Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Non-Stick Grills for Gas Stove Tops

This year our not so old and failing GE electric range degraded from a long time 3 burner range to a 1 burner in one day.  The replacement rheostats were almost a c note a piece, and we decided to replace the range with a gas stove.  I love the gas stove, it's wonderful especially for high heat fast stir fry's.  My wife wanted one of the large grills that fits over two burners.   Frankly, at the time, I didn't see the need but this inexpensive, 45 dollar grill is fun and practical and my personal favorite.  It's great for fajita's, hamburgers, chops and steaks.  This summer we didn't use our barbecue very often, instead we used the non-stick grill.  A fast sear, for steaks and then finish in the oven. 

Occupy Wall Street Affects District Judge's Ruling

The entire nation was taken for a ride by the banks in 2008.  They were selling junk mortgage bonds to investors, claiming they were AAA rated and then betting that those junk mortgage bonds would fail, in the process making millions while you and I went broke.  No one has been held accountable, not one prosecution in those mortgage frauds.  Instead, the SEC has been "making deals" with the banks.  The SEC accuse the banks of wrongdoing, the bank Citigroup in this case, admits to nothing, admits no wrongdoing, but agrees to pay a fine and everything is washed under the carpet.   But not this time.  US District Judge Jed Rakoff rejected the deal between Citigroup and the SEC.   Credit for this ruling belongs to the Judge of course, but also to Occupy Wall Street.  Occupy Wall Street, has changed our national consciousness and spotlighted the impunity with which  the big banks have comported themselves.   Millions of Americans want to see criminal prosecutions for the big banks selling worthless mortgage bundles that they were betting would fail.  No more immunity at the top, and we are tired of sweeping these scandals under the carpet.  Today, we learn that 10 financial institutions have illegally foreclosed on 5,000 active duty servicemembers homes.  These banks are illegally foreclosing on  the soldiers actively defending our country.  Give me one good reason, why every one of those banks shouldn't be broken up into a hundred small pieces, and I'll give you 5000 good reasons why they should be broken up.

USDJ Jed Rakoff's full ruling here:
the Court is forced to conclude that a proposed Consent Judgment that asks the Court to impose substantial injunctive relief, enforced by the Court's own contempt power, on the basis of allegations unsupported by any proven or acknowledged facts whatsoever, is
neither reasonable, nor fair, nor adequate, nor in the public interest.

It is not reasonable, because how can it ever be reasonable to impose substantial relief on the basis of mere allegations? It is not fair, because, despite Citigroup's nominal consent, the potential for abuse in imposing penalties on the basis of facts that are neither proven nor acknowledged is patent. It is not adequate, because, in the absence of any facts, the Court lacks a framework for determining adequacy. And, most obviously, the proposed Consent Judgment does not serve the public interest, because it asks the Court to employ its power and assert its authority when it does not know the facts.
An application of judicial power that does not rest on facts is worse than mindless, it is inherently dangerous. The injunctive power of the judiciary is not a free roving remedy to be invoked at the whim of a regulatory agency, even with the consent of the regulated. If its deployment does not rest on facts, cold, hard,solid facts, established ei by admissions or by trials -it serves no lawful or moral purpose and is simply an engine of oppression.
Finally, in any case like this that touches on the transparency of financial markets whose gyrations have so depressed our economy and debilitated our lives, there is an overriding public interest in knowing the truth. In much of the world, propaganda reigns, and truth is confined to secretive, fearful whispers. Even in our nation, apologists for suppressing or obscuring the truth may always be found. But the S.E.C., of all agencies, has a duty, inherent in its statutory mission, to see that the truth emerges; and if fails to do so, this Court must not, in the name of deference or convenience, grant judicial enforcement to the agency's contrivances.
Accordingly, the Court refuses to approve the proposed Consent...

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Don't let the 1% Censor the Internet

From MoveOn

As soon as this week, Congress will start debating whether to give the government the power to turn off parts of the Internet. If that sounds like a terrible recipe for abuse of power, that's because it is.

