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Texas Whack-Jon Republican Refuses Help for Houston From Canada!

Think it is time for “Regime change” in Texas…Time to take down the Governor Abbott and his whack-jobs

Texas “Secretary of State” Rolando B. Pablos refusing help for the victims of Hurricane Harvey

‘Send prayers’: Texas Republican turns down donated blankets, beds, manpower from Canada

Those who have been impacted by Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Louisiana are only beginning to see the way the flood waters have destroyed their homes. Many families tried to ride it out, only to be rescued when the rising waters forced them onto their roof. Thousands escaped with only their lives and the clothes on their backs, losing everything they own.

But according to Secretary of State Rolando Pablos (R-TX), they don’t need any help. As Patheos reported, they just need a little more Jesus.

Quebec’s Minister of International Relations Christine St-Pierre called Pablos to express her sorrow and condolences on behalf of the people of the Canadian province. She also offered equipment and manpower.

Pablos turned it down. Instead he asked for “prayers from the people of Quebec,” the minister relayed.

Understandably, the neighbor to the north was shocked.

“It was a conversation about how devastating the situation is and we want to express our support to the people of Texas,” she told CBC News in an interview.

This isn’t the first time the Canadians have stepped up with substantial donations. After Hurricane Katrina, they also sent the donation of blankets, beds, pillows, hygienic products as well as electricians to help restore power. Louisiana was more than grateful to accept. Texas was a no. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, by contrast, graciously accepted a generous offer from Mexico for assistance.

“He was very touched by the fact we called him,” she noted.

 

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Michael Twitty – African-American Food Historian

I have written about Michael Twitty before, and his explorations into African-American slave cuisine, and how it impacted what Americans eat, even today.

He has written a new book about the road he travelled – The Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African American Culinary History in the Old South

Michael now works in Colonial Williamsburg, where the demonstrates not only the cuisine, but the methodology the slaves used to raise and prepare it.

 
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Posted by on August 2, 2017 in Black History

 

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Chumph’s Racism Destroying Agriculture

So…What happens if the Chumph gets his wish to deport all illegal aliens in this country…

The Agricultural industry in the US collapses.

Despite incessant whining by the white right snowflakes of flyover country…There just aren’t going to be any white folks out there picking cotton as long as they can get a welfare check, Even if you raise the pay to be competitive with other work.

Tell me again “who” is exactly unwilling to work for a living?

Wages rise on California farms. Americans still don’t want the job

Trump’s immigration crackdown is supposed to help U.S. citizens. For California farmers, it’s worsening a desperate labor shortage.

Arnulfo Solorio’s desperate mission to recruit farmworkers for the Napa Valley took him far from the pastoral vineyards to a raggedy parking lot in Stockton, in the heart of the Central Valley.

Carrying a fat stack of business cards for his company, Silverado Farming, Solorio approached one prospect, a man with only his bottom set of teeth. He told Solorio that farm work in Stockton pays $11 to $12 an hour. Solorio countered: “Look, we are paying $14.50 now, but we are going up to $16.” The man nodded skeptically.

Solorio moved on to two men huddled nearby, and returned quickly. “They were drug addicts,” he said. “And, they didn’t have a car.”

Before the day was through, Solorio would make the same pitch to dozens of men and women, approaching a taco truck, a restaurant and a homeless encampment. Time was short: He needed to find 100 workers to fill his ranks by April 1, when grapevines begin to grow and need constant attention.

Solorio is one of a growing number of agricultural businessmen who say they face an urgent shortage of workers. The flow of labor began drying up when President Obama tightened the border. Now President Trump is promising to deport more people, raid more companies and build a wall on the southern border.

That has made California farms a proving ground for the Trump team’s theory that by cutting off the flow of immigrants they will free up more jobs for American-born workers and push up their wages.

So far, the results aren’t encouraging for farmers or domestic workers.

Farmers are being forced to make difficult choices about whether to abandon some of the state’s hallmark fruits and vegetables, move operations abroad, import workers under a special visa or replace them altogether with machines.

Growers who can afford it have already begun raising worker pay well beyond minimum wage. Wages for crop production in California increased by 13% from 2010 to 2015, twice as fast as average pay in the state, according to a Los Angeles Times analysis of data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Today, farmworkers in the state earn about $30,000 a year if they work full time — about half the overall average pay in California. Most work fewer hours.

Some farmers are even giving laborers benefits normally reserved for white-collar professionals, like 401(k) plans, health insurance, subsidized housing and profit-sharing bonuses. Full-timers at Silverado Farming, for example, get most of those sweeteners, plus 10 paid vacation days, eight paid holidays, and can earn their hourly rate to take English classes.

But the raises and new perks have not tempted native-born Americans to leave their day jobs for the fields. Nine in 10 agriculture workers in California are still foreign born, and more than half are undocumented, according to a federal survey.

Instead, companies growing high-value crops, like Cabernet Sauvignon grapes in Napa, are luring employees from fields in places like Stockton that produce cheaper wine grapes or less profitable fruits and vegetables.

Growers who can’t raise wages are losing their employees and dealing with it by mechanizing, downsizing or switching to less labor-intensive crops.

