Later On

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

Archive for September 18th, 2022

WTF?! Border Wall Construction Resumes Under President Joe Biden

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Ryan Devereaux reports in the Intercept:

MYLES TRAPHAGEN DIDN’T need a government presentation to tell him that border wall construction was kicking back up. He saw everything he needed on a recent visit to the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge and the Coronado National Forest, near the town of Sasabe in southern Arizona.

As the borderlands coordinator for the Wildlands Network, Traphagen had visited the area many times before. It was among the sites he examined in an extensive report published in July documenting the environmental impact of the border wall expansion under President Donald Trump — President Joe Biden paused the construction shortly after his inauguration.

Traphagen spotted a new staging area and water holding tanks under construction. Fixed to the wall were new signs citing an Arizona trespassing law. A security guard at the scene told him construction was resuming. Later, a Border Patrol agent ordered him to leave the area.

“It’s feeling like it felt during border wall construction with Trump,” Traphagen told The Intercept. “I hadn’t felt that on the border in a year and a half, and now it’s like, oh, shit, here we go again.”

Six days after Traphagen’s visit, U.S. Customs and Border Protection confirmed that work on the border wall that began under Trump is revving back up under Biden. In an online presentation Wednesday, CBP — the largest division of the Department of Homeland Security and home to the Border Patrol — detailed plans to address environmental damage brought on by the former president’s signature campaign promise and confirmed that the wall will remain a permanent fixture of the Southwest for generations to come.

The resumed operations will range from repairing gates and roads to filling gaps in the wall that were left following the pause on construction that Biden initiated in January 2021. The wall’s environmental harms have been particularly acute in southern Arizona, where CBP used explosives to blast through large swaths of protected land — including sacred Native American burial grounds and one-of-a-kind wildlife habitats — in service of Trump’s most expansive border wall extensions.

Starting next month, contractors will return to the Sonoran Desert in Arizona to resume work on the wall, senior CBP officials said in a public webinar. In the months since Biden’s pause began, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas approved several so-called remediation projects related to the border wall. The first plan that CBP presented for public comment was in the Tucson sector, the Border Patrol’s largest area of operations and site of Trump’s most dramatic and controversial border wall construction.

IN EARLY 2020, the press was invited to watch as Border Patrol and Department of Defense officials blew apart chunks of the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, south of Tucson, to make way for Trump’s wall. The display followed months of protests, as the administration tapped into a rare desert aquifer that feeds Quitobaquito Springs, an oasis that the Hia-Ced O’odham people have held sacred for thousands of years.

Two Hia-Ced O’odham women were later arrested, strip-searched, and held incommunicado after praying and protesting at the construction site. Earlier this year, one of the two women, Amber Ortega, was found not guilty of the charges after a federal judge ruled that the prosecution violated her rights under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. . .

Continue reading.

It’s clear — it was clear under Trump and it’s clear now — that the border wall is expensive, ineffective (most illegal immigration is done through normal ports of entry and people overstay their visas), and an environmental disaster. Democrats opposed the wall. Has Biden just lost the plot?

Written by Leisureguy

18 September 2022 at 6:09 pm

Fossil Fuel Industry Seeks to Expand Free Speech for Corporations and Limit It for Citizens

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Amy Westervelt reports in the Intercept:

REPS. JAMIE RASKIN, D-Md., and Katie Porter, D-Calif., probably didn’t plan for their committee hearings to run at the exact same time this week, but the hearings sure were talking to each other.

In her Committee on Natural Resources hearing, Porter highlighted the role PR firms play in blocking climate policy. Rep. Blake Moore, R-Utah, and his selected witness, Amy Cooke, CEO of the conservative John Locke Foundation, expressed concern that preventing companies and their hired PR firms from spreading misinformation about climate change would have a chilling effect on free speech.

Meanwhile, the House Oversight Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, chaired by Raskin, focused on free speech attacks against environmentalists, digging into the fossil fuel industry’s attempts to curb citizens’ speech rights via strategic litigation and laws that criminalize protest. Taken together, the two are a perfect illustration of the industry’s First Amendment strategy: expand free speech for corporations, curb it for citizens.

Raskin’s free speech hearing focused on two key tactics: the increased filing of strategic lawsuits against public participation, or SLAPPs — defamation suits aimed at penalizing citizens or citizen groups for exercising their First Amendment rights — and the proliferation of so-called critical infrastructure bills, which pile on fines and criminal sentences for those caught trespassing or vandalizing near pipelines, power plants, railroads, or other infrastructure. These anti-protest bills were a direct industry backlash to the Standing Rock protests in 2016 and 2017. Starting with a law passed in Oklahoma in 2017, they proliferated with the help of the industry group American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers and the American Legislative Exchange Council, which drafts and disseminates pro-corporate model legislation for adoption by state governments. Seventeen states now have critical infrastructure laws on the books, with several more considering proposals.

“SLAPPs and anti-protest bills are really two sides of the same coin,” said Deepa Padmanabha, deputy general counsel for Greenpeace and a witness at Raskin’s hearing. “They’re tactics used by the same corporate actors to quash dissent. They’re pushing legislation to silence us, to criminalize our critiques through anti-protest bills. And they’re also filing SLAPP suits to silence dissent.”

Greenpeace has dealt with both. Greenpeace USA activists were arrested in 2019 under Texas’s felony critical infrastructure law for unfurling banners on a bridge, which temporarily blocked shipping. The goal of the action was to highlight the connection between the oil industry and climate change.

Greenpeace is engaged in active litigation in a couple of SLAPP suits too. In one, Energy Transfer, the company behind the Dakota Access Pipeline, sued the organization for its role in the Standing Rock protests. The suit was initially filed in federal court and invoked the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO, a law designed to prosecute organized crime. “Energy Transfer was alleging that our advocacy work to uplift Indigenous voices at Standing Rock constituted organized crime,” Padmanabha said.

Because RICO allows for damages to be tripled if a defendant is found guilty, Greenpeace faced a $1 billion fine. Losing that suit would have had a truly chilling effect on free speech. A federal judge threw out the case, but Energy Transfer filed again in North Dakota (minus the RICO charge), a state that doesn’t have an anti-SLAPP law on the books. . .

Continue reading. Things look bad, overall.

Written by Leisureguy

18 September 2022 at 6:03 pm

Italian Barber has a whole bunch of Grooming Dept products currently in stock

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My experience is that they don’t stay long in stock. Take a look.

Grooming Dept shaving soaps are excellent, and I do highly recommend (and use daily) Grooming Dept Moisturizing Pre-Shave. I also add a couple of squirts of Grooming Dept Hydrating Gel to my aftershave balms.

I think I should probably try one of the Grooming Dept aftershaves.

Written by Leisureguy

18 September 2022 at 4:50 pm

Posted in Shaving

A modern update by the BBC of “Powers of Ten”

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Written by Leisureguy

18 September 2022 at 3:55 pm

Posted in Daily life, Science, Video

What an “okay boomer” has to say to young people

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Ellen Beth Gill has an interesting article in Medium:

My young co-worker OD’d to his death on Friday night. Might have been an accident, but at the very least, he was self-medicating. He wasn’t the greatest at the job, but he was such a sweet guy, and I wish his world had been a better one.

That got me thinking about what I’d say to young people, given all the mistakes I’ve made in my 62 years. I know. I know. “Okay, boomer,” but what I’m going to say might not be what you think I’m going to say.

Education

Nice to go to college if you can afford it. Don’t go if it gets you or your parents into debt. Whether you go to college or not, read everything you can get your hands on, except the Bible, but I’ll get to that later. With that exception, the most interesting and talented people I know are well-read.

If you were home-schooled, get into a GED program and try to get a year or two of community college. You need to learn something not filtered by an agenda. Home school programs are based on a political agenda. If there was no agenda, were you left in front of the television? A lot of home schooled kids were just kept from school, and not actually home-schooled.

Also, learn how to do stuff, how to make stuff, how to rehab stuff. There’s a man on Tik Tok who says you don’t lack good stuff because you’re poor. You lack good stuff because you’re lousy at being poor. He shows people how to make treasures from trash, great homes from the worst. I’ll post a link if I can find it again.

I once asked my Facebook friends how to darn a sock. The most popular answer was “Thrown out that darn sock.” No one knew how to do it. Now, you can find lots of YouTubes or TikToks on how to darn a sock. Keep what you own nice.

