Later On

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

Archive for March 1st, 2010

Good day, food-wise

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I ate well (in both senses) and did some cooking of foods to have on hand to use in various ways:

Hulled (whole-grain) barley: for my whole-grains requirement. Low glycemic index.

Roasted sweet potatoes: chilled, they make a rich dessert just by themselves. I eat one a section at a time. The variety today, though, is paler than I like, so I’ll try something else next time. I like a deep rich orange.

Roasted carrots: interesting, the bottoms burned when I roasted on aluminum foil on a  baking sheet, but when I roasted them in my All-Clad roasting pan, they turned out perfect. I did sprinkle with just a tiny bit of Cyprus sea salt. Again, I roasted enough for several meals.

The pork chop, browned and then braised with chopped radicchio, chopped fresh sage, and rinsed and drained sauerkraut, along with 1/2 c. red wine and a somewhat dried apple, chopped. No salt here.

Also, made a new batch of habanero oil: I’ve been out for a while, but also I haven’t seen any good habaneros. But WF had some (domestic, I presume), and now I have 1.5 cups habanero oil: the oil of a thousand uses.

Written by LeisureGuy

1 March 2010 at 7:18 pm

Posted in Daily life, Food

Great movie: A Touch of Spice

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Steve C. is certainly correct: A Touch of Spice is completely wonderful and certainly belongs in any "best food movies" list. But it is just as misleading to label it a food movie as it is to label the Steve Martin movie Pennies From Heaven a musical. In both cases, the response is, "Well, yeah. But that doesn’t even scratch the surface." Like many great movies, A Touch of Spice transcends genre—which makes marketing them very tricky, which is why many sort of bomb (cf. Pennies From Heaven).

I’m savoring it: watching it unfold little by little. I’m trying to make it last.

Written by LeisureGuy

1 March 2010 at 7:12 pm

Posted in Movies

Who’s hurt by Sen. Bunning’s hold?

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David Lightman and Halimah Abdullah for McClatchy:

The Department of Transportation furloughed nearly 2,000 employees without pay Monday as the government began to feel the impact of Republican Sen. Jim Bunning’s one-man blockage of legislation that would keep a host of federal programs operating.

Bunning’s “hold” also affects jobless benefits for thousands of unemployed workers, rural television customers, doctors receiving Medicare payments and others.

Bunning wants the $10 billion price of extending the programs offset by reductions in spending elsewhere in the budget to not drive up the deficit.

Absent that, his objections to proceed with the legislation deny the Senate the “unanimous consent” that Senate rules require for going forward under expedited procedure. The Senate can overcome his objection if 60 of its 100 members vote to do so. So far they haven’t, and doing that would take at least four days under Senate rules.

“As American families are struggling in tough economic times, I am keenly disappointed that political games are putting a stop to important construction projects around the country,” Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement. “This means that construction workers will be sent home from job sites because federal inspectors must be furloughed.”

Federal projects shut down include more than $38 million in project funding for Idaho’s Nez Perce National Forest and Fernan Lakes Idaho Panhandle National Forest and $86 million for bridge replacements in the Washington, D.C., area. Bunning’s home state of Kentucky has no projects affected by his action.

However, nearly 1.2 million unemployed workers, including 14,000 in Kentucky, would lose federal jobless benefits this month if Congress doesn’t extend them, according to the National Employment Law Project, a liberal-leaning research group. The U.S. Labor Department estimates that about a third will lose benefits in the first two weeks of the month.

Letting the highway program lapse could mean an estimated 90,000 jobs lost. As many as 2 million families could lose access to local television because a copyright law expired overnight…

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

1 March 2010 at 6:29 pm

Insomnia

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I generally fall asleep within a minute or two, but The Wife sometimes struggles. I thought this column by Jonah Lehrer was interesting:

My insomnia always begins with me falling asleep. I’ve been reading the same paragraph for the last five minutes — the text is suddenly impossibly dense — and I can feel the book getting heavier and heavier in my hands. Gravity is tugging on my eyelids.

