Later On

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

Archive for August 29th, 2022

Americans are looking seriously for a safe haven in case things go to hell

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Ashley Fetters Maloy reports in the Washington Post (gift link, no paywall):

On the morning of June 27, Julie Schäfer logged into her work computer and sat stunned at what she saw. The lawyer at Schlun & Elseven in Düsseldorf often helps Americans obtain dual citizenship in Germany, and that Monday morning, she scrolled and scrolled and kept scrolling. A flood of more than 300 inquiries had piled up in the firm’s inbox.

The Friday before, the U.S. Supreme Court had overturned the 49-year-old precedent Roe v. Wade, which protected the right to legal abortion nationwide; in Germany, abortion is decriminalized before 12 weeks with mandatory counseling, and in other cases when a pregnancy is deemed a threat to the pregnant person’s mental or physical health. Following the ruling, which came just as the staff in Germany was clocking out for the night, frantic Americans flocked to the firm’s website, creating a tenfold spike in clicks on its questionnaire to determine eligibility for dual citizenship.

After inquiries poured in all weekend, Schäfer says, Monday felt like “the aftermath.” Many were seeking dual citizenship through a German ancestor; a handful mentioned in their messages that they were fearful about losing access to abortion care. Of those, a plurality came from Texas.

By now, we all know the stirring stories about immigrants’ arduous journeys to America ― about Ellis Island, about huddled masses yearning to breathe free. Now, though, the sudden nationwide curtailing of abortion rights and the assorted political turmoil of the summer have pushed many U.S. citizens to start the process of obtaining second citizenships in countries that grant them to direct descendants of nationals. Immigrants’ American-born grand- and great-grandchildren are grasping backward through time and bureaucracy, hoping their ancestors might now provide them with a way to start over back in the motherland. Or at least provide them with a quick, visa-free way to live and work elsewhere for a while, in case of emergency. An escape hatch, some say. A backup plan. A parachute.

In 1910, 10-year-old Calogero Cirafisi left his birthplace of Agrigento, Sicily, with his family. They landed in Norristown, Pa., where Calogero became Charles, according to his granddaughter, Helen Kirbo. A 22-year-old photography student who lives in Atlanta, Kirbo has learned all of this in the process of seeking dual citizenship in Italy.

When a draft of the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision leaked in early May, Kirbo was disturbed by the notion that, if what was outlined in the draft came to pass, “my mom would have had more rights to her body than I [do now], growing up.” She began to explore the idea of moving abroad after she graduates from college in 2023.

In June, though, Kirbo learned from a friend about Italy’s jure sanguinis policy, which essentially guarantees citizenship eligibility to anyone who can prove themselves to be a direct descendant of an Italian citizen (with a few caveats). “It was like the out I was always looking for,” Kirbo says. “And immediately after Roe v. Wade was officially overturned, it was like, there was no question for me.” In Italy, abortion has been legal upon request and performed free of charge since 1978. . .

Continue reading. (gift link, no paywall)

Written by Leisureguy

29 August 2022 at 6:26 pm

Portrait of Molly

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The Wife took this portrait-quality photo of Molly today as Molly sat on her table by the window.

Written by Leisureguy

29 August 2022 at 6:13 pm

Posted in Cats, Daily life, Molly

College rankings: Washington Monthly’s rankings vs. US News & World Report’s rankings

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An email I received this morning from Paul Glastris, Editor in Chief, Washington Monthly, regarding the latest issue of the magazine. I figured this email would be to anyone who has a friend or relation involved in picking a college. Here’s the first part of the email:

With rising high school seniors and their families awaiting the latest U.S. News & World Report college rankings amid news that several brand-name universities fudged their data to the magazine, the Washington Monthly today is releasing its alternative rankings, which have avoided such scandals by focusing on data that is more reliable and relevant to the majority of students, as well as to policy makers. The new issue of the Monthly also features a story by James Fallows, the acclaimed journalist and former U.S. News editor fired by U.S. News’s owner after questioning that magazine’s rankings metrics.

This summer, U.S. News “deranked” Columbia University and removed Villanova University from its Best Value list for “misreporting” their data. An internal University of Southern California review recently confirmed a similar U.S. News numbers-boosting scheme, and a Temple University administrator is now serving time in prison for such activity.

The common source of these controversies is that U.S. News’s metrics rely on a proprietary survey on which colleges have an incentive to cheat. The Washington Monthly’s measures, by contrast, are based on publicly available data largely collected by the federal government—so to cheat on the Monthly’s rankings, colleges must intentionally lie to the federal government, which they are loath to do.

In addition to greater reliability, the Washington Monthly rankings offer measures of student outcomes that are more useful and relevant to students, the majority of whom are neither wealthy nor applying to highly selective schools, as well as to policy makers at the federal and state levels who must make funding decisions for colleges and universities based on the broader public interest. Whereas U.S. News & World Report rewards colleges for their wealth, prestige, and exclusivity, the Monthly ranks schools based on upward mobility, public service, and research. The Monthly’s focus on how colleges serve middle- and lower-income students is especially relevant in the wake of President Joe Biden’s executive order providing loan forgiveness for such students.

A Tale of Two Rankings

Many colleges that do poorly on U.S. News’s rankings do well on the Washington Monthly’s, and vice versa:

  • The Monthly’s top 20 list includes six state schools—among them UC Davis and National Louis University in Chicago—while only one public university makes it onto the U.S. News’s top 20.
  • Utah State University, #22 on the Monthly list, is #249 on the U.S. News list (a 227-point difference).
  • Tulane University is #407 in the Monthly ranking; U.S. News puts it at #42 (365-point difference).
  • Baylor University is #382 in the Monthly; U.S. News has it at #75 (307-point difference).
  • Hofstra University is #438 in the Monthly, and #162 in U.S. News (276-point difference).
  • Pepperdine University is #232 in the Monthly; U.S. News puts it at #49 (183-point difference).

