Later On

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

Archive for September 13th, 2016

Jennifer Rubin is on a roll

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Keep in mind that she is in fact a true conservative, even (I think) conservative for the GOP of a generation ago. And read what she writes.

Written by LeisureGuy

13 September 2016 at 6:42 pm

Posted in Election, GOP, Philanthropy

The Encyclopedia Reader

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A marvelous report and semi-profile by Daniel Gross in the New Yorker:

A few months ago, Robin Woods drove seven hours from his home, in Maryland, to visit a man named Mark Stevens, in Amherst, Massachusetts. The two had corresponded for years, and they’d spoken on the phone dozens of times. But they had never met in person. Woods, who is bald and broad-shouldered, parked his car and walked along a tree-lined street to Stevens’s house. He seemed nervous and excited as he knocked on the door. A wiry man with white hair and glasses opened it.

Within a few minutes, Woods, who is fifty-four, and Stevens, who is sixty-six, were sitting in the living room, talking about books. The conversation seemed both apt and improbable: when Woods first wrote to Stevens, in 2004, he was serving a sixteen-year prison sentence, in Jessup, Maryland, for breaking and entering. It was a book that had brought them together. “I never met you until today, but I love you very much,” Woods told Stevens. “You’re a good man.”

At Jessup, Woods had begun reading Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Encyclopedia, a four-pound tome that starts with an entry on the German city of Aachen and ends with zymogen, a protein precursor to enzymes. He hoped to read all of its two and a half million words, and he spent hours flipping through the pages, following cross-references. “Once I would find a subject, it would lead me to the next,” Woods told me. “You could put a whole story together.” One day, he was puzzled to read an entry stating that the Turkic ruler Toghrïl Beg had entered Baghdad in 1955. He quickly realized that it should have said 1055. “I read it several times to make sure,” he said. Then he turned to the masthead, which listed the editor, Mark A. Stevens.

“Dear Mr. Stevens,” Woods wrote in a letter, “I am writing to you at this time to advise you of a misprint in your fine!! Collegiate Encyclopedia.” He described the error and offered his thanks for Merriam-Webster’s reference books. “I would be lost without them,” he wrote, unsure if he’d ever get a response.

What Woods didn’t mention in his first letter to Stevens was. . .

Continue reading.

We have evolved to find the acquisition of memes very gratifying.

Written by LeisureGuy

13 September 2016 at 6:17 pm

Colin Powell Urged Hillary Clinton’s Team Not to Scapegoat Him for Her Private Server, Leaked Emails Reveal

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Lee Fang and Naomi LaChance report in The Intercept:

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell attempted to discourage Hillary Clinton and her team from using him as a scapegoat for her private email server problems, according to newly leaked emails from Powell’s Gmail account.

“Sad thing,” Powell wrote to one confidant, “HRC could have killed this two years ago by merely telling everyone honestly what she had done and not tie me to it.”

“I told her staff three times not to try that gambit. I had to throw a mini tantrum at a Hampton’s party to get their attention. She keeps tripping into these ‘character’ minefields,” Powell lamented. He noted that he had tried to settle the matter by meeting with Clinton aide Cheryl Mills in August.

Powell’s private messages were leaked by D.C. Leaks, an anonymously managed website that shares hacked emails from U.S. military and political figures. D.C. Leaks has a relationship with Guccifer 2.0, a hacker that many allege to have ties with Russian intelligence. D.C. Leaks provided access to Powell’s emails to a number of reporters on Tuesday.

The emails show Powell regularly corresponding with reporters and friends about the Clinton email server scandal, explaining that his situation was different. When Powell arrived at the State Department, the information technology system was badly dated, he argued. And unlike Clinton, Powell never set up a private server. Instead, he used his personal AOL account, on a server maintained by AOL, and used a government computer for classified communications.

“It is no secret that I used a unclassified personal email account in addition to my classified State computer,’” Powell wrote to the New York Times’ Amy Chozick. He implored the dozens of reporters and producers who emailed him to read his book, It Worked for Me: In Life and Leadership, in which he devoted an entire chapter to his efforts to revamp the State Department’s IT system.

The Clinton campaign’s effort to blur the lines between Clinton’s private email server and Powell’s AOL account left Powell deeply frustrated.

“They are going to dick up the legitimate and necessary use of emails with friggin record rules. I saw email more like a telephone than a cable machine,” Powell wrote last year to his business partner Jeffrey Leeds. “As long as the stuff is unclassified. I had a secure State.gov machine. Everything HRC touches she kind of screws up with hubris.”

Powell added in a tangential complaint: “I told you about the gig I lost at a University because she so overcharged them they came under heat and couldn’t any fees for awhile. I should send her a bill.”

Clinton sought Powell’s advice at a dinner on . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

13 September 2016 at 5:52 pm

Wall Street Today: Fake Accounts, Fake Money, Fake Courts, Fake Regulators

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Pam Martens and Russ Martens report in Wall Street on Parade:

Last Thursday, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced that Wells Fargo was paying $185 million in fines and penalties for allowing its employees to open “more than two million deposit and credit card accounts” that were not authorized by its customers. The employees were attempting to “hit sales targets and receive bonuses.” In one of the most audacious forms of bank fraud, according to the CFPB, employees actually “transferred funds from consumers’ authorized accounts to temporarily fund the new, unauthorized accounts.” This resulted in untold numbers of customers being charged for insufficient funds in their legitimate accounts or paying overdraft fees.

If anyone ever doubted Senator Bernie Sanders when he repeatedly said during campaign stops that fraud has become a business model on Wall Street, that debate is over. According to the CFPB, this conduct at Wells Fargo went on for five years. Yesterday, Fortune’s Stephen Gandel reported that the woman who headed up this division at Wells Fargo, Carrie Tolstedt, will be “walking away with $124.6 million in stock, options, and restricted Wells Fargo shares.”  Fraud is not only a business model but a road to riches for the overlords on Wall Street. Just ask John Paulson, Sandy Weill,Robert Rubin, John Reed, and Jamie Dimon.

Fake accounts are just the latest alchemy on Wall Street. Let’s not forget that Bernard Madoff was generating fake statements to thousands of clients showing that $65 billion in fake money was in their accounts as the industry’s top watchdog, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), ignored the repeated warnings from whistleblower Harry Markopolos for years. But Ponzi schemers are not the only source of fake money on Wall Street. Just consider how the Federal Reserve secretly funneled $13 trillion in cumulative, below-market-rate loans to some of the most hubristic banks on Wall Street and on foreign shores during the 2007 to 2010 financial crisis. How did the Fed create that money without any appropriation from Congress? It simply pressed a button.

Wall Street is able to sustain its business model of fraud because it has fake courts to hear cases brought by its customers and employees. Wall Street is the only industry in America which universally requires by written contract that its customers and employees agree to use its private justice system prior to opening an account or getting a job. That system, called mandatory arbitration, is overseen by Wall Street’s crony self-regulator, Finra, and offers none of the protections of the nation’s taxpayer-funded courts where juries are randomly selected from a broad  base of the population, decisions are based on case law, and higher courts can hear appeals. Gloria Steinem once called the system “McJustice.”

Then there are the . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

13 September 2016 at 3:49 pm

Email scandal at the Bush-Cheney White House

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Kevin Drum posts at Mother Jones:

I bookmarked this a couple of days ago, but haven’t gotten around to posting about it yet. Here is Nina Burleigh on how President Bush “lost” 22 million emails:

….Like Clinton, the Bush White House used a private email server—its was owned by the Republican National Committee. And the Bush administration failed to store its emails, as required by law, and then refused to comply with a congressional subpoena seeking some of those emails.

….Most troubling, researchers found a suspicious pattern in the White House email system blackouts, including periods when there were no emails available from the office of Vice President Dick Cheney.

….In 2003, a whistleblower told the National Security Archive [a private watchdog group] that the George W. Bush White House was no longer saving its emails. The Archive…refiled their original lawsuit. The plaintiffs soon discovered that Bush aides had simply shut down the Clinton automatic email archive,and they identified the start date of the lost emails as January 1, 2003.

….In court in May 2008, administration lawyers contended that the White House had lost three months’ worth of email backups from the initial days of the Iraq War. Bush aides thus evaded a court-ordered deadline to describe the contents of digital backup believed to contain emails deleted in 2003 between March—when the U.S. invaded Iraq—and September….Eventually, the Bush White House admitted it had lost 22 million emails, not 5 million. Then, in December 2009—well into Barack Obama’s administration—the White House said it found 22 million emails, dated between 2003 and 2005, that it claimed had been mislabeled.

This did not go unreported at the time. But it didn’t get much reporting, despite the fact that there’s far clearer evidence here of deliberate stonewalling and lawbreaking than anything that even the fever swamps suggest about Hillary Clinton’s emails.

So why is it that Clinton’s emails have gotten coverage of such titanic proportions? . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

13 September 2016 at 12:19 pm

Rhodium-plated Slim (1966) and Wolf Whiskers brush go to auction

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Continuing the reduction of my collection, two items went on eBay this morning:

Slim side

First is this L1 (1966 Q1) Slim. It was in good shape when I got it, and then I had it replated with rhodium, so now it’s quite stunning. It’s listed here.

And I’m also selling this Wolf Whiskers brush. (I just have too many brushes.)

Wolf Whiskers side

Written by LeisureGuy

13 September 2016 at 8:44 am

Posted in Shaving

Maggard slant and iKon X3 comparison shave

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SOTD 2016-09-13

First was the prep, of course. I keep returning to my Phoenix soaps lately because of how great my skin feels after the shave. Well worth a try, IMO. I easily got a fine lather using the Plisson brush shown, and then I set to work, using the Maggard slant (dark-grey head) and the iKon X3 slant (aluminum head) alternately.

The Maggard slant is quite good and a bargain, but for me, in a side by side shave, the X3 was noticeably more comfortable. This is not to imply that the Maggard slant was uncomfortable—it’s not—but the feel on the face of the X3 head was for  more pleasant and with less blade feel. The two were much the same with respect to efficiency, but the greater comfort of the X3 made it feel a bit more efficient.

So if you have neither and the additional $10-$15 is doable, I’d recommend the X3 over the Maggard just on comfort. However, the X3 is also made of aluminum alloy and the Maggard of coated Zamak, so there’s that as well: the aluminum alloy is much stronger than Zamak. In particular, it’s important not to overtighten Zamak heads: chronic overtightening will weaken the threaded stud from the cap and eventually it will break off under no pressure. You do want the razor tightened enough so that it will not loosen during the shave, but you want to use the very least amount of torque to achieve that. This is not such a concern with the X3, since its aluminum alloy is much stronger than Zamak.

I easily got a BBS result with no nicks, and a splash of Phoenix Artisan Cavendish finished the job.

Written by LeisureGuy

13 September 2016 at 8:21 am

Posted in Shaving

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