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Of all God’s creatures, honeybees are among the more important. 

I’ve always loved honey, more so now than ever, and after some misadventures with insects as a kid I’ve come to appreciate honeybees as an essential “bee-loved” part of creation. I enjoy watching them work, flower to flower, as I walk in neighboring areas or explore our own property. And I now realize just how critical honeybees are to agriculture.

Honeybees produces more than 157 million pounds of honey every year in the United States. That’s from about 50-65 lbs. per colony.

Meanwhile, approximately 400 million pounds of honey are consumed in the US each year. Obviously, that’s considerably more than our bees produce so we import 70% of the honey consumed in the US.  

Honey is good for you

Raw and regular honey are differently processed. Raw means the honey is much as it was from the hive. It contains pollen and has no added sugars or sweetners. Regular or commercial honey is processed, pasteurized, and thus while it gets that beautiful amber look that American consumers want and it tends not to crystalize as quickly, it’s lost much of its original nutrient value.

Raw honey contains many nutrients, including sugars, vitamins, calcium, magnesium, and protein, and approximately 22 amino acids, 31 different minerals, vitamins, and enzymes. Raw honey also contains some 30 types of bioactive plant compounds called polyphenols, which act as antioxidants.  

Numerous studies have connected antioxidants with reduced inflammation and lower risk of heart disease and some cancers. Honey also helps gastrointestinal disorders and diabetes, reduces coughs, increases athletic performance, heals wounds and fight bacteria. 

I eat raw, pure, unfiltered honey. It's worth the extra cost and I highly recommend it.

Bee pollen is good for you too

Bee pollen is another honeybee product with food value. It’s low in calories while rich in proteins, enzymes, vitamins, beneficial carbohydrates, amino acids and bioflavonoids. Bee pollen contains over 250 substances, including vitamins, amino acids, essential fatty acids, micronutrients and antioxidants. 

Bee pollen is a natural allergy relief and is responsible for the many health benefits of raw honey. Bee pollen contains more protein than any animal source and more amino acids than an equal weight of eggs or beef. Bee pollen’s health benefits include, fights inflammation, improves liver function, helps stabilize cholesterol, stimulate organs, accelerate rate of recovery, strengthens capillaries, helps fight heart disease and stroke.

And then there’s beeswax

Beeswax is also a valuable honeybee product, often worth more per ounce than honey. Beeswax is used in skin care products, candles, and furniture polish, along with what one organization listed as 101 uses for beeswax.

Honeybees pollinate food crops

Honeybees are also important for their work pollinating about one-sixth of flowering plant species worldwide and approximately 400 different agricultural types of plant.

More than a third of all crop species in the United States including avocados, almonds, and apples, depend on honeybees for pollination.“ Other examples of crops which depend on bees for pollination: macadamia nuts, Brazilian nuts, the kiwifruit, avocados, mangoes, almonds, apples, watermelons, passion fruits, and the rowanberry.

What makes bees so important for pollination is that honeybees and bumble bees typically practice “flower fidelity,” meaning that on a given foraging flight they tend to visit the same type of flower. This enhances pollination by moving pollen between the same type of flower.

Honeybeekeers

According to the US Department of Agriculture, there are about 212,000 beekeepers in the country. Honeybee farms or hive locations are called apiaries and a beekeeper is otherwise known as an apiarist. These people may employ up to four workers to manage the colonies. More people work as honeybee pollination services providers while others are employed in organizations that deal directly with bee products. About 1.5 million people whose employment is connected to honeybees.

Honeybees were thought to be endangered in the past few years due to Colony Collapse Disorder, but this fear has lessened as bees seem to be making a comeback.

Bee-loved Honey

Honey is gold. Honeybees are better than goldminers. They’re gold producers of what is one of the creation’s best sustainable foods.

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2020    

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.   

In the country, the virtues of a pastoral life are evident. It reminds me what matters in life: Faith, Family, Friends.

Sure, Food, Fortune, Fun are OK too, as long as these things don’t misdirect our lives.

Solomon said,

“Here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind" (Ecclesiastes 12:13).

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2020    

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.    

The toll is now 38.6 M Americans unemployed due not to Covid-19 as claimed by most media coverage but due to state governors’ executive order shutdowns. Meanwhile, not one governor is out of a paycheck. 

Peggy Noonan noted, “On Tuesday Pennsylvania’s Tom Wolf said in a press briefing that those pushing against the shutdown are cowards. Local officials who ‘cave in to this coronavirus’ will pay a price in state funding. ‘These folks are choosing to desert in the face of the enemy. In the middle of a war.’ He said he’ll pull state certificates such as liquor licenses for any businesses that open.  Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer called anti-lockdown demonstrations ‘racist and misogynistic.’ She called the entire movement ‘political.’

