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The programming project that’s been dominating my time and my life should wrap up this weekend.  In fact, this is the do-or-die weekend.  I’m supposed to run my big-fix program before Monday.  Everyone from the president of IT on down is waiting for results, so if I fail, I’m failing on a big stage.

It’s a bit stressful, but I also tend to thrive under this kind of pressure.  Years ago, an agent who signed me in Los Angeles told me he liked to work with standup comedians and retired athletes, and that the two share some personality traits.  As someone nearly devoid of natural athletic ability, my reaction was something like, “Uh … huh?  What are you talking about?”

“Think about it,” he said.  “You both have to perform in a high-pressure situation in front of a live audience.  Doesn’t matter if you’re tired, doesn’t matter what kind of mood you’re in, doesn’t matter how good you were last time out.  When it’s game time, you have to get out there and do the job.  There’s no re-shoot and no second take.  It’s the personality type who wants the ball when it matters.”

So yeah, I kind of wanted the ball when this one came around.  Hope I don’t fumble.

Anyway, I expect life to return to normal on Monday, which means I won’t be an absent blogger anymore.

In the meantime, I thought I’d share the view from our kitchen window this morning:

Deer come down from the hills now and then and and nose around the tree line, but usually the dogs bark and scare them away.  The dogs happened to be snoozing in the sun room when I took these pictures.  We counted eight deer in all.  It was a pleasing, relaxing sight to take in before heading upstairs to put my program through some final tests before running it.

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I finally left the farm today for the first time since ice and snow blanketed us last week. I love my wife and kids, but it was nice to see someone besides them for a change. The checkout lady at Kroger was probably wondering why I was beaming at her.

We could have stayed put longer without any danger of going hungry. The old lady who owned the property before us was stranded for two weeks after the Great Tennessee Flood of 2010, so Chareva makes it a habit to keep a few weeks’ worth of canned and dried food on hand. We also have neighbors who can pick us up at the highway in front of our property. Chareva hitched a ride with one of them last week.

My first attempt to escape was on Friday. Yes, that would mean attempting to drive my compact car up the same icy driveway my girls have been speeding down on their sleds. No, it doesn’t make sense … but keep in mind I’m a male, which means I’m prone to occasional bouts of inexplicable stupidity. I believe my theory revolved around the weight of the car crushing its way through the ice.  Something like that.  It seemed plausible at the time.

Our driveway is like an elongated U. It slopes down steeply from the house to the creek, runs almost level across the front pastures, then slopes up again to the highway. I crept down the ice-covered driveway in a low gear, then put the car in drive and tried to pick up a bit of momentum as I approached the slope up to the highway.

I managed to get about two-thirds up the slope before the tires started spinning. Then the car began sliding backwards. I tried turning the wheel to control the direction of the slide, which made no difference whatsoever. That’s when I realized that sliding backwards in a car down a steep, icy driveway is … well, let’s just say it’s a special feeling.

There’s a steep drop into a big pit off the left side of the driveway – the pit is county land, not ours. As the front of the car began drifting left, I comforted myself with the knowledge that when cars roll down an embankment, they don’t explode nearly as easily as Hollywood movies would lead you to believe. Then the momentum of the downward slide seemed to pull the car straight – if you can call sliding backwards going straight.

As I reached the almost-level section of the driveway, I decided I should turn around. In retrospect, I have no idea why. Perhaps having failed to climb the steep slope up to the highway, I thought it would be a good idea to try the even steeper slope up to the house. That would give me another chance to slide backwards – maybe even right off the bridge over the creek.  A 10-foot drop down to a rocky creek bed would give me another opportunity to prove that cars do not, in fact, explode as easily as Hollywood movies would lead you to believe.

Anyway, turning around would require backing into the pasture. There are gullies running along the driveway in some areas, but the ground is almost level with the driveway in others. Unfortunately, the gullies had disguised themselves by filling up with snow.  I tried to remember where the flattest area was, then turned the wheel and backed into the pasture.

