Friday, February 13, 2009

The Party of Lincoln

Registered Republican and kindred independent thinker Charles T. Munger, vice-chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, has some thoughts about rebooting the US economy:

"Public deliberations should include not only private morality and accounting issues but also issues of public morality, particularly with regard to taxation. The United States has long run large, concurrent trade and fiscal deficits while, to its own great advantage, issuing the main reserve currency of a deeply troubled and deeply interdependent world. That world now faces new risks from an expanding group of nations possessing nuclear weapons. And so the United States may now have a duty similar to the one that, in the danger that followed World War II, caused the Marshall Plan to be approved in a bipartisan consensus and rebuild a devastated Europe.

The consensus was grounded in Secretary of State George Marshall's concept of moral duty, supplemented by prudential considerations. The modern form of this duty would demand at least some increase in conventional taxes or the imposition of some new consumption taxes. In so doing, the needed and cheering economic message, 'We will do what it takes,' would get a corollary: 'and without unacceptably devaluing our money.' Surely the more complex message is more responsible, considering that, first, our practices of running twin deficits depend on drawing from reserves of trust that are not infinite and, second, the message of the corollary would not be widely believed unless it was accompanied by some new taxes."
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Homespun Love, 2009

("Facebook meme" via my outdoor pals Q. and Mad_Owl_Woman. Anyone who does not have a Facebook account but still wants to play is welcome to email through the usual channels)

Here's the deal:

The first five (5) people to respond to this post will get something made by me.

This offer does have some restrictions and limitations:

- I make no guarantees that you will like what I make.

- What I create will be just for you.

- It'll be done this year (2009).

- You'll have no clue what it's going to be. It may be dinner. It may be a photograph. I may draw something. I might bake you something and mail it to you. Or take you on a trip. Who knows? Not you, that's for sure!

- I reserve the right to do something extremely strange.

And in return, all you need to do is post this text into a note of your own and make 5 things for 5 others.

No Leftovers

Chicken thighs x 4, skin on. Wash, dry. Kosher salt, generously sprinkled. Coarsely ground black pepper, lots. Tablespoon olive oil in pan. Hot. Chicken in, skin down. 8-10 minutes, turning once. Chicken out on plate. Lots of skin left on bottom of pan. Remove from heat, discard most (but not all) fat. Set aside.

Chop 1 head celeriac, approx. 3/4" dice. 1 head garlic, peeled but whole.

Pan on heat. 1 tablespoon unsalted butter. Foams. 1 cup organic chicken stock, 1/4 cup acidic white wine (I used a Calona Vineyards Artist Series Pinot Blanc). Boil. Scrape pan like blazes. Add celeriaic and garlic. Heat down. 6 minutes, stirring frequently.

Chicken breasts and juices in. Fresh sage laid overtop. Lid. 20 minutes.

We ate this with crusty French bread and the remaining wine.

I know those London Transit eyes are meant to represent a regime of unblinking visual surveillance, but they definitely also resemble a flock of K-ships parked above the capital, like the Imperial Star Destroyers sighted last Fleet Week over Alcatraz.

(Image via Sit Down Man, via Pete)
The NYT's Maureen Dowd, apparently a fan of the same version of capitalism as me:

"Wall Street cannot be trusted to change its culture. Just look at the full-page ads that Bank of America (which got $45 billion) and Citigroup (which got $50 billion) are plastering in newspapers, lavishing taxpayer money on preening prose.

We don’t want our money spent, as Citigroup did, to pat itself on the back 'as we navigate the complexities together.' Bank of America cannot get back our trust by spending more of our cash to assure us that it’s 'getting to work' on getting back our trust.

Just get back to work and start repaying us."

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