Just Desserts

From Fred Hiatt at The Washington Post:

Is Elmo a Kenyan, too? Or maybe a Socialist? He is awfully red, after all.

I ask because the Sesame Street puppet recently visited the White House to support “Let’s Move,” first lady Michelle Obama’s campaign against childhood obesity. And that campaign has become, in one of the more striking political stories of the past year, the latest battleground in the left-right culture wars.


The obesity epidemic is a genuine public health emergency, with vast implications for the nation’s well-being, economy and even national security. And yet, could anyone really be against children eating healthier food and getting more exercise? Could anyone really object to White House assistant chef Sam Kass trying to interest Elmo in a vegetable-laden burrito?

Well, yes, if Michelle Obama is for it, someone will be against it. Someone like Glenn Beck, for example, who was moved to rail against carrot sticks, or Sarah Palin, who warned that Obama wants to deprive us all of dessert.

Original DVD cover

And when you look a little deeper, it’s not surprising that a crusade seemingly beyond questioning would become a political battle. Interests that might feel threatened by Let’s Move include the fast-food industry, agribusiness, soft-drink manufacturers, real estate developers (because suburban sprawl is implicated), broadcasters and their advertisers (of sugary cereals and the like), and the oil-and-gas and automotive sectors (because people ought to walk more and drive less).

Throw in connections to the health-care debate (because preventive services will be key to controlling the epidemic), race (because of differential patterns of obesity) and red state-blue state hostilities (the reddest states tend to be the fattest), and it turns out there are few landmines that Michelle Obama didn’t trip by asking us all to shed a few pounds.

[…] Obama has not endorsed nanny-state or controversial remedies such as ending sugar subsidies, imposing soda-pop taxes or zoning McDonald’s out of certain neighborhoods. Instead, she is pushing for positive, voluntary change[…]

All of this makes total sense, and historians will marvel (much as they will at climate-change deniers) that anyone could doubt it.


But the statistics are scary. The implications for [obese] children are heartbreaking, literally (obesity is associated with higher incidence of heart disease as well as diabetes) and figuratively. For the nation, it could be bankrupting. Obesity and its attendant ills already may add as much as $147 billion to health-care costs each year, one-tenth of the nation’s medical bill, a figure that is certain to rise.Β  And the Army reports that one in four young people is too fat to serve.

That’s why obesity is not a Democratic or Republican issue. Obama has merely extended and amplified a campaign that began under President George W. Bush; Bush’s last acting surgeon general, Steven K. Galson, made obesity a signature issue, calling it “a national health crisis . . . [that] is driving up healthcare costs and crippling the fabric of our communities.”


“It’s not going to be easy,” Michelle Obama says. She’s right – but also right to keep pushing.


Filed under Army, Chimpy, Democrats, George W. Bush, Glenn Beck, humor, Media, movies, parody, politics, Republicans, Sarah Palin, snark, Surgeon General, Wordpress Political Blogs

31 responses to “Just Desserts

  1. jean-philippe

    Whoever making politics over chidren’s health should be instantly crushed by God’s thumb.

  2. This is the sort of nonsense that will lose the independents. I just hope there is no off valve for the stream of stupidity. Americans LOVE bipartisanship generally. Hell, I like it, when it’s not signing off on crap like torture and signing away civil liberties. This is one place where they could harmlessly be mainstream, but they gnaw on their own bones (covered with whip cream and cherries).

    • it works and it doesn’t work. idiots like blechhh and princess sarah look like the imbeciles they are, and that makes the rethugs look bad. however, they are so incredibly stupid and out of the mainstream, it gives an opportunity to other rethugs to appear more rational and sane by pooh-poohing what the imbeciles say. that’s what’s been going on with mike chuckleberry. he’s been dismissing what princess says while not really kicking her in the stomach, so as not to piss off her fan club.

    • “I just hope there is no off valve for the stream of stupidity.”

      Trust me, there isn’t.

  3. it has gotten to the point where if Michele or Barack came out with a guaranteed cure for cancer that was free Palin would be yapping away about our freedom to get sick.

    the worst part is not her (or Beck’s) stupidity – but the absolutely idiocy and pathos of their followers. the real disease in this country is the infectious hate and evil spread by vermin like Palin

    • look at the teabaggers. you wouldn’t confuse those crowds with a jenny craig graduation. (i was going to make a punny joke about thinning out the herd, but it’s the holidays, so i won’t be mean. πŸ˜› )

  4. Who are all the people in the background? I know they’re all Republicans and that most of them don’t have to worry about their waistlines, so no Rush Limbaugh, but I can’t tell who’s who. I suppose I could pick out Michele Bachmann and maybe Sarah Palin and Christine O’Donnell, but that’s about it.

    • bzzzzzzzzzzzz! sorry, neon vincent, but that’s incorrect! those people were the cast of bravo’s top chef: just desserts. i was wondering when someone was going to either recognize them or ask who they were.

      • That’s embarrassing. I used to be a moderator of a reality TV fan forum. In my defense, I can say that I’m not a fan of any of the reality shows on Bravo other than Project Runway. One of my ex-roommates tried out for that one and her tryout was shown on the first episode of the second season.

        Now, if that had been the cast of The Next Iron Chef or The Next Food Network Star, I’d have been really embarrassed without excuse!

        • no reason to be embarrassed. i didn’t think anyone would correctly identify them. for the record, project runway is on lifetime now, not bravo, and ever since it moved, it’s been pretty crappy. i think top chef is the only show i watch on bravo now. i can’t stand any of those housewife shows.

          • That tells you how long it’s been since I’ve watched Project Runway. Honestly, the last good thing I watched on Lifetime was the world Precision Skating Championships back in 2003. Yes, it’s been that long and the programs are that bad.

  5. About 15 years ago, I saw an interview with Paul Crouch, the founder of the Trinity Broadcast System who was asked what he perceived as the biggest faults and shortcomings of his conservative, very Pentacostal group of followers and he answered without hesitation: mean spiritedness and GLUTTONY! Now the Princess, who is super AG, could take a lesson from old Paul, although he would hesitate to exorcise her smores. This great country of ours starts every morning with hours of stupid: Fox and friends, where the three on airs have the collective intelligence of a sub-moron. “Red and green are illegal colors now” is a perfect example. How about stories about our 21st century butterball kids whose only interest in life is texting and splattering people on Halo 3.

    • all the news stations, and especially faux, never seem to mention the horrible things corporations are putting in food and toys and clothing unless they’re forced into it by an outbreak of salmonella, kids getting poisoned by a piece of crap made in china, or some little kids burn when their jammies catch on fire. that’s also why you won’t hear about how crappy corporate and government programs might be for employees. you don’t find out until you have to use one, and then you find out you’re screwed without a kiss.

  6. Snoring Dog Studio

    I can try and try to make sense out of the comments and arguments spewing forth from SAP and BLECH, but I might as well try to have a rational conversation with my sofa. Folks like them are hysterically pissy over the deficit and yet, try to yank the Twinkie away from them and they get all frothy. A large part of our deficit is there because of rising healthcare costs — and obesity is contributing greatly to it. And Sarah has come out against nutrition, or, to most of her dimwit followers that will seem to be the message. And then they’ll reach for another donut.

    • hello snoring dog studio,

      welcome to the raisin! πŸ˜€

      your remark about having a conversation with your sofa reminded me of barney frank telling that teabagger idiot that talking to her was like talking to a dining room table. πŸ˜†

      princess sarah should have thought of yanking a twinkie or 2 away from her daughter brisket. she’s the only contestant ever to gain weight on dancing with the stars. i’d love to see how huge she might get on the biggest loser.

      not only does bad nutrition lead to huge health care costs, but it also contributes to bad behavior in schools. when kids are not properly nourished, they don’t pay attention, and they don’t retain information. that’s one reason why teachers spend so much time on discipline instead of teaching. and we wonder why american kids can’t compete in a global market?

      hope you’ll stop by again soon, sds. i spent some time at your blog this afternoon, and your doggies are adorable! πŸ™‚

      • Snoring Dog Studio

        Mama S is such a supporter of sweets, she should have made Bristol hold a Twinkie tightly between her knees.

        I’ll be back often! I love this blog.

        • i think that was the problem in the first place–she had levi’s twinkie between her legs, and the filling squirted out. 😯

          glad to hear that you’ll be back. the raisinettes are so much fun to hang around with, and i know they’d love to have you among their ranks. πŸ˜€

  7. I have never understood why the Right was against healthy eating. Being against imposing it, fine. I get that.

    But being against it in general? That’s beyond stupid.

    Then again, we’re talking about Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin. “Beyond stupid” is pretty much their slogan.

    I recently heard the Commandant of West Point discussing his concerns that the future of the US military faces a shortage of qualified recruits, because we’ll be too fat as a country to serve.

    He seemed to think that that was a bigger threat than letting homosexuals serve, not to put too fine a point on it …

    • it all comes down to dollars and sense. mcdonald’s and the high fructose corn syrup industry don’t want people eating healthy. maybe we should tell those receiving farm subsidies that they should start growing healthy food for all those bucks they’re getting and give it to schools where there are a lot of poor kids who are not getting the nutrition they need at home. what am i thinking? that makes too much sense.

      • No, Limbaugh said that poor kids should look in dumpsters if their parents were too stupid to get them food. Feeding them healthy food? That’s just plain silly. Where do you get these ideas?

        I would like to see our farm subsidy program replaced with one that promotes the growth of worthwhile crops (meaning: pretty much anything that isn’t tobacco) and buying up food to keep prices sustainable, rather than paying farmers not to plant.

        There’s more than enough use for food in the world, after all.

        • rushbo looks like he eats his food by the dumpster-load, so he probably doesn’t see anything wrong in that comment.

          funny how we never hear a word about cutting off the farm subsidies when the rethugs go on and on about cutting spending. better to give money to people who don’t need it than to feed little kids and old people.

  8. The Republicans’ weird dedication to the fat-food industry (spelling intentional) reminds me of the way libertarians denounce any restriction on smoking and deny the dangers of second-hand smoke. We’re dealing with defensive addicts here.

    I certainly didn’t think all those small figures in the background represented the usual teabaggers. Much too slim and healthy-looking.

  9. Beck & Palin can shove those Twinkies where the sun don’t shine!
    Palin & Beck offering up a myopic fabricated ruckus about “freedoms”.
    Is that going to be Palin’s 2012 presidential campaign platform?
    Cookies for the kids!

    • if they shove the twinkies where the sun don’t shine, they’ll cite that as proof that there’s no such thing as global warming.

      cookies for the kids would be more cogent than any other platform princess could come up with. she’s such a moran.

      • I get the tea party misspelled signage slam re “moran”.

        Make that cookies for kids & pitbulls with lipstick???

        As opposed to her current platform, which is “I have no clue, whatsoever”.

        • her current platform (and future platform, i suspect) is make money. that’s all she’s really interested in. she doesn’t give a shit about anything or anyone else.