Friday, April 29, 2005

Two Medias: Check out these two stories from Washington, DC's rival newspapers.

Washington Post: Report Finds No Evidence Syria Hid Iraqi Arms

Washington Times: CIA can't rule out WMD move to Syria

Two stories on the same subject, the very same report even. Two different conclusions.

I like both newspapers. The Post is by far the better paper, but both do a good job reporting the news and finding items the other missed. However, they both let their biases show every once in awhile. In this case The Post gets closest to the truth. There is no solid evidence, just a lot of circumstantial stuff. Still, it's inconclusive and hasn't been ruled out yet (but it seems more and more unlikely, which pretty much kills a theory I have been arguing for awhile to explain the absence of WMD in Iraq).

The sad part is I know so many people who refuse to read one or the other newspaper. Conservatives consider The Post to be a communist-liberal-antiAmerican rag. Liberals see the WashTimes as a right-wing mouthpiece for the Bush administration. Neither of which is true.

But as American politics becomes more polarized, so too is American media. People who align with Red and Blue states are also aligning themselves with conservative and liberal news outlets. Blues read The New York Times and listen to NPR. Reds watch Fox News and listen to Rush Limbaugh.

But as you can see from above, these people are only getting half the story. And as a news outlet's audience becomes more polarized and extreme, the news coverage will begin to slant even more to meet the expectations of the customer base. This means that media outlets are in danger of becoming more and more partisan as this trend continues.

Pundits have become too predictable. And the predictability has been creeping into straight news.

Now, I've been arguing for some time that journalists aren't biased in the way Rush describes them, secretly wanting to make Democrats/Republicans look good and the other side look bad, and intentionally slanting their articles and broadcasts to achieve these ends. Most journalists I know desperately want to relay the truth fairly and accurately. The trouble is most mainstream papers and networks are dominated by liberals, creating an echo-chamber effect. Then Fox and WashTimes come along and move too far to the right, losing credibility in the process.

Years ago, people tended to receive their news from one source (ie, "If you see it in The Sun, it's so."). You can't do that anymore. And with the technology growth we've seen, there's no excuse to rely on one outlet for news. It may be hard for you partisans, but force yourself to do diversify. I've got a list of a variety of news outlets in the sidebar. Try visiting some blogs at the top of the list then from the bottom of the list for different points of view. Do the same with the news sources. You may just learn something.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Unheeded Lesson: Because journalists won't do their jobs, their old teacher, the English professor, has to do it for them. One is highlighted in today's Darfur post.

The Man Nobody Knows

On February 24, 2004, an op-ed entitled "The Unnoticed Genocide" appeared in the pages of The Washington Post warning that without humanitarian intervention in Darfur "tens of thousands of civilians [would] die in the weeks and months ahead in what will be continuing genocidal destruction."

Written by Eric Reeves, a literature professor from Smith College, this op-ed was the catalyst that compelled many of us to start learning more about crisis in Darfur which, in turn, led directly to the creation of the Coalition for Darfur.

For over two years, Eric Reeves has been the driving force behind efforts to call attention to the genocide in Darfur by writing weekly updates and providing on-going analysis of the situation on the ground. As early as 2003, Reeves was calling the situation in Darfur a genocide, nine months before former Secretary of State Colin Powell made a similar declaration. In January of 2005, Reeves lashed out against "shamefully irresponsible" journalists who "contented themselves with a shockingly distorting mortality figure for Darfur's ongoing genocide." Reeves' analysis led to a series of news articles highlighting the limitations of the widely cited figure of 70,000 deaths and culminated in a recent Coalition for International Justice survey that concluded that death toll was nearly 400,000; a figure nearly identical to the one Reeves had calculated on his own.

Perhaps most presciently, on March 21, Reeves warned that "Khartoum has ambitious plans for accelerating the obstruction of humanitarian access by means of orchestrated violence and insecurity, including the use of targeted violence against humanitarian aid workers." The following day it was reported that Marian Spivey-Estrada, a USAID worker in Sudan, had been shot in the face during an ambush while "traveling in a clearly marked humanitarian vehicle." The lack of security for aid workers has led some agencies to declare certain areas "No Go" zones or withdraw all together, leaving the internally displaced residents of Darfur without access to food, water or medical care.

