Later On

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

Archive for January 14th, 2013

Disable the Java plug-in in your browser NOW

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Read this post for instructions and links to the reasons why. Quickly, now!

Written by LeisureGuy

14 January 2013 at 3:53 pm

Posted in Software

Building calming spaces

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Interesting article by Roger Ullrich in the NY Times:

IT should come as no surprise that violence in mental health facilities causes psychological and often physical harm to health care workers and patients. What’s shocking is how prevalent it is.

Globally, a third of all patients admitted for psychiatric care are involved in violent incidents, according to a 2011 analysis by researchers at King’s College in London. In Sweden, where I teach, it’s estimated that more than half of psychiatric care staff members are exposed to physical violence each year, an experience mirrored in many other countries.

Efforts to reduce violence in psychiatric hospitals have focused on identifying potentially aggressive patients through clinical histories and improving staff training and care procedures. But these approaches, while worthy, are clearly not enough. While definitive numbers are hard to come by, the incidence of violence in care facilities appears to be going up.

Research suggests, however, that there’s an effective solution that has largely been overlooked: designing hospital spaces that can reduce human aggression — to calm emotionally troubled patients through architecture.

Currently, questions about design at psychiatric care facilities are viewed through the prism of security. How many guard and isolation rooms are needed? Where should we put locked doors and alarms? But architecture can — and should — play a much larger role in patient safety and care.

One prominent goal of facility design, for example, should be to reduce stress, which often leads to aggression.

For patients, the stress of mental illness itself can be intensified by the trauma of being confined for weeks in a locked ward. A care facility that’s also noisy, lacks privacy and hinders communication between staff and patients is sure to increase that trauma. Likewise, architectural designs that minimize noise and crowding, enhance patients’ coping and sense of control, and offer calming distractions can reduce trauma.

Thanks to decades of study on the design of apartments, prisons, cardiac intensive care units and offices, environmental psychologists now have a clear understanding of the architectural features that can achieve the latter — and few of these elements, if incorporated into a hospital design from the outset, significantly raise the cost of construction. . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

14 January 2013 at 2:34 pm

Sounds like a useful iPad app

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Take a look—it’s a Cool Tool.

Written by LeisureGuy

14 January 2013 at 12:25 pm

Posted in Software

Federal prosecutors abusing their power: Medical marijuana division

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I believe another example is the “revenge” prosecution of Aaron Schwartz because they were angry about his (completely legal and aboveboard) creation of RECAP as a free alternative to PACER for access to public-domain documents. But to the case at hand. You may recall that Obama and Eric Holder promised that there would be no prosecution of medical marijuana efforts that were in compliance with state laws. That turned out to be a flat lie—one that they are not being called out on firmly enough, IMO. Read this latest example by Adam Nagourney in the NY Times:

Matthew R. Davies graduated from college with a master’s degree in business and a taste for enterprise, working in real estate, restaurants and mobile home parks before seizing on what he saw as uncharted territory with a vast potential for profits — medical marijuana.

He brought graduate-level business skills to a world decidedly operating in the shadows. He hired accountants, compliance lawyers, managers, a staff of 75 and a payroll firm. He paid California sales tax and filed for state and local business permits.

But in a case that highlights the growing clash between the federal government and those states that have legalized marijuana for medical or recreational use, the United States Justice Department indicted Mr. Davies six months ago on charges of cultivating marijuana, after raiding two dispensaries and a warehouse filled with nearly 2,000 marijuana plants.

The United States attorney for the Eastern District of California, Benjamin B. Wagner, a 2009 Obama appointee, wants Mr. Davies to agree to a plea that includes a mandatory minimum of five years in prison, calling the case a straightforward prosecution of “one of the most significant commercial marijuana traffickers to be prosecuted in this district.”

