Debate Night

This will be an open thread, live blogging the first Presidential debate.

From a variety of sources this is what we know:

The first presidential debate of 2012 will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 3, at the University of Denver in Denver, Colo. The moderator is Jim Lehrer, executive editor of the PBS NewsHour.

The Commission on Presidential Debates said the 2012 presidential debates will be moderated by a single individual and take place from 9 to 10:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. Neither of the candidates will be permitted to give opening statements, but will be allowed 2 minutes for closing statements.

The first debate will focus on domestic policy. The specific topics will be announced several weeks beforehand, and the debate will be divided into six 15-minute segments focusing on each. The moderator will ask a question, and each candidate will have 2 minutes to respond.

It should go something like this:

A debate that will consist of a total of six time segments of approximately fifteen minutes each in length. The issues to be discussed by the candidates have been agreed to in advance of the debate. Lehrer said on September 19, as he announced the issues that would be debated on Wednesday, that the first three segments would focus on “the economy”, while the final three would discuss “health care, the role of government, and governing”.

Each candidate will be asked a question by the moderator, and the candidate will respond with his answer, representing his personal view on the question. Some new proposals may be introduced during the debate, and while the debate will have few direct interactions between the candidates, both candidates are expected to question the proposals of their opponent.

And then a little hopeful thinking from one of Nova’s links:

Who knows? Maybe one day there will be candidates who will see it as politically advantageous to reveal themselves in this way. In the meantime, take note of a meaningful rule change announced this year by the presidential debate commission. For the first time, in the first and third events, the candidates will each get two minutes to respond to the opening question for each 15-minute segment, and then “the moderator will use the balance of the time in the segment for a discussion.” That could mean up to 11 minutes of free-wheeling talk between the candidates. In a 90-minute debate, that could happen six times.

That is not insignificant. And if the candidates use that time not to make speeches or repeat talking points, or to ignore an important question that was just asked, but instead to listen, engage and think in a way the audience can witness, we just might get a presidential debate that deserves the label.

What are you looking for in the debate? Do debates ever change the trajectory of an election? Why are there so few chances for third party candidates to participate? Will we hear any surprises, policy-wise, from what we’ve heard on the campaign trail?

And lastly, here are some body language tells we can all watch for…………hahahahahaha

1. An itchy nose could be a sign that someone isn’t telling the truth. If someone is scratching their nose, there could be an issue

2. Hands in pockets are a sign of insecurity

3. Crossed arms don’t necessarily mean a person is angry or protective: They could just be cold in the studio where the debates are taking place!

4. Touching the neck could be a sign that someone is threatened or feels insecure

5. Finger pointing is a sign of aggression and it can make the audience mistrust the speaker

Another telltale sign, experts say, is frequent blinking by a speaker. It might indicate that person is uncomfortable with the words they are saying.

Open Thread – Monday (Edited)

I’m still working but took a break this afternoon to do a little reading. I’m trying to finish Unbroken but I’m not there yet. Next weekend is the book review………..hint, hint. I’ve also been working on our taxes, that’s right we filed an extension (just like the Romneys), but I have even less money now than I did in April to pay what we still owe……………yikes. And we finally got the rest of the parts we needed to finish our big export order to Taiwan, which we’re trying to get out the door (that’s money in the bank). Anyway, I did read a couple of interesting pieces during my breaks this weekend that might spark a little conversation.

Last week Nova linked this piece from the Atlantic about why liberals shouldn’t vote for Obama. It was interesting but didn’t sway me. I’d already explored all of the issues and decided I’m going to vote for him anyway. The most important issue for me is health care reform and even though he didn’t get the bill I wanted I’ve decided repealing the ACA is too big of a threat for me to not support him.

One of the issues discussed was our drone policy, particularly in Pakistan.

