Saturday, September 06, 2008

The Answer Is Obvious!

This from Booster Shots in the Los Angeles Times:

Booster Shots

Oddities, musings and some news from the world of health.

Thinking too hard might make you fat

12:01 PM, September 4, 2008


Sitting around doing nothing doesn't burn many calories. Sitting around working on a computer doesn't either. But we apparently eat as if it does.

Researchers at Universite Laval in Canada gave three 45-minute tasks to 14 women. The first task: to relax in a sitting position. The second task: to read a document and write a summary of it. The third task: to complete a variety of memory and attention tests on the computer.

Then the participants were invited to pig out at a buffet.

The researchers had already established that the mental work required only three more calories than simply sitting. But the women ate 203 more calories after the reading-writing task -- and 253 more calories after the memory and attention task -- than they did after hanging out. One doesn't need to compute the day's number of hours at the computer to know this doesn't bode well for the waistline.

The mental tasks were linked to greater fluctuations in glucose and insulin levels, pointed out the researchers, who also took blood samples of the women during the study. (No free buffet and all that...)

"Caloric overcompensation following intellectual work, combined with the fact that we are less physically active when doing intellectual tasks, could contribute to the obesity epidemic currently observed in industrialized countries," the study's main author, Jean-Philippe Chaput, said in a news release.

It's unlikely he's suggesting we should be lazier. But take from this what you will.

The study was published online recently in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine.

-- Tami Dennis

Photo credit: Fabrice Coffrini / AFT / Getty Images

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Tough CNN Interview, McCain Cancels Larry King Appearance

Today at Yesterday, Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) campaign spokesman Tucker Bounds appeared on CNN for an interview with Campbell Brown. Brown was tough on Bounds, refusing to let him spout typical campaign talking points. She repeatedly pressed him on Palin’s foreign policy experience and qualifications, asking him to name one decision that she made as commander-in-chief of the Alaskan National Guard. Bounds was unable to do so.Today, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer revealed that because of that tough interview, the McCain campaign has canceled the senator’s appearance on Larry King Live tonight: The McCain campaign said it believed that exchange was over the line and as a result the interview scheduled for Larry King Live with Sen. McCain was pulled. CNN does not believe that Campbell’s interview was over the line. We are committed to fair coverage of both sides of this historic election.CNN also replayed the interview between Brown and Bounds. Watch Blitzer’s announcement and the interview.The McCain campaign has repeatedly tried to intimidate the press. It is now angry about media coverage of Bristol Palin’s pregnancy, calling NBC’s reporting on it “irresponsible journalism.” Campaign staffers “even considered pulling out of one of the three presidential debates because it would be moderated by Tom Brokaw, a former NBC News anchorman.” When Newsweek wrote a cover story in May examining the hardball tactics conservatives might use in the general election, the McCain campaign “threatened to throw the magazine’s reporters off the campaign bus and airplane.”

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The Real Issue: Governor Palin and the Survival of the Republic

Robert Mackey at the Huffington Post, via -- This is the nail in the GOP coffin. With Sarah Palin, "the United States is facing a situation where for the first time since 1860, we could end up with an elected official who is in favor of breaking up the Federal Union.'

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Stop the Arrests of Journalists. Sign the Letter.

Police in St. Paul arrested several journalists yesterday, including Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman and an AP photographer as they were covering protests of the Republican National Convention. And earlier this weekend, police raided a meeting of the video journalists' group I-Witness.

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McCain’s McGovern Moment

Garry Wills in today's New York Times:

The lesson from George McGovern’s campaign was that a vice-presidential candidate should be thoroughly vetted — a lesson apparently neglected by Senator John McCain.

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Tuesday, September 02, 2008

I Have Heard it Said

Some quotations. All of them, I think, are from A Word a Day, whose included quotations are usually just as interesting--and sometimes more interesting--than the proffered definition du jour itself.

It was our own moral failure and not any accident of chance, that while preserving the appearance of the Republic we lost its reality. -Marcus Tullius Cicero, statesman, orator, writer (106-43 BCE)

History is a vast early warning system. -Norman Cousins, editor and author (1915-1990)

The liberties of a people never were, nor ever will be, secure when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them. -Patrick Henry, revolutionary (1736-1799)

Do not think of knocking out another person's brains because he differs in opinion from you. It would be as rational to knock yourself on the head because you differ from yourself ten years ago. -Horace Mann, educational reformer (1796-1859)

The perfection of a clock is not to go fast, but to be accurate. -Luc de Clapiers, marquis de Vauvenargues, moralist and essayist (1715-1747)

It is an ironic habit of human beings to run faster when we have lost our way. -Rollo May, psychologist (1909-1994)

People like to imagine that because all our mechanical equipment moves so much faster, that we are thinking faster, too. -Christopher Morley, writer (1890-1957)

Too often I would hear men boast of the miles covered that day, rarely of what they had seen. -Louis L'Amour, novelist (1908-1988)

There are many causes that I am prepared to die for but no causes that I am prepared to kill for. -Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (1869-1948)

Tears are the safety valve of the heart when too much pressure is laid on it. -Albert Richard Smith, author and entertainer (1816-1860)

It is the greatest of all mistakes to do nothing because you can only do a little. -Sydney Smith, writer and clergyman (1771-1845)

Only enemies speak the truth; friends and lovers lie endlessly, caught in the web of duty. -Stephen King, novelist (b. 1947)

Profits, like sausages... are esteemed most by those who know least about what goes into them. -Alvin Toffler, futurist and author (b. 1928)

