Later On

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Archive for January 2021

Biden’s initiatives bring hope — and that worries the Republican party. They are working to kill the initiatives.

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Heather Cox Richardson writes:

The most prominent story these days is that the Republican Party is sliding toward a full-on embrace of authoritarianism. Former president Trump’s exit and ban from his favorite social media outlets has left a vacuum that younger politicians imitating Trump’s style are eager to fill by rallying people to the former president’s standard.

Notably, Representatives Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) have tried to step into the former president’s media space by behaving outrageously and becoming his acolytes. Gaetz last week traveled to Wyoming to attack Representative Liz Cheney (R-WY), the third most powerful Republican in the House, for her vote in support of Trump’s impeachment. Not to be outdone, yesterday Greene tweeted that she had spoken to Trump and has his support, although neither her camp nor his would comment on her statement.

Republican state parties have also thrown in their lot with the former president. In Arizona, the state party voted to censure former Senator Jeff Flake, the late Senator John McCain’s wife Cindy, and Governor Doug Ducey for criticizing the former president. In South Carolina, the state party formally censured Representative Tom Rice for voting to impeach Trump, and Republican lawmakers are starting to consider stripping Cheney of her party position, a development that led former President George W. Bush to indicate his support for her this weekend. She has already drawn a primary challenger.

Across the country, Republican-dominated legislatures are trying to suppress the voting that led to the high voter turnout that fueled Democratic victories in 2020. According to the Brennan Center, which tracks voting rights, 28 states have put forward more than 100 bills to limit voting. Arizona, Georgia, and Pennsylvania, whose voters chose Biden this year after going for Trump in 2016, all have introduced plans to lower voting rates. So have other states like Texas, which have voted Republican in recent years but show signs of turning blue.

The former president would like to solidify power over the party, but he has his own problems right now. The top five lawyers in his team defending him against the article of impeachment in his Senate trial all quit this weekend. Trump apparently wanted them to argue that the attack on the Capitol was justified because Democrats stole the election from him. Recognizing that this is pure fantasy—courts have already thrown this argument out more than 60 times—which could put them in legal jeopardy, the lawyers instead wanted to argue that it is unconstitutional to try a former president on charges of impeachment.

Tonight, Trump’s office announced that David Schoen and Bruce L. Castor, Jr., will lead his defense. Schoen represented Trump advisor Roger Stone when he challenged his convictions; Castor was the district attorney who promised actor Bill Cosby he would not be prosecuted for indecent assault. The impeachment trial is scheduled to start on February 9.

There are signs that some Republicans have finally had enough of their party’s march toward authoritarianism, especially as pro-Trump Republicans grab headlines for their outrageous behavior, including shutting down a mass vaccination effort at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles for about an hour yesterday.

Representative Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), a 2010 Tea Partier but now one of the ten Republicans in the House to vote in favor of impeachment, told Anthony Fisher of Business Insider that “My dad’s cousins sent me a petition — a certified letter — saying they disowned me because I’m in ‘the devil’s army’ now….”

Kinzinger announced today that he has started a political action committee (PAC) to finance a challenge to Trump’s takeover of the Republican Party. Calling Trump’s loyalists in the Republican caucus “political terrorists,” Kinzinger said in the video launching the PAC, “Republicans must say enough is enough. It’s time to unplug the outrage machine, reject the politics of personality, and cast aside the conspiracy theories and the rage.”

It also appears to be sinking in to Republicans that momentum is on the side of the Democrats. Biden’s executive actions have generally been popular, and his support for workers threatens to shift a key constituency from the Republicans to the Democrats.

Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus proposal offers to give to ordinary Americans, hurting badly from the coronavirus recession, the kind of government attention that has lately gone to wealthier Americans. Among other things, it calls for $1400 stimulus payments, extends unemployment benefits, provides funds for state and local governments, and establishes a higher minimum wage. While Biden has said repeatedly that he would like Republican support for this measure, the Democrats have enough votes to pass a version of it without Republican support.

This would put Republicans in the position of voting against a measure that promises to be popular, and at least ten Republican senators would prefer not to do that. Today, they offered their own $600 billion counterproposal, and asked for a meeting with President Biden to discuss it.

In their letter to the president, they hinted that they think the nation has devoted enough money to the economic crisis already, noting that there is still money unspent from the previous coronavirus packages. But they did not state that reasoning explicitly, perhaps recognizing that this argument will not be popular from people who voted for Trump’s 2017 tax cut, which disproportionately benefited the wealthy, when one in seven adults say their households don’t have enough food to eat.

“We want to work in good faith with you and your administration to meet the health, economic and societal challenges of the covid crisis,” the senators wrote. After years in which Republican senators refused to discuss bills with the Democrats, this is a change indeed.

But perhaps not enough of one. In the Washington Post, James Downie noted that a proposal that is less than a third of Biden’s package is not a compromise. It also cuts stimulus checks down to $1000, cuts supplemental unemployment insurance, gives no local or state aid, and kills the minimum wage increase.

When asked why Democrats should compromise rather than go ahead without them, as Republicans repeatedly did when they held the majority, Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) told “Fox News Sunday” and CNN’s “State of the Union,” respectively, that Biden should honor his call for unity and that refusing to do so would kill future hopes for bipartisanship.

In an article in The Guardian today, former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich dismissed Republican concerns about the national debt, noting that if they were worried about it, they could just tax the very wealthy. “The total wealth of America’s 660 billionaires has grown by… $1.1 [trillion] since the start of the pandemic, a 40% increase,” he noted. Those billionaires could fund almost all of Biden’s proposal and still be as rich as they were before the pandemic hit.

Reich suggested that “ . . .

Read the whole thing.

Written by Leisureguy

31 January 2021 at 11:17 pm

Here’s What Happens to a Conspiracy-Driven Party: The Know-Nothings and their political demise

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Zachary Karabell writes in Politico:

The rise of QAnon beliefs in Republican politics has been treated with a degree of shock: How could a fringe Internet conspiracy theory have worked its way into the heart of a major political party? The ideas behind the QAnon movement are lurid, about pedophilia and Satan worship and a coming violent “storm,” but the impact is real: Many of the pro-Trump Capitol insurrectionists were QAnon supporters, as is at least one elected Republican in Congress.

