Later On

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

Archive for August 14th, 2020

Salad tonight

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In a good-sized bowl:

large handful — well, two handfuls — chilled steamed broccoli
1/2 red pepper chopped
1/2 young onion, chopped small
1 San Marzano tomato, chopped
1/2 cup cooked black beans
about 3 tablespoons roasted unsalted pumpkin seed

In a little jar:

juice of half a lemon
about 1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
good dash of tamari
about 2 teaspoons dried basil
about 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
about 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

I shook that well, poured it over the salad, and tossed it.

Very tasty. If I had had black olives, I would have added them. I do have daikon radish but didn’t think of it in time — some of that diced would have been nice. If I ate cheese, I would have added some crumbled feta (sheep’s milk feta, preferably).


Written by Leisureguy

14 August 2020 at 6:21 pm

Posted in Food, Recipes & Cooking

Back from walk

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I saw a couple of these on my walk. They come through the neighborhood from time to time.

A good walk, including a stop by the little neighborhood market, where I restocked my supply of fresh San Marzano tomatoes: “Make hay while the sun shines.” My little backpack has proved invaluable — in its pouch it fits comfortably in my pocket, and then when needed it has good capacity (18L) — and leaves my hands free for the Nordic walking poles.

Written by Leisureguy

14 August 2020 at 5:02 pm

Evil Geniuses: The Unmaking of America: A Recent History

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Book description:

During the twentieth century, America managed to make its economic and social systems both more and more fair and more and more prosperous. A huge, secure, and contented middle class emerged. All boats rose together. But then the New Deal gave way to the Raw Deal. Beginning in the early 1970s, by means of a long war conceived of and executed by a confederacy of big business CEOs, the superrich, and right-wing zealots, the rules and norms that made the American middle class possible were undermined and dismantled. The clock was turned back on a century of economic progress, making greed good, workers powerless, and the market all-powerful while weaponizing nostalgia, lifting up an oligarchy that served only its own interests, and leaving the huge majority of Americans with dwindling economic prospects and hope.

Why and how did America take such a wrong turn? In this deeply researched and brilliantly woven cultural, economic, and political chronicle, Kurt Andersen offers a fresh, provocative, and eye-opening history of America’s undoing, naming names, showing receipts, and unsparingly assigning blame—to the radical right in economics and the law, the high priests of high finance, a complacent and complicit Establishment, and liberal “useful idiots,” among whom he includes himself.

Only a writer with Andersen’s crackling energy, deep insight, and ability to connect disparate dots and see complex systems with clarity could make such a book both intellectually formidable and vastly entertaining. And only a writer of Andersen’s vision could reckon with our current high-stakes inflection point, and show the way out of this man-made disaster.

Amazon, of course, has a Kindle edition.

Written by Leisureguy

14 August 2020 at 12:19 pm

The Post Office Is Deactivating Mail Sorting Machines Ahead of the Election

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Aaron Gordon shows that Postal Service incapability is due to deliberate actions by the Trump administration: President Trump is deliberately breaking down the US.

The United States Postal Service is removing mail sorting machines from facilities around the country without any official explanation or reason given, Motherboard has learned through interviews with postal workers and union officials. In many cases, these are the same machines that would be tasked with sorting ballots, calling into question promises made by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy that the USPS has “ample capacity” to handle the predicted surge in mail-in ballots.

Motherboard identified 19 mail sorting machines from five processing facilities across the U.S. that either have already been removed or are scheduled to be in the near future. But the Postal Service operates hundreds of distribution facilities around the country, so it is not clear precisely how many machines are getting removed and for what purpose.

Even to local union officials, USPS has not announced any policy, explained why they are doing this, what will happen to the machines and the workers who use them. Nor has management provided a rationale for dismantling and removing the machines from the facility rather than merely not operating them when they’re not needed.

“I’m not sure you’re going to find an answer for why [the machines being removed] makes sense,” said Iowa Postal Workers Union President Kimberly Karol, “because we haven’t figured that out either.”

The postal workers Motherboard spoke to said having machines removed, replaced, or modified is nothing new, but this time it seems to be more widespread, include a larger number of machines at their respective facility, and potentially impacts the facility’s ability to process large numbers of mail, including ballots, in a short time span.

“Look at it this way: Your local grocery store was forced to cut 1/3 of its cash-out lines, but management expected the same productivity, quality, and speed for the customer,” said an employee at a Buffalo distribution facility, which they said is set to lose six out of 21 mail sorting machines. “It’s just never going to happen.” . . .

Continue reading. There’s more.

