Linky Friday #133: Body, Mind, & Spirit

Education:

[E1] Conor Williams writes that liberal opposition to inequality ends where their schools begin.

[E2] Paul Campos writes more on the subject of college costs.

[E3] Let them fidget! Fidgeting may be helpful for kids with ADHD.

[E4] Tom Lindsey writes about Texas’ ongoing effort to make college genuinely affordable.

[E5] One of the arguments that confounds me is “Why not lower the threshold of proof for sexual assault and stack the standards of evidence are stacked against you if the only consequence you face is getting kicked out of a college?” The logical next step, though, is that it not be just one college.

Gridiron:

[G1] Alex Cuesta offers a list of simple ways to reduce football head injuries, while the University of Cincinnati has reduced football concussions with a new visual training program.

[G2] Eye-tracking technology can help detect concussions in football and maybe Alzheimer’s.

[G3] If the NFL is dissatisfied with the training that quarterbacks are receiving in college, there is a rather straightforward solution to this.

[G4] Here’s a fascinating look at women playing football in the 70’s.

Food:

Image by cudmore

Image by cudmore

[F1] According to a new-ish Rand study, food deserts are not the cause of the obesity epidemic. Relatedly, poor people don’t eat more fast food than the rest of us.

[F2] Maybe we should just start calling natural(ish) watermelons “seeded watermelons.”

[F3] Food color affects more than how food looks, but also how it tastes.

[F4] It sucks when Americans don’t like your ethnic food and apparently when they do.

[F5] Gustavo Arellano writes of Los Angeles’s long history against the “wrong” kinds of food, including and perhaps especially of the Mexican variety.

[F6] HD Miller writes of the Great Sushi Craze of 1905, which was shut down in part by unions and racism.

Body:

Taken by Trumwill

Taken by Trumwill

[B1] Russell Saunders reports that science is getting closer to figuring out why some people just don’t die from smoking.

[B2] Danny Resnic contracted HIV, and has made it his life’s mission to build a better condom.

[B3] Fortunately for people who like their contact lenses, people in power like contact lenses, otherwise they might not be legal.

[B4] It’s really, really difficult to describe why exactly watching little ones can be as exhausting as it is. There’s just nothing to compare it to. Here’s some research.

[B5] Justin Moyer takes aim at sweat-shaming. {via Jaybird}

Mind:

[M1] Sometimes being smart can help you be much more impressively unwise.

[M2] When you’re wrong, you can always convince yourself you’re right.

[M3] Introverts are getting a lot of attention, which seems kind of weird.

[M4] Unleash the power of your brain using brain dumps.

[M5] It doesn’t take much to impact people’s beliefs towards the non-existence of climate change. Also, how repeated falsehoods become truths.

[M6] It seems that before we make a decision, our brains are laying the groundwork for us to decide what we’re supposed to decide.

Spirit:

moroni photo

Image by ricketyus

[S1] Time magazine ties together Mormon breast implants and six-figure Jewish dowries.

[S2] Joe Carter asks why Black and Hispanic Evangelicals are more favorable to prosperity gospel.

[S3] Is a five-year old Oklahoman a reincarnated film actor? (What’s odd about this link is that I’ve gotten it on Facebook, from about four okies that I know. All of whom are super-devout Christians.)

[S4] It turns out, when gay Mormons marry, they often divorce.

[S5] Caste-based discrimination is helping Christianity convert Indians.


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Will Truman is a former professional gearhead who is presently a stay-at-home father in the Mountain East. He has moved around frequently, having lived in six places since 2003, ranging from rural outposts to major metropolitan areas. He also writes fiction, when he finds the time. ...more →

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270 thoughts on “Linky Friday #133: Body, Mind, & Spirit

  1. [E1] : I’m feeling a tad snarky, so I’ll say it: That headline you wrote up for Connor could easily and accurately be changed to “just about everyone’s opposition to just about anything ends where their own personal sacrifice begins.”

    There are lots of people who oppose policies that lead to global warming, child/unsafe/non-living wage labor, curbed religious freedom, curbed free speech, government spending, etc. Most of those same people, however, only want us to adopt policies that might negatively impact other people; they stop pretty well short of things that might negatively impact themselves.

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    • I will be flashing back to this article you wrote (about this article) for a while whenever this topic comes up.

      The article talked about how 12% of the African-Americans in the south are attending schools that are “Apartheid Schools”. In doing a little (MINIMAL! SERIOUSLY! I’M TALKING ABOUT ME HERE!) research, I found out that the numbers for the *COUNTRY* are:

      Fully 15% of black students, and 14% of Latino students, attend “apartheid schools” across the nation, where whites make up 0 to 1% of the enrollment.

      But the article wasn’t about how the South was catching up to the rest of the country.

      It was about the South.

      Which is interesting.

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              • That is a minority practice though, you have to admit.

                Mostly the dialog is that racists are goons from central casting, so if I admit that I hold racist views, or benefit by or perpetuate racist social situations, then I must be a bad person – and since I’m a good person (obviously) all the racists must be someone else.

                I think we’re starting to get there though. All the blasted young’uns who won’t get off our lawns with their hair-trigger sensitivity to cultural appropriation and their skinny pants and their fancy coffees and their damnable trigger warnings – they’re the ones who are actually recognizing that dealing with racism involves a lot work on oneself.

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                • For or anyone else* that thinks I’m way off here, I would actually propose the following experiment:

                  1. Do a word search for “racist” or “racism” in the comments made here in the course of the site’s history.

                  2. Count the number of those comments that are either a). accusing some other person or group that they are not affiliated with of racism, or b). a proclamation or argument that the commenter, or people who belong to the same group as the commenter, are not racist. Jot that number down.

                  3. Count the number of those comments that someone cops to being racist, or in any way does some kind of self-reflection to at least consider the possibility that they might be. Jot that number down.

                  4. Compare the two numbers.

                  I admit, I haven’t actually ever done this so I don’t have the remotest idea what the actual numbers are. But I’d be willing to bet a good deal of money (or at least a bottle of scotch) on what the general thrust of those numbers would be.

                  And that’s us, the most self-aware comment sections I have ever come across on the internet.

                  *(Actually, it would have to be someone with access to the WP edits screens that performed it. But still.)

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                  • and

                    I’d agree that the described behavior constitutes the majority of conversations about racism. I object to the idea that it constitutes the entirety of it though.

                    I constantly find myself thinking, “Holy shit… is that thing I did/said/thought racist/sexist/homophobic/etc.? I need to figure that out stat.”

                    Is that rare? Yea, probably. But I’m pretty sure I do, in fact, exist.

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                      • Yes. My objection was not that this happened, but that racism is “only” ever practiced by those guys over there.

                        Are you familiar with the podcast “Yo, Is This Racist?”? I’ve got about a half dozen questions I want to submit, all surrounding my own behavior. And I stop at a half dozen only because I think they’re the only ones that would possibly make for compelling radio.

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                    • If Tod’s point was that it was the majority and not the entirety, than my objection is withdrawn. But it read to me like he was saying this is always how it goes down.

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                      • In truth, my belief is that it’s somewhere in-between those two. Like any maxim, it’s obviously not universal. But I would argue that simply saying “the majority of the time” belies the degree to how often it is true.

                        OOC, I just did the first part of my proposed experiment, which was just to see how many comments we’ve had that talk about this topic. And it’s a lot: about 5,000 comments with the word “racist,” and about 4,000 with the word “racism.” No idea how many of those two sets overlap, but regardless 5-9K is a lot.

                        If we were doing an office pool, I’d put my dollar in the square that said we’d find 50 comments where people either copped to racism, or did some serious self-reflection about themselves out loud. And FTR, I think you would be the one that did it more than anyone else Kaz, because I think that is a unique strength of yours. It’s the thing I most admire about you, and since I admire a hella lot about you that’s saying something.

                        But if I’m right (and I obviously think that I am), 50 out of 5,000-9,000 exceptions isn’t really communicated by the term “majority,” or even “vast majority.” Or at least it doesn’t to me.

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                        • That seems fair. And thank you for the kind words. That is high praise considering the source.

                          I keep debating a series of “Cleaning out my closet” posts in which I cop to all of the awful things I’ve done (or maybe still do!). While I don’t think we can necessarily ignore it, when we go after public figures and politicians because they did something awful 20-30-40 years ago, I’m always a little curious. The one that got me thinking was the accusations about Romney bullying a gay* classmate during his high school days. While I think Romney’s behavior was concerning for a number of reasons, I realized I could only denounce it so far because, man, did I use the term ‘gay’ as a slur like multiple times a day in high school. And that was the 90s!

                          I suppose a corollary to your maxim would be the tendency we have to denounce something in others only after we have successfully expunged it from ourselves. You see these in all sorts of areas. And it isn’t necessarily wrong to say, “I’ve learned the error of my ways, made changes, and will hopefully help others to do the same,” but it more often comes across as, “Hold on, let me make sure my search history is clear. Okay… all done… YOU MONSTERS!!!”

                          So, yea, I’ve used ‘gay’ as a slur more times than I can count. I’ve told jokes with N-word in the punch line and I said it and not ironically. I’ve hooked up with drunk girls (this I did talk about at length in one post a little while back). I’ve lied. And while I’m not proud to acknowledge as much, they are undeniable parts of my past (and, sometimes, present… I still do lie sometimes) and as part of the growth process, they allow me a bit of empathy when it comes to dealing with others who have similar demons in their closet.

                          * FTR, I can’t remember if the other kid was actually gay or if that was just part of the targeting.

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    • “just about everyone’s opposition to just about anything ends where their own personal sacrifice begins.”

      As written the above makes no sense to me. What you’re saying is people reject their opposition to a policy at precisely the (conceptual) moment that they become aware of their own personal sacrifice, at which point they … what … support the policy? Seems to me you want to say something like the following: “just about everyone’s opposition to just about anything begins where their own personal sacrifice begins.” Which is trivially true from a certain type of logical analysis.

      But it’s not true of everyone. Eg; folks who support restrictions on emissions (knowing the price of energy will go up), or higher car safety standards (knowing the price of a car will go up), or safety in the workplace, or funding public schools via property taxes even tho they don’t have any children, or medicaid (taxes go up!), or increasing the minimum wage (price goes up!), or etc etc. So I’m not sure what you’re saying in the above.

      I’m also curious about whether you view yourself as included in the generalization made above? If not, it strikes me as yet another example of the “Xists are always other people.”

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          • Well, what do you want me to say? Of course there are exceptions, and obviously the greater the cost (and more obvious the cost is) to an individual the more that individual is likely to step short of what he or she wants mandated for others.

            You mention things that are paid for by taxes, but I suspect those don’t get so directly translated in people’s heads the way we think. I don’t know if this is a national movement or just a regional one, but here in Oregon so-cons have been pushing for years to eliminate state taxes being taken out of your paycheck by your employers. The reason they want to do this is because they believe — correctly, I think — that people are relatively OK with paying money they never see for services for others. But if they are asked to cut a $10,000 check on April 15th, suddenly their desire for this or that mandated expenditure will likely plummet. I think they’re right. When there is a ballot initiative that want X number of $s for schools or parks, I usually vote for them — but if I’m being honest, whatever change happens in my paycheck is so minimal that I never notice it. I suspect I’m not alone in that.

