Later On

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

Archive for November 2nd, 2016

Louis C.K. on the importance of having the first mother in the White House

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Not only a woman, but also a mother. That does have an impact, as Louis C.K. explains:



Written by Leisureguy

2 November 2016 at 6:44 pm

Posted in Democrats, Election, Video

1940’s Gillette Super Speed, unnotched center bar, goes to auction.

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And it is in terrifically good shape:

Super speed side

Here it is on eBay.

Written by Leisureguy

2 November 2016 at 6:38 pm

Posted in Shaving

Police want respect? Get it the old-fashioned way: Earn it. “The WatchOpinion Las Vegas PD still using bogus drug test kits, years after admitting that they’re unreliable”

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Radley Balko reports in the Washington Post:

A new report from ProPublica and the Las Vegas Review-Journal finds that since the early 1990s, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department has been using cheap drug field-test kits to determine whether found substances are illegal. While far too many police agencies have used the kits to determine probable cause for a search, in most cases the substances are later more thoroughly tested at a crime lab. In Las Vegas, the test results were apparently also used as evidence to help prosecutors win convictions.

It gets worse.

All along, though, police and prosecutors knew the tests were vulnerable to error, and by 2010, the police department’s crime lab wanted to abandon its kits for methamphetamine and cocaine. In a 2014 report that Las Vegas police submitted to the U.S. Department of Justice under the terms of a federal grant, the lab detailed how the kits produced false positives. Legal substances sometimes create the same colors as illegal drugs. Officers conducting the tests, lab officials acknowledged, misinterpreted results. New technology was available — and clearly needed to protect against wrongful convictions.

Yet to this day, the kits remain in everyday use in Las Vegas. In 2015, the police department made some 5,000 arrests for drug offenses, and the local courts churned out 4,600 drug convictions, nearly three-quarters of them relying on field test results, according to an analysis of police and court data. Indeed, the department has expanded the use of the kits, adding heroin to the list of illegal drugs the tests can be used to detect.

There’s no way to quantify exactly how many times the field tests were wrong or how many innocent people pleaded guilty based on the inaccurate results, or to assess the damage to their lives.

This should be a massive scandal. If police and prosecutors are knowingly using drug test kits known to have a high false positive rate, and then using the results of those tests to put people in prison, they are knowingly violating the constitutional rights of those people. Not only do a lot of people need to be fired, but there also ought to be a criminal investigation.

The department maintains it has never established an error rate. The department destroys samples after pleas are entered and does not track how many of its field test results are re-checked. Drug arrest and lab testing data show the number could be as low as 10 percent.

But if two-thirds of drug convictions are based on the test results, and there were 4,600 such convictions, then a 10 percent error rate for the test kits would mean that more than 300 people were wrongly convicted last year alone. As the report points out, in Houston 300 people were recently found to have falsely pleaded guilty to a drug charge after a faulty result from a drug test kit. We only know this now because in Houston the policy is to save the results of such tests even after a guilty plea. In Las Vegas, the kits are destroyed.

To make matters worse, . . .. . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

2 November 2016 at 3:40 pm

Father Writes a Great Letter About Censorship When Son Brings Home Permission Slip to Read Ray Bradbury’s Censored Book, Fahrenheit 451

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Written by Leisureguy

2 November 2016 at 3:26 pm

Posted in Books, Education, Government

The Price of Certainty

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Daniel Anastasion has a very interesting piece in the NY Times:

It’s alarming to see how polarized politics have become in the United States. The wider the gulf grows, the more people seem to be certain that the other side is wrong. Certainty can be a dangerous thing.

Two years ago, I met the social psychologist Arie Kruglanski while researching a documentary about extremism. Dr. Kruglanski, a professor at the University of Maryland, studies what motivates people to join terrorist groups like ISIS. My producing partner, Eric Strauss, and I had fascinating conversations with Dr. Kruglanski about the psychology of binary thinking, and decided to make a short film about his work instead.

Dr. Kruglanski is best known for his theory of “cognitive closure,” a term he coined in 1989 to describe how we make decisions. “Closure” is the moment that you make a decision or form a judgment. You literally close your mind to new information.

If you have high “need for closure,” you tend to make decisions quickly and see the world in black and white. If you have a low need for closure, you tolerate ambiguity, but often have difficulty making decisions. All of us fall naturally somewhere on this spectrum.