I remembered wrong. The back wheels rolled through the gully because of all that nice momentum I’d picked up while sliding backwards from up near the highway.  But the front wheels – also known as “the drive wheels” — parked themselves in the low ground. Since I’m a male and therefore prone to occasional bouts of inexplicable stupidity, I of course spent the next several minutes trying to prove the theory (which all males believe to some degree) that if I constantly shifted between drive and reverse, I could rock the wheels out of an icy, snowy pit and go on my merry way.

After I trudged my way up the house, I made a careful analysis of the situation. The root cause of my troubles, as far as I could tell, was that my driveway was covered with a thick sheet of ice. So the solution was obvious: get rid of the ice.

Even though we live in the south, we own snow shovels. They’re made of plastic. I quickly learned that plastic is completely ineffective for removing ice. I also learned that if you stomp on plastic in an attempt to drive it into ice, the plastic breaks apart and the ice doesn’t.

The previous owner left behind a whole slew of old tools, including two pick-axes. I have no idea what she planned to do with one pick-axe, much less two, but it occurred to me that a tool that bangs through coal can probably bang through ice. I went to the garage and chose the lighter of the two. Sara decided to join me and grabbed a garden hoe.

The first few whacks looked promising. The ice broke apart in decent-sized chunks. Then we hit thicker, more solid ice. I banged away at it with the pick-axe, all the while developing deeper and deeper respect for my great-grandfather Naughton, an Irish immigrant who began working in coals mines in his teens. How the heck did he swing one of these things all day, every day?

The best we could do was take chips from the ice. So when my hands began to swell from the impact, we gave up and called it a day.

On Saturday, the temperature was above freezing for the first time nearly a week, and the forecast called for rain all day. I figured the rain probably wouldn’t melt the layer of ice, but might loosen it up enough for me to chip it away. So after a few hours of steady rain, I told Chareva I was going ice-chipping again, even though I’d get soaked out there.

She triumphantly announced that she’d long ago purchased a man-sized set of rain slickers for just such an occasion – pants with suspenders, jacket and hood. They’re bright yellow, and when I put them on over my jeans and hooded sweatshirt, I looked like a mutant canary from a ‘50s horror movie. As I walked past the new chicks in the basement, they all cowered at the other end of their trough.

I soon discovered that the ice was a little softer than the day before, but not by much. I also discovered that water-soaked ice is particularly slippery, and that slickers are called “slickers” for a reason. Chipping away at the top of the driveway, I took a step to the side and felt my boot slide out from under me. I fell backwards onto the hill next to the driveway, which didn’t hurt because the ice covering the grass splintered and absorbed much of the impact.

Just as I was noting my good fortune for not slamming my head onto something solid, gravity gave me a little shove down the hill. The wet ice and the rain slicker took that idea and ran with it. That’s when I realized that sliding on your back down a steep, icy hill – headfirst and with a sharp pick-axe resting somewhere on your legs — well, let’s just say it’s a special feeling.

I kicked the pick-axe off my legs, then remembered that farther down the hill – and not much farther – was a hurricane fence. I stuck my arms over my head as if doing an overhead press and caught the fence with my hands. Amazingly, I didn’t sprain a wrist. My body rotated left and slid into the fence, but by then the momentum was almost down to nothing.

At that point, I decided my ice-chipping adventures were over for the day. But I still wanted to push my car out of the gully and onto the driveway, so I drafted Chareva to do the driving. I pushed and heaved and shoved, tried putting a brick and a board under the front tire, but each time I just … about … managed … to … crest … the … driveway, the tires spun and the car rolled backwards into the gully.

I was flipping through my mental dictionary, choosing the best arrangement of four-letter words to announce that I was giving up, when I was reminded of why I love living in a rural area populated with nice people who say “ya’ll” and suchlike. I looked toward the highway and saw a pickup parked up there. Some guy I’d never met before was taking baby-steps down our driveway to avoid slipping.

“You need some help pushing her up the hill?”

“It’ll never get up the hill on this ice,” I replied. “I found that out yesterday. I’m just trying to get it back up onto the driveway.”

“All right, then. I’m sure we can do that.”

