'Fat Rant' Video Generates Mixed Reactions

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We are back in Washington, D.C., and it is great to be home... but already there is talk of shipping us out.

I thought I would start this morning's blog with a viewer e-mail. The e-mail relates to a segment we did last night on our show. A woman named Joy Nash was on our show. She is an actress and lives in Los Angeles. She has a video on YouTube.com that she created which discusses her weight of 224 pounds. The video — "A Fat Rant" — is wildly popular and Joy Nash is very engaging. Here is an e-mail from a viewer after the segment:

Really was disappointed in your interview with the young "fat" lady. She was vivacious, exuberant and beautiful and you just looked at her weight and advised her to "get healthy." It would have been kind (and true) to add a compliment to such a lovely gal with a "healthy" attitude.
Eileen G.
Palm Beach, Florida

ANSWER: I was horrified when I read that e-mail. I read it during the commercial break right after the segment. The last thing I want to do is hurt a guest's feelings about his or her weight. I certainly did not intend to do that and I know how so many struggle with weight. I also did not want to glorify gaining weight since there are serious health considerations. I wanted to play it straight: recognize her strengths, acknowledge her creativity in the video but not minimize the health consequences. If you watched the segment I said I suspected that someone in Hollywood would see her engaging video and offer her a series. I would think that remark would convey my feeling about her — that she is charming and engaging. I don't know which specific question prompted the viewer e-mail above, but I certainly did mention the health aspect to weight. While I found the guest charming, I am aware of the pain that significant weight brings when it comes to health... even pain to family members who worry about their loved ones. I am not a doctor but know that there are lots of health issues with weight, for instance heart-related problems. In any event, fearing that the guest felt the same as the viewer, I asked my producer for the guest's cell phone number and stayed late in my office and called her. The guest said she was not the least insulted by my questions and enjoyed the interview. She was happy to have the national exposure, as it will help her career. I felt better and went home. With live television — and with limited time — and with doing interviews remotely, we always run the risk that we say something awkward or unintended. In any event, I did not want to go home feeling like a giant jerk. (Incidentally, I received other e-mails about this segment and I have posted some below.)

As I sat down to do the video blog with my colleague Elizabeth Prann, we got a huge surprise. We expected to read a bunch of your e-mails and answer them in the video blog, but when our other colleague, Griff Jenkins, our FNC Trousers Correspondent, walked into my office, we stopped reading the e-mails and answering them and turned to interviewing Griff. We took full advantage of having him in our presence. We got the inside scoop on the lawsuit that he is closely covering — the judge in D.C. who is suing a dry cleaners for $54 million dollars!! He has been at the courthouse covering the story for a few days. Lucky Griff... some people get all the good stories!! The video blog is about nine minutes today, which I think is too long for video blogs. So from now on I will try to keep them shorter. (Incidentally, because the video blog is so long it may be posted a bit late today. It takes more time to post the longer videos.)

We are still getting a ton of e-mails about Paris Hilton and what viewers think about her and her situation. You might want to read The L.A. Times today. There is an article that analyzes whether she is getting more time than others who have found themselves in the same situation. Remember, in analyzing her situation, it is about the facts, not about whether you like her or not.

Now for some more e-mails:

E-mail No. 1

As the parent of a son who was also incarcerated for breaking the law and was housed in the general population with a bulging inguinal hernia, I would like to know why I had to sit on the curb arriving two hours ahead of visiting hours and wait and be humiliated by the deputies who treated the family members like criminals. What I would like to know is why didn’t my son get housed in the medical ward and why didn’t the Hiltons have to wait in line?
Margaret F.

E-mail No. 2

I am outraged at a District of Columbia judge using his credentials to ruin a family-run dry cleaning business over the loss of a pair of suit trousers. This judge by the name of Roy Pearson computed that the dry cleaners should pay him $15,000 for leasing a car every weekend for 10 years. Why? Because he must find another cleaner and since he does not have a car, he says he has to rent one to get his clothes cleaned. This is not only a case of over-abuse of power by judge Roy Pearson, but also gross intimidation and extortion. This is a barbarian in black robes for his horrible lack of decency and self respect, not only for the law that he was sworn to uphold. This is costing the taxpayers $2,600 a day and not to mention the backlog of cases there. If I were handling this case, I would mandate psychiatric treatment for Mr. Pearson. How could something like this even happen and be allowed? The oath of office he took is to protect the honest citizens. Where is the respect that the office should hold?
Yours truly,
Mario S.

