Later On

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

Archive for August 7th, 2008

GOP’s vote-suppression campaign

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As is well known and fully acknowledged, the GOP works hard to suppress voting by poor and/or minority voters, who tend to vote Democratic—thus all the “voter ID” laws to prevent “voter fraud,” even though voter fraud rarely happens and, when it does, it happens through absentee ballots, not at the polling place. But even the voter ID laws are not enough: when it comes down to it, there’s nothing like just stopping someone from voting. Read this account. And in the meantime, the GOP is doing all it can to purge voter rolls of those likely to vote Democratic.

Written by LeisureGuy

7 August 2008 at 6:38 pm

Posted in Election, GOP, Government

Lightning in super slow motion

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Written by LeisureGuy

7 August 2008 at 6:29 pm

Posted in Daily life

Monkeyshines

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Written by LeisureGuy

7 August 2008 at 1:39 pm

Posted in Daily life

What sleep does for your thinking

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It does a lot, as it turns out.

  • As we snooze, our brain is busily processing the information we have learned during the day.
  • Sleep makes memories stronger, and it even appears to weed out irrelevant details and background information so that only the important pieces remain.
  • Our brain also works during slumber to find hidden relations among memories and to solve problems we were working on while awake.

Read the whole article, which begins:

In 1865 Friedrich August Kekulé woke up from a strange dream: he imagined a snake forming a circle and biting its own tail. Like many organic chemists of the time, Kekulé had been working feverishly to describe the true chemical structure of benzene, a problem that continually eluded understanding. But Kekulé’s dream of a snake swallowing its tail, so the story goes, helped him to accurately realize that benzene’s structure formed a ring. This insight paved the way for a new understanding of organic chemistry and earned Kekulé a title of nobility in Germany.

Although most of us have not been ennobled, there is something undeniably familiar about Kekulé’s problem-solving method. Whether deciding to go to a particular college, accept a challenging job offer or propose to a future spouse, “sleeping on it” seems to provide the clarity we need to piece together life’s puzzles. But how does slumber present us with answers?

The latest research suggests that …

Written by LeisureGuy

7 August 2008 at 1:21 pm

Posted in Daily life, Science

The flawed thinking of the administration’s torture advocates

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An excellent examination of the bad thinking that advocates the use of torture. It’s written by Steven Kleinman, a military intelligence officer with twenty-five years of operational and leadership experience in human intelligence and special operations. He served as an interrogator in three major military campaigns in addition to teaching advanced interrogation and resistance to interrogation courses. What he has to say is well worth reading.

The format consists of questions that he believes should be asked, followed by the reasons each question is important.

Written by LeisureGuy

7 August 2008 at 1:16 pm

Posted in Bush Administration, GOP, Government

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Justice Dept subpoenas its former Civil Rights lawyers

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Very interesting report by Murray Waas. It begins:

A federal grand jury has subpoenaed several former senior Justice Department attorneys for an investigation into the politicization of the Department’s own Civil Rights Division, according to sources close to the investigation.

The extraordinary step by the Justice Department of subpoenaing attorneys once from within its own ranks was taken because several of them refused to voluntarily give interviews to the Department Inspector General, which has been conducting its own probe of the politicization of the Civil Rights Division, the same sources said.

The grand jury has been investigating allegations that a former senior Bush administration appointee in the Civil Rights Division, Bradley Schlozman, gave false or misleading testimony on a variety of topics to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Sources close to the investigation say that the grand jury is also more broadly examining whether Schlozman and other Department officials violated civil service laws by screening Civil Rights attorneys for political affiliation while hiring them.

Investigators for the Inspector General have also asked whether Schlozman, while an interim U.S. attorney in Missouri, brought certain actions and even a voting fraud indictment for political ends, according to witnesses questioned by the investigators. But it is unclear whether the grand jury is going to hear testimony on that issue as well.

One person who has been subpoenaed before the grand jury, sources said, was Hans von Spakovsky, who as a former counsel to the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights was a top aide to Schlozman. An attempt to reach Spakovsky for comment for this story was unsuccessful.

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

7 August 2008 at 1:11 pm

82% of US: health care system needs major overhaul

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One hopes that a majority of 82% is enough to stir Congress into action. Still, Congress seems impervious to need and public sentiment at times. Here’s the report:

Corresponding report lays out strategies for a better organized, more efficient health care system

Americans are dissatisfied with the U.S. health care system and 82 percent think it should be fundamentally changed or completely rebuilt, according to a new survey released today by The Commonwealth Fund. Also today, The Commonwealth Fund Commission on A High Performance Health System released a report outlining what an ideally organized U.S. health care system would look like, and detailing strategies that could create that organized, efficient health care system while simultaneously improving care and cutting costs.

The survey of more than 1,000 adults was conducted by Harris Interactive in May 2008; and the vast majority of those surveyed – nine out of ten — felt it was important that the two leading presidential candidates propose reform plans that would improve health care quality, ensure that all Americans can afford health care and insurance, and decrease the number of uninsured. One in three adults report their doctors ordered a test that had already been done or recommended unnecessary treatment or care in the past two years. Adults across all income groups reported experiencing inefficient care. And, eight in ten adults across income groups supported efforts to improve the health system’s performance with respect to access, quality and cost.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by LeisureGuy

7 August 2008 at 12:44 pm

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