Later On

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

Archive for February 6th, 2007

Time you fixed some beans

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Here’s a good source: Rancho Gordo. Some that I recommend:

Note that shipping is done at a flat rate.

Beans are an exceptionally good food, and very easy to prepare: soak (or not), simmer, eat. Very good if drained and made into a bean salad. And, of course, there’s chili, and bean soup, and baked beans, and… (I feel like Forest Gump listening to the ways of cooking shrimp). Lots of protein, lots of fiber, and highly satisfying.

Written by Leisureguy

6 February 2007 at 7:29 pm

Posted in Daily life, Food, Health

Canadian meteorite older than the sun

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As lumps of rock go it looks much like any other, unexceptional despite the deep red of its cool, smooth surface. The pieces range in size from pea-sized lumps to larger fist-sized chunks. But today, scientists will announce this is no ordinary stone. Prised from a frozen lake in northern Canada, it has become a prime candidate for the oldest known object on Earth.

The chunk came from a meteorite that scored an arc of fire across the skies before slamming into Lake Tagish in British Columbia in 2000. It has been pored over by scientists ever since, and is today revealed to contain particles that predate the birth of our nearest star, the sun.

The Tagish Lake meteorite was already regarded as exceptional because its mineral composition linked it to the earliest days of the formation of the solar system, more than 4.5bn years ago. The fragments of meteorite that still exist are among the most pristine in the world, as they were protected from contamination when they became wedged in blocks of lake ice.

The latest research shows that peppered throughout the meteorite are grains that formed even earlier, in a frigid cloud of molecules, possibly at the edge of the swirling disc of dust that ultimately collapsed to form the sun and all the planets of the solar system.

The discovery suggests that while the first light from the sun fell on the fledgling Earth, as the dinosaurs rose and died out and humans gained dominance, the meteorite was hurtling around the heavens on a billions-of-years-long journey destined to terminate with a thud in Yukon territory.

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Written by Leisureguy

6 February 2007 at 7:05 pm

Posted in Daily life, Science

Greenwald has good clips

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— of oversight in action. DC hasn’t seen anything like this in years. The GOP simply doesn’t know how to do this sort of thing. When they try, they jump the shark and given in to their sex obsessions. By all means, read Greenwald’s column and look at the clips.

Written by Leisureguy

6 February 2007 at 6:42 pm

Spicy chicken drumsticks

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From Simply Recipes. This sounded so good, I couldn’t resist. Needless to say, I will make it with an habañero pepper.

We often cook all drumsticks or all thighs when we prepare chicken. We love the more flavorful dark meat and the fact that the chicken pieces all get done around the same time. The following recipe is based on one for jerk chicken that my father found in Fine Cooking magazine. Wonderful flavor and the drumsticks cook up quickly.

10 scallions, white and green parts, chopped
3 serrano chilies, seeded and chopped*
2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1 Tbsp fresh thyme
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for additional seasoning
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
10 chicken dumsticks (3 1/2 lbs)
Olive oil or grapeseed oil

The original recipe called for the use of a single Scotch Bonnet or Habanero chile which would up the heat of this recipe considerably.

1 Purée the scallions, chilies, vinegar, thyme, garlic, allspice, salt and pepper to a thick paste in a food processor.

2 Put chicken drumsticks in a large bowl. Coat drumsticks with chile paste. Let stand 10 minutes.

3 Position oven rack in the center of the oven and heat the broiler to high. Coat the bottom of a broiler pan (remove the perforated top part of the pan) with oil. Arrange drumsticks on the pan. Sprinkle generously with salt.

4 Broil chicken in the center of the oven. Turn once after about 10 minutes. Broil until fully cooked and nicely browned, about 20 minutes total. Note that some pieces may cook faster than others. Remove the pieces that are done and continue to cook the rest until cooked through.

Transfer to a platter and serve.

Serves 5 to 6. Adapted from a recipe in Fine Cooking magazine.

Written by Leisureguy

6 February 2007 at 4:18 pm

Posted in Food, Recipes & Cooking

Bush Administration working to avoid oversight

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First: Ship people out of the country.

Top Iraq Reconstruction Official Flown To Baghdad To Avoid Oversight Hearing

For the first time since the war began, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) is holding aggressive oversight hearings into the billions in waste, fraud, and abuse of U.S. funds in Iraq.

On Jan. 10, when President Bush first made his plans for escalation public, he also announced plans to “appoint a reconstruction coordinator in Baghdad to ensure better results for economic assistance being spent in Iraq.” The next day, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice named career diplomat Timothy Carney to the position.

During this morning’s hearings, Waxman revealed that the State Department has blocked Carney from appearing at the hearing, despite the fact that Carney personally told Waxman he “was willing to come.” Moreover, the Bush administration has apparently rushed him to Baghdad despite claiming that the reason he could not appear at the hearing was because he “did not yet know what he was going to do in Iraq.”

