Forty-four years ago, when the Packers won Super Bowl I, their largest players weighed 260 pounds. As Green Bay prepares to face Pittsburgh in Super Bowl XLV, 13 players on the Packers’ active roster weigh 300 or more pounds, reflecting a trend over the past several decades in which players have become as supersized as fast-food meals.
On one hand, the largest players are celebrated for their strength, spry athleticism and beer-belly physiques that give them an Everyman quality.
On the other hand, the enormousness of many players, and the recent deaths of one active lineman and several relatively young retired linemen, have raised questions — and brought conflicting answers — about potential health risks associated with size.
“You can see by looking at the defensive linemen that they carry 30, 40, 50 pounds of fat,” said Jerry Kramer, the All-Pro guard who led the Packers’ famed sweep in the 1960s while playing at about 250 pounds. “Fat doesn’t make you strong and quick. It makes you heavy. Muscle makes you strong. We’ve gotten enamored with the 300-pounder, but give me an offensive guard who’s in great shape at 270 or 275 and understands leverage and positioning, and I’ll bet he’ll whip the fat guy every time.”
I had seen the op ed "A Fighting Spirit Won't Save Your Life" when it was published last week, but I hadn't bothered to read it. Then I heard Don Imus - who has prostate cancer and sponsors the Imus Ranch for Kids with Cancer - rip the article to pieces on his radio show.
So I read it yesterday. if you're on facebook - here's the address to the op ed -
... there’s no evidence to back up the idea that an upbeat attitude can prevent any illness or help someone recover from one more readily. On the contrary, a recently completed study of nearly 60,000 people in Finland and Sweden who were followed for almost 30 years found no significant association between personality traits and the likelihood of developing or surviving cancer. Cancer doesn’t care if we’re good or bad, virtuous or vicious, compassionate or inconsiderate. Neither does heart disease or AIDS or any other illness or injury.
Then he goes on to say -
And while we may be able to point anecdotally to a Gabrielle Giffords as an example of how a fighting spirit improves medical outcome, other people with a spirit just as strong die — think of Elizabeth Edwards, for example. And many patients who employ negative thinking nevertheless recover from illness every day. We want good things to happen to good people and this desire blinds us to evidence to the contrary.
OK. So he references one study - without mentioning other studies and the many practitioners who will vehemently disgree with him (the author, Richard Sloan is a professor of behavioral medicine at Columbia University Medical Center. He has a book entitled Blind Faith: The Unholy Alliance of Religion and Medicine). Nor does he seem to see the obvious rejoinder to his comment on Elizabeth Edwards; that without her positive outlook and spirit perhaps she would not have lived as long as she did.
Of course these things ARE very hard or even impossible to quantify. And we all have known some people with very positive attitudes, everything to live for, many people praying for them, and still a dismal outcome. Five years ago yesterday, I was discharged from Sloan Kettering after my 20 day stay entailing high dose chemotherapy and an autologous stem cell transplant. Two days after my discharge, the playwright Wendy Wasserstein, who also had lymphoma, died at Sloan Kettering. Why her and not me? I've no idea. This sort of anecdote doesn't "prove" anything (My understanding is that Ms. Wasserstein, who had a young child, had a very good attitude and plenty of people pulling for her). Nevertheless, there's so much anecdotal information, as well as some very carefully constructed studies, that you start to wonder if perhaps Sloan doesn't have his own agenda.
Hmmm, more from his op ed -
But such beliefs have implications for how we regard people who are ill. If people are insufficiently upbeat after a cancer diagnosis or inadequately “spiritual” after a diagnosis of AIDS, are we to assume they have willfully placed their health at risk? And if they fail to recover, is it really their fault? The incessant pressure to be positive imposes an enormous burden on patients whose course of treatment doesn’t go as planned.
It is difficult enough to be injured or gravely ill. To add to this the burden of guilt over a supposed failure to have the right attitude toward one’s illness is unconscionable.
I must have missed the memo that this was a serious issue in medicine today. And according to the Amazon reviews, Sloan makes a big deal about this in his book. It seems to me (anecodotally!) that here is a member of academia, trying to create an issue that doesn't exist.
