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Gender: Do not display
Current location: Virginia
Member since: Wed Jun 1, 2011, 07:34 PM
Number of posts: 8,034

About Me

Navy brat-->University fac brat. All over-->Wisconsin-->TN-->VA. RN (ret), married, grandmother of 11. Progressive since birth. My mouth may be foul but my heart is wide open.

Journal Archives

Air frying garlic is a simple hack you can use in countless dishes

I'll admit I like garlic more than most. If a recipe calls for a clove of garlic, I'm likely adding four.

But, then again, most people seem to really like garlic. There's like a whole category of Twitter and TikTok jokes about ignoring the "recommended" amount of garlic.

Regardless, I am definitely the target audience for a roasted garlic recipe. When I saw TikTok account @healthysimpleyum post air frying garlic as a hack, I knew I had to try it. Roasted garlic is fantastic, especially as a component of larger dishes. The roasting process mellows the harsh bite of raw garlic, sweetens the flavor, and turns the cloves into soft, smoosh-able pieces. Mush those cloves into butter, or an aioli, or whip it into a salad dressing and you've ramped up the complexity and flavor of a dish.

If you could do that in the air fryer, it would be a fantastic hack because roasting garlic in the oven takes forever and a day. The recipe from @healthysimpleyum promised to get it done in 30-35 mins. A standard oven might take 15 minutes to preheat alone, a process that's done in just 5 for the air fryer. And you know what? That promise turned out to be true — I totally recommend you air fry some garlic.

Recipe in the link...follow it!

'Paper terrorism': Parents against mask mandates bombard school districts with sham legal claims

Jill Griffin had a panic on her hands.

Teachers and staff members of her school district in Bethalto, Illinois, a small town outside of St. Louis, were suddenly worried that they would not be paid. They had seen videos posted online in which a parent who objected to the district’s Covid mask mandate said that she had filed a claim against the district’s insurance, causing the schools to lose all federal funding.

Griffin, the Bethalto schools superintendent, has spent weeks dealing with the fallout.

“You have district officials who are spending time on things like this, rather than on what we need to be spending time on — making sure that our classrooms are covered right now in the middle of a pandemic,” Griffin said.

The parent’s claims were baseless. She had no ability to use the mask mandate to file a claim against the district’s insurance policy, or affect its federal funding in any way.

But the scare tactic has become a familiar one. A growing number of school districts across the country are facing similar challenges from parent activists who have adopted strategies and language that are well known to law enforcement and extremism experts who deal with far-right “sovereign citizen” groups in the U.S. The Southern Poverty Law Center and Anti-Defamation League call it “paper terrorism.”

All these pieces of paper should be placed in File 13.

The strange reason migrating birds are flocking to cities

Ana Morales stepped through the shrubbery, scanning the airwaves with a radio receiver. The device had picked up a signal from a transmitter that she and colleagues had previously attached to a Swainson's thrush, a small brown and white speckled bird native to the Americas. The same signal had popped up on Morales' handheld receiver a few days earlier, emanating from exactly the same bush in a park on the edge of Montreal in Canada.

This was a worry. It seemed so unlikely that the transmitter remained attached to a live bird – more likely, it had fallen off and was hanging on a branch. Just to make sure, Morales, a graduate student at McGill University, gave the berry-laden shrub a gentle shake – and then a flutter of feathers among the branches and shadows caught her eye. To her surprise, the thrush, very much alive and healthy, was hopping about the bush in protest at having been disturbed. This little bird had hung around for longer than she expected.

Swainson's thrushes migrate from northern areas to Central and northern South America every autumn. But some make a "pit stop" in and around cities such as Montreal. For a study published last month, Morales and her colleagues had been researching how Swainson's thrushes balance the need to migrate quickly – so as to maximise its benefits – with the need to refuel, such as by stopping over in places like Montreal. They caught and radio tagged a total of nearly 80 of the birds.

Huge numbers of migrating birds visit cities all around the world on their extraordinary journeys, which often cover thousands of kilometres. It is not always obvious why they come to urban locations. Some appear to be attracted by light. Others, such as the Swainson's thrush in its bush full of berries, seem to enjoy the food on offer. But cities are not always friendly to outsiders.

And why you might find unexpected species right in your own backyard!

146 Virginia police officers decertified, new law expands to include excessive force and lying

The number of police officers pulled from their positions for dishonesty or excessive force is growing in Virginia. According to the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services’ master list, 146 officers have been decertified as of mid-January. Meaning, they’re currently not allowed to serve as law enforcement officers in the Commonwealth.

8News first looked at the Virginia master list of decertified officers back in July. Since then, 46 new officers were added. More than half of the 146 officers decertified were added to the list in just the past two years. The department began keeping a list in 1999.

The increase in decertification follows a push for policing reforms in the wake of the murder of George Floyd, as well as a new law expanding the offenses for decertification to include excessive force and lying.

“We need to make sure only the best are serving,” said Chesterfield Police Chief Colonel Jeffrey Katz.

Katz placed four officers on the decertification list in 2021 and has confirmed they are no longer with the department.

