Monthly Archives: October 2010

Thou Shalt Not Blaspheme the Brand

The NBA is taking names and fining ass over taking the Logo in vain.  Rondo is the latest poster boy, picking up the mantle dropped by Rasheed.  The Man controls them down to the headband and its proper orientation.  Players of the World Unite!

Rondo Upside Down

Wake up my brothers and sisters.

The Logo is part of the Brand and the Brand drives the fame, fortune, and film at 11 properties for all involved with the NBA.  Anyone who abuses the Brand, abuses the fame, fortune, and film at 11.  If you play the Game, you love the Brand, you honor the Brand, and you protect the Brand.

Otherwise you are an authentic loser.  Remember my little pretties . . .

All Bad Persuasion Is Sincere.

Why Aren’t We Talking about the War?

Taped MouthConsider that the War on Terror is not an issue at the top of any party’s agenda in this year’s mid term election.  The War is hardly even mentioned either to rally or to rebel.  People are killing and dying, we are having a major mid term election, and we’re not talking about it?

Realize the persuasion properties of the War.  To nicely over generalize:  Republicans are for It and Democrats are against It.  Republicans are unified in their support while Democrats are divided in their opposition.

If you are a Republican, there’s no need to talk about the War.  It’s a given.  Taking time and resource for the War takes time and resource away from other issues that will attract new supporters, strengthen current supporters, or weaken opponent supporters.

If you are a Democrat, there’s no need to talk about the War.  While It is a given, It is a contentious and divisive given within the party.  Most want It to end Now.  Others want Out Now, but realize the political implications, nationally and internationally.  To discuss the War for Democrats is to buy trouble.

You’d think that War, any War, would dominate politics every time.  But, if you understand persuasion, you realize why winning depends more on what you don’t say than what you do say.

Remember The Rules.

More Is The Enemy of Less.

All Persuasion Is Local.

If You Can’t Succeed, Don’t Try.

Persuasion Is Strategic or It Is Not.

Jon Stewart’s a Double Bind Fool

Obama Stewart Daily Show

He did it!

President Obama appeared on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart.  Reviews are positive.  Not great.  Not awful.  But positive.  One writer offers this insight:

On last night’s show, both Obama and Stewart had a difficult line to walk. For his part, Obama had to appear dignified and presidential on a mock news program, to address serious issues like health care reform, a 10% unemployment rate and unrest among the American people, including many who voted for him — and yet he also had to be loose and funny and able to take a joke.

There’s another name for ” . . . a difficult line to walk.”  It’s called the Double Bind.

This is the essential communication form for Jon Stewart.  He sends messages that contain both authentic and artificial interpretations.  He then plays against the receiver’s selection to create tension and humor.  Since he always controls the floor in all interactions, Stewart is free to commit Double Binds to his advantage, comedic or persuasive.

He employs the strongest double bind communication against receivers who will not cooperate with the process (i.e. deny the double bind as a norm of conduct and try to be authentic) or the content (i.e. defend an unattractive position and try to be persuasive).  Since Stewart’s work appears within an entertainment context any attempts to call him on the game indict the receiver as overly serious, dogmatic, or foolish while permitting Stewart to appear merely doing his job.

Stewart plays the Double Bind to his favor.  He gets the President to play on his turf.  He gets to rally the Nation to Restore Sanity.  And he does this while playing the clown, the Shakespearian Fool.  He never means what he says yet what he says is meaningful but never in the way you want to know it.

Here’s the more interesting thing about the Double Bind.  It used to be the Cool Table’s theory of schizophrenia.  The Palo Alto group explored the idea that children developed schizophrenia as a result of paradoxical communication in the family.  For example, the mother (and back in the 1950s it was always the mother) would lean toward her child with open arms then as the child got close, she would criticize him for being a dirty, messy boy.

Thus, communication, particularly from bad mothers, caused a normal child to fall into the black hole.  Those paradoxical messages of acceptance with criticism, praise with censure, love with coldness caused profound mental illness.  Words may not kill you, but . . .

