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Bloggingheads
05-12-2008, 10:52 PM

David Thomson
05-12-2008, 11:46 PM
Megan MCArdle should give herself more credit. She has existentially opted to choose a more self self disciplined life than most people. They are essentially lazy---and not willing to take the extra step to keep their weight down. Does Megan deserve three cheers? Well, she at least deserves two.

razib
05-13-2008, 12:05 AM
two brown dudes in the past few weeks. how about some ladies???

InJapan
05-13-2008, 03:17 AM
On the part about food prices increasing so much, and whether there is a bubble in food prices -

What Mr. Patel is overlooking is that indeed markets can (and do) work in non-linear ways. Looking at the case of meat production, imagine feedlots/ranges as servers serving queues. As more people demand service indeed the availability of meat at the margin is what will drive the price. I'm surprised Megan didn't try to educate Mr. Patel in this area.

Additionally, the price of energy (not just oil, but also coal) has risen considerably, and this also has encouraged the price of fertilizers to increase (which are going up in price on their own due to P and K source competition.)

Thus this problem (of food prices) is not necessarily something can will be successfully resolved by simply changing World Bank or EU/US subsidy policies. OTOH, perhaps higher food prices is exactly what the world needs to stimulate means of increased agricultural production?

Overall - Mr. Patel tends too much, IMO, to reside in the paradox common to many who today are complaining about US aid - namely that the US is simultaneously (1) causing food to be too cheap in certain nations (by sending lots of direct food aid and thus undercutting local farmers), but also (2) causing food prices to be too high (either through grain use for ethanol mandates, or letting "speculators" run the market.) I am always suspicious when an individual wants to argue both sides of this paradox as the result of suspect policies (say in the US.)

Baltimoron
05-13-2008, 07:31 AM
Dani Rodrik argues that rising food prices are helpful to the rural food producers, but not the urban poor consuming the food.

Baltimoron
05-13-2008, 07:44 AM
When Mr. Patel and Ms. McArdle talked about the World Bank program in Zimbabwe, I was reminded of Stiglitz's anecdotes in his book, Globalization and Its Discontents, about Ethiopia and Kenya in the 90s. In both states, governments had devised good programs understanding, that the money would not continue to flow indefinitely, but the IMF wanted the governments to put its money in reserves (American T-bills). Aid donors wanted to see schools and hosptials built.

Bloggin' Noggin
05-13-2008, 09:29 AM
Megan MCArdle should give herself more credit. She has existentially opted to choose a more self self disciplined life than most people. They are essentially lazy---and not willing to take the extra step to keep their weight down. Does Megan deserve three cheers? Well, she at least deserves two.

That's one hypothesis, but what's your evidence? Megan cites anecdotal evidence to the contrary. If it were a big struggle for her, as it appears to be for others, then she might not have the will-power.
There's good evidence that some people are genetically predisposed to alcoholism and others are not. Give some people alcohol and they can take it or leave it -- give it to others and they can't leave it without a major struggle. I see no reason to think that bad genes or bad upbringing or the combination of both couldn't produce a very similar difference among people with respect to food.
I believe in morality and in moral explanations, unlike some others on this discussion board, but that doesn't mean we should be hasty (or dare I say "lazy"?) in our moral explanations and judgments. We ought at least to consider the evidence -- and more radically we should follow the advice of Jesus to remove the beam from our own eye before getting all hot and bothered about the mote in our brother's eye. It's all too easy for us to pervert moral judgment into a weapon for our aggressive instincts. But at the very least, we ought to be objective enough to consider evidence for alternate hypotheses.

Bloggin' Noggin
05-13-2008, 11:10 AM
Terrific interview and discussion.
When Megan talked with that author about slavery, I suspected she hadn't read much of the book, and that that was why she did a bad job. (She jumped right in with objections rather than letting him summarize his case, and the objections didn't seem particularly tailored to the book.)
This time, though she admits she didn't read the book, she did an excellent job. Maybe she should always come to her interviews entirely cold -- this interview was terrific and her objections and questions were excellent as well.

bjkeefe
05-13-2008, 11:27 AM
I'll second BN: this was a thoroughly enjoyable and instructive diavlog.

berger
05-13-2008, 11:41 AM
I don't see any consistency in Megan's position. On the one hand, she admits that many people just don't have any substantial volitional capacity when it comes to food. On the other hand, she objects to any government intrusion into the "autonomy" of these people. How does this make any sense? Why should we safeguard something that doesn't seem to exist?

graz
05-13-2008, 12:12 PM
I believe in morality and in moral explanations, unlike some others on this discussion board, but that doesn't mean we should be hasty (or dare I say "lazy"?) in our moral explanations and judgments. We ought at least to consider the evidence -- and more radically we should follow the advice of Jesus to remove the beam from our own eye before getting all hot and bothered about the mote in our brother's eye. It's all too easy for us to pervert moral judgment into a weapon for our aggressive instincts. But at the very least, we ought to be objective enough to consider evidence for alternate hypotheses.

Words to live by.
The radical suggestion seems particularly apt as a guide to approaching commenting or responding on this forum. For me at least.
But about those aggressive instincts... how to tamp them down?
You have provided sage advice for consideration. Now to implementing the ideal.
Do you have any resource info for mote or beam removal?

Bloggin' Noggin
05-13-2008, 12:21 PM
I don't see any consistency in Megan's position. On the one hand, she admits that many people just don't have any substantial volitional capacity when it comes to food. On the other hand, she objects to any government intrusion into the "autonomy" of these people. How does this make any sense? Why should we safeguard something that doesn't seem to exist?

That's a good point. I'm sympathetic to your point that, ideally at least, we, as voters, can use laws, including tax laws, to bind ourselves to act more rationally -- the clearest case would be if the electorate unanimously agreed to outlaw or tax cigarettes or junk food more heavily.
I think Megan would point out though that these decisions are hardly unanimous. It might be very easy for people who don't smoke or don't eat fast food to bind everyone, not just themselves, not to smoke or eat fast food. If they are in the majority, they can get the law passed, but if smokers nearly all vote against and non-smokers nearly all vote for the law, it looks a lot less like self-binding than like paternalism.
Perhaps it's true that smokers and fast-food eaters are not acting autonomously, but who is a better judge of that -- the individual or the majority who just don't happen to share the taste in question? (Once upon a time, homosexuality would have been regarded as a sort of perverse "addiction" -- something that obviously no autonomous person would freely engage in. A vast majority would have regarded this as obvious, partly on the basis that they had no desire to engage in it themselves.)

Smoking is actually a case where a pretty clear scientific case can be made (and I think a lot of smokers would themselves vote for smoking bans or taxes, if not to save themselves, then to save potential future smokers). Food is a bit different. We all like to eat unhealthy things occasionally, and so long as we can be moderate, there's no harm in that. I think Megan's argument would be that the law is a pretty blunt instrument and that we should generally assume that the individual is a better judge of his own interests than the majority (or the majority of voters).

graz
05-13-2008, 02:52 PM
A question for anyone who heard qualified agreement at about the 1:22 mark, Raj called for empowering all poor people around the world, to enable them to make smart choices.
Megan's observations were particular to her U.S. experience. The question I was left with is did Raj put forth a credible plan or idea as to how to implement a global initiative that would fit such divergent cases as x, y or z African nation as compared to Appalachia or inner-city U.S.A.?

Bloggin' Noggin
05-13-2008, 03:07 PM
Words to live by.

Do you have any resource info for mote or beam removal?

Wish I did -- then maybe I could use it myself.

Wonderment
05-13-2008, 03:24 PM
California voted on a ballot initiative in 2006 designed to impose an additional $2.60 per pack tax on cigarettes. The money was to go for "hospital emergency services, nursing education, health insurance to eligible children, tobacco use prevention programs, enforcement of tobacco-related laws, and research, prevention, and treatment of various conditions."

The tobacco industry invested a fortune in advertising to defeat the measure, it lost handily and the ERs and nursing programs are on life support.

This was a very tough vote for me, especially since I have a daughter who smokes and has low earnings.

My concern was the one expressed in the dialogue: a tax on tobacco was a tax on the poor (who now vastly outsmoke the middle class).

I ended up voting against the measure, but I haven't really resolved the moral dilemma and I have serious second thoughts about my decision. (Most people who voted against were not against the principle; they just thought $2.60 was too onerous.)

I do believe in the principle of the state providing healthy behavior incentives and disincentives (short of incarceration), especially when the science is very solidly established that the substance/activity is proven to be highly addictive, like heroin, gambling and nicotine. I agree with BNoggin that food is very different, and it's ridiculous to compare Chitos to heroin.

What worries me most is when the state promotes addictive behavior or permits deceptive advertising to exploit children and addicts. Lotteries are a tax on the poor, for example.

I use my college education to avoid playing the lottery. That is, I know enough about probability to properly assess my odds of winning. Most poor people who play, however, have no understanding of the math and believe in lucky numbers. The state seems to be deliberately exploiting their ignorance.

I like the libertarian position of de-criminalizing drugs, alcohol, gambling, prostitution, porn and obesity-inducing foods, but I want a lot of regulation and I want minors protected.

graz
05-13-2008, 03:28 PM
Thanks to Ezra for prescience.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bcwKBEQCk3Y&eurl=http://www.prospect.org/csnc/blogs/ezraklein
* Ezra included a disclaimer as to juvenile or offensive.

Wonderment
05-13-2008, 03:37 PM
But about those aggressive instincts... how to tamp them down?
You have provided sage advice for consideration. Now to implementing the ideal. Do you have any resource info for mote or beam removal?

Just when you feel that gotcha adrenaline rush and feverishly compose your witty reply to the person who most outrages you on the forum, pause before you click, open a bag of Fritos, wash a bunch down with a super jumbo Coke, light up a cigarette and slowly chant Om, Shanti, Shanti, Shanti.

graz
05-13-2008, 03:58 PM
I'll give the "pause before you click" part a try. Seems most cost effective.

But if I refrain from your other prescriptions, then I won't be spreading my surplus refund around for the greater good.

Remember: fight terrorism - large or small scale (personal animosity), with consuming.

Lautreamont
05-13-2008, 04:25 PM
Raj Patel has written the most comprehensive and current book on the world food crisis. There are solutions to the problems we face and there are alternatives for the countries that serve as a western food source, although they are considerably more complex than just shopping at Whole Foods. I can't recommend Stuffed and Starved enough. His website is also worth checking out, http://stuffedandstarved.org/drupal/frontpage.

Thus Spoke Elvis
05-13-2008, 05:22 PM
I try to read Maldoror every spring.

