New Article on NewsBlaze

I wrote a new article on NewsBlaze: Want Limited Government?  Limit the Bills.  Read it and let me know what you think.

What others are eating

As a skinny person who loves food, I’m often faced with cracks, some polite and some not, about how I stay slim.  At the same time, though, I’m often shocked by the things many people who appear to believe that their weight is outside of their control actually eat. 
 
That’s why the “advice to others” in this article, from a woman who lost 102 lbs, drives me batty.  
Her advice to others: Be willing to make some changes, even small changes to your diet will help. If you drink soda, switch to diet soda. If you eat fast food, gradually cut back on the number of times you eat it each week until you cut it out. Cut out excess sugar.
Gradually cut back the number of times you eat fast food each week?  How on earth can someone with weight concerns eat fast food on a “several times a week” basis?  I eat fast food, perhaps six or seven times a year.  It’s a very rare treat.  Since learning how to cook, I don’t even think of it as generally appealing anymore (occasionally it’s agreeable as a sort of slumming, but only rarely).  There are dozens, nay, hundreds, of quick and easy recipes that can be made in less time than it takes to swing by the drive-thru, and they taste better, too. 
 
The same with soda.  Why on earth would you drink it on a regular basis?  That’s an enormous amount of sugar to take in at one time.  Don’t your teeth feel fuzzy afterwards?  Gross.  Other than in the occasional mixed drink, I rarely touch the stuff.  And I didn’t need someone else’s advice to tell me that. 
I waited tables for a few years in college, and in my experience, you had maybe somewhat chunky people who generally ate normally, and could credibly say that their less than perfectly ideal weight was a product of genetics, and then you had the truely fat (I’m talking Precious fat) people who ate exactly like you would expect them to.  Refill after refill on soda, extra extra dressing, fries, extra butter, and so on.  They usually finished their enormously portioned meals before the normal-weighted people had time to taste theirs, too, making me wonder why they even needed the taste enhancers like butter and dressing. 
 
I don’t deprive myself, but I do eat vegetables (and not just the lettuce on a Big Mac!) every day (mostly frozen), fruit on a regular basis, and drink a lot of water and (unsweetened) tea.  And I have a small dessert (often after lunch and dinner) just about every day and a burger and fries when I really want them.  It isn’t that hard, guys. 
 
I’m glad this women lost weight and changed her habits, so I’m not putting her down.  It’s just that I read an article like this, and then I hear fat people shout “Woe is me, I cannot help my weight!” and something doesn’t add up. 
Added: The Advice Goddess took some serious heat (but came out swinging) when she advised a woman that her weight gain was probably why her boyfriend was losing interest. 

Want Limited Government? Limit the Bills

A tax change that will harm the ability of employers to keep their retirees off Medicare.  No protection for children with pre-existing conditions.  An individual mandate with no means of enforcement

It seems that nobody read and understood the full workings of the “historic” healthcare bill that was voted in last week.  New and unexpected provisions that failed to get consideration before the law was made are still coming to light.  And many of them are so complicated that no one can even agree on what they really mean.  That’s no surprise, considering the bill was just shy of 2000 pages long and loaded with non sequiturs.  Has anyone credibly explained what student loans have to do with healthcare, anyway?   

In Tennessee, we have a system that is far different from the federal government’s.  Article II, Section 17 of the Tennessee State Constitution states:

No bill shall become a law which embraces more than one subject, that subject to be expressed in the title. All acts which repeal, revive or amend former laws, shall recite in their caption, or otherwise, the title or substance of the law repealed, revived or amended.

In other words, in Tennessee, a healthcare bill would have to be about . . . healthcare.  Not healthcare and student loans, not healthcare and Louisiana purchases, not healthcare and cornhusker kickbacks.  Just healthcare.  In fact, healthcare being such a broad category in itself, each act would likely be limited to being about only one part of healthcare. 

Imagine this rule as applied to the federal government: we could read the bills, and know what was in them, in a matter of minutes, not grueling days.  Changes would be easy to spot and report on.  There would be no “discoveries” days later that no one so much as had the chance to comment on.  No congressperson could be rewarded by sprinkling the bill with district-specific special favors in exchange for a vote. 

Each law would be about what it was about.  Nothing more, nothing less.  The U.S. could benefit from following Tennessee’s lead.

More on Canadian Law’s Free Speech Problem

I wrote an article about Ann Coulter’s and Mark Steyn’s experiences with the Canadian speech police for NewsBlaze.  Please read it and let me know what you think. 

