Later On

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

Archive for June 4th, 2007

Yummy dinner

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Large Spatula

6 large shallots, peeled and sliced thinly
2 Tbs olive oil
1 red bell pepper, seeded and shopped
2 boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into chunks

Sauté shallots in olive oil until softened. Add bell pepper and chicken and continue to sauté, turning with a wooden spatula (I use this one constantly: to stir, to lift, to turn) from time to time. Add a generous grinding of black pepper and about 1 tsp sea salt.

1 can organic Muir Glen fire-roasted diced tomatoes with green chiles
1 cup Trader Joe’s frozen fire-roasted corn kernels
1/4 cup red wine
1/2 cup ditalini pasta (I used Golden Grain brand—they call it “Salad” pasta)
2 Tbs homemade chile-garlic paste 🙂

Stir, cover, and simmer 20 minutes. Serve in bowl topped with fresh ricotta cheese. Extremely tasty.

Written by LeisureGuy

4 June 2007 at 7:59 pm

Posted in Recipes

Fox News, the Keystone Cops of TV News

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Written by LeisureGuy

4 June 2007 at 5:39 pm

Posted in Media

Exceptionally handy kitchen knives

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Dinner is simmering, and I thought I should mention the two knives I used since they’ve proven their worth time and again, and neither is particularly expensive:

Tosagata Hocho

Tosagata Hocho 6″ Santoku Hocho — $35 of total sharpness in carbon steel. Since it’s carbon steel, it holds a very keen edge, but also discolors and/or rusts if you don’t take care. Whenever you use it, rinse it off and dry it. A totally wonderful knife.

S5198 Dexter-Russel

S5198 Dexter-Russell 8″ Chinese Knife — $35 of sharpness in stainless steel and a handy shape. Note that it’s a knife, not a cleaver: don’t try to chop bone, you’ll ruin the edge. I use it as often for a spatula (slide it under stuff I’ve chopped (vegetables, not bone, remember) to transfer it to the pot or pan) as for a knife—and I use it for a knife very often.

These two economical knives are about all I use currently. Great things to have.

Written by LeisureGuy

4 June 2007 at 5:33 pm

Your new, more neglectful NASA

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Last week, NPR asked NASA administrator Michael Griffin said that while he was “aware that global warming exists,” he wasn’t sure whether it “is a longterm concern or not.” Griffin said he is “not sure that it is fair to say that it is a problem we must wrestle with.”

Griffin subsequently clarified his remarks, stating that protecting the earth against global warming is not in the agency’s mission statement:

The agency is responsible for collecting data that is used by the science community and policy makers as part of an ongoing discussion regarding our planet’s evolving systems. It is NASA’s responsibility to collect, analyze and release information. It is not NASA’s mission to make policy regarding possible climate change mitigation strategies.”

But from 2002-2006, it was. Part of NASA’s mission was to “protect our home planet“:

To understand and protect our home planet; to explore the universe and search for life; to inspire the next generation of explorers … as only NASA can.

In Feb. 2006, the mission statement was “quietly altered” to remove the phrase “to understand and protect our home planet.” Even a year ago, NASA scientists predicted that because of the mission statement revision, there would “be far less incentive to pursue projects to improve understanding of terrestrial problems like climate change caused by greenhouse gas emissions.” Top NASA climatologist James Hansen called the deletion “a shocking loss,” because he had “been using the phrase since December 2005 to justify speaking out about the dangers of global warming.”

In contrast to the previous mission statement, the 2006 revision “was made at NASA headquarters without consulting the agency’s 19,000 employees or informing them ahead of time.” Instead, it was submitted as part of the 2006 Earth Science Research and Analysis budget, which is a joint product of the White House’s Office of Management and Budget and the NASA Administrator, Michael Griffin.

Therefore, Griffin is right. Unfortunately, protecting the earth against climate change is not part of NASA’s mission anymore. But that’s because he changed the mission.

Written by LeisureGuy

4 June 2007 at 3:35 pm

Good discussion of anti-corruption ideas

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Take a look at this post and the following discussion. It’s quite clear that our current arrangement is not working well, with corruption widespread and increasingly accepted. We need to take steps to protect our country. The epidemic of corruption in the long run will damage our country much more than does terrorism.

Written by LeisureGuy

4 June 2007 at 11:18 am

Posted in Election, Government

Billy’s been a bad boy

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More on Jefferson’s indictment:

 The 16 count indictment has just been returned.

The charges include racketeering, solicitation of bribes, honest services wire fraud, money laundering, obstruction of justice, violating the foreign corrupt practices act, and conspiracy.  The indictment relates to an alleged bribery scheme for him and his family and his alleged bribery of a Nigerian official.

The indictment is 94 pages. If convicted on all charges Jefferson would be sentenced to 235 years in prison.

Written by LeisureGuy

4 June 2007 at 10:57 am

Posted in Congress, Democrats

At last!! “Dollar” Bill Jefferson indicted!

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It’s been a long time coming, but at last the day has arrived:

Federal prosecutors are seeking an indictment today against Rep. William J. Jefferson (D-La.) in a longstanding FBI corruption probe centering on allegations that he took bribes to promote high-tech business ventures in Africa, sources familiar with the investigation said.

Prosecutors are presenting the case to grand jurors in Alexandria today, said the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because no charges have yet been filed.

If filed, the indictment would cap a long and tumultuous investigation that was stalled for months because of a legal battle over the constitutionality of an FBI raid on Jefferson’s office last May. The raid came after the FBI found $90,000 in the freezer of his Capitol Hill home.

A political and legal maelstrom followed the raid, prompting President Bush to intervene and seal the seized documents for 45 days. In July, U.S. District Judge Thomas F. Hogan, who had signed the search warrant, ruled that the raid was constitutional. The U.S. Court of Appeals has yet to rule on the matter.

Jefferson, 60, is a potential political embarrassment for Democrats, just months after they took over control of Congress. Democrats had campaigned last year on the theme that Republicans had created a culture of corruption. In July, the House officially expelled Jefferson from the prestigious Ways and Means Committee.

At the time, then House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said the allegations against Jefferson were too egregious to wait for a legal resolution.

“This isn’t about proof in the court or law; this is about an ethical standard,” she said.

News of the FBI probe hurt Jefferson in his reelection bid last fall, but he managed to win in a runoff, garnering 30 percent of the vote in a crowded primary field of 12 candidates. His campaign ads emphasized that he had not been charged with any crime.

The investigation began in March 2005 when Virginia investor Lori Mody, went to the FBI to complain that Jefferson and her business associate were trying to scam her in a high-tech business venture in Africa in which a copper wire technology would be used to deliver the Internet and cable television.

Mody agreed to wear a listening device for federal authorities, previously issued court documents said.

During an undercover sting, on July 21, 2005, Jefferson told Mody that he needed to give Nigerian Vice President Atikua Abubakar $500,000 “as a motivating factor” to make sure they obtained contracts.

Mody eventually agreed to give Jefferson $100,000 — in marked bills from the FBI, court records have indicated. A few days later, $90,000 was found in Jefferson’s freezer.

Eventually, Mody’s business associate Brett Pfeffer and Vernon L. Jackson, the president of iGate, a Louisville based high tech firm, pleaded guilty to bribing Jefferson to use his political influence to push through a lucrative contract in Africa to sell technology for the Internet and cable television. Both are serving time in prison.

Written by LeisureGuy

4 June 2007 at 9:46 am

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