Later On

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

Archive for April 2nd, 2007

Bush losing key Iraq adviser

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The woman who was key in devising and implementing policy in Iraq and Afghanistan is leaving. Man, wouldn’t you hate to have that on your résumé? What a record of total failure. Here’s the first part of the story:

President Bush is losing his top day-to-day adviser on Iraq, the White House confirmed Monday.

Meghan L. O’Sullivan, who has played a key behind-the-scenes role in implementing Bush’s controversial Iraq policies over the past four years, will leave later this spring.

Her departure, which follows that of her deputy, could leave the White House with a vacuum of long-term experience on Iraq policy, and it comes as Bush and the Democratic-controlled Congress prepare for a showdown over withdrawing U.S. troops.

O’Sullivan, 37, known for her 100-hour work weeks and steady optimism over the eventual outcome in Iraq, said in an interview that with the completion of months-long reviews of policy in Iraq and Afghanistan – which she also oversees – she felt it was the right time for a change.

“There’s never a good time to leave this kind of job. … But (I decided) this would be as good a time as any,” she said, adding that she was happy with the outcome of both reviews.

O’Sullivan, who says she’s uncertain of her next job, helped craft the strategy that Bush announced in January, including an increase of 28,000 U.S. troops to help secure Baghdad.

She has spent nearly three years at the White House and before that was a top aide to L. Paul Bremer III, the top U.S. civilian administrator in Iraq before the country regained its sovereignty.

O’Sullivan’s boss, Steve Hadley, praised her in a statement. “She has served this president with real distinction during a critical time in Iraq,” he said.

But four years after the U.S. invasion and toppling of Saddam Hussein’s regime, Iraq remains mired in a churning civil war, with suicide bombings an almost daily occurrence. More than 3,200 U.S. soldiers have died. Two million Iraqis have fled the country, and 1.9 million are internally displaced, according to U.N. figures.

Written by Leisureguy

2 April 2007 at 8:28 pm

Good book: Point of Impact

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Point of Impact, by Stephen Hunter, is the underlying property, as they say or used to say, for the movie Shooter. The movie’s just out, but I wanted to read the book first—in general, I get more from the book than the movie (and, let’s be honest, in general the books better than the movie). And it was a fine book: nicely complex, good characters, enjoyable thriller. Stephen Hunter is (or perhaps was) film critic for the Baltimore Sun. Lots of good writers in Baltimore, starting, I suppose, back with Edgar Allen Poe. Or before.

At any rate, a book worth getting, and tomorrow I go to the library and get me some more Stephen Hunter novels.

Written by Leisureguy

2 April 2007 at 7:58 pm

Posted in Books, Movies & TV

Cute-photo site

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Thanks to The Wife, this site.

Written by Leisureguy

2 April 2007 at 4:28 pm

Posted in Cats

GOP in trouble in Ohio

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What goes around, comes around, and it’s a long road that has no turning, and as you sow, so also shall you reap, etc.:

Although the presidential election is 19 months away, the Republican Party has a real and growing problem in Ohio that could cost it the White House in 2008.

Simply put, the GOP brand is in trouble in Ohio, more so than it is nationally. That matters because in 2004 Ohio was the key to an Electoral College majority, and could well be the same in 2008.

Since the 2004 election in which President Bush narrowly defeated John Kerry, the undercurrent in Democratic thinking for 2008 has been to hold the states Kerry won and to turn Ohio from red to blue.

If Ohio’s 20 electoral votes were to go to the Democrats, assuming that no other states switch allegiance, that would give them the White House.

And as simplistic as that strategy sounds, it could turn out to be successful because of the woes that are besetting the Republicans in the Buckeye State, more than in any other key battleground.

In fact, polls of Ohio voters are finding them less inclined to support GOP candidates, less likely to consider themselves Republican than in the recent past, and giving higher ratings to potential Democratic candidates with a consistency that should set off alarm bells at the Republican National Committee.

Ohio has historically has been slightly more Republican than one of the other big Electoral College battlegrounds, Pennsylvania. In recent presidential elections it has been roughly as GOP as Florida, the other major swing state.

Four other states — Democratic-leaning California, New York and Illinois, and GOP bastion Texas — have more electoral votes than Ohio, but they are generally not up for grabs in a close national election.

There are a myriad of reasons why the Republican problems are magnified in Ohio:

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Leisureguy

2 April 2007 at 1:14 pm

Book Links — Fourth Edition

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This is a reference site to accompany the fourth edition of Guide to Gourmet Shaving: Shaving Made Enjoyable. The fifth has now been published and further updates will be made for that. The link goes to the Amazon page for the fifth edition.

Information that I learn after publication of the book will be posted here. Check back from time to time.

Vendor changes: As of 14 Aug 2011 Prairie Creations and Honeybee Soaps are both closed—temporarily, one hopes—for health reasons. Rituals Skincare seems to be out of business. UPDATE:  Honeybee Soaps is back open!
UPDATE:  Prairie Creations explains the delay and hopes to open after surgery.

Garry’s Sample Shop: Source of samples of a wide variety of shaving supplies.

Ginger’s Garden artisanal shaving soaps: I have tried the soap from Ginger’s Garden and I like it quite a bit. They also have shave sticks available. Check it out. (And this will be in the next edition.)

Shaving supplies from Australian vendor: I just got an email from a reader pointing out this resource: Esquires of Picadilly in Perth. The site uses frames, of all things, so I can’t link directly to shaving supplies.

Good introduction to straight razors: With diagrams.

Two excellent shaving soaps: And at a very good price: Vitos Red Label is less than $17 (plus shipping) for 1 kg (2.2 lbs) of a soft, tallow-based, bitter-almond-scented shaving soap: you tear off a wad, mash it into a bowl or cup, and work up a superb lather. Plenty to share with your buddies. (VAT is not charged on products shipped outside the UK.) From the same vendor, Lea is a shave stick that works very well indeed for me and costs less than $6.

Wicked Edge: This is a Reddit group that functions very like a forum. Good site to get quick answers.

Two more vendors: Two more new to me, both in Ireland: Traditional Shaving Supplies at, and They both offer sampler packets of razor blades and both are well stocked with a good variety of brands.

Simply Shaving forum: Simply Shaving is active again. Check it out.

Custom handmade brushes and razors: Check out Cooncat Bob’s shop.

Another new vendor: has a great selection of horsehair shaving brushes along with other shaving supplies.

Another vendor new to meRazor Blades & More Co. is located in LA. Take a look.

Two more new vendors: Two more vendors have appeared. I’ve not ordered from either. Highland MensCare is located in Devon PA, and Italian Barber is in Richmond Hill, ONT. I’ve added them to the vendor list below.

New vendor: I haven’t ordered from them yet, but they have a nice razor sampler and a good selection. They’re located in Turkey.