My friend and business associate Judy gets the credit (?) for this -
Here's how to keep all that political 'news' in perspective... 1. The Wall Street Journal is read by the people who run the country.
2. The Washington Post is read by people who think they run the country.
3. The New York Times is read by people who think they should run the country and who are very good at crossword puzzles.
4. USA Today is read by people who think they ought to run the country but don't really understand The New York Times. They do, however, like their statistics shown in pie charts.
5.. The Los Angeles Times is read by people who wouldn't mind running the country, if they could find the time -- and if they didn't have to leave Southern California to do it.
6. The Boston Globe is read by people whose parents used to run the country and did a poor job of it, thank you very much.
7. The New York Post is read by people who don't care who is running the country as long as they do something really scandalous, preferably while intoxicated.
8. The Miami Herald is read by people who are running another country, but need the baseball scores.
9. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch is read by people who want only the score of the Cardinals game. They drink Budweiser, Budweiser, and -- wait a minute -- what was the question?
10. The San FranciscoChronicle is read by people who aren't sure if there is a country or that anyone is running it; but if so, they oppose all that they stand for. There are occasional exceptions if the leaders are handicapped minority feminist atheist dwarfs who also happen to be illegal aliens from any other country or galaxy, provided of course, that they are not Republicans.
11. The National Enquirer is read by people trapped in line at the grocery store.
12. The Seattle Times is read by people who have recently caught a fish and need something to wrap it in
The new study by scientists at the Universities of California and Potsdam has found that half of the glaciers in the Karakoram range, in the northwestern Himlaya, are in fact advancing and that global warming is not the deciding factor in whether a glacier survives or melts.
Their report, published in the journal Nature Geoscience, found the key factor affecting their advance or retreat is the amount of debris – rocks and mud – strewn on their surface, not the general nature of climate change.
Glaciers surrounded by high mountains and covered with more than two centimetres of debris are protected from melting.
"Sputnik moment," however, sounded to us not just false but clichéd. And in fact, it turned out the president himself had trotted out the "our generation's Sputnik moment" line before, at a Dec. 6, 2010, speech in North Carolina. But we doubted it originated in the White House speechwriting shop. It sounded like the work of a far, far worse writer. Sure enough, our suspicions were confirmed by a book review in the Sept. 9, 2008, edition of the New York Times: "Thomas L. Friedman's latest book is a plea for a new Sputnik moment."
Friedman, it turns out, has been beating the Sputnik drum since the Clinton years ...
The article goes on to show Friedman using the line many, many times.
PRESIDENT OBAMA entered office promising to be a different kind of politician - one who would speak honestly with the American people about the hard choices they face and would help make those hard calls. Tuesday night's State of the Union Address would have been the moment to make good on that promise. He disappointed.
I didn't watch the President's State of the Union speech - I haven't watched any in years. The last one would probably have been in 2002, a few months after 9/11.
But I do read the next day commentaries.
I found the "Sputnik moment" thing odd - what speechwriter gave him that metaphor?
Here's another strange quote from the speech:
Many people watching tonight can probably remember a time when finding a good job meant showing up at a nearby factory or a business downtown. You didn’t always need a degree, and your competition was pretty much limited to your neighbors. If you worked hard, chances are you’d have a job for life, with a decent paycheck, good benefits, and the occasional promotion....
Huh? I'm ten years older then Obama and have no memories of anything like that. Is he just talking to unionized workers?
Anyway, I'm sure many Democrats found the speech "uplifting", like Congressman Anthony Weiner - go here.
Having just arrived, here we are. In the background is a gathering under a red Jesuit banner of several hundred young people. They are about 300 yards from the main rally on the Mall. There are lots of mini-rallies going on, while people are introduced from the main podium (pretty tedious really,if you're young) on the Mall.
And here's the Jesuit banner, about two hours later, at the end of the March, in front of the Supreme Court.
A sample of the March itself, after the rally on the Mall, as people arrive at the top of Constitution Ave.,and then turn right to approach the Supreme Court.
And here's the crowd right behind this group. Pictures taken from the Dirksen Senate office building steps, at 3:03, 75 minutes after the front of the March had reached the Supreme Court. When we left at 3:30 people were still pouring up Constitution Ave.
If you've gotten this far, here is an article from the Washington Post,
Their post is here. I embedded the video below, which consists of little snips from the Sarah Palin's Alaska series on The Learning Channel (TLC). Brigid and I watched a number of the episodes and enjoyed them. By TLC standards, the series attracted a large audience.
The vid is four and a half minutes long. Watch and decide if the Huffpost succeeded -
Brigid and I went to the annual K of C dinner on Thursday, with John Sekelsky honored as the Man of the Year.
John was born in 1923, had five children and seems to have lived in Croton forever. He made a living as an artist and graphic designer, and has always had a quick wit and sparkling personality, while being self-effacing.
You would never know he flew 28 missions over Germany in WW II, as a radio operator on a B-17. A real American hero.
Here are some pictures from the dinner.
Adam Rodriguez, the Grand Knight of our Council, made the presentation.
He'd be laughed out of town. And yet, this is precisely what the Democrats are claiming as a virtue of Obamacare. During the debate over Republican attempts to repeal it, one of the Democrats' major talking points has been that Obamacare reduces the deficit - and therefore repeal raises it - by $230 billion. Why, the Congressional Budget Office says exactly that.
Very true. And very convincing. Until you realize where that number comes from. Explains CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf in his "preliminary analysis of H.R. 2" (the Republican health-care repeal): "CBO anticipates that enacting H.R. 2 would probably yield, for the 2012-2021 period, a reduction in revenues in the neighborhood of $770 billion and a reduction in outlays in the vicinity of $540 billion."
As National Affairs editor Yuval Levin pointed out when mining this remarkable nugget, this is a hell of a way to do deficit reduction: a radical increase in spending, topped by an even more radical increase in taxes.
Hit the link. The whole essay is superb - facts are facts. And it puts the lie to the idea that Obamacare was about healthcare. It's about expanding government, pure and simple.
The uber-cheerleader for all things leftist-whacko, and attack dog against everything else. Keith Olbermann did not allow any guests on his show who disagreed with his views. When I am in the gym between eight and nine, I channel-surf between him, O'Reilly, and CNN.
Hit this link to see his announcement - look & you'll find it -
Posted this, because when Brigid and I came to Croton, after getting married and living in Cayman, we'd go to Gallagher's II and play Pac-Man while having a couple of beers. Would have been around 1982 ...
“The city regrets that it cannot pay a higher percentage,” Vallejo officials said in the court filings. “The city lacks the revenues to do so while maintaining an adequate level of municipal services, such as the provision of fire and police protection and the repairing of the city’s streets.”
The formal legal plan is based on a five-year road map City Council members approved at the end of November, tackling $195 million in unfunded city pension obligations, cutting payments for retiree health care, reducing pension benefits for new employees, raising pension contributions for current workers, and creating a rainy-day fund.
A peek at the future for bondholders of other municipalities near bankruptcy?
Widely considered the best available talent remaining on the Hot Stove market, Soriano converted an American League-leading 45 saves, out of 48 chances, last year, helping the Tampa Bay Rays edge the Wild Card-winning Yankees for the AL East title.
Soooo, will Joba Chamberlain get another shot at being a starter? Hope so.
And will Mariano Rivera become the all-time save leader?
With 559 career saves, Rivera will enter 2011 chasing the recently retired Trevor Hoffman's all-time record of 601, but Soriano could also appear in save opportunities on days when Rivera is unavailable to pitch.
"[Packers QB] Aaron [Rodgers] is the best QB and the receiving corps is the best ever, maybe," Favre said in the e-mail. "But [defensive coordinator] Dom [Capers] and the defense gets the MVP award at this stage.
Last month, the largest ever international survey of cancer survival rates showed that in the U.S., women have a 63% chance of living at least five years after diagnosis, and men have a 66% chance -- the highest survival rates in the world. These figures reflect the care available to all Americans, not just those with private health coverage. In Great Britain, which has had a government-run universal health-care system for half a century, the figures were 53% for women and 45% for men, near the bottom of the 23 countries surveyed.
A 2006 study in the journal Respiratory Medicine showed that lung cancer patients in the U.S. have the best chance of surviving five years -- about 16%. Patients in Austria and France fare almost as well, and patients in the United Kingdom do much worse with only 5% living five years. A report released in May from the Commonwealth Fund showed that women in the U.S. are more likely to get a PAP test every two years than women in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the U.K., where health insurance is guaranteed by the government. In the U.S. 85% of women ages 25-64 have regular PAP smears, compared with 58% in the U.K.
The same is true for mammograms. In the U.S., 84% of women ages 50-64 get them regularly, a higher percentage than in Australia, Canada or New Zealand, and far higher than the 63% of women in the U.K. The high rate of screening in the U.S. reflects access as well as educational efforts by the American Cancer Society and others.
As we approach the 50th anniversary of his inauguration - the first presidential inauguration I remember. I remember he being a very young man, and the soon-to-be ex-president Eisenhower being old. And Robert Frost - another old guy - having trouble reading his poem - the wind was blowing the sheets he was reading from. So Frost recited a different one of his poems - don't remember what it was - from memory.
And I remember Kennedy giving his speech. I would have been nine years old at the time.
The brief interview by some ESPN guy right after yesterday's game is all over TV. Wow, was Scott amped up. He felt very "disrespected" at the way the Jets were more or less written off by sports media before the game was played, and especially the Jets defense.
While confined here in the Birmingham city jail, I came across your recent statement calling my present activities "unwise and untimely." Seldom do I pause to answer criticism of my work and ideas. If I sought to answer all the criticisms that cross my desk, my secretaries would have little time for anything other than such correspondence in the course of the day, and I would have no time for constructive work. But since I feel that you are men of genuine good will and that your criticisms are sincerely set forth, I want to try to answer your statements in what I hope will be patient and reasonable terms.
I think I should indicate why I am here In Birmingham, since you have been influenced by the view which argues against "outsiders coming in." I have the honor of serving as president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, an organization operating in every southern state, with headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. We have some eighty-five affiliated organizations across the South, and one of them is the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights. Frequently we share staff, educational and financial resources with our affiliates. Several months ago the affiliate here in Birmingham asked us to be on call to engage in a nonviolent direct-action program if such were deemed necessary. We readily consented, and when the hour came we lived up to our promise. So I, along with several members of my staff, am here because I was invited here I am here because I have organizational ties here.
But more basically, I am in Birmingham because injustice is here. Just as the prophets of the eighth century B.C. left their villages and carried their "thus saith the Lord" far beyond the boundaries of their home towns, and just as the Apostle Paul left his village of Tarsus and carried the gospel of Jesus Christ to the far corners of the Greco-Roman world, so am I compelled to carry the gospel of freedom beyond my own home town. Like Paul, I must constantly respond to the Macedonian call for aid.
Moreover, I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial "outside agitator" idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds.
You deplore the demonstrations taking place in Birmingham. But your statement, I am sorry to say, fails to express a similar concern for the conditions that brought about the demonstrations. I am sure that none of you would want to rest content with the superficial kind of social analysis that deals merely with effects and does not grapple with underlying causes. It is unfortunate that demonstrations are taking place in Birmingham, but it is even more unfortunate that the city's white power structure left the Negro community with no alternative.
In any nonviolent campaign there are four basic steps: collection of the facts to determine whether injustices exist; negotiation; self-purification; and direct action. We have gone through all of these steps in Birmingham. There can be no gainsaying the fact that racial injustice engulfs this community. Birmingham is probably the most thoroughly segregated city in the United States. Its ugly record of brutality is widely known. Negroes have experienced grossly unjust treatment in the courts. There have been more unsolved bombings of Negro homes and churches in Birmingham than in any other city in the nation. These are the hard, brutal facts of the case. On the basis of these conditions, Negro leaders sought to negotiate with the city fathers. But the latter consistently refused to engage in good-faith negotiation.
The easiest way to read the whole document after you hit the link is to copy and paste it into word; then it prints out at 12 pages.