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Archive for January 20, 2012

Romney Apologist David Brooks

January 20, 2012 2 comments

[Jen Sorensen, from Slowpoke Comics*]

David Brooks appears alarmed by the treatment Mitt Romney is getting, so much so that Brooks devotes today’s NYT column to defending him:

Mitt Romney is a rich man, but is Mitt Romney’s character formed by his wealth? Is Romney a spoiled, cosseted character? Has he been corrupted by ease and luxury?

The notion is preposterous. All his life, Romney has been a worker and a grinder. He earned two degrees at Harvard simultaneously (in law and business). He built a business. He’s persevered year after year, amid defeat after defeat, to build a political career.

Romney’s salient quality is not wealth. It is, for better and worse, his tenacious drive — the sort of relentlessness that we associate with striving immigrants, not rich scions.

Gosh, who knew? Two Harvard degrees simultaneously! A worker and a grinder! And here I thought the problem was that Romney is a liar. Brooks never gets around to that. He’s too busy recounting the hardships endured by Mitt’s ancestors. “Where did this persistence come from?” Brooks asks. “It’s plausible to think that it came from his family history.” Brooks spends the remainder of the column reviewing that history.

Who gives a darn about Romney’s persistence, or his family history? How about his long-time willingness to say whatever he thinks needs saying to get elected, whether as senator, governor, or president? How about his campaign being based on slandering President Obama? (See for instance this account of Romney lies by your fellow columnist Paul Krugman, who asks, “is there anything at all in Romney’s stump speech that’s true?”)

That’s what disturbs me.

*The cartoon alludes to the 1983 Romney family vacation, which began with a drive to Canada for which Mitt put Irish setter Seamus in a crate and strapped the crate to the top of the station wagon. NYT columnist Gail Collins has referred to this incident throughout the primary season whenever writing about Romney.

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Categories: Journalism, Politics

Baguette Justice

January 20, 2012 1 comment

I began 2011 with a post titled Food and Law, in which I referred to e-pal Leslie’s post on her dinner with Supreme Court justice Ruth Ginsburg. Leslie had a follow-up post yesterday regarding the “perfect baguette” recipe of Ruth’s late husband Marty.

It turns out that Marty Ginsburg was an excellent cook. Leslie was able to get Marty to reveal his baguette recipe over the phone, and she wrote it down for him to verify, which he did. That recipe, as then recorded by Leslie, was kept private at his request, but it has now appeared in Chef Supreme: Martin Ginsburg, a book of Marty’s recipes assembled by other Supreme Court spouses. The book is published by the Supreme Court Historical Society and available at the Supreme Court gift shop.

Leslie has more about the Ginsburg baguettes in a post from three summers ago, where she describes them as “crunchy-on-the-outside, soft-on-the-inside … like the ones you get in France.” Indeed, she considers them “the best baguettes I have ever had outside of France.”

NPR featured the book in a piece a month ago with famed Supreme Court reporter Nina Totenberg, from whom we learn that

The idea for the cookbook, Chef Supreme: Martin Ginsburg, came from Martha-Ann Alito, wife of Justice Samuel Alito. It hit her the day after Marty Ginsburg’s memorial service in 2010.

“One of my first conversations with Marty, in the fall of 2006, was about food and nourishment, and how satisfying an expression of love that it was for him,” she recalls. “And that, in part, led to the idea that we should put the cookbook together.”

The other Supreme spouses quickly agreed. They had often teamed up with Marty Ginsburg to provide the food for the monthly spouse lunches. But none of them had any idea what a large undertaking the cookbook would be.

First, a word about Marty Ginsburg’s love affair with cooking. It began, strangely enough, when he was in the army at Fort Sill, Okla., with his new bride, the young Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Neither of the Ginsburgs knew much about cooking then, but one of their wedding gifts was The Escoffier Cookbook, the bible of French cooking. And so Marty, a chemistry major, began at page one and worked his way through the entire volume. As he observed in a speech in 1996, there was method to his madness then and later.

“I learned very early on in our marriage that Ruth was a fairly terrible cook and, for lack of interest, unlikely to improve. This seemed to me comprehensible; my mother was a fairly terrible cook also. Out of self-preservation, I decided I had better learn to cook because Ruth, to quote her precisely, was expelled from the kitchen by her food-loving children nearly a quarter-century ago.”

Categories: Food, Law