Health

Polls Show Americans More Optimistic On Economy

Despite the significant financial challenges this country faces, a number of Americans seem to be more optimistic about the economy going forward. Jeffry Bartash reported on the MarketWatch website yesterday:

Even though U.S. growth slowed sharply in the first quarter, Americans are more optimistic about the economy now than at any time since President Obama took over the White House in January 2009.

A new CNN poll shows that 52% of Americans view the economy as “very” or “somewhat” good vs. 48% who call it “poor” or “somewhat poor.”

It’s only the second time a majority have expressed a positive view during the Obama presidency — the first time was in December — and it is the highest reading in almost eight years. The last time Americans were as optimistic was in September 2007

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

In addition to that CNN poll, a recent Bloomberg Politics poll suggests the American public is more positive about the economy and how Barack Obama and the Democrats are handling it. Margaret Talev wrote on the Bloomberg website last week:

Hillary Clinton’s presidential hopes may be buoyed by a more optimistic feeling about President Barack Obama and the economy seen in a new Bloomberg Politics poll.

Americans are becoming more optimistic about the country’s economic prospects by several different measures. President Barack Obama’s handling of the economy is being seen more positively than negatively for the first time in more than five years, 49 percent to 46 percent—his best number in this poll since September 2009

Thirty-four percent said the national economy will become stronger over the next year, while just 21 percent said it will get worse and 44 percent predicted the status quo. That’s up from last June, when 30 percent said things were getting better…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Finally, Myles Udland noted in an April 17 piece on the Business Insider website:

Consumer confidence is soaring.

The preliminary reading on consumer confidence from the University of Michigan came in at 95.9, topping expectations for a reading of 94.0.

This is the second highest reading since 2007…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)


National Recovery Administration, The Road Is Open Again (1933)
YouTube Video

I’m not sure where all this optimism is coming from. After all, the nation’s economic woes which reared its ugly head by the fall of 2008 have merely been papered over and kicked down the road a few years.

Meanwhile, the Fed depleted plenty of ammunition (see “About” page Fed charts) keeping the whole setup afloat.

As I’ve mentioned before, it’s probably not a bad idea to take advantage of this upsurge in confidence to try and improve one’s resilience to a financial crash I still see coming.

Each person’s circumstances are different. But I, for one, have been focusing on meeting those six “innate survival needs” from my “Project Prepper” series of posts- among other things like increasing income. To recap, those “needs” are:

• Security
• Water
• Food
• Shelter
• Sanitation and Health
• Energy

In order of priority- for me.

Hopefully, these can be taken care of before the “balloon goes up.”

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Sources:

Bartash, Jeffry. “American optimism about economy highest since Obama became president.” MarketWatch. 21 Apr. 2015. (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/american-optimism-about-economy-highest-since-obama-became-president-2015-04-21). 22 Apr. 2015.

Talev, Margaret. “Bloomberg Politics National Poll Finds Improving Economic Mood.” Bloomberg.com. 16 Apr. 2015. (http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2015-04-16/bloomberg-politics-national-poll-finds-improving-economic-mood). 22 Apr. 2015.

Udland, Myles. “Consumer confidence soars to second-highest level since 2007.” Business Insider. 17 Apr. 2015. (http://www.businessinsider.com/university-of-michigan-consumer-confidence-2015-4). 22 Apr. 2015.

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April Is Pet Preparedness Month In Illinois

My girlfriend is lucky enough to have an office dog. Meet “Kodi”:

Kodi

Even though we’re not her owners, we’re still planning to sock away some food and other items for her in case of an emergency or “ruff” times.

Illinois readers- did you know April is Pet Preparedness Month in Illinois?

From the Illinois Government News Network website on April 1:

Don’t Forget Pets When Planning for Disasters

IEMA, local emergency management agencies to focus on pet preparedness throughout April

SPRINGFIELD – Pets are treasured family members in more than half of Illinois households. If your family includes a dog, cat, hamster or other furry, feathered or scaly friends, don’t forget to include their unique needs in your home emergency plans.

That’s the message the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and local emergency management agencies will promote throughout April as part of Pet Preparedness Month in Illinois.

“Every home should have an emergency supply kit and plans for how to stay safe when disaster strikes,” said IEMA Director James K. Joseph. “Make sure your kit and emergency plans address the needs of every family member, including your pets. Your preparedness efforts today can help keep everyone in your family, including your pets, safe when disaster strikes.”

