Later On

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

Archive for May 12th, 2021

The Republican party has demonstrably lost its collective mind (and conscience)

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Heather Cox Richardson points out some salient facts:

As expected, this morning the House Republicans removed Wyoming Representative Liz Cheney from her position as conference chair after she refused to stop speaking out against the former president for instigating the January 6 attack on our Capitol and the counting of electoral votes for President Joe Biden. The Republicans ousted her by voice vote, which meant that no one had to go on the record for or against Cheney, and the Republicans kept the split in the party from being measurable. It also ensured that she would lose; she has survived a secret ballot vote before.

Before the vote, Cheney allegedly told her Republican colleagues: “If you want leaders who will enable and spread his destructive lies, I’m not your person; you have plenty of others to choose from.” After the vote, she went in front of the cameras to say that she would lead the fight to reclaim the party from Trump, and said: “I will do everything I can to ensure that the former president never again goes anywhere near the Oval Office.”

After her ouster, Trump Republican Representative Madison Cawthorn (NC) tweeted ““Na na na na, na na na na, hey hey, goodbye Liz Cheney.” The former president echoed Cawthorn: “Liz Cheney is a bitter, horrible human being. I watched her yesterday and realized how bad she is for the Republican Party. She has no personality or anything good having to do with politics or our Country.”

After convincing his caucus to dump Cheney and embrace Trump, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) told reporters: “I don’t think anybody is questioning the legitimacy of the presidential election. I think that is all over with.”

This was a breathtaking statement. McCarthy himself challenged the certification of Biden’s win, and just last week, Trump made a big announcement in which he called the election of 2020 “fraudulent.” The Big Lie animating the Republicans today is that Trump, not Biden, really won the 2020 election.

But McCarthy is not alone in his gaslighting. Yesterday, in the Senate Rules Committee markup of S1, the For the People Act protecting the vote, ending gerrymandering, and pushing big money out of our elections, Senator Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said: “I don’t think anyone on our side has been arguing that [voter fraud] has been pervasive all over the country.”

The false claim of widespread voter fraud is, of course, exactly what Trump Republicans have stood on since the 2020 election. It is the justification for their voter suppression measures in Republican states, including Texas, Iowa, Georgia, Florida, and, as of yesterday afternoon, Arizona.

In today’s House Oversight Committee hearing on the January 6 insurrection, Republican lawmakers in general tried to gaslight Americans, as they tried to paint that unprecedented attack on our democracy as nothing terribly important. Although 140 law enforcement officers were injured, five people were killed, more than 400 people have been charged with crimes, and rioters did more than $30 million worth of damage, Republican representatives downplayed the events of the day, insisting that they were not really out of the ordinary. Representative Andrew Clyde (R-GA) said that calling the attack on the Capitol an insurrection is a “bald-faced lie” and that “if you didn’t know the TV footage was a video from January the 6th, you would actually think it was a normal tourist visit….”

CNN later called Clyde’s remarks “absolute nonsense.” Even the definition of insurrection Clyde quoted—“an organized attempt by a group of people to defeat their government and take control of their country usually by violence”—showed the attack of January 6 to be an insurrection. And, as lawyer and CNN analyst Asha Rangappa noted tonight on Twitter, at his second impeachment trial even Trump’s own lawyers did not dispute that the events of January 6 were a violent insurrection. The record is clear.

Republican lawmakers like Clyde did, though, echo the former president’s interview on the Fox News Channel in March when he said that when his supporters went into the Capitol they posed “zero threat” and were “hugging and kissing the police and the guards…. A lot of the people were waved in, and then they walked in and they walked out.”

The former president appears to be continuing to exercise control over his underlings. Former Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen and former Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller provided testimony at the House Oversight Committee hearing, and what they would not say was revealing. Rosen refused to answer questions about whether Trump asked him to try to overturn the 2020 election. Miller’s prepared remarks had included a sentence that said “I stand by my prior observation that I personally believe his comments encouraged the protesters that day.” In his testimony, he omitted that line, and later tried to walk it back, trying to draw a line between people who marched on the Capitol and those who broke into it.

But with Cheney and her supporters now in open revolt, and with news about the Capitol attack dropping, and even with more information coming about the ties between the former president and Russia, will Republican Party leaders manage to sweep everything under the rug?

