Later On

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

Archive for September 22nd, 2008

Why businesses require oversight and regulation

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Here’s a perfect example of what happens when businesses are not well-regulated and a party is in power that puts the interests of business above the interests of the public: Juliet Eilperin reports in the Washington Post:

The Environmental Protection Agency, under pressure from the White House and the Pentagon, is poised to rule as early as today that it will not set a drinking-water safety standard for perchlorate, a component of rocket fuel that has been linked to thyroid problems in pregnant women, newborns and young children across the nation.

According to a near-final document obtained by The Washington Post, the EPA’s “preliminary regulatory determination” — which was extensively edited by White House officials — marks the final step in a six-year-old battle between career EPA scientists who advocate regulating the chemical and White House and Pentagon officials who oppose it. The document estimates that up to 16.6 million Americans are exposed to perchlorate at a level many scientists consider unsafe; independent researchers, using federal and state data, put the number at 20 million to 40 million.

Some perchlorate occurs naturally, but most perchlorate contamination in U.S. drinking water stems from improper disposal by rocket test sites, military bases and chemical plants. A nationwide cleanup could cost hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars, and several defense contractors have threatened to sue the Defense Department to help pay for it if one is required.

The new EPA proposal — which assumes the maximum allowable perchlorate contamination level is 15 times what the EPA had suggested in 2002 — was heavily edited by officials of the White House Office of Management and Budget. They eliminated key passages and asked the EPA to use a new computer modeling approach to calculate the chemical’s risks.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Leisureguy

22 September 2008 at 8:53 am

Pot roast: further refinements

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I decided that adding any liquid to braise the roast is pointless: the roast and the onions seem to generate plenty of liquid for braising. So this morning, in the No. 10 Griswold cast-iron skillet, I browned the chuck roast on both sides after seasoning it (skillet bare of oil, though itself well seasoned in another sense, and sprinkled with salt after it was hot). Then I added two onions and two carrots cut into chunks, put the lid on, and put it in a 200º oven for the day. We’ll see. I can’t wait.

Lunch will be a very nice piece of wild coho salmon. I’ll poach it and then make it into a salad with onion, celery, cooked kamut, etc.

Written by Leisureguy

22 September 2008 at 8:41 am

Posted in Beef, Daily life, Food, Recipes

Rumination on Wall Street

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Wall Street is a horde of free marketers—who, of course, when money is at stake, quickly abandon that fallacious principle and ask for protection. Experience shows over and over again that unregulated businesses that operate in an oversight vacuum do very poorly for their employees and customers, though those at the top get incredibly wealthy—until the business collapses, though even then those at the top often escape unscathed, their fortunes intact.

As more people saw what Paulson (one of the participants in what became a Wall Street downfall) has proposed, the reaction against it grew strong: he wants the money, but also to return to the rules that led us into the mess—i.e., no rules, no regulations. (A bit of an overstatement, but not much.) The sensible demand is for regulations and strong and well-funded oversight body independent of Wall Street.

Reading through the list of links in this post provides a good view of the plan and its problems and the growing understanding of what’s at stake. I highly recommend the exercise. Quoting from the post Putting on the Brakes:

… According to the Journal, finance industry lobbyists are already giving orders to Republican hill staffers not to allow any meaningful reforms or protections for taxpayers. So, just the money. No strings attached.

House Republican staffers met with roughly 15 lobbyists Friday afternoon, whose message to lawmakers was clear: Don’t load the legislation up with provisions not directly related to the crisis, or regulatory measures the industry has long opposed.”We’re opposed to adding provisions that will affect [or] undermine the deal substantively,” said Scott Talbott, senior vice president of government affairs at the Financial Services Roundtable, whose members include the nation’s largest banks, securities firms and insurers.

A deal killer for the group: a proposal that would grant bankruptcy judges new powers to lower the principal, interest rate or both on a mortgage as part of a bankruptcy proceeding.

Written by Leisureguy

22 September 2008 at 8:37 am

Arko shave stick

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The Arko shave stick is a great bargain, and it does a fine job, as today’s shave indicates. The Simpsons Emperor 3 Super whipped up a great lather, the Merkur Vision with a Treet Classic blade laughed heartily at the presumption of the two-day stubble, and soon my face was perfectly smooth. I splashed on Royall Spice aftershave and sit her with coffee at the ready.

Written by Leisureguy

22 September 2008 at 8:31 am

Posted in Daily life, Shaving

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