Maybe some protestors fit Governor Whitmer's description, but not most and this is not the message most protestors were trying to convey. They were saying they are worried and facing very real financial catastrophe. Meanwhile, she plays the victim, changes the goalpost of what she says she’s trying to accomplish via her executive orders, and continues to hold tight to the reins. While people have no job, no paycheck as a direct offshoot of her shutdown polices, she still has a job and collects her check.

Protestors are also portrayed as anti-American rabble: “But this is what they’re getting in return: ‘Coronavirus protesters turn the American flag into a symbol of selfishness.’ In other words: Fight for freedom — fight for a return to saner times — fight for the Constitution, for self-sufficiency, for any of the rights that have been long-cherished, long-held in this country as God-given — and that’s ‘selfish.’”

Jobs are purportedly the concern of both the Left and the Right, but state governors have willingly deep-sixed consideration of the ripple effects of their shutdown polices in the name of public health. Now that so many governors have taken such extreme positions it’s making it harder for any of them to backtrack because, in their minds, it makes it look like they are backing down, or worse, that they were wrong all along. 

Without yielding to cynicism, it seems likely the shutdowns would not have lasted as long as they have and would not yet be in place if governors had also lost their jobs and paychecks. 

History is going to judge these statewide lockdowns harshly.

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2020    

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.    

Bill Maher is not my Go-To guy, and I probably disagree with 90% of his views, especially his anti-religious worldview (He says he believes "in a force" but not religious "bureaucracy"), but his commitment to freedom of speech and open discussion is now rare on the Left, as is the point expressed here. In this 2:03 min video he speaks more common sense than I've heard from politicians, Left or Right, in three months. But he gives God no credit for the human immune system.

I still think it's interesting that Maher, Jerry Seinfeld, and Chris Rock all stopped taking public university gigs because in this era of political correctness and self-righteous "silencing" of all with whom one disagrees the university students, faculty, and administrations couldn't handle their (free speech, crude, over-the-edge) jokes...and these guys are capital L Left. No wonder Condi Rice and a few like her also gave up on most university gigs, or I should say universities cancelled or stopped inviting anyone deemed potentially "offensive."

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2020    

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.    

Protestors have been driving to state capitals to express disagreement with governors’ pandemic-induced stay-at-home executive orders.

Some observe this is a First Amendment right of any or every American. Some who disagree, including certain governors, claim the citizens are out of line or “partisan,” racist, etc., or not with governors’ coronavirus shutdown orders thus ipso facto not worthy of serious consideration. And protestors have used slogans, symbols, and statements including referencing fascism, etc. to make their points, which make for edgy photo ops on the evening news. 

One thing is fairly clear, the longer state shutdowns go, the more the rhetoric is heating up on both or all sides

Protests per se are not the problem, or at least they should not be in this free country, one with a now long history of meaningful protest dating from the colonial period. 

Peaceful assembly and protests are indeed protected by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution and much case law since. It’s when “peaceful” is lost that protests become a problem – unless of course you disagree with the protestors and take a moral high ground condemning their presentation even if peacefully presented.

I’ve written about protest before in what I considered a much-needed Civics 101 lesson. Let’s review:

1—Is protest legal in the US? Yes, in this free country it is, as long as the protest is peaceful or nonviolent, i.e. not harming people, others’ property, impeding people’s progress on public thoroughfares, or otherwise creating a threat to public safety.

2—Do I have to agree with protestors to agree with their freedom to protest? No.

3—Should protestors (or speakers) with whom I disagree be silenced? No, this idea and now increasingly common action is the opposite of the ideal of freedom of speech.

4—If the point of protest is to draw attention to something considered troublesome, isn’t it logical that the more outrageous the protest the more likely it will elicit response? Yes and No. Yes, outrageous is OK as long as it fits within #1. No, in that outrageous may backfire on protestors, eliciting not a response to their views but to their method.

5—Is protest “bad”? No, not really. It is part of what it means to live in a free, pluralistic, and democratic society.

6—Do American citizens have the “right” to protest anywhere, anytime, for any reason? Yes and No. Yes, as long as it fits in #1. No, if it violates #1.

I support Americans’ right to protest peacefully. The key here are the words “right,” meaning this inalienable civil liberty is protected and guaranteed, and “peacefully,” meaning your right to vent or to express your point of view ends when you introduce threats and/or destruction to property or persons.

I do not support, nor think it remotely necessary, people carrying rifles on state government property. I know this is legal. I know they can do this legally if they wish, but I don’t think it helps their cause and might increase the potential for conflict.

