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Name that Obama-era affliction

In a previous post, I wrote about Obamacare Schadenfreude, that feeling of amusement when some ardent supporters of Obamacare realize that that monstrous piece of legislation will have negative consequences for them or for causes about which they claim to care.  I was reminded of that post again yesterday when I heard that one of the authors of Obamacare, Max Baucus (D-Montana), complained that the implementation of Obamacare was going to be a “huge train-wreck coming down.”

Likewise, a little over a week ago, Jay Rockefeller (D-West Virginia) complained about the incomprehensible complexity of the law:  “‘I believe that the Affordable Care Act is probably the most complex piece of legislation ever passed by the United States Congress,’ he said, as quoted in the Washington Examiner. ‘Tax reform obviously has been huge, too, but up to this point it is just beyond comprehension.’”  My response to both Senators is simply to respond:  well, isn’t that just too bad.

Today, though, I’d rather write about another Obama-era affliction which I’ve been suffering with since late January 2009.    It is something akin to depression, and it is brought on or exacerbated by the daily outrages resulting from this administration’s policies.

Sometimes it boils up to anger which gives me more energy, but at other times I feel listless and unmotivated or even hopeless.  At times, I get by just focusing on the routines and necessary activities of my daily life, but sometimes even those feel like a burden.  Writing about the issues can be therapeutic, though there are many times when I’d rather not think about them at all.

So what to call this condition?  “Obamalaise” came to mind, but I think others have used that to describe the lingering weakness in our economy.

I also thought of “Obama Weltschmerz.”  That conveys the angst and depression, and I like the fact that, like Obamacare Schadenfreude, it uses a German word.  As I see it, the use of a German word helps to communicate my sense that Obama’s America feels like it’s headed towards the sort of economic collapse which characterized Weimar Germany.

Maybe that’s too dark.  “Obamanomie” communicates a sense of impending social instability and alienation.  That might get at the matter a little better, though it’s perhaps even more depressing to think about.

In any case, I know I’m not the only one suffering with this condition.  I suspect many of our readers are, too.  What would you call it?

Tales of the Obama Economy: Do-it-yourself and make-your-own

Lately I’ve noticed more and more posts from people on Facebook about how to do a, b, or c yourself or to make your own x, y, or z.  It could be that my personal social network overlaps more with the “crunchy” demographic which shops at the local food co-op and Whole Foods, but it could be a larger social trend.  I think it is a little of both, but I’m curious to see if other GayPatriot readers have noticed the same thing.

In the past three years or so, I’ve started learning to make many more kinds of things for myself than I had in the past.  Most of the stuff I make for myself has been foods that I used to buy at the store, and the transition originally occurred because I wanted to have a healthier diet.    I was a tolerable cook before, but I depended on lots of store-bought staples.  But the more I’ve learned to do for myself, the more I’ve wanted to learn how to do, as well.  I’d say that while I was originally motivated by a concern for health, as time has gone on, I’ve also been motivated by the increased sense of independence in learning how to make things I used to buy, by the ability to control my own ingredients, and by the opportunity to be able to make better quality foods than I would have bought in the past and still have a cost savings.

Although I started with food, I’ve also made some of my own household cleaning products, and I’ve considered making my own personal care items, as well.   I have a friend who makes and sells her own deodorant and is thinking of making other products, as well. But there’s no need to stop there.  When television stations switched from analog to digital broadcasting, I built my own digital TV antenna using coat hangers and a 1×4 using plans I had found online.

One of my favorite websites to browse in the last few years has been Ana-White.com which contains hundreds of build-your-own plans for furniture.  The site, which is maintained by a self-described “homemaker” in Alaska, was originally called “Knock Off Wood” because it started with home-built knock-offs of items found at stores and in catalogs.  I’ve not attempted building any furniture yet, but I would like to try doing so at some point in time.

I haven’t taken the time to research this topic yet in depth, but it’s my belief that part of what we’re seeing with this trend is a reaction to the Obama economy.  As people worry more about their finances, frugality and independence become more important–at least for a certain segment of the population.  During the Great Depression, these kinds of household arts were quite common, partly out of necessity and frugality, but also partly because the population wasn’t quite as urbanized.   Store-bought items were  both a rarity and a luxury.  I don’t see it as a coincidence that make-your-own and do-it-yourself projects are proliferating these days, much as they did during the Depression years.

