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Warnings, Alerts and the Bogeyman

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News Flash! Epidemic sweeps the nation — 25% of people in New Hampshire have tested positive for this disease, 30% in Alaska, 27% in Ohio. In fact, almost every state in the nation has a quarter of its population testing positive for this deadly disease. Deaths attributed to this epidemic are staggering: heart attacks, strokes and even cancers are stemming from this epidemic, there is no realistic end in site. Why is this not reported to us on the news? Why are we not issued alerts on each news update on how to protect ourselves from this worldwide killer?

When the Bird Flu was here we were issued warnings, flu shots, pamphlets to teach us symptoms and warning signs. More recently, with the Swine Flu, we had letters sent home from our school systems encouraging us to wash hands frequently, throw away our dirty tissues, not sneeze without covering our mouths; basic information our sage grandmothers had taught us before we could even tie our own shoes. But caution supersedes the common sense rule here when it comes to prevention of epidemic diseases which can kill. You can go to the World Health Organization site and see the “Flu Alert” system to see when the deadly flu virus will be at your door, dressed in the Grim Reaper costume complete with a runny nose and cough. Watch out, World, here comes — The Flu.

So, why are we not being alerted by the school systems about this larger force which is sweeping the nation and killing hundreds of thousands of people? Where are the warnings on my food products admitting the deadly effects of certain foods like Oreo cookies? Where are the little public health notes on the package of hot dogs stating the symptoms of obesity that we need to look out for when this deadly epidemic begins to have a strangle hold on our waist line? Let me repeat this, 25% of each state has people suffering from this disease; more are developing symptoms daily and there is no government plan doing anything about it at all. In fact, the FDA is suing food companies who are trying to change their approach. How dare Cheerios state something as ludicrous as lowering blood cholesterol levels just by eating a healthier diet, a diet which of course includes Cheerios each morning. Food is not medicine, claims the FDA. (Which is odd to me because the father of medicine, Hippocrates himself said “Let thy food be thy medicine and they medicine be thy food”) So which is it? Is food a deadly force which needs government sanctioning, or isn’t it? My breakfast cereal cannot legally claim it is good for your heart in this regard but the calorie-laden, saturated fat-poisoned, synthetically engineered breakfast sausage carries no harsh warning to eat no more than 10% of your daily calories from saturated fats to prevent death.

More to the point, my children are offered junk food as a lunch choice at school. The same schools which send home the caution pamphlets admonishing “Cover your Mouth When You Cough” offer my kids Pop Tarts,barbecue chicken pizza and pizza supreme lunches. No caution as to the calories in each food item at all, no red flag letting kids know this is about as dangerous and as wholesome a choice as lighting up a cigarette for a meal. People would call that alarmist action with extremist views. But kids are dying from this disease as well. Our children, People! Go to a school one day and sit and wait for the kids to come out of the building, count the overweight children, compared to the kids of normal weight. OK, don’t really do this because sitting outside a school counting children is not a socially acceptable behavior. Instead, rent an ice cream truck for a week and see first hand what is happening to our kids!

The news also comments on the state of our health system and our economic status, and obesity is tied in here as well. According to the Centers for Disease Control, medical expenditures in 2002 related to obesity were a staggering $92.6 billion, of which half were paid by Medicaid and Medicare –tax dollars. That was seven years ago, and we know just by looking around how much of an increase we have had because of this epidemic. Imagine that we poured out $46.3 billion on condiments on our fast food, because we did. The US Census tells us we have 306,642,475 people living here, that breaks down to roughly $151 per person per year. Per person, if you live with 4 people in your home you donated $604 to this disease treatment last year. I don’t think this covers the cost of the lawyers suing Cheerios for their claims of improving health a bowl at a time, either.

So, why aren’t we upset yet? Why are we not writing Congress to alert them we want and demand and deserve change in our food systems, in the quality of healthy foods for kids? When I went to the CDC website to gather the statistics for this article, I noted they do have programs with advice like “Move more and eat less” Why is that not being sent home to kids? Why aren’t we doing anything to stop this epidemic from killing us?

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About Maureen Jeanson

  • Ruvy

    Maureen,

    How many rice bowls do you want to turn over, anyway? What are you, some kind of troublemaker? Oh you troubler of American-influenced junk culture, go away and bother us not! Do not disturb the vultures who prey upon us! Your message is unwanted and unneeded – we have our food pyramids that we can climb (if we are still in any shape to climb), and our mild exercises if typing comments at Blogcritics to keep us in fit shape.

    Let me have my Oreos, and my Cheerios and my pizza slices (all kosher and blessed by the rabbi) until my heart gets so clogged I need a triple by-pass and suffer a stroke like my late mother did.

    Do not, I repeat, do not bother me with the facts. My pleasures are far too important to me! They are enough to die for!

  • http://www.yourfitnessjourney.com Maureen Jeanson

    I will leave no rice bowl left unturned!
    :)

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Maureen –

    If you were comparing our eating habits to any other disease, I’d be inclined to agree with you.

    Problem is, you’re comparing it to H1N1 influenza, something that wiped out five percent of the human population – about fifty million people by most modern estimates – most of whom died within a period of four months.

    The spread of the H1N1 influenza in 1918 was in every respect the deadliest four months in human history – and the ONLY time since the Black Plague that the overall human population diminished from one year to the next. The Great Influenza of 1918 was a terrible, terrible time…and pray that the current H1N1 doesn’t mutate as that one did (it shouldn’t, but it could), for if it did…

    …a friend of mine relates a story how his grandmother lost three brothers in one week to the 1918 flu.

    So no, our self-inflicted bodily harm due to fast food does NOT come close to the threat from H1N1, not a shadow, not a whisper.

    You could have made the case with almost any other disease…except for H1N1.

    Better luck next time.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Is the smoking lamp lit? I want to smoke my pipe now. Oh — and is it OK if I have a tot of rum as well?

    Why, oh why, do you want to diminish the pleasure which so many derive from telling us what to do and what not to do? Chances are, that’s about all the pleasure they have.

    Good article, by the way. I (gasp, choke, cough) enjoyed reading it.

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://www.yourfitnessjourney.com Maureen Jeanson

    Glenn–every 60 seconds a person dies from a heart attack. 20% of all deaths in 2004 were from heart attacks. In 2005 it was heart attacks accounted for 27% of all deaths in the USA. In developed countries the leading cause of death–wait for it–heart attack. 32% of the population in America are either on hypertension medication or have hypertension.

    I appreciate the passion you feel in regards to knowing personal tragedy and how it afflicted your close friends. However, you need to think more criticaly about these facts. More than 50 million people will die from this.

    More so–it is not self inflicted when a child is obese, not at all.

  • Doug Hunter

    As bad as this disgusts me, this is just the next wave in the total elimination of individual freedom. Maureen, your wish will come to pass, first with education and ‘sin’ taxes. Next, we will ban this and that until finally people like you will just dictate what us poor common folk can eat. (hint: without system collapse everyone will be a forced vegetarian within 100 years)

    Freedom to do only the ‘right’ things isn’t really freedom at all. There’s something not quite right about me, it’s like I’m living in bizzaro world, I don’t understand why I enjoy liberty more than the majority of the people in this age. Do you all enjoy being told what to eat? How high your grass must be? How you should spend your money? Having every facet of your life dictated and regulated by some egomaniacal bureacrat? If not, why do you let the loss of freedom continue unabated?

    Time and time again you choose by the majority of your opinions and the plurality of your votes to close the door on those freedoms and bind yourselves into increased servitude. I’m sad and I like Broccoli (Maureen, make sure that makes the list if it doesn’t cause too much global warming)

    The tide of totalitarianism that is rising through this country and around the world depresses and disheartens me. When exposure to that negative energy is making my life less enjoyable then there is no reason to continue hitting myself with the hammer.

    With that I bid blogcritics Adieu. (the technical issues and ‘technorati monster’ escaping didn’t help either)

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Maureen –
    “More than 50 million people will die from this”

    Yes, but not in four months. You’re also forgetting that in 1918, the world population was only about a billion.

    Extrapolate the numbers, and if H1N1 mutates as it did then, we’re looking at possibly 350 million dead – that’s more than every man, woman, and child in America.

    I would recommend that while our diet is certain of significant concern, other concerns take precedence – such as H1N1, tracking of near-earth objects (remember Shoemaker-Levy 9?), and global warming.

  • Jordan Richardson

    The proposal of providing good, healthy food to kids and providing information pertaining to healthy choices and exercise is something we do in Canada.

    Amazingly, I’m still able to have my “tot of rum” secure in the knowledge that children are given more healthy options at schools traditionally stocked to the rafters in burgers and fries.

    To suggest that this is some sort of issue of “freedom” is idiotic. To compare some sort of responsible system of education and healthy choices to a dictatorship is insulting to the memory of everyone who has had to live through such a society.

    But in the land of hyperbole, I guess I’m not surprised that this “totalitarian, OMG my freedoms are disappearing” crap comes up time and time again.

    Kudos for drawing attention to this issue, Maureen. A healthier society would have less strain on Medicare and other health systems and we’d start to see less incidents of disease, including the alarming rise of diabetes. It’s a good thing to hope for.

    Up here, we’ve eliminated trans fats and nobody’s cried about having their “freedom” taken away. Maybe it’s because we can actually relate to the issue in context and with reason rather than assuming that today it’s trans fats, tomorrow it’s our property…

    Oooh, scary. Honestly, it’s no wonder people feel so hopeless and are getting to be so damn violent with the repetition of doom and gloom from the right continuing crowing about disappearing “liberty” and the entire change of society.

    Everyone to your bomb shelters! Somebody wants kids to be healthier!

    Noooooooooo!

    I would recommend that while our diet is certain of significant concern, other concerns take precedence – such as H1N1, tracking of near-earth objects (remember Shoemaker-Levy 9?), and global warming.

    Agreed. That doesn’t mean it isn’t a worthwhile issue to discuss, though.