If enacted, a new law would make it so a simple allegation of copyright infringement—with no review process—could lead to the shutdown of sites from YouTube to Wikipedia to Any website, foreign or U.S.-based, could be wiped out on suspicion and made unavailable to everyone in the world.
For example, if you (or Justin Bieber) wanted to post a video to YouTube of yourself singing a Beatles song, a record company could force the Department of Justice to shut down YouTube. Really.2
The government must not be allowed to censor the Internet at the request of powerful lobbyists. Say NO to Internet censorship.  Sign the MoveOn's Petition here
The Daily Kos has a contact form that enables you to contact your Senator here

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The Leaning Tower of Pizza

Hermann Cain is "reassessing" his campaign.  This announcement came after Ginger White's interview with a Fox affiliate in Atlanta where Ms. White revealed that she and Cain had carried on a 13 year affair.  Ms. White produced records of cell phone calls and two books signed by Mr. Cain.  Why did Ginger White come forward?  Ms. White said she "felt bad" for the other women who had come forward:
"It bothered me that they were being demonized, sort of, and being treated as if they were automatically lying, and the burden of proof was on them,"
Of course, Hermann Cain denied everything, again,  claiming that Ms. White was only a friend.  It should also be noted that there are millions of women Mr. Cain has not accused of lying.  Hermann Cain has repeatedly said:
"I can categorically say I have never acted inappropriately with anyone, period,"

We all hope Mr. Cain doesn't spend too much time "reassessing" his clearly inappropriate campaign for president. 
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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Rick Perry Wrong on Date and Wrong on Voting Age

Rick Perry was born one month after me, March 4, 1950. Youths of my age were all intensely aware of the voting age. Young men were drafted at 18 and sent off to war in Vietnam but they couldn't vote. June of 1970, when Rick Perry was 20, President Richard Nixon signed a law allowing youths 18 and above to vote. That law was challenged and taken to the supreme court.  In 1971 a constitutional amendment was passed, the 26th amendment, which lowered the voting age to 18. The right to vote was very important to me and most of my friends at the time and I don't understand how anyone close to my age could ever forget that the voting age in this country is 18 years.  It's just sadly not surprising that a governor from Texas thinks that elections are held on the 12th of November. 
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Monday, November 28, 2011

Mitt Romney vs Willard Romney

This television ad is running in 6 swing states. Rick Santorum was defending Willard Mitt Romney from the attacks in this ad on The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnel tonight.  Watching the sequence it wasn't clear to me,whether Rick Santorum was defending Romney's Flip or his Flop. 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

UC Davis Chancellor Katehi Must Go

Incredible: nearly 100,000 people -- including you -- signed David Buscho's petition on calling on UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi to resign for allowing the campus police to attack students with pepper spray who were peacefully protesting tuition hikes. There's more: Every professor in UC Davis' English and Physics Departments has also said Chancellor Katehi should resign -- she can't last long with both students and faculty saying she should leave. 
Monday is a big day at UC Davis -- students and professors have called for an all-day protest on campus. Momentum is on their side, but they need you to show Katehi it's time for her to resign.
Sign the Petition Here
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Apple Pie

With the holidays, we have lots of guests and visitors, and they all enjoy, Apple Pie. 

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Speed US Forces Drawdown in Afghanistan

Last week, Nato forces in Afghanistan carried out airstrikes that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers in Pakistan.  Presently, Pakistan has closed the border with Afghanistan for all US and NATO resupply convoys.   Half of NATO and US supplies for Afghanistan go through Pakistan.  The US military will never establish a realistic date or conditions when it is safe to leave Afghanistan and its up to the citizens of the US to  expedite the US evacuation of Afghanistan.  Senator Merkley has introduced an amendment to expedite US forces draw-down out of Afghanistan.  

The Merkly Amendment:

1) The president should expedite the transition of security responsibility to the government of Afghanistan;
2) The president shall devise a plan for expediting the drawdown of US combat troops in Afghanistan and accelerating the transfer of security authority to Afghan authorities prior to December 2014; and
3) Within 90 days, the president shall transmit to Congress a plan with a timetable and completion date for the accelerated transition of all military and security operations in Afghanistan to the government of Afghanistan.
Current co-sponsors of Merkley's amendment include: Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM), Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA).
 Tell Your Senators to co-sponsor the Merkley amendment and to oppose war with Iran

Petition to demand a timetable for full withdrawal of US forces in Afghanistan
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Family Favorite Meal

Photo by Chad Sarbiewski
Originally, this main dish recipe came from my friend Jay.  But we like it so much we cook it as a side dish.  This is 1 onion, sliced thin, 5 medium thinly sliced potatoes and 1 sliced green pepper and 2 broadly sliced and seeded jalapenos.  Toss with some olive oil and fresh thyme, then roast in a 425 oven for 30 minutes.  Then we toss and stir, and add sliced tomatoes and shredded cheese (this is gruyere) and then roast for another 5 or 6 minutes.   When we cook this as a main dish we add 1 or 2 packages of thinly sliced Hillshire smoked sausage, or Kielbasa. 

