Vote or DIE (of Hunger)

All righty lads and lassies – tell me what to make!

Get Ready to RUMMMMMBBLLLE!

I don’t suppose this will come as a surprise to ANYone in East Tennessee, but David Davis is giving every indication of his intent to try to take back the House seat come 2010.  In this article posted on today’s Kingsport Times-News, Davis takes aim at Roe’s voting record, and Team Roe kind of sort of rebuts the assertions.  I say ‘kind of sort of,’ because I don’t really see how Team Roe has responded to the substance of Davis’s volley here:

The third vote attacked by Davis would allow tax dollars to fund overseas abortions. The vote involved a July appropriations bill that included $2.2 billion in military assistance to Israel but also had $648 million going to “international family planning funding.” … The Davis release noted “one of the more troubling increases” in the bill was a 20 percent increase to the United Nations Population Fund, which aids China’s “one-child policy, coercive abortion and sterilization.”

Little [Roe’s spokesperson] responded by stressing that Roe, a retired obstetrician/gynecologist who delivered about 5,000 babies during his career, has a 100 percent voting record from the National Right to Life Committee.

Boy Howdy.  I am starting to wish I had a dollar for every time Roe gave this non-response to a question.  I might just have enough to fund my magical HSA, which will pay for all my family’s healthcare needs, with enough leftover for an energy-efficient unicorn.  Seriously, though…I think there is NO doubt that Davis is going to pull out the big guns to take back the seat.  He can -and will – be able to outspend Roe.  And Roe, by the way, despite his repeated assertions to the contrary, in addition to taking money from democrats, DOES take PAC money.  You can see his campaign contributions here.  I know that many dems and liberals think that Roe is better than Davis – but this is like saying diarrhea is betting than vomiting.  Frankly, I don’t see a substantive difference.  So I ask you – WHY SETTLE FOR THIS?  Why don’t we actually TRY to get a democrat elected in 2010?  Call me naive, but I firmly believe that if we find a good candidate NOW, we can get her/him elected. So Dems – PLEASE do not give your money to the Republicans!  Let’s find a candidate and support them.  

Any thoughts???  

Time for Change!

Time for Change!

Tell Me What You Want!!!

All right lovelies!  Time to tell me what you want me to make.  Think of something and submit it via a comment to this post.  I will compile a list and set up a poll for voting tonight.  After the week I have had, I am positively aching to get in the kitchen – so get creative and TELL ME WHAT TO MAKE!

 

Wellies

Wellies

Big, Soggy T-Rex

Yeah, so I know I have been neglecting the blog of late.  I have also been neglecting my family, my house, the rest of my clients, my friends, and basic cleanliness.  You see, I have been sucked into what those of us who get paid to do things for other people know as the ‘demanding client vortex.’  Some clients, whether due to their time-sensitive needs, connectivity, or perceived entitlements or personality, will bloom like just-add-water dinosaur pellets, until they take up almost all of your time, and spill over into an attempted monopoly on your private time, as well.  Like a big, soggy T-Rex.  I imagine this phenomenon occurs in every service-oriented field.  As a server, just about ALL your tables are time-suckers. Anyhow…

Obviously, the ‘perceived entitlement’ and the connectivity clients can be the most irritating. These are the clients who either have, believe they have, or are believed by your bosses to have some sort of sway, such that you are compelled to treat them as superior to others.  I think that the basic 80s Law Firm Mantra of ‘clients should be utterly catered to while we overbill them and associates should be utterly squeezed dry to accomplish this’  that  most firms have been trying to follows has totally fed this. I suppose there is a significant percentage of people who either aren’t fazed by a ridiculously padded bill or don’t notice it because their attorneys are doing such a good job of making them feel special.  I have noticed, however, that I don’t see as many of these since going solo as I don’t follow that mantra in solo practice. 

Then, of course, are the clients who – god love ’em – just can’t help themselves.  Some have impulse control issues and can’t stop calling you every time they think a thought.  Some have seen too many lawyer shows and keep conjuring up new legal strategies.  [Side note here – unless you have new EVIDENCE, chances are what you want to tell me at 11:00 p.m. won’t be helpful.  I won’t call your brother as a witness so he can lie.  I am not going to “tail” your husband or subpoena all 869 of his MySpace friends when neither of you have any money and the divorce is agreed.  And no, you can’t save your boat by giving it to your friend two weeks before you file bankruptcy.]  Some have emotional or psychological or overly-medicated issues that make them fragile, and they have an almost daily need to be talked down and handled.  Overall, these clients will run you ragged – some will also treat you like dirt, and then freak out and refuse to pay when they get the bill. That is why you always ALWAYS get a retainer/deposit. And conduct very thorough intake interviews.  If you sense AT ALL that your potential client may fall in this category, do NOT succumb to sympathy and cut them a break.  Make a good estimate of what you think you will have to do for them, err on the high side, and demand that up front.  I have learned this the hard way – and it took more than one client for the lesson to sink in. Because not only will you get a client that runs you to death, you will end up working for free. And THEN, if you are very lucky, they will send you nasty letters because they aren’t happy with the way things turned out, even though you know in your heart that they got the best result – and representation – possible under the circumstances of their case.

You would think the clients with time-sensitive work would be the least troublesome of the lot.  You know going in what the situation is, so you know what to expect.  Ha. The problem is, there are a fair number of folks who *think* they have time-sensitive work, but what they REALLY have is an unwarranted sense that their work is more important than anything else.  To clarify, unless a property or liberty interest will be irreparably harmed by a failure to timely act, then your work does not automatically deserve to be my number one concern.  But then there are the folks who actually HAVE time-sensitive work.  This is when it can all go to hell. Some things just aren’t meant to happen that fast.  And that is where I have been for the last couple of days.  But I am done, now.  I just hope they pay the bill…

 

What I Need

What I Need

 

 

 

Demand-A-Dish Goes Brunch

 

Quiche and Quichelette

Quiche and Quichelette

 

 

I am pretty sure that this week’s Demand-A-Dish was a success.  I made the pastry last night and left it in the fridge to chill.  I used my basic all-butter recipe, which follows.  I learned how to make pie pastry decades ago – from my Nannie using lard.  I learned again when cooking for $.  And then learned again from the very wonderful ‘Pie and Pastry Bible’ by Rose Levy Beranbaum.  If you want to get all neurotic, you can follow the RLB method.  I love her cookbooks – don’t get me wrong.  Her recipes are solid and her methods are, well, thorough and I have learned how to make so many things from her.  BUT, I find that once I have made something a few times, I will develop my own methods and alter the recipes a bit.  She is VERY methodical.  On pastry, I use some of her tips, but not all.  For example, if it is really hot or humid, or I have been baking a lot and the kitchen is warm, I will cut the butter and chill it in the freezer for a half hour or so.  But really?  Making pastry should not be that fraught with peril; at least, not once you know what you are doing.  But if you are somewhat new to making pies and cakes AND tend to be a little hyper-organized and perfectionist (as am I), then you should check out her Pie Bible and Cake Bible.  Can’t miss.  So, anyhow, the recipe for basic all-butter pie pastry – the measurements given below will give you enough to make one 9-inch crust.  Double it if you plan to have a top crust or lattice-top. Sometimes, I will add cheese, cream cheese, or milk to the recipe, depending on what I am making.  Next time I get around to making pot pies, I will post the cream cheese pastry recipe.  

Anyhow, back to the quiche-making.  Rob opted for basil and tomatoes from our porch garden. I made a mini-quiche for the boy with bacon and cheddar.  We also had skillet-fried potatoes and orange/pineapple Prosecco mimosas – ginger ale in the boy’s. Here is some pR0n of the results, and the recipes are below.

Mmmmm...brunch!

Mmmmm...brunch!

Tomato Basil Quiche with Prosciutto and Feta

the pastry:

  • 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons of COLD butter, cut into about 16 pieces
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 3-5 tablespoons ice water

Put the flour and salt in a food processor and pulse ’til combined.  Add the butter pieces and pulse ’til all combined and has a cornmeal texture.  Add the cider vinegar.  Pulse repeatedly while drizzling in ice water.  When dough starts to form clumps, stop adding water.  Check the dough – if it will stick together, it is done.  Even if it looks all crumbly.  Spread cling film on the counter.  Dump dough onto cling film and quickly shape into flat disc about 5 or so inches across. Wrap up the dough with the cling film and refrigerate for at least an hour.  Preheat your oven to 375. Roll the dough out and blind bake for about 25 minutes in a 9 inch dish.

the custard:

  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • fresh grated nutmeg
  • ground pepper to taste
  • 5 ounces crumbled feta (I used feta because of the excess moisture in tomatoes; with other veg, I would use grated cheese or a softer cheese)
  • 3 roma tomatoes, diced
  • fresh basil, finely chopped, however much you want
  • about 2 or 3 slices of prosciutto, chiffonaded and pan-fried ’til crispy (pancetta, bacon, etc. are also good)

Beat eggs and cream, add the rest of the ingredients and mix just ’til combined.  Pour into the baked shell.  Bake 45- 50 minutes ’til just set in the middle. Take a handful of lactaid pills and ENJOY!

 

Cheers!

Cheers!

REAL Men Beg Their Friends to Vote For Quiche

Okay!  So, Quiche is our Demand-A-Dish winner – and that votemongering husband of mine is thrilled.  For some reason, I can’t close the poll, but pay no nevermind.  Quiche is the definitive winner.  Tomorrow, we will be having a tasty brunch.  The spouse has requested that the quiche include some of our home-grown tomatoes and basil, a cheese of some sort, and crispy prosciutto.  As you all know, I live to serve.  Until then, some food pRon to get you through:

 

Mmmmm...bagels!

Mmmmm...bagels!

Whatcha, Whatcha, Whatcha WANT?