As tempting as it to take the rise of conspiracy theories as a singular mark of a partisan internet-fueled age, however, there’s nothing particularly modern or unique about what is happening now. To the contrary. Conspiracy theories as they say, are as American as apple pie — as are their entanglement with nativist politics.

Those currents have usually flowed beneath the surface, but for a time in the middle of the 19th century, they broke out into the open, powering a major political movement that dominated state governments, ensconced itself in the House of Representatives and became a credible force in presidential elections. The American Party, popularly referred to as the “Know Nothings,” may not have seized the White House, but its story bears an uncanny resemblance to what’s happening within today’s Republican Party.

The sudden implosion of the Know Nothings should also serve as a warning to Republicans that the forces that have propelled them to the apex of American politics, helping Donald Trump win the White House, can also tear them apart, leaving barely a trace. The Know Nothings today are a barely remembered footnote to American history; if it continues on its current path, today’s version could end much the same.

Much like QAnon, the Know Nothings started life as a secretive cabal convinced that the country was being controlled by an even more secretive cabal — and much like Trump-era Republicans, their anxieties were rooted in a country that seemed to be changing around them.

In the late 1840s, the United States was being flooded with immigrants, in this case from Ireland. The arrival of hundreds of thousands of poor Irish Catholics led to a rise of political groups in New York, Boston, Baltimore and Philadelphia convinced that these immigrants could form a fifth column taking direction from the Pope. Under orders from Rome, the theory went, these immigrants would undo American democracy and steal jobs from hard-working native citizens whose economic prospects were hardly secure even in the best of times.

Though these groups had actual names, such as the Order of the Star Spangled Banner, their membership at first was guarded and secretive. Asked about their views and political plans, members would reply only: “I know nothing.” The nickname was born.

Fringe movements need both oxygen and fuel. The panic over an influx of Irish-Catholics was the oxygen, and the fuel was provided by the break-up of one of the two major American political parties, the Whigs, after 1850. The Whig Party was never a coherent coalition, and when it finally cracked under the weight of North-South division over slavery, the Know Nothings suddenly emerged from the shadows to become a viable political force.

Given that there were both Northern and Southern contingents, the Know Nothing movement avoided the issue of slavery, instead directing the passions of its supporters toward laws against drinking (the Irish were seen as overly fond of drink; they were Catholics; they were in thrall to the Pope; hence alcohol was evil); laws against immigration; laws in cities such as Chicago banning any new immigrants from municipal jobs; laws to prevent immigrants from attaining citizenship.

These were not marginal moves. At their height, the Know Nothings, newly christened the Native American Party (long before that connoted the original inhabitants of North America), controlled the state legislatures and governorships of Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Maine and California. They also held numerous seats in state assemblies throughout the South, and they sent more than 40 representatives to the House and several senators, all adamant. Most of them supported stringent nativist, anti-immigrant legislation; all emerged from conspiratorial clubs that had spread theories about possible Papist aggression and plots against the sovereignty of the United States. (In their grotesque accusations about Catholic priests and nuns strangling babies and holding young women against their will, it’s not hard to see an early version of QAnon’s core obsession with imagined globalist pedophiles.) In 1856, the name was shortened to the American Party and its leaders nominated former president Millard Fillmore as their candidate for president under the slogan “Americans Must Rule America.”

nd then, almost as quickly as the Know Nothings surged, they split apart. Formed from scattered groups sharing a sensibility and an animus into a loose national coalition, the party was never tightly organized, much like the Tea Party in our time. Northern and Southern branches were just as divided over the issue of slavery as was the Democratic Party in the 1850s, which also began to break apart into two distinct camps. The rise of the newly founded Republican Party in the northern states also siphoned off Know Nothing support. Fillmore managed to get 21 percent of the vote in the 1856 presidential election and win Maryland (which was then bitterly divided over slavery, which was then legal in the state). But that was not the start of national party; it was the end of one.

Though the political movement collapsed, the anti-immigrant nativism of the Know Nothings never really went away. Even during the Civil War, when all other issues were subsumed, the passions stirred by the Know Nothings were never far from the surface. The New York Draft Riots of 1863 were in part an uprising of Irish immigrants after years of discrimination, with African-Americans bearing the brunt of their rage. After the Civil War, a Republican-controlled Congress passed the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, which banned all immigration for 20 years. Those currents also worked their way into the Populist and Progressive movements of the late 19th and early 20th century, which ultimately became a prominent strain of both parties, the Republicans under Teddy Roosevelt and the Democrats during the Woodrow Wilson years.

There are lessons here for the Republican Party today. History doesn’t repeat itself. It does, as Mark Twain quipped, often rhyme, which means that its echoes resonate over subsequent generations in ways that can offer guidance, though never clear pathways. One lesson for 2021 Republicans is that . . .

Continue reading. There’s more, and the conclusions and prescriptions are interesting.

Written by Leisureguy

31 January 2021 at 12:50 pm

Combating Misinformation When A Loved One Is Caught In A Web Of Conspiracies

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Sarah McCammon reports at NPR (and there’s a 5-minute audio of the report at the link):

On Jan. 6, Hilary Izatt was watching TV when she began to worry.

“My husband and I are both political scientists; we’re kind of nerdy; we watch C-SPAN a lot,” Izatt says. “And when we were watching C-SPAN is when the rioters started breaking into the Capitol.”

Izatt, 39, is a doctoral student in political science at the University of Michigan. She says her dad, who lives in Utah, had told her he was traveling to Washington, D.C., to join the massive pro-Trump rally planned for that day.

What she saw unfolding on the screen scared her.

A different — dangerous — reality

“I was mostly worried for his safety and I texted him and he got back to me and he just said, ‘Don’t believe everything you’re watching on TV,’ ” she says. “So I don’t believe like C-SPAN? I’m not sure what he meant by that.”

“But it was this realization that I think we’re coming from two very different realities.”

Izatt’s father declined to comment, but Izatt says she believes he was not among the group that stormed the Capitol. Still, she’s uncomfortable with the idea that he was there that day at all.

Like Izatt, many Americans are feeling like they’ve lost loved ones to a web of conspiracy theories and false information circulating online. A recent NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll, for example, found that only 1 in 5 Republicans accept Biden’s victory.

Ideas have consequences

“Beliefs are real in their consequences,” says James Hawdon, director of the Center for Peace Studies and Violence Prevention at Virginia Tech.

He says the widespread acceptance of disinformation is not only divisive but also dangerous for the country.

