Later On

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

Archive for October 27th, 2010

Extremely cool Roku player

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I just upgraded my Roku HD to a Roku XD, and I must say that they’ve made some significant improvements. It now supports my 1080p screen, and it has an Instant Replay button, which immediately replays the last few seconds (and satisfies 90% or more of those impulses to back up and see that again, I imagine). The other button is "Options" and has a TBA feel.

Also, the overall design has been upgraded in various subtle (ergonomics of the remote) and not-so-subtle (the "Levi"-like tag on remote and base unit) ways.

Written by Leisureguy

27 October 2010 at 3:25 pm

Medical marijuana in the nursing home

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Nushin Rashidian and Alyson Martin report in the NY Times:

Every night before bed, Norma Winkler, 82, opens a small jar of cannabis oil and measures out a quarter-teaspoon to mix with homemade applesauce. Soon after she eats it, she drifts off to sleep.

Ms. Winkler, who lives in Rhode Island, where medical marijuana is legal, has endured chronic back pain since a car accident fractured her skull and spine at age 15. Operations haven’t helped, and other medicines don’t touch the pain that can keep her up through the night.

“It’s really been a lifesaver for me,” Ms. Winkler said of her cannabis oil. “I used to walk into the walls sometimes. I was so tired because I didn’t sleep.”

Today, she’s healthy enough to remain independent in her home and to operate the jewelry factory she owns. But she worries about what will happen if she needs institutional care. Would a long-term care facility allow her to use this particular medicine?

“I wouldn’t go if they didn’t allow me to take it,” Ms. Winkler said.

When states began embracing medical marijuana, few anticipated this inevitable scenario: patients using it would grow older, and many would need to enter assisted living and nursing homes. The prospect has just begun to raise difficult questions for administrators and state regulators.

Any patient using medical marijuana breaks federal law. Marijuana is listed as a Schedule 1 drug, which means the federal government considers it to have no medicinal value. Despite this, physicians in 14 states and the District of Columbia are allowed to recommend it. Legalization of medical marijuana is under consideration in eight additional states this year.

Though firm numbers are difficult to come by, experts say elderly patients like Ms. Winkler increasingly use medical marijuana to ease their pain. But many care facilities in which they reside, or will reside, receive federal funding through Medicare and indirectly through Medicaid.

Many facility administrators wonder how they can comply with federal law and preserve their reimbursements and at the same time permit residents to medicate with marijuana. At an American Health Care Association conference in early October, Fred Miles, a Colorado lawyer who represents health care providers, gave a presentation called “Medical Marijuana — Are Nursing Homes Going to Pot?”

The issue is badly in need of federal clarification, he said.

“What do these health care facilities do? Adopt a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy? Somebody is using medical marijuana in the residence and you just close your eyes to it? I don’t think that’s going to work very well,” Mr. Miles said in an interview.

Said Maribeth Bersani, senior vice president of public policy for the Assisted Living Federation of America: “Where do they store [marijuana]? Who assists the residents with it? Do they even want to get involved because it still is not legal federally? It’s one of those challenges that we are beginning to confront in the communities.”

Such questions prompted the American Medical Directors Association to consider a resolution last spring proposing a discussion with the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services about how to relax federal regulations with regard to medical marijuana in long-term care facilities. (The resolution did not pass.)

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Leisureguy

27 October 2010 at 12:34 pm

Sanity coming to TSA? Probably not.

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Associated Press:

The United States is making excessive demands for airline passenger screening, including measures it doesn’t require on U.S. domestic flights, the chairman of British Airways says.

Martin Broughton complained specifically about separate checks of laptop computers and forcing people to take off their shoes for checking, saying that such measures are "completely redundant," the Financial Times reported Wednesday.

Broughton aired his complaint Tuesday at the annual conference of the U.K. Airport Operators Association. British Airways said the report was accurate, but it does not have a text of the chairman’s remarks.

