Monthly Archive for August, 2008
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Discussing some more anthrax stuff, where I continue to find Glennzilla a little bit off the rails. I’m bothered because I think he is usually so good. For example, Glenn’s update from a post today on the emerging government case against Dr. Ivins as the anthrax perpetrator:
UPDATE III: Long-time anthrax expert Dr. Meryl Nass (Curriculum Vitae here) uses crystal clear rationality to point out just some of the glaring flaws in what the FBI presented today. The fact that the FBI is plainly unable to place him near Princeton, New Jersey on either of the two dates on which the letters were sent — and, worse, the fact that the FBI included several facts which cut against such a finding — is, as Dr. Nass points out, by itself an enormous omission:
Put up or shut up: this is the most critical evidence in this case. If Ivins cannot be placed in New Jersey on those dates, he is not the attacker, or he did not act alone.
I highly recommend that her analysis be read in its entirety, particularly by any journalists who are preparing to opine on what took place today.
Since the quote above that Glenn pulled concerning the case is neither damning nor even an actual requirement for a hypothetical prosecution, I really found the statement completely hyperbolic. So I took a look at Dr. Nass’s post in its entirety. My take is that Glenn is rightly skeptical in principle, but his skepticism here has a whiff of defense counselishness and not necessarily a commitment to asking whether there is plausibility to the government claims. Here is Dr. Nass’s post, with my responses interweaved. At the bottom of the page is a selection from an affadavit outlining aspect of the government case that Dr. Ivins was the anthrax mailer.
UPDATED II BELOW
if Glenn Greenwald is being a little simplistic in his deconstruction of the anthrax case evidence. I know people have got to talk about something, but we need to know what the actual case is. I don’t disabuse the notion that the baseline stance of not trusting the FBI is correct. I just think he sounds a little Obama-birth certificate/Confederate Yankee when talking about lyophilizers. Ivins was either known to be doing work with one or not. It seems like this is a timeline issue, not whether he had ever used one in the past. Of course he should be skeptical, I would prefer that he address what would make the evidence meaningful versus only what would make it lack meaning. The sorority thing sounds typically FBI insane, however.
I don’t mean to harsh on GG, but the issue here is that when people talk about specific genetic signatures of the strain used in the attacks, they don’t just mean the “Ames strain” (unless they are imbeciles). They are likely talking about specific SNPs or genetic markers that are not present in every stock of the Ames strain, but are specific to the stock used in the attacks. Now, it is unclear how many people have/had access to this particular hypothetical clone, but more here at CNN. Additionally, a large amount of incriminating evidence against Ivins may be possibly dishonesty in interviews, something not discussed by GG. Let’s just see what there really is.
Excerpt from one of the search warrants here concerning the genetic markers used to identify the particular anthrax strain. I will add that the documents being released may be different levels of compelling, but in the compilation of information for warrants and summaries, there would likely be an “everything and the kitchen sink approach” so the existence of shitty or individually non-compelling information is not necessarily a red flag.
The Yngwie Malmsteen of Bacon? The Kuma’s kind of bacon? This bacon is so overkill ____ contest kind of bacon.
We have not kept up with discussing each bacon with you because the end results have basically been a continuum between tasty BLT and amazing BLT. Also, we knew that we would not even be original as we could merely outsource to a number of better prepared cob loggers on the Bacon of the Month front (more in a minute).
First, let’s see how this suspect bacon is discussed by Grateful Palate:
Sweet aroma, thin and crunchy. Perfect balance like a fine cut diamond. Sweet and powerful, almost fruity. Addictive, soft, lush, judicious use of fat and sublimely balanced. AWESOME and hedonistic. Very unique, sweet, yet savory bacon. Kids love all bacon, but they will especially love this bacon made by J. Samuel Whiting Meats in Pennsylvania.
Hmm, intriguing. Our thoughts in a moment. To the gallery of web log contributors. BEERORKID.com:
It was like xmas when this showed up. The packaging was darn good and two pounds of J. Samuel Whiting Bacon smiled back at me. I had to wait for a special occasion to test it out. Saturday turned out to be a perfect time. It looked pretty awesome and thick. I knew I was gonna be drinking on the beer bus soon so I just did two pieces.
