Later On

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

Archive for April 25th, 2018

Oregon Doctors Warned That a Killer and Rapist Would Likely Attack Again. Then the State Released Him. Then He Murdered Again.

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Oregon needs some attention. Jayme Fraser reports in ProPublica:

In September 2015, Oregon’s Psychiatric Security Review Board faced a decision with potentially momentous consequences for public safety. Sitting before them in a small hearing room at the state hospital was Charles Longjaw, a 50-year-old killer and rapist judged to be guilty except for insanity.

A state psychologist warned that Longjaw was likely to resume his abuse of alcohol and drugs if the board released him from strict supervision. Once drunk or high, he would be unable to restrain impulses that had previously led to a brutal murder, an attempted murder and a vicious rape. He would attack again if “he feels disrespected or threatened in some fashion,” she wrote. “The victim could be a stranger or a friend.”

For reasons that have much to do with the limits of Oregon law, the three board members present that day decided to release Longjaw, regardless of the danger. Under the relevant state statute, the board concluded, he could no longer be classified as criminally insane.

“You are discharged,” the chairwoman said.

“Thank you,” Longjaw replied at the end of a nearly two-hour hearing in which he had not testified.

A little more than a year later, Longjaw was in handcuffs facing new murder charges.

About 6 p.m. on a November night in 2016, he repeatedly plunged a knife into the stomach and arm of a homeless man as they argued on a downtown Portland sidewalk. He walked away after the attack, leaving the man mortally wounded.

Longjaw is not the only person judged criminally insane in Oregon who was charged with violent crimes shortly after being released from state control.

Two weeks after he was arrested, the state board met again to consider the release of another man doctors had determined to be a danger to the public — Anthony W. Montwheeler. And just as in the Longjaw case, the Psychiatric Security Review Board ruled it had no grounds to hold Montwheeler under state law. After 19 years of overseeing Montwheeler’s treatment and movements, the board ruled he was free to go on Dec. 7, 2016.

Four weeks later, Montwheeler killed two people and severely injured a third near the Oregon farming town of Vale, prosecutors have charged.

Longjaw and Montwheeler were free because the state board itself is handcuffed by laws that haven’t been modified despite such high-profile cases.

Like most states, Oregon does not imprison people who commit crimes while in a diminished mental state. A court can send someone for mental health treatment rather than prison if he or she could not understand or follow the law because of a mental illness.

Over time, Oregon lawmakers and judges have narrowed the conditions covered by a plea of “guilty except for insanity,” eliminating defendants who only suffer from personality disorders and psychosis caused by substance use. Legislators intended to make it more difficult to escape criminal prosecution.

As a result, some people previously judged legally insane suddenly were eligible for release.

Longjaw was one such case. Doctors had said his mental illness arose from his abuse of alcohol and drugs, a condition that no longer qualified for an insanity plea.

Board officials said that under Oregon law they had no duty to warn the public of Longjaw’s release and no authority to monitor him once he was sent into the community. In interviews, an agency official said no one tracks the conduct of people like Longjaw once they are released from supervision.

The Malheur Enterprise has reported deeply on Montwheeler, who is awaiting trial and has said he intends to rely on the insanity defense again. The Oregon newspaper, based in Vale, has partnered with ProPublica to take a close look at this system. Together, the Enterprise and ProPublica are investigating how often someone found criminally insane leaves state supervision and returns to crime, why the state released people in the face of repeated warnings they were dangerous, and what changes might better protect the public without sacrificing the rights of those with mental illness or disabilities. The reporting team is reviewing the records of more than 600 people that the Psychiatric Security Review Board has placed in community programs or set free over the last 10 years.

Board members, appointed by the governor, declined multiple interview requests. Chairwoman Elena Balduzzi, a Portland psychologist who treats sex offenders, said in February that it was not the job of board members to speak to the public. She is the only current member who was involved in the 2015 decision to release Longjaw.

But in response to written questions, the board said it is “always on the lookout for ways to improve the system.” Asked to identify internal reviews or changes as a result of the Longjaw case, the board provided none.

“Bad — and sometimes serious — outcomes occur in many arenas, even when everything is done appropriately under applicable law and other guidelines,” the board wrote. . .

Continue reading.

Read also the ProPublica article Oregon Board Explains Why It Repeatedly Released Killer From Psychiatric Hospital.”

And definitely read “How an Oregon Weekly Forced Release of Key Records in Murder Cases.” That articles describes the state’s efforts to cover up what they had done.

A free investigative press is vital. The government often has its own best interests at heart, not the best interests of the public. (Cf. Mick Mulvaney, Donald Trump, Scot Pruitt, et al.)

Written by LeisureGuy

25 April 2018 at 12:59 pm

Mick Mulvaney’s confession highlights the corrosive influence of money in politics

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Mick Mulvaney, despicable man, explicitly stated that he ran his office when he was a Representative as a “pay-to-play” racket: he simply would not meet with any lobbyist who did not contribute money. He was, in effect, selling access (much as Tom DeLay did). James Hohmann reports in the Washington Post:

THE BIG IDEA: Mick Mulvaney said the quiet part out loud.

“We had a hierarchy in my office in Congress,” the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said Tuesday at the American Bankers Association conference in Washington. “If you’re a lobbyist who never gave us money, I didn’t talk to you. If you’re a lobbyist who gave us money, I might talk to you.”

