Pie Crust

By Persephone

This recipe is very basic, but it’s also totally awesome.  It’s easy and creates a rather flaky crust.  Just make sure to follow the recipe to the letter.  I once doubled the recipe and doubled all the ingredients except the butter.  That was some of the driest crust I’ve ever had.

In a bowl, blend together 2 cups of flour, 1 tablespoon of sugar, and 1 teaspoon of baking powder.  Cut in 2/3 cup of cold butter with a pasty knife.  Then mix in 1 egg (jumbo or extra large), 1 tablespoon of vinegar, and 1/3 cup of water.  Mix in gradually with a pastry cutter or fork.  Add in a little extra water if needed.  Roll the crust onto a floured board.  Should make two crusts.

SO MUCH DRAMA!!!!

By Persephone

So, I haven’t posted for 18 days.  That seemed like forever to me, but I literally just turned in my very last assignment for the term about five minutes ago.  I won’t bore you with the details, but this was all homework for an education class.  If you’ve ever taken an education class, I’m sure you just winced.

Yeah.  It’s like that.  Education itself might be fun.  You get to learn all sorts of cool stuff when you’re taking interesting classes like English or Geography.  Even Psychology can hold a certain appeal.  It’s at least fun to make fun of Freud.  He kept on preaching that babies had a sexual oral fixation and that all women possessed penis envy.  Seriously.  It’s really easy to make fun of Freud.

But taking classes on education is about as boring as you can get.  There’s only so many times you can hear the words, “prior learning” and “differentiated instruction” before you start to wildly reconsider your life choices.

Speaking of life choices…just what the fuck has been going on the last couple weeks?  Sweet zombie jesus, it’s been insane.  First, Trump fires the FBI director without any warning.  His PR people (some of the most overworked employees that this country ever made, I’m sure) scrambled to cover up for him, saying that President Trump had of course never fired Comey because of the Russian investigation even though he totally did.  We know this because President Cheeto immediately admitted it in an interview.  Never mind that such a confession means that our Commander in Chief committed obstruction of justice and could be impeached just for that and face criminal charges.  Such an allegation would only actually take effect if our government wasn’t so corrupt that you don’t even need to squint anymore to see the nepotism and bribery.  Because they simply like pissing off their constituents at this point, evidently.

Then, of course, our president didn’t stop there, now did he?  He met with a Russian ambassador, which the American media couldn’t watch.  Yet, the Russian media was allowed.  Because that isn’t suspicious at all.

We also learned that Trump revealed sensitive classified information to the Russians during this meeting, and that later Trump admitted that it was information pertaining to Israel.  Because this world doesn’t make sense anymore.

Then Trump went on that lovely overseas trip that pretty much sealed the deal on our reputation as a foreign power throughout the world.  Americans are a joke, and only President Cheeto seems oblivious to this fact.  It wasn’t just that easily mockable picture of Trump fingering a globe with some Saudi Arabians.  It isn’t simply the dumbass grin on Trump’s face as the pope stared despondently at the camera, having spent more than 10 seconds with our president.  God knows that would bum anyone out.  Jokes also abound around how Trump can’t shake hands with the French president or talk to NATO without insulting the shit out of them.

No, he’s a joke because he really doesn’t know how to talk to foreign leaders without acting like a pompous douche-bag.  If he had the brains to match that ego, we’d still find him a douche-bag.  Just a competent one.

As it is, he stunned every foreign national he encountered with his general stupidity, his ignorance of anything not in his narrow scope of knowledge, and his overall dickishness.  I’m just sorry that these other governments were subjected to all this.

I sure didn’t miss him, though.  It was kind of nice having him gone.  We could breathe easier somehow.

But now he’s back, and something tells me that the crazy train has yet to finally reach its ultimate destination.

Luckily, I’m back, too.  And I’m prepared to mock this asshole for as long as I need to.  It’s my moral imperative.

 

HE’S OUUUTTT!!

