Later On

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

Archive for February 9th, 2021

An osprey at the instant before the strike

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Written by LeisureGuy

9 February 2021 at 10:42 pm

Posted in Daily life, Science

Asparagus-Beet Medley

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This recipe is using things I had on hand — thus the beet — and it turned out really tasty. I used my Stargazer 12″ cast-iron skillet, and cast iron is very good for things like this: it holds a lot of heat and cooks by radiated as well as conducted heat.  I also use today as an example of how I check all the boxes for Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen.

First, of course, prepare the garlic:

• cloves from one head of garlic, peeled and chopped small

Set that aside (I put it into a small bowl) for the garlic to rest and prepare the other vegetables:

• 1 large red onion, chopped
• 1 bunch scallions, chopped including leaves
• 1 beet, diced fairly small
• 8 large (or 10 medium) white mushrooms, halved and sliced
• 1 orange (or red or yellow — I used orange) bell pepper, chopped

Heat skillet a few minutes, then add:

• 1 1/2 tablespoons avocado oil

Immediately add onions and scallions. Cook those for a few minutes, then add beet, mushrooms, and bell pepper. Cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally, while you prepare:

• 1 bunch asparagus, cut into 1″ lengths

Some stalks of asparagus will be green the full length, and I generally use all of those. Others will turn white toward the end, and I discard that part because it’s usually quite tough.

Once the asparagus is ready, add to the pan the garlic and the asparagus and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are done to your liking. My preference is al dente, but cook them as much as you like. (Note that there is no dangers associated with undercooking, unlike with (say) pork.)

Turn off heat and add:

• dash of fish sauce (or Worcestershire sauce or soy sauce or tamari — for umami)
• a few dashes of hot sauce (today I used Tabasco Habanero hot sauce)

I served it in a bowl:

1/4 cup cooked intact whole grain from the fridge (today, rye) – Grain serving
1/4 cup cooked legume from the fridge (today, brown lentils) – Bean serving
1/2 cup cooked greens from the fridge (today, collards recently blogged) – Greens serving
1/2 cup Asparagus-Beet Medley – Other Vegetables serving
1 teaspoon Bragg’s Nutritional yeast – for flavor and B12

I had 3 servings of Fruit (a mandarin orange, apple, and pear) for breakfast.

For lunch I had collards (Greens) with some of the variant Lentils Monastery  Style blogged earlier (which includes Grain, Beans, and Other Vegetables), and stirred in 1/4 cup walnuts (Nuts/Seeds), 1 tablespoon freshly ground flax seeds (Flaxseed), 1/2 teaspoon turmeric (Turmeric), and about 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (enables absorption of turmeric).

Around 5:30pm I’ll make one of the cranberry/berry slushies I blogged a couple of days ago (Berries).

I list all that because it shows one way to check all the boxes in Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen list except Exercise, and for that I walked to a local UPS drop-off facility (in this case, a small neighborhood grocery store a good walk away).

Written by LeisureGuy

9 February 2021 at 5:04 pm

Who’s who in movie credits: A detailed analysis

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This is the most detailed explanation I’ve seen.

Written by LeisureGuy

9 February 2021 at 3:03 pm

Posted in Business, Movies & TV, Video

When the law shows bad faith: Did Tennessee Execute an Innocent Man?

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Emily Bazelon writes in the NY Times:

Many people on death row in the United States have gone to their death protesting their innocence. In at least a dozen and a half cases, strong evidence supports such a claim, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. But to date, no case has emerged in which DNA or other evidence has provided definitive proof that the state executed an innocent person.

A case like that “could accelerate the end of the death penalty in America,” said Barry Scheck, a founder of the Innocence Project. Mr. Scheck teamed up last week with a prominent conservative litigator, Paul Clement, a former solicitor general for President George W. Bush, before the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals on behalf of the estate of a Tennessee man, Sedley Alley, who was executed for a 1985 murder.

At the time of the killing, DNA testing was not yet part of criminal investigations. After the technology became widespread, a state appellate court refused Mr. Alley’s requests for testing of clothing and other items found at the crime scene. In 2011, the Tennessee Supreme Court rejected some of the lower court’s reasoning in the Alley case. But the ruling came too late for Mr. Alley. He was executed in 2006.

Will DNA testing that could prove Mr. Alley innocent be allowed? That’s what this case is about. On a night in July 1985, Suzanne Collins, a 19-year-old lance corporal in the Marine Corps, went running at about 10:30 p.m. outside the naval base where she lived in Shelby County, Tenn. Her body was found the next morning, naked and brutalized. Clothing that investigators presumed was worn by her assailant was nearby, including a pair of red men’s underwear.

Navy investigators pursued a lead from two Marines who reported crossing paths with Lance Corporal Collins while she was running. They said that moments after they saw her, they dodged a brown station wagon with a blue license plate, which swerved as it came from her direction. After midnight, law enforcement officers stopped Sedley Alley, then 29. He was driving a dark green station wagon with a blue plate. He lived on the base with his wife, who was in the Navy. Mr. Alley had been discharged from the military years earlier for drug and alcohol abuse.

When the investigators began interrogating him, Mr. Alley, who had been drinking, denied knowing anything about Lance Corporal Collins and asked for a lawyer. But 12 hours later, he signed a statement confessing to the murder. Mr. Alley’s admission, which he later said was false and coerced, did not match the physical evidence. He said he had hit Lance Corporal Collins with his car, then stabbed her with a screwdriver and killed her with a tree branch. But the location he gave for the collision didn’t line up with the witness accounts. And the autopsy report showed that Lance Corporal Collins was not hit by a car nor stabbed with a screwdriver.

Blood found on the driver’s door of the station wagon, in small streaks, was type O, a match for both Mr. Alley and Lance Corporal Collins. No fingerprints, hair or blood from the victim was found on Mr. Alley or inside his car. Tire tracks found at the crime scene didn’t match Mr. Alley’s car, shoe prints didn’t match his shoes, and a third witness who saw a man with a station wagon, close to where Lance Corporal Collins was killed, described someone who was several inches shorter than Mr. Alley, with a different hair color. Nonetheless, Mr. Alley was convicted and sentenced to death.

In the years following Mr. Alley’s sentencing, the use of DNA analysis by law enforcement became more common and increasingly important for solving crimes and also for calling into question past convictions. (They include those based on false confessions — 80 of about 370 exonerations since 1989, according to a database created by Brandon Garrett, a Duke University law professor.) DNA evidence also led to the exoneration of 21 people who served time on death row, according to the Innocence Project.

In 2001, Tennessee passed a law broadly instructing its courts to grant access to DNA testing if a petitioner shows a “reasonable probability” that he or she would not have been convicted in light of the DNA results. Mr. Alley and his new lawyers soon went to court to ask for DNA analysis of the crime-scene evidence. They argued in part that running that evidence through a public database might identify the real killer.

The Tennessee appeals court rejected Mr. Alley’s request for testing, saying he had failed to establish that “reasonable probability.” The court also rejected his argument for the crime scene DNA to be run through a public database to identify the real killer.

In a bizarre reading of the Tennessee DNA law, the appeals court said the law’s reach was limited to comparing the defendant’s DNA with samples of clothing and other evidence. The purposes of DNA testing “must stand alone,” the court said, “and do not encompass a speculative nationwide search for the possibility of a third-party perpetrator.” In other words, Mr. Alley was barred from DNA testing, even if it could exonerate him by identifying someone else as the person who killed Suzanne Collins.

In 2019, one of Sedley Alley’s lawyers, Kelley Henry, knocked on April Alley’s door. Ms. Henry had confirmed a tip to the Innocence Project that a man who had been arrested in a murder and two sexual assaults in St. Louis was suspected in other killings — and that shortly before Lance Corporal Collins’s death, he had been enrolled in a training course at the naval base where she also trained.

The information persuaded Ms. Alley to renew the petition for DNA testing in her father’s case. Her father’s life couldn’t be saved, but perhaps his reputation could be, she reasoned. As the representative of her father’s estate, she would stand in his shoes, legally speaking. She also felt a broader responsibility: If the man arrested in St. Louis was guilty of the Collins murder, “then those other people died or were hurt when they didn’t have to be,” she told me.

The district attorney in Shelby County, Amy Weirich, opposed Ms. Alley’s request for DNA testing. She declined to comment when I called her. But in a legal brief, the Tennessee attorney general’s office argued that “attacks on criminal judgments end with the death of the prisoner.” Ms. Alley’s legal team, led by Mr. Clement, Mr. Scheck and Stephen Ross Johnson, argue that it is “unconscionable,” given the history of the case, for prosecutors to oppose DNA testing “on the sole grounds that it has already executed Alley.”

The state won the first round when

Continue reading. There’s more.

Written by LeisureGuy

9 February 2021 at 1:19 pm

More Korean pottery-making: Still much handwork, but more use of machines and larger production volume

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Written by LeisureGuy

9 February 2021 at 11:52 am

Posted in Art, Business, Daily life, Video

Here’s How Everyone In the Country Saved Democracy

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Kevin Drum has a good post on an article in Time magazine (and the article also is worth reading):

Molly Ball wrote a deeply reported piece in Time last week about the campaign to prevent Donald Trump from trying to steal the election. Her main character is Mike Podhorzer, a senior adviser to the president of the AFL-CIO, who figured out a year ahead of time that Trump was likely to yell fraud if the 2020 election was even remotely close. A few months later he was ready to put a counter-offensive in place:

On March 3, Podhorzer drafted a three-page confidential memo titled “Threats to the 2020 Election.” “Trump has made it clear that this will not be a fair election, and that he will reject anything but his own re-election as ‘fake’ and rigged,” he wrote. “On Nov. 3, should the media report otherwise, he will use the right-wing information system to establish his narrative and incite his supporters to protest.”

