Thursday, September 30, 2010

Black Markets Form in the Funniest Places

This is not meant to be a crass subject, but because of the nature of the subject, I am giving you fair warning.

The short version is this;

Since Britain has made it possible for women to sue sperm donors for child support (surprise, surprise) the supply of sperm has run out forcing women to look for donors via a brand-new black market. Ah, the undefiable laws of economics.

The official version is this.

The very crass interpretation and hat tip (don't tell me I didn't warn you) is this.

The Economics of Courtship - Part 1 - The Two Tiered Market

I've decided that much of romance, courting, marriage, blah blah blah, seems to confuse a lot of people on both sides of the dating game. And I'm only half-jesting when I say this, but just some basic economics goes a long way in explaining the different phenomena we see in the courting/dating world. And it is because of this, I've decided to write a yet-to-be-determined number of pieces of the economics of courtship in that I've already come up with three and thought it might be worth writing about.

Today's topic is the "Two Tiered Market."

I cannot claim to have been the original observer of this phenomenon, it may have been Roissy, but it I think it was somebody perhaps a little less visceral (if anybody knows, please send the link my way), regardless, it was the observation that women in their late 20's to about their 40's believe or associate sex with marriage. Or, more specifically, that if they have sex with a man, they believe that is a representation or a proxy for his level of interest in marriage.

Now, again, when we delve into the courting world there are no databases, there are no records kept and so it largely goes based on anecdotal evidence and experience, but I would say not ALL women obviously fall for this, but some certainly do. So as a favor to them, not to mention codify this theory, permit me you this graph (I love that phrase);

What we have here is a classical supply and demand chart of two markets; the sexual market and the marriage market.

In the first market we have the demand for sex (presumably from men) and the supply of sex (presumably women) - (the roles actually do not matter as to who is the buyer and who is the supplier, you could switch them if you wanted, as long as you are consistent amongst both markets, you will get the same results). In general, men demand sex more than women. Yes, horribly politically incorrect of me, I know. Send the Speech-Police's best sniper after me, in the mean time it does not change the fact that it is true, so my death will avail nothing and no one. In any case, demand is high and relatively inelastic.

Also, in general, women in their late 20's to 40's are more or less over that initial fear or discomfort with sex. They are more comfortable with it, they certainly aren't just going to go willy nilly offering it all over the place, but their supply curve is what I would consider normal (yes, send in the Politically Correct Assassins).

The point where the two meet is the equilibrium point, where if you were paying atttention in high school economics, is the "price" you pay for sex - denoted by P,s. In this metaphorical example it would be dinners men must take women out on, gas, psychological issues, the time dedicated to it, etc. etc.

Now notice the line, P,s, goes across to the other market, the marriage market.

The reason it does this is SOME women think that because a man has sex, that he is now interested in marriage. When in reality they are TWO SEPARATE AND DISTINCTLY DIFFERENT MARKETS. TWO SEPARATE AND DISTINCTLY DIFFERENT "GOODS AND SERVICES" AS THE ECONOMIC TERM IS.

However, in assuming sex=marriage, this brings about an economic phenomenon known as a "price floor." Meaning you cannot charge BELOW a certain price, or "below the floor." This is why P,s is carried over to the marriage market on that green line.

In the marriage market, women also supply marriage. For the ages of late 20's to 40's, women, in general, are more than willing to supply a LOT of marriage. But with this sex-induced psychological floor, they are led to believe that demand is much higher than it actually is (see line D,m to realize that men of equivalent marrying age do not demand marriage ANYWHERE NEAR as much as they demand sex, resulting in a free market price of marriage that is very low, P,m).

Now, because there is an effective price floor, this results in a price that is "too high." At that lofty price very few men are willing to demand or pay for a marriage. Whereas at that very high price, women are MORE THAN WILLING to supply it. This results in what economists call a "surplus"-denoted by the gray "Surplus, m."

A surplus of what? A surplus of women in the marriage market.

This is why I fear for (and have genuine pity for) women who mistake sex for marriage or at least perhaps more realistically, love and affection that may lead to marriage. It may not be seen too frequently in the late 20's as most men at that age are still willing to get married, but no doubt you know of some guy in his 40's who is dating some woman who "just won't commit."

Well, there you go, in economic-charty-goodness no less.

And that's, frankly that. I have nothing more to really add to it, because, well , it's economics. It's kind of cut and dry.
From Frankie (Letter 14)

Frankie - A Mexican Mafia hit man and leader of prison "booty bandits" who has been proposing our gay marriage ever since he saw me rubbing antifungal ointment on the bedsores on my buttocks at the Madison Street jail. He was there on murder charges he subsequently beat.


What’s up, my friend? Thought I’d write and see what you’re tripping on saying I never write to you. But you know me, same old Frankie, nothing ain’t changing, just waiting on seven more months to go by so that I can get released. Yes! I’m right around the corner to getting out and I can’t wait.

Hey, what’s up with your book? Am I getting one or what?

I was with Two Tonys, in the same building but different pods. He got real sick and ended up in the hospital.

I’m closing for now. Don’t make me go looking for your hairy ass in England. Can we get a legal gay marriage over there?

As always,

Mr. Frankie

Click here for Frankie’s previous letter.

Our friends inside appreciate your comments.

Email comments or questions for Frankie to or post them below. To post a comment if you do not have a Google/Blogger account, just select anonymous for your identity.

Shaun Attwood

Masters in Tulip Arranging

This is a phenomenon that I call the "Engineer/Social Worker" phenomenon. You have a husband, who makes $70,000 as an engineer or a computer geek or what have you, but then a (typically) liberal, independent woman who as a part time social worker or women's studies major makes $20,000 per year at some government-make-work job. However, she spends $40,000 per year on stuff, thereby necessitating a subsidy from her husband, yet at the same time will no doubt claim she is independent, when mathematically and factually she's not.

I know people like this and there's a LOT of them. Maybe not the majority of the population, but definitely a lot of sheepish, sensitive 90's men with masters in computer engineering that are just thankful to have a female in their lives and turn a blind eyes to the economic realities of independence. The wife usually runs roughshod over him and after they get married, we never see our buddy again. Usually it's by accident 4 years later when the beaten, wearied-eye man is hauling three kids around and has lost that wild mustang look in his eye.

Oh well, not every guy can be a P-51 Mustang. You need tankers and haulers too.

ht to Fraulein Elizabeth

Looking for a Bubble


OK, let me explain this to you in normal everyday terms.

You are the father or mother of little Jimmy.

Jimmy has been a problem child ever since he went into school.

You get a report from Jimmy's teacher and she says;

"Little Jimmy showed some improvement today. He beat up LESS kids than he did last week. THis is an improving trend! Additionally, you know that D- he received on his test last week? Well, I made a grading error and it's actually just a regular D!"

You then reward Jimmy with ice cream for not beating up as many kids and getting a slightly better grade than previously thought.

It's the same thing here;

"We're not cutting as many jobs"


"Instead of a sclerotic growth rate of 1.6%, we are now BOOMING with a revised growth rate of 1.7%."

And what's the Dow Jones doing? Up 50 points so far.

If I recall correctly, after Bush cut taxes back during his first term to fight off the then-Dotcom recession, GDP boomed at 6% one quarter and there was something like 300,000 jobs created.

But, oh, that's right. Those jobs don't count. Because it's Bush!

You are free to continue enjoying the decline!
Prisoners Right to Vote

I've joined some UK ex prisoners - Farah Damji and John Hirst - who are fighting for the right for prisoners to vote. John singlehandedly won a ruling in the European Court of Human Rights that the UK government has ignored. The court ruled that UK prisoners are being denied a basic human right.

Farah has posted an article about this here. We are getting attacked in the comments. Here is my response to the comments opposed to prisoners having the right to vote:

How are prisoners – many of whom will be released – supposed to reintegrate with society if society deprives them of their basic human rights? If prisoners are treated like animals, some of them will return to society and behave like animals, and society will ultimately pay a steep price. Isn’t the right to vote a way to encourage prisoners to participate in the lawful activity of society? It seems to me that disenfranchisement is more likely to turn prisoners into enemies of society.

Living with prisoners, I learnt that a lot of them did not have the advantages many of us had growing up. That doesn’t excuse them for their crimes, but it has led me to believe that some encouragement from society later in life would help them to become productive members of society.

