Later On

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Archive for September 23rd, 2021

ShadowDragon: Inside the Social Media Surveillance Software That Can Watch Your Every Move

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Michael Kwet reports in the Intercept:

A MICHIGAN STATE POLICE CONTRACT, obtained by The Intercept, sheds new light on the growing use of little-known surveillance software that helps law enforcement agencies and corporations watch people’s social media and other website activity.

The software, put out by a Wyoming company called ShadowDragon, allows police to suck in data from social media and other internet sources, including Amazon, dating apps, and the dark web, so they can identify persons of interest and map out their networks during investigations. By providing powerful searches of more than 120 different online platforms and a decade’s worth of archives, the company claims to speed up profiling work from months to minutes. ShadowDragon even claims its software can automatically adjust its monitoring and help predict violence and unrest. Michigan police acquired the software through a contract with another obscure online policing company named Kaseware for an “MSP Enterprise Criminal Intelligence System.”

The inner workings of the product are generally not known to the public. The contract, and materials published by the companies online, allow a deeper explanation of how this surveillance works, provided below.

ShadowDragon has kept a low profile but has law enforcement customers well beyond Michigan. It was purchased twice by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency in the last two years, documents show, and was reportedly acquired by the Massachusetts State Police and other police departments within the state.

Michigan officials appear to be keeping their contract and the identities of ShadowDragon and Microsoft from the public. The Michigan.gov website does not make the contract available; it instead offers an email address at which to request the document “due to the sensitive nature of this contract.” And the contract it eventually provides has been heavily redacted: The copy given to David Goldberg, a professor at Wayne State University in Detroit had all mentions of ShadowDragon software and Microsoft Azure blacked out. What’s more, Goldberg had to file a Freedom of Information Act request to obtain the contract. When the state website did offer the contract, it was unredacted, and I downloaded it before it was withdrawn.

Last year, The Intercept published several articles detailing how a social media analytics firm called Dataminr relayed tweets about the George Floyd and Black Lives Matter protests to police. The same year, I detailed at The Intercept how Kaseware’s partner Microsoft helps police surveil and patrol communities through its own offerings and a network of partnerships.

This new revelation about the Michigan contract raises questions about what digital surveillance capabilities other police departments and law enforcement agencies in the U.S. might be quietly acquiring. And it comes at a time when previously known government social media surveillance is under fire from civil rights and liberties advocates like MediaJustice and the American Civil Liberties Union. It also raises the specter of further abuses in Michigan, where the FBI has been profiling Muslim communities and so-called Black Identity Extremists. In 2015, it was revealed that for years, the state police agency was using cell site simulators to spy on mobile phones without disclosing it to the public.

“Social media surveillance technologies, such as the software acquired by Michigan State Police, are often introduced under the false premise that they are public safety and accountability tools. In reality, they endanger Black and marginalized communities,” Arisha Hatch, vice president and chief of campaigns at civil rights nonprofit Color of Change, wrote in an email.

Michigan State Police spokesperson Shanon Banner said in an email that “the investigative tools available to us as part of this contract are only used in conjunction with criminal investigations, following all state and federal laws.” The founder of ShadowDragon, Daniel Clemens, wrote that the company provides only information that is publicly available and does not “build products with predictive capabilities.”

A Shadowy Industry

Kaseware and ShadowDragon are part of a shadowy industry of software firms that exploit what they call “open source intelligence,” or OSINT: the trails of information that people leave on the internet. Clients include intelligence agencies, government, police, corporations, and even schools.

Kaseware, which is partnered to ShadowDragon and Microsoft, provides a platform for activities that support OSINT and other elements of digital policing, like data storage, management, and analysis. Its capabilities range from storing evidence to predictive policing. By contrast, the two ShadowDragon products acquired by the Michigan State Police are more narrowly tailored for the surveillance of people using social media, apps, and websites on the internet. They run on the Kaseware platform.

To understand how Kaseware and ShadowDragon work together, let us consider each in turn, starting with ShadowDragon. . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

23 September 2021 at 8:14 pm

Best mask technique

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No one wants to get Covid. Tara Parker-Pope has an excellent article in the NY Times on a technique that greatly improves the efficacy of a mask. It’s a a gift article, so no paywall.

As new, more contagious variants of the novel coronavirus spread around the world, public health officials are advising us to upgrade our mask protection. One of the easiest ways to do that is to wear two masks at the same time. Here are answers to common questions about the dos and don’ts of double masking.

