Tuesday Morning Open Thread

Another hectic day.

This is an Open Thread.

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    Reducing the deficit through (5.00 / 3) (#3)
    by MO Blue on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 10:05:00 AM EST
    establishing a Bi-Partisan Commission to tackle the 'Entitlements Crisis' by sending a set of proposals to Congress that could only be voted up or down on a model set by BRAC (the Base Realignment and Closure Commission of the 1990s.

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama, under pressure over the ballooning U.S. budget deficit, said on Wednesday he is preparing to launch an effort to rein in the escalating costs of the Social Security retirement fund and other popular government programs.

    In an interview with the Washington Post, Obama said a new commission may be needed to examine reforms for addressing the deficit and the huge programs that contribute to the flow of red ink.

    "I think we're in a position to be able to, either at the end of this year or early next year, start laying out a broader picture about how we are going to handle entitlements in a serious way," Obama said.
    Obama said the reform effort "may start with Social Security because that's, frankly, the easier one." He also said tax reform should be considered. link  

    Background on "bipartisan fiscal responsibility commission."

    Peter Peterson, a Republican financier who made a fortune doing corporate takeover deals at Wall Street's Blackstone Group, is the Daddy Warbucks of the "fiscal responsibility" crusade. He has campaigned for decades against the dangers that old folks pose to the Republic. ...

    Peterson is financing a media blitz. His tendentious documentary--I.O.U.S.A.--opened in 400 theaters and was broadcast on CNN with appropriate solemnity. Last September Peterson bought two full pages in the New York Times to urge the next president to create a "bipartisan fiscal responsibility commission" once he was in office (Peterson was for John McCain). This group of so-called experts would be authorized to design the reforms for Congress to enact. But Peterson does not want Congress to have a full, freewheeling debate on the particulars. The reform package, he suggests, should be submitted to a single "up-or-down vote by Congress, as is done with military base closings." That's one of the gimmicks intended to give politicians cover and protect them from their constituents. link

    Oh, dear Lord... (none / 0) (#6)
    by Anne on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 10:22:37 AM EST
    as much as I thought I could see this coming from things Obama has been saying on this subject since at least the primaries, I had really hoped it would not get this far.

    The news I am reading today is as dreary and depressing as the dark and rainy weather we are having here 50 miles north of the White House.


    Yea but Obama will finally get bipartisan (5.00 / 2) (#9)
    by MO Blue on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 10:58:11 AM EST
    support for something. Co-sponsored by Republicans and

    A group of 15 Democratic senators say they will not vote for deficit-boosting legislation unless the commission is created.
    Senator Claire McCaskill was kind enough to actually publish some of the names involved.  Here are 11 of the 15 Bayh is claiming:

       1. Evan Bayh, Indiana
       2. Mark Begich, Alaska
       3. Michael Bennet, Colorado
       4. Kent Conrad, North Dakota (not named in the link, but one of the ringerleaders)
       5. Diane Feinstein, California
       6. Amy Klobuchar, Minnesota
       7. Joe Lieberman, Connecticut
       8. Claire McCaskill, Missouri
       9. Bill Nelson, Florida
      10. Mark Udall, Colorado
      11. Mark Warner, Virginia link

    I'm sure that anything that gets the strong support of Senators like Lieberman and McCaskill are definitely designed to promote the common good. :-)


    Yes, this all makes so much sense... (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by Anne on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 11:11:43 AM EST
    First, spend ten months making a complete mess of health care reform, making sure to kowtow to some of these same conservative "Democrats" - and one whose ego is so huge he needs his own party of one.

    Then, in the midst of a high unemployment, rising costs, and in the wake of TARP and the auto bailouts, go after Social Security.

    I mean, when rumor has it that Obama will announce that he is sending 34,000 additional troops to Afghanistan, what better way to chip away at that cost than to make entitlement "reform" a priority?

    Do they dare do anything but dither as we move into the 2010 election cycle?  Is this just a head fake to make fiscal conservatives - who love to spend money on war - happy?

    I'll tell you one thing: the next person who calls Obama a liberal in my presence is going to get an earful.


    Definitely need end (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by MO Blue on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 11:37:00 AM EST
    entitlement programs so the money can be spent in areas that benefit the few.

    The latest internal government estimates place the cost of adding 40,000 American troops and sharply expanding the Afghan security forces, as favored by Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the top American and allied commander in Afghanistan, at $40 billion to $54 billion a year, the officials said.
    So even if Mr. Obama opts for a lower troop commitment, Afghanistan's new costs could wash out the projected $26 billion expected to be saved in 2010 from withdrawing troops from Iraq. And the overall military budget could rise to as much as $734 billion, or 10 percent more than the peak of $667 billion under the Bush administration. NYT

    Obama does not understand (5.00 / 4) (#29)
    by Cream City on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 12:54:03 PM EST
    or chooses to not understand that retirement is job creation?  That getting my generation to retirement, after all -- after the setbacks we have suffered from his and Bush's decisions -- opens up our jobs for a younger generation?

    Nope, best we work until we die, so that we will die sooner, in part because of budget cuts to Medicare, too.  And still with higher insurance for old women than for old men?  Ah well, we already knew from the campaign that he doesn't like old women. :-)


    Love the way they derisively use (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by MO Blue on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 01:11:29 PM EST
    the term "entitlement programs."

    I paid into the Social Security system beginning at the age of 16 and have paid into the Medicare system since its inception (close to 50 years on both). Your damn right I feel entitled to get what the government promised I would get in return for my hard earned money.


    FDR called it old-age insurance (5.00 / 1) (#83)
    by Cream City on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 03:36:47 PM EST
    but can we, um, morph that to "maturity insurance," since we are so not old yet?!

    And it always was called insurance until Republicans started calling it an entitlement --   Republicans and Obama. . . .


    I'm all for (none / 0) (#97)
    by Zorba on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 03:49:52 PM EST
    calling it "maturity insurance," but, let's face it, there are days when I just plain feel "old."  ;-)  (Although there are days when I feel young again, too!)

    I always think of Roy Acuff... (none / 0) (#124)
    by EL seattle on Wed Nov 25, 2009 at 01:46:38 AM EST
    ... when folks start talking about "old age insurance or "old age pension".

    Feinstein? Thanks a bunch Dianne. (none / 0) (#21)
    by oculus on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 12:12:50 PM EST
    I believe the commission is really (none / 0) (#11)
    by Dan the Man on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 11:12:24 AM EST
    based more on fast track legislation than on BRAC.  Fast Track legislation says the President can propose a trade agreement and Congress would have to vote up and down on the vote without any amendments or fillibuster.  But they still would have to approve the bill by majority votes in both houses for the agreement to take effect.