Don't Give Me This "Tax Credit" BS

Let me explain here and now the condescending and insulting nature of "tax credits" and why you should be insulted by the term.

Originally, those evil white males of 1770's yore, set out to make a rare and original society wherein the people governed themselves. Those evil bastards, how dare they.

This meant those in the government were not the ones in charge, but rather it was the people who voted them in to take care of various public service affairs so that the rest of society may go on and pursue life, liberty and happiness.

But if one were to really take themselves out of the political mire and muck and look at the US today, you would see not a government serving the people and letting them go about their own affairs, but a very intrusive government that "ordains" or "blesses" or "determines" who should do what and why and when and where and how.

But what is most insulting of all of these and really angers me is this condescending tone democrats have about "giving business tax CREDITS to set up shop here and there."

The reason it angers me so is that it shows you the reality of the situation. It is no longer the people or the private sector that is determining their own destinies. It is the government that "grants" you the privilege, nay, the "honor" of having a little bit of extra bread by "charitably" granting you a "credit." Originally, it was the government that we "credited" by paying taxes into the coffers to manage the public administration affairs. And when it came to conducting business or private affairs, the government was to largely butt out and get back to building roads and defending us against foreign invaders. But no, now it is US that is at the behest of the "almighty government" to the point we actually accept "credits" as a little doggy treat for behaving "correctly."

Understand, the whole idea of a "credit" implies, by default that the government is the authority and you are the peasant. That the government is the one in charge, with the wisdom and will determine if you've been a good boy or a bad boy and will reward you with "credits" and "breaks" and "incentives."

Did you hire minorities?

Good wittle boy. You get a scooby snack tax credit!

Did you buy a new green, efficient furnace?

Oooo! Whoz da wittle American? Whoz da wittle American? Yez zats you. Yez zats you! You get a wittle tax cwedit!"

Did you recycle?

Awww! Da wittle, WITTLE Amerwican. Look at da cuuuuute wittle American. Yes youz a good recycler aren't you? Herez a wittle tax credit.

Just recently such a vomit-inducing incident occurred when both democrats AND republicans in Minnesota tried vainly to bribe Ford into not shutting down it's St. Paul Ranger plant.

"Oooo! Gee Whillikers Mr. Pawlenty and Socialist Minnesota State Legislature! You'll grant us dumb corporate car-manufacturing yokels a tax "break?" Why gee whillikers massa, that sure is gracious of you."

Thankfully Ford (as it did with the bailout money) passed and maintained some level of dignity and morality.

Regardless, the larger point I'm trying to make is that (like many of my points) NOBODY ELSE IS MAKING IT!

Good Christ, people? When the hell did we let the government get so powerful and big that it could take the tone of "granting" us a charity such as a "tax credit?" Since when did we take the position of "beggar" and be honored to have ANYTHING "credited" to us? Since when did the government become the sole authority and judge as to what is good or bad and could reward it with "credits" which is simply the opposite side of the coin of taxing it to punish it?

Of course I know the answer. Several generations have failed to install the idea of individualism in their offspring and the success of the US has spoiled most people to become complacent about important issues like (oh I don't know) FREEDOM AND INDIVIDUAL RESPONSIBILITY, to the point we forfeit it up to charlatans and soothe sayers.

But, then my ole blood pressure gets up. I realize the US is not 300 million Cappy Caps running around. It's more like 1 million Cappy Caps and 299 million "American Idol" watchers. And then I realize you can't change it. Just work less and not slave yourself away to pay taxes so other people can live off of you. Besides, if you work so little, you might just get rewarded with a "tax credit."

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I No Longer Care About GPA's

I graduated 5th in my class at the U of MN - Carlson School of Management.

Two A-'s, the rest were A's.

The students ranked 1-4 were all bought and paid for by their parents and took a year longer than me to graduate. I also worked full time.

I will never do that again and let that be a lesson to you kids out there - GPA's don't matter.

It is an issue of marginal benefit. Without trying your Captain is getting solid B's, low A's in his classes in computer networking. To eek out all A's I would have to nearly double my study time and life is frankly too short (actually it was the observation your Captain had that he got a B+ on his latest test and it didn't bother him, whereas 13 years ago it would have enraged me that prompted this post).

Since many of you are in college and in your youth, I suggest drinking more and partying more and studying less. The straight A's ain't worth it. Go do fun stuff, maintain a B average, and enjoy your life. Study, but take an intermittent break to chase girls or something (they won't let you catch them, but it's a fun game to play anyway). Besides, it ain't like there are any jobs out there for you anyway, and by now nepotism and cronyism has so corrupted the labor market, if you don't know anybody, then forget it. Life's too short.
Lifer Slams Hard Time - Reviews by Prisoners No. 2: Peter

Peter is a lifer at HMP High Down in the UK. This review is from issue 15 of Not Shut Up magazine, who interviewed me earlier this year. 

When I pick up a book I like to escape the world I’m in. Since I’m serving life, I tend not to read about other people’s jail or crime experiences. This is no different at first, rich Brit gets involved in the rave and party scene, ends up in jail on a drugs charge. Does not sound that interesting. And it is not.

But some jail this is. The indifference of the guards and inmates to violence, abuse, and the conditions is just plain shocking. From the rotten food and overcrowding to the injustice and on top of it all the self-righteousness of the warden who seems to think nothing wrong in treating his inmates worse than cattle. It raises your blood pressure whilst reading. I wish for every person who reads this book to write a letter to Sherriff Joe Arpaio urging him to improve the conditions in his jail.

Most of us are inside for good reason but to push human beings this far is not acceptable. I finished reading this book with mixed feelings. If you like things like Ross Kemp on gangs or those shows about prison life you find late at night on TV, you’ll like this book.

Shaun went through a lot during his time behind bars but he’s not that much of an engaging person or a writer, so I felt for him not with him. His letters home were the best part of the book. There are also some supposedly humorous moments, which I failed to see, but this again could be because prison life is my daily routine and not something to joke about.

Media reviews of Hard Time

Reviews at Amazon

Hard Time at the Book Depository

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Because It's No Longer Economic

Heh heh.

Enjoy the decline!

Fatty Acid Content of Avocado Oil

From (using 100g) for avocado oil:


~71% MUFA, Predominantly oleic acid (>95%)
~12% Saturated Fat, Predominantly palmitic acid (almost 95%)
~14% PUFA  Omega 6:Omega 3 ratio = 13:1

Yes, as sometimes happens with the data from this website, the numbers don't add up exactly.

Monday, September 27, 2010


I read 5 excerpts from Hard Time to the above audience at Storytails in London last night. Click here if you would like to listen to the podcast. 

Here are some new Hard Time YouTube videos filmed in the magical forest at Spinney Hollow, owned and inhabited by Geoffrey Brown and Kate Hadley who work wonders with wood:

Sunday, September 26, 2010

What Did I Tell You About Credit Unions?

Only $50 billion, huh?

I swear I should be called the "Trillion Dollar Kid."

Because if anybody had listened to me, none of this would have happened.
Hard Time reviewed in News of the World

SHAUN Attwood had it all when he was a dotcom millionaire living the high life in Arizona.

But then he was busted for money laundering and drug dealing – and eventually sentenced to 9.5 years in jail.

Before his trial he spent two years on remand in Maricopa Jail – known as the toughest prison in the US. It makes Shawshank look like a holiday camp.

And this is Attwood’s unflinchingly grim account of how he adapted to the terrifying daily routine there. He doesn’t make apologies for his crime and, now free, is a staunch anti-drugs campaigner.

But after reading this, you may be left wondering whether his punishment fitted the crime.

(Reviews by Douglas Wight and Sarah Hajibagheri) News of the World 26/09/2010

Hard Time at Amazon UK. Hard Time at the Book Depository.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Matt McNeil Show

I tune into 950 AM because it is the local affiliate remnants of the "Air America" thing.

The reason I tune in is because after a while of listening to Rush Limbaugh and Michael Savage, you can almost finish their sentences for them. Whereas I'm finding it a very addictive and forbidden habit to tune into liberal talk radio. Not for anything insightful that they might say, but because I have this morbid curiosity to see their rationalization and logic (or lack thereof).

Of course, this results in an odd listening pattern.

I listen.

they try to make a point.

it's either factually wrong, the premises they're using are flawed, it's intellectually dishonest or it's just outlandish.

This then rises my blood-pressure up to a level where I have to turn it off because there's no point.

I tune back into conservative talk

Realize they're just now discovering things and making observations I made years ago

I switch back to liberal talk radio for more


Inevitably, it boils down to boredom, I want to listen to something new, but I can only listen to stuff I know is factually wrong and "stage-one" thinking for so long.

For example Mike Malloy. He's purely angry. Just a nazi. He has no problems calling for the execution of Republicans. Everything is Bush's fault. And it's all explained in a complex conspiracy theory you just don't have the brains to understand, because, well, you didn't have a trust fund to finance a liberal arts degree in philosophy.

Ed Schulz is even worse. Mike Malloy will actually get a rise out of you. There's at least some entertainment in that. But Ed Schulz. Cripes. Nothing but repeating the same damn thing over and over again. His refrain?

"The little guy?"

Who's keeping him down?

"The man."

The man is who?



"Governmetn legislation for the little guy."

Not on iota of economic though about maybe going beyond the "rich get richer, poor get poorer" and (oh heck, I don't know) LOOKING FREAKING STUFF UP BEFORE YOU FORM AN OPINION?

What's worse is his callers. GOOD LORD. Think of the people who are actually intellectual stimulated by his one-trick-pony droning to the point of calling in. And guess what they say,

"Yeah, you know, it's the corporations holding down the little guy. When does the average working Joe get a fair shake in this country?"

Stephanie Miller. Eh. More like a morning comedy show where it would be quite entertaining if the premises they were operating by we actually true. For example;

Stephanie Miller - "Well, Sarah Palin's at it again."

Moron Producer Guy #1 - "What, she thinks she can still see Russia from her house?"

All - Laughter

Stephanie Miller - "No, she's out there again, pushing for those nazi tea partiers."

Moron Producer Guy #2 - "Heh, those tea partiers. They'll follow anyone to protest anything. They must be a bunch of bored trophy wives!"

All - Laughter

It's more or less the same thing and it isn't a surprise Air America went down, but it still provides for a REALLY interesting (and scary) insight into the psychology or just the sheer lack of knowledge and information these people have.

However, there is one show. Don't know if it's new, but I was tuning in, and I liked it. Still disagreed, but I liked it because the host was above all things, honest. Matt McNeil is a local guy, and the reason I say he's honest is because it isn't a platform for a burnt out baby boomer hippie to relive the 60's like Mike Malloy.

It isn't a funny laugh show where you mock people of the other political team and make intellectually dishonest comparisons and pass that on as a Dennis Prager-level piece of thoughtful radio like Stephanie Miller.

And is isn't just a boring, droning mouth piece for the unions or CNN miserably failing to become the left's Rush Limbaugh, as Ed Schulz.

It's this guy, out here in Minnesota, who genuinely cares about the country who happens to be liberal. His logic makes sense. His moral compass I would say is sound (for example he genuinely cares about kids getting a good education) and you could have an adult conversation with him, whereas with a Mike Malloy you no doubt would be called a nazi and be a member of a conspiracy to bring down the average man.

There's just one problem.

Like most honorable, well-intentioned liberals, he just isn't informed.

I called into the show because I've been trying to ask various liberals (talk show hosts primarily, but any liberal that would answer my question) various questions as to the specifics of what they would like to achieve or bring about in the US. The particular topic he was on was education. I thought it would not be too much of a tangent to get his opinion on how much would be enough to satisfy the left's ideal education system.

His answer was, "I don't know specifically how much in terms of money, but I would like it that my kid would have paper and pencils. That we could have programs like music and art." He went onto list some other things, but that's precisely it.

He listed things as a proxy or substitute for actual dollar amounts.

As I don't have children, I'm not concerned with "things." I'm concerned with the bottom line of my property tax bill wherein I subsidize (quite charitably I might add) the education of other people's children. And here was the gap.

I know how much is spent on the schools. I've looked up per pupil spending, put it terms of gross state product, looked at the budget. I know the factual, specific data that tells us how much we spend.

He was more concerned about the outcome of all that spending. ie-the quality of the spending. And that is how he measures whether or not we spend "enough."

The problem is that spending does not correlate with performance when it comes to education. How do I know this? Because I (again) looked it up and ran a correlation between spending per pupil and standardized test scores.

Sadly what Matt doesn't realize is that he still has to spend money and pay property taxes too. And simply getting more money won't solve the problem. It's an issue of efficiency. Elk River has 6 football coaches for ONE high school. I question whether a schools need a brand new, fully equipped theater or if it could maybe just get by with using the gym as a theater as well. We could go on and cite various examples of spending in the schools that isn't efficient, but you get my point.

This issue here I'm trying to make isn't one of public school finances and efficiency. It's the point that the only difference between Matt (a liberal talk show host) and myself (an evil, right wing hate monger that eats kittens for breakfast) is one of knowledge. Knowing something rather than feeling or theorizing (no matter how logical) about something results in the correct answer because it is known. It is based in fact. And if you're going to look at government policy, at whatever level, the only way it will be effective and of a benefit to the people is if it is also based in fact, not feelings or dreams or hope or change or nice wordy words coming from a politician's mouth.

Paleolithic Diet Questions

This is an open "question post" to my readers, many of whom I'm aware are followers of Paleo-derived WOE's.   I'm particularly addressing those that advocate limiting protein and eating a very high fat  (60-80%) very low carb (close to zero) diet.

What research am I missing that counters the work of Eaton?  Links to his works that I've blogged on HERE and HERE.  The first work was even referenced in The New Atkins to indicate that a high fat diet is what we evolved to eat.   Seems Eaton mostly points to a diet a little higher in carbs (~40%) and protein (~35%) and much lower in fat (~25% is the highest estimate) than most of the paleo/primal plans I've seen.  I don't see much reason to question this work.  

Where does the very high fat come from?  What am I missing?  

Friday, September 24, 2010

Do You See What I See?

OK, the guy on the top is from Fox.

The guys on the bottom are from CNN and NBC.


It is an observation I have made for many years and it is an INCREDIBLY politically incorrect observation, but (as most politically incorrect things are) it's 100% true.

Do you see what I see?
Standing Up (Part 3 by Warrior)

Warrior - Serving fourteen years for kidnapping and aggravated assault. Half Hispanic and Scottish-Irish with family still in Mexico. Brought up by a family steeped in drug commerce. He writes some of the best prison-fight stories on the Internet.

“I’m not one to be the example. It’s a complex of mine I don’t tolerate,” I said.
“I hear ya, youngster. Sometimes you gotta pick and choose your battles wisely,” O.G. Pete said.
“Fuck this motherfucker. That cop’s a bully, and he singles out those he thinks won’t trip. Others sit back and take it. Fuck that.”
“That Hispanic-Irish blood in you is your fire, kid.” Pete knew there was no talking me down, so he gave me a little insight instead.
“You a sharp fuckin’ kid, Warrior. They don’t make ’em like you no more, no sir. You got respect, integrity in your eyes and words. You ain’t got no Kool-Aid runnin’ through your veins. Plus ya very intelligent, and to me that makes you dangerous. But you don’t see how influential of a cat you are. You have a charm about you that makes people trust you, trust your judgement. Men will follow you into the fire. That’s your gift. How you decide to use it is up to you. There isn’t any half steppin’. If you’re gonna ride, ride all the way.”
I looked at Pete, trying to make sense of what he’d said. Some of it registered, some of it didn’t until much later. “Well, I’m gonna get out of your hair. I gotta take care of a few things.”
“Alright, Warrior, have a good one. We’ll catch up later.”

Some of the prisoners were hollering for me, sending me kites [written notes passed by the inmates], wanting to know what went down. I got back to them on paper, explaining it all. The reviews were mixed. Some were upset, others felt I brought the situation on myself. The spokesman for our race, Capone, wrote giving me the green light to do whatever I felt was necessary.

I’ve never been one to think in small terms. If a statement is worth making, it should be one the world is going to hear. Capone thought I was going to make a single move,but I was thinking of action by a few of us. I didn’t know if I could pull it off due to the ongoing race war. I was determined to try, even if it meant overstepping my bounds. I was so angry, I didn’t care.