New link for the forum Pogonotomy: The forum is now at . has a good line of shaving products, including a very intriguing shaving soap from Otoko Organics. BruceOnShaving has a good review of that soap, good enough that I ordered a tub. And it’s quite a nice soap indeed. is another new vendor. Zach mentioned him in a comment on a shaving post on the blog. They seem to have a good range of shaving products, along with fountain pens, etc.

Barber Depot, included in the vendor list below, seems to have gone out of business. I bought Astra Superior Platinum blades from them ($100 for 1100 blades). Fortunately, I just bought a new supply.

British Gillettes. Gavin Groom in a comment points out this useful table of the various British Gillette models and their characteristics.

RazoRock alum bar. I learned about this nicely packaged potassium alum bar from Steve of Kafeneio, who has a good post (with photo) on it. If you like to use the alum bar after a shave in the shower—or while traveling—this might work well for you because of the waterproof packaging and compact size.

The Shaver Shop. A commenter points out this vendor, new to me.

Change in razor recommendation for a beginner (2 updates). The book currently recommends the Merkur Hefty Classic (aka “HD”) as the razor for a beginner. This recommendation is based on polls of experienced wet-shavers. The HD is readily available, is not adjustable (a plus for beginners, who don’t need to be worrying about and tinkering with the adjustment), and is relatively inexpensive, currently running around $42. But this morning I was thinking again about my own experiences with the razors I have, and I am going to change that recommendation.

The HD is still a good budget choice, but in my opinion (and experience) the best razor for a beginner is the iKon open-comb with either the bulldog handle or the long slender handle. This will cost $75 or $80, depending on the handle, but the iKon is a remarkably comfortable and forgiving razor. I now think this is the best beginner razor, and the next edition of the book will reflect the new recommendation. Thanks to the update page, though, I don’t have to wait for the next edition to let you know.

UPDATE 1: I blogged the above change in recommendation, and some good discussion has ensued. I’ll revisit the whole thing in the light of the points raised. Note, though, that in general the only objection to the iKon open-comb is its price—though the suggestion of buying both heads (with a single handle) is excellent.

UPDATE 2: The consensus is that beginning shavers are quite sensitive to price since they don’t yet know whether this new approach will work for them. Given that reality, one of the $32 Edwin Jagger DE8x models wins: very attractive, excellent head design, and inexpensive. The iKon open-comb has strong adherents, but the iKon starts at $80. Still, beginners who are inclined would find the iKon open-comb an excellent starting razor.

BruceOnShaving’s beginner’s guide to traditional shaving kit. A useful guide for the traditional wet-shaving beginner. (My own recommendations for a beginner’s shaving kit can be found in the Guide to Gourmet Shaving, but Bruce’s review is also useful.)

New name and new URL for Honeybee soaps. Once it was “Honeybee Spa,” but that name and URL has gone to an actual spa, and the wonderful shaving products we know are now from Honeybee Soaps, URL Visit it now to check it out—it’s nice to be free of the eBay limitations.

Vendor of inexpensive shaving products: Check out

New shaving forum: Bruce Everiss (of has begun a new shaving forum, Pogonotomy. It’s just beginning, so you can be one of the Original Contributors.

Another source of blade sampler packs: Em’s Place now sells blade sampler packs.

Shaving Products for Men Online: Another new vendor of traditional wetshaving supplies. It really seems to me that this approach to shaving is increasingly popular.

New vendors: In the US, take a look at Italian Barber. And in the UK, check out Nanny’s Silly Soap Company.

Gold-plating a Merkur 1904 Classic. In the 4th edition, I finally wrote (and with great satisfaction), “The only drawback I’ve discovered is that it doesn’t seem to come in gold. So I had mine replated.” A more accurate statement would have been: “I have sent mine off to be replated.” But, alas, it turns out that the razor is unsuitable for gold plating: it’s plated in chrome, and plating over chrome is rarely done—and requires a special process.  So my 1904 remains as it was.

Inexpensive shaving brush: BruceOnShaving points out the Shea Moisture Shaving brush available now at Target for $8. Seems to be an excellent buy—amazing, in fact. It’s not silvertip, but at the price it’s hard to beat (save with the Frank shaving brushes). If you go to Target, check it out. It’s shelved with “ethnic” products, apparently aimed at African-Americans, many of whom suffer from razor bumps and ingrowns—but those problems can afflict any man with curly hair (Celtic, Mediterranean, etc.).

Edition 4.1: I was looking through the book and was horrified to see that when I deleted the leading “www” from a bunch of URLs in the appendix, I neglected to delete “www” and its trailing period—and so some of the URLs have a leading “.”: for example, “” is shown in the vendor list as “”.  I have corrected those URLs, and now am awaiting CreateSpace approval to release the new version. (The links in this post are fine—the problem affects only the URLs in the book.) I’m mortified by the error, and I apologize for my carelessness. Any who have purchased 4.0 are welcome to exchange it for 4.1 if you want. Email me at the address shown in the preface, and I’ll give you the shipping address. For exchange, you ship the book to me with a return label; I mail you back a copy of 4.1. You pay shipping to me, I pay shipping to you.

A review of the shaving forums: Bruce on Shaving gives his view of the forums as they are today. In another post, he offers a good guide to shaving blogs.

New Forest Brushes: I’ve not yet tried these, but they look very good indeed. Here’s a review.

Comprehensive guide to boar brushes: Zach’s introduction, revised and  substantially extended with color photos.

Fascinating article on double-edged razor blades and how they are made via a post at

Horsehair shaving brushes: Bruce on Shaving has this interesting post explaining why these brushes are not more widely used.

How to remove tarnish from silver-plated razors: Relatively few razors are silver-plated for the very reason that it tarnishes. If you have one, the article at the link—with lots of photos—will be quite useful. I just had my silver-plated English Gillette Aristocrat #22 plated in rhodium to avoid tarnish—if I’d known this technique, maybe I would have left it alone. is a terrific and clearly long-established forum. Should have been in the book. Simple ignorance on my part.

Malaspina Soap Factory: a Canadian soapmaker with some interesting looking shaving soaps.

Comprehensive guide to boar-bristle brushes: The book references two seminal posts on on using a boar brush, written by Zach. I just learned that those posts were for some reason deleted, but they are still available at and are very much worth reading:

Shaving in humid weather can be a problem if your hair is curly. Check out this post.

Blade sampler packs: Mike on drew my attention to the availability of blade sampler packs on eBay. Take a look.

Frank shaving brushes: High-quality brushes at low cost: what’s not to like? Some backstory on the brushes in this post at UPDATE: I’ve been having problems getting my first Frank brush to create good lather. I’m still working on it, and I’ve ordered a second to try. I’m mystified by the problem: it is a badger brush—why won’t it lather? Check back for further updates.

The “give away the razor and sell the blades” myth: An excellent post that explains the complex nature of early Gillette marketing efforts. Quite interesting to an old marketing guy.

