Rights and Responsibilities

I’ve spent much of the past 24 hours contemplating the Constitution, and the RESPONSIBILITIES that go along with all the Rights it grants us.

During the run-up to the recent election, Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, Sharron Angle, Michele Bachman and others, advocated a violent overthrow of the government if they did not get their way at the polls.  Yesterday, a duly-elected Democratic Representative from Arizona, Gabrielle Giffords, was gunned down in public by a disturbed young man who has publicly railed against the government using language not dissimilar to that spouted by Palin, Beck, Angle, and Bachmann.  Perhaps his actions were not directly caused by their hate-filled speech, but it is difficult not to believe that with so much hatred in the air perhaps some of it filtered into this one particular disturbed mind.

Many years ago the first-year students where I was teaching were required to read the U.S. Constitution over the summer before they came to college.  Once they arrived on campus, our task was to engage them in discussions of the Rights and Responsibilities presented in the Constitution.  I remember how difficult it was to get them to recognize that ANY of the Rights might also entail Responsibility of any kind.  Lots of talk about their FREEDOMs, but much mental blockage on the topic of Responsibility.

I fear our current new class of lawmakers may suffer from the same Freshman-itis.  I was hoping that their recent reading of the Constitution on the floor of the House might have opened their ears and minds to the monumental responsibility involved in being a citizen.  Alas, they managed to take the Freshman approach even to reading the Constitution (by choosing an abridged and modified version rather than actually reading the whole thing—which really is not very long anyway.  Read it for yourself at http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/constitution.html).

All I have heard for the past year is “FREEDOM FREEDOM” and proposals that “Second Amendment Remedies” might be an appropriate solution to any situation in which you don’t get your own way.  It is time for someone to stand up and say STOP!  If you spew hatred with your First Amendment Right, then you better be prepared to take responsibility for the consequences.  Stop hiding behind the skirt of “Free Speech” and take responsibility as a citizen for being part of something larger than yourself.  A government by the people and for the people cannot be based on an “all about me” approach.  So far I’ve heard lots of folks de-crying the act of violence, but none of the Republicans who originally incited it have issued an apology.

I’m not holding my breath waiting . . .

Update: I wrote the above before seeing Keith Olbermann’s excellent commentary on this same subject on MSNBC:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Happy New Year!

Okay, so it’s been awhile.

I actually typed up a bunch of recipes just before New Year’s, but apparently I forgot to post them . . .

I made Spinach & Ricotta Stuffed Shells for Christmas dinner, which included making homemade tomato sauce, which got me thinking about Deep Dish Pizza (because my tomato sauce recipe was developed, over 30 years ago, from one included in a recipe for Deep Dish Pizza).

I should mention that it’s been a few years since I made this Deep Dish Pizza, but I used to make it quite a bit. Growing up outside Chicago in the 60s and 70s, Deep Dish Pizza was all the rage. Making it yourself takes all day, but the result is INCREDIBLE! The crust, from a buttery egg dough, is so yummy that many people prefer to save it and spread it with butter as a separate treat. A great party can be had from doubling the dough recipe and having guests bring their favorite topping ingredients. Back before I owned a pizza stone and deep dish pizza pans, I used to bake these pizzas in any oven-safe frying pan (cast iron is good, or anything that doesn’t have a handle that will melt in the oven). Using different size pans also allows you to personalize the pizzas for different guests.

Nothing else much new on the cooking front, though I just placed an order from King Arthur Flour, so my search for the perfect Italian Bread recipe will be on again soon. I ordered Duram Flour, Semolina and a special Italian Style Flour in the hopes that some combination of these will do the trick!

Of course I’m very excited about the recent inauguration of President Barack Obama. I have to refrain from singing “Oh Happy Day!” everywhere I go 🙂 I posted lots of inaugural links to my Facebook page, but will try to include some of them here for those of you not on Facebook.

But all this writing about food has made me hungry, so I must go get some lunch!

The Day After the Morning After

Election Day was long, but worth the wait. My trip to the polls was uneventful. Took about 30 minutes, no ID required (I was already on the list; here in Minnesota we just sign by our name on the list). I was #565 to vote that day (around 11 am), so they were handling about 100 people per hour.

Then the waiting started. I occupied much of the day watching reruns of “The West Wing” on video tape. Also took advantage of the warm temps to apply tung oil to my new windows in the TV room. Took a nap during a lull in the road construction still going on in front of my house. Baked “Stuffed Squash” as a wish for the “squashing” that I hoped would happen in the election . . .

Once the polls started to close I checked in occasionally with CNN, but I have no patience with all the talking heads on TV, so kept watching The West Wing until 9pm when Jon Stewart & Stephen Colbert came on Comedy Central with Indecision’08. When the big announcement came at 10pm (CT) I switched over to WGN from Chicago and watched the celebration in Grant Park.

I was thrilled for Barack Obama and his family, relieved that any Republican attempts to steal the election were thwarted, in awe of the accomplishment, and very proud of my country. All of the talking and arm-twisting and cajoling was worth it (for once). I sat back and just absorbed the celebration and the speeches.

The morning after made me realize that this was the first time in my 28 years of voting that I was truly happy with the outcome of an election. I had supported a candidate that I believed in; AND HE WON!!

1980 had elected Reagan. The morning after that one I was so shocked by the outcome that I went into a pretty serious depression (helped along by John Lennon being murdered) for months (maybe years).

The Clinton years were a bit of a relief, but only financially. In terms of social policy, things continued down hill. After saying during the campaign that he would reverse the military’s policy on gays in the military, he almost immediately agreed to the inane “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. Later he agreed to “Welfare Reform” that hurt millions of women and their children. And I’m not even mentioning his inability to keep his pants zipped . . .

The Bush years (senior and junior) are still too painful to think about. I was beginning to think that US society had become SO stupid and mediocracy so overwhelming that we would never elect a president who could speak in complete (even eloquent) sentences.


I’m not really ready to jump from “Yes We Can” to “Yes We Did”. As far as I’m concerned, this is just the first step. The real challenges of “Yes We Can” are yet to come. To fix the financial mess, provide health care to all our citizens, rejuvenate our education system, get out of Iraq, repair the planet, and restore the standing of our country with the world will require work and sacrifice by all of us. At least now (I hope) our government won’t try to brush the problems under the rug and tell us to “go shopping”. Most of us can’t afford to do that anyway.

We will all need to keep remembering “Yes We Can” and work together. I pray that the hole isn’t so deep as to be impossible to crawl out of. May God and the Secret Service protect President-elect Obama and his family. May we all call on the better part of our nature to look to the future.

God Bless Barack Obama


God Bless America



Election Day

Getting ready to head off to vote.  Drinking my coffee and waiting for my oatmeal to cook (so I’ll have a full tummy in case there’s a long line at the polls).

The day did not begin well.  The morons at Minneapolis Public Works picked today to start digging up the street in front of my house (which happens to be half a block from the local polling place).  At 6 am they arrived with their big truck and back hoe.  Since then they’ve added more heavy equipment.  They’ve just finished sawing the pavement and are now using jackhammers to break up the asphalt.

Some of you know that I have a bit of a bad history with jackhammers.  I worked in an office where they decided to jackhammer cinderblocks in the basement beneath my office at the same time they were tuckpointing bricks on the exterior of the building.  For a month I couldn’t hear myself think or talk on the phone because of the noise.  I lost a filling from the vibrations.  And I still have ringing in my ears.  Needless to say the sound and vibration of a jackhammer sets my nerves quite on edge.

I’m trying to re-vision the road work as part the revolutionary changes that I hope begin today . . . but it’s a stretch! 🙂

More after I return from the polls.

Ups and Downs


Apologies to anyone who has had difficulty accessing this site or my main homepage lately. Seems all the excitement of Super Tuesday has set California a-quiver. And Dreamhost.com, my server host, is located there. Most of the time the outages are only for a few minutes, though lately there have been a couple that were much longer than that.

My hope is that it’s all those people donating money to Obama ’08 that are causing servers around the nation to crash and burn 🙂

I’ve been munching on some yummy Rugalach (fresh from the batch I made in December and then froze), watching the snow fall, finishing Mansfield Park by Jane Austen, and preparing for the warning-level wind chills that are on there way.

Stay warm!