Later On

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

Archive for March 13th, 2013

Telling it like it is: Explicitly calling out conservative lies

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Yes, outright lies that conservatives continually and explicitly push. Amanda Marcotte counts them off for Salon. The first few:

Lie No. 1: Racism has barely been an issue in U.S. history and slavery wasn’t that big a deal.
Lie No. 2: Joe McCarthy was right.
Lie No. 3: Climate change is a massive hoax scientists have perpetuated on the public.
Lie No. 4: . . .

Read the whole thing.

Written by Leisureguy

13 March 2013 at 2:04 pm

This seems a switch: Religious groups band together to demand legislature improve access to contraceptives

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Then if the religious groups are in favor of reproductive rights and women’s groups are in favor as well, who exactly is opposing them? State legislators, for one. Katie McDonough writes in Salon:

Clergy from across Texas have gathered at the Capitol building in Austin to publicly call on legislators to stop their ongoing attacks on reproductive rights and abortion access. Representatives from Christian and Jewish denominations, non-denominational gospel and Bible churches, Catholic organizations and Unitarian Universalist groups gathered to pray together for a “beloved community” that requires that “all women have access to safe, affordable healthcare,” prayed the Rev. Valda Jean Combs of St. James United Methodist Church in Waco.

The presence of progressive religious leaders at the Capitol stands in stark contrast to a years-long attack on women’s reproductive rights in the state. During the 2011 legislative session, Texas lawmakers cut $73 million from family planning programs, followed by a 2012 decision by Gov. Rick Perry to dissolve the state’s partnership with the federal Women’s Health Program, forfeiting millions in Medicaid funding for low-income women’s healthcare.

As Andrea Grimes reports for RH Reality Check: . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

13 March 2013 at 1:55 pm

Odd omission at CPAC and in CPAC story in the WaPo

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From its founding four decades ago, the Conservative Political Action Conference — known as CPAC and set to get underway Thursday — has come to function as an annual gut check for the political right. The story, by Karen Tumulty, begins:

At the CPAC gathering of post-Watergate 1975, then-California Gov. Ronald Reagan famously exhorted the demoralized group to raise “a banner of no pale pastels, but bold colors which make it unmistakably clear where we stand on all of the issues troubling the people.”

And CPAC was where, on the heels of his landslide presidential reelection a decade later, Reagan proclaimed: “The tide of history is moving irresistibly in our direction. Why? Because the other side is virtually bankrupt of ideas.”

This year, CPAC once again captures the mood of conservatism in America — bewildered, dysfunctional and struggling to find its moorings in the wake of two consecutive GOP presidential losses.

It remains the biggest event on the calendar for conservative activists.

“There will be somewhere between 8,000 and 10,000 people here. When Reagan was president, 2,000 was a big meeting,” said Grover Norquist, an anti-tax crusader who is on the board of the American Conservative Union, which sponsors the conference. “This is like Woodstock for conservatives.”

But most of the early buzz around the conference has centered on who has been invited to speak, and who has been snubbed. . .

Continue reading.

And she goes on to discuss who’s been invited, and who has not, with one notable exception: the man who’s an obvious headliner (based on position) and he’s not even mentioned, nor is his absence noted: George W. Bush, the 2-term President of the US: the very greatest success of the GOP in putting a man in office (the one they chose) and supporting all his programs fiercely by controlling both houses of Congress—and now he’s not even mentioned?! The most recent time the GOP got everything they wanted and could ask for? The time we got to see what the GOP really does when it controls all the reins of power?

I can understand why the GOP doesn’t want to talk about that, but it certainly is present at CPAC like—well, like the elephant in the living room.

Written by Leisureguy

13 March 2013 at 11:44 am

Posted in Daily life

Fitness app for smartphones looks cool

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And it is, in fact, a Cool Tool—and I imagine that there are a jillion of these. I am not smart-phoned, so that’s an entire product category I can safely ignore.

Written by Leisureguy

13 March 2013 at 11:19 am

Posted in Fitness, Software

Smoked ham shank and beans

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Yesterday I picked up a smoked ham shank at the store and last night put it in my 4-qt stockpot along with about of inch of water, covered it, and left it in a 200ºF oven overnight, while about 13 oz of pinto peans soaked in a pan on the counter.

This morning I removed the ham shank pot from the oven and left it uncovered until it cooled. I think used my hands to bone it and pull the meat into small chunks. I drained and added the beans to the pulled meat in the 4qt pot, which still held the water the shank had braised in. I added enough water just to cover the beans and:

1 large Spanish onion, chopped
the rest of the green garlic, chopped (probably 3/4 cup, including the greens)
a good handful of sun-dried tomatoes (the dry kind)
2 tsp kosher salt
several grindings black pepper
2 tsp dried basil

That will simmer until beans are soft—2-3 hours, probably. Very easy recipe because I have to do very little except wait.

UPDATE: Extremely tasty. The dried tomatoes were an excellent idea.

Written by Leisureguy

13 March 2013 at 11:18 am

Posted in Food, Recipes & Cooking

After a Powerful Lobbyist Intervenes, EPA Reverses Stance on Polluting Texas County’s Water

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It is stories like this one, in ProPublica by Abrahm Lutstgarten, that make it seems as though the US government in general, and Congress and the Barack Administration in particular, are receiving their marching orders from corporations, not the common people, whose welfare now seems up for sale.

When Uranium Energy Corp. sought permission to launch a large-scale mining project in Goliad County, Texas, it seemed as if the Environmental Protection Agency would stand in its way.

To get the ore out of the ground, the company needed a permit to pollute a pristine supply of underground drinking water in an area already parched by drought.

Further, EPA scientists feared that radioactive contaminants would flow from the mining site into water wells used by nearby homes. Uranium Energy said the pollution would remain contained, but resisted doing the advanced scientific testing and modeling the government asked for to prove it.

The plan appeared to be dead on arrival until late 2011, when Uranium Energy hired Heather Podesta, a lobbyist and prolific Democratic fundraiser whose pull with the Obama administration prompted The Washington Post to name her the Capitol’s latest “It girl.”

Podesta — the sister-in-law of John Podesta, who co-chaired President Obama’s transition team — appealed directly to the EPA’s second in command, Bob Perciasepe, pressing the agency’s highest-level administrators to get directly involved and bring the agency’s local staff in Texas back to the table to reconsider their position, according to emails obtained by ProPublica through the Freedom of Information Act.

By the end of 2012, the EPA reversed its position in Goliad, approving an exemption allowing Uranium Energy to pollute the aquifer, though in a somewhat smaller area than was originally proposed.

An EPA spokesperson said companies routinely lobby the agency on regulatory issues and that Podesta’s entreaties to Perciasepe, now the agency’s acting administrator while Obama’s nominee to head the EPA, Gina McCarthy, awaits confirmation, played no part in the agency’s final decision.

“Bob’s involvement was literally a part of what he does on a weekly or daily basis,” the spokesperson said. “Lobbyists, etcetera, get in touch, he meets with them, he points them in the right direction.”

Factors other than Podesta’s efforts clearly weighed on the EPA as the Goliad case played out, including the agency’s fraught relationship with Texas officials and the Obama administration’s desire to demonstrate support for energy development.

Still, documents leave little doubt that Podesta, described by Corporate Board Member magazine as the number one person “you need to know in Obama’s Washington,” kept the Goliad County issue alive when the EPA’s scientific analysis seemed to doom it to failure.

Podesta did not respond to multiple messages requesting a comment. A spokesman for Uranium Energy said the company would not respond to questions. . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

13 March 2013 at 10:46 am

Watching the angle

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SOTD 13 Mar 2013

Because of yesterday’s shave with the Guard, whose pivoted (single-blade) cartridge head always keeps the same angle automatically, I was particularly conscious of angle in today’s shaving, using an Edwin Jagger head on a UFO handle (and a Blue Lab Personna blade).

I naturally prepped first, using my Omega Pro 48 (model 10048) boar brush, which I allowed to sit soaking wet while I showered. I got a very nice lather from Bathhouse Soapery’s Tobacco & Rum shaving soap. I didn’t notice those particular fragrances, but the soap definitely had a very pleasant and masculine fragrance. The lather was creamy and abundant and easily lasted for three passes. The Pro 48 does not have capacity problems.

In watching angle, I noticed that I definitely vary the angle depending on the pass and the part of my face I’m shaving. I first coined the “manual vs. automatic transmission” to explain how the DE razor, like a car with a manual transmission, requires learning and practice, and you have to pay close attention to what you’re doing, but (also like a car with a manual transmission), once you do master it, you can get better performance with it than with the automatic.

Now that may no longer be true of cars—modern computer-driven automatic transmissions may well be better than an experienced driver with a manual transmission—but it is certainly still true of razors: no computer-driven angle control, just a simple pivot that, idiot-like, maintains exactly the same angle at all times everywhere regardless of which pass.

I noticed it with the Guard yesterday when I automatically tried to steepen the angle in spots and times where I’ve discovered that works best, and I couldn’t do it. Today, when I hit those spots, I easily altered the angle slightly and as a result I have a better shave than yesterday’s.

The beginner should definitely focus on maintaining a shallow angle (with light pressure) and focus on keeping the cap of the razor touching the skin. Judicious experimentation with angle, using the auditory feedback from the stubble’s being cut, will in time develop your sense of the best angle.

At any rate, a great shave, and the Avocado Oil Balm from Saint Charles Shave was a fine finish. I like that fragrance and feel.

Written by Leisureguy

13 March 2013 at 9:41 am

Posted in Shaving

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