Later On

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

Archive for March 2nd, 2017

Trump touts study that says immigrants could actually save taxpayer dollars

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Almost as good as the android phone fake news, but real. Max Ehrenfreund reports in the Washington Post:

President Trump told Congress Tuesday night that too many immigrants fail to make their own living and end up dependent on the government.

His evidence: a detailed immigration report published last year by the National Academy of Sciences, a prestigious, nonpartisan research organization.

“It is a basic principle that those seeking to enter a country ought to be able to support themselves financially. Yet, in America, we do not enforce this rule, straining the very public resources that our poorest citizens rely upon,” Trump said in his address to a joint session of Congress. “According to the National Academy of Sciences, our current immigration system costs America’s taxpayers many billions of dollars a year.”

That statement, however, is at odds with some of the report’s most important findings.

Trump is correct that the report did find that current immigrants receive more in government benefits than they pay in taxes. In 2013, for example, the authors of the report calculated that the government spent $279 billion more on first-generation immigrants than they paid in taxes. But over time, the report projects, immigrants have the opposite effect on the budget deficit. A recent immigrant and her descendants could be — over a 75-year period — expected to pay an average of as much as $259,000 more in taxes than they receive in government benefits.

That conclusion, that current immigrants and their descendants may end up paying far more to the government than they get out of it, seems to undermine Trump’s claim that the current immigration system would impose billions in costs to “America’s taxpayers.”

The forecast that immigrants could ultimately improve the government’s bottom line undermines Trump’s claim that the current system is hugely costly for taxpayers — many of whom are themselves immigrants.

It is true that immigrants are more likely to receive some forms of direct public benefits — including food stamps and Medicaid — than U.S.-born citizens. But, as immigrants tend to be younger, they are also less likely to draw on Medicare and Social Security, and many of them will pay taxes to support these costly programs for years before receiving benefits from them. The authors of the report found that the children of immigrants are “among the strongest economic and fiscal contributors in the population.”

The report, which stretches more than 500 pages, did not come to any firm conclusion about immigrants’ net effect on public finances, in part because of the complexity of the calculation.

As they are with everyone else, immigrants’ tax and benefit levels are set both by their own economic success and by the fiscal policies lawmakers set over the course of their lifetimes. When the authors calculated the above $259,000 figure, they assumed policymakers will eventually act to balance the national budget. (When the authors assumed the government would continue to run a deficit, they still found the average recent immigrant and her descendants would pay in more than they receive, though in this scenario the surplus shrinks to an average of $77,000.) . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

2 March 2017 at 6:09 pm

This one is not fake news, though it should be: Republican Senator Threatens Citizen With Arrest If They Continue Asking For A Town Hall

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How weird can it get? Marc Belisle reports in Reverb Press:

A Republican Senator has had enough of his constituents asking him to have a town hall meeting to meet with them. Ron Johnson, Republican US Senator from Wisconsin, has been missing in action in his home state. The citizens have been pestering him to come and talk to them. They have gone to creative lengths to try to get Johnson to interact with Wisconsin voters. The Daily Cardinal reported on February 22nd,

“Roughly 500 constituents gathered at what was termed an “empty chair town hall” for Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., at the First Congregational Church in Madison Wednesday night.”

 Activists have flooded their representatives’ offices across the country with unprecedented volume of calls on a range of issues. Activists have also jammed town halls since the election, especially for Republican representatives, and reacted strongly to Republican threats to gut the Affordable Care Act, Social Security and Medicare. So Johnson is far from alone in having a set of constituents who are enthusiastic about exercising their right to petition the government for a redress of grievances, as enshrined in the First Amendment.

But on Wednesday, he likely became the first Republican representative to begin threatening his constituents for their attempts to petition his office. Citizen Action of Wisconsin posted a letter allegedly postmarked to a Wisconsin citizen whose name is blacked out in the image. The letter reads: . . .

Continue reading.

Later in the article:

Threatening to send the police after a constituent for trying to get their voice heard is idiotic. There’s no law that Capitol Police could possibly enforce that says a constituent can’t contact his or her representative, even if it’s frequent. The letter doesn’t indicate that there’s any issue other than a citizen striving to be heard. If this were someone crossing the line, there would be different legal avenues to deal with that. It’s also shocking but sadly unsurprising. This kind of militant authoritarian response to an expression of democracy would have been unthinkable only months ago. But Donald Trump is unleashing the wannabe-tyrant in his fellow Republicans, and outright contempt for democracy and Americans who try to exercise it is becoming the Republican party’s new “normal.”

Written by Leisureguy

2 March 2017 at 5:56 pm

Posted in Congress, GOP, Government

Why James Comey’s heroin strategy could just make the problem worse

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Christopher Ingraham reports in the Washington Post:

Speaking in Virginia this week, FBI Director James B. Comey pointed to a classic anti-drug strategy to fight the current heroin epidemic: “Our job is to try to crack down on the supply, literally, to be very blunt, to drive up the price to make it less and less attractive for people who are addicted to pills to move to heroin,” he saidalongside DEA Administrator Chuck Rosenberg.

This “supply-side” approach has been in place at the federal level since the dawn of the drug war: The federal drug budget has traditionally emphasized approaches like destroying plants, intercepting drug shipments and arresting the people who sell drugs. The logic is straightforward: You reduce the supply of drugs, those drugs become more expensive, and the higher prices drive down demand and use of the drugs. Economics 101, right?

In the real world, it hasn’t quite worked out that way. Here, for instance, is data on federal spending on supply-side drug control going back to 1981. The numbers are adjusted for inflation to 2012 dollars.

imrs4

In inflation-adjusted terms, federal supply-side anti-drug spending ballooned from $2.2 billion in 1981 to $15.3 billion in 2012. You can disregard that crater in 2002 — a temporary change to the drug spending calculation was made that year, resulting in a number of significant spending lines removed from it.

Now according to supply-side drug-control theory, increasing this spending should result in a concomitant increase in drug prices. But look what happened to heroin prices, in inflation-adjusted terms, over the same time period — they dropped like a rock.

imrs5

The inflation-adjusted price per pure gram of heroin fell nearly tenfold, from $3,260 in 1981 to $465 in 2012. The more the feds spent on supply reduction, in other words, the cheaper heroin got (federal data shows that the prices of other drugs, like cocaine and methamphetamines, fell similarly during this period). That’s the exact opposite of what’s “supposed” to happen, and of what Comey says will happen if we crack down on the heroin supply further. . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

2 March 2017 at 3:41 pm

Donald Trump Jr. received $50,000 in speaking fees from a group with ties to Russia

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Christ! Is there no end to it? Read the report of yet another Russian connection—not a strong one, but a lot of loose ones will do the job, as Robert Frost noted in his sonnet:

She is as in a field a silken tent
At midday when the sunny summer breeze
Has dried the dew and all its ropes relent,
So that in guys it gently sways at ease,
And its supporting central cedar pole,
That is its pinnacle to heavenward
And signifies the sureness of the soul,
Seems to owe naught to any single cord,

But strictly held by none, is loosely bound
By countless silken ties of love and thought
To every thing on earth the compass round,
And only by one’s going slightly taut
In the capriciousness of summer air
Is of the slightlest bondage made aware.

Critical analysis here, if you’re interested. In college, we had to diagram the first sentence and probably the second as well.

Written by Leisureguy

2 March 2017 at 3:15 pm

Twitter Facebook Comment Email Republish Donate 5 Trump Cabinet Members Who’ve Made False Statements to Congress

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Eric Umansky and Marcelo Rochabrun report in ProPublica:

As most of the world knows by now, Attorney General Jeff Sessions did not tell the truth when he was asked during his confirmation hearings about contacts with Russian officials.

But Sessions isn’t the only one. At least four other cabinet members made statements during their nomination hearings that are contradicted by actual facts: EPA Chief Scott Pruitt, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, and Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price.

The statements were all made under oath, except those of DeVos. It is a crime to “knowingly” lie in testimony to Congress, but it’s rarely prosecuted.

