direct and indirect exchange.

Calling a person isn’t direct coercion, but it can feel like it. “Stop whatever you are doing right now — no matter how important it is — and immediately turn your attention to me!”

For the generation that grew up with the Internet and texting, with its endlessly flexible options on reading and answering, indirect communication seems more polite and humane.

Thus does the cycle end. After all these years of perfecting the phone, the whole of humanity decides to revert to a technology that has more in common with the dots and dashes of Morse Code and a delivery system that avoids real-time communication as much as a telegram from Western Union.

The lesson here: never think you can outwit the crowd-sourced wisdom of the masses of humanity. You think something is wonderful and desired by all, and you are shocked to discover that, even after a century and a half of improvement and being wildly popular the whole time, it is not desired at all anymore. And curses on that Alexander Graham Bell guy!

There might also be an interesting meta-issue here: Maybe there is something in us that needs to believe that that something is not quite right, that something can be improved, if only so that our minds and imaginations can dream up better things. When a technology becomes flawless and universal, the contrarian in all of us rises up and says: nah, never wanted that anyway.

By the way, Apple’s new phone technology really is wonderful. I urged you to try it, even while knowing you won’t.

There’s a new drug on the streets and it can kill you if you stand close to it.

Image: DEA Public Domain

From the U.S. First Responders Association comes this warning:

Dear Medics, Police, and Firefighters. Please share this with your colleagues. If you find drugs on a patient, be extremely careful when handling them. A “new” drug is in town called “carfentanil” which is so potent that it landed two first responders in the hospital from inhaling dust while closing a ziplock bag a patient had. Expect people who OD to take 10x more Narcan to start breathing again.

Below is DEA’s official alert from late 2016 about the lethal dangers of these synthetic opioids (carfentanil and fentanyl).

Carfentanil is a synthetic opioid that is 10,000 times more potent than morphine and 100 times more potent than fentanyl, which itself is 50 times more potent than heroin.

According to Maryland Poison Center the lethal dose is unknown. However, it’s estimated that 2 milligrams of fentanyl can be fatal, therefore as little as 200 micrograms of carfentanil might be lethal, a dose that is 1/100th of the amount shown next to the penny in the DEA photograph.

DEA, local law enforcement and first responders have recently seen the presence of carfentanil, which has been linked to a significant number of overdose deaths in various parts of the country. Improper handling of carfentanil, as well as fentanyl and other fentanyl-related compounds, has deadly consequences.

In any situation where any fentanyl-related substance, such as carfentanil, might be present, law enforcement (and Fire/EMS and volunteers) should carefully follow safety protocols to avoid accidental exposure.

Carfentanil is used as a tranquilizing agent for elephants and other large mammals. The lethal dose range for carfentanil in humans is unknown; however, carfentanil is approximately 100 times more potent than fentanyl, which could be lethal at the 200-microgram to 2-milligram range (see above), depending on route of administration and other factors.

“Carfentanil is surfacing in more and more communities.” said DEA Acting Administrator Chuck Rosenberg. “We see it on the streets, often disguised as heroin.  It is crazy dangerous. Synthetics such as fentanyl and carfentanil can kill you. I hope our first responders – and the public – will read and heed our health and safety warning. These men and women have remarkably difficult jobs and we need them to be well and healthy.”

Carfentanil and other fentanyl-related compounds are a serious danger to public safety, first responder, medical, treatment, and laboratory personnel.

These substances can come in several forms, including powder, blotter paper, tablets, and spray – they can be absorbed through the skin or accidental inhalation of airborne powder.

Safety tips
If encountered, responding personnel should do the following based on the specific situation:

  • Exercise extreme caution.  Only properly trained and outfitted law enforcement professionals should handle any substance suspected to contain fentanyl or a fentanyl-related compound.  If encountered, contact the appropriate officials within your agency.
  • Be aware of any sign of exposure.  Symptoms include: respiratory depression or arrest, drowsiness, disorientation, sedation, pinpoint pupils, and clammy skin.  The onset of these symptoms usually occurs within minutes of exposure.
  • Seek IMMEDIATE medical attention.  Carfentanil and other fentanyl-related substances can work very quickly, so in cases of suspected exposure, it is important to call EMS immediately.  If inhaled, move the victim to fresh air.  If ingested and the victim is conscious, wash out the victim’s eyes and mouth with cool water.
  • Be ready to administer naloxone in the event of exposure.  Naloxone is an antidote for opioid overdose.  Immediately administering naloxone can reverse an overdose of carfentanil, fentanyl, or other opioids, although multiple doses of naloxone may be required.  Continue to administer a dose of naloxone every 2-3 minutes until the individual is breathing on his/her own for at least 15 minutes or until EMS arrives.
  • Remember that carfentanil can resemble powdered cocaine or heroin.  If you suspect the presence of carfentanil or any synthetic opioid, do not take samples or otherwise disturb the substance, as this could lead to accidental exposure.  Rather, secure the substance and follow approved transportation procedures.

