Later On

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

Archive for August 6th, 2019

The state of the US healthcare system continues to worsen

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From Matt Stoller’s Big blog:

  • Cancer patients are being denied drugs, even with doctor prescriptions and good insurance (Sacramento Bee) I haven’t discussed health care yet, but it is one of the most concentrated sectors in America. In this case, the merger of monopolistic insurance companies with monopolistic drug middlemen has led to cancer patients being refused the drugs their doctors prescribe them. America has the worst of all worlds, a centrally planned system by private unregulated financiers.
  • Republican Congressman Jim Banks Attacks Hospital Concentration: This is a very smart bill, which does two things about hospital mergers. First, it provides substantial resources for the Federal Trade Commission to go after hospital consolidation. Second, in highly concentrated hospital markets, it says hospitals must take Medicare rates. The logic here is great. If private hospital holding companies are going to use their market power to set prices, then the state will either eliminate their market power or take over the price setting itself. Banks is part of a new anti-monopoly conservative group in Congress.

Written by LeisureGuy

6 August 2019 at 6:42 pm

Top 10 snooker shots of the 2018/2019 season

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Written by LeisureGuy

6 August 2019 at 6:21 pm

Posted in Games, Video

Boy Scouts failed to stop hundreds of previously unreported sexual predators

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Kayla Epstein reports in the Washington Post:

A group of lawyers is claiming to have uncovered hundreds of previously unreported cases of sexual abuse in the Boy Scouts, according to a lawsuit filed Monday in Pennsylvania. The plaintiff in the case, named only as S.D. to keep his identity private, is alleging that he was assaulted “hundreds” of times by a scout leader in Pennsylvania over the course of about four years in the 1970s.

The lawsuit alleges that S.D.’s abuse would not have been possible had it not been for the negligence of the Boy Scouts, that the organization conspired to keep incidents of sexual assault a secret, and that the organization and other defendants engaged in “reckless misconduct” in failing to protect its young participants. The complaint names the Boy Scouts, the Penn Mountains Council, and S.D.’s alleged abuser,and was filed in Philadelphia’s Court of Common Pleas.

The litigation stems from an attempt to unearth previously unreported cases of child sexual abuse in one of the country’s most prominent youth organizations, spearheaded by Abused in Scouting, a group of law firms that collaborate on bringing such cases to light.

For decades, the Boy Scouts organization has kept detailed files, known as the ineligible volunteer files, that documented thousands of pedophiles known to have preyed on children. In the past decade, a large tranche of the documents became public through lawsuits and investigative reporting. But those records may be incomplete.

Included in S.D.’s lawsuit is a claim that Abused in Scouting has identified more than 350 people who do not appear in the ineligible volunteer files, S.D.’s alleged abuser among them.

“BSA knew for decades that sexual predators of boys had infiltrated scouting,” the complaint says, and claims that the organization “knew or should have known the dangers” that pedophiles within the organization, including S.D.’s alleged abuser, posed to children.

S.D.’s ordeal began in approximately 1974 or 1975, when he was 12 or 13, according to the lawsuit. He was the alleged victim of an assistant scoutmaster who “actively groomed young boys under his charge for later sexual molestation,” the lawsuit claims. S.D. was allegedly subjected to “hundreds of instances of fondling, hundreds of incidents of oral sexual assault and repeated attempts of anal penetration” at Camp Acahela, a Boy Scouts retreat in eastern Pennsylvania, as well as at his abuser’s home, the lawsuit says.

Requests for comment sent to phone numbers and emails associated with the alleged abuser were not immediately returned.

S.D. has “had tremendous affects from the abuse,” Stewart Eisenberg, S.D.’s representative and one of the lead lawyers from Abused in Scouting. “This is the first time he’s ever come forward. He’s held it in for all those years.”

And S.D. is not alone.

Over the past several months, Abused in Scouting has gathered hundreds of allegations from around the country from men — as old as 88 and as young as 14 — who claim they were assaulted or harassed during their time in the Scouts. The Washington Post reviewed a partially redacted spreadsheet, compiled by Abused in Scouting, containing details of more than 500 cases of abuse.

Spurred by reports that the Boy Scouts organization was considering Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which would narrow the window in which victims could be compensated, Abused in Scouting began gathering information from alleged victims in the spring. (In a statement, the Boy Scouts would not confirm any plans to file for bankruptcy but said it “is working with experts and exploring all options available.”)

