Archive:

October 2018, Part 1

Jim Miller on Politics




Pseudo-Random Thoughts



Walking To Better Health — At 100 Steps A Minute:  We are often advised to get enough exercise for our health, and often told that, at the very least, we should walk regularly.

I've known that for decades, and, since I enjoy walking, thought I was getting the exercise I needed by easy strolls, every other day.

I was wrong; there's a qualifier to that advice that I had missed:  If we are relying on walking for our exercise, we need to walk briskly.

And, as I learned from a Gretchen Reynold column, 100 steps a minute is brisk enough for most of us.  (At 130 steps a minute, you are walking "vigorously"; at 140, you are probably jogging.)

How long and how often?  In the columns I've read, Reynolds has been less specific about those two, but I believe at least 5 days a week, and at least 30 minutes a day would be enough for most of us.

The brisk walks benefit our mental health, as well as our physical health.  They are, for example, an excellent treatment for depression, faster than pills and about as effective.
- 7:25 PM, 8 October 2018   [link]


"Astronaut Scott Kelly Attacked For Quoting Winston Churchill"  It wasn't the quotation that inspired the attacks; it was the fact that, in his long life, Churchill also said some politically incorrect things.

When Kelly apologized, he drew attacks from Churchill fans.

(Here's the full quotation:

“In War: Resolution,
In Defeat: Defiance,
In Victory: Magnanimity
In Peace: Good Will.”)
- 4:31 PM, 8 October 2018   [link]


Americans Used To Know How To Build Affordable Homes, Quickly:  Consider, for example, the original Levittown.
Levitt & Sons built the community with an eye towards speed, efficiency, and cost-effective construction; these methods led to a production rate of 30 houses a day by July 1948.[6]  They used pre-cut lumber and nails shipped from their own factories in Blue Lake, California, and built on concrete slabs, as they had done in a previous planned community in Norfolk, Virginia.  This necessitated negotiating a change in the building code, which prior to the building of this community, did not permit concrete slabs.
The first homes cost about $8,000, which, according to this inflation calculator, would be equivalent to about $90,000 today.

But I think we could build small, good quality homes for even less now because of the gains in productivity since 1947.  We need factory-built homes:
[The Manufactured Housing Institute’s National Communities Council] distinguishes among several types of factory-built housing: manufactured homes, modular homes, panelized homes, pre-cut homes, and mobile homes.
Each of those types makes sense in some situations.

We can't install them in much of the United States because of regulations, especially regulations from growth management laws.

(Microsoft billionaire Paul Allen is backing an interesting experiment in factory-built homes, Blokable.)
- 3:39 PM, 8 October 2018   [link]


Where In The World Is Meng Hongwei?  The former president of Interpol is in China — and in serious trouble with the regime.
The detained Chinese head of Interpol, Meng Hongwei, is being investigated for alleged bribe-taking, Chinese authorities have announced.

Mr Meng was first reported missing in late September after travelling from Interpol HQ in France to China.

His wife has revealed that he sent her a text message with a knife emoji on the day he went missing.

Mr Meng is the latest high-profile target to be ensnared in China's sweeping anti-corruption campaign.
Almost everyone who heard about his disappearance assumed the regime was responsible — but it is still a little surprising that the regime took this long to tell us what happened to the head of Interpol.  (He resigned as president after his arrival in China.)

(Interpol)
- 12:59 PM, 8 October 2018   [link]


This Radio Station is unlikely to attract a mass audience.

(I almost added, "unfortunately".)
- 10:17 AM, 8 October 2018   [link]


"The Worst Job In American Politics"  I suppose with a little bit of thought I could think of worse ones than Illinois governor.
Almost no one in Illinois had more resources to devote to running for governor than J.B. Pritzker.  At 53, Pritzker is the billionaire scion of the state’s wealthiest family.  His sister, Penny, served as President Barack Obama’s commerce secretary.  The family name adorns the University of Chicago’s medical school, Northwestern University’s law school and the gleaming, Frank Gehry-designed band shell in Chicago’s Millennium Park, not to mention the country’s most prestigious prize for architecture.  Four of the dozen richest Illinoisans are Pritzkers, according to Forbes.  J.B. Pritzker’s share of the family fortune is estimated at $3.2 billion.

And yet when Pritzker started considering whether to challenge Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner in the aftermath of the 2016 election, he asked himself not only the questions that most would-be candidates do — Could he win?  How would running affect his wife and children?  His business? — but also a question most candidates never consider:  Was it even possible to fix the state he’d lead?
But I can't think of a worse major elected job.

Illinois is broke, and any serious effort to solve its problems will cause years of pain to most of its citizens — and would have to be passed by a Democratically-controlled legislature, which has blocked reform efforts for decades.

(I don't know of any "mainstream" journalist who has said that a little of the blame for the state's problems should rest on . . . former state senator Barack Obama.)
- 4:06 PM, 6 October 2018   [link]


The Current "Pepper . . . And Salt" nade me laugh out loud.
- 3:03 PM, 6 October 2018   [link]


Want A Quick Summary Of How Donald Trump Got Rich? (Hint:  His father, Fred Trump, had more to do with it than the Donald did.)

