Professor Plum offered Chef a set of slotted measuring spoons, saying “These are desperate times.”

He read the mail. (More)

Chef looked at Skance, a bluejay preening himself on the windowsill, as Professor Plum left with Ms. Scarlet to join the resident faculty in the wine cellar library where they’ll spend the weekend drinking thinking on our motto of Magis vinum, magis verum (“More wine, more truth”). Skance had been joined by his partner Squint, so Chef looked both askance and asquint as the Professor of Astrology Janitor offered an opening raise with his King and Queen of Hearts. Chef called, and called again after the Professor of Astrology bet when the Jack and Ten of Diamonds and Four of Clubs came on the flop. The turn brought the Nine of Spades, and the Professor of Astrology Janitor checked his King-high straight. Chef did not take the bait and checked behind him. When the Ten of Hearts fell on the river, the Professor of Astrology offered a small bet, hoping Chef had enough of a hand pay off his straight with a call.

Instead she raised, and it was the Professor of Astrology Janitor’s turn to look at Skance, Squint, and their baby Drift. Finally he called, and sighed as Chef turned up her Jack and Ten of Clubs for a full house. He began his plaintive mewling and Chef left for the kitchen to finish her Cranberry French Toast Breakfast Casserole, leaving your lowly mail room clerk to review the week’s correspondence….


Dear Ms. Crissie,

If you believe that I am wrong and Paul Krugman is right, if you disagree that America’s debt crisis is serious today, that it is draining American soft power globally, that it is devaluing the dollar, that it is undermining our influence with international trading partners, that painful adjustments in government outlays will be necessary, and that we cannot afford to wait until 2025 to worry about Medicare and other drivers of U.S. debt, then take it up with the RAND Corporation, whose senior economist I quoted for the rest of my column. The debt crisis is real and waiting another decade to fix it is not an option. Anyone who suggests it is operates well outside the mainstream of where serious economists reside.

Joe in CT

Dear Joe,

We agree that the U.S. faces a long-term debt crisis, if health care costs continue to rise at many times the rate of inflation. For example, White House Burning authors Simon Johnson and James Kwak argue that we need to reduce the federal debt to 50% of GDP by 2040, and offer a plan to do that while preserving both Social Security and Medicare in their current forms. They also note that we could reach that goal very easily if the health care costs come to match the rate of inflation. Even Paul Krugman, with whom you seem obsessed, agrees with this long-term debt outlook. But Krugman, Johnson, Kwak, and other economic experts disagree that long-term debt should be our short-term priority when our immediate problem is weak consumer demand and thus weak job growth. Princeton economist Alan Blinder, whom you cite, argues that we should adopt “modest fiscal stimulus up front with serious deficit reduction thereafter,” essentially the same package that Krugman advocates. Your incessant attacks on Krugman are, as he writes, gratifying signs of desperation. We understand your frustration, as you realize you are losing this policy debate. We suggest your frustration will ease when you recognize that you are losing because you’re wrong.


Dear Ms. Crissie,

I made promises to the people of Texas that I would come to Washington to shake up the status quo. That is what I intend to do, and it is what I have done in every way possible in the responsibilities that have been granted to me. Comity does not mean avoiding the truth. And it would be wrong to avoid speaking the truth about someone’s record and past policy positions, even if doing so inevitably subjects me to personal criticism from Democrats and the media. While I have no proof that he is a paid agent of America’s enemies, the suggestions I have made in my arguments have been merely to raise examples for why I believe Senator Hagel’s financial disclosure is so important.

Ted in TX

Dear Ted,

We understand your desperation, as the confirmation of Chuck Hagel would be one more signal that, in Josh Marshall’s terms, your party’s neoconservatives have lost dominance in “defining the boundaries of acceptable opinion” on foreign policy. Among other things, losing that rhetorical battle would make you less likely to inherit the John McCain Chair on the Sunday morning news talk shows, and that in turn would undermine your presidential aspirations. Moreover, as President Eisenhower noted in his 1953 Chance for Peace speech, a less bellicose foreign policy would allow us to divert spending to infrastructure, education, and other domestic needs that your party passionately opposes. However, such dire threats to your ideology and ambition are no excuse to impugn the patriotism and honor of a man who, unlike you, served and bled for his country in time of war. Then again, that is a common pattern for your party. Perhaps that’s why Marshall also declared you “a Democrat’s dream Republican.”


Dear Ms. Crissie,

Should I use slotted measuring spoons to make Chef’s Cranberry French Toast Breakfast Casserole?

Desperate for Breakfast in Blogistan

Dear Desperate for Breakfast,

Chef suggests that slotted measuring spoons are merely useless. Thus you should look at Skance when offered such desperate measures, unless you have no such bird in your area. In that case, we suggest you look at Grieved, but not at his friend, Poplectic.

As for Chef’s Cranberry French Toast Breakfast Casserole, first whisk 6 large eggs in a large bowl together with 2 Tablespoons of maple syrup, 3 cups of milk, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, ½ teaspoon each of salt and ground cinnamon, and ¼ teaspoon of nutmeg. Tear a loaf of day-old raisin bread into chunks and stir the bread into the egg mixture, along with ½ cup of dried cranberries. Let the mixture stand for 15 minutes, then stir again and spread into an 8×11″ baking dish. Cover and refrigerate overnight, then bake uncovered at 350° for 40-45 minutes, until the casserole is puffy, lightly-browned, and firm to the touch. Chef serves this with maple syrup. Bon appétit!



Joe in CT; we need to the federal debt to 50% of GDP by 2040; modest fiscal stimulus up front with serious deficit reduction thereafter; gratifying signs of desperation.

Ted in TX; defining the boundaries of acceptable opinion; presidential aspirations; 1953 Chance for Peace speech; a Democrat’s dream Republican.


Happy Sunday! ::hugggggs::