Do Our Protectionist Sugar Policies Cause People to Get Fatter?

Apparently at least in part because of the government protections increasing the price of sugar, companies have switched to High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) to sweeten everything from processed foods to beverages.. Most people apparently consume 63 pounds of HFCS each year. Can we sue the government price support program for the country's higher health care costs?

Your digestive system has two main hormones that control hunger and appetite. Ghrelin is secreted by the stomach and increases your appetite. When your stomach's empty, it sends ghrelin out, requesting food. Leptin tells your brain that you're full. HFCS inhibits leptin secretion, so you never get the message that you're full. And HFCS never shuts off ghrelin, so even though you have food in your stomach, you constantly get the message that you're hungry.

That's the physiology behind a theory gaining a lot of ground -- the theory that our increasing consumption of HFCS is one of many elements at play in America's obesity epidemic.

Because it's cheaper than sugar, HFCS is used to sweeten many processed foods and beverages. And although manufacturers may eliminate fat from their products, they make up for its taste with sugar and HFCS. Which means that cutting down on processed foods and sweetened drinks -- even the fat-free kind -- is a good way to reduce your intake.

Will Academics really understand the lesson in the drop in admissions at Duke?

Duke saw a 20 percent drop in applications for early admission. What is obvious to the rest of the country in terms of the abuses the three Lacrosse players have had to suffer are apparently not obvious to the Duke administration? If it were, the administration would remove all penalties against the Lacrosse players pending some resolution to the contrary.

Duke will notify 469 students Dec. 15 of their early acceptances to the Class of 2011, officials announced Thursday.

The number of accepted students is in line with last year's 467, even though the number of early-decision applicants declined by nearly 20 percent.

Christoph Guttentag, dean of undergraduate admissions, said the decline could be attributed to a combination of causes, but cited media coverage of the lacrosse case as a likely contributing factor.

"We all would have been surprised if there had been no effect from any of the publicity," he said.

Guttentag said, however, that the quality of accepted students-based on six factors including standardized test scores, academic performance and letters of recommendation-remains as strong as those accepted early last year.

He added that the admissions office does not aim to fill a certain number of spots in a class through early decision, but instead bases acceptance on applicant quality.

"The fact that we admitted the same number was not by design," Guttentag said. "What we planned to do was just admit the most compelling applicants… and in that respect there's no difference between this year's early-decision admits and last year's early-decision admits."

Guttentag added that he spent more time this year than last year reviewing decisions.

"I wanted to be careful this year with the decisions that we were making," he said. "I wanted to make sure as well as we could that we've gotten all the decisions as right as we could get them." . . . .

I also heard on the radio today that the woman who had accused the players of rape now says that she couldn't testify for certain whether she was raped. After the number of times she said that she had been raped, is this serious? It is good that the rape charges were dropped on Friday, but the case on the kidnapping and sexual assault charges seem non-existant.


Sometimes even an unloaded gun works

Possibly the owner would have been a lot less nervous if his gun was loaded.

PELHAM - Armed with an unloaded shotgun, a local homeowner held off a burglar yesterday morning until police arrived.

"My heart has never pounded that hard," said Michael Pacheco, 39, of Sherburne Road, as he described how he nudged the gun on the burglary suspect's forehead and pushed him away from his home as his 3-year-old daughter waited inside.

The trouble started when Pacheco, home on a six-week layoff from his job, saw a youth breaking into a shed behind his house and confronted him.

The suspect, Joseph Guillemette, 18, of Pelham has been charged with burglary, according to police.

According to police Sgt. Michael Pickles, Guillemette allegedly drove his car down a long driveway behind 89 Sherburne Road and backed up to a locked shed. But when he tried to break into the shed, he was confronted by Pacheco.

"I observed this kid for quite a while before I did what I did," Pacheco said in a telephone interview last night.

At first, he went out and shouted at the youth but did not bring a gun with him. Pacheco said the youth is about the same age as his own son.

The youth was startled when confronted, Pacheco said, and initially told him he was looking for his dog. . . . .


Free Speech might mean you can take out ads 60 days before an election

So free speech actually means that you can take out ads to discuss political issues 60 days before an election? At least that is what a 2-1 majority on the DC circuit court says. I realize that this is an extreme version of the first amendment given that it states "Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech," but it seems like a somewhat possible interpretation, right? Possibly I am missing something else, but where does it say Congress shall make no law except for regulations governing statements by people through corporations that they have formed?

