Obama on Charlie Rose — Live Drunk-Blogging!*

They’re discussing the Syria situation now. Obama is throwing cold water on the notion that the US will escalate in any significant way. He said everyone should be reluctant to rush into another Middle Eastern war since we know how that turns out.

Now discussing China. Stand by for Snowden!

Obama on the security state: “Let’s examine current surveillance practices and make sure we’re making the right trade offs.” Invoked concepts in recent speech on rethinking perpetual war footing.

Obama: I have no problem with what NSA is doing. On FISA court’s 100% approval rate: There are a small number of requests, and investigators don’t request warrants without reasonable suspicion. Congress has oversight.

Says he has convened privacy panel, including “fierce civil libertarians,” and wants to have a national conversation about it. When asked if Snowden’s leak caused damage, Obama deflected on the specifics but said the government needs some leeway to conduct counter-terrorism, hacking, etc., investigations.

Obama on the charge that he is Bush Lite: We ended “enhanced interrogation” and put checks and balances in place. But there are folks on the left who are not going to be satisfied, and that’s a healthy thing. This debate wouldn’t be taking place five years ago, and “I welcome it…it’s important to have critics out there checking government power.”

Obama on our biggest challenge now: Economy doesn’t work for everyone. Could lead to second rate status if we don’t address it.

Climate gets a shout out! But back to growing inequality. Trend line is continuing, partly due to globalization and technology, but must be addressed. Will focus on it for remainder of presidency and focus on that in addition to making sure no one blows us up (last part is pretty exact quote).

And that’s it…Rose wishes Obama a Happy Father’s Day in pre-recorded interview. They shake, and it’s over. Conclusion: History’s greatest monster!

*An exaggeration: Mild tipsiness at the worst.

Thursday Evening Open Thread: Dear Old College Daze

alcoholism over terrorism
Stolen from NYMag, who stole it from Reddit: Advice to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s fellow collegians at UMass-Dartmouth (aka, “not that Dartmouth”).

Back in the mid-1970s, when I was working for a large Midwestern state college, a Libertarian acquaintance had the bold, paradigm-shattering idea to run for a city council spot on the twin platforms of banning alcohol (18-year-olds were allowed to drink, in those primitive days) and encouraging nuclear-powered industry. Yes, we did try to explain that “Free beer, no nukes” would have been a much better slogan than “Free nukes, no beer”

Apart from such fruitless endeavors, what’s on the agenda for the evening?

Open Thread: Quest for A Better Beer Can

Not at all my field of expertise, but (if only for its standing in the category rolls) I thought this Boston Globe story might be of interest to some readers:

The project’s code name — Bunker Hill — hinted at the formidable challenge Boston Beer Co. faced: could the craft brewery that revolutionized American beer put its Sam Adams lager in a can without sacrificing the taste millions of consumers expect with every sip?

For decades, company founder Jim Koch snubbed aluminum containers because of the metallic flavor they impart to liquid. His resolve cost the Boston-based brewer millions of dollars in potential revenue from airlines and sports arenas, a price Koch said he paid to preserve the quality of a brew whose tagline until recently was: “Take pride in your beer.”…

The quest for a better can took the Bunker Hill team to a plastic coffee lid collector in New York, a museum of beer cans in a Taunton basement, and tailgating parties at Gillette Stadium. The two-year effort cost more than $1 million, including the hiring of a renowned design firm and professional beer consultants, as well as the purchase of expensive canning equipment. Now, Koch is finally ready to release his precious Boston lager in a patent-pending can he claims is superior to the regular metal vessel most people drink from…

In summer 2011, they traveled to Ball’s factory near Denver to study the canning process — the thickness of aluminum, molecular properties, how beer pours from a can, and what impacts the flow. They hung out with well-lubricated football fans in Foxborough to understand why drinkers prefer beer in cans — they account for roughly 57 percent of the US retail market, according to SymphonyIRI Group, a Chicago market research firm. The Bunker Hill team interviewed taste experts around the world and examined thousands of plastic coffee cup lids to understand the range of drink delivery options (the peel, the pucker, the pinch, and the puncture).

The big discovery: Conventional cans don’t allow enough air into people’s mouths as they drink. Turns out, much of what consumers believe they taste is actually smell — that’s why food tastes so bland when people are congested. Increasing exposure to the beer’s aromas of hops and fruit can make a big difference in taste, said Roy Desrochers, a professional beer taster at GEI Consultants in Woburn…

Friday Recipe Exchange: Chili Party

tamara chili

From our Food Goddess, TaMara:

So I hear there is some kind of football game happening during a Beyoncé concert on Sunday. Last year we tackled a bunch of Super Bowl foods that started with nachos and ended at pizza (you can find them here).

I didn’t see how we could top that, so I was at loss this year what to post pre-game. I finally settled on chili. I figured we could find plenty to argue with there, since I think just about everyone has a favorite chili recipe and will throw down to defend it. So have at it. What’s your favorite chili recipe? What are you noshing on at the big game?

Personally, I’ll be having tea and crumpets with the Dowager Countess. “Scones anyone?” (said with a very prim British accent).

Here are some of the chili recipes that we’ve tackled over the years:

First, from the oldest of my brothers: Quick and Easy Chili (recipe here)

JeffreyW’s Chorizo Chili (recipe here)

And tonight’s featured recipe from JeffreyW:

Beer Chili

jeffreyw beer chili 1 Read more

A New Year’s Tale

This really happened. One year, right after Christmas, my mom decided to drive herself, my little sister and me up to North Carolina to see snow. As native Floridians, my sister and I had never seen snow before. We complained bitterly about this fact, especially during the holidays when all the TV specials featured snowmen, sleigh rides, etc.

This was a very long time ago, back when people drove ugly green station wagons with fake wood paneling. Anyhoo, we had a little dog—a poodle mix of some sort. He was a kind of goldish color, so we named him Butterscotch. But we all called him Scotch.

We couldn’t take Scotch with us since we were staying with dog-phobic relatives in North Carolina. So my mom asked her younger sister to housesit and watch after Scotch. Auntie agreed to do this for us and promised to take good care of our beloved pet:


Poor Auntie had to spend New Year’s Eve all by herself. However, my mom had generously given Auntie permission to raid the liquor cabinet. She polished off a few cocktails and then rang in the New Year watching Dick Clark on TV as she lounged in our recliner and finished an entire bottle of champagne:


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