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Getting the balance right

Mark Mardell | 17:33 UK time, Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Michelle Obama

"I love burgers and fries. And I love ice-cream and cake. And so do most kids," the First Lady told ABC, making the point it is all about getting the balance right. She added that no one thinks it is much use the government telling people what to eat.

At the launch itself, the First Lady spoke of a time when she was a working mum, tempted to serve microwave meals and fast food until her doctor warned her of the danger to her children.

Among the measures she announced:
-a voluntary agreement with food companies for clearer labelling on packets
-another voluntary agreement with companies supplying school meals to cut sugar, salt and fat in their foods
-$10bn over ten years to update school meals services and increase the number of children taking them
-$5m to set up more farmers markets
-$400m to bring grocery stores to poor areas.

The president has signed a memorandum which does suggest greater government involvement in the future. It sets up a task force which is chaired by his domestic advisor Melody Barnes and includes the cabinet ministers for health, agriculture, the interior and education.

Their job? To make new recommendations on how to ensure access to healthy, affordable food, especially in schools. The president wants the first part of their plan on his desk within 90 days.

Comments

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  • 1. At 5:57pm on 09 Feb 2010, dennisjunior1 wrote:

    Mark---

    Just saw the comments from First lady Michelle Obama regarding
    the "obesity" problems in the United States adn, the ideas that are being rumoured in your blog post is the good going start...


    -Dennis Junior-

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  • 2. At 5:58pm on 09 Feb 2010, jayshsuresh wrote:

    Mr. Mardell, This is newsworthy but the big news over the weekend was that of Sarah Palin and the Nashville Tea party convention and her declaring that she is not closing the door to running for president. Your views on this, please.

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  • 3. At 6:17pm on 09 Feb 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    A worthwhile endeavor, but one not likely to change much, particularly with the "voluntary" aspect of the things that matter. If you want results, I would require any school district that receives federal funding to get unhealthy foods out of their lunch programs.

    Among unhealthy foods, I would include ketchup. All commercial ketchup is oversweetened, usually with high-fructose corn syrup. HFSC is pretty much the same as other forms of sugar, but cheaper. The problem is too much sugar, so limit the amount of sugar allowed in ketchup used in schools, or eliminate it altogether.

    Of course that doesn't solve the problem of fast food outlets after school. People need to be conditioned to less sweet foods. Hard to do when there is sugar in everything.

    Here is a link to the Mayo Clinic's take of HFCS:

    http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/high-fructose-corn-syrup/an01588

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  • 4. At 6:48pm on 09 Feb 2010, washuotaku wrote:

    It will be interesting how far the "voluntary" will go. I think she could have added more by also including exercise of some sort or the encouragement of play time. One of the reasons why obesity is a problem is for the lack of simple exercise; cut for more study for tests instead. If she wants balance on the dinner table, she should also encourage balance in daily life-style as well.

    Welcome back Mark, don't forget to purchase some sort of back-up generator for the next snow storm.

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  • 5. At 7:03pm on 09 Feb 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    "don't forget to purchase some sort of back-up generator for the next snow storm."

    Nobody has (or needs) a backup generator in a city except providers of essential services such as hospitals and telephone companies.

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  • 6. At 7:07pm on 09 Feb 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #2
    , jayshsuresh wrote:
    Mr. Mardell, This is newsworthy but the big news over the weekend was that of Sarah Palin and the Nashville Tea party convention and her declaring that she is not closing the door to running for president. Your views on this, please.

    _______________

    I agree one thread was enough, but how about Obama challenge or invitation for the Republicans to a publcly brodcast meeting on healthcare?

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  • 7. At 7:28pm on 09 Feb 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Squeezing a children' diet issue into the headlines may help to turn national attention away from Obama's health reform fiasco.

    Not to mention from certain seminal event in Nashville.

    Although personally I doubt it.

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  • 8. At 7:32pm on 09 Feb 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Mrs. Obama's cause is a great endeavor, and I suspect most Americans will wish her well, but this subject pales in comparison to some of the issues that are currently being debated in Congress, the White House and the international community.

    The high probability of additional sanctions against Iran, healthcare and energy reform, the dichotomy of having an improving economy with an unacceptable level of unemployment, the high number of Americans that are being counted as employed because after months of unemployment they accepted part time or temporary employment, often at or just above minimum wage, are all subjects more worthy of debate that the laudable endeavor undertaken by our First Lady.

    Last but not least, I agree with the person that suggested discussing the Sarah Palin political phenomenom. As bizarre as it may seem to some, she has a lot of supporters, she now has a platform that she can use to voice her opinions, and she is no longer the little poor lady from Alaska facing unsurmountable obstacles. She may turn out to be a nightmare for Democrats...and for her Republican opponents.


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  • 9. At 7:42pm on 09 Feb 2010, arclightt wrote:

    @mark: If the Pres would also push for more physical education, that would be helpful as well, I think. The biggest motivator, however, may be all of us adults getting off OUR backsides and doing something physical.

    @3 (GH): Couldn't agree more on HFCS. It is not like other sugars, either; it doesn't break down in the body in quite the same way. Not very healthy.

    There was also a news note today linking soft drinks and pancreatic cancer. Now THAT'S a wakeup call.

    @5 (GH): I have to disagree with this, although my first choice wouldn't be rotating machinery if solar were in any way reasonable. I have a breathing machine that I have to keep running while sleeping; no generator = no machine. With another foot of snow in the forecast for tonight here in the Washy DC area, I'll go home and check fuel levels, etc.

    Maybe solar will be cheap enough someday...

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  • 10. At 9:08pm on 09 Feb 2010, dennisjunior1 wrote:

    Mark:

    -$10bn over ten years to update school meals services and increase the number of children taking them

    Sounds like a good idea in theory; but, in reality...most school authorities ARE NOT able to do more with less resources currently being offered; On the same train of thought---Many parents/children don't preferred to eat the food that the school(s) offered on a daily basis.

    =Dennis Junior=

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  • 11. At 9:10pm on 09 Feb 2010, rodidog wrote:

    I think it's a worthy cause, but I doubt those items she suggested will have any effect. Kids are not obese because of school meals or lack of farmers markets. They're obese becuase of the habits of the their parents. If mom and dad are not positive role models for a balanced and healthy lifestyle, the children's eating habits and activity habits will not change. If we're going to spend billions of dollars on a school program, I would suggest an education class for parents with obese kids at their local school.

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  • 12. At 9:15pm on 09 Feb 2010, dennisjunior1 wrote:

    Mark:

    -$400m to bring grocery stores to poor areas.

    This one sounds great in theory, but, MOST grocery outlets will not move their stores into poor areas...because, of the fears of looting and other reasons that they have long-thought of getting hurt.

    -Dennis Junior-

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  • 13. At 9:21pm on 09 Feb 2010, dennisjunior1 wrote:

    Mark:

    -$5m to set up more farmers markets

    Here is the problem with the entire idea of farmer markets...Will that being in the Winter and rural areas...Most people can often not travelled to a multiple places where farmer markets.

    Also, Most people can not afford to shop at Farmers Markets since, they often hike up the cost of the food.....

    -Dennis Junior-

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  • 14. At 9:27pm on 09 Feb 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    arclightt (#9), I didn't mean "nobody" literally, and home medical equipment is clearly an "essential service" anyway.

    I wouldn't get backup power just so I could waste my time on the internet is what I meant.

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  • 15. At 9:29pm on 09 Feb 2010, ghostofsichuan wrote:

    Many social indicators relate to obesity. Education, income, member of Tea Party, etc.
    There has been a trend to eat healtier in many countries (not Scotland). Exercise and diet go together...being on a treadmill for 1/2 an hour burns about a pint of beer.
    The easy access to cheap food in a hurried life has some of the blame. China is facing this issue with the young of the middle class in the major cities today.
    Self-discipline....not many things can replace that as part of your character.

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  • 16. At 9:33pm on 09 Feb 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    rodidog (#11) "They're obese becuase of the habits of the their parents."