UC Davis Physics Department Calls for Katehi's Resignation

Via Cosmic Variance
Chancellor Linda Katehi
November 22, 2011
UC Davis
Dear Chancellor Katehi:
With a heavy heart and substantial deliberation, we the undersigned faculty of the UC Davis physics department send you this letter expressing our lack of confidence in your leadership and calling for your prompt resignation in the wake of the outrageous, unnecessary, and brutal pepper spraying episode on campus Friday, Nov. 18.
The reasons for this are as follows.
• The demonstrations were nonviolent, and the student encampments posed no threat to the university community. The outcomes of sending in police in Oakland, Berkeley, New York City, Portland, and Seattle should have led you to exhaust all other options before resorting to police action.
• Authorizing force after a single day of encampments constitutes a gross violation of the UC Davis principles of community, especially the commitment to civility: “We affirm the right of freedom of expression within our community and affirm our commitment to the highest standards of civility and decency towards all.”
• Your response in the aftermath of these incidents has failed to restore trust in your leadership in the university community.
We have appreciated your leadership during these difficult times on working to maintain and enhance excellence at UC Davis. However, this incident and the inadequacy of your response to it has already irreparably damaged the image of UC Davis and caused the faculty, students, parents, and alumni of UC Davis to lose confidence in your leadership. At this point we feel that the best thing that you can do for this university is to take full responsibility and resign immediately. Our campus community deserves a fresh start.
Andreas Albrecht (chair)
Marusa Bradac
Steve Carlip
Hsin-Chia Cheng
Maxwell Chertok
John Conway
Daniel Cox
James P. Crutchfield
Glen Erickson
Chris Fassnacht
Daniel Ferenc
Ching Fong
Giulia Galli
Nemanja Kaloper
Joe Kiskis
Lloyd Knox
Dick Lander
Lori Lubin
Markus Luty
Michael Mulhearn
David Pellett
Wendell Potter
Sergey Savrasov
Richard Scalettar
Robert Svoboda
John Terning
Mani Tripathi
David Webb
David Wittman
Dong Yu
Gergely Zimanyi
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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Egyptian Military Laughs at US Department of State

The US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland issued this statement on November 22, 2011:

"We condemn the excessive force used by the police.  We strongly urge the Egyptian government to exercise maximum restraint, to discipline its forces and to protect the universal rights of all Egyptians to peacefully express themselves."

Perhaps, the US State Department should consider including UC Davis Police and Chancellor Katehi, the Oakland Police department, UC Berkeley Police and Mayor Bloomberg and the US Department of Homeland Security in their next lecture on how democracies should deal with peaceful protestors.
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Friday, November 25, 2011

The Daily Bread

Just bread, no oats or seeds this time

Thanksgiving Trophies

My friend John is from the Azores.  This is his traditional Portuguese style turkey.  Cooked in butter, wine and with lots of Linguisa sausage.  He creates a very flavorful and moist turkey that unfortunately, leaves very few leftovers.

Of course, there was pie.  Huckleberry, apple and two pumpkin.
Stuffing, green bean casserole, linguisa sausage, marshmellowed sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes and gravy with the turkey.   The food is always wonderful but the real treat is sitting around a table warmed with good friends and family. 
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Police Pepper Spray is Not a Food Item

chart from Wikipedia

We never turn on Fox "news", but we heard on another channel how the Fox "news" commentators were calling pepper spray a food product.  They even suggested it had been diluted.   This is complete nonsense.
“pepper spray is a food product, essentially.” Megyn Kelly

Peppers are rated by the Scoville method, most people are familiar with the Jalepeno which is rated between 3,500 and 8,000 Scoville units.  The Habanero is listed at 100,000-350,000 units.  This is seriously hot and can cause an intensely painful burning sensation, when the oil from preparing a pepper is transferred to your face or other sensitive body parts.  I can personally attest to how painful this can be.  The following video shows the intense effects of a very small piece of the "ghost" pepper, rated at 800,000 to 1.4 million Scoville units, over the course of one hour.  Police pepper spray is 5.3 million units, 5 times hotter than the ultimate ghost pepper.  This is not a food product, it is a weapon.   The US is banned by international treaties from using it in Iraq or Afghanistan or any other war zone.   Using this on peaceful protestors is completely unacceptable. 

