Later On

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

Archive for July 23rd, 2022

Republicans in Congress oppose what most Americans want

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Heather Cox Richardson writes:

Thursday’s public hearing by the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol brought to its logical conclusion the story of Trump’s attempt to overturn our democracy. After four years of destroying democratic norms and gathering power into his own hands, the former president tried to overturn the will of the voters. Trump was attacking the fundamental concept on which this nation rests: that we have a right to consent to the government under which we live.

Far from rejecting the idea of minority rule after seeing where it led, Republican Party lawmakers have doubled down.

They have embraced the idea that state legislatures should dominate our political system, and so in 2021, at least 19 states passed 34 laws to restrict access to voting. On June 24, in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health decision, the Supreme Court said that the federal government did not have the power, under the Fourteenth Amendment, to protect the constitutional right to abortion, bringing the other rights that amendment protects into question. When Democrats set out to protect some of those rights through federal legislation, Republicans in Congress overwhelmingly voted to oppose such laws.

In the House, Republicans voted against federal protection of an individual’s right to choose whether to continue or end a pregnancy and to protect a health care provider’s ability to provide abortion services: 209 Republicans voted no; 2 didn’t vote. That’s 99% of House Republicans.

They voted against the right to use contraception: 195 out of 209 Republicans voted no; 2 didn’t vote. That’s 96% of House Republicans.

They voted against marriage equality: 157 out of 204 Republicans voted no; 7 didn’t vote. That’s 77% of House Republicans.

They voted against a bill guaranteeing a woman’s right to travel across state lines to obtain abortion services: 205 out of 208 Republicans voted no; 3 didn’t vote. That’s 97% of House Republicans.

Sixty-two percent of Americans believe abortion should be legal. Seventy percent support gay marriage. More than 90% of Americans believe birth control should be legal. I can’t find polling on whether Americans support the idea of women being able to cross state lines without restrictions, but one would hope that concept is also popular. And yet, Republican lawmakers are comfortable standing firmly against the firm will of the people. The laws protecting these rights passed through the House thanks to overwhelming Democratic support but will have trouble getting past a Republican filibuster in the Senate.

When he took office, Democratic president Joe Biden recognized that his role in this moment was to prove that democracy is still a viable form of government.

Rising autocrats have declared democracy obsolete. They argue that popular government is too slow to respond to the rapid pace of the modern world, or that liberal democracy’s focus on individual rights undermines the traditional values that hold societies together, values like religion and ethnic or racial similarities. Hungarian president Viktor Orbán, whom the radical right supports so enthusiastically that he is speaking on August 4 in Texas at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), has called for replacing liberal democracy with “illiberal democracy” or “Christian democracy,” which will explicitly not treat everyone equally and will rest power in a single political party.

Biden has defended democracy across the globe, accomplishing more in foreign diplomacy than any president since Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Less than a year after the former president threatened to withdraw the U.S. from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken pulled together the NATO countries, as well as allies around the world, to stand against the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The new strength of NATO prompted Sweden and Finland to join the organization, and earlier this month, NATO ambassadors signed protocols for their admission. This is the most significant expansion of NATO in 30 years.

That strength helped to . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

23 July 2022 at 9:29 pm

7 Ways to Hard-Boil Eggs and a Clear Winner

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I no longer eat eggs, but I bet some of my readers do. And if you do eat eggs, having a few hard-boiled eggs in the fridge can be quite handy. Ann Taylor Pittman in Kitchn has a good article on 7 ways to boil eggs, helpfully listed in order from worst to best — so you can just skip down to the last three if you want.

Written by Leisureguy

23 July 2022 at 6:49 pm

Leonard de Vries’s Book of Experiments

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This PDF of experiments seems ideal for a child of elementary-school age. Doing an experiment engages the mind and physical body in a way that merely reading about the experiment does not, and drives the knowledge deeper so that it resides in both brain and body and is more likely to be recalled, used, and built upon. The student who does not do an experiment remembers only a fact;  the student who does an experiment remembers the fact in the context of an experience, a much stronger and more vivid memory.

Highly recommended.

Written by Leisureguy

23 July 2022 at 6:23 pm

Another old-time shave

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More old-style shaving. The Omega Pro-48 might have a fairly modern handle (though plastics date back 113 years — bakelite, the first synthetic plastic, was introduced in 1909 after having been invented in 1907) — but the boar-bristle knot is ancient — and still extremely effective and pleasurable to use. This is one of my favorite brushes.

Yardley discontinued making shaving soaps decades ago — bar soap is the only soap they now make — but the company, established in 1770, is still going strong (though with no shaving products at all). But this soap has weather well and still produces its lavender fragrance as I load the brush and work up the lather — and a very good lather it is, too.

Three passes with Fatip’s Testina Gentile, a wonderful little razor, whisked away the stubble, and a good splash of Lustray Coachman (with a couple of squirts of Hydrating Gel) finished the job.

The tea this morning is Murchie’s Vanilla Jasmine: “black, green, and oolong teas, with an enticing aroma of vanilla, jasmine, and magnolia.”

Written by Leisureguy

23 July 2022 at 8:35 am

Posted in Caffeine, Shaving

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