            And to you last question, which I believe can be properly summed up as, “Are you a human being, Tod?”

            Yes. Yes I am.

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            • Well, what do you want me to say? Of course there are exceptions

              I some of those cases, and there are lots of others!, the “exception” are majorities of people sometimes reaching up to the 70 percentile range.

              Also too, in my view you reversed the way the argument goes. Folks who propose that individual views of policy are determined by the financial (whatever) sacrifice they have to make offer that as an analysis of political decisionmaking, and so the burden is on them to account for evidence that runs counter to the view. But you just took the hypothesis and ran with it to the conclusion. I mean, no one thinks that personal impact isn’t part of the decision calculus people employ, but there appear to be – at least to me! – sufficient counter examples that the view, if proposed as an explanatory theory, is hogwash.

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    • Other than the fact that Democrats like me want government to do a lot more to help people like not-me and are willing to pay for it…

      As to education specifically, we’ve discussed the tension between “I want to improve public schools” and “the specific school my kid is assigned to sucks, what do I do” before (my answer: prepare for private school, feel guilty about that, move to ‘burbs with excellent public schools already). I honestly don’t know whether that’s hypocritical (it certainly isn’t a profile in courage) but I’m not sure it supports your point.

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            • If you want to use the R talking point then point to the specific issue where it may apply. D’s do want gov to help all sorts of people…is there any argument about that? I pay taxes and fees and all that. So if i want something funded out of tax money then i am paying for it. You may have a point on some issues but as a general statement it is a generic talking point thrown out by pols and radio hosts to throw poo at an idea they don’t like. Generic talking points may have a germ of truth in them, sometimes, but are usually used in place of actual discussion to trade with someone else’s talking points.

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              • I pay taxes and fees and all that.

                Really? You cut the check, or do other’s pay your taxes for you such that the cost is somewhat opaque? I know my bank pays my property taxes, and my employer pays my income taxes, and there are all sorts of ways paying my taxes & fees is done without me really having to think about it.

                I mean I know how much I pay, I get statements & all that, but it’s like how we unconsciously treat credit. When you aren’t writing the check or counting out the cash, it becomes a very abstract thing.

                Ya know, I even tried to make it so I would have more awareness of the taxes I pay by reducing my withholdings. Turns out the IRS doesn’t like that, the charge you a fee for the privilege, and if you do it too often, you get flagged more often for audits.

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              • Well, in this particular case, we’re talking about schools and how the most progressive parts of the country have more apartheid schools than the South.

                Than *EVEN* the South.

                Than *EVEN* the *DEEPLY RACIST* South.

                We can go back here:

                San Francisco? Check these stories out.

                From the latter story: Since 2010, the year before the current policy went into effect, the number of San Francisco’s 115 public schools dominated by one race has climbed significantly. Six in 10 have simple majorities of one racial group. In almost one-fourth, 60 percent or more of the students belong to one racial group, which administrators say makes them “racially isolated.” That described 28 schools in 2013–2014, up from 23 in 2010–2011, according to the district.

                (Which pretty much confirms that my story above means that I was, in fact, going to a “racially isolated” school.)

                Would it be silly of me to say that San Francisco is the most liberal city in the country? (Should I say “progressive” instead of liberal? Should I just hedge and say “one of the top five”?)

                This is happening in one of the top five most liberal/progressive cities in the country.

                I’m now wondering where we would be looking for exemplary schools that could make us say “There. We want to model our schools on This City Right Here.”

                There you go. Data and everything.

                Perhaps you can rebut these points by talking about me personally. It’s worth a shot.

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                • Hence my comment that in some situations your generic talking point my actual be a real point. In others it is just same old/same old talking points people throw at each other. I, like a lot of other liberals, woudl prefer a single payer type HC system paid out of our taxes. Who pays my taxes? Hell i think we need to revamp how we pay for schools. I also pay taxes for schools that i don’t have children in and i think we should spend more of my money on schools.

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                • I made a separate point specific to education (and in SF even!).

                  When I was a childless SF resident I voted for every school tax increase on the ballot.

                  When I had a kid, I looked at the lottery system, looked at regional real estate costs, and decided to move out of the city instead of elsewhere in the city (in part to move to a more functional public school district, that I’ll support both via taxes and private contributions). That’s complicated, maybe even hypocritical, but it’s different from Tod’s argument and different from your response.

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        • I find it remarkable that you think this is some sorta trump card, Jaybird. Especially in this specific context, and in particular given that plenty of institutions in the US suck precisely because of the logic you’re employing. Moving in the direction of even more atomism and radical individualism and unilateral veto power for folks don’t want to pay will pretty readily only make things worse instead of better. “Car safety standards? Veto! Taxes for public schools? Veto! Medicaid? Veto! Pollution regulations? Veto! Cops and courts? Veto!” And on and on.

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          • Ahhh. I came up with a solution so that your view is less incoherent. It doesn’t quite get passed all the problems of unilateral veto power, tho: Romney’s 47%ers are precluded from voting! What to ya think? something to work with?

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            • So, lessee here. You’re saying that rejecting the legitimacy of a person’s support of a policy because it requires people – including the original advocate! – to pay for it is no more Trumpy! than the original support for the policy. Is that right?

              WellOKthen.

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              • I support this policy so much that I am willing to pay an additional 1.2% in sales taxes!

                It’s not that I’m *REJECTING* the legitimacy as much as not particularly being dissuaded from the whole “just about everyone’s opposition to just about anything ends where their own personal sacrifice begins” point.

                “I am willing to personally sacrifice an additional 38 cents a day for the next two years in order to bring this project to fruition!”

                Don’t see me as not seeing the legitimacy of this stance. It’s perfectly legitimate.

                See me as being appropriately whelmed.

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                • Here’s your rewording of nevermoor’s comment, which completely reverses the content of the original to imply that nevermoor only advocates that view because, as you wrote “someone else pays for it”:

                  “Other than the fact that Democrats like me want someone else to do a lot more to help people like not-me and are willing to have someone else pay for it.”

                  Now, it appears you didn’t mean to say it to reflect anything substantive about the debate but just to highlight that what nevermoor wrote isn’t something he or she believes, but is just a bumper sticker. And you also appear to imply that “spending other people’s money” hasn’t been used by yerownself as a veto-point regarding the legitimacy of advocating for a certain policy in the past.

                  Hence, my earlier comment. I don’t really believe, given your track record, that you did NOT intend your comment to be anything other than an attack on nevermoor’s policy positions precisely on the grounds that he/she advocates spending other people’s money!!! Ahgodliberals!!!

                  Advocacy for courts and cops, as a policy, requires spending “other people’s money”, yeah? I mean, maybe Trump could fund it all on his own… Maybe that can be a plank in his platform, actually.

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        • I’m the one who would pay the increased taxes I support. I would not benefit in any way from most policies I am willing to support with those increased taxes (and not disproportionately from any – obviously I benefit the same as everyone else from environmental regulation).

          And, if we are making this a political food fight, I’m voting for Democrats despite the fact that I WOULD benefit disproportionately from any of the tax cuts proposed by GOP candidates.

          There’s just no way to conclude anything but that I’m putting my money where my mouth is on being willing to expand government to help others.

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  2. [S5] My parents have been working with a Mumbai-based Christian charity for a few years now, and have been over there a few times. I’m trying to get them to let me “interview” them about it for a post, because their Christianity (and the way it and its adherents interact with those around them) is absolutely fascinating to me.

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  3. [M6]: Sigh. A lie can be halfway around the world before the truth can get its boots on.

    However, it’s also the case that the truth often fights with one hand tied behind its back.

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  4. M3: This isn’t really surprising, as the age of the internet is the age of the introvert. I sometimes think that things have flipped to such an extent that introverts’ lack of understanding of extroverts is more salient than extroverts’ lack of understanding of introverts.

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    • Based on all the “I’m an introvert” stuff on the Internet. I wonder how many people are truly Introverts. My guess is that they might enjoy slightly more alone time than an extrovert but not to the level of a true introvert.

      My girlfriend is a super-extrovert and she doesn’t understand my capacity for alone time usually. She sees friends several times a week and is surprised that I can go months without seeing people. She was also stunned by ability to work alone and not really see anyone for days at a time. I used to work from my apartment and there were stretches when the only people I say were the check in people at my gym and the employees of my coffee shop and grocery stores.

      Though I did get a bit twitchy and morose if this went on for a while.

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      • This is a really excellent point.

        It reminds me of a study I heard talked about on NPR last year, that looked at how nebulous self descriptors like introvert/extrovert are outside of one’s family of origin. The study found that there are a lot of people out there who self identify as introvert or extrovert based on little other than how they compared to other people in their household and the way those others labeled them. Compared to the general population, the study found, most people who consider themselves to be especially introverted or extroverted aren’t either.

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        • It’s a bell curve. Most folks are somewhere in the squishy middle.

          What the internet does, however, is allows introverts in the “more than a couple of standard deviations away from the squishy middle” part to talk to complete and total strangers using the voice that they would normally reserve for intimates in a closed and familiar setting.

          WHICH IS FREAKING AWESOME.

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  5. [S3] I remember reading about a scientific study years ago in Skeptic magazine. The study was related to belief in the supernatural.

    What it found, if I am remembering correctly, was that one’s likelihood of believing in something supernatural is somewhat fixed. What I mean by that is if you are someone who is more likely to believe in Supernatural Theory A, you are more likely to believe in Supernatural Theory B and C — even when Theory A posits that B and C are not possible.

    So, for example, if you are a devout Christian fundamentalist/Biblical literalist, you are actually more likely to believe in supernatural explanations that your religion demands you reject: reincarnation, UFOs, humanity have been “seeded” by aliens, etc. And the greater the degree you are a True believer in any of these, the greater the odds that you believe in the other contradictory stories.

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  6. [B5]: The issue I have with the article is that I can’t tell whether or not the one example provided, the runner, was a unique example of “sweat shaming” or another way people believe that they are “fit shamed”.

    Whatever the case, anything and everything body-related, from body shaming to body acceptance/positivity is getting completely out of hand.

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    • Roe said “Maybe I’m hypersensitive,” Roe said. “But I kind of feel like there’s nuances in how people communicate. I feel like I’m a good reader and judge of intentions.”

      Yes you are hypersensitive. Check on that. As someone whose is been trained in psychology and has decades of experience assessing people in various clinical settings, Ms Roe, you are very likely not a good reader of people and judge of intentions. Nothing personal, no one is consistently good at it. No. One. We have to many filters, moods and biases in our perceptions to ever be always good at it. If you work at it you can get pretty good at it in some situations and that requires help from other people and some measure of objective tools to help you. So don’t’ trust that you are good at reading people, always assume you could be wrong.

      And of course at some point if you let yourself be tied in knots by whatever some dufus you dont’ know thinks you are doomed. There are to many judgmental jerks out there. Only pay attention to the judgmental jerks you love and care about.

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      • And of course at some point if you let yourself be tied in knots by whatever some dufus you dont’ know thinks you are doomed.

