Saturday, November 19, 2011

Credulous woman makes scurrilous accusations against parents who feed kids fast food

She believes official pronouncements -- despite their changeability. The first thing my son learned to say was his McDonald's order and he had negligible health problems and is now a perfectly fit and healthy young man

SOME popular kids' fast food has almost triple the recommended levels of saturated fat and twice the salt. The findings prompted The Biggest Loser trainer Michelle Bridges to liken parents who fed their children excessive fast food to child abusers.

The Herald Sun can reveal that the worse fast-food companies are McDonald's and Hungry Jack's. Some of their children's meals are more than 1000 kilojoules above levels recommended for children to eat in one sitting. Some of their meals have more saturated fat and salt in one serve than children aged four and eight are supposed to eat in an entire day.

The NSW Cancer Council assessed the nutritional composition of 199 children's meals from six fast-food chains: Chicken Treat, Hungry Jack's, KFC, McDonald's, Oporto and Red Rooster. It found the younger the child, the greater the difference between recommended and actual levels. For example, for four-year-olds, the average meal from McDonald's and Hungry Jack's had three times the recommended saturated fat.

All chains except McDonald's had meals with too much sugar, and all chains had meals with almost double the recommended salt levels. Healthier options were meals with water, milk or juice, small amounts of chicken nuggets or wraps.

One in four Australian children and 43 per cent of teenagers eat fast food at least once a week.

Ms Bridges said she was "not anti-fast food" but condemned parents who regularly fed children junk. "When you look at the low nutritional value of what some parents feed kids regularly, it's like child abuse," Ms Bridges said. "It's highly addictive and changes a kid's tastebuds, so that's what they crave instead of healthy food. "Some parents and their kids get takeaway every night - they don't even need to read the drive-through menu, they know it by heart."

Cancer Council nutritionist Kathy Chapman said the solution was not to criticise parents, but promote fruit, vegetables and salad in such meals. "There also needs to be easy nutrition information at the point of sale and traffic-light labels to make decision-making easier," Ms Chapman said.

A spokeswoman for McDonald's said parents, "often swap in healthier options to suit their children - over a third of every Happy Meal sold includes a healthier choice".


Crime and Misconduct Commission seeks answers in University of Queensland enrolment scandal

THE Crime and Misconduct Commission has demanded the University of Queensland provide extra information about the nepotism scandal which ended the careers of its two top academics.

The order came as Bond University vice-chancellor Robert Stable broke ranks and said UQ must come clean because of the damage being done to other universities.

"For the credibility of all universities, we deserve to have the facts," Professor Stable said. "The University of Queensland cannot continue to put a cloud over the whole system."

Prof Stable, a UQ medical graduate and former president of the university's medical society, called for the report by barrister Tim Carmody, SC, to be made public. He said students needed to be confident enrolments were treated fairly and transparently.

He praised the courage of Bill De Maria, an ethics lecturer, who said in an article in The Courier-Mail that a climate of fear on the campus prevented other academics from speaking out.

The CMC would not reveal its new lines of inquiry. "At this point it is not appropriate to go into the detail of what we are seeking from the university," a spokeswoman said.

The spokeswoman said the CMC was still investigating a separate allegation arising out of the unorthodox entry into the dentistry school of the husband of a senior academic in another faculty.

Vice-chancellor Paul Greenfield and his deputy Michael Keniger have been allowed to stay on despite an independent investigation implicating them in the enrolment of "a close family member" who did not qualify for the course.

Meanwhile, UQ has gone into damage control. The chancellor, the vice-chancellor and the executive director are not answering questions.

"The university is rudderless," said a staff member who asked not to be identified.

The CMC warned public sector agencies they were obliged to forward all complaints of suspected official misconduct to it.

Premier Anna Bligh refused to say whether she was given a copy of Mr Carmody's report. And she would not answer questions. "I understand the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency is looking into this matter and I have confidence in the ability of that body to determine whether any further action needs to be taken," she said in a prepared statement.


The country needs you - Abbott tells Bolt to keep up fight

THE conservative commentator Andrew Bolt considered stepping back from his media commitments after being found guilty of racial vilification in the Federal Court, until Tony Abbott implored him not to.

In an interview with Good Weekend published today, Bolt reveals that the court decision - and the gloating reaction from some sections of the community - had shocked him deeply.

