Saturday, June 08, 2013

A Great Observation From Neo-Neocon

"...if even the great and noble Obama fell prey to the seduction of power that Big Government represents, then wouldn't practically anyone?"

The rest here:

How To Change Your Mind and Not Be a Hypocrite

1.  Acknowledge that your view has changed.

2. Explain why you now think differently on the issue.

3. Give some credit to those who disagreed with you before you changed your mind--you know, since you have come around to their view now.


Do it Obama's way:

I welcome this debate and I think it's healthy for our democracy. I think it's a sign of maturity because probably five years ago, six years ago we might not have been having this debate. And I think it's interesting that there are some folks on the left but also some folks on the right who are now worried about it, who weren't very worried about it when it was a Republican president. 

1. No mention that he was one of the fiercest critics of President Bush' intelligence gathering.

2. None given.  We did have this debate "five years ago, six years ago" and Obama was on the opposite side of it then from where he is now.

3. No.  Rather criticize them for now believing what you used to believe.

The exact opposite of what it means to be a statesman.


Just so head-off the possible complaint that there is no graceful way to perform my statesman-like standard, the below is a shot at it.  Bear in mind, I am not a professional writer and so this could probably be greatly improved.

Fellow Americans.  I'm sure you are well aware that when I was a Senator from Illinois, I was one of the most fierce critics of President Bush's intelligence-gathering program under the Patriot Act.  I think this stemmed from at least two sources:  First, a general distrust of the Bush administration and second, as an outsider to the executive branch, a lack of understanding for the capabilities and responsibilities of that branch.  As President, I have come-around to the need for programs such as these since I take seriously my responsibility to protect the American public from attack and see the programs as well within constitutional privacy protections.  As for liberal and conservative critics of theses efforts, some of whom did not oppose them when George W. Bush was President:  I understand your concerns and share those same concerns.  People of good faith can come to different conclusions about the balance between privacy and security.
Thank You and God Bless. 



"As for our common defense," Barack Obama declared in his First Inaugural Address, "we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. . . . Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience's sake."

Last Friday the president said this: "I think it's important to recognize that you can't have 100% security and also then have 100% privacy and zero inconvenience. We're going to have to make some choices as a society." 

Scientists Behaving Badly

When I had read about the study indicating that a bit of extra weight might not be so bad, I kind of expected the pushback that ensued.  A nice surprize is the editorial in Nature linked to below:

Shades of grey
It is risky to oversimplify science for the sake of a clear public-health message. 

The problem with simple messages and black-and-white statements is that they tend to be absolutes and so the easiest to falsify. The line that the science of global warming is ‘settled’ must have seemed like a good idea at the time, and when taken to refer to the narrowest of scientific questions it is correct, but it was (fairly) interpreted as insistence that no queries remained. Even legitimate debates on outstanding issues — climate sensitivity, say — can now be painted as unsettling not just to the scientific position, but also to the policy response it demands.
Scientists or I should say "scientists" who make claims which go beyond what the actual data says, think that they are furthering social good.  They are not.  They are trading in credibility for short term goals.  Ultimately, a technological society depends on belief in the truth of science.  The foisting of junk science has the result in all of it being seen as garbage.

Yeast Waffles

For some reason I have long wanted to try making yeast waffles.  Possibly it is because in the foam stage of bread making that batter just looks so fry-able.

I tried this recipe from King Arthur Flour

Verdict:  It is good, though not really a huge amount better than with normal baking soda based versions.  It is not really much more work though. All you have to do is mix the batter up an hour before cooking.  Next time I think I will sub in a cup or 3/4 cup of butter milk.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

The "Bounty" of Self-Help Experts

New York couple, hosts of self-help radio show, commit suicide, authorities say

I suppose one could say, " The jokes write themselves" but I want to focus on something else.

Read more: 

They were very smart about how to go about it:  The story above gives these details:
Autopsies found that both Littig, 47, and Rosen, 45, died from asphyxiation after inhaling helium, a spokeswoman for medical examiner's office said Thursday.
Asphyxiation by inert gas is thought to be totally painless.

An additional detail is that their bodies were only discovered by the smell from decomposition.  
So they planned out very well how to easily and painlessly dispatch themselves, but could not be bothered to arrange for someone to find them before the stench did this?

I don't know.  It might be hard to send out a notification that doesn't risk being found while still alive, right?  Wrong!  You can schedule a blog post.  This post, for instance is scheduled to go out at 7:00 but I wrote it earlier today.

This couple wins my "prize" as the most self-adsorbed.  Who will win the next Bounty prize?

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Last Week's Running Workouts

For reasons which do not matter here, I ran three days in a row on the same course:  An 8 and one quarter mile loop.

The first run was on Wednesday, which was cool but which was also a fasting day (my wife and I are trying the fast diet, which is a subject on which I will probably blog about at some point).  Anyway, I had nothing to eat that day except for coffee in the morning.  I did fine on this run and kept the pace at 7:55

The next day I had a good breakfast but by the time of my run in the early afternoon, it was already in the low 90's. The run was miserable and slow at 8:26.

The final run was both a fast day and slightly hotter than the day before.  Yet somehow I pulled my self together and ran slow but not by as much as the day before:  8:22/mile.

Either the fasting is not a problem for running or my ability to adapt to heat made up for the hot fasting run.  I do feel tired and weak on fast days.

I generally consider any run of 13 miles or less to be a failure if it comes in over 8/mile, but I have to cut myself some slack considering the weather.

All of this effort, concentrated in the last three working days of the week, set me to musing about why I bother with it.  I've been 30 pounds heavier and I looked fine.  I felt fine too.  Why can't I settle into being a short, fat balding and jolly creature?  Maybe I will at some point.  I don't after-all feel any contempt for, or superiority to, other people who have let themselves go.  Anyway, the key point I was left with is that it is really hard to stay in shape.  I do it for some reason and it is my choice to do so.

I choose to make the efforts needed to stay in shape but how would I feel about such exertions if they were forced upon me?  Hard to imagine, but I think being forced would make it even more difficult because instead of it being a manifestation of my freedom, it would be the opposite:  It would be proof that I don't have freedom.  This is the fundamental problem with socialized medicine (actually, it is the problem with socialized anything):  If your health is the state's business, then they might intrude on your freedom to eat what you want, to exercise or not, to smoke, to drink etc.  Alternatively, they will not meddle; but then how is it fair for me to be in the same risk pool as an obese, sedentary alcoholic who smokes?

This is what socialism always comes down to:  Infringe freedom, punish virtue or both.