At the center of this federal-state collision is a round-faced 34-year-old father of two young girls. Displaying a sheaf of legal documents, Mr. Davies, who has no criminal record, insisted in an interview that he had meticulously followed California law in setting up a business in 2009 that generated $8 million in annual revenues. By all appearances, Mr. Davies’ dispensaries operated as openly as the local Krispy Kreme, albeit on decidedly more tremulous legal ground.

“To be looking at 15 years of our life, you couldn’t pay me enough to give that up,” Mr. Davies said at the dining room table in his two-story home along the San Joaquin River Delta, referring to the amount of time he could potentially serve in prison. “If I had believed for a minute this would happen, I would never have gotten into this.

“We thought, this is an industry in its infancy, it’s a heavy cash business, it’s basically being used by people who use it to cloak illegal activity. Nobody was doing it the right way. We thought we could make a model of how this should be done.”

His lawyers appealed this month to Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. to halt what they suggested was a prosecution at odds with Justice Department policies to avoid prosecutions of medical marijuana users and with President Obama’s statement that the government has “bigger fish to fry” than recreational marijuana users.

“Does this mean that the federal government will be prosecuting individuals throughout California, Washington, Colorado and elsewhere who comply with state law permitting marijuana use, or is the Davies case merely a rogue prosecutor out of step with administration and department policy?” asked Elliot R. Peters, one of his lawyers. . .

Continue reading.

UPDATE: I just sent (via the contact form on their websites) the following message to US Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein and my US Representative Sam Farr, with the subject “Outrageous prosecution of Matt Davies”:

I am writing to object to the outrageous prosecution of Matt Davies by the DoJ. Mr. Davies, in accordance with guidance from President Obama and AG Eric Holder, ran a medical marijuana operation in strict accordance with California state laws, relying on their promise that such activities regarding medical marijuana and done in accordance with state law would be allowed.

Obviously the word of Obama and Holder is worth nothing. Their prosecution of a man operating a legal operation by state law, and in accordance with the guidelines and promises of the President and the Attorney General, is now being viciously prosecuted.

This is an outrage. I might expect something like this from the likes of Ed Meese or John Ashcroft, but Holder? He allows the Finance Industry to do whatever it wants and lets it off with little more than a wrist slap, but a guy actually OBEYING the law—Holder can’t wait to send him to jail.

I grow ever more disgusted with this administration. Please do something to help Matt Davies—and to help Californians using medical marijuana in compliance with state law.

You can read the story in the NY Times at this link: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/14/us/14pot.html?hp&_r=0&pagewanted=all

UPDATE 2: Just sent the same message to the Department of Justice: askdoj@usdoj.gov

UPDATE 3: Open letter from Molly Davies to President Obama—well worth reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

14 January 2013 at 12:04 pm

Interesting medical note: How etanercept is aiding stroke victims

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The Sun Sentinel has an interesting article:

A single injection, then a five-minute wait.
That’s all it took for hundreds of stroke and traumatic brain injury patients nationwide to reverse years of debilitation. Now they’re walking more steadily, reading more easily, concentrating better, speaking more clearly and regaining use of once-rigid limbs – long after giving up hope that their bodies would ever respond.
The 25-milligram shot at renewed independence is the brainchild of Boca Raton, Fla., physician Dr. Edward Tobinick. His patented method for delivering the anti-inflammatory medicine etanercept to the brain is getting notice around the world as a “radical breakthrough” in the treatment of chronic neurological dysfunction. . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

14 January 2013 at 11:22 am

Posted in Medical, Science

Things the restaurant host(ess) doesn’t tell you, but are good to know

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Mike Reis provides some very interesting pointers at Serious Eats:

Restaurant hosting is a difficult job. As members of the League of Underappreciated Workers, they join audio engineers, bus drivers, and registered nurses as those who are only acknowledged on the rare occasions that they screw things up. It’s a rough go, and hosts and hostesses are expected to do it all with a smile on their face lest they publicly suffer the wrath of the dreaded Yelper.

