Later On

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

Archive for November 10th, 2008

A quiet morning beside the Bay

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Another foggy, quiet, thoughtful day. I did start reading Proust (after the article I earlier linked to) and am surprised to find him so enjoyable. Maybe it’s another example of trying a book at too young an age. I have told about how, in reading Madame Bovary in high school and in college, I couldn’t see what the big deal was—but when I read it in my early 40’s, I couldn’t put the book down.

I’m making the chicken dish I blogged earlier, probably for lunch with leftovers for dinner. Sounds tasty to me.

I’m hoping, now that we have a new Administration, that some Style section editor will come across Leisureguy’s Guide to Gourmet Shaving, and decide to carry in the Thanksgiving issue a review of the book as a recommended holiday gift. That would be very nice…

Written by LeisureGuy

10 November 2008 at 9:34 am

Posted in Daily life

Treat the Executive Branch as a crime scene

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Booman has a good idea:

I want to be clear that I do not expect, or even want, Barack Obama to govern as I would govern. However, if I were president-elect, I would be planning quite an operation on inauguration day. As soon as I was sworn in, I would demand that Robert Mueller submit his resignation. Then I would instruct the FBI to lock down FBI Headquarters, the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency offices, the executive suites at the CIA, the National Security Agency’s offices, the National Intelligence Agency’s offices, and management’s offices at the Department of Justice. I would tell them to put yellow police tape around all of these buildings and offices, and I would treat each as a crime scene. I’d have them preserve evidence from every safe, every email cache, every hard-drive. And then I would prosecute every violation to the fullest extent of the law.

My number one priority would be exposing the truth about the anthrax attacks, the White House Iraq Group, and the mass firings of U.S. attorneys in the lead-up to the 2006 midterm elections. But, I’m a hardass that has no interest in pretending continuity in government is preferable to justice and the rule of law. Obama has a more difficult road. Mueller is appointed to a term that doesn’t end until 2010. I think Mueller should be in the docket. The last thing I think is acceptable is to have him continue on as head of the FBI, when I consider it the job of the FBI to investigate and imprison most of Washington’s elite Establishment.

But I didn’t get elected, and Washington covers its own ass. Don’t let it get you too down.

Written by LeisureGuy

10 November 2008 at 9:16 am

Coming-of-age ceremonies

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Male rites of passage take many forms. Do you have such a thing in your family? Here’s a good article on various rituals and why they’re important. The article begins:

The elders of the tribe stood in front of the hut and beckoned for the young man to come out and begin the festivities of the special day. The young man had barely slept the night before, anxiously anticipating the tests he would soon be called to endure. As he rose to meet the elder, he was aware of a great gnawing in his stomach; he had had nothing to eat for the last three days as he purged his body of impurities.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by LeisureGuy

10 November 2008 at 9:01 am

Posted in Daily life

More financial skullduggery

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Hilzoy picks up on an important (and illegal) development. Her post begins:

Here’s a disturbing story:

“The financial world was fixated on Capitol Hill as Congress battled over the Bush administration’s request for a $700 billion bailout of the banking industry. In the midst of this late-September drama, the Treasury Department issued a five-sentence notice that attracted almost no public attention.But corporate tax lawyers quickly realized the enormous implications of the document: Administration officials had just given American banks a windfall of as much as $140 billion.

The sweeping change to two decades of tax policy escaped the notice of lawmakers for several days, as they remained consumed with the controversial bailout bill. When they found out, some legislators were furious. Some congressional staff members have privately concluded that the notice was illegal. But they have worried that saying so publicly could unravel several recent bank mergers made possible by the change and send the economy into an even deeper tailspin.

“Did the Treasury Department have the authority to do this? I think almost every tax expert would agree that the answer is no,” said George K. Yin, the former chief of staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation, the nonpartisan congressional authority on taxes. “They basically repealed a 22-year-old law that Congress passed as a backdoor way of providing aid to banks.” (…)

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Written by LeisureGuy

10 November 2008 at 8:58 am

Suggested questions for Obama’s briefer

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Interesting questions that Obama should ask. From the article at the link:

… 1. The lead story in Friday’s New York Times undercuts the claims of Georgia’s President Mikheil Saakashvili that he was acting in self-defense when he ordered his troops to fire artillery and rockets at the city of Tskhinvali, the capital of South Ossetia. The new information comes from international monitors of the highly respected Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and, oddly, is much closer to the Russian version of what happened.

Task: A two-page memo on who started the fighting and why? Deadline: Monday

2. A National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) produced last November concluded that Iran’s work on the nuclear-weapons part of its nuclear development program was suspended in mid-2003. National Intelligence Council director Thomas Fingar repeated that judgment publicly on Sept. 4, 2008.

I want to know how that squares — or doesn’t — with the claim by neoconservative icon Norman Podhoretz, just hours after the NIE’s key judgments were made public, that Iran is “hell-bent on developing nuclear weapons,” and why Podhoretz would go on to charge that the intelligence community was trying to “undermine George W. Bush.” I notice, incidentally, that Defense Secretary Robert Gates has parroted Podhoretz’s “hell-bent” phraseology, and that your boss, CIA Director Michael Hayden, has also publicly volunteered his “personal opinion” that this is so.

Task: A memo updating the judgments of the Nov. 07 NIE, as necessary. Deadline: Nov. 14

3.  …

Written by LeisureGuy

10 November 2008 at 8:49 am

Another reason to get a flu shot

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It’s that time—and here’s an unexpected benefit of a flu shot:

Flu shots may reduce the risk of blood clots forming in veins by 26 percent, according to research presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2008. “Our study suggests for the first time that vaccination against influenza may reduce the risk of venous thrombotic embolism (VTE),” said Joseph Emmerich, M.D., Ph.D., lead author of the study and professor of vascular medicine at the University Paris Descartes and head of the INSERM Lab 765, which investigates thrombosis. “This protective effect was more pronounced before the age of 52 years.”

VTE is the formation of a blood clot in a vein. The condition is dangerous because the blood clot can break loose and travel through the circulatory system to the right side of the heart. From there it can go to the lungs (a pulmonary embolism), which can be life-threatening or even fatal.

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Written by LeisureGuy

10 November 2008 at 8:46 am

Posted in Daily life, Health, Medical

Secretary of Education candidate

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UMBC (University of Maryland – Baltimore County) is an amazing university that has made all sorts of smart choices. One choice was which extracurricular sport to fund. The obvious candidates—basketball, football, and the like—require lots of money even to show up and perform creditably. UMBC decided to put its money on chess. They promoted it on campus, hired masters to coach, and made recruitment runs at chess tournaments everywhere. The result is a chess powerhouse: a leading contender at little cost and attracting chess players from across the country.

Now Steven Teles makes a good case for tapping UMBC’s president for Secretary of Education. Read his post and be convinced.

Written by LeisureGuy

10 November 2008 at 8:44 am

Recipe manager

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I’ve tried several recipe programs, but none have really worked for me. I mainly use a “Recipes” folder, with the recipes save as .doc (and now .docx) files. But Lifehacker reviews the Gourmet Recipe Manager, which runs on Linux and Windows, and it looks pretty good.

Written by LeisureGuy

10 November 2008 at 7:56 am

Kids: eat your fruit and vegetables for better grades

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Interesting (and from an email):

In a study involving 325 junior high school students, results indicate that eating more fruits and vegetables may be associated with improved academic performance. Dietary data was collected from the students to assess fruit and vegetable consumption and milk intake. Mean daily intakes of fruits and vegetables (4.3 servings) and milk (1.7 servings) were found to be below recommended levels. After adjusting for potential confounders, higher intakes of fruits and vegetables were associated with higher academic performance (average grades above 90%). No significant association was found between milk intake and academic performance. Thus, the authors of this study conclude, “The association between VF [vegetable and fruit] intake and academic performance supports the need for further research with a larger, more representative sample.”

“Food intake and academic performance among adolescents,” MacLellan D, Taylor J, et al, Can J Diet Pract Res, 2008; 69(3): 141-4. (Address: Department of Family and Nutritional Sciences, University of Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown, PEI).

Written by LeisureGuy

10 November 2008 at 7:23 am

Posted in Daily life, Education, Food

Prefab architecture and flat-pack furniture

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Some very cool designs. Take a look.

Written by LeisureGuy

10 November 2008 at 7:15 am

Posted in Daily life, Technology

Honeybee Spa Fresh Lemon

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I’m very fond of the Honeybee Spa line of shaving soaps, and they certainly are reasonably priced. This morning I selected the Fresh Lemon shave stick—a fragrance Sue made at my request—and got a fine lather with the Omega silvertip brush. The Gillette Fat Boy with a new Swedish Gillette blade provided a very smooth shave, and Booster Oriental Spice was a very nice finish for the ritual.

Written by LeisureGuy

10 November 2008 at 7:14 am

Posted in Daily life, Shaving

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