Friday, April 30, 2010

Recipe Fridays: Raw, vegan massaged kale salad

I am never going to be a raw foodie. I don't have the time, or commitment. But, sometimes I like to browse raw food recipes, and pretend I am someone much more organized, who cooks a lot more, and who cares a lot more about my health than I actually am. But, even if you are not (as I am not) ever going to be all raw or all vegan, it's nice to steal the best parts of those lifestyles! As such, here's the one raw food recipe I've fully embraced in my own life, because it's easy to make, totally delicious, and packed with nutrients. You can find versions of it over at Choosing Raw, but this is my own take.

1 bunch kale
1/3 cup pine nuts
1/3 cup dried currants (or other dried fruit, such as cranberries or cherries)
Lemon juice or vinegar (white or red wine or apple cider)
Olive oil, sea salt, fresh pepper.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Femonomics reads the internet so you don't have to: Bad research, transgender discrimination, racism, and PowerPoint strategy!

You ask why we're so obsessed with correlation not equaling causation?  Because real researchers whose work impacts real policies are still convinced that it does.  Business Week is reporting that watching R-rated movies causes early drinking.  The researchers surveyed kids on how often they were allowed to watch R-rated movies, and then followed them to see when they (if) they started drinking.  They found that kids who were more frequently allowed to watch R-rated movies were more likely to start drinking early.  Their conclusion?  "We think seeing the adult content actually changes their personality."  Note, that's a quote from the actual researcher, not just a journalist misinterpreting the findings.  Interestingly, they note that R-rated movies have also been tied to "early smoking, sex at a young age, and violent behavior," but it doesn't occur to them that some third factor, such as parental involvement or peer group, could be driving all those relationships.

Elsewhere, some actual decent research, thank god.  Blog Her has a post on new research finding that those who report a "colorblind" ideology are less likely to be bothered by racist images.  The researcher, Brendesha Tynes, showed participants images that depicted racist stereotypes, and asked them to respond as though seeing the images on a friend's facebook page.  Those who considered themselves "colorblind" were less likely to express disapproval of the images and more likely to offer positive or supportive comments.  Additionally, white students were less likely to be bothered by the images.  Tynes believes her research provides evidence that "colorblindness" masks racial differences, and may prevent people from having meaningful conversations about race.

A transgendered veteran who chained herself to the White House fence to protest Don't Ask Don't Tell has reported deplorable treatment at the hands of federal law enforcement.  Autumn Sandeen reports she was called an "impersonator," "shim," and "it," and was accused of lying about her gender, despite being honest the entire time, and imprisoned in a male cell block, putting her safety at risk.  [I am linking to Pandagon because it has the best coverage of this incident. It is a blog run by Amanda Marcotte, who has previously exhibited exceedingly poor judgment.]

Is the U.S. Going Crazy? New Laws Suggest Maybe...

There have been a lot of laws these days increasing the number of hurdles between a woman and her right to choose. As Recovering Economist noted there have been some especially concerning changes in Oklahoma.

The second law was the one that really concerned me. The law that protects doctors from being sued if they had withheld information of birth defects they knew the baby had during the pregnancy. It's one thing as a doctor to chose not to preform an abortion because you do not believe in it, but that does not give you the right to lie to a patient, and therefore, make decisions for them. I hope this law makes it to court.

But Oklahoma does not seem to be stopping there. As McKinley of the NYT reported, there are still some other bills on the move:
One would force women to fill out a lengthy questionnaire about their reasons for seeking an abortion; statistics based on the answers would then be posted online. The other restricts insurance coverage for the procedures.
To lighten the mood, Talking Points Memo has a great roundup of some other crazy laws being passed in America these days.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Cindy Adams says sexual harrassment victims should "Just deal with it"

Has everyone gone insane?  First Arizona, then Oklahoma, and now Page Six?! Is there no humanity?  I kid, but Cindy Adams's irresponsible victim-blaming is no laughing matter.  Her new column reads, in part:
We've each endured some too tight hug or some slob whose hand wandered where it shouldn't. Deal with it. That's what we did in our younger, prettier days. Dealt with it. In some cases, sticking a pen in the guy's lower belly and whispering politely, "Try that again, pal, and you'll have to go to Emergency to pee," worked just fine. 
She's talking about what colossal, litigious whiners women are for taking civil action in the face of sexual harassment.  I'm happy for Ms. Adams that she's apparently always had the kind of jobs where rejecting the boss or a coworker's sexual advances did not threaten one's advancement.  She also probably had the economic security to recover if she was fired or denied a promotion.  I'm also happy for her that she also does not appear to have perceived that this harassment made her workplace inherently unequal, and probably made it impossible for many talented women to remain employed and advance.  But does it seriously not occur to her that others' experiences may be different?  That there are real consequences to sexual harassment, like the ones I just mentioned?

Oh, but when it comes to victim blaming, she's just getting started:
I was maybe 10. In a highly respected elderly doctor's Upper East Side examination room. My mom had left for one second. His hands began examining what wasn't there for examining. I pushed him away and never mentioned it to a soul. Not anybody. Until now. And I still remember his name.
I was maybe 16. The office of a theatrical agent who had a Tiffany reputation. He took me into a private room to test my voice. And what he looked to test was not my voice. I pushed him off and never mentioned it to anyone. Until now. And I still remember his name.
I'm sorry, I just had to suppress my gag reflex. Does Ms. Adams think that just because she was self possessed enough to rebuff these attacks (and was in a situation where this didn't jeopardize her safety or well-being) that they weren't crimes? Does she honestly think it should be the job of children to "just deal with" sexual abuse, instead of parents to protect them, and the court system to put the perps in jail? Those of us who are victims of sexual abuse or acquaintance rape think, at our most despondent moments, that this is what the world thinks of us: that we were stupid for not doing enough to protect ourselves, to say no, to "deal with it." But before Cindy Adams' column, I never had any confirmation it was true.

[via Media Fail]

Arizona, Immigration, Racism, and Federal Inaction

As I'm sure you've heard by now, a new Arizona law requires all immigrants in the state to carry their documentation on them at all times and present it upon a suspicious police officer's demand. For your roundup of news and background on this new immigration rule, check out Feministe, with a truly comprehensive link list. I can't imagine this law will last long, as it is straight up unconstitutional and enforcement promises to be a real nightmare. Arizona Representative Raul Grijalva has asked that organizations boycott the state in the face of a bill that he maintains is essentially codified racism.

Is this law primarily motivated by racism? This seems to be the consensus, and Latoya over at Racialicious even documents refried bean swastikas plastered on state buildings in protest (vandalism which reporters awkwardly mischaracterize as a hate crime). Our own Just A State School Girl picked apart the risk of racial profiling the bill presents earlier this week. NMDan of Daily Kos agrees with this take, and argues that such blatantly racist moves will motivate the electorate and ensure the swift downfall of the GOP. The vote did fall along party lines, but I am hesitant to characterize the Republican party as purely racist while Democrats are stalwart defenders of freedom. There is plenty of room for skepticism that anyone in DC is really dedicated to tackling immigration policy, Democrat or Republican.

Don't wrap your misogynist beliefs in a blanket of faux-concern for the disabled

The Oklahoma Legislature voted this week to override the governor's vetoes on two laws restricting abortion rights, one of which would prevent women who have had a disabled baby from suing a doctor for withholding information about birth defects while the child was in the womb.

I find this law to be troubling in many ways; however, the primary reason that I have such a strong reaction to it is because it attempts to mask its primary goal of the oppression of women (and in particular, the oppression of low income/ low education women) with phony concern over children, and in particular, children with mental and/ or physical handicaps.

While I do believe that there are many pro-life individuals who are deeply and genuinely concerned with the well-being of fetuses, children, and the handicapped (e.g. this family), I believe that many people (and most legislators) who harbor pro-life beliefs do so as a means of punishing and oppressing women, especially women who deviate from conservative and religious beliefs of how "good" women should behave (e.g. "If you didn't want to have a baby with Down's syndrome, you shouldn't have had sex before marriage").

The reason I hold this belief is simple: if the true concern of these people, and these legislators, was to protect children (and in particular, disabled children), then they would be supporting a number of policy solutions that did not center around abortion. They would, in addition to abortion-restriction, pursue policies that would benefit children AND the mothers who care for them. If you really care about disabled children and you don't want them to be aborted, why not give women who conceive disabled children special allowances to take care of them? Why not have free, quality, government provided daycare? Why not increase funding for groups and programs that assist the disabled and the poor?

The fact that the majority of these "pro-life" individuals and legislators vehemently oppose these programs reveal their true intention, and it is in no way concerned with the well-being of children.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

What does Arizona's new immigration law imply about our country?

Lately, there has been quite a bit of coverage in the media about Arizona's new immigration bill. It is the toughest piece of immigration legislation in United States' recent history, and it will give the Arizona police power to detain anyone who they "reasonably" suspect is an illegal immigrant. Moreover, all non-U.S. citizens in Arizona will now be required to carry their documents at all times. As an immigrant to and a citizen of this country, this new law makes me angry and sad because I fear that it will lead to racial profiling and second-class treatment of both legal and illegal residents of this country, and it indicates that America might not be the "land of opportunity" and "the melting pot" that so many people who risk their lives to come here imagine it to be.

Monday, April 26, 2010

In advocating for others, listening is prime

If you hang around feminist, or other marginalized-group-related, websites enough, you'll hear a lot of people screaming at the top of their lungs that they are allies, dammit.  Which is silly, right?  I mean, marginalized groups should be thrilled to have non-marginalized buddies.  Why should they have to yell to get our attention?  Well, it's a bit more complicated than that.

See, the problem with the "screaming allies," as I shall call them, is that they often use their voices to drown out those of the people they're trying to help.  Their privilege in being part of the non-marginalized group often gives them a bigger platform than the marginalized, and rather than use it to elevate the concerns of the marginalized (who are, don't get me wrong, NOT monolithic and shouldn't be treated as such), they use it to spread their own "take" on the problems of the oppressed.

The Freddie DeBoer blow-up on Tiger Beatdown illustrates this issue.  Tiger Beatdown is a witty, frequently caustic feminist blog run by the indomitable Sady Doyle.  Freddie is a screaming ally of the man-feminist (manifest?) variety.  He commented on a recent "sexist beatdown" (TM) post that he thought Sady's jokes were um, interfering with her intellectual rigor.  Or something.  Anyway, Sady was not having any of that BS, and so she beat Freddie down in a very long and very explicative-filled post, because that is what she does on Tiger Beatdown.  Freddie's feelings were hurt because he is a  feminist and he is trying to help!  I don't know if I would have gone to the lengths Sady went to to make it, but she had an extremely valuable point.  If you want to be a feminist, the first thing you should probably not do is tell women what to do, how to fight their battles, and why they're doing it wrong, according to you.  From Sady [NSFW language]:

Sunday, April 25, 2010

World Malaria Day: Fighting back against the tiny parasite that kills 1 million each year

Today is World Malaria Day. It's a disease that's spread by the simplest of pests, the mosquito, responds well to treatment, and yet it kills 1 million people every year, 90% of them in sub-Saharan Africa. We've wiped out polio and controlled the measles (diseases that are more virulent and infectious than malaria), but a deadly mosquito bite still claims the lives of 3,000 children every day. Those children are far away from most of us, they play with different toys than our own children, but their lives are just as real; their smiles just as bright.

One thing you can do to help fight malaria in the developing world is donate to purchase bed nets for sleeping under, preventing the mosquito bites that spread malaria infection. Unfortunately, recent evidence shows nets are not enough in the fight against malaria mortality. For an individual, a net is the best way to protect against malaria infection. But, from an epidemiological standpoint, it takes a very high net coverage (and those nets must be insecticide treated, raising the cost) within a given village for the parasitic load to fall, and the malaria threat to lessen. Getting to that threshold of protection is an extremely tricky proposition, especially since even the longest lasting nets must be retreated every 3 years.

Therefore, to really conquer malaria, we need an integrated strategy of vector control, infection prevention, and treatment.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Life Skills: Opening a jar without a man

Tiger Beatdown's recent sexist beatdowns have reengaged me with one of the small ways in which gender roles are reinforced in daily life: the constant expectation that men open jars for any woman who asks. As a single blogger, there is rarely a man to be found in the apartment, and when one does show up, all of my unmet jar-opening needs tend to slip my mind. So, a few strategies (gathered from experience, and the internets):

1) Tilt the jar over a sink (you never know) and hit the lid in a counter-clockwise direction with the flat side of a butter knife. This make take some perseverance.

2) Run the lid under hot water. This might work in one of two ways: melting away any food / sugars stuck in the grooves, or expanding the lid so it's not so tight.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Recipe Fridays: Blueberry Smoothie

Now that the weather is finally getting warmer it's time for refreshing drinks: smoothies. Obviously you can substitute whatever fruit you fancy.

Equal parts (about 1/2 cup): Blueberries, Vanilla Yogurt, Milk
A few ice cubes
Bit of honey to taste or sprinkle of sugar

Blend all together in a blender. Pour and enjoy!

