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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A voice crying in the wilderness


The Holy Trinity of Strength Training -- by Bill Starr

If you’re looking to build brute strength, you need to avoid machines and biceps curls. Instead, focus your time in the weight room on a small number of core exercises that hit the main muscle groups.

It’s called keeping it simple—and it works.

We selected three exercises: bench press, back squat and power clean. We called them the Big Three.

The main reason the Big Three works well is that all the energy of an athlete is put into making the large muscles and corresponding attachments stronger. The main problem with routines that consist of numerous exercises is only so much energy is available. When it’s spread out over a dozen or more movements, none receive much attention. Therefore, we do not get stronger.

It’s my observation that those in charge of putting together strength programs in high school, colleges and professional sports have reverted back to the same mistakes their predecessors made in the ʼ60s. There are far too many exercises in nearly every program I’m asked to examine. In truth, the athletes who are using this multi-layered concept aren’t getting that much stronger. They might get a little stronger, but not nearly as much as if they had applied all their energy to moving iron.

Three is the operative number when designing a beginning strength program: three basic exercises for the three major muscle groups done three times a week. This program is equally useful to those starting back into a strength routine after a layoff, as well as those wanting to maintain a high level of strength fitness at any age.

Simplicity is the key to success in strength training—so keep it simple.

Clean



Bench Press



Squat



And yes, always do full squats.


It's good to see Bill Starr still active and preaching the word.

If you do no other workout ever, do the Big Three.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Reproductive Choice

The Left has been on a real tear about "reproductive choice" these days, here, here and here. The party line is that but for abortion and birth control, women would be brood mares in thrall to Bible-thumping patriarchs who insist on ten children per (multiple) wife. That can only be the case under an authoritarian--even totalitarian--regime that treats women as property. Nobody seems to notice that the highest fertility rates are among net tax-consuming women, supposedly freed from male dependency by the beneficience of the State. Nobody asks what exactly is compelling women to have sexual intercourse with men who won't marry them and whom they are not inclined to marry.

The harsh truth is that whether a woman will face the supposedly awful dilemma of carrying a child to term or aborting her unborn child depends largely on 1) age, 2) biological fitness, and 3) attractiveness. Whether a woman's breeding partner can be relied upon to provide the necessary support for pregnancy and child-rearing depends entirely upon the woman's choice of whom she sleeps with, outside the abominations of rape and incest. And even in the supposedly rape-ridden world in which we are said to live, in a survey of 405 rape victims, 6.4% resulted in pregnancy. It takes a great leap of imagination to believe the abortion clinics are filled with victims of what is more properly described as genetic theft.

The shibboleth of "reproductive choice" is actually women railing against biological reality and moral agency.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Legitimate Rape

First, of course, I'm against it.

But second, rape must necessarily mean sexual intercourse by physically overpowering or threatening a woman rather than the pregnant term "without consent," if rape really is a uniquely heinous crime on a different plane from a physical battery or forcing somebody at gunpoint to empty their checking account. Rape is not, "I really shouldn't have his penis inside my vagina." (Or, more cynically, "That bastard used me!") The allegations against Julian Assange are apparently not that he physically overpowered a woman in order to sexually penetrate her but rather that he boorishly insisted on plowing ahead without a condom. One one-hundredth of an inch of latex apparently distinguishes rape from what would otherwise be a good f*** to regale your friends with. (And anybody who thinks women don't talk about these things, you are hereby permanently banned from this blog.)

George Galloway is right. To define rape in such terms is to "bankrupt the term rape of all meaning." Yes you can plow me like the back forty (I am necessarily omitting the preparatory work and graphic detail) but no condom? That's where I draw the line!

If that is Julian Assange's crime, then we detach rape from the uniquely violent and violative nature of the act. The act of coitus is irrelevant in such circumstances. The "rape" would lie in inflicting the risk of pregnancy or venereal disease. In the case of the former, the victim would be compensated by billing Assange for a Morning After pill or a D & C. Hey, abortion is safe and legal after all. Just an exercise in reproductive choice. Empowering even. In the case of the latter, we are obviously talking about serious consequences, in which event maybe we ought to rethink this whole idea of casual sex with people we have no intention of marrying. If Assange is in fact neutered or hygienic, then truly no "crime" has been committed. This is how absurd the debate gets when the act of coitus becomes so completely trivialized.

