Should We Mint The Coin?

— Crossposted from Democratic Convention Watch

 We'll start with the legislation:

The Secretary may mint and issue platinum bullion coins and proof platinum coins in accordance with such specifications, designs, varieties, quantities, denominations, and inscriptions as the Secretary, in the Secretary’s discretion, may  prescribe from time to time.

That's from 31 USC § 5112 — Denominations, specifications, and design of coins, which you can read in its entirety here. So there's no doubt that Tim Geithner or Jack Lew. once he replaces Timmy, can just say "Mint it." By the way, in case you're wondering whose face should go on the coin, Paul Krugman has a great idea. Use John Boehner, Why?

Because without him and his colleagues, this wouldn’t be necessary.

Click here for a photo of what the Boehner coin might look like. Plus a few other possibilities.

More after the jump.

It always astounds me that Congress is ready to spend all sorts of money, but then won't pay the bills. It's EXACTLY like ordering a product on the internet with a credit card, and then refusing to pay the credit card bill, while playing with the new toy.

The GOP likes to say we're like Greece: that we'll end up with that kind of economy if we don't stop spending. But we're nothing like Greece for a whole list of reasons. First, we mint our own money, they're on the Euro, and therefore subject to outside forces in terms of getting money. They cannot print their own. Second, ours is the currency used worldwide not only for transactions, but also as one of the major currencies to which other currencies are pegged. Next, whereas Greece's debt is mostly external, most of ours is internal. That's right, we owe far more money to ourselves then to China or other outsiders. 

Finally, all this talk about "austerity" over stimulus is, and always has been, counterproductive and destructive. The IMF just put out a report on that issue. It looked at the effects of European austerity programs and found that for every dollar cut, economic activity was cut by $1.50. Thus, additional cuts to government spending will hurt the economy, rather than help it. It's a testament to the strength of our economy that the meager stimulus passed a few years ago has worked as well as it has, especially when considering the damage inflicted by the GOP. 

To my mind, there's just no question that minting the coin is the best idea. There's really no downside. Will someone try to sue the president for doing it? Sure. But it's unlikely that anyone will have standing. Why?

The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned.

You should know from where that sentence emanates. If you want to carry it to the extreme, a case could potentially be made that refusing to pay sovereign debt is a form of insurrection. But I digress.

Will the House impeach the president? Probably. But he'll be acquitted in the Senate, and if we look at the last impeachment, well, Bubba the Big Dog doesn't seem to have suffered too much. And it's not a slam dunk that southern Republican Congressmen (and that is the last bastion of the teabaggers) will want to go down in history as impeaching a president for paying sovereign debt, in accordance with the US Constitution.

How will we look in the eyes of the world? Pretty good. Our leader will have stood up to obstructionism and nonsense to keep the largest economy in the world on track. Americans? The only people opposed to this would be people who don't believe the government should pay its bills. You know, the right wing wackos who want to destroy government. They who are represented by the same cretins in the House who have voted for the 34th time to repeal the ACA, and also put forth a bill to repeal the 16th amendment. (Yes, you should know what that says… if you don't, it's the one that allows Congress to collect taxes.) I'm not joking. It came from king of the crazies Steve King.

President Obama has said he won't negotiate on the debt ceiling. And he shouldn't. This is an easy out, and gives notice to the House that this time, things are different. America comes before their desire to destroy us.

Rhodesli Baklava

— by Marcia Israel Weingarten

Baklava is a sweet pastry made of layers of Filo dough filled with chopped nuts and bathed in a sweet syrup. It is labeled as a Turkish, Greek or any of a variety of Middle Eastern countries’ delicacy. My family made it on the Island of Rhodes, so I claim it as my own.

The full recipe after the jump.
There are many variations in making Baklava. Different communities feature different nut mixtures and dIfferent configurations when baking. My mom makes a rolled variety. Here is her recipe:

Kaye Hasson Israel’s Rhodesli Baklava


  • 1 Lb prepared FIlo Dough
  • 5 Cups almonds, ground (or other nuts of your choosing)
  • 1 C Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 C oil in a small bowl.
  • 1/2 C Tasted Sesame Seeds (optional)

Syrup ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 C Honey
  • 1 1/2 C Sugar
  • 1 C Water

  1. Prepare a mixture using ground nuts, sugar, cinnamon and gloves. Set aside.
  2. Open package of Filo. Keep moist and usable by placing a moist cloth over the waxed paper covered batch of Filo that you are not currently using ( otherwise, Filo has a tendency to dry out).
  3. Place one layer of Filo on your work surface. Brush with oil. Place a second layer of Filo directly on top. Brush second layer with oil.
  4. Sprinkle nut mixture in a thin, even layer on brushed Filo. Top with one additional sheet of Filo. Brush with oil.
  5. Begin to roll Filo tightly. Slice rolled Filo log at a diagonal. Cut approximately 1 inch in length. Place cut pieces on a cookie sheet, lined with parchment paper.
  6. Bake in a 350 degree oven for approximately 20 minutes (Since ovens vary, watch as it bakes…when it begins to take on color, you can remove from the oven)
  7. Allow to cool.
  8. In the meantime, prepare syrup: Combine all ingredients. Boil on stove. Cook until it becomes “sticky” (if you have a cooled bit between your fingers, it should form “strings”)
  9. When syrup is ready, pour over tray of baked Baklava. Allow syrup to soak in.
  10. For serving, “soaked” piece of Baklava can be placed in size-to-fit paper Bake Cups (often called Cupcake liners) and placed on a serving platter.
  11. Divine!

Marcia Israel Weingarten is the creator of Bendichas Manos. “Bendichos Manos” which means “Blessed Hands,” is an exploration of the Sephardic recipes handed down in Marcia’s family.

Jewish Leaders Denounce Right-Wing Smear of Occupy Wall Street

We are publicly engaged American Jews who support both Israel and the ideas behind Occupy Wall Street and who also strongly oppose right-wing attempts to smear that movement with false charges of anti-Semitism.

It’s an old, discredited tactic: find a couple of unrepresentative people in a large movement and then conflate the oddity with the cause. One black swan means that all swans are black.

One particularly vile example was a television ad during Sunday talk shows paid for by something called the Emergency Committee for Israel that is organized by William Kristol and Gary Bauer.

It is disingenuous to raise the canard about Jews and Wall Street in order to denounce it.

Occupy Wall Street is a mass protest against rising inequality in America, a fact documented last week by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office. Anyone who visits Zuccotti Park understands that it has nothing to do with religion and everything to do “with liberty and justice for all.”

All of us irrespective of party or position should expose and denounce anti-Semitism where ever it occurs, but not tar hundreds of thousands of protestors nationwide because a handful of hateful people show up with offensive signs that can’t be taken down in a public park open to all.

We are pleased that the Anti-Defamation League agrees that some random signs “are not representative of the larger views of the Occupy Wall Street movement.”

List of co-signers follows after the jump.

  • Stuart Appelbaum, President, RWDSU*
  • Jeremy Ben-Ami, founder and President, J Street
  • Richard Brodsky, former Assemblyman, New York
  • Richard Cohen, Washington Post
  • Danny Goldberg, President, Goldve Entertainment
  • Mark Green, former Public Advocate for New York City
  • Elizabeth Holtzman, former Congresswoman and District Attorney (Brooklyn)
  • Rabbi Steven Jacobs, founder, Progressive Faith Foundation
  • Rabbi Jill Jacobs, Executive Director, Rabbis for Human Rights-North America
  • Madeleine Kunin, former Governor, Vermont
  • Jo-ann Mort, CEO, ChangeCommunicaitons
  • Eliot Spitzer, former Governor, New York State
  • Andy Stern, President Emeritus, Service Employees International Union
  • Hadar Susskind, Vice President, Tides Foundation
  • Margery Tabankin, President, Margery Tabankin Assoc.
  • Randi Weingarten, President, American Federation of Teachers

*Institutions for identification purposes only.

Your Representative: Working Hard or Hardly Working

— DocJess

Welcome to the start of the 112th Congress.  In addition to getting more paid vacation time then any other group of people, including union workers and even most part time workers, Congress generally doesn’t meet Monday or Friday. That’s 102 scheduled vacation days (exclusive of the Monday/Friday deal) with adjournment on 8 December, leading to an additional 16 days off. Strikes me as obscene. If I owned a company and paid someone in the neighborhood of $250,000/year in salary, benefits and perks (exclusive of the office budget) – I’d expect that person to work more than he/she took vacation. But maybe that’s just me. You can see the full calendar here.

Then again, this might be a good year for gridlock, given what the House led by the Tan Man and his DeMint-led cohorts in the Senate want to do.  
On their agenda:

  • Repeal healthcare. And no, this won’t happen.
  • Repeal safe and legal abortion. This might happen.
  • Repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”. NOT gonna happen.
  • Debt ceiling? The tea baggers are already up in arms about what the lame duck Congress did, and they do not want to raise it. Hopefully, cooler heads amoung the Republican intelligencia (sole member: Karl Rove) and the GOP members who have been around long enough to want to come back for an additional term will prevail.
  •  Spending bills: remember there’s no budget, just a continuing budget resolution that will need to be renewed/reviewed/reconsidered/beaten with a stick in February.
  • White House ethics trials.

Adapted from DemConWatch.