Later On

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

Archive for April 11th, 2018

Sinclair’s takeover of local news, in one striking map“

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The above map is interactive in the Vox report by Alvin Chang. That report begins:

Sinclair Broadcasting Group is already one of the most powerful media companies in the country. It owns nearly 200 local television stations in nearly 100 markets — and it’s about to get even more powerful.

The unabashedly pro-Trump media conglomerate received a lot of attention after it forced its local news anchors to read an anti-media promo. These promos were edited together by Deadspin’s Timothy Burke to show a chilling montage of local anchors “concerned about the troubling trend of irresponsible, one-sided news stories plaguing our country.”

So we gave you a tool to see whether Sinclair currently owns any of your local stations. But that doesn’t quite capture the extent of how powerful Sinclair is about to be. Sinclair’s purchase of Tribune Media and its 42 local stations will soon go through if approved by regulators. That would allow the company to reach more than 72 percent of American households.

The map above shows exactly how far this reach is.

The FCC doesn’t allow companies to reach more than 39 percent of households. This is how Sinclair is getting around that.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) doesn’t allow a single company to own stations that reach more than 39 percent of US television homes.

o the question is: How is Sinclair going to be allowed to reach more than 70 percent of households?

There are two main reasons:

1) Sinclair is selling its biggest acquisitions from Tribune — but maintaining a partnership with those stations

When Sinclair purchases Tribune, it will own stations in some of the largest US markets.

But to get under the 39 percent cap, Sinclair said in an FCC filing that it intends to sell stations in eight markets, including New York, Chicago, and Seattle. However, that doesn’t mean those stations won’t be influenced by Sinclair.

As Variety reported:

Sinclair doesn’t plan to be too far removed from WPIX and WGN. The filing discloses that Sinclair already has buyers lined up for both stations and that Sinclair intends to continue running the stations through an “options and services agreement” inked with the buyers.

So Sinclair won’t own these stations but still plans to run them to reach those massive audiences.

2) Sinclair is taking advantage of an FCC loophole . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

11 April 2018 at 6:14 pm

Updated—”new and improved”—Lentils Monastery Style recipe

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I have updated my Lentils Monastery Style recipe, Weight Watchers version, and it’s noticeably better. The changes:

  1. Added a 4 oz slab of lean cooked ham cut into small chunks. That adds only 2 WW points to the entire recipe.
  2. Increased dried thyme and dried marjoram to 1 Tbsp each.
  3. Added 3/4-1 cup chopped celery. Celery noticeably improves flavor.
  4. Increased the number of anchovy fillets from 4-6 to 6-8.
  5. Added option of using Shaoxing rice wine instead of sherry: the two taste much alike.

Today is cold and windy here, and a bowl of lentils tasted mighty good.


Written by LeisureGuy

11 April 2018 at 3:33 pm

Posted in Food, Recipes

A Congressman’s Profanity Laced Tirade in a Safeway Grocery Store

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Erick Erickson, a solid-Right Republican, writes in

One of the President’s congressional defenders has privately decided he hates Trump and wants to unload.”If we’re going to lose because of him, we might as well impeach the motherf**ker,” said the congressman as we roamed the aisles of a Safeway grocery store together. I haven’t been in a Safeway since my family moved home from Dubai in 1990. The congressman did not want to be seen with me on Capitol Hill. He needed to get some stuff anyway and decided he’d let me walk with him through the cereal and dairy selections at the Safeway near my hotel. He is not happy with President Trump. He was never a die hard Trump supporter. He supported him in the general and never expected him to win. But he did. So the congressman, whose district Trump won, has been a regular supporter on Fox News and elsewhere defending the President. He is happy to be quoted, so long as I don’t name him. He says he just needs to vent. I suggest what we’re doing is one of the reason’s Trump won — a congressman says nice things in public and bad things in private.”Everybody does this sh*t,” he says. It’s his turn. We have known each other for years and have been promising to connect this week while I’m passing through DC. So this is it. I’m passing along his comments, not endorsing them.

“I read you writing about this, about wanting to say nice things when you can and criticize when you need to. He may be an idiot, but he’s still the President and leader of my party and he is capable of doing some things right,” he says before conceding it’s usually other people doing the right things in the President’s name. “But dammit he’s taking us all down with him. We are well and truly f**ked in November. Kevin [McCarthy] is already circling like a green fly circling sh*t trying to take Paul’s [Ryan] job because nobody thinks he’s sticking around for Nancy [Pelosi]. She’s going to f**k up the cafeteria again too. [Lord’s name in vain], at least I’ll probably lose too and won’t have to put up with that sh*t.” He won’t lose. His district is very Republican.

