10.3 pounds in one week

I’ve been on the doctor-monitored weight loss program for a week now. One week. 10.3 pounds lost.

10.3 pounds. One week.


Breakfast: Oatmeal and pills

More at the “read more.” If I had known how easy this was, I’d have done it years ago. Of course, I’m only one week in, and I’ve got a long way to go. Fifty or sixty more pounds. But, I feel great, I think I have a bit more energy than I did before, and to be honest, I’m having a hard time eating all of the food I’m supposed to eat. I’m just not hungry.

I’m eating only 1,100 calories a day, and I’m not hungry.

There have been a few–I was going to say “downsides” but actually, a few less-than-upsides. The powdered omelette mix has a bit of an off aftertaste. But pile enough salsa and jalapeno slices on it, and it’s edible. Eating something every two hours or so is, as I’ve already mentioned, harder than it sounds, at least if you try to do it consistently for days, or weeks.

Soup, chili-flavored soy puffs, and berry smoothie

But, on the upside, the pancakes and oatmeal are quite good. The soups are pretty good, too, especially when I use the soy puffs as cracker-substitutes to get close to that gruel-mush consistency that I like. Yeah, I’m weird. The mixed berry smoothie mix is outstandingly tasty.

And, I can drink Coke Zero. I love Coke Zero.

The next test comes this weekend, when we take a road trip to Chicago to see Snookums’ best friend Linda, and go to a Steely Dan[*1] concert. AND, I’m going to attempt to eat at a restaurant for the first time since the diet began. Ooh, scary!


Seen on FreeRepublic[*1] :A guy goes into a bar and there is a robot bartender.

The robot says, “What will you have?” The guy says “Martini.”

The robot brings back the best martini ever and says to the man, “What’syour IQ?”

The guy says, “168.”

The robot then proceeds to talk about physics, space exploration and medicaltechnology.

The guy leaves, but he is curious, so he goes back into the bar. The robotbartender says, “What will you have?”

The guy says, “Martini”.

Again, the robot makes a great martini, gives it to the man and says,“What’s your IQ?”

The guy says, “100.”

The robot then starts to talk about Nascar, Budweiser, and John Deeretractors.

The guy leaves, but finds it very interesting, so he thinks he will try itone more time. He goes back into the bar.

The robot says, “What will you have?”

The guy says, “Martini”, and the robot brings him another great martini.

The robot then says, “What’s your IQ?”

The guy says, “Uh, about 50.”

The robot leans in real close and says, “So…….you people still happy you voted for Obama?”

It’s not just me that thinks so

Reference to my previous article, Who wants to be a slavemaster? here’s the always-incisive Victor Davis Hanson writing at National Review:

Obama is not a pragmatist, as he insisted, nor even a liberal, as charged.

Rather, he is a statist. The president believes that a select group of affluent, highly educated technocrats — cosmopolitan, noble-minded, and properly progressive — supported by a phalanx of whiz-kids fresh out of blue-chip universities with little or no experience in the marketplace, can direct our lives far better than we can ourselves. By “better” I do not mean in a fashion that, measured by disinterested criteria, makes us necessarily wealthier, happier, more productive, or freer.

Instead, “better” means “fairer,” or more “equal.” We may “make” different amounts of money, but we will end up with more or less similar net incomes. We may know friendly doctors, be aware of the latest procedures, and have the capital to buy blue-chip health insurance, but no matter. Now we will all alike queue up with our government-issued insurance cards to wait our turn at the ubiquitous corner clinic.

None of this equality-of-results thinking is new.

When radical leaders over the last 2,500 years have sought to enforce equality of results, their prescriptions were usually predictable: redistribution of property; cancellation of debts; incentives to bring out the vote and increase political participation among the poor; stigmatizing of the wealthy, whether through the extreme measure of ostracism or the more mundane forced liturgies; use of the court system to even the playing field by targeting the more prominent citizens; radical growth in government and government employment; the use of state employees as defenders of the egalitarian faith; bread-and-circus entitlements; inflation of the currency and greater national debt to lessen the power of accumulated capital; and radical sloganeering about reactionary enemies of the new state.

All of this should be obvious to anyone who’s been paying attention to what Obama has actually done rather than just listening to what he says.

What Obama says sounds pretty good, as long as you don’t examine it too closely and discover that he really hasn’t said anything at all, but he’s said it very prettily.

What Obama does marks him as a statist, a re-distributionist.

He’s a slave owner-wannabe.

Before you recoil in horror, I would observe that most of the slaves that were brought over to the U.S. from Africa were sold into the trans-Atlantic slave trade by other blacks, or by Arabs, or by other “people of color.” So don’t even start about how white people are somehow uniquely racist, because that’s just bull$hit.

Who wants to be a slavemaster?

The unspoken assumption is “everyone should have equal access to all health care procedures, regardless of cost.”

Really? Why? Do we all have equal access to all food? Housing? Clothes? Cars? Entertainment?