    Certainly. Consciousness-raising is needed all around, but her program can be a part of that. I don't think anyone imagines that anything one person can do, even a high-profile person like Michelle Obama, will solve a problem. (How much more literate are US children because of the efforts of the Bushes?) But it's a helpful part of a long process.

    I think many Americans eat much better today than was typical in the 1950s. That's my experience, anyway.

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  • 17. At 9:38pm on 09 Feb 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    Dennis Junior (#12), good point. Democrats do love throwing money at a problem.

    There was a grocery not far from me on the edge of a "poor area" for awhile, but it's gone now. Subsidizing the location is not the answer. The only thing that will make that location viable is demand from the neighborhood and a lower crime rate.

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  • 18. At 9:44pm on 09 Feb 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    Dennis Junior (#13) throwing money at farmers' markets is another goofy idea. My observation is that farmers' markets are doing just fine. Lots of cities have them, and they are well patronized. But you can't force more people to go into the family farm business and force other people to shop at farmers' markets.

    I think M. Obama's efforts would be best spent just concentrating on schools and educating parents.

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  • 19. At 10:22pm on 09 Feb 2010, rodidog wrote:

    #16 GH1618,

    I've no problem with her efforts in combating child obesity. I just feel the target for combating child obesity is the parents. If we can change the habits of parents, through education and awareness, children will find their options are limited to ones that are more balanced and healthier.

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  • 20. At 10:33pm on 09 Feb 2010, RomeStu wrote:

    So will Jamie Oliver be the new face at the White House ......?

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  • 21. At 10:35pm on 09 Feb 2010, RomeStu wrote:

    2. jayshsuresh wrote:
    "Mr. Mardell, This is newsworthy but the big news over the weekend was that of Sarah Palin and the Nashville Tea party convention and her declaring that she is not closing the door to running for president. Your views on this, please."



    Aaaah. Sarah Palin!

    After she needed to read from notes written on her hand, will certain people now stop going on about "teleprompters"?

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8505701.stm


    Oh Sarah ..... how old are you? And caught cheating in the test!!!!

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  • 22. At 11:15pm on 09 Feb 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 21, RomeStu

    "Oh Sarah ..... how old are you? And caught cheating in the test!!!!"

    I am sure her followers were please and forgave her when she cassually showed a new message the next day that read Hi Mom! A little folksiness works every time.

    This little girls is not only cute, she is smart and is playing the simpletons that listen to her like a violin. I wonder what will happen to her when she grows up, matures, and finds out that the Rusky she thought she saw in the horizon was actually a moose ready for the slaughter house...I reckon they'll dump her!


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  • 23. At 11:16pm on 09 Feb 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #21
    RomeStu wrote:
    2. jayshsuresh wrote:
    "Mr. Mardell, This is newsworthy but the big news over the weekend was that of Sarah Palin and the Nashville Tea party convention and her declaring that she is not closing the door to running for president. Your views on this, please."



    Aaaah. Sarah Palin!

    After she needed to read from notes written on her hand, will certain people now stop going on about "teleprompters"?

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8505701.stm


    Oh Sarah ..... how old are you? And caught cheating in the test!!!!

    _____________

    But no Palin supporter has ever saids she was the smartest canidate ever. The way Obama supporters say he is so smart, artculate and knowledgible.

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  • 24. At 11:34pm on 09 Feb 2010, modernJan wrote:

    To those who are downplaying this effort: just think about the impact obesity has on American healthcares costs and you will understand why it's such an important issue.

    Besides, it's a minor project of the administration: they have to run the country you know, they have tons of minor projects that keep the country going, they can't just spend their days engaging in discussions with the Tea Party people. Yelling things about abortion, gays and big government will only get you so far, meanwhile, responsible leaders are trying to run a country.

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  • 25. At 00:38am on 10 Feb 2010, bayleyco wrote:

    Two articles in a row on Michelle? Mardell, you cannot be serious.

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  • 26. At 00:38am on 10 Feb 2010, wolfvorkian wrote:

    Nobody has (or needs) a backup generator in a city except providers of essential services such as hospitals and telephone companies.

    Not true.Some people has medical devices in their homes that require electricity and would be in a world of hurt if the electricity goes off. Also in the colder climates, often the heating system is of the boiler type where the warmth is distributed via radiator and baseboards. If the electricity is off very long, these can freeze up and cost you a small fortune to have repaired due to the busted pipes etc.

    The electrical utility in Fairbanks recommends that each home has a backup generator.

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  • 27. At 00:43am on 10 Feb 2010, dennisjunior1 wrote:

    Mark:

    To add to my earlier point about Farmer's Market comments---Most areas of the USA are not able to get to a Farmer Market because of lack of transportation and, also, with the Winter Weather specially in the Midwest and NorthEast (USA) most produce is already bought in from California, Florida (and) other warmer regions...So, what would be the ultimate solution for that situation.

    -Dennis Junior-

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  • 28. At 00:52am on 10 Feb 2010, crash wrote:

    Funny i don't remember voting for this lady or any other first lady,so why doe's she act like she is some kind of representative?

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  • 29. At 01:13am on 10 Feb 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 28, crash

    Because as an American she has the right to express her views. In case you missed it, she is championing a cause that is important to her without imposing anything on her fellow citizens, the same way Mrs. Lincoln, Roosevelt, Kennedy, Clinton, Bush and others did when their husbands were Presidents.

    If you don't like what Mrs. Obama has to say, or disagree with her focus on obesity, go to McDonalds and supersize!

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  • 30. At 01:16am on 10 Feb 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 23, Magic

    "But no Palin supporter has ever saids she was the smartest canidate ever."

    Good for them! Would you mind telling us why anyone would not vote for the smartest candidate? Since when is intellectual mediocrity an attribute worthy of support?

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  • 31. At 02:13am on 10 Feb 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    28. At 00:52am on 10 Feb 2010, crash wrote:

    "Funny i don't remember voting for this lady or any other first lady,so why doe's she act like she is some kind of representative?"
    __________


    Because it is the role that is traditionally expected of her.



    In a Presidential system the role of chief executive and the role of head of state are conflated. So, at one level, we have the head of the executive branch, who has an active role in governing, and, in an elected position has genuine law making powers, and at another level we have all of the ceremonial roles of an head of state.

    In a Parliamentary system, these two roles are separate. The head of government is an elected politician. The head of state (at least in our example) is an hereditary position with no real discretionary legislative power, retaining only particular small reserve powers, and an huge ceremonial role.

    The consort of the head of state in a ceremonial role is customarily expected to conduct themselves in a manner consistent with that role. So they open a lot of hospitals, schools and bridges. They are expected to host state occasions. They are expected to support and work for charitable and other worthy causes.

    Some do this with flair and panache - think of Jaqueline Kennedy or, now, Michelle Obama. Some of them do it with a more reserved and dignified poise - think of Barbara Bush or Betty Ford. Some are part way between - Nancy Reagan or Laura Bush perhaps.

    Some are quite activist and powerful in overtly political roles - Eleanor Roosevelt or Hilary Clinton (at the time).

    And some are much more reserved - Mamie Eisenhower, Pat Nixon.

    On one occasion - during the Wilson Presidency - the President's wife seemed to think that her role included running the country while her husband was ill.

    And on one occasion - Bess Truman - the first lady had no use for the job at all, did not really seem to understand that the fact that her husband was President, or that his day job imposed social obligations on her as the President's wife. She very nearly disdained the job and its ceremonial roles entirely. She went back to Independence Missouri and lived there while her husband was left alone in the White House. Harry Truman must have had the forebearance of a saint.

    In some ways, the First Spouse is like a minor cabinet officer or senior Whitehouse staffer. None of those positions are elected. They have public roles. They serve at the pleasure of the President.

    Michelle Obama is doing worthy things, setting a good example as a parent, and generally not letting the side down. That is an entirely appropriate role for the consort of the Head of State.

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  • 32. At 02:40am on 10 Feb 2010, frayedcat wrote:

    My right to be fat is protected by the Constitution.

