Later On

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

Archive for October 7th, 2009

What an opening!

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I’m watching A Bridge Too Far again, and I must say that the opening, pre-title sequence does a masterful job of setting the context while using astonishing footage. The bombing run alone made my jaw drop. If you’re a Netflix subscriber, you can watch that opening right now at the link.

In fact, the whole movie’s good. Take a look at the list of names that have a starring role:

Dirk Bogarde
James Caan
Michael Caine
Sean Connery
Edward Fox
Elliott Gould
Gene Hackman
Anthony Hopkins
Hardy Krüger
Ryan O’Neal
Laurence Olivier
Robert Redford
Maximilian Schell
Liv Ullmann

Written by LeisureGuy

7 October 2009 at 7:33 pm

Posted in Daily life, Movies & TV

Can’t wait to make Megs food

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I took a quick run to Whole Foods to buy a couple of chicken thighs, the meat the vet at catinfo.org recommends. I also picked up some Morton Lite Salt (with iodide) and some freezer bags for when I make the big batch. In the meantime, I just cut one thigh into little 1/2" cubes (a little smaller than casino dice) and sprinkled them with some of the FortiFlora that arrived today. That contains animal digest, which to a kitty is the essence of yumminess. I followed Dr. Pierson’s suggestion and sprinkled a little on the meat (as though salting it), rather than using the entire packet. Megs was sniffing at it with considerable interest when I left the kitchen.

Written by LeisureGuy

7 October 2009 at 4:50 pm

Posted in Cats, Food

Malpractice not to blame for rising healthcare costs

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The Right really, really wants to stop malpractice lawsuits—not by stopping malpractice, the obvious answer, but by making such lawsuits harder to file and capping the awards. The reason generally offered is that this will cut costs. But that’s not true. Markham Heid for McClatchy:

Curbing medical malpractice litigation isn’t the "silver bullet" that’s needed to slay the werewolf of rising health care costs, a panel of academics said Tuesday.

"Health policy myths become convenient truths," said Gregg Bloche, a graduate of the medical and law schools at Yale and a former visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution. Bloche has written extensively on the implications of policy for doctors and patients.

Bloche, one of several speakers at a panel discussion organized by the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University, said that costs associated with medical malpractice accounted for "a small and steady fraction" of health care costs — 2 to 3 percent at most — and couldn’t be blamed for the continuing increase in those costs.

For example, while Bloche put costs due to medical malpractice at roughly $55 billion for 2007, total health care spending estimates for that year topped $2.2 trillion.

Bloche was joined by other experts in the legal, medical and economics fields.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by LeisureGuy

7 October 2009 at 11:41 am

Posted in Daily life, Healthcare

The bad Obama and the bad Senate oversight

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Sometimes it seems as though Obama and the Senate just are not serious about governing. Take this article by Daniel Schulman in Mother Jones:

What type of vetting can you expect if you’re an ex-lobbyist for an Enron-like firm who’s been nominated to a seat on the regulatory commission that’s supposed to prevent Enron-style abuses? Not much. Exhibit A: Last week’s confirmation hearing of Scott O’Malia, a Republican Senate staffer selected by President Obama to fill an open seat on the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).

Recently Mother Jones reported on O’Malia’s two-year stint as the director of federal legislative affairs for Mirant, an energy company that state and federal regulators—including the CFTC—accused of market manipulation, including intentionally withholding power from California consumers during the state’s energy crisis. Its shady business practices ultimately led to a nearly half-billion-dollar settlement with the state of California. In a separate case, spearheaded by the CFTC and the Justice Department, Mirant traders pleaded guilty to criminal charges in connection with a scheme to rig natural gas prices. [Most businesses will not hesitate to break the law if it improves profits. – LG]

