Later On

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

Archive for August 31st, 2012

Obama’s broken promise: The disgusting war on medical marijuana patients

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In an email from the Marijuana Policy Project:

Five years ago, Montana’s most outspoken medical marijuana patient — Robin Prosser — committed suicide after the DEA seized her medicine, making her life unbearable.

Now flash forward to this past Wednesday night, when the feds’ war on medical marijuana claimed another Montana citizen’s life

Former medical marijuana provider Richard Flor died on Wednesday after suffering heart attacks and kidney failure about six months into his five-year federal sentence. Richard was sentenced despite suffering from diabetes, Hepatitis C, and osteoarthritis.

For months, the federal government failed to place him in a facility that could give him the medical care he needed — and that the judge recommended.

Let your Congress member know that it’s past time to end this carnage.

Richard was Montana’s first registered caregiver, under a law that MPP passed via voter initiative in November 2004. He was assisting his wife Sherry — who suffers from chronic pain and is allergic to pain medications — as well as other patients.

Richard believed President Obama and his Justice Department when they said that medical marijuana providers would not be a federal enforcement priority. So, in 2009, Richard co-founded Montana Cannabis, where patients could get reliable, safe access to their medicine. But then the feds suddenly shifted their policy in March 2011, targeting Montana Cannabis and several other providers without warning.

The feds didn’t spare Sherry, either: She is serving a two-year sentence.

Please email your U.S. House representative to ask them to pass legislation to give legal protection to medical marijuana patients, caregivers, and businesses in the 17 (and soon to be more) states and the District of Columbia, where medical marijuana is legal.

The broken promise—the promise that the Federal government would take no action against patients using medical marijuana and their dispensaries operating in accordance with state laws—is a war on people who are ill. Obama and Holder should be ashamed, but people who routinely break their promises seldom are.

Written by Leisureguy

31 August 2012 at 2:01 pm

The Sister makes her first GOPM

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She writes:

I just made my first GOPM. It was a slight variation of “Thai Larb,” p. 112, in Elizabeth Yarnell’s cookbook. I used the Staub 2.25-qt. round cocotte. Layers, starting with the bottom:

1/3 cup converted rice
1 Tbsp tamari
1 Tbsp rice vinegar
Layer of fat thin-sliced lemon, ends cut off, quartered and run through thin slicer of Cuisinart
Layer of a veggie/meat mixture dropped in but not packed:  1/4 cup lime juice, 1 1/2 tsp light brown sugar, 1 tsp minced jalapeno chile, 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes, 2 scallions chopped, 1/2 red bell pepper diced, a little over 1/4 cup chopped mint, whisked together, then with 3/4 lb. ground pork forked and incorporated in.
1 cup snow peas cut in thirds
Pot filled at top with minced (Cuisinart) green cabbage

My most innovative part was adding the thinly sliced lemons and they really added to it.  When I decided to just put the whole package of fresh mint in, which was pretty much more than a cup, I was afraid that would make it taste “too minty,” but it didn’t.

Author said to use 1/2 to 3/4 lb. ground meat and I wanted to use the lesser, but when I got the package out, it held 3/4 and I just didn’t want to store and use a 1/4 another time.  I reversed her order of cabbage and snow peas at the top layers because I certainly wanted to use all my cup of snow peas and then the fill-in to the top could be the cabbage; that didn’t matter at all.

R. (The Bro-In-Law) can sometimes gripe if something is too spicy hot, so I strictly went along with her recipe, cutting off the end of a nice, fat jalapeno to mince out a tsp. and adding 1/8 tsp. of red pepper flakes.  BUT I couldn’t taste any spicy heat in the dish at all and wished I’d used all that nice big jalapeno.

The verdict?  Nowadays it’s a compliment from R. if he just eats all his meal, but last night, after a bite or two, he said, “This is interesting.”  And later, “This is tasty.”

Half the pot is almost too filling for us though.  I maybe filled up too much to finish my half and R. asked couldn’t finish all of his.  So I just put his leftover in his bowl in the fridge.  In a midnight raid, I came in and finished his off.  It was good cold!

