Donklephant Friday Open Thread

Donklephant Friday Open Thread


Speak up, speak out, have your say! What’s on your mind today?

  • the Word

    Well someone should say something…

    Who in either party do you respect for their intellect, maturity, integrity and principles?

    Russ Feingold is high on my list.

  • Nancy Hanks

    You make a good point — there are in fact some good legislators, and personally I think it’s the party system that is corrupt. If you put people into a corrupt system, you get corruption. I think a lot of politicians start out as regular people who want to have an impact, maybe people in the community ask them to run for office. Then the party snatches them up! That’s of course the ones who aren’t born into a political family…

  • Chris

    Russ is one of the few that I respect. I have respect for Ron Paul for standing up and staying firm on what he believes in, but I don’t agree with virtually any of his personal beliefs.

  • the Word

    I’d agree with the total assessment on Ron Paul also. He (if you can really call him a Republican)He is the only one I could think of that fit the criteria I set. He is a true believer. I just don’t believe he has evidence that it has or ever would work.

  • Nancy Hanks

    Well I guess kranky kritter was busy today! I think he suggested Monday as well for an open thread. And then again, the night is young!

  • Michael LaRocca

    Kranky Kritter was too busy to read my previous post.

  • Michael LaRocca

    Intellect, maturity, integrity, principles. I wish we could respect all our politicos for those. Make them minimum standards.

    But right now, the only one that immediately comes to mind is President Obama. There may be others.

  • kranky kritter

    Slept late after the Celtics game and then I was out playing golf. Thanks for thinking of me. friday is a better day for the open thread since it can lead to chatty friend making. You get to turn other posters into real people who drink beer and travel and see music and play golf and garden and so on.

    On a beer note: I like Magic Hat #9 so much that I decided to try its summer seasonal. Decent but unremarkable is my take. Sam summer is brigher. Just about out of the noble pils, which was outstanding.

    Politcs? OK. I’m wondering what everyone thinks of the hold-up on the bill to extend federal unemployment benefits.

    The feds have been providing extended benefits after state benefits run out, but they’ve only been re-upping that extension every few months. Right now, it’s expired, so anyone whose benefits run out during this period ends up in limbo.

    First, I’m surprised that CNN et all don’t seem especially interested in even covering it, other than perhaps cursorily.

    The wrinkle in the bill (hr 4213) for me is the “business as usual” approach by both sides. On the democrats side, they’ve added in some other stuff instead of doing a straightforward renewal. Like they always do.

    And that gives the GOP at least nominal cover. They’re unanimously against( as unpaid for), and that leaves folks who were hoping for those extended benefits SOL and in limbo. I’m respectful of the problem of gross overspending by the feds, but I’m not sure how long the GOP can hold things up without costing themselves votes. Now, I’m sure there are many folks who DON’T want the extension for cost reasons, but that has to be measured against the unanimous displeasure of the folks who do want it. Fair disclosure: like me. I’ve been UEP for almost a year now, and I’ve only gotten a handful on interviews in that time. Folks like me don’t really care WHY the GOP is holding up my help. I have a mortgage. But I’m just as irritated by the democrats for tossing more controversial stuff into a bill whose major idea has wide support.

    I’d be more convinced by the GOP’s fiscally responsible backbone if it hadn’t stiffened up just as Obama got elected. It plays like a position of convenience, not conviction. The GOP story is that they’re going to exercise the fiscally wobbly congresscritters and replace them with tough principled folks. But where’s the explanation of how the new folks will STAY tough and principled after they re-gain power? Once burned, twice shy. Right?

    Anyway, I’m surprised this issue hasn’t bubbled up into public consciousness more. As the crappy economy drags on, it’s inevitable that antipathy will grow between those who have managed to retain their financial footing and those who have fallen. Folks who have kept good jobs will increasingly come to view folks collecting benefits as freeloaders. Hard times leads to circling the wagons, that’s human nature. Toss in some of the perverse incentives within the system, and I think it’s the perfect wedge issue for the mid-terms.

    Not the hr 4213 per se, but how it connects to the larger issue of unsustainably large fed government deficit spending and the great unease it cause all Americans as they try to re-calibrate their financial expectations.

