Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Thanks seashell, Edwin ♥


Since we no longer have a Fourth Estate in this country, I propose:

Hacker Slang

[Russian, literally “self publishing”] The process of disseminating documentation via underground channels. Originally referred to underground duplication and distribution of banned books in the Soviet Union; now refers by obvious extension to any less-than-official promulgation of textual material, esp. rare, obsolete, or never-formally-published computer documentation. Samizdat is obviously much easier when one has access to high-bandwidth networks and high-quality laser printers. Note that samizdat is properly used only with respect to documents which contain needed information (see also hacker ethic) but which are for some reason otherwise unavailable, but not in the context of documents which are available through normal channels, for which unauthorized duplication would be unethical copyright violation. See Lions Book for a historical example.

Monday, January 30, 2006

cry, cry baby: THIS is our pReznit

For Adolf Hitler, the goal of a legally established dictatorship was now within reach. On March 15, 1933, a cabinet meeting was held during which Hitler and Göring discussed how to obstruct what was left of the democratic process to get an Enabling Act passed by the Reichstag. This law would hand over the constitutional functions of the Reichstag to Hitler, including the power to make laws, control the budget and approve treaties with foreign governments.

...A third decree signed only by Hitler and Papen allowed for the establishment of special courts to try political offenders. These courts were conducted in the military style of a court-martial without a jury and usually with no counsel for the defense.
...On March 23, the newly elected Reichstag met in the Kroll Opera House in Berlin to consider passing Hitler's Enabling Act. It was officially called the "Law for Removing the Distress of the People and the Reich." If passed, it would in effect vote democracy out of existence in Germany and establish the legal dictatorship of Adolf Hitler. Before the vote, Hitler made a speech in which he pledged to use restraint.
"The government will make use of these powers only insofar as they are essential for carrying out vitally necessary measures...The number of cases in which an internal necessity exists for having recourse to such a law is in itself a limited one,"
Hitler told the Reichstag.

"Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal." -- Martin Luther King, Jr.

"This and no other is the root from which a tyrant springs; when he first appears he is a protector." -- Plato

"The victor will never be asked if he told the truth." -- Adolph Hitler

"What good fortune for governments that the people do not think." -- Adolph Hitler

Thank you, Edwin

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Year of the Dog

Memories of New Years in China. How dangerous it was to travel just before: everyone was carrying fire works, and occasionally whole railroad carloads of people would get blown up. How dangerous it was coming home early morning of the first day because the fireworks were still going off. Strings of firecrackers hung from balconies and windows, burning their strings, dropping firecrackers onto you as you biked by. That New Year's was really Spring Festival, so no matter how cold it was or early in the year, Spring had indeed begun. That it was two weeks long. Do Chinese know how to celebrate or what?
Then peripheral musings ~~ that Chinese invented gun powder, and then used it for fireworks. That noodles on New Year's probably don't make you live any longer because they are long, and jiaozi probably don't make you any richer because they're shaped like old Chinese gold coins. On the other hand, China has been around, on the same piece of ground, for 6,000 years, so maybe they know something we haven't mastered yet. . . .

But I actually like Baozi better. . .

Makes about 24 boazi
Preparation time about 1 hour, plus up to 1 1/2 hours rising time.
Cooking time 15-20 minutes

For the dough:
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons dried yeast
10 fl. oz. warm water
4 cups flour
Dry flour for dusting

6 shitake mushrooms
14 oz. pork (or lamb or beef)
2 cups chopped leaf spinach
6 finely chopped green onions
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh ginger
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine

Dissolve the sugar and yeast in the warm water for 5-10 minutes until frothy. Sift the flour into a mixing bowl, then gradually stir in the yeast mixture to make a firm dough. Knead for 5 minutes, then cover with a damp cloth and leave in a warm place to rise for 1-1 1/2 hours.

To make the filling: Coarsely chop the mushrooms, meat and spinach. Mix with the green onions, ginger, salt, sugar, soy sauce, and wine. Blend thoroughly.

Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for about 5 minutes, then roll into a long sausage. Cut into about 24 pieces and flatten each piece with the palm of your hand. With a rolling pin, roll out each piece into a circle about 4 in. in diameter.

Place 1 tablespoon of the filling in the center of each flattened circle of dough, then gather together the edges to meet at the top around the filling. Twist to enclose the filling. Stand for at least 20 minutes before cooking.