Sgt Schultz
05-13-2008, 05:48 PM
Where is the actual evidence that a fat corpse has cost the state more by dying x years earlier than the skinny corpse. Both dead, no?
Is medical care at the end of life somehow automagically cheaper per pound/kilo? A fatty succumbing to cardiac arrest while perusing the dessert cart is pretty cheap to the bureaucrats, yes? Diabetes treatment is exactly how much more (or less) costly than the fees for the oncologists who swarm about the skinny folk with lingering cancers?
And while we are doing the math, don't dead fat people fail to cash their social security checks. For, like, ever?

AemJeff
05-13-2008, 09:02 PM
Where is the actual evidence that a fat corpse has cost the state more by dying x years earlier than the skinny corpse. Both dead, no?
Is medical care at the end of life somehow automagically cheaper per pound/kilo? A fatty succumbing to cardiac arrest while perusing the dessert cart is pretty cheap to the bureaucrats, yes? Diabetes treatment is exactly how much more (or less) costly than the fees for the oncologists who swarm about the skinny folk with lingering cancers?
And while we are doing the math, don't dead fat people fail to cash their social security checks. For, like, ever?

I can't vouch for the statistics, but I can say this: In the two years following my (emergency room) diagnosis of adult onset diabetes my medical bills (before whatever the insurance companies inevitably negotiated them down to) were on the order of two-hundred and fifty thousand dollars. Diabetes is incredibly expensive to treat. The right question probably isn't whether cancer treatments are more expensive, but whether more people will succumb to one or the other. That's a hard question to answer. I'd say categorically that it's better to die at eighty-five of cancer than at fifty of diabetic related cardiac problems.

themightypuck
05-14-2008, 01:13 AM
I thought it was a nice discussion. If I was forced to pick a winner I'd pick Patel, although they really weren't playing that sort of game. I will say that we need a diavolog on utilitarianism in the near future.

Cain
05-14-2008, 04:09 AM
First on the analog to smoking. McArdle makes the common claim that she was a heavy smoker and quit without great, great difficulty. People are different. Tobacco companies used to trot out old ladies who were in their late 90s and claimed the secret to longevity was drinking, smoking and cussing. I exaggerate a little. Attributing cause of death to cigarettes is murky business; heart disease is not like getting hit by a bus.

In addition to Berger's sharp observation... On the one hand, she admits that many people just don't have any substantial volitional capacity when it comes to food. On the other hand, she objects to any government intrusion into the "autonomy" of these people. How does this make any sense? Why should we safeguard something that doesn't seem to exist?

I will add that our choices do not exist in a vacuum. Junk food advertising is ubiquitous, much of it aimed at children and young people in their formative years. Moreover, these advertisements do not appeal to our sense of reason, our rational side, but rather the beast within the person. We can follow in Sweden's footsteps and begin by banning advertising to children.

The most common argument for a junk food tax is that we the public are paying for your health-care, so it makes sense for us to tax/create a disincentive for unhealthy/costly activity. McArdle and other conservatives/libertarians counter this by saying the government should not be involved in health-care at all; two wrongs do not make a right. I watched this earlier today, so I might be mistaken on the exact context, but I recall McArdle basically viewing a tax as only a deterrent. Well, obviously we can also look at it as a citizen paying her dues, internalizing negative behavior (whether or not that tax revenue specifically goes to health care or not).

bjkeefe
05-14-2008, 06:17 AM
Cain:

The most common argument for a junk food tax is that we the public are paying for your health-care ...

This has some appeal to me, but the more I think about it, the more I think we don't need to go quite that far into nanny-statism. It seems to me that the argument currently offered for instituting a national health care plan, besides the concern for the uninsured, is that in the long run, it will reduce costs overall. Certainly a lot of big businesses make this argument, in addition to the usual suspects on the left. This argument is made without an appeal to changing people's habits. It assumes the status quo -- that we are a bunch of Dorito-eating, soda-quaffing, cigarette-smoking slugs, when making the savings argument.

Rather than adding taxes to junk food, I'd rather see increased education and more support for getting better grocery options back into poor neighborhoods. Despite Megan's momentary slip into her old bad habit of mistaking her life experience for everyone else's -- "Well, this problem seems better to me, based on the one grocery store I go to" -- there is no doubt that it's a lot easier to buy junk food than it is to buy fresh fruit and vegetables for a whole lot of people, especially when you factor in lack of transportation. I've lived in about twenty different places since I left my parents' house, and I can't think of one where the grocery store was closer than a convenience store.

Whatfur
05-14-2008, 09:29 AM
Interesting diavlog and I appreciate what Raj had to say and the topics discussed have been of interest to me since reading Ishmael 15 odd years ago. However, once again a B Head loses credibiliy in other arguments by spouting anti-American/anti-Bush headlines from foreign newspapers as springboards to talking points. Of course then when I hear Raj point fingers at Bush supposedly blaming India for the food crisis, a flag was raised and I had to go find exactly what was said... And yes in the process discovered numerous headlines parrotting Raj while the actual comments seem to me to be more example... than finger pointing or blaming.

President Bush:

"...the more prosperous the world is, the more opportunity there is," he said commenting on the economy during a visit Friday to World Wide Technology, Inc. in Maryland Heights, Missouri. "It also, however, increases demand."

"So, for example, just as an interesting thought for you, there are 350 million people in India who are classified as middle class. That's bigger than America. Their middle class is larger than our entire population.