Carfentanil is a fentanyl-related substance not approved for use in humans. In June 2016, DEA released a Roll Call video to all LEOs nationwide about the dangers of improperly handling fentanyl and its deadly consequences. Acting Deputy Administrator Jack Riley and two local police detectives from New Jersey appear on the video to urge any law enforcement personnel who come in contact with fentanyl or fentanyl compounds to take the drugs directly to a lab.

“Fentanyl can kill you,” Riley said. “Fentanyl is being sold as heroin in virtually every corner of our country. It’s produced clandestinely in Mexico, and (also) comes directly from China. It is 40 to 50 times stronger than street-level heroin. A very small amount ingested, or absorbed through your skin, can kill you.”

Two Atlantic County, NJ detectives were exposed to a very small amount of fentanyl, and appeared on the video. Said one detective: “I thought that was it. I thought I was dying. It felt like my body was shutting down.” Riley also admonished police to skip testing on the scene, and encouraged them to also remember potential harm to police canines during the course of duties. “Don’t field test it in your car, or on the street, or take if back to the office. Transport it directly to a laboratory, where it can be safely handled and tested.” USFRA shared this video in 2016.


Narcan-resistant Fentanyl reports there is now a new form of heroin hitting the US laced with a type of fentanyl that can be resistant to the life saving drug Narcan. According to the DEA, Acryl Fentanyl is being manufactured overseas, smuggled into the US, and mainly sold on the web.

“It’s a Schedule I drug, so this one has no medical use at all. At all. So it’s here illegally,” said DEA Special Agent David Battiste. Basically it serves no legitimate purpose. Acryl Fentanyl comes in powder form and looks similar to fentanyl. Even a narcotics expert could not tell the difference with a naked eye.


For additional safety information, visit CDC Health Advisory #CDCHAN-00384 and CDC Health Update #CDCHAN-00395


The other paw paw fruit – America’s secret.

What I am used to calling the paw paw fruit is actually the tropical papaya (Carica papaya). It’s delicious and orange. So, I was surprised when folks began telling me about a native American fruit that’s also called the pawpaw (Asimina triloba). It has some local nicknames like the Appalachian banana and the “poor man’s banana” which are references to its taste. It grows in 26 states, although it does best in the Northeast and the Midwest, and it hasn’t been farmed much because the fruit spoils and doesn’t travel well. It’s great, low-maintenance addition to your garden as it is naturally insect-resistant.

The fruit of the common pawpaw is a large edible berry – like a wonky pear -2.0–6.3 in long and 1.2–2.8 inches wide, weighing from 0.71–17.64 oz, with numerous seeds; it is green when unripe, maturing to yellow or brown. It has a flavor somewhat similar to both banana and mango, varying significantly by grower, and has more protein than most fruits. It ripens in late Summer, early Fall. The fruit can be cooked or eaten fresh. Pawpaw has historically been used for food, fishing nets (the inner bark is very fibrous), and medicine.

It’s the largest indigenous fruit on the continent and it is believed by many, including many First Peoples to have medicinal properties.

Pawpaw foliage exhibits pesticidal activities and in an experiment a caterpillar-laden tree was sprayed with a pawpaw bark extract and 30 minutes later the majority of insects had died and fallen from the tree. Phlox plants infested with mildew fungus were also sprayed with pawpaw preparation and 10 days later improvement was markedly observed. The pawpaw tree is usually insect- or disease-resistant because of its acetogenin content, which deters the feeding of many organisms.

What If Grocery Stores Worked Like Public Schools?

Image: Kelly McCarthy

One of the most important things to consider when buying a house is the quality of the grocery district.

As the name implies, the grocery district determines which public grocery store you and your family get to use. District maps are drawn by the government to ensure each grocery store has an appropriate number of patrons based on its capacity. Most residents are assigned to the public grocery store that is closest to their home.