The Double Bind received serious scientific attention and, even better, got large research grants.  Hey, just Google up “double bind” and “communication” and “schizophrenia” and see what you get.  Parents actually made schizophrenic children with paradoxical communication.

Or so the theory went until its advocates could not collect any data to support this claim and, as we now know, other people who actually knew how to do science discovered organic factors to the disease and found pharmacological interventions that moderate its effects.  If you can get to a good research search engine, notice the timeline of entries for Double Bind Schizophrenia.  You’ll see it start in the 1950s, increase through the 1960s and into the 1970s, then taper off to . . . oblivion.  Virtually no one who calls themselves a scientist or a researcher today pursues the Double Bind as Mother’s Little Whip.

Today, Double Bind Schizophrenia is in the Ash Heap of Failed Science there with phrenology, eugenics, scientific materialism, and Freudian theory.  At one time each topic sat in the throne of the Cool Table and now the Cool Table crew is onto something better with only a nervous glance over their shoulders hoping that no one brings back the dead and calls the Cool Table into account.

And those beautiful theories like the Double Bind have become the province of basic cable comedians.  Hard to say what is sadder – a beautiful theory killed by an ugly fact or played by tricksters.

Obama’s No Joke!

Get Skinny

Get SkinnyLet’s combine a weight loss drug and its manufacturer, an FDA Advisory Panel, investor outrage, persuasion principles, and Elmore Leonard.  First, reality, then, fiction.

The weight loss drug is lorcaserin.  Arena Pharma claims it safely takes off weight.  An FDA Advisory Panel disagrees.  Investors with Arena are angry.   And, Elmore Leonard offers a new novel, Djibouti.

Lorcaserin is a selective 5-HT2C receptor agonist, and in vitro testing of the drug showed reasonable selectivity for 5-HT2C over other related targets.  5-HT2C receptors are located almost exclusively in the brain, and can be found in the choroid plexus, cortex, hippocampus, cerebellum, amygdala, thalamus, and hypothalamus . . . and if you really want to know more you can read the rest of the Wiki entry here.  It’s a pill that suppresses your desire to eat.

Arena Pharma stakes a claim on this drug, inveigles investors, and embarks upon the painful approval process for a new drug.  Arena suffers all the insults, incantations, and indignities politicians, scientists, and zealots can imagine.  They convince a lot of investors to jump on board with promises of Indiana Jones adventure and riches and if you review this stock chart you can see when people got on board and then when the FDA announced its decision.

You can read the FDA Briefing Document the lorcaserin panel used to make their disapproval vote.   Read the first few pages with an emphasis on the Executive Summaries.  Lorcaserin is yet another in that long line of Small Effects with Threats I regularly write about.  Close, but no cigar.  I’d vote against the drug if I was on the FDA Advisory Panel given the evidence in the Briefing Document.

Investors with Arena explain their misgivings in this nice WSJ story.  Some expressed these misgivings to the FDA Advisory members in ways that required bodyguards for those members.  And, given that the stock price of Arena dropped over 70% following the decision, one can understand investor misgivings.

Now, what’s this got to do with persuasion principles?

If You Can’t Count It, You Can’t Change It.

We can count this and thus we can change it, but the count is very small and doesn’t even cross the very small threshold of success as defined by the FDA.  We can also count the side effects that include a slightly bad outcome from the animal studies that test toxicity in a way we can’t count with humans and with cognitive and affective outcomes that are slightly worse in aggregate.  And, realize, too, that these small positive effects occur with people who are hugely overweight.  A 12 pound loss on a 320 pound body is real, but not life changing.

