Later On

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

Archive for March 2nd, 2010

Smoothies

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John Cole sort of asked for smoothie recipes, and he’s gotten some interesting ones. I want to try this:

If you really want to feel great, try green smoothies. Easy way to get your veggies, and actually great tasting.

Pretty simple: 1/2 green leafy veggie, 1/2 fruit. Maybe a little water or coconut juice to thin it. The fruit makes it sweet and not too chloroform-y.

My sister swears by her kale and pineapple combo.
Other recipes here.

The thread is here.

Written by Leisureguy

2 March 2010 at 6:56 pm

Protecting children

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Radley Balko at Reason:

SWAT team breaks into home, fires seven rounds at family’s pit bull and corgi (?!) as a seven-year-old looks on.

They found a "small amount" of marijuana, enough for a misdemeanor charge. The parents were then charged with child endangerment.

So smoking pot = "child endangerment." Storming a home with guns, then firing bullets into the family pets as a child looks on = necessary police procedures to ensure everyone’s safety.

Just so we’re clear.

Written by Leisureguy

2 March 2010 at 5:09 pm

OMG: And in Iowa, too

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Dan Savage:

Utah is on the verge of criminalizing miscarriages while it looks like Iowa has already criminalized accidents and doubts:

Life can’t get much worse for Christine Taylor. Last month, after an upsetting phone conversation with her estranged husband, Ms. Taylor became light-headed and fell down a flight of stairs in her home. Paramedics rushed to the scene and ultimately declared her healthy. However, since she was pregnant with her third child at the time, Taylor thought it would be best to be seen at the local ER to make sure her fetus was unharmed.

That’s when things got really bad and really crazy. Alone, distraught, and frightened, Taylor confided in the nurse treating her that she hadn’t always been sure she’d wanted this baby, now that she was single and unemployed. She’d considered both adoption and abortion before ultimately deciding to keep the child. The nurse then summoned a doctor, who questioned her further about her thoughts on ending the pregnancy. Next thing Taylor knew, she was being arrested for attempted feticide. Apparently the nurse and doctor thought that Taylor threw herself down the stairs on purpose.

According to Iowa state law, attempted feticide is an trying "to intentionally terminate a human pregnancy, with the knowledge and voluntary consent of the pregnant person, after the end of the second trimester of the pregnancy." At least 37 states have similar laws. Taylor spent two days in jail before being released. That’s right, a pregnant woman was jailed for admitting to thinking about an abortion at some point early in her pregnancy and then having the audacity to fall down some stairs a couple of months later. Please tell me you find this as horrifying as I do.

Apparently pregnant women in Iowa don’t have a right to doctor/patient confidentiality either.

Written by Leisureguy

2 March 2010 at 5:05 pm

Posted in Daily life, Law, Medical

I don’t shop at Wal-Mart

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Take a look:

o you remember last October when I wrote about how Walmart sells sneakily smaller packages for their “lower prices,” so that they often actually cost MORE while bragging that they cost less? I used the example of Luvs diapers, which Walmart packages 70 to a box while Target puts 80 in a box: it SEEMS like the Walmart box costs less—if you don’t happen to notice there are fewer diapers.
WELL. Reader Christine sent me another example:

I thought you would get a kick out of this one, please see the attached picture. I bought packs of Quilted Northern, 12 rolls each with identical packaging, one from each store. The roll on the left is Target, the one on the right is Wal Mart.
Pretty funny huh?

(photo by Christine)

Written by Leisureguy

2 March 2010 at 4:56 pm

Posted in Business, Daily life

Tree branch falls on power line

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Written by Leisureguy

2 March 2010 at 4:50 pm

Posted in Daily life, Video

Cable TV News: Be suspicious

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Interesting:

