Bigger Is Better? Kids and Food

Dr. Mercola fears the McDonald’s is using a school program to supersize our kids.

Source: Dr. Mercola: The Golden Arches Strike Again….

…Fast-food chains like McDonald’s are gobbling up the real estate near public schools in urban areas.

McDonald’s is launching a national physical education program for elementary school kids, which many experts believe is no more than a clever advertising scheme tailor-made for the Golden Arches’ target audience.

Some 31,000 elementary schools in the United States, encompassing 7 million students, have agreed to use McDonald’s "Passport to Play" program this year, a great way for the fast-food giant to expose their toxic high-fat foods to a captive and impressionable audience.

No doubt in my mind the Harvard researcher who oversaw the recent fast-food real estate study had it right when she called the Passport program a Trojan horse that allows McDonald’s to maintain their brand-name awareness in our public schools.

If parents don’t take control over their kids’ eating habits in short order, they could grow up suffering from health problems typically found in middle-aged adults.

USA Today September 13, 2005

H. L. Mencken Quotations

Source: Quotations Weblog.

Henry Louis Mencken was born in Baltimore, Maryland on September 12, 1880, 125 years ago today. Mencken was a journalist, writer, social critic, and cynic, and one of my favorite people to quote. Wikipedia has a good biography of Mencken if you’d like to learn more.

The Closer: Good TV

I’m glad to see The Closer get good ratings. I recorded every episode on our DVR and watched them at convenient times. The show is a lot like CSI without the blood and guts. The plots have been outstanding — I hope they can maintain the quality.

Link: Welcome to AJC! |

Success of ‘Closer’ big boost for TNT
Scott Leith – Staff
Saturday, September 10, 2005
The Southern accent that actress Kyra Sedgwick poured on like gravy during her TV cop drama "The Closer" sounded awfully good to the folks at TNT.

When the Sedgwick-led summer series drawled to a close Monday night, TNT celebrated the end of its first legitimate hit with an original series. It was a victory for rerun-heavy, Atlanta-based TNT, which dropped out of the tricky original series game in 2002 to take time to burnish the network’s once-murky identity and to develop a formula for creating its own shows.

Among the tricks that drew an average of 5.45 million viewers during the June 13 to Sept. 5 run of "The Closer" was the deliberate tailoring of the show to appeal to the loyal audience that watches "Law & Order" repeats on TNT.

formulating its ideas for what became "The Closer," TNT pursued the idea of creating a series to emulate "Law & Order." In the TV trade, that program is known as a "procedural drama," because it follows how cops and lawyers do their jobs.

In 2004, TNT went shopping for the right kind of show. "The Closer" was born out of a meeting in Burbank, Calif., with Greer Shephard, Michael Robin and James Duff, executive producers of the series.

Duff, who also wrote the series, said TNT’s approach was unique because the network wanted a specific kind of drama, making it easier to plan and write. Duff and his colleagues mulled ideas as they walked out of their meeting with TNT and quickly settled on their notions for "The Closer."

"By the time we got to our cars, we had figured out what to do," Duff said.

TNT ordered a pilot, along with pilots for three other potential series. On Dec. 10, 2004, a group of 25 people, including top Turner Broadcasting System insiders, watched "The Closer" inside a big room within the company’s campus in Midtown Atlanta. The initial episode was a hit with the Turner brass, and so was one for "Wanted." With that, the two series went into production, joining the already approved "Into the West."

Koonin said the network spent $100 million on production costs alone for the programs, mostly for the lavish "Into the West."

From the start, Duff felt good about the prospects for "The Closer." Signing Sedgwick, a respected but not widely known actress, was a promising sign. She has appeared in a number of small but well-received films, including "The Woodsman," which starred her husband, Kevin Bacon.

In a nod to TNT’s hometown, Duff made Sedgwick’s character a native of Atlanta. He defined her with a Southern drawl, coupled with smarts and toughness, partly to take a jab at regional stereotypes.

"I wanted the person with the Southern accent to be the smartest person in the room," said Duff, a native Texan whose mother was raised in Mississippi.

"The Closer," which will return for another season next year, could change the perception of TNT to some extent. Koonin said a hit original series makes viewers think of a network as a destination, not just something to sample on occasion.

Helping Children Avoid Pesticides in Food

Source: Dr. Mercola.

Going Organic Means Avoiding Deadly Pesticides

Not at all surprised to read that the level of common pesticides in a child’s body decreased significantly and immediately when conventional, processed foods were substituted with organics for only five days.

To study the amount of pesticides kids consume, scientists monitored urine samples from 23 Seattle children for 15 days. Over the first three days and the last seven, the young patients ate a conventional diet. The five days in between, however, organic foods replaced most of the conventional foods they ate.

The level of malathion and chlorpyrifos — the most commonly used organophosphate pesticides by farmers in this country — dropped to nondetectable levels after the young patients started eating organic foods, and stayed that way until they began eating conventional foods again.

Just more proof — if you needed any more of it — that replacing conventional processed foods, vegetables and fruits with organic diet does wonders for your health. By the way, if you still feel organic food are beyond your budget, you’ll want to read Colleen Huber’s awesome piece about how to do so, and for the same price — or less — as processed foods.

If you want to learn more about how to avoid environmental toxins, I urge you to read my popular piece about to avoid the 10 most common ones.

Environmental Health Perspectives September 1, 2005 Free Full Text Article

Los Angeles Times September 3, 2005

Freedom of Religion and Terrorism in Singapore

Atanu describes how Singapore controls religious bigotry and intolerance. Cable TV must be very different with no preaching!

Source: Atanu Dey on India’s Development ? A Man of Practical Genius.

Freedom of religion is guaranteed in Singapore but freedom to proselytize is not. Proselytizing essentially says that my religion is better than your religion and that if you don’t accept my god as the One True Savior(TM), you will rot in hell that my god has specially prepared for you. This sows seeds of discord in society and soon the newly converted start asking for special treatment and handouts and in the limiting case, when the bunch grows sufficiently large, ask for a separate state of their own because they cannot bear to live with the other people who are destined to go to hell.

So Singapore is strict about proselytizing. In keeping with their policy of discouraging that anti-social behavior, they caught a meek little Catholic lady who was going door to door peddling her religion and threw her into jail after she was found guilty by the courts. Then they publicized the event. This sent the message to all religious bigots who follow the dictates of their own hearts that bigotry is not ok.

They took care of the mullahs as well. Got them together and told them that if they even make a peep in their weekly religious sermons promoting killing and terrorism, they will have their butts in the sling. Live and let live was the message they got and as rational humans, the mullahs got in line. The last time they had communal unrest was sometime in the late 1960s.