First the good news, at least for me: Ice cream does not necessarily make you fat. A Times of Israel article by Simona Weinglass, entitled "Will ice cream make you gain weight? It depends on your gut, study finds," tells us:
"Why is it so hard to lose weight? According to a new Weizmann Institute study by Professor Eran Segal and Dr. Eran Elinav, it may be because different people’s bodies respond differently to the same meal, depending on their gut bacteria.
The study, published in the November 19 issue of the journal Cell, followed a group of 800 people for a week and continuously monitored their blood sugar levels. It turns out that the foods most likely to make people’s blood sugar spike diverge widely. For instance, many people’s blood sugar rose sharply after consuming a sugary dessert, but others experienced a blood sugar surge after white bread but not glucose. One participant even saw a sharp rise after eating tomatoes, which she had been consuming under the mistaken impression that they were good for her."
What a relief! I can continue with my diet of Rocky Road and rotgut liquor; however, I'm thinking of taking tomatoes off the menu.
And now the bad news, at least for President Obama: He is under withering criticism from both right and left for his malign neglect policies involving Syria. In a must-read opinion piece entitled "The Syrian immigration cul-de-sac: Republicans should keep the focus on the abject failure of Obama's policies," Charles Krauthammer says of the Syrian refugee debate currently raging in the US:
"A quarter-million deaths ago, when Bashar Assad began making war on his own people, he unleashed his air force and helicopters. They dropped high explosives, nail-filled barrel bombs and even chemical weapons on helpless civilians. President Obama lifted not a finger.
In the earliest days, we could have stopped the slaughter: cratered Assad’s airfields, taken out his planes, grounded his helicopters and created a nationwide no-fly zone. (We successfully maintained one over Kurdistan for 12 years between 1991 and 2003.)
At the time, Assad was teetering. His national security headquarters had been penetrated and bombed. High-level aides were defecting. Military officers were forming a Free Syrian Army.
Against the advice of his top civilian and military aides, Obama refused to intervene. The widows and orphans he now so ostentatiously champions are the product of his coldhearted refusal to do anything that might sully his peacemaking image."
Yes, Krauthammer is right. And now, instead of imposing a no-fly zone, the US is faced with the dilemma of whether or not to admit thousands of Syrian refugees (half of Syria's population of 23 million has been displaced from their homes).
But he is not alone in taking Obama to task. In a New York Times op-ed entitled "World War III," Roger (Iran is "not totalitarian") Cohen also derides the president's failed policy involving Syria. Creating an imaginary dialogue between a child and his mother, Roger provides us with the mother's explanation as to why people are fighting in that country:
"'Well, there was this brutal, remote tyrant behaving like an emperor and some of the peoples in Syria rose up against him. The tyrant started shooting them. America and Britain and France, among other countries, didn’t like that, and they said they’d kind of support the rebels, but didn’t really.'
'Because, like I said, America is sickly. It’s getting weaker.'"
America is sickly and getting weaker? Coming from Cohen? My instincts tell me that Roger is not going to be invited to interview Obama any time over the next three decades, or until Cohen meets his maker, whichever comes sooner. But Cohen is also correct: As we are informed by another Times of Israel article entitled "Russia deploys S-400 missile battery in Syria, state media says" by Judah Ari Gross:
"The advanced [S-400] missile system, completed in 2007, is capable of detecting and destroying aircraft some 400 kilometers (250 miles) away. Its deployment in Latakia will grant Russia aerial control over practically all of Syria, Lebanon and Cyprus, over half of Turkey, parts of Iraq and Jordan — and, of course, Israel: Planes flying in and out of Ben Gurion International Airport — approximately 395 kilometers (245 miles) from Latakia — would be within Russian sights."
Or stated otherwise, the first invertebrate ever to occupy the Oval Office has ceded control over the entire theater of operations to Russia.
All of which is enough to give you a headache and make you want to forget the world. Where is my Rocky Road? Where is my vodka?