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August 02, 2011 03:42 PM UTC

Tuesday Open Thread

  • by: Colorado Pols

“A compromise is the art of dividing a cake in such a way that everyone believes he has the biggest piece.”

–Ludwig Erhard


92 thoughts on “Tuesday Open Thread

      1.  “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the public treasure. From that moment on the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most money from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy…” ~~ paraphrased from Sir Alex Fraser Tytler (1742-1813)

        1. But you probably already knew that . . .

          There is no reliable record of Alexander Tytler’s having made the statement.[9] In fact, this passage actually comprises two quotations, which didn’t begin to appear together until the 1970s.[10] The first portion (italicized above) first appeared on December 9, 1951, as part of what appears to be an op-ed piece in The Daily Oklahoman under the byline Elmer T. Peterson.

        2. by offering up this quote, saying democracy fails because there comes to be too much spending, in an attempt to be deep:

          A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the public treasure.

          Ok, I’ll play along; 2 questions”

          1) Exactly whom would you like to run your ideal anti-spending undemocratic American gov’t?

          2) Isn’t arguing against democracy about as un-American as it gets?

  1. With the Republicans crowing that they got 98% of what they wanted and the Democrats saying it was a sellout to terrorists, I doesn’t seem that this “sugar coated Satan sandwich” was much of a compromise.  That is, unless Obama and the Democratic leadership are crying crocodile tears and they wanted massive cuts, no tax increases and a stagnate economy with high unemployment all along. While I have come to believe that this might be true for our dear President, the jury is out for the rest of the national Democratic office holders.  

      1. One might think that the recent drama over the debt ceiling involved one side wanting to increase or maintain spending with the other side wanting to drastically cut spending, but that is far from the truth. In spite of the rhetoric being thrown around, the real debate is over how much government spending will increase. No plan under serious consideration cuts spending in the way you and I think about it. Instead, the cuts being discussed are illusory and are not cuts from current amounts being spent, but cuts in prospective spending increases. This is akin to a family saving $100,000 in expenses by deciding not to buy a Lamborghini and instead getting a fully loaded Mercedes when really their budget dictates that they need to stick with their perfectly serviceable Honda.


            “I cannot remember the day that I finally came around to the position that the state is unnecessary and destructive by its nature – that it cannot improve on, and indeed only destroys, the social and economic system that grows out of property rights, exchange, and natural social authority”

        1. as the point should be creating jobs, not laying more people off. Not one of these cuts and not a penny in tax breaks for the “job creators” who have steadfastly refused to create any jobs with all their breaks so far, will help the economy improve one iota. And then there’s the added “plus” of our entire infrastructure contiuing to deteriorate. This is a case of the stupidest policies prevailing via extortion.

        2. This is akin to a family saving $100,000 in expenses by deciding not to buy a Lamborghini and instead getting a fully loaded Mercedes when really their budget dictates that they need to stick with their perfectly serviceable Honda.

          No, it’s akin to a family buying Car X and then, when the payments come due, screaming, “how can you charge so much for a car? this is outrageous! only Michele Bachman understands the conservatism about car prices I espoused after buying an expensive car!

  2. He says he was wrong and meant to say “quagmire” instead of “tar baby” when referring to our first black President.

    ArapGop, would you have mistakenly said “tar baby” if you meant “quagmire”?

  3. He either meant what he said, in terms of dont get stuck to this bad President or he had a Freudian slip.

    Read into it all you want and while you are at it, paint the White House with some other colors and rename it.

    1. others might read something very odd there — as if you really do fear the “White House” is threatened by being changed to a different color.

      But we don’t want to assume your meaning . . .

      1. Of the list of idiots who have haunted this site over the years he may be the worst and I include the clinically insane ones like sybil (I think that was her name).

  4. Is it really a tax cut?

    One of the biggest mistakes with the “stimulus” spending was giving tax cuts that no one realized they got.  For example, the Making Work Pay credit of $800 per couple.  Or, the current 2 percent reduction in payroll taxes.  Does anyone realize they have more money in their pockets?

    They should have sent checks in the mail.  Otherwise it’s a waste.

    1. never stopped middle income Tea Baggers from carrying on about how that Muslim, foreign born, white folks and America hating, terrorist loving Commie was raising their taxes.  So I guess the answer is no.  They must have studiously avoided examining and comparing their tax returns because facty stuff interferes so inconveniently with hate fueled crazy. Look at poor Mark G. He has to make up and then paraphrase fictional quotes to justify his fact free regurgitated from rightie crazy sites “opinions”.