        Does the name Maria Kang ring a bell? At some point, she had posted a “fitspiration” picture to her Instagram account with the caption “What’s Your Excuse?” Eventually, the picture made the rounds outside of the usual fitness circles and people accused her of fat shaming. While the picture clearly does no such thing, especially given the intended audience, her defense/apology was tone deaf to her audience to the point where she may have inadvertently fat shamed leading her critics to say “See, she WAS fat shaming!”.

        Then ol’ Maria complains about being “fit shamed”.

        We’re all doomed.

        #headdesk

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        • Kang??…..I’m more of a Kodos person, but i’m not into green amorphous blob shaming.

          Yeah i remember that. Some head/desk reps were called for over that impressive non-troversy.

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  7. E1: Tod is pretty much spot on here but I gotta say that it might be a shame for liberals and I can see myself sort of doing the same stuff that Conor Williams is going against. As I’ve mentioned a trillion times before, my friends are starting to have children enter pre-school and elementary school. Some moved to the burbs right away but others are trying to stay in the city (or can’t afford to move to the burbs). I wonder how many of them are going to stick it out though because in my experience, public schools in NYC get rough at the middle school age.

    F1: There was an article in the Atlantic about how people who are in their 20s and 30s today need to eat less and exercise more in order to stay thin as compared to people who were in their 20s and 30s in the 1980s. There was something about changing got bacteria which decreases modern metabolism.

    F6: There was a huge craze for all things Japanese during the late 1800s and early 1900s. Monet made fun of this in a painting and we discussed a controversy over that painting on OT a few months ago.

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    • F1: I’d argue that there are two other factors.

      Firstly, the article is making a statistical argument, and it doesn’t seem to be correcting for the changing definitions of “obese” and “overweight” in the past thirty years. I remember back in the Nineties when there were proud announcements of a new standard for American public health, followed a couple months later by horrified articles about the new wave of American obesity. (see also: the Autism Epidemic.)

      Secondly, it also seems that public acceptance of unhealthy people is increasing; these days a huge fat person is more likely to be seen as tragic rather than comical. In the Eighties it was just assumed that you were going to the gym and staying thin because that’s just What You Did (remember that thing a few months back, where someone cut a workout video to Taylor Swift? Back when that video was made there were thousands more just like it.)

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    • There was an article in the Atlantic about how people who are in their 20s and 30s today need to eat less and exercise more in order to stay thin as compared to people who were in their 20s and 30s in the 1980s.

      Link. Apparently the study used survey data, which pretty much makes it worthless. There are techniques researchers can use to determine what people eat and how much energy they expend, and studies comparing these to self-reported data have revealed that self-reported data is garbage. Not only are self-reported estimates of energy intake frequently off by tens of percentage points, but they’re systematically biased, with obese individuals tending to underestimate more than lean individuals.

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      • Also, the claim that Americans are eating more meat links to an NPR article that shows at most a very modest increase. Eyeballing the chart on total meat consumption and adjusting for population growth, it doesn’t appear to have changed by more than a couple of percent per capita since 1980.

        It also confuses disappearance data (how much meat is produced and imported, only a fraction of which actually gets eaten) as diet data, laughably claiming that the average American eats 270 pounds of meat per year, or twelve ounces per day. Two other charts show ~160 pounds per person per year, but apparently no one noticed, since grade-school arithmetic is required to get that from the charts (but not, apparently to get a job as a journalist at NPR).

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      • I blame the explosion of “low fat” foods. People equate “low fat” with low calorie, which is not true. Also, fat is part of how your body knows that it’s full. Lower fat means you feel less full.

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        • I was reading some new research into fat cells. It turns out there’s a LOT we don’t know about fat. It’s pretty critical, heavily interdependent stuff. They found some funky nerve connections or something (the paper was more about ‘look how clever we had to be to show these things were actually there’. I suspect sooner or later there will be ‘and here’s what it means, at least for lab rats’ papers).

          Your body puts on and releases fat based on certain hormones (and apparently nerve signals too), at least some of which are ALSO the hormones that signal fullness — all of which makes sense. The human body depends heavily on food supply, and the most complicated, stress-tested systems of the body are gonna be the ones that involve getting, converting, and storing food energy.

          And of course you empty fat cells when the energy is needed, but rarely get rid of such cells (they’re cheaper to refill then regrow, obviously).

          So we’re pretty much stuck with the old adage: Eat less and exercise, because “use more energy than you take in” has to work*, because thermodynamics. Everything else is…subject to change.

          *And it does.The results must be your body consuming cells to balance your energy intake and use. Now the results — well, if you suffer from something like PCOS your body will scavenge everything BUT fat, and prioritize fat creation above everything else when you do eat. Because your body is so confused it thinks you’re starving AND drowning in energy simultaneously, so it’s packing all the energy you have into fat (you have too much, store it!) while turning your metabolism down to zero and eating muscle (you’re low on energy! You’re out of fat! EMERGENCY) because apparently God hates women and has cursed something like 10% of them with a hormone imbalance that is just plain evil.

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          • The CICO model actually checks out pretty well when, again, you don’t rely on self-reported data. There are conditions that tend to promote weight gain, but it’s mediated more by appetite than by metabolism.

            The thing about PCOS is that obesity aggravates the symptoms. So when you only screen for PCOS in women who come to the doctor complaining about PCOS-like symptoms, you’re going to find a correlation between PCOS and obesity. But when you screen randomly, the correlation disappears, because you catch all the asymptomatic cases in non-obese women.

            Thyroid disorders are another commonly cited cause of obesity, but according to the American Thyroid Association, an underactive thyroid typically causes on the order of 5-10 pounds of weight gain, mostly water rather than fat.

            Slow metabolism is basically a myth. In fact, obese individuals tend to have higher basal metabolic rate than non-obese individuals, due to the metabolic cost of maintaining the weight and the greater effort required to move around.

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            • You don’t have to obese to have PCOS. PCOS makes it far easier for you to gain weight, and the more weight you gain the worse your PCOS is. (To wit: The hormone imbalance — which IS PCOS — everything else is a symptom). So you can indeed have PCOS and be asymptomatic (aside from an irregular cycle, fertility problems, and the cysts it’s named after) — they would only be caught by a doctor paying attention — those lucky duckies haven’t had the cycle kick in.

              PCOS is a feedback cycle between weight, hormonal imbalance, and insulin resistance. The imbalance causes insulin resistance, which increases the imbalance. Weight gain is a result of the insulin resistance (facial hair is a result of the hormone imbalance).

              That paper you linked to even mentions that. PCOS is a subject I know quite a bit about, and I have witnessed someone lose 20% of their bodyweight in under 18 months, without a single change in diet and exercise. As her endocrinologist told her, that was a case of her body normalizing to the proper weight for her calorie intake and exercise levels.

              As a matter of fact, she was expressly told that — prior to beginning an exercise regime — to have her blood checked to make sure her hormone balance was proper. If it wasn’t, exercise was fairly pointless. She’d work quite hard, and see no results except a sore body. No noticeable increase in muscle, no noticeable decrease in fat, and no change in weight unless she paired it with massive calorie cuts — in which case she’d lose more muscle than fat.

              But I’m glad you googled that one paper that sorta confirmed your bias if you didn’t read it closely. I mean if you read it carefully, with an understanding of PCOS, you’d note the writers were pointing out that not everyone with the hormone imbalance triggered the feedback cycle but there definitely was something unusual in the fat cells of women with PCOS (although sadly no useful information on how these undiagnosed women didn’t trigger the cycle. Was their hormone imbalance not bad enough? Is there some critical threshold that has to be hit? A tipping point?)

              That’s much more convincing then endocrinologists with all their book learning, and experience, and test results, and relevant expertise and, you know, successes I’ve seen with my own eyes.

              What would this country be like if there was even a single fat person who we couldn’t claim was a victim of their own sinful weakness?

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              • “As her endocrinologist told her, that was a case of her body normalizing to the proper weight for her calorie intake and exercise levels. ”

                um. I get that you think you’re refuting CICO, here, but you’re actually confirming it. Because what you’re saying is “sometimes there can be hormone imbalances that make CICO not work”, and inherent to that statement is an acceptance that CICO does work.

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                • Ah, I see. CICO has to work, obviously, ’cause thermodynamics.

                  The problem with CICO and PCOS is that, well, CICO becomes rather difficult for actual people.

                  Once PCOS has hit obvious symptoms (that is, when most people actually get diagnosed as opposed to a gyno muttering about cysts), you’ve got that testosterone/estrogen imbalance creating insulin resistance which worsens the imbalance, etc.

                  Insulin resistance, among other things, makes your body claim it’s starving to your brain (cravings for food, especially high energy stuff like fats and carbs) and simultaneously flood your blood with sugar (because cells aren’t getting it) which your body stores as fat.

                  Which leaves you low-energy AND hungry for high-calorie feeds. Because your body thinks it’s starving, and cells aren’t getting the energy they need easily. Not exactly prime for diet and exercise.

                  There’s a reason hormone treatment and glucaphage is a lot more successful at treating PCOS after it’s hit a certain point than ‘diet and exercise’. It breaks that cycle.

                  Now the person I know that lost 20% of her bodyweight — her diet probably DID change, just not consciously. I suspect she ate less, and what she ate was less focused at high-calorie foods. And I know more energy was being used by her cells, instead of floating around as unused sugar to be turned into fat.

                  But if you gave her a Weight Watcher’s book and a treadmill, she wouldn’t have seen a fraction of the results. She’d have just been hungry and tired. And even if she used it, she’d have found her body would prefer to put on fat instead of build muscle (which means she’s see VERY slow stamina gains from exercise) and she’d be even hungrier and more tired from doing it.

                  OTOH, once medical treatment stopped (she even stopped talking the BC pills because she was trying for a kid) and a decade had passed, she had regained less than half the weight. Which is a heck of a lot better than I’ve ever seen off anyone who stopped their diet or exercise plan, and light years better than anyone who did a fad diet.

                  She’s back on the Pill, I think, and back to her low point weight if not a bit lower.

                  So yeah, CICO has to work because thermodynamics. But the way humans work — this woman was 20% heavier, with the exact same lifestyle, with untreated PCOS than with treated PCOS.

                  Whether treating PCOS made her eat less or exercise more or just magic violations of thermodynamics, she’s not the only one. Treating both sides of the feedback cycle causes weight loss.

                  How much? Depends on how bad your PCOS is, I’d imagine. But if FIXING the underlying problem and not deliberately changing anything else causes a 10% or 20% loss in weight, how can you say that the underlying problem wasn’t the cause of the 10% or 20% of weight in question?

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                  • “The problem with CICO and PCOS is that, well, CICO becomes rather difficult for actual people.”

                    Dude, you keep giving examples of how someone is burning fewer calories than they think, and taking in more calories than they think, and acting like you’re winning the argument here.

                    “It works but other factors may confound it” is a different statement from “it doesn’t work”.

                    “if FIXING the underlying problem and not deliberately changing anything else causes a 10% or 20% loss in weight…”

                    How did that weight get lost, bro? Like, what physical mechanism caused that mass to leave the body? Did she just poop a whole lot, or something?

