Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Nutritional Experts(?)

Work has been exceedingly poopy lately. Poopy is a technical term for being very busy, but never feeling you’ve accomplished much. Frustrating in other words. I haven’t posted lately. Oh well. I really don’t have much to say today either. Because of work, I haven’t been following blogs or gun news or much of anything.

I thought I would break my silence here though and mention something about nutrition seen on the New York Times’ TierneyLab. Once again medical experts are changing the paradigm about what is healthy. Saturated fat and its handmaiden cholesterol, was the big boogieman for most of my life, but recent studies show it ain’t necessarily so.

This bugs me. Hell, this infuriates me. I have tried to follow doctors’ advice and eat right. I followed the USDA Food Pyramid. The result; well, people who’ve met me can tell you that I’m big (polite for fat).

I’ve been doing a lot of reading on diet. It seems like Dr. Atkins, of all people, was more or less right. A low-carb diet or one with very low processed carbs (white rice, white flour, potatoes, etc) is good for you.

Yosemite Sam (who is not fat) and I went on my version of Atkins. I did not use the menus in the book, but I read it for ideas and used them. Yosemite Sam and I ate meats, butter, whole milk, nuts, eggs, bacon, and green vegetables for about three months. We were never hungry. (Travel interrupted the diet for me, but I will return to it soon.)

During that time, I lost about 10% of my body weight—that’s ten percent not ten pounds. Yosemite Sam tends to high-cholesterol (I don’t). At last measurement, his good cholesterol levels were up, his bad cholesterol levels were down. In other words, we both got healthier.

Why do experts screw us over so much and why do we let them? I feared the Atkins diet until I read Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes (mentioned in the link above). Similarly, experts tell us that having a gun in the home is dangerous, that more guns equals more crime, that cow farts overheat the planet.

We do it to ourselves. We seek words of wisdom and believe we find them from doctors, social scientists, and others. Instead, we see that the last fifty years of nutritional science is the medical equivalent of “bleeding” patients and the last thirty years of anti-gun scholarship is worse than worthless.

Maybe we should listen to our parents or grandparents more. I remember my mom saying, “don’t eat pasta, it’s fattening,” or my granddad saying, “let’s go shooting.”

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

What happened to my Country?

Denise has been cajoling me for awhile to do a blog post, but I’ve always had excuses for why I couldn’t do one. Too busy, too tired, or nothing to say cover the most common excuses. But I don’t think any of them get to the real reason why I haven’t felt like posting. Despondency: a growing feeling of despondency and despair over the current state and future of this country. Here is an example.

Now that I live in the DC area and with the price of gasoline at over $4 per gallon, I take the Metro to work. It’s not all that bad. I get to read during my commute and I get a subsidy for it through my work. I don’t particularly like the crowds, but I’ve learned to adapt.

Everything has gone more or less the same for the last 3 months. Then yesterday, I noticed a ramped up police presence. When I got off at my stop, police were all over the platform; making me wonder if there was an incident or high profile arrest, taking place. I left the station and continued to work, forgetting about it for the rest of the day.

In the evening, though, a curious incident took place. The train stopped at a station and two police officers, with M16’s, got on the car, one at the front and one at the back. My interest was immediately piqued, but soon, I could feel resentment and anger boiling up inside of me.

This was happening in America.

This wasn’t some airport or security zone. This was on a subway car, full of commuters, going home. I remember when I traveled to Kenya, when I was in the Air Force, and I noticed that soldiers and police with machine guns commonly patrolled civilian areas and I remember thinking with pride that I lived in a country where that didn’t happen.

No more.

The police stayed on the train for 3 stops and got off. The anger stayed with me until I got home and mentioned this incident to Denise. She told me that she had heard on the radio that they were doing some kind of terrorist training exercise and that what I had encountered was probably part of that.

Not to sound like a Nutroots Leftist, but I have a few questions and comments concerning the incident I just related.

1.) What is the purpose of having police patrolling in public areas with M16’s? If there is a terrorist incident, the two cops would have ended up shooting half the car. The M16 is completely ill suited to this kind of close quarters situation. If anything, they should be armed with shotguns, which would greatly reduce the likelihood of killing innocents.

So, if the M16 is so ill suited to this kind of situation, then why do the police carry them?

I would say intimidation.

They dress in black tactical gear and carry automatic weapons to intimidate both potential terrorists and the public.
Face it, by militarizing the police, we have created a de-facto army, that is starting to take on the characteristics of an occupation force. Being militarized, the police have to have an enemy to fight and face it, that enemy just might be all of us.

2.) What is the purpose of this training exercise? Does anyone actually believe that all of this actually would dissuade any would be terrorists. The police states of the Middle East don’t stop terrorist acts, why should a nascent one in this country discourage them.

No, I think one of the reasons they have these exercises is to get the American people more used to the idea of seeing paramilitary police, parading around with automatic weapons. Enough exercises and most people won’t think anything of it.

This gets me to my final point.

I don’t see any possible change of direction from this course that the nation has taken. Both political parties support policies that support the militarization of police.

The Republicans directly through their support and sponsorship of the War on Drugs and the Democrats because they just love the idea of Big, Coercive Government.

Nothing will change about that. To all of you Leftists that say that Obama will change everything, give me a break. Already, he is shifting his message to appeal to more people and if he is elected, I guarantee that he will continue the same policies (while adding even worse ones), including Bush’s Iraq policy.
And to the Republicans: I remember all of the complaining about exit strategies concerning Bosnia & Kosovo. Guess what, Bush has been President for 7 ½ years and we still have troops in the Balkans; so much for an exit strategy.

Finally, and the real cause of my despondency, I can’t even blame all of these politicians that much. They are just doing and saying these things to get elected. The real cause of our problems is the American people.

Somewhere along the line, the majority of people in this country decided that liberty and freedom was just too much gosh darn hard work. They voted in people to pass laws that would make their lives easier and make them feel safe. And guess what, the politicians they hired did what they were told to do.
Until the American people, on a wholesale basis, support the idea of freedom, not just for themselves, but for the people they disagree with as well, we will continue to get more of the same.

The thing is, I really don’t see that happening any time soon.