“We feel it’s an opportunity for those who were abused in scouting to come forward, to tell their story, to help themselves, and more importantly, to help others,” Eisenberg, said at a news conference in Washington on Tuesday.

Abused in Scouting ran television ads throughout the United States asking people who had not previously reported to “protect tomorrow’s children, identify your abuser, and help put a stop to the cover up” in the Boy Scouts by contacting the lawyers.

S.D., now 57, came forward after seeing one of those advertisements.

“Once the phones started ringing, they have not stopped,” Andrew Van Arsdale, another leading attorney with the group, said on Tuesday.

Tim Kosnoff, a lawyer with Abused in Scouting, told The Post that they have forwarded the allegations they compile to the Boy Scouts, with the accusers’ names redacted, so that the organization can report the abusers to law enforcement as its policy requires.

In a statement to The Post, the Boy Scouts said it had made about 120 reports to law enforcement based on information provided to them by Abused in Scouting. The Boy Scouts say that they have been communicating with Abused in Scouting as they file their reports, but Abused in Scouting’s lawyers said on Tuesday they had only received one such notice.

“We care deeply about all victims of abuse and sincerely apologize to anyone who was harmed during their time in Scouting,” the Boy Scouts said. “We believe victims, we support them, we pay for counseling by a provider of their choice, and we encourage them to come forward.”

“The BSA has taken significant steps over many years to ensure that we respond aggressively and effectively to reports of sexual abuse,” the statement continued. “We recognize, however, that there were instances in our organization’s history when cases were not addressed or handled in a manner consistent with our commitment to protect Scouts, the values of our organization, and the procedures we have in place today.”

The organization pointed to use of screening efforts and background checks to prevent abusers from joining its ranks. The group also provides “youth protection education” for members and bar one-on-one-interactions between adults and children. The Boy Scouts has a helpline where participants can report abuse.

In January, it was revealed that an internal review of ineligible volunteer files from 1946 to 2016, led by Janet Warren of the University of Virginia, had so far identified 12,254 victims and 7,819 perpetrators in documents. The revelation came as Warren testified in a court case involving a children’s theater company, and caused a stir when another lawyer who handles abuse cases, Jeff Anderson, publicized her testimony at an April press conference.

“You can’t look at these files and do the math and come away with any other conclusion that this was a massive problem that was successfully kept hidden from the very people that needed to know this,” Kosnoff said on Tuesday.

Abused in Scouting lawyers hope that an increase in public concern about sexual assault, spurred by the #MeToo movement and investigations into other high-profile organizations such as the Catholic Church and USA Gymnastics, would encourage past Boy Scout victims to share their stories so “the next generation of kids did not have to suffer the way that they did,” Van Arsdale said.

They also implored Congress to investigate.

Most of the alleged assaults in the database of new cases . . .

Continue reading.

Our institutions failed us.

Written by LeisureGuy

6 August 2019 at 4:39 pm

America’s undiagnosed sickness continues: White supremacy has been here for two centuries

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Jared Yates Sexton, an associate professor at Georgia Southern University and author of The People Are Going to Rise Like the Waters Upon Your Shore: A Story of American Rage, writes in the Globe & Mail:

America is in the grips of an epidemic.

In the midst of years of debilitating paranoia, an unspeakable fear of Islamic terrorism since September 11, 2001, a xenophobic distrust of immigrants manifested by political propaganda, we have missed the problem right in front of us. Fox News has dedicated countless hours to theoretical nightmares, race wars and the horror of replacement, selling viewers their worst anxieties back to them, all the while peddling gold, weapons and doomsday provisions in case economic or racial strife might turn bloody.

They were right to worry, but they pointed the finger at the wrong culprit. The problem isn’t with minorities, nor immigrants who seek better lives for their children. The problem is male white supremacists.

These men have taken up semi-automatic weapons, waded into public places and racked up body counts while taking their anger out on the body proper of the United States. Their crimes are nauseatingly routine now. Their backgrounds nearly identical. Their racist, nationalistic screeds left behind in their murderous wake predictable.

It is an epidemic aided by the vast and inescapably twisted political propaganda that is aimed at mobilizing an aggrieved base of white voters, but this messaging has particularly struck a murderous chord with disturbed, young white men who are taught, from a very early age, that any encroachment on their wants and inherent privilege must be answered with violence.