All righty folks!  It’s time to Demand A Dish!  What do YOU want me to cook/bake this weekend?  Go ahead and VOTE!  If you don’t see what you like, leave a suggestion in the Comments and I will put it in the pool for next week’s Demand-A-Dish… xoxox – sfl

Roe, Corker Not Impressive

So, KPT Times-News has this enlightening article about Roe and Corker’s response to Obama’s healthcare address.  My favorite part is this:

Roe, a first-term lawmaker who has been doing a number of TV network interviews lately on health care reform, said he still wants to have a meeting with the president.  “He needs to sit down on a bipartisan basis, which he has not done,” Roe said of Obama

So, let me get this straight: when Republicans refuse to give on an issue, Obama/Dems are being partisan for disagreeing. When Obama/Dems refuse to budge on an issue, they are being partisan for not giving into the Republicans. Thanks for clearing that up, Dr. Roe. I was pretty sure that bipartisanship meant working together. Now I know that it means Obama is supposed to take time to sit down with a “freshman” Rep who has made it abundantly clear that he will never support the President’s plan. If you aren’t willing to consider a public option under ANY circumstances, then what do you have to talk about?

Call us when you can figure out how the working poor and middle class are supposed to come up with $15K every year to fund your “wonder” HSAs.  

 

Congratulations Signs in Roe's Yard - 2 Days Before the Election

Congratulations Signs in Roe's Yard - 2 Days Before the Election

Kitchen Time Desperately Needed…

Okay, so I have been extremely busy with the lawyerin’ of late, which is good as the SLF household needs the money. [Side note? Not all lawyers are wealthy. I think people would be shocked to know what your average associate makes in these parts.  Partners make a lot of money – in my experience, anywhere between 3 and 8 times what the associates are making. And in my world, I collect roughly one billed hour for every 8 or 9 worked. I am not complaining, just trying to correct the myth that all lawyers are evil, bloodsucking, and rolling in dough.]  I will reserve the tirade on clients that do not pay for another post; suffice it to say, I am beyond sick of it at this point.  So, between the working and being sick for the last week, I am in severe need of some kitchen time.    Tonight I plan to rectify that with a nice, homey dinner:  roast beef with dijon-caper sauce, fingerling potatoes with brussels sprouts, mini thyme popovers, and maybe some brownies or something for dessert.  Until then, feast your eyes on my lovely tomatoes:

 

Mmmmmm...homegrown tomatoes rule!

Mmmmmm...homegrown tomatoes rule!

Cincinnatus at the Plow

 

In case you are not familiar with the story of Cincinnatus, read here.  Simply put, the idea of Cincinnatus at the plow has come to symbolize the myth of the citizen/leader, the simple man who works at his humble position until his country calls upon him to lead.  Then, when his task is completed, he puts down the tools of government and goes back home to take up his plow and continue his humble work.  To a certain extent, this motif is found in the story of how Washington was called to be the first leader of the new America.  But nowadays, the ideal of Cincinnatus is not defined by a leader who is uncorrupt, but a leader who is just like you and me.  In other words, the “greatness” of the myth has shifted from the humbleness of Cincinnatus to focus instead on his origins.  The Common Man/Woman as leader – a person who is just like you or me, a person you could have a beer with, or sit next to at the beauty parlor.  The problem with this, obviously, is that this presumes that the Common Man/Woman is fit to lead in the first place.

After listening to people over the Bush II years, I have come to the conclusion that for a certain percentage of people, what their elected officials think and believe is more important that what they do. For example, let’s talk about the ever-present abortion question.  How a candidate feels about this particular issue is often a make-or-break point for the voters.  But let’s think about this logically for a second.  There is absolutely NO direct action that any one elected official can take to stop abortion.  And on a federal level, one could very credibly argue that there is NOTHING a federal elected official can do.  Certainly a President can try to pack the Court, but even that guarantees nothing. So does what they can or cannot do matter at all?  Or do we just want a politician who seems to think like we do?  For many, that answer is “YES!”  And they would rather have a self-professed evangelical christian with a spotty track record and questionable employment history than someone with a top notch education who has spent much of their life working and volunteering. 

Sarah Palin is a perfect example.  On one of the many Palin for President 2012 sites, I found the following rationale for why she is fit to lead this country:  

“We may not be the obnoxious party, but the United States is still full of Godfearin‘, gun totin‘ patriotic Americans–people who believe in small government, lower taxes, and the freedom to make choices for themselves. There are also many of us who deeply desire a candidate who is full of integrity and is not part of the “Washington Elite”…someone a little like you and me.”

But how is she fit to lead? Because she thinks like you?  Are YOU fit to lead? No?  Then why is she?  Because she doesn’t make you feel inferior?  Because she believes in Creationism?  Think about it this way…You’ve decided to get a tattoo.  You can either go to Jack, who has his own tattoo shop and has been tattooing for 26 years is known to be the best artist around, or to Mark, who just bought a bunch of equipment, but has never done a real tattoo before.  You are a Christian and have noticed that Mark has a Jesus fish on his car.  You don’t know if Jack goes to church at all.  So, where do you go to get your tattoo?  Do you want to go to the guy who knows what he is doing or the guy who doesn’t know the first thing about tattooing, but might think like you? Perhaps it would do us all well to re-read the story of Cincinnatus and remember that it was his service to his country  and his disdain for the trappings of power that made him a hero.

 

Ham is our TRUE leader

Ham is our TRUE leader

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