    BRAC says something slightly different: the President can propose base closings and those base closing will go into effect in 45 days unless Congress passes a resolution via the legislative process vetoing it: this means if the President vetos the resolution, it requires a 2/3 majority in both houses to override the BRAC proposal.  In other words, it's almost certain the bases will be closed.

    If the commission really is based on BRAC, there is very little chance what the commission proposes does not become a law so long as Obama supports the commission's proposal.


    You could be right (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by MO Blue on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 11:55:46 AM EST
    My information on BRAC is based on a post on Open Left. I have read elsewhere that the proposals would go into effect unless Congress took action to override them.

    If it is based on fast tract with an up and down on the vote without any amendments or filibuster, only a simple majority would be needed to pass even the worse proposals. There are enough Democrats who are more than willing to vote with Republicans even now. Also, no guarantee that Republicans will not once again become the majority party and it is a known fact that there goal has been to eliminate these programs.

    All around horrible idea IMO either way.



    Glenn has a post up today on (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by Anne on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 10:10:49 AM EST
    Greg Craig and Obama's worsening civil liberties record, drawing much from Time's new story on The Fall of Greg Craig.  

    The entire post, and the Time article, are well worth a read, even if they do leave you, as they left me, feeling quite disturbed and perturbed; the update to Glenn's post provides additional info and summarizes the state of play:

    The Nation's Jeremy Scahill reveals that the U.S. military is using Blackwater -- Blackwater -- as part of "a secret program in [Pakistan in] which they plan targeted assassinations of suspected Taliban and Al Qaeda operatives."  McClatchy reports that Obama has made a decision to send 34,000 more troops to Afghanistan which, if true, means, as Juan Cole says, that "Gen. Stanley McChrystal has won the struggle for policy decisively."  

    So, to recap:  we have indefinite detention, military commissions, Blackwater assassination squads, escalation in Afghanistan, extreme secrecy to shield executive lawbreaking from judicial review, renditions, and denials of habeas corpus.  These are not policies Obama has failed yet to uproot; they are policies he has explicitly advocated and affirmatively embraced as his own.

    I am hard-pressed to understand why there has not been more outcry from the so-called progressives, more calling BS on Obama for doing a 180 from what he campaigned on, more demand for the transparency and accountability that were going to be part of the change that electing Obama would bring about.

    As Glenn puts it:

    By embracing and defending numerous Bush/Cheney policies he once deplored, "Obama hasn't changed, just adjusted."  He's learned secret things that he can't tell you about but which -- you should accept -- do justify his "adaptations."  Whenever Bush followers would run out of arguments to defend their leader's actions, that's the same rationale they'd resort to:   he knows secret things that you don't know and therefore we should trust him.   So Obama has "learned" things that caused him to abandon his vehement condemnations of indefinite detention, state secrets, military commissions and denial of habeas corpus as unjust and un-American travesties and come to embrace them as important and necessary policies?   Wow:  that must have been quite an education.  Don't he and his supporters owe George Bush and Dick Cheney a sincere apology for criticizing them all those years for these policies when, as it turns out, they were necessary and just all along?  And see this insightful argument that makes a related point.

    Greg Craig left because no one in the administration, including the president, wanted to hear what he had to say, and they didn't want to have to defend their embrace of Bush-era policies.  Obama allowed himself to be cowed by Dick Cheney's criticism, and panicked at dropping poll numbers.

    So how disturbing is this, from the Time article, not just for what it means to counterterrorism policy, but for what it means on a host of issues:

    At the same time, he quietly shifted responsibility for the legal framework for counterterrorism from Craig to political advisers overseen by Emanuel, who was more inclined to strike a balance between left and right.

    The display of principle and conviction is just breathtaking, isn't it?

    I was a corporate manager, (5.00 / 3) (#7)
    by NYShooter on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 10:44:16 AM EST
    at the highest levels the last dozen years, and so I knew the Axlerod spin that "judgment, not experience" should be the criterion on who to vote for was the slogan that would doom our country, should the populace buy it.

    They did, and we are.


    The short rejoinder to (5.00 / 2) (#13)
    by scribe on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 11:22:51 AM EST
    your comment, viz.:

    I am hard-pressed to understand why there has not been more outcry from the so-called progressives, more calling BS on Obama for doing a 180 from what he campaigned on, more demand for the transparency and accountability that were going to be part of the change that electing Obama would bring about.

    is that you haven't been looking too hard, if you haven't seen or heard the outcry.

    As to myself, the longer explanation is that I've been a little actually, a lot) more silent over the last several (5, actually) months for a set of reasons.  A partisl list of these include:

    - My home was foreclosed because I wasn't able to make the payments;
    • I sold my home to avoid losing it to the foreclosure, with all the work that attends preparing realty for an open-market arms' length sale;
    • I closed my law practice of 15 years;
    • Lacking cash to hire movers, I personally packed and moved all my household goods, first into storage, then out of storage and several hundred miles to a new city where I know literally no one;
    • In the course of the move, I spent a couple weeks on the road looking at possible new abodes, living out of a suitcase with my dog in tow;
    • I'm still unpacking;
    • I'm looking for work;  and
    • Throughgoing disgust at the performance of the Democrats in almost all particulars - legislative and executive, relative to their office-holding.  That, and the recognition that they do not listen, nor do they give a sh*t.

    To paraphrase Barney Frank, "I've had more productive conversations with a dining room table."

    One of the most important lessons which can be drawn from OBama's campaign, though, is the importance of grassroots organizing. In large part(though not exclusively), he won because he had a superior ground game, organized thoroughly.  That is the future of how politics are going to have to be run.


    Even though I know you didn't disclose (5.00 / 5) (#18)
    by Anne on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 12:03:45 PM EST
    your personal situation for sympathy, I think what you have been going through mirrors what a lot of people are dealing with these days, and when where-am-I-going-to-live-and-how-will-I-support-myself are at the top of one's priority list, things like Greg Craig and Obama's embrace of Bush policy would have to be a lot lower on that same list.

    In any event, I hope things are improving for you; I always enjoy your comments and have missed seeing them as regularly as I used to.