Groceries are paid for primarily by local taxes. If residents go to their local public grocery store, they get their weekly groceries without any additional out-of-pocket cost. However, they cannot get groceries from a public grocery store that’s outside of their district.

In most purchasing decisions, people are not limited to a single provider in their jurisdiction.

In theory, all of the public grocery stores are supposed to provide equal access to high-quality food. Indeed, this is largely why government got involved in the grocery business in the first place. Politicians believed that access to food was a fundamental right and they were concerned that a free enterprise model would inadequately serve poor people. After all, there is not much profit to be made selling to those of lesser means. Or so it was argued at the time.

Unfortunately, it’s clear that wide disparities still exist in the public system of food distribution. Poorer neighborhoods tend to have public grocery stores that offer bad service, limited selection, and occasionally even unsanitary conditions. It’s not uncommon to find food well beyond its sell-by date.

Meanwhile, in richer neighborhoods, public grocery stores are typically high quality. Most approximate the quality and selection that existed in chains like Fred Meyer, Trader Joe’s, or Albertsons before the system of public food distribution was implemented.

This is why it has become essential to consider the quality of the grocery district when looking for a place to live. Live in a good district, and you’ll get diverse, healthy food for your family. Live in a bad district, and your family’s well-being is likely to suffer.

Critics argue that this system is especially harmful to poor people. In most purchasing decisions, people are not limited to a single provider in their jurisdiction. If they don’t like the bank or the mall that’s closest to them, they can drive to one that’s a little farther away that they like better. But in groceries, if they don’t like the public store that’s in their district, the main solution is to move elsewhere. If they can’t afford to move to a better grocery district–and many cannot–then they are likely to be stuck with a bad public grocery store.

One other option for residents in low-quality grocery districts is private grocery stores. In most areas, there’s no law preventing people from getting their groceries from private providers instead of the public system. However, since people utilizing the private system do not get a refund for the taxes they paid into the public system, they effectively end up paying twice. This naturally makes the private solution less accessible to families of lesser means.

Of course, no one thinks this public grocery system is ideal–especially since it retains the very inequality it hoped to eliminate. But while everyone agrees there is a problem, there is little agreement on the possible solutions.

It remains to be seen which reforms will be tried next, but history suggests that we should not be too optimistic.

The Real World

The system described above probably sounds absurd. But, in many respects, it is the system we use to provide education in the US.

Education is important. It might be too important to leave to the government.

One often hears that education is too important to leave to the whims of the market. Yet food is even more important; it’s a prerequisite before education can be considered. In spite of this, the (relatively) free market in food seems to work quite well.

Consumers get a wide variety at a low cost. Even people that have niche dietary requirements like gluten-free or vegan have products suited to them. And while complaints about the quality of public education are rampant, one rarely hears objections about the quality of the grocery stores. In the latter case, people don’t have to complain; they just take their business to someone who will serve them better.

As a consequence, the inequality that exists with respect to grocery stores is actually much smaller than the inequality that exists in education. Whether you’re in a poor area or a middle-class area, the local Walmart is pretty much going to be the same Walmart. Even the gap in offerings between Walmart and, say, Whole Foods, is not so severe. One could still easily purchase the ingredients for a healthy diet in either establishment. But in public education, the difference between good schools and bad can be night and day. It could mean the difference between children graduating or dropping out, progressing or falling behind.

So perhaps it’s time to turn the conventional wisdom on its head. Education is important. It might be too important to leave to the government.

Original article:
Learn more at

5 Ways Fuel-Injected Lawn Tractors Will Change How You Mow

Image: Family Features

The term “fuel-injected engine” is most closely tied to engines for high-performance cars – both on the road and on the race track. Now this popular technology is making its way to yards around the country with the introduction of fuel-injected residential lawn mowers.

The first manufacturer to offer this innovation in a residential lawn tractor – the single-cylinder XT Enduro Series – Cub Cadet now offers a v-twin electronic fuel-injected (EFI) engine, which has undergone a rigorous certification process with hundreds of hours of testing and more than 60 qualification tests to deliver premium quality and strength.

Here are five benefits EFI engines can provide that will change the way homeowners cut the grass.

