Later On

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

Archive for September 1st, 2007

The Katrina Windfall

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From Mother Jones, Windfall: How Conservatives, Contractors, and Developers Cashed In on Katrina. It begins:

In those first emotional days after Katrina laid waste to the Gulf Coast, widespread predictions of a political sea change arrived from liberal and even some conservative commentators. “Americans are ready to fix their restless gaze on enduring problems of poverty, race, and class that have escaped their attention,” Newsweek‘s Jonathan Alter wrote in a September 2005 cover story. Some went so far as to forecast the dawn of a new America, one stunned out of both complacency and conservatism by the images of suffering on the Gulf Coast. Katrina, one commentator suggested, would permanently “redefine the political landscape.”

But within just a few weeks of the hurricane, something had changed in the press coverage and the public response: As the floodwaters receded, so, too, did the powerful images—the portraits of racially segregated suffering, of death by poverty. America’s—even liberal America’s—focus appeared to be moving away from the experiences of Katrina victims and the deep, systemic problems they revealed. In the end, the leap from pathos to policy was never made. Instead, a narrower lens was focused on the foibles of the Bush administration—for instance, its hiring of a political crony, Michael Brown, to head FEMA (and, later, Brown’s infamous emails about wardrobe choices and dinner plans as New Orleans residents were literally drowning in their homes). Democrats were quick to attack President Bush, but when it came to advancing meaningful policy changes, they came up short on momentum.

It quickly became clear that the public “meaning” of Katrina, which had initially seemed so obvious to so many, was actually up for grabs—and so, too, was its impact on U.S. politics.

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Written by LeisureGuy

1 September 2007 at 4:52 pm


with 10 comments

There’s a thread on B&B that, in spite of my best efforts, became acrimonious. The last post, before the moderator locked the thread, included this:

Being one of those three I can now say that it seems that you are way too invested in this blade being represented as something it is not. Why is that Michael? Is it that the vendor who sells this blade also sells your “book”? Is this about profit and gain wrapped up in the guise of “helping the newcomer”? I don’t know.

There are a couple of misleading implications here. I requested that either the moderator (who wrote the above) or the overall forum leader post a correction, but I got a refusal: “The thread is locked, it’s old news — let’s move on.” Since it’s my good name at issue here, I want to make sure the correct information is available.

First, as the forum leader well knows, Razor and Brush no longer sells my book. R&B did sell it at one time, but there were objections to my linking to R&B (and its blade sampler packs, for example) because R&B sold the book. So I asked Giovanni to discontinue selling it, and he agreed, and I so informed the forum leader and asked him to let the moderators know. So: the vendor who sells the Treet Blue Special blade does not, in fact, sell my book.

Second, the only representation I have ever made about the blade is that it works well for me, a statement that always includes things like “for me,” “YMMV,” and the like. As I have repeatedly noted, different shavers experience the same brand of blade quite differently—which is why we have sampler packs in the first place.

And in the thread, you’ll note that several other shavers have the same experience with the blade as I. None of us were representing the blade as anything other than a blade that works well for us, YMMV.

As a point of interest, so far I’m still in the red on the book—which, like B&B, is primarily a labor of love. It would be nice to make some money on it—I have nothing against making money—but I’m not holding my breath.

I really don’t know what made this particular pot boil over, but it did. So it goes. But I did not want the final word to be an inaccurate accusation damaging to my own reputation.

Sorry for this. Back to our regularly scheduled programming now.

Written by LeisureGuy

1 September 2007 at 4:49 pm

Posted in Shaving

Alcohol content of Thayers witch hazels

with 2 comments

Thayers has quite a line of witch hazels, and the question of their alcohol content was recently raised. So: those labeled “astringent” are 10% alcohol, those labeled “toner” are alcohol-free. The Thayers Witch Hazel with Aloe Vera Aftershave is 20% alcohol. A good way to get to know them is the sampler pack.

Written by LeisureGuy

1 September 2007 at 3:25 pm

Posted in Daily life, Health, Shaving

Syllabub: my kind of dessert

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At least this recipe from Saveur is:

For a variation, Day-Lewis sometimes fills the glasses halfway up with the syllabub, adds a little raspberry purée or a few chopped white peaches or strawberries, and then tops them off with the remaining syllabub, to create a fruity middle section to the dessert. Put 1⁄3 cup superfine sugar, 1⁄4 cup oloroso sherry, 2 tbsp. cognac, 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice, and the zest of 1 lemon into a large bowl. Stir well, then cover and let sit out at room temperature overnight to allow the flavors to meld. Add 1 3⁄4 cups plus 2 tbsp. cold heavy cream (preferably unhomogenized) and a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg (just “a suspicion”, says Day-Lewis) to the sherry mixture and whip with a whisk until soft peaks form. Spoon into 4 glasses and garnish each with a bit of lemon zest and a sprig of rosemary. Serves 4.

Written by LeisureGuy

1 September 2007 at 10:39 am

Posted in Food, Recipes

Inverted tabs for your Moleskine

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Cool idea: cut inverted tabs to index your Moleskine.

Written by LeisureGuy

1 September 2007 at 9:53 am

Posted in Daily life

Aquatic apes

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I was discussing this morning Elaine Morgan’s book The Scars of Evolution
and her thesis developed in the book that we are descended from aquatic apes. She points out many strange characteristics and inefficiencies of humans today that make sense if we are descended from an aquatic environment. My correspondent pointed out this BBC radio programme (two episodes) on that very topic.

Written by LeisureGuy

1 September 2007 at 9:28 am

Posted in Books, Science

X1 indexing vs. Vista indexing

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I’ve mentioned before that I really like X1 as an indexing, quick-search program. James Fallows blogs this morning about how Vista’s indexing program doesn’t scale, so as you add more items, it goes slower and slower and bogs down the entire computer.

I’ve noticed that Office 2007 is eager to install a Microsoft indexing program in Outlook 2007, but I keep refusing it—X1 is fast and efficient and everything I need. And it’s free.

Written by LeisureGuy

1 September 2007 at 9:20 am

Posted in Software, Technology

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