September 28, 2007

Far From Nature


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the moon at the other end of the beach

It's been awhile since the cliche editor here at Dakota has allowed us to publish a sunrise shot.

However, on Saturday, the tide was low and the moon still bright in the morning sky, thus making their relationship perfectly clear. You don't have to be an astronomer to observe the connection between the tides and the moon -- it's enough to stand in this spot during this season at sunrise. We just don't do it much anymore.

Removing ourselves from the wonders of nature has been devastating for the earth, its creatures and our souls.

Which brings us to the point of this entry (quite a leap here, folks) -- Pigs. Yes, pigs as something other than succulent body parts and reproductive machines. Joanna Lucas has been out in the sty at Peaceful Prairie Sanctuary observing Pig Love. A short sample, but you really must read the entire thing for the full romance:

Pigs may "speak" the same emotional language as all other sentients – same desires, same hopes, same loves – but they look like us doing it – wrinkled noses, smiling lips, round cheeks, bare bellies and all – and the feeling of resemblance is probably mutual. They smile, spy, inquire, scold with their eyes, they gape in wonder, they cheat with calculated coolness, they slump in defeat, they shrug in confusion, they laugh out loud with open-mouthed enthusiasm, they play pranks, they play video games, they take showers, they get drunk given half a chance, they wallow in the mud in the best sense of the word: literally, copiously, with innocent and earthy abandon, they raise families together, swap nanny duties, sing to their babies while nursing. They sleep prodigally, and dream vividly, and they do it together, as a form of communion, communication and community building. They have favorite friends and favorite foes. They hold grudges, they forgive. They make eye contact with the clear understanding that eyes are where questions are asked, and answered. They fall in love like we do – to the exclusion of everyone else, madly, passionately, desperately in love.

All of us here at Dakota encourage you to rush outdoors and find something natural to appreciate today. For some of you that may mean descending thirty five floors and taking the trolley to the city limits where you might be lucky enough to find something natural to appreciate. Be sure to pick up all the plastic bottles you find between the milkweeds for recycling.

Photo note: Sunrise on the vista

Posted by Dakota at 07:05 AM

September 26, 2007

Diane Feinstein Disappoints Da Fi


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After receiving this notice about the unctuous Hans von Spakovsky and his proposed appointment to the Federal Elections Commission, I put on my good citizen cap and wrote to both of my senators. Since neither of them sit on the Senate Rules Committee, which is in charge of such matters, I decided to go one step further (harshly pruning my bloggish time) and email a few more notes to members of the committee. I picked Shumer, Dodd, Reid and Chair Diane Feinstein (no relation, I'm anonymous, remember?)

Here's the message that she, or her automotons promptly sent back:

Thank you for sending me your electronic mail message. I appreciate your taking the time to share your thoughts with me.

Because of the volume of e-mail that is received by my office, we can only respond to email that includes a California postal address. Please resend the text of your e-mail message, including your postal address, and I will respond to you as soon as possible.

Should you need additional information about the Congress, or my offices in Washington and California, please visit my homepage on the World Wide Web. The address is

Thank you again for contacting me, and I hope you will continue to do so in the future.


Dianne Feinstein
United States Senator

It seems to me that a lady in her leadership position might receive some mail that is not generated by her constituents. Fat chance I'll ever contact her again.

Yesterday Glenn Greenwald (via Matt Stoller) finished the job on DiFi, as far as I'm concerned.

Yet as Stoller documents -- based on his conversations with Caroline Fredrickson from the ACLU -- several key Democrats in Congress are actively working to ensure that this happens. Stoller notes that "The Senate Judiciary Committee is hamstrung by Dianne Feinstein, who prevents a majority . . . ." On issues of intelligence, judiciary and oversight, Feinstein really has become the new Joe Lieberman, repeatedly siding with the right-wing of the Republican caucus on key issues and thus actively enabling the worst abuses of the Bush administration.

