Archives for: February 2014

I call bullshit

The Mail online has an article titled “Are low-carb diets BAD for you? Nutrition expert claims giving up grains can lead to heart disease and cancer” where they make the following claim:

Low-carbohydrate diets are all the rage, but one nutrition expert has claimed that they may not be as healthy as we think.

According to Dr T Colin Campbell’s new book The Low-Carb Fraud, giving up grains can mean putting yourself at a higher risk for heart disease, cancer and other regenerative diseases.

He says that not only are low-carb diets lacking in nutritional value, but they’re actually even worse than the standard American diet.

The problem, says Dr Campbell, who has 40 years’ experience in nutrition science, is that people who cut out carbs tend to load up on animal protein and fat, which heightens cholesterol levels, sometimes leading to disease.

Even the standard American diet is too high in protein and fat, an imbalance that is merely worsened with a low-carb diet.

Consuming more meat also leads to smaller consequences like headaches, rash, cramps and bad breath, also known as halitosis.

Yeah, sure. Like with everything else I bet it will depend on genetics. My paternal grandfather smoked filterless Camels (2 packs a day) and drank like a lush, and died at the tender young age of 99. The guy gave me the best advice I ever got: don’t booze it up, smoke, or chase tail till you turn 13, and while I never smoked (other than a real occasional cigar) and didn’t start drinking until after I was 19, I did take the other part of his advice at heart.

I myself eat a low carb diet. I changed to that after my regular diet started packing the pounds on. I feel healthier and am able to be a far more active with that diet. I also recently had my annual checkup. My results were so good that the doctor told me to not come back for 2 years, despite the fact that people of my age are strongly encouraged to visit yearly. Even more importantly, he asked me to join a study about cholesterol, considering my number was not just so low, but that my good cholesterol number was higher than my high cholesterol number. Apparently this condition is so rare, and practically unheard off in people my age. I declined because I would have had to drive to Yale twice a week for them to do shit, and was getting nothing in return for the effort worth my while. I asked him to check if I could just deal with the facilities right in my town and have that send there, but Yale wanted nothing to do with that. Their loss.

Now granted, I have good genes, work out regularly and am quite active, eat lots of veggies and fruit with my low carb diet, and while I have lots of bones I broke when I was younger that bother me more these days , and even have some bad habits, they are not the sort that seem to impact me negatively, so I may just be an outlier. The thing is, Low carb diets for couch potatoes could be bad, but I bet a carb diet for the same people is worse.

And everyone should eat more fish, and by fish I don’t mean the ones that come from the ocean, lakes, or rivers. That stuff is like a mircale cure. Besides it sounds like this guy is just selling his book..

Here’s a Nickel, Kid. Get Yourself a Lawyer

Yesterday, the Supreme Court continued their slow assault on basic civil liberties.

Justice for Kerri and Brian Kaley, the Supreme Court held Tuesday, is of the Alice in Wonderland variety: First comes the punishment—the seizure of all their assets—then the trial, and the crime last of all.* “But suppose they never committed the crime?” Alice asks. “It doesn’t matter,” comes the court’s answer, “because a grand jury said so.”

Writing for a six-justice majority in Kaley v. United States, thus concluded Justice Elena Kagan that a criminal defendant indicted by a grand jury has essentially no right to challenge the forfeiture of her assets, even if the defendant needs those very assets to pay lawyers to defend her at trial. In an odd ideological lineup, the dissenters were Chief Justice John Roberts and the more liberal Justices Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor.

Kaley was accused of stealing medical devices. She claims the hospitals knew and didn’t object to her taking them because they were outdated and no longer in use. In fact, the other defendant in the case was acquitted because not a single hospital complained about it.

After she was indicted by the grand jury, the feds froze all her assets, depriving her of the ability to hire the lawyer she wanted (or just about any lawyer). If you have read the writings of Harvey Silverglate, you’ll know this is not unusual. A common tactic when bringing federal charges against a big business is to let the business off with a fine if they cut a token employee loose for criminal prosecution and refuse to provide legal help. The feds freeze their assets and they can not get the attorney of their choice. A conviction or plea quickly follows.

Kaley wanted a judge to review the indictment before freezing her assets because she thinks the charges are garbage. He refused. It went all the way to SCOTUS. And they’ve decided that, sure an indictment is good enough to freeze your assets, even those you want to use to hire an attorney. No judicial review required. You should read the Slate piece to get an overview of the entire disgusting saga.