Actually, yes, all Americans in fact do have equal access to all of those things–what we don’t have is equal ability to pay for those things. We don’t have an equal allocation of resources. The poor and powerless have fewer options than the rich and powerful.

Here’s the cold, hard truth: That will NEVER change. There will always be the rich and the poor, the powerful and the powerless–those who can afford the best of everything, and those who just scrape by–and some few who can’t even do that.

Bitter experience has shown the human race that “from each according to their ability, to each according to their need,” while maybe an admirable sentiment in the abstract, has in practice over and over throughout history brought out the very, very, very worst in human nature. All the “steal from the rich and give to the poor” sentiment does is change who the “haves” are from those who earn their status, wealth, and power though free enterprise, to those who seize their power through political maneuverings–or through outright violence and war. At its extreme, the philosophy of Marx and Robin Hood is a recipe for oppression, terror, slavery, and the ruthless crushing of the human spirit.

Maybe it’s not such an admirable idea at all.

Life isn’t fair. It never has been, and it never will be. Efforts to make the outcome of life equal for every person will always fail. It simply is not within the power of the human animal to change the basic nature of economics. It is arrogance to think so, a fatal conceit.

This doesn’t mean we should not act to make our fellows’ life better. It is a virtue to do so. There are organizations dedicated to feeding the poor, clothing the naked, providing for those in need. They don’t use the force of government to get money–people give of their own free will, because there are a great number of relatively well-off people who want to help those less fortunate. We should have more charitable organizations. We should support them better than we do. But the virtue in this is precisely that it is voluntary charity.

There is no virtue in pointing a gun at someone and demanding money. We usually call that armed robbery, unless the person with the gun is from the government. Then we call it “taxes.” We tolerate some level of this government gun-pointing as the price for a civil and orderly society. But once you begin expanding the list of things for which the government shakes down its citizens beyond the physical safety and security their persons and property, you begin the slide down the proverbial slippery slope at the bottom of which is serfdom, or in slavery.

That’s what you are advocating if you’re for a greater government role in health care. You want us to move closer to serfdom, or to outright slavery.

There is no way to argue out of that box. You either think it’s OK to force other people to work to pay for other’s needs, and/or to force people to directly provide those needs, or you don’t. And you’re willing to use the guns and courts of government to make your opinion of who should give, and who should get be the final word. The word for this, if you are wondering, is, exactly, “oppression.”

If you believe that, I disagree vehemently with you.

Don’t even try to pretend you have the moral high ground here. You don’t. You want serfdom. You want slavery.

And YOU want to be the master, don’t you?

Media bias

This is why a lot of people, myself included, think that the vast majority of the American news media is totally “in the tank” for leftist/Democrat causes–Bernard Goldberg[*1] :

Mary Mapes knew before she put the story on the air that George W. Bush, the alleged slacker, had in fact volunteered to go to Vietnam.

Who says? The outside panel CBS brought into to get to the bottom of the so-called “Rathergate” mess says.

. . .

Mapes had information prior to the airing of the September 8 [2004] Segment that President Bush, while in the TexANG [Texas Air National Guard] did volunteer for service in Vietnam but was turned down in favor of more experienced pilots. For example, a flight instructor who served in the TexANG with Lieutenant Bush advised Mapes in 1999 that Lieutenant Bush “did want to go to Vietnam but others went first.” Similarly, several others advised Mapes in 1999, and again in 2004 before September 8, that Lieutenant Bush had volunteered to go to Vietnam but did not have enough flight hours to qualify.

This information, despite the fact that it has been available since the CBS report came out four years ago, has remained a secret to almost everybody both in and out of the media — one lonely fact in a 234- page report loaded with thousands of facts, and overshadowed by the controversy surrounding the documents.

Here’s a simple question for those who think there’s no such thing as media bias, or if there is, the media leans to the right:

Why, if Mapes knew that Bush had volunteered to go to Vietnam, did CBS News insist on the reporting angle that he had joined the Texas Air National Guard to avoid going to Vietnam?

I would assert that any reasonable person would look at that one fact and say “CBS News was trying to slant–BIAS–the story to make Bush look bad.” Furthermore, given that incidents of such slanted reporting are almost countlessly common at this point, any reasonable person would then take anything that the “traditional” or “mainstream” media say with an enormous grain of salt.

Fortunately, I am now taking eight salt tablets daily as a supplement to my doctor-prescribed weight loss plan, so I should now be able to believe anything that the media tell me. You, however, might want to Question yourself some Authority–as in media authority.

Two deaths in America

Ted Kennedy is dead. So is Noreen, the mother of one of my very best friends.

I sit here, and the question pops–unbidden and very unwanted–into my mind: which one of the two had more impact on my life? Ted Kennedy, through all of the policies he fought for, and the legislation he passed through the years, or the person who gave birth to a dear friend?

That I can even consider the question troubles me greatly. It should be a no-brainer–of course Noreen, through her daughter, has had an enormous impact on my life–all positive, by the way–daughter and husband are really among my dearest friends. Kennedy’s legacy–for me, anyway–consists primarily of taking more money away from me on an annual basis and giving it to other people. What could I have done with the money Ted took from me? Would I be better off? Would others?

