Later On

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

Archive for November 7th, 2016

Wall Street fears Donald Trump

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From a post by Kevin Drum, but the chart says it all:

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Written by Leisureguy

7 November 2016 at 6:00 pm

Posted in Business, Election, GOP

The power of the crowd to induce conformity

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That’s from this interesting post at Open Culture, which is worth reading.

Written by Leisureguy

7 November 2016 at 4:53 pm

Posted in Daily life, Video

David Maraniss recommends the best books on Hillary Clinton

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Assuming that Hillary Clinton becomes the next President of the United States, I imagine that many will want to know more about her. Fortunately, she’s had a long public career and that means a long record of actions and decisions: she’s on record in many ways, including reports of investigations that never turned up a single damn thing: Whitewater, Benghazi, emails, murder of Vince Foster (never really got into the investigative stage, stillborn in its larval form as rumor), and so on.

Five Books interview David Maraniss on the best five books on Hillary Clinton:

How long have you known Hillary Clinton and what have you learned from speaking with her over the years?

I first met Hillary in 1991 when her husband was starting to run for President. I’ve studied her up-close and from afar since then.

She is quite a different person one-on-one than she is in a crowd or as a candidate. One might suppose that Bill Clinton is a warm engaging fellow, because that is how he appears in public. While Hillary, in public, seems more plodding and less colorful. In fact, she is the warmer of the two. She is also incredibly intelligent and lawyerly. I remember, when I first met her, she used a legal term in a casual context, which I had to look up.

Diving into your books. First, “A triumph of political biography,” according to the Chicago Sun-Times. It’s a book about the first Clinton to become president, Bill. You wrote it. Tell us about First in His Class.

It was an effort to write about the first member of my generation—the post-war baby boom generation—to make it to the White House. It’s a biography of Bill Clinton, but you can’t write about him without writing about Hillary. From the time they first met at Yale Law School, in 1971, they saw that together they could get places that they could not get to apart. She has been an essential part of his rise, and vice versa.

When people talk about the Clintons they sometimes suggest that there is something inherently corrupt about the compromises they’ve made as a couple and the way they’ve helped each other along the way. As someone who knows them and has studied them, what is your perspective?

For all politicians, just as for all human beings, there’s a tension between ambition and idealism. The Clintons are a kind of exaggeration of that tension. Hillary has built up an encrusted defensiveness over her more than forty years with Bill Clinton, largely in defense of him and their rise together and, in great part, because of his own personal vulnerabilities. Over the course of that period, in defense of him and in defense of their partnership, she’s been less than transparent out of the belief that her ends justified her means.

He is universally considered to be the more gifted politician. What do you think he has taught her?

He is a gifted politician and he also is a great campaign strategist, but none of his skills seem to be transferable to her. She doesn’t have his fluidity or his ability to make everyone who is listening think that he’s talking to them. On the contrary, he has said many things that have not helped her. It’s a curious thing. In part, her political career is possible because he became president. And yet, since then, I don’t know how much of a help he has been.

Moving on to a title familiar to all, Betty Friedan’s The Feminist Mystique. Tell us about it and its resonance for our topic.

Hillary Clinton is of a generation that was at the heart of the feminist movement. Books by Betty Friedan, Simone de Beauvoir and others had a profound influence on Hillary and millions of other women from her generation. In Hillary’s case, many people who knew her thought she would be the one to lead the movement. Yet in 1974, when she was in her twenties, she decided to move to Arkansas and attach her career to Bill Clinton’s.

There is always that tension between family and career. Hillary’s life represents that. Betty Friedan’s book explains it.

In 1994, Friedan wrote an op-ed for the Los Angeles Times about what she saw as an organized effort to pillory Hillary during the first Clinton administration, an effort that Hillary once called “a vast rightwing conspiracy.” How right or wrong were Friedan and Clinton? And how much do the efforts against her have to do with sexism?

It’s always more complicated than that, but it’s certainly a factor in the hostility to Hillary. The chant “Lock Her Up” has such an evocation of the way women have been demonized throughout history that there’s an undeniable aspect to the pillorying of Hillary as a strong woman. But that is on a larger scale and you also have to weigh up her behavior and characteristics, as you would with any politician or human being.

Hillary Clinton has cited West With The Night by Beryl Markham as one of her favorite books. Please tell us about it.

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

7 November 2016 at 3:08 pm

Posted in Books

Would Wall Street Have a Place in a Clinton Administration?