    I know there has been some excellent writing on this subject in the blogosphere and from select reporters and media outlets.  Occasionally, I see where Russ Feingold and Sheldon Whitehouse have spoken out on civil liberties issues, or John Conyers has held a hearing.  Maybe it's because I no longer watch Olbermann or Maddow or Matthews that I feel there is a dearth of pressure being brought to bear on Obama and his willingness to own the Bush policies, but I honestly don't see that happening in places where it would have real effect.  

    I can't even write about Congress without grimacing or gagging; way back - a whole year-that-seems-like-a-decade ago! - when it was obvious that Obama was going to be elected, I said a not-so-silent prayer that somehow, if Obama proved to be the disappointment he looked like he would be, the Congress would step up and do the right thing.  

    Well.  That's not going so well, is it?  Instead, I feel like there has been a general acceptance that the president does what the president wants and no one can make him do otherwise.  Obama's shaking off the more liberal wing of the party, and accommodating the conservatives to the point where I no longer understand what the Democratic party stands for, or how I am expected to keep supporting it.  And it's having a very negative effect on policy.  But, still, they keep asking me for money so we can keep the Republicans out of power.  I no longer give them my hard-earned dollars, and I suspect I am not alone.

    Oh, well, I ramble on.  Doesn't change anything, but it's good to vent.  Keeps the head from exploding and the blood from boiling over.

    Best wishes to you for a better year, with less stress and more joy.


    To be clear (5.00 / 3) (#26)
    by scribe on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 12:47:34 PM EST
    I only disclosed my personal situation as an explanation of the shorter "I've been busy on other things" that often is met by the skeptical with a "yeah, right, lazybones".

    I neither want nor need sympathy;  I was fortunate that I was able to get the sale to close at near the market value.  As a result of that, I was one of the fortunate few who walks away from that sort of situation with some cash in hand.  If the foreclosure had gone through, I would have faced losing that cash as well as the home - that pressure was the primary stressor, and the other debts (now largely cleared up) added to the pile.    


    Yeh, but (5.00 / 4) (#30)
    by Cream City on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 12:56:27 PM EST
    you're gonna get more sympathy, anyway.  Or put it this way:  you have my respect for the way you are handling this, and my best wishes that all goes better for you.

    Roll with them punches... (none / 0) (#89)
    by kdog on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 03:40:58 PM EST
    and good luck in the job hunt my brother.

    THis one's for you, k dog: (none / 0) (#122)
    by oculus on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 08:18:51 PM EST
    On NPR on Marketplace tonight, more about growing and dispensing mj to those with note from physician. A 19-yr. old young man was picking up his mj, sd. it was for stress.  When asked what stressed him, he sd., I've been smoking medical marijuana all my life and when I can't get it, I get stressed.  

    Grassroots organizing (none / 0) (#15)
    by Manuel on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 11:40:27 AM EST
    Grassroots organizing is a great way to win nominations and elections.  Unfortunately, it can be used by all sides.  It also doesn't help when it's time to govern.

    Now, when it comes to issues, grassroots organizing is key.  Just recognize that the opposition has also learned the lesson.


    In caucus states GrassOrg will (none / 0) (#25)
    by oldpro on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 12:40:17 PM EST
    nearly always vault an Obama or a Sarah Palin to the top of the candidate list...the candidate with star power and little experience whose attraction is charisma.

    That must explain (5.00 / 1) (#34)
    by Steve M on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 01:05:52 PM EST
    why John Kerry wiped the floor with Howard Dean in Iowa!

    Heh. Good one. (none / 0) (#129)
    by oldpro on Wed Nov 25, 2009 at 01:04:52 PM EST
    Iowa, as we all know, is in a league of its own.  Furthermore...Howard Dean was never thought to have charisma any more than John Kerry (or Al Gore or Gephardt or....)so it was a wash on that alone for many.  The difference was Kerry's experience, Vietnam/senate, etc.

    Another short rejoinder (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by Spamlet on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 12:15:59 PM EST
    I am hard-pressed to understand why there has not been more outcry from the so-called progressives, more calling BS on Obama for doing a 180 from what he campaigned on, more demand for the transparency and accountability that were going to be part of the change that electing Obama would bring about.

    They did not vote for him on the issues, so they did not care what he said (unless it could be used against Shrill-a-reeeeee).


    Spamlet, "with all due respect", (none / 0) (#61)
    by prittfumes on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 02:31:27 PM EST
    They did not vote for him on the issues, so they did not care what he said (unless it could be used against Shrill-a-reeeeee).
    Issues? Issues? Issues? You gotta be kiddin'. :)

    Sad to hear about (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by brodie on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 11:14:07 AM EST
    Bill Moyers leaving his PBS show at the end of the year.  It was usually very worthwhile viewing.

    But the good news is that he'll finally be writing that long-planned book about his time working for LBJ.

    I'm hoping, perhaps naively, for the flaws and all type of book that a small minority of former public servants are able to manage, as there are some dicey areas Moyers was involved in with Lyndon that he's yet to fully come clean about.  Such as his behind the scenes work to rein in and control skeptics in the media as LBJ launched his wonderful Vietnam adventure.

    Moyers, as some here know, is one of the very few Johnson inner circle people (Lady Bird being another) who has failed over the last few decades to cooperate with Johnson biographer Rbt Caro in agreeing to be interviewed.  Perhaps he wanted to keep all his info for his book, the better to be able to completely control his side of the story.

    The Catholic Bishops are on a roll.. (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by Anne on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 12:30:07 PM EST
    From the FDL News Desk:

    The US Conference of Catholic Bishops released an "Ethical and Religious Directive" this month that would ban any Catholic hospital, nursing home or hospice program from removing feeding tubes or ending palliative procedures of any kind, even when the individual has an advance directive to guide their end-of-life care. The Bishops' directive even notes that patient suffering is redemptive and brings the individual closer to Christ.


    More quietly, however, the Church has staked out a radical position on end-of-life care, without patients of the 565 Catholic hospitals and other Catholic care facilities even knowing about it. As Barbara Coombs Lee, president of Compassion and Choices, an advocacy group, put it, "When a patient goes to one of these facilities, they don't know that they're choosing Catholic dogma. The bishops see the hospitals as an extension of their ministry."

    The "Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services" put out by the Catholic bishops would build upon a Papal elocution given in the wake of the controversial Terri Schiavo case, where the US Congress stepped in to keep Schiavo alive despite her persistent vegetative state and the wishes of her husband to end care. The papal elocution did state that the permanently unconscious should always have access to a feeding tube, but it did not have the force of doctrinal law behind it. "There was always some wiggle room" for Catholic care facilities, said Coombs Lee. Catholics were allowed to use something called a "benefit/burden balance" to determine the ethical, moral and compassionate result in any individual case.

