Later On

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

Archive for October 11th, 2013

Squash report

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Today I roasted the golden nugget squash—same as before: 15 min per side in 400º F oven, on foil-lined baking sheet.

These are very sweed and nice in the flesh, but the skin is tough and requires peeling—or, in other words, I won’t be buying this variety again. Best so far: kabocha, to no one’s surprise.

Written by Leisureguy

11 October 2013 at 4:45 pm

Posted in Food

So I’m watching a martial-arts movie,

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And I got to thinking how it’s all about the choreography. Certainly points awarded for character development (a revenge wish-fulfillment fantasy is pretty much the opposite of what I mean), plot, dialogue,, and so on, but the choreography is what makes it or breaks it: cf. John Woo film.

But that made me think of how “composed” games (a single-author imitation of a competition chess game) are so rarely even close in interest and complexity to a hard-fought game between two different masters. And I certainly see it even more in go.

So how are fights easier to “compose,” in the sense of choreography? I suppose because real fights are dramatically lacking: real fights are too messy, lack structure and good dramatic arc, etc. So here, unlike chess and go, composed conflict is better.

Contract bridge, in which an expert inspects a random deal and gives the best/most interesting bidding and play—but still, it’s sort of artificial: the player has too much information. What’s interesting is to follow the bidding and play that follows from having incomplete information—-the position we have in life, come to think of it.

Written by Leisureguy

11 October 2013 at 4:18 pm

Posted in Daily life, Movies & TV

A new grand bargain

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Very thoughtful column in the Washington Post by John Huder and Thomas Mann:

A grand bargain is absolutely necessary, but not to negotiate temporary terms to reopen the federal government or raise the nation’s debt ceiling. We need a grand bargain for democracy.

We need President Obama and Congress to agree to take off the table the partisan war’s new weapons of mass destruction – government shutdowns, threats of public default and sequesters. Hostage-taking to gain unilateral concessions not achievable through ordinary bargaining and putting in place automatic, indiscriminate spending cuts in the absence of budget agreements diminish our democracy and imperil our economy. The world looks with bewilderment and fear at the ability and willingness of a minority to thwart majority rule to achieve its ideological objectives whatever the costs. Our problems of deficits and debt pale compared with the damage being done to our democracy, our capacity to govern and our standing in the world.Calling the current Washington machinations “hostage-taking,” “extortion” or “political terrorism” incites the Republicans. They claim the rhetoric is out of bounds and inflammatory. In the passion to defend their actions, Republicans have failed to consider what their own reaction would be if the shoe were on the other foot. Imagine a hypothetical on health care (similar to one that our colleague, Ben Wittes, recently offered on Lawfare Blog):

It’s 2007. Democrats have just taken control of Congress, and Rep. Nancy Pelosi is speaker of the House. President George W. Bush requests a debt ceiling increase from Capitol Hill. Seeing an opening, Pelosi makes a specific demand: “Under no circumstances will the debt ceiling be lifted unless Congress passes and the president signs a bill providing universal health coverage to Americans, a ban on preexisting conditions and an individual mandate to purchase insurance to avoid the  adverse selection problem.” She draws a line in the sand and argues that the number of uninsured people presents an economic, political, social and public health threat to the nation that is far greater than the government defaulting on its debt. She even questions whether a default is real.

If you are a Republican, ask yourself how you would react to Pelosi’s threat. Would you think, “Good for her, she’s a tough negotiator”? Would you concede, “That’s part of bargaining, and the president needs to relent”? No. Her behavior would be slammed. She would be accused of hostage-taking or political terrorism. And that criticism would be deserved.

But Pelosi — despite having serious reservations about the path of public policy under Bush — never made a serious, dire or credible threat to the nation’s full faith and credit to bargain for unrelated legislation. Why? That specific threat of bullying legislation jeopardizes the fundamentals of American democracy and the functioning of a market system.