Greenfield unpacks the Court’s logic:

The manner in which the Court structured its issue, and hence its response, foretold the outcome. Rather than approach the case as a 6th Amendment deprivation of the ability to obtain counsel to defend themselves from a spurious indictment, the majority seized upon it as a math problem.

Indictment = Probable Cause

Forfeiture = Probable Cause

Indictment = Forfeiture

Ham sandwich, anyone? In considering the Court’s adherence to beloved legal fictions, one of which is that a grand jury indictment conclusively proves the existence of probable cause to believe that a crime occurred and the defendants committed the crime, the majority reduced the issue before it to an absurdity. What about the presumption of innocence? What about the right to counsel of choice? What about the constraints of forfeiture to the proceeds of crime?

I’ve made my feeling about asset forfeiture clear many times: it is one of the most repulsive powers our federal government deploys and the Monsanto case that legalized using it to deprive a citizen of the right of self-defense was a horrible decision. The Court has now affirmed not only that horrible decision but denied citizens even a cursory judicial review before their assets are seized.

One of the biggest problems with the Supreme Court is that, for all the efforts to “diversify” it, the Court has very little intellectual diversity. Every single judge went to either Harvard or Yale Law. Very few have practiced law and none as a defense attorney. As a result, they say stunningly myopic things about our legal system. And this is just their latest ignorant edict: that the grand jury system is a sacred thorough process that we shouldn’t question.

Here’s what Ken White, an attorney with actual criminal trial experience — both as a prosecutor and a defender — has to say about it:

Rather than tread over the ground well-described by my colleagues in the criminal defense bar, today I’d like to describe something else for you: what a federal grand jury proceeding looks like. From 1995 through 2000, I presented cases of varying complexity to federal grand juries as a federal prosecutor in Los Angeles. That experience did not inspire confidence in the process. Rather, it taught me that the adage that a grand jury will indict a ham sandwich is an understatement. A better description would be that the prosecution can show a grand jury a shit sandwich and they will indict it as ham without looking up from their newspapers. The notion that the Supreme Court relies upon — that the grand jury has a “historical role of protecting individuals from unjust persecution” — is not a polite fiction. A polite fiction would have some grounding in reality. It’s an offensive fiction, an impudent fiction, a fiction that slaps you across the face and calls your mother a dirty bitch.

Ken can only remember one case where the grand jury declined to indict. Usually, the “deliberation” took about as long finding the door to the hall to hand the prosecutor the indictment. For the Supreme Court to pretend that this farce of a process — which every other common law country has abandoned — is adequate enough to deprive someone of their ability to hire an attorney is nothing short of ridiculous.

This is what happens when you staff a Court with career prosecutors, academics and administration flacks. This what happens when your search for a SCOTUS judge doesn’t go further than Cambridge and New Haven. I don’t care if the next SCOTUS judge is black, white or pink with green polka dots. I don’t care if it’s a man or woman or one of those 50 new genders Facebook threw at us. I just want someone who might entertain the merest possibility of considering the idea that the government isn’t entirely 100% absolutely without question on the level when it comes to prosecuting people.

Biting The Hands That Fed You, Twice

I don’t watch the late night talk shows, after some recreational reading I’m out by 10, but the more I hear about Fallon (Jay’s replacement) it’s clear that the Obama’s just got yet one more megaphone to disseminate their propaganda. Too bad, since Jay was somewhat balanced, but now the the late night hosts can just run with whatever the rant was at MSNBC.

The other night the FLOTUS was on his show doing some active enrolling for Obamacare, when she said this. Fallon should have mentioned that the “knuckleheads” handle kitchen knives much better than a voting booth.

Here is a response from one of the recently aggrieved;

Now that is going to leave a mark.

OK, no cracks about his major or his choice of academic institutions, those jokes can write themselves. But the substance of the rant was dead accurate. Without the low information voter, the voter enticed by free stuff, a younger generation voter that does not pay taxes, and the youngsters who were raised thinking they were special and were entitled to a certain (higher) level of existence, regardless of if they could pay for it themselves, without their help the Obama’s would be in Hawaii now writing their memoirs.

College life is hard, with minimal hand holding, you have to have your act together to make it out of there, but as in an earlier post that I wrote, there exists today in this future generation of leaders, folks who understand the complexities of life and the perseverance needed to excel, not only in their avocation, but also in being a good responsible citizen.

No doubt Michelle would say she was just trying to be funny and hip, but she is one these shows like 3 times a week, you would think she would be more polished by now.