"And when you start getting wealth, you start demanding better nutrition and better food. And so demand is high, and that causes the price to go up,"

(and my extractions here are direct without ommission from "The Economic Times" in case people think I am creating a context different than the negative story and headline they ran with)

So Raj, are the 350 million in the middle class of India not demanding better nutrition, and better food? And although none of the articles I found include it, I understand the the response was prompted by a question "blaming" the U.S. demand for the food woes. Is it unthinkable the we or our President might point out that we are not the only contributers to the problem? Then again, I wonder how many of those 350 million became part of the middle class ON the backs of the USA...maybe their contribution to the problem CAN be lumped in with ours.

In any case, sometimes when I hear statements like this made, I want to deport every H1 Visa holder, and foreign student visa holder, (and Visa holding teachers) while creating the exact same tariffs on foreign goods as they do ours ...and for that matter (something that will make some happy here) pull ALL our troops out of foreign entanglements, and have the US live in isolationist, self-subsistance for awhile and just see how things in this world play out. Foreigners, and many here, seem to be ignorant of the fact that America's agriculture (and most everything else) did not just instantly appear, but was created and developed on the backs of the individual (foreign and domestic) ...with hard work and hard times (including starvation)...within a capitalistic economy that rewarded (rewards) the work,...and not on the backs of ADM's of the world. People like Raj, and most commenters I saw while researching the article above seem to have this view of the USA as something trying to push others down when in fact NO country has done more to lift others up. (Are you listening Michelle Obama?)

Other than that...although I would really like to hear how she can continue to support Obama who would seem to me to be almost the anti-libertarian...Megan once again impresses with her breadth of knowledge.

bjkeefe
05-14-2008, 10:19 AM
Pot, meet kettle.

... However, once again a B Head loses credibiliy in other arguments by spouting anti-American/anti-Bush headlines ...

... (Are you listening Michelle Obama?) ...

Whatfur
05-14-2008, 11:22 AM
Pot, meet kettle.

Oh so that 70 minute diatribe by MO you commented on the other day is a headline in your mind. (Which of course did not include a couple other of her speeches where she also paints a disparaging portrait of HER skewed, outdated perception of America(views "outdated"... according to her husband when it suited him) ...that country without hope)

...I would have linked to it again, and thought about it, but didn't want you then to disparage my post for duplicating previous links. Its rather difficult to keep up with all of the idiosyncrasies you later flip-flop on when it suits you.

In any case, except for the 4 word aside you chose to "headline", I will just assume you were in full agreement with the other 500 or so words.

bjkeefe
05-14-2008, 11:57 AM
Whatfur:

In any case, except for the 4 word aside you chose to "headline", I will just assume you were in full agreement with the other 500 or so words.

Not necessarily, but I'll tell you the real problem: Just as you accused Raj of undercutting his argument's credibility by mixing in a cheap aside, so did you. It made most of what you had to say disappear when I came upon the needless swipe at Michelle Obama. I thought about re-reading it, but then I figured, "What's the use? When he's able to get through a few comments without venting the sort of cretinous bile that I associate with the stereotypical wingnut, then I'll consider what he has to say and maybe make an effort to respond."

If you want to bash the Obamas with your every comment, that's your right. If you like venting and dishing insults with every post, just to amuse yourself, that's also your right. But if you want to engage in discussion and debate on any of the myriad of other topics that get raised on this site, you'd do better to apply a little filtering and stay on topic.

This board has a shortage of people who are both conservative and able to engage in intelligent debate. It seems to me that kidneystones and David Thomson more than sufficiently represent the foaming-at-the-mouth point of view, and I keep hoping you'll be something else. I like to discuss topics with people who see things differently, but not at the cost of having sieve out the good stuff from the childishness.

Whatfur
05-14-2008, 12:44 PM
Sorry Brendan, but I do not think I will ever be able to "sufficiently represent" anything positive to your evidently high standards if one (timely and appropriately analagous) statement of "Are you listening Michelle Obama?" is viewed as "cretinous bile", "bashing", "venting", "dishing", and the "foaming-at-the_mouth" comments of a "stereotypical wingnut". Are you kidding me... I find that a bit over the top...but maybe thats just me.

I am also sorry that you don't see that the liberal side here usually are the first to make it personal and nasty. Granted I throw it back when they do...but not until they do.

bjkeefe
05-14-2008, 01:20 PM
Sorry Brendan, but I do not think I will ever be able to "sufficiently represent" anything positive to your evidently high standards ...

You have quoted me out of context. The sentence from which you drew my words was this:

It seems to me that kidneystones and David Thomson more than sufficiently represent the foaming-at-the-mouth point of view, and I keep hoping you'll be something else.

Back to your words:

... if one (timely and appropriately analagous) statement of "Are you listening Michelle Obama?" is viewed as "cretinous bile", "bashing", "venting", "dishing", and the "foaming-at-the_mouth" comments of a "stereotypical wingnut".

I did not feel the reference to Michelle Obama had anything to do with the rest of your post. I think you were reminded of your view of her by what you had just typed, and so it seemed analogous to you, but I thought it distracted from your main argument.

You're right that not all of those adjectives applied to that one post of yours. I was generalizing -- referring to your tone in most of your other posts, because I was trying to point out a pattern that I see.

I am also sorry that you don't see that the liberal side here usually are the first to make it personal and nasty. Granted I throw it back when they do...but not until they do.

