Archive | May, 2012

Happy Mothers Day from TIME magazine

13 May

TIME magazine has exhibited to the world that it still exists with its now infamous breast-feeding, attachment parenting cover.

I wanted to resist this story as I saw as just a faux controversy to stir relevance due to the nature of its risque cover image. The modest half of society feels a sense of embarassment that a poorly-partially displayed boob made its way onto a magazine. The unashamed half replies that it’s just a natural scene and nothing that anyone is unaware of. While everyone else in the world, outside of the Middle-East, probably doesn’t even know what’s going on here. I don’t care if a woman wants to strut her stuff on on in a magazine. No argument for controversy there in my mind.

Also I don’t care if you breastfeed, it’s up to you. Your boobs are there for two reasons and that’s one of them.

Attachment parenting is where I have my problem. Surely if TIME didn’t choose this cover, neither I or 98% of other people would even have noticed the article. But they did choose that cover and i’m going to tell you why attachment parenting is a crock.

Like I said go ahead and breastfeed. For anyone who says stop after so many months or by this age, screw off. There is no magic cutoff date, like many things breastfeeding is more like an art, not a science, and therefore it’s all based on perception. But the important point is that you realize you do need a cutoff date, that you can’t just keep going blindly with your tit in your kids mouth til he starts shaving. The longer you wait the harder it gets to quit. No nearly 4-year old kid like the one on TIME’s cover should be suckling on momma like that. It’s time for little Timmy to grow up.

You’re child doesn’t need constant attachment to feel loved, appreciated, or special. You want to form a bond with your child? Great, I don’t suppose you could do that with the remaining 14 years he is legally yours, not to mention that he’s probably gonna be around longer than that anyway.

While it’s easy to point at breastfeeding as the easy target, given its visual nature in this case, letting your child sleep in your bed is the same thing, as is any enabled activity your kid does because “it’s just easier”. All it is, is a lack of fortitude. I don’t want to listen to my kid whine so I let him sleep in my bed, have the snacks he wants, get the toys he wants, and on and on.

This is why I have a 4-year old nephew who won’t sleep unless mom is in his bed. Cause she’s lacks the spine to put him in his bed and make him stay there the whole night. It’s also why he doesn’t nap, no he “rests” while watching a movie. My nephew’s seen so many movies he’s going to put Roger Ebert out of job someday.

Kids are surprisingly easy to handle and here’s the best part, they can do all the work themselves, so the idea that they’re a burden is a joke.

Here’s my amazingly simple child raising rules. (And yes they work).

  • Don’t be a prick. Your kid is not a burden, it’s a kid. Either get on the train or be dragged under the axle. If all you can do is yell and be condescending to your kid, you’ve lost their respect. Would you listen to your boss if they treated you that way? At that point the kid knows he/she’s getting yelled at anyway, might as well do what I want and put a fight to match.
  • A kid’s a kid. All they want to do is play, but they also want to grow up. The coolest thing in the world to a kid is an adult, when a kid spills the orange juice, it’s not cause they’re mischievous, it’s cause they want to do everything adults do and that includes little things like pouring their own juice. But being kids they’re not only still learning how to do things, but they’re generally clumsy as well.
  • Don’t micro-manage. Combine the previous two rules and what do you have? Let your kids do things by themselves. Don’t be surprised when you’re little kid won’t look for his/her shoes when you insist on doing 3/4 of everything the kid needs done. If you’re doing the ass-wiping, pouring ketchup, food cutting, dressing, and juice pouring. Why should your kid pick up the crayons, get a tissue for their snot, take a nap or find their shoes? You don’t have to make your kid do everything for themselves, but give them the chance to try. If we never did anything we weren’t already capable of, I wouldn’t be writing this and you wouldn’t be reading it because we’d both be illiterate.
  • Love your kid. This might seem fairly obvious, but I mean actually love your kid, don’t own them. Your little Jack or Jill is not an accessory. You may be legally responsible for your kid, but that doesn’t mean you love them. Giving your kid a mohawk and a hip name like  Maddox or Niveah so you can be besties isn’t the same as teaching your kid how to turn a wrench or swing a hammer. Instead of turning your kid into a walking marketing ensemble, why not provide them with direction to become a fully-capable genuine human being.

Go ahead and “attach” with your kid. Just don’t be surprised that treating them like babies, makes them act like babies.

