Saturday, March 31, 2012


From Canal de Boek Zabe, Adrienne Rich's North American Time

The poet passed away this week in her late eighties.  Margalit Fox has this New York Times article about her life and workAmy Goodman here, at Democracy Now!, and speaking with Alice Walker and Frances Goldin.

Adrienne Rich herself talking here about cultural bias in relationships and writing poetry.

Broccoli Recipes

courtesy of
posted by WMassToNC
new to gardening;  or, how I grew broccoli and
some other vegetables in raised beds and not from seeds

As per the photo above, I have blogged on this subject before, and especially since I am interested in food.  You can even forage this stuff as well as more exotic varieties.  Could getting, say, health care be as easy?

Not in America, many say.  And I wanted to catch up on what our USSC gurus have been up to, on that matter, this week.  So like most informed Americans, I went to Jon Stewart (first) .. then Steve Colbert .. both of whom discuss .. plants ..

More seriously, I had checked in on (and found worthwhile reading),  as linked, Paul Krugman (also broccoli)..  The Washington Post  (Mythology) .. Truthout (Translations) .. and Common Dreams  (where I found that Rose Ann DeMoro posed what had to be the most important question of all ..)

Supreme Court Judges Have Access to Guaranteed Care, Shouldn’t You?

Yes, I think I should.  Hey, that wasn't hard to say.

She further points out:
More striking, this case which dominated the court’s agenda and massive media coverage this week did not need to be in front of the court at all. If the Obama administration and the Democrats on the Hill had fought for the reform they should have pursued from the outset – lowering the Medicare age to zero.
I know why that happened.  As does every other American adult.

Ms. DeMoro states that 4 justices who disagree (Scalia, Kennedy, Ginsburg, and Breyer) still have one thing very much in common (and apart from her argument's thrust, so do all of them - which is not the case for far too many Americans - sharing quite the opposite experience):

They won’t have to [and none of them have to] worry about being bankrupted by medical bills, about being denied needed treatment their doctor recommended because some insurance bean counter deemed it ‘experimental’ or ‘not medically necessary.’
They won’t have to worry about being barred from choosing the provider of their choice because they were ‘out of network’ or forced to keep an unwanted job to maintain their present employer-paid coverage.
Why? It’s not just because of their wealth, or even their federal paychecks or federal health plan.
It’s because all four are over 65, and thus eligible for Medicare – which gives the four justices the same guaranteed coverage that every other American at 65 has. The same coverage that all Americans need and deserve [at every moment of their life].
Regrettably, none of those roadblocks are removed under the law the judges spent so many hours debating
For more than 45 years, Medicare has stood the test of time and law.
It works, even when its opponents try to underfund or privatize or destabilize Medicare.

When will they ever learn?  We already have a damn good broccoli recipe!  Call everyone in to dinner and let's eat.

Nevertheless, and nobly still, the first three journalists (serious and comedic) take on the broccoli argument, and much more effectively (it appears) than the Obama Adminsitration's counsel.  In a nutshell, says Paul Krugman (and in case you're hearing about this for the first time), it all started with the "exchange in which Justice Antonin Scalia compared the purchase of health insurance to the purchase of broccoli, with the implication that if the government can compel you to do the former, it can also compel you to do the latter." 

Can you believe these people?

He continues (for we must):

That comparison horrified health care experts all across America because health insurance is nothing like broccoli.

Got that right,  says this blogger.  Or growing it, or foraging it like wild dandelion greens ..not to mention that not eating it doesn't kill you or help cause the deaths of tens of thousands of innocent people .. who desire its crunch ?

I take a breath.

Furthermore, says Mr. Krugman:

When people choose not to buy broccoli, they don’t make broccoli unavailable to those who want it. But when people don’t buy health insurance until they get sick — which is what happens in the absence of a mandate — the resulting worsening of the risk pool makes insurance more expensive, and often unaffordable, for those who remain. As a result, unregulated health insurance basically doesn’t work, and never has.

God bless you, Mr. Krugman.

So this is the point, America:  We can live without broccoli.  We can't live without health care.

(And this is why we also need a better education system.)

Paul Krugman seems to predict a demise of the mandate in this court;  Mr. Colbert and legal analyst Emily Bazelon bump heads thus:

One of Jon Stewart's sum-ups (below) which is pretty much how I felt about following it, mostly because I agree with Rose Ann DeMoro's main point, and, I'm tired of watching this circus.  It's only in town because there are so many lobbyists.  And when there are lobbyists in the mix, we know the end of this tale!