And as The Boston Globe reported on Sunday, he has done it all while fighting his own battle with leukemia.

Were it not for Eric Reeves, it is quite possible that the genocide in Darfur would have gone largely unnoticed. We at the Coalition for Darfur offer him our prayers and support and express our heartfelt thanks for all that he has done to prick the nation's conscience on this vitally important issue. We hope that his courage and conviction will be an inspiration to others and that Darfur will soon begin to get the attention that it deserves.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

A More Perfect Union: The Iraqi government has been taking its first baby steps as a democracy. Now the rest of this country has to learn to live in a free society. Joseph Braude reports that labor unions are becoming more prominent in a nation that doesn't treat its workers very well. Hopefully we can encourage the Iraqi government to let them thrive.

We need to remember that in the U.S., before unions began shielding members from actually having to do quality work, they used to serve a good purpose protecting workers from dangerous and unfair working environments. Labor unions often breed mediocrity nowadays, but without them workers had no rights whatsoever.

Living in a free society means more than voting for elected representatives and protesting openly. In fact, it should have very little to do with government at all. The economics and culture of a region have to be open and inclusive for a society to be free.

Right now the Middle East is burdened with rampant corruption. I know that we generally don't think of labor unions as the antithesis of corruption. But the rise of numerous entities that can effectively oppose the other powerful forces in the area, especially in favor of the workers, can bring a needed balance of power to a region that usually settles power disputes through harsh violence.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Battle of the Ages: The Washington Times has just realized that historical years are no longer officially labeled as BC and AD (Before Christ and Anno Domini, Latin for, "in the year of our lord"), that the new terms are BCE and CE (Before Common Era and Common Era).

Some Christians call this political correctness run amok. Some Secularists say this is tepid recognition that some religions don't worship Jesus Christ. However, the approximate year of the birth of Christ is still the dividing line between BCE and CE. So why bother with the different terms? I'm not really a Christian, but I say BC and AD, just because that's what I'm used to.

But before Xians get their rosaries in a bunch, they should know that most historians don't believe what's designated as the first year AD to be the actual year Christ was born. He was most likely born between the years 6 and 3 BC ("Christ was born three years Before Christ?").

There's nothing sacred about the official changeover. In fact, I know lots of people who still think AD means After Death. Sound silly? Well, the WashTimes article itself says this: "there's a 33-year gap, reflecting the life of Christ, dividing the epochs". That's a big goof-up.

Once again, a small faction desperately wants to change something to make it modern, another faction is desperately clinging to the old ways. The rest of us don't give a damn.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Dog Bites Dog: I'm sure you saw this link on Drudge about the 60 Minutes producer who tried to use his press credentials to get a discount on a family vacation in Hawaii. It was reported by a columnist at the Honolulu Star-Bulletin and then spread nation wide by Drudge.

What I like about that is it could signal a trend of news organizations becoming a watchdog on each other. Too often, the news media turns a blind eye to colleagues in the business. Sure, The New York Post will make fun of The New York Times, and Jim Romenesko has his selection of media mishaps. But few newspapers cover each other, even though some outlets that have as much clout as major politicians commit sins all the time.

It looks like with all the attention that has come from blogs bringing down CBS, newspapers don't want to get scooped again. So far Drudge already has another link about The Dallas Morning News getting in legal hot water. The story is by Editor & Publisher, but the story indicates it was first reported by the neighboring Fort Worth Star Telegram.

News organizations have been protected by professional courtesy for too long. Now that bloggers are keeping a keen eye focused on nefarious media dealings, the full power of the news media should be investigating each other as well.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Looking Back Now: Americans are often accused of being self-absorbed and out of touch with what's going on in the world. Read the latest Darfur post and try to tell me how Kurt Cobain's suicide is more important than 1-million human lives being butchered.

While We Were Distracted

In 1994, a genocide took place in Rwanda and it is probably safe to say that few of us remember hearing much about it. How was it possible, we now ask ourselves, that we could have so easily ignored the brutal slaughter of nearly 1-million people?

A look back to those 100 days in 1994 reveals that while we may not have heard much about Rwanda, we most certainly heard a great deal about many other things.

April to July 1994 -- A Timeline:

On April 7, 1994, Rwandan soldiers and trained militias armed with machetes unleashed a murderous campaign to destroy the minority Tutsi population.

On April 8, Nirvana lead singer Kurt Cobain was found dead in his home from a self-inflicted gun-shot wound.

On April 15, an estimated 20,000 Rwandans who had sought shelter Nyarubuye Church were slaughtered by government forces and members of the Interahamwe militia.

On April 22, former President Richard Nixon died and his funeral was held five days later.

On May 5, Michael Fay, an 18-year-old US citizen, was caned in Singapore as punishment for vandalism.

In mid May, the International Red Cross estimated that 500,000 Rwandans had been killed.

On June 17, OJ Simpson led police on a slow speed chase in a White Ford Bronco.

On July 4, the rebel army took control of the Rwandan capitol of Kigali and the genocide came to an end in a country littered with nearly one million corpses.
It is widely acknowledged that the world largely ignored the genocide in 1994 and failed the people of Rwanda. A decade later, it is worth asking if our priorities have changed.

On September 8, 2004 "60 Minutes" ran a controversial story regarding President Bush's service in the Air National Guard that relied, in part, on forged memos.

On September 9, former Secretary of State Colin Powell officially declared that genocide was taking place in Darfur, Sudan.

On October 4, Romeo Dallaire, the head of the UN mission in Rwanda during the 1994 genocide warned that the world was responding to the crisis in Darfur much in the same way it responded to the genocide in Rwanda –- with complete indifference.

On October 6, comedian Rodney Dangerfield died.

On January 24, 2005, Johnny Carson died.

On January 25, the UN released a report chronicling "serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law amounting to crimes under international law"; among them the "killing of civilians, torture, enforced disappearances, destruction of villages, rape and other forms of sexual violence."

On March 11, Brian Nichols overpowered a deputy, stole her gun and killed three people in an Atlanta courthouse before escaping.

On March 14, the United Nation's estimated that at least 180,000 people have died in Darfur in the last year and a half.
Ten years ago, a genocide unfolded right in front of our eyes, but the media was more focused on the legal problems of various celebrities than it was on the deaths of tens of thousands of people in Africa.

And the same thing is happening today.

One has to wonder if, 10 years from now, we'll be saying to one another "I vaguely remember hearing about the genocide in Sudan. It took place about the time of the Michael Jackson trial, right?"

We at the Coalition for Darfur ask you to join us in raising awareness of the genocide and to consider making a small donation to any of the organizations providing life saving assistance to the neglected people of Darfur.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Food Tetrahedron: The Agriculture Department updated its iconic food pyramid. Instead of one pyramid, we now have 12. Here's how the Washington Post describes the difference:

Inside the familiar pyramid shape, rainbow-colored bands representing different food groups run vertically from the tip to the base.

The old pyramid’s sections ran horizontally.
I took the little online quiz -- which is supposed to customize your dietary needs to your age, sex, and daily activity -- and here's what I'm supposed to eat:

Based on the information you provided and the average needs for your age, gender and physical activity [Age: 28, Sex: male, Physical Activity: 30 to 60 minutes] your results indicate that you should eat these amounts from the following food groups daily.

Your results are based on a 2800 calorie pattern*.

10 ounces

3.5 cups
That's it. Apparently I'm supposed to become a fucking vegan. Am I missing something here? That asterisk doesn't point to anything, by the way.

Anyhow, Achenblog sums this up better than I can:

The USDA probably ought to stop giving people the idea that they can achieve nutritional Nirvana by carefully selecting foods from the right part of some pyramid or pie chart, because you know what people do: They eat the entire pyramid and the entire pie chart. (My brother's great line, coming out of restaurant at the Old Faithful Inn, patting his belly: "I'm pretty sure they lost money on me at the buffet.")

The USAD needs to publish a pyramid that just contains four words: STOP BEING A PIG.
For more thoughts on dietary trends, see my previous post. I'll be out of the office on Wednesday, so I won't be able to post anything. Eugene, I promise to put up the Darfur post on Thursday. Have a good day.

P.S. I don't care about the new pope.

Update: Happy Monkey points out that the USDA Web site has had some technical difficulties. You have to reload it a few times before you can find out how much meat you can eat. Long story short, no veganism for me. I'm still sticking with the eat-what-tastes-good diet, though.

Monday, April 18, 2005

I Blame the Yellow Alert: A group of Mad Max fans dressed in Road Warrior gear, armed their vehicles with fake machine guns, and drove in a convoy down a Texas highway en route to a movie marathon. They got arrested.

Dude! This article on the tobacco industry's influence in the Middle East looks eerily similar to my April Fools joke (the first in the list). The sad part is the article is real.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Friday Dog Blog: Some countries don't even have dog food to sell. People usually give their pets the scraps that they don't eat. America is one of the few countries rich enough to have more brands of dog food than most places have brands of toilet paper.

Now one company wants to bring everything full circle. They're introducing a dog food that humans can eat. It's a cookie, sweet enough for a man, but made for man's best friend. I don't know anybody who has been that anxious to eat dog food (other than fraternity boys on a dare), but apparently the demand is big enough that somebody decided to sell this stuff.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

More Cameras = More Privacy? A few days ago, Kevin Drum found a Times article about cops who lie while giving testimony in a court of law. In one example, the officer said a protester resisted arrest, kicking and screaming, having to be dragged away. But then a documentarian who was at that protest turned in film showing the protester actually cooperating with the police. And that cop wasn't even in the picture.

This is just one of many instances where cops have lied on the witness stand. The only time they're caught is when a video surfaces revealing the truth.

I find this interesting, because I'm a pretty hard-core privacy-rights guy. But overall, the increase of video surveilance in our society has ironically protected us more than harmed us.

The example cited above wasn't necessarily video surveillance, but that documentarian was holding one of the many cameras that are now ubiquitous in our cities. So far you hear very few stories about people misusing the cameras. Film usually saves the day.

Some people were upset when many police jurisdictions ordered cop cars to be fitted with cameras, mounted on the rear-view mirror. Anybody who gets pulled over would be video-taped, and some people believed that was an invasion of privacy. But instead, cops are suddenly having to follow the letter of the law. They can't violate anybody's rights, like they used to do freely, because all of their actions are being caught on film.

That's not to say there aren't some problems with too many cameras/camera phones in society. You'll hear lots of stories about somebody using a camera in a bathroom or locker room to film people while they're in various states of undress. And red-light cameras are not always used fairly. But the nightmare scenarios of the government tracking your every step and movement hasn't happened yet -- that we know of. But the cameras have forced the government to remain honest when they would otherwise infringe our rights in other ways.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Bullet Point: The genocide in Sudan has been getting a few more headlines recently. But the crisis has yet to get the attention it deserves. The Coalition for Darfur has released a new post.

Lacking the Political Will

In the last few days, international donors have pledged $4.5-billion in reconstruction aid to Sudan as part of the north/south peace process. And though much if this aid is nominally contingent on Khartoum's ability and willingness to end the violence in Darfur, it remains to be seen if the international community is truly willing to risk undermining the long sought peace agreement by demanding an end to the genocide.

For a year and a half, the UN and others have tread carefully, fearful that too much pressure on Khartoum would derail the north/south peace process. And Khartoum has relentlessly exploited that fear by, for instance, warning that the recent Security Council referral to the International Criminal Court "threatens Sudan's stability."

And while the world focuses on protecting the peace agreement, Darfur continues to deteriorate.

Yesterday, the World Food Program warned that, due to lack of funding, nearly 200,000 refugees who have fled into Chad risk going hungry in the coming months. And just last week, the WFP warned that it will be forced to cut food rations for more than one million people living in the western region of Darfur, again for lack of funds.

Last Friday, UNICEF warned that an estimated 4-million people in Darfur will face significant food insecurity over the next 18 months because the agricultural economy has collapsed. One-million children under 5 years old are already suffering from, or will suffer from, severe malnutrition.

And one day after an United Nations human rights investigator for Sudan warned that Darfur was a "time bomb" that could explode at any time, Janjaweed militia attacked and completely destroyed the village of Khor Abeche (the attack on Khor Abeche is the focus of Eric Reeves' latest analysis.)

It seems clear that the referral to the ICC was not the remedy that many in the human rights community had hoped. At the same time, calls for an increased AU force has problems of its own, judging by Charles Snyder's recent comment that "Nobody that wants to be on the ground is not on the ground."

Stopping the genocide in Darfur is going to require a dedicated and well-coordinated effort by the UN and the international community. As of yet, the political will to engage in such an effort does not exist. We at the Coalition for Darfur ask you to join us in raising awareness of the genocide in an attempt to force policy makers to seriously address this issue to consider making a small donation to any of the organizations providing life saving assistance to the neglected people of Darfur.

Keep it Within the Lines: The U.S. has just indicted three Britons for planning a terror strike in New York, New Jersey, and Washington, DC. This appears to be related to the same terror plot that set off the Orange Alert back in August. At the time, some skeptics criticized the Orange Alert because they thought it was politically motivated, especially because the information the Bush Administration used was three years old. Nevermind that it took just as long to plan, organize, and execute the 9/11 attacks -- Bush is evil, some people argue, and he can't be trusted.

This is being debated at Centerfield. Now it's impossible to rule out that a politician might take politics into consideration when making decisions. But Bush has not done anything to indicate that the Terror Alerts are anything but legitimate. Sure, they're vague. But so is the information. When we have specific information, we arrest the perpetrators, as we did with the latest nab.

Part of the problem is people don't understand how to react to the different color alerts. The simple answer is, if you don't know, you don't need to worry much about it. But officials all over the country do use the Terror Alert status to do their jobs.

I'm a volunteer firefighter, and every time the threat level changes, our station undergoes substantive changes, from the number of personnel on our apparatus to the security around the building. There's no way to contact individual stations all over the country about possible threats. The best way to spread the word is through the media.

Even with my day job at the newspaper, our office building tightens up security whenever the threat level is raised. We have open doors during Yellow Alert, but we have to use our pass keys to enter the building during Orange Alert.

It's tough to know for sure if the Bush administration ever manipulated the Terror Alerts. I don't think he did, but nothing would surprise me at this point. And perhaps there's a better system to be designed at a later date. In the mean time, many people around the country still have to take the alerts very seriously.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Words of Curse: An article in The Washington Post lambasts kids these days for cursing too much. Apparently social values are in a freefall.

This is nothing new, of course. I remember the same criticism when I was a kid. And you know what, I still feel the same way I did then. Let the kids cuss. Society isn't getting fouler. Society is just setting a higher standard for what is considered foul. And hopefully this means future generations won't be so easily offended by certain words.

Cuss words are just synonyms of acceptable words (shit vs. excrement), only they convey strong emotions. You can say, "I am very, very, very angry." Or you can say, "I am tempestuously infuriated," and consult a thesaurus. Or you can say, "FUCK YOU!" As a writer, I prefer to use words economically.

When I was a kid, my friends and I cussed all the time. Every day was just like an episode of South Park. Sure, we really didn't know what some of the words meant, but we knew the intent behind the words.

But as a kid, I had to be careful where and when I cussed. Sometimes we'd be talking, and one of my friends would say, "Hey, don't cuss, there's an adult here." We didn't want to get in trouble.

Now that I'm an adult, I cuss all the time. Except I have to be careful, because sometimes I'll be talking and a friend will say, "Hey, don't cuss, there are kids here." It's time to stop hiding from each other.

Of course, you should be considerate about using strong language. If people don't like it, don't say it around them. It's just like not using the Lord's name in vain around a minister or making off-color jokes in front of someone who might be offended. It's called courtesy.

But eventually, it seems, society will become less anal-retentive about certain phrases. And who knows, when the stigma attached to cuss words disappears, kids will probably stop wanting to use them.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Animal House: The Democrats are initiating a hazing ritual with the confirmation hearings of John Bolton, Bush's nominee for ambassador to the United Nations. This is good, because the fire-tongued Republican should go through a humbling confirmation process to bring him back down to earth. After that, though, he should be quickly confirmed.

Despite Bolton's earlier rhetoric, the new ambassador is not going to dismantle the United Nations. The most he could do as a voice representing a despised administration from the United States is challenge the organization, be a thorn in its side, which is exactly what the United Nations needs.

We do need the U.N., there's no doubt about that. We cannot fight a global War on Terrorism without some cooperation from the globe. And the United Nations needs us, otherwise it would just turn into another League of Nations. The United Nations, however, needs to undertake some drastic institutional changes.

Now, Bolton isn't known for using diplomatic language, which is unfortunate considering his job consists of nothing but diplomacy. That whole, "lost 10 stories" rhetoric that has been so often repeated is shameful, especially now that terrorism has become such a global menace. Organizations, such as are right to give the nominee the third degree. But then we need to turn right around and interrogate the mission of the U.N.

The United Nations is at risk of becoming a failure. I'm not talking about the oil-for-food scandal, I'm talking about its inability to accomplish anything worthwhile since the first Gulf War. It could not stand up to Saddam Hussein since that war. And it fails to do anything in Sudan except write reports. It is an organization full of corrupt dictatorships bent on undermining the United States and democratic reform across the globe.

If the United Nations is to remain the top deliberative body for the world's nations, then it is going to have to show more strength to accomplish some good. Until then, the United States will have to do it.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Don't Hold Your Breath: As disturbing as this is, I'm not really that surprised, judging from my past experiences on school buses. A new study shows that the pollution inside the bus is worse than the air out in the street. The exhaust is leaking into the cabin, and the kids are breathing it in.

This apparently isn't causing any immediate problems, such as carbon monoxide poisoning. But the long-term health effects on the children can't be good.

What's worse, if you read down later in the story, you find that children are still riding in buses that were built in 1975! So who knows what other fumes are still trapped in those vehicles from a bygone era ...

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Macho Grande: According to a new survey (if it's in a survey it must be true), women really want manly men. They aren't looking for any of this queer-eye, metrosexual, pansy crap. They want men with rough hands, brute strength, and emotional stability.

I was glad when I first saw this, because I have no sense of style or culture and never bothered to get a manicure. But then I remembered that I've never been particularly manly either. So that leaves me in the none-of-the-above category. I guess that explains why I'm single.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Priorities: How many of you know about Jeff Gannon? How many of you know what Brian Steidle has done? Now read the latest Darfur post below, and tell me who you think is more important.

Darfur vs. Martha Stewart

Eleven years ago today, the president of Rwanda was killed when his plane was shot down over Kigali. His death served as a catalyst to a genocide that quickly engulfed the country -- within one month, an estimated 500,000 people had been killed and by the time the genocide ended 100 days later, nearly 1-million Rwandans had lost their lives.

The authors of the essay "Rwanda: US Policy and Television Coverage" calculated that during the three months of genocide, Rwanda received a total of 278 minutes of news coverage from the likes of ABC, NBC, CBS, and CNN, meaning that each of these news organization spent less than one minute per day reporting on a genocide that was taking lives at the rate of 1 every 11 seconds.

Today, another genocide is unfolding in Africa and, as this recent article in the American Journalism Review makes clear, very little has changed.

Serious reporting on [Darfur] largely has been absent on the networks and on cable. Last year the three network nightly newscasts aired a meager total of 26 minutes on the bloodshed, according to the Tyndall Report, which monitors network news. ABC devoted just 18 minutes to Darfur, NBC five, and CBS three. By contrast, Martha Stewart's woes received 130 minutes, five times as much.
For those who are unfamiliar with what is taking place in Darfur, we encourage you to read this piece by Brian Steidle, a former Marine who spent six months working as cease-fire monitor with the African Union force in Darfur.

The bottom line is that nearly 400,000 people have died of disease, starvation and violence at the hands of the Sudanese government and the Janjaweed militias, yet the crisis has receives barely a fraction of the coverage garnered by the legal problems faced by Michael Jackson or Martha Stewart.

We are all aware of the central role that blogs played in the "60 Minutes" and "Jeff Gannon" stories and we know that blogs have to power to propel forgotten stories into the mainstream media. The Coalition for Darfur is an effort to unite blogs of all political ideologies in an attempt to raise awareness of the ongoing genocide in Darfur and raise money for organizations doing life-saving work there.

Though the country is deeply polarized, we think that the effort to stop this genocide is something that can unite people of varying political and religious beliefs.

It is a cliché in American newsrooms that "If it bleeds, it leads." Sadly, despite the amount of blood shed in Darfur, the genocide has received very little coverage. Our challenge is to force this issue onto the television screens and the front page. We ask you to join us in this effort.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

This is not good: A former boy-band member is running for mayor of Cincinnati. Actors are bad enough, we don't need these pretty boys getting political aspirations.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Ah, Nuts: Peanuts, only a few years ago, were declared to be unhealthy and fattening. Now researchers have concluded that they are good for you again.

Caffeine has gone through the same back and forth. As have eggs, tuna, and rice. Every time something is declared bad for you, a few years later it's found to have lifesaving qualities.

Nothing about the peanut has changed since last decade, only the research surrounding it has. That's why I've stopped paying attention to what health experts say, much to the chagrin of whomever I'm dating at any point in time.

I've come to rely on the eat-what-tastes-good diet. My theory is that humans' taste buds have evolved to entice us with what our bodies need and to spit out what's bad for us. Try this simple experiment: Put a juicy piece of steak in your mouth. Taste good? That's because the fats and the proteins are crucial for an active lifestyle. Now put a piece of cardboard in your mouth. Not as good is it? Sure enough, it has no nutritional value whatsoever. Now put a year-old, frozen-food bean burrito that's fresh out of the microwave into your mouth. Tastes pretty much like the cardboard? Go ahead and throw it away.

This diet only works if you take part in a common ritual of our evolutionary ancestors, commonly known as: going outside and moving around. It doesn't work so well if your activity is confined to maneuvering your swivel chair.

And another key component of this diet is, as with all things else in life, moderation. Try eating eggs every day for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. That doesn't even sound like it would taste good -- a strong indication that this is bad for you. And for you chocoholics, sugar is good for you, so long as you exert yourself from time to time. But if you eat too much of it, you feel sick. Listen to your body. It speaks to you. And in this case it's saying you look fat.

I don't know if my diet will catch on the way the Atkins and other low-carb diets have. But I simply refuse to believe that the greatest scourge of human existence, lately, is bread. Civilization was built on the creation of bread. Now we have to order our Whopper without buns.

So forget what the so-called "experts" say. You should only listen to guys who run anonymous blogs.

Friday, April 01, 2005

News today you may have missed:

The Afghanistan government has decided to summarily end the country's opium production. All poppy plants are being replaced with tobacco fields, with American company Philip Morris overseeing the transition. This is to precede a new cigarette campaign in the region, featuring "The Marlboro Muhammad".

Suffering from a public relations debacle for fueling the deadly insurgency that has murdered hundreds of Iraqi citizens and for stonewalling the newly elected government in Iraq, the Sunni Muslims have decided to change their name to the Sunny Muslims, as part of a promotion for a "kinder, gentler Jihad".

The United Nations passed a resolution condemning the genocide in Sudan and has begun massing an international coalition of troops along the country's borders to stop the mass murder. The coalition does not include any U.S. troops, because, in the words of one U.N. official, "The United States has its hands full already, and we decided to take responsibility for something for once."

Senior White House officials say that President Bush plans to deal with his failure to reform Social Security by "just pretending he never brought it up." Polls indicate this may work, as most people really don't care.

After completing a tour of the Red States, DNC Chairman Howard Dean said he learned a lot, and that somebody should have thought of doing this before the presidential election last year.

Following the end of the Scott Peterson trial and the death of Terri Schiavo, millions of Americans were seen today walking around outside. A noted social psychologist, April Fuller, said most people are disinterested in the Michael Jackson case and are looking for something productive to do with their time. She added, "It's really hard to believe, isn't it?"

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