Later On

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

Archive for October 12th, 2019

Shooter’s Sandwich – Pressed Steak & Mushroom Sandwich

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I like the idea.

Written by LeisureGuy

12 October 2019 at 5:56 pm

Posted in Food, Recipes, Video

Fondant Potatoes – Crusty Potatoes Roasted with Butter and Stock

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I don’t eat potatoes. But if I did…  And I would definitely use avocado oil, not grapeseed oil, for the initial browning. Avocado oil has a smoke point of 520ºF, highest of any cooking oil. Here’s his blog entry with the ingredients, with the full recipe on AllRecipes.com.

 

Written by LeisureGuy

12 October 2019 at 4:57 pm

Posted in Food, Recipes

Just finished Thomas Perry’s first thriller “Butcher’s Boy”

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I’m sure I’ve read it before but still quite good. Now on to others.

Written by LeisureGuy

12 October 2019 at 4:30 pm

Posted in Books

Prosecutors Investigating Rudy Giuliani for Ukraine-Related Lobbying, Report Says

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Pema Levy reports in Mother Jones:

President Donald Trump’s longtime lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen, is now in prison. As Ukrainegate unfolds, it’s possible that his new personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, may also be facing federal criminal charges.

Federal prosecutors are investigating whether Giuliani broke lobbying laws in his work in Ukraine, according to a New York Times report Friday night. The Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA) requires anyone who is attempting to influence United States policy on behalf of a foreign entity to register with the Justice Department and submit details of activities on behalf of that country, regardless of whether direct lobbying is involved. Giuliani joined Trump’s personal legal team to protect him from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Now, in a twist befitting the Trump era, he appears to be under investigation for bringing foreign influence into US politics.

Giuliani is at the center of the unfolding Ukraine scandal that prompted the impeachment inquiry into Trump. Giuliani acted as a go-between for Ukrainian officials and the Trump administration to dig up dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, and dug around for evidence to bolster a conspiracy theory that Ukraine had tried to help the Democrats win the 2016 election—even though the US intelligence community and Mueller’s probe found that Russia interfered to help Trump.

But the possible criminal investigation into FARA violations comes from a sideshow to this central Ukraine scandal at the heart of the impeachment inquiry: whether Giuliani failed to report his foreign ties when he worked to oust the former US ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, who was recalled from Kiev this spring after Giuliani and two associates pressed for her removal. Those two associates, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, were arrested this week on charges of illegally funneling foreign money into US elections.

The Times reporters acknowledged that they did not know how far the investigation had progressed. Giuliani told the paper that he had no knowledge of an investigation into his activities and denied any work on behalf of Ukrainian officials. Giuliani spoke at length with a former prosecutor general of Ukraine, Yuriy Lutsenko, in January of this year. He relayed Lutsenko’s allegations against Yovanovitch to the State Department and a conservative columnist, John Solomon. Giuliani told the Times that this work had been on behalf of Trump, not Lutsenko. . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

12 October 2019 at 4:29 pm

Deaths of Despair Are Mainly Hitting White Women in the South

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This is disturbing. What’s going on? Kevin Drum writes at Mother Jones:

I was browsing around on Andrew Gelman’s blog and happened to come across these charts that he drew a couple of years ago. The subject is deaths of despair.

Anne Case and Angus Deaton famously found that the death rate of middle-aged whites had started to increase around the year 2000, and the media mostly reported this as a problem with middle-aged white men. Case and Deaton looked at causes of death and explained the increase as a sudden rise in “deaths of despair”: that is, a lot more deaths caused by suicide, drug overdoses, and alcohol problems.

But it turned out that Case and Deaton worked in age buckets (i.e., 25-35, 35-45, etc.) and hadn’t controlled for the fact that the average age within those buckets was steadily increasing. They also didn’t disaggregate by gender or region. When Gelman and Jonathan Auerbach did that, here’s what they found:

The upper left is the original chart for middle-aged whites. The next chart breaks it out by gender and finds that men suffered a brief bump around 2000, which turned around a few years laters and and ended up back where it started. Women, by contrast, saw their death rates steadily climb during the entire period.

