Later On

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

Archive for August 27th, 2008

Beer and Brewing: a guide to selected resources

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Back in the day, I made home-brewed beer. At that time, it was still illegal. I ordered the specialized supplies from Canada, and used malt extract. I had hops extract (from Canada.) I bottled in 1 quart beer bottles, using those from some cheap brands of beer: Golden Glow (no ambiguity there), HiBrau (going for the upper crust), Potosi (“Have you had your Potosi today?”). The beer was actually pretty good, though potent.

At any rate, home brewing is now legal, here’s some useful information from the Library of Congress.

Written by Leisureguy

27 August 2008 at 4:17 pm

McCain is now simply flat-out lying

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Jake Tapper calls him on it:

… Today’s new McCain ad — “Tiny,” which you can watch HERE — crosses a new line into dishonesty, however, beyond whether or not it’s actually airing anywhere.

The script reads: “Iran. Radical Islamic government. Known sponsors of terrorism. Developing nuclear capabilities to ‘generate power’ but threatening to eliminate Israel.

“Obama says Iran is a ‘tiny’ country, ‘doesn’t pose a serious threat,'” the ad continues. “Terrorism, destroying Israel, those aren’t ‘serious threats’? Obama — dangerously unprepared to be president.”

This is a dishonest representation of Obama’s words.

On May 18, in Pendelton, Ore., Obama said that “strong countries and strong presidents talk to their adversaries. That’s what Kennedy did with Khrushchev. That’s what Reagan did with Gorbachev. That’s what Nixon did with Mao. I mean, think about it. Iran, Cuba, Venezuela — these countries are tiny, compared to the Soviet Union. They don’t pose a serious threat to us the way the Soviet Union posed a threat to us. And yet, we were willing to talk to the Soviet Union at the time when they were saying, ‘We’re going to wipe you off the planet.’

“And ultimately, that direct engagement led to a series of measures that helped prevent nuclear war, and over time, allowed the kind of opening that brought down the Berlin Wall,” Obama continued. “Now, that has to be the kind of approach that we take. You know, Iran, they spend one-one hundredth of what we spend on the military. If Iran ever tried to pose a serious threat to us, they wouldn’t stand a chance. And we should use that position of strength that we have, to be bold enough to go ahead and listen. That doesn’t mean we agree with them on everything. We might not compromise on any issues, but at least we should find out other areas of potential common interest, and we can reduce some of the tensions that has caused us so many problems around the world.”

Watch HERE.

That is not even close to Obama saying Iran is a “tiny” country that “doesn’t pose a serious threat.”

Not even close.

Didn’t McCain promise he would run an honorable campaign? (yes) Then he must view outright lying as honorable. McSame indeed.

Written by Leisureguy

27 August 2008 at 3:09 pm

Posted in Election, GOP

Why schools are what they are – part deux

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Written by Leisureguy

27 August 2008 at 3:06 pm

Posted in Education

Many new (to US) brands of blades

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Check them out. One of these may be the very best blade for you.

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27 August 2008 at 2:59 pm

Posted in Shaving

Progress in California Medical Marijuana

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Via an email from the Marijuan Policy Project:

California’s compassionate medical marijuana laws recently received major vindication in the courts. In the case County of San Diego v. San Diego NORML, et al., San Diego County — along with San Bernardino County — sued the state in an attempt to overturn most of the provisions of the state’s medical marijuana laws. Both counties refused to comply with state law by issuing ID cards to qualifying patients and caregivers and asserted that doing so would violate federal drug laws, which ban all marijuana use.

The California Attorney General’s Office argued that for counties to issue ID cards to medical marijuana patients is not a violation of any federal law and that failure to do so would amount to a violation of state law. Patient advocacy group Americans for Safe Access, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the Drug Policy Alliance all intervened in the case on behalf of patients.

After the trial court ruled against the county and upheld the state’s medical marijuana laws, the county appealed to the Fourth District Court of Appeals. On July 31, 2008, the appeals court unanimously upheld the lower court’s decision that federal law does not preempt the ID card program. It ruled that the counties did not have legal standing to challenge the other aspects of the state’s medical marijuana laws.

Both counties have decided to seek an appeal in the state Supreme Court.

The state ID cards are voluntary for patients and caregivers but prove very helpful during law enforcement encounters. The county-issued ID cards offer legal protections from arrest anywhere in California, while physician recommendations and private ID cards do not.

Visit the California medical marijuana program Web site to find out more about the ID cards and how patients and caregivers can apply for them.

If you live in a county that isn’t issuing the cards, contact me at to find out how you can help bring this important program to your area.

Written by Leisureguy

27 August 2008 at 2:43 pm

AT&T still paying off the legislators

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It’s only fair: the legislators did all that AT&T asked, so the payoff continues. ThinkProgress:

The telecommunications giant AT&T is “virtually everywhere” at the Democratic convention this week, “wining and feeding delegates and members of Congress with a relentless schedule of luncheons and evening celebrations.” The Texas-based company threw a special party outside the Mile High Station for its biggest supporters:

On Monday, AT&T threw an exclusive party for the Blue Dogs, the House’s moderate and conservative Democrats, at the historic Mile High Station in downtown Denver. Among the guests was House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., who in June led Blue Dogs in crafting a compromise bill that shielded telecommunications companies from lawsuits arising from the government’s terrorism-era warrantless eavesdropping.

Hoyer spokeswoman Stacey Bernards said Hoyer was not aware of any connection between the party and his work on the legislation.

“I’m sure Mr. Hoyer didn’t even know who the sponsor was,” she said.

Leading the Blue Dog Democrats, Hoyer was “the point man” in negotiations over the new FISA law that Congress passed and Bush signed last month. He helped secure retroactive immunity for the telecommunications companies (including AT&T), thereby condoning their participation in Bush’s illegal spying program.

The president paid “special tribute” to Hoyer for his work in passing the legislation. While Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) called the legislation “one of the greatest assaults on the Constitution…in the history of our country,” Hoyer heralded it as a “significant victory.” And he has earned the telecommunication companies’ special thanks this week at the DNC convention.

AT&T is also a major donor to the Republican convention next week, where it will also host a series of events.

… Glenn Greenwald attended the event at Mile High Station, but wasn’t allowed in. Read his account of what took place.

Written by Leisureguy

27 August 2008 at 2:33 pm

Thank heavens the police are protecting us!

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27 August 2008 at 2:06 pm

Baby steps toward a police state

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They grow ever bolder. Thanks to Liz for the pointer to this one.

Written by Leisureguy

27 August 2008 at 1:49 pm

Posted in Daily life, Government

The Ledbetter Act

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Read this excellent post by Kevin Drum. And, as Matthew Yglesias points out, the Supreme Court’s decision means that illegal discrimination is fine so long as you can cover it up for just six months.

Written by Leisureguy

27 August 2008 at 11:31 am

Foods as meds

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This one is amazing:

New research strongly suggests that a mix of preventative agents, such as those found in concentrated black raspberries, may more effectively inhibit cancer development than single agents aimed at shutting down a particular gene. Researchers at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center examined the effect of freeze-dried black raspberries on genes altered by a chemical carcinogen in an animal model of esophageal cancer.

The carcinogen affected the activity of some 2,200 genes in the animals’ esophagus in only one week, but 460 of those genes were restored to normal activity in animals that consumed freeze-dried black raspberry powder as part of their diet during the exposure.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Leisureguy

27 August 2008 at 11:25 am

Trusting Big Business: United Airlines story

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United Airlines can really do a bad job:

… Cabral had meticulously planned this vacation, built around a family reunion in Hawaii and a chance for her grown children to see their father, Cabral’s ex, who was in a hospice dying of cancer.

Eight people were making the trip: Cabral, her husband, her brother, her son, her daughter and her daughter’s husband and two children.

One year out, they wrote a five-figure check to reserve a five-bedroom, five-bathroom beach house. They bought their tickets from United six months early. They booked a jungle excursion, a luau, a trip in a glass-bottom boat.

It was a once-in-a-lifetime trip, and they had a big investment in it, emotionally and financially. They even had it insured.

And all that planning unraveled in just a few hours.

The day before they were to depart, Anita’s daughter, Deanna Kawasaki, received an e-mail from United telling her she could check in her party online. But the site would not let her.

When she called United to see what the trouble was, she was told the flight had been canceled.

But that made no sense. Her stepfather had just confirmed his seat, using a different reservation number, so the flight obviously wasn’t canceled.

United threw out another explanation – a computer “lost” their reservations. That made no sense, either. If her reservations weren’t in the computer, why did she get an e-mail telling her to check in?

At last, United confessed. There was indeed a flight, but they’d been bumped from it. Their assigned seats had been sold to someone else.

It’s funny how every story of airline misbehavior inevitably arrives at this junction – the point at which a passenger must debunk a blatant lie to learn the truth.

Perhaps airlines like being caught in lies, if only because of what follows: The passenger, now distrustful of everything the airline says, is inclined to walk away and make other arrangements.

But other arrangements are hard to make when you’re flying from Los Angeles to Hawaii in the middle of June.

And United – after holding their money for six months and bumping them from the flight on the eve of takeoff – had no plan to help Anita Cabral and her family.

Alternative flights were proposed. But they separated the party of eight into pairs, and staggered their arrivals over several days, and sent them to different islands (leaving them to fend for themselves).

Kawasaki’s 7-year-old daughter has special needs and had not flown before. Both of her parents wanted to be with her. But that counted for nothing.

In the end, the best United could offer was a flight that arrived five days into their weeklong vacation. They declined, and got a refund.

Cabral has a theory for this shabby treatment: …

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

27 August 2008 at 11:22 am

Posted in Business, Daily life

Turn dieting into a RPG

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Very interesting post. And here’s the article referenced.

Written by Leisureguy

27 August 2008 at 11:15 am

Posted in Daily life, Games, Health

Sloppy Joes

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This recipe looks mighty tasty.

Written by Leisureguy

27 August 2008 at 11:12 am

The cost of ignorance

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ThinkProgress shows why having an ignorant president, one who simply doesn’t understand foreign policy and how it works, and also doesn’t want to learn or be bothered with details, can be a disaster. Bush thought he could do it all with personal friendships and invitations to Crawford and by looking a person in the eye and thus knowing his soul. Well, it didn’t work.

Though “President Bush has invested heavily in trying to forge a strong bond with key foreign leaders,” the Washington Post writes today that “new crises in Georgia and Pakistan are underscoring the limits of Bush’s personal diplomacy.” Bush “misjudged Putin” and when it was shown “his initial assessment of Putin was wrong, [Bush] tended to dismiss it,” said Stanford University professor Michael A. McFaul.

Written by Leisureguy

27 August 2008 at 11:06 am

Pre-school exercises to prevent dyslexia

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Interesting and clearly worth trying since trying it would do no harm.

A typical characteristics of children’s linguistic development are early signs of the risk of developing reading and writing disabilities, or dyslexia. New research points to preventive exercises as an effective means to tackle the challenges children face when learning to read. The results achieved at the Centre of Excellence in Learning and Motivation Research were presented at the Academy of Finland’s science breakfast on 21 August. Headed by Professor Heikki Lyytinen at the University of Jyväskylä, the research has dug deep into how to predict and prevent difficulties in learning to read and write. The study involved a comparison between 107 children whose either parent is dyslexic and a control group of children without a hereditary predisposition to dyslexia. The researchers followed intensively the development of the predisposed children, from their birth through to school age.

“Half of the children whose parents had difficulties in reading and writing found learning to read more challenging than children in the control group. The atypical characteristics of these children’s linguistic development indicated the risk at a very early stage, and we were also able to draw a clearer picture of the typical progression of a development that indicates reading and writing difficulties,” says Lyytinen.

According to Lyytinen, the predictors of reading and writing difficulties are evident primarily in two contexts: on the one hand as a delayed ability to perceive and mentally process the subtleties of speech sound, on the other hand as a sluggishness in naming familiar, visually presented objects. When approaching the age when they acquire the ability to read, the children seem to have more difficulties than expected to store in their memory the names and corresponding sounds of letters.

“Acquiring the ability to read demands much more practice from these children than from their peers. The automatisation of reading poses an additional challenge. Also, a fluent ability to read is a prerequisite to be able to understand a demanding piece of text,” says Lyytinen. “A slow reader isn’t able to grasp a given text as a whole, and therefore has a hard time following the storyline. This is why we should pay special attention not only to the accuracy of reading and writing but also to the comprehension of texts even with quite long sentences.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Leisureguy

27 August 2008 at 11:02 am

Some Conservatives fear McCain as president

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Andrew Sullivan (a Conservative who started out strongly supporting Bush and the Iraq War) has an excellent post:

My main worry with John McCain is foreign policy. What do I worry about? That everything that has been awry with this administration would be made worse by his. Seeing the world as a series of enemies to be attacked rather than as a series of relationships to be managed and a series of foes to be undermined has proven of limited use. Even the successful removal of the Taliban has led, six years later, to a long and grueling counter-insurgency with no end in sight and a reconstituted al Qaeda in a nuclear-armed, unstable state. The invasion of Iraq – in the abstract, a noble cause against an evil enemy – has caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands, the displacement of millions, the price of $3 trillion … all for a less despotic Shiite government in league with Iran, making contracts with China. And that’s if it turns out as a success. Along the way, the US has lost a vast amount of its moral standing and its legitimacy as a global power-broker. Insofar as neoconservatives do not understand this, and cannot understand this, they are a clear and present danger to the security of the West. Their unwillingness to understand how the US might be perceived in the world, how a hegemon needs to exhibit more humility and dexterity to maintain its power, makes them – and McCain – extremely dangerous stewards of American foreign policy in an era of global terror. They are diplomatically and strategically autistic.

McCain’s response to the calamities of the past eight years has been to compound them all.

It has been to propose …

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

27 August 2008 at 10:57 am

Posted in Election, GOP

Miss Megs, sleeping comfortably

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Miss Megs takes relaxing nap

Miss Megs takes relaxing nap

Here she is, having tucked herself in for a nice mid-day nap.

Written by Leisureguy

27 August 2008 at 10:53 am

Posted in Cats, Megs

McCain’s confusion, gaffes, and slips

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He gets a free ride on this, as Patrick Leahy points out. And Leahy is right to say that the issue at this point is why so many errors go unreported or are glossed over (e.g., having a spokesman—or even a journalist—say, “McCain meant to say x.”).

With Democrats on the precipice of raising the age issue against John McCain, Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont seemed to cross the line completely, then immediately backtrack, my colleague Ken Vogel reports.

Leahy told Vogel yesterday the media has given McCain a free pass on flubs including mixing up Middle East geography, Shiite and Sunni Muslims, and referring to Russia’s relationship Czechoslovakia — a country that hasn’t existed for 15 years.

“It was the same way with Ronald Reagan in the last few years he was president,” Leahy said, referring to the belief that Reagan experienced early signs of Alzheimer’s disease late in his presidency.

The press “let Ronald Regan get away with” slips, Leahy said, though he denied he was suggesting that McCain was experiencing mental decline.

“No, I’m just saying he gets a free ride,” Leahy said.

Written by Leisureguy

27 August 2008 at 10:50 am

Posted in Election, GOP

My shiso crop

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Shiso, ready for sashimi

Shiso, ready for sashimi

My shiso crop is coming along. I’ve harvested a few leaves: extremely tasty. Today I might pick up some fish for sashimi for dinner.

Written by Leisureguy

27 August 2008 at 10:46 am

Posted in Daily life, Food

Against stupidity, the gods themselves contend in vain: L-word department

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Just read it in amazement:

A routine trip to the Social Security office Monday turned into 30 minutes of shock, disbelief and irritation for Lapriss Gilbert, who was forced to leave the federal building by a guard who objected to her “” T-shirt.

As she headed for a line to pick up a Social Security card for her son, Gilbert was stopped by a guard who said her T-shirt, naming an educational and resource Web site for gay women, was offensive.

She said the guard, who works for a private company hired by the Department of Homeland Security, demanded that she leave the building or face arrest. …

More at the link. And this was in California.

Written by Leisureguy

27 August 2008 at 10:11 am

Posted in Daily life, Government

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