I spoke and wrote Spanish as well as English. I’d made it a point to explore the philosophies of the various prison races and gangs such as reading Hitler’s Mein Kampf, writings by Mao Tse-tung and other propagandist literature. I knew a bit of the mindsets of the other races, so I drafted three independent letters written in the terminology of each particular race. Perhaps it was the passion behind my words that led to how receptive the prisoners were. I was surprised.

I wrote about how the system had turned all the races against each other, and how at one time it had been convicts against the system. I stressed how officers feel it’s a perk to punish us sadistically with impunity, and how we were all sons, fathers, brothers and uncles to our loved ones, not numbers. I closed with the only two colors I saw: brown [guards’ clothes] and orange [inmates’ clothes]. Again, I wasn’t prepared for what came next.

Click here for Standing Up Part 2

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Good Science Bad Science ~ Good Schtick Bad Schtick

Note:  This version slightly differs (only at the end beginning with italics) from my original post so I "bumped" the publish date and noted where I made a few changes.

So Jimmy Moore recently posted an interview with Gary Taube$:  Podcast HERE

I have much more to say about this interview, Taubes' most recent lecture and his upcoming book, but that will have to wait for another day.

What I am bothered by is Taubes continued trashing of the scientific community while basically admitting the same for himself (though not realizing it).

I would agree with Taubes that one of the problems with scientific research in general these days is the funding process/stream.  Been there, done that.  If you're a nobody with big ideas, good luck.  If you're a big name trying to get another MS or PhD thesis on some minor topic, it shouldn't be a problem.  There's ALWAYS a lag between funding, research and publication -- several years is more the norm than the exception here.  

But Taubes' premise is that scientists develop a "schtick" -- the PhD thesis or whatever puts them on the map -- that keeps them from ever correcting themselves or pursuing the research they obviously really want to do if only they were independently wealthy.  All the old science is golden because it was done by rich folks who funded their own work and didn't need to answer to anyone.  These were folks of high character and principle and beholden to no one.  I have one name for you on that note Gary:  Michael Bloomberg.

But Taubes goes on to lament that he really would like to get back to writing on other science (e.g. that which he has the background and qualifications to write about), but he has kids to put through college.   He rambles on and on about mistakes in GCBC as pertains to the whole G3P issue (again, I have a post in the hopper on this but have a bit more work on that before I'll publish it).  Mea culpa?  Hardly, IMCO.  For starters, he further laments not having a public forum on which to correct himself.  NONSENSE.  But he failed in 2007 in a far more critical manner than the scientists he lambastes do in publishing their research.  He was wrong, but won't acknowledge that this point is the absolute KEY to all of his theories on how fat miraculously accumulates irrespectively of calories.  He also keeps calling for metabolic ward studies to test his theories, when these WERE done long ago.  

No doubt the worst of his transgressions, to me, is that he claims that in 2007 (or in the intervening years of  writing the NYT & the book) the science of GlyNG was still rather vague and he presented only the current knowledge in GCBC.  Try again Gary.  The two papers I referenced in this post were to 2002 and 2003 REVIEW papers -- IOW papers that summarized older research, most or all of which predated even the NYT article.

The paragraph below has been edited slightly from the original after re-listening to the interview.

Open query to Gary Taubes:  Care to name names?  Who was this "biggest expert in the country" whom you consulted in prepping your book in 2007, the "smartest guy" around at the time, who vetted 3-4 versions of this section in your book to make sure it was accurate?  I doubt it was Hanson's group (AND YET ANY CURSORY LOOK INTO THE REFERENCES FROM THE 2003 PAPER WOULD HAVE LED YOU TO CONTACT THEM!!!).  And what 2008 paper did he inform you of to let you know all the textbooks (hint:  scientific research should perhaps begin with texts, but never end with them) were wrong?  Who is the English guy who confirmed you were wrong?  Newsholme?  And who, pray tell, are these anonymous two biophysicists who informed you that you were wrong on G3P, but supposedly said *it doesn't matter* because "insulin so fundamentally drives fat accumulation"?  Any reason why you painstakingly identify the authors of various statements in your book and lectures, but won't name names now????  (I know ;-) )

Yep.  Taube$ has his $cience and his $chtick.  Proven wrong on a key component of this theory, he's chosen to simply leave it out and hope insulin is enough to snow people.

If carbs drives insulin drives fat accumulation, then protein drives insulin drives fat accumulation.

(Or, consuming fat and/or carbs and/or even protein in chronic excess of energy needs does.)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Chicks Dig Guns

I was dating a girl a while ago. Typical late 20 something girl who towed the liberal line and said all the right things and thought the right way. She came into my house for the first time and saw my pistol which I keep on my desk next to my computer. I was in the kitchen when she said in a shocked voice,

"Is this your gun!?"

"Yep." I said.

"Is it real?"

"Yep." I said.

"Well why do you have it?"

"In case I need to shoot the bad guys."

"Well, I'm not comfortable with guns."

"Then don't pick it up. Besides which you don't have to worry about anything. You're not one of the bad guys."

"Well I just don't understand why you would need a gun though."

"As I said before, it's in case I need to shoot the bad guys."

"Well what kind of bad guys are here? I mean have you ever had to use it?"

"Almost once, but otherwise no, thankfully."

The conversation continued on and it was typically typical of somebody who's never thought about guns and just regurgitates the line they're fed vs. somebody who likes to ensure his life and freedom is guaranteed by a little more than some piece of paper located in Washington, D.C. The typical naivete of a person who never suffered strife and was not capable of realizing the merits of owning a gun for protective purposes AND had also never studied history, arguing against somebody who had the slightest bit of common sense and was fully aware of history.

I had finished pouring myself a martini when I walked back into my office and saw her holding the gun. She was holding it in extreme fear, but obviously curiosity had gotten the better of her.
I extended my hand, signaling her to give it to me. Like carrying a bubonic-plague-infested dead mouse by its tail, she handed it over. I dropped the magazine out of the handle, doubled checked to make sure the chamber was empty, flipped it around in palm of my hand so the handle was facing her saying, "Here, knock yourself out. It can't hurt you now."

"It won't go off?"

I shook the magazine in my hand as I turned my attention back to my martini, "Not without this."

And in what had to be no more than 30 seconds, she said, "this is pretty cool! I should get a gun!"

I was rolling my eyes over as I was sipping my martini.

First let me state that chicks like guns.

I don't care who they are. What they tell you. What they say they think they say they believe they think they say.




You put one in their hand, get them used to it, and even if they're a peacenik they all of the sudden are no longer irrationally afraid of this piece of metal. And not only are they no longer afraid, they want to try and shoot one. Makes for a great date, or just a good time with friends of the female persuasion, or anybody of any persuasion. I have never known anybody NOT to like firing guns.

Second, it shows you just how shallow some people's political and ideological beliefs are. It would be like going to an atheist, who after 5 minutes of arguing with you about how Christianity is stupid, all of the sudden after holding a bible for 30 seconds wants to go to church. Of course, guns are way more fun than bibles, but you get my point.

Finally, she couldn't help but look in the mirror because of how the gun looked. Do not be confused. A man with a gun is more attractive than a man with out one. Just look at any action flick movie poster and sure enough the hero is carrying a gun. Doesn't have to be a huge M-60 Rambo gun, but James Bond with his little pea-shooter is enough. Why do they put it there? Because Hollywood marketers know a guy with a gun who has to go hunt down the bad guy/s is more attractive than a peacenik who tries to go and talk to the bad guys into hopefully seeing his side of the situation and resolving the conflict peacefully with a little help from the UN and Jimmy Carter.

Therefore Cappy Capites of both the male and female persuasion, IF YOU DON'T HAVE KIDS and DON'T HAVE KIDS WALKING INTO YOUR HOUSE ON A REGULAR BASIS, may I suggest leaving a semi-automatic pistol in a very Peter Gunn sort of way hanging about your abode?

I know gun safety nuts will go into hyperdrive and say, "how dare you leave a loaded gun in your house laying around for untrained people to accidentally grab, pull back the hammer and then accidentally pull the trigger!"

Set that legitimate criticism aside. I'm making a point aside that.

A pistol, laying on your desk or on in the holster hung up on the door is akin to leaving something unique about you that women do indeed notice and will probably find attractive. For example, a nice pair of jeans hanging over the chair (ex-girlfriend told me about that one). A tie hanging on the doorknob. A martini glass on the coffee table. A motorcycle jacket over the chair. A Ty Wilson painting on the wall. A friend of mine even suggested an issue of Playboy laying about (which suggests a bit of bravado and confidence on your part, on account you are not worried about being perceived as a perve). A gun achieves the same, but because of its lefty-MSM-induced "forbidden nature" it's even more so. You are a bad boy. You have a gun. Something that can take a man's life away (or if you're good enough, multiple people).

