Later On

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

Archive for May 22nd, 2013

Good debate on Obama Administration v. The Free Press

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Read all six positions—and particularly Glenn Greenwald’s.

Written by LeisureGuy

22 May 2013 at 1:06 pm

P.A.T.–Pretty Amazing Technology

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At last, we’re finally moving into a recognizable slice of science-fiction future.

Written by LeisureGuy

22 May 2013 at 12:09 pm

Enabling Greed Makes U.S. Sick

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Bill Moyers and Michael Winship take a look at causes of US decline:

At the end of a week that reminds us to be ever vigilant about the dangers of government overreaching its authority, whether by the long arm of the IRS or the Justice Department, we should pause to think about another threat — from too much private power obnoxiously intruding into public life.

All too often, instead of acting as a brake on runaway corporate power and greed, government becomes their enabler, undermining the very rules and regulations intended to keep us safe.

Think of inadequate inspections of food and the food-related infections which kill 3,000 Americans each year and make 48 million sick. A new study from Johns Hopkins shows elevated levels of arsenic — known to increase a person’s risk of cancer — in chicken meat. According to the university’s Center for a Livable Future, “Arsenic-based drugs have been used for decades to make poultry grow faster and improve the pigmentation of the meat. The drugs are also approved to treat and prevent parasites in poultry… Currently in the U.S., there is no federal law prohibiting the sale or use of arsenic-based drugs in poultry feed.”

And here’s a story in The Washington Post about toxic, bacteria-killing chemicals used in poultry plants to clean more chickens more quickly to meet increased demand and make more money. According to Amanda Hitt, director of the Government Accountability Project’s Food Integrity Campaign, “They are mixing chemicals together in these plants, and it’s making people sick. Does it work better at killing off pathogens? Yes, but it also can send someone into respiratory arrest.”

As long as there are insufficient checks and balances on big business and its powerful lobbies, we are at their mercy.

So far, the government has done next to nothing. No research into the possible side effects, no comprehensive record-keeping on illnesses. “Instead,” the Post reports, “they review data provided by chemical manufacturers.” What’s more, the Department of Agriculture is about to allow the production lines to move even faster, by as much as 25 percent, which means more chemicals, more exposure, more sickness.

Think of that and think of the 85,000 industrial chemicals available today – only a handful have been tested for safety. Ian Urbina writes in The New York Times, “Hazardous chemicals have become so ubiquitous that scientists now talk about babies being born pre-polluted, sometimes with hundred s of synthetic chemicals showing up in their blood.”

Think, too, of that horrific . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

22 May 2013 at 10:38 am

Why some see the GOP as acting in bad faith

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Paul Starr explains in The American Prospect:

Compromise is often an unhappily revealing art. “Ideals may tell us something important about what we would like to be. But compromises tell us who we are,” the philosopher Avishai Margalit writes. In finding compromises with Republicans on the federal budget, Democrats need to remember not only who they are but who the voters depend on them to be.

From that standpoint, the start of the budget battle in early April did not go well. Acceding to Republican demands for cuts in Social Security and Medicare, the president’s budget left his party open to a cynical but predictable response. Without the least acknowledgment of a contradiction, the chairman of the House Republicans’ campaign arm, Representative Greg Walden, immediately went on television to denounce Barack Obama’s “shocking attack on seniors.”

We’ve seen it before. Many of the House Republicans who voted in 2008 for the bank bailouts called for by the Bush administration denounced the bailouts in the 2010 election as if they had nothing to do with them. In 2012, Paul Ryan and other Republicans campaigned against the $700 billion in Medicare cuts in “Obamacare” as if the Ryan budget adopted by House Republicans did not include the same cuts—and without acknowledging that the Affordable Care Act included compensating measures that improved seniors’ Medicare benefits.

The two major parties today don’t just have ideological differences; they don’t observe the same rules of public accountability. The Democrats have no choice but to accept responsibility; they hold the presidency, and they believe in making government work. The Republicans do not share that commitment, and they are now unrestrained by executive obligations or by moderates in their own ranks. So they put politics before governing and have made bad faith in negotiations standard practice.

Yet anticipating bad faith from the Republicans does not free Obama from the need to advance compromises. The GOP will likely control the House throughout the president’s term; Obama has to do business with people who cannot be trusted to own up to their side of a deal. He has to identify budgetary savings and make political concessions that nonetheless demonstrate fidelity to long-standing commitments and principles. . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

22 May 2013 at 10:30 am

“Citizen Koch”: a one-hour movie worth watching

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Juan Cole at Informed Comment:

PBS declined to show “Citizen Koch, a documentary about the Wisconsin public union issue, treating the influence of the dirty energy magnates who are destroying the world through climate change and funding climate change denial, among the various other nefarious things they do. This according to the New Yorker’s Jane Mayer. It points to the dangers of declining public funding for institutions such as PBS in favor of corporate sponsorships and the donations of the rich. No wonder investigative journalism is an endangered species! [And by all means read that New Yorker article: it shows how much of public discourse the superrich already control. It is truly shocking and helps one understand why the US is declining so rapidly. – LG]

Robert Greenwald of Brave New Films on the other hand is crowd-sourced and can’t be so easily deterred:

http://youtu.be/UTwqkl8BqSc

Watch it and think about why on earth PBS would refuse to air the documentary.

Written by LeisureGuy

22 May 2013 at 10:20 am

Posted in Business, Media, Video

A very good shave

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SOTD 22 May 2013

A very pleasant shave. I did wet the (horsehair) knot of the Vie-Long brush and let it stand, soaking wet, while I showered. I think that does help with horsehair—and it’s much easier than running water to immerse the knot (or brush).

I got an immediate good lather from The Holy Black, but for me the fragrance is faint. I still like best the Bay Whiskey Lime so far as fragrance goes.

The Swedish Gillette blade in my short-handled Super Adjustable is getting old, but still I got a very nice shave: the last for that blade.

A splash of Bulgari, and I’m readying the apartment for the cleaning ladies.

Written by LeisureGuy

22 May 2013 at 9:28 am

Posted in Shaving

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