Later On

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

Archive for December 2009

Want a very yummy salt?

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Try this one. The Eldest put some on tomato slices, which she broiled and then chopped and tossed with penne pasta (and, I assume, a dab of olive oil).

Written by LeisureGuy

31 December 2009 at 3:27 pm

Posted in Daily life, Food

White Beans With Pig’s Feet

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From the earlier post on New Year’s recipes, I’m making this one:

White Beans With Pig’s Feet

  • 1 pound dried white beans
  • 2 pig’s feet, split down the middle
  • 1 10-ounce can plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped, with their juice [I used around a pound of fresh Roma tomatoes, chopped. – LG]
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • Coarse salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup dried bread crumbs

Rinse the beans with cold water and pick them over carefully. Put them in a heavy casserole with water to cover. Add the pig’s feet and the tomatoes. Season with pepper, cover, and simmer for about 1 1/2 hours or until cooked, adding more water if necessary. Set aside until 30 minutes before serving.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Stir the parsley, garlic, 1 1/2 tablespoons butter, and salt into the beans. Sprinkle with bread crumbs, dot with remaining butter and heat through uncovered until sizzling.

Note: The beans may also be heated on top of the stove. Omit the breadcrumbs. This dish goes well with roast

I’ll be interested to see how this turns out. The beans are not soaked prior to cooking, and I know that works, but generally you don’t cook fat or acid with the beans, since it tends to make them tough.

UPDATE: The beans cooked all right, but it’s a terribly bland dish. Should have sautéed some chopped onion and chopped green pepper and a jalapeño or two and some chopped parsley at the outset, and cooked the beans and pig’s feet with that included. Today I’ll add stuff to rescue the dish. The topping may have helped, but I skipped that.

UPDATE 2: Rescue successful! I added:

1/2 large Spanish onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 bunch parsley, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp Mexican oregano
1/4 c chipotle pepper sauce (a local brand)—Sriracha would work
dash liquid smoke
good dash soy sauce

I added a little more water, brought it to the simmer and simmered uncovered for quite a while.Then I scooped some into a bowl and noticed immediately that the additional cooking time had been a BIG help—they needed more cooking in the first place, probably 2.5 hours instead of 1.5. It’s done when the pig’s feet are simply falling apart.

I let it cool, squeezed half a Meyer lemon over the top, and ate the whole bowl. It was delicious! So add those things at the beginning—or perhaps 30 minutes before done.

UPDATE 3: Even better than a Meyer lemon is shredded Parmesan sprinkled over the bowlful. 🙂

Written by LeisureGuy

31 December 2009 at 3:24 pm

Posted in Daily life, Food, Recipes

Molly, posing in the chair

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Beautiful kitty, but a handful:

Written by LeisureGuy

31 December 2009 at 3:08 pm

Posted in Cats, Molly

The public option viewed as essential

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Jon Walker at Firedoglake:

There is a myth that the public option was only a tiny idea blown out of proportion for symbolic reasons. The public option was never going to be truly tiny, it was only going to be small at its inception. It is not because it was “weak,” it was just strongly caged in. But even the largest redwood tree starts out as a very small seed.

It is true that the CBO predicted that the negotiated rate public option in the House bill would only cover 6 million people, but that is because it was purposely restricted to a new exchange that would only be used by 30 million people at first. The CBO’s guess was that the public option would be selected by 20% of the people in this new marketplace. While I think their 20% estimate is low, it is important to put that in context–any company that can grab 20% of its market is a major player.

The public option was projected to be “small” because it would be forced to be a big fish in a very small pond. It would have major potential for growth. Progressives would have at their disposal multiple ways to increase the number of people who could have access to the public option. Dramatically expanding employer access to the exchange (something the Secretary of HHS could do without Congressional approval) is one idea. Expanding on Sen. Ron Wyden’s goal of giving people with employer-provided coverage the option of using vouchers to select their own plan on the new exchange is another route. The best solution might have been to attach a simple 12-word provision to the defense appropriations bill to allow the public option to sell outside the exchange. Any of these are very doable changes that could have completely changed the dynamics in only a few years.

If the public option was able to to sell to the entire private insurance market and just not the exchange gaining 20% of the market would have given it over 50 million customers. This would make the public option larger than Medicare, and one of the three largest insurance companies in America. Assuming the public option’s larger market share allowed it to negotiate much better rates (or even better, Congress decided to combine its operations with Medicare), it would probably be able to attract even more than 50 million customers.