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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving All

Mother and son peeling potatoes by Norman Rockwell
Let us remember that, as much has been given us, much will be expected from us, and that true homage comes from the heart as well as from the lips, and shows itself in deeds.  ~Theodore Roosevelt

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Support Mandatory Labelling for GE food products

 From Pesticide Action Network
Thanksgiving is here, a day to celebrate all that sustains us: bountiful harvests, family and friends. Yet as we prepare the feast that brings us together, we can only wonder whether the ingredients we’re chopping, mixing and roasting have been genetically engineered. Because there’s no way to know.
Up to 80% of non-organic food on our shelves contains a GE ingredient pushed onto the market by Monsanto & company, and none of it is labeled. We think it should be. We have a right to know what we’re eating.
Just label it!» More than 350,000 people have already signed a petition urging FDA to require labeling of GE foods. Will you join us?
Sign the petition
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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

United re:public

 The Tea Party. Occupy. Everywhere you turn, people are taking action because they know the system is broken. Join us in helping fix it. Together we can create a new America that is truly of, by and for the people.
In 2012 alone, special interests will spend roughly $4.5 billion on campaign contributions and $3.5 billion on lobbying. That’s a crushing amount of influence. And the only way we can counter it is with the creativity, enthusiasm and time of people like you. Millions of people like you.

A coalition of left, right, and center
fighting back

By joining, you will add your energy to the growing chorus of patriots –- liberal, conservative, independent -- who are fed up with the ways in which our government and politicians are being bought and sold. And we’re gearing up to demand real reform.

We are fighting back, against the Citizens United Decision.  Five of our supreme court justices, can't tell a corporation from a person.   When the 1% have undue influence over lawmakers, government bureaucrats, and the supreme court , its called corruption.  From Dylan Ratigans' push for a constitutional amendment to get money out of politics came this group.  Check them out, mission statement and leaders  here.  

United Re:Public
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Sign the Petition Calling for the Resignation of Chancellor Katehi

The full well written letter is here and the petition
I will leave it to my colleagues and every reader of this letter to decide what poses a greater threat to “a safe and inviting space for all our students” or “a safe, welcoming environment” at UC Davis: 1) Setting up tents on the quad in solidarity with faculty and students brutalized by police at UC Berkeley? or 2) Sending in riot police to disperse students with batons, pepper-spray, and tear-gas guns, while those students sit peacefully on the ground with their arms linked? Is this what you have in mind when you refer to creating “a safe and inviting space?” Is this what you have in mind when you express commitment to “a safe, welcoming environment?”

I call for your resignation because you are unfit to do your job. You are unfit to ensure the safety of students at UC Davis. In fact: you are the primary threat to the safety of students at UC Davis. As such, I call upon you to resign immediately.
Nathan Brown
Assistant Professor
Department of English
Sign the petition calling for the resignation of UC Davis Chancellor Katehi 

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UC Davis Student Protestors "Make Salt"

UC Davis Police Chief Annette Spicuzza in a tv interview claimed:  "They are split-second decisions. They are decisions often you just can't review."

Police Chief Annette Spicuzza told the LA Times:
"The students had encircled the officers. They needed to exit. They were looking to leave but were unable to get out."
Police Chief Annette Spicuzza told the Sacramento Bee
"There was no way out of that circle," Spicuzza said. "They were cutting the officers off from their support. It's a very volatile situation."
In the following video, its evident that Police Chief Annette Spicuzza is an incredible liar.  The video, shows the officers in the 5 minutes before they began pepper spraying the seated students.   At no point until the spraying began, was it a volatile situation.  The officers were clearly relaxed and in no danger whatsover.  They were in full riot gear, carrying pepper spray, rubber bullet guns and batons behind some students sitting on the sidewalk.  In the video you can see one of the officers calmly stepping over the seated protestors in order to spray them directly in their faces. Police Chief Annette Spicuzza is not fit to command anything, she should be fired immediately.
In addition to the police chief, the officers who were involved in the pepper spraying are not fit to wear a uniform. Orders or not, that was clearly uncalled for brutality against peaceful protestors.   UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi should just resign now and save everyone the trouble of an investigation that will go very poorly for her.  The police officers involved were clearly in communication with their superiors before they began the pepper spraying.  In the last video, you can see them using cell phones and wireless devices.  The Chancellor was involved in the decision to pepper spray the seated students or she was incompetent in supervising elements of her administration, either way, she needs to resign. 

