Later On

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

Archive for June 22nd, 2007

Smear the messenger

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So much wrong…  ThinkProgress:

In his new movie SiCKO, documentary filmmaker Michael Moore exposes the deplorable practices of the major health insurance and pharmaceutical companies in working to deny coverage to individuals who are insured. As Moore told ABC’s Nightline:

There’s no getting around the fact that people are dying in this country as a result of the decisions that get made by these health insurance companies. People are dying in this country because they can’t afford the pharmaceuticals because of the price gauging that takes place.

For his damaging exposé of the health care industry, Moore is now under attack from front groups supported and funded by the insurance and pharmaceutical industries. The New York Sun reports:

The pharmaceutical industry and think tanks it backs financially are readying a multifaceted counteroffensive against Michael Moore’s film about the health care industry. […]

The drug companies and their allies have been on their toes ever since the movie was being filmed, when they warned personnel to watch out for film crews from the “Fahrenheit 9/11″ director. But in advance of the film’s release, they are upping the volume and the tempo of their activities.

Armed with the plenty of cash from the health care industry, these organizations are lobbing personal insults against Moore and propagating the message of those invested in maintaining the status quo. Some examples:

FreedomWorks: FreedomWorks has launched a new campaign claiming that policies favored by Moore, “healthy individuals” would “wind up subsidizing people like Moore, who are overweight and and/or live decidedly unhealthy lifestyles by frequenting fast-food restaurants, smoke, or use drugs.” FreedomWorks is run by former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, whose PAC has received significant contributions from the health care industry. Several industry members serve on its board of directors. Additionally, it has a deal with Medical Savings Insurance Co. allowing the company’s brokers “sell high-deductible insurance policies and tax-free savings plans at a group discount to buyers who join the conservative political organization.”

CATO Institute: CATO receives funding from multiple insurance and pharmaceutical companies, including Amerisure Insurance, Pfizer, and Merck. It has written numerous pieces attacking Moore’s film, arguing that he “ignores the positive side of American health care” and instead “focuses on life expectancy.” It held an event after the DC premiere of the film, screening conservative films that “highlight problems” with “government-run health care.”

Manhattan Institute: The Manhattan Institute receives funding from multiple pharmaceutical giants such as Bristol-Myers Squibb. One of its senior fellows started a site called Free Market Cure, which argues SiCKO is “set to inject a large dose of misinformation and propaganda into our national dialog about health care policy.” The group is advising reporters covering SiCKO that scholars “at the institute’s Center for Medical Progress…were available to comment on the health care industry.”

Other health-care industry front groups — such as the Galen Institute, Pacific Research Institute, and the Heritage Foundation — have recently launched their own attacks on Moore’s film.

For the health insurance and pharmaceutical industries, Michael Moore’s film exposing their history and their misdeeds is a serious threat, and they have no shortage of funds to try to distort it.

Written by LeisureGuy

22 June 2007 at 6:07 pm

Criticism from within the Army

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Even some in the Army can’t stomach the sloppy and unjust procedures the military is following in the “tribunals.” Read this:

An Army officer with a key role in the U.S. military hearings at Guantanamo Bay says they relied on vague and incomplete intelligence and were pressured to declare detainees “enemy combatants,” often without any specific evidence.

His affidavit, released Friday, is the first criticism by a member of the military panels that determine whether detainees will continue to be held.

Lt. Col. Stephen Abraham, a 26-year veteran of military intelligence who is an Army reserve officer and a California lawyer, said military prosecutors were provided with only “generic” material that didn’t hold up to the most basic legal challenges.

Despite repeated requests, intelligence agencies arbitrarily refused to provide specific information that could have helped either side in the tribunals, according to Abraham, who said he served as a main liaison between the Combat Status Review Tribunals and those intelligence agencies.

“What were purported to be specific statements of fact lacked even the most fundamental earmarks of objectively credible evidence,” Abraham said in the affidavit, filed in a Washington appeals court on behalf of a Kuwaiti detainee, Fawzi al-Odah, who is challenging his classification as an “enemy combatant.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by LeisureGuy

22 June 2007 at 2:46 pm

New NEW razor photos

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NEW 1 NEW 2 NEW 3

Some guys on ShaveMyFace wanted to see photos of the new NEW.

Written by LeisureGuy

22 June 2007 at 2:23 pm

Posted in Shaving

No politics today—but a NOS razor

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I just don’t have the heart. So many things have gone bad and are still going bad. One becomes burned out. I need a break, and maybe you do, too.

On a brighter note: I just received in the mail a brand-new NEW Gillette from 1930. Three of them had been discovered in the back shelves of an old drug store, still in the original box. Never used, never touched. And they’re gold plated, so still in perfect condition—in fact, even the box looks new. The three went up on eBay and I scored one. I’ll shave with it tomorrow. (I’m that kind of collector—with my fountain pens as well.)

Written by LeisureGuy

22 June 2007 at 10:47 am

Posted in Daily life, Shaving

10 books

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I thought this list was interesting because several of the books I would put on my own list. But beware: the links are to Amazon.com instead of the appropriate search on Abebooks.com. If you’re interested in one of the books, first check Abebooks.com since you can often get the book very cheaply indeed. (My links are generally to the appropriate Abebooks search—for example, Joanna Field’s excellent memoir/self-study A Life of One’s Own. Click that link and you can buy the book for a dollar. Then read it—extremely good, insightful, and informative.)

Reader Ed from Ireland recently asked:

I’m still really only a beginner into the Zen Habits lifestyle and your site as given me a great deal of helpful information instantly. Do you think there are any books, sites you could suggest that really made an impression on you?

That’s a tough one. I’m a book lover, to be honest, and to choose just a few books that have influenced me is like choosing among your babies. However, I’ve decided to share a few books that have shaped the way I think, and that I would highly recommend. These are not in order:

  1. Simplify Your Life and Living the Simple Life by Elaine St. James. I listed this first because it is one of the books that most influenced the simple philosophy behind this site. I began simplifying my life when I first read these books a decade ago, and though I’ve had some ups and downs, I credit my love for simplifying to these books. They’re an easy read and there are some great tips in there.
  2. Your Money or Your Life by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robins. No book on money is more important. If you haven’t read this book yet, you must. It’s simply life transforming, and takes the way most people look at money and turns it on its head. My philosophy about money stems from this book.
  3. Getting Things Done by David Allen. This is not a surprise for people who read this site. When I first read about GTD, I overhauled my organizational and productivity habits, and have been refining them ever since. This book’s methods guide much of the writing on this site, even if I’ve adapted them to suit my needs.
  4. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. I was highly enthusiastic about this book when I first read it about 15 years ago, but then I kind of forgot about it for a long time. Until recently, when I was looking for ways to fill in gaps in GTD, and realized that Covey’s concepts are perfect. Now, my productivity/goals system is a blend of GTD, Covey, simplification and a few others.
  5. The Art of Happiness by the Dalai Lama. Taught me more about compassion than any other book I’ve read. For that alone, the book is worth its weight in gold.
  6. Manufacturing Consent by Noam Chomsky. This was a hard book to swallow when I was a journalist, as it cuts to the heart of the mass media (also known as corporate media). Chomsky’s writings awoke in me, as they did in many others, an awareness of the political and corporate machine that affects all of our lives. When people ask me how I can boycott reading and watching the news for two years (”You need to be aware of the world around you!”), I would point them to this book. The reading is a bit dense, but it’s powerful.
  7. Tender Is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Although Gatsby is more highly regarded, I think because it is more compactly written and touches on themes considered more important, Tender is the book I read first and it is the book that truly awed me with the unmatchable beauty of Fitzgerald’s writing. He writes poetry and music in the form of prose, and his ear for rhythm of language is unmatched. My heart aches when I read this book.
  8. Dubliners by James Joyce. I think this book changed me because it taught me how powerful literature can be. I went on to read even more powerful stuff from Joyce, but this was the first, and it made all other literature I read before it seem like light reading. And Joyce captures beauty and sadness and humanity in the smallest things, and his mastery of the language is unmatched except by Shakespeare.
  9. Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut. I love everything by Vonnegut. I wanted to write something on this blog when he died, but I couldn’t put my feelings into words. He became a close friend, through his books, and he was able to make fun of some of the most horrible things — things we don’t normally want to think about — and thus making them more digestible, and more absurd at the same time. Cat’s Cradle is simply my favorite, but Slaughterhouse 5 and the rest are awesome too.
  10. The Essential Gandhi. A great man captured in one little book. His words are profound and his actions even more so. Gandhi, more than anyone else, shaped my thinking about violence and politics and simplicity and the power of our actions.

Those are just the ones that I can think of that have had the most impact. Of course, there are many others.

Written by LeisureGuy

22 June 2007 at 10:35 am

Posted in Books, Daily life

Super-nice Griswold 12″ skillet

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Griswold

I selling on eBay a 12″ Griswold cast-iron skillet in super-nice condition. I bring it to your attention only because it’s in such good shape and it’s a nice large size. Many people think Griswold is the best cast iron cookware.

Written by LeisureGuy

22 June 2007 at 10:27 am

Posted in Daily life

Cute video for Friday

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Written by LeisureGuy

22 June 2007 at 7:24 am

Posted in Music, Video

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