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Editor's Note: Happy Thanksgiving from the Media Consortium! This week, we aren't stopping The Audit, The Pulse, The Diaspora, or The Mulch, but we are taking a bit of a break. Expect shorter blog posts, and The Diaspora and The Mulch will be posted on Wednesday afternoon, instead of their usual Thursday and Friday postings. We'll return to our normal schedule next week.

by Lindsay Beyerstein, Media Consortium blogger

Wednesday is the heaviest travel day of the year in the United States, as millions of Americans head home to celebrate Thanksgiving. Some of you are probably reading this dispatch on PDAs as you wait in an interminable line at airport security. Here's some food for thought.

At Grist, food writer Michael Pollan officially declares himself a Rules Guy. Don't worry, that doesn't mean he won't accept a Friday dinner invitation offered after noon on Wednesday. Pollan thinks that our healthy eating skills are passed down to us as part of food culture. In this era of drive-through windows and meal replacement bars, a lot of the old wisdom is falling by the wayside and Americans are finding themselves adrift in a sea of calories. On the eve of Thanksgiving, Pollan provides some helpful guidelines for avoiding the food coma:

[M]any ethnic traditions have their own memorable  expressions for what amounts to the same recommendation. Many cultures,  for examples, have grappled with the problem of food abundance and come  up with different ways of proposing we stop eating before we're  completely full: the Japanese say "hara hachi bu" ("Eat until you are  4/5 full"); Germans advise eaters to "tie off the sack before it's  full." And the prophet Mohammed recommended that a full belly should  contain one-third food, one-third drink, and one-third air. My own  Russian-Jewish grandfather used to say at the end of every meal, "I  always like to leave the table a little bit hungry."

But wait, there's more!

  • Unions representing airline pilots and flight attendants are advising their members to avoid the the TSA's new backscatter x-ray scans because of concerns about the long-term health effects of x-ray radiation. Crew members who refused scans have been subjected to new "enhanced" pat-down searches. This week, the TSA granted an exception to pilots, but not to flight attendants. As I reported for Working In These Times, all crew members go through the same FBI background check and fingerprinting process. "Don't touch my junk!" has become a rallying cry for passengers, particularly white men, who are not accustomed to being asked to give up any part of their body's autonomy for the greater good. Is it a coincidence that 95% of pilots are men and three-quarters of flight attendants are women? [Update: The TSA has relented. The agency announced Tuesday that flight attendants will now get the same exemption as pilots.]
  • Adam Serwer argues in The American Prospect that it's easy to demand tough security measures when the presumed targets are faceless Muslims in a distant country. When air travelers are asked to compromise their own privacy in the name of security, the tradeoff suddenly seems very different.
  • Employee health insurance deductibles are skyrocketing at Whole Foods and CEO John Mackey is trying to blame the increase on health care reform. "This is very important for everyone to understand: 100% of the increases in deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums in 2011  compared to 2010 are due to new federal mandates and regulations," Mackey wrote in a corporate memo. In fact, as Josh Harkinson reports in Mother Jones, Mackey's memo is pure, organic BS. The provisions in the Affordable Care Act that might increase costs won't go into effect until 2014, so it's hard to figure out how federal policies could be responsible. Health insurance costs were rising by about 5% per year, year after year, before the Affordable Care Act passed. The truth is that health insurance is getting more expensive because health care is getting more expensive. As Harkinson points out, one of the reasons that health care is getting more expensive is because corporations like Whole Foods are pushing more of their employees into part-time work to avoid covering them. Of course, when those workers get sick, someone has to pick up the cost of their care. So those who have insurance, including some of Whole Foods' own employees, have to pay more to make up the difference.

This post features links to the best independent, progressive   reporting about health care by members of The Media Consortium.  It  is free to reprint. Visit the Pulse for  a complete list of articles on health care reform, or follow us on  Twitter. And for the best   progressive reporting on critical economy, environment, health care  and  immigration issues, check out The Audit,  The Mulch,   and The Diaspora. This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of  leading independent media outlets.

Originally posted to The Media Consortium on Fri Nov 26, 2010 at 11:25 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Thanks so much for an interesting (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BlackSheep1, allep10, Frank33

    "magazine"-style diary.

    Speaking of Michael Pollan, and Whole Foods, Pollan RIPS this chain in his book, "The Omnivore's Dilemma." He does a masterful take-down of this operation, calling it "fake." I don't reckon Mackey and his ilk are any too happy about that, since the readers of the book are precisely the demographic that shops at the store.

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Fri Nov 26, 2010 at 11:34:59 AM PST

  •  Speaking of food and childhood obesity, it is a (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BlackSheep1

    kick for Michelle Obama. The First Lady is encouraging children to eat healthy food, Let's Move.

    But the big corporations who feed us junk and fast food have a defender, Barracuda Barbie herself. Heathy diets for children are an "anti-obesity thing", a "kick", suggesting this campaign is trivial. I would suggest Palin is projecting her own shallowness, and lack of understanding of public policy.

    But I will criticize the Quitter from the Twitter for falsely saying this is a "politician's wife priority". How about National Priority. You can depend on the Quitter to tell us how to get on the rightwing track.

    Take her anti-obesity thing that she is on. She is on this kick, right. What she is telling us is she cannot trust parents to make decisions for their own children, for their own families in what we should eat. And I know I'm going to be again criticized for bringing this up, but instead of a government thinking that they need to take over and make decisions for us according to some politician or politician's wife priorities, just leave us alone, get off our back, and allow us as individuals to exercise our own God-given rights to make our own decisions and then our country gets back on the right track.

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