Former FDA Chief David Kessler on H1N1, Obesity and Tobacco

Guess who appeared on Bill Maher's show recently to discuss this latest flu outbreak, his new book on obesity,and one of his favorite topics?  Maher's not the easiest interview, but Dr. K maintains control throughout, without being either overly chummy or stuffy.  He makes a great comment on addiction of any kind:  "Just because we're being constantly stimulated doesn't mean that we don't have the responsibility to deal with that stimulation ourselves." Amen.  Clips are below (there is a tiny bit of overlap)

Part 1 on Swine Flu

Part 2 on New Book and Tobacco

Haven't seen FDA chief nominees yet, but I sense that they are cut from a similar cloth.  Too bad pharmaceuticals didn't come up in this discussion.  Maybe Charlie Rose will carry it forward (as he did eight years ago when Kessler's book on tobacco was published). 

In the meantime, some fast food chains that were targets of past lawsuits are using a whole new tactic to discourage the over-eating trend. Below, censored copy from the satirical site, Enduring Vision.  The web site also has its take on the flu outbreak and pharma M&A activity


Burger King Orders Employees to Insult Obese Customers

In its latest attempt to fend off criticism and improve its image amongst a growing health-conscious public, Burger King has begun a new policy of fiercely scolding patrons that workers can identify as being obese.

"This is the first move of its kind," said Dennis Malamatinas, CEO of the Miami-based fast food giant. "We will still offer the same great-tasting food that our customers love, but our more over-weight patrons will be given incentives to either purchase healthier items on the menu or go on suing some other major corporation."

Despite the passage of the "Hamburger Bill" by Congress and a recent increase in sales, this latest move is seen by industry insiders as the company's attempt to usurp McDonald's to become the leader in fast food franchises encouraging healthier eating habits.

"In response to the McDonald's 'Eat Smart, Be Active' initiative, Burger King has introduced 'Eat Smart, you Round-faced Lard-Ass' as our new mission statement," Malamatinas elaborated. "The training of employees has been extended to include not only the taking of orders, food preparation of and overall customer service, but in separating 'Large Marge' from 'Slim Sue'."

"Are you sure you want fries with that, you fat [thing]," asked 17 year-old cashier Jennifer Renton as 250-pound customer Ursula Jackson ordered a Western Whopper with bacon, fries and chocolate shake. "How about you take a lap or two through the drive-thru, come back, and if you can still place your order without passing out, then you get your fries, okay, Lunchbox?"

Burger King added entree salads to its menu with great success recently, is moving to provide more fruit, vegetable and yogurt options, and now offers the Whopper sans buns to encourage patrons on the Atkins Low-Carb Diet to continue to dine at the franchise's many locations. However, legal action and recent customer sentiment have driven the burger giant not only to continue to change its menu, but to forcibly encourage changes in personal eating habits.

"It's a question of individuality and preference – that's what people forget," stated store manager Stan Judge. "We will serve our customers whatever they want, and if Bertha can stand a friendly reminder that she ought to be doing at least a few sit-ups before sinking her grossly rounded teeth into a quarter-pound of beef, I say it's her decision."

Recently, numerous lawsuits were filed against McDonald's that alleged the restaurant made children obese and were generally dismissed, but the effects were felt throughout the fast-food industry. The general response of the corporate food-services was to make the nutritional information available to the public.

"Upper management has just taken it a little further," persisted Judge. "Not only can our customers make a decision based on the numbers, but also on our friendly 'suggestions'. Hold on – customers."

Walking to the cash register to cover for Renton, who had gone outside for a cigarette break, Judge began to take the couple's order: "Weren't you here yesterday? Okay, okay, what do you want what? Mother of balls, are you trying to set a record? I'd offer you a supersize, but maybe I should just bring in the backhoe."

Customers tend to have mixed reactions to the new policy.

"I don't mind. They gave me my Western Bacon-chee without batting an eye," said high school track star Evan Walker, "but the daughter and mother in front of me got battered. I mean, the guy behind the counter was just going off on them like, 'Are you TRYING to ruin your child? As if it's not enough that you're going to eat yourself do death before she graduates from college, she's going to have more rolls than a bakery when she does.' It was hilarious...

According to Walker, the counterboy then asked the child, "Do you ever want to get asked to a dance, sweetie?" and further advised that if she did, she should "take your disgusting fat-body mom to the back of the line and have her think about something for you to eat that won't blow you up like a plugged-up garden hose."

"That was awesome," Walker said.

Other patrons, however, have not been so enthusiastic.

"They all pointed at me and laughed and told me that I was going to fat-person hell," sobbed 13-year old Damien Grohl. "I'll never go back there again, aha haaaa!"

Some insiders claim that the new policy may backfire, and the company's attempt to avoid legal action might be best realized through other venues; though sales remain strong and critics have praised the company's attempt to curb the burgeoning obesity epidemic, lawsuits against Burger King are now pending, including charges of verbal assault, assault with a deadly weapon (deep fryer), indecent exposure and wrongful misuse of animal products intended for food service.