Saturday, October 30, 2010
However i think government should ensure access to all citizens to the basics tools to survive and succeed. Access to a decent education and healthcare without the danger of bankruptcy are a couple of those basics. Individuals choice to go to school or get decent health care should not be limited by their ability to pay.
The extreme conservative movement believes in the opposite limitations. They think government should stop certain people from marrying and women from choosing whether or not to carry their rapists baby to term. They think government should limit people's choices but that government should be limited in what it provides as basics to their citizens. Oddly I don't think they believe government should be limited to what it provides to the wealthy in terms of tax breaks or to corporations in teems of incentives to do business. But if you want to go to college but can't afford better hope some individual or group will help you out cuz the taxpayer shouldn't have to. That money is only supposed to go to some business hat isn't making enough money. Or to buy bombs or bullets to kill some poor schmuck who is standing in the way of some corporate interest.
I find it interesting where they do see appropriate limits to government and where they think government should be allowed to intrude into the lives of others. Some call it hypocritical. I guess I agree but there seems to be something sociopathic about it too.
Oh and to those libertarians out there. I believe in the free market is great for many things but don't try to sell me some snake oil that if it weren't for government everyone could access healthcare and a good education without fear of bankruptcy or that if it there wasn't regulation companies wouldn't pollute. You can't just say that is true without explaining how it would work and so far every explanation I hear about how it would work has been total bull.
Ok there I got that off my chest. Now I can get back to my coffee.
Friday, October 8, 2010
Now, I have a bit of a conservative bent when it comes to some things. I don't believe the government should do things that the private sector can do better. I just don't believe health and education are two of those things.
The thing I can't stand is when any politician or personality uses the 'you took that out of context' line without being willing to put it into context. Yes, in this interview Rachel Maddow took quotes from quite a while ago that are a bit nutty but this guy looks to be evasive about those actual quotes and while I'm sure his base loves that he confronted Rachel but they are going to vote for him anyway. If he really wants to appeal past that point, all he really needs to say is 'yes I said that' and either 'I stand by it' or 'I've re-examined those beliefs in the years since and I no longer hold them' but rather he accuses her of lying when she clearly isn't, accuses her of sarcasm when she is clearly not being so and continues to talk over her questions and frankly looks like an asshole.
Now I know Rachel has an opinion and an agenda. I don't think she would argue with that. But I have to believe that there are some conservatives that would be willing to debate her or any other liberal without resorting to name calling or speaking over questions to avoid answering them. Someone must actually believe in their 'conservative' ideals without having to resort to this crap. Look, if you really believe that it is morally wrong and should be illegal for a rape victim to abort her rapists baby, say it, hold your head up high and say it. Accept that you are in a democratic republic where the voters may disagree with you, or the constitution may disagree with you but say it. The point of a democracy is that people will disagree but the most widely held opinion will be acted upon. Both the left and the right needs to deal with that.
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
This strict ideology is very disconcerting to me. Look at the Libertarians. They believe that the free market can take care of everything. Now the fact that the free market and lack of regulation has led to the economic collapse of the last couple years and the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico hasn't led them to moderate (not abandon but moderate) their views is something that I dont' get. I have actually heard them argue that these events were CAUSED by the inadequate regulation in the market and therefore the best solution is to remove regulation. This is insanity. I'm all for the government staying out of things where they don't belong, but regulating environmental impact of activity and protecting consumers from shady financial institutions obfuscating the risk inherent in their hybrid products is a place where they do belong.
While I'm at it, I'd like to clear up one thing. These tea party folks down south are not really libertarian. The reason I say this is that the majority of them support the Christian Conservative cause. This means while they want the government to stay out of their pocketbook, they see no problem with the government deciding who someone can marry, whether or not a woman has control over their body when they become pregnant. I didn't see any of these people coming out and saying that Arizona shouldn't have the right to ask for someone's papers because they look like an illegal alien. What the hell? Really, what they want is the government to do what they want them to do an nothing else. They want the government to leave them alone but if you are gay, latino, or a woman who was raped, too fucking bad (excuse my french). Yup, too fucking bad because what how you live your life should conform to their morality, their religion. That is not small government and don't let them convince you otherwise.
Sharon Angle, Christine O'Donnell, and the other tea party supported candidates are NOT small government candidates. They want government to lower taxes and cut spending that helps people who are finding it difficult to help themselves, but they also want government to tell victims of rape and incest that they must carry their abuser's or rapist's baby to term. They want to government to tell a gay man that they cannot marry the person they love and share the same benefits of a marriage as a heterosexual couple. Don't let them fool you.
Friday, October 1, 2010
One phrase uttered consistently with relation to healthy eating is that one must eat a ‘balanced’ diet. What does a balanced diet mean? If I eat 33% protein, 33% carbohydrate and 33% fat, is that balanced? What do the percentages relate to, weight, calories, what? It’s one of those things ‘they’ say and it seems like it’s some sort of universal truth but when you think critically about it, it means nothing unless you figure out what ‘balanced’ means.
Having said that, I’d like to blog a bit about a diet study that was released in August of 2010 (http://www.annals.org/content/153/3/147.abstract).
What this study set out to test is which diet provides the best outcome for weight loss and other factors. You can read the abstract yourself but one thing was left out of the conclusions that I find very interesting. The study concluded basically that either diet works and were effective. Here’s what they left out: the low-carb diet produced roughly the same results without mandatory calorie restriction. The low carb group was not asked to limit the amount they ate (at least as far as I can tell from the write up) only to limit the carbohydrate count. So from that there are two possible conclusions:
1. The low carb subjects voluntarily ate as many calories as the low-fat group and lost weight as a result of fewer calories
2. The low carb subjects ate more calories than the low fat group but lost the same amount of weight.
Either way, this is a revolutionary result for those of us who have tried the mainstream low-fat diet and suffered from hunger.
I don’t believe that anectodal evidence should convince anyone but my own personal experience is that the low carb lifestyle produces the best outcome for me. When I am hungry, I can trust that hunger. Most of the time, I am not hungry. I cannot say this when I am eating the typical mainstream diet for weight loss.
So…. what does this have to do with the phrase that drives me nuts. Well, it seems to me that telling people to eat a ‘balanced’ diet is a way to dismiss people without giving them the information and tools they need. For me, a balanced diet means very few carbohydrates. Probably 4-5% of the calories I consume come from carbohydrates. Probably another 20-30% come from fat and 65-76% therefore come from fat. To me, given the result to my health (weight loss of 23 pounds), this is balanced. I’m not saying that it would be balanced for anyone else but it’s about time we retire the ‘balanced’ diet phrase because it is meaningless.
For example, today I read about how the US experimented on people in Guatemala by injecting them with syphillis and gonorrhea and encouraging them to spread the disease (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/39456324/ns/health-sexual_health/).
What really has become my passion lately has been diet, nutrition and health. I have been on a quest to lose weight for about 7 years now. In 2003 I lost 80 pounds and kept most of it off. I am now down almost 90 pounds from where I started and figure I have about 15 to go. The thing that really bugs me lately is the completely misleading, erroneous and dangerous advice that comes out of the mainstream in terms of losing weight. The normal advice is eat less and exercise usually expanded to add the avoidance of fat.
This advice is frankly incorrect for most people, and dangerous.
Anyway, I don't have time to rant about this now but soon...