What a week! It started out with the Superbowl for us online shopping addicts. Cyber Monday! I took the day off to properly observe the holiday – complaining about servers being slow because of site traffic and getting amazing deals – all from the comfort of my own bed. Then, the week went downhill from there. Who cares? It’s Friday!! Have a great weekend, everyone! 🙂
Monthly Archives: November 2012
Stuart Stevens: The Chief Strategist for the Losing Team
He wrote a seriously condescending Op-Ed in the Washington Post today. And it made my head spinny again.
On Nov. 6, Romney carried the majority of every economic group except those with less than $50,000 a year in household income. That means he carried the majority of middle-class voters…let’s remember that any party that captures the majority of the middle class must be doing something right.
Translation: We did better with the voters who actually matter – the middle class and of course, our super rich friends who backed us.
So who is the party that promotes class warfare again? Hmm. The ones who don’t care about getting the votes of the poor (working or otherwise). The ones who, behind closed doors, talk about how 47% of the population – like those on Social Security or disabled veterans, are entitled moochers.
This is the part that really burned my biscuits:
There was a time not so long ago when the problems of the Democratic Party revolved around being too liberal and too dependent on minorities. Obama turned those problems into advantages and rode that strategy to victory. But he was a charismatic African American president with a billion dollars, no primary and media that often felt morally conflicted about being critical. How easy is that to replicate?
He assumes that the media didn’t want to criticize Obama because he’s black? Are you kidding me? Has the guy ever turned on FOX “News?” Or listened to Conservative pundits like Limbaugh, Hannity, Levin, and Ingraham? The criticism was not just daily. It was hourly. Non-Conservative and Liberal news outlets weren’t afraid to criticize either. Hello……first debate? He was skewered by the media – Left, Right, and Middle.
I avoided writing about Romney after the election. He lost, and my hope is that he would fade into obscurity. However, this guy compelled me to write. And let him know the real reasons why they lost.
Effective Use of Campaign Donations
In 2008, Sarah Palin made fun of Obama being a community organizer. In campaigning, that is a huge asset. Community organizers usually have to work with extremely limited budgets – especially if they work for non-profit organizations. They have to make every dollar stretch as far as it can go. Obama’s campaign used the money they raised wisely, like pin pointing what regions needed the air time for ads and when they needed to run.
Better Ground Game
The Obama campaign had offices throughout the United States. They were divided into small groups with that region who held events. Phone banking was huge. I remember one event announcement in my area: “Phone banking for Ohio at Starbucks. Bring your cell phones and chargers.” Others held dinners as fund raisers. In the swing states, their community teams would go door-to-door. They’d offer people rides so they could vote. On election night, when people in Florida were waiting hours to vote, supporters encouraged them to stay. They gave them snacks and water.
However, the number one reason why Mitt Romney lost was by:
Being Mitt Romney
The small bits of information we’d get about him were like puzzle pieces. By election night, we got a good picture of him. The 47% comment. Saying how he’d have a better shot at winning if he were Latino. Using the Benghazi tragedy to slam Obama and hopefully score political points. High school classmates retelling how he physically bullied a gay student. Recalling the “binders full of women” from which he could choose. And the constant changing of positions. A lot of us made fun of his “flip flopping,” but when he did it within a 24-hour period, it became glaringly obvious. He would say anything to get elected, and what he said was tailored especially for the audience at that moment. If the audience changed, so did his position. Eventually, voters saw him for who he really was. Thank God.
Message to Stuart Stevens: Sorry, but he didn’t lose because you see Obama as an entertaining black man deemed “untouchable” by the media. Mitt Romney lost because he is an empty suit who wanted the title, not the job™ (™ Frank of A Frank Angle)
Egypt and President Mohammed Morsi: A Democracy in its Infancy
We all know that infants aren’t born walking. First, they learn to crawl. And eventually, they’ll learn to walk. During this time, they’ll fall down. And get back up again. All of this is part of the process. It might be a little frustrating to watch, but you know in the end, they’ll be fine. When I think about Egyptians and what they’re going through right now, I think about those babies learning to walk.
The recent events show their progress through this struggle. They are protesting in Tahrir Square again. This time, it’s against their new president, Mohammed Morsi. President Morsi seems to be pulling a “Mubarak” with a power grab. Last week, he issued an edict to dissolve their judiciary. It happens to be the branch of government that he doesn’t control. Man, that takes some balls.
They’re are fighting this with everything they have as the crowds are just as big as when they protested Mubarak last year. I love what one protester said:
“It’s like a wife whose husband was beating her and then she divorces him and becomes free. If she remarries she’ll never accept another day of abuse.”
I hope they are able to kick him out or at least stop his dictatorial power grab.
