Archive for September 2009


September 17, 2009

So I had dinner last night with some friends.  Preface:  I share a box of produce that I get weekly from the fine people at Gathering Together Farm.  With that box comes a short newsletter containing a few recipes using ingredients from the box.  So last night, we made two of them as part of a larger dinner, and the results were pretty amazing.  Here’s the menu from last night (the first two recipes are from GTF):

Tatsoi with Garam Masala
4 Tbsp canola oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 lbs tatsoi, washed and trimmed, cut cross-wise into 1/2 inch strips
1 fresh hot chile, finely chopped
1 tsp peeled and grated fresh ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 c water
1/4 tsp garam masala

Warm the oil over med-high heat. Add the onions and stir for 3 min. Add the sliced tatsoi, chile, ginger, salt, and sugar, stirring and cooking for 5 minutes. Add the water and bring to a simmer. Cover tightly and turn the heat down to low, cooking for 10 more minutes. Remove the lid and boil away some extra liquid. Sprinkle garam masala over the top and stir.

Pasta with Golden Fennel
1 large fennel bulb, including the greens
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 Tbsp olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 lb fettuccine
Parmigiano-Reggiano or Dry Monterey Jack cheese

Peel or discard, if badly bruised, the tough outer layer of the fennel, then quarter and thinly slice the bulbs. Set aside the greens. Heat a large pot of water for pasta. Melt half the butte with olive oil in a wide skillet. Add fennel and saute over high heat, stirring occasionally, until browned in places, 7-10 minutes. Season with 1 tsp salt. Toss with lemon juice, then add 1 c water. Reduce the heat and cook, covered, until the liquid has evaporated. Add another 1/2 c water and continue cooking until the fennel is very soft and deep gold in color, about 25 minutes in all. Season with pepper. Chop a handful of fennel greens (about 1/3 c) with garlic and lemon zest. Set aside. Add salt and the pasta to the boiling water and cook the pasta al dente. Scoop it out and add it to the pann with the fennel and the chopped greens. Taste and season. Serve with cheese grated on top.

Corn on the Cob

Heat water.  Boil corn for 90-120 seconds.  Wait a minute to let it cool.  Slather in butter and salt – or not – and eat.

Garden Salad

Green leaf lettuce, diced tomatoes, diced red onion, diced purple carrots, homemade dressing (the ingredients of which I can’t remember except that it included mustard and was really good).

Bread with Olive Tapanade

The bread and tapanade were the only things that we didn’t make.  And the focus here is really on the first two items – the Tatsoi was good, but the fennel pasta was AMAZING.  Let me repeat that:  AMAZING.  Kudos to whoever came up with that recipe and whoever decided to put it in the newsletter.

Oh, and there was some nice white and red wine as well – thanks to K & P for bringing those over, and thanks to S for hosting.  All in all, a very bourgeoisie tasty dinner!


Obama’s speech

September 7, 2009

The full text of it can be found here.

And shockingly, it’s pretty much vanilla.  The only things I noted were the use of examples – the names of the kids are not traditionally white names – and the emphasis on responsibility he places on the students.  But overall, as pretty much everyone knew it would be, it was not at all controversial.

Update, from a tweet from journalist Robert Niles: “Parents against Obama’s speech didn’t fear it would be bad. They feared it would be good – that their kids would like Obama.”

Pretty much.

Also, this.

Democrats make me want to start believing in social Darwinism…

September 4, 2009

UPDATE 9/5/09 @ 4 PM:  I am told the LCSD is taping the President’s speech and giving teachers an option to show it to their classes, but not offering teachers the option to show it live.  However, as far as I know, the Express isn’t covering this, nor has there been an explanation given as to why teachers aren’t being given the option to watch the speech live.  Given the stupid hysteria that’s gripped folks on this, I’d also be curious to hear if parents in Lebanon have complained.

…and I hate social Darwinism.  It’s a stupid, fallacious, idea.  Nevertheless, it’s hard not to think about when stuff like this happens.  From the NYT:

HOUSTON — President Obama’s plan to deliver a speech to public school students on Tuesday has set off a revolt among conservative parents, who have accused the president of trying to indoctrinate their children with socialist ideas and are asking school officials to excuse the children from listening.

That this is incredibly stupid (meaning there is zero evidence that Obama’s going to do anything but what he says, which is to tell kids that education is important) on the part of Republicans should be obvious, and as such, given the way politics is conducted in this country, should provide a golden opportunity for Dems to make Republicans look like complete and utter morons.  All they have to say is something like this: “Why do Republicans oppose the President giving a speech about the importance of education?  Do they oppose educating America’s children?  Do they think education isn’t important?  Do they think they have to oppose every single thing the President does?  Why aren’t they working on health care reform or [insert almost anything else – Iraq, Afghanistan, the deficit, etc.]?”

And so on and so forth.  The charges being leveled by Republicans on this one are so painfully, obviously stupid that they should be mocked relentlessly (speaking of which, Jon Stewart is probably kicking himself for being on vacation right now).  Instead, as tristero over at Hullabaloo points out, we get this:

“This isn’t a policy speech,” said Sandra Abrevaya, a spokeswoman for the Department of Education. “It’s designed to encourage kids to stay in school. The choice on whether to show the speech to students is entirely in the hands of each school. This is absolutely voluntary.”

How the hell the Democratic Party has survived is somewhat of a mystery to me sometimes.  This is a textbook example of buying into a ludicrous frame, and thus legitimizing what is a batshit insane objection.

But that’s just the Dems.  What about the Republicans?  As others have noted, this is what their party has become.  Few of them are speaking out against the crazy, because the crazy is their base.  And that crazy – well, I think what’s really happening here is that a number of them simply can’t accept that Barack Obama, a Democrat (and not even a very liberal one) and, more importantly, a black man, is the President of the United States.  They just don’t want to give little Timmy and little Sally the wrong impression, you know, about who can be President of this great nation.  And that, of course, makes the people who are losing over Obama giving a speech to kids about the importance of education – well, I’m not even going to go there.  You can probably guess what I think.

Oh, and one more thing:  What about the local school districts, particularly Lebanon?  Is this going to be shown in Lebanon?  If not, why not?  Given the hysteria around the country, and given Linn County’s demographics, I suspect there are more than a few ignorant, irate parents calling schools and repeating what they heard on Fox.  And that should be news.

LE: Former Lebanon judge pleads guilty to sex abuse charges

September 2, 2009

Whoops. OK, link fixed.

A few questions, though.  For example, what is this line doing in the story?

The charges stem from accusations he abused his power as a judge by using female parolees and employees to gratify his sexual desires.

At the very least, it’s not sourced, and that makes it a really awkward line, since it doesn’t strike me as the kind of thing that a reporter would write.  But this is way more important:

Houchin was sentenced to five years supervised probation, 30 days in jail, 80 hours of community service for each count, registration as a sex offender, sex offender evaluation and treatment, disclosure of all prior victims and must pay $633 in fines and charges.

That’s all he got for this:

Former Lebanon Municipal Court Judge Larry Kenneth Houchin pleaded guilty this afternoon to two counts of first-degree official misconduct, one count of third-degree sexual abuse and one count of sexual harassment.

Don’t get me wrong – I don’t really like punitive justice; I prefer something restorative.  But within the constraints of the legal system, it seems like the guy got off really easily.  I hope the Express follows up on this.