Learn how to cook, and cook cheaply, but without processed stuff like boxed mac and cheese or packaged ramen with the mystery flavor packet. There are a lot of videos online where they recorded their Depression era grandma teaching them how to cook. Always listen to grandma or great-grandma about cooking, though probably not about religion and politics.

Learn how to garden, grow food, not lawns. Try to move to a place that lets you plant food. There is nothing worse than giving lots of money to a gardener or an HOA that spends it on watering, killing weeds with poisons that will kill you, and cutting grass. Unless you have a herd of cattle or sheep or goats to eat it, you do not need a lawn.

Jobs Part 1

This is a tough one because I’d like to tell you not to get one, but most likely you need one to eat. So, I’ll start out like this: first and foremost, do not be a consumer. The less you need, the less you need to make.

Consumerism

Consume as little as possible. Need as little as possible. Share, trade and do without as much as possible. There are free stuff and trading communities. Start a free stuff and trading community if you don’t find one locally.

You do not need a fancy, gas guzzling car — demand your communities keep up public transportation systems. The rich want communities to abandon public transportation. They don’t care that public transportation is better for everyone for lots of reasons. They just want the lowest taxes possible.

You do not need a large luxury home, more floors to wash, more bathrooms to clean. Do not go into debt, any debt, to buy a home. Try or create co-housing opportunities. You don’t need a bank on your back and your boss doesn’t need help exploiting you.

Nobody needs a lot of clothes anymore. If your job requires you to dress up all the time, ask management if they own stock in a clothing conglomerate.

You do need a reliable smart phone, a laptop and maybe a good sized monitor if you do any digital art. Beware of Internet subscription services that have you lease and pay monthly or yearly for what you used to be able to purchase once.

One of the happiest people I know is a woman who lives out of her truck and travels around the country sometimes alone and sometimes with other women similarly situated to help the homeless.

Jobs Part 2

If you need a job, try to get a job outside of an office or with some outside time. I know delivery jobs stink in their own ways, but it’s really bad, and bad for you, to be stuck in an office all day, every day. Most of what you do there has very little value to anyone, and will leave you feeling empty. Think about what skills you have or want to have that involve the outdoors.

Don’t let jobs take your life away from you. You have to work the set work hours, but you do not have to participate in mandatory after-hours social or team-building events or mandatory charity events where you do the labor and management gets the accolades and tax deduction. You are not part of a team no matter what they tell you. Proof? Try unionizing and you’ll learn that management does not want you to be part of any team. They just want to control you.

Don’t fall into the “professional” trap. Professional is a fake status to get you to give up your weekends, overtime pay, and keeps you out of a union. Knowledge workers do the work, but don’t get the pay or bonuses that managers get. Lots of places give the manager a large bonus and suggest they share it with the knowledge workers and staff, but that is not mandatory and they rarely share.

Try and avoid part time jobs where the schedule is irregular. That makes you a full time worker for a part time salary.

Talk about your salaries with co-workers and don’t rat out co-workers for talking salary. It is not unprofessional to talk about salary. It’s inconvenient for management.

Unless it’s in your specific job description, do not  . . .

Continue reading.

If you hit a paywall, you can also read the article here. But first try reading it on Medium.

Written by Leisureguy

18 September 2022 at 10:29 am

How playing a musical instrument benefits your brain

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See also this earlier post.

Written by Leisureguy

18 September 2022 at 10:18 am

Game over for the US: Republicans in key battleground races refuse to say they will accept results

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Once politicians decide that they will no longer accept majorities — whether a majority of votes in an election or a majority of votes in (say) passing a bill — it is game over. Why? Because if a majority vote does not decide the issue, what will? The answer, of course, is force (aka violence and the threat of violence). And we do see more and more frequently politicians and the public (on the Right in particular) using violence (the January 6 insurrection) and the threat of violence (parking in front of a Representative’s house with a loaded weapon, threatening phone calls, bomb threats, and so on).

As Archie (the manager of Duffy’s Tavern) used to say, that the ipso. And now the facto is that Republican candidates are already saying that they will not accept the election results if those show that they were defeated. Instead, they themselves will decide whether they lost or not, and — no surprise — their decision will be that they have won.