    Now, that wiggle room is gone. In the new directive, the bishops state that it is unethical and immoral to withhold or withdraw a feeding tube from patients, whether in cases of permanent unconsciousness, comas, or even cases of advanced dementia when the patient is unable to feed themselves.


    In many cities, this means that every hospital or medical care facility will not allow the withdrawal of a feeding tube. "In Spokane, Washington, if you don't get Catholic health care, you don't get health care," Coombs Lee said. "In Eugene, Oregon, if you don't get Catholic health care, you don't get health care." Coombs Lee characterized it as a kind of entrapment, with a sense of "my house, my rules." If a patient's family wanted to comply with an advance directive, they would have to leave the Catholic care facility, adding a level of stress and disruption to the already difficult time of aggrievement. "Decisions on feeding tubes are hard enough without adding this extra adversity," said Coombs Lee.

    I wonder if advance directives will need to have additional language directing that Catholic hospitals or care facilities are not to be utilized.

    Bishops are also making noise about (none / 0) (#27)
    by oculus on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 12:50:16 PM EST
    Washington, D.C. potentially requiring contractors to offer benefits to same sex partners of employees.  Biships say no more Catholic social services re feeding/housing homeless etc.  

    Well, if they (none / 0) (#67)
    by Zorba on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 02:54:57 PM EST
    won't do it, then DC should contract with non-religious organizations to provide those services.  The Catholic bishops are apparently reading a different Bible than I am.  (Besides, I have a real problem with "faith-based" governmantal funding, whether local, state, or national.  I know that Catholic Charities and other faith-based social service organizations have done a lot of good work, but the danger is two-fold:  it blurs the line of separation between church and state, and there is always the possibility of- let's call it what it is- blackmail by those organizations to force compliance with their own beliefs.)

    During NPR discussion of the bishops' (none / 0) (#70)
    by oculus on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 02:58:10 PM EST
    threat re D.C., someone from a state which has faced this problem sd. in that state the Catholic church contractors agreed to provide benefits to one adult person in the household other than the employee.  Don't ask, don't tell.  And it is working.

    Good (none / 0) (#74)
    by Zorba on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 03:07:28 PM EST
    Although, I wonder if the bishops are trying to draw a line here with DC.  (And I'm still uncomfortable with government money going to faith-based charities.)

    Tweety takes on Bishop Tobin (none / 0) (#28)
    by waldenpond on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 12:53:36 PM EST
    I worked in a Catholic hospital.  They had end of life counseling and encouraged directives.  They have a very compassionate view as we personally experienced when the time came to pass for an elderly (93) friend and neighbor.  

    Catholic Bishop Tobin has banned Kennedy from receiving communion.   From Crooks and Liars....  Tweety does a good job on the difference between church teaching and the law in practice.



    Good for the Park Service. (5.00 / 2) (#63)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 02:40:53 PM EST
    The National Park Service has scheduled a series of public "listening sessions" for next week to take comments about improving its grant program for preserving historic sites where thousands of Japanese Americans were held against their will during World War II...

    Earlier this month, the Park Service announced that the largest of the first-year grants was being made to help build a museum at Heart Mountain, an internment camp near Cody, Wyoming, where almost 11,000 Japanese-Americans were detained during World War II.

    The $5.5 million Heart Mountain Interpretative Learning Center will be about 11,000 square feet. It will house some major historical collections, including all editions of the Heart Mountain Sentinel newspaper, official records related to the internment camp, hundreds of original photographs, sketches and diaries, as well as materials relating to the 442nd Combat Battalion and the Military intelligence Service...

    Prior to announcing the Heart Mountain grant, the Park Service held a hearing in Denver where a number of Japanese Americans held at Heart Mountain made pleas that their internment there be remembered.


    As someone who remember how this regretable treatment of America citizens was whitewashed out of the history textbooks from my Jr. High Schools days, I think this is long overdue.  

    Restaurant Review (5.00 / 1) (#110)
    by Zorba on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 04:40:13 PM EST
    Heads up to all residents of New York City.  We recently went to New York to visit our daughter, and took her to Eleven Madison Park.  Best. Food. Ever.  Save up your pennies and go (it isn't cheap, but then, very few restaurants in New York are).  We were overwhelmed- and we have eaten in Michelin three-star restaurants in the past.  This one doesn't have a Michelin rating, but it should have.  I give it the Zorba multiple-star rating.  ;-)

    Heard Dr. Dean on Bill Press this morning... (none / 0) (#1)
    by gtesta on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 09:47:09 AM EST
    His take, the public option as it is now in the senate bill is the weakest it can be and still be useful as a basis to build upon and is the only thing left that can be called reform.  Without it, HCR is a Trillion dollar bailout of the insurance industry and we won't have the money to try for any other reform down the road.

    heres a tip (none / 0) (#2)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 10:02:39 AM EST
    for those who want a taste of thanksgiving with out the mess or fuss.  or maybe you are just lazy like me or you are able to admit these are better than anything you could ever make.

    Greenberg smoked turkeys.

    the best smoked turkey I have ever had. it comes ready to eat.

    and while we are in mail order tips mode here is the best smoked ham I have ever tasted. and I am a ham connoisseur.

    Petitjean Meats.

    I can always find an excuse to order at least one of these a year.

    NYC strippers... (none / 0) (#5)
    by kdog on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 10:19:49 AM EST
    show more class and integrity than NYC prosecutors...peep this.

    Both women rejected plea deals offering no jail, no probation, no community service, and just a conviction on disorderly conduct -- a violation that would not result in a criminal record. But prosecutors had one condition -- the women would have to confess to being prostitutes, thereby implicating the Posners, who are awaiting trial.

    Shame on the prosecutors trying to force plea deals and using the law as a weapon against these hard working women...and all just to bust some strip-club owner.  Shame!  Mad props to the ladies for refusing to be party to this snow job and taking the risk fighting it...most people wouldn't do what is right in the face of such a risk and hassle.

    Well, what wrong with that? (none / 0) (#8)
    by NYShooter on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 10:51:28 AM EST
    Now that They've completely eliminated murder, robbery, rape, extortion, and all white collar crime, this is all that's left:)

    G*d bless America.


    Impressive... (none / 0) (#17)
    by kdog on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 11:56:15 AM EST
    Florida man sets a record with his 115,000th joint smoked.  And everyone of 'em totally legal as he is one of the 4 lucky souls who gets his stash direct from Uncle Sam to treat his rare bone disorder.

