Monday, September 30, 2013

Senator Rubio Gets an Earful!



U.S. Senator Marco Rubio is confronted by fellow passengers on a flight from Miami to Washington, wondering how he can possibly support the shutting down of government services.
by Charlie Leck

This short, but intriguing story just came in on my computer from Talking Points Memo. Written and filed by Igor Bobic, I take the chance of reproducing all of it immediately below. I took it from TPM.com….

“Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) reportedly got an earful about a potential government shutdown from constituents who recognized him on a flight from Miami to Washington, D.C. Monday morning.
“A source on the flight told the Miami Herald that Rubio was flooded with complaints after his party demanded a repeal or delay of President Obama's signature health law in exchange for funding the government this weekend.
“According to the account, which was contested by a spokesperson for the Florida Republican that declined to elaborate on the incident, a flight attendant also asked the senator whether the government would indeed shut down midnight on Monday.
“Rubio reportedly sought to calm their concerns by calling the faceoff between the White House and House Republicans "not really a shutdown, more of a slowdown -- but not a good way to do business."

Wow! I wish I had been on that flight!



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Saturday, September 28, 2013

Why Such Hatred?



Why is it that the President is so strongly disliked? Why do members of the opposition take it so far beyond the element of politics?
by Charlie Leck

Has anyone said it? Has anyone dared to utter the words? Could it be? Is it possible?

For heaven’s sake, ask yourself the simple question: Why does such a strong element of the Republican Party hate the President so much?

Don’t answer lightly or too quickly or simply; yet don’t either complicate the question and therefore its answer!

The Tea Party does not just disagree with the President. It seems more than that. There is some kind of haunting hatred in their attitude toward President Obama. I chatted about it with a black friend of mine and he just closed his eyes and chuckled quietly and sarcastically to himself. Then he shook his head slightly, indicating to me that he didn’t want to go there. Oh, my!

It’s not just that he is African-American – a black man – a man of mixed racial parents. No, it’s not just that. There is something more haunting and disturbing about the dislike that we see and feel from so many people. One must look at least one level deeper. Barack Obama’s father was more than a black man, of direct African dissent. He was also of the Islamic faith. He was Muslim.

I remember, during the campaign of 2008, that John McCain, Obama’s opponent in the presidential race, chatted with a woman at one of his rallies and sternly rebuked her for a remark she made. She shouted out that she didn’t like the candidate opposing McCain. Her comment rattled me deeply. It was the shattering hatred in her voice.

“I don’t like Obama,” she said. “He’s an Arab!”

I hear a recording of her charge played here in Minneapolis, on the opening of a daily radio show. I’ll often turn the radio off at the point I know the words will be shouted. I don’t want to hear them. I don’t want to hear the woman’s ignorant hatred.

Yet, there is something of her voice in many of Washington’s Tea Party politicians. Beneath the surface of their political opposition you can hear a similar voice – similar anger – similar hatred.

Why?
One doesn’t want to make a racial thing of it! One doesn’t want it to be that; yet one is given pause; and one does think about it.

Could this strenuous, bitter hatred of the President stem from something far beyond political opposition?

I, an old man, heard a young, broad and muscled fellow shout out at a TV screen one day in a bar and restaurant where I was lunching with a friend. He used the n-word – that word that we are so loathe to put in print in a place like this. The guy was slightly inebriated. It increases people’s courage.

“Shut up, you ignorant fool,” I shouted out at him.

He looked across at me. His face reddened and his eyes blazed. Had I not been so obviously aged, I believe he would have crossed to where I stood and slapped me silly.

I heard the word used again in reference to the President at a gathering of my old high school classmates recently. My wife was sitting next to me and she saw the flash of anger in my eyes. She held me gently and urged me to shush – to not create a scene. I felt the need to throw-up. I left the table for the restroom.

As much as I don’t want it to be, I know it is out there. It’s nasty and it’s hurtful – even though it is so totally unreasonable and unnecessary.

Bigotry is awful. It leads to no good. It hurts the soul and creates a heavy, thick fog through which it is difficult to see and understand…

There, I’ve said it! I’ve tried so hard not to, but I’ve said it.