I’ve heard from Conservative pundits that the Arab Spring was not a positive thing. They were afraid that radical Islamists would take over the governments of these countries. When Mohammed Morsi was elected, the pundits were quick to point out that he is a part of the Muslim Brotherhood.
My response to that was, “So?” The Arab Spring was about citizens finding their voices and striving for democracy in a region that is conducive to neither. Egyptians could vote for whoever they wanted, and they voted for Mohammed Morsi. Was that a mistake? Maybe. The point is that they finally had a say in who was to lead them. That’s huge considering a dictator ruled over them for so long. They might be regretting their choice, but because they have found their voices, they are fighting back.
I will always see the Arab Spring as a good thing. Egyptians have been crawling since last year, and are slowly trying to walk. They will learn a lot as they fall down and get up again – over and over. The first thing they’re learning is that democracy is messy. They might not see it now, but a lot of already know. It will take time, but they will be fine.
Spinny Secret™: The Easy Way to a Perfectly Roasted Turkey
I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. I’m bone tired from marathon cooking, but it was worth it. My nieces spent Thanksgiving with us this year, so I was super happy. They were with their dad last year. They asked me for “candied yams without the yams.” Which are marshmallows. I took some pie tins and browned them under the broiler. It was sort of a joke, but they ate them!
Anyway, on to the easy way to a perfectly roasted turkey. I’ve made turkeys every which way – bags, sealed with aluminum foil, basting constantly, etc. This way is, by far, the easiest way to roast a turkey. The meat is moist, juicy, and flavorful.
I know Thanksgiving is over, but there are people who have Turkey at Christmas. And this will be a nice reference page for those frazzled newbies searching for a turkey recipe guide next year. Been there, done that. Trust me, in the almost 20 years I’ve been cooking Thanksgiving dinners, I’ve definitely messed up some turkeys in the early years. I wish I had the internet back then. So, don’t panic. It’s pretty simple.
To get a perfectly roasted turkey the easy way, just remember The Four B’s: Brining, Butter, Bed of the Holy Trinity, Breast Side Down.
Brining: Rinse your turkey and remove and refrigerate the giblets. Make sure the turkey is not already brined. Place the turkey in two turkey oven bags (Reynolds® makes one). Fill the bag with the turkey with salted water (brine). The ratio is 1 cup of kosher salt to 1 gallon of water, making sure the salt is dissolved completely. That’s it. Some people like to add sugar, herbs, etc. I don’t think they’re necessary, and two ingredients (water and salt) is the easiest way. If you don’t have kosher salt, you can use plain table salt (no iodine – leaves weird purple marks). For non-iodized table salt the ratio should be 1/2 cup table salt to 1 gallon of water as the granules are much smaller in table salt. There should be enough brine to ensure the turkey is completely submerged. If you have a room in your refrigerator, you can put it in one of the meat bins at the bottom. If you don’t (like most of us cooking Thanksgiving feasts), place it in a cooler with a lot of ice. The second oven bag protects the first from being punctured by the ice. I used four 10 lb. bags of ice this year for my 16 lb. turkey. Put some ice on top of the oven bag to make sure the turkey stays submerged completely in the brine. The turkey should be soaking in the brine for one hour per pound, but don’t go over 24 hours. Take it out of the bag and rinse thoroughly, and pat dry with paper towels.
OK – this is the point where I fill the cavity with aromatics (half of an onion and a bunch of thyme sprigs), and truss the turkey. Trussing is tying up the turkey. It is not absolutely necessary, but it does make for more even cooking and a prettier turkey. Alton Brown gives the best tutorial (IMHO) on trussing. His is the sturdiest:
Butter: Melt one stick of UNSALTED (very important – remember you brined) butter in the microwave until soft (not totally liquid). Add chopped up sage, rosemary, and thyme and mix it all up. It should be a soft, whipped butter consistency with herbs in it. Loosen the skin on the breast of the turkey, gently putting your fingers between the skin and the breast. It’s easy to tear, so do it slowly and gently. Place some of the herbed butter on your fingers and rub the butter under the skin. Rub some more on top of the breast. It’s totally messy but worth it. Melt another stick of butter to liquid. Spread it all over the entire turkey, inside and out – including the cavity. You can put aromatics in the cavity if you want at this point too. I usually put a half an onion and thyme sprigs.
Bed of the Holy Trinity: In Creole/Cajun cooking, the Holy Trinity is basically a French mirepoix: carrots, celery, and onions. I love it because these ingredients are cheap. Chop them up and put it in the bottom of your roasting pan. Make sure there is enough to cover the entire bottom of the pan. No need to do fancy cuts. Rough chop is fine. Add the giblets you took out when you brined the turkey to the bottom of the pan as well if you like the giblets.
