Tarheeltalker

Don’t Tell Me What to Eat!!!!

They are at it again, by they I mean the food police. In this they are represented by Michelle Obama who is continuing her crusade to dictate what people should eat or not eat. I have no problem with people being encouraged to eat healthy or make healthy choices when they purchase food. But her ongoing efforts seem to have proceeded far beyond encouraging and are perilously close to being dictates.

The First Lady spoke  to the National Restaurant Association today and  “encouraged” them to make healthy eating easier. How to do this? Well, cut down on the butter and cream when they cook, make vegetables the default side dish on children’ s meals ( no nasty fries for the little ones, although it is one of her guilty pleasures) and just make easier for parents to make the  right choices for their children. And don’t bury those healthy choice items on the menu so no one can find them. Most of her speech seemed  to be aimed at childhood obesity. Guess the theory is to stop obesity early and adult obesity will be well on the way to being conquered.

This next is  a quote. “We have to do more, we have to go farther, and we need your help to lead this effort.” Now a bit of analysis. We know that the they in that statement was her audience of restaurant execs. What has me  puzzled is the identity of the  “we” in her statement. Could it be the Democrats, the food police, those who know what’s best for you even when you do not? I just cannot decide. Go farther how, actually tell you what you can eat, only at  a restaurant of course? They can’t do that, they won’t do that. Don’t bet on it.

Better yet, couldn’t she first focus on getting her husband to stop  smoking? It is far more dangerous is it not? Wonder who she considers more dangerous, McDonald’s or Wendy’s? You know that fast food establishments are one of the most  evil entities in our country. I have read the statement from a couple of sources ( and I fervently hope that both sources were  not serious) that  McDonald’s has killed more people than terrorists.

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September 13, 2010 Posted by | Culture, Health, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Get Your ” Free ” Colonoscopy

About 2 years ago, I had a  colonoscopy done  at the urging of my physician. It was done at the hospital on an outpatient basis. To ensure that things went as they should, there was  an anesthesiologist, a gastroenterologist, a radiologist and a nurse or two. All of those folks did their job well, for which I was very thankful. Funny thing about those medical professionals , they expect to get paid for doing their jobs, as well they should.

But, now as the specifics of Obamacare begin to surface there may be a complicating factor in their getting paid. I will repeat for emphasis and will probably repeat it multiple times, Speaker Pelosi said that the bill had to be passed to know what was in it. Funny, that’s about what Sen Chris Dodd, D, CT just said about the much ballyhooed financial  reform bill. He added that we really won’t know if it works until there’s  another financial crisis. Comforting words, those. That statement doesn;t square up very well with what I heard the President say at the signing ceremony today. No more, he said, bailing out the big financial firms , no more crises. Really?

Anyway, back to our ” free”medical test. I believe it was Mrs Obama, could have been the President though who was talking about free medical tests. Come 2014, when many of the bill’s provisions kick in, no longer will people have to forego many of the preventative medical tests that they need. Why, because they will be free. That’s what she said. One of the tests mentioned was the above referenced colonoscopy. I started thinking about that the other day. One of the random thoughts that crossed my mind was that it may be  free but somebody’s going to pay for it.(As we all know there is no free lunch.) The medical people  involved do not work for free remember. So who is going to pay for  the test?  The government you may say. But how will they do that ? Take a wild guess and say taxes and more taxes.

It sounds quite appealing to promote these tests as being free, but eventually, the piper is paid.

July 21, 2010 Posted by | Health | , , , , , | 6 Comments

What is your BMI?

…and should you care? Perhaps you have no answer to either of those questions and until today neither did I. I still cannot answer the title question but I have a tentative answer for the second. But, between now and the year 2014 we shall in all likelihood become very familiar with said acronym.

A bit of an explanation.BMI stands for Body Mass Index which one can actually calculate for themselves  at the website for the  National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (nhlbisupport.com/bmi) which is an affiliate of the National Institutes  of Health. When one provides the appropriate figures the site calculates one’s body mass index on a numerical scale. The numbers are categorized on four levels which are underweight, normal, overweight and obese.

