Later On

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

Comparing GOP priorities with the priority of the people of the US

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The NBC/WSJ poll found that the American public had these priorities for the new Congress (in order):

  1.   Access to lower cost student loans–80% support.
  2.   Increase spending on infrastructure–75%
  3.   Raising the minimum wage–65%
  4.   Emergency funding for fighting Ebola in Africa–60%
  5.   Addressing climate change/reducing carbon emissions–59%
  6.   Building Keystone Pipeline–54%

The GOP, which will control both houses of Congress, has listed its own priorities:

  1.   Authorize Keystone Pipeline.
  2.   Repeal ACA (“Obamacare”)
  3.   Pass the “Hire More Heroes” (veterans) Act.
  4.   Pass Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement with Asia.
  5.   Lower corporate taxes.
  6.   Thwarting Obama on Immigration Executive Action.
  7.   Reign in the EPA and roll back environmental regulations.

Elections have consequences, and not voting is a dumb choice.

More information in this Daily Kos post.

Written by LeisureGuy

22 November 2014 at 4:18 pm

Niggling bits of evidence about the JFK assassination

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Very interesting column by Justyn Dillingham in Salon. If RFK, Jr’s thought is true—that domestic opponents were behind it—those would been very powerful people, and those not only have great influence, it turns out that they cannot be touched when they are flagrantly guilty of war crimes: I’m referring, of course, to the open acknowledgement that George W. Bush and Dick Cheney instituted a program of kidnapping and torture. It’s very well known, and we even know those directly in the chain of command. But not only are no steps taken to hold accountable those responsible, President Obama will not even release the Senate committee’s own report of its investigations: the very body charged with oversight of this stuff.

And it’s all done quite openly.

Written by LeisureGuy

22 November 2014 at 2:26 pm

Posted in Government, Law

Norms are easier to break than rules, and doing so does more damage

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What happens when the old norm is destroyed, a new norm is created. Reckless alteration generally is not an improvement. For example, Fox News broke the norm that a news channel is mostly non-partisan and instead became fiercely partisan, to the extent of broadcasting outright fabrications (without subsequent correction). The news channel had become a propaganda channel: not a breaking of rules, but of norms.

Thus we left the ideal of nonpartisan, accurate, reliable, fact- and evidence-based news. News became overtly a matter of agendas—at least more overtly than previously.

Now we see that the Congressional Budget Office, which has been the source of reliable, non-partisan information on budgets and budget projections (including estimating cost of legislation) is going to become a politicized, partisan—much like the change in the Supreme Court, come to think of it. The conservative majority hasn’t hesitated to ignore precedence (and experience and evidence) in arriving at partisan decisions—e.g., gutting the Voting Rights Act.

Elias Isquith writes in Salon:

As a rule, I try not to write about hypocrisy in politics. It’s such a constant, such a fact of life, that it can feel a bit like complaining about traffic or the weather.

But just as there’s a difference between waiting an extra 20 minutes during rush hour and being stranded in your car for five days — or between a typical snowstorm and what’s  happening currently in Buffalo — there’s a difference between the routine hypocrisy of politics and the kind we saw this week from Republicans in the House. One kind is an annoyance to be quickly forgotten; the other leaves a mark.

Before getting into why they’re so egregious, however, let’s pause to recap the Congressional GOP’s recent machinations.

Aware no doubt of how President Obama’s announcement this week on immigration reform would dominate both the media and the public’s attention, Republicans in the House, led by Rep. Paul Ryan, have been working to make sure the next head of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) — which acts as Congress’s honest broker when it comes to scoring fiscal policy — is not a nonpartisan technocrat, as has usually been the case, but rather a loyal member of the conservative movement. And, as former CBO chief Peter Orszag recently explained, because the CBO has no institutional protections from partisan hackery, and maintains its integrity mostly through tradition, there’s precious little anyone can do to stop them.

While there are no doubt many changes ideologues like Ryan would like to see the CBO make, reports indicate that the main reason GOPers want to install a right-wing hack as its chief is in order to make the agency integrate “dynamic scoring” more fully into its estimations. “Dynamic scoring,” for those who don’t know, is a phrase conservatives like to use to give a tenet of their anti-tax religion — lower taxes lead to more revenue! — an intellectual gloss. More importantly, dynamic scoring is generally the special sauce right-wing “wonks” put into their projections in order to claim that massively cutting taxes on the rich won’t lead to fiscal ruin. Remember the absurd claim that Bush’s tax cuts wouldn’t explode deficits? Thank dynamic scoring for that.

