Later On

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

Archive for February 16th, 2010

iPhone owners: streaming video

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Take a look.

Written by LeisureGuy

16 February 2010 at 7:34 pm

Incredibly yummy chicken

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I just made (and devoured most of) a batch of Pickapeppa Chicken. It’s insanely good and quite easy, as you see.

I marinated the chicken thighs for two days. Since he used indirect heat, I just roasted the thighs on a rack in a 400º F oven. As recommended, I cooked the thighs skin side down for 20 minutes, then turned them. I checked them after 30 minutes on the second side, and they were more than done. Next time I’ll check at 25 minutes. (I imagine that his timing on the grill just reflects that the grill is not so well insulated as my oven.)

If you think cooking on the grill adds a smoky taste that you like, a small dash of liquid smoke in the marinade is the simple solution (liquid smoke itself being a simple solution of smoke in water): completely authentic smoky flavor.

I think this would be a great recipe to make with chicken wings.

This one is definitely a keeper. I particularly like that the marinade is so easy to put together.

Written by LeisureGuy

16 February 2010 at 7:27 pm

Posted in Daily life, Food, Recipes

Extremely good movie

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I highly recommend the movie Torso, a recounting of a true crime, chronologically told from the discovery of the eponymous body part through the trials, with flashbacks from time to time to illustrate what is being recounted by one of the characters.

In fact, it strikes me as a good date movie in that there is much to discuss about the ending.

Not (yet) available to watch instantly.

Written by LeisureGuy

16 February 2010 at 2:51 pm

Posted in Government, Law, Movies

More free eBooks

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Written by LeisureGuy

16 February 2010 at 2:05 pm

Posted in Books, Daily life, Software

Three excellent articles by Dean Baker

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Written by LeisureGuy

16 February 2010 at 2:03 pm

Our broken Congress

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Fascinating conversation between Lawrence Lessig and Ezra Klein. Do watch it.

Written by LeisureGuy

16 February 2010 at 12:16 pm

Posted in Congress

These sauerkrauts sound delicious

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Take a look. And I need to cook some duck—the one with duck fat sounded really delicious.

Written by LeisureGuy

16 February 2010 at 12:11 pm

Posted in Daily life

Hormone oxytocin may help Asperger’s patients

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Interesting note by Melissa Healy in the LA Times:

People with Asperger’s syndrome, a mild form of autism, dramatically improve their social learning skills and spend more time gazing at pictures of faces after inhaling the social-bonding hormone oxytocin, researchers have found.

The study, published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, is the first to demonstrate the effects of oxytocin — a hormone that promotes mother-infant bonding, socialization, trust and cooperation — in people diagnosed with Asperger’s.

It led some experts to speculate that supplementing the normally low oxytocin levels in people with autism disorders may help their social interactions.

In the study, 13 subjects with Asperger’s syndrome and a control group were quizzed about photos of human faces. Such images normally prompt Asperger’s subjects to avert their gaze, especially avoiding the eyes. For 90 minutes after inhaling oxytocin, those subjects were more willing to study faces, including the eyes.

They were also better able to tell whether they were being ignored in a computerized ball-tossing game. People with Asperger’s would usually not pick up on such differential treatment.

Coauthor Angela Sirigu of the University of Lyon’s Center of Cognitive Neuroscience said oxytocin’s effect in the second test was especially important as it prompted subjects to interact with others and "learn from others’ feedback."

Written by LeisureGuy

16 February 2010 at 12:01 pm

Posted in Daily life, Medical, Science

David Brooks nominated for Nobel Prize in victim-blaming

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By Dean Baker:

We are looking at a prolonged period of high unemployment because economists with degrees from places like Harvard and M.I.T. could not see an $8 trillion housing bubble. The economics reporters who work for outlets like the New York Times, National Public Radio, and the Wall Street Journal all lacked the ability to think independently and largely accepted at face value the assertions from the well-respected economists that there was no problem in the housing market. And the politicians — well that’s not worth mentioning.

So, what does David Brooks tell us in his column?

