This Week’s Recipe: RiverHouse Granola Bars

INGREDIENTS
  • 1 cup packed medjool dates, pitted
  • 1/2 cup agave syrup
  • 1/2 cup crunchy natural peanut butter or almond butter
  • 1 cup roasted unsalted almonds, loosely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups steel cut oats
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup golden flax seeds
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • optional additions: chocolate chips, dried fruit, nuts, banana chips, vanilla, etc.
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Process dates in a food processor until small bits remain (about 1 minute). It should form a “dough” like consistency.
  2. Toast your oats (and almonds, if needed) in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes or until slightly golden brown.
  3. Place oats, almonds and dates in a bowl – set aside.
  4. Warm honey and peanut butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir and pour over oat mixture and then mix, breaking up the dates to disperse throughout.
  5. Once thoroughly mixed, transfer to an 8×8 dish or other small pan lined with plastic wrap or parchment paper so they lift out easily. (A loaf pan might work, but will yield thicker bars.)
  6. Press down until uniformly flattened. Cover with parchment or plastic wrap, and let set in fridge or freezer for 15-20 minutes to harden.
  7. Remove bars from pan and chop into convenient sized bars. Store in an airtight container for up to a few days. I kept mine in the freezer to keep them extra fresh, but it isn’t necessary.

Expose the Hate. Out the Scum. Save the Planet. QED.

The Ku Klux Klan occupies a unique place in America. There were glory days for the Klan when they ran entire states, served on the Supreme Court, in the House and Senate, and almost the Presidency. They relied on both a wink and a nod from the local authorities AND the anonymity of their trademark hoods.

anonymity [an-uhnim-i-tee] noun, plural anonymities.

1. the state or quality of being anonymous.

2. an anonymous person:

some fine poetry attributed to anonymities.

That anonymity allowed them to operate in secret and still have the benefits of polite society. However, the Klan was committing crimes and they did not want those crimes made public.

Today people that want to discriminate have the imprimatur of the law in several states with the most recent being Indiana. In most cases, they still rely on anonymity to avoid (deserved) societal repercussions.

Is this blatantly unconstitutional trend stoppable?

Should we even try?

Is it really a bad thing?

I’m not sure it is.

Don’t get me wrong. The proponents of these laws and their passive-aggressive attempts to forget that strange tingle they had when showering after gym class or that they have now while watching the after-goal chest bearing of some third world striker on Univision or imagining Will Ferrell and Danny McBride in a sweaty man-pile of comic male-on-male erotica, must not go unchallenged. Society is being damaged while they work out their unresolved adolescent issues through discriminatory legislation.

But, how?

How do we challenge this? How do we drag these hypocritically judgmental asshats into the sunshine for all of the world to see?

I have a few ideas.

These policies are being put in place by duly elected representatives of the affected States. As such, they (supposedly) represent the wishes of the majority of the voters of those States. Or, at least, that’s the theory and that theory is getting more and more discredited by the disparity between the actions of the elected and the responses of the electorate.

The recent passing  and signing of SB101 in Indiana and the very loud and very public outcry is just the latest example of this and should be the call to action to anyone with more than one functioning synapse and any ethics whatsoever.

Let’s fight for a requirement in every state that tries this nonsense to include an amendment stating that the subject bill “would not allow claims of religious liberty to be used to circumvent state and local nondiscrimination protections“.

Let’s fight for a requirement that every business intending to discriminate under the terms of these laws must:

1. Include a tag line on advertisements, correspondence, collateral that reads “This business does not provide services to [class discriminated against] as allowed under the terms of [citation of final law].”

2. Post on a placard outside the establishment a 36″x24″ sign reading “This business does not provide services to [class discriminated against] as allowed under the terms of [citation of final law].”

3. Post at every cash register or checkout stand a 12″x8″ sign reading “This business does not provide services to [class discriminated against] as allowed under the terms of [citation of final law].”

The State Attorney General’s contact information for those who feel they have been discriminated against in violation of the law or for reasons other than those posted on the sign should also be included on all signs. Failure to perform these requirements is prima facie evidence that the business has no sincerely held beliefs subject to the terms of SB101.

There goes the anonymity.

Let’s force them to declare their intention to discriminate in order to discriminate. Suddenly, the hood is ripped away. We can quit patronizing these people. We can expose them on the Internet. We can expose their patrons. We can push them out of our society. Finally.

Hate really only works under the cover of darkness. Perhaps this will give us the light we need to clear out the infection we’ve had in this country for too long.

Eliot

Camels…Straws…Backs

Scott Proctor

So it has come down to this. People are finally finding success in writing hate and discrimination into the law. This is not religious freedom, this is religious fervor run amok.

I, for one, am done with this bullshit.

I am done with the people so concerned that their rights to judge others will be threatened by equality. With the people who are afraid they will have to sell something to someone they hate, that someone they hate might be able to rent an apartment near them. That fear the idea that someone they work with might be gay.

