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Breakfast of Progressives: Cheerios and Breast Milk

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Breakfast of Progressives: Cheerios and Breast Milk

In 2007, the Department of Health and Human Services toned down an advertising campaign informing the public of the potential health risks of not breastfeeding babies. Naturally, the formula industry had a cow, and they lobbied hard against the ads and won. The campaign was watered down so as to have little impact on the breastfeeding rate in the United States, which, at 30%, lags behind Europe. The agency also decided not to promote a study which found that breastfeeding is, according to The Washington Post, “associated with fewer ear and gastrointestinal infections, as well as lower rates of diabetes, leukemia, obesity, asthma and sudden infant death syndrome.” (If this seems like an odd issue for a young, single male to be championing, the HHS has reported that children who aren’t breastfed are 40% more likely to suffer from Type 1 diabetes, a disease that afflicts both of my sisters.)

It helped, of course, that formula companies are part of the pharmaceutical industry, and that the administration in office at the time was the most amiable to Big Pharma in history—an administration that, it should be noted, took little to no measures to assist new mothers in its eight-year tenure. The Post described the formula industry’s lobbying efforts as “a full-court press to reach top political appointees at HHS, using influential former government officials, now working for the industry, to act as go-betweens,” including former chairman of the Republican National Committee Joseph A. Levitt. Political interference into public health and safety pales in comparison to the Bush administration’s other known crimes, but the larger issue here sheds light on the right’s ideological opposition to the new administration’s desire to allow government to function as it was intended.

Right-wing loons like Michelle Malkin have been up in arms this week over the Food and Drug Administration’s concerns over Cheerios’s claims that it can lower cholesterol by four percent in six weeks, and that it can help fight against cancer. It’s bad enough when foods claim to help reduce cholesterol because, as it usually states in tiny print, “a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease” (yes, eating healthy foods is healthy), but there’s nothing special about Cheerios. It’s like the sidewalk taking credit for the increased health of avid walkers. General Mills might as well encourage parents to serve Cheerios with breast milk and then say the cereal provides children with vital immune system benefits.

The FDA is doing exactly what it was designed to do: protect consumers from misleading or unsubstantiated claims—something David Theroux of The Independent Institute calls one of Obama’s “’progressive’ (i.e., authoritarian) absurdities.” In response to all the media coverage, General Mills has issued a statement saying that their claim that Cheerios can lower cholesterol by a certain percentage in a fixed period of time has been “featured on the box for more than two years,” that “the science is not in question,” and that the FDA is merely interested in how the information is presented. Critics of the FDA’s move think it’s silly, but how information is presented is key to good messaging—something the right has clearly forgotten.

This blog entry was originally published on Slant Magazine on the date above.

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Watch: The Long-Awaited Deadwood Movie Gets Teaser Trailer and Premiere Date

Welcome to fucking Deadwood!

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Deadwood
Photo: HBO

At long last, we’re finally going to see more of Deadwood. Very soon after the HBO series’s cancellation in 2006, creator David Milch announced that he agreed to produce a pair of two-hour films to tie up the loose ends left after the third season. It’s been a long road since, and after many false starts over the years, production on one standalone film started in fall 2018. And today we have a glorious teaser for the film, which releases on HBO on May 31. Below is the official description of the film:

The Deadwood film follows the indelible characters of the series, who are reunited after ten years to celebrate South Dakota’s statehood. Former rivalries are reignited, alliances are tested and old wounds are reopened, as all are left to navigate the inevitable changes that modernity and time have wrought.

And below is the teaser trailer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tAcftIUE6MQ

Deadwood: The Movie airs on HBO on May 31.

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Watch: Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood Gets Teaser Trailer

When it rains, it pours.

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Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Photo: Columbia Pictures

When it rains, it pours. Four days after Quentin Tarantino once more laid into John Ford in a piece written for his Beverly Cinema website that saw the filmmaker referring to Ford’s She Wore a Yellow Ribbon as Tie a Yellow Ribbon, and two days after Columbia Pictures released poster art for QT’s ninth feature that wasn’t exactly of the highest order, the studio has released a teaser for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. The film was announced early last year, with Tarantino describing it as “a story that takes place in Los Angeles in 1969, at the height of hippy Hollywood.”

Set on the eve of the Manson family murders, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood tells the story of TV actor Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his stunt double, Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt), as they try to get involved in the film industry. The film also stars Margot Robbie (as Sharon Tate), Al Pacino, the late Luke Perry, Damian Lewis, Dakota Fanning, Emile Hirsch, Timothy Olyphant, Kurt Russell, and Bruce Dern in a part originally intended for the late Burt Reynolds.

See the teaser below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Scf8nIJCvs4

Columbia Pictures will release Once Upon a Time in Hollywood on July 26.

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Watch the Stranger Things 3 Trailer, and to the Tune of Mötley Crüe and the Who

A wise woman once said that there’s no such thing as a coincidence.

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Stranger Things 3
Photo: Netflix

A wise woman once said that there’s no such thing as a coincidence. On Friday, Jeff Tremaine’s The Dirt, a biopic about Mötley Crüe’s rise to fame, drops on Netflix. Today, the streaming service has released the trailer for the third season of Stranger Things. The clip opens with the strains of Mötley Crüe’s “Home Sweet Home,” all the better to underline that the peace and quiet that returned to the fictional rural town of Hawkins, Indiana at the end of the show’s second season is just waiting to be upset again.

Little is known about the plot of the new season, and the trailer keeps things pretty vague, though the Duffer Brothers have suggested that the storyline will take place a year after the events of the last season—duh, we know when “Home Sweet Home” came out—and focus on the main characters’ puberty pangs. That said, according to Reddit sleuths who’ve obsessed over such details as the nuances of the new season’s poster art, it looks like Max and company are going to have to contend with demon rats no doubt released from the Upside Down.

See below for the new season’s trailer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YEG3bmU_WaI

Stranger Things 3 premieres globally on July 4.

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