So that’s what’s happening under the radar with the CBO. And if that were the whole story, it’d probably fall under into the “routine traffic and weather” category of hypocrisy I mentioned earlier. What makes this more of a Buffalo snowstorm-level problem is the context — specifically, the fact that Republicans are destroying yet another norm of American politics, the nonpartisan CBO, at the very same time that they’re waging a relentless and disingenuous campaign to persuade the media (and thus the American people) that the way the Affordable Care Act was written was a breach of democratic norms without precedent.

Yes, this is where “Grubergate,” the most recent of the GOP’s seemingly endless supply of manufactured outrages, comes in. . .

Continue reading.

Basically, the GOP is going to wreck one of the navigation instruments by which we chart the course of government.

Written by LeisureGuy

22 November 2014 at 2:07 pm

Posted in Congress, GOP, Government

Two small food notes

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First, the ancho chiles did not work well in the Chicken Cacciatore recipe. Worth a try, I think. Next time I’ll just double the amount of red bell pepper: two instead of one.

Second, I made The Wife’s Sausage & Egg Breakfast Bites with red chard this time, and the chard was so very nice and fresh, I saved the stalks (which are not used in the dish) and simmered them covered for 20 minutes in a very little chicken stock—cover the chopped stalks only halfway. They steam to tenderness. They tasted surprisingly like red beets/beet greens. I wonder if what I’m tasking is the pigment compound.

Written by LeisureGuy

22 November 2014 at 1:57 pm

Posted in Food, Recipes

ProPublica‘s Muck Reads

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Here they are. A couple of examples from the link:

“Penn State was no surprise. Abuse like this has been going on forever.” Outside magazine examines the legacy of sexual abuse in competitive U.S. swimming. The problem is so pervasive that in 2010, USA Swimming took the unusual step of creating a public list of coaches and officials banned for code of conduct violations, including sexual advances or contact with athletes. The list includes 106 members, 73 of whom were banned for sexual misconduct — punishment experts say is the exception in “the only country without a national government agency for these children.” — Outside via @amzam

That wasn’t a piece of meat with eyes, that was a human being.” It was 24-year-old Dennis Munson Jr.’s first kickboxing fight. The first round went OK. The third round didn’t. Within five hours, he was dead. A Milwaukee Journal Sentinel investigation found that kickboxing – unlike mixed martial arts – isn’t regulated by the state. This leaves promoters to oversee their own matches. A “cascade of errors” identified by the Sentinel and fight experts during the course of Munson’s fight, as well as dangerous weight cutting in lead up – all areas that are regulated in some other states – may have cost him his life. — Milwaukee Journal Sentinel via @john_diedrich

Written by LeisureGuy

22 November 2014 at 12:18 pm

Posted in Daily life

GM “bullied” manufacturer over poorly designed part

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Very interesting story, and it seems to destroy Raymond DeGiorgio’s claim that he didn’t remember making the alteration to the part. The report by Bill Vlasic in the NY Times begins:

DETROIT — General Motors pressured a supplier to continue producing a substandard ignition switch a decade ago and leaned on the company to improve it even though it could not be fixed, a newly disclosed email shows.

The switch, made by Delphi, has become the focus of a safety crisis at G.M. and is linked to at least 33 deaths and dozens of injuries.

In the email, part of internal Delphi correspondence in 2005, a Delphi official said the company was pressured by G.M. to make the faulty switch work even though it did not meet G.M.’s own standard and continued to fail in testing.

It is the first publicly disclosed document showing Delphi’s longstanding concerns with the switch, and it demonstrates how G.M. pushed Delphi to continue to manufacture a faulty part. The email, which was reviewed by The New York Times, was introduced as evidence in a sweeping collection of lawsuits against G.M. and was made public on Friday.

A Delphi official, Thomas Svoboda, wrote in the email that Delphi was intimidated by a G.M. engineer, Raymond DeGiorgio, into accepting the switch’s design. . .

Continue reading.

It seems like GM has pretty consistently lied and tried to cover this up.

Written by LeisureGuy

22 November 2014 at 12:09 pm

Posted in Business, Law

How to season cast-iron cookware: Use flaxseed oil

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I found this post quite interesting, and I am definitely going to try reseasoning my Griswold skillets.

She mentions cleaning out the old seasoning (and grease build-up) in a cast-iron skillet by using oven cleaner. If you have a self-cleaning oven, it’s even easier: just leave the skillet in the oven for a cleaning cycle. When the cleaning cycle is done, the skillet will be covered with gray dust, easily rinsed away.

And then… flaxseed oil. Who knew?

Written by LeisureGuy

22 November 2014 at 11:58 am

Posted in Daily life, Recipes, Science

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