Obviously, we're never going to agree on this.

I also think it's a mistake to say that what might be true for some is not necessarily true for all. I may have slipped up a few times, but I honestly believe that I don't in general start out a thread, or post an initial response, that is personal or nasty. I think you come here with a bit of a chip on your shoulder, ready to do battle with "the left," and you let a comment by brucds, say, stand in for every liberal who posts here.

Whatfur
05-14-2008, 02:43 PM
Ummm...pretty hard to quote someone out of context when the original is displayed on the same screen but yes my quoting "sufficiently represent" was not meant to be contextual as much as it was duplication of the same vernacular.

And concerning:

"I did not feel the reference to Michelle Obama had anything to do with the rest of your post. I think you were reminded of your view of her by what you had just typed, and so it seemed analogous to you"

Yes, that WAS obviously where it came from and where I meant it to come from and if you let it "distract" you from the other 99% of the post well ...there is nothing I can do about that. Many very good writers/speakers (actually all) will inject little analogies at times to expound on a point if not to explain one.

Lastly, (and once again) the "pattern" I think you see is different than the ones actually documented in every diavlog I have been in. If you honestly looked for a pattern you would find that like many, including yourself above, I may make a statement or observation in an initial post that applies in general (and in my opinion) to liberals in this country and/or liberal contributers here...and then an individual projects what I say on themselves as an individual and responds with a nasty retort on me...as an individual. Sorry, but I cannot be held responsible for someone projecting a generality on themselves (just because they may feel that I actually hit the nail on the(ir)head )

We can be done...or feel free to take the last run.

bjkeefe
05-14-2008, 03:09 PM
We can be done...or feel free to take the last run.

Nope. I've had my say on this. Thanks for listening.

handle
05-14-2008, 04:50 PM
Come on! you've got to give whutfur credit, he didn't make any Rev. Wright references! I think he gets paid extra for those!
Excellent restraint whatfur, but your pro Bush agenda is still very transparent in your suddenly psuedo-intellectually mired posts.
I hope you ARE getting paid, because the Bush fascism is almost completely without support of any kind. whoops! I forgot to look up some big words in my thesaurus, I guess you win again!
I still want to join the Bushie pay for posts crusade. Why can't you hook me up?
I wannabe an angry Pub earning over 100K grousing about taxes while sipping GT's at the 19th hole...

piscivorous
05-14-2008, 05:02 PM
"I wannabe an angry Pub earning over 100K grousing about taxes while sipping GT's at the 19th hole..." Sounds more like a significant portion of Senator Obama's voting demographic.

handle
05-14-2008, 05:16 PM
"I wannabe an angry Pub earning over 100K grousing about taxes while sipping GT's at the 19th hole..." Sounds more like a significant portion of Senator Obama's voting demographic.

Pub is short for Republican.. Who are the only ones buying the "elitist" sticker,
and only because they know it's redneck code for u__ty. A concept that makes me sick.
I grew up in s__t kicker town and I know how it works. That's why I fear the
the belief in the overnight transcendence of race in this country. I was
chastised for minor philosophical differences, I can't begin to imagine what it is
like to be someone they can see as different from blocks away.

PS Keep beating that drum and you will be beaten. And not by "elitists", that's for sure.

Whatfur
05-14-2008, 05:22 PM
GetAGrip or Handle,

First, I actually could be found defending Clinton against the railings of foreign newspapers and foreigners (when they were wrong) a decade ago. Not a Bush apologist, just a proud American. You ought to try it sometime.

Secondly, better an intellectual, or even a "pseudo" one, ...than what some others here obviously display.

handle
05-14-2008, 05:34 PM
Typical Fox news addict, what the hell makes you think I'm not proud to be an American, even when you are promoting an ideology my father and his peers fought a great war to rid the world of, while preserving your right to promote it?

I know the bushies refuse accountability, but I gotta says three cheers for the last 8 years. You still don't believe it, but history is going to stick you with all of it. After all, who's watch was it anyway.
Here' your big "blame Clinton" opportunity.
What about my job? I know all the rhetoric by heart!

AemJeff
05-14-2008, 05:43 PM
Typical Fox news addict, what the hell makes you think I'm not proud to be an American, even when you are promoting an ideology my father and his peers fought a great war to rid the world of, while preserving your right to promote it?

Please don't Godwin the Whatfur!

handle
05-14-2008, 05:47 PM
Oh yea,
George W. Bush: "What an impressive crowd: the haves, and the have-mores. Some people call you the elite, I call you my base."

handle
05-14-2008, 05:53 PM
Please don't Godwin the Whatfur!

Sorry, but he O'rielly'd me first!
I just get a little miffed over those that can blindly defend the incompetence of the current administration.

handle
05-14-2008, 06:01 PM
AND he made fun of my handle, at least I know whatitsfur!

Whatfur
05-14-2008, 06:19 PM
First, concerning...
"Typical Fox news addict, what the hell makes you think I'm not proud to be an American"

Oh, pardon me, I guess only big, tough "shit kickers" like you are allowed to jump to conclusions.

Second concerning...
"...even when you are promoting an ideology my father and his peers fought a great war to rid the world of, while preserving your right to promote it?"

Ummm...actually "the great war" generally refers to WWI. Is that what you meant? In any case your, statement makes very little sense. Why would anyone have to preserve my right to promote it? Sorry, summoned all of my pseudo-intellectual powers and it still didn't make any sense.

