Wednesday, October 29, 2008

What's wrong with a "fat tax?"

The Root has an article about a new Alabama initiative to deal with the growing obesity problem (pun intended). It's an interesting idea, and I think it has the potential to do a lot of good. Essentially, it offers state employees free medical screening for routine health problems. The employees are not obligated to get the screening, but if they don't, they have to pay a $25 fee.

Critics are calling this a "fat tax." I disagree. If the government is being asked to deal with the health problems of its employees (and it should), then it ought also to have input into how serious those problems become. I'm not in favor of direct government commands - think "thou shall not eat that Big Mac" - but I'm all in favor of the right set of economic incentives. This is a good incentive.

The Fat Tax:

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The GOP ticket's appalling contempt for science and learning. - By Christopher Hitchens - Slate Magazine

"This is what the Republican Party has done to us this year: It has placed within reach of the Oval Office a woman who is a religious fanatic and a proud, boastful ignoramus. Those who despise science and learning are not anti-elitist. They are morally and intellectually slothful people who are secretly envious of the educated and the cultured. And those who prate of spiritual warfare and demons are not just 'people of faith' but theocratic bullies. On Nov. 4, anyone who cares for the Constitution has a clear duty to repudiate this wickedness and stupidity."

This is a pretty good op-ed about the GOP's antipathy toward science, research, learning, and understanding. We face such enormous challenges these days (I'm thinking of the need to shift from a coal-based "dumb" electricity patchwork to a diversified, "smart" energy grid utilizing solar, wind, etc., dealing with disease, getting potable drinking water to people to prevent civil war, etc.) that it's absolutely astounding that the GOP would nominate someone like Sarah Palin (whose views are apparently shared, or at least not mediated, by the purported top of the ticket). It's offensive that they have such little respect for us that they'd nominate someone like this. It's also offensive that Palin is so deeply popular among such a wide swath of the country. What in the world are they thinking?

The GOP ticket's appalling contempt for science and learning. - By Christopher Hitchens - Slate Magazine:

Monday, October 27, 2008

Lambocop Stalks Italian Speeders

I would almost - almost - not be upset if I were pulled over by a cop in this car.

Lambocop Stalks Italian Speeders

Alaska Senator Is Convicted of Ethics Breach in Gift Scheme


Alaska Senator Is Convicted of Ethics Breach in Gift Scheme -

Undecided voters

David Sedaris discusses those who are "undecided" with respect to the presidential election. He compares them to an airline passenger being offered a choice between chicken and a plate full of shit and broken glass for dinner, then asking how the chicken is cooked. I've been thinking similar thoughts about "undecided" voters. Seriously - why the hell haven't you made a choice? It can't possibly be that you don't have enough information. Perhaps you'd prefer to hear more attack ads? Jesus, pull the trigger already!
Undecided: The New Yorker

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Getting this Started Again

I have some ideas that no longer fit in away messages on GChat, so I invite you all to look back soon to see them . . . .