More BMI Bologna

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When I was a junior in high school, I was 5’9” and weighed around 155 pounds.  That would put my BMI at 22.9, which is near the center of the “normal” range.  Man, I must’ve been in some kind of good shape, right?

Wrong.  I weighed 155 pounds because I had a 35-inch chest, skinny arms, and skinny legs.  I also had a belly, love handles, and boy boobs.  I was a skinny-fat guy.

I occasionally played pick-up basketball (not especially well, mind you) with a classmate named John, who was on the football team.  John had six-pack abs, and the veins popped on his muscular arms and legs.  He was about 5’8” and weighed around 180 pounds.  That would put his BMI at 27.4, which would classify him as overweight.

If anyone had seen us side-by-side with our shirts off and was told John was overweight but I wasn’t, I’m pretty sure the reaction would’ve been a big chuckle.  BMI is laughable as a measurement of who’s fat and who isn’t.  Unfortunately, busybodies in government still take it seriously, including Michelle Obama:

In an exclusive post published on Shine today, First Lady Michelle Obama offers some advice, drawn from her own experience, about the Affordable Care Act and how parents can get the most out of visits to the pediatrician. One of her suggestions: Learn about your child’s BMI.

The First Lady was surprised to learn that her daughters’ BMI numbers were “creeping upwards.” “I didn’t really know what BMI was,” she writes. “And I certainly didn’t know that even a small increase in BMI can have serious consequences for a child’s health.

Yes, I remember how unhealthy my classmate John was, thanks to his high BMI … although now that I think about it, his height-to-weight ratio did cause some serious damage.  In a playoff game, a punt-returner from the opposing team neglected to call for a fair catch as John was bearing down on him.  A few seconds later, one of our players had recovered the fumble for a touchdown, and the punt-returner was flat on his back, unconscious.

A small increase in BMI does not produce serious consequences for a child’s health.  Getting fatter thanks to a lousy diet can certainly have serious health consequences.  Consuming a lousy diet without getting fatter can, too — just ask any of the thousands of skinny type 2 diabetics in the world.  When I was a senior in high school, I joined a Nautilus club and ended up putting on 10 pounds of muscle over the next several months.  My arms finally had a bit of shape to them, and my chest filled out.  My BMI went up, but I was healthier.

But as Dr. Susan J. Woolford explains, despite the medical jargon, BMI (Body Mass Index) is actually a very easy way to answer a very difficult question: Is my child overweight?

No, BMI is a very easy way to answer this difficult question:  What is the mathematical result of multiplying my child’s weight in pounds by 703, and then dividing that number by my child’s height in inches squared?  That’s all BMI will tell you.  The easy way to determine if your child is overweight is to look at him when he’s not wearing a shirt.  Is his belly protruding?  Is he developing love handles?  If so, he’s probably on his way to being fat.  If he’s got a flat belly with some definition around the abs, he isn’t.

If Mrs. Obama is going to start obsessing with her kids’ BMI scores, I feel sorry for them, but that’s her business.  Unfortunately, Mrs. Obama is now in charge of the latest federal effort to combat childhood obesity, which means she’s also making it her business to hand out advice to the rest of us.  Watch this interview with the chairwoman of Mrs. Obama’s taskforce:

So the taskforce is recommending the same old “eat less, move more, fill your plate with fruits and vegetables” blah-blah-blah nonsense.  It hasn’t worked for the past 30 years, but apparently it will work now.  Why? Because (as the First Lady explained) for the first time, they’re setting really clear goals and benchmarks!

Well, that ought to do it, then.  If the federal government says we’re going to reduce childhood obesity to 5%, then by gosh, it’ll happen.  I set a really clear goal of earning $500,000 this year.  I’m not actually doing anything to achieve that goal, but I’m pretty sure setting clear goals and benchmarks is all it takes.

Well, that’s not entirely fair; the task force is doing something:  they’re spending $400 million to bring fruits and vegetables to neighborhoods where people have already demonstrated they’re not particularly interested in buying and fruits and vegetables:

The Healthy Food Financing Initiative will promote a range of interventions that expand access to nutritious foods, including developing and equipping grocery stores and other small businesses and retailers selling healthy food in communities that currently lack these options. Residents of these communities, which are sometimes called “food deserts” and are often found in economically distressed areas, are typically served by fast food restaurants and convenience stores that offer little or no fresh produce.

Here’s a simple economics lesson:  businesses don’t determine what consumers will buy.  Consumer behavior determines what businesses will produce and sell.  If fast food restaurants thrive in poor neighborhoods while stores that sell fresh fruit and vegetables don’t, there’s a good reason for it.  Using tax dollars to bring more fruits and vegetables to areas where people don’t buy fruits and vegetables isn’t going to reduce childhood obesity.  It’s just going to lead to a lot of rotten fruits and vegetables.

Part of the federal taskforce’s plan for “empowering” parents to make better decisions for their kids is to require schools to record and report BMI scores for schoolkids.  Fabulous.

“Hello, this is the nurse from Lakewood Elementary calling to let you know we’ll be measuring your child’s Body Mass Index tomorrow.”

“I don’t want you measuring my kid’s BMI.  It’s none of your business.”

“But I’m afraid it’s required by law.”

“Oh.  Boy, I feel really empowered as a parent now.  Thanks for the call.”

Once schools start identifying kids with a high BMI, what exactly are they going to do about it?

“Johnny, your BMI score tells me you’re overweight.”

“Gee, Nurse Finkelstein, what should I do?”

“Well, uh … get some exercise and then go eat your USDA-approved lunch.  I believe today’s menu features chicken nuggets, mashed potatoes, rolls, chocolate milk and some peaches in a sugary syrup.”

If Mrs. Obama is 1) convinced that BMI is a useful measurement, and 2) believes her task force knows enough about the biological mechanisms of weight gain and weight loss to justify making dietary recommendations and spending hundreds of millions of tax dollars to implement them, then here’s what I want her to do:

I don’t know Mrs. Obama’s BMI, but based on pictures of her, I’d be surprised if it’s 25 or below.

Don’t get me wrong … I think she has an attractive figure.  But she’s on the thicker, more muscular side of the curve, especially in the hips and legs, so it’s highly likely her BMI puts her in the overweight category.  I’d prefer she look at herself in the mirror, compare what her eyes are telling her with her BMI score, and then declare BMI a useless measurement.  But since she’s now extolling the virtues of BMI scores and supporting requiring schools to gather them, I want her to declare hers publicly.  Then I want her to follow the USDA dietary guidelines and show us how those guidelines helped her achieve a BMI of 24.  Prove the advice she’s handing out actually works.

If she does that, then she can worry about my kids’ BMI scores.

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184 thoughts on “More BMI Bologna

  1. FormerSugarAddict

    Love the comment about watching someone poke a snake with a stick… Class

    I think that GrapeNut is lacking in the firsthand evidence required to understand WHY this high protein/fat low-carb diet really works. Your film helped to explain the science behind why carbs and sugars are so bad for us, but I’m not sure if I could/would have bought the theory if I hadn’t seen firsthand experience with it.

    My father has had type 2 diabetes for almost 25 years. He has had numerous stints and a quadruple bypass. After his bypass he expected to feel better, but he continued to have problems regulating his blood sugar. He would break out in sweats overnight, go into near-comas during the day, and just feel BAD. About 6 months ago he started eating virtually no carbs per day. His diabetes has never been better. If that’s not proof, I don’t know what is.