Obama terrorizes innocent Pakistanis on an almost daily basis. The drone war he is waging in North Waziristan isn’t “precise” or “surgical” as he would have Americans believe. It kills hundreds of innocents, including children. And for thousands of more innocents who live in the targeted communities, the drone war makes their lives into a nightmare worthy of dystopian novels. People are always afraid. Women cower in their homes. Children are kept out of school. The stress they endure gives them psychiatric disorders. Men are driven crazy by an inability to sleep as drones buzz overhead 24 hours a day, a deadly strike possible at any moment. At worst, this policy creates more terrorists than it kills; at best, America is ruining the lives of thousands of innocent people and killing hundreds of innocents for a small increase in safety from terrorists. It is a cowardly, immoral, and illegal policy, deliberately cloaked in opportunistic secrecy. And Democrats who believe that it is the most moral of all responsible policy alternatives are as misinformed and blinded by partisanship as any conservative ideologue.

Then today I saw these charts and thought what the hell? I haven’t had the time to look into where exactly the information came from but according to them there have been exactly zero civilian deaths in Pakistan due to drone strikes this year. Can that be true?

This piece, “Is Karl Rove Losing It?”, is a pretty interesting take on Karl Rove and the author wonders if he really has as much power as he thinks he does. It’s probably just wishful thinking, those of us on the left aren’t too fond of the guy.

Karl Rove is back as GOP party boss, but this time it’s clear that even the best-laid plans of the savviest political strategists often go awry.

That became obvious earlier this week, on Sept. 25, when Missouri senatorial candidate Todd Akin reaffirmed that he was staying in the race in defiance of Rove, who had demanded Akin’s withdrawal and yanked American Crossroads’ millions from his campaign after Akin touted the prophylactic character of “legitimate rape.”

When pulling the super PAC dough didn’t faze the stubborn Missouri Tea Partyer, Rove went ballistic. “We should sink Todd Akin,” he declared , according to Bloomberg Businessweek. “If he’s found mysteriously murdered, don’t look for my whereabouts!”

Rove’s remarks did more than just reopen the schism between the GOP establishment he embodies and the Tea Party, which has begun to see him as a ruthless party boss. It also showed that the Republicans have another serious problem in addition to Mitt Romney’s disastrous candidacy: Karl Christian Rove.

And lastly this one suggests three reasons why Romney isn’t doing better than he is. I do realize it’s not over though…..believe me.

1. His stand on the auto bailout “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt” has hurt him in states like Ohio.

2. He probably lost Florida when he chose Ryan as his running mate as the majority of seniors apparently don’t like their plans for Medicare…………even if they were excluded from the cuts.

3. His lack of connection with ordinary Americans exemplified by his 47% comments.

Flip Flopper in Chief?

I just don’t see how someone with so many different opinions or statements on one subject can realistically believe he can or even should be President.

A quote from Romney’s book “No Apology”;

After about a year of looking at data — and not making much progress — we had a collective epiphany of sorts, an obvious one, as important observations often are: the people in Massachusetts who didn’t have health insurance were, in fact, already receiving health care. Under federal law, hospitals had to stabilize and treat people who arrived at their emergency rooms with acute conditions. And our state’s hospitals were offering even more assistance than the federal government required. That meant that someone was already paying for the cost of treating people who didn’t have health insurance. If we could get our hands on that money, and therefore redirect it to help the uninsured buy insurance instead and obtain treatment in the way that the vast majority of individuals did — before acute conditions developed — the cost of insuring everyone in the state might not be as expensive as I had feared.

It’s not as if this interview with Glenn Beck was while he was in college, it was in 2007.

When they show up at the hospital, they get care. They get free care paid for by you and me. If that’s not a form of socialism, I don’t know what is,” he said at the time. “So my plan did something quite different. It said, you know what? If people can afford to buy insurance … or if they can pay their own way, then they either buy that insurance or pay their own way, but they no longer look to government to hand out free care. And that, in my opinion, is ultimate conservativism.

And in a 2010 interview on Morning Joe he was asked if he believed in universal health coverage and said;

Oh sure. Look, it doesn’t make a lot of sense for us to have millions and millions of people who have no health insurance and yet who can go to the emergency room and get entirely free care for which they have no responsibility, particularly if they are people who have sufficient means to pay their own way.

And then surprise of surprises last night on 60 Minutes he reversed course.