I am done with idiots who think that in order to protect them from their God’s wrath they should be able to kill anyone they think does not live up to their religious principles.

I have a gun in the house. Rick has a gun he carries. I am seriously thinking of getting one myself

so that I can protect my freedom to breathe at all times.

George Takei called for a boycott of Indiana which I will follow. Easy enough to do since I do not live there but, whatever. I look forward to seeing the looks on these smug hypocritical sonsabitches’ faces when their God sends them straight to hell.

What would Jesus do???

NOT THIS, YOU STUPID FUCKS!!!!

If this post bothers you, you probably believe in the right to discriminate in the name of God and, if so, I am not going to pray for your soul. I am going to pray you get your just rewards. I hope this does not include people on my friends list but I have my suspicions that it does.

I will rue your absence but I will not be a second class human being for anyone especially those who ‘have a lot of friends that are gay‘ but need to ensure they still have a right to discriminate.

M. Scott Grohocki-Proctor

Back to the Future

“Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.”

Judge Leon M. Bazile, January 6, 1959

Remember Arizona’s “License to Discriminate” bill? It did pretty much the same thing as the Indiana bill that Gov. Pence just signed but with one major difference. It never was enacted.

Even Gov. Jan Brewer realized that using religion as a pretense to allow discrimination against LGBT folks was wrong. She realized that these bills allow discrimination WITHOUT LIMIT. More importantly, she realized that signing this bill was political suicide.

And she passed.

These “religious freedom” (Hat tip to George Orwell) bills usually only require a “sincerely held belief” in order to satisfy the terms of the law. There is, literally, no more subjective qualification for anything, ever. You can’t prove or disprove the existence of a sincerely held belief. Making it the yardstick by which discrimination is measured is insane.

“[p]urity of race is a gift of God . . . . And God, in his infinite wisdom, has so ordained it that when man destroys his racial purity, it can never be redeemed.”

– Sen. Theodore Bilbo

What do you think? Is that a sincerely held belief?

VII. “Show preferential treatment in business dealings with members of your own race. Phase out all dealings with Jews as soon as possible. Do not employ niggers or other coloreds. Have social contacts only with members of your own racial family.”

The Sixteen Commandments of Creativity, Church of Creativity (formerly, World Church of the Creator)

How about these folks? Do they sound sincere?

Continue reading “Back to the Future”

Escape to Our Life

I opened my eyes and looked out of the skylight at the single brilliant star shining in. I tried to be awed at the wonder at all that the star represented but I just couldn’t. I was too tired and had to get ready for the trip to work in the North Country. I tested my shoulder and, yep, it still hurt. Laying there for a minute, I listened to our 9 year old, slightly asthmatic Catahoula snorfling and wheezing while she slept. It’s a comforting sound but it’s also sort of frightening.  It reminds you that one night you’ll wake up because you don’t hear it and the next day will be hell as another part of your life is gone forever.

I rolled out of bed while trying to keep from waking Lisa and heard the oddly comforting sound of my shoulder popping into place. Walking by Maggie (our Pit Bull with Down’s Syndrome) I noted she had torn all of the stuffing out of her bed that night (again) and arranged it in a neat pile around the now flat casing that she was sleeping on. I thought about picking it up, decided to pretend I didn’t see it and went into the bathroom to get ready to hit the road.

Downstairs and closed the door behind me. I heard Maggie follow me down the stairs but once she hit the closed door, she was pretty sure I’d been abducted by aliens and, thus, was no longer her concern. I could hear her go back upstairs to give Lisa the good news as I went outside to get into the car and start the trip Upstate.

3:30 AM. There was snow falling but I didn’t think much of it. As I continued north, it got heavier and heavier. Finally, I exited onto Highway 11. I drove for another hour and it was just me and the snow. Quiet and cold.

I went to the job, finished up and drove back home. I was on my couch by 1:00 PM. I looked out over the dock and marveled at the frozen river and the snow and the birds.

So much snow. And so very cold.

It was then that I realized that even with a 50% reduction in income, not having any family or friends near us, and the 132″ per year of snow average, I wouldn’t trade the move to the RiverHouse for anything.

In just a few days, I’ll be watching the Mallards, Mergansers, Swans, Herons, and Goldeneyes on the river, Woodpeckers, Swallows, and Hummingbirds on the docks, listening to the Gulls squawk and Canada Geese honk as they fly overhead, and watching Eagles and Hawks patrolling the skies over the cornfields. The spring parade of turkey hens will soon walk across the cornfield on the other side of Route 37 and head for the woods about 1/2 mile down the road. They’ll stay around there until the hunters come in the fall for their annual cotillion.

I’ll be on the Marie J., cruising on the Erie Canal and visiting new places, seeing new things. Going out further and further until we are ready to head down the Hudson with a final destination of the Potomac River.

Perhaps in a year or two.

With Lisa. And the puppies.

And, winter will be a faint, annoying memory.

Huzzah.

– Eliot

ALABAMA: Reject the Freedom of Religion in Marriage Protection Act

This bill is not about religious freedom at all – it is rooted in discrimination. The State of Alabama has a huge budget shortfall and can not afford to pay its bills. Enough Alabama taxpayer money has already been wasted creating and defending discriminatory laws, only for them to be struck down in federal courts. This is another one of those laws. Let’s stop it now, before we have to pay the legal bills for it later.

That’s why I signed a petition to The Alabama State Senate and Governor Robert Bentley.

Will you sign this petition? CLICK HERE

Eliot

You Can Hear Me Now?

I don’t care that the government collects metadata on my cell phone activity. In fact, knowing what they use it for, I encourage the practice. It is too important and useful to stop.
Besides, how do you think your phone bill is created? Do you think Verizon/AT&T/Sprint is just guessing as to who you called and for how long? Or how much data you used and who you used it with? And what do you think Verizon/AT&T/Sprint does with that data besides use it for billing?

We’re able to view just everything that they do.”

– Verizon Wireless Executive

This isn’t news, folks. Neither is the NSA activity. This has been going on, in one form or another, for almost 70 years. Many of the people who were fully aware of it are now expressing shock and dismay in public. And that is so very sad.

Case in point, I have 283 Facebook friends (don’t judge, I’m not a very personable person). About 50 of those Facebook friends are personally aware of the activities of the National Security Agency and other intelligence organs of the United States government. They are aware of the data types and methods used for obtaining that data. They are aware of the restrictions on and procedures for handling this information when it comes to a “US person”. And, yet, the only time you will hear one of them express any concern is in order to support their politics. No other reason. Why? They know the danger. They know that it is negligible. They know that this is all hype designed to stir up the unwashed masses.

They also know that scaring the ignorant doesn’t take very much effort.

For most Americans, the conditioned response to government of the opposite party (fear, loathing, disgust, hate) trumps common sense. On an immense scale. Sad.

So, what are we left with? Little concern when your information is collected and sold by a For-Profit entity with limitations based only on those it places on itself BUT major concern when your information is collected and analyzed by the Government in order to defend the country based on the limitations provided by the duly enacted laws of this country.

Brilliant.

The Continuing Genius of Pogo

 

 

Politics in the USA is broken. Partisanship, class resentment, simmering racism, xenophobia, misogyny. All problems.

However, the big one is income inequality. Nothing is more dangerous to the US. It is a national security problem (poor people eventually revolt). It is an economic problem (concentrating wealth in fewer and fewer hands causes the economy to shrink). It is a political problem (money buys votes and fewer people with money means fewer people driving the agenda).
Historical-US-Income-Inequality-2011-Dollars

So is the answer to address income equality? To realize that fair wealth distribution is necessary to insure the survival of this nation? Sadly, no. It isn’t. Wealth distribution can only happen if those that govern (otherwise known as those with the wealth) decide to redistribute the wealth. And that will never happen. The majority of politicians are there for the power and the wealth obtainment opportunities. They are not motivated to address this issue in the least.

So, what does that leave us with? How do we address the real problem?

The true and only currency of politics is votes. Money is a surrogate for votes because in our system money buys votes. There is a direct relationship between money and votes.

More money = more votes.

Talk about something not being rocket science. We all know this and accept it as an absolute truth but have we ever taken the time to figure out why it is the truth. Why does more money = more votes? After all, it is just as true that one man = one vote and (for the most part) no one in this country is actually exchanging money for votes.

So how does more money = more votes? The same way as more money = more beer sales. More money creates better and more persuasive advertising. It hides the truth about some political candidates and tells the lies about others. It pays for the overblown autobiography written by a committee of consultants, lobbyists and hacks. It pays for whispering campaigns full of lies that tickle the lizard part of your brain. You know that part – where fear and loathing live based on factors you can’t explain. You just accept.

Who’s fault is that? Who holds the final blame for this system? Is it the big money donors? The Adelsons and Kochs and Soros of the world? No. They take advantage of the system as they found it. They didn’t create it and it really isn’t fair to blame them for doing what’s in their best interests using the tools they have. They are mercenaries and parasites. But they are innocent.

This one is on us, folks. The good old American people. We allow money to buy our votes. We allow money to feed us lies which we eagerly swallow to sate our voracious appetite for validation of our prejudices. And we love it.

In exchange, we give these people control over our lives. Control over our very reality and history.

Or, we could take the time to do our own research. Find out our own truths. And act accordingly. Ignore the ads, push polls, planted news stories, opposition research and all of the other sewage that bubbles up in the path of the consultants that really run our elections.

Find out for yourself and then vote accordingly.

Voila!

Money out of politics.