Later On

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

Archive for February 6th, 2010

Mastering Method Shaving: Dry Weather Technique – Part 1

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Thanks to a comment for a link to this informative video:

Written by LeisureGuy

6 February 2010 at 7:12 pm

Posted in Shaving

Useful kitchen item

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One of the things I use almost daily—certainly every 2-3 days—is my set of odd-size measuring spoons. They’re really not so odd: 2 Tbsp (same as 1 standard coffee measure, so quite useful if you’re a coffee drinker), 1 1/2 Tbsp (most regular sets of spoons—the ones I buy, anyway—already include a 1/2 Tbsp ( = 1 1/2 tsp, so you can use one spoon instead of two)), and 2 tsp, which turns out to be quite handy.

I use all of them a lot, especially the 2 tsp and the 2 Tbsp. They are, of course, a supplement to (and complement of) a standard set of measuring spoons.

Written by LeisureGuy

6 February 2010 at 4:44 pm

Posted in Daily life

25 tax cuts passed, without GOP help

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Of course: Regardless of the merits of legislation, if it is proposed by a Democrat, the GOP will vote “No.” It saves having to think, which the GOP is not very good at in any case. Take a look:

“We passed without, frankly, the help of the Republican caucus, we passed 25 tax cuts last year, mostly aimed at the middle class and small businesses.”  — David Axelrod on Sunday, January 31st, 2010 in NBC’s “Meet the Press”

With the recent Massachusetts Senate election redefining the political landscape in Washington, NBC’s Meet the Press host David Gregory asked David Axelrod, a senior adviser to President Barack Obama, whether the president now needs to start moving more toward the middle.

Axelrod responded that Republicans and Democrats ought to be working together on ways to stimulate job growth, but he said Republicans have not gotten on board even when it comes to tax cuts that Republicans have traditionally supported.

“We passed without, frankly, the help of the Republican caucus, we passed 25 tax cuts last year, mostly aimed at the middle class and small businesses,” Axelrod said.

We were intrigued by the claim that Democrats passed 25 tax cuts last year, so we contacted the White House press office and asked for a list. And they gave us one, all from the economic stimulus package championed by Obama and signed on Feb. 17, 2009.

We checked them out, provided sections and page numbers in the stimulus for reference, and added a brief explainer for some. If your eyes glaze over midway through, feel free to skip ahead to the bottom of the list where we’ll pick up our analysis.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by LeisureGuy

6 February 2010 at 3:09 pm

A few basic findings re: global warming

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From a ThinkProgress post by Brad Johnson, regarding the massive snowstorm hitting the East (especially, it seems, Maryland-Virginia-DC):

… Catastrophic “snowpocalypse” and “snowmageddon” events are exactly what scientists have been warning would hit Virginians because of global warming, in part because warmer air can hold more water. As National Wildlife Federation climate scientist Amanda Staudt notes, winter storms are getting fiercer even as the season gets warmer:

Wintertime temperatures have been increasing across the northern United States. Since the 1970s, December-February temperature increases have ranged from 1 to 2 degrees in the Pacific Northwest to about 4 degrees in the Northeast to more than 6 degrees in Alaska.

Winters are getting shorter, too. Spring arrives 10-14 days earlier than it did just 20 years ago.

Global warming is bringing a clear trend toward heavier precipitation events. Many areas are seeing bigger and more intense snowstorms, especially in the upper Midwest and Northeast.

Global warming is shifting storm tracks northward. Areas from the Dakotas eastward to northern Michigan have seen a trend toward more heavy snowfall season.

In other news, this past month of January was the warmest on record for the planet.

Written by LeisureGuy

6 February 2010 at 1:14 pm

How can America maintain its standing?

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Steve Benen has a very interesting post, examining and building upon a column by E.J. Dionne, Jr. From the post, quoting Dionne:

Beneath the predictable back-and-forth between Obama and his Republican adversaries over government spending lies a substantively important difference over how the United States can maintain its global leadership.

For Republicans, American power is rooted largely in military might and showing a tough and resolute face to the world. They would rely on tax cuts as the one and only spur to economic growth.

Obama, Biden and the Democrats, on the other hand, believe that American power depends ultimately on the American economy, and that government has an essential role to play in fostering the next generation of growth.

Notice that when Obama spoke about keeping America in first place, he said not a word about the military. He referred instead to the efforts of our competitors in the public sphere of the economy, and of our past complacency.

Read the whole thing.

