Friday, January 25, 2013

The Degradation of Freedom

When did these cultural gains, carved out over thousands of years of human governing mistakes, become negotiable?
  • Freedom of religion, which would preclude any form of religious government.
  • Access to equal health care, regardless of your personal income.
  • The right to vote for all citizens, regardless of the color of your skin, male or female, homosexual or heterosexual, property owner or not, wealthy enough to afford a state-issued ID card or not.
  • The right to not by spied upon by your own the government with drones or electronically taped conversations.
  • The right to a speedy trial, legal counsel, and to face your accusers.
  • The right to be safe from "cruel and unusual punishment."
  • The right to use birth control and, as is currently a right in this country, to have an abortion. 
  • A free press and the rights of reporters to do their job without being arrested or forced to lie or keep quiet or to maintain the status quo. 
  • The right to negotiate a fair wage for a fair day's work, or have someone do it for you. 
  • The right to demand safe working conditions.
  • The right to have sex, however yuo like, with any person or sex of person you choose, in private, if  you both agree and are consenting adults.
  • The right to be safe from penalty when you blow the whistle on lawbreakers.
  • Freedom of speech and no censorship by the government, or anybody else. This would include propaganda, which these days goes by the name of "spin."
  • The right to grow your own food. 
  • The right to grow plants from your own seeds without worrying about a lawsuit because of contamination and corruption by GMO seeds. 
  • The right to be informed about the nature of your food, from the manner of its inception and manufacture to factory-added additives, and the right to choose if you want to eat it or not, raw or not. 

These freedoms are under attack or already gone in America. So what's next? Against the law to criticize the government? Concentration camps? Don't forget, it wasn't just the Nazi regimen who used camps to detain portions of their nation's population. The US has done it, too. Who among the citizens of this country are closing their eyes so they don't see where this could be headed? It's true that those who forget history are doomed to repeat it.

You will notice I did not include the right to bear arms....although in this country, the cat is already out of the bag. Since the criminal element can and will chose to be armed, it is only fair to allow the populace to arm themselves, not only for self defense but also, as intended, to protect themselves from tyrannical government. That being said, in the wake of horrifying killing sprees that are significantly increasing in number, I personally have no problem with stricter guns laws. A collector, a hunter, someone who just appreciates quality....these persons surely should have no problem with a reasonable waiting time and background check before being allowed to purchase. But the problem is that if somebody really wants to get their hands on a gun., they will find a way inevitably. As far as assault rifles go, I honestly see no reason for those guns to be in the hands of any person. On the other hand, I do acknowledge the danger inherent in regulation. Once there is a path for restriction, more rights can be taken away much more easily later on down the road. What is the best answer? I don't know. Even in Star Trek they had weapons, albeit rarely used to kill. "Set phasers to stun...."

Friday, January 11, 2013

Breakfast Oatmeal, Peanut Butter Style

I can't stand those packets of flavored instant oatmeal. They are often tasty, but not truly filling. I also can't stand plain oatmeal, even when it's cooked with milk (heaven forbid the calorie count on that!) and topped with brown sugar or some such decadence. So I scoured the internet and discovered a baked oatmeal recipe containing, among other things, applesauce and chopped fruit. At last! This satisfied for several years but eventually I started to crave a different option. So after many recipe trials and many, many bowls of oatmeal for breakfast, I am please to share a wonderfully luxurious peanut butter breakfast oatmeal!

Baked Peanut Butter Cookie Oatmeal (my version)

2 cups rolled oats
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup peanut butter (I use creamy, but if you like the crunchy kind, why not use that?)
3/4 cup milk
2 T melted butter
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla

Optional:  Banana, chocolate chips, nuts or seeds, and whatever else may strike your fancy

Mix the oats, sugars, baking powder, and salt until well integrated.

Then I make a little hollow in the dry ingredients and add the peanut butter, the melted butter, milk, egg, and vanilla (I'm so lucky to have an egg from my personal chicken, homemade vanilla, and peanut butter my mom made!). Stir it very well. Then, I put the mixture in a  sealable container and keep it in the fridge. Of course you could cook the whole thing right away in a greased, oven safe pan, at a preheated 350 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or longer if necessary. Personally, I prefer to cook it just before I eat it instead of reheating it every morning, so I preheat the toaster oven, grease a ceramic bowl, and sometimes add 1/4 of a cut-up banana, then 1/2 cup or so of the mixture, and top it with a few chocolate chips and bake if for the same amount of time, about 20-25 minutes, and voila! It's hot, fresh, delicious, and homemade! Sometimes I add the banana after I cook it, instead. If you like nuts or seeds, those could also be tasty toppings. My cousin adds chunks of energy or protein bars to top her oatmeal, I may try that soon too.

As is, for 8 servings in a batch, the nutritional information comes out to about 266 calories, 13 grams of fat, 17 grams of sugar, 8 grams of protein, and 3 grams of fiber, without adding the banana and chocolate chips, and using 2% milk. I'm going to try bumping it up to 3 cups of oats and keeping the rest of the recipe the same, because it IS quite sweet and yummy, and I'm actually trying for a more healthful recipe. But I haven't done that yet, so it may not turn out, although I'm hopeful it will *fingers crossed*!