“We act on our beliefs. If you truly believe the country is under attack … if this, of course, is not true … obviously it poses a threat,” Hawdon says.

People often latch onto pieces of misinformation that align with their worldview and gradually begin to accept even bigger lies, he says.

“You can get people to step, take small steps off the path of truth or reality or whatever you want to call it, more easily than taking a big leap,” Hawdon says. “But once you’ve gone several yards off that path, then the big leap’s pretty easy to make.”

Those ideas often are appealing because they validate part of a person’s belief system or identity, Hawdon says, and they’re difficult to shake.

Lost in “La-La Land”

Dennis, a retiree from Maryland — who asked that we use only his first name for fear of his safety in the current climate — has grown increasingly worried about his daughter’s embrace of false ideas about the election.

“She’s talked about the election being stolen and I’ve pushed back on that — you know, the standard, ‘Where’s your proof? And how do you suppose this happened?’ ” Dennis says.

His daughter, Paula, lives near Baltimore and works as an office manager. In an interview with NPR, she says her father told her she was “in La-La Land, but I really don’t feel that I am.”

Paula says she has been a conservative all of her life. She says she distrusts elected officials and cannot believe Biden won — despite what many courts and elections have repeatedly confirmed — and regardless of what her dad said about her grasp of reality.

“I was a little bit irritated, but my response is, ‘Well, I’m there with 70 million other people, then,’ ” she says.

Getting to the root cause

Hawdon, the violence prevention researcher at Virginia Tech, says one long-term solution could involve better education in data literacy to help young people learn how to sort through fact and fiction. In the short term, if a loved one is spouting misinformation, he advises pushing back kindly — and trying to understand what led to that belief.

“I don’t really believe people started off believing that there are pedophile rings under a pizza place,” he says. “Something got them down that rabbit hole and you have to understand what that root cause is.”

Just as people often take small steps toward conspiracy theories, Hawdon says, they may need to gradually move away from them, too.

Deen Freelon, an associate journalism professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill specializing in politics and digital media, says a heavier hand is necessary in some situations.

“People don’t understand that they have a problem,” Freelon says. “A light touch is really not going to do it here; we really have to pull out all the stops because we’ve seen what happens when we don’t.”

Freelon says that may mean withholding contact for a while or prohibiting grandparents who are condoning insurrection from spending time with grandchildren.

“People lost their lives,” he says. “So this is really serious.”

“Crazy ideas” with consequences

Hilary Izatt says she’s unsure how to talk to her dad, but she anticipates some tough conversations.

“I think a lot of Americans are. . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

31 January 2021 at 12:42 pm

A Vast Web of Vengeance: Weaponized social media and the harm it does

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Kashmir Hill reports in the NY Times:

Guy Babcock vividly remembers the chilly Saturday evening when he discovered the stain on his family. It was September 2018. He, his wife and their young son had just returned to their home in Beckley, an English village outside of Oxford. Mr. Babcock still had his coat on when he got a frantic call from his father.

“I don’t want to upset you, but there is some bad stuff on the internet,” Mr. Babcock recalled his father saying. Someone, somewhere, had written terrible things online about Guy Babcock and his brother, and members of their 86-year-old father’s social club had alerted him.

Mr. Babcock, a software engineer, got off the phone and Googled himself. The results were full of posts on strange sites accusing him of being a thief, a fraudster and a pedophile. The posts listed Mr. Babcock’s contact details and employer.

The images were the worst: photos taken from his LinkedIn and Facebook pages that had “pedophile” written across them in red type. Someone had posted the doctored images on Pinterest, and Google’s algorithms apparently liked things from Pinterest, and so the pictures were positioned at the very top of the Google results for “Guy Babcock.”

Mr. Babcock, 59, was not a thief, a fraudster or a pedophile. “I remember being in complete shock,” he said. “Why would someone do this? Who could it possibly be? Who would be so angry?”

Then he Googled his brother’s name. The results were just as bad.

He tried his wife.

His sister.

His brother-in-law.

His teenage nephew.

His cousin.

His aunt.

They had all been hit. The men were branded as child molesters and pedophiles, the women as thieves and scammers. Only his 8-year-old son had been spared.

Guy Babcock was about to discover the power of a lone person to destroy countless reputations, aided by platforms like Google that rarely intervene. He was shocked when he discovered the identity of the assailant, the number of other victims and the duration of the digital violence.

Public smears have been around for centuries. But they are far more effective in the internet age, gliding across platforms that are loath to crack down, said Peter W. Singer, co-author of “LikeWar: The Weaponization of Social Media.”

The solution, he said, was to identify “super-spreaders” of slander, the people and the websites that wage the most vicious false attacks.

“The way to make the internet a less toxic place is setting limits on super-spreaders or even knocking them offline,” Mr. Singer said. “Instead of policing everyone, we should police those who affect the most people.”

The Babcock family had been targeted by a super-spreader, dragged into an internet cesspool where people’s reputations are held for ransom.

Mr. Babcock was sure there was a way to have lies about him wiped from the internet. Many of the slanderous posts appeared on a website called Ripoff Report, which describes itself as a forum for exposing “complaints, reviews, scams, lawsuits, frauds.” (Its tagline: “consumers educating consumers.”)

He started clicking around and eventually found a part of the site where Ripoff Report offered “arbitration services,” which cost up to $2,000, to get rid of “substantially false” information. That sounded like extortion; Mr. Babcock wasn’t about to pay to have lies removed.

Ripoff Report is one of hundreds of “complaint sites” — others include She’s a Homewrecker, Cheaterbot and Deadbeats Exposed — that let people anonymously expose an unreliable handyman, a cheating ex, a sexual predator.

But there is no fact-checking. The sites often charge money to take down posts, even defamatory ones. And there is limited accountability. Ripoff Report, like the others, notes on its site that, thanks to Section 230 of the federal Communications Decency Act, it isn’t responsible for what its users post.

If someone posts false information about you on the Ripoff Report, the CDA prohibits you from holding us liable for the statements which others have written. You can always sue the author if you want, but you can’t sue Ripoff Report just because we provide a forum for speech.

With that impunity, Ripoff Report and its ilk are willing to host pure, uncensored vengeance.

Google results are often the first impression a person makes. They help people decide whom to date, to hire, to rent a home to. Mr. Babcock worried that his family’s terrible Google search profiles could have serious repercussions, particularly for his 19-year-old nephew and his 27-year-old cousin, both just starting out in life.