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By Persephone

After 15 days in jail for organizing protests against corruption all across Russia, Alexei Navalny is out!  Yay!  Why do I care?  Why, because I follow his youtube channel, of course.  This is a guy who’s running against Putin, the biggest blowhard of them all.  Considering our current President, that’s no easy feat.

Ever since producing a documentary covering the corruption of Dmitry Medvedev, Russia’s Prime Minister and Putin’s puppet, Navalny’s been a bit of a hero of mine.   His videos as well as his blogs are informative, containing more than just a touch of dry humor.  Every time I watch one of his videos, I’m struck by how much  he loves his country.  However, considering just how many others opposing Putin have died horribly, I have sometimes wondered if Navalny is somehow another plant of Putin.  I’ve read others’ speculations wondering the same.  I’m still not sure how to feel about this one.  On the one hand, it is weird for Putin to allow such a political rival to breathe, but I also can’t see what’s in it for Putin to produce a threat to his long regime.  It’s a puzzle.  The less trusting side of my nature isn’t sure how to handle him.

But that’s my disclaimer.  I realize that Navalny might not be who he says he is.  Yet, I watch his videos like the avid fangirl that I am.  When he speaks, I see a brave man who puts himself in harm’s way to discover just what’s going on with the Russian politicians who are so used to being in power that they’ve grown careless.  He’s funny, he’s caring, and he doesn’t bow down even when jail and embezzlement charges loom over his head.  To me, he’s everything a hero should be.

And now he’s out of jail.  And already organizing another rally.  Squee.

Picture from Radio Free Europe

The Last 60+ Days Sure Have Been Good for the Crafting Industry

By Persephone

So…I love to knit, crochet, and cross stitch.  What with school and work, though, I rarely get the chance to utilize these hobbies.  I’m usually lucky if I find the time to breathe.  However, President Cheeto’s election truly inspired me in this area.  I’d never seen a pussy hat until the Women’s March the day after his inauguration, but I learned rather quickly.  Between my neighbor and myself, we’ve used our knitting skills to help us cope through this difficult time…as you can see below.  There’s 15 completed so far…

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We’ve had so much fun, too.  My neighbor (and great friend–I want to grow up to be just like her some day) loves to knit these hats when watching the news most of all.  She finds it calms her.  She also likes to glare at the yarn as she works, thinking, “Screw you, Trump.”  Her words, not mine.

This afternoon, she came up with idea (and the supplies) to start adding some fuzzy string to the pattern to come up with new textures and colors.  I loved this idea so much that I started working it into some bright fuchsia yarn that I just bought this afternoon.  I’m already halfway through, as you can see.

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So, what do you think?  I think it’s turning out quite Cruella Deville, myself.

Man, Trump’s presidency sure is boosting the crafting sales.  And newspaper subscriptions.  And postcards.  Hey, look!  He is creating jobs.  Rock on.

I Guess This is Sort of a Vacation Week…of Sorts

By Persephone

It’s not like me to get so lazy…I haven’t posted for several days, and that simply isn’t like me.  Skipping a day here or there is the norm.  Ignoring this website for the majority of the week isn’t.

I really don’t have an excuse.  I haven’t had time or energy, true, but I rarely do.  I’m still reading the news–including the recent discoveries of Trump’s involvement with the Russian government on top of his war with the media.  These are things I really want to write about, but they’re also things I’d like to see play out a little bit further.  Mostly, my motivation’s just sort of gone this week.  I’ve worked every day, and I’m still recovering from all that studying for my test on Monday…which I passed.  Unfortunately, I still have one more test to study for.  Sigh.  Plus, I’m trying to finish up a class.  My final is next week.  Oh, joy.

Anyway, I’m sorry to have neglected this website.  In a Trump storm, it’s proven my salvation.  I can read about the injustices and uncertainty then write about it.  My words give me clarity.  Plus, it grants me the illusion of assisting the resistance in some way.  There are plenty of other ways I will continue to do so.  We have to keep him busy, people!

 

 

Trump’s America: The Recipe

By Persephone

In view of Trump’s recent tirades on both his press conference as well as the rally in Florida, I decided that our Sunday recipe should be devoted to him.  That’s clearly what he wants, anyway: things to be devoted to him.  I guess it’s all about knowing your audience…

Ingredients:

  1. Unending adulation.  Be sure not to skimp on this.  As most incurable Narcissists, President Cheeto really doesn’t cope with negativity directed his way.  He wishes for admiration, and that’s that.
  2. Total agreement.  The press says that what Trump truly values in his staff is unshakable loyalty, but I’m going to have to argue the nuance on this one.  I bear unshakable loyalty towards my family and certain friends, but that doesn’t make me stupid or blind.  If my niece lied to the entire country, I’d call her on it.  That’s what it means to be loyal.  You stick by them even when they screw up–when you admit that they screwed up.  Trump just doesn’t want people who’ll tell him when he’s doing something wrong.  He’s surrounded himself with “Yes” men.  There’s no one to stop him or at least argue with him.
  3. No immigrants, unless they’re rich.  Despite his own family’s immigration status, Trump really doesn’t understand or even want to understand that other cultures exist and that members from those cultures might want to enter the U.S. and enrich our already diversified, beautiful population.  As a privileged, white male, he bears no empathy for poorer folks just trying for a better life for themselves and their children.  It’s only the businessmen and the models that he gets.
  4. Lots and lots of attacks made via “radical Islamic terrorists.”  If such terrorists started to attack Americans right now, he’d be thrilled.  The more he could cite just how right he was in instituting a Muslim ban and instilling fear into white Americans, the happier he’d be.  Fear of being forgotten and of the remote chance of being attacked by immigrants is what got him elected.  So, clearly, he wants more of that.
  5. A never-ending election.  He likes seeing that adulation firsthand.  Talking to the press means that he has to answer for his actions.  Nobody likes that.  In a rally, he only has to preach to his own psychotic choir.  Besides, policy is hard.  It was the election he found fun.
  6. Hot women, and hot women only.  Also, no lesbians.  He’s only interested in those women that would reciprocate in a little pussy-grabbing from his own tiny hands.  Oh, and these women shouldn’t be too smart, as intelligence intimidates him.  It must kill him that Melania has a brain.
  7. A press that only asks him easy questions that portray him in a good light.  Because gods forbid the media asks him questions that actually mean anything.  Even when he admits that their sources are reliable and the facts are real, he tells the media right to their face that they’re dishonest.  Um…shouldn’t we want reporters to do their jobs?  God knows they didn’t pull their punches with Obama.  I’m also really uncomfortable that calling the media “fake” or “dishonest” is pretty much Step 1 in the dictator’s handbook.  Can we talk about that?
  8. Democrats to remain the minority in both the House of Representatives and the Senate.  With Democrats out of the way, the dickless Republicans can sit out their civic duties with minimal consequences.  They certainly don’t care about their constituents more than their own agenda.  They’ve got a Republican in the White House, and they’re busy passing their own legislation even as they placate the asshole in the ill-fitting suit.  More Democrats would put a halt to their shenanigans.
  9. An easing-up of incest laws.  We all know he wants to sleep with his daughter, Ivanka.
  10. Lots and lost of travel expenses.  That’s right, taxpayers (a group which doesn’t include Trump).  We’re paying for all the security around his wife and kids, and they keep traveling everywhere.  Plus, Trump keeps forcing the Secret Service to rent out apartments in Trump Tower as well as seats on his plane, since he doesn’t want to use Air Force One.  They’ve already cost us millions of dollars, and we haven’t even hit the end of the first month yet.
  11. No people of color…or, at the very least, only people of color who sit down and shut up.  Lacking basic empathy, Trump’s head hurts having to hear about things like racism and wage gaps.  Having to talk about such things as president truly upsets him.  He’d prefer all non-white people to just sit out his term as president.

 

Once all these ingredients are gathered together, Trump will have everything he’s ever wanted.

Let’s just hope that the 61 million plus people who voted for him will get everything they wanted, too.

The rest of us sure haven’t.

 

Separate and Equal

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By The Oracle

President Cheeto has come out against the Johnson Amendment, which makes it so the Clergy can’t endorse a political candidate from the pulpit.  He believes it violates the First Amendment.  (The rule also applies to universities and charities.)  Essentially, because of their tax free status, it would make political contributions tax deductible and that would be…wrong.  You shouldn’t get tax breaks for political donations.

But this leads me to a larger problem that I see in society.  The separation of church and state is eroding around us.  The federal government is prohibited from making laws establishing a religion or creating laws to limit a religion.  The framers had seen firsthand the craziness that had gone in Europe when governments fought over religion.  Not to mention how many religions fled to North America to escape religious persecution.  The framers understood that government involvement in religion was dangerous.  Because here’s the rub, when governments get involved in religions…they have to pick one.  And then it’s a fight over which one gets dominion over the others.  Many think, “Hey, as long as it’s Christianity,” but Christianity isn’t actually a religious denomination.  There are a lot of flavors to Christianity, and if you don’t think the Baptists, Catholics, Mormons, etc. wouldn’t fight over this, you’re insane.  The framers of the Constitution knew that if our country was to be a welcome place to many faiths, the government would have to be separated from religious matters.  There were practical reasons for this; the country would have been awash with blood from the beginning if they hadn’t.  The Catholics were in Maryland.  The Puritans had New England.  Pennsylvania was controlled by the Quakers.  Many religions called America home before America was America.

Now, many in this country resent what they see as a limit on their faith.  It’s almost as if the fact the government is not involved in religion is seen as a form as persecution.  That their religious views aren’t dominant in government denies them legitimacy.  This was the exactly the sort of thinking that our founding fathers were trying to guard against.  These are the folks that freak out when the Starbucks cup is non-denominational, or when someone says “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.”  They also fear Sharia law and other faiths’ religious practices gaining a foothold in government.  What it boils down to is because they’re not first, they feel marginalized.  Instead of vigorously defending government staying out of their relationship with God, they want to impose that relationship on others.  They want government to force people to worship as they do.  Unfortunately, the minute they start opening that up, other religions show up.  For example, the Oklahoma State Legislature passed a law making it so that religious statuary was welcome on the state capitol’s grounds.  (They wanted a statue of the Ten Commandments.)  The Satanists almost immediately petitioned to put a statue of Baphomet up.  The Christians almost sighed in relief when the Oklahoma Supreme Court struck down the law.  It turns out they didn’t want to see a goat headed demon on their lawn.  But they never seem to understand that if you open it up to one religion; you open that same doorway to all the other religions.

And they will tell you that they’re just exercising their right to worship as they will.  To a certain respect, they’re right.  You can be bound by religious law, but only with members of your own religion.  Sharia law is going on, but only among certain members of the Islamic community.  It is part of how they show faith.  But Catholics don’t have to follow those rules.  And Muslims don’t have to take communion.  Baptists don’t have to keep the Sabbath.  Only Scientologists have to study Xenu.  The list goes on and on.  Unfortunately, the conflict comes about when in the exercise of your religious rights, you infringe on others’ religious freedom.  The whole Kim Davis fiasco in Kentucky is an excellent example.  She had every right to decide not to issue licenses, but she should have immediately resigned her position because of her inability to keep her oath to the county.  For religious reasons, she could no longer do her job.  If she had quit, I would have admired her greatly, but because she tried to force her religious beliefs on people outside her religious community, she crossed a line.

I’m seeing more and more “religious freedom” laws, which are just poorly veiled laws that let conservative evangelicals walk over people of competing faiths.  They can have religious objections to doing parts of their job, and still get to do it.  Pharmacists can be against birth control, but because of faith they can’t be fired, even though they won’t do their jobs.  OB/GYN’s could decide they don’t do abortions even though it’s one of the things that specialty should be able to do.  (Dude, you should have become a cardiologist.)  You’re seeing this a lot with the LGBTQ protection laws.  It is weird how many bakers don’t want to make cakes for gay weddings.  (I would be all over that.  There’s a lot of money in gay weddings.)  And it doesn’t matter that the people you’re serving are not a member of your faith, but they’re being forced to adhere to the rules of your religion. That’s where I feel it crosses a line.  I have no problem if you have religious objections, but the minute you make others follow the rules of your religion you’ve gone too far.  It’s one of the reasons I disagreed with the Supreme Court on the Hobby Lobby case. In the decision, the Justices decided that the owner’s religious rights were more important than the worker’s legal right to certain types of birth control.  But they never considered the worker’s religious rights.  What if their religious beliefs had no problem with those types of birth control?  It makes the owner’s religious freedom more important than the faith of their workers.  Why should their workers have to follow the religious tenants of another religion?  Which religious rights should come up on top?

It’s a thorny issue, but it’s one that needs to be addressed.  A strong separation was put in place to protect religions from just that fight for dominance.  Our country is home to many faiths that are able to worship God as they wish without fear of persecution from the government.  We set up a secular government to insure that all religions would have a level playing field, and it’s time that we address the vandals trying to dig holes in it.  At some point, someone is just going to get hurt.

Picture from kfor.com

Why the Dakota Pipeline is a Big Deal

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By Persephone

President Cheeto has certainly experienced quite the busy first week, hasn’t he?  Right at the forefront of his multiple executive orders are his “immigration reforms,” which have already received significant media and activist attention.  While I find his ban of legal citizens from certain (as in Middle Eastern) legal citizens extremely troubling, that gauntlet has already been taken up by much more powerful individuals than myself. Several federal judges have already postponed it, proving that Trump cannot just destroy every principle this country was built on without a fucking fight.  There’s not a doubt in my mind that he will reinstitute this ban, but the ACLU will fight him tooth and nail.  They have the Constitution on their side; I have to believe that Trump will eventually lose this battle.

However, he’s also frozen all grant money to the Environmental Protection Agency.  Employees of the EPA have even been told to stay off social media and simply not speak to anyone about what is going on under the new presidency.

Yeah, there’s nothing hinky there.

On top of his secretive reformation of one of our most important federal agencies, Captain Cheesepuff is currently trying to resurrect the Dakota Access and Keystone XL Pipelines.  Why does that matter so much?  Well, in the case of the Dakota Access Pipeline, we’re talking about almost 1,200 miles of pipe underneath American soil transporting gallons upon gallons of crude oil.  While the planned-out route has for the most point avoided heavily populated areas, this is still a troubling prospect.  If the pipeline bursts, it could result in the irreversible pollution of groundwater as well as the deaths of thousands of wild animals.  Don’t believe me?  Just check out Canada‘s luck with this particular problem.

Luckily, the Dakota Access has faced considerable opposition in the past year, as their proposed route is set just outside the Standing Rock Sioux Nation’s reservation, and it’s even supposed to intersect Lake Oahe, the tribe’s primary water source.  On top of all that, the pipeline would be built all through ancient burial sites under the current proposed plan.  Why does the tribe care so much about that?  Just think how you’d feel if a veterans’ cemetary was dug up in the name of fossil fuel transportation.

Yeah, you’d be pissed, too.

While I do wish that Obama had stopped the project altogether, at least the project was halted in early November so that the Army Corps of Engineers could rethink the proposed placement.  Now, Trump’s revived the project.  Fantastic.

If such a pipeline is so dangerous and could adversely affect thousands of Americans, you’d think Trump would have hesitated.  Nope.  Not that asshole.  He’s got too many oil and gas businessmen in his cabinet to ever think about the environment or his citizens.  The president even recently owned shares in the project.  According to his employees, he had sold his stock as of the end of November.  However, no evidence has yet been provided to prove this.