    I tend to agree with Gov Christie that we’re looking at the reckoning right now and have to face fixing some governmental approaches due to the force of demographics. When it comes to respect for legislators, I’ll support anyone who shows a willingness to tell folks what they need to hear even if they don’t like it much. At least if they’ll do it when they AREN’T retiring.

    The big oil spill is on my mind too. Personally I am out of patience with how the gulf oil spill has become more and more about the President. Sh!t happens, sometimes really really bad stuff, and focusing on blame is not productive. Obama didn’t cause this, and he has no special expertise in fixing it. Apparently, no one else does either. And while I cheerfully grant that the accident was totally BP’s bad, focusing on retribution doesn’t really make things better, it just makes some folks feel better morally speaking.

    Bottom line is that we do need to require much more of a belt, suspenders, and diaper approach to risky deep sea drilling. We probably even want some sort of on-call global response team. But that’s all going to cost a lot of dough. And anyone who thinks there’s a way for the bill not to be footed by energy consumers is just kidding themselves. Any changes we make to drilling rules will be reflected in energy prices.

    Higher oil prices may make alternative sources more competitive, but I for one am against making big panic committments to immature technologies and approaches with limited potential. I’m all for experimentation and cutting red tape for thing like wind and solar farms, so that NIMBYs don’t get their way.

    But when it comes to subsidizing things like consumer solar and wind, I get pretty skeptical. There has to be some sort of acid test. What we don;t want is uncritical adoption and subsidy of approaches that aren’t already in the competitive ballpark. What I would hate to see, for example, is some big subsidy for say consumer solar, which leads to a bunch of start-ups who sell hard, collect all the dough on the table and then disappear. Then 5 or 10 years later your outmoded roof panels are still not competitive, need costly replacement or maintenance. And you are out yourmoney, the government is out our money, and the only ones who profited are long gone. If you don’t think that’s how it can work with gov’t subsidies, you’re silly.

    How was that for a day late make-up rant?

  • Nick Benjamin

    I’m not surprised the unemployment extension is in trouble. In fact I will be surprised if it passes. With voters nervous about the deficit the pansies in DC won’t do anything that costs money.

    IMO that’s really bad politics. Folks like you will be sure to remember who voted against expanding their benefits, and aren’t going to be particularly sympathetic to the Noes. OTOH the rest of us will see a two-second bit on CNN, and (possibly) a single line in an attack ad.

    In other words I think the guys who kill it won’t get any credit from the silent majority, but they’ll lose the 5% of the country on unemployment. Heck a substantial portion of people who have relatives nearing 99 weeks are unlikely to be very happy with the Noes.

    As far as the policy goes I’m a Keynsian. IMO the government is supposed to deficit spend us out of a recession, and pay for it with surpluses in good times. I really love unemployment because the unemployed HAVE to spend their checks on real things like food, which increases demand for that stuff, which means more jobs in productive sectors, etc.

    On the oil spill I generally agree with you. As far as I can tell the Feds screwed up when they approved BP’s permits, but since then they’ve done their jobs pretty well. There are coordination issues, and there’s apparently more bureaucracy then Jindall would like; but what do you expect? Louisiana is dying because there was too little bureaucratic meddling on the Deepwater Horizon.

  • kranky kritter

    On UEP: I think that a narrower bill will pass, one that allows people who have exhausted their state benefits to get the same extension that other folks got…it’s the federal extension that allowed people to get 99 weeks instead of 30 or 56 or whatever.

    But there doesn’t seem to be the will for an extension past 99 weeks. Which is let’s face it, a long time. I’ll be upset if I don’t get 99 weeks (should I need it) because my benefits ran out 3 weeks too late. But if I get to 99 weeks and that’s all there is, I am accepting of that. Honestly, the benefits have allowed me to have less urgency about it than I might have otherwise.

  • WHQ

    Honestly, the benefits have allowed me to have less urgency about it than I might have otherwise.

    You’re too smart of a guy to be flipping burgers or pushing a broom, so I’d say that’s a feature, not a bug.

    IMO the government is supposed to deficit spend us out of a recession, and pay for it with surpluses in good times.

    It’s too bad that we ran deficits during the good times when we didn’t need to. Of course, some will tell you we only had good times because of the deficits we ran (which didn’t matter at the time, but somehow do now).

    On a beer note: I like Magic Hat #9 so much that I decided to try its summer seasonal.

    I haven’t had the #9 in a while, but my recollection is that it wasn’t bad, but that, for the money, I could get something more interesting. In fact, that’s my recollection generally of the beers from Magic Hat – they’re not bad, but don’t have enough oomf for the price. I do lean toward more extreme beers, and I generally expect more in terms of bold flavors with each additional margin of expenditure, so I may be less able to appreciate some beers that are simply well done for what they are rather than being bold and/or experimental.

  • kranky kritter

    The summer one was unremarkable, but I find that the #9 has a really exceptional and unique floral note. At $9 or so for a 6-pack, I can see where that’s not enough for some.

    I do lean toward more extreme beers, and I generally expect more in terms of bold flavors with each additional margin of expenditure, so I may be less able to appreciate some beers that are simply well done for what they are rather than being bold and/or experimental.

    See, that’s where I hate to spend $9 for a six-pack if I don’t like it. Fortunately we do have a good spirits emporium a ways across town with a great selection of big single bottles of unusual beers. But no one likes to spend 5 or 6 bucks for one big bottle of an exotic beer that’s dreadful or mediocre.

    Do you like the Samuel Smith oatmeal stout? What did you think of Sam Adams noble pils? I know some folks think of SA as mainstream, but they have ome great products IMO. If you like big tastes, the noble pils really whacks you with a giant lovely hops note, but then is has a crystal clear clean finish with no lingering bitterness. That seems like quite an achievement given the crank volume of the initial hops hit.

  • WHQ

    I agree about Sam Adams. They manage to be adventurous for a bigger brewer, especially with their specialty offerings. Their regular line-up of beers doesn’t necessarily blow your mind or anything, but it’s very good value for the price IMO. I don’t think I’ve had the noble pils, though.

    One thing that I really appreciate about SA is that it’s there for you when you end up in pedestrian, commercial places like Fridays or Chilis and you want a good beer to drink.

    It’s been a while since I had the Samuel Smith oatmeal stout, but I recall liking it.

    We have a lot of good regional brewers in the Philly area – like Dogfish Head, Victory, Troegs, Yards, Philadelphia Brewing Company, Flying Fish. They all put out some unique brews at fairly reasonable prices, and I’ve already vetted most of them, so I’m in pretty good shape with being able to be adventurous without really being adventurous, if you know what I mean.

  • kranky kritter

    Folks down philly way really seem to like their (sounds like) ying-ling. When I was in myrtle beach with a group, some of the guys were swarthmore grads, and they really like. Tasted pretty good to me.

    You won’t be able to find the noble pils until next spring, it’s the new SA spring seasonal. Definitely give it try next year, nice and cold in a frosted glass. SA seems to have genuine enthusiasm for beer-making, which makes all the difference.

    I probably won’t be messing with any stout myself until the weather cools. I have tried my share of boutique and also less costly versions of saout, but outside of the samuel smith, none of them seem better than old faithful guinness.

    There are plenty of brewers and brew pubs up here in Boston, so we get a good selection as well. Wachusett blueberry is tasty if you can handle fruity beer. I;ve has some fruity beers that were pretty good, but so far, none of the fall or winter beers that include wintry spices has been to my liking.

  • WHQ

    Yuengling lager is a good “regular” beer – very good for the price. They have a black & tan and a porter too (and a couple others I don’t drink much). When I was in my early 20’s, Yuengling was dirt cheap, but just as good, if harder to find, even around Philly. They did almost no marketing and only old NE Pa coal miners and young word-of-mouthers like me drank it. Then it caught on. Now if you go into a bar in Philadelphia, you need only order “a lager” and they know you mean a Yuengling lager. It’s become quite the standard.

  • kranky kritter

    Seems to be spreading a bit as well… in two trips to Myrtle Beach, just about everywhere I went seemed to have it. Not up here though.

  • kranky kritter

    Time for the new friday open thread! I’ll have a beverage recommendation.

  • WHQ

    Sierra Nevada’s Kellerweis is very nice if you like wheat beers. It’s a good summer pick – lots of nice flavors from start to finish (banana stands out), great texture, goes down easy, not too much alcohol so you can put a good few back without getting totally crocked.

  • the Word

    Kranky – Perhaps we can find some common ground :-)

    Best Bar I have found in the US is Eulogy Bar in Philadelphia. (Their motto is the best 300 beers you’ve never heard of). If you go there tell Dave that Kevin from the Chicago area sent you.

    You couldn’t go wrong with Piraat (my favorite) or Delirium or La Chouffe but you could go through hundreds without a clinker.

    They also have a great toasted cheese and applewood smoked bacon sandwich (aged cheddar, gouda and boursin) or the sausage trio of exotic game (I had the boar, duck and venison) Great stuff

    For US Beers. I really enjoy Sprecher from Milwaukee Their Hefe Weizen (unfiltered) is my favorite US made beer. Boulevard Wheat from Kansas City is also quite good. For one you likely won’t have tried New Glarus Belgian Red is unique. A pound of cherries in a liter of the stuff. Drink like a dessert wine or port.

    Hope that helps

  • kranky kritter

    @Nancy and Justin

    Thanks for this thread. If you folks can find the time, having an open thread every Friday would be much appreciated, and it’s good for traffic. If you guys are short on posters with time, I can make a committment to do 2 or 3 a week at least until I find a job. If you’re interested.

    @word Agreed. The open thread helps with the collegiality.

    @WHW et al Here’s my beverage recommendation. I’d never really tried cider before. And my cousin who like it says only Meissners(?) is really good, that woodchuck is too carbonated and a bit harsh. That said, talking about interesting beers got me window-shopping at Yankee Spirits in my neighborhood. And while the stouts looked interesting, it is after all summer, so you want a drink that doesn’t feel like a meal.

    What caught my eye for something interesting to try was the Woodchuck PEAR cider. And what a wonderfully clean crisp entry for summertime. The palest of amber to the point of almost clear, lightly carbonated, slightly sweet with only a hint of cidery sourness. In a frosted glass or over ice, it’s a great hot weather rejuvenator. Delightful for a refreshing break in the shade or with a light summertime meal. 4.4% alcohol IIRC, but you can’t discern even a hint of it. And hey, if that’s gushing, oh well. It’s nice to trey something of a left turn (for me anyway) and be rewarded.

    My cousin Geoff and I also tried Sam Adams American Kriek, which is a sort of a heavy cherry beer based on an old heirloom recipe. Correct me if anyone else knows better than that. Dark red in color and almost syrupy. Best sipped at least at first until it wears in, at which point the cherry really comes through. Probably intended like a dessert wine or port as Word suggests. Good, not great. Not something I enjoyed well enough to seek out, but I’d give it a 2nd tasting if offered it. But then I didn’t really like port the 2 times I’ve had it either.

  • the Word

    So perhaps next week we can address single malt scotches and cognacs. :-)

  • WHQ

    Eulogy is awesome. For whatever reason, the Belgian thing took off in Philly a few years ago. Monk’s is, to my knowledge, the original Philadelphia Belgian bar, going back as far as I can remember since being aware of such things. Eulogy may have been the second one to open, but I could be wrong about that. Now there’s a bunch, but I think those two are the best of them.

  • WHQ

    Oh, cider. I’ve never been a big fan, but I’ve always been curious about the pear. Maybe I’ll give it a shot. If I don’t like it, the wife would probably drink it. The best one I’ve had is Strongbow, only because it’s not too sweet. Of the few I’ve had, it’s the closest to beer of any. (Maybe that means I should just stick to beer.)

  • kranky kritter

    FWIW, the pear cider isn’t even remotely like beer. It’s a whole other thing, or like many folks say, a whole nother thing.

    It’s almost like having a sprite, in a good way. I’m definitely getting more.

    To take the single malt scotch comment seriously, I’ve got to say that my palate quite fortunately tops out just when the price goes through the roof. I think glenlivet is a really really fine whisky. And the handful of times I’ve tried pricier stuff, it didn’t seem worth the extra dinero.

    I’m more into american whiskey these days. Bourbon, although IMO it has gone well the way of single malt scotch in terms of marketing that wants you to pay 60, 80, 100 bucks a bottle. No thanks, god bless the upper bounds of my palate.

    Another that I really enjoyed for 2 bottles before it disappeared around here is a rye. There was a really nice small batch Michter’s rye for about 30 or 40 bucks a bottle, but I haven’t seen it in some time. There’s some other allegedly finer Michter’s rye in its slot which is more than $80 a bottle.