                    I mean, you’re making the argument that hormonal imbalances can cause fat cells to store more sugar than they actually need, and cause the body to not respond to exercise, and nobody is actually denying that. But then you get all “hurr durr, magic violations of thermodynamics”, and it just becomes obvious that you feel like people are mounting some kind of moral attack on your friend and you need to pre-shame that argument through snark.

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                    • I’ll jump into this…

                      If the body constantly tells someone he/she is hungry because of hormonal imbalance, those people are going to eat themselves into a caloric surplus. Over time, that adds weight, and in some cases a lot of it.

                      Telling people with hormonal imbalance to simply reduce calories isn’t going to do a damn thing because that’s asking someone to fight a war against his/her own body that they aren’t going to win outside of medical intervention.

                      Once the hormonal imbalance is addressed, CICO, more specifically, the ability to create a caloric deficit through diet, becomes possible because with the proper hormonal levels, they will be able to manage their calories, which is what I think was alluding to with his 20% comment (this should answer @densityduck’s question about where the weight loss came from (although some of it could have been water weight – people with weight issues do carry more water).

                      All that said, while I understand that there are people that are clinically obese if not morbidly obese due to hormonal imbalances, much of the reason that a substantial number of people have Type 2 diabetes or are pre-diabetic is diet related. CICO gets thrown out of whack when people consume large amounts of simple sugars and fall into the cycle of having blood sugar levels spike from the food and crash from the insulin. The crash leads to more hunger and we’re back at it again.

                      , I’m not sure I agree with your comment about a slow metabolism unless you were referring to it in a specific context. The metabolism can and does slow down in response to changes in the body. I’m assuming that you were disputing the claim that obese people were that way due to slow metabolisms. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

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                    • How did that weight get lost, bro? Like, what physical mechanism caused that mass to leave the body?

                      I answered that. In your urge to appear the font of all knowledge you must have missed like the three times I said it. But I’ll trim it down.

                      Your metabolic burn rate changes. You USE more energy every day. Your calories IN don’t change, but your calories OUT do.

                      The human body needs a certain minimum level of energy to stay alive, but prefers to work with more than that. The IR side of PCOS means your cells feel you’re starving, so they lower their metabolic needs. (They can’t get enough sugar due to the insulin resistance, so like anything not getting enough energy they drop their workload to meet what they get). Your body ALSO notes the excess sugar in the blood (because it’s not getting to the cells) and turns it into fat.

                      Fix the hormonal imbalance and the IR, and your cells get sufficient energy to function at their full ability — and your body no longer has tons of excess blood sugar it has to turn into fat (there’s a limit to how much you excrete).

                      Not even getting into the cravings side, if your body starts using 10% more energy a day without you increasing your food intake, you will gradually lose 10% of your body weight.

                      Given I stated SEVERAL TIMES that the laws of thermodynamics hold true, the fact that you think I’m proposing a violation of them two sentences down says loads of your ability to read for comprehension.

                      But hey, I’m sure you’re an endocrinologist, right? Or at least have close friends or relatives who have been treated for PCOS? Sat in when the doctor explained it? Saw them get treated and the changes that happened with or without dietary changes?

                      Right? I mean you’re not just arguing because you misread part of an article on a complex subject and can’t fathom it’s not the entirety of the knowledge on it?

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                      • I’m just gonna add this in: CICO applies to CELLS. If your cell needs, oh, a 100 units of energy a date for full function and can only get 60 — it’ll either die or drop it’s energy use. (Depending on whether 60 is enough for it to survive).

                        If it can suddenly get 100 units of energy again, it won’t stay at 60.

                        Insulin resistance starves cells — they need 100 units, there might be 100 units right there ready for them to get, but insulin resistance means they’re only getting 80 units of it in a usable form.

                        A given cell can’t burn energy it doesn’t have, so it burns 80. The other 20 sit in your blood and get turned into fat, because that’s how the body deals with excess blood sugar. It can’t make it disappear, it can’t just float there (new sugar is always coming in, you’d freaking die), and there’s a strict limit to how much you can excrete (the human body being really loathe to part with energy it can use now or later).

                        Fix the insulin resistance side (caused by the hormonal imbalance) and suddenly that 20 units getting turned into fat isn’t anymore. It’s being used by cells instead. (And fat itself is a cell that has energy needs).

                        It’s quite possible to pack on a lot of pounds that way, and simply fixing the insulin resistance will either stop weight gain or cause you to lose weight (your body might start eating the fat because you’re not consuming enough energy to maintain your body AND your fat reserves).

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                      • “Your calories IN don’t change, but your calories OUT do. ”

                        so

                        um

                        why do you keep saying that “calories in vs calories out” is not valid, then

                        because right here you’re straight-up saying that weight is a matter of caloric balance

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                        • Of course it is. If you use more calories than you take in, you lose weight. If you take in more calories than you use, you gain weight.

                          If you take in roughly the same as you use, you stay even.

                          Losing or gaining weight is about manipulating either how many you take or how many you use.

                          PCOS is ugly in that it lowers your body’s general ability to use calories, which means that even if nothing else changes (diet, exercise levels), you’ll suddenly start gaining weight. It’s doubly ugly in that it’s a starvation response — your cells can’t get the energy they need (not because it’s not there, but because they’re being blocked from accessing it efficiently) so your body starts screaming for food because it thinks you’re starving.

                          I literally don’t see what you’re arguing about. I’ve never ONCE suggested that your weight is set by anything other than the calories in versus the calories out (or burned). I’ve merely stated the obvious — that PCOS lowers your base metabolic burn rate (because your cells shift to a lower energy mode because they don’t have enough food) while making you think you’re starving.

                          Exercise is highly ineffective, because your cells will use as little energy as possible (they still think they’re starving). Just to use made up numbers — say you’re on a 2500 calorie diet and not gaining or losing weight — therefore, you burn about 2500 calories in your basic day. (20% of that just keeping your brain going! But the other 80% is moving around, breathing, repairing cells, etc). Your PCOS progresses and your cells start using less energy and now you’re burning 2000 calories a day, without having changed diet or activity levels. You’ll gain a pound a month at that rate, and keep gaining it until the caloric cost of maintaining that fat hits 500 calories a day. (Actually worse than that, because it’s a feedback cycle so until you hit some minimum weight you’ll find your caloric use will continue to drop).

                          Now you could exercise — an hour on the treadmill a day will push you back up to 2500, which won’t remove much of the weight you gained but might keep it from progressing. Or diet. But again, you’re suddenly working like crazy to maintain your heavier weight. Not lose it. 500 calories a day is a lot.

                          You’d need to cut another 500 calories to lose a pound a month — or add another hour on a treadmill. You’d be working twice as hard for the same result as someone without PCOS. Or working just as hard as them to NOT gain further weight, as they lose it.

                          And of course, the whole time your body is screaming at you that you’re starving and to eat fats, carbs, anything with tons of energy.

                          Or, you know, you could treat the PCOS. In which case your base burn rate goes back up to 2500, you’ll lose some weight right away — and exercise and dieting will be easier and far more effective. Which is why medically treating PCOS has a heck of a better record than demanding weight loss and exercise. The latter only works if you catch it very early, before you’re too deep in the feedback cycle or for people whose PCOS is not severe enough to trigger the feedback. (And most people don’t catch it that early).

                          Doesn’t have that “Fat is a sin” vibe Americans love, though. We do love to fat shame, don’t we?

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                          • I literally don’t see what you’re arguing about.

                            I’ve been saying that to myself since Friday.

                            Your PCOS progresses and your cells start using less energy and now you’re burning 2000 calories a day, without having changed diet or activity levels.

                            Yes, and what will make it worse is the response to the body signalling that it needs more food – more food consumed. I don’t know that much about PCOS other than at a high level, but if it can really screw with leptin levels, that’s could lead to some serious overeating. I do know a bit more about insulin resistance and what happens when high levels of insulin are pumped into the blood stream.

                            Now you could exercise — an hour on the treadmill a day will push you back up to 2500, which won’t remove much of the weight you gained but might keep it from progressing.

                            We agree that exercise isn’t effective here, but I think it’s worse than what you described. Using your example of 500 calories, to be able to burn 500 calories on a treadmill in an hour is going to either require a very brisk walk at an incline, enough of one to get the heart rate up to yield a caloric burn rate of over 8 calories per minute, or a slow-to-moderate paced jog.

                            If a woman isn’t fit enough to hold that pace for that long, it doesn’t help. We’re talking 100 to 150 calories MAX. If a woman is fit enough, she’s most likely already adapted to that so steady state cardio as a fat loss tool is useless. Also, even if she can burn that many calories and the body thinks it’s in starvation mode and tries to hoard fat, fat won’t get burned from exercise. Rather, the body may use muscle for fuel. If that happens, BMR drops further due to loss of fat free mass.

                            Then there’s the whole idea of trying to exercise when one feels the effect of being in a depleted state. Again, I can’t say much about PCOS but I know a few things about diets that call for severe caloric restriction (i.e. protein sparing modified fasts). Cardio would make the feeling that much worse, which may get us back to food consumption.

                            Doesn’t have that “Fat is a sin” vibe Americans love, though. We do love to fat shame, don’t we?

                            To be fair here, I don’t get that vibe from either of them, and given my travels, I’d get a bit pissy if I saw that. At the same time, as someone that both deplores fat shaming and understands that obese individuals may have medical conditions that have caused/contributed to it that require more than a dietary adjustment, I’m not sure how to have a discussion about obesity in this country without pointing out the fact that for a great many people that are overweight, diet and diet alone may be the problem.

                            I mean, three years ago, my breakfast was a XL Dunkin Donuts coffee light and sweet and two glazed donuts. I’d eat peanut butter sandwiches for lunch. I’d skip dinner more often than not and end up mindlessly snacking on whatever junk food was in the house while I spent countless hours playing IL-2 Sturmovik online.

                            I think it’s fair to say I fished myself up and was well on my way to serious health problems, and I don’t have to get on a “fat is a sin” moralizing pedestal to do it, right?

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                            • I’m not going to say diet isn’t a problem (in fact I heartily cheered the recent basic ditching of trans fats, which if nothing else was killing people from heart disease. We all go sooner or later, and heart attacks are gonna take a lot of us, but you don’t have to handicap yourself).

                              However, the more I read about weight loss, body weight, and the science behind it — it’s depressing. Our bodies have evolved to pack on pounds whenever possible, and to resist losing it. (Which makes sense if you don’t assume you’ll have a surplus of foods). Agriculture shot us in the foot on that one. Then you add in replacing “spending all your time finding food” with jobs that become increasingly sedentary…

                              I mean you don’t even have to get into culture specific issues to see that writing on the wall.

                              That doesn’t even get into the rat’s nest of hunger issues (your body is not shy about pushing ALL THE BUTTONS for food, because food = life. Eating, and eating plenty, is something your body wants on a bone-deep survival level) and how they’re tangled up in fat storage. (I was reading a recent paper that indicated that the mechanisms for signaling cravings and hunger were at least related to the ones that ditch fat cells, which makes sense).