But assuming you actually did mean WWI then that puts you most likely over 70 years old and you won't be around to see what becomes of the Bush and Clinton legacy. If I were to guess though, Bush will be much like Truman and Clinton will be much like Millard Fillmore.

handle
05-14-2008, 06:35 PM
[I]
Oh, pardon me, I guess only big, tough "shit kickers" like you are allowed to jump to conclusions.
You need to read more carefully I said I grew up in s__t kicker town I didn't say I was one.
Maybe you feel like I am one when I respond to your posts... but alas, this is too easy to fall into that classification.

"a great war" is not the same phrase as "the great war" and even a faux-intellectual such as yourself, should be able to see that this negates the
rest of your faux-confusion.

handle
05-14-2008, 07:32 PM
If I were to guess though, Bush will be much like Truman and Clinton will be much like Millard Fillmore.

I just wanted to make sure everyone saw this. I missed it the first time.
I have to apologize, I had no idea what I was dealing with.
"The buck stops here"... H.S. Truman. THAT is called ACCOUNTABILITY.
I am appalled. I quit.
I can no longer rationalize responding to anyone who would soil this great man's name, by comparing him to the worst leader (AND BIGGEST BUCK PASSER) this country has ever known (Dick Cheney via Bush).

PARTING THOUGHT: Is there going to be rehab for ditto heads after Nov. '08?

Whatfur
05-14-2008, 08:09 PM
You need to read more carefully I said I grew up in s__t kicker town I didn't say I was one.
Maybe you feel like I am one when I respond to your posts... but alas, this is too easy to fall into that classification.

"a great war" is not the same phrase as "the great war" and even a faux-intellectual such as yourself, should be able to see that this negates the
rest of your faux-confusion.

Pretty funny stuff.

Just wondering...is it difficult to back-peddle while wearing shit kickers?

Whatfur
05-14-2008, 08:12 PM
PARTING THOUGHT: Is there going to be rehab for ditto heads after Nov. '08?


I guess a parting thought is probably a good idea.

Just wondering. Is it difficult to run away in shit kickers?

handle
05-14-2008, 08:37 PM
I guess a parting thought is probably a good idea.

Just wondering. Is it difficult to run away in shit kickers?

I know I said I was done, but it just occurred to me that this is the unintentional Bush strategy in a nutshell. They win, not through intimidation, but through delusional argument that is so nauseating to any rational human, that further discussion might seem medically ill advised. Leaving otherwise stellar journalists speechless. For example:
1.The occupation is not a bad idea, you just want to cut and run.
2.The President hit his head while choking on a pretzel.
3. I found a bug in my office.
Have we been in a cult for the last two terms?
Sorry, I have to entertain my paranoid side once in a while, I think it's funny.

Note to self: Avoid the Koolaid
Note to whatfur: Alcohol kills brain cells.

Whatfur
05-14-2008, 09:01 PM
Brendan,

I hope you are taking notes here as Mr. Handle serves as just another example of what I was trying to explain to you. Read things from his first post. Yes, I take him to the wood shed after trying to actually engage him a bit and explain where I am coming from but as he cannot keep up so he tries to make it sound like now I was the one who started down the path of insult and delusional arguments.

Thanks handle! Very nice... and to finish with whats almost a conspiracy theory of orchestrated methodology...outstanding!!

bjkeefe
05-14-2008, 11:37 PM
Whatfur:

Brendan,

I hope you are taking notes here ...

No need. I know both sides of this script by heart.

I would say only that you probably don't need to engage everyone who tries to start something.

Whatfur
05-15-2008, 08:55 AM
I would like to echo a couple thoughts here. First having been a smoker, I can tell you that it would not have mattered how much they cost I would have found a way to pay for them. Having a cold with bronchitis symptoms for about 2 months was the kicker for me. Now going on 15 years, my lungs are back and I have not had a cold in a decade. (Now I do indulge in a Rocky Patel Maduro every once in awhile...but like Clinton, don't inhale)

Coincidently, I met the fetching MissFur while working in the same building as her. I used to see her running the stairwells with a male friend afterhours as I was leaving after another 12 hour day. They generally ran with a boom box blasting and I periodically would chat them up if I caught them catching their breath. Over the months she would often times suggest that I join them for their runs and her male friend would echo the suggestion... with less enthusiam. ;o) I had not done much in the way of aerobic anything for awhile at that point but had spent most my life persuing things athletic so after spending too many nights putting myself to sleep thinking of running behind her up those stairs (cough cough) I showed up one evening with my gym bag and an Outlaws (Green Grass and High Tides) CD. Well...much to both of their disappointment...It took me about a half dozen runs before I started beating them both...with the kicker being ...it used to thoroughly piss them off when I would pull a pack of Marlboros out of my bag and fire it up when we were done and cooling off outside the building.

The point being, cigarettes and food are pretty thoroughly trumped by genetics. My grandfather died of lung cancer...at 95 (2 packs of Pall Mall straights for like 80 years). My wife who although not a vegetarian eats extremely healthy (no fried foods etc.) and keeps herself slim and in shape, but just had her cholesterol and sugers checked and it came back horrible. Myself, on the otherhand, although once a vegetarian, eat horribly ...will take a plate of "american" fries over a fruit plate most every time...and I too just had a cholesteral and sugar check and I am perfect. "What are the odds"

Although those advocating taxing food and putting the health cost burden on the junk food eaters and cigarette smokers, ...hopefully well intentioned...I believe are misdirected. Am I advocating taxing people based on their genetics? NO, I advocate for NO tax. However, let me tell you that these same people pushing these taxes will be pushing for taxes based on your genes in the future. That is scary chit.