A great site for many many smoothie recipes is here.

Femonomics reads the internet so you don't have to: great cleavage, the obesity bandwagon, and abortion in the Obama age

Apparently Fox and ABC restricted the running of a Lane Bryant ad that showed women in lingerie getting ready for a date. 

Jezebel's been covering the story for a few days, and has the documents to prove it.  The ad itself is certainly not shocking, and the naughty body parts displayed seems on par with the ads of Victoria's Secret, the antics of the Desperate Housewives, and other lingerie-wearing prime-time standbys.  The sexist says it's the size of the boobs holding up that lingerie that has the networks' undies bunched:

Recipe Fridays: vegetarian food for company

One of the hardest things for the vegetarian cook is coming up with food to serve other people.  A hearty main course that is both filling and impressive, that is the vegetarian holy grail.  Well, there's a cookbook for that: Party Food for Vegetarians, by Celia Brooks Brown.  Master a few of Brown's delicious and gorgeous recipes, and you'll never have to wonder what to serve your guests again.  Even the carnivores won't complain.  Here's one of my favorite recipes from her, and a great dinner-party standby.

Potato, garlic, & smoked mozzarella strudel
Adapted from Party Food for Vegetarians, serves 6-8

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A new fashion statement

At a magazine-hosted shopping event I attended recently, my friend and I came across these shoes. I don’t know whether it was the drinks we had imbibed or whether these shoes really were that amusing, but we snapped this pic specifically to share with you all. I know that studding in clothes and accessories is trendy now, but we were astounded that the studs on these shoes are actual sharp-pointed metal studs that could, in fact, break skin. We all know fashion is art, fashion is practical, and fashion is a way of self-expression; now, my friend and I declare, fashion can be used in self-defense. “Kick ‘em where it hurts” takes on a whole new meaning with these bad boys… or should I say, gals!

Decorum: Graciously Weathering (Monsoon) Wedding Season

The cherry blossoms along the Tidal Basin have come and gone, which means springtime is here…which means weddings galore. Wedding planning can certainly be an overwhelming task for the happily betrothed couple, but they aren't the only ones that could use some help. Sometimes, guests can also use pointers on how not to drown in the deluge of nuptials that is always forthcoming this time of year. I've mentioned before that I grew up in the Deep South, where we stand on ceremony and social protocol is law. I won't impose all of it on you, but since I've seen so many faux pas committed already this spring, I have some tips on how to get through wedding season with grace after the jump.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Femonomics Reads The Internet So You Don't Have To: Massive LGBTQ Rights Fails

Sometimes things on the front lines of the fight for LGBTQ rights get a little brighter. And right now, arguably, is one of those times. The military is finally seriously moving towards repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell: an unnecessary policy--see the militaries of Great Britian, Australia, and Canada for starters--that has caused thousands of good soldiers to be discharged from our armed services at a time when we need them most.

President Obama has directed that same-sex couples should receive the same visitation rights as straight couples in hospitals and that hospitals must respect the right of patients to have whomever they want make their medical decisions for them--including same-sex partners--something many LGBTQ activists consider the biggest step forward for LGBTQ rights in some time. Of course, it doesn't apply to all hospitals (just those receiving Medicare and Medicaid funding) and I'm sure there will be challenges to the directive by individual hospital staffers, but at least now the law is on the side of the LGBTQ couples.

But despite these steps forward, there's still injustice and tragedy in the world. For two of the most striking examples in the news right now (a lesbian teen from Mississippi named Constance McMillen and Clay and Harold, a gay couple from Sonoma County, CA) and what's being done to fight these injustices, follow the jump.

Charter cities: We might need big new ideas in development, but do we need this one?

Last night I heard Paul Romer give his charter cities spiel at Columbia Business School.  Romer starts from the premise that one major problem facing developing countries is their lack of good institutions that promote investment, and their lack of credibility in adopting these institutions.  His idea is that instead of trying to change the problems in developing countries' governments, we should circumvent them altogether, by creating developed country satellites that people from developing countries can move into.  A developed country or consortium of developed countries would make a deal with the government of a developing country to annex some underutilized land, let the developed country put in place institutions and serve as a security guarantor to potential investors, and then allow citizens of the developing country to freely choose to move to the charter zone, or not.  When I first heard of the idea, I thought it reeked of neo-colonialism, and Romer didn't do much to change my mind.  But, I'll let you see if he can change yours.  Here's the 20 minute version of his talk from TED:

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Gawker says you should never take exercise advice from the NYTimes. Seconded!

The NYTimes is at it again, trying to figure out exactly what it is we need to do to be thin.  In addition to many other problems, the article cites that same crazy weight loss study that followed women starting at a mean age of 54, and found that only those who started thin and exercised for an hour or more a day stayed thin.  Because, as a 54 year old, being thin should of course be the ultimate goal of your existence.  Even though we have no reliable studies on what happens when women do (or don't) put on weight after menopause.

Gawker's Hamilton Nolan issues an appropriate takedown, in a story titled "Never Take Fitness Advice from the New York Times:"
"Does working out really help you lose weight?" ...This is hardly the first time the NYT has asked some slight variation of this maddening question. But this latest story clearly distilled these fundamental premises from which the journalism proceeds:
1. Weight loss is the goal towards which you should strive.
2. Exercise therefore has value to the extent it helps you lose weight.
3. Your goal is to become thin.
Thin. "Thin!" That is exactly the word this story uses. "The newest science suggests that exercise alone will not make you thin, but it may determine whether you stay thin, if you can achieve that state."
Nolan rightly points out that there's no reason the point of an exercise regime should be thinness, and in fact that thinness could be counterproductive:

Monday, April 19, 2010

Femonomics reads the internet so you don't have to: cool women on the internet edition

Feminist Philosophers has an appalling story of a woman who was told she would be rescinded admission to an academic seminar if she couldn't "demonstrate" that she had full-time childcare arrangements "to the satisfaction of the Institute directors" throughout the duration of her stay.  Says Edge of the American West: "I can’t figure out why there are so few women in this discipline. It must be because logic is hard."  Anyway, the Feminist Philosophers blog looks cool, and worth checking out for us women in academia.

But don't worry, non-feminists, I have something for you, too.  [NSFW alert!] The cheeky blog Feminisnt, written by a woman who describes herself thusly: "I'm a pornographer, sex worker, atheist, and former 'sex-positive feminist' who grew tired of trying to shoehorn my life into a feminist analysis."  In a recent post, she addresses the assertion that men who pay for sex hate women.  It's an interesting blog to scan for sex-positive feminists or sex-positive feminist-skeptics.  Like I said, when you're not at work!

