Work it Out

It sounds like a couch potato’s dream: two-and-a-half minutes of exercise could be just as good as a 90-minute run.

Research suggests that short, sharp bursts of exercise are better at warding off heart disease than much longer – but less strenuous – sessions.

Academic Stuart Gray asked a group of men aged between 18 and 35 to either do high-intensity sprints on an exercise bike or walk for half an hour on a treadmill.

Those on the exercise bike pedalled as hard as they could for 30 seconds, rested for up to four minutes and then repeated the pattern four times.

This meant that, in all, they did two and a half minutes of exercise strenuous enough to make them sweat and leave them out of breath.

The others walked at the sort of brisk pace recommended in health guidelines.

A day later, they came back into the lab and ate a fatty breakfast and lunch consisting of bread, mayonnaise and cheese.

Their blood was then tested to see how quickly the levels of fat in their blood fell – as fat lingering in the blood after eating is known to trigger the first in a series of steps that can lead to clogging of the arteries and heart disease.

The results revealed that walking cut fat by 11 per cent, compared with not doing any exercise.

'Less strenuous': The other group of men were asked to walk for half an hour on a treadmillBut the short sharp bursts of exercise cut it by 33 per cent – the sort of effect expected from a 90-minute run.

Dr Gray, of Aberdeen University, told the British Science Festival that short bursts of intensive exercise may somehow spur the liver into taking in more fat from the blood, before storing it or burning it off.

He said that, while the high intensity training ‘won’t necessarily’ improve strength, it does boost endurance. He added that the short duration of the exercise was ‘highly important as time is often cited as the main barrier to taking part in exercise’.

The need to rest between the high-intensity activity means the whole routine took around 20 minutes – and it has to be done regularly.

Dr Gray said: ‘Although moderate intensity, longer sessions of exercise can help protect the body against cardio-vascular disease, the findings of our study showed that higher-intensity shorter intervals of exercise might be a more effective method to improve health and reduce the time commitment to exercise.’

 Attribution: Mail Online

Joke of the Day

A lawyer’s dog, running about unleashed, beelines for a butcher shop and steals a roast.

The Butcher goes to lawyer’s office and asks, “If a dog running unleashed steals a piece of meat from my store, do I have a right to demand payment for the meat from the dog’s owner?”

The lawyer answers, “Absolutely.”

“Then you owe me $40.00. Your dog was loose and stole a roast from me today.”
The lawyer, without a word, writes the butcher a check for $40.00.

Several days later the butcher opens the mail and finds a bill from the lawyer: $200.00 due for a consultation.

An Offer You Can’t Refuse

Senior Obama Campaign adviser David Axelrod reportedly contacted the Gallup Organization to discuss the company’s research methodology after their poll’s findings were unfavorable to the President. After declining to adjust their methodology, Gallup was named in an unrelated lawsuit by the DOJ. 

Axelrod took to Twitter to direct people to an article by the National Journal’s Ron Brownstein suggesting a flaw in Gallup’s methodology. Brownstein compared Gallup’s demographic sampling predictions to previous election exit polls as well as contemporaneous research released by Pew, CNN/ORC and ABC/WaPo.

The heart of the Obama camp complaint lies with varying predictive models for 2012 turnout. Gallup had predicted a lower minority turnout, effecting Obama’s margin against Romney.

An email chain from Gallup employees reveals the deliberations about how to handle Axelrod:

In response to that suggestion, another senior Gallup official wrote — in an email chain titled “Axelrod vs. Gallup” — that the White House “has asked” a senior Gallup staffer “to come over and explain our methodology too.”

 That Gallup official, the email continued, “has a plan that includes blogging and telling WH [the White House] he would love to have them come over here etc. This could be a very good moment for us to [show] our super rigorous methods compared to weak samples etc. …”

The writer named several news organizations with their own polling methodologies, all of which resulted in numbers more favorable to President Obama at the time.

In response to that email, a third senior Gallup official said he thought Axelrod’s pressure “sounds a little like a Godfather situation.”

“Imagine Axel[rod] with Brando’s voice: ‘[Name redacted], I’d like you to come over and explain your methodology…You got a nice poll there….would be a shame if anything happened to it…’”

Since Axelrod first contacted Gallup, the DOJ has become interested in an old allegation made by a former Gallup employee, claiming that the firm violated the False Claims Act by overcharging on their contracts with other federal agencies. Michael Lindley, a former Gallup employee, filed suit against Gallup in 2009 and Gallup was served and responsed to Lindley’s suit in 2010. The DOJ signed on to Lindley’s suit in August of 2012.

Lindley, was a former field organizer in Iowa for the Obama campaign in 2008.

In addition to Gallup’s unfavorable polling numbers on the Obama re-election effort, they have also published employment numbers that are not “politically helpful” for Obama.

“Gallup publishes its research without seasonal adjustments,” William Tate wrote for the American Thinker. ”The BLS’s version applies adjustments in an alchemic formula that’s more mysterious than the Shroud of Turin.”

Joke of the Day

A traveler was stumbling through the desert, desperate for water, when he saw something far off in the distance.

Hoping to find water, he walked towards the image, only to find a little old peddler sitting at a card table with a bunch of neckties laid out.

The parched wanderer asked, “Please, I’m dying of thirst, can I have some water?”

The man replied, “I don’t have any water, but why don’t you buy a tie? Here’s one that goes nicely with your clothes.”

The desperate man shouted, “I don’t want a tie, you idiot, I need water!”

“OK, don’t buy a tie. But to show you what a nice guy I am, I’ll tell you that over that hill there, about 5 miles, is a nice restaurant. Walk that way, and they’ll give you all the water you want.”

The man thanked the peddler and walked away towards the hill and eventually disappeared out of sight. Three hours later he returned.

The man at the card table said, “I told you, about 5 miles over that hill. Couldn’t you find it?”

“I found it all right. They wouldn’t let me in without a tie.”

Polling 101

This article was from May of this year, but it is still instructive.

Navigating the Polls in an Election Year

by: Mike Flynn at Breitbart

with comments from the Common Constitutionalist [ ] cause I just can’t help it.

As the campaign season gets into full swing, voters can expect a deluge of polls. Every major media outfit and several independent polling organizations will provide almost real-time information on every twist and turn in the political landscape. The polls will not only cheer or frighten partisans on all sides, they will likely have a gravitational effect on individual campaigns themselves, as candidates adjust their campaigns to polling results. But, voters should beware. Even modern-day polling is more art than science. [I’ve seen many polls (most in fact) I believe are published for only one reason; to dispirit conservatives voters and hopefully cause them not to vote. They have all come from major media and polling organizations that are in the tank for Obama and the democrats. The polls you see are for public consumption and are usually not accurate. However, campaigns run their own internal polling that is usually for honest and accurate. They know they can’t afford to rely on the normally bogus public polls. We will never be privy to the internal polls.]

All polls reflect certain biases–not necessarily in the political sense–of pollsters. Taking a small sample and extrapolating it to the overall electorate involves lots of judgement calls that may not provide an accurate picture of the political landscape. While voters should look to sites like RealClearPolitics, which average a basket of recent polls to smooth out aberrations, the occasional “outlier” poll, showing results wildly different than other polls, is occasionally correct. It mostly comes down to the choices pollsters make in conducting their poll.

If you are reading this, you’re likely fairly politically aware and understand some basic differences between many polls. You understand that the first step in accessing a poll is looking at what’s called the “voter screen.” In other words, is the poll of adults, registered voters or likely voters. The difference matters a lot:

Both Pew Research and Nate Silver have each looked at the differences for different elections from 2004, 2008 and 2010; and they both came to essentially the same answer:

– Polling “adults” generally favors Democrats by a net of 7%.
– Polling “registered voters” generally favors Democrats by a net of 4%.
– Polling “likely voters” is always the most accurate.

So if you have one poll of “adults” which says D53.5%-R46.5%, another of “registered voters” which shows D52-R48, and another of “likely voters” which shows D50-R50, they’re all saying the same thing. When you factor in the relevant adjustments for each screen, they’re all showing a tie at somewhere around an exact 50/50 split of those who will actually wind up choosing between Democrats and Republicans.

