Saturday, June 30, 2018
By Bob Gaydos
There I was, minding my own business (sort of), scrolling through my Facebook news feed trying to find a video on the Yankees game sandwiched in among all the posts about ICE agents snatching kids away from their parents at the border, Scott Pruitt using his security detail to fetch him lotion and the trending, new puzzle -- "Where's Melania?" -- when the ad grabbed my attention.
Did I want to take the "Mainstream Media Accountability Survey''?
Huh? The what?
Who the heck is conducting this survey? I blurted to no one in particular.
It didn't take long to find out. The ad, I was informed by Facebook's new, better-late-than-never policy of full disclosure, was "Paid for by the Trump Make America Great Again Committee, a joint fundraising committee authorized by and composed of Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. and the Republican National Committee."
In the process of telling Facebook to never send me another post from the Trump MAGA Committee, I asked Facebook (as it now also allows me to do) how I even got this targeted ad -- I'm familiar with targeting Facebook ads -- in the first place.
Facebook offered two possibilities:
I shared the views of Trump MAGA. Uh, you could probably know that wasn't true within 10 seconds of scrolling my wall.
The committee was targeting individuals between the ages of 18 and 65 living in the United States of America. That would be known as a pretty loose target audience, geography wise, but I fit. However, I have aged out of the age parameters, so Facebook messed up anyway. Your algorithms still need work, folks.
At any rate, being a longtime member of said "mainstream media," I was hooked. I had to check out the "survey."
George Orwell would have been proud; George Gallup not so much.
Here's the first question: "Do you trust the mainstream media to put the interests of Americans first?
Other, please specify:"
Loaded much? Remember, it's supposedly targeted to like-minded individuals. As surveys go, this one evidenced the Trump team's view of the scientific method: Ignore it.
Question number two: "Do you trust the mainstream media to report fairly on our presidency?" Same choices.
Then, in order: "Do you trust (NBC, CNN, MSNBC, Fox News) to report fairly on our presidency?" Same options.
If you're sensing a pattern, you are correct. It's all in the same vein as Der Leader's message: These people are really untrustworthy enemies of the people, aren't they?
Here's just one more question, to demonstrate what passes for policy in the Trump GOP: "On which issues does the mainstream media do the worst job of representing President Trump? (Select as many that apply.)"
Radical Islamic Terrorism
Pro-life values/social issues
Second Amendment rights"
Note -- "the worst job" as the operative choice and "as many as apply." Nothing like piling on, folks.
The questions get more ridiculously slanted as the 25-question "survey" goes on. I fully expect the results to be proudly posted on Facebook and bantered around Fox News, With any luck and if Facebook follows my instructions, I won't see them. But millions will and, again, those people who buy anything Trump sells will believe it and I'm pretty sure the Mainstream Media isn't going to come out too well.
In the same week this ad appeared, Trump came late and left early at the G7 meeting of top world economies in Canada, but not before wrongly accusing Canada of burning down the White House in 1812 and threatening to cut off trade with our staunchest ally and largest trading partner while insisting Russia, which was booted out of the group after "annexing" Crimea, should be allowed back in.
Then Drumpf headed to Singapore where he intended to conduct negotiations on nuclear weapons with North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un by sizing up his opposite number in the first minute or so via "feel." It was also reported that Dennis Rodman, the former NBA star and reputed friend of Kim, was heading to Singapore, perhaps to play second fiddle to Kim as he once did for Michael Jordan. Trump had John Bolton as his sidekick. Rodman has the size, but I'd bet anything Bolton uses his elbows under the boards.
What's the point of all this? Well, maybe that, under Trump, the real, the true, the factual, the serious business of life has become demonized and trivialized to the point that everything is treated as a reality TV show and millions of Americans are -- for reasons no one has yet explained to my satisfaction beyond sheer ignorance and bigotry -- hooked. Those videos of children being snatched from parents and locked up by ICE? Not true, say Trumpsters. Media lies. Or, if true, then necessary, the attorney general says, because " as if there could be any legitimate "because."
The Republican Party as a functioning political organization has ceased to exist. Trump makes it up as he goes along and scapegoats anyone who points out his lies, ignorance, pettiness, greed and other overwhelming deficiencies. But the "survey" will come out and it will confirm his claims of bias by the mainstream media and it will be posted on social media and mailed to all white people in America likely to vote for Trump because that country with the strongest economy ever, that country that promises freedom and opportunity to all, that country so many "other" people are willing to risk losing their lives -- or their children -- in order to live in, needs to be made great again.