  1. Better performance. Precise metering of fuel being fed to the engine optimizes performance for a better overall mowing experience. An electronic control unit uses sensors around the engine to deliver the exact amount of fuel needed, which compensates for variations in load, speed, fuels, temperatures and pressures to supply the engine with the right dose of fuel for maximum performance.
  2. Fewer fill-ups. EFI engines deliver excellent fuel consumption, using up to 25 percent less fuel than standard carbureted engines. That means less time refilling the gas tank and more time enjoying the lawn.
  3. Less maintenance. Many maintenance issues with lawn mowers are related to carburetors. Because EFI engines don’t have carburetors, it is one less thing to worry about and results in fewer oil changes. There are also no special actions needed to prep the fuel tank for winter, such as draining any fuel left in the tank.
  4. Reduced gasoline emissions. Less fuel consumption means less gasoline emissions. The fuel injection technology used on Cub Cadet riding mowers actually goes a step further with oxygen sensors in the engine’s muffler that continuously monitor the amount of fuel injected and adjust the system accordingly to only use the amount needed.
  5. Push-button starting. With EFI engines, a simple push of a button starts the lawn tractor. Plus, it starts in all weather conditions with no choke necessary.


“This is the latest example of innovation homeowners are seeing in their lawn equipment,” said Emily Sword, director of Cub Cadet marketing. “With more efficient performance and less maintenance, it means less time worrying about your lawn and more time enjoying it.”

 (Family Features) Find more information about the latest innovations and technology in lawn equipment at or visit your local independent retailer, Tractor Supply Company or The Home Depot.

The Main Trait That Sets Vocational Students Apart From College Kids

Photo: Bureau of Land Management (cc by 2.0)

When I graduated from high school a number of years ago, there were a few – but only a few – rumblings concerning the high cost of college and the need for a more sensible, cost-effective path to a career, such as that offered by apprenticeship. I was curious about this alternative, but found it practically impossible to pursue because drinking the must-go-to-college Kool-Aid was the thing to do.

Times have certainly changed. Today, apprenticeship and vocational forms of higher education are viewed in a much more favorable light.

Yet despite this surge in interest, vocational education still endures a fair amount of skepticism and prejudice, as witnessed by one teacher in a column for The Guardian entitled, “I’m tired of justifying the value of vocational subjects.”

According to the teacher, many of her colleagues give lip service to the idea of vocational education but then turn around and make “derogatory comments” about it, solidifying the stereotype that those who pursue such a path are the dumb students.

As the article goes on to explain, nothing could be further from the truth:

“Traditionally, vocational subjects have attracted students considered to be of low ability, or who are looking for an easy qualification. But my students, past and present, are passionate, committed, and deserve every chance to be successful in whichever subjects they choose. Students who take vocational subjects have a clear idea of the path they wish to take. They know what they want to do once they leave the comfort of compulsory education.

In other words, students who pursue vocational education often demonstrate initiative and have the grit to swim upstream and buck the smooth, easy path chosen by the rank and file.

Oddly enough, it is those very same attitudes that employers are looking for. They want young people who can take the lead and pursue a goal even in the face of opposition and challenge. They want individuals who solve problems and are discontent to sit back on their heels and plod along in their work.

In response to these desires, the education system pushes more students toward college, assuring them that they must keep up with the Joneses and fork out money for bigger and better colleges if they want to be attractive to employers and realize the American dream.

Sadly, as a recent study in Science Magazine demonstrates, that American dream isn’t what it once was. In fact, today’s young people are less likely to go above and beyond the earnings and success that their parents and grandparents achieved, as shown in the chart below.

Percent of Children Earning More than their Parents

Is it possible that the inability of children to exceed the success of their parents is partially due to the fact that we’ve done our best to discourage vocational education? Would we inspire greater interest and ambition in the next generation if we didn’t imply that every student take the college path?

This post The Main Trait That Sets Vocational Students Apart From College Kids was originally published on Intellectual Takeout by Annie Holmquist.

Sometimes even vegan food hits the spot! Simple, Healthy Summer Snacks

As temperatures climb and summer sets in, a slight change in diet can help maintain energy without overfilling on hot days.

Vegan and vegetarian diets are becoming a popular trend, but many people are also opting to be semi-vegetarians, also known as the flexitarian diet. A flexitarian diet means you don’t have to eliminate meat from your diet but can still reap the health benefits associated with plant-based diets.

