Friday, February 17, 2012

Please, Gov, stop subsidizing obesity and disease

It is not just by chance, or i would even say by choice, that Americans are getting fatter and more diseased (referring especially to diabetes and cancer). The United States government is subsidizing it. This was reconfirmed for me by Michael Pollan's book, In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto:
"Since 1980, the price of sweeteners and added fat, most of them derived respectively from subsidized corn and subsidized soy beans, dropped 20%, while the price of fresh fruits and vegetables increased 40%."
Now, i know that there is a (mostly Republican) school of thought in America that the government should not be responsible for people's health. But i also do not think the government should be responsible for the profit margins of the corn and soy bean lobby (read: Monsanto, et. al.)!

No Monsanto image from
Even if one was to believe that the government were not responsible for the health of the people (because in my mind, this is one of their primary responsibilities), shouldn't they at least be interested in not wasting money? Because the side effects of financing junk "food" are costing us all:
"In 1960, Americans spent 17.5% of their income on food and 5.2% of national income on health care. Since then those numbers have flipped. Spending on food has fallen to 9.9% while spending on health care has climbed to 16% of national income." (In Defense of Food) 
The problem with making the least healthy food the cheapest is that then poor people will eat it, and they will get sick and need medical care, which will not come cheap, quickly causing them to end up broke. Once broke they will keep eating the cheap junk "food," stay sick, and end up calling for your ambulances, my dear non-poor blog readers, and filling up your emergency rooms, spending up your tax money as they go.

(Quotation marks on food because this book makes it very clear how high-fructose, synthesized foods are not actually food - you could eat a piece of paper, that doesn't make it food - and how since the 1980s, it no longer has to be labeled as imitation food, as was required in the past.)

So what i request in this blog post is very simple, nothing radical:

Let's simply subsidize fresh fruits and vegetables, not corn and soy. If artificial sweeteners were prohibitively expensive, as they ought to be, being luxuries and all, maybe people might start considering the fresh fruits and vegetables that are so expensive now. Will this cure every unhealthy person from their junk food habits? Probably not. But it will make those of us that are interested in our health (poor or not), economically able to feed ourselves the fresh produce that our bodies and immune system needs.

Come on Congress, come on Obama, and you can even get in on the act, state and local officials!! Let's vote for health! Throw your influence behind foods that won't breed disease - maybe you'll eventually even find a way to turn a profit on that just like you do on the junk food! However you've got to do it, let's please:

Cut subsidies for corn and soy! Then, let's even subsidize fresh fruits and vegetables instead!:-)

Fruits and veggies image from :-)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Got flu? Be grateful it's not worse, and get better:-)

i've got a cold right now. Maybe the flu. Super stuffy nose, sore throat, sluggish, a little headachy, maybe a little feverish. It sucks.

And i am so tempted to be annoyed and mad at the situation.

But then i remember - i am so glad i'm not injured, broken from an accident or a freak fall. i'm so glad that i'm going to be perfectly well again soon. i don't have a long-term or deadly sickness, just a little flu.

It makes the symptoms seem so much less bad.

i've been trying to train myself to be thankful for my health and wellness when i'm not sick. And i am remembering more and more often, to be thankful that things are A) pretty good and B) no matter what, not worse than they are. Because they can always be worse than they are.

Unless of course you are an armless, legless, toothless, blind leper that lives in New Delhi, has no food, no shelter, no friends and is tortured every night. But in that case, you obviously couldn't read this blog. So, since you are reading this blog please join me in knowing that things can always be worse, and in being thankful that they aren't:-)

Taking things as they are, i know that i am still perfectly capable of having a happy, and even productive, day. And i am doing the things that i can to become even more well than i am - the things that i think will help most: using a neti pot, eating lots whole fruit with vitamin C (thanks for the fruit salad, Mom!:-) and drinking shloads of water. Also i have been reciting a prayer that i have adapted from one in Josephy Murphy's book The Power of Your Subconscious Mind. i have found it to be powerful, feel free to adapt or adopt it too:

The universal intelligence that is inside of me created my very body.
It made my blood and my bones,
it made by organs and tissues.
It knows how to make me perfect and whole again,
and it is healing me right now.
i am grateful.

My symptoms are already subsiding and i am confident these practices made them much more short lived than they otherwise would have been. And i am grateful.

A baseball music video, friendly competition

Growing up i ate, drank, and breathed baseball. Sadly, i was a Mets fan. Since then i have left my home town, then left my home country, and lost track of all the sports i grew up with.

Instead i've moved to a place where soccer reigns supreme and fans express themselves by fist fighting, knifing each other at rivalry games and getting maced by police. Check out this article from Business Insider about some of the worst of soccer hooliganism.
Roma soccer hooligans
In America, with baseball, as far as i know, the fans have not yet taken to brutally beating each other up physically due to rooting for the wrong team. But i have found that Major League Baseball has learned to engage with their fans pretty seriously and interactively. i just found this site where they are taking video submissions from fans in a competition to be in the MLB Fan Cave.

Fans make their own video and submit it in competition to host the Fan Cave in Manhattan, NYC. At this point that i found it, they have narrowed 10,000 videos down to just 50. Having just found at least part of all the videos i found i was most impressed by one, for a fan of the Saint Louis Cardinals - he actually made a baseball music video! Check out this video by Kyle Thompson, a name you will want to remember if you are in America, because it looks like he is going to be the next host of the MLB Fan Cave! Check out his video here - and you can vote for it as well!:-)

Nice to see fans compete with videos rather than weapons:-)

Photo credits: 1 Kyle Thompson, 2 Business Insider

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Dear FB, don't be a whore.

Newspaper pic of an actual whore, from the NY Daily News.
Dear Facebook,

Don't be a whore.

Ok, you need to sell ads to make money, i get that. But, this Timeline idea??

You claimed it was to "help us tell our story better." But then you added middle-of-the-page advertising that pushes our content down off the first screen!

Right now on the first screen of my Timeline there is one post that i made and one ad and one post by me. If i scroll down one full page i can see the bottom of my post...and another ad from you!

The old ads on the side were fine. this Timeline assault is obnoxious.

And all the more so because you're obviously just selling your space out to anyone, scams included!

"Congratulations! Your IP has been selected in (city here)! Claim prize!"  ??

"Banks Forced to Write Off Billions in Debt! See if you Qualify for this Program" ???

"You have a pending message ::imitation Facebook message box showing 1 message::" ???? 
You're even letting them imitate YOU!?!? And you know what that ad was for?, a site whose banner read "Download and Watch Instantly"

i used to sell advertising for a newspaper. My job was to make the bottom line higher than it was at that time the year before - money talked. But i still worked to never allow scams (or even misleading ads) from reaching my readers!!!

Plus i've been getting ads on my Timeline for things that are both controversial and diametrically opposed to my own social and political beliefs, which means that your inventory of data's crystal ball is broken too!

Don't get me wrong, Facebook, i actually think you're fantastically cool. But my belief in that is not necessarily unwavering. So, please, shape up! Quit selling ads to scams! Quit making the placing of ad content so obnoxious! And please, remember to stay cool - that's why we like you!:-)



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