Speaking of sex-positive feminism, Natalia Antonova has a great response to a piece at Femonade claiming it's impossible for "just sex" to be feminist.  I get Femonade's point, that when people say "just sex" they're often talking about the type of sex that most benefits men (PIV), but often they're not.  I know lots of women who have very satisfying "just sex" relationships (And, let's also remember to consider non-hetero and non-cis pairings, where PIV is not necessarily the order of the day).  For some of them, these relationships will become less satisfying over time, and they'll realize they want something more.  But as Antonova says, let's trust women to make that call for themselves. [Edit: it should be noted that Femonade has exhibited rampant transphobia in the past, so be careful on her site]

This interview with Emma Thompson gives me hope.  Excerpt:
Two years ago she went ballistic when she heard it had been suggested that a young actress on the set of Brideshead Revisited lose a stone in weight. Did she really threaten to quit?
'Absolutely! I would have broken my contract and taken the story to the press.
I am a bit of a fundamentalist about all that size zero stuff - I would have made a big, fat fuss. That was no joke. I would have walked off the set.'
Ask what can be done about such attitudes and she doesn't shrug, like most actresses of her calibre would.  'Put on weight and say F*** off,' she retorts. 'Demand bigger sizes. Go into places where you can't get a 38D bra and say, "I want a 38D bra and give me one. If you can't, I am never coming here again."'

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Ke$ha finds a new way to do blackface, and I hope I'm not the only one who's appalled

Last night, Ke$ha appeared on Saturday Night Live.  She performed her "hit" Blah Blah Blah wearing neon bodypaint under black lights.  Because you can only see the paint under the lights, her skin appears black.  And the paint appears to be a crude approximation of aboriginal body paint.  You really have to see it to believe it.

Maybe Ke$ha didn't intend the paint to look like that, and maybe she didn't intend her performance to look like blackface, but I'm a lot less inclined to give her the benefit of the doubt after her Native American headdress-wearing performance on American Idol.  One commenter on MyIdol wrote:
I am a Blackfoot Native American.  The headdress is the highest honor one can achieve in lifes journey. One must do all the necessary steps in earning that place.  Once that is achieved, a headdress is made for the individual and a 'transfer ceremony' takes place.  As I write this, our tribe is 10,000 strong in population and I can count - say - 50ish who wear the headdress... Perhaps the 'shocker' in Kesha's performance was that the headdress looked very authentic and that's what pulled at my heart strings.  Now if it was one of those 1960s florescent turkey feather type (you know the one - LOL) I probably would of 'chilled'  On top of that, I still have a ways go in learning the balance of life so I am yet to wear such attire.  Perhaps I envied Kesha that she threw one on to no avail.
People on the thread told him to "chill out," as I'm sure some people will think in regard to this post.  But, those same people have probably never had anyone dress up like them to mock them, or their cultural imagery appropriated to represent generic stereotypes like "wildness."  I cannot believe the producers of American Idol and SNL did not see this in dress rehearsals and think, "gee, maybe we should pull the plug on this."

Now, I'm all for artistic freedom.  I'm all for artists doing wild and crazy things that make us uncomfortable, but also make us think.  SNL has historically been home to such artists, such as when Sinead O'Connor ripped up a picture of the pope.  That was very very offensive to some people, and some people think it never should have aired.  But it was in the service of something.  This, this wasn't that.  This was just a careless, casually racist move by a girl who thinks the image of being too drunk to care about things like history is "fun."  It's not.  It's outrageous.  Now please stop.

Femonomics at the Movies: The Joneses

The Viewer's Angle

The Joneses takes us into the lives of Steve and Kate "Jones," an upper-middle (who are we kidding, upper) class family that literally has it all - the cars, the clothes, the jewelry, the toys. The twist is that this family is actually a stealth marketing unit embedded in the community as taste-makers employed to drive sales of clients' products. I personally enjoyed the movie as fairly light-hearted and mildly thought-provoking, although as Ebert notes in his review, a key flaw is the tone the movie never quite strikes. Is it a romantic comedy or a tragic morality play? It tries to be both, which is perhaps more authentic but makes the narrative jerky and leaves the viewer without resolution.

David Duchovny as Steve and Demi Moore as Kate prove themselves decent actors and do seem made for the role - sex symbols selling a certain type of conspicuously consumptive lifestyle. Ben Hollingsworth and Amber Heard play their children Mick and Jennifer, and it is quite a stretch to imagine these striking actors in their mid-twenties as high school students. Each of these characters is moderately developed in the film, but a lot more could have been done. The writers hew closely enough to common stereotypes (the nymphomaniac, the washed-up athlete, the too-ambitious single executive) that nothing is particularly provocative, a shame when the concept for the film could have been taken further.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Some TV shows take risks, and I applaud them for it

Network TV is notoriously safe.  But, it's also a huge potential avenue for change.  What we see on TV can affect our impression of "normal."  24 showed us a black president who was an incredible leader--it also subtly reframed the torture debate by making it seem like it was always a case of "OMG bomb!" instead of "intelligence gathering."  What I'm saying is, what we see on TV matters, and that's why I applaud shows that take risks.  I want to talk specifically about network TV because we're used to HBO pushing the envelope, but we forget that network TV brought us things that once seemed radical: Maude getting an abortion, upper class black families on The Cosby Show and the Fresh Prince of Bel Air, people who actually had to work for a living on Roseanne (if you forget that that's radical, look at the effortless livings earned by most sitcom stars e.g., Full House, Mad About You, Home Improvement).  So here's a list of the network TV shows that are pushing the envelope, however haltingly, imperfectly, and unfortunately ephemerally. 

Friday, April 16, 2010

Recipe Fridays: Fish Tacos

This recipe is so easy, and is truly delicious and a real crowd-pleaser! Tacos are always a fun thing to have at a dinner party with friends, so consider this recipe for your next get-together.

Ingredients (for 4 servings):
1 cup chopped red onion
1 cup chopped fresh tomatoes
4 garlic cloves, chopped finely
1 cup chopped yellow bell peppers
3 tbs chopped fresh cilantro
2 tbs fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
4 flour tortillas (I like using the multigrain kind)
salt, pepper, other spices to taste (I like cumin, basil, and coriander)
olive oil
fresh salsa (store-bought, or you can make your own)
1 pound red snapper fillets, skinned (or trout or any other light white fish -- I usually just get whatever's cheapest at the market! The key is that the fish absorbs the delicious other flavors in the dish, so it doesn't need to be very high quality)

Place the tortillas in the oven to warm (I usually turn it to about 350 degrees).

