Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Nacho Chicken in the Kitchen

Jacayla notes it is casserole weather.  Agreed.  She likes this recipe for Nacho Chicken and her kids love because there are never any leftovers when she makes it:


  • 4 cups cubed cooked chicken
  • 1 pound Velveeta, cubed
  • 2 cans (10-3/4 ounces each) condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted
  • 1 can (10 ounces) diced tomatoes and green chiles, undrained
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 package (14-1/2 ounces) nacho cheese tortilla chips
  • Optional: Sliced jalapeno pepper and diced tomato
  • Directions

    • 1. In a large bowl, combine the first 7 ingredients; mix well. Crush chips; set aside 1 cup for topping. Add remaining chips to chicken mixture. Spoon into a greased 13x9-in. baking dish; sprinkle with reserved chips. Bake, uncovered, at 350° until cheese is melted and edges are bubbly, about 30 minutes. Serve with sliced jalapenos and diced tomatoes if desired.

Okay, now let's move over to the strike.

Eyewitness News (NYC's ABC 7) reports:

The nurses strike in New York City continued for the third day Wednesday. For people who need care and for the striking nurses not getting paid, time is of the essence.

Hundreds of nurses gathered outside Mount Sinai Main and Montefiore Bronx, with no contract agreement yet between the New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) and the two hospitals.

Nurses at both hospitals are demanding higher wages and better working conditions. Mount Sinai administrators have suggested a possible breakthrough in regard to the nurse to patient ratio.

Strike coverage made it onto NPR's Morning Edition today:


More than 7,000 nurses are striking for a third day at two New York hospitals over a new contract. They say pay is one issue, but staffing levels are a bigger one. One striking nurse said she used to care for four patients at a time in the emergency room or ER, but that's now up to 20 on some days. And the coronavirus pandemic only worsened the nursing shortage nationwide. An aging population is also straining the health care system. The Department of Health and Human Services estimates 1 million new nurses will be needed between now and 2030. Joining us to talk about this - the shortage and solutions - is Jennifer Mensik Kennedy. She's president of the American Nurses Association.

Good morning, Jennifer.


BROWN: You know, burnout seems to be a big problem here. What are you hearing from nurses on the picket line?

MENSIK KENNEDY: Part of this is - what's going on today is that these work environment challenges have been predating COVID-19, and nurses have been - experience many of these challenges for decades. And the current strain of COVID-19 and other public health emergencies have only worsened many of these existing challenges and issues.

BROWN: And as it relates to hospitals, there are two in the New York area where these nurses are striking. What seems to be their response at this point?

MENSIK KENNEDY: I want to note that striking is always a last resort.

BROWN: Sure.

MENSIK KENNEDY: And the nurses really want to focus in on the safe staffing as being a very important issue. The American Nurses Association shares the frustration with the lack of sustainable solutions to address the staffing concerns, workplace violent incidents and other unchecked work environment challenges. And so the actions being taken in New York reflect the experiences and feelings many nurses nationwide.

BROWN: You know, I was reading a comment from one nurse, a chief nurse at Mount Sinai Hospital. She said something like, this is a national workforce crisis.

MENSIK KENNEDY: Yeah, absolutely. We definitely need more nurses. But what we've found for decades of research and programs is that when we have really good work environments for nurses, where nurses are valued, nurses are listened to and nurses can provide quality safe care, those hospitals, those organizations don't experience the shortages that other hospitals do. There are solutions that organizations can put in place to attract nurses and retain nurses. And nurses will go to those organizations where they feel valued and they feel like at the end of the day, at the end of this shift, that they were able to provide good quality care to people.

BROWN: Remind us how we got to this point, and why aren't there enough nurses?

MENSIK KENNEDY: Great question. And we've, you know, experienced shortages of nurses historically for, you know, many decades. And right now we have an aging population. We've got the baby boomers aging. We have, you know, many choices for nurses - for women to go into other professions. And we have a lack of faculty who are able to, you know, bring those nursing students in. We had many nurses who - many people who wanted to go into nursing school, for instance, who were just unable to get enrolled into the nursing school 'cause there's just not enough spaces.