      Any remaining Republicans who recognize the existence of objective reality are “RINOs”.  If they refuse to be absorbed by the Borg, which has been taken over by the Baggers to become the GOTP, they will be expelled to be destroyed along all who resist assimilation.  

      1. is that the Dems should have issued checks to everyone rather than give credits buried in a Form 1040, or buried in a slightly higher weekly paycheck.

        The purpose of these credits was for people to spend them and stimulate the economy.  A check in the mail for $800 and for $1,000 would have been much more likely to be spent.  (Unless you are Rich Guy, of course.)

        1. Nobody doesn’t like getting checks,  no matter who they come from.  Would have taken a lot of wind out of a lot of sails besides infusing some cash into the economy. But, for the record, most of them did pay less in taxes while carrying on about paying more.  

          I also think that, this last go round, messaging on the importance of job creation first should have been the Dem response to the Rs insistence that draconian cuts are the way to save the day.

          Instead of a populist push for more good jobs first, what we’re getting is our Dem leaders falling all over themselves to let the public know that they, just like the Rs, realize that spending cuts are the most important thing right now.  They just wish we could have a little revenue too but, oh well. Yeah, they know that cuts aren’t the best route to jobs but controlling spending, like the Rs say, is so important so…. just what is the Dem message?  

          You never have to ask what the R message is. They know it, their base knows it and so does everybody else. Dems could learn something there.

          When people are unhappy they want something else.  That’s how  so many Dems got kicked out in 2010.  It could be how Rs get kicked out of the House and Senate in 2012 except Dems are pretty much just going along with them instead of being very clearly, strongly and confidently, something else.

      1. At the moment, IВґd guess 11,000.  But, IВґll have to think about it some more before laying down my home mortgage.  Try this question again later this Fall.

  5. Cake all around!

    I’d say democracy is the art of making a cake, passing it around the room, and watching the Tea Partier on your left take the last TWO slices right before it gets back to the baker 🙂

    1. I nicknamed it Two of Everything because it’s so damn easy to make, it’s a simple recipe to remember because most of the ingredients are 2 of something and you will want at least 2 servings of it once you start eating it.

      It makes the most gorgeous deep gold cake you will ever see and the frosting is to die for.


      2 cups all purpose flour

      2 cups sugar

      2 eggs

      2 teaspoons baking soda

      1-20 oz. Can crushed pineapple (undrained)

      Mix all ingredients together by hand.  Pour into greased and floured 13 ” x 9″  pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.  Check with toothpick – may need to bake a little more.


      1-8 oz. Package cream cheese, softened

      1 1/2 cups powered sugar

      1/2 stick margarine, room temperature

      1 teaspoon vanilla

      1 cup chopped pecans

      Mix all ingredients, except pecans, together by hand.  Frost cooled cake.  Sprinkle with pecans.

      1. …This sounds TASTY. I’m not sure about the pineapple, not usually a fruit flavored sweets fan, but pineapple-vanilla-pecan does sound like a good flavor combo…

        Damn I wanna bake something now!

        1. Dark chocolate and then more chocolate for good measure.

          Here’s the weird thing with the pineapple–it’s not sweet. In fact, I tried the cake without the frosting and it NEEDS the frosting for sweetness. I can’t figure out why that is exactly because you’ve got two cups of sugar in there, too. But that’s what hooked me–the really moist mildness of the cake with the sweetness of the frosting. The combination is unbelievable.

          God, I want to go home and make this right now.  

            1. Democracy can yield too much spending, so we must instead be ruled by the Tea Party Overlords or something.

              That’s how patriotic tea partiers are – they will destroy this democracy to save it! I got yer back, MarkG – power to the people, my ass!

      2. Dacquoise


        2 cups powdered sugar

        1 1/3 cups finely ground hazelnuts

        1 1/4 cups finely ground almonds

        9 egg whites, room temperature

        1/2 cup granulated sugar


        1 cup heavy cream

        3 oz. milk chocolate, chopped

        5 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped


        2 cups granulated sugar

        5 egg whites, room temperature

        1 lb. unsalted butter, cut into pieces and softened

        3 tbsp. coffee extract

        2 cups sliced almonds, toasted

        1. For the meringues: Preheat oven to 250В°. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and draw three 8” circles on paper. Sift together powdered sugar, hazelnuts, and almonds into a medium bowl, pushing lumps through sieve, then set aside. Put egg whites in the clean bowl of a standing mixer and whisk on medium-low speed for 2 minutes. Increase speed to medium and whisk whites to soft peaks, about 2 1/2 minutes. Gradually add sugar while continuing to whisk, then increase speed to medium-high and whisk until whites form medium-stiff peaks, about 1 1/2 minutes. Transfer whites to a large bowl and carefully fold in  1/3 of nut mixture at a time with a rubber spatula. Divide meringue between parchment circles and gently spread out evenly. Bake in middle of oven, rotating positions hourly, for 4 hours. Allow to cool.

