Later On

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

Archive for February 25th, 2012

Take the picture now, focus later

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Very cool camera technology, especially for us point-and-shoot types. All the detail work, including focusing, can be done later.

Written by LeisureGuy

25 February 2012 at 11:24 am

Could the Army be lying? Again?

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Disturbing story by James Dao in the NY Times:

Capt. Susan Carlson was not a typical recruit when she volunteered for the Army in 2006 at the age of 50. But the Army desperately needed behavioral health professionals like her, so it signed her up.

Though she was, by her own account, “not a strong soldier,” she received excellent job reviews at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., where she counseled prisoners. But last year, Captain Carlson, a social worker, was deployed to Afghanistan with the Colorado National Guard and everything fell apart.

After a soldier complained that she had made sexually suggestive remarks, she was suspended from her counseling duties and sent to an Army psychiatrist for evaluation. His findings were shattering: She had, he said in a report, a personality disorder, a diagnosis that the military has used to discharge thousands of troops. She was sent home.

She disputed the diagnosis, but it was not until months later that she found what seemed powerful ammunition buried in her medical file, portions of which she provided to The New York Times. “Her command specifically asks for a diagnosis of a personality disorder,” a document signed by the psychiatrist said.

Veterans’ advocates say Captain Carlson stumbled upon evidence of something they had long suspected but had struggled to prove: that military commanders pressure clinicians to issue unwarranted psychiatric diagnoses to get rid of troops.

“Her records suggest an attempt by her commander to influence medical professionals,” said Michael J. Wishnie, a professor at Yale Law School and director of its Veterans Legal Services Clinic.

Since 2001, the military has discharged at least 31,000 service members because of personality disorder, a family of disorders broadly characterized by inflexible “maladaptive” behavior that can impair performance and relationships.

For years, veterans’ advocates have said that the Pentagon uses the diagnosis to discharge troops because it considers them troublesome or wants to avoid giving them benefits for service-connected injuries. The military considers personality disorder a pre-existing problem that emerges in youth, and as a result, troops given the diagnosis are often administratively discharged without military retirement pay. Some have even been required to repay enlistment bonuses.

By comparison, a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder is usually linked to military service and leads to a medical discharge accompanied by certain benefits.

In recent weeks, questions about whether the Army manipulates psychiatric diagnoses to save money have been raised at Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Tacoma, Wash., where soldiers undergoing medical evaluations before discharge complained that psychiatrists rescinded PTSD diagnoses, leaving the soldiers with diagnoses like personality disorder that did not qualify them for medical discharges.

In a memorandum, an Army ombudsman wrote that . . .

Continue reading. I find it quite easy to believe that the Army is acting in bad faith and lying about it. It continues a familiar pattern of the organization.

Written by LeisureGuy

25 February 2012 at 9:20 am

Should Corporations Have More Leeway to Kill Than People Do?

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TYD passes along a link to an interesting NY Times article by Peter Weiss:

NEXT week, the Supreme Court will hear a case with many potential ramifications for American and international law, and for corporate responsibility for human rights around the globe. The justices will be asked to decide whether the corporations to which they have been extending the rights of individuals should also be held accountable for crimes against human rights, just as individuals are.

The story behind the case begins in 1980, when my colleagues at the Center for Constitutional Rights and I helped obtain the first semblance of justice to the family of a slain 17-year-old Paraguayan youth named Joelito Filártiga.

A police inspector general in Asunción, the capital, had tortured the boy to death in retaliation for his father’s opposition to Paraguay’s brutal dictatorship. But the case was decided in New York, far from Paraguay, where the crime had occurred and where justice had proven impossible for the Filártiga family; the boy’s murderer was ultimately ordered to pay the family $10.4 million in damages.

The precedent-setting case was made possible by a remarkable decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which allowed it to be brought under a long-obscure law enacted by Congress in 1789. Known as the Alien Tort Statute, the law has been interpreted to mean that foreigners who commit heinous crimes abroad in violation of international law can be held accountable in the United States if they are present or do business here; the Supreme Court upheld its constitutionality in 2004.

Since that decision, dozens of successful alien tort claims have been brought in American courts — at first against individuals, and eventually against corporations. As a result, many foreign victims of egregious crimes — ranging from torture and slave labor to the execution of loved ones — that were sanctioned, endorsed or commissioned by corporations have found justice in our courts.

Yet in September 2010, a divided Second Circuit — the very court that had rendered the Filártiga decision — held that only individuals, and not corporations, can be sued under the statute.

That ruling, in a case known as Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum, came less than a year after the much more famous — and criticized — Supreme Court decision in Citizens United, which removed restrictions on political spending by contributions and wildly expanded the concept of corporate personhood.

Together, these decisions have triggered a wave of outrage among advocates for human rights, which see in them a signal from the courts that corporations have extensive rights but few responsibilities under American law. . .

Continue reading. We see a cafeteria approach to defining “corporate personhood”: an attempt by conservatives to select only advantageous aspects of personhood and reject the rest. Part of the corporate takeover.

Written by LeisureGuy

25 February 2012 at 9:04 am

Posted in Business, Government, Law

Ad hoc shave

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I didn’t really have a plan in mind. I spotted the Omega 20107 boar brush (an excellent size for face-lathering, recommended to me by NoHelmet of wicked_edge: it’s just enough smaller than the Pro 48 to make it better), and since I haven’t used that for a while, put it in to soak while I showered. Once out, I picked up the Marvy mug holding my Scodioli Hierophant shaving soap and lathered away vigorously.

I got a very pleasing creamy lather, and I note that my 20107 is already nicely broken in: tips quite soft on my face. Lather in place, I picked up my British Gillette Aristocrat, Jr. with a previously used Astra Superior Platinum blade: three smooth passes (with good, clear sounds of stubble being cut), the final rinse, alum, rinse, dry, a splash of Thayers Lemon Witch Hazel, and off to Toasties for breakfast.

Written by LeisureGuy

25 February 2012 at 8:40 am

Posted in Shaving

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