Late Night Open Thread: The Vital Questions for 2020

The NYTimes has an intensive ‘interactive’ video-piece — “18 Questions.
21 Democrats.” — interspersing worthy-if-anodyne questions (Would your focus be improving the Affordable Care Act or replacing it with single payer?… Do you think illegal immigration is a major problem in the United States?) with ones like “What is your comfort food on the campaign trail?”

I personally recommend skipping straight to NYMag‘s quasi-mocking “10 Takeaways From the Times’ Interview With 21 Democratic Candidates”, but I’m a cynic:

The Democratic Party’s first primary debate is still six days away. But if you can’t wait to watch Team Blue’s 2020 contenders — along with a random assortment of back-bench congressmen and rich people who got bored enough to run for president — give largely similar answers to a single set of questions, the New York Times has you covered. The paper just released a video series in which all 21 of the Democrats’ non–Joe Biden candidates answer the same 18 questions…

In any case, I misdoubt Senator Booker is doing himself any favors with the average American voter by advocating for veganism, but the man leans in

51 replies
  1. 1
    NotMax says:

    Buttigieg: Beef jerky

    Oy vey. Talk about yer ready-made late night talk show monologue material.

  2. 2
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    Vegan cupcakes?

  3. 3
    NotMax says:

    @Omnes Omnibus

    Her family owns a small chain of health food stores in the state.

  4. 4
    HumboldtBlue says:

    What do you say to a sing-song?

    Makes one concentrate.

  5. 5
    mrmoshpotato says:

    Sarcastic topic title! Me likey.

    I really look forward to 17 more months of hard-hitting, issues-based, policy-focused articles like this from the excellent New York Times!


  6. 6
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @NotMax: Doesn’t make it right.

  7. 7
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    Not a single one of them mentions chocolate.

    I am so disappoint, I might just vote for Trump. Just to show them.


  8. 8
    NotMax says:

    @Omnes Omnibus

    If she had answered “Twinkies” she’d be written out of the will.


  9. 9
    NotMax says:


    In fairness, they did ask for comfort, not vital.


  10. 10
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Booker did. Or is my house the only place where chocolate counts as a vegetable?

  11. 11
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @NotMax: what if they were organic, grass-fed, free-range Twinkies?

  12. 12
    NotMax says:

    At least no one said, “There’s nothing as satisfying as a good Ho-Ho.”


    @Steve in the ATL

    They’d still suck.

    Speaking of culinary abominations, You can now start your day with Twinkie-flavored coffee.

  13. 13
    mrmoshpotato says:

    @Steve in the ATL:

    what if they were organic, grass-fed, free-range Twinkies?

    Are these made from all-natural ingredients and contain no preservatives?

  14. 14
    mrmoshpotato says:


    At least no one said, “There’s nothing as satisfying as a good Ho-Ho.”

    You’d have to be a Ding Dong to say that.

  15. 15
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @mrmoshpotato: FFS, it’s Ding Dong.

  16. 16
    NotMax says:


    Patent pending NotMax standard response when people say “But it’s organic!” is “So is coal.”

  17. 17
    mrmoshpotato says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: FFS I saw the typo (stupid keyboard) after posting and corrected it. :P

  18. 18
    mrmoshpotato says:

    @NotMax: I like that.

  19. 19
  20. 20

    @mrmoshpotato: (Since it’s after Baud’s bedtime…)The New York Times is garbage.

  21. 21
    HumboldtBlue says:

    Never let it be said we Yanks are the most absurd.

    These are.

  22. 22
    mrmoshpotato says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: I didn’t soak the comment in enough sarcasm. Sorry.

  23. 23
    rikyrah says:

    Well, if done right, even vegan cupcakes can be good.

    French fries….You can do so much with fries

  24. 24
    Brachiator says:


    what if they were organic, grass-fed, free-range Twinkies?

    Are these made from all-natural ingredients and contain no preservatives?

    I think by law, real Twinkies must be 90 percent preservatives.

  25. 25
    mrmoshpotato says:

    @Brachiator: Are you sure they aren’t made of a bunch of expired ingredients in the bakery?

  26. 26
    NotMax says:

    As we’re on to the topic of eating, while there are almost too many wonderful food scenes from Tampopo to mention, this is one I’ve always been partial to, as it is done entirely without a syllable of dialogue.

  27. 27
    NotMax says:


    I believe the plan was to use them as a reverse canary in a coal mine for Yucca Mountain. If the Twinkies are stale, the stuff in the barrels has decayed to the point of non-lethality.


  28. 28
  29. 29

    That ‘whiskey’ answer sure is something.

  30. 30
    FelonyGovt says:

    Cage free Twinkies.

    Glad to see that the NY Times has the hard-hitting journalism of Parade Magazine.

  31. 31
    Brachiator says:


    Twinkies, like diamonds, are forever.

    …Twinkies do have an sell-by window, and it’s only about 25 days. After about a month Twinkies start to get hard and brittle

    Steve Ettlinger, author of the book “Twinkie, Deconstructed,” says Twinkies get hard, but that doesn’t mean you can’t eat them.

    “I’ve got some that are 8 years old. They are hard but they are not spoiled,” he said. 

