Later On

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

Archive for October 3rd, 2010

TSR: The Shaving Room

with 2 comments

TheShavingRoom.co.uk is a terrific and clearly long-established forum. Should have listed this long ago. Simple ignorance on my part.

Check it out.

Written by Leisureguy

3 October 2010 at 3:28 pm

Posted in Daily life, Shaving

What a relief!

with 3 comments

The reader reviews are back on Amazon.com’s listing of the book. I really like those since they clearly demonstrate that the people actually buying the book like it and find it worth their while (and money).

Written by Leisureguy

3 October 2010 at 3:25 pm

Posted in Books, Shaving

An artisanal soapmaker in the UK

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Check out Nanny’s Silly Soap Company, which makes a variety of handmade soaps including shaving soaps and creams.

Written by Leisureguy

3 October 2010 at 9:30 am

The President’s Power to Order the Extra-Judicial Execution of an American Citizen

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Scott Horton at Harper’s:

When stories originally surfaced to the effect that President Obama had authorized the killing of an American citizen, Anwar al-Awlaki, my first reaction was to say that the criticism of some civil libertarians was overblown. A warrior fighting on the battlefield against U.S. forces in a conflict has no privilege against being killed because he is a U.S. citizen—that’s a well-settled norm of the laws of war, upheld by the Supreme Court in Ex parte Quirin (1942). Surely the Obama Administration would justify its action under these principles: there must be evidence linking al-Awlaki to an imminent, military threat involving al Qaeda and its associated forces, and evidence putting him in a command and control position. I waited to hear confirmation of that, and perhaps even to get a taste of the evidence.

But studying the Obama Administration’s statements over the last two months and reviewing the Justice Department’s response to a lawsuit filed by civil-liberties organizations acting on behalf of al-Awlaki’s father, I come away with a different impression: we’re looking at another power grab for the imperial president.

This whole affair did not have to figure on the public policy stage. The Obama Administration could, of course, have kept the whole matter secret. Moreover, if it really had the national security and state secrecy concerns that DOJ lawyers now claim in their briefs, that’s just what it would have done. Instead, on April 7, “high-level U.S. officials” advised a series of national publications, including the Washington Post and New York Times that the National Security Council, headed by President Obama, had issued paperwork to authorize a lethal attack on al-Awlaki. These reports were confirmed (obliquely) by former National Intelligence Director Dennis C. Blair. Then Counterterrorism Advisor John Brennan spilled the beans in an interview with the Washington Times. It decided to shove the case of al-Awlaki into the political spotlight—perhaps as the latest chapter in the Obama team’s ¿quién es más macho? struggle with their Bush-era predecessors. Having done so, they had an obligation to the American public to step out of the shadows and fully explain their rationale for authorizing the execution of a U.S. citizen. They have the same obligation to a federal court. They don’t have to tell us how they plan to kill him. They have to tell us why they feel they have legal authority to do it and what facts they have that justify this extreme claim of presidential power. The self-serving claims of the Justice Department’s briefwriters notwithstanding, the basis for the president’s claim of legal authority cannot itself be a secret.

The Justice Department’s brief is filled with slithering evasions and half-truths about what the administration previously said and did. It invokes state secrecy defenses, claiming that this is something “rarely done,” and that the government is entitled to stop the case from proceeding. And it argues that al-Awlaki can avoid the threat of extrajudicial execution simply by walking into the U.S. embassy in Yemen and turning himself in—a legitimate call if there were criminal charges pending against him, but where are they? This is the typical niggling of lawyers out to defend their client in a lawsuit without revealing much of their hand. But it is fundamentally unworthy of the American government, and it reveals an attitude to the public and the courts that borders on contempt. I picked up this brief expecting to nod in agreement with Obama on this issue, and I came away concerned about an unseemly game plan.

I have no doubt that the Obama Administration will prevail in this litigation. The court handling the case is likely to employ one of several judicial escape pods. It will find that al-Awlaki senior cannot represent the interests of his son, for instance, or it will determine that the issue presented is essentially a political question in which federal courts shouldn’t meddle. Indeed, any federal court would feel awkward reviewing the executive’s decision to designate targets in a war. But these findings would be acts of judicial cowardice. The executive should be forced to explain itself.

No doubt the government has concluded that al-Awlaki is a heinous figure who has committed serious crimes and should be made to pay for it. But for all of the massive operations recently undertaken in Yemen, I see no evidence yet that the government is trying to apprehend him and charge him for any criminal acts–even though it has spelled out facts suggesting that it could easily do just that. Is the rationale that a bullet to the head or a bomb dropped on his house would be far more expedient than an indictment and a trial? That sends a chill down my spine. It seems increasingly that the Obama White House is using the al-Awlaki case to establish a new principle: the president’s power to order extrajudicial executions of American citizens. I don’t for a second question the principle established in Quirin, and I believe that the president can in some circumstances target and remove figures in a command-and-control position over hostile forces even if they are removed from a conventional battlefield. But I am deeply suspicious of the need to add to the president’s theoretical powers by killing a U.S. citizen in Yemen who could certainly be captured, brought back to the United States and put on trial.

A number of commentators have questioned the president’s claim of authority to assassinate, some calling it “tyrannical.” As a wise observer wrote of the suspension of the habeas corpus right of Americans in 1777, tyranny comes “when liberty is nibbled away, for expedients, and by parts…. Now a line is drawn, which may be advanced further and further at pleasure, on the same arguments of mere expedience on which it was first described.” This process of steady erosion has long been under way in our country. When the executive claims the power to take the life of a citizen without recourse to law and legal process, and seeks to sustain that under vague claims of commander-in-chief authority, that claim is in its essence tyrannical.

Written by Leisureguy

3 October 2010 at 9:14 am

Things you don’t want in your lather

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Take a look at the smörgåsbord of chemicals industry serves up for you to put on your face.

Written by Leisureguy

3 October 2010 at 8:48 am

Dodged a bullet

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Yesterday’s bread and olive oil at lunch, followed by the depth-bomb scoop of delicious ice cream, made me fear that I would lose a lot of ground. In fact, I lost 0.1 lb: 218.9 lbs Saturday morning, 218.8 lbs this morning: BMI 29.6 (drawing farther away from the obesity shore). OTOH, I know how you can think things are fine and in fact it’s a trap waiting to be sprung, so today I’ll eat quite carefully indeed.

The plane trip will be done with my carry-on food: 4-5 apples, 8 Ry-Vita crackers (4 starch servings), 5 boiled eggs, and salad (no dressing) if I can pick it up on a stop. Sort of boring, but then it’s going to be a boring day, though I’m taking along books and Kindle, MP3 player and magazines.

Written by Leisureguy

3 October 2010 at 8:44 am

Posted in Daily life, Fitness

Frank brush and TOBS Avocado

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Normally I skip shaving on Sunday so that I can enjoy shaving a two-day stubble on Monday, but today I decided to skip that practice because I’m determined to get to the bottom of the Frank brush mystery. Ryan, in comments, suggested that I try the Frank with a shaving cream, an excellent idea—I’m so soap-oriented it had not occurred to me. I anticipated success—shaving cream seems to be congealed lather, more or less—and success is what I had: very fine and copious lather. Perhaps, contrary to all my statements and beliefs, I have found a brush suited for shaving creams but not for soaps—but I don’t believe that. Tomorrow I try a soap again. It’s a badger brush. It has to work.

So today I enjoyed copious lather—enough for 3, 4, or 8 passes—and also the excellence of TOBS Avocado, certainly one of my favorite shaving creams—not for the fragrance, which is light, but for feel and performance (and, I admit, the idea of rubbing a warm avocado all over my face).

The rhodium-plated Fat Boy with its Swedish Gillette blade did a very fine job indeed—and, speaking of the rhodium plating, I knew that it would improve the razor’s appearance—that much is evident from the photos at the Razor Emporium site—but I didn’t know that I would feel a definite surge of pleasure each time I picked up the razor to use. It is so classy looking!

A splash of Pashana because I enjoyed it yesterday so much. I like this aftershave, but it’s not a good choice for travel: the fragrance lingers. When I travel, I like to use Thayers aftershave, which has essentially no fragrance at all. That’s what you want when you’re jammed into an airplane seat, cheek by jowl with fellow travelers.

Written by Leisureguy

3 October 2010 at 8:18 am

Posted in Shaving

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