Posts tagged with "Bill Maher"

Kushner says he ‘cannot commit’ to holding 2020 election on November 3

May 14, 2020

Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and a senior White House adviser, refused on Tuesday, May 12, to rule out postponing the presidential election in November—a comment that fed directly into Democratic fears that Donald Trump might use the COVID-19 crisis to delay or de-legitimize the contest The New York Times reports.

“I’m not sure I can commit one way or the other, but right now that’s the plan,” Kushner told Time magazine in response to a question about whether the election could be postponed because of the pandemic.

The opinion of a White House staff member has no bearing on when the election is held. Even the president himself does not have the authority to unilaterally postpone Election Day, which by law takes place the Tuesday after the first Monday in November, the Times notes.

But Kushner’s comment raised alarms both because of the expansive power Trump has conferred on members of his family who serve in his administration and because it played into the worst anxieties of Trump’s detractors—that the president would begin to question the validity of the election if he feared he was going to lose.

It also plays into the fears of Bill Maher, the host of HBO’s popular live show, Real Time with Bill Maher, who has repeatedly suggested that Trump will not leave the White House if he loses the election.

And already, the president is suggesting that the election will be “rigged.”

The presumptive Democratic nominee, former Vice President Joe Biden gave voice to those concerns at a virtual fund-raiser last month. “Mark my words, I think he is going to try to kick back the election somehow— come up with some rationale why it can’t be held,” he said.

Doubts about a smooth voting process in November have increased as states have canceled or postponed presidential primary elections to avoid the spread of the virus.

What’s more, the news outlet pointed out, Kushner’s remarks undercut the president’s own publicly stated position on the issue.

“The general election will happen on November 3,” the president said last month at a news conference when asked about Biden’s comment. But he also appeared to raise the specter of election fraud, noting that “I think a lot of people cheat with mail-in voting.” He added, “It should be, you go to a booth and you proudly display yourself.”

Despite his victory in 2016, the Times reports, “Trump has consistently and without any evidence claimed that there was widespread voter fraud in the last presidential election.” He even briefly formed a commission to examine it, but the group never found evidence and disbanded.

On Tuesday night, Kushner sought to clarify his earlier interview. “I have not been involved in, nor am I aware of, any discussions about trying to change the date of the presidential election,” he said. A White House official said Kushner was fully aware that the date was set by federal law.

But his original remark on the election quickly drew fierce criticism from Trump critics. “Kushner’s statement reveals amazing ignorance of the Constitution and law,” William Kristol, a conservative columnist and prominent “Never Trump” Republican, wrote on Twitter on Tuesday. “It reveals startling arrogance in taking for granted he gets to have some say about when the election is held. It also reveals an utter lack of understanding of his very subordinate role in our democracy.”

Research contact: @nytimes

Orthorexia: When ‘clean’ eating becomes an obsession

October 9, 2019

Besides his political views (“incorrect”), Bill Maher of HBO’s Real Time is known for his religious beliefs (none), his love of animals and children (complete and completely missing), and his views on how to stay healthy (“clean” eating).

In fact, in a 2017 interview with Esquire magazine, Maher took the writer to his kitchen and showed him “lunch,” which consisted of “Sesame seeds, flaxseeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, millet, barley, rye,” he said. “They’re very good for you. He mashed the seeds with water in a machine that looked like a coffee grinder. After the mixture was allowed to sit for a few hours, he added black cherry concentrate—and that was his midday meal.

While his diet may seem extreme, he is a member of a growing sector of the population that is committed to eating clean—whether that may be gluten-free, dairy-free, raw food, or all-organic. Their ethos: Choosing only whole foods in their natural state and avoiding processed ones will improve your health.

According to an October 7 report by NPR, it’s not necessarily a bad thing to eat this way, but sometimes these kinds of food preferences can begin to take over people’s lives, making them fear social events where they won’t be able to find the “right” foods. When a healthful eating pattern goes too far, it may turn into an eating disorder that scientists are just beginning to study.

However it is integrated into a person’s lifestyle, orthorexia is a fairly recent phenomenon. NPR notes that Dr. Steven Bratman, an alternative medicine practitioner in the 1990s, first coined the term in an essay in the nonscientific Yoga Journal in 1997. Many of his patients eschewed traditional medicine and believed that the key to good health was simply eating the “right” foods. Some of them would ask him what foods they should cut out.

“People would think they should cut out all dairy and they should cut out all lentils, all wheat … And it dawned on me gradually that many of these patients, their primary problem was that they were … far too strict with themselves,” Dr, Bratman recently told NPR.

So Bratman made up the name orthorexia, borrowing ortho from the Greek word meaning “right” and -orexia meaning “appetite.” He added nervosa as a reference to anorexia nervosa, the well-known eating disorder which causes people to starve themselves to be thin.

“From then on, whenever a patient would ask me what food to cut out, I would say, ‘We need to work on your orthorexia.’ This would often make them laugh and let them loosen up, and sometimes it helped people move from extremism to moderation,” he recalls.

Bratman had no idea that the concept of “clean eating” would explode over the next two decades.

Where dieters once gobbled down no-sugar gelatin or fat-free shakes, now they might seek out organic kale and wild salmon.

The rise of celebrity diet gurus and glamorous food photos on social media reinforce the idea that eating only certain foods and avoiding others is a virtue — practically a religion.

Dr. Sondra Kronberg, founder and executive director of the Eating Disorder Treatment Collaborative outside New York City, has seen a lot of diet trends over the past 40 years, she told NPR.

“So orthorexia is a reflection on a larger scale of the cultural perspective on ‘eating cleanly,’ eating … healthfully, avoiding toxins—including foods that might have some ‘super power,’ ” she says.

Now, Kronberg and other nutritionists applaud efforts to eat healthfully. The problem comes, she says, when you are so focused on your diet that “it begins to infringe on the quality of your life—your ability to be spontaneous and engage.” That’s when you should start to worry about an eating disorder, she told the news outlet.

“In the case of orthorexia, it centers around eating ‘cleanly’ and purely, where the other eating disorders center around size and weight and a drive for thinness,” she says.

Sometimes these problems overlap, and some people who only eat “clean” foods miss critical nutrients from the foods they cut out or don’t consume enough calories. “It could become a health hazard and ultimately, it can be fatal,” Kronberg says.

Orthorexia is not listed specifically in the DSM—the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders— but that doesn’t mean it’s untreatable.

Eating disorders can strike anyone, according to the National Eating Disorders Association. If you think you have orthorexia or any eating disorder, it’s important to seek professional help and friends who support you, the association urges.

Research contact: @NPR