They'll probably go over the line to NC or WV

Virginia school forced to apologize for library sign protesting book bans

A Virginia high school apologized for placing a sign reading “Stuff Some Adults Don’t Want You to Read” among a display of books in its library as a number of schools and communities have debated the teaching or banning of books that address subjects such as sexual orientation and race.

The sign was displayed in the library at Langley High School in McLean, Va. In photos posted on Twitter, it could be seen in front of a display of books including “Roots of Racism” and “Maus.”

The sign provoked strong reactions online.

“This sign from Langley HS in Fairfax County. Wrong on so many fronts,” Pat Herrity, a member of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, tweeted on Tuesday.

“[Fairfax County Public Schools] doubling down on their big FU to parents. This display was for a rising 8th grader parents night. What books a library holds is debatable, but this is just ‘nah nah!’ childishness,” Carrie Lukas, president of the Independent Women’s Forum, a conservative activist group, tweeted a day earlier.

Reich wing snowflakes got their fee-fees hurt again....

'It's a powerful feeling': the Indigenous American tribe helping to bring back buffalo

A trio of bison has gathered around a fourth animal’s carcass, and Jimmy Doyle is worried.

“I really hope we’re not on the brink of some disease outbreak,” said Doyle, who manages the Wolakota Buffalo Range here in a remote corner of south-western South Dakota in one of the country’s poorest counties. The living bison sidle away as Doyle inspects the carcass, which is little more than skin and bones after coyotes have scavenged it.

“If you don’t catch them immediately after they’ve died, it’s pretty hard to say what happened,” he said.

So far, at least, the Wolakota herd has avoided outbreaks as it pursues its aim of becoming the largest Indigenous American-owned bison herd. In the two years since the Rosebud Sioux tribe started collecting the animals on the 28,000-acre range in the South Dakota hills, the herd has swelled to 750 bison. The tribe plans to reach its goal of 1,200 within the year.

“I thought we had an aggressive timeline on it, but the thing’s gotten a lot of support,” said Clay Colombe, CEO of the Rosebud tribe’s economic development agency. “It’s been a snowball in a good way.”

With their eyes on solving food shortages and financial shortfalls, restoring ecosystems and bringing back an important cultural component, dozens of indigenous tribes have been growing bison herds. Tribes manage at least 55 herds across 19 states, said Troy Heinert, executive director of the InterTribal Buffalo Council.


The Groundbreaking Porn Film That Upset the Supreme Court

These days, people can speak openly of adult actors and actresses, the utility of OnlyFans, and all that it offers those on both sides of the screen. Some titillating viewing. A way to indulge exhibitionist tendencies. A side-hustle. A means to procure extra cash, finance a vacation, or even find and build community. There was once a time, however, when you had to all but don a trench coat and fake mustache and duck into a dark theater to see explicit sex on screen.

Let us return to an era when a number of filmmakers made a daring push to bring porn to mainstream America. Behind the Green Door, released in 1972, hails from the Golden Age of Porn, spanning 1969 to 1984. Movie-wise, those first few years stand out. You had filmmakers who were consciously trying to make artistic statements beyond the bounds of the money shot. Among these pictures were the likes of Debbie Does Dallas, Deep Throat, and The Devil in Miss Jones, titles that became a part of the cultural conversation.

As an adult, I’ve returned at intervals to Behind the Green Door, which was directed by a couple of brothers named Artie and Jim Mitchell, who were in the striptease club business and knew their way around the porn world. They remained at it, in some form or other, until 1991, when Jim, in response to complaints about Artie’s rampant drug use from their friends, went to the house of his younger brother and killed him with a .22 rifle, receiving only six years behind bars (serving three).

I’m not sure what to make of any of that. America, in 1972, didn’t know what to make of the film’s breakout star Marilyn Chambers—real name Marilyn Briggs—who became a sensation unto herself. She was born in 1952 in Providence, Rhode Island, and raised in a middle-class family in Westport, Connecticut. Her brother was Bill Briggs, keyboardist of the fine Boston rock band The Remains, who opened for the Beatles on their final U.S. tour in 1966. Chambers worked as a model selling Ivory Soap, and had a small role in the 1970 film The Owl and the Pussycat, where she was credited as Evelyn Lang. Her film-publicity travels for that project brought her to California, and into the orbit of the Mitchell brothers, who thought she resembled the very-big-at-the-time actress Cybill Shepherd.


Why in the year of our lord 2022 am I still getting robocalls???

Someone out there really, really wants to help me avoid expensive car problems.

Their recorded voice tells me that they’ve been trying to reach me about an extended warranty my car doesn’t have, yet which is somehow about to expire. I just have to press 1 to learn more. They’re persistent: I get multiple calls a day from multiple phone numbers across the country.

If you own a phone, you’ve probably had a similar experience. Maybe the call was about something else, like the IRS warning you that your arrest is imminent unless you buy a bunch of gift cards right now, or Amazon asking you about a large purchase you never made, or Marriott offering you a free vacation. (In case it wasn’t clear: These calls did not come from the IRS, or Amazon, or Marriott.) Or maybe it wasn’t a call at all, but a text message about a hold on an account with a bank you don’t even have an account with or a prize for a contest you didn’t enter. Just click on a link or call a phone number to learn more. Maybe you’ve noticed that you’re getting a lot more of those texts than you used to.

