Later On

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

Archive for February 13th, 2011

Accelerating the fall

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I personally see the country as much worse off than it was 30 years ago in many different ways, but I see that the decline is not rapid enough for the GOP, so they are undermining the ground on which we stand:

Once you understand the imperatives Republicans face, however, it all makes sense. By slashing future-oriented programs, they can deliver the instant spending cuts Tea Partiers demand, without imposing too much immediate pain on voters. And as for the future costs — a population damaged by childhood malnutrition, an increased chance of terrorist attacks, a revenue system undermined by widespread tax evasion — well, tomorrow is another day.

That’s from Krugman’s column, which you really should read in its entirety. It’s amazing how absolutely feckless people can be, and how little sense of responsibility and integrity the GOP displays.

Written by Leisureguy

13 February 2011 at 9:31 pm game on Spanish vocabulary

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I haven’t play FreeRice for a while, so I went to the site (I’m doing a check of the links in my list of links) and was happy to see that I can play using Spanish vocabulary! (They also offer French, German, and Italian, English vocabulary and grammar, etc.) And at the same time feed hungry people.

UPDATE: I have reviewed the links beginning with A through M and those seem okay now. I’ll do N through Z tomorrow.

Written by Leisureguy

13 February 2011 at 4:41 pm

Posted in Education

Good article on a judge and the Constitution

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It’s awkward when a judge simply does not understand the law. Akil Reed Amar, a professor at Yale Law School, writes in the LA Times:

Earlier this week, after grading student papers from my Yale Law School class on constitutional law, I began reading federal District Judge Roger Vinson’s recent opinion declaring “Obamacare” unconstitutional. One thing was immediately clear: My students understand the Constitution better than the judge.

I strive to be apolitical in evaluating students and judges alike. Over the years, many of my favorite students have been proud conservatives, while others have been flaming liberals. The Constitution belongs to neither party.

As every first-year law student learns, lower court judges must heed Supreme Court precedents. The central issue in the Obamacare case is how much power the Constitution gives Congress, and the landmark Supreme Court opinion on this topic is the 1819 classic, McCulloch vs. Maryland.In McCulloch, when states’ rights attorneys claimed that Congress lacked authority to create a federal bank, Chief Justice

John Marshall famously countered that the Constitution gives Congress implied as well as express powers. Marshall said that unelected judges should generally defer to elected members of Congress so long as a law plausibly falls within Congress’ basic mission. Though the words “federal bank” nowhere appear in the Constitution’s text, Marshall explained that Congress nevertheless had the power to create such a bank to facilitate national security and interstate commerce. Other words not in the Constitution include “air force,” “NASA,” “Social Security,” “Peace Corps” and “paper money,” but all these things are constitutional under the logic of McCulloch. Obamacare is no different.

In 34 years as chief justice, Marshall never struck down an act of Congress as beyond the scope of federal power. The modern Supreme Court has followed Marshall’s lead. Since 1937, only two relevant cases — U.S. vs. Lopez in 1995 and U.S. vs. Morrison in 2000 — have held that federal laws transgressed the limited powers conferred on Congress by the framers. . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

13 February 2011 at 1:03 pm

Posted in Government, Law

Hard-boiled eggs

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In recent years, I learned a couple of things about hard-boiled eggs I hadn’t known, so I thought I’d pass them along.

Most recently, I learned from Steve of Kafeneio how to boil them: start with the eggs at room temperature and the water at a full boil, and that way you can time them accurately. I do use my little egg piercer to punch a tiny hole in the large end so the shell doesn’t crack.

Once they reach “done” (for me, that’s 7-8 minutes), I lift them from the pan with a large slotted spoon (that takes 3 eggs at a time—the same spoon I use to put them into the boiling water) and put them in a very large bowl of ice water. That not only stops the cooking, it seems to break the bond between egg and shell and make them easier to peel.

Finally, something I read a few years ago: I tap the egg on the large end to crack the shell at that end, and then I roll it, pressing down gently as I do, to crack the shell all over, so that it becomes a bunch of tiny tiles held together by the underlying membrane. Peeling is then a simple matter of pulling off the membrane, which takes of the tiny shell pieces.

Pretty simple, but I had to learn a couple of critical steps from others. So now I’m passing along this valuable knowledge. 🙂

UPDATE: From Chris Rose in comments: Add a teaspoon of salt to the water in which you boil the eggs to increase peelability.

Written by Leisureguy

13 February 2011 at 8:48 am

The Knowledge Most Worth Having

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That’s the title of a book by Wayne C. Booth of the U of Chicago about the liberal arts, but the phrase occurred to me in the context of practical knowledge: such knowledge indeed seems the knowledge most worth having, but there seems to be no efficient way to transmit such knowledge. As the name implies, practical knowledge is acquired by practice. In my own undergraduate work in the liberal arts, it now occurs to me that we were engaged in four years of practice in reading, thinking, questioning, listening, answering—all practical skills acquired through practice. Not enough writing going on, I should say, though I did learn how to write (Ford K. Brown, Sophomore essay). It was an education focused on acquiring skills, aka practical knowledge.

Because practical knowledge takes much practice and thus a long time, it requires a certain amount of discipline and dedication, or enduring enthusiasm, for its accomplishment. With the fragmented attention spans common now among the young, I wonder how such an education can be accomplished.

Written by Leisureguy

13 February 2011 at 8:28 am

Posted in Daily life, Education

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