Former President George W. Bush released the following statement:
‘Laura and I are sad to announce that our Scottish Terrier, Barney, has passed away. The little fellow had been suffering from lymphoma and after twelve and a half years of life, his body could not fight off the illness.
Barney and I enjoyed the outdoors. He loved to accompany me when I fished for bass at the ranch. He was a fierce armadillo hunter. At Camp David, his favorite activity was chasing golf balls on the chipping green.
Barney guarded the South Lawn entrance of the White House as if he were a Secret Service agent. He wandered the halls of the West Wing looking for treats from his many friends. He starred in Barney Cam and gave the American people Christmas tours of the White House. Barney greeted Queens, Heads of State, and Prime Ministers. He was always polite and never jumped in their laps.
The public health advocacy group and consulting firm known as Eat Drink Politics has released a report damning the increasing influence of corporate money from the food industry on the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND), the nation’s largest association of nutrition professionals. The reports findings include:
• Beginning in 2001, AND listed 10 food industry sponsors; the 2011 annual report lists 38, a more than three-fold increase.
• The most loyal AND sponsor is the National Cattleman’s Beef Association, for
12 years running (2001-2012).
• Processed food giants ConAgra and General Mills have been AND sponsors for
10 of the last 12 years.
• Kellogg and the National Dairy Council have been AND sponsors for 9 of the last 12 years.
• Companies on AND’s list of approved continuing education providers include
Coca-Cola, Kraft Foods, Nestlé, and PepsiCo.
• Among the messages taught in Coca-Cola sponsored continuing education courses are: sugar is not harmful to children; aspartame is completely safe, including for children over one year; and the Institute of Medicine is too
restrictive in its school nutrition standards.
• The AND Foundation sells ‘nutrition symposia’ sponsorships for $50,000 at the annual meeting. In 2012, Nestlé presented a session on ‘Optimal Hydration.’
• The Corn Refiners Association (lobbyists for high fructose corn syrup) sponsored three ‘expo impact’ sessions at the AND 2012 annual meeting.
• Roughly 23 percent of annual meeting speakers had industry ties, although most of these conflicts were not disclosed in the program session description.
• In an independent survey, 80 percent of registered dietitians said sponsorship
implies Academy endorsement of that company and its products.
• A majority of RDs surveyed found three current AND sponsors ‘unacceptable.’
(Coca-Cola, Mars, and PepsiCo.)
• AND’s sponsors and their activities appear to violate AND’s own sponsorship guidelines.
• For the AND Foundation, corporate contributions were the single largest source of revenue in 2011: $1.3 million out of a total of $3.4 million or 38 percent.
• In 2011, the AND Foundation reported more than $17 million in net assets, more than six times its expenses for that year.
If you can’t see the problem with the food industry providing nearly a quarter of the speakers at the largest annual meeting of nutritionists in this country, perhaps you would also like to see the tobacco industry have a seat at the table of the American Lung Association!
In case you haven’t noticed, obesity is rapidly becoming a major health crisis in the United States. If we can’t rely on health professionals to put the interests of the public well ahead of those of multinational corporations, we are not very far away from a day when 20% (or more) of all Americans are diabetic. The costs associated with this will make the historical impact of smoking on the health system seem like a minor outbreak of pink eye.
Please read the complete report in pdf form here.
The well known demographic trends that allowed a Barack Obama to be elected still exist and aren’t going away. Which is bad news long term for groups like the NRA. There’s a huge gap between older white men and everybody else on guns.
“Support for gun control is rising modestly since last month’s shootings, but still largely divides the country close to 50-50,” CNN Senior Political Analyst and National Journal Group’s Editorial Director Ron Brownstein said.
And that split follows the same track demographically as the split in last November’s presidential election.
“There is strong support for action on guns inside the modern Democratic coalition of minorities, millenials and college educated white women and strong opposition among blue-collar and rural white voters,” Brownstein added.
The National Journal poll indicates that those ages 18-29 are most supportive of stricter gun control, and that minorities overwhelmingly favor prioritizing gun control over gun owners rights, with 52% of white respondents saying protecting gun ownership is most important.
