Say Goodnight And Stay Together

Sometimes, the body misunderstands where it is in space. There’s a little thing you see gymnasts do all the time on the balance beam called a balance check. In a standing position, an off-balance gymnast will right herself quickly and with luck imperceptibly by bending her knees ever so slightly, contracting her glutes, squaring her shoulders and making solid contact between her feet and the beam. That sounds like a lot to do in a few milliseconds, but when you’ve done balance checks hundreds or thousands of times it becomes natural as blinking an eye. Often, it works and the athlete goes on with her routine. Sometimes a balance check fails and the athlete falls. I thought of it when I read Aravosis’s lament:

Since Democrats didn’t adequately defend the stimulus, and didn’t sufficiently paint the deficit as the Republicans’ doing, we now are not “politically” permitted to have a larger stimulus because the fiscal constraint has become more important than economic recovery.

And whose fault is that?

Apparently ours.

Bernstein said that the progressive blogs (perhaps he said progressive media in general) haven’t done enough over the past year to tell the positive side of the stimulus.

Emphasis: Aravosis. That was February 2010. Yesterday, he added:

I remember Bernstein specifically asking the Nation’s Chris Hayes whether he and his paper had done enough to help promote the benefits of the stimulus over the proceeding year. Chris said that they had just done a podcast about it that day, but yes he probably could have done more. I recall jumping in and noting that Chris was the last person Berstein should criticize, as he’s on Rachel Maddow every night defending the administration quite diligently.

The occasion of this recollection was an incident that happened at the White House the other day where Crooks & Liars blogger Mike Lux was present. As reported by Ben Smith at Politico:

Yesterday, [White House National Economic Council Director Gene] Sperling faced a series of questions about the White House’s concessions on the debt ceiling fight, and its inability to move in the directions of new taxes or revenues. Progressive consultant Mike Lux, the sources said, summed up the liberal concern, producing what a participant described as an “extremely defensive” response from Sperling.

Sperling, a person involved said, pointed his finger backed at liberal groups, which he said hadn’t done enough to highlight what he saw as the positive side of the debt package – a message that didn’t go over well with participants.

Perhaps I was the only person in all the all the world who, upon reading that, bent my knees slightly, tightened up my glutes, squared my shoulders and made solid contact between my feet and the surface I was standing on. In short: I suddenly understood where I was in space and righted myself.

The Obama Administration considers bloggers employees and not independent entities. Some bloggers consider themselves subservient to the administration. I am completely clear on who is supposed to work for whom and there’s something else. Someone should say these magic words the next time Sperling spews:

We don’t work for you. If you were doing good work for the American People, you wouldn’t need anyone to highlight anything. You could simply tell the truth and let the chips fall where they may, but you are not doing good work. You are for the most part failing the American People. You are upset because you know it, we know it, the People know it and you want our cover to sell your weak legislation. The answer is no. We have our own opinions, we expect better from you and we will continue to tell you so.

That is how you deliver pressure from the Left. The blogger who says this may get shut out, but he or she will win the admiration of principled people everywhere.

Outrun My Bullet

Yesterday, I wrote a blog post while people were talking to me. I may or may not have written in complete sentences, but I can’t say because people are currently talking to me and some of them are cats. You may have differences of opinion with cats but on matters of grammar and punctuation, cats will not engage in disputes. They are right and you are made of meat.

This morning, I cross-posted yesterday’s sputtering hodge-podge to Brilliant@breakfast when I noticed the other writers have real lives and I don’t. Anyhoo, thing is I was at work at the time and if you can believe it people were talking to me about work and personal disasters and glaring at me because my bicycle was parked in the reading room and did anyone know where Tabby’s student worker went? Naturally, my syntax did not improve as I tacked on an ending that did not in any way show up the earlier writing. I am having this problem often these days: people are talking to me. What the hell am I doing wrong?

Yesterday, one of my co-workers casually remarked that Borders was going out of business so I could pick up a pile of books for my adorable grandchildren. This reminded me that the unnamed university’s anti-hunger project will call for presents for children and Toys For Tots will be asking in just a few months for unwrapped gifts, but these requests will come at a time when money will be tight. I don’t have children in school, but back-to-school sales will start in a matter of minutes. It dawned on me that if the anti-hunger project asked people to plan ahead and buy one sale item now for the project’s future maybe it would be easier to collect stuff later. So I called up the anti-hunger project’s new leader and expressed the unusual opinion that I had a wild idea. Get this: she called me back and talked for about half an hour straight. I’m not sure she took more than two or three breaths.

Maybe it was stupid of me, but I volunteered to put up posters and keep track of the unnamed university’s main library’s food collection bin. Today, I discovered the reason food hasn’t been collected from the bin all summer is that the two people who used to drag the bin down the street both retired. With a sinking feeling about the dozens of other donation boxes all over campus, I reported this to the project leader. You will not be surprised to hear that she did not answer me. I was, as you might suspect, surprised by the quiet.

The Only Part That Wasn’t Bloody

White guys are fucking confused. This editorial is on the front page of today’s Star Ledger, which should be confusing enough:

President Obama is a fine man, but he just got rolled by Republicans again.

He wanted a grand bargain, and they said no. He wanted a balance of spending and tax changes, and they said no again. And now, with 14 million Americans out of work, he’s about to sign an agreement full of job-killing spending cuts. This, he tells us, is good for the country.

You get the feeling that if they kidnapped his dog, he would pay them money to return it. And say thank you.

The solution here is obvious: Obama needs a blood transfusion from someone meaner, someone who doesn’t shy away from a fight, someone who is willing to take his case to the people and force change.

He needs a dose of Gov. Chris Christie.

If there is anything that should tell us our pundit class has gone ’round the fucking twist, it is admiration for bullies by people claiming to defend the defenseless. This front-page editorial on the online paper is titled Moran: President Obama needs a dose of Chris Christie. What are we saying about Christie here? Is he strong medicine? Is this sexual innuendo? Skin lightener? The paper itself says something entirely different.

What Obama’s missing:
The guts of our governor

That’s so offensive you might almost overlook the fat joke.

Cross-posted and re-written for Brilliant@Breakfast to include at least a few complete sentences.

Remember That No One Can Breathe Under Water

Despite the noise coming out of Washington about this day as the beginning of a new era, I cannot see it as anything but the end of the American Dream.

There is nothing to celebrate. At this very moment, six million people in the United States live with no other income other than food stamps. Picture that. Food stamps pay for little more than just enough food to keep a person alive. That’s it. We have rules and regulations with which we guarantee that a certain segment of the population is too physically weak to speak up and shame us.

And now we are watching the shredding of the safety net for no good reason – as if there could be a good reason to punish our neighbors for being poor. If we have the government we deserve then we are real assholes.

But I’m Not That Easily Led

Perhaps you remember my whining about a French recipe filled with numbers and measurements I didn’t understand. The hilarity continued when I couldn’t get the tomato jam to gel no matter what I did. Minstrel Boy offered suggestion after suggestion, but nothing worked until I dumped envelopes of unflavored gelatin into the tomato goo, turning the goo into sweet aspic. You would not believe how tasty that is melted over meat, but it isn’t tomato jam.

The French recipe, demystified. Also: simplisticated.

Anyoo, turns out in the last year I learned enough to not only read the French recipe, I learned how to read between the lines. Recipes are often missing steps. That’s not supposed to happen, but it does. In the case of the French recipe, the cook was skillful enough to make a good jam, but not a good enough writer to put down every step. In this case, the missing step involved the food mill. Nothing mysterious about it: using the food mill in the way it’s customarily used. In the meantime, the syrup caramelized and the jam thickened. Look at these pretty jars!

The technique was so successful I tried it with tomatillos, reconstituted dried orange peel and ras el-Hanout.