URLs du Jour


  • Salt Shakers I love salt, so I'm probably predisposed to love this NYT article [paywall-evading link] by Gary Taubes, which claims that the food-nanny jihad against salt is scientifically unjustifiable and counter-productive. Key paragraph:

    While [in the past] the evidence merely failed to demonstrate that salt was harmful, the evidence from studies published over the past two years actually suggests that restricting how much salt we eat can increase our likelihood of dying prematurely. Put simply, the possibility has been raised that if we were to eat as little salt as the U.S.D.A. and the C.D.C. recommend, we’d be harming rather than helping ourselves.

    Compare and contrast "Salt: The Forgotten Killer" from the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), which, as the title implies, is hysterical, demanding Immediate Government Action to reduce the salt intake of the citizenry. If Taubes is right, there's a good chance this advice, if taken, could actually kill more people than it saves.

    And of course, CSPI claims to have Science on its side—it's right in their freakin' name, after all. As in so many of these controversies, it's difficult to conclude that their real goal isn't anything other than satisfying their underlying craving for power, to bend people to their will.

  • Of course, another manifestation of the push-people-around impulse is NYC Mayor Bloomberg's ban of big beverages he doesn't think the inhabitants of his city should be drinking. Frank J. discusses the ban and its historical context:

    America was built on the principle that a man could make choices about his own life. This has been a complete failure. You remember when pioneers set out by themselves into the untamed frontier? And you remember what happened to them? That’s right: They all died. Lacking a government to tell them how much soda to drink or salt to eat, they became too obese to run away from bears and mountain lions. It’s a sad chapter in our history, but luckily when people headed out west the next time, they brought lots and lots of government with them and founded California. And thanks to its huge amount of laws telling people what to do, that area has flourished (well, I haven’t read any news about California in a decade or so, but I assume it’s still doing pretty well).

  • A. Barton Hinkle notes that CSPI and Mayor Bloomberg are merely following the fascistic trail blazed for them by Harvard Professional Big Thinkers:

    At a “Harvard Thinks Big” confab earlier this year, evolutionary biologist Daniel Lieberman offered his own bright idea for tackling the nation’s obesity epidemic. Merely medicating it won’t do, he said, and education is well-meaning but ineffective. His answer? “Coercion. … We should start telling corporations what to do.” But not just corporations. He also advocated – “to hearty applause,” the Harvard Gazette noted – “requiring people to exercise.”

    Wave of the future folks. That's the best and the brightest applauding

  • Speaking of pushing people around: my ex-CongressCritter, Carol Shea-Porter, wants her old job back. And she's been writing the occasional op-ed for NH newspapers. Mostly, those op-eds serve to remind me of what a threat she was to constitutional liberties. For example:

    What if the United States held an election season and no super PAC money or other hard to trace or totally hidden special-interest money showed up on our television or radio, or in print ads? Would voters think they were better off without that money in local, state and federal elections? Do they think this money is unduly influencing our democratic process, and are they right? The answer to these questions is yes, and citizens want politicians to clean up this mess now.

    The dishonesty here is: when Citizen Carol says "money", she really means "speech". (Have you ever seen "money" show up on your television?)

    And she really wants to get back into Congress so she can make that speech illegal. Bad luck to her.

  • A tip from your humble blogger made it into Best of the Web Today:

    Metaphor Alert


    • "The scandal at Ohio State further fueled perceptions of a tail-wagging-the-dog culture at major universities, where administrators look the other way as long as the golden goose athletics program is reeling in wins and dollars."--Toledo Blade, June 3

    Original link from Margaret Soltan, who has an eye for this sort of thing.

Last Modified 2012-06-10 8:05 AM EST


[3.5 stars] Cronos (1993) on IMDb [Amazon]

A 1993 sorta-horror movie directed by Guillermo del Toro, before he made big-time movies like Hellboy and Pan's Labyrinth. It got the "Criterion Collection" treatment.

Aged antique dealer Jesús Gris has it pretty good: married to his loving wife, Mercedes, doting on his cute granddaughter Aurora, who obviously adores him back. His shop is ostensibly open for business, but his main occupation seems to be playing with Aurora.

So it comes as a shock when an actual customer shows up, apparently interested in a centuries-old statue of an archangel. We, the audience, know something that Jesús doesn't: the statue was once owned by an alchemist who found a key to immortality, a secret since lost. In short order, Jesús (unfortunately for him) discovers the secret of the statue, and becomes the target of a ruthless industrial tycoon and his sadistic brute of a son, Angel (Ron Perlman). Both Jesús and Aurora find themselves in peril.

If you've seen Guillermo del Toro's later movies, you won't be surprised by the imaginative, creepy style here. Probably the only movie in recent memory where I found myself saying to the screen: "Hey, don't lick that! You don't know where it's been!"

Last Modified 2012-09-21 10:43 AM EST