Finally, looking only at women, there are no substantial increases in the Midwest, the West, or the Northeast. It’s all in the South, which had the highest death rate to begin with. Between 2000 and 2014, the death rate for middle-aged white women in the South went up from 0.31 percent to 0.37 percent.

It’s important to point out that the main problem reported by Case and Deaton remains powerful: even if most white Americans have experienced steady death rates (and life expectancies) since 2000, this compares poorly with the rest of the world, where life expectancies have continued to rise. There is obviously something bad going on that’s specific to the United States.

That said, the only group where death rates are literally rising are white women in the South. . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

12 October 2019 at 10:18 am

Kamala Harris’s Prosecutors Sent This Innocent Man to Prison for Murder. Now He’s Talking

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I lived in California when Kamala Harris was Attorney General and I thought she was entirely too punitive and eager to convict. I’m not surprised her prosecutorial zeal resulted in sending some innocents to prison. She seems to be of the mindset “Better to send 10 innocent persons to prison than to fail to convict one guilty one.”

Chris Roberts reports in Vice:

Jamal Trulove almost saw it coming.

He figured he might be arrested, or at least spend some quality time with police, after his friend Seu Kuka was shot and killed one warm night in July 2007.

“When somebody dies in the hood, everybody feels like they’re involved,” he explained recently, during a sit-down with VICE at the clubhouse of United Playaz, a violence-prevention nonprofit based in his hometown of San Francisco. “When someone gets killed, you can plan on getting jacked up by the police regularly.”

Trulove had made it out of the city’s Sunnydale housing projects, his childhood home, where he had learned to record music and spent years selling CDs out of the trunk of his car. He’d won an internet vote to appear on I Love New York 2, a reality show on VH1. Though he was kicked off on the first episode, he had done enough right to relocate to New York City, where he was trying to develop another reality TV project and advance his music career.

But then he visited the mother of two of his children back in Seaside, California, in October 2008, and his wrongful conviction nightmare began.

He got into an argument with the kids’ grandmother, and police were called, Trulove said. The officers went from almost bored to wide-eyed and agitated after running his ID, reaching for their weapons and shouting at him to get on the ground, he recalled. “I’m like, ‘Oh, man, whatever this is, I’ll be out within 72 hours,'” the maximum length of time police can hold someone without charging them with a crime.

But rather than investigate, as an appellate court later found, San Francisco cops tasked with solving Kuka’s murder worked to frame Trulove as the killer within hours of the shooting. Though two dozen or more people saw Kuka die, only a single eyewitness agreed to talk to police. And though she failed to pick Trulove out of a series of photos and identified someone else by name, police eventually coerced her into fingering him, including shortly after his VH1 show aired in late 2007.

An arrest warrant was issued the following year when a second person facing third-strike felony charges told police Trulove was the shooter. It was bad luck that he happened to have a run-in with law enforcement soon afterward.

Trulove was transferred to jail in San Francisco, charged with first-degree murder, and brought to trial in early 2010. Despite no physical evidence linking him to the crime—and the fact that eyewitness testimony is notoriously unreliable—he was convicted and sentenced to 50 years to life. For her testimony, the alleged eyewitness also received more than $60,000 in housing and relocation benefits from the office of a rising political star: San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris.

Trulove’s story of wrongful conviction and eventual exoneration has been told before; he even won a $13.1 million payout from the city of San Francisco. But now one of the key players is making a serious run for the White House, and Trulove is anxious to tell his story again—this time including the role Harris played in it, he told VICE in his first-ever interview about Harris and his wrongful prosecution.

