Later On

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

Archive for October 4th, 2013

Pork belly char

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As a special treat, having tasted it on vacation, I decided to make slow-roasted pork belly. Pork belly itself is quite inexpensiv. I did, however, make the mistake of thinking that the times and temperatures in Nigella Lawon’s recipes are meant to be taken literally. They seem to be written with the use of some sort of poetic license, I note bitterly after picking out a few shreds of overcooked meat from two layers of char. Did a miss an “April 1” date on the post?

Undaunted, I shall buy another and this time make my own damn recipe..

UPDATE. This is the offending recipe. What I will do:

Mix 1/2 c sake and 1/4 c tamari and 1 Tbsp grated ginger in a dish or other container big enough to hold the pork belly. After scoring the skin (and I had to use a single-edged razor blade: that skin is tough), put the pork belly skin side up to marinate overnight. The next morning, turn oven to 200ºF and roast pork for 8 hours or so, checking from time to time. At that temperature, I don’t think it will burn.  When it’s ready to eat, turn on broiler and brown the skin on top, remove, and enjoy.

That’s my plan, at any rate.

Written by Leisureguy

4 October 2013 at 5:28 pm

Posted in Food, Recipes & Cooking

Exxon thinks it owns “XX” (as in Dos Equis beer)

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Written by Leisureguy

4 October 2013 at 2:15 pm

Posted in Business

“A Corporate Trojan Horse”: Obama Pushes Secretive TPP Trade Pact, Would Rewrite Swath of U.S. Laws

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Increasingly often governments find their own laws rewritten by a trade pact—i.e., an agreement designed to help corporations, so naturally the corporations have a big say in the rules developed. Democracy Now! has a video (with transcript) about what is going on. The description:

As the federal government shutdown continues, Secretary of State John Kerry heads to Asia for secret talks on a sweeping new trade deal, the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The TPP is often referred to by critics as “NAFTA on steroids,” and would establish a free trade zone that would stretch from Vietnam to Chile, encompassing 800 million people — about a third of world trade and nearly 40 percent of the global economy. While the text of the treaty has been largely negotiated behind closed doors and, until June, kept secret from Congress, more than 600 corporate advisers reportedly have access to the measure, including employees of Halliburton and Monsanto. “This is not mainly about trade,” says Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch. “It is a corporate Trojan horse. The agreement has 29 chapters, and only five of them have to do with trade. The other 24 chapters either handcuff our domestic governments, limiting food safety, environmental standards, financial regulation, energy and


Written by Leisureguy

4 October 2013 at 2:13 pm

The FBI and American freedoms

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Alex Kane reports at AlterNet:

Muhammad Tanvir was asked by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to spy on his Pakistani community. He refused, and so he remains on the no-fly list–and he can’t visit an ailing mother.

Now, Tanvir is taking action along with other Muslims against the FBI’s attempt to coerce them into spying on their own community in exchange for getting off the no-fly list. Tanvir, a resident of the Bronx, recently testified in court against the FBI for it’s no-fly practices.

Tanvir’s lawsuit, which the American Civil Liberties Union has taken on, is putting the FBI on the hotseat. “Mr. Tanvir has been prevented from flying despite the fact that he does not present any threat to aviation security,” the ACLU suit reads, according to the Courthouse News Service [3]. “Instead, defendants sought to exploit the draconian burden posed by the No Fly List – including the inability to travel for work, or to visit family overseas – in order to coerce him into serving the FBI as a spy with American Muslim communities and places of worship.”

The no-fly list, instituted after September 11, arbitrarily puts thousands of people on a list that prevents them from traveling. Tanvir is not the only one to have been pressured by the FBI.

A separate ACLU suit filed in 2010 represents other Muslims trying to get their names off the no-fly list. One of them is Nagib Ali Ghaleb, a Yemeni-American. In 2010, Ghaleb flew to Yemen to see his family and meet with U.S. consular officials about delayed visa applications for his wife and children. But on his way back, while awaiting to board a plane in Germany, an FBI agent questioned him. According to a recent ACLU report [4], Ghaleb “was directed to submit to an interview with FBI agents, who questioned him about his mosque and the San Francisco Yemeni community. The FBI agents asked him to become an informant for the FBI in California, but Mr. Ghaleb said he did not know any dangerous people and would not spy on innocent people in mosques.” Ghaleb remains on the no-fly list.