Fortunately I have identified the perfect ecard response. BiDi

Photo note: American flag tacked up above sharpened points -- up to you to find the metaphor

Posted by Dakota at 07:32 PM

Lost For Words?


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of you
who are
by Hallmark
simply must

which will
enable you

to others
that you
didn't even
know you had


"I have
lost interest
in my weight


"Please feel
free to
call me
if your
falls apart"

with the
click of
a mouse

Photo note: A cafe picture with an edge

Posted by Dakota at 09:06 AM

September 24, 2007



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All the good citizens here at Dakota have been harping recently about the plastic waste problem and, if nothing else, resisting the guile of the corporatocracy by weaning ourselves from the water bottle .

If you didn't catch the film "Plastics in the Ocean" the first time round, seize the moment.

Perhaps that was not sufficient inspiration to motivate a change of habit, an inconvenience, which is why we'd like tp introduce the North Pacific Trash Vortex to you. It is undoubtedly one of man's largest creations.

The North Pacific sub-tropical gyre covers a large area of the Pacific in which the water circulates clockwise in a slow spiral. Winds are light. The currents tend to force any floating material into the low energy central area of the gyre. There are few islands on which the floating material can beach. So it stays there in the gyre, in astounding quantities estimated at six kilos of plastic for every kilo of naturally occurring plankton. The equivalent of AN AREA THE SIZE OF TEXAS swirling slowly around like a clock. This gyre has also been dubbed “the Asian Trash Trail” the “Trash Vortex” or the “Eastern Garbage Patch”.[caps are ours]

You can see the interactive maps here if you scroll down.

Still can't pass up that Fat Footprint Fuji? that Evil Evian? that Derivitive Dasani? According to NPR's "Living On Earth", no baby boys being born to Arctic indigenous people.

In certain villages in northern Greenland something is completely out of whack—only girls are being born. These reports from villages near the U.S. Air Force base in Thule are now being explored by scientists.

But studies conducted a few years ago now coming to light show that in other Arctic regions, the sex ratios of babies are also out of kilter. In 2004 the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program found a correlation between exposure to PCBs and shifts in the sex ratios of babies born to indigenous mothers living in the northern reaches of Russia. PCBs and other persistent organic chemicals such as pesticides travel from industrial countries up the food chain into the blubber of marine mammals.

Will we have to put human males on the Endangered Species List before we can convince the populace and the corporatocracy to stop disrespecting the earth? Looking on the bright side, maybe this is nature's way of lowering world testosterone levels.

Photo note: A metaphorophoto. Fish in a vortex going downhill and a stop light facing the wrong way.

Posted by Dakota at 03:40 PM

September 23, 2007

From Japan


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But enough of evil and malevolence --- this morning we have two heartening offerings from Japan.

The Most Intense Commercial Ever which will only take a few minutes to view.

If you have a bit more time, or want a Sunday morning meditation, watch Satoyama, a breathtaking David Attenborough film about life in the mountains near Kyoto. YouTube has clipped it into six parts which are easily located.

Moved to tears yet? Don't electrocute yourself on your computer.

Photo note: Kind of Japanese, actually shot on the side wall of an Afghani restaurant.

Addendum: Remember this?

Posted by Dakota at 08:11 AM

September 22, 2007



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From David Kurtz at Talking Points Memo:

Correct me if I'm wrong here. But by my calculation, more U.S. senators (72) voted today to condemn a newspaper ad attacking Gen. Petraeus than voted yesterday (56) to lengthen the time off troops get from the frontlines in Iraq, thereby reducing individual soldiers exposure to actual attacks. Am I missing something, or is that about right?

A new British poll estimates that one million Iraqis have lost their lives in this war. Here's a little map to give you a better picture of that grim statistic.

Thirty seven hundred American soldiers have died in Iraq, and twenty seven thousand have been wounded and maimed to date.

In addition to the terrible price of lives lost and destroyed, the monetary cost of this war is almost unfathomable.

