playing politics with the deliberately uninformed

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Until the last U.S. Presidential Election I was a life-long registered Republican.  I even took my corporate vacation during the RNC 2000 in Philadelphia so I could be a media relations volunteer the entire duration of the convention. I loved that experience. I met so many interesting people, and even lent a Congressman who was a platform speaker of some level cab fare so he could get to the Philadelphia Convention Center when he came to Philadelphia on Amtrak but forgot his wallet.

But the Republican party changed.  And maybe I have changed too, but if I am honest with myself and you my readers, the majority of my life I have always been a ticket-splitter.

You see, I do not subscribe to the quackery that if a candidate is of a particular party they are a bad candidate and I can’t vote for them.  I look at the candidates themselves NOT the political party to make my decision.  I have no misplaced sense of obligation to either political party, which is probably WHY I became an Independent.

But politics, including in Chester County, has continued to disintegrate since he who shall not be named took the Oval. Sorry, not sorry, it is the unfortunate truth.  And my opinion. This country is now like a daily episode of the now defunct ABC series Scandal.

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No longer does political civility exist.  Republicans think Democrats are evil and Democrats think Republicans are evil.  It is the theatre of the absurd. You can’t discuss the merits or lack thereof of ANY candidate.

And heaven forbid you not act like a perfect little political Stepford wife and share an article you find interesting. Like this one:

Philly-Area Media Chain Tells Readers: Don’t Vote for a Single Republican
“There are some Republicans that do a good job and should be taken seriously,” says the editor. “But they are sort of sacrificial lambs, unfortunately.”

by VICTOR FIORILLO· 10/31/2018, 9:12 a.m.

With the most contentious midterm elections in memory coming up in a matter of days, news publications across the country are publishing their endorsements of their chosen candidates. But one group of media outlets outside of Philadelphia has taken a much different approach.

West Chester–based Brandywine New Media, which owns the Times of Chester County, the Unionville Times, the Kennett Times, the Coatesville Times, and the Downingtown Times, has run a staff editorial telling readers that they should “not vote for any Republican candidate on the ballot.”

Here is the Times of Chester County original editorial:

Editorial: An electoral shock to the system needed to save GOP
Oct 28th, 2018

As has been the case since the earliest days of The Times, we had planned to make endorsements in all of the 2018 elections….

But 2018 is a unique time in the history of American politics.

While some would try to paint a false equivalency that both of our major parties are bad, lacking ethics and are slaves to electoral expediency, we find ourselves unable to agree.

One party has been gripped by a mania, a cancer, and seems unwilling or unable to return to its roots, and instead panders to fear, anger and the worst instincts of a minority of its members: the Republican Party…..America needs two functioning parties to provide political balance and steady leadership. America needs a healthy Republican Party, as a counter balance to the occasional excesses of the Democratic Party — something sorely lacking now. If the current path continues unabated, we will see the end of the Republican Party as we know it.

….we suggest that you do not vote for any Republican candidate on the ballot. We know this is a difficult ask for many, but these times and our democracy cry out for a reset and only staggering losses will get the attention of elected officials and the party’s voter base in a meaningful way.

I have provided but an excerpt of BOTH the article and  editorial, but I strongly suggest no matter what your political persuasion you should take the time to read BOTH pieces in FULL.

I wasn’t going to write a pre-midterm election post, but when I shared the Philadelphia Magazine article by Victor Fiorello on Facebook a woman piped up and said because I shared the article and suggested it was an interesting read that I was making a political endorsement.  Allow me to quote her directly:  ““Well worth taking the time to read” is a political endorsement. Your message is not sharing information but suggesting endorsement of a political view that many in Chester County find reprehensible.”

Can I say WTF now? I mean WTF?  I am NOT suggesting endorsement. IF I was suggesting endorsement of candidates, I would say so. Suggesting an article about the current state of politics is an interesting read or a good read is NOT an endorsement of anything other than the actual article!

I actually would like to say thank you to Victor Fiorello for writing about an editorial I saw but did not take the time to read until he pointed it out. And I would like to say thank you to Publisher and Editor of Brandywine News Media Mike McGann. Mr. McGann that editorial is nothing short of honest and spot on.  And a little bit sad.

I am truly sorry that so many lack intellectual curiosity about the political times in which we live, or are afraid to check things out lest they turn into a pillar of salt like Lot’s wife (Genesis 19).

I am so sorry so many choose to be deliberately uniformed. It seems to me life is more interesting when you don’t behave like a veritable ostrich and bury your head in the sand, but what do I know, right?

I also realize some love to hate me because I speak my mind and am a blogger and am just different from them, but lordy. I fully accept although I find it fantastical at times some people (even other women) cannot handle women who do not conform to some pre-conceived set of notions that remind me of 1950’s housewives wearing kitchen aprons. These people should keep their own side of the street clean and do not presume to tell me or anyone else what to do. Because in fact, THAT is what is reprehensible here.

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Being American means freedom of choice when you vote. It means being your own man or woman and voting your conscience.  Being American also means you have the freedom to read a couple of local articles without fear of being put in the stocks like some renegade 17th century New England Puritan. (calling Hester Prynne and all that)

Grow up and remember your collective pride in what it is to be an American and to enjoy the freedoms our forefathers fought and bled and died for.  We have the right, actually a duty to question the political status quo as Americans.  Right now the status quo has some major suckitude going on.  The political process is at present so incredibly contorted that our country is to be succinct, MESSED UP.

And to other women out there:  it took until 1920 and when 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified, stating, “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex. Oh and another fun fact? Women in the state of Georgia could not vote until 1970.

Read up and vote next week people.  Vote for who you choose, not who some political party bobblehead from either party tells you to vote for.

Thanks for allowing the rant and Happy Halloween.

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now loch aerie smiles

Today I went to Loch Aerie to drop off my “housewarming gift” —- my big Loch Aerie print by Christopher Schultz and he is or was a Chester County Artist. The print belongs there. (I wish I knew more about the artist!)

The house is so happy she’s smiling. I know it sounds crazy but you can feel the difference in the house now that she has a family that so loves her once again.

The house will be used as a venue space. It is privately, not publicly owned, so please be respectful of that.

Loch Aerie is a jewel and god bless the Poiriers for saving her.

the evolution of apple-pear butter

I love Apple Butter and Pear Butter. Snd I like to make a hybrid cross mix of both in the fall. I always have. Maybe it’s my Pennsylvania German heritage shining through – my maternal grandmother was Pennsylvania German and I learned how to make a lot of things from her.

I have been reading various recipes on the Internet and decided to try making my apple pear butter in the Instant Pot.

I have an 8 quart Instant Pot. I cored apples and pears. I cut them into chunks of a fairly even size, and filled my Instant Pot to just below the “max” line.

I know, I know that isn’t very exact for some of you home cooks but apple butter consists of apples cooked down….

I did not peel either the apples or the pears because when you make everything all fine with an immersion blender after the fruit is cooked it all is very smooth and lovely.

But let me back up. After the fruit was loaded into my electric pressure cooker, I added a quarter cup of orange juice, maybe closer to a third of a cup I wasn’t measuring too precisely.

To that I added half a cup of brown sugar, four cinnamon sticks, 1 teaspoon ground mace, 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice, 1 teaspoon ground ginger, 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon, a healthy dash of salt, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla.

The vanilla is a quirky thing I read about it in a recipe when I was researching this and I thought I would try it and it ended up working out well.

Anyway give everything a toss within your Instant Pot to make sure the apples and pears are kind of coated.

Set your Instant Pot to the manual high pressure setting for 9 minutes. The valve should be at the top sealed position. When time is up, turn off the machine and allow the natural pressure release to occur. That will probably take a good half hour or so. I didn’t time it exactly.

Meanwhile make sure your canning jars are properly prepared and sterilized and get your big pot ready for water if you are doing a canning bath.

When your pressure cooker is de-pressurized and it is safe to remove the lid, take off the lid and remove the four cinnamon sticks. Using your immersion blender, blend the fruit until it is smooth and seamless.

But wait, it’s not ready yet here’s the next step.

Turn your Instant Pot back on to the sauté setting and adjust the sauté setting to LESS. Simmer the apple pear butter for 30 to 40 minutes until the apple pear butter is thickened and at your desired consistency. Most recipes I studied suggested 15 to 30 minutes but I actually did 40 minutes today to get it where I wanted.

I will caution you to stick around in your kitchen with a silicone spoon or spatula. You will need to stir it occasionally while it’s continuing to cook down or it will stick to the bottom of the Instant Pot.

When you think it is thick enough and cooked down enough, turn off your machine and allow the apple pear butter to cool down. I basically ignored it for a good hour.

At that point you can jar it up and either do your canning bath or store in the refrigerator. I did the canning bath because now that I have gotten the hang of it it really is my preferred way of dealing with preserves and chutneys and things like this.

I will leave my jars sitting on a wooden cutting board on the kitchen table until they’re completely cool and then I will add the labels and the date I made the apple pear butter. I made six jars. Not big jars – small jars and two taller skinny ones – see the photo at top of the post.

Making apple pear butter is one of those fall things. It’s definitely something that fills your kitchen full of false spice smells. And I do tend to combine both fruits when I make it.

You can serve apple pear butter on toast, bagels, English muffins, cheese and crackers, pork roast, all sorts of things.

I will note doing it in a pressure cooker reduced the time spent canning considerably. I think I am going to research other kinds of preserves and even chutneys to see what else I can make and can via the Instant Pot.

