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Monday, January 28, 2008

Food Stamp Grocery List

Having decided to take the food stamp challenge in my own way, I went to the store and purchased these items posted on my food blog Recipe Junkie for brevitys sake.

I spent 133.86 and still have left $66.14 for the rest of the month. The expensive purchases were meat, cheese and milk. A couple of chickens, some pork steaks, hamburger, london broil. The idea is to buy things that are on sale, in bulk quanties that you will be able to use for more than just one meal, use leftovers and use the freezer for something other than prepackaged pizza and junk food.

What do you notice about my shopping list? NO junk food. NO fast food. NO pre prepared meals.

Preparation and storage of the food

I bought a lot of meat at one time so to keep it from spoiling you need to separate the portions into meal sizes and freeze for use during the month.

1. De Bone the chicken breasts from the two birds. Freeze two halves of the breasts separately. Cut off the legs and thighs and freeze. Keep the backs and wings for later this week.

2. Separate the hamburger into 2 portions of about 1 pound each and one portion 2 pounds. Freeze the one pound portions.

3. Cut off about 1 pound of the London Broil and freeze the rest.

4. Freeze the pork steaks for later in the month.

Dinner Day One

Stir fried chicken with vegetables over rice.

One whole chicken breast.
Two spears of celery
Half of one onion
One and a half carrot
Half of one head of broccoli
Half of the red pepper.
One and half cups of rice.

This made enough for a large portion for each of us and we have left over stir fry and rice. Way less than $3.00 per person for this meal!!

The stir fry will be a lunch in a couple of days served over cooked ramen noodles. The rice could be used as rice pudding for dessert or as a breakfast dish.

Breakfast Rice

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1 tablespoon brown sugar
2/3 cup milk
1 cup cooked rice
Fresh fruit
Combine rice, milk, brown sugar and cinnamon in small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until thick and creamy, about 10 minutes. Spoon into serving bowl, let cool 3 minutes. Top with fresh fruit

Makes 1 large serving.

Use berries, sliced banana, peaches, chopped apples, raisins ...... Whatever you have handy

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Food Stamp Challenge /= Fat Poor People

Meagan McArdle is being roasted over her article that the poor and food stamps and she has been told by Unfogged to take the Food Stamp Challenge to live on 3$ a day in food.

"What about the argument that the poor are forced into eating high-calorie diets by the expense of produce and whole grains? This is silly on many counts" Says Meagan.

I agree. There is nothing about being poor or being on food stamps that is contributing to obesity. Poor people during the Great Depression, were not obese and they had no free food available to them. They didn't starve either. Most of our parents or grandparents survived the Depression and the food shortages of WWII quite nicely, thank you.

Here is why "poor" people on food stamps are obese.

1. They don't know how to cook and make efficient use of food or leftovers. The schools no longer teach home economics and if you come from a family that has been on the dole for generations you have no one to teach you those skills.

2. They don't know how to budget or plan. Again. If you haven't gained those skills through education or by example you don't know where to begin

3. It is just easier to buy pre prepared foods and high calorie junk food than it is to make meals.

The way that the Food Stamp Challenge is constructed is ridiculous and deceptive. Going out on a daily basis and buying only $3 of food a day? No one does this......not even obese people on food stamps. You get your food stamps once a month and then go to the store to buy food. If you have spent the entire food stamp allotment at one time (poor budgeting skills) then you will need to have some cash to buy items like milk that later in the month. If you cook, you also buy staples that can be used for multiple meals and ingredients that will last for months. This means that in the next month, you will have more available to buy other things.

The $3 a day per person is also deceptive. In California the maximum per person is $152. The average is $89.

Your food stamp allotment depends on the size of your household. The maximum allotment for one person is $152 per month. The maximum allotment for a four-person family is $506. In California, the average amount of benefits per person is approximately $86 per month, and the average amount of benefits per household is $200.

Are you going to eat luxurious meals on a food stamp budget? Not hardly. Can you prepare good, healthy, tasty, nutritious meals on a food stamp budget? You bet.

