Later On

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

Archive for September 4th, 2020

What Ails America: More on the American “system” of “healthcare”

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Timothy Snyder writes in the NY Review of Books:

I was in Germany when I got sick. Late at night in Munich on December 3, 2019, I was admitted to a hospital with abdominal pain and then released the next morning. In Connecticut, on December 15, I was admitted to the hospital for an appendectomy and released after less than twenty-four hours. In Florida on vacation, on December 23, I was admitted to the hospital for tingling and numbness in my hands and feet but released the following day. Then I began to feel worse, with a headache and growing fatigue.

On December 27, we decided to return to New Haven. I had not been satisfied with treatment in Florida, and I wanted to be home. But it was my wife, Marci, who had to make the decisions and do the work. On the morning of the twenty-eighth, she packed everything up and got our two kids ready to go. I was a burden. I had to lie down to rest after brushing my teeth and after putting on each article of clothing. Marci arranged for wheelchairs at the airports and got us where we needed to be.

At the Fort Myers airport I sat in a wheelchair with the children on a curb while she returned the rental car. As she remembers the journey, “You were fading from life on the flight.” At the Hartford airport she wheeled me from the plane straight to a friend’s car and then stayed with the kids to wait for the luggage. Our friend had not known what was happening; she looked at me in the wheelchair, said “What have they done?” in Polish, shook her head, and got me into the front seat. I lay down flat as she sped to New Haven, because my head hurt less that way.

I struggled to get admitted to the emergency room in New Haven. I had to use a wheelchair to get from the parking lot to the lobby of the emergency department. Another friend, a doctor, was waiting for me there. When I was admitted to the emergency room at midnight, I used the word malaise to describe my condition to the doctor. My head ached, my hands and feet tingled, I was coughing, and I could barely move. Every so often I was seized by tremors.

Although I did not understand this then, I had a severe infection in my liver, which was leaking into my bloodstream. I had an abscess the size of a baseball in my liver, and the infection had spilled into my blood. I was in a condition known as sepsis; death was close.

The nurses guarding the entrance to the emergency room did not seem to take me seriously, perhaps because I did not complain, perhaps because the friend who advocated for me, though a physician, was a black woman. She had called ahead to say that I needed immediate treatment. That had no effect.

After the better part of an hour sprawled between a wheelchair and a table in the lobby, I finally got into the emergency department. Nothing much happened then, so I reflected on what I had seen as I stumbled from the lobby to an emergency room bed. I have been in emergency rooms in six countries, and have a feel for them. Like most American emergency departments, this one was overflowing, with beds lining the hallways. In Florida six days before, the overcrowding had been even more severe. I felt lucky in New Haven that night to get a small area to myself: not a room, but a sort of alcove separated by a yellow curtain from the dozens of other beds outside.

After a while, the curtain started to bother me. Getting attention in emergency rooms is a matter of figuring out who staff are and catching someone’s eye. I couldn’t see people passing when the curtain was closed, and so it was hard to decipher the uniform colors and the name badges and ask for help. The first doctor who opened the curtain decided that I was tired, or perhaps had the flu, and gave me fluids. My disconcerted doctor friend tried to suggest that my condition was something more serious.

“This is someone who was running races,” she said. “And now he cannot stand up.”

My friend told the resident that this was my second emergency room visit within a few days, so extra attention was warranted. The resident left unconvinced, and with the curtain partway open behind her, I caught a glimpse then of the two nurses who had admitted me and heard what they said as they passed: “Who was she?” “She said she was a doctor.” They were talking about my friend. They laughed. I couldn’t write this down then but did later in the diary I kept while I was in the hospital: racism hurt my life chances that night; it hurts others’ every moment of their lives.

I was tested, slowly, for  . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

4 September 2020 at 2:49 pm

Sheriff’s office adopts harassing people as a policy

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Kathleen McGrory and Neil Bedi report in the Tampa Bay Times:

Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco took office in 2011 with a bold plan: to create a cutting-edge intelligence program that could stop crime before it happened.

