Mince Pies at Thanksgiving

by Harry on November 24, 2004

Thanks to the comments of CTers my Christmas Cake worked out pretty well; it would have been perfect if I hadn’t taken it into my head to go to the Urgent Care center to have my pneumonia diagnosed during the baking time. I assumed the visit would take less than the 3 hours my cake still had to go, but I was wrong because for the first hour everybody seemed to be watching the Badger game on TV instead of working. My wife let it bake the full 4 hours; whereas I would probably have taken it out after 3 1/2. Oh well.

So, it being Thanksgiving, I decided to make my own mincemeat for a mince pie to take to the Analytical Marxist’s house (our usual Thanksgiving destination). According to the Joy of Cooking mince pie used to be as pervasive at Thanksgiving as the utterly revolting Pumpkin Pie now is, so I feel it is my duty to reclaim the tradition. I looked at 3 different recipes on the internet, two from Rose Elliot, and the ingredients list on my jar of Tesco’s Finest mincemeat and came up with the following recipe. It is very boozy indeed, as you’ll tell and, if I say so myself, surprisingly good. It is also more-or-less fat free (the AM cannot have fat except for olive and walnut oils, so I am going to risk all and see if I can make a small pie with walnut oil as shortening; and make a larger one with proper pastry and a large amount of butter to fatten up the mince). The recipe below made a enough mincemeat for a small pie, a large pie, and a bunch of individual pies I shall be offering to my political philosophy class after they have done their evaluations (so don’t tell them).

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by Chris Bertram on November 24, 2004

There’s some commenter unrest in a thread below about our lack of coverage of recent events in Ukraine. Lacking the resources of the BBC or the NY Times, I’m afraid that we assorted academics and oddballs at CT can’t aspire to comprehensive news coverage and usually (well sometimes!) restrict ourselves to writing about stuff we know something about. Fortunately, when we are ourselves in a shocking state of ignorance, we can sometimes point to people who are not. And such is Nick Barlow, over at “Fistful of Euros”:http://fistfulofeuros.net/ , who has multiple posts on the topic.

The flight of the Kiwi

by John Q on November 24, 2004

Tyler Cowen links to Martin Wolf (FT, subscription) on the failure of the radical free-market reforms undertaken by New Zealand from 1984 to the mid-90s. The results are even more striking when you observe that the only sustained period of growth has come after 1999, when the newly-elected Labour government raised the top marginal tax rate, amended the most radical components of the Employment Contracts Act, and undertook some renationalisation. I’ve written about all this many times, for example in this AFR piece and this Victoria economic commentary published in NZ (PDF file).

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Because the Base wouldn’t want to see a fairy up there

by Kieran Healy on November 24, 2004

“Lynne Cheney Tops National Christmas Tree.”:http://www.guardian.co.uk/uslatest/story/0,1282,-4633299,00.html


by Kieran Healy on November 24, 2004

Via “Patrick Nielsen Hayden”:http://nielsenhayden.com/electrolite/, a cool index of “photographs of cities”:http://www.worldcityphotos.org/. Of the cities in the index, I’ve lived in “Cork”:http://www.worldcityphotos.org/Ireland/IRE-Cork-webshotscheryllynn121.jpg, “Tucson”:http://www.worldcityphotos.org/UnitedStates/USA-AZ-Tucson-luvbride1.jpg and “Canberra”:http://www.worldcityphotos.org/Australia/AUS-Canberra-anueduau1.jpg, in that order. I imagine our cosmopolitan CT crowd can do better than that.

The database isn’t without its errors: “this”:http://www.worldcityphotos.org/Ireland/IRE-Cork-webshotstommy371.jpg claims to be Cork but is in fact “Cobh”:http://www.cork-guide.ie/cobh.htm, a town down the road that was the _Titanic’s_ “last port of call”:http://www.cobhheritage.com/index2.html.


by Kieran Healy on November 24, 2004

“Kevin Drum writes”:http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2004_11/005214.php:

bq. *LAKOFF FRAMING….* it’s finally time for me to get a copy of George Lakoff’s “Don’t Think of an Elephant”:http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/1931498717/qid=1101255135/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/103-7671099-8551863?v=glance&s=books, which appears to be something of a Bible among despairing liberals who can’t believe that half the country likes George Bush and apparently doesn’t like us. Basically, Lakoff says we need to get our act together and “frame” our arguments in more positive ways

Although I know (and like) his work on “Metaphor”:http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0226468011/kieranhealysw-20/ref=nosim/, I’ve only seen Lakoff’s stuff on this at one remove or more — snippets on TV shows here and there, and talk in newspapers and blogs. So I don’t know whether he’s pitching the idea of framing as new, or his own bright idea. But it’s worth noting that this concept is pretty old. I don’t mean some equivalent concept, either, I mean the same idea with the same name. Here’s a “very short reading list”:http://www.ssc.wisc.edu/~oliver/SOC924/Assignments/Framing.htm#Frames to start you off. It has its prehistory in work in micro-interaction work in linguistics and cognitive psychology (going back to Gregory Bateson). It gets named in the sociological literature by Erving Goffman’s (1974) _Frame Analysis_, but like a lot of Goffman nobody could do anything with it unless they were him. It was developed into a useful tool explicitly oriented to the study of political processes (especially social movements) in “Dave Snow”:http://today.uci.edu/Features/profile_detail.asp?key=112 et al’s “Frame Alignment Processes”:http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0003-1224%28198608%2951%3A4%3C464%3AFAPMAM%3E2.0.CO%3B2-2 (American Sociological Review, 1986). That paper spawned a very big literature. Benford and Snow’s “Framing Processes and Social Movements: An Overview and Assessment”:http://arjournals.annualreviews.org/doi/abs/10.1146/annurev.soc.26.1.611, (Annual Review of Sociology, 2000) reviews fifteen-or-so years of theory and research in the field, including plenty of stuff on the limits of the concept and its potential for overuse. If Lakoff has managed to get the media to put his name in front of this idea then I guess he’s worth listening to, because he’s clearly very good at framing indeed.

*Update*: Seems like Lakoff gives the history of the idea its due, develops a version of his own in terms of his views about conceptual metaphors, and then applies it to the liberal cause in an accessible way. All to the good. My memory of the conceptual metaphor stuff in _Metaphors We Live By_, though, is that the metaphors that book looked at (“Love is a Battlefield”, etc) can’t really explain how and why political framing is really successful, as it’s not just a cognitive process. Moreoever, the idea that metaphors underpin our concepts is very similar to the idea that the social structure decisively shapes our thinking: immensely suggestive, almost certainly right in some sense, but very difficult to specify in a satisfactory way. I guess I should read the books, though, before saying anything else.

The MEMRI Hole

by Henry Farrell on November 24, 2004

MEMRI makes an “inept attempt to intimidate”:http://www.juancole.com/2004/11/intimidation-by-israeli-linked.html Juan Cole.

bq. Dear Professor Cole,

bq. I write in response to your article “Osama Threatening Red States?” published on November 3, 2004 on antiwar.com. The article included several statements about MEMRI which go beyond what could be considered legitimate criticism, and which in fact qualify as slander and libel. … As such, we demand that you retract the false statements you have made about MEMRI. If you will not do so, we will be forced to pursue legal action against you personally and against the University of Michigan, which the article identifies you as an employee of.

MEMRI’s threat is strongly reminiscent of Donald Luskin’s threat of legal action against Atrios a while back. It seems to me (though I note that I’m not a lawyer) that the purported complaint is completely, utterly and entirely bogus. But like Luskin’s supposed complaint, the threat isn’t so much in the possibility of a successful action, as in outcomes related to that action. In Atrios’ case, the real threat was that his identity would be revealed, possibly landing him in difficulty with the university that employed him. Similarly, MEMRI’s threat seems to me to be more about trying to create difficulties for Cole with the University of Michigan than the nugatory possibility of an adverse judgement in court against him. There’s no remotely plausible theory under which the University of Michigan can be held responsible for Cole’s private activities or statements, even if they were libellous. However, a state-funded university would presumably prefer, all things considered, not to be embroiled in an action of this sort, however frivolous. Thus, the inclusion of University of Michigan in the complaint seems to me to be an inept class of an indirect threat to embarrass the university and thus perhaps put Cole in a tricky position. I’m glad to see that he’s treating it with the contempt that it deserves. Cole urges

bq. all readers to send messages of protest to memri@memri.org. Please be polite, and simply urge MEMRI, which has a major Web presence, to withdraw the lawsuit threat and to respect the spirit of the free sharing of ideas that makes the internet possible.