So then, lets assume that I am a household of 2 people and that I am getting a $200 allotment a month. How will I spend that allotment on food? What meals can I make? I'm up for the challenge.

I will post some of the meals and costs of a $200 budget. Using the rule #3. Eat only food that you have purchased for the project. Does not include spices and condiments. I'm going to assume in my budget that I already own some basic things like salt, pepper, some spices and condiments like catsup, mustard and so on.

One of the problems with food stamps and you assume that they spend no other money on food is: that if you do have to spend every last amount of allotment on food for that one month it doesn't enable the person to accumulate pantry staples like cooking oil, flour, sugar, cornmeal etc. Assuming the person has ZERO food in the house, starting a budget on food stamps is going to be tough.

Next post...... My shopping list and a rough outline of meals for 3 weeks.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Glittering Generalities

Yes We Can. Says Barack Obama. I'm fighting for you. Says Hillary. Two Americas. Says Edwards.

Video of Barack Obama's speech in New Hampshire. It is so full of Glittering Generalities that I think I'm going to go blind. Of course, that is the point: to blind us, make us think with our emotions and not with our brains. This is how politicians get votes and how they keep the rank and file under control

Text: Part of the speech. The most obvious Glittering Generalities bolded.

We've been asked to pause for a reality check. We've been warned against offering the people of this nation false hope.But in the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope. For when we have faced down impossible odds; when we've been told that we're not ready, or that we shouldn't try, or that we can't, generations of Americans have responded with a simple creed that sums up the spirit of a people.

Yes we can.

It was a creed written into the founding documents that declared the destiny of a nation.

Yes we can.

It was whispered by slaves and abolitionists as they blazed a trail toward freedom through the darkest of nights. implied: if you don't vote for me you are against freedom and freeing the slaves you racists.

Yes we can.

It was sung by immigrants as they struck out from distant shores and pioneers who pushed westward against an unforgiving wilderness. implied: if you vote for me you are a pioneer

Yes we can.

It was the call of workers who organized; women who reached for the ballot; a President who chose the moon as our new frontier; and a King who took us to the mountaintop and pointed the way to the Promised Land. implied: if you don't vote for me you are against progress, against the Sainted John F Kennedy and are against Martin Luther King Jr and therefore racists

Yes we can to justice and equality.

Yes we can to opportunity and prosperity.

Yes we can heal this nation.

Yes we can repair this world.

Yes we can.

Aheeee. My eyes. I'm going blind!!

What? We can what? Nothing but Glittering Generalities and vague promises of WHAT? Give us some ideas... concrete ones of what changes you are proposing. Give us some ideas of what your goals are... real ones.... not glittering vague ones.

I'll be ever grateful to a high school Social Studies teacher, back when they actually taught us things and held us accountable for learning, for being introduced to the concept of "Glittering Generalities" and the idea that we should examine speeches for these so we can really understand what is happening to us when people we listen to politicians and others who would persuade us.

Glittering generalities are emotionally appealing words so closely associated with highly valued concepts and beliefs that they carry conviction without supporting information or reason. Such highly valued concepts attract general approval and acclaim. The appeal is to emotions such as love of country, home; desire for peace, freedom, glory, honor, etc. They ask for approval without examination of the reason. They are typically used by politicians and propagandists. The term may have originated with the Institute for Propaganda Analysis.

A glittering generality has two qualities:

It is vague
It has positive connotations

I'm not just picking on Barack. Just listen with a critical ear to Hillary, Romney, Huckabee, Guiliani, Edwards etc. The totality of what I have heard from all of these politicians, with the possible exception of Fred Thompson, consists of these Glittering Generalities. Possibly this is why people find Fred, boring. He is telling us the plain unvarnished truth without the glitz or bling bling.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Grifters Back in the White House

Over the years of watching Bill and Hillary Clinton ,with the same unsettling fascination as watching a snake eat a live gopher, I have finally put my finger on what it is that makes them so repulsive. They are both Sociopaths. The masks that they have worn for years have developed more and more cracks and the rest of the world is slowly waking up to the dysfunctional nature of the Clintons.