New variants of the coronavirus are more contagious. It may be that an infected person sheds greater quantities of virus, or it may be that it takes fewer viral particles to make you sick. Either way, a more contagious virus means we need to wear masks that do a better job of trapping infectious particles. Double-masking can improve the fit of your mask by closing gaps around the edges, and it creates multiple layers of protection against droplets coming in or out.

Wearing two disposable surgical masks together is not recommended. A standard surgical mask is a blue, rectangle-shaped mask made of paper-like material. While surgical masks are great filters against viral droplets, they tend to fit poorly, leaving gaps on the sides, which reduces their efficiency. Wearing two at the same time doesn’t solve the fit problem. Adding a cloth mask on top of a surgical mask helps close the gaps and creates a more snug fit. For help choosing a cloth mask, the team at Wirecutter, which is owned by The New York Times, has some recommendations. (The mask in the video is the Graf Lantz Zenbu Organic Cotton Face Mask.)

The N95 mask is the gold standard for medical masks, and the KN95, made in China, is similar. When worn correctly, both masks will filter 95 percent of the hardest-to-trap particles. If you have access to a genuine N95 or KN95 and it fits well, you don’t need to double mask. The problem is that the N95 and KN95 masks still are hard to come by, and the supply chain is loaded with counterfeits. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not recommend double-masking with an N95 or KN95, you need to be sure you have the real thing. If you’re not sure, or it doesn’t fit well, covering it with a cloth mask could help. (Another highly effective medical mask is the KF94, made in Korea. Counterfeits typically are not a problem with KF94s, and if it fits you well, you don’t need to double mask.)

The best way to double mask is to wear a surgical mask as the first layer and cover it with a cloth mask. Tightening your surgical mask is not required, but if it fits poorly, knotting the ear loops and tucking in the corners can improve its filtering efficiency by as much as 20 percent. For a longer demonstration on adjusting the fit of your surgical mask, you can watch this video from UNC Health.

\Do look at the link — there’s a good video of the technique.

Written by Leisureguy

23 September 2021 at 7:35 pm

Madeline Miller on the Aeneid

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Octavian Report interviews Madeline Miller, of whom they write:

Classicist and best-selling novelist Madeline Miller is world-renowned for her books — The Song of Achilles and Circe — that reimagine and reshape epic poetry and myth into fascinating, rich worlds while casting an an eye on their resonances with contemporary questions of politics, morality, and society. This scintillating interview on the Aeneid dives deep into Virgil’s artistic and emotional mastery and the intricate cultural underpinnings of his masterwork. And if you haven’t subscribed already to WHY THE CLASSICS? you should click here — that way you’ll never miss our newsletter, hitting inboxes every Thursday.

The interview begins:

Octavian Report: What drew you to Virgil, and which of his works do you admire the most?

Madeline Miller: I love them all. But I always have to have the Aeneid first in my heart. I would say that the Aeneid is one of the most amazing pieces of complex, subtext-filled poetry that I have ever read. It functions on so many levels. I think when you compare the Iliad and the Odyssey to the Aeneid, you can really see that oral tradition versus one intellect shaping a poem obsessively over 10 — or maybe more — years, and building in all these very deliberate echoes, resonances, and links between sections. When I was first reading it in high school, I finally understood how to analyze poetry in English by working with Virgil because it was like working with this complete masterpiece of poetry which succeeds at every possible level. It’s an exciting and moving story, and an interesting story. It has really big ideas. It’s absolutely gorgeously written, both in meter and in how Virgil rings the chimes of the Latin language all the way through. It’s a masterpiece of poetry.

I am definitely one of those people who believes that this is not a piece of pure Augustan propaganda, but is in fact in many ways questioning some of Augustus’s ideas and message and some Roman cultural methods and ideas. One of the things I find so interesting about Virgil is that he was born into a republic when Catullus could write a nasty, smirking poem about Caesar and not be the worse off for it but he himself had to write the Aeneid with Maecenas and Augustus literally breathing down his neck: funding him, sponsoring him, wanting to see early drafts. I am fascinated by what it means as a poet to go from writing in a republic to writing under an empire — indeed, under the first emperor of Rome — and how he must’ve felt constricted and watched and aware.

