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Wednesday Morning News

Good Morning Conflucians!!!

OK, let’s get right to it. What the heck is going on out there.

Here’s a fun one, scientists have figured out they can use ultrasound as a male contraceptive:

Lead researcher Dr James Tsuruta said: “We think this could provide men with up to six months of reliable, low-cost, non-hormonal contraception from a single round of treatment.

“Our long-term goal is to use ultrasound from therapeutic instruments that are commonly found in sports medicine or physical therapy clinics as an inexpensive, long-term, reversible male contraceptive suitable for use in developing to first world countries.”

Once the testis has stopped producing sperm and all “sperm reserves” have been depleted, explain the researchers, the man will be temporarily infertile.

I’m just trying to think of product names for this one. Hey, lady, why are you singing to my balls. Too early? I can never tell about these jokes.

If you’re using a Kindle or a Kindle App, Amazon is uploading and analyzing your bookmarks and notes:

There have already been plenty of questions over who “owns” the ebooks you’ve bought, with stories of remotely deactivated books and remotely deactivated features — neither of which happens when you have a real physical book. But there are also other concerns opened up by newly activated features. Apparently one new feature — sent in by a few concerned readers — is that Amazon will now remotely upload and store the user notes and highlights you take on your Kindle, which it then compiles into “popular highlights.”

Nope you’re not paranoid, they really are watching you.

Some interesting progress has been made in extracting hydrogen from water:

Artificial photosynthesis may soon be a reality – splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen. You only have to look as far as your garden to observe one of the most common chemical reactions in nature at work pulling apart water molecules (H2O) and splitting them into carbohydrates and oxygen (O2).  Nature provides the template for this process using the energy from sunlight to fuel the reaction.

Taking their clues from nature, they engineered a novel alternative to this process, as described in a recently published research paper in Nature Nanotechnology. The team decided to alter the common, harmless M13 bacterial virus so that it would attract and bind with molecules of a iridium oxide catalyst and the biological pigment zinc porphyrins. The viruses were used as wire-like devices to split the oxygen from water molecules. Thomas Mallouk, the DuPont Professor of Materials Chemistry and Physics at Pennsylvania State University, is quoted as saying that he finds the research “…an extremely clever piece of work that addresses one of the most difficult problems in artificial photosynthesis, namely, the nanoscale organization of the components in order to control electron transfer rates.”

It’s always nice to see some progress in these areas as we’re depressed about our current situation of a continuation of Dubya and this version’s very own Katrina.

Get ready, soon you’ll be able to get genetic test kits over the counter. Walgreens is preparing to sell one. But the FDA might be putting some breaks on the deal:

Walgreens is slated to become the first bricks-and-mortar retailer to sell genetic-testing kits that can tell people whether they’re likely to get breast cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, become obese or suffer from a range of other maladies.

But the announcement has prompted U.S. Food and Drug Administration to consider issuing the test manufacturer, Pathway Genomics of San Diego, a warning that Pathway must first obtain the FDA’s approval. Ultimately, the FDA could move to take the tests off the shelves, said FDA spokeswoman Karen Riley.

The FDA has never exercised its authority to approve genetic test kits because the kits have historically been used by doctors and other health-care professionals, and such tests conducted solely within labs are certified by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Riley said Pathway Genomics overstepped its bounds when it announced its plans to market the tests directly to the consumer at 6,000 of Walgreen’s 7,500 stores, and allow consumers to take their own saliva samples to return to the lab. Pathway also is promoting the tests’ role in helping people decide drug dosing and other treatments, Riley said.

The FDA wants Pathway Genomics to submit data showing that its tests give accurate results, Riley said.

Will they tell you what percentage of Neanderthal you are is my main question. In case you missed it, apparently some of us are part Neanderthal:

Scientists say they have recovered 60 percent of the genome so far and hope to complete it. By comparing that genome with those of various present day humans, the team concluded that about 1 percent to 4 percent of the genome of non-Africans today is derived from Neanderthals. But the Neanderthal DNA does not seem to have played a great role in human evolution, they said.

Experts believe that the Neanderthal genome sequence will be of extraordinary importance in understanding human evolutionary history since the two species split some 600,000 years ago.

So far, the team has identified only about 100 genes — surprisingly few — that have contributed to the evolution of modern humans since the split. The nature of the genes in humans that differ from those of Neanderthals is of particular interest because they bear on what it means to be human, or at least not Neanderthal. Some of the genes seem to be involved in cognitive function and others in bone structure.

I’m waiting for the first neanderthal defense in court. You know it’s coming.

In a completely unrelated but will provide me with a lame joke at the end story, DNA could be used in logic chips in the future:

In his latest set of experiments, Chris Dwyer, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at Duke’s Pratt School of Engineering, demonstrated that by simply mixing customized snippets of DNA and other molecules, he could create literally billions of identical, tiny, waffle-looking structures.

Dwyer has shown that these nanostructures will efficiently self-assemble, and when different light-sensitive molecules are added to the mixture, the waffles exhibit unique and “programmable” properties that can be readily tapped. Using light to excite these molecules, known as chromophores, he can create simple logic gates, or switches.