Joseph said home emergency supply kits for people should include a three-day supply of such items as food, water, first aid kit, weather alert radio, flashlights, spare batteries and other items. Pet owners should also have a pet preparedness kit stocked with items such as:

• At least a three-day supply of food and water
• Extra supplies of pet medicines
• Copies of pet registration, vaccinations and other important documents
• Photo of your pet in case you are separated during an emergency
• Collar with ID tag, harness or leash
• Crate or other pet carrier in case of evacuation
• Pet litter and box, newspapers, paper towels, plastic trash bags and household chlorine bleach for sanitation
• Toys, treats or other familiar items to reduce your pet’s stress during the emergency

If it’s necessary for you to evacuate your home during a disaster, take your pets with you. An evacuation could last several days, even weeks, and your pets likely cannot survive without care. Plan now for places you and your pets can stay following an evacuation, as many public shelters do not allow animals inside.

It’s also important to have a back-up emergency plan in case you can’t care for your animals yourself. Talk to neighbors, friends and family to make sure someone is available to care for or evacuate your pets if you are unable to do so.

Additional pet preparedness and general emergency preparedness information is available on the Ready Illinois website at www.Ready.Illinois.gov, the Ready Illinois Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ReadyIllinois and on Twitter at Twitter.com/ReadyIllinois.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Home Grown Food Summit 2015 Starts Today

Last Wednesday, I blogged about the Home Grown Food Summit 2015 being held from April 6 to 12. For those who are just learning about the free online event, from the Summit website:

30+ Leading Experts In Backyard Food Production Will Help You Become Free Of Supermarkets and Drugstores…

Here’s What You Can Expect to Learn During this Empowering FREE Global Event:

• The 6 laws of plant growth
• The easiest food source to grow
• How to know if a chicken is a good egg layer just by glancing at it
• 3 gardening techniques for those with back problems or limited mobility
• Which fish are so hardy they come back to life even after being dried out
• How to recognize the signs that a plant wants to communicate with you
• Why beginning hunters should never use a tree stand
• How to be able to identify wild plants while driving 60 mph down the road
• The 3 easiest vegetables to save seeds from
• Why the jungles of southeast Asia affect what you feed your chickens
• The health benefits of eating fermented foods
• How the size of the chicken’s comb determines if it will survive your winter
• Which plants you should never plant in an aquaponic system
• The 7 ways we change the world when we grow our own food
• How safe is pressure canning for preserving food
• The 13 weeds that can ensure you never go hungry
• Why growing heritage breeds of livestock is vital for your grand children
• How many gallons of water you need per pound of fish in a tank
• The 3 most irresistible plants that kids love growing
• The difference between pressure canning and water bath canning
• How many eggs one hen can lay in a year
• The best age to start giving children significant garden responsibility
• The biggest mistake most people make in designing permaculture guilds
• 8 reasons you’re insane if you’re not growing some of your own food
• How free compost can destroy your garden; what to watch out for and how to avoid costly mistakes
• The importance of resilience in today’s world
• How to overcome problems with walnut trees in food forests
• Why you should always start at the top of a hill when designing your water systems
• The secret to a green thumb
• What percentage of food in grocery stores is actually toxic to the human body
• 17 techniques for irrigating without piping or tanks
• An ancient indicator of true health that is still valid today
• The 7 most useful hand tools in a backyard homestead
• How to remove heavy metals from your garden soil
• What the healthiest people in history ate for dinner
• How a bowl of soup increases by $25 when you top it with this gourmet insect
• How to grow a secret garden of survival
• How many pounds of potatoes a beginner can grow in 200 ft.²
• Why the most effective form of pest-control may actually be hiding in your compost pile
• The 3 ways a rooster helps your flock of hens
• And much, more more!

Whew! Lots of good information to be obtained in the coming days at this year’s Summit.

As I’m on the verge of starting a food garden for the first time (blogged about in my last “Project Prepper” post), I was excited to learn about the Home Grown Food Summit and anxious for April 6 to finally arrive.

Early this morning, I saw an e-mail from event host Marjory Wildcraft in my inbox. From that message:

Hi Christopher,

All the presenters and myself are thrilled that you’ve chosen to take more control of your nutrition and health.

You’re here on Day 1 of The Home Grown Food Summit to learn to grow your own organic food.

The Summit, over the next seven days, will deliver practical knowledge for growing and preserving nutrient rich meat and vegetables. Food that will help you and your family grow strong, healthy and less dependent on supermarkets.

Todays Topics:

Mike Adams shows why growing your own food is vital knowledge and a skill to have. Our grandparents lived this wisdom daily.