Place a piece of wet cheesecloth on the rack of a steamer, arrange the buns 1 in. apart on the cheesecloth, cover and steam vigorously for 15-20 minutes. Serve hot.

Must have Jiozi for New Year's. . . .

JiaoZi (Chinese Dumplings)

This recipe comes from long practice and much experimentation. A year in China taught me the basics, and then I started modifying it at home until I was really satisfied with the results. -- Karen


8 cups white flour
about 2 1/2 cups (very) cold water
1 teaspoon salt

Dissolve salt in water. Add 2 cups water to flour and blend THOROUGHLY. Do not add more water until it is absolutely necessary. Add remaining water as slowly as possible in order to get as hard a dough as you can. If the dough is too soft, add more flour. Knead thoroughly. Harder dough is much easier to fill. Chill while you make the filling.

Separate dough into 2 portions. Form into long sausages, about 1 inch diameter. Cut sections every 1cm. Form sections into balls and use rolling pin to form into round, flat skins about 3 inches diameter. If they are too thick, the jiaozi will be very doughy. Modify sizes of balls as appropriate.

(The other way to make skins is to buy "JiaoZi Pi" in the local Chinese store!)


1 kilo ground meat
2 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon white pepper
2 teaspoon brandy or sherry or other aromatic alchohol
1 teaspoon sesame oil

Add soy sauce and salt to meat. Stir slowly, always in the same direction (if you change directions, the meat fibers don't stick together as well, and the jiaozi are more likely to fall apart when cooked). Add remaining ingredients.

Let sit while you prepare the vegetables and other additional ingredients. All need to be finely minced. Use a food processor if you have one. If you don't, I hope you have a LOT of patience. If the bits are too large, the jiaozi will fall apart.

1 inch ginger (finely minced. You can use a grater)
3-4 stalks spring onion
1 small clump fresh coriander (cilantro)
1 very small clump chives
Either: 8-10 stalks celery (at least half the entire stook). Once minced, squeeze out any excess water.
Or: 1 small head Chinese cabbage
Optional: 3 large carrots
Optional: 3-4 chinese black mushrooms (shiitake)
Optional: one fried egg

Stir them slowly into the meat mixture. For now, add only the lower numbers (eg. 8 celery, not 10). Don't let the mix get too moist.

Test scent. It should be very aromatic. If not, add a little more brandy, or sesame oil, or onion. Test consistency. Fry a teaspoon or so of the mix. It should stick together very easily. If it falls apart, it could be because (a) the mix is too dry in which case add more veggies and/or oil, or (b) because its too moist in which case add a little more meat. (Since its easier to add more veggies, that's why I suggested adding the veggies slowly!) Test flavour. (Eat the fried bit). Your entire tongue should get a little bit of life. If necessary, add a few spices to supplement -- savoury gets central tongue, white pepper the back, black pepper the front, paprika the sides.

Fiddle until you're happy.

To roll:
Take about 1 tablespoon filling and place into centre of skin. Bring one half up to meet the other half. Seal thoroughly. This usually means creating "pleats" in one half and gluing them to the other (use a tiny bit of water if you need to), If they're not well sealed, they fall apart when cooking.

To cook:
Bring large pot of water to boil. Add enough jiaozi to cover the base of the pot about 1.5 times (about 25 in a 12" diameter pot, about 50 in a good size wok). Cover.

When it comes to a boil, add 1 cup cold water. Cover. Repeat. When it comes to a boil for the third time, they are ready to serve.

Note: if you stop it before the third boil, the meat will not be cooked through. Also, if you don't add cold water each time, the jiaozi will fill up with air and explode.

Alternate cooking method:
After you've boiled them, you can fry them. This is a wonderful way to serve the leftovers, and a very common Chinese breakfast!

To serve:
Typically eaten with a sauce constructed of soy sauce, vinegar, and sugar. (ratio about 1/4 cup SS: 1/4 cup Vinegar: 1 teaspoon sugar). Also good with plain malt vinegar. To ensure that the sugar has dissolved completely, heat briefly. For more flavour, add a little sesame oil, hot oil, maggi (available in most chinese stores), and/or chilli pepper as you wish.

To store:
JiaoZi keep very well in the freezer. To freeze, place on trays so they are not touching (if they touch, they will stick together). Freeze overnight. The next day, place into plastic bags & seal. Will keep indefinitely.

From the Dinner Co-op

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Happy New Year!!


