My FDL
 

Simple Pleasures

By: Elliott Thursday June 28, 2012 9:27 am

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It’s not hard to find joy in life.

 

Johnny Rivers – Summer Rain

*****
Bonus Video:

I am so bummed I only saw this tonight, and not last night, to add to the Game Night post; but here it is, late but not too little.

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Puppy video via tastefully offensive

Going to the Fair

By: cmaukonen Sunday August 31, 2014 9:59 am

Went out to the Geauga County Fair the other day. My brother and a cousin came up from Florida and NC to go and were staying at the Red Maple Inn in Burton Ohio. I have stayed there as well and it is very nice. My knees being in some what more horrible condition since I took a small spill and landed on them, I was not able to see as much as previous years.  I do not remember when I first went to the fair there. I was very young and must have gone with my aunt and cousins initially.  Originally geared more toward the rural population of the area with large pavilions for 4H and FFA [Future Farmers of America], it now is more of a family C&W [Country and Western] themed with the 4H exhibits off to the side. And a much larger Midway.

Fair Midway

And a large area for farm equipment. There were the usual rabbit, dairy, turkey, chicken, sheep, and goat exhibit areas though. Something new from what I remember as a kid, Alpaca and Llamas now too.   They even had a sky diver too. You do not get the feeling of serious farming that you did in the past, though.

You do not see many – if any – minorities at the fair. Nor do you see many Amish there either, even though it is on the skirts of Amish country in NE Ohio.

Speaking of Amish, after we left and had dinner I was able to crash in my cousin’s room at the Inn and make use of her jacuzzi-type tub for nearly an hour. The next day we all went to the next township over, Middlefield. The heart of Amish country in NE Ohio. We went to a number of small Amish shops run by them including the Original Amish Cheese factory, a large cooperative on the out skirts of Middlefield village, with just about any kind of cheese one would want. And then to a small shop on one of the farms that had baked goods, handmade clothes, handmade furniture and quilts. The quilts ! Beautifully done but pricey ! Maybe one day I will be able to get one when I have enough money. They are all handmade, so well worth it. Lots of Amish buggies.

My cousin seemed to know more of the Amish shops and where they were than I and I have been up here for four years. The last place we visited was a Mennonite chocolate factory where you could get just about any chocolate confection you would wish. And they are extra special delicious, I can tell you. Truly decadent.

After lunch at a local eatery, we went back to the Inn where I had a bit of a lay down and then said our good byes. I needed to get back to my place in Garfield Heights and take my medicine and such, they will be there another day and then return. Hopefully we can get together next year as well.

Legal Case: White House Argues Against Considering Climate Change on Energy Projects

By: Steve Horn Sunday August 31, 2014 9:20 am

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

The White House

The White House

Just over a month before the United Nations convenes on September 23 in New York City to discuss climate change and activists gather for a week of action, the Obama White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) argued it does not have to offer guidance to federal agencies it coordinates with to consider climate change impacts for energy decisions.

It came just a few weeks before a leaked draft copy of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) latest assessment said climate disruption could cause “severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems.”

Initially filed as a February 2008 petition to CEQ by the International Center for Technology Assessment, the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) when George W. Bush still served as President, it had been stalled for years.

Six and a half years later and another term into the Obama Administration, however, things have finally moved forward. Or backwards, depending on who you ask.

NEPA and CEQ

The initial February 2008 legal petition issued by the plaintiffs was rather simple: the White House’s Council for Environmental Quality (CEQ) should provide guidance to federal agencies it coordinates with to weigh climate change impacts when utilizing the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) on energy policy decisions.

A legal process completely skirted in recent prominent tar sands pipeline cases by both TransCanada and Enbridge, NEPA is referred to by legal scholars as the “Magna Carta” of environmental law.

CEQ oversees major tenets of environmental, energy and climate policy. It often serves as the final arbiter on many major legislative pushes proposed by Congress and federal agencies much in the same way the White House’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) does for regulatory policy.

In February 2010, Obama’s CEQ showed signs it would utilize NEPA in its policy decision-making process with regards to climate change, issuing a “Draft Guidance for Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Climate Change Impacts” and opening up a 90-day public comment period.

