Independent Women's Forum RSS feedhttp://www.iwf.orgThe RSS feed for the IWF. News, Commentary and Blog posts from the Independent Women's Foundation.(...)IWF RSS The Silent Killer?<p> That&rsquo;s it, folks. There&rsquo;s nothing left to eat. With news this week that salad may be hazardous to your health, it&rsquo;s clear we all need to stop eating altogether.</p> <p> Let&rsquo;s face it, food is a killer.</p> <p> Americans have been hearing just that for decades, and yet life expectancy continues to rise while cancer rates go down, as do deaths due to heart disease. And yet, the food alarmism continues. In the 1990s, Americans were warned to avoid butter, cheese, and eggs. Then it was tuna, followed by red meat, followed soon by all forms of animal-based protein. Next, it was carbohydrates&mdash;the pastas, breads, corn-based foods, and rice. Next, we were told bacon was causing cancer along with luncheon meats. More recently, we&rsquo;ve heard warnings about wine and soft drinks (even diet drinks), and all food items containing sugar.</p> <p> Given time, most of these items have returned to favor. Last year, the federal government reversed decades of guidance on cholesterol, which has led to a renaissance for butter, eggs and all forms of fatty foods. After years of telling people to avoid meat, protein-rich diets are now the rage and even carbohydrates are making their return as the food commentariat class again reverses course on grains and other sources of carbs.</p> <p> Despite all the schizophrenic diet advice consumers hear on a daily basis, one thing has remained consistent: vegetables are good for you. But no more. Now, salad&rsquo;s a killer. <a href="">According to a new &ldquo;study&rdquo;</a> (produced by researcher who must have looked around and said, &ldquo;There&rsquo;s nothing left to demonize! How will I make a name for myself?&rdquo;), salad is making you feel anxious, depressed, and unable to fall asleep, among other disturbing outcomes. According to the Daily Mail:</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> &ldquo;Internist Dr. Svetlana Kogan explained that she sees scores of her patients coming in with very non-specific symptoms&mdash;shakes, jitters, sleeplessness. But they may not realize that it could all be coming from something they believed to be healthy.</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> She told Daily Mail Online: &lsquo;They feel anxious, depressed, they can&rsquo;t fall asleep. So we look at different environmental factors and often we find that their body has high amounts of copper.&rdquo;</p> <p> So, it&rsquo;s copper. Feeling jittery, having the shakes, having trouble falling asleep. Might this have something to do with, oh, I don&rsquo;t know . . . the times we live in today? Perhaps people might feel uncertain and nervous and anxious because everything they watch and see is telling them that they are killing themselves and endangering their families? That can be pretty nerve-wracking and anxiety producing.</p> <p> But, for the sake of argument, let&rsquo;s run with this copper idea. Sure, it could be copper. Why not. Considering the presidential election, anything&rsquo;s possible, right? Yet, if it is copper, why does the researcher suggest that the sole source of copper toxicity is from people&rsquo;s vegetable consumption? Note to the doctor: Copper is present in all sorts of food items.</p> <p> Just a quick Google search on &ldquo;foods that contain copper&rdquo; reveals such common food items as seafood, meat, eggs, nuts, seeds and spices, chocolate, and even some beverages&mdash;like coffee and black tea&mdash;contain copper. I don&rsquo;t mean to tell the doctor how to do her job (or how to do a Google search) but perhaps feeling jittery, nervous and sleepless could also stem from drinking too much coffee. Is she unaware that coffee has increased in popularity over the last several decades?</p> <p> Perhaps what the doctor meant to say is this: keep eating your healthy salads and also keep your diets varied. Practice moderation and eat sensible portion sizes. Get outside and take a walk, and don&rsquo;t focus too much on food fads.</p> <p> Most of all, ignore the heavy diet of alarmism being fed to you by headline-hungry researchers.</p> GunlockTue, 17 Jan 2017 12:01:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumFLOTUS, Stop Treating Us Like Toddlers + Is Your Salad Sexist? • Cam & Company GunlockTue, 10 Jan 2017 16:01:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumMrs. Obama, We Are Not Your Kids<p> Last month, Michelle Obama sat down with Oprah Winfrey for what many assumed would be one of those feel-good, lighthearted interviews. Past first ladies have provided similar end-of-term interviews, in which they tend to display both astonishment and relief that it&rsquo;s all over, coupled with the proper magnanimity and graciousness toward the next family to reside in the White House. Yet, this time was different. Far from feel-good, Mrs. Obama seemed more like a frustrated mother lamenting the rebelliousness of her growing child.</p> <p> The biggest headline maker in the interview was her response to Oprah&rsquo;s question about whether she felt that the administration had achieved its goal of &ldquo;hope and change.&rdquo; Mrs. Obama responded, &ldquo;Yes, I do, because we feel the difference now.&nbsp;.&nbsp;.&nbsp;.&nbsp;Now we&rsquo;re feeling what not having hope feels like.&rdquo; Critics rebuked the first lady for suggesting, in narcissistic fashion, that the people feel hope only when the Obamas reside in the White House.</p> <p> But Mrs. Obama&rsquo;s next statement was equally revealing. She said: Our children respond to crises the way they see us respond. You know, it&rsquo;s like the toddler that bumps his head on the table, and they look up at you to figure out whether it hurts, and if you&rsquo;re, like, &ldquo;Oh, my God,&rdquo; they&rsquo;re crying. But if you&rsquo;re, like, &ldquo;You know what, Babe, it&rsquo;s okay, it&rsquo;s okay.&rdquo; And I feel that way about the nation. I feel that Barack has been that for the nation.&nbsp;.&nbsp;.&nbsp;.&nbsp;Having a grown-up in the White House who can say to you in times of crisis and turmoil, &ldquo;Hey, it&rsquo;s going to be okay.&rdquo;</p> <p> This quote betrays the disturbing way in which Mrs. Obama seems to view the American public &mdash; as children in need of constant minding and confidence-building. And yet it&rsquo;s also notable because she and her liberal allies have taken the opposite tack with this election: Rather than reassuring the American public that the country will indeed be okay under a Trump presidency, they look panicked and despairing. Of course, the overheated nature of their reaction is only riling up the toddler in this scenario: Obama&rsquo;s liberal followers.</p> <p> And note that Michelle Obama seems not to grasp that not all Americans share her feelings. Some are indeed feeling hopeless, particularly those who supported Hillary Clinton. But others &mdash; such as the millions who supported the incoming president &mdash; are feeling more hopeful. Some are even ebullient. In fact, it was precisely that desire to rekindle hope, and the feeling of hopelessness that they had throughout the past eight years, that propelled many to vote for Donald Trump.</p> <p> Like many parents who are suddenly shocked at their child&rsquo;s teenage rebellion, Michelle Obama appears surprised to learn that her kids (the American public) have interests and ideas very different from her own. For instance, some of her &ldquo;kids&rdquo; genuinely disliked being told how to eat and live. Some bristled at having their choices limited and being forcefully nudged to eat this way or that. Many balked when government bureaucrats told them how to parent their own kids; they slammed the door on all the unsolicited advice about their personal choices. In fact, most Americans don&rsquo;t like the federal government treating them like children at all.</p> <p> It will certainly be difficult for the first lady to watch as the Republican Congress &mdash; if it does as promised &mdash; rolls back many of the programs and policies she helped push through, such as school-lunch reforms and onerous restaurant-menu labeling. Yet that&rsquo;s the curse of Washington&rsquo;s swinging pendulum and the fickle nature of the American voter. If indeed Michelle Obama sees herself as a mother figure, she should remember that parenting is as much about setting a good example as it is about instructing children. She has an opportunity to set yet another good example for the American public &mdash; as she&rsquo;s done as an accomplished woman and an involved mother, and in serving as a loyal and strong partner to her powerful husband.</p> <p> Let&rsquo;s hope she is able to set aside her own feeling and confusion about this election, let go of those troublesome kids she doesn&rsquo;t seem to understand anymore, and show the incoming first family the kindness and respect they deserve.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> GunlockThu, 5 Jan 2017 14:01:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumWestern Feminists Discover New Tool of the Patriarchy: Salad!<p> Violence against women is spiking around the world. <a href="">According to the BBC</a>, last week, Taliban militants in the northwestern Badghis province of Afghanistan shot and killed a twenty-five-year-old woman who divorced her husband and then remarried. That same week, according to <a href="">multiple news reports</a>, a thirty-year-old woman was beheaded in a remote village in the Sar-e Pol Province in northern Afghanistan for shopping at a market without her husband present.</p> <p> There&rsquo;s more: According to the <a href="">Washington Post</a>, during New Year&rsquo;s Eve celebrations in Bangalore, India, several women reported being groped and molested by what was described by <a href="">another publication</a> as &ldquo;unruly men&rdquo; and &ldquo;hooligans in the garb of revelers.&rdquo; Bolivia has also seen a <a href="">spike in domestic abuse</a>. In 2016, ninety-three women were murdered by their partners or spouses&mdash;thirty-two more than last year. Violence against women has also increased in Pakistan, which, according to <a href="">news reports</a>, &ldquo;has led to a decrease in women&rsquo;s participation in the labor market and involvement in the public sphere.