Like Spike Lee says, Just Do ThE RiGht THing.  For a change.

In an alternate universe, the justices, taking the advice of director Spike Lee, throw everyone out of the room, declaring that, we already have a very good broccoli recipe - Medicare to Age Zero!  That under the Constitution, health care is a right, and an improved Medicare is to be opened to the entire country immediately, and funded through taxes.  Perhaps one or the other also writes an impassioned, historic opinion that separate is not equal - in medicine either - and discusses the rationality of doctors making decisions about health care treatment on the basis of the quality of a person's insurance policy rather than the quality of their health - or the effort to deliver quality health care unconditionally, and regardless of socioeconomic status.  There is only one status in health care delivery (or should be), and that is human status!  This brings in a whole lot of Amendments, and in between, they can talk about public schools, fire departments, the police, public libraries, post offices - and how - health care belongs in there with the rest just as much, if not moreso.

But this isn't about Great Court Opinions in an Age of Reason in an Era of Scientific Enlightenment in an Advanced, Civilized, and Sane Society;  heck, it's not even about good broccoli recipes.

It's just about lobbyists and corporations, and at this point, a court that passed Citizens United with justices appointed by politicians who were elected because of who was funding them.

Let's make more.

Friday, March 30, 2012


Anderson Cooper phone interviews another witness who has come forward, having seen Trayvon Martin's death from his window.  He sounds very credible.  His account places Zimmerman and Trayvon well on a lawn, and far from the sidewalk where Zimmerman claims Trayvon punched him and banged his head on the cement.  From this eyewitness account, Zimmerman shoots Trayvon while he's lying on top on him, and the teenager is lying face down in the grass.  When Zimmerman gets up, he does not appear injured, and Trayvon is motionless, with the witness describing himself as thinking something like, "I've just watched this man kill him."  The video of the interview is below.  Another video has since emerged showing Zimmerman in police custody.  This video substantiates the witness' description of Zimmerman as uninjured, the window account and video at odds with a police report stating that Zimmerman was bleeding from his nose and the back of his head.  In addition, the mother of a 13 year old witness is now asserting that the police pressured her son to provide more details than he was actually able to recall.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Heaven Help Us All

The wonderful Joan Baez.  She just gets better.

Teach In

From Consumer Watchdog, Jamie Court discusses the USSC review of the health care legislation, and especially as it pertains to California where rates have become so high.


courtesy of
artist:  Marylu Downing
painting title:  Pasta

lemon pepper pappardelle pasta with roasted shrimp and tomato


large pot to boil water

2 baking pans (aluminum foil, optional)
small bowl and large spoon

very small bowl or large cup and fork (for egg and oil)
cutting board and large knife with a seraded edge

small cutting knife (for garlic)

large serving bowl


a package of frozen TJ Wild Argentinian Shrimp

4-5 tomatoes on a vine

about 8 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced

kalamata olives, to taste

olive oil, to taste

1 large egg

1 large, juicy lemon, sliced in half

grated parmesan, romano, or asiago cheese, to taste

seasonings, to taste

smoked paprika

rosemary powder

sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

courtesy of wikipedia
photographer:  Istvan Takacs
Hungarian Paprika Vendor - Budapest Big Hall



1.  preheat your over to 350 degrees. 

2.  slice your tomatoes into about 3-4 ovals per tomato.

3.  pour some olive oil into a baking pan.  one tomatoe slice at a time, *grease it* briefly in the olive oil, flip, *grease* the other side and slide it over to make room for another tomato slice to be treated similarly.  do this for each tomato slice until all are oiled and arranged in the baking pan, with the bottom of the pan oiled as well.

4.  add about 1/2 of your garlic clove slices, sprinkling them over the tomatoes.  

5.  season with salt, pepper, basil, rosemary, and thyme.

6.  at this point, you can also add your kalamata olives to be roasted - or save them to be added later to the pasta, uncooked.

7.  place in oven for 30-40 minutes until the tomatoes are beginning to carmelize and brown nicely.

courtesy of wikipedia
photographer:  Jack Gavigan
tomatoes on display at
Borough Market in London


1.  in your mixing bowl, pour a small pool of olive oil, add curry and smoked paprika to taste, and mix with a spoon.