There is a terrible casualness displayed by the officers who pepper sprayed the seated students, like they were applying herbicide on weeds.  But, there is great resolve and bravery here  also.  I could not have been more proud of those young students.  Those brave kids were "making salt" and Gandhi himself would  applaud their non-violent protest.   At no time in any of these videos is there any violence by any of the students.   The silent protest against Chancellor Katehi, was incredible.  The silence of hundreds of students who just watched as she walked down the sidewalk to her vehicle, was louder and more forceful than anything else they could have done.  America can be very proud of these young students.

UC Davis Chancellor Katehi walks to her car during silent protest.
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Monday, November 21, 2011

Apple Pie

Yes, you can eat this pie.
This weekend, my wife and I made three apple pies.  Two pies for a lovely birthday dinner party and one pie for my wife's work, a thanksgiving potluck.  My son kept asking, can we eat this pie?  I had to keep telling him: "nope, sorry".  So tonight I made this one for him.  The pie, used two Jonagold, one golden delicious and 3 granny smith apples.  Apple selection was based on a judicious selection of available apples on hand instead of a recipe.  You can make a great pie, with any apples. 
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Friday, November 18, 2011

Bernie Sanders Sends A Message to the SuperCommittee

On Nov. 17th 2011 roughly 200 people packed the Senate Budget Committee room and hallway to hear Sens. Bernie Sanders, Barbara A. Mikulski, Ben Cardin and Rosa DeLauro urge the super committee to protect Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

Happy Friday

Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI / AURA)
Via Apod
Arp 273

Wonderful Iced Tea

Orange Pekoe on the left and Ceylon in the right container from Coffee Bean Direct
I'm an iced tea addict, consuming this soul nourishing beverage all 12 months of the year.  We are on our 4th or 5th Mr. Coffee Iced Tea maker.  We don't put ice in our pot when brewing the tea, that just seems silly.  We add water to the ice line, and when the pot is done brewing, we put ice in our glass.  I used to purchase much of my tea from a local East Indian market.  However, a few years ago they quit carrying ceylon tea.  For the last year or so, we have been buying our tea from Amazon.  You wouldn't think that a coffee company would carry great tea, but Coffee Bean Direct does.  The tea is beautiful, and always has incredible aroma and a clean taste.  My wife also enjoys their coffee and we have ordered it in 5 pound bags.  For a pot of Iced tea, my current favorite blend is 1 T of orange pekoe and 2 T of Ceylon. 
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Thursday, November 17, 2011

RapidRide Covers the Eastside

Last week I rode one of the new red hybrid-electric RapidRide buses.  These are great buses, big windows, quiet, and roomy.   The buses are great but my favorite new addition that comes with the RapidRide system is:
ETA of next bus displays in readerboard
Finally, you'll know how long the wait is.  Waiting for a bus seems 3 times longer when you have no idea when it's suppose to arrive.  The posted route map is also an outstanding improvement over the previous 10 point type timetables and route numbers.
clear graphic view of the bus route and its stops
It's a great ride

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Video of Pepper Sprayed 84 Year Old Dorli Rainey on Countdown

Seattle Police pepper sprayed an 84 year old woman, a pregnant woman and many others today. It was a real treat listening to Ms. Rainey speak about activism on Countdown with Keith Olbermann on Current TV.
Great photo by JOSHUA TRUJILLO / SEATTLEPI.COM **13 other  photo's here

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Governor Scott Walker, Start Packing Now

The St. Norbert College – Wisconsin Public RadioWisconsin Survey – Fall 2011
Margin of Error: +/- 5% at the 95% confidence
If a recall election were held for Governor Scott Walker today, would you vote to remove him from office, or would you vote to keep him in office?
Remove From Office .................................................58%
Keep In Office............................................................38%
Not Sure .....................................................................4%
According to this latest poll Wisconsinites want to remove the union bashing Scott Walker from office by 20 points.  Governor Walker won by 5 points over his democratic challenger Tom Barrett just one year ago.  Like John Kasich of Ohio (36% approval rating) and Rick Scott of Florida (36% approval rating) Governor Scott Walker knows it is far better to rule the people than serve them.  Which is why Governor Scott Walker will soon be served his walking papers when the citizens of Ohio Wisconsin recall him.  All the Koch money and Karl Roves lies will not be enough to save this tool of the 1% from the 99%. 
Scott Walker in 2007 at Marquette University a...Image via Wikipedia
Start packing now Governor Walker

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Save Social Security From the SuperCommittee

A Recent report from the NY Times and other sources suggest that the stupidcommittee is prepared to cut Social Security and not increase taxes on the one percent.  A vast majority of Americans believe we need to raise taxes on the 1%, but as usual congress isn't listening to the people.  Surprisingly, congress is listening to the 1%. 

