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Showing posts from February, 2012

Post 5.17 - Model Students

PBS Newshour recently aired a story about cyber schools and discussed some of the effects of this model on education. The issues are really very interesting, but I think the piece highlights the issues in each competing model for education. And given the profits quoted for the cyber school, it's clear that education can be done more economically.

However, I think the proper solution for all students lies somewhere in an amalgam of these models.

I know a lot of teachers, and they all struggle with students of varying calibers, with budgets, with supplies, and with curricula with respect to the time allotted. I know parents who home school, use cyber schools, use Montessori schools, and other parents who are constantly looking for ways to give their children the best possible education. If nothing else is evident, education is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. Different students thrive in different environments and with different methodologies.

My mother wanted to send me to a Mo…

Post 1.20 - Pollo Perfecto

One of the reasons I like to cook chicken or with chicken is that it often tastes great with very little effort. Sure, you can bread it, marinate it, poach it, cover it in barbecue sauce and grill it -- but a little salt and pepper and 40 minutes in the oven can taste amazing, too.

So I have two recipes for you today.

The first is one I prepared for my mother at her suggestion. She is diabetic, and this recipe is diabetic-friendly (i.e., low-carb, high protein), and so easy as to be ridiculous. The result is delicious.

The second is one I have made several times in bulk, as the individual portions freeze and sous-vide or microwave beautifully.

Both can be served with rice, vegetables, or both -- but you'll see when you try them. No heavy sauces here, but amazingly flavorful.

American Pie Chicken  (from the original recipe here)

Non-stick cooking spray
4 boneless skinless chicken breast cutlets (4oz. each)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup apple butter
1/4 cup shredded r…

Post 1.19 - Tomayto, Tomahto

I grew up in an era when less was known about many of the food allergies we hear about today. And all my life, while loving the taste, I've had a problem with tomatoes. Which is to say, typically, I have the runs.

We're all friends here, right? :-)

In a recent conversation with my mother, I learned that as a toddler and younger, I would get a rash on my face whenever I ate tomatoes. In other words, an allergic reaction! She was explaining how she could get me to eat anything with tomato sauce by telling me it was pizza, and then casually mentioned the after effects.

But like I said, it was a different time.

Anyway, in changing my diet in recent years, I have found that I can eat tomatoes without incident, depending on how I prepare them. I simply have to seed them first. I am not allergic to the skin or the "meat" of the tomato -- the part I like best anyway -- it's the mucus covered, acidic seeds that do me in. So I can make tomato sauce, I can add tomatoes to s…

Post 2.17 - The Clash

When I started writing the posts for this week, I had planned my usual diversity of articles discussing all the topics I usually do. But it's been a remarkable week politically.

Tuesday saw the resignation of Karen Handel from Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, after the defunding then refunding of Planned Parenthood. The Republican voters also handed victories to former Pennsylvania Senator and far-right conservative Rick Santorum (R), giving renewed life to his campaign.

Wednesday saw the Ninth Circuit of Appeals affirm the federal court ruling that California's Proposition 8, banning same-sex marriage, is unconstitutional.

And all week, the talking heads on the various networks have been discussing the Obama Administration's decision to require insurance coverage for birth control, even for so-called religious institutions who may believe differently.

Since this post is prepared in advance, who knows what today may bring?

But if nothing else is true, it is a fairly sure …

Post 2.16 - Proposition Hate

"Proposition 8 serves no purpose, and has no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California, and to officially reclassify their relationships and families as inferior to those of opposite-sex couples." -Judge Stephen Reinhardt, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, 07-Feb-2012
Proposition 8, voted into law in 2008, was California's ban on same-sex marriage. The campaign was largely bankrolled and supported by the Catholic Church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, various Protestant evangelical sects, and various conservative groups from around the country, including the National Organization for Marriage. The ruling yesterday upheld the earlier federal court ruling that the law violates the U.S. Constitution.

As I discussed yesterday with respect to the liberal/conservative paradigm, this is another case of conservatives denying rights to someone. For the moment, this is a losing proposition with respec…

Post 2.15 - Running Path

We are in the thick of the race for President here in the United States, but the ongoing circus that has been the selection process for the Republican candidate has not been the only news. Last week, in the continuing War on Women, a leading breast-cancer focused charity, Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure announced that it would no longer provide grants to Planned Parenthood ("PP"), the leading provider of women's health services to poor and underserved populations in the U.S. The Komen organization stated that their new criteria for providing funds to other organizations required that such organizations not be under federal or state investigation, and PP is currently under such investigation.

The reaction to this decision and the "criteria" has been swift and vocal, both from pundits and the general public, and the Komen organization has been forced to reverse their decision. The damage, however, has been done.

So why did this all happen?

PP also happens to be …

Post 1.18 - Frankenfood

I hope to be back to my recipes for next week's post, but I wanted to take a moment to talk about home gardening, especially in regards to some recent items in the news, namely, the continuing controversy over Monsanto and related companies with respect to genetically-engineered foods.

In a nutshell, industrial food interests have continually and successfully lobbied the USFDA and governments in other countries to avoid having to identify which foods have been genetically-engineered, denying consumers any choice in the matter. Foods are modified primarily to make them resistant to pests, but it doesn't end there. Some seeds are modified with a so-called "terminator" gene, which results in the adult plant not producing viable seeds to be replanted, forcing the farmer to repurchase new seeds for a new harvest. However, there is now evidence that some genetic modifications result in damage to benign species. The collapse of honeybee populations has been investigated for…