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Archive for December 4th, 2016

A Dry Rye Gin Manhattan

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When I picked up the vermouth, I also picked up a sample of three different gins made by St. George (the company, not the saint himself):

The write-up at the link for Dry Rye Gin:

THE SPIRIT

A base of 100% pot-distilled rye makes this a gin for whiskey lovers—and for gin im-purists willing to take a walk on the rye side.

Think genever, then think again—and brace yourself for a gin with structure, spice, and an impossibly rich mouthfeel.

We also make a limited-release, barrel-aged version we call Dry Rye Reposado Gin. Rested in French and American oak wine casks, it has a lovely pink hue and a deep, rich flavor that we think of as an offering to the gods of gin, whiskey, and wine!

THE PROCESS

We make Dry Rye Gin on the same 1,500-liter copper pot still we use to make our Terroir and Botanivore Gins—but starting with unaged rye as the base spirit gives this gin its warm, malty signature.

Our Terroir and Botanivore Gin each have intricate botanicals bills designed to create a layered olfactory experience, but for Dry Rye Gin we chose just six botanical ingredients: Juniper berries are the star here (50% more than in either of our other two gins), complemented by black peppercorn, caraway, coriander, grapefruit peel, lime peel—which were all selected to play up the peppery nature of juniper that we love so much.

THE EXPERIENCE

Dry Rye Gin is compelling neat, genre-busting in cocktails.

Warm and spicy, it has a natural affinity with bitters, citrus, stone fruit, and ginger.

Try it in a Negroni, a Martinez, a Gin Buck—or any classic cocktail that calls for rye whiskey. You’ll never look at an Old Fashioned the same way again.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

A pleasantly peppery kick in the mouth. — Esquire

Something like a cross between traditional London dry and a rye whiskey… absolutely amazing in Negronis. — Washington Post

Packed with spice alongside the usual juniper sharpness. Try it in a (very different) martini. — GQ

This slightly sweet and subtly spicy version shines all on its own. Try sipping it straight, like bourbon or brandy. — Playboy

Malty and oaky, with a fleeting notes of dark fruit. — Tasting Table (on Dry Rye Reposado Gin)

SPECS

Format: 200ml & 750ml for Dry Rye Gin; 750ml only for Dry Rye Reposado Gin.
ABV: 45% for Dry Rye Gin; 49.5% for Dry Rye Reposado Gin.

I took the advice to consider it as a type of rye whiskey rather than as a type of gin, and I made a Manhattan, using the Vya sweet vermouth (remarkably good, and now dutifully kept in the refrigerator). I used a dash of orange Angostura, and damn! it’s good!

So the Dry Rye Gin is excellent if I use it as a sort of whiskey with a different taste.

I’m particularly looking forward to a Botanivore Gin Martini, with (probably) Dolin dry vermouth, which is what I have. I am going to have to get some Vya dry vermouth.

UPDATE: Here’s how I make a Martini.

Written by LeisureGuy

4 December 2016 at 3:15 pm

Posted in Drinks

Michael Flynn is an unsettling choice

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Matthew Rosenberg, Mark Mazzetti, and Eric Schmitt report in the NY Times:

Days after Islamist militants stormed the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, in 2012, Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn reached a conclusion that stunned some of his subordinates at the Defense Intelligence Agency: Iran had a role in the attack, he told them.

Now, he added, it was their job to prove it — and, by implication, to show that the White House was wrong about what had led to the attack.

Mr. Flynn, whom President-elect Donald J. Trump has chosen to be his national security adviser, soon took to pushing analysts to find Iran’s hidden hand in the disaster, according to current and former officials familiar with the episode. But like many other investigations into Benghazi, theirs found no evidence of any links, and the general’s stubborn insistence reminded some officials at the agency of how the Bush administration had once relentlessly sought to connect Saddam Hussein and Iraq to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Many of those who observed the general’s time at the agency described him as someone who alienated both superiors and subordinates with his sharp temperament, his refusal to brook dissent, and what his critics considered a conspiratorial worldview.

Those qualities could prove problematic for a national security adviser, especially one who will have to mediate the conflicting views of cabinet secretaries and agencies for a president with no experience in defense or foreign policy issues. Traditionally, the job has gone to a Washington veteran: Condoleezza Rice, for instance, or Thomas E. Donilon.

The Last Word

The new job will give Mr. Flynn, 57, nearly unfettered access to the Oval Office. Whether it is renewed bloodletting in Ukraine, a North Korean nuclear test or a hurricane swamping Haiti, he will often have the last word with Mr. Trump about how the United States should react.