    So Twinkies could last 30 years, but they just might not be that fun to eat. And one thing different about Twinkies is they don’t rot.

  32. 32
    Redshift says:


    I think by law, real Twinkies must be 90 percent preservatives.

    Organic, grass-fed, free-range preservatives, so it’s okay.

  33. 33
    Steeplejack says:


    Fair trade, artisanally sourced? That’s important.

  34. 34
    NotMax says:


    As with some Cuban cigars, Twinkies hand-rolled on the thighs of nubile young things?


  35. 35
    Comrade Colette Collaboratrice says:

    OK, some genuinely vital questions: with the threat of ICE raids and mass deportation, how can I volunteer to help shelter/hide people who might be targets? Mr. Colette and I talked about this; we live in one of the cities Trump intends to focus on, have some extra room in our house, and are willing to take folks in and help with daily transport, legal aid, etc. as well. We’re rich and lucky – relatively speaking – and the sight of concentration camps in our own country has us burning with rage. BURNING. I’ve already given money to RAICES but that’s not enough. Those ICE fuckers are Nazis, and we’re ready to be the Dutch.

    What kinds of legal risks will we face? What other practical considerations are there?

    I did do some obvious things like searching “undocumented immigrants housing shelter help san francisco” and various other likely terms, but the results were surprisingly unhelpful – most are for people looking for help rather than offering it. I guess online guides to breaking the (stupid, evil, immoral) law are more focused on those who want to build bombs, join ISIS, etc. than those who want to punch Nazis and hide vulnerable victims of racism.

    I’m probably going to ask this question in one or more additional threads in the next day or so. I’d love to see another front-page “how to help” post focused on direct action, not just donations, important as those are.

  36. 36
    Redshift says:

    @Brachiator: A friend found a Twinkie in his trunk that had been there an indeterminate number of years. He unwrapped it and it was indeed rock hard, but the filling seemed to be unchanged. We suspect it’s a petroleum product.

  37. 37
    NotMax says:

    Idly poking around the web, looking at recipes. A bit more involved than would usually bother with for just li’l ol’ me but damn, it looks good (except for the cilantro garnish).

  38. 38
    Ruckus says:

    @Major Major Major Major:
    Gained her 5 points on my scale – and I don’t drink.

  39. 39
    prostratedragon says:

    @NotMax: It jerks you back into yourself. After an hour of looking at delicious food you want that rice omelet — or at least some scrambled eggs — like nobody’s business, and you know where you can get some. Brilliant.

    Recently when I fixed spaghetti/meat sauce I described the etiquette scene to my mother, between slurps. She caught on right away.

  40. 40
    dmsilev says:


    Twinkies, like diamonds, are forever.

    Diamonds aren’t forever. They’re a metastable state of carbon and over a long enough timespan will decay to graphite. Also, as I have seen first-hand in my work environment, sufficient abuse will break one fairly easily. We’ve had diamonds chip, crack, break in half, and once had one explode into powder. That was fun…

    Yes, deBeers lied to us all.

  41. 41
    AnotherBruce says:

    Food comes and goes, but Twinkies are eternal.

  42. 42
    tobie says:

    @Comrade Colette Collaboratrice: I asked someone the same question, and they recommended this organization for helping trans asylum seekers:


    While we are currently prioritizing sponsors in the Bay Area, Sacramento, LA, Seattle, Portland, Denver, Chicago, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Boston, and New York, we encourage people from all over the US to reach out. We have at least 30 women awaiting placement.

  43. 43
    tobie says:

    @Comrade Colette Collaboratrice: This is the other organization I was told about that hooks up asylum seekers with sponsors:

    Both groups — Showing Up for Racial Justice & Santa Fe Dreamers Project — have experience with this and can answer your questions. Thanks for doing this!

  44. 44
    Ruckus says:

    That diamond powder is useful stuff for some occupations and can be made into many useful things. Combined with tungsten carbide powder it can be shaped with electricity and can then be used to cut intricate shapes into that graphite that it will decay into longer than most every thing else. That of course is not it’s only use, it can also be used it to lap extremely fine surfaces to extreme fine tolerances, and as a grinding compound for use on tungsten carbide.

  45. 45
    satby says:

    @NotMax: I say petroleum, but we’re on the same page.

  46. 46
    Chris Johnson says:

    @Major Major Major Major: Whiskey and kicking ass? (or maybe, whiskey and throwing things?)

    Though she is not my favorite, I’d love to see her comfort-fooding by drinking whiskey and throwing things at Mitch McConnell. That would comfort me and her both :)

  47. 47
    Currants says:

    @HumboldtBlue: that’s a great interview (well, first part is anyway. I’ll watch the others later). Thank you!

  48. 48
    Mohagan says:

    @Ruckus: I agree. One of the best factoids I’ve ever read about her.

  49. 49
    J R in WV says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    Must admit it struck a chord with me… late at night I am known to do a taste of the brown liquor before bed…

  50. 50
    J R in WV says:

    @Comrade Colette Collaboratrice:

    Find a minister who’s church is actually Christian instead of “Christian” and who is working to help immigrants. Suggest Episcopal, they seem to range between helpful and activist. Meet in person.

  51. 51
    Syd the science kid says:

    Gillibrand wins.

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