Amendment I - Freedom of Religion, Press, Expression. Ratified 12/15/1791.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The case was brought by Wisconsin Right to Life, which has been fighting the restrictions since 2004, claiming they infringe on its First Amendment guarantee of free speech, among other grounds.

Using its corporate treasury, the group had paid for advertisements denouncing Senate filibusters of judicial nominees and urging viewers to contact either Senator Russell D. Feingold, who was up for re-election that year, or the state’s other Democratic senator, Herb Kohl, who was not.

Under the 2002 McCain-Feingold campaign finance law, groups wanting to broadcast advertisements that name federal candidates within 60 days before a general election, or 30 days before a primary, are required to follow strict rules on how they pay for them. The law requires that donors be disclosed and caps contributions to prevent secretive groups from advocating for or against candidates in thinly disguised advertisements known as issue ads. . . .

[The Democrat Nominee on the Panel warned} “This is clearly a shift in direction and invites the use of corporate money,” Mr. Foley said, adding: “You can run ads about any policy issue you want to and you can name members of Congress in the ads. You can use corporate money for any ad that fits this profile.”


"Gun-toting Tulsan nabs burglary suspect"

I can only imagine the political pressure this woman is under

A Canadian school board trustee must have know that there would be controversy with her making positive statements about guns. While she made no comments regarding guns in school, of course much of the discussion has focused on children related issues. The initial discussions in places such as the Global and Mail were somewhat balanced: "Right now in Canada, you can't own a handgun for the sole issue of self-defence. You can have it for target shooting and for collection. I don't think it's appropriate to say we shouldn't even discuss protection issues and safety issues." But rather than opening up a debate on the issue of guns, it now appears that the discussion has turned into one bashing this woman. Possibly one of the reasons for the attacks is that she represents a big threat to the gun control advocates in Canada. Here you have an extremely liberal woman recognizing the importance of self-defense.

This is from the CBC:
School trustee's gun advocacy draws fire
Last Updated: Tuesday, December 19, 2006 | 3:16 PM PT
CBC News
A Vancouver school trustee is taking heat for speaking out in favour of a gun group's campaign for the right to carry concealed weapons in Canada.

Sharon Gregson, a longtime NDP activist, was recently featured on the cover of the National Firearms Association Journal, holding a large handgun.

Gregson has just been granted a permit to carry a concealed handgun in the U.S. and has written to Prime Minister Stephen Harper asking why she can't have the same right in Canada.

"I don't think we should be embarrassed or ashamed of the fact that we're legal gun owners who enjoy a sport and want to talk about protection issues particularly if they apply to women."

Wendy Cukier, the president of the Coalition for Gun Control, said she was appalled by Gregson's decision to become the firearms association's cover girl. . . .

Here is a very misleading editorial from the Vancouver Sun:
Until this week, Sharon Gregson was known as a Vancouver school trustee, a passionate New Democrat and an advocate for publicly funded daycare.

All of that changed when she appeared on the cover of the Canadian Firearms Journal, a publication of the National Firearms Association, with a .45-calibre Colt pistol in one hand.

Gregson notes that she's been involved with recreational shooting for several years and has competed in the International Practical Shooting Confederation. But her cover girl turn took many people by surprise and a few by shock. Some of Gregson's fellow trustees worried that the picture might convey the message that carrying a weapon is a good way to protect yourself, which is the last thing they want to promote given concerns about violence in schools. . . .

The Debate over Guns in Schools

Here is the debate in the Deseret News: Guns Don't Belong in School verus Armed first responders are needed in schools.

Here is a summary of the debate from the anti piece:
In Utah, some schoolteachers who have concealed weapons permits carry handguns to school. Some teachers say they carry concealed weapons because they want to be able to defend themselves and others should an intruder threaten school staff or students. A proposal before the Utah Peace Officer Standards and Training Council would permit teachers with the appropriate gun training to become "special function officers," which would be akin to a school district security officer, a hospital security officer or a port of entry agent. The POST council has taken no action on the proposal.
The Utah Chiefs of Police Association opposes the proposal

I also received this note original ascribed to Charles Hardy: "Just to clarify, as best I understand it, a couple of rural districts would like to allow teachers or other school employees to take a 'POST lite' course so they could pull double duty as school resource officers rather than just carrying as private citizens as permitted by CCW permits. No effect on CCW, though those with CCW permits might be logical first choices to enlist to the program. I just love the logic of the antis: a college-educated teacher is too stupid or untrustworthy for this, but a guy who never went to college is smart and trustworthy enough? I really do view it as more insulting to teachers than to gun owners."