  • Jordan Richardson

    By the way, where are the alarmist articles about the DTV conversion for tomorrow? Isn’t this yet another example of the government taking away your freedom to use analog television? And what about the VHS to DVD conversion? More freedoms, out the window!

    Don’t forget switching from vinyl to cassette to CD to MP3! Aaaaaaaaaaaaaah, bring lots of perishable foods, Martha, the world’s ending!

  • Jordan Richardson

    Oh, and one more thing Maureen:

    How dare you attempt to tell the corporations and manufacturers of “foods” like Oreos to actually list the ingredients and other information on their boxes before selling to consumers? Next thing you know, you’ll be telling people to put labels on cigarette boxes!

    For shame!

  • Clavos

    500,000,000

    Etched in granite.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot,com Ruvy

    Extrapolate the numbers, and if H1N1 mutates as it did then, we’re looking at possibly 350 million dead – that’s more than every man, woman, and child in America.

    I see you’re whistling a different tune past the graveyard about the piggie flu, Glenn. Glad you’re coming round to seeing the possibilities that have been evident to me for a couple of years or so.

    Maureen,

    I have to agree with Glenn, at least about the piggie flu.

    What you’ve described in your article is a systemic crisis arising from the impulse buying system of marketing in the United States and Europe and all the unfortunates in their shadow (including Israel).

    The piggie flu (bird flu and all the other lovelies piggie-backing for the viral ride) constitute a crisis that can kill at least 350 million people in a matter of a few months (if it follows the numerical patterns of the Spanish flu). That’s very different.

    Add to this the likelihood of financial collapse (you can’t print trillions of dollars with no backing whatever and expect no hyper-inflation) at about the same time the piggie flu strikes, and you have what we call in Yiddish tzuris, and lots of it.

    These things have to come before dealing with the systemic crisis you describe. It could be that between the piggie flu and the coming financial maelstrom, the concepts of impulse marketing will go into the toilet they deserve. I cannot say. Maybe they will. I don’t know.

    But the immediate killer crises (and the final stroke of the bad banking system) have to come before the systemic crisis of misfeeding children.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Ruvy –
    I’ve been beating the drum about H1N1 for years now. I posted an article warning of it back in February…less than two weeks before it appeared

  • zingzing

    “Yes, but not in four months. You’re also forgetting that in 1918, the world population was only about a billion.”

    yes, but you forget that that was 1918.

  • zingzing

    if i die from pig flu, i’ll let you know (to run away [from my corpse]).

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot,com Ruvy

    I read your articles, Glenn, both of them. A while back you were writing about all the “good news” of the piggy flu. You appear to have changed your tune since.

    zing, I have no desire to be anywhere near the United States – it will be hard hit by the pig flu, very hard hit, and your contemptuous attitude will disappear as you start to fear for your life. So enjoy your contemptuous attitude while you can. Oh, by the way, since you are an “anonymous” commenter here – you never post a blog site, or post articles – if you do drop dead for some reason or other, there will be no “RIP” for you here, like there is for “Mr. Real Estate” the late John Rudd.

  • http://groundzeropolitics.blogspot.com Political Common Sense

    Have we forgotten about personal responsibility? Has it become so easy to sit back and let the Nanny watch over every aspect of our lives that we cannot decide what and how much to place on our plate? I have found that it is relatively easy to decide what to give children for lunch. It simply takes giving up fifteen minutes of your precious sleep in the morning in order to prepare a meal that is carried to school. Dare I say this is a valid option?

    Additionally, I honestly believe it does not take a warning label to tell me that my “king sized” processed chocolate and who knows what candy bar is not the greatest for me. Thankfully I have enough intelligence to know that one of these in a month is probably more than I need, so they are rarely consumed. When they are however, it is with great pleasure.

    As to the flu, I submit that it too is more bark than bite however, it has the potential to turn into something that cannot be controlled. Therein is the difference. We can control our diet through will and effort. The flu cannot be controlled even through “best practices”.

  • http://blogs.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/sundaysurfer/index.php STM

    The swine-flu this week almost stopped a number of games in the National Rugby League in Australia, with some players testing positive and others in quarantine.

    Those affected were recently in Melbourne for a big State representative game (Queensland vs New South Wales, which for some reason they played in the southern state of Victoria). Melbourne seems to be the worst affected with 1300 or so cases now confirmed by the Victorian health department.

    Of course, the rep players went back to their clubs in NSW, Qld, Victoria and New Zealand … thus upping the ante even more.

    Remember of course, that being in the southern hemisphere, it’s winter in Australia and this is our flu season.

    The one bit of good news: most of those who’ve had it describe it as not being much worse than a common cold. Some people have claimed the Tamiflu medication used to treat has actually made them feel sicker than the virus.

    Mutation, as people here point out, IS the big fear, though …

    Let’s hope it stays as innocuous as it has seemed so far.

    (There have been no swine-flu deaths in Oz).

    As for Maureen’s contentions … good luck tryingb to stop people eating and drinking stuff that tastes good.

    Only when bad stuff is injected with green colour and made to taste like limp broccoli or overdone brussels sprouts will people stop ingesting it.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot,com Ruvy

    Stan, the problem is not with eating food that tastes good – or even food with good taste – like Charlie the Tuna. An organically grown tomato, for example, tastes a whole lot better than the sprayed kind. It just costs three times as much. Who has the money?