Breast Side Down: Place the bird breast side down directly on the Bed of the Holy Trinity. I don’t like to use roasting racks because they make those weird lines on the turkey. The juices from the dark meat will baste the white meat. Loosely tent the turkey with aluminum foil. Don’t seal it to your roasting pan, make a little tent over it.
Roast it in a 350° F oven for approximately 15 minutes per pound of turkey (my 16 lb. turkey took 4 hours). To be safe, use your meat thermometer. It isn’t hard. Stick it in the deepest part of the thigh (where the drumstick is attached) but not touching the bone. When the internal temperature reaches 165° F, it’s fully cooked.
Leave it alone. Remember, gravity is doing the basting for you. 45 minutes to one hour before the end of cooking time, flip it over. Other than getting someone else to do it, the easiest way to do this is by wearing oven mitts, and put a wad of paper towels in each hand to do it. You can baste the breast at this point if you want. Tent with foil for the first 15 minutes. Then, remove the foil for the rest of the time so the skin on the breast can brown.
After it’s done, take it out of the oven, and let the turkey rest for at least 30 minutes before carving it. You want to keep all those juices in. The drippings are salty, so I wouldn’t make gravy from it. This is what it will look like:
Take it out of the roasting pan, and put the turkey on a platter. Keep the cooked giblets if you want -my parents love these.
Carve and enjoy!
Super Mayor Cory Booker and the Food Stamp Challenge
Man, is Mayor Cory Booker of Newark, New Jersey for real? People tweet him about traffic signals being out, and he’ll respond, “on it.” I remember my partner showing me one of his Tweets. During Superstorm Sandy, someone asked him about the flooding situation on a certain street in Newark because his grandmother lived there. Mayor Booker offered to check up on her for him. He must have been vying for Superhero status when he rescued a woman trapped in her burning house. He sure is setting a pretty high standard for mayors all over the country.
The latest bit of news about him caught my eye. He will be living for a week (or more) on food stamps. A Twitter conversation on the role of government in funding school food programs prompted this challenge (that was accepted):
I love it! Both will experience what it’s like. I’m pretty sure, by the end of the week, both will be happy going back to their “regular” lifestyle.
A lot of us don’t see it, but kids are going hungry in this country. It’s absolutely shameful. Children benefit from these government funded school food programs, and it’s easy to see how:
These are just three backpack programs where a child’s backpack is filled on Fridays with non-perishable, kid friendly food for them to have on the weekend. Sometimes, their only meals are the ones provided at school. Where does that leave them on the weekend? The last link is for the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma. They started the backpack program in 2003 when an Oklahoma City elementary student fainted while waiting in line for lunch on Monday because he/she didn’t have enough food over the weekend. Absolutely heartbreaking.
In a country as rich as this one, this should not be happening. Some may say that it isn’t the government’s responsibility to feed kids. Well, ideally, yeah. We could have this debate until the end of time, but in the meantime, there are still hungry kids. The problem is still there.
This is the thing. We spend so much money in aid to other countries. We pay to blow up countries. Then we pay again to rebuild them. We send money to “allies” to help us fight our enemies. Billions of dollars on everyone else. How about taking that money and spending it on feeding American kids?
I’m glad that Cory Booker and this Twitter follower are taking this challenge. I hope they learn a lot from it. It’s easier to be open to alleviating a problem if you remember what it felt like when it was yours.
Well, I’m Impressed…
that Obama loved Maroney’s “not impressed” face so much that he did it with her. He said, “I pretty much do that face at least once a day.” Haha. I love it!
McKayla Maroney won a silver medal at the Olympics for her vaulting skills. She was “not impressed” with the silver. Falling on her ass on the second vault cost her the gold. Most people would love to be an Olympic medalist, whatever the base metal. For someone who lives and breathes competition, the silver reads, “second place is the first loser.”
Check out the look she gives Sandra Izbaşa, the Romanian gymnast who won the gold:
Mmm hmm. If looks could kill. Haha. When it’s her turn to get the silver, she makes the face that everyone and their mother ends up seeing. Including President Obama:
I crack up every time I see that. She should never, ever play poker. 🙂
Happy Friday Funnies 11/16/12
I know I haven’t posted the last couple of days, but it felt good to be away from politics for a while. And I’m still in celebration mode after Obama’s victory. 😛 Have a great weekend everyone!! 🙂
My Favorite Veteran
Laid to rest at the The National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, Hawai’i. Here is a picture of my niece (his great-granddaughter) Juliana at his columbarium. RIP, “Tatay.” I love you!
Thank you to all veterans for your service!