Another post about ignorance and food

Breaking my silence once again to comment on the recent hubbub over a certain municipality banning McDonald’s Happy Meals*(see note at the end of this post), inciting an outcry of horror from customers and probably emboldening the hideously stupid Sarah Palin to be even dumber than she usually is.  A deposit of saturated fat between the ears is notoriously hard to cure, isn’t it?

I guess sometime recently Palin attacked the First Lady’s anti-child-obesity campaign by feeding a classroom full of grade-school kids all the sweets they could ever rot the teeth out of their heads with.  No doubt a bucketload of snarky comments was passed around to wash it all down — with another bucketload of sugar added for good measure.  (Yes, this did happen — click on THIS to read the whole sorry story.)

But, back to McDonald’s.

I often have the opportunity to see the public’s eating habits firsthand.  I have noted that it’s fairly rare for a skinny mom to have obese children, but common for a fat mom to have tubby kids.  I’ve also noted that about 30% of parents refuse to take any sort of responsibility whatsoever for what their kids put into their mouths, and how much.  In fact, if anyone tries to deny food to their kids, outrage ensues.  There is no ratio of fat to thin I can think of in this category; I’ve seen skinny parents go nuts about this as well as fat parents.  In the end it has less to do with food than with a perceived attack on their child (who not only can do no wrong, but can do anything s/he wants — or else).  In plain words, it’s bad parenting.

The majority of parents will thank you for leaving them in control of their child’s food intake.  That’s as it should be. It’s called good parenting.  It is something Sarah Palin knows even less about than I thought she did, seeing as she thought it okay to feed other people’s kids a mountain of sugar, just to make some sort of political point against the (black) First Lady.

And that’s the basic problem with outlawing McDonald’s Happy Meals.

As far as I know, most parents have more money than their kids.  They are the ones paying for the Happy Meals…or not, as they choose.  If they choose to neglect their responsibility and let their kids turn into little balloons, that is their fault, not McDonald’s.  To put it more concisely, if no one buys Happy Meals, they will go away by themselves.

Quite the same applies to Sarah Palin, who as I said apparently took it upon herself to become a cause of childhood obesity.   Why I should even have heard about this monumental bit of stupidity is beyond me, but it’s definitely been in the newsand for once, almost no one — even among Republicans — is trying to excuse it.

Obesity in the U.S. (and most of the world, from my own observation) is not a “liberal” verses “conservative” issue.  It is not a political football.  It is a real problem, and controlling it involves real personal responsibility.  This is all the First Lady is saying.  No one outside of the occasional city and/or school board is talking about banning fatty Happy Meals or sugary cookies.

Banning kiddie meals and snacks will not help.  Allowing a wayward political Barbie doll to force-feed your kids mountains of sugar to make some sort of political point will not help.  Saying “no” to your kids is the only thing that will help.  For some people it’s a hard pill to swallow, but it’s the only one that will work.

*12/30/10 edit: further research left me unable to identify the municipality that was trying to ban Happy Meals, but found some information on a current lawsuit a parent brought against McDonald’s for “tempting kids with toys” in their Happy Meals.  This is essentially the same sort of ignorance and abdication of parental authority that I was talking about anyway, so I’m not going to bother to rewrite this post.

Not Walking the Talk

There was an obvious clue (in hindsight) that the survey numbers were hugely inflated. Even as pundits theorized about why Americans were so much more religious than Europeans, quiet voices on the ground asked how, if so many Americans were attending services, the pews of so many churches could be deserted.

Above is a quote from a Slate article that provided some answers to questions I’ve had for years on the subject of the U.S.’s supposedly runaway religiosity.  The article is good enough, and informative enough, to make me break my promised silence during the holiday season.  I think you should read it:

Why do Americans claim to be more religious than they are?

Having grown up in a family where the subject of religion was loudly dominated by a large flock of nasty, drunken, hypocritical, vehemently Catholic elderly flappers, all sisters — not nuns but siblings — who attended church without fail but, (with one exception), to the ends of their lives but had no notion of actual Christianity, this article hit home with me in many ways.

But the one line of the article that really stands out is the one that I quoted at the beginning of this post, which identifies a problem that may on the surface seem to be the opposite of what I’ve just said: if we are so religious, why are so many churches standing nearly empty?  Honestly, the only ones that are routinely filled in my area are the ones that tailor their services to certain groups of immigrants as well as some mega-churches that soundly reject the immigrants, which opens up another can of worms entirely.

Read the article and be enlightened.

Taking a Small Break

Those who know me know that I’ve been ill with some sort of respiratory virus since before Thanksgiving.  It’s finally gotten the better of me and I’ll be taking the next few weeks (now to New Years Day) off.  Cya next year, but I’m not going before making  a remark or two.

There seems to be a stepped-up amount of whining this year over any attempt to (excuse me while I gag) take CHRIST out of CHRISTmas.  All I can say is pretty much what I’ve said before:

(1) He was never there to begin with, so get over it…and

(2) We have a large number of people in this country who have no jobs or are underemployed.  They are losing their homes.  They have no health insurance.  They have no future and no hope now that Congress is blithely busying itself by doing such vapid things such as voting against imagined horrors like healthcare for 9/11 first responders and a ban in child marriage.  No one seems to be able to face the facts that the Rebiblicans caused the financial meltdown to begin with, and that we can’t possibly fix it by applying the same old remedies that never worked before and then shrugging as they don’t work yet again.

