Later On

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

Archive for August 15th, 2012

When the truth will not serve: Military-budget edition

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Justin Elliott reports for ProPublica:

Anxiety is rising in Washington about the big cuts to military spending slated to go into effect in January unless Congress takes action.

Republicans, defense industry executives, and some Democrats are arguing hard against the automatic cuts, which were the result of last summer’s deal to raise the debt ceiling and would also cut nondefense spending equally. Multiple members of Congress have warned that slashing defense spending by $600 billion would devastate the military, with Sen. Lindsey Graham this month predicting the cuts would deal “a death blow to our ability to defend ourselves.”

There’s just one problem: The number they cite is wrong.

The law triggering the cuts does not slash the military budget by $600 billion. That figure — which has also been widely cited in the media — overstates the amount of military cuts by more than $100 billion.

Signed by President Obama last August after the debt ceiling drama, the law actually requires $492 billion in military budget cuts. (The cuts are slated to take place over nine years.)

The oft-repeated higher figure of $600 billion is actually the total in projected deficit reduction that the government would get by cutting $492 billion from the military. The extra $108 billion in projected savings would come via interest payments the government wouldn’t have to make. Since the government would be spending less, it could borrow less and thus save on interest.

“It is downright misleading to say that sequestration will cut defense by $600 billion,” said David Berteau, senior vice president at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and a former Defense Department official. (Sequestration is the term often used in Washington to refer to the cuts.)

“This entire exercise against sequestration is tainted by the intense desire of several parties — from the members of Congress who voted for the bill to the Pentagon that wants to avoid the cuts — to make sequestration seem untenable,” Berteau added.

Both a Congressional Budget Office report and the head of the Office of Management and Budget concur that the proper figure for the cuts is $492 billion, or about $55 billion annually over nine years.

In arguing against the cuts, the $600 billion figure has been cited recently by . . .

Continue reading.

I am not surprised at the GOP’s use of a lie, but I am disappointed with the mainstream press’s failure to report on the facts. The GOP unfortunately has a tendency to use tactics that most would find appalling (if the name of the party were blanked out: just the tactic reported). For example, one party has recently curtailed early voting and extended voting hours in districts that favor the other party, while allowing both in districts that favor it. The NY Times has a strong editorial on that deliberate disenfranchisement of the other party today, but shame is no longer effective in shaping behavior—as we have repeatedly been shown by the conduct of bankers. A.M. Rosenthal has a column on this event that indicates that publicity, if not shame, may force corrective action—but the initial impetus that led to the first actions remains and will re-emerge: one party does not favor fair voting.

Written by LeisureGuy

15 August 2012 at 11:37 am

Chicken GOPM that The Wife liked

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This was a good one because I experimented with eggplant, which she thought she’d not like. Layers in the 2-qt Staub round cocotte, from the bottom:

1 spring onion, chopped
8-10 cloves garlic, chopped small
handful of chopped celery
1/3 c converted rice (Uncle Ben’s)
1 Tbsp vinegar
8 oz skinless chicken breasts, cut into chunks
diced eggplant—probably about 3/4 c
smoked paprika
2 peeled lemons, diced
12 Kalamata olives, chopped
2 Tbsp capers
1 largish Roma tomato, sliced crossways to make a layer
fill the pot with shredded Brussels sprouts

Thinly slicing the Brussels sprounts across seems to shred them well enough.

The tomatoes in the middle worked well. I usually put them on top, but The Wife says that they worked better here. On top they tend to dry, and in the middle some of the flavor was in the rice as well.

With the eggplant, I was going for a sort of ratatouille layer and would have added some finely diced zucchini on top of the eggplant, before the tomatoes, but didn’t want to use up the room because she wanted lots of Brussels sprouts.

Pour-over was 2 Tbsp Bragg’s vinaigrette, 1 Tbsp sherry, 2 tsp soy sauce, 1/2 Tbsp mustard, shaken together vigorously.

Cover, 45 minutes at 450ºF, and let cool a while. She says it’s the best yet.

These dinners really are quick, easy, tasty, and healthful. I seem to be able to put one together in about the time it takes the oven to get to 450º. I want to try black rice next time.

Written by LeisureGuy

15 August 2012 at 10:45 am

Posted in Daily life, Food, GOPM, Recipes

Oscar Peterson Trio: Boogie Blues Etude

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Man, can Oscar Peterson play! I saw him in concert once in Iowa City, and The Eldest even got to meet him backstage. This is via JazzOnTheTube.com.

Ronnie Scott’s Club in 1974 –
Oscar Peterson-piano,
Niels Pedersen-bass,
Barney Kessel-guitar.

Written by LeisureGuy

15 August 2012 at 9:45 am

Posted in Jazz, Video

Butterfly mutation rate doubles near Fukushima site

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Interesting finding reported by Edyta Zielinski in The Scientist:

Butterflies collected from sites near Fukushima 2 months after the power plant leaked radiation into the environment showed more than double the mutation rates of butterflies collected from other sites in Japan. The researchers, who hail from University of the Ryukyus, Okinawa, reported their findings last week (August 9) in Scientific Reports.

Indeed, each subsequent generation arising from the first radiation-affected butterflies had more severe physical abnormalities than its parent generation. Part of this can be explained by the passing down of damaged genes, but an additional factor, the researchers say, was that butterflies ate contaminated food in the area, which can be more damaging than external exposure.

“It has been believed that insects are very resistant to radiation,” lead researcher Joji Otaki from the University of the Ryukyus, Okinawa, told BBC News. “In that sense, our results were unexpected.”

Written by LeisureGuy

15 August 2012 at 7:43 am

Posted in Environment, Health, Science

Feather razor with Kai blade

with 5 comments

Mama Bear Bay Rum and Tangerine is typical of the fragrances found only in artisanal shaving soaps (and creams): not the kind of thing a mainstream maker could risk because of the batch sizes such makers must produce. And it’s a very nice fragrance, pleasant on a summer morning (though our own morning on the Bay is fogbound and overcast—though that will change later). The Vie-Long horsehair brush made an excellent lather, thick and long lasting and—of course—fragrant.

A reader commented on difficulties he encountered in using a Kai blade in the Feather razor. The Feather’s razor-positioning studs in the cap, like the Pils and some of the iKons, are not very tall: horizontal, short studs that fit into the blade’s slot. The problem he mentioned was that the studs did not fully engage the Kai blade, which has a tight fit on the center post.

The tight fit, though, actually helps: if you push the blade firmly down, using a thumb on the middle of the blade at each side of the center post, the blade fits into position over the studs and stays there, the tight fit holding it in position. Then then baseplate can be placed atop that and the handle screwed on to complete the assembly.

I found the Kai blade fit well using this technique, and it also worked well in this razor, in which I had so far used only Feather blades: a very smooth shave, with the second pass almost completing the shave. But I did the third pass anyway, for a perfectly smooth result. The Kai really is a good blade for me; YMMV.

A little splash of Captain’s Choice Bay Rum to complete the theme, and I’m ready for a new day.

Written by LeisureGuy

15 August 2012 at 7:39 am

Posted in Shaving

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