2.  add your frozen shrimp and toss, somewhat, since they are frozen, and some pieces may be stuck together and so on.

3.  add the juice of 1/2 lemon and toss some more.

4.  season further with salt, pepper, rosemary powder, thyme, and basil - tossing again.

5.  spread the shrimp in another baking pan (if some are frozen together, don't seperate them), sprinkle the other 1/2 of your garlic slices throughout, and put aside until it's time to put them in the oven.

6.  put the shrimp in the oven roughly 15-20 minutes before the tomatoes are finished.

7.  when the tomatoes are removed from the oven, raise the heat to broil, and finish your shrimps in the broiler for about 5 minutes, turning them 2 or 3 times in that short period.  (watch them carefully here.)

8.  after removing the shrimp, squeeze the juice of the other 1/2 lemon on them.

courtesy of wikipedia
photographer:  Donar Reiskoffer
Lemon Tree at the Amalfi coast, Italy


1.  put your salted water on to boil so that it is ready for adding pasta about 10 ten minutes before the tomatoes and shrimp are finished.

2.  follow the package directions for preparing the pasta - which is about 10 minutes boiling.

3.  while pasta is cooking, beat a large egg with about 1/4 cup olive oil or a little less.

4.  drain your pasta, when finished, in a collander.

5.  put pasta in a large bowl and toss quickly with egg and olive oil mixture.  see further blogging on simple egg sauce here.

now for art: 

in individual plates or the serving bowl - distribute your tomatoes, shrimp, garlic, and olives (roasted or not).  be sure to dribble the juice from the shrimp roasting pan on top of the pasta, as well.  add grated parmesan, romano, or asiago. 

serve and enjoy!  nice with a glass of red wine.  crusty bread and salad is also lovely, of course, with pasta.

courtesy of wikipedia
photographer:  Nick Fraser
The fruit of an olive tree
by the Dead Sea in Jordan, 2005

more pasta blogging here.

- o.s.r.

Monday, March 26, 2012

How Can We Smear Thee

Let us count the ways when justice is hiding.  Think Progress reports here on that campaign against Trayvon Martin, including a discussion of the empty plastic bag blogged earlier with pot traces.  TP asserts this information was selectively leaked by the Sanford Police Department in an attempt to ruin the teenager's reputation, a story also (and obviously) irrelevant to the murder of a minor walking home with skittles and ice tea to watch sports on television. 

From Huffpost:
The Sanford Police Department insisted there was no authorized release of the new information but acknowledged there may have been a leak.  City Manager Norton Bonaparte Jr. said it would be investigated and the person responsible could be fired.
Martin family attorney Benjamin Crump said the link between the youth and marijuana should have no bearing on the probe into his shooting death. State and federal agencies are investigating, with a grand jury set to convene April 10.
"If he and his friends experimented with marijuana, that is completely irrelevant," Crump said. "What does it have to do with killing their son?"  
The state Department of Juvenile Justice confirmed Monday that Martin does not have a juvenile offender record. The information came after a public records request by The Associated Press.
"They killed my son and now they're trying to kill his reputation," said Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon's mother.

Meanwhile, the Sanford Police Department still has not charged and arrested George Zimmerman - which is what their job is supposed to be in an alternate universe.

Below is a new rap song written for Trayvon by Jasiri X (based on "No Church in the Wild" by Jay-Z & Kanye West), and in a performance and protest hosted by the House of the Lord Church in Brooklyn, New York.  You can read Jasiri X's lyrics at the youtube link and also see another video version here where Jasiri walks listeners through events that evening directly in the gated community neighborhood where Trayvon was killed.

Poetry In A Hoodie

British poet, Anna Freeman, sharing her original work, Middle Class - dedicated to her 15 year old self in a hoodie.


A police officer as a real peace officer, on the side of The People ...

Courtesy of
Photographer:  Joe Dyer
Seattle Police Department Det. D. Cookie Bouldin protests
the shooting death of unarmed Florida teenager Trayvon Martin.

Can we have more of hers at Occupy Wall Street?

The officer was simultaneously working at - while joining in - at a Sunday afternoon Seattle protest decrying the Sanford, Florida police department's handling of the shooting death of teenager Trayvon MartinThe Stranger reports in new information that Trayvon was murdered while serving a suspension sentence by his school district for possessing a plastic bag with trace amounts of marijuana.  Shedding new questions, I would think, on school suspension policies, not anything else.  The officer pictured above in a hoodie carrying Skittles is described as a beloved peace officer in the Seattle community. 

For those just tuning into this story, Trayvon was wearing a hoodie and carrying an ice tea and skittles he had just purchased at a convenience store when he was killed by a self-appointed neighborhood watchman, a Mr. Zimmerman, spewing racist profanity.  (And why protesters are dressed in hoodies carrying the same items.)  Mr. Zimmerman was not arrested and he was even released by police still in possession of the murder weapon.  Last this blogger heard, he was last seen driving out of the Sanford area in a Uhaul, and no one knows where he now wanders with his John Wayne.  In Florida or some other state ..

The march had a huge rainbow crowd of hundreds, all ages, most wearing hoodies.

Courtesy of
Photographer: Joe Dyer
Children march in hoodies to protest police handling of Trayvon's murder.

Courtesy of
Photographer: Joe Dyer
Sunday afternoon Seattle demonstration decrying police handling of Trayvon Martin killing.

Here is an interesting and enlightening protest sign:

Courtesy of
Photographer: Joe Dyer

I wonder what Geraldo has to say about that? 

More terrific and some very moving photographs of the march here at seattlepi.

Saturday, March 24, 2012


The police kick protesters out of Union Square when nightfall arrives.  They arrest a man for lying down and closing his eyes.  Demonstrators mic check an officer who tells the crowd they will be able to return in the morning, but that lying down in the park - in the daytime too - will not be allowed ...  which sounds, to this blogger, like a blatant violation of the Constitution - in addition to their arrest of the gentleman shutting his eyes - and throwing people out at night.  Union Square, of course, is also a public park - and literally - a public square.  According to wiki, it is under the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation.  OWS earlier reported that police also told people they could not have signs in the park. 

By the way, you may have wondered who or what Zuccotti is (it sounds like a pastry!) - as in the private park renamed Liberty Square and now policed by private henchmen.  Well, if you didn't know, John E. Zuccotti is a businessman active in the Republican and Democratic Party (yes I said that as one).  Here is some quickly googled financial information about Mr. Zuccotti's compensations from Brookfield Properties and Wellpoint - the largest managed health company in the Blue Cross Blue Shield Network - and the largest publicly traded health insurance company - just in 2008, and via Forbes.  Wiki reports that in August 2009, Anthem Blue Cross contacted employees and told them to get involved in opposing Congress' plan for health care reform ..

You may or may not recall single payer protesters marching at Occupy Wall Street - culminating at Saint Vincent's Hospital - now closed - leaving no hospitals in Manhattan on the West Side below 57th Street.

I have a question for the police officers in New York City with grown children no longer under their health care plans:  how is their children's and grandchildren's access to health care?  And to officers still raising families - how is it going to be?

Friday, March 23, 2012

Don't Let Nobody Drag Your Spirit Down

Eric Bibb at the Black Rock Center For The Arts in Germantown, Maryland. 


Amy Goodman interviews Cecily McMillan

Mango Smoothie

courtesy of wikipedia
posted by Vinayaraj
a mango tree in full bloom in kerala, india

mango smoothie


tablespoon or large spoon
tall serving glasses


about the equivalent of one-two frozen mangos, depending on size, the fruit chopped into bite-size chunks
1 fresh banana

1/2 - 1 cup non-fat plain yogurt (alternatively, plain greek yogurt)

a couple of cups of orange juice (preferably not from concentrate, no pulp)

condiments, to taste

chocolate syrup
non-fat whipped cream in a can
chopped walnuts (alternatively, chopped almonds or pecans)

spices, sprinkled


courtesy of wikipedia
photographer:  Magnus Manske
Banganpalli mangoes sold at Guntur, India


1.  clean your hands and break your banana up in the blender.

2.  add your frozen mango chunks, spoon in your yogurt, and pour in your orange juice.

3.  blend to desired thickness, pour in glasses, leaving some room for your condiments.

4.  in the following order, add to each glass a few swirls of chocolate syrup, then a twist of whipped cream, sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg, and top with chopped walnuts.

Enjoy!  Serve with spoons on plates for any spillage or mess.

courtesy of wikipedia
posted by Böhringer
walnut seed shell inside its green husk


instead of mango, use frozen raspberries or strawberries or blackberries.  frozen blueberries work too.

other stuff

health benefits of mango here, banana here, berries here

the 1913 nobel prize winning poet from India, Rabindranath Tagore loved mangos, and uses lovely imagery from the trees, fruits, and blossoms in his poetry. a example via poemhunter and beneath a photo of Rabindranath and Gandhi ..

The Gardener XIII: I Asked Nothing

I asked nothing, only stood at the
edge of the wood behind the tree.
Languor was still upon the eyes
of the dawn, and the dew in the air.
The lazy smell of the damp grass
hung in the thin mist above the earth.
Under the banyan tree you were
milking the cow with your hands,
tender and fresh as butter.
And I was standing still.
I did not say a word. It was the
bird that sang unseen from the thicket.
The mango tree was shedding its
flowers upon the village road, and the
bees came humming one by one.
On the side of the pond the gate of
Shiva's temple was opened and the
worshipper had begun his chants.
With the vessel on your lap you
were milking the cow.
I stood with my empty can.
I did not come near you.
The sky woke with the sound of
the gong at the temple.
The dust was raised in the road
from the hoofs of the driven cattle.
With the gurgling pitchers at their
hips, women came from the river.
Your bracelets were jingling, and
foam brimming over the jar.
The morning wore on and I did not
come near you.

Thursday, March 22, 2012


Amy Goodman interviews Benjamin Jealous, President of the NAACP, concerning the murder of 17 year old Trayvon Martin.  Mr. Jealous is calling for the killer's immediate arrest and the Sanford, Florida police chief's ouster.  Over a million people have signed a petition here, calling for prosecution.

The Los Angeles Times has reported in the last six hours that Sanford police chief Bill Lee has temporarily stepped down under mounting pressure.  CBS reports that Trayvon's parents state that they are not satisfied with the temporary removal of Bill Lee and want the killer, Ronald Zimmerman, arrested, and a conviction for the murder of their child.  MSNBC is currently reporting that Florida governor Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi are appointing a new prosecuter to investigate the case. 

For futher background, Ms. Goodman has this article, Walking While Black: The Killing of Trayvon Martin.  She writes,
NAACP President Ben Jealous, recounting a mass meeting in a Sanford-area church Tuesday night, quoted a local resident who stood up and said, “‘If you kill a dog in this town, you’d be in jail the next day." Trayvon Martin was killed four weeks ago, and his killer is still walking the streets.' 
'With his gun,' adds Ms. Goodman, as Mr. Zimmerman's gun was not taken away either.

AP Photo/HO, Martin Family Photos
Trayvon Martin, 1995-2012

On Wednesday, thousands took to the streets of New York City, livestreamed by Tim Pool, chanting "We are Trayvon Martin!"  Thousands reportedly marched in different locations, one group effectively eluding several attempts by police to "corral" or "capture" demonstrators - including on the Brooklyn Bridge - and by rapidly switching directions as a *unified mass* and continuing to march and voice their outrage.

In the Democracy Now! video and video posted at the LA Times website, Trayvon's mother speaks to protesters, stating, "Our son did not commit any crime.  Our son is your son.  I want you guys to stand up for justice and to stand up for what is right.  This is not about a black and white thing.  This is about a right and wrong thing."


Teach In

John Stewart takes on another Big Q:  America's confusion over the meaning of socialism.  Also seeming like an appropriate enough teach-in topic given Cecily McMillan's association with Democratic Socialists of America.  If I hadn't read Rolling Stone, I would have missed this gem ..

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


More information coming in about the OWS protester - Cecily McMillan - who had a seizure while in police custody.  Prior statements that she was beaten by police appear confirmed by more video that has surfaced, shown below - one police officer can be seen swinging a club;  also, a witness known only as "Anne" reports seeing her clubbed and kicked by the police at close range.  It also turns out Ms. McMillan has been targeted for police brutality previously, as reported in a November 10, 2011 Rolling Stone article, "Inside Occupy Wall Street," and when, after engaging in a attempt to "charge Wall Street," a police officer pepper sprayed her, then 'knocked her down, stepped on her head and snarled at her, "Shut up. You get what you deserve, cunt bitch."'  A former cheerleader, Ms. McMillan is Northeast regional organizer for the youth section of the Democratic Socialists of America.  She is a twenty-three year old graduate student at the New School, and she is also employed as a nanny.  The Guardian reports that she was transfered from the hospital to NYPD's midtown south precinct where she was kept in a 6' X 21' cell with twenty-one other women.  Cell mates say that she was so badly bruised, they tried to give her as much room as possible because it was too painful for her to be touched at all, and they just took turns holding her hand to try to comfort her.  "She was just crying hysterically and showed us all her bruises all over her body," stated Jennifer Waller who also saw her convulsing in the street.  "They told her at the hospital that she would be brought back to the precinct for 20 minutes and then she would be seeing her personal doctor.  Twenty minutes turned into many hours."  Ms. McMillan was eventually transfered to Bellevue with the extent of her injuries and treatment not yet released to the press.  Her attorney was unable to speak with her privately until shortly before a court appearance.  In court, Ms. MacMillan's face was visibly quite bruised and the attending police officer told people waiting for her to have pain killers immediately available.  The judge released Ms. McMillan after denying the D.A.'s request to have bail set at $20,000. and after confirming that a police officer elbowed by Ms. McMillan when her arm swung behind her was not even injured.

Here are the additional videos;  footage also shows her having the seizure, her head hitting the sidewalk repeatedly, and confirming numerous reports that police did not provide first aide - indeed, people even scream repeatedly for her to receive assistance, telling the police that she is having a seizure, and demanding that the police call a medic and an ambulance for her, but New York's Finest does not.  People also yell at NYPD:  "Shame!  Shame!  Shame!"  You can hear the earlier reported phone conversation to 911 made by the witness who said he telephoned, and that it did not appear from the conversation that the police had contacted paramedics at all.  Witnesses also time the appearance of an ambulance as taking 17 minutes.

*  Inset photo/Cecily McMillan via Facebook

Mediterranean Sundance

Another rare recording - the full video of Paco de Lucia and Al Dimeola's live performance of Mediterranean Sundance at Friday Night In San Francisco.


Occupy Wall Street crowds presently marching in the nighttime streets of New York City with livestream coverage via Tim Pool reporting thousands outraged over the Florida police handling of a deadly shooting of an unarmed teenager, Trayvon Martin.  The identified killer has not been arrested. 

At the time of this posting, protesters were heard loudly chanting, "We are Trayvon Martin!"  and "Whose street?  Our street!"  Shortly before, marchers headed on to Brooklyn Bridge chanting, "Whose bridge?  Our bridge!"  NYPD followed them with paddy wagons, when the demonstration suddenly shifted direction and went another way.  Tim Pool reports that the protesters shifted directions several times very effectively as a unified large crowd, successfully eluding a number of attempted police interventions.

OWS also reports arrests at Union Square - where OWS appears to be relocating - with police telling demonstrators they are not allowed to have banners.

A couple of hundred energetic demonstrators marched yesterday as well, and via 1 Police Plaza, demanding Police Commissioner Brian Kelly's resignation, and in response to widespread incidents of police brutality and excessive force at the 6 Month Anniversary Celebration for OWS.

Also - Jason Leopold at Truthout is obtaining DHS documents on Occupy Wall Street the reporter previously requested through the Freedom of Information Act - still uploading now as the documents come in from the Department of Homeland Security.  Truthout is also seeking documents under the F.O.I.A. from the F.B.I. and N.Y.P.D.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


courtesy of wikipedia
photographer:  B.navez
avocado fruit and foliage

quick guacamole (or, easy avocado dip)


small knife

mixing bowl


about 3 ripe avocados of any variety

1 tablespoon non-fat plain yogurt (alternatively, greek yogurt)

2-3 tablespoons olive oil

the juice of 1 lime (alternatively, 1 lemon)

a few tablespoons of pico de gallo

courtesy of wikipedia
photographer:  Prosthetic Head
lime and blossom growing in south spain


1.  slice your avocados in half around the pit.  separate the two halves, remove your pits, and make a number of criss-crossing slices into the inner fruit to ease removal.  then scoop out the flesh with your tablespoon into the mixing bowl.

2.  mash the avocados with a fork, then add your yogurt and other ingredients and mix well.

Enjoy!  Serve in a plate of your choice with chips or raw vegetables on the side for dipping.  Garnish with cilantro and an olive or two.

photographer: Bruno Girin
avocados in a market in santiago atitlan guatemala


1.  chop and add small pieces of kalamata or canned black olives.

2.  chop and add small pieces of green olives.

3.  in lieu of pico de gallo, add a couple of diced tomatoes, chopped cilantro to taste, a few slices of chopped onion, a crushed and chopped garlic clove, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste, a few dashes of tabasco sauce. 

courtesy of wikipedia
photographer:  Ethel Aardvark
"Persea americana" (Avocado) flowers and foliage


the earliest evidence of human avocado use dates back to 10,000 B.C. found in a cave in Coxcatlán, Puebla, Mexico.  human populations were collecting wild avocados at that time, with evidence suggesting avocados first domesticated around 5,000 b.c. and avocado seeds first documented in writing in Oaxaca around 1,200 b.c. 

avocado trees held a sacred significance to the mayan comparable to cacao (as blogged in the recipe for decadent hot cocoa).  along the sides of the artistically famous sarcophagus for Mayan King Pakal, his ancestors are depicted sprouting from several trees important to that region, including the avocado and cacao plants. 

courtesy of wiki
pacal the great
reigning July 29, 615 – August 31, 683 CE
(he ate avocados)

the word 'avocado' (by the way) comes from the Nahuatl word for testicle  - ahuacatl - refering to the fruit's shape and (I guess) the way it hangs on a tree (see top photo) - and with the earliest English reference to the word, "avocado," in a 1696 index of Jamaican plants by one Hans Sloane.  avocados were known to the aztecs as a fertility fruit.  In the pre-incan city, Chan Cha, anthropologists found a water jar dating 900 a.d. shaped to resemble, they say, an avocado. 

spanish conquistadors brought avocadoes to europe in the 16th century, and thanks to mr. sloane, we know it was growing in jamaica by the 17th century.  the fruit was introduced to Indonesia in the 1700's, and over the centuries, was making its way to Brazil, South Africa, and Australia, among other locales.  avocadoes were brought to Florida and Hawaii in the early decades of the 19th century, and California, in the 1870's.  500-1,000 varieties are reported today from 3 types - Mexican, Guatemalan, and West Indian.

avocados are loaded with nutrition, including more potassium than bananas, and more protein than any other fruit.  Here is a clear web page on avocado nutrition facts, along with a video on ripeness and cutting.  i prefer to use a small knife for guacamole (but cannot make safety recommendations - the host discusses knife safety) - and as she describes, a ripe avocado will open (or twist open easily after you cut it around).  to remove the pit, I squeeze that side a little and it pops or pushes easily out. 

courtesy of wikipedia
posted by Krish Dulal
tomatoe baskets in Nepal

Monday, March 19, 2012

Union Square

Courtesy of Forgotten Delights
George Washington, by Henry Kirke Brown, dedicated 1856.
South side of Union Square, facing 14th St. between University Place and Broadway. 

Occupy Wall Street reports that a number of demonstrators have moved from Liberty Square to Union Square where several OWS protests have previously converged.  About 70 protesters have slept overnight at Union Square without tents, but blankets and sleeping gear, some calling it "The New Occupation."

The OWS website is providing directions to get to Union Square and a message to NYPD: 
Squash us in one park, we will reappear in another! You cannot evict an idea whose time has come!
Protesters should go to the south side of the park, on the concrete part by the steps.

General Strike

CBS news and The Wall Street Journal report that OWS activists, apparently at a news conference today at Liberty Square, have called for a May 1st general strike over the newspapers' arrest count of 73 individuals. 

I don't see any announcement yet at the OWS website.  However, Union Square - according to Wiki - has "historically been the start or end point for many political demonstrations" in New York City.  Below, a photograph from a 1913 May 1st demonstration from the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Online:

Courtesy of Wikipedia
Posted by Goldsztajn
Crowd gathered in Union Square, New York City during the May Day parade, May 1, 1913.
Signs in Yiddish, Italian and English. 


In response to NYPD violence against Occupy Wall Street protesters, YourAnonymousNews is circulating a petition calling for" full, independent investigation by the state Attorney General into the active suppression of the movement by the New York Police Department including, but not limited to:

1. The use of taxpayer funds to infiltrate and monitor peaceful Occupy protest planning

2. Departmental practices that lead to, or allow for, the violent dispersal of crowds and the violent arrest of protestors

3. Civil rights violations of protestors by the police"

Editor's Note:  Revision.  This post incorrectly reported earlier that some protesters had moved to Union Square, with 70 sleeping overnnight without tents at Liberty Square.  The 70 protesters, however, stayed overnight at Union Square.  So this blog is understanding that OWS is, indeed, moving to Union Square, and other news reports since initial posting confirm OWS announcements for a May 1, 2012 General Strike (for example, here).  I suppose developments in the days to come will provide further clarification one way or another about locations and events.

