Later On

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

Archive for April 20th, 2011

Why does Obama hate human rights?

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Obama: the big disappointment. Promised transparency, embraces secrecy. Promised to close Guantánamo, is keeping it open. Promised to protect whistleblowers, is pursuing them with unparalleled vengeance. Promised to uphold the law, prevents any investigation into government misdeeds of the past decade. And it goes on. Take a look at this latest development:

A Pentagon official yesterday leaked word to the Associated Press that accused WikiLeaks leaker Bradley Manning was being transferred out of the Quantico Marine brig where he has been held under inhumane conditions for 10 months, and moved to the Army’s prison facility in Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas. The Pentagon did not even bother to notify Manning’s lawyer of the transfer; he had to learn of it through the media leak. As most media reports on this transfer note, the move takes place “in the wake of international criticism about his treatment.” In particular, the AP story explains:

Manning’s move to a new detention center comes about a week after a U.N. torture investigator complained that he was denied a request to make an unmonitored visit to Manning. . . . Two days later, a committee of Germany’s parliament protested about Manning’s treatment to the White House. And Amnesty International has said Manning’s treatment may violate his human rights [ed.: actually, the Amnesty condemnation was far more emphatic than that].

Additionally, the British government formally raised concerns with the U.S. over the treatment of Manning (whose mother is a British citizen). State Department reporters had begun aggressively questioning officials about their refusal to allow unmonitored U.N. access to Manning (after all, even the Bush administration allowed unmonitored visits by human rights organizations to accused top Al Qaeda Terrorists held at Guantanamo).

Combine all that with the compelled “resignation” of State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley for his public denunciation of Manning’s treatment — and the forced defense by President Obama of this treatment when he was asked about it in a Press Conference by ABC News‘ Jake Tapper — and it’s obvious that this has exploded into a serious political and international scandal for the Obama administration. Add on to all that the fact that Manning’s counsel was preparing to file a habeas corpus petition after brig officials just ruled that they would indefinitely continue Manning’s oppressive treatment against the advice of the brig’s psychiatric experts, and it’s not difficult to see why this transfer was politically necessary.

How Manning will be treated in Ft. Leavenworth remains to be seen, and it’s impossible to know the psychological injuries that have already been inflicted on him by 10 months of inhumane detention. NBC News‘ Jim Miklaszewski claims that “he’ll be placed in a new medium-security facility,” and will “have some freedom of movement in an open day room, have contact and take meals with fellow prisoners, shower when he wants and have access to books and TV” and “have three hours a day of recreation time.” If that happens, that will be a positive development, but what’s particularly interesting about Miklaszewski’s report is how extensively some military and government officials acknowledge wrongdoing (anonymously, of course, lest they meet Crowley’s fate): . . .

Continue reading. There is a glimmer of hope in the way this story broke. Details at the link.

Written by LeisureGuy

20 April 2011 at 2:27 pm

Slow day

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Not much happening today. I went to Healthy Way for my penultimate check-in: one more, and I’m done with the initial maintenance program. (I could continue, but I believe I have it in hand.)

My exercise bike came, and I’m assembling it. This is one of the good ones: very little assembly required, well-packaged parts and fasteners, excellent instructions in booklet. So far I’m very happy with it: seems quite solid.

I realize I also sort of like assembling things. Over the years—my God, how many swing sets did I assemble?—I’ve learned the essentials:

  1. Don’t rush: don’t try to meet a deadline. (No swing sets assembled Xmas eve, for example.)
  2. Unpack everything completely and spread it out, and make sure you have all the fasteners.
  3. Read over the full set of instructions before starting.
  4. Then take it one step at a time—again: no rush. Slow and steady wins the race.

I get into it and fall into that productive focused state of mind that allows one to work steadily through a task not of intrinsic interest by finding flow and focus—the same sort of state of mind (calm, unrushed, focused) that is so helpful in completing tax returns, T&E reports, and the like.

It helps, of course, that this bike is solid, well-made, and the pieces all fit.

I had a very good Pilates session, but I still have to focus a lot on form: not much is yet habitual—well, probably more than I realize: the instructor naturally enough focuses on improving my form, but on some the exercises she indicated that I am definitely getting it. Out of 8 reps, I probably do 2 that are good—and we try to end on the good ones.

Back to the bike. I plan to pedal my way through Wire in the Blood tonight.

Written by LeisureGuy

20 April 2011 at 2:11 pm

Posted in Daily life

Wonderful cards from Dandylion Press

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I just received a note written on a card like the above. It’s letterpress printed on extremely nice cardstock. They have a fine selection—hand-drawn, hand-printed.

They’re really great for those occasions when you want to knock someone’s socks off when they open the envelope.

Written by LeisureGuy

20 April 2011 at 11:44 am

Posted in Daily life

Col. Conk and the Progress

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Seeing the Progress in the video clip reminded me that I haven’t used that guy lately. So today, after a very nice lather from Col. Conk, thanks to my Plisson Chinese Grey, I made three passes with the Progress holding a Swedish Gillette blade. Very smooth result, to which I applied a hearty splash of New York, certainly a great fragrance.

Written by LeisureGuy

20 April 2011 at 9:22 am

Posted in Shaving

Video of blade and razor manufacture

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Fascinating video, via Bruce on Shaving (excellent site for information on shaving and its tools):

At the beginning of the description of the TTO razors (specifically, the Vision), they have a brief montage of razors “with butterfly doors.” You’ll note among the others shown the Progress, which lacks butterfly doors.

Written by LeisureGuy

20 April 2011 at 6:38 am

Posted in Business, Shaving, Video

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