These nanostructures can then be used as the building blocks for a variety of applications, ranging from the biomedical to the computational.

OK, this all well and good. But will the neanderthal percentage cause the computer chip reach up and hit us with a club. Groan.

And now for some political news (oh, do we have too…). UK has a PM:

Britain’s Conservatives and their new partners, the center-left Liberal Democrats, turned to the job of building a new government on Wednesday morning, a day after they agreed to an alliance that swept the Labour Party out of power and formed Britain’s first coalition government since World War II.

David Cameron, the Conservative leader and new prime minister, and his newly appointed deputy prime minister, the Liberal Democratic leader Nick Clegg, held their first joint news conference to address how they would govern Britain and tackle its huge deficit, national defense and a range of other issues.

Hey look, the UK has a crazy conservative as head of state just like we do. Only ours pretends he’s not. The coalition will be interesting to watch.

A Democratic incumbent just lost in WV:

Rep. Alan B. Mollohan (D-W.Va.) lost his bid for a 15th term Tuesday in a primary defeat that further affirms the anti-incumbent sentiment coursing through the country.

He is the first House member to lose a reelection bid in the 2010 campaign, and his defeat comes days after Sen. Robert F. Bennett (R-Utah) was knocked off the November ballot in that state’s convention process.

I think Arlen Spector just soiled his panties. Not just because of that race, but because of this poll:

One of this year’s most compelling races — the Pennsylvania Democratic primary election — remains too close to call with less than a week to go before voters head to the polls, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

Rep. Joe Sestak, who is running to unseat incumbent Sen. Arlen Specter, now trails 44% to 42% among likely Democratic voters, according to the poll. With the May 18 primary days away, 14% of Democrats remain undecided and 29% said they could change their mind.

The race has narrowed from a 53% to 32% advantage for Specter in April and a 47% to 39% advantage for the incumbent in a May 4 Quinnipiac poll.

Chickens and roost and all that. Don’t look here for sympathy incumbents.

But lucky for us, Michelle Obama is going to end childhood obesity (just say no more):

Spearheaded by Michelle Obama, a new presidential initiative would reverse the child obesity epidemic.

The goal, as set out in a report from the White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity, is to reduce childhood obesity from 20% to 5% by 2030.

To accomplish this, the plan makes 70 recommendations for early childhood, for parents and caregivers, for school meals and nutrition education, for access to healthy food, and for increasing physical activity.

“For the first time, the nation will have goals, benchmarks, and measurable outcomes that will help us tackle the childhood obesity epidemic one child, one family, and one community at a time,” Obama says in a news release.

I was going to make a cynical remark here, but I’ll just leave it at that.

That’s a few things going on today. What’s new in your neck of the woods.

101 Responses

  1. I was watching BBC World news this AM, anybody besides me see the slogan on the podium where Cameron or Clegg was speaking?
    “Change working for you.”
    We are so boned.

    • First three things this ConDem coalition did:

      1. anounced a cap on non EU immigration= keeping the brown people out
      2. proposed a fixed 5 year Parlament= they’re afraid they will fall and badly
      3. anounced NHS cuts

      The whole Cabined is composed from white british people. Only one is female- Theresa May, the minister for Women and Equalities. Trivia : she has voted against 28 equalities measures in the past 12 years. It’s like putting Phillys Schafly in charge of NOW.
      http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/mp.php?mpid=40382&dmp=826

      Most LibDems are in arms about it, and the Labour sign up page crashed earlier due to too many requests. Rumours say labour picked up 200 thousand new members today.

      • Sounds kind of like the LibDems are the same as the New Dems/FauxProgressives (aka Obots) here. They’re as screwed as we are.

        • I think a lot of LibDem voters were honest in their desire for political reform. Nick Clegg however sold their votes down the river.

          If teh elections would be repeated tomorrow, my money say Labour would win. people are shocked and disgusted by Clegg’s actions, the Twitter hashtag #ConDem and #ConDemNation says it all.

      • A ban on non-EU people also includes North America — Canada, US, and Mexico. It’s particularly funny they’d ban Canada, unless the British Commonwealth countries are exempt.

        • It’s not a ban per se , it’s a cap. Most of the non Eu immigrants come from the Asian and African Commonwealth countries.

          This is one of the two or three LibDems and Tories had in common- capping non EU immigration. If you corroborate it with the incredible whiteness of the cabinet- as in no minorities whatsoever and only one very reactionary woman…

          • oh great, a second woman as Secretary for Wales. A slap in the face for the noble welsh people, as she isn’t welsh and doesnt even represent a welsh constituency.

            Also, speakign of welsh, apparently the LibDems didn’t want to ally with Labour because they needed a few more seats and LibDems didn’t want to be allied with the “celtic fringes”.

      • RE: 1.

        Was the information to the right of the = sign your interpretation, or do you have some insider information on why they need to cap immigration? With their unemployment rates so high could it possibly be they are trying to avoid a population so great they can’t provide for it?