Paul Krugman:
I thought I had worked out all the worst-case scenarios for the supercommittee (there was never a best-case). But this is even worse than my worst imagining: a deal to undermine key social insurance programs in return for a promise that Congress will come up with a plan for raising revenue at some future date. If you think that promise has any credibility whatsoever – if you have any doubts that the end result would be to gut Social Security and actually cut taxes for the wealthy... has a petition:
 Our goal is to send a message that cuts to Social Security come with hell to pay from voters.
 Click Here to Tell Congress No Cuts to Social Security Sign MoveOn's petition. 


This is what the cheesecake looks like when it is finished baking in its pan of hot water and wrapped in aluminum foil. 
the chilled and ready to eat cheesecake
My wife suggested that I try a crust made with gingersnaps.  The first thing you learn when trying to make a crust of ginger snaps is you can't roll them into crumbs.  I had to put them in a small food processor to turn them into crumbs.  For this recipe we used 2 cups of ginger snap crumbs and 1/2 cup of butter to make the crust.  The gingery crust was excellent, the texture was almost identical to the graham cracker crust and the only difference we noticed was the exotic addition of the ginger.

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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Michelle Bachmanns Great New Campaign Ad

In this web only video ad Michelle Bachmann devastates the GOP field for the democrats. It's amusing that a clip showing Newt Gingrich sitting on a couch with Nancy Pelosi in their Global Warming Campaign ad is sufficient to hamstring Newt Gingrich. Michelle bills herself as the "unifying choice". She's right, every republican presidential candidate is now unified in their opposition to her. Keep those Ad's coming Ms. Bachmann

Bring Marriage Equality to Washington State

From Dwight Twelz, Washington State Democratic Chair:
 Washington State is ready for same-sex marriage. In 2009, Washington State voters passed Referendum 71, granting same-sex couples all of the rights enjoyed by heterosexual married couples, except for one thing - the title of marriage.  
It’s time to go a step further. It’s time for Washington to stand up for equality and grant gay and lesbian couples who share the values of love, commitment, and family the right to civil marriages. 
Even the typically conservative Seattle Times editorial board has stood up in favor of marriage equality. They gave this call to action: “ALL right, Washington State: Let’s do something bold… Our state should legalize same-sex marriage.” (2) 

Please sign on and support marriage equality today.    


Stop the Republican "Dirty Water" Amendment

For years the Clean Water Act has protected our streams, lakes and wetlands from pollution.  But Senators John Barrasso (R-WY) and Dean Heller (R-NV) have attached an amendment  that would eliminate pollution limits for lakes, brooks, streams and wetlands across America.
Specifically, the amendment would block a long-overdue Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers guidance to restore decades of Clean Water Act safeguards to 59 percent of our nation’s streams and headwaters and 20 million acres of wetlands.
There is no doubt corporations will make more money when they can pollute our nations waters freely.  If you think clean pure water is more important than huge CEO bonuses, contact your Senators here.

The Daily Bread

Cooked this loaf at 425, a compromise that fitted the baked pork chops and baked potatoes that went along with the bread.  The bread was excellent as always, the diners enjoy the soft texture of the crust that comes with the lower temperatures.

Apple Pie by Candle Light

Our entire neighborhood went dark this evening.  During the power outage, I made an apple pie by candle light and flashlight.  Since we have a gas stove, cooking it would prove to be no problem, or so I thought.  After the pie was finished, it dawned on me that I had no idea how to manually light the gas stove.  Fortunately, the power was only off for about 90 minutes.

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Sunday, November 13, 2011

A Young Mother Asks, "Are We Still Stuck in 1916?"