I pointed to the icy, slushy, muddy mess in the gully. “I appreciate it, but we can just leave it here until tomorrow. You’re guaranteed to cover those boots in mud if you step in there.”

“Aw, I don’t care. They’re just boots.”

And with that, we gave Chareva the thumbs-up. She stepped gently on the gas, and the unknown neighbor and I pushed the car onto the driveway.

“Thank you so much for stopping to help.”

“No problem. Y’all have a nice day.”

When the rain stopped later in the afternoon, Sara and I went back out, but only managed to expose a few feet of actual driveway under the ice. By then my arms felt like lead and my hands were swollen again, so we called it quits.

Saturday night is traditionally our family outing to a local Mexican diner. We weren’t going anywhere, so Chareva whipped up a pretty tasty version of steak fajitas with black beans and Mexican fried rice. I believe even our Mexican sister-in-law would have approved.

Today the temperature was in the low 40s, but we’re due for below-freezing temperatures again Monday. I really wanted to get that ice off the driveway before Saturday’s rain freezes on top of it. So around noon I took a show shovel and a steel garden spade down to the driveway to see if the ice was getting loose. On the slope near the house, it wasn’t. But on the slope up to the highway, I was finally seeing some slushy areas.

So Chareva, Sara and I began digging down to the gravel with a combination of the garden spade, the snow shovel, and the garden hoe – Sara’s favorite weapon. After a couple hours of chipping, scraping and shoveling, we managed to expose two long tracks down to where my car was parked.

I rolled Chareva’s garden cart down to the pasture, then the four of us piled into my car and drove up the slope. Near the top, I got a little off track and the car started to slide just a bit. Then the tires found gravel and we pulled out onto the highway.

We were nearly giddy. Look, it’s the highway! It’s clear! We can go anywhere!

Anywhere was a Tractor Supply, where we bought more pig and chicken feed, then a Kroger, where we bought more people feed. I’m normally a get-in-and-get-out shopper, but today I was happy to dawdle. After a week of not leaving the farm, I was shaking off a mild case of cabin fever.

We parked my car on the almost-flat area of the driveway at home, then loaded the groceries into the garden cart to ferry them to the house. As we pulled the cart up the slope of the driveway, my boots were digging into slushy areas. So were the tires on the cart. Apparently the ice had loosed up more while we were out shopping.

So I grabbed a snow shovel and a garden spade, and Sara grabbed her hoe. While Chareva and Alana put away groceries inside, Sara and I banged and chipped and scraped and shoveled until we’d exposed one long track from the car to the top of the slope near the house.

I told her watch from off to one side in case the car decided to slide back down the driveway. “Okay,” she said. “But be careful!”

Nothing to it. No sliding backwards this time. The tires spun briefly once near the top, then caught the driveway underneath. Sara applauded as I rolled up next to the van.

I have never felt so happy to pull into my own driveway and put my car in park.

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Man, it’s cold out there.  Tonight is supposed to be the deepest of the deep freeze, so we’ll see if the power stays on.  The wood-burning stove is already cranked up just in case.  I also decided to post tonight in case the -5 temperature snaps a power line and takes us off the grid for a few days.

Some weeks ago, Chareva ordered a new flock of 25 chicks.  I believe the purpose (since we’re certainly not running short on eggs) was to have more variety in the color of the eggs.  Also, she wanted to make more work for herself, since caring for two flocks of chickens, two hogs, two dogs, two children, one cat and one husband isn’t enough.

These were mail-order chicks that have to be shipped soon after they’re born.  Apparently they’re fine in a shipping box for two or three days, but only within a specific timeframe.  Chareva received an email notifying her that the chicks were shipped on Monday, which means they were making the trip from Iowa to Minnesota to here during one of the coldest spells of the year.  She and the girls prepared themselves emotionally to receive a box of dead, frozen chicks.

The chicks arrived today and, amazingly, only one of them had died during shipment.  Tough little critters, I guess.  The hatchery usually sends extra chicks anyway, so we ended up with 29 live ones … a mix of Araucana/Ameraucanas and Cuckoo Marans, plus one of some other breed we can’t identify yet. They’re happily congregating in their temporary home under a heat lamp. So we’ll be constructing another hoop house or two in a few weeks.