If you know of instances that we’ve missed, email us.

EPA Chief Scott Pruitt

The falsehood: Pruitt stated in testimony that he had never used a private email account to conduct business while he was Oklahoma’s attorney general.

The truth: Fox News 25 asked the state Attorney General’s office whether Pruitt had used a personal email. The answer was yes.

The Associated Press also received emails in response to a public records request showing Pruitt using a private account to conduct state business.

Pruitt’s response: None.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos

The falsehood: DeVos said during her confirmation hearings that she has not been involved in her family’s foundation, which has given millions of dollars to group that oppose LGBT rights.

“You sit on the board,” Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., noted. DeVos responded, “I do not.”

The truth: As The Intercept has detailed, tax filings have listed DeVos as vice president of the foundation’s board for 17 years.

DeVos’ response: She said the foundation’s nearly two decades of filings were the result of a “clerical error.”

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

2 March 2017 at 3:05 pm

Good question by Dem lawmaker: “Why is everybody around Trump lying about Russia? What’s going on?”

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Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) is quoted in Mark Hensch’s report in The Hill:

“Flynn lied, Trump has not shown his taxes, you go back to Manafort in the middle of the summer and his relationship with Russian folks in the Ukraine,” he said, referencing Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who resigned for misleading Vice President Pence and other top White House officials about his conversations with Russia’s ambassador, and Paul Manafort, one of Trump’s campaign managers, whose name was discovered in a hand-written ledger showing undisclosed cash payments from Ukraine’s pro-Russia government.

“I mean, what the hell’s going on here?” Ryan asked. “Why is everybody lying? We need to know what’s going on here.”

Written by Leisureguy

2 March 2017 at 2:17 pm

Fake news: BREAKING: Trump’s Android Device Believed To Be Source Of Recent White House Leaks

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UPDATE: As pointed out by Owen in comments, this is actually a satirical piece, also “fake news.” And it works the way fake news work: so good you don’t think to check. Apologies. I swallowed it hook, line, and sinker. LG /update

This must be terrifically galling to Trump because it makes him look like an idiot, the typical buffoon big shot, calling down wrath and vengence on anyone guilty of leaking… Jeez, I’ve seen that in dozens of comedies: dramatic irony, it’s called. Always good for a laugh, since people like to laugh at the self-important brought up short.

And in fact, it is pretty funny.

From the Seattle Tribune and written by Lucas Bagwell:

If you’ve recently seen the hashtag – #DitchTheDevice trending on social media, it’s because, according to several private intelligence reports, the source of the multiple recent leaks within the White House is President Trump’s unsecured Android device.

Throughout the past several weeks President Trump and his administration have expressed extreme frustration over the multiple leaks provided to members of the press from inside the White House.

The recent leaks range from information regarding his executive orders (before he issued them), fighting and chaos among White House staffers, classified conversations with foreign leaders (specifically Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull & Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto), White House staffers conducting meetings in the dark because they can’t figure out how the lights work, and President Trump wandering the White House in his bathrobe.

President Trump has repeatedly dismissed the leaks and has referred to the leaked information as – “Illegal Leaks” while vowing to go after those revealing sensitive information to the press.

According to information from an unconnected Washington insider, President Trump, who remains leery of the federal intelligence community and is suspicious enough of career politicians that he’s accused holdovers from the Obama Administration as being the ones responsible for leaking information, decided to contract multiple private intelligence agencies to investigate the leaks.

Initial reports from two such agencies, A.R.H. Intelligence and Z|13 Security, indicate they suspect the source of the recent White House leaks to be President Trump’s unsecured Android device.

President Trump has received fierce . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

2 March 2017 at 1:49 pm

GOP healthcare reform effort moves into “Dumb and Dumber” territory

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The GOP wants to vote on the bill BEFORE the Congressional Budget Office determines the cost. Isn’t that dumb? But dumber? How about the GOP has written the bill but is hiding it so that people won’t know what’s in it. And they’re to vote on it? This is the very essence of a pig in a poke.

The only thing we know is what President Trump has told us: it will cover more people at lower cost and the benefits will be better. That’s the stake in the ground.

So why won’t they publish the bill?

See this Mike Lillis report in The Hill.

Written by Leisureguy

2 March 2017 at 1:39 pm

Posted in Congress, GOP, Healthcare

You reap what you sow: Trump transition team canceled plan for ethics training for staff

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And it shows. Bad decision, presumably done because ethics problems would not arise, ethics being more or less beside the point. Not President Trump’s fault, as I am sure he will be the first to day. But man! Paulina Firozi reports in The Hill:

President Trump’s transition team called off a plan for an ethics, leadership and management course for his senior White House staff and appointees, including Cabinet members, according to a new report.

According to documents obtained by Politico, the Trump team opted not to have staffers go through the program, which would have covered confirmation hearings, complying with existing laws and orders, dealing with scrutiny from the media and collaborating with lawmakers and agencies.

The program was first put into place in 2000, and the transition teams for former Presidents Obama and George W. Bush received the training, according to the report.

In a letter to potential bidders, the General Services Administration said the program’s requirements “do not accurately reflect the current needs of the Presidential Transition Team.”

“As a result of a change in Presidential Transition Team leadership after the Nov. 8, 2016, election, there have been changes in the PTT’s goals for the political appointee orientation program,” the notice said. . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

2 March 2017 at 1:30 pm

One of my favorite poems—and, as my daughter pointed out, shaving-related

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I’ve always loved this poem and it’s one of the new I know by heart but I hadn’t thought of the shaving connection since I learned it before I resumed traditional wetshaving. (I once went on a kick of memorizing one poem a week, which went on for a while.) Donald Justice looms large in my legend because it was he who admitted me to the Writers Workshop at the University of Iowa (whose name at the time was State University of Iowa).

Men at Forty
Donald Justice (b. 1925)

Men at forty
Learn to close softly
The doors to rooms they will not be
Coming back to.

At rest on a stair landing,
They feel it
Moving beneath them now like the deck of a ship,
Though the swell is gentle.

And deep in mirrors
They rediscover
The face of the boy as he practices trying
His father’s tie there in secret

And the face of that father,
Still warm with the mystery of lather.
They are more fathers than sons themselves now.
Something is filling them, something

That is like the twilight sound
Of the crickets, immense,
Filling the woods at the foot of the slope
Behind their mortgaged houses.

1967

Another one I liked and memorized is James Dickey’s The Heaven of Animals.

Written by Leisureguy

2 March 2017 at 1:11 pm

Six times Jeff Sessions talked about perjury, access and special prosecutors — when it involved the Clintons

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Matt Zapotosky and Mark Berman report in the Washington Post:

Not a month into the job, Attorney General Jeff Sessions finds himself in the hot seat for not disclosing at his confirmation hearing that he spoke twice last year with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. The meetings — which occurred when Sessions was a senator and senior member of the influential Armed Services Committee, as well as one of then-presidential candidate Donald Trump’s top foreign policy advisers — have breathed life into calls for Sessions to recuse himself from any investigations involving Trump and Russia.

Some legislators are also calling for him to resign, and the American Civil Liberties Union and Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday called for an investigation into potential perjury.

Sessions served as a senator for two decades, and he was an outspoken surrogate for Trump on the campaign trail. Because of that, he has talked extensively on all the topics for which he now faces criticism — lying under oath, the importance of meetings, handling sensitive investigations and even correcting the congressional record. He was particularly critical of Trump’s opponent, Hillary Clinton, and spoke extensively about the investigation of her use of a private email server while she was secretary of state.

Those sentiments are a lot more important now, given the spotlight Sessions is under. Here are six times he addressed the topics, in other contexts.

1. “In America … no one is above the law.”

After then-President Bill Clinton was impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives in December 1998 on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice, Sessions — then a freshman senator from Alabama — went on television to discuss the significance of lying under oath.

