Saturday, April 01, 2023

Crispy Calamari in the Kitchen

Okay, an air fryer recipe for calamari.


Oil spray

1/4 c. flour, all-purpose flour

two t. salt, + more if desired

two t. black pepper ground

one big egg

one pound calamari rings


1. Warm up your air fryer to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Prepare your basket using parchment and oil spray.

2. Combine flour, salt, plus black pepper in your zip-top plastic bags and set inside.

3. In your medium dish, whisk egg, put calamari, and mix well.  Transfer calamari to your zip-top bag, seal, then shake well until evenly coated.

4. Put calamari in your basket and grease lightly using oil. Cook for five mins, flip, spray with oil, then cook again within three mins, until crispy and cooked through.

5. Sprinkle with additional salt, if desired and serve. 

That is from Air Fryer Cookbook for Beginners: Effortlessly Grill, Roast and Bake Homemade Meals: Your Complete Guide For Beginners with Quick, Tasty & Healthy Recipes. 


The book has a good introduction -- and notes the first patent on an air fryer was in Europe in 2010.  The book also serves up some basic tips for cooking and cleaning the air fryer.  

There are also some really good recipes.   This one is Five-Spice Broccoli:


one bunch broccoli, florets 

2 tbs. olive oil

one t. five-spice powder

one-fourth t. sea salt

1/8 t. ground black pepper


1.. Put broccoli into your big dish, then coat with oil.  Sprinkle with the five-spice powder, onion powder, salt, add pepper. Mix well. Put the broccoli into your basket. 

2. Warm up your air fryer to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Roast the broccoli for 8 mins. Shake basket and roast for another 5 mins. Serve immediately. 

I recommend the book -- especially if you have Kindle Unlimited on Amazon because then you can read it at no extra cost.  I also recommend -- strongly -- that you avoid The Complete Ninja Foodi Cookbook for UK if you're looking for an air fryer cookbook.  Yes, it does pop up with a few air fryer recipes but only a few -- I saw it on Amazon recommended for air fryer recipes.  Maybe for every ten, there's a recipe that's just cooking in the air fryer -- maybe for every fifteen.

This is from Joseph Kishore (WSWS):

Donald Trump is expected to turn himself in on Tuesday for arraignment on indictments handed down by a New York grand jury, reportedly in connection to payouts made on Trump’s behalf to a former porn star. The first charges against a former president of the United States mark a new stage in the degradation of American politics.

There are no issues of democratic import in the indictment. Rather, the Democratic Party has chosen to focus on the flimsiest and most inconsequential matter possible. Trump is being accused of falsifying the nature of payments to the porn star, Stormy Daniels, made in 2016 before he was president, which were channeled through Trump’s longtime “fixer”-turned-government witness, Michael Cohen.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg is reportedly planning on leveraging this charge, which is a misdemeanor that has exceeded the statute of limitations, into a felony by arguing that the payments were in furtherance of covering up an illegal donation to Trump’s campaign, namely the payments by Cohen to pay off Daniels.

The tenuous and convoluted character of the charges has promoted concern within sections of the Democratic Party itself. The Washington Post in its editorial on Friday worried that “of the long list of alleged violations, the likely charges on which a grand jury in New York state voted to indict [Trump] are perhaps the least compelling.”

The Democrats’ decision to focus on this issue will serve to strengthen the fascistic wing of the Republican Party and even provide Trump with the opportunity to posture as a martyr. Trump is already denouncing the “political witch-hunt,” while Republicans are rallying around the former president. Trump’s former vice president, Mike Pence, who the Democrats have upheld as the paragon of democracy, denounced the indictment as an “outrage.”

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

Friday, March 31, 2023.   One lie about the Iraq War gets pointed out and two more spring up, responsibility is an upsetting term for Jennifer Aniston, there's a reason that voter participation in Iraq dropped significantly, and much more.

That's Mehdi Hasan debating Tom Nichols on the legalities of the illegal Iraq War.  A few realities slipped in on the coverage of Iraq this anniversary.  A few.  

