About EV

Two sons and a husband. In short: Mother of three.

Sunday Roast: June 16, 2013 – Where’s the outrage?

I don’t get it. Seriously.

The news about the extensive data gathering by the NSA through Verizon‘s mobile phone records being outshone only a few days later with news about PRISM should have people out in the streets. Seriously.

I am not and have never been overly shy about internet use. I follow the usual dos and don’ts, but I am aware of the fact, that whatever you put out there is in everybody’s domain. If you shout it out on Times Square you have a smaller audience than when you put it on facebook, twitter, you name it. I know that by using it I have, sort of, agreed whatever I’m writing will be no longer private. Fair enough.

I’m fine that every time I read a New York Times article I will see in a sidebar which of my friends have read which article. It shows I have smart friends, not that I haven’t known that before, but still. I am even fine with the fact that for me all websites, be it news or other, which have commercial pop-ups are advising me how to get a flat stomach or how to ward off ageing. I take  the pop-ups as an punishment for having googled about weight-loss and heat-flashes and I stick out my tongue to them and just don’t buy whatever is advertised through them.

What I do not approve of, and I am royally pissed about that, is that a government, any government, is prying inside my personal communications. So I would, of course, go and vote accordingly. No party or candidate ever gets my vote, who supports this degree of spying into the personal communications of ordinary citizens. Period.

Hah! And now, when we Europeans are mad as hell, and believe me, virtually everybody I talk to is spitting mad over here, we’ll just vote them all out of office!!!!!

Wait!

We can’t. We do not have, nor will we ever have any say in this.

This is our Open Thread. Don’t be shy. All yours.

Sunday Roast: Veruca Salt Award-Jennifer Rubin

Washington Post Blogger Jennifer Rubin has earned herself the Veruca Salt Award. She is notoriously unable to deal with facts she hasn’t invented herself. So small wonder when someone contradicts her introducing such facts she channels Veruca Salt and asks for the person to be muted.

Congratulations Mrs Rubin, this is not really the Pulitzer, but as close to an award on your “journalistic” work you’ll ever get.

This is our Open Thread. Join in.

Sunday Roast – Eurovision 2013

I watch that every year. The Swiss get regularly booted out before the finals, but every once in a while there is controversy or even something worthwhile listening to. This year the controversy was around Turkey refusing to participate, because one song act had two girls kissing at the end. After all those little islamist willies will crumble and fall off, if they have to watch that. They didn’t miss much, though.

We had the predicted outcome. Europeans liked this song:

Sad really, when we once, in 2007, had liked this:

Ah well.

This is our Open Thread. Please proceed….

Sunday Roast: April 28th, 2013 – Three Myths about England

Myth # 1: It rains. Always.

Well it does at times, but when it does, it is still awesome. The world looks as if someone painted it:

Myth # 2: The Food sucks:

If you can’t get something decent to eat out of this at home…

You can still suffer through this in your local pub…

Myth # 3: They have a wicked sense of humor:

Well…

That’s right.

I’m back from there and wish I wasn’t. So I will reminisce a bit and plan my next trip.

This is your Open Thread. All Yours.

Sunday Roast: April 14th, 2013 – Four Cups of Coffee

Good Morning Zoosters. Tired? I am. So this is what I found for your Sunday Morning reading over my morning coffee:

Having my first cup of coffee, I discovered that being all powerful and so full of yourself doesn’t mean people love you. Au contraire in some notorious cases, including this:

Protesters could be arrested for “alarming or distressing” mourners at the funeral of Baroness Thatcher, a police chief in charge of security at the event has warned. (full story)

In the UK this song is No 1 in ITunes Store downloads. Ah well.

Having my second cup of coffee was my “banging head on desk” moment. I have discussed some Right Wing terrorism in Germany here and it beats me, how the court could have excluded foreign newspapers, especially Turkish ones from this trial. The Verfassungsgericht ( our version of Supreme Court) set things right.