The smell was sweet with a nice smoke aroma, not too much. Cast iron was the only way to go and I slowly cooked it to near crisp. The smoke smell was sweet while cooking. Not much fat rendered out while cooking. It was sticking to my uber seasoned cast iron pan which was odd. I think the sugar and lack of grease caused that.
I paired it with two eggs and some hash browns. It was pretty thick so it was not overly crispy. The flavor was very clean, sweet, with a hint of smoke. It was after taking a bite that the real flavor came out. The aftertaste was awesome. Very impressed.
J. Samuel Whiting’s packaging leaves quite a bit to be desired, but their bacon was actually very impressive. According to the Bacon of the Month insert, they placed first at the 2005 Pennsylvania Meat Processor’s Association competition. I have no idea how prestigious this competition is, but I can assure you the award is well-deserved. Thick-sliced and quite lean, the cooked product had great texture and flavor that’s definitely well-suited to be eaten in whole slices. The BLT’s were fantastic, and the bacon was a great complement to the cinnamon french toast we made for breakfast this morning.
This bacon was clearly the best of the recent offerings. I’m going to give it first place (for now), but it’s pretty unfortunate that we can’t do a head-to-head comparison with the previous frontrunner.
We will now offer you our thoughts.
1) We got a bad package. The package was vacuum sealed, and while the seal part was intact, the vacuum was not applied. This means the bacon will have an off taste because of oxidation of the fat.
2) We read the ingredients on the cure. The awesome aftertaste? The extreme savoriness? This bacon featured MSG and a couple kinds of hydrolyzed protein in the cure. The proteins will act like MSG in an unholy trifecta. This bacon would fail a drug test. This bacon was juiced!!!!!
3) Contrary to Grateful Palate’s description on thickness, the bacon was nicely thick. The fat had an interesting quality, and likely the bacon was of such a cure that there would be some rendering of fat but not substantial shrinkage due to excess liquid content. The bacon was cooked on medium heat on a gas burned in a Calphalon pan. The bacon was cooked until done, but without any overdone, deep-fried attributes (the bacon remained chewy with slight crispy bits on the perimeter).
4) The bacon seemed fatty but tasted extremely meaty. Even the fat somehow tasted meaty and perfectly chewy. The bacon was slightly sweet, and the off-notes from the poor packaging were detectable, but something about this bacon said “YOU DON’T CARE ABOUT OFF-NOTES. EAT MORE” This bacon was as close to an unstoppable force of meat product overkill that I could possible imagine. I would love to see an fMRI of my brain while eating this. The savoriness was indeed the most notable attribute and could be directly ascribed to the MSG. Bacon is beloved by my mouth and I have tasted immeasurable amounts of wonderful bacon, and the J. Samuel Whiting experience is likely as close as I have come to feeling like food has mind control. I have been presented the opportunity to shake magic shake on my Korean Fried Chicken (MSG and black pepper) and the result was an inability to stop seasoning the food. I submit to you that this bacon is the Barry Bonds of bacon. It is up to you whether you would like to put it in your tastebud Hall of Fame or Hall of Shame.
5) This bacon, when put in the refrigerator did not get that refrigerator reconfiguration of molecules that makes tomorrow’s cold fridge bacon seem fatty and weird, this bacon was still chewy and wonderful on the flipside. The fat looked like it was there but it didn’t taste like it was there. Perhaps this had to do with the fact that the entire product was bathed in mouth crack?
6) I’m ready to order some more of the abomination.
On cheating in bacon flavoring?
More Tomorrow. Plus Chuckles at Celeb Dream Cameo when I dig into my e-mail.
Actual important content on the approaching self-unaware singularity, non-Althouse division. KWB hits it, then backs over it again.
Plover adds in re Res’s 3-point turn over MattY:
How Matt Yglesias is doing compared with 8 years ago does not actually correlate to any known quantity. He has the position he has because he can’t figure that out. Surviving in punditry depends on remaining information free.
He did write a book, you know. [Revs engine]