Later On

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

Archive for July 9th, 2010

Evidence that Sharon Angle is actually as stupid as she sounds

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John Dean at FindLaw:

Nevada Republican Senate candidate Sharron Angle has indicated that she is going to sue her opponent Harry Reid, the Democratic Majority Leader of the US Senate, for republishing her primary-campaign website at therealsharonangle.com.

Such a suit would be bizarre, for it would make it appear that Angle does not want Nevada voters to learn how she really feels about the issues. In fact, that may be the case. Angle is a darling of the Tea Party movement, but she has considerably toned down her Tea-Party-pleasing views for the general election.

Angle had her Washington, DC attorney Cleta Mitchell send the Reid campaign a letter demanding that the Reid campaign cease re-publishing Angle’s primary campaign website. Mitchell informed the Reid campaign that Angle was going "to pursue all available legal remedies" (read: file a lawsuit) if the Reid campaign continued to post this material on the Internet.

The Reid campaign has continued to post the material although they did remove some of it. They tweaked the old website to make clear that they had no interest in gathering information from Angle supporters. After learning her primary campaign literature was still on the Internet, Angle told a Nevada radio station that she was going to "pursue" Reid for using it, all but stating that she was going to take him to court.

But surely, Angle’s Washington, DC attorney, Cleta Mitchell, knows that a court may well deem Angle’s suit to be a "Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation" — also known as a "SLAPP suit." And surely, Mitchell knows, as well, that Nevada has a strong anti-SLAPP statute, which would enable the Reid campaign to stop their lawsuit and most likely at Angle’s expense. Indeed, if Angle sues, she will do so at her considerable peril, both legal and political.

Why a Lawsuit By Angle Would Very Likely Be Deemed a SLAPP Suit

When Sharron Angle speaks, it is often not in her own best interests. She is not the sharpest political knife in the Tea Party’s drawer, and if Cleta Mitchell actually thought she had a basis for a lawsuit, Angle has largely mooted that potential.

Mitchell’s cease-and-desist letter protested that the Reid campaign, in republishing Angle’s material, was misappropriating copyrighted material. In addition, the letter complained that the republished material was soliciting the names and email addresses of Angle supporters — but that segment of the material, as noted, was quickly removed by the Reid campaign. Tellingly, Angle herself admits that she has suffered no real damages from the republication, only political embarrassment:

"Well, your website is like you, it’s your intellectual property," Angle told a Nevada radio station. "So they [the Reid campaign] can’t use something that’s yours, intellectual property, unless they pay you for it or get your permission… And he didn’t ask me for it, and he didn’t pay me for it. I would have sold it to him." [Emphasis added.] As to the value of the material that was republished, Angle conceded, "There is nothing there, there is nothing there that everybody doesn’t know, it was up the whole primary."

These concessions pull the rug out from under any lawsuit Angle is planning. Indeed, in light of Angle’s own remarks, if a lawsuit is now filed, it would be . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

9 July 2010 at 1:35 pm

Posted in Daily life, Election, GOP

Why blogs are an essential part of your news reading

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Steve Benen provides an excellent example of why it’s unwise to simply depend on the mainstream media (newspapers and TV news and radio) for your news:

The headline on CNN’s political blog is one to remember: "A stimulus program even a Republican can love." Sounds great, right? Republicans absolutely loathe the recovery efforts that prevented an economic catastrophe, but if there’s a measure within the stimulus that the GOP can actually love, I’m anxious to hear about it.

Here’s the story:

There’s at least one stimulus program that’s creating jobs and winning praise from both sides of the political aisle.

A little-known Recovery Act initiative is expected to put more than 200,000 unemployed people back to work in 32 states and the District of Columbia. It’s called the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Emergency Fund, and it subsidizes jobs with private companies, nonprofits and government agencies. […]

While the Obama administration’s $787 billion stimulus program has become a popular target for GOP attacks, the subsidized jobs initiative has been adopted by Republican and Democratic governors and policy analysts alike.