What’s going on behind those smiles at the host stand? Service with a smile is the name of the game, but find out what the hosts are really thinking. I spoke with several hosts at restaurants all over the country to get inside their heads. They all wished to remain anonymous, but here’s what they want to tell you:

1. On OpenTable

OpenTable is more than an online reservation-making service—all restaurants you see on the website are required to use the company’s proprietary floor management system, which means leasing hardware and using OpenTable-specific software. What the service offers, beyond the obvious ease-of-use benefits to restaurant-goers, is a solid platform within which the host or hostess does most of their work.

And while the conveniences of OpenTable are helpful on both sides of the host stand, there’s a big secret most restaurants are afraid to tell you: they’d rather you not use it. Reservations made through OpenTable cost the restaurant a dollar per guest, which stacks up quickly over the course of a night that might see several hundred guests coming through the doors. Further, not all available reservations can be seen on the site; restaurants often hold tables back from the site when they suspect they can fill them with phone reservations, saving them from OT’s service fees.

In short, always try first to call in your reservations.

2. . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

14 January 2013 at 11:06 am

Posted in Business, Daily life, Food

Treasury Nominee Jack Lew Retained Citigroup Foreign Investments After Joining Obama State Department; Public Kept In Dark

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Obama keeps nominating these shills for Wall Street (others: Timothy Geithner, Eric Holder, et al.) for his cabinet. He really seems to be in the tank for Wall Street—all that campaign money does get repaid. Pam Martens at Wall Street on Parade writes:

It has been previously reported that President Obama’s Treasury Secretary nominee, Jacob (Jack) Lew, earned millions in salary and bonus from Citigroup in the brief two and one half years he worked there. That should not come as a surprise to anyone.  Former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin left his post as Treasury Secretary in 1999 to join Citigroup and was paid $120 million over the next eight years for non-management work.

Citigroup is the mega bank the Securities and Exchange Commission charged with lying about its financial condition while Lew worked there in an executive position.  Citigroup went from lying about its finances in 2007 to cumulatively requiring over $2.51 trillion in Federal Reserve loans, TARP capital and Federal asset guarantees to remain afloat during the financial crisis. During Lew’s stint at Citigroup, July 2006 through early 2009, Citigroup lost 85 percent of its shareholders’ value.

A review of documents submitted to the U.S. Senate Budget Committee for Lew’s confirmation hearing on September 16, 2010 to become Director of the Office of Management and Budget indicates Lew’s financial ties to Citigroup continued long after he joined the Obama administration. The public is being kept in the dark about the extent of Lew’s winnings at the Citigroup casino and its heads we win, tails you lose dealer tables.

One section of the documents (see link below) refers to “Business Relationships” and indicates that Lew had been a limited partner from 2007 through the date of the hearing on September 16, 2010 in the CVCI Private Equity Fund. There is nothing in these documents to enlighten either the Senators or the public that CVCI is an acronym for Citi Venture Capital International, a unit of Citigroup investing billions in foreign companies in hopes of making its limited partners very wealthy.  (A limited partner in a private equity fund is synonymous with being an investor in the fund.)

During the 2010 Senate Budget confirmation hearing of Lew, Senator Bernie Sanders lost patience with Lew for avoiding direct answers to the questions posed.  Lew performed the same maneuver in his written disclosure document to the Senate when asked about conflicts of interest which should have revealed his continuing investment in private foreign deals at Citigroup.

When asked “Will you sever all connections with your present employers, business firms, business associations or business organizations if you are confirmed by the Senate,” instead of stating that he remained a limited partner and investor in a multi-billion dollar fund buying up stakes in foreign companies, Lew gave a decidedly non-responsive answer, writing: “If confirmed, I will remain an employee of the US Government.”

When asked to identify all investments and financial relationships which might pose a conflict of interest, Lew gave this carefully crafted legal dodge: . . .

Continue reading. Obama should be ashamed. But I fear he is nominating this guy because of his Wall Street partisanship: part of the payoff.

Written by LeisureGuy

14 January 2013 at 10:55 am

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