    I did a quick estimate and I think I'm about 109,000 behind...better get crackin'...:)

    You probably lost count (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by Spamlet on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 12:12:01 PM EST
    1 . . . 2 . . .  3 . . . uh, 3 . . . 5 . . .

    : )


    Fair point.... (none / 0) (#46)
    by kdog on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 01:34:53 PM EST
    we'll just call it 108k behind to be on the safe side:)

    A man with a bone disorder (none / 0) (#19)
    by Anne on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 12:06:32 PM EST
    is not a lucky soul, kdog.

    I know you are a better person than that.


    I meant lucky... (none / 0) (#31)
    by kdog on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 12:59:00 PM EST
    to be able to get his medicine from Uncle Sam hassle-free...everybody else with that bone disorder, unless they live in a medical mj state, is not so lucky.  Even those in medical mj states may not be so lucky to dodge federal hassles.

    I'd hope you know me well enough by now to understand what I was saying Anne, poor phrasing aside.  Besides...the guy says he feels great, thanks to the reefer!


    If that's the man who I read about (none / 0) (#87)
    by Inspector Gadget on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 03:39:22 PM EST
    a couple of days ago, he's not a lucky guy even for his hassle-free marijuana usage. He doesn't get high off of it, that's why they allow him to smoke it during work....he works on heavy machinery.

    That's the guy.... (none / 0) (#91)
    by kdog on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 03:43:42 PM EST
    and that is pretty unlucky, come to think of it...though I don't understand how he can't be getting buzzed...is the Uncle Sam grown sh*t that bad?  

    I never took much stock in the tolerance theory...I get high just as easy as ever.


    He's a stockbroker. (none / 0) (#100)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 03:54:42 PM EST
    Operating heavy machinery = driving a car.

    NPR interviewed a "provider" (none / 0) (#23)
    by oculus on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 12:28:25 PM EST
    yesterday who talked about purple haze, which obliterates chronic pain but confines user to couch.  

    Really? (none / 0) (#32)
    by kdog on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 01:00:34 PM EST
    I find the haze has a more energized high than other strains...but like I always say, every strain effects every person a little differently, like most medicines.

    Maybe I got that wrong. (none / 0) (#38)
    by oculus on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 01:14:45 PM EST
    Indicia, the Purple Kush:   KPBS

    Yes.... (none / 0) (#45)
    by kdog on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 01:33:54 PM EST
    the Kush...that packs a little more punch and makes more sense for couch-lock.  

    One of the problems we have in all black market NY is some less scrupulous distributors tend to just drop the cool strain names but all you're really getting is the quasidrodo. Legalization and regulation would be great just for this reason alone...false advertising is a problem in my community.

    (quasidrodo = run of the mill poorly grown high end stuff, likely de-keefed)...I think I coined that term,  so I don't think you'll get any help from urban dictionary Oc:)


    Is that different... (none / 0) (#49)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 01:39:58 PM EST
    ...than the Denny?  

    Yep... (none / 0) (#53)
    by kdog on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 01:45:22 PM EST
    denny is the schwag...mexican brick weed...all seeds and sticks and tastes like sh*t.

    Quasidrodo still beats the denny, by far:)  Sour Diesel is probably my fav strain...it just tastes and smells so damn good...even a double bag can't contain the pungent aroma...just carrying it smells like you've got one flaring.


    Pres. Obama will give a speech to (none / 0) (#33)
    by oculus on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 01:01:18 PM EST
    Congress about his decision re more troops to Afghanistan and what U.S. wants to accomplish and guidelines for when U.S. may leave.  AP

    Another "leak."

    GOP Purity Test... (none / 0) (#35)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 01:11:24 PM EST
    ...or the "Do You Worship Reagan Enough to be Worthy" test being considered.  

    You can take it yourself and see how you do.

    I failed even though Grandmom used to date the Gipper.

    Did Ensign pass? (none / 0) (#39)
    by oculus on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 01:15:40 PM EST
    One thing for sure... (none / 0) (#47)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 01:39:20 PM EST
    ...the RNC isn't going to be giving kdog and I any cash for our campaign.  We'll have to a little more creative in our fund-raising, I guess.

    LOL! (5.00 / 1) (#69)
    by Zorba on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 02:56:56 PM EST
    Let me know, and I'll send some cash to your campaigns!

    I love (none / 0) (#54)
    by CST on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 01:45:48 PM EST
    that 7 of those 10 items have "by opposing" in them.

    Heaven forbid they "propose" anything.

    Guess it fits Nancy's "just say no" campaign.


    Fitting... (none / 0) (#58)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 01:58:20 PM EST
    ...for the Party of No! as well.  

    Same thing here, they released the "Contract for Colorado" which is basically all the things they oppose without any specifics to address the actual problems.  


    I can kinda relate... (none / 0) (#119)
    by kdog on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 07:19:38 PM EST
    I oppose alotta stuff, proposing is more complex...much easier to poke holes than to plug leaks.

    Sh*t I don't know where to start with half our problems...


    Anybody have any experience (none / 0) (#37)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 01:14:01 PM EST
    in deep-frying their T-day turkey? I'm thinking of doing it this year...

    One does hear stories. Be careful! (none / 0) (#40)
    by oculus on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 01:16:12 PM EST
    Yep. Recommendations are to have (none / 0) (#43)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 01:27:03 PM EST
    a fire extinguisher nearby.

    I figure if worst comes to worst I'll use my MIL to smother the flames. Kidding of course!

    I do have a friend who runs his car on vegetable oil, so the 5 gals of once-used peanut oil won't go to waste...


    Never done it... (none / 0) (#50)
    by kdog on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 01:40:35 PM EST
    but I hear its delicous...let us know how it comes out!

    My husband (none / 0) (#71)
    by Zorba on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 02:58:39 PM EST
    has two smokers, one only wood-fired, and one electric.  I'm trying to talk him into smoking our turkey.  

    Smoke it up... (none / 0) (#120)
    by kdog on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 07:22:26 PM EST
    and let us know how it comes out!

    I'm sure moms ain't messin' with the classic oven cooked bird with her patented sausage rice stuffing with raisins and pine nuts...look forward to it all year:)


    The Local News... (none / 0) (#41)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 01:22:28 PM EST
    ...had a story on proper disposal of the used grease this morning.  Apparently, some people just dump it down the drain.  

    They're probably the same ones that manage to burn the house down while frying the turkey.  


