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.

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Expand School Marshals Nationwide

Texas Sheriff Who Allows Teachers To Carry Firearms Leaves MSNBC’s Jaw On The Floor

Source: http://dailycaller.com/2018/02/19/texas-sheriff-who-allows-teachers-to-carry-firearms-leaves-msnbcs-jaw-on-the-floor/
Posted: February 19, 2018

The debate over guns in America has surged again to the forefront of conversation in the wake of the horrific school shooting in Florida last week.

A deranged gunman went on a rampage through the Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, killing 17. Many are calling for stricter gun laws in the wake of the shooting. One of the students of Stoneman Douglas said this weekend that his coach, who died in the shooting, would have then able to confront the gunman had he been able to carry his firearm to school.

While the idea of arming teachers is a controversial one nationally, a school district in Texas has been arming their teachers for over 4 years. The Argyle School Independent School District decided in 2014 to allow highly trained members of staff to carry guns on campus to prevent mass shootings.

On MSNBC this weekend, Sheriff Paul Cairney of Argyle, Texas, described the process by which staff members can carry firearms in the school district. The Sheriff said that the staff at the school who choose to carry a firearm go through an intense round of interviews and training before they are allowed to carry on campus. The MSNBC host was flabbergasted at the practice and asked the Sheriff about concerns for the safety of the students in the school when there are firearms around.

The Sheriff said the practice is heavily restricted, but the “time to do nothing is over” when it comes to combating school shooters.


Here is the process to carry a firearm in the Argyle school district, according to a recent ABC report:

To become a school marshal, those employees must undergo extensive active shooter and firearms training with the state. They must also undergo a mental health evaluation.

They receive a school marshal designation by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement and must renew their license every two years by undergoing the same training and evaluation.

Outside of campuses in Keene and Argyle, signs warn visitors that there are staff members who are armed and are prepared to protect children.

WATCH:


School Marshal: Texas Commission on Law Enforcement

Source: https://www.tcole.texas.gov/content/school-marshals

The sole purpose of a School Marshal is to prevent the act of murder or serious bodily injury on school premises, and act only as defined by the written regulations adopted by the School Board/Governing Body.

After making application with the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement, a qualifying institution must send the candidate to an 80 hour training course, conducted by a law enforcement academy that has been specifically prepared to provide the school marshal curriculum. Among the topics covered in the School Marshal course are: physical security, improving the security of the campus, use of force, active shooter response, and weapon proficiency. No other course can be substituted or exempt an individual from the specific school marshal training course.

Appointing Entity Information

The Appointing Entity will be the School Board/Governing Body of a Public School, Open Enrollment Charter School, or a Public two Year Junior College.

Process to appoint a school marshal:

1. Appointing Entity must submit the completed Appointing Entity Number Application to TCOLE. This form designates all authorized signatures on forms and paperwork to follow. (Provided upon request).

2. Appointing Entity selects candidate(s) for School Marshal.

- Candidate(s) must be an employee(s) of the school or college.

- Candidate(s) must hold a valid License to Carry, issued through the Texas Department of Public Safety. (Copy submitted to TCOLE).

- Candidate(s) must pass a psychological exam (TCOLE will provide this form).

- Candidate(s) attends/completes TCOLE approved 80 hour School Marshal course.

3. Appointing Entity submits School Marshal Appointment Form and Fee. Once approved, a School Marshal license will issue to the candidate(s). He or she will be authorized to act as a School Marshal, per the written regulations adopted by the School Board/Governing Body.

Links to Resources


I Wanted to Be a Good Mom. So I Got a Gun. By Bethany Mandel

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/05/opinion/mom-gun-safety-intruder.html

March 5, 2018


A gun show in Fort Worth in 2016. Credit Spencer Platt/Getty Images

A few months after my father left our family home for good, my mother heard me screaming in the middle of the night. It was the kind of scream that made her grab her rifle in one hand and some ammo in another.

