CHICAGO — Sounding like a potential presidential candidate, former Vice President Mike Pence contended Monday that the nation’s economic woes were almost entirely the result of Democratic President Joe Biden’s policies, and told an audience at the University Club of Chicago that without a turnaround, Americans will “change leadership very soon.” Speaking for nearly 40 minutes before a few hundred people in an ornate hall, Pence touted the economic successes of the “Trump-Pence administration,” but made no direct reference to the man he served under, former President Donald Trump. Nor did he sa...
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Jeffrey Clark could be in for a "rough ride" when his former Justice Department colleague Jody Hunt testifies at his removal hearing.
The former DOJ official will appear Monday in a Fulton County court as he attempts to have his case moved to federal court, and The Guardian's Hugo Lowell told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" that state prosecutors have called Hunt to testify that Clark was not engaged in his official government duties when he assisted Donald Trump in his effort to overturn his 2020 election loss in Georgia.
"The star witness for the Fulton County district attorney's office is Jody Hunt, the former head of the DOJ Civil Division in the Trump administration, and I've been speaking to Jody Hunt himself, as well as others in the legal community who know Jody well, and the two big takeaways are bad news for Clark. Jody Hunt appears to believe that Jeff Clark was off reservation when he was doing his election interference activities at the behest of the former president, and not within the scope of his official duties."
Ronald Reagan's former attorney general Edwin Meese filed an affidavit arguing that the prosecution of a former president and assistant attorney general was an unprecedented "affront to federal supremacy," but Lowell said that Hunt would counter that argument in his own testimony.
"Even though Jody Hunt believes that the former Reagan attorney general Edwin Meese is a good guy and a personal friend, he thinks that the affidavit filed yesterday on the docket in this case was seriously lacking, and it was an affidavit defending Jeffrey Clark saying he had all this privilege and the fact that he was working with the president and it was all deliberative," Lowell said, "but if Jody Hunt as expected delivers damning testimony against both of those counts today, I think Clark will be in for a rough ride."
Boebert's 'explicit groping' video response shows she's in a panic about re-election: MSNBC panelist
Reacting to the continuing fallout for Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) after closed circuit video showed her vaping, acting out and engaging in mutual groping with her date before being booted from a performance of the "Beetlejuice" musical at a Denver theater, MSNBC contributor Katty Kay claimed the embattled Colorado Republican's effusive apology over the weekend demonstrates she's worried about her political future.
With "Morning Joe" co-panelist Johnathan Lemire describing Boebert's actions including "explicit groping" -- much to the dismay of co-host Mika Brzezinski -- Kay noted Boebert's effusive apology and pointed out that it was completely out of character for the lawmaker who normally courts controversy.
That apology, she asserted, was a sign that Boebert knows her latest exploits are not going down well with her constituents -- particularly in light of her close call win in the 2022 midterm election.
"I'm just glad that I'm not the one being asked to describe what groping means," she quipped before digging in.
"You know, it's kind of rare to hear Lauren Boebert be sort of vaguely apologetic about anything," she continued. "She doesn't do it very much but I guess when you've just won your election by five votes [note: Boebert won by 546 votes] you need to make sure that you hang on to all of the votes you possibly can, which I suppose is why she's sort of changed her tune."
"I mean, I was -- it's kind of a change of character for her to come out in anything other than defiant mode so I think she realizes this doesn't go down particularly well with people in her district, " she added.
"Her seat is not safe and this comes at a moment where she's one of the rabble-rousers in the house with [Reps.] Marjorie Taylor Greene and Matt Gaetz and others trying to push to impeach President Biden and shut down the government," added Joe Scarborough. "So she has more time perhaps to attend family-friendly shows in Denver with a male companion which she's overly friendly with."
MSNBC 09 18 2023 07 05 35youtu.be
Few beverages have as rich a heritage and as complicated a chemistry as bourbon whiskey, often called “America’s spirit.” Known for its deep amber hue and robust flavors, bourbon has captured the hearts of enthusiasts across the country.
But for a whiskey to be called a bourbon, it has to adhere to very specific rules. For one, it needs to be made in the U.S. or a U.S. territory – although almost all is made in Kentucky. The other rules have more to do with the steps to make it – how much corn is in the grain mixture, the aging process and the alcohol proof.
I’m a bourbon researcher and chemistry professor who teaches classes on fermentation, and I’m a bourbon connoisseur myself. The complex science behind this aromatic beverage reveals why there are so many distinct bourbons, despite the strict rules around its manufacture.
The mash bill
All whiskeys have what’s called a mash bill. The mash bill refers to the recipe of grains that makes up the spirit’s flavor foundation. To be classified as bourbon, a spirit’s mash bill must have at least 51% corn – the corn gives it that characteristic sweetness.
Almost all bourbons also have malted barley, which lends a nutty, smoky flavor and provides enzymes that turn starches into sugars later in the production process.
Many distillers also use rye and wheat to flavor their bourbons. Rye makes the bourbon spicy, while wheat produces a softer, sweeter flavor. Others might use grains like rice or quinoa – but each grain chosen, and the amount of each, affects the flavor down the line.
The chemistry of yeast
Once distillers grind the grains from the mash bill and mix them with heated water, they add yeast to the mash. This process is called “pitching the yeast.” The yeast consumes sugars and produces ethyl alcohol and carbon dioxide as byproducts during the process called fermentation – that’s how the bourbon becomes alcoholic.
The fermented mash is now called “beer.” While similar in structure and taste to the beer you might buy in a six-pack, this product still has a way to go before it reaches its final form.
Yeast fermentation yields other byproducts besides alcohol and carbon dioxide, including flavor compounds called congeners. Congeners can be esters, which produce a fruity or floral flavor, or complex alcohols, which can taste strong and aromatic.
The longer the fermentation period, the longer the yeast has to create more flavorful byproducts, which enhances the complexity of the spirit’s final taste. And different yeasts produce different amounts of congeners.
Separating the fermentation products
During distillation, distillers separate the alcohol and congeners from the fermented mash of grains, resulting in a liquid spirit. To do this, they use pot or column stills, which are large kettles or columns, respectively, often made at least partially of copper. These stills heat the beer and any congeners that have a boiling point of less than 350 degrees Fahrenheit (176 degrees Celsius) to form a vapor.
Pot stills in a distillery. FocusEye/E+ via Getty Images
The type of still will influence the beverages’ final flavor, because pot stills often do not separate the congeners as precisely as column stills do. Pot stills result in a spirit that often contains a more complex mixture of congeners.
The desired vapors that exit the still are condensed back to liquid form, and this product is called the distillate.
A column still. MattBarlow92/Wikimedia Commons
Different chemical compounds have different boiling points, so distillers can separate the different chemicals by collecting the distillate at different temperatures. So in the case of the pot still, as the kettle is heated, chemicals that have lower boiling points are collected first. As the kettle heats further, chemicals with higher boiling points vaporize and then are condensed and collected.
By the end of the distillation process with a pot still, the distillate has been divided into a few fractions. One of these fractions is called the “hearts,” containing mostly ethanol and water, but also small amounts of congeners, which play a big role in the final flavor of the product.
The alchemy of time and wood
After distillation, the “hearts” fraction (which is clear and resembles water) is placed in a charred oak barrel for the aging process. Here, the bourbon interacts with chemicals in the barrel’s wood, and about 70% of the bourbon’s final flavor is determined by this step. The bourbon gets all its amber color during the aging process.
Bourbon may rest in the barrel for several years. During the summer, when the temperature is hot, the distillate can pass through the inner charred layer of the barrel. The charred wood acts like a filter and strains out some of the chemicals before the distillate seeps into the wood. These chemicals bind to the charred layer and do not release, kind of like a water filter.
Barrels of bourbon age in a rickhouse, where they take on flavors from the barrel’s wood. The_Goat_Path/iStock via Getty Images
Under the charred layer of the barrel is a “red line,” a layer where the oak was toasted during the charring process of making the barrel. The toasting process breaks down starch and other polymers, called lignins and tannins, in the oak.
When the distillate seeps to the red-line layer, it dissolves the sugars in the barrel, as well as lignin byproducts and tannins.
During the cold winter months, the distillate retreats back into the barrel, but it takes with it these sugars, tannins and lignin byproducts from the wood, which enhance the flavors. If you disassemble a barrel after it has aged bourbon, you can see a “solvent line,” which shows how far into the wood the distillate penetrated. The type of oak barrel can have a profound effect on the final taste, along with the barrel’s size and how charred it is.
For most distilleries, barrels are stored in large buildings called rickhouses. Ethyl alcohol and water in the distillate evaporate out of the barrel, and the humidity in that part of the rickhouse plays a big role.
Lower humidity often leads to higher-proof bourbon, as more water than ethanol leaves the barrel. In addition, air enters the barrel, and oxygen from the air reacts with some of the chemicals in the bourbon, creating new flavor chemicals. These reactions tend to soften the taste of the final product.
There are thousands of bourbons on the market, and they can be distinguished by their unique flavors and aromas. The variety of brands reflects the many choices that distillers make on the mash bill, fermentation and distillation conditions, and aging process. No two bourbons are quite the same.
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