Spread olive oil on a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onions, tomatoes, garlic, bell peppers, cinnamon, salt, pepper, cumin, and any other spices. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in the cilantro. Arrange fish over the vegetable mixture in the pan, cover and cook for about 3 minutes. Turn the fish over, and cook for about 2 minutes more. Break the fish into chunks, stir in the lemon juice, and cook for 2 more minutes.

Fill each tortilla with the fish mixture and the fresh salsa, and enjoy!

Image via Cooking Light.

Recipe Fridays: Quick & Easy Tuna Salad

Sometimes in the hustle and bustle of life in a city I barely have time to sleep let alone cook meals. Once I realized what a drain buying lunch every single day at work was on my wallet I have been on the lookout for fast, simple, and cheap ways to bring lunches from home. My stepmom recommended this tuna salad twist--and even though I am not a fan of tuna salad, I like it. It can also make a great snack with crackers.

1-2 cans of tuna (depending on how much of this you want to make)
1-2 jalapeƱos (depending on how much spice you want)
one half - one whole small onion, yellow or red
a couple limes

-Drain the can of tuna and put it in a bowl.
-Cut up the jalapeƱos, discarding the seeds. Add to the bowl.
-Dice the onion and add to the bowl (add as much--or as little--onion per your taste)
-Cut limes in half and squeeze juice into the bowl.
-Mix everything together and refrigerate until ready to eat.

Recipe Fridays: Easy chocolate fondue

This is an easy-peasy dessert that nonetheless seems impressive.  You need:
  • 1 bag chocolate chips
  • 1 half-pint container heavy cream (1 cup)
  • 2-3 tbs rum, Kahlua, orange liqueur or other flavoring (espresso, amaretto, peppermint schnapps)
  • Strawberries, sliced fruit, cut-up pound cake, marshmallows, etc for dipping
Heat the cream in a medium saucepan until it just begins to bubble, but does not boil.  Add the chocolate chips, and lower the heat to lowest setting.  Once the chocolate softens, 2-3 minutes, whisk the mixture together until smooth.  Add the flavoring, and continue to whisk over low heat for 2-3 minutes, until flavor has mellowed and fondue reached desired temperature.  Remove from heat, transfer to bowl, and serve.

Note: this fondue is good for party settings, because the high amount of liquid means it will not get totally solid when it cools, so will remain "dippable" for quite a while.  If you have a fondue pot, or are eating right away, you can add only half the cream and get a more traditional fondue that will cool solid.
Note 2: You can also "make" a fondue pot by taking two metal bowls of the same size, filling the bottom one with very hot water, and stacking the fondue-filled one on top.  Refresh the hot water, and your chocolate will stay warm.
Note 3: When they're in season, this is best with just a big bowl of fresh strawberries.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Cute animals on the internet

Things have been a little serious over here at femonomics lately, and I want to stay true to my word of mixing the important with the diverting.  In that spirit, let me provide for you one of my favorite diversions of all--cute animal pictures.  One of my friends (Woodstock, who you'll often see hat-tipped here) and I like to email these cuteness-porn-pics back and forth when we're having a rough day.  Just try to stay upset while looking at these guys.  Here's a rundown of where I get my fix.

Damn cool pics: Zoo animals looking adorable, and more! I have iffy feelings on zoo animals, but man they're cute!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Identity politics: does who you are affect what you blog?

Our recent conversation on white privilege got me thinking about the pieces of ourselves that we can't check at the door in our work, arguments, and, yes, blog posts.  Our immutable characteristics change us while they stay constant: they impact our gut reactions, our context, our line between logic and anger.  Often, when we take a step back or a second look, we're able to move past our first reactions, and see an issue through multiple perspectives.  But that's not something that comes naturally--we have to train ourselves to do that.  That first reaction, that's us--that's our core.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Femonomics reads the internet so you don't have to: homophobia, evolving lab rats, and the politics of pretty

Mike Huckabee is homophobic, but you knew that already. (He compared gay marriage to incest and drug use, and said gay couples shouldn't be allowed to adopt because children aren't puppies.) In other terrible person news, Ben Roethlisberger...oh man.  I really hope he is disciplined for his behavior by the NFL, and that his team and his sport support the ongoing criminal investigation.

Olivia Judson reports that laboratory animals are evolving in ways that could jeopardize experimental validity--in as little as ten generations!  You hear that, people who love to speak of how there's no way evolution could come up with an eye?  I love Judson, and her book Sex Advice to All Creation is a great, witty primer on the endless mysteries of evolution.

I Blame the Patriarchy says we can't be pretty and be feminists.  It's an important thing to think about--the way focusing on physical attractiveness buys into norms about feminine-ness and appropriate female behavior, but I must say I respectfully disagree.  I think the key thing is to be conscious of the way we pursue physical attractiveness and our reasons for doing so (i.e., not couching our gym obsession in "health"), and be judicious about how much time and effort to devote to these things.  But to say that doing them is anti-feminist?  That's both judgmental and unrealistic.

Springtime Update on the Science of Love

It is that time of year when the blood begins to quicken, and many young (and old) minds drift towards romance. Scientists have also begun to focus on questions of romantic love, with both intuitive and surprising results.

Turns out that Ke$ha and Saving Abel have it right - love is truly addicting. This is biological anthropologist Helen Fisher's view, at least, and she has the experimental data to back her up. Dr Fisher has described her work on love at first sight, jealousy, and rejection in several magazines, including as a contributor to O. This article from NewScientist summarizes her most famous work on why getting dumped can be so traumatic - it's biology! She has also presented her work at the TED conference:

On race and feminism: A primer on feminist white privilege on the internet, and how we'll try to do better

"Be careful when you are dealing with white folks, because one day they wake up and realize they’re white and you ain’t." 
--Tiffany in Houston, on Feministe