….In April, Podhorzer began hosting a weekly 2½-hour Zoom….The meetings became the galactic center for a constellation of operatives across the left who shared overlapping goals but didn’t usually work in concert…. “Pod played a critical behind-the-scenes role in keeping different pieces of the movement infrastructure in communication and aligned,” says Maurice Mitchell, national director of the Working Families Party. “You have the litigation space, the organizing space, the political people just focused on the W, and their strategies aren’t always aligned. He allowed this ecosystem to work together.”

This is a good read all by itself, but the really important stuff comes later. Apologies for the length of the following excerpt, but I promise I have a point to make:

Laura Quinn, a veteran progressive operative who co-founded Catalist, began studying [online disinformation] a few years ago…. The solution, she concluded, was to pressure platforms to enforce their rules, both by removing content or accounts that spread disinformation and by more aggressively policing it in the first place…. In November 2019, Mark Zuckerberg invited nine civil rights leaders to dinner at his home…. “It took pushing, urging, conversations, brainstorming, all of that to get to a place where we ended up with more rigorous rules and enforcement,” says Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, who attended the dinner and also met with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and others.

….Beyond battling bad information, there was a need to explain a rapidly changing election process…. Dick Gephardt, the Democratic former House leader turned high-powered lobbyist…worked his contacts in the private sector to put $20 million behind the effort.

….About a week before Election Day, Podhorzer received an unexpected message: the U.S. Chamber of Commerce wanted to talk…. “With tensions running high, there was a lot of concern about unrest around the election, or a breakdown in our normal way we handle contentious elections,” says Neil Bradley, the Chamber’s executive vice president and chief policy officer. These worries had led the Chamber to release a pre-election statement with the Business Roundtable, a Washington-based CEOs’ group, as well as associations of manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers, calling for patience and confidence as votes were counted.

But Bradley wanted to send a broader, more bipartisan message…. Agreeing that their unlikely alliance would be powerful, they began to discuss a joint statement….As it was being finalized, Christian leaders signaled their interest in joining, further broadening its reach. The statement was released on Election Day, under the names of Chamber CEO Thomas Donohue, AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka, and the heads of the National Association of Evangelicals and the National African American Clergy Network.

There’s more, and Ball could have added that once the Trump disinformation campaign went into full swing after the election, every single person in charge of counting votes—county clerks, attorneys general, secretaries of state—opposed Trump’s effort. The same goes for judges in the several dozen lawsuits Trump launched. He lost them all, regardless of whether the judge had been appointed by a Democratic or Republican president.

Now, the normal takeaway from Ball’s piece is shock and dismay that it took a fight of this magnitude to overcome Trump’s anti-democracy jihad. But I take something different away: If you . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

9 February 2021 at 11:50 am

Hungarian Lavender today

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Another of Mike’s Naturals, Hungarian Lavender uses the essential oil with his regular formula. Although it’s not visible in the photo, I did label the side of the tub, useful but something Mike omits. Mike describes the soap thusly:

This soap is the real deal. Tallow is the main ingredient, regarded by many shaving enthusiasts (myself included) as yielding the creamiest, slickest, and most protective lather possible. In addition, this soap is rich in vegetable glycerin, kokum butter, shea butter, and avocado oil. It also contains kaolin clay, which creates a slick buffer between your skin and the blade. The icing on the cake is lanolin, a waxy substance derived from the wool of sheep and a fantastic conditioner and humectant. This soap will provide an effortless and downright decadent shave that will leave your skin feeling soft, supple, and smooth. Each polypropylene recyclable jar contains about 5 ounces of soap.

The specific ingredients:

Distilled water; saponified tallow (beef) and stearic acid; vegetable glycerin; saponified kokum butter, avocado oil, and shea butter; lanolin, fragrance and/or essential oil(s); saponified coconut oil; kaolin clay, vitamin E.

The soap is currently sold out at Mike’s Natural website and even at West Coast Shaving, but in Canada Top of the Chain has it (along with a good selection of his other soaps). (Note that Top of the Chain’s price is Canadian dollars: CA$24 ≈ US$18.75

I left the Wee Scot a little more than damp, but with this tiny brush the puck offers a large work surface, so the excess water caused no problems. I just moved the brush away from where the soap seemed too wet, and returned there only as I needed more water for loading.

The lather was again excellent — and the Lavender fragrance lovely — and with the Yaqi double-open-comb I had a very good shave except for a couple of nicks at the start. The head had somehow become loosened and the blade was not well gripped by the cap. I have no idea how it happened, but I think that, just as I make it a habit to shake the bottle of aftershave before using, I will make it a habit to check the tightness of the head of three-piece razors before starting. (This is an unusual problem, but I see no reason to repeat it.)

With the head tightened, the razor immediately regained its docile disposition, and the rest of the shave went very well. After three passes and a bit of My Nik Is Sealed, I was ready for a good splash of Lavanda aftershave (after shaking the bottle), and the day is launched — a very sunny day, as it happens.

Written by LeisureGuy

9 February 2021 at 11:07 am

Posted in Shaving

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