Two weeks after Mr. Babcock discovered the pedophile posts, a friend called: He’d heard about the accusations from another village resident. Someone had spotted them while Googling an ice-cream parlor the Babcock family owned. Mr. Babcock soon installed a home security system; he’d read about vigilantes going after accused child molesters.

He and members of his extended family reported the online harassment to police in England and Canada, where most of them lived. Only the British authorities appeared to take the report seriously; a 1988 law prohibits communications that intentionally cause distress. An officer with the local Thames Valley police told Mr. Babcock to gather the evidence, so he and his brother-in-law, Luc Groleau, who lives outside of Montreal, started cataloging the posts in a Google document. It grew to more than 100 pages.

In October 2018, while scrolling through items deep in his Google results, Mr. Babcock came across a blog where a commenter falsely called him “a former janitor” who was “masquerading as an IT consultant.” It was similar to attacks elsewhere, but this one had an author photo attached: a woman with long, reddish hair, wearing a black blazer and chunky earrings.

Mr. Babcock stared at the photo in shock. He hadn’t seen it in decades, but he recognized it instantly. The woman’s name was Nadire Atas; this was her official work portrait from 1990, when she worked in a Re/Max real estate office the Babcock family owned outside Toronto. She had initially been a star employee, but her performance deteriorated, and in 1993 Mr. Babcock’s father had fired her. Afterward, she had threatened his father, according to an affidavit filed in a Canadian court.

Mr. Babcock felt lightheaded. A memory came back to him: When his mother died in 1999, the family had received vulgar, anonymous letters celebrating her death. A neighbor received a typed letter stating that Mr. Babcock’s father “has been seen roaming the neighbourhood late at night and masturbating behind the bushes.” The Babcocks had suspected Ms. Atas, who was the only person who had ever threatened them. (Ms. Atas denied making threats or writing the letters.)

Decades later, it appeared that she was still harboring her grudge — and had updated her methods for the digital age.

Mr. Babcock searched Ms. Atas’s name online and found a blog written by a Canadian lawyer, Christina Wallis. It was the first in a trail of clues that would eventually reveal the breadth of Ms. Atas’s online campaign.

“A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes,” wrote Ms. Wallis, borrowing a quote often attributed to Mark Twain. She described how Ms. Atas had waged an online campaign against her, her colleagues and her family, including branding them pedophiles.

Mr. Babcock got goose bumps.

His brother-in-law, Mr. Groleau, contacted Ms. Wallis. She had represented a bank that foreclosed on two properties Ms. Atas owned in the early 2000s. Dozens of people had come under online attack: employees of the bank, lawyers who represented the bank, lawyers who represented those lawyers, relatives of those people and on and on. The attacks seemed engineered to perform well in search engines, and they included the victims’ names, addresses, contact information and employers. (Ms. Atas denies being the author of many of these posts.)

For years, Ms. Wallis and her colleagues had been pursuing lawsuits and contacting the sites and technology platforms that hosted the material. Nothing had worked. The smears remained public, and the consequences became real.

A relative of one lawyer said she spent months applying for jobs in 2019 without getting any offers. The woman, who asked not to be named because she feared Ms. Atas, said her bills piled up. She worried she might lose her home.

Then she decided to apply for jobs using her maiden name, under which she hadn’t been attacked. She quickly lined up three interviews and two offers.

These situations — where one angry person targets a large group of perceived enemies — are not uncommon. Maanit Zemel, a lawyer who specializes in online defamation, represents a group of 53 people who have filed a lawsuit saying they were attacked online by Tanvir Farid after he failed to get jobs at their companies. (Mr. Farid’s lawyer declined to comment.)

For victims, these sorts of attacks “can literally end their life and their career and everything,” Ms. Zemel said.

The victims in the Atas case live in Canada, Britain and the United States. In June 2020, Matthew Hefler, 32, the brother-in-law of a colleague of Ms. Wallis, became one of the latest targets. Mr. Hefler, who lives in Nova Scotia, is a historian who recently completed his Ph.D. in war studies. He is trying to find a teaching job. But anyone who searches for him online will encounter posts and images tarring him as a pedophile and “pervert freak.”

Until recently, Mr. Hefler had never heard of Ms. Atas. He had no clue why she was attacking him. “You discover that someone you’ve never met, across the country, is running a one-man troll farm against you,” Mr. Hefler said. “It’s a nightmare scenario.”

In October 2018, . . .

Continue reading. There’s much more.

Something must be done. Section 230 requires substantial revision.

Written by Leisureguy

31 January 2021 at 10:50 am

Republicans seem always to have been hostile to (and ignorant of) science. Antonin Scalia is a good example.

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This Salon article by Bruce Hay was published 27 February 2016, shortly after Scalia’s death:

In the two weeks since his death, many have spoken about Antonin Scalia’s undeniable impact on American law.  As attention shifts to filling the vacancy he has left on the Supreme Court, I would like instead to talk about his less appreciated impact on contemporary physics. But first, a bit of background.

Antonin Scalia generally detested science. It threatened everything he believed in. He refused to join a recent Supreme Court opinion about DNA testing because it presented the details of textbook molecular biology as fact. He could not join because he did not know such things to be true, he said. (On the other hand, he knew all about the eighteenth century. History books were trustworthy; science books were not.) Scientists should be listened to only if they supported conservative causes, for example dubious studies purporting to demonstrate that same-sex parenting is harmful to children. Scientists were also good if they helped create technologies he liked, such as oil drills and deadly weapons.

His own weapon was the poison-barbed word, and the battleground was what he once labeled the Kulturkampf, the culture war. The enemy took many forms. Women’s rights. Racial justice. Economic equality. Environmental protection. The “homosexual agenda,” as he called it. Intellectuals and universities. The questioning of authority and privilege. Ambiguity. Foreignness. Social change. Climate research. The modern world, in all its beauty and complexity and fragility.

Most of all, the enemy was to be found in judges who believe decency and compassion are central to their jobs, not weaknesses to be extinguished. Who refuse to dehumanize people and treat them as pawns in some Manichean struggle of good versus evil, us versus them. Who decline to make their intelligence and verbal gifts into instruments of cruelty and persecution and infinite scorn.