So far, so good. When the American Enterprise Institute and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R) agree with Democrats about part of the stimulus effort, it’s safe to assume it has some real value. Indeed, when one provision in the Recovery Act can boast it alone put more than 200,000 people back to work, it’s the kind of thing that should get bipartisan praise.

But there are two things the CNN report neglected to mention. The first is the money for the TANF Emergency Fund will run out at the end of September, and probably won’t be continued — regardless of how effective it is — because Republicans have said the deficit is more important than job creation.

The second point is that CNN’s report also neglected to mention that, in May, the House Republican leadership targeted the TANF Emergency Fund as a huge waste of money, and said the successful jobs program should be eliminated altogether. Indeed, House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) created his "YouCut" gimmick, and scrapping the TANF Emergency Fund was the very first thing Republicans decided to try to cut. After looking over the entire federal budget, House GOP leaders decided this program was the best example of the kind of government spending they’re anxious to slash.

So, when CNN highlights this as "a stimulus program even a Republican can love," it overlooks the fact that congressional Republicans don’t actually love it. On the contrary, congressional Republicans have identified one of the most successful and popular elements of the Recovery Act, and have gone to great lengths to try to eliminate it.

Written by Leisureguy

9 July 2010 at 1:29 pm

Posted in Daily life, Media

Cool graphic illustrates the differences between industry standards and BP flailing about

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You really should check out this graphic, and mouse over the different parts. You can also download the full background on the graphic.

Written by Leisureguy

9 July 2010 at 1:20 pm

Posted in Business, Daily life

An example of why I have no respect whatsoever for Ruth Marcus

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She’s a (very bad) columnist for the Washington Post who seems to write quite a bit about issues that are way beyond her, so she ends up exposing her ignorance, which is leavened with a definite dash of stupidity. (I get the idea that the Washington Post find that combination irresistible—look over their collection of stalwart columnists, not the newbies like Ezra Klein and David Weigel, who actually know stuff and are smart.)

Here’s Jed Lewison blogging at Daily Kos (via Balloon Juice):

Ruth Marcus is outraged that President Obama would subvert democracy by making a recess appointment to get around Republican filibustering (my emphasis):

And as a matter of good government, the president’s move to snub the Senate and install Berwick by recess appointment was outrageous. Using — more accurately, abusing — this mechanism to make appointments during a Senate recess is a bipartisan temptation. All presidents succumb, and Obama is facing a more implacably recalcitrant Senate minority. Yet the original purpose of recess appointments was to let government function during the long stretches with Congress away, but that’s water under the constitutional bridge.

Marcus says she doesn’t have a problem with Berwick himself — she’s outraged by process, not substance.

Of course, this process should not be unfamiliar to Marcus. Why? Well:

Bush also used recess appointments to elevate Charles Pickering and William Pryor to federal judgeships and to place Deborah Majoras and Jon Leibowitz on the Federal Trade Commission.

Again, my emphasis. Here’s why:

He [Leibowitz] lives in Bethesda with his wife, Ruth Marcus, and his two daughters, Emma and Julia.

This isn’t a knock on Leibowitz — President Obama reappointed him to the FTC and he’s now Chairman of the commission.

But Ruth Marcus should know better than to get outraged about recess appointments. Recess appointments aren’t the outrage here. If there’s a procedural issue to get outraged over, it’s the filibuster, because Republicans are using it over and over and over again to block the nation’s business in order to score political points.

When Republicans abuse the filibuster to induce gridlock, Congress might as well be out of session. Not only was the President correct to use the recess appointment to get around their obstructionist tactics, it was his responsibility.

He’s not the villain here. Republican abuse of the filibuster is.

Written by Leisureguy

9 July 2010 at 1:04 pm

The opacity of news organizations

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Glenn Greenwald puts his finger directly on a sore point with our current media: The media keep their methods and decision-making totally secret, and refuse even to answer reasonable questions about it. Example:

Earlier this week, I noted — with multiple illustrative examples — how media outlets crusade for the virtues of transparency while frequently exempting themselves.  Establishment news organizations are, ironically, among the most opaque institutions.   Recall how most television news outlets refused to provide anything but the most cursory comments in response to David Barstow’s inquiries about the fact that they had employed numerous "military analysts" with multiple, undisclosed conflicts of interests and hidden participation in a Pentagon propaganda program, and to this date, have simply refused to tell their viewers about those revelations, let alone account for what they did.

The Washington Post has helpfully illustrated this dynamic with another glaring example.  As I’ve written several times, one reason the case of accused WikiLeaks leaker Bradley Manning is so mystifying is because journalists such as Wired‘s Kevin Poulsen obtained and selectively quoted from, but stubbornly refuse to disclose, the unedited chat logs between Manning and Adrian Lamo, in which Manning allegedly confessed to these leaks.  In addition to Wired, it seems clear that The Washington Post‘s Ellen Nakashima — judging by this June 10 article she wrote — also has some or all of those logs, and I thus wrote her this email on Tuesday:

Hi Ellen – I’m writing a piece on media transparency and original source material and wanted to ask about your June 10 article on Bradley Manning:  did you obtain the full chat logs between Manning and Adrian Lamo from which you quoted?  If so, did you consider publishing them in full, or at least with minor redactions to protect privacy and the like, rather than merely selecting bits and pieces to quote? Now that Manning has been charged, would you consider publishing those logs in order to allow your readers access to read them?

Thanks – Glenn Greenwald

Here’s the reply I received yesterday from Kris Coratti, Director of Communications for the Post:

Hi Glenn, I was passed along your e-mail.  Thank you for your question — we don’t discuss the details of our newsgathering.

Thank you again,

Kris Coratti

Coratti sounds like a CIA spokesperson trained by Dick Cheney.  Apparently, the Post believes it should be completely shielded from accountability and has no obligation to answer any questions about how it reports or what information it conceals from the public.  From now on, every institution ever questioned about anything by The Post should answer the same way:  we don’t discuss the details of our internal operations or decision-making.  It’s just bizarre to hear a newspaper, of all things, adopt the corporatized language of imperious, reflexive secrecy.  The fact that Nakashima felt compelled — or perhaps is compelled — to turn my innocuous inquiries over to corporate communications officials reflects how these newspapers are indistinguishable in mentality and behavior from any other large corporations which seek to hide rather than disclose what they do.  This is exactly the type of response one would receive from, say, BP or large telecoms about their surveillance cooperation with the Government.

I’m amazed that journalists wonder why leading media institutions are held in such low esteem.  How else would a rational person view a media outlet which constantly demands transparency and accountability from others yet — using heavy-handed Cheneyite decrees — explicitly declares that it will not respond to any inquiries about what it chooses to disclose and conceal?  And the Post‘s posture is hardly aberrational.  As NYU Journalism Professor Jay Rosen documented, newspapers such as the NYT and The Post have long refused to account for their conduct or provide any transparency.  Writing about the NYT‘s institutional refusal to address questions concerning their horrendous reporting on the Wen Ho Lee case (until public pressure became so intense they were finally forced to), Rosen wrote: . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

9 July 2010 at 12:55 pm

The US’s feeble broadband plan

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mistermix at Balloon Juice:

Some member of Daniel Inouye’s staff asks a good question about the FCC broadband plan:

“The National Broadband Plan (NBP) proposes a goal of having 100 million homes subscribed at 100Mbps by 2020,” he wrote, “while the leading nations already have 100Mbps fiber-based services at costs of $30 to $40 per month and beginning rollout of 1Gbps residential services, which the FCC suggests is required only for a single anchor institution in each community by 2020. This appears to suggest that the US should accept a 10- to 12-year lag behind the leading nations.”

