Later On

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

Archive for February 18th, 2017

Trump takes feud with press to campaign rally in Florida

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Now it’s getting scary. He’s setting up his supporters to reject out of hand the findings of any investigation that is reported in the media, and it is not unlikely that some of those findings could lead to impeachment. By ensuring that his supporters do not accept anything reported in the media, he must hope to be able to ignore what is found.

Read this report in The Hill and see what you think.

Written by LeisureGuy

18 February 2017 at 5:19 pm

A Win for Free Speech and Gun Safety

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An editorial in the NY Times:

Information saves lives. That’s not a complicated idea, especially when it comes to medical care. A doctor’s educated advice can make all the difference to a patient who may not fully appreciate health or safety risks.

Florida lawmakers seemed to think otherwise. In 2011, they passed a law barring doctors from talking to their patients about one specific topic: whether the patients keep firearms at home. Health care practitioners who violated the gag rule faced fines of up to $10,000 and the possible loss of their medical licenses.

As the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit held on Thursday in striking down the key parts of the law, this is an obvious violation of the First Amendment, which generally prohibits restrictions on speech based on what’s being said. It was also just plain dumb. Studies show that guns in the home lead to an increased risk of injury and death, and that people who speak to their doctors about gun-storage practices are three times as likely to store guns safely later.

That’s why major medical organizations, including the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics, encourage doctors to discuss gun storage and safety with patients, particularly those living with children. It’s no different from talking about other common household hazards like swimming pools, chemicals, and drugs and alcohol.

Florida law itself makes it a misdemeanor to fail to secure firearms in homes where a child can get to them without supervision. When that law was passed in 1989, legislators pointed to the “tragically large number of Florida children” accidentally killed or injured by poorly stored guns, and said that “placing firearms within the reach or easy access of children is irresponsible, encourages such accidents, and should be prohibited.”

The state now claims that its gag rule, which the National Rifle Association strongly supported, was necessary to prevent the violation of patients’ constitutional rights and of their privacy. But the Second Amendment does not “preclude questions about, commentary on, or criticism for the exercise of that right,” the federal appeals court said.

The majority also noted that the state had offered no evidence of doctors improperly disclosing information about patients’ gun ownership. Indeed, . . .

Continue reading.

The thinking behind this piece of legislation is foreign to me.

Written by LeisureGuy

18 February 2017 at 1:14 pm

Posted in Daily life, Government, Guns, Law

Man wrongly convicted with bite mark evidence confronts bite mark analysts

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Though he paid an awful price, he must feel a great satisfaction at confronting those whose groundless testimony sent him to prison for those decades. Radley Balko reports in the Washington Post:

Keith Harward was wrongly convicted of a grisly rape and murder and spent more than 33 years in prison. The main evidence against him were alleged bite marks found on the victim. Over the course of two trials, six bite mark analysts said the marks were a match to Harward’s teeth. He was finally cleared by DNA testing last year.

This week, Harward showed up in New Orleans at the annual American Academy of Forensic Sciences conference, where he crashed a panel on bite mark analysis. From the Richmond Times-Dispatch:

“I’m not here to make any friends,” began Harward, who was sent behind bars for rape and murder largely on the erroneous testimony of two forensic dentists, known as forensic odontologists.

At a conference workshop Monday with a number of forensic dentists listening, Harward, his voice rising, said, “This stuff is all crap. It’s bogus. This bite mark stuff is bogus. Why even continue with it? It just doesn’t make sense.”

“Thirty-four years thinking, ‘Wow, what just happened?’” he said of his convictions.

“You’re taking people’s lives in your hands and guessing, ‘Well, I say it is so, so it’s got to be.’ There’s no Gods in here. So why do it?”

He said the only motives he could think of were “money and ego.”

Among those who implicated Harward was Lowell Levine, one of the pioneers of bite mark matching and a longtime evangelist for the practice. Levine first gained some fame after giving bite mark testimony in the trial of serial killer Ted Bundy. He’d later declare that a bite mark identification is as reliable as a fingerprint match. Back in 1995, Levine claimed to have matched the bite marks on the corpse of a 75-year-old Massachusetts woman to Edmund Burke, a local handyman. Burke was arrested and held for 41 days before he was cleared by DNA testing. Levine is a giant figure in forensics. He served as president of the American Board of Forensic Odontology and the American Academy of Forensic Sciences. The latter (at whose conference Harward confronted the bite mark analysts) is one of the largest and most influential professional forensics organizations in the world.

Levine has continued to promote his field. From my 2015 series on bite mark evidence:

In a 2011 interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Levine continued to defend bite mark analysis as “important and viable.” But when Cooper asked if there’s any way bite mark analysis can be reconciled with the scientific method, Levine replied with some candor: “I sure can’t think of it.” Yet Levine has testified countless times in court about his “level of scientific certainty” with respect to bite marks.

As we’ve pointed out here many times before here at The Watch, to date, every scientific panel, commission or study that has reviewed bite mark analysis has found no scientific basis for its methods, conclusions or underlying premises. And yet to date, no court in the United States has upheld a challenge to its admissibility.

Meanwhile, prosecutors continue to utilize it, and the professional organization that “certifies” bite mark analysts just lowered its standards on what’s required to obtain those credentials.

Keith Harward, at least, is having none of it. . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

18 February 2017 at 12:22 pm

Gossip of the Day: What’s the Deal With KT McFarland?

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Intriguing post by Kevin Drum.

And here’s another: NSC Aide Fired, Now Owes Us Account of Trump Call to Mexico’s President

Well, let’s go for the hat trick: Trump Decrees That the Economy Must Grow Twice as Fast

On that last one: I think it’s very dangerous when the government departs from reality in its planning. Reality always wins, and the destruction when a house of cards falls can be catastrophic. What Trump is doing here is among the worst things he has done: deliberately and systematically sabotaging the very information the government uses to determine what is happening and thus what effect government programs have.

Is Trump simply uninterested in reality?

Written by LeisureGuy

18 February 2017 at 12:12 pm

The Rooney, The Stealth, and (of course) Special 218

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SOTD 2017-02-18

The Roony Style 1 Size 1 Super is a terrific little brush, and it easily make a great lather from QED’s Special 218 (long since discontinued). This is a glycerin soap and it shows how very good a glycerin shaving soap can be.

I like the Stealth a lot: extremely comfortable but really does a fine job. My face was mostly BBS after the second pass, so the third pass was aimed mostly at neck, chin, and upper lip—I guess that boils down to my cheeks being smooth after the second pass.

A good splash of Anthony Gold’s Red Cedar after shave to complement the pine and cedar fragrance of Special 218, and the weekend is underway.

Written by LeisureGuy

18 February 2017 at 11:38 am

Posted in Shaving

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