Written by LeisureGuy

6 February 2010 at 1:00 pm

Basic civic knowledge

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I don’t think many Americans are getting a good education in civics—the high-school class that used to be called something like "Problems of Democracy" or some such. Glenn Greenwald works hard to fill these educational gaps. For example:

If I had the power to have one statement of fact be universally recognized in our political discussions, it would be this one:

The fact that the Government labels Person X a "Terrorist" is not proof that Person X is, in fact, a Terrorist.

That proposition should be intrinsically understood by any American who completed sixth grade civics and was thus taught that a central prong of our political system is that government officials often abuse their power and/or err and therefore must prove accusations to be true (with tested evidence) before they’re assumed to be true and the person punished accordingly.  In particular, the fact that the U.S. Government, over and over, has falsely accused numerous people of being Terrorists — only for it to turn out that they did nothing wrong — by itself should compel a recognition of this truth.  But it doesn’t. 

All throughout the Bush years, no matter what one objected to — illegal eavesdropping, torture, rendition, indefinite detention, denial of civilian trials — the response from Bush followers was the same:  "But these are Terrorists, and Terrorists have no rights, so who cares what is done to them?"  What they actually meant was:  "the Government has claimed they are Terrorists," but in their minds, that was the same thing as:  "they are Terrorists."  They recognized no distinction between "a government accusation" and "unchallengeable truth"; in the authoritarian’s mind, by definition, those are synonymous.  The whole point of the Bush-era controversies was that — away from an actual battlefield and where the Constitution applies (on U.S. soil and/or towards American citizens wherever they are) — the Government should have to demonstrate someone’s guilt before it’s assumed (e.g., they should have to show probable cause to a court and obtain warrants before eavesdropping; they should have to offer evidence that a person engaged in Terrorism before locking them in a cage, etc.).  But to someone who equates unproven government accusations with proof, those processes are entirely unnecessary.  Even in the absence of those processes, they already know that these persons are Terrorists.  How do they know that?  Because the Government said so.  Even when it comes to their fellow citizens, that’s all the "proof" that is needed.

That authoritarian mentality is stronger than ever now.  Why?  Because unlike during the Bush years, when it was primarily Republicans willing to blindly trust Government accusations, many Democrats are now willing to do so as well.  Just look at the reaction to the Government’s recent attempts to assassinate the U.S.-born American citizen and Islamic cleric Anwar al-Awlaki.  Up until last November, virtually no Americans had ever even heard of al-Awlaki.  But in the past few months, beginning with the Fort Hood shootings, government officials have repeatedly claimed that he’s a Terrorist:  usually anonymously, with virtually no evidence, and in the face of al-Awlaki’s vehement denials but without any opportunity for him to defend himself (because he’s in hiding out of fear of being killed by his own Government).  The Government can literally just flash someone’s face on the TV screen with the word Terrorist over it (as was done with al-Awlaki), and provided the face is nefarious and Muslim-looking enough (basically the same thing), nothing else need be offered.

That’s enough for many people — including many Democrats — to march forward overnight and mindlessly proclaim that al-Awlaki is "a declared enemy of the United States working to kill Americans" (if you can stomach it, read some of these comments — from Obama defenders at a liberal blog— with several sounding exactly like Dick Cheney, screeching:  "Of course al-Awlaki should be killed without charges; he’s a Terrorist who is trying to kill Americans!!!").  Even now, beyond government assertions about his associations, the public knows virtually nothing about al-Awlaki other than the fact that he’s a Muslim cleric with a Muslim name dressed in Muslim garb, sitting in a Bad Arab Country expressing anger towards the actions of the U.S. and Israel.  But no matter.  That’s more than enough.  They’re willing not only to mindlessly embrace the Government’s unproven accusation that their fellow citizen is a TERRORIST ("a declared enemy of the United States working to kill Americans"), but even beyond that, to cheer for his due-process-free execution like drunken fans at a football game.  And the same people declare:  no civilian trials are necessary for Terrorists (meaning:  people accused by the Government of being Terrorists).  Even more amazingly, the identities of the other Americans on the hit list aren’t even known, but that’s OK:  they’re Terrorists, because the Government said so.

A very long time ago, I would be baffled when …

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

6 February 2010 at 12:56 pm

Best oven-fried Buffalo wings

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If you’re snowed in with a bunch of chicken wings, this recipe sounds delicious.

Written by LeisureGuy

6 February 2010 at 12:52 pm

Posted in Daily life, Food, Recipes

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