Obesity, Homosexuality, and the Military

Question: Is America’s obesity problem affecting the military?

Wesley Clark: There's height and weight standards in the Armed forces for the last 25 years.  And we’re very strict about them and every year people are... some people are forced out because they don’t make it and some people can’t enlist because they don’t make it.  I think America has an obesity problem.  And it’s reflected many ways.  There’s too much indoor activity.  People are afraid to let the kids out on the street. Schools don’t have physical education every day.  We all had it as kids, every single day in junior high school.  And before that you had multiple recesses in elementary school where you were pushed out of the classroom and forced to go down and basically either get in fights, play on the jungle gym, or play football or basketball or softball in the appropriate season.  That’s the way Americans in my generation grew up.  Today, it’s not happening.  And so, it’s not the Armed Forces, it’s the society and the Armed Forces are just the beneficiary of what we, as Americans are.  

Question:
Is the military ready to accept gays into its ranks?

Wesley Clark:  Well, in my personal experience, yes.  The people I’ve talked to: "Yes."  But if you throw out a hot potato issue and you say, “Hey, can you take both sides of this issue?”  Some people line up on one side, some people line up on the other and then if you ask the military to volunteer to do this; no they’re not going to volunteer to do this.  

The military was racially integrated by President Harry Truman.  He did not have a one-year-long process to go through and then poll people and say, “Would you like to serve with people of another color in your unit?”  He didn’t do that.  He just did it.  And what’s happened here is we’ve sort of raised back concerns and fears and issues that I think in American society has been put to rest.  So I’m very disappointed in the Senate vote the other day and I hope that we’ll get that changed.

Recorded September 23, 2010
Interviewed by Andrew Dermont

General Clark is "very disappointed in the Senate" for not committing to a more open policy concerning gays in the military.

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

Dead – yes, dead – tardigrade found beneath Antarctica

A completely unexpected discovery beneath the ice.

(Goldstein Lab/Wkikpedia/Tigerspaws/Big Think)
Surprising Science
  • Scientists find remains of a tardigrade and crustaceans in a deep, frozen Antarctic lake.
  • The creatures' origin is unknown, and further study is ongoing.
  • Biology speaks up about Antarctica's history.
Keep reading Show less

A world map of Virgin Mary apparitions

She met mere mortals with and without the Vatican's approval.

Strange Maps
  • For centuries, the Virgin Mary has appeared to the faithful, requesting devotion and promising comfort.
  • These maps show the geography of Marian apparitions – the handful approved by the Vatican, and many others.
  • Historically, Europe is where most apparitions have been reported, but the U.S. is pretty fertile ground too.
Keep reading Show less

Why are women more religious than men? Because men are more willing to take risks.

It's one factor that can help explain the religiosity gap.

Photo credit: Alina Strong on Unsplash
Culture & Religion
  • Sociologists have long observed a gap between the religiosity of men and women.
  • A recent study used data from several national surveys to compare religiosity, risk-taking preferences and demographic information among more than 20,000 American adolescents.
  • The results suggest that risk-taking preferences might partly explain the gender differences in religiosity.
Keep reading Show less