Source: The Nation, March 1, 2010

Cable news networks like MSNBC, CNN, CNBC and Fox News routinely use commentators who have financial conflicts of interest that are undisclosed to viewers. Former Pennsylvania governor Tom Ridge, for example, appeared on MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews, to discuss the economic crisis. There he said the real answer would be for the president to "take his green agenda and blow it out of a box," and that the U.S. needed to "create nuclear power plants." Ridge seemed like an objective commentator, but what viewers weren’t told was that he had pocketed $530,659 for serving on the board of Exelon, the country’s largest nuclear power company. He also held an estimated $248,299 in Exelon stock. Another frequent commentator, "NBC Military Analyst" Barry McCaffrey, told viewers that the war in Afghanistan would require a "three to ten year effort" and "a lot of money." The network failed to reveal that the military contractor DynCorp had paid McCaffrey $182,309 that year alone, and that DynCorp had just won a $5.9 billion contract to aid American forces in Afghanistan. Dick Gephardt, who viewers were only told was a congressman during the Clinton-era health care reform effort in 1993, appeared on MSNBC’s "Morning Meeting" to discuss health care reform, where he labeled the public option "not essential." Unmentioned was his work advising pharmaceutical interests through his lobbying firm, Gephardt Government Affairs. These types of blatant, undisclosed conflicts are rife on cable news and information shows. Lobbyists, PR flacks and corporate officials regularly appear promoting their clients’ interests, introduced only with titles like "Former governor," "Republican strategist" and "Retired U.S. Military," without disclosing their true lobbying connections.

Written by Leisureguy

2 March 2010 at 4:31 pm

Posted in Business, Daily life, Media

Craziness is spreading

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Brad Johnson at ThinkProgress:

Yesterday, the South Dakota legislature passed a resolution telling public schools to teach “balance” about the “prejudiced” science of climate change by a vote of 37-33. Earlier language that ascribed “astrological” influences to global warming was stripped from the final version.

This act of conspiracy-driven ideology is hardly alone — a Wonk Room investigation has found at least fifteen state legislatures attempting to prevent limits on greenhouse gas pollution. The states of Alabama and Utah have already adopted resolutions calling for the overturn of the Environmental Protection Agency’s global warming endangerment finding, with legislators in thirteen more states in tow. Several resolutions argue that the overwhelming scientific consensus on the threat of manmade global warming is actually a conspiracy:

KENTUCKY: “WHEREAS, a recent disclosure of communications among scientists associated with the Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia has cast serious doubt upon the scientific data that have purportedly supported the finding that manmade carbon dioxide has been a material cause of global warming or global climate change . . . ”

MARYLAND: “WHEREAS, E–mail and other communications between climate researchers around the globe discovered as part of the recent “climate–gate” controversy indicate that there is a well–organized and ongoing effort to manipulate global temperature data and incorporate tricks to substantiate the theory of climate change . . . ”

OKLAHOMA: “WHEREAS, intense public scrutiny has revealed how unsettled the science is on climate change and the unwillingness of many of the world’s climatologists to share data or even entertain opposing viewpoints on the subject . . .”

UTAH: “WHEREAS, emails and other communications between climate researchers around the globe, referred to as ‘Climategate,’ indicate a well organized and ongoing effort to manipulate global temperature data in order to produce a global warming outcome . . . “

Every resolution makes the false claim that protecting citizens from hazardous climate pollution would hurt the economy, instead of recognizing the potential of a green recovery. Missouri, Illinois, Oklahoma, and Alaska lawmakers talk about being “dependent” on the coal and oil industries whose lobbyists are fighting climate action. Several of the resolutions, drafted early last year, call on Congress to reject the Waxman-Markey American Clean Energy and Security Act, which passed the House of Representatives in June but has languished in the Senate. The Alaska and West Virginia resolutions support Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s (R-AK) effort to rewrite the Clean Air Act (S.J.Res. 26), and Alabama’s resolution calls for the passage of Rep. Earl Pomeroy’s (D-ND) similar effort (H.R. 4396).

The most legally bizarre resolution is Arizona state senator Sylvia Allen’s (R-AZ) “tenther” argument that the U.S. Congress does not have the Constitutional authority to regulate greenhouse gas pollution. Allen also believes the Earth is 6000 years old. The other Arizona resolution, along with the Kentucky, Virginia, and Washington resolutions, would attempt to block state enforcement of global warming rules.

