mardi, avril 13, 2010


"God defend me from that Welsh fairy, lest he transforms me to a piece of cheese." - William Shakespeare

mardi, avril 06, 2010

like, awesome

Speak with Conviction, by Taylor Mali

Via Aaryn Belfer

an open letter to conservatives

An open letter to conservatives
March 22, 2010, 3:16PM

Dear Conservative Americans,

The years have not been kind to you. I grew up in a profoundly Republican home, so I can remember when you wore a very different face than the one we see now. You've lost me and you've lost most of America. Because I believe having responsible choices is important to democracy, I'd like to give you some advice and an invitation.

First, the invitation: Come back to us.

Now the advice. You're going to have to come up with a platform that isn't built on a foundation of cowardice: fear of people with colors, religions, cultures and sex lives that differ from your own; fear of reform in banking, health care, energy; fantasy fears of America being transformed into an Islamic nation, into social/commun/fasc-ism, into a disarmed populace put in internment camps; and more. But you have work to do even before you take on that task.

Your party -- the GOP -- and the conservative end of the American political spectrum have become irresponsible and irrational. Worse, it's tolerating, promoting and celebrating prejudice and hatred. Let me provide some examples -- by no means an exhaustive list -- of where the Right as gotten itself stuck in a swamp of hypocrisy, hyperbole, historical inaccuracy and hatred.

If you're going to regain your stature as a party of rational, responsible people, you'll have to start by draining this swamp:


You can't flip out -- and threaten impeachment - when Dems use a parliamentary procedure (deem and pass) that you used repeatedly (more than 35 times in just one session and more than 100 times in all!), that's centuries old and which the courts have supported. Especially when your leaders admit it all.

You can't vote and scream against the stimulus package and then take credit for the good it's done in your own district (happily handing out enormous checks representing money that you voted against, is especially ugly) -- 114 of you (at last count) did just that -- and it's even worse when you secretly beg for more.

You can't fight against your own ideas just because the Dem president endorses your proposal.

You can't call for a pay-as-you-go policy, and then vote against your own ideas.

Are they "unlawful enemy combatants" or are they "prisoners of war" at Gitmo? You can't have it both ways.

You can't carry on about the evils of government spending when your family has accepted more than a quarter-million dollars in government handouts.

You can't refuse to go to a scheduled meeting, to which you were invited, and then blame the Dems because they didn't meet with you.

You can't rail against using teleprompters while using teleprompters. Repeatedly.

You can't rail against the bank bailouts when you supported them as they were happening.

You can't be for immigration reform, then against it .

You can't enjoy socialized medicine while condemning it.

You can't flip out when the black president puts his feet on the presidential desk when you were silent about white presidents doing the same. Bush. Ford.

You can't complain that the president hasn't closed Gitmo yet when you've campaigned to keep Gitmo open.

You can't flip out when the black president bows to foreign dignitaries, as appropriate for their culture, when you were silent when the white presidents did the same. Bush. Nixon. Ike. You didn't even make a peep when Bush held hands and kissed leaders of countries that are not on "kissing terms" with the US.

You can't complain that the undies bomber was read his Miranda rights under Obama when the shoe bomber was read his Miranda rights under Bush and you remained silent. (And, no, Newt -- the shoe bomber was not a US citizen either, so there is no difference.)

You can't attack the Dem president for not personally* publicly condemning a terrorist event for 72 hours when you said nothing about the Rep president waiting 6 days in an eerily similar incident (and, even then, he didn't issue any condemnation). *Obama administration did the day of the event.

You can't throw a hissy fit, sound alarms and cry that Obama freed Gitmo prisoners who later helped plan the Christmas Day undie bombing, when -- in fact -- only one former Gitmo detainee, released by Dick Cheney and George W. Bush, helped to plan the failed attack.

You can't condemn blaming the Republican president for an attempted terror attack on his watch, then blame the Dem president for an attempted terror attack on his.

You can't mount a boycott against singers who say they're ashamed of the president for starting a war, but remain silent when another singer says he's ashamed of the president and falsely calls him a Maoist who makes him want to throw up and says he ought to be in jail.

You can't cry that the health care bill is too long, then cry that it's too short.

You can't support the individual mandate for health insurance, then call it unconstitutional when Dems propose it and campaign against your own ideas.

You can't demand television coverage, then whine about it when you get it. Repeatedly.

You can't praise criminal trials in US courts for terror suspects under a Rep president, then call it "treasonous" under a Dem president.

You can't propose ideas to create jobs, and then work against them when the Dems put your ideas in a bill.

You can't be both pro-choice and anti-choice.

You can't damn someone for failing to pay $900 in taxes when you've paid nearly $20,000 in IRS fines.

You can't condemn criticizing the president when US troops are in harms way, then attack the president when US troops are in harms way , the only difference being the president's party affiliation (and, by the way, armed conflict does NOT remove our right and our duty as Americans to speak up).

You can't be both for cap-and-trade policy and against it.

You can't vote to block debate on a bill, then bemoan the lack of 'open debate'.

