Later On

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

Archive for March 7th, 2007

Beans on toast, sort of

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But made as a sandwich. From Frugal Cuisine:

Mash one 14 oz can of red kidney beans and stir in one tablespoon minced onion, half a teaspoon toasted ground cumin, and salt to taste (the beans might have been canned with enough salt already). Use as a sandwich filling or dip with crackers or chips. Better the next day.

With 100% whole-wheat bread, a complete protein. Based on her high-school version, you can add a small dollop of mayonnaise. And of course, I will add a dash of Worcestershire and a dash of Tabasco. Probably more onions, too, using sweet onions. Maybe a bit of mustard. And a crumbled strip of crisp bacon.

Written by Leisureguy

7 March 2007 at 8:00 pm

Posted in Food, Recipes & Cooking

More on Omega-3

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Nothing we haven’t seen before, but confirmatory:

Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fatty fish like salmon, are associated with increased grey matter volume in areas of the brain commonly linked to mood and behavior according to a University of Pittsburgh study.

Findings will be presented today by Sarah M. Conklin, Ph.D., postdoctoral scholar at the Cardiovascular Behavioral Medicine Program in the department of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh, at the American Psychosomatic Society’s Annual Meeting, held in Budapest, Hungary.

Animal research has shown that raising omega-3 intake leads to structural brain changes. In a separate study presented by Dr. Conklin at the society’s meeting last year, Pitt researchers reported that people who had lower blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids were more likely to have a negative outlook and be more impulsive. Conversely, those with higher blood levels of omega-3s were found to be more agreeable and less likely to report mild or moderate symptoms of depression. In the study being presented today, the researchers sought to investigate if grey matter volume was proportionally related to long-chain omega-3 intake in humans, especially in areas of the brain related to mood, helping them attempt to explain the mechanisms behind the improvement in mood often associated with long-chain omega-3 intake.

Researchers interviewed 55 healthy adult participants to determine their average intake of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids. Grey matter volume was evaluated using high-resolution structural MRI. The researchers discovered that participants who had high levels of long-chain omega-3 fatty acid intake had higher volumes of grey matter in areas of the brain associated with emotional arousal and regulation — the bilateral anterior cingulate cortex, the right amygdala and the right hippocampus.

While this finding suggests that omega-3s may promote structural improvement in areas of the brain related to mood and emotion regulation — the same areas where grey matter is reduced in people who have mood disorders such as major depressive disorder — investigators note that more research is needed to determine whether fish consumption actually causes changes in the brain.

Written by Leisureguy

7 March 2007 at 7:54 pm

Very interesting—and heartening

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Libby’s pardon problem.

Newsweek reports that Scooter Libby “does not qualify to even be considered for a presidential pardon under Justice Department guidelines,” which in part “require a petitioner to wait a period of at least five years after conviction or release from confinement (whichever is later) before filing a pardon application.” President Bush can easily waive the rules, but up until now he “seems to have followed those guidelines religiously.”

Written by Leisureguy

7 March 2007 at 7:51 pm

Omigod: Bacon Popcorn

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Read this and admit: your mouth is watering. And why wouldn’t it?

UPDATE: Okay, strictly in the spirit of Scientific Enquiry, I had a batch. I like thick-cut bacon, so I sliced a couple of pieces lengthwise, then across into little cubes, more or less. Sautéed them until crisp, removed them to the popcorn bowl with slotted spoon, then poured the bacon grease into my Whirley-Pop Popcorn Popper. Popped the corn, poured it into the popcorn bowl, stirred it up (and the bacon stayed at the bottom), and then put over it about 1/2 cup of freshly Microplaned parmesan.

Pretty good, though the bacon and to be retrieved from the bottom and the popcorn was sort of dry. Next time, I’ll try this: thin-cut bacon, sautéed to crispness. Pop the corn in a little canola oil, as usual. Then, in the bowl, pour the bacon and the hot bacon grease (like butter) over the popcorn, stir up, add parmesan, and try that.

Written by Leisureguy

7 March 2007 at 5:14 pm

Stingy, mean-spirited decisions

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The Bush Administration has funneled money by the skid-full to Big Business (cf. Halliburton, for example, and all those no-bid contracts, plus Big Pharma with the non-negotiable prescription prices, and on and on) and the wealthy (tax cuts), but when it comes to the troops: shortages of body armor, shortages of armored Humvees, and tragic shortages of care. Compassionate conservatism—just like plain conservatism: no compassion to it.

A proposal to keep seriously wounded vets from falling through the cracks of the bureaucracy was shelved in 2005 when Jim Nicholson took over as the secretary of the Veterans Affairs Department, according to the former VA employee who was responsible for tracking war casualties.

As a result, seriously wounded veterans continued to face long delays for health care and benefit payments after being discharged from the military, says former VA program manager Paul Sullivan.

The program, called the Contingency Tracking System, had been approved by Nicholson’s predecessor but died once Nicholson took over the VA, Sullivan told ABC News.

Sullivan said he was told the cost of the system — less than $1 million to build and requiring a handful of staff to maintain — was prohibitive. [$1 million was too much? When Paul Bremer’s Coalition Provisional Authority lost billions, never accounted for? – LG]

When asked about the Contingency Tracking System at the White House Wednesday, Nicholson told ABC News, “I’m not sure I know what program you’re referring to.” He added that “when the VA gets patients…we instantly create an electronic medical record for them.”

In testimony before Congress today, a VA official confirmed that its current tracking system still depends on paper files and lacks the ability to download Department of Defense records into its computers, a key flaw originally identified as leading to veterans getting lost between the cracks.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Leisureguy

7 March 2007 at 4:55 pm

The WaPo editorial board is terrible

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ThinkProgress documents the atrocities:

In a substance-less diatribe, the Washington Post editorial board this morning tried its best to downplay the significance of the Scooter Libby verdict. Here’s a fact-check on some of the Post’s most absurd claims:

CLAIM: Libby’s guilty verdict was “propelled not by actual wrongdoing.”

FACT: The Post Editorial Board Highlighted The ‘Seriousness’ Of Perjury Charges Against Clinton. In a Jan. 22, 1998 editorial, the Washington Post write, “The allegations against President Clinton are allegations of extremely serious crimes. … Subornation of perjury is a federal crime punishable by up to five years in prison.” On Feb. 2, 1998, the Post wrote that the “seriousness” of the charges against Clinton had “to do much more with possible perjury than with sex.” And on Dec. 13, 1998, the Post wrote: “There is no question that President Clinton committed grave offenses and aggravated them by refusing to acknowledge either the offenses themselves or their seriousness.”

CLAIM: Calling it a “sensational charge,” the Post writes that there was “no evidence that [Plame] was, in fact, covert.”

FACT: CIA, Former Colleagues, And Special Prosecutor All Report That Plame Was Covert. The CIA filed a “crime report” with the Department of Justice shortly after Novak’s column, stating that an undercover agent’s identity had been blown. Larry Johnson, a former CIA officer, said “Valerie Plame was a classmate of mine from the day she started with the CIA. … All of my classmates were undercover.” Special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald found that Plame had indeed done “covert work overseas” on counterproliferation matters in the past five years, and the CIA “was making specific efforts to conceal” her identity.

CLAIM: The Post claims that senior White House officials had not “orchestrated the leak” and that the trial “provided convincing evidence that there was no conspiracy to punish Mr. Wilson by leaking Ms. Plame’s identity.”

FACT: Cheney’s Point-man — Libby — Carefully Leaked Plame’s Identity To Reporters, White House Staff. In an article published on Jan. 26, 2007, Post writers “Vice President Cheney personally orchestrated his office’s 2003 efforts to rebut allegations that the administration used flawed intelligence to justify the war in Iraq.” As of that effort, handwritten notes prove that Cheney assigned Libby to be the point man for disseminating the information about Plame’s identity, which he revealed to reporters Judith Miller and Matt Cooper. Libby also enrolled Ari Fleischer and Karl Rove in his effort to disseminate Plame’s identity.

CLAIM: “It would have been sensible for Mr. Fitzgerald to end his investigation after learning about Mr. Armitage. Instead, like many Washington special prosecutors before him, he pressed on, pursuing every tangent in the case.”

FACT: Armitage told the truth; Libby refused to. Indeed, it was “sensible” for Fitzgerald to pursue Libby and question why the Vice President’s chief of staff could not tell him the truth, while Armitage could.

The Post editorial concludes: “The Wilson-Plame case, and Mr. Libby’s conviction, tell us nothing about the war in Iraq.” This naïve comment is hardly surprising, coming from a publication that bought the false Iraq intelligence that Cheney, Libby, and company were trying so hard to sell prior to the war. More distressing, however, is that the Post has been an accomplice in the White House’s effort to cover up what it knew.

Contact the Washington Post ombudsman HERE to inform them of the factual inaccuracies in their editorial.

Written by Leisureguy

7 March 2007 at 7:47 am

Now will Bush be true to his word?

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Just joking—of course not. What he’s now doing is refusing to answer any questions at all about the exposure of Valerie Plame as covert CIA operative. But there was a time when he made a promise to the American people:

At an event at the University of Chicago on September 30, 2003, President Bush was asked about the investigation into the CIA leak. He answered:

Let me just say something about leaks in Washington. There are too many leaks of classified information in Washington. And if there is a leak out of my administration, I want to know who it is. And if the person has violated law, the person will be taken care of… I want to know the truth. If anybody has got any information inside our administration or outside our administration, it would be helpful if they came forward with the information so we can find out whether or not these allegations are true and get on about the business.

Again, in June 2004, Bush was asked by a reporter, “[D]o you stand by your pledge to fire anyone found to have [who leaked the agent’s name]?” Bush replied, “Yes. And that’s up to the U.S. Attorney to find the facts.

Of course, he also promised to protect, defend, and uphold the US Constitution. So much for promises from Bush.

Written by Leisureguy

7 March 2007 at 7:37 am

Thoughts on Mr. Libby, convicted felon

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A couple of thoughts about peculiarities of the Right on this.

First is President Bush’s feeling sorry for Libby.

About to have lunch, President Bush paused at a television in the small dining room off the Oval Office to watch the verdict in the trial of former White House aide I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby. Disappointed at the result, Bush told aides he was sorry for Libby and his family.

Vice President Dick Cheney said he, too, was disappointed and saddened for his former chief of staff.

“Sorry for Libby” — Libby, Mr. President, is the perpetrator, NOT the victim. Libby is a convicted felon. The victim was Valerie Plame.

Second is how the Right views Libby’s perjury and obstruction of justice. They are saying that Libby really did nothing wrong—that perjury and obstruction of justice are not serious crimes. That’s very odd, because they thought that those exact crimes—perjury and obstruction of justice—were enough to impeach a sitting President. And the perjury and obstruction of justice in that case (for which Clinton was not convicted, BTW) were with regard to a sexual peccadillo, whereas in the case of Libby it was the exposing of a covert CIA operative working on weapons of mass destruction and the subsequent probable destruction of whatever network she had been able to build. Much more serious—except in the eyes of the Right.

The GOP spin machine is working full out right now. But in fact Libby was indicted by a Grand Jury, got a full and complete fair trial and was represented by well-paid counsel, and was convicted on 4 felony counts out of 5.

Written by Leisureguy

7 March 2007 at 7:24 am

Sophie & BFF

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Sophie BFF

Sophie and her BFF, a little lamb’s wool duster, which she loves. Sometimes she treats it like a kitten, sometimes like a mouse toy. Eventually, enough wool is pulled out as she tosses it about that a new duster must be called into service.

Sophie’s little mouth is partly open because she’s making her littler “mrk” sound: small, conversational little meows, made in a varied sequence of tones, as if speaking.

Some nights The Wife will wake up from a sound sleep to find the little wool duster tucked in beside her head. Sophie, taking care of her BFF.

Written by Leisureguy

7 March 2007 at 6:48 am

Posted in Cats, Sophie

A peach of a day

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I used Honeybee Spa’s Peach shea-butter shaving soap this morning—not exactly in the plan, but Ben’s comment reminded me of my thought of using the Peach soap and then using the Thayers Peach witch hazel.

The soap is wonderful: the fragrance of crushed fresh ripe peaches. And the soap was the usual luxuriant lather, this time worked up with the Rooney Style 2 Finest, perhaps my favorite brush.

Also as a result of Ben’s comment, I used the Slant Bar: the usual effortless shave. Finished with alum bar and the aforementioned Thayers Peach witch hazel.

It’s beginning to be like the weather here on the Central Coast: yet another perfect shave. 🙂

Written by Leisureguy

7 March 2007 at 6:42 am

Posted in Shaving

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