Jeff Klein is doing all of the above. Last year Klein, a fourth-generation Stockton farmer, ran a mental ledger, trying to sort out the pros and cons of persevering in the wine business or quitting. He couldn’t make the math work.

Wineries pay Klein a tiny fraction of what they pony up for the same grape variety grown in Napa, and the rising cost of labor meant he was losing money on his vineyards. So in October, Klein decided to rip out 113,000 Chardonnay grapevines that once blanketed land his family has owned for decades. Now they lay heaped into hundreds of piles, waiting to be taken to the dump.

“I try to make any decision I make not emotional. When you’re running a business, it has to be a financial decision,” he says, sifting through the mangled metal posts.

Five years ago, Klein had a crew of 100 workers pruning, tying and suckering his grapevines. Wineries paid $700 for a ton of grapes, and Klein could make a solid profit paying $8 an hour, the minimum wage.

Last year he could barely get together 45 laborers, and his grapes sold for only $350 per ton. Klein knew his vines were done for when California passed laws raising the minimum wage to $15 by 2023 and requiring overtime for field laborers.

“There’s not enough guys, and everybody is fighting for everybody else’s guys,” he says. “In Napa and Sonoma, they’re getting $2,000 a ton [for grapes]. So, those guys can afford to pay $15. For me, I’m just trying to break even.”

Although Trump earned Klein’s vote, he worries that recent executive orders ratcheting up deportation plans and calling for a wall are putting a chokehold on an already tight pool of workers.

“That’s killing our labor force,” says the 35-year-old grower.

Already, fewer Mexicans had been willing to risk border crossings as security and deportations escalated under the Obama Administration. At the same time, Mexico’s own economy was mushrooming, offering decent jobs for people who stayed behind.

With the grapevines he has left, Klein is doing what he can to pare his crews. Last year, he bought a leaf puller for $50,000, which turns the delicate process of culling grapevine canopies into an exercise in brute force. The puller hooks onto a tractor and, like an oddly shaped vacuum cleaner, sucks leaves from grapevines.

He used to spend $100 an acre culling the canopies, which allows the right amount of sunlight to hit the grapes and turn them into sugar balls. Now, he says, “It will cost me 20 bucks, and I can get rid of some labor.”

Klein says he’ll spend the next five years replacing his 1,000 acres of grapevines with almond and olive trees, which require a fraction of the human contact to grow.

About 80 miles west in Napa, growers aren’t facing quite the same challenge. Cabernet Sauvignon grapes in Napa go for nearly $6,900 per ton, 10 times more than in San Joaquin County.

Image result for farm worker pay by county california

Read the Rest Here…

 

Image result for tomato field eastern shore va

Here in Virginia, this is one of my neighbor’s Tomato Fields. This one is run by a major company, and the crop can wind up in anything from your Marinara and Spaghetti Sauces under a major label, to canned tomatoes, depending on what they plant. There are about 300,000 to 3 million plants out there on this field (of which the photo is only of a small part). All of these tomatoes are picked by hand by immigrant labor. Teams of hundreds go out to pick the crop, twice, before the plants are killed, and a second crop is planted. Typically they get two crops a year in Spring to fall. If the Chumph deports these workers…There ain’t gonna be any Mamma Ragu anymore.

Image result for picking tomato field eastern shore va

 

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Where’s The Cheese?

One of he things the Bushit Administration and Republican Congress did was to cut FDA funding for food inspection and food safety. The country has been paying for that with massive salmonella outbreaks and food fraud ever since. Next time you have a Pizza, and what you sprinkle on top tastes like sawdust…

(was?) Made out of the same stuff particle board and Trex wood decking is made from…

FDA Says ‘Parmesan’ Cheese Might Actually Be Cheddar or Wood Pulp

Add Parmesan to the list of foods that come with more than you bargained for: The FDAwarns Parmesan fraud has become a serious problem for American consumers. Tests show products described as “100 percent Parmesan” routinely have cut-rate substitutes — like wood pulp, and cheaper cheeses such as cheddar, Swiss, and mozzarella.

As part of its new leaf, the agency hasstepped up prosecuting industry offenders, and right now it’s in the middle of a criminal case against Castle Cheese, once a top supplier to the big grocery chains, for selling “Parmesan” products that would give old-world cheese-makers in Parma a coronary. Per the FDA, Castle made shoddy cheeses for almost 30 years, and supplied the Market Pantry brand at Target and two others for Associated Wholesale, the nation’s second-largest retail wholesaler, all of which contained “no Parmesan cheese” despite claiming on their labels to be 100 percent.

Castle is the FDA’s highest-profile case of Parmesan-maker-gone-awry — its president is supposed to plead guilty this month to charges that could mean a year in prison and a $100,000 fine, and Bloomberg notes its scam cheeses made money hand over fist, enough to adorn the factory “with crenelated battlements and curved archways” so it looked like “a medieval castle.” But while the company actually filed for bankruptcy in 2014 after a fired factory worker ratted the company out to the FDA, people in the industry still say packs of grated Parm are full of fraud: One cheese-maker fighting for stricter labeling laws says 40 percent of what’s out there isn’t even a cheese product, and a Dairy Farmers of America subsidiary claims its tests showed only one-third of labels are accurate.

