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Assorted Links 5/4/10 Archives

Assorted Links 5/4/10

Advice to the Tea Party from John Samples, author of 'The Struggle to Limit Government'

Richard Feynman on Ways of Thinking (1), from the BBC TV series 'Fun to Imagine' (1983)

  • Public Affairs and the Internet: Advanced Techniques and Strategies, May 6, 2010
  • Crisis Communications Training, May 7, 2010
  • Understanding Congressional Budgeting and Appropriations, May 13, 2010
  • Strategies for Working with Congress: Effective Communication and Advocacy on Capitol Hill, May 21, 2010
  • Congress in a Nutshell: Understanding Congress, June 3, 2010
  • Congressional Dynamics and the Legislative Process, June 4, 2010
  • Mark Twain on Copyright - "Remarks of Samuel Langhorne Clemens Before the Congressional Joint Committee on Patents, December, 1906 (Mark Twain on Copyright)"
  • Capitol Hill Workshop, June 9-11, 2010
  • Wi-Fi Classroom - How to Find, Track, and Monitor Congressional Documents: Going Beyond Thomas, June 24, 2010
  • Wi-Fi Classroom - How to Research and Compile Legislative Histories: Searching for Legislative Intent, June 25, 2010
  • Persuading Congress: Candid Advice for Executives - "Persuading Congress, by Joseph Gibson, is a very practical book, packed with wisdom and experience in a deceptively short and simple package.

    This book will help you understand Congress. Written from the perspective of one who has helped put a lot of bills on the president's desk and helped stop a lot more, this book explains in everyday terms why Congress behaves as it does. Then it shows you how you can best deploy whatever resources you have to move Congress in your direction."
  • Protesting For All the Wrong Reasons: Student Walkouts in New Jersey - "This week students in Newark, Montclair and South Orange, N.J. walked out of class. They were protesting Governor Christie’s proposed education cuts. The walkouts were organized in part via Facebook and a college student who attended high school in Bergen County.

    And now there is even worse news. Only ten percent of high school students taking the Alternative Graduation Exam passed language arts and 34 percent passed math. This exam is given only to those students who fail the traditional High School Proficiency Exam. For years, the 'alternative' has been a subject of controversy. Districts graded their own exams. And nearly everyone passed."
  • Planned Economy, Privacy Problems - "If someone asked you what’s wrong with a planned economy, your first answer might not be 'privacy.' But it should be. For proof, look no further than the financial regulation bill the Senate is debating. Its 1,400 pages contain strong prescriptions for a government-micromanaged economy--and the undoing of your financial privacy. Here’s a look at some of the personal data collection this revamp of financial services regulation will produce.
    . . .
    The Office of Financial Research is also a sop to industry. Morgan Stanley estimates that it will save the company 20 to 30 percent of its operating costs. The advocates for this bureaucracy want to replace the competitive environment for financial data with a uniform government data platform. Students of technology will instantly recognize what this data monoculture means: If the government’s data and assumptions are bad, everyone’s data and assumptions are bad, and all players in the financial services system fall together. The Office of Financial Research itself poses a threat to financial stability.
    . . .
    Nor was the Social Security number about creating a uniform national identifier that facilitates both lawful (excessive) data collection and identity fraud. The construction of surveillance infrastructure doesn’t turn on the intentions of its builders. They’re just giving another turn to the wheels that crush privacy."
  • Culture of Deceit: Why Dick Fuld So Needlessly and Recklessly Perjured Himself Before Congress - "Yet another whistle blower who has been completely ignored by the SEC just stepped forward to finally be acknowledged by the media.

    A Bloomberg analyst reported around noon NY time that they had verified Mr. Budde's story, and that indeed Dick Fuld easily had received cash in excess of $500 million in compensation for the period in question, higher than even Henry Waxman had asserted in his charts during Dick Fuld's testimony.

