Another Challenge to Roe v. Wade?

A man who intentionally gave his girlfriend a drug that induced abortion–twice–is now facing FIRST DEGREE MURDER charges.

It can’t be murder if the unborn child is not a person. SCOTUS needs to set the record straight here. Why do we allow women and doctors to conspire to murder their children while threatening a man with life in prison who murders that same child without the woman’s consent?

In both cases the child dies. Why is one legal and the other not?

Emily Sander Murdered by Illegal Immigrant

I’m not for one second going to suggest that 18-year-old Emily Sander, whose body was probably found this afternoon, was pristine white. Obviously, she made some poor choices, such as delving into a side career of porn.

At any rate, she didn’t deserve to be slaughtered like a farm animal.

Israel Mireles, an illegal immigrant, is the probable culprit in this case. He was the last person with whom Sander was seen; when his boss checked on him at his hotel room, there was blood everywhere. Wanna bet that blood was Emily’s?

Am I the only one here who is outraged that an illegal immigrant would march into this country, then rape and slaughter our girls like pigs?

Pilgrim and I will be happy to serve our country by ridding her of trash like Mireles.

Correction: apparently Mireles is not an illegal (hence my use of strikethroughs). However, as the son of an immigrant–who came here legally and has lived an exemplary life as a law-abiding American–I am outraged that any foreigner (legal or otherwise) would do such despicable things to our people on our soil.

Book Review: The Weight Loss Cure (Part 3, or Lifestyle of Fitness)

This is the third installment of my three-part review of Kevin Trudeau’s book The Weight Loss Cure “They” Don’t Want You to Know About. I decided to write this review while–as I was on vacation–I saw an infomercial with Kevin Trudeau promoting his “Debt Cures” scam while alluding to his “natural cures” and “weight loss cure” scams. At that point, my thoughts were, “What the [Dick Cheney expletive deleted]???” I have a friend who died–breast cancer–following Trudeau’s “natural cures” crap, and decided that enough was enough! Because I know a thing or two about weight loss, I decided I would rip the hell out of his book.

Hell yeah, this is personal!

In part 1, I confronted the methodology that he uses to promote his weigjht loss scam, which is the same methodology that he uses to promote his “natural cures” scam and his “debt cures” scam. He mixes anti-government/anti-business paranoia with enough truth to make himself look credible, then markets himself like no other con man before him. I debunked his rationale by presenting the dynamics of the laws of economics, which–as the Soviets found out–are not up for repeal. The economy is global and no amount of government-business collusion will stop the wheels of the global market. In addition, for Trudeau to be correct, every high-ranking medical professional and researcher must be a lying crook who wants people to always be sick and fat.

In part 2, I confronted the major elements of his “weight loss cure” by presenting some general principles that apply to any weight loss strategy:

  1. Rapid weight loss–more than two pounds per week–is highly risky. It can lead to gall stones, cause ketoacidosis due to excessive fat and muscle breakdown, and even lead to multiple organ system failure. Ergo, his “30 pounds in 30 days” mantra is complete BS.
  2. Any medical therapy to alter your metabolism–especially hormones–carries substantial risks. This is why certain drugs–phen phen, ephedra, amphetamines–are illegal while others–anabolic steroids–are highly-regulated. Metabolism-altering therapies can impact the heart, the brain and/or central nervous system. Trudeau promotes the use of hCG hormone therapy, which–according to the most reliable peer-reviewed study available–has been shown to be ineffective in promoting weight loss. Furthermore, hCG is a hormone the long-term effects of the use of which have not been established. Given that other hormone therapies–such as postmenopausal hormone therapy and steroid treatments for asthma–have been shown to have some risks, it would serve you to beware of the potential downside to hCG therapy: the upside has not been proven, and there is a major unknown in the downside.
  3. Ultra low-calorie diets–such as the 500 calorie-per-day diet that Trudeau promotes–are counterproductive and potentially harmful.
  4. Colon cleanse therapies are utter scams. All you’ll get is a waste of your money, toilet paper, and water for unnecessary toilet use. The only muscle you’ll be exercising is your sphincter. Only a pervert could possibly find that experience rewarding.

This review has focused on general principles while addressing some specifics. This time, I want to leave with some general principles with respect to health and dieting. (NOTE: Please consult with your physician if you wish to radically alter your fitness regimen..)

