Later On

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

Archive for January 30th, 2009

Wow! An IT nightmare—and waking up just in time

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This story is amazing. It begins:

Rajendrasinh Babubha Makwana, an Indian national, was employed by a subcontractor for OmniTech as a Unix engineer at Fannie Mae’s Urbana, Maryland facility, according to an affidavit sworn by the FBI agent investigating the case. On October 24 at about 1:30 pm, Makwana was fired by Fannie Mae for inadvertently writing a script that switched up permissions on the company’s Unix servers. He told his supervisors at OmniTech and turned in his badge and laptop to Fannie Mae around 4:45 pm that day.

On the 29th, a Fannie Mae-employed engineer noticed by chance that a previously legit script had a blank page near the end…and after that page, there was another script, not so legit. The necessary sysadmin pandemonium ensued as …

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Written by Leisureguy

30 January 2009 at 4:17 pm

Pepper sauce, batch 4

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Okay, it’s cooling now before I bottle it. Ingredients:

10 fresh red Fresno peppers
2 dried ancho chiles
6 dried chipotles
1 Meyer lemon, peel and all
5 whole kumquats
1/4 cup salt

I blended that together with one 12.7 oz bottle of cherry wood aged organic golden balsamic vinegar. After blending, I simmered the sauce for about 15 minutes, let cool 30 minutes, blended it again, and bottled it. By limiting the amount of vinegar, got a nice thick sauce. Without the habaneros, it will have less heat, but the chipotles will give it some kick. Good for when you want to use a lot of pepper sauce, for the taste of pepper.

Decided not to include a tablespoon of dark brown sugar—too much nutrition for bacteria.

UPDATE: The above made just under 3 cups. Next time I’ll try 12 Fresno peppers instead of 10.

UPDATE 2: It’s just too thick. I’m going to add 8 oz of apple cider vinegar to bring it up to a full quart and make it easier to pour.

Written by Leisureguy

30 January 2009 at 3:21 pm

Friday cat-blogging

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More photos from The Entryway Series:

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Written by Leisureguy

30 January 2009 at 12:03 pm

Posted in Cats, Megs

The GOP death watch

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Nate Silver has an interesting post, which includes this:

… Most fundamentally of all, the McCain campaign radically overestimated the importance of appealing to the base. House Republicans may be replicating their mistake. Self-described conservative Republicans represent only about 20 percent of the population. This base is not necessarily becoming smaller; it’s still alive and kicking. What is true, however, is that the (1) base has never been sufficient to form a winning electoral coalition, and (2) that there are fewer and fewer non-base (e.g. moderates, libertarian Republicans, Republican leaning-independents). As these moderates have fled the GOP, the party’s electoral fortunes have tanked. But simultaneously, they have had less and less influence on the Republican message.
Thus the Republicans, arguably, are in something of a death spiral. The more conservative, partisan, and strident their message becomes, the more they alienate non-base Republicans. But the more they alienate non-base Republicans, the fewer of them are left to worry about appeasing. Thus, their message becomes continually more appealing to the base — but more conservative, partisan, and strident to the rest of us. And the process loops back upon itself…

The entire post is worth reading. And it has occurred to many that Obama’s reaching out to Republicans has put the GOP on the defensive and also lured them into the trap of being obvious obstructionists.

Written by Leisureguy

30 January 2009 at 11:56 am

Posted in GOP

Not like when I was a boy: 1 terabyte drive for $99

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And shipping is free. A terabyte—wow. Take a look.

Written by Leisureguy

30 January 2009 at 11:24 am

Posted in Daily life, Technology

Krugman asks good, if pointed, questions

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Paul Krugman:

The whole world is in recession. But the United States is the only wealthy country in which the economic catastrophe will also be a health care catastrophe — in which millions of people will lose their health insurance along with their jobs, and therefore lose access to essential care.

Which raises a question: Why has the Obama administration been silent, at least so far, about one of President Obama’s key promises during last year’s campaign — the promise of guaranteed health care for all Americans?

Let’s talk about the magnitude of the looming health care disaster.

Just about all economic forecasts, including those of the Obama administration’s own economists, say that we’re in for a prolonged period of very high unemployment. And high unemployment means a sharp rise in the number of Americans without health insurance.

After the economy slumped at the beginning of this decade, five million people joined the ranks of the uninsured — and that was with the unemployment rate peaking at only 6.3 percent. This time the Obama administration says that even with its stimulus plan, unemployment will reach 8 percent, and that it will stay above 6 percent until 2012. Many independent forecasts are even more pessimistic.

Why, then, aren’t we hearing more about ensuring health care access?

Now, it’s possible that those of us who care about this issue are reading too much into the administration’s silence. But let me address three arguments that I suspect Mr. Obama is hearing against moving on health care, and explain why they’re wrong.

First, some people are arguing that a major expansion of health care access would just be too expensive right now, given the vast sums we’re about to spend trying to rescue the economy.

But research sponsored by the Commonwealth Fund shows…

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Written by Leisureguy

30 January 2009 at 10:06 am

Am I hungry?

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30 January 2009 at 9:59 am

More on Wall Street’s irresponsibility

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From the Center on American Progress in an email:

In 2008, "the brokerage units of New York financial companies lost more than $35 billion." According to a report by the New York state comptroller, these companies simultaneously doled out an estimated $18.4 billion in bonuses, "the sixth-largest haul on record" and the same amount as distributed in 2004, "when the Dow Jones industrial average was flying above 10,000, on its way to a record high." Reacting to the news, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs characterized the story with one word during yesterday’s press briefing: "Outrageous." "Whether it’s government or the financial system, we’re not going to be able to do what is needed to be done to stabilize our financial system if the American people read about this type of outrageous behavior," Gibbs said. When the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) was passed last September, Congress made a show of limiting executive pay. President Obama will have to strengthen TARP and other financial regulations to make a real impact on outrageous corporate malfeasance.

PRESIDENTIAL OUTRAGE:
Obama made it clear yesterday that he was frustrated by such corporate greed. While meeting with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, Obama condemned the "shameful" Wall Street bonuses. "That is the height of irresponsibility. It is shameful, and part of what we’re going to need is for folks on Wall Street who are asking for help to show some restraint and show some discipline and show some sense of responsibility," Obama said emphatically. In a way, the banks are holding the American people hostage, as they "find themselves in the difficult position that if they don’t provide help, the entire system could come crashing down on our heads," Obama said. He added that Americans, "are serious about their responsibilities. I am too in this White House. And I hope folks on Wall Street are going to be thinking in the same way."

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Written by Leisureguy

30 January 2009 at 9:58 am

25 things about me

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In the spirit of the thing, I’m posting 25 facts about me in response to being tagged by Harrison Sheppard on Facebook. The format he used is a chain letter (tagging 25 other people, who must then do the same), a sort of Ponzi scheme. I’ll not tag others, but I will respond to my being tagged.

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Written by Leisureguy

30 January 2009 at 9:33 am

Posted in Daily life

What Obama is doing (I think)

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I was thinking about Obama dropping things dear to progressives from the stimulus bill to accommodate the GOP. And then all of the Republicans voted against the bill.

I was thinking, “Hey, Obama. How about listening to the people who voted for you instead of those who voted against you?”

And then I realized what he would answer: “I was elected, thanks to you and others who voted for me. The office I was elected to is ‘President of the US,’ not ‘President of those who voted for me.’ I must pay attention to their concerns because they are part of the country. That doesn’t mean I’ll simply follow their program—I assume you voted for me because you think I can be trusted to use my judgment.”

Hmm. Post-partisan. And, I realized, that is why he was so angry at the Wall Street for their bonuses and continuing excesses: they are not being “responsible”: acting instead as though they are not a part of the (entire) country but are not connected to the country. They were acting like high school kids trying to do an end-run around the teacher, not responsible adults who are committed to the well-being of the country. They must learn to think not just of their own constituents/circle, but of the country as a whole. The way they were acting was highly “partisan,” in a sense.

Obama is going to try to pay attention to ALL the people. So our best bet as progressives is to engage individual conservatives and see whether we can show them that a progressive program can in a way be conservative and meet at least some goals conservatives share with all of us. Which means listening to them, thinking through things with them, and not just score points in a debate. What Obama’s doing, in fact.

If we all do this, we are acting in a post-partisan fashion because we’re working with people having other views in order to find the best possible way forward.

Obama, as president, is not going to ignore 45% of the electorate. That’s good if it leads to a stronger sense of unity—that we’re all in this together, and we’re part of it all.

Written by Leisureguy

30 January 2009 at 8:46 am

Musk and a great shave

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Mama Bear’s Leather & Musk soap—first use—made a terrific lather with the Sabini brush. And the Vision, carrying an almost pristine Swedish Gillette blade, did a superb job: easy, gentle, and leaving smoothness in its wake. The English Leather aftershave was a very nice finish.

I think I should try another go with the Gillette SharpEdge blade: surpassingly sharp.

Written by Leisureguy

30 January 2009 at 8:12 am

Posted in Shaving

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