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  • 33. At 02:44am on 10 Feb 2010, shiveringofforgottenenemies wrote:

    Melody Barnes is another of Obama's massive army of far left sycophants, one of the top twenty or so being paid $172,200 a year, the MAXIMUM salary allowed by law. (Perhaps this is what Obama meant by saying he was creating jobs). Now, you would think that for her salary she could come up with some advice on better school lunches, but NO, this thing is being handled in typical Obama fashion with a TASK FORCE at cabinet level, meetings, staffs, "experts", and yes, consultants and the beltway bandits that were supposed to have been driven from the temple of government!

    It's going to cost millions of dollars to determine what we already know, that the foods kids like are not good for them, and that they won't eat broccoli. It will eventually be determined that because the feds provide funding to schools they can impose restrictions even unto the level of the cafeteria menu items. Schools will become snack-free zones and students will be expelled for selling Ho-ho's and Ding Dongs to their friends, just as they have been expelled for bringing aspirin to school...a drug free zone!

    Millions of dollars will be spent on yet another federal intrusion into the schools..the ad agency will create healthy eating ads, Acorn will be hired to promote farmer's markets (provided the "farmers" all join the service workers union), and lo, it will be discovered that the urban poor cannot buy $3.89 a pound organic tomatoes and have not acquired a taste for endives!

    This is a FARCE! Frankly I could care less about Michelle Obama's struggles to make ends meet on her $326000 salary, and how lucky she was to find a good pediatrician working in the black community. That must have been SO hard considering she was a hospital administrator.

    This is just another case of the total disconnect that exists between Obama and his enormous team of advisors and the real world.

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  • 34. At 02:52am on 10 Feb 2010, frayedcat wrote:

    #27 DJ...If you build it, they will come.
    If a man can make a living from a farmers market, and can get a little land to farm, then he'll grow some food and sell it at a farmers market. Pick from the stems, or the fruit will rot. Most of our food comes from large subsidized combines...the little guys can't compete any more.

    "...And now the great owners and the companies invented a new method. A great owner bought a cannery. And when the peaches and the pears were ripe he cut the price of fruit below the cost of raising it. And as cannery owner he paid himself a low price for the fruit and kept the price of canned goods up and took his profit. And the little farmers who owned no canneries lost their farms, and they were taken by the great owners, the banks, and the companies who also owned the canneries. As time went on, there were fewer farms. The little farmers moved into town for a while and exhausted their credit, exhausted their friends, their relatives. And then they too, went on the highways. And the roads were crowded with men ravenous for work, murderous for work.

    And the companies, the banks worked at their own doom and they did not know it. The fields were fruitful, and starving men moved on the roads. The granaries were full and the children of the poor grew up rachitic, and the pustules of pellagra swelled on their sides. The great companies did not know that the line between hunger and anger is a thin line. And money that might have gone to wages went for gas, for guns, for agents and spies, for blacklists, for drilling. On the highways the people moved like ants and searched for work, for food. And the anger began to ferment." -Steinbeck

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  • 35. At 03:26am on 10 Feb 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    33. At 02:44am on 10 Feb 2010, shiveringofforgottenenemies wrote:

    "Melody Barnes is another of Obama's massive army of far left sycophants, one of the top twenty or so being paid $172,200 a year, the MAXIMUM salary allowed by law. ..."
    _________

    How much do you think a really good real estate law clerk earns?
    How much do you think a good corporate law paralegal earns?
    How much do you think a pretty good trade mark agent earns?

    To put it in perspective, a third or fourth year lawyer at any large US firm probably earns more than $ 175,000.

    Have you even the vaguest notion of how well you have to have done in school, how good a lawyer you have to be, how hard you have to work, and how much raw physical stamina it takes to succeed in a top tier law firm? Any idea what the pressure is like? Any idea how many hours you have to work in a year? For a lawyer of Michelle Obama's qualifications and ability, $326,000 per year is not a large amount. Not at all. It is probably about half, or possibly somewhat less than half, what she might earn in the private sector.

    I have no idea who Melody Barnes is, but it is a fair guess that almost every senior staff member in the White House is earning less than half what they would earn in a private sector job.

    Would you be prepared to have your salary cut in half for the honour of serving your country?

    And having done so, would you think you then deserved to be gratuitously slagged about it?

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  • 36. At 03:32am on 10 Feb 2010, _marko wrote:

    To shiveringofforgottenenemies #33

    All your posts are anti-Obama rather than anti-government. Why can't you be more patriotic and show more support and love for the American president and the government?

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  • 37. At 03:43am on 10 Feb 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    They say that the biggest way to reach children is through their parents. Perhaps instead of Michelle just reaching out to the children, she needs to be teaching the adults, too?

    There are just some adults that may force their bad eating habits and personas on their children. We should look at what drives them to eat, as well as what the parents encourage them to eat in an average day.

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  • 38. At 07:40am on 10 Feb 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    SaintDominick wrote [in #22]:


    "I wonder what will happen to her when she grows up, matures, and finds out that the Rusky she thought she saw in the horizon was actually a moose ready for the slaughter house."





    Well, it doesn't look like she's going to become another Hillary Clinton.

    And she may discover, like many a U.S. Border Patrol member, that a moose
    approaching from the north is just another Russian soldier from Big Diomedes or Chukotka prefering Guantanamo to Magadan slaughterhose. :-)


    BTW. SD, have you ever been to Chukotka or Kolyma?

    It's lovely, particularly this time of year.;)

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  • 39. At 07:50am on 10 Feb 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re#33

    That's a Melody to my ears.

    Now, 'bout them endives...

    Have you ever tried to sell starfruit or prickly pears in Montana?

    You'd have better luck trying to export snow from D.C. to Vancouver.

    Which badly needs it for its Winter Olympics.

    [though not for its most exciting discipline: curling]

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  • 40. At 07:54am on 10 Feb 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #34

    And know, could we please also have some extensive quotes from Steinbeck regarding Vietnam War?


    Thank you.

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  • 41. At 09:04am on 10 Feb 2010, RomeStu wrote:

    37. LucyIllinois wrote:
    "They say that the biggest way to reach children is through their parents. Perhaps instead of Michelle just reaching out to the children, she needs to be teaching the adults, too?

    There are just some adults that may force their bad eating habits and personas on their children. We should look at what drives them to eat, as well as what the parents encourage them to eat in an average day."



    This may surprise you Lucy ....
    But I agree 100% - the education of children about eating well must also begin with their parents. It is too easy to give in to kids demands in order to keep the peace.


    To give an example... Shivering writes
    "what we already know, that the foods kids like are not good for them, and that they won't eat broccoli."

    In Italy most kids eat pretty much everything - because most parents have a well-balanced and varied diet. My kids eat their broccoli, and love cake too - it's balance that's important.

    Part of the reason is that many many parents at all socio-economic levels actually cook their babyfood, rather than buy processed. Check the amount of sugar and salt even in the "healthy" babyfood - shocking.
    It takes very little to prepare veggie-mush and a bit of meat and then freeze individual portions. My wife and I both work and we managed it fine - it just takes a bit of orgnisation, and a desire to take the best route, not the easiest route.

    But in the US (and the UK too) very often the parents habits rub off very quickly of the kids.

    Shivering continues...
    "It will eventually be determined that because the feds provide funding to schools they can impose restrictions even unto the level of the cafeteria menu items."

    And what is wrong with this. It is well known that the high-sugar rush of sodas and candy is not conducive to good learning. What about the schools' duty of care to its students .... and less of the fact that corporate sponsorship (often by snack cos) covers years of underfunding of the school system.

    It won't be cheap to solve this problem in the US .... but linked to healthcare, if the US doesn't sort out its obesity problems fast you're going to simply self-distruct ... or develop into some kind of Wellesian Eloi and Morlock / beautiful and fat split nation!

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  • 42. At 09:59am on 10 Feb 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #30
    , SaintDominick wrote:
    Ref 23, Magic

    "But no Palin supporter has ever saids she was the smartest canidate ever."

    Good for them! Would you mind telling us why anyone would not vote for the smartest candidate? Since when is intellectual mediocrity an attribute worthy of support?

    ___________________

    We should not but brains is not the only attribute what about ethics positions etc.

    Do you want a genius with no morals running a country?

    And Obamaphile insistance that Obama is the smartest President ever? I've seen no evidence I see a man way over his head. Forget public speaking, from his actions and decisions George Bush is smarter than Barack Obama.

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  • 43. At 10:07am on 10 Feb 2010, David Murrell wrote:

    Magic – Do you do stand up as well?

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  • 44. At 11:25am on 10 Feb 2010, watermanaquarius wrote:

    LucyIllinois # 37
    RomeStu # 41

    Article today, Eating habits , as you both suggest lays a lot of the blame for children's eating hang-ups on the parents.[ Alcoholism of the parent and associated infant depression].
    Immitation they say is the highest form of flattery.
    Strange, but not surprising to think that both many an adult or a child should both seek a crutch [ Mr Mod, this is a medical appliance- ] to get through to the end of the day, be it drink, sugar or a cookie..
    Although the article does not stipulate that the findings are written in stone it is a cause for concern.

    Today the media, political or government entities both sides of the water enjoy reporting human or mechanical failings to benefit their hidden or open agendas.
    Perhaps each parent with their failing Japanese product should look carefully at their child's broken Mattel copy or Barbie doll before reaching for the bottle / sugar sweet, in the privacy of their home and vice versa. [ 80% of all toys come from Asian countries]
    Todays economic down turn and hopefully tomorrows rise in the level of available family income are different sides of the same sword, that exacerbate an ever present problem - the weakness of the human psyche, leading to excess.
    One small step by Michelle yesterday, but we all have a light years to travel before we will notice a general improvement I fear.

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  • 45. At 11:38am on 10 Feb 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Well. I'll take Sara Palin over Michael Palin any time.

    She's much funnier, and much less embittered.

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  • 46. At 12:00pm on 10 Feb 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Why a sour expression in the pic.

    Perhaps Michelle should follow Philly Mom's example and order some SWEET&sour?

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  • 47. At 12:04pm on 10 Feb 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re all those marvelous selfless, altruistic people who came to the nation's capital (Capitol) to serve, taking a pay cut (like Melody):


    "They came to Washington to do good. And they did WELL".

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  • 48. At 12:05pm on 10 Feb 2010, David Murrell wrote:

    Part of the problem is that humans are naturally drawn to sweet and fatty things that’s why we think they taste nice. Makes sense in an animal that lives a subsistence diet, sugars give you energy and fats bulk up your body and can be burnt off for more energy. Our social evolution has been pretty quick, compared to physical evolution our bodies react to the same goodies even though few live, especially in the west, anywhere near the subsistence level we used to.

    If our social evolution has been swift, then our technological one has been supersonic, almost superluminal, things which are common place today were unheard of a few decades ago. This includes the food industry, which governed by capitalist forces is able to use this technology to make tempting foods quite cheaply, it can also make these foods have a greater shelf life. The problem is that few of these advances are actually good for the human body, after all how is it meant to cope with artificial ingredients naturally?

    Dietary wise we in the affluent west have a mix of interrelated problems, we live a lifestyle which does not match what are bodies have adapted for, we can eat better (meaning more) than at any point in our history, while most of us don’t do anywhere as much physical labour. Our diet has expanded far from what is ideal for us to eat, hunter gatherers rarely eat red meat, we can eat it every day. Our expanded diet tastes nicer that our natural diet and it is more cost effective for suppliers to produce cheap but reasonably tasty food, than what is actually good for us.

    Another part of the problem is that while laudable Mrs Obama’s message is unlikely to reach those people who need it the most. As I said the worst food is normally the cheapest, it might be better to get fresh food and cook it all at home, but if you cannot afford it either monetarily or time wise then it isn’t an option. The poorest members of society normally either don’t work at all or work longer more unsociable hours. They also have a tendency to have bigger families, meaning the money and time has to be stretched even further. Regrettably, they also tend to be the more poorly educated a result of which is often a resentment about being told what to do.

    While we can sit here nodding and bemoaning the states of our nations, the people who probably need to take the most urgent actions, either don’t have the time or money to take that action or are not listening.

    As I said talking to the populous is laudable, taking action against the suppliers of the worst foods is probably the best way to address at least dietary side of obesity. This is outside of Mrs Obama’s sphere of influence and also will come up against large multi-nationals who already have the clout that money suppliers in modern democracies. Ignoring that mandating against industry seems far more like nannying and big government than giving advice and/or applying blame to sections of the population.

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  • 49. At 12:09pm on 10 Feb 2010, David Murrell wrote:

    Goodness I didn’t think Michael Palin was eligible to try and be a US president, being British and all.

    Now a political debate between Sarah and Michael might be interesting. I am guessing that Michael wouldn’t need to write down the three core beliefs of his political movement down on his hand for one, and I also think that the joke would definitely be on Sarah.

    And now for something completely different………

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  • 50. At 12:10pm on 10 Feb 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 42, Magic

    "Do you want a genius with no morals running a country?"

    I don't know why I even bother to answer your cryptic comments, but the answer to your question is that I voted for Barack Obama in 2008 - and plan to do so again in 2012 - because of his education, intellect, vision, demeanor, integrity and because of most of his policies. I disagree with some of them, but for the most part he is trying to do what needs to be done.

    Conversely, I voted against George W. Bush twice because I was horrified by his obvious intellectual limitations, his awkward demeanor, his inability to articulate his thoughts, and by the time he ran for re-election because of his deceitful ways, the immorality of his decisions and actions, his total disregard of the Constitution, his lack of vision, his ambivalence during major national disasters, and his ineptitude.

    As for Sarah Palin, if I was still working I would have offered her a job as a receptionist. Cute face, sexy, and bound to appeal to those whose decisions are influenced appearances rather than substance.

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  • 51. At 12:14pm on 10 Feb 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 38, powermeerkat

    "BTW. SD, have you ever been to Chukotka or Kolyma?"

    Nope, and I have no interest in touring the area either. I am pretty happy in sunny Florida, even when we have to put up with occasional cold fronts, as we are doing right now. Alas, it dropped to the mid 40s the last few nights!

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  • 52. At 2:01pm on 10 Feb 2010, FatPeace - A Promise to Heather wrote:

    Did you know that the number of calories consumed by the average American has actually FALLEN considerably since 1970? Of course not. It's not like the mainstream media, with their apocalyptic predictions of a world brought to its (creaking, worn-out) knees by an epidemic of evil irresponsible fat people, will tell you that, as it's 'off message'. People don't want to hear that, despite an increased focus on recording and measuring 'obesity' since it stopped being regarded as an individual issue and was recast as a 'social problem', measured rates levelled off in about 2003 and have been falling year-on-year ever since. They don't care that the easiest way to return 'obesity levels' to Obama's mythical 1980 baseline would be to reverse the BMI calibration of 1998 that moved 30m Americans into the obese and overweight categories overnight.
    Worst of all they stick their fingers in their ears at suggestions (acquired from twin studies and NHANES III data) that body size is around 77% genetic and that those in the top 2% of BMI categories have been found to share a particular genetic pattern, and that various 'campaigns' and 'initiatives' pushing dieting, caloric restriction, intensive exercise and even weight loss surgery have generally been found to have little to no long-term success rates. Why? Because they want to continue to believe that being fat is one of the seven deadly sins of a neo-Puritan society still underpinned by a strong Protestant ethic of individual culpability and blame culture when much of the recent evidence suggests it is about as controllable, long-term, as height, eye colour or sexual predilection.
    It's one thing for the mainstream media to plug the current alarmist, exaggerant line; they've little concern over the damage it's doing to the public perception of larger people and the effect the resultant shift in mass opinion is having on increasingly illiberal legislative and policy responses being levelled at them. I can even understand it from the likes of MeMe Roth and other obesity 'campaigners' whose livelihoods and continued public profile depend on keeping everyone terrified of the comming 'fattypocalypse'. But for the very highest levels of Government to start parroting what has undoubtedly become a very trendy cause, guaranteed to win instant brownie points with the social repsonsibility crowd, without having first researched both sides of the argument (including a growing body of evidence that there is no obesity epidemic and that the health and social effects of being large have been overstated) is in my opinion irresponsible and harmful.
    Leaving all this aside, the very fact that Michelle Obama has dragged her own daughters and their weight into her 'crusade' makes me deeply uncomfortable. These are growing kids, having to deal with all the usual adult-inflicted body neuroses of their age in the public eye, without their mother criticising their bodies in front of an entire nation and setting herself and her daughters up for vilification dare they (as, lest we forget, is normal for growing kids) they gain weight.
    I have little faith in M Obama's current assurances that the Government has no business telling people what to eat. Ultimately she and her husband share the Progressive lust for control and micro-management over lifestyle, attitudes, and even thought, and like most they have realised that the current 'climate of concern' over diet, weight and health offer an unparalleled opportunity to introduce new methods of surveillance, compulsion and taxation over a group which for the main part remains marginalised and disenfranchised and therefore against which even relatively oppressive sanctions will pass unopposed by a general population who believe 'the obese' deserve what's coming.

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  • 53. At 2:07pm on 10 Feb 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #50
    but the answer to your question is that I voted for Barack Obama in 2008 - and plan to do so again in 2012 - because of his education, intellect, vision, demeanor, integrity and because of most of his policies. I disagree with some of them, but for the most part he is trying to do what needs to be done.
    ____________

    And I disagree with his weak foriegn policy,his cowtowing to special interests, his AG refusing to prosecute voter intimidation his lack of openess of the healthcare plan and his poor choice of personnel.

    From my perspective George Bush has more wisdom than Barack could ever hope to have. He know you can't deal with Iran without the stick and Barack just believes in talk with no action. He is the U.S Chamberlen with todays Nazis.

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  • 54. At 2:37pm on 10 Feb 2010, David Murrell wrote:

    Magic (50) – Hogwash and balderdash! First off as far as I am aware Iran was considered a bigger potential threat than Iraq was to regional and world security (at least that is what both the CIA & MI6 believed). So what big stick did Bush use that Obama has taken away by his talking?

    Second, wisdom means learning from your past experiences, especially mistakes, where was the wisdom in taking the US into a second war, when you had not achieved the objectives of the first? Where indeed would the wisdom be in threatening a third, let alone actually going through with the threat.

    What you regard as weakness, many regard as diplomacy. Someone once said it is better to jaw jaw than to war war.

    Lastly if you are going to invoke the Godwin Law, at least get the name right, it’s Chamberlain, like the job.

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  • 55. At 2:37pm on 10 Feb 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    The problem with Sarah Palin is that she alienates people with her coolness and aloofness toward anyone who is not a Republican. She is funny, but her fame also rose with Tina Fey playing her on SNL, which was absolutely hilarious. I don't think I could ever take her seriously, though.

    I will never forget that interview with Katie Couric, in which Sarah Palin could not even answer what books and magazines she liked, nevertheless more important questions. It made her look like she had been commanded so much, that her brain was frozen and overwhelmed.

    Or her famous quote, "I can see Russia from my back yard," denoting her foreign policy experience.

    Sarah Palin will be popular at parties, Fox news channel, Tea Party, ect. But does she actually stand a chance at being President in 2012?

    There is a small chance, but people did not want to vote for her the first time. I do not believe she has the range in voters to win.

    Although I do think that the media was quite harsh toward her children. It is wrong for the media to attack or assault children, no matter how juicy the story. Besides being there for their parents, they should not be looked at so harshly. They are just kids.

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  • 56. At 2:44pm on 10 Feb 2010, David Murrell wrote:

    See I said some people have issues with nanny states and big government! A large part of the propensity towards someone’s weight and body type is genetic, this includes what a person enjoys eating (an example would be the large percentage of Japanese that are lactose intolerant). However, the most important aspect is what you eat, no matter what your body type might be, you don’t get fat unless you eat enough.

    The problem is not calorie intake, it is the amount of certain types of fat (not all fats are bad obviously) and an unbalanced diet.

    The purely genetic washing of the hands, falls down on the basis that the percentage of the population becoming obese is growing, much faster than genes would account for, even taking into account the movement of the parameters. I can see ‘I’m not fat, it’s the genes’ becoming the new ‘I’m not fat, I’m just big boned excuse.’

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  • 57. At 3:04pm on 10 Feb 2010, U14283552 wrote:

    52
    "Did you know that the number of calories consumed by the average American has actually FALLEN considerably since 1970? "

    Have you looked at any research. link some .
    Did you see any change in portion size over that time?


    And you still think people eating three meals of the 70's are getting less calories.
    amazing food there.

    http://www.nutraingredients.com/Research/Portion-size-not-fat-intake-blamed-for-US-obesity
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11818300
    http://www.foodnavigator-usa.com/Science-Nutrition/Portion-size-drives-food-intake-confirms-study


    No evidence here but certainly SEEMS as if portion sizes going up may be a problem.
    I like the last study.


    I suspect your views on Michelle have little to do with health. If so you must be truly the most ignorant person that I have read post here. and there are some real corkers.

    Cloths sizes are huge.
    HUGE> buy a tall and you get large big and overweight.
    American sizing. so people don't feel fat.
    seriously you are deranged.
    I bought some long johns for the cold weather.
    to fit them I would have to weigh about 300 pounds. the waist sticks out on the front to accommodate the largest belly possible.
    Needless to say they are no good for anyone with a decent weight.
    Rain jackets. ,cheap ones for working out doors, they come in bigger and bigger sizes but the sleves stay the same.
    Why because they fit MOST people here.


    the fad was the "fat is OK Beautiful" etc etc. fad that we FINALLY got over.
    it is unhealthy. SOME body types are meant to be that way but most are not.
    the western Diet is bringing disease to all that adopt it. the same diseases.


    The Brits are Trying their best to catch up.
    trying but failing..

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  • 58. At 3:07pm on 10 Feb 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Ref 38, powermeerkat
    Re #51

    meerkat:
    "BTW. SD, have you ever been to Chukotka or Kolyma?"

    SaintDominick:

    Nope, and I have no interest in touring the area either. I am pretty happy in sunny Florida, even when we have to put up with occasional cold fronts, as we are doing right now. Alas, it dropped to the mid 40s the last few nights!




    Well, SD, I'd even take Dominican Republic.

    Although personally I prefer Dominica.


    P.S. If you haven't been to Chukotka or Kolyma, you have not missed much.

    It's usually below minus 40 Celsius there this time of year.

    [not that Yamal is much warmer :)]


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  • 59. At 3:09pm on 10 Feb 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Lucy

    I don't know about Sarah Palin,

    But Katie Couric is definitely on her way out. :-)

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  • 60. At 3:16pm on 10 Feb 2010, U14283552 wrote:

    lol Lucy

    "The problem with Sarah Palin is that she alienates people with her coolness and aloofness toward anyone who is not a Republican."

    I think you mention a few other reasons that are more important.
    that view of russia. he total lack of understanding of the world and science.
    as to the family. her going on about the moral fabric of the conservatives while we see her abusing her kids by making a public display out of them for her own political ends.
    up above someone is complaining that Michelle tries to teach healthy living to her kids.using the kids.
    but when she found her kid pregnant did she think" i'll drop my ambitions for the sake of my kid and hope to hell it works out for her.