The argument over the public option has never been symbolic or about what coverage a small group of Americans would or would not get. This health care fight is not about creating one new, static system that would remain in place forever. To argue otherwise is intellectual dishonesty put forward by many, including the Obama administration. The debate has been about the foundation on which we will build the future of our health care system, and whether the solution to our broken system is public or private insurance. Everyone from progressive activists to health insurance company CEO’s understood that this reform could grow, and only minor tweaks made later would make the public option a serious player. That is why the public option has been such a big fight on both sides. It was never about symbolism, but about laying down an infrastructure that could be quickly built upon.

The progressive demand that public health insurance programs must be part of the solution is based not on pure ideology, but overwhelming domestic and international evidence…

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

31 December 2009 at 3:01 pm

Excellent comparison, apples to apples

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Steven Benen at Political Animal:

Karl Rove pried himself away from his divorce attorney yesterday, just long enough to show up on Fox News to condemn President Obama for waiting three days before commenting publicly on the failed Abdulmutallab plot. Rove added that he was outraged that White House officials "couldn’t bother to interrupt [the president’s] vacation."

What a hack.

Eight years ago, a terrorist bomber’s attempt to blow up a transatlantic airliner was thwarted by a group of passengers, an incident that revealed some gaping holes in airline security just a few months after the attacks of September 11. But it was six days before President George W. Bush, then on vacation, made any public remarks about the so-called "shoe bomber," Richard Reid, and there were virtually no complaints from the press or any opposition Democrats that his response was sluggish or inadequate.

It’s rare to get such a perfect apples-to-apples comparison. Reid and Abdulmutallab used the same chemical, the same target, the same intended consequence, in same month of the year, with the same twisted ideology. Reid’s attempt happened when Bush was away from the White House; Abdulmutallab’s attempt happened when Obama was away from the White House.

Any fair evaluation makes clear that the Obama team’s response was faster, more thorough, and offered more depth.

While the Obama White House issued a background statement through a senior administration official calling the incident an "attempted terrorist attack" on the same day it took place, the early official statements from Bush aides did not make the same explicit statement.

Bush did not address reporters about the Reid episode until December 28, after he had traveled from Camp David to his ranch in Texas.

Democrats do not appear to have criticized Bush over the delay. Many were wary of publicly clashing with the commander-in-chief, who was getting lofty approval ratings after what appeared to be a successful military campaign in Afghanistan. The media also seemed to have little interest in pressing Bush about the bombing, or the fact that the incident had revealed a previously unknown vulnerability in airplane security — that shoes could be used to hide chemicals or explosive devices.

Here’s the kicker: while major news outlets have given Obama detractors all kinds of airtime since Friday, six days after Reid’s attempted terrorism, Bush fielded 15 questions from reporters. They asked about the then-president’s holidays plans, but asked literally zero questions about the terrorist attempt to blow up an airplane over American soil six days prior.

If Republicans and/or political reporters can explain this stunning double-standard, I’d love to hear it.

Written by LeisureGuy

31 December 2009 at 1:50 pm

Change blindness

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Bruce Schneier points out that change blindness has serious some security implications:

Written by LeisureGuy

31 December 2009 at 1:37 pm

Posted in Daily life, Science

Trusting business: Soymilk edition

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Mike Adams at

Until early 2009, Silk brand soy milk was made using organic soybeans. But earlier this year, Dean Foods (owner of the Silk brand) quietly switched to conventional soybeans, which are often grown with pesticides. But they kept the same UPC barcodes on their products, and they kept the product label virtually the same, only replacing the word "organic" with "natural" in a way that was barely noticeable. They also kept the price the same, charging consumers "organic" prices for a product that was now suddenly made with conventionally-grown soybeans.

Many retailers and consumers never noticed the bait-and-switch tactic, so they kept buying Silk, thinking it was still organic. The shift on the product label from "organic" to "natural" wasn’t well understood by consumers, either. Many consumers continue to think that the term "natural" is basically the same as "organic," when in fact they are almost opposites. The term "natural" is entirely unregulated, and almost anything can be claimed to be "natural" even when it’s sprayed with pesticides or treated with other chemicals.

This bait-and-switch ploy continued throughout 2009 until a few watchdog organizations started to catch on to the covert switch. In late October, the Cornucopia Institute ( accused Target stores of misleading consumers by advertising Silk products using the old "organic" labeling even though the product being sold in stores was not organic. Cornucopia’s Mark Kastel accused Target and Dean Foods for "blurring the line between organic and natural," thereby confusing consumers while boosting profits from the more lucrative sales of non-organic products sold at organic prices. (…) …

Continue reading.

Yes, you can trust businesses—trust them to go to any lengths to improve revenue and profit, regardless of ethics, morals, or laws.

Written by LeisureGuy

31 December 2009 at 1:31 pm

Posted in Business, Daily life, Food

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