    Lucky for GrapeNuts, he hasn’t had to see his parents wavering at death’s door for years, constantly fearing that every late night phone call is going to be bad news. As for myself and my 4 year old, we are cutting back on carbs and sugar. And yes, the food pyramid is a crock of shit (or maybe Grapenuts).

    The comment about poking a snake with a stick came from my older brother. Partly an inside joke: we’ve both had … uh … moments of primal fear involving snakes. The difference is that his snake was real and mine was imaginary.

    Reply
  2. Cindy Drake

    That was so much fun! I’m supposed to be doing homework for my college class, but I couldn’t tear myself away from your exchange with GrapeNut. So much more interesting than my college text!

    Well, he was kind of amusing. When he blamed Greenspan’s massive government interference in the economy on Greenspan’s previous admiration of one of the most anti-government thinkers of modern times, I had to finish laughing before I could reply.

    Reply
  3. Birth Cert Detector

    Go get ’em Tom! Mrs. O’s Fruit n’ Veggie plan is nuts! And while your at it, see if you can find Obama’s birth certificate. The constitution has been trampled upon, Don’t Tread On Me.

    Reply
  4. GrapeNut

    Tom, your behavior is really unprofessional. I’m just anonymous poster on your blog. You are the owner of the blog, a minor public figure and are purportedly trying to make a name and a living for yourself as a voice of reason in the nutritional wilderness with usual ill-informed “it’s constitutional” nonsense thrown in. It’s dissapointing that you don’t hold yourself to a higher standard.

    You really bit the hook hard every time I baited it, and allowed yourself to be pulled down into an unproductive cesspool of name-calling and blaming. I suppose it will serve you well if you choose to become the next conservative/ pseudo-libertarian shock jock. You use all their tactics, and repeat all the predictable talking points.

    I’m not a pseudo-libertarian, you idiot. I’m a libertarian. I don’t listen to shock jocks and I don’t repeat “talking points.” I believe the Constitution means what it says and shouldn’t be violated by do-gooders who simply don’t like it when that pesky ol’ document gets in their way. In other words, I have principles. That’s why you don’t see me (as opposed to certain idiots) railing about one class of government food subsidies, while supporting another class of government food subsidies because I’m just so gosh-darned impressed by the good intentions behind them.

    I also hold myself to a standard for dealing with commenters: Polite debaters will be engaged in polite debate. Those who stoop to tossing around adjectives like “right wing” (proving they don’t understand what “libertarian” means) or “loud, arrogant and dangerous a-holes” have asked for a fight, and I will happily oblige by punching them in the nose — verbally, of course.

    Yeah, you really caught me on that sneaky hook of yours. You expressed idiotic and inconsistent beliefs, and I jumped right on the hook and pointed them out for what they are. I feel soooo duped.

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  5. GrapeNut

    [Well, he was kind of amusing. When he blamed Greenspan’s massive government interference in the economy on Greenspan’s previous admiration of one of the most anti-government thinkers of modern times, I had to finish laughing before I could reply.]

    Tom, you are so ill-informed about Greenspan’s tenure as Fed chairman, that it is laughable. You have to be running a reverse troll on me, no one could be this stupid for real. Keep on digging your hole as you sneer at my interpretation.

    1) You need to watch the Frontline documentaries that I listed earlier, especially “The Warning”. I know you’ll dismiss anything Frontline says as ‘biased journalism’. Never mind that it directly quotes Greenspan regretting his deregulatory approach.

    2)Here are the cliff notes, regarding the OTC Derivatives Market (which as a libertarian, you probably think was a good idea. They deliberately kept the Government ‘out of their business’ and ended up wrecking the economy.)
    ***********
    Brooksley Born was appointed to the CFTC on April 15, 1994 by President Bill Clinton. Due to litigation against Bankers Trust Company by Procter and Gamble and other corporate clients, Born and her team at the CFTC sought comments on the regulation of derivatives,[3] a first step in the process of writing comprehensive regulations. Born was particularly concerned about swaps, financial instruments that are traded over the counter between banks, insurance companies or other funds or companies, and thus have no transparency except to the two counterparties and the counterparties’ regulators, if any. [b]CFTC regulation was strenuously opposed by Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan,[/b] and by Treasury Secretaries Robert Rubin and Lawrence Summers.[4] On May 7, 1998, former SEC Chairman Arthur Levitt joined Rubin and Greenspan in objecting to the issuance of the CFTC’s concept release. Their response dismissed Born’s analysis and focused on the hypothetical possibility that CFTC regulation of swaps and other OTC derivative instruments could create a “legal uncertainty” regarding such financial instruments, hypothetically reducing the value of the instruments. They iterated the traditional capitalist-class argument that the imposition of regulatory costs would “stifle financial innovation” and encourage financial capital to transfer its transactions offshore.[8] The disagreement between Born and the Executive Office’s top economic policy advisors has been described not only as a classic Washington turf war,[6] but also a war of ideologies,[9] insofar as it is possible to argue that Born’s actions were consistent with Keynesian and neoclassical economics while Greenspan, Rubin, Levitt, and Summers consistently espoused Austrian, neoliberal, and neoconservative laissez faire policies.
    ********
    But I’m the economic idiot.

    [Yes, you’re an economic illiterate. Greenspan created the WORST possible combination: Do-gooders in government, along with Fannie and Freddie, set up a situation which encouraged (and often ordered) banks to lend money to any idiot who could sign his name. Then Fannie and Freddie (created by government) bought up the loans, freeing the banks from the risks. Then Greenspan had the Fed keep printing money so the banks would have more and more money to lend out and keep the housing bubble inflating. Then Fannie and Freddie (created by government) bundled the “toxic” mortgages that only existed because of Fannie and Freddie into mortgage derivatives that were bound to tank someday because they were based on mortgages written to unqualified buyers.

    And then — as Frontline pointed out — Greenspan (along with liberal economists Rubin and Summers) opposed regulating the sale of those derivatives, which did indeed tank. Thus, Greenspan and his co-conspirators created the worst possible situation: profits go the investors, but taxpayers are on the hook for losses.

    Idiot’s conclusion: the whole financial mess was created by failure to regulate derivatives. Riiiiight. That’s the whole problem right there. If only those derivatives had been regulated, everything would’ve been fine.

    No, wait … let’s apply some actual logic. We’ll go to a fantasy land where Greenspan supported regulating derivatives. Thanks to all that wise regulation, Fannie and Freddie (created by government) don’t create derivatives and instead hang onto the billion and billions in mortgages they demanded the banks write and then promptly purchased — mortgages that were doomed to fail. So the huge financial failure occurs within Fannie and Freddie (created by government) instead of on Wall Street. The foreclosures still occur, and the government still has to pony up billions and billions to bail out Fannie and Freddie (created by government).

    Once the billions and billions in bad mortgages were written, the financial meltdown was going to happen. It was only a question of where the initial explosion would occur. Those mortgages were written because geniuses in government insisted they should be written and cajoled, bribed and sometimes ordered banks to write them, while Greenspan — ignoring his earlier love of Ayn Rand — created trillions of dollars out of thin air to keep the mortgage money flowing.

    So yes, if you blame the financial meltdown on free markets instead of government distortion of the housing market, if you consider a mortgage industry dictated by Fannie and Freddie and HUD as “laissez faire” economics, and especially if you blame it all on Greenspan being a fan of Ayn Rand at an earlier point in his life — then I’m laughing at your idiocy.]

    Reply
  6. Dana

    I have to say, Rush Limbaugh trying to call Mrs. Obama fat was pretty much the highlight of my month. And that’s not the first time I’ve seen a fat guy criticize a woman’s figure. If that’s not an argument for male privilege, I don’t know what is.

    (Yeah yeah, fat guys are made fun of too. But only a certain kind of fat guy, and oftentimes the fat-bashing isn’t even really about their weight. If Limbaugh weren’t fat, liberals would find some other reason to make fun of him, because he’s a jerk. I’m sure the same applies to Michael Moore, from the conservative point of view.)

    But thank you for at least pointing out that she’s muscular. At this point in my life I’d LOVE to have her figure, even if I think she’s being silly about the fruit and veg thing.

    I’m a bit beyond annoyed at the whole Let Them Eat Plants thing addressed at the poor. Fruit and veggies have few to no *calories.* You can’t live on nothing but leaves and fruits, you’d starve. The poor are no different. Even fat people get hungry. Their calorie-dense options are starches and fats. Animal fats are expensive. A *good* food-aid program would aim to get more of those animal fats into the hands of the poor rather than hand-wringing over whether a poor person can afford fifty cents to buy a tomato. Are they serious? Fruits and veg are cheap no matter who you are. Affordability is not the problem there. It *is* a problem with foods of caloric density. But starches are cheaper than animal fats. So starches are what poor people eat.

    Especially when new low-carbers donate all their rice and pasta to food pantries…

    Even if fruits and veg were a magic anti-obesity, pro-health pill or something, have these rich politicians ever lived in poverty housing? I did. Four years. It wasn’t even section 8 housing, it was just owned by “real estate investors” who wanted to fund their little missionary trips to India to edjumacate them poor ignorant idol-worshippers to follow the one right and only true Jesus. Their idea of landlording was to leave us to our own devices as long as we didn’t kill one another. I gave up on them ever fixing the leak under my sink the first year I was there. I’m sure they wondered why there was water damage, and of course I never saw my deposit back. The last year I was there a drug dealer moved in downstairs and the roach population exploded. I would not have *dared* keep fresh plant foods around sitting out on the counter. And eventually the little bastidges get into the fridge, too.

    Cooking fresh foods requires knowledge of cooking techniques. Home ec was a joke when I took it in the late 80s and I can’t imagine it’s much better now. If your parents are working three jobs to keep you fed and housed, they’re not going to be around to teach you how to cook, either.

    It’s cheaper to eat whole foods, including meat, when you’ve got a chest freezer so you can buy in bulk. I was lucky and found one out by the dumpster one day (different apartment, much better neighborhood or I would never have touched it) that actually worked. They run around $200 new. That’s not in the average poor person’s budget. Sure wasn’t in mine. I’m guessing this one was thrown out by a graduated college student about to move back home. That happens a LOT here. (Usually with sofas and tables, not with freezers, more’s the pity.)

    Of course, buying in bulk really isn’t in the budget of broke people, either.

    I really don’t think people are that ignorant to not want to buy healthy food–healthy by your standards and mine, maybe not by Mrs. Obama’s. The logistics just aren’t there. And they’re not likely to ever *be* there until the problems are properly identified and dealt with. I suppose that’s too much to ask from people who’ve never lived the reality, though.

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  7. FormerSugarAddict

    Love the comment about watching someone poke a snake with a stick… Class

    I think that GrapeNut is lacking in the firsthand evidence required to understand WHY this high protein/fat low-carb diet really works. Your film helped to explain the science behind why carbs and sugars are so bad for us, but I’m not sure if I could/would have bought the theory if I hadn’t seen firsthand experience with it.

    My father has had type 2 diabetes for almost 25 years. He has had numerous stints and a quadruple bypass. After his bypass he expected to feel better, but he continued to have problems regulating his blood sugar. He would break out in sweats overnight, go into near-comas during the day, and just feel BAD. About 6 months ago he started eating virtually no carbs per day. His diabetes has never been better. If that’s not proof, I don’t know what is.

    Lucky for GrapeNuts, he hasn’t had to see his parents wavering at death’s door for years, constantly fearing that every late night phone call is going to be bad news. As for myself and my 4 year old, we are cutting back on carbs and sugar. And yes, the food pyramid is a crock of shit (or maybe Grapenuts).

    The comment about poking a snake with a stick came from my older brother. Partly an inside joke: we’ve both had … uh … moments of primal fear involving snakes. The difference is that his snake was real and mine was imaginary.

    Reply
  8. GrapeNut

    That’s right, it was ALL Fannie and Freddy. No hedge funds or other private equity firms had anything to do with OTC derivatives. They never made a penny doing these highly fraudulent, unregulated ‘black box’ transactions. In your eyes, it’s ok as long as a privately held entity is raping the system, because that’s just unfettered free enterprise.

    Oh, you did know that the Federal Reserve is legally defined as a private financial institution, right? Oops, that would make it a lot closer to your precious private industry that can do no wrong-
    http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=8518

    Below are excerpts from a court case proving the Federal Reserve system’s status. As you will see, the court ruled that the Federal Reserve Banks are “independent, privately owned and locally controlled corporations”, and there is not sufficient “federal government control over ‘detailed physical performance’ and ‘day to day operation'” of the Federal Reserve Bank for it to be considered a federal agency:

    Yes, you idiot, of course I know the Fed is technically a private operation. It was, however, created by government specifically so government could mess with the money supply and incur debt at will. When the Fed steps in and provides a trillion-dollar bailout, do you ever ask yourself where the trillion dollars comes from? Are they keeping it in a vault? No, of course not. They create it out of thin air, which they are empowered to do by your government. So no, it’s nothing like my version of private industry. In my version of private industry, corporations don’t have a government-sanctioned monopoly on a product (money, in this case) and can’t create funds out of thin air and then have the government stick the taxpayers with the bill. In case you haven’t noticed (which you surely haven’t, since you’re an economic illiterate) it’s the libertarians who want the Fed audited and (ideally) abolished. Ron Paul wrote a book called “End the Fed.”

    Since you are an economic illiterate but can’t accept that you’re an economic idiot, I’ll lead with my chin and ask you a very simple question: let’s go back to the days when banks wrote mortgages and were responsible for the mortgages that tanked, instead of having their risks bought up by Fannie and Freddie (created by government). Explain to me how and why they would’ve written millions of bad mortgages. Then explain how, without the Fed (created by government) printing trillions of dollars (only because they’re empowered to do so by government), they would’ve had the funds to keep writing mortgages long after the pool of qualified buyers had already been exhausted. Then explain how, without Fannie and Freddie and the Fed, there would’ve been any toxic mortgage derivatives for the unscrupulous traders to sell.

    Blaming free markets because some Wall Street traders made a killing selling a toxic product created by government in the first place is, yes, really and truly, idiotic. If the government poisoned a river and then some fishermen sold fish tainted by the water, you’d no doubt blame any deaths that occurred on the failure of government to regulate fish sales.

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  9. GrapeNut

    Here’s the part where Greenspan admits while testifying before Congress that he was ‘flawed’ in his unbridled execution of Ayn Rand’s principles.

    http://www.marketwatch.com/story/greenspan-and-ayn-rand-disciple-or-traitor-2010-06-19

    *******************
    NEW YORK (MarketWatch) — In one of the most dramatic moments in the global financial crisis, former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan testified before Congress in October 2008, just weeks after the collapse of Lehman Brothers spread fear and panic around the world.
    Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) bluntly asked him, “Were you wrong?”

    “Partially,” replied the humbled Greenspan, who once sat at the commanding heights of the world’s economy.

