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Sunday, June 18, 2006

Lets Marginalize the Fringes

The habit of Republicans and Democrats to run to the right or the left to capture their party's base and its nomination for whatever elected post is coveted, has marginalized most of us who sit somewhere slightly to the left or right of center.

I think its time to marginalize both party's bases.

I'm getting fed up with being disenfranchised. I hover around the center. A social liberal, a fiscal conservative.

I happen to believe less government is better, but the poorest of us--economically, educationally, and intellectually--need bootstrapped, sometime forever.

Tax cuts are nice but not at the expense of a balanced budget.

For believers, God can be part of American life, but there's more to Him than Genesis and Jesus. And if you're a believer, seek out like-minded people in places other than public schools or government buildings. Try your church.

We made a mess of Iraq for all the wrong reasons, but can't just walk away.

Pro-life and pro-choice are not mutually exclusive.

Unfettered capitalism and globalization are not inherently good. They are amoral economic systems that need to be controlled and managed by moral people.

But if I run to the Democrats for leadership as my parents did, there's a whole bunch of shit to embrace (or at least silently acquiesce to). Never-ending entitlements to more than just the truly needy, partial birth abortions and abortion-as-birth-control, political correctness run amok and a constant ambilvalence that fears to offend.

If I run to the Republicans--as I did with Reagan (much to my father's dismay)--there's yet another ration of shit with which I must at least not disagree. Never ending entitlements that enrich the enriched under the cover of economic stimulation, the criminalization of an intensely personal decision that is best left to a woman and her God, the demonization of others who don't look or talk just like us (or at least like we do now, two or three generations later) and a certitude and righteousness that ignores reality.

A pox on both your houses.

I'd like to see a new party begin that is firmly anchored in the middle where the vast number of us are. A party for people who are equally put off by the vitriolic spewing from both the left and right. A party for people who resent being simplified into red and blue then transparently manipulated in the name of God, 9-11, Social Security, health insurance or the poor. A party led by someone who does not use pollsters, consultants and advisors to find then cynically pander to our dark side.

If we were the base for a party like that, just think of the kind of government we might have.

Let's start a new party and marginalize the fringes for a change.

In the meantime, since this blog is supposed to be about recipes, here's one that is American as apple pie.


Mom's Apple Pie
Makes one, two crust pie


For the crust
2 cups flour
3 cup shortening
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons ice cold water


For the filling
6-7 apples: Choose a firm fleshed apple like a Golden Delicious or a Granny Smith, although a Granny Smith is slightly more bitter and may need more sugar, depending on your taste buds.
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon flour
¾ cup sugar
One egg white beaten with a tablespoon of water.
Three strips of aluminum foil to cover the edge of the crust for part of the time

First: Pre-heat the oven to 425°F. Using a pastry cutter, blend the flour, salt and shortening until the mixture is the consistency of small peas.

Second: Slowly incorporate the three tablespoons of cold water until the dough gathers up into a ball. Avoid overworking the dough or you'll end up with a tough crust.

Third: Split the dough into two equal portions; cover the unused half with plastic wrap to keep moist; and using a lightly floured rolling pin, gently roll out the other half into a large circle on a floured, smooth dishtowel. Hold a nine-inch pie plate upside down over the circle to ensure that it's about two-inches in diameter wider than the pan. Lift up the dishtowel and flip the dough into the pan, gently pushing the dough into the corners.

Fourth: Core and peel the apples, slicing them into bite-sized pieces. Pile them onto the pie pan; sprinkle with cinnamon, flour and sugar.

Fifth: Roll out the other piece of dough to about the same size as the first. Use the towel to gently lift it and place it on top of the apple-filled pie pan. Trim the overhanging dough, leaving a ¼ inch all around.

Sixth: Crimp the top and bottom crusts together using your thumbs and index fingers to form little ridges, or press the tines of a fork around the edge to seal. Trim off any excess dough. Using a knife cut four, one-inch slits into the top of the pie to vent the steam.

Seventh: With your fingers or a pastry brush, brush the beaten egg white and water onto the crust. Crimp the aluminum foil strips around the outer edge of the crust to cover.

And finally: Bake in the 425°F oven for 15 minutes. Lower the heat to 350°F, remove the aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes more.