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I would definitely say “No” for the same reason I would not have foxes guarding a chicken house. (I’m currently watching Fantastic Mr. Fox.) Wall Street has publicly and repeatedly demonstrated that it cannot be trusted, and even though they have mostly gotten away with it, I think it would be best to pay attention and try to learn something—like foxes don’t work as chicken guardians.

Alec McGillis reports in ProPublica:

On Oct. 29, 2013, Hillary Clinton joined Lloyd Blankfein, the CEO of Goldman Sachs, for a discussion at its Builders and Innovators Summit, at the Ritz-Carlton Dove Mountain resort, near Tucson. During the discussion — one of more than 50 appearances for which Clinton received $225,000 since leaving the State Department — she lamented that the public’s wariness of Wall Street had made it difficult for top people in finance to move into government. For one thing, in order to avoid conflicts of interest, they often faced demands to relinquish financial holdings. “There is such a bias against people who have led successful and/or complicated lives. You know, the divestment of assets, the stripping of all kinds of positions, the sale of stocks — it just becomes very onerous and unnecessary,” she said, according to a transcript released last month by WikiLeaks.

That is not the kind of thing that Sen. Elizabeth Warren, of Massachusetts, likes to hear. Warren supports Clinton, and has been one of her most effective advocates during the current campaign, but she has also made it clear that, if Clinton is elected, she will closely monitor the people she names to key posts. On Sept. 21, in a speech at the Center for American Progress, a left-of-center think tank based in Washington, Warren said, “Personnel is policy. When we talk about personnel, we don’t mean advisers who just pay lip service to Hillary’s bold agenda, coupled with a sigh, a knowing glance, and the twiddling of thumbs until it’s time for the next swing through the revolving door — serving government, then going back to the very same industries they regulate. We don’t mean Citigroup or Morgan Stanley or BlackRock getting to choose who runs the economy in this country so that they can capture our government.”

People with experience in business or finance are a necessity in Washington, but the specter of a privileged executive elite circulating in and out of government and the private sector — especially Wall Street — has shadowed the American political system for more than half a century. The financial industry still favors the Republican Party, but, since the 1990s, it has become more closely affiliated with the Democrats, and that has provoked a resurgent left, led by Warren and by Sen. Bernie Sanders, of Vermont.

Hillary Clinton’s own relations with Wall Street date back to her husband’s administration, but they grew during her eight years representing New York in the U.S. Senate, from 2001 to 2009. She received more than $5 million in Senate campaign contributions from the financial industry. She did not defend the industry as aggressively as Chuck Schumer, her fellow-senator from New York, but she also did not take a lead on reforming it; in 2001, she voted for bankruptcy legislation favored by the banks, despite the fact that Warren, who was then a bankruptcy-law expert at Harvard, had counseled her against it. In this year’s primaries, though, Sanders’ unexpectedly strong challenge to Clinton helped prompt her to adopt tougher stances, such as calls for a “risk fee” on the largest banks and a tax on high-frequency trading.

If Clinton defeats Donald Trump, she will face a long list of economic tests to determine the future direction of the Party, including: what to do about the more than a trillion dollars that corporations hold overseas; how to enforce antitrust laws; how high to raise the minimum wage; and how to protect and strengthen the Dodd-Frank financial reforms. Warren has gone so far as to present Clinton with a list of people she would find acceptable for top administration posts. It is known that she and her allies look favorably on people such as Sarah Bloom Raskin, a deputy treasury secretary, and Tom Perez, President Obama’s labor secretary. They have also expressed strong reservations about Laurence Fink, the C.E.O. of BlackRock; Hamilton James, the president of the Blackstone Group; and Blair Effron, the founder of the investment firm Centerview Partners.

Lately, critics have focused on Thomas R. Nides, who is seen as a contender for a prominent position in a Clinton administration, possibly even chief of staff. . .

Continue reading. It’s a lengthy article.

Written by Leisureguy

7 November 2016 at 2:37 pm

Artistic woodpiles

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Here’s one:

screen-shot-2016-11-07-at-12-31-14-pm

And there are quite a few more. Imagine it makes stacking the wood a lot more interesting (see: preface to the Gourmet Guide to Shaving on the importance of making necessary tasks a source of enjoyment).

Written by Leisureguy

7 November 2016 at 12:37 pm

Posted in Art, Daily life

Barbara Kingsolver: “End this misogynistic horror show. Put Hillary Clinton in the White House.”