If you push anti-gay legislation and make anti-gay speeches, you should probably take a pass on having gay sex, regardless of whether it's 2004 or 2010. This is true, too, if you're taking GOP money and giving anti-gay rants on CNN. Taking right-wing money and GOP favors to write anti-gay stories for news sites while working as a gay prostitute, doubles down on both the hypocrisy and the prostitution. This is especially true if you claim your anti-gay stand is God's stand, too.

When you chair the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children, you can't send sexy emails to 16-year-old boys (illegal anyway, but you made it hypocritical as well).

You can't criticize Dems for not doing something you didn't do while you held power over the past 16 years, especially when the Dems have done more in one year than you did in 16.

You can't decry "name calling" when you've been the most consistent and outrageous at it. And the most vile.

You can't spend more than 40 years hating, cutting and trying to kill Medicare, and then pretend to be the defenders of Medicare

You can't praise the Congressional Budget Office when it's analysis produces numbers that fit your political agenda, then claim it's unreliable when it comes up with numbers that don't.

You can't vote for X under a Republican president, then vote against X under a Democratic president. Either you support X or you don't. And it makes it worse when you change your position merely for the sake obstructionism.

You can't call a reconciliation out of bounds when you used it repeatedly.

You can't spend taxpayer money on ads against spending taxpayer money.

You can't condemn individual health insurance mandates in a Dem bill, when the mandates were your idea.

You can't demand everyone listen to the generals when they say what fits your agenda, and then ignore them when they don't.

You can't whine that it's unfair when people accuse you of exploiting racism for political gain, when your party's former leader admits you've been doing it for decades.

You can't portray yourself as fighting terrorists when you openly and passionately support terrorists.

You can't complain about a lack of bipartisanship when you've routinely obstructed for the sake of political gain -- threatening to filibuster at least 100 pieces of legislation in one session, far more than any other since the procedural tactic was invented -- and admitted it. Some admissions are unintentional, others are made proudly. This is especially true when the bill is the result of decades of compromise between the two parties and is filled with your own ideas.

You can't question the loyalty of Department of Justice lawyers when you didn't object when your own Republican president appointed them.

You can't preach and try to legislate "Family Values" when you: take nude hot tub dips with teenagers (and pay them hush money); cheat on your wife with a secret lover and lie about it to the world; cheat with a staffer's wife (and pay them off with a new job); pay hookers for sex while wearing a diaper and cheating on your wife; or just enjoying an old fashioned non-kinky cheating on your wife; try to have gay sex in a public toilet; authorize the rape of children in Iraqi prisons to coerce their parents into providing information; seek, look at or have sex with children; replace a guy who cheats on his wife with a guy who cheats on his pregnant wife with his wife's mother;


You really need to disassociate with those among you who:


If you're going to use words like socialism, communism and fascism, you must have at least a basic understanding of what those words mean (hint: they're NOT synonymous!)

You can't cut a leading Founding Father out the history books because you've decided you don't like his ideas.

You cant repeatedly assert that the president refuses to say the word "terrorism" or say we're at war with terror when we have an awful lot of videotape showing him repeatedly assailing terrorism and using those exact words.

If you're going to invoke the names of historical figures, it does not serve you well to whitewash them. Especially this one.

You can't just pretend historical events didn't happen in an effort to make a political opponent look dishonest or to make your side look better. Especially these events. (And, no, repeating it doesn't make it better.)

You can't say things that are simply and demonstrably false: health care reform will not push people out of their private insurance and into a government-run program ; health care reform (which contains a good many of your ideas and very few from the Left) is a long way from "socialist utopia"; health care reform is not "reparations"; nor does health care reform create "death panels".


You have to condemn those among you who:

Oh, and I'm not alone: One of your most respected and decorated leaders agrees with me.

So, dear conservatives, get to work. Drain the swamp of the conspiracy nuts, the bald-faced liars undeterred by demonstrable facts, the overt hypocrisy and the hatred. Then offer us a calm, responsible, grownup agenda based on your values and your vision for America. We may or may not agree with your values and vision, but we'll certainly welcome you back to the American mainstream with open arms. We need you.

(Anticipating your initial response: No there is nothing that even comes close to this level of wingnuttery on the American Left.)

Written by Russell King

Update: removed the mouth kissing reference and tried to clean up spelling

Another update: It seems we've talked about this so much that we've clogged up the "Intertubes." I've created an open thread where the discussion can continue as you see fit.

lundi, avril 05, 2010

english hothouse cucumbers and descending testicles

Like many pregnant women, I subscribe to several websites that provide weekly/ daily emails about fetal development. Today's "Your pregnancy: 26 weeks" from gave me the giggles.

Read the last two sentences, where the writer cleverly mentions the fact that my unborn son's testicles are now descending and that he is the length of an English hothouse cucumber (14 inches from head to toe).

How your baby's growing:

The network of nerves in your baby's ears is better developed and more sensitive than before. He may now be able to hear both your voice and your partner's as you chat with each other. He's inhaling and exhaling small amounts of amniotic fluid, which is essential for the development of his lungs. These so-called breathing movements are also good practice for when he's born and takes that first gulp of air. And he's continuing to put on baby fat. He now weighs about a pound and two-thirds and measures 14 inches (an English hothouse cucumber) from head to heel. If you're having a boy, his testicles are beginning to descend into his scrotum — a trip that will take about two to three days.

