Trump Goes To Court

I’m pretty sure the reason Trump tweeted, “SEE YOU IN COURT!” is because he’s so used to being in court. Being sued all the time (or suing people all the time) probably makes it like his second home (you know, after Trump Tower, Mar-A-Lago, and the White House).

But I digress. For those of you who haven’t heard because you were busy refreshing this page in the fervent hope that I’d be blogging again soon (wish granted; you’re welcome), and therefore missed the news that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals (or rather their three-person committee) upheld a stay on the travel ban-that-isn’t-a-ban-but-is-definitely-a-ban, Trump got mad at the decision and tweeted his indignation and an assertion that he’d take the court to court. So yeah.

Today, he tweeted out that the 9th Circuit “forgot” to cite or read an important article that he claims supports his ban. (Spoiler alert, it probably doesn’t.)

However, as that liberal rag (not really), The Hill, notes:

“The Ninth Circuit is correct to leave the [temporary restraining order] in place, in my view, for the simple reason that there is no cause to plunge the country into turmoil again while the courts address the merits of these matters over the next few weeks,” the post says.

It adds that the judicial system will eventually have to confront the clash between the president’s powers and “the incompetent malevolence with which this order was promulgated.”

I really wonder how Trump feels right about now. Well, I won’t even bother with a spoiler alert: apparently, he fucking hates it. It turns out that he CAN’T run government the same way he runs his businesses – by throwing down edicts from on high and throwing a tantrum until he gets his way, because he’s Donald Trump, God Dammit, and we’ll do it his way or the highway!

Anonymous source rumors aside, Trump appears to be confused at the concept of oversight. Being in charge of the Trump Organization meant he could be in charge and throw his weight around, making all the decisions, making the deals – but it’s difficult at best to do that with the US Government. We have checks and balances for a reason, and it’s generally considered a good thing that the president has both Congressional and Judicial oversight. We don’t elect kings in this country, a fact that apparently has been slow to dawn on Trump.

I’d like to say that the man will eventually get it, that everything will click, and suddenly we’ll have the presidential pivot that we were all promised during the campaign. I’d also like to say that I have a million dollars in my bank account and no debt, but neither of those things are true, and repeating it won’t make it happen. There is no pivot. Trump is still bitching about imaginary voter fraud and crowd sizes, and he’s obsessed with his appearance in the media. Tweeting that he would take the 9th Circuit to court is another attention-grab, whining from someone who’s used to getting his way and isn’t happy that he can’t do everything on his own timing.

Being in charge of the free world takes patience and determination. You have to be willing to work with people who may be radically opposed to you. You can’t expect to “make deals” if you’re insulting allies and belittling trade deals that took years to undertake. Trump will find himself alone, and America will be worse off. But hey, remember Hillary’s e-mails! We sure dodged a bullet with that one, right?

Burning The Village To Save It

I hated school growing up. It was terrible. I was bullied incessantly by teachers and students alike, and because I was above average but also had an oppositional and independent streak (a really big one) I wasn’t allowed to participate in gifted programs. I had “an attitude problem,” I was “disrespectful,” I didn’t “work well with others.” I spent more time in the corner and in time out in 3rd and 5th grade than anyone else. Well, it certainly felt like it, anyway. Public school was a nightmare for me, and I felt left out because I was ahead of the class but made to wait on my peers, which made me resentful of classmates and teachers, and which made my classmates and teachers dislike me. If I could do it all over again, I’d never set foot in a public school ever.

But public school is a necessity. Public schools function as a way of ensuring that we have an educated populace prepared to take on the challenges of the world, but also ensure the future of our economy at home. Don’t want to go to public school? Go to private school, or a charter school. But the local public school ensures that the kids who don’t have a charter or private school option have a chance at a decent education. It’s part of the social contract we sign with each other when we decide to live together under the branch of a local government. Or something. A number of my friends are teachers and they’re passionate about their jobs – they work incredibly hard for not a lot of money. They understand the importance of education, and they wouldn’t do it otherwise.

So when Trump nominated Betsy DeVos to head the Department of Education, we were all appalled. Betsey DeVos has no experience in public school, has never been involved in a public school, has never held any public office, has never done anything but lobby for “school choice.” Of course, party loyalty mattered more than actually promoting what was best for the nation’s public schools and the children who attend them, so all but two Republican Senators rubber-stamped DeVos’ appointment. The two Senators who did reject her did so because they were concerned about her lack of experience and knowledge of the public education system.

“I have serious concerns about a nominee to be secretary of education who has been so involved in one side of the equation, so immersed in the push for vouchers, that she may be unaware of what actually is successful within the public schools, and also what is broken and how to fix them,” Ms. Murkowski said last week when the two announced their opposition. [Source: NYT]

Okay, so maybe we need to make radical changes to the system. Maybe we need someone new and different to effect real change. However, that usually means the radical change agent is going to have some knowledge of (1) the system they’re trying to change, (2) the problems that need to be resolved, (3) the things that work that should be kept. In reading DeVos’ background, it’s clear that she doesn’t have any knowledge of any of those things. If you aren’t convinced, look up the video of her confirmation hearings. Apparently, the biggest problem that needs to be resolved for teachers is not having enough guns in schools to protect kids from grizzly attacks.