“What is the FCC’s rationale for a vision that appears to be firmly rooted in the second tier of countries?”

The rationale is that this is the best they can do with a legislative branch in the pocket of telecom providers. Those providers are more interested in milking current infrastructure and protecting old revenue streams (cable TV and telephone) than providing world-class Internet service. The FCC can’t regulate the current Internet oligopoly because our mobbed-up Congress will just slap them down while blathering about “free markets” and “intrusive regulation”.

Written by Leisureguy

9 July 2010 at 12:51 pm

Conservatives still lying more or less constantly

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Pat Garofalo for ThinkProgress:

With the country facing unsustainable long-term structural deficits in the coming years, more and more lawmakers have been willing to broach the once untouchable subject of cutting defense spending to save money. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) said a few weeks ago that “any conversation about the deficit that leaves out defense spending is seriously flawed before it begins.” Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) added that “there are billions of dollars of waste you can get out of the Pentagon, lots of procurement waste. We’re buying some weapons systems I would argue you don’t need anymore.”

Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA) tried to sing the right notes yesterday, saying with regard to defense spending that “there are savings everywhere. We should be looking, as a Congress, toward finding savings.” However, Isakson that bristled at the notion that a program the Pentagon has repeatedly said it doesn’t want should be cut:

One expenditure, the second engine for the F-35 program, did receive Isakson’s support. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has recommended President Obama veto any defense spending bill that includes funding of the second engine. “The second engine makes sense from a standpoint of having a redundant system to protect the aircraft,” he said.

Gates has called the second engine “costly and unnecessary,” while U.S. Air Force Secretary Michael Donley has referred to it as “another rock” on top of the F-35 program.

Isakson is hardly alone in paying lip service to cutting defense spending while opposing actual cuts in weapons systems that no one wants. Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) has said “if we are going to put our fiscal house in order, everything has to be on the table. We have to be willing to look at domestic spending, we have to be able to look at entitlements, and we have to look at defense.” But Pence also supports the second engine.

And then there is conservative darling Sarah Palin, who said in a speech last month that “no government agency should be immune from budget scrutiny,” but then proceeded to say that we absolutely must purchase all the weapons Gates says we don’t need. “[Gates] said we have to ask whether the nation can really afford a Navy that relies on $3 [billion] to $6 billion destroyers, $7 billion submarines and $11 billion carriers,” Palin said. “Well, my answer is pretty simple: Yes, we can and yes, we do.”

In the last 10 years, the defense budget has almost doubled to $549 billion, and in real terms baseline defense spending “is now higher than at the height of the Reagan buildup, and total defense spending now exceeds what we spent any time since World War II.” As Ryan has said, “you know the current Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates,he’s going a pretty good job of identifying obsolete weapons systems that are costing tens of billions of dollars that aren’t needed.” Now if only he could get Congress to go along.

Written by Leisureguy

9 July 2010 at 12:49 pm

Another total failure of the drug war

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So far as I can see, the war on drugs is doing MUCH more damage than the drugs themselves would have done had they been legalized and regulated. Tim Johnson for McClatchy:

For a 17-day period that ended last month, Guatemala seemed to be falling under the direct control of suspected mobsters. A lawyer leading a posse of unsavory characters became the attorney general and started dismantling the state’s legal apparatus.

Central America’s most populous country teetered on the edge of "going narco."

A rugged coffee-growing nation of 13.5 million people, some 40 percent of them disenfranchised Mayan Indians, Guatemala has largely been off the world’s radar screen. But as U.S. anti-narcotics aid poured into Mexico and Colombia, bad guys flooded the region in between.

Guatemala became a prime destination. Its democracy is fragile, and while institutions of state appear to function, corruption is rampant.

Narcotics are pervasive. Some 275 to 385 tons of South American cocaine transits Guatemala each year, almost enough to satisfy all U.S. demand, according to a March estimate by the State Department.

