Later On

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

Archive for December 7th, 2016

Report on the St. George gins

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I blogged earlier about a samle pack of the three  St. George gins:

I have tasted them all, and they are all great, but very different.

Terroir Gin: Has somehow the taste of a thick consistency, and the wood notes are noticeable. I could see using a snifter to drink it straight as an after-dinner drink. I haven’t yet tried it mixed, but straight it’s quite impressive.

Botanivore Gin: An extremely good classic Martini gin with a very fresh taste, botanicals evident.

Dry Rye Gin: The rye component is quite noticeable, and indeed use this in any drink that calls for rye: a Manhattan, an Old Fashioned: both were made with rye. Otherwise, you specify: Bourbon Manhattan, for example, just as in Minnesota you would say Brandy Manhattan.

I think I’m going to get these in the future.

Written by LeisureGuy

7 December 2016 at 2:08 pm

Posted in Drinks

Boomtown, Flood Town

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Do read this extremely well presented ProPublica report that exemplifies how the short-term thinking that’s involved in “looting” is going to have pretty horrible long-term consequences for a lot of people.

Written by LeisureGuy

7 December 2016 at 1:59 pm

How crony can capitalism be? Pickers to the EPA.

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Valerie Volcovici and Timothy Gardner write at Reuters:

Donald Trump will pick an ardent opponent of President Barack Obama’s measures to curb climate change as head of the Environmental Protection Agency, a Trump transition team source said on Wednesday, a choice that enraged green activists and cheered the oil industry.

Trump’s choice, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, fits neatly with the Republican president-elect’s promise to cut back the EPA and free up drilling and coal mining, and signals the likely rollback of much of Obama’s environmental agenda.

Since becoming the top prosecutor for the major oil and gas producing state in 2011, Pruitt has launched multiple lawsuits against regulations put forward by the agency he is now poised to lead, suing to block federal measures to reduce smog and curb toxic emissions from power plants.

He is also a leading figure in a legal effort by several states to throw out the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, the centerpiece of Obama’s climate change strategy that requires states to curb carbon output.

In an interview with Reuters in September, Pruitt said he sees the Clean Power Plan as a form of federal “coercion and commandeering” of energy policy and that his state should have “sovereignty to make decisions for its own markets.”

Pruitt, 48, has also said he is skeptical of climate change. In an opinion piece in an Oklahoma newspaper this year, he wrote that he believes the debate over global warming is “far from settled” and that scientists continue to disagree on the issue. An overwhelming majority of scientists around the world say manmade emissions are warming the planet.

The Obama administration finalized the Clean Power Plan in 2015 as a key part of meeting U.S. obligations under the Paris Climate Agreement, an accord among nearly 200 countries to curb global warming. Many scientists say warming is causing rising sea levels, drought, and an increase in ferocious storms.

Trump vowed during his campaign to pull the United States out of the Paris deal, saying it would put American businesses at a competitive disadvantage. Since the election, however, Trump has said he will keep an “open mind” about the climate deal, and also met with leading climate change activist and former Vice President Al Gore. [L1N1E025U] . . .

Continue reading.

It’s gonna get worse—much worse. This is where overt looting takes over: strip the government of its assets, in effect, and facilitating the takeover of the Federal government by private corporations. They already had Congress and a lot of the judiciary, and now they have the Executive branch, too. They are going to make some serious money.

Note again the charts in the Kevin Drum post I mentioned earlier today.

Written by LeisureGuy

7 December 2016 at 1:11 pm

The North Pole Is In Big Trouble. So Is the South Pole.

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Kevin Drum has some excellent charts in a brief post showing the continued progress of global warming. It’s puzzling how responsible people can still deny global warming, but then Pizzagate is puzzling as well.

Do take a look. From the post:

. . . it shows the historical data clearly: El Niño years (in red) are always hot, but have been getting steadily hotter. La Niña years (in blue) are always cool, but have also been getting steadily hotter. And the years in-between (in black) have been getting steadily hotter too. Long story short, every kind of year has been getting steadily hotter for a long time.

And this year is a real champ. Here’s the latest from the National Snow and Ice Data Center: . . .

Written by LeisureGuy

7 December 2016 at 11:19 am

This column from a year ago warned of the tsunami of disinformation on the internet

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Caitlin Dewey wrote a column in the Washington Post a year ago (December 19, 2015). It’s worth reading in the light of Pizzagate:

There is nothing — NOTHING — too crazy for the Internet hoax beat. Pregnancy by flu shot? Six days of total darkness? In the past 82 weeks, I’m prettyyyy sure I’ve seen just about everything.

We launched “What was Fake” in May 2014 in response to what seemed, at the time, like an epidemic of urban legends and Internet pranks: light-hearted, silly things, for the most part, like new flavors of Oreos and babies with absurd names.

Since then, those sorts of rumors and pranks haven’t slowed down, exactly, but the pace and tenor of fake news has changed. Where debunking an Internet fake once involved some research, it’s now often as simple as clicking around for an “about” or “disclaimer” page. And where a willingness to believe hoaxes once seemed to come from a place of honest ignorance or misunderstanding, that’s frequently no longer the case. Headlines like “Casey Anthony found dismembered in truck” go viral via old-fashioned schadenfreude — even hate.

There’s a simple, economic explanation for this shift: If you’re a hoaxer, it’s more profitable. Since early 2014, a series of Internet entrepreneurs have realized that not much drives traffic as effectively as stories that vindicate and/or inflame the biases of their readers. Where many once wrote celebrity death hoaxes or “satires,” they now run entire, successful websites that do nothing but troll convenient minorities or exploit gross stereotypes. Paul Horner, the proprietor of Nbc.com.co and a string of other very profitable fake-news sites, once told me he specifically tries to invent stories that will provoke strong reactions in middle-aged conservatives. They share a lot on Facebook, he explained; they’re the ideal audience.