The first two winters after we moved to Tennessee, there were substantial snowfalls.  After spending their toddler years in Southern California, the girls were thrilled to finally go sledding.  The “hill” was a wimpy little thing in a neighbor’s yard, maybe a five-foot drop and 15 feet of total sledding.  So when we bought the farm with the big ol’ side hill, I thought to myself, “You think sledding down that little mound was fun?  Wait until you go down this bad boy.”

Three winters came and went with barely a dusting of snow each year.  Best the girls could do was sled down our driveway a few times in the morning before the afternoon soon melted the snow.  I actually slept through one snowfall last year.  By the time I was awake, it was already gone.  I only knew we’d had snow because Chareva told me.

Not this time. The mix of ice, sleet and snow that hit our area this week won’t be melting until at least Saturday, if then.  So the girls finally put the big hill to use – along with the driveway for old times’ sake.  They insist that what they’re doing out there is called “snow surfing.”  I created a video for them to remember the occasion.

The bailouts near the tree line are intentional.  (The others aren’t — they’re falls.) You can’t see it in the video, but the big hill ends at a sudden drop-off into the creek – not something you want to hit going full-speed on a sled.

Chicks and surfing … just what every guy dreams of during a deep freeze.

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I’m still working overtime on the programming project that’s had me swamped for past few weeks. I believe I’m finally close having this one licked. It’s been a blur of long days, seven days a week, but it’s all good. For the first time in years, the low-carb cruise is happening after the girls are finished with school, so we’ll all four be on board this year. (The girls are already jazzed about having their own cabin.) The overtime hours will cover the cruise and then some.

Today is officially a holiday, but I spent most of it programming. However, we also took some time to prepare for the deep freeze that’s due here in a couple of days.

I took the picture below late this morning. It looks like a dusting of snow in the picture, but it’s actually a layer of snow covered with a layer of sleet. We’re supposed to get more sleet, then more snow, then temperatures dropping to five below zero or so by Wednesday.

During our first winter on the farm, the temperature dropped to 17 degrees one night — and then our power went out. That’s when it occurred to us that we have electric heat and an electric stove. We had a fireplace, but no wood. We couldn’t cook and couldn’t keep the house warm until I went out the next day and bought a kerosene heater.

We took that lesson to heart. We now have the wood-burning stove shown in the picture above and plenty of wood in the barn. Alana and I hauled a load up to the house yesterday, and Sara and I hauled up two loads today. The driveway is a bit steep, but fortunately I was able to bang my boots into the sleet for a foothold as I pulled a garden cart full of wood behind me. If the driveway had been covered with ice, it would have meant taking the long way home: through the front pasture, across the bridge over the creek, then up through the front yard – which is also steep near the house.

We’ll be fine during the deep freeze, but we have livestock to worry about now – plus two big dogs and a cat. I’m told chickens can survive sub-zero temperatures, but I doubt they enjoy the experience. Chareva ran extension cords to both chicken houses and installed heat lamps.

She did likewise for the pigs. They’d probably survive a night of five degrees below zero, but we don’t want them staying alive by burning calories that are better used growing extra bacon. The male pig was outside the warm hoop house voluntarily, so I guess animals do indeed have a different sensation of cold than we do. The dogs were also playing tug-of-war outside today, even though they have access to a perfectly good sun room with a heat lamp.

The flaw in our keep-the-livestock-warm plan, of course, is the fact that the heat lamps all require electricity. If we lose power, I don’t think we can invite the hogs, chickens, dogs and cat to all sit near the wood-burning stove inside without a riot ending in carnage. It occurred to us last night that we should have added a gas-powered generator to our power-outage plans.

We figured on getting one today, but that’s obviously not going to happen. The roads are too dangerous to risk a drive into town. Almost nobody was driving on the highway that runs past our property today. The few cars I saw were moving so slowly, you’d swear they were driven by nuns. There was already a power outage in a different area of Franklin, which means everyone in that area probably snapped up the available generators.

So we’ll just hope the power stays on and the livestock stay warm. If the power goes out, we’ll hope they survive. If they don’t survive … well, I guess we’ll be storing a helluva lot of chicken and pork in our freezer.

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A couple of news items landed in my inbox recently that aren’t directly related, but they’re both examples of the Vision of The Anointed at work.

I gave a brief summary of The Vision of The Anointed (as described by economist Thomas Sowell in a book by that name) in a speech I called Diet, Health and the Wisdom of Crowds.  If you haven’t seen it, here’s a recap of how The Anointed (who are nearly always members of the intellectual class) operate:

  • The Anointed identify a problem in society
  • The Anointed propose a Grand Plan to fix the problem
  • Because they are so supremely confident in their ideas, The Anointed don’t bother with proof or evidence that the Grand Plan will actually work
  • If possible, The Anointed will impose the Grand Plan on other people (for their own good, of course)
  • The Anointed assume anyone who opposes the Grand Plan is either evil or stupid
  • If the Grand Plan fails, The Anointed will never, ever, ever admit the Grand Plan was wrong

The first news item that reminded me of The Anointed was about an (ahem) study that pinpoints the reason we have an obesity problem in modern America.  Here are some quotes:

A new report puts some of the blame for Americans’ expanding waistlines on the growth of new Wal-Mart supercenters in the US.

Big box retailers, and Wal-Mart in particular, have made cheap, bulk-size junk foods more readily available, and Americans are eating more as a result, argues the report, which was published by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

“We live in an environment with increasingly cheap and readily available junk food,” Charles Courtemanche, an assistant professor of economics at Georgia State University and one of the report’s co-authors, told the Washington Post. “We buy in bulk. We tend to have more food around. It takes more and more discipline and self-control to not let that influence your weight.”

Well, there you have it.  People are fat because there’s more food around.  I remember asking my grandparents when I was a wee child, “Grandma, Grandpa … why aren’t you fat?”  And my grandpa plopped me on his knee and rubbed my head and said, “Well, we would be if we could.  But if you go look over there in the pantry, you’ll see we’re down to a few slices of bread and some carrots.  It happens all the time because there’s no Wal-Mart nearby and we can only afford to eat just as much as we should.”

The researchers found higher rates of obesity in areas dense with supercenters, which have a larger selection of food and also offer other services, such as auto repair. Just one additional supercenter per 100,000 residents increases average body mass index in the area by 0.24 units and the obesity rate by 2.3% points, they found.

Riiiight.  And since correlation proves causation, that means Wal-Mart is making people fat.  It couldn’t be, say, the fact that low-income people are more likely to be fat for all kinds of reasons, and that Wal-Mart super-centers are built where their most loyal customers live.

Notice how nobody who blames obesity on lower food prices can explain why the wealthiest Americans also have the lowest rates of obesity?  If it’s all about affordability, then wealthy people should be the fattest – they can eat whatever they want and as much as they want.  But no, it’s only if we’re talking about poor people that we blame affordability – and thus Wal-Mart.

“These estimates imply that the proliferation of Wal-Mart Supercenters explains 10.5% of the rise in obesity since the late 1980s,” researchers wrote.

Uh-huh.  And I’ll bet you all had no idea what to blame for obesity, then just stumbled across this data during a wide-open search for truth, then came to your astonishing conclusions.

Of course that’s not what happened.  These bozos with PhDs went looking for a reason to blame Wal-Mart and – ta-da! – they found it.  Intellectuals blaming Wal-Mart for the ills of society … now that is a shock.

In case you haven’t noticed, The Anointed are contemptuous of Wal-Mart and the people who shop there.  This article in the Atlantic, written by a Brit, describes the snobbery rather nicely:

As a young man I aspired to live and work in the US because I wanted to be part of a thriving classless society. Of course that was naive. America is not a classless society. I’m not talking about the 1% and the 99%, and I’m not talking about mainstream America and the underclass (shocking though that gulf is). I’m talking about elite disdain for a much larger segment of the country. It’s a cultural thing: American snobbery.