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I’ve always liked Barbara Kingsolver’s writing, and now that includes this column she wrote for the Guardian:

When I was a girl of 11 I had an argument with my father that left my psyche maimed. It was about whether a woman could be the president of the US.

How did it even start? I was no feminist prodigy, just a shy kid who preferred reading to talking; politics weren’t my destiny. Probably, I was trying to work out what was possible for my category of person – legally, logistically – as one might ask which kinds of terrain are navigable for a newly purchased bicycle. Up until then, gender hadn’t darkened my mental doorway as I followed my older brother into our daily adventures wearing hand-me-down jeans.

But in adolescence it dawned on me I’d be spending my future as a woman, and when I looked around, alarm bells rang. My mother was a capable, intelligent, deeply unhappy woman who aspired to fulfilment as a housewife but clearly disliked the job. I saw most of my friends’ mothers packed into that same dreary boat. My father was a country physician, admired and rewarded for work he loved. In my primordial search for a life coach, he was the natural choice.

I probably started by asking him if girls could go to college, have jobs, be doctors, tentatively working my way up the ladder. His answers grew more equivocal until finally we faced off, Dad saying, “No” and me saying, “But why not?” A female president would be dangerous. His reasons vaguely referenced menstruation and emotional instability, innate female attraction to maternity and aversion to power, and a general implied ickyness that was beneath polite conversation.

I ended that evening curled in bed with my fingernails digging into my palms and a silent howl tearing through me that lasted hours and left me numb. The next day I saw life at a remove, as if my skull had been jarred. What changed for me was not a dashing of specific hopes, but an understanding of what my father – the person whose respect I craved – really saw when he looked at me. I was tainted. I would grow up to be a lesser person, confined to an obliquely shameful life.

But I didn’t stop asking what a woman gets to do, and so began a lifelong confrontation with that internal howl. The slap-downs were often unexpected. Play drums in the band? No. Sign up for the science team? Go camping with the guys? Go jogging in shorts and a tank top without fear of being assaulted? Experiment boldly, have a career, command a moral authority of my own? Walk home safely after dark? No, no, no.

Eventually, I wrestled my way to yes on most of these things, except of course the last one. And the same dread that stalks me in dark parking lots – the helpless fury of knowing I don’t get to be just a person here, going about my business – has haunted all the other pursuits, from science team to career. It’s a matter of getting up each day and pushing myself again into a place some people think I have no right to occupy.

My father is very old now. Lately, I brought up our ancient argument about who may occupy the White House, but he didn’t remember it. The world has changed and so has he, urged forward by working daughters and granddaughters. He’s ready and eager to vote for a woman president. But it’s knocked the breath out of me to learn that most of his peers are not.

Hillary Clinton has honoured the rules of civic duty and met the prerequisites for a candidate, bringing a lifetime of pertinent experience, an inquiring mind, a record of compassionate service and a sound grasp of our nation’s every challenge, from international relations to climate change; her stated desire is to work hard for our country and its future.

Her opponent has no political experience, a famously childish temperament, no interest in educating himself on any subject, a manifest record of shortchanging employees, bankrupting businesses, cheating on wives, dodging taxes and serving absolutely no one but himself. His mission is to elevate the self-regard of some Americans by degrading many others, including Muslims, Mexican immigrants, people with disabilities, residents of African-American communities, women he finds beautiful and women he does not. . .

Continue reading.

Do read the whole thing. For example, she provides a list of objective things we know about Clinton and Trump—things that are a matter of public record—by their works shall ye know them:

. . . Hillary Clinton has honoured the rules of civic duty and met the prerequisites for a candidate, bringing a lifetime of pertinent experience, an inquiring mind, a record of compassionate service and a sound grasp of our nation’s every challenge, from international relations to climate change; her stated desire is to work hard for our country and its future.

Her opponent has no political experience, a famously childish temperament, no interest in educating himself on any subject, a manifest record of shortchanging employees, bankrupting businesses, cheating on wives, dodging taxes and serving absolutely no one but himself. His mission is to elevate the self-regard of some Americans by degrading many others, including Muslims, Mexican immigrants, people with disabilities, residents of African-American communities, women he finds beautiful and women he does not.

I’m horrified to watch the bizarre pageant of my nation pretending these two contenders are equivalent. No one really imagines Donald Trump applying himself to the disciplines of the presidency, staying up late reading reams of legislation, instead of firing off juvenile tweets. It’s even harder to imagine Clinton indulging in the boorish self-aggrandisement, intellectual laziness, racism and vulgar contempt for the opposite gender that characterise her opponent. If anyone still doubts that the inexperienced man gets promoted ahead of the qualified woman, you can wake up now.