"America does not do internally a lot of the things they demand that we do," Broughton was quoted as saying.

"We shouldn’t stand for that. We should say, ‘We’ll only do things which we consider to be essential and that you Americans also consider essential.’"

Broughton added that British authorities should not "kowtow to the Americans every time they wanted something done."

"We all know there’s quite a number of elements in the security program which are completely redundant and they should be sort out," he was quoted as saying.

"Take the iPad: They still haven’t decided if it is a laptop or it isn’t a laptop. So some airports think you should take it out and some think you shouldn’t," Broughton said.

Colin Matthews, chief executive of BAA PLC, which owns Heathrow airport, says security is subject to regulations set by U.S., European and domestic authorities.

"There are some aspects which have been frustrating to everyone, but equally everyone understands we have to keep the passenger safe," Matthews said in an interview with British Broadcasting Corp. radio.

Alan West, the security minister in the previous British government, supported Broughton’s complaint and said a multinational agreement could make the checks "much less onerous."

"We have had requirement on requirement laid on top of each other, and certainly I need to be convinced about all these various layers," West told the BBC.

"I do think it does need to be rationalized because I think we have gone too far. There are too many layers, too much inconsistency," West said.

Written by Leisureguy

27 October 2010 at 12:25 pm

Posted in Daily life, Government

Dancing hands

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Via PZ Myers:

Written by Leisureguy

27 October 2010 at 12:11 pm

Posted in Daily life, Video

Some—convicts—cannot judge risks accurately

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Bruce Bower has a fascinating article at Science News:

Men imprisoned for murder and other serious offenses have a well-earned reputation for taking dangerous risks. But their problems with risk assessment go deeper than that, a new study finds.

Relative to men who haven’t been incarcerated, prisoners generally have a harder time assessing the probability of big gains as well as harsh losses, say psychologist Thorsten Pachur of the University of Basel, Switzerland, and his colleagues. In experimental lotteries, prisoners display little appreciation of the benefits they stand a good chance of winning and frequently opt for smaller but sure rewards, Pachur’s group concludes in the October Psychonomic Bulletin and Review.

If prisoners generally don’t appreciate or consider the consequences of risky options, “increasing punishment will not necessarily be successful in reducing crime,” Pachur says. Former prisoners may also find it difficult to see the potential upside of taking a chance on an entry-level job or educational opportunities, the scientists suggest.

Programs to enhance prisoners’ thinking skills should include sessions on how to understand the likelihood of various risky decisions to yield gains or losses, Pachur says. Current prison programs in England teach about moral reasoning, empathy and controlling impulses but have had little success in reducing crime.

“This article demonstrates that there is not one factor that makes some people risk takers and others risk avoiders,” remarks psychologist Timothy Pleskac of Michigan State University in East Lansing. Reduced sensitivity to likely pluses and minuses of risky decisions may partly explain criminal behavior, but researchers know little about risk assessment among prisoners, Pleskac cautions.

Men imprisoned for serious offenses may prefer to use intuitive, simplifying rules of thumb to assess risks of all types, leading them to ignore useful information about potential gains and losses, Pachur hypothesizes. It’s also possible that prisoners have often encountered situations with potentially big gains or losses — such as collecting millions of dollars in a successful bank robbery or spending decades in prison for a sexual assault — and thus become insensitive to the consequences of such decisions…

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

27 October 2010 at 12:09 pm

Gitmo Guilty Plea Is A Sad Day for U.S. Rule of Law

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Daphne Eviatar:

This morning I sat in a U.S. military commissions courtroom in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and watched the first child soldier charged by a Western nation since World War II plead guilty to crimes he was never even accused of. If the guilty plea of Omar Khadr this morning was a face-saving effort by the U.S. government, it was a sad day for the rule of law in the United States.

Omar Khadr is the 24-year-old Canadian who’s spent a third of his life in U.S. custody without trial after being accused of helping his father’s al Qaeda associates build improvised explosive devices when he was just 15. He was taken to Afghanistan from Canada by his father at the age of nine. The lone survivor of a 2002 U.S. assault on an Afghan compound, Khadr was accused of throwing a grenade that killed a U.S. soldier.

But as he entered his guilty plea this morning — after the government agreed he’d serve just one more year at Guantanamo Bay, and an as-yet-unspecified number of years in Canada — it was clear that prosecutors had taken the opportunity to throw the kitchen-sink-full of charges at him – including far more crimes than he’d even been charged with. Most importantly, Khadr pled guilty to killing two Afghan soldiers who accompanied U.S. forces in the 2002 assault on the compound. The government has never presented any evidence whatsoever that Khadr was responsible for that.

That Khadr pled to this and the range of other charges that the government first unveiled today (details will not be available until the military commissions publicly release the stipulation signed by Khadr tomorrow) is hardly surprising. Ever since Judge Patrick Parrish ruled that Khadr’s statements made to interrogators after he was threatened with gang-rape, coerced and possibly tortured were admissible, his defense was sure to be challenging. Although the government did not appear to have any forensic or eyewitness testimony to support its murder charge, government interrogators planned to testify that Khadr had willingly told them that he threw the grenade that killed Sergeant First Class Christopher Speer. Whether he said that because it was true, or because he was a scared and wounded 15-year-old expecting a quick release for telling his interrogators what they wanted to hear, we’ll never know. (Khadr was shot multiple times and severely wounded in the firefight, which left him blind in one eye; he still has shrapnel in the other.)

Khadr’s sentencing hearing begins tomorrow. Although the plea agreement contains a recommended sentence (news reports have said it’s 8 years total) that deal will remain secret until the military commission sworn to act as a jury in this case issues its own sentence based on live testimony. The government will present witnesses to describe the effects of improvised explosive devices, and the testimony of Sergeant Speer’s widow about her loss. Khadr’s lawyers will put forth psychological and psychiatric experts to talk about the impacts of torture on him and likely about the ability of a 15-year-old youth to appreciate the wrongfulness of his acts, particularly when they were directed by the adults around him.

But all of this is hardly a vindication of the U.S. military commission system. After the plea was entered this morning, chief prosecutor Captain John Murphy told reporters that Khadr “stands convicted of being a murderer and also being an Al Qaeda terrorist” based on “his own words.”

To be sure, Judge Parrish took pains today to ask Khadr if he was entering his guilty plea knowingly, and fully understanding the consequences. Khadr nodded and quietly answered “yes.” But in truth, he had little choice. If Khadr had gone to trial, he faced a potential life sentence from a military jury, who would hear how he “confessed” to the crimes in interrogation. He could have faced many more years in prison. What’s more, the U.S. maintains the right to indefinitely detain him even if he was found not guilty. Ironically, all but one of the other four detainees found guilty in military commissions have gone home, while dozens of remaining Guantanamo detainees who have never been charged with a crime continue to languish.

For Khadr, then, today’s guilty plea was probably the right choice. His Canadian lawyers are likely to challenge his sentence as unlawful as soon as he’s transferred to Canada. (The “diplomatic notes” reached between the U.S. and Canadian governments that will likely allow his transfer after a year in U.S. custody are still secret but will be released with the plea agreement after the commission members recommend their sentence.)

For the U.S. government, the guilty plea was a way to save face. After all, the Obama administration knew that it was a political embarrassment for its first military commission trial to be of a child soldier – a contradiction of its obligations under international law to rehabilitate child soldiers rather than punish them. The administration also knew that the charges against Khadr were all legally dubious – invalid under international law and a violation of the ex post facto clause of the U.S. Constitution. Khadr’s guilty plea allows them to rack up another “win” for the military commissions, pushing the total to a whopping five convictions in the last eight years. By contrast, U.S. civilian federal courts have convicted more than 400 terrorists in that same time period. This doesn’t exactly tip the balance.

Still, no matter how you look at it, this plea makes a troubling statement about the United States’ respect for the rule of law. Although as part of his plea agreement Omar Khadr has waived his right to appeal his conviction or to sue the United States for his confinement or treatment, a dark cloud continues to shadow this case. That cloud will continue to conceal the truth about Omar Khadr’s treatment at the hands of his U.S. interrogators; and it will ensure that the validity of his conviction, and the integrity of the military commissions themselves, remain in doubt.

The US should be ashamed, but those emotions are long past. Now the emphasis is on cover-up and presenting as good a picture as possible.

Written by Leisureguy

27 October 2010 at 12:05 pm

Extremely cool robot gripper

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It’s not exactly what I think of as a hand, but it can pick up just about anything, quite easily. The video is remarkable.

Written by Leisureguy

27 October 2010 at 12:02 pm

Posted in Daily life, Technology

More on the media protecting the Pentagon

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Greenwald has an extremely important (and cogent) column today on how the mainstream media have leapt to the Pentagon’s defense without a second’s thought (or any investigation of the matter). It begins:

The New York Times‘ John Burns yesterday responded to (and complained about) criticisms — voiced by me, Julian Assange and others — over his gossipy, People Magazine-style "profile" of Assange, which his newspaper centrally featured as part of its coverage of the WikiLeaks document release.  In a self-justifying interview with Yahoo! NewsMichael Calderone, Burns makes several comments worth examining:

Burns said he doesn’t "recall ever having been the subject of such absolutely, relentless vituperation" following a story in his 35 years at the Times. He said his email inbox has been full of denunciations from readers and a number of academics at top-tier schools such as Harvard, Yale, and MIT.  Some, he said, used "language that I don’t think they would use at their own dinner table."

This is really good to hear:  quite encouraging.  Apparently, many people become quite angry when the newspaper which did more to enable the attack on Iraq than any other media outlet in the world covered one of the most significant war leaks in American history — documents detailing the deaths of more than 100,000 human beings in that war and the heinous abuse of thousands of others — by assigning its most celebrated war correspondent and London Bureau Chief to studiously examine and malign the totally irrelevant personality quirks, alleged mental health, and various personal relationships of Julian Assange.  Imagine that.  Then we have this from Burns:

Such heated reactions to the profile, Burns said, shows "just how embittered the American discourse on these two wars has become."

Oh my, how upsetting.  People are so very "embittered," and over what?  Just a couple of decade-long wars that have spilled enormous amounts of innocent blood, devastated two countries for no good reason, and spawned a worldwide American regime of torture, lawless imprisonment, and brutal occupation.  It’s nothing to get upset over.  People really need to lighten up.  And stop being so mean to John Burns.  That’s what really matters.  

After all — as he himself told you just a couple of months ago — there was just no way that he and his war-supporting media colleagues — holding themselves out as preeminent, not-to-be-questioned experts on that country — could possibly have known that an attack on Iraq would have led to such devastating violence and humanitarian catastrophe (except by listening to, rather than systematically ignoring, the huge numbers of people around the world loudly warning that exactly that could happen).  The last thing he should have to endure are insulting emails from people who seem to think that such episodes warrant anger and recrimination.  And that’s to say nothing of the obvious irony of a reporter complaining about our "embittered discourse" after he just wrote one of the sleaziest, most vicious hit pieces seen in The New York Times in quite some time.

Then there’s this:

The profile, Burns said, is "an absolutely standard journalistic endeavor that we would use with any story of similar importance in the United States" . . . . Burns added that the Times is "not in the business of hagiography" but in the "business of giving our readers the fullest context for these documents" and the Assange’s motivations. "To suggest that doing that is some kind of grotesque journalistic sin, and makes me a sociopath," Burns said, "strikes me as pretty odd."

This is the heart of the matter.  What Burns did to Julian Assange is most certainly not a "standard journalistic endeavor" for The New York Times.  If anyone doubts that, please show me any article that paper has published which trashed the mental health, psyche and personality of a high-ranking American political or military official — a Senator or a General or a President or a cabinet secretary or even a prominent lobbyist — based on quotes from disgruntled associates of theirs.  That is not done, and it never would be.

This kind of character smear ("he’s not in his right mind," pronounced a 25-year-old who sort of knows him) is reserved for people who don’t matter in the world of establishment journalists — i.e., people without power or standing in Washington and, especially, those whom American Government authorities scorn.  In official Washington, Assange is a contemptible loser — the Pentagon hates him and wants him destroyed, and therefore the "reporters" who rely on,  admire and identify with Pentagon officials immediately adopt that perspective — and that’s why he was the target of this type of attack.  After I wrote my criticism of this article on Monday, I was contacted by Burns’ co-writer, Ravi Somaiya, who defended this article from my criticisms.  I agreed to keep the exchange off-the-record at his insistence — and I will do so — but that was the question I kept asking:  point to any instance where the NYT ever subjected Someone Who Matters in Washington to this kind of personality and mental health trashing based on the gossip and condemnation of associates.  It does not exist.

As for Burns’ pronouncement that "the Times is ‘not in the business of hagiography’," he should probably remind himself of what he himself wrote about the Right Honorable Gen. Stanley McChrystal, after Burns had attacked Michael Hastings for daring to publish the General’s own statements that reflected badly on him.  Here’s what Burns wrote while falling all over himself in reverence of this Great American Warrior:

[A]ll that I know about General McChrystal suggests that he is, just as the Rolling Stone article suggested, a maverick of high self-belief and intensity, uncautioned in his disregard for the conventional, but for all that a soldier with a deep belief in the military’s ideals of "duty, honor, country." Though handed what many would regard as a poisoned chalice in the Afghanistan command, he had worked relentlessly to rescue America’s fortunes there. . . . grave misfortune it is, considering what is lost to America in a commander as smart, resolute and as fit for purpose as General McChrystal . . . .

General George S. Patton Jr. . . .  a man who was regarded at the time, like General McChrystal in Afghanistan, as the best, and the toughest, of America’s war-fighting generals. . . . In Iraq, we barely glimpsed General McChrystal, then running the super-secret special operations missions that were crucial in turning the tide against Al Qaeda and the Sunni insurgency under General Petraeus’s command; but he, too, continued the pattern of access after he took command in Afghanistan in June 2009. . . .

Reporters, of course, do best when they keep their views to themselves, to retain their impartiality. But it’s safe to say that many of the men and women who have covered General McChrystal as commander if Afghanistan, or in his previous role as the top United States special forces commander, admired him, and felt at least some unease about the elements in the Rolling Stone article that ended his career.

It seems Burns wrote that while standing and saluting in front of a large wall photograph of the General, or perhaps kneeling in front of it.  The only hint of a criticism was quite backhanded: that Chrystal  "blundered catastrophically" by failing to exercise sufficient caution when speaking to an Unestablished, Unaccepted, reckless, low-level loser like Michael Hastings, who simply did not know — or refused to abide by — the General-protecting rules that Real Reporters use when venerating covering for covering top military officials.  And despite writing 2,700 praise-filled words about McChrystal, Burns never once mentioned little things like his central involvement in the Pat Tillman fraud or the widespread detainee abuse in Iraq under his command, until a reader asked about it, and only then, he mentioned it in passing to dismiss it. Burns’ view of McChrystal is the very definition of journalistic hagiography.

Or consider this NYT profile of Gen. McChrystal by Elisabeth Bumiller and Mark Mazzetti, after he was named to run the war in Afghanistan, that was more creepily worshipful than any Us Weekly profile of a movie star whose baby pictures they are desperate to publish.  It goes on and on with drooling praise, but this is how it begins: . . .

Continue reading. It really makes the case that mainstream journalism is now more or less committed to protecting the Pentagon and covering for government missteps.

Written by Leisureguy

27 October 2010 at 11:58 am

Yet another new shaving site

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Sites that promote and support traditional wetshaving seem to be springing up all over the place. Here’s another: Shaving Products for Men Online.

Written by Leisureguy

27 October 2010 at 11:45 am

Posted in Business, Shaving

Fired for following doctor’s orders

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Mark Kleiman notes an ominous new trend: firing employees because they must take meds. (I assume that the real purpose of this action is to get these people off the payroll, in part to reduce the company’s healthcare costs.) Kleiman:

Being intoxicated at work is a bad idea. So is showing up for work unfit to work for other reasons: for example, being under-slept. The fixation on the “drug-free workplace” has less to do with safety than with the culture wars; otherwise, more firms would test for alcohol, especially after lunch.

If impairment at work were the issue, firms would be better advised to use impairment tests rather than testing employees’ urine, because urine testing tells you whether a person used a given drug within the past 72 hours (longer for cannabis) and not whether the person is currently under the influence. (The cheek-swab test, which can also cover alcohol, is more specific to recent use, but that’s not the currently approved technology for workplace use.)

With the non-medical use of prescription drugs a rising problem, some companies have begun to test – and fire – workers for using such drugs (notably opioids such as oxycodone and hydrocodone and the benzodiazepine anti-anxiety drugs such as Valium and Xanax). At at least one company, seemingly run by mental and moral defectives, workers were fired, without warning, for using drugs according to medical direction.
Of course, someone can be just as zonked on a prescription drug as on a non-prescription drug, but again, the companies aren’t measuring intoxication, merely recent drug use. When it came to the illicit drugs, the excuse for the invasion of privacy involved in having an employer meddle in employees’ off-the-job activities was that taking those drugs involved breaking the law. But extending the rule to prescription drugs gives employers a convenient way of getting rid of employees with chronic medical conditions.

What’s shocking is the thinness of the evidentiary basis underlying the whole exercise. None of the studies purporting to show that testing positive predicts poor work performance has anything like adequate statistical controls.

There’s a simple way to find out whether workplace drug-testing is actually relevant to safety and work performance. What the employer gets back from the lab is a “positive” (drug metabolites present) or a “negative” (metabolites absent). But the testing equipment actually produces a quantitative measurement, converted to “positive” or “negative” by using some fairly arbitrary cut-off value. Test just above that value, you’re fired; test just below it and your employer never even knows.

So here’s the study I’d like to see someone do: the military, for example, which has an aggressive drug-testing policy. Draw a sample of people who tested “negative” and get the quantitative scores. If off-the-job drug use is really a risk factor for accidents, absenteeism, and poor work performance, then there should be an observable gradient, with people testing zero having better subsequent performance than people testing just below the cutoff.

The fact that none of “drug-free workplace” advocates, and none of the testing labs, have published such as study might suggest to the suspicious-minded that they might not like the results.

Written by Leisureguy

27 October 2010 at 10:30 am

Molly, all dressed up

with 4 comments

The Wife sent me this photo:

Written by Leisureguy

27 October 2010 at 10:24 am

Posted in Cats, Molly

Arguments against marijuana legalization

with 3 comments

Edward Schumacher-Matos has an interesting column in which he supports marijuana legalization, and in particular supports state-by-state legalization which, as he points out, is exactly how Prohibition ended: individual states started re-legalizing alcohol before the Federal government finally caved. I hadn’t known that.

However, in the column he includes this paragraph:

There are good arguments against legalization. It could lead to more pot use, especially among young people. New breeds of marijuana get stronger, and abuse of them affects health. Many users of more powerful drugs started with pot. Criminal gangs will continue selling other drugs, so legalization won’t get them off the streets.

He does go on to say, "But so much in life is a balancing act. To my thinking, the costs of prohibition are much higher than the risks of legalization." I applaud that notion, but I do want to respond to those "good arguments" he advances.

1. Legalization "could lead to more pot use, especially among young people." And, as his statement implies, it could also lead to LESS post use, especially among young people. Once pot is legalized and regulated, will selling to minors (extremely common now) continue to be endemic? We don’t know, but we do know that alcohol and tobacco can be obtained by minors. It will depend on enforcement and giving the legal supply chain something serious to worry about if they break the regulations. I believe that marijuana is sufficiently available that we will see little difference in consumption.

BTW, I grew up in Oklahoma in the days when it was a dry state, and kept dry by the cooperative efforts of bootleggers and Baptists, both with an interest in keeping alcohol illegal. Alcohol did finally become legal on a summer day in 1958, a day on which I happened to be at home in my small southern Oklahoma town. People were more or less watching out their windows as the new state liquor store opened for business. They seemed to expect car chases, shootouts, and drunken brawls, but in fact it was a totally peaceful day, like any other day. And like all the days before, those who wanted alcohol bought it (only from a state store instead of a bootlegger) and those who didn’t want alcohol didn’t buy it. I expect the same result with legal marijuana.

2. "New breeds of marijuana get stronger, and abuse of them affects health." Now here is where one seriously expects a link. If marijuana is stronger, won’t people will simply smoke less at any given time? We’ve seen this sort of self-regulation in alcohol: people consume more wine at a sitting (by volume) than they do, say, Wild Turkey whiskey or Everclear straight ethanol. So stronger marijuana would seem, on the face of it, to mean that a joint will last longer and/or serve more people.

And what about those health effects? The column is extremely vague on this point, with no link or other justification for the statement. It almost seems as though he’s simply repeating something he’s heard. BTW, we do know for a certainty that tobacco smoking and drinking alcohol absolutely affect health and we know exactly how they do it. Why hold marijuana to a higher standard than these legal drugs? Or is the idea to make alcohol and tobacco illegal because "abuse of them affects health"? If not, why not? (based on his argument). He totally lost me with this sentence and its lack of substantiation.

4. "Many users of more powerful drugs started with pot." At this point, I’m sorry to say, I begin to question the writer’s intelligence. Is he not aware that the primary "gateway drug" that leads to use of more dangerous drugs is alcohol, not marijuana? And is he not aware that illegal drug dealers work hard to move their customers from low-profit, bulky marijuana into high-profit, compact hard drugs? Hasn’t he considered that the reason that some move on to harder drugs from marijuana is precisely that marijuana is illegal, so its sale and distribution is inextricably linked with other hard drugs, and legalization would break this bond? Has he even thought seriously about this issue?

5. "Criminal gangs will continue selling other drugs, so legalization [of marijuana] will not get them off the streets." This seems to me an argument for legalizing all drugs rather than an argument against legalizing marijuana. Certainly many people would be happy with (legal) marijuana and feel no need to move on—especially if they purchase their marijuana at a store with no other drugs around. And we do have an excellent report of the efficacy of Portugal’s decriminalization of all drugs.

Written by Leisureguy

27 October 2010 at 10:22 am

Posted in Daily life, Drug laws

The Futur is here

with 5 comments

By reader request, the Futur came out to play. First, I used Nanny’s Silly Soap Factory’s The Herby One. It’s a soft soap, and made a fine lather with the men-ü “artificial badger” shaving brush. The Futur did a very smooth job, save for a nick on the upper lip. That was my fault: I have a familial tremor, and occasionally it hits just as I place the razor for a sideways pass across the lip. But that’s why I have My Nik Is Sealed. The nick is now sealed, and a splash of Alt Innsbruck sets me up nicely for the day.

Written by Leisureguy

27 October 2010 at 10:10 am

Posted in Shaving

Thoughtful review of the Guide to Gourmet Shaving

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I would be remiss if I did not call your attention to this review.

Written by Leisureguy

27 October 2010 at 10:06 am

Posted in Shaving

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