Of course there are moments where you see really fulsome praise of Augustus or of Roman progress; at the same time, Aeneas himself is such a flawed hero. He fails in his mission, which his father gives him at the end of book six: “[Your art] is to rule the people with power . . . to place a custom for peace, to spare the suppliant, and war down the proud.” Again and again in books seven through 12, we see Aeneas fail to spare those who have been made subject and cast down. What does that mean about Roman mercy? I think Virgil tells us at the beginning of the Aeneid. “Of such a weight it was to found the Roman race.” This is the story of what the cost was of founding Rome. For me, the implication is always, “It had better be worth it. Here is what had to go on in order for Rome to come into being.”

I love all those aspects of it. I love that it ends on such a disturbing note, that it ends with Aeneas in a moment of rage killing someone who has surrendered to him. I know people have made the argument that it’s not finished. I believe that is absolutely where Virgil meant to leave it. The Italian poet Maphaeus Vegius tried to write the 13th book, where everything ended happily. But what a great moment Turnus’s death is to end on! If you are going to rule by conquest, that means things might be good for you, but they’re not good for everybody.

OR: What do you make of the fact that at the height of its power, Rome was tracing its founding to the Trojans — the losers in the Iliad? . . .

Miller: I think the Romans always felt a little bit inferior to the Greeks culturally, which Virgil acknowledges in that same passage: “Others are . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

23 September 2021 at 7:28 pm

Posted in Art, Books, Daily life, History

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The Turning Point: A Year That Changed Dickens and the World

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James Riding interviews Robert Douglas-Fairhurst in The London Magazine:

Robert Douglas-Fairhurst is Professor of English Literature at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of Magdalen College. His books include Becoming Dickens: The Invention of a Novelist, which won the Duff Cooper Prize, and The Story of Alice: Lewis Carroll and the Secret History of Wonderland, which was shortlisted for the Costa Biography Award. His latest book, The Turning Point: A Year That Changed Dickens and the World, was published in September by Jonathan Cape.

It follows the twists and turns of 1851: a year of radical change in Britain, crystallising in the Great Exhibition, as well as a turbulent time in the life of Charles Dickens, where he copes with a double bereavement and begins writing his masterpiece Bleak House.

I spoke to Robert about how he recreates the possibility and uncertainty of a year in the life of Dickens, the challenges of writing about such a slippery and multifaceted writer, and what makes Bleak House a pivotal novel in Dickens’s career.

What was your first encounter with Dickens?

I won a school prize when I was about 16, and I was given fifty pounds to spend on books. I went to a second-hand bookshop to see what I could get for my fifty pounds, and I noticed there was a complete set (or what I thought was a complete set, but turned out not to be entirely complete) of Dickens. And I thought, “well, that’ll be a nice way of taking up a metre of shelf space.” So I bought it, and then I started dipping in and rummaging, and then the rummaging became slightly more dedicated readings. Then I started writing a dissertation as an undergraduate on Dickens, and then I never really stopped.

So I suppose it was serendipity that led to obsession, which sounds like two bad Calvin Klein perfumes. Although interestingly, I remember the second house I ever lived in as a child was in a place called Dickens Drive. Pickwick Close was just around the corner, and so was Copperfield Way. These were new mock-Georgian houses in Chislehurst in Kent. It’s not a reason why I became interested in Dickens, but it’s part of the atmosphere the generated that interest, because it shows that Dickens is one of those writers that’s never gone away. The tentacular reach of his influence still penetrates even things like town planning, then, in the 1970s. So, if not inevitable, then it was always likely that he was a writer who would grab me.

How do you find new ways to write about Dickens?

It’s a real challenge, but then Dickens himself is a real biographical challenge. Leigh Hunt famously said that his face has the life and soul of fifty human beings in it. As I say in the book, Dickens knew perfectly well he was a bundle of different people who happened to share one skin. He was a social campaigner, a novelist, a short story writer, a bad poet, a public speaker – the list goes on and on. He’s peculiarly slippery as a writer.

In the book, I’ve described him as an escape artist: just when you think you’ve managed to pin him down, he slips free and runs away. The reason that I find him challenging is not just because he’s so elusive, but because he also challenges. He challenges the world around him, he challenges his contemporaries, he challenges writing itself. And his writing is always reinventing itself, from novel to novel and also even from instalment to instalment. For all those reasons, I find him a peculiarly attractive, awkward, recalcitrant, appealing writer to try and pin down in a book.

Can you give a sense of what your research process is like? . . .

Continue reading. There’s more.

Written by Leisureguy

23 September 2021 at 12:29 pm

Posted in Books, Daily life

Routine Rhythms

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Written by Leisureguy

23 September 2021 at 12:20 pm

Posted in Daily life, Video

File Not Found; or, Ignorance Not Always Bliss.

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Monica Chin writes in the Verge:

Catherine Garland, an astrophysicist, started seeing the problem in 2017. She was teaching an engineering course, and her students were using simulation software to model turbines for jet engines. She’d laid out the assignment clearly, but student after student was calling her over for help. They were all getting the same error message: The program couldn’t find their files.

Garland thought it would be an easy fix. She asked each student where they’d saved their project. Could they be on the desktop? Perhaps in the shared drive? But over and over, she was met with confusion. “What are you talking about?” multiple students inquired. Not only did they not know where their files were saved — they didn’t understand the question.

Gradually, Garland came to the same realization that many of her fellow educators have reached in the past four years: the concept of file folders and directories, essential to previous generations’ understanding of computers, is gibberish to many modern students.

Professors have varied recollections of when they first saw the disconnect. But their estimates (even the most tentative ones) are surprisingly similar. It’s been an issue for four years or so, starting — for many educators — around the fall of 2017.

That’s approximately when Lincoln Colling, a lecturer in the psychology department at the University of Sussex, told a class full of research students to pull a file out of a specific directory and was met with blank stares. It was the same semester that Nicolás Guarín-Zapata, an applied physicist and lecturer at Colombia’s Universidad EAFIT, noticed that students in his classes were having trouble finding their documents. It’s the same year that posts began to pop up on STEM-educator forums asking for help explaining the concept of a file.

Guarín-Zapata is an organizer. He has an intricate hierarchy of file folders on his computer, and he sorts the photos on his smartphone by category. He was in college in the very early 2000s — he grew up needing to keep papers organized. Now, he thinks of his hard drives like filing cabinets. “I open a drawer, and inside that drawer, I have another cabinet with more drawers,” he told The Verge. “Like a nested structure. At the very end, I have a folder or a piece of paper I can access.”

Guarín-Zapata’s mental model is commonly known as directory structure, the hierarchical system of folders that modern computer operating systems use to arrange files. It’s the idea that a modern computer doesn’t just save a file in an infinite expanse; it saves it in the “Downloads” folder, the “Desktop” folder, or the “Documents” folder, all of which live within “This PC,” and each of which might have folders nested within them, too. It’s an idea that’s likely intuitive to any computer user who remembers the floppy disk.

More broadly, directory structure connotes physical placement — the idea that a file stored on a computer is located somewhere on that computer, in a specific and discrete location. That’s a concept that’s always felt obvious to Garland but seems completely alien to her students. “I tend to think an item lives in a particular folder. It lives in one place, and I have to go to that folder to find it,” Garland says. “They see it like one bucket, and everything’s in the bucket.”

That tracks with how Joshua Drossman, a senior at Princeton, has understood computer systems for as long as he can remember. “The most intuitive thing would be the laundry basket where you have everything kind of together, and you’re just kind of pulling out what you need at any given time,” he says, attempting to describe his mental model.

As an operations research and financial engineering major, Drossman knows how to program — he’s been trained to navigate directories and folders throughout his undergraduate years, and he understands their importance in his field. But it’s still not entirely natural, and he sometimes slips. About halfway through a recent nine-month research project, he’d built up so many files that he gave up on keeping them all structured. “I try to be organized, but there’s a certain point where there are so many files that it kind of just became a hot mess,” Drossman says. Many of his items ended up in one massive folder.

Peter Plavchan, an associate professor of physics and astronomy at George Mason University, has seen similar behavior from his students and can’t quite wrap his head around it. “Students have had these computers in my lab; they’ll have a thousand files on their desktop completely unorganized,” he told The Verge, somewhat incredulously. “I’m kind of an obsessive organizer … but they have no problem having 1,000 files in the same directory. And I think that is fundamentally because of a shift in how we access files.”

Aubrey Vogel, a journalism major at Texas A&M, has had similar experiences to Drossman. She’s encountered directory structure before; she shared a computer with her grandfather, who showed her how to save items in folders, as a child. But as she’s grown up, she’s moved away from that system — she now keeps one massive directory for schoolwork and one for her job. Documents she’s not sure about go in a third folder called “Sort.”