At Self, Maggie O'Neill explains:

Ana Reyes, a nurse who works on a surgical floor at Montefiore, says that many of her colleagues are overworked—and exhausted by the toll the pandemic has taken. “A lot of nurses have PTSD and are seriously burnt-out from COVID,” Reyes tells SELF. As she sees it, staffing shortages have added stress to an already weakened workforce. “I’ve been here for 20 years, and I’ve trained so many nurses over the years,” Reyes says. “[Now,] I’m seeing them walk right out within six months. They’re leaving us for other institutions where they see the staffing is appropriate.” Reyes adds that Montefiore currently has about 700 nursing vacancies—and that she fears more nurses will leave due to the chaos of the current strike. Similarly, Mount Sinai Hospital had more than 500 nursing openings as of last week, according to the NYSNA.

Reyes says that a single nurse in her role should only be in charge of five patients. However, due to staffing shortages, they’re often asked to care for more. “We should be at a one-to-five ratio, but it has not been maintained,” she says. Reyes alleges that, even when the one-to-five ratio is in place, nurses are asked to take on the tasks of other staff members, such as secretaries. “We’re doing other people’s jobs,” she says.

Overworked nurses and their families aren’t the only people affected by the current strain, Christine Higgins, a certified nurse-midwife at Montefiore, tells SELF. “Nurses are the largest constituents of our health care workforce; the brunt of the work inside health care is done by nurses,” she says. “Your nurse is the person who’s providing you with education.” That education includes explaining crucial information to patients, like how to monitor your blood pressure or how to safely swaddle your newborn. 

If nurses don’t have enough hours in the day, very important questions patients need answers to can be overlooked. “When we are put in a position where we are taking care of so many patients that we don’t have the time to do more than the most rudimentary assessment, the patient suffers,” Higgins says. 

This has real consequences for anyone who relies on the health care system. Reyes says, “Being a nurse is making sure [patients are] getting better, [and] being able to see things before they go wrong, but now we don’t have that—we don’t have the time to catch things.”

And here's a video report.  

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

Wednesday, January 11, 2023.  Ryan Murphy speaks reality at a time when so many are silent in the face of hate merchants.

Last night, NBC aired The Golden Globes. Among the winners? Ryan Murphy who was awarded The Carol Burnett TV Achievement Award.  Murphy is a writer, director and producer whose credits include 9-1-1, 9-1-1: LONESTAR, AMERICAN HORROR STORY, GLEE, AMERICAN CRIME STORY, NIP/TUCK and RATCHED.  He and his husband David Miller are also the parents of three children.

Ryan Murphy: When I was a young person at home in the seventies watching THE CAROL BURNETT SHOW, I never, ever saw a person like me getting an award or even being a character on a TV show.  It's hard being an LGBTQ kid in America -- in fact, all over the world -- then and now.  And I have one word for you: Florida.  You are often told you will never become anything, you have to hide your life to survive.  But, for those kids watching tonight, I offer up MJ [Rodriguez] and Billy [Porter] and Niecy [Nash-Betts] and Matt [Bomer] and Jeremy [Pope] as examples of possibility.  There is a way forward, use them as your north stars.  25 years here, that's all I've ever tried to do here in Hollywood.  My mission was to take the invisible, the unloved and make them the heroes I longed to see but never did in pop culture. 


Those were important words at any time but certainly more important than ever at this time in American history where hate merchants surface constantly and argue that rendering LGBTQ+ persons invisible will help children -- what of the LGBTQ+ children?  The hate merchants don't feel their lives matter.  They've started another cultural war where they hope to use the LGBTQ+ community as a scapegoat for all the failure of the right-wing.  The economy's in the tank, "Let's go after gay people!"  Any distraction from reality, they quickly embrace. And there are lives at stake.


Two teenagers on Monday implored the Iredell-Statesville Schools Board of Education to do more to protect district students from bullying.

While sharing their experiences during the public comment period, the students detailed incidents in the schools and comments made during past school board meetings that were harmful to their mental health. 

Eli Granillo, an eighth-grader who self-identified as a member of the LGBTQ community, described being tormented by other students.