&rdquo;</p> <p> And here in America, feminists are encouraging women to &ldquo;throw off the sexist shackles of salad.&rdquo; That&rsquo;s right; according to Olivia Goldhill at <a href="">Quartz</a>, &ldquo;salads are an unappetizing scam&rdquo; and &ldquo;bowls of leaves are really just the side helping to the constant diet of guilt our culture feeds women about their bodies.&rdquo;</p> <p> While many share Ms. Goldhill&rsquo;s aversion to salads, considering the grim situation for women around the world, salads are not something Western feminists (or columnists) should spend much time thinking about. If this were a purely comedic column, one might give Ms. Goldhill a pass, but her passion for the subject, coupled with quotes from salad experts, betrays how serious a problem she believes this to be.</p> <p> Let&rsquo;s put this in perspective: Yes, I bore myself silly through the week because I eat essentially the same exact thing for breakfast and lunch every day: Eggs for breakfast and a salad for lunch. I put some protein on top of my salad but basically, my sad little bowl of leaves contains the same five ingredients that I always buy at the grocery store: lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and radishes. I top it with lemon and olive oil, and sometimes I add in some protein or a few croutons. I eat my salad without thinking (I&rsquo;m usually reading) or really tasting it. I don&rsquo;t really enjoy it but it&rsquo;s fuel, and it&rsquo;s fiber, and I just want to get something in my belly quickly so that I can move on with other things&mdash;like writing articles about Western feminists&rsquo; inability to focus on things that matter and their fixation on first world problems, like salad.</p> <p> I should give Ms. Goldhill some credit for making some valid points. She rightly points out that our culture puts way too much scrutiny on women&rsquo;s bodies and eating habits, adding:</p> <p> &ldquo;The sad absurdity of stock photos featuring women laughing alone with salads has been a favorite meme for years now. But still, women keep eating those limp leaves. Look around any restaurant and you&rsquo;ll see the vast majority of salads are sitting before women, too many of whom spend every meal worrying about how the food they eat will make them look.&rdquo;</p> <p> If Ms. Goldhill really wanted to attack the cultural obsession with women&rsquo;s bodies though, she would focus not on the sexism of salads, but on some of those promoting body obsession&mdash;like reality star Kim Kardashian and the rest of her derriere-obsessed family, who fuel the myth that you can have a big butt and a small waist. Or maybe she could write about serial flasher Emily Ratajkowskior or any one of the many other young Hollywood stars that show too much skin while also complaining about being seen as sexual objects. Maybe she could take a swipe at those Hollywood mommies who appear to take off the baby weight in three days (and claim they don&rsquo;t diet!).</p> <p> On the food front, Ms. Goldhill misunderstands why women order salads. Many women simply don&rsquo;t actually care to put much thought into lunch. This means that instead of being obsessed with food and fitness and the way food makes them look, many women have the quite healthy attitude that not every meal has to be an epic culinary experience. Food just sometimes means filling up so you can get through your day. Making healthy yet boring decisions is often the fastest way to accomplish that goal.</p> <p> Ms. Goldhilll states that her New Year&rsquo;s resolution is to &ldquo;eat fewer salads and more carbs,&rdquo; arguing, &ldquo;truly eating well means we should enjoy food&mdash;not avoid it.&rdquo; Good for her. And good luck to her. My New Year&rsquo;s resolution is to stop making food so important&mdash;sort of what I think Ms. Goldhill&rsquo;s meant to say in her convoluted article. I also plan to focus on real offenses to women around the world and expose where the sexist shackles are still firmly in place. Hint: it ain&rsquo;t at the salad bar.</p> GunlockThu, 5 Jan 2017 09:01:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumUSDA Demands Holiday Snacks (and Parents) Be Removed From Schools<p> Starting next year, bringing a dozen homemade cupcakes to your child&rsquo;s classroom to celebrate his or her birthday will be tantamount to lighting up a cigarette on the blacktop. Candy canes and gingerbread <strike>men</strike> people will be verboten during the school&rsquo;s <strike>Christmas party</strike> winter celebration. And this Spring, don&rsquo;t expect any candy in the classroom; the <strike>Easter</strike> fuzzy bunny is strictly prohibited from entering school grounds. As for next year&rsquo;s <strike>Halloween</strike> fall festivities: kids should brace for water and carrots (hey, they&rsquo;re orange!). What fun!</p> <p> This is all good news to writer Bettina Elias Siegel, who recently covered this important school-based cookie crisis for a story in the New York Times. Siegel writes (my translation from alarmist gibberish to reasonable person is provided in brackets):</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> The season of <strike>junk-food-laden</strike> [fun and celebratory] classroom holiday parties is upon us. And while some [normal and reasonable] parents see all the cakes, candy and salty snacks as a harmless indulgence during a festive season, <strike>others</strike> [certain joyless, Dickensian, wet blankets] object to any [ANY!] unhealthy food in the classroom.