Later On

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

Archive for April 7th, 2008

More bacon, bacon fans!

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What would you say to bacon cake?! Yes, I want some, too.

Written by Leisureguy

7 April 2008 at 7:42 pm

Bush hates democratic values

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Another example: NY Times editorial today:

One of the dismal hallmarks of the Bush administration’s conduct of the war on terror has been its obsession with avoiding outside scrutiny of its actions, including by the federal courts. In particular, it has attacked habeas corpus, the guarantee that prisoners can challenge their confinement before a judge. The administration is doing so again in an important Supreme Court case concerning the habeas rights of American citizens held abroad. The justices should rule that the detainees have a right to review by a United States court.

The two plaintiffs in the case, which was argued in March, are American civilians in Iraq. Shawqi Ahmad Omar and Mohammad Munaf are being held at an Army-run detention center in Baghdad, for transfer to the Iraqis on criminal charges. Mr. Munaf’s conviction on kidnapping charges was overturned, but he may face further charges. Mr. Omar was captured by the American military at his home in Baghdad, and was accused of harboring insurgent fighters. Both men claim to be innocent. Human rights groups warn that they could face torture if they are transferred to Iraqi custody.

Mr. Omar and Mr. Munaf are asking a federal court to review their confinement. Just four years ago, the Supreme Court upheld the habeas rights of an American citizen, Yaser Hamdi, who was captured by the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan in 2001, and then imprisoned in Navy brigs in the United States.

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Written by Leisureguy

7 April 2008 at 4:03 pm

Chicken cops break up bunny fight

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Written by Leisureguy

7 April 2008 at 3:58 pm

Posted in Daily life

Finding available times for a meeting

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WhenIsGood is a Web app to find times that are open for a group:

An a easy online tool that can help you choose the time for your next meeting or event.

Just click the grid for all the times that a good for you – we send you a link to circulate to your participants. They see your proposed times and click on when they are free. You see the combined results. Simple.

  • Eats time zone confusion – perfect for international conference calls
  • Beautiful personalised URLs for each of your events
  • You write the invitations – no cheesy automatic emails
  • Free for basic usage

No sign-up form. No password to choose. No fuss at all.

Written by Leisureguy

7 April 2008 at 3:54 pm

Drug use on detainees

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No surprise, really: once torture is allowed, anything goes. The article begins:

There can be little doubt now that the government has used drugs on terrorist suspects that are designed to weaken their resistance to interrogation. All that’s missing is the syringes and videotapes.

Another window opened on the practice last week with the declassification of John Yoo’s instantly infamous 2003 memo approving harsh interrogation techniques on terrorism suspects.

Yoo advised top Bush administration officials that interrogators could employ mind-altering drugs if they did not produce “an extreme effect” calculated to “cause a profound disruption of the senses or personality.”

Yoo had first rationalized the use of drugs in a 2002 memo for top Bush administration officials.

But this latest revelation shows Yoo reiterating conditions on the use of drugs a year later, despite the rising resistance to harsh interrogation techniques by military lawyers and the FBI.

“The new Yoo memo, along with other White House legal memoranda, shows clearly that the policy foundation for the use of interrogational drugs was being laid,” says Stephen Miles, a University of Minnesota bioethicist and author of “Oath Betrayed: Torture, Medical Complicity, and the War on Terror.” “The recent memo on mood-altering drugs does not extend previous work on this area,” he said. “The use of these drugs was anticipated and discussed in the memos of January and February 2002 by DoD, DoJ, and White House counsel using the same language and rationale. The executive branch memos laid a comprehensive and reiterated policy foundation for the use of interrogational drugs.”

“Yes, I believe they have been used,” Jeffrey S. Kaye, a clinical psychologist who works with torture victims at Survivors International in San Francisco, told me.

“I came across some evidence that they were using mind-altering drugs, to regress the prisoners, to ascertain if they were using deception techniques, to break them down,” said Kaye.

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Written by Leisureguy

7 April 2008 at 3:51 pm

US is bargain country for multinationals

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From the International Herald Tribune. Thanks to George Bush for destroying the dollar. (His method: cut government revenue (taxes) and spend government money like a drunk, increasing the debt to a staggering level.)

HOLLAND, Michigan: Four years ago, a low-slung factory on the fringes of town here was stagnating and shedding workers. Then Siemens, the German industrial giant, bought the plant and folded it into a global enterprise. Today, the factory is shipping wastewater treatment equipment to Asia and the Middle East and employing twice as many workers.

“Globalization has been good for Holland,” said David Spyker, once the plant manager and now vice president of a Siemens unit with operations around the world.

About 60 miles to the northeast, such talk provokes contemptuous snickers. Two years have passed since a Swedish multinational shut down what had been the largest refrigerator factory in the country, a sprawling complex along the Flat River in Greenville.

The company, Electrolux, sent production to Mexico, eliminating 2,700 jobs from a town of 8,000 people.

“Everybody talks about Electrolux around here the way the rest of the country talks about Katrina,” said Becky Gebhart, manager of a nonprofit medical clinic that opened last November in Greenville, 30 miles northeast of Grand Rapids, that serves people with little or no health insurance.

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Written by Leisureguy

7 April 2008 at 3:47 pm

I want some elote

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From Slashfood:

… I first tasted elote – corn on the cob slathered in mayonnaise and sprinkled with cotija cheese (like Parmesan) and chile powder, topped off with a squeeze of lime – in the city of San Cristobal de las Casas in Chiapas. Sold by an old lady who sat on the steps of the church with a vat of corn cobs floating in hot water and an economy-sized jar of mayo, it was sweet, sour, cheesy and spicy all at once. I was in love.

Here in Santa Fe, there’s an elote cart that shows up from time to time in the parking lot of the defunct Pepe’s Tacos, serving de-cobbed elote. The vendor layers corn kernels, mayonnaise, butter, cotija, lime and chile in a Styrofoam cup, served with a plastic spoon. Stir it all together and it creates a super-addictive spicy cream of corn soup. …

More at the link.

Written by Leisureguy

7 April 2008 at 12:31 pm

University knuckles under

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Sigh:

Administrators of “Popline,” the “world’s largest scientific database on reproductive health,” which is housed at the Johns Hopkins University’s School of Public Health, “blocked the word ‘abortion‘ as a search term after receiving a complaint from the Bush administration over two abortion-related articles listed in the database.” The search block has since been removed, with the university’s public health dean stressing the school’s commitment “to the advancement and dissemination of knowledge and not its restriction.” But the two studies that prompted the complaint have been removed from the database. Popline is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). In 2001, President Bush revived the “gag rule,” which bans U.S. government funding for groups that perform or “actively promote abortion.” A USAID spokesperson said she “could not identify the documents that prompted her office’s complaint, but said the publications were one-sided in favor of abortion rights.”

Source: Wired blog “Threat Level,” April 4, 2008

Written by Leisureguy

7 April 2008 at 12:24 pm

Bush’s War

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Watch it online. The Introduction:

From the horror of 9/11 to the invasion of Iraq; the truth about WMD to the rise of an insurgency; the scandal of Abu Ghraib to the strategy of the surge — for seven years, FRONTLINE has revealed the defining stories of the war on terror in meticulous detail, and the political dramas that played out at the highest levels of power and influence.

Now, on the fifth anniversary of the Iraq invasion, the full saga unfolds in the two-part FRONTLINE special Bush’s War. Veteran FRONTLINE producer Michael Kirk draws on one of the richest archives in broadcast journalism — more than 40 FRONTLINE reports on Iraq and the war on terror. Combined with fresh reporting and new interviews, Bush’s War will be the definitive documentary analysis of one of the most challenging periods in the nation’s history.

“Parts of this history have been told before,” Kirk says. “But no one has laid out the entire narrative to reveal in one epic story the scope and detail of how this war began and how it has been fought, both on the ground and deep inside the government.”

In the fall of 2001, even as America was waging a war in Afghanistan, another hidden war was being waged inside the administration. Part 1 of Bush’s War tells the story of this behind-the-scenes battle over whether Iraq would be the next target in the war on terror.

On one side, Secretary of State Colin Powell and Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet squared off against Vice President Dick Cheney and his longtime ally, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. The battles were over policy — whether to attack Iraq; the role of Iraqi exile Ahmad Chalabi; how to treat detainees; whether to seek United Nations resolutions; and the value of intelligence suggesting a connection between Saddam Hussein and the 9/11 attacks — but the conflict was deeply personal.

“Friendships were dashed,” Powell’s deputy Richard Armitage tells FRONTLINE. As the war within the administration heated up, Armitage and Powell concluded that they were being shut out of key decisions by Cheney and Rumsfeld. “The battle of ideas, you generally come up with the best solution. When somebody hijacks the system, then, just like a hijacked airplane, very often no good comes of it,” Armitage adds.

Others inside the administration believe they understand the motivation behind some of the vice president’s actions. “I think the vice president felt he kind of looked death in the eye on 9/11,” former White House counterterrorism coordinator Richard Clarke says. “Three thousand Americans died. The building that the vice president used to work in blew up, and people died there. This was a cold slap in the face. This is a different world you’re living in now. And the enemy’s still out there, and the enemy could come after you. That does cause you to think [about] things differently.”

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Written by Leisureguy

7 April 2008 at 12:17 pm

The Bush management style

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Via Froomkin’s column, from this article by Michael Abromowitz:

In the waning months of his administration, Bush has hitched his fortunes to those of his bookish four-star general, bypassing several levels of the military chain of command to give Petraeus a privileged voice in White House deliberations over Iraq, according to current and former administration officials and retired officers. In so doing, Bush’s working relationship with his field commander has taken on an intensity that is rare in the history of the nation’s wartime presidents. …

Bush’s reliance on Petraeus has made other military officials uneasy, has rankled congressional Democrats and has created friction that helped spur the departure last month of Adm. William J. “Fox” Fallon, who, while Petraeus’s boss as chief of U.S. Central Command, found his voice eclipsed on Iraq.

Sen. Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.), chairman of the Armed Services Committee, said Bush should rely primarily on the advice of Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Adm. Michael Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. “Not only are they General Petraeus’s superiors,” Levin said, “but they have the broad view of our national security needs, including Afghanistan, and the risks posed by stretching the force too thin.” …

…”It is part of Bush’s overall management style — to cede responsibility to a lower level and not look carefully at critical issues himself,” said Kenneth Adelman, a Reagan-era official who has parted company with such longtime friends as Rumsfeld and Vice President Cheney over the war. “Originally on Iraq, it was whatever Rumsfeld wanted. Then it was whatever Jerry Bremer did,” he said, referring to the former Coalition Provisional Authority chief. “And now it is whatever Petraeus wants.”

Written by Leisureguy

7 April 2008 at 12:04 pm

Drag and drop in Firefox

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Via Lifehacker, Cybernet has some useful drag-and-drop Firefox tips. For example:

You can drag and drop…

  • a URL (hyperlinked or not) onto the address bar to immediately be taken to that site in the current tab.
  • a URL (hyperlinked or not) onto an existing tab or blank tab to immediately replace it with the new URL.
  • a URL (hyperlinked or not) onto an empty area on the tab bar to immediately have that URL opened in a new background tab.

More tips here.

Written by Leisureguy

7 April 2008 at 11:32 am

Make your own soy sauce

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Good science experiment? At any rate, via Mark Bittman, this thread on making your own soy sauce. It has photos, but you have to go through the thread to see the entire process: because it’s time consuming (lots of time for things to age and processes to occur), the soy sauce maker posts along the way, with other comments in between his or her posts.

Written by Leisureguy

7 April 2008 at 11:03 am

Powerful light: 140 lumens/watt

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This is from an extremely interesting post in Inhatitat. Read the whole thing for more detailed information.

Written by Leisureguy

7 April 2008 at 9:52 am

Making ratatouille

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I’m making this recipe today, more or less. (I like the process chart at the bottom of that page—what’s the name for that kind of chart?) I’m going to add some frozen green garbanzos and some bengal gram dal to the recipe for protein, so it can be a one-dish meal.

Written by Leisureguy

7 April 2008 at 9:41 am

Good movie: Chak De! India

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One of my all-time favorite movies is Lagaan, and if you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend your watching it. Along the same lines is Chak De! India, which I watched this weekend. Enjoyable and touching on various issues of modern Indian life, it’s worth an evening for sure.

Written by Leisureguy

7 April 2008 at 9:11 am

Posted in Movies & TV

The pundit assumption

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Do you remember when Andrea Mitchell said on TV that the President should pardon “Scooter” Libby because “that’s what everyone wants.” In fact, a national poll taken at the time showed that 19% wanted Libby pardoned, and something like 68% wanted him to serve his time. In other words, “everyone” had the exact opposite position than the one Mitchell stated. How on earth could she get it so wrong? Easy: she took her own position and simply attributed it to the public. This is a standard tactic of all the talking heads in the pundit elite, and Glenn Greenwald describes it in detail today, using one of the worst examples, Cokie Roberts.

Written by Leisureguy

7 April 2008 at 9:07 am

Posted in Media

How to develop a new skill

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The Simple Dollar spells out ten tactics to develop a new skill—and the provides specific examples of applying the tactics to three skills he’s developing: Adobe photoshop, playing the piano, and writing short fiction. Well worth reading.

Written by Leisureguy

7 April 2008 at 8:58 am

Posted in Daily life

Sunday steps: don’t count

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I didn’t do much walking yesterday—just what was needed for chores. But today I’m aiming at a week of walks that meet the 10,000-step goal. We’ll see.

Written by Leisureguy

7 April 2008 at 8:34 am

Posted in Daily life

Vanilla Cream to start the day

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I used a Honeybee Spa Vanilla Cream shave stick this morning, working up a fine lather with my best brush (the Rooney Style 2 Finest). I picked up the Merkur gold Progress, which had a Treet Black Beauty blade already in it, and did 3 very smooth and nice passes. It was a very good shave, but why not go for perfection if it’s in reach? So the oil pass with RitualsSkincare shaving oil. Absolutely wonderful finish. The aftershave was D.R. Harris Arlington. Great start to the day.

Written by Leisureguy

7 April 2008 at 8:33 am

Posted in Shaving

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