And now Bush is beating the drums for another war in Iran.

Since we clearly didn't ask the right questions before we invaded Iraq, Paul Pillar has prepared a list of questions we should ask this time around

Now, an accelerating debate about Iran and its nuclear program shows signs of the same dangerous reductionism. Some argue for an airstrike against Iranian nuclear facilities sooner rather than later. Whether the Bush administration will act on such advice in the next two years is uncertain, but it is taking confrontational steps, including augmenting forces in the Persian Gulf and raiding an Iranian consulate, that increase the chance of heightened tension escalating into a military clash.

A long argument over many barely addressed issues would be needed to get from a belief that Iran is seeking nuclear weapons to a conclusion that a military strike, or even policies that increase the risk of U.S.-Iranian hostilities, is advisable. One issue is the uncertainty of the intelligence about Iran's nuclear program, although this is getting some discussion thanks to the recriminations about the intelligence on Iraq.

Other questions that need answering include:

What would be the urgency of taking forceful action, given that the announced estimate is that Iran is still several years from acquiring a nuclear weapon?

How malleable (and how well-defined) are Tehran's intentions, and what changes in Washington's policy might lead Tehran to abandon a weapons program? Even if Tehran's intentions do not change, what other options would impede or slow its nuclear program? If Iran were to acquire nuclear weapons, how would that change its behavior and affect U.S. interests? In particular, why would deterrence, which has kept nuclear peace with other adversaries, not work with Iran?

The likely hardening, concealment and dispersal of Iran's nuclear facilities raise questions about the impact any military strike would have on the program. How much would Iran's nuclear efforts be set back, especially given that bombs are not very good at destroying knowledge and expertise? Would the Iranian response be appreciably different from that of Iraq after Israel bombed its nuclear reactor in 1981 (Iraq redoubled its nuclear efforts while turning to different methods for producing fissile material)?

The most neglected questions concern other consequences of a U.S. strike or any other U.S.-Iranian combat, even if such combat did not lead to a prolonged occupation. How would Tehran respond to an act of war? What terrorism might it launch against the United States? How would it exploit U.S. vulnerabilities next door in Iraq, where it has barely begun to exploit the influence it has assiduously been cultivating? What other military action might it take, with the risk of a wider war in the Persian Gulf?

Other effects concern Iranian politics. How much would the direct assertion of U.S. hostility strengthen Iranian hard-liners, whose policies are partly premised on such hostility? How much would it add to all Iranians' list of historical grievances against the United States and adversely affect relations with future governments?

Broader regional and global ramifications include the impact on the oil market, whether other Middle Eastern nations would be less willing to cooperate with the United States and the prospect of exacerbating the damage the Iraq war already has dealt to U.S. standing worldwide.

Some might argue that the worst case that could ensue from an Iranian nuclear weapon is so bad that it trumps all other considerations. But there is no more reason than there was with Iraq to consider the worst case of only one side of the policy equation. And the worst case that could result from U.S.-Iranian combat is plenty frightening: thousands of Americans dead from retaliatory terrorist attacks, a broader war in the Persian Gulf, $150-per-barrel oil, a global recession and more.

But maybe we wont get a chance to ask any questions. Dan Froomkin reports what happened yesterday when David Gregory tried:

President Bush knows lots more nimble ways to dodge a question than snapping "no comment." So what was so hush-hush about Israel's recent bombing raid that he couldn't come up with anything to say about it -- or even find an elegant way to explain his silence?

Here's Bush's three-snap exchange with NBC's David Gregory at yesterday's 35-minute news conference:

Gregory: "Sir, Israeli opposition leader [Benjamin] Netanyahu has now spoken openly about Israel's bombing raid on a target in Syria earlier in the month. I wonder if you could tell us what the target was, whether you supported this bombing raid, and what do you think it does to change the dynamic in an already hot region in terms of Syria and Iran and the dispute with Israel and whether the U.S. could be drawn into any of this?"

Bush: "I'm not going to comment on the matter. Would you like another question?"

Gregory: "Did you support it?"

Bush: "I'm not going to comment on the matter."

Gregory: "Can you comment about your concerns that come out of it at all, about for the region?"

Bush: "No. Saying I'm not going to comment on the matter means I'm not going to comment on the matter. You're welcome to ask another question, if you'd like to, on a different subject."

Washington Post reporters Glenn Kessler and Robin Wright today suggest why the topic is so radioactive: "Israel's decision to attack Syria on Sept. 6, bombing a suspected nuclear site set up in apparent collaboration with North Korea, came after Israel shared intelligence with President Bush this summer indicating that North Korean nuclear personnel were in Syria, U.S. government sources said.

Time's Scott McLeod has compiled a list of the top ten reasons Bush might bomb Iran - a list too polite to include that Bush is a cornered narcissistic megalomaniac who now fancies himself Winston Churchill.

Photo note: The American flag in aggressive posture

Posted by Dakota at 09:36 AM

September 21, 2007



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Lately, when I pay attention to my own internal work rather than insisting that others do theirs, I have become acquainted with a dissociated part of myself that I call Snail Girl. As you may remember, I find the sluggish part of Snail Girl particularly loathsome, but am coming to understand that all that amorphous slime encased by her shell was formed for protective purposes. Knowing that hasn't made it any more attractive, but I can tolerate sitting with that part of myself now.

I had a weird experience on Monday. I was toning and making ladies group noises with my sweet shaman, and


this may be too difficult for the faint of heart so stop right here if you're one of those.


and my mouth began to fill with foamy saliva, but it was not generated by my salivary glands. It had no flavor or maybe a mildly bitter taste (bile extra light). Not so bad ....interesting. Then, out of nowhere in the most literal sense, I felt a ball of stuff, not mucus, more like tapioca, which sped up my esophagus and came out of my mouth in a solid bubble which burst all over the front and collar of my pink linen shirt. We decided, in all silliness that it was ectoplasm. The stuff was clear, so no harm was done. An eerie experience, mildly akin to hot flashes and childbirth when your body does something quite nicely without you.


Aside: My shaman grew up in a household of scholars who were interested in the work of Edgar Casey. Her parents had a book about ectoplasm in their bedroom, complete with dramatic photos which she showed surreptitiously to her little friends throughout childhood. I should point out that she never saw any ectoplasm in person until Monday.

Ectoplasm?...... maybe. Hopefully, it was something to do with Snail Girl shedding sluggishness.

Other signs from the universe regarding the ectoplasm issue.

I changed my hair last Saturday, at my hairdresser's suggestion. This is always an experience rife with anxiety, so I hardly ever do it. I am now using this new product in an attempt to achieve this effect , if you overlook the adorable face. I have trundled along without my hairdresser this week, feeling rumpled, stiff and uncombed, with the help of lots and lots of gook in my hair. Ectoplasm? Ectoplasm made visible? brought out into the light? Well, it was a thought.

Yesterday, while searching for something quite unrelated on Amazon, I came upon this title, Fairies; The Cottingley Photographs and in the description ectoplasm pops up once again.

In "Fairies: The Cottingley Photographs" Gardner explains how he first became involved in the Cottingley Fairy mystery when he received two mysterious photographs in the post. The photographs--which appeared to include images of fairies--were sent by a friend who sought Gardner's opinion as to whether or not they were genuine. Although Gardner treated the mystery with caution, and sought the advice of various photography experts, he was also excited about the discovery. In many ways, the book should be a case study in delusion. Gardner wanted to believe the photos were genuine, and he approached the situation with extreme prejudice. When he meets Frances, for example, he notes that she "had loosely knit ectoplasmic material in her body." So obviously Gardner was hardly a skeptic. But, while Gardner's excitement seeps through the pages, also dragging along behind is his intention not to be party to a fraud. Unfortunately, he fixated on the idea of identifying any tampering or evidence of touch-up in the photos. He simply wasn't prepared for the machinations of two little girls. Furthermore, he was stunned by an expert's opinion that the fairies in the photographs "moved during exposure."

