Thursday, July 9, 2009


Is The Food Industry Manipulating Your Chemistry? An Interview With Dr. David Kessler

by Janice Taylor
If cake is your BFF (best friend forever), if the call of Cheeto sends you into an orange-stained spin, if you start to drool at the mere mention of Cinnabon, and/or if you are mad at yourself for giving in and diving into a vat of chocolate, then pull up a chair and start clicking for an interview that just may change your relationship to food and, in turn, your life.

Read as Janice Taylor, weight loss coach, hypnotherapist, and author of All Is Forgiven, Move On interviews Dr. David Kessler, author of, The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite.

Dr. Kessler was Commissioner of the FDA from 1990-1997 (under two administrations--one red, and one blue), and during that time he was responsible for putting a squeeze on the tobacco industry and reinventing the food label. Janice found him to be an authentic, caring human being who has battled the bulge himself and is a model teacher for how you can take control of your overeating.

Cracking the Overeating Code

JT: Dr. Kessler, you invested seven years of your life meeting with top scientists, physicians and food industry insiders, exploring and investigating just how we (Americans) have lost control of our eating habits. This research must be very important to you.

DK: Yes, very important on a number of levels. While watching Oprah, I heard a woman speak about her inability to control her eating, and the pain and frustration that accompanied her lack of control. I wondered, "What is going on? What's driving this?"

And I related to her story. There's almost nothing in my life that I do on impulse. But foods and the cues that surround them have the power to make me act against my own will. I wanted to understand how this works. I wanted to crack the code.

JT: You found that the food industry plays a rather prominent part in the fattening of America. Please explain.

DK: The food industry is a for-profit business. Their business model is to pull out all the bells and whistles, load the food with multiple layers of salt, fat and sugar, thus creating what I call "carnival food." This carnival atmosphere keeps us wanting and coming back for more.

The food industry's first priority is to make their foods as highly 'palatable' and appealing as possible. They discovered that certain foods can and do keep us eating and eating, with no end in sight.

The lifestyle to beat Alzheimer's

by Peta Bee

Cup of coffee

Coffee drinkers will be clinking mugs in a toast to new research suggesting that just two strong cups of the black stuff a day can reverse the effects of Alzheimer's disease. Dr Gary Arendash of the University of Florida showed that coffee not only helped to reverse symptoms in mice but also staved off production in the brain of abnormal protein plaques, which are the hallmark of Alzheimer's.

In the UK the Alzheimer's Society is anxious not to suggest that everyone develop a caffeine habit but says that if further research confirms its benefits, coffee could become part of a lifestyle prevention plan for the disease.

So what else could be in the armoury? Researchers at Columbia University in New York recently found that a Mediterranean-style diet high in fish oil and vegetables prevented people with mild memory loss from getting full-blown dementia, and also seemed to prevent memory decline in the general population. Blueberries, kale and broccoli seem particularly helpful.

Our Marines in Afghanistan: A made-for-TV movie

by Jane Stillwater

I just got an e-mail from my secret source of intelligence in Afghanistan -- a Marine mom. And this Marine mom was livid. "My husband and I are writing to our Representatives and asking for an investigation into this poorly-planned forced march of our Marines through Helmand province in Afghanistan. They are having heat issues -- heat exhaustion, dehydration, etc. Who planned this march in 120-degree-plus heat while carrying backpacks that weigh over 100 pounds?" wrote this Marine mom.

I am totally grateful to my Marine mom for two reasons. First, her good reporting and actual legwork in the field (she has two sons in the Corps and they keep her up-to-date) lets me know what is really going on over in Afghanistan. And, second, she's saving me from having to return to Afghanistan in the middle of summer. Been there, done that. It's HOT over there.

According to a report from the Associated Press, "Taliban militants were nowhere in sight as the columns of U.S. Marines walked a third straight day across southern Afghanistan. But the desert heat proved an enemy in its own right, with several troops falling victim Saturday to temperatures topping 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The Marines carry 50-100 pounds (23-45 kilograms) on their backs. But because they are marching through farmland on foot, they can't carry nearly as much water as their thirst demands."

So. My next question is, "Just exactly WHY are these Marines on a forced march through Helmand province at this point in time?"

Journalist Stewart Nusbaumer has the answer to that one. In an article published on the Huffington Post, Nusbaumer informs us that 4,000 U.S. Marines are now storming down into southern Afghanistan in order to provide security for future development projects in the area that will help give villagers incentives to resist the Taliban's lure. Hey, weren't we supposed to have already done that back in 2001? And all this time since 2001? But I digress.
According to Nusbaumer, "This is not a conventional war, but an irregular war; the focus is not on killing the enemy but on protecting the people and enabling development. Further...only brain-dead foamers believe the Taliban will go head-to-head against large numbers of Marines, with their mean Apache gunships circling overhead. A few hundred Marines, one company, would have been sufficient to dampen the Taliban enthusiasm to fight. But this is 4,000!"

So. Why are the head generals and muckity-mucks in the Pentagon forcing 4,000 of our best Marines out into the hot sun while carrying 100-pound backpacks and order them to madly dash off to Helmand province -- if fewer Marines could do the job and the job itself will take years to complete? What's the hurry?

Shannyn Moore to Sarah Palin: Sue Me! Please!

Threatened by litigation from Palin camp, AK bloggers close ranks, scoff at intimidation effort by cutting-and-running Governor...

Alaska blogger and radio host Shannyn Moore isn't taking the attempted strong-arming by soon-to-be-former Governor Sarah Palin lightly. Moore shot back quickly on her radio show and in the mainstream media on Saturday, in response to Palin's Fourth of July Declaration of Litigation.

Palin's legal threat, issued for her by her private attorney, Thomas Van Flein, earlier in the day, was itself in response to Moore, and other Alaska constituents, who publicly detailed long-whispered local rumors of a federal investigation and/or impending indictments against the former Republican Veep nominee.

The BRAD BLOG broke details of those allegations, citing Moore as one of our sources, on Friday, following Palin's manic press conference in which she announced plans to cut and run from her elected position of public service, a year and a half early --- seemingly to become a community organizer.

Alaska bloggers quickly circled their wagons in defense of Moore, who spoke out herself over the weekend, describing Palin as a "coward and a bully" whose defamation lawsuit she would welcome, at a press conference in front of the Governor's Anchorage office...

Toyota Builds Thicket of Patents Around Hybrid To Block Competitors

The Obama administration's tough new fuel-efficiency standards could pose problems for some car makers, but Toyota Motor Corp. is hoping to benefit.

The Japanese company is betting the rules will give an advantage to its expanding lineup of hybrid vehicles, and it also aims to boost revenue by licensing to other car makers the patents that protect its fuel-saving technologies.

Since it started developing the gas-electric Prius more than a decade ago, Toyota has kept its attorneys just as busy as its engineers, meticulously filing for patents on more than 2,000 systems and components for its best-selling hybrid. Its third-generation Prius, which hit showrooms in May, accounts for about half of those patents alone.

Toyota's goal: to make it difficult for other auto makers to develop their own hybrids without seeking licensing from Toyota, as Ford Motor Co. already did to make its Escape hybrid and Nissan Motor Co. has for its Altima hybrid.

SAHIMO Hydrogen Vehicle Travels 568 Kilometers on 1 Liter of Fuel

by Jorge Chapa

sahimo hydrogen car, SAHIMO car, SAHIMO, hydrogen fuel powered car

Students from Turkey's Sakarya University have unveiled a remarkable attempt at creating Europe's most fuel efficient vehicle. The SAHİMO is a hydrogen powered vehicle that is capable of traveling 568 kilometers on 1 liter of fuel (about 353 miles on a quarter gallon). The students' ultimate goal is to trek SAHİMO across 3,000 kilometers of the Australian Outback on just 3 liters of fuel in the inaugural 2009 Global Green Challenge. And you thought you were getting good mileage out of your Prius!

Can Urine Rescue Hydrogen-Powered Cars?

Shell Hydrogen Station in Reykjavik Iceland
Shell Hydrogen Station in Reykjavik Iceland
It's been a rough couple of years for cars powered by hydrogen fuel cells. As the drums beat louder for electric cars--the 2011 Chevrolet Volt, Nissan's upcoming EV, and more--the hydrogen chorus is waning.

But perhaps there's hope. And perhaps it's as close as your nearest urinal. Or, more politely, your local sewage treatment facility.

Let us explain. One of the problems with hydrogen is that while it's prolific in nature, hydrogen molecules aren't floating around loose.

It takes a lot of energy to split hydrogen out from the other atoms to which it binds, either in natural gas or water. Which means energy analysts are skeptical about the overall energy balance of cars fueled by hydrogen.

Now, as Ariel Schwartz of Fast Company reports, Ohio University researcher Geraldine Botte has come up with a nickel-based electrode to oxidize (NH2)2CO, otherwise known as urea, the major component of animal urine.

Because urea's four hydrogen atoms are less tightly bound to nitrogen than the hydrogen bound to oxygen in water molecules, it takes less energy to break them apart: Just 0.37 Volts need to be applied across the cell, against the 1.23 Volts needed to break down water.

This means the energy balance of urea-derived hydrogen could be considerably better from start to finish than projections for other so-called pathways for obtaining the highly combustible gas.

Crisis management in a Palin Administration

Man About Townes

Steve Earle talks love, marriage, divorce and Townes Van Zandt

As the legend goes, Steve Earle first met Townes Van Zandt when the late songwriter heckled a 17-year-old Earle during a performance at a Houston coffee shop in 1972. That encounter marked the beginning of a lifelong friendship between Earle and the man who would serve as his greatest influence.

Over nearly four decades, Earle forged his own path to music stardom. But like that of his mentor — who passed away on New Year's Day 1997 after a lifetime of substance abuse — his road was strewn with perils.

The heralded songwriter and passionate political activist has battled numerous personal demons; he's weathered drug addiction, alcoholism and seven marriages. But he's also seen his share of triumphs, including two Grammy awards, numerous film and television appearances, and, finally, a stable marriage, to songwriter Allison Moorer. Now sober for more than a decade, Earle has released a brilliant tribute to his fallen and underappreciated idol. The lovingly conceived and intimately understated album is entitled simply Townes.

Seven Days recently spoke with Earle by phone in advance of his performance with Aimee Mann at Burlington's Waterfront Park.

SEVEN DAYS: You've called Townes a "real bad role model," but he obviously influenced you in ways beyond being just a, well, bad influence.

STEVE EARLE: The first thing was that it became obvious to me, almost immediately, that I was witnessing someone making art at a really high level, without consideration for whether they were gonna be compensated for it materially. And that was pretty stunning when you were 17 years old.
When I first heard of him, I saw his records — people in coffee houses that I played at in San Antonio had 'em — and I was 14 … His face was on a record, so I figured he was rich. Then I met him and found out he wasn't, but he kept doing this anyway. And he did it at this really, really high level and set the bar for all of us that were lucky enough to run into him the first few years we were writing.

SD: While there are specific groups of fans and, especially, songwriters who appreciate him, Townes Van Zandt has really never gotten wider acclaim. Why do you think that is?

SE: It's his fault. He shot himself in the foot every chance he got. I mean, Bob Dylan's always known who Townes was. And more people know who he is now than you'd think. I used to have to tell everybody who he was every time his name came up…
But songwriters … and people in the music business have known who he was for a long time…

SD: How did he "shoot himself in the foot"?

SE: He didn't involve himself in the making of his records. It took him a long time to make a record that he was really completely and totally comfortable with. And that record [Seven Come Eleven] … wasn't released, and it was really great. The songs ended up on another [album] later, called Flyin' Shoes. But his skills were somewhat diminished by that time. And he had sort of given up by the time he made that record.

SD: It's been about five years since you released The Revolution Starts Now, which was essentially a response to the Bush presidency. Now that we are six months into the Obama presidency, do you feel we're finally seeing some changes for the better?

SE: I feel like I'm being listened to. And … I'm much more comfortable with Pat Leahy being the head of the judiciary committee when we're choosing a Supreme Court justice.

"The Revolution Starts Now" — what that song was about and what the idea was with that record is that the revolution goes on one way or the other. I really am a Socialist. I'm something way to the left of a Democrat. And the revolution goes on with you or without you. The whole point of that song was that the revolution starts with you, when you wake the fuck up. And I think the country did wake up.

I voted for Barack Obama for one reason: because he promised he would bring these troops home from Iraq. And he hasn't done that yet. Now, I'm patient. But I'd hate to have to write the letters … for any of these kids that are killed between now and the time he finally gets them out of there. I believe that's what his intention is. I believe he was handed a lot of shit to deal with. And you know what? He's a lot more progressive than I thought he was, all things considered.

They're Playing Our Song: Music Publishers Sue Web Giants

by Wendy Davis

logo mashup A group of music publishers has sued Yahoo, Microsoft and RealNetworks for infringing copyright by offering the songs for on-demand streaming and downloads.

The publishers, who represent composers of 950 tracks including the gospel hit "Oh to be Kept by Jesus" and folk song "Wild Rose of the Mountain," allege that the Web companies never got all of the needed clearances before including the songs in their repertoires.

The plaintiffs argue that on-demand streaming services as well as subscription downloads that expire after a period of time require licenses from both the record labels and the publishers. Permanent downloads also require licenses, but stores like iTunes have negotiated comprehensive deals with the labels, while the Copyright Royalty Board has long set rates for publishers. That board recently set rates for on-demand streams and temporary downloads. Those rates went into effect on March 1, but it's not clear whether they apply to songs streamed in the past.

In their complaint, filed last month in the U.S. District Court in Tennessee, the publishers allege that the Web companies infringed on copyright each time they offered one of the publishers' songs, entitling them to damages ranging from $750 to $150,000 per instance.

Microsoft, Yahoo and RealNetworks declined to comment.

Rap in 30 Languages

Health-care controversy awaits the sausage mill

In the past two weeks, I've attended two benefit concerts to raise money for musicians to pay their medical bills, and that is just ridiculous. Why should anyone, least of all a valuable contributing member of society, have to pass the hat to pay the doctor? But there I was, watching one of America's few true-blue cowboy singers hoist himself on crutches onto the stage to sing "The Old Chisholm Trail" as we put our twenties in the pot to pay for his pelvis, broken when a horse threw him. A cowboy singer can afford only the $10,000 deductible health plan and that means that he must sell Old Paint or become a charity case.

Meanwhile, a friend visiting London forgets to look to the right while crossing the street and gets whacked by a taxi and is scooped up and taken to the hospital with a broken leg where -- wait for it -- nobody ever asks him for an insurance card, they just go about doing what needs to be done. A civilized people, whatever you may think of the beer, that they treat a fallen American the same as if he were one of them.

Health insurance is the business that Congress is taking up this summer with the help of hundreds of high-paid lobbyists, many of them former congressmen or congressional staffers, all of them arguing for schemes that will be good for the pharmaceutical industry and the insurance companies and not necessarily good for the cowboy or the careless pedestrian. Reports the size of Sears catalogs will be circulated, and smart men and women smelling of citrus and sandalwood will argue persuasively and extensively for all points of view.

Our representatives will face pages and pages of statistics, acres of numerals, and even as they wander in the great fog of data and expertise, they will be at least as confused as the rest of us. Somehow out of this dance hall and sausage mill will come legislation that must stand the light of day, a miracle if it should happen, and then we shall see if the common good was served or if we have been sold down the river into the hands of cheats and scoundrels.,0,3885377.column

Oscar Mayer, Legendary Hot Dog King, Dead At 95



Daily Finance:

Oscar G. Mayer, who transformed his family business into one of the world's largest meat processors, died Monday. He was 95.

The fact that most of the public probably did not know that "Oscar Mayer" was a real person — actually he was the third member of his family to have that name — was fine with him, according to the Wisconsin State Journal. He liked his anonymity, even as his company was at one time the largest private employer in the Madison area.

For a certain generation of Americans, this is a jingle that accompanied their childhood:

The story behind the famous ad:

Oscar Mayer was bought by General Foods in 1981, and later by Kraft Foods. Kraft has set up a WeinerMobile home page and a Hot Dogger Blog. Check it out. More fun photos at Flickr. My pick:


Photoshopped Oscar Meyer Boeing via Flickr. Creator unknown.