I worked for him early in his tenure on the Supreme Court. He had visited my law school when I was a student, and I was smitten by his warmth and humor and sheer intellectual vibrancy. When I applied for a clerkship at the Court, my hero Justice Brennan quickly filled all his positions, so Scalia became my first choice. He offered me a job and I thought I’d won the lottery. I knew we differed politically, but he prized reason and I would help him be reasonable. A more naive young fool never drew breath.

I can attest to the many nice things people have said about the Justice. He was erudite and frighteningly smart. He said what he thought, not what was expedient. He was generous to friends and family. He loved his clerks and helped them get dream jobs. And we returned the favor by not thinking about what we were doing, then or afterward. What I took for the pursuit of reason in those chambers was in fact the manufacture of verbal munitions, to be deployed against civilian populations. From the comfort of our leather chairs, we never saw the victims.

Anyway, about his contribution to physics. I am close to one of the victims of his operation, a transgender woman named Mischa Haider, whom I got to know during the course of her work on a Ph.D. in physics at Harvard. She’s an extraordinary polymath — gifted violinist, writer and novelist; fluent speaker of a half-dozen languages; math genius. And physicist. Her intellect would have made our brilliant Justice want to hide his head in a bag, to borrow his charming words from last year’s marriage equality ruling. Those who have any doubt about trans mothers should meet Mischa’s children.

Since coming out as trans a few years ago, this remarkable woman has suffered a debilitating depression. Partly from the transphobia she encounters daily at the allegedly enlightened Harvard; from the constant stares in public; from the indignity of worrying about things the rest of us take for granted, like walking in the street or using a public bathroom without fear of taunts or violence, or taking her children to the park without fear of being humiliated in front of them.  And from the pain of rejection by family and former friends who, despite her prodigious achievements, are somehow ashamed to be associated with her.

Beyond all that, it’s her knowledge of what the “culture war” means for trans women across the country, women who are shunned by their families, who are often unable to get jobs and therefore live in poverty, who face shocking levels of assault and murder (2015 was a record year), who attempt suicide at a rate greater than 40 percent. Who are generally excluded from the protection of antidiscrimination laws. Who, on the contrary, are at this moment the subject of dozens of pending pieces of transphobic legislation around the country, such as bills to stigmatize trans children by forcing them to use separate locker rooms at school or to jail trans women for using public bathrooms that match their identity. The drumbeat of organized hatred, calling to mind yellow stars and separate drinking fountains and worse, makes my friend feel like a nonperson, unwelcome in her own country. All this, for the crime of not matching someone else’s idea of how women are supposed to look.

She’s decided to leave academic physics after finishing the doctorate. She has become . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

31 January 2021 at 9:47 am

Posted in Daily life, GOP, Law, Science

Will Congressional conflict reach this point?

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This was seen in South Korea’s National Assembly a few years ago (31 July 2015):

Written by Leisureguy

31 January 2021 at 9:08 am

Some earlier posts checking out the Rockwell 6S baseplates, including comparison to the Feather AS-D2

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A reader emailed me a question this morning on how the Rockwell 6S R1 baseplate compares to the Feather AS-D2. As it happens, I did this comparison a few years ago. Here are the posts in reading sequence. R3 is not included since that was my regular choice at the time. (I now routinely use R4.)

R2 compared to AS-D2   
R1 compared to AS-D2  
R5 evaluated  
R6 evaluated with a surprise

Written by Leisureguy

31 January 2021 at 9:04 am

Posted in Shaving

Relevent again: “The Big Short”

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And it’s a thoroughly enjoyable and interesting movie — and with Game Stop worth seeing again. And it’s on Netflix. Do watch. This is my third time seeing it.

Update. Just finished watching it. Wow! Is it good!

Written by Leisureguy

30 January 2021 at 7:43 pm

Arrows vs Armour – Medieval Myth Busting

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Written by Leisureguy

30 January 2021 at 7:41 pm

Posted in History, Military, Video

How Cognitive Bias Can Explain Post-Truth

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Lee McIntyre has a very interesting article in The MIT Reader, adapted from his book Post-Truth. It begins:

To say that facts are less important than feelings in shaping our beliefs about empirical matters seems new, at least in American politics. In the past we have faced serious challenges — even to the notion of truth itself — but never before have such challenges been so openly embraced as a strategy for the political subordination of reality, which is how I define “post-truth.” Here, “post” is meant to indicate not so much the idea that we are “past” truth in a temporal sense (as in “postwar”) but in the sense that truth has been eclipsed by less important matters like ideology.

One of the deepest roots of post-truth has been with us the longest, for it has been wired into our brains over the history of human evolution: cognitive bias. Psychologists for decades have been performing experiments that show that we are not quite as rational as we think. Some of this work bears directly on how we react in the face of unexpected or uncomfortable truths.

A central concept of human psychology is that we strive to avoid psychic discomfort. It is not a pleasant thing to think badly of oneself. Some psychologists call this “ego defense” (after Freudian theory), but whether we frame it within this paradigm or not, the concept is clear. It just feels better for us to think that we are smart, well-informed, capable people than that we are not. What happens when we are confronted with information that suggests that something we believe is untrue? It creates psychological tension. How could I be an intelligent person yet believe a falsehood? Only the strongest egos can stand up very long under a withering assault of self-criticism: “What a fool I was! The answer was right there in front of me the whole time, but I never bothered to look. I must be an idiot.” So the tension is often resolved by changing one of one’s beliefs.

It matters a great deal, however, which beliefs change. One would like to think that it should always be the belief that was shown to be mistaken. If we are wrong about a question of empirical reality — and we are finally confronted by the evidence — it would seem easiest to bring our beliefs back into harmony by changing the one that we now have good reason to doubt. But this is not always what happens. There are many ways to adjust a belief set, some rational and some not.

Three Classic Findings from Social Psychology

In 1957, Leon Festinger published his pioneering book “A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance,” in which he offered the idea that we seek harmony between our beliefs, attitudes, and behavior, and experience psychic discomfort when they are out of balance. In seeking resolution, our primary goal is to preserve our sense of self-value.

In a typical experiment, Festinger gave subjects an extremely boring task, for which some were paid $1 and some were paid $20. After completing the task, subjects were requested to tell the person who would perform the task after them that it was enjoyable. Festinger found that subjects who had been paid $1 reported the task to be much more enjoyable than those who had been paid $20. Why? Because their ego was at stake. What kind of person would do a meaningless, useless task for just a dollar unless it was actually enjoyable? To reduce the dissonance, they altered their belief that the task had been boring (whereas those who were paid $20 were under no illusion as to why they had done it). In another experiment, Festinger had subjects hold protest signs for causes they did not actually believe in. Surprise! After doing so, subjects began to feel that the cause was actually a bit more worthy than they had initially thought.

But what happens when we have much more invested than just performing a boring task or holding a sign? What if we have taken a public stand on something, or even devoted our life to it, only to find out later that we’ve been duped? Festinger analyzed just this phenomenon in a book called . . .

Continue reading. There’s much more. In fact, there’s a whole book more.

See also “How To Handle Post-Truth Now That Trump Is Gone.”

Written by Leisureguy

30 January 2021 at 5:11 pm

Posted in Books, Daily life, Memes, Science

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The Brandy Manhattan from the Upper Midwest

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I have mentioned in a previous post or two, when partaking of a Brandy Manhattan, how my friend Spaeth (from St. Cloud MN) told me that it was a quintessential Minnesota drink. As it turns out, its origins are in Wisconsin, from which it spread to Minnesota and other parts of the Upper Midwest. Unfortunately, the favored brand (Korbel) seems to be unavailable in Canada.

Written by Leisureguy

30 January 2021 at 5:05 pm

Posted in Daily life, Drinks, Memes

Reconstructing the Menu of a Pub in Ancient Pompeii

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Written by Leisureguy

30 January 2021 at 4:58 pm

How to enjoy coffee

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Full disclosure: I most often drink freeze-dried instant coffee (Folgers). But I still found the article by Jessica Easto in Psyche of interest:

Need to know

Coffee hasn’t always received the attention it deserves. In many Western countries especially, the beans were low quality. Drinkers didn’t know or care about how coffee was produced, bought or brewed. A lot of coffee was cheap and tasted bitter, and its purpose was practical: medicine or fuel.

But over the past few decades, things have started to change around the world. A global band of intrepid producers, buyers, roasters, baristas and scientists have been elevating coffee to the craft level, like fine wine and beer. You might think that you know what coffee tastes like – roasted, toasty and bitter – but that’s only a sliver of the variety available to you now.

Coffee – what’s called ‘drip’ or ‘filter’ coffee, not espresso – can taste smooth and sweet like chocolate, or provide a zip on your tongue like a bright Champagne, or taste fruity, just like a blueberry. And when I say ‘chocolate’ or ‘blueberry’, I mean the coffee itself literally tastes like those things, without any added syrups or flavourings. The first time you drink coffee that tastes like more than coffee, you’ll never forget it.

This expansion of flavours is partly down to a global trend towards new roasting techniques. All coffee roasters create a roast profile – a manipulation of time and temperature – to achieve flavour in the beans. Historically, coffee has been roasted for relatively long periods of time at relatively high temperatures (think of traditional Italian coffee culture or the giant coffee chains in the United States). This profile tends to emphasise roast character, the flavours imparted by the roasting process – akin to how the process of ageing bourbon in oak barrels imparts a distinct flavour to the spirit. But more recently, distinct coffee cultures – including those of North America, Australia, Britain, Scandinavia and Japan – have been pushing other roasting techniques forward, ones that focus on the qualities of the bean. For example, roasting at relatively low temperatures for a shorter amount of time tends to accentuate what I call coffee character, the unique flavours inherent in the bean itself and where it was grown – or its terroir, to borrow a term from wine.

At the same time, producers all across the ‘Bean Belt’ – the band of coffee-growing countries that fall between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn – are refining their growing and processing techniques, supplying the speciality coffee market with unique, delectable coffee beans. All this has opened the door to a world of possibility for consumers. Coffee has never had more variety or more potential to taste great than it does right now.

Whether you’re a regular coffee drinker or just starting out, the best way to enjoy a cup is by honouring all the craftspeople – the producers, green-coffee buyers, roasters, baristas and more – who made your brew possible. Today’s speciality coffee offers as much range and variety as wine and craft beer, yet it’s mostly still not appreciated and savoured in the same way. Whether you see coffee as an occasional treat or as a daily essential, there is so much more you can learn and enjoy.

What to do

Select high-quality beans. Say goodbye to the large canisters and bags of preground coffee that line the grocery store shelves. You won’t find quality there. I recommend seeking out independent local roasteries, or looking online if there isn’t one nearby. If you can, try to talk to the roasters personally about their coffee, either at their café or over email. In my experience, the more information they’re able to give you about the beans, the more likely that their business values quality and transparency.

A craft roaster (or the barista who is slinging their coffee) should be able to tell you what country the beans come from, the variety of coffee it is, the name of the producer, how the coffee was processed, and even what elevation it was grown at. Knowing this information indicates that care was taken during the production process and that the roaster values their ingredient, both of which are marks of quality. (If the roaster can’t or won’t share this information, then run away fast.) Many craft roasters even take trips to origin – where the beans are grown – to taste and select coffees for their clientele.

Craft roasters often carry both single-origin coffee (meaning the beans come from only one country) and blends (a mix of beans from more than one country). Both of these can be great, but single-origin beans tend to be of a higher quality – they have more potential to be distinct and interesting, with flavours that vary greatly depending on the variety of bean, where they were grown, how they were processed and sorted, and more. In contrast, blends tend to be developed to have a more consistent taste, no matter the season, but are cut with lower quality (but still good) beans for the distinct purpose of making them affordable.

It’s always worth spending a bit more money, if you can. This is partly because of taste – high-quality coffee is more expensive – but it also means your coffee is more likely to be ethically produced. Coffee producers have historically been exploited, and even ‘fair trade’ prices – designed to protect farmers – often aren’t enough; they have barely increased in recent decades. That’s why some speciality coffee roasters make a point to buy above fair-trade prices, which inevitably costs more for consumers. Where possible, buy your coffee from roasters who purchase their beans ethically and transparently at a price that reflects the tremendous amount of human effort and skill involved in coffee production.

Drink thoughtfully prepared cups. One challenge that great coffee has . . .

Continue reading. There is much more — much much more, considering that the article is undoubtedly an extract from her book, Craft Coffee: A Manual (2017).

One strange omission: no link to Sweet Maria’s for those who want to roast their own coffee beans (not difficult).