Too often, political opponents fail to consider what would happen if they were placed in the other party’s position. We guarantee, if Democratic congressional leaders were behaving in the same way as their Republican counterparts are right now, the GOP rhetoric would not be tame or conciliatory.

What is the path forward? . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

11 October 2013 at 11:49 am

Posted in Congress, GOP, Government

Another quashed prosecution

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Yesterday we saw the heavy hand of JP Morgan quashing a case (through its representative on the Federal Reserve). Now we see the NJ governor quashing a case against a sheriff (who supported Christie). These examples of corruption and naked power are starting to add up, don’t you think? This story is in the NY Times, by Michael Powell:

Prosecutors sent tremors through rural Hunterdon County when they announced a sweeping indictment of the local Republican sheriff and her two deputies in 2010.

The 43-count grand jury indictment read like a primer in small-town abuse of power. It accused Sheriff Deborah Trout of hiring deputies without conducting proper background checks, and making employees sign loyalty oaths. Her deputies, the indictment charged, threatened one of their critics and manufactured fake police badges for a prominent donor to Gov. Chris Christie.

When the charges became public, the indicted undersheriff, Michael Russo, shrugged it off. Governor Christie, he assured an aide, would “have this whole thing thrown out,” according to The Hunterdon County Democrat. That sounded like bluster. Then the state killed the case.

On the day the indictment was unsealed, the state attorney general, a Christie appointee, took over the Hunterdon prosecutor’s office. Within a few months, three of its most respected veterans lost their jobs there, including the one who led the case.

Not long after, a deputy attorney general walked into a local courtroom and handed in papers that, with little explanation, declared that the indictments were littered with “legal and factual deficiencies.”

A judge dismissed the indictments. Soon after, officials took the unusual step of shipping all evidence to the capital, Trenton.

The killing of an indictment is a rare event in New Jersey, and all the more surprising as it came during Governor Christie’s first months in office. The new governor was elected on the strength of his record as a United States attorney prosecuting corrupt officials.

There is no evidence that Mr. Christie ordered the dismissal of the charges against Sheriff Trout. But his attorney general, Paula T. Dow, who had served as his counsel at the United States attorney’s office, supervised the quashing of the indictment and the ouster of the respected prosecutors.

Sheriff Trout had political ties to the administration. She led an association of county law enforcement officials that backed the candidacy of Mr. Christie and his running mate, Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, who had previously served as sheriff in Monmouth County.

Ms. Guadagno and Ms. Trout exchanged chatty e-mails, according to court records. After the election, Ms. Guadagno thanked Sheriff Trout for sending her deputies to work on the campaign.

Ms. Trout left office in 2010. But the case and the Christie administration’s role in killing it have surfaced again because one of the dismissed prosecutors, Bennett A. Barlyn, has filed a lawsuit against the state, claiming that the attorney general killed the indictment to protect prominent supporters of the governor. . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

11 October 2013 at 10:29 am

Posted in Government, Law, Politics

BBS with the Wilkinson “Sticky”

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SOTD 11 Oct 2013

Another great shave—no wonder I like this stuff.

I used the Omega boar brush shown—similar to the Pro 48, but with a dyed stripe. I got several of the Omega striped boars after reading that they break in faster. I do find that they are sooner softer—perhaps something in the dying treatment softens the bristles? At any rate, a good change of pace. The dye in the stripe will slightly discolor the first 2-3 lathers, but then that stops and the brush really does feel good.

It made a terrific lather from the HTGAM shaving soap, which I continue to like a lot. The Wilkinson “Sticky” (smooth handle, not slippery, thus the name) held a previously used Feather blade and worked quite well: no nicks, no burn, and BBS result.

A good splash of Creed’s Green Irish Tweed and the week begins to draw to a close. I do miss The Wife, who is now abroad on vacation.

Tonight: the gold nugget squash.

Written by Leisureguy

11 October 2013 at 10:11 am

Posted in Shaving

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