As  another feature of the economic stimulus plan sees the light of  day, we are learning that one’s BMI is going to become a very important number indeed. By the way, both of the above mentioned agencies belong to the Department of Health and Human Services. That brings us to an announcement made a few days  ago by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

The secretary announced new regs this week  stipulating that the electronic health records that we are supposed to have by 2014 ( thanks to Obama’s  2009 economic stimulus bill)  must  record the BMI as well as height and weight,etc. The law also requires that these electronic records be  available on a  national exchange, with the proper security measures of course. Health care providers must, by 2014, establish meaningful  use of these electronic health records or face cuts in their  Medicare/Medicaid payments.

Ok, no what might be the reason mandating that BMI be maintained ? How exactly is it used? Well, the CDC uses the figure as its primary method for measuring obesity.

Ok, what is the first lady’s big mission, childhood obesity. Various and sundry legislators continue to float proposals to heavily tax soft drinks and the fast food industry is  a prime target of  Science in the Public Interest. Perhaps none of this means anything but I believe that it does. Added together it is rather strong effort at dictating what you can eat or perhaps even what you can weigh ( admittedly taken to te extreme) and if you do not comply, perhaps there could be a health insurance surcharge as  a penalty. Shucks, maybe one of the unknown provisions in Obamacare, as Speaker Pelosi termed it, already does this.

Don’t you just love the concept of greater government control?

July 16, 2010 Posted by | Health | , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Step away from the sandwich and no one will get hurt

One of my favorite topics on which to comment are the antics of those who claim to know what’s better for you than you do yourself. This  is quite prevalent in the area  of food choices. I wrote most recently  about this on May 2oth regarding efforts by the city manger of San Antonio, Tx to have all sugary foods and beverages removed from city vending machines.

Thanks to World Magazine , I have read of an instance that may just leap to the top of my list. By the way, many of these types of things seem to occur in Europe, where  nanny state   is much more advanced than here in the United States, at least for now. Seems that  there  is  a government-run day care near the city of Manchester and they have certain standards that purport to say what foods are healthy for their charges.

It appears that a cheese sandwich, one of my favorite foods, especially if cheddar is employed, does not meet those standards. Why? What a silly question that is. Because at the Westfield  Children’s Centre, one must have lettuce or tomato on one’s sandwich for it to qualify as healthy. So, the 2-year-old in our story was given  fruit and vegetables as a substitute. Parents were given a  lecture about appropriate food choices. Now, little Jack’s mom has thankfully  removed him from the  daycare lest his ” food rights” be violated again or she commit  yet another gastronomical faux pas.

Stories like this really do offend  me  and I try to make light of them to a degree lest I  get too frustrated. Couldn’t happen on this side of the pond ? Don’t bet against it. Things like this are happening already  and will continue to happen in the name of good health and get ready, saving money on insurance costs. People who eat healthy are less of a drain on the health care system. As health care in some way, shape or form gets more rationed, the pressure will grow on people to eat right, however eating right is defined. could it be said that “unhealthy” foods are the new cigarettes? Wonder where that secondhand smoke will come from though?

May 29, 2010 Posted by | Culture, Health | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

My List is Growing too Long

There are a number of rather newsworthy items out there that are really irritating me  or as I sometimes tell Mrs THT. ” They are getting on my last nerve.” I hardly know which one to choose. My blogging associate at goodtimepolitics  made me aware of a Colorado school district that has a plan in the works to charge children for riding the school bus. If that isn’t a good freakin’ grief  idiotic idea, I would hate to see one.

A community group in Fresno,Ca ( we all know who got his start as a community organizer, do we not?) is demanding  that radio station KMJ remove all conservative programming from the station because  their programs ” incite violence.” Let’s see, Times Square bombing attempt, the so-called underwear bomber and the Army major at Ft Hood. They were all conservatives, right? No,wait a minute, there is something else they had in common. Let  me think, oh yes, their Muslim faith. Can’t say that though.

But the 3rd item on my list takes the cake or the soft drink, as it were. This  comes from San Antonio, Tx where the health conscious city manager, Sheryl Sculley, a self-proclaimed “fitness person,” whatever that means, has directed that all sugary soft drinks in  the city’s beverage machines be removed with unhealthy snack foods next. It does not prohibit employees from bringing the evil items from home and consuming them at work. Wanna bet that there will be pressure applied at some future time in some way to ban the offending items from the premises, just like cigarettes.