The Pew survey indicates that men are divided on this question, while a solid majority of women say it’s more important to control gun ownership. There’s also a sizable gender gap over a ban on semi-automatic weapons, with two-thirds of women supporting such a move and men divided.
It’s not the short term polling changes, which regularly occur post-mass shootings like Newtown, that ultimately make the difference. It’s the fact that the country’s overall makeup is changing. Simple fact is that minorities, women, urbanites and the young are strongly in favor of gun control. A counterargument might be that the young, when they “grow up”, will become more pro-gun. But data suggests that would only apply to white males as they age, not to women or minorities. Since whites are a shrinking majority, and since nonwhites’ and women’s influence over policy continues to grow, the NRA’s near monopoly influencing gun control is likely to erode in the future.
Furthermore, the urban/rural divide is strong, but not helpful to the NRA in the long run either, as the rural population slowly declines relative to the cities.
One more thing: much of the extreme pro-gun rhetoric originates in a hyper-literal interpretation of the 2nd Amendment, namely that civilians need powerful weapons to prevent govt. tyranny. But this philosophy is and has been an overwhelmingly white male phenomenon; few others seem to be fantasizing about an armed uprising of civilian militias. It simply doesn’t resonate with nonwhites (or even white women) the same way it does with white men. I’d guess that’s partly due to a different conception of the Constitution among minorities and women. They believe in its ideals as much as white guys, but are less likely to elevate the founders to infallible demigod status, whose every word must be seen as holy. After all, women, blacks, Hispanics, Asians, etc. realize that at the time of the founding, they were either second class citizens or property. Thus trying to ascertain with certainty the precise original intent of each of the founders—during the late 1700’s—doesn’t resonate in the same way. It’s just not as emotionally or intellectually appealing to most groups as it may be to Bryan Fischer, Wayne LaPierre, the NRA, much of the Tea Party, et al.
From comments on multiple threads, I see a bunch of interest in 40K. Though Warhammer ain’t my bag, yo, it illustrates there’s a gamer contingent here. (Heck, I also recall a discussion of Avalon Hill stuff.)
Thus, a question for the Lizardim, for I am but an egg:
What’s the tolerance and/or cultural norms on LGF for promoting/pimping the free or for-sale products of our friends (or ourselves) here?
As many of you likely know (probably from my username, but especially since I finally added my website to my profile), I do freelance work in the tabletop game industry. There is a lot of cool stuff happening there.
I also publish some games myself.
It’s been good.
But I also want to post links to (Wil Wheaton’s Tabletop game, especially the Fiasco sequence, which — in full declaration — was built by my friend Jason).
Are these sort of things in-bound or out-of-bound, fellow Lizardim?
As I say, I am but an egg (actually, I’m slightly more than a hatchling, and much less than a full Lizard. Tadpole?). I rely on y’all (yunz, in my native dialect) to tell me what’s what.
Additionally, since I saw downstairs that Charles was looking for suggestions, I’d suggest a Gaming tag.
Thank you all, and I look forward to what you say.
The fact that Batman’s an ordinary human being — or, you know, a billionaire ninja with a photographic memory, a butler and a robot dinosaur in his basement — means that most of your more fearsome animals can actually present a viable threat to him. In the DC Universe, that actually makes him pretty unique, especially when you consider that Superman once wore an entire lion as a hat when he was having a bad hair day:
Chris Sims may be the only person on Earth who loves Batman more than I do.
Inf fact, after I catch up with the news, I’mma watch The Dark Knight Rises DVD that came today.
Former Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) will not run for Senate in the special election to succeed John Kerry, dramatically increasing the odds that Democrats will hold the seat and setting the stage for Brown to run for governor next year.
It’s a serious, early recruiting failure for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, and it makes the already uphill climb to a majority that much steeper for the GOP. They need six seats, and many party strategists privately counted on Massachusetts as one of them.
“With Brown out, the Republican odds just went from excellent to poor in terms of winning the special,” said Rob Gray, a Massachusetts Republican political consultant.
Brown clearly agonized over his decision to stay out of a winnable race.
An arrest affidavit obtained by the Associated Press in September said Myers apparently pointed a gun at the victim’s head to scare him and stop the hiccups.