Plant-based proteins like beans, peas, nuts, seeds, soy and lentils are chock-full of nutritional benefits from disease-fighting phytonutrients to cholesterol-lowering fiber. They’re also an excellent way to add low-sodium and low-cholesterol protein to your diet that can leave you feeling satisfied but not stuffed.

Light finger foods and dips are ideal summer snacks. Hummus, made from chickpeas and tahini (ground sesame seeds), makes for a quick and easy treat by itself or paired with health-conscious options like air-popped chips, whole-grain crackers or veggie sticks. You can also create simple summer snacks using hummus as an ingredient.

These vegan Cucumber Cups are the perfect refreshing pick-me-up on a hot afternoon, and they’re stylish enough to serve to guests at an upscale cookout. For a cool and creamy summer appetizer, try these vegetarian Southwestern Snack Bites made with hummus, guacamole and Greek yogurt.

Find more healthy ideas to help you snack your way through summer at

Southwestern Hummus Bites
Yield: 30 pieces

1          package (7 ounces) whole-grain bagel chips
1          container (10 ounces) Sabra Hummus

2          cups pico de gallo

1          cup guacamole

1          cup plain, low-fat Greek yogurt

4          green onions, sliced (optional)

Top each bagel chip with 1 tablespoon hummus, small spoonful of pico de gallo, guacamole and small dollop of yogurt.

Garnish with slices of green onion, if desired.


Cucumber Cups

Yield: 16 pieces

2          English cucumbers

1          container (10 ounces) Sabra Hummus

1          teaspoon paprika

1          bunch parsley, finely chopped

Peel cucumbers and slice lengthwise into 1 1/4-inch pieces. Using melon baller, carve out seeds to create vessel, making sure to leave bottom intact.

Using piping bag or small spoon, fill each cucumber with hummus (about 1 teaspoon each). Sprinkle with paprika and finely chopped parsley.

(Family Features)


When Grocery Stores Go Empty, These Four Foods Will Help You Survive

Photo: Empty shelves in Venezuelan store, ZiaLater, CC-BY-SA-3.0

The only thing preppers fear more than masses of unprepared people during an emergency, is being one of those people. That’s why our ultimate nightmare scenario would be not having any non-perishable food on hand during a serious disaster. However, there’s plenty of reasons why an otherwise prepared person might not be prepared when the SHTF.

You could be out-of-town or out of the country, visiting family members who aren’t preppers. Or perhaps you’re having financial problems. So maybe you’ve had to dip into your food supply, or if you prefer buying canned food over freeze-dried food, you haven’t been able to restock items that have spoiled. Or perhaps you’re new to prepping, and you haven’t gotten around to building up a food supply.

Whatever the case may be, you should ask yourself, what would you do if you were one of those people who race to the grocery store at the last-minute during a disaster? Before you answer that, you have to consider the very real possibility that by the time you reach the grocery store, the shelves will be at least partially stripped.

The first food items that will sell out mostly consist of things that are already cooked or prepared in some way, including canned foods, frozen dishes, and bread. Fresh meat and eggs would also disappear pretty fast, despite the fact that they need to be cooked.

Ideally, you want to avoid this scenario altogether by prepping beforehand. In The Prepper’s Cookbook, Tess Pennington highlights key strategies for building an emergency pantry. This takes planning, so if you haven’t already done so, start today. Ideally, you want to store shelf stable foods that your family normally consumes, as well as find foods that are multi-dynamic and serve many purposes. These are the 25 foods she suggests that preppers should have in their pantries.

Have a Back-Up Plan For the Grocery Store

If you end up having to rush to the grocery store during an emergency, you should be prepared to employ a different strategy for finding food. If, when you arrive at the store, there are already a lot of people grabbing the low hanging fruit like canned foods, bread, etc., don’t join them. You’re probably only going to find the scraps that they haven’t gotten to yet. Instead, move immediately towards the food items that won’t disappear as quickly, and can substitute the foods that everyone is going to fight over first.

To employ this strategy properly, you only need one thing. Something to cook with that doesn’t require the grid, such as a camp stove with a few fuel canisters. You’ll need something like that, because many of the food items that disappear later in the game, tend to need some preparation.

These Four Emergency Food Alternatives Can Keep You Alive

So with that said, what kinds of foods should you go after when you arrive at a grocery store later than everyone else?