        Is BTD now calling for a boycott of England? If not, then this is nothing compared to the horror of AZ. 🙂

        • *shrug* I don’t see the immigration cap as neccessarily racist. Countries have a right to decide on how much influx of people, and from where, their system can handle without breaking.

          I have offered to put up people in my home before, and have. All sorts of people. I’ve had friends and strangers and friends of my kids and teenagers having a tough time and all kinds of folks sacked out on this or that couch before, for weeks or months.

          But if, at some point, I decide that I’m only going to do that for family, or certain close friends, or whatever (maybe because my own household is under stress), that does not make me a selfish evil person. No one has a god-given RIGHT to come into my home. And if they get pissy and decry me as evil and selfish at that point, and insist that I somehow OWE them entry, I’d probably tell them to kiss my ass.

          • If they needed to cap immigration for reasons of overpopulation, they would’ve capped ALL immigration.

            Unemployment in England is at 8%. Out of those, there are maybe 4% that are permanently unemploiyed- chavs. I don’t need to explain to anyone why a capitalist society NEEDS a permanent layer of lumpenproletariatt to keep the working class in check.

            Brits- some Brits- have a huge problem with non caucasian immigrants. If you’re masochistic enough to peruse the Tory boards, you’ll see an insufferable number of anti muslim rants. Muslims and south asians are perceived by these people to be dirty, lazy and leeching on public services- also they do tend to have more children than caucasians.

            Is this an issue? yes. Brits breed at half the sustainability rate, and Labour understood this. There is also the issue of historical debt that Britain owes the countries it has pillaged for centuries.

            I do not believe this is a recession related measure because the condems have been asking for it a long time before the recession started.

            In my experience, the less poor the brits are, the more racist they get. I don’t think this is an issue of saturation- it is a group of white privileged people who want to maintain their cultural superiority at all costs.

            Add to that the fact that the ConDem cabinet is all very white, very rich and very British, and you’ll get the horrid image.

          • and if they commit crime when they are in your house, killing and kidnapping people?
            No no, you must be racist and hate brown people.

          • I believe the differences between ownership of a house and ownership of a country are far too different for this analogy to work.
            Also, I can’t really have this discussion while my comments await moderation for hours on end.

          • THIS.

          • It gets better
            The ConDems are trying to put through a measure that prevents the government from losing power even if they go into minority.
            http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/election_2010/8678222.stm

            Earlier, there was a discussion regarding a “fixed parlament”.
            How it works: In the UK the parlamentary elections do not happenn at a set date, but when the Prime Minister calls for them- as long as they aren’t at more than 5 years apart.
            Making the parlament a fixed term one means that the current structure of the parlament, which many consider as of now to not be representative for the will of the people, gets to stay in power 5 years regardless of whether they can maintain the confidence in the government.
            The condem government is frail. 80% of the LibDem voters, who are in fact liberals, are incredibly unhappy about their votes helping the Tories get into power.
            A great number of them voted Tory specifically to keep the “nasty party” out of power.
            From we have seen so far, the concessions that the LibDems have received are minimal. It looks more and more that Clegg and his friends were so eager to get some seats in the government that they have sold the values they claimed to promote. This comes to no surprise to me, as I have always suspected that Clegg is a liberal in name only, but many people actually bought his bullshit and are reasonably angry.
            which means that the ConDem government is sitting on 3 legs and one of them is shorter than the others, and rotting fast.
            Normally, when a government loses confidence, a minority government is formed whose purpose is to call for new elections. New elections NOW would send the LibDems to history’s trash can, and would probably render a labour victory. Because from all this horrible mess, labour is rightfully picking up the votes of the disgruntled Libems, and some more. Plaid Cymru aren’t happy that the Secretary for wales is someone who has nothign t do with wales, so they will probably support Labour all teh way.

            By rising the no confidence treshhold, the Tories are trying to ensure they stay in power regardless of how much everyone wants them out, which tells me a lot about their intentions.

            The ConDems know this, so their first measures seem to be to insure this will not happen.

            So yah, damn my mouth, I was right when I said Clegg is the british Obama. He has split the British liberals enough to ensure a Tory victory, and gave the tories votes they didn’t earn in order to make a marginally majoritary government. Kinda like the Michigan thing a coupla years ago 😛

          • Immigration is not a right. That said, how did the Tories get the most votes.

          • a ton of money from our friend Mr Murdoch
            also 36%, that’s a very sad victory

          • also, the LibDems split the left and shaved some significant labour percentages. If my post above is unmoderated, I try to explain some things there

      • God, sorry, soopermouse. 😦

        • Just curious, but can disgruntled Liberal Democrats sue to have their party dues returned or anything like that?

          • I got a letter from the DNC today, and I’ve been fantasizing about what I’ll write back to them. I think I’m going to type up a formal letter telling them what I think of them. And they shouldn’t expect any money from me until they get rid of the Bush/Reagan clone they forced down our throats and replace him with an FDR clone.

          • That’s the scary part, because none of our pols are worth a bucket of warm spit. Whatever changes are made to SS, Medicare, all of it, will never be changed back. They talk and talk but they will never do a thing about it.