“I am concerned about a president under oath being alleged to have committed perjury,” Sessions said in a January 1999 interview with C-SPAN that was resurfaced and widely shared on social media Wednesday night. “I hope that he can rebut that and prove that did not happen. I hope he can show that he did not commit obstruction of justice and that he can complete his term. But there are serious allegations that that occurred.”

Sessions, who vowed to give Bill Clinton a fair trial, said people tend to see things differently based on “what party you belong to.”

This comment is important because of the way congressional Republicans are now responding to the news of Sessions’s contacts with the Russian ambassador. While some Democrats have called on him to resign, top Republicans have instead said he should recuse himself from any Russia probes.

“In America, the Supreme Court and the American people believe no one is above the law,” Sessions said in 1999. “The president has gotten himself into this fix that is very serious.”

Perjury is an extremely difficult charge to prove, requiring investigators to show a person under oath “willfully … subscribes any material matter which he does not believe to be true.” Even if someone says something false to Congress, investigators have to prove they knew at the time they were doing so.

Republicans asked for a perjury investigation of Hillary Clinton for telling Congress “there was nothing marked classified on my emails, either sent or received.” That was not true. FBI Director James B. Comey has said that investigators found three such emails with the notation “(C)” — meaning confidential — contained within the text. But Comey said it was possible Clinton “didn’t understand what a ‘C’ meant when she saw it in the body of an email like that” — which would undermine a perjury charge. The State Department has further said two emails might have been marked incorrectly.

2. Bill Clinton’s acquittal “will weaken the legal system by providing an option for those who consider being less than truthful in court.”

Bill Clinton was acquitted by the Senate in February 1999. Sessions, who voted to convict Clinton on both charges, said he was worried that the Senate’s decision would help anyone looking to lie under oath and could damage the country’s respect for the rule of law.

“It is crucial to our system of justice that we demand the truth,” Sessions said in a statement at the time. “I fear that an acquittal of this President will weaken the legal system by providing an option for those who consider being less than truthful in court.”

Sessions said that to him, it was “proven beyond a reasonable doubt and to a moral certainty” that Clinton committed perjury, and he assailed “the chief law-enforcement officer of the land, whose oath of office calls on him to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution,” for what he called an attack on the law.

This is important because during his confirmation hearing, Sessions testified under oath that he had not communicated with the Russian ambassador — despite two such contacts.

A spokeswoman for Sessions said there was “absolutely nothing misleading” about his answer, because he was discussing contacts between Russia and the Trump campaign, not meetings Sessions had in his role as a senator. Sessions made a similar assertion in a statement released late Wednesday. He did not deny meeting with Russian officials, but instead said he never met with them “to discuss issues of the campaign.” (The Post story to which he was responding never said he discussed campaign issues.)

In the Clinton case, Sessions went on to evoke the Watergate-era case against President Richard M. Nixon, who resigned after the House Judiciary Committee approved articles of impeachment in 1974 but before the full House of Representatives voted on them.

“Whereas the handling of the case against President Nixon clearly strengthened the nation’s respect for law, justice and truth, the Clinton impeachment may unfortunately have the opposite result,” Sessions said.

3. “Assure the public the matter will be handled without partisanship” . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

2 March 2017 at 12:53 pm

Virginia Republican introduces bill to end federal marijuana prohibition

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Christopher Ingraham reports in the Washington Post on a proposal that would save enormous amounts of taxpayer money plus provide a new source of tax revenue:

A freshman Republican representative from Virginia introduced legislation this week that would end the federal prohibition on marijuana use and allow states to fully set their own course on marijuana policy.

The bill seeks to remove marijuana from the federal Controlled Substances Act and resolve the existing conflict between federal and state laws over medical or recreational use of the drug. It would not legalize the sale and use of marijuana in all 50 states — it would simply allow states to make their own decisions on marijuana policy without the threat of federal interference.

“Virginia is more than capable of handling its own marijuana policy, as are states such as Colorado or California,” Rep. Thomas Garrett (R) said in a statement. Currently neither the recreational or medical uses of marijuana are allowed in Virginia.

The bill does specify that transporting marijuana into states where it is not legal would remain a federal crime.

