New Orleans Mensa

La Plume de NOM for March/April 2003

The Magazine of New Orleans Mensa Information and Entertainment


by Anne Osteen Stringer

Now that we have survived another Mardi Gras, it’s hard to remember those dreary days of February. February NOM Night was a dark and stormy night and not many people braved the rain. There was a small group of stalwarts, among them our RVC Dan Wilterding. Dan is a super-cool dude. He brought us lots of neat stuff–LocSec’s handbook, Editor’s handbook, and handbooks for all sorts of offices. He also brought a loaf of yummy, cinnamony bread–the recipe is included elsewhere in this issue.

Other out of town guests were Ellen , Heather , and Tim from Baton Rouge Mensa. At the meeting, the two groups decided to co-host an RG to be held in conjunction with the AMC meeting in New Orleans this December. Heather from Baton Rouge Mensa and Loretta from NOM will serve as co-chairs. Jacquelyn will be our hotel liaison and your humble editor and her long suffering spouse will take charge of hospitality. We need someone to handle registration, publicity, and programming. If you can help with these aspects of the RG or can volunteer any time during the RG, call Loretta. It sounds like a lot of fun and is an opportunity for our group to make some money. Working with Baton Rouge Mensa is a plus.

Our cover this month is Helga’s picture of some birds perched on a fence enjoying the spring sunshine. Spring is tied with autumn as the best season to be in New Orleans.

New Orleans/Baton Rouge Mensa Plan Regional Gathering

Members of New Orleans Mensa and Baton Rouge Mensa agreed at the February NOM Night to cooperate in hosting a Regional Gathering in conjunction with the AMC meeting to be held in New Orleans in December of this year. Loretta was named the New Orleans co-chair and Heather will co-chair for Baton Rouge. Jacquelyn was appointed Hotel Liaison.

Regional Vice Chairman, Dan Wilterding, was in attendance and endorsed the idea of the cooperative endeavor. Wilterding offered his support and provided advice on planning. He stressed that the groups need to get plans underway as soon as possible. Levene and Miller stated that they planned to recruit volunteers in the next few weeks. Call Loretta to volunteer.

The Reading M

by Anne O’Steen Stringer

It’s hard to be a Democrat these days. The stock market is down; unemployment is up; our 401-K’s are shrinking; the federal budget has gone from surplus to deficit; there’s arsenic in the water; our EPA says the best way to prevent forest fires is to cut down all the trees; Osama Bin Laden is thumbing his nose at us; we are teetering on the verge of World War III, and still more than half of Americans think George W. Bush is doing a just dandy job of running the country. It’s no wonder many Democrats think they have gone through the looking glass!

Reading “The Emerging Democratic Majority ” by John B. Judis and Ruy Teixeira gives a glimmer of hope. Judis, a senior editor at The New Republic and Teixeira, a senior fellow at the Century Foundation, examine political history from the time of the Civil War and note that the electorate periodically realigns itself. These pendulum swings in the public mood often occur in response to a cataclysmic event or change–the Civil War, the depressions of 1890 and 1930, the civil rights movement. Absent a great event or change, realignment will occur anyway, although not so rapidly, since the party in power will inevitably overreach and lose the confidence of the electorate. The present Republican majority arose from the excesses of the 1960's and 70's and it took from 1968 to 1980 for the majority to solidify. Along the way, liberal Republicans left the party and social and religious conservatives, formerly Democrats, replaced them. The authors posit that we are on the verge of a realignment that will result in a Democratic majority arising between 2004 and 2008. They believe that the change began in 1992 with the election of President Clinton.

Since 1980, the United States has become much more multi-ethnic and religiously diverse and as a post industrial economy has seen the rise of highly skilled professionals. The professional group includes architects, engineers, scientists, computer analysts, lawyers, physicians, nurses, teachers, social workers, therapists, designers, artists, and actors. This group makes up only a little over 15% of the population, but because they faithfully turn out to vote, they make up 21 to 25 per cent of voters. This group is tending strongly Democratic. Professionals care about quality of life issues and the environment. They don’t see removing regulations relating to health, safety, and the environment as a desirable goal. They strongly support a social safety net and want to protect Social Security and Medicare. They reject the religious right. They are committed to modern science and are uncomfortable when scientific matters such as stem cell research or the teaching of evolution are debated on religious grounds. Professionals want the advances in biotechnology and computer technology to improve the quality of life and not be held hostage to a religious agenda. They want government to play a responsible role in American life.

The authors believe that the Democratic party will continue to receive the support of minorities, women, and labor and with the addition of the professionals will become the majority party early in this century and it will continue until the next realignment comes. The authors admit that this is highly speculative and even present a case for a continuing Republican majority. In that case, terrorism and anti-Americanism would allow the Republicans to label themselves the party of patriotism. They would sideline their religious and business lobbyists and would attract many of the centrist-progressives of the professional class. Even this would be good news for progressives, because it would change the party so completely that it would be Republican in name only.

The problem with the French is that they don't have a word for entrepreneur.
George W. Bush, discussing the decline of the French economy with British Prime Minister Tony Blair

Dan's Amish Friendship Bread

Dan Wilterding (shown at right) is the Regional Vice Chair of Region Six. This region includes Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, and New Mexico. We were delighted to welcome him to our February NOM Night. He brought with him a loaf of excellent bread. Even though he gave all the credit for the baking to his wife, he did promise to share the recipe.

Amish Friendship Bread


To make the starter:

Day 1: Make (or get) batter. Do nothing

Day 2 to 5: Squeeze bag several times.

Day 6: Add 1 cup each of flour, sugar, and milk. Squeeze bag to mix it.

Day 7 to 9: Squeeze bag several times.

Day 10: Place batter in large glass bowl. Add 1 cup each of flour, sugar, and milk. Mix with wooden spoon.

You should have about 5 cups of batter. Pour four (4) 1-cup starters into 4 large bags. Sometimes there is not as much batter as at other times-don't know why. So just adjust the number of starters and the amount used to make bread. Keep 1 starter and give the others to friends with a copy of the instructions. Or keep one starter and cook the rest as loaves using the following steps: (NOTE: Each cup of the mix will make 2 medium sized loaves. If you want to make larger loaves, make two batches and divide the batter between them.)

Preheat oven to 350° F. Well grease and lightly sugar loaf pans (1 batch of batter = 2 medium pans; 2 batches of batter = 3 large pans). To each cup of batter, add the following:

Pour into well-greased and lightly sugared loaf pans. Sprinkle top with sugar and cinnamon. Bake at 350°F for 1 hour - until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Enjoy!!

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