This race is close. Polls tell us most Americans believe Trump has sexually assaulted women (to name just one potential disqualifier). A majority also believe Clinton “can’t be trusted”, for unspecified reasons. We’re back to the ancient conundrum: a woman can’t be that smart and commanding, so either her womanliness or her smartness must be counterfeit. To set that hazy discomfort next to a sexual assaulter and call these defects “equivalent” is causing my ears to ring as I write.

Months ago, Trump bragged that he could commit murder and still retain his following. He was right. Legions have clung to this foul troth right up to last month when he declared that we really don’t need to hold an election. “We should just give it to Trump now, right?” Because there is no other candidate – she’s tainted, we don’t need reasons; it goes without saying, the woman isn’t a person. . .

Emphasis added. When I read Barbara Kingsolver’s novels, I’m always impressed with the ease with which she can with clear prose in a casual style bring out intricate details. Now I want to read her novels again.

And each paragraph of that column tells a little story. Example:

Listen: it is not politics as usual when one camp continually threatens the other with imprisonment and death, screaming female-specific vulgarities, painting her face on targets, hoisting her effigy being hanged. No candidate in the history of the US, Barack Obama included, has been subjected to so much jubilant violation.

Written by Leisureguy

7 November 2016 at 12:27 pm

Dept. of Transportation unveils national electric vehicle charging network

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Sustainable Cities Collective has an interesting post:

  • Moving to support the electrification of the transportation sector and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the federal government this week announced 55 routes that will serve as the basis for a national network of “alternative fuel” corridors spanning 35 states.
  • The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) issued a request in July for states to nominate new fuel corridors. The network announced Wednesday is almost 85,000 miles long.
  • Corridors where alternative fuel stations are already in operation will be eligible for new signs alerting drivers to refueling opportunities. The network will include fuel for electric, hydrogen, propane and natural gas vehicles.

As the United States looks ahead to environmental and emissions commitments, decarbonization of the transportation sector will play an essential role. Transportation is the largest greenhouse gas emitter in the country, outpacing the power sector for the first time this year. Because of that, cleaner transportation will play a huge role in helping the U.S. meet its pledge to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80% or more by 2050. One way to clear a pathway for cleaner transportation is to set up corridors to help construct EV charging stations, according to the White House.

“Alternative fuels and electric vehicles will play an integral part in the future of America’s transportation system,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement. “We have a duty to help drivers identify routes that will help them refuel and recharge those vehicles and designating these corridors on our highways is a first step.”

According to new FHWA data, U.S. drivers consumed nearly 72 billion gallons of gasoline in the first half of 2016 and drove more than 3 trillion miles last year.

Signs that will designate alternative stations will be similar to existing signage for gas stations, food, and lodging. But despite the expansive first steps, some areas of the country are clearly underserved. A map of the transportation corridors from the Department of Transportation shows extensive networks on the West Coast and along the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic. Texas and Oklahoma also have large amounts of infrastructure.

None of the routes, however, pass through Montana, Wyoming, North and South Dakota, Alabama, Mississippi, New Mexico, Arizona and others. . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

7 November 2016 at 12:13 pm

Wolfman bar-guard razor up for auction

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Written by Leisureguy

7 November 2016 at 10:29 am

Posted in Shaving

Donald Trump lives in some fantasy world of his imagination: Obama and the protester

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Written by Leisureguy

7 November 2016 at 8:32 am

Super smooth with stainless steel Stealth and Coloniali shaving soap

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SOTD 2016-11-07

An Italian-themed shave for sure. The Omega 21762 worked up a fine lather from the shaving soap shown, and the Stealth stainless steel slant did a superb job. For me, this is an excellent razor: three passes, no problems, totally BBS result.

A good splash of Floïd with its hint of menthol and warm fragrance, and the week is off to a good start. It will be interesting to see what tomorrow brings.

Someone on Wicked Edge was told by the Q Brothers that iKon had discontinued the X3. That was false: iKon is working to get a new supply of the X3 and the 102 in time for the holidays. (I emailed to inquire; he also said that he has tweaked the design of the stainless B1 slant to reduce blade play, and he’s also waiting for that to arrive.)

Written by Leisureguy

7 November 2016 at 7:40 am

Posted in Shaving

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