Toby Hemenway explains a simple technique for increasing the yield of your garden by growing certain plants together.

Paul Wheaton demonstrates how to build your garden beds to save time not needing to water during the growing season.

Joel Karsten shows how to guarantee a fast start to setting seedlings out with a convenient, easy to setup straw bale container garden.

Learn more about of the highlights of what you will learn when you attend today’s events, here. The presentations will be available until 9AM EST Tuesday April 7th.

The presentations are packed with information so be sure to have a notepad handy…

A link was provided in the e-mail so I could access Day 1’s presentations.

Later this morning, I viewed two of five presentations available (Ms. Wildcraft put together one as well). The one by Mike Adams of Natural News-fame entitled “8 Reasons You Are Insane If You Aren’t Growing Some Of Your Own Food,” and Marjory Wildcraft’s “How To Produce Half Of Your Food In Your Backyard In Less Than An Hour Per Day.” I thought they were both pretty good. I already had some ideas of why I wanted to start my food garden (better nutrition, more outdoor exercise, and improved food security). Adams pointed out additional reasons why growing one’s own food might be wise in this day and age.

Wildcraft’s presentation provided me ideas for achieving food self-reliance at the Wisconsin homestead I’ve envisioned down the road. However, only that bit about a food garden is applicable in my current situation in the Chicago suburbs. That being said, Wildcraft showing how she was able to produce half her family’s food in her “backyard” in less than one hour a day was incredibly motivating.

It’s not too late to sign up for the free online event. Day 1 presentations can still be viewed until 9 AM EST Tuesday morning.

I’m finding the Home Grown Food Summit 2015 to be full of relevant and useful information. You might too. To find out more about the event and/or to register, click on the banner ad below. Please note that I receive a commission for products purchased via the event.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Upcoming REI Survival-Related Classes In The Chicago Area

Chicago-area readers- below are survival-related training classes from REI for the month of April:

Map and Compass Navigation Basics, Schaumburg REI (northwest suburbs- Schaumburg), April 10, 6:30-8:30 PM, $30 member/$50 non-member, 2 spots left
Introduction to Backcountry Skills Class, Blackwell Forest Preserve- McKee Marsh (west suburbs- Warrenville), April 11, 9 AM-2 PM, $60 member/$80 non-member, 9 spots left
Backcountry Navigation with a Map & Compass, Deer Grove Forest Preserve- Grove 5 (northwest suburbs- Palatine), April 12, 9 AM-2 PM, $60 member/$80 non-member, 3 spots left
Map and Compass Navigation Basics, Lincoln Park REI (north side Chicago- Lincoln Park), April 20, 6:30-8:30 PM, $30 member/$50 non-member, 6 spots left
Wilderness First Aid with WMI and REI, Ping Tom Memorial Park- Fieldhouse (south side Chicago- Chinatown) May 2-3, 9 AM-6 PM, $225 member/$255 non-member, 18 spots left

REI membership is still available for only a one-time fee of $20. For more information about REI, visit their website here.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Thursday, April 2nd, 2015 Emergencies, Gear, Health, Preparedness, Training No Comments

Project Prepper, Part 33: Focus On Food

It’s been some time since my last “Project Prepper” post (January 5), where I reaffirmed security is at the top of a list of six “innate survival needs” I’m working on meeting as part of this series of posts. That list, as you may recall, includes:

• Security
• Water
• Food
• Shelter
• Sanitation and Health
• Energy

Today, I’m focusing on survival need #3- food. In particular, starting a food garden.

Regular readers of these posts may remember me mentioning I’ve already socked away a couple of buckets of high-quality freeze-dried food at very attractive prices.

In addition to freeze-dried food, I’m planning on turning to copy canning soon to grow my emergency food supply.

For those readers not familiar with the term “copy canning,” from stockupfood.com:

1. Make a menu of meals for the week. Include the meals that you eat most often for breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner… and don’t forget desert!
2. Now make a shopping list based off this menu.
3. After looking over your shopping list choose an item that you can buy multiples of easily- or inexpensively if it’s been a tight month. (ex. a can of cream of chicken soup, or 10.) This method of buying multiple cans at once is called copy canning.

Furthermore, I want to transform a basement closet into a pantry capable of storing this emergency food, among other things.

Finally, as I blogged back on November 6, 2014:

This coming winter, I look forward to planning with my girlfriend a future food garden located on our property. I think I know of a good spot for it as well…

Now, I’ve been wanting a food garden since I lived in the “concrete jungle” that is Chicago’s Northwest Side. So much so, if I didn’t end up living someplace where I had my own private plot to grow one, I figured I might utilize a community food garden. I started looking into them a few years back , and loved the concept. However, I was put off about the potential for theft. Which turns out is a real concern in the Chicagoland area…

Winter is finally starting to release its grasp on us here in the Chicago suburbs. As such, my girlfriend and I have been discussing the future food garden. Since the last thing I grew from seed to plant was a lima bean back when I was in the third grade, I figure it might be wise to proceed slowly-but-steadily with this venture. To start, we plan on utilizing two areas of our backyard to attempt to grow a small number of fruits, herbs, and vegetables (if possible- I still have a good deal of research to perform here). This space behind our garage gets a tremendous amount of sun:

Food Garden Area Garage

And this setup in the middle of our backyard has already seen a number of herbs planted and harvested there (courtesy of my girlfriend’s mom):

Food Garden Area Mid Yard

The other night, I studied a resource I originally wrote about back on May 29, 2012. From that post:

Here in Illinois, we’ve got the University of Illinois Extension, the flagship outreach effort of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign that offers educational programs to residents of all of Illinois’ 102 counties. Under the “Horticulture” area of their website are 57 extension program sub-sections chock-full of free information on gardening and more. Examples include:

• “My First Garden”
• “Successful Container Gardens”
• “Common Vegetable Problems”
• “Herb Gardening”
• “Backyard Fruits”

One feature under “Horticulture” that may be of particular interest to Illinois residents who desire to grow food but don’t know where to start is the “Illinois Vegetable Garden Guide.” It looks fairly impressive in terms of the amount of information provided.

That’s me! “Illinois resident who desire to grow food but don’t know where to start.” And the Illinois Vegetable Garden Guide (found here) is “fairly impressive,” providing me basic information and inspiration (courage, really) to start, maintain, and (hopefully) harvest a food garden. Topics covered included:

• Step 1 – Make Good Use of Your Location
• Step 2 – Plan Your Garden Layout
• Step 3 – Grow Recommended Varieties
• Step 4 – Obtain Good Seed, Plants, Equipment, and Supplies
• Step 5 – Prepare and Care for the Soil Properly
• Step 6 – Plant Your Vegetables Right
• Step 7 – Keep Down Weeds
• Step 8 – Control Pests
• Step 9 – Water Properly
• Step 10 – Harvest at Peak Quality

I also have two books my girlfriend picked up for this project- Month-By-Month Gardening in Illinois: What to Do Each Month to Have a Beautiful Garden All Year and Guide to Illinois Vegetable Gardening (Vegetable Gardening Guides) by James A. Fizzell- that I’ll be studying carefully along with that guide.

I hope to achieve a number of things from this food garden:

• Better nutrition
• Better health
• Improved food security

Stay tuned.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Upcoming REI Survival-Related Classes In The Chicago Area

Chicago-area readers- below are survival-related training classes from REI for the month of March:

Backcountry Navigation with a Map & Compass, Deer Grove Forest Preserve- Grove 5 (northwest suburbs- Palatine), March 8, 9 AM-2 PM, $60 member/$80 non-member, 2 spots left
Wilderness Survival: 3-Season Skills, Deer Grove Forest Preserve- Grove 5 (northwest suburbs- Palatine), March 14, 9 AM-2 PM, $65 member/$85 non-member, 7 spots left
Wilderness First Aid with WMI and REI, Northerly Island Fieldhouse (downtown Chicago) March 14-15, 9 AM-6 PM, $225 member/$255 non-member, 14 spots left
Map and Compass Navigation Basics, Oakbrook REI (west suburbs- Oakbrook), March 17, 6:30-8:30 PM, $30 member/$50 non-member, 6 spots left

REI membership is still available for only a one-time fee of $20. For more information about REI, visit their website here.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Thursday, March 5th, 2015 Emergencies, Gear, Health, Preparedness, Training No Comments

Chicago School Of Wilderness Skills Offering Field First Aid, Land Navigation, Coal-Burned Container Classes In March

There are a number of survival-related training opportunities scheduled this month at the Chicago School Of Wilderness Skills (first blogged about here). From the school’s “Calendar Of Events” page:

field first aid

Saturday, March 7, 2015
11:30am-4:00pm

first aid in the woods with vincent hawkings. accidents happen, if your backpacking, hiking, or otherwise engaged in activities that take you far from the ER learning skills that could buy you the extra time to get medical care could make all the difference. class cost 25$

land navigation

Saturday, March 14, 2015
11:30am-4:00pm

land navigation course with robert reed . class cost 25$

coal burned containers

Saturday, March 28, 2015
12:30pm-2:30pm

An ancient technique for the controlled burning of logs used by aboriginal peoples to produce everything from spoons and bowls to canoes and drums.