Sociopaths are not always the serial killer or the rapist. Quite often they are just the guy or gal next door. They blend well into society because they appear to be normal, intelligent and charming. But that is just an appearance an illusion carefully crafted to be able to get what they want. The typical sociopath is also your typical grifter or con man. They aren’t crazy people. They know exactly what they are doing and do it with ruthlessness.

From “Without Conscience” by Robert D Hare PHD

"Psychopaths are social predators who charm, manipulate and ruthlessly plow their way through life, leaving a broad trail of broken hearts, shattered expectations and empty wallets. Completely lacking in conscience and feelings for others, they selfishly take what they want and do as they please, violating social norms and expectations without the slightest sense of guilt or regret."

Here are a few of the traits of the Sociopath from the Humanities and Social Sciences Dept at the California Institute of Technology. CIT

1.Glibness and Superficial Charm
2. Manipulative and Conning
They never recognize the rights of others and see their self-serving behaviors as permissible. They appear to be charming, yet are covertly hostile and domineering, seeing their victim as merely an instrument to be used. They may dominate and humiliate their victims.
3. Grandiose Sense of Self
Feels entitled to certain things as "their right."
4. Pathological Lying
Has no problem lying coolly and easily and it is almost impossible for them to be truthful on a consistent basis. Can create, and get caught up in, a complex belief about their own powers and abilities. Extremely convincing and even able to pass lie detector tests.
5. Lack of Remorse, Shame or Guilt
A deep seated rage, which is split off and repressed, is at their core. Does not see others around them as people, but only as targets and opportunities. Instead of friends, they have victims and accomplices who end up as victims. The end always justifies the means and they let nothing stand in their way.
6. Shallow Emotions
When they show what seems to be warmth, joy, love and compassion it is more feigned than experienced and serves an ulterior motive. Outraged by insignificant matters, yet remaining unmoved and cold by what would upset a normal person. Since they are not genuine, neither are their promises.
7. Incapacity for Love
8. Need for Stimulation
Living on the edge. Verbal outbursts and physical punishments are normal. Promiscuity and gambling are common.
9. Callousness/Lack of Empathy
Unable to empathize with the pain of their victims, having only contempt for others' feelings of distress and readily taking advantage of them.
10. Poor Behavioral Controls
Impulsive Nature Rage and abuse, alternating with small expressions of love and approval produce an addictive cycle for abuser and abused, as well as creating hopelessness in the victim. Believe they are all-powerful, all-knowing, entitled to every wish, no sense of personal boundaries, no concern for their impact on others.

The Clintons exhibit almost all of the 10 classic symptoms of Sociopathy. Bill’s habitual lying, promiscuity, lack of remorse over abusing women and his out of proportion anger when questioned by others. Hillary’s sense of entitlement, cold reptilian personality, lust for power and lack of concern for anyone but herself. Witness her throwing her staff under the bus, ruining their lives and careers when it suits her purposes and her manipulative ways with not only colleagues but with her own mother and child.

Just imagine the hell on earth that these two sociopaths have created by being wed to each other. They need each other in the way vampires need warm blood and they are shackled to each other by their congruent forms of Sociopathy. Hillary is the more ruthless and power hungry of the two pushing for her ambitions with every calculated move she makes. Imagine the abuses of power that she will feel to be her right if she should ever (God forbid) be given control of our lives and of our nation. At least the abuses of power Bill exercised were merely over the small lives of individuals like Monica and Jessica and other women. With Hillary’s grandiose plans to remake society into her ideal of socialism and her sociopath’s lack of concern for people, do you think that we will have any hope of free will?

The mask is falling off of the Clintons and what is underneath is truly hideous. The “Long Con” is falling apart. It has taken years, even decades, but the citizens--the Marks-- are finally beginning to realize that they have been manipulated. It has taken decades because the Clintons have had enablers and assistants in deceiving the public and keeping the illusion….the media and those who have profited by riding on the political coattails of the Clintons. Do we really want to bring these dysfunctional grifters back to the Whitehouse?