Bloomberg also ran some lab tests on brands of “100 percent” grated Parmesan to see how much cellulose, the main ingredient in paper, they contained. The results were disconcerting:

Essential Everyday 100% Grated Parmesan Cheese, from Jewel-Osco, was 8.8 percent cellulose, while Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s Great Value 100% Grated Parmesan Cheese registered 7.8 percent, according to test results. Whole Foods 365 brand didn’t list cellulose as an ingredient on the label, but still tested at 0.3 percent. Kraft had 3.8 percent.

Spokespeople for Kraft Heinz, Walmart, Jewel-Osco, Target, and Whole Foods each questioned Bloomberg‘s findings, but they assured reporters their companies were most definitely “investigating” or at least “looking into” this matter.

 

 
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Posted by on February 18, 2016 in Domestic terrorism, General, Stupid Republican Tricks

 

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Re Re and Ms Patti Battle of the Pumpkin Pies

Things are getting ready to get deliciously interesting here as Aretha Franklin enters into the food market that Patti La belle has done very well in. Now, Ms Patti is getting a lot of accolades for her pies sold through Walmart – but her Barbeque sauce will titillate your tongue and get your toes wriggling!

I hungrily look forward to this competition…

Aretha Franklin: ‘Ms. Patti Is Gonna Have To Move That Pie To The Side!’

It appears Aretha Franklin wants a piece of Patti LaBelle’s sweet potato pie success. Well, sort of.

During an interview with Detroit’s WDIV Local 4 news on Wednesday, Franklin was asked by a correspondent if she tried LaBelle’s popular Wal-Mart sweet potato pie.

“No, I haven’t, but Ms. Patti’s gonna have to move that pie to the side,” Franklin said before sharing that she is currently working with a Phoenix-based food group to launch her very own line of food products.

The Queen of Soul says her line of products will include chili, gumbo and baked chicken.

Franklin’s forthcoming food venture will add to the pair’s alleged rivalry, which made headlines in 2014 following a rumored fist fight between the two in Atlanta. Despite the reports, Franklin later dismissed the encounter in a statement to USA Today.

“I’ve never heard anything crazier — regarding myself and Patti allegedly fighting on March 20, in Atlanta,” she said. “Patti and I are cool and we always have been. I enjoyed her at the White House. Classic Patti.”

Ms Patti’s BBQ and Lime Sauces

 
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Posted by on February 1, 2016 in Giant Negros

 

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The Battle at Mayonaise!

This one has been going on for about 2 years believe it or not. Some folks just take their Mayo more seriously than others. Of course with Southern favorite, Dukes moving north and gaining traction, Hellman’s, the largest Mayo brand in the US, is beginning to feel some pressure. A small company came up with the idea of Vegan Mayo…And that’s when the troops rallied, the cannons began to fire, as the stuff became so popular, Whole Foods couldn’t keep it in stock… Just another case of how big business can kill off the little guys, with government help.

And then there is the stereotype forwarded in the really bad “Undercover Brother” movie of years gone by that black folks don’t like mayo…

A Food Giant Wanted to Squash Eggless Mayo. It Just Lost.

In the great mayo wars of 2015, there is finally a winner.

For those who haven’t been following the scandal-filled sandwich spread controversy, a bit of background: It all began in 2013, when the egg-alternative food startup company Hampton Creek launched a vegan mayonnaise-like product called Just Mayo, which soon became Whole Foods’ most popular mayonnaise.

So popular was Just Mayo, in fact, that in November 2014, Unilever, parent company of market leader Hellmann’s, sued Hampton Creek for false advertising and unfair competition. The food giant argued that Just Mayo, because it contained no eggs, “damages the entire product category, which has strived for decades for a consistent definition of ‘mayonnaise’ that fits with consumer expectations.” Unilever dropped the lawsuit about a month later “as consumers heaped scorn on the company for what they viewed as a frivolous lawsuit,” the food industry news site Food Divereported.

Nevertheless, in August of this year the FDA ruled that Hampton Creek couldn’t call its product mayonnaise. “The use of the term ‘mayo’ in the product names and the image of an egg may be misleading to consumers because it may lead them to believe that the products are the standardized food, mayonnaise,” the FDA said in a statement.

Then, in September, internal emails from the American Egg Board surfaced. They showed that the industry group had tried to stop Whole Foods from selling Just Mayo—and that Egg Board members were really worked up over Hampton Creek. From the Guardian:

More than one member of the AEB made joking threats of violence against Hampton Creek’s founder, Josh Tetrick. “Can we pool our money and put a hit on him?” asked Mike Sencer, executive vice-president of AEB member organization Hidden Villa Ranch. Mitch Kanter, executive vice-president of the AEB, jokingly offered “to contact some of my old buddies in Brooklyn to pay Mr. Tetrick a visit.”

Egg Board CEO Joanne Ivy retired early in the wake of the episode.

While all that was going on, Hampton Creek was working with the FDA on a compromise, and today, the company announced that it will be allowed to keep the name Just Mayo, as long as it makes its eggless-ness even clearer on the product label. The AP’s Candice Choi reports:

The changes include making the words ‘egg-free’ larger and adding ‘Spread & Dressing.’ An image of an egg with a pea shoot inside will also be smaller.

Now, all this hoopla over a “spread and dressing” and its picture of a pea-shoot-bearing egg might seem ridiculous, but keep in mind that this business played out against the backdrop of a devastating avian flu outbreak that hobbled the egg industry. What’s more, in April two former egg industry executives were sentenced to jail time for their connection with a 2010 salmonella outbreak that is thought to have sickened as many as 56,000 people.

All those egg woes aside, there’s another reason behind egg purveyors’ massive freak-out: At least according to writer Rowan Jacobsen, unlike most other eggless mayonnaise products, Just Mayo actually tastes good.

 
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Posted by on December 18, 2015 in Domestic terrorism, General

 

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Kitty Food Produced By Slaves

Slavery in the SE Asian FIshing Industry is common. In this case a well known Company, Nestle decided to audit it’s supply chain to determine if any of the fish caught by slaves was entering the chain and being sold by the company. This is one of the few proactive moves by a Food Company to root out unscrupulous suppliers.

Nestlé​ admits slavery and coercion used in catching its seafood

Impoverished migrant workers in Thailand are sold or lured by false promises and forced to catch and process fish that ends up in global food giant Nestlé SA’s supply chains.

The unusual disclosure comes from Geneva-based Nestlé​ SA itself, which in an act of self-policing planned to announce the conclusions of its yearlong internal investigation on Monday. The study found virtually all U.S. and European companies buying seafood from Thailand are exposed to the same risks of abuse in their supply chains.

Nestlé​ SA, among the biggest food companies in the world, launched the investigation in December 2014, after reports from news outlets and nongovernmental organizations tied brutal and largely unregulated working conditions to their shrimp, prawns and Purina brand pet foods. Its findings echo those of The Associated Press in reports this year on slavery in the seafood industry that have resulted in the rescue of more than 2,000 fishermen.

Labourers from poor countries

The labourers come from Thailand’s much poorer neighbours Myanmar and Cambodia. Brokers illegally charge them fees to get jobs, trapping them into working on fishing vessels and at ports, mills and seafood farms in Thailand to pay back more money than they can ever earn.

“Sometimes, the net is too heavy and workers get pulled into the water and just disappear. When someone dies, he gets thrown into the water,” one Burmese worker told the non-profit organization Veritécommissioned by Nestle.

“I have been working on this boat for 10 years. I have no savings. I am barely surviving,” said another. “Life is very difficult here.”

Nestlé​ said it would post the reports online — as well as a detailed yearlong solution strategy throughout 2016 — as part of ongoing efforts to protect workers. It has promised to impose new requirements on all potential suppliers and train boat owners and captains about human rights, possibly with a demonstration vessel and rewards for altering their practices. It also plans to bring in outside auditors and assign a high-level Nestle manager to make sure change is underway.

Thai and Burmese Workers Held in Cages

Nestlé​ pledges change

“As we’ve said consistently, forced labour and human rights abuses have no place in our supply chain,” Magdi Batato, Nestlé’s executive vice-president in charge of operations, said in a written statement. “Nestlé believes that by working with suppliers we can make a positive difference to the sourcing of ingredients.”

Nestlé​ is not a major purchaser of seafood in Southeast Asia but does some business in Thailand, primarily for its Purina brand Fancy Feast cat food.

For its study, Verité interviewed more than 100 people, including about 80 workers from Myanmar and Cambodia, as well as boat owners, shrimp farm owners, site supervisors and representatives of Nestlé​’s suppliers. They visited fish ports and fishmeal packing plants, shrimp farms and docked fishing boats, all in Thailand.

Boat captains and managers, along with workers, confirmed violence and danger in the Thai seafood sector, a booming industry which exports $7 billion of products a year, although managers said workers sometimes got hurt because they were drunk and fighting.

Boat captains rarely checked ages of workers, and Verité found underage workers forced to fish. Workers said they labour without rest, their food and water are minimal, outside contact is cut off, and they are given fake identities to hide that they are working illegally.

Nestle found that some of the slave product wound up in their cat food

Generally, the workers studied by Verité were catching and processing fish into fishmeal fed to shrimp and prawns. But the Amherst, Massachusetts-based group said many of the problems they observed are systemic and not unique to Nestlé​; migrant workers throughout Thailand’s seafood sector are vulnerable to abuses as they are recruited, hired and employed, said Verite.

Monday’s disclosure is rare. While multinational companies in industries from garments to electronics say they investigate allegations of abuse in their supply chains, they rarely share negative findings….Read the rest here

 
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Posted by on November 24, 2015 in International Terrorism, Uncategorized

 

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The Mack Truck That Hit Paula Deen

Have to say I’ve certainly enjoyed cooking up a Paula Deen recipe or two. Most of her food is guaranteed to send you heart doctor into apoplexy over your sky high cholesterol…

But it was so damn good!

 

Paula is authentic deep South. Unfortunately for some folks that carries a lot of racial baggage. Some of that baggage is in the form of using distasteful racial epithets in common conversation between folks sharing the same background. Usually anymore when there is nobody else around to overhear.

Now, Paula – like myself is old enough to have lived through some of those bad old days of segregation. Led by racist and segregationist Democrats and Dixiecrats making a last stand at the schoolhouse door, folks from her world tried to stop folks from my world from having equal rights.. Attacking and abusing Civil Rights workers at the Lunch Counters. At the worst, even murdering them as they drove down back country roads. There are those who followed those very same Dixiecrats to the Republican Party, where that type of racism was made safe by Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan for their kind as amply demonstrated even today.

And then there are a lot more Southern  folks who left those ignorant attitudes with the times- even though they seldom to be quite enough in the majority to get elected…

Decent people seldom do anymore.

So…Paula has said some racist things. And judging from how quickly the companies who were partners in her business empire are scrambling  for the door – there is a lot more “bad acting” that hasn’t hit the presses that they are afraid will be uncovered.

But in the scale of things…Whose racism has done more damage t America, Paula and her well used butter dish and southern fried sympathies…

Or the 4 racist thugs in robes and their Uncle Tom sitting the highest court?

Now…Don’t gt me wrong. I don’t feel sorry for Paula. But the reason has a lot less to do with her racism and a lot more to do with a lack of professionalism. Professionalism?

Yeh. When you run a multi-million dollar business – You don’t get to make an ass of yourself like Dan Cathy of Chick Fil A – without some hurt coming down from some pissed customers…And partners who know what it takes to run a business and don’t want to be hit by the shrapnel of an idiot imploding.

Obviously Chick Fil A agrees with Mr Cathy’s lack of professionalism because he is still there.

Since in Paula’s case she is the company, Paula is going to have to suffer the consequences.

 

 

 
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Posted by on June 28, 2013 in The New Jim Crow

 

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Crime Doesn’t Pay – The Wasabi Zombie…And Other Stories

Things are getting weird out there!

This epicurean proto-Zombie decided to spice – up his girlfriend, perhaps in anticipation of the “main course”!

Using her jeans.

I mean… Dang! Most of us guys are pretty happy just getting our love interests, wives,  or girlfriends out of their jeans!

Man Arrested for Attacking Girlfriend With Wasabi

John McGuinness, 22, was arraigned Friday in Barnstable District Court on charges of domestic assault and battery, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, and intimidation of a witness after he allegedly attacked his girlfriend.

In the very early hours of Friday morning, Barnstable police responded to the intersection of Route 149 and Willimantic Drive for a report that a young woman had been assaulted, according to police reports.

At the scene, the victim told officers that she and McGuinness had been at the Fox Hole Bar in Osterville to watch the Boston Celtics game. On the way home, the victim received a text message from a male friend. This angered McGuinness and the couple argued until the victim dropped him off at his home, according to the report.

While she was driving home, the victim received a text message from McGuinness who said he was throwing a $200 pair of her jeans outside. The victim drove back to find McGuinness outside with her pants, which he had covered in wasabi sauce, according to the police report.

McGuinness then forced down the window of the victim’s car and took her cellphone, which spurred her to get out of the vehicle, according to the police report.

Once she was out, McGuinness hit the victim in the face with the jeans, getting wasabi sauce in her eyes.

Then, while the victim tried to clean her eyes and fled, he poured more sauce in her car, the report said.

Police arrested McGuinness at his home on Roseland Terrace.

In the “Crime Doesn’t Pay” category – there is the result of a recent study that Bank Robbery, in particular is a poor paying occupation, The average US Bank Robber only nets $4,330 – which, when you account fo an average 10 year jail stay if they are caught…

Is a measly $433/yr. I mean you can make that much or more – (a week!) Flipping Burgers for minimum wage. And not have to worry nights about the 6’4″ 350lb Bubba sharing a cell with you.

Robbing banks a bad idea for crooks from economic standpoint

Bonnie and Clyde

Infamous Bank Robbers Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow didn’t make much money robbing banks

Crime doesn’t pay, at least not very well, when it comes to robbing banks, a new study finds. With unprecedented access to financial data from British banks, economists have shown that bank robbers don’t make a lot of money, certainly not enough to justify the risks involved in such an armed robbery. “The return on an average bank robbery is, frankly, rubbish,” the researchers wrote in the statistics journal Significance. “It is not unimaginable wealth.” It is so low, in fact, that it is not financially worthwhile for banks to install screens that could further reduce robberies.

Economist Neil Rickman of the University of Surrey and his colleagues were given unusual access to financial data from the British Bankers’ Assn. Such data about robberies are not normally disclosed to the public because it is commercially sensitive and could potentially encourage copycat robbers. Treating bank robbery as a business like any other, they used normal statistical measures to calculate profitability.

In 2007, there were 106 bank robberies or attempted robberies at the 10,500 bank branches, compared with 7,500 robberies of other businesses. (In the U.S. in 2006, there were about 12,000 bank robberies.) Although bank robberies in Southern California tend to occur in higher numbers at branches near freeway entrances, the British team found no link to branch size, branch location, or how busy a particular branch is. Of all those robbed, only 13 were targeted twice and only one three times. About a third of attempted robberies were unsuccessful, and about 20% of the successful robbers were ultimately caught and convicted.

The average take in a British bank robbery is a modest 12,706.60 euros (about $15,887) per person, compared with an average of $4,330 in U.S. bank robberies. Given that the average U.K.wage for fully employed people in Britain is about 26,000 euros, a bank robbery “will give him a modest lifestyle for no more than 6 months.” If he robs two, he will still have only a modest lifestyle. Four robberies, and the odds are excellent that he will land in jail. “As a profitable occupation, bank robbery leaves a lot to be desired,” the authors wrote. (A similar analysis of drug dealing in the book “Freakonomics” explains why most low-level dealers live with their mothers: The activity is so unprofitable that they cannot afford a place of their own.) That may be why bank robberies are declining in the U.K. and the U.S…

 
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Posted by on June 12, 2012 in The Post-Racial Life

 

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Restaurant Designers Get a Clue – Cutting Noise Levels

There is a very good restaurant near where I used to have an office.  Excellent food, great service, and an attentive staff. Only been there twice, despite the convenience.

Why? The noise level is through the roof. You can’t have a conversation in normal tones sitting across the table with your group. The two times I’ve been there were both at someone else’s invitation. I’ve nixxed going there over a dozen times either for business or social meetings. Doesn’t much matter about the food or decor…

If you can’t have a normal conversation.

Designers have gotten into a modern style which, while attractive – does nothing to enhance the customer’s experience. If you are 20 something, and single – shouting over 300 other people shouting may be attractive. After all, a high level of noise can provide its own anonymity.

But if you are not in the “meat market” – sometimes the noise level can be quite painful, especially to baby-boomers who are now paying the price in hearing loss from loud music in their youth. And like it or not – its the baby boomers and businessmen who are dropping $200-300+ on a table for lunch or dinner.

A lot of times when travelling and just looking for a dinner outside of the Hotel kitchen, I will do a walk by. Typically there are a cluster of eateries near a major hotel. That walk by has grown to not only checking the menus and daily specials – but a quick look inside to assess the noise experience, since until only recently have a few of the restaurant ratings services begun to address the issue – despite the fact that it is the second leading complaint by diners after poor service. My feeling is that a place that doesn’t give a damn about diner comfort – is eventually (sooner rather than later) going to fail on the food quality issue.

High metal ceiling, hard floor surface – no sound absorption make meals a diner nightmare due to high ambient noise levels.

Noisy restaurants: Taking the din out of dinner

You can count on the hippest restaurants to have dazzling menus, stylish servers and an attractive clientele.

And increasingly, there’s a featured side dish: noise.

As restaurateurs strive to attract a younger crowd, they’ve ditched the pile carpets, soft tablecloths and plush velvet booths for crowded communal tables, clattering open kitchens and pounding Rihanna music. And it’s all amplified by cavernous ceilings, spartan walls and bare floors.

The hustle and bustle is credited with bringing in more business, but it’s also creating a backlash.

Kristina Pivnyuk, 21, said she was hoping for an evening of fine food and good conversation when she ate recently with friends at Bottega Louie in downtown Los Angeles. She got only the meal.

“It kind of ruined the experience for me,” the Cal State Northridge student said, recalling the loud music and diners shouting to be heard over the din.

Restaurant raters have taken note.

Yelp has begun listing noise levels atop its ratings. OpenTable, a reservations service, allows reviewers to rate restaurants as “quiet,” “moderate” or “energetic.” Several national restaurant reviewers now factor sonic quality into their reports. The Rundown LA, which sends email blasts on local activities, provides noise ratings when it reviews eateries. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on June 9, 2012 in The Post-Racial Life

 

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Revenge of the French Fry – American Food Trucks in Paris, France

It is difficult to travel through many urban areas without seeing the seemingly ubiquitous food truck. From their humble origins supplying Hot Dogs and Burritos to construction workers and tourists – some entrepreneurs have branched out into quality foodstuffs, covering a variety of tastes. Ergo – the Food Truck has gone upscale!

So upscale in fact, that the humble trucks have gone international – now invading the streets of the urban epicurean center of the world – Paris.

So are the French buying cheap eats? Throw a little Camembert on that burger, and a slice of truffle in that soup, and voila!…

You Betcha!

They even have the Chile pepper averse French (Hot sauce ain’t on the menu in France) eating Tacos… Which is amazing.

Food Trucks in Paris? U.S. Cuisine Finds Open Minds, and Mouths

An artisanal taco truck has come to Paris. The Cantine California started parking here in April, the latest in a recent American culinary invasion that includes chefs at top restaurants; trendy menu items like cheesecake, bagels and bloody Marys; and notions like chalking the names of farmers on the walls of restaurants.

In France, there is still a widespread belief that the daily diet in the United States consists of grossly large servings of fast food. But in Paris, American food is suddenly being seen as more than just restauration rapide. Among young Parisians, there is currently no greater praise for cuisine than “très Brooklyn,” a term that signifies a particularly cool combination of informality, creativity and quality.

All three of those traits come together in the American food trucks that have just opened here, including Cantine California, which sells tacos stuffed with organic meat (still a rarity in France), and a hugely popular burger truck called Le Camion Qui Fume (The Smoking Truck), owned by Kristin Frederick, a California native who graduated from culinary school here.

“I got every kind of push-back,” said Ms. Frederick, 31. “People said: ‘The French will never eat on the street. The French will never eat with their hands. They will never pay good money for food from a truck.’ ” (Her burger with fries costs 10 euros, about $13.)

“And, ‘You will never get permission from the authorities.’ ” Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on June 4, 2012 in Nawwwwww!

 

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Salty Oysters – Black Salts

Growing up the Mid-Atlantic region – one of my favorite seafood treats is oysters. Fresh shucked on the half shell, please –

  • Eastern Shore Style – With a dash of Malt Vinegar
  • Baltimore Style – With a sprig of lemon and seafood sauce. or
  • N’awleans Style – With some spic hot pepper sauce.

Now there are folks who say the very best oysters come from Maine. I’ve tried them…

And was left decidedly unimpressed.

Chincoteague Fishing Boats

In this region knowlegable folks check where the Oysters were grown, and know that there is a distincitive taste difference between locations.

“Salty” oysters are Sea Side Oysters – grown along the Atlantic Coast back bays which have a high salinity you can taste in the Oyster.

Bay Side (Chesapeake Bay) Oysters are a lot less salty, and have a buttery taste. Indeed, there are distinct taste differences as the growing grounds are further upriver on the various tributaries where the water is less salty.

And for reasons which I don’t know – certain parts of the Chincoteague Bay a few miles north of my place produce really salty oysters. I have grown them, and they taste like Seasides… Maybe because the Ocean is only a mile away on the creek which dumps directly into the ocean – but those grown just a few miles south of Chicoteague are less salty. I have friends who also cultivate them on Oyster Banks, which are artificial reefs.

But the idea of growing a custom Oyster – is a new one on me!

Nomini Creek is a small river off the Potomac, not far from there it empties into the Chesapeake. It is a drop dead gorgeous creek, whose beauty is perhaps only surpassed by the Coan River, a few miles down and entered from he Bay, often used by experienced boaters as a Hurricane hidey hole, not wanting to take a chance entering the Potomac from the Bay at Point Lookout, which can be rough even in good weather at times. I lost two friends whose 36′ boat apparently broke up due to the vicious waves there winter before last.

The other things Oyster do is to clean the water – so more oysters, the cleaner the waters.

Jeff Black to sell his own signature oysters this fall

Bruce Wood already had lured one noted Washington restaurateur to the waters of Nomini Creek, where he began to cultivate signature oysters for Jamie Leeds , chef and owner of the small Hank’s Oyster Bar chain. So why not land another big fish to feast on his Dragon Creeks?

Like Leeds, Jeff Black was intrigued by the prospect of having his own signature oyster, but only “if I could dictate the flavor profile,” says the Houston native who grew up with the bivalves of the Gulf Coast. Black’s preferred flavor profile, I think it’s safe to say, smacks of someone who has made a living in the restaurant business: “I like a lot of salt,” he says.

Salinity, however, is one quality that Wood has in relatively short supply at Nomini Creek. His leased waters boast a relatively low salinity level, at about 12-13 parts per thousand or ppt. For the sake of comparison, seawater usually hovers around 34-35 ppt. Black would prefer to slurp down something closer in flavor to Gulf water, not pasta water.

Wood had a solution: He is also a partner with Dan Grosse at Toby Island Bay Oysters, located on Chincoteague Bay on Virginia’s Eastern Shore, where the waters are a virtual saltmine at 29-30 ppt. They would begin to farm Black’s signature oyster there.

Thus was born the Black Pearl, due to hit the oyster bars this fall atBlackSaltPearl Dive Oyster PalaceBlack Jack and Black’s Bar & Kitchen.

Then, a funny thing happened: Cousins Ryan and Travis Croxtonfrom Rappahannock River Oysters contacted Black and said they’d like to grow an oyster for the “Don’t Call Me an Empire Builder” restaurateur as well. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on June 2, 2012 in General

 

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Urban Farming – The Next Frontier?

Seems to be a lot of space in formerly Urban areas which is now empty. This ground was more than likely formerly farmland, which was used to feed the nearby urban area before the suburbs took over. There is no reason – except knowledge, skill, determination, and a little hard work – for not converting some of this into usable land in terms of food production. I’ve always found growing my own food in a garden just tastes better – and considering you don’t need all those pesticides and chemicals used by the factory farms…It’s a lot healthier.

So even though I live on a heavily treed lot – I have found space to put out some Tomato Plants, Cucumber,and Basil in containers.

Urban reuse is going to be the next major change in living in this country.  Time to go back, and maybe…This time get it right.

Using Community Gardens to Grow Low-Income Communities Out of Food Deserts

March 20th marked the third anniversary of the planting of the White House vegetable garden, the first functioning garden since Eleanor Roosevelt’s Victory Garden. The garden is an essential part of Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative that aims to help raise a generation of healthy, active kids. But while it provides an excellent jumping off point for discussing the importance of nutrition, it does not get to the root cause of the lack of nutrition across the country. Not everyone can have an organic garden in his backyard or, on an even more basic level, a supermarket that sells quality fruits and vegetables. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, more than 23 million Americans live in “food deserts”: areas with limited access to affordable and nutritious food, particularly ones composed of predominantly lower income neighborhoods and communities. Before we begin to talk about the problem of nutrition in our country, we must first improve access to food for millions of Americans. And Michelle Obama is on the right path — community gardens can be a powerful tool for improving access to produce for people across the country. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on April 9, 2012 in The Post-Racial Life

 

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Strawberry Bugacchinno

This article mentions bugs as “meat” relative to vegetarian diets…

Bugs are “meat”?

Now these little crunchy cactus eating critters have been used for hundreds of years as a source of red dyes, and originated in Aztec and Mayan Mexico…

It is commonly used in a number of food items as coloring, including Ketchup.

So much for Ketchup being a “vegetable”.

Cochineal Bugs

Starbucks Strawberry Frappuccinos dyed with crushed up cochineal bugs, report says

Are you a fan of Starbucks Strawberry Frappuccinos? How do you feel about eating bugs?

The website thisdishisvegetarian.com reports Starbucks’ Strawberries & Creme Frappuccino is not vegan, even if it contains soy, after a barista alerted the site that the company’s new strawberry flavoring contains “cochineal extract” – which is essentially crushed up dried bugs used as dye.

“My guess would be that the recipe changed about three or four weeks ago, when our strawberry sauce got new packaging,” the barista told the website. “I was hoping you guys could help get the word out there so that no vegans end up drinking this formerly vegan frappucino by mistake!”

Cochineal extract comes from the dried bodies of cochineal bugs and has been used for thousands of years to color fabrics. The extract is also known as “carmine” or “crimson lake.”

A Starbucks spokesperson replied to the vegetarian website on March 16, according to the site.

“At Starbucks, we strive to carry products that meet a variety of dietary lifestyles and needs. We also have the goal to minimize artificial ingredients in our products,” the spokesperson said. “While the strawberry base isn’t a vegan product, it helps us move away from artificial dyes.”

HealthPop could not reach Starbucks for comment at press time.

The report has prompted a petition on Change.org that calls on Starbucks to use other natural alternatives for food coloring, including red beets, purple sweet potatoes and paprika.

The news has also prompted some to point out that a whole lot of our food already contains cochineal extract – and has for quite some time. The FDA says the dye is safe and food and cosmetic labels must state if cochineal extract is present. That means it may be found in wines, yogurts, candies, fruit drinks, ice creams, ketchup, lipsticks, eyeshadow, nail polish – you name it.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest petitioned the FDA in 1998 to get the product labeled on packaging after a study found the dye caused an allergic reaction in one patient. The CSPI has received many complaints since, it said in a 2009 article.

 
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Posted by on March 27, 2012 in General

 

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Dying for a Hot Dog?

At the rates these scientists are discussing, eating red meat is more harmful than smoking… And a lot of folks out there just thought it was swine!

Time to kill the grill?

All red meat is bad for you, new study says

Eating red meat — any amount and any type — appears to significantly increase the risk of premature death, according to a long-range study that examined the eating habits and health of more than 110,000 adults for more than 20 years.

For instance, adding just one 3-ounce serving of unprocessed red meat — picture a piece of steak no bigger than a deck of cards — to one’s daily diet was associated with a 13% greater chance of dying during the course of the study.

Even worse, adding an extra daily serving of processed red meat, such as a hot dog or two slices of bacon, was linked to a 20% higher risk of death during the study.

“Any red meat you eat contributes to the risk,” said An Pan, a postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston and lead author of the study, published onlineMonday in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Crunching data from thousands of questionnaires that asked people how frequently they ate a variety of foods, the researchers also discovered that replacing red meat with other foods seemed to reduce mortality risk for study participants.

Eating a serving of nuts instead of beef or pork was associated with a 19% lower risk of dying during the study. The team said choosing poultry or whole grains as a substitute was linked with a 14% reduction in mortality risk; low-fat dairy or legumes, 10%; and fish, 7%.

Previous studies had associated red meat consumption with diabetesheart disease and cancer, all of which can be fatal. Scientists aren’t sure exactly what makes red meat so dangerous, but the suspects include the iron and saturated fat in beef, pork and lamb, the nitrates used to preserve them, and the chemicals created by high-temperature cooking.

The Harvard researchers hypothesized that eating red meat would also be linked to an overall risk of death from any cause, Pan said. And the results suggest they were right: Among the 37,698 men and 83,644 women who were tracked, as meat consumption increased, so did mortality risk.

In separate analyses of processed and unprocessed meats, the group found that both types appear to hasten death. Pan said that at the outset, he and his colleagues had thought it likely that only processed meat posed a health danger.

 
 

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