What do other people think?  Have you noticed this trend, as well?  Have you made such changes personally?  Are there items that you used to buy at the store that you’ve started making for yourself?

The Dietary Delusion

Over the past few weeks, I have awakened to hear snippets of stories such as this one on NPR about “the obesity epidemic.”  The stories are all part of a series reporting on a recent poll undertaken by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health.  The poll looked at the attitudes and the self-reported actions of parents towards the ways their children ate and about their children’s activity levels.

Among the key findings of the survey highlighted in the NPR reports have been these two points:

  • “Recent public opinion polls show that most American adults think obesity is a serious problem for society, but most parents in the poll here are not concerned their own children will become overweight as adults.”
  • “In most cases, parents don’t seem to believe that the way their child ate on a given day is likely to make them gain unhealthy weight.”

The NPR story linked above blames a psychological factor known as “optimism bias,” and says that parents may think they are doing the right things, but really they are just poorly informed and/or deluding themselves.

Since this is an ongoing series on NPR, one can expect it to culminate with an interview with Michelle Obama or someone behind her “Let’s Move” campaign, or with a series of suggestions for more government action, or calls for more spending on government nutrition programs, or possibly with all of the above.

What hasn’t occurred to the geniuses at NPR, though, is that perhaps the parents really have been listening to the advice coming from the government and the media for the past twenty five years and they really do think they are doing the right things, but the advice is flawed.

Ronald Reagan famously remarked that “the trouble with our liberal friends is not that they are ignorant; it’s just that they know so much that isn’t so.”   In recent years, Gary Taubes has become the best-known of those who have challenged the nutritional and dietary orthodoxy which has been promoting a high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet.  Writing in Newsweek last spring, he explained that:  “The problem is, the solutions this multi-level campaign promotes are the same ones that have been used to fight obesity for a century—and they just haven’t worked.”

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Smart Phones and Rude People

I saw this article on Yahoo Monday about a TED talk Sergey Brin gave last week, where he discussed the ways that he finds his smart phone “emasculating.”  I don’t have a strong opinion on that topic, but it’s also partly because I don’t have a smart phone.  I’m not really a luddite as much as I am true to the Swiss, German and Scottish parts of my ancestry in my frugality and my reluctance to adopt the latest fads, especially when those fads come with a monthly fee I’d rather not have to pay.

I only have a rather primitive cell phone, and I rarely use it very often.   I remember back around 2000 watching the Oprah show one day when Oprah confessed she didn’t have a cell phone, and she couldn’t understand why people needed to be available that way at all times and in all places.  While I’m sure Oprah has relented and gotten not just a cell phone but a smart phone by now, I still remember her remark in resisting that particular technology.

But while I might not have a smart phone, most of the other folks I know or encounter have one.  And that brings me around to my topic of the moment.  I’m less worried about whether or not smart phones are “emasculating” than I am about their tendency to make people more self-absorbed, oblivious, and frankly rude.

I’m appalled at work when I see people checking their smartphones during meetings, but I see it all the time.  And then there is the matter of the folks who text (or play “Angry Birds”) while walking or crossing the street or, worse, while driving.

My particular gripe at the moment is something that I see more and more frequently when I fly these days, and that is people who flout the rule against using their cell phones during flight.  Maybe it is an unnecessary rule, but it is still a rule, and ostensibly a rule put in place for everyone’s safety.  Nevertheless, I’ve witnessed people within my line of sight who don’t turn off their phones when instructed, or who furtively turn them on in mid-flight to start texting or checking e-mails (and I’m not talking about a flight with wi-fi), or who hide them away only to have them ring during flight.   On one of my most recent flights, a phone rang and a guy took the call and started talking as we were going into the final descent before landing.   I’m not a frequent flyer, so if I’ve witnessed all of these things, I can’t be the only one.

Maybe I’m just being a grouch, but it seems to me that the advances in communications technology have desensitized many people (and not just the Alec Baldwins of the world) to the demands of common courtesy and common sense.

Ayn Rand as Seer on Health Care Shenanigans

So I’m currently reading The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand (I know, I know… But anyway…).

I won’t go into how it’s killing my mother, the effect it’s having on my prospects for finding a boyfriend, but that’s a whole ‘nother story.