Renee Martin of Womanist Musings recently wrote in the Guardian about why she doesn't consider herself a feminist: feminism doesn't seem to have a place for women of color or their issues.  I'm not what I would call an institutional feminist (I mean absolutely no disrespect in that term, just that I have never formally studied feminist theory or women's studies--I formed my feminist beliefs by reading Alice Walker, Virginia Woolf, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg), so I at first didn't see the relevance of her piece to my brand of feminism.  Maybe academic feminists had excluded women of color, but I was part of a personal, inclusive breed of feminists, right?  Then, I read this piece in Jezebel where Megan Carpentier bristles at the fact that Martin states mainstream feminist blogs such as Feministe, Feministing, and Pandagon are dominated by white women.  Carpentier points to the multiple women of color on each of the blogs mastheads
Feministing, which remains an explicit collective, has a new executive editor, Samhita Mukhopadhyay, who has been there for five years. Of the four people on the masthead at Pandagon, two are people of color. Of the two people I know personally at BitchPhD, one is a woman of color. At least two of the bloggers at Feministe — Holly and Chally — identify in their bios as non-white.
The commenters at Jezebel pointed out that Carpentier was guilty of tokenism: having a black kid on the debate team does not a race revolution make.   They also pointed me down a rabbit hole I've been exploring for the past two days--the frequent instances of white bloggers on mainstream feminist sites being racially insensitive and then surprised by the offense they caused.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Life Skills: How to Parallel Park a Car

I hate to perpetuate the infuriating stereotype of "bad female drivers", but I'll admit that I've had trouble with parallel parking in the past. However, I am not alone. In the past 2 weeks I have witnessed over a dozen bad/failed attempts at parallel parking. It may not seem like parallel parking is a big deal. I know many people don't have to deal with it regularly. But, since I live in a metropolitan area and don't drive one of these fancy self-parking Lexuses, knowing how to parallel park on the curb is a must. So, there are some tips below the jump on perfecting that tricky S-turn next to a curb. Check out this how-to video, as well. Practice makes perfect!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Yom HaShoah: Never Forget

Today is Yom HaShoah, Holocaust remembrance day. A common phrase I associate with this day of remembrance is "never forget."  I find it especially poignant this year, because it seems to me we are entering an era, as those who survived the camps are replaced with a younger generation who only read about them in Number the Stars, where we are forgetting the horrors of years' past.  We are forgetting them in a subtle way: by the insidious separation of Hitler's beliefs and his crimes, his symbols and his practices, his life and the deaths he wrought.  I'll give you three examples.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Cesar Chavez and the Continuing Struggle for Farmworkers Rights

Last week California celebrated Cesar Chavez day, honoring the farmworker advocate on his birthday, March 31st. Chavez died in 1993, but his work is still relevant today as farmworkers continue to face abusive conditions and as some loopy Texans recently tried to remove his story from textbooks (and failed - thank goodness!)

Chavez was the son of Mexican immigrants and grew up on their farm in Yuma, Arizona. When he was still a boy, his parents lost their farm (during the economic ravages of the Great Depression) and they went on the road as migrant farm laborers. Because of this, Chavez was unable to continue his formal education, but taught himself and grew to be very well-read and a gifted orator. He served in the military and then moved to San Jose where he became a community organizer working on behalf on behalf of urban minorities, and went on to found the precursor to the United Farm Workers of America. Chavez promoted non-violent protest, and organized and participated in fasts, boycotts, marches, and strikes on behalf of farmworkers rights. In recognition of his contribution to American society, Chavez was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1994.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Hate Duke. Love UConn?

I suspect that no one wants to hear me dote on 2010 NCAA Men's Basketball Champions the Duke Blue Devils. Duke is tired. They've won enough. No one wants me to write about how awesome it was to be in Lucas Oil Stadium Monday night. Or about how beating the hometown heroes that proceeded to yell "F#&k Duke" at me on the way to have a celebratory cocktail when all I did was smile at them was one of the highlights of my life. So, I won't talk about it. I'll just refer to the mantra I adopted for the weekend in Indy. The only thing that kept me out of a full on street brawl was this—Haters love to hate.

It's also been brought to my attention that I left the women's tournament out of a feminist blog. Even though I'm more traditional and don't watch women's basketball, that is a no-no. So, instead of talking about my intense fervor for Duke Men's basketball or how much I love Coach K & his wife Mickie or how I want to marry Nolan Smith, I'll talk about the dominant force to be reckoned with that is UConn Women's Basketball. I met a Duke B-school student from Connecticut last weekend in Indy and she taught me their unofficial state motto. In Connecticut, "Men are men. Women are Champions." You gotta love that. And that's exactly what those women are—2010 NCAA Women's Basketball Champions. And no one is surprised.

Recipe Fridays: sauteed kale and shitake mushroom omelet

This is amazing for weekend breakfast or brunch, but I also think it makes a nice fuss-free dinner.  The idea of sauteing kale at high heat comes from my mom, and trust me, it's a good one to try in lots of different dishes!

Per person:
3 eggs
2-3 fresh shitake mushrooms
2 leaves of kale
1 clove garlic
Few slices sharp cheese like swiss or white cheddar, if you like.
butter, salt, pepper, and any fresh herbs (thyme or oregano is nice) you wish

Wash the kale thoroughly (sand likes to hide out in the crevices).  Brush off and de-stem mushrooms.  Bunch the kale leaves together and slice them cross-wise to produce ribbons.  Slice mushrooms.  Chop garlic.  Heat enough butter (or olive oil) for sauteing in pan until sizzling--put the heat at medium-high.  Add kale and garlic at same time.  Cook, stirring semi-regularly, until kale is tender and brown/crisp in places.  Trust me--almost letting it burn is key to its deliciousness.  Add the mushrooms and saute for just a minute more--these cook very quickly.  Transfer to bowl.

Whisk eggs with 1 shell-full of water for every three eggs, salt, and pepper.  Heat butter in omelet pan, and swirl to coat all sides.  When a drop of water sizzles in pan, add eggs (3 eggs-worth at a time).  Let them set for a minute, then use the corner of the spatula to draw the set egg in from the edges of the pan to the center.  It should create a "curtain" like patter as you do this at several places around the edge.  Repeat letting the egg set and drawing it in once more, then swirl uncooked egg to fill any gaps.  Turn heat down. 

If using cheese, place on top of eggs in one layer.  (You can cover at this point to melt the cheese and set up any still-runny egg).  When cheese begins to melt and egg is firm all over, spoon some shitake-kale mixture on top.  Slide your spatula under one side of the omelet, lift, and fold over the top to create a half-moon shape.  Cook for just a minute longer until all egg is cooked through.  Slide onto plate and serve.

