Later On

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

Archive for October 13th, 2006

FBI investigates yet another corrupt Republican

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The FBI is now investigating Curt Weldon:

The Justice Department is investigating whether Republican Rep. Curt Weldon of Pennsylvania traded his political influence for lucrative lobbying and consulting contracts for his daughter, according to sources with direct knowledge of the inquiry.

The FBI, which opened an investigation in recent months, has formally referred the matter to the department’s Public Integrity Section for additional scrutiny. At issue are Weldon’s efforts between 2002 and 2004 to aid two Russian companies and two Serbian brothers with ties to strongman Slobodan Milosevic, a federal law enforcement official said.

The Russian companies and a Serbian foundation run by the brothers’ family each hired a firm co-owned by Weldon’s daughter, Karen, for fees totaling nearly $1 million a year, public records show.

Karen Weldon was 28 and lacked consulting experience when she and Charles Sexton, a Weldon ally and longtime Republican leader in Delaware County, Pa., created the firm of Solutions North America Inc. in 2002. Both are registered with the Justice Department as representatives of foreign clients.

Word of the inquiry, which has been closely held within the Justice Department and the FBI, comes from two individuals with specific knowledge of the existence of the investigation. They both declined to be identified because of the confidentiality of criminal investigations.

Spokesmen for the FBI and the Justice Department declined to confirm or deny that an inquiry is under way. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by LeisureGuy

13 October 2006 at 4:18 pm

Posted in Election, GOP, Government

Quick blank documents/forms

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PDFpad lets you download a PDF and print it when you need (e.g.) a calendar, piece of graph paper, blank storyboard, Sudoku puzzle, etc. All free. If you need something they don’t have, just tell them—they’re adding stuff as they get requests.

Written by LeisureGuy

13 October 2006 at 1:05 pm

Microloan pioneer gets Nobel prize

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I’ve often touted Kiva.org in this blog, including this post whose comment provides an innovative use. And now the guy who pioneered the whole microloan idea has received the Nobel prize:

The 2006 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded today to the Grameen Bank of Bangladesh and its founder, Muhammad Yunus, for pioneering microcredit — using loans of tiny amounts to transform destitute women into entrepreneurs.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee praised Dr. Yunus and Grameen for their “efforts to create economic and social development from below.”

Though it is not the first time the committee has chosen to honor economic development as a contribution to world peace, rather than the more usual diplomacy, rights advocacy or philanthropy, it is the first time the prize has been awarded to a profit-making business.

The selection seemed to embody two connected ideas that are gaining ground among development experts: that attacking poverty is essential to peace, and that private enterprise is essential to attacking poverty.

Dr. Yunus founded the bank in his native Bangladesh to lend small amounts of cash — often as little as $20 — to local people, almost always women, who could use it to found or sustain a small business by, say, buying a cow to sell milk or a simple sewing machine to make clothing.

Traditional banks considered such people too risky to lend to, and the amounts they needed too small to bother with. Dr. Yunus’s simple but revolutionary idea was that the poor could be as creditworthy as the rich, if the rules of lending were tailored to their circumstances and were founded on principles of trust rather than financial capacity. He found that they could achieve lasting improvements to their living standards with a little bit of capital. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by LeisureGuy

13 October 2006 at 10:26 am

Posted in Business, Philanthropy

Alternatives to Windows Explorer

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Let’s face it, Windows Explorer is really not the best of all possible programs for the task. For example, I already use FileLocator Pro to find files that contain some particular text—a long-ago recommendation from a John Dvorak column that has served me well.

Now I’m looking at replacing Windows Explorer altogether with one of these alternatives. Take a look—you may want to join me.

Written by LeisureGuy

13 October 2006 at 9:50 am

Posted in Software, Techie toys

This morning’s shave: good and bad

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I love to shave with a safety razor from the first half of the last century, when double-edged blades were the norm. There’s something about picking up an inexpensive old safety razor from eBay and bringing it back to life. This morning’s shave was with an ancient (from the 20’s?) German brass open-comb razor, obtained for $0.99 plus shipping. A little work with Brasso, and the shine returned.

I imagine that the razor never expected to shine again, much less feel a good double-edged blade in its grip, or feel itself sliding through lather across a stubbled face.

Withal, it gave a shave that was too harsh, at least with the blade that I use, so I expect it to head back to eBay for anothe round and perhaps a try with a more forgiving blade. No nicks, but some razor burn.

OTOH, the lather was exceptional, from a wonderful soft soap from Genoa: Virgilio Valobra crema di sapone purissima. It’s white, with a distinct smell of bitter almonds, and has the consistency of clay: too solid to be a cream, too soft to be a soap. I squished the bar into a little Rubbermaid cup, and lathered up. A wonderful rich lather, which tomorrow I’ll use with another razor—probably the Vision, just to recover. This comment from an Australian site that sells the soap:

Over a century ago Virgilio Valobra established in Genoa his plant for the manufacture of fine soap. He was determined to adhere strictly to the formulae and methods of the master soap makers of the 18th Century. To this day Gughi Valobra continues to insist on the exclusive use of pure and selected ingredients. To achieve a super rich lather, virgin coconut oil is used in all of the soaps. Lecithin, vitamins, vegetable oils and natural fragrances are added to produce a truly deluxe range of soaps.

Finished with alum bar and Pinaud’s Lilac Vegetal. A smooth shave, and looking forward already to the shave tomorrow. 🙂 YMMV

Written by LeisureGuy

13 October 2006 at 8:49 am

Posted in Shaving

Friday cat-blogging: Megs being a lap cat

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Megs the lap cat

Megs, proving again that a British Blue is perfectly satisfactory lap cat. This photo was taken when she was still thinking that, this time, she’s not going to fall asleep.

Written by LeisureGuy

13 October 2006 at 8:25 am

Posted in Cats, Megs

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