Thursday, December 07, 2006

Chávez, Trans Fat Take Top Priority for Yesterday's Metro

Two of my favorite topics--President Hugo Chávez and American obesity gracing the cover of yesterday's Metro--I couldn't believe it. I know I'm a day late, but I just had to comment on it. Let's start with the former.
My history of respect for Hugo Chávez starts with a rant I made defending his actions before the U.N., mocking President Bush. I later followed it up by saying how ironic it was that race-for-Governor-of-Massachusetts underdog Christy Mihos denounced Chávez's actions as buffoon-like and unprofessional in light of his own commercial that painted the Romney-Healey administration's and Big Dig big shots' lack of oversight which led to the Big Dig being billions of dollars over budget in the exact same manner. And there Chávez was yesterday, almost larger than life, on the bottom half of the front page, as if looking down on the millions of Metro readers worldwide, having won, by an even greater margin than Deval Patrick over Kerry Healey for Massachusetts Governor, reelection for President of Venezuela. But, of course, some might confuse my respect of Chávez for total support, so I will clarify now as I did previously.
When a politician can stand before the U.N., or any other important assembly and use seemingly inconsiderate words and gestures to make his best assessment of another another politician in this case our President George Walker Bush, I feel that it takes a level of sophistication, that, to reiterate a previous point, seems to be lacking both at home and around the world. And while most, such as those who wanted to take down Kenmore Square's beloved over it, would take off the "essment" part and say that that was what Chávez made of himself, and follow it up by saying it may cost Venezuela a coveted seat at the U.N. Security Council to Guatemala, the proof is in the pudding: Venezuelans like Hugo Chávez. And not like "50% of the country likes you, 50% doesn't" like President Bush; not like "vote-for-me-or-die" ex-President Saddam Hussein or President Fidel Castro; no, this a a true like, an "over-60%-of-the-country-actually-likes-me" like. Overkills, on the "likes," but you get the point. He must be doing something right. The Metro though so too--Chávez on the cover; new Defense Secretary Roberts Gates on page five. I, for one, will at least give him respect that he tries to do good things. Will I eat these words a few years down the road--I doubt it. He would have to at least have to reach the status Hussein had--which he isn't aspiring for--and even then, as with Hussein, a decent majority will question how much of a threat he really is.
But moving on to the yesterday's cover story: the issue of American obesity, specifially trans fats. In a rant that I, honestly, think about from time to time because the point was to attack the eating habits and treatment of subordinates of the upper-crusted of America--not where they come from or what they believe in and I may have gone slightly too far (not far enough to remove the post, ha!) , I questioned how buying, generally more expensive, "healthy" foods could possibly be the cure-all for American obesity, especially in today's youth. Is trans fat the cigarette of the '00's in the sense that it, like cigarettes will no longer be permitted in restaurants and other public establishments.

Let me digress for a moment to say that I'm the first, baby, to make the comparison, so you read it here first!

Back on Earth and off my literary high, my point is how far will the government go to regulate people's lifestyles? While I don't smoke (never have, never will) and eat minimal trans fats just out of habit from what I eat, it seems like there's an underlying notion here: the government hates unhealthy people. Sound farfetched to you? Consider the recent case of a man fired from working at the Cape Cod branch of the Scotts landscaping company because the company, to save on health costs, had a zero-tolerance on smoking in or out of the workplace and nicotine showed up in a random drug test administered to the man. Many city and state governments, including Massachusetts, have zero-tolerance smoking policies in place for first-responder type positions such as the police and firefighters for the same reason--to save on health costs. So why else would New York City, and Boston which will more than likely soon follow suit, place a ban on the use of trans fats citywide other than that it hates picking up the tab for the general public, mainly on those with no or "weak" health insurance, for hospital visits as a result of the health risks associated with eating foods made with trans fats? I mean it can't be about public image--New York City with the highest percentage of users of mass transit in the nation and Boston being the "walking city" (and having a "decent" transit system ridership numbers) certainly are way below average when it comes to obesity as a percentage of the population. So while some media sources add "obesity" to the list of trans fat concerns, I think it's more about healthcare. But, of course, write back! Disagree! I'm a very open-minded individual if you don't know by now.


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