Lastly, the echo here is that I am so tired of the Government telling "the people" (i.e. El Gente) what to do or not do thereby legislating choice and in some cases common sense under the guise of protecting us from ourselves.

AemJeff
05-15-2008, 09:21 AM
The point being, cigarettes and food are pretty thoroughly trumped by genetics.

I think you're overstressing this point. There's a pretty complex relationship, sure; but the folks who see ninety-five, after a long life of enjoying countless Pall-Malls are statistical outliers, don't you think? There are multiple factors, and you can't ever predict outcomes for individuals, but the trends in significantly scaled populations aren't ambiguous at all.

Whatfur
05-15-2008, 09:49 AM
Actually, I don't think I am. I remember reading some study years ago concerning just that concept and it pretty much showed that medically speaking (as opposed to getting killed in a car accident or something) one can pretty much predict the length of ones life using stats compiled on their birth day. (Sorry I do not remember the source...I just used to quote it years ago...along with my Grandfather's story when people used to give me a hard time about my smoking). Now this may not be good news for some of you...and I would guess its those people who might argue strongest against this point.

Similarily, during my physical last month, when the Dr. was sending me down for my cholesterol blood work I mentioned not expecting the best results based on my wife's recent numbers and the differences in our eating habits. He was the one who countered the thought with.."Well...truth be known... cholesterol numbers are generally better than 90% hereditary.". He did add that "living right" can be beneficial but "unfortunately only slightly". I did not ask him what he was basing his opinion on, but I would bet the statistics are out there somewhere if one wanted to study it.

AemJeff
05-15-2008, 10:01 AM
Regarding cholesterol, I have no doubt that you're right. The one thing that does work is drug therapy - statin drugs plus niacin will push your numbers dramatically in the right direction. On the larger point, I'll dig around to see if I can find some meta-study data for the specific smoking v. cancer relationship.

Whatfur
05-15-2008, 10:13 AM
Oh, don't bother, and don't get me wrong. I do not doubt correlation between smoking and lung cancer and I do not doubt that some peoples lives are shortened by smoking...and there is very little doubt that EVERY smoker's quality of life is lessened and that they most definately are cause for some increased medical costs.

I guess I am trying to say the you could take two people, say My Grandfather, and MissFur's father and have them smoke 2 packs of Pall Malls every day and because of their genetic make up. My Grandfather lives to be 95 and spends 2 weeks his whole life in the hospital and her father dies at 48 and spends his last 2 years being treated...yet both are to be taxed similarly?? Or kind of the same, I can eat at McDonalds every day while my wife eats a spinich salad with No-fat dressing and given what I have already said...I am to pay more for my burger???

Oh and its not just cholesterol...its high blood pressure...its cancer...its arthritis...its..its...its..heredity.

bjkeefe
05-15-2008, 12:59 PM
Whatfur:

There is no doubt that cigarette smoking causes a statistically significant increase in risk of getting lung cancer. I grant that it is not an absolute sure thing, in that not everyone who smokes will get cancer -- and there may well be a genetic component at work as well -- but there is more than just a correlation. This one is settled.

See, for example, here (http://www.lungusa.org/site/pp.asp?c=dvLUK9O0E&b=35427), here (http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/sgr/sgr_2004/highlights/2.htm), and here (http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?sec=health&res=9C00E6DD1031F93BA25753C1A960958260).

(By the way, I'm a smoker, so it's not like I'm being the stereotypical health-nut nanny-state liberal on this one.)

P.S. Sorry, AemJeff, for jumping in if you are out searching for links at this moment.

Whatfur
05-15-2008, 01:42 PM
Whatfur:

There is no doubt that cigarette smoking causes a statistically significant increase in risk of getting lung cancer. I grant that it is not an absolute sure thing, in that not everyone who smokes will get cancer -- and there may well be a genetic component at work as well -- but there is more than just a correlation. This one is settled.
...


Not sure what "more than just a correlation" means exactly, but I guess I was not quick enough in response to Jeff as you have no argument with me in this regard.

My argument was is more in the line of ...not every cigarette smoker gets lung cancer and not every cigarette smoker who does achieves it in the same manner and at the same pace. And why is that? That is probably just as obvious.

With that said, you need to quit. Right now, take as deep a breath as you can through your nose...quit smoking and it will be twice as deep and ...
.
.


you won't cough at the end.

Oh and I understand Obama smokes up a storm...which is why instead of donating to his compaign I think everyone should by him a carton of cigs...I'm kidding....I'm kidding.

handle
05-15-2008, 01:51 PM
this is the unintentional Bush strategy in a nutshell.
conspiracy implies intent, premeditation, and organized planning. I would Never accuse the Bush administration of that!

Whatfur: I'm sorry you don't understand my sense of humor. I have been waiting many years for you and your kind to go out of style, and I am just a little giddy. The attempt to rule by corporation is faltering, and I am healing by making it into a very dark and marginally humorous joke.This would be a very good time for you to transcend your anger, because the road, for you, looks a little rocky.

