Later On

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

Archive for August 23rd, 2014

Another run of double-yolked eggs

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Some years back The Wife got a dozen jumbo eggs, and every single egg in the dozen had double yolks. And it just happened again to me. I was surprised by the first double yolk, but I get them occasionally. By the fourth (I was making Sausage & Egg Breakfast Bites), it was obvious that something was up, so I was not surprised to find every egg double-yolked. I assume it’s done on purpose: it certainly isn’t random: they are not frequent enough for that. Fun time for the egg candlers? I don’t know.

Written by LeisureGuy

23 August 2014 at 7:45 pm

Posted in Food, Recipes

Belated military insight

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I remember years—nay, decades—ago when my friend Spaeth, who had been in the US Army, explained why morning roll call was so important in the military: it told you who you had left to fight that day’s battles.

I suddenly realized (now in vol. 4, The Mauritis Command) that the ridid hierarchical structure of the military, so repugnant to the liberal mind, has a purpose: it enables everyone to know immediately who’s in charge after a loss of high-level officers, because that situatioin occurs in battle, and during a battle is not a time to negotiate or have an election: “who’s now in charge” has to be easily determined in a way agreed upon by everyone previously.

Written by LeisureGuy

23 August 2014 at 1:58 pm

Posted in Military, Uncategorized

A wonderful comedic Western—dry humor

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Worth watching, IMO.

Written by LeisureGuy

23 August 2014 at 10:09 am

Posted in Movies & TV

Why Egypt’s military orchestrated a massacre

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Interesting article in the Washington Post  by Amy Austin Holmes:

The Rabaa massacre of Aug. 14, 2013, was Egypt’s Tiananmen Square. Egyptian security forces killed at least 817 people on a single day at Rabaa al-Adawiya Square alone, and more than 1,000 when including the number of casualties across Egypt. It was the biggest mass killing of civilians in modern Egyptian history. The butchery did not take place under the cover of darkness, or in a remote corner of the country, but in broad daylight in Cairo. I was one of a number of journalists and observers who attended the sit-in of supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi at Rabaa the night before the massacre, and witnessed the violent dispersal of the smaller sit-in at al-Nahda Square on the morning of Aug. 14.

The killing was done by Egypt’s Central Security Forces and Special Forces in close coordination with the Egyptian Armed Forces, with few if any reported defections or refusals to open fire. Security forces began firing on civilians around 6:30 a.m., and over the course of 12 hours they continued emptying rounds of live ammunition into crowds of men, women and children who they had entrapped, despite repeated promises of a “safe exit.” This was not a brief killing spree that ended as suddenly as it began, or the panicked response of threatened conscripts in the fog of battle. One year later, not a single official has been held accountable.

The military’s behavior at Rabaa seemingly poses a sharp contrast with its allegedly more peaceful behavior in response to mass protests in January 2011. Rabaa and Tahrir Square each, in their own way, challenge prevailing theories of military behavior during periods of mass defiance. When a regime confronts a massive, anti-regime uprising, its survival often depends on whether it maintains control of the coercive apparatus. Will security forces open fire and suppress the rebellion? Or will they refuse? This is often treated as a dichotomous variable: Soldiers either defend the regime or defect from it. In such analyses, scholars usually begin by pinpointing the specific moment during a regime crisis when the high command must choose sides, sometimes referred to as the “end-game scenario.” Factors commonly believed to influence the outcome of this decision-making process usually include internal variables such as the level of the military’s professionalism, patronage and the ethnic or sectarian composition of the armed forces.

The shortcoming of such analyses, in my assessment, is fourfold. First, a dichotomous variable can account for neither the complex reality of mass uprisings nor the sometimes ambiguous behavior of soldiers. Second, scholars often conflate two issues and assume that if the armed forces refuse to suppress the opposition, that they have effectively joined the opposition. Third, focusing on one specific moment in time (i.e. the “end game”) does not allow us to understand the subsequent trajectory of events. And finally, attention has focused too much on analyzing internalaspects of the armed forces, rather than their relationship to society.

When applied to the so-called Arab Spring, scholars have argued that in Egypt and Tunisia, the army “defected” from the regime, forcing Hosni Mubarak and Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali to step down. Some scholars argue that Egypt’s generals opted to “back the uprising,” or interpret the soldiers’ behavior as the outcome of a decision “to side with the nonviolent movement.” Other scholars at least partially attribute the successful ousting of Mubarak to the military’s decision “not to shoot” at protesters, or the coercive apparatus’ “failure to repress.” In Syria and Bahrain, in contrast, the armed forces for the most part “defended” the regime, allowing Bashar al-Assad and King Hamad to remain in power. In Libya and Yemen, a fracturing of the armed forces took place, with some officers defending and others defecting.

While this argument may seem plausible, it is also problematic. . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

23 August 2014 at 9:49 am

For blacks, America is dangerous by default

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An interesting column by Mariame Kaba in the Washington Post:

Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Mariame Kaba. Kaba is a Chicago-based organizer and educator who directs Project NIA, a grassroots juvenile justice organization.

In 1900, a 15 year old black New Yorker named Harry Reed recounted his ‘clubbing’ at the hands of police:

“We five boys were sitting on the seat of an open Eighth Avenue car. When we got at the corner of 37th Street and Eighth Avenue we saw a mob, and the mob called out, ‘There’s some niggers; lynch them!’ and they made a rush for the car, and I jumped out. Then I ran up to the corner of 38th Street, where there were four policemen. Of these four policemen three were standing on the corner, and one ran into the street to stop me. When he saw me coming I was running hard, as fast as I could. When I reached this policeman in the street, he hit me over the head with his club. He hit me twice over the head, and I saw the other three policemen coming, and I fell down. I thought if I fell down the others would not attack me, but they did; they hit me over the legs and on my arm, when I raised it up to protect my head, and they hit me in the back…”

Harry’s story was not exceptional. Historian Marilynn S. Johnson suggests that urban residents began complaining and organizing against police brutality in the mid-19th century. In fact, the first major investigation into police misconduct was launched in 1894 in New York City through the Lexow Committee. This committee documented police abuses including corruption, brutality and perjury. In the late 19th century, the most common complaint from urban residents against the police was about “clubbing” which was “the routine bludgeoning of citizens by patrolmen armed with nightsticks or blackjacks.”

On August 9, 18-year-old Michael Brown was murdered by a police officer in the streets of Ferguson, Missouri in front of several witnesses. A hundred and fourteen years separate Reed’s clubbing and Brown’s killing. Over that time span, the hostile relationship between black people and the police is unchanged. As a result, black people in general and especially young blacks profoundly distrust cops. This week, the Black Youth Project released a report summarizing research on young black people’s perceptions and experiences of policing. The key findings are unsurprising:

  • Black youth report the highest rate of harassment by the police (54.4%), nearly twice the rates of other young people.
  • Less than half of black youth (44.2 percent) trust the police, compared with 71.5 percent of white youth, 59.6 percent of Latino youth, and 76.1 percent of Asian American youth.
  • Substantially fewer black youth believe the police in their neighborhood are there to protect them (66.1 percent) compared to young people from other racial and ethnic groups.

These findings are confirmed by both anecdotal evidence and various studies. In 2000, for example, . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

23 August 2014 at 9:42 am

Some very cool (and innovative) tools

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butterup

Clever butterknife, eh? And it’s just the first of several good tools in this Washington Post column by Tuan Nguyen. Worth the click.

Written by LeisureGuy

23 August 2014 at 9:34 am

Posted in Daily life

12 years of data from New York City: Stop-and-frisk wasn’t that effective

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Interesting article by Emily Badger in the Washington Post, though of course I think the actual purpose of stop-and-frisk was to humiliate minority citizens—certainly that was the way it was implemented.

In 2002, when Michael Bloomberg first took office as mayor of New York City, the controversial law enforcement policy known as “stop-and-frisk” led to 97,296 encounters on the city’s street. Police stopped — and sometimes frisked — pedestrians on any number of suspicious grounds: Their movements seemed “furtive,” as if they were casing a victim, acting as a lookout, or selling drugs. They seemed to be carrying a suspicious object, or sporting a suspicious bulge.

Over the years, the tactic would become more prevalent — and commonfar beyond New York — as the public outcry over its use rose. By 2011, the New York Police Department that many cities tried to copy conducted 685,724 stops, the peak before a bitter legal tussle and a new mayoral race would begin to scale back the practice:

This picture comes from a New York Civil Liberties Union report released Wednesday that the group is framing as a comprehensive account of stop-and-frisk during the Bloomberg years. During the mayor’s 12-year tenure, police department data show that officers made more than 5 million stops, a quarter of them of young black men who made up just 1.9 percent of the city’s population.

The NYCLU report documents the racial imbalance that has made the policy so divisive in New York and other cities where the practice has contributed to animosity between minority communities and law enforcement. But the ACLU accounting also points to other data that undermine the rationale for stop-and-frisk: It yielded few weapons when officials justified the policy as a way to reduce shootings and recover guns; in more than 5 million stops, police recovered a gun less than 0.02 percent of the time. And as the NYPD ramped up the number of stops, shootings and murders in the city did not appear to correspondingly decline: . . .

Continue reading.

I’d rather the police spend their time doing things that produce positive results rather than wasting time in pursuing ineffective measures that increase hostility to the police.

Written by LeisureGuy

23 August 2014 at 9:24 am

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