I also received a response from an interested Canadian.  Here is our exchange:

By far the majority of Canadians disagree with the move to muzzle Anne Coulter.  And that included the majority who disagreed with what she had to say.  Shortly after her cancelled speech in Ottawa, she went on to an uneventful speech in front of a sold out crowd in Calgary.  So please don’t generalize.  You are being as offensive as Mr. Houle although I’ll defend vigorously your right to express wrong opinions.

Comment on story http://newsblaze.com/story/20100329061957lyss.nb/topstory.html

Regards,

(name withheld)

Cobourg, Canada

Hello,

Thank you very much for reading and taking the time to comment.  I wanted to address your comment, though, in order to make sure things are clarified. 

First, I’m really glad to hear that you and a large number of Canadians disagreed with the silencing of Ms. Coulter’s speech.  That gives me hope for the future of freedom in Canada. 

However, I’d like to note that the statements that you described as my generalizations were based on the law in Canada, as it has been threatened against Ms. Coulter and exercised (albeit ultimately unsuccessfully) against Mr. Steyn.  Until the majority of Canadians rise up against these abusive and freedom inhibiting laws that allow people to be prosecuted for expression and demand that the police protect people’s freedom of expression, the beliefs that you attribute to them are only so much dust in the wind. 

In other words, I don’t believe that I was offensive or generalizing, and I’m not sure what I said that you believe was wrong. 

If you have no objections, I would like to post this discussion on my blog.  I will, of course, redact your personal information. 

Thank you again for reading and commenting.  I hope that you will continue to do so in the future. 
Thank you,

Lyssa

Op-Ed Contributor to NewsBlaze

lyssalovelyredhead@gmail.com

lyssalovelyredhead.wordpress.com

Lyssa,

Feel free to post the discussion – I tend to assume that emails become public once sent.

To take the discussion further, the problem in Canada with free speech is that while the courts generally support the idea, it’s covered by laws and precedents but not the constitution.  The laws are not really clear because there is also the “hate speech” law.   The blight on all this though is the collection of “Human rights commissions” which do not always make rulings that make sense.  A number of Canadians – including me – feel that these should be disbanded and leave any issues that need resolving with the regular courts.  Unfortunately, as yet, this idea does not have the same majority support that the concept of free speech has.

I further understand that the problem is worse in the U.K.  This is because they have a law against libel which is so easily invoked that people from other countries use the U.K. courts to press their dubious claims.

 So in summary, I do agree that the laws on free speech (constitutionally based) in the U.S. are better than other places – perhaps better than anywhere in the world.  But that does not mean everyone in those countries agrees with the laws.

 And to support my contention that “most Canadians support Ms. Coulter’s right to speak”, see this article here:  http://www.nationalpost.com/todays-paper/story.html?id=2738098

 Regards,

(name withheld) 

www.cobourginternet.com

 One commenter already expressed concern on my earlier post about how reflective this attitude is of Canadians in general.  I’m glad to hear that it is not very, and I hope that they are able to change their laws accordingly.

Do Women With Endless Childhoods Prefer More Feminine Men?

Instapundit links to a story about a study that found that women in countries with a cradle to grave style government and taxpayer funded healthcare have a tendency to favor pictures of men which have been subtly “feminized.”  The researchers posit that masculine men are favored for being more resistant to disease, but they are also (to the researchers) “uncooperative, unsympathetic, philandering, aggressive and disinterested in parenting,” therefore, it is beneficial to women to drop the desire for he-men as soon as reasonably possible. 

Setting aside the quibbles that there is no real reason to believe that tougher-appearing guys are poor father candidates or “uncooperative, unsympathetic” etc. (my experience is quite the opposite) and that evolution just plain doesn’t work that fast, I’d like to posit a different explanation, based on the ultimate sample: me. 

When I was younger, I was attracted to more girly-men.  I thought Johnny Depp was dreamy.  When I was 17-18, Leonardo DeCaprio was simply the epitome of sex appeal.  I deliberately sought out things like long hair and soft facial features. 

Leo and I aged at the same rate (he’s six years older than I am).  How come now he looks like a little boy to me?  No amount of viewings of Titanic or Romeo + Juliet can bring back the previous lust (Yes, I realize those are really obnoxious movies that inspire strong feelings.  But I was a teenaged girl and I loved them).  But now, Keifer Southerland?  Oh my, my. 

So, here’s my explanation for the researcher’s findings: Maturity.  Simple as that.  As I went from a girl to a woman, I began to appreciate men, not boys. 

