Monday 17 December 2012

A simple way to save Medicare

In the current negotiations on the so-called Fiscal Cliff, one proposed change is to raise the minimum age for Medicare from 65 to 67. This turns out to be a bad idea, because it increases rather than decreases the amount spent on health care, and would be a cruel joke on 65 year old retirees who suddenly found that they had no Medicare and no employer insurance. So let's think outside the box for a minute. Rather than changing the minimum age for Medicare, let's change the maximum age to 85.

Wednesday 12 December 2012

How do you say I Shall Return in Japanese?

I was catching up on my Financial Times and read an amazing front page story that says "The Philippines would strongly support a rearmed Japan shorn of its pacifist constitution as a counterweight to the growing military assertiveness of China, according to the Philippine foreign minister."

Bataan, Corregidor, Manila Massacre, never mind, come back, all is forgiven. Wow.

FT Article

Sunday 16 September 2012

A political question

Let's imagine that Eric Cantor and Rand Paul were working for Al Qaeda, lavishly paid to destroy the American economic and political system from within.

What would they do different from what they're doing now?

Sunday 9 September 2012

Don't mess with the duck

I had a chance to visit the gift shop at Interpol last week.

The little feet rattle when you shake the mug.

Friday 10 August 2012

Civil unions

As a way to deal with the fight over gay marriage, how about making the states only recognize a civil union, and leave marriage to churches?

Tuesday 24 July 2012

What else didn't the government invent?

The blogosphere is all abuzz about an inane op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal in which alleged digital media expert Gordon Crovitz argued that the US government didn't create the Internet or the technology behind it, Xerox did. His argument is so wrong it's hard to know where to start rebutting it, but these articles give you the idea. Given that the history of the Internet is not exactly secret, where did this nonsense come from?

Sunday 22 July 2012

Portugese garlic sausage, v. 1.0

I have been meaning for quite a while to try to make linguica, one of the basic food groups in Portugal, which is sausage made with garlic and red wine, then smoked. I finally had, all in one place, ground pork, sausage casings, a sausage stuffer attachment for my mixer, and a Big Green Egg barbecue which can be damped down to 250 degrees, suitable for smoking.

Monday 25 June 2012

Why does anyone read David Brooks?

In case you never heard of him, he writes for the New York Times' op-ed page, and is purportedly a moderate. But every time someone refers me to one of his columns, all I see is pompous rehashing of right wing talking points. Take (please), his May 8th column, in which he opines that the reason we have such high unemployment is that people have wrong skills for the available jobs, what economists call structural unemployment.

Thursday 5 January 2012

Tourtière around the world

A Tourtière is an old Quebec tradition that long ago spread across Canada. It's basically a flaky crust covering a filling made of ground meat and spices. The meat varies depending where you are; in Montréal it's usually ground pork, in Gaspé it might to be salmon, out in the bush a combination of pork and whatever you can catch locally. (Hares are supposed to be good.)

So I figured, OK, I can do that, although hares seem awfully boring. Turned out pretty good.