Why do we keep eating?

Why do we eat? The simple answer would be that if we did not eat, we would die. But that is not entirely true. Science can provide us with a pill we can take that would provide exactly the nutrition we need — no more, no less — to keep our bodies healthy. Yet, we resist the notion that a pill, taken three time a day, would replace daily meals.

….

Sarah Palin, please grow up, shut up, go away or learn some English

Sarah Palin (on loan from CNN.com)
Sarah Palin (on loan from CNN.com)

In a CNN.com blog post yesterday, Ms. Palin is quoted as saying:

I would think we all tear up during the national anthem at the beginning of a baseball game, don’t we? That’s an alikeness between Alaskans and New Yorkers.

Sigh. I think she meant to say something like “common bond” or “the bonds that united as as a nation” or even “similarity.” I am beginning to suspect she makes up words as she goes. She reminds me of Damon Wayans’ malaprop character on In Living Color. Malaprop is a big word, so I linked it up, in case Ms. Palin is reading… oh, never mind.

It really is time for the smart guys to be in charge. The beer-drinking buddies, the “Joe the Plumbers” are not the future of this country, they are its past. It is not cool to be dumb. It never was.

In recent decades, we’ve seen the damage one dumb man can do. We’ve also seen the damage a highly provincial man can do. Neither was good for this country as one led to high inflation and a hostage crises and the other led to wars, loss of a moral compass and submission to mob fear.

I’m not sure how many bloggers remained “anonymous” about their feelings on Sarah Palin. That women created a blog wake so deep and fast that if you didn’t attach your name to it, your blog was a waste of time to write or read. There was nothing about anonymity or boredom in that ride.

We’ve had a taste of what a smart Sarah Palin would be like. We call her Tina Fey. And the real thing pales in comparison to the imitation.

I know nothing, but let me tell you about it anyway

Few things make me more upset than “journalists” who have no knowledge of the facts of a story, write about it or get on television, answering phantom questions about hypoteticals. Then the anchor or host treats their answers like they relate to the story at hand. Then they guide the reader or listener through the “facts” of a story based on the answers to these hypothetical questions as if they are relevant. Unless you are paying attention and reject the entire story when this occurs, you will get the facts of the story all wrong. Is it any wonder Americans are so ill-informed about so much?

The latest example of this type of “journalism” can be found right here in my local newspaper, the Dayton Daily News. Not only does the writer start by asserting an unsubstantiated “fact” (…dying from [a seizure] is rare) but early in the article she states:

Medical specialists who did not treat the boy told The Associated Press on Tuesday that while Kawasaki syndrome is poorly understood, it’s extremely unlikely the disease had anything to do with the teen’s death.

Let me repeat: “medical specialist who did not treat the boy told…” And, AP, why are you lapping this up? What kind of journalism institution are you anyway?

And now, we have Dr. Sanjay Gupta, the worst offender of them all*, slated for the Surgeon General. Has he not done enough damage with his glib, over-arching generalizations of the American health care scene at CNN? I’m sure Dr. Gupta is a competent doctor, but it is unethical and immoral to lead people down a path that is so generic as to be dangerous to their health. Whatever you believe about Dr. Gupta’s competence, his words have weight.

I attribute this “fact-filling” as a desperate attempt by media to be the first on the scene and to fill 24/7 airtime with breaking news stories. Here is a bit of advice from the the old school: If you have nothing to say on the matter, just shut up before you start sounding like an idiot.

*No, I have no supporting evidence he is the worst, but go to YouTube and sift through the video.

Government should be counter-cyclic to the Main Street marketplace

Ohio Statehouse
Ohio Statehouse
I was listening to NPR on WMUB this morning about the freshman Ohio senators starting their terms and how hard their jobs will be dealing with the State having a $1.9 billion budget deficit, GM, Delphi, DHL and other large companies pulling out of Ohio and various other things.

Many of the in-coming senators went on and on about how they need to cut government waste and hunker down and spend smarter, blah, blah, blah.

And then it occurs to me: Shouldn’t government be counter-cyclic to the marketplace? When things are going well, the free market tends to create goods and services it needs without help from the government. When the economy is doing well, shouldn’t government be pulling back on services, conserving revenues for a down economy?

When the economy is not doing well, that is when we need government help. That is when the government should ramp up the spending, not pull back. Government waste during fat years is a lifeline to average folks and small business during famine years.

As an owner of a small business, I only heard that the various Ohio Revenue departments are going to start going after every single penny it feels it is entitled to. It will asses property values higher, it will send out random letters declaring I owe this penalty or that missed tax payment, whether real or not. It will extract and extort money from the down and hurting at a greater rate than normal. All in pursuit of “responsible budget balancing.”

And they will further spiral the economic crisis downward and wonder why the budget will never balance. When the Ohio Statehouse policies put people out of business, tax revenues dry up and no matter how threatening the letters are, you can’t get money from people you put out of business and kick out of their homes.

I know it is really hard for elected officials to act responsibly during the fat, happy party years but when we out here on Main Street are doing well, Columbus and DC should be saving for a rainy day, not joining in the party and buying the booze for the drunken puppies.

Am I wrong?

Extra blogging stuff pulled from my brain

Brain dump
Brain dump

I collect newspaper clippings for blog ideas. Mostly, the articles are things that sent my blood pressure over the edge or got me wondering “what if it were different” or just things that make me go “hmmmmmmmmmm..”

These clippings sit on my desk, tugging at me to write a blog post about them. But there just isn’t enough brain material for an entire blog post. So, they stack up, hoping to bump into other clippings that glue them together in this big “human condition” context. And, sometimes, it just doesn’t happen.

And all the while they are tugging and screaming at me to do something with them, often culminating to a deafening roar. So, to quiet the clippings, sweep them off my desk and hopefully into a discussion with you, I am going to just knock out short thoughts of each and then let them go. Hopefully my readers will take off where I could not.

Nov 28, 2008, WSJ, Page A13
Breakfast with St. Peter My thoughts on this article are conflicted. I at once want to find a St. Peter for myself, but mostly I want to be a good enough person to be a St. Peter for others. I hope I am lucky enough to be one or the other before I meet the real St. Peter.

Dec 30, 2008, WSJ, Page B1
Claiborne CEO Flies Commercial to Cut Costs This was supposed to have been a blog post about the value of TIME and how important it is for a CEO or any leader of any multi-million dollar company, hospital emergency room or Oval Office to have enough sleep to be able to function. I know the “perception” of using a private jet to the average Joe is like burning dollar bills while dancing on a grave, but do we really want our leaders — corporate or otherwise — flying the crappy skies? I don’t. Read the article and decide for yourself.

Dec 21, 2008, DDN, Page C5
Motor City’s woes extend beyond auto industry One passage made me pause and think about my own retirement plan in America.

“…I’m seeing guys make a conscious decision they’ll be better off in prison than in the community, homeless and hungry…. In prison, they’ve got three hots and a cot…”

Here’s my retirement plan, given the current state of my 401(k) and less than 20 years left of a working career: On my 65th birthday, I will commit some sort of Federal crime bad enough that will get me sent to prison for life, but not death row. There, I will not have to worry about getting my medication, food or deciding between heat and food. If I am good enough, they may even let me keep a canine pet with me. That is the plan, unless Obama can turn around this “all for me and me alone” culture we have created for ourselves. Or, some foreign country will let me expatriate.

Jan 2, 2009, WSJ, Opinion Page
Treasury to Ford: Drop Dead Part of me wants to scream out, “Jesus H. Christ, Mulally, did you not see the GMAC bank thing coming? What the hell is wrong with you?” and another part wants to slap Mulally on the back and congratulate him for doing the right thing, for taking an ethical stand. I’m conflicted, but am almost certain Ford Motor Company is toast.

And my last clipping…

Jan 3, 2009, WSJ, Opinion Page
Blame Television for the Bubble Just when I begin to wonder where all the common sense, level-headed real people are, they do something crazy like write an opinion article in the WSJ. Yeah, I’m sick of all these 20-something yucks buying $500,000+ houses.. Where the HELL do they get the money, assuming that to make the kind of money they need to be making to afford a house that expensive at their age they had to go to one hell of a good school and have student loans coming out their butts. I have owned my home for 23 years and I STILL find home ownership expensive. What the heck am I doing wrong?

Ok, that is it. The clipping tray is now empty and I have dumped my thoughts out onto this blog post like Dumbledore’s thoughts into a pensieve.

What, can’t a dog be a Harry Potter fan?

You’re such a muggle.

My extra second in 2008

Just one more second
Just one more second
I heard on NPR today that 2009 will have to wait an extra second to coordinate clocks with the Earth’s rotation.

Rarely do we get handed the gift of time, so I got to thinking about what I would do with an extra second of time. A second isn’t really enough time to do anything significant, but it sometimes makes the difference for some people whether or not they step in front of a bus or not at a particular moment. A second is also a lifetime in most Olympic sports, sometimes determining the difference between first place, a gold medal and fourth place and nothing.

But, my mind raced to more practical calculations and I pondered this:

If I can type 60 words a minute, that means I can type out an extra word in one second. And, if there are 6 billion people on the planet at any given point, and if only 30% were literate enough to be able to type one word, that is 1,800,000,000 extra words.

Now, the result may be closer to a million monkeys on a million typewriters, but you never know. Would 1.8 billion words impart some human knowledge or wisdom we would never have know if we didn’t have that extra second?

But then again, it is just an extra second. What could you possibly do in one second?