Mulvaney, who represented South Carolina in the House from 2011 until President Trump appointed him as director of the Office of Management and Budget in 2017, told the 1,300 industry executives and lobbyists that they should push lawmakers hard to pursue their shared agenda.

He told the crowd that trying to sway legislators is one of the “fundamental underpinnings of our representative democracy.” For good measure, he insisted that he always made time for his constituents. “If you came from back home and sat in my lobby, I talked to you without exception, regardless of the financial contributions,” Mulvaney said.

To be clear, not all members of Congress operate this way. Many offices take pride in meeting with people no matter how much money they have given or might in the future. But Mulvaney’s comment appears emblematic of a mentality that pervades Trump’s orbit.

Multiple Republicans admitted last fall during the debate over tax cuts that they worried about losing campaign contributions if they didn’t vote for the legislation. “My donors are basically saying, ‘Get it done or don’t ever call me again,’” Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.), the first member of Congress to endorse Trump’s presidential campaign, told The Hill in November.

The president himself has repeatedly said that he views politics as transactional. “As a businessman and a very substantial donor to very important people, when you give, they do whatever the hell you want them to do,” Trump told the Wall Street Journal in 2015. “As a businessman, I need that.”

He was asked about that quote during a GOP primary debate. “You better believe it,” Trump replied. “I give to everybody. When they call, I give. And you know what? When I need something from them two years later, three years later, I call them. They are there for me.”

— Mulvaney’s comments are especially notable because he’s been viewed for several years, by supporters and critics alike, as one of Wall Street’s best friends in Washington. “He was tapped by President Trump in November to temporarily run the [CFPB], in part because of his promise to sharply curtail it,” Glenn Thrush notes in the New York Times. “Since then, he has frozen all new investigations and slowed down existing inquiries by requiring employees to produce detailed justifications. He also sharply restricted the bureau’s access to bank data … And he has scaled back efforts to go after payday lenders, auto lenders and other financial services companies accused of preying on the vulnerable. [Mulvaney received nearly $63,000 from payday lenders for his campaigns.] But he wants Congress to go further and has urged it to wrest funding of the independent watchdog from the Federal Reserve, a move that would give lawmakers — and those with access to them — more influence on the bureau’s actions.”

Mulvaney also announced during yesterday’s speech to the bankers he will likely end public access to a database used by consumers to file complaints against financial institutions. “The CFPB database has drawn 1.5 million consumer complaints on financial companies and products since its launch in 2011,” the Wall Street Journal’s Yuka Hayashi reports. “It includes the names of the companies that receive complaints and detailed consumer experiences. Advocates say having the information available to the public makes the portal effective by putting pressure on companies to respond to consumers. Businesses say it spreads unverified negative information about them. … Mr. Mulvaney said the bureau would continue to maintain a toll-free number and a website to gather consumer complaints and forward them to companies, but the database would be hidden from public view.”

— Democratic members of Congress are accusing Mulvaney of practicing pay-to-play politics. “This is supposed to be a government by the people, for the people. Not a government of the thieves and the money changers. Mick Mulvaney is a disgrace,” tweeted Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.), who sits on the Finance Committee.

Continue reading. There’s a lot more. Warning: Reading the entire column may cause feelings of nausea.

Written by LeisureGuy

25 April 2018 at 11:18 am

North Korea nuclear test site largely unusable

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The real reason Kim Jong-un has discontinued nuclear testing (for now). John Bowden reports in The Hill:

A North Korean nuclear test site recently shuttered by Pyongyang is unusable and will cause a catastrophe if another test occurs, according to a new report.

Chinese scientists studying the damage at the Punggye-ri facility estimate that another test at the facility will lead to “environmental catastrophe,” The Wall Street Journal reports.

Scientists say North Korea’s most recent test caused a partial collapse of a cavity inside the mountain facility, which would be further exacerbated by another blast, the newspaper added.

“The occurrence of the collapse should deem the underground infrastructure beneath mountain Mantap not be used for any future nuclear tests,” reads an abstract for the study published by the University of Science and Technology of China, according to the Journal.

North Korea experts at Johns Hopkins University, however, told the Journal that parts of the facility could still be fully functional and that testing could resume.

President Trump has touted the cessation of North Korea’s nuclear tests as a victory ahead of his planned talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un later this year. . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

25 April 2018 at 10:45 am

Chiseled Face Sherlock with Vie-Long brush, Edwin Jagger, and Phoenix Artisan Cavendish

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The Green Ray brush with its horsehair-colored (synthetic) knot made me think of my actual horsehair knot, this Vie-Long. When using a horsehair brush, I do wet the knot well and then let the brush stand while I shower.

The lather from Chiseled Face’s Sherlock was excellent, and the Edwin Jagger did a fine job. A splash of Phoenix Artisan’s Cavendish finished the job.

I ran late because of my new carbon-steel breakfast pan. It turned out that the instructions that come with the pan have you do the seasoning step (cooking oil, salt, and potato peels) twice, so this morning I had to go out for a couple of potatoes and do the seasoning the second time—and then cook breakfast.

But the pan is terrific. It gets hot more easily than the Teflon-lined pan because the Teflon layer acts as insulation (which is why you can’t really sear things in the traditional nonstick pans). And after the seasoning, this pan really was nonstick. I love it. Great purchase.

Written by LeisureGuy

25 April 2018 at 10:24 am

Posted in Daily life, Shaving

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