Friday Night Open Thread

The ACLU has the Criminal Justice Year in Review.

EFF reviews 2011 as "The Year Secrecy Jumped the Shark."

Former DEA agent (now author and security consultant) Robert Mazur, who laundered millions for the cartels on behalf of the agency, smacks down Congressman Darryl Issa's misguided call for a DEA money-laundering probe. (He also delivers a few punches to Union Bank in San Diego, which was in Issa's district, as well as Wachovia.) [More...]

There was more drug money laundered by the Union Bank of California in San Diego and Wachovia than any DEA money laundering operation rightfully used to take down some of the world’s otherwise most insulated cartel leaders. Where was Congressman Issa then?

My long-winded take on Issa and the money laundering probe is here.

The holiday weekend is officially here. This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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    EPA mercury rule (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by desmoinesdem on Fri Dec 23, 2011 at 09:19:24 PM EST
    I've been looking at this in more depth over the last day. Although the new limits on mercury emissions won't go into effect until 2014, change will come more quickly to many coal-fired plants. One manufacturing company in Iowa already ceased coal combustion at its Dubuque plant, in part because of the new EPA rule. They switched to diesel combustion--not entirely "clean" but better for public health than coal.

    I hope Congress won't find some way to overturn this rule if Obama is re-elected. If Obama loses the election, Mitt Romney will nix the mercury rule for sure.

    Mini-restaurant review (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by observed on Sat Dec 24, 2011 at 12:59:29 AM EST
    I'm too tired to give full detail, but I highly recommend Terra Plata, Tamara Murphy's new restaurant in Seattle.
    It's a very attractive restaurant on lower Capitol hill. I had a roasted cauliflower appetizer with lemon, butter and parsley which was very pretty and quite delicious.
    The main course was sliced rare duck breast with farro (like barley), toasted hazelnets, chanterelles in a pomegranite gastrique.
    Hands down it was the best duck I've ever eaten.
    The first bite literally rocked me back in my seat, and almost brought tears to my eyes.
    The flavors you can probably imagine, but it was the texture of the duck kept on amazing me. It was tender, like steak, yet at the same time each bite reminded you that this was different from steak also.

    I had dessert and a generous, delicious cup of coffee (americano). The dessert was a chocolate hazelnut terrine (texture something like the inside of a molten chocolate cake, but holding its shape, and room temperature) with cardamom creme brulee and sour cherries on the outside.

    The food is not cheap, but absolutely worth it.

    What are you doing stateside? (none / 0) (#7)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Dec 24, 2011 at 07:06:06 AM EST
    Just visiting?

    Duck is difficult to do well.  So is goose.  We usually do a goose on Christmas, but I asked my husband this year if we could skip it.  Just too much stress right now with everything that is going on with Josh waiting in the wings.  We will do standing rib roast, much easier.

    Your meal sounds delicious.


    Duck is easy to do (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by scribe on Sat Dec 24, 2011 at 10:44:33 AM EST
    I like to do the so-called "5 hour duck".

    Preheat the oven to 300.
    Take the thawed duck, dry it well inside and out, put a chunk of onion, a couple pieces of celery and carrot, some thyme and some salt and pepper in the cavity.
    With a fork or point of a knife, puncture the skin (and only the skin) all over, particularly in fatty areas.
    Place the duck, breast up, on a rack inside a roasting pan and begin roasting.
    After an hour, pull it out, drain off the rendered fat and reserve (duck fat is great for frying eggs and potatoes;  it costs like $8 to $10/lb, so you're making money buying a duck), find places on the skin you didn't puncture earlier and puncture them, then turn the duck breast down and return to the oven.  Leave it alone for an hour.

    After the second hour, repeat what you did at the end of the first, turning it to rest on one side.

    After the third hour, repeat what you did at the end of the first hour, turning the duck to rest on the other side.

    By now, the house smells great.

    After the fourth hour, repeat what you did after the first, turning the duck to rest breast up.

    By now, the house smells better.

    At the end, you should get about a pint of duck fat and glace and a roasted duck which will have loads of crispy skin and will fall apart in tenderness when you carve.

    The aroma will be such that your knees buckle in pleasure.

    If you want, you can glaze the duck.  
    Mix a three or four or five consonant flavors into a glaze and paint it on the duck beginning at the end of hour two.

    You can also make it Chinese style, by putting a knob of ginger in the cavity at the beginning and basing a glaze on soy and hoisin.  This makes great moo shu duck, BTW.

    It's that easy.


    Yes, back home for the holidays. (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by observed on Sat Dec 24, 2011 at 11:08:31 AM EST
    Tropical? (none / 0) (#14)
    by oculus on Sat Dec 24, 2011 at 12:17:51 PM EST
    I'm (none / 0) (#8)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat Dec 24, 2011 at 08:11:18 AM EST
    doing a standing rib roast too. This is the first time because my mom usually does it. I'm using Paula Deen's recipe which is the one my mom said she used with great success.

    Has anyone every tried the lazy man's route (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by CoralGables on Sat Dec 24, 2011 at 09:51:18 AM EST
    and gone with a sitting rib roast?

    Ha. No, but, although I always used NYT (none / 0) (#13)
    by oculus on Sat Dec 24, 2011 at 12:17:29 PM EST
    cookbook method of high heat, then low, when I couldn't do it due to broken leg, my brother just followed the butcher's instructions:  best evah.  

    I must confess (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Dec 25, 2011 at 02:21:28 AM EST
    First of all I can't sleep.  We did Prime Rib tonight and had guests and I'm too wound up to sleep now and I'm lonely because No Virginia...there is no Santa Claus.

    But I coveted Zorba's Chocolate Pecan Pie over Thanksgiving.  I had everything done early so I looked up a recipe and came up with a Paula Deen one and had the Pecans because if you can just have anything in Alabama it is the Pecans for pie.  I cobbled everything together but forgot the Bourbon in doing so.  At the last minute I did have a bottle of 13 year old Crown Royal though that nobody had opened from our wedding so I used that.

    My husband does not like sweets and neither does Josh, but our soon to be in-laws do.  A father and two adult sons, they all three have really intense metabolisms too.  I took two Paula Deen Chocolate Pecan Pies done with Crown Royal and they fought over who was taking them home.  I felt like a rock star or something.


    There's greater mercy in one day in Cuba (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by scribe on Sat Dec 24, 2011 at 10:49:33 AM EST
    than in decades in the US of A.

    The Cuban government has announced that Presdient Raul Castro has pardoned 2900 prisoners .

    One is compelled to wonder how many decades one would have to go back, to add up to 2900 presidential pardons in the United States.

    I'd like to think U.S. doesn't have (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by oculus on Sat Dec 24, 2011 at 12:18:51 PM EST
    that many political prisoners to pardon.  But . . .

    Hundreds of snowmen (none / 0) (#1)
    by Edger on Fri Dec 23, 2011 at 09:15:46 PM EST
    Occupy a park to protest Global Warming... ;-)

    no significant snowfall yet in Iowa (none / 0) (#3)
    by desmoinesdem on Fri Dec 23, 2011 at 09:20:13 PM EST
    We've had above-average snowfall the last few Decembers, so my kids are a bit disappointed not to have any sledding or snowman opportunities yet. Nothing in the forecast during their winter break either.

    Mazur should focus on Issa (none / 0) (#4)
    by oculus on Fri Dec 23, 2011 at 10:29:06 PM EST