For the life of me, I don’t understand why media outlets like The Associated Press continue to poll “adults” on political issues. Around 20% of adults aren’t registered to vote. Putting aside the rather large inherent bias toward Democrats, why do we even care to know the political views of those who won’t be voting? Its about as useful as polling Canadians on their preference of U.S. politicians. [ I sound like a broken record, but duh. The AP might as well be the Obama press office. The know when they poll adults it will heavily skew the results toward their end, which is getting “The One” relected. ]

With the exception of Rasmussen Reports, however, most media and polling organizations use the registered voter screen until late in the campaign. This is due to the not unreasonable belief that, early in the campaign season, it is difficult to estimate who is most likely to show up at the polls. It won’t come as a shock to learn that people often lie in polls, claiming they will definitely vote but then, for a variety of reasons, fail to do so. So, as you see polls of registered voters, keep in mind that there is a general bias of +4% for Democrat candidates. [ Again, duh. Any poll, at the very least, not using only likely voters is junk and is used only to influence voters.]

But, even polls using a likely voter screen can be inaccurate. At this point, we need to discuss one of the less talked about and least understood aspects of polling: weighting.

When you start from a random sample of voters and begin conducting the actual interviews, it is very likely that the total universe of voters you actually speak with aren’t representative of the overall populace. You may have too many male, white, low-income, high education or Midwestern voters. Polling firms deal with this by “weighting” the sample, essentially tossing certain interviews so that the final results reflect responses from a representative sample that matches the nation’s demographics. [ Or, of course, responses that skew the outcome of the poll.]

Most of this is fairly technical and, with the exception of the occasional disreputable firm, fairly straightforward. Where it gets very tricky is where polling firms “weight” their sample based on their estimate of the partisan breakdown of the electorate. In other words, how many democrats, republicans and independents they include in their sample. This judgement call can throw off even the more accurate likely voter screen.

In 2008, an obviously big year for Democrats, the partisan breakdown of the actual electorate was:

  • Democrats 39%
  • GOP 32%
  • Independents 29%

By ideology, the breakdown was:

  • Liberal 22%
  • Conservative 34%
  • Moderate 44%

[ Ah, moderates, got a love um. Liberals without the courage to admit it.]

In 2010, an obviously big year for the GOP, the partisan breakdown of the actual was:

  • Democrats 35%
  • GOP 35%
  • Independents 29%

By ideology, the breakdown was:

  • Liberal 20%
  • Conservative 42%
  • Moderate 38%

So, any poll in 2010 that used 2008 as their baseline, i.e. weighting their polling sample to reflect the partisan breakdown of 2008, would have been wildly off. Remember, the pollster would have “tossed” certain interviews to get to the D-39, R-32 and I-29 sample.

So, is the electorate in 2012 going to be more like 2008 or 2010? Personally, with an energized GOP and conservative base, I don’t think the 2012 electorate is going to come remotely close to the partisan breakdown we saw in 2008. But, most pollsters seem to disagree and are weighting their polls for just such an outcome.

Organizations like Gallup and The Associated Press make it almost impossible to find out their partisan screen. Newer organizations, though, like Politico, DailyKos and Fox News do make this information available.

A recent poll by DailyKos/PPP, which had Obama up by 3 points, had the following partisan screen:

  • Democrats 40%
  • GOP 37%
  • Independents 24%
  • Liberal 27%
  • Conservative 42%
  • Moderate 32%

So, the DailyKos poll expects a bigger Democrat and liberal turnout than in 2008. Somehow, I don’t think that’s likely.

Politico‘s recent poll, which found Romney with a 1-point lead had the following partisan screen:

  • Democrats 37%
  • GOP 34%
  • Independents 28%

(Note: I’ve done my own “weighting” and assigned “leans GOP” and “leans Democrat” to “Independents.”)

A recent FoxNews poll, which showed Obama with a 7-point lead had this partisan breakdown:

  • Democrats 42%
  • GOP 34%
  • Independents 20%

What color is the sky in FoxNews’ world if they think the Democrats, in 2012, are going to increase their share of the electorate from 2008? When was it, exactly, that a bunch of independents suddenly switched to the Democrat party? [ They’re trying to all fair and balanced, don’t ya know.]

I think all of these polls are oversampling Democrats and undersampling Republicans. The nadir for the GOP was 2008, when they only made up 32% of the electorate. In the wake of ObamaCare and a stalled economy, there is no way the GOP is going to sit home like they did when faced with a McCain candidacy. Also, the Democrats were at the high-water mark of the “hope and change” promise of Obama in 2008, when they made up 39% of the electorate. There is no way they reach that level again.

So, every poll you see, dig deep into the partisan breakdown. Your mileage may vary, but you’d be right to adjust the numbers accordingly.

Cecil Beaton’s World War

In artistic terms they were at polar opposites of the photographic spectrum.

The wanton destruction and grim resilience of war is not a subject you would associate with high fashion glamor shots of the rich and beautiful.

But when flamboyant photographer Cecil Beaton was enlisted during the Second World War, his striking collection showed the six-year conflict in a new, more graceful, picturesque light.

The photographer, whose most notable subjects included Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn, was commissioned for an altogether grittier photographic project that could be used as propaganda

Moving him away from his usual fare of royalty and fashion models, the Ministry of Information asked Beaton to document Britain’s war effort.

The renowned photographer pictured young men and women in a typically glamorous light, in spite of the ravages, destruction and chaos engulfing Britain in 1940.

His eye-catching portfolio stays away from corpses, blood and the unimaginable horror of the front line, featuring instead photogenic soldiers presenting a united front for the Allied Forces.

Even so, Beaton does tug on the heartstrings in his collection: one of the most memorable images shows wounded three-year-old Eileen Dunne at Great Ormond Street Hospital, in an evocative picture which would later grace the cover of Life magazine in September 1940.

The picture was clearly effective – as it was taken with the aim of generating sympathy for the British and helping sway America into intervening in the war.

She recognized them as being similar in style to the work of Beaton, and confirmed they were his work by matching them to his diary records.

She said: ‘The Ministry was in disarray in those days and the records weren’t kept well.

‘It was not practice to record the name of the photographer. But we always knew these images existed somewhere.’

After ceasing wartime operations, the Ministry of Information deposited Beaton’s war photos with the Imperial War Museum, London.

The photographer was briefly reunited with his vast body of work shortly before his death.

Describing the experience, he wrote in his diary: ‘Yesterday I went to the Imperial War Museum, not my favourite place, to see the collection of photographs that I had taken during the war for the Ministry of Information.

‘It was an extraordinary experience to relive those war years; so much of it had been forgotten, and most of the people are now dead.

‘It was fascinating to see the scenes in old Imperial Simla, the rickshaws drawn by uniformed servants, the grandeur of the houses, the palaces, the bar scenes, the men on leave swigging beer, I had not realised that I had taken so many documentary pictures, some of purely technical interest.

‘Looking at them today, I spotted ideas that are now ‘accepted’, but which, thirty years ago, were before their time. The sheer amount of work I had done confounded me.’

Relaxed: A soldier orders a cup of tea in the Forces Canteen at Victoria Station in 1942. The soldier pictured was the butler of a close friend of photographer Cecil Beaton

As well as glamorous portraits of British soldiers, Beaton’s portfolio also catalogues famous landmarks, such as a war-ravaged Bloomsbury Square in London

War effort: A female welder works on the deck of a new ship in Tyneside in 1943

A sailor on board HMS Alcantara uses a portable sewing machine to repair a signal flag on a voyage to Sierra Leone

A British sailor on shore leave in Harrogate looks natural in front of the camera in 1941

War heroes: Squadron Leader M L Robinson of No 609 Squadron RAF sits on the wing of his Hawker Hurricane at RAF Biggin Hill in 1941 for a relaxed portrait picture

Three men of the Long Range Desert Group enjoy a moment’s relaxation with cigarettes after returning to headquarters in, Siwa, Libya, in 1942

Battle of Britain pilot Neville Duke, who later broke the World Air Speed record, pictured with his Spitfire at RAF Biggin Hill in 1941

A woman made homeless by the Blitz receives a hot meal at a welfare centre in Bermondsey, London, in 1940

Attribution: Chris Parsons

Let My People Work

by: the Common Constitutionalist 

I believe we’ve heard many so-called conservatives claim we are in a jobless recovery.

That’s a hot one. There has been no recovery nor have there been any jobs.

We’ve also heard the democrats out on the talk show circuit and at every available podium spouting off about the 4.5 million jobs Barack Obama has created since taking office.

Well, there may have been jobs created, but a lot more have been lost.

Here’s a fun fact for you. When Obama was crowned King of the world in 2009, there were approximately 142,187,000 people employed in the U.S.

Today the number is 142,101,000. So, as Rush would say, for those of you in Rio Linda, there are about 86,000 fewer people employed today than at the time of Obama’s coronation in 2009.

Just think about that for a second. Consider the bold-faced lies the democrats and the media are foisting on the ill-informed American people. It’s actually criminal. And what of our side? Where is the well-informed conservative on the TV talking-head shows that can say, “You are lying and here is the proof? These are the facts, etc.

Where are the Paul Reveres, riding through the countryside, exclaiming these facts?

I guess, in a way, we are the virtual town criers. “It’s 2012 and all is NOT well”.

Anywho, the real employment figures are bad, but given a little more context, they become even more devastating.

One thing these talking heads never mention is the increase in the overall population growth of this country.

From 2009 to today, American population has increased by 8.8 million. So, there are over 8 million more people living here and we have 86 thousand fewer jobs than 3 years ago?

If they’re not working, what are they doing? Well, they are on some form of government assistance, like welfare, food stamps, disability, etc.

Today, approximately 45 million people are on food stamps. That’s 1 out of every 7 Americans! These aren’t just nameless, faceless strangers. They are friends, neighbors and coworkers, or maybe ex-coworkers in some cases.

People are becoming so desperate that when their unemployment runs out they are applying for social security disability. That way they at least have something to live on.  

Now, I’m not going to discuss, the fraud and abuse by many, scamming the system just to receive a government check instead of finding a job. We all know there is plenty of that. We also know that many people could more heavily rely on their own families for assistance in lieu of the taxpayers. But the number is not that great and it can’t mask the incredibly weak employment figures. Like the 8.1% unemployment number that isn’t.

That’s a fake number. Pure and simple. It’s like a 300 lb. man stepping on a scale that tops out at 200 lbs. Just because the scale only reads 200, doesn’t mean he lost weight. If you recall, there are 6 unemployment categories ranging from U-1 to U-6. The  U-3 number is the one that everyone has settled on. I frankly don’t know why the government, news outlets, et al, have settled on the U-3.  I guess it makes things appear better than they are. If that’s the case, the U-1 number is under 5%. Like magic we could have almost full employment. The fact, or myth, that the U-3 unemployment number dropped from 8.3 to 8.1% is irrelevant.

In the last month alone over 580,000 people just gave up looking for work. The Labor Force Participation Rate, the number of people employed or looking for work, dropped to 63.5%, a level not seen since September, 1981, at the tail end of, hey what do you know, the Carter administration. That’s how that 8.3 dropped to 8.1. Those, over half a million poor souls, are now not counted. Voilà, less unemployment. The real number, the u-6 is up around 15%.

And let’s not forget King Barack’s just enacted, defacto illegal immigration amnesty program . Hey, what’s a million or so more unemployed people who have no job and won’t be able to find one.

Nothing is more essential to moving a family forward, or a nation, than a job, and today America has less of them than when Obama became President. The hope and change experiment needs to come to an end.

So when you meet our conservative candidates out there on the campaign trail, ask them why they’re not pushing the real numbers and calling the fake numbers, what they are, fake. More people need to know this stuff.

Attribution: Bob Beauprez