Later On

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

Archive for July 24th, 2007

Which country watches the most TV?

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TV watching

From The Economist:

Despite an increase in entertainment choices, watching television remains as popular as ever, according to the OECD’s “Communications Outlook 2007”. In 15 of the 18 countries for which data were collected, broadcast-TV viewing increased from 1997 to 2005. Only in Spain, New Zealand and South Korea did people watch less. America takes the couch-potato crown, with households goggling at the box for an eye-straining average of 8 hours and 11 minutes every day. The nearest rival, Turkey, only manages an average of five hours a day.

Written by Leisureguy

24 July 2007 at 7:38 pm

Posted in Daily life, Education, Media

Bush comes by his authoritarian ideas naturally

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From the BBC. No wonder Bush has so little respect for the Constitution and the rule of law.

A BBC Radio 4 investigation sheds new light on a major subject that has received little historical attention, the conspiracy on behalf of a group of influential powerbrokers, led by Prescott Bush, to overthrow FDR and implement a fascist dictatorship in the U.S. based around the ideology of Mussolini and Hitler.

In 1933, Marine Corps Maj.-Gen. Smedley Butler was approached by a wealthy and secretive group of industrialists and bankers, including Prescott Bush the current President’s grandfather, who asked him to command a 500,000-strong rogue army of veterans that would help stage a coup to topple then President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

According to the BBC, the plotters intended to impose a fascist takeover and “Adopt the policies of Hitler and Mussolini to beat the great depression.”

The conspirators were operating under the umbrella of a front group called the American Liberty League, which included many families that are still household names today, including Heinz, Colgate, Birds Eye and General Motors.Butler played along with the clique to determine who was involved but later blew the whistle and identified the ringleaders in testimony given to the House Committee on un-American Activities.

However, the Committee refused to even question any of the individuals named by Butler and his testimony was omitted from the record, leading to charges that they were involved in covering the matter up, and the majority of the media blackballed the story.

General Smedley Butler, author of the famous quote “war is a racket”, exposed the fascist plotters but was subsequently demonized and shunned by the government and the media.

In 1936, William Dodd, the U.S. Ambassador to Germany, wrote a letter to President Roosevelt in which he stated,

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Written by Leisureguy

24 July 2007 at 7:24 pm

Sophie on oxygen

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Sophie oxygen

Sophie’s better, but she still tires very easily, still requires oxygen and must be covered to keep her warm, and needs intravenous feeding and fluids. She’ll remain at the vet’s tonight. The Wife took this photo with her cellphone when she went to visit Sophie at the end of the day.

Written by Leisureguy

24 July 2007 at 6:09 pm

Posted in Cats, Daily life, Sophie

Catapulting the propaganda

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The propaganda-guy-in-chief:

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24 July 2007 at 3:01 pm

Those who think they know all the answers

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Those who think they know it all will generally not spend time listening to anyone who might actually have knowledge. Wasn’t it Will Rogers who said, “The problem is not the things we don’t know, it’s the things we do know that aren’t so.” Via Froomkin, this story:

The entrepreneur who hosted President Bush last week for a roundtable discussion on health care and small business said yesterday that he could barely get a word in as Bush opined on children’s health insurance and other health topics.

If he had, Clifton Broumand would have told the president he disagreed with him on most of it, he said.

“He answered his own questions,” said Broumand, who gave Bush a tour of Man & Machine Inc., the Landover-based medical computer accessory company he founded 25 years ago. “I thought the whole concept was to ask us, so I was a little bit frustrated. I would have liked the opportunity to give him my viewpoint, rather than him knowing the answer.”

Bush used the occasion — a discussion with three small-business owners — to denounce efforts in Congress to expand the popular State Children’s Health Insurance Program by $35 billion or more over the next five years.

Supporters, including some Republicans, say that would help provide health coverage to nearly 10 million low-income children. But Bush, who wants to add only $5 billion in funding over five years, warned that expanding the federal role in health care could hurt private insurance and ultimately lead to rationing of care. Both the House and Senate are expected to vote on expanding the program before the congressional recess begins in August.

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24 July 2007 at 2:17 pm

Bush as global leader for US interests

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He fails as utterly as he has failed at most things he’s attempted. From Froomkin:

Peter Baker writes in The Washington Post: “President Bush and his top Cabinet secretaries are scaling back their personal diplomacy around the world to focus more intently on Iraq and the rest of the Middle East as the administration concentrates its energy on top priorities for the president’s last 18 months in office.

“In the past two weeks, Bush canceled a summit with Southeast Asian leaders in Singapore, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice scrapped a trip to Africa and decided to skip a meeting in the Philippines, and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates put off a swing through Latin America. . . .

“The decisions underscore how much Iraq and the turmoil in the Middle East have come to consume Bush’s presidency and threaten his ability to forge a lasting legacy. The canceled trips have fueled discontent in regions that have long felt snubbed by Bush, and U.S. diplomats and scholars warn of lasting damage. . . .

“While the Bush team has waged war in Iraq, China has expanded its global influence, Russia has been reborn as an increasingly authoritarian and antagonistic power, and anti-Americanism has spread in Latin America.”

Written by Leisureguy

24 July 2007 at 2:03 pm

Krugman on Bush

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Via Froomkin, this excellent column by Paul Krugman:

In a coordinated public relations offensive, the White House is using reliably friendly pundits – amazingly, they still exist – to put out the word that President Bush is as upbeat and confident as ever. It might even be true. What I don’t understand is why we’re supposed to consider Bush’s continuing confidence a good thing.

Remember, Bush was confident six years ago when he promised to bring in Osama, dead or alive. He was confident four years ago, when he told the insurgents to bring it on. He was confident two years ago, when he told Brownie that he was doing a heckuva job.

Now Iraq is a bloody quagmire, Afghanistan is deteriorating and the Bush administration’s own National Intelligence Estimate admits, in effect, that thanks to Bush’s poor leadership America is losing the struggle with Al-Qaida. Yet Bush remains confident.

Sorry, but that’s not reassuring: It’s terrifying. It doesn’t demonstrate Bush’s strength of character; it shows he has lost touch with reality.

Actually, it’s not clear that he ever was in touch with reality. I wrote about the Bush administration’s “infallibility complex,” its inability to admit mistakes or face up to real problems it didn’t want to deal with, in June 2002. Around the same time Ron Suskind, the investigative journalist, had a conversation with a senior Bush adviser who mocked the “reality-based community,” asserting that “when we act, we create our own reality.”

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Written by Leisureguy

24 July 2007 at 2:00 pm

What the US public thinks: recent poll results

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From Dan Froomkin today:

Jon Cohen and Dan Balz write in The Washington Post: “Most Americans see President Bush as intransigent on Iraq and prefer that the Democratic-controlled Congress make decisions about a possible withdrawal of U.S. forces, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. . . .

“[B]y a large margin, Americans trust Democrats rather than the president to find a solution to a conflict that remains enormously unpopular. . . .

“Many would like Congress to assert itself on Iraq, and about half of poll respondents said congressional Democrats have done ‘too little’ to get Bush to change his war policy. . . .

“Bush’s overall approval rating equals its all-time low in Post-ABC News polls at 33 percent, with 65 percent disapproving. Fifty-two percent said they ‘strongly’ disapprove of his job performance, the highest figure of his presidency and more than three times the 16 percent who strongly approve.

Some highlights from the poll results, in order of increasing popularity:

* 55 percent support legislation that would set a deadline for withdrawing U.S. forces by next spring.

* 59 percent agree that the United States should withdraw its military forces from Iraq in order to avoid further U.S. military casualties, even if that means civil order is not restored there.

* 62 percent think Congress — not Bush — should have final say in deciding when to withdraw U.S. forces from Iraq.

* 65 percent support creating new rules on troop training and rest time that would limit the number of troops available for duty in Iraq.

* 74 percent support changing the primary mission of U.S. forces in Iraq to supporting and training the Iraqi Army, rather than directly fighting insurgents.

* 75 percent think the surge has either not made much difference or has made things worse.

* 78 percent think Bush is not willing enough to change his administration’s policies in Iraq.

And here are some similar findings from a new New York Times poll:

* 63 percent think Congress should only allow funding for the war on the condition that the U.S. sets a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops (another 8 percent think Congress should block funding altogether.)

