Ohio…the “Nanny State”

Full confession: I used to be a fat kid.  I was a scrawny, sickly toddler until my concerned grandparents decided to plump me up.  So, between the ages of three and five, I went from underweight to severely overweight.

According to a recent Associated Press release, an 8-year old boy from Cleveland Heights, Ohio, is being placed into foster care because his family has failed to control his weight, which the state has determined to be a form of “medical neglect.”  Weighing slightly over 200 pounds, the boy suffers from severe obesity; most boys his age are only 60 pounds.  Despite the mother’s protests that she has tried her best to help him, the state has determined that it is in the boy’s interest to be temporarily placed in a foster home.  Cuyahoga County (my home county!) is of the opinion that putting children temporarily in foster care is more ethical than obesity surgery or other drastic recourses to promote weight loss.

This scenario raises an interesting ethical question: When is the state justified in taking children out of their parents’ custody?
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The Dark Knight Rises…in Seattle

Fans of masked heroes will be thrilled to know that vigilante justice is not unique to Gotham City.  According to a recent Reuter’s article, Seattle’s very own Phoenix Jones has been unmasked.

Phoenix, whose real name is Benjamin Fodor, was recently arrested for assault after pepper-spraying patrons of a local night club because he suspected that they were involved in a street brawl.  When the police arrived, Fodor was being attacked by an angry woman with her shoes.   The Seattle police have not charged Fodor, and he vows to return to vigilante work.
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F for Fat


Math? A.

Reading? B+.

Writing? B-.

Science? A-.

Physical Education? Pass.

BMI? What?!

Yes, this is now what a typical report card looks like in Malaysia.  According to a BBC news article, the Malaysian government has mandated schools to record students’ BMI on their report cards as an effort in the national campaign against obesity.  Teachers are now required to measure the height and weight of their students.

Although the government claims that this is merely an effort to make parents more aware of their children’s weight and to help them monitor their health, it has stirred up quite the controversy in the West.  Anyone who has ever hid a report card from a parent knows why—fear and shame.

To learn about the policy, click on this video (after the jump): Continue reading “F for Fat”

Your Apple Juice May be Killing You…Seriously

TV host, Dr. Oz, and the FDA have gone to war over apple juice after he claimed on his show that the arsenic levels in many brands are poisoning consumers.  According to a recent Atlantic Wire article, the FDA is failing miserably to debunk this latest health hysteria despite its best attempt.  It looks like in this battle royale between a bureaucratic governmental agency and a charming TV personality, the TV personality is winning.  The FDA just doesn’t have the same adoring legion of (mostly) female fans.

The deeper issue (believe it or not) lies beyond whether your apple juice is killing you.  Rather, I think this latest incident calls to question the intentionality and the repercussions of Dr. Oz’s proclamation.  Is it morally reprehensible that Dr. Oz is fanning the health hysteria if he truly believes it?  Debatable. Is it sad that so many Americans are brain-washed by what they see on TV? Definitely.

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Reasons for a Rapture

A couple weeks ago, I saw a series of billboards a near my house so strange that they warranted a Google search. In almost no time, I found that these fiery displays, threatening the end of days, belonged to Harold Camping, the almost 90-year-old Family Radio preacher who was certain that God would make his final judgments last Saturday.


With the exception of his few loyal followers, Camping was probably the only one of us who was disappointed when he opened his front door Saturday morning and realized the world wasn’t enduring any sort of rapture. After a weekend of silence, Camping emerged from his California home Monday to concede that the 21st was simply a “spiritual rapture” and that the world will really come to an end this October.

Now, I like to think I am fairly well-versed in Christianity, and though I may disagree with much of what many prominent Christians preach, I can usually understand how they came to have these beliefs. Camping’s date setting, however, raises a lot of questions for me.

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The Man Who Cried Radiation

The boy who cried “wolf!” met an unfortunate end.  Last week, the man who cried “radiation!” did too.

According to a recent Reuter’s article, a Chinese man in the Zhejiang province, Chen, was jailed for 10 days and fined 500 yuan for spreading online rumors that Japanese radiation had contaminated Chinese waters.  Chen posted a note via an online-message board to urge his family members and friends to stockpile salt, to avoid seafood, and to spread the message.

Censorship and individual liberties are clearly the defining issues in this case; however, the more interesting question is whether is posting “RADIATION” on the internet is the same as screaming “FIRE” in a crowded theatre.  Is one more morally “okay” than the other?

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