Later On

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

Archive for February 6th, 2009

Pepper sauce tastings

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Now that I have six batches of pepper sauce, I naturally want to be able to do a tasting of all six to compare and contrast. OTOH, I don’t want to blast my mouth to oblivion. I’m thinking of this approach: spread a thick layer of blandish cheese (goat cheese, fresh ricotta, fresh mozzarella, cream cheese, etc.) on a neutral-tasting cracker (a water cracker, for example), and then spread a thin, thin layer of pepper sauce on the cheese. You would be able to taste it, and the cheese should blunt most of the bite.

Written by Leisureguy

6 February 2009 at 3:51 pm

Posted in Daily life, Food

While the GOP stalls, fights, postures, whines, and so on…

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jobloss900109

Click the graph for full size. The graph is from Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office.

This chart compares the job loss so far in this recession to job losses in the 1990-1991 recession and the 2001 recession — showing how dramatic and unprecedented the job loss over the last 13 months has been.  Over the last 13 months, our economy has lost a total of 3.6 million jobs – and continuing job losses in the next few months are predicted.

By comparison, we lost a total of 1.6 million jobs in the 1990-1991 recession, before the economy began turning around and jobs began increasing; and we lost a total of 2.7 million jobs in the 2001 recession, before the economy began turning around and jobs began increasing.

Written by Leisureguy

6 February 2009 at 2:04 pm

It will take a long time to clean Bush muck out of the nation’s stables

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From Mike Lillis at the Washington Independent:

Playing off of our story today on yesterday’s TARP oversight hearing, here’s a fascinating exchange between Sen. Richard Shelby (Ala.), the highest ranking member of the Senate Banking Committee, and Elizabeth Warren, who chairs the congressional TARP oversight panel. Prior to this snippet, Warren just told lawmakers that Treasury officials didn’t use risk-adjustment mechanisms when they purchased stakes in the troubled banks:

Shelby: Isn’t that a terrible way to look after the taxpayers money and to make purchases anywhere?

Warren: Well … Treasury simply did not do what it said it was doing … I can’t say that more clearly.

Shelby: In other words, they misled the Congress, did they not?

Warren: Well…

Shelby: The Bush administration — Secretary Paulson, Chairman Bernanke — misled the people — the Congress and the people — of the United States.

Warren: They announced one program and implemented another.

Shelby: Absolutely. They said one thing and two weeks later did another. Is that correct?

Warren: Senator, it’s more than that.

Shelby: No …

Warren: Yes, yes, senator, they did. But it’s more than that. Even in the program that they moved to, in the second program, they described that program one way, and they priced it a different way. They did not price for risk. That’s what markets do.

The result of that pricing, as widely reported today, was that the investments owned by taxpayers were immediately worth $78 billion less than the Treasury paid. That could change, of course. If these banks rebound and stock prices soar, Washington might even find itself in the black on the deal. But if there’s a lesson in there anywhere, it’s that congressional lawmakers might not want to repeat the mistake of providing blank checks to the White House — any White House — without a bit more supervision. Indeed, it’s only part of their job.

Notice how nicely everyone cooperates to avoid using the words “lie,” “incompetent oversight,” “scoundrels,” “scum-sucking pigs,” “felons” (thanks, EP), “sleazeballs,” “douchebags,” and the like.

Written by Leisureguy

6 February 2009 at 1:59 pm

Great moments of American socialism

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The New Deal provided government funding for many permanent accomplishments in the US. Salon has a slide show and a very interesting article. Check them out. Government funding of projects will help us recover and along the way can improve our nation’s infrastructure.

Written by Leisureguy

6 February 2009 at 1:42 pm

The “liberal” mass media.

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Not so liberal at all. Steve Benen:

In late January, as the House debated the economic stimulus package, ThinkProgress did an analysis that found a clear imbalance: the major cable networks invited far more Republican lawmakers to talk about the legislation than Democratic lawmakers. Indeed, TP found a 2-to-1 margin in the GOP’s favor.