What he actually built was a system to continuously monitor and harass Pasco County residents, a Tampa Bay Times investigation has found.

First the Sheriff’s Office generates lists of people it considers likely to break the law, based on arrest histories, unspecified intelligence and arbitrary decisions by police analysts.

Then it sends deputies to find and interrogate anyone whose name appears, often without probable cause, a search warrant or evidence of a specific crime.

They swarm homes in the middle of the night, waking families and embarrassing people in front of their neighbors. They write tickets for missing mailbox numbers and overgrown grass, saddling residents with court dates and fines. They come again and again, making arrests for any reason they can.

One former deputy described the directive like this: “Make their lives miserable until they move or sue.”

In just five years, Nocco’s signature program has ensnared almost 1,000 people.

At least one in 10 were younger than 18, the Times found.

Some of the young people were labeled targets despite having only one or two arrests.

Rio Wojtecki, 15, became a target in September 2019, almost a year after he was arrested for sneaking into car ports with a friend and stealing motorized bicycles.

Those were the only charges against Rio, and he already had a state-issued juvenile probation officer checking on him. Yet from September 2019 to January 2020, Pasco Sheriff’s deputies went to his home at least 21 times, dispatch logs show.

They showed up at the car dealership where his mom worked, looked for him at a friend’s house and checked his gym to see if he had signed in.

More than once, the deputies acknowledged that Rio wasn’t getting into trouble. They mostly grilled him about his friends, according to body-camera video of the interactions. But he had been identified as a target, they said, so they had to keep checking on him.

Since September 2015, the Sheriff’s Office has sent deputies on checks like those more than 12,500 times, dispatch logs show.

[Click to watch body-camera footage of the deputies’ interactions]

Deputies gave the mother of one teenage target a $2,500 fine because she had five chickens in her backyard. They arrested another target’s father after peering through a window in his house and noticing a 17-year-old friend of his son smoking a cigarette inside.

As they make checks, deputies feed information back into the system, not just on the people they target, but on family members, friends and anyone else in the target’s orbit.

In the past two years alone, two of the nation’s largest law enforcement agencies have scrapped similar programs following public outcries and reports documenting serious flaws.

In Pasco, however, the initiative has expanded. Last summer, the Sheriff’s Office announced plans to begin keeping tabs on people who have been repeatedly committed to psychiatric hospitals. . .

Continue reading. There’s much more.

US: a police state in progress.

Written by Leisureguy

4 September 2020 at 2:43 pm

LA County has Sheriff’s Deputies who are gang members

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More evidence the policing in the US must be reformed. Zak Cheney-Rice reports in New York:

Much of the recent debate about policing’s excesses involves a clash of two viewpoints: one claiming that there is something structurally and culturally wrong with American law enforcement that encourages immoral behavior, and another that attributes their worst conduct to “bad apples,” rogue individuals whose actions speak for them alone and do not indict their fellow officers or their profession as a whole. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department provides a helpful literalization of the former point: an entire law-enforcement entity whose members regularly join criminal gangs, earn clout by harassing, assaulting, and killing county residents, and retaliate against their colleagues who dare to oppose them.

Sworn testimony made in June by a whistleblower, Deputy Art Gonzalez, details a pattern of such behavior inside the Compton sheriff’s station, which exists as part of the Southern California city’s partnership with the county sheriff to provide local law enforcement. Gonzalez claimed that Deputy Miguel Vega, who shot 18-year-old Andres Guardado during a June incident that sparked protests, was a prospective member of the Executioners, a dozen or so deputies who allegedly operate as a gang — setting illegal arrest quotas, threatening work slowdowns if they don’t get their desired shift assignments, assaulting their fellow deputies, and holding parties to celebrate when their members shoot or kill someone in the line of duty, the Los Angeles Times reports. The existence of the Executioners is “common knowledge” within the department, Gonzalez said, according to Spectrum News 1, which obtained a transcript of his testimony this week. Decades of harassment and violence at the hands of the Compton office — including one 2019 incident where the city’s mayor, Aja Brown, claims to have been ordered out of her car by more than half a dozen deputies and searched for drugs that she did not possess — have led the city to propose severing ties with the department altogether, a proposal that the Executioners revelations stand to accelerate. According to the whistleblower complaint, Deputy Vega, who shot Guardado six times in the back, was “chasing ink” — a term used to describe efforts to impress the Executioners in order to be drafted into their ranks and obtain their signature tattoo: a skeleton backed by flames, brandishing a rifle and wearing a Nazi-style helmet.