For the Wolves OPEN THREAD

by susanhu
Sat Jan 28th, 2006 at 04:07:23 PM EST
A very sick, sadistic, unnecessary aerial wolf hunt is scheduled to take place again in Alaska. I BEG YOU to sign this petition to Gale Norton, Secretary of the Interior:

"Aerial Gunning of Wolves Likely to Continue Despite Court Order."

I lost my heart to wolves -- and their remarkable lifelong family attachments -- after reading Farley Mowat's beautifully, entertainingly written Never Cry Wolf. They're historically perhaps the most misunderstood animal on this planet -- and their exceptional family/pack structure, their keen intelligence, their vital place in nature -- and their very lives must be protected by those of us who still have the capacity to care about the existence of nature itself. OPEN THREAD:

Thanks Renee!

Black Elk (Lakota, 1863-1950)

(January 27, 2006 -- 04:43 PM EDT // link)

Oops. New study by non-partisan research firm says no dice to claims Jack Abramoff was steering tribal money to Dems like he was to Republicans. In fact, the study suggests opposite.

Some nuggets ...

The analysis shows that when Abramoff took on his tribal clients, the majority of them dramatically ratcheted up donations to Republicans. Meanwhile, donations to Democrats from the same clients either dropped, remained largely static or, in two cases, rose by a far smaller percentage than the ones to Republicans did. This pattern suggests that whatever money went to Democrats, rather than having been steered by Abramoff, may have largely been money the tribes would have given anyway.

and this ...

The analysis shows:

in total, the donations of Abramoff’s tribal clients to Democrats dropped by nine percent after they hired him, while their donations to Republicans more than doubled, increasing by 135 percent after they signed him up;

five out of seven of Abramoff’s tribal clients vastly favored Republican candidates over Democratic ones;

four of the seven began giving substantially more to Republicans than Democrats after he took them on;

Abramoff’s clients gave well over twice as much to Republicans than Democrats, while tribes not affiliated with Abramoff gave well over twice as much to Democrats than the GOP -- exactly the reverse pattern.

The truth is that only idiots and liars (actually, I guess the liars 'say' but don't 'believe') think the Abramoff operation was really bipartisan in any meaningful sense. But here's at least some more data points to add to the mix.

-- Josh Marshall

hat tip to Corinne


Been blog reading this morning. All just amazing women. Women young enough to be the daughters I never had. Women I wish I could have lunch with. Walk with. Talk with. Sensitive, insightful, terrified, coping women. Damned good writers all. Many are mothers, all have skills that are amazing. And I just wish to say: thank you. You give me hope.

Friday, January 27, 2006

The image “http://www-users.york.ac.uk/~fj102/photo/beautiful%20china.files/image007.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

"Vermont must know that they're in the United States of America."

It's pretty obvious that Vermont grates on O'Reilly and his ilk. We send a socialist to the House of Representatives and liberals like Jim Jeffords and Pat Leahy to the Senate. We put our former governor into national play as chief truth-speaker and fund-raiser for the Democratic party - if only they'd listen to him! We instituted the first civil unions laws in the country and the devil did not appear. We're interested in wind power, and some of us even drive cars powered by French-fry oil. We've flooded - yes, absolutely flooded - the country with super-rich ice cream, good beer, fine coffee, hand-crafted cheeses, healthy bread, natural salad dressings, luxury textiles, organic cosmetics and designer furniture and lighting fixtures. We even allow lesbians to make maple syrup!

For the rest, click the title

Hat tip to Olaf

Toys Iz Us

Thursday, January 26, 2006

The image “http://www-users.york.ac.uk/~fj102/photo/beautiful%20china.files/image023.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Once a picker, always a picker

Bush the Incompetent

By Harold Meyerson

Wednesday, January 25, 2006; Page A19

Incompetence is not one of the seven deadly sins, and it's hardly the worst attribute that can be ascribed to George W. Bush. But it is this president's defining attribute. Historians, looking back at the hash that his administration has made of his war in Iraq, his response to Hurricane Katrina and his Medicare drug plan, will have to grapple with how one president could so cosmically botch so many big things -- particularly when most of them were the president's own initiatives.

