Thursday, January 23, 2020

From Andrew Tobias re: Equality

Reading this makes me wonder: Does being rich make you evil,* or do only evil people get rich?

Just 162 Billionaires Have The Same Wealth As Half Of Humanity.  It’s not “radical” to think the pendulum has swung too far.   Yet Republicans keep wanting to push it further.  To eliminate the estate tax, for example.

*I know not every rich person is evil.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Repeating Myself

Reading this article, which seemingly tries to list every way any animal suffers, reminds me of the blog posts I've written before about how using big numbers hurts animals. (I'm also not a fan of titles that start by saying "We can't..." when we very clearly can.)

More importantly, when we list and demand basically everything, the only response will be vegans liking and retweeting. Meanwhile:

This is why, to be a broken record*, I still argue for harm-reduction advocacy.

*I'm hoping that the Amazon show The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel will make more people aware of records.   :-)

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Health Is a Privilege, Not a Virtue

This is a really great article (thanks to Ginny for linking to it).

Related to this:

I've been vegan for over 30 years. When my health allows, I exercise. I have never smoked. My BMI is 20.5. I do "all the right things." Yet I've almost died several times and have multiple ongoing chronic diseases. After heart surgery, it took more and more drugs to get my cholesterol down to where Anne's is naturally, even though we eat the same thing.

So please stop saying that health is a choice.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

The need for harm-reduction advocacy

This Atlantic article not only makes the case for plant-based meat but for real-world-based advocacy like this.

"For the past 50 years, Americans have responded to the case against eating animals mostly by eating more animals.
"They have heard again and again about the moral and ecological costs of eating meat—from philosophers like Peter Singer and polemicists like Jonathan Safran Foer; from viral documentary footage of slaughterhouses and tortured poultry; from activist organizations like PETA and scientific reports on the fossil-fuel cost of producing a medallion of beef.
"The collective sum of all these books and films and eco–guilt trips has made little difference. The share of Americans who call themselves vegan or vegetarian hasn’t increased in the past 20 years. In the 1970s, the typical American ate about 120 pounds of meat each year. In the 1990s, she ate about 130 pounds annually. Today, she eats more than 140 pounds a year, or about 2.5 pounds of meat every week—a record high, according to government estimates.

"The case against eating meat is a case for the mass renunciation of real human pleasure. (Yes, this is coming from someone who delights in little more than a well-cooked ribeye.) Like the case for reducing our carbon footprint, the vegan argument requires that the large majority of people sacrifice their lifestyle for outcomes that are often invisible to them as individuals. A cultural or moral revolution designed around the elimination of pleasurable options and the restriction of individual human choice is a hard sell, particularly in a country like the U.S., where materialist choice has been elevated to a kind of civic religion."

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Monday, January 13, 2020

Kids these days!

"We need to be wary of the 'Fredric Wertham effect,' named after the psychiatrist in New York whose shoddy research inspired a moral panic over youths' media preferences in the 1950s. His book, Seduction of the Innocent, was condensed in Reader's Digest under the headline "Comic Books - Blueprints for Delinquency." Eventually, after congressional hearings and dozens of local bans, the comic book scare was debunked for researchers and journalists have kept repeating his mistake. They rushed to conclude that youths are being corrupted by new scourges like television, rock music, rap, video games - and now social media, which is being blamed for the supposed afflictions of Facebook depression and Instagram envy."
The Power of Bad

Sunday, January 12, 2020

More on Pain

After posting about the book In Pain, I came across this interesting New Yorker article, A World Without Pain? It made me wish I could tolerate cannabis.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

In Pain

In Pain: A Bioethicist's Personal Struggle with Opioids is a very interesting and important book. However, I would like to note that in my experience (and not going into details), having pain that isn't controlled is a significant problem (to put it mildly). Dr. Rieder makes this point to some extent in his book, but the main focus is on his withdrawal. I have, unfortunately, been on opioids a number of times (and sometimes for many many weeks) and never had any withdrawal issues. But I have had uncontrolled agony that, as I've written elsewhere, broke me and made me want to die.

This is not to diminish anyone's experience, downplay the issues of the opioid epidemic, or argue with Dr. Reider's policy proposals. I just want to make the point that many (I hope most) people don't know what devastating pain is like, and thus find it hard to take it as seriously as it should be taken.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Me Me Me Me Me

Regarding this news that a vegan sued for legal protection, One Step for Animals co-founder Joe Espinosa noted that once again, a vegan has made the issue about them and not the animals.

Open for Animals founder Beornn McCarthy concurs: "It is the kind of vegan symbolic gain that diverts attention from animal advocacy and draws attention to vegans. It potentially encourages vegans to take stances that don't work and that creates resistance from other people."

Click for legible size. 

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Links from Paul Krugman

If history is any guide, Iran is willing to accept huge losses of life; the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s produced World War I-level carnage.
Remember “We will be welcomed as liberators”?
One reason Iraq went so badly was that the Bush administration disdained experts and only recruited political loyalists. Sound familiar?

Monday, January 6, 2020

Another amazing statistic

Forwarded to me:

"The top .1% capture more wealth than the bottom 80%. For purposes of self-preservation you'd think the uber-rich would be concerned with this level of income inequality. At some point, the bottom half of the globe by income realizes they can double their wealth by taking the wealth of the richest 8 families, who have more money than 3.6 billion people..."

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Pima Air and Space Museum

The Smithsonian Air & Space Museum and the Annex are incredible. But for the 33rd largest city in the country, this museum is amazing. A & E have to listen to me go on and on and on and on (luckily, they've perfected tuning me out   :-)

These are the pictures from our free trip there today (not repeating many from previous trips). Some reflected portraits. The space hanger was closed, so just planes today. As always, click for larger.

Saturday, January 4, 2020

"Kids these days"

If you listen to Sam Harris and his raving center-right guests, you'd think that everyone under 30 is narcissistic, out of control, communist, etc. You won't hear stories like this

"A 52-year-old former Naval officer enrolls as an undergraduate at Yale, alongside a primarily 18- to 22-year-old student body. Contrary to what his contemporaries expect, in the midst of tackling complicated ideas with his classmates, despite their differences, he finds he has great respect for his them — and they have great respect for him."

Friday, January 3, 2020

Anti-nuclear hysteria kills

"If Japan and Germany had reduced coal power, instead of nuclear, they could have prevented twenty-eight thousand premature air-pollution-induced deaths and twenty-four hundred million metric tons of cumulative carbon-dioxide emissions." Here in The New Yorker.

Thursday, January 2, 2020