The practice of pressuring Muslims to become informants in their own communities in exchange for law enforcement help is one clear example of an apparatus running roughshod over the rights of Muslims in the U.S. It’s also a practice familiar to Muslims in New York City, who have to deal with a police department that has implemented a surveillance dragnet with the help of Central Intelligence Agency officials.

After 9/11, CIA officials strategized with the New York Police Department on how best to collect intelligence to prevent the next terrorist attack. The NYPD’s Intelligence Division ended up creating an operation where informants and undercover agents infiltrate mosques and student groups. The NYPD has labeled at least a dozen mosques as “terrorism enterprises” in order to infiltrate them. And in order to employ informants able to infiltrate Muslim communities, they usually strike a deal with people in trouble with the law. In exchange for spying on their community, the informant gets help from the NYPD in avoiding punishment for crimes.

I blogged some time back about an FBI informant/provocateur who attended a mosque in Orange County and tried to get young Muslim men to engage in terrorist plots and discussions. The other Muslim men thought he was crazy and avoided him, but one young man believed “If you see something, say something” and reported the provocateur to the FBI. The FBI was highly annoyed and had the guy who told them about the provocateur deported. The FBI seems to be increasingly hostile to American rights.

Written by Leisureguy

4 October 2013 at 2:09 pm

‘People don’t fully appreciate how committed the tea party is to not compromising’

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Ezra Klein interviews Christopher Parker in Wonkblog:

The story of the shutdown is, in large part, the story of mainstream Republicans realizing they can’t control tea party Republicans — and deciding that it’s better to go along than to try and fight. Christopher Parker, a political scientist at the University of Washington, is co-author of the book “Change They Can’t Believe In: The Tea Party and Reactionary Politics in America“, which employs large surveys and content analyses to better understand how the politics of the tea party differ from the politics of the Republican Party. We spoke on Wednesday, and a transcript of our conversation, edited for length and clarity, follows.

Ezra Klein: Tell me a bit about the scope of your research on the tea party.Christopher Parker: So I run a survey research lab at the University of Washington. In 2010, I began to see these opposing views on the tea party. You had Peggy Noonan and Juan Williams basically saying, the tea partiers are just angry Republicans, no big deal. Then I read Frank Rich, and he says no, these people are completely different. He says they’re more in line with Richard Hofstadter’s “Paranoid Style of American Politics.” And I thought, I can get real data on this! And when I looked at it empirically, I found that people who supported the tea party tended to be more racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, and anti-Obama.

EK: So I’m not exactly a tea partier myself. But when I hear you say that I bristle. The description members of the tea party would give of themselves is that they’re really concerned about the growth of government and the rise in taxes and the management of the economy. Labeling them things like racist, sexist and homophobic sounds like an attempt to just write them out of civilized discourse. So persuade me that this isn’t just an attack.

CP: What I do in these surveys and models is I account for desire for limited government. I account for ideology. I account for all these other things where people could say they’re just more conservative. There’s just this empirical connection between support for the tea party and antagonistic views toward quote-unquote marginalized groups, or, if you prefer, toward quote-unquote not real Americans. If you look at the historical and social scientific literature on American national identity, the portrait that emerges is mainly white, male, middle class, straight, at least a bit educated, and a bit older.

Look at who rose during this period. It’s not all about Obama. Nancy Pelosi was the first female speaker of the House. Barney Frank wielded real power. Two women, one of whom was a Latina, went to the Supreme Court. Undocumented workers have gotten a ton of attention. There’s been the rise of same-sex rights.

That’s the crux of the book. The title is ‘Change They Can’t Believe In’. This isn’t new. Whenever there’s rapid social change it triggers this kind reactionary conservatism. People see their social prestige threatened, their way of life threatened. And they react.

EK: Tell me about the surveys. Who are you talking to? . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

4 October 2013 at 1:53 pm

Why everyone is left less secure when the NSA doesn’t help fix security flaws

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The title (from the Wonkblog article described below) is a little odd: the NSA introduced security flaws into our communications and encryption systems. The NSA is all about making systems less secure. It would be nice if they were interested in making systems secure, but that seems (apparently) contrary to their view of their mission.

Andrea Peterson reports in Wonkblog:

n a frank discussion about the government’s approach to vulnerabilities in cyber-infrastructure during a Washington Post Live summit Thursday, former NSA chief Michael Hayden said the agency is not always “ethically or legally compelled” to help fix flaws it knows about. If the agency thinks that no one else will be able to exploit a vulnerability, it leaves the problem unfixed to aid in its own spying efforts. That approach might be convenient for the NSA, but it needlessly endangers the security of Americans’ computers.

