Sunday, February 3, 2013

A Thousand Rants and Diatribes - With New! Improved! Corruption

Blogger informs me that this is my 1000th post since starting this blog, a few weeks short of three years ago.  Obviously, I could have posted this any time since last Friday night when I put up the last post - the reason I didn't is I saw the numbers working up and decided to post this today, because it's my birthday.  A double personal milestone.  I realize that in the real world, those two facts and about $3 would get me a cup of Starbucks plain coffee, but ya gotta find your encouragement where you can.

But let's not talk about me, let's talk about other idiots.

One of the topics I like to write about occasionally is health and fitness.  I think I wrote the first piece mostly on my phone while waiting for Mrs. Graybeard to come out of surgery, getting her second hip replacement.  I especially like to point out the involvement of the leviathan in health care, and how you could make a fortune by always betting against whatever recommendation they make - if anyone would take that bet  Wellness programs, coming soon to a government mandated health care program near you, are a prime example.  While there's absolutely nothing wrong with the concept of wellness, nobody truly knows (in the hard science sense of knowing) how to create wellness in an "unwell" population. 

Take the "Capitol Wellness Expo" coming up this week up in DC.  In his column in Townhall (that link) Derek Hunter writes:
The master of ceremonies for the event is a woman named Judy Kosovich, an attorney who, among other things, has written of the need for people to reconnect with the Earth. OK, that’s not so weird, right? Well, maybe not conceptually, but when you read what she’s written it gets weirder.
She opens her article "Time to Go Barefoot Outdoors" on, Ms. Kosovich writes:
Now that the weather is getting warmer, you might want to consider walking on the earth barefoot. Why? Because the earth has an abundance of electrons that will neutralize the excess positive charge you are probably carrying around
In most of the world, this is known as getting shocked, and it's viewed in a negative way.  Think of grabbing the door knob after walking across the rug on these dry, winter days - or sliding across the seat in your car and grabbing the door.   To be fair, not every accumulation of charge is big enough to be felt, but you can be sure that Nature Will Not Allow you to build up too much charge before it's equalized.  And, also to be fair, this is not an idea unique to Ms. Kosovich, and is advocated by some in the Paleo fitness/diet movement.  I bring this up not because I'm opposed to going barefoot (although I do think that electrical charge thing is bunk), but mostly to let you get a picture in your head of what sort of event this is.  I'm picturing granola munching hippies, maybe in a drum circle, making sure they eat organic soy protein (quite possibly the most industrially processed food in the world).  Back to Hunter's piece:
The event is sponsored by the Orwellian-sounding Citizens for Health which is chaired by James S. Turner, a lawyer with the D.C. firm Swankin & Turner. Turner, it turns out, is the “sugar daddy” of Citizens for Health in more ways than one.

Bloomberg Business reported last year that Citizens for Health, “A group that bills itself as the ‘voice of the natural-health consumer’ has received about $300,000 from the sugar industry to help campaign against high- fructose corn syrup as an alternative sweetener.” That $300,000, by the way, constitutes “more than half” of Citizens for Health’s funding last year.
The sugar industry?  Of course, they're opposed to HFCS - it's competition. Citizens for Health, if they really cared about health, should turn the money down and say "a pox on both of you". 
The sugar lobby has an interest in attacking any alternative to the sweetheart deal, so to speak, it has with government. That deal comes in the form of federal government support that artificially keep sugar prices high – 41 percent higher than in the rest of the world, according to the Heritage Foundation.

Why are consumers paying out of their own pockets to support the sugar industry, especially when we are facing an obesity problem in this country? The answer is simple – money.
If you're not from Florida or certain other parts of the south, you're probably not aware that Big Sugar is a political powerhouse.  They keep lower-priced, foreign-made sugar out of the US, and have been implicated in widespread pollution of Lake Okeechobee and the Everglades.  They are known for buying influence at all levels of government: local, state and federal.   Again, Big Sugar was paying Citizens for Health to lobby against their competition, high fructose corn syrup.  Hunter, again:
There’s nothing wrong with lobbying, even though it’s become a dirty word in American politics. A lobbyist, used in the pejorative form, is simply someone who advocates for something with which the person using the word disagrees. We’re guaranteed in the Constitution the right to petition the government for the redress of grievances. The problem is with government itself.
The federal government has gotten so big that they dribble out millions of dollars like a toddler dribbling turds out their Pampers.  They lose track of more money than most of us will see in our lifetimes, so it's only natural that they would attract all sorts of sycophants and parasites, trying to find some of those dribbles.  

Politics makes strange bedfellows because they're all in there scrounging for lost change.
(XKCD 1065)


  1. Happy birthday.
    I only found ya a couple of weeks ago but have been checking in ever since. You can blame Wirecutter.

    1. Thanks - and welcome! I've been known to bust a knuckle now and then due to a cheap-ass tool. Don't know if you were around at the end of December...

  2. "Now that the weather is getting warmer, you might want to consider walking on the earth barefoot. Why? Because the earth has an abundance of electrons that will neutralize the excess positive charge you are probably carrying around."

    Going barefoot is also how you get intestinal worms.

    1. Exactly right, and one of the things I remember from Jr. College biology is that the hookworms that people get through their feet are where the stereotype of the slow, lazy southerners comes from.