What’s the problem, though? Well, get ready…

“It’s like Forrest Gump won the presidency, but an evil, really f*cking stupid Forrest Gump. He can’t help himself. He’s just a f**king idiot who thinks he’s winning when people are b*tching about him. He really does see the world as ratings and attention. I hate Forrest Gump. I listen to your podcast and heard you hate it too. What an overrated piece of sh*t movie. Can you believe it beat the Shawshank Redemption?”

We deviated to Stephen Speilberg for a moment and I had to remind him Robert Zemeckis, not Speilberg, directed it. Then I had to point out his taste in coffee sucks and suggested better. Moving right along…

“Judiciary is stacked with a bunch of people who can win re-election so long as they don’t piss off Trump voters in the primary. But if we get to summer and most of the primaries are over, they just might pull the trigger if the President fires Mueller. The sh*t will hit the fan if that happens and I’d vote to impeach him myself. Most of us would, I think. Hell, all the Democrats would and you only need a majority in the House. If we’re going to lose because of him, we might as well impeach the motherf**ker. Take him out with us and let Mike [Pence] take over. At least then we could sleep well at night,” he said before going off on a tangent about how the situations with Russia and China scare him. Then, “You know having Mike as President would really piss off all the right people, too. They think they hate Trump. Mike is competent,” at which point he sighs and laments that there were, in his mind, more than a dozen competent choices in 2016.

So the implication is they wouldn’t vote for impeachment if they might be opposed in primaries, I asked. He confirmed he does not think the votes are there to impeach the President if any of the Judiciary Committee members are facing primary opponents. But get through that and, if Mueller is fired, he thinks so and thinks a majority of the House would vote to impeach President Trump.

“I say a lot of shit on TV defending him, even over this. But honestly, I wish the motherf*cker would just go away. We’re going to lose the House, lose the Senate, and lose a bunch of states because of him. All his supporters will blame us for what we have or have not done, but he hasn’t led. He wakes up in the morning, sh*ts all over Twitter, sh*ts all over us, sh*ts all over his staff, then hits golf balls. F*ck him. Of course, I can’t say that in public or I’d get run out of town.”

The congressman’s base loves the President. And we’re done. He feels better having let it all out. It was a funny conversation with a few additional remarks about the President’s personal life I dare not print. . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

11 April 2018 at 1:03 pm

Hōshi: A Short Documentary on the 1300-Year-Old Hotel Run by the Same Japanese Family for 46 Generations

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Via Open Culture—and read their post, which begins:

Hōshi is a ryokan (a Japanese traditional inn) located in Komatsu, Japan, and it holds the distinction of being the second oldest hotel in the world, and “the oldest still running family business in the world.” Built in 718 AD, Hōshi has been operated by the same family for 46 consecutive generations. Count them. 46 generations.

Japan is a country with deep traditions. And when you’re born into a family that’s the caretaker of a 1300-year-old institution, you find yourself struggling with issues most of us can’t imagine. That’s particularly true when you’re the daughter of the Hōshi family, a modern woman who wants to break free from tradition. And yet history and strong family expectations keep calling her back. . .

Written by LeisureGuy

11 April 2018 at 12:46 pm

Posted in Daily life

House Speaker Paul Ryan was the biggest fraud in American politics

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Paul Ryan always seem like a phony to me, with his proposed budgets filled with magic asterisks to make them balance: asterisks to unspecified cuts and/or sources of revenue. Matthew Yglesias at Vox shares my (low) opinion of Ryan:

House Speaker Paul Ryan, who is announcing his retirement today, was not the most pernicious figure in American life during his era of prominence, but he was the biggest phony.

His Senate counterpart, Mitch McConnell, was always willing to wear the black hat, from his early rise to prominence as a lonely opponent of campaign finance reform to the cynical smirk with which he stole a Supreme Court seat from Merrick Garland. Ryan wanted something more. Power, yes. To improve the lives of the wealthy while reducing the living standards of the poor, of course.

But he also craved a certain form of respectability that’s led him to leave behind a staggering track record of broken promises and glowing press clips from journalists who were gullible enough to believe them.

From his early days as a Social Security reformer to his mid-career posturing as a deficit hawk to his rebranding as a person deeply concerned with poverty, he’s been the Jack Abernathy of Congress. Eventually, the con ran out, leaving Ryan with little in the way of substantive accomplish as he chose to cut and run before a midterm election that’s shaping up to be a race between his party’s deep unpopularity and the strength of its aggressive gerrymandering.

The many lives of Paul Ryan

Ryan joined Congress in 1998 but first really made his mark during the Social Security privatization wars of 2004-’05.

The basic idea here was that George W. Bush’s administration wanted to use the program’s long-term fiscal deficit as a pretext to alter its fundamental structure away from a guarantee of a decent standard of living in retirement to one where individuals would be reliant on private investment accounts. Ryan emerged as a player by sponsoring, along with then-Sen. John Sununu, a further-right plan that would create more generous private accounts at the cost of $2.4 trillion in larger deficits over the first 10 years. Indeed, as the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities noted at the time, “the plan would increase the national debt (i.e., the debt held by the public) every year for at least the next 75 years.”

This obviously went nowhere, in part because the cost envisioned was much larger than the Obama stimulus, the Trump tax cuts, or basically anything that Congress ever does. Nevertheless, it did not stop Ryan from rebranding himself a few years later as a deficit hawk.

By 2010, he was hailed by journalists like US News’s Paul Bedard and the professional deficit-cutting community as the very model of fiscal responsibility:

It’s a sign of the times: Budget geeks like incoming Republican House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan are cool.

Need proof? A new coalition of budget watchdogs tell Whispers that they plan to unveil a new award today that will reward the best and the brightest of the green eyeshade crowd. Called the Fiscy Awards, they will reward two federal elected officials and one state or local elected official for bringing the deficit to the nation’s attention.

The Fiscy Award judges are serious budget watchers: David Walker, founder and president of the Comeback America Initiative; Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Budget; and Robert Bixby, executive director of the Concord Coalition.

This award was completely at odds with Ryan’s actual record in Congress, which had featured support for multiple rounds of budget-busting Bush tax cuts, Bush’s deficit-financed 2003 Medicare bill, his wars, and his TARP bank bailout. But the new Ryan was said to be a deficit visionary thanks to his 2010 budget framework, which outlined a long-term plan to reduce the budget deficit. Except as Jonathan Cohn wrote at the time, the plan relied entirely on magic asterisks — an unspecified tax reform that would bring revenue to 19 percent of GDP while increasing economic growth, unspecified cuts to domestic discretionary spending, and a bare assertion that Medicare cost growth could be greatly reduced through privatization, with no plan to explain how that would work.

After being tapped as Mitt Romney’s running mate in 2012 and losing, Ryan decided that his fake budget plan had landed him with a reputation as being too mean-spirited.

So by 2014, he was garnering gushing coverage from McKay Coppins and others for his newfound commitment to fighting poverty. Ryan’s newfound commitment to fighting poverty didn’t mean he disavowed his support for a large tax cut for the heirs to multimillion-dollar estates. Or his support for a large tax cut for the owners of businesses. Or his support for a large tax cut for high-income individuals. Or his support for reducing spending on poor children’s health care, housing, and nutrition assistance. Indeed, nothing about Ryan’s actual policy agenda of sharply lowering the material living standards of low-income people in order to finance regressive tax cuts had changed.

But he cared. A lot.

And Ryan is really good at caring. In January 2017, there was a truly heartrending moment at a CNN town hall when he promised a young mother who’d received protections under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that she had no need to fear deportation even in the coming Trump era. It was really great television.

Of course, Ryan’s reassurances were total bullshit, as Vox’s Dara Lind pointed out at the time. Trump didn’t need a new deportation force to change Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s instructions, and House Republicans have been happy to pony up more money for stepped-up enforcement activities. Trump himself, of course, canceled DACA later that year. In September, though, Ryan told DREAMers they could “rest easy”because Congress would soon step in with a fix.

They did not. Back during this past winter’s immigration debate, it was commonplace for Ryan’s tireless apologists in the press corps to note that he would be “risking his speakership” if he defied House backbenchers’ opposition to a DACA fix. This might not really have been such a high price to pay to avoid ruining the lives of hundreds of thousands of innocent young people, but regardless — the DREAMers for whom Ryan would not risk his speakership can know that at the end of the day, he was happy to throw it away anyway; he just forgot to help them.

Though in his defense, he mostly failed at the things he did try to do too.

Paul Ryan’s career ends in abject failure

If Nancy Pelosi never gets her hands on the speaker’s gavel again, she’ll always have the fact that the 111th Congress was one of the most productive of all time.

Ryan’s brief speakership, by contrast, did not amount to much. The dream of Social Security privatization that launched his policy relevance is dead. The Medicare privatization plan that relaunched his policy relevance is also dead. His reputation as a deficit hawk has been exposed as a sham. He didn’t repeal the Affordable Care Act, and he didn’t undo the Obama administration’s financial regulations. The year isn’t over yet, but Congress has basically abandoned hope of doing anything else. . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

11 April 2018 at 11:29 am

Posted in Congress, GOP, Government

NRA claimed to have accepted donations from only 1 Russian. That was a lie. The true number is 23 Russian-linked contributors

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Max Greenwood reports in The Hill:

The National Rifle Association (NRA) disclosed in a letter to Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) this week that it received contributions from 23 individuals with links to Russia since 2015.

The letter, dated Tuesday and made public on Wednesday, stated that the gun-rights group received just over $2,500 from those individuals, and that most of the money was from “routine payments,” like membership fees. Some of the payments may have come from Americans living in Russia, the NRA noted.

Roughly $525 came from “two individuals who made contributions to the NRA,” NRA general counsel John Frazer wrote in the letter, which was first reported Wednesday by NPR.

The NRA’s acknowledgement that it received payments from 23 individuals signals a sharp increase from the group’s previous disclosures. An outside counsel for the NRA told ABC News in an interview last month that the group received just one contribution from a Russian individual between 2012 and 2018.

Frazer in this week’s letter also addressed payments to the NRA made by Alexander Torshin, a Russian politician and the deputy of the country’s central bank. He said that Torshin has been a life member of the group since 2012, and has paid membership dues, but has not made any additional contributions.

Torshin is among the Russian officials named in new U.S. sanctions imposed last week. Frazer said that the NRA is now “reviewing our responsibilities with respect to him.”

McClatchy D.C. reported in January that the FBI was investigating whether Torshin sought to funnel money to the NRA to help President Trump win the 2016 election.

Wyden has questioned the NRA for months about possible connections to Russia. Frazer said in the letter to the senator that the organization would stop providing information on the matter.

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

11 April 2018 at 11:22 am

Posted in Business, Congress, Guns

Raw Data: The Worse a State Does on Improving Health, the Better It Is for Trump

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Fascinating, though we must remember: correlation is not causation. Still, look at this chart:

That’s from a Kevin Drum post. He writes:

. . . Every single state has reduced the chance of dying among the elderly, primarily thanks to huge advances in treating heart attacks. However, the differences between states are still very large. California has reduced the chance of dying by 13 percentage points, from 80 percent to 67 percent, while Mississippi has reduced the chance of death by only 4 points, from 84 percent to 80 percent.

But now for the interesting part. The first thing I noticed about this chart is that it seems to be even more segregated by red and blue states than the chart for the middle aged. That got me curious about the actual correlation between change in health and other factors. At first I tried regressing on the African-American share of each state’s population, but that produced nothing. Then I regressed on each state’s margin of victory for Donald Trump. For the middle aged, the correlation was strong: . . .

Continue reading to see the other chart.

Later in the column:

. . .  I know there are all sorts of confounders here, since Trump’s popularity is already correlated with lots of other things. Nevertheless, the better a state does at extending the lives of its residents, the more Democratic it is. The worse a state does, the more Republican it is.

So which way does causation go? Do blue states spend more money on health, and therefore do better on health metrics like these? Or do red state residents do poorly on health metrics, which makes them angry at government and therefore more likely to vote Republican? Or both? Or neither?

One way or the other, though, it sure looks like  . . .

Written by LeisureGuy

11 April 2018 at 10:03 am

Stubble Trubble, Baby Smooth, and Hâttric

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I like Stubble Trubble’s Up & Adam so much I had to return to it today. And once again a great lather in consistency and fragrance, today made with Edwin Jagger’s rather nice synthetic. The soap is vegan and $15 for 5.9 oz is a good price. Check it out. (I get no kickback or other remuneration for my recommendations, including this one. I just like the soap.)

I picked RazoRock’s Baby Smooth because I wanted a smooth result with no problems, and as usual, it delivered that with aplomb.

A splash of Hâttric finished the job nicely. The day is already going very well.

Written by LeisureGuy

11 April 2018 at 9:05 am

Posted in Shaving

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