So, for now, I'm going with the sluggish, slimey flow, and hoping for the best. It's probably one of the gifts of clairgustiance. I had wished for something more attractive.

Photo note: When casting about for an ectoplasmic shot that I have taken in the last week or so, I found this one of a water glass. I hated the couch fabric in the background, but since I already gave the glass away as a present, I can't take something better As I was wishing I hadn't taken the picture on the couch, I realized that I had an aura with ectoplasm (the fabric of the couch)

Addendum: While we're on the subject here are instructions and exercises for better perceiving auras -- I don't know about you, but I could sure use some help.

Posted by Dakota at 12:53 PM

September 19, 2007



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Shankar Vedantam, a columnist for the Washington Post explained on NPR's "On The Media" that "Good myths die hard. Recent psychological studies suggest journalists' attempts to set the record straight may in fact be perpetuating falsehoods". As we now know, this tactic has worked splendidly for Republicans. adopted the tactifc by placing their "General Betrayus" ad in the New York Times just before his testimony before Congress.

Predictably, the spin hit the fan. Media Matters reports " there were more than 500 mentions of the MoveOn ad last week. According to the decisions being made at cable TV news, the advocacy newspaper ad was 250 times more important than a rash of American fatalities in Iraq". The "liberal' mainstream media was in a frenzy. Five hundred mentions!!! Money well spent.

George Lakoff, master of the reframe, says

MoveOn's "General Betray Us?" ad has raised vital questions that need a thorough and open discussion. The ad worked brilliantly to reveal, via its framing, an essential but previously hidden truth: the Bush Administration and its active supporters have betrayed the trust of the troops and the American people.

MoveOn hit a nerve. In the face of truth, the right-wing has been forced to change the subject -- away from the administration's betrayal of trust and the escalating tragedy of the occupation to of all things, an ad! To take the focus off maiming and death and the breaking of our military, they talk about etiquette. The truth has reduced them to whining: MoveOn was impolite. Rather than face the truth, they use character assassination against an organization whose three million members stand for the highest patriotic principles of this country, the first of which is a commitment to truth.

It's hard to hear the name Petraeus these days without associating to its rhyme ---which has, by now, been indelibly etched into the collective unconscious.

Stephen Colbert was not impressed.

Photo note: Spin, shadows, light and triangles What more could a girl ask?

Posted by Dakota at 07:14 AM

September 17, 2007

Straw Man?


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Just in case you're not quite up to speed, our stalwart President has nominated retired conservative federal judge, Michael B.Mukasey, to replace the lying Alberto Gonzales. He is a conservative who evidently feels that it's his duty to uphold the Constitiution in spite of the President's wishes. He doesn't seem to be a member of the Federalist Society either-- maybe he wasn't invited because he's an Orthodox Jew. It could have been worse.

Looseheadprop, a lawyer who writes for Firedoglake. worried that the oddly timed op-ed piece Mukasey wrote in the Wall Street Journal this summer, was a signal to W. that he'd be tough on terrorists if he were nominated for Attorney General, in spite of his decision to allow Padilla to talk to his own lawyer before he went to trial. Looseheadprop was also concerned that if a decent sort was nominated, all investigations into the abominations at the Department of Justice will be dropped by the Judiciary Committee in grateful appreciation for not appointing another incompetent criminal. Patrick Leahy was reassuring about that today, though Harry Reid was not. The revered progressive Glenn Greenwald sounds almost optimistic about Mukasey.

Addendum: Lest we get our hopes up, we're still dealing with democracy decimators

Photo note: Shot my straw man in a timely fashiion at the farm stand last weekend. The farmer told me that he still needs a mouth, and whether he gets one remains to be seen-- thus qualifying this picture as a metaphorophoto

Posted by Dakota at 10:05 AM

September 15, 2007

Angel With A Broken Nose


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my nutritionist
two entities
from my system

one 50,000
years old
the other

This morning
I feel


no wonder

Posted by Dakota at 07:20 AM

September 12, 2007


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Wouldn't you know that I'd be two chapters into Nancy Horan's fictionalized account of Frank Lloyd Wright's relationship with Mamah Borthwick Cheney,"Loving Frank: A Novel" when what should appear on the screen before me but the animated construction or deconstruction of said architect's masterpiece Falling Water

Do watch it on DIVX even if you have to download it first, so you can see all the stones in the stream.

Photo note: Only shot found in the architecture bag.

Posted by Dakota at 10:02 PM | TrackBack

Ooooh...h Say Can You See


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A while back I made you watch a Dennis Kuchinich's interrogation of Donald Rumsfeld. He was probing the news management of this war, as it related ot the handling of the Pat Tillman case. You will be delighted to know that news management is still in full flower, as you can see from the flap leading up to General Betrayus's much anticipated report delivered to Congress this week.

This particular sequence started at the end of July, when, after a sojourn to Iraq, (organized by the military, a fact reluctantly disclosed well into the fol-de-rol) two foreign policy analysts from the Brookings Institute, Michael O'Hanlon and Kenneth Pollack, offered up some hearty optimism in an op-ed in the New York Times entitled "A War We Just Might Win". I would have added an exclamation point, had I been editor. The cheery souls were passed off as war critics, (a a rather recent turn of events) and found themselves in feverish demand. Within twenty four hours of publication, the dear fellows had appeared together on nine major network programs. Wow.

Their op-ed was analyzed, scrutinized and criticized in the blogosphere .

The mainstream media completely ignored, Anthony Cordesman who had accompanied Ken and Mike on the same trip, but came to very different conclusions. That was easy.

It was harder to overlook the response that appeared on August 24 in the Times written by seven active duty soldiers, which blew O'Hanlon and Pollack to shreds -- euphemistically.

On Monday, just as General Betrayus was about to begin his measured but enthusiastic testimony before Congress praising the surge, two of the seven soldiers who wrote the op-ed article were killed in action. Two articulate, thoughtful souls lost to a lie. And how many more will die because of Petraeus, Crocker, O'Hanlon, Pollack and our fearless leader.

Although many more good men undoubtedly will lose their lives as the surge goes blithely on -- these two soldiers had faces and voices. They had the courage to speak out. Dying in action was bad PR. Maybe our leaders will kill the story. They will certainly kill many more American soldiers and Iraqi civilians before they can be stopped.

Photo note: Myopia - or The Fog of Patriotism

Posted by Dakota at 01:05 PM

September 11, 2007

Optimistic About Obesity


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Take a peek at the interactive map showing obesity statistics in the US from 1985 to 2006. Pretty shocking when you see the deep dark changes that have manifested state by state over the last fifteen years.

There are those of us here at Dakota who have not yet attained our ideal weight, but all of us are determined to focus on hope and lightening of spirit (at the very least) around this issue. Here's the good news

New evidence indicates that the proliferation of obesity may be due to a virus. You can be absolutely certain that everyone at Big Pharma is, as we speak, busting their buns to develop an anitviral drug that will combat the culprit, adenovirus-36. Pharmaceutical companies know that there are millions (see map) who will be willing to pay through the alimentary canal for a cure that comes in a pill, and doesn't involve deprivation or self hatred.

Speaking of which, there is more interesting research, compiled and digested for you by Berkeley psychologist Seth Roberts in a book called "The Shangri la Diet". Robert's idea is to lower one's set point (and therefore, one's weight) by consuming flavorless calories as a portion of one's daily diet. This also results in greater satiety and loss of cravings. We can testify that the craving/satiety part is true, though we are still unclear about the weight loss, which is only two pounds a week and will take awhile to show in our tight jeans.