          • I’m not sure. Many people weren’t members per se, just LibDem voters 😦

            WE will have to see what happens. I don’t think they’ll get away with it- there are protests scheduled to happen all over the country on Saturday

  2. Specter keeps running this ad which ends with BO saying “I love Arlen Specter.” LOL. If that doesn’t get Sestak votes I don’t know what will.

    • Joe Sestak gets my primary vote even though he supported Obama’s HCR because he isn’t the one endorsed by the White House.
      Don’t know who gets my vote in the general.

      • Yeah, me too. I wonder if there are any 3rd party candidates in the general for senate.

      • MrMike, do you have a pick for the Dem governor?

        • 😦

          • I’m supporting Hoeffel for governor because his beliefs most match my own. That and having Onorato as a county executive ever since I moved here makes me not want to subject the rest of the state to him. Honestly, Pennsylvania needs some IRV in the Democratic Primary for governor – just so we can get anybody but Onorato!

      • I hope Sestak learns enough from MA election to keep his independent streak. If he gets too cozy with the WH, that could be the kiss of death for his election chances.

    • Only the bitter, clingy people won’t like that. Oh wait, that’s everyone in PA according to BO.

      • On the 17sec mark, BO says “He came to fight for the … ” (you see his lips start to form a “p” then he stops and says) “… working men and women of Pennsylvania”.
        LOL. He was probably going to say “people” but it makes it look like he was biting back a bad word.

  3. Michelle Obama-twinkie police. Yikes.

    • I know. Maybe I’m wrong, but Michelle Obama’s crusade against childhood obesity looks like another way to make poor kids feel bad about themselves.

  4. Dem Party is paying for ads for long-time Republican Arlen Specter–you know, the guy who shredded Anita Hill and helped put Clarence Thomas on the Supreme Court? Also the guy who falsified evidence for the Warren Commission and dreamed up the single-bullet theory? Dems funding this guy instead of long-time Dem Joe Sestak.

    Greg Sargent says that means Specter is in real trouble.

    Meanwhile, the race between Sestak and Specter is too close to call.

    • And of course we know what too close to call means, they can easily cheat.

      • Two other polls show Sestak ahead though.

      • NAW – they’ve been using that ridiculous “too close to call” phrase for a couple of years now….it’s intended to make the people who are not supporting the candidate the WH wants think that maybe they are wrong in their choice since at least half the voters are still backing their candidate. Every now and then they up it a bit and give their losing candidate a couple of points in the lead … the illusion that creates is that people are coming back around and everyone wants to be on the side of the winner.

    • Apparently, NARAL has endorsed Sestak.

      Guess they won’t get invited to the WH for a while.

  5. I read all of those 70 recommendations for eliminating chldhood obesity yesterday. Some of them go against the actual research that shows that if you let kids eat what they want from an early age and don’t hound them and shame them, they end up choosing good foods overall and don’t get fat.

    They also ignore actual research that shows that obesity is to a great extent genetic. People just come in different sizes and not everyone can be skinny.

    The recommendations reminded made me think of certain historical figures who wanted to create a “master race.”

    • Perhaps that’s the secret plan for “eliminating” childhood obesity. Since they clearly don’t care evidenced by ignoring research, etc., perhaps they really mean “eliminating” obese kids.

      It’s a cookbook!!!!

      • Come to think about it, have you noticed how Michelle’s eyes light up with hunger when she looks at obese kids.

      • Obesity is only partly about food.

        Kids are couch potatoes today, and they don’t get enough exercise. Being housebound and dealing with family situations (unemployed, underpaid parents) also leads to comfort foods and lethargic lifestyles.

        Don’t they also say children are far more depressed today?

        • Divorce, single family homes, poverty, too much TV, unhappy parents, drug abuse all around them, too many new adults in and out of their lives, Mom or Dad not home until late…. it leads to a lot of things including kids who do not perform well in school, who disengage and use drugs or get fat.
          But we can’t ever tell the truth and blame a sick society because people never want to hear that they cause their own misery.

    • An interesting study that supports the “calories in-calories out” explanation for the increase in obesity in US.

      “Overeating Alone Explains Obesity Epidemic
      Researchers presenting their findings at the meeting of the European Council on Obesity calculated that overeating alone, without including a sedentary lifestyle, is behind the obesity problem.”
      **********
      Scientists measured the metabolism of almost 1,500 adults to determine how many calories their bodies burn under normal conditions. Then they calculated how many calories they’d need to maintain body weight. They figured out how much we’re eating today versus three decades ago by comparing agricultural data from then and now. They determined total food grown and imported, minus what was exported, thrown away or used for livestock.

      With that information, they predicted how much fatter we should be based just on consumption. And we’ve actually gained a little less than the numbers say we should have. Maybe because we’ve added some exercise to the equation.

      http://www.scientificamerican.com/podcast/episode.cfm?id=overeating-alone-explains-obesity-e-09-05-14

      • I don’t question that this averages out, but if you test individuals, some people can eat more calories and not gain weight, while other gain weight on fewer calories.