Combine these bad boy aspects society places on guns with the natural, biological, darwinian implications of gun ownership and you are showing the girl that you take survival, protection and providership seriously. No man (or woman) is going to hurt you or your family. You are not messing around. By leaving that piece of metal on your desk you are not only a bad boy, but a bad boy that will fight. And it is this, no matter what they might say otherwise, is ultimately sexy.

Yes, slightly dangerous, but oh, wait, dangerous is also sexy too.

So to re"Cap" (har har har!)

Gun = bad boy + defender/protector + dangerous + forbidden = Sexy.

Am I wrong here? The formula missing something?

Resistance to Weight Loss

I just can't lose weight no matter what I try.  I went on WW and ate 1000 cal/day and didn't lose weight.  Or even, I've cut out all carbs, dairy, gluten, omega 6's, etc. from my diet and I still can't lose weight.  

How many times have we heard statements like these?   Can they be true?  Are we destined to be fat?  It seems to me that any number of overweight and obese folks have uttered something like this at one point or another and/or flirted with the notion that they are just destined to be so for the rest of their lives.  These people seem to be convinced that they have "messed up" or "broken" metabolisms that cannot be fixed.   Is that true?  As regards obesity and metabolism, the only thing that can't be reversed is a certain point in the progression of T2 diabetes -- that being beta-cell damage.  (The popular belief that this occurs because we exhaust or wear out our beta cells with excessive insulin requirements is probably not the case.  Rather, my research leads to lipotoxicity of the pancreas leading to death of the cells being the primary cause).    

Presuming your condition has not progressed to this stage, it appears that your metabolism CAN indeed be fixed.  In most cases it boils down to insulin RESISTANCE, not insulin per se.  Taubes' would tell you that high insulin levels (both basal and post prandial) are the reason you can't lose weight, because insulin has you fats "locked" away in your fat cells unable to escape.   True?  Nope!  As I've posted several times before, insulin resistance is not caused by eating a lot of foods that trigger its release, it is caused primarily by an accumulation of lipids and/or lipid metabolites in the cells as a result of chronic positive energy balance and/or stuffed adipose tissue.  The way things are supposed to work, we metabolize mixed fuels at all times, but carbs and proteins are given preference.  Therefore lipid oxidation (fat burning) rates go down when we eat carbs and go up when we're in a fasted state.  Whether we burn carbs or fats doesn't seem to alter the total fuel requirements by much if at all (the whole metabolic advantage thing).

But Taubes and Atkins (and New Atkins authors Westman, Volek & Phinney) would have you believe that if you are obese and hyperinsulinemic due to being insulin resistant, you don't have a lot of fats available to your cells for fuel.  These would be those free fatty acids (NEFA/FFA).  One problem with this.  Obesity and insulin resistance are associated with both elevated insulin levels AND elevated NEFA!!  How can that be?  It's all about the insulin resistance that seems to develop in the fat cells FIRST ... not last.  Insulin's role in adipose tissue is to suppress lipolysis.  When adipocytes develop IR, lipolysis is suppressed less, the body has a hard time keeping fat stored where it belongs.

The thing that is needed to lose fat mass -- e.g. deplete the fat cells -- is a chronic caloric deficit.  Improved insulin sensitivity will improve one's metabolic profile, but it's not likely to have much effect on weight loss per se, except indirectly how the deranged BG, NEFA, etc. may effect mood and energy levels and appetite signaling.  

Monday, September 20, 2010

Dawn of a New Adventure (Part 8)

Aza told me in no uncertain terms that I "need" to post an update on how I’m doing. He pointed out that the last update was in February. I apologise. I’ve been so focussed on launching the book, I should have updated much earlier.

Since Hard Time was published on August 5th, my life has revolved around its Amazon ranking number. (If you are inclined to waste your life away watching it with me, scroll down the Amazon page to "Product Details" and then "Amazon Bestsellers Rank") It made a strong debut. On the back of the BBC and Guardian news stories it got as high as 600, out of 1 million plus books. Nowhere near Tony Blair though, who was number 1 last week. As I write, Hard Time is at 10,140. The number goes up and down like the stock market. At first, I was jumping out of bed at dawn, starting my computer, and gazing impatiently at the screen to get the number, like a heroin addict fiending for the first fix of the day. Fortunately, some concerned friends performed an intervention. I was told that obsessing on the number would lead to a mental breakdown. Thanks to them, I’m down to looking at it about 5 times a day from about 50. I'm suffering withdrawal symptoms though. Even writing this is generating the urge to click over to Amazon. Damn! It’s at 13,823 now.

A big thank you to all of you who’ve read Hard Time and posted customer reviews at Amazonincluding Aza. Reviewers are generally saying that they can't put the book down in order to find out what happens to me next. I’m also getting different feedback from women and men. Men focussing on the mayhem, women saying they like the love theme with Claudia.

After Sheriff Joe Arpaio announced that he was reading Hard Time, I got several media inquiries out of America. Here's the Phoenix New Times story with its 106 comments, including plenty of Arpaio supporters slamming me. Arpaio approved Hard Time for the Maricopa County jail library, so I donated three copies for the inmates. I’m curious as to whether Arpaio will comment on the book. A few readers have suggested I debate the jail conditions and his hard-line policies with Arpaio on TV. I’d be glad to do so if he’s willing to fly to England as I’m banned for life from America by the Department of Homeland Security.
So far my three attempts to send Hard Time to prisoners in the Arizona Department of Corrections have been thwarted. No explanation has been given by the property officer for rejecting the book – an illegal violation of the civil rights of the prisoners concerned. The prison has also rejected some letters sent by readers of this blog to our friends inside, citing no reason for the rejections, which is also illegal.

My publisher said that I should take things easier workwise now that Hard Time is published. But that’s just not in my nature. I’m frustrated that I've been too busy since the publication to get much writing in. The prequel to Hard Time is at 110,000 words, but I’ve only just begun to polish the first 50 pages. I’ve also been bouncing ideas off various people who are generously spending time proof-reading chunks of the prequel. Hopefully, it’ll be ready next year. I’d also like to get a collection of short stories out, and to include contributions by some of the prisoners who write for this blog.

I did my first talk to a largish adult audience just a few days ago. About 80 people at True Stories Told Live. I was allowed to talk for 10 minutes only. Not easy for someone as verbose as me. I practiced plenty, and distilled the talk down to its punchiest elements. It was well received. The man who hosted the event, David Hepworth, watched me talk at Kingston Grammar School, and blogged about it here.

The presentations to schools are going from strength to strength. I’ve refined the talk to include a display of prison clothes, and PowerPoint images. The latter has taken the talk to a whole new level. The spider-bite wound image gets the students every time. I only show it for five seconds, but it causes so much uproar that I’m basically just left standing there drinking water while the teachers calm the students down. Two boys recently fainted at one school where it was shown. I also got mobbed on a train to London by a group of sixth formers who’d heard my talk.

Hard Time now has a US publisher, and is scheduled for general release in spring. The media stories have been building up. Two magazines, FHM and The Word, are next. 

The Hard Time literary event is coming up on October 21st at the Royal Festival Hall in London, the largest exhibition centre in the world. I’ll be getting interviewed by Erwin James the lifer turned journalist and author, who did Hard Time proud recently in The Guardian. Tickets are on sale here, with the proceeds going to the Koestler Trust, a charitable organisation that helps prisoners pursue arts. Tickets are only £5, and the event is almost sold out. Four people are flying from America, including some of my blog readers, and two from Ireland for this.

On October 29th is the Hard Time hometown launch party at The 8 Towers pub in Widnes. If you live in the northwest of England you are welcome to attend this free event that will include a talk, PowerPoint images, book signing and two special guests from Hard Time: Wild Man and Hammy.

Will you be there, Aza? Early indications suggest that several people from our school year at St. Josephs will be going, and quite a few from Fairfield.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Recession Medicine

Recession Medicine

Influence of human obesity on the metabolic fate of dietary long- and medium-chain triacylglycerols

Influence of human obesity on the metabolic fate of dietary long- and medium-chain triacylglycerols

The metabolic fate of an oral long-chain-triacylglycerol (LCT) load and of a mixed oral LCT and mediumchain-triacylglycerol (MCT) load was followed for 6 h in eight control and eight obese subjects with normal postabsorptive triacylglycerol concentrations. Labeled triacylglycerol and indirect calorimetry were used. Results showed that LCTs were less oxidized in obese than in control subjects (3.2 ± 0.5 compared with 6.0 ± 0.4 g, P < 0.01). Moreover, the amount of LCT oxidized was negatively correlated with fat mass (r = 20.77, P < 0.01).   Appearance in plasma of dietary triacyglycerol-derived long-chain fatty acids was blunted in obese subjects and it was negatively related to fat mass (r = 20.84, P < 0.01) and positively to LCT oxidation (r = 0.70, P < 0.01). On the contrary, MCT oxidation was not altered in obese subjects compared with control subjects. Furthermore, the proportion of MCTs oxidized was higher in both groups compared with LCTs (x – ± SEM: 57.5 ± 2.6% compared with 15.± 1.6%, P < 0.01, n = 16). Our conclusion is that obesity is associated with a defect in the oxidation of dietary LCTs probably related to an excessive uptake by the adipose tissue of meal derived long-chain fatty acids. MCTs, the oxidation of which is not altered in obesity, could therefore be of interest in the dietary treatment of obesity. Am J Clin Nutr 1998;67:595–601
It is important to remember that correlation does not equal causation.  The obese tend to have higher circulating lipids and elevated NEFA, and, of course, more fat tissue into which dietary fat can be cleared.  It is also important to note that it is the oxidation of diet-derived LCT's that is lower in the obese, not necessarily the oxidation of all endogenous fatty acids.  Since the obese also tend to have higher levels of ectopic lipid accumulation (lipids stored in the cells of skeletal muscle and organs such as the liver), these combined observations would seem to be adaptations to the obese state rather than the causes of the obese state.

One can see that chylo-trigs and VLDL responses are similar between obese and non-obese controls.  But the free fatty acid levels (the squares/middle curve) rise considerably less in the obese.    So it seems that the obese sequester away more dietary fat than the non-obese.  Makes sense as the obese have more endogenous fat to "burn".  

Since dietary MCT oxidation is not altered, these researchers suggest that they may be of interest in dietary treatment of obesity.  Replacing LCT's with MCT's has been shown to promote weight loss in some studies, but I don't believe this is due to differences in utilization of dietary fats for energy.  MCT's have slightly fewer calories than LCT's (8 cal/g vs. 9 on average) and MCT's have a higher TEF, so these two combined can improve the caloric balance.

GCBC Fact Check!!   This study also demonstrates, yet again, that fat CAN accumulate in the absence of carbohydrate.  Interestingly, there was a small but significant insulin spike in the non-obese (those that exhibited MORE lipolysis of dietary fat and subsequent oxidation of those fatty acids), while the insulin response was absent in the obese, who deposited more of their dietary fat intake in their adipose tissue.  Exactly the opposite of what Taubes' theories would predict.

Chylomicrons and HDL

Another one of those mostly bookmark posts with no commentary

Metabolic Fate of Chylomicron Phospholipids and Apoproteins in the Rat

The researchers injected radiolabeled chylomicrons into rats to determine the fate of the components.  The results:
Catabolism of chylomicrons is associated with a rapid transfer of phospholipid, apoA-I, and possibly apoA-IV into HDL. Chylomicron phospholipid appears to give rise to vesicles which are probably incorporated into preexisting HDL. Chylomicron surface components may be an important source of plasma HDL.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Recession Medicine

IT's coming!

New "Sparkly" Currency to Jump Start the Economy

Only a moron, with absolutely NO CONCEPT OF ECONOMICS would think issuing a new currency because it is flashy would "jumpstart the economy."

And is it any surprise the currency design they highlight has the two presidents who utterly FAILED to "jump start the economy?"


Friday, September 17, 2010


I swear, these econometricians are brainwashed to never see the forest from the trees which only makes Black Swans a common species.

Ever consider the dire and daunting entitlement program problems the country has? That ever factor into your little freaking economics model?

Honest to god, I just need about 1 billion of me cloned and I could take care of the rest.

When the Trust Fund Money Runs Out

There are two lakes or "chain of lakes" prominent in my life.

1. The Calhoun-Lake of the Isles lake chain and
2. Lake Minnetonka.

I run regularly around the Calhoun-Isles chain for a semi-daily 7 mile run whereas I ride my motorcycle around the much larger 98 mile Lake Minnetonka. However, both lakes as of recent have started to serve as an obscure economic barometer for me.

Understand the two lakes are quite similar when it comes to the people who live on them - rich. And not just rich, I'm talking super rich. Mark Dayton, trust fund baby extraordinaire of the Target Corporation family lives (or at least did live) on Lake of the Isles. The Pillsburies, the Kenwoods, the Lowry's, all of Minnesota's industrialists back in the olden days lived around Lake of the Isles. Their modern day counterparts live around the much larger Lake Minnetonka. The Heckers, the Petters, the Cargills, the LaFavres and many more.

But what is great is what my little eye spies when either running around the lakes or motorcycling around the lake and that is "For Sale" signs. And not just a handful here or there, but more than I've ever seen. And not just more than I've ever seen, the signs aren't going away. The houses are not selling.

Now what this tells me is two different (albeit related) things between the two lakes.

In the Lake Calhoun/Lake of the Isles area the trust fund money is finally running out. Understand they don't have the run of the mill "Edina Realty" or "Coldwell Banker Burnett" realtors selling their properties, they have a division of SOTHEBY'S the luxurious auctioning house doing it. Of course Sotheby's ain't getting a dimes' worth of commission because (and understand the linking here because the domino effect is awesome);

their clients are basically spoiled brat trust fund babies who

have voted liberal/leftist since the 1960's

and have voted also to jack up property taxes in the city of Minneapolis

which have put left leaning politicians in office who

vote to increase taxes on not just income, but property and capital gains tax

which (here's the good part)

DIRECTLY undermines, if not, destroys the assets that constitute the trust fund babies' trust funds


forcing them to sell and liquidate their investments for a fraction of what they thought they had

and maybe,

(GASP) FORCE THEM TO GET REAL JOBS!!! (or in the case of Mark Dayton, run for governor).

For some reason, I have a much bigger smile running around the Kenwood neighborhood (which is where all these elite, liberal trust fund babies live) looking at all the houses not selling.

Then there is Lake Minnetonka. This is a more familiar refrain of Cappy Cap readers in that it is the "new" money, largely made either by investing in the real estate market or by swindling and fraud. Whereas there are no big names being arrested in the Lake of the Isles area, it seems every third millionaire is getting arrested; Denny Hecker, Adam LaFavre and Minnesota's very own Tom Petters.

Now, of course not all the properties for sale in the Lake Minnetonka area are up for sale due to criminal activity. Most of them are up for sale due to the collapsing housing market and the fact idiotic real estate developers kept on building despite warnings from (ahem ahem) brilliant economists, not to mention brainwashed mentality of pretty suburbanites who thought they could afford a house on lake Minnetonka. But here too my motorcycle ride seems only improved as I see McMansion after McMansion go up for sale or in the case of Adam LaFavre's old house, it is completely destroyed.

What is also another cute little economic observation I have in my rides around Minnetonka is First National Bank of the Lakes. They are a small bank with only 3 branches, one of which is located in the town of Navarre (right on Lake Minnetonka). Over the past 3 years I can always tell when this guy is in trouble because when he is forced to foreclose on a loan he usually repossess the collateral. This not just includes the house, but VERY nice Lake Minnetonka cars which he then parks in the banks parking lot with a for-sale sign on it. Ever since I've seen an increasing amount of cars for sale, but they are no longer the Mercedes and Beamers I once saw. They're now domestics signaling times are getting worse.

However, what makes this particular stretch of my ride great is I interviewed with their CEO about a year ago who wanted me to "start in two weeks" to help tighten up his underwriting "problems" the bank had. Naturally as one can guess I never received a call back as my reputation and book preceded me. But I recall one thing during the interview that was hilarious. He blamed the ENTIRE housing crash on "those mortgage brokers."