Jon Schwarz (INDEPENDENT) has held THE NEW YORK TIMES accountable on some of its articles in the last weeks, for example, but it's sort of an endless, never-ending effort as he notes:

For the 20th anniversary of the start of the Iraq War, the New York Times published an article by Max Fisher headlined “20 Years On, a Question Lingers About Iraq: Why Did the U.S. Invade?”

The article is a fairly cogent summation of the evidence. However, when it was first published, it was undermined by an extremely significant and extremely funny mistake. After inquiries from The Intercept, the paper has changed the original mistake into a fresh, new mistake.

Here’s how the article originally read:

Mr. Hussein had ejected international weapons inspectors, which was seen in Washington as a humiliating policy failure for Mr. Clinton.

When the American leader was weakened by scandal later that year [in 1998], congressional Republicans pounced, passing the Iraq Liberation Act …

One reason this is so funny is because in 1998 the Times accurately reported what happened. The United Nations inspections team, called UNSCOM, was not expelled by Saddam Hussein, but rather was withdrawn by Richard Butler, the head of UNSCOM, after he consulted with the U.S. — about the fact that the U.S. was about to start bombing Iraq, in a campaign called Operation Desert Fox.

Even funnier is that the Times went on to claim erroneously that Iraq had expelled UNSCOM in 1998 at least five times, twice in 1999 and then in 20002002 and 2003. It issued corrections on the three latter articles.

Two decades later, the paper apparently wanted to recapture its youth by being wrong again. The paper has now issued its fourth correction on this subject. Its present-day story currently reads:

Hussein had ejected international weapons inspectors in 1997, which was seen in Washington as a humiliating policy failure for Mr. Clinton.

Then, when Mr. Clinton was weakened by scandal in 1998, congressional Republicans pounced, passing the Iraq Liberation Act …

Wonderfully enough, this is also wrong. Iraq did expel the American members of the U.N. inspections team in 1997. But the rest remained in Iraq until they were withdrawn by the United Nations. All, including the Americans, returned to Iraq eight days later.

You can find this information in a story published when it happened, by a little-known paper called the New York Times.

The corrected text in the 2023 story also leaves out the reason Iraq expelled the (American) inspectors in 1997: Because some of the Americans were conducting espionage against Iraq. Again, you can read about this in the New York Times.

It's like Jon plugs one leak and then two more spring up.  It's endless.

And disappointing.  Did someone just say  Akeel Abbas?  They should have.  He's not an idiot and he's capable of a lot.  So why is so damn disappointing this morning at FOREIGN AFFAIRS?  Partly because he's teamed up with Shayan Talabany.  Why?  Who the hell knows.  She's long been part of the Conservative movement in the UK so it's natural that she'd end up holding hands with War Criminal Tony Blair (she's at his Institute for Global Change aka War Crimes Inc).  

First off, it's one thing to say democracy might be a new concept for Iraqis.  It's another to be insulting and portray the Iraqi people as immature.  It's really insulting.  But what's really awful is the effort to deny reality.  

I'm not in the damn mood this morning.  Year after year, we've pointed out reality.  That's especially true with regard to declining participation in elections.  And there's a reason for the decline as we have repeatedly pointed out.  They ignore reality.

From their awful article:

This new dissatisfaction can be seen in the declining voter turnout despite increasing birthrates. Iraq’s population grew from 25 million in 2005 to approximately 42 million in 2022. Yet while almost 80 percent of eligible voters turned out to vote in the December 2005 parliamentary election, a meager 41 percent at most took part in the October 2021 early elections (although this statistic has been contested by many observers who claim it is inflated because it represents 41 percent of registered Iraqi voters, not eligible voters, millions of whom did not register to vote).

[. . .]

As early as 2011, mounting frustrations were fueling protests across the country, from the Kurdistan region in the north to the south. These frustrations crystallized and erupted in a major 2019-20 protest movement, widely known as Tishreen—the Arabic name for the month of October, when the protests started and won nationwide support. These protests offered the first opportunity for serious bottom-up reform aiming to dismantle the current and failed sect-based politics and bring in merit-based politics, in which the ruling elite is held accountable and judged based on achievements, not identity.

