Friday, August 11, 2017

Lemon-Garlic Sardine Fettuccine in the Kitchen

Do you ever have a lot of sardines?

Lisa has a lot and found herself in a tight budget moment, as we all have.

And she had tons of canned sardines.

So she started looking for recipes she could use them in.

Of all the ones she found, the one she enjoyed most was Lemon-Garlic Sardine Fettucine at Eating Well.

I love sardines.  I eat them on crackers at least once a week because they are so good for you.

But I honestly had never done anything else with sardines.

So I was curious about the recipe Lisa found.

It's very delicious.  And very easy:

  • 8 ounces whole-wheat fettuccine
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs (see Tip), preferably whole-wheat
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 3- to 4-ounce cans boneless, skinless sardines, preferably in tomato sauce, flaked
  • ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • ¼ cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook pasta until just tender, 8 to 10 minutes or according to package directions. Drain.
  2. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons oil in a small nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant and sizzling but not brown, about 20 seconds. Transfer the garlic and oil to a large bowl.
  3. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in the pan over medium heat. Add breadcrumbs and cook, stirring, until crispy and golden brown, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
  4. Whisk lemon juice, pepper and salt into the garlic oil. Add the pasta to the bowl along with sardines, parsley and Parmesan. Gently stir to combine. Serve sprinkled with the breadcrumbs.
  • Tip: To make fresh breadcrumbs, trim crusts from whole-wheat bread. Tear bread into pieces and process in a food processor until coarse crumbs form. One slice of bread makes about ½ cup fresh crumbs.

Economizing is a skill.

Lisa's mastered it and that makes her a lot better off than some.

Even in a bind, she's going to do well.

And we're probably all going to be in a bind as corporations plot to rip us off more and more.

Kate Randall (WSWS) reports:

Life expectancy for Americans has stalled and reversed in recent years, ending decades of improvement. According to a new Bloomberg study, this grim reality has an upside for US corporations, saving them billions in pension and other retirement obligations owed to workers who are dying at younger ages.
In 2015, the American death rate rose slightly for the first time since 1999, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Over the last two years, at least 12 large companies have reported that negative trends in mortality have led them to reduce their estimates for how much they could owe to retirees by a combined $9.7 billion, according to Bloomberg’s analysis of company filings.
It is highly unusual in modern times, except under epidemic or war conditions, for life expectancy in an industrial country to stop improving, let alone decline. Laudan Aron, a demographer at the Urban Institute, told Bloomberg that falling US life expectancy, especially when compared to other high-income countries, should be “as urgent a national issue as any other that’s on our national agenda.”
But this has not sounded alarm bells in Washington. In fact, shortened life expectancy in the 21st century is the result of deliberate government policy of both big business parties: to restrict access to affordable health care, resulting in increased disease, suffering and early death.
Those who stand to cash in on the shortened lifespans of workers include General Motors, Verizon and other giant corporations. Lockheed Martin, for instance, has reduced its estimated retirement obligations for 2015 and 2016 by a total of about $1.6 billion, according to a recent annual report.
Companies have reduced estimates of what they will owe future retirees. According to a Society of Actuaries (SOA) report, companies can expect to lower their pension obligations by about 1.5 to 2 percent, based on a 2016 update of mortality data.
Life expectancy for the US population was 78.8 in 2015, a decrease of 0.1 year from 2014, according to the CDC, with the age-adjusted death rate increasing 1.2 percent over the year. Since the introduction in 1965 of Medicare and Medicaid—the government insurance programs for the elderly, poor and disabled—US life expectancy has steadily increased.
Death rates for Americans over age 50 have improved by 1 percent on average each year since 1950, according the SOA. In 1970, a 65-year-old American could expect to live another 15.2 years, on average, until just past 80 years.
From 2000 to 2009, the death rates for Americans over age 50 decreased, with annual improvements of 1.5 to 2 percent. By 2010, a 65-year-old could expect to live to 84. But these increases have slowed in recent years, with life expectancy at 65 rising only about four months between 2010 and 2015.
The slowing in death rate improvements since 2010, and the actual lowering of life expectancy in 2015, have followed the global financial crash of 2007-2008. Despite the Obama administration’s declaration that the Great Recession ended mid-2009, millions of US workers and their families continue to suffer under the weight of unemployment, underemployment, and stagnant or falling wages.

This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for Friday:

Friday, August 11, 2017.

Elections were supposed to take place in Iraq this year.

First in Mach but they were pushed back.

Then in September but again pushed back.

Former prime minister and forever thug Nouri al-Maliki has used the time trying to look impressive.  That was behind his recent underwhelming trip to Russia.

Shi'ite cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr has also used the time -- he's visited Saudi Arabia and restarted his protests against corruption.

On the former,  Fanar Haddad (WASHINGTON POST) offers:

Though previously known as a “firebrand cleric” with a Shiite populist and militant line in Iraq, Sadr today presents himself as a moderate, nationalistic champion of change. His visit to Saudi Arabia was likely designed with two audiences in mind.
A message to Iraq’s Shiite population
Sadr’s visit was a message to his competitors in Iraq’s increasingly fragmented Shiite political scene. The Riyadh visit and the fact that Sadr was hosted at the highest levels of the Saudi establishment will underline his international relevance and burnish his prestige and credentials as an Iraqi statesman. This kind of political plumage is especially useful as Sadr and his rivals jockey for position ahead of next year’s Iraqi elections.
A message to Iran
Sadr’s visit demonstrated to Iran — and to Iran’s allies and proxies in Iraq/Sadr’s political rivals — that he not only has options, but he can even push back against Iran and has the power to potentially hurt Iranian interests in Iraq. If nothing else, this enables Sadr to present himself as the face of Arab (non-Iranian) Iraqi Shiism.

This is a position that resonates with his base — although the extent to which they will accept a Saudi embrace remains to be seen — and further differentiates him from his competitors. Having already announced a political alliance with Ayad Allawi, an anti-Shiite-Islamist figure, this visit will further polish Sadr’s credentials as a nationalist political figure who can rise above the politics of sect and ethnicity.

Ammar al-Hakim has also appears to be campaigning.  The Shi'ite leader of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq has formed a new party called National Wisdom; however, he has insisted that this does not mean he's left ISCI.

Ali Nasseri (NIQASH) reports:

The provincial government in Dhi Qar has been unstable for some time, with members of different parties and blocs defecting at will or forming new alliances. The most recent change saw seven members of the Muwatin, or Citizen bloc, join a brand new party created by the cleric Ammar al-Hakim.
 At the end of July al-Hakim, who had led one of the country’s largest Islamic parties, the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, or ISCI, since 2009, announced he was leaving the party to form a new one. Called the National Wisdom party, Al-Hakim has said the new party, which has dropped Islamic from the name, is a project to rejuvenate Shiite Muslim politics in Iraq and to appeal to younger supporters. Al-Hakim had been at odds with older members of the ISCI for years.
As one commentator has noted, al-Hakim’s new party kept all the ISCI’s assets, essentially “stripping [them] of both the symbolism and the assets”.

Politicians in Dhi Qar appear to agree with al-Hakim’s new stand. The new party is about the creation of a new political generation,” said Adel al-Dukhili, the deputy governor of the province, one of those who defected to the National Wisdom party. ” A movement that believes in rapid change and turning challenges into opportunities, by adopting a clear manifesto.”

Will elections come in 2018?


Maybe not.

They've been twice postponed this year with no outrage expressed on the part of the global community.

Maybe Hayder al-Abadi will decide to postpone them yet again, say they'll hold elections in 2019?

Maybe he'll just play kick the can over and over.

He certainly hasn't suffered any outrage -- or consequences -- over the decision.

One election that may take place this year is on the fate of the Kurdistan region.

Will the semi-autonomous region move on to full autonomy?

RUDAW notes a new voice in the debate:

Iraqi Sunni politician and leader of the Ummah Party Mithal al-Alusi says that Iraq has failed its people and that the Kurds are justified in their quest for separation and the establishment of a state of their own.

“This is a cardboard state,” says al-Alusi in an interview with al-Iraqiya state television. “The Kurds have the right to say: I don’t want to be part of such a failed state.”

Al-Alusi, who describes himself as a secular politician from Anbar, cites the interference of regional countries as proof of Iraq’s failure.

“Is Qasem Soleimani entering Iraq on a visa? Does he have residency permit?” he asks. “Iranian intelligence working as advisors is this sovereignty? Saudi money piling up with the Sunnis, is this Iraqi sovereignty and an intact state?”

Soleimani is the commander of Iran’s Quds Force who is said to have been hired by the Iraqi government as an advisor to the defense ministry.

Al-Alusi who has been elected twice to the parliament and is a proponent of good relations with the West, including Israel, believes that Iraq has violated its own constitution which has given the Kurds a reason to seek a path of separation.

“We all voted for and agreed on this constitution that stipulates the unity of Iraq, but where has it got now and what democracy have we Iraqis got?” he says.

The move for self-determination is outlined in the Constitution.

Among the fear if the Kurds attempt it?

Neighbors like Turkey which regularly crush their own Kurdish population fear this will set an example.

The other fear in the room?

That Kurds taking this step might lead other areas of Iraq to do the same.

The following community sites updated:

  • iraq iraq iraq iraq iraq Iraq