Bearing Witness

Information being exchanged about March 17th-18th developments at Liberty Square where protesters were celebrating the 6 month anniversary of the movement when police moved in to stop peaceful freedom of assembly.  Occupy Wall Street reports 100 arrests in New York, 4 in Los Angeles on felony charges and requesting bail donations,  and 14 in the Midwest.  Occupy Boston protesters set up tents in the Boston Commons, protesting the arrests.  I am not seeing further reports on the fate on those tents.

Numerous witnesses are describing incidents of police brutality and excessive use of force, with youtubes documenting incidents and stories.  In the video below, the police drag a woman protester across the street while her skirt is pushed above her buttocks.  They then leave her lying there in the middle of the street, exposed.  One officer can be seen glancing over and smiling as if it were funny, and you can see officers inappropriately touching her upper thighs as she lies handcuffed in the gutter.

In the next video below, police can also be seen roughly shoving and arresting people, and an officer holding one woman down on the street with his knee in her neck so that she can't breath.

In the following video, witnesses describe (among other accounts) an arrested woman having a seizure and being left on the sidewalk by police in the midst of this seizure with no first aide.  A witness who telephones 911 describes a conversation indicating that the police may not have even contacted paramedics at all.  Another witness in the video recounts how the woman who had a seizure was first reportedly dragged across the street by police, her skirt lifted;  so perhaps it is the same woman in the first video.  A witness also states that she was beaten.

In the livestream clip below at 3:40, via OWS, police can be seen smashing a medic's head into a window with so much force that it shatters the window.

In the second video, one protester extensively confronts police off-camera while they film,also stating that they are recording badge numbers.  The following is a transcript of some of her statements to police, with some officers appearing sympathetic, and one even nodding in apparent agreement with her about crooks on Wall Street, at the end:
Peaceful protest! Everybody’s been peaceful!  Nobody’s been violent except for NYPD – why is that? We know your pensions are up for grabs by Wall Street.  You should be on our side. We’re fighting for your kids, your future – you should not be brutalizing and terrorizing protesters!
This is a peaceful protest. No one was here to do any harm. The use of force today was completely unjustified. It is just plain wrong! Just plain wrong. Protect and serve the people not Wall Street – you know that already. What happened to courtesy, professionals, and respect? All these people from out of town – is this what we show them New York City is about?  Is this what New York’s finest wants to show America and the world that’s watching what we’re about? When people came here to speak up for justice – for your futures and your kids? Our civil liberties and rights and the constitution?  I don’t know who’s giving you your learners – is it Bloomberg, a billionaire, who does not understand the suffering of the working people?
(Another woman protester off camera) They ARE the working people!
(Protester continuing) You ARE the working people! You should be on our side protecting these kids who came to fight for justice! Not terrorizing them and throwing them to the ground and beating them up! Yes, we got it all on videotape and it will be on youtube, of course!  What did you think?  We did get everyone's badge numbers and there will be accountability, so be careful what you do today and be careful who you hurt! People came here for a very noble cause! Why are you here? Just for a pay check? A pay check?
(Policewoman then approaching camera and protester speaking)  Open the street up!  Anyone in the street will be arrested!
(Protester continuing)  I saw an incredible amount of police brutaility today. a completely unjustified level of use of force. I myself was pushed around for simply standing here, simply video taping, simply exercising a constitutional right
(Another policeman gesturing to move away) Get out of the street, ma’am – get out of the street – get out of the street -
(Protester continuing) This is my home town
(Policeman) All right – but get out of the street – you should be standing on the side walk
(Protester continuing) We survived terrorism here – why should we be terrorized here today – we’re paying for you with our tax dollars – we pay you to protect us – not to beat us up –
(Another protester calling out off camera) These streets are so dangerous, I need a helicopter to watch it!
(Protester continuing) If you want someone to arrest – there’s plenty of crooks on Wall Street!
(Police man nods in agreement)
(Protester continuing) Plenty of crooks!

So .. who are we protecting?  Who are we serving?