Try it!

not sure what to do with this?

Being a blogger is sometimes a strange business.  The document I am sharing pertaining to development in East Whiteland and purported number of students that some developments old and new add to the Great Valley School District. It was left in my mailbox a couple of days ago. No note, no envelope.

The letter is written by David C. Babbitt & Associates (CLICK HERE FOR SCAN of what I have called frazer lanes)

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Frazer Lanes 2

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Now when it comes to experts and consultants, the voice of one of my favorite former Lower Merion Commissioners named Lew Gould comes to mind. He said one time when it came to a particular traffic study at the time that those who commission the studies gets what they pay for.

I will also note that this letter ONLY ADDRESSES APARTMENTS. Not other kinds of developments. Not townhouses, not “carriage homes”, not single family homes. I think the numbers might creep up significantly?

So I do not know what to think of this thing that was left for me. But I do not feel I am sharing anything privileged or illegal.  As a matter of fact this is the type of information which would be shared with a municipality during a planning process. I belive this was left for me because I have been critical of the affect of new development on the school districts in Chester County, in this case this study pertains to Great Valley.

Where I find this puzzling is it kind of runs contrary to some of what I have heard pertaining to the elementary schools in Great Valley School District and how crowded they are becoming.  I have also heard the high school is incredibly crowded.  My days with kids in any school district is done, and our son went to a charter school.

I figure this letter is another good place to start a conversation.

Thoughts?

can you hear the people NOW, east goshen?

East Goshen Township meeting 10/25/2018. Residents from multiple municipalities packed the board room. Inside and outside the room.

East Goshen got a good dose of the public’s ire in three municipalities over their proposed zoning changes last evening.

Now I am still not sure how the meeting ended other than I don’t think anything was completely decided and the supervisors were clearly annoyed that the public had the temerity to pack the house . I was watching on YouTube and fell asleep.

Here are two photos people sent to me. One from inside the meeting room, and one from the standing room only overflow in the hall. I really do not know what ails the newer commissioners to the East Goshen board but I hope they snap out of it. But I don’t know that they will, do you?

Prior to this East Goshen has always been such a jewel because it avoided this kind of development and it avoided rezoning that would ruin it.

But now? They are all short-sighted. Changing the zoning to add cluster development is a mistake. Not just my opinion apparently given the turn out last night would be my guess. What they want to do isn’t visionary. It’s stupid and greedy.

It adds more traffic, it will crush the infrastructure, it could very well affect the school district, and what about those of us on wells and stuff as all this development affects us too?

What about nature in the equation? These parcels support a lot of magnificent wildlife and more so what about that?

In my opinion, the majority of developers don’t care. It’s all about their profit and the more they can do high density housing no matter how a property sits the more profits they make. Because face it they are clustering the houses because they can’t use all of the land. Another example would be the hideousness going on over on Church Road in Malvern. Or even within the same school district East Goshen sits in. What about Greystone Hall in West Goshen?

It’s all about the money, honey. These municipalities do not care about the existing residents. Neither do the developers. It’s about profit margins. Ratables. Nothing about reality. Nothing about us.

The reality is more meetings throughout Chester County need to be packed. If we don’t stand up a lot more often and demand our open space and farms be saved and respected the pace of development will never slow.

We also need to elect better local politicians. And better state level politicians. The Municipalities Planning Code needs to be updated with better protections.

We need more land conservation and fewer plastic mushroom house farms. We need more real farms.

And we need a county planning commission run by someone from Chester County, not Lower Merion which is a land of infill development. I asked at least 15 years ago what was actually smart about “smart growth” and I am still waiting.

If we all don’t get more active in our communities we are going to look like parts of Bucks County, Montgomery County, and outside Harrisburg where it used to be open space and rolling farm land. Now it’s development after development punctuated by some version of a strip mall.

Thank you to all of the residents who went last night. Everyone can watch a replay by following this link.

I will note at the end an East Goshen supervisor took a jab at neighboring municipality East Whiteland for not letting residents know this was happening. O.k. not wrong but hey East Goshen did you really go out of your way to get this issue out there? Come on now, wouldn’t you have been just as happy with stealth mode?

Here are the names of the East Goshen Supervisors:

Here is a link to their page on the East Goshen website. It’s time to start contacting them (politely). If the public does NOT keep up the pressure, this zoning will become reality. Even if you live in a neighboring municipality, if you are against this, you should contact them. And contact your own supervisors in your municipality.

Be vocal. Be present. And East Goshen residents? If you don’t like the decisions change the faces of who governs you. Be a stakeholder where you live. Not a sheeple.

East Goshen Township meeting 10/25/2018. Residents from multiple municipalities packed the board room. Inside and outside the room.