Maybe it's not so terrible to be overweight anyway. Turns out that an obesity myth has been perpetrated by none other than Harvard

A big problem with elite institutions is that, for years on end, people in such places can abuse their positions by saying things that aren't true, before anyone whose opinion counts notices.

A particularly clear example of this is provided by the Harvard School of Public Health, which for many years has been pushing a phony claim with great success. The story is simple: That it's well-established scientific fact that being "overweight"--that is, having a body mass index figure of between 25 and 30--is, in the words of Harvard professors Walter Willett and Meir Stampfer, "a major contributor to morbidity and mortality." This claim has been put forward over and over again by various members of the School of Public Health's faculty, with little or no qualification. According to this line of argument, there's simply no real scientific dispute about the "fact" that average-height women who weigh between 146 and a 174 pounds, and average-height men who weigh between 175 and 209 pounds, are putting their lives and health at risk. Furthermore, according to Willett, such people should try to reduce their weights toward the low end of the government-approved "normal" BMI range of 18.5 to 24.9 (the low end of the range is 108 and 129 pounds for women and men respectively).

It's difficult to exaggerate the extent to which the actual scientific evidence fails to support any of this. In fact, the current evidence suggests that what the Harvard crew is saying is not merely false, but closer to the precise opposite of the truth. For the most part, the so-called "overweight" BMI range doesn't even correlate with overall increased health risk. Indeed "overweight," so-called, often correlates with the lowest mortality rates. (This has led to much chin-scratching over the "paradox" of why "overweight" people often have better average life expectancy and overall health than "normal weight" people. The solution suggested by Occam's Razor--that these definitions make no sense--rarely occurs to those who puzzle over this conundrum). Furthermore, it's simply not known if high weight increases overall health risk, or is merely a marker for factors, most notably low socio-economic status, which clearly do cause ill health. As Adam Drewnowski, director of the Center for Public Health Nutrition and a professor of epidemiology and medicine at the University of Washington, told me, "nobody wants to talk about the 'C' word--class. Yet it's clear that social economic gradient is a profound confounding variable in all this, and one that most current studies do not adequately take into account." Moreover, as we shall see, the notion that so-called "overweight" people should try to become very thin, i.e., should try to move into the low end of the "normal" BMI range, is, given the actual epidemiological evidence, nothing less than bizarre.

In 2005, the Harvardistas were thrown into a panic when a study by Katherine Flegal and others appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association. This study found 86,000 excess deaths per year in the United States among so-called "normal weight" people, when compared to so-called "overweight" persons. In other words, "overweight" people had the lowest mortality risk. The Harvard people quickly organized a press conference at which they denounced the study's results, and claimed its authors had failed to take into account smoking and preexisting disease.

So take heart all ye voluptuous, we have much to celebrate.

Photo note: Life is just a succulent cherry-- no need for an entire bowl

Posted by Dakota at 06:47 AM

September 09, 2007

Yellow Boat


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I am
to the
that it is
to publish
a pretty
that has
no meaning

Posted by Dakota at 10:23 PM

September 05, 2007

Revisiting Lame Duck


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Lest you think you are dealing with a lame duck who can do no more harm, it behooves you as a concerned citizen to read and watch the progress of the slick public relations campaign, a prelude to the invasion of Iran that is actively underway. Need a bit more evidence?

Keep your fingers crossed that congressional donkeys aren't really riding in same truck as the demented duck.

As Nancy Scola of Air America so aptly put it, "If Bush were President during the Cuban Missle Crisis, we would all be dead."

Photo note: You may think you have seen this shot before but our visual commenter has added a something in honor of congressional caving..

Posted by Dakota at 06:40 AM

September 04, 2007

Rubbing Elbows


Full body

Although I have been boycotting Whole Foods ever since they raised the price of their salad bar overnight from $4.99 to $7.99 a pound (that is, the Nothing-Special-Lettuce-and-Cucumber Bar, not the Dessert Bar or the Antipasti Bar), and especially after I lost respect for their CEO, James Mackey and his underhanded pseudonymic internet tactics, yesterday afternoon I did hit the newly revitalized store in Fresh Pond (undoubtedly a serious misnomer, given that the pond is a close neighbor of the infamously polluting corporation, W.R.Grace). The renovated store is bigger, but has those polished concrete floors and florescent lights (green literally and figuratively) that ultimately create a dank warehouse ambiance.

In the spirit of grand celebration, there were visiting celebrities. Most notable, two Italian water buffalo babies from Vermont pitching their yogurt and "Olivia" from Olivia's Organics (looking quite like Lucy from Peanuts with a yellow head the size of my exercise ball). I could not snap her picture because her interpreter, (she needed one because she couldn't speak due to muffling by the ball on her head), a Whole Foods employee, undoubtedly would have confiscated my camera on the spot.

As if that wasn't enough excitement for one afternoon at the market, while I was standing in line, the cashier held up my purchase and asked if it were winter squash.

"No", said I, "It's a .....a...ah...", then, mildly embarrassed, I turned to the man behind me in line and said, "I'm rapidly losing my ability to capture nouns."

That man just happened to be Robert Parker, who said, "Oh I gave that up years ago."

Had I the presence of mind, I would have said, rather than thought. "I don't think so." Next time.

At this point in our scintillating exchange, the cashier crowed, "Delicata!".

I didn't shoot Mr. P. because, it is, after all, against store policy. Turns out that delicata are winter squash, but more expensive, and more delicious than the usual varieties.

Photo note: The baby water buffalo who was made to stay outside for sanitary reasons, thus becoming fair foto game.

Posted by Dakota at 06:52 PM

The Universe Nods in the Parking Lot




Since I put a deposit on a Prius on Friday, it was a weekend of license plate messages from the universe affirming my decision.

And, for the frosting on the cake, Jim Motavalli wrote a piece in the NY Times on Sunday entitled "Power to the People" excerpted here for your reading pleasure:

When Hurricane Frances ripped through Gainesville, Fla., in 2004, Christopher Swinney, an anesthesiologist, was without electricity for a week. A few weeks ago, Dr. Swinney lost power again, but this time he was ready.

He plugged his Toyota Prius into the backup uninterruptible power supply unit in his house and soon the refrigerator was humming and the lights were back on. “It was running everything in the house except the central air-conditioning,” Dr. Swinney said.

Without the Prius, the batteries in the U.P.S. unit would have run out of power in about an hour. The battery pack in the car kept the U.P.S. online and was itself recharged by the gasoline engine, which cycled on and off as needed. The U.P.S. has an inverter, which converts the direct current electricity from the batteries to household alternating current and regulates the voltage. As long as it has fuel, the Prius can produce at least three kilowatts of continuous power, which is adequate to maintain a home’s basic functions......

Google has four Priuses with plug-in capacity at its headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. With some advice from P.G.& E., Google equipped one to supply power to the grid......

During a recent six-hour power failure, Mr. Factor [another fellow who has been fiddling with this] estimated that his 2005 Prius used less than one gallon of gasoline......

The V2G potential of Honda’s full hybrid vehicles is unexplored, but the company is doubtful of using them to power homes. “We would not like to see stresses on the battery pack caused by putting it through cycles it wasn’t designed for,” said Chris Naughton, a Honda spokesman. “Instead, they should buy a Honda generator that was made for that purpose.”

I shall keep this warning in mind, but as some of you may remember, I once fancied myself the Queen of Preparedness, and therefore, I am thrilled with this possibility, warranty be damned.

Photo note: Sometimes messages from the universe lack aesthetic appeal -- can you believe that I shot all three plates this weekend?

Addendum: It is unfortunate that I couldn't wait for the Posted by Dakota at 07:03 AM