Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Hump Day, Again... November 10th


Ambush survivor up for Medal of Honor
The Marine Corps has recommended that a former corporal receive the Medal of Honor for braving a hail of enemy fire in September 2009 to pull the bodies of four U.S. troops from a kill zone in eastern Afghanistan, Marine Corps Times has learned.

Dakota Meyer, 22, of Greensburg, Ky., was recommended for the nation’s highest award for valor, according to a source with knowledge of the process, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Meyer could become the first living Marine recipient of the Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War. Only one Marine, Cpl. Jason Dunham, has received the award for actions in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and he was honored posthumously after throwing himself on a grenade in Karabilah, Iraq, in 2004 to save the lives of fellow Marines.

The Food Police are Coming!

The government tries to tell us what medicines we may take but when it comes to food, we decide what goes in our mouths. Gun-owning barbecuers coexist peacefully with Humane Society vegans. To paraphrase the old adage, your freedom ends where my stomach begins, however, not everyone is keen on freedom of food choice. Public health puritans, appalled at the spread of excess weight, think the government should forcefully guide our eating choices and when it comes to policy, they are getting a place at the table.

Last week, the imperial San Francisco board of supervisors voted to hose the Happy Meal. No longer would McDonald's (or any other restaurant) be allowed to provide a free toy with a meal that exceeds specified amounts of fat, sugar and calories. If the folks at the Golden Arches want to offer a Batman action figure, it will have to be flanked by fruits and vegetables.

The impulse to overrule nutritional choices exists elsewhere too. In his last two budgets, New York's Democratic Gov. David Paterson proposed a tax on soda.

The governor says this would help cover "the $7.6 billion the state spends every year to treat diseases from obesity." Reuters reports, ominously, that he "did not dismiss the idea of eventually imposing a tax on other obesity-linked foods such as hamburgers and chocolate bars."

San Francisco Supervisor Eric Mar speaks in more grandiose terms. He said the Happy Meal ordinance addresses "a survival issue," and proclaimed, "We're part of a movement that is moving forward an agenda of food justice." Food justice?

Now, there are many places where the government ought to be: between a citizen and a mugger, between the polluter and the sky, between us all and al-Qaida. However, the space between a diner's hand and a diner's mouth is not one of them.

The nice thing about eating is that the person who makes good or bad choices is the one who reaps the reward or penalty. If I scarf a cheesecake, you don't gain weight. If I decide that consigning myself to the Big and Tall Store is not such a bad option, it's not your place to stop me from doing so.

You don't like what's in a Happy Meal? Don't let your kid have one.

High-calorie food is not one of those substances that presents a mortal threat to innocent bystanders. Guzzle a liter of Fanta, and you can still be trusted behind the wheel of a car. Walk by a KFC, and you don't have to worry about secondhand fat.

True, my gluttony may cause me to end up morbidly obese and a burden on the medical system. But if that's grounds for regulation, we will all soon be surrendering our TV remotes to the police and doing daily calisthenics under the watchful eye of commissars in spandex.

As it happens, soda taxes may affect only the people who don't need affecting. California Polytechnic State University economists Michael Marlow and Alden Shiers, writing in Regulation magazine, noted data showing that "taxes on alcohol consumption significantly lower drinking by light drinkers, but not heavy drinkers." One study found that a 58 percent tax on soda would "drop the average body mass by only 0.16 points" -- on a scale of 30.

Restrictions on fatty food are no more promising. Suppose a 5-year-old has a Happy Meal every week (which is how often new toys appear). Economist Michael Anderson of the University of California at Berkeley says that while a child who dines on fast food may get a couple of hundred extra calories, that's not much compared to the 11,000 calories she is likely to eat in a week.

Besides, people who are diverted from the Golden Arches have plenty of other cheap, tasty, artery-clogging options. "If they don't eat at McDonald's, are they going to go home and eat broccoli and brown rice?" asks Anderson.

Fat chance. His research shows that people who live in places with fast-food restaurants are more likely to eat out, but no more likely to be obese.

The stubborn fact is that people who are intent on doing things that expand their dimensions to an unhealthy degree can always find ways to do so. Ditto for governments.
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Staff security checks at the Gandhi Museum before President Barack Obama's visit - check. But the coconut palm trees, too? A few days before Obama's visit Saturday, U.S. and Indian security officials visited the small two-story building and ordered the looping off of ripe coconuts from the trees to prevent any accidental bonking. "People do get hurt, or even killed, from falling coconuts. We had the ripe coconuts removed and some dried branches as well. Why take a chance?" said Meghshyam Ajgaonkar, executive secretary of the Mani Bhavan Gandhi Museum, located on a quiet street in this bustling commercial hub. In preparation for the visit, the museum was shielded from onlookers and neighbors by a high white tent that covered almost the entire building. The street was closed to pedestrians. Police were positioned on neighboring buildings. If Michelle Obama goes shopping in New Delhi's upscale Santushti shopping center, she may be surprised to see her face on goods at a home linen store. "Michelle Obama pillows" are the latest offering from a boutique at the shopping complex, which is hoping to lure the first lady during her visit to the Indian capital. "I saw an opportunity here. These are conversation pillows meant to start conversations," Arpita Kalra, the New Delhi-based designer behind the square-shaped pillows, told The Indian Express newspaper. The pillows have been reconstructed from the popular Mighty Michelle Shopper bag, which is on sale at the online shop Blue Q. The pillow shows Michelle Obama in a sleeveless red dress and pearls sitting on a swing and surrounded by smaller images of the White House. Kalra said she made the pillows because she considers the first lady an "inspirational icon," and, of course, is hoping to lure her into the store to present her with a set.
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McCuen stumbled out of a saloon right into the arms of Father Logan.

"Inebriated again!" declared the priest. "Shame on you! When are you going to straighten out your life?"

"Father," asked McCuen. "What causes arthritis?"

"I'll tell you what causes it! Drinking cheap whiskey, gambling and carousing around with loose women. How long have you had arthritis?"

"I don't," slurred McCuen. "The Bishop has it!"

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 On this day in history in 1483 Martin Luther is born; in 1775 US Marine Corps established by Congress 

Live Long and Prosper.....

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