Principle #1: Think in terms of a lifestyle of fitness, and not about losing weight. I’d suggest that most attempts at weight loss are successful. The problem is, the dieter has focused on losing the weight. Once the weight is lost, he or she goes right back to his or her former routine. Trouble is, that former routine is what caused the weight gain in the first place. Ergo, the weight comes back.

Rather than think in terms of getting the weight off, think in terms of a lifestyle of fitness.

Principle #2: a Lifestyle of Fitness requires selecting a dietary regimen that is conducive to good health. Find out what your ideal weight ought to be, and select the calorie target for the maintenance of that ideal weight. (Work with your doctor on this.)

As for specific diets, there is no one absolute “you must do this” regimen; in fact, there is plenty of room for flexibility. As long as it’s balanced, go with whatever floats your boat. I’m not a big fan of Atkins, but others swear by it. I’ve never done South Beach, but I’ve known folks who got in shape with it and have used to to keep the weight off. I’m not a vegetarian, but I know others who have been for years and have found lots of success with it.

There is lots of room for variety here; pick one, get your doctor to approve it, and then stick with it.

The only caveat I will provide: this is for getting and staying fit, and not for losing weight. If you want a “weight loss” diet, then prepare to gain it all back.

For the sake of discussion, I’ll disclose my regimen, while qualifying that it is not a one-size-fits-all…

For breakfast: I inhale oatmeal. I typically add Cape Cod cranberries, Splenda, and cinnamon. Sometimes, I’ll throw in a banana or apples. I could write 101 recipes for oatmeal.

For lunch: my middle name is rice. I prefer different flavors: chicken-broccoli, sesame chicken, cheddar-broccoli, and Spanish rice. Three times a week I mix salmon with it; three times a week I mix chicken with it. Sometimes, I’ll even add raisins to it.

For dinner: I’ll have some mixed vegetables, or some oatmeal. (I’m a lazy bachelor and don’t like to cook.)

Before a workout: I’ll have a Powerbar.

After a workout: I’ll have a 200-calorie protein shake.

If I eat out, I’ll pick Panera Bread, Wendy’s (for baked potato and small chili), or Subway (a grilled chicken or veggie sub)

Why the Powerbar and shake? I usually spend between 10 and 12 hours per week on an elliptical jogger. Right now, my biggest challenge is keeping my weight up, not down.

Remember: this is flexible; there are any number of routines that will work. Find one that you like, get with your doctor, work out a plan, and stick with it.

Principle #3: a Lifestyle of Fitness requires selecting an activity regimen that is conducive to good health. Most experts will stress the importance of regular cardiovascular exercise–30 minutes a day. How you do that is up to you. If you prefer brisk walking; jogging; cycling (regular or stationary), traditional aerobics, or even a Navy SEAL workout, just pick one and do it. Just make sure your doc gives you the okie-dokie before you embark on it. If you aren’t sure what you ought to do, ask your doctor. Go to a health club and solicit the advice of a trainer. This is not like Christianity: with fitness, there are many ways to get where you want to go. Personally, I prefer low-impact methods (stationary bike and/or elliptical jogger) for cardio, as it’s better on the joints than the treadmill.

In addition to cardio, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND strength training. Again, how you do that is up to you. Some folks prefer free weights; others prefer circuit machines. Personally, I prefer managing my own body weight (pull-ups, push-ups, dips, and hanging knee-lifts) because my exercises provide decompressive relief for my lower back. I haven’t done free weights since my college days. I’ve found that pull-ups and pushups are excellent confidence-builders.

(Trust me: when you get to where you can knock out enough pull-ups, push-ups, and dips to qualify for a military Special Operations training program, you’ll feel like King Kong.)

Strength training is important because it builds muscle mass, which increases your metabolism (without hormone therapy) and therefore your fat-burn efficiency. That allows you to more quickly reduce your body fat percentage by cutting your body fat while simultaneously increasing your muscle mass. (Lately, I have found it possible to GAIN WEIGHT while LOSING BODY FAT. There is nothing wrong with that.)

(If you do weights, go for lots of low weight/high-repetition sets rather than high weight/low-repetition. You’re getting in shape, not qualifying for the Olympic weightlifting team!)