In numbing profusion, the newspapers are filled with litanies of screw-ups. Yesterday's New York Times brought news of the first official assessment of our reconstruction efforts in Iraq, in which the government's special inspector general depicted a policy beset, as Times reporter James Glanz put it, "by gross understaffing, a lack of technical expertise, bureaucratic infighting [and] secrecy." At one point, rebuilding efforts were divided, bewilderingly and counterproductively, between the Army Corps of Engineers and, for projects involving water, the Navy. That's when you'd think a president would make clear in no uncertain terms that bureaucratic turf battles would not be allowed to impede Iraq's reconstruction. But then, the president had no guiding vision for how to rebuild Iraq -- indeed, he went to war believing that such an undertaking really wouldn't require much in the way of American treasure and American lives.

* * * * * * * * *

How could a president get these things so wrong? Incompetence may describe this presidency, but it doesn't explain it. For that, historians may need to turn to the seven deadly sins: to greed, in understanding why Bush entrusted his new drug entitlement to a financial mainstay of modern Republicanism. To sloth, in understanding why Incurious George has repeatedly ignored the work of experts whose advice runs counter to his desires.

More and more, the key question for this administration is that of the great American sage, Casey Stengel: Can't anybody here play this game?

For the rest, click title.

Thanks Edwin

A Maori folksong. . . .

I have suitors at my door
Oh hah lay ho bah he la
Six or eight or even more
Oh hah lay ho bah he la
And my father wants me wed
Oh hah lay ho bah he la
Or at least that's what he said
Oh hah lay ho bah he la

Oh lay ho la
Oh hah lay ho bah he la
Oh lay ho la
Oh hah lay ho bah he la

I have told him that I will
Oh hah lay ho bah he la
When the rivers run up hill
Oh hah lay ho bah he la
Or when fish begin to fly
Oh hah lay ho bah he la
Or the day before I die
Oh hah lay ho bah he la

Oh lay ho la
Oh hah lay ho bah he la
Oh lay ho la
Oh hah lay ho bah he la

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Winds of Change? A Republican Speaks Out. . . .

Searching for a New Direction
By Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX)

* * * * *

If we're inclined to improve conditions, we should give serious consideration to the following policy reforms, reforms the American people who cherish liberty would enthusiastically support:

1. No more "No Child Left Behind" legislation;

2. No more prescription drug programs;

3. No more undeclared wars;

4. No more nation building;

5. No more acting as the world policemen;

6. No more deficits;

7. Cut spending-everywhere;

8. No more political and partisan resolutions designed to embarrass those who may well have legitimate and honest disagreements with current policy;

9. No inferences that disagreeing with policy is unpatriotic or disloyal to the country;

10. No more pretense of budget reform while ignoring off-budget spending and the ever-growing fourteen appropriations bills;

11. Cut funding for corporate welfare, foreign aid, international NGOs, defense contractors, the military industrial complex, and rich corporate farmers before cutting welfare for the poor at home;

12. No more unconstitutional intrusions into the privacy of law-abiding American citizens;

13. Reconsider the hysterical demands for security over liberty by curtailing the ever-expanding and oppressive wars on drugs, tax violators, and gun ownership.

Finally, why not try something novel, like having Congress act as an independent and equal branch of government? Restore the principle of the separation of powers, so that we can perform our duty to provide checks and balances on an executive branch (and an accommodating judiciary) that spies on Americans, glorifies the welfare state, fights undeclared wars, and enormously increases the national debt. Congress was not meant to be a rubber stamp. It's time for a new direction.

The rest (and there's a lot!) here.

Thanks for the head's up, Edwin.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Hat tip to jc!

But after the war those damnyankee carpetbaggers conspired to temporarily disenfranchise southern white men just because they had engaged in armed rebellion against the government and thereby forced through the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments. And then the poor downtrodden southern white people just had no choice but to form the Klan and enact Jim Crow laws, because they hadn’t been given enough time to adjust.

Those of you who are much younger than I am and/or did not grow up in hollerin’ distance of Dixie might not have been exposed to this line of reasoning much, but believe me, it was common. Still is, in some circles.

Fast forward to today’s anti-abortion rights movement. Fetus People like to see themselves as the heirs of the abolitionists, and they compare the struggle to protect fetii with the stuggle to end slavery. And they like to evoke the Dred Scott decision, which declared that a black man could not be a citizen and could have no standing to bring suit against a white man. The “antis” want fetii to be given full citizenship status; those who would deny them that status are bad people, just like the justices who ruled against Dred Scott.

But in truth, the anti-choicers more and more remind me of the old white supremacists and Klansmen, not the abolitionists.