This whole brouhaha continues to roil because of statements by a typically clueless Congressman who used the unfortunate phrase, "legitimate rape." Well, if rape really is a uniquely heinous form of battery (it used to be punishable by death), then there really is such a thing.

On a further note, The Spearhead has a thoughtful essay on the consequences of restricting abortion to cases of rape.
[I]f a woman in a rape and incest only abortion state says, “I’ve been raped, and I need an abortion,” what do you think the doctor will ask? Why, he’ll ask “who raped you?” She’ll have to come up with someone or some description of a crime, or else she’ll have to make something up, otherwise the ban on abortion has no teeth. If she really was raped and reported it immediately, she won’t need an abortion; the morning after pill works. But if, for whatever reason, she held off long enough for fertilization to occur, the automatic assumption will be that she is the victim of a serious felony crime, and the state has a mandate to investigate.

Say she really wasn’t raped, but her boyfriend/sex-partner rejected her after she got pregnant and told her to get the hell out of his life. She isn’t ready for this baby, and she really doesn’t want to have it without some support. So she decides to claim she was raped. The doctor or some hospital official asks her who, where, when, she hems and haws, and finally a detective is brought in to get to the heart of the matter. Eventually, she admits that the boyfriend is the child’s father. “Did he really rape you?” asks the cop.

Now she’s faced with the choice of admitting that she’s been lying all along and losing the chance to get an abortion, or getting her boyfriend in very serious trouble with the law.

Who can say what she’ll do? It could go either way. And perhaps the most terrible thing is that a man’s dead child could be used to falsely convict him through a DNA test.

Who knew fornication would be this complicated?

Friday, August 17, 2012

There must be some mistake

The New York Times publishes a column by David Stockman, via Ad Orientem.

I have previously noted that David Stockman has come in from the supply-side cold and has even gotten air time at mises.org.
The greatest regulatory problem — far more urgent that the environmental marginalia Mitt Romney has fumed about — is that the giant Wall Street banks remain dangerous quasi-wards of the state and are inexorably prone to speculative abuse of taxpayer-insured deposits and the Fed’s cheap money. Forget about “too big to fail.” These banks are too big to exist — too big to manage internally and to regulate externally. They need to be broken up by regulatory decree. Instead, the Romney-Ryan ticket attacks the pointless Dodd-Frank regulatory overhaul, when what’s needed is a restoration of Glass-Steagall, the Depression-era legislation that separated commercial and investment banking...

Like his new boss, Mr. Ryan has no serious plan to create jobs. America has some of the highest labor costs in the world, and saddles workers and businesses with $1 trillion per year in job-destroying payroll taxes. We need a national sales tax — a consumption tax, like the dreaded but efficient value-added tax — but Mr. Romney and Mr. Ryan don’t have the gumption to support it.

These two points in particular resonate with me.

1. The banking system has converted its non-systemic risk to systemic risk. If the banking system wants the public to be the ultimate guarantor, then it must accept public regulation. Banks can return to their historical function as depositary institutions and payment processors and Wall Street can market speculative opportunities to high net worth investors.

2. Taxes should be simple and everybody should pay them. Forget the endless lobbying and tinkering over income, capital gains, deductions, deferrals and earned income credits. It is way past time to start debating a VAT. Herman Cain's 9-9-9 plan deserved far more intelligent consideration than it got.

The Death Of Feminism

35 years of feminism -> Governor Schwarzenegger

Sailer's conclusion is that after 35 years of feminism, the best the Left has to show is juiced, promiscuous Arnold Schwarzenegger defeating nerdy anti-man Gray Davis for governor of California. My observation is that after 35 years of feminism, we've got Mexican weather girls and female athletes who get more enticing every year.

(As an aside, women's "sports" such as rhythmic gymnastics, synchronized swimming and women's beach volleyball strike me as nothing less than elaborate personal ads. Google these phrases and have a look. I don't know how any male with normal T-receptors is supposed to think otherwise.)