        Keep in mind that the weight loss industry is an *industry.* They make lots of money telling people how to not be fat and statistics show their methods simply don’t work. In many cases, those methods make people fatter in the long run.

        Children should not be guilt-tripped. That really really really won’t work in the long run.

        • Neither of my kids ever got obese but my children never even knew what pop or fast food or canned spaghetti was until they started hanging out with the kids who had at parents who seem to throw food and tv at their kids a lot to get them out of their hair. Also, my policy was to throw them out back to play and not let them watch that much TV. If it was rainy we baked or did craft projects. Both of them took dancing and Emily was a soccer nut. I think a lot of it has to do with the parents and not the kids, frankly. Both of them also took piano lessons.

          Like I said, until my daughter went over to a neighbor’s house she had no idea that spaghetti could even come in a can and she was like 5 by that time. I taught and consulted when she was little. We also went to parks a lot and walked. My kids always loved vegetables and salads because we always ate them. Emily went on a salad bender in first grade and ate them all the time.

          I think the focus needs to be on the parenting not the kids. I mean who is feeding the kids that junk any way or letting them vegetate in front of the TV screen? Lazy, fat parents tend to raise lazy,fat kids.

          • Well, I hope you also understand the genetic model of obesity. “Fat, lazy” parents can actually be depressed parents, or undiagnosed, sick parents. “Fat, lazy” children can be products of genetic transmission.

            Myself, I have thyroid disease, slows me down, bogs my brain. I take supplements, but it’s not the same as making yoru own. Does that make me fat and lazy? No.

            Some people have brain imbalances (defective leptin receptors, and such) that make them crave carbohydrates and never feel satiated. Just fat and lazy? No.

            I think people should feel fortunate if they remain at a normal body weight and feel good. But the reality is that some people are born healthy and some aren’t. For those who aren’t, it’s often not their fault. Saying, see, I’m doing everything right, so that’s why I’m healthy is a bit of a misnomer. It’s kind of like saying, you can do anything you want as long as you work hard enough. Tell that to Ethiopian children.

            end rant.

          • Of course some folks have problems that are physical, but in my experience that vast majority do not actually have underlying physical or genetic problems. The statistics also seem to verify this. If what you were speaking about was the norm, we’d not see this incredible obesity problem in the US now compared to the 1950s and 1960s. You used to know there were underlying problems back then. The majority of it now is too much TV, computer time, and junk food.

          • More research seems to be indicating that the 40+ year fat is “bad” may have been misguided. USDA guidelines were emphasizing >50% caloric intake from carbs. Eat healthy things like pasta, etc.

            “Carbs against Cardio: More Evidence that Refined Carbohydrates, not Fats, Threaten the Heart”

            “Eat less saturated fat: that has been the take-home message from the U.S. government for the past 30 years. But while Americans have dutifully reduced the percentage of daily calories from saturated fat since 1970, the obesity rate during that time has more than doubled, diabetes has tripled, and heart disease is still the country’s biggest killer. Now a spate of new research, including a meta-analysis of nearly two dozen studies, suggests a reason why: investigators may have picked the wrong culprit. Processed carbohydrates, which many Americans eat today in place of fat, may increase the risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease more than fat does—a finding that has serious implications for new dietary guidelines expected this year.”
            ***
            “Another issue facing regulatory agencies, notes Harvard’s Stampfer, is that “the sugared beverage industry is lobbying very hard and trying to cast doubt on all these studies.”

            http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=carbs-against-cardio

          • I basically follow the South Beach Diet which is ‘good’ carbs only and no white stuff.

          • Uh alot of the “lazy fat ” parents feed their kids what they do because its cheaper(lookat the cost difference between enriched white bread 75 cents and whole grain $1.88) and because they are exhausted after working two-three jobs. Not every parent has the luxury of taking their children on walks in the park. Meal planning takes effort and some parents just don’t have the tools(time, money, and know how).

            Personally the effort needs to focus on BOTH in my opinion. We don’t get to choose our parents,however as we get older we do get to choose our life styles. Arguments need to be made that choosing wholesome whole foods despite the cost in terms of time and money is a long term investment.

            Although I will say Teresa has a point. You can do almost everything right and still have health issues. I exercise daily, eat fruits and veggies, whole grains, and lean meats 90% of the time and still have had problems with my kidneys(which also causes bp problems).

          • Here in New Orleans, there’s been a big push by the city’s Health Department to get fresh fruit and vegetables into the corner stores. They also run public service announcements. Also, they organize local farmer markets in inner city neighborhood. I’m kind’ve lucky because Mr.Okra drives his truck around and sells them in the neighborhood (I hear him singing what produce he has fresh a mile away!). I just think we need to focus more on parental behavior. Also, I have never understood why we allow junk food to be purchased with food stamps. It seems churches could do somethings too in the neighborhoods to get folks to eat better. I just shudder at the things that used to show up at church potlucks!!!

          • it is also genetics DK.
            But I agree that children will do what their parents do. I was lucky, I never limited my kids video games or TV. They wanted to be outside because my ex was an exercise junky (still is) and I loved being at the beach or planting flowers, taking pictures of the outdoors or swimming laps in the pool. Also, my kids got all the tall skinny genes from my side and the heavily muscled genes from their Dad.
            When my first son was born I had a year’s worth of postpartum depression. My doctors never knew it and I had never heard of it thirty years ago. I gained a lot of weight.
            People’s lives do have an effect on how well they raise their kids to be happy and healthy. Most of the time people are doing the best they can with the knowledge they have.
            If MO can talk a lot of people in to taking the crap food out of their house and eating healthier, I am all for it.

        • The above isn’t from the weight loss industry, it’s from medical research. For example, many people who simply fidget and are physically restless can burn off a few hundred calories per day that way.

          I ago kids and adults should not be guilt-tripped, and that it doesn’t work well anyway.

    • Without any science to back me up, I’ve come to a similar conclusion based on my own experiences with my daughter. I’ve also learned that her food preferences from a very early age, turned out to be the healthiest foods for her given what we now know about her health, including genetic factors. People always thought I was being over indulgent because I didn’t force her to eat foods she hated. I always felt that, as long as her diet was balanced, what difference did it make whether she got her protein from red meat or from other sources?

      Unfortunately, you have to factor in the conditioning from marketers. Parents have to take a stand against the onslaught aimed at our kids from fast foods places and snack foods companies.

      • I guess I never went for any of that. My kids were eating cheesy trees (broccoli with cheese) or snow trees (cauliflower) happily in their high chairs. I had my own marketing campaign going on I used to buy/rent videos so we could avoid the advertisements. We need to teach people how to parent better in the modern world. Both of my kids ate vegetable sushi in their high chairs too.

        The oldest one gets told she eats weird by her peers now because she only eats really healthy food and we never salted, fried, or sugared anything. The youngest one just made me her first dinner in her first apartment last month. It was a roast ginger pork loin with a salad and brown rice. This kid’s 20. Her fridge is full of juice too and her room mate (of Vietnamese descent) fills it up with even more juice. She’s barely a zero and she plays soccer still. Both of them refuse to go near a McDonald’s. That hate them! Both of them cook good stuff at home and rarely eat out which is what I do and what my Dad did for us. My sister is the same way.

        • Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I was letting her eat ice cream for dinner, and processed foods never enter my house. As a matter of fact, my husband had a craving for Tater-Tots a few months ago, after not having them for over twenty years, so I decided to indulge his craving for his birthday. My daughter was with me in the supermarket when I grabbed the bag and she said, “Tater-Tots? Who are you and what have you done with my mother…”.

          If your kids are healthy, then I’m sure you did the right thing. My point had to do with the fact that we’ve recently (and almost tragically) discovered that my daughter has a genetic blood clotting factor and should limit foods high in vitamin K. I found it interesting that those were foods she has never enjoyed eating and I’m speculating that maybe our bodies are smarter than we think and crave foods that are good for us but cause us to dislike foods that may harm us.

          • wow, lucky you found that out!!! No, I was talking about the marketing factor. I know kids seem drawn to anything with Ronald McDonald on them but they can learn that there’s other things out there.

          • We were very, very lucky. Had it not been for a quick diagnosis by an alert PA in an emergency room, and literally teams of brilliant doctors and nurses, I might not be a mom anymore. We are very grateful.

            Regarding the marketing, it’s not just television. It’s the schools and their vending machines, the billboards, the other students who have “cool” foods in their lunches and at their houses. It’s a constant struggle. I remember when my daughter was in middle school and she was convinced by her friends that Dasani bottled water tasted better than the less expensive stuff. Peer pressure is pretty powerful.

          • I am overweight because I have chronic insomnia. I live on 5 hours a sleep out of 24, and it’s bad. I don’t live, I survive, on coffee and caffeine pills so i can function.
            I eat mostly green stuff- fruits and vegetables, mostly raw. I am bordering vegan- with the exception of fresh cheese i make myself because thats what I like.
            I walk a lot- 2 miles a day average. i don’t eat sweets, fast food, takeaways, maybe half a loaf of bread a week.
            I’m fit as a fiddle, and fat- at 5’10 I weigh 250 pounds. But I am healthy, have the BP of an astronaut… I’m just fat and fit and that’s that.
            All women in my family are.

          • yes , our bodies if we listen to them will tell us what they need. I never worried when my children did not eat much even though they were very thin. I knew they wouldn’t starve themselves. I feel the same about the cat and dog now. If they turn their nose up at something or only eat a little bit, so what? They will not starve and often what they crave after eating small amounts is very healthy.
            the problem comes when we insist that they listen to us rather than their own body… or when we have shorted out the mind body link with too much junk food and sugar.

  6. Specter says he “wont be pushed” into voting for Elena Kagan. Biting the hand that feeds you, Arlen?

    http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2010/05/11/specter-to-cnn-no-knee-jerk-reaction-on-kagan-nomination/?fbid=_UuXIiBFG4f

  7. Franklin and Marshall College poll has Sestak ahead by two points.

    • Those polls have pretty sizable margins of error. That basically means it’s too close to probably call. Will entirely depend on turn out.

