Are grains killing us--or at least, killing our New Years Resolution to lose some weight? Karl Smith looks at this infographic and wonders:
As always, no one disputes that wedging will result in weight loss. That is driving calories-in and calories-out in opposite directions will lower the caloric content of the body. Excluding water there is a rough relationship between caloric content and mass. For most fat, which is our primary concern in obesity, the relation is about 3500 calories per pound.
The tendency of all animals is to try to get calories-in and calories-out to move in harmony. If you have to wedge then that means that this system has failed. At a minimum we would like to know why.
Historically people worked a lot more than they do now. They also ate a lot more than they do now. From the year 1400 to 1970 average calories expended fell dramatically but so did average caloric intake. Obesity was never a severe problem. The system did not fail.
Then from 1970 to 2010 average calories expended actually rose but calories consumed rose more and obesity exploded. The system failed.
If you go and look at the actual graph though, you can see Gary Taubes's thesis on display. This is natural since the dataset used to make the graph is one of Gary's favorites. First you see meat falling, then fat falling/stalling, then sugar falling as various healthy eating theories rose to prominence.
The only thing that rises consistently is grains. Gary insinuates and sometimes outright says that obesity was caused by the encouragement international health authorities for people to eat more grain. The naturally tendency is for people to eat more meat as calories become easier to obtain. He suggests that consciously overriding this mechanism led to an excess of insulin and possibly deficiency of peptide YY, which are key regulators of caloric balance.
I am skeptical of this theory, but it is one that at least recognizes the underlying theoretical problems.
I too am skeptical of this theory, and here's why. It's totally true that if you look at the change in the American diet since the 1960s, grain consumption has gone up dramatically, growing right along with our waistlines. The problem is that this is only true for the 1960s. Check out my sadly less snazzy infographic showing the caloric contribution of various elements to the US food supply since 1910:
As you can see, we have never gotten back up to the nearly 40% of calories from grains that we consumed in the early part of the 20th century.
Now, of course, food supply is not a perfect proxy for food consumption--but it's a pretty good proxy, especially in an era before massive farm subsidies. Was it that all the grain consumed before 1950 was healthier whole grain? No.As flour became an industrial product in the late 19th century, mills began processing out the germ and other "whole wheat" elements because the fats in the germ caused the flour to go rancid. By 1914, your great grandmothers were mostly baking with white flour. Polished ("white") rice was similarly well established, and for some of the same reasons. And of course corn, the other major American grain, does not have a healthier "whole" alternative.
To me, the Taubes theory only works if you start your dataset in the 1970s. If you look earlier, you notice that our sturdy forebears were in fact giant balls of carbohydrates (the grain figure doesn't even include the two hundred pounds of potatoes Americans ate every year in the early 20th century.) Yet they were not fat.
I hear a lot about Taubes' theory from people pushing the notion that "we're evolved to eat meat and fruit, not processed grains". I mean, true as far as it goes--but it doesn't go very far. A ribeye and an arugula salad with oilive oil and vinegar is almost as far from what our paleolithic ancestors ate as pasta primavera and an angel-food cake. The meat our ancestors ate in the wild was not mostly fat-rich steak--game animals don't have that much body fat, and their muscles are a lot less tender. We've selectively bred our domesticated animals for considerably more succulence than our ancestors enjoyed. In the rich world, we've also stopped eating the "gamier", more vitamin-rich organs. In fact, almost every fruit or vegetable you enjoy eating has been bread to be larger, higher-calorie, and full of less in the way of fibers and natural pesticides than what our pre-agricultural ancestors ate.
Yet it's only now that we're getting fat. Which suggests to me that the cause is something other than the variation from our "natural", meat-rich diet.
Conservatives once warned that Obamacare would produce the Democratic Waterloo. Their inability to accept the principle of universal coverage has, instead, led to their own defeat.
Seven years and three days ago, the House of Representatives grumblingly voted to approve the Senate’s version of the Affordable Care Act. Democrats in the House were displeased by many of the changes introduced by Senate Democrats. But in the interval after Senate passage, the Republicans had gained a 41st seat in the Senate. Any further tinkering with the law could trigger a Republican filibuster. Rather than lose the whole thing, the House swallowed hard and accepted a bill that liberals regarded as a giveaway to insurance companies and other interest groups. The finished law proceeded to President Obama for signature on March 23, 2010.
A few minutes after the House vote, I wrote a short blog post for the website I edited in those days. The site had been founded early in 2009 to argue for a more modern and more moderate form of Republicanism. The timing could not have been worse. At precisely the moment we were urging the GOP to march in one direction, the great mass of conservatives and Republicans had turned on the double in the other, toward an ever more wild and even paranoid extremism. Those were the days of Glenn Beck’s 5 o’clock Fox News conspiracy rants, of Sarah Palin’s “death panels,” of Orly Taitz and her fellow Birthers, of Tea Party rallies at which men openly brandished assault rifles.
The House abandoned its legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, handing President Trump and Speaker Paul Ryan a major defeat.
Updated on March 24 at 6:28 p.m. ET
To a man and woman, nearly every one of the 237 Republicans elected to the House last November made the same promise to voters: Give us control of Congress and the White House, and we will repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.
On Friday, those lawmakers abandoned that effort, conceding that the Republican Party’s core campaign pledge of the last seven years will go unfulfilled. “I will not sugarcoat this: This is a disappointing day for us,” House Speaker Paul Ryan said at a press conference after he informed Republicans that he was ditching the American Health Care Act.
“We did not have quite the votes to replace this law,” Ryan said. “And, so yeah, we’re going to be living with Obamacare for the foreseeable future.”
"Where people are desperate, it is still America they count on, whether they love or scorn it, and America they blame when aid does not come."
After Donald Trump’s victory in the U.S. presidential election in November, a foreign ambassador accosted one of my deputies at the State Department, where from 2014 to early this year I served as theassistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights, and labor. “You must be so sad!” the man, a representative of a Central Asian government, said, grinning widely. “All this talk of elections being important, of democracy being important, and now look at you! Now even your new president says there were 3 million illegal votes in your election! … You must all feel so stupid these days.”
Since then, the global club of autocrats has been crowing about Trump. Sudan’s dictator Omar al Bashir praised him for focusing “on the interests of the American citizen, as opposed to those who talk about democracy, human rights, and transparency.” Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei thanked him for showing “America’s true face” by trying to ban Muslim immigration. The Cambodian government justified attacks on journalists by saying Trump, too, recognizes that “news published by [international] media institutions does not reflect the real situation.”
Walk into the offices of Memac Ogilvy Advize, an advertising firm on the third floor of a car rental building in a business district of West Amman, Jordan, and you’ll be greeted with an immense black-and-white photo of Donald Trump’s face. The red cursive text printed across it reads: “We Trumped the awards.”
The sign sits behind a reception counter boasting a large trophy won at the Dubai Lynx 2017, an annual advertising competition where Memac Ogilvy won the Grand Prix for PR (a first for any Jordanian agency) along with four other silver and gold prizes, for trolling Trump in their ads on behalf of Royal Jordanian Airlines.
Speaking after the collapse of the Republican health-care bill, the president assigned blame to plenty of parties but cast himself as a mere bystander.
Speaking in the Oval Office Friday afternoon, President Trump surveyed the wreckage of the Obamacare repeal effort and issued a crisp, definitive verdict: I didn’t do it.
The president said he didn’t blame Speaker Paul Ryan, though he had plenty of implied criticism for the speaker. “I like Speaker Ryan. He worked very hard,” Trump said, but he added: “I'm not going to speak badly about anybody within the Republican Party. Certainly there's a big history. I really think Paul worked hard.” He added ruefully that the GOP could have taken up tax-reform first, instead of Obamacare—the reverse of Ryan’s desired sequence. “Now we’re going to go for tax reform, which I’ve always liked,” he said.
The Obama years left Republicans with excellent ratings from the Heritage Foundation, and no idea how to whip a vote.
The Republican Party’s marquee legislative initiative had just imploded in spectacular, and humiliating, fashion Friday afternoon when Paul Ryan stepped up to a podium on Capitol Hill. The beleaguered house speaker wasted no time in diagnosing the failure of his caucus. “Moving from an opposition party to a governing party comes with some growing pains,” he said. “And, well, we’re feeling those growing pains today.”
