Later On

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

Archive for March 10th, 2017

Police take a stand against false confessions and against encouraging them

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Really, quite good news. Radley Balko reports in the Washington Post:

There was a time when false confessions were thought to be entirely fictional. DNA testing has taught us that they’re more common than we think. It isn’t that people are rushing to confess to crimes they didn’t commit — it’s that police interrogation methods are designed to wear suspects down. I’ve had defense attorneys tell me that innocent people are more likely than guilty people to falsely confess after extended interrogations because innocent people naively assume that the facts will eventually set them free.

But all of that may be about to change.

For more than half a century, [the Reid technique] has been the go-to police interrogation method for squeezing confessions out of suspects. Its tropes are familiar from any cop show: the claustrophobic room, the repeated accusations of guilt, the presentation of evidence — real or invented — and the slow build-up of pressure that makes admitting a crime seem like the easiest way out.

That’s why it jolted the investigative world this week when one of the nation’s largest police consulting firms — one that has trained hundreds of thousands of cops from Chicago to New York and federal agents at almost every major agency — said it is tossing out the Reid technique because of the risk of false confessions.

Wicklander-Zulawski & Associates, a consulting group that says it has worked with a majority of U.S. police departments, said Monday it will stop training detectives in the method it has taught since 1984.

“Confrontation is not an effective way of getting truthful information,” said Shane Sturman, the company’s president and CEO. “This was a big move for us, but it’s a decision that’s been coming for quite some time. More and more of our law enforcement clients have asked us to remove it from their training based on all the academic research showing other interrogation styles to be much less risky.”

Research and a spate of exonerations have shown for years that Reid interrogation tactics and similar methods can lead to false confessions. But the admission by such a prominent player in law enforcement was seismic.

I suspect that recording interrogations had a lot to do with this, too. You’ll commonly hear police say that a suspect who later claims his false confession was false is lying because during the confession, the suspect revealed details that could have been known only to the culprit. But even conscientious police officers have conceded after watching recordings of their own interrogations that it’s possible to feed such details to suspects without knowing they’re doing it. . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

10 March 2017 at 7:26 pm

Posted in Law Enforcement

Great dinner: Oven-Roasted Chicken Shawarma

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This Sam Sifton recipe is great. I got three pounds of boneless, skinless chicken thighs (family pack), so made 1.5 times the marinade recipe—e.g., 3/4 c of olive oil instead of 1/2 c.

I marinated for 11 hours, stirring occasionally, and the last couple of hours I put the stainless bowl of chicken on the kitchen counter so it could come to room temperature.

I cut the large red onion into eighths, vertically. Quartered looked too large and did not make enough pieces.

I cooked 30 minutes, which seemed fine, and I let it rest for 5 minutes before cutting it into chunks. Do the cutting up with shears, not a knife.

Tonight we had diced hothouse cucumber (aka English cucumber), halved cherry tomatoes, and crumbled feta, and it really could not have been better.

Written by Leisureguy

10 March 2017 at 6:35 pm

12 more shaving soaps available, with Rainforest aftershave and a Marvy hard-rubber mug

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More photos in the auction listing.

Written by Leisureguy

10 March 2017 at 4:19 pm

Posted in Shaving

Fact-Checking Elected Officials on the Affordable Care Act Repeal: Sen. Roy Blunt edition

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Charles Ornstein reports in ProPublica:

Dismayed by the results of the 2016 election, Meg Godfrey decided she needed to do more than vote, share social media posts and sign online petitions. So she went to the website of Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., and typed a note in support of the Affordable Care Act.

“I asked him to use my tax dollars to provide health care to his constituents just like my tax dollars provide health care for him and his family,” she said she wrote.

A short while later, Godfrey received an email reply from Blunt, essentially a form letter explaining why he supported the law’s repeal. “When President Obama signed this bill into law, he assured Americans that they would be able to keep their plans and doctors, while promising choice and affordability,” Blunt wrote. “Since the law has gone into effect, I have heard from countless Missourians who were unable to keep their insurance plans and/or providers.”

The email then gave a number of statistics to buttress Blunt’s position that the law is failing.

But something about the letter didn’t sit right with Godfrey, so she forwarded the email to ProPublica, asking us to fact-check it. Our assessment: The note was misleading and lacked important context.

That led ProPublica to wonder about the accuracy of responses sent to constituents by other members of the House and Senate on the Affordable Care Act and its future. Today, ProPublica is teaming with journalists at Kaiser Health News, Stat and Vox to gather those missives from our readers. On Monday, House Republican leaders unveiled their official proposal to repeal and replace the law. As the legislative debate begins in earnest, we plan to look at the representations made by elected officials from both parties and share what we find.