      • which probably means who has the best GOTV effort

        • But what the polls are finding is that Democrats simply aren’t going to vote for Specter, because he’s a Republican. They voted against him for Decades–why should they vote for him now? And the undecideds are very high–they will probably determine the outcome if they vote.

          Another incumbent lost today in WV.

  8. Regarding Kindle:

    I was researching Amazon’s return policy (keep reading, you’ll understand how return policies relate to Kindle). I’ve seen what they say on their site, but since I had ordered a camera flash from them (a somewhat fragile item), and since their shipment packaging is notoriously TERRIBLE, I wanted to make sure that people can actually return things if they arrive broken. I especially worried because my last purchase from them resulted in my very first Amazon return (in 10 years of buying). The item was a newly released electronic product and was defective out of the box. I called them the next day and they took it back, but I worried a bit that they’d be difficult about taking back another defective product, if it’s via two returns in a row.

    What I found instead of the satisfied customer stories about returns that I expected, is that in 2008, Amazon did a sweep of their customer base and banned a whole bunch of customers for “excessive activity” (meaning returns) on their accounts. Many of the banned customers have no idea why they were banned. They did some returns, but all within what is supposed to be Amazon’s policies, and via helpful friendly customer service staff who gave them no reason to believe there was anything wrong with their return processes. When they attempted to appeal the ban, more vague reasons were given, and often the appeal was denied.

    I have zero problem with a company deciding to terminate relationships with customers. It’s their right. I also know that people abuse return policies. However, policies regarding banning should be clearly stated. Otherwise, the purpose of this ban was to put fear in the hearts of every individual who wants to return something at Amazon. “See, we have this good policy,” they say, “but don’t try and use it, or you’ll get banned.” Amazon knows that these stories make their way through the internet community — they knew what they were doing!

    Anyway, when these customers were terminated, their access to their Kindle accounts (if they had them) were also terminated, meaning that they now own a $400 brick. When a company operates a subscription service like that, I think special consideration to customers should be granted, and as I’ve said, clear policies regarding banning should be enacted. Banning should not be at the discretion of whatever a new, overzealous wet behind the ears manager decides.

    Thus, I don’t recommend buying a Kindle, for many reasons, now including your issue of privacy!

    My camera flash will soon ship. If it’s intact and in good shape, new condition, I’ll be ecstatic. I can’t wait;-) and if anyone wants it back, they’ll have to pry it out of my cold, dead hands.. If it arrives broken or seems defective, I’ll have no qualms about returning it. If Amazon gives me trouble, I’ll charge it back on my credit card. If they ban me, it’s their loss.

    But in general, upon learning about the banning, I’m no longer an Amazon customer (even tho they’re a local Seattle operation). I’ll only use the company if no one else sells what I need.

    People say, “don’t shop at Walmart” but they proudly shop at Amazon. If you’re local like me, you probably know that Amazon has employment practices that would sometimes put Walmart to shame….but I supported them anyway, because my nephew works there. Not anymore.

    Anyway…

    • If I were a Kindle subscriber who was banned from access to Amazon, I would promptly file a complaint with my state Attorney General. Satisfaction would come in either getting my subscription guaranteed for as long as I want it, or a full refund on the Kindle purchase and all books I had downloaded to it.

      I, too, am a local to Amazon and haven’t done business with them in over a decade because of their employment practices and dreadful customer service.

    • I know I am hopelessly old fashioned, but I really really hate the idea of electronic books. I think we are robbing our children of the experience of having to search our book cases on a rainy day to find something to do. I like the way books smell and I like that having walls full of books in your house teaches your children, your grandchildren and their friends that books are valuable.
      Plus, isn’t reading on a computer screen harder on your eyes?

      When I have a more stable income again I intend to go right back to ordering hard cover books in large numbers from Amazon and Borders Books.

      • I love books and have a lot of them. But I can’t carry my 3000 or so volumes with me, and if I’ll need to move, Dog help me.
        I agree with you that it is very important for children to grow up with books. But you have to admit the damn e-readers are very convenient

        • i have this fear that one day a big magnetic burst from the sun will shut down the computers and any one without precomputer technology will be screwed. That’s why I still keep a bike around and a nicely stocked library. A magnetic disruption would create complete chaos with just about everything.

          It’s my one tinhat hypothesis scifi scenario. But then, I lived in that world post Katrina for awhile.

      • The Kindle isn’t hard on your eyes. It has a paper-like screen, and it’s not shiny or reflective. The I-pad could be hard on your eyes. I think it has a shiny screen. I actually enjoy reading on my Kindle a lot. It really helps that it’s lightweight. But I haven’t stopped buying books either.

        • I enjoy reading on Kindle too. It’s not at all hard on my eyes. I am trying not to buy too many more books because I have so many I have nowhere to put new ones anymore.

