Restaurant Owners Learn to Navigate the City’s Transfat Ban

October 3, 2007
See a gallery of photos from a trans fat training
A restaurant owner talks about the ban (Video;
1:04)
A city health
coordinator speaks (1:03)
Three steps to
compliance (1:24)

When the New York City Board of Health voted to ban trans fats from city restaurants in December 2006, many small business owners had no idea what the transition would entail, or why the ban was even necessary. And because small and family owned eateries lack the corporate infrastructure to oversee a major changeover, one of the biggest concerns was how it would impact these businesses.

Now that the ban is in motion, the city is sponsoring a series of free workshops for restaurant professionals intended to ease the burden of figuring out how to comply and cook without partially hydrogenated fats.

The workshops, conducted in English, Spanish and Chinese, teach the basics of cooking, baking and frying without artificial trans fat. They also give a detailed explanation of the ban, including a rundown of how it will be enforced and general tips on healthy nutrition.

On October 2, 2007, 30 food professionals gathered in the Bronx, all with the same goal; to learn how to make their restaurants trans fat free.

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Democrats and the War – 2002 to the Present

February 5, 2007

Trolling through some of the videos from the DNC Winter Meeting today, I was struck by how much Mike Gravel in 2007 sounds like Al Gore in 2004 endorsing Howard Dean. Gravel has called his fellow Dems to the mat on Iraq and it will be interesting to see how they respond and if his populist message lifts him out of obscurity.

Of course, John Edwards, another populist, has already disavowed his vote authorizing the Iraq War. Edwards is also the politician making the most use of YouTube. Most of the candidates have created web video and some have even created their own channels, but Edwards is the only one who seems to actually be engaged in it. His was the only channel to upload snippets of his speech at the Winter Meeting.

Of course, if you want to catch all of the candidates speeches in their entirety, the best place I’ve found to do that is the politicstv channel on YouTube. It’s a progressive group, so don’t expect anything but parodies of Republicans. And speaking of Republicans, where are they? So far they haven’t made much noise on the “user-generated” scene.

Another NewAssignment.net Post

December 1, 2006

So, the NYS Legislature released a text file of all the “member items” from 2004-2005. The NYTimes reported on some of the more glaring items in the list earlier this week. But at least one website – I’m sure there are more – has begun the task of combing through the list more thoroughly. They’ve even converted the Legislature’s release into a searchable document.

It is slightly fun to troll through searching for strange, big-ticket items, like $100,000 “to assist with operating aid” at the National Soccer Hall of Fame in Oneonta. (Who knew there was a National Soccer Hall of Fame? Or that Marcelo Balboa moonlights from ESPN as a soccer ambassador? Kudos to Oneonta for that coup.) Or, the $50,000 that went to “recycle and renovate” a warehouse in Patchogue for use as an Elks Lodge.

That’s all good clean fun, but there is a problem. This document is huge and unwieldy! It would be nice to know how much Marcelo Balboa and those Elks may be collecting from state coffers via other “member items.” But, to do that we need a database.

Now, I’m sure that the Times will be working this thing over, finding all of the jewels that may be hidden within, but this seems like a perfect project for networked journalism. Jay Rosen, rally your mob to develop a people’s database of NYS “member items.” Maybe if we do it, the government will feel the need to release this stuff every year, not just every few decades. You could even give the database project a catchy name, like “The Marcelo Balboa Project” and get him on board as a celebrity sponsor, to raise interest.

Iraqi Dates coming to America

November 16, 2006

Michael Rakowitz is trying to bring Iraqi dates to Atlantic Avenue. The first shipment spoiled in transit, but a second order is apparently on the way.

Rakowitz’s project is much more art installation than import business – he’s blogging it and it looks like he has a timeline of Iraqi history snaking across the wall of his storefront. Judging from the anxiety those in the know express for the dates’ arrival, I think I’ll make my way down there sometime soon to see if I can place an order.

Monday 10/16/06– An Egyptian man hurriedly comes in and asks for the Iraqi dates. I explain we do not have them yet but we do have the Californian dates that are grown from Iraqi seeds. He refuses. “No dates are like Iraqi dates.” He signs up for one box of the Iraqi Khestawi dates.

Be sure to check out the video segment from BCAT.

(via Brooklyn Record)

The power of the vote

November 8, 2006

No matter what your political persuasion is, I think we can all agree that Rumsfeld’s resignation is a pretty stark reminder of the power of the ballot box.

That Rosen Post

November 8, 2006

NYU’s Jay Rosen came to pitch his new project to us two weeks ago. NewAssignment.Net, Rosen’s experiment in “networked journalism,” or whatever the title du jour is, just launched.

It is an exciting concept that some of my colleagues have done a good job of explaining. I will just say that it was encouraging to see Rosen so aware of the many opportunities and challenges that lay before him.

But rather than get into those issues in depth, this is an idea for one assignment idea that’s been kicking around in my head for a while.

Why not harness the power of the YouTube era to develop the story and understand the experience of Iraqi immigrants and exiles. The ultimate goal could be 5, 10, 20 video pieces from Iraqis of all stripes, telling their own story and their views on what’s happening and what should happen in their country.

That final piece could include the story of Iraqi Christians who left Iraq years ago and now mourn the plight of their fellow Christians in Mosul and Baghdad. It could include the story of one of the three Iraqi journalists now studying journalism in New York. It could also include the stories of the countless Iraqis who have fled the growing violence there for other Middle East countries. I could go on and on with examples.

How would this fit into NewAssignment.Net’s scheme? The early reporting, and even the eventual pieces, could come from so-called amateur reporters who know the Iraqi exiles and immigrants. Those am-reporters could submit 2-5 minute video segments to the NA editor who would then decide, with a certain amount of input from her readership, which stories could be fleshed out into full pieces.

I think that a networked approach is perfect for filling in this sort of wide-ranging story. It allows a reporter to focus on the best elements, the most compelling stories, but also, hopefully ensures that she doesn’t miss the most compelling stories. The am-reporter mediates what could be a very difficult, or non-existent, relationship between the editor.

Obviously, this idea would translate easily to any other immigrant group or to oral / video history projects.

Election Day is over…

November 8, 2006

To the broadcast kids, especially

Muslim American charity slackens?

October 30, 2006

The NYTimes reports today that donations to charities have dropped off this year due to fears that contributions may lead to investigations by US law enforcement.

“Fear has often trumped faith.”

What has changed since the last Ramadan? The NSA wiretapping story, the new military commissions law…to name a few.

Caffeine = Death

October 30, 2006

Well, not in j-school, maybe but this website is amusing, nonetheless. My favorite energy product based on a very brief glimpse at the front page?

NRage Energy Strips. Because, who has time to digest caffeine anymore? NRage pumps the stuff right into the bloodstream. No waiting around for the NoDoz to kick in. NRage would have made high school so much more interesting.

It’s also acquired a great nickname: “strip without the drip.”

Be sure to check out the “Death by Caffeine” calculator to find out how much espresso, or any other caffeinated beverage, would actually kill you. For me, 170 espressos would be one too many.

To the barricades?

October 26, 2006

Is anyone editing over there at HuffingtonPost?

I think that no matter the results of November 7, we are far from reaching the stage where “the only real answer will be to take to the streets.”

Sadly, the eight pages of comments from people who seem to be itching for revolution reflects how poorly the Democratic Party has done in opposition these last six years.

Rather than driving readers to the barricades, why doesn’t HuffingtonPost channel that foment into, oh, I don’t know, electoral reform, or even to building a third party?