Keith Olbermann’s Fat Jokes Aimed At Conservatives – Har Dee Har Har!

Keith Olbermann, the obviously-pro-liberal-biased “journalist” on MSNBC, is known for his puerile jokes about conservatives. Rather than be clever, he resorts to playground jabs at the appearance of those conservatives that particularly irritate him: mainly, fat jokes.

Props to for these gems:

During an interview with Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter, Olbermann began: “In his inaugural address, the President essentially tried to create a wedge between those who are reasonable and those who are not. Of course, he was talking about the Muslim world. Is it possible in this different context that he’s trying to do the same as he seeks bipartisanship with the Republicans, sort of, you know, separate, Mullah Limbaugh from the herd?”

And further down the post:

After Alter talked about how Obama, like Reagan, tries to talk about the big picture, Olbermann made another one of his infamous jabs at the physical appearance of conservatives, which at times have come in the form of fat jokes. Olbermann: “And we won`t make any large jokes about Mr. Limbaugh.”

Last September, while discussing one of the presidential debates, Olbermann talked about the possibility of Obama “throwing Henry Kissinger back in Senator McCain’s face,” adding that doing so “is physically a tough act to do certainly.”

Another post on the site reveals fat jokes about about Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes made by Olbermann. Please go and read the full post, since it’s breath-takingly hateful. An sampling:

The trend toward fat jokes began last Wednesday, September 27, as Olbermann proclaimed that Ailes had “achieved a perfectly circular shape” as the Countdown host attacked Ailes’ criticism of Bill Clinton’s conduct during an interview with Fox News host Chris Wallace. (NewsBusters post on that Countdown.)

On Thursday’s show the personal insults continued as Olbermann called Ailes “the circular gentleman” and referred to him as “Sydney Greenstreet,” an overweight and bald actor who passed away in 1954. The Countdown host also recommended that Ailes “leave some food for Canada.” (First recounted in this NewsBusters item.)

But the first two days were only an appetizer compared to Friday as the Countdown host not only directly called Ailes “fat ass,” but made several other fat jokes during that one show, calling Ailes “the round man” and “the rotund refugee.” He also referred to Ailes making a statement “between pies” and cautioned viewers: “Don’t get your hands too close to his mouth.” (Mark Finkelstein’s NewsBusters item on Friday’s insults.)

The man should be ashamed to call himself a liberal in the true sense, and especially should be ashamed to call himself a journalist. I don’t care if his Countdown show is opinion-based — personal, hate-filled jabs are just a sign that he wants to destroy the character of these people and not his substance differences with their politics.

Destroying people? Bad. Destroying their politics? Better.

Keep trying, Keith.

BigLiberty on the Michael Graham Show!

This morning I was on the Michael Graham show as a call-in, talking about Deval Patrick’s new plan to funnel $300,000 to employers to encourage employees to lose weight.

Here’s the basic transcript of my argument:

Regardless of how you believe being fat affects health and healthcare costs, the problem is not with fat people, or people with cancer, or women, or whatever group arguably costs “more,” but with a system whose costs are so bloated by regulation and state requirements that people are desperate and infuriated that they’ve starting pointing fingers at whoever is the scapegoat du jour?

Plus, who’s going to pay for the weight loss plans? Those aren’t free. And they don’t work well – that’s why the weight loss industry rakes in so much cash, about 60 billion a year. There has been NO weight loss plan shown to work for the majority of participants five years out.

I will get you the full transcript, and link to hear it for yourself, if I’m lucky enough for it to be put up as a podcast later in the week.

This show is listened to by thousands of people. I was glad to get my view heard, and Michael was extremely receptive to it.

We’re making a difference. Just keep on keeping on!

Fat Wedding 7: Photoshopping the Bridal Weight Neurosis

This is a short post about a this photo, pointed out to us on

In what ways do you believe that this photoshopping job does or does not exemplify the “perfect bride” neurosis so currently popular?

I’d note these qualities:

* The super-pale, almost ash-grey skin

* The impossibly small waist, about the diameter of the too-large head

* The shoulders wider than the hips

* The obviously-colored blonde, smooth hair

* The knobby wrists

* The over-large breasts, each about the size of the bride’s face

* The f**k-me blow-up doll pouty lips and expression

Obesity virus – it’s old news.

There has been a humongous press release today calling obesity contagious. A human adenovirus, similar to the common cold, has been implicated in causing potentially 30% of all known obesity.

What wasn’t released was that this is old news.

Yup, they’ve been doing these animal studies for a while, trying very hard to find a correlation between human obesity and increased body weights in animal injected with various viruses, including the human adenovirus.

Read for yourself.

Infectobesity: Obesity of Infectious Origin — Dhurandhar (2001)

(Journal of Nutrition. 2001;131:2794S-2797S.)

The Department of Nutrition and Food Science and the Center for Molecular Medicine and Genetics, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI 48202

Abstract: In the U.S., the prevalence of obesity increased by 30% from 1980 to 1990, and this increase appears to be continuing. Although obesity has multiple etiologies, an overlooked possibility is obesity of an infectious origin. Six pathogens are reported to cause obesity in animals. Canine distemper virus was the first virus reported to cause obesity in mice, followed by Rous-associated virus-7, an avian retrovirus, which has been shown to cause stunting, obesity and hyperlipidemia in chickens. Next, the obesity-promoting effect of Borna disease virus was demonstrated in rats. Scrapie agents were reported to induce obesity in mice and hamsters. The final two reports were of SMAM-1, an avian adenovirus, and Ad-36, a human adenovirus that caused obesity in animals. Additionally, an association with human obesity is the unique feature of SMAM-1 and Ad-36. Although the exact mechanism of pathogen-induced obesity is unclear, infection attributable to certain organisms should be included in the long list of potential etiological factors for obesity. In addition, the involvement of some pathogens in etiology of obesity suggests the possibility of a similar role for additional pathogens.

Human adenovirus-36 is associated with increased body weight and paradoxical reduction of serum lipids — R L Atkinson1, N V Dhurandhar2, D B Allison3, R L Bowen4, B A Israel5, J B Albu3 and A S Augustus6

International Journal of Obesity (2005) 29, 281–286. doi:10.1038/sj.ijo.0802830

  1. 1Obetech Obesity Research Center, Richmond, VA, USA
  2. 2Department of Nutrition and Food Science; Wayne State University, Detroit, MI, USA
  3. 3Obesity Research Center, St Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital, Columbia University, College of Physicians and Surgeons, NY, USA
  4. 4Bowen Center, Naples, FL, USA
  5. 5Department of Pathobiological Sciences, University of Wisconsin, Madison, USA
  6. 6Departments of Medicine and Nutritional Sciences; University of Wisconsin, Madison, USA


BACKGROUND: Human adenovirus-36 (Ad-36) increases adiposity and paradoxically lowers serum cholesterol and triglycerides in chickens, mice, and non-human primates. The role of Ad-36 in human obesity is unknown.

OBJECTIVES: To determine the prevalence of Ad-36 antibodies in obese and nonobese humans. To evaluate the association of Ad-36 antibodies with body mass index (BMI) and serum lipids.

DESIGN: Cohort study. Volunteers from obesity treatment programs, communities, and a research study.

SUBJECTS: Obese and nonobese volunteers at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, and the Bowen Center, Naples, Florida. Obese and thin volunteer research subjects and 89 twin pairs at Columbia University, New York.

INTERVENTIONS: Study 1: 502 subjects; serum neutralization assay for antibodies to Ad-2, Ad-31, Ad-36, and Ad-37; serum cholesterol and triglycerides assays. Study 2: BMI and %body fat in 28 twin pairs discordant for Ad-36 antibodies.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Presence of antibodies to adenoviruses, BMI, serum cholesterol and triglycerides levels.

RESULTS: Significant (P<0.001) association of obesity and positive Ad-36 antibody status, independent of age, sex, and collection site. Ad-36 antibodies in 30% of obese, 11% of nonobese. Lower serum cholesterol and triglycerides (P<0.003) in Ad-36 antibody-positive vs -negative subjects. Twin pairs: antibody-positive twins had higher BMIs (24.5plusminus5.2 vs 23.1plusminus4.5 kg/m2, P<0.03) and %body fat (29.6plusminus9.5% vs 27.5plusminus9.9%, P<0.04). No association of Ad-2, Ad-31, or Ad-37 antibodies with BMI or serum lipids.

CONCLUSIONS: Ad-36 is associated with increased body weight and lower serum lipids in humans. Prospective studies are indicated to determine if Ad-36 plays a role in the etiology of human obesity.

I’m not Sandy at Junkfood Science, but I’m a reasonable researcher and I’d like to know this: if this adenovirus causes 30% of fat people to be that way, why did 11% of thin people in the study group carry the virus?

Also: “Twin pairs: antibody-positive twins had higher BMIs (24.5plusminus5.2 vs 23.1plusminus4.5 kg/m2, P<0.03) and %body fat (29.6plusminus9.5% vs 27.5plusminus9.9%, P<0.04).” So there’s a 1.4 kg/m^2 +- ~5 kg/m^2. If I remember correctly from my error analysis class, the margin of error being greater than the actual difference means you can not say there exists an association. This also covers the 2.1% body fat difference, since the margin of error is ~10%.
So this was a null study.
So why the new press release? Was there a new study? Turns out that the person interviewed about the possibility of a “contagious” obesity was the person who had preemptively coined the term “infectobesity” in his 2001 animal study: Dr Dhurandhar himself:

For the past ten years, Dr Nikhil Dhurandhar from Louisiana has been carrying out animal and human studies on the virus, Adenovirus-36.

