Wednesday, January 28, 2009

bloggers unite... bring some sanity to the cpsia

Okay, file this under "last ditch", "hail mary" and "what the hell"... the d-day of Feb 10 looms and still Congress is playing dumb, passing-the-buck and nothing seems to be getting accomplished. But I think it's still a good idea to keep doing what I can, so I am joining in with an Etsy group for the CPSIA blog-in. Here's their cut-and-paste summart, which is actually better than anything my fevered mind can come up with at this point:

As parents and concerned citizens I’m sure most of us at one time or another have been confronted with the question of lead poisoning. But have you asked yourself what your government is doing to protect your children from lead contained in toys? The answer? They're banning toys, taking books from schools and libraries, hurting low income families, killing entrepreneurial spirit and risking putting the economy in an even greater depression than we've seen in decades. I'd like to introduce you to their solution: the CPSIA.

Do you know about the CPSIA? No? Then I ask you to take a few minutes to find out about it.

The CPSIA stands for Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, a new set of laws that will come into effect on 10 February, 2009 and will impact many, many people in a negative way. Make no mistake, this is very real. View it for yourself. If Forbes, the American Library Association and numerous other media are paying attention, perhaps you should too.

How will these new laws affect you? Well, here are a few examples:

To the Parents of Young Students:
Due to the new law, expect to see the cost of school supplies sky rocket. While those paper clips weren't originally intended for your student to use, they will need to be tested now that your 11-year-old needs them for his school project. This law applies to any and all school supplies (textbooks, pencils, crayons, paper, etc.) being used by children under 12.

To the Avid Reader:
Due to the new law, all children's books will be pulled from library and school shelves, as there is no exemption for them. That’s okay though, there's always television. Our children don’t need to learn the love of reading after all.
Article from the American Library Association

To the Lover of All Things Handmade:
Due to the new law, you will now be given a cotton ball and an instruction manual so you can make it yourself since that blanket you originally had your eye on for $50 will now cost you around $1,000 after it's passed testing. It won't even be the one-of-a-kind blanket you were hoping for. Items are destroyed in the testing process making one-of-a-kind items virtually impossible. So that gorgeous hand-knit hat you bought your child this past winter won’t be available next winter.

To the Environmentalist:
Due to the new law, all items in non-compliance will now be dumped into our already overflowing landfills. Imagine not just products from the small business owners, but the Big Box Stores as well. You can't sell it so you must toss it. Or be potentially sued for selling it. You can't even give them away. If you are caught, it is still a violation.

To the Second-Hand Shopper:
Due to the new law, you will now need to spend $20 for that brand new pair of jeans for your 2-year old, rather than shop at the Goodwill for second hand. Many resale shops are eliminating children's items all together to avoid future lawsuits.

To the Entrepreneur:
Due to this new law, you will be forced to adhere to strict testing of your unique products or discontinue to make and/or sell them. Small businesses will be likely to be unable to afford the cost of testing and be forced to close up shop. Due to the current economic state, you'll have to hope for the best when it comes to finding a new job in Corporate America.

To the Antique Toy Collector:
Due to the new law, you'd better start buying now because it's all going to private collection and will no longer be available to purchase. “Because the new rules apply retroactively, toys and clothes already on the shelf will have to be thrown out if they aren't certified as safe.”

To the American Economy:
Already struggling under an economy that hasn’t been this weak in decades, the American economy will be hit harder with the inevitable loss of jobs and revenues from suppliers, small businesses and consumers. The required testing is far too costly and restrictive for small businesses or individuals to undertake.

To the Worldwide Economy:
Due to this new law, many foreign manufacturers have already pulled out of the US market. You can imagine the impact of this on their businesses.

If you think this is exaggerating, here is a recent article from Forbes

And for those of you prepared to be stupefied and boggled, The New Law

Please contact your Congressman and don't listen to the buck-passing lies about how he/she is sooooo concerned and has written a very stern letter to the CPSIA... blah, blah, blah. The only change that matters is the change that CONGRESS alone can make.

According to Kathleen from Fashion Incubator (hail the queen...)...