ProPublica asked Timothy Jost, an ACA expert and emeritus professor at Washington and Lee University School of Law, to review Blunt’s email. “Some of this information is inaccurate, the rest of it is spin,” he concluded.

A spokesman for Blunt provided citations for the data in the senator’s note but did not respond to a follow-up email.

Jost helped us break down Blunt’s message:

Blunt’s email: . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

10 March 2017 at 3:22 pm

White House defends Kellyanne Conway by stating that unethical behavior by White House employees is acceptable

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The White House has made its position clear: it will not require ethical behavior on the part of its employees, and certainly Donald Trump has never seemed to care about ethical behavior.

Jacob Gardenswartz reports in Vox:

The White House tried to claim that federal ethics rules shouldn’t apply to its employees. The Office of Government Ethics, responsible for making sure those rules are enforced, says that’s not true.

Now Democrats on the House Oversight Committee have written the White House counselasking for clarification on the matter. “The President’s staff need to follow ethics rules — not flout them,” the letter read. “When they violate these rules, the President must impose discipline, not invent a legal fiction that these rules do not apply.”

In a letter last month responding to the flap over Kellyanne Conway’s promotion of first daughter Ivanka Trump’s Nordstrom merchandise, the White House said that “many” federal ethics regulations don’t apply to executive branch employees.

The real purpose of the letter was to explain what the White House was doing (or not doing) to discipline Conway after she endorsed Trump’s products from the White House, a violation of federal ethics rules.

On February 9, Conway appeared on Fox & Friends in the midst of a one-sided fight between President Trump and Nordstrom department stores. The popular retailer had recently announced that it would stop carrying products from Ivanka Trump’s fashion line. Conway, speaking from the White House briefing room, said, “Go buy Ivanka’s stuff, is what I would tell you.”

Federal ethics rules prohibit employees in the executive branch from endorsing “any product, service, or enterprise.” On February 13, OGE Director Walter Shaub sent a letterto the White House recommending that “the employing agency investigate the matter and consider taking disciplinary action.”

But the top White House ethics official — Deputy Council for Compliance and Ethics Stefan Passantino — defended Conway against allegations of ethical violations. Writing in responseto the OGE, Passantino described the conclusions of a White House “inquiry”:

Upon completion of our inquiry, we concluded that Ms. Conway acted inadvertently and is highly unlikely to do so again. It is noted that Ms. Conway made the statement in question in a light, off-hand manner while attempting to stand up for a person she believed had been unfairly treated and did so without nefarious motives or intent to benefit personally. Both before and after receiving your letter, I personally met with Ms. Conway and advised her that her comments regarding Ms. Trump’s products implicated the prohibition on using one’s official position to endorse a product or service. Ms. Conway has acknowledged her understanding of the Standards and has reiterated her commitment to abiding by them in the future.

Passantino also claimed that employees of the executive office of the president aren’t bound by many federal ethics rules. Shaub was not impressed.

There is “no legal basis” for this claim, Shaub wrote in his response Thursday. Regardless of whether Conway is disciplined by the White House, all employees of the executive branch are subject to federal ethics rules. The only exceptions to that are the president and vice president, who are exempt from certain regulations under the theory that they have so much power that any action could pose a potential conflict. . .

Continue reading.

I astonished that the Trump administration takes the position that unethical behavior is perfectly okay.

Written by Leisureguy

10 March 2017 at 11:42 am

Rooney Butterscotch Emilion, Nuávia, Merkur Progress, Antica Barberia Colla aftershave

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The Rooney Emilion is a very nice brush, and it made a fine lather with Nuávia Verde. I noticed today that I had to load a little longer than usual, adding water a couple of times. The Nuávia fragrance is light but pleasant, and the soap performs well.

The Merkur Progress is still a very fine razor: three passes, totally smooth, no problems. One of the Progress’s claims to fame is that it will not clog, though as a daily shaver I don’t find clogging is ever a problem. But if you have only once every week or two, the Progress (or the Parker copy, the Valiant) is worth considering.

A small dot of the aftershave milk from ABC, and I feel refreshed and ready for the day—not to mention the weekend.

This is for dinner: Oven-Roasted Chicken Shawarma . It’s been marinating since 6:00 this morning.

Written by Leisureguy

10 March 2017 at 9:30 am

Posted in Shaving

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