Later On

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

Archive for June 2nd, 2010

I truly do not understand

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I was thinking of Israel and the situation there, including the Hamas rocket attacks, the 2008 invasion of Gaza, the embargo since… And I was examining my opinions on the matter, and I pictured an Israeli, reading my condemnations of the commando attack, saying, “You just don’t understand.” And then it hit me: he’s absolutely right (or would be, were he here and said that): I do not understand.

I realized that, in this country (or in Canada or in any other country I’ve visited), I could not picture there being a large number of people whose status was such that a family could simply be ejected from its home and then the person ejecting him takes over the home as his own—always “he” because it is ultimately a matter of physical force: the citizen, in himself and with his friends, must bring enough force that the family has no choice but to flee. And what the house-seizer did is illegal. And then the house-seizer is admired and praised for having done that: more or less his entire community supports this.

That is so alien to me, and yet the average Israeli citizen fully accepts this and sees it as right and proper. So I can see that I truly do not understand.

And in thinking over our own history, I had the same difficulty of seeing as acceptable and even praiseworthy to own other humans as property, to do with more or less as you pleased, and even to go to war to continue that system: that’s a mindset I truly cannot understand. I can’t put myself in a frame of mind to see that situation as not only normal, but even admirable, part of the romance of the South. I can see that I truly do not understand.

That Southron view is not so far in the past, really. See “Study Finds Blacks Blocked From Southern Juries.”

Written by LeisureGuy

2 June 2010 at 5:21 pm

Posted in Daily life

Interesting service-related lie

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Steve Benen:

When people compare Arizona’s "let me see your papers" immigration law to 1930s Germany, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) takes it personally. "Knowing that my father died fighting the Nazi regime in Germany, that I lost him when I was 11 because of that … and then to have them call me Hitler’s daughter. It hurts," she said the other day. "It’s ugliness beyond anything I’ve ever experienced."

The problem, as Kos noted, is that Brewer’s father didn’t die fighting the Nazi regime in Germany.

Gov. Jan Brewer said in a recent interview that her father died fighting Nazis in Germany. In fact, the death of Wilford Drinkwine came 10 years after World War II had ended.

During the war, Drinkwine worked as a civilian supervisor for a naval munitions depot in Hawthorne, Nev. He died of lung disease in 1955 in California.

For crying out loud.

OK, so Brewer misled the public about her father’s service record. She’ll apologize and move on, right? Wrong.

Officials with the governor’s administration said her statement should not be taken to mean that she was claiming her father was a soldier in Germany during the Nazi regime.

I’m confused. When Brewer said her "father died fighting the Nazi regime in Germany," that wasn’t intended to mean that her father was an American soldier in Germany during the Nazi regime?

Can’t anybody here play this game?

To be sure, this isn’t nearly as offensive as Rep. Mark Kirk’s (R-Ill.) repeated falsehoods about his own military service, but a pattern starts to develop — Republicans are having trouble separating fact from fiction when it comes to those who wear the uniform.

Written by LeisureGuy

2 June 2010 at 2:43 pm

Posted in Daily life, GOP, Military

Two tasks done

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Megs has had her pedicure at Cottage Veterinary in PG, and I’ve had my 10-minute walk. Now to do stretching.

Written by LeisureGuy

2 June 2010 at 2:28 pm

Posted in Daily life, Megs

Two excellent posts on the Israeli attack on the flotilla

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Both of these are worth reading, one by Peter Beinart and one by Noah Millman.

Also read this post from someone who knows the American Jewish girl who was blinded in one eye by a tear-gas canister shot into her face by one of the commandos.

And Andrew Sullivan spots an interesting word choice:

An interesting account:

"I was the second to be lowered in by rope," said Captain R. "My comrade who had already been dropped in was surrounded by a bunch of people. It started off as a one-on-one fight, but then more and more people started jumping us. I had to fight against quite a few terrorists who were armed with knives and batons."

I note two things. It began with a one-on-one fight. This was not a lynch mob primed to kill. It was a reaction that spread as more soldiers arrived. The second thing I note is that the captain describes the passengers as "terrorists."


I clicked the link to read the story, and it’s interesting that throughout the story, when quoting the Israeli commandos, they continually use "[activists]"  as the opponents—quite obviously replacing the word "terrorists" which was actually used. Apparently the Israeli commandos had been told that everyone on the ships were terrorists.

Written by LeisureGuy

2 June 2010 at 1:43 pm

Please, Mr. President, save us now

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Clive Crook at the Atlantic:

Commentators are achieving something close to all-faction consensus over Obama’s oil-spill performance. Many liberals, following the path marked out by a near-hysterical James Carville, now seem angrier than Obama’s usual opponents, who at least have the consolation of seeing the president assailed from all sides.

Apparently it is a great idea to elect a president who is calm in a crisis, except when there’s a crisis. Then what you need is somebody to lead the nation in panic — or, as Maureen Dowd put it, to be "a prism in moments of fear and pride, reflecting [sic] what Americans feel so they know he gets it." What the nation needs at times like this in fact is a daddy who will stop being so remote, and make everything all right. You think I’m exaggerating? Dowd:

Oddly, the good father who wrote so poignantly about growing up without a daddy scorns the paternal aspect of the presidency.

The paternal aspect of the presidency. We are all Malia now. "Did you plug the hole yet, Daddy?"

David Gergen does not actually ask to have his head patted, but he channels Peggy Noonan’s view that unless Obama does something — just does something — it could be all over for the presidency. Gergen suggests a detailed program of moving the deckchairs around, concluding:

And finally, very importantly, exercise the powers of leadership every day from the Oval Office.

Yes, just exercise those powers. Why didn’t they think of that?

Speaking of deckchairs, John Dickerson calls for more creativity:

Energy Secretary Stephen Chu seems to be the best place to look so far. He used gamma rays to help focus on the initial size of the leak. In other quarters there’s also brainstorming that might lead to a spark. For example, federal officials are now talking to Titanic director James Cameron.

All right. Gamma rays. Cool undersea robots. Now we’re getting somewhere.

And at least we can be more certain of our ideological convictions. As Donna Brazile notes, the oil spill proves we need big government. That’s something. I remember thinking much the same after the meltdown at Chernobyl. It’s bad, but at least they have big government to sort it all out.

Written by LeisureGuy

2 June 2010 at 1:32 pm

Petroleum engineer responds to the spill

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Interesting Salon article by Robert Reich, which begins:

A petroleum engineer who’s worked in the oil industry tells me BP is doing the minimum to clean up the oil and everything it can to protect its bottom line. According to the engineer, here’s what BP should be doing right now to mitigate the damage. If the president were to put BP into temporary receivership, he’d have the power to get BP to:

1. Stop releasing dispersants. So-called dispersants are toxic, and it’s crazy to add more poison to the Gulf. Dispersants do nothing to assist the environment in naturally cleaning the oil; their main use is PR. They reduce the number of ugly pictures of birds covered in pure black crude. Dispersants break the thick layer of crude into smaller globs, but that doesn’t help the Gulf and its wildlife. Most of the crude just mixes with the water to produce a goop that looks like chocolate ice cream but is highly poisonous.

2. Mobilize every possible tanker to siphon up crude from as close to the leak points as possible. Oil industry leaders as John Hofmeister (president of Shell Oil from 2005 until 2008) have recommended this, but inexplicably neither BP nor the federal government are talking about even trying this idea. BP currently has only one spot where they have inserted a tube into a riser, or pipe, that is leaking oil from the sea floor. The company is gathering the crude oil and siphoning it up to a drill ship for storage.

They should have at least a dozen collectors. BP has 24 tankers that are being used to make money for BP, not for clean-up duty. (President Obama should also use all necessary federal power — or money, and send BP the bill — to put as many tankers and refineries from other companies on the task.)

Mile-long pipes could be dangled down into the crude spewing from the wellhead and at each breach in the riser pipe, and the tankers could pump the crude mixed with water back into the tankers. They could then separate the crude and water in the tanker, and pump the water out on the spot. This should continue until each tanker is full of oil. The crude should then be taken to a refinery for processing, as other tankers take their place. Submersibles can be used to monitor the uptake into the dangling pipes, moving them as needed to keep them picking up as much crude as possible.

Even after some separation time in the tankers, the crude will be contaminated with water beyond the typical water contamination levels acceptable at refineries. This would drive up the price of gas in the short term. The president will need to go on TV and ask all Americans to cut their gasoline and energy usage in half, as an emergency response to the disaster in the Gulf, so that tankers and refineries can enact these far-from-perfect clean-up measures.


Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

2 June 2010 at 1:03 pm

Does rosemary reduce toxins in grilled meat?

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Thanks to The Younger Daughter for passing along a link to this interesting column. Anahad O’Connor writes in the NY Times:

Cooking meat at high temperatures is known to create toxins called heterocyclic amines, which have been linked to some cancers. Marinating lowers the risk by preventing the formation of the toxins. But one ingredient that makes a big difference is rosemary. Studies show that adding it to ground beef and other types of muscle meat before grilling, frying, broiling or barbecuing significantly reduces heterocyclic amines.

In a study published in The Journal of Food Science in March, scientists tested extracts of rosemary on ground beef patties that were cooked at temperatures from 375 degrees to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. The extract was added to both sides of the meat before cooking. The higher the concentration, the greater the reduction in heterocyclic amines (in some cases by over 90 percent.

Scientists attribute this to …

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

2 June 2010 at 1:01 pm

Posted in Daily life, Food, Health, Science

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