Later On

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

Archive for December 9th, 2007

The GOP has no idea how to govern

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Look at this mess. Of course, these people are mostly poor, so the GOP doesn’t care.

Steadily lengthening delays in the resolution of Social Security disability claims have left hundreds of thousands of people in a kind of purgatory, now waiting as long as three years for a decision.

Two-thirds of those who appeal an initial rejection eventually win their cases.

But in the meantime, more and more people have lost their homes, declared bankruptcy or even died while awaiting an appeals hearing, say lawyers representing claimants and officials of the Social Security Administration, which administers disability benefits for those judged unable to work or who face terminal illness.

The agency’s new plan to hire at least 150 new appeals judges to whittle down the backlog, which has soared to 755,000 from 311,000 in 2000, will require $100 million more than President Bush requested this year and still more in the future. The plan has been delayed by the standoff between Congress and the White House over domestic appropriations.

There are 1,025 judges currently at work, and the wait for an appeals hearing averages more than 500 days, compared with 258 in 2000. Without new hirings, federal officials predict even longer waits and more of the personal tragedies that can result from years of painful uncertainty.

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Written by Leisureguy

9 December 2007 at 6:23 pm

Women in Art

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Written by Leisureguy

9 December 2007 at 5:43 pm

Posted in Art, Video

More on reusable grocery bags

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Inhabitat has some good info:

Plastic bags account for 90 percent of grocery bags in the United States. 99% of these bags are not recycled and end up landfill, harming wildlife and leaching toxins like dioxin and other carcinogens into the soil. It takes about 430,000 gallons of oil to produce 100 million plastic bags, and the US goes through 380 billion of them a year.

That means that more than 1.6 billion gallons of oil are used each year to create one-time use plastic bags!

At this point, you have been probably gotten tired of being nagged about this and hearing how important it is to carry reusable cloth bags to the grocery store. But it is such a small, easy step that really makes a huge difference in terms of your environmental impact.

We can offer some help here at Inhabitat by providing you with a stylish organic tote bag that isn’t just an emergency stop-gap, but is an eco-fashion statement you will be proud to carry around with you.

Made from 100% organic cotton, these sturdy and stylish bags are printed with water-based eco-friendly inks (unlike nasty plastisol inks which most printers use). The bags are also made in the US and are extremely high-quality, rugged, and durable, so they won’t break after four shopping trips. Finally, with every Inhabitat Tote bag you purchase, you help support our publication and environmental design initiatives.

We have a limited quantity of these handmade eco-tote bags, so if you want one, act fast: (and here you click the link above – LG)

Written by Leisureguy

9 December 2007 at 4:48 pm

Serve with roast pork

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Doesn’t this sound good:

Parsley and red cabbage citrus salad

1/4 head of red cabbage sliced into thin ribbons
1 bunch of parsley, chopped
1 navel orange
5 scallions, sliced thin
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup olive oil
honey
salt, pepper

In a small bowl whisk the lime juice, olive oil, honey, and salt and pepper.

Using a microplane grate the orange zest into the dressing. Slice the orange flesh from the peel and dice it into 1/2” dice.

In a large bowl toss together the parsley, cabbage, scallions, and the oranges. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss. Taste for acidity and adjust as necessary.

Written by Leisureguy

9 December 2007 at 4:12 pm

Posted in Food, Recipes & Cooking

Wow! More than 7200 downloads of WYM

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The mention on Lifehacker seems to have brought it visibility. More than 7200 downloads seems like a lot to me.

Written by Leisureguy

9 December 2007 at 2:35 pm

Posted in Daily life, Software

The Ten Commandments

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Hmmm. They’re not what I remembered. Exodus chapter 34:

1 The LORD said to Moses, “Cut two stone tablets like the former, that I may write on them the commandments which were on the former tablets that you broke.
2 Get ready for tomorrow morning, when you are to go up Mount Sinai and there present yourself to me on the top of the mountain.
3 No one shall come up with you, and no one is even to be seen on any part of the mountain; even the flocks and the herds are not to go grazing toward this mountain.”
4 Moses then cut two stone tablets like the former, and early the next morning he went up Mount Sinai as the LORD had commanded him, taking along the two stone tablets.
5 Having come down in a cloud, the LORD stood with him there and proclaimed his name, “LORD.”
6 Thus the LORD passed before him and cried out, “The LORD, the LORD, a merciful and gracious God, slow to anger and rich in kindness and fidelity,
7 continuing his kindness for a thousand generations, and forgiving wickedness and crime and sin; yet not declaring the guilty guiltless, but punishing children and grandchildren to the third and fourth generation for their fathers’ wickedness!”
8 Moses at once bowed down to the ground in worship.
9 Then he said, “If I find favor with you, O Lord, do come along in our company. This is indeed a stiff-necked people; yet pardon our wickedness and sins, and receive us as your own.”
10 “Here, then,” said the LORD, “is the covenant I will make. Before the eyes of all your people I will work such marvels as have never been wrought in any nation anywhere on earth, so that this people among whom you live may see how awe-inspiring are the deeds which I, the LORD, will do at your side.
11 But you, on your part, must keep the commandments I am giving you today. “I will drive out before you the Amorites, Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites.

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Written by Leisureguy

9 December 2007 at 10:50 am

Posted in Religion

We need new leadership in both parties

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Really, we need to sweep out the scoundrels, bought and paid for by private interests, and install new leaders in Congress and the White House. It turns out now that the Democratic leadership fully supported the torture program, but now seem to have forgotten that.

When you open a container from the refrigerator and the smell from it knocks you back and makes your eyes water, you throw it out. When a politician has gotten to the point of supporting torture of suspects, they are roughly equivalent. Throw them out and replace them with politicians who haven’t rotted.

Read Glenn Greenwald’s column this morning:

The Washington Post reports today that the Bush administration, beginning in 2002, repeatedly briefed leading Congressional Democrats on the Senate and House Intelligence Committees — including, at various times, Jay Rockefeller, Nancy Pelosi, and Jane Harman — regarding the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation methods,” including details about waterboarding and other torture measures. With one exception (Harman, who vaguely claims to have sent a letter to the CIA), these lawmakers not only failed to object to these policies, but affirmatively supported them.

This information was almost certainly leaked to the Post by intelligence officials who are highly irritated — understandably so — from watching the manipulative spectacle whereby these Democrats now prance around as outraged victims of policies to which they deliberately acquiesced, when they weren’t fully supporting them. Numerous liberal bloggers are already drawing the only conclusions that can be drawn, and expressing their outrage and horror at the Democratic Party leadership. Those sentiments are indisputably appropriate, and I just want to add a few more points to them.

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Written by Leisureguy

9 December 2007 at 8:51 am

Customized cookbooks

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One problem with most cookbooks is that you find a few recipes that you like and make, but most of the book is deadwood. Simply Recipes points out this site, which will print a cookbook of recipes you’ve selected. Pretty cool. You can start with a core book that already has some recipes—like the Simply Recipes tastebook—or you can start from scratch. You can connect to your Epicurious.com account to import your recipe box, browse featured TasteBooks created by top cookbook authors and food editors, search over 25,000 original recipes from Bon Appétit, Gourmet and world-renowned chefs, and/or add your own personal recipes to your recipe library in a few simple steps.

The result is a hardbound cookbook that contains exactly the recipes that you like. Nice gift, in fact.

Written by Leisureguy

9 December 2007 at 8:42 am

The nine US Attorneys

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The nine who were fired—quite obviously for political reasons and at Karl Rove’s behest—are getting on with their lives. Some are still bitter, naturally enough. What a terrible Administration we’ve had to endure—and still more than a year to go.

Written by Leisureguy

9 December 2007 at 8:26 am

Driving behind a trailer? Watch out!!

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Another need for caution: trailers of various sorts, insecurely attached to trucks, breaking lose and killing people. And the trailers often swerve into the oncoming traffic. The start of the story:

Spencer Morrison was a stickler for safety. The middle-school teacher had precious cargo to protect — his 4-year-old triplets, Ethan, Garret and Alaina. Only the best minivan and top-of-the-line car seats would do.

None of that mattered when a trailer — a 3-ton wood-chipper on wheels — broke loose from a truck and careened into oncoming traffic like an unguided missile on April 13, 2006.

It smashed into the minivan and “just blew the vehicle apart,” the local police chief, T. Robert Amann, recalled. Morrison, 37, and two of the triplets died instantly. Ethan suffered a fractured skull and other injuries but survived.

The truck driver, Bradley Demitras, hadn’t checked to make sure the chipper was securely hitched to his vehicle. He also failed to connect the safety chains, which are supposed to keep a trailer attached if the hookup fails. Demitras pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and is serving nine to 18 months in jail.

Runaway trailers are a little-known but persistent cause of devastating crashes, deaths and injuries across the country.

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Written by Leisureguy

9 December 2007 at 8:22 am

Posted in Daily life

The Right begins to accept global warming

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A reader passes along this link. (Thanks, Raymond.)

Last June, Jim Manzi, a longtime software executive, laid out a case in The National Review for the need for conservatives to accept the “reality” of global warming (nationalreview.com). It is, he wrote, “no longer possible, scientifically or politically, to deny that human activities have very likely increased global temperatures; what remains in dispute is the precise magnitude of the human impact.”

Conservatives, he added, “should accept this reality — and move on to the question of what we should do about it.”

“This would put us in a much better position to prevent a massive, counterproductive intervention in the U.S. economy.”

Mr. Manzi was lambasted by liberals as well as conservatives, including the radio host Rush Limbaugh (rushlimbaugh.com), who questioned his knowledge of physics and declared that he was relying on “junk science.”

Undaunted, Mr. Manzi followed up this week in The American Scene, a Web site focused on politics and culture, arguing against proposed carbon taxes. Imposing them would create a worldwide “economic drag” that could actually be worse, economically speaking, than global warming itself, he wrote (theamericanscene.com).

Far better, according to Mr. Manzi, would be to create technologies that would “use energy more efficiently, emit less carbon per unit of energy, remove carbon from the atmosphere, and/or reduce the harm done by carbon dioxide.”

Ryan Avent writes on the environment-focused site Grist that he is happy that “some conservative thinkers are beginning to wrestle with warming in an intellectually honest, if mistaken, manner.” But he says he is perplexed by the notion of a conservative arguing in favor of planned government investments over the choice-driven incentives that carbon taxes would create (gristmill.grist.org). “A ‘conservative’ approach to emissions reduction that favors the wisdom of central planning over market allocations?” he wrote. “The mind boggles.”

Written by Leisureguy

9 December 2007 at 8:14 am

Cool bike for just easy transportation

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Take a look at the  DX: special suspension for a smooth ride, and a tiny computer powered by the front wheel takes care of shifting. The two sports bags include slots for a laptop, MP3 player, and cellphone.

Written by Leisureguy

9 December 2007 at 8:09 am

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