</p> <p> Siegel goes on to provide reassurance by optimistically and without a hint of irony explaining, &ldquo;&hellip;the federal government is stepping in to help address the issue of classroom food.&rdquo; Siegel then reports that starting in 2017, the U.S. Department of Agriculture will require all school districts that participate in school feeding programs (so, you know, all of them) to create &ldquo;nutritional standard&rdquo; for all foods and beverages served in schools, including items brought to the school by parents and any food-based prizes given out by teachers.</p> <p> I don&rsquo;t expect Siegel or anyone who writes for the Times to understand the outright absurdity and hilarity that the feds are &ldquo;here to help&rdquo; with what&rsquo;s being characterized as a holiday food crisis. But, no doubt millions of parents do appreciate how preposterous it is for a government agency (at any level) to spend one millisecond on this issues, considering the, oh, billion or so more important things on which they could be focused. Does any sensible person think this &ldquo;holiday cookies disaster&rdquo; requires federal (or state or local) intervention?</p> <p> Sadly, the answer is a resounding yes for those in the Obama administration. In fact, the feds have been utterly obsessed with school-based food since President Obama took office. First, it was the school lunch &ldquo;reforms,&rdquo; which passed Congress in 2010 and which led to a massive, school-based food waste problem (ignored by liberals and environmentalists) as well as a legion of hungry and generally angry and annoyed kids (ignored by the media) who were forced to eat this &ldquo;healthier&rdquo; food. Then there was the banning of anything resembling a snack in school vending machines. And then, the feds took away the higher-fat and higher calorie &ldquo;a la carte&rdquo; items like mozzarella sticks and nachos sold in school cafeterias and replaced them with fruit cups, baked chips, and yogurt.</p> <p> Of course, what didn&rsquo;t happen was any sort of interaction with parents. At no point was there any discussion with or encouragement for parents to take a bigger role in their kids&rsquo; nutritional development. Parents weren&rsquo;t encouraged to pack lunches, nor were they reminded that school-based food programs are for kids that live at or under the poverty line (so, in other words, some suggestion that maybe richer and middle class parents should stop using the school food program would have been nice). Parents also weren&rsquo;t informed of the significant body of scientific evidence that shows parents who are more involved in their children&rsquo;s eating habits and who practice certain parenting strategies (putting kids to bed earlier, limiting screen time, having family dinners) had children that were better able to maintain healthy weights. That&rsquo;s useful information parents want to hear yet that information was never provided.</p> <p> That pattern is being repeated here. Instead, of encouraging parents to voice their concerns and try to change school holiday celebrations from food-based to game- or activity-based, the solution is always more government. It&rsquo;s as if the folks at the USDA (and the New York Times) have no concept of how schools and parents interact. As parents know, most teachers and schools respond to parent concerns. Thus, encouraging such communication between parents and teachers would be a far simpler way to deal with the so-called &ldquo;season of junk-food&rdquo; than insisting schools create rigid nutritional standards.</p> <p> Sadly, schools will be required to develop these new standards, which will only complicate matters and take parents out of the picture. Consider that instead of going through the process of developing all new nutrition standards, many schools will simply opt for USDA&rsquo;s already approved &ldquo;Smart Snack Rules.&rdquo; These rules actually prohibit parents from bringing in homemade food items, ostensibly to reduce the risk of allergens (because, again, the government doesn&rsquo;t trust kids, parents, and teachers to be able to communicate about such risks). Never mind that this means that the very people who crow about the scourge of processed foods (including the New York Time&rsquo;s own food writer Mark Bittman) are now pushing rules that only allow processed food in the classroom.</p> <p> If we really want kids to be healthy, we need to detangle food from schools and encourage parents to be more involved in what their kids consume. And if your school is really have a holiday cookie crisis, I know a few kids who&rsquo;d be happy to help out. Address provided on request.</p> GunlockMon, 19 Dec 2016 14:12:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumOde To The Strip Mall<p> This Christmas season, I find I&rsquo;m doing a lot more shopping at my local strip mall. Oddly, I&rsquo;m enjoying it.