Sunday READ – 31 August 2014

By: GREYDOG Monday November 17, 2008 4:16 pm

Posted by greydogg, 99GetSmart

* THE LATIN AMERICANIZATION OF U.S. POLICE FORCES

sunday

Sunday Reading

By Cosme Caal, Counterpunch

From Guatemala City I have been keeping up with the events in Ferguson, Missouri and my heart goes out to those United States citizens who are actively resisting a brutal local police state. I sit awake at night and contemplate how one of the greatest nations in the world has become militarized and despotic. Impunity is now normalized in most police departments across the United States and in the minds of many Americans. I did not know I would live to see this phenomenon, yet, the more I peruse online news feeds, the more evident it is to me that Americans, especially minorities, are in great danger of militarized suppression as a matter of state policy.

From our experience in half a century in Latin America I can tell you that, once the human rights of a minority are compromised, it is only a matter of time before they are compromised for an entire nation. From that same experience I can tell you it will take decades before they can be regained. Militarized police forces take on a life of their down, at the expense of the society’s well-being. The social contract that gives the state the duty to organize police forces itself becomes obsolete, almost a joke. Citizens begin to obey agents of the state not out of respect or cooperation, but out of fear of those sworn to protect them. Eventually, the militarized power of the police reaches such magnitude that political leaders lose all ability to rein them in. We experienced this USA-backed militarized transformation of the police in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Chile, and Colombia. What the U.S. helped do to Latin America, it is now doing to itself.

Even when there will officers who want to adhere to the law, militarized policing organizations become an unstoppable and despotic force. The very ideologies that give them life become obsolete, as do all existing laws that protect citizens. Central American dictatorships backed and armed by the United States government in the 1970’s built police forces, outfitted them with military gear, and allowed them to brutalize and kill with impunity. The murder or incarceration of progressive democratic leaders who resisted this transformation was sanctioned by United States intelligence agencies.

I call out to white United States citizens, and those police officers that believe in democracy and the rule of law, to unite with racial minorities who are now being suppressed, and to resist the catastrophic militarization of police forces across the United States. For white Americans to think that their race makes them immune to police brutality is a mistake that cannot be afforded. Central American urban mestizo masses ignored the genocide of hundreds of thousands of indigenous peoples. They saw these massacres as not their problem. Today we all suffer militarized suppression. Racial division was our greatest weakness. […]

READ @ http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/08/27/the-latin-americanization-of-u-s-police-forces/

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* ARRESTED LEGAL OBSERVER: FERGUSON A ‘PILOT PROGRAM’ FOR WHEN COMMUNITIES RESPOND TO POLICE BRUTALITY

By Kevin Gosztola, Firedoglake

Imagine: Living in a Socialist USA – Book Salon Preview

By: Elliott Wednesday June 27, 2012 3:07 pm

Imagine: Living in a Socialist USA

Come chat with Paul LeBlanc and Dianne Feeley about their book, hosted by Deena Stryker.

Today at 5pm ET, 2pm PT.

The polar ice caps are melting, hurricanes and droughts ravish the planet, and the earth’s population is threatened by catastrophic climate change. Millions of American jobs have been sent overseas and aren’t coming back. Young African-American men make up the majority of America’s prison population. Half of the American population are poor or near poor, living precariously on the brink, while the top one percent own as much as the bottom eighty. Government police-state spying on its citizens is pervasive. Consequently, as former President Jimmy Carter has said, “we have no functioning democracy.”

Imagine: Living In a Socialist U.S.A., edited by Francis Goldin, Debby Smith, and Michael Steven Smith, is at once an indictment of American capitalism as the root cause of our spreading dystopia and a cri de coeur for what life could be like in the United States if we had economic as well as a real political democracy. This anthology features essays by revolutionary thinkers, activists, and artists—including Academy Award-winning filmmaker Michael Moore, civil rights activist Angela Davis, incarcerated journalist Mumia Abu Jamal, and economist Rick Wolff— addressing various aspects of a new society and, crucially, how to get from where we are now to where we want to be, living in a society that is truly fair and just.

Frances Goldin heard the word “socialist” when she was 18 and met her husband-to-be, Morris Goldin.  It sounded like a great idea! She got married at 20, her activism started, and it hasn’t stopped yet, at age 89.  She founded a literary agency almost 40 years ago, and it’s still going strong, favoring books that help change the world.  She is not just a living legend, but an American institution.

Debbie Smith has worked full-time for the anti-Vietman War movement, the Kent State Legal Defense Fund, and in the feminist, union, and socialist movements.  She participates in the anti-capitalist and pro-democracy movements that are growing so rapidly in the United States and worldwide.

