Friday, February 06, 2004

Defining WMD
Victor Davis Hanson writes about the relationship between WMDs and the nations who have them. To wit:
Throughout this war there has been consistently fuzzy nomenclature that reflects mistaken logic: WMDs are supposedly the problem, rather than the tyrannical regimes that stockpile them - as if Tony Blair's nuclear arsenal threatens world peace; we are warring against the method of "terror" rather than states that promote or allow it - as if the Cold War was a struggle against SAM-6's or KGB-like tactics; September 11 had nothing to do with the Iraqi war, as if after 3,000 Americans were butchered through unconventional and terrorist tactics the margin of tolerance against Middle East tyrannical regimes that seek the weapons of such a trade does not diminish radically.
Indeed, the nature of a weapon isn't as important as the character of the one whwieldsds it. And that is one of the many reasons why, even if no WMDs are found in Iraq, removing Saddam Hussein from power was a good thing.

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Outsourcing good?
About a month ago, I got into a discussion with a couple of people who were worried about American companies that are outsourcing IT jobs to India. I wish I had this to hand to them.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

It is really a matter of will
My latest issue of U.S. News and World Report has an article on whether or not obesity is a disease (here's the online version). The article's tone gives me the impression that its author believes it is, in fact, a disease, a condition millions of people simply cannot control.
Increasingly, researchers are demonstrating that obesity is controlled by a powerful biological system of hormones, proteins, neurotransmitters, and genes that regulate fat storage and body weight and tell the brain when, what, and how much to eat. "This is not debatable," says Louis Aronne, director of the Comprehensive Weight Control Program at New York-Presbyterian Hospital and president-elect of the North American Association for the Study of Obesity. "Once people gain weight, then these biological mechanisms, which we're beginning to understand, develop to prevent people from losing weight. It's not someone fighting `willpower.' The body resists weight loss."
Yes, certainly, some people are going to be overweight no matter how much they exercise or how well they eat, but does that apply to 60% of the American public? You'll have to excuse me for sounding like the Oracle, but, for most overweight people, it really does come down to a choice.

Apparently, that's not the prevailing opinion:
But to most obesity experts this notion of personal choice is downright nutty. "Who would choose to be obese?" asks Rudolph Leibel, a Columbia University geneticist and a noted obesity researcher. "Telling someone they've decided to become obese is like saying, `You've decided to give yourself a brain tumor.' "
Nutty? Speaking as an overweight person, I can say that he's right to an extent: I did not say to myself, "I want to be fat". However, I did make the choices that led to this condition knowing exactly what the consequences would be. Listen, I may not have much control over how hungry I feel, but I'm still the one who chooses how to deal with it. And I know too many people who have lost a significant amount of weight purely because they willed to do so. I can think of old classmates that had been overweight their whole lives that are as thin as rails now, and they are because they choose to be.

I witnessed the power of will in my own house, where my wife lost 80 pounds and is thinner now than she was when she was a leader on her high school swim team. It was all willpower. I would say, "I feel like having some ice cream, do you want some?" and she'd refuse. I'd say, "I don't feel like going to the gym today" and she'd say "Fine", leave me in my slovenliness and workout on her own.

Or take me, for example. I've been overweight since grade school. Still am. But a year ago I weighed 320 pounds, knew I was in trouble and made a choice. Within a few months I was down to 295. Then I got comfortable, made another choice and stopped losing weight. I continued to hover around 295 until this Christmas, when I made the choice again and am currently down to 275 and still dropping. I still have 30 pounds to go before I'll be satisfied, but I know that whether or not I make it depends solely on the choices I make.
Make mine a Star Destroyer
Over in the Corner, Jonah Goldberg links to the nerdiest car ever, not that there's anything wrong with that. I wonder if my wife will let me convert our Honda minivan into an Imperial shuttle.
The massive $27,500 fine. That'll learn 'em!
The FCC could fine CBS a whopping $27,500 for the Jackson/Timberlake wardrobe malfunction. Oooooh. That has to hurt. Yes, the FCC could fine each and every CBS affiliate, but will they? I doubt it, and I don't think they should. As if the local station manager here in Joplin could have known or done a thing about it. The ultimate responsibility lies in the national network that aired it, and if CBS wants to point the finger at MTV, then that's CBS's problem.
Stop the presses!
The media has been a bit misleading when saying there have been over 500 casualties in the war in Iraq.

Monday, February 02, 2004

Wardrobe malfunction
My jaw literally dropped open last night when I saw Justin Timberlake rip off the front of Janet Jackson's outfit to expose one of her breasts at the end of the Super Bowl halftime show. I just couldn't believe it. My first thought was, "Don't they know kids are watching?" If they considered that at all, apparently they were counting on the show's lameness to chase the kids from the room, as, thankfully, by that time both of my kids had been bored enough by it to find something else to do. And then I thought, "Well, at least she was wearing a pastie (pasty?)", but no. According to the Mike and Mike show on ESPN radio this morning, that was a nipple ring. Fabulous.

CBS owes us an apology. They have no taste, they have no class.