I do not think it is necessary or appropriate, and in fact believe it undermines good arguments on the merits, for protestors to carry swastikas or Confederate flags, or other highly emotive, negative, and divisive symbols. Again, is this legal and a part of freedom of expression? Yes. So what’s the problem? In one since, nothing, it’s some protestors’ way of communicating their concerns. In another sense, it invites if not invokes a whole other discussion that may or may not advance their point of view. And please, I know when I say this some will think, This is exactly what we want to convey, pointing out tyranny in contemporary American politics. Others will react to the associations and history these symbols bring to bear. For me, I wouldn’t go there.

Free speech, or more broadly expression, is at work in protests. So what’s the problem with people “calling names”? Nothing. “Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me”…maybe.

Again, for me, while I strongly affirm freedom of speech, I do not endorse or recommend calling presidents, senators or representatives, governors, mayors, or any duly elected or appointed public servant degrading nicknames or using any crude or disgusting vocabulary to describe them. To me, this is juvenile and counterproductive to public discourse. Is it their “right” to speak freely? Yes. Is this sort of approach good for the Body Politic? I don’t think so. 

In a similar vein, some journalists or public officials have called people who choose not to wear a mask in public, “selfish” or “morons” or even the “enemy.” OK, that’s their opinion and they can say this. I don’t go there because I don’t want to label everyone with whom I disagree. I’d rather counter their arguments or points of view on the merits instead of insulting the person. Attacking the person doesn’t leave much room for ongoing debate. We have too much of this on the national level.

Peaceful protests are legal, appropriate, even necessary to the best functioning of a democracy.

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2020    

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.    

The impact of statewide stay-at-home orders, or lockdown, in the US has thus far resulted in 36.5 million people losing their jobs

“The pandemic shutdown has piled on the economic agony, with 52% of lower-income adults saying they or someone in their household have lost a job or taken a pay cut during the outbreak, according to the Pew Research Center."

About 1 in 5 small businesses may not make it into a post-pandemic market. While some economists suggest nearly half of all small businesses will close permanently by the end of this year due to the coronavirus crisis response.

It’s a Humpty Dumpty economy if there ever was one.

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the king's horses and all the king's men
Couldn't put Humpty together again.”

So here we are now, trying to phase in reopening but facing a Humpty Dumpty economy that “had a great fall, i.e., was broken by over-zealous politicians, particularly state governors and big city mayors in their desire to make people safe by quarantining healthy people.

I’ve noted before, we’re suffering from inverted logic. To date about 1.6 million C-19 cases have been recorded in the US, with about 90,000 deaths. Meanwhile, 36.5 million have lost jobs since February—some economists saying less than half of these jobs won’t come back—which will result in greater personal and societal suffering. Many unemployed haven’t seen a nickel of unemployment benefits or federal relief funds. And this says nothing about delayed “non-essential” medical care. 

So, with an understandable, maybe even compassionate, and give some the benefit of the doubt and say humane, desire to protect people from a pandemic, politicians acted with the advice of public health and medical “experts.” Problem is, many of them acted in unprecedented overreach, walked over civil liberties as if these historic ideals, principles, and legal guarantees didn’t really matter, strong-armed citizens and churches, and much more of considerable concern

Meanwhile, there was another way: South Dakota never enacted a lockdown. The state recorded four cases per 100,000 people, lowest in the nation and the lowest job losses in the nation. And South Dakota citizens gave Gov. Kristi Noem a well-deserved parade. She took media abuse but stuck to her well-articulated position. She is a too rare, independent thinking politician, one I hope we hear more from in the future.

Jobs provide not only income but focus and purpose. Long-term unemployment is a crisis in itself. But in a Humpty Dumpty economy people suffer from more than loss of income. Some face more domestic abuse at home and a host of other social pathologies increase, including suicide

Stay-at-home, shelter-in-place, lockdown policies, though possibly helpful in slowing the spread of C-19 or flattening the curve in some areas—the jury is really out on whether this is scientifically demonstrable—has nevertheless created a host of ripple-effect-problems of their own.

Any chance of successfully putting our Humpty Dumpty economy back together is certainly dependent upon reopening as quickly as possible. 

State governors need to get people back to work, meaning rescind stay-at-home orders ASAP. 

The American people can rise to the occasion of this layered crisis…if they are given the opportunity to do so. 

For governors to insist upon extending lockdowns into June is to flaunt their legally suspect authority and to tempt increasingly angry, desperate individuals to go “too far” in protests that can create contexts for violence. 

With the advent of warmer weather in the North people are going to reach the end of their rope and allow frustration to boil over, or they are simply going to ignore “orders” and thus be in a position of civil disobedience whether or not they chose to do so. Some county sheriffs and local police chiefs are already defying governors, mayors or councils, saying they will not enforce stay-at-home orders. This may be understandable in terms of a point of view, but it is a development fraught with potential disorder and violence.

Humpty Dumpty can be put back together again but for this to happen, we need pandemic governors to help not hinder us.

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2020    

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.