Point is, I just went through Chapter 11 of Part 2 (“Ellsworth M. Toohey”). Howard Roark had just selected Steven Mallory to craft a sculpture for the Stoddard Temple. After what can only be called an epiphany of spirit, Mallory explains what the commission (and by its nature, Roark’s great understanding of his own demons) helped him discover. Tell me if it reminds you of anything:

“I know that the terror exists. I know the kind of terror it is. You can’t conceive of that kind. Listen, what’s the most horrible experience you can imagine? To me—it’s being left, unarmed, in a sealed cell with a drolling beast of prey or a maniac who’s had some disease that’s eaten his brain out. You’d have nothing then but your voice—your voice and your thought. You’d scream to that creature why it should not touch you, you’d have the most eloquent words, the unanswerable words, you’d become the vessel of the absolute truth. And you’d see living eyes watching you and you’d know that the thing can’t hear you, that it can’t be reached, not reached, not in any way, yet it’s breathing and moving there before you with a purpose of its own. That’s horror. Well, that’s what’s hanging over the world, prowling somewhere through mankind, that same thing, something closed, mindless, utterly wonton, but something with an aim and a cunning of its own. I don’t think I’m a coward, but I’m afraid of it.”

Who knew Ayn Rand could so perfectly describe the Speaker and the “drooling beast” that the Stalinization of Health Care Act of 2010 has become, way back in 1943?

-Nick (ColoradoPatriot, from TML)

All Our Best to Barbara Bush

Posted by ColoradoPatriot at 10:45 pm - March 5, 2009.
Filed under: Family,General,Health & medical

If you haven’t seen former President George HW Bush react to the former First Lady’s heart surgery, get the tissues ready:

(forward to about 1:22 if you don’t care to hear the medical details from the surgeon)

So in love is he that he even forgot he’d been the president for a minute.
Prayers for Mrs. Bush and the entire family.

-Nick (Colorado Patriot) from TML

Eat it, Detroit!

Posted by ColoradoPatriot at 11:46 am - January 30, 2009.
Filed under: Colorado,General

What anybody who lives here knows, Denver is the best place in the world. Now, no less an authority than Pew Research has verified what we all know: You can’t get better than Denver.

Our old friend, VtheK (whose site, if you haven’t been there in a while, is still as fun as ever) recently wrote me he fears that in Denver, “the Californication has gone too far.” This should help assuage that fear:

Denver is the favorite city among Republicans

And believe me, with politics the way they’ve been going out here, we could use some more conservatives. So mount up, young Republicans, and Go West!

-Colorado Patriot (Nick), from HQ

Open Thread: What if the other guy wins?

Tis a slow news day and Bruce & Dan are off doing, well whatever they do when they’re not online, so I figured this would be a good time for an open thread question.  Besides, I’m having a bit of a bad day anyways…

Just a wee bit of advice for the future: never, ever drive over a recently filled trench on a construction site right after a torrential rain. Not good. Car’s fine but my pride is still in trauma.

So anyways, how about it?  What if the guy you don’t want to be president actually wins this year? What are you most concerned about them doing if they end up in the Oval Office come 2009? Is there anything good you think they might do that your candidate won’t do himself?

Ok, I’m off to the car wash…

– John (Average Gay Joe)

Leftists Act as if Hagee were McCain’s Longtime Pastor

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 1:01 pm - April 30, 2008.
Filed under: 2008 Presidential Politics,General,Liberals

Seems Obama supporters are really trying to mitigate the damage of the media focus on his former pastor, Jeremiah Wright. First, they find gay-baiting in a clumsy remark by a Hillary supporter and now we learn (via the Washington Blade‘s Blogwatch) of yet another voice on the left decrying John McCain’s alleged hypocrisy for his association with John Hagee.

In yesterday’s Huffington Post, Valerie Tarico said the presumptive Republican presidential nominee had “positioned himself as a hypocrite” when he called Wright’s remarks “beyond belief.” Tarico claims that Bill Moyers “in an hour long interview last Friday showed the world the broader context in which the remarks were made.”

Actually, Valerie, Moyers used that interview to try to justify Wriight’s hate speech. Hugh Hewitt put the remarks in context by providing the text of the sermons. As Hugh put it, “The pastor could help us all if he would release recordings of all of his sermons, and Moyers ought to have asked for just that. If you are going to mount the defense of ‘out of context,’ then provide the context.

After attempting to claim that the Moyers interview exonerated Obama, Tarico reminds us that McCain “posed for the camera with John Hagee” who has uttered some pretty hateful (and nonsensical) things about Catholics and gays. Then, she asks, “why didn’t we hear Hagee’s ugliest remarks over and over on the air?

Valerie, that’s because John McCain didn’t sit in Hagee’s church on a regular basis for two decades and call him his “spiritual mentor.In fact.” it appears the Arizona Senator met with the Texas pastor only once–when he received his endorsement.

There’s a huge differnce between getting the endorsement of a narrow-minded preacher and associating with one on a regular basis over a twenty-year period.

Encouraging Poll On Gay Rights

Judging by the latest Gallup poll, it appears that gay rights are making some headway among Americans.  Every year that goes by more and more seem to be leaning towards acceptance, which should not be confused with moral approval.  Bear in mind that this poll has a margin of error of +/- 3% but let’s take a look:

I.  Whether gays should be allowed to serve openly, maintain the current DADT policy or return to pre-DADT policies of discharging all gays:

1.  Serve openly:  46%
2.  Serve under DADT:  36%
3.  Discharge all gays: 15%

The first gained 5% since 2000, while the second and third each lost 2% during that time.  See also part VII which tends to cloud these results IMO.

II. Whether homosexual relations should be legal or not:

1.  Legal:  59%
2.  Illegal:  37%

That’s a significant change since the question was asked in 1977 when both sides were evenly split at 43% each.

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Observations from CPAC so far…

Posted by LibertyDC at 4:15 pm - February 7, 2008.
Filed under: CPAC,General

It seems like the general buzz for McCain’s speech is good… 

The blogger who was sitting right beside me was the guy from “My Man Mitt”…  he left about an hour ago and so now there is just an empty seat with the placard “My Man Mitt” in front of it…  lots of folks are stopping to take pictures of it, pretty much sums up where things for Mitt and company…

Jeff Gannon stopped by…  he is pimping a book called “The Great Media War”

I am always reminded why I am a Republican at events like this…  lots of clean-cut, good looking folks in suits and not a single dirty hippy with an f-ing Che shirt on…

More than one person is confused about why I am sitting here instead of Bruce…

Oh, and best line so far, from a young woman walking by me “Why do all of you have to be so good looking.  It’s just not fair.  All the good ones are gay.”  Hard to argue with that.

Oh Before I Forget

Posted by LibertyDC at 4:02 pm - February 7, 2008.
Filed under: CPAC,General

All complaints about my posts or the opinons expressed therein should be directed at Bruce or Dan, I could really give a damn…

Fortunately for you all, I am only pinch-hitting for GP for a couple of days at CPAC.

Blogging Adult ADD Style

Posted by LibertyDC at 4:00 pm - February 7, 2008.
Filed under: CPAC,General

In case folks haven’t noticed, I have an adult ADD approach to blogging…  unlike GP or GPWs thoughtful and well considered posts, you are likely to get short, rapid fire posts from me.  I really am easily distracted, so this approach is about the only one that works for me… 

McCain on Immigration

Posted by LibertyDC at 3:56 pm - February 7, 2008.
Filed under: CPAC,General

I know that a great deal of the animosity towards McCain is a result of his position on immigration reform.  I thought folks might want to read what McCain had to say on that issue today.  It won’t make everyone happy, but McCain gets points in my book for both telling folks the truth about his record (He could have just tried the Mitt approach and said “I have always been for a secure the borders first approach”) and for admitting that he was wrong:

Surely, I have held other positions that have not met with widespread agreement from conservatives. I won’t pretend otherwise nor would you permit me to forget it. On the issue of illegal immigration, a position which provoked the outspoken opposition of many conservatives, I stood my ground aware that my position would imperil my campaign. I respect your opposition for I know that the vast majority of critics to the bill based their opposition in a principled defense of the rule of law. And while I and other Republican supporters of the bill were genuine in our intention to restore control of our borders, we failed, for various and understandable reasons, to convince Americans that we were. I accept that, and have pledged that it would be among my highest priorities to secure our borders first, and only after we achieved widespread consensus that our borders are secure, would we address other aspects of the problem in a wa y that defends the rule of law and does not encourage another wave of illegal immigration.