                              And then there’s the fact that the body hates to get rid of a fat cell (empty it, sure. But ditch it? Not if it can help it). And then the research indicating “fat or thin” might be settled sometime in adolescence and that if you’re on the wrong track trying to switch is a lifelong battle.

                              And then you have fad diets (kill your health!), people hawking miracle cures, and shows like the Biggest Loser (if you make weight loss your job, yes you can lose a lot of weight. But you can’t ever retire, and you really can’t hold down another full time job. Also — it’s not even healthy weight loss, the levels they’re showing on that stupid show).

                              I’ve been seeing doctors talk more about surgery for bigger weight loss, about how that seems to be about the only thing that works and stays working. And even then, I’ve seen recent research that indicates the composition of your gut bacteria may play a role in how well that works.

                              Your body craves excess energy and loves to hoard fat, because we evolved to never know when our next meal was coming from. Plentiful autumn was always followed by sparse winters.

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                              • However, the more I read about weight loss, body weight, and the science behind it — it’s depressing. Our bodies have evolved to pack on pounds whenever possible, and to resist losing it.

                                Isn’t that the basis for the argument in favor of a Paleolithic diet? Or maybe it’s for intermittent fasting? Whatever the case, it seems mostly right given the feast-famine conditions our ancestors encountered.

                                I know a little bit about the complexity of the body and how hard it is for the body to fight homeostasis. However, I learned about this a perspective having nothing to do with obesity – dieting, specifically the kinds of diets used by bodybuilders to prepare for contests (especially natural bodybuilders). I’m not going to say it takes no effort for someone to go from say 25% body fat down to 17% body fat (it does); however, assuming reasonably normal hormonal function, the fight your body will put against you doing this pales in comparison to what people face when they diet down below their body fat set point and try to break to obscenely low and unhealthy levels. I guess this is my way of saying that while the research may look depressing, the science really starts to come into play and hinder fat loss efforts most on already lean individuals (again, assuming no hormonal issues).

                                This is actually good news, and there’s plenty of anecdotal stories around to prove that (mine, Burt’s, any transformation story on the myriad of fitness pages, etc. etc.).

                                Taking a high-level view of obesity in America, I come up with some general assumptions:

                                1) the overweight, especially those with metabolic syndrome or Type 2 diabetes are likely eating at a caloric surplus

                                2) In general, people are consuming too many of the wrong kinds of foods, especially those of the processed variety. Processed carbs exacerbate the problem because of the way simple sugars cause insulin levels to spike. Not only does that interfere with lipolysis, in some cases for multiple hours given the amount of insulin produced, but also we know what happens when blood sugar levels fall below normal due to the excessive insulin. More of the same kinds of food.

                                3) From a macronutrient perspective, I’d say that the American diet, broadly speaking, is characterized by too many carbs, too much unhealthy fats and not enough quality protein (some communities, especially the vegetarian/vegan communities may dispute my last point).

                                I’ll address this:

                                Your body craves excess energy and loves to hoard fat, because we evolved to never know when our next meal was coming from. Plentiful autumn was always followed by sparse winters.

                                While true, I think the cause of this is the biological response triggered by low blood sugar levels. Blood sugar can drop due to fasting or due to having too much insulin in the blood (insulin resistance).

                                We know that the CICO is the key and we also know that we need a body that isn’t sending signals that it’s hungry to help keep blood sugar levels constant.

                                I read ‘s story, and when I read that he shied away from calorie dense carbs and went to vegetables, my first thought was that he removed the single biggest obstacle to maintaining stable blood sugar levels. If a typical meal is healthy dietary fats, vegetables, especially greens, and proteins, the blood sugar impact will be small compared to sandwiches, pastas, rice, etc. You can consume far fewer calories and still feel full. Better yet, even with the more calorie dense fats, not only are they satiating in the right amounts but also fats have a very small impact if any on insulin levels.

                                With manageable blood sugar levels, the biological urges to overeat caused by crashes in blood sugar levels are dramatically reduced.

                                Yes, the body’s fat storage capability is a formidable opponent, but if you take out the reason why it becomes a problem, things tend to look more optimistic for people looking to clean up their diets, lose weight and be able to sustain those changes going forward.

                                Don’t even get me started on The Biggest Loser, fad diets and even worse, marketing weight loss supplements to people that have no business taking them, especially the bullshit ones like garcinia cambo-wtf, raspberry ketones and whatever the hell else Dr. Oz is getting paid to promote.

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            • You’ll get close enough to figuring out your basal metabolic rate armed with only your knowledge of your height, weight, sex, and age. From there, track your calories taken in and the calories expended in exercise. A net deficit, every day, equals weight loss over time.

              I cut out a lot of carbs at first because it turns out carb-rich foods (bread, pasta) are also calorie-dense. I’ve not cut out so much of the fat-rich foods, but reduced their quantity, because they taste good and having at least small amounts of fat-rich foods (cheese, olive oil) leave me feeling satisfied enough after I eat that I don’t give in to the pangs. Since this steers one towards a lot of vegetables and proteins, a little bit of fat added to them goes a long way towards enhancing their taste.

              The period when I abstained from carbs completely was, in retrospect, an educational period: how to live with fewer carbohydrates; how to derive satisfaction from watching the weight decrease instead of stuffing my face full of potato chips. Re-integrating carbs into the diet slowly over time was also principally an educational exercise: what carbs are smarter choices and what quantities work?

              I’m at a point now where cardio exercise can make an appreciable impact on how much food I allow myself to eat a day. But experience, and math, are powerful and inflexible teachers: an entire hour on the treadmill equals one bowl of cantaloupe with a couple spoonfuls of cottage cheese. Think about how much more time would be needed on the treadmill to equal a burger and fries. I just don’t have that kind of time to spare in my life.

              I’m down more than thirty pounds in seventeen weeks using this method. How nice it would be if there was a magic pill that let me eat all the potato chips and breakfast cereals I wanted instead. But since that magic pill doesn’t exist, if I want to be serious about slimming down.

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              • The one thing I might add to this is the idea of a Feast Day.

                I found that having one day a week where I would allow myself a thing I would not otherwise was helpful, and gave me something to look forward to, be that ice cream, a burger, or whatever. And for me, it was always ice cream.

                Interestingly, I found that over time my craving for ice cream went down, and that oft times I would choose to just have a larger proportion of meat that day, rather than deserts or sweets. Over time, my body started telling me it wanted to celebrate Feast Day with more an more healthy foods.

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                • Yeah, I’m sort of trying to get back on track after a Feast Day right now, and not really loving it, so it just happens that today I’m skeptical of the idea.

                  But mostly, yes, I agree with the sentiment that you need to allow yourself indulgences from time to time. If ice cream is your thing, then by all means have some ice cream. Less, and less often, than in the days of the habits that led to your being overweight in the first place. But life without ice cream would be a vastly diminished quality of life indeed. Perhaps not quite I Have No Mouth Yet I Must Scream diminishment, but you get my point.

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              • Thirty pounds in just over four months is quite a bit. I’m aiming for two pounds a month, which is what I’ve read is fairly optimum for losing weight healthily…and keeping it off.

                I just use the treadmill. I realize it’s diminishing returns (I’m in it more for cardio health, so that’s okay) but at the moment it’s quite nice returns, because I am a big guy (seriously, nobody gets within 20% of guessing my weight. I carry it very evenly, so I don’t look nearly as big as I am) and moving my bulk around a treadmill takes some calories.

                As I lose weight, the less bulk I gotta move. :) Still, given my long-term goal, my regular workout if I reach it will run me about 2000 calories burned off a week (that’s net, not counting my base rate). (Right now it’s more, obviously).

                My optimistic goal is something like 30% loss (that’d get me fairly close to college levels). I’d be happy with 20% and thrilled with 25%. 10% would get my doctor off my butt, and frankly if I hadn’t had to stop for these ankle and hip issues (I’ve already gotten back on the treadmill at physical therapy. Everything BUT the original problem area now hurts, but in the fun ‘you haven’t done this is six weeks’ way), I’d be almost to 10% anyways.

                Which is why I’m going through the hassle of PT. Because, for once, I was sticking to exercise and I’m not changing what works unless I’m running the risk of injury.

                But by and large I’m lucky. I’m big, but I’m in decent health and I’m not that old. I don’t have health problems that get in the way, I’m not diabetic, and I have plenty of low hanging fruit (My weight has been stable for quite some time, my diet isn’t so great I can’t find easy changes, and I was so sedentary that adding exercise is pretty easy).

                And lastly, I don’t have my own body sandbagging me. Seriously, I can see results and get a feedback cycle going. But if I was cutting deep into my diet, exercising like crazy, and I still couldn’t lose weight? What would be the point?

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                • I’m not saying stay off the treadmill. Quite the opposite, especially if cardio health is an issue for you (as it is for me).

                  Rather, I’m making the more modest observation that diet has been about 80% of where my own weight loss comes from, because exercise is so inefficient at burning surplus calories. And the diet control has been possible because I’ve been able to make something of a game out of tracking the in-out numbers, which buttresses my willpower.

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                  • Rather, I’m making the more modest observation that diet has been about 80% of where my own weight loss comes from, because exercise is so inefficient at burning surplus calories.

                    This is why I recommend that people make the assumption that they are sedentary when they attempt to calculate their total daily energy expenditures and try to work off of that when they estimate a caloric deficit. My TDEE is roughly 2,100 calories compared to my BMR of 1,825.

                    That, or they can try to keep their calories as close to BMR as possible, which would ensure a deficit.

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                  • Actual calorie counts feel too fuzzy for me. I know treadmill counts are an approximation too, but it’s based in physics I get.

                    Move mass X this far. That’s basic physics.

                    And from what I’ve read, in terms of calories spent — your pace is pretty immaterial (there’s a bit about oxygen efficiency and stuff), it’s the distance traveled and your weight. (And apparently your age, though why that matters I’m uncertain. I guess overall bodily efficiency?)

                    Whereas how many calories are in the burrito bowl I just put together? I dunno. I’ll skip the tortilla and get black beans rather than refried, but couldn’t tell you what I saved or lost there.

                    And since I’m doing it for cardio, well…might as well do my weight loss on that side and work on slow, incremental changes to diet. (The aforementioned tortilla).

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                    • I had all sorts of diet-related issues when I was experimenting with different macro levels, and I recently realized that being an endomorph, my consuming non-veggie carbs needed to be limited to post-workout. I had also kept my fat intake levels down way too low (20% of total calories).

                      As of Labor Day weekend, my weight climbed at bit to 185 lbs, not terrible but not where I want to be. Therefore, I adjusted my diet, ditched the steady cardio and am doing mostly HIIT and barbell training.

                      On the diet front, my macros are approximately 40% protein, 45% fat, 15% carbs (I don’t count my broccoli – no point). I eat every two to three hours and my meals are very basic – lean chicken, nuts, brocolli. I have three eggs for breakfast and a can of beans post-workout.

                      I joined one of these 30-Day fat loss contests at a local sports performance place, and the day I checked in, I was down 7 lbs to 178. Since I was able to get access to a nutritionist that provided me with a customized plan (not much different than what I was already doing), I made a few other adjustments and have been able to get my calories down below my BMR despite some moderate weight training and HIIT.

