Friday, 08/14/09, Public Square

img-mg---cartoons-87-1_11133081066There has been much discussion about the ‘fattening’ of Americans.  I’m not going to argue that it exists — it would be difficult to make that argument as all we need to do is look around and we can’t miss it.  But, what is causing our children to be less active and on the road to obesity at a younger age?

Is it computers, video games, air conditioning?

I remember as a kid the coolest place in the summer was outside under a shade tree — there was no air conditioning in the house and any chance of a cooling breeze was better under that shade tree!

What do you think?  And what subjects are you thinking about today?



Filed under The Public Square

33 responses to “Friday, 08/14/09, Public Square

  1. The problem is now as an adult, it is harder to find friends my age who want to go play a pick up game of football or wiffle ball.

    Oh wait, you are talking about kids. Maybe their lives are so structured with so many activities it doesn’t leave time to run around and play.

    • I like it that you are still a kid! Can you convince the kids in the neighborhood you’re just tall for your age? 🙂

      That’s a good point about the over structured lives of children today. Modern parents missed that point of ‘all things in moderation’ somewhere along the way.

  2. I was reading this morning at The Votemaster and ran across this ironic result of Senators Brownback and Roberts placing a hold on the confirmation proceedings of John McHugh (R-NY) as Secretary of the Army — it has given the Democratic Party a chance to find a candidate for the special election that will be triggered when Rep. McHugh resigns to take his post. If they hadn’t held up the nomination the Republican Party had a candidate who probably would have won, but now it will be a competitive race.

    karma she is a bitch.

    Oh, and The Votemaster says of the Kansas Senators hold — “Both Sen. Roberts and Sen. Brownback apparently fear that terrorists will somehow manage to escape from the maximum security prison at Fort Leavenworth and immediately set out to blow up cornfields across the state.”

  3. tosmarttobegop

    The subject was brought up in the thread about Brownback for Governor on the BTSNBN. I posted this about the chances for a Democratic candidate:

    The problem that Kansas Democrats have is that Kansas is blindly partisan to begin with.
    The candidate with the “R” beside their name can be a drunken, wife beating, child abusing, animal molesting goof. And from the beginning they will have an edge if the Democratic candidate is not know and understood. That is a simple fact of life in Kansas, voters are just that partisan.

    The Kansas Democratic party is part disjointed and part fatalistic, it does not help that their national party writes of Kansas too. We could have a situation like the 2008 Presidential election if the Republican put Brownback up. Leaving Kansas Republicans with a candidate that from the beginning they just can not support. But is there a Kansas Democratic candidate out there that could be a Obama? Someone that even the disgruntle Republicans could at least hold their nose and vote for.

    • lilacluvr

      Do you think the Right-Wingers are going to support Brownback after he came out in support for Sebelius (remember all that outrage?). Or perhaps they are planning their own little coup?

      Why doesn’t that Kris Kobach (sp?) run for governor? Isn’t he one of the RR darlings?

    • From an interview with Jeff Sharlet:
      AMY GOODMAN: So, jumping forward to today, all of these men who are involved with this group, like Senator Sam Brownback, whose seat is being vied for by Congressman Tiahrt—

      JEFF SHARLET: Yeah.

      AMY GOODMAN: —and his opponent is also—

      JEFF SHARLET: Yeah.

      AMY GOODMAN: —living at C Street house.

      JEFF SHARLET: Yes, yes. I think, you know, the Family—when we look at this, we start to have a different picture of Christian right group, is not, you know, picking candidates in an election. In that race for that Senate, you have two conservative Republicans: Jerry Moran, lives in the C Street House, representative from Kansas; and Todd Tiahrt, who also has these ties, which he’s now denying. But these guys are both trying to work through this very powerful network, which is, essentially, as one religious right leader, a guy named Rob Schenck, sort of doing—mixing his metaphors, he says, “Doug Coe is the kosher seal, if you’re going to do religion and politics in Washington.”

      AMY GOODMAN: President Bush calling Doug Coe “the quiet diplomat.” In our last thirty seconds, what is most important to understand about Doug Coe and, ultimately, the Family?

      JEFF SHARLET: This is a group that is explicitly opposed to democracy, explicitly opposed to doing things in public. They believe “the more invisible you can make your organization, the more influence you can have.” That’s a direct quote from Doug Coe. They’re acting like a lobby; they’re not registering like a lobby. There needs to be a way to hold them accountable, if they want do those—pursue those kinds of basic [inaudible]—

  4. tosmarttobegop


  5. lilacluvr

    I think the parents that have money certainly do structure their kids’ activities into such a regimented routine, the kids have no time to be ‘just a kid’.

    Sometimes I think these parents are doing it more for themselves than the kids. Alot of these parents are young professionals on the upward track and perhaps are using their ‘ideal family’ to gain points at work or to be more socially in with the ‘in’ crowd?

    And sometimes I think it is just because they don’t want to be at home with the kids because then it is up to them to be parents – and they just don’t want to do that?

    As for the obesity problem – I definitely think the fast-food industry has had a tremendous detrimental effect on Americans, as a whole. How many kids nowadays drink milk with their meals? Most of them are drinking high-sugar sodas and eating less than healthy processed meals

    But home cooking takes time and a personal investment into doing the task – and that brings us back to these parents. Are they wanting to be home with their kids. Maybe parents are too tired to be like the parents in the ‘olden’ days?

    The world takes alot of us just trying to keep up and it takes two people working to just pay the bills.

    And that tempting fast-food is always there with their cheaper Value Menu. And, sad to say, there has been a generation brought up to think that fast-food is a nutritious, balanced meal.

    Don’t even get me started on when the fast-food industry brought in the concept of supersizing.

  6. The two adults working family. Oh my, what a conundrum for me — can’t come down on any one side of the many-sided discussion.

    Women are as capable, well educated, should have the same opportunities as men for fulfilling careers.

    Parenting should be more shared as it is today vs. not that many years ago.

    I could go on, but you all know the pros and cons.

    Have you noticed it seems Americans want to live in mansions? My neighborhood is Westlink — houses built in late 50s, early 60s, I think when it was new it was a more-prosperous neighborhood. Today for young couples these are starter homes. Mostly brick, three bedrooms, 2 baths, attached 2-car garage, basement. Starter homes! We couldn’t afford to move here until our kids were pretty much all raised, it was / is our mansion. We don’t have walk-in closets, the baths are tiny and utilitarian, no master bedroom suite…

    WOW, how things have changed since two income families became more the norm! Not just what is considered a good life, but the constraints on time which lead to all the things Lilac posted about — the over scheduling of children’s and adult’s lives, the fast food…

  7. lilacluvr

    I agree fnord about what is now considered a ‘starter home’. When I was growing up, I remember people bought their homes, paid off the mortgage and then had a ‘mortgage burning’ party.

    Nowadays it seems the real estate market has this concept of you buy a house (not a home), keep it for a few years and then buy ‘up’ and continue the process. To me, this is just buying a house – not a home. I think I read somewhere the average time people kept a home was 7 years? My parents still live in the house when they were first married – 60 years ago.

    When we found out that my grand-daughter was coming, my son and his wife asked me if I would watch her for them because the wife’s job is the one with the better health insurance and they were saving to buy their own home.

    So we ‘downsized’ to a 2br, 1 ba, 1c garage. I continued to work part time on the weekends for my company because they asked me to and I can use the money, so I agreed (that was 3 & 1/2 yrs ago).

    Alot of the younger professional people at my company kept telling me that they could never do that – to give up their bigger houses in order to stay at home for the family. And alot of these same people told me they wished their parents could or would do that for them.

    But my family is my first priority and I wanted to give my grand-daughter a safe, loving environment in which her parents did not always have to wonder about what was going on with their child.

    Now, in two weeks, my grand-daughter will be going to pre-school and she is so excited. And I do not for one minute regret making the decision to downsize my lifestyle for the sake of my family.

    People are all different and that is why the world is full of choices. I do not want to sound like I was judging these younger parents for what they choose to do with their kids but I was only asking the what-if questions.

    What is right for me may not be right for someone else. We all need to do what is best for our own situation.

  8. During the summer, when I was a kid, say, a couple centuries ago, I was kicked out of the house with a sack lunch, and told not to come home until dinner time. No big deal back then: plenty of places to go, and friends to play with.

    Today’s climate has changed big time. Parents are rightly concerned about their child’s safety, and the scum out there waiting to prey upon the innocent. I can’t say I blame them. Too many times these days we read about child abduction. I wish I had an answer to counter that, but I don’t. With both parents working, what else can be done?

  9. tosmarttobegop

    I am not truly a sexist but there is one opinion that sound totally sexist. Women some how thought that working outside the home made them more important then just being mother. We now have thousands of children coming home to a empty house or hanging out at someone’s house or business.

    I fully understand about the need these days to have both parents working. Society it’s self demands it just to have bare minimum. In part it was caused by a decision of the banking industry, for so long it was only the husband’s earning that would be considered. The wife could make four times her husband wages and still it was not considered. But once the banking industry and the retail industry compared note they saw the gross increase in profits. Soon it became not just a rarity but a need for women to work.

    it truly is the duty of both parents to be parents, but there is a real difference between a mother and a dad.
    Mother’s are the heart and soul, the guidance of the morality of a family. They give the minute issues there importance. Dad’s are the strong image and the maker of silent authority few words and heavy results.
    Of the two it is the mother who has a greater impact in a child’s everyday life. The child may think I can fool dad. But mom as soon as I walk into the room will know. Somehow and some way mom always knows and a child in a sense would rather suffer the fate of dad finding out about it then to make mother cry.

    Even when the child is in their teens, they still fear hurting mom more then angering dad.

    A woman who works for thirty years at some company and leaves. Will be replaced and soon lost from their co-workers minds. But a woman who is a mother to their child is a living saint who’s work is remembered and more a value to the rest of society then if she was the best brain surgeon. in that case, which is the real important job a woman can have?

    • Well said, and it warms my heart to hear that Mother is truly a respected ‘job.’

      All these reasons send Mom into the workplace


      –family needs two incomes as both parents earn low wage

      –confusing needs with wants

      –a desire to use the education and to achieve success

      –keeping up with the Joneses

      To name a few. I’m sure I forgot or don’t even know some of the reasons.

    • lilacluvr

      Very well said.

      Like I hope came through my rambling above, we all have to do what is right for our own situation.

      I was raised with stay-at-home moms but we did have a few moms that worked outside the home. In those cases, her kids just joined in with the rest of the group.

      But, back then, neighbors were people who watched out for all the kids – not just your own.

      How many times did my siblings and I come home from playing with the group that day to find Mom at the front door waiting to ask us about what we really did while we were out. She already knew if there had been mischief because someone had already called her.

      Is that what is really missing in today’s society – that sense of community? Dare I say, Hillary Clinton might have had a valid point about that village concept?

      • lilacluvr

        fnord – what was that you said the other day that I totally misintepreted – something about great minds?

      • 🙂

        That village may no longer be the block our house is on. It still takes the village, but it might be that we have a village here in our online community. We have support and a place to kick around ideas and questions. I also suspect we have a place where help would be given freely when needed.

      • wicked

        Keeping up with the Joneses and confusing wants with needs was my ex’s problem. He thought I should work. We had 4 kids and lived in the boondocks, a few times with only one vehicle running. I chose to be a stay-at-home mom. I don’t regret that, nor do I regret that our closest friends had much more than we did. My kids didn’t have everything, but they had enough and more. Food to eat, clothing, a roof with living space beneath. We had satellite for several years, two computers, etc. Somewhere along the line, material things became less important to me. Not that I would turn down a million dollars with no strings attached. 🙂

  10. lilacluvr

    I still believe the majority of people are nice and decent – even some Republicans (ha,ha). Despite the way our society seems to reward bad behavior.

    I think we all want what is best for our families and we want our country to be the best in the world.

    But if we let intolerance, hatred, greed, arrogance and ignorance go unchecked and unquestioned, will my grand-daughter’s future be as good as our past has been? I want her to have a childhood like mine was – a time for fun but a time to learn what is really important in life.

    I don’t believe every Democrat is a saint and does nothing wrong, but neither do I believe every Republican is a saint and does everything right.

  11. lilacluvr

    According to Huffington Post blog, guess who just got busted for voting those ‘death panels, back in 2003?

    Grassley, Boehner and many other Republicans voted for the same end-of-life provisions in the Medicare Prescription Bill.

    You remember that vote don’t you – many local Republicans lockstepping to help Bush look like a compassionate president.

    I wonder if Republicans really do not know there are records of these votes that people can research and see exactly who voted for what and when they voted for it – or do they really believe no one will do the research to find out?

    BTW – Saw on Huffington Post that Sarah Palin savoring the victory over the death panels. I wonder if Palin has heard about the ‘outing’ of her fellow Republicans who voted for those death panels back in 2003?

  12. I’ve been trying to stay up and positive, but today I’m having trouble. It does seem like the Republicans tactics are working and it makes me so discouraged and sad.

    • lilacluvr

      Sad to say, people do respond to negativity. The latest poll about Americans now feeling sympathetic to these screaming and yelling protesters simply amazed me.

      Exactly when did it become okay to feel sorry for people who hijack the debate and lower the meeting into a freak show? And then to have a man actually wearing his loaded gun on his leg at a meeting and somehow this is now being a ‘real’ American?

      BTW – have you noticed Chris Matthews has not been on the air since that telling that loaded gun man what he thought? I wonder how long Chris was suspended for?

  13. lilacluvr

    fnord – maybe we are being too pessimistic today. Remembe the old saying – it’s always darkest before dawn?

    I still have faith in Obama to get something beneficial through – maybe not everything he wanted or everything we need – but at least something better than what we have now?

    I just pray healthcare doesn’t come out the other end of this sausage maker as being worse than the current system.

  14. Yeah, me too. Thanks for trying to make me feel better. What is it they say about soaring with Eagles? Those turkeys have gotten to me.

    Do you think it has entered President Obama’s mind that a bill reforming health care while Ted Kennedy is still alive would be good? Senator Kennedy has made health care reform his life’s work.

    I read a story about the time his son Patrick was diagnosed with bone cancer at 12 years old. Senator Kennedy said they participated in a trial of a new treatment. He talked of getting to know the other parents in the same boat, in the same trial. Then at some point the trial was said to be successful. Hooray? Well, for some. But the trial ended and the same treatment wasn’t free any longer. Kennedy says he remembers well that although his family had the means to continue the successful treatment, some didn’t. And that moment was when he decided health care must be made available to everyone.

    I thought about this when Ted Kennedy wasn’t at his sister’s funeral today. That must mean he doesn’t have long. I hope he isn’t down in the dumps like me. I hope he knows something that makes him more hopeful than I can manage to feel today.

  15. I went looking for something to encourage me! Aren’t I a sick puppy — ignore the criticism to the point of going looking for something that I want to hear. 🙂 I needed a dose of hope.

    Howard Dean spoke yesterday at Netroots Nation (Netroots is a recent term coined to describe political activism organized through blogs and other online media, including wikis and social network services) and had these tidbits of wisdom which give me hope.

    “This is not about health care. The people who are shouting down congress members are doing this because:

    1. they’ve been running on anger for 40 years and go to the polls because they’re angry. That’s what gets them to the polls.

    2. Look who’s doing the shouting. They look nothing like the generation who elected Barack Obama For the first time ever, more Americans under 35 voted than those over 65 . They feel threatened and angry at the younger generation. These small groups are getting smaller and smaller. As they get smaller they get angrier.

    3. Barack Obama is not the kind of president they’re accustomed to seeing in the White House. Things they have counted on aren’t happening any more. They are afraid of change.

    This is not about the bill, this is about a major generational change in America. A new generation is taking power with a different way of doing things.”

    — and —

    “Obama understands that no Republican will vote for this bill, but he needs to let the Republicans speak for themselves. He needs to allow the Americans to see the Republicans for what they are. Jim DeMint tipped their hand when he said they wanted to kill health care to get to Obama. A bipartisan bill that doesn’t do anything is worse than a bill that doesn’t get a single Republican vote.

    Republicans want to mandate that we stick with insurance companies. Democrats want to give people a choice. This is the best bill he’s seen since the Carter administration. It allows change to happen at the pace people are ready for it. It doesn’t force people out of a system they are happy with. It will allow people to use a public option if they want, and when it works, they will tell their neighbors.”

    Now, don’t you feel encouraged and hopeful? I do.

  16. David B

    After hearing Dr. Howard Dean on Rachel Maddow, and seeing Mr Clinton @ netroots, I feel much better about what’s going on too.

    Look how the “Birthers” were crushed and where is that now. Let them flame themselves out. The angrier and shriller they get, the better it is for progressive reformers.

    That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

  17. wicked

    The Department of Interior should follow my oldest grandson around. He never stops moving!

  18. wicked

    I haven’t read through this whole thread yet or the others, so if someone else has posted this, I apologize.

    Rachel Maddow took to task. Verrrry interesting. 😉

  19. wicked

    I have a request. I’ve been trying to find out via the internet when the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma ceased having a “reservation” and became OTSA (Oklahoma Tribal Statistical Area for census reasons, I think.). Anyone know anything about Tahlequa, OK? I have a character who is half NA and comes from there and need to know before I go off half-cocked on the 4th book. I was taken to task by a reader in a review about a character in the 1st book saying his mother had come from the reservation in Tahlequah. It wasn’t like it was a huge deal and easily explained (which I won’t to her), but it would help if I had a date. I’m thinking either 1934 when the government screwed the NA’s over once again, or later in the 70’s or 80’s. But I can’t find ANYTHING that’s specific.

    • Ask the reader who took you to task! Seems s/he has the answers, and wtf — if you only heard from that one reader and you take their word on the particulars…

      • wicked

        fnord, I would and have considered doing it, but this reader struck me as one who would want to argue. The comments the reader made bordered on…well, racist is a bit much, but I got the feeling NA’s weren’t this person’s cup of tea. I won’t post them here, but I’ll send them to you privately.

  20. Wicked,

    I am so impressed that you try to work these things out. If the government did half as well; well… things would be better. Thanks.

    • wicked

      Well, iggy, we’re expected to do our homework. I’ve always heard it called a reservation, but apparently many tribes were disestablished. Some were completely done away with at one point in time. Reading the history of the people who were here before being invaded by the white man can tend to make a civilized person gnash her teeth.

      Anyway, it was my mistake, but there’s a simple explanation, if I really wanted to go into it. I don’t. Most people understand what a “reservation” is and won’t question it. But for the book I need to be working on now, I really should get the facts right. I’m a liberal, ya know. 😉