What is going on? I thought we were beyond these superficial assessments of looks and gender and finally at the enlightened plane of judging people on their pure careerist merits. But the aesthetic competition grinds on, with everybody perennially obsessed with losing weight, staying young and scoring. The culture is wholly suffused with advertising and exploiting sexual market value.

I perceive a deep cynicism behind the whole feminist movement. At best, feminism tilts the scales in favor of unattractive women in procuring government and corporate sinecures for which their looks and attitude would otherwise disqualify them. In the real world, would anybody hire this woman to teach anything? The Prime Directive of feminism, "reproductive choice," seems most capably exploited by high sexual market value women who don't want an unplanned pregnancy handicapping them in the hunt for the Big One. The only other women who seem exercised about abortion and birth control are harridans whose looks, age, personality or combination thereof have already made their reproductive choices for them. "Reproductive choice" for these women is nothing less than assuring the more nubile and fitter competition doesn't get a leg up.

In short, feminism seems to be a doctrine dreamed up by high-g women to benefit their class. The unforeseen consequence is that feminism, having captured the State, has guaranteed that men no longer need to bring marriage and bread-winning to the table in order to obtain sex with females. Women who aspire to be good wives and mothers lose their competitive advantage, and the slut-race to the bottom is on.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

The wages of sin

Gonorrhea Evades Antibiotics, Leaving Only One Drug To Treat Disease, from NPR.org

Now if NPR really wanted to be ahead of the curve, they'd have titled this piece, The Clock Is Ticking On The Sexual Revolution. Surely that would generate some hits and lively discussion? Of course, the last place NPR's wealthy Jewish and SWPL donors want them to be is ahead of the curve. But I digress.

From the linked article:
"I think it should be a real clarion call to every American that we've got a looming public health crisis on our hands and potentially hundreds of thousands of cases of untreatable gonorrhea in this country every year," said William Smith, who heads the National Coalition of STD Directors.

Officials know adopting the new guidelines won't be easy. For one thing, ceftriaxone is an intra-muscular shot instead of a pill. And they want doctors to give it along with at least one other antibiotic and test patients to make sure they're cured.

But they know that all this will help only for a while, and that they can't stop the clock from ticking on the one drug left.

"We think it's only a matter of time based on the history of this organism until resistance does develop," Bolan said.

So scientists are searching for new combinations of antibiotics that might work. And officials are pushing for new weapons that might stay one step ahead of gonorrhea and the growing list of antibiotic-resistant infections.

How about don't have sex with everybody in sight? Get married and stay married? Scientists are baffled. What do we do?

There are several things going on here, all of which I've previously written about on this blog.

1. There is a biological basis for "old-fashioned" morality. And we owe a duty to the people on the left side of the IQ/time preference distribution to promulgate clear-cut social norms. When high-g liberals figured out the rules of social conservatism weren't necessarily for their benefit, they publicly abandoned them.

2. Secular society deifies science. Nobody wants to admit the Church and the patriarchy were right all along. So even as this looming epidemic could be avoided by some rather simple behavioral choices, the cry goes up for Holy Science to save us with its magic potions. Too bad the potions, having ramped up selection pressures on microbes, are now approaching diminishing returns. Meanwhile, we've exponentially increased transmission vectors and have human Petri dishes pumped full of antiretrovirals walking all around.

I could go on all day about point 2. Didn't these uber rational secularists realize that evolution has not stopped? Science, having unmoored itself from Creation, can't even fumble its way back to basic premises.

Incidentally, the CDC has tons of interactive data here that can be sorted in all kinds of impolitic ways.

3. One rough inference that's pretty easy to draw from the CDC's data: a majority of women sleep with a minority of men. Contrary to 50 years of feminist dogma, it is women, not men, who retain the bargaining power in the sexual relationship.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Inevitably, meet the newest member of the Florida Bar

Via Ad Orientem.
An illegal immigrant seeking admission to the Florida bar has met its requirements to become a lawyer, the bar said in a filing this week to the Florida Supreme Court in a case being watched closely by both sides of the immigration debate.

Jose Godinez-Samperio is one of a few illegal immigrants in different states trying to get law licenses after passing the local bar’s two-pronged test: an exam and a moral character review.