Even if Trump did sell all his interests in the Dakota Pipeline, that doesn’t negate his conflicts of interest here.  Not in any way.  For one thing, he would have sold the stock after getting elected president.  This means that he would have sold his stock to a buyer with a guarantee that the project was going to proceed once he became president, which means he could have made a sizable profit off the endeavor.  As he signed an executive order to revitalize the project on just Day 4 of his presidency, this isn’t exactly a far-fetched theory.  When you factor in how many CEOs and former CEOs of the fossil fuel industry surround him in the white house, it’s perfectly obvious that Trump is profiting financially from these pipelines.

Because these pipelines in no way benefit the people of this country.  A real president would have taken our lives and our treaties and our environment into account before endangering the Midwestern states like this.  These are the people who voted for you, dumbass.  Good luck ever getting them to do that again.

Photo courtesy of cnn.com

Dinner Rolls

By The Oracle

This recipe comes from my Aunt’s family.  They are super simple, and quick to make…for rolls.  They also taste amazing.  They’re perfect for any occasion.

1/2 (3/4 cup sugar for cinnamon rolls)
1 egg
1/2 cup butter (one stick), softened
dash salt
2 cups lukewarm water
2 teaspoons yeast
5 cups flour

For cinnamon rolls:
1/4 cup melted butter
1 cup cinnamon/sugar mix
1 cup powdered sugar
about 1/4 cup water

In a mixer with a dough hook, beat on low the egg, sugar, salt, and butter until well combined.  Then activate yeast in water and add to mixture.  Let mix about a minute and then add flour a cup at a time.  It should make a soft, elastic dough.  Cover and let stand 1 1/2 hour.

Separate dough into two pieces.  On a floured surface,  shape into desired roll shape.  After shaping, let sit another 1/2 hour on a greased baking sheet and then bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

For cinnamon rolls:

Roll out dough on floured surface.  Brush on a light coating of melted butter then sprinkle on cinnamon and sugar.  Roll up dough and cut into 2 inch lengths.  Place onto greased baking sheet about two inches apart.  Let rise 1/2 hour.  Bake on 350 for fifteen minutes until golden.

After baking and letting the rolls cool for ten minutes mix the powdered sugar and water together to form a thin paste.  Drizzle over warm rolls and let cool another 10 minutes. (Note: you could add a few tablespoons to the drizzle for a bit of extra flavor, or a bit of vanilla or maple. Yum.)

When Did We Start Rating Everyone Based On Their Looks Alone?

By Persephone

In class today, I brought up a picture of Robert Frost, and one of my students said, “He looks old.”  I totally overreacted when I responded to her, but this is a continuing trend that seriously bothers me.

Seriously, why does a person’s looks matter so much?  I can understand if they’re a model or an actor to a certain extent, but when we’re discussing authors, architects, or politicians, who gives a shit about looks?  I remember when so many people criticized Hillary’s pantsuits, and I still don’t care about them.  All that should matter is if someone can do the job.  She could do the job, and therefore I voted for her.

However, I see this everywhere.  There’s a woman that I work with that I have a number of issues with.  I’ve heard several of my friends make fun of this woman’s protruding nose and exaggerated cheek bones, but this only distracts from the real problem.  She’s terrible at her job.  You see this with politicians all the time, too.  There’s a reason Paul Ryan is Speaker of the House.  It sure hasn’t resulted from strength of will.  It’s his dreamy blue eyes and killer widow’s peak that keeps him in office.

I won’t belabor this point, but you might want to reconsider next time you belittle someone based on their looks.  For the most part, there isn’t much most of us can do to rectify that, and there’s no reason why we should.  Personally, I like to wear loose-fitting clothes and sneakers despite the fact that this probably isn’t the most flattering of fashion choices.  So what?  I don’t see how my clothes grant anyone the right to judge me.  If you don’t like me, let it because you can’t stand my personality.  Leave my looks out of the equation.

This isn’t to say that I haven’t made fun of other people based on their physical appearance.  I don’t call Trump President Cheeto because he’s addicted to the spicy variety of cheetos.  Such name-calling is probably beneath me.  Trump certainly gives me plenty of other material to mock besides his skin color.  In this instance, I doubt I’ll ever stop calling him that, though.  It just suits him so well.