Friday, January 20, 2006

America! Let's solve our problems by not solving them!

PROBLEM #1: Fat America

News item:

2 Approaches to the Nation's Obesity Epidemic Coming Up for Review

Published: January 17, 2006

Two new approaches to weight loss are up for review by federal regulators. And they represent vastly different solutions to the nation's obesity epidemic - for consumers and for the companies behind the drugs.

One, called Acomplia, would be a prescription pill to control appetite by blocking the same brain receptors that stimulate the "munchies" in marijuana smokers. Some financial analysts see Acomplia as the most promising new drug of the year, and they predict multibillion-dollar sales eventually for its maker, the French company Sanofi-Aventis.

The other, with the proposed name Alli, is a weight-loss drug that works by blocking the body's absorption of fat. Since 1999 it has been sold in the United States as the prescription medication Xenical. GlaxoSmithKline is proposing an over-the-counter version, a prescription-quality alternative to the diet remedies available in drugstore aisles and over the Internet.

Um, these are "vastly different solutions?" Vastly different than what?

I have an idea. How about educating people in every way possible about eating healthy and ingesting less fat-laden crap? How about insisting that our schools serve healthy foods as part of this educational program? How about increasing the amount of exercise our kids get everyday, in and out of school?

What's that you say? That's a bad idea? Oh... Just give `em a pill! Of course! What was I thinking?!

McDonald's and Taco Bell can contnue to peddle garbage masquerading as food, and the drug companies can make money fixing the problems all that fat creates! It's a win-win!

I'm with you now! I love capitalism! One hand feeds the other (so to speak).

Nevermind the astronomical costs in healthcare, lost worker productivity, and the early deaths of thousands and thousands of Americans each year from complications of obesity.

PROBLEM #2: Oil - Limited supply, soaring prices, no plan to reduce dependency

News item 1:

Kuwait oil reserves only half official estimate-PIW

LONDON, Jan 20 (Reuters) - OPEC producer Kuwait's oil reserves are only half those officially stated, according to internal Kuwaiti records seen by industry newsletter Petroleum Intelligence Weekly (PIW).

"PIW learns from sources that Kuwait's actual oil reserves, which are officially stated at around 99 billion barrels, or close to 10 percent of the global total, are a good deal lower, according to internal Kuwaiti records," the weekly PIW reported on Friday.

News item 2:

US sees Iraqi oil production choked for years

Iraq has vast hydrocarbon potential that could rival major producers such as Saudi Arabia and Russia, but United States government analysts are predicting that Iraqi oil production development will remain thwarted for years to come.

Let's see now... Kuwait has been lying about its oil reserves and the world actually has 5% less oil than previously believed. Iraq is a mess and it's oil delivery system may be devastated for years to come. Iran may soon be blown to bits. China is gobbling up oil faster than it can be sucked from the ground...

And our government is doing what, exactly, to reduce our oil consumption? Giving big tax breaks to companies that buy gaz guzzlers like Hummers?

Makes sense to me!

Oh, but we need to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve so we can be "energy self-sufficient!" That'll solve our energy problems! If it wasn't for those damn environmental Nazis...


According to this Department of Energy assessment of the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve (ANWR) oil field:

The USGS made the following estimates in 1998 of technically recoverable oil and natural gas liquids from the ANWR Coastal Plain:

* There is a 95 percent probability (a 19 in 20 chance) that at least 5.7 billion barrels of oil are recoverable.

* There is a 5 percent probability (a 1 in 20 chance) that at least 16 billion barrels of oil are recoverable.

* The mean (expected value) estimate is 10.3 billion barrels of recoverable oil.

Gee, wonder what our daily oil consumption was last year... Oh! Here it is!

Consumption of petroleum in the US reached record highs in 2005, climbing 1.7% over 2004 levels to an average 20.7 million barrels per day (7.5 billion barrels annually), according to data from the DOE’s Energy Information Administration.

So we'd get a year, maybe a year-and-a-half's worth of oil out of the Arctic. Well, that solves everything! No need to reduce consumption! We have 12 to 18 months worth of oil where the polar bears, musk oxen and caribou roam along, with the 135 species of birds that call the refuge home.

Hey, tough luck, creatures! I want to drive my tax-break Hummer!

Damn environmental Nazis...

Money talks. And having the reigning powers in this country in the pockets of the pharmaceutical and energy industries (to name just two) means we ignore the real issues and plaster over the fault lines with money-making plans for these favored industries. (Nevermind the train-wreck, big-pharma-giveaway that is Medicare D.)

Oh, and we've turned the corner in Iraq, too.

I know, I know, I'm a traitor and I need to be spied upon without a warrant.

I hope Glaxo can come up with an anti-traitor pill.


At 1/22/2006 1:36 PM, Blogger wobblie said...

See, Bob, your problem is that you're dealing with "facts," but one-sided facts. If you'd look at our more fair-and-balanced "facts," you'd see that there's absolutely no problems at all!

Pills are awesome! I have pills that make me grin ear-to-ear from when I wake up until I take my pill to help me sleep. There are even pills to help you control the manner in which you eliminate your bodily wastes! Perfect control over our bowels! What humankind has been striving to perfect for millenia, we've now achieved in chewable form!

And Bob, why would Detroit insist on making gas-guzzling super-duper suburban transport vehicles if there wasn't going to be plenty of cheap gasoline to make those six-block trips to the pharmacy? I mean, c'mon.

See, no problems at all!

At 1/22/2006 2:17 PM, Blogger Bob Johnson said...


I'm taking a pill right now that counteracts the side effects of all of the other pills I'm taking.

Of course, the side effect of this anti-side effect pill will require an anti-anti-side effect pill.

Just doin' my bit to keep the economy going.

At 2/01/2006 6:06 PM, Blogger Scorpio said...

One of those pills comes with a "serving suggestion" of Depends.


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