                      The binges I was susceptible to having before I made these changes have not happened nor have I had the same level of hunger pangs, even on days when I consume only 1,500 calories.

                      The low calorie intake won’t last forever, but all I need to do to come out of it is to increase protein and fats. I understand that on non-training days, I’m basically at/near a ketogenic diet, but I have had fewer issues with this than I’ve with anything else I’ve tried.

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                      • That’s pretty awesome, and it honestly makes me glad I have tons of low-hanging fruit to go for first. I’m just pretty happy that a regular and fairly mild exercise routine should (per my doctor) get me down to a more reasonable weight, and if I’m serious about my jogging goals (distance a week, which is thankfully LESS than the distance a week that tends to jump the risk of injury) then I should get within about 10% or so of my weight goals.

                        I’ll still be about 10% more than would be ideal, but I’m frankly pretty comfortable there.

                        And in the end, I’m making slow diet changes anyways, but I know I’d never stick to anything that made me have to really *think* about what I ate on what day, as opposed to more simple “Do I need a second helping” and “You know what, I really don’t want cheese with that”.

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                        • Thank you for the compliment.

                          If the low hanging fruit can get you where you want to be, or at least close, without having to think too much about things, then kudos to that. Making good choices will get you there. Before I went all geek on nutrition, that was my approach plus a treadmill.

                          I’m a bit of an outlier due to personal goals and the fact that I can eat the most boring diet day in and day out and not even think twice about it. It makes it painfully easy for me to count calories.

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                          • I can see that (and I can see geeking out on a subject too!) but that’s an impressive regime and a lot of knowledge.

                            I’m gonna see where I am in a year, and adjust then. I just got done with PT so I’m about to get back on the treadmill after four or five weeks. (I didn’t injure myself, I had some previously existing issues. Flexibility and muscle strengthening stuff).

                            I’m hoping it breaks me past the wall I’ve faced in jogging, and it’s done wonders for the back problems I’ve been having for years!

                            So I’m gonna see where I am in the summer, and again next year in October. If I’ve hit my distance and frequency goals, we’ll see how the weight goes and whether I need to make further diet changes. :)

                            I’m also seriously considering a gym. The PT stuff had a little weight machine work and I realize I’ve been missing it. Been almost 20 years since I last belonged to a gym.

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  8. E1: This has been covered repeatedly over the past few years.

    E5: Colleges should not be involved in adjudicating criminal matters, especially on high stake crimes,

    M1: “There are some things so stupid that only intellectuals believe them” George Orwell.

    S1: This goes to a link from Politico about urban planning.

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  9. [B5] Slightly off topic, but I think I just figured out why this growing Anti-X-Shaming online movement bothers me.

    I naturally gravitate toward messages that encourage people to treat others decently and with empathy, so it’s been bugging me what rubs me the wrong way about this trend. But it’s hitting me now that there’s something inherent in the message “You should not shame people for X!” that implies that there are other things you should absolutely be shaming people for instead.

    It doesn’t strike me as a wall-tearing-down battle cry, it strikes me as a wall-builing battle cry.

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    • The problem for me is that it’s not anti-shaming, it’s counter-shaming. “How DARE you be someone who JUDGES people, you JUDGING JUDGER? It is the WORST THING to be a person who JUDGES people!”

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    • I agree with you, kind of. But also I disagree with you somewhat.

      Short version: “All lives matter” amirite?

      Long and hopefully less trite version: I agree that we shouldn’t shame people for who they are or for anything they do that’s not harming others.

      But, to have a productive discussion of cases where someone (who probably would profess to agree with the statement above) is actually shaming another person, you have to identify specific kinds of shaming narratives, and where each one turns up around us.

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  10. F4: Oh yeah this. She really manages to make cultural appropriation seem completely picayune and trivial while still acknowledging the good parts of having the culture finally accept different foods. That was a tough needle to thread and she nailed. Shame that wasn’t what she was trying to do.

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    • I have never quite understood the charge of cultural appropriation and/or imperialism. If Westerners adopt some feature of another culture that is bad, apparently because it is some sort of theft, though how is not exactly clear. If some other culture adopts some feature of Western culture this too is bad, apparently because we foisted it off on the poor agentless dears. This is one area where Team Red has a point.

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      • I think cultural appropriation is a valid point in some situations. Early rock music was derived primarily from black musicians but mostly white musicians ( hi elvis) took it and made bank off of it while the originators couldn’t even stay at the same hotels. That seems like a case where some white folk took an art from black folk and made all the money while the black folk got little.

        However in general i don’t think cultural appropriation is that good a criticism and it is used poorly far more often than well. Cultures are always changing and taking parts from one another. Native Mexican cooking is not destroyed because of Tex Mex style mexican food in america. American women doing yoga doesn’t mean yoga doesn’t exist for Hindu people. Often CA ends up being good for the originators now since there is a desire to honor where things come from.

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        • Even the early rock music isn’t a perfect example. If it were cuisine, we would use the word “fusion” to describe it. There was a lot of blues in it, but also a lot of other stuff of European origin. But even stipulating that there was some black guy doing the same stuff as Elvis and doing it just as well, if the black guy couldn’t make a living playing it while Elvis could, the problem is not of “cultural appropriation.”

          The logical conclusion of the “cultural appropriation” line of reasoning is that every culture should be kept in hermetically sealed isolation from every other culture. This is a reduction ad absurdum, but I have seen the absurdity embraced. Only, however, in those certain ghettos of academe that cause inveterate lefties like me to roll their eyes.

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          • Oh i agree, i don’t think cultural appropriation is usually a good critique but i don’t dismiss in completely. You can’t really steal someones else’s culture. You might make money off it when they can’t but they still have their culture. I can see how it would piss someone off that because of race the white dudes make money doing pretty much the same things the poor black guys can’t. Racism was the issue, CA is just another term used in that situation.

            Cultures shouldn’t be walled off from each other and the people who suggest that have a lot of baggage they aren’t clearly looking at.

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          • The cultural appropriation critique continues to make no sense when you consider those that quick to accuse Westerners of cultural appropriation are also going to be denouncing Westerners who want to limit or end immigration as racists. You can’t have it both ways. You can’t have no cultural appropriation without an assumption that cultural homogeneity is a good thing. If cultural heterogeneity is the correct choice than your going to have cultural mixing.

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      • Yeah there is bit of purity policing in her food stuff. She seems to think people should only eat ethnic foods if they truly appreciate the entire culture or are eating it for the “right” reasons. Meh on that.

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  11. [G3]: When I first saw this, I kept waiting for the punchline, but it never came. Somehow, the supposed crisis has coincided with a bunch of successful rookies, many coming out of spread offenses; the old days, of course, were filled with high-profile QB busts alongside successful picks. Both scouting and development are particularly hard problems for quarterbacks, but I don’t see much reason to believe that they are actually harder than they used to be. Meanwhile, many of the tactics that allow college offenses to simplify the game for their quarterbacks are making their way into the NFL. I think we’ll continue to see the NFL adopt the stuff that has transformed college offenses over the last 15 years, and the quarterback crisis will never turn out to be a problem.

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    • I saw an interesting comment this week that the problem with college spread offenses isn’t that they don’t produce enough NFL-capable quarterbacks, but that they don’t produce enough NFL-capable linemen. Thus the (anecdotal, haven’t seen any actual evidence yet) uptick in UDFAs, position shifts, and defense/offense conversions.

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      • They certainly are, at the least, harder for NFL scouts; trying to figure out whether a guy who spent his entire career in a two-point stance and never pulled on a run play, to take some things you see at the extremes, can play guard in the NFL is a hard problem.

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  12. [M1] “Tyler, you are by far the most interesting single-serving friend I’ve ever had.”
    “What?”
    “Single-serving friend, you see, it’s when-”
    “Oh no no, I get it, very clever. How’s that working out for you?”
    “What?”
    “Being clever.”
    “It’s all right, I guess.”
    “Great, keep it up then.”

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  13. G3:

    there is a rather straightforward solution to this.

    What is this solution? I can think of three possibilities just off the top of my head: adjust the NFL game to better fit the skills of its recruits; set up a developmental league to teach skills better adjusted to the NFL game; or assume it will take an additional year or two of the quarterback recruit holding a clipboard on the sideline while the quarterbacks coach brings him up to speed.

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    • I was referring to the second one. I am a long-time advocate of a development league.

      Though my preferred solution to the “student athlete” question would also suffice: Allow professional teams to draft and employ college athletes. NFL teams would be able to work with them in the off-season.

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    • I favor this one.

      Richard Hershberger: adjust the NFL game to better fit the skills of its recruits

      Reading the article I saw this:

      One issue is that NFL rules prohibit teams from snapping the ball as quickly after plays, meaning they cannot run a pure uptempo offense.

      I somehow fail to see how it would do anything but benefit the NFL to allow for more uptempo offense. It seems like a more fair way to go about increasing scoring than flagging any defensive back who attempts to play defense.

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  14. Saul Degraw:
    Based on all the “I’m an introvert” stuff on the Internet. I wonder how many people are truly Introverts. My guess is that they might enjoy slightly more alone time than an extrovert but not to the level of a true introvert.

    The rule of the thumb I like at the moment: Extroverts derive energy from interacting with other people. Introverts spend energy interacting with other people.

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    • Doesn’t that largely depend on how much time you spend alone vs interacting with others?

      That is – is it not so that for most of us there is some amount of time spent alone that recharges energy and some greater amount of time spent alone that becomes draining; some amount of time spent with others that recharges energy and some greater amount of time spent with others that becomes draining?

      When I’ve worked in a customer service type role, I’ve found it draining – eight hours of uninterrupted ‘on’ interaction with people, on top of the interaction that inevitably happens in one’s personal life, is enough to be draining. When I’ve had long periods of time by myself, I’ve found the smaller amounts of social interaction I got stimulating and energizing.

      If that’s right, then someone might be, say, 70% introverted and 30% extroverted. For that person, spending much more than 70% of the time alone would be draining (They’re an extrovert!), but spending much more than 30% of the time interacting with others would be draining (They’re an introvert!)

      Organism-environment and all that.

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  15. S5 – it’s my understanding that the political and economic marginalization of Dalits is what led to widespread conversion to Islam on the subcontinent back in the day.

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  16. G1:

    This may be good advice, but it seems to be predicated on the idea that reducing traumatic head injuries is sufficient, while the research suggests more and more that the main problem is years of constant low-level brain trauma.

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      • Yeah. It’s like folks who really enjoying the game of Russian Roulette taking the complaints about all the RR-related deaths seriously by deciding to use smaller caliber bullets. Or something.

        Don’t get me wrong, I loves me some football (especially college ball) but it’s increasingly clear to me that football isn’t a sport so much as a glorified entertainment spectacle based on violence. I remember back on the old days when big hits – causing injuries! – were openly cheered and lauded. I’m not sure how far we can move from that thinking and still retain football as a “sport”.

