Greg Roach's Berkshires Blog
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
  Milestones That Don't Mean Much Anymore
It was widely reported today that American deaths in Iraq have now passed the number of people killed by terrorists on 9/11. Aside from some symbolism, I don't really think the number means very much. But to the families of those who have died, both here and there, each death is a horrible loss.

What does resonate with me when I contemplate these things is that the failed Iraq policy that has led to the death of 3000 American soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen (and multitudes of Iraqis, the people we went to "liberate") will be what shapes history far more than the fall of the twin towers.

The awful events of 9/11 will live in infamy, as other tragic days in our history do. However, it is the ill considered fantasy that invading Iraq would change everything and make the United States safer that will be what shapes the greater threats against us, our children and our grandchildren for decades to come.

Unlike Vietnam or the previous French and British occupations of various Middle East territories, we have created and fueled a much larger backlash. By the sheer stupidity of the Bush Administration, followed by the right-wing need to fuel the domestic political fires, we turned the War in Iraq into the long prophesied war of civilizations - east vs west - Muslim vs Christian, rather than actually "fighting terrorism".

The awful truth is that many, many thousands more will die for decades to come because of our short sighted and ignorant actions in Iraq.

Speaking of Milestones that don't mean much anymore, it looks like Saddam will hang within a month since his appeal was rejected. It's odd that this event, which once was the Holy Grail of neo-con foreign policy, will get a day or two's worth of headlines. But the fact is that the real story is much larger than Saddam, and the blame for that tragedy lies squarely at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
Not really a response to your post---have no interest in debating the War---BUT I would like your expert- professional take on NYC's lsw banning TransFats--- Chartock's column a couple of weeks ago called for Berkshire County to do the same thing-- and yet I have read an article that says the decision was based on junk science---I would appreciate your knowledgable and professional response--thank you -chbpod--- ps I am not trying to sand bag you ---you are in the business and who better to go to??? someone who knows what he's talking about---thanks again - chbpod
The science behind transfats is solid. The studies have been conclusive for well over a decade. They are worse for you than saturated fats. The hydrogenation process makes the "bad fats" even stickier and harder for your system to process out.

There is little culinary reason for their existence other than for those who keep kosher and want a butter substitute- i.e. margarine, and the artificial addition of the hydrogen molecule makes them more stable under high temperature - i.e. deep frying. (the temperature point saves restaurants that fry their foods money. That's all. It is not a flavor or quality issue. We've only had them in our diet for a generation.)

At one point people thought they were better for your health than saturated fats, but they were wrong. So there is absolutety no health benefit to their use. They are not "neutral". They are bad for you. There is only a downside.

The ban in NYC is a little silly, but because a huge percentage of the treatment of obesity, arterial and cardiac diseases are picked up by the taxpayer, I can see how government can justify some regulation.

The real kicker is that McDonalds, *by far* the biggest user of transfats, is getting ready to transition them out of their kitchens. At that point, the economics of producing transfats will change and they will no longer be a cheaper alternative to the tradition fats.

The industry will change in the next few years, regardless of governmental bans or, on the flip side, pseudo-science groups that are funded by industry. Your heart will thank them for it, and your tastebuds will too.
Thanks Greg----OK so there's a ban in NYC restaurants---what about products with trans fats in supermarkets--should they also be banned- or at least regulated in some fashion?? I'm all for warning labels--but outright bans??---too much nanny state for me-warning labels are the result of litigation-----cigarettes can cause cancer-----everyone knew that BEFORE warning labels----I can remember in the 1940's and 50's cigarettes being referred to as "cancer sticks"---and there was a popular song "Puff -Puff (or was it "Smoke) that cigarette---St. Peter I can't go (was one of the lines------and MacDonalds getting sued because some woman spilled hot coffee in her lap---she didn;t order iced coffee----well I don't envy you-- preparing food and serving it to the public---can be a risky business----anyway- thanks for the answer to my question-- Happy Holidays--chbpod
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