Friday, July 29

In the interest of squashing any wild rumors and urban legends before they grow immortal, an open letter from drug treatment doctors and specialists disspelling some of the myths about meth.

Thursday, July 28

Who is this guy on all those kids' t-shirts and those Rage Against the Machine posters, anyway? Go to his store to find out! It's Che-Mart!

Tuesday, July 26

Across the pond, "One in four Muslims sympathises with motives of terrorists." From a British poll of Muslims in the UK.
More here.
Makes me wonder a bit... makes me wonder what the percentages of sympathetic Muslims might be here in the U.S.... makes me wonder how many non-Muslims might also sympathize, which we don't get numbers for.
Thanks to

Tuesday, July 19

John Tierney in the Ny Times (login:opensewer; password:iswatching) on the persecution and prosecution of doctors and patients dealing with the challenges of chronic pain.
Still yet more on obesity... Radley Balko talking a little about the definitions of obesity and the flawed studies about weight and health.
Check your own BMI (body mass index) here, and be sure to remember that the BMI does NOT distinguish weight of fat from weight of muscle.

Friday, July 15

For the next time you want to read an article at a registration required site but don't have and don't want to register: BugMeNot!
Following up on my post from 7/8: Jacob Sullum has a short piece on obesity, Krugman, and the Fat Polic/Nanny State.
Here is Sullum's earlier piece on the Center for Science in the Public Interest, scaremongers of the obesity plague.

Wednesday, July 13

Julian Sanchez on Parentalism - the urge to regulate ourselves, that urge to be free from the responsibility of our own choices.

Monday, July 11

"If we believe we have a right to a free press, we do not seek a rational book policy or reading policy; on the contrary, we would call such a policy "censorship" and a denial of our First Amendment rights.
If we believe we have a right to freedom of religion, we do not seek a rational belief policy or religion policy; on the contrary, we would call such a policy "religious persecution" and a denial of the Constitutionally mandated separation of church and state.

So long as we do not believe in freedom of, and responsibility for, drug use, we cannot mount an effective opposition against medical-statist drug controls. In a free society, the duty of the government is to protect individuals from others who might harm them; it is not the government's business to protect individuals from harming themselves. " - Thomaz Szasz.
I've seen the name Thomas Szasz show up here and there before, but this time I will thank Tom Cruise (yep!) for his recent tirade against the psychiatry industry, which brough Szasz's name back to my attention. You can find a lot about Szasz here. I am finding it a decent collection of his thoughts and writings, which I am currently enjoying. (Link to the article from which the quote was taken is here.)

Friday, July 8

David Stove once observed, “As an item on the intellectual agenda, Marxism is scarcely even a joke… . Marxism is a fearful social—and police—problem, but so is the drug trade. It is a fearsome political problem, but so is Islamic fundamentalism. But an intellectual problem Marxism is not, any more than the drug trade or Islamic fundamentalism.”
Tell that to the UK folks voting in the online poll of world's greatest philosopher . Here's a quote from the leader in the poll at publish date:
It’s possible that I shall make an ass of myself. But in that case one can always get out of it with a little dialectic. I have, of course, so worded my proposition as to be right either way. —Marx to Engels, 1857 That quote from this article on Leszek Kolakowski.
Uh-oh. Normally sober-minded economist and NYTimes (login:opensewer; password:iswatching) columnist Paul Krugman is getting on the obesity / "let's regulate eating and food" bandwagon. Specifically, he is making the case that your own diet and your "bad" eating habbits are the government's problems. It's a weak argument he's presenting, but it's an argument for "doing something," which usually gets politicians and activists excited. The problem is, what can we do? Increase health education? OK. But will that be considered enough? I doubt it will be for the activists, and the politicians the activists will pressure. Any taxes on food itself will fail to distinguish between those who eat "bad" food in healthy moderation from those who become obese from simply eating too much food (which may have been healthy in smaller amounts).
The strongest argument in favor of government intervention I have heard is that the rising costs of obesity create costs that our entire nation has to deal with through the health care system. However, the idea that this systemic connection might be re-evaluated is usually not considered; what is considered more readily is intervention and control over the production and eating liberties we enjoy currently.
Krugman also references and advances an argument that "at least some food consumption is almost certainly not rational." So what, Paul? The same might be said of drinking whiskey, sports, social pursuits, and even religion. Don't we reserve to adults the right to make choices that appear irrational to others?

Wednesday, July 6

We've posted here about America and the bad habits of Americans before. Morgan Spurlock made a movie and some considerable money and fame from the subject with Supersize Me, the McDonald's diet in its worst possible form. Now he has a new book out: Don't Eat This Book, but maybe it should be called don't buy this crap.

It appears Spurlock doesn't let facts get in the way of his demonizing mission. Aren't attention to detail and reliance on factual evidence the cornerstones of investigative journalism? Sadly, not in this case. In fact, his book is so loose with facts that writer Radley Balko has decided to dedicate a blog just to exposing his errors. Ugh.

This is a fine example of lazy, deceptive journalism that will receive a lot of press and likely become popular. Such work defrauds the public and does not contribute to public debate.