First, the line of reasoning that blames the abortion wars on Roe v. Wade (see previous post on abortion) and not on a faction of fanatics who will try to stop abortions by any means is just too much like saying the 13th Amendment was responsible for the formation of the Klan. Let’s pretend that tomorrow Roe is reversed. Does anyone seriously believe that states which allowed abortion to remain legal would not be descended upon by Randall Terry and the screaming culture of death hoardes? Puh-leeze …

More, before and after this section. Click header.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Saturday, January 21, 2006

How can you NOT love her?

Tom DeLay made his pact with the devil when he signed on to expand the Newt Gingrich/Grover Norquist "K Street Project" to turn the entire lobby into an arm of the Republican Party. Members of the lobby were literally called in by Republican leaders to act as auxiliary whips, assigned to recalcitrant members from districts with a special economic vulnerability to a particular special interest.

The corruption of Congress has reached such a noxious level, the country is simply falling down a hole. Tax cuts for the rich! Reckless spending on everyone but those who need it most! Not a grown-up in sight. There is no sense of responsibility. The Republicans' response is to elevate Mr. Blunt, a man who represents zero improvement. Talk about not getting it: Tom DeLay is losing in his own district, 36 percent to 49 percent for "any Democrat." Wouldn't you think Texas congressmen would sit up and take notice of something like that?

I think we can rely upon the Democrats to seize the moment and punt. Their best play, of course, is to take the reform issue and own it, to go long, for the whole reform package every goo-goo group in America has been agitating for years -- starting with public campaign financing for Congress. The package should include changes in House rules, lobby rules -- and even though it is done at the state level, proposals for nonpartisan redistricting.

I can almost hear the condescending cynics: "You don't really think you can get the money out of politics, do you?" I guarantee you can do it for several cycles -- and do you know what happens when it starts to creep back in again? You reform again! Perpetual reform, a truly great concept. No human institution is ever going to remain perfect; they have to be watched and adjusted like any other mechanism. Why use that as a defeatist excuse for doing nothing at all?

What matters here is not what the Republicans or the Democrats do -- it's what you do before November. Sit up, join up, stir it up, get online, get in touch, find out who's raising hell and join them. No use waiting on a bunch of wussy politicians.

Molly Ivins writes about politics, Texas and other bizarre happenings.

For the rest, clicky!

Wonderfully absurd things left off of the four memes lists, or not asked ~~
Razzle and Dazzle -- a pair of calico cats
Painbrush, my first horse -- purely imaginary
(my two cousins named theirs Black Beauty and White Beauty ~~ am I a contrarian, or what?)
DeeDee, my Daddy's name for me
Grinny, another of my Daddy's names for me
Ode to Joy
Your Turn to Curtsy, My Turn to Bow
The Lady's Not for Burning
Played a tree in Peter Pan
George Ruff, third grade
34C fifth grade
17, front seat, in front of my parents' house
12 carat gray star sapphire ring
Miriamne -- name of daughter I never had
bucking rivets -- first job; for my dad; 25¢ an hour
Eldest of nine (six brothers and two sisters)

Speaking of Subway. . . .

This was showing on my media player while THIS was playing. . . .
(to download ~~"save to disk" or "save target" before playing. . . .)

From Subway, just because it's so BEAUTIFUL.

Thanks jc ♥!

U.S. oil dependence
It’s not easy being green, but it’s what our nation must do

As we enter 2006, we find ourselves in trouble, at home and abroad. We are in trouble because we are led by defeatists — wimps, actually.

What’s so disturbing about President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney is that they talk tough about the necessity of invading Iraq, torturing terror suspects and engaging in domestic spying — all to defend our way of life and promote democracy around the globe.

But when it comes to what is actually the most important issue in U.S. foreign and domestic policy today — making ourselves energy efficient, independent and environmentally green — they ridicule it as something only liberals, tree huggers and sissies believe is possible or necessary.

Sorry, but being green, focusing the nation on greater energy efficiency and conservation, is not some girlie-man issue. It is actually the most tough-minded, geostrategic, pro-growth and patriotic thing we can do.

Living green is not for sissies. Sticking with oil and basically saying that a country that can double the speed of microchips every 18 months is somehow incapable of innovating its way to energy independence — that is for sissies, defeatists and people who are ready to see American values eroded at home and abroad.

Living green is not just a “personal virtue,” as Cheney says. It’s a national security imperative.

The biggest threat to America and its values today is not communism, authoritarianism or Islamism. It’s petrolism.U.S. oil dependence

For the rest, clicky

Tip o' the hat to Scrutiny Hooligans