"This recession has exposed America’s social weak spots. For decades, men have adapted poorly to the shifting demands of the service economy. Now they are paying the price. For decades, the working-class social fabric has been fraying. Now the working class is in danger of descending into underclass-style dysfunction."

Of course Brooks is right. Working class men are ill-prepared to deal with the effects of incredible economic mismanagement that has made them its primary victims. It has been conscious policy of David Brooks and his peers to weaken welfare state supports, making income and well-being almost entirely dependent on employment. Now, because David Brooks’ highly-educated peers are incompetent economic managers, millions of working class people (disproportionately men) are facing extended periods of unemployment. And, naturally Brooks sees their difficulty in dealing with this crisis as a failure of working class culture.

Written by LeisureGuy

16 February 2010 at 11:59 am

Posted in Business, Daily life, GOP

YouTube music discovery project and playlist tool

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Actually, pretty cool. Take a look and take it out for a spin.

Written by LeisureGuy

16 February 2010 at 11:57 am

Posted in Daily life, Music, Video

For the runners among us

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Take a look.

Written by LeisureGuy

16 February 2010 at 11:55 am

Posted in Daily life

John Boehner: Early-onset Alzheimer’s? Cynical opportunism? Liar?

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Steve Benen (again):

It’s been apparent for a while now that when it comes to the debate over health care reform, opponents have trouble taking "yes" for an answer. Yesterday, Chris Bowers highlighted a classic of the genre.

On Sunday, Feb. 7, President Obama announced his plan to host a bipartisan summit on health care reform. Exactly one day later, on Feb. 8, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) wrote to the White House with a reasonable question.

"If the President intends to present any kind of legislative proposal at this discussion, will he make it available to members of Congress and the American people at least 72 hours beforehand?"

Four days later, the White House announced that it would, in fact, present a legislative proposal at this discussion, and would make it available to members of Congress and the American people in advance.

Boehner, true to form, was outraged that the president’s team would do exactly as Boehner asked, insisting that there be no legislative proposal at all at this discussion.

As Chris explained, it’s "one from the ‘negotiating in good faith’ files."

Written by LeisureGuy

16 February 2010 at 11:55 am

Posted in Congress, GOP, Politics

Republicans strongly oppose ideas they introduced

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The GOP really is a marvel. Steve Benen:

It’s been surprisingly easy of late to chronicle the many instances in which congressional Republicans have announced their opposition to ideas they support. From a deficit commission to PAYGO, cap-and-trade to a financial industry bailout, civilian trials for terrorist suspects to stimulus aid for their districts, it’s become routine for Republicans to embrace and reject the same proposals, almost at the same time.

On an individual mandate as part of health care reform, Karen Tumulty noted this morning that Republicans "oppose their own idea." She referenced this piece from NPR’s Julie Rovner.

For Republicans, the idea of requiring every American to have health insurance is one of the most abhorrent provisions of the Democrats’ health overhaul bills.

"Congress has never crossed the line between regulating what people choose to do and ordering them to do it," said Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT). "The difference between regulating and requiring is liberty."

But Hatch’s opposition is ironic, or some would say, politically motivated. The last time Congress debated a health overhaul, when Bill Clinton was president, Hatch and several other senators who now oppose the so-called individual mandate actually supported a bill that would have required it.

In fact, says Len Nichols of the New America Foundation, the individual mandate was originally a Republican idea. "It was invented by Mark Pauly to give to George Bush Sr. back in the day, as a competition to the employer mandate focus of the Democrats at the time."

If we could expect consistency and intellectual seriousness from GOP lawmakers, it would be almost bewildering.

Over the summer, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) told Fox News, "I believe that there is a bipartisan consensus to have individual mandates…. There isn’t anything wrong with it." A few months later, he used individual mandates as an excuse to oppose reform, and voted for a resolution characterizing mandates as unconstitutional.

Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Bob Bennett (R-Utah), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), and Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) all declared their opposition to an individual mandate in December. All five of them are on record co-sponsoring a reform measure that included an individual mandate.

The point here is not just to highlight the bizarre inconsistencies of Republican opponents of health care reform. This is also important in realizing why bipartisanship on health care has been quite literally impossible — Republicans are willing to reject measures they’ve already embraced, and ideas they themselves came up with.

All the Democratic outreach and compromise options in the world can’t overcome the fundamental lack of seriousness that comes with a party that opposes and supports the same ideas at the same time.

Written by LeisureGuy

16 February 2010 at 11:52 am

Posted in Daily life, GOP, Government

Profile in Cowardice

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It looks as though we’ll be modifying the national anthem. Instead of "land of the free, home of the brave", its accuracy will be enhanced by "land of the free (those not under suspicion, who can be imprisoned indefinitely with no charges and no judicial review) and home of the formerly brave"

Greenwald:

From The Associated Press, today:  "Spain said Monday it was willing to take in five inmates from the American prison in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, three more than it had announced last month."  Previously:  similar agreements to accept our Guantanamo prisoners were entered into by the EU, Italy, Australia, France, Britain, Latvia, Portugal, Hungary,Switzerland, Ireland, Germany, Belgium, Slovakia, Jordan, Kuwait, Iran,Iraq, Albania, Bermuda, and Palau.

By cowardly contrast, from CBS News, October 1, 2009:  "The House went on record Thursday against allowing detainees at the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba to be transferred to the United States, even to face trial or to be jailed in maximum-security prisons . . . If such a ban were to become law, the Obama administration would be hard-pressed to close the Guantanamo Bay prison by January as Obama has promised. Eighty-eight Democrats broke with Obama and House leaders on the nonbinding recommendation, an ominous sign for future votes."  And:  "other Democrats have made it plain they don’t want any of Guantanamo’s detainees sent to the United States to stand trial or serve prison sentences. ‘We don’t want them around,’ said Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev."  And:  "Congress flatly barred the release of any Guantanamo prisoner into the U.S. . . . and surrounded with conditions the President’s power to transfer any detainee anywhere in the world."

* * * * *

Identically:  from the AP, yesterday:  "Five Muslims were sentenced Monday to 23 to 28 years in prison in Australia for stockpiling explosive chemicals and firearms for terrorist attacks on unspecified targets . . . .The men, aged 25 to 44, were found guilty last October on charges linked to preparing a terrorist act between July 2004 and November 2005."  Previously:  "LONDON – Three British Muslims accused of helping the suicide bombers who carried out the attacks on London’s transportation system in July 2005 went on trial on Thursday."  "The trial of 29 people accused of involvement in train bombings that killed 191 people in March 2004 has opened in the Spanish capital, Madrid."  "DENPASAR, Indonesia (CNN) — The first suspect charged with the October 12 Bali bombings, which killed over 200 people, has gone on trial in an Indonesian court."  "MUMBAI:  The sole surviving gunman from last year’s Mumbai attacks, a Pakistani national, on Monday pleaded guilty at his trial, admitting for the first time his part in the atrocity that killed 166 people."

By cowardly contrast, from McClatchy, February 1:  "Sen. Lindsey Graham plans to introduce a bipartisan bill Tuesday to block funding for civilian trials of five alleged plotters of the Sept. 11, 2001."  And:  "The Obama administration has decided to continue to imprison without trials nearly 50 detainees at the Guantánamo Bay military prison." And:  "Holder also announced that five other detainees held at the U.S. military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, will be sent to military commissions."

* * * * *

Land of the Free and Home of the Brave.

I don’t understand America’s terror of trying and imprisoning terrorists here, but that terror is exactly what the terrorists hoped to achieve.

Written by LeisureGuy

16 February 2010 at 11:50 am

The GOP is never bothered by contradictions

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Steve Benen at Political Animal:

It’s often called the "cash-and-trash" strategy — Republicans hate the stimulus package and "trash" it at every available opportunity, but love the stimulus package and grab the "cash" when it comes to creating jobs in their own states/districts. It’s been going on for a year, but the phenomenon keeps spreading.

Last week, the Washington Times found that "more than a dozen Republican lawmakers," all of whom insisted that the stimulus package was an awful idea that couldn’t possibly help the economy, privately urged the Department of Agriculture to send stimulus money to their states and districts, touting the investments’ economic benefits.

Today, the Wall Street Journal moves the ball forward with still more GOP lawmakers who say they oppose the very idea of the stimulus package, but who nevertheless believe the stimulus will help improve the economy in their areas.

More than a dozen Republican lawmakers supported stimulus-funding requests submitted to the Department of Labor, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Forest Service, in letters obtained by The Wall Street Journal through the Freedom of Information Act.

It’s quite a motley crew. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said the stimulus "misses the mark on all counts," but encouraged the Labor Department to invest stimulus money in his district, highlighting a project he said would create 1,000 jobs. Reps. Sue Myrick (R-N.C.) and Jean Schmidt (R-Ohio), both right-wing opponents of the recovery efforts, did the same thing.

It’s not just House Republicans, either. Sens. John Cornyn (R-Texas), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), Bob Bennett (R-Utah), and Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) all told the Obama administration that the stimulus would improve the economy in their states by directing funds in their direction.

The takeaway here should be pretty obvious, and it goes beyond just the impressive levels of hypocrisy. When push comes to shove, and it’s their constituents on the line, Republicans know that the stimulus works. For all their palaver about how government spending is simply incapable of creating jobs and generating economic growth, we know they don’t mean it — we have the written requests for stimulus funds to prove it.

Also note, the WSJ report only covers Labor, EPA, and Forest Service. It’s very likely that many more Republican lawmakers who opposed the stimulus also reached out to other agencies, convinced that the money would do wonders in their state/district.

Expect the Democratic campaign committees to emphasize this heavily as the election season nears.

Written by LeisureGuy

16 February 2010 at 11:44 am

The warmest January on record

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Both satellite records agree. So much for those who think local snow means global warming has stopped. It hasn’t.

Written by LeisureGuy

16 February 2010 at 11:42 am

Against stupidity, the gods themselves contend in vain

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An email from the Center for American Progress:

"Snowmageddon." "Snowpocalypse." "SnOMG." These popular depictions of the record snowstorms that crippled the Mid-Atlantic region in recent days demonstrate that the American public knows the weather is disastrously out of control. Instead of galvanizing Congress to take action to stop the man made disruption of our climate, political pundits are using these storms to justify inaction. According to the Washington Post’s Dana Milbank, the "back-to-back snowstorms in the capital were an inconvenient meteorological phenomenon for Al Gore." Fox News host Sean Hannity argued "the most severe winter storm in years" would "seem to contradict Al Gore’s hysterical global warming theories." "Where’s Al Gore when we need him?" quipped Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). Before the storm hit, the Virginia GOP launched a web ad mocking "12 inches of global warming," attacking Democrats who had voted in favor of climate and clean energy legislation. After hundreds of thousands of people lost power, several people died, and states of emergency were declared in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware, Sen. Jim Inhofe’s (R-OK) family joined in the mockery, building an igloo on the National Mall and calling it "Al Gore’s New Home." The Washington press dutifully reported the "climate-change debate."

WARMING FUELS WINTER STORMS: "The last few years have brought several unusually heavy snowstorms as warmer and moister air over southern states has penetrated further north, colliding with bitter cold air masses," National Wildlife Federation climate scientist Amanda Staudt explains. Even as winters have been getting shorter — spring arrives 10-14 days earlier than it did 20 years ago — many areas are seeing bigger and more intense snowstorms. "The fact that the oceans are warmer now than they were, say, 30 years ago," top climate scientist Kevin Trenberth told NPR, "means there’s about on average 4 percent more water vapor lurking around over the oceans than there was, say, in the 1970s." As the Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States report issued by the federal government describes, warmer oceans and shifting atmospheric circulation mean "strong cold season storms are likely to become stronger and more frequent." A 2006 scientific paper by Chagnon et al. found that "most of the United States had 71% — 80% of their snowstorms in warmer-than-normal years," so that "a future with wetter and warmer winters" will "bring more snowstorms." This season’s extreme weather is also influenced by natural oscillations in oceanic and atmospheric circulation, including El Nino — unusual warmth in the equatorial Pacific Ocean that climate researchers expect may become permanent if global warming continues to rise. "Like it or not," says scientist Daniel Richter, "we live in the Anthropocene age."

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by LeisureGuy

16 February 2010 at 11:38 am

Cheney’s taunts

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Cheney knows that he’s safe from legal action, so he’s now taunting us. Greenwald:

Dick Cheney went on ABC News this weekend and boasted of the role he played in ordering the waterboarding of detainees.  Andrew Sullivan has written several posts accurately describing this statement as a "confession of committing a war crime on national television."  Harper‘s Scott Horton identifies the specific criminal statute Cheney confessed he violated, makes clear that — as the Attorney General himself previously said — there is no reasonable debate possible regarding the criminality of waterboarding under U.S. and international law (notwithstanding the efforts of Politico and friends to pretend otherwise), and then asks:  "What prosecutor can look away when a perpetrator mocks the law itself and revels in his role in violating it?"

In general, people who commit felonies avoid publicly confessing to having done so, and they especially avoid mocking the authorities who fail to act.  One thing Dick Cheney is not is stupid, and yet he’s doing exactly that.  Indeed, he’s gradually escalated his boasting about having done so throughout the year.

Why?  Because he knows there will never be any repercussions, that he will never be prosecuted no matter how blatantly he admits to these serious crimes.  He’s taunting the Obama administration and the DOJ:  not only will I not hide or apologize, but I will proudly tout and defend my role in these crimes, because I know you will do absolutely nothing about it, even though the Attorney General and the President themselves said that the act to which I’m confessing is a felony

Does anyone doubt that Cheney’s assessment is right?  And isn’t that, rather obviously, a monumental indictment of almost everything?

Written by LeisureGuy

16 February 2010 at 11:34 am

Fallingwater

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Take a look at this cool video illustrating the construction (and site) of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater.

Written by LeisureGuy

16 February 2010 at 11:28 am

Posted in Art, Daily life

The US and its inability to maintain its infrastructure

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I noted in an earlier post that China is working to implement 42 high-speed rail lines by 2012, while the US hopes to have 1 by 2014. This morning Bob Herbert uses his NY Times column to note the general way the US is failing to maintain and improve its infrastructure. He begins:

Gov. Ed Rendell likes to tell a story that goes back to his days as mayor of Philadelphia.

As he recalled, the city had a long cold snap with about a month and a half of below-freezing temperatures. Then, abruptly, the mercury rose into the 60s, he said, “and 58 of our water mains broke, causing all sorts of havoc.”

The pipes were old. Some were ancient. “My water people told me that some had been laid in the 19th century,” said Mr. Rendell, “and they were laid shallow, without much protection. So with any radical changes in temperature, they were susceptible to breaking. We had a real emergency on our hands.”

Infrastructure, that least sexy of issues, is not just a significant interest of Ed Rendell’s; it’s more like a consuming passion. He can talk about it energetically and enthusiastically for hours and days at a time. He has tried to stop the hemorrhaging of Pennsylvania’s infrastructure, and he travels the country explaining how crucially important it is for the United States to rebuild a national infrastructure landscape that has deteriorated so badly that it is threatening the nation’s economic viability.

Two years ago, a bridge inspector who had stopped for lunch in Philadelphia’s Port Richmond neighborhood happened to glance up at a viaduct that carries Interstate 95 over the neighborhood. He noticed a 6-foot crack in a 15-foot column that was supporting the highway. His sandwich was quickly forgotten. Two miles of the highway had to be closed for three days for emergency repairs to prevent a catastrophe from occurring.

These kinds of problems are not peculiar to Pennsylvania…

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

16 February 2010 at 11:15 am

Posted in Daily life, Government

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