Recipe Fridays: Have S'More Brownies

Sometimes I get a hankering for a gooey, chocolatey s'more at the most random moments. Like in the middle of a city where I can't possibley roast marshmallows over a campfire. I admit, at times, I have resorted to making s'mores at home over a tiny candle or even shelling out fifteen bucks at a local restaurant to roast them tableside. But if you're looking for the taste without the fun of roasting marshmallows over an open flame, this is just the recipe you need. Plus, food in brownie form is always yummy.
1 box brownie mix
1 cup crushed Graham crackers
1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
Handful of large marshmallows, cut into small pieces (I use about 8)
6 more marshmallows, reserve for top

-Make brownie mix according to package directions
-Stir in crushed graham crackers
-Stir in cut-up marshmallows and chocolate chips
-Pour batter into baking pan. Put the 6 marshmallows on top.
-Bake according to directions on package
-Cool, cut into pieces, and eat!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Economics fail: NYT credits demand for driving price down

In an article on induction cooking, the New York Times brings us this priceless gem:
Induction cooking has been around for decades, but only recently has demand driven prices down and selection up. In the last two years, Viking, GE, Samsung and Kenmore have begun selling induction ranges.
Well then, it's of course supply that's driving the price down, not demand.  For a given level of supply, more demand will increase price.  For a given level of demand, more supply will decrease it.  I know I'm being petty, but come on NYT.

BPA Update: EPA to Investigate Environmental Impact of BPA

Image credit: ToastyKen

In January, I wrote about the FDA’s reversal on their safety ruling for bisphenol A (BPA) which is used in the production of plastic water bottles and the lining of aluminum cans.

Late March, the EPA announced it will be beginning an investigation to determine if BPA should be added to the list of chemicals of concern.

Why Is the EPA Investigating?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Celebrities are full of surprises: Jessica Simpson re-emerges as likeable, well-adjusted woman

I used to think Jessica Simpson was the antithesis of feminism. I despised her "I'm dumb, isn't it cute?" persona, which she admitted was just that, an affected personality for the purpose of getting others to like her. Her father once said her perfect looks and perfect voice were too much for people, she needed to act dumb to seem less intimidating. Writing for my college newspaper, I said I feared Simpson's celebrity foretold "a world where to be popular, a woman should be all things but remarkable."

But as much as Simpson's fake ordinariness rankled me then, it's her real ordinariness that I find charming now. Simpson has fought back against the haters who criticized her weight cruelly and relentlessly not by appearing looking stunning on the cover of US Weekly (well, there was that Vanity Fair shoot), but by being herself, insisting she has a right to do just that, and thinking about the broader implications of the war over her size. I found her appearance on Oprah remarkably thoughtful and well-adjusted, and was delighted when she teased David Letterman for "making it all about the boys" during her visit to his show.

Simpson's new reality show certainly has problems of its own, but it's an interesting effort with its heart in the right place. Similarly, although I think stars appearing without makeup is something of a gimmick, I nonetheless think it's a more thoughtful gimmick than stars airbrushed within an inch of their lives selling workout tips. As such, I appreciate Simpson's appearance in Marie Claire makeup and airbrush free, although I wish more of the quotes in the resulting photo spread were of this variety: "I don't have anything to prove anymore. What other people think of me is not my business." Than this one: "People think updos are so hard, but they're not. Your hair should look tousled and undone."

I don't think Jessica is perfect. I don't think she's now some kind of feminist ideal. I think her, and her new way of presenting herself to the public, are a work in progress. But, it's an increasingly interesting type of progress, and one that I'm glad to have buzzing around pop culture land in place of giggling malapropisms and daisy dukes.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Questioning the power of the pill: Do we need more innovation in birth control?

Feministe has an interesting piece about an interview Laura Eldridge gave about her new book on birth control.  Eldridge is a critic of hormonal birth control, and argues that its side-effects have been downplayed and women led to believe they only have one reliable choice for family planning.  While I certainly agree that the pill may not work for everyone (and as someone who is generally suspicious of pharmaceuticals, taking such a powerful medication for so long makes me nervous), I also agree with Feministe that for many women, it's hard to overstate the immense power of the pill.  Birth control access, more than anything else, really changed the way we as women were able to live our lives, so I will go to the mat defending it, even if I acknowledge we need to have an open conversation about the pros and cons of different methods.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Erykah Badu Strips to Make a Statement Which is Largely Unheard

In her recent video Window Seat, Erykah Badu shed her clothes on a busy street in Texas, and sparked debate across the blogosphere. The dominant reaction has been outward criticism of her public nudity and her mock assassination near the location John F. Kennedy was killed.

I first watched the video to try to figure out why she had chosen to strip naked for this song. I watched Badu’s discussion of the video posted at the WSJ, and felt at the end that a major problem was that Badu had a great message about conformity, but I wasn’t sure that nudity served a real purpose or that the exact topic was of sufficient gravity to justify the imagery of JFK’s assassination. However, I also noticed that not many people seemed willing to listen to her explanation because they decided they were offended after their initial viewing of the video.

My impression is that people were mostly upset with the nudity because they did not believe it was essential to communicate her artistic message. However, I think this controversy creates a great opportunity to open the discussion of the way women are portrayed in music videos. Women are often filmed semi-nude and portrayed in ways that are truly exploitative. I wonder why this video, which did not (in my opinion) overly sexualize her naked body, has sparked such outrage while there are numerous music videos, advertisements, and shows that portray women in a demeaning way and are only a blip in the public consciousness. Why is nudity/semi-nudity in these cases not met with equal outrage?

Basically, I found the nudity inoffensive but sadly did not feel it successfully strengthened her message. If this video discussed the implications of the way women are represented in pop culture, I would have felt the assassination imagery was more warranted. But either way, Badu is an interesting artist, and I'm glad she's willing to take risks and express herself in different, sometimes controversial, ways.

This NYT taxicab thing is stupid (Or, how I know the NYT has never interviewed for McKinsey)

If you live in New York, read the NYTimes, or read any bloggers who like fun econ-y facts, you've probably heard about this study done by the Taxi and Limousine Commission to track customer pickups using GPS.

From the NYT:
It is a question that taxi-seekers in New York often ponder: Is there some kind of secret formula for where to find a cab in this town?  Turns out, there is.  A new mobile application allows would-be riders to see a map of nearby street corners, ranked by the number of taxi hails they attract at that hour, on that day of the week.  The most popular corners to catch a yellow cab in Manhattan can now be pinpointed, at any hour of any day of the week, thanks to a record of 90 million actual taxi trips that have been silently tracked by the city.
OK, so far so good, so this data can tell me where most people take cabs from.  But then the article goes on to say:
On a Saturday at 11 p.m., it is easier to hail a cab on the nightclub-and-bar-filled Lower East Side than at Grand Central Terminal. Columbus Circle gets more passenger pickups than the Port Authority bus station. And make sure you are in the right neighborhood: taxi rides are 25 times as likely to start in the West Village as in Washington Heights.
The problem with this is that it's not true. 