    “Yes, I found a flaw…, [a] flaw in the model that I perceived is the critical functioning structure that defines how the world works, so to speak.”

    “That’s precisely the reason I was shocked,” he continued, “because I had been going for 40 years or more with very considerable evidence that it was working exceptionally well.”
    ***********

    I WAS SHOCKED I TELL YA, SHOCKED. I TOLD BROOKSLEY BORN SPECIFICALLY THAT I DID NOT BELIEVE IN REGULATION, THAT THE MARKETS WOULD TAKE CARE OF THEMSELVES.

    He said that a few years before the whole thing melted down and the taxpayer was left holding the bag. “Do-Gooders” another code word I hear from the right wing all the time. You may well be so pathetic and confused that you don’t even understand that your just repeating the ‘talking points of the day’ spoon fed each morning from the likes of Karl Rove and Grover Norquist.

    I think your brain function is impaired from lack of fiber. If you can’t properly poop, it all gets backed up and starts coming out of your mouth.

    Well, if Greenspan thought failing to regulate a toxic, unnaturally-distorted market that only existed because of government in the first place proves that “free markets” don’t work, I guess that settles it. Like I said before, Greenspan and the do-gooders promoting “affordable” housing created the WORST possible situation: they created a huge market that only existed because of government — therefore nothing like a natural market — and then failed to regulate it.

    Now, once again: explain to me how and why, without Fannie and Freddie and the Fed, those millions of bad mortgages would’ve been created in the first place.

    Reply
  10. GrapeNut

    You do understand that Fannie Mae has been a publicly traded company since 1968:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fannie_Mae
    *********
    The Federal National Mortgage Association (FNMA) (OTCBB: FNMA), commonly known as Fannie Mae, was founded in 1938 during the Great Depression as part of the New Deal. It was set up as a government-sponsored enterprise (GSE), but it converted into a publicly traded company in 1968.

    In 1999, Fannie Mae came under pressure from the Clinton administration to expand mortgage loans to low and moderate income borrowers by increasing the ratios of their loan portfolios in distressed inner city areas designated in the CRA of 1977.[17] Because of the increased ratio requirements, institutions in the primary mortgage market pressed Fannie Mae to ease credit requirements on the mortgages it was willing to purchase, enabling them to make loans to subprime borrowers at interest rates higher than conventional loans. Shareholders also pressured Fannie Mae to maintain its record profits.[17]
    **********
    It wasn’t ONLY the government pressuring them to make sub-prime loans, the shareholders were involved as well. You consistently cherry pick which side of the story you want to tell. You’re either misinformed (and I read a several comments on Netflix from real nutritionists who were alarmed at the misinformation contained in Fat Head) or you just want to distort the fact to prove your point.

    The federal takeover of both institutions (re-takeover I suppose) happened on September 6 2008, necessitated by the financial collapse.

    You can’t just keep blaming every damn thing that goes wrong on government regulation and institutions. I know it’s easy and gives you instant gratification but it’s like the HFCS of rationalizations. A quick hit sugar high followed by a sagging collapse when someone like me who actually researched the issue shows up and proves you wrong.

    Banks begged Fannie and Freddie to buy up more of the risky loans forced on them by the government, shareholders in a government-created entity clamored for more profits and the government-created entity obliged by buying even more risky loans … and this proves that free markets (which would preclude governments ordering banks to make risky loans, and also preclude government-created entities from engaging in the mortgage business) don’t work. Well, that is certainly a convincing argument. Congratulations on your stunning research capabilities.

    This began as a post about Michelle Obama’s plan to waste taxpayer dollars bringing fruits to areas where people don’t buy fruit, but has since devolved into your relentless quest to explain how the implosion of government-mandated mortgages proves that people who share Ayn Rand’s anti-government philosophy caused the whole thing. If you’d like to continue embarrassing yourself by putting your economic illiteracy on public display, do so in the comments section of this post on my other blog, which is dedicated to politics and economics — you’ve polluted the comments section on this post enough already.

    http://www.tomnaughton.com/?p=324

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  11. GrapeNut

    I’ll skip most of your other insane babble and cut to your “version of private industry rant”.
    [So no, it’s nothing like my version of private industry. In my version of private industry, corporations don’t have a government-sanctioned monopoly on a product (money, in this case) and can’t create funds out of thin air and then have the government stick the taxpayers with the bill. In case you haven’t noticed (which you surely haven’t, since you’re an economic illiterate) it’s the libertarians who want the Fed audited and (ideally) abolished. Ron Paul wrote a book called “End the Fed.”]
    Corporations like GM and Chrysler who built giant SUVs that everyone wanted until suddenly no one did yet were too poorly managed to adapt to market changes, went begging to Congress and ended up getting bailed out on the taxpayers dime. Chrysler is still making useless crap for the most part, a solid 10 years in arrears of modern automotive technology. Again, you are incorrect in saying companies “can’t create funds out of thin air and then have the government stick the taxpayers with the bill.” That is exactly what happened in the case of GM and Chrysler. Too big to fail, they socialize the costs, privatize the profits.

    That’s the actual reality of your so-called private corporations.

    Hmmm, let me see if I can follow the (ahem) logic: badly managed corporations that should’ve been allowed fail instead go begging for a federal bailout, the government then provides the bailout by empowering the Fed to create money out of thin air and stick the taxpayers with the bill, and this proves that private corporations — which had to go beg the government for the money — can create their own money out of thin air and stick taxpayers with the bill.

    Yes, Grapes, your sense of logic is impeccable. GM can’t take a dime from me unless the government forces me to fork it over — which they did.

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  12. Cindy Drake

    That was so much fun! I’m supposed to be doing homework for my college class, but I couldn’t tear myself away from your exchange with GrapeNut. So much more interesting than my college text!

    Well, he was kind of amusing. When he blamed Greenspan’s massive government interference in the economy on Greenspan’s previous admiration of one of the most anti-government thinkers of modern times, I had to finish laughing before I could reply.

    Reply
  13. Birth Cert Detector

    Go get ’em Tom! Mrs. O’s Fruit n’ Veggie plan is nuts! And while your at it, see if you can find Obama’s birth certificate. The constitution has been trampled upon, Don’t Tread On Me.

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  14. GrapeNut

    [Well, he was kind of amusing. When he blamed Greenspan’s massive government interference in the economy on Greenspan’s previous admiration of one of the most anti-government thinkers of modern times, I had to finish laughing before I could reply.]

    Tom, you are so ill-informed about Greenspan’s tenure as Fed chairman, that it is laughable. You have to be running a reverse troll on me, no one could be this stupid for real. Keep on digging your hole as you sneer at my interpretation.

    1) You need to watch the Frontline documentaries that I listed earlier, especially “The Warning”. I know you’ll dismiss anything Frontline says as ‘biased journalism’. Never mind that it directly quotes Greenspan regretting his deregulatory approach.