When McCain is at His Best

Posted by LibertyDC at 3:51 pm - February 7, 2008.
Filed under: CPAC,General

McCain’s closing is powerful.  No matter how folks may feel about McCain or about some of McCain’s positions, the bottom line is that he is a real American Hero – someone who has sacrificed more for this country than either Hillary or Obama could ever dream of…

You have heard me say before that for all my reputation as a maverick, I have only found true happiness in serving a cause greater than my self-interest. For me, that cause has always been our country, and the ideals that have made us great. I have been her imperfect servant for many years, and I have made many mistakes. You can attest to that, but need not. For I know them well myself. But I love her deeply and I will never, never tire of the honor of serving her. I cannot do that without your counsel and support. And I am grateful, very grateful, that you have given me this opportunity to ask for it.

Thank you and God bless you.

McCain Lays Out What is at Stake

Posted by LibertyDC at 3:45 pm - February 7, 2008.
Filed under: CPAC,General

Maybe someone should ask the folks over at the Obama campaign or the Hillary campaign or their buddies over at HRC why they don’t seem to give a damn about the treatment of gay people, women, and religious minorities at the hands of tyrannical Islamic regimes.  They don’t get – at all.  John McCain does:

Senator Clinton and Senator Obama will withdraw our forces from Iraq based on an arbitrary timetable designed for the sake of political expediency, and which recklessly ignores the profound human calamity and dire threats to our security that would ensue.

I intend to win the war, and trust in the proven judgment of our commanders there and the courage and selflessness of the Americans they have the honor to command. I share the grief over the terrible losses we have suffered in its prosecution. There is no other candidate for this office who appreciates more than I do just how awful war is. But I know that the costs in lives and treasure we would incur should we fail in Iraq will be far greater than the heartbreaking losses we have suffered to date. And I will not allow that to happen.

They won’t recognize and seriously address the threat posed by an Iran with nuclear ambitions to our ally, Israel, and the region.

I intend to make unmistakably clear to Iran we will not permit a government that espouses the destruction of the State of Israel as its fondest wish and pledges undying enmity to the United States to possess the weapons to advance their malevolent ambitions.

Senator Clinton and Senator Obama will concede to our critics that our own actions to defend against its threats are responsible for fomenting the terrible evil of radical Islamic extremism, and their resolve to combat it will be as flawed as their judgment.

I intend to defeat that threat by staying on offense and by marshaling every relevant agency of our government, and our allies, in the urgent necessity of defending the values, virtues and security of free people against those who despise all that is good about us.

McCain Looks the Best He Ever Has

Posted by LibertyDC at 3:40 pm - February 7, 2008.
Filed under: CPAC,General

He looks great today and is delivering a great speech…  He has taken the bull by the horns in addressing his absence at CPAC last year and his wildly unpopular position on ending our illegal immigration crisis.

This was the speech John McCain absolutley had to give today and the crowd – outside of the bitter Romney folks – seem to be eating it up.

McCain Opens With Some Humor at CPAC

Posted by LibertyDC at 3:37 pm - February 7, 2008.
Filed under: CPAC,General

“Thank you for inviting me. It’s been a little while since I’ve had the honor of addressing you, and I appreciate very much your courtesy to me today. We should do this more often. I hope you will pardon my absence last year, and understand that I intended no personal insult to any of you. I was merely pre-occupied with the business of trying to escape the distinction of pre-season frontrunner for the Republican nomination, which, I’m sure some of you observed, I managed to do in fairly short order. But, now, I again have the privilege of that distinction, and this time I would prefer to hold on to it for a while.”

First Allen Intros Him, Now Coburn Pitches In to Intro McCain

Posted by LibertyDC at 3:15 pm - February 7, 2008.
Filed under: CPAC,General

Right now the single best Senator in the entire US Senate – Dr. Tom Coburn – is introducing John McCain… lets see, first George Allen offers his intro and now Dr. Coburn – very smart on McCain’s part to have 2 real conservatives introduce him.

George Allen Intros McCain at CPAC

Posted by LibertyDC at 3:09 pm - February 7, 2008.
Filed under: CPAC,General

Way way way smarter than having Lindsey Graham intro him…