Ryan wasn’t wrong. The GOP’s inability to maneuver a health-care bill through the House this week—after seven years of promising to repeal and replace Obamacare—is, indeed, emblematic of a deeper dysfunction that grips his party. But that dysfunction may not be as easy to cure as Ryan and other GOP leaders believe.
Even after the failure of the Republicans’ health-care bill, there are still significant ways Trump and his allies can roll back the Affordable Care Act’s provisions.
At least for the moment, the American Health Care Act is dead.
After two weeks of last-minute changes, Congressional Budget Office estimates, and an escalating tripartite skirmish between two wings of the Republican Party and the Trump White House, House Speaker Paul Ryan announced late Friday afternoon that a floor vote on the GOP’s Obamacare replacement would be canceled and the legislation pulled. Facing a 17 percent national approval rating for the bill and loss of support from both the conservative Freedom Caucus and moderate Republicans, Trump and congressional lawmakers appear willing to walk away from health care for the moment. It’s a reprieve, at the very least, for Obamacare.
The Affordable Care Act’s supporters are celebrating, and it’s not hard to see why. The strategy of forcing Republicans to choose between keeping their repeal promises and keeping the most popular parts of the law looks like Sun Tzu wrote it at this point. For now, the projected consequences of the AHCA won’t come to pass: 24 million people won’t lose insurance coverage, premiums won’t quintuple for low-income near-elderly people, and Medicaid funding for states won’t be cut over the next decade. But even if the current congressional battle over repeal-and-replace is over—or temporarily postponed—Republicans still have plenty of tools at their disposal to dismantle key pieces of Obamacare.
Michael Anton actively courts controversy with his extreme views. But how much influence does he have in the White House?
Michael Anton warned last year that 2016 was the Flight 93 election: “Charge the cockpit or you die.”
Americans charged. Donald Trump became president of the United States. And Anton, the author of that now-notorious essay, is helping to fly the plane—running communications for the National Security Council.
Anton cuts a curious figure through the Trump White House. A thoroughly educated dandy, his writings are at the core of an effort to construct an intellectual framework around the movement that elected a president who has shown no inclination to read books and who speaks in an unpretentious New York vernacular.
"I’m a huge admirer,” White House chief strategist Steve Bannon said. “I think Michael is one of the most significant intellects in this nationalist movement.”
Most of management theory is inane, writes our correspondent, the founder of a consulting firm. If you want to succeed in business, don’t get an M.B.A. Study philosophy instead
During the seven years that I worked as a management consultant, I spent a lot of time trying to look older than I was. I became pretty good at furrowing my brow and putting on somber expressions. Those who saw through my disguise assumed I made up for my youth with a fabulous education in management. They were wrong about that. I don’t have an M.B.A. I have a doctoral degree in philosophy—nineteenth-century German philosophy, to be precise. Before I took a job telling managers of large corporations things that they arguably should have known already, my work experience was limited to part-time gigs tutoring surly undergraduates in the ways of Hegel and Nietzsche and to a handful of summer jobs, mostly in the less appetizing ends of the fast-food industry.
If the lobbyist’s work did indeed “greatly benefit the Putin Government,” the contract wouldn’t be especially out of the ordinary for an American lobbyist—or for Russia.
MOSCOW—The reports that former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort had had a contract for tens of millions of dollars to “greatly benefit the Putin Government” were not exactly news here. And, in a certain sense, they didn’t have to be news in Washington, either.
Manafort, who has reportedly just volunteered to testify in the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation of Russian meddling in the U.S. election, had been a lobbyist, a notorious one, for decades. His work for less-than-democratic governments, including various African strongmen and the Marcos family of the Philippines, had been well-known in Washington and reported over the last year. It is also not uncommon for lobbyists and political operatives waiting out an administration of the opposite party to work abroad, helping foreign governments of whatever stripe sharpen their political game. Democratic operatives who had worked on the Obama and Clinton campaigns, for example, have done work advising politicians in Britain, Ukraine, and Georgia. Manafort seemed to have fewer moral qualms and filters than others—the only ticket to access his political skills, it seems, was the right amount of money—but it was all part of the swamp the Donald Trump campaign, with Manafort at the helm for about five months, promised to drain.