H/T: girlsjustwannahaveguns

Getting Real in the Ukraine

So the Ukraine’s murderous Russophile prime minster was driven out of Kyiv last week. Earlier today, the Ukraine parliament elected the opposition leader as PM. Everyone has been wondering what Russia is going to do now that they don’t have to pretend to be (sorta) nice for the Olympics.

I think we’re finding out:

Dozens of armed men seized the regional government administration building and parliament in Ukraine’s southern Crimea region Thursday and raised the Russian flag in a challenge to the Eastern European country’s new leaders.

Crimea, with its ethnic Russian majority, is the last big bastion of opposition to the new political leadership in Kiev after Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych’s ouster Saturday.

The incident, coming a day after Russia ordered surprise military exercises on Ukraine’s doorstep, has raised fears about the push and pull of opposing allegiances in a country sandwiched between Russia and the European Union.

Ed Morrisey has more, including a now clear alliance between Ukraine’s ousted PM and Putin.

I don’t think Putin is going to do a full-on invasion of the Ukraine. A nation of 44 million people is a lot to handle, even for him. But I do think we’re going to get something like the 2008 South Ossetia War, with Russian military forces “assisting” the ethnically Russian Crimea to “independence” from the rest of the Ukraine, following by an ethnic cleansing of Ukrainians. The end result will be to give Russia effective control of the Black Sea but with the Ukraine less divided and firmly in the European sphere of influence.

There’s not a lot we can do about that, short of a massive and extremely dangerous war. I suspect we’ll protest and maybe send a carrier out there. But any real pushback would have to come from Europe and … that ain’t happening.

Damage caused by the ACA is all made up!

The last few months have resulted in us all being bombarded with revelations like this one, proving that the Obamacare is an epic disaster. I can’t say i am surprised to find out that the employer mandate will impact even the public sector negatively. I now am convinced that this bill was written to destroy the healthcare system and the economy, so the collectivists could swoop in and take a permanent hold on power in the chaos to follow. We were lied to by thee fucking left, and their plan to fix things, as always happens, has made things worse, and promises to make it even worse than it is now:

Last week the New York Times reported on an example of unhelpful behavior from Washington: “Cities, counties, public schools and community colleges around the country have limited or reduced the work hours of part-time employees to avoid having to provide them with health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.”

That’s right, ObamaCare’s employer mandate applies to the public as well as the private sector, and although it’s been delayed until next year, “many public employers have already adopted policies, laws or regulations” to avoid its costliest effects, the Times reports.

La-de-da! Some of us have been saying this would happen since before this giant shit sandwich was passed. But do you want to see some serious balls? Check out what Harry Reid has said about the revelations of the damage caused by Obamacare:

Instead of feeling your pain, Harry Reid stood on the Senate floor to tell millions of Americans impacted by skyrocketing premiums, incompetent administration, and policy cancellations from the implementation of the Affordable Care Act that they don’t really feel pain at all.

Democrats find themselves hammered by an avalanche of data and personal anecdotes that demonstrate the damage done by Obamacare. Instead of addressing those – which granted, would take most of the time between now and the midterm elections – the Senate Majority Leader angrily dismissed all such information as “untrue.”

“Despite all that good news,” Reid said on the Senate floor Wednesday, “There’s plenty of horror stories being told. All of them are untrue, but they’re being told all over America.” Reid specifically referred to an ad from Americans for Prosperity featuring the case of Julie Boonstra, a leukemia patient whose new plan disrupted her ability to budget for medications.

Get it? These fucks want to now make the case that the problem is that those people being fucked over by their massive shit sandwich are all fucking liars! And you want to know who is behind this campaign of lies?

Reid blamed the brothers who own Koch Industries and who are major contributors to AFP. He dismissed Boonstra and apparently every other horror story as just “stories made up from whole cloth, lies distorted by the Republicans to grab headlines or make political advertisements.”

Of course, it is the left’s favorite right-wing conspiracy clan: the Kochtopus! That’s behind this. That’s because, yeah, the ACA was awesome. So the fact that we are being told that it has fucked the country over HAS to be made up political shit. None of these terrible economy slaying things we have been bombarded by are really going on, and Harry Reid wants to make sure that you know that you losing your doctor, your premiums going up, that plan you liked and were promised you could keep going poof, hospitals closing, employers, both public and private converting to a part-time work system, and the other slew of problems caused just by the individual mandate of the ACA, are all made up propaganda by the Kochtopus!.