A mail-sorting machine in action, including slo-mo:

Written by Leisureguy

14 August 2020 at 12:08 pm

The pandemic shows that the US is broken: Postal Service warns 46 states their voters could be disenfranchised by delayed mail-in ballots

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Erin Cox, Elise Viebeck, Jacob Bogage, and Christopher Ingraham report in the Washington Post:

Anticipating an avalanche of absentee ballots, the U.S. Postal Service recently sent detailed letters to 46 states and D.C. warning that it cannot guarantee all ballots cast by mail for the November election will arrive in time to be counted — adding another layer of uncertainty ahead of the high-stakes presidential contest.

The letters sketch a grim possibility for the tens of millions of Americans eligible for a mail-in ballot this fall: Even if people follow all of their state’s election rules, the pace of Postal Service delivery may disqualify their votes.

The Postal Service’s warnings of potential disenfranchisement came as the agency undergoes a sweeping organizational and policy overhaul amid dire financial conditions. Cost-cutting moves have already delayed mail delivery by as much as a week in some places, and a new decision to decommission 10 percent of the Postal Service’s sorting machines sparked widespread concern the slowdowns will only worsen. Rank-and-file postal workers say the move is ill-timed and could sharply diminish the speedy processing of flat mail, including letters and ballots.

The ballot warnings, issued at the end of July from Thomas J. Marshall, general counsel and executive vice president of the Postal Service, and obtained through a records request by The Washington Post, were planned before the appointment of Louis DeJoy, a former logistics executive and ally of President Trump, as postmaster general in early summer. They go beyond the traditional coordination between the Postal Service and election officials, drafted as fears surrounding the coronavirus pandemic triggered an unprecedented and sudden shift to mail-in voting.

Some states anticipate 10 times the normal volume of election mail. Six states and D.C. received warnings that ballots could be delayed for a narrow set of voters. But the Postal Service gave 40 others — including the key battleground states of Michigan, Pennsylvania and Florida — more-serious warnings that their long-standing deadlines for requesting, returning or counting ballots were “incongruous” with mail service and that voters who send ballots in close to those deadlines may become disenfranchised.

“The Postal Service is asking election officials and voters to realistically consider how the mail works,” Martha Johnson, a spokeswoman for the USPS, said in a statement.

In response to the Postal Service’s warnings, a few states have quickly moved deadlines — forcing voters to request or cast ballots earlier, or deciding to delay tabulating results while waiting for more ballots to arrive.

Pennsylvania election officials cited its letter late Thursday in asking the state’s Supreme Court for permission to count ballots delivered three days after Election Day. But deadlines in many other states have not been or cannot be adjusted with just weeks remaining before the first absentee ballots hit the mail stream. More than 60 lawsuits in at least two dozen states over the mechanics of mail-in voting are wending their way through the courts. . .

Continue reading. There’s more.

Written by Leisureguy

14 August 2020 at 12:00 pm

Breakfast — and lunch — improv

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I got some nice veg and I decided to cook a batch in my Stargazer 12″ cast-iron skillet, which seems to have become my favorite.

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 long slender leek with a lot of white, sliced (and I also sliced and used all the green part)
1/2 young onion, tennis ball size, sliced (like the one in this photo)

I sautéed that until the onions and leeks were softened and the onions starting to turn translucent. Then I added:

about 1/4 cup finely chopped garlic cloves (that had been resting for 15 minutes)

I’m not sure about the variety — it was not the red Russian garlic, but a white garlic, and it was extremely easy to peel: cut off the attachment end of the clove, give it a twist, and the papery skin pops off.

After about a minute I added

1 medium summer squash (or zucchini — what I used was varicolored greeen), diced
6 medium mushrooms, chopped
about 1.5 tablespoons of dried basil and dried marjoram
about 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
a dash of Red Boat fish sauce

I cooked that, stirring often with a wooden spatula, until the mushrooms started to release their liquid, then added:

1 San Marzano tomato, quartered lengthwise then cut across into pieces

I continued cooking (and stirring) until all the veggies were tender.

Had a bowl of that with:

1/4 cup cooked Red Fife wheat
1/4 cup cooked black beans
1/4 cup walnut pieces
1 tablespoon ground flax seed
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 tablespoon ground pepper (for the turmeric, you know)
about 2 tablespoons Frank’s Hot Sauce

Plenty left for lunch.


Written by Leisureguy

14 August 2020 at 10:49 am

ICE Guards “Systematically” Sexually Assault Detainees in an El Paso Detention Center

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Lomi Kriel reports for ProPublica:

Guards in an immigrant detention center in El Paso sexually assaulted and harassed inmates in a “pattern and practice” of abuse, according to a complaint filed by a Texas advocacy group urging the local district attorney and federal prosecutors to conduct a criminal investigation.

The allegations, detailed in a filing first obtained by ProPublica and The Texas Tribune, maintain that guards systematically assaulted at least three people in a facility overseen by Immigration and Customs Enforcement — often in areas of the detention center not visible to security cameras. The guards told victims that no one would believe them because footage did not exist and the harassment involved officers as high-ranking as a lieutenant.

According to the complaint filed with the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General and shared with prosecutors, several guards “forcibly” kissed and touched the intimate parts of at least one woman. She faces deportation next week — meaning investigators could lose a key witness. Her attorneys have requested that immigration officials pause her deportation pending a review of the matter.

The woman said in a telephone interview that she would rather return to Mexico, even though she is in danger there. She said she worried about being targeted in the detention center for speaking up about the abuse.

“It’s going to get worse now,” she said. “I can’t handle this anymore.”

Since the complaint was filed Wednesday, two more women, including one who is currently detained in the El Paso facility and one who was previously held there, have come forward with abuse allegations. At least one other woman was deported after a guard assaulted her, detainees told lawyers.

An El Paso County District Attorney’s Office spokesperson said that the agency had forwarded “potentially criminal allegations” to the DHS’ Office of Inspector General, which did not respond to emails seeking comment. A spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas said that it had received the complaint and takes allegations of “misconduct by public officials extremely seriously.”

A spokesperson for ICE wrote in an email that the agency was aware of the accusations and that they would be investigated, including by its Office of Professional Responsibility. A 2003 law intended to protect against such abuses sets stringent standards for detention facilities.

ICE has “zero tolerance for any form of sexual abuse or assault against individuals in the agency’s custody and takes very seriously all allegations of employee misconduct,” the spokesperson wrote. “When substantiated, appropriate action is taken.”

A spokesperson for Global Precision Systems, a subsidiary of Bering Straits Native Corporation, which contracts with ICE to run the El Paso facility, wrote in an email that she could not comment on pending legal matters.

The El Paso allegations are the latest instance of sexual abuse complaints related to detention centers run by ICE, which imprisons about 50,000 immigrants across the country each year — mostly through contractors at a taxpayer expense of almost $2.7 billion.

About 14,700 complaints alleging sexual and physical abuse were lodged against ICE between 2010 and 2016, according to federal data obtained by the advocacy group Freedom for Immigrants. The group found that only a small fraction were investigated by the Office of Inspector General.

In 2018, the most updated statistics available online, ICE reported 374 formal accusations of sexual assault, of which 48 were substantiated by the agency and 29 remained pending an investigation as of that year.

Most recently, in a May federal court filing in Houston, a Mexican woman said that she was in an ICE facility there in 2018 when she and two female detainees were moved to an isolated cell. Around midnight, three men wearing facial coverings entered the cell. They raped and beat them, according to the complaint. The immigrants were bused to Mexico hours later, where the woman eventually discovered she was pregnant from the assault. . .

Continue reading. There’s more

And I doubt that ICE will face any real accountability. The US is, if not broken, badly fractured.

Written by Leisureguy

14 August 2020 at 10:28 am

“Benevolent” sexism is still oppressive sexism

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Sexism consists of “keeping women in their place,” which means in roles that sexists have prescribed for women to avoid having to face them on a equal footing. The French artist Emma shows  in the Guardian how it works:

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

14 August 2020 at 9:35 am

Posted in Business, Daily life

Asses’ Milk shaving soap and a snakewood brush, plus the Fine Marvel

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That soap makes a wonderful lather, and the snakewood brush’s knot has a light and fluffy touch, very pleasant to feel when the knot is puffed full of warm and fragrant lather. The Fine Marvel is quite a good head, and mounted here on a heavy UFO bronze handle, it did a fine job. A splash of Bathhouse aftershave was a perfect finish: light and summery.

I’ve noted before that this aftershave seems to be based on a stock item. I say that because the ingredients are the same:

Organic Aloe Leaf Juice, Phenoxyethanol, Witch Hazel Water, Malic Acid, Citric Acid, Tartaric Acid, Glycolic Acid, Lactic Acid, DMAE Bitartrate, Glycerin, Organic Alcohol, Organic Sugar Cane Extract, Organic Bilberry Fruit Extract, Organic Sugar Maple Extract, Organic Orange Peel Extract, Organic Lemon Peel Extract, Organic Cranberry Fruit Extract, Organic White Willow Bark Extract, Tea Tree Leaf Oil, Bergamot Peel Oil, Tea Tree Leaf Oil, Roman Chamomile Flower Oil, German Chamomile Flower Oil, Geranium Oil, Polysorbate 20, Polysorbate 80, Organic Alcohol, Tetrasodium Glutamate Diacetate

A gallon is $35, and that would make 32 four-ounce bottles of aftershave. You could get some bottles and a fragrance oil and make your own version of aftershave for gifts. Search for Boston Round bottles or French Squares. Frosted glass would be handsome. Note that lids are often sold separately.

Written by Leisureguy

14 August 2020 at 9:19 am

Posted in Shaving

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