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Prayers For the Big Dawg

the Big Dawg has been hospitalized in NY for a heart related issue.

February 11, 2010

“Today President Bill Clinton was admitted to the Columbia Campus of New York Presbyterian Hospital after feeling discomfort in his chest. Following a visit to his cardiologist, he underwent a procedure to place two stents in one of his coronary arteries. President Clinton is in good spirits, and will continue to focus on the work of his Foundation and Haiti’s relief and long-term recovery efforts. In 2004, President Clinton underwent a successful quadruple bypass operation to free four blocked arteries.”

Lets send him healing thoughts and positive vibes for a speedy recovery. He still has to walk Chelsea down the aisle this summer!

Fat is the new dirty

Historiann discusses the new “Let’s Move” initiative by Michelle Obama to end obesity in children:

I haven’t had the time to do a lot of reading on “Let’s Move,” but I’m already struck by how rhetoric about obesity today tracks with the same concerns 200 years ago about civilizing American bodies through cleanliness, and children’s bodies in particular. It’s really uncanny.

Brown makes the point that nineteenth-century bourgeois reformers identified the clean body as a site of virtuous citizenship. But of course clean clothing and clean bodies, and the means and ability to achieve them, were above all a marker of one’s class status, since it was only the middle-class who could afford to do laundry weekly (and/or have a “hired girl” in to do it), and only the wealthy who had running water, bathtubs, and the means to travel to fashionable spas for soaking in and drinking up healing mineral waters. Brown also tracks the convergence in the later eighteenth century and early nineteenth century between discourses on spiritual or moral cleanliness, and bodily and household cleanliness. Early in the nineteenth century particular attention was paid first to children’s bodies as an index of their mother’s moral worth, and then later in the century as the bodies of poor and/or immigrant children came into contact on a regular basis with the bodies of middle-class and even elite children in public schools.

If we replace the words “unclean” with “fat,” and “cleanliness” with “thinness,” we’ll come very close to the rhetoric and language of the “Let’s Move” campaign.

Standards of beauty and fashion tend to reflect the the things the distinguish the upper classes from the rest of us. Once upon a time being overweight was synonymous with wealth and “Reubenesque” was the standard of beauty. There was also a time when being tanned identified a person as someone who performed manual labor outdoors so the upper classes considered pale skin attractive.

Melissa McEwan has more:

I just said in January of another similarly disastrous idea: “Just on the most cursory, simplistic level, this has the I assume every fat, disabled person I see is disabled because they’re fat, and don’t consider the possibility they’re fat because they’re disabled problem about which I’ve written before.” While physically disability that limits movement may be less endemic among children than adults, this is nonetheless a national campaign equating “moving” with “getting thin/healthy,” without regard for an implicitly disablist message.

And, naturally, it also fails wholly to take into consideration that not everyone who “moves” loses weight, anyway. There are fat people who regularly exercise, whose bodies persistently stay “overweight,” laying waste to the “calories in, calories out” meme.

Maybe it’s just me but I detect some snooty elitism in the “Let’s Move” initiative. “We’re going to teach these ignorant poor people how to not be fat.” Since “rich” and “thin” seem to go together these days, why don’t you teach them how to not be poor instead?

It’s not like we live in a society that isn’t already obsessed with how much we weigh. We have a gazillion young women suffering from bulimia and anorexia and now the White House is gonna start harping on fat kids.

Meanwhile schools are cutting athletics from their budgets, cities and states are closing recreational facilities, latchkey kids are locking themselves in their homes after school instead of playing outside and their parents are coming home at night too tired to play with them.

Thursday Morning News Break

The news about CCSVI is slowly leaking out: Preliminary results have been released from the Buffalo study on CCSVI:

Brain blood vessels clue to MS
More than 55% of multiple sclerosis patients have been found to have constricted blood vessels in their brains, a US study says.

The preliminary results are from the first 500 patients enrolled in a trial at the University of Buffalo.

The abnormality was found in 56.4% of MS patients and also in 22.4% of healthy controls.

But, (Thank God!) the MS Society is standing up for patients:

Dr Doug Brown, Biomedical Research Manager at the MS Society, said: “These results are intriguing but it is important to remember that although people with MS may show evidence of chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency in screening studies, there’s no proof as yet that this phenomenon is a cause of MS, nor that treating it would have an effect on MS.