    UI would think this would be a bountiful time of year for these car owners...

    Down the drain... (none / 0) (#48)
    by kdog on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 01:39:52 PM EST
    music to their plumbers' ears...thats a recipe for clogged pipes.

    I freeze my grease in an old coffee can and then toss it in the trash...was that mentioned as an acceptable way?


    I sure hope so... (none / 0) (#52)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 01:42:54 PM EST
    ...as that is what I do.  That wasn't specifically mentioned though.

    Said it added 500K to the costs of a local water district to treat the stuff poured down the drain.  


    Yep... (none / 0) (#57)
    by kdog on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 01:56:47 PM EST
    oil and water don't mix, as the saying goes...thats why plumbing code requires restaraunts to have grease interceptors on their waste line.

    Me, too (none / 0) (#79)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 03:27:25 PM EST
    Don't even rinse greasy dishes until I've wiped them off good with a paper towel.  I got religion on grease in the drain after a long convo with a plumber who came to unclog my kitchen sink 30 years ago, and I've never had a clog since.

    And now that I have a septic system, I'm fanatical about what goes into it.  The septic guys who checked the tanks for me last year said it was, quote, "beautiful!"  Heh.


    Coffee grounds... (none / 0) (#86)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 03:38:16 PM EST
    ...are my bug-a-boo.  Can't ever seem to tap them all out of the permanent filter into the garbage.  They tend to build-up in the pipes over a period of time.

    I used non-bleached (none / 0) (#92)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 03:43:54 PM EST
    filter paper and put the whole mess into the compost for exactly that reason.  I tried the gold filters for a while, but they're just too much of a pain to clean.

    I also picked up a cheap fine-mesh little strainer thingy at the hardware store that fits right into the drain opening, and it catches every shred of everything.  (It's sort of a competitive game with me to keep crap from going down the drain...)


    That reminds me... (none / 0) (#121)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 07:47:48 PM EST
    ...of a good item for my Santa list, one of them there newfangled coffee makers.  I always have a hard time thinking of stuff for the family name draw since I have pretty much everything I need or want.  Well, except internal organs and those are over the price limit...    

    If you care about your coffee (none / 0) (#123)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 09:03:08 PM EST
    make sure you do some research first on brands.  There aren't very many that are any good, frankly.

    When I discovered the little four-cup Melitta coffeemaker I use had been discontinued and the only other four-cup machine out there (Krups I think it was) sucked big-time, I went over to eBay and bought up three gently used Melitta machines, which should last the rest of my life with any luck.


    I've had pitted pig, which is delicious, (none / 0) (#55)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 01:46:47 PM EST
    but never turkey.

    Let us know the details and how it comes out, they must wrap the bird in leaves or something, no?


    I'm sticking with my tried-and-true (none / 0) (#56)
    by Anne on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 01:51:36 PM EST
    method, via Cook's Illustrated.  I have the butcher butterfly the turkey - essentially, just cutting out the backbone - and make sure he gives it to me with the rest of the turkey (I roast the backbone to develop some fat and fond for the gravy).  

    I brine the turkey overnight, using 2+ cups of kosher salt and 1+ cup of granulated sugar, dissolved in 2+ gallons of ice water.

    After brining, the turkey gets thoroughly rinsed and patted dry, and laid out on a rack in the fridge to continue to dry out the skin, for up to 24 hours.

    I make the dressing, and it gets put into a large roasting pan.  A wire rack goes over the pan, and the turkey gets laid out on it, with legs arranged and tied so as to make all the parts on pretty much the same level - this is the secret to getting white and dark meat to be done at the same time.  Turkey gets rubbed down with olive oil, butter and herbs, and into a 450 degree oven it goes.

    As the turkey roasts, fat and juices drip down into the dressing, giving you that inside-the-bird flavor.  But, since the turkey is neither in its original whole shape, nor stuffed, it cooks so much faster; I think I did an 18 lb (before butterflying) turkey last year in about 2 hours.

    Because I have pre-roasted the backbone, and made stock ahead of time, I can actually make the gravy before the turkey comes out of the oven.  This year, I may try putting a small pyrex dish in one corner of the pan, so as to capture some "extra" fat and juice for additional gravy.

    It's really the best method I've ever found for uniformly roasted, uniformly tender and juicy turkey.  Apparently, the whole family agrees, because there is no longer any question about who's cooking the Thanksgiving turkey, and my son-in-law says mine is the only turkey he likes!


    Does the brining flavor (none / 0) (#59)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 02:05:43 PM EST
    get through to the meat? Or is just in the skin?

    It's the meat that absorbs the solution, (none / 0) (#76)
    by Anne on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 03:12:53 PM EST
    as opposed to the skin.

    The Science Behind Brining:

    Brining has two distinct effects on muscle tissue.

    First, the high salinity of the brine "disrupts the structure of the muscle filaments" (On Food and Cooking, Pg 155). At about 3% salinity, the brine will partially dissolve "the protein structure" which supports the muscle filaments that contract when cooked. The more these muscles filaments are allowed to contract, the tougher your meat will be.

    At about 5.5% salinity, the muscle filaments themselves are partially dissolved. Since their contracting ability is hindered by the salt, the muscle filaments contract less, effectively making your meat more tender.

    Second, they way in which salt interacts with protein, allows the protein to retain more moisture, which is absorbed from the liquid of the brine itself. According to Harold McGee's on Food and Cooking:

    The meat's weight increases by 10% or more. When cooked, the meat still loses around 20% of its weight in moisture, but this loss is counterbalanced by the brine absorbed, so the moisture loss is effectively cut in half. (PG 156)

    This is what allows brined meat to stay more moist, compared to its unbrined counterpart.

    McGee does not brine - he thinks the meat itself ends up too salty, and that the liquid that comes out of the meat as it cooks is too salty to make gravy - his palate may be more refined, but I've never had anyone say the meat was salty at all, and the way I do it, the liquid ends up moistening and adding flavor to the dressing - I make the gravy from the juice and drippings I get from roasting the backbone.


    Thanks Anne, (none / 0) (#125)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Nov 25, 2009 at 11:41:25 AM EST
    our bird is brining right now.

    I was thinking (none / 0) (#64)
    by Dr Molly on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 02:43:14 PM EST
    of trying the brining for the turkey this year. I'm also a fan of Cook's Illustrated (and America's Test Kitchen), and they basically advocate brining almost all meats. Is it really effective?

