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Obsession

I’ve eaten in some great places in my time, but I’ve never had anything like the Lemon Souffle Pancakes with Raspberry Sauce and Pine Nuts I had at the fabulously restored Vinoy Hotel last week, where my friend took me for breakfast.

Just amazing. So amazing, I dragged my brother and his partner there the next day. Apparently they didn’t believe me, because they didn’t even order them! (Once they ate some from my plate, they expressed deep regret. As well they should!)

Here is the recipe that sounds close to what we had, by the way.

I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised

Turns out the reason why there’s so much crap in your kids’ school lunchroom is, the companies pay kickbacks rebates to get it there.

Fox, henhouse, etc.

If I lived in NJ, I’d be really, really upset about this. Because the state has so many chemical plants, and the companies pour so much money into elections, I’d have to worry about whether this is de facto deregulation — not to mention the probable participation of organized crime, who already has such a wonderful track record with solid waste:

With more Superfund sites than any state in the country and more than 16,000 hazardous-waste cleanups pending, New Jersey’s industrial landscape has long made it a punch line of pollution jokes.

But now that state environmental officials are trying to trim the backlog by handing control to the private sector, they are facing a backlash from both the state’s environmentalists and its industrial and chemical companies.

Under plans still being reviewed, state-licensed environmental professionals will be granted day-to-day autonomy, relegating state bureaucrats to the role of auditors on the majority of cases.

Environmental activists fear that leaving more of the cleanup to the private sector will lower standards and increase the risk to public health.

“The system we had was broken. There wasn’t enough oversight or enforcement,” said New Jersey Sierra Club president Jeff Tittel. “But the question becomes: Now, will there be any oversight? We’re heading in a really scary direction.”

Groups representing oil, chemical, and pharmaceutical companies are lobbying to reduce what they describe as a still-untenable degree of bureaucracy within the system.

The overhaul is modeled after a system introduced in Massachusetts in 1994, which is garnering increased interest around the country as state budgets shrink and politicians begin to question the cost of managing years-long environmental cleanups.

In New Jersey, cuts to the Department of Environmental Protection’s budget – 13 percent since 2009 – have left it unable to continue in its role as case manager for hazardous-waste sites, said Deputy Commissioner David Sweeney.

You should read this

David Sirota on what his wife faces in a local school board race. Unfuckingbelievable!

Breakfast

Making a crustless quiche with fresh Jersey tomatoes and asparagus. Yum!

People have the power

The power to dream, to rule
to wrestle the world from fools
it’s decreed the people rule
it’s decreed the people rule
Listen!
I believe everything we dream
can come to pass through our union
we can turn the world around
we can turn the earth’s revolution
we have the power
People have the power …

How about a little Patti Smith to kick off today’s Occupation?

Cuts

I’m sure this will make for great morale and improved working conditions for staff!

Oh dear

A climate change skeptic admits he was wrong.

‘Happy are the hands that feed’

I try to find good news whenever I can, and this story about a new restaurant supported by Jon Bon Jovi really gave me a lift. I hope it does for you, too:

RED BANK, N.J. (AP) — In three decades as one of the world’s biggest rock stars, Jon Bon Jovi has eaten in some of the world’s best restaurants, savoring the best food the planet has to offer.

Yet there’s no place he’d rather have dinner than The Soul Kitchen, a “pay-what-you-can” restaurant he and his wife Dorothea established in a former auto body shop near the Red Bank train station in central New Jersey.

The restaurant provides gourmet-quality meals to the hungry while enabling them to volunteer on community projects in return without the stigma of visiting a soup kitchen. Paying customers are encouraged to leave whatever they want in the envelopes on each table, where the menus never list a price.

The restaurant is the latest undertaking by the New Jersey rocker’s Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation, which has built 260 homes for low-income residents in recent years.

“With the economic downturn, one of the things I noticed was that disposable income was one of the first things that went,” Bon Jovi told The Associated Press in an interview Wednesday before the restaurant’s grand opening ceremony. “Dining out, the family going out to a restaurant, mom not having to cook, dad not having to clean up – a lot of memories were made around restaurant tables.

“When I learned that one in six people in this country goes to bed hungry, I thought this was the next phase of the Foundation’s work,” he said.

It started several years ago when Dorothea Bongiovi (she uses the legal spelling of her husband’s name) and Jon started helping out at a food pantry at nearby St. Anthony’s Roman Catholic Church. They later moved their focus to the Lunch Break program, which feeds 80 to 120 people a day, dubbing it “The Soul Kitchen.”

They brought that name with them to a former auto body shop down the street from the Count Basie Theater, where Jon and his self-titled band have played many fundraising shows for local charities.

Instead of admitting he wrongly supported deregulation of the financial services industry, former NYT executive editor Bill Keller chooses to ridicule the long-overdue public backlash against Wall Street crooks. More here.

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