And it is all being done under the guise of  improving the health of city employees. A  Texas A & M professor, Lisako McKyer, even draws  analogies to seat belt laws. This one quote by the city manager was oddly disturbing and I am not really sure why. ” We know that statistically that people  who are overweight or obese have greater health problems than those who do not.” The actual quote  doesn’t  really make sense but the thought I see lurking in the background is, you better lose weight or there may be consequences. An alarmist attitude, don’t  think so. There are a growing number of locales that will not hire smokers. What would be the next logical prohibition?

And I haven’t even dealt with Gwinnett County, Georgia which wants to collect  some $39,000 it overpaid  employees in 1994. The report uses the word ask, but don’t kid yourself. If any of the offenders are still county employees the government will get their money, even though the error was theirs.

May 20, 2010 Posted by | Health, Media | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Internet Dosing

Not an article about the internet but a certifiable scary way that it may soon be used. When I read about this, I was quite disturbed. As I reflected a bit, I could not imagine why civil libertarians, the ACLU and all those who abhor government intrusion were not shouting from the rooftops in protest. This action, if it comes about even close to how it is described is far worse than the FBI or CIA  or NSA maybe peeking at your email or cell phone conversation.

So, what is it? Well, how would you like to get your medication via a computer chip implant with dosages regulated by a physician online? Sounds just wonderful and impossibly far-fetched, right? Not so far-fetched at all, I am afraid.

This from Cybercast News Service, linked to by Rush. Just last week the Senate Committee on Aging, chaired by Herb Kohl, D, Wi , previewed the government’s role in future health care. Nicknamed e-Health or e-Care, the effort marries internet technology with health-care technology.

This next is one such feature. It is known as the automatic drug dispenser. Among its (it is  an electronic chip attached to the skin) features are the monitoring and adjusting of drugs wirelessly with no need to visit one’s physician or pharmacist.  The doctor can vary the doses, wirelessly, based  on  the feedback received from the device. Sen Ron Wyden, D, OR displayed the innocent little device at the Senate hearing.

This very ominous quote from Rush, ” They want to set up a device connected to your skin where your doctor via the Internet can regulate the dosages of whatever medications they have you on. Can you say, death panels, anybody?”

I don’t particular care to be an alarmist but this concept frankly scares  the “dickens” out of me. Can you imagine the enormous potential for controlling behaviour or worse?

April 27, 2010 Posted by | Health, Technology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I Want My Obamacare

Years ago, before it became so ubiquitous, MTV  had a commercial campaign that war either annoying  to the nth degree or an inspired bit of genius, depending on  your age group, I guess. In an effort to get their “product” on cable systems, we were treated to repeated commercials screaming from the telly, “I want my MTV.” Apparently, enough of the younger generation took it to heart because MTV became must see and must listen to for lots of people.

Now, some  27 years after the fabled ad campaign, people see to be asking for something entirely different. They are wondering where is their Obamacare? Not 2014, but now! There was such an intense campaign to get the bill passed and the Democrats euphoria  and celebration over the passage ( cue Joe Biden here) that one can hardly blame folks for wondering where all these great benefits are and when will they see  them? Supposedly, on the HHS website, information is forthcoming. You would think  it would have long ago been there. Perhaps  the reality of being the “health czar” has not quite sunk in for Secretary Sebelius  or maybe it has and she is just enjoying the afterglow.

The President doesn’t seem to  helping matters with some of his thinly veiled barbs at those  lawmakers who opposed the plan or the one comparing the criticism to people  expecting seeds  to sprout overnight. I  just keep remembering a comment he made to John McCain. I won, you lost, so get over it.

But with insurers  being flooded with calls about the plan’s  provisions and being surprised with the answers, perhaps Pelosi and company over sold the deal. Wait, it had to pass so we all would know what was in  it. Maybe that even applied to those who rammed the bill through?

April 8, 2010 Posted by | Health, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rights, Rights and more Rights

We talk  a great deal in our country about rights and well we should. One of the crucial elments of our Constitution is the Bill of Rights without which some states refused to even ratify the document in the first place. ( North Carolina for one).

There is freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of the press amon others. But of late, I have been reading about other rights  that might not have been on the founders’ radar screens. The one that grabbed m  attention today was proclaimed by the Senator from Nevada, Majority Leader Harry Reid. He made his comments in the aftermath of the Democrats triumphal march to victory in the passing of Obamacare. Don’t know if Sherman’s march through Georgia is an appropriate analogy, but for now, it shall suffice. The Dems have been described as jubilant over their victory as if they had won the World Series or Super Bowl.

