Thursday, June 07, 2018

Trump calls for probe into claims Obama administration tried to give Iran access to US banks By Adam Shaw

Source: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2018/06/07/trump-calls-for-probe-into-claims-obama-administration-tried-to-give-iran-access-to-us-banks.html
June 7, 2018


President Trump on Thursday called for an investigation into allegations that the Obama administration tried to give Iran access to the U.S. financial system by sidestepping sanctions. 

"The Obama Administration is now accused of trying to give Iran secret access to the financial system of the United States. This is totally illegal," Trump tweeted. 

A draft report by the Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations found that, in early 2016, the Obama Treasury Department issued a license to Bank Muscat to authorize the conversion of Iran’s rials to euros through “any United States depository institution.”

According to the subcommittee, Iran had $5.7 billion in assets in the Omani bank, and wanted to convert it via the U.S. financial system as it was the most efficient means, “even though U.S. sanctions prohibited it,” according to the report.

The report says that government officials said in subsequent testimony to Congress, though, that Iran would not be granted access to the financial system. 

OBAMA ADMIN ALLEGEDLY GAVE IRAN ACCESS TO US FINANCIAL SYSTEM

The report found that the plan failed only when the two U.S. banks refused to participate, citing the complexity and the unwanted appearance involved in processing an Iranian transaction.

By itself, the Obama Treasury Department's issuing of a license to allow Iran to convert $5.7 billion it held at a bank in Oman was not illegal. If the Omani bank had allowed the exchange without such a license, it would have violated sanctions that bar Iran from transactions that touch the U.S. financial system. 

But the Senate report revived criticism of how the Obama administration sought to accommodate Iran in connection with the nuclear deal. Trump suggested Thursday that Special Counsel Robert Mueller should be looking at this instead of the Russia probe. 

“Perhaps we could get the 13 Angry Democrats to divert some of their energy to this 'matter' (as Comey would call it),” he said. “Investigate!”

Republicans have pointed to the revelation as proof that the Obama administration was "desperate" for the Iran deal.  

"The Obama administration misled the American people and Congress because they were desperate to get a deal with Iran," said Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, who chairs the panel.

But a former administration official disputed the subcommittee's conclusion, saying the Treasury Department never authorized Iran to access U.S. investments or markets, conduct commercial transactions in U.S. dollars or open correspondent accounts at U.S. banks.

“This specific license cannot be described as ‘granting access to the U.S. financial system,’” the former official said. “This specific license was in fulfillment of JCPOA commitments to give Iran access to pools of its money held overseas. It was aimed solely to allow the movement of Iran’s own funds stranded at an Omani bank into euros at a European bank, where Iran could then make use of them.”

Fox News’ Rich Edson and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Adam Shaw is a Politics Reporter and occasional Opinion writer for FoxNews.com. He can be reached here or on Twitter: @AdamShawNY.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

The Republican Club By Andy Thomas


Image of "The Republican Club" courtesy of Andy Thomas

Source: http://time.com/5198306/andy-thomas-donald-trump-presidents-painting/

By Ryan Teague Beckwith
March 14, 2018

When it came time to update his hugely popular painting of Republican presidents, Andy Thomas struggled with how to fit Donald Trump in, but he knew that he belonged at the center of the frame.

A self-taught cowboy painter in southwest Missouri, Thomas stressed that he’s no political expert, so he wasn’t quite sure how the 45th president would be received by his predecessors in an imagined meeting.

“He’s outside the norm of Republicans and that makes it kind of interesting,” he told TIME. “Is he going to end up going in history as a great Republican or an abnormality or something? So it’s interesting. I just put him at the table, more or less the center of attention. We’ll let history decide. Or let the people decide. It’s not up to me.”

Thomas said Trump was a little hard to paint because his light hair, tan skin and lack of dark recesses under his eyes make his face mostly just “a light warm color.” He also found it hard to give Trump a “genuine smile,” and had to redo the painting after his first take seemed off.

Titled “The Republican Club,” the painting features Trump sitting at a table with GOP presidents Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan and both Bushes. History buffs can also spot lesser-known GOP presidents such as Warren G. Harding in the crowd in the background as well.

The addition of a crowd in the background also led Thomas, an independent-minded Midwesterner who’s a fan of both Reagan and Bill Clinton, to add a subtle feminist message: A woman with indistinct features walking directly toward the table.

The same woman also appears in a separate painting, “The Democratic Club,” that Thomas just finished.


Image of "The Democratic Club" painting courtesy of Andy Thomas

“That will be the first Republican female president and the first Democratic female president,” he explained. “As I was doing the painting, I was thinking that these guys are kind of intimidating in a way. That’s the kind of woman that will be our first woman president; she’ll walk right up to that table.”

Prints of the two paintings, revealed exclusively to TIME for the first time, will go on sale sometime before the summer.

Thomas began the paintings a little before the holidays, but he said the decision to include a woman was not a commentary on Trump or the revelations about sexual misconduct among political and business leaders at the time.

Instead, he said it grew out of a more artistic decision. Made in 2008 at the suggestion of a gallery owner, his first political paintings featured eight Republican presidents and eight Democrats playing poker around a table at what appears to be a political convention. When giclee prints of those paintings turned out to be extremely popular in gift shops and galleries, he did a follow-up of the presidents playing pool, but he felt it was too closed-off and a little undemocratic.

That led him to the decision to add a group of people in the background, which along the way led him to decide a woman would approach the table.

“I’m an old-fashioned male,” he said. “But there’s a feeling of a good old boy’s network that I wanted to dispel. It just kind of came about.”

Thomas, who has a son, three daughters and two stepsons, did admit one inspiration for the idea, however: His daughter, Jenny, who works in management at a manufacturing company.

“Jenny would do that,” he said. “She’d walk right up there.”

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Liberals, You’re Not as Smart as You Think By Gerard Alexander



Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/12/opinion/sunday/liberals-youre-not-as-smart-as-you-think-you-are.html

May 12, 2018


Illustration by Alvaro Dominguez; Photographs by ZargonDesign/E+, via Getty Images, and Renaud Philippe/EyeEm, via Getty Images

I know many liberals, and two of them really are my best friends. Liberals make good movies and television shows. Their idealism has been an inspiration for me and many others. Many liberals are very smart. But they are not as smart, or as persuasive, as they think.

And a backlash against liberals — a backlash that most liberals don’t seem to realize they’re causing — is going to get President Trump re-elected.

People often vote against things instead of voting for them: against ideas, candidates and parties. Democrats, like Republicans, appreciate this whenever they portray their opponents as negatively as possible. But members of political tribes seem to have trouble recognizing that they, too, can push people away and energize them to vote for the other side. Nowhere is this more on display today than in liberal control of the commanding heights of American culture.

Take the past few weeks. At the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner in Washington, the comedian Michelle Wolf landed some punch lines that were funny and some that weren’t. But people reacted less to her talent and more to the liberal politics that she personified. For every viewer who loved her Trump bashing, there seemed to be at least one other put off by the one-sidedness of her routine. Then, when Kanye West publicly rethought his ideological commitments, prominent liberals criticized him for speaking on the topic at all. Maxine Waters, a Democratic congresswoman from California, remarked that “sometimes Kanye West talks out of turn” and should “maybe not have so much to say.”

Liberals dominate the entertainment industry, many of the most influential news sources and America’s universities. This means that people with progressive leanings are everywhere in the public eye — and are also on the college campuses attended by many people’s children or grandkids. These platforms come with a lot of power to express values, confer credibility and celebrity and start national conversations that others really can’t ignore.

But this makes liberals feel more powerful than they are. Or, more accurately, this kind of power is double-edged. Liberals often don’t realize how provocative or inflammatory they can be. In exercising their power, they regularly not only persuade and attract but also annoy and repel.

In fact, liberals may be more effective at causing resentment than in getting people to come their way. I’m not talking about the possibility that jokes at the 2011 correspondents’ association dinner may have pushed Mr. Trump to run for president to begin with. I mean that the “army of comedy” that Michael Moore thought would bring Mr. Trump down will instead be what builds him up in the minds of millions of voters.

Consider some ways liberals have used their cultural prominence in recent years. They have rightly become more sensitive to racism and sexism in American society. News reports, academic commentary and movies now regularly relate accounts of racism in American history and condemn racial bigotry. These exercises in consciousness-raising and criticism have surely nudged some Americans to rethink their views, and to reflect more deeply on the status and experience of women and members of minority groups in this country.

But accusers can paint with very wide brushes. Racist is pretty much the most damning label that can be slapped on anyone in America today, which means it should be applied firmly and carefully. Yet some people have cavalierly leveled the charge against huge numbers of Americans — specifically, the more than 60 million people who voted for Mr. Trump.

In their ranks are people who sincerely consider themselves not bigoted, who might be open to reconsidering ways they have done things for years, but who are likely to be put off if they feel smeared before that conversation even takes place.