1. Forums

Badger & Blade
Damn Fine Shave
RazorandBrush (message board)
Simply Shaving
Straight Razor Place
The Shave Den
The Shaving Room
Wicked Edge  

2. Reference

Blade widths (and the effects)
Gillette British models
Gillette date codes
Mantic’s shaving videos
Museum of Safety Razors
Schick Injectors
Shaving 101
Shaving product samples

3. Blade Sampler Packs

Blade sampler packs are available from:

4. Vendors

Following is a list of representative vendors patronized by the wetshaving community. This list is volatile, so you may want to recheck it as new vendors come on-line.

  • = complete vendor (shaving brushes, soaps, creams, razors, blades, aftershaves)
    H = handmade shaving soap, creams, lotions, aftershaves, and so on.
    C = happy to accept calls from men seeking product advice

Appleton Barber Supply800-236-0456 Central Time – – Primarily of interest for great selection of aftershaves (at link).

Art of Shaving800-696-4999 Eastern Time – Art of Shaving shaving cream and soap and aftershave, Merkur

Atkinson’s – – 604-736-3368 800-803-0233 Pacific Time – Plisson

Barber Depot, Inc. – barberdepot@verizon.net877-292-0100 Eastern Time – Mainly of interest for the Astra Superior Platinum blades: $11/100.  Seem to have gone out of business.

Barbieria Italiana – now closed. See note here.

Barclay Crocker – sales@barclaycrocker.com800-536-1866 – Many brands of Bay Rum, Merkur, Proraso, Musgo Real (including Glyce Lime Oil pre-shave soap), Geo.F Trumper, Truefitt & Hill, Taylor of Old Bond St, Col Conk, Woods of Windsor, Caswell Massey, Shave Brushes & Mugs, Barclay Crocker Custom Scenting.

Best Grooming Tools – – Wide selection includes Col. Conk, Dovo, Erasmic, D. R. Harris, Edwin Jagger, Merkur, Muehle, Musgo Real, Parker, Proraso, Simpson, Speick, Taylor of Old Bond Street, Valobra.

BestShave.net90 0224 413 2710 – There’s also a contact form on the Web site. Located in Bursa, Turkey. – Arko, Astra, Coll, Derby, Gibbs, Permasharp, Racer, Rapira, Shark, SuperMax.

BM Vintage Shaving –  sales@bmvintageshaving.com760-799-5539 Pacific Time – Col. Conk, Derby, Dovo, Edwin Jagger, Gessato, Merkur, Vulfix.

Bob’s Razor Works – Beautiful handmade and custom brushes and razors: well worth a look.

Bon Savon – info@bonsavon.com877-832-4635 Pacific Time – Provence Santé, Pre de Provence, Swedish Summer Soap, Lightfoot’s Shaving Soap

Bull Goose Shaving Supplies – – Astra, Cyril R. Salter, Derby, Erasmic, Feather, Lord, Merkur, Omega, Proraso, Shark, Simpsons, Speick, Tabac, Taylor. Offers blade sampler packs.

Carbolic Soap Co. – Mitchell’s Wool Fat Shaving Soap (best price, even with shipping from the UK)

Caswell-Massey – Deleted because their shaving soap produces poor lather.

CH* Classic Shaving – info@classicshaving.com760-288-4178 Pacific Time – Cyril R. Salter, Dovo, Feather, Merkur, Proraso, Rooney, Taylor of Old Bond Street, Thiers-Issard, Truefitt & Hill, Vulfix, Zowada

Connaught Shaving – – 07963 325842 – Arko, Carter & Bond, Derby, Gillette, Merkur, Mitchell’s Wool Fat Shaving Soap, Parker, Proraso, Treet. Offers blade sampler packs.

Cotton Blossom Crafts – DeLong, Weishi.

Crabtree & Evelyn800-272-2873 Eastern Time – Edwin Jagger, C&E Shaving creams and soaps and aftershave.

Details for Men888-680-2857 Eastern Time – – Art of Shaving, Derby, Feather, Gentlemens Refinery, Gillette, Musgo Real (including MR GLO), Pré de Provence, Proraso, Provence Santé, l’Occitane, Merkur, Muehle Pinsel, Speick, Valobra, Williamson, and others. Offers blade sampler packs.

eBarbershop – – Col. Conk, Crabtree & Evelyn, Merkur, Personna, Pinaud, Woods of Windsor — quite a wide variety of aftershaves and cologne.

eBay – At the link is a list of eBay offerings, including bulk-purchase Israeli and Derby blades, safety razors of all kinds, and the like. List sorted by newly listed, but can be resorted to find auctions ending soonest.

Elite Razor – robert.d.quinn@eliterazor.com404-918-2345 Central Time – Offers a wide variety of razors and brushes with handles custom-crafted of wood, stone, or neo-resinate. Worth browsing for special gifts for traditional shavers.

H* Em’s Place – – Crystal, Derby, Dovo, Em’s (shaving soaps and creams, aftershaves, lotions in wide variety of fragrances), Feather, Geo. F. Trumper, Merkur, Musgo Real, Omega, Proraso, Simpsons, Speick, Tabac, My Nik Is Sealed. Also: see

C* Enchante Online – enchantetx@sbcglobal.net888-220-2927 Central Time – Derby, D.R. Harris, Feather, Geo. F. Trumper, Israeli Personna, Merkur, Shavemaster, Taylor of Old Bond Street, Wilkinson.

The English Shaving –  D.R. Harris, Edwin Jagger brushes and razors, Geo. F. Trumper, Proraso, Swedish Gillette blades.

Executive Shaving Company – Cyril R. Salter, Dovo, D.R. Harris, Edwin Jagger, Geo. F. Trumper, Rooney, Merkur, Taylor of Old Bond Street, Thiers Issard, Truefitt & Hill

Fendrihan – – info@fendrihan.com905-230-1254 Eastern time. Col. Conk, Derby, D. R. Harris, Gold Dachs, J.M. Fraser, Merkur, Musgo Real, Simpsons, Taylor of Old Bond Street, Valobra, Vulfix, Kent shaving soap (same as Mitchell’s Wool Fat). Offers blade sampler packs.

G.B. Kent & Sons PLC – – G.B. Kent shaving brushes (and hair brushes), Kent shaving cream and shaving soap (shaving soap is same Mitchell’s Wool Fat Shaving Soap).

The Gentleman’s Quarter – – Handmade shaving soaps and creams in unusual fragrances. Web site planned. Link is to a PDF file of products.

H The Gentlemens Refinery866-444-7428 Mountain Time. Excellent shaving creams, aftershave balms, shave oil, shaving brushes. Products manufactured by a fourth-generation barber.

The Gentleman’s Shop – – 01488 683536 / 684363 (UK) – Art of Shaving, Castle Forbes, Dovo, D.R. Harris, Edwin Jagger, G.B. Kent, Geo. F. Trumper, Merkur, Rooney, Simpsons, Taylor of Old Bond Street, Truefitt & Hill. The G.B. Kent brush is an exceptional brush for soaps, and the BK4 is the best all-round size.

Gifts and Care – –  (+34) 96 3400 220 in Spain – Lots of horsehair brushes, including horsehair and boar mix and horsehair and badger mix, in a range of grades. Also, Castle Forbes, Floïd, La Toja, Lea, Merkur, Myrsol, Proraso, Taylor of Old Bond Street, Tres Claveles. They also carry an extensive collection of makeup brushes.

  • Highland MensCare – – 877-284-1887 Eastern time – Acca Kappa, Anthony Logistics, Art of Shaving, Bluebeards Original, Castle Forbes, D.R. Harris & Co., Edwin Jagger, Feather, Gentlemens Refinery, Geo. F. Trumper, G.B. Kent, Lucky Tiger, Merkur, Musgo Real, Personna, Pre de Provence, Proraso, Royall Lyme, Taylor of Old Bond Street, Truefitt & Hill, Wilkinson Sword.

Honeybee Soaps – –  Handmade shea butter shaving soaps, along with broad line of handmade creams, lotions, shampoos, and other toiletries. Wide variety of fragrances. Note: URL is

iKon Razors –  Stainless iKon razors in a variety of designs, Feather blades, knobs for the Merkur Progress, and other offerings.

  • The Irish – Col. Conk, Derby, Dovo, Geo. F. Trumper, Merkur, Mühle, Taylor of Old Bond Street,  quite a bit of very nice porcelain (mugs, bowls, scuttles)

  • Italian Barber –  support@italianbarber.com647-800-4622 Eastern time – Specializes in Italian shave products, but has wide range: Acca Kappa, Atkinson, Bolzano, Booster, Cella, Col. Conk, Cremo Cream, Feather, Geo. F. Trumper, iKon, J.M. Fraser, Lord, Merkur, Omega, Palmolive, Proraso, Rapira, Valobra, Wilkinson Sword.

Kell’s Original – – A variety of excellent shaving soaps made with hemp oil, aloe vera, or a combination, in a variety of fragrances, including unscented.

Kinetic BlueAstra, Dorco, Geo. F. Trumper, Merkur, Mühle Pinsel, Penhaligon, Truefitt & Hill.  Blade sampler pack available.

Lee’s Razors – leesrazors@aol.com800-503-5001 Eastern Time – Col. Conk, Derby, Dovo, Feather, Geo. F. Trumper, Merkur, Mitchell’s Wool Fat Shaving Soap, Musgo Real (including Glyce Lime Oil pre-shave soap), Proraso, Simpsons, Vulfix.

London’s Bathecary434-220-0540 Eastern Time – Caswell Massey, Floris London, Geo. F. Trumper, Lightfoot’s, Mitchell’s Wool Fat Shaving Soap, Penhaligon’s, Taylor of Old Bond Street.

Mama Bear – – Full line of handmade shaving soap, shaving stick, shaving cream, aftershaves, along with regular soaps. Wide variety of fragrances. Also containers (make your own shave stick), alum bar.

Men’s Biz – 1300 784 789 – – Astra, Col. Conk, Derby, Dovo, eShave, Feather, Geo. F. Trumper, Men-u, Merkur, Musgo Real, Personna, Proraso, Taylor of Old Bond Street.

men-ü800-987-6790 Central time – their own line: shaving creams and soaps, shaving brushes, and aftershaves. They offer an excellent synthetic-bristle brush.

Momentum Grooming – – 604-689-46361-877-886-4636 Pacific Time (Vancouver BC) – Merkur, Musgo Real, Proraso, True Gentleman, Truefitt & Hill

Moss Scuttle902-657-3215 Atlantic Time -The famous Moss Scuttle along with a wide variety of pottery and hooked rugs.

Mühle-Pinsel – – German company. Baxter of California, D.R. Harris, Edwin Jagger, Geo. F. Trumper, Mühle-Pinsel, Proraso.

Nashville Knife Shop – info@nashvilleknifeshop.com812-988-9800 Central Time – Col. Conk, Cremo Cream, Derby, Dovo, D.R. Harris, Merkur, Mühle, Proraso.

Nancy Boy – contact@nancyboy.com888-746-2629 Pacific Time – Nancy Boy products, good for sensitive skin.

l’Occitane888-623-2880 – Cade line of shaving soap and cream, aftershave shea butter balm.

Olivia Shaving Soaps – German company. Handmade shaving soaps and creams; Crema Sapone Cella.

Pacific Shaving Company – Shaving oil, liquid styptic in applicator.

H Prairie Creations – A new vendor offering handmade shaving soaps and creams, including shave sticks. The soaps are tallow-based, and you have the option of tallow combined with lanolin. You can choose scented, essential oils, or unscented.

CH* QED – qed@quod.com401-433-4045 Eastern Time – Castle Forbes, Cyril R. Salter, Geo. F. Trumper, Merkur, Musgo Real, Omega, QEDman (his own line of soaps and lotions), Proraso, Savile Row, Taylor of Old Bond Street, Truefitt & Hill. Quite a few products hide behind the menu entry “Other fabulous toiletry products.”

H Queen Charlotte Soaps, LLC – – Handmade shaving-cream-like soap.

Rasage Poulin – scott@rasagepoulin.com403-295-8448 Mountain Time – Booster, D. R. Harris, Edwin Jagger, Geo. F. Trumper, Institut Karité, J. M. Fraser, Laboratoires OSMA, Lucky Tiger, Merkur, Musgo Real, Omega, Proraso, Rooney, Semogue, sul filo del rasoio.

Razor and Brush – Has articles, history of shaving, book reviews, links to message board, sales board, various shave blogs and sites. The store, however, is now closed.

Razor Blades & More Co. – 323-362-6201 Pacific time – has blade sampler packs; Col. Conk, Cyril R. Salter, Edwin Jagger, Floïd, La Toja, Pinaud, Proraso, Malaspina, men-ü, Mühle, Musgo Real, Omega, Palmolive, Parker, Irisch Moos, Tabac, Taylor of Old Bond Street, Wei-Shi.

Razor Emporium602-885-2725 Mountain Time – an unusual site with an emphasis on vintage razors, both DE and straight, and vintage brushes. He also carries the Pils line, both razors and brushes. He offers a replating service for razors in gold, rhodium, nickel, silver, or other metals. Inquire for details.

Retrorazor – – Derby, Weishi, starter gift-packs, shaving workshops in Seattle

Rituals Skincare – seems to have gone out of business.

  • Royal Shave – – 800-801-0769 Pacific Time – Calani, Castle Forbes, Col. Conk, Edwin Jagger, Feather, Gold Dachs, D.R. Harris, Hasslinger, G.B. Kent, Merkur, Mitchells Wool Fat, Mühle, Parker, Pils, Plisson, Simpson, Speick, Taylor of Old Bond Street, Thater, Geo. F. Trumper, Truefitt & Hill, Vulfix. – – +44 (0) 0845 009 0053 – Merkur, Taylor of Old Bond Street, Cyril R. Salter, Simpsons. Also sells vintage razors. Contact for information about replating nickel-plated razors.

Saint Charles Shave – – Handmade shaving soaps, creams, aftershaves, lotions, eau de toilettes.

Sesto Sento – info@sesto-senso.com301-668-5018 – Castle Forbes, Geo. F. Trumper, Merkur, Musgo Real (including Glyce Lime Oil pre-shave soap), Omega, Pashana, Proraso, QED Shaving Sticks, Savile Row brushes, Taylor of Old Bond Street, Truefitt & Hill, Vulfix shaving cream.

Shave Center of the Internet – Altesse, Col. Conk, Dovo, Merkur, Thiers Issard.

The Shave Den Store – part of The Shave Den Forum. Nice selection of shaving soaps and creams, both with fragrance oils and essential oils, along with aftershaves, colognes, and the like. Well worth a visit. – – 732-239-2607 Eastern time – A very broad selection including items hard to find in the US, at good prices. Includes Arko, Astra, Bea, Boots, De Vergulde Hand, Delong, Derby, Edwin Jagger, Erasmic, Feather, Frank, Godrej, James Bronnley, Kappus, G.B. Kent, Lavanda, Lea, Lightfoot’s, Lord, Malizia, Merkur, Mitchell’s Wool Fat, Mühle, Parker, Pitralon, Rapira, Sabi, Shark, Taylor of Old Bond Street, Timor, Treet, Valobra, Wars, Wilkinson

Shavemac – – Dovo, Haslinger, Merkur, Olivesoap, Shavemac, Speick, Tabac, Weleda.

The Shaver Shop – – Col. Conk, Edwin Jagger, Geo. F. Trumper, HeadBlade, Merkur.

Shaving Shack – – 01752 898191 – Check out the Otok0 Organics in particular. Cyril Salter, Derby, Dovo of Solingen, D.R. Harris, Edwin Jagger, Erasmic, Feather, G.B. Kent & Sons, Merkur, Mitchell’s Wool Fat Soap, Musgo Real, Omega, Otoko Organics, Parker, Vulfix, Proraso, Simpsons, Speick, Tabac, Taylor of Old Bond Street, Truefitt & Hill. – – 01 5240758 – Located in Ireland. Arko, Cella, Dovo, D.R. Harris, Edwin Jagger, Feather, Floïd, Geo. F. Trumper, Merkur, Mühle, Musgo Real, Omega, Parker, Pashana, Proraso, Semogue, Simpson, Speick, Tabac, Taylor of Old Bond Street, Timor, Vitos – –  Not a vendor, but a site that routinely reviews shaving equipment and supplies, from time to time finding things of interest to traditional wetshavers. – shoeboxshaveshop@yahoo.com786-200-2774 (between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Eastern Time) –  Anherb, Arko, Cella, Erasmic, Figaro, Fitness, Institut Karité, Lord, Mitchell’s Wool Fat, Omega, Pre De Provence, PREP, Proraso, Speick, Tabac, Taylor of Old Bond Street, Treet, Weishi.Offers blade sampler packs.

Smallflower – Voice 800-252-0275 Central time – fax 773-989-8108 – Geo. F. Trumper, Mitchell’s Wool Fat, Muhle Pinsel, Musgo Real (including Glyce Lime Oil pre-shave soap), Pre de Provence, Provence Santé, Proraso, Speick, Tabac.

The Soap Opera – – Voice 800-251-7627 Central Time.   Their Himalaya shaving soap (with shea butter and soy) is particularly good.

Straight Razor Designs – – Baxter of California, Castle Forbes, D.R. Harrris, Heirloom Razor, Maestro Livi, Merkur, Truefitt & Hill. Both straight and safety razor products.

The Superior Shave – admin@thesuperiorshave.com904-482-1175 Eastern Time – Derby, Dovo, Feather, Merkur, Mühle, Omega, Parker, Proraso, Simpson, Thiers-Issard, Valobra, Vulfix.

Superlather – help@superlather.com727.483.5639 Eastern time – Alt Innsbruck, Erasmic, Floïd, Ingraam, Irisch Moos, Noxema, P.160, Palmolive, Pitralon, Proraso.

Traditional Shaving Company — Astra, Colonel Conk, Crystal, Cyril R Salter, Derby, Edwin Jagger, Feather, Mama Bears Soaps, Merkur, Osma, Personna, Saint Charles Shave, Simpsons, Taylor of Old Bond Street, and Truefitt and Hill.

Traditional Shaving Supplies – – +353 1 5240 758 in Dublin, Ireland. Acca Kappa, Astra, Cella, Coates, Edwin Jagger, G.B. Kent, Feather, La Toja, Merkur, Mitchells Wool Fat, Mühle, Omega, Semogue, Simpson, Speick, Sputnik, Tabac, Timor.

Tryphon Barbiera Italiana – No longer in operation. See this note.

Tulumba – info@tulumba.com866-885-8622 Eastern Time – Arko, alum block.

C* Vintage Blades LLC – jim@vintagebladesllc.com410-357-8055 Eastern Time – Col. Conk, Dovo, D.R. Harris, Floris London, Merkur, Rooney, Shavemac, Taylor of Old Bond Street, Thayers, Truefitt & Hill, Vulfix.

Vintage Scent – Worth browsing for brands you won’t find elsewhere: 444, Confianca, Floïd, La Toja, Lavanda, LEA, Semogue

C* The Well Shaved Gentleman443-717-3969 Eastern Time -Shave-ready Dovo straight razors, along with a variety of strops and hones.

West Coast Shaving – contact@westcoastshaving.com877-710-6037 Pacific Time – Cella, Gillette, Goodfella, Merkur, Mitchell, Proraso, Shavemac, Taylor of Old Bond Street, Valobra.  Offers blade sampler packs.


Skin care
flow; Each person can find tasks appropriate for him or her that will promote flow: rock climbing, painting or drawing, gardening, cooking, and the like. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi defined the term in his studies and in the book that emerged from them, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience.
Cognitive dissonance; see also this interesting post
4 Ben Franklin story
Wilkinson technology
the following report
7 “What was I thinking?
eBay safety razors
9 For a wonderful account of the first-time experience, read what brderj and DEsquire say in this thread.
10 series of videos made by Mantic
11 different types
12 a cream
13 The Art of the Straight-Razor Shave (book)
The Art of the Straight-Razor Shave (PDF)
14 100% glycerine
15 From a comment
16 Hydrosol: Herbal distillates are aqueous solutions or colloidal suspensions (hydrosols) of essential oils usually obtained by steam distillation from aromatic plants or herbs. These herbal distillates have uses as flavorings, medicine and in skin care. Herbal distillates go by many other names including floral waters, hydrosols, hydrolates, herbal waters, toilet waters, aqua vitae, and essential water. See also this explanation.
17 synthetic bristles — Edwin Jagger synthetic-bristle brushes
18 several grades
19 Advantages of synthetic bristles
20 Vie-Long website
21 YouTube video on boar brush
22 Suribachi bowl
23 Semogue 2000
24 UPDATE 10/10/10: Zach has compiled, revised, and extended his guide to boar brushes and posted it as a permanent entry in See this post.
25 made by hand
26 make your own (scroll down)
27 clear differences
28 Vulfix brushes
29 Simpson brushes (1)
Simpson brushes (2) (includes Emperor 2 and 1)
Simpson brushes (3)
30 Rooney brushes (1)
Rooney brushes (2)
31 Simpsons measurements
32 Omega brushes (1)
Omega brushes (2)
33 Omega measurements
34 Shavemac brushes
35 Kent brushes (the BK4, the size I recommend; more Kent brushes here, along with Rooney and Edwin Jagger brushes)
36 from Crabtree & Evelyn
37 from The English Shaving Company (Edwin Jagger Best Badger is currently £15.32 for export: US$30.50)
38 wooden-handled brushes do just fine
39 shaving brush innovations
40 One video
41 some nice accessories
42 Mühle travel brush
43 Anatomy of hairshaft
44 a stand for the brush
45 how to cleansee these videos
46 Gold Dachs Shaving Brush cleaner
47 M.A.C. brush cleaner
48 Sunbeam Hot Shot; also, see this kettle, which heats water to a pre-set temperature (but no hotter)
49 Zojirushi hot-water dispenser
50 UtiliTEA kettle
51 somewhat drier
52 video referenced above
53 Mantic video
54 more information
55 a problem with the lather
56 The Moss scuttle
57 Dr. Moss quotation
58 Georgetown PotteryGeorgetown Scuttle
59 J.M. Fraser Shaving Cream
60 high praise
61 Nancy Boy shaving cream
62 Cremo Shave Cream
63 an illustrated guide
64 Mitchell’s Wool Fat Shaving Soap
65 Tabac soap
66 Rivivage
67 Virgilio Valobra soap
68 How to make shaving stick (see book) More info here.
69 These instructions from Classic Shaving
70 this excellent tutorial
71 Superlather
72 A comment
73 Microphotographs
74 Blade reviews with photos
75 Feather Blade Safe
76 If you’re willing to undertake learning to use a straight razor, check and also The Art of the Straight Razor Shave(paperback book; or The Art of the Straight Razor Shave (PDF file)), by Chris Moss. For straight razors—sharpened, honed, and ready to shave—and accessories and advice, contact the highly regarded The Well Shaved Gentleman.
77 these three types of razors
78 A rack
79 a good review
80 loading Progress
81 offers this advice (Futur)
82 Vision user’s manual
83 Edwin Jagger razors
84 Feather premium razor
85 Pils razor
86 common Gillette razors; also, see these Super Speeds
87 dates of Gillette razors
88 Lady Gillette photos
89 Schick Injector
90 GEM G-Bar
91 Schick various models
92 Pella injector blades
93 Pella single-edged blades
94 clean it
95 Maas metal polish
96 shaver noted
97 ultrasonic cleaners
98 holding the tip
99 shaver has pointed out angle
100 tiny travel razor
101 tried a similar approach
102 useful diagram (PDF)
103 the basic (4-pass) method
104 advanced shaving techniques
105 Hydrolast Cutting Balm
106 Total Shaving Solution
107 All Natural Shaving Oil
108 Kinexium ST Shaving Oil
109 Gessato Pre-Shave Oil
110 Rituals Skincare Pre-Shave Oil
111 Milk and Honey Lotion
112 Non-comedogenic chart
113 Natural 1 oz bottle
114 Cobalt blue 1 oz bottle
115 First Method video
116 Method shaving supplies
117 shaver’s comment
118 One woman notes
119 My Nik Is Sealed
120 a lengthy review
121 Skin problems with aftershave
122 a variety of fragrances
123 a sampler package
124 Thayers Witch Hazel Aftershave
125 an entire array
126 Booster’s aftershaves
127 Proraso’s pre- and after-shave cream
128 Wikipedia perfume article
129 Mild acne photos
130 Moderate acne
131 Severe acne
132 Sulfur-based compounds
133 AcneNet
134; See also this post for additional tips that may be of help.
135 Low comedogenicity
136 Mayo Clinic articles
137 Anti-Cancer
138 Pictures of razor bumps and rash
139 Themba’s technique: See the threads here and here (scroll down at both links)
140 Innomed Lice Comb
141 Moore Unique Razor Bump Tool
142 Bump Fighter Razor
143 Barbicide
144 Bump Fighter
Bump Patrol
Dermagen Skin Revival System
Elicina Biological Treatment
Follique treatment
High Time Bump Stopper Products
Moore Unique Products
No Mo’ Bumps Aftershave
Prince Reigns Gel
Smart Shave Products
Tend Skin
145 Homemade version of Tend Skin
146 Eczema from shampoo
147 a beginner shaving kit
148 Bump Fighter Razor
149 recommended Omega synthetic bristle brush
150 Edwin Jagger Best Badger brushes (size Medium is best)
151 Poll on
152 “Exploring the Science of Shaving”
153 write-up on MSNBC
154 this “how-to-use” guide
155 series of videos
156 a comprehensive list

Written by Leisureguy

2 April 2007 at 11:25 am

Posted in Daily life

The cronyism of the GOP

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From ThinkProgress:

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA) “has installed longtime friends and political associates on several boards,” including his dentist on the state dental board and his chiropractor as chair of the chiropractic panel. They are “facing complaints that they are unqualified, beholden to the industries they oversee or otherwise mired in conflicts of interest.”

Written by Leisureguy

2 April 2007 at 10:43 am

Posted in Business, GOP, Government

Wow! Supreme Court rules against Bush on global warming

with 2 comments

Note the dissenters.

In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court today issued a “stunning rebuke” to the Bush administration and “ruled that the federal government does indeed have authority to regulate greenhouse gases linked to global warming.”

Frank O’Donnell of Clean Air Watch writes, “The Supreme Court has confirmed that carbon dioxide can be controlled under the Clean Air Act. That means California and other states have the clear right to limit greenhouse gas emissions if the Bush administration won’t.”

UPDATE: Some background: the case emerged in 2003 after the EPA rejected a petition calling for the federal government to restrict emissions of greenhouse gases — most notably, carbon dioxide. The EPA’s general counsel argued in a memo that “[carbon dioxide] and other [greenhouse gases], as such, are not air pollutants,” and “substantial scientific uncertainty” still exists about the effects of carbon dioxide on the environment.

The statement meant the Bush administration would not have to regulate carbon dioxide emissions under the Clean Air Act. The U.S. Court of Appeals upheld this view. (The Washington Post would later report that “two of the jurists who helped decide the case” had “attended a six-day global warming seminar…sponsored by a free-market foundation and featuring presentations from companies with a clear financial interest in limiting regulation.”)

Twelve states, three major cities, and several environmental groups appealed the decision, arguing the case “goes to the heart of the EPA’s statutory responsibilities to deal with the most pressing environmental problem of our time.”

UPDATE II: SCOTUSblog has more on today’s decisions. Read the full decision HERE.

UPDATE III: The four dissenters in the case: Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas.

Written by Leisureguy

2 April 2007 at 10:39 am

Drudge = false rumors

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An amazing number of conservatives view Drudge as a reliable, impartial source. One even told me, “He just links to stories, he doesn’t write them.” Totally reliable. And yet:

CNN’s Baghdad correspondent Michael Ware has reported from Iraq for four years and regularly corrects the record when politicians mislead about conditions on the ground there. Now he’s under attack.

Yesterday, right-wing Internet gossip Matt Drudge posted an “exclusive” report — based on an anonymous, unnamed source — claiming that Ware had acted inappropriately during a weekend press conference and implying that Ware is an alcoholic:

During a live press conference in Bagdad, Senators McCain and Graham were heckled by CNN reporter Michael Ware. An official at the press conference called Ware’s conduct “outrageous,” saying, “here you have two United States Senators in Bagdad giving first-hand reports while Ware is laughing and mocking their comments. I’ve never witnessed such disrespect. This guy is an activist not a reporter.” […]

This morning on CNN, Ware said the attack was a fabrication: “I did not heckle the senator. Indeed, I didn’t say a word. I didn’t even ask a question. In fact, when I raised my hand to ask a question, the press conference abruptly ended.” Watch it.

Drudge’s “exclusive” also implies that Ware is an alcoholic, quoting an appearance last year on Bill Maher’s HBO comedy show:

Michael Ware has also publicly expressed his views on the war last year in an interview with Bill Maher, saying, “I’ve been given a front-row ticket to watch this slow-motion train wreck … I try to stay as drunk for as long as possible while I’m here … In fact, I’m drinking now.”

It’s clear from the video that Ware was joking when he talked about his drinking habits.

CNN transcript:

Let me ask you a question. There was a report that said you were heckling and you were laughing during the senator’s press conference. Is that true?

WARE: Well, let’s bear in mind that this is a report that was leaked by an unnamed official of some kind to a blog, to somewhere on the Internet. No one has gone and put their name forward. We certainly haven’t heard Sen. McCain say anything about it or any of his staff have come forward to say anything about it. I did not heckle the senator. Indeed, I didn’t say a word. I didn’t even ask a question. In fact, when I raised my hand to ask a question, the press conference abruptly ended. So what I would suggest is that anyone who has any queries about whether I heckled, watch the videotape of the press conference.

Written by Leisureguy

2 April 2007 at 10:37 am

Posted in GOP, Media

Videotape interrogations and confessions

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Why not? The FBI strongly opposes this, but most local law enforcement agencies do it as a matter of course—for one thing, it keeps the accused from alleging police brutality if everything’s caught on tape. Of course, it’s important not to lose the tape, as DoD apparently lost a critical tape of Jose Padilla’s confession. The question is currently hot:

The account, buried in a mountain of documents assembled for a Congressional investigation, describes a decidedly local yet brutal crime: a Navajo man charged with beating his girlfriend nearly to death and then hanging her by a rope outside their Arizona trailer home to make the attack look like a suicide attempt.

The crime has none of the political intrigue of the other cases, mainly dealing with government corruption or voter fraud, before lawmakers as they examine the circumstances surrounding the dismissals of eight United States attorneys.

But the Arizona case has reached all the way from the Navajo reservation to the halls of Congress, part of a still-stewing dispute within the Justice Department over a critical law enforcement question: Should interviews with criminal suspects be tape-recorded?

Paul K. Charlton, the United States attorney in Arizona, was ousted after spending months protesting a Federal Bureau of Investigation policy that, for practical purposes, forbids the taping of almost all confessions, in stark contrast to the practice of many local law enforcement agencies in Arizona and other locations across the country.

Mr. Charlton blamed the F.B.I. policy for the resulting plea bargain in the Navajo reservation assault case, as well as the acquittal of a defendant in a child sexual abuse case and a suspect in a prison murder indictment.

Eight states, by law or court action, mandate taping of interviews with suspects in at least serious felony cases, turning a tape recorder or video camera into an important tool in convictions, like DNA tests, fingerprints and ballistics. More than 450 law enforcement agencies in major cities and smaller jurisdictions also require the taping of certain interrogations.

The F.B.I., a division of the Justice Department, has strenuously resisted the practice unless special permission is granted by supervisors, under the theory that it may discourage suspects from talking and expose juries to interrogation methods that the department would rather not highlight. [Seems like a VERY bad reason to me. – LG]

But the inability to tape suspects, especially those accused of sexual abuse and domestic violence, can seriously compromise a case, Mr. Charlton and other prosecutors said.

Mr. Charlton said the problem was particularly acute in Arizona, a state with 21 Indian reservations, where federal law enforcement officials handle major felony cases. In essence, he said, differing investigative practices have resulted in two distinct criminal justice systems. If a crime occurred off the reservation, the confession would be taped, but if it happened on tribal land, it would not.

“That disparity in justice is unacceptable,” Mr. Charlton said in an interview.

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

2 April 2007 at 10:14 am

Ideology trumps facts, data, and evidence

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I’m seeing it in the discussion of national health insurance and, before that, saw it in the discussion of global warming: evidence against ideological positions is either ignored altogether (the most common response) or is labeled “incorrect” (with no evidence to back it up, other than that the evidence does not agree with the ideological position already taken).

And Glenn Greenwald has a wonderfully clear example in his column this morning: a right-winger who goes on and on about the lack of evidence that the US public opposes the war and the surge, in spite of many polls that show the clear evidence that such is the case. Read the column: the sheer ignorance and/or dishonesty of the right wing will (continue to) astound you.

This is all very reminiscent of Andrea Mitchell saying on nationwide TV that “most people” want Libby to be pardoned only days after a national poll showed that 69% OPPOSED a pardon, and only 18% favored the pardon.

Always ask for evidence to back up sweeping statements.

Written by Leisureguy

2 April 2007 at 10:04 am

Posted in GOP, Iraq War

Progress on medical marijuana: New Mexico

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From the Marijuana Policy Project:

Just a little while ago, Gov. Bill Richardson (D) signed New Mexico’s medical marijuana legislation into law. As a result, New Mexico is now the 12th state to protect seriously ill patients from arrest and jail for using medical marijuana with their doctors’ approval.

Gov. Richardson is the first governor in history to enact a medical marijuana law while running for the presidency. And the bill he signed is the only one of the 12 state-level medical marijuana laws to require the state government to authorize the distribution of medical marijuana to qualifying patients.

By comparison, California’s medical marijuana law, which was first enacted in 1996 and expanded in 2003, authorizes patients and caregivers to “collectively or cooperatively” cultivate medical marijuana. The law is intentionally imprecise — the result of many compromises during the legislative process — giving local communities in California great leeway over how or whether to regulate the cultivation and distribution of medical marijuana. As a result, some California localities have banned establishments dispensing medical marijuana, others have issued moratoria, and others have issued regulations.

In New Mexico, the state government is now charged with licensing producers of medical marijuana and determining where it will be dispensed.

Indeed, the notion of providing patients with places to purchase their medical marijuana is sweeping the nation. In Maine, a measure to expand the state’s existing medical marijuana law has been introduced in the state legislature. The bill seeks to authorize the sale of marijuana through dispensaries. (A similar bill has been introduced in Oregon.)

In the coming months, MPP plans to direct significant resources to ensure passage of the bill before the legislature adjourns for the year. Would you please consider contributing to our efforts to make medical marijuana safer and easier for patients to obtain?

In New Mexico, the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) had been working to pass this new medical marijuana law ever since then-Gov. Gary Johnson (R) began advocating for drug legalization in 1999. This year, the Senate approved the bill with a 32-3 vote, and the House passed the bill with a 36-31 vote. The new law takes effect on July 1. Click here to read the actual text of the law and here to read MPP’s summary of the law.

New Mexico joins Hawaii, Rhode Island, and Vermont as only the fourth state to enact its medical marijuana law via the legislative process. The other eight states that have enacted similar laws — Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington — have all done so via ballot initiatives.

MPP is working hard in Illinois, Minnesota, and New York to make these states the 13th, 14th, and 15th to pass medical marijuana legislation. Would you please consider making a donation today to support our efforts? Thank you …

Written by Leisureguy

2 April 2007 at 9:51 am

Posted in Drug laws, Medical

Credit card companies: turn about is fair play

with 4 comments

As Kevin Drum points out, credit card companies cap what merchants can charge for a credit card transaction—merchants have to charge the same for cash or credit card, and are not allowed to tack on a fee to cover their credit-card costs. OTOH, credit card companies do NOT have caps on the fees they charge merchants, which have risen (only?) 33% from 1990 to 2004. The 2% the credit card companies charge merchants is way out of line with actual transaction costs (0.7%). So Kevin proposes a simple solution: let the merchants charge a premium for credit-card transactions. This could solve a lot of problems.

Written by Leisureguy

2 April 2007 at 9:33 am

Posted in Business, Daily life

Worth pondering as we look at universal health insurance

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The government-run VA hospital system is still better than private-run hospitals. This via Kevin Drum, who asks a very good question:

Question for the free market crowd: if you oppose national healthcare because you think it will reduce the pace of medical innovation, how do you explain this? Why is it that the VA and the national healthcare systems in Europe have all adopted this plainly useful innovation but American hospitals mostly haven’t?

The op-ed begins:

The typical hospital patient is given the wrong medication or the wrong dose at least once a day, according to the Institute of Medicine, a research organization that advises Congress. The good news is that these mistakes are less likely to happen at a hospital run by the Department of Veterans Affairs.


Recent news accounts about the shameful conditions at Walter Reed Army Medical Center — a hospital unaffiliated with the Department of Veterans Affairs — might lead you to believe that VA hospitals are a national embarrassment. That may have been true at one time. But VA hospitals have undergone a remarkable turnaround in the last decade and, on average, earn higher marks for patient safety and quality of care than most other hospitals in the United States.

For example, the VA system is well ahead of most hospitals in protecting patients from medication errors. The VA has adopted a system in which a nurse scans a barcode printed on the patient’s bracelet, indicating the name and dose of each medication the patient should be getting. The nurse then scans the pre-packaged medication to make sure it’s a match.

Another new technology — computer physician order entry (or CPOE) — is designed to stop doctors from prescribing the wrong medication. With CPOE, a doctor enters the prescription at a computer terminal instead of scribbling it on a pad. The computer identifies incorrect doses or a medication that conflicts with other meds the patient is taking. If the computer sounds an alarm, the physician has to override it. In Australia, Britain, New Zealand and much of Western Europe, hospitals have adopted CPOE, but most U.S. hospitals have resisted. An exception is the VA, which has installed CPOE nationwide.

The VA has also pushed ahead of most hospitals in the U.S. by investing in electronic medical records, allowing a patient’s medical history to be accessed in a few seconds. The VA database is a resource for medical researchers and the envy of the private sector.

Dr. James Bagian, director of the National Center for Patient Safety at the Department of Veterans Affairs, points out that the VA is a leader in safety initiatives ranging from preventing injuries related to falls to fighting one of the most feared, drug-resistant hospital infections, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. In 2002, the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System launched a pilot program that reduced such infections a stunning 85% by enforcing meticulous hand hygiene, patient screening and precautions against spreading bacteria on gloves, clothing, wheelchairs and stethoscopes. The VA is instituting the same approach nationwide.

Patients in VA hospitals are also more likely to receive optimal care than patients in other hospitals. In the late 1990s, the VA re-engineered its healthcare system, using information technology to track and measure the care each patient is given. The result is significantly higher compliance with best practices.

According to a 2003 study in the New England Journal of Medicine, patients in VA hospitals received better care in 12 out of 13 measures compared to Medicare-eligible patients in nongovernment hospitals. Measures included care for diabetes, depression and congestive heart failure and cancer screenings. The American Customer Service Satisfaction Index (based at the University of Michigan) shows that patients in VA hospitals are more satisfied with their care (84% vs. 74%) than patients in private-sector hospitals.

Continue reading

Written by Leisureguy

2 April 2007 at 9:15 am

Posted in Government, Health, Medical

Chubby, too

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Monday morning is normally a shaving stick morning, so today I went with Taylor of Old Bond Street St. James shaving stick, a traditional fragrance in a chubby format. I used the Simpsons Chubby 2 Best Badger, a brush on the large side. It worked up a good lather but then I think I added a bit too much water, being unfamiliar with the brush—the lather was thin for the last pass.

The Gillette Fat Boy adjustable, cranked up to 5, delivered a very nice shave, finally aggressive enough. This shave is in fact exceptionally smooth—which is nice, since I see the dentist today. And, in light of that, after the alum bar I use Pashana aftershave.

Written by Leisureguy

2 April 2007 at 8:39 am

Posted in Shaving

Funny video

with one comment

Watch Mitch McConnell squirm and try to escape. He keeps trying to turn it into a question about the President, but it’s a question about him: why did he call for Clinton to have his aides testify under oath before Congress, but will not make the same call for Bush? Could it be—I’m just guessing here—it’s because Bush is a Republican, and IOKIYAR?

Written by Leisureguy

2 April 2007 at 3:23 am

Posted in Congress, GOP

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