No, couldn't have ANYTHING to do with a complete lack of underwriting standards of credit control now could it? It couldn't be yet ANOTHER incompetent middle-aged man who made it to CEO of a small community bank because he was a good salesmans during a housing boom, yet had no credit analysis or economic analysis skills to speak of. No, that could NEVER be the source of your problems.

I occasionally look up their financial statements, they're doing about as good as most banks who don't listen to me.

The larger point is there is none.

I'm just basking in the glow of "I told you so" and thought you Cappy Cap readers might be happy to enjoy the pain of others, namely those that brought the housing crash and subsequent economic crisis upon us.

Here's some other banks in the Lake Minnetonka area (most of which either the Captain worked for or applied to work for)

Americana Community Bank

MidCountry Bank


There are others, but you get the idea.

Oh, and as always, enjoy the decline!

Enjoy the decline!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Pulling an Ireland

I must type quickly for the Rupmleminze has entered my mouth and has about 10 minutes before it enters the blood stream and therefore turns my mind into that of a normally observant economist and not the brilliant (and charming) economist I am whilst sober.

I was listening to talk radio and the whole commotion today is about whether or not to let the Bush tax cuts expire.

Which is like arguing about whether or not we should re-arrange the deck chairs on the Titanic because it's so cute and so short-falling of what it utterly needed to get this economy out of recession.

What is needed to get this economy out of a recession is something much more revolutionary, albeit much simpler - pulling an Ireland.

Now many people ask, "Captain, what is "pulling and Ireland?"

Well I shall tell you.

Ireland before it had its economic boom was not too unlike the United States today - a socialist nation, burdened by slow economic growth, huge deficits and debt, and no real hope or future to look forward to.

Then in the early 90's Ireland decided to do something revolutionary;

Cut government spending.

Cut taxes

And become a tax haven by lowering corporate taxes to 12%.

Over the 15 years Ireland's standard of living went from roughly 70% that of the European average to 120% (if I recall my figures correctly) and started to rival the US (and guess who's going to come out of the recession sooner!)

Now admittedly, IReland is suffering from an economic crisis more severe than the US, but that is more due to their idiotic bankers and banking system which made Lehman Brothers look conservative, but neither here nor there, Ireland's economic lot improved.

And the reason why Ireland was able to shrug off the economic malaise was because instead of looking to the government to solve the problems that ailed it, it left it up to the people to solve. It GREW ITSELF out of it's problems.

I remember the Reagan years where the deficit and debt were HUGE issues. A $200 billion deficit was HUGE. Well Pelosi and Obama propose new "stimulus measures" on that amount every other week. That $200 billion today looks like chump change.

The reason why is the economy BOOMED and grew itself out of its debt woes.

Now what's funny (and this is what makes me the genius economist that I am) is that the US doesn't have a choice....Well it' DOES have a choice, but if they want to get out of this recession, it only has one REAL choice.

Choice #1 - Continue the way Japan did since 1990 and wonder why we limp along at 1-2% RGDP growth.

CHoice #2 - Pull and Ireland, slash taxes, get the economy BOOMING to the point it not only dwarfs out current debt and deficit problems, but makes social security and medicare look like chump change.

In other words, implement policies that get the average income per capita of the nation up to $150,000 per year (which I believe is possible-laugh as you may) and we can afford all these cute little entitlements with spare change.

Now the myopic idiots BOTH in WAshington and on talk radio somehow think lowering taxes will increase the debt (and what I find utterly hypocritical is they act like pissing away money on the stimulus doesn't!), but forget the Laffer Curve, forget supply side economics, I'm going to explain to all you idiots in Washington in REAL simple terms that everybody can understand why lowering taxes is the way to go -

North Korea

You see, let's break it down really simple and imagine taxes are a linear, single variable. If you increase taxes, tax revenues go up. If you lower them, tax revenues go down. So according to this simple linear philosophy, North Korea, CUba, Venezuela and any other communist country should have AMPLE government revenues to pay for all their little socialist services. Because their tax rates are effectively 100%. Right? So they should have TONS, AMPLE amounts of government revenue to afford their socialist services. Matter of fact, they should SHAME the US by the sheer amount of money they blow on services.

But what's funny is if you look at their budgets (if you can find them) they spend NOWHERE NEAR THE AMOUNT THE US DOES ON SOCIAL SERVICES.

Well, now, how can this be?

Well, the reason why is that no matter how you try to think otherwise and no matter what you tell people, in the end the government inevitably and invariably derives its revenue from production in the private sector. And if there is no production in the private sector (like say in Cuba, North Korea and Venezuela) there's nothing to tax and therefore no tax revenue.

Ergo, even though philosophically they are considered "caring socialist nations" in the end, they effectively spend a pittance on social programs compared to their (decaying and dying) capitalist counterparts simply because the money (or production) isn't there. ie-they fail in their socialist cause because they destroy the goose that lays the golden egg.

Now why this is so hard to understand, I don't know. The simple fact that the government by default is a parasitic organization that lives off the private sector (the host) means if you had wise government you would know that your gravy train, your blood, comes from a booming private sector. Ergo, implement policies to boost it.

Ireland inevitably figured it out.

Our forefathers certainly did.

And even those stubborn Russians abandoned their childish Marxist religion.

But no, you idiots in WAshington cannot appreciate the simplicity of pulling an Ireland. And the idiotic American public, with a severe and unforgivable level of ignorance elected arguably the most inept, childish, incompetent charlatan in the history of the US.

Of course, perhaps I hit it on the head. To you people who are so adamantly against lowering taxes and thinks the economy's salvation lies within the government, perhaps I give you too much credit. Perhaps deep down inside you know the government can't solve the problem but are inhibited by your zealous religion. Perhaps you know the world is round and the Earth is not the center of the solar system but you cannot abandon your religion. Perhaps you are no more of an intellectual than all those "southern, bible belt Christians." Because you don't care to bother looking up the "truth" as much as you care about being married to your equally worthless religion of leftism and socialism. Because I'm sorry, could you please explain to me how socialism materially differs from a religion? Last I recall, no empirical proof is cited by its followers, just like most religions. Perhaps i could have a bumper sticker that says, "Obama, Protect me from Your Followers?"

Regardless, enjoy the decline! Hallelujah Socialist Brothers and Sisters! Enjoy the decline!

I shall enjoy now a very secular and second Rumpleminze.
The Last Sighting of Two Tonys (by CJ)

Written shortly before Two Tonys died.

I’m Two Tonys friend writing to tell you that a couple of weeks ago he went to the Medical Unit. I was on my way to work when he was being wheeled out in a chair. But you know what? The tough old guy still had the strength to call out my name and give me a wave. I’ve been watching his decline, and I hate seeing my friend go through this. But I remember what he told me: “Don’t worry ’cause I’ve lived a life.”

He always talked about you, Shaun, so I thought I would drop a line. He always wanted me to write for you, but I’m more of an artist. I didn’t think I had much to say. We used to have great conversations and I learned a lot from him. I used to make him laugh ’cause I told him he practically raised me. And he would agree. I met him when I was 18 years old, and brand new to the prison system. Now I’m 35. Two things he taught me are “Never give up,” and “Attitude is everything.”

One day we were kicking back when he pulled out a photo of himself. He asked if I wanted it. Of course I did, so I told him to write something on the back, to put something wise. He laughed. I told him I wouldn’t read it till he left this world. I’m wondering what he wrote. Maybe something funny.

Click here for the blog about Two Tonys death, which links to many of his best stories at Jon’s Jail Journal.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Attention Parochial School Principals!

Your Captain, as you know, went to parochial school.

"Parochial school" is a euphemism for Uber Nazi Concentration Kamp fur Kinderdass wir hassen und wollen ganz psychologisch zu zerstören"

Their goal is to force feed little innocent children religion and brainwash them so they never develop independent thinking skills as an adult, thereby guaranteeing future sources of revenue.

Thankfully I had a father who was a pastor, which drove me to the breaking point, and now I pretty much loathe all religion in all of its forms be it Christianity, Islam, Judaism or modern day, up and coming hip religions that the kids just love and swallow whole such as Global Warming, Feminism, Pacifism and their umbrella group, Socialism.

Regardless, I know a problem you principals and staff of parochial schools have is that the kids may actually be bored with the curriculum you are trying to them. I know!? How CAN'T they like a 1,300 page religious tome? And like how can the story of Exodus ever get boring when you tell it over and over and over

and over

and over

and over

and over.

