Monday, August 15, 2011

Tempus Comitiorum

Let me just go ahead and say it so we can get it out of the way: Barack Obama is a worse president that George W. Bush.
Most Republicans, blindly (and naively) following the party line would agree with me. I'm not surprised; most of them are pretty stupid. I don't mean that as an insult, by the way. It's just that I can find no other rationale for devotion to a political party bent on the total destruction of the middle class based, in many cases almost solely, on social and/or religious conservatism. "A 'Christian' politician who is pro-life, anti-gay, pro-Creationism who wants to dismantle the total econo-political structure and rebuild it as a plutocracy? He must know what he's talking about because he believes like I do". Sorry, that's stupid.
Then there are the racists (who can't believe a black man should be president) and the birthers (who believe the same thing but try to hide it) who are also stupid. A lot of the Upper Class Republicans would probably agree with me, but only out of paying lip service. I'm fairly sure they like Obama just as much (if not more) as Bush, Jr.

Since they all agree with me, I guess the statement is more directed towards Democrats, who are more likely to disagree. Their party loyalty is nothing if not steadfast.
Here's why I think Obama is a worse president than Bush, Jr.: George W. Bush made no secret about who he was. His loyalties were obvious and his policies reflected that. Barack Obama energized millions of lower and middle class citizens to vote for him under the "audacity of hope" and then betrayed them all by appointing Wall St. cronies like Geithner and Bernanke to help determine economic policy. He betrayed them all by escalating troop presence in the Middle East (sure the numbers in Iraq are down, but that means nothing). He betrayed anyone too audacious to hope that he would stand up and be a voice against the systematic dismantling of the New Deal (the product of which was probably the strongest middle class in the history of the civilized world) that has been occurring over the past thirty years.
In compromise after compromise, Obama has taken the regressive policies enacted during the Bush Administration and expanded them. He's kowtowed to the banks, he's kowtowed to Wall St., and he's kowtowed to an insane ideological minority in Congress.

And in case you've been sleeping for four years, Wall Street and the Banks are the worst enemy this country has faced since World War II. They utterly demolished our economy in an attack of greed which absolutely dwarfed the effect on Americans the attack of a few terrorists had who flew a couple planes into buildings. We were ruthless (excessively so) in hunting down and exterminating (trying to anyway) the people responsible the the plane attacks. As for Wall Street and the Banks, we paid them more than $3 trillion dollars for the pleasure of their financial rape.

It's time Democrats stopped making excuses for Obama. He's not locked into some hopeless position by unmoving Republicans who steadfastly refuse to make concessions. Take a look at Dylan Ratigan's rant if you need a suggestion as to how Obama could've handled the debt ceiling deal (especially after the two-minute mark of the video). He threw himself under the steam roller on that one and now pleads with America to somehow accept that the concept of "shared sacrifice" doesn't involve and sharing on the part of the wealthy in America. What's especially sad is many wealthy citizens are actually asking for more sacrifice on their part (check out Warren Buffett's op piece in the NY Times).

The whole point of this post, however, is that election season is upon us, whether we believe it or not. Iowa had its ridiculous straw poll following a Republican Primary "debate" and Obama is going on a three state bus tour of Minnesota, Illinois, and (naturally) Iowa. If it seems like Christmas decorations are going up before Halloween, it's because they are.
What this means for Americans, unfortunately, is you are going to see a lot more promises out of Obama for when/if he's reelected. Bah. He's going on a three state tour to shore up support for his reelection. You know what would shore up support for reelection? Jobs. Ending Bush tax cuts on the wealthy. Adding a $1 million+ and $10 million federal income tax bracket. Pulling Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security off the chopping block of deficit reduction. Really, all he would need to do is start crafting policies that helped the 95% of American citizens who need the help. 95% beats 5% no matter how much money 5% has.
Instead you'll see Obama carefully craft his reelection campaign to gain or maintain support from Wall Street and the wealthy. If he wants to do that, I say fuck him. He doesn't get my vote anyway. But what's really important, is he shouldn't get any of yours either, you lower and middle class Democrats. He doesn't love you. He doesn't care.