“Well, we do provide care for people who don’t have insurance,” he said in an interview with Scott Pelley of CBS’s “60 Minutes” that aired Sunday night. “If someone has a heart attack, they don’t sit in their apartment and die. We pick them up in an ambulance, and take them to the hospital, and give them care. And different states have different ways of providing for that care.”

h/t Sam Stein & Amanda Terkel

My oldest daughter finally convinced one of her friends to apply for the CA PCIP enacted as part of the ACA. Her friend Sara completely lost the ability to speak and also lost control of many motor skills while in graduate school about three years ago. Her medical insurance expired as she was forced to quit school and was also unemployable. Luckily, her partner was able to support the two of them, but just barely. Sara was unable to purchase health insurance and had no medical diagnosis so was also denied disability.

She has spent the last three years in emergency rooms and trying to get care and a diagnosis through the health department but most tests were denied and no one seemed able to make a diagnosis even though she has gone down hill dramatically in the past three years. At one point the state sent her to a mental health expert as they thought she was making herself sick or something. She now walks with the help of a walker, can no longer drive and barely leaves the house as it’s too much effort.

About a month ago she received her insurance through PCIP and was finally able to see both a GP and the neurologist he sent her to and now has a likely diagnosis and even medication to improve her condition. Her tests were ordered on an emergency status and she was diagnosed with PLS a very rare (only 500 cases in the US) and degenerative form of ALS (Lou Gehrig’s) that is not as deadly or rapidly progressive. There are treatments and while it is debilitating it isn’t a death sentence and can be mitigated while improving her quality of life.

We had a similar experience with our niece who died in 2008. We waited a very long time for her insurance company to approve the tests she needed but the approval never came. Instead she received a notice that her insurance had been terminated. We couldn’t get in to see a neurologist until we could prove we had the money to pay for whatever tests and treatment she might need. We converted our IRA’s to cash and put our rental house on the market but we were too late. While I was on the way to bring her home from Albuquerque to see the neurologist I’d found to treat her she had a seizure and died.

Mitt Romney can’t even seem to figure out if we have an obligation to help people in these circumstances or not.

Who are the 47%?

You’ll all be glad to know I’m done with my brief obsession with the people who produced, filmed and promoted the crappy video that turned the ME on it’s head.  I was more interested in the psychological profiles of the characters involved than the political ones anyway.  Now I’m stuck on Romney.

Here are his comments again, the ones I had a truly visceral reaction to.

There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what…These are people who pay no income tax.

Romney went on: “[M]y job is is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

Earlier I challenged Scott to say what he meant.

I think the elephant in this room is that you agree with him. Just say so.

jnc replied first,

I’ll own this. I definitely agree with him. I mean it when I say I’m a libertarian. It’s the most persuasive argument he’s made in my view thus far in the campaign. Note also that the 53% vs 47% meme isn’t original to Romney. The first I saw of it was from Erik at Red State in the Facebook posts in response to the “We are the 99%” meme as part of Occupy Wall Street. The “divide the country” approach didn’t start with Romney, he just draws the line differently than OWS

then went on to talk about the “Life of Julia” and his ideas on the flat tax.  Just a reminder, I ridiculed the “Life of Julia” and said it reminded me of the dopey sex ed material the girls watched in the 60’s and btw, a lot of us are intrigued by jnc’s tax proposals.  Too bad Romney didn’t mention either of those.  He was too busy embarrassing the 47% of the population that don’t pay Federal Income Tax or the 47% of Obama’s base, and brought out the tried but true euphemism that Brigade (of PL fame) always trots out……………..liberals are on the dole and only vote for Democrats so they can continue to get “free stuff”.

Romney seems to be confusing the 47% of people who don’t pay Federal income tax with 47% of the population at large who are Obama’s base who will naturally vote for Obama.  A large number of the 47% who don’t pay income tax are seniors, vets, people living in the poorer states in the south etc., many of whom also generally vote for Republicans.  It’s a little confusing who he’s actually insulting here but it seems to be just about everyone who isn’t in an exclusive group of wealthy Republicans.

And then after challenging me on what he considered my mis-representation of Romney’s words and taking something out of context, Scott said this,

I thought I did, but if I need to be I can be more clear. I agree with him.

I have said this many times, but if the way in which we fund our government is through income taxes, then everyone should pay income taxes, and the tax rate should be flat with no exemptions.

I think this is interesting because none of the quotes I was objecting to had to do with a flat tax or even Romney, Scott or Jnc’s tax solutions which are all slightly different if I understand them correctly.  Romney/Ryan don’t like to get into the same kind of specifics that Scott or Jnc do, so I know less about them than I’d like to.

Political differences and tax solutions aside, I wanted to know whether they agreed with the Romney comments I quoted above.

And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what…These are people who pay no income tax”.

Here are a couple of maps showing counties that voted for Obama and the richest vs poorest counties in the country.

Matt Welch over at Reason.com:

I should theoretically be the target audience for this stuff. I never took out a federally guaranteed student loan, never enjoyed the mortgage-interest deduction; I worry all the time about government spending and entitlements, and I am not unfamiliar with the looter/moocher formulation. But this kind of reductionism does not reflect individualism (as David Brooks charges), it rejects individualism, by insisting that income tax is destiny. It judges U.S. residents not as humans but as productive (or unproductive) units.

There are to my mind many more important things to consider in this presidential race than Mitt Romney’s reductive parroting of plausible-but-wrong GOP tropes. But the reason this controversy will have legs is ultimately because many Republicans think Romney’s comments were just fine They are about to learn what the rest of the country thinks about that.

That piece above from “The Corner” (linked in the Reason piece) should please Scott and Jnc.  We’ll see who’s right…………….but I think Romney just screwed his chances of ever becoming President of the United States.  Personally, I don’t think he deserves it.

Anniversaries and a Local Connection to Libya

Hi All,

I’m really sorry I missed the Anniversary.  I wanted to bring balloons and a banner and have a real party but thankfully Scott wrote a nice post and the rest of you joined in with congratulations to ATiM and each other.  Next year we’ll have a big bash with music, speeches and lots of toasts.   I should be able to drink something stronger than apple juice by then.  I’ll just reiterate everyone’s appreciation of Brent and his morning reports and a heartfelt thanks to the rest of you who have taken the time to publish posts and participate in the comments and have also helped with the technical end of things.

Like many of you I’ve learned considerably more about subjects I wasn’t previously that familiar with, discovered interesting tidbits of information about each of you (an unfolding mystery), and personally confronted a few more short-comings in myself than I originally bargained for.  It’s been an interesting endeavor, so thanks everyone.  It’s true; I did tell Scott I hated him once (thanks for telling everyone….lol), about three years ago.  What he forgot to mention, or may have simply forgotten, is that I also apologized right away.  I realized even then, that although we were strangers (much more so then than now) and I didn’t appreciate or like what he was saying, he certainly didn’t deserve my hate.  I was embarrassed I’d even said it as I had gotten caught up in the moment of a heated exchange on health care reform, something I am very passionate about.  No excuses though, even as a few come to mind…………………….hahahahaha.

It’s been a rough year for me health wise, and I’ve been away from ATiM almost as much as I’ve been around.  I’m hopeful all that’s behind me now once I get caught up on my sleep and finish this last round of antibiotics, which I’m having a little trouble keeping down………yuck.   What I learned in the past six or seven months is that my efforts at being healthy my entire adult life didn’t protect me from a health threat I hadn’t anticipated or an unexpected depletion of our funds set aside for emergencies.  What I thought was, and probably should have been, a fairly routine bout of food poisoning in March got very complicated and damn near killed me.   It should be a lesson to all of us that we shouldn’t take our good fortune or good health for granted.   I do feel grateful though that I had some excellent doctors and nurses treating me, even though there were times they seemed more than a little stymied (slightly terrifying), and that I will recover and be as good as new again.  Well, as new as any 62 year old can be, that is.  I’m very cognizant of the fact there are a lot of people who can’t say that with certainty so I feel particularly blessed and more than a little bit lucky right now.

I was in the hospital last week with no access to the internet but I did follow the news a little and read the local newspaper.  I became fascinated with the story behind the so-called film that started, or was blamed for starting, all the trouble in the Middle East.  I’m a big proponent of free speech, as we all are, but it’s a shame so much of this tragedy swirls around what was essentially an alleged con-artist’s effort to stir up trouble and probably rip a few investors off.  I’m speculating here a little but I did have time yesterday to do some research, in between naps……lol.  I don’t know if anyone here has already covered this ground or not, as I haven’t had the chance to read through all the comments yet, but here are a few stories that I found particularly compelling.

Some of you may remember I commented here a couple of times that I quit participating in our local city council meetings and citizen commissions a couple of years ago when our conservative city aligned itself with Arizona’s volatile immigration bill.  One of the reasons I became so disillusioned was because there were outsiders (out of state even) around town agitating community members and our council members were swayed by their arguments.  One day last week I saw this guy’s photo in the paper and recognized him as one of those outsiders.  At the same time all of this was going on in 2010 some anti-Obama/anti-Muslim protesters set up a table just outside of the Post Office handing out fliers and propaganda and generally trying to stir up trouble.  Here’s the local story on this Klein character with the photo I saw.  And apparently the film maker is a CA man as well.

Steven Klein, owner of Wise Home Insurance Services, said he believes Muslim extremists control most of the mosques across the United States and that his intention is only to tell the truth.

A Cal State San Bernardino center that monitors extremist groups describes Klein as part of a national anti-Muslim hate movement.

Klein said he founded a group called Courageous Christians United after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks spurred him to get involved in what he called educating people about Islam. He said he later handed the group over to another person.

He then founded Concerned Citizens for the First Amendment, which also educates people about Islam, he said.

Although he has distributed literature about Islam, Klein said he did not attend protests against the building of a new mosque in Temecula in 2010.

But he said he and other members of Concerned Citizens for the First Amendment distributed leaflets on Islam in high schools across Southern California, including in Temecula, Corona, Murrieta, Norco and Menifee.

Klein said he has written on issues other than Islam, targeting illegal immigration, gays and lesbians serving in the military and Mormonism. But he said he has not attended or organized demonstrations on those issues.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors hate activity, on Wednesday put out a dossier on Klein. The center quotes him from his Facebook page in 2011 as saying Muslims “are a cancer that WILL attack us and KILL as many as they can to further the Islamic doctrine of Sharia law … Beware, there IS a holy war coming.”

I’m tempted to email all of these stories to the council members and my friend who is the Mayor Pro Tem right now, but I promised my husband I would stay out of it.  Small town politics can get pretty ugly as I’ve discovered anew in the last four years.

Here’s another piece I read that details more on the film-maker and highlights rather obviously that the initial media reports weren’t exactly accurate.  Apparently he’s a convicted meth cooker and scam artist still on probation and not of Israeli origin.  No wonder he went into hiding.

As an example of the early reporting, here is the opening of a top story in the Los Angeles Times, based on AP reporting: “An Israeli filmmaker based in California who made a movie belittling Islam’s prophet Muhammad that has ignited Middle East riots and led to the death of the U.S. ambassador in Libya says he is in hiding. Sam Bacile, 56, who described himself as an ‘Israeli Jew’ who develops real estate in California, told the Associated Press by phone that he went into hiding Tuesday after assaults by conservative Muslims on U.S. missions in Egypt and Libya.”

The AP, in an early report, flatly called Bacile “an Israeli fillmmaker.” Even Haaretz, the Israeli newspaper, published this under the headline, “Israeli Filmmaker in Hiding.”

The media accounts on “Bacile” slowly fell apart as the day wore on yesterday, as I documented here in update, thanks mainly to reporting by blog sites, including Gawker, Buzzfeed and Jeffrey Goldberg at The Atlantic’s site. Then last night, the AP weighed in with an excellent report that seemed to track down the real Bacile, using some fine investigative techniques, and outed him as one Nakoula Basseley Nakoula (Basseley=Bacile, for one thing) in Cerritos, California.

And lastly, the LA Times with a little more background on the film’s producers.  A convict and an agitator deny their culpability now that the shit has hit the fan.

One ran a low-profile Christian charity from a sleepy suburb east of Los Angeles. The other was a financially strapped gas station operator just out of federal prison.

In the last year, these men, both Egyptian immigrants, became unlikely collaborators in an endeavor that has shaken the stability of the Middle East.

Joseph Nassralla Abdelmasih, the president of the Duarte-based charity Media for Christ, and Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, a convicted felon from Cerritos, emerged Thursday as forces behind “Innocence of Muslims.”

Both men appeared to have gone into hiding Thursday. As the furor over the film grew, they and their associates have distanced themselves from the production. Nakoula told the Associated Press he was a logistics manager on the movie, not the director. He told a Coptic bishop Thursday that he had no role in it, the clergyman told The Times.

“He denied completely any involvement,” said Bishop Serapion of the Coptic Orthodox Diocese of Los Angeles.

He [Nakoula] was convicted on state drug charges in 1997. In 2010, he was convicted in an identity theft scheme. According to the court file, Nakoula, who ran gas stations in Hawaiian Gardens, operated under a dizzying array of aliases, including Kritbag Difrat. He was sentenced to 21 months in federal prison and was released last summer.

Somewhere in the links above is mentioned the lack of public interest in the film itself.  Apparently, there was a viewing of the entire film in a theater recently and no one showed up, literally, not a single person.  This kind of story is right up my alley but the really sad aspect to all of it is, of course, the loss of life.  The thing with free speech is that there are consequences and they generally rest on those who abuse the privilege.  Even if it is ultimately discovered, as the speculation now suggests, that the assault on the consulate was planned and carried out separately from the protests surrounding the youtube trailer of the film, the so-called film will always be associated with the deaths of at least four Americans.

Update 1……….I got a kick out of reading the diet and exercise talk among the guys yesterday but serious congrats to Kevin, McWing and FB’s wife for losing the weight.  Yellow won with the best comment though………OMG.  I’ve always been thin and not a big eater but I’ve gotten too thin this year and am trying to gain back some of the weight I lost.  I was doing pretty well and heading back up to 125 until a little over a week ago, now I get to start all over again as I weighed in at 115 this morning.  I’m still just under 5’9” and big boned so need to get back to about 135 if possible as that’s my healthy weight.  My husband got up to about 235 at 6’2” about 5 or 6 years ago but when he was diagnosed with gout he went on a really strict diet I designed for him and he really lost the extra pounds fast and eliminated the gout as well.  He’s around 200 now which seems to be maintainable and no complaints from the doctors, he’s a swimmer like me and we both ride the stationary bike and I walk our dog most days.  He missed a lot of his workouts earlier this year because of a broken leg but just cut his calories down to make up for it and it seemed to work.  I do most of the cooking and I can tell when he’s gaining a little weight so I just cook a bit differently and he doesn’t even seem to notice……….hahahaha.  I also know when he sneaks out to get a hamburger on the way to the bank or post office and cut back accordingly.

Update 2………….Just read this interview.  I think maybe someone should just wire Romney’s jaw shut at this point.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: How about the film that seems to have sparked all this, the Innocence of Muslims film? Secretary Clinton today said she thought it was disgusting. How would you describe it?

MITT ROMNEY: Well, I haven’t seen the film. I don’t intend to see it. I you know, I think it’s dispiriting sometimes to see some of the awful things people say. And the idea of using something that some people consider sacred and then parading that out a negative way is simply inappropriate and wrong. And I wish people wouldn’t do it. Of course, we have a First Amendment. And under the First Amendment, people are allowed to do what they feel they want to do. They have the right to do that, but it’s not right to do things that are of the nature of what was done by, apparently this film.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: We’ve seen General Martin Dempsey call Pastor Jones to say, “Please don’t promote this film.” You think that’s a good idea?

MITT ROMNEY: I think the whole film is a terrible idea. I think him making it, promoting it showing it is disrespectful to people of other faiths. I don’t think that should happen. I think people should have the common courtesy and judgment– the good judgment– not to be– not to offend other peoples’ faiths. It’s a very bad thing, I think, this guy’s doing.

Happy Saturday everyone!!!!!!!!!

Bits & Pieces (Friday Morning Open Mic)

Mitt Romney is looking like a better candidate all the time.