 

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Highlander: The History of the Legendary Highland Soldier By Timothy Newark

13 May

Highlander: The History of the Legendary Highland Soldier, by Timothy Newark.

Timothy Newark’s history of the Highland soldier is a well-researched but limited scope book. That the book is a look into the history of the Highland soldier and not the Highland warrior limits the scope of history that it can cover.

The book begins its history around the Jacobite rebellion of 1745 and continues through the modern day. Each chapter presents a different period or war that the Highlanders fought in for the British Empire.

With pride and ferocity on their side the Highlanders earned a sterling reputation around the world expanding and defending the empires territory from France, to South Africa, to India, back to France and more.

The chapters are short and easy to read, each about 11-15 pages. While each chapter has a unique era or event that it focuses on the book itself isn’t overly connected, but this may just be due to its wide historical range.

Over all, Newarks effort at a Highland soldiers history is a good starting point for those seeking more knowledge but don’t want to commit to such a large affair without learning some basics first.

We can’t turn back now, we’ve come so far

11 May

The LA Times has an article from yesterday evening that neatly summarizes the latest spending cut drama in the House of Representatives. (I like their version for it’s clear lack of liberal bias)

Basically as it stands now, the situation is exactly the same as it has been since the issue came up last summer. Republicans want to cut the budget to domestic programs and not just defense. Democrats want to balance the budget on defense alone and raising taxes. With nearly a year to come up with a solution isn’t it nice to have the confidence in our elected leaders to know they can come up with on a solution. When your bi-partisanly acceptable plan (Bowles-Simpson) is rejected, you know it’s time to lock everyone in the room till they come up with a solution.

And for what, so we can cut a few measly hundred billion out of our $3.8 trillion dollar annual budget?

Justin Bieber! Noooooo!!!!

With nothing more than my under-utilized intellect, other peoples research, and a sense of responsibility I’ve developed a federal debt reduction program of my own, based on the budget figures from the 2011 calender year, since that is the most recent complete data.

In 2011 the United States federal government took in $2.469 billion in taxes, so let’s round up and call it $2.5b.

However budget expenses for the same period totaled $3.796 billion, rounding up to $3.8b.

This created around $1.3 billion dollars in federal debt for last year alone, for a total debt figure that currently sits at $15.7 billion and counting.

Doing the math we see that 2.5 ÷ 3.8 = .65 or 65 percent. So the federal government only brought in enough money to cover 65% of its expenses, and consequently borrowed the other 35%.

Using what I like to call, “common sense”, my proposal would be to cut the federal budget by 40% across the board and to peg  growth to the rate of inflation. However, I’m not so foolish as to think you can cut 40% in one year and still function without chaos ensuing. Like any good plan, the focus needs to be on long term success and sustainability. Simply changing the data without learning from the experience is useless.

Therefore the proposal is not to cut 40% immediately, but to cut 13.3% per year over the next three years. Since each department is facing cuts, it is those departments who will determine the cuts and not Congress. It’s up to the managers who are supposed to be familiar with the work they do who’ll decide what’s necessary for the job and what isn’t. Everyone takes a haircut, no exceptions, no excuses.

After 3 years, we’ve cut the budget back to black and even given ourselves a small surplus with which we can begin paying down our debts.

Best of all, the plan is completely workable. Not only is a great percentage of government spending wasteful in it’s purchasing of $12 staplers and $9 office snacks, but Americans believe that the federal government wastes 51 cents of every dollar it spends anyway, this from a Gallup poll taken last September.

Finally, it was only in 2005 when the federal budget was $2.472 trillion. I don’t think anyone would suggest that life was simply intolerable a mere seven years ago.

What’s the definition of insanity again?

10 May

Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. That sounds about right.

Robert Barro over at the Wall Street Journal gets it. His opinion piece, Stimulus Spending Keeps Failing, show’s what a disaster these repeated keynesian programs are.

Once a comparatively low public-debt nation, Japan apparently bought the Keynesian message many years ago. The consequence for today is a ratio of government debt to GDP around 210%—the largest in the world.

This vast fiscal expansion didn’t avoid two decades of sluggish GDP growth, which averaged less than 1% per year from 1991 to 2011. No doubt, a committed Keynesian would say that Japanese growth would have been even lower without the extraordinary fiscal stimulus—but a little evidence would be nice.