Syndicates from neighboring Mexico brought violence to the steps of power — literally. Cartel enforcers demanding an end to a crackdown on organized crime dumped four decapitated human heads on the steps of Congress and other downtown Guatemala City sites on June 10.

Drug gangs operate largely unhindered. As many as seven of Guatemala’s 22 provinces may not be under government control, making it "one of the world’s most dangerous countries," according to a report June 22 by the International Crisis Group, a Brussels-based organization.

Impunity is the rule. A weak judicial system keeps most of Guatemala’s corrupt politicians, hired assassins, arms traffickers and drug dealers out of prison. It got so bad that the United Nations set up a special commission in 2006 to help Guatemala dismantle its vast clandestine networks of organized crime, and by doing so give Guatemalans hope for justice…

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

9 July 2010 at 12:47 pm

U.S. has now lost 75 percent of Guantánamo habeas cases

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The fact is that the US has been keeping many innocent people imprisoned. That is a failure, a bad failure, of our country’s ideals. Some people are skating from punishment they deserve. Carol Rosenberg for McClatchy:

A federal judge has ordered the release of another Yemeni captive at Guantanamo, the 37th time a war on terror captive in southeast Cuba has won his unlawful detention suit against the U.S. government.

Judge Paul Friedman’s order in the case of Hussein Almerfedi at the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., instructs the Obama administration to "take all necessary and appropriate steps to facilitate the release of petitioner forthwith.”

His reasoning on why the U.S. had unlawfully detained Almerfedi, 33, held at Guantanamo since May 2003, was still under seal.

But as far back as 2005, Almerfedi had argued before a military panel at the Navy base in southeast Cuba that he fled his native Aden, Yemen, with plans to settle in Europe, not to join a jihad. Instead, he said, his journey took him to Pakistan and then Tehran where Iranian forces turned him over to Afghan forces, who in turn handed over to the United States.

Justice Department attorneys argued that Almerfedi was a former Aden-based salesman of the narcotics plant called qat who came to support al Qaeda "and is thus an enemy of the United States.”

A chunk of the case file is censored in federal court but government lawyers also argued that, while in Afghanistan, he stayed at al Qaeda safehouses.

The U.S. also said that Almerfedi was subjected to a lie detector test and was found to be deceptive. Almerfedi told a military panel at Guantanamo in 2005 that he was polygraphed in Bagram, Afghanistan, on the eve of his transfer to Cuba.

The U.S. government has won just 14 of the 51 decided cases filed by prisoners at Guantanamo, although an appeals court has found a flaw in one of the 14 rulings and ordered a new review in the case of Algerian captive Belkacem Bensayah.

In contrast, civilian judges have so far ruled for the release of 37 so-called "enemy combatants” — ordering them repatriated or resettled safely elsewhere if the stigma of Guantánamo detention would endanger them in their homelands.

About half of the 181 detainees at Guantanamo today are citizens of Yemen, Osama bin Laden’s ancestral homeland. A total of 15 Yemenis so far have had their habeas corpus petitions heard. Eight detentions have been upheld and seven have been ruled unlawful…

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

9 July 2010 at 12:44 pm

Drug War a Devastating Failure, Scientists and Researchers Say in Vienna Declaration

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From the Drug War Chronicles:

A decade ago, scientists, researchers, and AIDS activists confronted a sitting president in South Africa who denied that AIDS was caused by HIV. They responded by declaring at the 2000 Durbin AIDS conference that the evidence was in and the matter was settled. Now, with the Vienna AIDS conference coming up later this month, they are at it again — only this time the target is the war on drugs.

Their weapon is the Vienna Declaration, an official conference statement authored by experts from the International AIDS Society, the International Center for Science in Drug Policy, and the British Columbia Center for Excellence in HIV/AIDS. The document is a harsh indictment of the global drug war that calls for evidence-based policymaking. It demands that laws which criminalize drug users and help fuel the spread of AIDS be reformed.

The authors of the Vienna Declaration want you to sign on, too. You can do so at the web site linked to above.