By “you,” I mean pretty much everyone in the US who has a phone. Americans are barraged with tens of billions of unwanted robocalls and robotexts every year. As a result, many of us have stopped picking up the phone at all when it rings. According to a recent robocall report from Transaction Network Services (TNS), which offers robocall identification and mitigation services, people accept calls from unknown numbers only 10 percent of the time. Like a hiker in Colorado, who was missing for 24 hours last October because he wouldn’t answer calls from an unknown number (in this case, that number happened to be the Search and Rescue Team).

The Colorado hiker is an extreme, if relatable, example. But unwanted robocalls and texts are more than just a pervasive annoyance or a reason a man was lost for longer than he might have been. They cost me a little bit of time and patience, but they cost the millions of people who fall for robocall- and text-related scams money — a lot of it. Truecaller, a call blocking app, estimates Americans lost nearly $30 billion to phone scams in 2021 (it’s difficult to know the real number, as most people don’t report being scammed).

How can this possibly be a problem, still, in this modern world of technological wonders? Our phones have become tiny computers that are more powerful than what NASA used to land people on the moon. Why can’t they stop an unsolicited phone call? How hard can it possibly be?


Immigrants could help the US labor shortage -- if the government would let them

Amid nationwide labor shortages in critical industries, more than a million immigrants are waiting on the US government to issue them work permits. Without these permits, many could lose their jobs, and some already have.

Biraj Nepal, a Nepali asylum seeker living in Woodland, California, has been working as a software engineer in the IT department of a bank for the last four years. Nepal went on unpaid administrative leave starting on January 26 because his work permit expired and the government has yet to process his renewal application. That has left his employer in a lurch: There’s long been a shortage of IT workers, and the pandemic accelerated that trend as companies went remote. Now, nearly a third of IT executives say that the search for qualified employees has gotten “significantly harder.”

If Nepal isn’t issued a new work permit within 90 days of taking administrative leave, his company will, by law, no longer be able to hold his job for him and will likely look for a contractor to fill his role. Under normal circumstances, that wouldn’t be a concern; work permits are meant to be issued quickly so that immigrants can be self-sufficient even while they are waiting on other applications for visas and green cards, which can take months or years to process. But the backlog at US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has reached crisis level.

“It’s a critical situation here. I’m in a financial crisis,” Nepal said. “We are being punished by the government without doing any crime.”

It only takes about 12 minutes for an official to review an application for a work permit, but an overstretched USCIS still hasn’t been able to keep up. It’s a symptom of broader dysfunction in America’s legal immigration system, which has not seen major reform in decades and was a target of former President Donald Trump.

USCIS is now taking about eight months to a year to issue work permits at the National Benefits Center, its main processing center. Federal law directs that the agency take no longer than 180 days to process those applications. It was abiding by that timeframe pre-pandemic, but that’s not a hard legal requirement. It’s taking so long to issue new permits that, according to the latest available data from the agency, the backlog stood at more than 1.48 million pending applications as of the end of September. The agency doesn’t track the number of people who have lost their jobs as a result.

This bureaucratic backlog is a problem for immigrants who are applying for work permits for the first time and for those who are seeking to renew their employment authorization. The permits are typically valid for two years and some can be automatically extended for 180 days, but after that, an immigrant can no longer legally work.

The delay is affecting a range of immigrants, from asylum seekers to beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program. There were nearly 11 million open jobs as of the end of December, many in industries ranging from tech to trucking that need every worker they can get right now. Those industries heavily rely on immigrant workers, and due to pandemic-era policies that have prevented some 2 million new immigrants from coming to the US, the available supply of those workers is smaller than it otherwise would be. The US needs to leverage its existing immigrant workforce, but the work permit backlog is standing in the way.

They might also *ahem* become US citizens!

The Nigerian artwork challenging British history in St Paul's

Spotlights pick out the rhinestones in Victor Ehikhamenor's giant rosary-bead tapestry so that it sparkles, brightening up part of the crypt in the 17th Century cathedral.

This image of the oba, or king, of Benin dominates the space, through which thousands of visitors pass every week, and draws the eye.

Next to it - barely readable and tarnished through time - is a much smaller brass memorial plaque in honour of Admiral Sir Harry Holdsworth Rawson, who led a punitive expedition in 1897 to the West African kingdom of Benin.

He oversaw the British soldiers and sailors who destroyed a centuries-old civilisation, looting and burning down the oba's palace in what is now Benin City in the Nigerian state of Edo.

Their looted treasures - thousands of metal sculptures and ivory carvings made between the 15th and 19th Centuries and collectively known as the Benin Bronzes - are now at the centre of a debate about the return of artefacts taken during the colonial era.

But as his plaque recalls, Rawson was revered at the time for his exploits right across the British Empire.

This is a beautiful thing and I would love to see it!
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