Later On

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

Archive for the ‘Daily life’ Category

Dysfunctional government, cont’d.

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Franco Ordoñez reports in McClatchy:

A former social worker told members of Congress on Tuesday that she witnessed rampant abuse and neglect while working at a family detention center in Karnes City, Texas.

Olivia López was among a panel of witnesses that included former detained mothers and mental health experts who shared upsetting accounts of life and work inside the detention centers, the stress of being locked up with their children and the potential long-term psychological impacts.

López, 57, who received her doctorate in social work in 2006, told the lawmakers that staff at the Karnes County Residential Center used the medical observation rooms to isolate mothers and children. She said she was asked to lie to federal officials and withhold information from mothers about their rights.

“Not only are these conditions frightening, they are abusive,” López told the lawmakers. McClatchy first reported her observations Monday.

About 1,700 parents and children reside in three family detention centers in Karnes City and Dilley, Texas, and in Berks County, Pa.

While some Republicans defend the family detention centers as the best way to ensure those here illegally appear for their court dates, some Democrats in Congress have called for an end to the Obama administration policy.

The Congressional Progressive Caucus and House Judiciary Democrats invited Lopez to speak at a forum Tuesday afternoon to investigate the psychological, developmental and legal implications of current family detention policies. . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

28 July 2015 at 5:15 pm

Posted in Daily life, Government

There’s been a marked change in police department ethos.

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Read this post. Watch the full video.

Written by LeisureGuy

28 July 2015 at 4:31 pm

Peanut executive facing unprecedented life sentence for selling contaminated food

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And a life sentence is well deserved.

Corporations will do absolutely anything to grow profits. I keep saying it because new instances constantly arise in which corporations do not hold back from flat-out illegal activity, not to mention showing a lack of ethics, morality, and common decency. This case is an example.

This man is literally a public enemy, and a rather aggressive enemy at that. In his defense, I suppose, there is the fact that he did not deliberately cultivate the salmonella, but he quite deliberately introduced it into the public’s food supply, certainly the action of an enemy. Indeed, it amounts to sabotage.

Written by LeisureGuy

28 July 2015 at 4:24 pm

“Do the walls match my eyes?”

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Photo of Calypso by TYD.

Written by LeisureGuy

28 July 2015 at 4:17 pm

Posted in Cats, Daily life

Riders of the Waves

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Alice Gregory has a particularly interesting review at the NY Review of Books:

Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life
by William Finnegan

Penguin, 447 pp., $27.95

There’s a passage near the beginning of Middlemarch in which the narrator describes the view out of a carriage window that depicts, better than anything I’ve ever read, the pleasure of knowing a place intimately. “Little details gave each field a particular physiognomy, dear to the eyes that have looked on them from childhood,” George Eliot writes. She goes on to cite a list of beloved natural features: trees that lean in a certain way, abrupt slopes, a bald spot in a pasture.

These are the things that make the gamut of joy in landscape to [the area’s] souls—the things they toddled among, or perhaps learned by heart standing between their father’s knees while he drove leisurely.

This capacity for geographical familiarity—knowing exactly where the neighbor’s fence warps slightly—is a visceral kind of knowledge, gained organically, and it atrophies as we age. Learning a place by heart is a luxury rarely afforded to adults, and unless absolutely forced to, one seldom even notices that the ability has been lost.

In his new book, the New Yorker staff writer and veteran war reporter William Finnegan demonstrates the advantages of keeping meticulous mental maps. For him, memorizing a place is a matter of nostalgia, of metaphysical well-being, but also of life and death. Finnegan’s memoir is not about his professional life reporting on blood-soaked Sudan or Bosnia or Nicaragua; it’s about the “disabling enchantment” that is his lifelong hobby.

“The close, painstaking study of a tiny patch of coast, every eddy and angle, even down to individual rocks, and in every combination of tide and wind and swell…is the basic occupation of surfers at their local break,” he writes in Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life. Surfers, like children, naturally develop sensory affinity for their surroundings: they can detect minor changes in the smell of the sea, track daily the rise and fall of sandbars, are grateful for particularly sturdy roots onto which they can grab when scurrying down bluffs. The environment becomes an almost anatomical extension of them, mostly because it has to.

Unlike football or baseball or even boxing, surfing is a literarily impoverished sport. The reasons for this are practical. . .

Continue reading.

It certainly seems to be true for those who grew up in one place—the same house or apartment—for (say) the first 15 years of their life cannot look at the surroundings without evoking a chorus of memories for each, a chorus that reaches back to when they first became aware of their surroundings and reinforced with event and experience continually over the years.

Written by LeisureGuy

28 July 2015 at 11:49 am

Posted in Books, Daily life

Very interesting follow-up to Charleston air crash: Can the ‘Right Stuff’ Become the Wrong Stuff?

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James Fallows publishes some responses received after his posting of a message he got from an Air Force officer who had totally dismissed any possibility that the Air Force pilot was in any way responsible for the crash. Worth reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

27 July 2015 at 8:48 am

Posted in Daily life, Military

Interesting example of perverse incentives

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Paul Krugman blogs in the NY Times:

Henry Farrell — who recently said some very interesting things about Very Serious People — writes me about my musings on hipster style, and refers me to a review of a book on codes of the underworld. The book notes that tattoos and such play a role as signals of criminal identity, which work precisely because they make it hard to participate in non-criminal society.

But there’s more: criminals actively cultivate a reputation for incompetence at non-criminal business, designed to reassure both their colleagues and the victims of their extortion that they won’t break their implicit contracts by going legit. And the author, Diego Gambetta, adds a wonderful parallel: according to his account, Italian academics, who do a lot of horse-trading in appointments etc., cultivate a reputation for incompetence at actual research, again designed to reassure those with whom one deals:

“Being incompetent and displaying it,” he writes, “conveys the message I will not run away, for I have no strong legs to run anywhere else. In a corrupt academic market, being good at and interested in one’s own research, by contrast, signal a potential for a career independent of corrupt reciprocity…. In the Italian academic world, the kakistrocrats are those who best assure others by displaying, through lack of competence and lack of interest in research, that they will comply with the pacts.”

And this immediately makes me think of one of the mysteries of economic “debate” in America, namely the preference of the right not just for hacks but for incompetent hacks. Here’s what I wrote:

I suspect that the incompetence is actually desirable at some level — a smart hack might turn honest, or something,

But let me hasten to add that I am not intending to engage in slander here. I would never, never suggest that Brooklyn hipsters are anything like Heritage Foundation economists.

Comments to be found at the link.

Written by LeisureGuy

26 July 2015 at 4:42 pm


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