These efforts to overturn the Clean Air Act and replace science with conspiracy theories are being supported by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a national organization that brings conservative state lawmakers together with industry lobbyists. ALEC promotes a resolution opposing the endangerment finding drafted by its Natural Resources Task Force, which includes over 120 lawmakers from around the nation and a similarly sized group of corporate representatives. Although ALEC does not have an official position on the validity of climate science, the organization is “actively involved in helping people get together and share ideas,” a representative told ThinkProgress. For example, the spring ALEC task force meeting will feature Exxon Mobil-backed global warming denier Paul Driessen, the author of Eco-Imperialism: Green Power, Black Death.

STATES WITH RESOLUTIONS OPPOSING GREENHOUSE ENDANGERMENT FINDING: &

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

2 March 2010 at 4:29 pm

Ezra Klein rebuts Rep. Paul Ryan

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Worth reading—and there’s a video at the link:

After the Blair House Summit, a bunch of you e-mailed to ask what I thought of Rep. Paul Ryan’s argument that the bill "does not control costs" and it "does not reduce deficits." There’s a lot going on in Ryan’s remarks (which you can read here), so this might take awhile. But before we dive so deep into the weeds that we’re seeing earthworms, here’s the basic conclusion: Ryan’s critique scores some clean points and also deploys a couple of dirty tricks, but it doesn’t damage the bill’s claim to reduce deficits and doesn’t even engage whether the bill controls costs.

But let’s begin at the beginning. Ryan says that "the true 10-year cost of this bill in 10 years" is $2.3 trillion. On this, Ryan is right, but misleading. In Ryan’s favor, Democrats have artificially lowered the cost of the bill by pushing its start date back to 2014, even as its 10-year budget window begins in 2010. The 10-year cost of the bill is really only counting six years of operation. This was a deceptive effort to keep the bill’s price tag under $1 trillion, even as the bill’s price tag was really quite a bit more. Point for Ryan.

Ryan gets the $2.3 trillion by looking at what health-care reform will spend in 2019 and extrapolating that number out across the next 10 years. I’ll trust that he did the calculation correctly. The problem is that Ryan uses the classic “This Is A Big Number" technique to imply that the bill is financially irresponsible, when putting the number in context would show just the opposite.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, the bill cuts the deficit far faster in the second decade than in the first. That’s because the revenues and savings grow much faster than the spending. The bill might cost $2.3 trillion, but it either raises or saves $2.95 trillion, for a net deficit impact of negative $650 billion. So although Ryan uses the price tag to imply that the bill’s spending is somehow worse in the second decade than in the first decade, he omits the information that’s actually relevant for his presentation on cost control and deficit reduction…

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

2 March 2010 at 4:22 pm

GOP = Party of Obstruction

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I think people are getting fed up with the GOP "strategy" of simply blocking everything. Steve Benen:

Nearly seven months ago, President Obama nominated Judge Barbara Milano Keenan to serve on the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. Her record and qualifications were beyond reproach, and she enjoyed the enthusiastic support of her home-state’s senators, Virginia’s Jim Webb (D) and Mark Warner (D).

Her nomination was considered nearly six months ago by the Senate Judiciary Committee, which approved Keenan unanimously — not single Republican raised an objection. If ever there was going to be an Obama judicial nominee who deserved to be quickly and easily confirmed, Keenan fit the bill.

And yet, the Senate Republican caucus is the Senate Republican caucus. Keenan’s nomination was delayed, then, because of a GOP filibuster. Why? No one has the foggiest idea. It’s apparently just habitual — Republicans try to block judicial nominees just for the same of trying to block judicial nominees.

This morning, the Senate held a cloture vote to end the Republican filibuster on Keenan. The vote was 99 to 0. This afternoon, the Senate held a final confirmation vote, and produced the same margin. (thanks to reader G.S.)

The Senate has unanimously confirmed Virginia Supreme Court Justice Barbara Milano Keenan to a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

The vote Tuesday was 99-0 for Keenan, the first female judge elected in Virginia and the only woman appointed to the Virginia Court of Appeals when it was created in 1985. The Richmond-based Fourth Circuit covers Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina. […]

Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., lamented that there are now some 100 vacancies among 876 federal judgeships, that the Fourth Circuit currently has four vacancies and that the seat Keenan will fill has been empty for two years.

Keenan’s nomination was delayed for months by a filibuster, only to see her win unanimous confirmation. In other words, those who sought to block her nomination ultimately voted against their own obstructionism, and for the judge they tried to stop.

It’s one thing to block an up-or-down vote on a judge some senators find problematic. But we have a Senate where Republicans filibuster nominees who enjoy unanimous support. We’re left with a confirmation process in which it takes seven months to approve arguably the least controversial judicial nominee this administration will ever send to the Senate.

Also note, it’s not just Keenan — there are several pending judicial nominees, all of whom have been approved by the Judiciary Committee, some with unanimous support, who continue to wait for no good reason.

This is an untenable process.

Written by Leisureguy

2 March 2010 at 4:17 pm

Marijuana fight in LA heats up

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Tony Barboza in the LA Times:

Medical marijuana advocates upped the ante Tuesday in the legal battle over Los Angeles’ pot dispensaries by suing the city, claiming the ordinance that takes effect later this month is so restrictive it will cause even law-abiding businesses to shut down.

Americans for Safe Access, the nation’s main medical marijuana advocacy nonprofit, filed the lawsuit with the Venice Beach Care Center and the PureLife Alternative Wellness Center, two dispensaries that have operated in Los Angeles since 2006 — before the city’s moratorium on the centers took effect.

The 11-page suit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court says the sweeping marijuana ordinance passed by the City Council in January and signed into law by the mayor Feb. 3 “severely restricts access to medical marijuana by effectively forcing plaintiffs, as well as the vast majority of collectives in the City, to close their doors.”

The suit alleges the city ordinance violates state law, and it seeks a court injunction and restraining order to stop the measure from being enforced. In the suit, dispensary operators object to the “onerous restrictions” of the law that is scheduled to take effect March 14, such as a rule that gives them only seven days to relocate to 1,000 feet away from schools, parks and places of worship but does not provide maps to show where they are allowed under the law…

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

2 March 2010 at 1:15 pm

It’s difficult to respect the government of Texas

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Read this story. Note how the confession from the actual perpetrator was ignored. Note also that those who ignored the true confession will suffer no penalties at all.

Written by Leisureguy

2 March 2010 at 1:13 pm

Posted in Daily life, Government, Law

More on crazy old Jim Bunning

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Kevin Drum:

What is there to say about the Jim Bunning situation? It just leaves me speechless. We have here a situation in which the Senate is being hijacked, literally, by the ravings of a single cranky old man against a bill that the entire Republican leadership had already agreed to. It’s pure pique, and the Republican Party is unwilling to do anything about it.

A lot of liberals have taken lately to calling the GOP nihilistic, and I’ve never bought it. Opportunistic? Sure. Brutally partisan? Sure. Vacuously unwilling to address the country’s most serious problems? Sure. Ideologically frozen in the past? Sure. But nihilistic? On the contrary, they seemed driven by a brute cunning that I might even approve of if it were my own side doing it.

But then along comes Bunning, ranting against a temporary extension to unemployment benefits just for the sake of…..well, no one quite knows. For the sake of whatever demons are running around in his head, I guess. It’s the kind of situation where a non-nihilistic party would finally step up and agree to rein the guy in. But that hasn’t happened. The Republican leadership has, by all accounts, done nothing, and the rest of the caucus — or enough of it, anyway — has actually rallied around Bunning. Rallied around him! They know perfectly well he’s a crackpot; they know perfectly well this is a bipartisan bill designed to provide working-class relief in the middle of a massive recession. But for guys like Bob Corker and Jeff Sessions and John Kyl it’s more important to demonstrate solidarity with a crackpot than it is to help a few people out. "I admire the courage of the junior senator from Kentucky," said John Cornyn, apparently speaking for many.

Nihilism is probably still the wrong word for this. But I guess it’s close enough for government work. Whatever it is, it’s a very deep rot in the soul of the Republican Party.

And why won’t they pay a price for this? Well, partly because Democrats aren’t willing to force them to. But it’s also partly because of how this gets played to most of the public. One of the consequences of Bunning’s objections is that Medicare payments for doctors went down 21% effective yesterday. And whose fault is this? According to the AMA, it’s the fault of the "U.S. Senate." Here’s their press release:

“The Senate had over a year to repeal the flawed formula that causes the annual payment cut and instead they abandoned America’s seniors, making them collateral damage to their procedural games,” said AMA President J. James Rohack, M.D.  “Physicians are outraged because the cut, combined with the continued instability in the system, will force them to make difficult practice changes including limiting the number of Medicare patients they can treat.”

Not "Jim Bunning." Not "the Republican Party." It’s the fault of "the Senate." This sort of thing gets played out in headlines around the country, and the result is disgust with government and disgust with Congress. But it doesn’t affect Republicans any more than Democrats until the headlines change.

Written by Leisureguy

2 March 2010 at 12:38 pm

Posted in Congress, Daily life, GOP

Interesting contrast: Pakistan v. US

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With respect to the rule of law. Greenwald:

The Obama administration has made explicitly clear its intention to deny civilian trials to scores of detainees, by sending some to military commissions and imprisoning others indefinitely without any charges.  And for those cases where it has deigned to provide real due process — such as its decision to try the 9/11 defendants in a criminal court — it is moving in the wrong direction.  Obama officials are clearly signaling their intention to reverse that decision and instead place those defendants before military commissions, and yesterday, yet another piece appeared — this time in Politico — describing the beautiful, loving, cooperative relationship between Rahm Emanuel and Lindsey Graham, which is now "embracing a wide-ranging deal pitched by Graham that would shut down the prison [at Guantanamo]; provide funding to move detainees to Thomson, Ill.; keep the Sept. 11 trials out of civilian courts; and create broad new powers to hold terror suspects indefinitely."  And the endless cavalcade of Rahm-planted, Rahm-Was-Right articles (see the latest from the Post today) invariably features his opposition to civilian trials for accused Terrorists as proof of his Centrist though mistakenly rejected wisdom.

In contrast to America’s still-growing refusal to accord basic due process to accused Terrorists, consider how Pakistan treats foreigners whom it apprehends within its borders on serious charges of Terrorism:

SARGODHA, Pakistan — Prosecutors seeking to indict five Americans on terror-related offenses presented their case to a Pakistani judge Tuesday, laying out charges including waging war against Pakistan and plotting to attack the country, a defense attorney said.

The men, all young Muslims from the Washington, D.C., area, were arrested in December in Punjab province not long after reaching Pakistan. . . . The men could be indicted on as many as seven charges during their next hearing on March 10, lawyer Hamid Malik told The Associated Press. The judge ordered the defense to review the prosecution report presented in the Sargodha town court and to prepare a rebuttal.

If there’s any country which can legitimately claim that Islamic radicalism poses an existential threat to its system of government, it’s Pakistan.  Yet what happens when they want to imprison foreign Terrorism suspects?  They indict them and charge them with crimes, put them in their real court system, guarantee them access to lawyers, and can punish them only upon a finding of guilt.  Pakistan is hardly the Beacon of Western Justice — its intelligence service has a long, clear and brutal record of torturing detainees (and these particular suspects claim they were jointly tortured by Pakistani agents and American FBI agents, which both governments deny).  But just as is true for virtually every Western nation other than the U.S., Pakistan charges and tries Terrorism suspects in its real court system.

The U.S. — first under the Bush administration and now, increasingly, under Obama — is more and more alone in its cowardly insistence that special, new tribunals must be invented, or denied entirely, for those whom it wishes to imprison as Terrorists (along those same lines, my favorite story of the last year continues to be that the U.S. compiled a "hit list" of Afghan citizens it suspected of drug smuggling and thus wanted to assassinate [just as we do for our own citizens suspected of Terrorism], only for Afghan officials — whom we’re there to generously teach about Democracy — to object on the grounds that the policy would violate their conceptions of due process and the rule of law).  Most remarkably, none of this will even slightly deter our self-loving political and media elites from continuing to demand that the Obama administration act as self-anointed International Arbiter of Justice and lecture the rest of the world about their violations of human rights.

Written by Leisureguy

2 March 2010 at 12:20 pm

The future of energy?

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MG Siegler at TechCrunch:

Over the past several years, there’s been no shortage of talk about alternative energy, and its potential to change the world. The problem is that most of it is just that — talk. But tonight, a report that aired on 60 Minutes showed one alternative that is not only real, it’s already being tested by companies such as Google and eBay. You simply have to watch this.

Bloom Energy are producing tiny fuel cell boxes they call “Bloom Boxes.” Two of these can apparently power a U.S. home (and only one for homes in countries that use less power). So how small are they? Look at the picture above, each device isn’t much bigger than a standard brick. Of course, they need to be surrounded by a larger unit that takes in an energy source (such as natural gas). But still, these units look to be about the size of a refrigerator and can easily fit outside of a home, providing it with clean, cheap energy.

Currently, these boxes cost some $700,000-$800,000, but eventually, founder K.R. Sridhar envisions one in every home — and he thinks he can get the cost below $3,000 for a unit to make that happen. And he’s talking a 5 to 10 year timeframe for this.

Naturally, there are plenty who are skeptical of something like this ever working. There have been no shortage of fuel cell ideas over the years, but none get their own segment on 60 Minutes showing working units. And none get to highlight the fact that they’re already installed at companies like Google, eBay, FedEx and others. In fact, four of these Bloom Boxes have apparently been powering a Google datacenter for the past 18 months. eBay says their five boxes have saved them over $100,000 in electricity costs over the past nine months.

Bloom Energy also has former Secretary of State Colin Powell on its board of directors, and he talked up the Bloom Boxes on 60 minutes tonight also. And the company has something in the neighborhood of $400 million in funding from the likes of Kleiner Perkins and others. Kleiner’s John Doerr is also featured heavily in the 60 Minutes segment, talking about why he thinks this company can change the world perhaps even in a more profound way that another company he backed, Google, has. Bloom Energy was Kleiner’s first green tech investment.

Again, just watch the video and decide for yourself whether to be skeptical or amazed at this point. Right now, I’m definitely in the latter camp considering this thing is already being tested out. Apparently, Bloom Energy is due for a big formal public unveiling on Wednesday in San Jose (they have a countdown up on their site) —expect to hear a lot more then.

Written by Leisureguy

2 March 2010 at 12:14 pm

Even more reasons to get a move on

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From TYD, an article in the NY Times by Jane Brody:

“I’m 86 and have walked every day of my life. The public needs to wake up and move.”

“I’m 83 going on 84 years! I find that daily aerobics and walking are fine. But these regimens neglect the rest of the body, and I find the older you get the more attention they need.”

These are two of many comments from readers of my Jan. 12 column on the secrets of successful aging. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, a new series of studies prompts me to again review the myriad benefits to body, mind and longevity of regular physical activity for people of all ages.

Regular exercise is the only well-established fountain of youth, and it’s free. What, I’d like to know, will persuade the majority of Americans who remain sedentary to get off their duffs and give their bodies the workout they deserve? My hope is that every new testimonial to the value of exercise will win a few more converts until everyone is doing it.

In a commentary on the new studies, published Jan. 25 in The Archives of Internal Medicine, two geriatricians, Dr. Marco Pahor of the University of Florida and Dr. Jeff Williamson of Winston-Salem, N.C., pointed to “the power of higher levels of physical activity to aid in the prevention of late-life disability owing to either cognitive impairment or physical impairment, separately or together.”

“Physical inactivity,” they wrote, “is one of the strongest predictors of unsuccessful aging for older adults and is perhaps the root cause of many unnecessary and premature admissions to long-term care.”

They noted that it had long been “well established that higher quantities of physical activity have beneficial effects on numerous age-related conditions such as osteoarthritis, falls and hip fracture, cardiovascular disease, respiratory diseases, cancer, diabetes mellitus, osteoporosis, low fitness and obesity, and decreased functional capacity.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Leisureguy

2 March 2010 at 12:10 pm

Posted in Daily life, Health, Science

John Battelle doesn’t like the iPad

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Interesting post by Battelle:

I don’t like the iPad because it’s driven by the same old media love affair with distribution lock in. I’ve been on about this ever since I studied Google in 2001: Media traditionally has gained its profits by owning distribution. Cable carriage, network airwaves, newsstand distribution and printing presses: all very expensive, so once you employ enough capital to gain them, it’s damn hard to get knocked out. 

The web changed all that and promised that economics in the media business would be driven by content and intent: the best content will win, driven by the declared intent of consumers who find it and share it. Search+Social was the biggest wave to hit media since the printing press. And the open technology to make better and better experiences has been on a ten year tear: blogging software, Flash, Ajax, HTML 5, Android, and more and more coming.

But the iPad, just like the iPhone, is designed for vertical integration and distribution lock in. Apple is building its own distribution channel, just as it did with iTunes, and media companies are falling over themselves to make an app for that. Why? Well sure, for once, it’s sexy and cool and hip. That’s why everyone loved the Wired demo.

But the real reason media companies love the iPad is the same reason I don’t: …

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

2 March 2010 at 12:08 pm

1 Chicken, 17 Healthy Meals, $26 Bucks, No Mayo

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Very interesting post, with recipes and a shopping list. It begins:

The stretchability of a whole chicken is a frequently discussed topic among food and frugality bloggers. It’s commonly accepted that a single fowl will feed a family of 11 for weeks, years – even millennia. Even after 20 months of keeping CHG, I’m constantly gobsmacked by how moms and dads can create dinner after dinner from the same bird.

Here’s the thing: sometimes, those dinners aren’t the healthiest meals in the world. There tend to be a lot of quesadillas and casseroles whenever these type of posts pop up, not to mention chicken salads drenched with full-fat mayo. Now, there’s nothing wrong with this whatsoever (except the mayo – blech), but I wanted to see if I could put a healthier spin on it.

In a sentence: I wanted to find out if it was possible to create a gaggle of inexpensive, lower-fat meals with the leftovers from one big ol’ chicken.

Here were my rules:

  • The budget – for EVERYTHING – was $25.
  • I had to use as much food already in my pantry as possible. (Which accounted for a lot, and saved me mad dough in the long run.)
  • Each meal had to feed at least two people (The Boyfriend and me).
  • Bonus points for leftovers.
  • The chicken had to be used up within a few days, so it wouldn’t go bad.
  • The meals had to have reasonable variety, preferably from a range of cuisines. It couldn’t be Chicken with Spaghetti on Day 1, then Chicken with Penne on Day 2.
  • The meals had to have very little added fat, since the leftover chicken would provide most of it.

And? Victory, for the most part. I ended up cooking five distinct, delicious, largely healthy dinners with PLENTY of leftovers. And miracle of miracles, there were no duds in the group. (Thanks, online reviewers!)

However, I did go $0.86 over budget. I’m okay with that, though. Between what we consumed each night and ate for lunch the next day, that $25.86 made 17 full meals, which works out to $1.52 each. That’s less than a cup of Starbucks coffee, so … aces.

What follows is the menu breakdown, complete with pictures and links to four of the five recipes. The last, a Cook’s Illustrated curry dish, isn’t online, so I transcribed it at the very bottom of this post. There’s also a master grocery list, so y’all can see the price breakdown of everything.

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

2 March 2010 at 12:04 pm

Next up: In Utah the common cold is a misdemeanor, pneumonia a felony

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Utah, the state to avoid:

The Utah legislature passed a bill last week that defines illegal abortions and miscarriage as "criminal homicide," carrying penalties of "up to life in prison." The measure, not yet signed by Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (R), "goes further than any other state" in holding a woman "criminally liable" for trying to end a pregnancy through illegal means. Not only does the measure impose severe penalties for illegal abortion, but it also narrows the definition of legal abortion in an attempt "to further restrict abortion," according to the bill’s sponsor, state Rep. Carl Wimmer (R). Moreover, it "holds women legally responsible for miscarriages caused by ‘reckless‘ behavior," allowing a district attorney to allege homicide merely by showing that "a woman behaved in a manner that is thought to cause miscarriage, even if she didn’t intend to lose the pregnancy." Critics say that the standard is so subjective that a pregnant woman who "returns to a physically abusive partner," or drives "without wearing her seatbelt" could legitimately be convicted under the statute. Missy Bird, executive director of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund of Utah, sums up the problems with the legislation: "This creates a law that makes any pregnant woman who has a miscarriage potentially criminally liable for murder."

Report above is from the Center for American Progress in an email.

Written by Leisureguy

2 March 2010 at 12:00 pm

Facing reality

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From the Center for American Progress in an email:

As global temperatures reach record highs, freak weather continues to leave destruction in its wake. Heat waves bake Australia and Singapore. After the billion-dollar losses from the series of "Snowmageddon" storms depressed the U.S. economy, a new " meteorological bomb exploded" over New York and New England last week. Fueled by "very warm sea surface temperatures," the extreme storm Xynthia pushed record heat and killer winds through western Europe. Every ice front in southern Antarctica is retreating. Meanwhile, politicians in Washington attempting to craft climate and clean energy legislation are weathering a political storm. Industrial polluters fuel a relentless assault on the legitimacy of climate science and lobby to prevent the Obama administration from taking away lucrative subsidies. Right-wing pundits crow that public understanding of the scientific consensus on manmade global warming is declining. And the mainstream press reports on the propaganda campaigns to discredit scientists as a "climate-change debate," as if physical reality were something decided by the poll results. Meanwhile, China has unveiled its 10-year plan to boost renewable energy technology, gas prices are rising, and experts wonder if America is even still in the running in the clean-energy race.

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Written by Leisureguy

2 March 2010 at 11:58 am

The Story of Poker

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Sounds interesting:

Cowboys Full: The Story of Poker
by James McManus

A review by Aaron Mesh

Not long after graduating from college, I, like millions of other enthusiasts infected by the millennial poker craze, developed a slightly unhealthy interest in no-limit Texas hold ’em. Nearly every Friday night, I bellied up to a basement card table or, if a home game couldn’t be found, ventured out to an East Tennessee bar called Mayo’s, where tournaments of dubious legality and $50 buy-ins started every half-hour. Sometimes I won. More often I watched my weekend pocket money go out the door in somebody else’s pocket. After bad nights, I would brood over the suspicion that my inability to bet aggressively signaled a deficiency of character.

I wasn’t alone in drawing this parallel. Among James McManus’s many insights in Cowboys Full is the observation that Americans have long used their homegrown game — a modified French bluffing contest — to define the kind of people they want to be: shrewd, bold, unflappable, and streetwise. In tracing poker’s lineage from Mississippi riverboats to televised tournaments, McManus argues that gambling strategies influenced national history from the fresh-start aspirations of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal (named after the shuffling and distribution of cards) to the deployment of the insuperable atom bomb (described by a Manhattan Project scientist as "a royal straight flush"). Devised in polyglot 1800s New Orleans and honed on riverboats, poker developed as a uniquely American recreation: a contest played by free-market people, each individual convinced he was a little more equal than everyone else.

In his last book, Positively Fifth Street (2003), McManus wryly recounted his improbable fifth-place finish in the 2000 World Series of Poker while on a reporting assignment; as a historian, he is no less lively and nimble. Not a page of Cowboys Full goes by without a crackerjack yarn, as McManus shows how the game, like the country, grew in respectability even as its nature remained fundamentally freewheeling. He compares steamboat cardsharps of the 1830s to the bling-sporting rappers of today and makes a case for poker as the true national pastime, capable of righting baseball’s wrongs: Arnold Rothstein, the mobster who fixed the 1919 "Black Sox" World Series, was shot dead after refusing to pay his losses in a stud game he thought was rigged. McManus revives the legends of high-stakes gunslingers Wild Bill Hickok and Doc Holliday, but he also shows how friendly games became a staple of the FDR and Truman Oval Offices. Poker even hewed the destiny of Richard Nixon, who as a World War II Navy lieutenant used his "iron butt" to endure marathon sessions of five-card draw; the $8,000 in winnings he brought home helped stake him to a political career.

In its second half, Cowboys Full shifts focus to the late-20th-century rise of poker as a global spectator sport, with an emphasis on epic Las Vegas tournaments at Binion’s Horseshoe casino and emergent World Series of Poker celebrities such as the laconic Texan Doyle Brunson and cocaine-addicted whiz kid Stu Ungar. The game’s "grittiness and peril might help to explain why its outlaw cachet continues to linger," McManus writes, "even when today’s live games are played mostly by well-scrubbed folks sipping mineral water in state-sanctioned card rooms." Cheating may have diminished — though it continues to crop up in online games — but players still feel that they’re getting away with something.

McManus suggests a more philosophical side of the game

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

2 March 2010 at 11:51 am

Posted in Books, Daily life, Games

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