Survey says Betsy DeVos can relax. The dumbing-down of America is well under way.
Tuesday, June 5, 2018
Addiction and Recovery
By Bob Gaydos
The list of substances or behaviors to which adolescents can become unhealthily attached, even addicted, can seem endless to a parent inclined to be caring and protective: alcohol, smoking, drugs, gambling, video games, social media, internet, cell phones, sex, shopping, eating …
Wait, eating you say? Yes, eating. Or food. It depends. There’s a debate over whether the problems are the same thing. Some say that someone who craves the same food, say sweets or salty chips, and consumes it in unhealthy amounts might be considered a food addict, a term not universally accepted, but one that is useful in defining a behavior. The food in question reacts on the brain in the same way that alcohol or another drug would. It rewards the person, who feels good.
Some say that someone for whom eating -- anything and plenty of it -- is a fulltime job with significant negative consequences might be considered to have an eating addiction, rather than a food addiction. Eating may provide the same kind of escape and temporary excitement that gambling, for example, would in someone else. An irresistible reward.
And, of course, these harmful behaviors often co-exist. Addictions may have biological, psychological, or social causes, or, likely, a combination of them.The focus here is not on debating the food/eating addiction question, but rather on recognizing that food addictions and eating disorders -- a different category of self-destructive behavior, including anorexia, bulimia and binge eating -- can often be ignored in teens when there is so much talk in media -- social and otherwise -- about drinking and driving, opioid abuse, the pros and cons of marijuana and the rest of that list.
Teens eat, adults say. Sometimes they eat a lot. Maybe a lot of junk food. They’re growing. So what’s the big deal?
Maybe nothing; maybe something. A primary goal of this column is to provide useful information to help readers identify and get help for addictive behavior and some studies say up to 10 percent of Americans may have a food-related addiction or disorder. One in 10 female teens may have an eating disorder. A smaller percentage of teen boys, perhaps athletes such as wrestlers or runners, also have issues that revolve around body weight and image. What follows are some symptoms and questions to help you decide if you or someone you know, perhaps a teenager, has a health issue involving food.
The following are possible symptoms of a food addiction:
- Eating to the point of feeling ill
- Going out of your way to obtain certain foods
- Continuing to eat certain foods even if no longer hungry
- Eating in secret
- Avoiding social interactions, relationships to spend time eating certain foods.
- Difficulty functioning in a job or school due to decreased efficiency
- Spending a significant amount of money on buying certain foods to binge
- Difficulty concentrating
- Sleep disorders, such as insomnia or oversleeping
- Digestive disorders
- Thoughts of suicide
Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous, a 12-step group that seeks to help people with food addictions or disorders, offers its own quiz to help people determine if they have a problem with food. As always, answer as honestly as possible:
- Have you ever wanted to stop eating and found you just couldn't?
- Do you think about food or your weight constantly?
- Do you find yourself attempting one diet or food plan after another, with no lasting success?
- Do you binge and then "get rid of the binge" through vomiting, exercise, laxatives, or other forms of purging?
- Do you eat differently in private than you do in front of other people?
- Has a doctor or family member ever approached you with concern about your eating habits or weight?
- Do you eat large quantities of food at one time (binge)?
- Is your weight problem due to your "nibbling" all day long?
- Do you eat to escape from your feelings?
- Do you eat when you're not hungry?
- Have you ever discarded food, only to retrieve and eat it later?
- Do you eat in secret?
- Do you fast or severely restrict your food intake?
- Have you ever stolen other people's food?
- Have you ever hidden food to make sure you have "enough"?
- Do you feel driven to exercise excessively to control your weight?
- Do you obsessively calculate the calories you've burned against the calories you've eaten?
- Do you frequently feel guilty or ashamed about what you've eaten?
- Are you waiting for your life to begin "when you lose the weight"?
- Do you feel hopeless about your relationship with food?
A “yes” answer to any question could indicate a problem with food, the group says.
Obviously, these are complex issues with serious -- even life-threatening -- potential consequences that need to be addressed as early as possible by trained professionals. There are a variety of programs and organizations to turn to If you suspect a food-related problem. Consult your doctor to begin with and check any of the accompanying links for more information.