    Maureen’s article is an excellent illustration of the negation of an ancient Sanskrit affirmation, we WILL NOT throw poison at each other.

    The amount of unneccesary crap stuck in foods as “insecticides”, “flavor enhancers”, “preservatives”, “food colorings” etc., etc. etc.; the unnaturally high sugar and salt content in almost all foods – like ketchup – all bring on a stack of diseases.

    Marketing Coca Cola means marketing sugar water that makes you thirsty as all hell. I see the idiots in the Israel Police drinking Coke on hot days, addicted to the sugar and totally dehydrated as well. So all they get from their consumption of Coca Cola is thirst and cavities.

    Then there are the chickens. Don’t get me started on the damned chickens. There are two elements to kosher meat. On the Sabbath, while the animal is still alive, it is supposed to rest. This is Jewish Law! Then when the animal is supposed to die, there is a specific way to slaughter it, and the blood is drained completely (or as completely as possible) and therefore the animal is salted slightly.

    In Israel, they are experts at the slaughter part. It is done to perfection, and in this country, you can have a “kosher” T-bone steak, something generally not available to Jews who seek to keep kosher in the States.

    But while the animal is alive, it is stuck in a small pen, stuffed with corn, drugs, and forbidden to move seven days a week! The animal gets no Sabbath, as is required by Jewish Law! Tell this to a butcher at a store, and he’ll just say, “the rabbi said this is kosher, and this is what’s for sale. Do you want to buy it or not?” As to the chickens, the rabbis get even more elegant with their evasiveness so as not to have to overturn their own ricebowls. The Hebrew term in the Torah from which this concept is derived is behemetkhá – “your beast”. The rabbis say, that the word behemá refers to cattle and not to ‘of – fowl. So the chickens and turkeys are penned up, stuffed with drugs to make them unnaturally heavy, and given no Sabbath at all. All this food is called “kosher”. At four times the price, roughly $20 a kilo, you probably can get chickens that are raised as free running with no drugs or preservatives. I do not have $20 a kilo to spend on chicken for the Sabbath.

    So we are forced by poverty to lie to ourselves and say that the meat is kosher. And the rabbis lie to us as well. What bullshit! What hypocrisy!!

    The Jews who lie about food being kosher in Israel will be punished by a G-d Who does not like being mocked.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Political Common Sense,

    Any proposed idea here has to do with regulations. Nobody is forcing anyone to portion, nor is anyone proposing some form of prohibition.

    The fact of the matter is that many people in Western civilization simply don’t know what goes into their food anymore. Ruvy’s post correctly identifies this and adds the cost argument, which is one my wife and I are dealing with currently due to our desire to eat organic foods and local produce while on a pretty limited income. Nevertheless, we’ve chosen to “go organic” anyways and take money out of other areas to do so.

    This is all a personal choice and it will never not be a personal choice. These comments about a “nanny state” just repeat more political buzzwords, while this issue really is about health awareness. Many people are simply not aware of what goes into an Oreo. They buy them because they taste good (they should, they’re chemically engineered to taste good just like McD’s is) and because they’re generally more affordable options.

    If we were made more aware, constantly and openly, of the content of these products and the potential side effects (we are made aware of these facts in drugs already), I think people would be more educated to make more informed choices. Again, choices.

    This type of discussion is all about mandating the accessibility of information to those who otherwise don’t have access to it. Product information might not change how I shop, but it actually does make a difference in how many others do. I’ve seen it happen.

    And look, let’s just discuss this honestly. This isn’t about taking away personal responsibility; it’s about promoting healthy choices. This isn’t about removing freedoms; it’s about allowing people the ability to access information about health and the foods they eat. It’s about truth in advertising and giving kids health choices.

    How many more cases of obesity do you need to prove that this is a relevant issue? That doesn’t even cover all of the related conditions that come up because of obesity or the strain a largely obese population can have on the economy or health care. If you ask me, that is what personal responsibility is all about.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Ha! Nice slip-up, G. My first sentence should say “has nothing to do with regulations.”

    I’m soooo busted. Here I was trying to sneak tofu into American public schools. Fuck, I’d be better off trying to sneak in prayer.

  • http://www.yourfitnessjourney.com Maureen Jeanson

    Exactly Jordan–responsibility would stemmed from being informed! We as a society are not fully informed what the nutritional information on the back of those cookies even means. Some say “oh wake up and make your kids lunches” Sure that is a fantastic option, one I do for my own kids. However, does it not irritate you that your hard earned money that you pay in taxes is buying those oreos for the other kids in school? My money pays for precursors to disease and death because we as a lazy nation allow the companies to profit over poisoning us–because it tastes good? That is a defense? I don’t care because it tastes good? Using illicit drugs feels good as well–let’s open the flood gates and allow anything in–right?

  • Clavos

    How many more cases of obesity do you need to prove that this is a relevant issue?

    How many more cases of obesity do you need to prove that more information on the label won’t change that?