It doesn’t help that our cultural mores are changing rapidly, and we rarely stop to consider this. Some liberals have gotten far out ahead of their fellow Americans but are nonetheless quick to criticize those who haven’t caught up with them.

Within just a few years, many liberals went from starting to talk about microaggressions to suggesting that it is racist even to question whether microaggressions are that important. “Gender identity disorder” was considered a form of mental illness until recently, but today anyone hesitant about transgender women using the ladies’ room is labeled a bigot. Liberals denounce “cultural appropriation” without, in many cases, doing the work of persuading people that there is anything wrong with, say, a teenager not of Chinese descent wearing a Chinese-style dress to prom or eating at a burrito cart run by two non-Latino women.

Pressing a political view from the Oscar stage, declaring a conservative campus speaker unacceptable, flatly categorizing huge segments of the country as misguided — these reveal a tremendous intellectual and moral self-confidence that smacks of superiority. It’s one thing to police your own language and a very different one to police other people’s. The former can set an example. The latter is domineering.

This judgmental tendency became stronger during the administration of President Barack Obama, though not necessarily because of anything Mr. Obama did. Feeling increasingly emboldened, liberals were more convinced than ever that conservatives were their intellectual and even moral inferiors. Discourses and theories once confined to academia were transmitted into workaday liberal political thinking, and college campuses — which many take to be what a world run by liberals would look like — seemed increasingly intolerant of free inquiry.

It was during these years that the University of California included the phrase “America is the land of opportunity” on a list of discouraged microaggressions. Liberal politicians portrayed conservative positions on immigration reform as presumptively racist; Nancy Pelosi, the House minority leader, once dubiously claimed that she had heard Republicans tell Irish visitors that “if it was you,” then immigration reform “would be easy.”

When Mr. Obama remarked, behind closed doors, during the presidential campaign in 2008, that Rust Belt voters “get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them,” it mattered not so much because he said it but because so many listeners figured that he was only saying what liberals were really thinking.

These are the sorts of events conservatives think of when they sometimes say, “Obama caused Trump.” Many liberals might interpret that phrase to mean that America’s first black president brought out the worst in some people. In this view, not only might liberals be unable to avoid provoking bigots, it’s not clear they should even try. After all, should they not have nominated and elected Mr. Obama? Should they regret doing the right thing just because it provoked the worst instincts in some people?

This is a limited view of the situation. Even if liberals think their opponents are backward, they don’t have to gratuitously drive people away, including voters who cast ballots once or even twice for Mr. Obama before supporting Mr. Trump in 2016.

Champions of inclusion can watch what they say and explain what they’re doing without presuming to regulate what words come out of other people’s mouths. Campus activists can allow invited visitors to speak and then, after that event, hold a teach-in discussing what they disagree with. After the Supreme Court ruled in 2015 that states had to allow same-sex marriage, the fight, in some quarters, turned to pizza places unwilling to cater such weddings. Maybe don’t pick that fight?

People determined to stand against racism can raise concerns about groups that espouse hate and problems like the racial achievement gap in schools without smearing huge numbers of Americans, many of whom might otherwise be Democrats by temperament.

Liberals can act as if they’re not so certain — and maybe actually not be so certain — that bigotry motivates people who disagree with them on issues like immigration. Without sacrificing their principles, liberals can come across as more respectful of others. Self-righteousness is rarely attractive, and even more rarely rewarded.

Self-righteousness can also get things wrong. Especially with the possibility of Mr. Trump’s re-election, many liberals seem primed to write off nearly half the country as irredeemable. Admittedly, the president doesn’t make it easy. As a candidate, Mr. Trump made derogatory comments about Mexicans, and as president described some African countries with a vulgar epithet. But it is an unjustified leap to conclude that anyone who supports him in any way is racist, just as it would be a leap to say that anyone who supported Hillary Clinton was racist because she once made veiled references to “superpredators.”

Liberals are trapped in a self-reinforcing cycle. When they use their positions in American culture to lecture, judge and disdain, they push more people into an opposing coalition that liberals are increasingly prone to think of as deplorable. That only validates their own worst prejudices about the other America.

Those prejudices will be validated even more if Mr. Trump wins re-election in 2020, especially if he wins a popular majority. That’s not impossible: The president’s current approval ratings are at 42 percent, up from just a few months ago.

Liberals are inadvertently making that outcome more likely. It’s not too late to stop.

Gerard Alexander is an associate professor of politics at the University of Virginia.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Hashtags Explained: The Complete Guide to Hashtags in Social Media By Rich Brooks

Source: https://www.takeflyte.com/hashtags-explained

December 19, 2014

beethoven-hashtags

Or, everything you ever wanted to know about hashtags but were afraid to ask your teenager.

Let me guess: you’re reading this post because you just did a search on “hashtags explained” or “how to use hashtags in social media.”

You see other people and businesses tossing around hashtags like #seo, #smallbiz, or #b2bchat, and in your mind it’s as accessible as juggling chainsaws.

#donttrythisathome

There’s probably no easier way to tell a digital native from a digital na├»ve than their ability to use the hashtag. Trying to use hashtags when you don’t understand them sounds as natural as cursing in another language.

Whether it’s during Q&A at social media events, in the comment sections of other posts, or in emails, I’ve fielded a lot of questions about how to use hashtags in social media. I figured I’d try and answer all of them in this comprehensive guide.

Now, there are already a lot of great articles on how to use hashtags. I’ll reference a number of them throughout this article. However, most of them aren’t geared to small businesses and entrepreneurs. (More on that later.) So, I wanted to put together an exhaustive guide to using hashtags in social media as it stands today.

What is a hashtag?

A hashtag is the pound sign. The sharp note in musical notation. A tic tac toe board. This: #

When it comes to social media, the hashtag is used to draw attention, to organize, and to promote.

Hashtags got their start in Twitter as a way of making it easier for people to find, follow, and contribute to a conversation. Archeologists have unearthed this early tweet, and believe it to be the first time the hashtag was used for this purpose.

The Origins of Hashtags

You don’t need any special software, coding experience, or even a college degree to create a hashtag. The only thing you need to do is put the pound sign directly in front of the word or phrase you want to turn into a hashtag and follow these simple rules:

  • No spaces
  • No punctuation
  • No special characters

Hashtag Rules

Another thing to keep in mind: capitalization only matters for readability. #KnowWhatIMean?

Why use hashtags?

There are a number of reasons why you want to use hashtags in social media.

Hashtags help you get found by your target audience. Many people do research by searching on specific hashtags. By using the hashtags that are of interest to your ideal customer, you can increase the chances of being found.

Hashtags improve your clickthrough rates. According to research from Buddy Media, tweets with hashtags receive twice as much engagement as those that don’t. Put another way, you can double your engagement and increase clickthrough rates by including hashtags. Interestingly, there does seem to be an upper limit. Tweets with more than two hashtags saw engagement drop by 17%. Perhaps because too many hashtags look spammy. This research is for Twitter; there doesn’t seem to be the same bias on Instagram.

Hashtag Statistics

You can check out the full infographic on Twitter engagement here.

Hashtags are great for research. If you are doing research, it’s easy to find great, relevant content by search on specific hashtags. I’ve found that tweets with hashtags are generally more focused on a topic than a tweet that just mentions the phrase.

Hashtag Research

#Eventprofs is a hashtag for event professionals, in case you weren’t sure.

Hashtags become links to search queries. So, while someone might click your hashtag and take them to a search query, at the same time, that search is garnering a lot more views, and will lead more people to see your post.

Hashtags can be used for humor. The hashtag is the social media equivalent of the aside or rimshot. While this may not help you get found in social media, it can certainly show your personality and help engage (or repel) your audience.

Hashtag as Punchline

How #smallbiz can use hashtags effectively.

Many articles about how to use hashtags effectively reference a campaign from Esurance called #esurancesave30. The insurance company ran an ad after the Superbowl promoting the hashtag. As reported in Search Engine Watch, the hashtag was used 1.4 million times within an hour of airing the ad. Esurance also gained 40,000 followers within minutes and 250,000 followers in the next few days.

So, let me get this straight…Step 1: get a budget big enough to advertise right after the SuperBowl….

OK, so that’s not going to work for you. So, what can a small business do when it comes to marketing with hashtags?

  • Uncover the hashtags popular in your industry. Kevan Lee, over at the buffersocial blog, suggests using the tool Twitalyzer to find out which hashtags the influencers in your industry are using as a starting point. My experience with this tool is mixed.

    According to it, @therichbrooks often uses #am (a hashtag I used once a couple of days ago only because autocorrect didn’t like #SMBME,) and #puffpuffpasstuesday, which a Google search shows I’ve never used.

    Or at least that I never inhaled.

    Another approach is to use Twitalyzer to find the hashtags your ideal customers are engaging with or using.

  • Make hashtags part of your regular posts. For Twitter, consider using a tool like Hootsuite to schedule a week’s worth of tweets beforehand, using industry-specific hashtags and links. For Instagram, make sure your photos and your follow up comments, include plenty of relevant hashtags. For more on platform-specific hashtag tactics, see the breakdown below.
  • Start with some popular, established hashtags. An easy way to get started is using popular hashtags. For example, #throwbackthursday, or more popularly, #tbt, is a weekly theme where people and brands share things from their past. This is one of the few hashtags to gain any traction on Facebook.

    Although not as popular any more, #ff, short for Follow Friday, is a good way of giving props to people or companies you feel are worth following.

  • Example of Trending Topics on Twitter
  • Jump on trending hashtags. You can also take a look at which hashtags are trending on a certain social channel and work those into your own tweets. The image to the right was a snapshot in time on the trending topics on Saturday, 11.15.2014. It appeared on the left hand column of Twitter.com. I could get more visibility by working one of the words or hashtags into my tweets.

    However, while hopping on a trending hashtag may put you in front of more people, most won’t care about your message, and your tweet will be quickly swept away in the torrent of tweets using the same hashtag.

    More importantly, if you don’t know what a hashtag is about, your tweet may come off as completely insensitive. More on that later.

The dangers of hashtags.

Hashtags have been known to get some brands into trouble.

Look before you leap. It’s a common tactic to use trending hashtags to gain visibility in social media.

Recently, DiGiorno Pizza jumped on the hashtag #WhyIStayed, not realizing that it was being used to discuss domestic abuse.

#WhyIStayed

While they did a good job of apologizing profusely, there’s no denying damage was done to their brand. That’s just one of hundreds of examples of brands not looking before they leap when it comes to trending topics.

Going too broad with hashtags. While a broad hashtag may seem like casting a wide net, chances are broad terms will either not be searched on, or your tweet will be lost in the shuffle.

How to use hashtags on Twitter.

While hashtags are expanding in popularity and use throughout social media, I feel that Twitter is their natural habitat. Most of the advice above was written with Twitter in mind, but let’s dig a little deeper.

#bufferchatTwitter chats.

As we saw above, hashtags can be used to focus Twitter conversations around a given topic. Popular twitter chats include #beerchat, #edchat, and #blogchat.

Some chats are more informal, others are led, like Rebekah Radice and #bufferchat.

Chats are great ways of connecting with people on subjects you care about, whether it’s cooking or marketing or hang gliding. You can search on hashtags you’re interested in learning about, or on topics where you can establish your expertise.

Events.

Every year we put on The Agents of Change Digital Marketing Conference here in Portland, Maine. One of the ways we build excitement and engage the audience during the conference is through the use of hashtags.

Each year, we update the hashtag: #aoc2012, #aoc2013, #aoc2014 (and so on.) In all of our promotional tweets and other social shares, we include the hashtag. After people purchase tickets, we send them to a page where they can click a button to tweet out they’re attending, and that tweet goes out with the appropriate hashtag.

During the conference, we actively promote the use of the hashtag. In the “pre-roll,” the slides we show before the first speaker and during all the breaks, we actively promote the hashtag. We also had two of our employees “live tweeting” the event on our flyte new media and Agents of Change twitter accounts…each tweet including the most recent hashtag.

We also followed the hashtag that day, and retweeted what other attendees were saying and sharing about the event.

After the event, we were able to capture some of the best moments by searching the conference hashtag.

How to use hashtags on Instagram.

Hashtags are the secret sauce of Instagram marketing. Because there’s no easy method to share someone else’s post, (known as “regramming,” similar to “retweeting” on Twitter,) hashtags become the number one way of reaching a new audience on Instagram.

Sue B. Zimmerman, a.k.a. #InstagramGal, shared this with me:

Instagram Hashtag Tips
“In order to attract your ideal follower on Instagram you have to have a hashtag strategy. Start with broad hashtags that represent your service or products then niche down to what keywords your clients would use to find you. For example I teach Instagram to business owners so these are my popular hashtags:

  • #Online Marketing
  • #Social Media
  • #Entrepreneur
  • #BusinessOwner

“More narrow target would be:

  • #InstagramMarketing
  • #InstagramforBusiness
  • #LearnInstagram

“Then specific to me:

  • #InstagramGal
  • #suebtips (see image below)
  • #suebmademedoit

“Hashtags become Hubs of content and you want to be a part of the Hub, i.e. the conversation.”

People tend to post a lot of hashtags on Instagram. How many is too many?

Sue says, “you can use up to 30 hashtags per post but I don’t recommend this. It looks spammy and desperate when you do. You should put your hashtags in the secondary comments, NOT the initial description, so that you can refresh your hashtags. I keep my hashtags in my notes on my iPhone and in Evernote to make them easy to grab and post.”
By refreshing your hashtags, Sue is talking about replacing your older hashtags with newer ones, thus pushing you back to the top of the Instagram search for specific hashtags, which shows results based on time.
Instagram #aoc2014
She goes on to say, “when you are a newbie you should post your hashtags soon after you post. When you get more engagement and followers (over 500) you can post your hashtags hours later. I typically post in the morning before 8 am then go in at noon to add 6 hashtags. Days later I will delete the hashtags (follow my YouTube channel to see how) to refresh my post.”

What are ways to get new followers?

Since that’s always the question on everyone’s mind, I asked Sue. She responded, “a great way to gain new followers is to follow the hashtags of events you attend.
“For example #AOC2014 is a community that Rich attracted at his live conference in Maine. By curating content on Instagram with this hashtag a community with a common interest was formed.”

How to use hashtags on Pinterest.

When it comes to using hashtags on Pinterest, the experts recommend brand over bland. In other words, make sure your hashtags are branded for your company, not broad terms like “#marketing.”

“If you use hashtags, use one that is unique to your business. For example, if I use one I’ll use #OhSoPinteresting,” says Cynthia Sanchez of Oh So Pinteresting. When the hashtag is clicked by a user, Pinterest “will search for pins with that word used in the pin description or in the URL that the pin links to. When someone clicks on my hashtag most of the results that appear are pins that link back to my blog.”

Vincent Ng of MCNG Marketing shares that, “when a generic hashtag is clicked on Pinterest, you’re more likely to see some pins with the hashtag in it and some with the similar keywords like social media, or social media marketing. The results shown from # are based on factors like repins and linking activity, not timing of when the hashtag was used.”

“If you are going to use a hashtag, ensure that it’s truly unique. This way when people do click on it, it will be much more likely to show your pins that contain the unique hashtag.”

It’s also important to remember that hashtags are only clickable on the web version of Pinterest; the mobile versions are unclickable.

How to use hashtags on Google Plus.

Google+ Hashtags
“Hashtags
on Google+ enable your content to surface beyond the reach of people who have you in circles,”
suggests Google+ marketing expert, Martin Shervington.

“You can add as many hashtags as you like, but if you go too ‘unrelated’ you could look a bit spammy, so I tend to add three.

“You can ‘set a frame’ of a post using the image and the title, but also by using hashtags too – vaguely amusing ones can be used to tell people you are in the mood to play!”

And you don’t always have to come up with the hashtags yourself. “The super cool thing is how Google will naturally add hashtags (up to 3) when you don’t add them yourself.” Don’t like Google’s suggestions? Just click the ‘x’ to remove them.

If you’re looking to do some research around a topic on Google Plus, hashtags can come in handy then, too, says Martin. “Click on the hashtags in the corner of any post and [Google+] will ‘flip the card’ and you will see related content, i.e. posts.” (See the animated gif to the right.)

Consistency can help, too. “Once you’ve been active for a while on Google+, we are finding that when you post consistently Google is associating hashtags to people too.”

How to use hashtags on Facebook.

Don’t.

Don’t believe me? Just look at what the Interwebs have to say about hashtags on Facebook.

tumblr-fb-hashtags

And this crosses all language barriers.

porque-fb-hashtags

Why, do you ask? (Or, perhaps “porque?”)

lotr-fb-hashtags

So, in conclusion…

office-space-fb-hashtags

Jimmy Fallon shows you how to use hashtags.

No complete guide to hashtags would be complete without Jimmy Fallon’s video on hashtags.

Next steps

Hopefully now you feel comfortable with hashtags. If you’d like to dig a little deeper, I might recommend:

The hashtag experts I spoke to also had some resources to share:

But what you really need to do, is #justdoit! Don’t wait to read a dozen more articles or research too deeply. You can continue to do that as you learn by doing.

Instead, start adding what you feel are appropriate hashtags to your tweets and other social shares, and take a look at the hashtags the influencers in your industry are already using.

If you’ve got any additional tips, advice, or stories about hashtags, please share them in the comments below.

Rich Brooks
#poundsign

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Chivalry is dead because women killed it By Suzanne Venker


Source: http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2018/04/30/suzanne-venker-chivalry-is-dead-because-women-killed-it.html

May 1, 2018


(Mary Suzanne Crockett)

A friend of mine whose mother died recently was going through her parents’ memorabilia and unearthed a Western Union telegram from 1954 that her father sent her mother just before they married. Here’s what it said:

Darling, I shall be waiting for you at eight. With a lifetime of expectancy. My heart will be coming with you down the aisle. May God be with us tonight as we pray we will always be with Him. Thank you for becoming my wife. My love forever yours, Henry

Several days after I’d read this note, I came across this miserable tripe on Facebook: “Chivalry is harmful to both men and women,” relays the woman in the video. “because it reinforces this idea that women need to be helped or saved by a stronger man. And it takes away a woman’s agency.”

The video is part of an "Unpopular Opinion" series on Facebook, a concept that in theory I’d support. But there’s nothing unpopular about a video that sells the same tired message feminists have sold for years and subsequently became the status quo: that men and women are “equal” and should therefore be treated the same.

Women can open their own doors, pull out their own chairs and take care of themselves, women have argued for years. “I’m strong enough to do all these things,” notes the woman in the video, who identifies herself as Emily Panic, as she flexes her arm muscles to viewers.

Men only changed because women did. That’s because men are born to please women. Modern woman don’t know this, for they’ve been conditioned to think of men as oppressors. But it’s true.

“And what’s the deal with guys giving up their seats on the subway?” she adds. “If you do give me your seat, and I take it, I don’t have to talk to you. Please don’t talk to me, okay? I got like 20 podcasts loaded on my iPod that I would rather listen to than you. That’s not meant to be mean. I just don’t want to talk to you.”

The stark contrast of the Western Union telegram and this video depicting modern gender relations speaks volumes.
If there’s one common theme in the media today about the relationship between women and men, it’s the claim that there are no good (read: marriageable) men left. Well, gee, I wonder why that is?

It’s clear as day why that is. The relentless message from women and society that men have nothing special to offer—that not only is their income unnecessary, so is their chivalrous behavior—has built a wall between the sexes the size of Mount Everest.

Funny thing, though, the equality meme hasn’t translated to women paying for their own dinner or asking men to marry them. Why is that? Could it be that deep down, women know something’s lost when men and women are viewed as the same? Could it be there was something special about men being men and women being women?

In the days when men were chivalrous, women held a different kind of power than they do today. Feminine power is far more potent than the power a woman gleans in the marketplace. But women don’t access it. And they reject masculinity as well. Today’s universities are in fact offering programs specifically designed to quash male nature.

And still women wonder why there are no more Henrys. Mature, respectful, marriage-minded men like him have vanished. Can we blame them?

Fortunately, as I wrote back in 2012, women have the power to turn it all around—because they are the relationship navigators. Men only changed because women did. That’s because men are born to please women. Modern woman don’t know this, for they’ve been conditioned to think of men as oppressors. But it’s true.

Any woman who wants what Henry and his wife had—and who wouldn’t?—can have it. It will take time because women have made a real mess of things. Nevertheless, they can begin by rejecting the narrative in this video. Instead, embrace chivalry. Praise chivalry. Praise men, for God’s sake!

And then watch what happens.


Suzanne Venker is the author of five books on marriage, feminism and gender politics. Her latest book is "The Alpha Female’s Guide to Men & Marriage: HOW LOVE WORKS." Find her on Twitter@SuzanneVenker.

Friday, April 06, 2018

How the World Trade Organization Can Curb China’s Intellectual Property Transgressions By James Bacchus

Source: https://www.cato.org/blog/how-world-trade-organization-can-curb-chinas-intellectual-property-transgressions

March 22, 2018

Quite rightly, President Donald Trump and his Administration are targeting the transgressions of China against US intellectual property rights in their unfolding trade strategy. But why not use the WTO rules that offer a real remedy for the United States without resorting to illegal unilateral action outside the WTO?

Seventeen years after China joined the WTO, China still falls considerably short of fulfilling its WTO obligations to protect intellectual property. About 70 percent of the software in use in China, valued at nearly $8.7 billion, is pirated. The annual cost to the US economy worldwide from pirated software, counterfeit goods, and the theft of trade secrets could be as high as $600 billion, with China at the top of the IP infringement list. China is the source of 87 percent of the counterfeit goods seized upon entry into the United States.

One possible response by the United States is the one the Trump Administration seems to be taking: slapping billions of dollars of tariffs on imports of more than 100 Chinese products through unilateral trade action. Given its protectionist predilections, taking this approach is surely tempting to the Trump Administration. Doing so will, however, harm American workers, businesses, and consumers, and contribute to further turmoil in the global economy.

The results will likely include retaliation by China against the goods and services of American companies and workers; lawful economic sanctions imposed by China on American exports to China after the US lost to China in WTO cases; the hidden tax of higher prices for American consumers; less competitiveness in the US market and in other markets for American companies that depend on Chinese imports as intermediate goods in production; and doubtless still more American and global economic landmines from the downward spiral of tit-for-tat in international trade confrontations.

These tariffs are not only self-defeating and counter-productive; they are also illegal under international law. Where an international dispute falls within the scope of coverage of the WTO treaty, taking unilateral action without first going to WTO dispute settlement for a legal ruling on whether there is a WTO violation is, in and of itself, a violation of the treaty. The WTO treaty establishes mandatory jurisdiction for the WTO dispute settlement system for all treaty-related disputes between and among WTO Members. The WTO Appellate Body has explained, “Article 23.1 of the (WTO Dispute Settlement Understanding) imposes a general obligation to redress a violation of obligations or other nullification or impairment of benefits under the covered agreements only by recourse to the rules and procedures of the DSU, and not through unilateral action.”

Thus, the United States is not permitted by the international rules to which it has long since agreed to be the judge and the jury in its own case. Imposing tariffs on Chinese products without first obtaining a WTO ruling that Chinese actions are inconsistent with China’s WTO obligations is a clear violation by the United States of its WTO obligations to China – as WTO jurists will doubtless rule when China responds to the tariffs by challenging the tariffs in the WTO.

Such a legal loss by the United States, with all its unforeseeable economic and geopolitical consequences, can be avoided while still confronting Chinese IP violations effectively. Before resorting to unilateral action outside the WTO and in violation of international law, the United States should take a closer look at the substantial rights it enjoys under the WTO treaty for protecting US intellectual property against abuse.

Potential remedies in the WTO exist and should not be ignored. These remedies can be enforced through the pressure of WTO economic sanctions. WTO rules do not yet cover all the irritants that must be addressed in US-China trade relations. Even so, instead of just concluding that there are no adequate remedies under WTO rules to help stop IP infringement, the United States should first try to use the remedies in rules we have already negotiated that bind China along with all other WTO Members.

A number of these rules have not yet been tested against China or any other country – which is not proof they will not work. Generally, when tried for the first time, WTO rules have been found to work, and, generally, when China has been found to be acting inconsistently with its WTO obligations, it has complied with WTO rulings. The actual extent of Chinese compliance with WTO judgments can be questioned; in some instances it is seen by some as only “paper compliance.” But whether any one WTO rule can in fact be enforced cannot be known if no WTO Member bothers to try to enforce it.

The WTO rules in the WTO Agreement on the Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights – the so-called TRIPS Agreement – are unique among WTO rules because they impose affirmative obligations. Yet, this affirmative aspect of WTO intellectual property rules has been largely unexplored in WTO dispute settlement. In particular, WTO Members have so far refrained from challenging other WTO Members for failing to enforce intellectual property rights.

On enforcement, Article 41.1 of the TRIPS Agreement imposes an affirmative obligation on all WTO Members: “Members shall ensure that enforcement procedures… are available under their law so as to permit effective action against any act of infringement of intellectual property rights covered by this Agreement, including expeditious remedies to prevent infringements and remedies which constitute a deterrent to further infringements. These procedures shall be applied in such a manner as to avoid the creation of barriers to legitimate trade and to provide for safeguards against their abuse.”

Note that this “shall” be done by all WTO Members; it is mandatory for compliance with their WTO obligations. And yet what does this obligation mean by requiring that effective actions against infringements must be “available”? Is this obligation fulfilled by having sound laws on the books, as is generally the case with China? Or must those laws also be enforced effectively in practice, which is often not the case with China?

The Appellate Body has said that “making something available means making it ‘obtainable,’ putting it ‘within one’s reach’ and ‘at one’s disposal’ in a way that has sufficient form or efficacy.” Thus, simply having a law on the books is not enough. That law must have real force in the real world of commerce. This ruling by the Appellate Body related to the use of the word “available” in Article 42 of the TRIPS Agreement and to a legal claim seeking fair and equitable access to civil judicial procedures. Yet the same reasoning applies equally to the enforcement of substantive rights under Article 41.

In the past, the United States has challenged certain parts of the overall Chinese legal system for intellectual property protection – and successfully – in WTO dispute settlement. Despite its overall concerns about enforcement by China of US intellectual property rights, the United States has not, however, challenged the Chinese system as a whole in the WTO. Instead of indulging in the illegality of unilateral tariffs outside the legal framework of the WTO, the Trump Administration should initiate a comprehensive legal challenge in the WTO, not merely, as before, to the bits and pieces of particular Chinese IP enforcement, but rather to the entirety of the Chinese IP enforcement system.

To be sure, a systemic challenge by the United States to the application of all China’s inadequate measures relating to intellectual property protection would put the WTO dispute settlement system to a test. It would, what’s more, put both China and the United States to the test of their commitment to the WTO and, especially, to a rules-based world trading system.

As Trump’s trade lawyers will hasten to say, a systemic IP case against China in the WTO would also involve a perhaps unprecedented amount of fact-gathering. It would necessitate an outpouring of voluminous legal pleadings. It would, furthermore, force the WTO Members and the WTO jurists to face some fundamental questions about the rules-based trading system. Yet it could also provide the basis for fashioning a legal remedy that would in the end be mutually acceptable to both countries, and could therefore help prevent commercial conflict and reduce a significant obstacle to mutually beneficial US-China relations.

Going outside the WTO to try to resolve this trade dispute will undermine the WTO and thereby ultimately undermine US trade in goods and services – not to mention the protection of US intellectual property rights – throughout the world. Far better for the United States to play by the rules within the WTO – not least because it was the United States that insisted the most on having those rules when they were negotiated. Far better, too, for China to have its compliance with its WTO obligations judged by impartial and objective WTO jurists than by Donald Trump.

A positive solution should be sought by the Trump Administration through dispute resolution in the WTO over the systemic shortcomings of Chinese intellectual property protection before plunging into the commercial black hole of unilateral trade action.

China continues to take advantage of US: Trish Regan

Source: https://www.foxbusiness.com/politics/china-continues-to-take-advantage-of-us-trish-regan

April 4, 2018

China is taking advantage of the US: Trish Regan
FBN’s Trish Regan discusses how China is taking advantage of the United States.

As we look at a market getting closer and closer to the flat line, now down just 40 points on the Dow, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq trading higher, I want to go back to why investors are so overly worried about this.

I will tell you why they shouldn't be concerned, because it is very clear, China is taking advantage of us. China has been taking advantage of us for decades. You look at the growth in their economy and compare it to the growth in our economy, and it's not what it should be.

The Chinese economy is growing at a more massive rate than our economy. We are their biggest economy. We have given them that growth, and how have they responded?

They have taken our technology. They have taken our intellectual property. They force us it enter joint ventures with their companies so they can reap profits off of our work and gain access to our incredible technology.

China is out there stealing our tech secrets and costing our companies more than $500 billion a year in lost profits. What do we do? Nothing. We continue to give it to them. We have allowed this. Every administration has allowed this. Why do they allow it?

I’ll tell you one thing: Corporations want access to those Chinese markets. You're talking about a billion people. People keep saying this is the consumer base that we want to access to, so in the interests of their stockholders, they are active in overseas markets. And what do they do? Corporations don't care about national security; they care about profits.

Presidents, most of them anyway, along with Congress are beholden to those corporations because those corporations are the ones that actually give them the money to go out and win their campaigns, which is the problem. No one is standing up for us, the people.

The corporations have their lobbyists. China's standing up for their own interests, and in the meantime sure, quarterly earnings look good. But what happens 10 or 20 years from now?

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Coleslaw: The Salad Specialty Just Right For Summer Meals

Source: https://web.archive.org/web/20150914233536/http://articles.philly.com/1986-07-06/food/26096654_1_dressing-coleslaw-cabbage

Posted: July 06, 1986

Culinary logic and an appreciation for the appropriate suggest that coleslaw should be a winter specialty, winter being the season when cabbage is at its best. But as soon as swift shipping and cold storage made it a summer possibility, custom made it a summer staple, and though slaw is actually a salad that knows no season, it's a safe bet that far more of it will be forked down on Memorial Day, the Fourth of July and Labor Day than was ever consumed on a Christmas Day.

The incongruity of the cabbage aside, this makes a lot of sense. For one thing, the stuff is durable, not only OK when prepared in advance but generally improved by a bit of marination. Furthermore, it is compact. Ten portions of coleslaw take up a lot less than 10 portions of green salad, an important consideration when the refrigerator is full of beer and watermelon. Finally, it's tidy, easy to eat at picnics, barbecues and other informal occasions - no flapping leaves, no drippy dressing, no elusive, unspearable cherry tomatoes to careen off the plate into Aunt Maude's decolletage.

When you add to these advantages the fact that it's almost impossible to make bad coleslaw and almost impossible to spend much time making it, well, no wonder it's just about the national salad.

Coleslaw's history in America dates back at least to the 18th century. Most authorities describe it as a Dutch import, the name coming from the New World Dutch kool sla (or slaa), which translates to cabbage salad. Food historians John and Karen Hess, on the other hand, point out (in The Taste of America) that "cole" is old English for cabbage (whence we get "cole crops" to describe the whole family from broccoli to kale) and that cabbage is kohl in German. They state flatly that "slaw is a simple corruption of salad."

Authorities do, however, agree that the original dressing was not mayonnaise but what is classically called "boiled dressing" - a cooked mixture of vinegar, seasonings and eggs that often includes milk, cream or sour cream as well. In the hands of unskilled cooks, boiled dressing can be floury, sour and lumpy, and it seems to have seldom been seasoned with the herbs, garlic or onions that we have come to associate with salad. The eminent food writer M.F.K. Fisher called it "dreadful stuff - enough to harm one's soul."

Sometime around the mid-1800s, coleslaw began being called "cold slaw," a change that can be attributed only to mis-hearing, since the salad was often served immediately after having been mixed with the hot dressing. It wasn't until somewhat later that unthickened dressings began to appear, such as this one from The Country Kitchen (1916) "Plain Cold Slaw: Chop a cabbage very fine, add salt; a cup of sugar and good cider vinegar and water in equal parts, to cover."

Commercial mayonnaise manufacture began in 1912 and mayonnaise-based dressing rapidly replaced boiled dressing except in old-fashioned households, particularly those in the Midwest. Vinaigrette-style has never really taken hold, though slaws so dressed do enjoy great popularity in some places, parts of the South and the Southwest especially. Pineapple, raisins, nuts and marshmallows are not, by the way, an inspiration of the 1950s. They were already showing up in salads of all sorts, including coleslaw, when the '20s began to roar.

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In the following recipe, a brief salt bath tempers the strength of cold- storage cabbage while moderating the heat of chili peppers, while the dressing is influenced (mildly) by Oriental sauces for cold noodles. Don't be alarmed by the peanut butter; most people won't be able to tell what makes the dressing seem so smooth and rich yet scarcely be there. Though peanut butter is a high-calorie item, there isn't much of it here, and the finished slaw is less fattening than most.

A SLAW FOR OUR TIME

1 medium-sized head firm green cabbage, about 2 pounds

2 medium-sized bell peppers, 1 red and 1 green

1 medium-sized onion

1 or 2 long hot fresh green peppers, cayenne type, enough to make 2 or 3 tablespoons prepared

2 teaspoons salt

3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted chunky peanut butter (pure, all-peanut type)

A 1/2-inch cube of peeled fresh ginger (measured after peeling)

2 medium-sized cloves garlic

2 teaspoons sugar

1 tablespoon lime juice

1 teaspoon soy sauce

Remove the coarse outer leaves and core from the cabbage, then chop into small pieces - not too fine, about one-third-inch square. A processor works fine as long as you don't let it get carried away. Chop bell peppers and onion to the same size. Remove all but about one-quarter teaspoon of the hot pepper's seeds, then chop the peppers a bit smaller than the other vegetables. The object is a gentle heat, not a roaring fire.

Combine the prepared vegetables in a large bowl with the salt, stir thoroughly, and allow to sit for an hour or so at room temperature, stirring occasionally. Turn the mixture into a colander or large strainer and drain, pressing, stirring, and pressing again so as much juice as possible will be removed.

Make the dressing. Put the peanut butter in a small bowl, position a grate over it and grate in the ginger and garlic, using the small (one-eighth inch) round holes. You should get thin shreds, not crumbs. Add sugar, and stir well. Stir in the lime juice and soy, then enough water to make a dressing the texture of mayonnaise - about two tablespoons. The amount will seem scant but it will be enough.

Combine the dressing with the salad, let it marinate 20 minutes or so, then taste. Depending on the thoroughness of the draining, it may actually need salt. Depending on what the slaw will be served with, you may also want a bit of sourness; but be careful not to upset the subtle balance that distinguishes this version of the old favorite. It's particularly nice with grilled fish. Makes six to eight servings.


A Smorgasbord Of Neighborhood Specialties

Source: https://web.archive.org/web/20150919060901/http://articles.philly.com/1987-03-18/food/26221597_1_potluck-dinner-potluck-menus-casserole Posted: March 18, 1987

Potluck has gotten a bad name. It almost has the feeling of leftovers, something that isn't quite up to par, something less than exotic. That's one reason University City's Potluck Gourmet appears to be a culinary oxymoron.

Invite someone over for "potluck" and it's saying "Diner Beware." And an invitation to a potluck dinner brings to mind a table full of tuna-noodle casseroles and Jello salads.