Making one’s first GOPM is sort of an adventure: it’s hard to believe that it will work—and that you can mix frozen foods (e.g., green beans, corn) in and still have everything come out right. But it really does work.

I find Yarnell’s recipes somewhat bland, but they’re easy to spice up. It occurred to me that in the recipe above, one could add a layer of peanuts (or some dollops of peanut butter) atop the meat, but in that case I would definitely use only 1/2 lb or even a little less.

Yarnell tends to cook 4 servings of rice (1 cup uncooked rice) for two meals, but it’s easy enough to simply use 2 servings (1/2 cup) or even a little less if you don’t want the carbs—1/3 cup, as shown above. I do the same: 1/3 cup seems plenty.

Written by Leisureguy

31 August 2012 at 9:21 am

Interesting brief note on origin of language

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Bob Slaughter pointed out a brief (too brief, as he noted) discussion of a brain function that brought us language. Maria Popova notes in Brain Pickings:

In 2004, Noam Chomsky — pioneering MIT linguist, cognitive scientist, education guru, Occupy pamphleteer — sat down with McGill University professor James McGilvray to talk about the origin and purpose of language. In 2009, the two reconvened to discuss how half a decade of scientific progress, including developments like “biolinguistics” and computational linguistics, has altered our understanding of the subject. Their fascinating conversations have now been gathered in The Science of Language (public library) — a fine addition to these essential books on language.

Rather than a gradual evolutionary progression, language, says Chomsky, developed incredibly rapidly somewhere between 100,000 and 60,000 years ago — an occurrence he calls “just an outburst of creative energy that somehow takes place in an instant of evolutionary time.” And even though we now know that there is no such thing as a first human being, this cognitive growth spurt could only be explained by some genetic modification that resulted from a small mutation that happened in a single person.

It looks as if — given the time involved — there was a sudden ‘great leap forward.’ Some small genetic modification somehow that rewired the brain slightly [and] made this human capacity available. And with it came an entire range of creative options that are available to humans within a theory of mind — a second-order theory of mind, so you know that somebody is trying to make you think what somebody else wants you to think.


Well, mutations take place in a person, not in a a group. We know, incidentally, that this was a very small breeding group — some little group of hominids in some corner of Africa, apparently. Somewhere in that group, some small mutation took place, leading to the great leap forward. It had to have happened in a single person.

But what, exactly, happened in our great linguistic grandmother or grandfather? Chomsky calls it Merge — a basic cognitive function that, in its simplest form, enables you to take two things and construct a thing that is the set of the two things. . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

31 August 2012 at 8:15 am

Posted in Evolution, Science

Beer-glass shape affects drinking rate

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Interesting note for beer drinkers by Jef Akst in The Scientist:

Beer drinkers in the United Kingdom are influenced by an optical illusion caused by the shape of a curved glass. According to a new study published this month (August 17) in PLoS ONE, certain glass shapes can actually make people down a beer more quickly, possibly contributing to the rising binge drinking problem in the U.K. that legislation has failed to control.

Different glass shapes can give the same volume of liquid the appearance of varying volumes, reasoned experimental psychologist Angela Attwood of the University of Bristol. So she and her colleagues set out to test how much glass shape affected beer drinkers’ intake. They tested 160 healthy young people, who were categorized as “social beer drinks,” not alcoholics, according to the standard WHO test for hazardous drinking. The researchers then asked each participant to drink one of two volumes of lager or soft drink—either 177 milliliters or 354 milliliters—from either a straight or curved glasses, while watching a nature documentary. At the end of each session, the participants performed a word search task, the purpose of which was merely to throw them off the true purpose of the study.

Reviewing the data, the researchers found that people drinking a full glass of beer from a curved glass drank significantly faster—in about 8 minutes, compared to the average 13 minutes it took people drinking from a straight glass. They found no differences in drinking time, however, between curved and straight glasses of half a beer.

According to Attwood, social beer drinkers naturally pace their drinking by judging how quickly they reach the halfway point. Because a curved glass holds more beer in the top half, it unconsciously motivates drinkers to speed up, reasons Attwood, who suggests a solution of marking beer glasses with a half-full line. “We can’t tell people not to drink, but we can give them a little more control,” she told ScienceNOW.

Written by Leisureguy

31 August 2012 at 8:10 am

Posted in Daily life, Health, Science

Krugman on the GOP’s death to Medicare initiative

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Paul Krugman in today’s NY Times:

Paul Ryan’s speech Wednesday night may have accomplished one good thing: It finally may have dispelled the myth that he is a Serious, Honest Conservative. Indeed, Mr. Ryan’s brazen dishonesty left even his critics breathless.

Some of his fibs were trivial but telling, like his suggestion that President Obama is responsible for a closed auto plant in his hometown, even though the plant closed before Mr. Obama took office. Others were infuriating, like his sanctimonious declaration that “the truest measure of any society is how it treats those who cannot defend or care for themselves.” This from a man proposing savage cuts in Medicaid, which would cause tens of millions of vulnerable Americans to lose health coverage.

And Mr. Ryan — who has proposed $4.3 trillion in tax cuts over the next decade, versus only about $1.7 trillion in specific spending cuts — is still posing as a deficit hawk.

But Mr. Ryan’s big lie — and, yes, it deserves that designation — was his claim that “a Romney-Ryan administration will protect and strengthen Medicare.” Actually, it would kill the program.

Before I get there, let me just mention that Mr. Ryan has now gone all-in on the party line that the president’s plan to trim Medicare expenses by around $700 billion over the next decade — savings achieved by paying less to insurance companies and hospitals, not by reducing benefits — is a terrible, terrible thing. Yet, just a few days ago, Mr. Ryan was still touting his own budget plan, which included those very same savings.

But back to the big lie. The Republican Party is now firmly committed to replacing Medicare with what we might call Vouchercare. The government would no longer pay your major medical bills; instead, it would give you a voucher that could be applied to the purchase of private insurance. And, if the voucher proved insufficient to buy decent coverage, hey, that would be your problem.

Moreover, the vouchers almost certainly would be inadequate; their value would be set by a formula taking no account of likely increases in health care costs.

Why would anyone think that this was a good idea? The G.O.P. platform says that it “will empower millions of seniors to control their personal health care decisions.” Indeed. Because those of us too young for Medicare just feel so personally empowered, you know, when dealing with insurance companies.

Still, wouldn’t private insurers reduce costs through the magic of the marketplace? . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

31 August 2012 at 7:59 am

Move day less than a week away

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The move is rushing toward me. I admit to being terrified, but I suppose it’s not really life-threatening. Still, it’s something I’ve not done for more than 20 years, and I still have a LOT of clutter compared to the space I’ll have once the move is done.

But: these things tend to work out over time. Still, blogging may be a bit off over the coming weeks. And the morning shave photo may be in abeyance for a while.

Written by Leisureguy

31 August 2012 at 7:57 am

Posted in Daily life

Similar Speick Shave

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I was asked how the fragrance of Speick shaving soap (used yesterday) compared to Speick shaving cream, so that directed today’s choices. I went with the Simpson Emperor again, but the 2 instead of the 3, and once more enjoyed a fine lather and the comfortable handle of the Emperor brush.

Speick shaving cream’s fragrance is much more noticeable than the soap’s, whose fragrance is quite muted. The shaving cream has a good, strong, fresh fragrance and makes quite a wonderful lather. Good as the Speick soap is among soaps, I would say that Speick’s shaving cream stands relatively higher among shaving creams.

The iKon OSS with a Gillette 7 O’Clock SharpEdge blade did its usual fine and comfortable job: three passes to perfection. A splash then of Specik aftershave and I’m ready and raring to go.

Written by Leisureguy

31 August 2012 at 7:54 am

Posted in Shaving

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