Does that mean I'm advocating voting for a Republican for president? Nope.
Does it mean I've advocating not voting? Of course not.

People somehow got this idea that elections are a competition, and in a competition, everyone wants to be on the winning team. So they'll vote for the lesser of two evils (either Democrap or Republicunt) rather than vote for a candidate they truly admire (or write in "none of the above") because they don't want to take the risk that their vote could have been the one saving America from the opposing political candidate.
Grow a backbone, America! Stop this snivelling, spineless support for candidates you barely believe in and let politicians know that you reject their bought and paid for policies.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Tu Bastarda

"Ooh, what did you make?"
"Arrogant Bastard Brownies."
"You could have just said brownies."

It wasn't as though I planned a conversation like that to happen, or was even expecting it. But I must admit I was a little disappointed when no one said anything.

"Ooh, brownies! What's in em?"
"Arrogant Bastard."
"What, did you cut your finger and bleed on them?"

Nope, no witty banter. It would have been absolutely crushing if I wasn't so damn proud of them.
I'd been wanting to make a good beer brownie for a while, but all of the recipes I found that used beer resulted in brownies that didn't have any beer taste. What's the point, then? It's like an extra ingredient conservative housewives add when they want to be a little naughty.

"Oh, Martha, these brownies are delicious!"
"Thanks." *Voice drops to a whisper* "I added Guinness to the recipe!"
"You are simply too evil."

There were plenty of Guinness brownie recipes, many saying they were a perfect dessert for St. Patrick's Day. Bah. Not if you can't taste the beer. Although adding a whisky caramel glaze might be appropriate.

"Wow! What did you do to these brownies?"
"I made an Irish whisky caramel glaze for the topping."
"Ooh, Catholic or Protestant whisky?"
"Does it matter?"
*Pulls out gun* "Of course it fucking matters!"

I also found some recipes for brownies that used Young's Double Chocolate Stout. My problem with that is that you're adding chocolate to chocolate, and while I'm sure it's tasty (Double Chocolate Stout is divine!) I don't like to go overboard on flavors. I prefer distinct flavors that you can separate in your mouth and let your taste buds dance around. So I abandoned the stouts, and for a bit I thought about grabbing a good dark porter ale (like Samuel Smith's Taddy Porter) but I ran out of time and had to do my shopping at a regular old supermarket, where specialty beers are in low to no supply. But they did have a bottle of Arrogant Bastard Ale, and I realized how perfect it would be.
Arrogant Bastard is a very hoppy beer, which I don't normally go in for. Pale ales and the like tend to feature the hops in their brew, and I find it tends to overpower the other flavors of the beer. Not my favorite. On the other hand, a good hoppy flavor would contrast nicely with the chocolate in the brownie, and Arrogant Bastard has got nothing but good hoppy flavor.

So I browsed around and combined a few recipes, added my own little twists to em,  and here's what I got:

  • 12 ounces of beer (you Arrogant Bastard!)
  • 1 cup cocoa powder, unsweetened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups wheat flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup 60% cacao chocolate chips
  • Powdered sugar


1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 13x9x2 baking pan with aluminum foil, letting foil extend 2 inches beyond each short side of pan.
2. In large bowl, whisk together stout and cocoa powder until blended and smooth. Add sugar, butter, vanilla extract, and eggs - one at a time. Blend well.
3. Add flour and salt and whisk until batter is smooth. Stir in chocolate chips. Spread mixture in prepared pan, leveling surface with a spatula. Bake 42 to 45 minutes  until top is shiny and dry, and a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool.
4. Lift out brownie from pan by foil ends and transfer to a cutting board. Cut lengthwise into four strips and crosswise into eight, making 32 brownies. Dust lightly with powdered sugar.
These brownies turned out seriously good. The wheat flour probably made them a little more cake-ish then if I'd used all-purpose flour, so maybe next time I'd do a cup of each. It's not really my thing to post recipes (especially on a blog where I rant about politics), but I had to share. Try it. You'll love them.