Later On

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

Archive for September 15th, 2015

Why is the Dept of Justice helping law enforcement agents lobby against reforms of civil asset forfeiture

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Civil asset forfeiture is where police departments can simply take your property even if you’ve committed no crimes: they just take it and keep it. They take money, cars, real estate—more or less whatever they want. New Mexico has put a stop to this, but California failed.

Radley Balko in his links today has this:

Something is seriously wrong with our law-enforcement priorities—and another example is how the NYPD union president has stated that only cops and former cops should judge the actions of police. Everyone else should simply accept whatever the police decide.

Do take a look at the Balko links. Another link he offers:

Written by LeisureGuy

15 September 2015 at 10:07 pm

Keynesianism Explained Simply

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Paul Krugman explains Keynesianism simply:

Attacks on Keynesians in general, and on me in particular, rely heavily on an army of straw men — on knocking down claims about what people like me have predicted or asserted that have nothing to do with what we’ve actually said. But maybe we (or at least I) have been remiss, failing to offer a simple explanation of what it’s all about. I don’t mean the models; I mean the policy implications.

So here’s an attempt at a quick summary, followed by a sampling of typical bogus claims.

I would summarize the Keynesian view in terms of four points:

1. Economies sometimes produce much less than they could, and employ many fewer workers than they should, because there just isn’t enough spending. Such episodes can happen for a variety of reasons; the question is how to respond.

2. There are normally forces that tend to push the economy back toward full employment. But they work slowly; a hands-off policy toward depressed economies means accepting a long, unnecessary period of pain.

3. It is often possible to drastically shorten this period of pain and greatly reduce the human and financial losses by “printing money”, using the central bank’s power of currency creation to push interest rates down.

4. Sometimes, however, monetary policy loses its effectiveness, especially when rates are close to zero. In that case temporary deficit spending can provide a useful boost. And conversely, fiscal austerity in a depressed economy imposes large economic losses.

Is this a complicated, convoluted doctrine? It doesn’t sound that way to me, and the implications for the world we’ve been living in since 2008 seem very clear: aggressive monetary expansion, plus fiscal stimulus as long as the zero lower bound constrains monetary policy.

But strange things happen in the minds of critics. Again and again we see the following bogus claims about what Keynesians believe:

B1: Any economic recovery, no matter how slow and how delayed,proves Keynesian economics wrong. See [2] above for why that’s illiterate.

B2: Keynesians believe that printing money solves all problems. See [3]: printing money can solve one specific problem, an economy operating far below capacity. Nobody said that it can conjure up higher productivity, or cure the common cold.

B3: Keynesians always favor deficit spending, under all conditions. See [4]: The case for fiscal stimulus is quite restrictive, requiring both a depressed economy and severe limits to monetary policy. That just happens to be the world we’ve been living in lately.

I have no illusions that saying this obvious stuff will stop the usual suspects from engaging in the usual bogosity. But maybe this will help others respond when they do.

The comments at the link are interesting and worth reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

15 September 2015 at 4:15 pm

More Americans Have Been Shot to Death in the Last 25 Years Than Have Died in Every War

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Interesting article by Hannah Levintova in Mother Jones. The article’s worth reading, and includes this chart:

CAPGunChart-550

So in 25 years, our domestic toll from gun-related deaths is 27% more than US military deaths in war for 240 years. (If the domestic gun-related deaths for the 25 years shown were constant for the 240 years of military deaths, the total domestic gun-related deaths would be just over 8 million—but of course domestic gun-related deaths would be expected to be lower when the US population was smaller.)

Apparently, the US public feels that being able to easily acquire firearms is well worth the cost in gun-related deaths.

Written by LeisureGuy

15 September 2015 at 2:37 pm

Posted in Guns

A Canadian shave at home

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SOTD 15 Seept 2015

A very fine shave indeed, and being back home is pleasant.

The products today are all from Canada: Victoria BC, for brush, soap, and aftershave; the razor is from Italian Barber, which is in eastern Canada, but the IB web site does not provide any information that I could find on location—not under “Contact” (which is just a web form), not under “About” (which has a brief backstory but no information location), not under “Shipping & Returns” (where I would expect to find an address). They may be in Toronto, but apparently they don’t want their location known, at least in looking at the web site. Great razor, though. (The IB web site is incredibly slow today, BTW. Later: Problem has cleared: the site had been waiting for a response from some service, but now that seems to be fixed and the site is speedy again.)

The brush is extremely nice in feel and performance. The handle is made of Delrin®, a plastic tough enough that they make gears from it. It feel substantial, with good heft. The knot is extremely nice, and I easily loaded the brush with The Copper Hat’s Coastal Fair shaving soap. As I noted earlier, their soap is quite hard, so I do use a little extra loading time.

The razor is the RazoRock Baby Smooth, a truly excellent razor. With three passes, I achieved a BBS with no effort and no problems. The blade was a Personna Lab Blue.

A good splash of Anthony Gold’s Red Cedar aftershave, and then out for a grocery run.

Written by LeisureGuy

15 September 2015 at 1:41 pm

Posted in Shaving

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