Thursday, August 18, 2011

Getting Enough Exercise

A study published in Lancet this week has great news for exercise-phobes and those too busy to do a regular workout:
Current recommendations call for adults to do at least 150 minutes, or a total of 1.5 hours, of physical activity weekly.

But the new study finds that doing even half that — 15 minutes daily is about 105 minutes a week — still provides benefits.

The study included more than 400,000 people in Taiwan who were followed for an average of eight years.

The people in the low-activity group exercised for an average of 92 minutes per week, or just under 15 minutes a day. Compared to those in the inactive group — who did almost no physical activity — those in the low-activity group were 14 percent less likely to die from any cause, 10 percent less likely to die of cancer, and had a three-year longer life expectancy, on average.

Every additional 15 minutes of daily exercise beyond the minimum 15 minutes further reduced the risk of all-cause death by 4 percent and the risk of cancer death by 1 percent.
I wonder if moving the recliner back and forth while pressing the tv remote counts as exercise.

Infiltrating the White House

From The Blaze: A liberal Marxist activist and devout Muslim (isn't there a contradiction in there somewhere?) named Tarek Fatah makes the unsurprising claim that the Muslim Brotherhood has a fascist agenda, but, more shocking, he also asserts that The Brotherhood has infiltrated our government all the way up to the White House:
The Blaze article goes on to suggest who Fatah is probably referring to. Fatah is very concerned that the Brotherhood and other radical Islamists are embarked on a program to destroy Western culture. That ambition is the nexus between radical Islamists and the Left and presumably, as a Marxist, Fatah would have no problem with that. His concern seems to be that it's the goal of organizations like The Brotherhood to impose Islam by force, and as a liberal he finds that alarming.

Anyway, read the rest of story at The Blaze. It has lots of supporting links.

One Plausible Scenario

My friend Jason, a historian by profession, sent along his perspective on how the primary spectacle will unfold this year. He offers an interesting prediction of what the Republican "team" will be in November 2012:
The historian in me believes this is the most important Republican primary season since Ford-Reagan in 1976. The economic stakes alone are the highest in my lifetime.

Enter Rick Perry. I’ve lived in Texas long enough to find him a ruthless campaigner. I’m sure that Karl Rove has already advised him that no other moment in United States electoral history is better for his campaigning style. Perry makes the late Lee Atwater look like the poster child for party teamwork and bipartisan friendship. I think this is why the Bush family despises him.

This past Texas gubernatorial election, Perry first blasted Senator Hutchinson and proceeded to thrash former Houston mayor White by simply taking one or two of their positions and bashing them over the head with it via television ads. He knew, with the political climate so toxic nationally, the primaries simply required bashing Hutchinson over her support of the bailout.

In the general election, White, whom anyone could’ve defeated given his failed progressive agenda as mayor of Houston, had such a laconic style that Perry realized winning meant simply avoiding a substantial debate so as not to put his foot in his own mouth.

Herein lies my biggest criticism of Governor Perry and, honestly, all Texas politicians – he avoids debating complex issues, instead always goes for a campaign win by fanning the flames of voter anger and cashing in with the good ol’ boys club. Perry isn’t proven as an effective executive in crisis because he never defeated, let alone confronted, a formidable one.

How does Perry measure up, for example, on immigration reform against other Republican governors like Jan Brewer of Arizona? Economically, I believe firmly that Texas survived turmoil the past 3+ years because of the Texas state constitution. It requires the legislature submit a biannual budget; consequently, planning for the worst and hoping for the best, the state has garnered a formidable rainy-day fund to date, which both parties had no problem raiding this past budget cycle. Taxes don’t go up in the state unless the voters agree to the raises via referendum. It doesn’t take a smooth-talking governor to convince voters NOT to raise his/her own taxes.

Perry, given his campaign style and the current national economic climate, will raise blood pressure in the GOP primaries, but he won’t win the nomination. He’ll come close, though, and in the process serve two very important functions. In the short term, Perry will harness the economic grievances of the Tea Party into a candidacy more coherent and, most importantly, much more palatable electorally than Bachmann or Paul. In the long run, though it will become clear heading into the general election that the country can’t take another evangelical Texas governor.

Ultimately, Perry will convince all conservatives (economic and social, the latter sitting angrily on the sidelines) with a stirring campaign speech to unite behind Mitt Romney for the good of the country. Romney, bloodied after a tougher than expected primary and now a better candidate for it, will do what all pragmatic Massachusetts politicians running for president and with a religion problem do in United States history: select a Texan as a running mate to balance the ticket and assuage concerns of political principles and religious faith.

Romney/Perry, 2012.
Of course, if Christie, Ryan or Palin get into the race (they have until November to declare) that would change everything.