Wednesday, July 29, 2009

First, they came for the smokers...

I *so* saw this coming. I told people who supported smoking bans, "Wait, they'll be coming for your french fries soon!"

Taxing food to eliminate fat people

So I sit here, 350 pounds, and roll my eyes. Next to me on my desk is my lunch. A cup and a half of curry quinoa salad. (quinoa, shredded carrot and zucchini, curry vinaigrette, and dried cranberries - yum!)

Anybody who has seen a teenage boy or young man in his early twenties eat knows this is bull. My ex-husband invited a couple of co-workers over for dinner once when we were first married. Between them they ate a week's worth of groceries. I was in awe. I, on the other hand avoid "all you can eat" specials because I feel like I don't get my money's worth.

There is good evidence that fat people eat no differently than thin people. Sandy Szwarc is my all-time favorite blogger because she analyzes all the studies and press releases that come out, with a view toward understanding what is really true and what is hype. She blogs at Junkfood Science .

Here are some highlights regarding food and fat

Starvation does not make you thinner in the long run

also here

Why junk food taxes are pointless and "healthy eating" is overrated.

Life is hard enough for fat people. Chairs are too small. Bathroom stalls are too. Clothes are expensive, when you can find them at all. For some reason, it's relatively easy to find 5x t-shirts, but extremely hard to find something to wear to work. Fat people don't work? And airlines are charging us double.

Funny thing is, all the "junk food" taxes would hardly affect me at all. I buy potato chips about once every three months or so. I just generally prefer healthy food, and it's cheaper anyway. (hence the quinoa) I worry more about this tax idea as it relates to personal liberty and stigmatization of fat people than that it will cost me money.

If they start taxing vegetables, fruit, and pasta, though, I'm in trouble!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

On "voice"

I was going to post a comment on the hatchet job Vanity Fair did on the transcript of Sarah Palin's speech, but it got longer and longer and finally I decided I'd better move it here, so as not to be obnoxious.

Clearly, the article was meant to appeal to their (shrinking) liberal reader base so their readers could feel superior to her. That's annoying enough. What really got to me, though, is how they proudly removed all individualism and "voice" from her speech, making it plain vanilla, and then acted like that was an improvement.

For one thing, a speech is not an article, and I have a suspicion magazine editors should be kept far away from speechwriting. The goal in writing is to "write tight" -- eliminating extraneous words and phrases that don't add to the meaning. Read an article out loud. Sounds a little dry, right? Humans use LOTS of extraneous words when speaking. Most are just to fill space while our brain catches up to our mouth. Regardless, that is what we are used to hearing. A speech without a certain amount of verbal white space sounds sparse and robotic. It sounds like a speech.

I have edited for friends (not professionally) and when I did, I confronted the issue of voice. "Voice" is what you hear when you read. It is the individual word, phrase, and pacing choices that make my writing "sound" very different from yours. Good "voice" often includes bad grammar. (In my fiction, I tend to use fragments to create a choppy effect) Editing is an art. How do you tighten and strengthen a passage, while leaving the voice of the writer intact? Should you correct a grammatical error, or does it add to the mood of the scene?

The editors at Vanity Fair, beyond their partisan attempt to smear a talented politician, simply did a VERY BAD EDITING JOB. They stripped out word choices and phrases that reflected her "voice". They altered the meaning of at least one sentence. They crossed out introductory remarks for no reason (this is a speech, after all). They stripped out all individuality until their edited version was as dry as your average encyclopedia entry. And then they congratulated each other.


Sunday, December 28, 2008

It's not about privacy, Mr. Barnes

On the Beltway Boys this morning, Mort and Fred were discussing the refusal of the banks to reveal where the bailout money went. Mort opined that the banks had an obligation to the Congress and the American people to explain exactly what they spent the money on - whether it was used to fund more lending and free up credit as Congress intended or if it was hoarded and used to buy up smaller banks. (I have a feeling I know!)

Fred pronounced "privacy" like it was a human right. News to Fred... if you accept money from anyone privacy is jettisoned. Had a venture capital company bailed out these banks - which really is how the government is acting, only less effective - their books would so be open. Not to mention the company would probably expect an equity stake and a place on the board. Uncle Sam is acting more like, well, a rich uncle. Throwing a bunch of money on a profligate niece or nephew and only later whining, "where did it all go?" without much leverage to demand an answer.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

And the Governor played on...

It really is a nightmare for the Democrats. Gov Blago is embarrassing them on a daily basis, dragging others down with him. He won't take a hit for the party and resign to minimize damage. My guess? He's holding out to see what kind of sinecure someone will offer to make him go away. From one auction to another.

And now, the prosecutor's made it worse.

According to the Fox News website, Fitzgerald is asking the impeachment committee not to dig too deeply into his case, and is refusing to give them some of the information he has, although he has "not ruled out" turning over copies of the tapes of the Governor. The article says:

In a letter released Tuesday, U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald says the panel could "significantly compromise" his investigation by interviewing Blagojevich aides about possible crimes.

Fitzgerald is also declining to provide information about his investigation, such as the identities of people mentioned in a criminal complaint.

So, does this mean the impeachment process will be stopped or stalled? It was already going to take months, anyway. How long are they going to be stuck with this guy? How much damage will he do before he goes? Who appoints that senator now, and how is the authority to do that to be assigned?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

And the sound of crickets chirping...

Helen Jones-Kelley, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services director who authorized improper snooping into the records of Samuel Wurzelbacher (Joe the Plumber), has resigned. Fox News website reported it. I checked a little before two and didn't see it on the webpage. A Google News search turned up reports in all the major and some minor Ohio newspapers, along with the original AP report. Of course, conservative sites like Hot Air and Michelle Malkin picked up on it.

Imagine if it had been a Republican agency director - who gave money to and campaigned for John McCain - and had committed a similar act. Close your eyes and visualize... I'll wait.

Right. The director's resignation would be more than a footnote, and the whistleblower, instead of drifting into obscurity, would probably have her own television show by now. I guess whistleblowing is only a good gig when you're a liberal.

An interesting side note.. had on its homepage a link to a story about a young woman who fell from a suspended harness during a Christmas program at a church in Cincinnati last night, who has since passed away. Tragic, and my heart goes out to her family and friends, but national news? You have two news stories coming out of Ohio that, as a national news provider, you can report. Which is really the more newsworthy to a national audience: the director of a state agency resigning after violating the privacy of a citizen who dared to ask a candiate a hard question, or a young woman who had an unusual accident?

Ms. Jones-Kelley does not seem at all chastened, by the way. Fox News reported her reasons for resigning from her released statement, "she won't allow her reputation to be disparaged and that she is concerned for her family's safety."

I have two questions. What about Mr. Wurzelbacher's reputation? And the job safety of the woman who reported the invasion?