But during times of fear and anxiety — like, for example, right now — everybody’s need for closure increases. We . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

2 November 2016 at 3:00 pm

Posted in Election, Science

A Divided US: Sociologist Arlie Hochschild on the 2016 Presidential Election

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Kristian Haug of Truthout:

In her new book, Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right, Arlie Russell Hochschild scrutinizes a divided United States and focuses on the white lower-middle class’s sense of belonging in their own country. In the book, we join her journey from Berkeley, California, to the southern state of Louisiana. The result is a prudent and compassionate story about many Americans who are managing life but not making progress.

Truthout invited Hochschild — a professor emerita of sociology at the University of California, Berkeley, who has authored nine books, written a wide range of academic articles and received multiple honorary awards — to talk about her experiences in Louisiana and the light they shed on widespread support for Donald Trump in the US.

Kristian Haug: What motivated you to spend five years in the state of Louisiana?

Arlie Hochschild: Already in 2011, the handwriting was on the wall. Rhetoric on the left and right was heating up. Congress was at a standstill. A high proportion of Americans had accepted the rumor that Obama was neither an American nor a Christian. There were signs that the two sides were living in different worlds, in different truths. I realized many things that I’ve advocated all my life called for some good government — paid family leave for new parents, for example — and that in this climate, such a reform would never come to pass. So that’s what set me off.

Then, as now … the newspapers were filled with strong, often angry, disagreement. At the same time, the people we know personally agree with us. That’s because most of us live in geographic, electronic and medial enclaves. So to talk to the other side, we have to get out of our enclave. So I set out to find a place in the United States that was as much the opposite from Berkeley, California, as I could find.

Who are the “strangers in their own land”? And when did they become strangers?

They are members of mainly older white lower-middle class to blue-collar in the South; Republicans, very conservative, and very religious, many of them. Many are very fine people, by the way. One of the findings in the book is that one can relate human being to human being who can’t and should not be dismissed, and with whom it is possible to find some common ground.

They felt like strangers in the sense that — they were all members of the Tea Party, I should say — they felt that mainstream America had left them and had gone by, didn’t see them, didn’t recognize who they were and neither political party spoke to their feelings and interests. In this sense, they felt like strangers in their own land.

I’ll give you an example of that. One woman I spoke to said, “I’m really glad you’ve come to interview us, because we are the fly-over-state and people think of the South that we’re ignorant, backward, that we have old-fashioned attitudes, that we’re pro-family, pro-life and that many people think we’re racist when we’re not, and so they write us off, they call us rednecks, so thanks for coming to see who we really are.”

You’ve stated that the persons you meet have every right to blame the system. Why do they not do so? . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

2 November 2016 at 2:53 pm

Posted in Books, Election, Science

The police taketh away, the police keepeth, the police never giveth

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Jeff McDonald at the San Diego Union Tribune reports:

Dozens of well-armed agents swept into the Med-West Distribution medical cannabis business in Kearny Mesa early this year. Before the raid was over, they seized $324,000 in cash and thousands of dollars worth of inventory.

Within days agents also froze owner James Slatic’s bank accounts and those of his wife and two teenaged daughters.

Nine months later, Slatic has yet to be charged with a crime. Two Med-West employees arrested on the morning of the raid were released and have not been charged.

The company folded and its 35 employees lost their jobs, along with their health benefits and retirement accounts. The District Attorney’s Office is declining to return any of the cash.

“It’s the dirty little secret of the American justice system,” Slatic said in an interview. “They can come in and take all your money and property just on the say-so of a police officer. Once they do that, you have to go to court and prove why your money is not guilty.”

Slatic has lawyers fighting what’s known as civil asset-forfeiture, the tool police and sheriff’s departments across the country rely on to seize cash and property they suspect are derived from criminal activity. A San Diego Superior Court hearing is scheduled Nov. 14 before Judge Jay M. Bloom.

The District Attorney’s Office opposes the release of any of the cash or property seized by drug agents, saying the case remains under evaluation. The office declined to comment on the Med-West case but said the confiscations are an important way to prevent crime. . . .

Continue reading. Video at the link.

Written by Leisureguy

2 November 2016 at 2:42 pm

Wow! Can he dance! Mikhail Baryshnikov – Competition and Concert

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It’s just four minutes. Watch with sound audible. Via Open Culture, which has a good post with more information..