It was a spring night and I was sleeping with my window open, which was right above my bed; I loved breathing in the fresh air. That night, in that open window, I heard the banging of a ladder, and by the time my mother made it into the room and began loading her gun, a man was about to climb in.

She said something along the lines of: “Bethany, come over here. I don’t want you to get his brain matter on your face.” I backed up behind her and my mother raised her gun. The would-be intruder slowly backed down the ladder. As he climbed down, my mother approached. The barrel of her rifle was inches away from his face and she told him, “Next time you come here, I won’t hesitate.” She had her gun pointed at him through the window on his way down, and as he went down the ladder she grabbed the top and shook it, just to put the fear of God into him one last time before he fled.

My mother admired Ralph Nader and voted for the Green Party candidate during every presidential election I walked into a booth with her. There was not an issue on which she was not the most progressive person in the room. And yet, she owned guns.

They weren’t “weapons of war” to us, nor were my parents “gun nuts”; they just had a camper trailer in upstate New York, where bears were common campfire intruders. And soon, she had reason to keep them around the house for self-defense as well.

Right around when my dad left, when I was 3 years old, our neighborhood on Long Island experienced a crime wave of burglaries, which led my mother to keep guns in various parts of the house in case she needed one at a moment’s notice. That decision turned a story with a potentially tragic ending into one about a heroic single mother and her young daughter. Our incident won’t show up in the statistics about gun use in self-defense scenarios. I doubt my mother ever reported it to the police.

While it may seem counterintuitive to those who didn’t grow up around guns, in our house we saw them as tools of protection and empowerment for two women living alone.

After my first child, a daughter, was born I must have printed the paperwork required to obtain a gun permit in New Jersey a dozen times. Despite what many may think, the process is not simple nor is it quick, which led to my procrastinating for several years.

Over the Republican primary season, I was an outspoken conservative critic of then-candidate Donald Trump, and a torrent of hate rolled my way. I would later learn just how much: The Anti-Defamation League named me one of the top 10 Jewish journalists to be attacked by the alt-right during the election season. After years of receiving death threats for my conservative views, months of being attacked by the alt-right and then having our address published online by the neo-Nazi Daily Stormer, I pushed myself to finally go through the process of asking friends for letters attesting to my character, obtaining fingerprints and submitting to background checks.

I was given a reason to feel that I needed to defend myself and my family. And I acted on it.

In the wake of every mass shooting, there are renewed calls for gun control, and a demonization of the National Rifle Association (of which I was but am no longer a member). We are told that it’s not our guns — the guns of legal and responsible gun owners — that would be taken away, but those of the bad guys. But when those advocating bans don’t even understand the mechanics and basic terminology of guns, it doesn’t inspire confidence.

All Americans should expect law enforcement agencies, which missed opportunities to stop not just the Parkland shooter, but also the shooters in the Charleston and Sutherland Springs churches and the Orlando nightclub, to be able to protect us. You can forgive conservatives if we don’t believe that giving federal law enforcement officials more authority is the solution to shootings they bear some responsibility for.

That’s, in part, why many gun owners insist the answer isn’t a ban, but rather evaluating who can obtain these weapons. President Trump is now reportedly considering the idea of gun restraining orders, which have the ability to quickly take firearms away from those considered dangerous, like the shooter in Parkland. A variation of this law is already on the books in California. In 2016, 86 of these restraining orders were issued, and 10 were extended past the initial 21-day period they were granted for. Our side insists that people are the problem, not guns, and to make good on that we need to come to the table with ideas on how to keep weapons out of the hands of dangerous individuals who have no business holding them.

This idea, popularized in a piece by National Review’s David French after the Parkland shooting, isn’t a panacea. But it is a middle ground for gun-rights supporters and gun-control activists to meet. Many supporters of the Second Amendment know something is broken, just as its opponents do, and ideas like Mr. French’s can bring many more to the negotiating table than calling for outright bans on guns or the notion that there are no legislative solutions to the gun violence issue.