The statement came after an audience member asked if backdoors reported in the NSA leaks introduced vulnerabilities that could be exploited by hackers. Craig Mundie, a Senior Adviser to the CEO at Microsoft, took a first crack at the question. He asserted that Microsoft does not engineer in any backdoors nor has there ever been any effort to “facilitate” those kind of things. However, he also noted he could not speak to government capabilities and added “any [backdoor] mechanism that anybody would put into something obviously creates another class of vulnerabilities.”

“Nobody but us”

Hayden argued the concept of vulnerabilities was not unique to the Internet and had been an issue the NSA has dealt with since its founding. “There’s a reason that America’s offensive and defensive squads are up at Fort Meade,” Hayden said, explaining “because both offense and defense at this world hinges on a question of vulnerability.” Hayden then laid out the concept of NOBUS, which stands for “nobody but us,” that he termed “very useful” for making macro-judgments about how to react to vulnerabilities, regardless of if those flaws are “preexistent, not designed, mistake, intended, implanted, [or] whatever”:

You look at a vulnerability through a different lens if even with the vulnerability it requires substantial computational power or substantial other attributes and you have to make the judgment who else can do this? If there’s a vulnerability here that weakens encryption but you still need four acres of Cray computers in the basement in order to work it you kind of think “NOBUS” and that’s a vulnerability we are not ethically or legally compelled to try to patch — it’s one that ethically and legally we could try to exploit in order to keep Americans safe from others.

You can watch the full exchange in the video embedded below. [see article at link for the video – LG]

To a certain extent, this NOBUS idea reflects the weighing of the dual defensive and offensive mission of the NSA. Sure, patching vulnerabilities might effectively make infrastructure safer on a broad scale. But we’re talking about the same agency that reportedly has a 600-some elite offensive hacker squad, Tailored Access Operations or TAO, working out of its headquarters. And NOBUS also raises a lot of questions about how the intelligence agency determines if something is likely to be exploited by adversaries.

Zero-day exploits

Take the NSA’s connection to the zero-day market. Earlier this year a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request revealed that the agency had a significant contract with with Vupen, a French company that deals with zero-day vulnerabilities — security flaws not yet discovered or patched by vendors. Sometimes these zero-days are used to exploit systems by the hackers who discover them, sometimes vendors are told about them as part of bug bounty programs, and sometimes they end up in these digital gray markets.

The United States is a major player in these gray markets, although other nations are reported to be also in on the game. A Reuters’s special report from May claimed the United States was the biggest . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

4 October 2013 at 1:37 pm

California bans NDAA, indefinite detentions

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Good for California, I say. Natasha Lennard reports in Salon:

California Gov. Jerry Brown this week signed a bill in direct defiance of the controversial National Defense Authorization Act provision, which legalizes the indefinite detention of U.S. citizens. The California law, which garnered strong support through the state Legislature, bans any state cooperation with any federal attempts to indefinitely detain individuals.

Under the NDAA, signed twice into law by President Obama, despite empty disavowals of the provision, the U.S. military is permitted to indefinitely detain people on the grounds of “national security” concerns. A lawsuit filed against the president by plaintiffs including Chris Hedges, Daniel Ellsberg and Noam Chomsky aims to quash the provision and is making its way through the appeals circuits — government attorneys defending provision 1021(b)(2) at every turn, while the plaintiffs assert that it constitutes an “erosion of basic principles of law.”

The newly signed California law goes further than simply banning cooperation with the NDAA. It asserts that the state can cooperate with no federal indefinite detention attempts. In this way, the bill covers the concerns expressed by civil liberties advocates that the NDAA provision is merely retroactive legislation to juridically cover the tracks of the U.S. government, which has, according to some, already been indefinitely detaining individuals around the world under the remit of the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) act.

State-level non-cooperation with indefinite detention is largely a symbolic act; after all, the military, under the orders of the executive, carry out such detentions. But California’s bill, along with similar bills that passed in both Virginia and Alaska, reflect important state dissent from egregious federal legislation and hopefully will do some work in reminding the public that the NDAA’s concerning provisions remain on the books.

This sort of thing is what makes me dislike Obama’s record on civil rights. The Affordable Care Act, yes; locking up people indefinitely with no charges, no. I thought the US Constitution, flawed though it is, specifically forbade such things, which are more appropriate to a totalitarian government than a free democracy. Perhaps the government Has Plans.

Written by Leisureguy

4 October 2013 at 10:47 am

Why the shutdown will be hard to end

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Ezra Klein and Evan Soltas explain at Wonkblog:

Want to know why the shutdown — and the coming debt-ceiling fight — will be so difficult to resolve? Just ask Marlin Stutzman, a conservative congressman from Indiana.

“We’re not going to be disrespected,” he told the Washington Examiner’s David Drucker. “We have to get something out of this. And I don’t know what that even is.”

Stutzman is right. The fight over the shutdown has become unmoored from any particular policy demands the GOP believes it can secure. It’s become an issue of pride and politics. At this point, Republicans simply need something so they can tell themselves, and their base, that they didn’t lose. They don’t know what that something is, exactly. But it needs to be something.

By the same token, the Democrats literally can’t give them anything without losing. Not until the shutdown ends, anyway. And, on CNBC on Wednesday, President Obama added that the Democrats can’t give them anything until the debt ceiling is raised. “Until we get t[the shutdown] done, until we make sure that Congress allows treasury to pay for things that Congress itself already authorized, we are not going to engage in a series of negotiations,” Obama said.

It’s this dynamic that makes 2013 so much more dangerous than 2011. The negotiations in 2011 weren’t zero sum. For one side to win, the other didn’t have to lose. That’s because the negotiations in 2013 were over policy — in particular, over a broad deficit-reduction package. Since both sides wanted to reduce the deficit, it was conceivable that both sides could walk away feeling like they’d won some and lost some.

That’s not true in 2013. The battle this year really is zero-sum. For one side to win, the other has to lose. And that’s because this fight isn’t over policy. It’s over principle. In particular, it’s over whether to legitimate for the GOP to demand concessions in return for keeping the government open and paying the country’s bills.

Unlike a grand bargain over the deficit, that’s a “yes/no” question. As Stutzman puts it, Republicans either get something out of this, or they end up feeling humiliated. Democrats either hold firm on this, or they end up feeling like they’ve created a terrible precedent that’ll make governing impossible going forward.

A few weeks back Hill staffers mused about whether there was some way to manage negotiations such that Republicans could credibly tell their base they were negotiating over the shutdown and the debt ceiling and Democrats could credibly say they weren’t negotiating over the shutdown and the debt ceiling. As of yet, nobody has discovered that how to create that quantum dealmaking structure. It’s possible nobody will. But that means one side or the other has to clearly lose in order for the shutdown to end. And neither side wants to lose. Nobody wants to be disrespected. . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

4 October 2013 at 10:39 am

Posted in Congress, GOP

Stirling Shave Soap Review & Video Lather Demo

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How To Grow A Moustache has a good review and video of Stirling shaving soap. Since he has better luck with the lather than I, it seemed a good idea to point it out. I’ll keep trying, of course, but in the meantime, take a look. The reviewer is wrong, though, that tallow-based soaps are necessarily soft. Certainly Stirling (and Mystic Waters and Strop Shoppe) tallow-based soaps are soft, but (for example) the Prairie Creations tallow+lanolin soap I used this morning quite hard, and some tallow-based high-end soaps are similarly firm. I suspect that the softness/hardness is more a function of drying/curing time, but in any case it’s clearly not due to tallow per se.

Written by Leisureguy

4 October 2013 at 10:34 am

Posted in Shaving

A Digital Copy of the Universe, Encrypted

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Quanta is a very interesting magazine. Natalie Wolchover has a good article there:

Even as he installed the landmark camera that would capture the first convincing evidence of dark energy in the 1990s, Tony Tyson, an experimental cosmologist now at the University of California, Davis, knew it could be better. The camera’s power lay in its ability to collect more data than any other. But digital image sensors and computer processors were progressing so rapidly that the amount of data they could collect and store would soon be limited only by the size of the telescopes delivering light to them, and those were growing too. Confident that engineering trends would hold, Tyson envisioned a telescope project on a truly grand scale, one that could survey hundreds of attributes of billions of cosmological objects as they changed over time.

It would record, Tyson said, “a digital, color movie of the universe.”

Tyson’s vision has come to life as the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) project, a joint endeavor of more than 40 research institutions and national laboratories that has been ranked by the National Academy of Sciences as its top priority for the next ground-based astronomical facility. Set on a Chilean mountaintop, and slated for completion by the early 2020s, the 8.4-meter LSST will be equipped with a 3.2-billion-pixel digital camera that will scan 20 billion cosmological objects 800 times apiece over the course of a decade. That will generate well over 100 petabytes of data that anyone in the United States or Chile will be able to peruse at will. Displaying just one of the LSST’s full-sky images would require 1,500 high-definition TV screens.

The LSST epitomizes the new era of big data in physics and astronomy. Less than 20 years ago, Tyson’s cutting-edge digital camera filled 5 gigabytes of disk space per night with revelatory information about the cosmos. When the LSST begins its work, it will collect that amount every few seconds — literally more data than scientists know what to do with.

Tony Tyson, an experimental cosmologist at the University of California, Davis, with a small test camera for the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope project, which he is helping to launch.

“The data volumes we [will get] out of LSST are so large that the limitation on our ability to do science isn’t the ability to collect the data, it’s the ability to understand the systematic uncertainties in the data,” said Andrew Connolly, an astronomer at the University of Washington.

Typical of today’s costly scientific endeavors, hundreds of scientists from different fields are involved in designing and developing the LSST, with Tyson as chief scientist. “It’s sort of like a federation,” said Kirk Borne, an astrophysicist and data scientist at George Mason University. The group is comprised of nearly 700 astronomers, cosmologists, physicists, engineers and data scientists.

Much of the scientists’ time and about one-half of the $1 billion cost of the project are being spent on . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

4 October 2013 at 10:30 am

Posted in Science

How racism poisons political discourse

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The problem is only partly racism itself, it’s the fact that it becomes impossible to discuss. See this post by Kevin Drum, who discusses the problem.

We’ve learned that when someone makes a racist remark or joke, you do NOT say that s/he is a racist. S/he may or may not be, and in any event it’s none of your business: we treasure the right to have private thoughts and opinions. However, the remark can be called racist (if it is). The person might immediately say, “I’m not a racist,” and you make perfectly clear that you accept that, but the remark (or joke or photograph or whatever)  itself is racist, and you probably can explain exactly how it is. In other words, you talk about the remark (joke, photo, etc.), not about the person. The idea outcome is that the speaker is mollified but also decides (privately) not to make that remark (or joke or whatever) again.

Written by Leisureguy

4 October 2013 at 10:20 am

Posted in Daily life, Politics

The breakdown of American journalism

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Glenn Greenwald has an interesting video in his column today:

In late June, the economist Dean Baker astutely observed that our NSAreporting was “doing as much to expose corrupt journalism as to expose government spying.” Indeed, from the earliest stages of this reporting, back in Hong Kong, we expected (and hoped) that the reporting we were about to do would expose conflicts in how journalism is understood and practiced as much as it would shine light on the NSA’s specific surveillance programs.

That, I think, has clearly been the case. The debates over the proper relationship between journalists and governments have been as illuminating and significant as the debates over government spying and secrecy. Last night on BBC‘s Newsnight, I was interviewed for 14 minutes by host Kristy Wark. It was an adversarial interview, which is how interviews should be. But she chose to focus almost entirely on the process questions surrounding the reporting rather than the substance of the revelations, and in the process made some quite dubious claims that come straight from the mouths of government officials. Nonetheless, her choice of focus ended up highlighting many of the most important conflicts about how journalism is understood, and is worth watching for that reason:

Written by Leisureguy

4 October 2013 at 10:07 am

The shutdown explained in 10 sentences

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Kevin Drum spells out the shutdown:

At its core, the dispute over the budget and the debt ceiling isn’t complicated at all. But it isfull of misconceptions and urban myths. Here are the 10 facts worth remembering past all the obfuscation:

  1. Democrats have already agreed to fund the government at Republican levels.
  2. Despite what you might have heard, there have only been two serious government shutdowns in recent history, and both were the result of Republican ultimatums.
  3. Democrats in the Senate have been begging the House to negotiate over the budget for the past six months, but Republicans have refused.
  4. That’s because Republicans wanted to wait until they had either a government shutdown or a debt ceiling breach as leverage, something they’ve been very clear about all along.
  5. Republicans keep talking about compromise, but they’ve offered nothing in return for agreeing to their demands—except to keep the government intact if they get their way.
  6. The public is very strongly opposed to using a government shutdown to stop Obamacare.
  7. Contrary to Republican claims, the deficit is not increasing—it peaked in 2009 and has been dropping ever since, declining by $200 billion last year with another $450 billion drop projected this year.blog_reality_budget_deficit_small
  8. A long government shutdown is likely to seriously hurt economic growth, with a monthlong shutdown projected to slash GDP in the fourth quarter by 1 percentage point and reduce employment by over a million jobs.
  9. No, Democrats have not used debt ceiling hostage taking in the past to force presidents to accept their political agenda.
  10. This whole dispute is about the Republican Party fighting to make sure the working poor don’t have access to affordable health care.

Written by Leisureguy

4 October 2013 at 10:03 am

Posted in Congress, GOP, Government

Good news from North Africa

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The US press really is not very informative about most world events—part of the general deterioration of journalism—but Juan Cole has a good report at Informed Comment:

The youth organizations that made the 2011 revolutions were predominantly leftist or liberal. They revolted against seedy police states run by family cartels and their cronies. They had allies among labor unions and office workers.

These movements demanded free, fair parliamentary elections as the next step. But the groups best organized to campaign, canvass and fund-raise were the Muslim religious parties and to some extent the left-overs of the old regime.

The Muslim religious parties got about 60% of the seats in the Egyptian parliament in fall of 2011. Although that parliament was struck down by the courts for electoral irregularities, the Muslim Brotherhood candidate, Muhammad Morsi, won the presidency in June, 2012, and installed many party hacks in high positions. The Renaissance or al-Nahdah, religiously-inflected party won 42% of the seats in the Tunisian parliament and gained the prime ministership, though they had to ally with liberals and leftists, from which the president and speaker of parliament were drawn.

Although the Muslim Brotherhood in Libya did poorly in the summer, 2012 parliamentary elections there, a significant number of independents lean toward the religious right, though not a majority.

These outcomes were branded an “Islamic winter” by Neoconservative critics of the Arab world (what would you call people who are professional critics of a single ethnic group, about whom they never have anything positive to say?)

A raft of articles and books were published with the thesis that Arabs are religion-obsessed fanatics who can never be truly democratic because of their fascination with theocracy.

But in fall of 2013, things look different. A youth movement, Rebellion (Tamarrud) staged enormous demonstrations against the Muslim Brotherhood president in Egypt on June 30 and after, provoking a military coup and a thoroughgoing crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood, which has been largely broken and driven underground. The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt has been condemned by the officer corps and activist youth as dictatorial, secretive and grasping, as in short a kind of cult. The generals now dismiss it as a terrorist organization, having arrested 2000 party leaders. As a military-appointed commission crafts a new constitution, it is likely that it will outlaw religiously-based parties permanently. Most Egyptians are believers and either practicing Muslims or Coptic Christians. But most of them from all accounts have turned on the Muslim Brotherhood.

In summer of 2013, as well, Tunisian youth and the labor activists of the UGTT (French acronym for General Union of Tunisian Workers) challenging the Renaissance, Muslim-religious prime minister, Ali Larayedh. They blamed him for being soft on Muslim terrorists and allowing two assassinations of members of the far-left Popular Front. They demanded he step down in favor of a caretaker government that would oversee free and fair parliamentary elections. Thousands assembled regularly at Bardo outside the parliament building, and the alliance of the crowds with the powerful UGTT gave them a bargaining chip. If the country’s workers struck en mass, it would paralyze the Tunisian economy, already limping. So by the past weekend, the Renaissance Party had agreed to step down in favor of a caretaker government. Many among the Tunisian demonstrators use a militantly secular discourse.

The Muslim religious parties are not in control of Egypt and nor do the have a firm grasp on power any more in Tunisia. They are merely influential in Libya, with leftist and pragmatic members of parliament dominating the scene politically.

Likewise in Yemen, . . .

Continue reading. This seems like good news.

Written by Leisureguy

4 October 2013 at 9:59 am

Posted in Mideast Conflict

BBS with the Eros slant

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SOTD 4 Oct 2013

Absolutely terrific shave today: it reminds me forcibly why I love my morning shave.

Prairie Creations makes a fine soap—tallow and lanolin is the version I especially like—and I immediately got a thick, creamy lather using my HJM synthetic (made by Mühle).

Three passes of the Eros slant, which works very well despite its odd appearance, and my face was BBS. Creed’s Aventus EDT served as a pleasant aftershave.

This post has some close-ups of the head, if you want to see more. The razor is no longer made, but you may be able to find it on eBay or in the B/S/T threads in forums, or on Reddit’s /r/shave_bazaar.

Written by Leisureguy

4 October 2013 at 9:17 am

Posted in Shaving

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