For Mr. Flynn, serving as the president’s chief adviser on defense and foreign policy matters, represents a triumphal return to government after being dismissed as agency director in 2014 after two years there.

Heading the agency, the Pentagon’s intelligence arm, was supposed to be the capstone of a storied career. Through tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, Mr. Flynn had built a reputation as a brash and outspoken officer with an unusual talent for unraveling terrorist networks, and both his fiercest critics and his outspoken supporters praise his work from those wars.

In numerous interviews and speeches over the past year, Mr. Flynn, who did not respond to requests for comment for this article, has maintained that he was forced out as director for refusing to toe the Obama administration’s line that Al Qaeda was in retreat. The claim has made the general something of a cult figure among many Republicans.

“D.I.A. has always been a problem child and it remains that way,” said Representative Devin Nunes, the California Republican who is chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and a member of Mr. Trump’s transition team. “Flynn tried to get in there and fix things and he was only given two years until they ran him out because they didn’t like his assessment.”

The congressman added: “They didn’t have an excuse to fire him, so they made it up. Nobody has been able to fix that place.”

But others say he was forced out for a relatively simple reason: He failed to effectively manage a sprawling, largely civilian bureaucracy.

At the agency, “Flynn surrounded himself with loyalists. In implementing his vision, he moved at light speed, but he didn’t communicate effectively,” said Douglas H. Wise, deputy director from 2014 until he retired in August. “He didn’t tolerate it well when subordinates didn’t move fast enough,” he said. “As a senior military officer, he expected compliance and didn’t want any pushback.”

The Boss Is Always Right

Founded in 1961, the Defense Intelligence Agency has long been in the shadow of the Central Intelligence Agency, and with the end of the Cold War it lost its primary mission of collecting and analyzing information about the Soviet military. Strained by a decade of conflict in Afghanistan and Iraq, it was performing an uncertain role within the constellation of American spy agencies when Mr. Flynn arrived at headquarters in mid-2012.

The agency’s system of human intelligence collection was perceived as largely broken. The effort to rebuild it was underway when Mr. Flynn took control in 2012, but he made it immediately known that he had a dim view of the agency’s recent performance.

During a tense gathering of senior officials at an off-site retreat, he gave the assembled group a taste of his leadership philosophy, according to one person who attended the meeting and insisted on anonymity to discuss classified matters. Mr. Flynn said that the first thing everyone needed to know was that he was always right. His staff would know they were right, he said, when their views melded to his. The room fell silent, as employees processed the lecture from their new boss.

Current and former employees said Mr. Flynn had trouble . . .

Continue reading.

Unfortunately, it gets worse. It’s almost as though a team were being put in place to destroy the United States in its economy and influence, and in the process make a nice buck for those at the top.

Written by LeisureGuy

4 December 2016 at 2:56 pm

How long has this been going on? Jennifer Rubin writes really good columns these days (with example)

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I remember when Jennifer Rubin was praising Mitt Romney without reserve, only later to admit that after his defeat that she was just making statements that she thought would help him. You can see why I stopped reading her column.

But for whatever reason—and I suspect that Trump has some credit for unleashing her recent clarity of vision—the columns are pretty good these days, and today’s is excellent:

The Wall Street Journal reports: “U.S. employers added a seasonally adjusted 178,000 jobs in November and the unemployment rate fell to 4.6%, the Labor Department said Friday. While the rate was the lowest since August 2007, it reflected some people finding jobs while even more dropped out of the workforce.”

Certainly troubling trends continue. (“Declining participation in the labor force is one of the nation’s more worrisome economic trends, highlighting crosscurrents that have lifted the prospects of many Americans while creating new challenges for others.”) And there are some specific bright spots. (“A broad measure of unemployment and underemployment, which includes those who have stopped looking and those in part-time jobs who want full-time positions, was 9.3% in November, down from 9.5% the prior month and the lowest level since April 2008. The rate averaged 8.3% in the two years before the recession.”) However, as we anticipate a new administration with a president who painted the U.S. economy as a wreck, some perspective is in order.

Credit is due to President George W. Bush and, in turn, President Obama (and the Federal Reserve and the presidents’ respective treasury secretaries) for the emergency measures that averted a meltdown of the financial system. Bush passed and Obama continued the Troubled Assets Relief Program, which right- and left-wing populists bitterly opposed.

My colleague Robert Samuelson wrote: “One lesson of the financial crisis is this: When the entire financial system succumbs to panic, only the government is powerful enough to prevent a complete collapse. Panics signify the triumph of fear. TARP was part of the process by which fear was overcome. It wasn’t the only part, but it was an essential part. Without TARP, we’d be worse off today.” That was in 2010, when unemployment was close to 9 percent.

Given the large gap in time between the nearly billion dollar stimulus and the onset of real job growth, we are less convinced that this played much of a role in reviving a then-$15 trillion economy. (Liberals complained it was too small to work — before deciding that it gave us the “Obama recovery.”)

The alarmists on all sides got it wrong. Obamacare didn’t sink the economy, nor did the expiration of a sliver of the Bush tax cuts. Those on the right who claimed otherwise were wrong.  Meanwhile, the absence of a second stimulus did not prevent us from reaching 4.6 percent unemployment. Inequality did not, contrary to the president’s frequent claims, impede recovery. The left had those things wrong. Populists were also off base: Trade deals don’t prevent us from growing or adding substantial numbers of jobs. (We have job churn, not losses because of trade, and many other factors.) The trade deficit does not mean we are losing jobs or failing to grow; the opposite is true.

Each side will claim the recovery would have been better and faster if it had its way, but our point is that essential gridlock for eight years after TARP did not cause economic calamity. We should promote pro-growth, pro-job programs butwith caution and humility to admit the U.S. economy left to its own devices generally recovers. (There certainly are other reasons — inequality, upward mobility, wage growth — for pursuing some robust policy changes. Liberals, conservatives and populists will differ as to what those are.)

What is not in dispute is that Donald Trump will enter office in January with an economy that is nothing like the dystopia he painted. Before charging off to throw up tariffs or pass a massive tax cut that opens up a gusher of red ink, or throw 11 million people out of the country, perhaps some caution is warranted. We are not now in a recession, and we should stop pretending we are to justify extreme measures which carry unintended consequences. We are growing at 3.2 percent at last count; and Trump’s treasury nominee declares we can grow at a rate — get this — of between 3 and 4 percent.

We suggest getting back to reality and assessing our real needs:

  • We have a gap between skills and the needs of the 21st century economy.
  • We need to upgrade infrastructure.
  • We have a Byzantine . . .

Continue reading.

Of course, one cannot overlook the other enormous drain on the economy: the war of unwarranted aggression. Lest we forget, George W. Bush undertook an invasion of Iraq, then bungled the recovery beyond belief, creating a breakdown that seems to have rippled across the Mideast. On hindsight, George W. Bush dealt a serious economic wound to the US, along with the moral wounds (the innovation of instituting torture as an actual government policy, along with mass surveillance of the public). And, TBH, we all might be better off if Bush had not been so dismissive of the national security intelligence briefings, an attitude that seems even worse in our President-Elect, who simply refused to believe the intelligence he received in the briefly, blowing it off because his own impressions (formed from cable TV and Twitter) are different.

At any rate, the GOP is directly responsible for much of the damage our country has suffered in the 21st century. So far. And, based on what we see of Trump, the GOP will soon be responsible for much more damage. And just to be clear, this is reality we’re talking about: what your daily life will be like four years from now.

Written by LeisureGuy

4 December 2016 at 1:50 pm

3,500 US veterans ‘to put bodies on the line’ in pipeline protest

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Two interesting things about the Dakota Access Pipeline protest: First, it’s growing. Second, the NY Times and Washington Post are giving it very little coverage. I did a search of the NY Times, for example, and it seemed that most reports were secondhand: from Reuters or Associated Press. The Times apparently doesn’t think it’s worth sending their own reporters there. The mission of the Times seems increasingly to protect power.

PressTV has a report, with photos. From their report:

According to reports, as many as 3,500 veterans are joining protests against the multibillion-dollar oil pipeline project near a Native American reservation.

Thousands of veterans have already arrived at the Oceti Sakowin Camp near the small town of Cannon Ball in North Dakota.

The veterans, organized under the banner “Veterans Stand for Standing Rock,” said on Saturday they will put their bodies on the line to assist thousands of activists who have spent months demonstrating against plans to route the pipeline beneath a lake near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation.

Invoking the nonviolent protest tactics of Mohandas K. Gandhi and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., the veterans pledged to peacefully support the unarmed Native American protesters.

“In the ultimate expression of alliance, we are there to put our bodies on the line, no matter the physical cost, in complete nonviolence,” wrote the group’s in its “operations order.”

“Our mission is to prevent progress on the Dakota Access Pipeline and draw national attention to the human rights warriors of the Sioux tribes,” the group added.

The Army has warned that it would close the camp and force out the protesters, who have been staying there in the region’s freezing cold temperatures.

When the Army is mobilized against American citizens, it’s always a bad sign—and generally indicates that the Powers That Be feel threatened.

But click the link to see the photos.

Written by LeisureGuy

4 December 2016 at 10:53 am

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