    Mr. Budde, a former counsel who was frustrated and plain fed up with the culture of personal greed and deceit among the Lehman executives stepped forward again to tell his story after being completely ignored by the SEC and the Lehman Board of Directors."
  • Ghost estates testify to Irish boom and bust - "David McWilliams is the man who coined the phrase 'ghost estate' when he wrote about the first signs of a disastrous over-build in Ireland back in 2006.

    Now, it is a concept the whole country is depressingly familiar with. Most Irish people have one on their doorstep - an ugly reminder, says the economist and broadcaster, of wounded national pride.

    'Emotionally, we have all taken a battering,' he says. 'Like every infectious virus, the housing boom got into our pores. You could feel it.

    'You'd go to the pub and people would be talking about what house they'd bought. And now a lot of people, myself included, think 'God, we were conned'.'
    . . .
    There are 621 ghost estates across Ireland now, a legacy of those hopeful years. One in five Irish homes is unoccupied."
  • Foreclosure Woes Loom As Housing Stimulus Ends - "Friday marks the last day that homebuyers can qualify for an $8,000 federal tax credit. The government has been trying to rescue the housing market from collapse. But now it's taking away most of that life support.

    The Federal Reserve a few weeks ago stopped another program that was helping to keep mortgage rates low through the purchase of mortgage securities. So the housing market is now going to have to try to stand on its own two feet.

    But some analysts say millions of people are still headed for foreclosure, and the added inventory of homes could glut the market and keep pushing prices down."
  • Will there be a doctor in the house? - "If anyone would take the trouble to talk to doctors, they would be able see through some of the myths being accepted without question by most of the players in this yearlong debate. Since the start of this round of ‘free health care for all’ free-for-all, Obama has stated “if you like you doctor, you can keep him or her”. Has it never occurred to anyone that your doctor might not want to keep you?
    . . .
    What is causing this mass exodus by doctors? The same AAPS survey yielded results that could only be surprising to anyone but practicing doctors. Of the respondents, 66 percent said the main reason was government interference in the practice of medicine, 63 percent cited hassles with Medicare, 80 percent expressed fear of unwarranted investigation or persecution and 56 percent listed the reason as the reduced fees from Medicare. Those who bandy back and forth how great government run health care is have never tried to deliver medical care under it. Unless you are in it, you have no idea of the immense burden, down-right hassle and fear-provoking ordeal it is to have to work with the government in providing medical services and getting reimbursement.
    . . .
    Now image what it is like to be called for an audit, where the rules are stacked against you and the same people who run your audit adjudicate the outcome. As awful as that sounds, multiply that several times over. A decade ago the tax code was 17,000 pages, it is now estimated to be 80,000. The Medicare law, however, is now over 100,000 pages. The paperwork is unbelievably oppressive and for so little result. Payments from the government are so low that they often don’t even cover the expense of collecting the money. A stroke of a pen in Congress and doctor’s salaries are reduced, notwithstanding that expenses rise continually, including the expense of trying to work with the government to get paid. Doctors who do accept Medicare patients relegate 22 percent of their staff time to Medicare compliance issues. It costs over 25 percent more to process a claim to Medicare than private insurance. Even so, it is nearly impossible to participate in the existing government health care system without making mistakes. Just try to keep your nose clean following all of those extensive, ambiguous and ever changing rules. You can’t. For all of these reasons, doctors have been leaving the Medicare program in droves, more with each passing month. Almost 25 percent of doctors refuse to treat new Medicare patients. This is the government’s idea of 'Medicare is working.' But it gets worse. Much worse.
    . . .
    A few examples of the draconian measures aimed at doctors include fines and jail time for trivial errors. There are now mandated $10,000 fines for each instance of putting the wrong billing codes on claims. That means a busy, minimum wage clerk putting one wrong digit on a claim form subjects the doctor to accusations of intentional fraud. ObamaCare would increase those fines to $50,000 per mistake. There are five-year prison sentences for refusing to release private medical records to the government (without the patient’s permission) or having the audacity to give medical care other than the market value. That means that doctors offering charity care are at risk for prison or fines. Even more shocking is that through the law doctors accused of fraud are subject to asset forfeiture and arrest, actions that until the bill’s enactment into law were originally used to stop organized crime. I did not say their assets were seized, bank accounts frozen and goods confiscated when convicted of a crime, these things happen on suspicion of wrongdoing.
    . . .
    Why would anyone in their right mind want to go into a profession, let alone stay in a profession, where one can be falsely accused for even the most minor of clerical transgressions, the result of which is that all one’s money and possessions are confiscated by the government even before you are found guilty by a proper court of law?"
  • My problem with congress in a nutshell - "'Balancing the budget and reducing the debt, in my mind, are not ends in and of themselves,' said Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill. 'We can't afford to skimp on our children's education, assuring access to quality, affordable health care, retirement security, achieving energy independence, investing in our infrastructure, supporting medical research, creating more jobs.'
    . . .
    While I do partly agree with the first phrase to the extent that I don't favor balancing the budget at current spending levels, the hideous combination of arrogance, profligacy and ignorance shown here typifies, to me, how our congress operates (and has operated for quite a while now)."
  • NSA on Computer Network Attack & Defense - "I spent the past few days in Mexico City participating in the annual meeting of the Honeynet Project, an international group dedicated to developing and deploying technologies that collect intelligence on the methods malicious hackers use in their attacks. The event brought in experts from around the globe, and our hosts -- the National Autonomous University of Mexico (in Spanish, UNAM) were gracious and helpful.

