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Monday, November 27, 2006


Here's another entry for the "no shit, Sherlock" file...

monday morning weigh-in: week 2

I blew it. 174.5 lbs., up 2 lbs. from last week, and 19 lbs. from goal. The Love-it sized Sweet Cream ice cream mixed with chocolate chips that I consumed at Cold Stone Creamery yesterday probably didn't help.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

things aren't always as they seem

I find it hard to believe that Putin is bumping off his critics in spectacular, newsworthy ways. In light of all the mainstream news articles convicting Putin of murder without a shred of evidence, here's an article providing some interesting counterpoint. Excerpts:
MOSCOW, Russia- Despite a penned letter accusing Russian president Vladimir Putin of murder from the victim himself, poisoned former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko, new theories are being presented.

The pro-government media and key emigres outside of Russia are posing the idea that a bitter domestic power struggle also responsible for the murder of journalist Anna Politkovskaya last month was the culprit.

The theory is gaining in credibility with opponents of President Vladimir Putin living abroad and some of his supporters inside England and Russia.

Reuters reports that "Litvinenko, an ex-KGB spy, died in London on Thursday night after a three-week agony as his hair fell out, his body wasted away and internal organs failed. Doctors found traces of polonium 210, a deadly radioactive substance, in his body."

"We hate Putin. The man is loathsome. But he is not stupid enough to have ordered the death of Litvinenko in such a slow and public way," an influential anonymous Russian emigre told Reuters.

"The people who carried out this killing planned it extremely well," he added. "They knew that Litvinenko would die slowly and painfully and that this would cause a big outcry. If Putin had wanted to kill Litvinenko, do you really believe he would do it like this?..."

..."These are well-orchestrated plans to discredit the Russian state and its leadership."
Read the rest.

Monday, November 20, 2006

monday morning weigh-in

Well, after the first week of my 20 pounds in 20 weeks project, I'm happy to report that I've lost 3 pounds, down to 172.5. Probably half of that loss is water, but that's the nature of weight loss, at least at the beginning.

I'm basically following the Zone diet, but cheated quite a bit. I thought I would eat one meal a day carb-free to jump-start the weight loss, but I couldn't really do it, which is OK because I don't believe it is healthy to send the body into ketosis anyway.

With Thanksgiving coming up, this may be a rough week...

Thursday, November 16, 2006

more on milton friedman

Over at the antiwar blog, Matt Barganier reminds us in this post about Friedman's strong stand against military conscription, and his non-interventionist, anti-war leanings. Rest in peace, Professor Friedman!

a sad day for liberty

Milton Friedman has died.

Spotted via Hit & Run.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

blues for nicaragua

A fascinating and very informative article by Richard Wall today on LRC, which covers the history of U.S. intervention in Nicaragua in light of the recent election of Sandinista Daniel Ortega to the office of President.

I remember when the Contras were in their heyday, and I was a big supporter. Foolish me! It was shortly afterwards, around 1987 or so, when I found out the truth about foreign intervention (after endless discussions with a good friend of mine who was a libertarian and a fellow lab-mate in graduate school) and all its ugly ramifications, and I've been a non-interventionist, nay, let's say it, an isolationist (I wear the term proudly) ever since.

From the article:
The problem, as always, is that revenues from agricultural exports and other projects will be allocated in the first instance to payments of interest on international indebtedness. Nicaragua, like so many poor nations, is locked into the cycle of debt repayment to the international banks. One of the primary roles of US diplomatic representatives in this context becomes that of monitoring the political and economic climate, looking out for and possibly "neutralizing" any looming threats to "stability" – the stability of Wall Street and London banking profits in particular.

In plain language this means, as it has always meant, that they must ensure countries like Nicaragua do not fall behind with their debt payments, and in this role they are merely the blander and more acceptable civilian successors of the former military presence. In Nicaragua, that role would be eminently consistent with the long history of US oversight and intervention in favor of Wall Street. In 1935, at the age of 54 and after he had retired from the US military, Major-General Smedley Butler described his period of service thus:

"I spent thirty-three years and four months in active service in the country's most agile military force, the Marines. I served in all ranks from second Lieutenant to Major General. And during that period I spent most of my time being a high-class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers….I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers and Co. in 1909–1912."

And so it goes. Even Ortega, according to an Associated Press report a shadow of his former revolutionary self, seems to be bending over backwards to provide reassurance: "His speeches have focused on reassuring skeptics that he plans no radical changes and will embrace free trade, job creation and close US ties."

where the hell have i been?

Well, I'm back. I've just been too danged busy lately, but things are settling down and I should be able to resume posting somewhat regularly. The trip to China back in September put me way behind all my other responsibilities when I got back, and work's been abnormally hectic as well, so there you have it.

One thing I've been doing during this absence is EATING - this became glaringly obvious when I hopped on the scale yesterday and noticed I weighed 175.5 lbs - that's one hundred seventy-five point five frickin' pounds! A new record for me. I have since committed myself to a weight loss program, with a goal of losing 20 lbs in 20 weeks. I believe it is achievable yet difficult. I am going to stick to an Atkins-type lunch, and Zone-type breakfast, dinner, and snacks. I will keep you posted on a weekly basis. Wish me luck.