Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for June 28th, 2007

Not long until Bush screens reporters

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Bush has long screened the audiences for his public appearances, allowing to attend only those who support him—and in some cases requiring signed statements to that effect. Now he’s taking steps against the press. I think Bush must really wish he had totalitarian control of this country.

WPRI-TV, Channel 12 reporter Jarrod Holbrook had his White House press pass snatched today after he shouted “Mr. President” twice as President Bush greeted Air and Army National Guardsmen gathered on the tarmac at Quonset airport in North Kingstown.

A member of the president’s entourage pointed at Holbrook after he first tried to get Bush’s attention. The man then ripped the pass from Holbrook’s belt after he shouted to the president, who was less then 10 feet away, again.

Holbrook said afterward that he just wanted to ask Bush how he enjoyed his visit to Rhode Island. Members of the media were not told they could not ask the president questions.

If the President is making a public appearance, he can request that no questions be asked, but the press can ask questions anyway. He doesn’t have to answer—indeed, he seldom answers a question he’s been asked—but he doesn’t have the right to suppress free speech. He (and his entourage) apparently think he has, but he’s wrong on this, as on so very many things.

Written by LeisureGuy

28 June 2007 at 2:52 pm

One sign a politician is wrong

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One clear sign a politician is wrong if the arguments the politician advances keep changing. Cheney is one example: his various claims about whether his office is or is not a part of the Executive Branch keep contradicting each other, and boil down to the simple statement that he does not want to be held accountable—he believes he is above the law.

Here’s another sad example—sad not because it exposes a politician as a liar, which is (alas) not uncommon, but because of the hurt it does to those who are seriously ill:

 Today, Governor M. Jodi Rell vetoed HB 6715, the Compassionate Use Act. The bill would have allowed certain patients with debilitating illnesses to use marijuana for medical purposes as recommended by their physician. The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 23-13 after clearing the House of Representatives by an 89-58 vote weeks earlier, both of which were wide margins.

By passing HB 6715, the Legislature ended a five-year legislative battle to win medical marijuana in a state that has overwhelming public support for the issue. A 2004 University of Connecticut poll found that 83 percent of Connecticut residents support the medical use of marijuana. Dozens of community organizations, including the CT Nurses Association, support allowing patients to access medical marijuana when recommended by their physician.

“I am just 32 years old and yet due to my medical condition I feel as if, at times, I am 92,” said Joshua Warren, a patient in Wilton, CT, who suffers from chronic neurological Lyme disease. “I did not ask for this condition nor would I wish any of my pain and other symptoms on anyone else.  If Gov. Rell had any compassion for people like me who are suffering with horrible pain and other debilitating illnesses, she would have signed this bill.”

After the bill’s passage, patients, doctors, family members and advocates mounted a massive letter and phone call campaign urging the Governor to sign the bill. The Governor was receiving hundreds of phone calls and letters every day in support of medical marijuana, including from medical, legal, and health experts from across the country.

“The Governor’s veto message shows that she’s grasping for straws,” said Lorenzo Jones, executive director of A Better Way Foundation. “She said previously that she’d support the bill if it was only for terminally ill patients, because clearly other treatments are not sufficient. Now she says she’s vetoing the bill because it’s still illegal under federal law, even though over 99% of all marijuana arrests are under state law. She has been so evasive on this that it makes one wonder if she hasn’t gotten a call from Washington. Is she taking the advice from the worst administration in history over the demands of 83% of Connecticut residents?”

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Written by LeisureGuy

28 June 2007 at 2:24 pm

Welcome back to the 1910′s and 20′s

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The Roberts US Supreme Court seems to be caught in a time warp: racial segregation in schools legal once again, price-fixing legal once more,…  Here’s the price-fixing decision, which returns the law to 1911 and is clearly aimed at hitting discount stores and consumers:

 Striking down an antitrust rule nearly a century old, the Supreme Court ruled today that it is no longer automatically unlawful for manufacturers and distributors to agree on setting minimum retail prices.

The decision will give producers significantly more leeway, though not unlimited power, to dictate retail prices and to restrict the flexibility of discounters.

Five justices said the new rule could, in some instances, lead to more competition and better service. But four dissenting justices agreed with the submission of 37 states and consumer groups that the abandonment of the old rule would lead to significantly higher prices and less competition for consumer and other goods.

The court struck down the 96-year-old rule that resale price maintenance agreements were an automatic, or per se, violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act. In its place, the court instructed judges considering such agreements for possible antitrust violations to apply a case-by-case approach, known as a “rule of reason,” to assess their impact on competition.

The decision was the latest in a string of opinions this term to overturn Supreme Court precedents. It marked the latest in a line of Supreme Court victories for big businesses and antitrust defendants. And it was the latest of the court’s antitrust decisions in recent years to reject rules that had prohibited various marketing agreements between companies.

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Written by LeisureGuy

28 June 2007 at 12:10 pm

Posted in GOP, Government

Ask.com and new display

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Alert Reader passes along this note from the WSJ:

Google and other search companies have made major, continual advances under the hood in recent years, improving the way they gather information. But less progress has been made in the way these search results are presented to users.

Google has made the occasional minor tweak but until recently, its search-results pages looked a lot like they always have. Its upstart competitor, Ask.com, took greater strides last year with cool features such as previews of the pages it listed, lots of summary information at the top of the page and prominent suggestions for narrowing or broadening searches.

Now, Google and Ask each have rolled out new ways of presenting search results. Google’s approach, which it calls “universal search,” is a modest thing, a first step in what it says will be a long effort to break down barriers between different types of information a user may be seeking, such as Web links, images and news.

But Ask’s new system, called “Ask3D,” is a much bolder and better advance in unifying different kinds of results and presenting them in a more effective manner. It shows, once again, that Ask places a higher priority than its competitors do on making search results easy to navigate and use.

Both new systems are now the defaults on the search sites. You don’t have to do anything special to use them. Indeed, Google’s change is so subtle you may not even notice it for some searches.

Both of the new systems are designed to spare users the extra steps needed in the past to view different types of content related to the same search term. But Google combines these different types of content into one list. Ask puts them on one page in separate sections, which I find to be the superior approach, because each type of result is displayed more effectively; it’s easier to see at a glance what you have.

More at the link.

Written by LeisureGuy

28 June 2007 at 9:41 am

Posted in Software, Technology

Countdown

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The list of films. How many did you know just from watching the clips?

Written by LeisureGuy

28 June 2007 at 7:16 am

Posted in Movies, Video

Hot-towel experiment

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After reading so much about it, I had to try the hot, moist towel treatment before shaving. So: first washed beard and rinsed, then applied lather: Rooney Style 3 Size 1 (Small) Super, a really fine little brush, with Mama Bear Honeysuckle—a wonderful fragrance.

Then a handtowel doused with hot (from the tap: 120º F) water and wrung damp. I applied the towel, went to the bed, and lay on my back. Megs walked over and sniffed the towel quite thoroughly, then my neck and arm as well. After lying there for a while, watching the floaters in my eye, got up: 2 minutes, as it turned out.

Back to the bathroom. Relathered, picked up the Gillette red-tipped Super Speed (red tip = most aggressive of the Super Speed line), and shaved. The hot towel did make a difference: beard seemed easier to cut, probably softer. I don’t know that I’ll do it every day, but I’ll certainly do it if I skip a day shaving.

Very smooth and easy shave, no nicks or cuts as usual. I can’t figure out why I got so many little nicks and cuts when I was shaving in high school. Perhaps bad blade for me, too much pressure, bad blade angle, and the against-the-grain pass with no lather and following one with-the-grain pass had something to do with it. You think?

Great shave, and Taylor of Old Bond Street No. 74 Aftershave felt (and smelled) wonderful. And I have coffee!

Written by LeisureGuy

28 June 2007 at 6:27 am

Posted in Shaving

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