Many of my American friends have an irrationally intense loathing of Wal-Mart, as though delivering bargains to the masses isn’t quite proper.

In America elite and demotic cultures aren’t merging, they are moving farther apart. The elite is ever more confident of its cultural superiority, and the demos, being American, refuses to be condescended to. I don’t think it’s economic pressure that causes much of the country to cling bitterly to guns and their religion, as Obama put it so memorably. It’s a quintessentially American refusal to be looked down on.

[The elite] may use a self-conscious rhetoric of non-judgmentalism – words like ‘inappropriate’ and ‘challenging’, or phrases such as ‘people in need of support’ and ‘people with issues’ – but they have no inhibitions about instructing others about what food they should eat, how they should bring up their children, or what forms of behaviour are healthy.

Well said, my British friend.  You just described The Anointed.

Here are some similar thoughts from an essay in The National Review:

A few weeks ago, I was very much amused by the sight of anti-Wal-Mart protests in Manhattan — where there is no Wal-Mart, and where, if Bill de Blasio et al. have their way, there never will be. Why? Because we’re too enlightened to let our poor neighbors pay lower prices. The head-clutchingly expensive shops up on Fifth and Madison avenues? No protests.

Ironically, the anti-Wal-Mart crusaders want to make life worse for people who are literally counting pennies as they shop for necessities. Study after study has shown that Wal-Mart has meaningfully reduced prices: 3.1 percent overall, by one estimate — with a whopping 9.1 percent cut to the price of groceries. That comes to about $2,300 a year per household, savings that accrue overwhelmingly to people of modest incomes, not to celebrity activists and Ivy League social-justice crusaders.

And here’s a quote from Member of The Anointed Bill Maher explaining how Wal-Mart shoppers choose to vote:

Republicans need to stop saying Barack Obama is an elitist, or looks down on rural people, and just admit you don’t like him because of something he can’t help, something that’s a result of the way he was born. Admit it, you’re not voting for him because he’s smarter than you.

Uh, no, Bill, that’s not quite it.  It’s more along the lines of something Milton Friedman once said:  it’s not intelligent people who are the problem.  The problem is people who are so impressed with their own intelligence, they feel qualified to tell others how to live.

Barack Obama can’t help it if he’s a magna cum laude Harvard grad and you’re a Wal-Mart shopper who resurfaces driveways with your brother-in-law.

Ahh, Bill, so that’s the reason.  Wal-Mart shoppers resent smart people with Ivy League degrees.  Strangely, many of those Wal-Mart shoppers later voted for Mitt Romney, who earned both a law degree and an MBA from Harvard.

Brilliant argument.  Maher chides Republicans for saying Obama is an elitist who looks down on rural people, then makes it perfectly obvious that he, an Obama enthusiast, is an elitist who looks down on rural people.  (I’m pretty sure he didn’t mean Wal-Mart shopper as a compliment.)

Gee, Bill, I would think someone with your towering intellect would recognize how thoroughly you just undermined your own argument.   Of course The Anointed look down on rural people and Wal-Mart shoppers.  And despite what you and your fellow left-wing snots think, the rural Wal-Mart shoppers are smart enough to know it.

That sneering attitude towards “Wal-Mart shoppers” is the reason I can’t stand Bill Maher.  He’s a left-wing snot, and his live audience is full of left-wing snots who whoop and cheer at his snotty comments as a form of congratulating themselves for what they see as their superiority to people who shop at Wal-Mart and resurface driveways.

Even though I spent a chunk of my life as a comedian, I’ll be the first to say that if all the comedians disappeared, life would be less entertaining, but we’d be fine.  If all the magna cum laude graduates from Harvard Law School disappeared, we’d also be fine, if not better off.  But if all the people who know how to resurface driveways or otherwise build and repair stuff disappeared, we’d be screwed.