But such a compromise will require gun-control activists to confront the lie of one of their favorite talking points: that gun-rights supporters care more about guns than children. For many, support for gun rights is motivated precisely by our devotion to protecting our kids.

Bethany Mandel (@bethanyshondark) is an editor at Ricochet and a columnist at The Forward.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

29 Days Later, but Who's Counting?

Good Sunday Morning, Everybody! While there is a steady shower in the Philadelphia metropolitan area, I figured that I would type this while the caffeine is still keeping me awake. This post is an update, of sorts, to my "21 Days" blog post from a few weeks ago.

I concluded my service with the first guard service company on Saturday, February 17th, at around midnight. Before the shift sunset, it took me about five minutes to do my Superman impression, changing from one uniform to another. I began my stint with the second guard service company at approximately 00:00:01 on Sunday, February 18th, finishing at 7:30 AM. I returned later that night, to work in another building (and was about forty-five minutes late, I will admit). Come Monday morning, February 19th, I clocked out and went home. Just a couple hours later, I returned for orientation, and began my first shift later that night. In a span of three days, I wore three different uniforms, received two pay raises, and had my job responsibilities shrink faster than a Shrinky-Dink. I am back with Burlington, currently working the overnight shift.

Going back to working the overnight night is still a process my body clock is adjusting to. It has been over two years since I delivered my last newspaper for the Burlington County Times. When I was working strictly second shift (15:30-00:00), I would usually stay up until about 02:00. (Back when Rockin' Ron Cade was on WOGL-FM on the overnights, I would fall asleep at the conclusion of the "Elvis 3 at 3", at around 03:10 or so.) It is usually not too busy on the third shift until 5-6 AM, so I get to listen to some programming that I used to catch back during the "paper boy" days. Once I get a set schedule, it should be easier. I may as well get the overtime while I can, right?

That is about it, for now. Speaking of Rockin' Ron Cade, I was listening to his "Elvis & Friends" radio show while composing this post. You can hear him on Sunday mornings, from 07:00-10:00 AM ET, on networkjamz.com. You can catch the program on either the Philly Gold Radio or Elvis & Company channels. Like me, you can type Philly Gold Radio on your Tune In radio app and listen. The encore presentation is on Wednesday nights, from 7:00-10:00 PM, on the aforementioned links/channels.

Take care, and Happy Elvis Sunday, everyone!

Bill P.

Friday, February 16, 2018

A lifetime in business is paying off Chris Miles, 33, started his first company at age 12

Source: https://web.archive.org/web/20141220135407/http://articles.philly.com/2004-02-13/news/25375191_1_philadelphia-business-journal-computer-bulletin-board-father

Posted: February 13, 2004

Chris Miles is all business. It has been that way for almost as long as he can remember.

The resident of Medford Lakes started his first business as a 12-year-old, and he has been employing people since he was a student at Shawnee High School.

Now 33, Miles is president of Miles Technologies, which designs software and provides computer and Internet services to small and medium-size companies.

His firm, which he founded in 1997 in part by mortgaging his and his mother's homes, generated $3.1 million in revenue in 2003. Three times, it has been listed among the 100 fastest-growing private businesses in the Philadelphia region in surveys by Rowan University and the Philadelphia Business Journal. In 2000, the trade publication listed it No. 1.

Miles recently moved it from Marlton to a 28,000-square-foot commercial center in Moorestown anchored by Cornerstone Bank. He owns the building. He paid $1.8 million for it.

Not bad for the product of a broken home who as a boy had no contact with his father for 10 years.

"It's definitely no surprise that he's the success he is," said Drew Wagner, who went through Shawnee with Miles and remains a close friend. Wagner, a physical education teacher at the Medford school, said that with Miles, "there's no doing something halfway. It's all or nothing."

Miles, who has a wife, Cindi, and a young daughter, Sierra, makes no bones about his obsession with success. Growing up the youngest of four children in a single-parent home, he had a "drive that was destined to make me a workaholic. From the time I was 14 years old, I knew that what I wanted to do was own a successful company."

His first business was a computer bulletin board where he posted weather and stock information as well as tidbits on the Beatles, still his favorite band. He charged an annual fee of $5 and had 150 subscribers.

Miles turned to computers "because I was looking for something to make me feel good."

His father, Michael, had left when Miles was 4, and his mother, Joan, worked cleaning houses to make ends meet.

"There was never a ball thrown to me as a kid," Miles said. "I knew I had a void because of my father. By working hard, I could get accolades - much like a kid who played sports."

Miles and his father, who lives in Delray Beach, Fla., reconciled when Miles was a teenager after an older brother reestablished contact. "My father basically said to him that he could feel sorry for himself for the next 20 years because his parents made a mistake, or he could go forward. Eventually, I got a call from my brother. He said, 'I have someone who wants to talk to you.'

"After that, I wanted to visit my father; my mother paid my way," Miles said.

His experiences growing up shaped the way he is today - a perfectionist who demands much from his 33 full-time employees. He does have outside interests; Miles enjoys boating and playing guitar. But business "is what I like to do," he said.

"I know that Chris as a younger kid was working when other kids were just out playing," said company vice president John Bialous, another friend who met Miles at Shawnee. "When you grow up with a father, they do a lot for you, which is nice and good and all. But Chris was kind of his own father. He taught himself how to do everything."

At 17, Miles bought a lime green truck for $700 and started Majestic Design, a construction company. He and his 10 to 15 employees repaired and built docks and bulkheads around the Medford-Medford Lakes area.

Later, while earning the engineering degree he received from the University of Delaware in 1993, Miles started a window-replacement, roofing and siding business in Delaware. He employed more people.

"When I was 20 years old, I had an employee handbook," he said.

Miles got into his current business almost by accident. Because he knew a lot about computers, people often asked him for advice. One day, someone who had been referred to him called, and "at the end of the conversation, I said it would cost $100 an hour." His first client readily accepted. Miles Technologies was born.

It was not an easy birth. "I wasn't Donald Trump starting with $10 million," Miles said. In addition to using $120,000 from the refinancing of the two homes, he accumulated $147,000 in credit-card debt.

"I paid off all my debts in two years."

He said he had never entertained the thought that that wouldn't happen.

"There's no way to work as hard as I work and not eventually succeed," Miles said. "I just can't envision that happening."

Contact staff writer Rusty Pray

at 856-779-3894 or rpray@phillynews.com.


Information Overload A niche market is sprouting to help deal with accumulating data.

Source: https://web.archive.org/web/20151222142841/http://articles.philly.com/2006-03-13/business/25414757_1_knowledge-management-laptop-science Posted: March 13, 2006

Now that he works for Miles Technologies.com, salesman Edward Nallen notices how immaculate his car is.

Oddly and delightfully so - for a salesman who schleps his office in his backseat as many salespeople do.

"I literally had cartons and cartons with files and papers," he said. "Now I carry a laptop and that's it."

In a messy world, Nallen's desk is remarkable for its emptiness:

No order forms, no piles of client files, no message pads. No blank contracts. No reports.

FOR THE RECORD - CLEARING THE RECORD, PUBLISHED MARCH 14, 2006, FOLLOWS: An article in yesterday's Business section about companies' grappling with information overload mischaracterized an industry expert's definition of knowledge management. Jonathan Spira, author of Managing the Knowledge Workforce, said knowledge management is a component of the $60 billion U.S. market for "collaborative business knowledge," which also includes search tools, e-mail programs and document management.

No clutter. No nothing.

Well, maybe one photo.

Nallen doesn't have a file cabinet, and there's no copy machine in the sales office or even in the building.

The Moorestown company's 55 employees share two printers, one on each floor, which don't get much use. Nallen prints out travel directions - because powering up the laptop while driving wouldn't be safe.