Written by Leisureguy

2 November 2016 at 2:22 pm

Posted in Art, Music

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Camera Catches Shoving Match with Group Home Worker Before Teenager’s Heart Stopped

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Heather Vogell reports in ProPublica:

As she waited in a Delaware hospital for her daughter to die, Carla Thomas watched a silent video of the teenager’s last conscious hour.

The video showed Janaia Barnhart, 15, bouncing down the stairs of the group home where she lived, Thomas said. The girl from Hyattsville, Maryland, had mental illness and threw tantrums, but on that September morning her expression suggested the mischievous laugh her mom knew well.

Ahead of her carrying a black garbage bag was an employee of AdvoServ, the for-profit company that owned the home. The worker stepped toward the bedroom where the girl kept her most prized possessions — her MP3 player, movies, magic markers, karaoke machine. Seeing Janaia coming, the worker threw back an arm, shoving her hard against the hallway wall. Janaia, who was 5 feet, 6 inches tall and 227 pounds, shoved back. Both disappeared into the room, which was just big enough for a twin bed and dresser.

Four more workers rushed in behind them. Thirty-two minutes later, according to Thomas, paramedics arrived to find Janaia on the floor, naked, with no pulse.

Since then, Thomas has buried and mourned her daughter. But she has no idea what happened in those 32 minutes. “I still don’t have an inkling, nothing,” Thomas said in an exclusive interview with ProPublica.

Janaia’s death represents another setback for AdvoServ, part of a growing, government-funded industry that provides housing and care nationwide for hundreds of thousands of people with developmental or intellectual disabilities.  Both Maryland and Delaware had already sanctioned the company, which is besieged with complaints about its treatment of a vulnerable population and the conditions of its homes.

Thomas’s questions about her daughter’s death have only multiplied since AdvoServ chief executive Michael Martin played the video for her on his laptop. The footage didn’t show the inside of Janaia’s bedroom. And during four crucial minutes, a worker opened a closet door and blocked the view of the room’s entranceway.

Staff at AdvoServ gave Thomas conflicting stories, acknowledging workers pinned Janaia down in her bedroom but never explaining why she lost consciousness. Doctors at the hospital told Thomas they did not know why the otherwise physically healthy teenager’s heart had stopped.

Thomas and her lawyer, Julia Arfaa, say that Delaware officials have stymied their efforts to secure basic information. The state attorney general’s office told Arfaa that, while a police investigation was ongoing, it would not allow release of a recording of workers’ call to 911. “Releasing the 911 tape at this time could potentially jeopardize the investigation, because the call contains potentially sensitive information,” said Carl Kanefsky, spokesman for the attorney general’s office. The office will decide whether to file criminal charges after law enforcement agencies have finished their investigations, he said.

A Delaware medical examiner refused Arfaa’s request for initial autopsy findings. Last week, a spokeswoman for the medical examiner said it has not completed the autopsy and will notify Janaia’s family when it does. Delaware state police won’t elaborate on the circumstances of the girl’s death or even release her name.

“We’re blocked,” Arfaa said. . .

Continue reading.

This is injustice. This is highly authoritarian.

Written by Leisureguy

2 November 2016 at 1:31 pm

Brushguy and I Coloniali mango-butter soap and the iKon S3S

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SOTD 2016-11-02

A very nice if somewhat late shave. Brushguy grey badger, which is somewhat coarser in feel than a silvertip but not unpleasant, and i Coloniali’s discontinued mango soap. I often have a problem getting a lasting lather from this soap—perhaps insufficient loading, perhaps insufficient water, perhaps both. I do add a little water as I load and that helps.

The iKon S3S is a very nice razor indeed, another iKon offering with a comb guard on one side, a bar guard on the other. It is extremely comfortable and the substantial head mass makes for a very smooth-cutting shaving. Three passes, BBS result.

Anthony Gold’s Red Cedar aftershave finished the job. As I posted yesterday, this aftershave (from the Copper Hat in Victoria BC) would be a dynamite Christmas present for any Canadian wetshaver.

Late start, good shave, beautiful day.

In the discussion of slant razors, we thought it would be interesting to hear from anyone who has both a Merkur 34C (conventional bar-guard razor) and a Merkur 37C (seemingly identical except the blade is slanted and twisted). Side-by-side shaving with those two should show whether the slant makes a difference.

Written by Leisureguy

2 November 2016 at 11:40 am

Posted in Shaving

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