Later On

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

Archive for June 19th, 2013

Intriguing column re: self-knowledge from a third-person perspective

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I found this essay by Tim Kreider interesting:

Recently I received an e-mail that wasn’t meant for me, but was about me. I’d been cc’d by accident. This is one of the darker hazards of electronic communication, Reason No. 697 Why the Internet Is Bad — the dreadful consequence of hitting “reply all” instead of “reply” or “forward.” The context is that I had rented a herd of goats for reasons that aren’t relevant here and had sent out a mass e-mail with photographs of the goats attached to illustrate that a) I had goats, and b) it was good. Most of the responses I received expressed appropriate admiration and envy of my goats, but the message in question was intended not as a response to me but as an aside to some of the recipient’s co-workers, sighing over the kinds of expenditures on which I was frittering away my uncomfortable income. The word “oof” was used.

I’ve often thought that the single most devastating cyberattack a diabolical and anarchic mind could design would not be on the military or financial sector but simply to simultaneously make every e-mail and text ever sent universally public. It would be like suddenly subtracting the strong nuclear force from the universe; the fabric of society would instantly evaporate, every marriage, friendship and business partnership dissolved. Civilization, which is held together by a fragile web of tactful phrasing, polite omissions and white lies, would collapse in an apocalypse of bitter recriminations and weeping, breakups and fistfights, divorces and bankruptcies, scandals and resignations, blood feuds, litigation, wholesale slaughter in the streets and lingering ill will.

This particular e-mail was, in itself, no big deal. Tone is notoriously easy to misinterpret over e-mail, and my friend’s message could have easily been read as affectionate head shaking rather than a contemptuous eye roll. It’s frankly hard to parse the word “oof” in this context. And let’s be honest — I am terrible with money, but I’ve always liked to think of this as an endearing foible. What was surprisingly wounding wasn’t that the e-mail was insulting but simply that . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

19 June 2013 at 7:20 pm

More who humiliated the government and thus incurred its wrath: Aaron Schwartz, Barrett Brown

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Glenn Greenwald writes in The Guardian:

Aaron’s Swartz’s suicide in January triggered waves of indignation, and rightly so. He faced multiple felony counts and years in prison for what were, at worst, trivial transgressions of law. But his prosecution revealed the excess of both anti-hacking criminal statutes, particularly the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), and the fixation of federal prosecutors on severely punishing all forms of activism that challenge the power of the government and related entities to control the flow of information on the internet. Part of what drove the intense reaction to Swartz’s death was how sympathetic of a figure he was, but as noted by Orin Kerr, a former federal prosecutor in the DOJ’s computer crimes unit and now a law professor at GWU, what was done to Swartz is anything but unusual, and the reaction to his death will be meaningful only if channeled to protest other similar cases of prosecutorial abuse:

“I think it’s important to realize that what happened in the Swartz case happens in lots and lots of federal criminal cases. . . . What’s unusual about the Swartz case is that it involved a highly charismatic defendant with very powerful friends in a position to object to these common practices. That’s not to excuse what happened, but rather to direct the energy that is angry about what happened. If you want to end these tactics, don’t just complain about the Swartz case. Don’t just complain when the defendant happens to be a brilliant guy who went to Stanford and hangs out with Larry Lessig. Instead, complain that this is business as usual in federal criminal cases around the country – mostly with defendants who no one has ever heard of and who get locked up for years without anyone else much caring.”

Prosecutorial abuse is a drastically under-discussed problem in general, but it poses unique political dangers when used to punish and deter online activism. But it’s becoming the preeminent weapon used by the US government to destroy such activism.

Just this week alone, a US federal judge sentenced hactivist Andrew “Weev” Auernheimer to 3 1/2 years in prison for exploiting a flaw in AT&T’s security system that allowed him entrance without any hacking, an act about which Slate’s Justin Peters wrote: “it’s not clear that Auernheimer committed any actual crime”, while Jeff Blagdon at the Verge added: “he cracked no codes, stole no passwords, or in any way ‘broke into’ AT&T’s customer database – something company representatives confirmed during testimony.” But he had a long record of disruptive and sometimes even quite ugly (though legal) online antagonism, so he had to be severely punished with years in prison. Also this week, the DOJ indicted the deputy social media editor at Reuters, Matthew Keys, on three felony counts which carry a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison for allegedly providing some user names and passwords that allowed Anonymous unauthorized access into the computer system of the Los Angeles Times, where they altered a few stories and caused very minimal damage. As Peters wrote about that case, “the charges under the CFAA seem outrageously severe” and, about Keys’ federal prosecutors, observed: “apparently, they didn’t take away any lessons from the Aaron Swartz case.”

But the pending federal prosecution of 31-year-old Barrett Brown poses all new troubling risks. That’s because . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

19 June 2013 at 6:56 pm

The first intimation of a pandemic?

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Meeri Kim reports in the Washington Post:

A new virus responsible for an outbreak of respiratory illness in the Middle East may be more deadly than SARS, according to a team of infectious disease specialists who recently investigated a set of cases in Saudi Arabia.

Of 23 confirmed cases in April, 15 people died — an “extremely high” fatality rate of 65 percent, according to Johns Hopkins senior epidemiologist Trish Perl, a member of the team that analyzed the spread of the virus through four Saudi hospitals.

Saudi officials said that as of Wednesday, 49 people have contracted the disease and 32 have died.

The infectious disease experts, who published their findings online Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine, reported that infection occurred by way of person-to-person contact and poses an especially serious risk because it is easily transmitted in hospital settings.

Worldwide, the overall death rate from the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus — or MERS-CoV — is at 59 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That rate is expected to bounce around as new clusters of infection develop.

The vast majority of MERS-CoV infections have been from Saudi Arabia. No cases have been reported in the United States, but small clusters of infections have appeared in the United Kingdom, France, Italy and Tunisia. . .

Continue reading. And soon millions will be crowded together aat Mecca, where they will mingle and then return home all over the globe. If it was a disaster movie, it would write itself.

In this connection, I give my very strongest recommendation that you read a fascinating and informative book by John Barry, The Great Influenza (secondhand copies at the link, sorted by price, and it’s probably in your library). It’s interesting to read about what actually happened in a pandemic for which we have reasonably good records and accounts. Forewarned is forearmed, and all that.

Written by LeisureGuy

19 June 2013 at 6:49 pm

Posted in Books, Medical, Science

After-service reaction

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By all means watch the three-minute video here.

Written by LeisureGuy

19 June 2013 at 3:26 pm

Moving video on what the Bradley Manning thing is really about…

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In the sense of the previous post, on what Snowden faces because he, too, humiliated the government: if you expose the government’s deeper flaws, its darker moral crevasses, it strikes back like a threatened snake.

Written by LeisureGuy

19 June 2013 at 2:26 pm

Good analysis of what is happening re: Snowden

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Falguni Sheth writes in Salon:

As Edward Snowden’s name is bandied about — with a debate emerging over whether he is a hero or a criminal, whistleblower or traitor — the words of philosopher Walter Benjamin, who wrote about the relationship between law and violence, come to mind. In his 1921 essay, The Critique of Violence, Benjamin discusses the law’s goal to pursue the monopoly on violence:

The law’s interest in a monopoly of violence vis-a-vis individuals is not explained by the intention of preserving legal ends but, rather, by that of preserving the law itself; that violence, when not in the hands of the law, threatens it not by the ends that it may pursue but by its mere existence outside the law.

Here Benjamin restates one of the fundamental goals of classical liberal political philosophy, at least for philosophers such as Hobbes and Locke, namely to eliminate the use of violence from everyone except the state and its duly appointed deputies. This is why in Locke, the state “agrees” to protect the rights of individuals in exchange for individuals giving up their right of retribution and punishment. The right of violence becomes the sole provenance of the state, whether through the death penalty, prisons, or defense of the state itself.

However, as we also know, the state monopolizes and regulates the use of violence in the interests of those who have the most influence over the state: these wealthy men who decide the personification of the state. In the 1600’s English North America, this would have been white Englishmen. In the 1910’s, Benjamin was interested in the role of workers in challenging the monopoly of state violence.

Understood in this way, the right to strike constitutes in the view of labor, which is opposed to that of the state, the right to use force in attaining certain ends. The antithesis between the two conceptions emerges in all its bitterness in face of a revolutionary general strike. In this, labor will always appeal to its right to strike, and the state will call this appeal an abuse, since the right to strike was not “so intended,” and take emergency measures.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, unions aroused a widespread secret admiration from a public that was weary of the state’s imposition. Today, as Occupy and other movements point out, the most influential are still the 1% — though the colors, sexes, and sexualities of this privileged demographic have been somewhat expanded.

For example, Locke’s story of slavery is more accurately read as the story of . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

19 June 2013 at 1:20 pm

Extremely interesting exegesis of Google’s Waze acquisition

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I didn’t even know about this, and I found Steven Davidoff’s article in the NY Times fascinating:

Google’s motto is “don’t be evil.” But its recent acquisition of Waze, reportedly for $1 billion in cash, shows that just because you’re not evil, it doesn’t mean you can’t be aggressive in pushing the boundaries of the law.

The question now is whether the United States government pushes back and forces Google to give back its new toy.

Waze is yet another one of those blockbuster deals for a technology company with little or no revenue that makes you jealous. Five-year-old Waze has just 110 employees, so Google appears to be paying almost $10 million per employee. As for profits, Waze’s chief executive, Noam Bardin, has said, “This is Silicon Valley. We don’t talk about those things here.” Right.

Google is paying top dollar for Waze because it is at the intersection of two hot fields: map search and social media. Users download Waze’s app to their phone and then supply information about locations, routes and traffic, making the maps more intelligent. And Waze has the usual phenomenal growth in users, with 50 million worldwide. This is a field where there is believed to be oodles of money to be made in related advertising.

From this vantage point, the deal has a number of “must” business justifications for Google. Google is the top dog, dominating the “turn-by-turn” market for mobile maps on smartphones, and Waze makes Google a bigger dog.

Perhaps more important, buying Waze keeps the technology out of the hands of Facebook, which had reportedly bid about $1 billion for the company, and Microsoft and Apple, which also reportedly bid $400 million for the company earlier this year.

A billion dollars not only cements Google’s lead in map search, it does so in a big way. Google has paid large sums to have cars drive around the world to give its maps information content. But Waze is doing the same thing on the cheap by having its own users do the work.

Both types of systems are difficult and hard to build, meaning new entrants are unlikely to come. Just witness the difficulties Apple faced with the controversy over the accuracy of its own map app. If Apple can’t do this easily with its built-in user base of some 400 million iPhone users, not many others can.

So one might think that there would be significant antitrust issues with the acquisition. Google, already the dominant player, is buying what looks like a rising competitor, and it is doing so in a way that deprives other big players an easier way to compete.

It’s here where Google is pushing as hard as it can on the law.

Normally, . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

19 June 2013 at 1:00 pm

Posted in Business, Government, Law

Identification by bite mark: bullshit

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Interesting article by Justin Peters in Slate:

The Associated Press moved a tremendous story Sunday about bite mark analysis, an odd and discredited branch of forensic dentistry that, over the past few decades, has been used to convict numerous criminal defendants, many of whom are likely not guilty. Later this month, the AP reports, a New York judge may deliver a ruling that could permanently bar bite mark analysis as evidence in criminal cases. It’s a ruling that’s long overdue.

What is bite mark analysis, you ask? Basically, it’s based on the idea that bite marks, like fingerprints, can be definitively traced back to specific individuals. An analyst will study a bite, match it back to a particular set of teeth, and testify that those were the only teeth in the whole wide world that could’ve delivered that particular bite. AP reporter Amanda Lee Myers writes that modern bite mark analysis “began in 1954 with a piece of cheese in small-town Texas. A dentist testified that a bite mark in the cheese, left behind in a grocery store that had been robbed, matched the teeth of a drunken man found with 13 stolen silver dollars. The man was convicted.” In 1979 bite mark analysis was used to link serial killer Ted Bundy to the murder of Lisa Levy, who had been bitten on her left buttock.

The Bundy case made bite mark analysis famous. And though Bundy was extremely guilty, in general the science of biting is, well, bollocks. As the AP notes, “there is no scientific proof that teeth can be matched definitively to a bite into human skin.” The certification process for bite mark analysts isn’t very rigorous, and there are almost never any penalties for getting a case wrong: . . .

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Written by LeisureGuy

19 June 2013 at 12:52 pm

Posted in Law

This is pretty amazing: TWA Flight 800 Investigators Claim the Official Crash Story Is a Lie

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Dashiell Bennett at the Atlantic Wire:

A new film claims the official government report on the crash of TWA Flight 800 in 1996 is an elaborate fabrication, but the most shocking part of the story is that charges are being leveled by some of the very investigators who put the report together. Six experts who appear in the film were members of the National Transportation Safety Board investigation team that concluded the crash was an accident, but they now claim they were silenced by their superiors. The movies, “TWA Flight 800” will debut on EPIX TV next month, on the 17-year anniversary of the crash.

TWA Flight 800 was en route from JFK Airport in New York to Paris, France, when it exploded and crashed off the coast of Long Island, killing all 230 people on board. From the very beginning, there were some who speculated that the plane was the victim of a terrorist attack, leading the FBI to conduct its own criminal investigation. Among the possibilities that were suggested as the cause were a bomb in the cargo hold, or an anti-aircraft missile. Several witnesses even claimed they saw an object or streak of light that looked liked a missile or rocket moving toward the plane before it exploded.

The final NTSB reported said that faulty wiring connected to a central fuel tank caused a blast that destroyed the fuesalage, however, there were still many skeptics and conspiracy theorists who have long doubted that official story. In one particularly famous example, Pierre Salinger, a former Press Secretary for President John Kennedy and reporter for ABC News, claimed he’d seen proof that the U.S. Navy shot down the plane and then covered it up. . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

19 June 2013 at 12:49 pm

Posted in Government

Three Guiding Principles for NSA Reform

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Good article by Joshua Foust at The American Prospect:

Edward Snowden, the Booz Allen Hamilton contractor who leaked the details of top secret National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance programs could have tried to remain anonymous and avoid the consequences of his actions. That he chose not to, instead recording a lengthy interview explaining his motives and worldview, is remarkable for a modern-day leaker. While his supporters complain that the subsequent focus on Snowden has directed attention away from his leaks, his decision—and his moral calculus—are actually central to the public debate that’s erupted.

Rather than petulantly whine that it’s unfair to examine the motives of a man desperate to justify himself, we should instead grapple with why Snowden chose to leak. The programs he exposed prompted a steady roar from civil libertarians, transparency activists, and reporters. It also prompted remarkable pushback from progressive Senators like Al Franken, who felt the program was legal and necessary.

What Snowden wanted to do—prompt a national conversation about secrecy and privacy—is happening. While our legal system will determine his criminal liability, in the meantime there is a clear need to public debate exactly what we should expect from our government in terms of privacy and security.

This debate causes me deep discomfort. I spent my 20s working in various capacities for the Defense Department, first as a database developer and later as an intelligence analyst. I still take seriously the papers I signed legally binding me from ever deliberately exposing secrets I had access to, and I can see clear harm that might result from ill-considered exposure—especially by a 29-year-old IT worker who’s never had to grapple with the real-world consequences of such decisions. At the same time, I also now work as a journalist, which means I care deeply about educating the public about the government and how it functions, along with caring about open debate and the free flow of information.

Those two halves of my life—the one filled with government secrets and the other with the transparency ethos of journalism—do not coexist easily. When I worked for the Pentagon as a contractor much like Snowden, I was allowed to write publicly about some topics. I was also viewed with suspicion by many coworkers who assumed that I would improperly disclose secrets (to the best of my knowledge, I never did). My solution to that tension was, eventually, to leave—first to work for a think tank and then, more recently, as a writer.

In leaving, I had the opportunity to debate and explain things in a way I never had as a contractor. I even testified in the Senate in 2011 about the many structural flaws inherent in intelligence contracting and overclassification. Clearly, not much has changed since then: We still face a fundamental moral choice, as a society, about how we want to approach the difficult challenges of security and privacy.

It’s clear that at least a significant portion of the country is unhappy with how expansive the government’s surveillance capabilities have become, and how reliant the government still is on private contractors. Yet the need for surveillance and security has not diminished. Can those competing impulses be balanced in a better way? Can the NSA be reformed to be more in line with society’s competing desires for safety and privacy?

Extreme positions, like disbanding the agency as a whole, are unlikely to ever happen. Realistically, this debate should be about reform and new choices. Whilesome don’t think reform is necessary, the outcry suggests something needs to change.

Yet, to even begin the discussion of reform, we have to grapple with why things got to where they are. One document published in the Guardian shows a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA)  court order for Verizon, the telecommunications giant, to hand over phone metadata (telephone numbers, call length, and location). The Supreme Court ruled in 1979 that the Fourth Amendment does not protect such metadata. Similarly, the PRISM data-mining programwhich automates access to Internet company databases, was,misreporting aside, publicly discussed as a software platform used by the military and intelligence community for many years.

The NSA carries out this surveillance with the full knowledge and consent of all three branches of government. Over the last decade, Congress has passed and reformed laws to grant the administrations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama vast surveillance powers. They even granted corporations retroactive immunityfor illegal conduct they felt should have been legal, like the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping program exposed by The New York Times in 2005 [after being withheld from publication for 13 months so that George W. Bush could be re-elected – LG].

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

19 June 2013 at 12:28 pm

Lead and the effects of removing it from the environment

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I’ve blogged several times in the past the interesting finding that the rise and subsequent decline of violence in the US is mostly attributable to lead in the environment, primarily from paint and then from leaded gasoline. The research is totally convincing, but still apparently not widely know. Kevin Drum points it out to Brad Plumer:

Brad Plumer reports that the incarceration rate for youths has plummeted 32 percent over the past decade:

Some of the drop has been driven by the general decline in crime and arrests across the country. But not all. Importantly, another chunk of the drop is due to the fact that nine states — including California, New York and Texas — have been experimenting with new policies to keep kids who commit minor offenses out of jail.

….Take California. Since 2007, the state began to close some of its detention facilities to save money. At the same time, the legislature outlawed confinement for kids who had only committed minor, non-violent offenses. And the state poured some of the savings into alternative programs (which can include drug treatment, home monitoring, or mental-health services).

This is good news. And loyal readers know one of the reasons, right? Our old friend lead. If lead is partially responsible for crime rates, then what you’d expect to see when lead density goes down is (a) a drop in crime, (b) followed a bit later by a drop in youth incarceration, (c) followed by a drop in adult incarceration. And that’s exactly the pattern we’ve seen. Violent crime peaked in 1991 and then started dropping. Youth incarceration rates peaked and started dropping about a decade later. And now, a decade after that, adult incarceration rates are peaking and will almost certainly fall steadily in the near future.

If kids are fundamentally less violent than they used to be, there are fewer to lock up. And the ones who are locked up can often be held in different kinds of facilities. Eventually this will run its course as youth crime rates bottom out, but it probably has another decade or so to go. That’s pretty good news.

Written by LeisureGuy

19 June 2013 at 12:24 pm

Dear Jenny McCarthy: Direct your ire at coal

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Juan Cole at Informed Comment:

The situation comedy actress Jenny McCarthy has done great damage to public health by her wrong-headed thesis that vaccines cause autism. This is not true, as much research has confirmed. But now we have a scientific studythat shows what really is causing the autism epidemic: exposure of the mother when she is pregnant to mercury, cadmium, diesel and other toxic elements in the air. In fact, women exposed to these elements are twice as likely to have an autistic child as women in low-pollution areas. The scientific paper is here.

Air pollution causes autism. Moreover, mercury in the air is even more highlyassociated with autism than the other poisons in the air. Mercury is a nerve poison that drives you crazy if you are regularly exposed to enough of it. The figure of the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland comes from the Victorian era, when hat makers smoothed down felt (compressed wool) with mercury, with their bare fingers. After a while, they were looney tunes.

Now, you ask, why is there mercury in the air in some parts of the country? Mercury doesn’t just naturally float into the air we breath. It is in the maincoming from coal plants. Moreover, the Environmental Protection Agency has for a long time given them a pass on this kind of pollution. Although 25 plants are the most egregious sinners in this regard, almost all coal plants emit some mercury. The mercury not only gets into the air but also into our water, becoming concentrated in fish and making us sick that way too. I suggest a follow-up study of women who both live in coal-pollution zones and eat fish during pregnancy.

Now, why have I paired up Jenny McCarthy with environmentalist Bill McKibben? It is because the founder of 350.org is among the more effective organizers for reducing the carbon pollution that is destroying our climate. He has been encouraging student assemblies on campus to vote to divest university investment funds from oil, gas and coal companies.

The problem is that carbon dioxide pollution is a tricky issue for the EPA, though there has been some progress in that regard. But the Sierra Club has been suing coal plants over their other kinds of pollution, with some success.

So here is something for McKibben, the Sierra Club and other environmentalists to consider: How about organizing families who live in coal pollution zones and whose children were therefore stricken with autism to launch class action suits against the coal companies. We could roll back a major public health problem (mercury and other poisons in the atmosphere that blight the lives of 1 in 50 children!) and also wipe 200 billion metric tons of CO2 a year off our ledger. . .

Continue reading. And there’s a video at the link.

Written by LeisureGuy

19 June 2013 at 12:06 pm

Internships in one graph

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NACE_Internships_Jobs_2013

Graph is from an Atlantic Wire article by Rebecca Greenfield that provides more information.

Written by LeisureGuy

19 June 2013 at 11:17 am

Posted in Business, Daily life

The “trickle down” thing isn’t working

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Reagan more or less promised that if we would make a few people extremely wealthy, that wealth would trickle down to benefit us all. (Yeah, I never understood how that would work, either.) Well, we have an extremely wealthy 1%, but the trickle has pretty much dried up, if it ever existed. Take a look:

Screen Shot 2013-06-19 at 10.16.13 AM

The amounts shown are the median wealth (assets minus liabilities) of various countries: 50% of the population have more wealth, 50% of the population have less wealth. So the figures shown are spot-on in the middle, for each country.

The US doesn’t do so well. In fact, it does damn poorly. I fail to see how the US can take much pride in this.

Source is this AlterNet article by Les Leopold. He notes some reasons why the US is so poor in comparison:

Here’s a starter list:

  • We don’t have real universal healthcare. We pay more and still have poorer health outcomes than all other industrialized countries. Should a serious illness strike, we also can become impoverished.

  • Weak labor laws undermine unions and give large corporations more power to keep wages and benefits down. Unions now represent less than 7 percent of all private sector workers, the lowest ever recorded.

  • Our minimum wage is pathetic, especially in comparison to other developed nations. (We’re # 13.) Nobody can live decently on $7.25 an hour. Our poverty-level minimum wage puts downward pressure on the wages of all working people. And while we secure important victories for a few unpaid sick days, most other developed nations provide a month of guaranteed paid vacations as well as many paid sick days.

  • Wall Street is out of control. Once deregulation started 30 years ago, money has gushed to the top as Wall Street was free to find more and more unethical ways to fleece us.

  • Higher education puts our kids into debt. In most other countries higher education is practically tuition-free. Indebted students are not likely to accumulate wealth anytime soon.

  • It’s hard to improve your station in life if you’re in prison, often due to drug-related charges that don’t even exist in other developed nations. In fact, we have the largest prison population in the entire world, and we have the highest percentage of minorities imprisoned. “In major cities across the country, 80% of young African Americans now have criminal records” (from Michelle Alexander’s 2010 book, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness).

  • Our tax structures favor the rich and their corporations that no longer pay their fair share. They move money to foreign tax havens, they create and use tax loopholes, and they fight to make sure the source of most of their wealth—capital gains—is taxed at low rates. Meanwhile the rest of us are pressed to make up the difference or suffer deteriorating public services.

  • The wealthy dominate politics. Nowhere else in the developed world are the rich and their corporations able to buy elections with such impunity.

  • Big Money dominates the media. The real story about how we’re getting ripped off is hidden in a blizzard of BS that comes from all the major media outlets…brought to you by….

  • America encourages globalization of production so that workers here are in constant competition with the lower-wage workers all over the world as well as with highly automated technologies.

Is there one cause of the middle-class collapse that rises above all others?

Yes. The International Labor organization produced a remarkable study (Global Wage Report 2012-13) that sorts out the causes of why wages have remained stagnant while elite incomes have soared. The report compares key causal explanations like declining bargaining power of unions, porous social safety nets, globalization, new technologies and financialization.

Guess which one had the biggest impact on the growing split between the 1 percent and the 99 percent? . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

19 June 2013 at 10:27 am

Extremely good shave

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SOTD 19 June 2013

A really great shave today. Part of it was a test shave, to see how the Omega Pro 48 and Col. Conk get along. Famously, as it turns out. The brush is large, the soap container small, so I had to hold it well down in the sink to cach the first loose lather that was flying around. I brush fast and I brush hard when I load the brush, and it takes only 10 seconds or so.

I had prepare my beard with the Jlocke98 pre-shave, and once lathered went at the beard with my Gillette Toggle. I immediately thought, “Wow! Good blade!”: very smooth cutting and very sharp: obviously a new blade.

Three flawless passes to a BBS, a good splash of Irisch Moos (which I really should use more often), and I’m set.

The blade was a Swedish Gillette blade.

Written by LeisureGuy

19 June 2013 at 10:13 am

Posted in Shaving

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