My wife's cousin lives in Idaho and she sent us and everyone else on her mailing list this letter.  With her full permission, I've posted her letter.  Shelley had an up close and personal view of the war on Planned Parenthood in action.  She also attached an excellent article about the history of Planned Parenthood including some interesting details about the life of Cecile Richards the current president of Planned Parenthood: "Birthright, What's Next for Planned Parenthood"  by Jill Lepore. 
Good morning all,

I feel I can not be silent any longer on this issue. Feel free to delete/ignore this e-mail or forward on as you like. I've blind CC'ed everyone so our senators and representatives can't put you on their mailing lists.

Please find attached a very interesting and poignant article from this week's New Yorker on the history of family planning and Planned Parenthood. This article came to my attention yesterday when I heard Jill Lepore (the author) interviewed on NPR.

This e-mail is about women's rights, human rights, really, and of the now partisan issue of abortion. Who cares if you're pro-life or pro-choice? This is about OUR rights. A little background - I am a married mother of one 18 month old, an educated (mechanical engineer), middle class 35-year old woman and native Boisean. I have never been put in, or placed myself in, the kind of situation where I've had to BE pro-choice or pro-life. HOWEVER, I have always appreciated the affordable/free health care Planned Parenthood (including the university health clinic!) and similar clinics provides to all people, women AND men - and am tremendously puzzled by our government's pre-occupation with putting Planned Parenthood out of business. Incredible!

A little more background - my company recently turned down a project for a Planned Parenthood hospital because 3 male employees (of 35 total) were extremely against P.P. This came to my attention because one employee (of the three) pulled me aside and asked me "if I had heard the news? We got rid of Planned Parenthood!" (I had missed the previous day's staff meeting when this was brought up by our principals). When I exclaimed "What are you talking about?!" He went on to say "You're not FOR that are you?" (Meaning abortion). I found out later, after taking my boss aside in his office, and finding out the real story, that this particular employee had even gone to the extreme of saying he "would work for free for the amount of profit we would make on the project"....or something along those lines. (This employee is a white middle-aged male, native Idahoan, high school educated, and extremely religious.) But I digress. My employer opted out of the project because, as he put it, "the profit wasn't worth the headache these individuals [employees] were going to cause us." This is typical. The rest of us just said, "no, we don't have a problem with it", instead of shouting from our soapboxes "No, WE DON'T HAVE A PROBLEM WITH IT, AND IF YOU DON'T TAKE IT [the project] WE'RE GOING TO QUIT."

Is that what's wrong with this issue? Are the educated, rational people also the quiet, reflective people who say we'll just let you guys hash it out?...I know that's how I've always been regarding politics. Well, here I am, not quiet any longer!

My intent is not to offend anyone, nor impose my beliefs on others; however we must increase awareness and knowledge on this issue. If you take nothing else from this e-mail, please just take a look at the very well researched article attached. I wish I could put down my words as well as Lepore.

Are we still stuck in 1916?

Shelley Weatherby, PE
November 10, 2011
Planned Parenthood, Homepage

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Republican Congress Attacks the Unions Again

Republican congressmen in Washington DC, oblivious to the resounding defeat of SB5 in Ohio, are busy waging war on the unions with a new bill  "H.R. 3094, the Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act".  This bill is clearly mislabeled, what it should be called is:" HR 3094, Keeping Employees From Joining Unions Forever".  The bill was sponsored by far right republican John Kline of Mn.  The bill is endorsed, of course, by the US Chamber of Commerce.  The US Chamber of Commerce wrote a letter recommending the passage of H.R. 3094:
Since efforts in previous Congresses to pass the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) have
failed, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or Board) has been working to enact similarly radical changes to America’s labor laws through the administrative process. While the Board’s outrageous complaint against the Boeing Company has rightfully garnered many headlines, other actions by the Board threaten to dramatically tilt the labor-relations landscape in favor of organized labor at the expense of job creators and employees

The Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act would amend the National Labor Relations Act
in order to prevent the Board from enacting two of these job killing policy initiatives...
"Job killing policy initiatives", sounds like Speaker John Boehner wrote this letter for the Chamber of Commerce.  They go on to state that:
Simply put, the modest changes that would be provided by H.R. 3094 would restore the legal status quo that existed prior to the Board’s radical policy shift.
 The "legal status quo that existed before" was anything but fair, it might have been the status quo, but it was weighed heavily in favor of business.  From the graph above you can see that union membership has been sinking drastically since 1967 and also the middle classes share of national income has sunk along with it.  Business has been doing very well, thank you, with record profits in 2010, but the middle classes share of that income has been almost non-existent. The Communications Workers of America has a letter you can send to your congressional Representative, opposing H.R. 3094 here.
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