    2)Here are the cliff notes, regarding the OTC Derivatives Market (which as a libertarian, you probably think was a good idea. They deliberately kept the Government ‘out of their business’ and ended up wrecking the economy.)
    ***********
    Brooksley Born was appointed to the CFTC on April 15, 1994 by President Bill Clinton. Due to litigation against Bankers Trust Company by Procter and Gamble and other corporate clients, Born and her team at the CFTC sought comments on the regulation of derivatives,[3] a first step in the process of writing comprehensive regulations. Born was particularly concerned about swaps, financial instruments that are traded over the counter between banks, insurance companies or other funds or companies, and thus have no transparency except to the two counterparties and the counterparties’ regulators, if any. [b]CFTC regulation was strenuously opposed by Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan,[/b] and by Treasury Secretaries Robert Rubin and Lawrence Summers.[4] On May 7, 1998, former SEC Chairman Arthur Levitt joined Rubin and Greenspan in objecting to the issuance of the CFTC’s concept release. Their response dismissed Born’s analysis and focused on the hypothetical possibility that CFTC regulation of swaps and other OTC derivative instruments could create a “legal uncertainty” regarding such financial instruments, hypothetically reducing the value of the instruments. They iterated the traditional capitalist-class argument that the imposition of regulatory costs would “stifle financial innovation” and encourage financial capital to transfer its transactions offshore.[8] The disagreement between Born and the Executive Office’s top economic policy advisors has been described not only as a classic Washington turf war,[6] but also a war of ideologies,[9] insofar as it is possible to argue that Born’s actions were consistent with Keynesian and neoclassical economics while Greenspan, Rubin, Levitt, and Summers consistently espoused Austrian, neoliberal, and neoconservative laissez faire policies.
    ********
    But I’m the economic idiot.

    [Yes, you’re an economic illiterate. Greenspan created the WORST possible combination: Do-gooders in government, along with Fannie and Freddie, set up a situation which encouraged (and often ordered) banks to lend money to any idiot who could sign his name. Then Fannie and Freddie (created by government) bought up the loans, freeing the banks from the risks. Then Greenspan had the Fed keep printing money so the banks would have more and more money to lend out and keep the housing bubble inflating. Then Fannie and Freddie (created by government) bundled the “toxic” mortgages that only existed because of Fannie and Freddie into mortgage derivatives that were bound to tank someday because they were based on mortgages written to unqualified buyers.

    And then — as Frontline pointed out — Greenspan (along with liberal economists Rubin and Summers) opposed regulating the sale of those derivatives, which did indeed tank. Thus, Greenspan and his co-conspirators created the worst possible situation: profits go the investors, but taxpayers are on the hook for losses.

    Idiot’s conclusion: the whole financial mess was created by failure to regulate derivatives. Riiiiight. That’s the whole problem right there. If only those derivatives had been regulated, everything would’ve been fine.

    No, wait … let’s apply some actual logic. We’ll go to a fantasy land where Greenspan supported regulating derivatives. Thanks to all that wise regulation, Fannie and Freddie (created by government) don’t create derivatives and instead hang onto the billion and billions in mortgages they demanded the banks write and then promptly purchased — mortgages that were doomed to fail. So the huge financial failure occurs within Fannie and Freddie (created by government) instead of on Wall Street. The foreclosures still occur, and the government still has to pony up billions and billions to bail out Fannie and Freddie (created by government).

    Once the billions and billions in bad mortgages were written, the financial meltdown was going to happen. It was only a question of where the initial explosion would occur. Those mortgages were written because geniuses in government insisted they should be written and cajoled, bribed and sometimes ordered banks to write them, while Greenspan — ignoring his earlier love of Ayn Rand — created trillions of dollars out of thin air to keep the mortgage money flowing.

    So yes, if you blame the financial meltdown on free markets instead of government distortion of the housing market, if you consider a mortgage industry dictated by Fannie and Freddie and HUD as “laissez faire” economics, and especially if you blame it all on Greenspan being a fan of Ayn Rand at an earlier point in his life — then I’m laughing at your idiocy.]

    Reply
  15. Dana

    I have to say, Rush Limbaugh trying to call Mrs. Obama fat was pretty much the highlight of my month. And that’s not the first time I’ve seen a fat guy criticize a woman’s figure. If that’s not an argument for male privilege, I don’t know what is.

    (Yeah yeah, fat guys are made fun of too. But only a certain kind of fat guy, and oftentimes the fat-bashing isn’t even really about their weight. If Limbaugh weren’t fat, liberals would find some other reason to make fun of him, because he’s a jerk. I’m sure the same applies to Michael Moore, from the conservative point of view.)

    But thank you for at least pointing out that she’s muscular. At this point in my life I’d LOVE to have her figure, even if I think she’s being silly about the fruit and veg thing.

    I’m a bit beyond annoyed at the whole Let Them Eat Plants thing addressed at the poor. Fruit and veggies have few to no *calories.* You can’t live on nothing but leaves and fruits, you’d starve. The poor are no different. Even fat people get hungry. Their calorie-dense options are starches and fats. Animal fats are expensive. A *good* food-aid program would aim to get more of those animal fats into the hands of the poor rather than hand-wringing over whether a poor person can afford fifty cents to buy a tomato. Are they serious? Fruits and veg are cheap no matter who you are. Affordability is not the problem there. It *is* a problem with foods of caloric density. But starches are cheaper than animal fats. So starches are what poor people eat.

    Especially when new low-carbers donate all their rice and pasta to food pantries…

    Even if fruits and veg were a magic anti-obesity, pro-health pill or something, have these rich politicians ever lived in poverty housing? I did. Four years. It wasn’t even section 8 housing, it was just owned by “real estate investors” who wanted to fund their little missionary trips to India to edjumacate them poor ignorant idol-worshippers to follow the one right and only true Jesus. Their idea of landlording was to leave us to our own devices as long as we didn’t kill one another. I gave up on them ever fixing the leak under my sink the first year I was there. I’m sure they wondered why there was water damage, and of course I never saw my deposit back. The last year I was there a drug dealer moved in downstairs and the roach population exploded. I would not have *dared* keep fresh plant foods around sitting out on the counter. And eventually the little bastidges get into the fridge, too.

    Cooking fresh foods requires knowledge of cooking techniques. Home ec was a joke when I took it in the late 80s and I can’t imagine it’s much better now. If your parents are working three jobs to keep you fed and housed, they’re not going to be around to teach you how to cook, either.

    It’s cheaper to eat whole foods, including meat, when you’ve got a chest freezer so you can buy in bulk. I was lucky and found one out by the dumpster one day (different apartment, much better neighborhood or I would never have touched it) that actually worked. They run around $200 new. That’s not in the average poor person’s budget. Sure wasn’t in mine. I’m guessing this one was thrown out by a graduated college student about to move back home. That happens a LOT here. (Usually with sofas and tables, not with freezers, more’s the pity.)

    Of course, buying in bulk really isn’t in the budget of broke people, either.

    I really don’t think people are that ignorant to not want to buy healthy food–healthy by your standards and mine, maybe not by Mrs. Obama’s. The logistics just aren’t there. And they’re not likely to ever *be* there until the problems are properly identified and dealt with. I suppose that’s too much to ask from people who’ve never lived the reality, though.

    Reply
  16. GrapeNut

    That’s right, it was ALL Fannie and Freddy. No hedge funds or other private equity firms had anything to do with OTC derivatives. They never made a penny doing these highly fraudulent, unregulated ‘black box’ transactions. In your eyes, it’s ok as long as a privately held entity is raping the system, because that’s just unfettered free enterprise.

    Oh, you did know that the Federal Reserve is legally defined as a private financial institution, right? Oops, that would make it a lot closer to your precious private industry that can do no wrong-
    http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=8518

    Below are excerpts from a court case proving the Federal Reserve system’s status. As you will see, the court ruled that the Federal Reserve Banks are “independent, privately owned and locally controlled corporations”, and there is not sufficient “federal government control over ‘detailed physical performance’ and ‘day to day operation'” of the Federal Reserve Bank for it to be considered a federal agency:

    Yes, you idiot, of course I know the Fed is technically a private operation. It was, however, created by government specifically so government could mess with the money supply and incur debt at will. When the Fed steps in and provides a trillion-dollar bailout, do you ever ask yourself where the trillion dollars comes from? Are they keeping it in a vault? No, of course not. They create it out of thin air, which they are empowered to do by your government. So no, it’s nothing like my version of private industry. In my version of private industry, corporations don’t have a government-sanctioned monopoly on a product (money, in this case) and can’t create funds out of thin air and then have the government stick the taxpayers with the bill. In case you haven’t noticed (which you surely haven’t, since you’re an economic illiterate) it’s the libertarians who want the Fed audited and (ideally) abolished. Ron Paul wrote a book called “End the Fed.”

    Since you are an economic illiterate but can’t accept that you’re an economic idiot, I’ll lead with my chin and ask you a very simple question: let’s go back to the days when banks wrote mortgages and were responsible for the mortgages that tanked, instead of having their risks bought up by Fannie and Freddie (created by government). Explain to me how and why they would’ve written millions of bad mortgages. Then explain how, without the Fed (created by government) printing trillions of dollars (only because they’re empowered to do so by government), they would’ve had the funds to keep writing mortgages long after the pool of qualified buyers had already been exhausted. Then explain how, without Fannie and Freddie and the Fed, there would’ve been any toxic mortgage derivatives for the unscrupulous traders to sell.

    Blaming free markets because some Wall Street traders made a killing selling a toxic product created by government in the first place is, yes, really and truly, idiotic. If the government poisoned a river and then some fishermen sold fish tainted by the water, you’d no doubt blame any deaths that occurred on the failure of government to regulate fish sales.

    Reply
  17. GrapeNut

    Here’s the part where Greenspan admits while testifying before Congress that he was ‘flawed’ in his unbridled execution of Ayn Rand’s principles.

    http://www.marketwatch.com/story/greenspan-and-ayn-rand-disciple-or-traitor-2010-06-19

    *******************
    NEW YORK (MarketWatch) — In one of the most dramatic moments in the global financial crisis, former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan testified before Congress in October 2008, just weeks after the collapse of Lehman Brothers spread fear and panic around the world.
    Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) bluntly asked him, “Were you wrong?”

    “Partially,” replied the humbled Greenspan, who once sat at the commanding heights of the world’s economy.

    “Yes, I found a flaw…, [a] flaw in the model that I perceived is the critical functioning structure that defines how the world works, so to speak.”

    “That’s precisely the reason I was shocked,” he continued, “because I had been going for 40 years or more with very considerable evidence that it was working exceptionally well.”
    ***********

    I WAS SHOCKED I TELL YA, SHOCKED. I TOLD BROOKSLEY BORN SPECIFICALLY THAT I DID NOT BELIEVE IN REGULATION, THAT THE MARKETS WOULD TAKE CARE OF THEMSELVES.

    He said that a few years before the whole thing melted down and the taxpayer was left holding the bag. “Do-Gooders” another code word I hear from the right wing all the time. You may well be so pathetic and confused that you don’t even understand that your just repeating the ‘talking points of the day’ spoon fed each morning from the likes of Karl Rove and Grover Norquist.

    I think your brain function is impaired from lack of fiber. If you can’t properly poop, it all gets backed up and starts coming out of your mouth.

    Well, if Greenspan thought failing to regulate a toxic, unnaturally-distorted market that only existed because of government in the first place proves that “free markets” don’t work, I guess that settles it. Like I said before, Greenspan and the do-gooders promoting “affordable” housing created the WORST possible situation: they created a huge market that only existed because of government — therefore nothing like a natural market — and then failed to regulate it.

    Now, once again: explain to me how and why, without Fannie and Freddie and the Fed, those millions of bad mortgages would’ve been created in the first place.

    Reply
  18. GrapeNut

    You do understand that Fannie Mae has been a publicly traded company since 1968:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fannie_Mae
    *********
    The Federal National Mortgage Association (FNMA) (OTCBB: FNMA), commonly known as Fannie Mae, was founded in 1938 during the Great Depression as part of the New Deal. It was set up as a government-sponsored enterprise (GSE), but it converted into a publicly traded company in 1968.

    In 1999, Fannie Mae came under pressure from the Clinton administration to expand mortgage loans to low and moderate income borrowers by increasing the ratios of their loan portfolios in distressed inner city areas designated in the CRA of 1977.[17] Because of the increased ratio requirements, institutions in the primary mortgage market pressed Fannie Mae to ease credit requirements on the mortgages it was willing to purchase, enabling them to make loans to subprime borrowers at interest rates higher than conventional loans. Shareholders also pressured Fannie Mae to maintain its record profits.[17]
    **********
    It wasn’t ONLY the government pressuring them to make sub-prime loans, the shareholders were involved as well. You consistently cherry pick which side of the story you want to tell. You’re either misinformed (and I read a several comments on Netflix from real nutritionists who were alarmed at the misinformation contained in Fat Head) or you just want to distort the fact to prove your point.

    The federal takeover of both institutions (re-takeover I suppose) happened on September 6 2008, necessitated by the financial collapse.

    You can’t just keep blaming every damn thing that goes wrong on government regulation and institutions. I know it’s easy and gives you instant gratification but it’s like the HFCS of rationalizations. A quick hit sugar high followed by a sagging collapse when someone like me who actually researched the issue shows up and proves you wrong.

    Banks begged Fannie and Freddie to buy up more of the risky loans forced on them by the government, shareholders in a government-created entity clamored for more profits and the government-created entity obliged by buying even more risky loans … and this proves that free markets (which would preclude governments ordering banks to make risky loans, and also preclude government-created entities from engaging in the mortgage business) don’t work. Well, that is certainly a convincing argument. Congratulations on your stunning research capabilities.

    This began as a post about Michelle Obama’s plan to waste taxpayer dollars bringing fruits to areas where people don’t buy fruit, but has since devolved into your relentless quest to explain how the implosion of government-mandated mortgages proves that people who share Ayn Rand’s anti-government philosophy caused the whole thing. If you’d like to continue embarrassing yourself by putting your economic illiteracy on public display, do so in the comments section of this post on my other blog, which is dedicated to politics and economics — you’ve polluted the comments section on this post enough already.

    http://www.tomnaughton.com/?p=324

    Reply
  19. GrapeNut

    I’ll skip most of your other insane babble and cut to your “version of private industry rant”.
    [So no, it’s nothing like my version of private industry. In my version of private industry, corporations don’t have a government-sanctioned monopoly on a product (money, in this case) and can’t create funds out of thin air and then have the government stick the taxpayers with the bill. In case you haven’t noticed (which you surely haven’t, since you’re an economic illiterate) it’s the libertarians who want the Fed audited and (ideally) abolished. Ron Paul wrote a book called “End the Fed.”]
    Corporations like GM and Chrysler who built giant SUVs that everyone wanted until suddenly no one did yet were too poorly managed to adapt to market changes, went begging to Congress and ended up getting bailed out on the taxpayers dime. Chrysler is still making useless crap for the most part, a solid 10 years in arrears of modern automotive technology. Again, you are incorrect in saying companies “can’t create funds out of thin air and then have the government stick the taxpayers with the bill.” That is exactly what happened in the case of GM and Chrysler. Too big to fail, they socialize the costs, privatize the profits.

    That’s the actual reality of your so-called private corporations.

