Later On

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

Archive for July 19th, 2022

Big release of new Grooming Dept shaving soaps in two days: July 21, 11:00am PDT

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You can preview the soaps prior to their release on Grooming Dept’s website. On that page “Sold Out” should be “Not Yet Available.” Check back on Thursday.

Written by Leisureguy

19 July 2022 at 4:01 pm

Posted in Shaving

Airline CEOs should probably all be fired

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Another good post by Kevin Drum, and it’s hard to disagree. From the post:

I’m beginning to wonder if CEOs of big companies are idiots. You may recall, for example, that American car companies cancelled their orders for computer chips when sales plunged at the beginning of the COVID pandemic. Then, apparently, they decided this low demand would last forever so they never put in new orders—and by the time they realized that people would eventually start buying again it was too late. Other companies had snapped up the chips and the Americans were out of luck.

The same thing seems to be happening here. Background checks? Oh yeah, I forgot about those. Pilot retraining? I guess we should have planned for that a while ago. Baggage handlers? Maybe we ought to pay more than starvation wages if we want them to return to airport work.

Beyond that, there’s the question of whether there’s really a pilot shortage in the first place.

Written by Leisureguy

19 July 2022 at 1:38 pm

Posted in Business, Daily life

Geoengineering is humanity’s last hope to combat climate change, but we’re not doing that, either.

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Kevin Drum has a good post that begins:

Last night was dex night, so I spent some time hanging around Twitter. At one point I ended up writing something that I’ve hinted around at here but have never quite come out and said outright. So let’s take care of that.

I’ve been watching the climate change fight for 20 years now, waiting and waiting for evidence that the public takes it seriously enough to do something about it. Not just say it’s important when a pollster calls, but demonstrate a real-world willingness to make lifestyle sacrifices that would make a difference. By chance, Paul Krugman wrote about this today:

It has long been painfully obvious that voters are reluctant to accept even small short-run costs in the interest of averting long-run disaster. This is depressing, but it’s a fact of life, one that no amount of haranguing seems likely to change…. Emission taxes are the Econ 101 solution to pollution, but realistically they just aren’t going to happen in America.

Needless to say, I agree. Two years ago I wrote a long piece for Mother Jones based on exactly this observation, and I’d add that it’s true of other countries as well. Neither Chinese nor Indian voters have any interest in freezing or lowering their standard of living at a quarter of our level just because we happened to get rich first. And it’s hard to blame them. Nevertheless, it just adds to the mountain of evidence—which I outlined in my article—that the public simply can’t be counted on to support any serious action.

Not in time, anyway. A decade ago I wrote in Democracy that by 2024:

The fact of climate change will become undeniable. The effects of global warming, discernible today mostly in scary charts and mathematical models, will start to become obvious enough in the real world that even the rightest of right wingers will be forced to acknowledge what’s happening.

I was only half right. The effects of climate change are becoming undeniable, but it hasn’t made even a lick of difference. The Republican Party remains unanimously opposed to clean energy because they oppose anything that raises the possibility of corporate regulation. This is very unlikely to change by 2024.

At the time I wrote about all this two years ago, my conclusion was . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

19 July 2022 at 1:35 pm

Two Cities Took Different Approaches to Pandemic Court Closures. They Got Different Results.

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Alec MacGillis’s article in ProPublica is fairly long, but it illustrates the importance of government — and, specifically, a competent government with enough resources (including financial resources) to do its job. The article begins:

On Dec. 31, 2020, a 40-year-old man named Leon Casiquito walked into Kelly Liquors on Route 66 in Albuquerque and tried to shoplift a bottle of tequila. When one of the owners, Danny Choi, tried to stop him, Casiquito flashed a small pocketknife. Choi told police he knocked the bottle out of Casiquito’s hand with a stick and Casiquito left the store.

Choi locked the door, but Casiquito hung around in the parking lot, shouting that he was going to beat up the store’s employees. One of them called the police, and soon four officers arrived and wrestled Casiquito to the ground. He was charged with armed robbery and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon — despite not actually attacking anyone with the pocketknife — and held without bail at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Albuquerque.

Casiquito had had similar run-ins with law enforcement before, mostly related to his troubles with alcohol and drugs. Those problems, his family believes, may have started with the pills he was prescribed in his teens after he was hit by a car while riding a four-wheeler and thrown 30 feet, putting him into a coma for a few days. At 30, he suffered another accident: a car hit him while he was out walking, breaking both his legs and requiring more pain medication. By the time of his 2020 arrest, his family thought that a brief sojourn in jail — which is what someone in Casiquito’s situation could expect under normal circumstances — might help him get himself clean.

But these were not normal circumstances. Like many states, New Mexico had drastically curtailed the operation of its courts in response to the pandemic. Some civil trials and preliminary hearings for criminal matters moved online, but actual criminal trials needed to be conducted in person in front of juries. Bernalillo County, which includes Albuquerque, suspended such trials for much of 2020 and 2021. Meanwhile, new cases kept pouring in, partly as a result of the surge in violent crime that accompanied the pandemic. The nation’s homicide rate rose by nearly 30% in 2020 and another 5% in 2021, essentially erasing two decades’ worth of declines in deadly violence.

Criminologists have offered several explanations for the increase, including the rise in gun sales early in the pandemic, changes in police behavior following the protests over the murder of George Floyd, and the social disruptions caused by closures of schools and interruptions in social services. But many people who work in criminal justice are zeroing in on another possible factor: the extended shutdown of so much of the court system, the institution at the heart of public order.

This could have led to more violence in a number of ways. Prosecutors confronted with a growing volume of cases decided not to take action against certain suspects, who went on to commit other crimes. Victims or witnesses became less willing to testify as time passed and their memories of events grew foggy, weakening cases against perpetrators. Suspects were denied substance-abuse treatment or other services that they would normally have accessed through the criminal justice system, with dangerous consequences.

Above all, experts say, the shutdowns undermined the promise that crimes would be promptly punished. The theory that “swift, certain and fair” consequences deter crimes is credited to the late criminologist Mark Kleiman. The idea is that it’s the speed of repercussions, rather than their severity, that matters most. By putting the justice system on hold for so long, many jurisdictions weakened that effect. In some cases, people were left to seek street justice in the absence of institutional justice. As Reygan Cunningham, a senior partner at the California Partnership for Safe Communities, put it, closing courts sent “a message that there are no consequences, and there is no help.” . . .

Continue reading.

Later in the article:

Six hundred miles east of Albuquerque, in Wichita, Kansas, authorities had worried from early in the pandemic about the effect of closing courtrooms. They decided to do something about it.

Violence had surged in the spring and early summer of 2020, as it had in so many other cities. Wichita police saw a sharp rise in drive-by shootings. And officials noticed something else, said then-police chief Gordon Ramsay: Many suspects arrested in the shootings were defiant, suggesting that nothing would come of the charges against them because the pandemic had shut down most of the court system. Defendants were, as a result, disinclined to take a plea deal. Why plead guilty to avoid a trial when there were no trials happening anyway?

Ramsay contacted the Sedgwick County district attorney and others about the need to get the system back on track as soon as possible. He found allies in the county’s chief judge, Jeffrey Goering, and in Kevin O’Connor, the presiding judge of the court’s criminal department.

“The option of just having cases pile up in high-volume dockets was not an option at all,” Goering told me. “If that meant thinking outside the box, that’s what it meant.”

After consultations with the county health director, the county courthouse resumed jury trials in July 2020, just four months after having suspended them. It got creative. It spent more than $30,000 to outfit its two largest courtrooms with plexiglass dividers and set up a big tent outside. At first, it called only less serious cases, because lawyers got fewer peremptory strikes to use in jury selection for those cases, which meant that juries could be selected from smaller candidate pools.

Written by Leisureguy

19 July 2022 at 1:02 pm

An abandoned Berlin airport is being transformed into a climate-neutral, car-free neighborhood

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I think it’s tricky to design a neighborhood, but this effort in Germany seems not only well-intentioned but also well-thought-out. Adele Peters reports in Fast Company:

Last year, after Berlin’s Tegel Airport had been replaced by a new international airport at another location, workers started clearing the land for a new project: a neighborhood built from scratch with the climate in mind.

Some parts of the airport will be reused, with old terminals turned into commercial space for research and offices for startups. But a more-than-100-acre area near where the runway used to sit will be completely reimagined, with 5,000 new apartment homes built in a walkable, bikeable, carbon-neutral neighborhood with parks, schools, and stores.

“The planning is based on questions such as: How do we want to live and get around in urban spaces in the future? What qualities are important to us as individuals and as a community? And what functionalities can’t we do without?” explains Constanze Döll, press secretary for the Tegel Projekt, which is developing the area, called the Schumacher Quartier. While the final designs are not yet complete, the project has several guidelines. First: People take priority, not cars. . .

Continue reading. There’s more.

I live in a neighborhood that was design for people, not cars, and I have to say I like it a lot. My parents lived for many years in Phoenix AZ, a city designed for cars, not people, and I would never want to live there.

Written by Leisureguy

19 July 2022 at 12:43 pm

Garden Mint is the soap for summer, and Fresh Vetiver complements it nicely

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A late start but a great shave. The Mühle Gen 2 synthetic brush easily produced a great and minty lather from Wikham’s Super Smooth soap. This is spearmint, not peppermint, so no menthol. (I’m not a big fan of menthol.) Three passes with the Edwin Jagger razor left a smooth face, and a splash of Fresh Vetiver (which does have menthol, but a modest amount for a hint of cooling) finished the job.

The tea is morning is Murchie’s Assam Tippy Golden: “A dark, rich tea with full-bodied, malty flavour, with a hint of sweetness and a silk smooth finish.”

Written by Leisureguy

19 July 2022 at 12:30 pm

Posted in Caffeine, Shaving

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