E-mail No. 3

I was wondering if Larry Birkhead went back to the Bahamas for court on June 7/8 for his final hearing? I have not heard anything about it. I watched your interview hoping I would hear the final ruling. I have looked at TMZ and have not seen anything. I hope it is over for him and he can be happy with his baby, and Virgie will leave him alone.
Helen S.

ANSWER: The court in the Bahamas postponed the hearing.

E-mail No. 4

Hey Greta,
Looks like the lawyers for the dry cleaner missed a golden opportunity. Didn't they ask the judge to try on the pants to see if they fit? Would seem to be a way to confirm if they were the judge's or not. Then might we have heard a twist on that immortal line of Johnnie Cochran's? "If they fit, you must acquit."
Kathy P.
Fullerton, CA

E-mail No. 5

Hello Greta,
When overweight people (usually women) turn to me in line at wherever and say "How do you stay so skinny?" if I respond with "How do you stay so fat?" I would be considered rude and hateful... and I would feel rude. The commercial that "believes in hips, not hipbones" pi$$es me off. What's wrong with hipbones? When people rail at all the skinny models in advertising and all the athletes especially (how dare they show off their fit, healthy, bodies!), when people claim discrimination because they can no longer fit through a turnstile or confine themselves to only one airplane seat, I just want to shake some sense into them. I am so tired of listening to fat people trying to convince me that it is OK and trying to make me feel like I have no right to address the subject because I "don't know what it's like."
I'm 43 years old, 5'3" and 105 lbs. The heaviest I have ever been (without being pregnant) is 112lbs. I am PROUD to admit that I am within 5 lbs of my H.S. graduation weight. While I do get a bit of an ego boost when I can still buy pants in the Jr. dept, I still get insulted when I can't find clothes more appropriate for my age, as well as my size. I wore a size 5 in 1980. That same size is now a size 3 or smaller, very hard to find. That accommodates the egos of fat people at my expense.
Like it or not, advertisers use slim models (I don't like the anorexic models either) or athletes because a slim, fit body says "healthy" and despite our higher enlightenment, healthy bodies will always be sexier. Mainstreaming obesity does not make it "all right" or healthy. This epidemic has been self-inflicted over the last 20-30 yrs. The airline seats and turnstiles were designed to fit both average and bigger-than-average people. If so many people are having problems fitting, they need to take a long look in the mirror and ask THEMSELVES why not. Stop trying to make me feel guilty if I don't have room for a half-gallon of Haagen-Dazs after ONE helping of dinner.
Thanx for letting me get that off my chest.
Sharon L.
Moody, TX

E-mail No. 6

It is very graceful that Joy did not point out that she could have, but did not choose plastic surgery to correct her imperfections. Something that cannot be said about you!
Amy C.

E-mail No. 7

I have to let you know that after watching you and respecting you for a very long time I am thoroughly disgusted with how you attacked the young lady who chooses to be comfortable with her weight and the person that she is. To try to question her health and not knowing anything about her while you tried to portray her in a negative light was something I never expected from you. I think this young lady is to be commended for being who she is and proud of that fact and in no way does she deserve to be attacked for this. After all, how many people on FOX can say they have tried to be who they are??
Colleyville, Texas

E-mail No. 8

Hurray for Joy Nash, a beautiful woman with the courage to be who she is. A big raspberry to you for trotting out the old tired "We just want you to be healthy" line. No one cares if fat people are healthy — they just don't want us in their line of sight. I dare you to read "Rethinking Thin" by Gina Kolata or "The Obesity Myth" by Paul Campos. You'll learn that few — VERY few — people manage to lose weight and keep it off, that slightly "overweight" people live longer, on average, than thin ones, and that most of the hype about the "dangers" of "extra" weight is generated by a huge, bloated diet industry that has every reason to keep us neurotically fixed on the numbers on our scales. Thirty percent of centenarians in Nir Barzilai's Jewish centenarian study were "overweight." I don't know how long you want to live, but 100 sounds good to me. I've long enjoyed your work, but you dropped the ball on this one.
J.K. H.

Now for some articles that caught my attention:

Former mayor Barry acquitted of drunken driving, related charges

Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) — District of Columbia Council member and former Mayor Marion Barry was acquitted Wednesday on charges of drunken driving and other related offenses stemming from his arrest last year near the White House.