        2. For the ganache: Heat cream in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove from heat, add milk and bittersweet chocolates, and let sit for 1 minute. Whisk until smooth and set aside until thick enough to spread.

        3. For the buttercream: Combine  1/3 cup water and 1 1/2 cups of the sugar in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until it reaches 250В° on a candy thermometer. Put egg whites in the clean bowl of a standing mixer and whisk on medium-low speed for 2 minutes. Increase speed to medium and whisk whites to soft peaks, about 1 1/2 minutes. Gradually add remaining 1/2 cup sugar while continuing to whisk, then increase speed to medium-high and whisk until whites form stiff peaks, about 2 minutes. Carefully pour syrup into whites, whisking until cool, about 10 minutes. Add butter, bit by bit, whisking constantly until buttercream is shiny and fluffy, about 8 minutes. (Mixture may curdle, but will eventually come together.) Whisk in coffee extract and set aside.

        4. To assemble: Spread  1/3 of buttercream over each of 2 meringues. Spread ganache over remaining meringue. Layer meringues, placing the one with ganache in the middle. Spread remaining buttercream on sides of cake, then cover cake with almonds and refrigerate at least 5 hours. Before serving, dust cake with powdered sugar, if you like.

          1. So if you’re serious about making it, here are my tips gleaned from dozens of times over the last decade.  I once took one on a plane to Puerto Rico for XMas.

            Dry climate + altitude = meringue like a brick.  Instead of the almonds I use 2 tablespoons of almond extract or Amaretto.  I also forgo the parchment paper circles, and use buttered 8.5″ teflon cake pans.

            The ganache takes a long time to cool to spreadable at room temperature, so the fridge cuts down on that time, but don’t leave it in too long or you’ll have to heat it up again.

            Costco is a great source for slivered almonds by the bag (and lox!), and Whole Foods or Tony’s (maybe Marczyk’s) has coffee extract.  One bottle is needed for the butter cream.  I’ve also used Folger’s crystals.

            Saveur’s instructions discuss allowing the flavors to meld as the meringue softens from exposure to the icings.  I’ll take it out of the fridge hours before serving to allow it to soften up, and for Thanksgiving, I’ll make it on the weekend, and give it several cool/thaw cycles before Thursday.



            1. And forget about the candy thermometer for the butter cream.  I’ve never gotten my syrup to 250.  Get the sugar dissolved and bubbling nicely, and you’ll do fine.

            2. Seriously, it’s damn good lox! I have it in my fridge now! I have defiled it and made my grandmother weep by concocting lox and pesto dishes, because I’m really obsessed with basil pesto this summer for some reason…

              The cool/thaw cycle thing is fascinating. I really gotta try this. I love baking even more when it turns into science.  

              1. My current favorite sandwich–thin slices of turkey with provolone, fresh tomato slices and lettuce on crusty ciabatta with pesto on both sides of the bread. To die for.  

                  1. I love basil. My favorite dinner is prosciutto, sliced tomatoes, thin slices of buffalo mozzarella and top it all with basil.

                    I’m popping cherry tomatoes in my mouth while I’m typing. I hit the Farmer’s Market hard last Thursday–the tomatoes right now are SO good. I can’t grow them up here. I tried it one year by putting them in buckets which actually kind of worked. That’s one thing I miss since moving here from Illinois–a good garden and fruit trees.  

      3. Which sounds very good.  I’m a dark chocolate cake fan myself but also love cream cheese frosting and pineapple upside down cake.  I’ll definitely give this a try. At least we’re getting good news on the cake front.

        1. there’s always great food to offer small comfort in times of stress. (Christ, I sound like a Reader’s Digest quote of the day.)

    1. will not cave on not extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy no matter what they say now?  I’m sure the Republicans don’t and that’s one of the reasons they accepted this deal instead of holding out for even more, like a promise that the Bush tax cuts would be made permanent. They don’t need any promises. They know those cuts are safe.

      They’ll win that game of chicken and the  defense and social spending game of chicken, too.  After each cave Obama will have his press secretary come out and blame it on the unreasonable left and tell us that we just don’t get it.  It isn’t caving. “This is what compromise looks like”.  Rinse, repeat.

