The New Terrapin Gazette

Number 196                                                                                                                              10 April, 2011


Philosophy always arrives too late to instruct the world on how things should be. It does not appear until reality has gone through its formative process and is manifest.


Vitamin D

Remember Linus Pauling and his oranges? Vitamin C was the big deal then, and, like Interferon, it was going to cure simply everydarnthing. Then there was hypoglycemia, a condition that was killing millions and could be corrected if only you would buy this book or subscribe to that expensive newsletter.

Too right: food fads and charlatans have a long history, and the psychological factors that keep them going are deeply rooted.

It is, therefore, with some cautious optimism that The New Terrapin suggests that you consider the benefits of vitamin D. Understand several things, please: first, exaggerated claims for D are common, so be skeptical. Then there are all the studies that suggest conclusions, but can’t actually arrive at them. Some statements about D are rather like the statistic that five percent of US residents wear shoes — true, but misleading. Others actually only suggest the need for more research, but can make the reader think they prove wondrous benefits. Then too, much of the literature on D is partial, so getting answers the layman needs can be like training butterflies.

After a good deal of reading, The New Terrapin has come up with a summary of the current state of scientific understanding of D. No, not a lot of links this time — this one is informal, not an attempt to pin anybody’s ears back. It’s considered, informed opinion you should run past your physician if you have questions.

D is a component in a properly-functioning immune system; it is one of many essential nutrients; a great many people do not have suggested levels of it; and there are indications that it probably plays vital roles in the function of many physiological systems (skeletal, immunological, cardiac, vascular, and possibly more). The results of an insufficiency of D could be much more complex and far-reaching than is currently known. Get enough D.

Sunshine, in The New Terrapin’s view, is the best source. Get out in the noonday sun, take most of your clothes off, and stay there for ten or fifteen minutes. If it’s cloudy, extend your stay a bit. Do that once or twice a week.

You have to be outdoors. Sunlight coming through glass won’t work, because the necessary wavelengths of ultraviolet light are filtered out.

Obviously exposure to the sun while you are mowing the lawn or recreationally engaged will be the equivalent of a deliberate sunbathing session.

If you can’t come fairly close to maintaining that regimen, consider taking D pills during those long winters.

Here are a couple of helpful quotes from Wikipedia’s article on D:

Within about 20 minutes of ultraviolet exposure in light skinned individuals (3-6 times longer for pigmented skin), the concentrations of vitamin D precursors produced in the skin reach an equilibrium, and any further vitamin D that is produced is degraded.

[W]hole-body exposure to one minimal erythemal dose [a dose that would just begin to produce sunburn in a given individual] of simulated solar ultraviolet radiation is comparable with taking an oral dose of between 250 and 625 micrograms (10 000 and 25 000 IU) vitamin D.

That means your body will start breaking down D as fast as it forms it, once you hit the maximum level. An overdose is impossible, because when the body has had all it needs and can handle, it automatically stops adding to the total amount of D you have. That’s nice, isn’t it? (In theory, you can get too much D if you take pills, and that will make you sick; in practice, this is seldom seen.)

Your body will store D for later use, and since you don’t need more than about 800 IU daily (that’s the maximum — old folks need 800, younger folks need less), you can get a ten day supply of free D in a few minutes.

Never mind eating properly to get D; it’s a waste of effort. The only reason to eat smoked salmon is that smoked salmon is the most delicious food there is.

If you Google D, you will find a lot of crackpot claims being made for it, some of them coming from people with what they hope are impressive postnominal initials. Vegans typically underestimate the amount of exposure to sunlight that will provide adequate levels of D. You will also be warned again and again about skin cancer. Ignore all that rubbish. Sunshine is good for you. Too much of everything is…well, the song says, “just enough,” but no, too much is too much. Use common sense. What’s the benefit of sunburn? Why tan your skin so profoundly that it ages prematurely?

In one respect, vitamin D is like Laphroaig: if it’s half as good for you as its boosters claim, you should make sure you get some every week.


Observations Both Jaundiced And Trenchant

The Attitude Seems Alien

Have you noticed the unpleasant parallel between the Argentine regime of Juan and Eva Peron and the Obama White House? It goes beyond the areas in which it is easiest to see, social and economic policy. You may not know of Eva Peron, the actress who used her glamour and wiles to capture a politician and then seduce the lower classes of Argentine society (check Wikipedia). Her ostentatious displays of wealth were not understood in the USA, where many felt her work on behalf of women, the poor and the labor unions was belied by her lifestyle. Eva always insisted that the poor needed to see her in furs and haute couture, and she seems to have been correct. The military, however, hated her desperately. The reaction to her and her husband plunged Argentina into nightmarish repression, civil war, mass murder, and enduring social discord.

In a nation with a weak tradition of democracy (and, it must be said, an arrested state of emotional development), reactions can be worse than the outrages that provoke them. The parallels between Peron and Obama are, therefore, few and limited.

That said, there are some insights to be gleaned from the similarities that remain. What rankles today’s US critics of Obama is the same thing that made Eva Peron so puzzling to Yanks: the contrast between the people championed and the profligate behavior of the elite. Obama precipitates the worst financial crisis in US history (multiplying the moronic errors of W and the GOP), then proclaims that the Republicans cannot have things their way but must accept the offered “compromise” — and, having indicated that he will not budge, leaves town for a holiday. Few notice that Obama and Reid have simply changed their positions somewhat, rather than address the monumental deficit in any rational way. Gasoline prices spike, unemployment declines far too slowly, and the administration’s plans are to drive the ship of state onto the rocks. For the president, however, it’s golf and outrageously expensive vacations.

Call it a “disconnect,” a “let them eat cake” attitude, a contrast, or just bad judgment. Whatever you call it, it is a flaw.

Obama has misjudged the body politic. True, he does have a huge advantage in that there are millions of people who would vote for him (or for Al Sharpton) no matter what. True, the left wing of the Democrats is in disarray, and cannot field a credible challenger who could point to Libya and other blunders to set the president aside.

Still, the center may not hold for Obama. That is the segment of the population that, years ago, saw Eva Person as a meretricious charlatan, and was repulsed by her.

That view was justified. It was not just that Eva was a greedy hypocrite; she was also whoreishly cynical, single-minded, inflexible, addicted to the adulation of her admirers, eager to bask in the limelight, childishly self-indulgent, superficial and withal politically wily. She used her charm and oratory to become a secular saint.

If that sounds vaguely familiar….

It may be, in other words, that the USA will no more be able to tolerate Obama than it could approve of Eva. That will happen if there is a widespread perception that Obama is an orator, not a leader; a symbol, not a statesman; an amateur, not an experienced and wise politician who follows rational principles (such as fiscal prudence) familiar to the electorate; and a wildly impractical Utopian, not a master of the possible.

Trying To Keep Up With The Suicidal Lunatics

Over the years, this newsletter — whatever its name at any given time — reported on a number of developments in “terrorism” that have never been adequately covered by the mainstream media. If memory serves…

…the articles of Annie Jacobsen were seminal. She was on a plane that was hit by what is now accepted as a test, or trial run, conducted by Islamists researching how to blow up an airliner. Her account was ignored, mocked, disputed and ridiculed. This newsletter found her credible and very intelligent, and praised her efforts. She observed the disruption of the flight by a group of Syrians, and followed up on the story, eventually talking to the FBI.

Then there was the report of another female, again a Westerner, who recounted the conversation of some Muslims inside their mosque in the USA. They did not realize that she is fluent in Arabic, and, though one of their number questioned whether she might overhear what they were saying, his warning was dismissed because she “would not understand” what she heard. She reported that the men laughed about their adventures on airliners, as they traveled hither and yon, upsetting passengers, air crews and airport staff with their misbehavior. They were probing the defenses of the system and at the same time enjoying the terror they provoked. It was the Islamist version of what Tom Wolfe called “mau-mauing” people (intimidating the fools who are in charge).

It should be clear by now that these activities continue. There are two especially troubling aspects to the pattern, and neither have to do with the Islamists’ behavior: first, the press is not reporting fully or candidly on what is going on, and second, next to nothing is being done about any of it.

Censorship begins with the airlines themselves. They are horrified by the possibility that passengers might get off the plane with video they recorded on their mobile phones. In an attempt to prevent word from getting out, airline employees, especially flight crews, are threatened with firing and blackballing in the industry if they talk to the press or anyone else about the incidents they have witnessed. A lot goes on that the public never hears about. But how much “a lot” is remains unknown.

The smothering of Annie Jacobsen’s account was partial, to be sure, but her words deserved much wider display. A close reading of the accounts of her reports indicates that she was patronized as a hysteric. The huge flaws in the USA’s immigration program that she uncovered have been very systematically censored (or “ignored,” if your ideological predispositions deny the reality of media censorship). The New Terrapin has pointed out several times that an alien’s passport contains no definitive information on his immigration status, the reason for his presence in the USA, or when he must leave the country. Those who apply for political asylum are given a court date months in advance, and simply turned out onto the street; few ever show up in the immigration system again. The USA is acting very stupidly. None of this is common knowledge, and the news media alone are responsible for that.

There are a number of Islamic enclaves in the USA that are off limits to visitors. Some brave souls have attempted to spy on what goes on in these rural camps, and have seen that armed patrols constantly watch the perimeters. Now that is not illegal, so one must ask whether this sort of activity would be widely reported in the mainstream media if the “wingnut” militias in the USA were to practice it.

Justice And Policy In National Security Matters

The final trial in the Waco Branch Davidian saga put to rest claims that federal officers used a machine gun on religious nuts who were running from the flames. Evidence that an automatic weapon was in fact firing is provided by the infra-red camera on a government helicopter. The film was included in the documentary, Rules of Engagement, which is not the film drama of the same name with Tommy Lee Jones and Samuel L. Jackson. The Waco documentary includes an interview with the president of the company whose equipment made the damning record of the machine gun firing. He explains why the muzzle flashes captured on the film cannot be visible light (infra-red photography does not respond to visible light, but only to heat; that heat is portrayed on playback as white light). Having seen the relevant footage, the staff of this newsletter declares that the court erred egregiously. Again, none of this is widely known or appreciated, and the public is the poorer for it. Credit the major media with yet another major failure.

It’s a bitter pill to swallow: home-grown religious crackpots are slaughtered and the justice system cannot respond rationally to obvious truths about the carnage — yet dangerous aliens are treated with deferential, apologetic consideration. Is equal justice under the law such an impossibly high standard? Yes, lawbreakers in the Branch Davidian compound should have been charged, but the public forgets the hardly-published fact that local law enforcement officials walked up to the door, knocked, and were admitted. They then conducted their business peacefully and left, having found no violations. The feds, by contrast, did not knock, but put ladders against the building and climbed onto the roof — replaying a scenario they had drawn up while practicing on a purpose-built full-scale mockup of the Davidian structures.

Recall as well that Koresh, the head nut, was in the habit of leaving his compound to jog. Rather regularly. If the feds wanted to grab him, they could have tried waiting. But no: perhaps too impressed by movies and TV, the BATF bruisers swaggered off to kick down doors. One shot himself in the leg while climbing a ladder. Very impressive.

Justice is mocked when the maxi-macho mentality of officialdom moves immediately to assault. That practice is all too common as many communities across the nation train SWAT teams, and turn them loose on sleeping citizens. No-knock is too often actually, “Oops! Wrong house! Oops again, Granny and the kids seem to have absorbed a few bullets. More drug-related deaths.”

On every level and every hand, the goofy stuff just keeps accumulating. While the USA practices insane immigration policies, Janet Napolitano is criticized in the press. This is a sham; what is needed is a clear, comprehensive and solid job of investigative reporting that tells the electorate just what the full situation is. If people knew, they would be furious. They would realize that the unimaginative Napolitano is not the real problem, and that she could never be expected to do a good job in the present system. Reform is needed, and desperately. That it will not come is not Janet’s fault.

Consider profiling, for example. The word is defined as an evil practice of discrimination that is unconstitutional. Nothing could be further from the truth, for profiling is a valuable tool that must be used to enhance public safety. Again, the news media do not report or comment on this in proportion to its importance.

Then there is the disgrace of all that acreage in Arizona and Texas that is de facto no longer part of the USA. It is occupied by armed irregulars who are not citizens of the nation, and the federal government has posted signs telling decent folks to stay out. President Obama flatly refuses to do anything about this invasion, and he’s quite candid (not fully so, but let that go) about why: he will meet the obligations imposed upon him by his oath of office only if the Republicans will grant him an absurd change in the immigration laws. That’s hostage-taking, isn’t it? What we have here, Pilgrims, is an impeachable offense. Again, where and how often is all this reported and commented on?

Nations and civilizations do not always collapse because they cannot cope with their problems — they can fade because they refuse to cope. Eventually that refusal so weakens them that coping is no longer an option.

The man who promised the nation Hope and Change has crushed the hope and corrupted the concept of change so that it amounts to deterioration. While not everything he has done has been wrong, overall he is behaving like exactly the person he is: an ideologically obsessed amateur.


Referring to the speaker of the House, this news outlet says: “In his first three months as speaker, (John Boehner has) helped turn the entire Washington dialogue into a debate about the size and scope of government. He started the year by getting rid of earmarks, he’s pushing through some of the deepest spending cuts in American history, and he’ll now try to get most of the GOP Conference on board with Rep. Paul Ryan’s fiscal 2012 budget — one of the most audacious long-term spending plans in recent memory.” Anyone who attributes this to the GOP alone is simply unaware of the facts. None of it would have been conceivable, let alone possible, without the Tea Party Movement. Those citizens are the eight hundred pound gorilla in the next room.

Meanwhile Pelosi and her allies are forging ahead with their plans to control what the internet does and can do, and their rationale — as they present it — is to prevent anyone from controlling what the internet does and can do. Very clever. The would-be gatekeepers portray free enterprise and commerce as the villains, and propose to protect the public from them. It just might work, unless advocates of a free market can expose the hoax. The issues are complex and boring enough that most people don’t take any interest in what Congress is doing. That allows the regulators and controllers to expand their power.

Remember: these elitists are the same lying rascals that would love to impose “The Fairness Doctrine” on radio. If you don’t know what that scheme is, request information from this newsletter. The more you understand about the enemies of Liberty, the more secure the Republic will be.



It was inevitable: it has been conclusively demonstrated that the US universities are not overwhelmingly liberal, that they have diverse faculties and make little or no impression on the politics of their students. That’s a relief. But…compare the WaPo version of this story with the original report of the survey, and see whether you find any significant differences. Then consider this sentence from the original report: “Lawrence H. Summers, the economist and former Harvard president, did his own cut on their numbers and said that his analysis pointed to a problematic liberal domination at elite research universities.” What does that mean? Isn’t “problematic” used incorrectly there…or is it? Ah, journalism.

It could be that Secretary of Defense Gates is the lone voice of reason in the Obama administration. But…he’s very likely to depart before long.

Two reports on Al Qaeda: the first deals with AQ in Libya, and it’s brief and shaky. The second comes from Brazil. Long ago this newsletter mentioned that Islamist activity in South America was on the rise and posed a significant threat, and of course the news media have not reported adequately on developments there. Perhaps that will change as the situation deteriorates.

This is an extremely interesting webpage, both for the technology described and for one of the uses to which it has been put. The link may not work for you; it is cached material, and it works in Thailand. If you can get the web page to come up, you may see why it is cached, and why the cache may also be taken down soon. Good luck.

A hat tip to GB for this video of a congressman spelling out a problem the USA has today…thanks in part to what Slick did thirteen years ago. Yes, the Solon has a fix for that problem, which is both heartening and depressing (you will see why when you watch the video). Note, by the way, how well this guy does without having to use a teleprompter!

This is what a failed state looks like. Notice the similarity between the genuine fake government of Mexico and the fake fake government of the USA: both are run by elites that deal in lies and corruption. The distinction is mostly a matter of degree.

Mark Steyn on US foreign policy and Libya: what in the world is going on here?

The “Wingnuts” are just about as wound up and angry about old man Soros as the “progressives” are about the Tea Party. Just think of him as the counter to the Koch brothers, Guys.

A “Palestinian” state that shares a border with Israel? As good an idea as the lead balloon. The inhabitants of the region have hated each other for many centuries, and that pattern will survive for many more centuries.

Afghanistan’s road to ruin began with the destruction of this society. A hat tip to JY for a link that provides genuine perspective.

You can burn the US flag in protest, you can burn a Bible, you can burn the writings of Swedenborg…but you can’t burn a Koran. That is, you won’t be able to do that legally if Harry Reid (who is the elected leader of the majority party in the US Senate, and a braying ass) has his way. If you are unclear on the issue, start here and work your way through all the links and read everything. Look, it’s not complicated: they hate all those who do not share their malformed faith. They want to kill, enslave or convert all non-Muslims, and no law the US might pass to force an otherwise free people to respect the primitive death cult that is Islam could possibly change that. — Harry, you repulsive ignoramus, the nation is much worse off for your recent re-election.

As everybody knows, the USA buys drugs from Mexico and sells lots of guns — automatic weapons — to Mexican gangs. The problem is that what everybody knows is wrong.

Here’s a very interesting account of the beginnings of the end of slavery in the USA. The author points to remarkable parallels with the opening of the Berlin wall and the collapse of the USSR. This may be the way Obamacare eventually dies, as well.

Related: you may have seen this, but you probably did not think of it as another instance of the governmental stasis that ended slavery in the USA. In both cases, when challenged to commit to something, both nineteenth century and twenty-first century US administrations fell silent. In the event the government simply steps back, the repression of the individual is no longer possible, and a failed policy tacitly becomes an historical oddity. So mote it be yet again.

Now for a totally absurd time-waster. It’s prompted by burning questions such as, what does English sound like to folks who don’t speak it as their native tongue? Do humorous possibilities lurk in that question? Can you make a buck by exploiting stereotypes that don’t exist? — Click on the hyperlink for a visit to a Scandahoovian Mad Hatter’s Beer Bust and Bong Blowout, as a film-maker suffering from cerebral frostbite serves up his misconception of a US film dealing with a trial in the rural South. The flick pulsates with racial overtones and vulgar references. It’s European cinema at its most irrelevant, and The New Terrapin is still not sure whether Yanks should be offended.

It will be hotly denied by “progressives,” but this guy is absolutely correct.

The first step in cutting back and then trying to kill Obamacare. Standard Moonie alert: this source is owned and operated by a church founded by a felon who claims divine status.

Related: Obamacare could be worse than previously realized. This long article is turgid but informative.

All right, you just don’t believe that the media are “in the tank” for Obama. You insist that the press would not censor, rewrite, edit or slant its reporting to favor the president, if only because the perpetrators would get caught at it. Well, after years of proving its case, this newsletter finds the entire subject depressing precisely because getting caught means nothing to the smug propagandists. That’s why you don’t find heaps of examples of the bias of the press in today’s New Terrapin. Accordingly, this weblog post may come as a bit of a shock to newer subscribers.

Somebody killed two people in a car; who was killed, why, and who did the killing are all unknown. Now that’s odd, but perhaps the most odd aspect of it is that the event is almost surely good news. Here’s a report of what is known and speculated.

How far will things go in Libya, and how much will be required of the USA? This newsletter is not at all sure that Uncle Sam has to get rid of Gaddafi. It appears that Islamists are slowly and very effectively enmeshing the US in a trap (Source One and Source Two). The West should not attempt to instruct tar babies on matters of etiquette. Too, it would be well for Washington to remember and consider the implications of the fact that Islam takes a very patient approach to converting/enslaving/murdering infidels. It’s going to be a long struggle. Finally, there’s related news on Iran’s view of recent developments: things are going well for the jihadis. Or so they say. See the next link.

Michael Yon is reporting from Afghanistan. Yon single-handily outclasses all the other reporters and news organizations. He is the finest source available to the public. Of course he, like Claudia Rosett, will never get the Pulitzer he deserves.

Almost half of the US federal senate is unhappy because “…the Justice Department was devoting too much focus to small-time purveyors of ‘fringe’ fetish pornography and not enough attention to the mass-market producers.” The New Terrapin has no problem with that, but since it is Holder’s job to enforce the laws — however silly they are — the first thing that comes to mind here is standard, garden-variety, unexceptional, traditional, storied, old-fashioned corruption. No, it’s not that far-fetched. The precedent is classical: the big guys pay off like broken slot machines, while the little guys go into the slammer. Either that, or Eric and the boys have pretty tame tastes when it comes to pr0n, and they don’t want their sources to dry up. Gee, what other explanation is there?

The tsunami that hit Japan swept all manner of stuff out to sea; what happened to it? This.


The masthead includes a quote from the works of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel.

The staff of The New Terrapin Gazette expresses its sincere gratitude to the many people who have gifted the world with Arch Linux, Emacs, Screen, and Chromium.

Publisher:    The Eagle Wing Palace of The Queen Chinee