O’Malia worked for Mirant in 2001 and 2002, a period that coincided with the California energy crisis, Enron’s collapse, and a major market upheaval that by 2003 had plunged the Atlanta-based firm into bankruptcy. During his time at Mirant, O’Malia was registered to lobby against a measure that would have strengthened the CFTC’s oversight of energy derivatives—precisely the type of power the Obama administration now wants to give the commission, which has often been criticized as a toothless regulator. (In 2002, Mirant joined with the US Chamber of Commerce, AIG, Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, UBS, and other firms to block legislation expanding the CFTC’s authority.) In a letter [PDF] to the Democratic and Republican Senate leaders, the firms said the bill, advanced by a bipartisan group of senators, "would result in unnecessary and potentially detrimental regulation vastly expanding the jurisdiction of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission." (The bill failed.) O’Malia was also registered to lobby for the repeal of the Public Utility Holding Company Act, a law intended to curb speculative investments by energy, natural gas, and water utilities. And, according to House and Senate records, he advocated on regulatory matters specifically concerning California’s energy market…

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

7 October 2009 at 11:36 am

Why healthcare reform is needed, part MMMDCCCLXXXIV

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Anita Creamer reporting for McClatchy:

Like a lot of self-employed people, Valerie Scaglione and her husband, Michael, who run two businesses from their home outside Auburn, find themselves in a significant health insurance crunch.

Monthly premiums for Blue Cross coverage for them and their three daughters have soared over the years to almost $2,000, Scaglione says.

She estimates that in the past six years, the family has spent more than $140,000 on premiums and co-payments.

Yet when she tried to switch from the family’s expensive individual insurance to a Blue Shield group plan that’s more affordable, she said, she and her oldest daughter were denied coverage. She said neither of them has the medical conditions that were listed as reasons for being denied bronchitis and a skin ailment

Continue reading. Remember, most businesses will not hesitate to take actions that are unethical, immoral, and/or illegal if those actions will improve profits. For proof, just look at the LONG list of businesses fined or successfully sued, repeatedly, for actions they have taken.

Written by LeisureGuy

7 October 2009 at 11:31 am

Another example of why we should simply ignore the GOP

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Steve Benen posted this at Political Animal:

Given his record, we’re well past the point of expecting intellectual seriousness or consistency from Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa). But his take on an individual mandate as part of health care reform is pretty striking, even for him.

Victor Zapanta reported yesterday on Grassley’s latest stand. The senator was asked whether he might consider supporting health care reform if Democrats satisfied his concerns about funds for abortion and coverage for undocumented workers. Grassley said he’d oppose reform anyway, because of the individual mandate.

"[T]here are other points as well, but let me mention other points that you didn’t mention. And one would be the individual mandate, which for the first time would have a federal penalty against people who don’t have health insurance…. I’m very reluctant to go along with an individual mandate."

So, for Chuck Grassley, an individual mandate is a deal-breaker. No matter what other concessions Democrats are willing to make in the name of compromise and in the spirit of bipartisan cooperation, the Iowa conservative believes the mandate is just too much.

At least, that’s what he believes now. As recently as August, Grassley argued the way to get universal coverage is "through an individual mandate." He told Nightly Business report, "That’s individual responsibility, and even Republicans believe in individual responsibility."

In June, Grassley was even clearer. He said "there isn’t anything wrong with" an individual mandate, and compared it to laws requiring Americans to have car insurance. "Everybody has some health insurance costs," the conservative senator said, "and if you aren’t insured, there’s no free lunch."

Grassley added, in unambiguous terms, "I believe that there is a bipartisan consensus to have individual mandates."

Read that sentence again.

Democrats moved forward with reform efforts, taking Grassley at his word. Just a few months later, however, Grassley has concluded that he’s not only against individual mandates, he considers them a deal-breaker. And remember, as far as Senate Republicans are concerned, Grassley was the lead negotiator on working towards some kind of consensus on the legislation.

Why is "bipartisan" health care reform impossible? Because leading GOP lawmakers like Chuck Grassley oppose the measures they support.

Written by LeisureGuy

7 October 2009 at 11:27 am

Straight-razor shaving guides

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The Art of Manliness has posted what looks to be a very good guide to straight-razor shaving. And also note that Dr. Chris Moss has a free PDF book on shaving with a straight razor that you can download.

Written by LeisureGuy

7 October 2009 at 11:21 am

Posted in Shaving

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