This is fueled by the Republican Party, stoked by their propaganda wings in cable news, radio airwaves and in websites both mainstream and on the fringes. It is an epidemic fostered by and triggered by Donald Trump, the president of the United States of America.

This epidemic is blatant, and yet, the sickness continues undiagnosed. When the next inevitable massacre is committed and a community grieves, the networks will frame it as a singular tragedy and blame the latest lone nut. We’ll say, “my god, how could this happen,” while our impotent politicians copy and paste their public statements from the last tragedy, from the tragedy before that, from the tragedy before that.

These so-called leaders will never move on anything approaching action, whether it’s banning military-grade weapons on the streets, background checks that actually work, mental health services to ease the tide, or anything approaching something that would actually save lives, because they are cowards beholden to the lobbyists of the weapons industry and beholden to a political strategy that, simply put, kills Americans.

The saddest reality is that we as a people won’t confront the truth either – because to connect the dots means we admit the epidemic exists, and it has for hundreds of years.

We don’t want to say the words. We don’t want to admit that America has festered with white supremacy for more than 240 years. We can’t confront the fact that, before it was mass shootings, it was mass lynchings. We don’t want to confront the fact that there is a direct line to be drawn from the murders in El Paso, Tex., on Saturday to the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995 by white supremacist Timothy McVeigh, who killed 168 people. We can’t confront that our laws, our customs and our actions are riddled through with this epidemic and have secured, for generations, a rigid and toxic racial hierarchy.

But make no mistake, what we face is an epidemic that threatens the very foundation of free society. Every politician and gun salesman who hides behind support of the Second Amendment likes to beat their chest and trumpet the idea of freedom, but what gets lost in the defence is that America is founded on the idea of a free society, a place where Americans should be able to live lives in which they are secure to move about, think any thought they want, say anything they want and realize the concept of relative safety. Every day that this epidemic goes unaddressed, every day that stepping into a public place amounts to risking your life, another shred of actual freedom, of a free society, slips away, possibly to never return.

The choice is no choice at all. We must . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

6 August 2019 at 2:49 pm

Posted in Daily life, Terrorism

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Baking Bread with 4,500-Year-Old Ancient Egyptian Yeast

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Kaila Hale-Stern reports at The Mary Sue:

On Twitter, physicist (and “father of the X-Box”) Seamus Blackley shared his adventures in gastroegyptology, which is a thing I have just now learned about! Blackley recently worked with specialists in order to bake a rather unique bread fit for a Pharaoh, and it’s hard not gaze in wonder at what science hath wrought.

Blackley, a former video game designer and producer who was instrumental in the development of the X-Box at Microsoft, also calls himself an “amateur gastroegyptologist” in his Twitter bio. Along with Egyptologygist Dr. Serena Love and microbiologist Richard Bowman, Blackley & co. visited museums to harvest 4,500-year-old yeast samples from Ancient Egyptian vessels. Blackley’s subsequent raising of the organisms from the dead for doughy purposes is the ultimate combination of science-meets-whimsical curiosity, and I love it.

Bowman will analyze the samples to determine which “which microorganisms are old and which are modern contaminants,” so it’s not 100% clear yet what the team came back with. But that didn’t deter Blackley from cooking up a sample that he kept. . .

Continue reading for the full story with photographs. The bread looks yummy.

Written by LeisureGuy

6 August 2019 at 8:28 am

Posted in Daily life, Food, Science

A fond farewell to Mickey Lee Soapworks

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I was saddened to learn yesterday that Mickey Lee Soapworks will shortly close its online doors. The proprietor, a career Navy man, has been promoted (and congratulations to him) and that involves first a relocation and then more time required on the job. As a result, Mickey Lee Soapworks will be shuttered. This is the time—the last time—to load up on his soaps, and I highly recommend that your order at least one tub of The Drunken Goat, a perfectly wonderful shaving soap with an unusual (and unusually good) fragrance: “A deep rich aroma, often described as a Stout infused cookie. The Drunken Goat captures notes of chocolate, oats, molasses and chestnut.”

I see that it’s out of stock at the link, so check around with vendors. Grab it while you can.

It made a great lather this morning with my Edwin Jagger synthetic brush. And then three smooth passes with Fine’s Marvel razor head on a UFO handle left my face perfectly smooth for a good splash of The Drunken Goat aftershave.

I’m sad to see him go, but I’m happy for his success.

Written by LeisureGuy

6 August 2019 at 8:25 am

Posted in Shaving

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