The US government devotes billions of dollars not to protecting the nation's territorial and cultural integrity, but to forcing acceptance of immigrants on the extant population. The military is devoted not to its classical role of defending the borders, but to Trotskyite foreign policy. Unless the Florida Supreme Court raises the obvious point that Godinez-Samperio has no more rights than a trespasser, the democratic consensus will undoubtedly be that he should take his place in that State's structure of governance.

If the preference is for "open" borders, dismantle the government and return immigration to its prior regime of contract and private property. Nobody will advocate this option because then no Big Daddy government to socialize the costs.

Friday, August 3, 2012

The Most Important And Pressing Issue Of Our Time

I speak, of course, about gay marriage.

(See: The Libertarian and Conservative Case for the Abolition of Marriage Laws, via Serge's blog.)

I'm being sarcastic, but on the other hand, the question of which sexual unions society will regard as legitimate and worthy of legal protection is pretty fundamental.

What Peter Reith (the author of the linked essay) argues for, intentionally or unintentionally, is theocracy, at least for those who want it. The Church will decide whether you get to break the marriage contract, adopt babies, inherit from a family member, or collect child support. Now, I may be in total agreement with this, but it violates the charter of every secular, democratic State out there, and for good reason, from the State's perspective. Reith's presumed point--the secular State should give up its monopoly over the courts--requires the State to sign its own death warrant.

I think libertarians like Reith want to have their cake and eat it too. They enjoy the prosperity afforded by the secular State's economies of scale but want it to carve out religious enclaves and everybody can just get along. But we all pay taxes, we all pay insurance premiums and we all have to deal with other people's bad outcomes. Monogamous heterosexual, polygamous and homosexual unions have consequences. Hence the citizens make policy choices among the various options. Substitute the State for whatever social structure you like: Amish plantation, Hebrew township, Somali clan, Muslim caliphate. In every one of those places, somebody is going to end up beyond the pale.

The only reason we are having this debate is because we are numerous, even antithetical cultures all under the same State. The debate will ultimately be resolved by the State as final arbiter because it has the most guns. It's pretty easy to predict that the State will extend legal validity to homosexual and other unions because it wants as many constituents as possible. And here is where Reith's argument gets slippery.
If there were no laws on the books regarding marriage – and ever man who wished to marry a woman had to either create their own institution for doing it, redefine marriage to mean something arbitrary or marry in an established religious institution – I submit to you that the following would happen:

...c. Marry in established religious orders with their own body of private church, synagogue or mosque laws governing marriage – thereby making it extremely difficult to actually lead to a situation wherein people would marry who had no intention of staying married, or who thought that the civil laws would somehow sanction their later change of hearts. Would we still have people leaving their spouses? Yes. Would they be able to benefit financially and otherwise from this immoral decision on the basis of civil laws which protect the right to divorce? No. They would, in fact, if ever their vows turned out to be worthless, lose all credibility in said religious community – which would be strengthened by the loss of such elements from their midst.

Thus, by restoring full responsibilities for the regulation of marriage to individuals and churches, we would restore the grand sense of overwhelming obligation that a man and woman ought to feel before what is supposed to be a mighty institution. Surely this serves the development of strong families, secures faith, and ultimately leads to the patriotism of a people who love their country because it gives them the means to be self-governing men and women?

What is "said religious community" and "their country?" A place where homosexual unions have equal dignity with heterosexual unions? Polygamy? Concubinage? If it's not, then Reith needs to come out and say it: the pluralist State has got to go. He apparently doesn't want to venture anywhere near such an outcome, so he switches to a positivist perspective: the State could and should grant this aspect of the right to self-governance. Don't we already have that? Why wouldn't I just secede instead?

Ultimately, it appears Reith is just trying to buffer the State's legitimacy by enlarging its tent. This is, I would say, a very Roman perspective.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Why Icelanders aren't starving in the streets

From a comment on Vox Popoli, the Bush/Obama/Bernanke bailout did not avert a crisis for the economy, it averted a crisis for the banks.

There are two economies, the "real" economy and the "bubble" economy.