He said he'd been painted as a monster and his family had suffered. However an impromptu visit to his home by the Opposition Leader, who told Bolt the country needed him, had restored his resolve. "[He] made me realise it's not just about me," Bolt says. "There are others to think about."

Mr Abbott dined with Bolt and his wife a week after the judgment in September, the same day a right-wing think tank run by Bolt's friend John Roskam published advertisements in "support of free speech for Andrew Bolt and every Australian".

Before the judgment, Bolt had told Good Weekend he planned to give up one of his media gigs in 2012, most likely his TV show, The Bolt Report, which had been rating poorly. But a fortnight later, he said the verdict had made it impossible for him to retreat.

"I can't now [give up the TV show]," he says. "My enemies would think they have won."

The Bolt brand has taken several knocks in recent months. The future of his radio station, Melbourne Talk Radio, is hanging by a thread while support for Bolt within News Ltd also appears on the wane.

Last month, David Penberthy, a former editor of Sydney's Daily Telegraph and still in News's employ, ridiculed Bolt for playing the "free speech" victim. "His columns make me laugh in disbelief or fold up the paper in anger," he wrote. "I am sick of seeing Bolt being held up as if he were a company spokesman."

In late August, Bolt considered resigning after News's chief executive, John Hartigan, intervened in the raising of old allegations about the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard. Two of Bolt's blog posts were deleted and Bolt claimed freedom of speech was at stake.


No end to certainty of state paternalism in Australia

Dr Jeremy Sammut

Paul Kelly’s book The End of Certainty gives the seminal account of the reforms of the 1980s that helped dismantle the so-called ‘Australian Settlement’ – the White Australia policy, industry protection, wage arbitration, state paternalism, and imperial benevolence.

The conventional wisdom in political circles is that the Hawke government, with the bipartisan support of the Liberal Party, fundamentally revamped some of the key institutions that had shaped national development since 1901. The popularity of this view is a tribute to the influence of Kelly’s tome. But is it entirely correct?

Australian banking was deregulated in the 1980s and the economy was internationalised as tariff walls came down. The effects of the switch in the late-1960s to a non-discriminatory immigration policy paved the way for the emergence of a diverse, multi-ethnic society.

Under Prime Minister Keating in the early 1990s, the Labor Party also began liberalising the labour market. The reorientation of foreign policy away from Britain and towards the United States and other Asia-Pacific countries also occurred under Hawke and Keating.

But conspicuously absent from this catalogue of change is state paternalism, or the principle of promoting ‘individual happiness through government intervention.’

Yet state paternalism is perhaps the most crucial element of the Australian settlement because it set the basic political and economic expectations that determined the role of the state.

At its heart was the ‘free lunch’ mentality, whereby government was held to be a vast public utility whose job was to produce the greatest amount of good for the greatest number of people. It also embodied a fundamental immaturity in the national psyche: a yearning to be molly-coddled and have basic needs provided for.

Today, the same paternalistic mentality continues to animate Australian life.

Most Australians still want government to regulate minimum wages and employment conditions. They also want government-provided health care and education. They even want the government to chip in for the deposit on their first home, and for income tax to be progressively redistributed as generous family benefits to assist with the raising of their own children. All this has huge implications for the size of government and individual freedom.

Clearly, this is the weak spot in the ‘End of Certainty’ thesis. What is dead cert is that state paternalism lives on in contemporary Australia.



Paul said...

"The Biggest Loser trainer Michelle Bridges to liken parents who fed their children excessive fast food to child abusers."

Have I told you about the Safety Lesbians? They're fully-funded, everywhere, and they're VERY concerned that we aren't doing what's best for us.

Paul said...

The allegations referenced against Gillard are not "old" as the article says, because they remain unsatisfactorily answered. The fact that there is something eminently blackmailable in her recent-enough past goes some way to explaining her almost bizarre disregard for the opinions and well-being of the people of Australia. Its been said that only people with a suitable narcissism and a dirty secret are ever allowed to rise to the top.

Paul said...

Are you watching the Nursing Home fire story? I think we have the classic screaming Queen who wanted everyone to think he was the hero of the day. These people exist, usually male, sexual preference optional (but if Gay, noisy and exhibitional) but need for adulation mandatory either way. I recall one in the US who would poison patients with Potassium so he could be the first on the scene and call the arrest.

It would be good to know if this guy was a Registered or Enrolled Nurse, or a Personal Care Attendant, and if he floated from job to job. 35-ish, male and working in a Nursing home does not usually signify a stellar career trajectory.