Thursday, August 21, 2008

Sloth or Gluttony?

Everyone has heard that we've become a nation of fatties, but what's the reason for this? Some say we're slothful layabouts who get too little exercise. Others say that it's our diet that's the culprit. It turns out that people burn as many calories, on average, today as they did twenty five years ago. The problem is, apparently, that we just eat too much.

I don't think it took a study to arrive at this conclusion, but there you have it.


Since You Bring it up

Senator Obama recently made merry over Senator McCain's apparent inability to recall how many houses he owns. Obama suggested in an ad that McCain was so wealthy as to be out of touch with the common man. Actually, it's his wife, Cindy, who owns their properties, and I don't recall Democrats thinking one's wife's wealth was a problem for John Kerry, but anyway here's the ad:

Well, Senator Obama might be sorry he brought up the matter of houses:

David Freddoso reminds us in a passage quoted at NRO that:

In October 1998, Obama wrote city and state officials, urging them to give Rezko $14 million to build an apartment complex outside of Obama's state Senate district. The Chicago Sun-Times noted last year that Obama's request included $855,000 in "development fees" for Rezko and for another developer, Allison Davis, who happened to be Obama's old law-firm boss. Obama's spokesman said it was just a coincidence that the state senator wrote letters to obtain millions of dollars for his two longtime friends.

In fact, Obama was a dependable ally of subsidized developers in the Legislature, giving Rezko and others broader help as well. In "The Case Against Barack Obama," I identify and parse six housing bills with which Obama was closely involved.

No wonder Rezko helped Obama get a house below market value.

HT: Hot Air



Some McCain supporters not affiliated with his campaign have obviously decided, rightly, in my view, that the American people need to know more about the man forty-some percent of them intend to vote for:

Obama aide Tommy Vietor calls the ad "despicable", but it's only despicable if it's in some way false. If it is false then the Obama campaign should explain exactly what about it is incorrect and what exactly Obama's relationship with Ayers is. As matters stand the records of the board on which they served together have been sealed and no one can get access to them. Why doesn't Senator Obama allow them to be released?

Speaking of ads, this one is getting some notice. It's kind of funny, actually:

According to Hot Air more such ads are on the way. Let's hope so.


Olby Daft on the Draft

Keith Olbermann strove mightily last night to make something significant out of an answer John McCain gave at a town hall meeting yesterday in which a lady made a lengthy plea to do something about the deplorable state of the Veterans' Administration. She concluded her petition by saying, almost inaudibly, that she doesn't see how we'll be able to attract enough young people to military service to get bin Laden unless we reinstate the draft. McCain responded to the woman that he didn't disagree with anything she said and then proceeded to give an equally long response to her complaints about the VA. In other words, he was clearly affirming her critique of the VA, not her coda about the draft, which he appears not to have even heard.

Nevertheless, Olbermann declared that McCain obviously plans to reinstitute the draft, and the MSNBC talk host wanted to be sure every young person and parent knew this so that they'd punish McCain on election day.

Well, here's the video of the woman's question and McCain's response. You decide whether you think McCain is saying he intends to resurrect the draft:

It's just bizarre that Olbermann would see this as anything more than something which might merit requesting a clarification. To assert in confident tones that he has espied in McCain's words an intention to reinstate the draft is absurd. It strikes me as an interpretation born of desperation to find some way to reverse McCain's rise in the polls. It also strikes me as fundamentally dishonest, especially in light of McCain's previous insistence that he has no intention of calling for a draft short of world war III.

HT: Hot Air


Obama's Compassion

The controversy over Senator Obama's vote against a bill that would have protected infants from being allowed to die subsequent to having survived an attempt to abort them continues despite the fact that the MSM has had almost nothing to say about it.

Ramesh Ponnuru adds some thoughts in his column at NRO. He writes:

Nurse Jill Stanek said that at her hospital "abortions" were repeatedly performed by inducing the live birth of a pre-viable fetus and then leaving it to die. When she made her report, the attorney general said that no law had been broken. That's why legislators proposed a bill to fill the gap.

Obama did not want the gap filled. He did not want pre-viable fetuses/infants to have any legal protection. In the Illinois legislature, he argued that providing them with legal protection would both be unconstitutional in itself - a violation of the Supreme Court's abortion jurisprudence - and undermine the right to abortion.

Obama was wrong about these points. The Supreme Court's abortion jurisprudence treats the location of the young human organism, not its stage of development, as the key factor in whether it can be legally protected.

It's not clear yet how many people are aware of Obama's stand on infanticide since the MSM seems disinclined to inform the public about it, nor is it clear how much the public will care even if they do know. One thing we can say for sure, though, is that the issue certainly won't help him.

Meanwhile, the candidate who reminds us that we are our brother's keeper turns out to have a brother living in abject penury in a six foot by nine foot shack on the outskirts of Nairobi. Surely, some of the ample proceeds from Obama's book could have been diverted to helping this suffering brother. Evidently they weren't.


The Mystery of Consciousness

Denyse O'Leary at The Mindful Hack relates an interesting passage from a book by philosopher Roger Scruton. Scruton, writing about the mystery of consciousness, says this:

Consciousness is more familiar to us than any other feature of our world, since it is the route by which anything at all becomes familiar. But this is what makes consciousness so hard to pinpoint. Look for it wherever you like, you encounter only its objects - a face, a dream, a memory, a colour, a pain, a melody, a problem, but nowhere the consciousness that shines on them. Trying to grasp it is like trying to observe your own observing, as though you were to look with your own eyes at your own eyes without using a mirror. Not surprisingly, therefore, the thought of consciousness gives rise to peculiar metaphysical anxieties, which we try to allay with images of the soul, the mind, the self, the 'subject of consciousness', the inner entity that thinks and sees and feels and which is the real me inside.

To be conscious is to be aware of a world outside oneself, but how does this awareness come about? What, exactly, is it? The brain is a lump of matter. How does such a thing give rise to the experience of green or of a sweet flavor? And the greatest mystery of all is how blind, purposeless processes could ever have conferred upon matter this astounding ability.

Materialistic atheism cannot give us even the beginnings of an explanation. Why then does it scoff at the hypothesis that our conscious minds are derivatives of another conscious Mind, a Mind that is the ontological ground of all reality?


Gentle Persuasion

Being armed certainly made a difference for this 85 year old lady:

An 85-year-old woman boldly went for her gun and busted a would-be burglar inside her home, then forced him to call police while she kept him in her sights, police said.

"I just walked right on past him to the bedroom and got my gun," Leda Smith said.

Smith heard someone break into her home Monday afternoon and grabbed the .22-caliber revolver she had been keeping by her bed since a neighbor's home was burglarized a few weeks ago.

"I said 'What are you doing in my house?' He just kept saying he didn't do it," Smith said.

After the 17-year-old boy called 911, Smith kept holding the gun on him until state police arrived at her home in Springhill Township, about 45 miles south of Pittsburgh.

In an ideal world there'd be no need for guns. Unfortunately, this isn't an ideal world.