The real economy draws down real savings (i.e., capital) for production and sells for consumption. If you save up your paychecks and buy a Subway franchise, you're participating in the real economy.

The bubble economy depends on fake savings--units of account out of thin air. If you're a government contractor, or a welfare recipient, and you cash one of the government's checks, the government is overdrawn to the tune of $1T a year. But instead of handing you the check back stamped NSF, the bank ultimately presents it to the Fed which enters a credit of pure magic-money. The Fed's banking and open market operations are more complex but at bottom it's the same thing: the Fed just makes a credit entry and the new money enters the economy.

The economy is dynamic and fluid, so figuring out which is "real" and which is "bubble" can be difficult. Sometimes it's obvious: student loans, McMansions.

What happened in 2008 (and in 2001, and in 1987, and in 1929) was the "bubble" economy became unmarketable. People figured out prices had become detached from underlying value, so all those people trying to pass off that bundle of mortgage-backed securities to the greater fool suddenly found themselves holding the bag. The fake savings stoke demand and prices lose their signaling capacity. Six bedroom homes in the middle of a California desert seem like a really good deal. That's how the bubble economy works: everything's great, until it isn't.

So long as there's a store of human capital and raw materials, people survive. That's why you don't see Icelanders starving in the streets. The only crisis is that early recipients of the new money--bankers, net tax consumers, people who overpaid for assets--are no longer rich.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Global warming as artifact

Via Vox Popoli. The source material is here.

A team headed by meteorologist Anthony Watts decided to look at where temperature stations were reading, not just what they were reading. To greatly simplify, it might be important to know how many stations that were once located in vacant areas might now have buildings all around them, or are sitting on top of airport tarmacs. Half of the mean increase in temperature (and we are talking about an increase ranging from 0.3 C/decade to a statistical zero) may be purely an artifact of stations sited near exogenous heat sources. This makes a lot of sense when you think about it. Farmland is hotter than forest, cities are hotter than farmland.

Now, I'm actually willing to meet the environmentalists halfway on this. Yes, it's hotter in Atlanta and Phoenix. After all, there's more people with more farms and more cities filled with asphalt, steel and cars. Like the late Michael Crichton, I agree there are some real quality of life issues that need to be addressed.

The larger problem is the deification of science and technology, which are now employed in the service of gnostic ideals. "Climatology" (as opposed to the actual work of studying weather, meteorology) is just one aspect of this.

The HIV/AIDS hypothesis needs serious re-thinking. This supposed killer-freight train of a virus has, for several decades, stubbornly refused to spread beyond people with high-risk lifestyles. Could HIV be more an opportunistic virus for people whose immune systems are already compromised by hugely promiscuous levels of anal intercourse, drug use and infectious disease? I'm already committing a hatecrime.

The obesity-inducing USDA food pyramid: turns out the meat which sustained our evolution for a million years is actually good for you.

Cancer: we still just cut, poison or irradiate tumors and channel the research into different body parts. Nobody seems to be at work unravelling the deeper causes of metastasis, though perhaps someone in the field can educate me otherwise.

No critical thinking is being devoted to antibiotics and vaccines, i.e., that we may be reaching diminishing returns as these medicines put additional selection pressures on microbes.

In another area, the politically correct conclusion is that evolution only happens from the neck down and/or stopped 40,000 years ago.

And don't even get me started on the cargo cult mentality of the macro-economists, who supposedly advanced the field with their scientific and mathematical method. More on macro vs. micro later.

But back to global warming. Again, meeting the environmentalists halfway ultimately means smaller, "cleaner" cities which means fewer concentrated voting blocs on the receiving end of redistributive fiscal policy, and limiting the 1.5 million immigrants who arrive in the US each year wanting places to live and buy cellphones and dump their trash.

Science is no longer in the business of real world solutions. Ultimately, as I have predicted, the Left will tiptoe away from environmentalism just like they've tiptoed away from ethnic pride, the working class, local rule and other former causes. The Cathedral (the secular one) will equate "environmentalism" with "racism." When the debate boils down to granting mineral and timber rights in the national parks to fund socialized medicine, you can bet the SWPL backpackers won't win that fight.