“As long as Obama is president, these folks will be flush with fever. Opposition to Obama is their raison d’être. America’s national interests are subordinate to their selfish ones.
“The far right needs Obama to fail in order to fulfill their most preposterous prophecies. President Obama must deal with a Republican-controlled House of Representatives that wants nothing more than his demise. There is nothing between the House and the president but a table of cease-fire and surrender at which no one will sit.
“The House Republican caucus is full of Captain Ahabs, and Obama is their Moby Dick.”

Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, a Republican and the former Chief of Staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell, took a deep breath awhile back, when he was on the Ed Schultz Show on MSNBC, and went ahead and just said it. (If you don’t believe he said it, you can find a video of the remarks here!)

“Let me just be candid, my party is full of racists. And the real reason a considerable portion of my party wants President Obama out of the White House has nothing to do with the content of his character, nothing to do with his competence as commander in chief and president, and everything to do with the color of his skin. And that’s despicable.”

OMG!



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Friday, September 27, 2013

Corker vs. Lee and Cruz in the Senate


It’s quite a sight in the Senate of the United States – that is, seeing these Republicans fighting each other while the nation stands shaking its collective head.
by Charlie Leck

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, has been making an utter fool of himself all week. The man is a Tea Party dandy. Take note of him. He’s a nobody trying to beat the rap. He’ll try anything to pursue his moment of fame. The nation be damned, Ted Cruz is going to have his fifteen minutes in the spotlight. He’s got a couple of buddies in this silly fight. One of them is U.S. Senator Mike Lee, Republican of Utah. Take note of him, too. He’s also dancing to the jukie* beat.

*Juke [jook],           verb, juked, juking
     1. To make a move intended to deceive
     2. A fake or feint, usually intended to deceive

These two dandies, neither of which has contributed a wit to any significant legislation in the U.S. Senate, are now poised to shut down the government of the United States – “come heller high water,” as they say in Texas.

To them – to these two irrelevants – it’s a matter of blocking a health care proposal that will bring medical insurance to people all over America who have not previously been able to afford such coverage. This is a breakthrough of immense proportions and consequence in America. Of course, to these two numb-nuts it seems like a serious violation of a person’s right to be sick and unable to get care. It appears true that one cannot even come close to calculating the amount of stupidity and ignorance in the national Tea Party movement.

The question: Bring the government and economy of the United States of America to its knees or stop the movement to bring the freedom of and to healthcare for Americans of all status.

You just can’t imagine anything a Tea Party politician wouldn’t do if elected!

Another Republican, U.S. Senator Bob Corker (Tennessee) rose in the chamber to accuse Cruz of turning all of this “into a show” for his supporters from the Tea Party movement.

Of the conservative Republicans, U.S. Senator Harry Reid, Democrat from Utah said…

“They’re in this ditch, and they want to get out of it, but they keep digging deeper and deeper and deeper. And this ditch – they can hardly see out of the top of it now – I don’t know what they’re going to do.”

Ladies and gentlemen, the Republicans of the Congress of the United States are now in the center ring for your viewing pleasure. Watch how many of them can come crawling out of that little car! You will notice that a few of them have completely lost their jelly beans!



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Thursday, September 26, 2013

Facebook Ad Says She Wants Me



I was trying to do Facebook this morning (I never fully get it, you know…) and I noticed a little picture of a very healthy looking young woman, with a generous chest, in the right hand column; and some text said she and others like her were looking to meet men aged 60+
by Charlie Leck

This Facebook thing is crazy. I want to give up on it again, but every time I do it I find some lovely little notice from someone out of my past that absolutely intrigues me. This morning I posted a photograph about our little lake voyage last Saturday evening and I got so many nice comments about it. I’m very, very slowly learning how to do Facebook and get some fun out of it.

But, what’s this about some smashing young woman who is anxious to meet me. Really! I need to tell my wife that I’m still desired – longed for – wished for – that she ought to be impressed!

I didn’t take the bait, by the way! No, you can’t fool an old codger like I. I knew there’d be some kind of fee involved. And also – well, frankly – that photo was just a little bit too much for me. I’d have a heart attack or stroke for sure. I just know I would.

What the hell is Facebook doing accepting ads like that? I saw another – a day or so ago – about penis enlargement! OMG! Is there no escaping stupidity?

Why haven’t women protested such advertising – and men too, for that matter? Well, this is my formal protest: “Facebook, those ads are stupid and they are insulting to all of us who are just trying to keep in touch with friends.”