</p> <p> Strip malls often get a bad rap. Most are thought of as cold, architecturally unpleasant outposts for life&rsquo;s necessities&mdash;dry-cleaning, medications, a quick bite to eat, batteries, stationary, a haircut or a manicure, the odd gift or trinket. No one (I know) ever screams with glee at the thought of going to the strip mall on a date or a special occasion. Yet, as our culture increasingly values convenience over character, these throwback retail establishments offer a bit of both&mdash;with some quirkiness and small town friendliness thrown in too.</p> <p> It really didn&rsquo;t really occur to me that I should better appreciate my local strip mall until my good friend Michelle posted what she called her &ldquo;Ode to a Strip Mall&rdquo; on her Facebook page. She wrote:</p> <p> &ldquo;Sure, they are a bit ugly, but in fifteen minutes I was able to pick up some things at CVS, buy a card from the quirky (and a little moldy smelling) stationary store, get my son his favorite pumpkin chocolate chip bread and try (for free) a generous slice of low-carb Dakota bread (not sure what that is, but it tasted pretty good), and get chicken soup for my cold from the (average) Chinese place. If I had time, I also would have stopped into the pricey gift shop and ended up with something for myself I didn&rsquo;t need. I certainly spend my fair share of time at Target, but the ole strip mall does come through and is mysteriously a more satisfying experience.&rdquo;</p> <p> She&rsquo;s right. There&rsquo;s something mysteriously better about a strip mall over a big box store. Now, don&rsquo;t misunderstand, I&rsquo;m hardly one to romanticize a past where you had to visit the butcher, the baker, and the candlestick-maker just to load up on a week&rsquo;s worth of supplies. Despite our modern tendency to romanticize errand-running and to fetishize grocery shopping, prior to the explosion of large-scale retail establishments like Walmart and Target, it wasn&rsquo;t so fun for those actually doing it.</p> <p> My modern-day shopping would have been inconceivable to my grandmother in the 1950s, and even to my mom in the 1970s. No doubt they would have preferred to park their cars once for their weekly shopping. I&rsquo;m able to procure my whole list of items, from a bag of (already washed!) lettuce to a box of thank you notes, prescriptions, light bulbs, a tiny battery for my kid&rsquo;s watch, and even an on-trend and very affordable pair of gloves to replace the ones I carelessly left at the store last week. The ability to get all of these items in one place is called progress&mdash;something to celebrate.</p> <p> Yet, there is something lost to this progress and convenience. My trips to Target or Walmart are always harried, stressful experiences. I rarely find anyone to help me if I need assistance, and when I do, I&rsquo;m often frustrated because they look and act like a pre-teen and don&rsquo;t know how to help me.</p> <p> This never happens at the local strip mall. I can always find an eager and willing assistant&mdash;it&rsquo;s usually the owner of the store. The person is always kind and generous, and they are patient with my young kids. Perhaps it&rsquo;s because I know the shopkeepers, and they better know and care about their customers. I&rsquo;m also better behaved, my quick temper abates as I know I see these shopkeepers around town&mdash;at restaurants, at the post office; one goes to my church. I certainly don&rsquo;t want to appear impatient in front of someone I see one pew down during Advent.</p> <p> Strip malls are a bit of a compromise between the multi-stop type shopping that hipsters prefer and the utilitarian uniformity of the big box store. While compact and varied, one must still leave one store and enter another to make a transaction. Stores tend to fill a niche&mdash;a shoe store, a card store, a restaurant, a hair salon&mdash;and provide consumers a sales associate that more expertly knows the products being sold. Each store looks a little different. It gives one the feel of an old-fashioned main street&mdash;except this main street comes with a big, convenient parking lot. That&rsquo;s a compromise that makes Christmas shopping a bit more bearable and still quite convenient.</p> <p> So this holiday season, head to your local strip mall and be of good cheer.</p> GunlockFri, 16 Dec 2016 10:12:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumPodcast #61 Kellyanne Conway Would Be A Hero If She Were Liberal<p> IWF&#39;s Julie Gunlock is joined by Julie Kelly to discuss Kelly&#39;s op-ed at The Federalist discussing how Kellyanne Conway would be a hero if she was liberal. Kellyanne Conway is the first successful female campaign manager--but she isn&#39;t being treated like it.</p> GunlockWed, 14 Dec 2016 13:12:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumWhat Does A Trump Cabinet Mean For The Nanny State + Vaping Alarmism • Cam & Company GunlockTue, 13 Dec 2016 16:12:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumThanksgiving Leftovers + Soda Taxes • Cam & Company GunlockTue, 29 Nov 2016 15:11:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumNanny Mike Bloomberg and Soda Taxes • Cam & Company GunlockTue, 22 Nov 2016 07:11:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumNanny Bloomberg Strikes Again<p> Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg hasn&rsquo;t held political office for three years. Yet he&rsquo;s still pushing people around and increasing Americans&rsquo; taxes.</p> <p> On Election Day, four cities passed new taxes on soda after Bloomberg spent millions pushing for anti-soda ballot initiatives. In Boulder, Colorado, voters said yes to a 2-cent-per-ounce excise tax on distributors of sugary drinks, which includes sodas, sports beverages and sweetened iced tea. In California, the cities of San Francisco, Oakland and Albany&nbsp;each added a 1-cent-per-ounce excise tax on sugar-added drinks, increasing the price of a two-liter bottle of soda by 67 cents.&nbsp;</p> <p> One thing&rsquo;s very clear: Bloomberg is still smarting from his soda tax humiliation in New York City in 2012, when the New York Supreme Court overturned his absurdly unconstitutional and just plain silly soda-size restriction. He learned from his mistake there, and turned to ballot initiatives that don&rsquo;t outright ban people from purchasing soda, but instead just make it harder for them to do so by raising their price.&nbsp;</p> <p> After funding soda tax ballot initiatives in both Berkley, CA and Philadelphia, PA, Bloomberg pledged to bring soda taxes to a city near you, saying: &ldquo;I will continue working to ensure that cities and nations pursuing these anti-obesity strategies get the support they need to level the playing field with the soda industry.&rdquo; He&rsquo;s kept his promise&nbsp;<a href="">donating a whopping $18 million</a>&nbsp;to organizations that pushed soda taxes in San Francisco and Oakland. Bloomberg&nbsp;also <a href="">donated $200,000</a>&nbsp;to a Boulder-based organization called Healthier Colorado, which spearheaded the soda tax campaign in that city.</p> <p> Those pushing for these taxes always use the same talking points: soda taxes will reduce soda consumption, which will then reduce obesity. But is it really that easy? Is increasing a two-liter bottle of soda by 67-cents really going to make a dent in America&rsquo;s obesity rates?&nbsp;</p> <p> Sadly, the research suggestions the answer is a resounding no.&nbsp;&nbsp;The causes of obesity are complex and soda certainly isn&rsquo;t the only thing making people fat. The leading medical experts on obesity agree that people gain and maintain a higher weight for several reasons, including genetics, food choices, activity levels, gender, and socio-economic level.&nbsp;&nbsp;As for obese consumers&mdash;ostensibly the target of these soda taxes&mdash;<a href="">research suggests</a>&nbsp;most aren&rsquo;t drinking full-sugar drinks at all, choosing sugar- and calorie-free beverages instead. So who is drinking full-sugar beverages? According an&nbsp;<a href="">NIH study</a>&nbsp;on soda consumption, teenage boys are the biggest consumers of sugary drinks and sodas, not obese people.</p> <p> And in fact, these taxes create a whole new set of problems that policy makers ignore. For instance, soda taxes on grocery items like&nbsp;beverages&nbsp;<a href="">are regressive</a>,&nbsp;meaning they hit lower-income families the hardest. In Mexico, where a one-peso-per-liter tax on sugar-sweetened beverages was implemented in 2014,&nbsp;<a href="">63.7% of the revenue raised</a> came from lower-income families. Soda taxes can also lead to job losses as businesses lose customers unwilling to pay the higher price. Again, in Mexico,&nbsp;due to the soda tax,&nbsp;<a href="">more than 30,000 small mom and pop stores closed, resulting in the loss of 50,000 jobs</a>. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p> Americans understand we have an obesity problem in this country. This accounts for the popularity of these measures. People want to help and support solutions. But voters need to understand that these taxes have real, quite serious consequences for businesses and consumers and that these taxes will do nothing to help reduce obesity.&nbsp;</p> <p> Soda taxes today mostly seem like nothing more than a cause celeb for an out-of-touch, bored billionaire. It&rsquo;s time voters realized this and started saying no to both these expensive initiatives and to Nanny Bloomberg.</p> GunlockWed, 16 Nov 2016 08:11:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumParents: Stop Scaring Your Kids About the Election • Cam & Company GunlockTue, 15 Nov 2016 08:11:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumMartha Stewart Snoops to A New Low<p> Moments into the new VH1 <a href="">Martha and Snoop Dogg cooking/freak show,</a> viewers are treated to jokes about pot, porn and profanity. What fun!</p> <p> The show hardly mirrors the much-talked-about trailer, which went viral almost immediately after VH1 released it last month. In that trailer, Martha and Snoop look relaxed as they dance and flirt. They look like they&rsquo;re genuinely having fun. Yet in the series opener, the cohosts look stiff and scripted and totally uncomfortable. Of course, that&rsquo;s what tends to happen when fun is forced.