    As it happens, honeynets and other “deception technologies” are among the approaches discussed in the following document, written by the National Security Agency’s Information Assurance Directorate. A source of mine passed it along a while back, but I only rediscovered it recently. I could not find a public version of this document that was published online previously, so it has been uploaded here.

    The 605-page PDF document reads like a listing of the pros and cons for a huge array of defensive and counterintelligence approaches and technologies that an entity might adopt in defending its networks."
  • Homeopathic Bomb - "The world has been placed on a heightened security alert following reports that New Age terrorists have harnessed the power of homeopathy for evil. 'Homeopathic weapons represent a major threat to world peace,' said President Barack Obama, 'they might not cause any actual damage but the placebo effect could be quite devastating.'
    . . .
    Homeopathic bombs are comprised of 99.9% water but contain the merest trace element of explosive. The solution is then repeatedly diluted so as to leave only the memory of the explosive in the water molecules. According to the laws of homeopathy, the more that the water is diluted, the more powerful the bomb becomes."
  • Common Sense in the Hands of Dilettantes - "Under the Stanford Revolution, law schools will now broaden the legal education to include all the other aspects of life that will enable them to be metadisciplinaritists, engaging the 'interplay' between technical expertise and common sense." There's a dilettante in the room, and he's called 'Professor'.

    Here's the deal, plain and simple. That whole meta-inter-disciplarnialotomist thing you're promoting? We call that undergrad. If you didn't get enough of it there, then there's always the school of hard knocks. We call that life. Are you eggheads kidding us? You're going to charge kids who couldn't get into Med School $40 grand a year to take the electives they missed the first time around and call that law school? Are you nutz?"
  • The great American mortgage casino -- How the Goldman case is about the broken down system that allowed massive gambling in America’s housing market for the last decade. Average sales price down because distress sales still account for 30 percent of home sales nationwide. - "What is hard to understand from a psychological standpoint is how people can think things are good when we have over 7 million mortgages that are either 30+ days late or in some stage of foreclosure? We are, as of today even with all these new measures, near the peak of the foreclosure problem. Last month was the highest foreclosure filing month ever recorded! This is not good. How someone can interpret this as good news really baffles the senses. Until that distress percentage creeps down into the single digits, the market is highly volatile.
    . . .
    Just like people look back on Tulip Mania or the technology bubble, people will be asking how in the world did we allow so much gambling to take place with mortgages? But more importantly, they’ll be asking why we didn’t reform and fix such an obvious mistake even after so much economic pain was unleashed."
  • American Baby - "That is one big reason why the ongoing scandals rocking the financial sector are creating such outrage and upset among the American polity. Citizens are discovering that a very large percentage of people whom they used to admire and envy for mouth-watering financial success earned a large portion of that success by cheating, by gaming the system, and by rigging the rules in their favor. What seems to outrage many Americans even more is that these very financiers do not seem to recognize that they have violated the implicit social norms almost everybody else seems to accept. They hide behind a defense of arrogance, superciliousness, and moral obliviousness which makes most Americans' teeth grind in frustration.