I’m no goody-two-shoes, but must we have such unremarkable and low-brow stuff bothering us when we’re trying to share with friends on Facebook? There are plenty of places on-line for such advertising. Why so on Facebook? Just for the record, I don’t like it!

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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

What Republican Conservatives Really Want



Bernie Sanders is one of the politicians I admire most in this nation. He is a U.S. Senator from Vermont, a brilliant speaker and a fellow with a marvelous, dry sense-of-humor. He can also get very serious and very angry, however, and he rose to that on Facebook this morning. I read his post with great interest…
by Charlie Leck

Congressional Republicans are threatening to shut down the federal government next Tuesday unless the Affordable Care Act is defunded. The truth is that they’re just warming up and some of their other ideas are even further “off the deep end,” Sen. Bernie Sanders told radio host Bill Press on Tuesday. In a Senate floor speech, Sanders detailed a Republican to-do list that ranges from abolishing Social Security, privatizing VA health care, getting rid of the EPA, junking the minimum wage and more. Those and other proposals, the senator said, are detailed in the Texas Republican Party platform.” [U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders]

Take a look at this video of Senator Sanders’ speech on the floor of the Senate about the 2012 Texas Republican party platform…


Here’s a list of some of the things that that party platform calls for… and it is similar to the conservative Republican Party all over the county…

Phase out the Social Security System
Privatize Veterans Health Care
Abolish all federal programs not listed in the U.S. Constitution
Close down the Environmental Protection Agency
Repeal the 16th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution (ending progressive taxation)
End Capital Gains Tax and Estate Tax
Repeal the minimum wage law!

This platform reflects the thinking of the new conservative Republican movement. It is a policy that would be tragic for the low-income people of America. It simply calls for us to become a government that doesn’t care. It establishes a society of in-fighting and “get what you can get for yourself and the rest of the nation be damned.”

Earlier in the week, here’s what Senator Sanders had to say…

“House Republicans are trying to undo the Affordable Care Act, throw millions of children and the elderly off food stamps and continue across-the-board sequestration cuts that have slashed Head Start, Meals on Wheels, home heating assistance and other programs. That’s just the agenda for this week when the Republicans are using the threat of a government shutdown on Oct. 1 to try to get their way… What you’re talking about is the incredible cruelty and arrogance of a party representing the wealthy and the powerful to punish the poor and working people… These are bullies who are beating up on helpless people… They don’t impress me.”

Shout it out to your Senators and Representatives, wherever you live! Tell them to stop the nonsense and get on with governing. Shutting down our government will have serious consequences, once again, on our fragile economy!

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Sunday, September 22, 2013

Canning Tomatoes and the House of Representatives



The majority in the House of Representatives thinks it owns Washington – the entire country – and it forgets the whole business about the balance of power and the rights of the people to determine their future. They ought to get canned, these bastards.
by Charlie Leck

I actually have a daughter who dislikes tomatoes and won’t eat them in their freshest form. Oh, she’ll indulge in pasta sauces, thinking they’re swell; but she’ll recoil in disgust at the idea of pulling a big, juicy tomato off the vine and, after wiping it off a bit, biting into it as if it were a succulent apple right from the tree. I can’t believe it! She won’t allow a tiny, pretty, tasty cherry tomato to be placed on her salad. It’s un-American. It’s tragic. What is more glorious in all of horticulture than the lush, wonderful, fresh Tomato?

It’s tomato canning time. The vines are still full and we can’t keep up with the big fellows. The farmers markets are running their course and will soon be closing down; yet they have hundreds upon hundreds of tomatoes to sell us for remarkably reduced prices. Autumn time weather is on the verge here. A NY Times column of September 10, by Cathy Barrow, explains the fundamentals of canning tomatoes so that you can still enjoy the wonder of them here in Minnesota come January and February. [Enjoy the column by clicking here!]

I’ve hunted high and low for advice about how we might can the House of Representatives in the current U.S. Congress. In fact, I’ve found out, that it is too late because they are mostly beyond the period of ripeness and have grown rotten and worthless. They have no value anymore and – those rotten ones – but to be separated out and trampled underfoot.