    NO she said " hey look I'm Anti abortin' and I brought my daughter up that way"(no problems so far)
    To claim to be in control when you can't even teach a teen how to use a dunkie?????
    wow 3 am
    eternal

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LXEOESuiYcA

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  • 61. At 3:23pm on 10 Feb 2010, U14283552 wrote:

    54 DM
    "Hogwash and balderdash! First off as far as I am aware Iran was considered a bigger potential threat than Iraq was to regional and world security (at least that is what both the CIA & MI6 believed). So what big stick did Bush use that Obama has taken away by his talking?"

    to add to that. we have the fact that GW started a war that helped bankrupt the nation. he also let the cat out of the bag that america was there to be challenged. because when it comes down to it. they will fall on their faces.
    They cannot muster enough christian militia( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kkTFo-AZysQ&feature=related ) to fight every nation out there. one more threat and america would have to back it up. if they did in Iran that would be the end the total collapse of the empire.

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  • 62. At 3:26pm on 10 Feb 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    Brian Williams is the most popular news anchor. Women can be great news anchors, but they need dramatic voices to deliver the news. Katie and Diane have soft voices.

    I usually watch NBC, but will flip around to the others, as well. They all go on commercial at the same time- the "commercial conspiracy."

    It is all about the Olympics this week. The Olympics is always exciting and fun to watch. It is awesome that they are taking place in Vancouver. There are no easier going people than the Canadians.

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  • 63. At 3:30pm on 10 Feb 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #54

    I noticed you did not address Obama other problems.

    But will Obama continue to talk when Iran fires it's first missle at Jerusulem or Mecca?

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  • 64. At 3:32pm on 10 Feb 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #55
    LucyIllinois wrote:
    The problem with Sarah Palin is that she alienates people with her coolness and aloofness toward anyone who is not a Republican. She is funny, but her fame also rose with Tina Fey playing her on SNL, which was absolutely hilarious. I don't think I could ever take her seriously, though
    _______________-

    Of the many things you could criticize Palin for: lack of knowledge intelligence that she hunts, I can't say allofness applies.

    She if anything could be too bubbly especially for those who are not morning people.

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  • 65. At 3:32pm on 10 Feb 2010, David Murrell wrote:

    Easy – Compared to say the French, Britain is catching up quite nicely. According to the WHO database 1 in 4 (24%) Brits are obese, compare to 1 in 3 (35.1%) Americans, whereas in France it is less than 1 in 5 (16.9%).

    Richie is not completely wrong that this is partially down to moving the goalposts. I have never been what you would call over weight, at 21 I weighed 8.5 stone (119lb), which considering I am 6’2” (74”) was not a good look. Now I weigh a more respectable 11.5 stone (161lb) and have a 33” waist, but this gives me a BMI of 20 and puts me in the middle of the average range. Very few people would call me anything other than thin, yet the stats don’t bare this out.

    On the trousers front, I get what you say, I have a 34” inside leg finding trousers to fit can sometimes be a pain, ignoring the fact that British trousers come in either 32” or 34”!

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  • 66. At 3:34pm on 10 Feb 2010, U14283552 wrote:

    "But no Palin supporter has ever saids she was the smartest canidate ever."

    No but they did try to compare her intelligence to Obamas. and they did try to suggest she was smarter.

    Many many times.
    you have as well.
    so stop moving the posts.
    Palinolithic BUT not FAT.
    Note.

    She does stay healthy.

    31 IF good on you for taking the crash on. what a pathetic argument he raises. personally I think it better than the war on drugs that nancy started;)

    Thanks for pointing out that Private sector normally get paid better than civil servants.
    Seems some think that wrong. when they profit us all and the private industry probably doesn't.

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  • 67. At 3:37pm on 10 Feb 2010, U14283552 wrote:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hqOf6kQsh9U


    wonder why american kids get bigger.

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  • 68. At 3:37pm on 10 Feb 2010, U14283552 wrote:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=33YcLaPmWFM&NR=1

    and the parents are accounted for here.

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  • 69. At 3:44pm on 10 Feb 2010, RomeStu wrote:

    52. richie79 wrote:
    "Did you know that the number of calories consumed by the average American has actually FALLEN considerably since 1970?"


    Yes but so has the amount of physical activity, whether work or play.

    You carry on about the genetic side of things, but when the food was not so full of additives and chemicals, people with whatever gene your bit of research attributes obesity too did not get as fat as they are today.

    And if you think it is a media-led conspiracy, then you don't look around much at the mall!

    Also obesity contributes to massive health problems - back and muscle probs, diabetes and many more. Given that these costs are passed on to other people through insurance premiums, it should be a concern, just as smoking has become a concern.

    Your denial of the reality and your belief in scary media-leftist conspiracies simply show you as a fantasist.

    Or if you don't believe the USA has a huge obesity problem, then just come to Europe and see how different things are.

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  • 70. At 3:48pm on 10 Feb 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    Iran is just asking for trouble. Countries who are concerned are asking for more sanctions, but where do the sanctions end and the action starts?

    The USA likes Iranians and does not want to affect them. We just don't like their government, because they have threatened our allies. But if they give up their nuclear ambitions, there will be no trouble.

    It is not just the USA. Many European countries also are against Iran having nuclear weapons.

    BTW, the USA has militia of all religions, races and sizes. We are not a Christian military. Although there are many Christians, the military is taking care to make the soldiers understand this is not a religious war. It is a war against the terrorists, who threaten us and our allies.

    The USA's empire may slow down, but don't count us out. Even if other powers, like China, Russia, ect. rise, the USA will always be a top contender. We have too much to live for to ever give up.

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  • 71. At 3:50pm on 10 Feb 2010, RomeStu wrote:

    Easytarget
    "American sizing. so people don't feel fat."


    How true - I wear some US-bought clothes (size M) and some Italian bought clothes (size L or even XL).

    If the US clothes market used european sizing, the smallest size would be "Large" - just like some of the fast food portions.

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  • 72. At 3:51pm on 10 Feb 2010, RomeStu wrote:

    Re food portions - the smallest size of french fries in the US McDs (regular) is the same size as the largest size in Italy.

    Still not seeing the connection.

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  • 73. At 3:58pm on 10 Feb 2010, David Murrell wrote:

    Magic – Only fair you have failed to respond to all of mine!

    So to maintain safety in the ME and stop weapon proliferation, should he confront Israel? Israel has nuclear weapons, which goes against the proliferation agreements in place and Israel has fired more missiles against foreign capitals than Iran has. Or should he talk to Israel because it is a nice Jewish country rather than a nasty Muslim one? Other than that I don’t have crystal ball so I could say what Obama would do in that situation, I would suspect like every other leader in the world he would condemn it and knowing the US probably follow that up by blowing the hell out of Tehran, ignoring the fact that common population of Iran would not have supported any attack made by the Iranian leadership.

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  • 74. At 4:06pm on 10 Feb 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    RomeStu (#72), why would anyone in Italy go to McD?

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  • 75. At 4:11pm on 10 Feb 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    I do remember being in the South and seeing a fast food restaurant built into a plus-size store. That should be discouraged.

    We should not ostracize people who are overweight. They need encouragement, not to be made fun of.

    We also should not ostracize people who are underweight. They need encouragement, as well, although these people are often revered for their skinniness. "You look like a model, ect."

    Both being overweight or underweight are unhealthy.


    There are different standards of beauty in the world. Some countries extend their people's necks with long rings, others do many piercings and/or tattoos, some females have to have their feet crushed to remain small and feminine. The world is bizarre in terms of what is beautiful.

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  • 76. At 4:11pm on 10 Feb 2010, RomeStu wrote:

    Regarding the various ways of measuring obesity and why they exist.

    Before 1995 there were many different ways of measuring obesity, and thus valid international comparison was impossible.

    Also different stats could be selected depending on the desired message of the research.

    So.....

    "In 1995, WHO recommended a classification for three “grades” of overweight using BMI cutoff points of 25, 30, and 40.[5] WHO suggested an additional cutoff point of 35 and slightly different terminology in 1998.[2]

    The expert panel convened by NHLBI and NIDDK released a report in September 1998 that provided definitions for overweight and obesity similar to those used by WHO. The panel identified overweight as a BMI 25 to 30, and obesity as a BMI over 30. These definitions, widely used by the Federal Government and more frequently by the broader medical and scientific communities, are based on evidence that health risks increase in individuals with a BMI > 25."

    source: http://win.niddk.nih.gov/statistics/#whydodiffer


    Now we all use the same basic means of determining obesity .... and it shows the extent of the US problem in relation to other developed nations.