I guess they say “it’s only money.”

I feel more than a bit gulity that my mind turns to the political at a time like this.

God bless Ted, and Noreen, too. May you have the rest you both have earned.

The Big Lie: 45 million people can’t get health insurance

We’re supposed to believe that there are 45 million people in the U.S. who don’t have health insurance through no fault of their own. That’s the reason why it’s a “crisis,” right?

Not so fast.

Here are the facts, via the American Enterprise Institute and the Cato Institute (both reporting data from the Census Bureau:

12 million people without health insurance are eligible for Medicaid and/or the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP) but haven’t enrolled. Whose fault is that? Should you pay for their irresponsibility?

10 million people without health insurance are foreigners in the U.S. 4.4 million of those are here legally, and 5.6 million are here illegally. Should you pay for their irresponsibility?

19.6 million people without health insurance have incomes higher than 250% of the poverty level–$55,125 for a family of four. Should you pay for their poor household budgeting skills?

Is this a real crisis? Is this a panic attack on the part of the Democrats? Or is it a naked power grab to seize control of one sixth of the American economy?

Here’s one thing we could do to “fix” health care–from Cato:

The current system excludes the value of employer-provided insurance from a worker’s taxable income. However, workers purchasing health insurance on their own must do so with after-tax dollars. This provides a significant tilt toward employer-provided insurance. Workers should receive a standard deduction, a tax credit, or, better still, large Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) for the purchase of health insurance, regardless of whether they receive it through their job or purchase it on their own.

We can then look at those people who may need some kind of subsidy to better afford insurance.

A rant I might agree with

Some guy named Karl Denninger[*1] :

Let’s be clear: These banksters have robbed well over $100 billion dollars from taxpayers and citizens via various schemes in the last decade. These scams have included securitizing loans that they either knew or should have known were laced with fraud, in some cases shorting them while selling them on to other people. It includes outrageously-complex and intentionally-obfuscated securities “packages” for municipalities which have resulted in huge losses for the town (and huge fees and profits for the bank.) It has included marketing “auction rate” securities which were claimed to be as liquid and safe as cash, when in fact nothing of the sort was true. The schemes and scams run the gamut but at their core was the intentional obfuscation of the true nature of the risk embedded in these instruments so that the dupe (that would be you, your town, your state) would wind up losing money all for their benefit: you would enter into a complex swap transaction you didn’t understand, you’d buy a bubble house with an OptionARM after being told you “definitely” could refinance before payments would go up, your kid was sold an expensive educational loan package without being told that it was unable to be discharged in bankruptcy, you were given a credit card with 27 pages of fine print, and buried somewhere in there was vague language letting the company jack your interest rate to anything it wanted – including the 36% it did jack it to – if you missed an electric bill by three days.

Then, when the game of musical chairs ended and all this debt that could not possibly be paid off started to default these very same banksters went to Congress through Paulson and Bernanke, the chiefs of the bankster scam parade, and in my opinion literally committed economic terrorism: hand over $2 trillion dollars hiding all but $700 billion, or we detonate the entirety of the economy and everyone literally starves.

How does this differ from an old-fashioned Al-Quaida terrorist who calls in a nuclear bomb threat? “Hand over $2 trillion dollars or New York City will be vaporized.”

Hmmmmm… sounds kinda like the same thing to me!

Now let’s juxtapose this with the fact that every Congressperson took an oath to defend The Constitution against all enemies, both foreign and domestic.

So riddle me this my fellow Americans: How is it that Bernanke, Paulson, Geithner, and both Presidents Bush and Obama are still free men instead of being housed at GITMO? How is it that on that fateful night in September of 2008 when Bernanke and Paulson “briefed” Congress and demanded $700 billion in ransom and a blank check to back-door an unlimited amount in “guarantees” and “pass-throughs” to their banking buddies the Sargeant At Arms was not immediately called to place these goons under arrest pending indictment and prosecution?

The next question is equally obvious and leads one down some pretty disturbing paths: If there is NOT ONE man or woman Congress who will discharge THEIR oath of office, is there anyone left in this country who took an identical oath that will?

The worst part is that it didn’t end with payment of the ransom. No, the banks didn’t come clean, they didn’t clear their balance sheets, they didn’t take their losses using the backstop they had managed to secure through threat of imminent economic doom.

On the contrary: They lied some more! They in fact lobbied Congress and had them bring pressure on FASB, threatening to legislate legalization of accounting fraud, and twisted FASB’s arm into issuing what amounted to an executive order making legal any and all lies about asset valuation! We now know this happened because in point of fact the amount of loss that has been seen in the form of write-downs when banks fail has roughly doubled from last year to this, and these are not small numbers: we’re talking about going from roughly 15% to roughly 35!

We need to rise up, march on Washington[*2] and clean[*3] out[*4] the[*5] stables[*6] , I think.