As a marijuana legalization-supporting, Trump-trolling 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, U.S. Senator Harris portrays her career in law-enforcement as that of a “progressive prosecutor,” an empathetic and thoughtful purveyor of help who addressed the root causes of crime rather than merely punishing wrongdoers. But Trulove’s case is perhaps the most glaring contradiction in Harris’ record, one critics like him say is littered with carceral overkill she declines to acknowledge.

Back in 2007, when Harris was San Francisco’s D.A., the city’s homicide rate hit a 14-year-high. Seventy-five percent of the time, no suspect was ever arrested. Though she faced no serious opposition and was easily reelected that year, Harris arguably wasn’t making enough cases to win over the more conservative voters she might need to make a play for statewide or national office in 2010.

That may have served to make winning murder cases like the one against Trulove all the more urgent.

According to Trulove, Harris was present at the hearings announcing both the verdict and the sentencing in his case. She even briefly locked eyes with him at one of the proceedings, offering what seemed like a “smirk,” he said.

“She wanted to be present for a celebration of a conviction,” Trulove said. “That’s what it felt like—a celebration.”

Harris’ victories with voters followed the win in the courtroom. Months after Trulove’s 2010 conviction, buoyed by an endorsement from President Barack Obama and touting an increase in her office’s felony conviction rate, Harris upset Steve Cooley, the Republican D.A. of Los Angeles County, by a razor-thin margin to become California attorney general. She has not lost an election since, and was elected to the U.S. Senate the same night Donald Trump was elected president.

Meanwhile, following more than a year in San Francisco County Jail, Trulove spent almost five years in state prison. On his very first day, he said, he witnessed a fellow inmate’s murder. Later, he survived being shanked in the stomach in San Quentin, one of the most notorious prisons in California’s overcrowded penal archipelago, according to his successful civil suit against his city. . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

12 October 2019 at 10:12 am

Russia picked Donald Trump for US president and worked to get him elected, according to a former Israeli intelligence official

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Cristina Maza reports in Newsweek:

Russia chose Donald Trump as the U.S. presidential candidate who would be most advantageous to Moscow, and used online tactics to win him the presidency, according to a former agent of the Israeli intelligence agency the Mossad.

“Officials in Moscow looked at the 2016 U.S. presidential race and asked, ‘Which candidate would we like to have sitting in the White House? Who will help us achieve our goals?’ And they chose him. From that moment, they deployed a system [of bots] for the length of the elections, and ran him for president,” former Mossad chief Tamir Pardo told the audience at the Marker’s digital conference in Israel on Monday, where experts gathered to discuss online disinformation campaigns and bots.

“What we’ve seen so far with respect to bots and the distortion of information is just the tip of the iceberg. It is the greatest threat of recent years, and it threatens the basic values that we share—democracy and the world order created since World War Two,” Pardo noted, according to Haaretz.

Earlier this month, two Senate-commissioned reports determined that Russia had used every social media tool available to influence the U.S. 2016 presidential election in favor of Trump. One of the reports, completed by the company New Knowledge, detailed the wide reach of the Russian troll farm called the Internet Research Agency (IRA).

“Run like a sophisticated marketing agency in a centralized office environment, the IRA employed and trained over a thousand people to engage in round-the-clock influence operations, first targeting Ukrainian and Russian citizens, and then, well before the 2016 US election, Americans. The scale of their operation was unprecedented—they reached 126 million people on Facebook, at least 20 million users on Instagram, 1.4 million users on Twitter, and uploaded over 1,000 videos to YouTube,” the New Knowledge report stated.

Indictments from the Department of Justice recently revealed that the Internet Research Agency had a budget of over $25 million and continued to operate well into 2018.

The second report, authored by Oxford University and the company Graphika, noted that Russian influence operations attempted to sow divisions in U.S. society and promote Trump’s candidacy.

“On Facebook, the five most shared and the five most liked posts focused on . . .

Continue reading.

And Facebook still refuses to remove posts that are false and deceptive. Facebook should face a reckoning.

Written by LeisureGuy

12 October 2019 at 9:16 am

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