Friday, May 04, 2007

Spinach Salad, Me Maties

Okay, so I'm not Popeye or even Olive Oyl, but I did use olive oil in the dressing for today's bare bones spinach salad. I substituted what I had on hand (bamboo shoots) and this tangy-sweet dressing coupled with the fresh spinach to make a surprisingly satisfying snack--both in taste and in fill factor. Click image to see a closeup.

The dressing came from a recipe called "Heart of Palm Salad" which (you guessed it) features Hearts of Palm. It calls for vinegar, sugar and ketchup which you can imagine makes for a sweet, syrupy dressing--it is!--but I altered it a bit, so I could use my Balsemic vinegar (naturally sweet) and pretty much just used equal amounts of the other stuff, with just a dash of salt and garlic rather than teaspoons full, called for in the recipe. The dressing was going to have to be the "star" of this salad. As you can see, it's really more spinach and something else drenched in dressing. Yeah, not a low-calorie snack ;-) But yummy and healthy!

Since Hearts of Palm are available here only in cans and very expensive at that, I opted for the cheapo bamboo shoots I had on hand. I also had no fresh tomatoes (cherry or otherwise) nor any fresh mushrooms (and canned mushrooms are just not the same when it comes to salads), so I kept it simple. And I downsized the dressing recipe for just the 4-6 servings worth of fresh spinach I'd picked up for a whopping 61¢ over the weekend. Today's plate was the last of my spinach and dressing *sigh* Would that spinach would stay "in season" at that price all summer! It won't.

Monday, April 30, 2007

War Bill Delays Minimum Wage Hike

Over the weekend, I ran into the old archives of editorial cartoons produced by none other than Dr. Seuss (my childhood favorite) during World War II.

Eerie how history tends to repeat itself. More so how I'd just been thinking this and wanted to draw the parallels when I saw the following in this morning's newsletter:

WASHINGTON - Increasing the minimum wage should be easy for a Congress controlled by Democrats, especially with President Bush's pledge of support.

But a $2.10 boost for America's lowest-paid workers is again being delayed, this time in a tussle over whether to pull U.S. troops out of Iraq.

It's been 10 years since the last minimum wage increase, and boosting it from $5.15 to $7.25 per hour over the next two years was a key element of Democrats' midterm election platform. They even added a sweetener for Republicans: $4.8 billion in tax cuts for small businesses over 10 years.

But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., decided to attach the minimum wage provisions to the Iraq war spending bill.
But the economy is good, the economy is strong, the job market is great and everyone's happy, right? Wrong. After ten years of minimum wage workers slaving at two (or more) jobs just to make ends meet, the poor are poverty-stricken and the rich are decadently spoiled in their advantages. The class division of this country is sick at its core.

Our leadership should be expected to notice and move to solve the problem. In FDR's time, major change by the President was expected, even unrelated to the war. Today, politicians will cut off at the knees the hard-working, lower-paid masses who are, pretty much, the backbone of support for any war effort by the United States. Dr. Seuss put it more strongly in March of 1942 when he gave his impression of our disunity:

And again on April 30, 1942 when he commented on how inflation hurt the little guys and lined the pockets of the ultra-rich (sound familiar??)

He drew political commentaries not only on Inflation and Disunity (and we lack a unified national voice today more than ever!!) but also on the Complacency of the American people, not to mention the Defeatist or self-serving Congress of the time. Hmmm, some things never change, eh?

We're all whining about the War on Terror raising prices at the pump. Guess what? Gasoline prices, even then, were an issue but today, instead of a national voice calling for conservation and sacrifice for the sake of standing our ground, the auto-makers are pushing SUVs and the newsmakers--excuse me, news reporters--are speaking about the Evil Corporate Plot to Price Gouge. What's wrong with this picture? (no pun intended) How's about just walking or carpooling in support of the War on Terror instead of spending gasoline in support of the terrorists' War on Peace?

And it's not just the "you and me" getting slammed--last month's "Walter Reed Debacle" (hardly the only veterans/WIA care facility to have "issues") and this month's "Pentagon Shorting Troops' VA Benefits" news (as though losing life or limb isn't enough of a sacrifice, now the Wise Leaders want to steal from one-armed Peter to pay soon-to-be-IED'd Paul), it's all too much. Guess what? We had this same sicko mentality in WW II according to Dr. Seuss:

Quoting Dr. Seuss more than 60 years ago, let me ask you this:

And then there's the games Congress is playing--such as the one noted in the title of this post, attaching other legislation to Iraq war bills. How do you think that really plays out? Here's Dr. Seuss's take 60+ years ago. Funny, I do believe I've heard this same sentiment just last week but apparently half a century isn't long enough for us to learn our lesson:

As a final word, once again, I turn to my childhood hero who was more than I ever imagined as a child but for whom I have renewed my adulation as an adult, with this:

Let's stop screwing around with one-upmanship, with lining the tills of the ultra-rich while ripping the pockets right out of the pants of the "You & Me" Joe and Jane on the street. Of course that would mean the rich funding the economy instead of sapping it, the poor tightening their belts instead of living in debt beyond their means and then whining about it, and the nearly non-existent middle class actually being grateful they have their heads above water. Yeah, glass half full people. We're free (to write things like this without fear of prosecution--or death) and we have a system of government that we allegedly are supposed to be able to control with our votes. You know, voting in a free democratic election? What a thought!

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Remember Me

Another great military tribute video, one of the best I've seen.