Commentary on whatever I am thinking about, usually written while watching baseball.
Friday, July 17, 2009
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Arming for the stretch run
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
British scientists have shown that swear words can have a powerful pain-killing effect, according to a new study published in the journal NeuroReport.Let's see "friggin' " and "forget you" do that shit.
The researchers originally thought that swearing would make pain worse by focusing a person’s attention on the injury and its implications. To prove their hypothesis, they set up an experiment with 67 college students.
The students were asked to plunge their hands into frigid 41-degree Fahrenheit water for as long as they could stand the pain. Half were told to repeat their favorite curse word while their hands were submerged. The other half were asked to repeat a neutral word describing a table, such as solid or brown, while keeping their hands under water. Then the whole experiment was repeated with the two groups switching types of word. (Favorite swear words were, as you might guess, the ones starting with "F" and "S." But since the subjects were British, the researchers also got an earful of "bollocks.")
To the researchers’ surprise, the cursing group not only reported lower levels of pain, but also were able to keep their hands in the icy water longer. The men in the study, for example, were able to keep their hands in the water for an average of 190 seconds while swearing, but for only 140 seconds when uttering a neutral word.
Given their analgesic effects, as well as morale and team-building value (and that they're just plain fun, too), I think it's time to stop maligning expletives as "bad" when they're really pretty fucking cool.
Sunday, July 12, 2009
Saturday, July 11, 2009
An insider speaks
On Bill Moyers Journal, Wendell Potter, former head of corporate communications for CIGNA, spells out exactly what the for-profit healthcare industry is up to. HINT: It has to do with protecting their profits at the expense of our health.
Click here to read the transcript.
Friday, July 10, 2009
Saturday, July 04, 2009
Sarah Palin has decided to mark the Independence Day weekend by reducing the amount of ignorant public officials concerned more about special interests and their own net worth and electability than the welfare of their constituents. She accomplished this by resigning as governor of Alaska.
I imagine this is a dark day for stand-up comics everywhere.
But seriously folks, the speculation that she's resigning in order to run for president in 2012 doesn't hold water. She ran for VP last year while being governor. And the senior citizen she ran with last year kept his day job while running for president (granted he neglected the shit out of said day job), so why couldn't she? Why wouldn't a candidate want to bring the prestige of a governorship to a presidential campaign? I have to think some serious shit is about to hit the fan. Her complaint about investigations of “all sorts of frivolous ethics violations” is telling. Maybe the latest ethics violation isn't so frivolous (Perhaps she meant to say that the investigations, not the ethics violations, were frivolous, but perhaps not).
It's not easy for a governor and former vice presidential candidate's sudden resignation under mysterious circumstances to fly "under the radar," but Palin's announcement at the beginning of a three-day weekend marking a national holiday looks like that's what she was trying to do. Between the long weekend and the memorial service for Michael Jackson, the media may never get around to this story.
And while she is probably pissed off about the recent Vanity Fair article about her and her conduct during the 2008 presidential campaign, it's unlikely she would resign over something like that. You don't emerge from a vice presidential campaign with such thin skin.
The bottom line is that the American people are better off without a public official who apparently considers some ethics violations frivolous. And we are better off without an ignorant blank slate who will say anything, and support anything, to get elected.
UPDATE: The "frivolous" ethics violation in question.
Outgoing Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is facing yet another ethics complaint — the 18th against her and the very thing that helped to prompt her resignation.
The latest complaint alleges she abused her office by accepting a salary and using state staff while campaigning outside Alaska for the vice presidency. It's the third complaint filed against the Republican since she announced July 3 that she was stepping down.
Friday, July 03, 2009
Wednesday, July 01, 2009
Poor give more
The generosity of poor people isn't so much rare as rarely noticed, however. In fact, America's poor donate more, in percentage terms, than higher-income groups do, surveys of charitable giving show. What's more, their generosity declines less in hard times than the generosity of richer givers does.To paraphrase George Bernard Shaw, wealth is wasted on the rich.
"The lowest-income fifth (of the population) always give at more than their capacity," said Virginia Hodgkinson, former vice president for research at Independent Sector, a Washington-based association of major nonprofit agencies. "The next two-fifths give at capacity, and those above that are capable of giving two or three times more than they give."
Indeed, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' latest survey of consumer expenditure found that the poorest fifth of America's households contributed an average of 4.3 percent of their incomes to charitable organizations in 2007. The richest fifth gave at less than half that rate, 2.1 percent.
[...] "As a rule, people who have money don't know people in need," said Tanya Davis, 40, a laid-off security guard and single mother.