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          • There’s also the Law of Unintended Consequences to consider: if we do successfully move away from full-speed, full-contact practices, that should (hopefully) lead to a decrease in the chronic trauma from repeated hits. But how much will it lead to an increase in traumatic injuries when the players do go back to full-speed, full-contact due to familiarity issues?

            I’m not sure there is a good solution that will salvage the sport as currently played by the NFL. I’m not even sure it’s worth salvaging considering how much worse every new long-term study is than the previous one…

            We could always build ovals and switch to the next-most-violent code. It wouldn’t be a disaster for me – I do love me some AFL. Plus, we’d get the chance to have Jeff Triplette in a floppy-brimmed hat making goal-line decisions with flags (which would be a win because he wouldn’t be screwing up rules interpretations anymore).

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            • Players are already taught to tackle-to-kill, for the most part. If there are secondary effects, they could be positive (going back to tackling with the shoulders instead of the head). Honestly not sure and it would depend on what rules precisely are implemented.

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            • Change the rules. Allow the offensive line to grab-and-hold inside the shoulder pads. Allow the DBs to do the same. Turn the game into something more akin to grappling than high speed collisions. You’ll see a return to the running game and fewer obscenely large men running around at obscenely fast speeds.

              Will we eliminate all head injuries? No. But I think this will dramatically reduce them. The problem is that the game likely becomes less entertaining, at least to the casual fan. Which means it will be a no go for the NFL.

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              • Your rule changes would speed up the game and make more v in the 1/2mv^2 collisions, in my estimation.

                Relaxing offensive line holding rules would allow QBs more time to pass, and relaxing defensive back holding rules would privilege receiver speed even more to gain separation. So you’re going to get more high speed long routes in the middle of the field.

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                • More importantly, NFL owners have shown that the only consideration in play when it comes to tweaking the rules is to generate more money for themselves. So the game itself is entirely a tool to that end. They will change the rules when, and only when, revenue and valuation take a hit. As long as people keep shelling out huge cash for advertising and broadcasting rights, and The League doesn’t get hit with a massive head injury via litigation over concussion issues, the game aintagonna change. Cuz let’s face it: it can’t eliminate or even mitigate against head injuries without fundamentally changing the game itself.

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                  • I have hope, however foolishly, that the bottom line will take enough of a hit to compel change. I haven’t actually watched any football this year (except for a few minutes in a restaurant that had an Alabama game playing), and that’s largely because I don’t feel like I should watch it given what I know it’s doing to the players. Basically, if there’s absolutely no way I would ever let my child play a game because of the very strong chance it could produce long-term damage to his brain, how can I justify watching other parents’ kids play that game?

                    My ethics may have a hair trigger, but I can’t imagine I’m the only one, and I also can’t imagine that as it becomes more and more clear what football is doing to its players’ brains, folks with heavier triggers won’t join us.

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                • I disagree, . I think DBs will effectively slow and impede the progress of receivers such that the passing game will really be hampered. If you take the 5-yard “chuck” rule and apply it to the length of the field, you’re going to favor bigger receivers who can fight off the DBs. You’ll see more Gronks and fewer Wes Welkers. The latter are the types of guys who get the concussions because they exploit their shiftiness and the inability of the DBs to touch them as they work the middle of the field. However, they leave themselves vulnerable to big hits.

                  Obviously, we’re both speculating so it is hard to say definitively who is right.

                  You could also/instead change the size of the field, though I’ve seen arguments in favor of both making it larger (more space means fewer collisions as guys can avoid each other) and making it smaller (less room means less speed as guys are in constant contact with another). I’m not sure which is right or if either would make a difference.

                  Of course, any change will have teams/coaches/players looking for loopholes to exploit which might mitigate any safety improvements.

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                  • If you take the 5-yard “chuck” rule and apply it to the length of the field, you’re going to favor bigger receivers who can fight off the DBs. You’ll see more Gronks and fewer Wes Welkers.

                    I’m not sure about that, Kazzy. My own best guess is that allowing the rough stuff beyond the current five yard limit would sorta bifurcate the required skill set into big guys with good hands and super fast, shifty guys with good hands. And the same thing would apply to DBs: they’d have to be big enough to grapple with Gronk all the way down field, but if they’re *that* big, a speedy guy blows by em without ever gettin touched.

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                  • If you take the 5-yard “chuck” rule and apply it to the length of the field…

                    Can I push the receiver out of bounds, making him ineligible? When does it become pass interference? This would pretty much take “timing routes” out of the playbook. As people other than me have written, Pete Carroll at Seattle has made a standard practice out of extending the five-yard contact to 7-10 yards on every play, daring the officials to call it, and it’s made their pass defense very effective.

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              • Require tacklers to make an honest effort to wrap up the ball carrier (I believe this is the rule in rugby). No more just running into the guy at full speed. Since this disadvantages the defense (again), make up for it some by getting rid of the stiff-arm.

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                  • It’s no harder than the judgement calls the officials already make on holding and pass interference all the time.

                    This is not an original thought. The NCAA makes the point in all of its explanatory material about the targeting foul that the intent is get coaches to insist their players use wrap-up tackling.

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                  • 15 yard penalties should do the trick.

                    Rugby has a lot of rules around how tackles are made; not wrapping up is, in my experience, one of the least commonly committed tackling fouls and the least likely to provoke arguments about whether a call was correct. I don’t think it would be different in football.

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            • Here’s a thought: What if, after a catch, receivers; a full to-the-ground tackle is not necessary. Basically, receivers are playing flag football. No more need for open-field tackling of defenseless players, which is the part where guys really get blown up.

              Doesn’t do much for running backs, though, and there’s the question of whether short throws are no longer viable with this plan (although short throws are kind of garbage football anyway so maybe discouraging them is better as it is.)

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              • I think you’d still have the big shots coming in as those are as much about jarring the ball loose as they are about bringing the man down. In fact, they often favor the former over the latter which sometimes leads to receivers bouncing off the hit and continuing onward since a true tackle was never attempted.

                Again, I contend that allowing obscenely large, obscenely fast human run around unimpeded in open space is a recipe for disaster. Impede their speed! Slow them down! Maybe they should have to play in flip flops or something.

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      • “I have gone further than anybody that I’m aware of in American history,” Clinton said of the release of her emails. “Now it’s not a long history since we haven’t had emails that long–as long as we’ve had them, I’ve gone longer and farther to be as transparent as possible. Nobody else has done that.”

        Clinton added that she’s “a little embarrassed that the emails are so boring.”

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        • Clinton added that she’s “a little embarrassed that the emails are so boring.”

          Ugh. Lessee: Smug? Check. Dismissive? Check. Counterproductive? Checkitycheck-check.

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        • “Gone further than anybody that I’m aware of in America history” with regards to releasing emails is categorically different than saying she is the most transparent person in American history.

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          • Kazzy, I think defending Clinton on this issue would be easier if she told people *upfront* that she personally paid someone to maintain her private server, or if the Fedrul BI didn’t find State Department emails on her server that weren’t shipped to State before wiping with a cloth her server. And so on, actually.

            And to come clean here, unlike notme, I’m actually really bummed that she’s handled this situation so poorly.

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            • I’m not defending Clinton as much as I’m criticizing bad journalism. Clinton’s words are questionable enough on their own. Attributing things she did not say to her in the headline is just shitty journalism.

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              • Yeah, I get that. And notme even conceded as much. Well, sorta. Clinton is saying that she’s the most transparent in the email-era of governance. Which is just an absurd thing to say in the current context, which is motivated precisely by her lack of transparency. So, simply asserting her own pov on the topic doesn’t really amount to a hill a beans in this crazy woild.

                On the other hand, it seems to me that she’s in danger of out-Jebbing Jeb!, in that she, like him, strikes me as incapable of generating enthusiasm for her campaign outside of what already exists. If they both make it to the primary, it’ll be because no one else won the primary and they got it by default.

                And not to heap added anxiety on North over this issue, but it seems to me that Hillary is getting buried by this issue to the extent that she may not even make it outa the primary. Sanders has wide – and exciting! – appeal to the more lefty-liberals, and Biden’s apparently being pressured to throw his hat in the ring. And frankly, the longer he waits, the better his chances’ll be of winning (since the Good Ole Joe shtick is only endearing for so long). Seems to me anyway.

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                • I am skeptical that ol’ Joe could muster up the campaign infrastructure at this juncture to jump into the race (nor do I think he’d be a good pick) and Bernie needs to move the needle on some democratic constituencies outside white liberals before I’m going to give his insurgent campaign much credit.

                  Frankly whatever foofaraw is happening with the emails unless something genuinely serious is found(And so far nothing that meets that mark has turned up) I’d hazard that it’s good for Hillary that this is all being hashed out now so far out from the first votes. I doubt the emails will have staying power in the minds of anyone who wasn’t already going to vote against her.

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                  • I disagree with this, actually. EmailGhaziGate is gonna hound and haunt Hillary until January (at least, I think…), which is when the last round of email releases is scheduled. So it’ll be dogging her until right before Iowa. And unless something’s done to stop the downward slide, we might be in line for a result that Shocks The World.

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                      • Is it just me, or does everything I hear about how Clinton is going to be just great and by X date none of this will matter (for various definitions of “this”) remind anyone else of what people said for 18 months about Mitt? Because it all sounds pretty damn familiar to me.

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                        • It seems like Hilary is the eternal well spring of narrative supporting information. It is easy to find information to justify narratives that she is a weak candidate who will fail, she has the support of her party, she gives people reasons to be suspicious and she is the target of extensive smear jobs. All of those are really pretty solid. She truly giveth to all.

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                          • Here is a good rule of thumb that probably deserves it’s own name.

                            In fact, I think I will go ahead and officially christian this rule of thumb Mitt’s Law:

                            If your candidate needs repeated campaign-driven strategies and events to showcase to the public that they really are a likable and/or relatable person, your candidate is probably not as likable and/or relatable as you are telling yourself.

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                            • Maybe. I’m thinking back to some campaign driven personality remakes that seemed to work. It worked for Bush I who rebranded himself as all texan even though he was far more new england patrician. It seemed to work for Bush II also.

                              Hills is not as naturally likable it seems as others, but people also pretend to want people to be “authentic” unless of course they don’t like your personality or it tends to be cooler or cerebral.

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                              • If you are shooting for the Big Chair, I think you get maybe one remake and still have a shot in a fair fight.

                                If you are someone that needs more than one, then I think your chances of victory lie entirely in the hands of your opponents’ ability to put up someone only as likable or less likable than you.

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                                • I don’t disagree with that. However i think Hillary could motivate and really move people more than her detractors think. Heck O had some really flat speeches and performances and is not “authentic” in the right way and had some major characteristics against him but he still won twice. Yes you could easily, very easily, say the R’s lost it the second time. But that is a bit circular. Every losing campaign was always a disaster in retrospect.

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                                • The liabilities Hillary entered the campaign with are pretty difficult to overcome, if you think about it. She not only incurs wildly irrational hatred from powerful people with megaphones and big bank accounts, but she lost a fair fight 8 years ago to a young and charismatic upstart. In other words, she gave it her best shot and the base rejected her once already, and to try to overcome *that* she needs to not only present a “new Hillary” (one that motivates people to enthusiastically rather than begrudgingly support her) but must confound the relentless GOP assault on everything she says, touches, thinks, implements, purchases, owns, or privately funds because she can’t be bothered to carry two devices.