Written by Leisureguy

30 January 2021 at 4:49 pm

A house divided cannot stand? I guess we’ll see. ‘I’m just furious’: Relations in Congress crack after attack

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Sarah Ferris and Melanie Zanona report in Politico:

Some House lawmakers are privately refusing to work with each other. Others are afraid to be in the same room. Two members almost got into a fist fight on the floor. And the speaker of the House is warning that “the enemy is within.”

Forget Joe Biden’s calls for unity. Members of Congress couldn’t be further divided.

Just weeks into the 117th Congress, the bedrock of relationships hasn’t been on such shaky ground in more than a generation, with a sense of deep distrust and betrayal that lawmakers worry will linger for years. And those strains could carry long-term effects on an institution where relationships — and reputations — matter more than almost anything else.

“This is a real tension,” said Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), who was among the roughly two dozen Democrats barricaded into the chamber during the Jan. 6 riots and later contracted coronavirus after spending hours in a safe room with Republicans who refused to wear masks. “I don’t know if that’s repairable. It is certainly a massive chasm that exists right now between a large majority of the Republican caucus and all of us Democrats across the ideological spectrum.”

The friction is particularly intense in the House, where two-thirds of the GOP conference voted to overturn the election just hours after lawmakers were attacked by a mob that demanded that very action. The position of those 139 members is now threatening to upend decades of relationships in the House, forcing long-time colleagues to work through their raw emotions and palpable anger in the weeks since the attack.

“I’ve really been struggling with it,” added Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Mich.), who was also in the chamber when rioters breached the building. “I have a hard time interacting with those members right now, especially with those I had a closer relationship with… I’m not going to deny the reality — that I look at them differently now. They’re smaller people to me now.”

Multiple Democrats said they are privately mulling whether to sever ties completely with those Republicans, as their caucus weighs potential forms of punishment — particularly for those still-unnamed members who House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said gave “aid and comfort” to the insurrectionists.

Some Democrats, particularly moderates, argue that their party has no choice but to . . .

Continue reading. There’s much more, and it’s strong and bitter stuff.

Written by Leisureguy

30 January 2021 at 4:04 pm

‘This is literally an industry’: drone images give rare look at for-profit ICE detention centers

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ICE immigration detention in Arizona. Photograph by David Taylor.

The US has for a long time been strongly committed to the idea of locking people up. Indeed, the US is No. 1 by a good amount in this category:

That’s from the Wikipedia article “List of countries by incarceration rate.” Notice the company the US keeps. Much farther down the list, well out of the US neighborhood, you’ll see:

175. Germany (77/100,000)
187. Denmark (63)
193. Sweden (61)
194. Norway (60)
203. Bangladesh (52)

In the meantime, the US continues to construct building complexes in which to lock more people up. “Land of the free” doesn’t really mean much, given the incarceration rate in the US (nor does “Home of the brave,” given the cowardice of Republicans in Congress). Amanda Holpunch has an interesting article in the Guardian, with photos and video by David Taylor. She writes:

“Imagine how it feels there, locked up, the whole day without catching the air, without … seeing the light, because that is a cave there, in there you go crazy; without being able to see my family, just being able to listen to them on a phone and be able to say, ‘OK, bye,’ because the calls are expensive.”

That’s how Alejandro, an asylum seeker from Cuba, described his time in an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Ice) detention center.

His account is one of dozens captured in a collection of audio recordings as part of a project aiming to show how the US immigration detention system, the world’s largest, has commodified people as part of a for-profit industry.

“We’ve commodified human displacement,” said artist David Taylor, who has used drones to take aerial photography and video of 28 privately run Ice detention centers near the US southern border, in California, Arizona and Texas.

West Texas Detention Facility, Sierra Blanca, Texas.

Above: West Texas detention facility, Sierra Blanca, Texas. Photograph by David Taylor

While accounts of abuse and exploitation from inside facilities appear in the news media, the detention centers are usually in isolated, underpopulated areas with access to photographers or film crews tightly controlled.

This new image collection, taken from near the perimeters of the facilities, gives a rare look at just how many of these centers occupy the landscape. “What I want to show through the accumulation of imagery is that this is literally an industry,” Taylor said, “that it’s expansive, that it occupies a significant amount of territory in our national landscape – and I’m only showing a fraction of it.

“That, to me, is an important realization. The scale is shocking; how it is changing the United States,” said Taylor, a professor of art at the University of Arizona.

The imagery will ultimately be shown in an exhibition incorporating the stories of some of the people captured inside this system. These audio recordings come from a collaboration with Taylor and a group which provides free legal service to detained migrants in Arizona, the Florence Project, and writer Francisco Cantú.

When the project is eventually presented in a gallery, it will also include data on the costs, profits and revenue of corporations involved. Late in the the Obama era, the Department of Justice (DoJ) discontinued all use of private prison corporations to house detainees, but the DoJ during the Trump administration reversed this policy. . . .

Continue reading. There’s much more. And some of the detention complexes are astonishingly large.

Written by Leisureguy

30 January 2021 at 3:45 pm

‘Be ready to fight’: FBI probe of U.S. Capitol riot finds evidence detailing coordination of an assault

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It’s becoming increasingly that what happened on January 6 was a serious and deliberate attempt at a coup, which failed only because of the extraordinarily high level of incompetence of those attempting it .

As an instance of deliberate intent, see “Trump Defense Secretary Disarmed D.C. National Guard Before Capitol Riot,” a report by Mark Sumner in The National Memo, which begins:

testimony before the House this week, Capitol Police and D.C. National Guard officials acknowledged that by Jan. 4 they understood that “… the January 6th event would not be like any of the previous protests held in 2020. We knew that militia groups and white supremacist organizations would be attending. We also knew that some of these participants were intending to bring firearms and other weapons to the event. We knew that there was a strong potential for violence and that Congress was the target.”

On that same day, former acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller issued a memo to the secretary of the Army placing some extremely unusual limits on National Guard forces for that event. It’s not a to-do list. It’s a list of thou shalt nots. A long list. A list that says guard forces can’t arrest any of the pro-Trump protesters, or search them, or even touch them. And that’s just for starters.

The full memo shows that the D.C. Guard did receive a request from D.C. government for guard presence during the Jan. 6 event. Miller responds promptly to go ahead, so long as the soldiers are given no weapons, no body armor, and no helmets. They can bring agents like pepper spray or flashbangs. They can’t share any gear with Capitol Police or Metro D.C. Police. They can’t … really do much of anything.

When initial reports indicate that the handful of National Guard forces that were deployed to D.C. on that day were dedicated to directing traffic several blocks away from the area of the Trump rally, it may simply be because that’s the only thing they could find for them to do considering the restrictions that were given. It’s clear that these restrictions would have absolutely prevented any guard forces from trying to protect any location. . .

Read the whole thing.

And see also the report in the Washington Post by Devlin Barrett, Spencer S. Hsu, and Aaron C. Davis:

When die-hard supporters of President Donald Trump showed up at rally point “Cowboy” in Louisville on the morning of Jan. 5, they found the shopping mall’s parking lot was closed to cars, so they assembled their 50 or so vehicles outside a nearby Kohl’s department store. Hundreds of miles away in Columbia, S.C., at a mall designated rally point “Rebel,” other Trump supporters gathered to form another caravan to Washington. A similar meetup — dubbed “Minuteman” — was planned for Springfield, Mass.

That same day, FBI personnel in Norfolk were increasingly alarmed by the online conversations they were seeing, including warlike talk around the convoys headed to the nation’s capital. One map posted online described the rally points, declaring them a “MAGA Cavalry To Connect Patriot Caravans to StopTheSteal in D.C.” Another map showed the U.S. Congress, indicating tunnels connecting different parts of the complex. The map was headlined, “CREATE PERIMETER,” according to the FBI report, which was reviewed by The Washington Post.

“Be ready to fight. Congress needs to hear glass breaking, doors being kicked in,” read one posting, according to the report.

FBI agents around the country are working to unravel the various motives, relationships, goals and actions of the hundreds of Trump supporters who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Some inside the bureau have described the Capitol riot investigation as their biggest case since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, and a top priority of the agents’ work is to determine the extent to which that violence and chaos was preplanned and coordinated.

Self-styled militia members planned days in advance to storm the Capitol, court papers say

Investigators caution there is an important legal distinction between gathering like-minded people for a political rally — which is protected by the First Amendment — and organizing an armed assault on the seat of American government. The task now is to distinguish which people belong in each category, and who played key roles in committing or coordinating the violence.

Video and court filings, for instance, describe how several groups of men that include alleged members of the Proud Boys appear to engage in concerted action, converging on the West Front of the Capitol just before 1 p.m., near the Peace Monument at First Street NW and Pennsylvania Avenue NW. Different factions of the crowd appear to coalesce, move forward and chant under the direction of different leaders before charging at startled police staffing a pedestrian gate, all in the matter of a few minutes.

An indictment Friday night charged a member of the Proud Boys, Dominic Pezzola, 43, of Rochester, N.Y., with conspiracy, saying his actions showed “planning, determination, and coordination.” Another alleged member of the Proud Boys, William Pepe, 31, of Beacon, N.Y., also was charged with conspiracy.

Minutes before the crowd surge, at 12:45 p.m., police received the first report of a pipe bomb behind the Republican National Committee headquarters at the opposite, southeast side of the U.S. Capitol campus. The device and another discovered shortly afterward at Democratic National Committee headquarters included end caps, wiring, timers and explosive powder, investigators have said. . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

30 January 2021 at 3:05 pm

Every Denzel Washington movie, ranked

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The list is on Vulture, and as I read through it I realized how many I had seen and — even more keenly — how many I have yet to see. Unfortunately some are not available to stream, a gross failure of streaming content. But some are, and I have added to my queue some to watch and some to rewatch.

Written by Leisureguy

30 January 2021 at 2:35 pm

Posted in Movies & TV

960lbs crossbow vs 150lbs crossbow

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30 January 2021 at 1:42 pm

Posted in Military, Technology, Video

Change is well underway

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30 January 2021 at 12:51 pm

An aftershave duo to pair with a different take on Bay Rum: Grooming Dept.’s Lemon Bay

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This tub of Lemon Bay from Grooming Dept. lacks the top label because this is a sample tub holding half a puck — plenty enough to get a sense of the (excellent) soap. The fragrance is wonderful — I do like it when Bay Rum is taken in a new direction, as with Tallow + Steel’s Grog. The addition of lemon to the traditional bay rum fragrance now — in hindsight, having smelled the soap — seems totally natural: inspiration that when achieved seems so right that one thinks it’s obvious.

An aside: People so quickly assimilate new information that makes sense that they get the illusion that they already knew it and the person telling them brings nothing new to the party but is just stating the obvious. So a good practice before presenting (say) sales results or the outcome of an analysis is to ask those present to make their own estimates, and if it is possible, to record those on a whiteboard. Then if the presented numbers differ significantly, the people present will recognize that they are getting new information that was not in fact obvious. /aside

This Grooming Dept. soap, like yesterday’s, seems to like a little more water than other soaps — not much, but enough to notice. The lather again was quite wonderful. It’s a first-rate soap even apart from the intriguing fragrances on offer. (As the Stockist list at his site shows, the Canadian source is Italian Barber.)

Lemon Bay is unusual not only for the fragrance but also for the ingredients: it’s a donkey-milk, duck-fat, lamb-tallow shaving soap:

Aloe Vera Juice, Stearic Acid, Donkey Milk, Potassium Hydroxide, Duck Fat, Lamb Tallow, Castor Oil, Glycerin, Kokum Butter, Shea Butter, Cupuacu Butter, Sucrose Cocoate, Fragrance, Safflower Oil, Jojoba Oil, Coconut Oil, Sodium Hydroxide, Acacia Senegal Gum, Kaolin Clay, Avocado Oil, Mango Butter, Grapeseed Oil, Sodium Hydroxide, Sodium Lactate, Sodium Citrate, Xanthan Gum, Carnauba Wax, Allantoin, Chamomile Extract, Sea Buckthorn Extract. Flaxseed Oil, Sacha Inchi Extract. Silk Amino Acids and Tocopheryl Acetate.

I say again: the lather experience with this soap is first rate, both in making the lather and in using it. And with the Rockwell 6S (using the R4 baseplate), the shave was superb.

I experimented with a two-aftershave finish: first a splash of Dominica Bay Rum, then a splash of Myrsol’s Agua de Limon. That seemed to work well, but of course I (unlike, say, an elephant) find it difficult to sniff my own cheek.

Written by Leisureguy

30 January 2021 at 9:51 am

Posted in Shaving

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