Marijuana is currently a Schedule 1 controlled substance at the federal level, meaning the federal government considers the drug to have a “high potential for abuse” and “no medically accepted use.” But more than half the states have set their own policies allowing either medical or recreational use of marijuana.

Garrett’s bill is identical to legislation introduced in 2015 by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). That bill didn’t receive any co-sponsors, nor did it get a Senate hearing. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) has already signed on to Garrett’s bill, as have Rep. Scott W. Taylor (R-Va.) and Rep. Jared Polis (D.-Colo.).

Law enforcement groups and conservatives have traditionally been among the biggest skeptics of loosening marijuana laws. As a Republican and a former prosecutor, Garrett might seem like an unlikely champion for marijuana reform.

But the freshman lawmaker frames the issue as both about states’ rights, and creating jobs: “This step allows states to determine appropriate medicinal use and allows for industrial hemp growth  [very important IMO: hemp is easy to grow and an extremely useful plant; during WWII the Federal government greatly encouraged the growth of hemp – LG], something that will provide a major economic boost to agricultural development in Southside Virginia,” he said in a statement.

One group that provides data services to the marijuana industry estimates that the legal pot industry could be worth $24 billion by 2020 and create 280,000 jobs. In Colorado alone, marijuana sales topped $1.3 billion last year.

In 2016, the Drug Enforcement Administration reviewed the federal classification of marijuana and declined to loosen restrictions on the plant.

Congress has shown increasing interest in tackling marijuana policy issues in recent years, to the extent that there is now an official Congressional Cannabis Caucus. But the most significant piece of marijuana legislation coming out of Congress in recent years was a budget rider preventing the Department of Justicefrom interfering with state-level marijuana laws.

Tom Angell, of the pro-marijuana legalization group Marijuana Majority, said in an email that “while most of our federal gains to date have been through amendments attached to much broader spending bills, I’m hopeful that with the growing number of states changing their laws these stand-alone bills [like Garrett’s] will get enough traction to at least finally start getting hearings.” . . .

Continue reading.

Medical marijuana is now legal in 26 states (a majority of states) and recreational marijuana is currently legal in 7 states. Also:

Written by Leisureguy

2 March 2017 at 10:38 am

Posted in Drug laws, Government

Outsourcing the Constitution

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Linda Greenhouse has an excellent column in the NY Times:

So the Trump administration is putting the welcome mat back out for private prisons, just as candidate Donald Trump said he would do, reversing the Obama administration’s policy of phasing them out for federal prisoners. It’s no wonder that shares in some of the nation’s biggest for-profit prison companies soared by double digits the day after the presidential election, making them among the biggest winners in the immediate postelection rally.

A decision on Feb. 21 by the federal appeals court in Chicago came just in time to remind us that privatization is a really bad idea. The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit reversed a federal district judge’s dismissal and sent back for trial a case with the most appalling facts, brought by a dead prisoner’s mother against the company to which the Indiana Department of Corrections had outsourced its inmates’ medical care.

The opening paragraph of the opinion by Chief Judge Diane P. Wood tells the story: “Nicholas Glisson entered the custody of the Indiana Department of Corrections on September 3, 2010, upon being sentenced for dealing in a controlled substance (selling one prescription pill to a friend who turned out to be a confidential informant). Thirty-seven days later, he was dead from starvation, acute renal failure, and associated conditions.”

The Indiana prison system has policies in place to require coordination of care in the treatment of inmates with chronic medical conditions. Corizon, which has contracts in 27 states and is the country’s biggest provider of outsourced prison medical care, didn’t follow those policies. Exactly what went wrong will presumably now come out at trial, unless Corizon settles this case, Glisson v. Indiana Department of Corrections, as it did a case in California two years ago. The $8.3 million paid in the California case to a dead inmate’s family by Corizon and Alameda County was the biggest civil rights wrongful-death settlement in the state’s history.

