Today On The Crock Pot

Split Pea Soup.

Ham hock, split peas, carrots, etc.

For whatever reason, I skipped the French Onion soup idea I had been tossing around.

*** Update ***

In another crock pot thread, it was mentioned that turnips are an under-appreciated vegetable. Is this true? I love turnips, and try to find as many excuses as I can to eat them with a meal (if you haven’t had hashed turnips, you have not lived). But then again, I always was weird. As a kid, my favorite vegetables were lima beans and brussel sprouts, and I love beets, so maybe I am atypical as I have a lot of friends who don’t like any of those.

BTW- sorry for the lack of substantive posts, but I am unmotivated and will start again on 2 Jan.

Derb v. The World

John Derbyshire has been giving the lunatic fringe fits at the NRO, and it has been a lot of fun to read. Start here, and scroll up for the latest responses.

This Derbyshire response is classic:

But suppose Iran were to attain her hegemonic ambition. This will hurt the U.S.A. … how? You say it would be putting “the economic health of the nation in Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s hands.” How would it do that? Because Iran would control ME oil and refuse to sell it to us? Oil markets don’t, and in fact couldn’t, work like that. World oil production will anyway soon begin to decline. Cheap oil is a thing of the past. “Let’s declare war against Iran so we can prolong the cheap-oil fantasy for a few more years” — not, in my opinion, a very inspiring slogan.

Read the whole back and forth. I took special pleasure watching Mark Levin, that great mind, left sputtering about his fears (they don’t match reality) and whining about Derbyshire’s tone.

Privatize the Profits, Socialize the Costs

Unless I am misreading this (and that is entirely possible, as this is not a subject I have not followed), this sure seems like a good deal for businesses:

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said Wednesday that employers could reduce or eliminate health benefits for retirees when they turn 65 and become eligible for Medicare.

The policy, set forth in a new regulation, allows employers to establish two classes of retirees, with more comprehensive benefits for those under 65 and more limited benefits — or none at all — for those older.

More than 10 million retirees rely on employer-sponsored health plans as a primary source of coverage or as a supplement to Medicare, and Naomi C. Earp, the commission’s chairwoman, said, “This rule will help employers continue to voluntarily provide and maintain these critically important health benefits.”

Premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance rose an average of 6.1 percent this year and have increased 78 percent since 2001, according to surveys by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Because of the rising cost of health care and the increased life expectancy of workers, the commission said, many employers refuse to provide retiree health benefits or even to negotiate on the issue.

I understand the reasoning for this- they are trying to find ways to keep the most people covered possible during a time of rising health costs, and pushing those over the age of 65 off on the government (translation: you and me) allows them to spend resources on those still working for them and those who can’t be pushed off on the government.

This is just another piece of evidence to me that we will be moving to single-payer in the next decade or so, simply because big business wants this (and would argue they need it) in order to survive. And we will end up dragging Red State and NRO along as they scream “socialized medicine” the whole way. At this point, it almost has a feel of inevitability about it. I don’t wonder if we will have single-payer, I wonder how bad our special interest groups will manage to screw up the implementation.

Benazir Bhutto Killed

Thanks to commenter 4tehlulz for the link. Benazir Bhutto was killed this morning in a suicide attack:

Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was killed in a gun and bomb attack after a rally in the city of Rawalpindi on Thursday, her party said.

“She has been martyred,” said party official Rehman Malik.

Ms. Bhutto, 54, died in hospital in Rawalpindi. Ary-One Television said she had been shot in the head.

Police said a suicide bomber fired shots at Bhutto as she was leaving the rally venue in a park before blowing himself up.

“The man first fired at Bhutto’s vehicle. She ducked and then he blew himself up,” said police officer Mohammad Shahid.

Police said 16 people had been killed in the blast.

There will be chaos in Pakistan because of this. F**king crazy. Holy shit.

Update: apparently, she was shot after the suicide attack.

“Don’t suffer from PTSD, go out and cause it.”

Yep, that’s an actual police academy class slogan.

Damn Pigeons Get Bigger Every Year

Urban naturalist sounds like a contradiction in terms, but a lot of people live in cities who can’t always afford a weekend photo safari. Those of us who stay sane either don’t expect much (deer! turkey!), or have a pro’s knowledge of where to look. Birders, for example, love water treatment plants. Any other attitude just gets in the way of appreciating the artificial homecooked flavor in your seven-layer burrito.

Anyhow, this afternoon as I stepped out the back of my seriously urban Pittsburgh apartment something big took off from my porch/fire escape landing and landed in a tree close by.

Yeah, I’m pretty sure that is a juvenile bald eagle. Pale Male can suck eggs if the new neighbor starts snatching live fish out of the Monongahela.


If you think that is a hawk, suggest what kind of hawk it might be. I don’t know many that grow three-fourths as big as a turkey.


Awright, it’s probably a red-tailed hawk. This pic did it for me. Also this comment:

I can never tell which is which except one makes you say “God damn, that’s [a] huge bird!” and the other is merely large.

It sure seems like a big bird when it’s flying twenty feet over your head.

Open Thread

I just can’t muster the energy to talk about politics.

At any rate, the maiden voyage of the crock pot was a great success. I decided to just go with something simple. I cleaned some turnips, potatoes, onions, and carrots, threw them in the crock with a big hunk of beef, seasoned it with kosher salt, pepper, and some rosemary, and et it go for about 6 hours.

It was pretty amazing, although the wait was excrutiating because it smelled so damned good. I think tomorrow I am going to make a gallon or so of french onion soup to freeze up for the next couple weeks.