Amy Gardner, Hannah Knowles, Colby Itkowitz, and Annie Linskey report in the Washington Post (gift link, no paywall):

A dozen Republican candidates in competitive races for governor and Senate have declined to say whether they would accept the results of their contests, raising the prospect of fresh post-election chaos two years after Donald Trump refused to concede the presidency.

In a survey by The Washington Post of 19 of the most closely watched statewide races in the country, the contrast between Republican and Democratic candidates was stark. While seven GOP nominees committed to accepting the outcomes in their contests, 12 either refused to commit or declined to respond. On the Democratic side, 17 said they would accept the outcome and two did not respond to The Post’s survey.

The reluctance of many GOP candidates to embrace a long-standing tenet of American democracy shows how Trump’s assault on the integrity of U.S. elections has spread far beyond the 2020 presidential race. This year, multiple losing candidates could refuse to accept their defeats.

Trump, who continues to claim without evidence that his loss to Joe Biden in 2020 was rigged, has attacked fellow Republicans who do not agree — making election denialism the price of admission in many GOP primaries. More than half of all Republican nominees for federal and statewide office with powers over election administration have embraced unproven claims that fraud tainted Biden’s win, according to a Washington Post tally.

Acceptance of an electoral outcome — win or lose — was once a virtual certainty in American politics, although there have been exceptions. In 2018, Georgia Democratic gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams cited voter suppression as a reason for refusing to concede defeat to Republican opponent Brian Kemp. But unlike Trump, Abrams never sought to overturn the certified result or foment an insurrection.

In competitive races for governor or Senate in Arizona, Florida, Kansas, Michigan, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Texas, GOP candidates declined to say that they would accept this year’s result. All but two — incumbent senators Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Marco Rubio of Florida — have publicly embraced Trump’s false claims about 2020, according to a Post analysis.

The Post asked candidates if they would “accept the result” of their contest this year as well as what circumstances might cause them not to.

Several used the opportunity of The Post’s survey to raise further doubts about the integrity of U.S. elections. Michigan GOP gubernatorial nominee Tudor Dixon answered the question of whether she would be willing to accept the result in November’s race by renewing her unfounded attacks on the Democratic secretary of state for her handling of the last election.

“In 2020, Jocelyn Benson knowingly and willfully broke laws designed to secure our elections, which directly correlates to people’s lack of faith in the integrity of our process,” said Sara Broadwater, a spokeswoman for Dixon, who is challenging Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) and has said repeatedly that the 2020 election was stolen.

No evidence has emerged that Benson, the Michigan secretary of state, broke any laws in 2020. Dixon’s campaign added that if authorities “follow the letter of the law” this year, then “we can all have a reasonable amount of faith in the process.” She pointedly did not say whether she will accept the results.

Whitmer, for her part, responded to The Post’s survey by pledging to accept the outcome and accusing her opponents of “trying to weaken our democracy, undermine trust in American institutions and silence the voice of Michiganders.” . . .

Continue reading. (gift link, no paywall)

Written by Leisureguy

18 September 2022 at 10:13 am

A Plant-Based Take on Buffalo Sauce and Wings

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I am particularly interested in the sauce. From the Description of the video on YouTube (which also has the recipe for Cauliflower Wings):

Vegan Buffalo Sauce

In a blender [or in an immersion blender’s beaker – LG] add:

• 3/4 Cup of Frank’s RedHot [I used Original and XTRA Hot, 50-50 – LG]
• 3-4 Tbsp of Cashew Butter [I would say 4-6 Tbsp – LG]
• 1 tsp Garlic Powder [I used 2 cloves of garlic, chopped – LG]
• 1/2 tsp Paprika [I used Spanish smoked paprika – LG]
• 1/4 cup of water [I would go with 2 Tbsp water, more if needed – LG]

BLEND!

From Wikipedia:

Frank’s RedHot is a hot sauce made from a variety of cayenne peppers, produced by McCormick. The Original blend ranks low on the Scoville scale, with 450 SHUs [Scoville Heat Units – LG], but the XTRA Hot variety measures 2,000 SHUs.

Frank’s RedHot Original is the usual choice, but I’m going to try Frank’s HotSauce Xtra Hot.

Here are the recipes being made:

Written by Leisureguy

18 September 2022 at 8:04 am

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