Free Markets, Free People

Daily Archives: March 20, 2013

I’m live on Medium!

The guys who created Twitter and Odeo have moved on to a new venture, which, based on their track record, may show us the way to the future of online writing and publishing. It’s called Medium.Com, and it really is a different model of online writing that aims to promote better writing to more eyes.

I’ve been following Medium from it’s beginnings, and I finally received my invitation to start writing on medium.  I’ve got two articles up. One attempts to answer the question "Is Star Trek socialist?" and the other looks at what I’m learning as I start looking for a new car. Both are a bit tongue and cheek.

The way it works is that you can recommend articles you like. The more recommendations an article gets, the more visible it becomes to readers. Good articles get promoted to the top.

It’s a fascinating idea, and the track record of the guys who created it is pretty good. It may be a glimpse into the future of online writing.

By the way, if any of you like to write, and are a car person, I’ve created a collection called The Joy of Automotion that anyone can contribute to.

~
Dale Franks
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Calling all Nannies

A new study that is sure to make Mayor Michael Bloomberg and other health nannies wet their britches in thanks is out:

New research finds that the consumption of sugary drinks and sodas contributes to about 180,000 obesity-related deaths around the world — including the deaths of about 25,000 adult Americans — each year.

According to a new study presented on Tuesday at a meeting of the American Heart Association, one out of every 100 obesity-related deaths around the world can be tied to sugary drinks, which directly exacerbate health conditions like diabetes, heart diseases, and cancer. Specifically, the over-consumption of those beverages increased global deaths from diabetes by 133,000, from cardiovascular disease by 44,000 and from cancer by 6,000.

So, 180,000 out of what, 6 billion?  And 25,000 in the US in a population of 300 million.

Can you say “statistically irrelevant”?  I knew you could.

But the “if our draconian measures can save even one life” crowd will see this as the means to more control, just watch.  It’s just predictable (your health is now a “growth area” for control freaks and nannies).

Don’t believe me?

The experts who contributed to the study explained that’s a big issue because those calories don’t provide any nutritional value, and policymakers should focus on helping encourage Americans to cut back:

“One of the problems of sugar-sweetened beverages is that we don’t seem to compensate as well for the calories as we do for solid foods,” [Rachel K. Johnson, a professor of medicine and nutrition at the University of Vermont] said. “In other words, when we consume sugar-sweetened beverages we don’t reduce the amount of food we consume.

Johnson cautioned the study didn’t prove cause and effect, just that there was an association between sugared-drink intake and death rates.

Singh, the study’s co-author, said that taxing sugary drinks in the same way as cigarettes, or limiting advertising or access, may help reduce usage.

“Our study shows that tens of thousands of deaths worldwide are caused by drinking sugary beverages and this should impel policy makers to make strong policies to reduce consumption of sugary beverages,” Singh said.

~McQ

Feinstein’s assault weapons ban will not be in final Senate bill

Emily Miller, writing in the Washington Times, reports:

Gun control efforts on the nation level lost a major battle when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told a bereft Sen. Dianne Feinstein Monday that her so-called assault weapon ban bill was getting pulled from the gun package coming to the floor next month. Her legislation, which passed the SenateJudiciary Committee last week by a straight party line vote, is the only one of the four gun-related bills that passed out of committee that Mr. Reid axed.

Mrs. Feinstein insists she will not be ignored. The California Democrat plans to bring two amendments up during the gun votes — to ban firearms that have one cosmetic feature that makes them resembles military weapon and magazines that hold more than 10 rounds. Mr. Reid said Tuesday that “her amendment, using the most optimistic numbers, has less than 40 votes — that’s not 60.”

However, Mr. Reid’s calculation was really less about vote counting and more about keeping the majority in the upper chamber.

“The Democrats know that Feinstein’s ‘assault weapon’ ban is suicide at the polls for them come 2014,” Alan Gottlieb, the founder of the Second Amendment Foundation told me Tuesday. “It is so extreme that even the Democratic leadership in the Senate doesn’t want it as part of their package.”

So ‘whoohoo’, huh?  Yeah, sort of, but Miller entitles her piece “RIP national assault weapons ban”.  RIP?  Hardly.  If you think Democrats, or at least Feinstein, are going to quit on this, you’re wrong.  Just consider how long they pushed for government mandated health care.  The fact that they couldn’t muster 40 votes in the Senate is, to those who would take your guns, another temporary setback.  Despite the fact that studies have shown no positive link a decline in gun violence and the last assault weapon’s ban, they’ll continue to try.  Trust me on that.  This isn’t about safety, it’s about controlt:

Mrs. Feinstein insists she will not be ignored. The California Democrat plans to bring two amendments up during the gun votes — to ban firearms that have one cosmetic feature that makes them resembles military weapon and magazines that hold more than 10 rounds.

Right now Democratic Senators are reading the electoral tea leaves and know that such a vote, at least for those in states where their seat isn’t safe, is electoral poison.  As soon as they see or feel that the electorate’s opinion has shifted, they’ll gladly vote for such a ban.  The lack of votes isn’t about principle, it’s about keeping their jobs.

“The Democrats know that Feinstein’s ‘assault weapon’ ban is suicide at the polls for them come 2014,” Alan Gottlieb, the founder of the Second Amendment Foundation told me Tuesday. “It is so extreme that even the Democratic leadership in the Senate doesn’t want it as part of their package.”

Mr. Obama does, of course. And so they’ll continue to try.  And they’ll use the incremental approach instead.

And there’s something else to consider here – the politics of the Reid move.  He’s taken the step of removing the most controversial parts of the gun control attempt.  But there’s still more for the Senate to consider.  And Reid is trying to use his removal of the “extreme” parts to demand a corresponding move (i.e. “compromise”) from the GOP in support of what’s left.

The background check bill is the most contentious of those three, and lawmakers are still working behind the scenes to find a compromise that can garner 60 votes in the chamber.

Sen. Joe Manchin III, a West Virginia Democrat who has been trying to work out a compromise, said Tuesday he was optimistic on that front.

“I’m still working very hard, and hopefully reasonable people will look at reasonable proposals and something will happen,” he said.

And what would that compromise bring?

Currently, all sales by licensed firearms dealers must go through background checks, but transactions between private individuals do not. Lawmakers are looking for a way to extend checks to almost all transactions without also creating a record-keeping system that gun rights supporters fear could turn into a gun registry.

How could it not turn into a defacto“gun registry”?

And who wants to bet that some GOP Senators end up supporting it?

~McQ