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Kate Harding asks: What exactly did Sandra know about this Nazi stuff?

Kate Harding at Jezebel:
I'm all for giving celebrities their privacy amid salacious gossip and personal turmoil, but since Bullock surely knows all about that photo and the other accusations now, I can't figure out why we haven't heard from her yet. This is not the kind of thing you let slide, even if all you want to do, quite understandably, is hide out and lick your wounds. Perhaps she's just taking her time crafting a blistering statement denouncing James' apparent anti-Semitism, avowing her unfortunate but total ignorance of it and announcing the imminent divorce. But if that's not out by tomorrow? Something's seriously [f*ed] up here. Remaining silent at this point is such an inexplicable career move — questions of human decency aside — I can't quite believe we haven't seen such a statement already. And I really can't believe there aren't more people making noise about it yet.
I think it's a fair question.  Others don't, apparently, so Kate has a new piece at Shapely Prose defending the original article.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Femonomics reads the internet so you don't have to: the iPad, customer service, Kwanzaa cakes, and more!

The iPad is here!  And Huffington Post is apparently now the iPad Post!  Gawker thinks you should buy one or ignore it!   Boing Boing thinks Apple is a creativity-squashing bully!  Some guy who likes being in newspapers was the first in line for it!  Modern Family (on ABC, owned by Disney, whose largest shareholder is Steve Jobs) did a 30-minute infomercial for it that was definitely not product placement!  Oh man, Apple exhausts me.

I just spent 40 minutes on the phone trying to get my money back from boots I returned 3 months ago.  Do you have a really horrific customer service experience?  Please, do share in the comments.  And, to make you feel better, read this hilarious complaint letter to Virgin Airlines. 

Have you seen Sandra Lee's Kwanzaa cake yet?  I just came across it after clicking a link from the Fug Girls, and let me tell you, it's a treat you don't want to miss.  (Sandra Lee hosts a show called "Semi-Homemade," where she takes store-bought food and does unspeakable things to it.)

Jennifer Hudson has a new Weight Watchers commercial that awesomely emphasizes making healthier choices instead of focusing on weight loss.  Moreover, Hudson doesn't express discontentment with her old body, or measure her success in pounds.  I think it's badass, but, I mean, it's still a Weight Watchers commercial.

The NYTimes has an interesting Op-Ed about female Chechen suicide bombers.  There's also a semi-decent column by David Brooks (who you know I could do without) about how one's personal life (he says marriage, but I'm not sure that's right for everyone) is more important than professional success in determining happiness.  I agree to a certain extent, but think it's all about the balance.  For example, it can be hard to have a very happy marriage if one is professionally frustrated.  Also, you have to see this amazing story about people suffering from Parkinson's disease who can nonetheless ride bicycles with perfect ability.

On the topic of marriage, I like this piece by Bitch, PhD on open marriage.  She makes the important point that our concept of normality is defined by what works for us.  (But she phrases it thusly: "If you've slept with n people, anyone who's slept with n+1 people is a slut.")

Also in the NYTimes, some reasonable pieces about confronting America's health problems without fat shaming.  And, some very thoughtful reader letters in response to this piece on women in the sciences.

Friday, April 2, 2010

The straight-washing of America

This week, Ricky Martin confirmed that yes, he is in fact gay.  Which, of course, surprised no one.  So, while Ricky Martin's coming out was absurd, even more absurd was the fact that I've heard it being compared to Sean Hayes' coming out.  That's when I thought, Sean Hayes needed to come out?  What?  But, it turns out, Hayes had been demurring to questions about his sexuality since way back in the Will & Grace days.  So, is the problem with celebrities who improbably insist on their heterosexuality, despite all reasonable evidence to the contrary?  Or is it with media figures who badger them about their sexuality (as Barbara Walters did to Martin in 2000), forcing them into a queer Catch-22: their career or their integrity?

Recipe Fridays: Brussel Sprouts Are Your Friend!

Last weekend I had brunch at this small, local restaurant in my neighborhood. All the food was incredibly fresh--especially the veggies. The veggies came from a local urban farm and were cooked to perfection. Besides the fact that the experience made me want to start up a mini-farm in my apartment so I could have fresh food all the time, it made me dream of brussel sprouts. I know what you're thinking...but brussel sprouts, when cooked correctly, can taste so unlike brussel sprouts that you can pop them like popcorn. Or at least eat them (and not toss them in the garbage). I have yet to discover this restaurant's recipe, but this one is pretty close. Experiment with it, enjoy, and dream of brussel sprouts!

24 small brussels sprouts
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for rubbing
fine-grain sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Wash and trim sprouts. Cut them in half and rub with olive oil. Put 1 tbsp of oil in pan/skillet. Heat and place brussel sprouts in pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cover pan. Let it cook for about 5 min. Once they're tender, uncover the pan, turn the heat up, and cook until the flat sides of the brussel sprouts are brown and carmelized. Sprinkle with more salt and pepper. Serve direct from the pan while they're warm. Good to have a side or as a topping to a fresh salad.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Child abuse is child abuse, and people who enable and cover up child abuse are criminals

You would think the above statement wouldn't need to be said, but recent behavior by Catholic church officials and defenders have made me think otherwise.  Bill Donohue appeared on Larry King Tuesday to claim that because most of the boys were post-pubescent, it was homosexuality, not child abuse that was plaguing the Catholic church.  Sinead O'Connor quickly put him in his place, asking him to clarify the exact age that demarcated "post-pubescent."  "12 or 13," was the reply.  I cannot even begin to explain how morally repugnant it is to blur the line between homosexuality and child abuse.  But, just to help Donohue and others who may be confused, let me spell out the difference: C-O-N-S-E-N-T.  If you use fear and intimidation to coerce others into sexual acts with you, you are a sex offender.  If you cover such behavior up, you are a criminal.  If you defend it on national television, you are an a**hole.

For more on the abuse and the Church's role in aiding and abetting it, see O'Connor's (an abuse victim herself) excellent opinion piece in the Washington Post.  Over at the NYTimes, Maureen Dowd speculates the church gave up its credibility for lent.  Read about the Vatican's refusal (including the current pope) to defrock a priest who molested over 200 deaf boys, when they had specific knowledge of his crimes, here.  Also check out this 2006 report on the pope's role in covering up abuse.  And, for a different opinion, read an Op-Ed that defends the pope as a part of the solution to the widespread abuse and institutional indifference.

What do you think?  Should the pope resign?  Can the Catholic church really change its ways and get its credibility back?  And do you believe, like me, that both those who committed abuse and those who covered it up should be tried in civil courts?