    I don't brine everything, but I have (none / 0) (#68)
    by Anne on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 02:56:31 PM EST
    found that it works really well with fresh turkey.  Kosher turkeys are already essentially brined, and Butterballs have solution injected in them, so you would not want to brine them.  I have brined fresh pork on occasion, and that has worked out well.

    I generally stick with the simple salt/sugar/water solution, but last year did try adding some herbs and peppercorns to it to see if it made much difference.  I think it's possible that it did add some flavor, but since I had seasoning on the skin, too, it's hard to say.

    I love the Test Kitchen and have a subscription to Cook's Illustrated - have made some outstanding food as a result of their research and painstaking attention to detail.


    My daughter subscribes (none / 0) (#73)
    by Zorba on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 03:03:58 PM EST
    to Cook's Illustrated and swears by it.  I read some of her past issues when I visited her recently.  I think I'm going to have to subscribe- it looks great.  (She also swears by brining.)

    They've put out a GREAT cookbook (none / 0) (#82)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 03:35:09 PM EST
    called "Best Recipes," which has completely replaced my tattered Joy of Cooking as my reference of first resort for pretty much everything.

    I've been a Cook's Illustrated subscriber since their very first issue.  They also have a terrific discussion board on their Web site.  You have to pay an extra subscription fee to get the full benefit of the Web site, but the discussion board, which sometimes involves fairly extensive back-and-forth with the CI chef/writers about things in the magazine or on the show, is free even to non-subscribers of the magazine.

    There was a solid 10-page discussion thread on Kenji Alt's revolutionary new idea for pie crust after it was published.


    That does it (none / 0) (#101)
    by Zorba on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 03:54:55 PM EST
    I'm not only subscribing, I'm going to the bookstore (or Amazon) to get "Best Recipes."  If it's better than Joy of Cooking as a reference, I'm there.  (Maybe I'll put a bug in my husband's ear, and he can get me Best Recipes for Christmas.  Or my daughter can.  Or I'll get her the book for Christmas.)

    The thing about the whole (none / 0) (#106)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 04:13:39 PM EST
    Cook's Illustrated deal, from magazine to TV show to cookbooks, is that they actually work with the stuff you get in the supermarket and try a zillion different variations, consult with food chemists, etc., until they get the method that actually works.

    Then they experiment some more to see what steps can be eliminated or substituted with simpler ones until they end up with as streamlined a recipe as possible while still preserving the quality of the end result.

    By far the biggest difference is in meats, which are very, very different -- leaner and tougher, and also different cuts -- and require different cooking methods than the meats our mothers had and which Joy of Cooking still seems to be stuck in.

    As an added bonus, the "Best Recipes" book is a huge pleasure just to sit down and read, since each basic recipe comes with a fascinating narrative about how it was arrived at and why this or that works but etc. just doesn't.

    Not to mention the recipes produce just wonderful food-- if you follow them right.

    I'm not much of an instinctive cook, but I'm darn good at doing what I'm told in a cookbook, so I love it!

    Warning, though: The book is BIG, coffee table size and a good 4 inches thick or more.


    I just called (none / 0) (#107)
    by Zorba on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 04:25:35 PM EST
    my daughter, and guess what she's giving me for Christmas?  I don't care if the book is huge- I'll make room for it.  I love cooking and, while I am a pretty good "instinctive cook" (if I do say so myself), I'm always looking in cookbooks for different ideas.  And I did find her Cook's Illustrated magazines absolutely fascinating- okay, maybe I'm a bit of a food nerd.  Cookbooks can be (and often are) "pleasurable reading" for me.  

    Congratulations! (none / 0) (#112)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 05:00:19 PM EST
    I keep mine sitting open on the kitchen island counter, like the big dictionaries in the library.

    What floats my boat is technique (heavy Virgo, doncha know).  I hate floundering around not knowing whether what I'm doing with those expensive ingredients is going to pay off or not, so CI is bliss for me.  Along the same lines, I LOVE that they bust a lot of the plain old myths that cooking has accumulated over the years along the way.  (Like the idea that putting oil in the pasta water will keep it from sticking.  It doesn't!)


    I'm trying dry brining (none / 0) (#78)
    by nycstray on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 03:27:17 PM EST
    this year


    Can you dry brine (none / 0) (#102)
    by Zorba on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 03:57:17 PM EST
    and then smoke the turkey?  Is it recommended, or not?  I'm always willing to try something new.

    I'm not sure (none / 0) (#104)
    by nycstray on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 04:09:23 PM EST
    a smoker is on my x-mas list, lol!~ It seems like you should be able to though.

    another good way to flavor is to stuff with fruit and herbs. I've been roasting chickens that way. The last one I did I stuffed with pears and basted with a maple glaze. Would be great with a turkey :)


    Oh, yes (none / 0) (#108)
    by Zorba on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 04:29:03 PM EST
    I've been stuffing chickens with all kinds of fruits (both fresh and dried) and herbs for years.  The pears and maple sounds awfully good (I usually use apples or citrus fruits, or dried cherries/cranberries/etc).  

    I had a couple pears handy (none / 0) (#109)
    by nycstray on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 04:39:17 PM EST
    which was why I used them. I also chopped some pear to add to the roasted root veggies. I'm in love with roasted pears at the moment {grin}

    Mmmmm, pears..... (none / 0) (#111)
    by Zorba on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 04:49:50 PM EST
    I took the Huguenot Torte recipe from the New York Times Magazine awhile back, and adapted it, substituting pears instead of apples.  Pretty darned good.

    Did you see this recipe? (none / 0) (#113)
    by nycstray on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 05:03:55 PM EST
    Maple Pear upside down cake

    I had actually bought the maple syrup to try the recipe, and that was the maple part of the roasted chicken. Still need to make the cake. Perhaps I'll do it tonight so I can have it for breakfast :P


    Thank you! (none / 0) (#114)
    by Zorba on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 05:13:09 PM EST
    Sounds divine!  I saved the recipe, and will definitely try it soon.

    That sounds divine! (none / 0) (#115)
    by Dr Molly on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 05:34:30 PM EST
    The combination of maple syrup and pears sounds incredible.

    I am trying a new recipe for apple cake with maple cream cheese frosting.


    recipe? (none / 0) (#116)
    by nycstray on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 05:56:44 PM EST
    that sounds good and I've got a boatload of apples still :)

    apple cake (none / 0) (#117)
    by Dr Molly on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 07:10:55 PM EST
    The apple cake recipe is here:


    It is incredibly good. The combination of grated and cubed apples makes it very moist.

