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Sunday, November 30, 2014

Thoughts on the situation in Ferguson

While I support the police, this support is not unconditional. They are human. They have prejudices and hatreds and bad days just like the rest of us.

I don't know all the facts in the Ferguson situation. I do know that both the prosecuting and defense attorneys had major conflicts of interest and should have been excused. The defense's tactic of trashing the deceased's character was inexcusable. The dead can't defend themselves. Provable facts are what courts should rely on, not hearsay, might-haves, and supposition.

I believe lapel cameras that can't be turned off would be an excellent idea for all police. This would both protect the police from false accusations and protect the public from police who abuse their power.

In the case of Ferguson, I believe the actions taken by the officer in question were wrong. That boy didn't deserve to die for what the officer thought he might do. He didn't deserve to die for anything he actually did.

The riots and looting are a separate issue. I firmly support our right in this country to peaceful protest and civil disobedience. I do NOT support rioting and/or looting. From the statements coming from the actual residents of Ferguson, it appears a lot of the looting was committed by outsiders as the residents huddled in their homes. There's no way to prove it one way or the other, of course.

While race, sadly, always has a part - racial bias is still strong in this country - the biggest factor in riots like this is simply poverty. As long as the Powers That Be keep the minimum wage too low to live on, as long as they keep shipping more and more blue-collar jobs overseas, as long as they keep raising the price on a decent education, situations like this are going to become more frequent. Ignorance and poverty are soul-killers. When people see no way out, when they see the rich grabbing up more and more while they have less and less, when the rich sneer and tell people that they're poor because they're lazy and demonize them, they have nothing to lose. When the laws of the land are obviously stacked against them, they have no reason to obey them.

May the laws of karma punish the guilty and ease the pain of the victims. And may we one day see each other as fellow humans, who come in a variety of shades of brown.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Thanksgiving with friends

The husband and I had a lovely Thanksgiving at the home of our friends Peggy and Larry. I took sweet potatoes cooked in a savory way and the cranberry salad my Mom always made, and our hosts provided the rest. We are planning to reciprocate soon with a traditional Korean supper of bulgogi, a beef barbecue dish (not spicy) that my husband makes especially well. As our house is too small to entertain even 2 people, we'll be bringing it to their house.

After dinner, the men went into the family room and talked politics - having found each other kindred spirits - and the two librarians sat in the living room and discussed work and our favorite crafts. Hers is quilting and mine is knitting. We may be trading a quilt for a sweater one of these days, though both of us lament the lack of time and energy to indulge our respective fiber obsessions.

For people with sugar issues or just wanting something different to do with sweet potatoes, here's that recipe:

Garlic Basil Mashed Sweet Potatoes
(serves 6-8)
1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes
1 1/2 tablespoon basil, chopped (I used dried)
2 cloves garlic (I buy the pre-diced garlic in the jar - I figure a clove is about 1/2 teaspoon)
2-4 tablespoons (to taste) SOFTENED butter.
Salt and pepper to taste.

Boil sweet potatoes as usual (remove peels)
Mash them with the above. That's it. Easy enough for everyday, and not loaded with sugar.

Marge's Cranberry Salad
(serves 12)
1 small box red jello, any flavor. I'm partial to raspberry.
1 small orange, peeled and diced (I use kitchen scissors)
1 small apple, cored and diced.
1 rib celery, diced
1/2 package fresh cranberries, chopped (blender, add a bit of water and use pulse until they're fine enough. Then drain well)
1/2 cup sugar to taste
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (or not, as you prefer)

Mix the fruit, sugar, and nuts.
Prepare the jello according to the package. When it's half-set, add fruit mixture and stir. Chill.

This can be made with Splenda and sugar-free jello if you want. Looks as good as it tastes. I took a pic with my dumbphone but can't seem to get the picture off it.