Imagine turning this drug loose in the market.  Everyone who is healthy, but a bit wet, will beg a physician to prescribe the Get Skinny pill intended for morbid obesity.  Physicians can’t stop going off-label with HRT to anyone even though it kills people.  How will they say no to this one?  It’s never been tested on people only carrying the excesses of a Happy Thanksgiving and a Merry Christmas holiday season.  Think there might be different metabolic effects on a fit body versus an obese body?  Hey, let’s approve the drug and we’ll find out.  Think what a smart persuasion team will develop for this one.

Now, Elmore Leonard.  His new novel, Djibouti, is out to mixed reviews.  The praise is the praise Leonard always gets:  Great characters that drive a serpentine plot where justice triumphs even when the bad guys win.  The complaint is the complaint Leonard never gets:  A long and slow start.  If you like Leonard – and the only people who don’t are people who’ve never read him – read Djibouti.

Can’t you see a Leonard novel in my Get Skinny mashup?  Put the bad guys in the FDA and not as School Marms, but as money guys with political connections trying to manipulate approval for illegal campaign contributions.  The good guy is the obvious bad guy at a Pharma whom everyone hates as a greed head but is actually steering the company away from drug research that facilitates subliminal persuasion.  There’s a hot babe, say an MD statistician at FDA or maybe an MBA stock analyst at a hedge fund.  The WSJ story already provides other Leonardesque elements:  a retired Army colonel from Texas, a shadowy group called Borg.  Hey, imagine a scene over the prawns!

P.S. Kudos and congrats to the team that assembled that FDA brief.  I often whack this agency for its persuasion follies, but this document is well done science and regulation.  Government does work sometimes.

Machiavelli and the Sincere Persuasion Play

In 2008, Mr. Obama positioned himself as an exquisitely postmodern man who could overcome the cliché tensions between Democrat and Republican, black and white, young and old, and, wow, just about any cliché tension you can imagine.  Stated another way, Obama sincerely promised that he was a sincere man who could sincerely change things for the better.

He said all this with a straight face while running for office, perhaps the most insincere thing a person can do.  We thus faced a contradiction.  A politician, that most persuasive of people, plying his trade with sincerity.

Now, we know from my Rules that:

All Bad Persuasion Is Sincere.

So, shouldn’t a sincere man like Mr. Obama therefore lose the race when he does his persuasion, his politics, with sincerity?

Only if he really meant what he said.

It is now clear to even Mr. Obama’s children that he didn’t mean what he said in 2008.  Shootfire, even the NYT will admit this with such quotes as:

“Probably the biggest single promissory note he handed out during his campaign was the promise of trying to overcome Red America and Blue America into one America,” said Bill Galston, who worked as a domestic policy adviser to former President Bill Clinton. “I think the perception is that he didn’t work as hard as he could have to redeem that note, and I can’t believe that he wants to go down in history as the president who promised to overcome polarization and ended up intensifying it.”

I can argue, persuasively I think, that Mr. Obama did a superior job at acting sincere while never being sincere.  He thus employed a FauxSincere persuasion play, let’s call it the Machiavelli, in 2008 and convinced many people in his pursuit of election.  And, after that election Mr. Obama shifted from inSincere Sincerity to other persuasion and power plays in hopes of achieving a change we could believe in so that everyone would forget all that PostModern Synthesis inSincerity, all that Machiavelli Play, and instead admire Obama for his accomplishments, that Change We Can Believe In.

Since his achievements did not dazzle most voters and instead served to prove his inSincere Sincerity, Mr. Obama now appears both incompetent and untrustworthy.

If this line of reasoning is true, then this example illustrates an instructive outcome for practical persuaders.  inSincere Sincerity disarms your targets and makes them more responsive to your other persuasion and power plays; they never see it coming because they stop looking for it. In persuasion theory terms, inSincere Sincerity is a WATTage play that produces Biased high WATT responding and causes receivers to focus on particular Arguments, rather than all Arguments, and to interpret with a Bias, to make the Arguments fit a Conclusion – sincerity, baby!

Yet, if your moves do not produce the expected outcomes for your targets, they will realize you cannot deliver what you promised and that your promises were inSincere after all.