Potluck deserves an image change. As practiced by a group of West Philadelphia neighbors, potluck means tiny phyllo triangles stuffed with cheese, a tangy Oriental chicken served in a giant wok, sweet and sour meatballs, a raisin-studded kugel, and spicy barbecue. Any of the main courses would stand proud on its own; together they form an embarrassment of riches.

Neighbors living on the 400 block of S. 49th Street gather twice a year for ''potluck," a dead-of-the-winter dinner and an early spring barbecue, a tradition that began about 12 years ago. The winter dinner, in particular, is a chance for weather-hindered neighbors to catch up on the news that flows more easily on summer evenings when many are outdoors on patios or working in their yards.

The United Nations quality of the neighborhood - where black, Oriental, and white is spiced with Ethiopian and Greek - colors the potluck menus. It's the kind of neighborhood where someone who's lived there five years can still feel like a veritable newcomer, compared to the 20-, 30- and 40-year residents. But everyone is thrilled when the newest neighbor, a single man, shows up at the door, his arms full of homemade bread.

The most recent 49th Street potluck, held in late February, was organized by Jeanette Greipp and Lela Bethel, who each took one side of the block and called every neighbor, keeping track of who wanted to bring what. The party was held in the home of Polly and James Muhly; she and her mother contributed authentic Greek delicacies. Block captain Tony Searles came parading in with his famous spicy barbecue, and he fielded the questions about how to eat pork and beef necks.

Here are a few of the dishes brought to the dinner. All of them are perfect potluck fare because they are delicious served at room temperature.

This hearty and healthy casserole was contributed by Lela Bethel.

SPINACH-BROCCOLI CASSEROLE

3 boxes frozen chopped spinach

3 boxes frozen chopped broccoli

3 cans cream of mushroom soup

3 cans french fried onions

2 cans sliced water chestnuts

Cook and drain spinach and broccoli. Mix all the ingredients together and bake in a 13x9-inch dish at 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. Serves a crowd.

Rosalie King brought these rice-and-meatballs.

BEEF AND RICE PORCUPINES

1 pound ground beef

1/2 cup raw rice

3 tablespoons chopped onion

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon poultry seasoning

2 (4-ounce) cans tomato sauce

Combine all ingredients and form into 12 or 15 small balls. Place 3 tablespoons of fat in a large frying pan and brown the balls lightly. Drain off the excess fat and place meatballs in a casserole dish. Pour the 2 cans of tomato sauce and 1 can of water over them. Cover and simmer 45 to 50 minutes or until rice is tender.

This may be the most exotic barbecue sauce ever, created by Tony Searles.

TONY'S SPICEY BBQ SAUCE

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 lemon, sliced

1/4 cup wine vinegar

15 dried red hot peppers, crumbled (or 6 for milder flavor)

1 can tomato paste

2 cups ketchup

1/4 cup spicey mustard

1/4 cup Pickapeppa Sauce (Jamaican)

2 tablespoons Tabasco sauce

2 small onions, finely diced

1 teaspoon garlic powder or 4 crushed cloves of garlic

1 1/2 tablespoons ground black pepper

1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoons liquid smoke or 1/4 cup of water from boiled hickory chips

Chili powder to taste for hotness (if desired)

2 cups water

Combine all ingredients and bring to a boil. Let simmer for 2 hours.

Cut up 6 pounds of beef or pork necks in 2 1/2-inch chunks. Marinate in sauce for 2-3 hours. (Wrap in bacon slices to preserve the meat's moisture. This will make continuous baste while smoking.)

Smoke with hickory chips for 3 hours or grill to taste.

These Sweet & Sour Meatballs are the specialty of Jeanette Greipp.

SWEET & SOUR MEATBALLS

3 pounds ground beef

2 eggs

Grated onion

1/2 cup bread crumbs

Water

Salt and pepper to taste

Mix ingredients together, using just enough water to dampen, and form into small meatballs.

SAUCE

Juice of 2 lemons

1 cup water

2 bay leaves

3/4 cup brown sugar

Mix all ingredients and bring to a boil. Drop in meatballs and simmer for 3/4 hour. Then add an 8-ounce can tomato sauce and simmer for an additional 1/2 hour.

Here's a nice all-American salad to balance all the spicy ethnic main dishes.

UNTOSSED LAYERED SALAD

1 10-ounce package fresh spinach

1 head iceberg lettuce

1 large red onion, sliced thin

1/2 cup frozen green peas, thawed

1/2 pound bacon, fried crisp and crumbled

1/2 pound Swiss cheese, shredded

1 pint mayonnaise

1 cup sour cream

Salt, pepper, and sugar

Start layering salad with spinach, then lettuce, sliced onion, bacon, and peas. After each layer, sprinkle with a little salt, pepper, and sugar. Continued layering until all ingredients are used up (you'll need a big salad bowl.) Mix together the mayonnaise and sour cream until blended. Spread over the top of the salad, like cake icing. Sprinkle the Swiss cheese over the top. Cover the salad with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24 hours. To serve, just dig in. Makes 8-10 servings.


Perfect Pasta Sauces - Pronto Some Can Be Made With No Cooking At All

Source: https://web.archive.org/web/20150915195143/http://articles.philly.com/1987-03-18/food/26219496_1_pasta-sauces-spaghetti-walnuts-and-cheese Posted: March 18, 1987

Spaghetti is a natural convenience food. Made of nothing but flour and water, it can be stored at room temperature for years and be freshly cooked just minutes later.

Spaghetti sauces, though, are usually a different story. Most of them call for long lists of ingredients and hours of simmering. Jarred and canned varieties cut preparation time, but many of them are loaded with salt, sugar and preservatives, making them undesirable for many consumers.

The good news is that there are scores of spaghetti sauces that can be made in minutes from a few artfully combined ingredients.

Take clam sauce, for example. Home-cooked clam sauce takes less than 10 minutes to prepare and contains fewer than 10 ingredients, including the salt and pepper. And its flavor makes canned varieties obsolete.

Tomato sauce is another example. Long-simmered tomato sauces are wonderful, but there is no law that requires them to cook all day. Tomatoes are vegetables, after all. They require no more cooking than zucchini or asparagus to release their flavor. Fresh tomato sauce can be ready in five minutes from start to finish, and it has a brighter flavor than many sauces taking 10 times as long. Try the recipe below for Tomato Sauce With Vodka and Cream if you doubt us.

Many quick pasta sauces are dry. In a dry sauce, a few flavorful ingredients are tossed together and then put on top of the spaghetti. Their aromas infuse the pasta as bits of ingredients nestle among the tangle of noodles. Our recipes for Green Parsley Pasta and for Pasta With Smoked Turkey, Pine Nuts and Rosemary both fall into this category.

Two ingredients make almost any pasta sauce instantly delectable: wine and cream. Wine reduced with flavorful vegetables and herbs takes just minutes to coat a plate of spaghetti with an aromatic sweet-and-sour bite. Cream needs only a moment on the heat to transform into a silken sauce. Combine it simply with bacon and cheese for a perfect Alfredo or flecks of garlic and a stream of hot-pepper sauce for a rich and piquant sauce that both burns and soothes with every bite.

Another type of sauce requires no cooking at all. In this one, flavorful ingredients are marinated together and then tossed onto the hot spaghetti just before serving. The final two recipes below fall into this category. In one, roasted peppers are marinated in oil and garlic and then tossed with pasta, walnuts and cheese. The effect is casual and sophisticated. In the last recipe, marinated artichoke-heart salad is tossed with feta and pasta. It's both exotic and homey - not bad for a meal that's on the table 10 minutes after the water begins to boil.

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All of the following recipes are written for one pound of spaghetti cooked al dente in rapidly boiling salted water mixed with a tablespoon of oil. The cooked spaghetti should be thoroughly drained and washed briefly in hot running water before it is mixed with the sauce.

GREEN PARSLEY PASTA SAUCE

2 shallots, minced

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 cup virgin olive oil

1 cup parsley leaves, finely chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan

In skillet, cook shallots and garlic in olive oil over low heat until they just begin to soften. Add parsley, and season with salt and pepper. Toss with one pound of piping-hot cooked pasta, and toss in the cheese. Serve immediately. Makes four servings.

TOMATO SAUCE WITH VODKA AND CREAM

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

12 plum tomatoes, skinned, seeded and coarsely chopped

1/4 cup vodka

1/2 cup heavy cream

Salt and pepper to taste

In large skillet, cook garlic over moderate heat in olive oil until its aroma is released. Add crushed pepper, and stir briskly. Add tomatoes, and cook until they begin to release their liquid. Add vodka and cream, and simmer a few minutes until sauce thickens lightly. Season with salt and pepper. Toss with one pound of piping-hot spaghetti. Serve immediately. Makes four servings.

SMOKED TURKEY, PINE NUTS AND ROSEMARY

2 tablespoons peanut oil

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 cup pine nuts

1 cup diced smoked turkey

1 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves, ground

1 tablespoon freshly grated orange zest

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves, chopped

Heat oils gently in skillet. Add pine nuts, turkey and dried rosemary, and heat gently until pine nuts toast lightly. Season with salt and pepper. Add orange zest, garlic and fresh rosemary leaves. Toss with one pound of piping- hot spaghetti. Serve immediately. Makes four servings.

FAST CLAM SAUCE

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup white wine

1 sprig fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves

Juice of 1 lemon

2 dozen littleneck clams

1/4 cup chopped parsley

2 tablespoons butter

In heavy saucepan, heat olive oil, and cook onion and garlic in it until just softened. Add wine, thyme and lemon juice, and cook until alcohol evaporates.

Add clams, and cover pot until clams open, about four minutes. Remove clams from their shell, and place back into sauce. Discard shells. Stir in the parsley and butter, and toss with one pound of piping-hot cooked spaghetti.

Serve immediately. Makes four servings.

SHRIMP, CUCUMBER AND DILL

1 cucumber, peeled, split and seeded

1 teaspoon coarse salt

4 tablespoons ( 1/2 stick) butter

1 bunch scallions, white part only, thinly sliced

1 pound medium or small shrimp, peeled and cleaned

1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill weed

1 cup cream

In mixing bowl, mix cucumber and coarse salt, and allow to sit for 20 minutes. Turn into towel and squeeze out as much of the water as possible. Set aside.

In skillet, melt butter, and saute scallion and garlic until barely softened. Add wine, and reduce to one-third its volume. Add shrimp and dill, and stir until shrimp are opaque and firm. Add cream, and reduce until lightly thickened. Add cucumbers, and season with salt and pepper. Toss with piping-hot cooked spaghetti, and serve immediately. Makes four servings.

ROAST PEPPERS AND WALNUTS

2 large roasted bell peppers, homemade or canned

1/4 cup virgin olive oil

1/4 cup walnut pieces

2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan

Remove seeds and stems from peppers. Cut peppers into medium dice. In mixing bowl, marinate peppers in olive oil and garlic, seasoned with salt and pepper. Marinate for as long as possible, though as briefly as 10 minutes is fine.

Toss this mixture with one pound of piping-hot cooked spaghetti, and toss with walnuts and cheese. Adjust seasoning, and serve immediately. Makes four servings.

MARINATED FETA AND ARTICHOKE HEARTS

12 ounces marinated artichoke hearts, cut in eighths

4 ounces feta cheese, cut into small dice

2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan

Salt and pepper to taste

Mix artichoke hearts with feta, and allow to marinate for at least an hour. Toss with one pound of cooked hot spaghetti. Then toss with parsley and Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately. Makes four servings.


Basics: How To Clarify Your Butter

Source: https://web.archive.org/web/20160316053210/http://articles.philly.com:80/1988-06-29/food/26267556_1_milk-solids-butter-higher-cooking-temperatures Posted: June 29, 1988

Most cooks can close their eyes and imagine the sounds of butter sizzling in a saute pan. That's a nice recollection. They can also probably recall the bitter smell of that butter scorching when the heat was too high, or when it was left to sizzle unattended.

Burning butter is frustrating; the time it takes to clean the pan and start over also can have a domino effect on the timing of your recipe. There's a simple way to address that problem: Use clarified butter.

Butter is clarified by being melted slowly. That causes the milk solids to sink to the bottom of the saucepan, leaving a clear, yellow liquid on top. The clear (clarified) liquid is saved; the milky residue is discarded.

When heated, the clarified butter will not easily burn or become bitter, because it can withstand higher cooking temperatures than unclarified butter. It also will not turn rancid as quickly.

Clarified butter is excellent for quick sauteing of such delicate foods as scallops and chicken breasts. Because it can be heated to a higher temperature, food cooked in it also browns better.

There is a negative side: Butter, when clarified, loses some of its rich flavor. But the virtues far outweigh the drawbacks.

Here are two ways to clarify butter:

Cut 1 pound (four sticks) of unsalted butter into small pieces, and place the pieces in a saucepan. Melt the butter over medium heat, skimming off the foam that appears with a spoon. Remove the saucepan from the heat, and let the milk solids settle. Skim the clear, yellowish liquid off the milky residue in the bottom of the saucepan, place it in a jar, cover and store in the refrigerator. Discard the residue, but keep the foam for seasoning vegetables. Clarified butter will last for at least a month.

Another method is to cut 1 pound of butter into small cubes and place them in a glass, oven-proof bowl. Place the bowl in a 325-degree oven until all the butter melts. Remove the bowl from the oven, and allow the liquid to cool. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate it. In a few hours, the liquid will have solidified in three layers - the milky residue, the clarified butter and the foam. Remove the solid mass from the bowl and separate the center layer of clarified butter from the solids on the bottom and the thin layer of solidified foam on the top. Wrap the clarified butter in aluminum foil and store in the refrigerator until needed.


A Guide To Greater Grilling, Other Outdoor Cooking

Source: https://web.archive.org/web/20151227080845/http://articles.philly.com/1988-08-03/food/26255302_1_gas-grill-marinade-presoaked Posted: August 03, 1988

A handy companion for this season's outdoor-grilling activities is Barbecuing, Grilling & Smoking ($7.95) produced by the California Culinary Academy. Its more than 140 recipes are a trusty treatment of a cooking technique that continues to grow in popularity.

The book explores the regional and international differences in barbecuing, which it concludes are not very substantial. Much of the book deals with the fundamental execution of grilling, with specific discussions of how to grill different meats. Smoking techniques also are defined, and a chapter is devoted to campfire cooking.

There are recipes for dry spice rubs, marinades and barbecue sauces. Along with main-course grilling, the book features recipes for interesting side dishes, such as grilled tofu or grilled polenta.

Mail-order sources are listed for specialty meats and ingredients, as well as those for sausage-making equipment, outdoor-cooking equipment and camping information.

Here are some recipes from the book:

GARLIC BLUEFISH

1 tablespoon minced garlic

2 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

2 large bluefish filets (approximately 1 pound each)

Fresh rosemary sprigs, soaked in water

Juice of 1 lemon

1 lemon, cut into wedges

Rub garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper into each bluefish filet, and let rest for 30 minutes at room temperature. Prepare the grill. If using a gas grill, use hardwood sawdust to create a smoky flavor. If using charcoal, which is preferable for this recipe, use presoaked hardwood chips. When the fire is ready, throw the moistened rosemary sprigs on the coals.

Place the bluefish, meat side down, on grill, and close lid. Bluefish is a very oily fish and will take longer to cook than others. Cook six to eight minutes per side, moistening the flesh with lemon juice as it cooks. Serve immediately with the lemon wedges. Makes three to four servings.

TANDOORI CHICKEN

1 chicken, 3 to 4 pounds, cut into pieces

1 cup plain yogurt

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

1/2 cup chopped parsley

2 tablespoons oil, plus oil for the grill

Wash the chicken pieces and pat them dry. Remove and discard the skin. Prepare a marinade by mixing the yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, turmeric, cardamom, cayenne, parsley, salt and pepper. Coat the chicken with the marinade, and cover. Refrigerate for at least two and not more than six hours; leaving chicken in marinade overnight is not recommended, as meat will become too tender and fall apart on the grill.

Rub excess marinade from chicken, and lightly coat the chicken with oil. When the fire is ready, place the chicken on the oiled grill, meat side down, and immediately close lid to avoid flare-ups.

Turn the chicken several times while it cooks, and baste frequently with oil to prevent meat from drying. Chicken will be done much more quickly than you may expect because of the cooking action of the marinade and because the skin has been removed. Cook until golden brown, about 10 to 12 minutes. Serve immediately. Makes three to four servings.

LEMONGRASS DUCK

1 duck, 4 to 5 pounds

2 stalks lemongrass

4 to 5 slices fresh ginger

3 scallions

1/2 bunch cilantro

2 teaspoons Chinese five-spice powder

2 teaspoons minced garlic

2 tablespoons Poultry Spice Rub (recipe below)

Prepare the grill for indirect-heat cooking by moving the hot coals to either side of the grill and placing an aluminum drip pan between the coals.

Wash the duck, and pat it dry. Prepare a stuffing by roughly chopping the lemongrass, ginger, scallions and cilantro. Combine the mixture with the five- spice powder, and stuff the mixture into the duck. Close the opening of the duck with toothpicks, or sew tightly with butcher's string. Prick the duck all over with a fork so that the fat will render during cooking.

Rub the duck all over with the minced garlic and the spice rub. When the fire is ready, add hardwood sawdust for a smoky flavor if using a gas grill; if using charcoal, add presoaked hardwood chips. Place the duck on an oiled grill over the drip pan, and close the lid. Allow the fire to cool down to about 350 degrees, and try to maintain that temperature for the duration of the cooking time (about 1 1/2 hours). The duck is done when the skin is crisp and dark brown, or when an instant-read thermometer inserted between the thigh and the breast registers between 165 and 170 degrees.

Remove the duck from the grill, and discard the stuffing. Disjoint the duck with a boning knife or kitchen shears. Serve immediately. Makes two to three servings.

POULTRY SPICE RUB

1 teaspoon garlic powder

2 teaspoons tarragon

1/2 teaspoon sage

1 teaspoon marjoram

1/2 teaspoon thyme

2 teaspoons black pepper

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine all ingredients and mix well. Mixture can be stored for up to four months in a jar in the spice rack. Makes three tablespoons.

HERB-CRUSTED LAMB CHOPS

8 lamb loin chops, about 5 ounces each

1/4 cup Lamb Spice Rub (recipe below)

4 tablespoons unsweetened butter

Lightly coat the lamb chops with the olive oil. Massage the chops with the spice rub until well coated.

Cover and let them rest at room temperature for at least one hour.

If using a gas grill, add hardwood sawdust for a smoky flavor; if using charcoal, add presoaked hardwood chunks.

When the fire is ready, place the meat on an oiled grill, baste with butter, and close lid. Cook four to five minutes, turn, baste with more butter, and cook for an additional four to five minutes. Spices will blacken as they form a crust.

Be careful not to inhale too many of the vapors from the spices as they cook, for they are quite strong. Serve immediately. Makes four servings.

LAMB SPICE RUB

1 teaspoon fennel seed, braised or crushed in a mortar and pestle

1 teaspoon oregano

2 teaspoons rosemary

1 teaspoon basil

Combine all ingredients, and mix well. Can be stored for up to four months in a jar in your spice rack. Makes four tablespoons.

Use as directed above.


Basics: Clarifying Butter And Becoming A Ghee Wiz

Source: https://web.archive.org/web/20160316053215/http://articles.philly.com:80/1990-01-03/food/25907989_1_milk-solids-butter-bread-crumbs Posted: January 03, 1990

The virtue of clarified butter is that it can withstand higher cooking temperatures than unclarified butter. That means it will not burn as easily, making it a better medium for sauteing and browning foods.

Another plus is that clarified butter keeps longer than regular butter.

Though some cooks might miss the buttery flavor that's lost in the clarifying process, an interesting, subtle, nutty flavor takes its place.

Clarified butter is made by simply melting butter slowly so that the milk solids sink to the bottom of the pan in the form of a residue. These solids are discarded; the clear, yellow liquid on top is the clarified butter.

There is an Indian version of clarified butter, called ghee, that is made in such a way that it can be stored longer than the product of the traditional Western method.

Here are instructions for both methods, and a recipe for Wiener schnitzel that utilizes either the traditional clarified butter or ghee.

Traditional clarified butter: Cut one pound (four sticks) of unsalted butter into small pieces. Place the pieces in a saucepan and melt them over medium heat. Skim off the white foam as it appears. Remove the saucepan from the heat and let the milk solids settle. When the solids settle, skim off the clear, yellowish liquid and place it in a clean, airtight jar. Store in the refrigerator for up to one month.

Ghee: Melt one pound (four sticks) of unsalted butter, being careful not to brown it, over medium heat. Bring it gently to a boil, skimming off the white foam that rises to the top. Reduce the heat, and simmer gently for 45 minutes, until the milk solids on the bottom are brown and the top liquid clear. Line a sieve with four layers of cheesecloth, and strain the liquid. Repeat the straining procedure if the liquid is not perfectly clear. Store in an airtight jar. Will keep up to three months at room temperature.

Here is a recipe that uses clarified butter. It is a favorite of Steven Raichlen, a classically trained chef and food writer who founded A Taste of the Mountains Cooking School in New Hampshire.

WIENER SCHNITZEL

1 pound veal scaloppine, each slice about 2 ounces

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

3/4 cup flour

2 eggs, beaten with a pinch of salt

1 cup bread crumbs

6 tablespoons clarified butter or ghee

8 lemon wedges, for garnish

Season the scaloppine on both sides with the salt and pepper. Place the flour, eggs and bread crumbs in separate shallow bowls. Dip each piece of veal first in the flour, shaking off excess, then in the egg, and finally in the bread crumbs. Place the slices of veal on a clean, dry plate until ready to fry. The scaloppine can be prepared up to three hours ahead to this stage, but will taste better if breaded at the last minute.

Heat the clarified butter or ghee in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. It should be hot but not smoking. To test the temperature, dip in a piece of veal - if bubbles dance around it, proceed.

Fry the veal pieces for 30 seconds on each side. Do not crowd pan, or the veal will stew rather than crisply fry. Use two pans if necessary. Serve the Wiener Schnitzel as soon as it is cooked, garnished with lemon wedges for squeezing. Makes four servings.


The Real Skinny On Sponge Cake

Source: https://web.archive.org/web/20160102124025/http://articles.philly.com/1991-01-30/food/25821417_1_yolks-whites-layer-cake-pans Posted: January 30, 1991

There are two ways for the weight-wary to eat cake without guilt: One is to maximize natural flavors and remove as much fat and sugar as possible; the other is to sneak in some real nutrition so that when you skip half the meal to save room for dessert, you're not robbing your body of something it really needs. The best approach is to do both!

Sponge cake is a prime example of the first approach. Our recipe gets its little bit of fat from egg yolks and nothing else. It's lightly sweetened so that you can sweeten it up with natural, good-for-you fruit as a topping.

SLIMMER SPONGE CAKE

2/3 cup cake flour, sifted

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 eggs, separated, plus 1 egg white

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

8 tablespoons sugar, divided

1/4 cup cold water

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

Sift together flour, baking powder, salt. Set aside. Beat the 3 egg whites and cream of tartar until stiff, but not dry.

Sprinkle 4 tablespoons of sugar over whites. Beat in thoroughly. Set aside. Beat the 2 egg yolks until thick and light, about 3 minutes. Beat in water, remaining sugar and extract. Continue beating for 5 minutes. Gently fold flour mixture into yolk mixture in several small additions.

Then, gently but thoroughly fold in beaten egg whites. Divide mixture between 2 non-stick layer cake pans lined with waxed paper circles. Bake at 350 degrees about 35 to 40 minutes, until cake is springy and done. Cool.

Remove layers and peel off paper. Makes two layers, 395 calories per layer. Each later can be cut into six wedges at 65 calories each. (Top with sliced fresh berries, if desired.)

Here's an off-season sweet treat that can be made with canned peaches or the sliced fresh nectarines appearing in some markets this time of year. You can cut calories about 15 per serving by using unsweetened raspberries (sweeten to taste with low calorie sweetener, if desired.)

SLIM PEACH MELBA

1 layer Slim Sponge Cake, baked (recipe given)

16-ounce can peaches, sliced, juice-packed, drained or 4 ripe nectarines pitted and sliced

10-ounce package frozen sweetened raspberries

Put the cake layer on a platter and arrange the peach slices on top, facing in the same direction. Puree the raspberries in a covered blender and drizzle over the peach slices. Makes 8 servings, 110 calories each.

Here's a lower caloried version of the classic "dump" cake: (it gets its unappetizing-sounding name from the fact that you "dump" all the ingredients in the cakepan and stir like crazy! This recipe is not only low-cal but it's also quick and easy and quick-to-clean-up!

SLIMMER CHOCOLATE DUMP CAKE

3/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons plain cocoa

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon vinegar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons salad oil

1 cup water

Sift first five ingredients together into a 9-inch non-stick cake pan, which has been sprayed with cooking spray. Stir in remaining ingredients until thoroughly blended. Bake 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Makes 12 servings, about 145 calories each.

DOUBLE DEVIL ROLL

Cake: 4 eggs, separated

Pinch of salt

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup self-rising cake flour, sifted

2 tablespoons cocoa, plain, lowfat

2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon confectioners' sugar, sifted

Filling: 4-serving package instant chocolate pudding mix

1 cup skim milk

1/2 cup yogurt, plain, lowfat

CAKE: Combine egg whites and salt. Beat until stiff. Gradually beat in 1/2 cup sugar. Set aside. Beat egg yolks until light. Beat in 1/4 cup sugar. Continue beating until thick, about 5 minutes.

Fold yolks into beaten whites. Sift flour and cocoa together. Gently fold into egg mixture a little at a time. Line a 15-by-10-inch jelly roll pan with waxed paper. Spread batter evenly over paper.

Bake 30 minutes at 325 degrees. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons sifted confectioners' sugar over a cotton or linen dish towel on a flat surface. Turn the cake on to the towel. While still warm, peel off the waxed paper and roll towel and cake together lengthwise. Cool. Unroll to fill.

FILLING: Beat together the pudding mix, milk and yogurt. Mixture will be thick. Unroll cake. Spread evenly with filling. Re-roll. Sift the remaining teaspoon of confectioners' sugar over the top. Refrigerate until serving time. Makes 12 servings, 133 calories each with sugar-free pudding mix.