</p> <p> First, Martha announces that she and Snoop are going to be making fried chicken and then tries, unconvincingly, to appear conversational while reading her teleprompter and saying, &ldquo;There exists around one million Instagrams hashtagged with &lsquo;fried chicken,&rsquo;&rdquo; though no one really thinks Martha has any idea what Instagram or hashtags really are. Nor does she care. But this is a vehicle to entertain the show&rsquo;s intended demographic&mdash;young people, who tend to be big consumers of social media platforms like Instagram.</p> <p> Snoop then makes an awkward joke about how there&rsquo;s more of those hashtags if you include the word &ldquo;thighs.&rdquo; Get it? Thighs . . . like a woman&rsquo;s thighs. Even their Ed-McMahon-like sidekick announcer looked like he hurt himself trying to smile (actually, watching this guy continually try to fake smiles and belly laughs is maybe the best part of this pretty awful show).</p> <p> Next, Snoop stares into his own teleprompter and says, unconvincingly, that he has a &ldquo;beef&rdquo; with Martha. Martha then pivots, robot-like, to look into one of the side cameras, feigns concern and with her typical flat tone, perfect annunciation and hard T&rsquo;s, explains: &ldquo;I simply said I make fried chicken a wee bit beTTer than Snoop.&rdquo; This is met with feigned shock by the audience and also by Snoop (who also covers his mouth in a strange girlish affectation).</p> <p> But perhaps the weirdest part of the show occurs when a guest, the rapper and songwriter Wiz Khalifa, is introduced and brings Martha a hostess gift. What could it be? Well, if Khalifa had referenced Martha Stewart&rsquo;s own magazine, he would have found a wealth of ideas. In &ldquo;36 Unique Hostess Gift Ideas From Our Editors&rdquo; Martha suggests personalized coasters, tapered candles, fruit-infused vinegars, tea sachets, or a rosemary tree. How lovely.</p> <p> Yet, on the Pot Luck show, Khalifa brought Martha a big bag of marijuana (his own special blend called Khalifa Kush or KK). As he hands it to her, Martha giggles much like my mother does when someone gifts her with one of those DIY mason jar hot cocoa craft projects that are filled with dry cocoa and sugar and come with a taped-on chocolate dipped plastic spoon. Martha then tries to pretend she doesn&rsquo;t get what&rsquo;s happening and lamely plays it off like she just received some garden herbs (with a hard H, that is). But this was too contrived even for the groupies in the audience. One wonders if they actually have to pipe in laughter during the editing process. The other special guest, actor Seth Rogan, stood watching this bizarre display and then interjected with a reality check, saying, &ldquo;This is the weirdest group of people on a stage today.&rdquo;</p> <p> Indeed. And it was sort of sad, but only for Martha. Once the grand dame of home entertaining, a paragon of proper manners, good taste and high standards, now Martha is desperately trying, like so many stars who were big in the 1980s and 1990s, to stay relevant in a world that moves quickly and has also become increasingly vulgar.</p> <p> Her new show this isn&rsquo;t just a betrayal of Martha&rsquo;s own high standards; it&rsquo;s a betrayal of her loyal fans who for years have aspired to the sort of homemaking and entertaining that Martha created in her own (much bigger and more expensive) home as a guide for other women. Martha was always supposed to be aspirational and inspirational.</p> <p> But Hollywood loves a train wreck, even though viewers have grown weary of the kind of show setup that tears down traditions and standards in the name of shock and laughs. As for Martha, it&rsquo;s a bit baffling that she sees nothing wrong with dismantling the decades of hard work she put in to make us all a bit more civilized and to make the world a bit more beautiful.</p> <p> That&rsquo;s not a good thing.</p> <p> <iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe></p> GunlockMon, 14 Nov 2016 15:11:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumAmerica Rejected Policies Of Past 8 Years On Tuesday • Garrison GunlockThu, 10 Nov 2016 14:11:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumParents: Stop Scaring Your Kids About The Election<p> The morning after the election, I vowed not to go on Facebook . . . and then promptly logged on. As I predicted, my feed was filled with emotional posts from my liberal friends, who were somewhere along the five stages of grief. I saw denial (Vermont hasn&rsquo;t reported yet! There&rsquo;s still a chance!), anger (I&rsquo;ve never been so ashamed of my country!), bargaining (God, if you give this to Hillary, I&rsquo;ll never . . .), depression (I need medication, now!) and acceptance (The sun will rise, folks! Let&rsquo;s move on!).</p> <p> This reminded me of posts I saw after the 2012 election, when Obama won his second term. My conservative friends were in a frenzy; taking to Facebook to post some overly-emotional opinions on the election. I recall seeing a range of questions, from the reasonable &ldquo;How did this happen?&rdquo; to the more agitated &ldquo;Great! Four more years of destroying the country!&rdquo; and, of course, the many posts critical of Obama voters who just wanted a handout&mdash;free food, free education, free this and that.</p> <p> I understood then, and I understand today that people simply need to vent and find solidarity with others feeling similarly confused or outraged. That&rsquo;s entirely appropriate.</p> <p> What isn&rsquo;t appropriate is the many posts I saw from parents both then and today that were so unhinged and distraught that they were unable to conceal their stress and grief from their kids. In fact, many parents invited their kids to share in a family freak out.</p> <p> For instance, on my own Facebook feed, one mom admitted she &ldquo;wept&rdquo; in her daughter&rsquo;s arms, leading her elementary-aged daughter to reassured her, not the other way around. Another mom admitted it was hard to break the &ldquo;distressing news&rdquo; to her children, adding that her children burst into tears when she explained Trump had won (one can only imagine how she broke the news). Another friend said her child was scared of what Trump might do to her and her family&mdash;as if he&rsquo;s watching them. One more explained that her child worried about her brown skin, only to have that fear confirmed by her mother. Many posted a Huffington Post article ,&ldquo;<a href="">What Do We Tell The Children</a>,&rdquo; as if they were preparing to tell their kids &ldquo;daddy has cancer&rdquo; or &ldquo;mommy and daddy weren&rsquo;t going to live together anymore.&rdquo;</p> <p> Of course, there were more thoughtful posts. One mom explained to her daughter that while their family is fortunate to have a nice home and a mommy and daddy with good jobs, not all families enjoy such security and comfort. She went on to gently explain to her daughter that these people are &ldquo;hurting and they voted for change and for the hope that a new president will make things better for them.&rdquo; Sadly, this wasn&rsquo;t the norm. Most people posted overwrought statements filled with the type of hysteria usually reserved for actual tragedy&mdash;like sudden death or job loss.</p> <p> It was clear to me that many parents were forgetting they were parents first, partisans second.</p> <p> Along with the other parenting basics&mdash;providing a stable environment, keeping kids fed, clothed, sheltered&mdash;parents need to keep and make their children feel safe. Safety means more than just locking the doors at night and making sure they don&rsquo;t run into the street. Safety means not freaking them out the day after an election by sobbing in their arms and making statements like, &ldquo;Your future is doomed&rdquo; (yes, that was on my feed too).</p> <p> In addition to talking calmly to your children about the election, parents can also use it as an opportunity to teach kids a little about American history. First, try putting Trump&rsquo;s victory (or if Hillary had won, Hillary&rsquo;s victory) into perspective by telling them the many challenges the American people have faced and survived. Here are just a few good examples: Our fight for independence from a powerful adversary, the Civil War, slavery, institutional racism, denying women and blacks the right to vote, the Great Depression, Woodrow Wilson, two world wars, Japanese internment camps or American Indian reservations, Vietnam, market crashes, terrorism . . . When one considers these tragedies, it makes sobbing about Trump seem a bit of an overreaction, no?</p> <p> Second, Presidential elections are always a good time to explain the phrase &ldquo;loyal opposition.&rdquo; <a href="">According to Wikipedia</a>, the phrase originated in 1826 from a British politician named John Hobhouse during a fight in the British Parliament. Today, the phrase indicates that the political party out of political power (today, that&rsquo;s the Democrats, who also failed to win control of the House and Senate) can oppose the actions of the sitting President and his cabinet while remaining loyal to the source of the government&rsquo;s power&mdash;the constitution. It also ensures that those who are critical of the President or political party leaders aren&rsquo;t accused of treason.</p> <p> As Michael Ignatieff, a member of Canada&rsquo;s House of Commons, <a href="">said in a 2012 speech at Stanford University</a>:</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> <em>&ldquo;The opposition performs an adversarial function critical to democracy itself . . . Governments have no right to question the loyalty of those who oppose them. Adversaries remain citizens of the same state, common subjects of the same sovereign, servants of the same law.&rdquo;</em></p> <p> This is a concept naturally fit for kids. Kids live in authoritarian regimes run by their parents. They have very little control over their own lives and they aren&rsquo;t allowed to oppose their overlords (or they&rsquo;ll get sent to their rooms). Telling a child that in our form of government, people are allowed to argue and disagree without fear of reprisal or punishment is a great way to explain how our democracy works and why the election of a president doesn&rsquo;t spell doom and gloom for those who oppose the winning candidate.</p> <p> Do your kids a favor now that Election Day is over: Be a parent and choose history over hysterics.</p> GunlockThu, 10 Nov 2016 09:11:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's Forum