    People overeat because it’s pleasurable, and label packaging won’t change that.

    Those who are fat today already know it’s bad for their health, that’s why the diet book market is so strong. And yet, obesity continues to grow (pun intended).

    Cigarette packages have had warnings for decades — and people still smoke.

    You want to stamp out obesity? When UHC kicks in, refuse to pay for treatment for illnesses like diabetes.

  • http://www.yourfitnessjourney.com Maureen Jeanson

    You can slip in prayer to schools–we passed that in the 1950’s by adding God to the pledge and to our money. However, we can’t step on the toes of the over-weight by suggesting their children will meet their God sooner if they continue to dine at McD’s as frequently as they do. Yeah–we as a country allow McDonald’s food into your school cafeterias. You pay for that as well, aren’t you glad?

  • http://www.yourfitnessjourney.com Maureen Jeanson

    Clavos–it is more than labeling etc. It is so much more than that. We have regulations on automobiles because of the science keeping us in tune with dangers. I don’t see anyone pitching a fit over the regulations to improve carseat safety or laws that children should be buckled up.
    We can’t rely on common sense to wash our hands to prevent the plague but we are expected to apply that same rule to the food we buy at the market–when we have no idea how much of it is genetically engineered. We are not meant to eat this food–we are not evolving to eat this food and survive.

    Why did humans become instinct? Stupidity and freedom.

  • Lumpy

    Why is it any of Maureen’s business or the governments if I want to eat twinkies and sit and watch TV until I die of a heart attack?

    Shouldn’t I have the frewdom to live and die as I choose? I pay a shitload for health insurance, I’m not going to be a burden on anyone so get the fuck away from the minifridge by my barcalounger.

  • Clavos

    Clavos–it is more than labeling etc. It is so much more than that.

    So are you saying you want to legislate against eating certain foods?

    I think we tried a similar idea once in the past, it was called Prohibition. It didn’t stop people drinking, but it did make a lot of people rich smuggling and selling illicit liquor, including JFK’s father, Joseph P. Kennedy.

    And we certainly have had a lot of success legislating recreational drugs out of the schools and out of the hands of children.

    I have no problem with keeping Mickey D’s and the like out of the schools, or with educating people better, but trying to legislate the problem away is just plain foolish, and will only create far more problems than it will solve.

    And it would probably be deemed unconstitutional by the courts.

    Your seat belt analogy doesn’t work, because while it’s true that the inclusion of seat belts in cars was successfully legislated, their use, as a practical matter, despite laws mandating their use, still remains a matter of choice, and many don’t use them.

    Oh, and BTW: I think you meant extinct, not instinct.

  • Baronius

    Maureen, I’ve got no problem with food labels, and with healthy school lunch programs. If that’s all you’re proposing, fine.

  • zingzing

    ruvy: “zing, I have no desire to be anywhere near the United States – it will be hard hit by the pig flu, very hard hit, and your contemptuous attitude will disappear as you start to fear for your life. So enjoy your contemptuous attitude while you can.”

    the flu kills more people daily than this thing has killed. i’ll worry about the good ol regular flu rather than this, until i know different. right now, it’s just a news story.

    “Oh, by the way, since you are an “anonymous” commenter here – you never post a blog site, or post articles – if you do drop dead for some reason or other, there will be no “RIP” for you here, like there is for “Mr. Real Estate” the late John Rudd.”

    [Edited] i have no idea where you get the balls to say such a thing. and, since you know so much, go ahead and look up my name on here. i do post articles, but you’re too fuckin far up your own ass to even check before you spew out your hateful bile. seriously, you need to look in the mirror and ask yourself how you ended up this way.

    ever heard of karma? ever heard of being a decent person to other people? ever heard of the golden rule? get help, before your hatred eats you alive.

  • zingzing

    yeah, edit what’s OBVIOUSLY true.

  • http://www.EurocriticsMagazine.com Christopher Rose

    Sorry, zinger, truthiness doesn’t carry an exemption, no matter how obvious.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    What escapes Ruvy, in his eagerness for the Apocalypse, is that a pandemic doesn’t have to be deadly. Aside from Mexico, where there seem to have been a number of exacerbating factors, this H1N1 outbreak has so far been quite embarrassingly mild.

    Yes, it is the same virus that caused the 1918-20 Spanish flu pandemic (which Ruvy would doubtless have found great fun), but then again this particular pathogen has caused dozens of other outbreaks in the intervening time, some deadly, some not.

    What is of concern is that a lot of serious flu pandemics started out in the spring as mild outbreaks before disappearing and returning the following fall and winter in a much filthier mood. Then again, others didn’t. I just can’t be as confident as Ruvy is that this particular one is the one that does for us. Recall that he had high hopes for the bird flu as well, and look how that turned out.

    All we can do is be vigilant and, if necessary, quarantine that bridge when we come to it.

  • Clavos

    All we can do is be vigilant and, if necessary, quarantine that bridge when we come to it.

    Chris, in the interests of maintaining our standards for humor, would you delete that, please? :>)

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Chris, in the interests of maintaining our standards for humor, would you delete that, please? :>)

    I’m sorry, was my quip of too high a standard?

    ;-D

  • Clavos

    Touché, Doc.

  • Bliffle

    You win, DD.

  • http://blogs.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/sundaysurfer/index.php STM

    We have a great low-carb beer ad in Australia, where half a dozen Aussie air force transports fly over a US town and drop our carbs crated up on parachutes to “people who really appreciate them … Americans!”

    It’s must-see viewing :)

    This ad has recently been on prime time TV Down Under.

  • http://blogs.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/sundaysurfer/index.php STM

    Here’s another one in the series that’s been running

    Don’t be offended America, it’s just a bit of fun at your expense.

    We take the piss out of ourselves too.

  • Jordan Richardson

    People overeat because it’s pleasurable, and label packaging won’t change that.

    Incredible oversimplification. Nobody here is arguing that label packaging will change obesity and nobody is arguing that it is the ONE solution to unlock these thing once and for all.

    This is the same logic that had people jumping all over Obama for suggesting that people ensure their tires were properly inflated (rawr, how dare he tell me what to do!! rawr, rawr, rawr!). It is ONE step out of many. Creating awareness about what’s really in the food we eat is neither objectionable nor a violation of anyone’s freedom to get fat. It is, however, a perfectly good way to provide information to people who might want it and, in some cases, people who might need it.

    Cigarette packages have had warnings for decades — and people still smoke.

    People do, like me for instance. But you know what? Less people smoke because people began to find out how bad for them it really was. Again, information is power.

    When UHC kicks in, refuse to pay for treatment for illnesses like diabetes.

    I would never be that cruel. I would, however, begin to suggest spreading more information about options, exercise, and the like. Sometimes all it takes is for people to be informed and to be given the tools to act properly.

    Beyond your natural cynicism, Clavos, I’m wondering if you actually do oppose such labeling on food and beverage products? If so, why? After all, you state it makes no difference so it really shouldn’t matter either way.

    Why is it any of Maureen’s business or the governments if I want to eat twinkies and sit and watch TV until I die of a heart attack?

    Who exactly is suggesting that you won’t or can’t have the opportunity to do so?

    I pay a shitload for health insurance, I’m not going to be a burden on anyone so get the fuck away from the minifridge by my barcalounger.

    Same repetitive, fear-based nonsense. NOTHING in this article suggests that there’s a reason to hold the position you do. Nobody “from the government” is going to come and take away your Twinkies.

    Honestly, all this article suggests is giving people the option to have healthier choices in food and learn what exactly goes into their foods with comprehensive information and education.

    Why is this being treated like a loss of freedom or some sort of objectionable idea?

  • http://blogs.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/sundaysurfer/index.php STM

    Gotta love Americans. Couldn’t resist … here’s another one, (my favourite)

  • http://blogs.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/sundaysurfer/index.php STM

    How Australia sends its carbs to the U.S. as a gift to Americans from their mates Down Under.

  • Jordan Richardson

    That last one is great! It’s like a carb terror attack!

  • mar k

    Forget about government involvement; the question is, why are our entrepreneurs pushing poison?

    Must be part of that 500,000,000 or bust thing, I guess.

  • http://blogs.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/sundaysurfer/index.php STM

    Jordan: “That last one is great! It’s like a carb terror attack”.

    Speaking of which, the Aussie Not-So-Big Mac story finally got a run yesterday.

    I’ll try to get a PDF and shoot it over.

    It might well have been on our website on Saturday (it’s now early Sunday here), but I’m not sure.

    I’ll have a check tonight when I’m done and keep you posted.

  • Baronius

    Since we’re talking about food in Australia…

    Pardon the digression, but a friend of mine was in Australia recently and saw that they have Outback Steakhouses. How is that possible? Don’t you guys consider the chain an insult?

  • Clavos
  • Ruvy

    you never post articles

    My apologies, zing. I checked the writers’ list and lo and behold, you were listed with a series you seem to have dropped, “The Other Listening Room”, the last article of 8 having been published in 2008.

    So you have posted articles here. Live and learn.

    I take back what I said and apologize, at least about not getting an RIP here. You will, if the site lasts so long.

    Obviously, I was wrong, and ought to have checked the writers’ list before making the assertion I did.

    Please forgive me my oversight.

  • Ruvy

    What escapes Ruvy, in his eagerness for the Apocalypse, is that a pandemic doesn’t have to be deadly. Aside from Mexico, where there seem to have been a number of exacerbating factors, this H1N1 outbreak has so far been quite embarrassingly mild.

    I’m not dying to see the Apocalypse (pun intended). That’s a Christian concept that you can all stuff in whatever dark hole you desire – so long as it’s far away from me.

    What doesn’t escape me is two points. The Spanish Flu presented itself just as this one has – in the spring, with a very “mild” phase. In that deceptively mild first phase, few died, though many were infected. It was the second two phases that killed about 50 million people in just a few months, starting in October, 1918.

    While I do not desire to actually see such a plague strike the planet, a believer in G-d cannot escape from the idea that He holds us to account for our behavior. Plagues are one way to hold people to account. There are others.

    The other thing that does not escape me, is that the declining moral standards of the United States, the leading “culture” on the planet, is bound to bring retribution from an angry G-d seeing His basic concepts mocked and thrown into the trash by the population of Europe, and much of the United States, led by sick bastards who poison their own populations for profit. Maureen Johnson has covered one aspect of that poisoning, the systematic poisoning of food.

    There are many others – sexual tourism, rampant exploitation, pornography, terrorism, the attempt to split the Holy Land, to mention just a few.

    So, there will be an accounting. Those responsible will be forced to pay – and those who allowed those responsible to gain power (however that is meant, political, corporate, media) will also pay.

    So, DD, you can laugh your ass off all you want. An accounting is coming. The accounting may not come this October, with the arrival of the flu season. But come it will.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Ruvy,

    Your two points don’t escape me either. In fact I noted the first one in my own comment. The thing with viruses is that they’re weird little bastards and the great likelihood is that this one – which is the same strain that caused the Spanish flu – will return in the fall but won’t do anything much. It could, of course.

    Probably, though, nothing will happen. Probably. It would be equally likely that another, completely unrelated virus comes sneaking in from left field, decides it would be fun to undergo a lethal mutation and steal the swine flu’s thunder.

    Your second point about the accounting is well taken, too – although your hypothesized motive power is a bit different than mine. We know that a reckoning is coming – much as the climate change skeptics wish that it wasn’t – we just don’t know the scale of it.

    Too many in the ‘Western’ world go about their lives as if time was standing still and the Earth was bottomless. I’m trying to start living without that assumption, but it takes a lot of thinking about, so deeply ingrained is our material, disposable culture.

    So I’m not scoffing. But neither do I pretend to know any more about the future than science can reliably predict. I am somewhat amused, therefore, notwithstanding your protestations to the contrary, at your seizing on every promising crisis as a herald of Our Doom.

  • http://groundzeropolitics.blogspot.com Political Common Sense

    Obesity’s strain on health care is only a valid argument if you believe health care is a right. Health care has never been a right. Healthcare for my family and myself is my responsibility. Others health care is theirs, and they have no right to my income for care due to accident, illness, or self induced diabetes. That is waht personal responsibility is really all about.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Obesity’s strain on health care is only a valid argument if you believe health care is a right.

    Why?

    Is the number of cars and their strain on the road network only a valid argument if you believe driving is a right?

  • Ruvy

    Probably, though, nothing will happen.

    Where do you get your data to make such claims, DD? Mine comes from Recombinomics Corp. Curious Jews want to know….

  • STM

    I had two comments lost last night answering Baron’s query about the Outback Steakhouse. I reckon your mate is telling porkies (pork pies = lies = little fibs).

    I’ve never seen one here, mate, and never advertised on TV and this city id the Big Apple of Oz so this is where they’d be if they were here … but I reckon any fake Aussie stuff (especially from America :) would be strung up by the proverbials, horsewhipped and then run out of town.

    We DO have steakhouses though (some of which actually ARE in the Outback), although they don’t serve the kind of carb nightmares the Outback chain does.

    However, next time I’m on the other side of the very big ditch, I’m up for it.

    Of particular interest to me is Outback’s “Bloomin’ Onion”, which a mate in NYC reckons you have to try … at least once.

    Also, thanks Clav for posting that Maccas story for the boys to see.

    Came up all right in the end, and actually got a decent run in the paper.

    Once again, thanks for your help, everyone.

  • Ruvy

    The Outback Steakhouse is a second rate joint, Stan. I’ve eaten there with the wife and kids when we lived in St. Paul.

    I asked the wife about the place; “Wasn’t that sort of an Australian place?” she asked uncertainly. Reminded of it, she remembered the Bloomin’ Onion and she had a big smile on her face. My oh so wise 17½ year old said, “they probably just deep fry the onion in a French fry rack”. But I wasn’t impressed with the place.

    Oh well. There is just no accounting for good taste….

    Of course, we didn’t do the pork pies….

  • Ruvy

    There was one good thing about the place, Stan. It didn’t stink from sheep.

  • zingzing

    stm: “Of particular interest to me is Outback’s “Bloomin’ Onion”, which a mate in NYC reckons you have to try … at least once.”

    your “mate in nyc” needs to go out to better places. i’m in nyc, and i reckon everyone should try lsd at least once.

    well, it’s better than a fucking bloomin’ onion, i can guarantee that. mmm, visions are tasty.

  • Ruvy

    By the way, DD, this is a commentary from Recombinomics head, Dr. Henry Niman, as of 2 days ago.

    From his commentary:

    The parallels between the 2009 pandemic and the 1918 pandemic are striking; Both began as a mild infection in the spring and targeted previously healthy young adults. In the fall of 1918, the virus was much more deadly, leading to the death of 20-50 million people, most of which were previously healthy young adults.
    ……

    At this point, there is little that will stop the spread prior to widespread use of an effective vaccine, However, the large reservoir of swine H1N1 in a human population, involving the northern hemisphere where the virus has little completion by seasonal flu, and the southern hemisphere, where the swine virus is displacing seasonal flu, raises concerns that when the new vaccine is ready for the 2009/2010 season, the swine H1N1 will have evolved away from the vaccine, as it adapts to its new host and natural immunity in its new host.

    I suggest you read the entire piece, as well as the supporting evidence from the days and months prior.

    Yup: probably, nothing will happen. Yah sure – you betcha!

  • Clavos

    The Outback Steakhouse is a second rate joint…

    Hugely successful, however. A few years ago, as they were growing the Tampa-based chain, their stock was one of the hottest on the market.

  • zingzing

    ruvy, what about the numbers 1918 and 2009 do you see? oh, huge amounts of medicinal and scientific breakthroughs? wow. forgot about those.

    you keep pointing out that the 1918 outbreak greatly resembles the 2009… thing, but you never point out that those years are so incredibly different in every other way.

    how do you think the state of science and medicine will play into all of this? what do we know more about now than we did almost 100 years ago? how have our treatments for these things been updated?

    why don’t you think about those things instead of gleefully masturbating to your coming imaginary apocalypse? it’s kind of off-putting to watch you do that.

  • zingzing

    clavos: “Hugely successful, however. A few years ago, as they were growing the Tampa-based chain, their stock was one of the hottest on the market.”

    there’s no accounting (haha) for taste (hoho).

    seriously, that place is disturbingly bad. i went to one years ago and they would only make my steak medium well. no medium. no rare. no nothing.

    outback–we’ll burn your meat.

  • Clavos

    Remember the words of Mencken, zing…

  • zingzing

    i remember them.

  • STM

    What, you can’t get a medium-rare at this joint?

    I’m out.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    how do you think the state of science and medicine will play into all of this? what do we know more about now than we did almost 100 years ago? how have our treatments for these things been updated?

    The rest of your comment is not worth consideration, zing.

    We understand a lot about the critter that kills people, and all of his friends and relations. We know how to track the bastard. And we know how he kills folks.

    And that’s the problem. The only weapons we have against these critters are prayer, cleanliness and vaccines – in that order. The vaccines are effective – but only against specific viruses. If the virus mutates away from the virus it was at time “n” say, when the vaccine was developed and given the quickest testing regimens we have, we’re SOL.

    That understanding comes with increased knowledge of the virus – an increased understanding of how viruses evolve and recombine.

    As for the problems we’ve seen, a lot can be toted down to bad nutrition. The deaths we are seeing in Mexico – even with this “embarrassingly mild” version of the flu – can probably be traced to the general malnutrition Mexico suffers from (sorry Clavos, I don’t mean to be dissing your homeland).

    Everywhere else that this flu has struck it has only produced “mild” numbers of fatalities, with all of them but one on the American continents – so far.

    There have not been enough cases of swine flu in India, Thailand, Indonesia or Pakistan (places where malnutrition is a problem) for us to see deaths yet.

    There have been over 100 cases in Israel (as of Monday’s Arutz Sheva reports) and that number will only go up as there are close ties between the Jews in the Americas and Israel. The Americas are exporting this stuff to us along with Kellogg’s Cornflakes, Tasters Choice, and Post Toasties.

    Looking forward to October, if the piggy flu has the “Spanish” accent it appears to, the number of deaths will be mitigated to a degree by the higher nutrition and cleanliness levels in developed countries in the Americas, Europe and the Middle East and East Asia.

    BUT, since the critter kills by using the body’s own immune system against it, the higher immunity levels in more devloped countries will take more casualties – if a viable vaccine cannot be developed in time.

    That’s the catch, zing. The vaccine has to be viable against the critter doing the actual infecting and killing, not the one around a few months earlier. Vaccines are being developed, and damned quickly. But will they be the ones needed a few months down the line?

    Only G-d can tell us the answer to that. And my hunch is that He ain’t talking.

  • Bliffle

    Clavos states:

    #61 – Clavos

    Remember the words of Mencken, zing…

    Which words? Mencken wrote many words, and many aphorisms, as well.

    Perhaps you mean:

    “A judge is a law student who marks his own examination papers.”

    “An idealist is one who, on noticing that a rose smells better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup.”

    “Any man who afflicts the human race with ideas must be prepared to see them misunderstood.”

    “Injustice is relatively easy to bear; what stings is justice.”

    You might want to mull this one over:

    “It is hard to believe that a man is telling the truth when you know that you would lie if you were in his place.”

    Mencken was quite clever and a very good writer. You might want to actually read his writings someday.

  • Clavos

    So sorry you couldn’t figure out to which of Mencken’s aphorisms I was referring, bliffle, but my comment was actually addressed to zingzing, not you, and apparently zing DID know, so no harm, no foul.

    You might want to actually read his writings someday.

    Good idea!!

    I never thought of that!

    [/sarcasm]

  • http://www.foodified.com/ Easy Healthy Recipes

    I appreciate the passion you feel in regards to knowing personal tragedy and how it afflicted your close friends.

  • http://aboutsalt.blogspot.com/ Willow

    Obesity is not caused by overeating; it is caused by salt sensitivity/fluid retention in vulnerable people. These include children.

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