“Since sixth grade I have experienced bullying in a few ways. One, I have been shoved and pushed in the hallways for being queer,” Granillo told the board. “I was always worried someone was going to hurt me at school, where I should feel safe.”

After giving a presentation about suicide prevention at school, Granillo was subjected to derogatory name-calling by other students. On other occasions, Granillo, who is Hispanic, was called “b**ner” and “border hopper” by other students.

“I am certainly not the only minority student that is singled out for my skin color or cultural background,” the teen said. “When is it enough? How much bullying does it take to cause physical or mental injury? What is the last straw?”

Gloria Rebecca Gomez and Isabela Gamez (AZ MIRROR) report:

Across the street from the state Capitol, while lawmakers gathered in advance of the new legislative session, Arizona high school students laid out 180 black body bags in protest.

“We are trying to let our legislators know that every single step they take, bill they vote on, there is a life on the line,” said Dawn Shim, the leader of Support Equality Schools Arizona, which organized the event. 

The student-led group was formed last year to speak out against a record slate of anti-LGBTQ bills proposed by the Republican majority. Lawmakers approved several laws singling out LGBTQ students, including one that prohibits trans girls from joining sports teams that fit their gender identity and another that forces teachers to hand over all student records to parents, even if they contain sensitive personal information. 

Some of the newest bills filed this year continue the trend, with one of them restricting pronoun use in schools and another seeking to clamp down on drag show performances by taking away state funds from the schools that host them

Enacting these kinds of laws, said 17-year-old Shim, creates a hostile environment for LGBTQ youth. 

“Once we get these kinds of political ideologies in schools that (are) banning us from carrying out activities that affirm us as individuals and people, schools no longer become a safe space where kids are able to thrive and learn as they should,” she said. “Instead, they become a place where they are marginalized and don’t feel safe. That’s something that shouldn’t be happening.” 

 Kristina Davis (KXXV) reports:

Many in the LGBTQ community across Central Texas feel targeted by the new bills lawmakers considered in today's 88th legislative session.

From gender affirming care for children to classroom lessons about sexuality and even drag shows, Republican lawmakers are stepping down by filing around three dozen bills — over the last week — impacting the LGBTQ community.  

Many in the LGBTQ community across Central Texas feel targeted by the new bills lawmakers considered in today's 88th legislative session.

From gender affirming care for children to classroom lessons about sexuality and even drag shows, Republican lawmakers are stepping down by filing around three dozen bills — over the last week — impacting the LGBTQ community. 

This has left many who identify with LGBTQ in Central Texas feeling uncomfortable. Many are particularly concerned by the "Don't Say Gay Bill." HB 1155 would prohibit children from receiving instruction of sexual orientation or gender identity in public education.

“If the 'Don’t Say Gay' bill passes, what about the multiple families, with same gender parents, how is that gonna be addressed in school?” Central Texas woman Carmen Saenz said.

An advocate with Waco Pride Network added her opinion: “Imagine just the fear a student could feel if they can’t talk about the existence of their parents, or the existence of themselves. There is nothing positive to achieve here.”

John Hanna (AP) reports:

Conservative Kansas legislators are pushing back more aggressively this year on LGBTQ-rights issues than in the past two years, with proposals to ban gender-affirming care for trangender youth and restrict how public schools discuss sexual orientation and gender identity.

Top Republican lawmakers on Tuesday outlined an agenda for the year that includes culture war issues pursued by Republicans in other states, including a ban on transgender athletes in girls’ and women’s K-12, club and college sports. Their broader agenda on LGBTQ-rights issues this year in Kansas also comes after Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly narrowly won reelection in November despite GOP attacks over her vetoes of two bills restricting transgender athletes.

[. . .]

State Rep. Heather Meyer, a bisexual Kansas City-area Democrat with a transgender son, said this year, for GOP lawmakers, “It sounds like that the bigots are the priority, not our children.”

“They want to make it so that it’s like we never existed, so like the LGBTQ community is invisible,” she said.

Carly Flandro (IDAHO ED NEWS) reports:

An unruly audience volleyed insults and threats at the Caldwell School Board Monday night, forcing trustees to call the meeting to an early end. 

