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August 31, 2010

Army boot camps to add yoga, cut back on the running

The Tao of Boot Camp : Lawyers, Guns & Money
That familiar standby, the situp, is gone, or almost gone. Exercises that look like pilates or yoga routines are in. And the traditional bane of the new private, the long run, has been downgraded. This is the Army’s new physical-training program, which has been rolled out this year at its five basic training posts that handle 145,000 recruits a year. Nearly a decade in the making, its official goal is to reduce injuries and better prepare soldiers for the rigors of combat in rough terrain like Afghanistan. . . . The rationale for the changes are the general levels of ill-fitness the Army sees in large percentages of new recruits. Youth raised on sugary sodas and saturated fat lack the bone density and endurance to safely train the old way. As I discussed last November when the DOD released its report “Too Fat to Fight,” this public health problem is also a national security problem and I concur with our generals that it ought to be solved by stronger federal intervention into – and funding for – healthy food in public schools.

August 30, 2010

Focus on the Family fighting anti-bullying measures in our schools

Her argument is basically, "If you don't let kids abuse gay kids for being gay, then gay kids might think being gay is okay"? And that's pretty damn evil. Focus on Family says anti-bullying efforts in schools push gay agenda - The Denver Post
Public schools increasingly convey that homosexuality is normal and should be accepted, Cushman said, while opposing viewpoints by conservative Christians are portrayed as bigotry. Eliza Byard, executive director of the national Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, agrees with a big part of that statement. "Yes, we want LGBT students afforded full respect," she said. GLSEN says its agenda is to ensure safe schools and acceptance for all students, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, race, national origin or ability. "Bullying is a serious public health crisis in this country, according to no less an authority than the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services," Byard said.

A journalist discusses being targeted by the anti-vaccine fundamentalists

Covering Vaccines | Reporting on Health
What I experienced in the wake of my Wired story was similar in tone (although my child was spared). Like Offit, the vast majority of the feedback I received was positive, but the negative stuff would make your hair stand on end. As I blogged at the time, “Here are some of the questions I’ve been asked: ‘Do you believe in anything?’ ‘Do you have children?’ ‘You went to Yale?’ I’ve been called stupid, greedy, a whore. (You can read reader comments here.) I’ve been called the author of “heinous tripe.” J.B. Handley, the founder of Generation Rescue, the anti-vaccine group that actress Jenny McCarthy helps promote, sent me an essay titled, “Paul Offit Rapes (intellectually) Amy Wallace and Wired Magazine.” In it, he implied that Offit had slipped me a date rape drug. Later, he sent me a revised version that omitted rape and replaced it with the image of me drinking Offit’s Kool-Aid. That one was later posted at the anti-vaccine blog Age of Autism. On Thanksgiving of last year, as the furor seemed to be dying down a bit, the website Age of Autism — the same site that published Handley’s “Kool-Aid” screed — posted a Photo-shopped portrait of me, Dr. Offit and several others who have written or reported on the vaccine issue (and not blamed vaccines for autism or numerous other maladies) sitting around a table, about to dig in to a holiday feast. The greeting on the card said, “Happy Thanksgiving from The Hotel California.” Instead of a turkey, the main course we were about to dine on was a baby. Still, until Dec. 23, I had this to be thankful for: no one had sued me. Then came the rapping at the door. Here is what Barbara Loe Fisher, who I’d described in my story as “the brain” of the anti-vaccine movement and as “a skilled debater who often faces down articulate, well-informed scientists on live TV,” alleged in her suit: That a two-word quotation (Dr. Offit says of Fisher, “She lies.”) constituted a false statement of fact about her that would cause people to conclude that she is not a person of honesty or integrity. In this way, she alleged, I (along with Dr. Offit, and Conde Nast) had defamed her and caused her to appear “odious, infamous and ridiculous.”