Later On

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

Archive for October 4th, 2006

How to recognize a stroke victim

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From Kevin Kelly’s Cool Tools, a useful tip to know:

A neurologist says that if he can get to a stroke victim quickly he can totally reverse the effects of a stroke. He said the trick was getting a stroke recognized, diagnosed and getting to the patient within 3 hours, which is tough. Sometimes symptoms of a stroke are difficult to identify. But doctors say a bystander can recognize a stroke by asking three simple questions:

1. Ask the individual to SMILE.
2. Ask him or her to RAISE BOTH ARMS.
3. Ask the person to SPEAK A SIMPLE SENTENCE (Coherently: e.g., “It is sunny out today.”)

If he or she has trouble with any of these tasks, call 9-1-1 immediately and describe the symptoms to the dispatcher.

Written by LeisureGuy

4 October 2006 at 6:05 pm

Posted in Daily life, Medical, Science

Now that was a computer: IBM 1401

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The IBM 1401 and 1401 two-tape Autocoder marked the real beginning of my programming experience. I had worked at IBM General Products Development Lab the summer after I graduated on the 1410, a bigger successor machine, but the 1401 in Iowa City was where I really started programming. 8K of core memory (RAM was made of tiny donut-shaped magnets: cores) and, of course, no operating system whatsoever—this was before operating systems…

The thing on the left is your card reader/punch. The CPU is in the center, the printer at the right. Hot stuff.

The the 360 series came along and blew the 14xx series out of the water, though headquarters personnel had to individually reassign the 14xx series developers to other projects to break up the team, because they wouldn’t stop working on the 14xx.

Written by LeisureGuy

4 October 2006 at 6:03 pm

Posted in Technology

Some nice Web tools

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First, for those who track goals and their accomplishments:

Joe’s Logbook — “a simple tracking tool that lets you organize your life using the power of your words. Track your activities by adding daily notes explaining your experiences, victories, and failures. Use the simple, single-page interface to setup and track the specifics of any area of your life. Use it to record your thoughts, track your work travel and spending, watch your health, and track your dreams and inspirations.”

Joe’s Goals — “a simple yet powerful tool to make tracking your goals the easiest part of accomplishing them. Use our simple single page interface to setup daily and weekly goals and track your overall progress and score. Set up negative goals (or vices) to confront and overcome the bad habits that finally need to get the boot.”

And for you who have a blog. I’ve already mentioned BlogDesk, which I use. That’s a very nice free program you download and install on your computer. Now there’s WriteToMyBlog, a Web-based application that does the same task: a very nice editor on which you composse and format your blog posts, which will then upload them to your blog—provided your blog is supported.  WriteToMyBlog has been tested with, TypePad,, WordPress and Movable Type. WriteToMyBlog also support the MetaWeblog and Atom API protocols.

Check ’em out.

Written by LeisureGuy

4 October 2006 at 5:38 pm

The guy we gave all the power to

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So we’ve ditched some Constitutional rights because we trust the current President and Administration to do the Right Thing. But consider this:

Since Congress recently handed Bush the power to identify American citizens as “unlawful enemy combatants” and detain them indefinitely without charge, it’s worth examining the administration’s record of prisoner abuse as well as the building of stateside detention centers.

As Texas governor (from 1995-2000) Bush oversaw the executions of 152 prisoners, and thus became the most-killing governor in the history of the United States. Ethnic minorities, many of whom did not have access to proper legal representation, comprised a large percentage of those Bush put to death, and in one particularly egregious example, Bush executed an immigrant who hadn’t even seen a consular official from his own country (as is required by the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, to which the US was a signatory). Bush’s explanation: “Texas did not sign the Vienna Convention, so why should we be subject to it?”

Governor Bush also flouted the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child by choosing to execute juvenile offenders, a practice shared at the time only by Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Yemen. Significantly, in 1998 a full 92% of the juvenile offenders on Bush’s death row were ethnic minorities.

Conditions inside Texan prisons during Bush’s reign were so notorious that federal Judge William Wayne Justice wrote, “Many inmates credibly testified to the existence of violence, rape and extortion in the prison system and about their own suffering from such abysmal conditions.”

In September 1996, for example, a videotaped raid on inmates at a county jail in Texas showed guards using stun guns and an attack dog on prisoners, who were later dragged face-down back to their cells.

