Later On

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

Archive for August 24th, 2015

Things are often more complex than they seem from a distance: Ashley Madison

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Glenn Greenwald has an interesting column in The Intecept on the effects on the lives of real people from the vandalizing hackers of Ashley Madison:

Ever since I wrote on Thursday about the Ashley Madison hack and resulting reactions and consequences, I’ve heard from dozens of people who used the site. They offer a remarkably wide range of reasons for having done so. I’m posting below one email I received that I find particularly illuminating, which I very lightly edited to correct a few obvious typographical errors:

Dear Glenn,

Thank you for the kindness and humanity you have manifested to those of us whose data is now a source of public mockery and shame on AM.

I am female, hold a job with a lot of responsibility, have three kids, one with special needs, and a husband with whom I have not been intimate for several years due to his cancer treatments.

I also used to write about marriage law policy, encouraging traditional marriage for the good of children. My institution has a morality clause in all contracts.

Mine is a loveless, sexless, parenting marriage. I will care for my husband if his cancer spreads, we manage good will for the sake of the children, but we cannot talk about my emotional or sexual needs without him fixating on his death and crying.

I went on AM out of loneliness and despair, and found friendship, both male and female, with others trapped in terrible marriages trying to do right by their children.

My experiences have led me to soften my views of marriage as my own marriage is a deeply humbling, painful longterm commitment.

I expect to be ridiculed by colleagues, to lose my job, and to be publicly shamed, especially as a hypocrite. Yes, I used a credit card. In my case, I will get no sympathy from the right or the left as I do not fit into either of their simplistic paradigms.

I have received email from Trustify that I have been searched, and it is soliciting me to purchase its services. And I am receiving lots of spam with racy headings.

That is my story. When my outing happens, I suppose I might as well take a stand for those who are trapped in bad marriages. Many of us are doing the best we can, trying in our own imperfect way to cope with alienation, lovelessness, and physical deprivation.

I do not want to hurt my children or husband. I truly wish I had a good one and I want happy marriages for others. I did what I did trying to cope. Maybe it was a bad idea but again, I have met some very decent people on AM, some of whom are now dear friends.

Thank you again.

Anonymous

As I argued last week, even for the most simplistic, worst-case-scenario, cartoon-villain depictions of the Ashley Madison user — a spouse who selfishly seeks hedonistic pleasure with indifference toward his or her own marital vows and by deceiving the spouse — that’s nobody’s business other than those who are parties to that marriage or, perhaps, their family members and close friends. But as the fallout begins from this leak, as people’s careers and reputations begin to be ruined, as unconfirmed reports emerge that some users have committed suicide, it’s worth remembering that the reality is often far more complex than the smug moralizers suggest.

The private lives and sexual choices of fully formed adults are usually very complicated and thus impossible to understand — and certainly impossible to judge — without wallowing around in the most intimate details, none of which are any of your business. That’s a very good reason not to try to sit in judgment and condemn from afar.

As I acknowledged, there is an arguably valid case for such outing: namely, where someone with public influence is hypocritically crusading for legally enforced morality, holding themselves out as beacons of virtues they in fact violate, and harming others through that advocacy. It’s possible this emailer falls within that category: She says her past work involved “encouraging traditional marriage for the good of children.”

It’s worth remembering that even in these “easy” cases, human beings are usually far more complex than the good/evil caricatures we’re all tempted to propagate in order to undermine political adversaries and inflate our own self-worth. Even if you interpret what she’s done in the most ungenerous light possible — even if you conclude that she’s the most extreme case where it’s clear she’s guilty of hypocrisy — are her actions evil and really deserving of full-scale reputational ruin and worse? Is anyone really capable of sitting in stern, doubt-free judgment of the choices she’s made in her most private realm?

Written by Leisureguy

24 August 2015 at 6:42 pm

Posted in Daily life, Technology

LAPD now emphasizes that police are community guardians, not warriors on crime

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A very good sign, I think. Kate Mather reports in the LA Times:

For years, Los Angeles police officers have worked under the shadow of the department’s dark past.

The LAPD of the 1970s and ’80s acted as a hard-charging, occupying force that raided poor neighborhoods and rounded up anyone in sight. Police stormed suspected crack houses, tearing down walls with a tank-like battering ram. Officers of that era were trained to think of themselves as soldiers in a never-ending war on crime.

But now the department is using that notorious history as a crucial lesson for its officers.

“We were warriors,” Deputy Chief Bill Scott recently told a room filled with LAPD rank-and-file officers, a group of fresh-faced rookies watching from the front.

Now, he said, officers need to think of themselves as guardians watching over communities — not warriors cracking down on them.

“That means if we’ve got to take somebody to jail, we’ll take them to jail,” Scott said. “But when we need to be empathetic and we need to be human, we’ve got to do that too.”

The message is one the LAPD is drilling into its officers in training that has been rolled out in recent weeks, part of a national movement to change law enforcement at a time when policing tactics are under increased public scrutiny.

Departments across the country are taking steps to replace the warrior mentality with a different approach, one that emphasizes protection over suppression, patience instead of zero tolerance. It’s a fundamental shift, one that could affect issues such as how often officers fire their guns and the way they walk down the street.

After decades of training that focused mostly on firearms and force, agencies from Seattle to New York are introducing what they call de-escalation training, which looks at ways officers can reduce tension and potentially avoid using force during encounters with the public.

The LAPD training comes as several police shootings have strained relationships that the department is carefully trying to cultivate with the same communities that bore the brunt of its old heavy-handed approach. . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

24 August 2015 at 5:29 pm

Amazing snooker defensive play

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Ronnie O’Sullivan and Peter Ebdon battle it out in a tough snooker match:

Written by Leisureguy

24 August 2015 at 1:52 pm

Posted in Games

The only town in America (so far) where cops grant amnesty to drug addicts seeking help

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In the Washington Post Terrence McCoy has an inspiring story about a police initiative to help addicts:

The coastal Massachusetts town of Gloucester was in the middle of a quiet Friday evening this March when a phone call disturbed the police chief relaxing at home. Another deadly heroin overdose had just hit the city, the chief learned. It marked Gloucester’s fourth that year. Leonard Campanello put down the phone. He turned the grim math over in his head — four deaths, three months, in a city of 30,000 people.

Then Campanello, a stout commander who more growls than talks, stood up and rumbled over to the computer. He’s the sort of police chief who maintains an active presence on social media. He posts frequent “Gloucester Police Chief Updates” — episodic fireside chats delivered from his desk — to the police department’s Facebook page. Most of those remarks barely ripple — a dozen ‘likes’ at most.

But that was about to change. “Since January of this year, we have responded to dozens of opiate-related overdoses and, unfortunately, the City has seen 4 deaths in this time that are heroin related,” he wrote, adding: “4 deaths is 4 too many.” Then in a moment Campanello now recalls as extemporaneous, he continued. “If you are a user of opiates or heroin, let us help you. We know you do not want this addiction. We have resources here in the City that can and will make a difference in your life. Do not become a statistic.”

The response was staggering. The post collected 1,226 “likes” and more page views than there were people in the city. It was then Campanello knew he was onto something. The community, he said, was hungry for different ideas. The number of heroin-related overdoses quadrupled between 2002 and 2013, when more than 8,200 people died, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The trend has hit Massachusetts — and Gloucester — especially hard.

“The war on drugs is over,” Campanello said in an interview. “And we lost. There is no way we can arrest our way out of this. We’ve been trying that for 50 years. We’ve been fighting it for 50 years, and the only thing that has happened is heroin has become cheaper and more people are dying.”

So he started making calls. He got in touch with the local mayor. He wanted to talk about a plan that experts say is unique across the country — and would ultimately bring a national debate over the criminalization of addicts to this small, coastal town. It was simple, Campanello said. He didn’t want to arrest more drug addicts battling what he calls the “disease of addiction.” He’d been doing that for too long. Seven years he spent as a narcotics officer, watching drugs or the system swallow families.

He now wanted to turn Gloucester’s police station into an oasis of amnesty in the drug addict’s perilous world. No heroin addict who entered the police seeking help — unless they had outstanding warrants — would face charges or arrest. Even if they toted their drugs and paraphernalia. Instead, they would get help. “Our argument was you don’t cut off the head of the snake,” he said. “You cut off its food chain.”In another Facebook post in early May, he laid it out. “Any addict who walks into the police station with the remainder of their drug equipment (needles, etc) or drugs and asks for help with NOT be charged,” he wrote. “Instead, we will walk them through the system toward detox and recovery. We will assign them an “angel” who will be their guide through the process. Not in hours or days, but on the spot.”

No one was quite sure what would happen. Think about it, said communications director John Guilfoil. The chief was asking a bunch of addicts who until that point had violated the law to suddenly walk into the police station — armed with drugs. It was crazy. It was madness. It worked.

The post collected more than 30,000 “likes,” an additional 30,000 shares and millions of clicks, the chief said. Things then happened fast. The force opened a non-profit called the Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative. Addicts started flooding the police station — dozens of them. And reporters arrived to a curious sight of cops greeting addicts rather than charging them.

“A reporter asked one of my officers last night, ‘Do you see a common thread in all addicts?’ one Facebook post said. “Without hesitation, the officer responded: ‘Absolutely. They’re all human beings.”

The chief approached a local CVS to talk about a drug that reverses overdoses.  Nasal Narcan administers a burst of a drug that binds with the brain’s opiate receptors and can reverse an overdose. Without insurance, it costs $140. But Campanello told the CVS about the agency’s new program, and it lowered the cost to $20 per pack. He then started providing it to the addicts for free. “The police department will pay the cost of the Nasal Narcan for those without insurance,” Campanello wrote in a post. “We will pay for it with money seized from drug dealers during investigations. We will save lives with the money from the pockets of those who take them.”So far, Campanello said, 109 addicts have sought help at the police station. . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

24 August 2015 at 8:30 am

Fine shave with Meißner sample soap

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SOTD 24 Aug 2015

Very nice shave this morning. The soap is in my own bowl, since it arrived as a grated sample of the soap:

Sample

Both photos were taken in the same location, but one was taken under artificial light, thus the difference in coloring.

Samples of grated soap are easy to use: pour the soap into a bowl, use your fingers to mash it together into a more or less solid mass, and Bob’s your uncle. When the soap is wet on the first use of the sample, it will weld itself even more firmly together. I imagine I can easily get half a dozen shaves from this sample, but we’ll see.

I was curious about Meißner Tremonia’s Pots of Milk shaving soap, so I was pleased to get the sample. The lather is wonderful, consistent with the lather of the other Meißner Tremonia soaps I’ve used, and the fragrance, to my nose, is nothing at all like milk. Or pots, for that matter. It seems to be an unfragranced soap, with the scent being that of the ingredients. Note the citric acid in the list: I assume that is to help the soap perform better in hard water (cf. how some soaps include EDTA). At any rate, the scent is noticeable and not unpleasant.

As noted my Rooney Style 2 made a very fine lather indeed, and the iKon Shavecraft #102 slant did its usual wonderful job: BBS result, no trace of a problem. A little splash of Bulgari EDT as an aftershave (3-4 sprays into palm, apply then to face), and the week begins.

Written by Leisureguy

24 August 2015 at 8:17 am

Posted in Shaving

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