Later On

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

Archive for August 5th, 2007

When specifics are sparse…

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Paul Krugman has some good observations on how (a) politicians generally avoid giving specific policy proposals, and (b) political reporters let them get away with it.

Two presidential elections ago, the conventional wisdom said that George W. Bush was a likable, honest fellow. But those of us who actually analyzed what he was saying about policy came to a different conclusion — namely, that he was irresponsible and deeply dishonest. His numbers didn’t add up, and in his speeches he simply lied about the content of his own proposals.

In the fifth year of the disastrous war Mr. Bush started on false pretenses, it’s clear who was right. What a candidate says about policy, not the supposedly revealing personal anecdotes political reporters love to dwell on, is the best way to judge his or her character.

So what are the current presidential candidates saying about policy, and what does it tell us about them?

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Written by Leisureguy

5 August 2007 at 9:05 pm

Posted in Democrats, Election, GOP

Thinking about tomorrow

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Executive new

I have loaded a new-to-me Gillette Executive with a made-in-Czech-Republic Gillette Silver Blue Blade, set out the D.R. Harris Marlborough shaving stick and aftershave (yes, I’m going to be Marlborough Man), and am looking contemplatively at the Plisson HMW 12.

Written by Leisureguy

5 August 2007 at 5:09 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

San Marzano tomatoes

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Ah, it’s not a brand—it’s a type of tomato.

Written by Leisureguy

5 August 2007 at 9:41 am

Posted in Food

The Denial Machine: global warming and the ostriches

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Newsweek has an excellent article:

Sen. Barbara Boxer had been chair of the Senate’s Environment Committee for less than a month when the verdict landed last February. “Warming of the climate system is unequivocal,” concluded a report by 600 scientists from governments, academia, green groups and businesses in 40 countries. Worse, there was now at least a 90 percent likelihood that the release of greenhouse gases from the burning of fossil fuels is causing longer droughts, more flood-causing downpours and worse heat waves, way up from earlier studies. Those who doubt the reality of human-caused climate change have spent decades disputing that. But Boxer figured that with “the overwhelming science out there, the deniers’ days were numbered.” As she left a meeting with the head of the international climate panel, however, a staffer had some news for her. A conservative think tank long funded by ExxonMobil, she told Boxer, had offered scientists $10,000 to write articles undercutting the new report and the computer-based climate models it is based on. “I realized,” says Boxer, “there was a movement behind this that just wasn’t giving up.”

If you think those who have long challenged the mainstream scientific findings about global warming recognize that the game is over, think again. Yes, 19 million people watched the “Live Earth” concerts last month, titans of corporate America are calling for laws mandating greenhouse cuts, “green” magazines fill newsstands, and the film based on Al Gore’s best-selling book, “An Inconvenient Truth,” won an Oscar. But outside Hollywood, Manhattan and other habitats of the chattering classes, the denial machine is running at full throttle—and continuing to shape both government policy and public opinion.

Since the late 1980s, this well-coordinated, well-funded campaign by contrarian scientists, free-market think tanks and industry has created a paralyzing fog of doubt around climate change. Through advertisements, op-eds, lobbying and media attention, greenhouse doubters (they hate being called deniers) argued first that the world is not warming; measurements indicating otherwise are flawed, they said. Then they claimed that any warming is natural, not caused by human activities. Now they contend that the looming warming will be minuscule and harmless. “They patterned what they did after the tobacco industry,” says former senator Tim Wirth, who spearheaded environmental issues as an under secretary of State in the Clinton administration. “Both figured, sow enough doubt, call the science uncertain and in dispute. That’s had a huge impact on both the public and Congress.”

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Written by Leisureguy

5 August 2007 at 9:30 am

MS Office Substitute

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CanadianWatcher pointed out in the comments the OpenOffice Suite: free, open-source, and compatible.

It always surprises me when people are so ready to turn over hard earned money for an office program that they can get for free off the net.

You can download OpenOffice from http://www.openoffice.org it is a replacement for MS Office and you download it for free. Don’t hesitate to donate to the developers. By the way if you use open office you will be able to use open document format and not be in the position of not being able to open a document years down the road.

This is certainly worth considering.

Written by Leisureguy

5 August 2007 at 8:15 am

Posted in Software

The Big Coverup

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Frank Rich is on target today:

Gerald Ford spoke the truth when he called Watergate “our long national nightmare,” but even a nightmare can have its interludes of rib-splitting farce.

None were zanier than the antics of Baruch Korff, a small-town New England rabbi who became a full-time Richard Nixon sycophant as the walls closed in. Korff was ubiquitous in the press and on television, where he would lambaste Democrats and the media “lynch mob” for vilifying “the greatest president of the century.” Despite Nixon’s reflexive anti-Semitism, he returned the favor by granting the rabbi audiences and an interview that allowed the embattled president to soliloquize about how his own faith and serenity reinforced his conviction “deep inside” that everything he did was right.

Clearly we’ve reached our own Korffian moment in our latest long national nightmare. The Nixon interviewed by the rabbi sounded uncannily like the resolute leader chronicled by the conservative columnists and talk-show jocks President Bush has lately welcomed into his bunker. For his part, William Kristol even published a Korffian manifesto, “Why Bush Will Be a Winner,” in The Washington Post. It reassured us that the Bush presidency would “probably be a successful one” and that “we now seem to be on course to a successful outcome” in Iraq. A Bush flack let it be known that the president liked this piece so much that he recommended it to his White House staff.

Are you laughing yet? Maybe not. No one died in Watergate. This time around, the White House lying and cover-ups have been not just in the service of political thuggery but to gin up a gratuitous war without end.

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Written by Leisureguy

5 August 2007 at 8:10 am

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