Funding of mental health programs during Bush’s reign was so poor that Texan prisons had a sizeable number of mentally-impaired inmates; defying international human rights standards, these inmates ended up on death row. For instance, a prisoner named Emile Duhamel, with severe psychological disabilities and an IQ of 56, died in his Texan death-row jail cell in July 1998. Authorities blamed “natural causes” but a lack of air conditioning in cells that topped 100 degrees Fahrenheit in a summer heat wave may have killed Duhamel instead. How many other Texan prisoners died of such neglect during Bush’s governorship is unclear.

As president, Bush presides over a prison population topping two million people, giving America the dubious distinction of having a higher percentage of its citizens behind bars than any other country. When considering that (based on 2003 figures) the US has three times more prisoners per capita than Iran and seven times more than Germany, the nation looks more like a Gulag than the Land of the Free. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by LeisureGuy

4 October 2006 at 3:03 pm

Best ever mac & cheese?

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Dedicated to The Niece, from today’s LA Times:

Really the best-ever mac ‘n’ cheese

Total time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
Servings: 12 to 16 [or 3-4 rowers – LG]

Note: Use large shells such as chiocciole or conchiglie, or large elbow macaroni.

1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1 teaspoon melted butter
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1/2 cup flour
5 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
1 bay leaf
4 cups shredded mild cheddar cheese, divided
3 cups shredded Swiss Gruyère cheese
1 pound shells or elbow macaroni, cooked according to package directions in salted water
1/2 cup heavy cream

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Toss the panko bread crumbs with the melted butter on a small baking pan. Toast the bread crumbs until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.

2. In a large saucepan, heat the butter over medium heat until melted, then stir in the flour. Heat and stir until the mixture is smooth and bubbling, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the milk. Add the dry mustard, white and cayenne pepper, nutmeg, salt and bay leaf. Heat and stir to boiling, then reduce the heat to a low simmer and cook 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove thebay leaf.

3. Stir in 3 cups of the cheddar and all the Gruyère until melted. Pour the sauce over the cooked macaroni in a large bowl, stirring until all of the macaroni is coated. Pour the macaroni into a well-buttered 9-by-13-inch casserole. Drizzle heavy cream around the edges of the casserole. Sprinkle on it the remaining 1 cup cheddar cheese, then the toasted bread crumbs.

4. Cover the casserole with aluminum foil. Bake 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake uncovered an additional 10 minutes. Put under a preheated broiler for 5 minutes.

Each of 16 servings: 415 calories; 19 grams protein; 28 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 25 grams fat; 15 grams saturated fat; 75 mg. cholesterol; 565 mg. sodium.

Written by LeisureGuy

4 October 2006 at 12:20 pm

Posted in Daily life, Recipes

Cute booklight

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Alert Reader passes along a pointer to this cute little ear-mounted booklight.

Written by LeisureGuy

4 October 2006 at 12:10 pm

The wisdom of crowds: GOP’s gonna lose

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The election-outcome markets have reacted strongly to the current news and spate of best-sellers about GOP incompetence and mendacity.

Written by LeisureGuy

4 October 2006 at 11:38 am

Profile of a pedophile

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Steve Gilliard has a very good post which includes a profile of a pedophile—which pretty much describes Mark Foley to a T. (BTW, Fox News among others is now saying that Foley is a Democrat, not a Republican.) And, really, every parent and every person charged with the protection of children should know the portrait of a pedophile.

Written by LeisureGuy

4 October 2006 at 11:35 am

Posted in Election, GOP, Government

Is it even Hastert’s decision?

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Hastert has said he will not resign, which, as I noted, is almost a sure sign that he will. And now Roy Blunt, the House Majority Whip, has thrown Hastert under the bus. Maybe the decision won’t be Hastert’s to make.

Oh, and there’s this.

Written by LeisureGuy

4 October 2006 at 11:26 am

Posted in Election, GOP, Government

GOP: Party of Lies

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The GOP, trying to control the Foley scandal—a scandal about the lack of control—are trying various counter-attacks—this is easier than working on the problem. Matt Drudge, for example, said that the boys were asking for it. I don’t think that one went very far. They were underage boys, and Mark Foley is a middle-aged man. Even if they had been, he should know how he’s supposed to act.

Another try is that the whole thing was made known by the Democrats (those terrible folk) because they are using dirty tactics to try to win an election. This might have some credibility—the GOP is, after all, the acknowledged expert in using dirty tactics to win elections—except for two points:

The problem was actually made known almost a year ago, by Republicans to the Republican leadership. Nothing was done: no investigation, no questions, just a quick coverup to keep things secret. Indeed, it turns out since 1995 that pages have been warned by Republicans (and other pages) to watch out for Mark Foley. So for the past 11 years, the GOP leadership knew of the problem and did nothing.

Second, ABC has explicitly said that their sources were Republicans, not Democrats.

So the source was definitely not the Democrats. Does this slow down the GOP spinmeisters? Not in the least. They are, after all quite comfortable with lies, and strongly believe (along with others) that if the lie is big enough and repeated often enough, people will believe it.

Written by LeisureGuy

4 October 2006 at 11:19 am

Posted in Election, GOP, Government, Media

Here’s why Bin Laden supports George Bush

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Kevin Drum has the story, although I think most of it is pretty well recognized. But somehow it still has an impact when it’s explicit:

Marc Lynch draws our attention to a letter sent last year from al-Qaeda’s high command to Abu Musab Zarqawi in Iraq. It was recently translated and released by the Counterterrorism Center at West Point and suggests that al-Qaeda is extremely eager for the war in Iraq to continue:

The most important thing is that the jihad continues with steadfastness and firm rooting, and that it grows in terms of supporters, strength, clarity of justification, and visible proof each day. Indeed, prolonging the war is in our interest, with God’s permission.

This shouldn’t come as a big surprise. The Iraq war is al-Qaeda’s best recruiting tool, and as Ron Suskind noted in The One Percent Doctrine, the CIA has known for some time that Osama bin Laden wants the war to continue and deliberately times public messages to help George Bush’s electoral chances. Here’s a description of a CIA meeting in October 2004, right after a bin Laden tape had been released to al Jazeera:

Go to the first link to read the whole Drum post.

Written by LeisureGuy

4 October 2006 at 11:05 am

The GOP hates workers

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Kevin Drum explains yet another instance of hatred in action. I am hoping that this fall will put some party other than the GOP into power. We’ve tried the GOP. It doesn’t work.

Written by LeisureGuy

4 October 2006 at 10:59 am

Coy lack of revelation

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Dan Froomkin today:

David Corn writes in the Nation about Bob Woodward’s curious aversion to writing about the Plame case — in which he himself ended up as a witness.

Corn relates a scene in Woodward’s book where, in the summer of 2004, Chief of Staff Andrew H. Card. Jr. asks Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage if he wants to be CIA director, and Armitage declines.

Writes Corn: “What’s missing from Woodward’s account?” Well, that Armitage “knew he had leaked classified information that had led to the outing of a CIA officer.”

And it’s not like Woodward didn’t know that.

“While writing the book, Woodward knew that Armitage had disclosed information to him about Valerie Wilson’s CIA connection and . . . Woodward had suspected his source had been Novak’s source.”

Read at the link the full report. Woodward is very careful that his revelations never put himself in a bad light.

Written by LeisureGuy

4 October 2006 at 10:55 am

Breathtaking revelations revisited

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Via Dan Froomkin:


Written by LeisureGuy

4 October 2006 at 10:38 am

You better not speak up

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People who speak up against the Administration often find themselves in trouble—though nothing like the trouble they’ll experience if the current trends continue favoring indefinite imprisonment and torture with no judicial review or right of habeus corpus. This report, via Dan Froomkin:

A Golden CO businessman sued a Secret Service agent Monday, claiming he was subjected to unlawful seizure, unlawful search and retaliation for exercising his right to free speech.

Steven Howards, 54, was arrested during the summer by Agent Virgil Reichle Jr. after he made comments about the U.S. policy in Iraq to Vice President Dick Cheney in a Beaver Creek shopping mall.

“I was handcuffed and arrested in the presence of my young son for simply telling Mr. Cheney that his policies in Iraq are reprehensible,” said Howards, an environmental consultant and former director of the Regional Air Quality Council in 1986-1991.

Reichle refused to comment and referred all media inquiries to his boss, Agent-in-Charge Lon Garner, who failed to return phone calls.

While walking his 11-year-old son to a piano lesson, Howards saw Cheney shaking hands and posing for photos. He walked over and told Cheney, “I think your policies in Iraq are reprehensible.”

Howards said he walked on, not wanting to cause a disturbance with so many Secret Service agents around.About 10 minutes later, Howards and his 8-year-old son were walking back through the square when Reichle allegedly walked up to Howards and asked him whether he had assaulted the vice president.