Today, at a hearing on domestic extremism before the Senate Appropriations Committee, Attorney General Merrick Garland and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas both testified that the most serious domestic national security threat in the U.S. right now is that of white supremacist gangs. “I think it’s fair to say that in my career as a judge, and in law enforcement, I have not seen a more dangerous threat to democracy than the invasion of the Capitol,” Garland said. “There was an attempt to interfere with the fundamental passing of an element of our democracy, the peaceful transfer of power. And if there has to be a hierarchy of things that we prioritize, this would be the one we’d prioritize. It is the most dangerous threat to our democracy. That does not mean that we don’t focus on other threats.”

For his part, President Biden is refusing to get sucked into the Republican drama, instead focusing on the country. Today an advisory panel for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention endorsed the Pfizer vaccine for children as young as 12, and the CDC signed off on the recommendation, making it easier to reopen schools in the fall.

Today Biden met at the White House with . . .

Continue reading. It’s worth noting that the domestic terrorist threat comes almost totally from the radical right.

Written by Leisureguy

12 May 2021 at 9:52 pm

Traditional shaving starter kit selected from Amazon.com

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I generally buy shaving products from independent dealers (for example, West Coast Shaving, Top of the Chain, The Razor Company, Italian Barber, The Razor Company) or directly from the maker (for example, Declaration Grooming, Phoenix Artisan, Wholly Kaw, Van Yulay). But The Eldest wanted to send a gift to someone quickly, and getting everything there via Amazon Prime was the best option. So she asked me for recommendations, and I came up with an Amzon-sourced starter kit that I think is pretty good.

I thought I’d post the list since some readers might also be interested in introducing a novice to the art of pleasurable shaving — or perhaps want to try it themselves. Here’s the list:

Traditional shaving starter kit

Shaving brush – Frank is a solid brand, and synthetic is now the way to go..

Shaving soap – I’ve not tried this one, but it has a good selection of fragrances and good reviews, plus buying  a refill puck gives the biggest bang for the buck. He can put the puck in any steep-sided bowl, cutting the soap to fit if needed. (Cutting the soap does not affect how well it will lather.)

Safety razor – This same Baili razor is available (without the case) for $6 from Groomatorium, Inc., but the goal is to stick with Amazon. This is an excellent beginner razor: very comfortable and very efficient and is included in my list of good razors.

Blade sampler pack – That pack includes some brands I’ve not tried along with some brands that I have (and like a lot, though blades are very much YMMV — thus the existence of sampler packs).

Styptic – Just in case. I prefer a liquid styptic like this to a styptic pencil, which breaks and dissolves. (I notice in the list of styptics on Amazon some from Pinaud Clubman and some from Clubman Pinaud.)

I didn’t include an aftershave because I presume he has that already — he is clean-shaven, but has been using a multi-blade cartridge razor and canned foam.

She already has a copy of Leisureguy’s Guide to Gourmet Shaving the Double-Edge Way, which she’ll give to him as well. That should set him on the right path and help him avoid common beginner problems.

Written by Leisureguy

12 May 2021 at 11:35 am

Posted in Daily life, Shaving

A feel-good story about a Korean restaurant

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Yesterday I finally made it to a local Korean restaurant, Thunderbird, that specializes in (Korean) fried chicken, and was able to try it. I have wanted to try it since watching the Korean 16-part TV production Crash-Landing on You on Netflix, whose story included a number of product placements for bb.q Chicken, a chain that specializes in Korean fried chicken (though that style of fried chicken is available from many other Korean restaurants). (I’ve commented before that Korean TV seems to like the 16-episode format, and I’ve watched a number of those — in fact, right now I’m watching a good one: Vagabond, on Netflix.)

The chicken was very good — tender, juicy, and flavorful, with a wonderful crust (I think they use Panka for breading) — and I was glad to check that item off my list.

I texted The Eldest to suggest she try it in some Baltimore Korean place, and she responded to say that she was familiar with it and often takes to boys to eat at a Korean restaurant there. She sent a link to this report by Cathy Free in the Washington Post:

The request came in late on a Thursday afternoon to restaurant owner Steve Chu. One of his customers had terminal cancer, and her son-in-law wondered if it would be possible to get the recipe of her favorite broccoli tempura entree so he could make it for her at her home in Vermont.

Chu, 30, specializes in Asian fusion cuisine and is the co-owner of two Ekiben locations in Baltimore. He read the email on March 11 and instantly knew that he could do better, he said.

“Thanks for reaching out,” he wrote. “We’d like to meet you in Vermont and make it fresh for you.”

Brandon Jones, 37, was stunned.

“I emailed back, saying, ‘You do know that this is Vermont we’re talking about, right?’ ” he recalled. “It’s a six-hour drive. But Steve responded, ‘No problem. You tell us the date, time and location and we’ll be there.’”

Jones and his wife, Rina Jones, were preparing to leave from their home in the Canton neighborhood for Vermont that weekend to visit Rina’s mother, who is in the final stages of lung cancer and has stopped treatment since her December diagnosis.

For the past five or six years, every time his mother-in-law visited Baltimore, the first place she wanted to go was Ekiben in Fells Point so she could order the tempura broccoli topped with fresh herbs, diced onion and fermented cucumber vinegar, said Brandon Jones.

“She loves that broccoli, and I really wanted her to have it one more time,” Jones, an engineer, said about his mother-in-law, who asked that her name not be published in a request for privacy at the end of her life.

“She had always told us, ‘When I’m on my death bed, I want to have that broccoli,’ ” recalled Rina Jones, 38, who works in the health-care industry. “In fact, when I was packing on Friday to drive up to Vermont, I called my mom to see if she wanted us to bring anything special and she jokingly said, ‘tempura broccoli!’ ”

When Chu said he’d be happy to make the dish from scratch in Vermont on Saturday afternoon, Rina Jones said she was elated.

“It’s just so above and beyond,” Jones said. “It’s an incredible act of kindness.”

The next day, March 12, Chu loaded his truck after work with a hot plate and a cooler filled with the ingredients for broccoli tempura, then headed for Vermont with his business partner, Ephrem Abebe, and employee Joe Anonuevo. The trio stayed overnight in an Airbnb rental, he said, then stopped for some additional ingredients on their way to the condo where Rina Jones’ mother lives.

. . . As soon as he and his team pulled into the parking lot of the condo building, they texted Rina Jones that they’d arrived, then got to work. They pulled down the gate of the pickup, hooked the hot plate to the truck’s power port and started cooking and deep-frying.

In addition to Ekiben’s broccoli tempura, they made a tofu dish with peanut sauce and fresh herbs and some steamed rice, said Chu. Then after neatly boxing everything up, they knocked on their customer’s front door.

“Go ahead and answer,” Rina Jones said she told her mother.

“As soon as she opened the door, she recognized the aroma immediately,” Brandon Jones said. “It smelled amazing.”

Her mother also recognized Chu and his co-workers, said Rina Jones.

“My mom kept saying, ‘I don’t understand — you drove all the way up here to cook for me?’ ” she said. “She was so happy and touched to have that broccoli. She couldn’t believe it.”

Chu said he also immediately recognized the woman he was there to cook for.

“We see a lot of people in the restaurant, but she always stood out,” he said. “She loves the food and always made sure to tell us. She’s an amazing, sweet lady.”

The Joneses invited Chu and his team to join them for dinner, but they needed to get back to Baltimore after they cleaned up, said Rina Jones. Chu also wouldn’t accept any money from the family.

. . . “She’s a lovely lady, who has showered us with love at our restaurant for years,” he said. “It was a powerful experience, and I’m happy that we could make it happen.”

Read the whole thing.

Written by Leisureguy

12 May 2021 at 11:07 am

Mighty Aphrodite and the iKon OG1

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The Simpson Emperor 2, though smaller than the Emperor 3 used yesterday, gets the job done handily and is a pleasant brush in the hand and on the face. Van Yulay’s Aphrodite has the fragrance of chocolate roses, as the image suggests, and makes a fine lather. Its ingredients:

Stearic Acid, Aloe Vera, Coconut Fatty Acid, Castor, Glycerin, Potassium & Sodium Hydroxide ,Coconut-Babassu-Argan-Abyssinian-Oils, Cocoa Butter, Calendula, Extracts, Ground Rose Petals, Hersery’s Cocoa, Poly Quats, Sodium Lactate, Allantoin, Silica, Amino Liquid Silk, Rose Clay, Essential Oils, and Fragrance.

The iKon Shavecraft OG1 is a formidable razor. It uses a comb guard — more like a rake guard — on one side and a bar guard on the other (more photos at the link). It is highly efficient but (for me) not so comfortable as other razors, and in fact I got two small nicks this morning — nothing that My Nik Is Sealed could not handle, but still not something I like. This was despite using Grooming Dept pre-shave, which does help a lot with this razor in particular. The price right now is a great bargain for men who enjoy a challenging razor — for example, men who like the Mühle R41, another highly efficient and somewhat uncomfortable razor. (The iKon, it perhaps should be noted, is cast aluminum alloy, whereas the R41 is plated zinc alloy, which IMO is somewhat inferior as a razor material.

I applied a splash of Aphrodite aftershave to my very smooth visage, and here we are already half through the week.

Written by Leisureguy

12 May 2021 at 8:52 am

Posted in Shaving

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