Now, I may not have a bunch of fancy “research” to back this up, I may be missing some silly things like “sample size” or “scientific training,” and my idea lacks an obvious evolutionary basis, but think about it.  Women in these countries are children of the state for their entire lives.  Cradle to grave, it’s all the same.  They never grow up; they never have to.  And, perhaps, their preferences reflect that.

“We don’t have a religion of free speech”

Americans don’t usually draw that much of a distinction between the U.S. and Canada.  After all, we both speak English, it’s easy to travel back and forth between the same countries, and we even share a lot of entertainers.  The differences seem minute: a few cold weather sports, a penchant for saying “eh”, the metric system.  But the Canadians have one difference from the United States that is a long way from tiny.  They don’t believe in freedom of speech. 

Last week, famed conservative columnist and firebrand Ann Coulter was set to visit the University of Ottawa.  However, before she even set forth on Canadian soil, she was met with a warning.  Not a request to be nice or to avoid offense, but a warning based on the power of the law.  

Respect and civility are not bad things, but should they be enforced by threat of criminal charges?  The Canadians clearly believe so.  Notice the provost’s quotes around “free speech,” as if it is a quant concept that they don’t much buy into. 

The limits on freedom of speech did not end there for Ms. Coulter and the people who wished to hear her speak.  The federation of students barred a volunteer from putting up posters advertising her appearance.  Her appearance was ultimately shut down by the police, who, instead of protecting her and her rights, chose to allow the protesters and rioters to control who is allowed to speak. 

Ann Coulter is not the first to find herself on the wrong side of Canada’s restrictive speech laws.  In 2006, Mark Steyn wrote an article in MacCleans magazine titled “The Future Belongs to Islam.”  In American law, defamation, which is not protected by the First Amendment, only occurs if the speech in question is false.  This is not the case in Canada, where Mr. Steyn was brought up on defamation charges before the Orwellian named Human Rights Commission.  The charge: publishing anything that “discriminates against a person or group, or exposes them to hatred or contempt.”  Although the charges were ultimately dropped, Mr. Steyn was forced to devote many months to defending himself against real criminal charges for doing nothing more than expressing his opinion.  In Canada, the right not to be offended trumps the basic human right to free expression. 

Now, I happen to enjoy Ms. Coulter’s wit, although I understand that many of her comments sound ugly to those with little sense of humor.  I think Mark Styne’s writing is often nothing short of brilliant.  But, even for those who don’t, the good, freedom-loving American can start off with “I don’t agree with what that person says. . .” but finish with a strong defense of that person’s right to speak. 

In Canada, they value civility over our most basic freedom.  Susan Cole, from newspaper Toronto Now, explained in an interview with Fox News:

“We don’t have that same political culture here in (Canada)….We don’t have a 1st Amendment, we don’t have a religion of free speech”….

 “Students sign off on all kinds of agreements as to how they’ll behave on campus, in order to respect diversity, equity, all of the values that Canadians really care about. Those are the things that drive our political culture. Not freedoms, not rugged individualism, not free speech. It’s different, and for us, it works.”

Given the choice between freedom and civility, I’ll take freedom every time.

How many great lines are there in this Mark Steyn peice?

My opinion-writing hero Mark Steyn somehow manages to tie California porn regulations to the health care bill, and it’s just awesome. 

the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board voted to set up a committee to examine whether condoms should be required on all pornographic film shoots within the Golden State. California has run out of money, but it hasn’t yet run out of things to regulate.  …….

 In the future, if a porn actress finds 75 men waiting for her on the set, they’ll be bureaucrats from Sacramento’s Condom Enforcement Squad. ……

If you’ve ever been in the filthy, infected wards of Britain’s National Health Service, it may make more sense after the passage of Obamacare to require hospitals to bring themselves up to the same hygiene standards as the average Bangkok porn shoot……

That’s 16,500 new Internal Revenue Service (IRS) agents, who’ll be needed to check whether you – yes, you, Mr. and Mrs. Hopendope of 27 Hopeychangey Gardens – are in compliance with the 15 tax increases and dozens of new federal mandates ……..

 Mr. Obama is government, and government is Mr. Obama. That’s all he knows and all he’s ever known. ……

 If you have children, they’ll live in smaller homes, drive smaller cars, live smaller lives. If you don’t have children, you had better hope your neighbors do, because someone needs to spawn a working population large enough to pay for the unsustainable entitlements the Obama party has suckered you into thinking you’re entitled to. ……..

If we could “spread the wealth around” in relation to Mr. Steyn’s talent, we’d all be geniuses.