I have two reasons for focusing on the Indiana case. The first is to show the recklessness of President Trump’s wave-of-the-hand decision to retain the private prisons that a Justice Department study last year concluded “do not maintain the same level of safety and security” as those operated by the Bureau of Prisons. Sally Q. Yates, the holdover deputy attorney general whom President Trump fired last month for refusing to defend his travel ban, relied on that conclusion in announcing that private prison contracts would not be renewed and that the 22,000 federal inmates housed in those prisons would be cut to 14,700 by May 2017 and eventually to zero.

I’ll get to my second reason for writing about the Indiana case shortly, but first a few more facts. The lawsuit was brought by Mr. Glisson’s mother, Alma, seeking to hold Corizon liable for “deliberate indifference” that violated her son’s Eighth Amendment right to be free of cruel and unusual punishment. A Reconstruction-era federal statute known as Section 1983 provides for such lawsuits against municipal agencies and, by extension, private companies doing the public’s essential business.

But the bar for such suits is high. Mrs. Glisson has to show more than mere negligence by Corizon’s employees. Before even getting to the question of whether her son’s constitutional rights were violated, she has to show that Corizon itself had made a deliberate choice — a “policy or custom” — of not maintaining an adequate plan of treatment for prisoners with serious chronic conditions. The trial court, affirmed by a 2-to-1 ruling of a Seventh Circuit panel, held that Mrs. Glisson couldn’t make that case. But the full 10-judge court reheard the case and ruled last week that she was entitled to try. “We are not breaking new ground in this area,” Chief Judge Wood wrote. One egregious incident could be enough, she explained, if it reflected “a conscious decision not to take action” on behalf of “a defined class of prisoners.”

The vote was 6 to 4. This brings me to my second point. On the eve of the Senate confirmation hearing for Judge Neil Gorsuch, President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, this case is a powerful reminder of why it matters who the judges are. The dissenting opinion, by Judge Diane Sykes, took a breathtakingly crabbed view of the known facts. The dissent treated what happened to Mr. Glisson as a random one-off, so far from suggesting the existence of a constitutional violation that Mrs. Glisson was not even entitled to get the case before a jury. . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

2 March 2017 at 10:28 am

A great shave with old stand-bys: Omega S-Brush, Otoko Organics, and the Maggard V2 open-comb

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SOTD 2017-03-02

Otoko Organic is an unusual shaving “soap,” in that it’s not actually a soap. I really like it—it makes an interesting stiffish lather and the fragrance (mostly, I think, from the pear extract that is one of its ingredients) is extremely nice. I find it quite easy to lather and pleasant to use, but apparently some have had difficulty in lathering it (possibly the result of one bad batch), so it sort of fell from my rotation. However, I saw it yesterday and realized that, regardless of the experience of others, it works like a charm for me (and in fact I completely used up one tub, something I don’t often do). So this morning I brought it out again, and with the Omega S10005 I instantly got a fine lather and enjoyed working it into the stubble, inhaling the fragrance with pleasure.

From the Otoko Organics site:

Made from 100% organically grown natural coconut, palm, soy, and jojoba oil with aloe vera and pear essence, Otoko Organics contain only cold pressed organically grown plant extracts and the highest quality plant essences.

Otoko Organics Wet Shave Essentials provides a certified organic way to deeply clean and soften your skin while lifting and softening your hair follicles before shaving.

I ordered directly from the maker, and I still have two tubs. (It’s better to order a few tubs to reduce postage cost per tub.) And after this morning’s great shave, I’m bringing it back into rotation. It seems to be something that’s not for everyone, but it works very well indeed for me.

The Maggard V2 open-comb head is a clone of the Parker 24C/26C, and the Maggard MR7 handle is noticeably better than the Parker handles and the Maggard head and handle together are the same price as the Parker pair, so if you’re in the US I would recommend the Maggard version shown.

It’s quite comfortable and very efficient, though this morning a little less efficient and I had to do a little blade buffing to get the smoothness I like. So I changed the blade after the shave.

A good splash of Fine’s Fresh Vetiver aftershave, and the day is launched.

Written by Leisureguy

2 March 2017 at 10:04 am

Posted in Shaving

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