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                                    • And her strategy still seems to be …. field-test any policy position before coming out in support of it. She’s always playing catchup.

                                      But like I said a while ago, not only is she temperamentally predisposed to this type of campaign style, I think she really believes that a platform comprised of field-tested, focus-group studies ought to be sufficient to get elected.

                                      Which reminds me of something Trump said the other day: that he doesn’t want to be politically correct, he wants to be honest. Now, on a meta-level, a statement like that is really good politics: it’s a statement that lots of folks can get behind because not only is he valuing honesty above political correctness, simply *saying* he doesn’t want to be politically correct isn’t politically correct. So he’s not making a judgment about PC (meta) as much as he’s actively rejecting PC (first order stuff). And that, as they say, accords street cred for people who agree with him, seems to me.

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                                      • Umm yeah…saying he hates PC to people who hate PC is a real profile in courage. He is giving his people exactly what they want, how is that all that different from hills giving people what they say they want.

                                        That is leaving aside saying you aren’t PC is mostly BS and also a widely popular statement in general.

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                                • The macabre beauty of this particular issue, my Todd, is that it is a mirror reflecting back the desires of all who look at it. Hillary supporters see an administrative witch hunt rich in speculation but empty of concrete crimes resulting from a nakedly partisan fishing expedition; Hillary opponents and GOP supporters see signs of a shocking breach of national security and classical “rules are for other people” Clinton behavior; desperate media institutions see something to shake up what they dreaded would be a boring Democratic Party primary and feed the insatiable maw of their grist mills.

                                  Be that as it may, Hillary has been under fire in this sort of manner for decades; it’ll take more than generally improperly handled emails to sink her. It is, however, entirely possible that there’s some super problematic email in the mound of mishandled emails that could blow up her candidacy- I grant that without reservation. It’s also possible that there isn’t such a problematic email and if said email doesn’t show up then yes people will chalk the entire affair up to Republican derangement and move on.

                                  Should Hillary not have handled her emails this way? Probably, just because her predecessors did doesn’t mean she should have done the same, the rules changed. Should she have handled the issue differently when the Benghazi Brigade unearthed it? Yeah, definitely, her lack of political nimbleness an tin ear has always been one of her glaring weak spots. Should her party be rushing for the exits? What in favor of Bernie?? Fish no. And I’m doubtful Joe’s in any condition to run (emotionally, structurally) so no. That said I am not happy that there’s not a centrist alternative; I’m keenly aware that the Clintons engineered it that way on purpose and it certainly does make me nervous and it should make the Dem establishment nervous too.

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                                  • Actually, I think I am making more of a meta point.

                                    I remember, to take one example, back in 2012 when Jaybird noted (correctly) that in general people seemed very forgiving of Obama’s transgressions of youth, but not Romney’s. Or to take another flipped example, in 2000 when people were happy to give a pass to any and all of W’s life’s failings even as they raked Gore over the coals for saying things he never actually said. In each case, those partisans who felt their side was being wronged blamed “the media.” But the truth is that people are incredibly forgiving to public figures they like and they can relate to, and they are very suspicious of those they don’t like and can’t relate to. It’s not a politics thing, it’s just a human-being thing. Dems can rail all they want that “if people were only smarter, better, and more fair they would trust Clinton” all they want, and it will get them exactly as far as it did Mitt supporters who railed the same thing.

                                    All of which is to say, there is a reason why things like negative rumors stick to Clinton in a way they never stick to, sayforexample, the other Clinton.

                                    In this particular case, focusing on emails is kind of like closing the barn door after the horse is gone, because, well, emails shme-mails. If she had never had an email scandal, it would have been something else. If the email scandal dies tomorrow, it will be something else. Because when you have a public figure that people don’t particularly like and can’t relate to, there is always something else. And if there isn’t anything else, the public will just make something up.

                                    As to your second question, what to the Dems do now? Ideally, they would build a time machine, go back a few years, and convince the DNC Machine not to just hand the nod to a candidate without bothering to, you know, consult with its voters first. But since that’s not really possible, there’s not much to do at this point except cross your fingers and hope that the other guy she’ll run against is either a complete whack job or isn’t remotely charismatic. Which, I will admit, looks to be a good strategy at the moment as I observe the cluster-fish that is the GOP primary.

                                    But even with that being said, you need to remember that once you get past the election, there is actually the process of actual governing a country of 300 million people that needs to be done. I still maintain what I have maintained all along, that the next POTUS will likely be Clinton — but Dems should probably brace themselves for the likelihood of what four years of an administration headed by someone the public is going to look for excuses not to trust is going to look like.

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                                    • That’s all fine my Tod, but I don’t think HRC would make a bad president and I don’t think she’d run a bad administration; especially when I contemplate the clown car and George W Bush retreads that would make up any of the GOP administrations on tap.

                                      And we’ll see about this likability thing, for better or worse. It seems pretty transitory.

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                                      • There’s also the fact that HRC’s “likability” seems to be a fact-esque sort of problem. But Obama IS likable.

                                        If she had such a problem, how on earth did she manage to lose so narrowly to Obama in 2007? It was the closest, longest-running, squeaker of a primary in decades if not longer. She was, by the base, liked almost exactly as much as Obama.

                                        Sure, Republicans hate her. But Republicans hate every Democratic nominee.

                                        Independents? Don’t seem to mind, really. And Democrats? Well, she’s not polling 100% in the primary but she’s not pulling a Jeb Bush either. She seems to be handily winning, with very little effort (again, unlike 2007 where it was hard fought) although we should all apparently panic because some people like Sanders. (When again, we didn’t panic when Obama only barely won in 2007).

                                        The likability rules are weird. It’s almost like it’s got nothing to do with the vast bulk of America and has to do with other factors, factors that aren’t about ‘likable’ at all.

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                              • I grant you Bush 1 remake, but Bush 2’s brand was always consistent – even if a bit phony, like they all are. Bill Clinton, educated at Georgetown, Oxford, and Yale, middle class son of a salesman raised by an auto dealer, became Bubba from Bumblefritz Arkansas when he landed on the national stage.

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                • I can’t get into all that cuz frankly I don’t know. But it’s counterproductive to exaggerate already asinine claims because now we’re debating the headline instead of what she actually said and did. It’s sloppy journalism designed to inflame folks on the edge and tip the discourse but is ultimately a distraction. And that is true regardless of which “side” does it. As I note below regarding the Pope’s “statements”, it swings both ways.

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          • Kazzy:

            I agree that they are different words but the words she used give that impression. It would be wrong to quote her saying the “most transparent” but that is what she seems to be saying in so many words.

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            • She very clearly define in what area she considers herself the most transparent: releasing emails. And, as she notes, given that email has only existed for 2 or 3 decades, the history is relatively limited.

              This is like someone saying, “I’m the best at Instagraming,” and then criticizing them for declaring that they are the best photographer ever.

              As to whether Clinton has done more with regards to releasing emails than anyone else has… fuck if I know!

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        • I saw this same nonsense on FB with regards to the Pope and Kim Davis. It appears that the Pope didn’t really take audience with Kim Davis but she was simply among a large group of people whose presence was arranged by the church he was visiting. It seems the Pope does not support Davis, at least according to “sources”. Which led to the headline, “Pope Doesn’t Support Davis, Opposes Her Bigotry.”

          The article had nary a quote from the Pope. Just stop people.

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    • So this IS about open carry!
      I knew it!

      Alright alright, no more snark.

      The serious point here, is that there is in fact a connection between the sensitive college students and open carry folk.

      What sort of world do we live in, and how should we react to it?
      Do we live in a terrible,frightful place filled with danger, and should we react with a defensive crouch?

      I am writing this from a train into Los Angeles where I will walk thru downtown along the edge of Skid Row.
      Should I be frightened?
      Should I carry a gun? Or a comforting teddy bear?

      Or should I be at ease, in a feeling of trust and safety in belonging?

      These questions are rhetorical, more about what we desire than what is.

      Fear breeds fear, trust builds trust.

      In any case, if I don’t come back, avenge my death.

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      • I wouldn’t say that city is a particularly good example of a pinnacle of trust. Whether you carry a AK-47 or a teddy bear today probably won’t result in much change of the root problems on Skid Row.

        You require the crutch of state to be your security. If the left truly believed in direct interface with the means of production they wouldn’t allow the state to be the provider of their means of security. It’s less about fear, and more about capability.

        I don’t even consider 1/2 of the left being honest in this context. Many are run-of the-mill statists.

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      • The serious point here, is that there is in fact a connection between the sensitive college students and open carry folk.

        Really, according to whom? Your make believe?

        What sort of world do we live in, and how should we react to it?
        Do we live in a terrible, frightful place filled with danger, and should we react with a defensive crouch?

        We live in a real world where there is at times random violence that the cops aren’t around to stop. I don’t believe in being fearful but realistic that I need to exercise situational awareness and be prepared to meet any threat should it arise.

        Or should I be at ease, in a feeling of trust and safety in belonging?

        You can do that that but your feeling of trust isn’t going to stop someone from mugging you. I used to work for a DC law firm that was in a building by one of the park squares. He knew better but cut through the square one night and was mugged. He was lucky the mugger only took his money and not his life. Maybe he should have been at ease, in a feeling of trust and safety in belonging?

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        • “We live in a real world where there is at times random violence that the cops aren’t around to stop.”

          We also live in a real world where there are psychological stressors that people are exposed to every day.

          The odds that you’ll experience some sort of mental trauma in your life? Pretty high.

          The odds that you’ll experience some sort of physical trauma that you could have stopped with a firearm? Pretty low.

          So… uh… yeah.

          Maybe you should hide your disdain for folks a little better?

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          • I see it clearly now, because the odds of something happening are low I shouldn’t bother taking precautions to protect myself. Maybe I can be at ease, in a feeling of trust and safety in belonging?

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        • We don’t choose what happens to us, only how we react to it.

          So because of this mugging which happened not to you but to someone you know, you have chosen to react, how?
          By seeing danger in every encounter? You choose to carry that old trauma with you, clinging to it and reliving it with every telling? Why?

          How does that posture make your life better?

          I walked to the office this morning and greeted Darrel, the homeless guy I see occasionally, and bought him a pastry and chatted a bit before moving on.

          My car is parked at the Anaheim train station, unlocked, the keys in the center console, as it is every day and I know with certainty it will be there tonight.

          My house in Santa Ana is unlocked, and as safe and secure as a bank. My Afghan neighbors know who belongs and doesn’t, and in any case no one wants what I have because it’s all crap anyway.

          Because that’s the world I choose to live in. A world of peace and security and trust.

          What world do you choose?

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  17. Tod Kelly:
    Dems should probably brace themselves for the likelihood of what four years of an administration headed by someone the public is going to look for excuses not to trust is going to look like.

    Some 25% of the US population, despite evidence being 100% to the contrary, believes the current POTUS is a Muslim.

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