“He came out of the shadows,” Howards said. “He didn’t accuse me but asked me if I had assaulted Cheney. I said no, he grabbed me and handcuffed me behind my back in front of my son. As he led me away, I told him I can’t abandon my son. He said he’d call social services.” Read the rest of this entry »

Written by LeisureGuy

4 October 2006 at 10:32 am

More Bush lies

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What would our President say if he couldn’t lie? From Dan Froomkin’s column today:

Said Bush: “We just have a fundamental difference, and it’s a key difference for all Americans to look at and listen to. During the debate on the Senate floor, one senior Democrat, their ranking member on the Judiciary Committee, compared the brave Americans who question the terrorists to the Taliban and Saddam Hussein. I believe this exposes a dangerous mind-set on the part of Democrats in the United States Congress. You can’t defend America if you can’t tell the difference between brave CIA officers who protect their fellow citizens and brutal dictators who kill their citizens. (Applause.)

“I’m not making any of this up. (Laughter.)”

Ah, but of course, Bush was making it up. Here is what Senator Patrick Leahy actually said on September 28, and it’s not really that funny.

“Imagine you are a law-abiding, lawful, permanent resident, and in your spare time you do charitable fundraising for international relief agencies to lend a helping hand in disasters. You send money abroad to those in need. You are selective in the charities you support, but you do not discriminate on the grounds of religion. Then one day there is a knock on your door. The Government thinks that the Muslim charity you sent money to may be funneling money to terrorists and thinks you may be involved. And perhaps an overzealous neighbor who saw a group of Muslims come to your House has reported ‘suspicious behavior.’ You are brought in for questioning.

“Initially, you are not very worried. After all, this is America. You are innocent, and you have faith in American justice. You know your rights, and you say: I would like to talk to a lawyer. But no lawyer comes. Once again, since you know your rights, you refuse to answer any further questions. Then the interrogators get angry. Then comes solitary confinement, then fierce dogs, then freezing cold that induces hypothermia, then waterboarding, then threats of being sent to a country where you know you will be tortured, then Guantanamo. And then nothing, for years, for decades, for the rest of your life.

“That may sound like an experience from some oppressive and authoritarian regime, something that may have happened under the Taliban, something that Saddam Hussein might have ordered or something out of Kafka. There is a reason why that does not and cannot happen in America. It is because we have a protection called habeas corpus, or if you do not like the Latin phrase by which it has been known throughout our history, call it access to the independent Federal courts to review the authority and the legality by which the Government has taken and is holding someone in custody. It is a fundamental protection. It is woven into the fabric of our Nation.”

But not any more, of course.

Leahy is the Senator whom Dick Cheney, as part of bringing honor and dignity back to Washington, told to “go fuck himself.”

Written by LeisureGuy

4 October 2006 at 10:17 am

Religious leaders in Nevada back controlled sale of marijuana

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This amazes me:

Dozens of Nevada religious leaders yesterday announced their support for the Marijuana Policy Project’s initiative to tax and regulate marijuana in the state.

At a news conference organized by MPP and the Interfaith Drug Policy Initiative in Reno yesterday, a coalition of reverends, pastors, nuns, and rabbis spoke out in support of the initiative. The event made headlines around the nation, including features on CNN’s “American Morning” today and coverage on the Web sites of MSNBC and newspapers and TV stations all over the country, as well as articles by the Associated Press, the Las Vegas Review-Journal (on the front page), and the Reno Gazette-Journal. You can read some of the coverage here.

I grew up under a similar prohibition: Oklahoma was a dry state until about 1960, so throughout my school years, the sale of spirits (whisky, gin, vodka, brandy—any distilled liquor) was illegal.

Of course, in any sort of prohibition of this type—as we’ve seen during the Prohibition years and during the decades of the illegal-drug experiment—a large group is attracted to the tax-free money that can be made in illegally satisfying people’s desire for the prohibited product. So bootlegging was a common business in Oklahoma at that time.

And whenever the ballot would include a measure to allow the regulated and taxed sale of spirits, the bootleggers and the police and the church ministers would get together to defeat it—much as attempts to regulate and tax the sale of drugs might be fought by, say, drug dealers and the police and the DEA: all would face severe financial penalities if such a measure passed.

In Oklahoma, the measure finally did pass, and the sale of liquor became legal. I happened to home from college the summer day the state liquor stores opened for business. My hometown was small, and people were apprehensively looking out their windows, expecting the town to burst wide open: gunfire, car chases, crashes, fights, etc.

Only nothing happened, of course. People were already buying liquor and having it in their homes—those who wanted it—and now they simply bought it from the state store. And there was no big rush on the state store, either. So it was just an ordinary day, except that bootleggers had to find something else to do or to sell, and the police were free to work on other things, and the state got a bit more tax revenue.

Written by LeisureGuy

4 October 2006 at 9:56 am

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