Do you honestly see republicans saying stupid and ridiculous shit like this, after some horrible piece of legislator they ram down our throat by a single party vote, destroys people’s lives and the country’s healthcare system and economy, ever getting a pass from the media like the democrats are getting? And yet, Harry Reid telling Americans hurting from the shit he foisted on them that they are lying scum, gets a pass. Tragic.

They got this wrong…

Some scientists are claiming that they have found the most massive entity in the universe. From the article:

The galaxy known prosaically as M87 doesn’t look like much. Unlike beautiful spiral galaxies (including the Milky Way), M87 appears as an orangish blob of stars through telescopes. Its only noticeable feature is the long streamer of gas emanating from the galactic center.

The source of that jet is far from prosaic, however: It’s a black hole 6.6 billion times the mass of the Sun. No other known object is as massive—this black hole by itself outweighs entire star clusters and small galaxies. Even compared to other huge black holes, such as the one at the heart of the Milky Way, the monster of M87 is immense.

These idiots got it wrong. The most massive entity in the universe is Obama’s ego. I could joke about how he is married to a black ho or that she is the first wookee, but not gonna go there. Or did I already do that? Anyway, these guys have no clue what they are talking about. Obama’s ego wins hands down.

SETTLED SCIENCE!

Why do we need new rules for this?

I seriously was baffled that we have to pass new laws to punish government workers abusing power at the IRS. If you have been living under a rock, this is about the IRS specifically, by orders from up on high, targeting the enemies of the Obama administration for political reasons. From the article about the new laws:

A comprehensive tax-reform plan House Republicans will unveil this morning takes dead aim at what Republicans perceive to be the IRS’s persistent abuse of its authority. According to Republican aides familiar with the plan, it will curb the power of the nation’s tax-collecting agency, something Republicans have attempted to do since the agency admitted to improperly singling out conservative non-profit groups last May.

The legislation, authored by Ways and Means Committee chairman Dave Camp (R., Mich.), introduces reforms that directly address the circumstances that led to last year’s scandal. The specter of Lois Lerner looms large in the minds of many Republicans, and the plan mandates the termination of any IRS employee found to have taken official action for political purposes. The 1988 bill that restructured and reformed the IRS spells out ten actions for which the IRS commissioner must terminate an agency employee after an “administrative or judicial determination” that the employee has committed the prohibited action — among them, providing a false statement under oath on a matter involving a taxpayer and violating the rights of a taxpayer. Today’s bill would add the commission of politically motivated acts to the list.

I guess this is why Obama told us there was not a smidgen of a scandal related to the abuse of power at the IRS. If we need to pass a law that prevents IRS employees from using the office to further the political agenda of one party, obviously it means that the IRS going after the enemies of the state, which in the banana republic we have been living in for the last 6 years, by default are the political enemies of the people in power, is not illegal. So, I guess, there is no scandal. But I can’t help but feel that the other political party, even if falsely accused of this or done a fraction of what we know was done, would not have been given this kind of a pass. Nixon says he wants to unresign. After all, he was hounded out of office by the press for just asking the IRS to do some dubious shit. Obama and his people ordered the abuse – let’s stop pretending otherwise please, because you have to be a fucking lying asshole to still think these orders didn’t come from up high – profited from it, and now have a press that is covering up for them.

How do we spell banana republic again?

YOWZA!

Every once in a while, innovation comes our way, courtesy of someoen that didn’t want to just do it the same old way:

Instead of vials of blood—one for every test needed—Theranos requires only a pinprick and a drop of blood. With that they can perform hundreds of tests, from standard cholesterol checks to sophisticated genetic analyses. The results are faster, more accurate, and far cheaper than conventional methods. The implications are mind-blowing. With inexpensive and easy access to the information running through their veins, people will have an unprecedented window on their own health. And a new generation of diagnostic tests could allow them to head off serious afflictions from cancer to diabetes to heart disease. None of this would work if Theranos hadn’t figured out how to make testing transparent and inexpensive. The company plans to charge less than 50 percent of the standard Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement rates. And unlike the rest of the testing industry, Theranos lists its prices on its website: blood typing, $2.05; cholesterol, $2.99; iron, $4.45. If all tests in the US were performed at those kinds of prices, the company says, it could save Medicare $98 billion and Medicaid $104 billion over the next decade.

That’s making healthcare affodable. I am sure the government will find a way to run her company out fo business for her better connected and wealtheir competitors. She’s in CA afetr all.

Love Kills

Sometimes I think we do not give enough recognition to the monumentally stupid. Excellence (or lack thereof) to the point that it separates you from 99.9% of the population, this should be celebrated. An appreciation of the individual, even those needed to balance out the Bell Curve, E pluribus unum.