At the heart of the fracas was a draft of a potential policy that would establish rights and protections for all students, regardless of sexual orientation.

 Equality and democracy are flying out the window as hate merchants peddle their nasty wares and attack LGBTQ+ persons.  They want to render them invisible.  They want to deny humanity and reality.  

It is very much a war and it's very telling to see who choose to support those at risk and who chooses to hide or worse -- then the Glenn Greenwalds who, despite being gay, rush to defend hate merchants like Tucker Carlson.  People like that must have a humiliation kink.  

Reminder, US House Rep Lauren Boebert uses the term "groomers" to describe LGBTQ+ persons but not her own husband who was arrested and put on probation after exposing himself to two young women at a bowling alley.  She'll point the finger at innocent people but she'll lie about her own husband and insist this story -- despite legal records -- is not true.  

But then that's what the hate merchants have to do: Lie.  Because they don't have truth on their side.

Turning to Iraq where they are raking in billions as oil revenues in 2022 reached a four year high.  At the same time, please note, the number of Iraqis living in poverty has increased from 20% to 25%.  Corruption is the reason.  

Haifa Zangan (MEMO) notes:

After decades of war, siege and occupation, it is rare to see an Iraqi audience joyful; rare to see women and men laughing and singing happily together in a place that unites them. They breathe in the meaning of being Iraqi with bright colours far from the mourning black that has become the daily reluctant norm. It is rare. And yet, thousands of Iraqis and Arabs gathered in such a joyful atmosphere for the opening of the Gulf Cup this week as Iraq hosted the tournament for the first time since it was held in Baghdad in 1979.

The opening ceremony summed up the civilised history of the country and the unity of emotions that transcend religious sectarianism, national strife and everything else that has polluted the name of Iraq since the US-led invasion and occupation in 2003. It was a night made for visitors to the city of Basra to enjoy the hospitality of its people, who are known for their kindness and generosity. The opening of the tournament in the Basra International Stadium — also known as the Palm Trunk Stadium — was an emotional reminder for the locals, as the city was once proud of its 16 million palm trees, most of which were destroyed by wars between 1980 and 2003.

The opening was dazzling with the lighting in place. The Iraqi Electricity Company confirmed that it lit the roads leading to the Sports City, its surroundings and its doors with new lighting installations. The company also launched a campaign for the concept of rationing electricity, and the senior local officials supervised the mobilisation of the electricity company staff for the Gulf Cup on the ground.

This ensures that football fans and TV viewers have power during the tournament, but raises many questions. Why is the media making such a big issue about the preparations to provide adequate lighting? What is so unusual about lighting an international football stadium and the surrounding streets? Why isn't such supervision and provision made at all times to ensure that all of Basra has adequate electricity supplies? Is the area going to be plunged into darkness when the tournament is over?

If the government bodies responsible are able to meet FIFA's requirements for hosting the tournament, within a record time, why can't they make the same effort to provide the basic essential electricity supply needed by Iraqi citizens for the past 20 years, and which is their fundamental right, not a favour from officials? Or is this sudden appearance of good lighting only to invest looted resources in order to save face? Football has been called the world's new religion, so is the perfect vehicle for saving face while concealing the reality of the miserable daily life of most Iraqis.

Since the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq, the country has been one of the most corrupt countries in the world.  Billions come in each year to the government and somehow never make it to the people.  Officials and politicians stuff their pockets.  Most of the time, they get away with it.  MEMO notes:

Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al-Sudani has issued an order to suspend the governor of Diwaniyah, Zuhair Ali Al-Shaalan, while an investigation over corruption allegations is carried out, the Iraqi News Agency has reported.

"The decision was made due to the investigative procedures on suspicions of administrative and financial corruption, which the competent courts are reviewing," confirmed the prime minister's media office.

Shaalan has not yet commented on the decision, but if found guilty he could face a maximum of seven years imprisonment. "Every public official or agent who intentionally causes damage to the funds or interests of the entity in which he works or is connected shall be punished with imprisonment for a period not exceeding seven years," explains the Iraqi Penal Code.

The following sites updated: