Later On

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

Archive for December 9th, 2015

Fascinating article describing the escalating political fight tactics in Congress

leave a comment »

Ryan Lizza writes in the New Yorker:

At the end of my piece this week about the rise of the House Freedom Caucus, a band of about forty radical Republicans who helped push Speaker John Boehner into retirement, Tom McClintock, a Republican from California who resigned from the group, had some sharp words about their tactics. In my interview with him, McClintock was expansive about his resignation from the group, and his full comments are worth considering in light of what’s happening in Congress this week.

McClintock said that when he first joined the Freedom Caucus he had high hopes that it would advance conservative policy, but in September he resigned and fired off a letter explaining that the group was actually helping to push legislation in the House further to the left. He cited several examples of how the group’s tactics were undermining conservatives. The first came from late February, when the Freedom Caucus pushed to shut down the Department of Homeland Security as a way to pressure President Obama to abandon his executive actions on immigration.

“House Republicans attempted to pass a three-week stop gap bill so we could avoid a catastrophic shutdown of our security agencies while continuing to bring public opinion to bear to de-fund the orders,” McClintock wrote. “At the behest of its board, most HFC members combined with House Democrats to defeat this effort, resulting in the full funding of these illegal orders for the fiscal year.”
Then in May, McClintock complained, Freedom Caucus members tried to kill a free-trade bill supported by most Republicans. “Most HFC members combined with the vast majority of House Democrats in an unsuccessful attempt to defeat this legislation,” he wrote in the resignation letter. In September, he charged that the group had threatened to join Democrats to defeat a resolution of disapproval of the Iran nuclear agreement. The last straw for McClintock came later that month, when the House Freedom Caucus promised to shut down the government over federal funding for Planned Parenthood.
As these events unfolded, McClintock became more convinced that the group was becoming an agent of the Democrats. “A common theme through each of these incidents is a willingness—indeed, an eagerness—to strip the House Republican majority of its ability to set the House agenda by combining with House Democrats on procedural motions,” he wrote. “As a result, it has thwarted vital conservative policy objectives and unwittingly become Nancy Pelosi’s tactical ally.”
McClintock told me earlier this month that while the Freedom Caucus’s repeated efforts to thwart Boehner’s priorities were troubling, what he feared the most was that the same tactics would eventually be adopted by moderate Republicans, who could combine with Democrats to take control of the House agenda and pass legislation that conservatives vehemently oppose.
His fears started to come true in October.
On October 9th, Charlie Dent, the leader of the Tuesday Group, a bloc of more moderate Republicans, rounded up forty-one Republican colleagues and joined with most Democrats to force a vote to revive the Export-Import Bank, which conservatives had previously defunded. To force the vote, Dent used a “discharge petition,” a procedure that can bring legislation to the floor without the leadership’s blessing if a majority signs on to it. Discharge petitions are often used by the minority to bring attention to popular legislation that the majority is blocking, but the petitions almost always fail. For members of the majority party in the House, signing a discharge petition is a grave challenge to the leadership’s authority. Before the vote on funding the Export-Import Bank, the last successful discharge petition in the House was in 2002, when some Republicans combined with the Democratic minority to force campaign-finance-reform legislation to the floor.
The Export-Import vote showed that the same parliamentary brinkmanship that the Freedom Caucus had unleashed could be turned against conservatives.
McClintock told me he was concerned that the tactic could work on any number of issues. “It was the Freedom Caucus that ended the tradition of respecting the decisions by the majority of the majority. We opened the doors for enough liberal Republicans to join with Democrats to execute that discharge petition,” he said. “That same math could also produce legislation to grant amnesty to illegal immigrants, it has now blown the lid off congressional spending caps. It could bring back the era of congressional earmarks.”
As the House struggles to meet a Friday deadline to pass its year-end spending bill, McClintock’s fears have some merit. On Monday, Democrats filed adischarge petition to force a vote on legislation that would prevent anyone on the government’s no-fly list from purchasing firearms, a top priority for Obama and the Democrats. The bill is co-sponsored by Pete King, a Republican from New York.
Yesterday, . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

9 December 2015 at 7:14 pm

Posted in Congress, Politics

A gift guide for the shaver, and an article on Above the Tie

with 4 comments

The new issue of the on-line magazine Craftsmanship is now up, with two shaving-related articles:

An article about Above the Tie and its razors

A gift guide for a shaver, which I wrote.

Written by Leisureguy

9 December 2015 at 4:58 pm

Posted in Shaving

The FBI learns that surveillance is a two-edged sword

leave a comment »

Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai has an extremely interesting report in Motherboard, and it’s worth reading even if you more or less know the bottom line, and not only reading it, but thinking a while about what it means and what the implications are.

Written by Leisureguy

9 December 2015 at 1:28 pm

Deported to World’s Murder Capital, Over a Taillight

leave a comment »

Written by Leisureguy

9 December 2015 at 12:28 pm

You want creepy? Read about how Ted Cruz is dialing up his likability

leave a comment »

Just read this NY Times article all the way, and it seems as though Ted Cruz might be the first identifiable android (in the Asimovian sense, not the Philip K. Dickian) to enter politics.

Written by Leisureguy

9 December 2015 at 12:17 pm

Posted in Daily life

The Mozart of Snooker: Ronnie O’Sullivan

leave a comment »

Here’s a four-hour compendium of various astonishing breaks, and I can see the Mozart thing quite well, and I think you probably can too, assuming you like and listen to Mozart and watch an hour or so of the video: amazing strategy and forethought and incredible control of the ball, or else he’s damned lucky. And, given the odds, it’s not that he’s lucky. Notice he’s ambidextrous with the cue. Of course. In his league, that’s a given, I expect. If he weren’t ambidextrous with a cue, he’s easily conceived as being ambidextrous, which would be better, which is not possible, so he’s ambidextrous. Reductio ad absurdum. QED. Brief snooker rule refresher below the video.

Just to reprise the rules of snooker:each time you pot a red ball (1 point) you can pot any numbered ball and get that many points. Until all the red balls are sunk, each time you pot a numbered ball, it is replaced on its original position at the opening of the game. Once all the red balls are sunk (and the numbered ball after the final red ball), then you must pot the numbered balls in order, 2 (yellow) through 7 (black).

Written by Leisureguy

9 December 2015 at 12:00 pm

Posted in Games

Two interesting responses to a question of what to keep when de-cluttering

leave a comment »

The answers seemed quite thoughtful and interesting to me: that approaching de-cluttering in the right spirit makes it interesting and enjoyable and thus attractive: the things you’ll discover! the new directions your life might take! the introspection possible!

At any rate, read both:

First, then This.

Written by Leisureguy

9 December 2015 at 11:53 am

Absolutely vital article on what Trudeau’s election means and shows

leave a comment »

Really interesting article in the NY Times by . From the article, just one graf:

What the world knows as a progressive modern Canada was created largely under the rule of the Liberal leader Lester Pearson and then Pierre Trudeau in the ’60s and ’70s, when the country began to sever its ties with Britain and assert its own identity. The country created a new flag, replacing the Union Jack with the Maple Leaf, and adopted a national anthem. Quintessential Canadian characteristics — universal medical care, bilingualism, multiculturalism, a strong voice for peace and development at the United Nations — were born during that era. The earliest major political initiative of Pierre Trudeau in the late ’60s was to decriminalize homosexuality. ‘‘The state has no business in the bedrooms of the nation,’’ he said. In rapid succession, Trudeau legalized abortion, funded the arts and promoted a race-blind immigration policy, which over time would transform the great cities of the country into polyglot metropolises.

I cannot think of a similar period of rapid social and political and even spiritual (in terms of what people understand the Canadian spirit to be) change in US history. Anyone? Anyone?

Written by Leisureguy

9 December 2015 at 11:33 am

Posted in Politics

A reminder: Terrorists want us to be terrorized

leave a comment »

Radley Balko has a good article reminding us of how to let terrorism defeat us:

By definition, terror attacks are designed to sow fear. They’re not intended to overthrow a government, to defeat an army or to take over a country. The aim of terrorism is to inflict high-profile damage on soft targets in order to maximize fear, ostensibly to effect a change in public policy. The best way to enable terrorists is to overstate the effect and magnitude of their attacks — and to overreact to them.

Mass shooters often seek fame or infamy. They’re looking for significance — to be remembered, even if for the worst reasons. It’s why they often leave behind manifestos and political diatribes. We give them exactly what they want. It’s probably not realistic to suggest that we stop covering mass shootings altogether. Or even that we refrain from mentioning the shooters’ names. But we do much more than that. We obsess over them, elevate them and give them far more significance than they deserve. And there’s good evidence that this in turn inspires more mass shooters, in the same way that coverage of suicides inspires more suicides.

The San Bernardino, Calif., attack represented the intersection of the two phenomena. It was a terrorist attack in the form of a mass shooting. It’s probably is of no surprise, then, that it inspired our worst reactions to both. In short, we’re scaring the hell out of ourselves. And there’s little reason for it.

Here’s an excerpt from an article that ran in the New York Times last weekend:

The day before Thanksgiving, President Obama reassured Americans there was “no specific and credible intelligence indicating a plot on the homeland.” Seven days later came an explosion of gunfire and the deadliest terrorist attack in America since Sept. 11, 2001.

What may be most disturbing is not that Mr. Obama was wrong, but that apparently he was right. By all accounts so far, the government had no concrete intelligence warning of the assault on Wednesday that killed 14 people in San Bernardino, Calif.

Swift, ruthless and deadly, the attack appeared to reflect an evolution of the terrorist threat that Mr. Obama and federal officials have long dreaded: homegrown, self-radicalized individuals operating undetected before striking one of many soft targets that can never be fully protected in a country as sprawling as the United States.

That came days after an article headlined, “Fear in the Air, Americans Look Over Their Shoulders.” Referring to the San Bernardino shootings, variations of the phrase “the deadliest terrorist attack in America since Sept. 11, 2001″ have been popping up all over. It’s a phrase that sounds provocative and scary, but really conveys no useful information at all. There are few similarities between San Bernardino and Sept. 11, save for the most obvious one — both were carried out by radical extremists claiming to represent Islam. Sept. 11 was a well-coordinated mass murder of nearly 3,000 people that was years in the making, internationally funded and carried out by nearly two dozen men from several countries with direct or indirect support from foreign governments. The attacks grounded airplanes, temporarily slowed the largest economy in the world and fundamentally altered our way of life. San Bernardino was a horrific but brief, isolated attack carried out by two people with no discernible ties to any international terrorism organization. (So far there’s no evidence of coordination with Islamic State leaders — the relationship appears to have been entirely one-sided.)

The San Bernardino shootings came shortly after the shooting at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood, and both came about a month after the attacks in Paris. San Bernardino and Paris have conservatives demagoguing the threat of radical Islam. The Colorado Springs shooting had progressives raising alarms about the threat of right-wing violence. Together, the incidents have sparked calls for more gun control (though nothing short of an outright ban on guns would prevent these kinds of attacks), more mass surveillance (though nothing short of a panopticon could have prevented the San Bernardino shootings), more marginalization of Muslims (a surefire way to create more isolated, angry and radical factions within America’soverwhelmingly peaceful and well-integrated Muslim population) and the mentally ill and more police militarization (though few object to the use of SWAT teams and armored vehicles in response to genuinely violent scenarios — the objection has been to the unnecessarily militaristic imagery projected with their use and to using them to serve search warrants, to respond to protests and for other routine policing).

We’re terrifying ourselves into some really awful ideas. In one astonishingly myopic op-ed published on the CNN website, Sreedhar Potarazu called on billionaire philanthropists like Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates to stop wasting money on silly causes such as world hunger and disease, and instead invest in creating technology that will enable the government to monitor every facet of our online and offline lives.

If the Chan-Zuckerbergs really want to make the world a better place, they should read the first paragraph of this op-ed and invest some of their $44.5 billion into solutions to help stop our rampage at home. The same goes for Bill and Melinda Gates, and Warren Buffett, and the Clinton Foundation.

Instead of spending so much money on solving the problems of the Third World, they could put some of it into solving our biggest problem here — gun violence. It is a public health and national security issue, and it can be eradicated with the combination of massive investment and key influencers . . .

Consider that Tashfeen Malik, who carried out the San Bernardino attack with her husband, Syed Rizwan Farook, had pledged allegiance to ISIS in a posting on Facebook, U.S. officials have said. Consider that Robert Lewis Dear, the suspect in the Colorado Springs attack, had been accused of violence against women and was feared by his neighbors.

Consider that James Holmes, who shot up a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, and Adam Lanza, who killed 20 first-graders and six adults in Newtown, Connecticut, and Seung-Hui Cho, who killed 32 people at Virginia Tech, all had serious mental health issues.

Available data existed on almost every one of these individuals before they started shooting. But what we didn’t have — and still don’t have — is what might have prevented all those killings in the first place: an infrastructure that would enable us to combine relevant data from multiple sources and integrate it to give us more real-time signals about imminent danger. Building such a network will require billions of dollars from people such as Zuckerberg and Gates, who understand how to do it.

We’re not unaccustomed to using personal data to make threat assessments. Companies look at our driving records to determine how much we should pay for car insurance. Banks assess our credit records to determine whether to give us a mortgage. Privacy is important, but we routinely surrender a bit of it willingly every day. Yet when it comes to gun violence — literally a matter of life or death — we’re inexplicably more interested in protecting our privacy than we are of protecting our lives.

That line “Instead of spending so much money on solving the problems of the Third World” is ugly. There are a little over 12,000 homicides per year in the United States. Diarrhea alone, a mostly preventable disease, kills 760,000 children under 5 each year. In 2013, 289,000 women died in childbirth. The vast majority of those deaths were preventable, too. Bill Gates alone is estimated to have saved nearly 6 million lives so far. The idea that he should scrap those efforts in order to create new and better ways to spy on Americans on the unlikely chance that doing so might prevent a few or a few hundred or even a few thousand homicides is first-world arrogance at its worst.

But Potarazu is hardly alone in his blindness to the concept of risk. Hillary Clinton used the attacks to echo Potarazu’s call for more cooperation from the tech community and literally uttered the words “freedom of speech, et cetera” to dispel any First Amendment worries in the debate over limiting encryption. Never mind that there’s no evidence that encrypted communication was used in Paris, that it’s still unclear whether it was a vital part of the attacks in San Bernardino and that it’s far from clear that restricting encryption would do much to prevent future attacks. Meanwhile, progressives who have long decried the unfairness and lack of due process of the no-fly list have backed President Obama’s proposal to bar people who are on it from purchasing guns. And weeks before Donald Trump called for a ban on Muslims entering the United States, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) called for a similar policy in response to the Paris attacks.

Before we start arresting people for Facebook posts, stigmatizing those who seem a little “off,” preemptively limiting the rights of anyone who has suffered from mental illness, preventing Muslims from entering the country, abandoning the developing world, criminalizing certain political beliefs or entertaining myriad other proposals to prevent mass shootings and terror attacks, here are a few things to keep in mind: . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

9 December 2015 at 11:07 am

One Year After the Senate Torture Report, No One’s Read It and It Might Be Destroyed

leave a comment »

The US in general and the Obama administration—including the so-called Department of Justice—really does not want to confront the systematic program of torture the US instituted and ran. There seems to be a strong feeling that it’s better simply to ignore what happened. Murtaza Hussain reports in The Intercept:

One year ago today, the Senate Intelligence Committee published a highly redacted executive summary of its investigation into the CIA’s torture and rendition program. The 525-page summary was shocking in many of its details, revealing the torture and rape of detainees held in CIA custody and encompassing treatment far in excess of even the torture techniques formally authorized by the Bush administration.

Despite the passage of 12 months, the actual report, comprising 6,700 pages, still has not been made publicly available. In fact, reading it appears to be prohibited among officials in the executive branch. Nearly a month and a half after the report’s initial release, it had not even been taken out of the package in which it was delivered to the Department of Justice and Department of State, according to government lawyers. Even the organization that was the subject of the report, the CIA, tightly controlled internal access and made “very limited use” of it, as had the Department of Defense, the lawyers said in a court filing.

That shunning of the torture report appears to be ongoing and very much by design: It turns out the Department of Justice has “refuse[d] to allow executive branch officials to review the full and final study,” Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Patrick Leahy wrote in a letter last month to the attorney general and FBI director, urging that they or their “appropriately cleared” underlings read the full report.

“The legacy of this historic report cannot be buried in the back of a handful of executive branch safes, never to be reviewed by those who most need to learn from it,” they added.

Elizabeth Beavers, a policy coordinator focusing on torture at Amnesty International, believes that no one in the Obama administration, including at the Department of Justice, has read the full report. “They appear to be taking a ‘see no evil, hear no evil’ [stance] with regards to the proof of criminal acts it may contain,” she said. But “for the administration not even to read the whole report, and to look the other way while it is possibly buried or even destroyed, sets a dangerous precedent by excusing major crimes like torture and forced disappearance.”

In January, the new Republican head of the Senate committee that produced the study, Richard Burr, demanded that all extant copies be returned, reportedly over concerns they could be obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. The Obama administration declined to do so, at least barring a court ruling. But the report is certainly being sought under FOIA, including in an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit against the government.

Feinstein, for her part, anticipated that the full report would eventually be available to the public, writing last year that it would be “held for declassification at a later time.” (As chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Feinstein shepherded the study, often in the face of staunch CIA opposition.)

Of particular interest in the full report is Volume III, which Feinstein has said contains “excruciating” details of the treatment of detainees during interrogation by the CIA, including further details on the torture of prisoners like Janat Gul, who, according to the report’s executive summary, was tortured to the point that he begged his captors to let him “die or just be killed.” The agency later concluded that Gul had been implicated by a fabricated report from a source.

The release of the executive summary last year was widely hailed by civil rights groups as a landmark moment of accountability for post-9/11 human rights abuses. Although the administration has to date refused to press charges against those responsible for torturing CIA detainees, the release of the summary helped galvanize efforts at legal redress. A report last week by Human Rights Watch, drawing heavily from the executive summary of the Senate report, offered a detailed pathway for obtaining criminal prosecutions against those who both authorized and carried out acts of torture. The release of the full report would likely provide further ammunition with which to fight for accountability. . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

9 December 2015 at 10:57 am

Math Quartet Joins Forces on Unified Theory

leave a comment »

Kevin Hartnett has a fascinating article in Quanta about how a group of mathematicians exploit their different math specialties to solve recalcitrant problems:

One of the first collaborations Xinyi Yuan and Wei Zhang ever undertook was a trip to the Social Security office. It was the fall of 2004 and the two of them were promising young graduate students in mathematics at Columbia University. They were also friends from their college years at Peking University in Beijing. Yuan had come to Columbia a year earlier than Zhang, and now he was helping his friend get a Social Security number. The trip did not go well.

“We went there, and we were told that some document of Wei’s was missing and that he couldn’t do it at that time,” Yuan recalled.

That failed attempt was one of the few unsuccessful team efforts the two have undertaken since coming to the U.S. Zhang, who is now a professor at Columbia, andYuan, now an assistant professor at the University of California, Berkeley, are members of an unofficial quartet of Chinese mathematicians who have been friends since their undergraduate days at Peking University in the early 2000s and now hold positions in some of the best mathematics departments in the world.

That a number of elite mathematicians would come out of the same class at a top university is unusual, but not unprecedented. The most recent example is Manjul Bhargava, Kiran Kedlaya and Lenny Ng, freshman classmates at Harvard University who went on to become distinguished mathematicians. They remain good friends and all traveled to Seoul in 2014 when Bhargava won the Fields Medal.

What’s unusual about the group formed by Zhang, Yuan and their two friends is the degree to which they continue to collaborate and the extraordinary amount of successes that they’ve had.

“They are not only good, they work in almost the same areas, and because they learned together, they influenced each other, and even as mature mathematicians they’re collaborative,” said Shou-Wu Zhang, a mathematician at Princeton University who knows all four and was influential in recruiting Zhang and Yuan to study in the U.S.

In addition to Zhang and Yuan, the other members of the group are Zhiwei Yun, an associate professor at Stanford University, and Xinwen Zhu, an associate professor at the California Institute of Technology. Yun and Zhu work in the field of algebraic geometry, while Zhang and Yuan work in number theory. This split in fields provides them with complementary perspectives on what is probably the single biggest project in mathematics, the Langlands program, which has been described by the Berkeley mathematician Edward Frenkel (who was Zhu’s graduate adviser) as “a kind of grand unified theory of mathematics.” The program, first envisioned by the mathematician Robert Langlands in the late 1960s, seeks to draw connections between number theory and geometry, so as to use tools from one field to make discoveries in the other.

One obstacle to pursuing the Langlands program is that it’s difficult for a single mathematician to know both fields deeply enough to see all the connections between the two. Yet mathematicians from different fields may have trouble communicating with one another. The best collaborations involve mathematicians who have deep knowledge of  different fields, but who also know just enough in common to talk to each other.

That is the case with these four mathematicians. They are all individually talented, and each has pursued his own research interests over the years. But they are also close friends with a shared background and a similar approach to mathematics. This has allowed them to prompt each other, teach each other, and make discoveries together that they might not otherwise have made so easily. These include several smaller papers they’ve written in tandem and now, most recently, their biggest collaborative discovery yet — a forthcoming result by Zhang and Yun that’s already being hailed as one of the most exciting breakthroughs in an important area of number theory in the last 30 years.

The Early Years

Before their mathematical abilities drew them together, the four grew up in different parts of China. Zhu is from Chengdu, a provincial capital in the southwest. Yun grew up in a town outside Shanghai called Changzhou. At first he was more interested in calligraphy than math. Then, when he was in third grade, a teacher, recognizing Yun’s potential, explained to him that the repeating decimal 0.9999… is exactly equal to one. Yun puzzled over this unexpected fact for months. After that, he was hooked. . .

Continue reading. The entire article is well worth reading.

Written by Leisureguy

9 December 2015 at 10:53 am

Posted in Math

Police are taking more money from people than criminals

leave a comment »

Of course, you may think civil asset forfeiture is criminal, and I would find it hard to dispute. At the least, it is legalized robbery by law enforcement officials. Federal reform is stymied by Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA), who staunchly defends the right of police to take your property and money and allows no sort of reform to be put forth. At, William Aiken notes:

In Washington, one person can stifle efforts to movements and kill momentum for reforming asset forfeiture legislation by virtue of being chairman of the powerful Judiciary Committee that oversees criminal justice issues. That person is Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley. He has done more to impede the progress of bipartisan alliances to rein in cash grabbing law enforcement agencies. Grassley seems not suffer any blow back from his Draconian, get-tough vision which he articulates regularly in front of the cameras.

As far as the voters of Iowa are concerned Grassley’s not going anywhere. So the only hope for repealing these far reaching asset forfeiture laws is for Democrats to regain control of the Senate. Ironically, the most vocal critic of asset forfeiture laws has been a Republican, Senator Rand Paul.

At the same link, Philip Smith writes:

When you think about getting property stolen, you think about criminals, but maybe you should be thinking about the police. Law enforcement use of asset forfeiture laws to seize property — often without a criminal conviction or even an arrest — has gone through the roof in recent years, and now the cops are giving the criminals a run for their money — and winning.

According to a new report on asset forfeiture from the Institute for Justice, police seized $4.5 billion in cash and property through civil forfeiture last year. That exceeds the $3.9 billion worth of property stolen in burglaries during the same period. The valuation of burglary proceeds is from the FBI’s annual Uniform Crime Report.

Now, not every dollar seized by police is “stolen.” Some of it is seized legitimately from real criminals who should pay for the damage their crimes cause. But in too many cases, property is seized from people who have not been convicted of anything, likeCharles Clarke.

Clarke, a 24-year-old college student, was relieved of $11,000 in cash by federal agents at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport after a ticket agent reportedly told them he smelled like marijuana. They stopped and searched him at the airport, found no drugs or other banned items, and never charged him with a crime, but they took his money.

Clarke says the cash was money he had saved over five years for college tuition. A federal judge this month said he was inclined to believe Clarke and has ordered the feds to actually show he made the money from drug dealing, as they claimed.

Clarke may get his money back, but it is an uphill battle. Unlike criminal law, where prosecutors must prove the guilt of the defendant, under civil asset forfeiture law, the burden of proof falls on the person from whom the money or property was seized. The property owner must prove that the property was not the proceeds of crime. And he must pay attorneys to fight for him. And he may not win.

With police racking up billions in seizures each year, law enforcement itself begins to take on the appearance of a criminal enterprise. It’s an enterprise with an ever-expanding appetite. According to Armstrong Economics, federal prosecutors seized an estimated $12.6 billion between 1989 and 2010, and the trend is upward. Federal asset forfeiture proceeds hovered at just under a billion dollars a year until 2007, doubled to two billion by 2009, and doubled again to over four billion in both 2013 and 2014. . .

Continue reading.


Written by Leisureguy

9 December 2015 at 9:33 am

The Double-Open-Comb razor and a fine lather, via Semogue Owners Club, from Meißner Tremonia’s Strong ‘n Scottish

leave a comment »

SOTD 9 Dec 2015

A very nice shave today, and I note that Strong ‘n Scottish lather is tan—and certainly fragrant and thick. My Semogue Owners Club brush is coming slowly along. This is a brush for the long haul.

The Double-Open-Comb razor from Phoenix Artisan Accoutrements is an interesting razor, and the shave is quite good. Three easy and comfortable passes left a BBS result, and a good splash of Krampert’s Finest Bay Rum finished the job neatly.

Written by Leisureguy

9 December 2015 at 9:27 am

Posted in Shaving

%d bloggers like this: