Monday, August 8, 2011

The Social Assassin

Do you have a family friend, co-worker, neighbor, or even a relative who constantly does something obnoxious and bothersome? I bet you do. Then you need a social assassin; someone who can directly tell a person their faults, so you do not have to. Have a person (a social assassin) do the dirty work and point out ones’ faults. A great idea.

I picked this idea up from an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm the other night. But I propose we go one step further. A social assassin to also tell a friend, co-worker or relative about obnoxious behavior in the various social networks: Facebook, Twitter, etc.

Have you read some social networks lately, and I have to admit I am personally included in this analysis. There are times I need a social assassin to tell me to “get a life”. I believe these social forums can be good sources of thought and opinion, about real issues, not ones’ personal tastes and health habits. Do we really want to know about your kitty’s health issues, do we really give an RA about your horoscope, and is it necessary to relive your experiences at the dentist? If you are at fault in these and similar examples, you need a social assassin.

Have a boss who has the management skills of a mosquito. Hire a social assassin to set this person straight. The neighbor who every morning walks outside to get the morning paper in an outfit resembling prehistoric times, leaving little to the imagination as far as their body parts. A social assassin is the answer. The Uncle with so much hair in his ears that you only know he has ears is a day or so after a haircut. You see, these problems can be solved by a social assassin. The only problem where are these assassins?

THE STRINGS ATTACHED – One of the effects the recent downgrade by Standard and Poors of U.S. securities to AA+ is now with the U.S. not being the standard of all no risk investments, countries are now in a position to place terms on our doing business with them. As the U.S. debt demands continue to rise, countries like China, can say to us: sure you can have our money but at higher rates and also you (U.S) can no longer demand social justice reforms in China.

Or India can say to us: sure you can have our cash but at higher rates and also stop giving aid to Pakistan. Or the Saudis can say sure you can have our cash but give less aid to Israel. These are the strings that can now be attached to our borrowing due to the lowering of our risk. A very dangerous situation in terms of foreign policy.

THE BIG PICTURE - L.A. Times A1, "News Analysis: For all the drama, little got done: Each party got what it wanted most, but the compromise only delays tougher financial decisions," by David Lauter: "The bulk of the projected $2.1 trillion or more of cuts does not start kicking in until after the next election when a future Congress and president could choose to rewrite the plan - a point that many conservatives have worried about. ... The bill almost certainly defers until after next year's election the central choice most budget experts say the country eventually must make: higher taxes or deep cuts in Medicare ...

"A bipartisan congressional committee set up by the compromise bill is supposed to grapple with the long-term choices over the next four months. White House officials insist they see that panel as a serious opportunity to try again for a major deficit reduction deal. ... But many in Congress, whose leaders will appoint the panel's 12 members, believe the panel more likely will deadlock. 'I think it's very possible, maybe even probable, that with a committee you're going to have a 6-6 vote,' said Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) ... The George W. Bush-era tax cuts will expire barely two months after the [2012] election, virtually guaranteeing a new debate over taxes. And whoever takes the oath of office in January 2013 will inherit a debt still rising and another debt ceiling vote just a few months away."

WHY IT'S HAPPENING - "Short answer: Because we never really fixed underlying structural problems in the U.S. and global economies that had been building for decades ... Those problems included a U.S. economy that was living well beyond its means, consuming more than it produced. They included an Asian economic boom that relied on intentionally undervalued currencies that led to massive buildup of dollar reserves and a massive credit bubble in the United States. ... And they included a new European system with a single currency and a single monetary policy but not the single economy that is needed to go along with it."

Thomas Friedman, N.Y. Times, Aug 6 – “Also our slow decline as an economic super power is a product of two inter-related problems. First, we’ve let our five basic pillars of growth erode since the end of the cold war – education, infrastructure, immigration of high I.Q. innovators and entrepreneurs, rules to incentivize risk-taking and startups, and government-funded research to spur science and technology. We helped unleash two billion people in China, India and Eastern Europe. For us to effectively compete with them – required studying harder, investing wiser, innovating faster, upgrading our infrastructure quicker and working smarter.”

Instead we borrowed heavily for homes we could not afford and for overpriced education. We filled and created jobs in construction and retail that did not require that much education and paid these jobs with low wages. The same was done in Europe, all this debt blew up in 2008 – and now the second problem “deleveraging” or trying to – meaning saving more, shopping less, paying off debts and trying to dig out from all these mortgages and student loans. Plain and simple there is too much debt. It will take years to clean this up through defaults, spending control, inflation and a scheme to transfer wealth from creditors to debtors.

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to Halle Berry (45), Roger Federer (30), Pete Sampras (40), U.S. Coast Guard (221), Steve Wozniak (61).

ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF FINE LEADERSHIP BY THE MAYOR - L.A.'s mayor is turning to his buddies in Sacramento for help in paying out the $42,000 in fines, along with legal bills. And by having three separate legal funds, Villariagosa can collect more than the $1,000 typically allowed under city fund-raising rules. Contributors include former Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez, Assemblyman Ricardo Lara (a former Villaraigosa planning commissioner), state Sen. Kevin De Leon, former state Sen.Jim Brulte, former Assembly Speaker Willie Brown, former Assemblyman Dario Frommer, and Villaraigosa transit advisor Richard Katz.

Villaraigosa was fined for his attendance at 34 events, including Dodgers and Lakers games, and an assortment of concerts, including the one by the Spice Girls. Some of those events were held at venues owned by Anschutz Entertainment Group, which is seeking the city's help with building a $1.2-billion NFL stadium and a nearby convention center wing.

Other contributors include Haim Saban and Rob Reiner. Can't help wondering how much is coming from Villaraigosa's own pocket - you know, the way regular people would pay a fine.

Meatless Monday — you’ve probably heard of it by now — is a global movement to go meatless once each week. It’s not a campaign to turn everyone in the world vegetarian or vegan, and those involved do not judge meat-lovers; many involved are meat-lovers. Eating less meat has been proven to reduce the risk of diseases like cancer, diabetes and heart disease, curb obesity and has important environmental impacts, too. (Read more on You can eat less meat by filling your plate with vegetables and serving yourself just a little bit of meat, or you can give up meat for just one day per week. The latter is easier than it sounds, and you probably already love meatless dishes that you don’t label “vegetarian.” (If you eat cheese pizza for dinner, you’ve just had a meatless meal.)

Frittatas can sometimes be made with pasta, sometimes potatoes, but if you don’t have either, that’s okay, too. Kelsey Nixon’s Garden Vegetable Frittata is made with potatoes, spinach, tomatoes, basil and Asiago cheese. It’s fresh and light and makes use of the vegetables in-season right now, but you can easily substitute the ingredients based on what you have. So if you don’t have spinach, try arugula. If you’re out of Asiago, try provolone. If your herb garden is overflowing with parsley, throw that in too.

Garden Vegetable Frittata
Recipe courtesy Kelsey Nixon
Prep Time: 20 min
Serves: 6

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
5 small red potatoes, thinly sliced
1 bunch green onions, trimmed and sliced
1 cup grape tomatoes, sliced
1 cup baby spinach, torn
1 clove garlic, crushed
8 eggs
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil, plus more for garnish
1 to 2 cups shredded Asiago cheese, plus more for garnish
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sliced potatoes to the skillet, saute for about 6 to 8 minutes, until tender but firm. Remove the potatoes from the skillet. Add another tablespoon olive oil, and add the green onions, tomatoes, spinach, and garlic. Saute for an additional 1 to 2 minutes or just until the spinach is wilted. Season the vegetables with salt, and pepper.

In a medium bowl, beat together the eggs, basil, cheese, salt, and pepper. Pour into the skillet over the vegetables. Reduce heat to medium-low and scramble the eggs for 1 minute. Return the potatoes to the skillet. Cook for an additional 2 to 3 minutes, or just until the eggs start to set around the edges. Drizzle olive oil around the edge of the pan to ensure easy removal.

Finish cooking in the oven for an additional 10 to 12 minutes, until the eggs have completely set in the center. Serve straight out of the skillet, or flip onto a serving plate. Garnish with shredded Asiago cheese and fresh basil.

Next week, words of the month and Dear Rink Rats.

Until next Monday, Adios.

Claremont, CA
August 8, 2011


1 comment:

  1. Loved the Thomas Friedman quote, thanks for Sharing!