Now that the debate has shifted to the Senate, would the networks include more Democratic voices in the discussion? Not so much.

cable

ThinkProgress reports today that during this week’s deliberations in the Senate, “Republican lawmakers outnumbered Democratic lawmakers 75 to 41 on cable news interviews by members of Congress (from 6am on Monday 2/2 through 11pm on Thursday 2/5).” It’s not quite as bad as last week, but it’s close.

When Republicans were in the majority, and controlled the White House, Senate, and House, it was important to air the GOP perspective. Now that Democrats are in control, nothing has changed. Last week, Josh Marshall noted the “continuing Republican tilt of much of the capital press corps. Not in ideological terms perhaps, but in terms of whose opinions carry weight, whose matter and whose do not.” That was true, at the time, as House Republicans were dominating the airwaves, and as ThinkProgress demonstrates, it’s still true this week.

The next question, of course, is who’s responsible for the heavy Republican tilt of the coverage, and what Democrats plan to do about it. Greg Sargent spoke to officials in the Democratic leadership yesterday and they are “privately conceding that they are getting badly outworked by the GOP on the airwaves, and are vowing to take new measures to remedy the situation.” Greg quoted one aide who said, “[W]e are aware of the problem and are taking steps to fix it.”

Sooner would be better than later.

Written by Leisureguy

6 February 2009 at 12:58 pm

Posted in Democrats, GOP, Media

Justice Scalia is a jerk

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No surprise, there, but his offensive arrogance is wearing. From Crooks & Liars:

Antonin Scalia demonstrates why he’s an embarrassment to the high court.

Where others fear to tread, a 20-year-old college student from Tequesta, Fla.,boldly stepped forward Tuesday to ask Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia a question he did not like during a public appearance in West Palm Beach. "That’s a nasty, impolite question," said Scalia, himself an expert on tough questioning, and he at first refused to answer it.

So what did Sarah Jeck ask that caused the volatile justice to erupt? According to her own notes and this account in today’s Sun-Sentinel, Jeck asked whether the rationale for Scalia’s well-known opposition to cameras in the Supreme Court was "vitiated" by the facts that the Court allows public visitors to view arguments and releases full argument transcripts to the public, and that justices go out on book tours.

So it’s OK for justices to go on book tours to make some extra cash, but oh…they are not having anything to do with televised proceedings. And Scalia gets nasty with a question about this double standard.

In a room filled with some of Palm Beach County’s most powerful people, it took a 20-year-old political science student to throw off U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia on Tuesday afternoon.

Student Sarah Jeck stood in front of 750 people and asked Scalia why cameras are not allowed in the U.S. Supreme Court even though the court hearings are open, transcripts are available and the court’s justices are open enough to go "out on book tours." Scalia was at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts in part to do a book signing and wasn’t happy at the question.

"Read the next question," Scalia replied. "That’s a nasty, impolite question." …

Written by Leisureguy

6 February 2009 at 12:44 pm

Posted in Government, Law

Tagged with

Taking a break from politics

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The GOP has become so absolutely batshit crazy of late that I can’t stand to read what they’re saying in order to blog about it. They somehow believe, against all that economists have written and said, that tax cuts are stimulative but funding important social programs (and thus creating jobs) is not. Rush Limbaugh seems to be head of the party now, giving keynote addresses at CPAC, where that other paragon of conservative thought Ann Coulter will also speak. I fear that the GOP has nothing further to contribute to our country. They are now dedicating themselves to “insurgency,” taking the Taliban as their guide. This is in the words of Pete Sessions. They simply want to block or stall any effective action, and cut taxes cut taxes cut taxes. They have the intelligence of tadpoles, so far as they’ve shown in their proposals and speeches. So for a while I’m going to ignore them.

