Later On

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

Archive for February 5th, 2009

Pepper sauce batch 6

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I just made this recipe except:

a) no mango;

b) about 1.5″ of fresh ginger chopped up and then blended into the sauce; and

c) about 2 Tbs dark brown sugar added. Otherwise, same as above.

Written by Leisureguy

5 February 2009 at 4:01 pm

Eight O’Clock Columbian the best coffee?

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The Eldest passes along a link to this article:

Folgers, Maxwell House, and Starbucks are America’s best-selling ground coffees. But all three were iced by Eight O’Clock Colombian coffee in our taste tests. As for Starbucks, it didn’t even place among the top regular coffees and trailed among decafs.

Our tests of 19 coffees also show that some of the best cost the least. At about $6 per pound, Eight O’Clock costs less than half the price of Gloria Jean’s, Peet’s, and other more expensive brands…

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

5 February 2009 at 12:22 pm

Posted in Caffeine, Daily life

Obama’s op-ed

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Well worth reading. It begins:

By now, it’s clear to everyone that we have inherited an economic crisis as deep and dire as any since the days of the Great Depression. Millions of jobs that Americans relied on just a year ago are gone; millions more of the nest eggs families worked so hard to build have vanished. People everywhere are worried about what tomorrow will bring.

What Americans expect from Washington is action that matches the urgency they feel in their daily lives — action that’s swift, bold and wise enough for us to climb out of this crisis.

Because each day we wait to begin the work of turning our economy around, more people lose their jobs, their savings and their homes. And if nothing is done, this recession might linger for years. Our economy will lose 5 million more jobs. Unemployment will approach double digits. Our nation will sink deeper into a crisis that, at some point, we may not be able to reverse.

That’s why I feel such a sense of urgency about the recovery plan before Congress. With it, we will create or save more than 3 million jobs over the next two years, provide immediate tax relief to 95 percent of American workers, ignite spending by businesses and consumers alike, and take steps to strengthen our country for years to come.

This plan is more than a prescription for short-term spending — it’s a strategy for America’s long-term growth and opportunity in areas such as renewable energy, health care and education. And it’s a strategy that will be implemented with unprecedented transparency and accountability, so Americans know where their tax dollars are going and how they are being spent.

In recent days, there have been misguided criticisms of this plan that echo the failed theories that helped lead us into this crisis — the notion that …

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Written by Leisureguy

5 February 2009 at 11:01 am

Book notes

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I just got the report from Lulu.com about the number of books sold during January through other venues (Amazon, Amazon.uk, Barnes & Noble, etc.). There was a big surge in January, and I can’t figure out why—January was bigger than December. I figure one of more of the following:

  1. A lot of guys got shaving brushes and/or traditional safety razors for Christmas and ordered the book to find out how best to use them;
  2. The book made a nice present for MLK Day.
  3. The book was used by President Obama as an Inauguration Day present to his male staff.

The February report will be interesting.

Written by Leisureguy

5 February 2009 at 10:50 am

Posted in Books, Shaving

Making your own fonts

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Making my own pepper sauce is one thing, but making my own fonts? But apparently some people do, and here are two tools that will help.

Written by Leisureguy

5 February 2009 at 10:06 am

Is Cheney (gasp!) lying?

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Spencer Ackerman:

Barely two weeks out of office and Dick Cheney is already mongering fear. Unsurprisingly, it’s about Guantanamo Bay, where he says that generic Democrats — he’s intimating that he means President Obama, but he’s too much of a coward to say the man’s name — are "more concerned about reading the rights to an Al Qaeda terrorist than they are with protecting the United States against people who are absolutely committed to do anything they can to kill Americans." All this comes in an interview with Politico’s Mike Allen, John F. Harris and Jim VandeHei, and for a good reason: they’re not going to challenge a single word Cheney says. For instance, take this paragraph:

Citing intelligence reports, Cheney said at least 61 of the inmates who were released from Guantanamo during the Bush administration—“that’s about 11 or 12 percent”—have “gone back into the business of being terrorists.”

The "61 percent" figure has been debunked by a widely-read Seton Hall University study. And just last week, Defense Secretary Bob Gates — who served with Cheney in the Bush administration, remember — said only "four or five percent" of released Guantanamo detainees have been involved in post-GTMO extremist activities. Three reporters on the Cheney interview and not so much as a single Google search among them.

Nor do Harris, VandeHei and Allen remind their readers that Cheney has a long history of deceit about national security. To reduce things to the facile partisan terminology that Politico relishes, even former House GOP leader Dick Armey says Cheney lied to him about Saddam Hussein’s nuclear capabilities ahead of the 2002 Iraq War vote in order to preempt inconvenient House GOP skepticism.

I should be fair. Politico knows how to get to the real beating heart of a story, like so:

If Cheney’s language was dramatic, the setting for the comments was almost bizarrely pedestrian. His office is in a non-descript suburban office building in McLean, in a suite that could just as easily house a dental clinic.

Get used to this sort of thing. Cheney needs to spread this sort of nonsense. Every day that the Obama administration rolls back his legacy and the U.S. isn’t attacked is another day in which Cheney’s contentions that the U.S. needed to embrace torture, preventive war and illegal surveillance in order to be safe is debunked. He has little choice but to spread the counternarrative that we’re actually just another day closer to another attack. That isn’t surprising. Cheney is what he is. What’s worth watching is how many media organizations, in order to secure the Newsmaker Interview, let him get away with it unchallenged.

Written by Leisureguy

5 February 2009 at 9:56 am

Posted in Bush Administration, Media

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Israel seems to want to kill off Gaza residents

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Can you imagine this:

A Lebanese ship carrying aid for Gaza was stopped by the Israeli navy and is being escorted into port, Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak says.

Earlier, officials in Lebanon said Israeli gunboats had fired on the ship before soldiers boarded it, although Israel denied this.

Lebanese PM Fouad Siniora has called on the international community to persuade Israel to allow the shipment through…

There have been sporadic incidents of violence since Hamas and Israel declared separate ceasefires on 18 January, following Israel’s three-week attack on the Gaza Strip.

The aid ship was reported to have set off from the Lebanese port of Tripoli on Tuesday carrying 50 tonnes of medical supplies, food, clothing and toys for Gaza.

Also on board were eight activists and journalists, as well as the former Greek-Catholic archbishop of Jerusalem, Monsignor Hilarion Capucci, who had served time in an Israeli jail in the 1970s for his membership of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO).

An organiser of the shipment, Maen Bashur, said the ship was confronted by an Israeli military boat 32km (19 miles) off the Gazan coast late on Wednesday.

"We were informed by the crew that the Israeli forces boarded the ship after firing shots at it," he told the AFP news agency. "We have lost contact with them." …

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

5 February 2009 at 9:42 am

Posted in Mideast Conflict

Facing climate change

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At least the Obama Administration recognizes the reality. From the Center on American Progress:

In his first interview as Secretary of Energy, Steven Chu "offered some of the starkest comments yet on how seriously President Obama’s cabinet views the threat of climate change." Chu told the Los Angeles Times that the nation is like "a family buying an old house and being told by an inspector that it must pay a hefty sum to rewire it or risk an electrical fire that could burn everything down." "I’m hoping that the American people will wake up," he continued. Chu also worried the nation doesn’t yet recognize how great a threat global warming represents, saying, "I don’t think the American public has gripped in its gut what could happen." One danger Chu highlighted in the interview was more frequent drought throughout the West, with major declines in the snowpack that waters California. In the worst case, Chu explained, "We’re looking at a scenario where there’s no more agriculture in California. I don’t actually see how they can keep their cities going." Chu described "public education as a key part of the administration’s strategy to fight global warming" — in addition to clean energy research, infrastructure, a national renewable electricity standard, and a greenhouse gas cap-and-trade system. Perhaps proving his point that Americans have yet to "wake up," right-wing climate-changedenial bloggers retort that the Nobel Prize-winning quantum physicist and energy expert can’t be believed because he "isn’t a climate scientist."

Written by Leisureguy

5 February 2009 at 9:31 am

That "special bond" between the US and the UK

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It’s fraying. Take a look at this story:

Two British High Court judges ruled against releasing documents describing the treatment of a British detainee at the Guantanamo Bay prison, but made clear their reluctance, saying that the United States had threatened to withhold intelligence cooperation with Britain if the information were made public.

"We did not consider that a democracy governed by the rule of law would expect a court in another democracy to suppress a summary of the evidence . . . relevant to allegations of torture and cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment, politically embarrassing though it might be," Justice John Thomas and Justice David Lloyd Jones wrote.

The judges decided not to release information, supplied to the court by U.S. officials, concerning the treatment of Binyam Mohamed, 31, an Ethiopian-born British resident who was arrested in Pakistan in 2002.

The decision touched off a wave of anger at Washington from the floor of Parliament to the offices of human rights groups.

"The government is going to have to do some pretty careful explaining about what’s going on," said David Davis, a top Conservative Party leader, speaking in the House of Commons.

Davis said it appeared the U.S. government had "threatened" the British government about the repercussions if details of the case were made public. "Frankly, it is none of their business what our courts do," he said.

"The ruling implies that torture has taken place in the Mohamed case, that British agencies may have been complicit, and further, that the United States government has threatened our High Court that if it releases this information the U.S. government will withdraw its intelligence cooperation with the United Kingdom," Davis said.

Mohamed was initially charged with planning a "dirty bomb" attack in the United States. Those charges were later dropped, but Mohamed has been held at the Guantanamo detention center in Cuba since September 2004 after allegedly confessing to being an al-Qaeda operative.

Mohamed says that evidence against him is based on confessions obtained by torture at the hands of U.S. officials and allies in "secret prisons" in Morocco and Afghanistan and later in Guantanamo.

Wednesday’s ruling was part of a long-running legal battle by Mohamed’s attorneys, who argue that he has committed no crime and is a victim of torture and rendition by U.S. officials, with British cooperation.

Attorneys for several British and American news media organizations petitioned the court to release the information it had about Mohamed’s treatment, which had been redacted from a court ruling last summer.

On Wednesday, the judges turned down the request to release the documents, saying that the United States continued to threaten to punish Britain by withholding intelligence cooperation if the court released details of Mohamed’s treatment.

Clive Stafford Smith, Mohamed’s attorney, told reporters that by not disclosing the evidence, Britain was guilty of "capitulation to blackmail."

"It is hardly Britain’s finest hour," he said. "As the judges say, it is up to President Obama to put his money where his mouth is. He must repudiate his predecessor’s reprehensible policy." …

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

5 February 2009 at 9:29 am

More on Solis

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From the Center on American Progress:

President Obama has nominated his top appointees at a record speed — far faster than his two immediate predecessors, but the confirmation process has been far slower for him. Even after a rocky transition, President Clinton had all but one cabinet nominee confirmed by the end of his first day in office; President Bush had all but one confirmed by the end of January, despite the lengthy 2000 recount. Some of Obama’s confirmation problems have been a result of the nominees’ own errors — as with Timothy Geithner and Tom Daschle — but others have been caused by nothing more than conservative obstruction. In particular, the widely praised Hilda Solis, currently a Democratic U.S. representative from California, is being blocked by Senate Republicans for her progressive views supporting American workers. "This is just harassment," said Scott Lilly, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress. "I haven’t seen anything that has been raised that looks like a truly substantive question about whether President Obama should have her serve him as labor secretary." After waiting 55 days since her nomination on Dec. 19, Solis will finally face a scheduled vote in the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee today.

REBUILDING THE ECONOMY BY STRENGTHENING WORKERS: Solis has been one of Congress’s strongest backers of the Employee Free Choice Act, serving as a co-sponsor of the measure in 2007. "The Employee Free Choice Act provides more protections for workers and requires employers have to recognize a union elected by authorization cards," wrote Solis, the daughter of an immigrant union family, on the Huffington Post that same year. "The current system stacks the deck against workers." Indeed, under the current system, employees who have the option to join a union are regularly intimidated and pressured by management against doing so. At a time when the economy is struggling and workers are facing layoffs and pay cuts, the case for increased participation in organized labor is stronger than ever. As the SEIU notes, workers in unions "earn 14 percent higher wages than workers who are not, are 28 percent more likely to have health insurance, and 54 percent more likely to have a pension." However, the Center for American Progress’s David Madland and Berkeley Professor Harley Shaiken write that even "non-union workers — particularly in highly unionized industries — receive financial benefits from employers who increase wages to match what unions would win in order to avoid unionization."

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Leisureguy

5 February 2009 at 9:05 am

Peachy morning shave

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Mama Bear’s Peach Vanilla shaving soap does not have the intense peach fragrance of Honeybee Spa’s Peach shaving soap, but it does add the vanilla benefit and, with the Simpsons Key Hole 3 Best, produced a fine lather. The 1940’s Gillette Aristocrat with a previously used Asco blade did a fine job—the Asco may be one of those blades that works better on the second shave. It seemed that way to me. The Thayers Peach Witch Hazel Astringent was a fine aftershave and had plenty of (fast fading) peach fragrance.

Written by Leisureguy

5 February 2009 at 8:50 am

Posted in Shaving

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