See what your baby looks like this week.

dimanche, avril 04, 2010

cardamom and orange blossom water rice pudding

This variation on the traditional Persian version (which uses rose water) pairs the delicate flavor of orange blossoms with the seductive flavor of green cardamom.

Orange blossom water is available at Middle Eastern food markets.

1 cup rice (we used sticky rice)
4 cups milk
2 cups water
2/3 cup sugar
3 TBSP orange blossom water
2 green cardamom pods, seeds only - ground

  1. Bring rice, milk, and water to a boil in a large heavy saucepan, then reduce heat.
  2. Simmer for two hours, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Most of the liquid will be absorbed, but the texture should be slightly soupy.
  3. Stir in the sugar, the orange blossom water, and cardamom.
  4. Cook, stirring, for another five minutes. Transfer to a serving dish and let cool to room temperature.
Adapted from Under the High Chair: Cardamom and Rose Water Rice Pudding

aren't dogs supposed to warn you about earthquakes?

Ruby just stared at me from the couch as I grabbed my wallet, cell phone, the hard drives, and her leash after the violent shaking had been going on long enough that I thought we should get outside.

She was completely nonplussed during the 7.2 Baja quake -- and the multiple subsequent 3.9-5.1 aftershocks (centered within 60 miles of us) we've had in the past hour.

wouldn't it be nice, angeleyes?

For the past few weeks, I've been experimenting with the baby's response to music. I strap on my iPod and some portable speakers, hit shuffle, and wait for kicks and movement. My iPod's got all sorts of genres, and music in about 8 languages on it. The only trend I've picked out (so far) is that he responds to female voices/ voices in higher registers and pop songs.

This is particularly interesting, because he also gets quite active when he hears Leo's deep voice at bedtime. Although he hears the voice and kicks more, he invariably gets super-still the second Leo puts his hand on my belly ... another data point that makes me think he's got his father's contrarian temperament.

Anyhow, here are this week's winners on the music/ activity front:

The Beach Boys, "Wouldn't It Be Nice?"

ABBA, "Angeleyes"

kumquat oat muffins

These aren't super-sweet, but they are a nice wholegrain oat breakfast muffin. If you like them sweeter, add 1/4 cup extra brown sugar.

Yield: 12 muffins

1 cup kumquat preserves (or 1 cup kumquats, halved & deseeded, then pulsed in food processor with 1/2 cup sugar)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 TBSP canola oil
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 TBSP vanilla
1 cup flour
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup instant rolled oats
1 TBSP baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 TBSP cinnamon

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Mix dry ingredients.
  3. Mix wet ingredients.
  4. Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and fold until just moistened.
  5. Pour into greased muffin molds
  6. Bake at 400F 10-15 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.
Adapted from Wholegrain Kumquat Muffins.

samedi, avril 03, 2010

pork saltimbocca with polenta

What goes better with pork than pork? We made this tonight, substituting gruyere for the original recipe's fontina. It was awesome.

Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 1 stuffed chop, about 4 teaspoons sauce, and 1/2 cup polenta)

6 (4-ounce) boneless center-cut loin pork chops, trimmed
6 very thin slices prosciutto (about 2 ounces)
6 large fresh sage leaves
1/3 cup (about 1 1/2 ounces) shredded gruyere cheese
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon thinly sliced fresh sage

2 cups 2% reduced-fat milk
1 (14-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 cup instant polenta
1/2 teaspoon salt
  1. Butterfly the pork chops or pound them to 1/4-inch thickness using a meat mallet.
  2. Arrange 1 prosciutto slice inside each chop; top with 1 sage leaf and about 1 tablespoon cheese. Fold chops in half to sandwich filling, and secure with wooden picks.
  3. Sprinkle both sides of chops with pepper and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Place flour in a shallow dish; dredge stuffed chops in flour.
  4. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chops; cook 3-5 minutes on each side or until done. Remove from pan; cover and keep warm.
  5. Add wine to pan, scraping pan to loosen browned bits; cook until reduced to 1/4 cup (about 2 minutes). Add 1 cup broth; bring to a boil. Cook until reduced to 1/2 cup (about 5 minutes). Stir in 1 tablespoon sage. Reduce heat to medium.
  6. Return chops to pan; cook 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated, turning once.
  7. Prepare polenta: bring milk and 1 can broth to a boil. Gradually stir in polenta and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook 2 minutes.
  8. Serve polenta immediately with chops and sauce.
CALORIES 404 (30% from fat); FAT 13.3g (sat 5.3g,mono 6g,poly 1g); IRON 1.6mg; CHOLESTEROL 85mg; CALCIUM 172mg; CARBOHYDRATE 30.8g; SODIUM 733mg; PROTEIN 34.9g; FIBER 2.8g

Adapted from Pork Saltimbocca with Polenta, Cooking Light, NOVEMBER 2003