First off, I’m not dead.  When I wrote Friday “if there’s column tomorrow you’ll know [the yogurt] didn’t kill me” I forgot it was Friday — and that there’s never a new column Saturday.  But here I am, all but equine in my healthiness. And to those of you who asked what I was doing with yogurt from 2007 in the first place, the answer is simply that it was way in the back of the refrigerator, with other things I never eat, but that to make room for a cantaloupe Thursday, I had to rearrange things . . . and who can resist a little raspberry yogurt?  Waste not, want not.

Second, here’s wishing those of you/us on the East Coast the best with the hurricane.  I’m afraid it may be a really, really big problem for a lot of people.  If there’s no column tomorrow — or if there is, but you lack the electric power or Internet connection to read it — it’s not the yogurt, it’s the storm.


Millions of them apparently . . . even though the President has tripled the number of women on the Supreme Court (hey: how cool would it be to get to a majority by the end of his second term? after two centuries — why not?) and has stood up for women at every turn . . . running against a party that OPPOSED Lilly Ledbetter, OPPOSED extending health coverage to children, OPPOSED the health care act that removes “being a woman” as a preexisting condition  . . . a party 12 of whose Senate candidates — and whose own Vice Presidential nominee — say that “a woman who wants to have a baby through in vitro fertilization CAN’T but a woman who doesn’t want to carry her rapist’s baby to term MUST,” as Rachel Maddow put it.


From USA Today:

“Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose,” was the battle cry for the high school football teams of Dillon, Texas, on the TV show Friday Night Lights for five seasons. But the show wasn’t just about football. And “Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can’t Lose” wasn’t just about winning games. Rather, it was a rallying cry of hope and optimism in a community where everyone had a fair shot — no matter their background, no matter their parents, no matter their gender. And no matter their politics.

So it has been surprising that the phrase has been usurped and co-opted by Mitt Romney and his campaign for their gain. And it got us thinking: What would the women of Dillon think about this? . . .

In a word?  They think it stinks:

. . . Dillon is a classic American town filled with hard-working, middle-class Americans, who just want to lead productive, healthy lives. And the women we represented on the show — the women we are in real life — are like the millions of women across the nation. Women who want to make our own health care decisions. Women who want to earn equal pay for the work we do. Women who want affordable health care. . . .

Which brings us to:


Okay, well, so I’ll grant this is a heavier lift than Jews For Romney. Really? or Gays for Romney. Really? — or Women for Romney.

Is there anything surprising about Mormons favoring one of their own?  A nearly lifelong Mormon friend of mine is one of Gov. Romney’s top bundlers and his enthusiasm for his candidate (a fellow Harvard B-School alumnus) is entirely understandable.

Still, because I’m as down on cigarettes as any Mormon, this TruthOut report surprised me.  In small part:

. . . To understand the latest and worst chapter in Romney hypocrisy, one must first appreciate how abhorrent smoking is to Mormons. As a person who grew up immersed in the Mormon culture, served a Mormon mission just like Romney did and held a significant supervisory position during my Mormon mission, I know well what Mormons think of smoking. While Mormons put a premium on “clean living” and exemplary “moral” behavior, in the eyes of Mormons, nothing distinguishes them more from non-Mormons than their unique prohibition on smoking. It is considered not just a health proscription, but also a moral imperative.

. . . [Yet] Philip Morris quickly became one of Bain’s most important clients. In the United States, Bain helped develop a strategy to lure smokers into switching to Philip Morris brands and increasing their overall sales. Within a few years, Bain helped the cigarette maker fend off rising public sentiment against tobacco and increased pressure from federal regulators, as well as defend smokers’ rights.

But an even larger source of Bain’s profits came through its unique role in helping Big Tobacco get millions of Russians hooked on cigarettes. In fact, Big Tobacco became Bain’s financial savior when it was still struggling to avoid insolvency.

. . .Romney knew of and approved the “let’s get Russia smoking” strategy and was the immediate boss of Bain’s Russian collaborators. That strategy was successful in increasing the rate of smoking among Russians by 300 percent in only a few years. The smoking rate among young Russians is now among the highest in the world – a public health catastrophe.

Bain management allowed some of its employees to opt out of the project if they had moral objections to it. But Mitt hardly opted out; he was the ringmaster. Many people, if not most, would have a moral objection to making a living as, essentially, a drug dealer for “killer” tobacco, which was known at the time to be more addictive than heroin. But for a widely revered and high-level Mormon official who was already fabulously wealthy to condone and profit from tobacco investments and addicting millions of people to a destructive and deadly habit prohibited by his own beloved church is the Mount Everest of hypocrisy. . . .

But look: he was trying to increase his fortune, for Pete’s sake.

Gov. Romney may have a different take on this story — I expect he does and would be happy to post it if any of you can find it.  (For one thing, it cannot be accurate that “smoking among Russians increased 300% in only a few years,” as virtually all adult Russians already smoked.  Or surely more than half.  So it must be gtheir smoking of Western brands that tripled.)

But it seems that at roughly the same time I was in Moscow annoying the entire former Soviet Union with anti-smoking ads that I was reading off a makeshift Teleprompter night after night in my dreadful high school Russian, trying to warn their youth of the onslaught of American and British tobacco companies (“Dyeti: nye stanovityes rabami tabachnikh companiyi, kak vashi rodityli!” — “Kids: don’t become slaves to the tobacco companies, like your parents”), Mitt was on the other side of the trade helping to addict them.



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