So what can you do?

You can email but avoid putting the word “CPSIA” in the subject line so they can’t create an email filter to dispose of them easily. Also, be smart with your subject line, do not write “HELP” or whatever in all caps. Even I delete those thinking those are spam. Write a professional subject line.

  • In addition to emailing your legislators, send an email to all these congressional aides who like the eunuchs of Imperial China, hold the power over what your congressman or senator sees.
  • If you’ve posted an Etsy protest page listing the costs of your product with testing, it is requested that you email that. Do not email a link to your page, they won’t go. Paste in your photo and the text.
  • Email your testing price quotes.
  • Fill out the Economic Impact Survey
  • Continue calls, letters and emails to the media. Of everything you are doing, this has the greatest impact. Do not be persuaded that Congress is acting on this; they are not.

Monday, January 26, 2009

she has her mother's eyes!

This morning I woke up to a text from my friend Lee Ann... "Guess who just fell asleep in her new sling..." The sling she speaks of is the one I made for her new baby girl, and the "who" she speaks of is that girl who she and her husband just met today for the first time. They have loved her since before they knew her name.
Their first two daughters came the "easy way" (haha), but Tarik was born in a 3rd world country and spent her first 11 months of life in an orphanage far away from the family who will care for her for the rest of her life. This week, Lee Ann and Reed flew to Ethiopia having no idea what to expect. They had stories from other adoptive parents, they had books and lists and their imaginations, but their hearts were baffled. I saw them just before they headed to the airport, and they looked like those parents you see in the movies being rushed to the er during labor. It's amazing how similar it is, no matter how a child comes into your life there is an intoxicating cocktail of fear, anticipation, relief and expectation that washes over you right before the moment finally arrives.
Something hit me hard that Reed said in their blog post, describing their first meeting with their daughter.
"...They put us in a room with a few couches and brought her in. It was amazing. We kind of had to slowly let her warm up to us, which was strange to do with a child who has already been a part of our family. It was hard not to grab her and overwhelm her with our love and affection. Instead, we had to do simple little things like let her fiddle with the buttons on Lee Ann’s shirt. But there was no doubt that our love for her, whether we could fully communicate it or not, was already overpowering."
Even reading it again brings tears to my eyes. It made me think of how God loves us the way we need to be loved... slowly making us aware of the incomprehensible feelings of compassion, protection, adoration that he has for us. It made me think of Aaron, and how important it is that God takes his time with him, slowly showing him that he is the God of truth and grace... not overpowering him and scaring him away. It's how God is with all of us. Babbling, throwing up, playing with the buttons on his shirt, totally unaware of the life that he has waiting for us, or even of the life of famine that he is saving us from.
This is adoption. It is the most tangible example we have for grace... pure, unselfish love, undeserved by anything we could do or say. Our abilities are insignificant compared to the abilities and resources of the one who has chosen to lavish his love on us... even if we are only aware of it in tiny bits.

Monday, January 12, 2009

wish I was just overreacting

This whole CPSIA thing has me so worn out. The very idea of how easy it apparently is for our government to pass a bill so quickly and quietly that We, the People are only finding out about it as the damage is beginning to happen. How ready they are to eliminate China's American competition, to drive a stake in the heart of what economists call the heartbeat of the American economy (small business/ cottage industry) when we are already in a resession. Oh, I could say so much. But I am about out of words. (you can read about it here)
Right now I am going to go to bed and pray myself to sleep. And try not to cry anymore at the thouhgt of kids being banned from libraries. My dear Grandmother would not have been able to bear that one, and this makes me realize another way I am like her. Bittersweet.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Murphy, we're not in Brooklyn anymore (part 4)

oh, Murphy, what have I become?
(desperate times...)
Ok, I've been dunking for 45 minutes and it still isn't robust. What now?

(where there's no dunking required)

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Monday, December 29, 2008

"When a beloved person disappears, everything becomes impregnated with that person's presence. Every single object but also every space is a reminder of his or her absence, as if absence were stronger than presence."
-Doris Salcedo