The loonier (rotten) members of Congress hold fast to the idea of shutting down the economy of the United States by refusing to pass a budget and refusing to renew the rights and ability of the nation to handle its debt. They’ll relent, of course, if the House and Senate agree to repeal the Affordable Health Care Act even though that bill was pass constitutionally by the elected legislative representatives of the people of the United States and signed into law by President of the United States.

Republican Senator John McCain is shaking his head at the stupidity. From his place in the Senate, he shouts over at the rebel representatives in the House that Obamacare is the law of the land and it’s not going to be repealed. McCain assures the House and the American people that the Senate will not pass any kind of law that stops or repeals the Affordable Health Care Act from going into law. Yet, a significant minority of the House continues to try to blackmail the system and the people by telling them it will shut down the government if it doesn’t get its way (which is a repeal of the law). Talk about children stomping their feet and demanding their right to breakfast every morning on Lucky Charms!

The stubborn stupidity of the minority to think their opinions outweigh the rights of the majority of the people is not the way America is supposed to work. These are the same politicians who scream about upholding a literal interpretation of the Constitution of the United States.

I can no longer call you fools “gentlemen” so I must address you this way…

“Look, you miserable, rotten, idiots, the American people want everyone to have health care insurance that works. We think it is a right of the individual – each individual – to be assured proper health care. Now tend to other matters of government and let’s get going here. It’s the way democracy works – the majority has spoken! You have no right to blackmail the American people! You have no right to stomp your feet, shutting down the U.S. government.”

Geez, they ought to get canned!



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Friday, September 20, 2013

Organizing for the Hungry


     Library of Congress photograph
 
Congress, under  constant, unrelenting pressure from the conservative wing, will turn its back on the poor and hungry in America this week.
by Charlie Leck

For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me...
                                                                [Matthew 25:35]


Congress will vote, in the next couple of days (and likely today in the House) on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). We have known the program as food stamps. The proposal that will probably become law will drastically cut the food stamp program and will desperately hurt the poorest among us and many of them will be fellow senior citizens. Families with very low income, trying to adequately feed their children, will also be desperately hurt.

Congress has received significant and trust-worthy reports that food stamps kept as many as 4 million people from falling into poverty last year. Under the new law, according to the trusted, non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, more than 4 million people will become ineligible for future assistance.

Hunger in America is about to become a more significant problem than it has been in the a long, long time.

Providing assistance through food stamps has been a bi-partisan effort in Congress over the last several decades. With the restructuring of Congress under the influence of the Tea Party that is about to change. This has been our nation’s most effective way to fight hunger ever since the end of the depression.

As Jim Wallis, of the Sojourners organization, has recently said, food stamps are “the nation’s foremost tool against hunger and hardship, particularly during recessions and periods of high unemployment.”

This is a fight in Congress between those who believe we have something of a responsibility to care for our fellow-citizens who have fallen on hard times and those who don’t. Now that’s blunt and cold; however, it is the absolute truth.

If you can, communicate with your U.S. Senators and ask them to defeat this bill that the House of Representatives is about to send over to them. We must not allow hunger to become brutally real in America again.



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Thursday, September 19, 2013

An Embarrassingly Drunken, Reeling Political Party



Tom Toles is my current favorite newspaper cartoonist. He’s very insightful and his stuff is often very cutting. You can take a look at some of his recent work, including a cartoon mentioned below, on the Washington Post web site (go here).
by Charlie Leck

A Tom Toles cartoon, that appeared in the last week or so in the Washington Post, shows an inebriated elephant lying drunk on the edge of an abyss, a broken champagne glass near him, there on the ground. A tiny caption says: “Drunk on ideology!” A bit larger caption says: “Socially Awkward!”

It’s amazing how a cartoon can speak paragraphs and paragraphs. I could blather on here, writing line after line, saying the same thing that the cartoon says in just a little 4 by 4 inch square. Again I say, amazing!

I wish Republicans, socially responsible and clear thinking Republicans, would speak out about the current state of their historic and formerly responsible party. It might do some good. I hate seeing it sprawled into insignificance – and down and out – in such an unsightly way. This is the formerly glorious party of some of America’s finest statesmen and problem solvers. If they are watching from their places in the stars, they must be cringing!

I’ve written here, too many times, about how the Grand Old Party is broken and dismembered. I won’t do it further. The party needs serious and immediate attention.