Better to be thought a Machiavel than to be a Machiavel.

Unless you can do it without getting caught.

LeBron’s “Rise” and Source versus Receiver

LeBron Rise HOF

LeBron James famously wrecked his brand with “The Decision.”  Today, he storms back with “The Rise.”


If you take a Source orientation, you consider the commercial for what it is, what it says, what it means.

If you take a Receiver orientation, you consider the commercial for what it does, how it functions, what it moves.

Check out Google Trends or twitter traffic.

All Bad Persuasion Is Sincere, Baby.

It’s about the Other Guy, Baby.

Power Corrupts Persuasion, Baby.

There’s a Difference between Persuasion, and Smoke and Mirrors; With Persuasion the Illusion Lingers, Baby.

What happened at Nike?

A Bell Tolls for the NFL

NFL Big Hit

Consider this Rule:

You Cannot Persuade a Falling Apple.

The pun falls from Isaac Newton’s famous meditation under an apple tree, his discovery of gravity, and the creation of modern physics.  You cannot persuade a falling apple because it is in the throes of gravity.  Persuasion, by contrast, only works on the uncertain, the ambiguous, the disputed.    And, not only can you not persuade a falling apple, it follows that you should not try to persuade a falling apple because it makes you like that little boy running down a slope flapping his arms in an attempt to fly.

I always remember this Rule anytime somebody tries to interject science into a controversy.  Hey, if the issue is a Falling Apple, then shouldn’t it be as obvious as a falling apple?  Doesn’t the fact that we are disputing it mean that it isn’t a falling apple?  And, so why is anyone trying to moot the point with science?

Consider this in the context of the current furor over concussions in the NFL.  While everyone knows the NFL produces violent hits that often cause head injuries, it has only been in the past year or so that this topic has risen to the top of the Change Agenda.  Lots of people are buzzing about it and demanding that the NFL do something to reduce the risk.  Why now?

The proximate cause of the buzz is Malcolm Gladwell’s 2009 New Yorker piece.  The distal cause is a couple of publications in the peer review literature a few years farther back.  Gladwell got the Cool Table buzzing with his fabulous rhetorical skills – just read his writing – and his equally fabulous FauxItAll skills – carefully read his writing.  Since the buzz is based on science, it would not be a good idea to take Gladwell’s account too seriously.  He does get paid by the word and not by the truth, you know.

But, what is that science?

If we restrict that answer to only sources that are published in the peer review literature and not anything in the pop press, it appears that there are two prominent articles, here and here, both by Professor Guskiewicz and colleagues, the first on cognitive impairment and the second on depression.  These papers seem to be the most widely discussed in the pop press whether with sports sources like ESPN or general sources like the NYT.

While the two papers are published in two different sources and address two different outcomes, its apparent that the studies both flow from the same data collection.  This is not unusual, particularly in health and medical research.  Teams will mount a large data collection, then spend several years analyzing and publishing parts of it.  Obviously this practice helps the vita as you get more hits from the same data point.  And, if you are not paying careful attention, this practice can lead to a bandwagon effect as a series of stories appear over time making things look more compelling than they really are.

The key feature to this data is the method of collection.  Guskiewicz et al. obtained the cooperation of the NFL Players Union and sent a self report survey to retired NFL players.  The mailings went out to all 3683 retirees and 2552 were returned.  The surveys contained all of the information to be analyzed.  Thus, all of the data, both cause and effect, were from only one source, the retired player, and provided from their self report.

Okay.  Take a moment and think about this like a good scientist.  This is one of the simplest forms of data collection available.  You create a paper and pencil questionnaire.  You mail it out to a population.  You analyze what you get back.  This is a one shot, nonrandom, self report, retrospective survey.  This has no control over:

1.  Who gets the survey.
2.  Who returns the survey.
3.  The conditions under which people complete the survey.
4.  Who actually completes the survey.
5.  Whether each respondent understands each question the same way.