    This is a dangerous situation for the plutocracy. For, when you get right down to it, most Americans are not really interested in supporting a system that is designed to preserve the wealth and privileges of those who have already made it to the top. Instead, they want one that will give as many people as possible a reasonably fair shot at reaching the top themselves. That is a distinction which seems to elude many of the wealthy and powerful. They misperceive the struggle as one of capitalism versus socialism, when what it really is is a struggle for the heart and soul of capitalism in this country. On one side is a new aristocracy of money, entrenched interests, and cronyism, and on the other is an ethos of equal opportunity for all."
  • Government Fraud - "'Current state pension accounting practices are inaccurate and outmoded. Private pension plans would not be allowed to use such methods.'

    Of course, no one will ever be sued by the SEC, prosecuted by the DOJ, or McCarthied by a Congressional committee for this. Or for the equivalent Federal fraud in making untenable promises for future Social Security and Medicare entitlements.

    Because this fraud is perpetrated by people who were Elected, it is sanctioned by Divine Right. Anyway, it cannot possibly be fraud, because government is 'us.'"
  • Horrible New Paperwork Requirement Slipped into Health Care Bill - "A little noticed provision in the recently passed health care reform bill will require every payment to corporations over $600 to be reported on a Form 1099 to the IRS, including payments for the purchase of merchandise and services. This provision takes effect in 2012.

    The current law requires a Form 1099 to be submitted to the IRS when your business pays more than $600 for rent, interest, dividends, and non-employee services if the payments are made to entities other than corporations. Currently, payments made to a corporation and payments for merchandise are not required to be reported.
    . . .
    My small business has over a thousand vendors. I would have to hire someone full time for a month to do this. And it would be to zero purpose. The IRS would be so flooded with forms that there would be no way they could pull any useful information from the blizzard. This is yet another example of legislators operating with absolutely no idea how commerce actually works. We have coined a name for it within our firm -- we call it arrogant ignorance."

The Thought Experiment

  • Taboo and Not Taboo at Elite Universities - "In short, what’s taboo on elite American campuses is ideas and actions that many people find offensive, but only if those ideas and actions happen to conflict with the felt commitments of left-wing ideology."
  • Muni Bonds: Time to Head for Higher Ground? - "J. P. Morgan and Charles Schwab have just announced a program to make municipal bonds more available to small investors.

    Let's see, record low interest rates and looming risk of default from undisclosed obligations, or perhaps a brisk uptake in inflation. Sounds like a plan (for the big dogs to unload)."
  • The perfect roast chicken - "The second recipe, from cookery writer Annie Bell, takes a completely different tack, slipping in a crafty 10 minute poach before the bird goes into the oven. It's a clever idea -- poached chicken is famously succulent -- but a risky one too, given the importance of dry skin for a crispy finish. In direct contravention of Keller's prohibition on steam, as well as drizzling oil on to the chicken once it's been patted dry, I'm also instructed to tip a couple of millimetres of water into the roasting tin before putting into the oven at 220˚C for 40 minutes. The ensuing steam sets off the fire alarm, but the cooked bird is browner than I'd anticipated, presumably because of the high cooking temperature. Although the rather elastic skin attracts considerably less excitement, it still tastes pretty good, and the meat beneath is wonderfully juicy. Annie's poaching trick is definitely a crowd-pleaser, with one of the panel claiming it's the best roast chicken she's ever had." ht Marginal Revolution
  • Are people remembered by how they lived their entire lives? - "I sincerely hope I have enough foreknowledge of when I'll die to stop being an utter bastard for those 5 minutes before I croak and donate everything to charity."
  • Wheat Ridge High School Class of 1970 - "The reonion committee is working away planning the 40th reunion the weekend of August 13-15, 2010. Wheat Ridge, Colorado"
  • Common Market Food Co-op - "Common Market Food Co-op was a 'new wave food co-op' located at 1329 California Street in Denver, Colorado, from 1975 - 1980. It started as a buying club at the University of Denver in the early 1970s, and for a few years prior to moving to the old Safeway at 13th and California Streets, Common Market operated out of a small storefront on Champa Street."
  • Big Growth In Geothermal Energy - "For states that do not have good geothermal or wind fulfillment of renewables mandates has got to be tough (meaning expensive). I am wondering what the costs for these geothermal plants turn out to be. One can't predict the costs just from initial construction costs because the drilled pipes to the deep hot areas can clog up and also the heat can not last. So redrilling can become necessary and so geothermal's cost can vary.