What happened between 2005 and 2011?

What could have made the belief in voting plummet in Iraq?

Violence depressed the turnout in most of the election cycles in the '00s and '10s, absolutely.  But in 2010, it was as high as 62%.

What changed?

If you've paid attention, I just gave you the clue: 2010.

Don't blame the Iraqi people or supposed immaturity for the lower turnout.

Nouri al-Maliki is a thug.  Former prime minister, forever thug.  Then-Senator Hillary Clinton said so in a heavily covered 2008 Senate hearing.  Then-Senator Joe Biden said so in another Senate hearing that I believe we were the only ones to cover.  (I saw no press there and we remain the only ones aware of what Joe said and what then-Senator Russ Feingold said.)  In 2008, the US government knew he was a thug.  Bully Boy Bush installed him as prime minister in 2006.  As we noted before anyone else did, Nouri was paranoid.  The CIA profile on him found him to be so paranoid that he would be easy for the US government to manipulate.  That's why he was installed as prime minister.

In March 2010, Iraq held elections.  He was the sitting prime minister.  He bribed the people -- the ice dispensing was the cheapest and most laughable.  But he was awful.  And the media thought he'd win.   It was seen as a given -- so much so that before a single vote was counted -- let alone tallies released -- NPR declared him the winner.

He didn't win.  

Iraqiya won.  A new coalition created right ahead of the election.

And then what happened?

Nouri refused to step down.  This is the political stalemate.  And at the beginning, the US government insisted that they would stand by the votes -- stand with the Iraqi people. 

Instead, Barack Obama turned on the Iraqi people.  Samantha Power advocated for a second term for Nouri and insisted that Nouri was the best chance to get what they wanted.  

So after eight months of a political stalemate, the US government negotiated The Erbil Agreement, a legal contract between the various political parties.  In exchange for this, they would do that.  They? They had to agree to a second term for Nouri.  In exchange, he would do this or that.  But Nouri used the contract to be named prime minister-designate and then refused to honor it.  Two months later, his then-spokesperson (who'd flee Iraq when Nouri turned on him) declared that the contract wasn't legal or binding.

But the contract put in place Nouri for a second term.  Nouri who was running secret prisons.  And we all knew it by then.

You're an Iraqi and you've got a thug representing you.  You turn out to vote -- despite all the obstacles, including violence.  Your vote and the voters of others means Nouri is gone as prime minister and the next one will come from Iraqiya.  But . . .

Then US President Barack Obama overturns your vote, overturns the votes period and gifts Nouri with a second term.

What is the point of voting?

Why has voting participation in Iraq decreased?

What a stupid question.

Of course, it decreased.  The US government is responsible for that and it is annoying that this is ignored repeatedly but it is especially appalling when it's being ignored in articles supposedly addressing this issue.

ON POINT (NPR) did a great job yesterday bringing Iraqis into the discussion of 20 years later as host Meghna Chakrabarti spoke with journalist Ghaith Abdul-Ahad.  Ideally, we'll note in next week.  Ava and I are going to try to work it into our piece for Third.  This is the best coverage that NPR did this anniversary of the war.  

Yesterday, the White House issued the following:

A Proclamation on Transgender Day of Visibility

 Transgender Day of Visibility celebrates the joy, strength, and absolute courage of some of the bravest people I know — people who have too often had to put their jobs, relationships, and lives on the line just to be their true selves.  Today, we show millions of transgender and nonbinary Americans that we see them, they belong, and they should be treated with dignity and respect.  Their courage has given countless others strength, but no one should have to be brave just to be themselves.  Every American deserves that freedom.