And then, just as my mind turns itself off, I twitch awake. I’m filled with disappointment. I was so close to a night of sweet nothingness, but now I’m back, eyes wide open in the dark. I dread the hours of boredom; I’m already worried about the tiredness of tomorrow.

Why did my brain wake itself up? What interrupted my slumber? To understand this frustrating mental process, let’s play a simple game with only one rule: Don’t think about white bears. You can think about anything else, but you can’t think about that. Ready? Take a deep breath, focus, and banish the animals from your head.
You just lost the game. Everyone does. As Dostoevsky observed in “Winter Notes on Summer Impressions”: “Try to avoid thinking of a white bear, and you will see that the cursed thing will come to mind every minute.” In fact, whenever we try not to think about something that something gets trapped in the mind, stuck in the recursive loop of self-consciousness. Our attempt at repression turns into an odd fixation.

This human frailty has profound consequences…

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

1 March 2010 at 4:19 pm

Posted in Daily life, Science

Another outliner: Free and Windows only

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Take a look. I’m going to give it a go. The program is tiny! but slick.

Written by LeisureGuy

1 March 2010 at 3:43 pm

Posted in Software

More on argument

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I thought I should explain my own background in learning how to argue. Most of what I know I learned through practice during the four years I studied at St. John’s College. Classes there are small and consist mostly of the students presenting the ideas and arguments from the books we’ve read, and working together to try to understand what each of the books means. We were helped by the presence of one or two tutors: these, much more experienced than the students, worked as coaches, offering corrections as needed (not factual corrections, but corrections of how we were arguing), ensuring that everyone participated, asking useful questions (but never providing the answers), and maintaining order and decorum. The arguments were, by and large, not to convince the others, but a student explaining his or her view of some part of the text, and other students working to find problems/solutions in the view proposed.

In fact, the arguments/discussions/dialogue of the seminar and tutorials (and outside of class in the coffee shop, the Little Campus Bar & Grill (now, I believe, extinct)) had as their aim understanding rather than winning. And by “understanding,” I mean an expansive sense of the term: understanding the book, of course, but also understanding the arguments/positions of each speaker, and helping analyze and extrapolate those positions—and, indeed, understanding your own position and why you hold it. Thus if student A disagrees with student B, the likely course is for student A first to make sure that s/he understands what student B has in fact said, perhaps by exploring some consequences of the position has taken. If B disagrees with a consequence, it may be that A has misunderstood B’s position or made an error in logic (it wasn’t in fact a consequence) or perhaps B must reconsider his or her own position.

This method of dialogue almost immediately trains one to listen quite carefully to what someone else is saying. A couple of times weighing in to support or oppose a statement that is completely NOT what the other person said at all, and you don’t want that to happen again: having the entire seminar or tutorial jumping on you.

Ideally, if A and B disagree and continue to disagree, the fruit of the discussion will be to clarify the disagreement and trace the different understandings of the book that led to the disagreement. That is, the two look for the origin of the disagreement: the difference in premises that led to different positions. The result may well be that the two continue to disagree, but now each knows exactly why. (Other St. Johnnies feel free to chip in here.)

The books themselves were generally difficult: often the author was himself (male, for the most part) still figuring out what he was writing about, and putting forth ideas that others had not considered. Here’s the current list of books, though many books were read in part, not in their entirety. At the link is an explanation and a further link to the actual seminar assignments. The list, as of now:

FRESHMAN YEAR

  • HOMER: Iliad, Odyssey
  • AESCHYLUS: Agamemnon, Libation Bearers, Eumenides, Prometheus Bound
  • SOPHOCLES: Oedipus Rex, Oedipus at Colonus, Antigone, Philoctetes, Ajax
  • THUCYDIDES: Peloponnesian War
  • EURIPIDES: Hippolytus, Bacchae
  • HERODOTUS: Histories
  • ARISTOPHANES: Clouds
  • PLATO: Meno, Gorgias, Republic, Apology, Crito, Phaedo, Symposium, Parmenides, Theaetetus, Sophist, Timaeus, Phaedrus
  • ARISTOTLE: Poetics, Physics, Metaphysics, Nicomachean Ethics, On Generation and Corruption, Politics, Parts of Animals, Generation of Animals
  • EUCLID: Elements
  • LUCRETIUS: On the Nature of Things
  • PLUTARCH: Lycurgus, Solon
  • NICOMACHUS: Arithmetic
  • LAVOISIER: Elements of Chemistry
  • HARVEY: Motion of the Heart and Blood
  • Essays by: Archimedes, Fahrenheit, Avogadro, Dalton, Cannizzaro, Virchow, Mariotte, Driesch, Gay-Lussac, Spemann, Stears, J.J. Thompson, Mendeleyev, Berthollet, J.L. Proust

SOPHOMORE YEAR

  • HEBREW BIBLE
  • THE BIBLE: New Testament
  • ARISTOTLE: De Anima, On Interpretation, Prior Analytics, Categories
  • APOLLONIUS: Conics
  • VIRGIL: Aeneid
  • PLUTARCH: “Caesar,” “Cato the Younger,” “Antony,” “Brutus”
  • EPICTETUS: Discourses, Manual
  • TACITUS: Annals
  • PTOLEMY: Almagest
  • PLOTINUS: The Enneads
  • AUGUSTINE: Confessions
  • MAIMONIDES: Guide for the Perplexed
  • ST. ANSELM: Proslogium
  • AQUINAS: Summa Theologica
  • DANTE: Divine Comedy
  • CHAUCER: Canterbury Tales
  • MACHIAVELLI: The Prince, Discourses
  • KEPLER: Epitome IV
  • RABELAIS: Gargantua and Pantagruel
  • PALESTRINA: Missa Papae Marcelli
  • MONTAIGNE: Essays
  • VIETE: Introduction to the Analytical Art
  • BACON: Novum Organum
  • SHAKESPEARE: Richard II, Henry IV, The Tempest, As You Like It, Hamlet, Othello, Macbeth, King Lear, and Sonnets
  • POEMS BY: Marvell, Donne, and other 16th- and 17th-century poets
  • DESCARTES: Geometry, Discourse on Method
  • PASCAL: Generation of Conic Sections
  • BACH: St. Matthew Passion, Inventions
  • HAYDN: Quartets
  • MOZART: Operas
  • BEETHOVEN: Third Symphony
  • SCHUBERT: Songs
  • MONTEVERDI: L’Orfeo
  • STRAVINSKY: Symphony of Psalms

JUNIOR YEAR

  • CERVANTES: Don Quixote
  • GALILEO: Two New Sciences
  • HOBBES: Leviathan
  • DESCARTES: Meditations, Rules for the Direction of the Mind
  • MILTON: Paradise Lost
  • LA ROCHEFOUCAULD: Maximes
  • LA FONTAINE: Fables
  • PASCAL: Pensees
  • HUYGENS: Treatise on Light, On the Movement of Bodies by Impact
  • ELIOT: Middlemarch
  • SPINOZA: Theological-Political Treatise
  • LOCKE: Second Treatise of Government
  • RACINE: Phaedre
  • NEWTON: Principia Mathematica
  • KEPLER: Epitome IV
  • LEIBNIZ: Monadology, Discourse on Metaphysics, Essay On Dynamics, Philosophical Essays, Principles of Nature and Grace
  • SWIFT: Gulliver’s Travels
  • HUME: Treatise of Human Nature
  • ROUSSEAU: Social Contract, The Origin of Inequality
  • MOLIERE: Le Misanthrope
  • ADAM SMITH: Wealth of Nations
  • KANT: Critique of Pure Reason, Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals
  • MOZART: Don Giovanni
  • JANE AUSTEN: Pride and Prejudice
  • DEDEKIND: “Essay on the Theory of Numbers”
  • “Articles of Confederation,” “Declaration of Independence,” “Constitution of the United States of America”
  • HAMILTON, JAY AND MADISON: The Federalist
  • TWAIN: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
  • WORDSWORTH: The Two Part Prelude of 1799
  • Essays by:  Young, Taylor, Euler, D. Bernoulli, Orsted, Ampere, Faraday, Maxwell

SENIOR YEAR

  • Supreme Court opinions
  • GOETHE: Faust
  • DARWIN: Origin of Species
  • HEGEL: Phenomenology of Mind, “Logic” (from the Encyclopedia)
  • LOBACHEVSKY: Theory of Parallels
  • TOCQUEVILLE: Democracy in America
  • LINCOLN: Selected Speeches
  • FREDERICK DOUGLASS: Selected Speeches
  • KIERKEGAARD: Philosophical Fragments, Fear and Trembling
  • WAGNER: Tristan and Isolde
  • MARX: Capital, Political and Economic Manuscripts of 1844, The German Ideology
  • DOSTOEVSKI: Brothers Karamazov
  • TOLSTOY: War and Peace
  • MELVILLE: Benito Cereno
  • O’CONNOR: Selected Stories
  • WILLIAM JAMES; Psychology, Briefer Course
  • NIETZSCHE: Beyond Good and Evil
  • FREUD: Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis
  • BOOKER T. WASHINGTON: Selected Writings
  • DUBOIS: The Souls of Black Folk
  • HUSSERL: Crisis of the European Sciences
  • HEIDEGGER: Basic Writings
  • EINSTEIN: Selected papers
  • CONRAD: Heart of Darkness
  • FAULKNER: Go Down Moses
  • FLAUBERT: Un Coeur Simple
  • WOOLF: Mrs. Dalloway
  • Poems by: Yeats, T.S. Eliot, Wallace Stevens, Valery, Rimbaud
  • Essays by: Faraday, J.J. Thomson, Millikan, Minkowski, Rutherford, Davisson, Schrodinger, Bohr, Maxwell, de Broglie, Heisenberg, Mendel, Boveri, Sutton, Morgan, Beadle & Tatum, Sussman, Watson & Crick, Jacob & Monod, Hardy

Written by LeisureGuy

1 March 2010 at 3:42 pm

Posted in Books, Daily life, Education

Thinking of an MFA in studio art?

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Then read this post. It begins:

A couple of years ago I wrote How to apply (and not apply) to an MFA program. If you’re interested in the topic, I’d suggest taking a few minutes to read the advice in that post. What follows expands on what I wrote there.

To have a really effective application you need to understand that people have many motivations for applying to an MFA program. Some of the reasons people have for going back to school do not necessarily lead to a great educational experience. There’s a good chance that whoever is looking at your application is trying to figure out what kind of student you will be.

What kind of students are professors looking for?  Generally, professors want students who …

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

1 March 2010 at 3:01 pm

Posted in Art, Daily life, Education

Check this front page daily

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If you take a look daily at the NY Times, LA Times, and the Washington Post, you probably should include this front page as well.

Written by LeisureGuy

1 March 2010 at 2:56 pm

Posted in Daily life, Media

Arguing with conservatives

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Actually, it’s not just conservatives, though I tend to argue more with them than with liberals. In fact, it seems to me that the average person, even with a college degree, has no idea how to argue. The typical person thinks that an argument works like this:

Person A: makes a statement

Person B: makes a statement inconsistent with A’s statement

Person A: repeats the original statement and perhaps makes a new statement

Person B: repeats his original statement and makes perhaps another statement

What is lacking is any sense that the two are listening to each other and modifying their arguments in the light of what the other says. Normally, if I’m in an online argument and refute some statement my discussion partner has made, s/he will simply not respond but move on to another statement, in effect ignoring the refutation with no attempt to counter-argue. With no way of reaching any level of agreement—observations or evidence that we both can accept—these arguments are exercises in futility.

Steve Benen notes this tendency in GOP politicians:

At last week’s health care reform summit hosted by the White House, there was a key and contentious point that came up very early on. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) argued, in the Republicans’ opening statement, that the CBO found that health care premiums would go up under the Democrats’ proposal. President Obama said that was incorrect, and explained why.

Over the course of the next seven hours, Republicans kept repeating the same claim, ad nauseum, even after Obama had explained why the talking point was wrong.

Several major media outlet looked into this — it was, after all, one of the bigger areas of debate — and the independent fact-checks concluded that the president was right, and Alexander and his GOP cohorts were wrong.

And since the fact-checking, what have Republicans done? They’ve repeated the exact same claim as if it hadn’t been corrected.

On ABC yesterday, Alexander said — four times — that reform "raises insurance premiums." Today, Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour (R) appeared on MSNBC and said the same thing.

"Despite what somebody has told you, the Congressional Budget Office says that health insurance premiums will go up under the Obama plan."

And this, in a nutshell, is why having policy debates with conservative Republicans is akin to banging one’s head against a desk.

In a normal, sensible debate, one side might make a provocative claim. The other side can challenge the claim, and provide evidence. If it’s proven false, the first side moves on to some other claim. Lather, rinse, repeat.

But that’s not how arguments with Republicans work. They make claims that aren’t true, and after being corrected, repeat those claims again anyway.

"The CBO says your plan will increase premiums."

"Actually, that’s not correct, and here’s why. It takes a little effort to understand the policy details here, but the bottom line is that the CBO found that premiums would in fact go down, not up. Your argument is based on a misunderstanding and draws a conclusion that’s the opposite of the truth."

"Oh yeah? Well, the CBO says your plan will increase premiums."

It’s not limited to the argument about premiums. Again and again, it boils down to a debate in which Republican leaders simply don’t seem to understand what’s being said.

Reasonable observers can have a hearty argument over whether Republicans aren’t smart enough to understand the issue, or aren’t honest enough to discuss the issue in good faith. I have my suspicions, but I guess we’ll never know for sure whether these folks aren’t very bright, or are pretending to be not very bright — whether they say things that are wrong by accident or on purpose.

But either way, why even have the conversation?

Written by LeisureGuy

1 March 2010 at 2:51 pm

Posted in Daily life, GOP

The Internet? Bah! (1995)

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The Eldest sent me a link to this interesting Newsweek article by Clifford Stoll from 15 years ago (almost to the day). It begins:

After two decades online, I’m perplexed. It’s not that I haven’t had a gas of a good time on the Internet. I’ve met great people and even caught a hacker or two. But today, I’m uneasy about this most trendy and oversold community. Visionaries see a future of telecommuting workers, interactive libraries and multimedia classrooms. They speak of electronic town meetings and virtual communities. Commerce and business will shift from offices and malls to networks and modems. And the freedom of digital networks will make government more democratic.

Baloney. Do our computer pundits lack all common sense? The truth in no online database will replace your daily newspaper, no CD-ROM can take the place of a competent teacher and no computer network will change the way government works.

Consider today’s online world. The Usenet, a worldwide bulletin board, allows anyone to post messages across the nation. Your word gets out, leapfrogging editors and publishers. Every voice can be heard cheaply and instantly. The result? Every voice is heard. The cacophony more closely resembles citizens band radio, complete with handles, harassment, and anonymous threats. When most everyone shouts, few listen. How about electronic publishing? Try reading a book on disc. At best, it’s an unpleasant chore: the myopic glow of a clunky computer replaces the friendly pages of a book. And you can’t tote that laptop to the beach. Yet Nicholas Negroponte, director of the MIT Media Lab, predicts that we’ll soon buy books and newspapers straight over the Internet. Uh, sure.

What the Internet hucksters won’t tell you is that the Internet is one big ocean of unedited data, without any pretense of completeness. Lacking editors, reviewers or critics, the Internet has become a wasteland of unfiltered data. You don’t know what to ignore and what’s worth reading. Logged onto the World Wide Web, I hunt for the date of the Battle of Trafalgar. Hundreds of files show up, and it takes 15 minutes to unravel them–one’s a biography written by an eighth grader, the second is a computer game that doesn’t work and the third is an image of a London monument. None answers my question, and my search is periodically interrupted by messages like, "Too many connections, try again later."

Won’t the Internet be useful in governing? Internet addicts clamor for government reports. But when Andy Spano ran for county executive in Westchester County, N.Y., he put every press release and position paper onto a bulletin board. In that affluent county, with plenty of computer companies, how many voters logged in? Fewer than 30. Not a good omen.

Then there are those pushing computers into schools…

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

1 March 2010 at 2:44 pm

Posted in Daily life, Technology

Five common misconceptions about marijuana

with 3 comments

Interesting article. The five things (and the writer explains why each is false):

    1. One joint equals a pack of cigarettes.
    2. Medical marijuana has been a huge problem in states where it is legalized.
    3. Legalization is a slippery slope. If we legalize pot, what’s next? Cocaine? Heroin? Meth?
    4. If we legalize pot, there will be carnage on our highways. Look at what we’re already facing with alcohol. Do we really want MORE impaired drivers?
    5. If we legalize it, everybody and his brother will become a flaming pothead.

Well worth reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

1 March 2010 at 2:13 pm

Posted in Daily life, Drug laws

Corporations try to hide flights

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Interesting:

Source: ProPublica, February 26, 2010

A federal district court ruled that the public interest journalism group ProPublica can obtain a list of corporate-owned airplanes whose flight information was blocked from public view. ProPublica first sought the list in 2008 under the Freedom of Information Act, after the CEOs of General Motors, Ford and Chrysler flew to Washington, D.C. on corporate jets to ask Congress to bail out their companies. Those flights became known because the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) provides real-time flight information that the public could see. But the bad publicity over the flights led General Motors to try and stop the public from tracking its planes in the future. A little-known law called the Block Aircraft Registration Request Program permits companies to ask that their corporate jets’ flight information be blocked from public view. The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) filed a lawsuit to block ProPublica’s request, saying hiding flight information is necessary to corporate executives’ security, and prevent disclosure of business trips that could affect stock prices or reveal information about potential deals to a company’s competition. But the judge ruled against those arguments, saying they are overly expansive and are outweighed by the public’s right to access taxpayer-funded government records. She also pointed out that even if someone were to look up past flights, they couldn’t determine who was on the flight or what the purpose of the flight was.

Written by LeisureGuy

1 March 2010 at 2:07 pm

Posted in Business, Daily life, Law

The Senatorial hold: What happens if the Senator is nuts?

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Of course, many Senators seem more or less nuts (Shelby, for example, or Inhofe, or poor old John McCain), but Bunning is really weird. Steve Benen:

Sen. Jim Bunning (R) of Kentucky, who has occasionally seemed mentally unstable in recent years, is single-handedly blocking a bipartisan measure to extend unemployment benefits for Americans out of work, which has also led thousands of transportation workers to be furloughed without pay today.

Today, Democrats tried once again to garner unanimous consent to end this fiasco. And for the seventh time, Bunning blocked passage.

Despite warnings of hardships for the unemployed and highway workers, Kentucky Sen. Jim Bunning on Monday again held up legislation that extends unemployment and health insurance benefits.

Benefits for about one million Americans stopped Sunday night after Bunning objected last week to an attempt to fast-track a bill that would have extended payments.

Bunning is feeling some heat over this, and he’s not handling the pressure especially well. The senator has a bit of a run-in with the media today on the Hill, and resorted to flipping off an ABC News journalist this afternoon.

And given the scope of Bunning’s truly ridiculous obstructionism, the bizarre right-wing senator seems to actually flipping off the entire country.

Here’s a list of transportation projects that have come to a halt because Jim Bunning is throwing a temper tantrum, and here’s how it’s affecting small businesses.

I received an email earlier suggesting I haven’t been entirely fair — Bunning has a rationale for screwing over all of these struggling Americans, and it’s only right to let people know. OK, here it goes: Bunning wants the funding to come from the stimulus, instead of being added to the deficit. He wants to see the money follow pay-as-you-go rules (PAYGO), instead of making an exception.

But here are the details Bunning hopes you’ll forget: he opposes PAYGO, and has repeatedly voted to extend unemployment benefits through deficit spending before.

And so, the nation waits, either for one right-wing clown to end his tantrum, or for Senate to jump through the procedural hoops to overcome Bunning’s obstruction — which could push off a vote until next week.

For anyone who doubts the urgent need for Senate reform, Bunning is offering Exhibit A.

Written by LeisureGuy

1 March 2010 at 2:01 pm

Registry cleaners are useless—more or less

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I used to think that registry cleaners and defraggers were the berries, but then I read this post and am now avoiding registry cleaners.

Written by LeisureGuy

1 March 2010 at 1:58 pm

Free apps for the Mac

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Written by LeisureGuy

1 March 2010 at 1:23 pm

Posted in Daily life, Software

Explaining reconciliation

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Kevin Drum:

Are American journalists idiots? No, don’t answer that. Just go read Jon Chait’s description of Sen. Kent Conrad trying to explain the budget reconciliation process to Bob Schieffer and then having the exchange picked up by Politico. Is it any wonder that the public doesn’t understand this either?

So here it is in simple terms: the Democratic plan is not to pass healthcare reform via reconciliation. It never has been. The plan is to pass it via regular order (i.e., have the House approve the bill already passed by the Senate) and then amend it with a few modest modifications that are passed via reconciliation and therefore can’t be filibustered in the Senate. Only the amendments would be passed via reconciliation, and the only open questions are what exactly the amendments would look like and whether they’ll be passed at the same time as the main bill or as part of a later budget resolution. Capiche? Here’s Chait:

Look, it would be okay for reporters and pundits to be obsessed with what legislative method is employed to pass health care reform if they boned up on the issue. Alternatively, it would be okay for them not to understand it at all if they deemed it an irrelevant issue. (Which, in my opinion, it is.) But obsessed and ignorant makes for a bad combination.

Good luck with that.

Written by LeisureGuy

1 March 2010 at 12:47 pm

Posted in Congress, Daily life, Media

Long-term unemployment

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Via Kevin Drum (click chart to enlarge):

Read his post.

Written by LeisureGuy

1 March 2010 at 12:45 pm

The Union: The Business Behind Getting High

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Just wanted to urge you again to see this remarkable movie. Available from Netflix via Watch Instantly. It’s an eye opener.

Written by LeisureGuy

1 March 2010 at 12:37 pm

Interesting factoids from an interesting post

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Here’s the post. The factoids:

Written by LeisureGuy

1 March 2010 at 12:35 pm

Pentagon Discloses Hundreds of Reports of Possibly Illegal Intelligence Activities

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Nate Cardozo at Electronic Frontier Foundation:

The Department of Defense has released more than 800 heavily-redacted pages of intelligence oversight reports, detailing activities that its Inspector General has “reason to believe are unlawful.” The reports are the latest in an ongoing document release by more than a half-dozen intelligence agencies in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed by EFF in July 2009.

The reports, submitted to the Intelligence Oversight Board (IOB) by various Department of Defense components, cover the period from 2001 through 2008. The IOB’s role within the Executive Office of the President is to ensure that each component of the intelligence community works within the Constitution and all applicable laws. As such, the Inspector General of each intelligence agency is required to submit periodic reports to the IOB, which in turn is required to forward to the Attorney General any report identifying an intelligence activity that violates the law. Intelligence oversight reporting is rarely disclosed to the public.

This new release, from various Defense components including the Army and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, comes in four parts, see here. Much of the reported improper activity consisted of intelligence gathering on so-called “U.S. Persons,” including citizens, permanent residents and U.S.-based organizations. Although Defense agencies are generally prohibited from collecting such information (except as part of foreign intelligence or counter-intelligence activity), it is apparent from the unredacted reports released to EFF that some DoD components have had chronic difficulty complying with that prohibition.

Some specific items of interest include: …

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

1 March 2010 at 12:00 pm

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