Daily Archive: 03/31/2015

Mar 31 2015

What’s Cooking: French Onion Soup

Republished from 4/6/2012

So now that you’ve finished dying eggs naturally using onion skins, what do you do with all those onions? Make French Onion Soup, bien sûr!

French onion soup in France is served as the traditional French farmer’s breakfast or the end of the day repast for the late night café and theater crowd. It was made famous in the great open market of Les Halles in Paris where hungry truckers converged from all over France with their fresh produce. On my first visit to Paris in 1966, I made a late night visit to Les Halles with some friends to savor the tradition and practice my very rusty college French. The truckers and waiters in the little café we “invaded” were quite friendly and chuckled as they good heartedly corrected my pronunciation. Needless to say, je parle français bien mieux maintenant. Les Halles was torn down in 1971 and replaced with a modern shopping area, the Forum des Halles. But I digress, we are here for the food.

My favorite recipe is from Bernard Clayton, Jr.’s The Complete Book of Soups and Stews with some variations. It is from a restaurant near the Halles Metro station. M. Calyton’s version uses a hearty homemade beef stock which is time consuming to make. I found that either Swanson’s or College Inn Beef Broth produces a good result, just reduce the salt. The low sodium broth didn’t produce the hearty broth that’s needed to compliment the flavor of the caramelized onions and the cheese.

You will need some “special” equipment for this soup: individual oven-proof bowls, enough to hold 1 1/2 to 2 cups. I have the bowls with a handle and a lid that serve double duty for baked beans, and other soups and stews. You will also need cheesecloth for le sachet d’épices, that’s a spice bag for you Americans ;-), and butcher’s twine or some other cotton twine. Those items can be found in the gadget aisles of most large grocery stores.

Soupe à l’oignon des Halles

 

Mar 31 2015

Naturally Dyed Eggs

eggs
NATURALLY DYED EGGS

Now with updates!

Mar 31 2015

Pharmacists Cut Off Supply of Lethal Injection Drugs

For the last couple of years pharmaceutical companies have been refusing to supply states with the drugs needed for lethal injection executions. Some of the states got creative and turned to compounding pharmacies for their supply of pentobarbital but the International Academy of Compounding Pharmacists has come out with a statement discouraging members from helping states carry out executions. Then  American Pharmacists Association adopted the same policy

The policy states: “The American Pharmacists Association discourages pharmacist participation in executions on the basis that such activities are fundamentally contrary to the role of pharmacists as providers of health care.”

APhA Executive Vice President and CEO, Thomas E. Menighan, BSPharm, MBA, ScD (Hon), FAPhA, stated, “Pharmacists are health care providers and pharmacist participation in executions conflicts with the profession’s role on the patient health care team. This new policy aligns APhA with the execution policies of other major health care associations including the American Medical Association, the American Nurses Association and the American Board of Anesthesiology.

Mar 31 2015

No Prank April Fools’ Day

I have always hated April Fools’ Day for the nasty pranks that everyone thinks are funny except the victim. My second spouse thought they were a hoot until he made the mistake of playing one on me. Trust me, after I was done with him, he never did it again but then the marriage only lasted 6 weeks. He so laughs last, laughs best, as they say.

John Oliver agrees with me that the pranks are for sociopaths. So he has asked his fans to take the No Prank Pledge because “April Fools’ Day is to comedy as to St. Patrick’s Day is to Irish Culture. It is a mockery of the very concept that usually ends in a fistfight.”

April Fools’ Day No Prank Pledge

Mar 31 2015

Punting the Pundits

“Punting the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

Trevor Timm: If this is what an anti-war presidency looks like to you, you’re detached from reality

Nothing sums up the warped foreign policy fantasy world in which Republicans live more than when House Speaker John Boehner recently called Obama an “anti-war president” under which America “is sitting on the sidelines” in the increasingly chaotic Middle East.

If Obama is an anti-war president, he’s the worst anti-war president in history. In the last six years, the Obama administration has bombed seven countries in the Middle East alone and armed countless more with tens of billions in dollars in weapons. But that’s apparently not enough for Republicans. As the Isis war continues to expand and Yemen descends into civil war, everyone is still demanding more: If only we bombed the region a little bit harder, then they’ll submit.

In between publishing a new rash of overt sociopathic “Bomb Iran” op-eds, Republicans and neocons are circulating a new talking point: Obama doesn’t have a “coherent” or “unifying” strategy in the Middle East. But you can’t have a one-size-fits-all strategy in an entire region that is almost incomprehensibly complex – which is why no one, including the Republicans criticizing Obama, actually has an answer for what that strategy should be. It’s clear that this new talking point is little more than thinly veiled code for we’re not killing enough Muslims or invading enough countries.