Tom Toles is about 62 years of age. He won the Pulitzer in 1990 for editorial cartooning. He also won National Cartoonist Society’s Editorial Cartoon Award in 2003. His cartoons appear in more than 200 newspapers around the nation. He graduated from the University of Buffalo (magna cum laude)



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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Common Good Books



Yesterday, I wandered around in Common Good Books – G. Keillor, prop.. I spent a wonderful hour there.
by Charlie Leck

Garrison Keillor’s bookstore, in St. Paul, is a wonderful, terrific place. It’s jammed full of books. The emphasis is on the books and not on interior decorating. The staff is incredibly knowledgeable about books and they are totally helpful in a hands-on sort of way.

I picked up a number of books. Some of them were for a grandchild. Another was for a very nice friend of mine, a well-known, retired architect and former head of the University of Minnesota School of Architecture. I made it into a used book by browsing through it. The following quotation caught my attention.

“You must understand that life is serious, that it is difficult, that you have to persevere, that you must be confident, and that you must always forge ahead.” [Charles-Édouard Jeanneret, Le Corbusier]

If you visit St. Paul, you must spend a little time in this wonderful bookstore. It is on Snelling Avenue, at Grand Avenue, just across from Macalester College. You could visit the bookstore’s website here.

After my nifty time in Mr. Keillor’s store, I drove east along Grand Avenue and stopped for a late lunch at Salut Bar Américain. It’s the first time I’ve eaten there. My, it was wonderful! I strongly recommend it.

What a nice afternoon in St. Paul!



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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Republican Neglect



Here’s one example of Republican extremism on taxes and government services… and what such zealotry can do.
by Charlie Leck

The Republicans will show themselves again, as the budget crisis moves closer and closer, as an irrational group of nut-cases who would let the nation fall in to disrepair and poverty rather than spend sensible money on government services. They are threatening, once again, to shut government down if the other side of the aisle doesn’t approve vast spending cuts in our national budget.

This morning, in the NY Times, I came across a great example of this kind of approach to the American economy. A column by Ross Ramsey, executive editor of The Texas Tribune, Daily Reminder of Texas State Budget Cuts, was reprinted in the NY Times. Think of Texas; and then think of the U.S. under a similar funding policy.

In Texas, the highway department finds itself without adequate funds and will convert a number of Texas highways back into gravel roads…

The latest transportation idea in Texas illustrates the troubles of meeting the demands of growth and plain old wear and tear in a state where voters think government already costs too much….
“Lawmakers are in a self-made box, stuck between the promises they and their predecessors have made about government programs and services and their own promises to hold the line on spending.
Spoiler alert: they can’t afford to do the things they have promised to provide without crossing the voters in other ways — by raising taxes or fees or borrowing gobs of money.”

The highway department is not alone in Texas when it comes to governmental services stuck without the funds to carry out their routine services. You can add health and human services to the list and some other departments as well. But, when it comes to highway health and repair, the residents and voters of Texas can see with their own eyes what underfunding does to their state.

Now what about education? What about tourism promotion? What about police protection and public safety? What about hunting, fishing, state parks, public transportation, bridge inspection, state universities and a host of other services that only state government can provide?

Multiply this all out to the scope of a national budget and national services and you can see what the Tea Party crazies will do to America in the name of creating “smaller government” and “limited spending.” You want to live in a country like that?

As the debate in Congress heats up in the next few days, talking about debt ceilings and reduced funding and eliminated departments, just give some thought to Texas. Texas is never a good example for civilized people, but there you are…

Right now, in Congress, a strong Republic bloc is threatening to neglect government financing in the fiscal year that begins in October. Such action would, of course, shut government down and leave it unable to pays its bills and its creditors.

In this regard, yesterday, in New York City, the President of the United States gave a severe warning to Republicans…

“The last time the same crew threatened this course of action back in 2011, even the mere suggestion of default slowed our economic growth.”

Of course, this conservative bloc in Congress is disguising its real fight – and that is one to ruin and repeal the President’s health care law. They are consumed by their rage against this law that will allow nearly every single American to hold health care insurance. They, as I’ve said here before, are so determined to stop this law from going into effect that they are willing to bring the nation down and into economic ruin to do it.