Bet on this: next they’ll be getting down to business, getting terribly upset — I mean, they won’t just pass a law against it without dumping the Teabaggers into the streets with oodles of idiotic and ill-spelled signs — about some left-wing anti-Christ attempt to declare Twinkies to be junk food.  Fox News will be howling and their minions on Capitol Hill will humbly obey.  Meanwhile, people will be starving and only be answered by a hollow echo saying something about what lazy worthless asses they are because their jobs have been shipped overseas, their homes have been foreclosed, they can’t pay for healthcare and their expensive college degrees are worthless*.  “Nothing to see here,” we will be told,  just before the next manufactured outrage arises… probably this time about some former teen star wearing a shockingly low-cut dress to an awards ceremony.

So with that, I leave you to enjoy your holidays, whatever they may be.  Happy Yule and New Year.

*”Oh, that’s just because they majored in Liberal Arts,” you say?  Guess again, sports fans.   For example, among my acquaintances are 2 recently-graduated nurses who cannot find employment; meantime it’s said that area hospitals are very, very busy expensively importing nurses from other countries.  And I’m leaving out the un-and-underemployed teachers I know, including a college science professor.

WikiLeaks All Over Sarah

As it turns out, the cyber-attack by Julian Assange supporters on Sarah Palin’s credit card accounts is just one tiny facet of a wide-ranging cyber attack currently underway.  However, I’ll wager that Sarah’s minions don’t know that.  All they know is that their queen is being assaulted with some of the very same techniques they themselves, and their heroine as well, have used to defend precious Sarah (shoveling dirt on an opponent and/or violating his/her privacy, that is). ” Oh, Woe!  Our heroine is in danger for doing that freedom of speech stuff!” they must be crying.  Never mind their own guilt in that regard; also never mind that it’s strange they seem to be so wildly afraid of poor Sarah being attacked when she has shown herself to be coated in Teflon over and over and over.

My advice to the Wikileaks cyber-attackers, by the way, is to give up on Sarah or else find yourselves lost in her looking-glass world forever.  Nothing you can dig up on this woman will hurt her; in fact, it may hurt you.  Believe me, a lot of  people have already tried, only to painfully find that out.  Her supporters exist in a world where the opposite of truth is truth, and the U.S. media are in love with her.  That can be a scary combination for anyone on the outside looking in.

Anyway, my feelings about this cyber-attack are mixed, especially since the attack on the Palins is but a drop in the ocean compared to what is going on overall, but I couldn’t let it go without re-posting the Jackass Tweet of the Past Few Days: “No wonder others are keeping silent about Assange’s antics.  This is what happens when you exercise the “First Amendment”and speak against his sick, un-American espionage efforts.”

Um…dumbass, Assange is Australian.

And who is the dumbass who tweeted this Tweet?  Sarah Palin.

In a world of surprises, some things never surprise.

Aaron Sorkin on the Palin Moose Massacre

I admit that I’ve only seen about 1 minute of Sarah Palin’s show, and that minute showed her having a very stilted “Hi, I must be Sarah and you must be Todd” discussion with her husband.  And then there was something about an irritating neighbor, if I remember correctly.  So was I wrong to assume that (Sarah Palin’s) Alaska was all about bad acting and irritating neighbors?  Gosh.  And here I thought that a state containing roughly 663,268 square miles and only about as many people wouldn’t have too many “neighbor problems.”  Silly me.  “What an amazing show this must be if that’s the case,” I thought.  But still, I never even tried to watch it.

Then I heard that the show went from a paltry 5,000,000 viewers on the first week (I mean, it was the stuff of legend for The Learning Channel, but for TV in general?  Pretty unremarkable), to whatever is 40% less than that the next week, to…well, they’re not talking about it now.

And now I hear something about moose butchering.  I’m sure that made the ratings soar again…or at least, it will once people catch wind of it.  What could be better?  Sarah takes on the evil PETA that’s causing socialism and communism and Russians flying over Alaska and taking away our guns and out of control spending saving the Constitution that’s ruining the lives of real Americans — Sarah to the rescue!  Even if no one can figure out what the hell she’s rescuing us from, or how, or why.  Mostly it seems she’s merely rescuing us from the blessed peace of not hearing a word about her.  And maybe that’s the point.

Anyway, I found this interesting blog post from one Aaron Sorkin today on the subject and thought you would enjoy it:

The Moose Killer

P.S. I know the only way to make Palin go away is to ignore her, but she’s an expert at making that difficult.

Looking for a Silver Lining (and only seeing a tornado)

(edited 12/9/10)

Okay, almost everyone’s together on this one: progressives, conservatives, even people like me.  The only ones who probably haven’t worked it out yet are the teabaggers. That’s no big surprise because, well, they’ve yet to work anything out.  Think about it: they just got what they wanted, or did they? What do you want to bet that even they don’t know for sure?  And that they’re furious with Obama anyway, for caving in on their own candidates’ demands?