And, you can think of additional concerns if you let yourself get skeptical.  But, you get the point.  This data collection is inherently shaky.  Poor control.  No randomization.  Scientists call it a “biased sample.”

Now, this method is better than one of those popup polls on a politics blog that asks you to vote on whether the President is:

A.  An Idiot.
B.  A Fool.
C.  A Liar.
D.  A Muslim.
E.  All of the Above.

But, it is still a biased method and thus biased science.  Of course, it is practically impossible to do great science on this problem.  The unattainable ideal would be to randomly select men who want to play football and randomly assign them to different conditions – amount and severity of contact, length of exposure, timing of exposure, etc.  We would then carefully measure all of the variables in our model, both causes and effects, and at the end of the study, count the outcomes, making comparison between our randomly assigned and controlled conditions.  We will not be able to do a great scientific study on this problem, so we will have to face limitations in our methods.  But accepting limitations does not mean we forget about them.

The key question in the Guskiewicz et al. work is, What is the dose-response relationship?  Stated in football terms, do more hits cause more cognitive impairment and depression?  The survey measures “hits” in a variety of ways, but again only through the self report of the athlete.  There’s no medical record with a physician’s report or any films to read.  Just self report.  Same thing with the outcomes of impairment and depression.  It’s what the athlete says.  There’s no independent data source.  So, what’s the relationship between hits and health?

Here’s how Guskiewicz et al. describe it for cognitive impairments.

Statistical analysis of the data identified an association between recurrent concussion and clinically diagnosed MCI (chi = 7.82, df = 2, P = 0.02) and self-reported significant memory impairments (chi = 19.75, df = 2, P = 0.001).

And now for depression.

There was an association between recurrent concussion and diagnosis of lifetime depression (chi2=71.21, df=2, P<0.005).

Bingo!  The effect is statistically significant and beyond the conventional P < .05 level for Mild Clinical Impairment (MCI), self reported memory loss, and depression.

Strong news, right?


The statistical significance of a test is a function of two things:  the effect size and the sample size.  To get “more” significance, just add more subjects to the analysis even with the same effect size.  Forget the significance for now and seek the effect size, the strength of the relationship between hits and health.

To do that, let’s translate those misleading P values (.02, .001, and .005) into the Windowpane display.

48-52 for Mild Cognitive Impairment

47-53 for self reported Memory Loss

47-53 for Depression

Now, a small effect size is considered 45-55, so the effects here are not even small.  The only reason these results got published is because they are “statistically significant” and we know that is a function of sample size.  For example, if only 1000 retired players had returned the surveys and the same effect sizes had occurred, the results would not have been “statistically significant.”

Think, now, about all the limitations we noted to this data collection.  No randomization.  No control.  All self report from one reporting source.  What if some of the guys interpret a question one way while the rest interpret another way?  What if some of the surveys are completed by loved ones and not the players?  Hey, 70% of the surveys were returned; is it possible that people worried about concussions were more likely to respond?  Hey, hey, hey, this was sponsored by the Players Union and they are now renegotiating the contract.  All of these issues serve to mess with the data and should increase our scientific skepticism.  Any of these biases (sometimes called rival explanations or threats to internal validity) could easily produce the very small effects reported in the publications.

Of course, you probably don’t think about any of this stuff when you’re at a press conference and one of the researchers is talking about it.  Look at this shot from a news conference yesterday at WVU.

Julian Bailes WVU

The lab coat.  The lectern.  The blue background.  You don’t need to know that this is Julian Bailes, one of the study coauthors.  You just know this is a credible guy telling the truth.

Except really he’s just a guy with a PowerPoint slide, an argument, and yes, that cool white lab coat.  Gee, does he wear that lab coat when he does the statistical analysis?  Probably not since he’s a neurosurgeon and not an applied data analyst.