     Transgender Americans shape our Nation’s soul — proudly serving in the military, curing deadly diseases, holding elected office, running thriving businesses, fighting for justice, raising families, and much more.  As kids, they deserve what every child deserves:  the chance to learn in safe and supportive schools, to develop meaningful friendships, and to live openly and honestly.  As adults, they deserve the same rights enjoyed by every American, including equal access to health care, housing, and jobs and the chance to age with grace as senior citizens.  But today, too many transgender Americans are still denied those rights and freedoms.  A wave of discriminatory State laws is targeting transgender youth, terrifying families and hurting kids who are not hurting anyone.  An epidemic of violence against transgender women and girls, in particular women and girls of color, has taken lives far too soon.  Last year’s Club Q shooting in Colorado was another painful example of this kind of violence — a stain on the conscience of our Nation.

     My Administration has fought to end these injustices from day one, working to ensure that transgender people and the entire LGBTQI+ community can live openly and safely.  On my first day as President, I issued an Executive Order directing the Federal Government to root out discrimination against LGBTQI+ people and their families.  We have appointed a record number of openly LGBTQI+ leaders, and I was proud to rescind the ban on openly transgender people serving in the military.  We are also working to make public spaces and travel more accessible, including with more inclusive gender markers on United States passports.  We are improving access to public services and entitlements like Social Security.  We are cracking down on discrimination in housing and education.  And last December, I signed the Respect for Marriage Act into law, ensuring that every American can marry the person they love and have that marriage accepted, period.

     Meanwhile, we are also working to ease the tremendous strain that discrimination, bullying, and harassment can put on transgender children — more than half of whom seriously considered suicide in the last year.  The Department of Education is, for example, helping ensure that transgender students have equal opportunities to learn and thrive at school, and the Department of Justice is pushing back against extreme laws that seek to ban evidence-based gender-affirming health care.

     There is much more to do.  I continue to call on the Congress to finally pass the Equality Act and extend long-overdue civil rights protections to all LGBTQI+ Americans to ensure they can live with safety and dignity.  Together, we also have to keep challenging the hundreds of hateful State laws that have been introduced across the country, making sure every child knows that they are made in the image of God, that they are loved, and that we are standing up for them.

     America is founded on the idea that all people are created equal and deserve to be treated equally throughout their lives.  We have never fully lived up to that, but we have never walked away from it either.  Today, as we celebrate transgender people, we also celebrate every American’s fundamental right to be themselves, bringing us closer to realizing America’s full promise.

     NOW, THEREFORE, I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim March 31, 2023, as Transgender Day of Visibility.  I call upon all Americans to join us in lifting up the lives and voices of transgender people throughout our Nation and to work toward eliminating violence and discrimination against all transgender, gender nonconforming, and nonbinary people.

     IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirtieth day of March, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty-three, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-seventh.

                                JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR.

The statement comes as Mother Tucker Carlson has declared a holy war on the LGBTQ+ community via FOX NEWS.  Luke Gentile (WASHINGTON EXAMINER) notes Human Rights Campaign's Charlotte Clymer was on MSNBC with Joy Reid and addressed Tucker's hateful jihad:


"I'm from the great state of Texas. I served in the military. I go to church every Sunday. My faith is very important to me, but God made me in her image," Clymer said. "God made me transgender, and to see these people so cynically weaponize this and exploit these children's deaths and their teachers' deaths, it breaks my heart."

"I can't see where the biblical principles of loving your neighbor and walking the walk with Christ that they can see. I can't see what they're seeing."

On Tuesday night, much of Fox News host Tucker Carlson’s show was a deeply disturbing diatribe targeting trans people, painting them as terroristic anti-Christs, afforded special privileges by the elite. “The people in charge despise working-class whites, but they venerate the trans community,” Carlson said. 

“The trans movement is the mirror image of Christianity, and therefore its natural enemy,” he continued, echoing violent and fascistic ideologies, like crypto- and neofascism. “In Christianity, the price of admission is admitting that you’re not God. Christians openly concede that they have no real power over anything, and for that matter, very little personal virtue. … The trans movement takes the opposite view. Trans ideology claims dominion over nature itself. ‘We can change the identity we were born with,’ they will tell you with wild-eyed certainty. Christians can never agree with the statement because these are powers they believe God alone possesses.” He concluded the segment with a warning for Americans about the dangers of the so-called trans movement: “Yesterday’s massacre did not happen because of lax gun laws. Yesterday’s massacre happened because of a deranged and demonic ideology that is infecting this country.”

Here, of course, Carlson is wrong; if there is one measure that would curb rampant gun deaths in this country, it would be making it more difficult to obtain assault-style weapons, of which police said the Nashville attacker had two (plus a handgun). As my colleague Hayes Brown argued, access to guns, not ideology, is fundamentally responsible for the mass shooting crisis.

But, given the tragic reality of rampant access to guns, research shows that there is a commonality among mass shooters, who often experience trauma and deep levels of social rejection and bullying. And ironically, it is precisely this kind of rhetoric Carlson shared, which targets and vilifies entire groups of people, that will increase the likelihood of this type of violence, in lieu of a ban on assault weapons. 

Sociologist James Densley, a criminal justice professor at Metropolitan State University, and Jillian Peterson, associate professor of criminology at Hamline University, conducted a rigorous study on the profiles of every mass shooter, defined as everyone “who shot and killed four or more people in a public place, and every shooting incident at schools, workplaces and places of worship since 1999," to gain better insight into any potential commonalities. The hope was that an evidence-based approach to the psychology of mass shooters would make it easier to detect people prone to committing these acts of violence before tragedy struck. The duo’s research was funded by the Justice Department and ultimately compiled into a book, “The Violence Project: How To Stop a Mass Shooting Epidemic.”

“There’s this really consistent pathway,” Peterson said of mass shooters in an interview with Melanie Warner in Politico last May. “Early childhood trauma seems to be the foundation, whether violence in the home, sexual assault, parental suicides, extreme bullying. Then you see the build toward hopelessness, despair, isolation, self-loathing, oftentimes rejection from peers.”

Crucially, this internalized pain at some point becomes externalized, Peterson explained: “What’s different from traditional suicide is that the self-hate turns against a group. They start asking themselves, ‘Whose fault is this?’ Is it a racial group or women or a religious group, or is it my classmates? The hate turns outward.”

The hateful rhetoric of those such as Carlson helps perpetuate these very social dynamics. In fact, Carlson’s rhetoric is so divisive and unhinged that it helps create the social conditions that hurt and isolate both the victimized — “working-class whites” — and the vilified — trans people. Carlson creates a direct and spurious connection between the perceived social injustices of working-class, white Americans and “the rise of transgenderism” (referred to on Fox News earlier this month as a “social contagion”). In so doing, he is terrorizing the trans community, fomenting hate and social isolation.

Into this waddles Jennifer Aniston who is lamenting that FRIENDS is rightly criticized for its lack of diversity.  Today, she's upset.  Really?  I'm not in the mood for a Karen.  I'm really not.  And I try not to use that term.  But I'm damn tired of both her and Lisa Kudrow pretending this is new criticism.  It's  not.  They were called out for this while the shows was on.  They were called out in the first seasons.  In fact, their sitcom set in NYC aired opposite another sitcom set in NYC.  Anyone remember that?  LIVING SINGLE -- with Kim Fields, Queen Latifah, Erika Alexander and Kim Cole.  So stop fronting, Jen.  No one's buying your nonsense.  The show was called out from the beginning for this.  She makes it worse by then blathering away with, "Now it's a little tricky because you have to be very careful, which makes it really hard for comedians, because the beauty of comedy is that we make fun of ourselves, make fun of life. [Before] you could joke about a bigot and have a laugh -- that was hysterical.  And it was about educating people on how ridiculous people were.  And now we're not allowed to do that."

Jennifer could you be more stupid?

That is not what happened.  CBS polled -- and then buried the study -- and found people laughing with ALL IN THE FAMILY weren't learning racism was bad.  They thought Archie was hilarious.  It's one of the reasons Caroll O'Connor began to hate doing the show.  Nothing was being accomplished except it was promoting racism and, to those opposed to racism, it was turning a bigot into a loveable rascal.  That's what the polling demonstrated and that's why CBS buried the study.  But periodicals reported on it.  And have continued to do so.  From 2021's CINEMA SCHOLARS article by Cassandra Feltus:

In 1974, Neil Vidmar and Milton Rokeach conducted a U.S.-Canadian-based study to examine various viewers’ perception of the sitcom. The purpose of the study stemmed from the results of a CBS opinion survey. CBS reported that most people simply enjoyed All In The Family and did not take offense to its content.