He believes it could be one of the mechanisms causing some people to put on weight more quickly.

As far as I can tell, there has been no new study. However, there was this interesting (dare I say, fear-mongering?) article in the Journal of Pediatric Obesity, by one of Dhurandhar’s 2005 study, Dr. Richard Atkinson:

Could viruses contribute to the worldwide epidemic of obesity?

Author: Richard L. Atkinson a
Affiliation: a Obetech Obesity Research Center, Richmond, VA

Published in: journal International Journal of Pediatric Obesity, Volume 3, Issue S1 2008 , pages 37 – 43

The prevalence of obesity in children increased rapidly starting about 1980 in both developed and developing countries. Studies of changes in diet and physical activity, television watching, and food advertisements on television suggest that these are not sufficient to explain the epidemic. The pattern of rapid spread is suggestive of an infectious origin. The concept of virus-induced obesity is not new. Eight viruses have been shown to cause obesity in animals and there is evidence for virus-induced obesity in humans. Recent evidence on animal and human adenoviruses suggests that these adenoviruses may infect adipocytes to alter enzymes and transcription factors resulting in accumulation of triglycerides and differentiation of preadipocytes into mature adipocytes. The E4orf1 gene of Ad-36 has been shown to be responsible for the adipogenic effect. It appears that a portion of the worldwide epidemic of obesity since 1980 could be due to infections with human adenoviruses.

The abstract and title are filled with fear-words like “epidemic,” “rapid,” “rapidly” – though any statistician will tell you that child weights and heights have not increased rapidly at all, though the definition of obesity has itself been revised downwards twice since 1980.

The question to ask when there has been a press release of this magnitude – old news being picked up by nearly EVERY news outlet in the span of a few hours – who are they trying to scare, and why?

This is old news. Its release could only be the sign of one thing: someone is trying to make you even more disgusted and afraid of fat people than society has told you to be thus far. Someone stands to benefit from your fear. Fear leads to desperation, which leads to people signing onto things they would normally not sign onto.

My guess is that they’re trying to push a new childhood immunization, which would line the pockets of whomever would develop it. Or they’re trying to further cordon off fat children (because all the suggestions in these abstracts is that it is “caught” during childhood).

Either way, it’s old news, and it’s clearly a press-release to make people afraid. Who stands to profit from this fear remains to be seen.

Jay Severin Rails Against MA Anti-Obesity Laws

Jay Severin of 96.9 FM WTKK has been outspoken against the state of Massachusetts and its new anti-obesity campaign put forth by Governor Deval Patrick (D).

Though Jay’s personal views on obesity aren’t fat-friendly by any means, Jay illustrates that one does not have to think well of obesity to fight for the right of individuals not to have their civil rights eroded or taken away entirely because of how much they weigh.

The best political friends of fat people are libertarians, and others who believe in a hard and low limit to government size and power.

You don’t have to be in Massachusetts to listen to Jay. He’s on 3pm – 7pm EST every weekday. Listen online at

Michael Graham of WTKK has also spoken out for body autonomy and against these intrusive new regulations. Here’s a great quote from his recent blog post (though I don’t agree that “kids eat too much and exercise too little, the point is sound), “Massachusetts: The Fat is in Our Heads“:

Does anyone think the overweight children of the Commonwealth will drop so much as a Whoopee Pie–much less a pound–from Patrick’s efforts? Of course not. Patrick will talk, legislators will vote, taxpayers will foot the bill…and our kids will still eat too much and exercise too little.

Meanwhile, as I write in the Boston Herald today, there’s a very simple action Beacon Hill could take today that would have an immediate, positive impact on our kids. Allow more charter schools.  But Gov. Patrick won’t. Even though a new study proves charter schools outperform everything else, our politicians oppose their expansion to serve more kids.

Fat people, libertarians are the only party out there that doesn’t think we should “do something” about obesity. It’s time to get back to our roots, and embrace libertarianism with gusto, as a vehicle to protect our civil rights.

EDIT: Just to reiterate, I do *not* agree with Jay Severin’s personal attitude regarding fat, especially fat women. In fact, just about five minutes ago he said that shockingly thin models were good role models for women and that our society was very sadly becoming more accepting of fat “bottoms” on women. He also said that he spoke for all men. lol!

UK Readers – Sign fat parental rights petition

richie79, a regular poster on the Big Fat Blog messageboards and a commenter here, has successfully created a petition to win back parental rights for fat people. I’ve quoted his post below, where he describes the petition and provides the link. Please help him out, and get your UK friends to sign, too!

I’ve never used the No.10 Downing Street petition system for anything, but the case of the Halls in Leeds got me thinking about whether I could turn this system (which based on searches for the O-word is most often used by bigots to campaign for stripping fat people of various rights) to our advantage.

Lo and behold the powers-that-be have approved my petition to repeal / ban any laws, guidelines and policies which deny fat people the same adoption, reproductive and parenting rights that are enjoyed by those who happen to be thin. The blurb focuses on adoption (grrr to 1000-character limits!) but the title is intended to be non-specific and covers Social Services policies for taking fat children into care and the blanket ban on IVF for women whose BMI is over 30.

If you’re in the UK (or an overseas expatriate) you can add your ‘signature’ to the petition to ‘ensure the right to family life’ for our fat brothers and sisters. I’m not under any illusions that it will make much difference, but 200 signatures normally generates a full-page response from the Prime Minister’s office – that alone would make an interesting read!

It’s open for six months (until July 22nd) and you can use an alias or pseudonym to sign provided you supply a valid UK address (which won’t be displayed). That data isn’t held by the British Government but in encrypted form by the politically neutral charity which administers the site.

Dissent is Patriotic.

…and, starting noon today, I will be a proud dissenter.

Happy Inauguration Day, everyone, especially proud dissenters who remain skeptical, though skepticism is extremely unpopular right now (and might even get you called a very special kind of bad name).

The best thing about America is its support for the marketplace of ideas, where two opposite opinions can be voiced with equal right. I will be exercising my right to dissent in about a half an hour. 🙂


Mass in Motion – “I did it, so you SHOULD do it, too!”

We’re all familiar with the sanctimony of some dieters. Dieting is painful, and obsessive – it’s only natural people going through it would want some kind of incentive from the world, some kind of approbation for their struggle.

However, dieter sanctimony – the idea that the struggles of the dieter more closely parallel a moral quest for enlightenment than simply a desire to attain a popular body type – is far more than simple approbation. It places the dieter on a moral high ground, and all non-dieting fat people on a low ground. The dogma of the sanctimonious dieter: “I did it, so you can do it, too!”

We read it in comment pages on any article that even hints at weight, we hear it at family dinners or friend get-togethers, we see it in diet ads on TV, buses, and train station walls.

However, dieter sanctimony is fundamentally non-threatening. They can’t force us to be like them – they can’t force us to “do it, too.”

Unless, of course, they’ve got a big public grant, and serve on the Massachusetts Public Health Council.

She landed in Boston as a slight 8-year-old, a child of immigration. And with the start of school came loneliness.

“I had no friends,” Lucilia Prates Ramos said. “Food became my friend. It’s hard to give up a good friend.”

Now, after decades of battling weight gain, Prates Ramos serves on the state’s Public Health Council, an appointed panel that establishes the health agenda in Massachusetts.The council yesterday expressed wide support for a campaign against obesity championed by Governor Deval Patrick’s administration, and, as it did, Prates Ramos acknowledged to fellow members: This struggle is my struggle, too.

If one santimonious dieter weren’t enough, the Public Health Council is fortunate to sport two:

Paul J. Lanzikos told the council he has lost 40 pounds in the past 10 weeks, a pronouncement that sparked applause. Lanzikos said that for years, as executive director of North Shore Elder Services, he has urged the aged to take better care of themselves. A few months back, he said, he decided he should heed his own advice.

“Literally, my knees were so painful, it was hard to walk up stairs,” said Lanzikos, who dropped from 333 to 293 pounds.

In an interview, he attributed his success to Weight Watchers and his “advocating wife.”

Great, so he’s got a concern-troll spouse, is in the pocket of Weight Watchers (who likely saw Mass in Motion coming down the pipeline and wanted to do a special kind of lobbying), and a shitty doctor who couldn’t help him with his pain. Oh yes, and I call Bingo! on “taking better care of themselves” = “weight loss.”

For all who aren’t familiar, Mass in Motion is a statewide program in Massachusetts to combat obesity, announced recently by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick. It aims to put calorie counts on all menu options in all restaurants in the state (great idea during this soft economy — d’oh!), and would require all children to be weighed every four years of school (because public school is where the state gets to control your kids and you can’t do a daggum thing about it, because you can’t afford to send them to private school because of your ever-increasing state and federal taxes — nyah, nyah!).

Here’s Sandy at Junk Food Science’s take on Mass in Motion.

The two quoted members of the Public Health Council, Ramos and Lanzikos,  represent two kinds of sanctimonious dieters – the Guilty Emotional Eater (hon, everyone eats emotionally, sometimes), and the Fountain of Youther (get some cortisone, and tell your wife that losing weight will not make you immortal).

But don’t they represent a good deal of the Fantasy of Being Thinners? Which is why the Public Health Council was so moved, and it will be why Massachusetts is going to swallow decreasing individual liberty and loss of body autonomy with a grin and applause.

I’ve got to get out of this state.