Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Will the Gas Tax Avert a Crisis?

My first thoughts on the gas tax are this:

Meh. Gas tax. Tax = bad.

So it’s a good thing I don’t live in Canada. Their Hippie Party Green Party is calling for a 12-cent gas tax to help decrease usage of gas. Remember, they go by the liter up there.

Oddly enough, their Green Party is saying that this tax would help lower taxes on other things, but since they live in Canada, I highly doubt that. We face similar logic in Wisconsin when Jim Doyle keeps income taxes where they are while sticking us with less-visible taxes.

It sounds good to raise taxes on gas, cutting usage. But is a “gas diet” really what we need?

There must be some other way to solve this crisis. Better alternative fuel availability (using tax breaks for companies), for example. Heavy government research funding. Or lowering the gas tax, and allowing people to consume all they want until they get fat and collapse into themselves, forcing a country to move on before the global gas crisis hits us all.

Really, I’m interesting in hearing solutions other than “increase taxes.”

Caution: High Cheese Content in Health Articles

Today, on Yahoo, I saw an interesting tip for people that want to decrease their appetite - eat more protein in the form of eggs in the morning.
So I clicked through to the article, and found some other tips. Some were okay, but some were so stupid I had to share my rage with you. It’s called “10 Ways to Curb Your Appetite.”
2. Make it climb a flight of stairs. At home, store the foods that tempt you most way out of reach. For instance, Cornell University food psychologist Brian Wansink, PhD, keeps his favorite soda in a basement fridge. “Half the time I’m too lazy to run down there to get it, so I drink the water in the kitchen.”
Uh…you have the willpower and discipline to buy unhealthy foods and place them in difficult spots, but not get them when you’re actually motivated (hungry)? Couldn’t you just take a bag of chips down from the high cabinet and never put it back up?
If you have that kind of discipline, how about not buying unhealthy food in the first place? It’s even harder to go to the grocery store when you’re hungry if you have healthier options at home.
3. Sleep on it. People who don’t get their eight hours of zzz’s experience hormonal fluctuations that increase appetite, report researchers.
“Report researchers.” I like this trend. “Dan Kenitz is proven to provide attractive women with fuller, happier lives, report researchers.”
5. Never let it see a heaping plate. The more food that’s in front of you, the more you’ll eat. So at a restaurant, ask your waiter to pack up half of your meal before serving it to you, then eat the extras for lunch the next day.
Again: you have the discipline to prepare meals, but not the discipline to stop eating at your discretion, even when your brain employs hormones to tell you you’re done?
6. Put it under the lights. You consume fewer calories at a well-lit restaurant table than you do dining in a dark corner. “In the light, you’re more self-conscious and worry that other patrons are watching what you eat,” explains Wansink.
I’m sure this could help some, but I’d rather not enforce these kinds of rules through self-consciousness. Negative reinforcement works, though.
7. Talk it down. Entertaining friends with a great story doesn’t give you much time to eat up, so you’ll probably still have food on your plate when they’re done. Once they’re finished, call it quits too.
Come on! Another “mental discipline” idea that can be reduced to “eat less.” Honestly, these are pretty bad, and it’s just another typical “reporter who knows nothing but is reporting about it because I was assigned to write an article” type deal.
If you eat less during your meal by “tricking yourself” and talking instead of eating, you’re just restraining your appetite, not curbing it. You’ll be hungrier later. This will lead to you gorging yourself on the Cheetos you hid in the basement because of the other douch-ey advice.
Thankfully, there’s another good tip in here in addition to protein in the morning:
9. Satisfy it with soup. Start lunch with about 130 calories worth of vegetable soup and you’ll eat 20 percent fewer calories during lunch overall, say Penn State experts.
This is good, and I’ve heard the same applies with pre-meal salads.
This article treats appetite as something to be fought against. There’s a reason it exists: so that you’ll eat. People weren’t meant to suffer hunger intolerably, just like we shouldn’t hold in our pee. Would you honestly read an article that read “10 Ways to Curb Your Urge to Pee.” Okay, don’t answer that.

Bush Sticking With Immigration Bill

Someone needs to tell Dubya that when he’s wrong, sticking by his wrong decision forever won’t make it right.
He’s still sticking with his now-dead immigration bill, saying that it will be revived despite all evidence of its deadness.
“I believe we can get it done,” Bush said of the immigration bill that has run into deep trouble on Capitol Hill. “I’ll see you at the bill signing.”
Now I can see why liberals hate him so much.  If you disagree with him, he becomes like one of those “The Bible is the Word of God because the Word of God is the Bible” Christians.  Try asking him something about this bill, and you’ll get one of three responses:
  1. “This bill is not amnesty - that’s just Washington hiberijoo.”
  2. “I will sign this bill.”
  3. “I will not not sign this bill.”
Harriet Myers had to step down before Bush wisened up and got Sam Alito - why can’t he admit that this bill is dead, too?

Another Step on the Migration to Internet News

I’ve written before that TV news is stupid and you shouldn’t watch it, and it looks like someone over at Time Warner actually agrees with me.  Well, somewhat.

CEO Richard Parsons says he worries more about CNN as a channel than as a website.  CNN is probably the number one news website available, edging out Drudge (where I ironically found this story) and definitely FoxNews.com.
CNN’s ratings have been on a steady decline since 2003, when it regularly got 689,000 households to tune in each day, to a low of 383,000 last year, according to Nielsen Media Research.
Fox News doubles its ratings, which means some interesting things for the news market - either people want more conservative news, or they want less liberal news.

Of course, I don’t see that happening in network news.