Nallen now lives what he sells: Miles Technologies.com is a $6 million company that helps companies go paperless. Miles designs the strategy, sells the necessary software and equipment, and provides service and training.

"You can't say you should go paperless if you don't believe in it," Nallen said. His only sin is a stack of business cards hidden on top of the computer processing unit under his desk. Soon he'll enter them into his laptop.

At Miles, bosses raise their eyebrows when they see mess on a desk. "We're not real tolerant of a lot of paper and clutter," said John Bialous, the vice president and chief operating officer.

Founded in 1997 by former civil engineer Chris Miles, 35, who discovered a gift for the efficient use of technology, Miles Technologies.com is a tiny sliver in the multibillion dollar business of knowledge management.

Just as individual workers cope with the onslaught of information that crowds e-mail in-boxes, file cabinets and desktops before spilling into piles on the floor, companies must also manage ever-increasing amounts of data.

Knowledge management, a growing discipline, encompasses information science and library science, as well as sociology and group dynamics.

Information science is the often technical aspect of how firms capture, store and retrieve knowledge. Library science deals with labeling and organizing knowledge so it can be found and used.

Knowledge management uses both disciplines in strategizing how to share knowledge - both explicit, as in facts, and tacit, as in cultural or philosophical understanding. It considers which workers need what knowledge at what time and from whom for maximum collaboration and profitability.

Business consultant Andrea Hornett, a senior lecturer at Penn State's Great Valley campus, said that knowledge management is becoming the key to competitiveness in a global economy.

"The philosophy or notion that is undergirding this development is that in a globally dispersed economy where capital flows quickly, all the traditional ways of competing - efficiency or cost or design - are easily adopted by competitors any place on the planet. Labor costs can also be outsourced."

What counts, then, she said, "is how can we manage our knowledge. What are our areas of know-how that we can offer? If we are focusing on what we know, how can we identify it, transfer it, acquire it, share it, store it and retrieve it?"

How big is the business?

Jonathan Spira, author of Managing the Knowledge Workforce: Understanding the Information Revolution That's Changing the Business World, estimates that the knowledge-management market will top $60 billion this year in the United States.

It includes 22 market categories - everything, he said, from document-management hardware and software to teleconferencing equipment. Also included would be search tools, e-mail programs and portal design - the way individual workers enter and interact with their companies' electronic repositories of data, explained Spira, chief executive officer of Basex Inc., a knowledge-management consulting firm in Manhattan.

"We're really in the first throes of the knowledge economy, and we really haven't figured out how to manage it yet."

Contact staff writer Jane M. Von Bergen at 215-854-2769 or jvonbergen@phillynews.com.

Friday, February 09, 2018

Medford Lakes teen is successful singer and songwriter By Celeste E. Whittaker

CC Miles of Medford Lakes sings and plays at her home recently. The 14-year-old released an album and video last year and has another album in the works.
(Photo: Jose F. Moreno/Staff Photographer)


Source: https://www.courierpostonline.com/story/news/2016/05/18/medford-lakes-teen-successful-singer--songwriter-taylor-swift/84550142/

May 18, 2016


CC Miles attends Shawnee High and had her first album and video released last year.


MEDFORD LAKES - CC Miles has a smashed guitar in her bedroom closet.

It’s crushed and unusable but she keeps it there as a reminder. She broke it when she fell onto it one day. She sleeps with her guitar.

CC's guitar, like her singing and her electric piano, is a part of her now. Music is a passion and the driving force for the 14-year-old singer, songwriter and musician who hopes it'll be part of her career as well.

“A lot of times I’m in my room and my guitar basically lives in my bed,” said the Shawnee High School freshman, as she sat on a stool in her home music studio on a recent rainy Tuesday afternoon. “It’s something that’s always here. Even if I don’t make it big, I’ll always have my guitar.”

One of her songs, “A guitar and a dream," captures that connection.

The teen with a smooth, melodic voice, started singing when she was 6 and took up piano lessons around the same time. But a few years ago, CC got really serious with piano and guitar lessons and now plays both during local appearances at bars, restaurants and coffee shops, performing original music and cover songs.