While the whole article is good in itself and mentions the path’s taken by Germany and Sweden as a successful alternative to the other nations of the Eurozone and the United States. The key point of the article is that keynesian economics simply don’t work.

Nope, not Ben Bernanke, just suburban mom

Why this needs to be explained repeatedly and to almost no effect is the mind-blowing part. When you create a problem by doing one thing, how you can come to reason that doing more of the same thing will solve the problem? You simply can’t spend your way into so much debt as to create a recession and then expect to buy your way out of it.

Do you tell someone with lung disease to switch to unfiltereds? Do you tell someone with diabetes to gorge on Pepsi and Oreos? Do you tell an alcoholic to swim some laps in a vat at the Budweiser brewery? No, No, and No.

Any mildly intelligent person knows that in order to fix a problem you have to first eliminate the cause. Once this is done you create an effective and healthy plan that allows for a smooth transition from the reckless ways of before to a responsible sustainable future. It’s not easy and it’s not automatic, but nothing worth keeping ever is.

UPDATE: Just read a similarly voiced post at rhymes with cars and girls. The use of Fast Times at Ridgemont High metaphor just did it for me.

You know how I know you’re gay…

10 May

Do I care if gays can get married? No, what does that have to do with me? But it matters for a lot of other people and now the President has stated his “evolved” position on the issue. Taking personal opinions out of the issue, let’s look at this from a pure policy point of view. Here’s the video of his answering the question.

So the President has “evolved” his position from just a few years ago and now supports gay marriage, but thinks it’s the states individual right to decide the issue for themselves. Interesting that he takes that position on this issue, but not on things like healthcare or immigration.

This entire to do is another demonstration of this Presidents spineless manner of leadership. If it wasn’t for Vice President Bidens forcing the issue, it would have never come up. For all the gay excitement over his new position they don’t realize he would have never done anything had he not been forced to.

Because of this the gay community shouldn’t get too excited, because as soon as it’s politically expedient, he’ll throw them under the bus, just like he does with everyone else.

My gut feeling is that the President will lose votes on this issue. The gays were already going to vote for him, but now he risks alienating those who would be against this position.

The Presidents biggest problem isn’t that his decisions are polarizing like this, it’s that he’s not a leader. Every time there’s a problem it’s someone else’s fault and his measures just haven’t had enough time to work or Congress won’t let him do what he wants. A real leader doesn’t make excuses, they get results.

The gay marriage issue will polarize some people, but the President still has to run on his accomplishments, of which he has very little. Sadly that still won’t stop millions of people from voting for him.

For an interesting look at this issue, visit gaypatriot.net

I’m not fat, I’m big boned

9 May

Based on a 478-page report by the Institute of Medicine, a high percentage Americans are apparently huge and the problem is only going to get worse. Who knew? I suggest buying shares of motorized scooter manufacturers now, Apple eat your heart out.

Every general news source has an article about the report today, but the narrative is relatively the same throughout. Basically, America’s getting fatter and the communities and schools should do something about it. CBS News has a succinct version.

Here’s the recommendations from the report in the article;

  • School children should get 60 minutes of exercise each day
  • Restaurants should ensure that at least half of kids’ meals comply with federal dietary guidelines, without charging more for the healthier options.
  • Healthier foods should be routinely available everywhere, from shopping malls to sports arenas.
  • More food companies should improve how they market to children.
  • To make physical activity routine, communities should be designed with safe places to walk.
  • Public and private insurers should ensure better access to obesity screening, preventive services and treatments.
  • Employers should expand workplace wellness programs.

This report is a joke. Americans are fat for the same reason the education system is broke, because too few people take any responsibility for own their lives and those of their family. Let’s go down the list one item at a time.

School children should get 60 minutes of exercise each day.
I’m sorry, but why does this even need to be stated? I’m having trouble comprehending the idea that there are kids that aren’t playing each day. As a kid I had an hour of recess everyday, would go to baseball or soccer or whatever other sport 2-3 times per week, and still rode my bike, climbed trees, played street hockey, and more every single day with my friends growing up. Have times changed that much that kids really do just play video games all day? The problem isn’t that kids aren’t playing, it’s that the parents don’t tell them to.

Restaurants should ensure that at least half of kids’ meals comply with federal dietary guidelines, without charging more for the healthier options.
Here’s an idea, you could NOT go out to restaurants. How about you stay home and cook a meal for your family using real food prepared in your kitchen. Sorry Marie Callender. Ensure your kid eats good at home so that when you do go to a restaurant, no more than once a week -(this includes take out too for those of you who need to have it spelled out for you)- you don’t have to worry about what your kid eats and whether they’re going to get diabetes from it.

Healthier foods should be routinely available everywhere, from shopping malls to sports arenas.
Are you could just routinely bring your own food, like apples and bananas and oranges. Why do we need to be constantly stuffing our faces so that there’s food options everywhere. Sure everyone partakes in a snack now and then, I once had an awesome bratwurst in Munich, Germany’s Marienplatz from a cart vendor. It was delicious and at 2 or 3 in the afternoon, not a meal. It was a snack, I did it that day and that was it, but what was once a snack is now a regularly scheduled meal. Instead of 3 meals a day, we now have 4 or 5 for many Americans. Can you really not make it between your fast food lunch at the office to your Van de Kamps frozen fishsticks with mac & cheese for dinner without having a bag of chips and a snickers? If there’s no problem sneaking candy in to the movie theatre, it shouldn’t be a hassle to tote an apple around anywhere else.

More food companies should improve how they market to children.
NO, parents should improve what groceries they buy so their kids aren’t shoveling cheese balls into their mouth like a whale going after some krill. If you’re too stupid or weak-minded to think you HAVE TO buy your kids the entire hostess catalog, your family deserves to be fat.

To make physical activity routine, communities should be designed with safe places to walk.
I’m sorry but is there a reason you can’t just walk around the neighborhood streets you live around? Oh there’s no sidewalk. Well then that means it’s a residential street so traffic is light, now lace up those $80 Nikes you never wear and get hoofing. Not every community has sidewalks, but those that don’t are always suburban-residential subdivisions, not exactly dangerous. Regardless of sidewalk proliferation, every town has parks. The only excuse is laziness.

Public and private insurers should ensure better access to obesity screening, preventive services and treatments.
Health screenings are great, no disease just pops up unannounced, they are exhibit warning signs. But you don’t need a screening to determine if you’re going to get fat. You spend 15 hours a day on your ass, eat fast/junkfood, and can barely tie your own shoes. You’re gonna have health problems. Most health problems can be stopped before they happen, but in America we’d rather wait til it gets here then just take a pill to hide the symptoms and make us think we’re cured. It’s a miracle! Good news, the FDA is now reviewing a drug that can fight obesity. Now you can lose weight and only at the expense of having a heart attack or stroke, rashes, trouble sleeping, mood swings, gas, and cancer. Sounds like a sweet trade. You can keep being a fatass and not feel so guilty because you put all your faith in some pill. Considering how popular pills are as the be all, end all of medicine in America, i’m surprised the business for “fuel savers” in automobiles isn’t more thriving. It’s just a ruse right? No magic additive can improve your cars gas mileage, but a pill can fix anything problem in the human body.

Employers should expand workplace wellness programs.
Why is it the responsibility of the person who signs your checks to make sure you don’t get confused with a sloth? While it may be good for employers in the long run to promote health in their employees, it’s surprisingly not their responsibility. If a woman has the right to choose, why shouldn’t the same logic apply here?

As much as I mock these ideas, the truth is there good ideas and exactly what’s needed. Problem is they won’t change anything. The problem with Americas obesity epidemic isn’t that there is no way to fight against it, it’s that the whole thing is voluntary. People are fat because they aren’t willing to do anything about it, it’s just easier to make excuses about your thyroid while ripping into another bag of gummy bears, than it is to actually make a healthy change in your life.

The information is everywhere, it’s already in the schools and magazines and on Oprah(do people still watch Oprah?). There’s no excuse but laziness, let’s cut the crap and get rid of socialized government medicine. You want someone to take care of you for free, better start taking care of yourself first

Yahoo! declares fossils hate gays and global warming

8 May

If you happened to visit Yahoo.com at any point yesterday, you might have seen this article on the front page.

Billionaire Koch gives $35 million to dinosaur museum

“Cool”, you’re probably thinking, dinosaurs are awesome, they’re like trains ans spaceships, if you don’t like them, you’re nuts and have no friends.

The Reuters sourced article is pretty short, 327 words to be exact, and the reporter does a good job with a short and sweet summary of the gift and a few statements from those involved. Still the reporter managed to find a way to politicize an article about dinosaurs. Here’s how;

Annoying childhood friend, now known as “the media”

KANSAS CITY, Kansas (Reuters) – American industrialist David Koch, a major supporter of conservative causes, said on thursday

and later on…

David and his brother Charles Koch are also among the largest contributors to Republican causes and candidates.

On the one hand it’s not surprising that news of the Koch family runs a mention of their conservative political position, however I still fail to see how it’s relevant to dinosaur museums.

Never mind the media ostracisization of any and all conservatives by the media, but how in the name of the flying dutchmen does it have anything to do with a museum donation? This almost the perfect summary of the new standard of bias by the old media.

UPDATE:

TrogloPundit links to an article proving dinosaurs were in fact polluting, global-warming deniers.

Choices Under Fire: Moral Dimensions of World War II

7 May

Book Review

Choices Under Fire: Moral Dimensions of World War II by Michael Bess is an outstanding analysis of the many moral questions that exist today about the choices made by the allied leadership during World War II. While the topic largely centers around the decisions of the allied nations, it is compared against the backdrop of all the greater nations involved in the conflicts of that time.

Bess creates a background for each of the questions that is asked in the book, by using examples of history leading up to the war, a clearly identified moral compass, and an understanding and acceptance of the circumstances that defined the era.

Of the many moral questions of wartime decisions, the ones that loom largest in Choices Under Fire, are racism, the area bombing of city centers, the fire bombing of cities in both Germany and Japan, the atomic bombing or Japan, and the presence of morality in the postwar era.

Bess does a superb job in assigning blame where it is due in each circumstance. Once the questions have been asked, and the cases made, both allied and axis sides, are equally criticized for their decisions. Despite the blame being assigned, Bess does it in such a way, that the reader does not feel biased or angered towards the aggressors, but rather that with the knowledge that Bess has presented, they simply understand the issues at a logical level.

Choices Under Fire, is an excellent history of World War II and provides something that most of books on the subject distinctly lack in this way, that being an easy to read and understand responsible analysis of the credit or blame of the nations at war.

Right is right, right?

5 May

My first poston this blog was about comments by French President Nicolas Sarkozy on immigrants in France. Today I revisit that subject due to this article by Yascha Mounk on Slate.com, France’s Turn for the Worse; On Sunday, France will elect a new president. But Europe’s far right has already won.

The general run down of the article is that while France will end up electing Socialist party candidate Francois Hollande to the Presidency, that the right wing parties of Europe have really won by displaying their growing representative power.

All in all there’s no explicit remarks in the story that clearly disparage right-wingers, but the undertone exists, albeit subtly.

College freshmen knows what he’s talking about

It is the title of the article that best displays the clear cut bias against the ideas of the right by Slate. France’s turn for the worse, really? As I said in the first post about Sarkozy’s remarks. Why is it wrong for French citizens to want France to remain French?

It’s as if there is no legitimacy to ideas that run counter to theirs. As if people who would rather remain proud of what makes them unique are stupid for not wanting to ignore reality.

Naturally the liberals who are shocked at these conservatives points of view, don’t even realize the irony of chastising someone for being “ignorant”, while at the same time not accepting their point of view as even remotely legitimate.

College freshmen makes for an appropriate comparison of this mentality.

Julia, we hardly knew ya

4 May

Credit goes to Dan Mitchell for finding this. I’m mooching his story about moochers, but with good reason as it is one of the best blogs about economics today. It’s a regular must-read for anyone who thinks it good to know what you’re doing and have a plan.  Bookmark it or follow it if you’re on wordpress. http://danieljmitchell.wordpress.com/

Mitchell has discovered this nifty little timeline called The Life of Julia that can be found on BarackObama.com. The Life of Julia is one of government handouts, though you could say demands just as easily. The timeline chronicles Julia’s life from age 3 to 67. Info is provided on random ages about what Julia is receiving in government benefits in her lifetime thanks to President Barack Obamas policies.

I don’t know what’s stranger, that the President is proud of people being supported by handouts or that it’s one of those rare moments that he’s taking credit for something rather than playing the blame game like he usually does.

What the internet really needs is a montage of all the times President Obama has denied having any responsibility while blaming someone else. I just couldn’t find one.

You can be anything, as long as it’s approved by the government

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