To read fast is as bad as to eat in a hurry. -Vilhelm Ekelund, poet (1880-1949)

Roads endure longer than pyramids. -Karol Bunsch, novelist (1898-1987)

To delight in war is a merit in the soldier, a dangerous quality in the captain, and a positive crime in the statesman. -George Santayana, philosopher (1863-1952)

You can tell the ideals of a nation by its advertisements. -Norman Douglas, novelist (1868-1952)

The whole art of teaching is only the art of awakening the natural curiosity of young minds for the purpose of satisfying it afterwards. -Anatole France, novelist, essayist, Nobel laureate (1844-1924)

Lots of times you have to pretend to join a parade in which you're not really interested in order to get where you're going. -Christopher Morley, writer (1890-1957)

The only thing one can give an artist is leisure in which to work. To give an artist leisure is actually to take part in his creation. -Ezra Pound, poet (1885-1972)

What's the Subject?

So this is at The Moderate Voice today:

    September 2nd, 2008 by CAGLE CARTOONS _7B05DC977F_1747_43D7_AFA8_04E3FD2B2E07_7D.gif

    Daryl Cagle,

A glance at the comments posted there illustrate to my satisfaction that those who left comments didn't get the cartoon. The comments are largely on two points:

    A. She's a girl who made a mistake.
    B. Everyone should just leave her alone.

Um, the cartoon isn't about her. It's about her mother. Specifically, it's about her mother's blind obedience to the We Know What's Best for You wing of the GOP, that noisy and noisome branch of the party that seems to feel it is its God-given right--nay, duty--to prescribe and proscribe for everybody else, and yet feels no need to be held to its own philosophies. Its members preach what should be done about public education while sending their kids to private schools. Its members are opposed to universal health care for the poor while enjoying broad healthcare coverage for themselves. Its members insist that "abstinence only" is an appropriate program--the only appropriate program--for other people's kids while their own are obviously not practicing it.

It's not about the Palin girl. It's about the Palin girl's mother and the deep hypocrisy that guides her and endears her to the GOP base.

Wisdom from Bill O'Reilly

One thing about Bill O'Reilly and Faux News: They never cease to entertain. Here's this from Daily Kos:

    Bill O'Reilly on teen pregnancies
    by kos

    Tue Sep 02, 2008 at 01:50:28 PM PDT

    He was for blaming the parents before he was against it.

    On the pinhead front, 16-year-old Jamie Lynn Spears is pregnant. The sister of Britney says she is shocked. I bet.

    Now most teens are pinheads in some ways. But here the blame falls primarily on the parents of the girl, who obviously have little control over her or even over Britney Spears. Look at the way she behaves.

    Last night, O'Reilly was beside himself that anyone would publicly discuss Bristol Palin's pregnancy.

    Then again, hypocrite extraordinaire O'Reilly never met a glass house he didn't shatter.

Indeed. One of the great joys of the McCain camp's bizarre selection of Sarah Palin as their VP candidate is watching right-wingnuts trip over themselves to explain away all of the hypocrisy that the selection brings with it. O'Reilly's backpedaling above, for instance. Or various local and national GOP politicians trying to explain that now "experience" doesn't really matter at all...never mind what they've been saying about Barack Obama all these months.

Amazingly, they seem capable of doing all of this with a straight face, which makes me think they've been at it so long that they really don't know what lies, dissembling, hypocrisy, and smears are anymore!

Look Long & Hard At This Photograph, America.

I'm still not wild about the way things post here via But most of the time I'm on the run and need something quick and slick to get the job done, get something fixed that I may or may not return to later for further pithy comment.

But it's a little frustrating when the post in question hinges on a photo, and the photo doesn't post.

Well, anyway...

A post from earlier today: Shaun Mullen in The Moderate Voice, via

    Look long and hard at this photograph, America. I mean really long and hard. Because when all is said and done, this is what selecting a vice presidential running mate is all about.

    Look long and hard at this photograph, America. I mean really long and hard. Now, squint a little and picture Joe Biden raising his right hand to take the oath of office as a stunned Michelle Obama stands at his left side and Jill Biden at his right. A disturbing thought, but at the same time comforting. Because Biden would be ready to lead.

    Look long and hard at this photograph, America. I mean really long and hard. Now, squint a little and picture Sarah Palin raising her right hand to take the oath of office as a stunned Cindy McCain stands at her left side and Todd Palin at her right. Not just a disturbing thought, but a nightmarish one because the Republican nominee-to-be rang up an obscure wingnut with a walk-in closet full of skeletons in a fit of pique.

    Long long and hard at this photograph, America. I mean really long and hard. Because this is what selecting a vice presidential running mate is all about. This is not what John McCain is all about. What John McCain is all about is being a worn-out pol who is addled at best, pickled at worst and nothing if impetuous beyond his many years. Unfit to select, let alone lead.

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Monday, September 01, 2008

Experience? Never Mind

Michael Kinsey in the Washington Post, via

It seems like only yesterday that the Republican Party was complaining about Barack Obama's lack of foreign policy "experience." (As a matter of fact, when I started writing this, it actually was yesterday.) Even now, the Republican National Committee's main anti-Obama Web site has the witty address The contrast in experience, especially foreign policy experience, between John McCain and Obama was supposed to be the central focus of McCain's campaign.

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What McCain's Advisors Tried to Accomplish

Robert Creamer at, via course the final question the Palin appointment raises is McCain's own judgment and administrative ability. McCain had only talked to his new running made twice before he asked her to join the ticket. What was he thinking?

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