Seriously?  He seems to be saying that we wouldn’t want to rush into fixing jugular veins (willy-nilly) just to give people adequate blood flow.  That we should decide whether this is going to cure MS before testing and treating patients!

Sweet-toothed children ‘may have depression’

The US team report in the journal Addiction that certain children are especially drawn to very sweet tastes.

These were children who had a close relative with an alcohol problem or who themselves had symptoms of depression.

But it is unclear if the preference for the very sweet is down to genuine chemical differences or upbringing.

Looking for love in all the wrong places? ::

Analysis of hair DNA reveals ancient human’s face

A study, published in the journal Nature, says the individual’s genome is the oldest to have been sequenced from a modern human.

The researchers say the man, who lived 4,000 years ago, had brown eyes and thick dark hair, although he would have been prone to baldness.

(shaking my head) Because OF COURSE global warming means that the whole world becomes some sort of equatorial desert . . .

Climate Fight Is Heating Up in Deep Freeze

Skeptics of global warming are using the record-setting snows to mock those who warn of dangerous human-driven climate change — this looks more like global cooling, they taunt.

Most climate scientists respond that the ferocious storms are consistent with forecasts that a heating planet will produce more frequent and more intense weather events.

But some independent climate experts say the blizzards in the Northeast no more prove that the planet is cooling than the lack of snow in Vancouver or the downpours in Southern California prove that it is warming.

As an illustration of their point of view, the family of Senator James M. Inhofe, Republican of Oklahoma, a leading climate skeptic in Congress, built a six-foot-tall igloo on Capitol Hill and put a cardboard sign on top that read “Al Gore’s New Home.”

And the Free Music debate rages on ::

Warner retreats from free music streaming

Record label Warner Music has said it will stop licensing its songs to free music streaming services.

Companies like Spotify, We7 and Last.fm give free, legal and instant access to millions of songs, funded by adverts.

Warner, one of the four major labels, whose artists include REM and Michael Buble, said such services were “clearly not positive for the industry”.

That raises questions over the future of free streaming, which is popular with fans but not lucrative for labels.

And finally, these photos brought tears to my eyes (and it still enrages me that our emotions about the attack have been so cynically brutalized from the very day it happend ’till now) . . .

Chilling aerial photos of 9/11 attack released

The images were taken from a police helicopter — the only photographers allowed in the airspace near the skyscrapers on Sept. 11, 2001. They were obtained by ABC after it filed a Freedom of Information Act request last year with the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the federal agency that investigated the collapse.

Look at the photos here

Professor = uppity

This is not an Onion parody.

From Inside Higher Ed:

Barack Obama has been called a lot of things since he hit the national stage: Celebrity, elitist and even one who “pals around with terrorists.” But as his poll numbers come back down to earth, and an emboldened conservative movement sharpens its attacks, the label that seems to be sticking to Obama as much as any lately is that of “professor.”


Ogletree, founding and executive director of the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice, says he sees the “professor” label as a thinly veiled attack on Obama’s race. Calling Obama “the professor” walks dangerously close to labeling him “uppity,” a term with racial overtones that has surfaced in the political arena before, Ogletree said. Describing his divisive confirmation hearings as a “circus,” Justice Clarence Thomas called the proceedings “a high-tech lynching for uppity blacks who in any way deign to think for themselves, to do for themselves, to have different ideas.…” It is perhaps ironic, then, that Ogletree, who represented Anita Hill when she made harassment allegations against Thomas in 1991, now sees a bit of the “uppity” label being placed on Obama.

“The idea is that he’s not one of us,” Ogletree says of the professor label. “He has these ideas that are left wing, that are socialist, that he’s palling around with terrorists — those were buzzwords, but the reality was they were looking at this president as an African American who was out of place.”

Thomas L. Haskell, a professor emeritus of history at Rice University, agrees that racial bias may be implicit in the attack on Obama’s professorial past.

“For me and a lot of other academic types, we identify with Obama precisely because he is an intellectual,” Haskell says. “But what does that mean to John Q. Public? I don’t know. John Q. Public may be frightened of these people, especially because this particular intellectual is a black.”


What’s gonna be the next racist dogwhistle?

“Mr. President?”