Wednesday, August 28, 2013

In which I (almost) agree on somthing with Michelle Obama

Or, rather, I actually do; I would agree that instead of the "Real Italian Pizza" I endured as a young skull full of mush, that it would be a good thing for schools to serve something more along the lines of the "Mayo Clinic Diet" to students.

Of course, feeding wheat bread, milk with 1% butterfat, and vegetables to children is more easily said than done, and both school districts and students are increasingly rejecting the "Obameals".  

School districts unsurprisingly are finding out that real food is more expensive than the "imitation food" I grew up with, laden with white flour, sugar and high fructose corn syrup, and various forms of vegetable fats.

The students, on the other hand, are very interesting in how they respond.  Many complain about the 750 calorie target (adequate for most grown men) while throwing away not only broccoli, but also things like apples, pears, and milk.

Now having run cross country and track, I would concede that 750 calories is a bit on the lean side for a competitive runner or swimmer, but for non-athletes, it's perfectly sufficient.  What's really interesting is that Dennis the Menace's "let me give you more reasons I won't eat my carrots" has been transformed into today's "I won't eat anything but a short list of fast, refined, food."

Now the likely answers to this are where I part company with Mrs. Obama.   Her "top down" solutions run into the reality that, since the 1930s, the government has been telling us to eat our vegetables and providing a school lunch with a slab of mystery meat, bread, starch, vegetables, and fruit, along with a carton of 2% milk.  As far as it goes, it's not a bad plan.

However, Dennis learned to eat his carrots, historically speaking, because Alice responded to his "I'm hungry" with "your carrots are waiting."  Government, on the other hand, throws the carrots into the dumpster after lunch and offers him a cookie when he finds he's hungry around 2pm.  Maybe instead of reworking nutritional advice, government simply needs to get out of the business of promoting family breakdown (and subsidizing corn and dairy) and see what happens.

Monday, August 26, 2013

A very interesting question on Syria

Lost in the hubbub over the atrocities in Syria is something very telling; our intelligence services (see Mr. D.'s blog for details) are claiming that there is "very little doubt" that Syria has used chemical weapons on her own people based on the number of people injured and killed, as well as the pattern of injuries suffered.

Now that's very interesting, but that's something I don't exactly need James Bond to figure out.  I can glean that from the newswire reports.  It raises a very interesting question; can it really be true that 12 years after losing nearly 3000 innocents in the attacks on the World Trade Center, Pentagon, and elsewhere, we do not have enough spies in the Middle East to get better information than we can get from the AP and Reuters?

Granted, the CIA can't show all their cards at once for fear of revealing their sources, but one would expect that they would at least be able to say something that the AP hadn't already reported on.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

An interesting leap of logic

The Monday New York Times had an interesting article--linked--noting that the IPCC's confidence in the hypothesis of man-made global warming is higher than ever.  Upon looking at the article, however, no clarification is made about how the IPCC calculated this likelihood.

There are of course two ways that such a likelihood could be calculated.  The first, honest way is to have a model with demonstrated reliability in predicting climate patterns, and to do a sensitivity analysis while analyzing the residuals. 

However, I am sure that the Times would have trumpeted models that indeed had a proven track record of matching historical data--no such model has been trumpeted to my knowledge.  So we ought to conclude that the honest method of calculating this likelihood is excluded.

That leaves the usual IPCC method; appeal to authority leading to what clearly appears to be a politically and professionally motivated guess.  In other words, exactly the kind of "rectal data extraction" that the skeptical have been complaining about for decades.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Pure Brilliance in California

Apparently, the Golden State has just passed a law to "protect" confused young skulls full of mush by allowing them to use the opposite sex's bathroom and even  play for the wrong sex's sports team.  Because, of course, a lustful young person wouldn't possibly use the "rights" this law confers to ogle the opposite sex in the bathroom or fornicate there, even though people are arrested for exactly that every day.  And certainly young people wouldn't harass the young person who does this, even though that is exactly what happens every day.  And by no means would a marginal male athlete choose to join the girls' team so he could actually win a little bit, and by no means would teenagers make use of the officially "unisex" locker rooms to have illicit relations there.  Girls on sports teams certainly won't object to competing against the boys, and there's absolutely no chance they'll ask their male friends to not-so-gently "remove the fake girls from the playing field".  And of course, it is absolutely certain that no teenagers would ever brutally abuse someone who joined the wrong sex's sports team, because the very rationale for the law is....

......that teenagers will brutally abuse other teenagers who are different from them in terms of "gender identity" and sexual orientation.  No matter what your view on these matters, I'd hope we can agree that Sacramento has really outdone themselves in terms of stupidity, and sad to say, it's going to be the very kids they're trying to "protect" that will suffer the most.

Friday, August 09, 2013

Public service announcement

It appears that a "famous important person" named Oprah Winfrey has gotten rather unhappy because a salesman in Zurich refused to show her a plasticized canvas bag because, at $38,000, it was "too expensive" for her.

Now let's concede some obvious facts; it's insane to spend that much for a piece of vinyl, and it's probable that whether race was involved or not, the salesman probably thought Oprah was just another tourist lookenspeeper whose handling of said precious merchandise might not be good for business.

Let's assume, however, that Ms. Winfrey is correct and she received exquisitely bad and racist service.  Is the proper response to go to the media?  Of course not.

The proper response is to ask for the manager, and to explain to him that because of poor service, his store will be losing out on business.  Then walk out before the manager calls the offending salesman aside for a "talk."

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Admission of guilt?

Three months after the IRS revealed their "enhanced interrogation" of conservative and "Tea Party" groups, here's the score.  No one who wasn't scheduled to retire has lost their job.  No one has been indicted.  The IRS has provided less than 1% of documents requested by Congress, and many of those are redacted to the point of being unreadable.

One would have to assume that the White House isn't terribly interested in getting the people who committed these crimes to justice, and the best explanation for that is that whoever started this works in the White House.