When people debate about the risks of having guns on school property why don't they try to answer the following?
1) Can they name one problem that has arisen since guns were again allowed in Utah schools? What about Oregon? What about all the states that allowed concealed handguns in school parking lots (thus within the 1,000 foot rule)?
2) Can they name one problem that arose in all the right-to-carry states that allowed guns in schools nationwide prior to the end of 1995? This is before there was any 1,000 foot rule. Please list just one instance where there was a problem?

Thanks to N. W. Clayton for sending me these links.



More Newspapers Publish Gun Owner's Names Online

It was pointed out to me that one common attribute of some of these newspapers that published these lists is that they are part of Gannett Publishing. I have no idea if there is a connection, but it does seem strange that these lists are being published so closely together.

Dozens of readers have taken issue with The Journal News over its decision to run a list of pistol permit holders in Westchester and Rockland counties as part of a wider investigative article.

The names of more than 30,000 licensed handgun owners were posted online as part of "Falling Through the Cracks," the paper's Dec. 10 report that found that thousands of registered handguns were unaccounted for because there is no system to secure the weapons of permit holders who die. The articles can be found by clicking the "Gun Control" icon at www.lohud.com.

Some readers, particularly those on the list of licensed pistol owners, suggested that the newspaper erred in publishing the names. They said it may target their homes for theft, although the paper did not publish their home addresses.

The New York State Rifle and Pistol Association reacted by posting what it thought were home addresses and telephone numbers of newspaper staff members. The list inadvertently included addresses of people not associated with the newspaper or the articles. . . .

Thanks to Rick Statler.


Argus Leader (S.D.) puts permit holders names on line

More than 41,000 South Dakotans have permits to carry handguns or conceal them in their cars - the highest rate per capita in the nation, an Argus Leader analysis shows.

Records compiled from the state - and now barred from public view, under a law passed this year by the Legislature - show that 7.4 percent of South Dakota adults had such a permit as of June 30. Next closest are Indiana and Pennsylvania, with 6.4 percent of adults licensed to carry a handgun. . . .

The newspaper's analysis of state permits shows that, overall, the handgun culture is more firmly entrenched in western South Dakota, although McCook County, just west of Sioux Falls, had the highest rate of permits - nearly 12 percent - of any county.
. . .

Unfortunately, the Argus Leader has set up a database so that you can check who has a concealed handgun permit in the state. You would think that the newspaper would point to at least one problem with the permitting system in South Dakota before writing articles such as these.

There is an online poll on concealed handgun laws here, though i don't know how long it will be up.

The articles discuss suicides by firearms, but they fail to note that these suicides would likely have been committed anyway.

Thanks to Rick Statler for alerting me to this.

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Why is there such a news blackout on Senator Tim Johnson's medical condition?

I have begun to get concerned that Senator Tim Johnson's health might be worse than believed simply because his doctors have been so silent on the topic. It is surely understandable that the family wants to have its privacy and I am sure that reporters' questions if directed at the family would be extremely stressful. It would also not be fun to have your loved one's health discussed in the media. But is the lack of information because of these concerns or is it because things are worse than we fear. The speculation is occurring anyway, and Johnson, a reportedly very nice and decent of a guy, is a US Senator. In any case, I got an email from someone who writes me regularly. Here is what concerns me:

Since I have worked in a neurosurgeon's office and have had relatives who had strokes, I sincerely doubted the newsmedia's stories about TJ. This afternoon I called a widowed friend in South Dakota whose late husband was a physician. She said the doctors of her acquaintance said that Johnson's condition is critical and they do not know whether or not he will survive. If he does, he faces a long and painful recovery and may never be the same.


Christine M. Ross

I sincerely hope that this isn't true. Presumably South Dakota's medical community, especially among specialists such as this, is a small tightly knit group, but it is possible that Ross's friend is exaggerating her inside information. In any case, thanks to Christine for letting me post this.