Later On

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

Archive for October 2008

Dinner notes

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I’m having the leeks & salmon (recipe here), along with the bean-garlic-walnut-cilantro dip (recipe here).

Written by LeisureGuy

31 October 2008 at 5:30 pm

Posted in Daily life, Food

Torturing Democracy

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Watch, read, and vote. War crimes deserve punishment.

Written by LeisureGuy

31 October 2008 at 3:46 pm

More evidence regarding global warming

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From the Scientific American:

Humanity’s impact on climate has been detected on every continent except Antarctica, or so said the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in February 2007. No longer: scientists, comparing decades of records from 17 Antarctic weather stations with computer simulations of Earth’s climate, found that human-induced global warming has been heating up the continent that is home to the South Pole, as well.

“We have detected the human fingerprint in both the Arctic and Antarctic region[s],” says Peter Stott, a climate modeler at the U.K. Met (meteorological) Office’s Hadley Center, and co-author of the study published in the journal Nature Geoscience.

The researchers compared 100 years of weather records from the Arctic and 50-plus years of those kept on Antarctica with the results of four computer models. Their findings: natural influences such as changes in the amount of sunlight or volcanic eruptions did not explain the warming trends, but the results matched when increasing levels of greenhouse gas emissions were added to the mix.

In the past few decades, average Arctic temperatures have warmed roughly 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius); average temperatures in Antarctica have warmed slightly less than 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit (1 degree Celsius).

Lead study author Nathan Gillett, a climatologist at Environment Canada, the government ministry charged with Canadian environmental protection and issues, notes that the collapse of the Larsen B and Wilkins ice shelves on the Antarctic Peninsula, which has warmed more than any other part of the entire world, has already been linked to global warming.

As if the new finding is not disturbing enough, researchers may have underestimated …

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Written by LeisureGuy

31 October 2008 at 1:51 pm

Big change in political dirty campaigning

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It’s the Web, which immediately elevates into visibility any dirty tricks. Very interesting article on what’s happening as a result.

Everyone can hear it now. This Internet-driven, hyperactive presidential race is forcing accountability on two of the oldest tricks in politics: dog whistles and secret smears.

With a “dog whistle,” politicians use code words to signal unpopular stances to one target audience, while avoiding a backlash because the reference is lost on others. Many people miss President Bush’s layered language for evangelicals, from hinting that legal abortion is like slavery to his odd prediction that history will see Iraq as just “a comma.” (It only makes sense if you know the proverb, “Never put a period where God has put a comma.”) Code words don’t fool everyone, but from “states’ rights” to “welfare queens,” GOP campaigns have tapped racial resentment without facing widespread opprobrium. Secret smears run on a similar axis, enabling politicians to undermine an opponent without taking responsibility for the attack. But the times are changing.From his race to his name, Barack Obama seemed like the perfect target for such coded attacks. Indeed, some Republicans were eager to run the old playbook on him. “Count me down as somebody who underestimates Barack Hussein Obama, please,” said GOP strategist Ed Rogers, speaking on MSNBC’s Hardball in the headier days of 2006. Yet Rogers, like the McCain campaign, underestimated not only Obama but a new media model that swiftly blasts would-be Swiftboaters.

Partisan and muckraking bloggers now fight political operatives’ efforts to keep unseemly attacks below the radar. Take automated “robo” phone calls, which often deploy the sharp attacks that campaigns don’t want exposed in the mass media. Previously, the calls were obscure, rarely drawing major media coverage, let alone sustained criticism. Now they can be recorded, uploaded and dissected in a single news cycle. Sites like TalkingPointsMemo and Daily Kos use crowd-sourcing by readers to track the attacks and pin them squarely on John McCain. Insider political sites, like Ben Smith’s Politico blog, also disseminate the audio recordings to media and political elites, converting a “targeted” message into a mass broadcast. And organized campaigns like the National Political Do Not Call Registry use the web, Twitter and e-mail to track and map every call.

As a hub for intelligence, the web can enlist people in “bubbling up reports” of everything from robo-calls to US attorney firings, explains TechPresident co-founder Micah Sifry, a web activism expert who heralds the trend as a new era of “crowd-scouring” the presidency. He argues that information can whip around online with or without a political agenda. “Even without central direction, the crowd is scouring the world for interesting news and sharing tidbits constantly.”

Once exposed, …

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Written by LeisureGuy

31 October 2008 at 1:49 pm

Posted in Daily life, Technology

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John Dean speaks on how Republicans govern badly

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John Dean, of the Nixon White House, speaks about the problems of Republicans governing:

Occasionally, during the past eight years of writing this column, I have addressed the remarkably dangerous manner in which Republican Party officials rule the nation when they control one or more of the three branches of the federal government. Over the same period, I’ve also made this argument, even more directly and loudly, in three books on the subject.

In this column, I will be more pointed on this subject than I have ever been, while also repeating a few key facts that I have raised earlier – because Election Day 2008 now provides the only clear remedy for the ills of Republican rule.

The Republican Approach to Government: Authoritarian Rule

Republicans rule, rather than govern, when they are in power by imposing their authoritarian conservative philosophy on everyone, as their answer for everything. This works for them because their interest is in power, and in what it can do for those who think as they do. Ruling, of course, must be distinguished from governing, which is a more nuanced process that entails give-and-take and the kind of compromises that are often necessary to find a consensus and solutions that will best serve the interests of all Americans.

Republicans’ authoritarian rule can also be characterized by its striking incivility and intolerance toward those who do not view the world as Republicans do. Their insufferable attitude is not dangerous in itself, but it is employed to accomplish what they want, which is to take care of themselves and those who work to keep them in power.

Authoritarian conservatives are primarily anti-government, except where they believe the government can be useful to impose moral or social order (for example, with respect to matters like abortion, prayer in schools, or prohibiting sexually-explicit information from public view). Similarly, Republicans’ limited-government attitude does not apply regarding national security, where they feel there can never be too much government activity – nor are the rights and liberties of individuals respected when national security is involved. Authoritarian Republicans do oppose the government interfering with markets and the economy, however – and generally oppose the government’s doing anything to help anyone they feel should be able to help themselves.

In my book Broken Government: How Republican Rule Destroyed the Legislative, Executive and Judicial Branches, I set forth the facts regarding the consequences of the Republicans’ controlling government for too many years. No Republican – nor anyone else, for that matter – has refuted these facts, and for good reason: They are irrefutable.

The McCain/Palin Ticket Perfectly Fits the Authoritarian Conservative Mold

During the 2008 presidential campaign, Senator John McCain and Governor Sarah Palin, the Republican candidates, have shown themselves to be unapologetic and archetypical authoritarian conservatives. Indeed, their campaign has warmed the hearts of fellow authoritarians, who applaud them for their negativity, nastiness, and dishonest ploys and only criticize them for not offering more of the same.

The McCain/Palin campaign has assumed a typical authoritarian posture: The candidates provide …

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Written by LeisureGuy

31 October 2008 at 12:46 pm

Posted in GOP, Government

Useful reminder

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Rice and beans, a good combination for healthful eating that’s inexpensive. This post collects quite a few ideas on variations. Kim Carlson’s introduction (and warning):

Personally, I was late to the R&B party — the rice-and-beans party, that is. I’m not sure when I first discovered the pleasure of this simple combination, but I’ve put away mountains of it in recent years — originally because my children would eat it with no fuss, and now because it’s such a versatile base for whatever else I feel like having.

In fact, there are many reasons to love this dish:

  1. Usually, it’s fast and easy to prepare (especially if you have that awesome appliance, a rice cooker).
  2. Often it’s meatless, which helps if you are trying to scale back on the amount of meat you eat.
  3. It’s inexpensive, which is particularly nice just now.
  4. It makes great leftovers (see no. 3).
  5. And it’s simple: Dinner can be served in a single bowl, with a glass of zinfandel and candlelight if you wish.

So what’s not to appreciate? Plenty, it turns out. If you’re not careful, as Culinate columnist Kelly Myers advises, R&B can be downright punitive — or at least an unappetizing bowl of starch. Which is a shame, because with just a little attention, a plate of rice and beans can be as satisfying to eat as just about anything.

I’ve eaten many bowls of basmati rice and black beans tossed with cilantro, salsa, and Monterey Jack; that was, more or less, my gateway blend. Lately though, I’ve turned that combo on its head with white beans and black rice (or, most recently, fresh shell beans with Bhutanese red rice and braised greens).

Looking for further inspiration, I asked a virtual kitchen full of food people how they eat the humble, timeless R&B. …

Now read what those people said.

Written by LeisureGuy

31 October 2008 at 10:10 am

Posted in Daily life, Food, Health, Recipes

25 favorite posts on The Simple Dollar

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Not my favorites, necessarily, but the author’s. Take a look—there’s useful information there.

Written by LeisureGuy

31 October 2008 at 9:52 am

Posted in Daily life

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