Later On

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

Archive for January 3rd, 2015

Arguendo: Sounds like an extremely interesting play

leave a comment »

Written by LeisureGuy

3 January 2015 at 1:57 pm

How fast is meme evolution occurring?

leave a comment »

This fast.

Written by LeisureGuy

3 January 2015 at 1:45 pm

Modern Times today

leave a comment »

Written by LeisureGuy

3 January 2015 at 1:31 pm

Logical progression for the national-security state

leave a comment »

When it begins to turn on itself. Eric Schmitt reports in the NY Times:

The F.B.I. is subjecting hundreds of its employees who were born overseas or have relatives or friends there to an aggressive internal surveillance program that started after Sept. 11, 2001, to prevent foreign spies from coercing newly hired linguists but that has been greatly expanded since then.

The program has drawn criticism from F.B.I. linguists, agents and other personnel with foreign language and cultural skills, and with ties abroad. They complain they are being discriminated against by a secretive “risk-management” plan that the agency uses to guard against espionage. This limits their assignments and stalls their careers, according to several employees and their lawyers.

Employees in the program — called the Post-Adjudication Risk Management plan, or PARM — face more frequent security interviews, polygraph tests, scrutiny of personal travel, and reviews of, in particular, electronic communications and files downloaded from databases.

Some of these employees, including Muslim and Asian personnel who have been hired to fill crucial intelligence and counterterrorism needs, say they are being penalized for possessing the very skills and background that got them hired. . .

Continue reading.

Interesting situation. I think the complaint about stalled careers is almost certainly correct. Can you imagine a Muslim being appointed head of the FBI? No. And move downward in the hierarchy to the no. 2 positions. Any Muslims there? I bet not. And so on. Eventually you arrive at a level where positions are indeed held by Muslims. That level defines the Muslim ceiling. And there are probably ceilings for various nationalities.

Written by LeisureGuy

3 January 2015 at 12:40 pm

We’re the way the universe knows itself

with one comment

I got to thinking about that chestnut, and realized that it is literally true if you accept that (a) the universe consists of all that exists, and (b) that we exist. So we are part of the universe. Which part? That part that is conscious and trying to understand the universe. Of course the entire universe does not work at this—it’s a specialized task, and we are doing it for, as well as of, the universe. Consider: One of your toes does not participate in reading this. That does not mean the toe lacks value, nor that you would not miss it were it gone. It’s just not a toe’s job to read. And thus it is not the job of most of the universe to try to understand the universe. But it does seem to be our job. Slow going, eh? We can’t even figure out how to get along, much less understand the universe. If that’s what we truly want to do, we probably should start with understanding ourselves, being that we’re the part of the universe most ready to hand.

Written by LeisureGuy

3 January 2015 at 12:09 pm

Posted in Daily life

Louis Freeh cashes in to ride the gravy train

leave a comment »

Louis Freeh was not much of an FBI director, but he’s certainly using the prestige he gained from the office to make a nice buck, apparently by returning the findings his clients want. Ken Silverstein reports at The Intercept:

Louis Freeh, the former FBI director whose wife was deeded half of a $3 million beachside penthouse by a businessman–just nine days after Freeh cleared that same businessman of wrongdoing–is onto a new job: Helping exonerate a billionaire businessman accused of bribing an African government.

As I reported here the other day, Freeh has made piles of money since leaving government service by hiring himself out to conduct allegedly independent corporate and political investigations.  These investigations are clearly a growth business, because now Freeh’s firm is helping coordinate the defense of an Israeli billionaire who is being investigated on three continents in regard to bribes he allegedly paid to win a mining stake in one of the world’s poorest countries.

The case involves Israeli billionaire Beny Steinmetz, who controls BSGR, a holding company that in 2008 obtained a huge stake in a gigantic iron mine in the West African nation of Guinea. BSGR reportedly paid nothing for its rights to Simandou and two years later flipped 51% of its stake to a Brazilian mining giant for $2.5 billion – twice the size of Guinea’s annual budget. The deal was consummated two weeks before the death of Lansana Conté, a homicidal dictator who had ruled since a 1984 coup.

An investigation by the current government of Guinea found that a shell company controlled by BSGR paid at least $2.4 million to Mamadie Touré, a wife of the former dictator, in return for her help in acquiring the rights to the mine for BSGR. Earlier this year the government annulled BSGR’s stake in the mine, saying the firm had obtained it through corruption.

Police in France and Switzerland raided offices linked to Steinmetz, and in the United States, there is an ongoing court case in the Southern District of New York about the Simandou affair as well as a huge Foreign Corrupt Practices Act investigation led by the Justice Department. The Justice Department could indict Steinmetz if it’s shown that he played a direct role in paying bribes.

(See this fantastic New Yorker account if you want the full story. Also see thegreat work by Global Witness.)

As Bloomberg has reported, Steinmetz has hired up a virtual dream team to defend him in the various investigations, including Freeh’s firm and the law firm of former senator Joe Lieberman. . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

3 January 2015 at 9:35 am

Posted in Business, Law

See the massive, stunning collection of art the Smithsonian just put on the web for free

with one comment

The Verge comments on the new on-line digital collection. Their comments are worth reading.

Here’s the site.

Written by LeisureGuy

3 January 2015 at 9:27 am

Posted in Art, Technology

The Above the Tie S1 slant and Geo. F. Trumper

with 20 comments

SOTD 3 Jan 2015

A wonderful shave: BBS and enjoyable.

My Plisson synthetic made a fine lather from Geo. F. Trumper’s Violet shaving soap—which I purchased before the reformulation that apparently has undermined lather quality for that soap.

The Above the Tie S1 slant head riding on a UFO handle that I particularly like and holding a Personna Lab Blue blade, did a flawless job. That really is a nice razor for me.

A good splash of Saint Charles Shave’s Refined aftershave, and I’m ready to enjoy the first weekend of the new year. Hope all goes well with you.

Written by LeisureGuy

3 January 2015 at 8:43 am

Posted in Shaving

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: