Later On

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

Archive for May 24th, 2013

Gil Kerlikowske should be ashamed

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You need read only the first paragraph of this McClatchy story by Rob Hotakainen  to know that Gil Kerlikowske is blowing smoke:

Marijuana is the drug most often linked to crime in the United States, the U.S. drug czar said Thursday, dismissing calls for legalization as a “bumper-sticker approach” that should be avoided.

Talk about a “bumper-sticker approach”: the drug most often linked to crime—and particularly violent crime—is alcohol. Is Kerlikowske an idiot? No. He’s a propagandist with a glaringly obvious conflict of interest trying to justify the billions and billions of dollars we’ve wasted trying to remove marijuana from use.

The only idiot here seems to be Rob Htakainen who did not ask the obvious questions and more or less reformatted a press release as a news story. I expect better from McClatchy.

The story lists the next two drugs “linked to crime” as cocaine and meth. And then it turns out that Kerlikowske didn’t mention alcohol because he was careful to discuss only illegal drugs. Well, that problem is easy to solve: make marijuana legal, as alcohol is, and marijuana, too, will vanish from “drugs most linked to crime.” Assuming it’s Kerlikowske driving the research.

This kind of idiocy—including the reporter, who is the most to blame in this—is one reason it’s hard to read the news.

Maybe I’m just being a curmudgeon.

UPDATE: Someone in the comment thread draws my attention to these statistics regarding the links between alcohol and crime—apparently statistics of which Mr. Kerlikowske is ignorant.

Written by Leisureguy

24 May 2013 at 2:43 pm

Posted in Drug laws, Media

Interesting blog on frugality: Mr. Money Mustache [sic]

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Mr. Money Moustache (I can’t abide the illiterate spelling) has an interesting blog on planning your daily life to enable early retirement. Worth a look.

Written by Leisureguy

24 May 2013 at 11:53 am

Posted in Daily life

Making legal marijuana work

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It’s a complex system, modern life, and legalizing marijuana doesn’t really get into the details, as pointed out by Abby Rapaport at The American Prospect:

When Colorado and Washington State passed ballot measures legalizing marijuana last November, they weren’t just the first states in the country to do so—they were the first governments in the world to do so. While other nations and states, most notably the Netherlands and California, have decriminalized marijuana possession, the drug is still technically illegal. That means that while it’s tolerated by law enforcement, the government need not concern itself with a full-scale system for regulation and taxation. But there are advantages to legalizing the drug; Washington and Colorado can have a hand in making the product safer while they benefit from tax revenues. Both states are in the early stages of creating systems for taxation and regulation; the Washington State Liquor Control Board released aset of standards earlier this month, while Colorado’s state legislature has passed a series of recommendations from a task force. The differences between the two states’ approaches will offer the first two case studies on how marijuana legalization can work—and what can go awry.

Both states want to prevent companies from encouraging more drug use—no repeat of Big Tobacco—and keep the drug away from minors. There’s also a looming worry about the federal government. Both states are in violation of federal law, which, according to the Supreme Court, trumps state law, but so far, there’s no word on whether the Justice Department or U.S. attorneys will decide to interfere. But Colorado and Washington will try to keep the drug within their borders, so there’s no interstate trafficking that could get the feds involved. But just how to address such problems isn’t always clear—for instance, how can the government both legalize use and tamp down on drug abuse or prevent the product form getting into the hands of teens?

The differences between Colorado and Washington come largely in the nitty-gritty of regulation and taxation. While Colorado will require venders to grow 70 percent of what they sell, for instance, Washington will forbid anyone selling the drug from growing it. The Washington system was designed to mimic . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

24 May 2013 at 11:46 am

The banks take over

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Banks no longer bother to disguise their control of the government. Eric Lipton and Ben Protess in the NY Times:

Bank lobbyists are not leaving it to lawmakers to draft legislation that softens financial regulations. Instead, the lobbyists are helping to write it themselves.

One bill that sailed through the House Financial Services Committee this month — over the objections of the Treasury Department — was essentially Citigroup’s, according to e-mails reviewed by The New York Times. The bill would exempt broad swathes of trades from new regulation.

In a sign of Wall Street’s resurgent influence in Washington, Citigroup’s recommendations were reflected in more than 70 lines of the House committee’s 85-line bill. Two crucial paragraphs, prepared by Citigroup in conjunction with other Wall Street banks, were copied nearly word for word. (Lawmakers changed two words to make them plural.)

The lobbying campaign shows how, three years after Congress passed the most comprehensive overhaul of regulation since the Depression, Wall Street is finding Washington a friendlier place.

The cordial relations now include a growing number of Democrats in both the House and the Senate, whose support the banks need if they want to roll back parts of the 2010 financial overhaul, known as Dodd-Frank.

This legislative push is a second front, with Wall Street’s other battle being waged against regulators who are drafting detailed rules allowing them to enforce the law.

And as its lobbying campaign steps up, the financial industry has doubled its already considerable giving to political causes. The lawmakers who this month supported the bills championed by Wall Street received twice as much in contributions from financial institutions compared with those who opposed them, according to an analysis of campaign finance records performed by MapLight, a nonprofit group.

In recent weeks, Wall Street groups also held fund-raisers for lawmakers who co-sponsored the bills. At one dinner Wednesday night, corporate executives and lobbyists paid up to $2,500 to dine in a private room of a Greek restaurant just blocks from the Capitol with Representative Sean Patrick Maloney, Democrat of New York, a co-sponsor of the bill championed by Citigroup.

Industry officials acknowledged that they played a role in drafting the legislation, but argued that the practice was common in Washington. . .

Continue reading. Yes: “common in Washington”: that is the problem. It seems as though Congress has no concept of “conflict of interest”.

Written by Leisureguy

24 May 2013 at 11:30 am

Posted in Business, Congress

Another NEW, another good shave

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SOTD 24 May 2013

The brush is one of Vie-Long’s mixed badger+horse brushes, and it does a very fine job indeed. I did soak the knot, now that I know I can do that simply by wetting the knot well before I shower. The lather was sumptuous and thick and fully enjoyable.

Today I used another Gillette NEW, this one with the original handle. This is the short-toothed version. I have commented on how the smoothness, ease, and quality of the shave is inversely related to the number of blades: Using the 5-blade Fusion as the benchmark, the shaves get better in all respects as you move to the 3-blade Mach 3, and another step up in quality with a two-blade cartridge and again with the single-blade DE. This morning I discover that the absolutely smoothness of action of 0 blades is amazing, though it removes little, if any, stubble. I had thought the NEW had a blade. I loaded it with a Kai blade, and still it was very nice: easy and smooth but also removing stubble—and quite efficiently.

Three passes, a good splash of Musgo Real’s excellent aftershave, and I’m on my way to the weekend.

Written by Leisureguy

24 May 2013 at 10:12 am

Posted in Shaving

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