Monthly Archives: April 2010

Kobach on immigration in NYT

Here. Misinformation is abounding about this bill. I even read some bogus claims about it in The Economist today, a publication I usually respect. Anyway. Read. Be informed. And if you’re really cool, read the actual statute. Doing so may save you from being fooled by the alarmist rhetoric emanating from our precious political cognoscenti.

UPDATE: 04/30/10: Yesterday, a couple of my political science professors each made misstatements about the bill during classes. This is getting insane. I emailed the Kobach piece to both of them.  Let’s fight the misinformation. This is not to say there isn’t legitimate discussion surrounding a bill like this. But, that discussion must start with the facts as they are, not as some fantasize them to be.

UPDATE: CNN.com reports that some Hispanic Americans support the bill. One interviewee, an Hispanic woman, says she’s been called a racist so many times that she doesn’t mind the label anymore. I can definitely understand the sentiment. “Racism” is the reactionary label used by liberals to shut down debate when they have little information that would better support their case. It is used with frequency that would be alarming if it weren’t becoming so much of a joke.  If you’ve been called a racist by a liberal on your college campus, for example, there’s a good chance you’re doing something right (unless you’re obviously doing something wrong).

UPDATE: 05/01/10: Heather MacDonald of the City Journal takes apart a NYT editorial bashing the immigration law. Why are the libel and slander of the bill, its intentions and its authors and supporters allowed to continue? When the nation’s premiere journalistic establishment engages in exactly this sort of distortion of the truth and misguided attack on its political opponents, why would we expect any other mainstream outlet to get it right or play fair?

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Filed under General & Miscellaneous, Immigration

The Arizona immigration bill

A piece on the Arizona immigration bill by Byron York in the Washington Examiner, which quotes Kansas Secretary of State candidate and con-law expert Kris Kobach on the issue. I had some initial hesitations about this bill, based on the little I knew of it, but I must say it actually seems quite reasonable. It sure makes good politics though to point the finger at Arizona lawmakers/bill-supporters and accuse them of all sorts of nasty motives. Hat tip to my friend Henry Atkinson for highlighting the article today.

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Filed under General & Miscellaneous, Immigration

Obama in Missouri, GOP counters with rallies

A couple pieces in the Politico with a Missouri connection. First, President Obama comes to Macon, Missouri as the MRP and activists plan to rally in response. I know there were some students talking at MU about going, though I have no report on what turnout may have been like at any event. Democratic Senate candidate Robin Carnahan will accompany Obama when he visits a biofuel plan in Macon.

On a personal note, I’m looking forward to finals and graduation at the University of Missouri. As you can imagine, my schedule has come under increasing demands these last few weeks, and while it’s not a good excuse for not posting much during that time, it’s about the only one I’ve got!

While I’m at it, I might as well point anybody out there to this excellent column in the New York Times this morning, by Ross Douthat regarding South Park’s recent cave to political correctness when it comes to Islam. I don’t want to be rash, but but I’m considering calling it quits with South Park, for precisely the reason Douthat dissects in his piece.

SP has been one of my favorite shows for a while, in part because while it offends the sensibilities of just about any decent viewer at one time or another, it has generally matched the crudity its theatrics with the cleverness of its satirical story lines. Quite importantly, it has lampooned with equal ferocity sacred cows of both the left and the right, which is what has made it such an original on the media landscape.  It’s genuinely funny because it has taken on just about everything, including politically correct causes that you just don’t take on if you’re part of the mainstream entertainment industry.

If South Park is just going to be another raunchy comedy show, however, then I have no more interest in watching. If it’s no longer an original, no longer has the guts or artistic integrity, or whatever you want to call it, to engage in unabashed satire of that which the powers that be declare to be politically correct and thus off limits, then I’m done with it. It’s worthless at this point, if that’s what it’s going to become.

Like I said, I don’t mean to be rash. These are my unfettered emotions at around 3am in the morning, so we’ll see how I feel about it tomorrow:)

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Filed under Entertainment, General & Miscellaneous, Media

The New York Times “political memo”

The New York Times is America’s newspaper of record, and a venerated journalistic establishment. It is wrapped up in the country’s history, and has contributed greatly to the development of a free press and maintenance of an open society. Some fellow conservatives will wonder why I would make such remarks about The Old Grey Lady. I make them because The New York Times – which has earned more Pulitzer Prizes than any other publication – retains one of the strongest, most important news gathering operations in the world.

I also make such remarks because I want it to be understood that I appreciate the original reporting by the Times, even though my main point today is to call attention to another potential source of bias in its coverage of domestic political affairs. That is the “POLITICAL MEMO,” the headline of which appears just above the front-page fold in today’s print edition of the newspaper. Without noticing the small special heading of the article (can I call it an “article?”), I started reading the piece and began to shake my head at some of the writer’s subjective characterizations of the U.S. Senate race in Florida.