Richard (RJ) Eskow: Big-Bank Bad Guys Bully Democracy – And Blow It

For so-called “masters of the universe,” Wall Street executives sure seem touchy about criticism. It seems they don’t like being painted as the bad guys.

But if they don’t like being criticized, why do so many of them keep behaving like B-movie villains? That’s exactly what executives from Citigroup, JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs and Bank of America looked after an article appeared last week detailing their coordinated attempt to intimidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and other Democrats who want to fix the mess on Wall Street.

They’ve cheated customers and defrauded investors. Now they want to use our legalized system of campaign-cash corruption to protect themselves from the very government which rescued them.

Dean Baker: Don’t Worry About the Robots, the Fed Might Take Your Job

It is rare that a week goes by when we don’t hear a story warning us that robots are going to be taking our jobs. (For example, here , here, here .) This is bizarre, even as measured by a standard of economic reporting that allowed an $8 trillion housing bubble to grow largely unnoticed.

The basic point is a simple one: there is no real evidence that robots are displacing workers on any substantial scale. The other part of the story that makes the robot discussion so annoying is that the Federal Reserve Board is actively debating policy that has the explicit purpose of taking away people’s jobs and almost no one seems to care. [..]

The robots may not be likely to take our jobs, but there is a real risk that the Federal Reserve Board will. There is a regular drum beat in the business press about the need for the Fed to start raising interest rates. In fact the Fed itself is telling us to expect higher rates, the question is how much higher and how fast we get there.

David Sirota: The SEC Illustrates the Danger of Regulatory Capture

The phrase “regulatory capture” shrouds a serious problem in vaguely academic jargon, making it seem like unimportant esoterica rather than anything noteworthy. But the phenomenon that the euphemism represents is, indeed, significant: When a government agency is effectively captured by-and subservient to-the industry that agency is supposed to be objectively regulating, it is a big deal.

A perfect example of regulatory capture came earlier this month from the Securities and Exchange Commission-the law enforcement agency that is supposed to be overseeing the financial industry.

As part of that responsibility, the agency’s top financial examiner, Andrew Bowden, warned last year of rampant fraud, corruption and abuse in the private equity industry, which today manages tens of billions of dollars of public pension money for states and cities across the country. [..]

That, unto itself, doesn’t sound like regulatory capture-in fact, it sounds like quite the opposite. But that’s just the prelude to the real story.

Robert Reich: The Rise of the Working Poor and the Non-Working Rich

Many believe that poor people deserve to be poor because they’re lazy. As Speaker John Boehner has said, the poor have a notion that “I really don’t have to work. I don’t really want to do this. I think I’d rather just sit around.”

In reality, a large and growing share of the nation’s poor work full time — sometimes sixty or more hours a week — yet still don’t earn enough to lift themselves and their families out of poverty.

It’s also commonly believed, especially among Republicans, that the rich deserve their wealth because they work harder than others.

In reality, a large and growing portion of the super-rich have never broken a sweat. Their wealth has been handed to them.

The rise of these two groups — the working poor and non-working rich — is relatively new. Both are challenging the core American assumptions that people are paid what they’re worth, and work is justly rewarded.

Why are these two groups growing?

Mike Lux: The Angst Of The Rich And Powerful

There have been a couple of recent articles that relate to money and politics that, while infuriating on many levels, have also struck me as very funny.

One of them came out last week, a broadside no doubt planted by a Wall Street lobbyist intending to frighten Democratic party leaders into trying to shut up Elizabeth Warren (good luck with that!), Sherrod Brown, and other populists who challenge banking malfeasance. It is a classic story about today’s bizarro world of big money dominated politics: [.]]

The Wall Street lobby is the richest and most powerful constituency in DC, and they have been pretty successful over the last couple of decades at getting their way on policy and shutting up politicians who take them on. This kind of ham-handed threat might have worked in the past, but we are living in a new era where the progressive movement, in combination with leaders like Warren and Brown, isn’t backing down. It is worth noting this article, though, and keeping it in your favorite clips file: this kind of moment is one to be savored. There will be more to come as the challenges to the Wall Street establishment keep growing.

Mar 31 2015

TBC: Morning Musing 3.31.15

I have 4 articles for your perusal this morning!

First, on the big bigoted stupid in Indiana:

The Big Lie The Media Tells About Indiana’s New ‘Religious Freedom’ Law

It’s not true.

The Indiana law differs substantially from the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act, signed by President Clinton in 1993, and all other state RFRAs.

There are several important differences in the Indiana bill but the most striking is Section 9. Under that section, a “person” (which under the law includes not only an individual but also any organization, partnership, LLC, corporation, company, firm, church, religious society, or other entity) whose “exercise of religion has been substantially burdened, or is likely to be substantially burdened” can use the law as “a claim or defense… regardless of whether the state or any other governmental entity is a party to the proceeding.”

Jump!

Mar 31 2015

On This Day In History March 31

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

March 31 is the 90th day of the year (91st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 275 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1776, future first lady Abigail Adams writes to her husband urging him to “remember the ladies” when drafting a new “code of laws” for the fledgling nation.

While John Adams participated in the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, Abigail remained at their home in Braintree, Massachusetts, managing their daily affairs in his absence. At the same time that Adams was preparing to publish his “Thoughts on Government” essay, which outlined proposed political philosophy and structures for the new nation, Abigail pondered if and how the rights of women would be addressed in an American constitution.

Women’s rights

Adams was an advocate of married women’s property rights and more opportunities for women, particularly in the field of education. Women, she believed, should not submit to laws not made in their interest, nor should they be content with the simple role of being companions to their husbands. They should educate themselves and thus be recognized for their intellectual capabilities, so they could guide and influence the lives of their children and husbands. She is known for her March 1776 letter to John and the Continental Congress, requesting that they, “…remember the ladies, and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the Husbands. Remember all Men would be tyrants if they could. If particular care and attention is not paid to the Ladies we are determined to foment a Rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any Laws in which we have no voice, or Representation.

John declined Abigail’s “extraordinary code of laws,” but acknowledged to Abigail, “We have only the name of masters, and rather than give up this, which would completely subject us to the despotism of the petticoat, I hope General Washington and all our brave heroes would fight.”

Braintree March 31, 1776

   Tho we felicitate ourselves, we sympathize with those who are trembling least the Lot of Boston should be theirs. But they cannot be in similar circumstances unless pusilanimity and cowardise should take possession of them. They have time and warning given them to see the Evil and shun it. I long to hear that you have declared an independancy and by the way in the new Code of Laws which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make I desire you would Remember the Ladies, and be more generous and favourable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the Husbands. Remember all Men would be tyrants if they could. If perticuliar care and attention is not paid to the Laidies we are determined to foment a Rebelion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any Laws in which we have no voice, or Representation.

   That your Sex are Naturally Tyrannical is a Truth so thoroughly established as to admit of no dispute, but such of you as wish to be happy willingly give up the harsh title of Master for the more tender and endearing one of Friend. Why then, not put it out of the power of the vicious and the Lawless to use us with cruelty and indignity with impunity. Men of Sense in all Ages abhor those customs which treat us only as the vassals of your Sex. Regard us then as Beings placed by providence under your protection and in immitation of the Supreem Being make use of that power only for our happiness.

Mar 31 2015

Sunday Train: The Hole in the PA Keystone West Feasibility Study

One of the things I was waiting on last year was delivery of Pennsylvania’s feasibility study for improvements on the “Keystone West” corridor. The “Keystone East” corridor connecting Harrisburg and Philadelphia was upgraded in 2006, with an electrified corridor with speeds of up to 110mph providing travel times competitive with driving, especially in the suburban Philadelphia area. So when a “Keystone West” feasibility study was announced, there were high hopes in some quarters that some substantial improvements might be made on the “Keystone West” corridor, connecting Pittsburgh with Harrisburg, currently hosting only the Pennsylvanian between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.

The feasibility study is was originally promised for substantially earlier, with a final draft completed in May 2013 but the trip from final draft to final report took more than a year, being finally published in August of last year (pdf).

A quick review of the Executive Summary reveals that a range of things can be done to improve the Keystone West, which could trim something less than an hour from the current five and a half hour trip to Harrisburg (with a further hour and a half to Philadelphia). It also takes a look at, and quickly dismisses an Express HSR corridor.

But for some reason … while it considers an option to add a third passenger-only track on the Keystone West, it completely ignores the option of a Rapid Rail speed upgrade on that track … despite the fact that a Rapid Rail speed upgrade was part of what made the Keystone East project successful. So I’ll take a look at this curious hole in the feasibility study, below the fold.

Mar 31 2015

2015 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament: Regional Finals Day 2

Last Night’s Results-

Score Seed Team Record Score Seed Team Record Region
80 1 South Carolina 33-2 74 2 Baylor 32-4 Mid-West
77 1 Notre Dame 34-2 68 2 Florida St. 31-5 South

Today’s Matchups-

Time Channel Seed Team Record Seed Team Record Region
7:00pm ESPN 1 UConn 35-1 7 Dayton 28-6 East
9:00pm ESPN 1 Maryland 33-2 2 Tennessee 30-5 West

Sorry Dayton, you were a real Cinderella story and I’ll be sad to see you go.  You have a much better program than most people thought and I look forward to seeing you do even better in next year’s tournament.

I’ll try and console myself with the prospect of crushing Tennessee like bugs unless of course it’s Maryland who we will also crush like bugs but it won’t be nearly as enjoyable.