* 66 percent support either decreasing the number of U.S. troops in Iraq or removing them altogether.

* 73 percent think the surge has either not made much difference or has made things worse.

And 44 percent of Americans think U.S. involvement in Iraq is creating more terrorists who are planning to attack the U.S — compared to 18 percent who think it is eliminating terrorists who were planning to attack the U.S.

Written by Leisureguy

24 July 2007 at 1:55 pm

A good model for how different religions can interact

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From The Eldest:

Temple Oheb Shalom’s Rabbi Steven M. Fink gave Bishop Oscar E. Brown an offer he would not let him refuse.

Rabbi Fink insisted that Bishop Brown, whose First Mount Olive Free Will Baptist Church was decimated last week by a devastating fire, and his 3,000-member flock hold services every Sunday morning for at least the next 11 months at Oheb Shalom.

Rabbi Steven M. Fink

Starting this Sunday, July 22, Mount Olive will hold worship services each week in the Upper Park Heights temple’s Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Sanctuary, according to the rabbi. Bishop Brown announced his church’s new arrangement with Oheb Shalom last Sunday, July 15, at a worship service at the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall.

Rabbi Fink said Oheb Shalom will not charge the church for usage of the sanctuary.

“It’s a congregation in need, and we have the ability to accommodate them,” said Rabbi Fink. “We’re happy to do it. It’s the least we can do. If anything happened to our congregation, I’d hope someone would help us.”

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Written by Leisureguy

24 July 2007 at 1:10 pm

Posted in Daily life, Religion

Sophie better

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Sick Sophie 1 Sick Sophie 2 Sick Sophie 3

Terrible photos, but news good. Photos made with camera phone and a trembling hand.

Sophie is responsive now: she meows, she can look at you, she twitches her tail, and she can move her legs a little. She’s still quite weak and is resting, getting oxygen, and getting nutrients. She’s covered to conserve heat. The Wife is holding her in the photos and sent about 10 minutes petting her until it was time to put Sophie back in the cage and hook her up once more. She’ll see Sophie again in three or four hours, and then Sophie will remain at the vets for another night.

Signs are hopeful.

Written by Leisureguy

24 July 2007 at 1:07 pm

Posted in Cats, Daily life, Sophie

Sophie crisis

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Sophie is in a coma. She had had some trouble eating, and when we took her to the vet, it turned out that her gums were infected and her teeth badly needed cleaning. For cats, this requires a general anesthetic. When Sophie was a little baby kitten, she had another bad gum infection under her baby teeth, which caused a fever. She was put under then, and the teeth removed, and she recovered fine.

This time, though, her heart stopped as soon as she went under. They were able to restart her heart, and she is on oxygen and getting fluids and nutrients intravenously. She was rigid for some hours and breathing rapidly, and then they gave her Valium. She relaxed and her breathing slowed to normal.

A vet tech spent the night with her—our vet does not have a portable oxygen tent, so Sophie couldn’t be transferred to the emergency vet hospital. The tech reported that around 5:00 or 6:00 Sophie seemed to respond to petting, but she’s again non-responsive.

We’re going to go there to be with her for a while. It’s a very hard situation. She did have to have her teeth cleaned, and the anesthetic worked fine the first time. But that early infection—or perhaps her own constitution—seems to have made her health somewhat delicate. There’s no one to be angry at, and there’s no alternate course we could have taken. I keep trying to fix it—when we visited Sophie yesterday, I insisted we take her little lambs-wool duster (a toy which she often treats as a kitten), thinking somehow that if she smelled it, she would come out of the coma. Magical thinking. Feeling desperate. We both feel scared.

Written by Leisureguy

24 July 2007 at 10:46 am

Posted in Cats, Daily life, Sophie


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I used the well-loved Tabac shaving soap this morning—a fine lather quickly created with the G.B. Kent BK4, and applied to a beard prepped with Mr. Glo. The second day of the Treet Dura Sharp Hi-Tech (i.e., carbon) Steel blade went fine: whiskers removed without any pulling or hesitation. Quite a smooth shave.

Then I used Tabac aftershave, which I just got. Very nice completion to a Tabac morning. Then I went for my blood draw.

Written by Leisureguy

24 July 2007 at 10:30 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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