In the Republican primary, it is speculated that former front-runner Gov. Charlie Crist may leave the party to run as an independent, leaving Marco Rubio, who surged over a number of months to overtake Crist in popularity, to claim the nomination. Using words like “independent,” “moderate,” “pragmatic,” “outsider” and party “pariah” to portray Crist in the first several paragraphs, writer Damien Cave then drops these couple of gems into the piece:

“If he chooses to run as an independent, Mr. Crist would be betting that the prevailing political logic of the moment is wrong – that despite the Tea Party’s rise, the broader electorate still wants the pragmatic apporach that propelled Barack Obama to victory here.

“Leading a campaign that would most likely lack major fund-raising and a party’s street-level support, Mr. Crist would be running in the hope of turning out ‘the silent majority’ that Richard M. Nixon identified in 1969.” [Emphasis added].

Wow. Obama displayed a “pragmatic approach” in the campaign and the great “silent majority” could just usher in the maverick moderate Charlie Crist into the United States Senate. Obviously, the tone being established is that Crist, the moderate, is naturally cast off by an immoderate Republican Party, etc, etc, etc. Yes, Crist is to the left of Rubio, but what exactly makes him a “moderate?” The fact that he recently vetoed a teacher performance pay bill? That doesn’t seem moderate to me, that seems “liberal.”

In any event, this is about the time I re-scanned the headline to check what type of piece I was reading. I was expecting “news analysis” or something like that. But I got “political memo,” in small caps. What gives? When did the Times start with the political memos, can anyone tell me? Maybe they’ve been around for a while, maybe not. The point is that the more material like this becomes part of the news pages, the more reporter/editor bias you’re going to get. At the Times, on a piece like this, that means liberal political bias.

This is all part of the game schema coverage that we’re treated to non-stop every campaign year. The horse-race coverage. The endless who’s-up, who’s-down, political analysis of election campaigns and the like. It’s in the same vein as the larger, longer trend of interpretative reporting of the news and political news in particular. On television, for example, we used to see politicians talk uninterrupted for dozens of seconds, maybe even minutes. Now, the average campaign sound bite on the news is in the neighborhood of eight seconds.

I need to wrap it up, but I may try to revisit this sometime soon. Would love to hear anybody’s thoughts on it, particularly any journalists or political operatives out there. When newspapers start publishing “political memos,” is that an excuse to write a horse-race piece and not worry too much about any bias that shows up, or is it a legitimate opportunity to delve into the type of political analysis that many readers demand and deserve?

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Filed under 2010 Senate Elections, Journalism, Media, Media Bias, Republican Party

The true costs of insurance regulation

The New York Times published a story describing how New York Offers Costly Lessons on Insurance. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a story like this in the NYT, so needless to say I was somewhat surprised.

In the piece, Anemona Hartocollis reports that heavy-handed state regulations – such as the mandate on insurance companies to sell coverage regardless of a buyer’s pre-existing medical conditions – have driven up the cost of health insurance coverage for residents.

The silver lining in costly mistakes is that you are able to learn important lessons and not repeat such errors in the future. Unfortunately, President Obama and the Democrats seem not to have learned much of anything from the health care misadventures of the Empire State.

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Filed under Barack Obama, Health Care

Sixteen Simple Tips for Healthier Living

Recently I’ve started to look and feel better than I have in a long time. That’s because over the course of four short months, I’ve lost nearly forty pounds.

When I graduated high school ten years ago, I wrestled at the 171 pound weight class for the Pembroke Hill Raiders; during the off-season I probably hovered at a healthy 180. Sometime in the last year or so, I hit an all time high of about 230. It was well time to act.

Since the new year, I’ve done exactly that, and met with success. I’ve had a number of people notice (which is always nice), and I know I’m also not the only one who has wanted to slim down in order to look and feel better. So, I’ve decided to share with you a few tips I picked up along the way that really made a difference for me, and perhaps could for you, too. Here goes:

  • There are all kinds of programs out there, from fad diets to elaborate workout schemes. In the end, remember that it’s pretty simple. It’s all about diet and exercise. If you’re just getting started, you really don’t need to think about a whole lot more than those two simple words.
  • Invert your daily meal-size pyramid. I don’t mean your food groups, but the actual volume of food you eat at breakfast, lunch and dinner. Many people grab a tiny breakfast (if they eat anything at all), a decent sized lunch and then chow down on a big dinner. That’s all wrong. Start eating a big breakfast, a decent sized lunch, and a relatively modest dinner. You’ll feel great in the mornings, with the energy you need to focus and feel good, and your appetite won’t attack you throughout the day. Then, just keep things in check at lunch and dinner.
  • Eat real food. Think natural. Minimally processed. Fresh. Preferably organic and local. When I say “real food” I mean an orange that grew on a tree and that you can hold in your hand. As opposed to a glass of Tang. You get the idea. Or a cut of steak to throw on the grill, as opposed to a fast burger that probably has pieces of hundreds of different cows and who knows what else, plus a gooey coating of processed cheese. Ick.
  • Think variety. Try new fruits and veggies (I bet there’s a lot out there you haven’t even heard of). Try cooking new dishes at home. Variety is the spice of life, and it will keep you interested in your food. It also means that you’ll be well on your way to getting the balanced mix of nutrients you need to thrive.
  • Eat smaller meals, and a healthy snack here and there. This means smaller meals in general – stick with a big breakfast relative to your lunch and dinner. You may even want to start using smaller plates and smaller silverware (use the smaller fork if you have two kinds, and ditto with the regular spoon over the soup spoon) – this will help with portion control, and keeping things in perspective. Americans tend to eat a lot, and that’s been reflected (and aided by) dishes that have grown in size over the last several decades. The last time I got a dish at a chain-style sit-down restaurant, I swore it was a platter large enough to feed a small family. We don’t need that.
  • Drink water. ‘Nuff said.
  • Don’t be legalistic. Enjoy your favorite treat once in a while. I ate a candy bar last night, and I didn’t feel guilty about it (okay, well I mean I only felt very slightly guilty about it, and only because I ate the whole thing instead of the half I was planning on!).
  • Everything in moderation. Your portions, your everything. Oscar Wilde once said “everything in moderation – including moderation.” That’s quite true. And the quote of course applies to the rule right above. You can’t take this stuff overboard or you’ll crash and burn.
  • Coffee is a great pick me up. (You knew that). But did you know it only has between 2-5 calories per cup? That’s only if it’s the real stuff and nothing else. So drink it black, or with a shot of skim milk if you must. And again, in moderation. With coffee, you’ve got to use it, not abuse it.
  • Stop drinking soda. Period, end of sentence. For a fizzy substitute, try Izze. Or mix some fresh orange juice with club soda or tonic water. If you must have a soda at some point, have a small one, and very rarely, and savor it when you do. Because at some point you’ll give it up. Also, drink it through a straw (and it’s probably better to drink the diet versions). It’s better for your teeth, you’ll drink slower (and thus perhaps less), and you’ll look more civilized in the process (plus it’s safer if you’re driving, because you won’t tilt your head back for the last several sips).
  • Get in touch with your body, whether through yoga, pilates, therapeutic massage, meditation, or some other mind-body activity. No, I haven’t gone all New Age on you. But you need to get a sense of connectedness between these two elements of your existence.
  • Start stretching more. A variety of stretching poses, held for longer periods of time, and done more often. Stretch in the morning and at night. Stretch before AND after workouts. Stretch whenever else you feel like it.
  • Stop eating fast food. Again, this pretty much says it all, and if you’re serious about wanting to lose weight for any reason, then you shouldn’t argue with this one. There are very few redeeming choices at fast food restaurants. Much of it is high-fat, high-calorie garbage that will drain you in ways you don’t even know. I won’t say that I’ve had zero fast food in 2010, but I will say that I have dramatically reduced my fast food intake.
  • Get good sleep. Your body needs it to run smoothly (and I presume to keep your metabolism up). Plus, every hour you’re sleeping is an hour you’re not eating:)
  • Get active. Work out at least several times a week. You can follow a program like “Body for Life,” but you don’t have to. To make it fun, join a recreational sports league, find a pick-up game at the gym, or a partner to work out with.

These are my tips. They are yours for free.

Much of what I said is tried and true wisdom that you probably knew. “Diet and Exercise,” for example. Additionally, I have learned a few things from the movie Food, Inc. (which is not to say I endorse its every political and economic premise) and also from a short and lively book by the title of Food Rules, by Michael Pollan. Somewhere in my list there are probably embedded some kernels of truth that I was pointed to by these works, though I have not made any conscious effort to directly incorporate their ideas here.

There is obviously so much more I have yet to learn, but this is what I know at the moment, which I believe makes sense and could be productive for just about anyone. If you are wishing to lose weight, or just become healthier and more energetic, I bid you the best, and don’t hesitate to contact me for advice or to kick around a new idea.

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Filed under Personal Living

Alive

and well. This weekend I went to LA to see my sister get married. Then, a couple stacked days of school. I miss blogging daily.  Need to get back to it. Here’s a preview of my next post, to publish later tonight:

I’ve lost 40 pounds in 4 months. How did I do it? Diet and exercise, naturally. A lot of people complimented my new appearance and some asked how I accomplished my goals. I’ve sketched out on paper a few very basic guidelines and practical bits of wisdom that enabled me to shed the weight and start looking and feeling better. If you don’t have any problems in this area of life, you may still find some of what I’ll share to be interesting. For those who would like to slim down a bit, then hopefully this post may be of some service.

Stay tuned!

P.S. Oh yeah, and I’ll try to post some “before and after” pics!

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Filed under Just For Fun, Personal Living, Principally Political