Part of what makes this dynamic notable is how ordinary it is. Though the central allegation is that the Executioners “dominate” the Compton sheriff’s office, at least nine other such gangs are known to operate across the department, and have done so for decades. “Vikings, Reapers, Regulators, Little Devils, Cowboys, 2000 Boys and 3000 Boys, Jump Out Boys, and most recently the Banditos and the Executioners,” Matthew Burson, chief of the department’s professional standard division, told KABC last month of the LASD’s gang problem. “I am absolutely sickened by the mere allegation of any deputy hiding behind their badges to hurt anyone.” Sheriff Alex Villanueva has said he intends to fire or suspend more than two dozen deputies involved in a widely covered assault on four non-gang members at an off-duty party in 2018. Villanueva was elected under immense pressure to clean up the department, whose former heads — Lee Baca and his undersheriff, Paul Tanaka — were convicted of obstructing a federal probe of abuses in the county’s jail. Tanaka was an alleged member of the Lynwood Vikings, a white supremacist sheriff’s gang. Villanueva has also said that he will implement measures to discourage deputies from joining these cliques at all, but county Inspector General Max Huntsman said last month that he’d seen no evidence of this actually happening. The fallout has been costly on several fronts. Since 2010, misconduct claims linked to these sheriff’s gangs have cost the county $21 million in settlements and associated legal costs, according to the Los Angeles Times.

It’s hard to make sense of this phenomenon without acknowledging that discrete individual malfeasance is insufficient for explaining its scope and longevity. The existence of ten or more gangs operating within the law-enforcement agency that patrols America’s most populous county, and whose members have occupied its highest ranks, indicates a level of tolerance and normalization that cannot be isolated to any one person, and a scale of public danger that cannot be calculated in mere dollar amounts or police shooting statistics. These gangs have been implicated in sustaining an environment of terror, and are regularly celebrated and rewarded for it. Their existence, and seeming intractability, are stark manifestations of the ways that American law-enforcement agencies operate as fraternities the nation over, with less regard for public partnership than for capitalizing upon their own impunity. This is perhaps most evident in the conduct of police unions. But survey any heavily patrolled community and it becomes clear that the existence of police gangs are not necessary to promote illegal arrest quotaswork slowdowns, or internal plaudits for acts of brutality — though gangs are an especially brazen way of formalizing them. This is simply the reality of policing.

It is also incompatible with the arguments made by champions of “bad apple” theory — chief among them President Trump, who this week equated killings by police to having a bad golf game. “The police are under siege,” he said during a Monday interview with Fox News’ Laura Ingraham. He continued:. . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

4 September 2020 at 12:17 pm

Baking beans today

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This article is what prompted me to bake them. They seem to be small red beans. I soaked them overnight in water with 2 teaspoons of salt, then drained, and put into a pot with 2 1/4 cups of this:

1 can Ro-Tel Original
5 large cloves garlic
3 large scallions
1 local Roma tomato
1 teaspoon powdered mustard (Coleman’s)
1.5 tablespoons blackstrap molasses
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon Mexican oregano
1 tablespoon Worchestershire sauce
1 tablespoon liquid smoke
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
good shaking of crushed red pepper
1 tablespoon Mirin
enough water to bring it to 2 14 cups.

The garlic, scallions, and Roma tomato were chopped very finely using my new Zyliss food chopper, which I got when my very old Chef’n VeggiChop gave up the ghost: bowl cracked, blades dull. (Those aren’t affiliate links; those are links so you know what I’m talking about.)

When I chopped those in the Zyliss I also included in the bowl the herbs, mustard, blackstrap molasses, liquid smoke, Worchestershire sauce, and Mirin, just to make sure they were well mixed. I then emptied the loose paste that resulted into a 4-cup measure and added the other stuff to bring it up to 2 1/4 cups.

I mixed the pot well, leveled off the beans — the liquid just rises to the top layer of beans but not over it — and put the lid on the pot (Staub 3-liter cast-iron round cocotte) and put it into a 235ºF oven for the rest of the day (about 6 hours). — Well, as it happens, it didn’t take so long. I checked after about 3.5 hours and beans were done. I suspect the baking soda helped. They’re very tender, very flavorful, reasonably spice, good umami. A fair amount of liquid left in the pot, which is fine.

The above is a minor variation of something I did earlier when I was trying various ways of cooking beans.

I had a failed batch of tempeh — it never took off — and I’m thinking the problem is that I’m not drying the beans enough: they’re too wet for the mold. So I’ve ordered a cheap hair dryer and I’ll use that on the next batch to ensure the beans are really dry before I add vinegar and starter culture.

I also thought that perhaps the holes punched into the plastic bag were too small, so next time I’ll punch regular 1/8″ holes and see whether that helps.


Written by Leisureguy

4 September 2020 at 12:01 pm

I really love L.E. Sissman’s poetry

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Two books are available: Hello, Darkness: The Collected Poems of L.E. Sissman and Night Music: Poems.

I feel that L.E. Sissman is greatly underappreciated (like George P. Elliott, also a fine writer, but of fiction).

From the Poetry Foundation’s online profile of Sissman and sampling of his verse:

Our Literary Heritage

I. Riverside Drive, 1929

“ ‘Good-by, Ralph. It should end some other way.
Not this,’ Corinna said. ‘Now go away.’
No. Rhymes. It’s ludicrous. Try ‘Dear, good-by.’
No. Repetitious. Maybe ‘Dear, farewell.’
No. Stagy. Out of character. Oh, hell.
Time for a drink.” The Smith-Corona heaves
As he retracts his knickerbockered knees
To rise. Outside, a southbound tug receives
The sun broadside, and the bold Linit sign
Pales on the Jersey shore. Fresh gin, tk-tk-
Tk-tk-tk-tk, quite clearly fills his glass
Half full from the unlabelled bottle. Now
His boyish fingers grip the siphon’s worn
Wire basketweave and press the trigger down
To utter soda water. One long sip
Subtracts a third of it for carrying.
On the way back, he pauses at the door
Beside his football picture, where a snore
Attests that all is well and promises
Him time to work. To work: before the tall,
Black, idle typewriter, before the small
Black type elitely inching on the blank
White sea of bond, he quails and takes a drink.
First, demolitions: the slant shilling mark
Defaces half a hundred characters
With killing strike-overs. Now, a new start:
“ ‘Good-by, Ralph. I don’t know why it should end
Like tihs,’ Corinna said. ‘But be my friend.’ ’’

II. Hotel Shawmut, Boston, 1946

(From a commercial travellers’ hotel,
Professor S. jumped straight down into hell,
While—jug-o’-rum-rum—engines made their way
Beneath him, one so cold December day).

While he prepares his body, cold gears mate
And chuckle in the long draught of the street.
He shaves; his silver spectacles peruse
An issue of The North American Muse.
He uses Mum; outside him in the hall,
Maids talk their language; snow begins to fall.
He puts on his old clothes. The narrow room
Has nothing, nothing to discuss with him
Except what time you should send out your suit
And shoes for cleaning. Now he stamps his foot:
Outside the window, not saying anything,
Appears a seagull, standing on one wing;
A long-awaited colleague. With glad cry,
Professor S. embraces the white sky.

While S. demolishes a taxicab,
His spectacles review the life of Crabbe.

(From a commercial travellers’ hotel,
Profesor S. descended into hell.
But once in April in New Haven he
Kissed a friend’s sister in the gloom of trees.)

