Later On

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

Archive for September 9th, 2017

I enjoyed this one

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I am playing White, “Claire” on SparkChess is Black:

  1. e4 d5
  2. e5 f6
  3. f4 fxe5
  4. fxe5 Nc6
  5. d4 Rb8
  6. h3 Bd7
  7. Nf3 b6
  8. Bb5 Nxe5
  9. Bxd7+ Nxd7
  10. Ne5 Nxe5
  11. dxe5 Rb7
  12. e6 Qd6
  13. Qh5+ g6
  14. Qe2 Qg3+
  15. Kd1 a5
  16. Rf1 Ra7
  17. Rxf8+ Kxf8
  18. Qf1+ Ke8
  19. Qf7+ Kd8
  20. Qf8#

 

Written by LeisureGuy

9 September 2017 at 2:56 pm

Posted in Chess

Look at what T-shirts cause

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Written by LeisureGuy

9 September 2017 at 2:49 pm

Interesting infomercial: Bringing a tiny piece of the sun to earth

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Written by LeisureGuy

9 September 2017 at 2:47 pm

Posted in Education, Science, Video

Trump is making Americans see the U.S. the way the rest of the world already did

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An interesting column in the Washington Post by Suzy Hansen, an American writer living in Istanbul:

Last spring, President Trump announced that he was withdrawing the United States from the Paris climate agreement, making the U.S. one of only three nations that isn’t a signatory. This summer, he was throwing around careless provocations at a nuclear-armed North Korea. In May, he physically pushed his way past the prime minister of Montenegro for a group photo of NATO leaders. Many Americans reacted to these embarrassments with fear, horror and not a little bit of surprise — I guess because an American blundering through the world is something they had never seen before.

The Pakistani novelist Kamila Shamsie once observed that there are “two Americas” — one at home and one abroad. The first is the America of Hollywood, work-in-progress democracy, civil rights movements and Ellis Island. The second is the America of coups and occupations, military dictators and CIA plots, economic meddling and contempt for foreign cultures. The rest of the world knows both Americas. But as Shamsie has written, Americans don’t seem aware of the second one at all.

The debate about how the United States elected an irresponsible nationalist like Trump has focused on why the first America, the supposedly beautiful one, failed, rather than why the second America, the ugly one, triumphed. But from abroad, Trump makes a lot more sense — and has much more in common with his predecessors and his countrymen — than many Americans realize.

I left the United States more than a decade ago to live in Istanbul. I spent most of my first year educating myself about Turkish history and politics, and trying to learn how to write about them. What continued to surprise me was what I kept learning from foreigners about my country: about America in Turkey, and then about America everywhere else.

The rest of the world doesn’t figure much in U.S. lesson plans. A majority of states have phased out international geography from their middle school and high school curriculums; according to the most recent results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, from 2014 , three-quarters of eighth-graders place “below proficient” in the subject. And although many Americans know the major flash points in the nation’s international history — the Vietnam War and the Iran hostage crisis, interventions in Central America, the invasion of Iraq — few learn about the complexities of our relationships with so many other nations, especially the diplomatic, military and economic entanglements of the Cold War.

This may be particularly true of those Americans who came of age in the 1990s as the United States triumphed over the Soviets, its status as a benevolent superpower somehow confirmed. The ugliness of the Cold War was largely forgotten. I remember the Marshall Plan and the Truman Doctrine portrayed in my ’90s-era education as great international acts of charity, of which Turkey had been among the lucky recipients. But when I moved to Istanbul, Turks taught me about the more complicated aspects of the United States’ long relationship with their country: that thousands of U.S. soldiers had occupied Turkish soil in the 1950s, and how, throughout the darkest days of the Cold War, most Turks believed that the United States was manipulating their military and their citizens. I had come expecting Turks to be foreign to me. It turned out we were profoundly, tormentedly, related.

It wasn’t just Turkey. After the financial crisis in Greece, I interviewed many intellectuals and other citizens there who offered historical explanations during which they referred — casually, assuming I knew about it — to an American intervention. I’d never heard of it. But it was a pivotal moment in contemporary Greek history: Thousands of Americans arrived in Athens as part of the Truman Doctrine, propping up an authoritarian regime against Greek communists and leftists and demanding that Greeks imitate the American way of life. From the late 1940s to the 1970s, American military personnel, diplomats and spies provided ample support to the Greek government as it tortured and persecuted its citizens. This history, our history, was part of them. I haven’t met any Americans for whom it was part of their identity — most never knew about it. It wasn’t at all part of mine.

In those fleeting moments, I would feel a terrifying gulf open between us: The United States had wielded the power in this relationship, and Americans took no responsibility for it. As a journalist, I had been sent to write about the Greek financial crisis for a major American magazine with no knowledge of how our mutual history might have produced unconscious prejudices in both countries.

At the very least, Greeks and Turks could explain how this history influenced their present. Americans, meanwhile, did not realize that who we were — as a nation and a people — had also been shaped by these abuses of power over the course of a century. Holding onto an image of ourselves as freedom-loving individualists who determined our own fates and championed the same for others, Americans didn’t have any idea how far we’d strayed from this ideal in the eyes of the rest of the world. This appeared to be true everywhere I went: in Egypt, in Afghanistan and, perhaps most important, in Iran, where tens of thousands of Americans once worked in service of a brutal ruler. . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

9 September 2017 at 12:50 pm

What Really Happened at the White House

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Martin Longman has an interesting article in the Washington Monthly from September 6, the day after the White House meeting with Congressional leaders. He writes:

Let me just spell some basic things out that should be familiar to you since I’ve been writing about them incessantly for months, and in some cases since before the inauguration.

First, the president was sold on a dual-reconciliation strategy by Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan that he was told would enable him to repeal Obamacare quickly and then pivot to tax reform. The strategy would take advantage of the fact that Congress did not pass a budget last year to pass two budgets this year. Health care would be attached to the first budget and tax reform to the second. Using this trick, both could be passed without fear of a Senate filibuster and therefore, supposedly, without having to make any concessions to the Democrats.

This strategy did not work. It never really had a chance of working. I said from the beginning that it was doomed and I was right.

The consequences of Trump adopting this plan have been catastrophic. He hasn’t signed a single significant piece of legislation. He hasn’t been able to keep most of his key promises. His relationships with both the Republicans (for failing him) and the Democrats (for his scorning and disrespecting them) are in ruins.

So, that’s the starting point for understanding yesterday’s meeting between Schumer, Pelosi, McConnell, Ryan, and the White House team.

To make things worse, though, Ryan and McConnell came to the meeting with no plan and no prospects for accomplishing a long list of must-pass legislation through Congress in the twelve legislative days available to them in September. They could ask the president to do certain things, but the only people in the meeting yesterday who could actually deliver something for Trump were the Democrats. That’s point two.

Now, of course, everyone there had their ideological dispositions and items on their wish lists. But there were three things they all agreed on that had no real ideological component.

1. they urgently needed to raise the debt ceiling.
2. they urgently needed to pass a disaster relief bill for Hurricane Harvey.
3. they would strongly prefer to avoid a government shutdown.

For Ryan and McConnell, they knew they needed Democratic votes for the debt ceiling and that Boehner had been pushed out of power for going to the Democrats too many times to lift it. The more Republicans they could get, the better, and if they could get most of them that would be best of all. That’s why they wanted to attach the disaster relief to the debt ceiling. What they really wanted, however, was some cover so they could say the deal they came up with was Trump’s idea, not theirs.

For Pelosi and Schumer, they needed a visible victory. They couldn’t trade their votes for nothing.They were under pressure to get impossible concessions on the DREAM Act and other items, but what they really wanted was a clean disaster relief bill, a clean debt ceiling bill, and a clean continuing resolution that would continue Obama’s budget spending for the entirety of Trump’s first year in office. . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

9 September 2017 at 11:52 am

Rooney Style 3, Phoenix Artisan Honeysuckle, and an iKon open comb

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I’m on a Phoenix Artisan shaving soap kick, as you see. Once again the lather was exceptional, in both consistency and fragrance. The Rooney Style 3 Size 1 is a workhorse of a brush, and it did a fine job.

This is a relatively early iKon stainless razor and it is exceedingly comfortable (for me). One this one, he really hit the mark. Three passes to perfect smoothness.

A splash of Honeysuckle aftershave, and the day is launched.

Written by LeisureGuy

9 September 2017 at 11:47 am

Posted in Shaving

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