Using the selective perception hypothesis and selective exposure hypothesis, Vidmar and Rokeach discovered that viewer perception is oppositional to the dominant reading of the show, as well as different than the results of the CBS survey. 

The selective perception hypothesis suggests that a person’s values and attitudes will affect their perception and interpretation of content. If a person already subscribes to a racist ideology, they are more likely to enjoy the show for reasons in line with their values.
These high prejudiced viewers would relate to Archie Bunker and view him in a positive light. They would see Archie as the voice of reason, while any liberal-minded characters were the ones causing conflict. 

A person who believes in equal rights and has a more progressive worldview would likely enjoy the show for its intended purpose as a satire on bigotry. Low prejudiced viewers would see Archie as a loud, domineering racist. In contrast, they would admire Mike for his tolerance of Archie’s bigotry and for always standing up for his liberal beliefs.

The selective exposure hypothesis suggests that people tend to expose themselves to content that aligns with their already established attitudes and beliefs. High prejudiced people are more likely to watch All In The Family because they identify with the main character and his worldview.

The study found that the show appealed more to high prejudiced viewers, who agreed with Archie Bunker’s view on race, than lower prejudiced viewers, who found his opinions to be insensitive and offensive. 

The overall result of the study proved that Lear’s dominant reading of All In The Family was not what most of the audience perceived. It was found that most viewers enjoy watching the show because they think Archie speaks the truth about American society. With this data, the study concluded that the program is more likely reinforcing prejudice and racism, rather than combating it.

Do you get it? Because every thing you said, every word, is wrong.  How does it feel to be so monumentally stupid?

 Aniston’s assertion that jokes about bigots educate people and reveal the absurdity of bigotry is also worth noting. Research has indicated that satirizing bigotry rarely changes people’s attitudes, and authors Malcolm Gladwell and Jonathan Coe have argued that laughing at satirical portrayals of political problems like bigotry can actually diffuse the discomfort with them that could lead to actual political action.

Aniston’s comments suggest an anxiety on her part about what can and cannot be said in a comedic context that echoes Chappelle and Gervais’s rage against “cancel culture.” But that anxiety neglects the way comedy functions, and in particular what the undercurrents of homophobia and outright transphobia on Friends implied about queer and trans people. The show’s jokes about Chandler, Ross, and Joey’s casual discomfort with queerness, their frequent panic at being considered gay, may have—as Aniston implied—been intended to reveal how ridiculous homophobia is.

But those jokes also normalized that discomfort, portraying it as harmlessly laughable rather than toxic. The show did little to dismantle the notion that queerness is shameful, instead making its 90s audience comfortable with laughing it off rather than interrogating why grown men would be so fearful of being considered gay.

Friends’ treatment of Chandler’s transgender parent was even worse, consistently portraying her as an oddity, a freak, someone whose experience of herself and the world could never be understood by “normal” cisgender people.

Oh, Jen, go back to pretending that you have a career with bad Adam Sandler films.  Or maybe just go back to pretending that you're desperately seeking a man to fall in love with.  But please, go away from this topic, you don't know what the hell you're talking about.  

A lot of people are attacking drag queens.  Their attacks don't reflect the mood of the country.  David Hudson (QUEERTY) notes:

 [A] new poll reveals most people in the US oppose legislative restrictions on drag shows.

The NPR-PBS NewsHour-Marist poll surveyed people across the political spectrum. It found the biggest issues people are worried about are the economy, “preserving democracy”, immigration, crime and the climate.

On the topic of introducing drag bans, as recently done in Tennessee, 58% opposed such moves. This rose to 73% of Democrats and fell to 37% of Republicans. 57% of those who stated they were Independent opposed such drag restrictions. Overall, just 39% said they supported restrictions on drag performances.

The following sites updated: