Livin' it up, American style

Saturday, December 02, 2006

The Fat Russians are Coming

A few posts ago I talked about a former KGB-spy, Alexander Litvinenko, who was a vocal critic of Putin. He had been investigating the murder of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya, and had recently been taken seriously ill, ostensibly by poisoning. He continued to get sicker and sicker, and just died last week. It was determined he was killed by exposure to polonium-210, a rare and little known radioactive substance. Traces of polonium-210 was also found in his widow's body, and in the body of the man that Litvinenko had met with on the day of his poisoning. Several planes and restaurants in London that Litvinenko had been in also tested positive for traces of radioactive polonium. This is pretty crazy, it's like the Cold War never ended, except that now these things don't happen in secret behind the Iron Curtain, and now Russia's not supposed to be a repressive regime that does stuff like poison its government's critics. Unfortunately, we will probably never know who is to blame for this spy's poisoning, because it is very difficult to trace the origin of polonium 210, which is probably why it was the radioactive substance of choice.

In other news, being fat, even just 30-40 pounds overweight, is more expensive than being of normal weight, and not because of money spent buying lots of food. Fat people pay more for health insurance, and are at higher risk for diabetes, an expensive disease. They will also face discrimination at work, and earn less money over their life time, and have a harder time getting hired and promoted. (Weight discrimination is only illegal in Michigan). Just a week or so ago, I was reading about people at universities and think tanks promoting 'fat studies', kind of like gender studies or something. It championed the right of people to be fat, and wants to work to fight discrimination against fat people. I can understand wanting to fight the discrimination and low self-image that comes with being overweight, but it's a lie to tell people it's ok to be overweight. It's been proven that their wealth and health will suffer as long as they are obese. It's irresponsible to positively promote being overweight.

I was trying to find some funny or ironic news to talk about, but there's not much good news out there today, with all those car bombs going off in Baghdad. So I'll just finish with a couple of recent Bush-isms.

"You know, one of the hardest parts of my job is to connect Iraq to the war on terror."—Interview with CBS News, Washington D.C., Sept. 6, 2006 -Well, it's easy to connect Iraq to Bush's war OF terror.

"I've reminded the prime minister—the American people, Mr. Prime Minister, over the past months that it was not always a given that the United States and America would have a close relationship."—Washington, D.C., June 29, 2006 - Ummmm, okay?

President Bush: Peter. Are you going to ask that question with shades on?
Peter Wallsten of the Los Angeles Times: I can take them off.
Bush: I'm interested in the shade look, seriously.
Wallsten: All right, I'll keep it, then.
Bush: For the viewers, there's no sun.
Wallsten: I guess it depends on your perspective.
Bush: Touché.
—Exchange with legally blind reporter Peter Wallsten, to whom Bush later apologized, Washington, D.C., June 14, 2006 -I'm guessing Bush probably isn't endorsed by the National Federation of the Blind.


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