    The icing recipe, however, is not a good recipe. I'm substituting a different recipe for the frosting - paula deen's maple cream cheese frosting, which I can't find right now, but will keep looking.


    woops (none / 0) (#118)
    by Dr Molly on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 07:11:28 PM EST
    Apologies that my link didn't work correctly.

    Cook's Illustrated (none / 0) (#81)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 03:29:51 PM EST
    newest method is basically dry-brining, rubbing the bird all over with a lot of kosher salt, then refrigerating in a plastic bag for several days.  They say it works just as well as wet-brining.

    I've seen that, and one of these days, (none / 0) (#85)
    by Anne on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 03:37:15 PM EST
    I intend to try it.  

    They also recommend cooling down the breast by turning the turkey breast-side down and then placing zip-loc bags of ice inside the cavity.  The theory is that if the breast meat is colder when it goes into the oven, by the time the dark meat reaches the right temperature, the white meat will also be at the right - lower - temp, and not overdone.


    Hadn't heard about ice (none / 0) (#88)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 03:39:23 PM EST
    inside the bird, but I've seen them do it on one of their shows with ice outside on the breasts.  I tried that the last time and it worked wonderfully.

    I leave the turkey (none / 0) (#60)
    by CST on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 02:26:46 PM EST
    to the experts.

    This year I am on the hook for mashed potatoes and apple pie.  We generally have 1 member of the family in charge of each dish, to split the tasks so no one is overwhelmed.

    Maybe someday I will graduate to the more complex dishes, but for now, I am perfecting my mashing and peeling skills.


    I am in charge of Irish whiskey chocolate (none / 0) (#62)
    by oculus on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 02:36:52 PM EST

    PS Do you rice the potatoes?


    No (none / 0) (#65)
    by CST on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 02:44:39 PM EST
    I had to google it as I had no idea what ricing potatoes meant.

    To be honest, I like my mashed potatoes a little chunky.  Adds texture.  Also, I like to add shallots and loads of chopped garlic, which blends in better if it isn't overly smooth.  I have been experimenting with baking them slightly after the fact to give it a slight crust, but it's hard to do without drying them out, so I am not sure I will do it for thanksgiving.


    Maybe (5.00 / 1) (#75)
    by Dr Molly on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 03:12:16 PM EST
    just sprinkle some fresh grated parmesan on top and pass it under the broiler...

    I think you are supposed to (none / 0) (#77)
    by nycstray on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 03:26:18 PM EST
    whip an egg in.

    I like your recipe CST... (none / 0) (#66)
    by kdog on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 02:53:21 PM EST
    do you use the old-fashioned hand masher as well to insure proper chunkyness?  

    Nothing worse than soupy mashed spuds.


    Yup (none / 0) (#72)
    by CST on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 03:00:31 PM EST
    Although I find the best way to insure proper chunkyness is the taste test.  Early and often :)

    I add garlic cloves to the water when cooking (none / 0) (#80)
    by Anne on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 03:28:10 PM EST
    the potatoes; the garlic gets nice and mellow from being cooked.

    I rice the potatoes with the garlic when the potatoes are done, and then add butter first, then cream cheese, some green onion, an egg yolk and some half and half.  And salt and pepper.

    Too much mashing and whipping make for gluey potatoes - would rather have some texture than feel like I am eating paste!


    Sounds tasty.... (none / 0) (#94)
    by Inspector Gadget on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 03:47:14 PM EST
    what does the egg yolk do? How do you keep it from instantly cooking?

    If I'm putting the potatoes on (none / 0) (#98)
    by Anne on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 03:53:48 PM EST
    the table right away, I skip the egg yolk; if I make them ahead, and they have to go into the oven to heat, I add it - it actually seems to add some airiness to the potatoes.

    I lightly whisk the yolk, then add a little of the hot potatoes to "temper" them, then add the tempered yolk to the rest of the mix.


    Really sounds great (none / 0) (#103)
    by Inspector Gadget on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 04:04:44 PM EST
    I'm going to try that.

    Try running it under the broiler (none / 0) (#84)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 03:36:54 PM EST
    rather than baking.  With a little experimentation, that should produce a little crust on top without drying out everything else underneath.

    Me, I get to do maple sweet potatoes (none / 0) (#90)
    by Cream City on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 03:41:37 PM EST
    -- with maple syrup and brown sugar and butter and more in a sweet potato casserole, mmmmm -- for 30 people when over the hills we go . . . to snow!  Not here, near the lakes, but inland.  Yikes.  I'm also going to have to get out of the closets all the clothing and accessories for the next season, along with lots of folding chairs to put in our car.:-)

    Follow the instructions on how much oil (none / 0) (#93)
    by Inspector Gadget on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 03:45:23 PM EST
    to use....apparently, the fires are the result of too much oil, which spills over the sides when the turkey is immersed.

    Also make sure the turkey is completely (none / 0) (#96)
    by tigercourse on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 03:49:12 PM EST
    thawed. Frozen water in the turkey can turn to steam and then... blamo.

    Not to mention what happens (none / 0) (#99)
    by Inspector Gadget on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 03:54:00 PM EST
    when water hits hot oil....the bubbling over is dramatic....thinking the site of the oil bin when frozen fries get started at the fast food restaurants.

    Thanks! (none / 0) (#126)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Nov 25, 2009 at 11:50:05 AM EST
    If you can find it online, Good Eats did (none / 0) (#95)
    by tigercourse on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 03:48:06 PM EST
    an entire episode on deep frying turkey. Very, very involved and looked like it would cost a pretty penny.

    Weird, (none / 0) (#127)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Nov 25, 2009 at 11:51:35 AM EST
    the recipes I googled say, basically, "heat oil, put bird in, take bird out."

    3.5 minutes/lb...


    wear something you dont mind getting (none / 0) (#105)
    by coast on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 04:12:39 PM EST
    Dirty.  When placing the turkey in the oil and removing it the oil splatters.  So you will likely get it on your pants and shoes.Make sure that the bird is fully thawed and the temp is where it should be before placing the bird in the oil.  Then just let the oil do its thing.  Nice crispy skin and juicy bird awaits.  Unless you are one heck of  a coffee drinker, you are going to need something substantial to put the oil in.  I admit I just waited for the oil to cool and dumped it in my back yard.  Good luck.

    I bought a deep fryer. (none / 0) (#128)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Nov 25, 2009 at 11:53:21 AM EST
    Basically a big pot, a sturdy stand, and a propane burner.

    Which reminds me, I need to make sure I have enough propane...