I mean, if you’re a Fox News commentator, what the hell do you say? (I am positive that they’ve already thought of something; certainly Sarah Palin has because she Tweeted an incoherent attack that lashed out at everyone while at the same time trying to exonerate the Republicans in the scenario — they were, after all, the ones that got what they wanted but that’s not what they got, or it’s exactly what they wanted, but anyway it’s all Obama’s fault according to Sarah…or something like that.)

So what am I talking about?  What is it that we are all together on?  We are together, for once, in being against the extension of tax cuts for the rich because it’s a scheme that has not shown much, if any, benefit for our economy in 30 years and it showed no benefit whatsoever during the Shrub Administration.  Yet the cuts are about to be extended.  Again.  (Note: I spend most of this blog entry talking about the extension as if it has already passed Congress because it’s such a phenomenally bad idea that I assume it will.)

No surprise that no one is happy about this but the Republicans/teabaggers who had their way paid into Congress by the very rich folks they have now paid back by merely threatening to hold their breath until they turned blue if they didn’t get their way on the issue of tax cuts.  Oh goody!  Now to turn our attention to pressing matters like the war on Christmas…and on soliciting donations for the RNC from the very rich people they just liberated!

Of course, most of us wanted to see them hold their breath until they turned blue and dropped dead.  But somehow, that did not include Obama.  And we are left to guess why.

All I can think of is that there are a few things on the horizon: the election of 2012, and a possible economic collapse in China.

How does China figure into this?  Because they are loaning us the missing money that we won’t be getting, that would have come from from our rich folks if the tax cuts had not been extended.  China has money right now; we don’t.  But you see, the Chinese economy is on the same sort of bubble our economy was on for about 7 years before it imploded.  That’s right.  Some folks in Australia, which is currently partially dependent on the income from massive raw-materials exports to China, are beginning to get nervous about that.  We should be getting nervous too — too nervous to borrow money to pay for a tax cut, if nothing else.  But teabaggers never look that far ahead.  All they think about is that they want to pay back their benefactors and do it now, and then get on to the real important stuff like handing out rifles to first graders.  Gotta make our apocalyptic visions come true, you know!

Anyway, I’m thinking that it could be that the Obama Administration is betting that the Chinese economy will collapse before 2012, taking with it all the remaining excuses to extend tax cuts to the rich (and tax increases for the poor) beyond that.  Why?  Because there will be no other place to get the money after that, except at home.

It could be that the Obama Administration also sees some benefit in the extension becoming a unifying factor for all the warring factions within our country — except the teabaggers, that is.  And who cares about them?  If they continue on their mad, merry way, 2012 will be the end…of them.  You can only try to turn the U.S. into a creationist theme park for so long before reality catches up with you, or at least the bills come due.

I should mention that I’m pretty much alone in finding any silver lining at all in this catastrophe.  Most folks are looking at the horizon and only seeing a huge tornado sucking up everything in sight.

It’s hard to keep positive in a case like this, and I’m probably wrong about everything.  And maybe it would be more fun to get swept away by that twister, anyway.   But we’ll see.  The next 2 years will tell us everything.

Power is Given. Don’t You Forget It.

In this video, Cenk Uygur (The Young Turks), pretty much repeats everything I’ve been saying in this blog about the economy, and then adds a lot of points I hadn’t even thought of or else couldn’t prove to my satisfaction.

He seems to predict some real trouble (not teabagger trouble, but REAL trouble) ahead if those in our government — not just Republicans but Democrats as well — fail to address some basic truths.  What are those basic truths?  You know, stuff like the fact that the economy we have now cannot support more than a few people.

The only thing I have to add is that those in power need to keep one basic thing in mind: power is given.

The teabaggers, that collection of woefully frightened muttonheads, talk of revolution but have no idea what they are talking about as they only seek to keep things the way they are so those nice millionaires/billionaires running the teabagger show can remain comfortable and happy.  The truth is far uglier than teabaggers hurling grammar-and-logic-free platitudes around and indulging themselves in feeling hurt and angry because a black man is in the White House, then electing a bunch of morons who can’t think past stuff like eliminating Medicare/Medicaid, getting rid of unemployment insurance, saving Christmas (from what is not clear), starting more wars, supporting the status quo in healthcare, totally outlawing abortion, and protecting guns — all to appease their angry god and all, of course, in the name of freedom.  That kind of faux revolution is about as viable in the real world as a video game.  It only produces sound bites and takes our eyes off the real problems.  It’s a snow job, a smoke screen, or whatever other cliche you want to call it.  I prefer “waste of time.”

What Cenk is talking about here is far more serious than any teabagger can imagine.  He’s talking about falling through that fragile U.S. “socialist” safety net and into the giant black hole. That, my friends, is real.

I think it’s only when that starts happening to enough people (and it will if the Republicans have their way and Obama keeps tiptoeing around with blinders on), that the point I make — that power is given — will become painfully clear.

That is to say, I agree with him.