Michael Steven Smith is a New York City attorney and author.  His most recent book, written with Michael Ratner, is Who Killed Che? How The CIA Got Away With Murder. He cohosts the radio show, “Law and Disorder” on WBIA-FM with Michael Ratner and Heidi Hoghosian.  He lives with his wife, Debby, and talking parrot, Charlie Parker. (Harper Perennial Books)

 

How China Views the Ukraine Conflict

By: fairleft Monday June 6, 2011 1:57 pm

Port, Odessa, Ukraine

Thought better of adding the following analysis under this USA Today piece, just another in the mountain of ‘The Russians are invading!” entries in the Western propaganda sweepstakes:

Yawn … for months there has been large-scale and official U.S. and NATO assistance to Ukraine’s military and large-scale unofficial Russian assistance to the other side. The real story behind the “RUSSIA IS INVADING!!!” distraction is that Novorossiya is now winning the civil war, probably because its people are very angry about Ukraine’s bombing of eastern Ukraine civilians. That’s the real story and it’s a big one you aren’t covering. Finally, and by the way, Novorossiya is as legitimate a government if not more so than Ukraine, which was elected during a civil war with voting by only one side in that war.

There are few independent perspectives on the conflict in eastern Ukraine, and even Wikipedia is thoroughly POV as we say there, but maybe China is a reasonable place to look for a degree of neutrality and viewpoint independence. Here’s China’s latest and more or less official view of the cold and hot war over Ukraine:

Ukraine at risk of being West’s pawn
August 31, 2014

… Russia may have the strongest determination to refuse compromise. The EU may be the least determined to confront Russia. The US suffers the least in the Ukraine crisis. If it is not entangled in other troubles, the US will be more than active in challenging Russia.

The conflicting parties are expecting China to take a clear stance in this crisis. However, China has no deciding role in this conflict. …

The EU, Ukraine and Russia are becoming tired of the conflicts. But Washington is not worried much, as the drawn-out crisis will only exhaust the parties on the east and west sides of Ukraine.

No matter how much Ukraine resents Russia, they are still neighbors. Ukraine has to be cautious not to become a chess piece for the West to edge out Russian influence. Also, Russia should avoid making Ukraine its permanent enemy.

That’s very diplomatically put, because from the direct evidence it’s obvious Ukraine has been a puppet since U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland installed her favorite, Yats, as prime minister back in February. The following, rarely if ever heard in the West (except from Stephen Cohen (link under attack or otherwise not working)) is also solid common-sense analysis of the conflict by official China. See what being independent from the two conflicting sides does for power of analysis:

The disagreement between Russia and Ukraine over the settlement of the crisis lies in their competition [for] power in the region …

For Ukraine, the largely Russian-speaking region is where the country’s economic foundation lies. Rich in deposits of coal and iron ore, the eastern part of Ukraine holds almost the entire industry of Ukraine, making the cession of this region unacceptable for Kiev.

Kiev now urgently wants the rebels to hand back the territory they have captured in eastern Ukraine and demands a halt to what it says “arms shipments” from Russia to the fighters, a charge that the Kremlin denies.

Meanwhile Russia also wants to retain some sort of leverage over the region so Ukraine does not join NATO or the European Union. Moscow has frequently called upon Ukraine to become a loose federation with greater regional autonomy, an idea that Kiev repeatedly rejected.

The issue as whether or not to federalize Ukraine has become the key disagreement between Kiev and Moscow over the Ukraine crisis. But such conflicts that involve fundamental interests of both countries could hardly get concessions from either side.

Relying essentially on the understanding in the above two blockquotes, I have long thought that this conflict can be worked out in theory, with Russia and most people in eastern Ukraine getting nearly all of what they want and Ukraine getting nearly all of what it desperately needs economically. But the conflict is not just about Russia, Novorossiya and Ukraine. There are other players, unfortunately: the IMF, the U.S. and subordinate military-security complexes, and the ‘armies’ of the neoliberal globalization crusade. Let’s hope they butt out at some point and Ukraine can go back to being a neutral buffer between Russia and the EU/NATO. That certainly is the most economically rational path for Ukraine and the EU to follow …

Sunday Food: Ketchup

By: Ruth Calvo Wednesday March 14, 2012 11:30 am

 

Ketchup

(Picture courtesy of Lyons at flickr.com.)