Germany’s top court has ruled that foreign media must get access to the trial of a suspected neo-Nazi charged in connection with the murders of 10 people, including eight of Turkish descent. A Turkish newspaper had filed a complaint. The row had threatened to harm Germany’s image and was overshadowing the trial starting April 17. (full story)

Cup Number Three: It won’t go away, not in our lifetimes. The Deepwater Horizon Spill has caused more damage than BP could ever pay for in damages. Can’t we, please, start taking care of our planet? It’s our home. The only one we’ve got.

Hundreds of beached dolphin carcasses, shrimp with no eyes, contaminated fish, ancient corals caked in oil and some seriously unwell people are among the legacies that scientists are still uncovering in the wake of BP’s Deepwater Horizon spill. (full story)

That required some lighter reading for cup four. Lest I ruin my day. Are women unrealistic when it comes to  the male of the species? I am, totally, that’s for sure, but here’s some evidence, or not.

Men have long wondered what exactly it is that women want. Some pore over men’s magazines, with their promises of “washboard abs”, for guidance. The more scientifically minded look for experimental data. (full story)

So, now I have my fifth cup, have a peek into the Formula 1 Race, then I am off to Brunch with a friend, we will then discuss what I’ve read over my fourth cup of coffee.

You all have a very pleasant Sunday, sunny happy and warm. See you all later!

This is our Open Thread. Let’s go.

Sunday Roast: April 7, 2013 – Spring?

It feels at least like 84 years since I’ve last seen spring. We are still having patches of snow and there is more sleet in the forecast. For Heaven’s sake it is April. In former years my roses were already budding at this time. Small wonder everybody is tired and cranky all the time.

And now I read it is, again, man-made. The jet stream is too far south for a while now, so cold and wet weather prevails where I am. The effects of climate change.

This is an Open Thread. How are you today?

Easter Egg: Sunday, March 31, 2013

This Easter is going to be soooo different. Well not the food, see above. Some nice lamb stew with polenta will be on for dinner. It already prepared and warmed up, in my book, even tastes nicer than freshly done. But here’s where tradition stops. It is snowing, cold and miserable. They stole an hour of my sleep. So I’m grumpy and after having watched the Papal “Urbi et Orbi”, the family goes rogue.

Our list of movies to watch today and tomorrow:

Life of Brian

Dictator

1900

We will all go to hell, I’m afraid. But not on an empty stomach.  :D

This is our open thread. Happy Easter!

Sunday Roast: March 24, 2030 – Future Edition

Karl Rove- The Architect of the Republican’s Downfall

May I venture a guess? A few years down the road, say in 2030, the current state of the GOP will be seen by political scientists and historians as follows:

By opening up the GOP right wing to the Evangelicals Karl Rove achieved a short term victory, which brought the defeat of the Republicans in its wake. The Bush Presidency, Rove’s biggest strategic achievement, and its costly illegal war in Iraq, in addition to its unchecked supply side economics, unbridled spending, while lowering revenue, led to a deep recession which left Millions of Americans on the brink of destitution.

The conflicts within the party were glossed over by a victory in the 2010 mid-term elections, which came at the height of the economic fall-out and was aided by inherent racist tendencies against a black President. Tendencies in constituencies which have been tapped years before, when Rove’s strategy opened the GOP to the right.

In the aftermath of this “victory” the “purists” in Congress managed to bring Government to a virtual standstill, thus enabling the sitting President to win re-election. A victory won not on policy in the first place, but on a deep seated division in the country mostly about “social issues” brought to the forefront by some contenders for the nomination, which have to be counted as candidates for the Rove constituency.

The loss in 2012 brought about a prolonged battle for the heart and soul of the Republican Party, which showed victories of both sides, but left relevant policy making on the sidelines for years to come. Meanwhile, the society and economy in the United States evolved and modernised, while the conflict left the GOP without any discernible answer to economic and /or societal problems. It took the Republican Party another 16 years to regain their footing and be competitive again.

The name of Karl Rove, highly acclaimed in the early 2000s has by now become synonymous for self-defeating strategy among GOP politicians.

[EDITOR'S NOTE: A draft of the above post was found near the Way-Back Machine. We post it now for your reading pleasure.]

OPEN THREAD ~ CARPE PREDICTUM

Sunday Roast: March 17, 2013 – Including NSFW

So what is going on this Sunday, not much, and that’s not always bad. I picked a fews reads for you, I hope you all slept in ;)

President Obama will be in Israel next week. The so-called peace process, was there ever a real effort (?), is not only stalled, it is at it’s lowest point since I remember. The Economist picks up the topic:

IN 1942, as the Holocaust in Europe was entering its most horrific phase, a pacifist American rabbi called Judah Magnes helped found a political party in Palestine called Ihud. Hebrew for unity, Ihud argued for a single binational state in the Holy Land to be shared by Jews and Arabs. Its efforts—and those of like-minded idealists—came to naught. Bitterly opposed to the partition of Palestine, Magnes died in 1948 just as the state of Israel—the naqba, or catastrophe, to Palestinians—was being born. Decades of strife were to follow.(read more)

Cyprus needs a bailout. That’s not really news, but the account holders will get a haircut, oops:

Cypriots reacted with shock that turned to panic on Saturday after a 10% one-off levy on savings was forced on them as part of an extraordinary 10bn euro (£8.7bn) bailout agreed in Brussels.(read more)

Formula 1 is on, finally, The Lotus Effect:

Kimi Raikkonen proved he and Lotus have what it takes this year to become Formula One world champions after storming to victory in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.(read more)

And, kids, you look the other way now:

Close your eyes and ears,” warns an off-screen voice, “because here comes a sex comedy that’s all about bonking and banging.” Then Bavarian character Sepp appears on screen. As he assumes a wide-legged stance in an Alpine pasture, a cow gazes awe-struck at the fly of his lederhosen. Thunderbolts shoot out of his tight leather shorts, bulging with excessive man-power.( read more)

Again, there’s not much going on really, I could have brought you ‘She Who Must Not Be Named’ and her CPAC speech, but I am not cruel.

This is our Open Thread. All Yours!

Sunday Roast: March 3, 2013 – Govern and be Governed, but do it right!

Good Morning, I hope you slept well (and long because I’m late again ;)  ).

Government: You’re doing it right:

The Swiss are governing today and how. One reason for my being late here is the coverage of the latest polls on tv. Three major propositions have been voted on today and a number of regional ones. One was to amend the constitution to protect families’ rights to reconcile having a job and raising kids. It is a draw, more or less. While big cities have voted for it in big numbers and the overall popular vote is for it, the cantons are divided and as it is a constitutional amendment, it needs a majority of both popular votes and cantons. The more rural areas are, predictably against it, kicking women in the teeth once again. (Sound familiar?)

Second vote is on getting land out of the building code, so the environment can be protected from uncontrolled and uncontrolleable building for profit. It got a majority. Easily, too.

The third and most internationally acclaimed vote is on the so-called “fat-cat” initiative. A whopping 68% of voters have voted for it. This after the initiative has been blocked and fought against for seven years.

Under the proposal, shareholders will be given the right to hold a binding vote on executive remuneration. Companies would also no longer be able to pay so-called “golden hellos” and “golden parachutes”, whereby senior managers receive a one-time cash lump sum, often running into millions of pounds, when joining or leaving a company. Polls show the majority of Swiss plan to vote “yes” in the referendum, despite businesses warning it will drive out companies from the country.(read more)

Add to that the cap on manager salaries imposed by the surrounding EU countries and you see things are moving in the right direction over here.

Government: You’re doing it wrong:

You think the Tea Party is  the most proficient government obstructionist of all times? They are not. They’re outright amateurs compared to the Italians: Our southern neighbors are blocking government right at the source. All Europe is frustratedly looking at what voters there did to their country. Outright distrust of government and politicians is in the Italian genetic code and not surprisingly so, given the corruption that is rampant in the country, but now they overreached.

IT IS hard now to recall that just three months ago the big threat Italy posed was of becoming boring. Its technocratic government, under Mario Monti, had regained the markets’ confidence. The spread of Italian government bonds over German ones was dwindling. The troublesome Silvio Berlusconi no longer led his fast-disintegrating party, and it seemed certain that the centre-left would win the next election. Mr Monti might then have become an economic super-minister—if he had not taken over the right with a mandate to make it more soberly European. (read more)

Let me add, Italy, unlike the US for instance has a fairly low constitutional threshold for new elections. They’ll be at it again in a few months, everybody agrees.

I wish you all a Happy and Relaxing (yes caps) Sunday. Enjoy some reading and our discussion. It is an Open Thread so join in.

 

R.I.P. Stéphane Hessel

Stéphane Hessel has passed away during the night. The Holocaust survivor, member of the French Résistance, diplomat and author inspired the “Occupy” movement with his pamphlet “Time for Outrage” in his later years. I saw numerous interviews with him and greatly admired his intelligence, sense of humor and humanity. May he rest in peace.

EV

Sunday Roast: February 24, 2013 – Sick Leave

 

Uuuuoooohhhh. I could use a sick leave. So please forgive me for an emergency post only.

Not enough austerity or too much of it? Great Britain has been downgraded.

Still not enough of the cavaliere or too much of him? Italy votes.

How much is too much? Switzerland has enough!

This is our Open thread, Join in!

 

Sunday Roast: February 17, 2013 – Bits and Pieces

Good Morning to the Sunday Roast. Let us see what Europe has to tell you this morning. You will see why bees are playing a role here, below:

The Economist:

AT A perilous moment of transition for America’s armed services, involving departure from Afghanistan, looming budget cuts and significant worldwide tension, the Pentagon is set to receive a civilian leader weakened by partisan attacks and doubts about his willingness to see military power used. As The Economist went to press, Barack Obama’s nominee for secretary of defence, Chuck Hagel, seemed likely, though not certain, to earn the Senate’s grudging endorsement. (read more)

If I may add, the accusations of being anti-Israel, even anti-semitic are nothing but window dressing. Billions are at stake for war (or defense) profiteers. Numerous jobs in military funded industries, quite often to be found in red states, as well. I tend to follow the money and prefer to think it is Hagel’s reluctance to fight against massive cuts in the defense budget that earns him his difficulties. More on that may come later.

The Guardian has a Comeback Kid for you:

It could have been a career-ending moment. Given the task of delivering the official Republican response to Barack Obama’s state of the union speech last week, rising star Senator Marco Rubio made a catastrophic gaffe. (read more)

The Independent reports a “Me Too” moment:

Hours after a meteor exploded over Russia and injured more than 1,000 people and an asteroid passed relatively close to Earth, people in California reported seeing an unusual flash of light over the San Francisco Bay area that left many startled and thrilled.(read more)

Der Spiegel, as well, has a “Me Too” story, why on earth the Germans would want to start fracking beats me:

Germans are wary of fracking, but that hasn’t stopped Berlin from moving ahead to create legal guidelines for the controversial natural gas extraction method. The opposition is up in arms and the issue could dog Chancellor Merkel as she campaigns for re-election. (read more)

Finally, a little Swiss navel-gazing, which is nevertheless really important, see TheLocal.ch for more:

Basel-based agrichemical giant Syngenta on Friday urged Brussels to withdraw plans to slap a two-year ban on so-called neonicotinoid pesticides, saying blaming them for bee deaths was wrongheaded. (read more)

Grab a coffee, maybe some bread butter and honey, too, and enjoy reading. This is our Open Thread, so don’t hold back!

Across the Pond – State of the Union – Press Roundup

Yesterday’s State of the Union Address has been aptly commented here on this very blog. But what do commentators this side of the pond say?

The Independent:

By turns pugnacious and inspirational, Barack Obama last night used his State of the Union address to table a laundry list of aspirations for his second term that ranged from achieving tax reform to increasing the minimum range and tackling issues from gun control to immigration and climate change.

[On Rubio:]

Speaking so fast his mouth dried to a crust, Mr Rubio accused Mr Obama of harbouring an “obsession with raising taxes”.  And he accused him of trying to demonise his party as the party of the rich. “I don’t oppose your plans because I want to protect the rich. I oppose your plans because I want to protect my neighbours,” Mr Rubio said.

(read more)

The Guardian:

As an agenda, it was impressive. Jobs, immigration reform, climate change, equal pay for women, the minimum wage, troop withdrawal, universal pre-school provision for the poor, gun control, voting reform – this was unapologetic in its liberalism and unstinting in its determination. (read more)

They graced Rubio with a transcript of his speech. Aaaand, they have a live blog with some really witty remarks as well.

The Economist:

“THERE is much progress to report,” Barack Obama stated with satisfaction at the beginning of his state-of-the-union address. He was referring to the improving health of the economy and the diminishing number of American soldiers in harm’s way abroad. But he might just as well have been speaking of his strategy for facing down Republican opposition in a time of divided government. (read more)

They mention Rubio, too, in that article.

I am still waiting if Der Spiegel will have an article on their English page, their take is basically that Obama took up the gauntlet I will link to it later, if I can (UPDATE: Here’s the link to the English page). Die Sueddeutsche is unimpressed by Marco Rubio who seems to have lost his glam as the Republican Saviour a bit.

Anyhow, I do think the job of SOTU rebuttal is somehow jinxed. A bit like the “Defense Against The Dark Arts” job in Hogwarts.

Breaking: The Pope Resigns

Pope Benedict XVI resigns. I, personally, have the greatest respect for his decision. The Catholic Church was in a deadlock well before John Paul II died, not least because the latter, sick, invalid and  stubborn, refused to do what Benedict XVI has done now. To go, when you know you are not adding any value requires guts.

I have my own wishes for the future of catholicism, raising their voices against poverty and catholicism run amuck would be one. Any pope who did that for earnest, imho, would seriously injure his health and lifespan.

Sunday Roast: February 10, 2013 – Reading List

Good Morning, All. And shhhhhh… them wolfies are asleep, so read in silence and tell us what you think in comments, but shhhhhh…

Economy:

WITH the financial crisis over and the recovery gaining momentum, one big piece of unfinished economic business hangs over Barack Obama’s second term: arresting the relentless rise in America’s already sky-high debt. He is turning to the task with what seems an improbable claim: that the job is closer to completion than people appreciate. (read on)

More Economy:

Do we have a solid economic recovery underway? (read more)

Austerity sucks:

The debt crisis is finally catching up with wind energy, once a fast-growing sector in Europe. After more than a decade of double-digit growth, austerity, rapidly changing energy policies and skittish investors are putting a damper on the industry. (read more)

Science:

We’ve only just wiped the sweat from our brow following the averted Mayan apocalypse, but already news is spreading of another impending doom; and this one even has actual science behind it. (read more)

Wisdom:

Wine is constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy.Benjamin Franklin 

This is our Open Thread, Add your wisdom!

Sunday Roast, February 3, 2013 – Food for Thought

Just some numbers:

Iraq Body Count 2013

341 civilians killed

United States Body Count from gun violence in 2013 (you can use the date range button on the site)

936 civilians killed

Numbers may increase with every click on the link.

We all agree, that Iraq is a postwar society, plagued by ethnic conflicts and a weak government. We all agree that the United States of America is not that. Or do we?

This is an open thread. Comment on this, or on anything else that comes to mind and have a wonderful Sunday everyone.

The Watering Hole: Wednesday, January 30 – Mad Men

Cool. Makes you wish for the good old days. Or not? How was it really in the 1960s for:

Women

One in 5 women with children under 6 and nearly one fourth of women whose children were over 16 held paid jobs in the Sixties. Their pay, however, was 60 percent of the male rate.

I guess we are still fighting over that equal pay thing.

Gays

Police activity against gay men was rife throughout the 1950s. Many homosexuals were blackmailed, although only a fraction came to the attention of the police. The film Victim of 1961 brought these issues to a mainstream audience. It starred Dirk Bogarde as a repressed, married homosexual taking on the blackmailers who drove his partner to suicide.

African Americans

On May 2, 1964, Dee and Moore were hitchhiking from Meadville, Miss. and were picked up by James Seale. Seale and other Klansmen took the two men into the surrounding Homochitto National Forest and tortured and interrogated them about a possible influx of guns in Franklin County meant to arm blacks against their white attackers. Later the same day, several of the Klansmen put Dee and Moore in the trunk of a car and hauled them across the Louisiana state line, 100 miles north to a spot on the Mississippi River. Then they dumped the men into the river, weighting their bodies down with a jeep engine block and pieces of railroad track.

Environment

Despite many efforts to keep the environment clean, some 200 million tons of pollutants were filling the air each year, and clean air in many cities had been replaced by smog. The earth, air, and water were deteriorating as construction of highways, malls, and housing developments caused the destruction of fertile, irreplaceable farmland. Disposal of wastes was another dilemma to be dealt with. Burning could release poisonous gases into the air, and burial could cause harmful decay.

People with Disabilities ?

[...]In the mid-1960s, most of the developmentally disabled patients admitted to large state facilities were children under the age of 12. States offered virtually no support to families hoping to keep their sons and daughters at home and no education for those children living outside institutions.

So Mrs. Burns handed over her son to an institution in Gainesville, Fla., two hours from Daytona Beach, where she and her husband were living at the time. He was screaming and crying and clinging to her legs. She was crying, too. He was just 8 years old.

 

We have come a long way since I was growing up in rural Bavaria.To me it was not paradise. I welcome the changes that happened since and am glad that I do not have to refight the battles that got us here and which were only started then. Color me paranoid, but I think shows like “Mad Men” set the atmosphere for taking us back where we do not want to go. I enjoy watching, but sometimes I shudder at the thought.

This is our Open Thread. Add your thoughts!

Sunday Roast: January 27, 2012 – Seriously!

It is my favourite of all times:

Get yourself a shoulder of Pork, some veggies, a glass of beer, more beer for yourself and don’t hurry it up, it wants it’s time.

1 l of Chicken Stock
1.5 kgs Pork Shoulder with skin.

(The more fat the better, unfortunately the pigs they breed over here for meat are almost as lean as athletes. You don’t ge a really porky pig anymore and while people think it’s good for your health in my humble opinion it sucks from a yumminess point of view)

3 large white onions
1 small carrot
150 g of celeriac
1 tbsp oil
400 g small potatoes
1 tsp icing sugar
1 tbsp tomato purree concentrated
150 ml red wine
Salt
1 laurel leave
1/2 tsp cumin and coriander each
1 clove of garlic sliced
2 slices ginger
pepper freshly gound
1/2-1 tsp lemon skin grated
1-2 tbsp Fleur de Sel

Now you can get going and the process leaves you quite a bit of time between the stages to either prepare side dishes or go on a run to burn off the calories about to hit you ;)

Put the roast into a pan skin side down add the chicken broth and roast in oven at 130°C for 90 minutes.

Dice the veggies (sans the potatoes) and gently roast them in a pan, add icing sugar gently caramelise, add tomato purree and red wine bring to the boil and take to the side.

After 90 minutes take the roast out of the oven, cut the skin (I do squares) add the broth to the veggies and then all the veggies, the potatoes and the sauce go back into the oven pan. Set the roast on top of it and roast for another 90 to 120 minutes at 160°C.

The Finale: Set the oven to 220°C put the roast on the lowest rung of the oven for 20 minutes.

Mix the cumin and coriander, strain sauce in a pot, set veggies aside. Bring gravy to the boil add cumin and coriander reduce for 20 minutes.

Mix fleur de sel and lemon rind. Sprinkle roast with same. Enjoy!

It’s called Sunday Roast isn’t it? So I made you one.

For you it’s an open thread as well, so enjoy!