  • Instead of bread, go straight for the flour. Don’t worry if you can’t find any yeast. You can always make hardtack, tortillas or naan. You might also find that the sacks of dried rice and beans won’t disappear until after the canned foods go. When combined, these two make a complete protein and are perfect for emergency food meals. Keep cooking times in mind with the beans and go for small beans like navy or lentils.
  • If you find that the produce section is stripped bare, go to the supplement aisle instead. There you’ll find all of the vitamins and minerals that are normally found in fresh produce. Look for food based or whole food vitamins. You’ll also find protein powders that can at least partially substitute fresh meat. As well, look for seeds to sprout. Sprouts provide the highest amount of vitamins, minerals, proteins and enzymes of any of food per unit of calorie. Enzymes are essential because they heal the body, cleanse the body, prevent diseases, enhance the overall functioning of bodily organs, aids in digestion, and removes gas from the stomach.
  • If fresh meat or canned meat is gone from the shelves, a substitute for is dog food. Though this may disgust most people, desperate times call for desperate measures. It’s really cheap and packed with protein. The only downside, of course, is that pet food usually doesn’t face the same health standards as human food. If it can be helped, go for the wet food instead of the kibble. Though you’ll probably be fine eating any dog food for a couple of weeks, dry dog food isn’t as safe as wet food. Plus, the cans of wet food will be much more hydrating.
  • And finally, instead of trying to find butter, which will be one of the first food items to disappear, try looking for alternatives. Remember, you needfats in your diet. Healthy oils like coconut oil or avocado oil provide healthy nutrition and canI be used for cooking, added to coffee, oats, beverages, and other foods. In addition, one of the most nutrient dense foods that are often forgotten during emergency food planning is in the health aisle. Look for granola and nuts. Nuts are calorie dense and full of fiber to help you stay full longer. Due to the high protein count of this natural food, it can be an efficient meat replacement too. Look for non-salted nut varieties to keep you hydrated longer. It’s packed with calories and can go weeks without spoiling when it’s not refrigerated.  Read more about the ideal bug out meal plan here. Alternatively, if all the healthy oils and nuts have been taken, look for some lard. It’s sometimes labeled “manteca.” It will probably be overlooked, but has just as many calories as butter, and lasts a really long time.

Of course, many of these items aren’t the best tasting or the most healthy. They’re certainly not ideal. But then again, neither is being caught in a disaster without your food preps. If you arrive at the grocery store before everyone else, by all means, go after the good stuff. However, if you aren’t lucky enough to beat the crowds, now you know what kinds of foods you should grab first.

Joshua Krause was born and raised in the Bay Area. He is a writer and researcher focused on principles of self-sufficiency and liberty at Ready Nutrition. You can follow Joshua’s work at our Facebook page or on his personal Twitter.

Joshua’s website is Strange Danger

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published May 4th, 2017

California did something right (for once?)

Image from Public domain images website,

Many of us dream of a retirement career that satisfies our inner needs rather than our physical ones. Like Mark Stambler in Los Angeles who baked delicious bread from home in a steam bakehouse he built himself. And then got shut down by the health police for failing to use a properly permitted facility.

Read all about him here.

He got mad and became a very active activist! Over the next year he made such a noise he attacked the attention of Californian state rep who decided he was right, and would help to change the state’s cottage food laws, which allow homemade food to be sold.   To qualify as a cottage food, it must be designated by the state as “non-potentially hazardous,” meaning it has a low risk of spreading bacteria.

Stambler helped Assemblyman Gatto draft the California Homemade Food Act (AB 1616) to legalize cottage food.  AB 1616 was overwhelmingly popular with lawmakers, passing the California State Assembly 60 to 16 and unanimously passing the state Senate in August 2012.  Upon signing the bill, Gov. Jerry Brown praised AB 1616 as a way to “make it easier for people to do business in California.”

Guess what? When Stambler went back into business his bread sold like – well, hot cakes, – and he never received a single complaint. And California has now approved over 1,200 home food businesses.

How about your state?

3 Reasons One Public School Advocate is Giving Up on the System

Photo source: Pixabay, MichaelGaida, CCO Public Domain,

When it comes to discussion of public schools, all too often battle lines seem to be drawn between those on the inside and outside of the system: the teachers and the parents. The teachers understandably want to defend the job they do, while the parents want to ensure that their child doesn’t become another dismal statistic.

But every once in a while an individual comes along with credentials to look at the issue of public education from both viewpoints. Such is the case with Erin Brighton, who recently wrote an op-ed for the Huffington Post entitled, “Goodbye, Public School. It’s Not Me, It’s You.” Brighton starts out by saying:

“For seven years, I’ve done my best to be a good public school ally. As a former teacher, I felt I owed it to the public school system to stick with it – speak up, do what I can, help where I am needed. As a parent of a special needs student, I had faith that the system wouldn’t fail my child as long as I showed up and had some skin in the game. Some years have been great, but too many have not.”

Brighton goes on to list a number of problems which have gradually driven her away from education, which can be outlined in the following way:

1. A Soul-Killing Environment
According to Brighton, the public education system is “run like a prison rather than a supportive learning environment.” This is particularly seen in the increasing number of tests students are required to take, as well as the diminished amount of time allotted for recess and free play.

2. Disrespect for Teachers
Although teachers are some of the prime defenders of the system in which they work, Brighton has seen many ways in which they are ill-treated by their employers. These instances include poor pay, poor support, and demanding that teachers perform feats for which they are not trained.

3. Poor Instruction
According to Brighton, the public schools have insisted on “dumbing down curriculum.” Such trends often occur through the assignment of “mundane worksheets” and the extensive allowance of unsupervised technology usage. And while it seems like common sense to foster and encourage particularly bright students, Brighton has seen them pushed aside and grouped with the rest of the herd.

Brighton goes on to say that while she has tried to be perseverant and understanding, her patience has worn thin:

“If we insist on cramming students into schools and trailers, and paying teachers poorly, and underfunding schools, and overemphasizing test scores, there’s really no hope in sight. If we insist on dumbing down curriculum, and cutting back on arts and languages, and not differentiating for bright kids, why should bright kids stay? If we want to mainstream our special ed students but not train teachers to include them appropriately, how can those students thrive?

I used to argue that parents with choices needed to choose public school in order for our public schools to succeed. I’ve been choosing public school for seven years here in North Carolina, and I’ve only seen the education situation get worse. So, thanks anyway, public school. Take my tax dollars and redistribute it amongst the masses. Maybe that’s my new argument: everyone who can leave, should.”

Considering her experience as both a parent and a teacher, do you think Brighton’s assessment of the public education system is fair and reliable? Is it time for parents to explore other options given that the public school system can’t seem to get off the continual treadmill of ineffectual education?

This post 3 Reasons One Public School Advocate is Giving Up on the System was originally published on Intellectual Takeout by Annie Holmquist.

The IRS plans to do WHAT during a nuclear war?!

Photo credit: Pixabay, parameciorecords, CC0 Public Domain,

Two things will survive a nuclear war.  Cockroaches and the IRS.  This really tells you where the government’s priorities are. – SRC

Bear with me for a moment, because what I’m about to say will be grim at first, but I assure you that it has a strange and perhaps hilarious payoff.

I want you to imagine for moment, what your life might be like after a nuclear war. Put yourself in the place of someone who is clinging to a meager existence after the complete and utter collapse of society. It’s been several weeks since you emerged from your basement or fallout shelter. You are now just scraping by in a desolate community that you once called home.

Your body aches with hunger pangs, as you ration what little food you have, day by day. Your neighbors are a shell of their former selves. The few that have survived, are either mentally unwell, hungry, or are suffering from the effects of radiation sickness. You’re not sure if it’s safe to go outside anymore, as gunshots can be periodically heard in the distance, day and night.

And even if you did leave, you’re not sure if there’s anywhere you could go. The freeways are clogged with abandoned vehicles, the local shops are empty, and fuel is incredibly hard to come by.  You’d never make it far.

So you remain in your home, which looks like it’s been through a hurricane. The roofing is stripped, the windows are shattered and boarded up, and the paint is ever so slightly peeled and darkened after enduring the distant heat of a nuclear blast. You sit at home, and wish that everything could go back to the way it was before; when society functioned, the streets were clean, food was plentiful, and the government still existed.

Then you hear a knock at the door. Your heart is pounding, because you’re not sure if you should be afraid of who is on the other side, or grateful that some kind of disaster relief has finally arrived. You cautiously approach the door and look through the peephole. Much to your surprise, there is a strange man patiently waiting outside. He’s wearing a tattered business suit, broken glasses, and a bicycle helmet. Who could this be?

You slowly open the door just a few inches, and with a furrowed brow, you quietly ask him what he wants. He holds up a blue and white ID badge that says “IRS” in thick black letters. He asks you, without a hint of jest, if you’ve filed your tax return this year.

Sound outlandish? It is, but don’t tell that to the IRS. It turns out that since the Cold War, the Internal Revenue Service has established plans for how their bureaucracy would operate after a nuclear war. Their contingency plans are published in their employee handbooks, which the New York Times reported on back in 1989.

An addition to the Internal Revenue Manual, which is supposed to guide the conduct of all I.R.S. employees, declares that if the bomb is dropped, ”operations will be concentrated on collecting the taxes which will produce the greater revenue yield.”

An I.R.S. spokesman, Johnell Hunter, said today that the new section -titled ”National Emergency Operations” – had been added to the manual in response to a directive to Government departments from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Within 30 days of an attack emergency, the agency would expect to resume assessing and collecting taxes. At that time, the manual states, many employees might find themselves reassigned to carry out essential functions ”regardless of and without any effect on the current positions or grades of the employee.”

Previous iterations of this plan sound no less insane. In 1982, the Washington Post reported on their  “Design of an Emergency Tax System” which talked about how the US government would continue to collect revenue, even if the tax system was completely destroyed. The author of the report suggested enforcing a 20% sales tax on all goods and services.

So try to imagine how this would go down. After the apocalypse the IRS thinks that it’s going to send their agents and officers out into an utterly devastated and lawless country, and ask starving people to cough up money that is most certainly worthless. I mean, that’s the only way that taxes could be collected right? It’s not like you could put a check in the mail. You couldn’t call them, and share the routing number of your bank account (if it even still exists). You couldn’t file your taxes online. The IRS would have to come to you.

And in an economy that would at least temporarily revert back to bartering, how would they collect any kind of tax, much less a 20% sales tax? If you traded a blanket with your neighbor in exchange for five cans of food, are they going to tell you that you owe them one of those cans? And how many people I wonder, would assume that they’re being scammed when an IRS agent knocks on their door?

Even if the IRS survives a nuclear war, I have a feeling that their employees who are sent out to collect taxes, wouldn’t live for very long.

Joshua Krause was born and raised in the Bay Area. He is a writer and researcher focused on principles of self-sufficiency and liberty at Ready Nutrition. You can follow Joshua’s work at our Facebook page or on his personal Twitter.

Joshua’s website is Strange Danger

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Do you have what it takes to be a paid gator wrangler?

Photo credit: Pixabay, PublicDomainPictures, CC0 Public Domain,

You know America is the best country on Earth when you can be paid to catch alligators all day.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is hiring “Alligator Technicians.” Successful job applicants will get $13.37 an hour, and will travel around the state catching, bagging, weighing, transporting and releasing captive-raised live alligators.

Your motel and meals on the road are paid for, which makes for a great entry-level job.

I’m not sure why Louisiana is raising captive alligators and releasing them into the wild when native populations are rising, but if it means $13.37 an hour plus a meal at Whataburger there won’t be a shortage of applicants.

The good news is you won’t have to handle anything like 15-foot-long monster.

Farming in the ‘burbs

Suburban farming? It’s possible in quite a small yard. This family has chickens as well as produce. Raised beds and a vine are great space savers. They grow apples and corn and water melons as well as many green vegetables and herbs. Using mulch from the town, they prove that small suburban yards can go a long way to help with supplying fresh food for your family.

Hudson H9 – Heard of it?

We like anyone whose website is this:

The Hudson H9 is a semi-automatic pistol made by Hudson Manufacturing which was introduced in January 2017, featuring a M1911 straight pull trigger and a low bore axis. Its main physical characteristic is the frame which extends down in front of the trigger guard, which contains the recoil spring.

The striker-fired pistol chambered in 9×19mm Parabellum made its debut at the 2017 SHOT Show in Las Vegas, Nevada after three years of development.

It is designed for a 15-round double-stack magazine, plus one round in the chamber.

The suggested retail price is $1,147.


In an interview, CEO Cy Hudson said the location of the recoil spring down in front of the trigger guard was designed to give the gun “a high grip purchase — what most people call a low bore axis — that’s really close to the slide. Your barrel is right above your grip, and the recoil impulse from that recoil spring is directed into the meat of your hand. “This type of feature leads to less felt recoil and muzzle rise when shooting.