Class will start with a short nature walk with a discussion on wood identification where students will choose a suitable log or branch to make an implement of their choice followed by short demonstration on proper technique for controlling the rate and position of the burn.

Students will then work on burning a container of their own, and we’ll finish with a discussion on food safe wood finishes.

taught by chris mayor class cost 25$ contact us to reserve a spot.

For more information, head on over to the Chicago School Of Wilderness Skills website here.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Wednesday, March 4th, 2015 Emergencies, Health, Medicine, Preparedness, Training No Comments

Peter Schiff: What’s Suppressing The Price Of Gold

The second installment of Peter Schiff’s Gold Videocast for 2015 is out on YouTube. And Euro Pacific Capital’s Schiff shared his thoughts about what’s been suppressing the price of gold these days. He told viewers:

ObamaCare forces employers to provide insurance for full-time employees. As a result, employers are hiring more part-time workers than they normally would. And that is substantially influencing these numbers. In fact, the real reason that we have such a low unemployment rate and we’re creating so many jobs, is because people are in effect sharing their job. We have a job sharing program…

Traders are ignoring all of the bad economic data that they should be focusing on, and instead just remaining fixated on the job numbers. And I think they are in position to be blindsided when the economy turns around…

So for now, it’s the false belief that the economy is strong, and that the Fed is going to raise rates- based on a misunderstanding of what the jobs’ numbers really mean- that is keeping a lid on the price of gold.

“False belief” plays an additional role in lower gold prices at this time, says Schiff. He added:

One other thing that is happening that should be lifting the prices of gold which is inflationary monetary policies all over the world. You know, more and more central banks are reducing their interest rates, launching their QE programs. Gold prices are rising in terms of those currencies. But the fact that everybody believes the dollar, the U.S. is going to be the lone holdout in the easy money parade- that is what’s keeping gold prices from really going ballistic…

I think we’re going to be leading that parade. Not only are we not going to raise interest rates or not raise them substantially- maybe we get a trivial rate hike although even there I think it’s more likely that we won’t. But we are going to be launching a new QE program- the Mother Of All QEs…

And when the markets realize this, then it’s going to be like taking the lid off the pressure cooker when it comes to the price of gold. And it’s going to be rising sharply. In the meantime, I continue to encourage people to accumulate as much physical gold and silver as they can before the rest of the financial community wakes up to this reality, and they’re rushing to buy these metals at much higher prices.


“Gold Videocast: America’s New ‘Job-Sharing’ Economy”
YouTube Video

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s note: I am not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented herein.)

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Thoughts On Chicago Home Invader Yelling ‘Fire! Fire!’

“According to the FBI, nearly 50,000 robberies within residences (the bureau’s classification for home invasions, not all of which involve violent entry) occurred in 2011, or about 135 per day…”

-NBC News website, September 9, 2014

Beware of the following. From Chicago’s ABC 7 website back on January 27:

Police are warning residents of a pair of home invasions on Chicago’s Far Northwest Side.

Authorities said a man broke into two homes, one in the 3800-block of North Pacific Avenue around 1:20 p.m. on Jan. 19 and one in the 6700-block of North Oxford Avenue around 2:50 p.m. on Jan. 21.

In each incident, police said the suspect forced his way through the front door, yelled, “Fire! Fire!” and ran out.

The suspect then got into a dark-colored vehicle driven by someone else and took off…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

You can read the rest of that article here, which doesn’t give an explanation for why the home invader spent the time and effort breaking into these residences- only to shout “Fire!” on both occasions, then leave. Note the following comment on the piece though:

This is just bizarre; I think there’s more to this story than the article lets on. If they do find this guy, they definitely need to get him psychiatric help since he’s clearly mentally ill…

“Mentally ill.” Perhaps. But consider this alternative. The home invader broke into these homes, discovered he wasn’t alone, and in an effort to create confusion for a rapid escape, the “Caucasian or Hispanic man in his late 20s” subsequently yelled “Fire! Fire!”. Under these circumstances, it would have been easy for the (almost) victims to mistake the intruder as some Good Samaritan at first and set about checking the premises for fire before realizing what really happened.