“I wanted to start playing instruments so I could accompany myself out while I was playing at bars and stuff,” CC explained. “I love listening to music. I love how other people inspire me and I feel like I just want to inspire other people through music, too.”

Her father Chris Miles, who is heavily involved with her career, takes her to gigs and oversees things. He said at one point she was doing more “karaoke” type things, “but she got tired and wanted to play it just on her own.”

Things have picked up since then for the Burlington County teen. A year ago, she released her first EP — “9th Street” — a six-song album available on iTunes and Spotify. The video “9th Street,” which was shot at Long Beach Island, was also released last summer and has over 5,000 views on YouTube. Another EP is in the works.

CC Miles of Medford Lakes plays the electric keyboard and sings at her home studio. The Shawnee High School freshman has an album under her belt and another in the works. (Photo: Jose F. Moreno/Staff Photographer)

In a typical week, CC stays busy with music lessons.

On Mondays there’s singing or guitar lessons with Sal Dupree in Linwood, Atlantic County. She's gone from 5:30 p.m. until about 11 p.m. with those lessons. On Tuesdays she records YouTube videos of cover songs. Wednesdays are for open mic night at the Flying W. Piano lessons with Ajodah Seenarine of Camden County are on Thursdays and Fridays are for live sets at Tir Na Nog Irish Pub in Cherry Hill, Coffee Works Too in Voorhees or the Java House in Collingswood. Saturdays and Sundays are for practice.


It’s a pretty heavy schedule for a young girl, but she loves every minute of it. The support of parents Cindi and Chris make a big difference, CC explained.

“Do I push you to do this?’’ her dad asked. “Who pushes you?”

“I do,” CC said. “He’ll tell me, ‘If you ever don’t want to do this just tell me.’ I’ve even gotten mad at him sometimes. Why would I be doing all this if I didn’t like it?”

This is the cover photo of CC Miles' first album entitled "9th Street", which was released last year. (Photo: Photo provided)

Chris Miles worked with his daughter on time management and teaching her to focus when she started taking music more serious. CC also has to balance that with her schoolwork and the need to be a teen.

“It definitely takes a lot of time,” she said. “It’s not really a thing where I say, 'I have to go practice for an hour.' It’s more like 'I want to learn this song or that song.'”

Miles explained the first time CC performed in public was when she was about 4 years old at a singing competition he organized to help raise money for the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation.

“There were other kids competing,” said Miles, founder and CEO of Miles Technologies with headquarters in Moorestown. “CC happened to be there. She got up and sang a song. That was the first time she ever sang something in public.”

CC Miles of Medford Lakes plays the guitar at her home studio. The singer and songwriter has one album out and another she's working on now. (Photo: Jose F. Moreno/Staff Photographer)

Though her father dabbled with the guitar as a youngster, no one in her immediate family is musical, so CC's not sure where her drive to pursue it came from.

Meeting singer Taylor Swift at the star’s concert in East Rutherford in July of 2015 certainly didn’t hurt.

CC, a friend and a cousin wore all white clothing, then splattered themselves with paint. They held up a sign, which read “The rest of the world was black and white but we were in screaming color," lyrics from a Swift song. It all caught the attention of Swift’s mom, who selects concert goers in the crowd to meet Swift.

“She’s amazing; I don’t think I would be as far as I am today without her,” CC said of the ultra popular star. “She has helped me so much and inspired me so much.

“I can’t pinpoint my exact memory of when I decided this is what I wanted to be. I always remember I used to watch 'Hannah Montana' and I wanted to live a double life. I wanted to be like her. I thought it was so cool. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.”

Celeste E. Whittaker; (856) 486-2437; cwhittaker@gannettnj.com

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

How to streamline your digital life By Shannon Eblen

Source: https://www.courierpostonline.com/story/life/2016/05/18/streamline-your-digital-life/84068600/

May 18, 2016

Spring is a great time to clear out your digital clutter and make sure that you're adequately protected against hackers. USA TODAY


It seems spring may finally be here to stay, a season many welcome by deep-cleaning and sprucing up their home or office.