    Geothermal has one big advantage over solar and wind: 24x7 operation."
  • Lies of the Ethics Industry: How the champions of "good government" suppress speech and sow cynicism - "Our 21st century politics might be regarded as an ethical golden age--at least in contrast to the corruption of the 19th century, when senators were on railroad payrolls and urban machines pilfered public treasuries. Yet according to a recent Pew Research Center survey, only 22 percent of citizens now trust government 'almost always or most of the time.'

    Ironically, the trust deficit is partly a result of the very transparency rules adopted to encourage confidence in government. Enacted after some idiots in Richard Nixon's White House broke into the Watergate offices of the Democratic National Committee--apparently guided by the aphorism 'nothing's too cheap to steal'--transparency laws were supposed to shine light on the influence of cash. Which they did. But they also left an even bigger impression that money is the root of all public policy evil.

    Four groups now work to convince us we have the worst government money can buy: (1) an ethics industry spawned in Washington by Watergate, which features nonprofits lobbying for regulation of speech they don't like; (2) journalists who collude with ethics purveyors, writing cheap-and-easy stories fitting a corruption narrative they create; (3) politicians, especially Democratic Progressive Era throwbacks, who think evil-doing can be stopped with new and better rules and who pander to the ethics industry, the media, and (ironically) to citizens convinced that Democrats are just as sleazy as Republicans; and (4) citizens, frustrated by the budget-busting consequences of the free lunches we accept from politicians.
    . . .
    Lost in this televised Kabuki theater is any serious attempt to address the really big public policy problems facing the country, including massive entitlement payouts for the elderly, the bipartisan jobs program known as national defense, and gigantic interest payments on the national debt. Who actually believes that removing money from politics will help fix any of that?"
  • Acquisitions, from Victor Niederhoffer - "One has seen this happen often times when I was in the finder business with buyers trying to cover up their own lapses by buying to boost lapses in their own business. Often the two blades of the scissors come together with the buyer trying to pull the wool over the seller and the seller over the buyer. The net result to me has always been that companies that make it a principal part of the business to buy companies seem to me to have inordinately poor performance. I have seen innumberable conglomerates in my day go from great to dismal."
  • Secular Sex Abuse Gets a Look - "In New York, Queens Assemblywoman Margaret Markey routinely presents a bill which seeks to open a year-long 'window' into the statute of limitations on child sex-abuse cases, allowing victims whose cases may go back as far as 40 years to bring suit for damages.

    Because the bill has -until now- always been limited by Markey to impact the churches, exclusively, it always either failed or been shelved. It is difficult to pass a bill that essentially finds some sexual abuse victims to be more worthy of redress than others.

    Markey seems to have figured that out; her new bill includes suits against secular institutions, and the previously silent civil authorities, among others, are reeling:
    . . .
    Extending the “open window” to include secular sex abuse cases will impact the whole of society. We will be invited to look in and-seeing the width and breadth of the problem-will be forced to ponder the human animal and the human soul in ways we have not, and would rather not. It may bring home some uncomfortable truths: that 'safety' is relative; that human darkness is not limited to various 'theys' but seeps into the whole of 'us'; that the tendency to look at the guilt of others has, perhaps, a root in our wish not to look at ourselves; that human brokenness is a constant and human righteousness is always imperfect."
  • ‘Orangutan-Sized’ Raccoons Invade Chicago - "'He looked like an orangutan swinging-swinging around. It was scary, very scary,' said Chicago resident Wilma Ward about her recent run-in with a raccoon. Ward, who lives in Chicago several miles away from the nearest forest, found herself face to snout with a raccoon she described as being almost her height. She was forced to barricade herself in an upstairs bathroom until morning, and when she emerged she discovered the raccoon had bent steel window-bars to get into her kitchen. Others in the neighborhood have described these raccoons as being the size of German Shepherds."
  • Multi-Generation Movies - "I recall a few 1930s-vintage movies that dealt with families over a span of generations, perhaps tracing a main character from youth or even birth to old age and the grave. Some might even have encompassed greater intervals. Don't ask me to name these, because they didn't interest me much at the time and their titles were quickly forgotten. Looking back, I wonder if some of those films were adapted from or inspired by some popular novels of the 1920s and 30s that were epic from a generational standpoint.

    As many readers know, unlike Michael Blowhard, I'm not a movie guy. I see perhaps two a year these days, though did go a lot more often up into the 1980s. So I could be dead wrong when I suggest that the movie whose plot passes through 50 or 80 years of a family's experiences is almost completely passé.

    Let's assume that in my ignorance I stumbled on a truth: there were a lot more generational epics filmed in the 1930s than in recent years. If so, what to make of it?
    . . .
    From the comments: Slightly off-topic: I'm fascinated by how middle age was treated in '30s and '40s films. People were older then! I mean that (e.g.) a woman could be 40 and portrayed as a gray-haired spinster. Think of Gloria Swanson in Sunset Blvd.: shown as an elderly, batty, nearly forgotten has-been, Norma Desmond was supposed to be 50! And Swanson was 50 when she made the film. For comparison, that's younger than Madonna, Sharon Stone, Michelle Pfeiffer, Andie MacDowell, Bo Derek, Rene Russo, and Christie Brinkley are now. Catherine Deneuve is 66."

Mississippi Fred McDowell

  • Did Video Professor Spend Too Much On Lawyers And Not Enough On Its Product? - "Video Professor, a company well-known in these pages for its penchant for suing both its critics and message boards that hosted its critics, not to speak of trying to suppress competition by misusing trademark law, has apparently hit hard times, a TV station in Denver is reporting:"
  • Blankfein's Apha Deception - "Senator Claire McCaskill better characterized Goldman as a bookie whose main job is setting a line so they aren't taking a position on the outcome, their customers are, just in offsetting ways. Making markets is first and foremost about pricing (setting the line), secondarily about hedging, and finally about how the residual risk agregates up. If you price correctly, the other two are de minimus.

    But as I explain in my Finding Alpha book, one reason why 'risk' remains prominent in academic finance though it has never been identified precisely is that it has the ability to rationalize a lot of useful deception. Risk is presumably the most important thing in finance, its essence. But what is 'risk'? That depends: it could be beta, a regression coefficient with the aggregate market; it could be volatility, or the correlation with the wealth-to-income ratio. Bill Sharpe, one of the founders of the Capital Asset Pricing Model, now prefers a 12 factor model of risk that totally obviates his Nobel Prize winning insight, though no one seems to note the inconsistency.
    . . .
    So, when alpha deceptors hide behind the 'we are risk managers' defense, remember, a real risk manager has a prosaic job, doing things that one can understand: verifying income on loan applications, measuring CAPM betas, calculating VaRs even. They are straightforward, and you can argue about key assumptions. The whole 'risk manager' spiel is because if you are getting paid $1MM+ a year, you know that there's probably someone just as smart as you making half that who wants your job, so better make it sound like you are doing financial string theory.
    . . .
    Blankfein is a crony capitalist, begging for more 'regulation' because he knows that a 1300 page bill basically only helps those with connections and extant massive legal infrastructure, and hurts potential competitors who merely have good ideas."
  • Facebook's Eroding Privacy Policy: A Timeline - "Since its incorporation just over five years ago, Facebook has undergone a remarkable transformation. When it started, it was a private space for communication with a group of your choice. Soon, it transformed into a platform where much of your information is public by default. Today, it has become a platform where you have no choice but to make certain information public, and this public information may be shared by Facebook with its partner websites and used to target ads.

    To help illustrate Facebook's shift away from privacy, we have highlighted some excerpts from Facebook's privacy policies over the years. Watch closely as your privacy disappears, one small change at a time!"
  • Spirit Airlines Earns Dubious Honor With “Pre-Reclined” Seats - "The pre-reclined seats on the new Spirit Airlines aircraft are fixed in a slightly reclined position. Spirit isn’t the first airline to go with the pre-reclined seats, And if the fixed position wasn’t bad enough, the seats also feature a meager 28 inch pitch, a measure of leg room which is one of the shortest in the industry.

    For Spirit Airlines, the fixed seats means lighter seats. Without all the mechanisms needed to recline, the new seats are thinner, lighter and will require much less maintenance. All this means reduced costs for the airline and no more reminders to return your seat to the full upright position.

    The fixed seat isn’t necessarily a bad thing by itself. It means no more having the person in front of you seeing how much force is required to spill your drink or crush your knees when they slam their seat back. Of course with the 28 inch pitch, many travelers will already have 'pre-crushed' knees without any extra force needed."
  • Is Cocoa Puffs no longer heart healthy? - "Until recently, Cocoa Puffs enjoyed the endorsement of the American Heart Association (AHA) as a heart-healthy food.

    For a price, the AHA will allow food manufacturers to affix a heart 'check mark' signifying endorsement by the AHA as conforming to some basic 'heart healthy' requirements.
    . . .
    I suspect that agencies like the AHA, the USDA, the American Diabetes Association as starting to understand that they have blundered big time by pushing low-fat, having contributed to the nationwide epidemic of obesity and diabetes, and that it is time to quietly start backpedaling."
  • Carbs against Cardio: More Evidence that Refined Carbohydrates, not Fats, Threaten the Heart - "Eat less saturated fat: that has been the take-home message from the U.S. government for the past 30 years. But while Americans have dutifully reduced the percentage of daily calories from saturated fat since 1970, the obesity rate during that time has more than doubled, diabetes has tripled, and heart disease is still the country’s biggest killer. Now a spate of new research, including a meta-analysis of nearly two dozen studies, suggests a reason why: investigators may have picked the wrong culprit. Processed carbohydrates, which many Americans eat today in place of fat, may increase the risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease more than fat does--a finding that has serious implications for new dietary guidelines expected this year.

    In March the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published a meta-analysis--which combines data from several studies--that compared the reported daily food intake of nearly 350,000 people against their risk of developing cardiovascular disease over a period of five to 23 years. The analysis, overseen by Ronald M. Krauss, director of atherosclerosis research at the Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute, found no association between the amount of saturated fat consumed and the risk of heart disease."
  • Steve Chapman: How starving government gets fat - "Forced to pay for everything they get, right away, Americans would undoubtedly choose to make do with less. But given the opportunity to party now and pay later -- or never, if the tab can be billed to the next generation -- they find no compelling reason to do without.

    Think of it this way. If you want people to consume more of something, you reduce the price. If you want them to consume less, you raise the price. For most of the last 30 years, federal programs have been on sale, and they've found lots of buyers.

    That's how the low-tax strategy has worked in practice. So if we are going to reduce the size of the federal government, we can't rely on starving the beast. We will have to tackle it and wrestle it to the mat."

. . . . . . . . .

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May 4, 2010 08:47 AM    Caught Our Eye

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