Later On

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

Archive for July 26th, 2007

FBI held accountable—long after the fact

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Look at this:

A federal judge Thursday ordered the government to pay more than $101 million in the case of four men who spent decades in prison for a 1965 murder they didn’t commit after the FBI withheld evidence of their innocence.

The FBI encouraged perjury, helped frame the four men and withheld for more than three decades information that could have cleared them, U.S. District Judge Nancy Gertner said in issuing her ruling Thursday.

She called the government’s argument that the FBI had no duty to get involved in the state case “absurd.”

Peter Limone, Joseph Salvati and the families of the two other men who died in prison had sued the federal government for malicious prosecution.

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Written by Leisureguy

26 July 2007 at 5:25 pm

Posted in Government

Drug Policy Alliance on the House vote

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From an email:

Last night, the U.S. House of Representatives again thumbed its nose at compassion and common sense by rejecting the Hinchey-Rohrabacher-Farr-Paul amendment, which would have prohibited the federal government from undermining state medical marijuana laws. If enacted it would have put a stop to the federal raids on patients and caregivers in California and other states. The final vote was 165 for / 262 against. This is 2 more “yes” votes than a similar amendment received last year and a sign that support for medical marijuana is slowly growing in Congress. 150 Democrats (65% of voting Democrats) and 15 Republicans (8% of voting Republicans) voted for the amendment.

Please take a few minutes today to thank or spank your Representative for how he or she voted on this important amendment. Sending a message in your own words or making a phone call will have the strongest possible impact:

1) Find out how your Representative voted. If you’re not sure who your Representative is, find out by entering your zip code at the top of this page.

2) Use this directory to go to your Representative’s website where you can find information on writing, e-mailing, or calling your Representative.

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Written by Leisureguy

26 July 2007 at 1:01 pm

Devastating takedown of Joe Klein

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Klein should know better. “Do not poke the bear” — that is, a commentator like Klein, who relies on generalities and vague impressions of the facts, should know better than to take a slap at Glenn Greenwald, who can think and analyze and studies the facts and links to the sources of his information. One is reminded to the town bully picking a fight with Jet Li.

But it is entertaining, in a way, to see a pompous, ignorant windbag like Klein get a beating up on what Klein himself said.

Written by Leisureguy

26 July 2007 at 12:55 pm

Posted in Iraq War, Media

“Compassionate conservatism” = plain conservatism

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There’s no compassion in it. Via Froomkin, John J. DiIulio Jr.:

Eight years ago this week, on July 22, 1999, George W. Bush delivered his first presidential campaign speech, titled “The Duty of Hope.” Speaking in Indianapolis, he rejected as “destructive” the idea that “if only government would get out of the way, all our problems would be solved.” Rather, “from North Central Philadelphia to South Central Los Angeles,” government “must act in the common good, and that good is not common until it is shared by those in need.” There are “some things the government should be doing, like Medicaid for poor children.”

I helped draft the speech and served in 2001 as an adviser to Bush. He has made good on some compassion pledges. For instance, he has increased funding for public schools that serve low-income children. His $150 million program for mentoring 100,000 children of prisoners has made progress. In May, he pledged an additional $30 billion in U.S. aid to combat the global HIV/AIDS epidemic and save Africa’s affected children.

On the other hand, poverty rates have risen in many cities. In 2005, Washington fiddled while New Orleans flooded, and the White House has vacillated in its support for the region’s recovery and rebuilding process. Most urban religious nonprofit organizations that provide social services in low-income communities still get no public support whatsoever. Several recent administration positions on social policy contradict the compassion vision Bush articulated in 1999.

In May, Bush rejected a bipartisan House bill that increased funding for Head Start, a program that benefits millions of low-income preschoolers. His spokesmen claimed the bill was bad because it did not include a provision giving faith-based preschool programs an absolute right to discriminate on religious grounds in hiring.

That reason reverses a principle Bush proclaimed in his 1999 speech: “We will keep a commitment to pluralism, not discriminating for or against Methodists or Mormons or Muslims, or good people of no faith at all.” As many studies show, most urban faith-based nonprofits that serve their own needy neighbors do not discriminate against beneficiaries, volunteers or staff on religious grounds. These inner-city churches and grassroots groups would love to expand Head Start in their communities.

Last week, Bush threatened to veto a bipartisan Senate plan that would add $35 billion over five years to the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). The decade-old program insures children in families that are not poor enough to qualify for Medicaid but are too poor to afford private insurance. The extra $7 billion a year offered by the Senate would cover a few million more children. New money for the purpose would come from raising the federal excise tax on cigarettes.

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Written by Leisureguy

26 July 2007 at 11:24 am

Comments on Bush’s support of torture

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From Froomkin:

Two Reagan appointees, P.X. Kelley and Robert F. Turner, write in a Washington Post op-ed that Bush’s new interrogation policy could subject him to prosecution for war crimes.

“It is clear to us that the language in the executive order cannot even arguably be reconciled with America’s clear duty under Common Article 3 to treat all detainees humanely and to avoid any acts of violence against their person. . . .

“[A]s long as the intent of the abuse is to gather intelligence or to prevent future attacks, and the abuse is not ‘done for the purpose of humiliating or degrading the individual’ — even if that is an inevitable consequence — the president has given the CIA carte blanche to engage in ‘willful and outrageous acts of personal abuse.’ . . .

“[W]e cannot in good conscience defend a decision that we believe has compromised our national honor and that may well promote the commission of war crimes by Americans and place at risk the welfare of captured American military forces for generations to come. . . .

“The Geneva Conventions provide important protections to our own military forces when we send them into harm’s way. Our troops deserve those protections, and we betray their interests when we gratuitously ‘interpret’ key provisions of the conventions in a manner likely to undermine their effectiveness. Policymakers should also keep in mind that violations of Common Article 3 are ‘war crimes’ for which everyone involved — potentially up to and including the president of the United States — may be tried in any of the other 193 countries that are parties to the conventions.”

Written by Leisureguy

26 July 2007 at 11:19 am

Kitty cunning

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Lately Megs vanishes. I call her and call her. I even specifically go into the bedroom to call her. She doesn’t appear, but when I’m back in the living room, here she comes, running down the hall from the bedroom. Clearly she’s found a good hiding place, and clearly she doesn’t want me to know—because, The Wife says, she knows the place is somewhere she’s not supposed to be.

Today I checked a little more thoroughly. And on the top shelf of the closet:

Megs in closet Megs still in closet

Why isn’t she supposed to be there, other than layering gray fur all over the sweater? Well, to get up there, she climbs up the clothes that are on hangers…

In the first photo, she’s pretty clearly saying, “Oh…  hi.” Or, as The Wife points out, in the language of ICANHASCHEEZBURGERS, “Oh, hai. I’m in ur closets perforatin’ ur shirts.”

Written by Leisureguy

26 July 2007 at 10:51 am

Posted in Cats, Megs

Shave stick selection

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I have recently received a couple of queries regarding shave stick recommendations. So I thought I’d just do a post.

QED shave sticks (click menu item “Other fabulous toiletry products” to find quite a few things not otherwise listed, shave sticks among them): These were the first shave sticks I used, and Charles provides with the order an excellent set of instructions. My favorites are Mocha-Java and Special 218, but those who like Lime say that his Lime shave stick is to die for. Includes an unscented stick.

D.R. Harris shave sticks: These are triple-milled soap and produce lather at a whole new level. I highly recommend that you get one just for the experience.

Mama Bear shave sticks: Made in Mama Bear’s fragrances (Sandalwood Vanilla is excellent, IMHO, but I wish she also had a Vanilla Cream shave stick), including unscented.

Honeybee Spa shave sticks: Today Honeybee Sue announced her new line of shaving sticks in the Honeybee Spa fragrances. (Aren’t you glad you read this blog? Now you can be first in line.)

Arko shave stick: $1.49 for a very good shave.
Valobra shave stick: Another triple-milled shave stick of excellent quality
Palmolive shave stick: Haven’t yet tried mine.

All three of the above are available from RazorandBrush (scroll down to find them)—and if you order any of those and don’t have the largest sampler pack of blades, you should (IMHO) get that as well. There are some great prizes in that collection, but you have to find them for yourself—you know how blades are.

If you ever order from the UK, by all means get the Erasmic shave stick and the Wilkinson shave stick: both are excellent, and both are inexpensive. I also just got a Boots shave stick from Boots the Chemist, thanks to a friend abroad—Boots won’t ship to the US.

Written by Leisureguy

26 July 2007 at 10:25 am

Posted in Shaving

Cold-brewed coffee for iced coffee

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Tip N Pour

I just made another batch, and I have the proportions exactly right now:

1 cup freshly ground coffee (I set my grinder to a drip grind)
4.5 cups good water

Let that sit overnight, then strain it into a cone filter. The result is exactly 1 quart. I do the mix in a half-gallon Pyrex measuring cup/bowl, with handle, pour spout, and lid. I filter it into a one-quart measuring cup, then pour it (using a funnel) into the Filtron Tip-N-Pour (pictured), which is handy for dispensing.

Written by Leisureguy

26 July 2007 at 8:50 am

Posted in Caffeine, Daily life

Modern-day Republicans lack…

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From The Carpetbagger Report:

At the end of the AP article on today’s House Judiciary Committee vote on contempt charges, the piece mentions this:

The last time a full chamber of Congress voted on a contempt citation was 1983. The House voted 413-0 to cite former Environmental Protection Agency official Rita Lavelle for contempt of Congress for refusing to appear before a House committee. Lavelle was later acquitted in court of the contempt charge, but she was convicted of perjury in a separate trial.

Lavelle was the chief of the EPA’s hazardous waste program in the Reagan administration. The White House withheld documents in the “Sewergate” scandal about hazardous waste enforcement — Reagan’s EPA didn’t believe in it — and Lavelle resisted subpoenas.

An outraged House approved a contempt citation unanimously.

Today, not a single Republican on the House Judiciary Committee was willing to endorse a similar measure. Not one.

In other words, every member of the House GOP in 1983 was willing to take a stand against an official in the administration of Ronald Reagan, the Patron Saint of the Party, but in 2007, the Republican caucus is inclined to stand with Bush.

BooMan said it reflects “an appalling erosion of principle.” I think that’s true, but I’d add that it might also suggest an erosion of institutional pride. Lawmakers historically resisted a co-equal branch trying to get away with something at their expense. The current cast of far-right characters believe Bush is part of their “team,” and if he wants to undermine the powers of the legislative branch, they ought to let him.

Written by Leisureguy

26 July 2007 at 8:36 am

Posted in Congress, GOP, Government

Oscar the hospice cat

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Oscar

A friend in the Netherlands sent me this link. The story:

Oscar the Cat awakens from his nap, opening a single eye to survey his kingdom. From atop the desk in the doctor’s charting area, the cat peers down the two wings of the nursing home’s advanced dementia unit. All quiet on the western and eastern fronts. Slowly, he rises and extravagantly stretches his 2-year-old frame, first backward and then forward. He sits up and considers his next move.

In the distance, a resident approaches. It is Mrs. P., who has been living on the dementia unit’s third floor for 3 years now. She has long forgotten her family, even though they visit her almost daily. Moderately disheveled after eating her lunch, half of which she now wears on her shirt, Mrs. P. is taking one of her many aimless strolls to nowhere. She glides toward Oscar, pushing her walker and muttering to herself with complete disregard for her surroundings. Perturbed, Oscar watches her carefully and, as she walks by, lets out a gentle hiss, a rattlesnake-like warning that says “leave me alone.” She passes him without a glance and continues down the hallway. Oscar is relieved. It is not yet Mrs. P.’s time, and he wants nothing to do with her.

Oscar jumps down off the desk, relieved to be once more alone and in control of his domain. He takes a few moments to drink from his water bowl and grab a quick bite. Satisfied, he enjoys another stretch and sets out on his rounds. Oscar decides to head down the west wing first, along the way sidestepping Mr. S., who is slumped over on a couch in the hallway. With lips slightly pursed, he snores peacefully — perhaps blissfully unaware of where he is now living. Oscar continues down the hallway until he reaches its end and Room 310. The door is closed, so Oscar sits and waits. He has important business here.

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

26 July 2007 at 8:22 am

Posted in Cats, Daily life, Medical

New soap, good shave

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I got two pucks of Crabtree & Evelyn shaving soap—Sienna and Sandalwood—but haven’t had a chance to use either. This morning I decided to give the Sienna a go. After washing my beard with Mr. Glo, I used the Rooney Style 2 Finest and got a good lather. Not D.R. Harris lather, but not bad.

The British Aristocrat #66 with the second use of the Treet Blue Special. Smooth shaving, no pulling. Easy and clean, no nicks or irritation. Since I used the Black Beauty blade, I splashed on Draggon Noir aftershave. Then I carefully rinsed the razor in hot water, shook it well, and swished the head thoroughly in the rubbing alcohol and put the razor in the rack. Tomorrow I’ll shave with it again, and on Saturday I’ll remove the razor and check for rust. So far, so good.

Written by Leisureguy

26 July 2007 at 8:15 am

Posted in Shaving

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