One thing that may be overlooked is the trusty computer.

“As tech keeps advancing and getting faster and faster, the more stuff people are juggling,” said Greg Gurev, the founder and “Head Sherpa” of MySherpa in Wilmington, Delaware.

Computers and other digital devices require care and attention to run smoothly. From email to computer updates to cyber security, most people could probably be doing more to streamline and protect their devices.

“One big thing right now is security,” said David Suleski, the president and founder of TechStarters in Cherry Hill. “You don’t want to be the low-hanging fruit.”

TechStarters supplies various IT services for businesses, and in his years of managing website and social media and maintaining computers, Suleski has seen it all.

One of their businesses in Haddonfield once complained a form on their website wasn’t working. Suleski went into the website to pinpoint the problem.

“Immediately, we saw there was a script that said, ‘If the IP address is within 100 miles of this location, show this site; if it’s outside, show this spam site.’ These people had no idea and wouldn’t have had any idea. That’s one form of a website hijack.”

One key thing, Gurev said, is to never let someone else use your computer.

“If you have a kid, don’t let your kids use your device,” he said. They could accidentally delete documents from a parent’s computer or expose the device to malware or a computer virus. He would rather see a child use their own gadgets, he said, with parental supervision.

Suleski and Gurev both recommended CCleaner to clear out old operating system files, downloads and cookies from computers to reduce vulnerability to malware.

Often, Suleski said, you don’t know the malware is there until it’s too late, and the system starts running slowly or malfunctioning.

Attorney Thomas B. Reynolds and David Suleski from Tech Starters chat in their Marlton office.

Reynolds & Horn P.C. in Marlton is one of TechStarters’ customers.

“From day one, as a busy litigation firm, we’ve needed computer assistance,” said attorney and partner Thomas Reynolds. “Everything we do in the office is run through the computer system and a lot of it is beyond my expertise.”

TechStarters helps them with website support, keeps their computers running smoothly and protects them from viruses. Problems go directly to TechStarters, saving the law firm time and energy while keeping their system secure.

“I, personally, am getting less junk mail than before,” Reynolds said.

Be wary of web hosting services that also offer email services, Suleski said. “Email should be on email servers and websites should be on web servers.”

To streamline your email, set up rules to automatically sort incoming messages. This will keep non-urgent messages from over-crowding your inbox.

Most email programs will automatically sort spam. If spam ends up in your inbox, be sure to mark it as spam, but be responsible and don't mark legitimate emails. If reputable businesses have their emails marked as spam too often, it can slow their servers and create other problems, Suleski said.

Avoid clicking on links in emails, especially if you don’t know the sender, Gurev said. Make sure your settings don’t automatically download images in your emails, a trick spammers use to verify email addresses, and don’t sign up for newsletters that could sell your information or be hacked. Mac or PC, computers are vulnerable to email viruses.

“They’re not hacking your computer, they’re hacking you,” he said.

Gurev compared it to driving. “You have to expect that everyone approaching you is going to do the wrong thing. That’s how the Internet is, you have to be a defensive driver.”

If you do click on a link and get a pop-up, Gurev recommended repeatedly pressing the Alt and F4 keys together to shut down computer programs without clicking on anything else, then running CCleaner, or Malwarebytes.

And with the threat or ransomware, which encrypts files and asks for hundreds – if not thousands – of dollars to decrypt them, it is smart to make sure all of your documents are backed up.

Gurev and Suleski recommend a cloud service like Carbonite. Unlike hard drives or USBs, the cloud storage can’t be stolen or destroyed in a house fire. Though Suleski still backs up files on both a hard drive and Carbonite, or another reputable cloud service.

“Redundancy is key,” he said.

Keep that cloud password — and all of your other passwords — safe with a password manager.