“As much as I want them to be organized and try for them to be organized, it’s just a big hot mess,” Vogel says of her files. She adds, “My family always gives me a hard time when they see my computer screen, and it has like 50 thousand icons.”

Why have mental models changed?  . . ..

Continue reading. There’s more.

I am surprised that this is a problem. I had no idea that people using computers would not understand directories, folders, and files. That seems so weird, but (as one student pointed out above) these are people who keep all their clothes in one big pile and rummage through it to find socks, underwear, shirts, and so on: no organization at all. I wonder whether their minds work the same way: disorganized and muddled.

My own mental model might be: a file is a book; the shelf on which it rests is a folder, and that is contained in another folder (the bookcase), which holds multiple folders (its various shelves). There’s a bigger folder — the room — which contains multiple bookcases (each a folder).

A shelf might contain a single book, or several books, or many books. And so on.

Written by Leisureguy

23 September 2021 at 11:42 am

Posted in Daily life, Education, Software

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How dangerous is Africa’s explosive Lake Kivu?

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I would not live near this lake on a bet. Nicola Jones writes in Nature:

On 22 May, one of Africa’s most active volcanoes, Mount Nyiragongo, started spewing lava towards the crowded city of Goma in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The eruption destroyed several villages, killed dozens of people and forced an estimated 450,000 people to fled their homes.

The volcano has since calmed and the immediate humanitarian crisis has eased. But government officials and scientists have another worry on their minds: something potentially even more dangerous than Mount Nyiragongo.

Goma sits on the shore of Lake Kivu, a geological anomaly that holds 300 cubic kilometres of dissolved carbon dioxide and 60 cubic kilometres of methane, laced with toxic hydrogen sulfide. The picturesque lake, nestled between the DRC and Rwanda, has the potential to explosively release these gases in a rare phenomenon known as a limnic eruption. That could send a huge pulse of heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere: the lake holds the equivalent of 2.6 gigatonnes of CO2, which is equal to about 5% of global annual greenhouse-gas emissions. Even worse, such a disaster could fill the surrounding valley with suffocating and toxic gas, potentially killing millions of people. “It could create one of the worst, if not the worst, natural humanitarian disasters in history,” says Philip Morkel, an engineer and founder of Hydragas Energy, based in North Vancouver, Canada, who is attempting to get funding for a project to remove and utilize gas from the lake.

The 2021 volcanic eruption didn’t trigger a mass release of gases from the lake, and on 1 June, the Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA) said there was no imminent risk. But, the authorities do think that lava flowed through underground fractures beneath the city of Goma and Lake Kivu itself. A day after the eruption, a tremor seems to have triggered part of a sandbar by the lake to collapse, which might have caused a small release of gases in that spot: some people reported that waters offshore from a prominent hotel looked like they were boiling.

For now, the lake is stable. Although it contains a lot of gas, the concentration would have to double in the region with the most gas for it to reach saturation point. But a strong earthquake or volcanic eruption could potentially trigger a gas release by disrupting the lake’s layered structure or increasing the gas concentrations. And some researchers worry that a disaster might be brought on by human activity, too.

Methane is already being pumped from the lake’s depths and burnt to create much-needed electricity, which most people agree is both a sensible use of local natural resources and a way to make the lake safer by removing some of its gas. The stakes are high: researchers have estimated that the methane in Lake Kivu could be worth up to US$42 billion over 50 years.

But researchers disagree about which method of gas extraction is best, and whether such efforts might eventually disturb the lake in ways that elevate the dangers rather than subduing them. The debate rages even while . . .

Continue reading.

And see also this account of an actual tragedy of this sort: “This Small Lake in Africa Once Killed 1,700 People Overnight, And We Still Don’t Know Why.”

Written by Leisureguy

23 September 2021 at 11:22 am

Posted in Daily life, Science

Free Resource for Evidence-Based Nutrition

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Dr. Michael Greger blogs at NutritionFacts.org:

Are you a medical professional interested in sharing resources on healthy eating with your patients or clients? To support your important efforts, we invite you to apply to receive free copies of our Evidence-Based Eating Guide by completing this form.

The Evidence-Based Eating Guide: A Healthy Living Resource from Dr. Greger & NutritionFacts.org is a tool designed to help make the switch to a healthier lifestyle even more simple. It’s easy to understand and filled with information on eating healthier, including a breakdown of Dr. Greger’s Traffic Light Eating, tips for using his Daily Dozen checklist, sample menus, and more.

We hope the guide will help you help your patients or clients improve the length and quality of their lives. (Note: This application is open to health professionals and organizations, but individuals can get the guide for free here.)

Continue reading. There’s more. Emphasis added to note that non-professionals can get a free copy of the guide from this page.

Written by Leisureguy

23 September 2021 at 9:54 am

The insurrection effort’s 6-point plan for a coup

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Heather Cox Richardson writes:

CNN’s bombshell revelation of Trump loyalist lawyer John Eastman’s six-point memo of instructions for overturning the 2020 election—discussed in the new book by veteran journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa—seems to be sparking a reckoning with how dangerous the Trump loyalists are to the survival of American democracy.

Eastman responded to the story by saying the released memo was only a draft and then giving CNN the final version, which was longer but no less damning—just how damning was indicated by two separate things.

First, J. Michael Luttig, the former United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit whom Pence had asked for advice about whether he could overturn the election results, quickly took to Twitter to distance himself from the story, saying: “I was honored to advise Vice President Pence that he had no choice on January 6, 2021, but to accept and count the Electoral College votes as they had been cast and properly certified by the states…. I believe(d) that Professor Eastman was incorrect at every turn of the analysis in his January 2 memorandum.” Eastman had been Luttig’s law clerk.

Second, former president Trump promptly sued his niece Dr. Mary L. Trump, the New York Times, and three New York Times reporters, claiming they were part of an “insidious plot” to obtain and publish his tax records “to gain fame, notoriety, acclaim and a financial windfall and were further intended to advance their political agenda.” Although the New York Times articles accused Trump of tax fraud, the former president did not claim libel or defamation in the suit. Legal analyst and former federal prosecutor Joyce Alene White Vance noted that to win on that point, he would have to prove that the reporting about his finances wasn’t true, and he was all but conceding he could not do that.

Trump used a lawyer that he has not used before to launch the suit, which Mary Trump, whose doctorate is in psychology, dismissed as the work of a desperate “loser” who was “going to throw anything against the wall he can.”

Eastman was no fly-by-night; he is a senior member of the Federalist Society and clerked for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas (as well as for Judge Luttig). Eastman’s standing in the so-called conservative movement makes it all the more astonishing that, to my knowledge, no leading Republican lawmaker has commented on the revelations of just how close we came to the installation of Trump instead of the duly elected presidential candidate, Joe Biden, in January.

Instead, Republican lawmakers are making headlines by refusing even to negotiate over the debt ceiling, simply saying the Democrats are on their own. They appear to be trying to replace one crisis with another, trying to turn public attention away from Trump’s attempted coup to the idea that Democrats are wild spendthrifts (although the Trump administration added about $7.8 trillion of today’s $28 trillion debt, and during his term, Congress voted to raise the debt ceiling three times).

It is impossible to overstate just how momentous are both an attempted coup and an attempt to force the U.S. to default on its debts.

Other news about the Trump administration and the January 6 Capitol insurrection is surfacing, as well.

On Monday, a federal court in Washington, D.C. unsealed an indictment alleging that, with the help of conservative author Doug Wead, Jesse Benton, a political operative from Kentucky closely allied with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), illegally directed foreign money from a Russian businessman to the 2016 Trump campaign. That the Department of Justice sat on the case for close to five years, even while the question of connections between the Trump campaign and Russians was white hot, suggests political interference with that department.

On Tuesday, the New York Times broke the story that . . .

Continue reading. There’s more.

The US is encountering a crisis that Republicans either support or refuse to face. I think there are tough times ahead.

Written by Leisureguy

23 September 2021 at 9:42 am

Pine and Cedarwood, and the Ghost Town Barber

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I had meant to use Mike’s Natural Barbershop, but picked Pine and Cedarwood by mistake. However, Mike uses fragrance so sparingly that it makes little difference. The one drawback in his soaps, so far as I am concerned (and people differ), is that their fragrance is so faint.

Nothing wrong with the lather, though, which was quite rich and thick, thanks in part to this Yaqi brush. The synthetic knot has a very fine bristle and feels good on the face. The Yaqi razor in the matching cammo pattern is truly excellent, a DOC design that provides a comfortable and efficient shave — three passes to total smoothness and enjoyable throughout.

A splash of Chiseled Face Ghost Town Barber (with a squirt of Grooming Dept Hydrating Gel) and the day begins with pleasure.

Written by Leisureguy

23 September 2021 at 9:12 am

Posted in Shaving

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