I mean, you never know, the Jew's might not make it out of Egypt by the 19th freaking read of Exodus!

Regardless, I saw something that may make studying the Bible (or any religious doctrine) a bit more interesting. I know I would have paid attention more than I did if I had this.

When Buyers Flee the Market

In one of my more brilliant (and recent pieces - because of the awesome chart at the end) I a likened the courtship market of people in their 30's much like the housing market. It was a-BOOMIN' and buyers were desperate to buy a house, ANY HOUSE.

And all of the sudden - POOF!

No more buyers.

The buyers, exasperated from the horrors of trying to find a house, having to constantly battle against other buyers, looking at dumps that needed repair and needed tens of thousands of dollars worth of improvements, not to mention the pain of getting financing, just gave up. The houses just weren't worth it. Renting was better. And the goal of living in a McMansion was soon replaced with a much simpler life of renting and NEVER BUYING.

Now, the sellers are desperate. Most bankrupt. And nobody wants their McMansions any more as society and the economy more or less force frugality upon the buyers.

Seems this young lady (or perhaps not so young any more) is starting to notice it on the analogous "seller"side while us "buyers" saw it coming a long time ago.

Here is the ht to a slightly harsher interpretation of this poor woman's situation.

The Captain Returns to College

A day in the life of the Captain is basically this;

10AM - Wake Up and SSS

1030-1130 - Get my morning power drink, answer e-mails and answer any questions my students have in my online classes (all of you should take)

1130-1145 - Look at Drudge, curse, make a post for you guys.

1145-130PM - Run around Lake Calhouns and the Isles

130-430PM - House work, cutting wood, work out, eat

430-10PM - Leave for dance class early to avoid rush hour, teach and drive back home

10PM -Midnight - Meet with my crew, drink, dance, crash with the lovely Natasha

Midnight - 2AM - internet, watching Hogan's Heroes and Venture Brothers

Now, this is certainly not a bad life. But it leaves one wanting. It certainly is not hard teaching dance classes, and online classes are certainly great, but loafing around going Galt does not fill the soul of a true, productive American man. You feel empty. Ergo why your Captain started his two year degree in computer networking.

Now the merits of computer networking should be obvious;

1. In demand skill that will get you the highest income with the least amount of schooling.
2. No need to go 4 years (most of which would be pissed away on worthless liberal arts pre-req's) to learn a skill that is deployable in 2 years.
3. The finite nature of computer networking makes it much more immune to politics and moronic middle aged bankers. For example if you design the network correctly and it works, it works. There's nothing to complain about. Versus predicting a housing crash 2 years before it happens, trying to tell your baby boomer bosses to not make bad loans, even if you're right, you're still going to be berated, disciplined and yelled at because you got in the way of their big, fat commission check. There is no politics simply because of the nature of computers.

So the Captain goes to his first networking class and what do you suppose the breakdown of the students are?

The sole, lonely Captain and a score of bodacious, hot 20 something babes?

The Captain and an equal mix men and women of his age?

The Captain and a rainbow of diversity where the Captain was the only non-Catholic Irish, quarter-Jew with a smattering of German blood in him, representing the white man?

No, it was the Captain, a score of fat, pasty nerdy white guys between 30-50 and two lonely girls.

And it depressed me. Not because there weren't tons of totally hot and find babes in the class, but because once again the reason women make less than men, the reason for the wage gap was sitting there right in front of me. All the complaining, all the demands for justice, all the whining, and yet there was the proof that women, by and large, are not going to make the right choices to close that gap.

Of course, when I went to the bathroom and walked pasted (what I believe to be) a media arts class, what do you suppose the break down of that was?

Makes me wonder if people really are that stupid or just plain brainwashed.

What to think when "experts" get it wrong ... repeatedly??

So let me start by saying that I've gleaned a lot of useful information over at Dr. Davis' Heart Scan Blog.  But one thing I've noticed is that he rarely responds to comments left at his site.  Now, obviously, he's under no obligation to do so, but when the comments are corrective in nature, not doing so leaves the impression that he didn't even bother to read the comments and/or take them under advisement.

The first time I noticed this was in this post.  
Carbohydrates in the diet trigger formation of small LDL particles. Because carbohydrates, such as products made from wheat, increase triglycerides and triglyceride-containing lipoproteins (chylomicrons, chylomicron remnants, VLDL, and IDL), LDL particles (NOT LDL cholesterol) become triglyceride-enriched. Triglyceride-enriched LDL particles are "remodeled" by the enzyme, hepatic lipase, into triglyceride-depleted, small LDL particles. 
I'll leave the rest of that alone and deal with just the bolded part.  Chylomicrons are the circulating form of dietary fat and have nothing to do with carbohydrates.   Chylomicron remnants, are literally the remnants of chylos once stripped of most of their triglyceride load.  Therefore, these lipoproteins have nothing to do with carbohydrates as well.  Hans Keer from Cut the Carb corrected Davis on the posting date (7/9/10) here.
As far as I'm concerned, you cannot say enough bad things about carbohydrates, but unfortunately they are not responsible for the formation of chylomicrons and chylomicron remnants. Chylomicrons consist mainly of dietary fat.
Now, everyone can make mistakes and after reading I was going to post a correction of my own until I saw Keer had beat me to the punch.   But I fully expected Davis to correct the record and move on, especially since I had seen Keer comment rather frequently on the site, yet over two months later he has failed to do so.  This might seem like nit-picking, but when someone claims and/or is seen as an authority on certain issues, it would behoove them to get the little things -- those we know with certainty -- correct. 

A month or so back, Davis made another somewhat glaring error in misrepresenting visceral fat in this post as the "hang-over-the-belt" fat.  This time I posted a corrective comment that was ignored.  (I've recently become very interested in the visceral fat/estrogen link due to my early menopausal state).  Again, this may seem to be nit picking, as Davis did post a picture characteristic of visceral adiposity in his 2007  Wheat Belly post.  It is often difficult to tell whether central adiposity is visceral, subcutaneous or both.  But given the metabolic and disease-risk implications of the distinction, it is important, IMHO, to be clear what visceral fat is.  To that end, Davis' most recent post really struck me as off the mark.  In Let go of my love handles, Davis is now equating the fat pictured below with visceral fat.

Now, such fat may well be associated with body types that have bellies containing a lot of visceral fat, but "love handles" are clearly subcutaneous fat.  Just an observation, but the low-cut jeans (women) and hanging off the butt showing the boxers (men) fads have given most of us an (unwanted) peek at way more love-handle regions than I think we really need -- particularly in young ladies and men.  While this has exposed more than a fair share of belly rolls, I've seen a LOT of rather lean examples of both genders with bounce-a-quarter flat bellies sporting little love handles.    So I'm not quite sure where Davis can even imply fat deposition here even correlates with visceral -- aka the dangerous kind -- fat deposition.  This was just posted yesterday (9/14/10), but Jenny of Diabetes Update fame already corrected the record here.  

Will Dr. Davis correct the record?    UPDATE: I see now that Davis has addressed the love handles not being visceral fat dated 9/15.  I still let the rest of this post stand because he states that love handles are an INDICATOR of visceral fat.  True??  

So the following originally followed Will Dr. Davis correct the record? ... Do you care?  Do I?  I do for the following reason.   One of the reasons for all my research is that very quickly I've become jaded and skeptical of all manner of experts around the internet -- some with genuine credentials, others who peddle credentials in related areas into purported expertise on matters, and some with no credentials at all.  Oddly enough, it is sometimes the latter who are most accurate, and the most credentialed who disseminate factually incorrect information.  Not always, but sometimes.  When Davis makes such fundamental errors on issues that are not controversial (e.g. there's no controversy over what visceral fat is or the origin of chylomicrons), it makes me skeptical of every statement he makes.  I do still follow his blog, but more and more I find myself using his topics as a "jumping off" point for my own research rather than, as I would like to see them, as informational with at least the opportunity for discussion.  Davis is certainly free to run his blog as he wishes, but when he doesn't participate in the commentary and respond to related questions from reasons, this comes off as lecturing from a point of authority.  I can no longer take any of his posts at face value as being factually (to the extent of current level of scientific knowledge) correct.  So, re: UPDATE -- is there any research linking love handle fat to visceral fat?