I must apologize to all the other, more civil posters. Picking on the corporate water boy was cheap and too easy. I will refrain in the future. Perhaps I will
use the same restraint and class that GW showed today, in staying out of the presidential electoral discourse. (sorry, I made myself laugh, anyway!)

bjkeefe: this is a moot point but FYI, whutfur has been on my list since he jumped into a Hill vs. Obama debate with a smirking and insulting attitude, and I can only hope to stand in his shadow in that regard.
He actually coined the phrase "urinate in your arugula", so I naturally couldn't wait to see what he was gonna do next! you think my sense of humor is bad...

AemJeff
05-15-2008, 02:04 PM
P.S. Sorry, AemJeff, for jumping in if you are out searching for links at this moment.

De nada, Brendan - I'm glad you found the links.

bjkeefe
05-15-2008, 02:21 PM
Whatfur:

Not sure what "more than just a correlation" means exactly ...

I was thinking of the classic line, "correlation does not imply causation." You acknowledged a correlation; I mean by "more than" that there was an undeniable causal link, at least in the statistical sense.

We're agreed on these facts: not everyone who smokes gets lung cancer, not everyone who gets lung cancer was a smoker, and lung cancer can present over a wide range of ages and after a wide range of behaviors.

And why is that? That is probably just as obvious.

I don't know if I completely agree that it's obvious. I think (not that I'm completely up to speed on this) that the evidence for a genetic component is strong, but doesn't tell the whole story. I think there may be other factors at play -- the trigger for starting the cancer may be inherently probabilistic at the cellular level, or may at least appear that way until we understand the cell mechanisms better.

With that said, you need to quit.

Now who's being a nanny-stater? ;^)

I have in the past, twice, once for about two years and once for about five. I may again. But I don't have a compelling reason to, at the moment.

Oh and I understand Obama smokes up a storm...

Another thing that makes me like him. Reminds me, once again, of Jed Bartlet.

bjkeefe
05-15-2008, 02:26 PM
handle:

bjkeefe: this is a moot point but FYI, whutfur has been on my list since he jumped into a Hill vs. Obama debate ...

Yeah, well, as I said to Whatfur somewhere else, and as I try to remind myself, sometimes even successfully: it's not necessary to engage with every single person who says something obnoxious. I think we all need to back off on the tit-for-tat and the personal insults. It's driving away good commenters and hampering real discussion and debate.

Don't mean to be overly preachy, but that's the way I feel.

handle
05-15-2008, 02:35 PM
handle:



Yeah, well, as I said to Whatfur somewhere else, and as I try to remind myself, sometimes even successfully: it's not necessary to engage with every single person who says something obnoxious. I think we all need to back off on the tit-for-tat and the personal insults. It's driving away good commenters and hampering real discussion and debate.

Don't mean to be overly preachy, but that's the way I feel.

Hence the apology...
Peace out!

bjkeefe
05-15-2008, 02:37 PM
Peace out!

Is that a salutation or an imperative? ;^)

handle
05-15-2008, 03:07 PM
Is that a salutation or an imperative? ;^)

Yes...

Whatfur
05-15-2008, 04:04 PM
Whatfur:
I was thinking of the classic line, "correlation does not imply causation." You acknowledged a correlation; I mean by "more than" that there was an undeniable causal link, at least in the statistical sense.


Got it.


But I don't have a compelling reason to, at the moment.



I thought we were talking about compelling reasons. ;o)

And a little aside and coincidently...I was listening to Dennis Praeger (What were the odds) over lunch and he had on a guy who was a leader in the anti-smoking arena who now is getting beat up by his peers because he is calling them on their overstating the second-hand smoke argument saying that distorting the truth reduces the real arguments. Funny how truth-tellers so often are disparaged when they go against the grain.

bjkeefe
05-15-2008, 04:19 PM
I thought we were talking about compelling reasons. ;o)

Heh.

And a little aside and coincidently...I was listening to Dennis Praeger (What were the odds) over lunch and he had on a guy who was a leader in the anti-smoking arena who now is getting beat up by his peers because he is calling them on their overstating the second-hand smoke argument saying that distorting the truth reduces the real arguments. Funny how truth-tellers so often are disparaged when they go against the grain.

I never knew what to make of those second-hand smoke claims. My position was mostly (even as a smoker): Who cares about possible long term effects? Smoking irritates non-smokers, smoking is not a "right," and so ... don't let people smoke in enclosed places where other people don't want them to. Problem solved.

This breaks down a little bit when you get to the smoking in bars question.

In the abstract, I agree with Praeger's guest: exaggerating claims can be counterproductive for the cause. I get heat from some of my friends when I insist that uncertainties must always be stated when voicing predictions about the long-term consequences of global warming, for example, but I am convinced that trying to sound too sure about all aspects of the problem risks a backlash if some piece is shown to be wrong. I am reminded of how much the debunking of the "nuclear winter" scenario hurt the push for arms reduction.

willmybasilgrow
05-18-2008, 08:04 PM
In minute 85 they seemed to have forgotten what the topic of the conversation had been for the previous 84 minutes when, in minute 85, they both agreed that the poor deserve to just magically be autonomous and therefore we can forget about a social support network for them. Forgotten was that often it is the poor who pay a price for someone else's wealth, and they are the ones most often exploited and get the short end of the stick. So basically the poor should just allow themselves to be exploited over and over and not expect ANYthing? Not even a crumb from the government? I mean, how to you square exploitation and social programs, or the lack thereof?