Re: So, One Post Every Couple Of Weeks, And Then It's About Baking.

1

Awesome use of gumdrops.

Sorry to hear about the bejeezus, though.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 8:16 PM
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I'm curious: do you eat it at some point, or is it just for decoration?

I'm also sorry to hear about the lack of bejeezus. My holiday season doesn't start until my last paper is done, so my bejeezus are fully intact.


Posted by: ninjaphilosopher | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 8:23 PM
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2:Traditionally, it's respected and left intact until Christmas Day. Then gumdrops and M&M's are stealthily pried off, until it looks kinda motheaten. Then someone tries eating the chimney, or a shutter, or something, but realizes that (a) it's stale, and (b) it was structural gingerbread, rather than gingerbread designed for eating, in the first place.

When it's nibbled on enough to look depressing, it's formally broken up and discarded.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 8:28 PM
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I am enjoying the bejeezus out of this holiday season, 1011* holiday parties notwithstanding.

Does it prove that I've arranged my life correctly that we're going to that many parties, without rejecting a single one, and they're all enjoyable, not merely obligatory?

I think so.

PS - Iris is falling asleep to the Amy Mann Xmas album right now. How cool is that?

* Just got another invite today!


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 8:30 PM
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Luckily, after Christmas the price of bejeezus should drop considerably.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 8:30 PM
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Oh, and dinner at that restaurant was superb. My clam pizza actually included in-shell clams, plus a smattering of garlic/olive oil mixture that made it like linguine with white clam sauce, but a pizza. Brilliant.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 8:32 PM
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3. Ah! So the eating of the gingerbread house is a ritual process. Good to know. I wonder if mom and brother might enjoy it...

5. Well with this recession and all it's bound to.


Posted by: ninjaphilosopher | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 8:32 PM
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5: Tell you what - it's looking like the $100 Best Buy gift card a good friend sent us for a video camera is going to go awfully far come Dec. 26.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 8:33 PM
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in-shell clams,

Mmm. Crunchy.

The really nice tiny little Italian clams?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 8:33 PM
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Oh, and gorgeous house, LB. Iris has some serious gingerbread house envy when we go into stores. Next year, maybe.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 8:35 PM
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Well with this recession and all it's bound to.

Indeed, the only thing keeping the price up so far is the residual Christianity of the Pluralistic Non-Denominational Holiday Season. But we'll win that War on Christmas yet.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 8:36 PM
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The really nice tiny little Italian clams?

No, alas. Littlenecks. Actually, the first one was a real pain in the ass - the shell was still a couple hundred degrees form the oven, so the meat was hard to extract. Things got easier after that.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 8:36 PM
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Royal icing is the key -- it's the Krazy Glue of confectionary architecture.

I keep on thinking about designing a different house, but I never think of it until I'm out of time for doing anything but relying on the old templates.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 8:38 PM
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6 makes me worry JRoth shredded his lips and just doesn't know it yet.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 9:25 PM
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That's a beautiful house. Given how hard times are, you're letting someone squat in there, right?


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 9:28 PM
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So, what's so annoying about the holiday season this year, LB?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 9:31 PM
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I hate Christmas this year.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 9:51 PM
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I can't remember a Christmas so depressing. I just got off the phone with a journalist who lost his job today, the week before Christmas, and who relayed the names of the dozen or so writers (mostly freelance) who won't be working for the District's paper of record any more. It makes me nervous and unsure about how to continue. I'm certain to freelance for another year (I'll be lucky if I'm able to) and I should be grateful that the editors who know my name haven't been fired. But bejeezus was I ready to quite the freelance racket and now the two leads that were Sure Things as soon as the start of the new year will likely never be Things ever again. This Christmas, blech, no thanks.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 11:04 PM
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The prefab versions are amusing. Using graham crackers is good.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 11:21 PM
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I hate Christmas this year.

Yeah. I have much extended family in the upper Midwest with their lives built around small self-owned businesses connected to the auto-industry. They were suffering two years ago.
...
Great walk in the woods today. Dogs chasing rabbits and squirrels is an infectious ecstasy.
...
Watching Bent again. But the main movie was Andre Techine's Les Voleurs 1996 with Deneuve & Auteil. Read like 12 reviews after, and only Jonathan Rosenbaum seemed to have a clue. Feels weird to be the only one understand the movie. Terrific movie. Tricky and subtle, with tons of misdirection, it is a commentary on love, and delusions about love. A little spoiler:Fresh
But I doubt anyone else has seen it.

As it got going, I started to wonder why I love the French, and why I prefer subtitled movies. Besides commanding my undivided attention, I think the constant shifting from foreground to background, figure to field engages my intuition and emotion. Something. I wonder if the aestheticians or cognitive people have ever looked into it. Bill Benzon has a clue.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 12-20-08 1:58 AM
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Our politics in America has seriously fucked up our art. I can barely tolerate our movies, let alone the bad faith sadism of television. We are a cold & cruel people, who rationalize torture and robber baron economics. We suck something awful.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 12-20-08 2:06 AM
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That house is awesome, LB. When you make it big and the NYT profile is written about you, that house is going to be the anecdote that conveys the "hardworking lawyer who nevertheless makes time for her children" image.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 12-20-08 5:33 AM
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21: I feel the same way. Too many movies and TV shows either glorify secret police and anti-insurgency shock troops, or else glorify organized crime and demented sadists.

I liked :Fargo" because the bad guys were unattractive, uninteresting fuckups and lames.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12-20-08 5:57 AM
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18: Armsmasher, can you go back to the old day job at the museum?


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 12-20-08 6:38 AM
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20: Bob, I hope that your relatives hang in there. That really sucks.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 12-20-08 6:40 AM
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Awesome house!

We've decided to institute a new Christmas tradition in our house: the family viewing of Monty Python's *Life of Brian*.

It will be a welcome break from the standard midwest Christmas traditions, which involve driving long distances to exchange baked goods with relatives you see once a year. Actually, the baked goods and the relatives are pretty cool, but the driving with small children is murder.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 12-20-08 6:53 AM
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I am ridiculously fond of this Christmas candy Battle for Helm's Deep.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 12-20-08 7:00 AM
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Oh and here is the candy Battle of Pelennor Fields they did the following year.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 12-20-08 7:03 AM
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20: Téchiné is a great director. I'm going to have to see Les Voleurs now. I liked Les Témoins. You should also check out the films of Arnaud Desplechin.


Posted by: Willy Voet | Link to this comment | 12-20-08 7:09 AM
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18 -- What is the future of the newspaper business? Who's going to buy cows with so much free milk sloshing around out there?

Scary stuff.

I got an email the other day offering to outsource associate work to English speaking Indian lawyers for $30 an hour. It doesn't fit my business model, but you can imagine a whole bunch of clients wondering why they're paying $250 an hour instead.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 12-20-08 7:48 AM
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I can't imagine the training/management problems with junior associate work being done by someone on another continent. It's not like it's rocket science, but it's amazing how easy it is to mess up. (My current job has a first year lawyer now, which is an experiment -- they usually only hire people with experience. Realizing that she doesn't know how to write a research memo has been a little traumatic for my boss. She'll do fine once she's been around for awhile, but as she stands now, she doesn't know much.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-20-08 8:32 AM
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31 -- As I understand it, they're not supposed to be junior lawyers in India.

My usual case is two lawyers on each side, 2 redwelds of truly important documents, all of which have been memorized by all the lawyers, along with the controlling case law. Not the usual case for my firm, or, especially, the optimal case.

When I was a youngster, though, and before all such things were digitized, I drew the assignment of reading every single reported case (including Commission cases -- they had their own reporter, which wasn't online at the time) applying section 407 of the Transportation Act of 1920 (including modified versions from the Transportation Act of 1940, and the 1978 recodification). Not headnotes, the whole case.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 12-20-08 9:15 AM
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Oop, cut off

(I learned a lot, but I think you could use Indians for that sort of thing, if it was considered useful any more. BTW I'd be surprised if anyone but KR and JE knows much about the nationalization of the railroads in WWI, or if anyone but KR knows about the preemptive scope of the provision I was looking at, then codifed as 49 USC 11341(a). Google the statute, anti-federalists.)


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 12-20-08 9:21 AM
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33: 49 USC 11341(a)

I think Heinlein wrote that up as a short story, "The Railroads Must Roll".


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-20-08 9:35 AM
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Damn. Maybe we don't need Indians so much as nerds. (Not that the categories are mutually exclusive).


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 12-20-08 9:55 AM
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Excellent gingerbread house!


Posted by: Idealist | Link to this comment | 12-20-08 11:25 AM
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Wow, LB. The chimney and icicles are especially nice.

What is the future of the newspaper business?

Local paper of record has had two buyouts in the last year involving maybe a hundred people altogether. Some friends still there are convinced that the print edition is soon to be a thing of the past, but no one really knows. My freelancing is down to a trickle, but as 'smasher can attest, arts coverage has been fighting for space for a long time.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 12-20-08 11:44 AM
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38

That is a truly awesome gingerbread house; also, 27 and 28 have me clapping my hands with glee.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 12-20-08 3:59 PM
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39

Holy crap, LB. You made that? Very impressive.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 12-20-08 7:12 PM
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40

The Tootsie-Roll Pop catapult at the link in 27 and the licorice battering ram at 28 are excellent.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-20-08 7:19 PM
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39: It really doesn't require any skill, just a certain amount of cussedness, and of course the heirloom templates -- ten pieces of greasy brown paper that have been in a manila envelope since my father cut them out for me and sent them to me at school back in December 88.

Funny thing is that I don't actually remember making the house in college. I must have, because I had mom and dad make me a copy of the recipe and send it, but I can't picture the house at my coop. If I was still in touch with anyone I was living with that year, I'd ask.

40: Yeah, those people are insane. And I mean that in a good way.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-20-08 7:37 PM
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LB, check your ElizardB email.


Posted by: Idealist | Link to this comment | 12-20-08 7:38 PM
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Checked, replied.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-20-08 8:00 PM
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Checked, replied.

Thanks.


Posted by: Idealist | Link to this comment | 12-20-08 8:11 PM
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I call shenanigans. Idealist never invites the rest of us to his absinthe tastings, which, fine. But this is just flaunting it.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-20-08 8:14 PM
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Idealist never invites the rest of us to his absinthe tastings, which, fine. But this is just flaunting it.

Sadly, no. I was arranging for LizardBreath to defend me if I killed the co-worker whose incompetence has kept me here all day and possibly will keep me here most of the night so I can check and rewrite her work on something we have to get out to a client tonight.


Posted by: Idealist | Link to this comment | 12-20-08 8:28 PM
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He does epitomize the decadence of fin de siècle Paris, admittedly.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-20-08 8:30 PM
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It really doesn't require any skill, just a certain amount of cussedness

Cussedness is a skill, LB.

But anyway, while I can believe it doesn't require a professional pastry chef level of expertise, I don't believe it doesn't require skill. Those icing flourishes, for example: that's not just squeezing out a big blog of royal icing and attaching some candy, those flourishes are really good. I like that you've saved the templates and use them every year.

Also, Christmas would be a lot less stressful if everybody still lived in small face-to-face communities and nobody had to travel (though admittedly, in that case, every other day of the year you would find yourself subject to the tyranny of neighbourliness which characterises everyday life in small face-to-face communities, which is often benign, but sometimes malicious, and of course the people at the post office would take notice of your mail, where from and from whom, and you know damn well they would read your postcards, but still). I hate travelling at Christmas. Hate it, hate it, hate it. But I do it every year ...


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 12-20-08 8:36 PM
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Oops! Big blog s/b big blob of royal icing, I guess.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 12-20-08 8:37 PM
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49: I'm resisting the urge to replace the (apparently?) recently updated mouse-over.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-20-08 8:44 PM
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He does epitomize the decadence of fin de siècle Paris,

Oh I like that. I may add it to my bio on the firm website.


Posted by: Idealist | Link to this comment | 12-20-08 8:45 PM
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That's a damn fine gingerbread house, LB. Well done!


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 12-20-08 9:43 PM
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53

I hate you.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12-21-08 8:55 PM
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53: that's a lovely gingerbread house. It's too bad somebody had to show up and jizz all over it.

(Look at that! There was this fruit here, just sitting here, right on the ground!)


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-21-08 8:57 PM
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(Look at that! There was this fruit here, just sitting here, right on the ground!)

It's too bad somebody had to show up and jizz all over it.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12-21-08 9:05 PM
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Thank you for not leaving that comment at my blog, Tweety. Unlike *some* people.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12-21-08 9:08 PM
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54: Pwned!


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 12-21-08 9:09 PM
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I miss you, B. Are you coming to the Bay Area for Bay-Area-type shenanigans?


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 12-21-08 9:10 PM
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I could jizz all over 53 through 57 they're so great.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-21-08 9:10 PM
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Sadly, no--I'm running off to Minneapolis to freeze my ass off instead.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12-21-08 9:11 PM
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61

Just remember, some gingerbread houses have bigger problems than Abundant Issue From The Heavens.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-21-08 9:16 PM
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Oh, 61 made me laugh and weep simultaneously! That is grim.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 12-21-08 9:17 PM
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Gingerbread tenement slum is delicious!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-21-08 9:19 PM
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Gingerbread tenement slum also appears to have a nasty case of conjunctivitis.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 12-21-08 9:21 PM
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||

Ygglz is in trooooouuuuble.

|>


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12-21-08 9:27 PM
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66

Huh, I feel much better now!


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12-21-08 9:27 PM
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PK and I are laughing at 61, but at the same time, it's so sad!


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12-21-08 9:28 PM
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Can I offer you a foolproof recipe for royal icing? Embarrassingly, the key is, as one would expect, the stand mixer.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-21-08 9:29 PM
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Please do. I *used* the stand mixer. But I didn't use enough sugar, or I flattened the egg whites while folding the sugar in, or something.

In 61's defense, at least it's actual home-made gingerbread, which is more than I bothered with.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12-21-08 9:31 PM
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61: That looks like a gingerbread robot-face to me. Someone is getting his genres confused.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 12-21-08 9:31 PM
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(Though I did make the icing twice. And this was the better batch. Really.)


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12-21-08 9:31 PM
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72

No folding. 6 1/4 cups confectioner's sugar, 5 egg whites, 3/4 tsp cream of tartar. Mix it slow just until all the sugar is moistened, and then beat the hell out of it for a surprisingly long time -- 5 minutes maybe? But until it's really really stiff. It keeps for a couple of days in the fridge covered with plastic wrap, pipes like a dream, and sets like rock.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-21-08 9:37 PM
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65:

Third Way is a neat organization -- I used to work across the hall from them. And they do a lot of clever messaging stuff that a lot of candidates find very useful. But their domestic policy agenda is hyper-timid incrementalist bullshit. There are a variety of issues that they have nothing whatsoever to say on, and what policy ideas they do have are laughable in comparison to the scale of the problems they allegedly address. Which is fine, because Third Way isn't really a "public policy think tank" at all, it's a messaging and political tactics outfit.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12-21-08 9:38 PM
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72: Bless you.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12-21-08 9:40 PM
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Matt should have said "hyper-incrementalist mush" perhaps. Or oatmeal. Or gruel.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12-21-08 9:40 PM
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Did the Center for American Progress take down his original post?


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 12-21-08 10:41 PM
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No, it's still there.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12-21-08 10:45 PM
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The most impressive part of the house is the bricks in the chimney.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12-22-08 1:49 AM
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