Now if this isn’t crazy, then what can it be? This might be regarded as heroic behavior in Texas, but in America it is known to be just plain insane. Insane!

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Now, if you want a bit of extracurricular reading on this very subject, here’s a piece by Paul Buchheit in Nation of Change (Libertarian Writings that Read Like Comic Books) that will fascinate you. Buchheit points out how these crazies just ignore economic facts when they believe the economy can totally take care of itself and it doesn’t need to be tended. Reading this will give you a clear idea of just how dangerous these folks are. This makes for very good reading.



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Sunday, September 15, 2013

Congress Brought to a Stand-Still



It is difficult to be a congressional observer these days. I find what is going on in Congress right now ugly, dirty and detrimental to the nation. How bad are your congressional representatives in the House and Senate?
by Charlie Leck

I’ve remarked here, a number of times, that this is the worst Congress ever. The historical accuracy of that statement has been challenged by a number of readers.

Well, there is some statistical data and some historical information to back up my claim. The 112th Congress passed fewer bills than any other in modern history (since we’ve been able to rapidly prepare and print legislation for debate).

The lack of creative activity in Congress can unarguably be blamed on (or credited to – depending on your view point) the radically conservative wing of the Republican Party. Those several dozen members of Congress came there, first and foremost, to be disruptive of the legislative policy.

This radical wing in Congress is devoted to destroying what has become known as Obama Care even though some very bright analysts and health delivery experts see the President’s soon to be implemented health care plan a very workable and efficient means to deliver affordable, quality medical care to the largest number of Americans in history.

This radical element is committed to destroying, disrupting and ending this new health care delivery program before it gets a chance to prove itself and then become routine.

The commitment to destroy Obama Care has taken precedent over all other matters and radical members of the opposition sell their votes to other members of the Congress based on whether or not the buyers will come over to their side to kill the President’s health care plan.

The American people ought to be crying out, “Shame! Shame! Shame!” However, the ordinary guy on the street just doesn’t know what he can do about stopping this radical element. And, I understand that.

These tawdry members of Congress are going so far as to threaten to completely shut-down Congress by not funding it unless enough reasonable members join them in the vote to repeal Obama Care. This has become an irrational motive on the part of these radicals. They really have no substantial and reasonable argument against the new health care program. They just don’t want it implemented.

The Speaker of the House, Republican John Boehner, is just not capable enough to pull his own party together for the sake of the nation’s economic health.

The New York Times calls the congressional representatives who are a part of this movement to kill Obama Care “the shrill voices of extremists.” (read the entire editorial here)

These extremists have brought Congress to a virtual stand-still. And, they are proud of it. Several of them, like the weird one from Kentucky, dream of being President one day. OMG!

UPDATE (Sunday, 15 September 2013 at 8:55 a.m.)
Read GOP's own anger about these Tea Party U.S. Senators


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Thursday, September 12, 2013

A Great Leg of Lamb Recipe



Melissa Clark shows off her marinated, butterflied leg of lamb! We here at Sheepy Hollow know great lamb when we see it.
by Charlie Leck

I’ve raved to you before (probably too often) about the wonders of the NY Times. For me, it would be difficult to live without this remarkable newspaper. It’s simply the greatest newspaper I’ve ever encountered. I no longer can get a real, paper edition delivered way out here to our rural address (the NY Times stopped doing that over two years ago), so I must rely on an Internet subscription to its on-line paper. It’s not as wonderful as turning the pages and getting my fingers ink-stained, but boy, oh boy are those videos you can look at on line spectacular.

For instance, yesterday morning Melissa Clark, who does elegant, elegant food and writes about it for the paper, posted a video of her preparation of a butterflied leg of lamb that looked absolutely spectacular. If you are a lamb lover and you want to try a spectacular grilling recipe, I recommended you click here and go watch this wonderful video. You’ll also learn how to do a very creative cocktail to go with it.

To check out a bunch of Melissa Clark’s absolutely beautiful NY Times videos and recipe ideas, go here! There you’ll find video clips of wonderful sounding things like…

Smoky Eggplant Dip with Pita Chips
Steak with Tomatillo-Pineapple Salsa
Bean Salad with Tomato Vinaigrette
Zucchini Tian with Curried Bread Crumbs
Porchetta-Style Pork Chops
Grilled Sausages and Radicchio
Shakshuka (baked egg dish)
Beans with Bacon

And, by the way, if you try Ms. Clark’s wonderful lamb grilling recipe you may indeed include me on your invitation list.