What I am suggesting will not result in dramatic weight loss overnight. You might lose a half a pound one week, a pound another week, a quarter-pound another week. You will lose it so slowly you will not notice it for several weeks. Then, as weeks become months, you’ll notice. Eventually, everyone else will, too. Your journey will not be made-for-television, but yours will work.

In ten years, you’ll be in shape; Everyone else will still be zig-zagging.

If you want to lose 30 pounds in 30 days, then prepare for an extended hospital stay. If you survive, it’ll be without your gall bladder.

If you want to get in shape, then embrace a lifestyle of fitness and eventually–we’re talking months, a year, or, in my case, 18 months–everyone will be asking you what you did to get in shape. The bonus: because it’s not a weight-loss routine, your weight will be good AND stable. You won’t have a crash diet to ditch because you will not have been on one to begin with.

Book Review: The Weight Loss Cure “They” Don’t Want You to Know About (Part 2)

Yesterday, I began my three-part review of Kevin Trudeau’s book The Weight Loss Cure “They” Don’t want You to Know About. I focused primarily on the way he attempts to sell his message, which is the same message he uses to sell his natural cures crock and his debt cures crock (more on that one some other time). I’ll bet money that he eventually writes The Sex Life Enhancer “They” Don’t Want You to Know About.

He sells his message by appealing to anti-establishment paranoia: he wants you to believe that if government and business would just get out of the way, we would have all these miracle cures for obesity, cancer, hemmorhoids, and all manners of health ailments. This is the same Kevin Trudeau who promotes government grant programs in his Debt Cures book. Go figure!

Today, I’m going to focus on the specifics of his “Weight Loss Cure Protocol”, heretofore referred to as WLC.

The funniest part about this is that it is not even Trudeau’s WLC; he does, in fact, credit the idea to Dr. A.T.W Simeons. Basically, Trudeau is using his marketing prowess to sell a decades-old idea that has little scientific merit, and for whose followers the medical implications can be downright risky.

As I said in part 1, Trudeau–like any skilled con man–wraps his fraud in fact, and connects it with other truths that apply at best on a peripheral level. For example, he rightly trashes fast food, as the vast majority of it is VERY HIGH in calories, fat, cholesterol, simple carbohydrates, and sodium. He also rightly trashes diet drinks and artificial sweeteners. Those have been shown to increase hunger and ultimately make people fatter.

(Later on, he justifies his government-fat alliance on the basis of the government-Halliburton contracts. That makes sense only if you wear a tinfoil hat.)

Here are the main elements of his WLC:

  1. hCG therapy that allows one to subsist on a 500 calorie-per-day diet
  2. the use of colon-cleanse therapies
  3. the use of “liver-cleanse” therapies
  4. the “Callahan Technique” to cure food cravings

There are other elements to his WLC–some of which are common-sense, others bizarre, still others downright nutty–but those are the main (and controversial) ones. Rather than pick on every element, here are some general principles that apply irrespective to the scam in question:

1. If you plan on losing 30 pounds in 30 days, make sure you also plan on getting your gall bladder removed! Yes, you read that correctly. Anyone who guarantees such high weight loss in a short period of time–with no side effects–is a liar, an idiot, or a crook. If you lose more than two pounds per week, you are taking a huge risk; rapid weight loss causes gall stones.

2. Any time someone recommends a metabolism-altering therapy (especially a hormone) for weight loss, BE VERY WARY!!! hCG is a hormone that is released during pregnancy. (Most pregnancy tests key on the presence of that hormone in the urine sample.) In the most reliable peer-reviewed scientific study, hCG therapy has not been shown to have any beneficial effect in weight loss: the placebo group was at no disadvantage.

It is my observation that attempts to promote weight loss by medically altering one’s metabolism is EXTREMELY risky. These medications often adversely affect the heart, can adversely affect chemical neurotransmitters in the brain, can increase the risk of stroke, heart attack, high blood pressure, and a whole host of things that obesity is supposed to cause. Why do you think amphetamines, ephedra, and phen phen are illegal?

As for hormone therapies, let’s be honest: the medical community is only now discovering the risks of such treatments in a variety of scenarios. Post-menopausal hormone therapy is now being seen as a cancer risk. Steroidal treatments for asthma–with which I am well-acquainted–adversely impact the bones. Anabolic steroids are disastrous. We have no idea if hCG therapy carries similar risks, but remember: it is a hormone; it is alleged to alter metabolism. Ergo, be very wary of the risk, especially considering that it has not passed scientific muster!

3. Be VERY WARY of ultra-low-calorie diets. Your body needs about 1500 calories per day (more for some; less for others). Cutting to a third of that is counterproductive: your metabolism will crash as your body goes into starvation mode. You’ll lose some weight, only to gain it all back–and then more–when you resume your prior diet. Such a low calorie diet–combined with exercise–is a prescription for disaster. You’ll burn more muscle than you create. Furthermore, it is VERY difficult to maintain a low diet and still get the proper vitamins you need, and this will not be good for your immune system.

4. Colon and liver cleanse therapies are utter scams. Perhaps they worked for Kevin Trudeau, given how FOS he is, but in terms of promoting weight maintenance they are a waste of money, gallons-per-flush, and toilet paper in addition to being potentially risky. The only muscle you’ll exercise is your sphincter muscle! Ditto for liver cleanses.

Ultimately, there are no simple “weight loss cures” that government is keeping out of your hands.

As a libertarian, I loathe the FDA for a number of reasons, but the Internet is a free market of information.

Anyone who comes up with a cure for cancer, obesity, AIDS, or baldness can publish his or her work on the Internet for peer review. Any PhD student can develop a testable hypothesis that serves as a basis for a dissertation defense. Any Big Pharma company can test it, develop its own simiilar drug, get FDA approval, then market the hell out of it to the tune of billions of dollars in profits.

This is less about debunking Trudeau and more about knowing the difference between a thunderstorm as opposed to someone pissing down your back.

In part 3, I will present some general principles regarding weight maintenance, as that–not weight loss–is what is important.

CDC: Obesity Rates Leveling Off

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity rates in the United States are leveling off. Perhaps we have made a goal-line stand against lardassity.

In all seriousness, we’re still a nation of overweight adults, as 33 percent of men and 35 percent of women are obese. (It’s even higher in some states, like Kentucky.)

Personally, I’d like to see health insurers start offering incentives–carrot and stick–that encourage healthy lifestyles. That means (a) offering lower premiums for clients that maintain normal body fat, (b) allowing clients to use flexible spending account or health savings account money to pay for health club memberships, and (c) encouraging doctors to be proactive with patients in battling obesity and embracing healthy lifestyles.

Shapiro Nails It on Taylor

While many observers will read Leonard Shapiro’s opinion column and dismiss it as judgemental, I’d say–meaning no disrespect to Sean Taylor or his family–he’s on the money.

On one hand, I am glad to hear that he apparently turned his life around, and was embracing the straight-and-narrow. Perhaps Redskins coach Joe Gibbs–one of the classiest gentlement in the NFL–had some good influence on him. On the other hand, apparently this was a day late and a dollar short. Michael Wilbon said it himself:

I know how I feel about Taylor, and this latest news isn’t surprising in the least, not to me. Whether this incident is or isn’t random, Taylor grew up in a violent world, embraced it, claimed it, loved to run in it and refused to divorce himself from it. He ain’t the first and won’t be the last. We have no idea what happened, or if what we know now will be revised later. It’s sad, yes, but hardly surprising.

At a time in which NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is cracking down on thuggery and criminal behavior, the Taylor shooting may send the message that no amount of NFL sanctions could: the marginal cost of shady association and behavior outweighs the marginal benefit that the image provides.

If the worst that can happen is the loss of some money–which often amounts to pocket change for these guys–then the marginal cost is low. After all, a little bad publicity is still publicity.

If the worst that can happen is the loss of a career–a la Michael Vick–that might force a player to rethink a few of his relationships.

On the other hand, when players start getting killed, the cost of free association becomes too freaking high.

Sadly, Taylor lost more than a few games here: he lost his life. From all accounts, things are hopeful for his final destination, but it would have been nicer for him to have a better chance to establish a lasting legacy of godliness and service.

Instead, we’ll remember him as an athlete who started out running wild, but–in spite of turning his life around–met an untimely end before his 25th birthday.

Many years ago, Ray Lewis ran with the thug culture, and was nearly convicted of murder. That experience moved him to radically reassess his life, and apparently he made substantial changes. Since the trial, he has been clean as a whistle, heavily involved in charitable activities.

Perhaps the Sean Taylor tragedy will serve as the mother of all wakeup calls for the NFL.