Myers said he thought the gun had dummy rounds when it was discharged.
The case was tried in military court on the Central Texas Army post because the both victim and suspect were soldiers. Myers has been in the Bell County Jail on a $1 million bond.
A NASA flight director has revealed that personnel on the ground knew in 2003 that the Space Shuttle Columbia would not likely survive re-entry, but chose not to inform the vessel’s crew. According to an ABC News report from Thursday, when faced with the choice of letting the astronauts die trying to come home or leaving them to orbit until their air ran out, high-ranking NASA officials chose to let the Columbia crew die in ignorance of what was to befall them.
Wayne Hale, who became a Space Shuttle program manager in the years after the Columbia disaster, wrote on his blog Thursday about the meeting among ground personnel at Johnson Space Center as they grappled with the decision. Video of Columbia’s takeoff showed a briefcase-sized chunk of foam breaking off an engine and colliding with the shuttle’s wing, gouging a hole in the shield designed to protect the craft from the furious heat generated as it crossed from the vacuum of space into the atmosphere.
When it became clear that the orbiter was seriously damaged and likely wouldn’t survive re-entry, Flight Director Jon Harpold said to Hale and others at the meeting, ‘You know, there is nothing we can do about damage to the TPS (Thermal Protection System). If it has been damaged it’s probably better not to know. I think the crew would rather not know. Don’t you think it would be better for them to have a happy successful flight and die unexpectedly during entry than to stay on orbit, knowing that there was nothing to be done, until the air ran out?’
New polling shows that 80 percent of likely voters are pro-choice, in the sense that they are pro-letting-women-decide-if-they-want-to-have-an-abortion. But they don’t necessarily want to be labeled “pro-choice.”
And half of the people who call themselves “pro-life,” the term traditionally used by folks seeking to ban abortion, are actually pro-choice, if you start digging into what they really think.
The poll, from Planned Parenthood, raises the question, what to do if you’re anti-abortion and you want to get elected?
Anti-choice activists in Colorado have designed ways for anti-choice candidates to run for office and mobilize support from anti-abortion voters, without disclosing to the wider public what they really think about abortion.
Here’s how they’re doing this.
Colorado Right to Life runs a blog stating whether federal and state candidates are “100 percent pro-life.” Last year’s determination was based on a nine-question candidate survey, which asked for yes-no responses to queries on personhood (which defines life as beginning at conception), state funding for abortion, and abortion regulations.
The survey isn’t made public by Colorado Right to Life, but this year, Weld Country freshman State Rep. Stephen Humphrey, a Republican who’s sponsoring a bill banning most abortion in Colorado, including abortions for rape and incest, published the survey on his website.
In a cover letter to Humphrey accompanying the 2012 candidate survey, Colorado Right to Life wrote:
We realize there are a few districts, even Democrat primaries, where a ‘pro-life’ label might keep a good candidate from being elected. If you feel this is one of those rare cases, please answer our survey but clearly indicate that you would prefer back-channel conversations only. We would then want to talk with you over the phone or in person, and we can work out together how you could best be helped.
If you are concerned you don’t know how to properly ‘message’ your pro-life views to voters, we have a veteran political communicator who will volunteer to help candidates in this area-just let us know.
Does the “back-channel” caveat mean Colorado Right to Life would lie on its blog about a candidate’s position on abortion, calling them, for example, supporters of Roe v. Wade when they are not?
Travel photographer and HDR guru Trey Ratcliff is selling this clever T-shirt over in his Stuck In Customs online store. It’s titled “Camera Sutra,” and shows various shooting positions photographers assume in order to capture the perfect shot.
Here’s the product description found on the page:
We don’t take ourselves too seriously around here… occasionally we seem to find ourselves in embarrassing positions with our tripods, so we thought it best to consult the hallowed ancient tome of the Camera Sutra and make a t-shirt out of it. The shirt is 100% cotton Unisex from American Apparel.
The shirts sell for $20 each. Over on over to Ratcliff’s store if you’d like to pick one up for yourself.
Camera Sutra T-Shirt [Stuck in Customs via DIYP]