If you wish to learn more about Sheep Hollow at Native Oaks Farm you may visit its web site!



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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Good News News



So you want to read something positive and inspiring and hopeful in the newspaper and all you can find is war, crime, corruption and a decaying environment; well, take a look at this terrific story in this morning’s local paper.
by Charlie Leck

In an article by Kevin Duchschere in this morning’s StarTribune [St Paul Food Oasis is a Million-Dollar Deal] I found reason to pump my fist into the air and holler out “yes!”

The article begins like this….

“Tracy Sides had just ordered a quiche, scone and coffee Monday morning at the Swede Hollow Cafe, near her office on St. Paul’s East Side, when her cellphone rang. Heads swiveled. Eyebrows lifted.

“Sides listened, then raised her arms and let out a whoop. ‘We won!’ she said.”

She was definitely not talking about the Vikings!

Tracy Sides, a cheery looking young woman, has a doctorate in public health and works as an epidemiologist, but she’s also an entrepreneur with a good head for exciting and helpful ideas (according to her friends). She and some of her friends entered a challenge contest this year and turned up the winners! The Minnesota Idea Open made the announcement on Monday of this week that Sides had won. The contest concept was to gather ideas “to make St. Paul great.” The three final entries were announced and the public was asked to vote for the grand-prize winner. The idea from Sides garnered in excess of half the 16,000 votes sent in by the public.

So, what’s the prize?
The idea gets a whopping one million dollars from the St. Paul Foundation. The money will be used to bring the idea to reality.

So, what’s the idea?
Ms. Sides wants to turn an old, vacant railroad warehouse, which has sat vacant near a nature sanctuary right inside the city, into an “Urban Oasis.” The building will become “an all-purpose food hub” that will gather local food, including meat, fish and produce, and turn that into healthy and delicious meals for schools and hospitals. It might also reach some homeless shelters and even restaurants and grocery stores. A catering firm will also work out of the building and it will also include a café and classroom where healthy cooking and canning and gardening classes can be taught.

The building is adjacent to the Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary and there is plenty of open field space that surrounds the building – all of it virtually in downtown St. Paul.

This will be a project to keep one’s eyes on. Hope you read the article.

If you want, you can watch a video interview here and also see some visuals of the concept Tracy Sides has for this ambitious project.



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Monday, September 9, 2013

Introduction to World Literature



I'm bored and disgusted with talk of war. I need to stop worrying about it and writing about it. I became intrigued with the description of an on-line class that I found on openculture.com
An Introduction to World Literature.

David Damrosch is the advisor and coordinator of the course. He’s also the main commentator on the videos that make up the lessons. He teaches at Harvard. You can read more about him here. He is the author of two books I intend to purchase: (1) How to Read World Literature [2008] and (2) What is World Literature [2003].

The video course is a part of the Annenberg Learner series. You can find out more about it at… http://learner.org/courses/worldlit/

Though I’ve just begun, I’m pretty confident that I’ll work my way through the entire course and all 13 of the books that we’re to read…

The Epic of Gilgamesh
My Name is Red
The Odyssey
The Baccae
The Bhagavad Gita
The Tale of Genji
Journey to the West
Popul Vuh
Candide
Things Fall Apart
One Hundred Years of Solitude
The God of Small Things
The Thousand and One Nights

I’ve previously read a few of them. In a couple of cases it was a long, long time ago. I wouldn’t have dreamed that I’d ever return to The Odyssey again; or to Candide for that matter. It will be with great pleasure that I read again One Hundred Years of Solitude and the remarkable Things Fall Apart.

This assures you that, though I’m blogging less frequently in these very troublesome times in politics and statesmanship, I am keeping myself earnestly occupied.

I’m also very busy making notations – and sometimes writing essays – in my Daily Journal.



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If you read my blog regularly, why not become a follower? All you have to do is click in the upper right hand corner and establish a simple means of communication. Then you'll be informed every time a new blog is posted here. If all that's confusing, here's Google's explanation of how to do it! If you don’t want to post comments on the blog, but would like to communicate with me about it, send me an email if you’d like.