Example from Balkinization:

This blog is not ordinarily a venue for the reporting of straight news, but a major vote in the Senate Wednesday evening has been ignored by the press. Senator James DeMint offered a substitute bill for President Obama’s stimulus package that would consist of nothing but tax cuts, most notably a massive reduction of the top income tax rate from 35% to 25%. The amendment was defeated, but 36 out of the 41 Republican senators voted for it.

The vote makes clear that most Republicans fundamentally disagree with the Keynesian premises of Obama’s stimulus package. Their public statements have harped on details of spending, but the DeMint vote shows that they are opposed to any attempt to stimulate the economy by government spending. They are unalterably convinced that tax cuts are the universal elixir for any economic problem. Under these circumstances, bipartisanship is a delusion. Democrats and Republicans have nothing to negotiate about.

Another example closely examined to show its stupidity.

Written by Leisureguy

6 February 2009 at 12:39 pm

Posted in GOP

Factory farms are an enemy of life

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Note this from Culinate:

You’ve probably heard, over the past couple of years, about outbreaks of antibiotic-resistant staph infections in hospitals around the U.S. One of the causes of the problem — a bacteria named methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, for short — is the fact that factory farms routinely dose their animals with antibiotics to keep them from falling ill in dirty, confined conditions. The overuse of antibiotics to prevent disease instead of to treat it has encouraged the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. We eat those antibiotic-laden animals, and become drug-resistant ourselves. And then we get sick, and the drugs don’t make us better.

Now comes word that MRSA has been detected on factory farms themselves — in particular, on pig farms in the Midwest. Eat pork from these farms, in other words, and not only are you eating antibiotics, but you may be eating lethal bacteria as well. And as reported by the intrepid Andrew Schneider at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the word was out about this problem last summer — but nothing was done about it.

Written by Leisureguy

6 February 2009 at 11:18 am

Posted in Daily life, Food, Health

Interesting post from an interesting blog: The Ethicurean

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A blog that focuses on the ethics of our diet. Here’s the post:

Music to our ears: USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, who some in the good-food movement have blasted for his ties to agribusiness, sounds a sweet note by calling for a “new day” for the agency in which it serves both farmers and the nation’s 300 million eaters. Is it all talk, or will we see some action? (Washington Post)

Holding out hope for Hassebrook: Speaking of action, Nicholas Kristof hopes that Vilsack will confirm the rumor that he’s an open-minded reformer by supporting the nomination of Chuck Hassebrook from the Center for Rural Affairs – who echoes Obama’s call for farm subsidy reforms – as Deputy Secretary of the USDA. (New York Times)

Small farms, big bounty: Reversing a decades-long trend, the USDA’s 2007 Census of Agriculture, released earlier this week, shows a 4% increase in farm numbers from 2002 to 2007 and a more demographically diverse bunch of farmers. “Micro” farms with sales under $2,500 drove the growth, though there was also a big increase in very large operations. (USDA press release) Farmers markets have also grown by leaps and bounds, jumping 26% nationally since the last ag census in 2002. In the heart of corn country – Illinois – they’ve grown by 67% and winter markets are becoming more commonplace. (Medill Reports)

The disappearing middle: But while very small and very large farms have increased in number, mid-sized farms continue to drop off the map, too big for the farmers market but too small to compete with the big guys at the wholesale terminal. (Reuters) (Minneapolis Star-Tribune; includes a video interview with the owners of a third-generation mid-sized farm)

Please stand by for this public service announcement: Don’t eat peanuts. Really. As of this writing, 575 people, half of them under the age of 16, have been sickened from Salmonella-tainted peanuts. Setting a near record, over 1,300 products have been recalled, including a whopping 984,000 pounds of Ethnic Gourmet and Trader Ming’s chicken entrees that contained peanuts. Congress responds with a bill to overhaul the agency behind the wheel of this trainwreck – the FDA – and Obama chimes in as well. (CIDRAP News; AP via NYT; The Oregonian; product updates from the FDA)