As manipulative as that may seem, many other sites are worse: there’s Now8News, which runs outrageous crime stories next to the stolen mugshots of poor, often black, people; or World News Daily Report, which delights in inventing items about foreigners, often Muslims, having sex with or killing animals.

Needless to say, there are also more complicated, non-economic reasons for the change on the Internet hoax beat. For evidence, just look at some of the viral stories we’ve debunked in recent weeks: American Muslims rallying for ISIS, for instance, or Syrians invading New Orleans. Those items didn’t even come from outright fake-news sites: They originated with partisan bloggers who know how easy it is to profit off fear-mongering.

Frankly, this column wasn’t designed to address the current environment. This format doesn’t make sense. I’ve spoken to several researchers and academics about this lately, because it’s started to feel a little pointless. Walter Quattrociocchi, the head of the Laboratory of Computational Social Science at IMT Lucca in Italy, has spent several years studying how conspiracy theories and misinformation spread online, and he confirmed some of my fears: Essentially, he explained, institutional distrust is so high right now, and cognitive bias so strong always, that the people who fall for hoax news stories are frequently only interested in consuming information that conforms with their views — even when it’s demonstrably fake.

Had I written this column as normal this week, I probably would have included, say, this widely shared post on Before It’s News that claimed an Alaska judge called for Obama’s arrest. But Quattrociocchi has found (and this is perhaps intuitive) that the sort of readers who would unskeptically share such a far-fetched story site are exactly the readers who will not be convinced by The Washington Post’s debunking.

To me, at least, that represents a very weird moment in Internet discourse — an issue I also addressed earlier this week. At which point does society become utterly irrational? Is it the point at which we start segmenting off into alternate realities? . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

7 December 2016 at 11:07 am

Posted in Media, Memes, Technology

A look at income inequality in the US and France

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Kevin Drum has two very interesting charts that are well worth a look. It seems as though Congress is betraying its public trust and the American people.

Also note the emergence of crony capitalism in the US.

Written by LeisureGuy

7 December 2016 at 10:09 am

Who’s Behind PropOrNot’s Blacklist of News Websites

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Pam Martens and Russ Martens have done some digging into PropOrNot and report in Wall Street on Parade:

A shadowy group called PropOrNot (shorthand for Propaganda Or Not) that has gone to a great deal of trouble to keep its funders and principals secret, is promulgating a blacklist of 200 alternative media websites that it has labeled “Russian propaganda outlets.” On Thanksgiving Day, Washington Post reporter Craig Timberg amplified this smear campaign in an article giving credence to the anonymous group’s research.

While a handful of state-funded sites are included on the list, both the Washington Post and PropOrNot have come under withering criticism for engaging in McCarthyism by including dozens of respected sites like Naked Capitalism, Truthout, Truthdig, Consortium News and, initially, CounterPunch, on the list. (CounterPunch has since been removed and Naked Capitalism’s lawyer has sent a scorching letter to the Washington Post demanding a retraction and an apology.) The widely read Paul Craig Roberts also landed on the blacklist. Roberts is a former Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury for Economic Policy under President Ronald Reagan, a former Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal and a former columnist at BusinessWeek. He held Top Secret clearance when he worked for the U.S. government.

Wall Street On Parade closely examined the report issued by PropOrNot, its related Twitter page, and its registration as a business in New Mexico, looking for “tells” as to the individual(s) behind it. We learned quite a number of interesting facts.

As part of its McCarthyite tactics, PropOrNot has developed a plugin to help readers censor material from the websites it has blacklisted. It calls that its YYYCampaignYYY. In that effort, it lists an official address of 530-B Harkle Road, Suite 100, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87505. That’s one of those agent addresses that serve as a virtual address for the creation of limited liability corporations that want to keep their actual principals secret. The address has dozens of businesses associated with it. There should also be a corresponding business listed in the online archives of the business registry at the Secretary of State of New Mexico. However, no business with the words Propaganda or PropOrNot or YYY exist in the New Mexico business registry, suggesting PropOrNot is using a double cloaking device to shield its identity by registering under a completely different name.

PropOrNot’s Twitter page provides a “tell” that its report may simply be a hodgepodge compilation of other people’s research that was used to arrive at its dangerous assertion that critical thinkers across America are a clandestine network of Russian propaganda experts. Its Tweet on November 7 indicates that the research of Peter Pomerantsev, a Senior Fellow at the Legatum Institute in London, who has also been cooperating on research with the Information Warfare Project of the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA) in Washington, D.C, inspired its efforts.

According to SourceWatch, the Legatum Institute “is a right-wing think tank promoting ‘free markets, free minds, and free peoples.’ ” SourceWatch adds that the Legatum Institute “is a project founded and funded by the Legatum Group, a private investment group based in Dubai.” According to the Internet Archive known as the Wayback Machine, the Center for European Policy Analysis previously indicated it was an affiliate of the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA). We can see why they might want to remove that affiliation now that the Koch brothers have been exposed as funders of a very real network of interrelated websites and nonprofits. According to Desmog, NCPA has received millions of dollars in funding from right wing billionaires like the Koch brothers and their related trusts along with the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, the Sarah Scaife Foundation (heir to the Mellon fortune) along with corporations like ExxonMobil. . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

7 December 2016 at 10:01 am

Posted in GOP, Media

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