You might be feeling a bit confused with these now obvious criticisms and ask yourself why the hell this crap got published in the first place.  The reason you ask that is because you don’t understand how peer review science works.  If you carefully read the paper, you see that the writers are aware of the limitations we’ve discussed and that they qualify the findings.  They don’t report this as a Falling Apple, but as something that might be a Falling Apple.

From my point of view as either a reviewer or just a reader of that literature, I support their right to voice this position as long as they support my right to disagree.  It also helps to realize that this study is not a neurological study, but a psychological study since it is just self reporting.  Science is a long and winding road with lots of ups and downs before anything gets into the Received View of textbooks, training, and tenure.  Any one or two or even a few publications are never decisive.

FauxItAlls in the pop press don’t know this because they don’t compete in peer review.  ESPN or NYT only wants eyeballs and ears for their advertising.  Gladwell packs them in with his fabulous writing skill.  The pop press guys don’t want Falling Apples.  They want uncertainty, doubt, ambiguity, fear, risk, worry.  And FauxItAlls deliver that with grace, style, and wit.

The interesting persuasion problem here lands squarely in the lap of the NFL.  When the Cool Table is generating negative buzz about the Greatest Game on Turf, the NFL must act.  It doesn’t matter that the Cool Table is badly abusing the science here and if they did it on any given Sunday, they’d get flagged for a personal foul, fined by the Commissioner, and given a suspension.  Roger Goodell can’t call Malcolm Gladwell to the woodshed on this, but has to deal with the image problem caused by Gladwell and his ilksters.

The bell tolls for the NFL and it will be interesting to see how they answer it.

When Good Science Causes Bad Practice – Dissonance

Dissonance Theory predicts a counterintuitive response to punishment.  Whereas simple common experience and Reinforcement Theory predict that punishment will decrease an attitude, belief, or behavior, Dissonance Theory predicts that under certain conditions, aversive consequences will strengthen an attitude, belief, or behavior.  The simplest explanation is that we love that for which we suffer and we will suffer for that which we love.  You can see a terrible illustration of Dissonance Theory in operation today with the reaction of the medical community to the continuing bad news about hormone replacement therapy and breast cancer.

A new publication today from the Journal of the American Medical Association reports continuing outcomes from the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) study that randomly assigned a large number of women volunteers to receive either HRT or a placebo.

In 2002, this study was stopped early because the preliminary data showed a completely unexpected outcome:  Women on HRT were more likely to get breast cancer when everyone expected them to get healthier in the form of less heart disease, less bone fracture, and certainly, no increase in any form of cancer.  Physicians were stunned and confused.  Many still persisted in prescribing HRT, but more carefully.

Now, in 2010, the update on the WHI participants shows that the breast cancer risk is worse than previously understood.  Women taking HRT compared to the placebo are more likely to get breast cancer, have cancers at higher stages, have more invasive cancers, and are more likely to die from breast cancer.  Stated more simply, the news is bad.  It is punishing.  It is an aversive consequence.  Do not do this.

And the news is simply continuing what the news was in 2002.  Bad.  Punishing.  Aversive.  Stop.

Yet, many physicians and women continued taking a pill that has been proven in several different studies to have some positive impact on bad menopausal symptoms, but at the indisputably higher impact of increased death rates from breast cancer.  Why would people, physicians in particular, continue to prescribe a treatment that provides a benefit for hot flashes yet a harm with death?

Dissonance Theory.

For some people, their reading of the research literature does not lead to the obvious conclusion that HRT is a risky drug and should be used only in the most narrow of cases where a woman’s menopause destroys her ability to function in the normal range.  If the symptoms are annoying, frustrating, tiring, obnoxious, yet, she can still manage through the day, then HRT is probably not a good idea.  Yet, physicians have continued since 2002 to prescribe HRT under less than required conditions.