Mentally ill? How about “fast-thinker” or “smart criminal”?

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Chicago School Of Wilderness Skills Offering Survival Basics, Fire Building Classes On February 28

Chicago-area blog readers may have noticed local content has been somewhat heavy on nearby survival-related training opportunities lately.

I hope you’ve enjoyed finding out about them as much as I have.

Back on January 9, I blogged about Chris Mayor and the Chicago School Of Wilderness Skills, and some instruction they were scheduled to provide earlier this month. Looking at the school’s “Calendar Of Events” page last week, I noticed two classes being offered on the last day February. From the calendar:

survival basics

Saturday, February 28, 2015
11:30am-1:30pm

introduction on the essentials: fire, water, shelter, and food. How to plan a successful trip. We’ll also discuss gear and getting properly outfitted for deep woods camping. class cost 25$

we’re meeting at 10:00 am at the heartland cafe and traveling to our destination. contact us to reserve a spot

In addition to basic survival training, the school will be offering instruction on a potentially life-saving skill particularly for this time of year in this part of the country. Also from the calendar:

fire building

Saturday, February 28, 2015
2:00pm-4:00pm

In this class students will learn a variety of ways to start a fire in a survival or wilderness setting,

the class will cover making charcloth and punkwood and how to use them in combination with a flint and steel. we’ll discuss gathering fatwood , identifying various stones that spark when stuck with steel, proper safety, and what to do in worst case situations. location to be disclosed students should bring an altoids tin as well as a piece of cotton fabric or denim. class cost 25$ contact us to reserve a spot

Looking at Dabble.co (not .com), where information about the school’s classes can also be found, it shows only 8 spots left for Survival Basics and 6 places available for Fire Building as I type this.

In early March, I see a Flint Knapping workshop and Field First Aid class on the calendar. Lots of interesting and useful instruction coming out of the Chicago School Of Wilderness Skills these days, which you can learn more about on their website here.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Illinois Bill Would Legalize Firearm Suppressor Use

“By definition, the primary role of a suppressor is to reduce the overall sound signature of the host firearm to hearing safe levels. They do so by trapping the expanding gasses at the muzzle and allowing them to slowly cool, in a similar fashion to car mufflers. Their muffling capabilities intrinsically make them a hearing protection device for both the shooter and those around them.”

-American Suppressor Association website

Illinois firearm owners might be interested in the following. Brian Brueggemann reported on the Belleville News-Democrat website last Friday:

Hunters and other shooting enthusiasts would be allowed to have silencers on their guns under a bill filed in the Illinois legislature.

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Brandon Phelps, D-Harrisburg, said gun owners want silencers for a simple reason: to avoid hearing loss.

“There are a lot of veterans, a lot of hunters and shooters, who have suffered hearing loss,” Phelps said.

Phelps acknowledged that gun opponents are likely to challenge the bill.

“I’m used to that. They said that about concealed-carry — they said everybody was going to be running around shooting each other, like the wild west,” Phelps said. “That’s the movies.”

Firearm suppressors (or sound suppressors and silencers as they’re also known) are highly-regulated in the United States. J. Guthrie reported on the Guns & Ammo website back on May 13, 2012:

If you lived in Scotland, they would be required for hunting. If you lived in Finland you could saunter down to the local gun shop and buy one over the counter—one more reason to like Finland. In the U.S., suppressors are regulated by the National Firearms Act and you have to first make sure they are legal in your state, fill out a federal form and send it, a couple of photos and some fingerprints into the BATFE for approval. Once approved—the process can take six or seven months—the BATFE sends you a little stamp and some paperwork and you can take possession of the suppressor from you dealer. There are legal considerations for interstate transportation and transferring the suppressor too…

The suppressor legislation sponsored by Phelps is Illinois House Bill 433 (you can check on its status here). State Senator Bill Haine (D-Alton) has filed the same bill in the Senate.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Sources:

Brueggemann, Brian. “Bill would allow Illinois gun owners to use silencers.” Belleville News-Democrat. 6 Feb. 2015. (http://www.bnd.com/2015/02/06/3649514_bill-would-allow-illinois-gun.html?rh=1). 11 Feb. 2015.

Guthrie, J. “G&A Basics: How Suppressors Work.” Guns & Ammo. 13 May 2012. (http://www.gunsandammo.com/gear-accessories/suppressors/ga-basics-how-suppressors-work/). 11 Feb. 2015.

