Talking Points: 24 April

fatWe’re thinking about discussing the impact of overweight people on the planet this evening.  See our post from earlier in the week: are fat people are killing the planet? And this morning the low cost airline Ryanair announced their plans to introduce an obesity charge for passengers flying from the UK.  Several airlines in the US have already made the move. Is a “fat tax” fair?


Doctors have been criticising plans to promote a new medical treatment to combat homosexuality at a conference in London today. This doctor thinks he has the “gay cure” . But shouldn’t doctors be allowed to research what they want?


Is Pakistan on the brink? The Taliban have made their way to a city only 65km from the capital Islamabad. According to local government officials, it’s all under control, but few are convinced.


There’s been a breakthrough in the bitter relations between Turkey and Armenia. Turkey does not recognize the mass killings of more than a million Ottoman Armenians in 1915 as genocide. We’ve visited this question several times on Talking Points, but is it ever too late for justice?

12 Responses to “Talking Points: 24 April”

  1. 1 Roberto
    April 24, 2009 at 11:15

    RE “” See our post from earlier in the week: are fat people are killing the planet? “”

    ———- It’s nefarious adoption of the western economic model and lifestyle that’s killing the planet.

    I don’t fear fat folk who are often victims of circumstance. Many try unceasingly through their lifetimes to lose weight, so clearly there are extraneous forces at work here. Obesity strikes every culture that adapts the western economic model and lifestyle.

    Of course some people are primarily fat because of their unregulated appetites, however, If the world gave up war and conquest industry, the ecological improvement would be substantial.

    It remains to be seen if the well being of people would actually improve since conflict seems to be of most forms of life.

    • 2 Eric North
      April 24, 2009 at 20:10

      What is the effect on the planet of thin couples who have four, five, six or more thin children as opposed to my one child? The exploding population of the developing nations has its costs just as the stable populations of the industraliZed nations.

  2. 3 steve
    April 24, 2009 at 12:22

    Airlines charge people for their baggage these days, and if the baggage is overweight, then you have to pay more. How is it fair for someone who weighs 150 lbs that has a 70 lb suitcase (220 total lbs) to have to pay an overweight fee, but a person that weighs 400 lbs with a 30 lb suitcase (430 total lbs) doesn’t have to pay any fee when that extra weight means extra fuel?

  3. 4 Jennifer
    April 24, 2009 at 14:53

    Why are we concerned if fat people are killing the planet? They are killing themselves with their unhealthy habits. That’s what we should be concerned about! It’s crazy to not think about the health and well of human beings before the planet.

    On a “fat tax”; I guess the airlines have to make up some way for that extra expense? They should be able to do that if they choose. People can pay or not fly.

  4. April 24, 2009 at 16:23

    People need to start paying for what they are withdrawing from the community coffers. That applies to big factories that dump tons of carbon dioxide into the air and the city dweller that lets runoff from watering the lawn drain into the sewers. All citizens need to have access to health care, but health care costs big money. Little kids that get fat are not to blame — its their parents who do not feed them properly and do not make sure they get adequate exercise. So maybe we need to incentivise the good behaviors. Suppose everybody pays into a basic health care system (through fees or taxes or whatever) but then those people who keep their weight down, their blood pressures in line, etc., get a reward that is proportionate to how much their good behavior benefits the system. Besides a CO2 cap and trade, maybe we need a CHO cap and trade too.

  5. April 24, 2009 at 16:38

    Wow, how wonderful to hear that airlines in the US are now overcharging people with heavy weight. I think those with toomuch of fat will have to starve for months before they can travel. Thank God for us here in Africa, no toomuch of fat people because majority of us live below poverty line. No proper diet, no satisfaction, and no fat tax.

    Mohammed Kondawa

    Monrovia Liberia

  6. 7 Donnamarie in Switzerland
    April 24, 2009 at 17:23

    I know a number of people who are overweight due to medical conditions, such as thyroid problems. But most obese people could lose weight and be healthier if they tried. Perhaps increased airline fares will motivate them to try. If so, that can only be a good thing.

    The incidence of adult-onset (type 2) diabetes is growing around the world, and the age at which it strikes is going down. It is strongly correlated with obesity. I was not obese when I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes nearly 25 years ago. I controlled my diabetes by maintaining a careful diet (you can eat anything you want, just not very much of it!) It is very, very rare for someone to get over diabetes, but after 10 years mine had disappeared and I have been diabetes free for 15 years. I still stick to the careful diet. If I remain slim it’s no guarantee that the diabetes won’t return, but it’s a near sure-thing bet that if I put on weight I will again have type 2 diabetes.

    What I have trouble understanding is why people find it so hard to stop overeating. Sticking to a healthy, balanced diet just isn’t all that hard–of course, it DOES help to be motivated.

  7. 8 L
    April 24, 2009 at 17:45

    Michael O’Leary is nothing more than a greedy, money-grubbing crook.Fat tax is just another way from him to grab money.Let’s not forget that his airline is the one and only to charge disabled people for their wheelchairs…

  8. 9 C
    April 24, 2009 at 18:32

    What about fat vegans? What about fat people who work for non-profit organizations? What about all the rich, thin celebrities living in Los Angeles, a region that could not support a large human population without pumping in billions of gallons of water from hundreds of miles away?

  9. 10 Jennifer
    April 24, 2009 at 19:04

    Re: Homosexual cure

    I think what this dr. proposes is very interesting. A cure for homosexuality. I want to know more about it to see what it’s all about! I hope he gets to do some studies and try this out!

  10. 11 Jim Newman
    April 26, 2009 at 16:46

    Hello again
    Is a fat tax fair. We have economy class and business class why not have a heavy person’s class especially for heavy persons traveling singly – not ,of course, for heavy persons with their families. The persons qualifying on the basis of a height /weight ratio..This heavy person’s class would have seats specially adapted (wide) with plenty of leg room and a means of resting the legs in an elevated horizontal position. In such conditions I think paying a bit extra would be acceptable. But paying extra to be crammed into economy sized seats is a scam.

    Doctors researching a means of curing homosexuality sounds a bit bogus to me. A bit Third Reichy.

    From the Taliban we only seem to hear horrible things and the fact that they refused to allow an oil pipeline traverse Afganistan did not help their cause.

    The muslims say that justice delayed is justice denied. Tony Blair said that it’s in the past now. It’s time to move on. For me the time to move on is when justice is done. For people who commit grave crimes like aggressing other countries, mass murder, ethnic cleansing, deportations, torture, destruction of property, occupying other countries etc etc there should be no statute of limitations even after death.

  11. 12 Dennis Junior
    April 27, 2009 at 03:07

    Is a “fat tax” fair? (Yes)

    But shouldn’t doctors be allowed to research what they want? (Yes, but this type of research is only going to bring on more controversy than needed at this time)

    Is Pakistan on the brink? (It starting to look like Pakistan is on the brink of collapse in the nearby future…)

    but is it ever too late for justice? (NO)….

    ~Dennis Junior~

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