Barry, 71, was charged with driving under the influence, operating a vehicle while impaired, driving an unregistered vehicle and misuse of temporary tags. Secret Service agents who stopped Barry's car early on Sept. 10, 2006, said he stopped at a green light and drove through a red one. The agents testified that Barry smelled of alcohol, was stumbling and had red eyes and slurred speech.

Barry, who served six months in prison after he was videotaped smoking crack in a 1990 FBI sting during his third term as mayor, said he was not drunk or using drugs. His attorney, Frederick Cooke, said the problems that led to Barry's arrest were the result of his age and medications he was taking for diabetes and high blood pressure.

In his ruling, D.C. Superior Court Judge Richard Ringell said he could not find beyond a reasonable doubt that Barry was intoxicated. He noted a Breathalyzer test later in the evening registered a blood-alcohol content of .02, well below the legal limit of .08.

Ringell said all the officers' actions were proper, but their finding of his impairment met a different standard than what he must use in a court of law.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Baby killed after being dropped or thrown down stairs

NORTH RICHLAND HILLS, Texas (AP) — An 8-year-old boy dropped or threw his infant twin sisters down the stairs, killing one and injuring the other, authorities said.

Police said the boy has a "diminished mental capacity" but is too young to be detained or charged.

Authorities said the boy was in the care of his family, who had just moved Sunday night from Florida to the Fort Worth suburb, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported in Wednesday's online edition.

A child must be at least 10 years old to be in the juvenile court system, said Larry Irving, an investigator with the North Richland Hills Police Department. He said authorities don't know the boy's motive.

The 9-month-old girl died early Monday from blunt force trauma of the head and brain, according to the autopsy report. The Tarrant County Medical Examiner's Office ruled her death a homicide.

The baby's twin sister suffered head injuries and was treated at Cook Children's Medical Center in Fort Worth, and police said she was expected to be released Wednesday.

The boy's two older siblings, who were not hurt, are now staying with relatives in the area, Child Protective Services spokeswoman Marissa Gonzales said Wednesday. The agency has asked the family to install alarms on bedroom doors and baby monitors throughout the house, Gonzales said.

"We've asked that safety measures be put in place before they return to their home along with their baby sister," Gonzales said.

The parents discovered the injuries when they were awakened by one baby's cries, police said. One infant was found at the bottom of the stairs, and another was found in the kitchen, police said.

The mother performed CPR on her while the father called 911, police said.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

As ethanol production grows, some watchers forecast oversupply

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — There could be bumps in the road ahead for the fast-growing ethanol industry.

Thanks to fast expansion and some distribution issues, some Wall Street and university analysts predict the ethanol business is about to stumble on a supply glut and shrinking profit margins.

An ethanol plant building boom has resulted in a surplus of ethanol that some expect to last for several months.

Some analysts are forecasting a 70-percent decline in profit margins because of the glut.

Corn growers are hoping to get laws changed to require even greater use of ethanol. Others are downplaying the trend. They say there's a lot of room for growth for ethanol. Especially if U-S automakers build more E-85 vehicles.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Nation's oldest licensed pilot dies at age 105

DENVER (AP) — The country's oldest licensed pilot has died at the age of 105.

Cole Kugel died Monday at his home in Longmont. Officials at Ahlberg Funeral Chapel say the death was due to natural causes.

The Federal Aviation Administration confirmed that Kugel was the oldest licensed American pilot. That license never expired, but Kugel's health certificate — which is required to fly a plane — lapsed in 2001.

Still, a pilot friend who was the grandson of one of Kugel's early flying buddies says Kugel did take the controls of a small plane less than two months ago.

Lynn Ferguson took Kugel up in a 1976 Cessna Skylane 182 he bought from Kugel in 2001, and the senior pilot flew the plane awhile.

Ferguson bought the plane in 2001, the year Kugel's wife, Mildred, died at age 97.

Kugel was born March 14th, 1902, near Lamont in what was then Oklahoma Territory. He began flying in 1929, but had to put the passion on hold during the Depression.

He returned to the sky when he and his wife moved to Longmont in 1943.

Two days before he turned 103, Kugel received the FAA's Golden Wings Award for aviation pioneers.

Kugel is survived by four nieces and nephews.

Services are scheduled for Friday.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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