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  • 77. At 4:13pm on 10 Feb 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    David Murrell (#65) "On the trousers front, I get what you say, I have a 34” inside leg finding trousers to fit can sometimes be a pain, ignoring the fact that British trousers come in either 32” or 34”!"

    You can buy your trousers by waist size unhemmed and have them finished to length. I buy Bills Khakis and have them finished to 33.5" inseam.

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  • 78. At 4:20pm on 10 Feb 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    David Murrell (#73) "Israel has nuclear weapons, which goes against the proliferation agreements in place ... "

    Israel is not a signatory to the nuclear nonproliferation treaty.

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  • 79. At 4:34pm on 10 Feb 2010, David Murrell wrote:

    GH1618(77) – I hadn’t thought of that, which is a pretty good idea – thanks!

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  • 80. At 4:39pm on 10 Feb 2010, U14283552 wrote:

    78 so we should not hold them to the same standards we hold the rest of the planet?


    63 gherkin if Iran sent a missile to mecca we would not have to respond. simple enough.
    and whats more you would probably be jumping for joy

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  • 81. At 4:49pm on 10 Feb 2010, David Murrell wrote:

    GH1618 – from your point regarding Israel, I checked and there are only two other non-signatory countries – India & Pakistan, both of whom have nukes. No wonder some countries consider rebelling. In some ways it was a chumps treaty, recognising the five biggies and then ensuring that anyone else who signed could join the club.

    It is a bit surprising that the three non-signatory states aren’t treated with the same suspicion as those who either withdrew or are believed to be trying to break it. Especially since Israel is more than cagey on what nukes they may or may not hold.

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  • 82. At 5:04pm on 10 Feb 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    It's slightly amusing that the same people who know for sure that Israel has nuclear weapons usually also know for sure that Iran is NOT building nuclear wepoans. :-)

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  • 83. At 5:05pm on 10 Feb 2010, U14283552 wrote:

    65
    Dm lol But Britain is still behind america. How can that be. as you know I'm a flag waving jack hoisting brit. (oh and jingoistic I think I was called;) how dare we let america beat us at this game. what next the world cup (soccer to you americans and involves a lot of the World;)


    I know BMI was a new scale.
    but the old one did not exist.

    so it was new.they created a "new goal" I would prefer.

    still it is consistent from continent to continent. so the comparative studies work. and as you suggest the america diet is not helping.
    or the portion sizes;)


    I had had similar weight issues as you.
    I have spent time in the states eating at fast food restaurants for the weight gain.
    I'm up to a resectable weight now;)
    but not fat even in the BMI scale. given I am a lazy bugger it is quite strange.



    70 lucy the american army were supplied with guns with bible verses quoted on the sights.
    and last week I had to laugh at a guy who is signing up for the marines to go fight the holy war.


    Chuck prince the private army of halli is a definite crusader.
    sure it has other religions in it.
    The military is not the Christian entity. the soldiers predominantly are though.
    http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2010/01/20/biblical-gunsights-for-our-troops/

    just because it is rather a fun site;)
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/01/22/2798696.htm

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  • 84. At 5:41pm on 10 Feb 2010, David Murrell wrote:

    Powermeerkat – What would be amusing would be if you said you believed Israel didn’t have nukes! As it happens like the rest of the world, including the CIA, I don’t believe that Iran does have weapons yet, though is probably trying to.

    Personally I can only state belief in this area, I am neither a member of the Iranian or Israeli government or secret service, so I shall let they and people like your good self state these things in absolutes. I cannot claim to know things it would not be possible for me to know, I am good but I ain’t divine!

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  • 85. At 5:43pm on 10 Feb 2010, U14283552 wrote:

    82 PK

    I don't assume they are not building weapons. I would say w e have no right to stop them.
    they are a sovereign nation deciding to do what all their neighbours have done.
    so it is you that keeps suggesting that they should be prevented from doing what Israel did years ago with the help of spies in America that got rather lenient sentences.
    if any.


    as it happens I think they probably are bluffing still.
    as one analyst said their own material may be inferior stuff so they are tryign to encourage the supply from out side concept.

    still I though Saddam was writing poetry.and was bluffing about the chemical weapons etc
    how was I to know it was romance stories?


    what did your military background and intelligence tell you?

    Oh wise desert dweller.

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  • 86. At 5:48pm on 10 Feb 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    Yes, but they were merely inscription numbers/letters, not the whole Bible verse. Now that they are discovered, the company is giving out kits to erase the inscriptions. Most people didn't even notice them. They were more concerned with the quality/durability of the gun. So that has been solved.

    Our country is very strong on the stance that this is a war against the terrorists. It is not a religion war and we don't want it to be. This is about cowardly murderers operating like gangs and terrorizing innocents.

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  • 87. At 5:57pm on 10 Feb 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    Easytarget, you call a country that denies historical events, like the Holocaust, and threatens to wipe other countries off the face of the Earth "sovereign"?

    We both have different definitions of what "sovereign" is.

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  • 88. At 6:41pm on 10 Feb 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #73
    David Murrell wrote:
    Magic – Only fair you have failed to respond to all of mine!

    So to maintain safety in the ME and stop weapon proliferation, should he confront Israel? Israel has nuclear weapons, which goes against the proliferation agreements in place and Israel has fired more missiles against foreign capitals than Iran has. Or should he talk to Israel because it is a nice Jewish country rather than a nasty Muslim one? Other than that I don’t have crystal ball so I could say what Obama would do in that situation, I would suspect like every other leader in the world he would condemn it and knowing the US probably follow that up by blowing the hell out of Tehran, ignoring the fact that common population of Iran would not have supported any attack made by the Iranian leadership.

    _______________--

    Israel is a responsible country as is U.K.France, India and although we disagree with them Russia and china.

    Iran is not they are ruled by a bunch of theocratic thugs who are killing protesters in kangaroo courts this week.

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  • 89. At 7:12pm on 10 Feb 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    Israel is a responsible country
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    To be defined as a country, the basic requirement is to have boundries, and israel does not have definite chalked and defined borders..ergo its not a country. Its a gated and closed community which exists because its occupies a another coummunity which because of its occupation is also gated locked and closed, the difference between the two is that israel's survival depends on being closed and gated so it has done so voluntarily, the palestinians have not chosen to be locked inside , they are imposed upon such besige..

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  • 90. At 9:15pm on 10 Feb 2010, RomeStu wrote:

    74. GH1618 wrote:
    "RomeStu (#72), why would anyone in Italy go to McD?"



    This is of course an excellent question .... and sadly the answer is the same as Edmund Hilary's reason for climbing Everest .... "Because it's there!"

    It's "supply-driven" and children are exposed to lots of adverts and slowly but surely cultural norms are changing.

    As I said in a previous post, in Italy we are beginning to see signs of chubbiness in children and teenagers that was not there 10 years ago. This is mainly to do with changes in diet and an increase in sedentary activity.

    It's very sad, but hopefully Italy won't go the way of the US regarding obesity.

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  • 91. At 01:07am on 11 Feb 2010, FatPeace - A Promise to Heather wrote:

    At 12:05pm on 10 Feb 2010, David Murrell wrote:
    "Our social evolution has been pretty quick, compared to physical evolution our bodies react to the same goodies even though few live, especially in the west, anywhere near the subsistence level we used to"

    Agreed. But don't make the mistake of thinking the present situation is sustainable or will go on indefinitely. There are other alarmists, peripherally related to the obesity hysterics, who predict that climate disruption will destroy our ability to grow enough food to sustain current population levels. I don't buy that but there are many other threats to the cheap and abundant supply of food such as peak oil, global conflict, an EMP attack or even solar flare activity (if the Carrington Event happened today our modern farming methods, not to mention our complicated just-in-time distribution systems, supermarket refrigeration etc would all be gone in a heartbeat). And they say society is only ever three missed meals from anarchy. Some of those scientists who've accepted the genetic origins of fat are now working on ways to override or defeat our ability to store it - terrifying really, when you're talking about possibly irreversibly disabling a survival mechanism which has developed Darwinistically over millennia and seen us through ice ages, pandemics and civil wars - all because a few liberal sensibilities have suddenly decided to become offended by the sight of fat people.

