Later On

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

Archive for April 28th, 2007

Bush’s bizarre world

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Look at this:

As the winds and water of Hurricane Katrina were receding, presidential confidante Karen Hughes sent a cable from her State Department office to U.S. ambassadors worldwide.

Titled “Echo-Chamber Message” — a public relations term for talking points designed to be repeated again and again — the Sept. 7, 2005, directive was unmistakable: Assure the scores of countries that had pledged or donated aid at the height of the disaster that their largesse had provided Americans “practical help and moral support” and “highlight the concrete benefits hurricane victims are receiving.”

Many of the U.S. diplomats who received the message, however, were beginning to witness a more embarrassing reality. They knew the U.S. government was turning down many allies’ offers of manpower, supplies and expertise worth untold millions of dollars. Eventually the United States also would fail to collect most of the unprecedented outpouring of international cash assistance for Katrina’s victims.

Allies offered $854 million in cash and in oil that was to be sold for cash. But only $40 million has been used so far for disaster victims or reconstruction, according to U.S. officials and contractors. Most of the aid went uncollected, including $400 million worth of oil. Some offers were withdrawn or redirected to private groups such as the Red Cross. The rest has been delayed by red tape and bureaucratic limits on how it can be spent.

In addition, valuable supplies and services — such as cellphone systems, medicine and cruise ships — were delayed or declined because the government could not handle them. In some cases, supplies were wasted.

The struggle to apply foreign aid in the aftermath of the hurricane, which has cost U.S. taxpayers more than $125 billion so far, is another reminder of the federal government’s difficulty leading the recovery. Reports of government waste and delays or denials of assistance have surfaced repeatedly since hurricanes Katrina and Rita struck in 2005.

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Written by Leisureguy

28 April 2007 at 7:05 pm

Divine dinner

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I’ve been making variations of this recipe almost every night. Typical variation:

  • Mince several cloves of garlic—usually 8-10 or more.
  • Chop a grassfed beef sausage: cut it lengthwise into quarters, then crosswise into small pieces.
  • Sometimes also: sliced mushrooms, capers, and/or pitted Saracena black olives.
  • Put olive oil in small sauté pan and heat. Add the above, along with:
  • Either a chopped jalapeño with seeds or several good shakes of crushed red pepper.
  • Let it sauté while cutting some nice Roma tomatoes into chunks. Then add those, , several generous grindings of black pepper, a little salt, and some uncooked pasta.
  • Cover and simmer for 16 minutes or so while grating Parmesan.
  • Scoop into bowl, Parmesan on top, and enjoy.

Tomorrow I go to Trader Joe’s for more Roma tomatoes and mushrooms (their Roma tomatoes are excellent) and then to Nob Hill for some more sausage and garlic. Yum.

Written by Leisureguy

28 April 2007 at 6:19 pm

Posted in Recipes & Cooking

It is now known that Bush lied to get us into the war

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Watch this video of Senator Dick Durbin telling us how the Intelligence Committee knew the President was lying but could say nothing because they had been sworn to secrey

Written by Leisureguy

28 April 2007 at 3:00 pm

“Please destroy evidence ASAP” – Monica Goodling

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Not phrased that way, but the intention is clear. Read one of the early finds in the latest document dump. As Anonymous Liberal said, no wonder she wanted to plead the Fifth.

Written by Leisureguy

28 April 2007 at 1:28 pm

James Fallows on Bartlett’s lie

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Via Kevin Drum, James Fallows points out the obvious lie:

At least George Tenet is not telling a flat-out lie

Which is a difference between him and White House counselor Dan Bartlett.

Tenet, as mentioned earlier, would have better served his country (and his reputation) by speaking up more promptly about the Bush Administration’s failure ever to have a “serious debate” about whether it was worth invading Iraq.

But his failing was telling the truth too late — not sticking to, well, a lie like the one Bartlett uttered yesterday (according to the AP) as part of the White House’s attempt to rebut Tenet:

“This president weighed all the various proposals, weighed all the various consequences before he did make a decision.”

I say plainly: that is a lie. To be precise about it, no account of the Administration’s deliberations, by anyone other than Bartlett just now, offers even the slightest evidence that this claim is true. Innumberable accounts offer ample evidence that it is false. I have asked this direct question to many interviewees who were in a position to know: was there ever such a meeting or discussion? The answer was always, No. The followup challenge to Bartlett should be: show us a memo, show us a policy paper, show us a scheduled meeting, show us notes taken at the time to substantiate the idea that the Administration ever seriously considered what the nation would gain or lose by invading Iraq, and what the alternatives might be. What the Administration actually considered, according to all known evidence, is how it would invade Iraq, and when.

As also mentioned earlier, I hate to sound harsh. But: come on, this is outrageous.

Written by Leisureguy

28 April 2007 at 1:23 pm

The USS Liberty incident

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I wonder when the truth will finally be revealed about this incident. It’s now 40 years later, and still we are told either nothing or transparent lies.

Written by Leisureguy

28 April 2007 at 1:19 pm

Posted in Government, Military

Hypocrisy as a party platform

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Former U.S. AID director Randall Tobias, who resigned yesterday upon admitting that he frequented a Washington escort service, oversaw a controversial policy advocated by the religious right that required any US-based group receiving anti-AIDS funds to take an anti-prostitution “loyalty oath.”

Aid groups bitterly opposed the policy, charging that it “was so broad — and applied even to their private funds — that it would obstruct their outreach to sex workers who are at high risk of transmitting the AIDS virus.” But President Bush wouldn’t budge. He signed a 2003 National Security Presidential Directive saying prostitution “and related activities” were “inherently harmful and dehumanizing.”

Several groups and countries had their funding cut due to the policy. Brazil lost $40 million for “one of its most successful anti-AIDS strategies, persuading sex workers to use condoms or other measures to stop spreading the disease.”

During an “Ask the White House” online chat in 2004, Tobias defended the policy, saying the U.S. was “partnering with communities” to begin “fighting sex trafficking and prostitution, while still serving victims of these activities.” Tobias added that he was overseeing several “highly successful” relationship programs “aimed at men and boys to help them develop healthy relationships with women.”

A truly inspired idea, having someone who pays for “gals come over to the condo to give me a massage” run programs on developing “healthy relationships with women.”

Written by Leisureguy

28 April 2007 at 11:12 am

As always: extremely interesting Greenwald post

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Glenn Greenwald has another fine post up, which I encourage you to read.

And some thoughts regarding the signs of hope: first is the letter that all 50 Democrat Senators (except Reid) signed and sent to David Broder in response to his column saying that Democratic Senators are backing away from Reid. This is unprecedented, and it heartens me to see the politicians so directly respond to Beltway dishonesty.

Second is the usual enormous document dump that the Administration does late Friday. But things have changed: the documents immediately go up on the House Web site and Josh Marshall organizes his legions of readers to go through the documents and find the few nuggets hidden among the chaff. With many eyes, the nuggets quickly surface. You can even participate.

Written by Leisureguy

28 April 2007 at 8:41 am

Posted in Congress, Democrats

Yet another good shave

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This morning I used Rose of Sharon Acres Goat Milk Soap: Sandalwood Vanilla Oatmeal. This was a sample that the soapmaker sent to me to try after reading of my problems with the original shaving soap I bought (and which now serves fine as a regular soap—very pleasant, in fact). This soap lathered better—I used the Rooney Style 2, and got a decent lather.

And the shave was quite good as well: a Merkur Progress, finished with Pinaud’s Classic Vanilla aftershave.

Written by Leisureguy

28 April 2007 at 6:37 am

Posted in Shaving

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