Anyway, you get the point.  The Anointed view Wal-Mart shoppers as idiots.  And since they’re idiots, the Wal-Mart shoppers are stuffing themselves and getting fat because – thanks to the low prices offered by the evil Wal-Mart – they can now afford to stuff themselves.  I mean, it’s not as if any of them have actually tried to lose weight or anything.

So The Anointed see all these stupid Wal-Mart shoppers getting fat, which means The Anointed must come up with a Grand Plan to fix the problem – and of course, as The Anointed, they aren’t expected to provide any evidence that the plan would work.

The plan that came out in the media recently was proposed in 2010 by none other than Jonathan Gruber.  If the name isn’t familiar, it should be.  Gruber was once called “the architect” of ObamaCare by Democrats … until he embarrassed himself and the party by getting himself caught on video telling the truth about what it took to pass ObamaCare:

Yup, “the architect” was justifying lying to the public about what ObamaCare would actually do.  The voters are stupid, ya see — one of the only two reasons anyone resists a Grand Plan proposed by The Anointed — so you have to lie to them to get a bill passed that’s really for their own good.

Gruber’s statements so perfectly captured the attitude of The Anointed, The Anointed in the Obama administration immediately tried to disown him.

Meanwhile, Bill Maher renewed his credentials as a member of The Anointed by agreeing with Gruber:

On Friday, Bill Maher, host of HBO’s Real Time, brought up Jonathan Gruber, the economist who was an advisor and main architect on Obamacare and got caught crediting the “stupidity” of Americans to get the bill passed. Maher joked they were “soulmates” and likened his fellow Americans to dogs, and didn’t understand why anything Gruber said about the average American’s stupidity was considered controversial.

Maher’s audience applauded wildly, as they always do for their hero.

By the way, the subtitle of Sowell’s book is Self-Congratulation as a Basis for Social Policy.  When Bill Maher agrees that you have to lie to the stupid voters to do what’s best for them and his audience of left-wing snots hoots and cheers in response, that’s a fine example of self-congratulation.  They were probably high-fiving each other for not being stupid voters … you know, the kind who shop at Wal-Mart and resurface driveways and don’t understand that we need The Anointed to make important decisions for us … such as what kind of health insurance we’ll be allowed to buy.

That’s the attitude.  Now here’s the kind of Grand Plan the attitude produces:

Jonathan Gruber, long credited as the architect of ObamaCare, once discussed the necessity of taxing fat people by body weight in order to fight obesity.

“Ultimately, what may be needed to address the obesity problem are direct taxes on body weight,” Gruber wrote in an essay for the National Institute for Health Care Management in April 2010, just months after helping design ObamaCare with the president in the Oval Office and during the period in which he was under contract as an Obama administration consultant.

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it at least twice:  whenever The Anointed come up with a Grand Plan to fix a problem, it somehow always requires confiscating other people’s money or limiting their freedom to make their own decisions — or both, for a REALLY Grand Plan.

So there’s the mind of The Anointed at work:  people are fat because Wal-Mart has made food too cheap.  All those people who resurface driveways with their brother-in-law are overeating because they can afford to … and because they’re stupid and have no discipline.  But if The Anointed impose direct taxes on bodyweight, the stupid driveway resurfacers will say to themselves, “Well, heck, I can’t afford those taxes!  I’d better stop eating so much of this cheap Wal-Mart food and lose some weight.”

And then once again, The Anointed will have fixed society’s problems.  All hail The Anointed.

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I was recently a guest on the Body IO FM podcast.  You can listen to that episode here.

The hosts of Body IO FM are John Kiefer and Dr. Rocky Patel.  I became aware of them more than a year ago when they were the guests on an episode of Jimmy Moore’s Ask the Low Carb Experts.  It was a 90-minute Q & A with lots of good information, but their basic message came down to this:  ketosis is great, but most people get better results if they cycle in and out by having a “carb nite” once per week.  You can read an overview of the theory by visiting the CarbNite website.

That’s more or less what I’ve been doing for the past couple of years.  I stay pretty low-carb on most days, but on Saturday nights we usually go out to a nearby Mexican diner we like.  I’ll eat the corn tortillas, rice and beans with that meal.

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