    Hmmm, let me see if I can follow the (ahem) logic: badly managed corporations that should’ve been allowed fail instead go begging for a federal bailout, the government then provides the bailout by empowering the Fed to create money out of thin air and stick the taxpayers with the bill, and this proves that private corporations — which had to go beg the government for the money — can create their own money out of thin air and stick taxpayers with the bill.

    Yes, Grapes, your sense of logic is impeccable. GM can’t take a dime from me unless the government forces me to fork it over — which they did.

    Reply
  20. Brendan

    Wow, your exchanges with GrapeNUT are very very amusing and fun. In fact, I learn more about the US economy in the exchanges than what I get from the news.

    If I am an economic illiterate, I would not blatantly display my ignorance and my illiteracy on public display. Same thing, if I am a nutritional illiterate. GrapeNUT is certainly giving an impression he or she is both.

    Something for GrapeNut to ponder on the wrong advice from the beloved and well intentioned government regarding our intake of saturated fat and meat:

    “Furthermore, particularly given the differential effects of dietary saturated fats and carbohydrates on concentrations of larger and smaller LDL particles, respectively, dietary efforts to improve the increasing burden of CVD risk associated with atherogenic dyslipidemia should primarily emphasize the limitation of refined carbohydrate intakes and a reduction in excess adiposity.”
    http://www.ajcn.org/content/early/2010/01/20/ajcn.2008.26285.abstract

    Regarding the economic issues, I think you have done a good job trying to get through her or his thick head. But like arguing with a vegan evangelist defending the wonders of a meatless diet, it’s a futile effort.

    Oh, I knew there was no way to convince someone having the government-good/business-bad mindset that the economic meltdown was sparked by government do-gooders. But just in case someone who didn’t have an opinion either way was following, I decided to respond to his nonsense.

    Reply
  21. Your Older Brother

    Greenspan sold out and did a complete 180 on his Randian/libertarian roots and become a big government cheerleader long before becoming the Fed chief.

    The outstanding book “Financial Reckoning Day” by William Bonner and Addison Wiggins, has a whole chapter on him — “The Fabulous Destiny of Alan Greenspan”:
    ===============
    “Ayn Rand died of lung cancer in 1982, on Alan Greenspan’s birthday. (At least the gods have a sense of irony!) By then, Greenspan had already moved far beyond her. She despised central planning, but her disciple was on his toward becoming the most successful central planner in history… By then, the former gold bug had become a managed currency bug. He was getting along magnificently.”

    “In his book, [Bob] Woodward observes the scene like a ground squirrel watching a bank robbery. He notices every movement, but seems to have no idea what was going on. Greenspan, however, knew exactly what he was doing: A true Randian, Greenspan never put the interests of others ahead of his own. He was just going along.”
    ==================

    Great book, by the way. The first edition came out in 2003, and they were thoroughly laughed at for predicting that the stock and real estate markets were heading for a huge bubble and collapse, to be followed by the Mother of All Bubbles — the U.S. dollar. Coming soon to a country near you.

    They released an updated edition in 2009 and I highly recommend it for anyone. Well, maybe except for Perfessor Grapenut. He already knows everything. (Remember how Mr. Chin used to tell us “you can’t put anything in a full glass!”)

    In the excellent book “Meltdown,” Thomas Woods also ripped Greenspan a new one for abandoning his (supposed) libertarian/Austrian economic principles and deciding to play Central Planner — the results being exactly what Hayek’s explanation of the boom/bust cycle would have predicted.

    Reply
  22. Brendan

    Wow, your exchanges with GrapeNUT are very very amusing and fun. In fact, I learn more about the US economy in the exchanges than what I get from the news.

    If I am an economic illiterate, I would not blatantly display my ignorance and my illiteracy on public display. Same thing, if I am a nutritional illiterate. GrapeNUT is certainly giving an impression he or she is both.

    Something for GrapeNut to ponder on the wrong advice from the beloved and well intentioned government regarding our intake of saturated fat and meat:

    “Furthermore, particularly given the differential effects of dietary saturated fats and carbohydrates on concentrations of larger and smaller LDL particles, respectively, dietary efforts to improve the increasing burden of CVD risk associated with atherogenic dyslipidemia should primarily emphasize the limitation of refined carbohydrate intakes and a reduction in excess adiposity.”
    http://www.ajcn.org/content/early/2010/01/20/ajcn.2008.26285.abstract

    Regarding the economic issues, I think you have done a good job trying to get through her or his thick head. But like arguing with a vegan evangelist defending the wonders of a meatless diet, it’s a futile effort.

    Oh, I knew there was no way to convince someone having the government-good/business-bad mindset that the economic meltdown was sparked by government do-gooders. But just in case someone who didn’t have an opinion either way was following, I decided to respond to his nonsense.

    Reply
  23. GrapeNut

    I see you have the birther crowd here now. Nice work.

    Yes, moron, you can see what a big crowd of them I have here (one, maybe?), and of course you can explain how my work created that crowd.

    Every time you open your mouth (in a manner of speaking), you look more foolish. I was tempted to let you keep embarrassing yourself, but now that you’ve stooped to finding reviews in cyberspace written by fellow morons who can’t distinguish between “libertarian” and “right wing” and attempting to post them here, you are officially both an insufferable jackass and a total waste of time. Goodbye.

    Reply
  24. Your Older Brother

    Greenspan sold out and did a complete 180 on his Randian/libertarian roots and become a big government cheerleader long before becoming the Fed chief.

    The outstanding book “Financial Reckoning Day” by William Bonner and Addison Wiggins, has a whole chapter on him — “The Fabulous Destiny of Alan Greenspan”:
    ===============
    “Ayn Rand died of lung cancer in 1982, on Alan Greenspan’s birthday. (At least the gods have a sense of irony!) By then, Greenspan had already moved far beyond her. She despised central planning, but her disciple was on his toward becoming the most successful central planner in history… By then, the former gold bug had become a managed currency bug. He was getting along magnificently.”

    “In his book, [Bob] Woodward observes the scene like a ground squirrel watching a bank robbery. He notices every movement, but seems to have no idea what was going on. Greenspan, however, knew exactly what he was doing: A true Randian, Greenspan never put the interests of others ahead of his own. He was just going along.”
    ==================

    Great book, by the way. The first edition came out in 2003, and they were thoroughly laughed at for predicting that the stock and real estate markets were heading for a huge bubble and collapse, to be followed by the Mother of All Bubbles — the U.S. dollar. Coming soon to a country near you.

    They released an updated edition in 2009 and I highly recommend it for anyone. Well, maybe except for Perfessor Grapenut. He already knows everything. (Remember how Mr. Chin used to tell us “you can’t put anything in a full glass!”)

    In the excellent book “Meltdown,” Thomas Woods also ripped Greenspan a new one for abandoning his (supposed) libertarian/Austrian economic principles and deciding to play Central Planner — the results being exactly what Hayek’s explanation of the boom/bust cycle would have predicted.

    Reply
  25. GrapeNut

    I see you have the birther crowd here now. Nice work.

    Yes, moron, you can see what a big crowd of them I have here (one, maybe?), and of course you can explain how my work created that crowd.

    Every time you open your mouth (in a manner of speaking), you look more foolish. I was tempted to let you keep embarrassing yourself, but now that you’ve stooped to finding reviews in cyberspace written by fellow morons who can’t distinguish between “libertarian” and “right wing” and attempting to post them here, you are officially both an insufferable jackass and a total waste of time. Goodbye.