"The criminalization of illicit drug users is fueling the HIV epidemic and has resulted in overwhelmingly negative health and social consequences. A full policy reorientation is needed," they said in the declaration.

Arguing there is "overwhelming evidence that drug law enforcement has failed to meet its stated objectives," the declaration lays out the consequences of the drug war:

  • HIV epidemics fueled by the criminalization of people who use illicit drugs and by prohibitions on the provision of sterile needles and opioid substitution treatment.
  • HIV outbreaks among incarcerated and institutionalized drug users as a result of punitive laws and policies and a lack of HIV prevention services in these settings.
  • The undermining of public health systems when law enforcement drives drug users away from prevention and care services and into environments where the risk of infectious disease transmission (e.g., HIV, hepatitis C & B, and tuberculosis) and other harms is increased.
  • A crisis in criminal justice systems as a result of record incarceration rates in a number of nations. This has negatively affected the social functioning of entire communities. While racial disparities in incarceration rates for drug offenses are evident in countries all over the world, the impact has been particularly severe in the US, where approximately one in nine African-American males in the age group 20 to 34 is incarcerated on any given day, primarily as a result of drug law enforcement.
  • Stigma towards people who use illicit drugs, which reinforces the political popularity of criminalizing drug users and undermines HIV prevention and other health promotion efforts.
  • Severe human rights violations, including torture, forced labor, inhuman and degrading treatment, and execution of drug offenders in a number of countries.
  • A massive illicit market worth an estimated annual value of US $320 billion. These profits remain entirely outside the control of government. They fuel crime, violence and corruption in countless urban communities and have destabilized entire countries, such as Colombia, Mexico and Afghanistan.
  • Billions of tax dollars wasted on a "War on Drugs" approach to drug control that does not achieve its stated objectives and, instead, directly or indirectly contributes to the above harms.

"Many of us in AIDS research and care confront the devastating impacts of misguided drug policies every day," said Julio Montaner, president of the International AIDS Society and director of the BC Center for Excellence in HIV/AIDS. "As scientists, we are committed to raising our collective voice to promote evidence-based approaches to illicit drug policy that start by recognizing that addiction is a medical condition, not a crime," added Montaner, who will serve as chairman of the Vienna conference. . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

9 July 2010 at 12:40 pm

The (scientifically) perfect vacation

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Good to know. Drake Bennet published this in the Boston Globe, and here it is in The Week:

Summer has begun, and our imaginations have turned to vacation: to idle afternoons and road trips, to the beach and the mountains. But where to go? When? What to do? Is it better to try somewhere new and exotic, or return to a well-loved spot? Doze on the beach or hike the ancient ruins? Hoard vacation days for a grand tour, or spread them around? Time off is a scarce resource, and as with any scarce resource, we want to spend it wisely.

Partly, these decisions are matters of taste. But there are also answers to be found in behavioral science, which increasingly is yielding insights that can help us make the most of our leisure time. Psychologists and economists have looked in some detail at vacations —what we want from them and what we actually get out of them. They have advice about what really matters, and it’s not necessarily what we would expect.

For example, how long we take off probably counts for less than we think, and taking more short trips leaves us happier than taking a few long ones. We’re often happier planning a trip than actually taking it. And interrupting a vacation—far from being a nuisance—can make us enjoy it more. How a trip ends matters more than how it begins, who you’re with matters as much as where you go, and if you want to remember a vacation vividly, do something during it that you’ve never done before. And though it may feel unnecessary, it’s important to force yourself to actually take the time off in the first place—people, it turns out, are as prone to procrastinate when it comes to pleasurable things like vacations as unpleasant ones like paperwork and visits to the dentist.

“How do we optimize our vacation?” asks Dan Ariely, a behavioral economist at Duke University and the author of the new book The Upside of Irrationality. “There are three elements to it—anticipating, experiencing, and remembering. They’re not the same, and there are different ways to change each.” …

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

9 July 2010 at 12:36 pm

Tweaking the food intake

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My diet counselor and I are continuing the tweak the diet—and I’m getting better at the on-going prep of vegetables. For example, I returned from Whole Foods with salad greens (red leaf lettuce, Romaine lettuce, cilantro, frisée, and radicchio) and immediately washed them, spun them dry in the Oxo salad spinner, and then tore them up and mixed them as for salad. I also immediately washed the red bor kale and cooked that. Finally, I took the sockeye salmon fillets (on sale: $7.99/lb) and poached those.

Tweaks: Continue with no added salt at all, and beef only two meals a week. Get protein from eggs, cottage cheese, yogurt, chicken breast, fish, and sources such as tofu and tempeh. I’m cutting my cooked whole-grain cereals (currently rye) to a 1/3 cup serving instead of 1/2 cup, and my morning oat groats from 1/3 cup (uncooked) to 1/4 cup.

In the meantime, I have lost one of the two pounds I gained.

Written by Leisureguy

9 July 2010 at 12:30 pm

Posted in Daily life, Fitness, Food

White gazpacho

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This sounds very tasty. From the link:

With all the hot weather much of the country has been experiencing, we thought we’d suggest a gazpacho, a chilled soup, one that you can make quickly, with minimal use of the stove. Not all gazpachos are made with tomatoes. White gazpacho is a classic dish from Spain, earlier versions dating back to when the Moors controlled Andalucía. This version is made with bread, blanched almonds, green grapes, cucumbers, olive oil, and garlic. Odd combination you might think, but let me assure you, it truly is delicious. There’s no dairy. The soup gets body and protein from the blanched almonds. The bread acts as a thickener. The cucumbers are wonderfully cooling.

White Gazpacho Recipe

The recipe calls for stale bread because this soup is an excellent use of old bread that is too hard to eat. Sometimes when we buy freshly baked bread we don’t eat it all, and the leftovers get dry and hard within days. We keep the bread to make bread crumbs. So, this is what you would typically use. If you don’t have any old bread lying around, you can use white bread, with the crusts removed. Use a good quality white bread, such as a French or Italian loaf.

  • 2 cups of crustless stale bread, broken into pieces
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock (use vegetable stock for vegetarian version)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup slivered blanched almonds (must be blanched, the skins are bitter)
  • 2 cups green seedless grapes, sliced in half
  • 2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 1-3 chopped garlic cloves (depending on how garlicky you want the result to be)
  • 2-3 Tbsp sherry vinegar or cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Chives for garnish

Continue reading for the method.

Written by Leisureguy

9 July 2010 at 12:18 pm

Training session

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My form and flexibility both need much work. First, I need to work much more on my stretches and flexibility exercises. Lack of flexibility is hurting my form.

We went over the exercises I’m doing and she made many notes of small changes. As she points out, one must have good form with kettlebells or you can really hurt yourself. She had me go through my kettlebell routine—each exercise in turn—and she pointed out the various problems in form. A lot to remember, but she will send me her notes.

I’m really glad I have a trainer to guide me through the basics. I think I would pretty screw myself up without that help.

Written by Leisureguy

9 July 2010 at 9:19 am

Posted in Daily life, Fitness

Feather razor

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The new Feather razor, shown above, is pricey but comes with a very nice presentation: a nicely wrapped wooden box, holding the razor and a pack of blades. The graphics of the blade are new, but the blade seems to be the regular Feather.

I got an excellent lather from the Omega Lucretia Borgia synthetic-bristle brush, and I must say that the razor—a simple three-piece design—is well made and feels quite comfortable in the hand and on the face, and it handles the Feather blade well, removing any sense that the blade is erratic. It does seem a bit pricey for what it is, but it shave very nicely indeed.

A splash of New York, and I was off to see my trainer.

Written by Leisureguy

9 July 2010 at 9:15 am

Posted in Shaving

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