III. Deus Ex Machina, Flushing, 1966

La Guardia. Knee-deep in storyboards,
I line up for the shuttle, which arrives
Outside the gate and off-loads shuffling streams
Of transferees—each in his uniform
Of sober stuff and nonsense, with a case
Of talents at his side—who pass our line
Of somber-suited shuttlers carrying
Our cases on. Then one appears, a rare
Bird in migration to New York, a bare-
Crowned singer of the stony coast of Maine,
And of Third Avenue in rain; a bard.
The way of the almost-extinct is hard.
He peers through tortoise-shelly glasses at . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

4 September 2020 at 10:47 am

Posted in Art, Books, Writing

Trump: Americans Who Died in War Are ‘Losers’ and ‘Suckers’

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Jeffrey Goldberg reports in the Atlantic:

When President Donald Trump canceled a visit to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery near Paris in 2018, he blamed rain for the last-minute decision, saying that “the helicopter couldn’t fly” and that the Secret Service wouldn’t drive him there. Neither claim was true.

Trump rejected the idea of the visit because he feared his hair would become disheveled in the rain, and because he did not believe it important to honor American war dead, according to four people with firsthand knowledge of the discussion that day. In a conversation with senior staff members on the morning of the scheduled visit, Trump said, “Why should I go to that cemetery? It’s filled with losers.” In a separate conversation on the same trip, Trump referred to the more than 1,800 marines who lost their lives at Belleau Wood as “suckers” for getting killed.

Belleau Wood is a consequential battle in American history, and the ground on which it was fought is venerated by the Marine Corps. America and its allies stopped the German advance toward Paris there in the spring of 1918. But Trump, on that same trip, asked aides, “Who were the good guys in this war?” He also said that he didn’t understand why the United States would intervene on the side of the Allies.

Trump’s understanding of concepts such as patriotism, service, and sacrifice has interested me since he expressed contempt for the war record of the late Senator John McCain, who spent more than five years as a prisoner of the North Vietnamese. “He’s not a war hero,” Trump said in 2015 while running for the Republican nomination for president. “I like people who weren’t captured.”

There was no precedent in American politics for the expression of this sort of contempt, but the performatively patriotic Trump did no damage to his candidacy by attacking McCain in this manner. Nor did he set his campaign back by attacking the parents of Humayun Khan, an Army captain who was killed in Iraq in 2004.

Trump remained fixated on McCain, one of the few prominent Republicans to continue criticizing him after he won the nomination. When McCain died, in August 2018, Trump told his senior staff, according to three sources with direct knowledge of this event, “We’re not going to support that loser’s funeral,” and he became furious, according to witnesses, when he saw flags lowered to half-staff. “What the fuck are we doing that for? Guy was a fucking loser,” the president told aides. Trump was not invited to McCain’s funeral. (These sources, and others quoted in this article, spoke on condition of anonymity. The White House did not return earlier calls for comment, but Alyssa Farah, a White House spokesperson, emailed me this statement shortly after this story was posted: “This report is false. President Trump holds the military in the highest regard. He’s demonstrated his commitment to them at every turn: delivering on his promise to give our troops a much needed pay raise, increasing military spending, signing critical veterans reforms, and supporting military spouses. This has no basis in fact.”)

Trump’s understanding of heroism has not evolved since he became president. According to sources with knowledge of the president’s views, he seems to genuinely not understand why Americans treat former prisoners of war with respect. Nor does he understand why pilots who are shot down in combat are honored by the military. On at least two occasions since becoming president, according to three sources with direct knowledge of his views, Trump referred to former President George H. W. Bush as a “loser” for being shot down by the Japanese as a Navy pilot in World War II. (Bush escaped capture, but eight other men shot down during the same mission were caught, tortured, and executed by Japanese soldiers.)

When lashing out at critics, Trump often reaches for illogical and corrosive insults, and members of the Bush family have publicly opposed him. But his cynicism about service and heroism extends even to the World War I dead buried outside Paris—people who were killed more than a quarter century before he was born. Trump finds the notion of military service difficult to understand, and the idea of volunteering to serve especially incomprehensible. (The president did not serve in the military; he received a medical deferment from the draft during the Vietnam War because of the alleged presence of bone spurs in his feet. In the 1990s, Trump said his efforts to avoid contracting sexually transmitted diseases constituted his “personal Vietnam.”)

On Memorial Day 2017, Trump visited Arlington National Cemetery, a short drive from the White House. He was accompanied on this visit by John Kelly, who was then the secretary of homeland security, and who would, a short time later, be named the White House chief of staff. The two men were set to visit Section 60, the 14-acre area of the cemetery that is the burial ground for those killed in America’s most recent wars. Kelly’s son Robert is buried in Section 60. A first lieutenant in the Marine Corps, Robert Kelly was killed in 2010 in Afghanistan. He was 29. Trump was meant, on this visit, to join John Kelly in paying respects at his son’s grave, and to comfort the families of other fallen service members. But according to sources with knowledge of this visit, Trump, while standing by Robert Kelly’s grave, turned directly to his father and said, “I don’t get it. What was in it for them?” Kelly (who declined to comment for this story) initially believed, people close to him said, that Trump was making a ham-handed reference to the selflessness of America’s all-volunteer force. But later he came to realize that Trump simply does not understand non-transactional life choices.

“He can’t fathom the idea of doing something for someone other than himself,” one of Kelly’s friends, a retired four-star general, told me. “He just thinks that anyone who does anything when there’s no direct personal gain to be had is a sucker. There’s no money in serving the nation.” Kelly’s friend went on to say, “Trump can’t imagine anyone else’s pain. That’s why he would say this to the father of a fallen marine on Memorial Day in the cemetery where he’s buried.”

I’ve asked numerous general officers over the past year for their analysis of Trump’s seeming contempt for military service. They offer a number of explanations. Some . . .

Continue reading. There’s more.



Written by Leisureguy

4 September 2020 at 10:26 am

Amla vs. Drugs for Cholesterol, Inflammation, and Blood Thinning

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I do take 1 teaspoon of ground/powdered amla in my breakfast each morning. Here’s why.

Written by Leisureguy

4 September 2020 at 10:00 am

President Trump’s uncomprehending contempt for those who serve in the military

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Heather Cox Richardson notes:

Tonight, The Atlantic published a story by Jeffrey Goldberg detailing Trump’s contempt for military service and the self-sacrifice of those killed in the line of duty. According to the story, sourced by interviews with military leaders and people close to Trump, “the president has repeatedly disparaged the intelligence of service members, and,” in 2018, asked that wounded veterans be kept out of a military parade “on grounds that spectators would feel uncomfortable in the presence of amputees. ‘Nobody wants to see that,’ he said.”

Goldberg details Trump’s fixation on the late Arizona Senator John McCain, who spent more than five years as a prisoner of the North Vietnamese after his plane was shot down in 1967, recounting the times in which Trump referred to McCain as a “loser,” which were captured both in tweets and in recordings. “He’s not a war hero,” Trump said of McCain in 2015. “I like people who weren’t captured.” Trump received five deferments from service in Vietnam because a doctor stated he suffered from bone spurs in his feet. In 2016, Trump’s campaign said the medical issue was temporary.

Goldberg writes that Trump “finds the notion of military service difficult to understand, and the idea of volunteering to serve especially incomprehensible.” He referred to those soldiers killed at Belleau Wood, where U.S. soldiers and their allies stopped the German advance toward Paris in 1918 during World War I, as “suckers” and “losers.”

In 2017, on Memorial Day, Trump and then-director of Homeland Security John Kelly (he would soon be named White House Chief of Staff) visited Arlington National Cemetery together. They went to the section of the cemetery where Kelly’s son Robert, a first lieutenant in the Marine Corps who was killed in Afghanistan in 2010, lies buried. Trump turned to Kelly and said: “I don’t get it. What was in it for them?”

One of Kelly’s friends, a retired four-star general, told Goldberg: “He can’t fathom the idea of doing something for someone other than himself…. He just thinks that anyone who does anything when there’s no direct personal gain to be had is a sucker. There’s no money in serving the nation.” Further, he said, Trump “can’t imagine anyone else’s pain. That’s why he would say this to the father of a fallen marine on Memorial Day in the cemetery where he’s buried.”

This story is short, well-written, and such a bombshell that the White House pushed back immediately. Shortly after The Atlantic posted the story, White House spokesperson Alyssa Farah emailed Goldberg a statement saying: “This report is false. President Trump holds the military in the highest regard. He’s demonstrated his commitment to them at every turn: delivering on his promise to give our troops a much needed pay raise, increasing military spending, signing critical veterans reforms, and supporting military spouses. This has no basis in fact.” (Trump frequently boasts that he gave members of the military their first pay raise in ten years. This is untrue: military members have gotten a pay raise every year since 1961.)

Speaking to reporters after a campaign trip to Pennsylvania, Trump said the article was a “disgrace” and the people who spoke to Goldberg “lowlifes.” “I would be willing to swear on anything that I never said that about our fallen heroes,” he said. “There is nobody that respects them more. So, I just think it’s a horrible, horrible thing.”

Later, Trump tweeted of his respect for McCain. “I never called… John a loser,” —it is both on tape and on Twitter that he did— “and swear on whatever, or whoever, I was asked to swear on, that I never called our great fallen soldiers anything other than HEROES. This is more made up Fake News given by disgusting & jealous failures in a disgraceful attempt to influence the 2020 Election!”

Trump is reacting with such panic because this is indeed a story that will draw attention before the election. Americans care about . . .

Continue reading. There’s more.

Written by Leisureguy

4 September 2020 at 9:51 am

Cost per capita of US healthcare, compared to other nations

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That’s from a post by Kevin Drum (worth reading) in which he notes:

Much of this cost is hidden in the form of Medicare taxes and payments by corporations for private health insurance. In the end, though, it all comes out of the paychecks of working Americans. It’s a hell of a tax to pay just for the privilege of being able to say that we allow health care providers to charge anything they want without government interference.

Written by Leisureguy

4 September 2020 at 9:47 am

Airline Pilots Landing At LAX Report A Guy In Jetpack Flying Alongside Them

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Things get weirder and weirder. A guy doing this, apparently:

Here’s the report. From that report:

So, apparently, someone has a system that is similarly capable, but they are stupid enough to actually use it in incredibly congested airspace as part of an undeclared stunt. It is possible that this was some sort of a drone that was made to look like a dude with a jetpack, although that seems like a longshot. The only other thing we can think of is that this may have been some sort of flying car/mobility solution that was just described as a jetpack. Flying at jet approach speeds and at 3,000 feet, among other issues, still seems like a reach with this scenario. Regardless, the dangerous realities of such a stunt are the same irrespective of the technology behind the craft that was involved.

Pilots certainly see and report some weird things while plying their trade, but this is unique even by our standards. We are going to look into it. In the meantime, this serves as yet another reminder of the strange times we are living in.

Written by Leisureguy

4 September 2020 at 9:37 am

Modest but distinctive fragrance

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D.R. Harris Arlington is much more maintstream than (say) Chiseled Face’s Summer Storm or Stirling Soap Company’s Texas on Fire or the two previous shaving soaps from Meißner Tremonia, but it is also more restrained and cultivated. The others are a rocking party with loud music, while Arlington this is a dinner party with quiet conversation. Arlington’s fragrance is a fresh-smelling blend of citrus and fern; it has a distinct character, even though quieter in tone, and it ranks well above the bland fragrances of mass-market canned foams and gels, such as Alpine Clean, Ocean Breeze, Active Sport, and “Menthol” (treated as though it were a fragrance).

The lather, of course, was good — D.R. Harris — and my Rod Neep one-off brush did a pleasurable job on my face. And that lovely, wonderful iKon Shavecraft #101 once again provided a marvelous shave — this razor is an underappreciated gem, and you should resolve to someday get a copy.

A splash of Arlington finished the job, and here we are: Friday already. What week.

Written by Leisureguy

4 September 2020 at 9:05 am

Posted in Shaving

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