Since we talked about mustard last week, it’s definitely time to deal with ketchup.   As I’ve mentioned, I lost my taste for ketchup some time back, and don’t use it now.   However, I’m probably in the minority there, and I do notice that the stores have at least as much ketchup on their shelves as there are mustards, with much less variety.

In the 17th century (?) the Chinese mixed a concoction of pickled fish and spices and called it (in the Amoy dialect) kôe-chiap or kê-chiap (鮭汁,Mandarin Chinese guī zhī, Cantonese gwai1 zap1) meaning the brine of pickled fish (鮭, salmon; 汁, juice) or shellfish.[6]

By the early 18th century, the table sauce had made it to the Malay states (present day Malaysia and Singapore), where it was discovered by English explorers. The Indonesian-Malay word for the sauce was kecap (pronounced “kay-chap”). That word evolved into the English word “ketchup”.[7]English settlers took ketchup with them to the American colonies.[1]

Many variations of ketchup were created, but the tomato-based version did not appear until about a century after other types. By 1801, a recipe for tomato ketchup was created by Sandy Addison and was later printed in an American cookbook, the Sugar House Book.[8]

  1. Get [the tomatoes] quite ripe on a dry day, squeeze them with your hands till reduced to a pulp, then put half a pound of fine salt to one hundred tomatoes, and boil them for two hours.
  2. Stir them to prevent burning.
  3. While hot press them through a fine sieve, with a silver spoon till nought but the skin remains, then add a little mace, 3 nutmegsallspiceclovescinnamonginger, and pepper to taste.
  4. Boil over a slow fire till quite thick, stir all the time.
  5. Bottle when cold.
  6. One hundred tomatoes will make four or five bottles and keep good for two or three years.

James Mease published another recipe in 1812. In 1824, a ketchup recipe using tomatoes appeared in The Virginia Housewife (an influential 19th-century cookbook written by Mary Randolph, Thomas Jefferson‘s cousin). American cooks also began to sweeten ketchup in the 19th century.[9]

As the century progressed, tomato ketchup began its ascent in popularity in the United States. Ketchup was popular long before fresh tomatoes were.[10] Many Americans[who?] continued to question whether it was safe to eat raw tomatoes. However, they were much less hesitant to eat tomatoes as part of a highly processed product that had been cooked and infused with vinegar and spices.[10]

Tomato ketchup was sold locally by farmers. A man named Jonas Yerks (or Yerkes) is believed[by whom?] to have been the first man to make tomato ketchup a national phenomenon. By 1837, he had produced and distributed the condiment nationally.[11] Shortly thereafter, other companies followed suit. F. & J. Heinz launched their tomato ketchup in 1876.[12] Heinz tomato ketchup was advertised: “Blessed relief for Mother and the other women in the household!”, a slogan which alluded to the lengthy and onerous process required to produce tomato ketchup in the home.[13]

The Webster’s Dictionary of 1913 defined ‘catchup’ as: “table sauce made from mushrooms, tomatoes, walnuts, etc. [Also written as ketchup].”

Modern ketchup emerged in the early years of the 20th century, out of a debate over the use of sodium benzoate as a preservative in condiments. Harvey W. Wiley, the “father” of the Food and Drug Administration in the US, challenged the safety of benzoate which was banned in the 1906 Pure Food and Drug Act. In response, entrepreneurs including Henry J. Heinz, pursued an alternative recipe that eliminated the need for that preservative.[3]

Prior to Heinz (and his fellow innovators), commercial tomato ketchups of that time were watery and thin, in part due to the use of unripe tomatoes, which were low in pectin. They had less vinegar than modern ketchups; by pickling ripe tomatoes, the need for benzoate was eliminated without spoilage or degradation in flavor. But the changes driven by the desire to eliminate benzoate also produced changes[clarification needed] that some experts (such as Andrew F. Smith[14]) believe were key to the establishment of tomato ketchup as the dominant American condiment.

Ketchup has moderate health benefits.[25] Ketchup is a source of lycopene, an antioxidant which may help prevent some forms of cancer. This is particularly true of the organic brands of ketchup, which have three times as much lycopene.[26] Ketchup, much like marinara sauce and other cooked tomato foods, yields higher levels of lycopene per serving because cooking increases lycopene bioavailability.
When you squeeze the ketchup onto your burger, fries, and other food, enjoy that good tomato flavor.   I’ll have my tomatoes straight, thanks.

(Picture courtesy of Schlabotnik at flickr.com.)

Creativity with ketchup