WAXMAN: So I invited Ambassador Carney to testify today. When my staff talked to Ambassador Carney directly, he was cooperative and said he was willing to come. This the State Department refused.

Their first excuse was that he had not yet filled out his paperwork. Even though Secretary Rice publicly announced his critical new position, he apparently could not talk to Congress because he had not been officially hired.

Next, the State Department said Ambassador Carney could not come because he did not yet know what he was going to do in Iraq. This seemed odd, especially since the secretary had already announced that he was her new point person on Iraq reconstruction.

Then, just last week, we were informed that the department suddenly decided that Ambassador Carney was needed in Baghdad right away. So even though he was not officially hired and, according to the State Department, had no idea what he was going to do in Iraq, he was put on a plane to Baghdad this past Friday.

Waxman added that the State Department has “now told us that they may make him available to Congress in six months.”

Second: Delay investigations.

Cheney’s Son-In-Law Blamed for Delaying Investigations of Homeland Security Department

The Department of Homeland Security refuses to cooperate on oversight activities, according to testimony offered today by GAO Comptroller General David Walker and Homeland Security Inspector General Richard Skinner. The investigators highlighted the role of Philip Perry — Chief Counsel of the Department of Homeland Security and Vice President Cheney’s son-in-law — as the major stumbling block in their investigations.

Walker said the DHS strategy in dealing with investigations is to “delay, delay, delay.” CongressDaily reports:

“[Homeland Security] has been one of our persistent access challenges,” GAO Comptroller General David Walker told the House Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee. Walker said the problem is “systemic” and not the fault of any single individual. But he complained that GAO has had to go through the office of Chief Counsel Philip Perry. Perry is married to Elizabeth Cheney, a former State Department official who is one of the vice president’s two daughters. Walker said it is his understanding that Perry’s office has to review documents GAO seeks before they are released and that Perry selectively sits in on interviews with department employees.

The GAO’s Skinner “said his investigations have also been hindered”:

“We’re experiencing the same problem,” said Skinner, who added his office is “oftentimes” told who they can interview and that it sometimes takes weeks to get documents. Skinner said he prepared a document last summer to inform all department employees of the IG’s responsibilities and authorities and encouraging them to cooperate with investigations. “That letter has been sitting up in counsel’s office at DHS since I believe June or July of ‘06,” Skinner said.

The news is another in a series of black eyes for the agency. In a recent federal survey, DHS employees “scored last or almost last in job satisfaction, leadership and workplace performance.” The latest semiannual report from Inspector General Skinner highlighted “a litany of staff misconduct: immigration officials demanding sex in exchange for visas, airport screeners stealing money from tourists’ luggage, federal air marshals smuggling drugs, and employees from various DHS agencies committing sex crimes.”

Written by Leisureguy

6 February 2007 at 4:14 pm

Sophie’s new kitty tree all set up

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This kitty tree is extremely well made and well designed. It does help to have two people assembling it, just for discussions of the assembly diagram, which holes should get dowels, etc. The 3 pair of braces are each different, because each pair must fit a particular curve of the upright piece. Excellent quality fasteners, and you can disassemble it if you’re ever so inclined. Actual wood, not particle-board (cf. Ikea, which I’m told is Swedish for “crap”).

Now Sophie can easily get on top of the hutch and, more important, can get down without doing a face-plant.

Photos will follow in time.

The Wife just called to report that Sophie, not the smartest cookie in the jar, is VERY slowly figuring out the kitty tree, and how to get up it, etc. Lots of decisions and rests for pondering.

Written by Leisureguy

6 February 2007 at 3:44 pm

Posted in Cats, Daily life, Sophie

“Billions of dollars? It doesn’t matter.”

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The CPA hits a new low. And, BTW, the fact that he had only 4-10 people to manage all the finances shows just how slipshod and ill-planned the entire Iraq venture was. Bush is responsible, whether he likes it or not.

Written by Leisureguy

6 February 2007 at 1:21 pm

House to vote on Bush’s escalation of Iraq War

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From Reuters. This will be a very different vote, because every member of the House of Representatives must face the electorate and run for election next year—no long-term cushion here.

The U.S. House of Representatives will take up a resolution next week disapproving of President George W. Bush’s decision to add 21,500 American troops in Iraq, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (news, bio, voting record) said on Tuesday.

Although the House had intended to follow the Senate’s lead on the issue, Hoyer, a Maryland Democrat, said the House had decided not to wait any longer on the Senate to act after Senate Republicans blocked debate on a similar resolution in that chamber on Monday.

“The reason we’re going ahead is not because we don’t think the Senate will ever act, but we’re not sure when the Senate is going to act,” Hoyer told reporters.

“I think the resolution will clearly say we do not believe that the president’s proposal of an escalation of 21,000 troops is the proper policy to be pursuing,” Hoyer said. It was being drafted now, he said, and he expected a three day debate.

Although backers intend to pressure Bush to reverse strategy in an unpopular war, Bush has said he will not be swayed by such resolutions.

A similar resolution was halted in the Senate on Monday when nearly all Republicans voted against debate because they could not get amendments considered on their terms, including one forbidding Congress from cutting funding for U.S. troops.

Written by Leisureguy

6 February 2007 at 1:07 pm

Make your own Shakespeare sonnet

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By choosing lines from actual Shakespeare sonnets. The program selects lines with the correct rhyme scheme, and you do the rest (i.e., you pick the line to use). Good clean fun.

Written by Leisureguy

6 February 2007 at 12:32 pm

Posted in Daily life

Wind power promising in the mid-Atlantic states

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From ScienceDaily:

The wind resource off the Mid-Atlantic coast could supply the energy needs of nine states from Massachusetts to North Carolina, plus the District of Columbia–with enough left over to support a 50 percent increase in future energy demand–according to a study by researchers at the University of Delaware and Stanford University.

Willett Kempton, Richard Garvine and Amardeep Dhanju at the University of Delaware and Mark Jacobson and Cristina Archer at Stanford, found that the wind over the Middle Atlantic Bight, the aquatic region from Cape Cod, Mass., to Cape Hatteras, N.C., could produce 330 gigawatts (GW) of average electrical power if thousands of wind turbines were installed off the coast.

The estimated power supply from offshore wind substantially exceeds the region’s current energy use, which the scientists estimate at 185 gigawatts, from electricity, gasoline, fuel oil and natural gas sources.

Supplying the region’s energy needs with offshore wind power would reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 68 percent and reduce greenhouse gases by 57 percent, according to the study.

The study marks the first empirical analysis in the United States of a large-scale region’s potential offshore wind-energy supply using a model that links geophysics with wind-electric technology–and that defines where wind turbines at sea may be located in relation to water depth, geology and “exclusion zones” for bird flyways, shipping lanes and other uses.

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Written by Leisureguy

6 February 2007 at 12:16 pm

Back from oral surgeon

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With something new in my jaw. I am once again thankful that I live in the age of anesthetics—a local, in this particular case. I could tell he was working on my jaw (the socket where a tooth once was), but I couldn’t tell what he was doing. Except for the drilling into the jawbone: obvious from sound and vibration.

I like this oral surgeon: no pain whatsoever, very communicative, and takes pride in his work.

I go back in a week to have the (two) stitches taken out. Then heal for 3 months and get the crown. I can eat normally, though I will wait until the numbness is gone so I don’t bite myself by accident.

Written by Leisureguy

6 February 2007 at 11:56 am

Posted in Daily life, Medical

GOP hypocrites on the war

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From ThinkProgress:

Last night, Senate conservatives successfully blocked debate on a bipartisan anti-escalation resolution.

At least eight senators who claim to oppose sending more U.S. troops to Iraq voted the wrong way, supporting the conservative filibuster. They include Sen. John Warner (R-VA) — who actually introduced the anti-escalation resolution in question — and Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) — who has aggressively demanded that every U.S. senator take a position on Iraq.

Here’s a full list of the senators who voted to protect President Bush and block debate on Iraq, along with their public disapprovals of Bush’s escalation plan:

Sen. John Warner (R-VA): “Sen. John Warner (R-VA) will introduce a resolution today ‘making clear that he does not support the President on increasing the troop levels in Iraq’ and calling escalation ‘a mistake,’.”

Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE): “It’s Alice in Wonderland. … I’m absolutely opposed to sending any more troops to Iraq. It is folly.” (Cosponsored Warner resolution.)

Sen. Gordon Smith (R-OR): “This is the president’s Hail Mary pass. … We are extending an ineffective tactic to further the status quo.” (Cosponsored Warner resolution.)

Sen. John Sununu (R-NH): “Sen. John Sununu told CNN Tuesday he will not support President Bush’s plan to send an additional 21,000 U.S. troops to Iraq, although he hasn’t yet decided whether to back a Democratic resolution opposing the move.”

Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME):We should not place more American servicemen and women in harm’s way to instill a peace that the Iraqis are not willing to seek for themselves.” (Cosponsored Warner resolution.)

Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS):I do not believe that sending more troops to Iraq is the answer. … Iraq requires a political rather than a military solution.”

Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA): “We’re all looking for a plan that will work. … The current plan is not working, and 21,500 additional troops — it’s a snowball in July. It’s not going to work.

Notably, Sens. Norm Coleman (R-MN) and Susan Collins (R-ME), who say they oppose escalation, resisted partisan pressure and voted against the conservative filibuster.

As for Sen. Hagel, who said recently, “We need to put the Congress on record here” — Hagel is now “on record,” in support of Bush’s escalation.

Written by Leisureguy

6 February 2007 at 9:47 am

Posted in Congress, GOP, Iraq War

GOP crocodile tears over Iraq

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In particular, Chuck Hagel—brave, impassioned Republican opposing the war in Iraq—quietly toed the party line and voted to have no debate on the Iraq war. The Carpetbagger:

I have to admit, several Senate Republicans really had me going there. Sen. Gordon Smith (R-Ore.) sounded sincere when he decried Bush’s escalation plan and said he’s at “the end of [his] rope.” Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) seemed absolutely genuine when he expressed support for a resolution condemning escalation. Sen. John Warner (R-Va.) appeared serious about his support for a compromise resolution expressing a no-confidence vote from the Senate.

But when push came to shove, nearly all of the Senate Republicans stuck together and refused to even debate escalation on the merits.

A long-awaited Senate showdown on the war in Iraq was shut down before it even started yesterday, when nearly all Republicans voted to stop the Senate from considering a resolution opposing President Bush’s plan to send 21,500 additional combat troops into battle.

A day of posturing, finger-pointing and backroom wrangling came to nothing when Democratic and Republican leaders could not reach agreement on which nonbinding resolutions would be debated and allowed to come to a vote…. Republicans insisted that the impasse will soon be broken. But the leaders of the two parties appeared to be far from a compromise last night, and the White House has worked hard to block action on a resolution disapproving of the president’s decision to boost troop levels.

“What you just saw was Republicans giving the president the green light to escalate in Iraq,” Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) said after the vote. Reid contended that Republicans “are trying to avoid a debate on this matter.”

The vote was largely along party lines. All the real Dems voted to start the debate, and were joined by Sens. Norm Coleman (Minn.) and Susan Collins (Maine), both of whom are facing re-election next year. All the Republicans (plus Lieberman), voted not to have the debate at all. (John McCain, who recently announced that he would not support a GOP filibuster, did not vote yesterday.)

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Written by Leisureguy

6 February 2007 at 9:39 am

Posted in Congress, GOP, Iraq War

The sex-obsessed GOP

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The GOP sees sex everywhere, and it hates it. Now the Republican governor of Texas is in for a rough time because he’s taking steps to prevent cervical cancer. (Preventing cervical cancer is seen by the GOP as a way to promote sexual promiscuity. They are barking mad.)

Several key Republicans urged Gov. Rick Perry on Monday to rescind his executive order making Texas the first state to require girls to be vaccinated against the sexually transmitted virus that causes cervical cancer.

Lawmakers should have been allowed to hear from doctors, scientists and patients before the state implemented such a sweeping mandate, said state Sen. Jane Nelson, chairwoman of the health and human services committee.

“This is not an emergency,” said Nelson, adding that she plans to ask Attorney General Greg Abbott for an opinion on the legality of Perry’s order. “It needs to be discussed and debated.”

Three other Republican lawmakers filed bills that would override the mandate, and several others were working on similar legislation.

Perry defended his decision, saying his fellow conservatives were wrong to worry that mandating the vaccine will trample parents’ rights and promote premarital sex.

“Providing the HPV vaccine doesn’t promote sexual promiscuity any more than providing the Hepatitis B vaccine promotes drug use,” Perry said in a statement. “If the medical community developed a vaccine for lung cancer, would the same critics oppose it claiming it would encourage smoking?”

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Written by Leisureguy

6 February 2007 at 8:08 am

Top 30 personal-finance blogs

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Via Dumb Little Man, this list of the top 30 personal-finance blogs, based on hit count. At the link, the hit count is active, so the list includes in parentheses the count at the time the list was made.

Written by Leisureguy

6 February 2007 at 7:57 am

Posted in Business, Daily life

Geo. F. Trumper Rose this morning

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Couldn’t resist the Rose, which I applied with a Simpson X2L Best Badger—a brush I’ve not read about, but looks a little like a small Simpson Polo. Very good—and fragrant—lather, which I attacked with a Gem G-Bar carrying a Ted Pella blade of one shave. Three passes, with a very smooth face resulting—not so smooth as yesterday, with the Slant Bar + Swedish Gillette, but still quite good: 9/10 instead of 10/10.

Naturally, after the alum bar I used Thayers Rose Petal Witch Hazel. Only traces of fragrance left—it doesn’t last, with Thayers—but withal a pleasant way to start the day. A day, BTW, that will see my implant implanted by the oral surgeon.

Written by Leisureguy

6 February 2007 at 7:33 am

Posted in Daily life, Shaving

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