The September/October Washington Monthly also ranks master’s universities, liberal arts and bachelor’s colleges, and America’s “Best Bang for the Buck” colleges—a one-of-a-kind list of schools that help nonwealthy students attain marketable degrees at affordable prices.

Colin Diver, author of Breaking Ranks: How the Rankings Industry Rules Higher Education and What to Do About It, recently said, “My advice to applicants is … start with the Washington Monthly … They’re trying to rank based on what the college does for the community, which is very different from the obvious wealth and prestige focus of U.S. News and several others.”

The September/October Washington Monthly also includes “America’s Best and Worst Colleges for Vocational Certificates,” a long-overdue ranking of the programs where millions of Americans seek job skills, and a “Best Colleges for Student Voting” ranking that is especially relevant because young voters could be a deciding factor in the upcoming midterm elections.

“America needs a new definition of higher education excellence, one that measures what colleges do for their country, instead of for themselves,” says Washington Monthly editor in chief Paul Glastris. “U.S. News rewards colleges for their wealth, prestige, and exclusivity, thereby aggravating America’s racial and class divides, whereas the Monthly ranks schools based on very different criteria meant to do the opposite.”

Other highlights from the issue are:

  • James Fallows writes about “When Gown Embraces Town,” focusing on why it’s time to judge colleges by their contribution to the economic and civic life of their communities, and why Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, passes the test brilliantly by running the city’s failing public schools. In “The (Student) Paper of Record,” Deborah Fallows explains how The Ball State Daily News has filled a local journalism gap.
  • Rob Wolfe examines “The Invisible College Barrier,” which are admissions requirements for popular majors that rob underprivileged students of future income—and their dreams.
  • Jamaal Abdul-Alim writes about how “dual enrollment” programs are the hottest reform in education. In “A Job and a College Degree Before You Graduate High School,” he explains that they haven’t worked for lower-income students of color—until now.
  • Laura Colarusso reports on “Breaking the Cycle of Privilege,” highlighting how administrators at Bunker Hill Community College in Massachusetts noticed that their paid internships weren’t reaching minorities and women in the numbers they intended, and how they fixed it.
  • Jodie Adams Kirshner writes about “The Memphis Post-COVID Community College Blues,” and how in the best of times, poor students struggle against long odds to graduate—and these are not the best of times.
  • Anne Kim explains in her article “Train in Vain” why the government’s workforce training system includes the worst colleges and excludes the best.

Written by Leisureguy

29 August 2022 at 11:50 am

The best diet for healthy aging

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We all age, but healthy aging minimizes pain and suffering, and that sounds good me.

Written by Leisureguy

29 August 2022 at 11:24 am

John Atkinson is a great cartoonist

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Check out the mother lode.

Written by Leisureguy

29 August 2022 at 9:40 am

Posted in Art, Books, Daily life, Humor, Music

The vintage Eros slant with Meißner Tremonia Pink Grapefruit shaving paste

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The Omega Pro 48 (10048) remains one of my favorite shaving brushes, and today the lather it made from Meißner Tremonia’s Pink Grapefruit shaving paste was remarkably good. I think it is in part because the size of the knot nudges one toward the LABL (load a bit longer) method, though course credit is also due to the shaving paste — harder than a shaving cream, softer than a shaving soap, with excellent performance. MT in general makes soaps (and pastes) whose fragrances stand out clearly, something I appreciate. The Pink Grapefruit fragrance, with its unusual combination of grapefruit and eucalyptus, is a wonderful wake-up call.

And the combination of the shaving paste (with a well-loaded brush) and the pre-shave application of Grooming Dept Moisturizing Pre-Shave (Rainforest, in this case) resulted in noticeable slickness on my face, helping the Eros slant glide through my Monday morning two-day stubble.

Some years ago, when my collection of razors was getting out of hand, I decided I should choose, and I chose to abandon vintage razors in favor of razors made today. I did keep my Gillette 1940’s TTO Aristocrat (in part because it appears on the cover of the Guide) and I kept a couple of vintage slants, because modern slants are not so common as they should be. I have a vintage Merkur white bakelite slant and also this plastic French Eros slant.

The Eros is remarkably good. It reminds me in action of my iKon Shavecraft #102, though blade angle is more important for the Eros. (The 102 doesn’t much care what blade angle you use — if you use a bad angle, it simply doesn’t cut the stubble but won’t bite you.) With today’s prep, the Eros did a wonderful job: an easy, comfortable shave with a perfect result.

A splash of Barrister & Mann Reserve Cool — mentholated, as the name implies — with a couple of squirts of Grooming Dept Hydrating Gel finished the shave. Wonderful way to start the week. — Update: The fragrance of this aftershave after the drydown is terrific. I’ll be using it more often.

The tea this morning is Murchie’s No. 22 Blend: “a superb blend of green Gunpowder and Jasmine, as well as Keemun and Ceylon black teas. All the flavour of our world famous No. 10 Blend, with a touch of bergamot to brighten the flavour, and Ceylon to strengthen the brew. With slightly more pronounced citrus and floral tones, this makes for a great cup of tea.”

Written by Leisureguy

29 August 2022 at 9:05 am

Posted in Caffeine, Shaving

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