There is a website dedicated to those “individuals” that by their stupidity, terminate their own existence, sometimes in truly spectacular fashion, and in doing so remove themselves from the gene pool thereby purifying the species. I found one more to add to the list;

A man from Independence Township, Michigan, accidentally shot himself to death on Monday while teaching his girlfriend about gun safety, the Oakland Press reports.

The 36-year-old man, whose name has not been released, was showing his girlfriend how his three handguns are safe when they aren’t loaded, according to the Detroit Free Press. He was attempting to demonstrate the safety of the handguns by holding them to his head and pulling the trigger.

The third gun fired, and the man was struck in the head. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

See, this is what happens when you mix guns with relationships, oil and water.

So here’s my question, how drunk do you have to be to still be conscious, still cognizant of your task (showing your girlfriend your alacrity at handling and using firearms) yet so out of it that pulling the trigger against your temple does not set off alarms? Of all the places to aim at, while clearing a weapon, the head is like the worse possible choice.

This also gives me the opportunity to share one of my favorite all time AD video’s;

Notice how he checks the weapon (nothing in the chamber, it must be safe) then has his buddy (also an instructor, I assume) check it (how hard is it to see live rounds in the clip that is already inserted?), then, after shooting himself in the leg keeps on teaching his class. This clown unwittingly gave his class a real appreciation (and fear) of firearms.

The irony of incompetents teaching others, like this guy, Oprah giving dieting tips, or Obama teaching Constitutional law, you wonder if they are doing it on purpose.

Remaking the Money

Jeff Schneider has a good post up about how our country, for all its talk of liberty, devotes too much attention and reverence to men of power. He’s specifically talking about memorials and coins, which are almost universally devoted to politicians with a few generals thrown in. Don Boudreaux riffed off this to come up with a list of people he would put on our coins and currency in place of the current list of politicians, politicians and more politicians.

Our current arrangement has the following men on our currency. For coins: Lincoln (penny), Jefferson (nickel), FDR (dime), Washington (quarter), Kennedy (half-dollar), various (dollar). Only Sacagawea wasn’t a politician but she’s been replaced by a list of all of our Presidents. For bills, we have: Washington ($1), Jefferson ($2), Lincoln ($5), Hamilton ($10), Jackson ($20), Grant ($50) and Franklin ($100). McKinley, Cleveland, Madison, Chase and Wilson are on higher denominations that are no longer in circulation.

Looking at that list, I can see a lot of room for improvement. As admirable as Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln are, do they need to be on both a coin and a bill? There’s no reason Kennedy should be on a coin, other than Baby Boomer idol worship. Batshit crazy Indian-murdering Andrew Jackson doesn’t belong on a coin. Nor does Grant, really.

So here’s how I’d remake things:

  • The penny: I’d get rid of pennies.
  • Nickels: I’d actually get rid of nickels too, but we’ll have a big enough fight getting rid of pennies. If you must have a nickel, go with someone like Earnest Hemingway or some other artist or writer. Hemingway with a shotgun and a bottle of whiskey would make an awesome nickel.
  • Dime: Jonas Salk.
  • Quarter: The Wright Brothers.
  • Half Dollar: MLK
  • Dollar coin: I like the idea of varying this to reflect various important people from history (non-politician division). One year, you could have Elvis. One year, you could have Carnegie. If you wanted, you could put Steve Jobs on the dollar for a year. Or Bill Gates. Or both. I’d much rather have Bill Gates on my currency than a damned Kennedy. However, that could make coin-collecting expensive, so maybe that’s better done with the quarter.
  • $1 bill – I’d get rid of the $1 bill
  • $2 bill – Let’s stick with Jefferson but let’s also recognize him for the things he considered the most important — the Declaration of Independence, the Statue of Religious Freedom and the creation of the University of Virginia.
  • $5 bill – We can stick with Lincoln
  • $10 bill – George Washington can go here. Washington is one of the few Presidents truly worthy of honoring. He could have stayed in office until he died. He could have massively expanded the power of the Presidency. But he didn’t. And that choice was critical to the survival of our Republic.
  • $20 bill – I’d put Norman Borlaug here. I think an American who saved over a billion lives deserves some recognition, don’t you?
  • $50 bill – Albert Einstein. He was born in Germany, but we’ll claim him.
  • $100 bill – Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins. Because, in the end, the greatest achievement of Western Civilization, so far, was putting a man on the moon.
  • Anyway, put your ideas in the comments.