      • I love all those aspects of books, too, but I love the Nook I was given at Christmas. I’ve read more this year than in the past two years combined, and I’ve only purchased two books–the rest have been library books. That’s a big plus for the nook–you’re not limited to Amazon, and you can read library books for free without any late fees (that works for me).

        • How does that work? Does the download disappear on the due date, or you send it back electronically when you’re done? I looked on the library website but a lot of the electronic resources are attached to colleges and you need to go there to access them.

    • Kindles don’t cost anywhere near that much now. Four hundred. I paid $250.

  9. It’s interesting that researchers are focusing on a “non-hormonal” male contraceptive method. For the past fifty years, women have been convinced that it’s the only way to fly, but scientists want to be a little more cautious when it comes to exposing men to the potentially harmful side effects of hormonal contraceptives.

    • To be fair, the drug companies hate non-hormonal male contraceptive options. They’d much rather put men on a pill they have to take every day for the rest of their life. RISUG is the best option out there and it’ll never make it to market.

      • False. A male hormonal contraceptive was not invented because drug companies didn’t think men would buy it.

        “Perhaps the single most difficult problem,” says Dr. Swerdloff, who’s worked on male contraception since 1969, “was to get support from the pharmaceutical industry to carry this past the idea stage.”
        http://www.malecontraceptives.org/articles/gifford_article.php

        Interesting info in that article about nifedipine, a high blood pressure medicine with a handy side effect of causing temporary sterility in men. Ya think they could do some research on that? Nah.

        Instead, scientists had to come up with the pill for women – much more difficult due to our cycles – and gave us the nausea, headache, cancer inducing wonder contraceptive. They can have it.

        • I might be mistaken, but I was under the impression that male hormonal contraception hasn’t been released but has been in the works for the last several years. But I understand that that is a major impediment, yeah.

  10. kits that can tell people whether they’re likely to get breast cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, become obese or suffer from a range of other maladies.

    No, no, no, they’ve got it mostly wrong. Having the BRCA1 or 2 gene, for example, does not ensure you’ll get breast cancer. It just means that you might. And 80% of women with breast cancer have no family history of it.

    As to whether you’ll become obese, hey, just tell me what you eat and how much physical activity you do, what meds you take, and about your job stress. No genetic kit needed.

  11. Rumors flying around the net on financial blogs that Germany is going to abandon the Euro and re-issue the Deutschmark over the weekend. Almost certainly tinfoil, but it would be seismic if it happened.

    Me, I view such rumors with great skepticism, but not with outright dismissal as I would have in the past. The world has gone crazy, and just about anything could happen.

  12. Bringing the tabloids here – in PA they just put the tight primary on page one
    http://edgeoforever.wordpress.com/2010/05/12/tabloids-not-worthy-of-obamauk-sunny-spill-ceo-grill

  13. Well maybe it is just me, but with all of the talk about parental responsibilities and nutrition, I just can’t help but think of the episode in Airplane, where Julie Hagerty teaches a group of African women about tupperware.

  14. “I’m waiting for the first Neanderthal defense in court. You know it’s coming.”

    Anyone else remember the recurring skit “Unfrozen Cave Man Lawyer” from late ’80s-early ’90s SNL? :mrgreen:

  15. The anti-obesity crusade pisses me off, honestly. Yeah, sure, there are lifestyle factors. But there are also individual factors that prevent the equation from being so simple, and societal factors that mean that geography and class have a major impact.

    Also, I’d really like to know if anyone has looked for a correlation between the increasing tendency to prescribe psychotropic drugs and the obesity “epidemic”. Because psych meds? Will screw with your metabolism in a BIG way. Especially when you start firehosing them at children.

    • I agree. There is a danger in oversimplification which comes off as divisive and elitist. If it was easy to fix the problem by simply preaching at people, then everyone would be thin.

    • There is no doubt that there is a correlation between obesity and poverty. But God forbid Michelle should try to do something about that! They need their servant class, and a lot of them will be fat. They’ll just have to deal with it if they want to keep their income inequality system in place.

  16. Also, I’d really like to know if anyone has looked for a correlation between the increasing tendency to prescribe psychotropic drugs and the obesity “epidemic”. Because psych meds? Will screw with your metabolism in a BIG way.

    I would like to know that too. Before I took psych meds I was one of those people who could eat and eat and still stay thin. On psych meds, I gained weight. After being off of them for years I am still fat. They’ve screwed with *my* metabolism in a big way and I hate it.

  17. Spearheaded by Michelle Obama, a new presidential initiative would reverse the child obesity epidemic.

    Maybe Marie Antoinette could do something about the massive amount of corn syrup and other corn additive crap that our food seems to be loaded up with. Or the huge subsidies to agribusiness corn growers.
    Wasn’t there a recent additives scandal with Archer Daniels?

  18. Controversy Over 7 Year Old Girls Doing Beyonce Dance (Video)

    • Little Miss Sunshine Dance Scene (at least in the movie the adults seem shocked, where as in the above video everyone is clapping).

  19. For the first time in my life, I’m getting really sick and tired of reading “for the first time” this…”for the first time” that…

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