Hot flashes are usually a private matter. Alison Teal shares hers.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Hot Flashes From The Campaign Trail
May 27, 2004
Alison Teal Brown

Okay, okay he’s done it, but I’m out in the country now where we like to beat dead horses. In the end, Kerry decided to accept the nomination at the convention. The idea that the whole thing was too much of a distraction won out. Personally, I’m sorry. I think it would have been a good idea to delay. But the pundits -- even our pundits -- were saying it would be a disaster, demeaning to the process, a break with tradition, and a negative political move that portrayed Democrats as money-grubbing beasts.

We need to act with more self-confidence. The Republicans don’t totally control the spin. Kerry surrogates – people like you and me as well as the nationally known Democrats -- could have inundated the newspapers and networks with the arguments in favor of his delaying his acceptance of the nomination. We could have written letters to the editors and called in to radio talk shows.

How is it demeaning to the process to make the election a level playing field? A candidate gets a $75 million allowance for campaign spending the moment he accepts the nomination of his party or on September 1, whichever comes first. At that point he can neither raise nor spend any other funds. Each candidate should have the same amount of money and the same amount of time to spend it. Kerry has raised more than any Democratic candidate ever. Last month he did better than Bush in fund-raising. This is happening because people are terrified of another Bush Administration. They want to help. They want to be involved. So, just as it looks like we may be narrowing the gap, Kerry is to stop raising and spending his campaign money five weeks before Bush has to? This also means his federal $75 million must stretch over five more weeks than Bush’s has to. And that’s fair? No one in any sport would allow such a lopsided advantage but we are going to allow it when our health care, education and international security are at stake? Come on.

George McGovern said he was afraid a delay would show “money is king and everything else takes a back seat.” But does it matter if we lose the election for a lack of it?

Best, of course, would be to change the law and make the playing field level. It’s easy; just have the candidates get the public money at the same time, regardless of the convention schedule. This is so obviously fair; it is hard to see how anyone could object. This law didn’t exactly come from heaven on a tablet after all. William Safire had a brilliant idea: hold both conventions at the same time. The networks would be furious of course. They would have to cover each convention simultaneously. Americans who would normally watch only one convention would be forced to watch both, thereby becoming better informed voters and citizens. Sadly, It’s too late to do it this year, given the massive orchestration a convention requires.

It’s true; the Democrats set the date for their convention. It wasn’t forced on them. But it was done long before Kerry was a candidate. The reason the Democratic convention was scheduled five weeks earlier than the Republican is because, in the last election, Al Gore ran out of money in April and was essentially silent for three months as a result. Meanwhile the Republicans were killing him with paid media. It would have been better for Gore to have the public money kick in earlier. Ergo, set the date for the convention earlier. This year, fortunately, Kerry opted out of federal financing for the primaries (thanks to Governor Dean’s leading the way), which would have limited him, as it did Gore, to $45 million. So far he has raised $105 million so he will only be outspent 2:1 by Bush

The one argument I found compelling for Kerry’s not delaying his acceptance is that it might sacrifice a couple of weeks of positive news coverage. Our son, Nicholas, argued that the coverage if he didn’t accept the nomination would all be about just that: not accepting and going for the money. Whereas, when he accepts the nomination, the issues will be articulated. Positive news coverage is more powerful to undecided voters than paid political advertising. Call me a cynic, but I’d rather not put all my faith in the press and the possibility of their covering the issues. Also, the money goes to things other than ads. Flying time alone is $25,000 an hour. (My friend, Harry Tuft, points out that the public pays for most of Bush’s trips, which are thinly veiled as government business, but seem to always include fund-raising.) There are grass roots operations to be run, offices to be opened, bumper stickers, lawn signs…

As to the concern over breaking with tradition, as
Arthur Schlesinger Jr. pointed out yesterday, Franklin D. Roosevelt was the first nominee to ever accept his party’s nomination at a convention and “as late as 1940, the … Republican convention in Philadelphia nominated Wendell L. Willkie on June 27. Mr. Willkie delivered his acceptance speech 52 days later.” So much for breaking with tradition. What’s more if we really want to stay with tradition, we could reinstate the smoke and get rid of those pesky women and minorities.

But it’s done. That means it is more important than ever to give to Kerry now. We’ve only got sixty days. Curtis Gans says it’s time to tithe. If you’ve already maxed out, then give to Kerry Victory 04 at the DNC. The stakes have gone up again.

Hot Flashes From the Campaign Trail
May 14, 2004
Alison Teal

Sam and I returned from Italy and France in time to be one of the hosts of a fundraiser in Danny and Hilary Goldstine’s Giverney-like garden in Berkeley. We stayed abroad until the last minute, which was okay because our new best friend, the energizer bunny, Adam Friedson, organized the wildly successful event.

Laura Nader, Ralph’s sister and a neighbor of the Goldstine’s, showed up and paid to get in. Initially one of the campaign volunteers said she had given $2000, but she brought a sealed envelope with $50. It was then rumored she was there to be difficult, that she planned to embarrass some of the two-hundred attendees with their “centrist” candidate. Berkeleyites are always eager to impale themselves on the sword of political correctness, so it seemed like a perfect venue. Daniel Ellsberg was the third of five speakers (he, Adam, Sam, John Hart, and Robert Reich). Unaware of the Nader presence, he opened his remarks brilliantly and saved the afternoon from deteriorating into a session of complaints about Kerry’s imperfections. He began: “Like many of you here, I agree with everything Ralph Nader says except ‘Vote for me’”.

Reich also spoke at another house party this last Sunday sponsored by the Berkeley Democratic Club. Again, fabulous energy and incredible results. We set out to beat the $30,000 raised by the Marin County Republicans for Bush and ended up raising much more. With the Gage party, Berkeley has given more than $175,000 which is more than $1 for every non-student resident of Berkeley. Gotta love the place..

Not many of you know that I am completely responsible for all of Robert Reich’s academic success. In 1968 at the end of the California primary, I was in charge of a pre-paid book with a limited number of American Airlines write-in tickets. I have never since held such a powerful position. All the McCarthy student volunteers were desperate to get tickets back home and only a
few were going to. If I hadn’t decided in favor of Reich, he would not have returned to Dartmouth in time to finish his senior year, which led to his Rhodes scholarship and so on. It may not be appropriate for Oxford to actually grant me a similar honor, but I do think the country owes me something big.

While it’s true we came back to Berkeley for the fundraiser. We also came back for the food.

The Bay Area has more superb restaurants per capita than any other place in the world. I apologize to France and Italy, but it’s true. And Berkeley has its fair share of those Bay Area restaurants and the best of the bakeries. Our friend, Peter Dybwad, swears rent control is responsible. Because of it, the residents of Berkeley have more money to spend on food. And they do.

The old saying is true: Oakland goes to work, Berkeley goes to breakfast. The pecan roll at the Cheese Board Collective is incomparable for sugar junkies and their scones make everyone else’s look doughy and dull. (Unfortunately, I didn’t get one this trip, foolishly trying to do so on the first of May. Naturally it was closed so every employee could participate in
International Workers Solidarity Day demonstrations.) Acme bread has the best baguette. The croissants at La Farine are better than any you can get in France. The best morning bun – a personal favorite -- is also from La Farine, which is not surprising, since they’re made from croissant dough. A good morning bun makes a cinnamon roll seem like an uninspired lump of cake. People line up early to buy them warm. This tender, buttery morning pastry is simply the best.

La Farine’s Extraordinary Morning Bun and The Impossible Recipe For It
(I would love to think that some of you will ruin your weekend attempting this)

It is best to make these over two days. Make the dough the first day (it can take about 8 hours), leave it in the refrigerator overnight and bake the buns in the morning. They absolutely must be eaten while they’re hot and fresh. Believe me, this recipe is only slightly more difficult to read than to execute.

2 oz. (1/2 cup plus 4 1/2 tsp. Dry nonfat milk powder
2 1/3 cups cold water
2 1/2 lb. (8cups) unbleached flour
5 tsp. Salt

Butter Block:
1 1/2 lb. (48 Tbs.) unsalted butter, cut into 2-inch cubes,
slightly softened
2 Tbs. Unbleached flour (about)

2 cups packed brown sugar
2 cups sugar
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground clove

Proof the yeast by dissolving the dry yeast in a small amount
of warm water, sugar and flour.
Next, combine the yeast with the nonfat milk powder, water,
flour and salt to form a lumpy under mixed dough.
(Don’t over knead or the buns will be tough.)

Croissant dough needs to be kept cold. Cover a bowl with the
dough in it and let it rise in the refrigerator for one to
two hours, until it has doubled in size.

Next, add the flour to the softened butter by knead it into the
butter. You must use the best unsalted butter.
The better the butter, the less water it has in it.

Roll out the butter mixed with flour between two pieces of
floured waxed paper. Form it into a 10 x 12-inch rectangle.
Wrap in plastic and chill in the refrigerator. The butter
should be chilled to the consistency of modeling clay.
If it’s too cold it will break into chunks and if it’s too
warm, it will be absorbed too much into the dough.

When the dough and butter are evenly chilled, roll the chilled
dough into an 18 x 12-inch rectangle on a floured surface.
Unwrap the chilled butter and lay it on the upper two-thirds of
the rolled dough. Fold the lower (unbuttered) third over
the center third. Bring the upper third down over the center,
as if you were folding a letter. Make it into an even

Then turn the dough 90 degrees, so the short open ends are at 6
and 12 o’clock. Roll the dough until it doubles in
length, rolling toward the open ends, not toward the folds.
Fold in thirds again, as you would a letter. Rotate 90
degrees again, doubling in length and fold again. After the
two turns, seal the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate 2
to 4 hours. Then repeat the set of two turns again and follow
by refrigerating overnight. The cold rest keeps the
butter from melting and oozing into the dough. If the dough
shrinks rather than expands and won’t roll out after one
of its refrigerated periods, let it sit at room temperature for
a few minutes.

The dough can be frozen for future use at this point if you are
now bored with the whole idea of making the buns.
However, if you are up to it, take the dough out the next
morning. It will be only slightly larger than when the turns
were completed.

Roll out the finished dough, dust it with a mixture of the
brown sugar and spices, roll it into a tight coil and cut into
individual rounds. Put each round into a greased muffin tin
and be sure each is firmly in contact with the bottom of the
pan. (Otherwise the air in-between will burn the buns. Don’t
let the dough get too warm as you are working it. Keep
putting it in the refrigerator if necessary.

Now there is one more rising, this time in a warm spot. It
should take about 45 minutes. It is ready when you poke
your finger in the side of the pastry and the indentation

Bake at 400 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes. If the top starts to
burn during baking, cover with foil. And put foil under
the muffin tin to catch any drips.

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