    At 3:44pm on 10 Feb 2010, RomeStu wrote:
    "You carry on about the genetic side of things, but when the food was not so full of additives and chemicals, people with whatever gene your bit of research attributes obesity too did not get as fat as they are today"

    I also accept that exercise levels have fallen at the same rate as caloric intake. However as I said above, don't underestimate the impact on the figures of moving the goalposts. Furthermore, fat is not a recent invention. There were fat characters in Shakespeare plays and Dickens novels, fat ladies in Victorian circus sideshows. When I look at the same old photographs that some cite to argue that there were no fat people before 1950, I actually see quite a few chubby faces looking back at me. But then I live near a primary school and I just don't see all these fat kids we're constantly being told are everywhere. To me, those who are 'noticeably' fat are in the same small minority as they were when I was in primary school 20 years ago. I don't see them at the mall or on the street either, for that matter, and whilst I live in the UK my (fat) wife is American and in my experience very much the exception there too. Personally I suspect that where such matters are concerned, people see what they want to see and what confirms their own prejudices. if you're obsessed with fat people and their eradication it stands to reason you'll probably notice them more.

    LucyIllinois wrote:
    "There are just some adults that may force their bad eating habits and personas on their children. We should look at what drives them to eat, as well as what the parents encourage them to eat in an average day."

    Why is it that if a tall person has tall kids, it's just accepted as the natural order of things, but if a fat person has fat children it's cause for condemnation, vilification and in an increasing number of cases, social services intervention?

    (Dr Farooqi's Cambridge team seem to take a slightly different view: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/8394991.stm)

    32. At 02:40am on 10 Feb 2010, frayedcat wrote:

    "My right to be fat is protected by the Constitution"

    Absolutely. Most Americans I know don't want all this big government sticking its nose into their fridges and using taxpayers' money to chastise them for being too fat. If they did, they'd move to the UK, where I'm pretty sure it will very soon be a criminal offence to be fat. Hence the popularity of the Tea Party! Personally, I couldn't care less what Michelle Obama says about obesity provided I retain the right as a rational adult capable of assessing risks to eat whatever I like and not exercise - an activity I see as entirely pointless and which holds no interest, certainly not because I'm socially 'expected' to partake or be seen to partake.

    However I don't particularly want my kids indoctrinated in school to believe that all fat people are ticking health timebombs and that to 'allow' oneself to be fat is to be undisciplined, slovenly, of lower worth etc, partly because I know it's a pack of lies, and partly because I have witnessed first-hand the immense and now apparently perfectly acceptable social discrimination being perpetuated against fat people as a result of the perpetuation of negative stereotypes. I certainly don't want that institutionalised prejudice translated into bad and discrimnatory law, as so many seem to now desire.

    I see many parallels between the way being gay was once vilified, medicalised and cast as something people could 'change' if only they tried hard enough, and the eons of misery caused by the resulting prejudice and state discrimination before people were eventually convinced to live and let live. Apparently I'm not the only one who sees things this way: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/8327753.stm . In short, there are far worse things to be than fat which go essentially unpunished by society. I don't believe that the opportunities that come with life on this planet should be conditional on being thin. Any time a group is marginalised, disenfranchised, and treated unfairly, the inevitable result is backlash. Ours may be a little longer coming, because fat people have been so effectively convinced by society to hate themselves and seek to change themselves instead of uniting to attack the social roots of fat hate, but trust me, it's going to happen, and there's only so long you can dismiss us as 'deluded' and 'fantasists'.

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  • 92. At 01:15am on 11 Feb 2010, U14283552 wrote:

    88 "Israel is a responsible country as is U.K.France, India and although we disagree with them Russia and china.

    Iran is not they are ruled by a bunch of theocratic thugs who are killing protesters in kangaroo courts this week."


    OK I'll give you they do spend a lot of time killing their own people.
    Ssss there for, could it be said that WE would be safe from them.

    That they are unlikely to use it on their own people in their own back yard?

    Either way What right do we have to say OK Israel NO iran.

    then moan when people start saying we are the world police.

    today a better step could be made for settling the middle east by looking at Israel not Iran for the solution. And not, as some would have suggested, for them to drop a "non existent munition"
    Lets after all be American about it.


    PS if ah ma dinnasbad reads this." listen up dummy, back down . make US look like fools"

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  • 93. At 01:30am on 11 Feb 2010, U14283552 wrote:

    87. At 5:57pm on 10 Feb 2010, LucyIllinois wrote:
    Easytarget, you call a country that denies historical events, like the Holocaust, and threatens to wipe other countries off the face of the Earth "sovereign"?

    We both have different definitions of what "sovereign" is.
    ----------------------------------

    Sorry " one that exercises supreme authority within a limited sphere"

    is one of the entries in http://www.merriam-webster.com/netdict/sovereign

    I may be thick and unable to spell but I do understand english.


    PS "denies historical events"

    Have you ever heard of "Al Nakba " http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9EAmtgfPz-k

    "and threatens to wipe other countries off the face of the Earth"
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4u1nmGmtD18

    or
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o-zoPgv_nYg


    I'm just saying.

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  • 94. At 01:30am on 11 Feb 2010, FatPeace - A Promise to Heather wrote:

    Just wanted to also address the 'healthcare costs' argument:

    At 11:34pm on 09 Feb 2010, modernJan wrote:

    "To those who are downplaying this effort: just think about the impact obesity has on American healthcares costs and you will understand why it's such an important issue"

    In fact, fat people are generally penalised under the US health insurance system, either in terms of higher rates or complete lack of access. Those that don't (because their care is provided by their employer) are now finding their weight and lifestyle habits being scrutinised at work with 'bonus programs', office weigh-ins and all manner of other blurring of the line between work and private life that would have Orwell spinning in his grave. Indeed I believe the original version of 'Obamacare', which would have proscribed insurers imposing penalties for pre-existing conditions, would have made the 'well' liable for more of the health costs of sick people (fat or otherwise )and would have been closer to a UK-style redistributive system. Maybe someone should remind Michelle Obama of that fact.

    Even in the case of the NHS, 'the obese' are not a protected class and can therefore be (and increasingly are being) denied treatment on the grounds of weight. Some doctors are withholding treatment as an 'incentive' for the patient to first lose weight, even when the condition for which treatment is being sought has no relation to 'obesity'. Most of the lurid stories of supersized beds and ambulances so beloved of the mainstream media are badly reported - the full facts would reveal many such items would be required anyway under disability legislation. And of course, it's been well-documented that the prejudice many fat people face when visiting a GP dissuades them from seeking the timely care to which they as taxpayers are perfectly entitled, sometimes until a condition has progressed beyond the point of treatment (and accounting for at least some of the higher rates of morbidity and mortality amongst this group).

    And then there's the possibility that many of the risk factors of being fat (and that's all they are, since corellation doesn't equal causation) are outweighed by the so-called obesity paradoxes - fat people suffer less from certain diseases such as osteoporosis and are more likely to survive heart attacks, many forms of cancer, etc as they have greater reserves on which to draw in the event of protracted illness. Even if we did die sooner, we'd save the state the costs of dementia care, pensions etc - but then there's no evidence for this, as life expectancy has continued to increase even as 'measured' obesity rates based on the flawed BMI system have done the same and despite the doom-mongers prophecies of parents outliving their children (something else which has absolutely no basis in evidence).

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  • 95. At 3:33pm on 11 Feb 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "The more things change, the more they stay the same"


    The more nicks change, the more IPs behind them stay the same.

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