Dissonance Theory would explain this.  Physicians had to go, and still have to go, “off-label” with HRT and prescribe it for uses (hot flashes) that were not approved by the FDA.  Virtually to a woman and a man, physicians did just that all through the 1990s basing their action on weak epi data that supported the off-label prescription and ignoring stronger experimental evidence from small randomized controlled trials.  Everyone just knew that you didn’t need to do more research.  It was obvious that HRT was safe and might even confer benefits for heart disease and bone density.

Then 2002 and the first WHI data.  Some physicians read the data and stopped immediately, realizing the harm.  Others, stuck on the dissonance path, did not and continued to prescribe HRT.  Now, today, and the 2010 follow up and the continuing disconfirming data.

Read the editorial that accompanies this report.

See the nuance and the careful analysis of subtleties in the data.  Results statistically significant at .049 are seen as tentative.  Small effect sizes are viewed skeptically.  Yet, these same scientists will take the same kind of statistics and trumpet a new finding about sitting causes death, restricted diets extend life, statins save the world, or even to pull Avandia from the shelves.  Yet, when these same values apply to HRT, suddenly we need to be prudent, diligent, nuanced.  It is this glaring inconsistency in the application of scientific standards that marks dissonance.

Read this from the editorial.

Given the substantial population of women who seek relief from menopausal symptoms . . . it seems that additional randomized trials are needed specifically to determine whether lower doses or shorter durations of hormone therapy could alleviate menopausal symptoms without increasing cancer risk.

Because a lot of women hate hot flashes and physicians cannot reason with them, let’s continue testing HRT in different combinations of dose or time and see if we kill fewer rather than more of them while relieving symptoms.

This is prudent?  Reasonable?  Scientific?  This is a careful consideration of the data, all the available evidence, a smart balance of risks and benefits?  This is providing care that does no harm?  This is the perspective of an unbiased source of knowledge and practice?

This is somebody trapped in dissonance, unable to accept the data for their clear and obvious conclusion.  This writer tells us that he cannot reason with his female clients whom he sees as so foolish that they will gladly jump off the HRT cliff for relief.  And he’ll help.

Why not tell your clients, we haven’t got anything safe?

Talk to a physician and ask her or him about HRT.  Do they still prescribe it?  How do they understand the results from the WHI experiment?  Watch and listen carefully.  You should detect very little defensiveness (unless you’ve come at them in attack mode) and they should behave in a relaxed and confident manner . . . about deliberately going off-label on a drug that has been proven to kill women.

You suffer for what you love and when you love your own expertise, you will suffer disconfirming science.  That’s dissonance, not nuance.

Ignore That Hot Dog Behind the Curtain

I personally like President Barack Obama.  I think he’d be a great colleague, friend, or neighbor.  My criticisms of him flow from professional differences on persuasion or politics which is why it grieves me to pound on the President today.  Consider this picture.

Obama Junk FoodGiven that diet – and you know this picture is not an out of range example; this it typical for Obama – how does he maintain that wiry build?

It ain’t ‘balling or golfing.  He’s still smoking at least a half a pack of cigarettes a day and every ex-smoker knows this is true.  I’ve been a physically active guy my whole life and the month after I quit a 13 year, pack a day habit, I gained 10 pounds despite more workouts as I coped with the quitter crazies and needed the exercise to control my frazzled nerves.  The guy is still inhaling . . . deeply, the way we ex-smokers will always remember.

Now, as already noted, the President has his wife fronting a national and well financed anti-obesity campaign.  Talk about a say-do gap.

Last observation:  the healthiest President we’ve had since Teddy Roosevelt was George W. Bush.  A reformed drinker, avid runner, weight lifter, and off-road bicyclist, a guy who ate with an eye on the scale – he’s a poster boy.  Yet, the public health and safety community largely rejected his model due to ideological animus.  Their beloved one, President Obama is certainly more congenial on the litmus test, but what about the main point?

Obama is doing damage to the long-running and never-ending public health lifestyle campaign with the transparent say-do gap, yet there is virtually no criticism of the President and his actions from the Healthy Lifestyle Drum and Bugle Corps.