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Wednesday, February 11th, 2015 Firearms, Gun Rights, Health, Hunting, Legal, Shooting Sports No Comments

Upcoming REI Survival-Related Classes In The Chicago Area

Chicago-area readers- below are survival-related training classes from REI for the next month or so:

Valentine’s Day Couples Survival in the Wilderness, Palos Forest Preserve- Bull Frog Lake (south suburbs- Willow Springs), February 14, 9 AM-2 PM, $65 member/$85 non-member, 2 spots left
Map and Compass Navigation Basics, Northbrook REI (north suburbs- Northbrook), February 19, 6:30-8:30 PM, $30 member/$50 non-member, 9 spots left
Backcountry Navigation with a Map & Compass, Palos Forest Preserve- Bull Frog Lake (south suburbs- Willow Springs), February 22, 9 AM-2 PM, $60 member/$80 non-member, 6 spots left
Wilderness First Aid with WMI and REI, Fullersburg Woods Nature Education Center (west suburbs- Oak Brook) February 21, 9 AM-6 PM, $225 member/$255 non-member, 3 spots left
Wilderness Survival: 3-Season Skills, Palos Forest Preserve- Bull Frog Lake (south suburbs- Willow Springs), February 28, 9 AM-2 PM, $65 member/$85 non-member, 4 spots left
Backcountry Navigation with a Map & Compass, Deer Grove Forest Preserve- Grove 5 (northwest suburbs- Palatine), March 8, 9 AM-2 PM, $60 member/$80 non-member, 7 spots left

REI membership is still available for only a one-time fee of $20. For more information about REI, visit their website here.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Wednesday, February 11th, 2015 Emergencies, Health, Medicine, Preparedness, Training No Comments

Ebola Virus Mutating

A lot of people are writing off the threat posed by the Ebola virus these days. I, for one, still remain skeptical. And with good reason. Tulip Mazumdar reported on the BBC website yesterday:

Scientists tracking the Ebola outbreak in Guinea say the virus has mutated.

Researchers at the Institut Pasteur in France, which first identified the outbreak last March, are investigating whether it could have become more contagious.

More than 22,000 people have been infected with Ebola and 8,795 have died in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

Scientists are starting to analyse hundreds of blood samples from Ebola patients in Guinea.

They are tracking how the virus is changing and trying to establish whether it’s able to jump more easily from person to person

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Colin Freeman added on the website of The Telegraph (UK) yesterday:

On Thursday they warned that it was still too early in their research to say whether mutations in the virus thus far would lead to more lethal or infectious strains.

But Dr Anavaj Sakuntabhai, an Oxford-educated geneticist involved in the research, said that claims that the virus might move from being fluid-borne to airborne – and potentially much more infectious – were a near-scientific impossibility.

That theory was voiced last October by Anthony Banbury, the head of the United Nations mission on Ebola, who said it was a “nightmare scenario’ but that it “could not be ruled out”.

However, Mr Sakuntabhai told The Telegraph: “I don’t think is likely. For any pathogen (agent of disease) to change its mode of transmission would it means they would have to adapt to a completely different environment.” He likened it to a fish developing lungs or a human growing gills.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

“He likened it to a fish developing lungs..”

Something that happened 375 million years ago, as the Natural History Museum in London points out on their website:

A few species of fish were the first creatures to evolve lungs.

Arapaima, from the Amazon River, is an example of a fish that evolved a lung-like gas bladder to supplement the oxygen from its gills.

About 375 million years ago, land-living animals began to evolve from a species of lobe-finned fish. All animals with lungs share this common ancestor. This species is now extinct, but the living lungfish are close relatives.

Yep. As much as I’d like to, I wouldn’t be celebrating the demise of this bout of Ebola just yet.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Sources:

Mazumdar, Tulip. “Ebola outbreak: Virus mutating, scientists warn.” BBC. 29 Jan. 2015. (http://www.bbc.com/news/health-31019097). 30 Jan. 2015.

Freeman, Colin. “Ebola virus mutating but will not become airborne, scientists say.” The Telegraph. 29 Jan. 2015. (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/ebola/11378361/Ebola-virus-mutating-but-will-not-become-airborne-scientists-say.html). 30 Jan. 2015.

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Saturday, January 31st, 2015 Africa, Emergencies, Health, Preparedness, Science No Comments

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner To Push Drastic Spending Cuts, Sales Tax Hike In Near Future?

Some local news outlets have been giving new Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner a hard time lately, claiming he’s still in “campaign mode” and not providing much in the way of tackling the state’s economic ills.

But yesterday, Illinoisans got a glimpse of one potential measure the Winnetka businessman may turn to for improving the state’s finances. Jessie Hellmann and Ray Long reported on the Chicago Tribune website Thursday:

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner pressed a bit harder Thursday for an expansion of the Illinois sales tax as part of an agenda to right the state’s financial ship.

Using charts and graphs, Rauner explained how surrounding states use broader-based sales taxes than Illinois to take advantage of growing service economies. “We’re not competitive,” Rauner said.

The idea of expanding the state’s sales tax base to include services, such as on auto repairs, dog grooming or haircuts, has been debated in Illinois since the late 1980s. Expansion efforts repeatedly have stalled in the face of heavy resistance, but Rauner outlined how he thinks Illinois is “out of balance” with other states.

“We are not thoughtful about this,” Rauner said, adding that the Illinois sales tax is too high and too narrowly applied.

Expanding the sales tax is one of the few items Rauner repeatedly has mentioned as a part of an unspecific overhaul of the entire tax code, saying Illinois can’t “just nibble around the edges.”

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

It’s going to take a whole lot more than a sales tax hike to turn around the state’s economic fortunes. And Governor Rauner knows that.

So what other measures could be on his agenda for the near-term?

Rich Miller discussed the governor’s visit to the University of Chicago on January 22 and wrote on the Crain’s Chicago Business website the following day:

What is crystal clear is that he won’t ask for any more revenues without first making deep and even drastic cuts.

The new governor pointed to flat population growth and flat job growth as the roots of the problem.

Without “booming” growth, he said, Illinois can never dig itself out of the hole it’s in. And Rauner always HAS said that high taxes are a hindrance to growth.

Rauner singled out two items for his chopping block. First up, Medicaid spending.

“When you realize our job growth is flat, how do you pay for it?,” Rauner said of Medicaid. “I want to do that, but that is not sustainable.” Medicaid, which pays for everything from childbirth to nursing home care, consumes a quarter of the state’s operating budget, and despite some real reforms almost two years ago, costs are continuing to rise. And that’s a problem when next fiscal year’s budget deficit is being pegged at a whopping $9 billion.

Rauner also claimed state employees make too much money, saying they earn more than private sector workers (which AFSCME rejects, pointing to a recent University of Illinois study) and are the third-highest paid in the country. The number of state workers is declining, Rauner noted, but payroll costs are still increasing. Their health insurance is based on “low contributions” from workers, but has a high cost. So, while workers aren’t chipping in much, “you’re chipping in a lot,” he told his audience…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

“Deep and even drastic cuts.” “Expansion of the Illinois sales tax.”

It will be interesting to watch how Illinois Democrats- who hold veto-proof supermajorities in both chambers of the Illinois General Assembly- react to such proposals if Governor Rauner goes this route.

This could get ugly real quick…

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Sources:

Hellmann, Jessie and Long, Ray. “Rauner presses for sales tax expansion in U. of I. speech.” Chicago Tribune. 29 Jan. 2015. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/politics/ct-bruce-rauner-champaign-appearance-met-0130-20150129-story.html). 30 Jan. 2015.

Miller, Rich. “Watch out: Rauner sharpens his cleaver.” Crain’s Chicago Business. 23 Jan. 2015. (http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20150123/NEWS02/150129882/watch-out-rauner-sharpens-his-cleaver). 30 Jan. 2015.

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Girlfriend’s Doctor Visit: ‘Are Firearms Stored In Your Home?’

The other day, my girlfriend went to see her physician in the Chicago suburbs for a routine check-up. Upon arriving, she was handed some paperwork to fill out- including a sheet of questions that didn’t look like it originated from the doctor’s office. At the top of the page was my girlfriend’s name already printed out along with a QR code (that bar code –like thing that smart phones can read), immediately followed by a series of health questions.

Mixed in with those health-related questions was one about seatbelt use. And smoke detectors in the home. Finally, there was this:

Are firearms stored in your home?

Like I said, according to my girlfriend, that page of questions didn’t look like it came from her doctor. Which makes me wonder- who is behind this effort then, and what are they planning to do with the responses to the questions (particularly the one about guns stored in the home)?

For a while now, I’ve known more gun “control” was going to be attempted via the public health (backdoor) route due to recent, well-publicized setbacks on the national level. I suspect this questionnaire (and others like it) are a part of that effort.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Tuesday, January 27th, 2015 Firearms, Government, Gun Rights, Health No Comments


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