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Archive for May 18th, 2019

The nation’s first majority-female legislature is currently meeting in Nevada.

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It actually sounds like they’re doing well. Emily Wax-Thibodeaux reports in the Washington Post:

She didn’t plan to say it. Yvanna Cancela, a newly elected Democrat in the Nevada Senate, didn’t want to “sound crass.” But when a Republican colleague defended a century-old law requiring doctors to ask women seeking abortions whether they’re married, Cancela couldn’t help firing back.

“A man is not asked his marital status before he gets a vasectomy,” she countered — and the packed hearing room fell silent.

Since Nevada seated the nation’s first majority-female state legislature in January, the male old guard has been shaken up by the perspectives of female lawmakers. Bills prioritizing women’s health and safety have soared to the top of the agenda. Mounting reports of sexual harassment have led one male lawmaker to resign. And policy debates long dominated by men, including prison reform and gun safety, are yielding to female voices.

Cancela, 32, is part of the wave of women elected by both parties in November, many of them younger than 40. Today, women hold the majority with 23 seats in the Assembly and 10 in the Senate, or a combined 52 percent.

No other legislature has achieved that milestone in U.S. history. Only Colorado comes close, with women constituting 47 percent of its legislators. In Congress, just one in four lawmakers is a woman. And in Alabama, which just enacted an almost complete ban on abortion, women make up just 15 percent of lawmakers.

The female majority is having a huge effect: More than 17 pending bills deal with sexual assault, sex trafficking and sexual misconduct, with some measures aimed at making it easier to prosecute offenders. Bills to ban child marriage and examine the causes of maternal mortality are also on the docket.

“I can say with 100 percent certainty that we wouldn’t have had these conversations” a few years ago, said Assembly Majority Leader Teresa Benitez-Thompson (D). “None of these bills would have seen the light of day.”

Nevada didn’t reach this landmark by accident. A loosely coordinated campaign of political action groups and women’s rights organizations recruited and trained women such as Cancela, who became political director of the 57,000-member Culinary Workers Union before she turned 30. One of those organizations, Emerge Nevada, said it trained twice as many female candidates ahead of the 2018 midterm election as it had in the preceding 12 years.

Meanwhile, the election of President Trump in 2016 mobilized Democratic women nationwide, including in Nevada, where women already held 40 percent of statehouse seats.

Along with the gender shift has come a steady increase in racial diversity: Of 63 lawmakers in Nevada, 11 are African American, nine are Hispanic, one is Native American and one, Rochelle Thuy Nguyen (D), 41, is the legislature’s first Democratic female Asian American Pacific Islander.

The result may seem surprising in a state more often defined by the hypersexuality and neon-lit debauchery of the Las Vegas Strip. Until 2017, the legislature included an assemblyman who had briefly appeared as an extra in a film about women being kidnapped and forced to live naked in kennels, according to PolitiFact.

But that lawmaker, Stephen Silberkraus (R), 38, was defeated by a woman, Lesley Cohen (D), 48, who highlighted the film during her campaign. (Silberkraus told reporters that he had been unaware of the film’s sexual nature.) As a member of the Assembly, Cohen is leading a study on conditions for female sex workers in Nevada’s rural brothels, the nation’s only legal bordellos.

“Outsiders ask why and how Nevada — of all places — became first,” Cohen said. “But I say, why not Nevada? Why not everywhere?”

Carson City is a tiny frontier town, cradled among the snow-capped Sierra Nevada. For decades in the statehouse, charges of sexual harassment often were shrugged off or belittled, and bills sponsored by women were sometimes mocked.

In 2015, Sen. Patricia Ann Spearman (D), now 64, said legislative leaders refused to schedule a hearing on her bill to promote pay equity for women. “The boys club was like, ‘Why do we need that?’ ” she said. “It was a very misogynistic session.”

As recently as 2017, when the legislature approved a public referendum to repeal the “pink tax” on necessities such as tampons and diapers, one assemblyman argued against it, saying it would create a slippery slope.

“Can I add my jockstrap purchases to your list? You might argue it’s not a necessity, but I might beg to differ,” Jim Marchant (R) said at the time. Last November, voters agreed to repeal the tax — and replaced Marchant with a woman, Shea Backus (D).

Even now, female lawmakers in both parties say they receive anonymous phone calls from men commenting on their looks or threatening sexual violence. GOP women “share a lot of common ground and lived experiences with Democratic women,” said Assemblywoman Jill Tolles (R), 45.

80 nations set quotas for female leaders. Should the U.S. be next? ]

Still, Nevada also has long history of female leadership. The first woman was elected to the legislature in 1918, before the U.S. Constitution guaranteed women the right to vote. And although the state has never elected a female governor, it has had at least four female lieutenant governors, the first appointed in 1962.

These days, a giant banner strung across Main Street advertises a hotline for victims of sexual harassment and assault. Set up two years ago, after state Sen. Mark Manendo (D), now 52, resigned amid allegations of sexual harassment, witness tampering and other misconduct, the hotline has been buzzing during the current legislative session.

Many women called with allegations of harassment against Assemblyman Michael Sprinkle (D), 51, who stepped down in March. In a statement announcing his resignation, Sprinkle said that he was “taking full responsibility for my actions,” would “continue to seek therapy,” and asked his accusers and family for forgiveness.

“There’s change in this building that is just this amazing story of transformation,” said Assemblywoman Heidi Swank (D), 51, who helped bring the allegations against Sprinkle to light. “And it really highlights the importance of the female majority being not just here, but finally being heard.” . . .

Continue reading.

It seems they are doing great.

Written by Leisureguy

18 May 2019 at 12:31 pm

Interesting book: “How Not to Die,” by Michael Greger M.D.

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How Not to Die: Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease, by Michael Greger M.D., is essentially a very readable collection of research findings on nutrition, the gist of which that a plant-based diet is much more healthful than a diet that includes animal-derived foods (meat, fish, dairy, eggs). Greger also has a website,, which contains a large library of brief (typically 5 minutes) videos on a wide range of nutrition facts. Here’s a list of topics.

I’m convinced enough to switch my diet while still maintaining some of my own restrictions:

a. I don’t eat any foods that contain refined sugar, and I don’t use sweeteners (because I deliberately developed a taste for savory in preference to sweet), and I avoid simple carbs that are quickly digested (because I have type 2 diabetes). Artificial sweeteners, BTW, are toxic to the gut microbiome.

b. I favor foods low in net carbs (total carbs minus dietary fiber). Thus I favor fruit low in net carbs (berries, for example). [Update: Natural sugar in fruits is not the problem that refined sugars are. I now eat several pieces of fruit a day – LG] For foods high in carbs (e.g., grains), I buy them in a form and prepare them in a way that I minimize minimize the impact of the carbs. For example, I eat intact whole-kernel grains (oat groats, hulled barley, wheat berries, whole rye) rather than grain that has been cut (steel-cut oats, pot barley), or polished (pearled barley, white rice) or crushed (rolled oats, kamut flakes) or ground (wheat flour, rye flour), and I chill the grain after I cook it, which makes the starch resistant so that it is not digested so quickly. (When I eat it, I take a 1/2 cup serving and reheat it. — update: I am not terrible active, so I cut the serving size of grain (and beans) — first to 1/3 cup, then after a while to 1/4 cup, and currently 2 heaping tablespoons. And I no longer bother reheating it. /update)

I don’t eat any corn or rice or white potatoes, which are high in starch and do affect my blood glucose levels strongly. I did eat sweet potatoes (but rarely) until I found that they also hit my blood glucose hard. I do eat beans, but they are high in fiber, and I also refrigerate them after cooking and before I eat them. I rarely reheat them — for example, I’ll I eat them on a salad or mixed with a bowl of cooked veggies and greens, along with some cooked grain.

c. I formerly used WW Freestyle online (no meetings) to assist in portion control, tracking points. A great many foods (200 or more) are zero points, so this is not burdensome, particularly since I quickly learn the point value of foods I frequently eat (much like supermarket checkout clerks quickly learn the product codes for fruits and vegetables). [Update: WW Freestyle did shift my food choices away from beef, pork, and lamb and toward more fruit and vegetables and seafood. But now I use which has a couple of advantages over WW Freestyle: 1) Cronometer is free; and 2) Cronometer provides a detailed analysis of nutrients, which is quite handy when you’re making a big change in your diet. (I did pay the modest annual fee to upgrade to Cronometer Gold, which offers a more detailed analysis.) – LG]

I find the effort interesting and actually enjoy figuring out meals that are satisfying, healthful, and meet my criteria. It’s early days yet, so I am still figuring out a working menu, but it’s no more problematic than learning to play chess.

To facilitate meal preparation, I prep and cook foods ahead of time and keep them in the fridge. Right now I have greens (kale and red chard), Lima beans, hulled barley, and oat groats. [Update: I bought quite a few Glasslock storage containers in different sizes, and I label them with the name of the food and the date, using masking tape and an extra-fine Sharpie. That has helped a lot in refrigeration organization and management. – LG]

Because I’m buying more from the bulk bins, I stopped by the hardware store and bought a dozen canning jars ($9). We’re a two-person family, so I got pint/500ml jars, but a family of four would find quart/1L jars more suitable. I like that they are clear glass (and not plastic). I strongly recommend also getting a canning funnel, a wide-mouth funnel that fits the jars perfectly. It makes filling them easier and less spill-prone.

Based on my reading, I have jars for quinoa, beans of various sorts (good source of iron), oat groats, kamut, spelt, hulled barley, pecans, walnuts, peanuts, pepitas, flaxseed, and chia seed, and I’m sure I’ll be finding other foods suitable for a jar. [Update: I did find other foods, and soon I bought a second dozen of canning jars. – LG] If I think I might recognize the contents by sight, I label the jar, using masking tape and an extra-fine-point Sharpie.

Regarding beans, this video is quite interesting. I now eat 1/2 cup of cooked beans and 1/3 cup of cooked grain at every meal: it’s the core of the meal. (update: My current serving size is a rounded 2-tablespoon measure of beans and a similar measure of grain. Given my activity level, that turns out to work well. Also, serving size for greens and for other vegetables is now 1/3 cup. /update)

Written by Leisureguy

18 May 2019 at 11:18 am

Chiseled Face Sherlock and the Game Changer .84-P

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Chiseled Face’s Sherlock shaving soap is a lovely soap that I have not been using so often as I should. He describes it thusly:

Our Sherlock scent is inspired by the character brought to life in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in his classic series – The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – written in the late 1800’s.  It is a warm tobacco-based scent blended with toasted caramel, black pepper, moist dirt, and finished with a touch of leather, moss, mandarin, honey and rose.

It really is an excellent fragrance, and the lather is superb, probably due to the ingredients shown on the label. (The current incarnation’s ingredients differ a bit: “Stearic Acid, Aloe Vera Juice, Beef Tallow, Coconut Oil, Castor Oil, Glycerin, Fragrance, Mango Butter, Avocado Oil, Silk Powder.”

Of course, the lather is in part due to my pre-Vulfix-ownership Simpson Duke 3 Best brush, a doughty little fellow that works his head off to make a good lather

The razor I just received from Italian Barber: the Game Changer .84-P, which has a slightly bigger than the original Game Changer (now renamed “Game Changer .68-P“). You can buy the .84-P baseplate by itself if you already own the original, though currently that baseplate is sold out (but if you use the blue tab at the right, you can sign up to be notified when it’s available).

I already had the original, which worked quite well for me, but the .84-P does indeed have more blade feel and is more efficient. I think if I could have only one, I would keep the .84-P and let the .68-P go.

Three passes, perfect smoothness, and a splash of Sherlock aftershave to finish the job. The weekend now begins!

Written by Leisureguy

18 May 2019 at 8:52 am

Posted in Daily life, Shaving

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