Backyard bounty: When Asiya Wadud moved to the Bay Area from the Midwest, she was amazed at the bounty of fruit growing in front- and backyards. So she started to ask if she could pick the fruit, usually leaving some for the owner of the tree. She eventually started a blog called Forage Oakland to describe what she does with the foraged food, set up exchanges, and spread the word. (San Francisco Chronicle)

Corn to cucumbers: The USDA announces a new pilot project that will permit producers in seven Midwestern states to plant vegetables for processing on commodity acres that are enrolled in the direct and counter-cyclical subsidy programs. (Usually, planting anything but the crop you’ve registered on these “base acres” is not allowed.) Could this be the beginning of a more diverse food system in the corn belt? (USDA press release)

Bottles up: To cut down on resource use, Cream Wine of Yakima, WA has started to use glass milk bottles for its wine. Drinkers return the bottle to the place of purchase and receive a deposit, and the bottle goes back to Cream Wine to be refilled. Although it’s newsworthy today, this was commonplace several generations ago – and it still is in many other parts of the world. (San Francisco Chronicle)

Written by Leisureguy

6 February 2009 at 11:09 am

Obama listens

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An email from the Drug Policy Alliance:

You took action, and President Obama responded.

Well done! The White House received thousands of your faxes and phone calls, and almost immediately took a stand in support of medical marijuana states, upholding President Obama’s campaign promises to end the federal raids on medical marijuana dispensaries.

We joined you in urging this administration to end these wasteful, harmful raids, and coordinated efforts with our allies in Congress to keep the pressure on.

Thanks to your efforts, the Obama administration responded:

"The President believes that federal resources should not be used to circumvent state laws, and as he continues to appoint senior leadership to fill out the ranks of the federal government, he expects them to review their policies with that in mind."

An incredible victory. But the fight’s not over yet. Here are a few things we’ll continue to work on in the coming season to ensure that medical marijuana patients everywhere are protected:

  • Urge President Obama to nominate a drug czar who will stay out of your house and medicine cabinet.
  • Keep working in New Mexico, as the state becomes the first to license nonprofit organizations to grow medical marijuana.
  • Continue supporting medical marijuana legislation in states like New Jersey, where our bill will hopefully be voted on by the full Senate soon.

By working together, we can accomplish anything. Great job!

Written by Leisureguy

6 February 2009 at 11:03 am

Shaping up for the wedding

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The Wife and I will be attending a wedding in a few months, and we are gearing up for it in various ways: determining the clothes we will wear, looking at our weight, and so on. So I paid attention when I saw this video, via this good post on Healthbolt:

The book referenced is The Beck Diet Solution. I note that the author also has other books—The Complete Beck Diet for Life: The Five-Stage Program for Permanent Weight Loss looks interesting to me.

Written by Leisureguy

6 February 2009 at 11:00 am

Posted in Daily life, Food, Health

Guide to Gourmet Shaving: Lulu.com sales rank is #280

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Wow. In the top 300. On January 10, the sales rank was 350, which I blogged. To jump 70 places in one month is remarkable. I was guessing that on January 10, 2010, the book would reach a Lulu sales rank of 250. I’m way pessimistic, it looks like.

Buy a few copies today for graduation gifts this spring. Note that in February, Lulu has a special discount if you order 10 or more copies. 🙂  [Link updated: Book is now sold not through Lulu, but through CreateSpace. – LG]

OTOH, my Amazon.com sales rank is #93,023 48,295 in Books. But the book is in the top 100,000.

UPDATE: I corrected the sales rank on Amazon, but I swear the other figure was there this morning. But if the book jumps almost 45,000 places in a few hours, something definitely is going on.

UPDATE 2: Lulu sales ranks are based on total cumulative sales revenue. Amazon sales ranks are very transitory, based on daily sales or something like. Those ranks jump all over the place.

Written by Leisureguy

6 February 2009 at 10:15 am

Posted in Books, Daily life, Shaving

The Collins-Nelson Gang

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Chris Bowers:

It has been widely reported that Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Ben Nelson (D-NE) are working on stripping public spending from the stimulus bill before it passes the Senate. The good news is that the amount of spending they have removed from the bill has come down from the originally reported $200 billion to $78 billion (although the exact size of the cuts is still up in the air). That is still a lot of spending cuts but, as Elena Schor reports, "the Nelson-Collins cuts have become the best hope for getting the recovery plan over the finish line." That seems pretty much undisputable right now.

Given this situation, I want to know the names of the twenty or so Senators, most of whom appear to be Democrats, that are members of the Collins-Nelson gang (emphasis mine):

Collins and Nelson are working together to draft a bill that could cut as much as $200 billion in questionable items from the stimulus package. It’s a work in progress with no hard numbers or details just yet on which things would be eliminated. We’re told there are more than 20 other senators working on this effort.

It appears that these twenty or so Senators are actually running the government right now, so I think we need to know who they are.

We were promised greater transparency in government over the next four years. As such, I say we start by having someone produce a list of the people who are actually running the government.

I am going to spend the rest of the afternoon trying to figure this one out. If you have any information on the matter, please provide it in the comments.

Update: There are apparently 18 Senators in the group. David Kowalski makes the catch:

The Washington Post says there are 18 (and they met with Obama).  It only names four: Snowe, Collins, Ben Nelson and Mary Landrieu and hints at three others (Specter, McCain, Baucus).  This group, especially the Democrats, are afraid to step into the daylight.

A good start.

Written by Leisureguy

6 February 2009 at 10:06 am

The rise and fall of handwriting

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This review interested me because I like good handwriting—specifically, italic handwriting, aka chancery cursive. In fact, I have a post on how to get started. It’s easy, especially if you switch over to italic as your standard handwriting. As with most things, daily practice makes it easy. At first I practiced by taking notes in graduate-school classes, later by handwriting letters to people. The review:

Like many people over the age of 40, I still have a callused knobby excrescence on the third finger of my right hand, the place where pencils and ballpoints and fountain pens have been resting ever since I first began to learn the Palmer method of cursive handwriting. Kids no longer have this "writer’s bump," since cursive isn’t seriously taught any more. For the most part, young people born into the computer age can, by focusing hard, just about sign their names in longhand, but otherwise they rely almost entirely on printing or, more and more often, keyboarding. Today Truman Capote would have to quip: "That’s not writing, that’s word processing."

Sad to say, I just typed the above paragraph on a laptop. No handwriting implements were involved in the production of those sentences.

I do feel mildly guilty about this: In four broken coffee cups scattered artfully around my desk are a half-dozen fountain pens — among them an old Esterbrook (a gift from the writer Glenway Wescott), a Pelikan with an italic nib, a handsome Namiki retractable — and scores of Bics, rollerballs, felt tips and gel markers, as well as innumerable pencils, most of them with the names of museums, universities or other cultural sites etched on their sides. As it happens, I do use most of these hand tools of the writer’s trade, usually the pencils, when scribbling notes in the margins of books I’m reviewing. Nonetheless, so poor is my script that these notes often turn indecipherable even to me after just a few hours. It’s seriously frustrating to read: "The really important point is amxiwyby sowkymx, rather than roeqcz or kfghi."

As Kitty Burns Florey points out in her highly enjoyable Script and Scribble, clear and readable handwriting does matter: "The TV drama ER often tackles the issue: in one 2007 episode, Dr. Izzie Stevens tells the interns she’s supervising, ‘Penmanship saves lives! Is that a 7, or is that a 9? If I have to ask myself that in the middle of an emergency, your patient is dead. You killed him. With your handwriting. Think about that!’ "

In contrast to medical cacography, which can kill us, calligraphy — that is, "beautiful writing" — simply takes our breath away. The novelist John Crowley, for instance, is almost as well known for the elegance of his handwriting as for the elegance of his prose — which is why a special edition of Little, Big sold out so quickly: Subscribers could choose a favorite passage, and Crowley would personally copy it out for them. Once, following a lecture by the professional scribe Sheila Waters, I managed to snag the big pieces of paper upon which she casually drew her magnificent O’s, A’s and M’s. Even these throwaways were so striking that I had them framed and hung on a wall of my apartment.

Script and Scribble actually mentions Waters, as well as one of her most famous commissions: a handwritten and illuminated copy of …

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

6 February 2009 at 9:52 am

Posted in Books, Daily life

Tagged with ,

Pasta with cauliflower

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The Sister sent me a link to this tasty-sounding recipe by Mark Bittman:

Pasta With Cauliflower

Yield 3 or 4 servings

Time About 40 minutes

There are many possible variations. For the cauliflower, you can substitute broccoli, rape or even kale or collards. When you’re simmering the garlic, you can add anchovies, capers, pine nuts or dried red pepper flakes — some or all of them. You can toss crumbled cooked sausage meat or chopped shrimp into the garlic mixture along with the bread crumbs. Or you can garnish with chopped parsley, basil or grated Parmesan.

  • 1 head cauliflower, about 1 pound
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 pound penne, fusilli or other cut pasta
  • 1 cup coarse bread crumbs

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Trim the cauliflower, and divide it into florets. Add about a tablespoon of salt to the water, and boil the cauliflower in it until it is tender but not mushy. Using a slotted spoon or strainer, remove the cauliflower and set it aside. When it is cool enough to handle, chop it roughly into small pieces.

2. Meanwhile, in a large deep skillet over medium-low heat, sauté garlic in olive oil, stirring occasionally, until garlic is golden. Start cooking pasta in same pot and same water as was used for the cauliflower.

3. When the garlic is ready, add the cauliflower and bread crumbs to skillet, and turn heat to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally. When pasta is just about done — it should be two or three minutes short of the way you like it — drain it, reserving about a cup of cooking liquid.

4. Add pasta to skillet containing the cauliflower, and toss with a large spoon until they are well combined. Add salt and pepper to taste, along with just enough pasta water to keep the mixture moist but not soupy. When the mixture is hot and the pasta is tender and nicely glazed, serve.

Written by Leisureguy

6 February 2009 at 9:45 am

More on the stimulus

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Any help that the American people get will be in spite of the GOP. Center for American Progress in an email:

Yesterday, President Obama strongly condemned members of both political parties for characterizing the economic recovery package before Congress as a "pork" spending plan for pet projects: "[W]hen you hear these attacks deriding something of such obvious importance as this, you have to ask yourself, ‘Are these folks serious?‘" Despite the loss of 600,000 jobs last month alone, debate over the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 has been reduced to petty bickering over extremely small portions of the overall recovery plan. Marching to Rush Limbaugh’s drumbeat, conservatives spent all week on cable news caricaturing tiny portions of the bill — including provisions that they had previously supported — in order to score political points and embarrass the Obama administration. But these antics have distracted Washington from "the reality that we may well be falling into an economic abyss." Today, The Progress Report takes a step back and looks at the key principles that should guide the construction of any compromise on the economic recovery package.

IT SHOULD BE IMMEDIATE: In recent days, congressional conservatives have expressed a desire to slow down deliberation over the economic recovery plan. But as National Economic Council Director Larry Summers reiterated yesterday, "We do not have time to wait." He called comprehensive and immediate economic recovery legislation "imperative for our economic security." Evidence of the need for immediate action is clear. Today, the Labor Department reported that the U.S. economy lost 598,000 jobs in January alone, raising the unemployment rate to 7.6 percent. Yesterday, the Labor Department reported that 626,000 Americans applied for unemployment benefits for the first time last week, a 26-year high. These grim reports add to the 2.6 million jobs lost in 2008, 59 percent of which occurred in the last quarter of 2008 alone. And the rate at which job losses are increasing is reaching historic highs. Indeed, in the first 12 months of the current recession, unemployment rose by 2.6 percent — "the fastest such increase since the recession that started in January 1970." The effects of these increasing job losses can be seen rippling through the economy in the form of increasing credit card default rates, record decreases in the value of homes, and near record high levels of household debt.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Leisureguy

6 February 2009 at 9:36 am

Michael Phelps and marijuana

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Joe Conason has an excellent column at Salon.com. It begins:

The brutal exposure and possible arrest of alleged pothead Michael Phelps, probably the best athlete on earth, demands fresh attention to old questions: Why is marijuana still illegal in the United States? And why do we prosecute people for using the herb?

As the world now knows, poor Phelps was chilling with a few friends and a glass bong when caught on camera — which would have been no problem had London’s News of the World tabloid not published the photo, described as follows in the accompanying news story: “This is the astonishing picture which could destroy the career of the greatest competitor in Olympic history.”

Although Phelps soon confessed that the picture was real, that caption was as sensationally misleading as much of what appears as news in the Murdoch press. Certainly there was nothing “astonishing” or even mildly surprising about the fact that a superb swimmer, or a top competitor in any form of sport, might puff on a blunt from time to time. By now there have simply been too many other cases of exceptional athletes, ranging from test cricketers to snowboard champions, who have admitted to smoking dope for recreation or relief.

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Written by Leisureguy

6 February 2009 at 9:33 am

Posted in Daily life, Drug laws

US threatens UK

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What the US said is clearly a threat—anything to keep the details of US injustice under Bush hidden away. The story:

Facing a furor in Parliament, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband all but confirmed on Thursday that the U.S. had threatened to break off intelligence sharing if details were revealed about the alleged torture of a British resident held at the Guantanamo Bay military prison.

While disputing there was any direct threat, Miliband quoted U.S. officials as saying that release of classified documents in London court hearings "could harm existing intelligence information-sharing between our two governments." [That’s not a threat??  Someone needs to help these U.S. officials with the English language. – LG]

The U.S. embassy disputed that there had been any threat of a cut-off of vital intelligence, stating that: "We do not threaten allies." A spokesman said President Barack Obama is committed to closing Guantanamo and treating prisoners humanely, but added: "I don’t think the position on the confidentiality principle will change."

The case involves Binyam Mohamed, an Ethiopian-born British resident who alleged that he was tortured in a Moroccan prison after being "rendered" to Moroccan authorities by the U.S. government.

In a rebuke to the U.S., two British high court judges said Wednesday that Washington had blocked the release of evidence that was "relevant to allegations of torture" of Mohamed. Lord Justice Thomas and Justice Lloyd Jones said the documents in question was "politically embarrassing" but didn’t contain sensitive intelligence about Mohamed’s treatment.

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Written by Leisureguy

6 February 2009 at 9:28 am

Drought forcing choices

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This story talks about choosing which species of fish will be allowed to go extinct because of the California drought. This is only the beginning. Global warming will bring unprecedented drought to a part of the country where water is in short supply. Southern California, Nevada, and Arizona are mostly desert land, with water pumped from far away to sustain the cities. That water is going to go away as global warming intensifies, and the Sierra snow-melt will not make up the difference. I blogged about this years ago, and the day is coming when the American Southwest will simply not have enough water.

Written by Leisureguy

6 February 2009 at 9:22 am

Pepper sauce

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With Batch 6 I am calling a halt to further pepper sauce making until I can use up some of the stash I now have. I did have one idea: instead of dried chipotles, try using chipotles in adobo sauce. That adds some tomato to the mix, which seems to call for garlic and oregano in addition. Maybe use balsamic as the vinegar…

But that is for the future. Still, I wanted to get the idea out there.

Written by Leisureguy

6 February 2009 at 9:15 am

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