      Don’t think in Obama’s case it’s backbone, though. He exhibited all the backbone anyone could want going after Bin Laden.  I think he just believes in a misguided, distorted “centrism” and in his failed “centrist” methods the way Rs believe in the trickle down fairy as a matter of unquestioning faith regardless of any amount of evidence to the contrary.

  6. Boehner, Pelosi, Yerlte McConnell and Reid get to pick and we get to criticize — so  let’s armchair this game.

    It’s 6 GOP/6 Dems with 6 Reps/6 Sens (guess independents don’t count which is a shame since Bernie is the one truly sane adult).

    This SupComm has to have their report back to Congress in 4 mos. and it has to be voted on within 1 month.  Hmm, has anything ever worked that fast in Congress before?  So already doomed to fail.

    Yertle McConnell’s appointee prereq is that he/she (right, like he’ll appoint one of the women) are committed to not raising taxes.  He said it in the lead up but now he’s trying to play it sane and claim no litmus test exists.  Right ….

    Paul/DeMint/MoronMoran need not apply since Yertle ain’t gonna allow any ripples in his pond.  

    Somewhat the same with Boehner’s picks.  Et tu, Cantor?  Not likely.  Blubbering Boehner won’t be picking anyone vying for his place at the table nor time in the limelight, but here is where the TeaBaggers are thrown a bone.    

    Reid is already heads up with another Dem  cave since he’s gonna let his picks unplug from groupthink (like Dems have any anyway).

    Hope is on Pelosi to show some commitment to Dems/Progressive principles but what good will it do?


    1. … you won’t be on the super-committee. If that’s correct, Tertle & tear-eye really need to thread the needle: on the one hand, no tea partiers who voted no; on the other hand, only folks who will knee-jerk rule out taxes.

      Maybe Mark G is right; democracy is too complicated.

        1. … because I’ll need to see exactly what acorss-the-board cuts would happen if (as I suspect) this super-cmte produces nothing that will pass both houses of Congress.

          1. will be lack of transparency.

            Public not gonna be privy to the sausage making.  Final report that comes in Nov is the only one that must be disclosed to public.  All reports & recommendations leading up to that report lack transparency.

            SuperCon members gonna be lobbied hard and we won’t know who is twisting whose arm until the up/down vote starts.

            It’s the elite (Congressional leadership) picking a first tier of reps to overrule our democracy.  Is this what we, the people, voted for?


            1. … whatev Repubs are on the cmte are going to be deep deep in defense and banker contribs. The funny thing is that those two forces will be at cross purposes: the banker types will say “cut everything, incl defense, to avoid any any tax hikes, including the ridiculously low hedge fund rates that let rich dudes pay less than their secretaries” — while the defense types will say “close the hedge fund loophole and other loopholes, to avoid def cuts”

            2. Each side needs to speak of accepting items their side does not like, but then negotiate what they get in return. If that’s done in public they will get hammered by the lobbies for the item they’re giving up as it is out there alone.

              The U.S. Constitution was worked out in secret for the very same reason.

              1. perhaps, had Constitutional debate been open we wouldn’t have had need for 27 changes.  Perhaps we could’ve done away with that pesky slavery issue and provided womens suffrage from the get go.

                Asides from National Security (which even that def has been defiled) what would merit secrecy in the SuperCon discussions?  I can guarantee Wall St. & Defense love closed doors — so why give them the benefit?

                All those GOTP’rs up in arms about Obama’s czars sure are silent giving it up for an lite appointed SuperCon.  Where’s the outrage now?

                So much for Obama’s, the GOP & the Dem pledge for transparency.  Go back and reacquaint yourself with some of what was said in ’08 and ’10.  Seems all those lights that were gonna shine in on politics have gone dim.  

      1. ’cause that would be a poke in the eye to all the old guard that think they deserve a seat.  

        He can’t appoint the chatter monkeys that decried the deal because that would be too much hypocrisy.

        Gang of 6 folks?  Hmm, they couldn’t get their deal thru so how effective were they.

        Word out that Paul Ryan might be forced on Boehner — an appeasement to Cantor but Ryan could usurp Cantor’s spotlight and the wash isn’t big enough for those 2 egos.

        It’s also suggested that no committee chairs need apply and but wisely the picks should come from the pool of folks that sit on Congressional funding & appropriation committees.

        I’m sure resident DINOs are jostling to get picked, claiming they know best how to play with those across the aisle (but they like  to screw heartland Americans) so Reid & Pelosi need to show some spine.


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