“You probably hear about less than one percent of security breaches,” Suleski said. A password managing program not only stores passwords for different sites, but helps to create stronger passwords, the kind that are difficult to remember.

It’s true, he said, that the most commonly used password is “password.”

Gurev recommended OnePass or Dashlane.

Just don’t forget the primary password that unlocks all other saved passwords, or you’ll be locked out of your own system.

Lastly, to keep your machine running smoothly, take on some of those updates you’ve been ignoring. For security-related programs, Gurev said, do the updates as required.

But if other programs are working well, don’t feel compelled to update the software, especially just for a few new features.

“It could be buggy, it could run slow,” Gurev said. “The installation may go afoul and it may gum up your machine.”

For programs and apps you don’t use, go ahead and get rid of them. Deleting those will feel good, Gurev said.

Just like taking out the last bag of trash from spring cleaning.

Shannon Eblen: (856) 486-2475; SEblen@gannettnj.com

For more information

MySherpa, visit mysherpa.com.

TechStarters, visit techstarters.com.

MORE CYBER SPRING CLEANING TIPS

1. Check (and change) your passwords

The more complicated and lengthy a password is, the harder it will be for hackers to guess. Long and random combinations of letters, numbers and other characters work best. Don't include your kids' names, birthdays or references to any other personal details that people might find on social media. Hackers routinely troll Facebook and Twitter looking for clues to passwords like these.

Obvious and default passwords such as "Password123" are also bad, though experts say it's surprising how often they get used.

Regardless of how tough your password is to crack, it's important to change it at least every few months. And don't be tempted to recycle an old one. The longer a password sits around, the more likely it is to fall into the wrong hands. You should also avoid using the same password for multiple sites, so that a break of your school's PTA site wouldn't lead hackers to your online banking account.

Multi-factor identification — which asks users to enter a second form of identification, such as a code texted to their phone — will provide additional protections at services that offer it.

Think that's too hard? Many experts recommend password-manager services such as LastPass or DashLane. They remember complex passwords for you — but you have to trust them. Last June, LastPass disclosed "suspicious activity" and told users to change their master passwords.

2. Back it up

There's a growing threat of ransomware, where a hacker locks down a computer and threatens to wipe the data if the owner doesn't pay up. The attacks often stem from malicious software, which can result from clicking on a link in a phishing email or fake online ads.

Because you have little recourse when this happen, it's more important than ever to back up your data.

You can automate this. Services such as Carbonite let you continuously back up your files to the Internet for a monthly fee. Mac and Windows PCs come with tools for backing up to external drives. It's called Time Machine on Macs. On Windows 10, look under "Update & security" in the settings. On Windows 7, try "System and Security" or "System and Maintenance." Make sure you unplug the drive after each backup, so that malware doesn't creep into those copies as well.

3. Keep your software up to date

Whether it's a new iPhone or an ancient PC, software updates are critical, as they fix flaws that could otherwise give hackers a way into your device. This applies not just to operating systems but to common apps like browsers and media players. Better yet, turn on the auto-updating feature that most software now comes with. Dump software that you no longer use or that's no longer updated. That includes Apple's QuickTime player for Windows, as Apple no longer supports it.

Don't forget about your wireless router and your assorted "Internet of things" devices such as smart TVs and thermostats. While some devices may automatically do this or let you do so through a phone app, consult your manufacturer's website for older devices.

4. The truth is out there, like it or not

Lock down your social media accounts by restricting your posts to just your actual friends. You can adjust that in the settings. Nonetheless, assume that everyone everywhere can see what you're posting — even if you restrict your audience.

As mentioned before, personal tidbits can help hackers crack easy passwords. They also can be used to answer supposedly personal questions to reset passwords for many services.

Beyond security, Facebook and Twitter are among the first places employers look when researching a job candidate. You don't want anything embarrassing to pop up.

Woe to those who attended college after the advent of social media. Bet you're regretting all those keg-stand selfies now.

Associated Press