Later On

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

Archive for August 21st, 2011

Obama Administration working to get the fix in to protect banks

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The financial industry’s ownership of the Obama Administration has been clear for some time—and they own Congress (House and Senate) as well. But they’re have some trouble at the state level… but not to fear, the Obama Administration is there to apply pressure and protect bankers and banks. Gretchen Morgenson in the NY Times:

Eric T. Schneiderman, the attorney general of New York, has come under increasing pressure from the Obama administration to drop his opposition to a wide-ranging state settlement with banks over dubious foreclosure practices, according to people briefed on discussions about the deal.

In recent weeks, Shaun Donovan, the secretary of Housing and Urban Development, and high-level Justice Department officials have been waging an intensifying campaign to try to persuade the attorney general to support the settlement, said the people briefed on the talks.

Mr. Schneiderman and top prosecutors in some other states have objected to the proposed settlement with major banks, saying it would restrict their ability to investigate and prosecute wrongdoing in a variety of areas, including the bundling of loans in mortgage securities.

But Mr. Donovan and others in the administration have been contacting not only Mr. Schneiderman but his allies, including consumer groups and advocates for borrowers, seeking help to secure the attorney general’s participation in the deal, these people said. One recipient described the calls from Mr. Donovan, but asked not to be identified for fear of retaliation.

Not surprising, the large banks, which are eager to reach a settlement, have grown increasingly frustrated with Mr. Schneiderman. Bank officials recently discussed asking Mr. Donovan for help in changing the attorney general’s mind, according to a person briefed on those talks. . .

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Written by LeisureGuy

21 August 2011 at 6:36 pm

Straightahead big-band jazz: Count Basie’s Orchestra plays Corner Pocket

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Written by LeisureGuy

21 August 2011 at 12:21 pm

Posted in Jazz, Video

Wonder what Pam Geller would say about this: Steve Jobs edition

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Anil Dash blogs:

For the past several days, Apple’s stock has been rising high enough that the company has flitted between being the first and second most valuable company in the world. Regardless of the final value of the stock on any given day, it is without a doubt the greatest comeback or turnaround story in the history of American business: A single company has gone from being just 90 days away from shutting down to becoming the unequivocal leader in innovation, design, branding and now valuation, and the transformation happened in less than a decade and a half.

Most interestingly, there’s a unanimous consensus, from fans and detractors alike, both within and outside the company, that a single man bears the lion’s share of the credit for the vision, leadership and execution that’s made this achievement possible.

So, who is this man? He’s the anchor baby of an activist Arab muslim who came to the U.S. on a student visa and had a child out of wedlock. He’s a non-Christian, arugula-eating, drug-using follower of unabashedly old-fashioned liberal teachings from the hippies and folk music stars of the 60s. And he believes in science, in things that science can demonstrate like climate change and Pi having a value more specific than “3”, and in extending responsible benefits to his employees while encouraging his company to lead by being environmentally responsible.

Every single person who’d attack Steve Jobs on any of these grounds is, demonstrably, worse at business than Jobs. They’re unqualified to assert that liberal values are bad for business, when the demonstrable, factual, obvious evidence contradicts those assertions.

It’s a choice whether you, or anyone else, wants to accept the falsehood that liberal values are somehow in contradiction with business success at a global scale. Indeed, it would seem that many who claim to be pro-business are trying to “save” us from exactly the inclusive, creative, tolerant values that have made America’s most successful company possible. I side with . . .

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Written by LeisureGuy

21 August 2011 at 12:16 pm

Posted in Business, Politics

Oofta! Final version in for proof review

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I think it’s the final. It now runs 46,000 words, up substantially from the first edition and up a fair amount from the fourth edition. I reduced font size to keep the number of pages close to the same, but the font is still large enough for ease in reading.

CreateSpace will review the PDF file, let me know, and I then order a copy of what I hope is the final proof. The Wife will do that proofreading: once I consider it truly done, and I’ve found all the errors I can, she reads it with a fresher eye. (It’s amazing, though, how errors will persist from edition to edition: I corrected some that have been in the book a long time—minor stuff, like “and and” and “you” for “your”: the eye just glides over those. But not this time.

Written by LeisureGuy

21 August 2011 at 12:06 pm

Posted in Books, Daily life, Shaving

Sugar: Worse than you thought

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Thanks to Steve of Kafeneio for the video and the article catch. This is important stuff. First, the video:

 

And the article in the NY Times Sunday Magazine by Gary Taubes that mentions this:

On May 26, 2009, Robert Lustig gave a lecture called “Sugar: The Bitter Truth,” which was posted on YouTube the following July. Since then, it has been viewed well over 800,000 times, gaining new viewers at a rate of about 50,000 per month, fairly remarkable numbers for a 90-minute discussion of the nuances of fructose biochemistry and human physiology.

Lustig is a specialist on pediatric hormone disorders and the leading expert in childhood obesity at the University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine, which is one of the best medical schools in the country. He published his first paper on childhood obesity a dozen years ago, and he has been treating patients and doing research on the disorder ever since.

The viral success of his lecture, though, has little to do with Lustig’s impressive credentials and far more with the persuasive case he makes that sugar is a “toxin” or a “poison,” terms he uses together 13 times through the course of the lecture, in addition to the five references to sugar as merely “evil.” And by “sugar,” Lustig means not only the white granulated stuff that we put in coffee and sprinkle on cereal — technically known as sucrose — but also high-fructose corn syrup, which has already become without Lustig’s help what he calls “the most demonized additive known to man.”

It doesn’t hurt Lustig’s cause that he is a compelling public speaker. His critics argue that what makes him compelling is his practice of taking suggestive evidence and insisting that it’s incontrovertible. Lustig certainly doesn’t dabble in shades of gray. Sugar is not just an empty calorie, he says; its effect on us is much more insidious. “It’s not about the calories,” he says. “It has nothing to do with the calories. It’s a poison by itself.”

If Lustig is right, then our excessive consumption of sugar is the primary reason that the numbers of obese and diabetic Americans have skyrocketed in the past 30 years. But his argument implies more than that. If Lustig is right, it would mean that sugar is also the likely dietary cause of several other chronic ailments widely considered to be diseases of Western lifestyles — heart disease, hypertension and many common cancers among them.

The number of viewers Lustig has attracted suggests that people are paying attention to his argument. When I set out to interview public health authorities and researchers for this article, they would often initiate the interview with some variation of the comment “surely you’ve spoken to Robert Lustig,” not because Lustig has done any of the key research on sugar himself, which he hasn’t, but because he’s willing to insist publicly and unambiguously, when most researchers are not, that sugar is a toxic substance that people abuse. In Lustig’s view, sugar should be thought of, like cigarettes and alcohol, as something that’s killing us.

This brings us to the salient question: Can sugar possibly be as bad as Lustig says it is? . . .

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Written by LeisureGuy

21 August 2011 at 10:48 am

Posted in Daily life, Food, Health, Science

Morning report

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I’m working on wrapping up the 5th edition and making good progress. I’ll be able to release the manuscript for review for the final proof later today, with hopes of getting the final proof for review by Friday.

I did take a break for a brief outing: to Whole Foods, where I discovered the Sunday morning famer’s market in their parking lot in full swing. Picked up eggs, mushrooms, fruit (pluots, strawberries, red raspberries, blackberries), and then to Whole Foods for greens (dandelion and red kale), some seitan, and other things. I found some locally made kraut that’s quite good: Farmhouse Culture. I got a jar of the Smoked Jalapeño:

Smoked Jalapeno Kraut is our California remix of El Salvadore’s curtido, a traditional cabbage dish normally made with fermented pineapple juice. We’ve replaced the tropical zing with smoky heat, adding fresh smoked jalapenos to a blend of raw cabbage, carrots, onions, and crunchy radish. Taste real outdoor-grilled flavor in every jar of this 98% raw kraut.

Uses: Pile it onto your nachos; in a grilled cheese sandwich; rolled into a burrito or as a condiment with any Latin dishes.

Ingredients: Organic cabbage, organic onions, organic carrots, organic daikon radishes, smoked jalapeno peppers, Sonoma sea salt.

And I also got a jar of the Horseradish Leek kraut:

Recently named the 64th best food to eat in San Francisco our crazy good Horseradish-Leek Kraut will tantalize your taste buds. Mild yet perky, this nose tickling kraut pairs beautifully with anything you can imagine. Spectacular with a steak, sublime on a sandwich, and magnificent by the mouthful, horseradish-leek kraut is destined to become a new classic.

Uses: Great for roasted veggies and meats, on sandwiches, with quinoa or other whole grains, and anything else you can thing of!

Ingredients: Organic cabbage, organic horseradish, organic leeks, organic carrots, Sonoma sea salt.

I’ve now tasted both: they’re great.

Written by LeisureGuy

21 August 2011 at 10:21 am

Posted in Daily life, Food

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