Then take a look at the latest Matt Wuerker cartoon.

Sorry, no direct link, but you can find it easily enough by going over to Politico, and scrolling down.  (It's also in their weekly collection, near the end.)

(Of course, if you want more than a quick summary, then you'll want to look at the big New York Times article.  I've read it, and plan to write at least one post on it.)
- 3:50 PM, 5 October 2018   [link]


50, Probably 51, Votes For Kavanaugh:  Senator Susan Collins just made it 50, and I expect Joe Manchin will make it 51.

(Did Majority Leader Mitch McConnell know about Collins' decision in advance?  Almost certainly.  In fact, I would give at least even odds that he knew about it before he scheduled the cloture vote.)
- 1:17 PM, 5 October 2018   [link]


Another Joke From The Russian Collection:  (I thought some of you might like something different from today's news.)
Why do KGB agents make the best taxi drivers?

Because as soon as you tell them your name, they know where you are going.
- 12:44 PM, 5 October 2018   [link]


When I Looked A Few Minutes Ago, British bettors were giving Brett Kavanaugh an 83.0 percent chance of being confirmed.

(The odds are changing rapidly today, so the probability will almost certainly be different when you look at it.)
- 2:31 PM, 4 October 2018   [link]


If You Like Computers And Science, you'll want to look at xkcd from time to time.
- 2:09 PM, 4 October 2018   [link]


Glenn Kessler Gives California Junior Senator Kamala Harris Four Pinocchios for distorting Brett Kavanaugh's views on birth control and abortion.

Ann Althouse agrees with Kessler, and asks an important question:
Harris deserves the 4 Pinocchios, but something I'd like to examine is why do abortion-rights advocates keep acting ashamed of abortion?
(Kamala Harris)
- 3:39 PM, 3 October 2018   [link]


The New NAFTA Is Mostly The Same As The Old NAFTA:   Judging by accounts like this one.

Which is a good thing.

We shouldn't forget that the changes still have to pass the Congress, which may not be all that easy, with partisanship as high as it is currently.

(Orrin Judd's quip is funny, if not completely accurate.)
- 2:45 PM, 3 October 2018   [link]


The Man has a rare problem.
- 1:40 PM, 3 October 2018   [link]


Like Me, Fred Kaplan Was Flabbergasted By Trump's Declaration Of Love For Kim Jong-un:  Unlike me, Kaplan listened to what followed in Trump's campaign talk, and heard more amazing things.

(Yesterday I noticed that Trump-friendly sites were reluctant to mention Trump's declaration of love for Kim.  I can understand why, but I think they are making a mistake, if only because the story is so hilarious.)
- 2:49 PM, 2 October 2018   [link]


The Current "Pepper . . . And Salt" Made me laugh out loud.
- 9:54 AM, 2 October 2018   [link]


Violence Goes Both Ways In Dating:  A Canadian study even found that boys are more likely to be victims.
We generally tend to think of such incidents resulting in harm to young girls, but a recent study in Canada suggests that the numbers are more evenly spread out than I would have guessed.  In fact, they’re reporting more incidents of boys suffering “dating violence” at the hands of girls than the reverse. (Though the margin of difference is minimal.)
"Overall", dating violence is down with 4.2 percent of girls reporting it, compared to 5.8 percent of boys.

I am less surprised than Jazz Shaw by dating violence from girls because I often used to see it.  A couple would be standing together, and she would reprove him for some offense by hitting him — hard — in his shoulder with her fist.  I can even recall, vaguely, one of my friends complaining to me, privately, after such a blow.  (The boy would just smile, regardless of how much he hurt.)

And I can recall an old, well-established rule:  A lady may slap a man who has touched her inappropriately, or insulted her.  (The rule shows up in the last book of Charles Sheffield's "Heritage Universe", thousands of years in the future.  Sheffield described many changes, but he didn't expect something so fundamental to change.)

As with the shoulder punch, the man, if he is at all a gentleman, is just expected to take it.

(Since boys are stronger than girls, after puberty, the violence they dish out may be more serious, though less frequent.)
- 3:41 PM, 1 October 2018   [link]


Experience Shortage:  I hope the British bettors are wrong, because for months they have been saying that the most likely winners of our 2020 presidential election lack the experience we should expect in serious candidates.  The top three are Trump, Kamala Harris, and Elizabeth Warren.   None of them has been a governor, a Cabinet member, mayor of a large city, or vice president.

(Trump has shown a remarkable ability to avoid learning from his time as president, so I expect him to stay inexperienced.)

You have to scroll down to Joe Biden before you find someone with the traditional experience requirements, and down to Michael Bloomberg (10th place) before you find someone with significant accomplishments as an elected executive.

It is as if we were choosing an NFL coach by their locker room speeches, rather than their record.
- 10:25 AM, 1 October 2018   [link]


"Pepper . . . And Salt made me smile.
- 9:40 AM, 1 October 2018   [link]