Minor Turbulence

Minor Turbulence

Minor Turbulence

The latest chatter in cyberspace.
Feb. 8 2007 5:47 PM

Minor Turbulence

Republican bloggers mock Nancy Pelosi's request for a larger plane than her predecessor's, find no ally in Alli, and marvel at the Bausch and Lomb-commissioned study on the "beer-goggles" effect.

Minor turbulence: GOP lawmakers and bloggers are making hay  over a request by Speaker Nancy Pelosi for a plane large enough to travel between Washington and San Francisco. Pelosi reportedly offered to fly commercial but said if she needed a military plane for security reasons, she wanted something that could travel cross country without refueling. (Denny Hastert used a smaller commuter jet.) Lefty bloggers find themselves in an unusal position: agreeing with the White House in defending Pelosi.

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John Hawkins at Right Wing News argued that decadence on Pelosi's part would erode national security: "If it were up to Nancy Pelosi, the troops getting ready to go overseas would sit and wait for a larger plane while she had the military ferry her and her campaign contributors across the country on junkets. The military is not a taxi service." Meanwhile, Rocky Mountain rightist blog CosmicConservative accused Democrats of simply spouting hot air over global warming while permitting such requests: "Nancy is all concerned about Global Warming when she's talking to her 'constituents' but has no problem whatsover dumping thousands of tons of CO2 into the upper stratosphere just to get to the rally."

"Bear" at the conservative Absurd Report complained about excess from the fiscal side: "What happened to the idea of fiscal responsibility? Not only does the self anointed Queen of the House wants free transportation back and forth between Washington and her home in San Francisco, she is demanding a plane which is the equal to Air Force One, a Boeing C-32 aircraft. … Isn't this a bit of gross indulgence?"

"Joe in DC" at liberal AMERICAblog questions the appropriateness of the widespread smearing: "In the past two days, 11 U.S. soldiers have died in Iraq. That's news. … If the GOP and the Pentagon want to talk about aircraft, let's talk about aircraft - how about all the helicopters being shot down in Iraq? No, we can't talk about that—that's real news. They'd rather manufacture scandals about nothing, then disseminate it through the GOP's all-too-willing allies in the press who fall for it again, and again, and again." And Mustang Bobby at liberal blog Bark Bark Woof Woof empathized, "Ms. Pelosi is third in line for the Presidency. She's entitled to some degree of security above and beyond that of the average congressperson. Her home district is in California, and from a security standpoint, not to mention the expense of prepping a midpoint stop, it makes sense that she has a plane at her disposal that can make the trip nonstop."

Read more about Pelosi's jet request.

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Fighting weight: The FDA has approved Alli, a half-dose version of the weight-loss pill Xenical, for over-the-counter use. Bloggers, however, see little grounds for excitement at this milestone.

Sandy Szwarc at health blog Junkfood Science predicted a pharma fizzle: "It appears the strongest support for any safety record is that few will likely take it for very long. Most patients don't like the side effects and don't find they're worth the small 5% of short-term weight loss with diet and exercise it promises, not to menton the price: $2-3 a day."

Retired government worker "Kerr Mudgeon" at Kibble winced at Alli's approach to slimming: "So, Alli requires that you eat less fat and calories and helps you to do that by creating unpleasant intestinal symptoms that will create an aversion to eating fat. Now that's what I call 'safe and effective.' Yikes. Oh, and you have to take a multivitamin with Alli since it blocks absorption of some of those vital elements to our body's health."

Dr. Melissa Clouthier claimed that the fat-blocking drug would backfire: "Blocked fat means blocked fat-soluble vitamins like Vitamins A, D and E. Essential fatty acids are blocked so you have problems with hormone creation. My guess is that cholesterol would rise, too. Brain function would eventually be affected. And for a 5% weight loss?"

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Read more about Alli.

Agog: Manchester University researchers, with money from Bausch and Lomb, created a mathematical formula to explain the "beer goggles" phenomenon by which people look better through a fog of drunkeness. Bloggers exchanged words of awe and wry speculation.

Rick Dobbs mused  on bacchanalia blog, Saving the world one drink at a time, "What good does this do to help us? Well, if you've had enough beer you won't give a damn anyway, so probably none." For Alex at Home, the study illustrates trans-Atlantic differences: "Alcohol has always featured strongly in Britain where there is a pub every few hundred yards in both cities and the smallest of villages. … However, the concept that scientists were actually putting time into researching the effect on your ability to decide if a person was good looking or not based on how much you had drunk, again made me realize there are many differences between England and the US!"

Ph.D. candidate Shelley Batts at science blog Retrospectacle is not so amused, however: "Thing is, it doesn't really take a genius to realize that this study was more done for colloquial PR rather to explain any real psychological or neurological change in perception. I tried to determine if some real paper was associated with the press release, but came up empty handed. "

Read more about the beer-goggles study.