For everyone who ever wondered where the heck some of Superman’s powers came from in Superman II:

Seriously? Super-Kiss? The ability to pull the S off his chest and make it a big cellophane wrapper? And the bad guys “finger beams”? Where are Kryptonian “finger-beams” in the Superman canon?

Susan Solomon chats up stem cells at TED. She brings up Vioxx, a longstanding pharmaceutical bugaboo of mine. Vioxx, for many users, was a miracle drug. For a significant minority of users, it killed them. So, instead of changing the prescription and treatment model, they recalled the drug and took it off the market. Apparently, researching drugs with stem cell cultures could allow us to identify where certain people would be helped and others would die with the use of a drug. That would be a good thing, I would think.

•••

Is Obesity the Greatest Threat To Our National Security? It’s not a good thing, I know. I’ve recently lost 70 lbs myself, and it’s better being thin than fat, all things considered. But I’m not sure I’ve improved our national security by doing so a single iota. I believe this may be hyperbole.

At least we know the Obama’s aren’t pandering to the fat vote. Although I’m not sure that’s politically smart, given how many of them there are.

Do tax cuts for the rich help the economy? Some say no.

•••

Is romance and lots of support and loving and no expectation of anything in return? Not according to Athol Kay on his blog (Married Man Sex Life), and not according to his multitudes of readers, and advice seekers, on the forums of said blog. It can be eye opening, yet I’ve found my experience dovetails with much of what I read.

Being a jerk doesn’t necessarily lead to a great marriage, but being nice and sweet and supportive (at least, for the guy) definitely doesn’t lead there, either. If you’re a hyper-supportive beta-male (like me), you might think it’s just your situation, but apparently it’s played out again and again and again in marriages across the world:

Boy meets girl, boy and girl get married, guy is super-supportive and tries to be romantic and sweet, girl loses attraction, sex practically vanishes. Girl tells boy he needs to be more supportive and nicer and possibly richer and also more obedient and then she will find him more attractive. Boy tries to comply, girl becomes more distant, more nagging, more shrewish, less affectionate, sex disappears completely.

Then, if you read the stories, girl, as often as not, takes her love to town, cuckolds her husband, and then when her adultery is finally discovered, blames him and tries to arrange it so she can have her cake and eat it too (exciting lover and poor beta-husband’s wallet). I haven’t exactly experienced that, but it’s pretty clear lots of guys do. Don’t go searching for Talk About Marriage unless you want to be deeply, deeply depressed.

The answer? Guys need to be men, the captains of their ship, and step up to the plate and have some balls. Turns out, neither Oprah nor Doctor Phil, and not even John Gray (although I devoured his stuff in my late 20s, early 30s, with pretty much zero benefit) have the right advice for men. The right advice turns out to be: man up, and don’t put up with bullshit. Who knew?

Don’t even get me started on the Manosphere. They definitely don’t like the womyn much, or our feminized culture.

•••

I meant to post this yesterday in celebration of ATiM’s anniversary. However, life gets in the way. Since I did not, I get to share this experience:

Coming back from my daughter’s dance class last, I went through a DUI checkpoint that was like nothing I’d ever seen. They randomly picked a stretch of road about a block long, shut off two lanes on either side so all traffic had to be funneled through one lane. There were about 20 officers in the road, about 50 or 60 on the sides, some of them probably technicians or other support people. Along one side there were five or six cruisers with their bars lit, on the other side there were about 25. Going through it, they checked my tags, asked me where I was going, checked my license (checked the cup holders, natch, looking for open containers), and made sure I and my little girl were properly seat-belted.

They were polite as could be, but it was an odd experience. I can’t imagine the open container and seat belt citations could possible pay for a quarter of the expense of such a large operation. There was too much time for seeing the enormity of the stake out and actually getting there for folks not to have plenty of opportunity to put their seat belts on and hide any open containers; they’d have to be actively drunk, and seriously so, to get caught. I heard officers complaining that they’d checked over 40 cars and got nothing. Then I heard another say he saw an open container, but the guy had zoomed on out and gotten away. Nearly 30 cruisers, bars lit, and no one sitting by to chase down a fleeing violator.

Very strange.

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