If that doesn’t concern you, Cosmo (yes, that Cosmo…) has an article on 11 things you should know about DeVos, and I can tell you that 3 – 5, and 7, are very concerning to me, with #5 being most concerning. DeVos pushed for charter schools in Michigan, and she got them – at the price of compromising childrens’ education. From the article:

An investigation by the Detroit Free Press in 2014 found that Michigan’s charter schools “rake in taxpayer money and refuse to detail how they spend it,” that charter school employees and board members were “steering lucrative deals to themselves or insiders,” and that more charter schools were ranking below the 25th percentile than public schools. Even a charter advocate, former state schools superintendent Tom Watkins, said, “People are making a boatload of money, and the kids aren’t getting educated.”

Adding school choice only works when those schools perform as good or better than the existing public schools. The whole point of providing alternatives is to give people a better alternative that works for them. Providing an alternative that has no accountability and is actually worse than the existing system is counterproductive at best, actively destructive at worst. The whole thing smacks of the bizarre assertion that you have to burn the village in order to save it, and the people who will suffer the most are the kids who go to these crappy schools and come out unprepared for the real world as future adults, the people who will rely on these future adults to support the economy, and the future generations that have to work to fix an even more broken system.

But that’s all in the future, and politics is hyper-focused on the here and now. How many votes can I get NOW? What are my popularity ratings NOW? What’s my likelihood of re-election NOW? The future is obscure and doesn’t get votes, but pandering to current concerns (real or imagined) does.

Well, good luck, everyone. So far we’re doing a good job of turning our country into Idiocracy. Hopefully it will at least be entertaining….

Image result for idiocracy

 

Edited: (1) to correct spelling of Mrs. DeVos’ name.

Soylent (Not The People Kind)

The Dude (aka my husband) has been getting Soylent for a while, but I didn’t get into it because I don’t like the idea of flavorless chalky drink. (Though admittedly, I do drink a lot of vegetarian and vegan protein shakes, and the same could be said of those….) I decided to see if there was a way to make it into muffins, and of course there is. There’s an entire DIY forum on how to make Soylent into muffins, quickbreads, and all sorts of other things to make it more portable and convenient. (Note: despite the name, the only real soy in Soylent is soy lecithin, but it does have Sucralose, so forewarning if you’re trying to avoid either of those.)

I started with this recipe (found on the Soylent DIY forums), but the muffins were too dense, even after adding eggs and more liquid. I had already modified the recipe to include 2 eggs and 2 cups of cashew/protein-nut milk, but they were still too dense. So today, I did some additional recipe adjustments and finally came up with a recipe I’m happy with.

SOYLENT MUFFINS

Recipe yields +/- 48 mini muffins or cookies.

Dry ingredients:

  • 1 bag dry Soylent
  • 1 cup plain dry oats
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom (or more)
  • 1/2 cup dried fruit (such as raisins or cranberries)
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda

Wet ingredients:

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (helps the flavor)
  • 2 cups water or non-dairy milk
  • 2 large eggs

 

Instructions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 325 degreess.
  2. Grease a non-stick muffin pan (or three). (Yes, really – grease the pan, and probably flour it too – the Soylent gets pretty sticky in batter form).
  3. Mix all ingredients together. You should end up with a thick batter.

 

  1. Spoon the batter into the muffin cups. (Alternatively, the batter is thick enough to make cookies with as well.)
  2. Bake at 325 F for 25 – 30 minutes.
  3. Let cool 5 minutes after removing from oven, then remove muffins from pan and cool on a wire rack.

So what do they taste like? Oatmeal muffins, mostly. There’s no real aftertaste like I expected – Soylent tastes pretty weird to me (largely due to the Sucralose), so I was worried that I’d bake a batch of muffins that had a weird taste and wouldn’t like. These are surprisingly good, and using the Soylent makes them more nutritious than an actual muffin. Of course, adding eggs, milk, nuts, and dried fruit will add calories, but if you’re eating only the muffins then it shouldn’t matter too much because the additional calories aren’t significant to the individual muffin.

The batch above is about a week’s worth of muffins for me (I have a tiny appetite and only eat them for breakfast or snacks), but a bag of Soylent is actually about a 1 – 2 day supply, so 5 – 10 would be a single serving depending on your caloric needs. What I care about most is that these muffins are easy on my stomach, which is nice when your meds and chronic illness are conspiring to kill your digestive system. (I’ve been living on brothy soups, smoothies, and these muffins for a few weeks now – everything else makes me sick. BOOOOOOO….)

Vegan Alternative: If you’re looking for a Vegan alternative to the eggs, used mashed bananas or a tapioca starch egg alternative or whatever other favorite egg alternative you have.

Savory Muffin: I have not yet tried a savory version of this, but I plan to do so by replacing the vanilla and spices with rosemary and garlic. If you try it, please let me know!

So there you have it. If you try this recipe, let me know. I’m curious to see how it turns out!