    Reply
  26. Mike

    BMI, or Barely Meaningful Information [as I like to think of it] is absolutely useless. I am 6’2″, about 215, with a 46 chest and 34 waist. My BMI, however, is 27.6. I’m obviously overweight and need to drop 20 lbs to get to a BMI of 25 so that I am suddenly ‘healthy’.

    Here is a sad experience I had [so did my father in law] regarding my size [my father-in-law has the exact same build as me]. When I was looking at tuxes for my wedding, my soon-to-be wife gave the store we were at her father’s measurements [he had his measurements taken at his local tailor]. The store we were at looked at the measurements and said that someone with those numbers didn’t exist! He is the same size as me, although they had not measured me at this point yet. So my wife, being an irish/italian spitfire, went off on the guy about how they shouldn’t penalize healthy people. So I step up to get measured. Jacket is a 46, as I expected. The default pants that come with a 46 jacket are a 42! The guy hands me the pants and tells me they are 42’s and to try them on… to which I start laughing thinking he is just messing with me. He was being serious. I explain to him that I wear a 34…maybe a 36 depending on the brand. He doesn’t believe me and proceeds to measure me. In the end, they had to completely overhaul the pants to make them work. I never thought being healthy would create clothing issues for me.

    That’s funny. I guess we can understand if they don’t see many people wearing a size 46 jacket who ask for size 34 pants.

    My wedding-tux experience was slightly different: when I picked it up a few hours before the wedding, the cumberbund was missing. By the time I realized that, the local store was closed. I had to call another store in another city, and a manager there generously agreed to drive the missing cumberbund to the house. I barely made it to the church on time. (Isn’t there a song about that?)

    Reply
  27. Mike

    BMI, or Barely Meaningful Information [as I like to think of it] is absolutely useless. I am 6’2″, about 215, with a 46 chest and 34 waist. My BMI, however, is 27.6. I’m obviously overweight and need to drop 20 lbs to get to a BMI of 25 so that I am suddenly ‘healthy’.

    Here is a sad experience I had [so did my father in law] regarding my size [my father-in-law has the exact same build as me]. When I was looking at tuxes for my wedding, my soon-to-be wife gave the store we were at her father’s measurements [he had his measurements taken at his local tailor]. The store we were at looked at the measurements and said that someone with those numbers didn’t exist! He is the same size as me, although they had not measured me at this point yet. So my wife, being an irish/italian spitfire, went off on the guy about how they shouldn’t penalize healthy people. So I step up to get measured. Jacket is a 46, as I expected. The default pants that come with a 46 jacket are a 42! The guy hands me the pants and tells me they are 42’s and to try them on… to which I start laughing thinking he is just messing with me. He was being serious. I explain to him that I wear a 34…maybe a 36 depending on the brand. He doesn’t believe me and proceeds to measure me. In the end, they had to completely overhaul the pants to make them work. I never thought being healthy would create clothing issues for me.

    That’s funny. I guess we can understand if they don’t see many people wearing a size 46 jacket who ask for size 34 pants.

    My wedding-tux experience was slightly different: when I picked it up a few hours before the wedding, the cumberbund was missing. By the time I realized that, the local store was closed. I had to call another store in another city, and a manager there generously agreed to drive the missing cumberbund to the house. I barely made it to the church on time. (Isn’t there a song about that?)

    Reply
  28. Issy

    Actually, I have a figure very similar to Michelle Obama and my BMI is 20.4%. I know it doesn’t really mean anything but I’m just saying, she’s probably not classified as “overweight”.

    I don’t think she’s fat, you understand. She isn’t. But depending on whose figures you read online, she weighs somewhere in the neighborhood of 180 pounds, which would classify her as overweight, according to the stupid BMI score.

    Reply
  29. Issy

    Actually, I have a figure very similar to Michelle Obama and my BMI is 20.4%. I know it doesn’t really mean anything but I’m just saying, she’s probably not classified as “overweight”.

    I don’t think she’s fat, you understand. She isn’t. But depending on whose figures you read online, she weighs somewhere in the neighborhood of 180 pounds, which would classify her as overweight, according to the stupid BMI score.

    Reply
  30. Becky

    Can the government please find a bigger waste of time and money? Seriously, what are they effing doing? Aren’t most governmental agencies in billions of dollar’s worth of deficits right now? Is this really the focus? Cheaper fruits & vegetables? Newsflash: a pound of carrots usually goes for about $.50 and a pound of apples is usually around $1.50. Granted, there is washing, peeling (the carrots, not the apples), cutting and storing involved but for the love of Mike it’s seriously not that difficult. So let’s look at a Snicker’s bar. It’s approximately 2 Oz (according to their website, I don’t have one in front of me thank God). So if you’re at a convenience store and you pick up a pound of Snickers bars, you need to buy 8. And I can tell you from experience that at a convenience store, they are at least $1.00 each. By my estimates, Snickers are about $8.00/lb. A lot more than carrots, apples, cheese and lunch meat. Even steak at $8.00 is a little pricey (we’re not talking filet minon here but one can usually find a decent top sir loin, KC Strip or t-bone for around $6.00/ lb, and that’s when they’re not on sale). So please tell me why the argument is always always always that it’s so much less expensive to eat junk food than it is to eat healthy? It’s a feeble excuse that people cling to because they don’t want to admit they make bad choices. Know what’s expensive? Soda, chocolate, chips, and cookies, “fruit” snacks, juice boxes and cereal. All of the crap that people claim is “cheap”. I personally have a grocery budget of $25.00 per week and I eat just fine. I skip the candy aisle (most of the time) and head to frozen vegetables, eggs, cheese, steak and fruit. And I didn’t even need Michelle Obama to help me figure it out.

    Reply
  31. Becky

    Can the government please find a bigger waste of time and money? Seriously, what are they effing doing? Aren’t most governmental agencies in billions of dollar’s worth of deficits right now? Is this really the focus? Cheaper fruits & vegetables? Newsflash: a pound of carrots usually goes for about $.50 and a pound of apples is usually around $1.50. Granted, there is washing, peeling (the carrots, not the apples), cutting and storing involved but for the love of Mike it’s seriously not that difficult. So let’s look at a Snicker’s bar. It’s approximately 2 Oz (according to their website, I don’t have one in front of me thank God). So if you’re at a convenience store and you pick up a pound of Snickers bars, you need to buy 8. And I can tell you from experience that at a convenience store, they are at least $1.00 each. By my estimates, Snickers are about $8.00/lb. A lot more than carrots, apples, cheese and lunch meat. Even steak at $8.00 is a little pricey (we’re not talking filet minon here but one can usually find a decent top sir loin, KC Strip or t-bone for around $6.00/ lb, and that’s when they’re not on sale). So please tell me why the argument is always always always that it’s so much less expensive to eat junk food than it is to eat healthy? It’s a feeble excuse that people cling to because they don’t want to admit they make bad choices. Know what’s expensive? Soda, chocolate, chips, and cookies, “fruit” snacks, juice boxes and cereal. All of the crap that people claim is “cheap”. I personally have a grocery budget of $25.00 per week and I eat just fine. I skip the candy aisle (most of the time) and head to frozen vegetables, eggs, cheese, steak and fruit. And I didn’t even need Michelle Obama to help me figure it out.

    Reply
  32. Labhraín

    “If they were wasting our tax dollars promoting advice that actually works, it would merely be annoying.”

    Pretty much. I’d much prefer the government stay out of it entirely. It has no business telling us how to eat.

    Bingo. Not their job.

    Reply

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