Later On

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

Matt Taibbi talks about who goes to jail

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A video interview with transcript at Democracy Now! Their blurb:

Award-winning journalist Matt Taibbi is out with an explosive new book that asks why the vast majority of white-collar criminals have avoided prison since the financial crisis began, while an unequal justice system imprisons the poor and people of color on a mass scale. In The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap, Taibbi explores how the Depression-level income gap between the wealthy and the poor is mirrored by a “justice” gap in who is targeted for prosecution and imprisonment. “It is much more grotesque to consider the non-enforcement of white-collar criminals when you do consider how incredibly aggressive law enforcement is with regard to everybody else,” Taibbi says.

Written by LeisureGuy

15 April 2014 at 12:24 pm

The U.S. Government: Paying to Undermine Internet Security, Not to Fix It

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Excellent article in ProPublica by Julia Angwin:

The Heartbleed computer security bug is many things: a catastrophic tech failure, an open invitation to criminal hackers and yet another reason to upgrade our passwords ondozens of websites. But more than anything else, Heartbleed reveals our neglect of Internet security.

The United States spends more than $50 billion a year on spying and intelligence, while the folks who build important defense software — in this case a program called OpenSSL that ensures that your connection to a website is encrypted — are four core programmers, only one of who calls it a full-time job.

In a typical year, the foundation that supports OpenSSL receives just $2,000 in donations. The programmers have to rely on consulting gigs to pay for their work. “There should be at least a half dozen full time OpenSSL team members, not just one, able to concentrate on the care and feeding of OpenSSL without having to hustle commercial work,” says Steve Marquess, who raises money for the project.

Is it any wonder that this Heartbleed bug slipped through the cracks? . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

15 April 2014 at 11:13 am

Humor marred by events: The Man with One Red Shoe

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I’m watching The Man with One Red Shoe, an inferior remake of the French The Tall Blond Man with One Black Shoe, and I note that the CIA as a humorous organization falls a bit flat these days. When, for example, a CIA agent yanks every single tooth from a man’s head and it’s the wrong man, that is supposed to be funny. The problem is that we know the CIA has indeed tortured people—and indeed, on more than one occasion has tortured “the wrong man”: totally innocent bystanders detained or kidnapped, tortured, and finally released without so much as a by-your-leave. Moreover, the Senate report states that the CIA lied when it said it observed the torture guidelines (incredible that the US has such things) and the CIA went to great pains to destroy all video records of the interrogations to ensure that no one will ever know what they actually did. Now knowing all that, the tooth-pulling bit in the movie seems uncomfortably close to a harsh interrogation technique to be humorous. For all I know, it was used as a harsh interrogation technique. Certainly it’s harsh. But we will never know because the CIA destroyed the tapes, and they did that because they thought what was on the tapes was much worse than any could imagine. Not funny.

Written by LeisureGuy

15 April 2014 at 11:10 am

Comparison shave: Simpson PJ 2 Best v. Vie-Long Badger+Horsehair

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SOTD 15 Apr 2014

The question arose on the difference between badger plain and badger plus horsehair, so I used a brush of each type. Both performed extremely well, so it comes down to personal preference as to the feel of the brush on your face. The Vie-Long is badger plus horsehair, and I purchased it from some time back. I wet well the knot of this brush before I shower, and then after the shower it’s just right for use. The Simpson I don’t bother soaking.

The difference in feel is that the badger+horsehair feels denser and firmer, the Simpson be softer and with more give. I like them both, but of course I like variety.

The Dapper Dragon Cinnamon Bun lathered well, but I did not get much of a cinnamon hint. Still, it’s a serviceable soap.

My Wilkinson “Sticky” with a Feather blade did a superb job, leaving my face BBS. Alt-Innsbruck was its usual excellent self. I can see that fairly soon I will need a new bottle.

Written by LeisureGuy

15 April 2014 at 10:07 am

Posted in Shaving

Internet service provider switchover: Offline for a few days

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We are going through the trouble—and trouble it is—of switching our internet service provider. This means no internet for a while—worst case, two weeks. I will announce my return with a post.

Happy shaving.

UPDATE: As of this morning, my Internet connection is still going strong, so I’ll do some blogging, but if I abruptly stop for a day or so, the switchover is the reason.

Written by LeisureGuy

14 April 2014 at 3:15 pm

Posted in Technology

Effect of rape culture: Girls View Sexual Violence as Normal

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A press release from Sociologists for Women in Society:

New evidence from the journal Gender & Society helps explain what women’s advocates have argued for years – that women report abuse at much lower rates than it actually occurs. According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), 44% of victims are under the age of 18, and 60% of sexual assaults are not reported to police.

The study, “Normalizing Sexual Violence: Young Women Account for Harassment and Abuse,” will appear in the June 2014 issue of Gender & Society, a top-ranked journal in Gender Studies and Sociology. The findings reveal that girls and young women rarely reported incidents of abuse because they regarded sexual violence against them as normal.

Sociologist Heather Hlavka at Marquette University analyzed forensic interviews conducted by Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) with 100 youths between the ages of three and 17 who may have been sexually assaulted. Hlavka found that the young women experienced forms of sexual violence in their everyday lives including: objectification, sexual harassment, and abuse. Often times they rationalized these incidents as normal.

During one interview, referring to boys at school, a 13 year-old girl states:

“They grab you, touch your butt and try to, like, touch you in the front, and run away, but it’s okay, I mean… I never think it’s a big thing because they do it to everyone.”

The researcher’s analysis led her to identify several reasons why young women do not report sexual violence.

  • Girls believe the myth that men can’t help it. The girls interviewed described men as unable to control their sexual desires, often framing men as the sexual aggressors and women as the gatekeepers of sexual activity. They perceived everyday harassment and abuse as normal male behavior, and as something to endure, ignore, or maneuver around.
  • Many of the girls said that they didn’t report the incident because they didn’t want to make a “big deal” of their experiences.  They doubted if anything outside of forcible heterosexual intercourse counted as an offense or rape.
  • Lack of reporting may be linked to trust in authority figures. According to Hlavka, the girls seem to have internalized their position in a male-dominated, sexual context and likely assumed authority figures would also view them as “bad girls” who prompted the assault.
  • Hlavka found that girls don’t support other girls when they report sexual violence. The young women expressed fear that they would be labeled as a “whore” or “slut,” or accused of exaggeration or lying by both authority figures and their peers, decreasing their likelihood of reporting sexual abuse. [Sisterhood may be powerful, but it apparently is also scarce. - LG]

The young women in the study provided insight into how some youth perceived their experiences of sexual violence and harassment during sexual encounters with men. In particular, the study pointed to how the law and popular media may lead to girls’ interpreting their abuse as normal. According to the author, policymakers, educators, and lawmakers need to address how sexual violence is actually experienced by youth beginning at very young ages in order to increase reporting practices, and to protect children from the everyday violence and harassment all too common in their lives.

Written by LeisureGuy

14 April 2014 at 3:12 pm

Posted in Daily life, Science

Mending the broken world in which we live

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Today’s posts following my shaving post have focus on how badly broken is the world in which we live. The question then is: How do we respond. In looking at the levels of corruption, cruelty, and cynicism that seems to pervade the business world and the government, one can feel why the Old Testament God destroyed the world with the Flood, and then found Himself destroying Sodom and Gomorrah. One wants to smash evildoers, but it is impractical on a large scale (one becomes an evildoer in the process).

I recently saw a good movie Leaves of Grass, and the Ed Norton character talks to a rabbi about what amounts to this very issue. The answer she gave him was to talk about tikkun olam, a concept from Judaism that acknowledges that the world is broken and that our best response is to do what we can in daily life to repair it. This is better than Voltaire’s answer in Candide: Dr. Pangloss retreating to tending his garden and ignoring the world. And it’s better than simply giving up. Whether it can work—do many small repairs really help with the major structure—is an open question, but the key is this: It is all that we can do. So it’s that, or abandon all hope.

Written by LeisureGuy

14 April 2014 at 9:58 am

Posted in Daily life


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