The  Senator  made a statement in the aftermath of the Democratic victory that health insurance  was a right and it was an achievemnet  of great worth. I began wondering, is health care a right for all Americans ad is it our governmwent’;s duty to provide such? I am not so sure that either of those statements is accurate. For most of my working career, I have had health care trough my employer. There  was a period of time when I did not and could not afford it out-of-pocket. We were quite fortunate in not requiring major medical attention during this time, although there was a good bit that we  had to pay. I do not recall thinking that someone, somewhere owed me health insurance. And, I still don’t.

I know that health insurance is important, vitally important in people’s lives. But, a right, a government provided, guaranteed right? No, Senator, it is not. One consolation, at least, Reid did not call it  a God-given  right as Reverend Carlton W Veazey recently described abortion.

December 26, 2009 Posted by | Health, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The New Most Powerful Cabinet Officer

Move over Hilary, forget it Gates, a new sheriff is on the way. Her name, Kathleen  Sebilius. One of the by products, by design or not, who knows, will give the HHS secretary quite  a bit more clout than she now possesses.

Traditionally, the HHS Secretary is not headed by  a  household name, either when their term begins or when they are done. Try naming the most famous or notable occupant of the position. Not easy is it? How about even naming her predecessor? It was Utah’s own Moon Landrieu. Probably the office’s most celebrated occupant harks back to when it was  Health, Education and Welfare. That would be our friend Jack Kemp.

But, if the health care bill lurching along through the Senate becomes law, Secretary Sebilius is poised not only to become very well-known but also significantly more  influential than she now is.

According to an article in the Washington Examiner by Susan Ferrechio, HHS would become  a “giant”  federal powerhouse.  Devon Herrick is  a health care expert at the National center for Policy Analysis. He says that there are almost 1,700 (1,697) times in the bill when the  when the HHS secretary is given leeway to create, define or determine things in the bill. Seems  that HHS will have quite a bit of wiggle room to interpret things in the bill. He cites an example or two. One of the biggies, perhaps the biggest, gives HHS the authority to regulate insurance, currently  a state function.  The feds  would no doubt  perform all sort of wondrous things to improve  the insurance  system or maybe just regulate it death. Who really knows?  Here  is  another. HHS would be empowered to create a Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation  which could  make cost savings cuts on its own without the approval of Congress. Sounds just peachy. This is just one of a potentially large number of new government agencies that are likely  to arise. And remember, this bill  is revenue neutral. Riiight!!

I have got to wonder if Hilary maybe  would  be  interested in a do over on this Cabinet position stuff. She would have a lot more power as HHS secretary than she now has. Besides, I seem to remember that health care reform was once her bailiwick.

November 30, 2009 Posted by | Health, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Enemy of Thanksgiving

How can it be? Can there possibly be  an entity, a person or thing that is anti Thanksgiving, that wishes to do it harm? I believe that the answer is yes an d that I have positively identified the culprit. This opponent is something  about which I have warned previously. But now, its nefarious tentacles have launched  a personal attack against our household. What is it? You should know by now, it is , it is the  evil cholesterol. Yes that despicable villain, that alters our diets, has taken away my potato chips,  and turned many of us into constant label readers at the grocery store.

Its stealthy approach has required Mrs THT to employ the use of medication to fight the battle. Now, don’t get me wrong. i am thankful for te medication for when one must, one must. But Thanksgiving, the feast of thanks, whatever one’s choice of food to feast upon, has been forced  to adjust.

So, adjust we have and adjust we will. No longer will one eat with no thought of consequence( except a few extra pounds) we will fight the good fight. Adios potato chips, it is Utz no more. Popcorn has surpassed you as a weapon keep ourselves healthy. I trust your day of thanks was blessed, enjoyable  and a healthy as possible. We know the enemy, it is not us, but those choices that can and will be improved. (As long a sI can drink Mello-Yello, that is.) Didn’t  Snoopy serve popcorn on A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving? Sure he did. Always the role model, that beagle.

At long last, after a stealthy attack, the inhibiter of the e njoyment of food has forced Mrs THT onto medication, a swell a sdietary adjustments.

November 26, 2009 Posted by | Health, Holidays | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment