I’ve been accused (at least by association) by so many pomocon partisans of being pro-Obama, I’m almost starting to believe it myself. So here’s great news. Obama’s much-publicized concern about our obesity problem has spawned suggestions, yes even on national news, that we should require things like, you know, sidewalks in neighborhoods, and maybe even find ways to encourage having things to walk to nearby, like grocery stores. This will save enough of the money we spend on treating obese people to make socialized medicine affordable. I don’t know whether the Presidential Commission on Fighting Obesity by Zoning Localism will cost enough to cancel out those savings; but since I’ve also been accused of supporting big government regulation and social engineering, I guess I must be in favor of this new inititiative to make us a slimmer nation.

Now I’m going to leave this cyber-cafe and drive 8 blocks back to the inaccessible-by-foot one-block cul-de-sac where I’m spending my summer. I exhort you all, in the Marxist spirit I am said to be possessed by, to eat more corn-oil fried corn-syrup products so we can continue to precipitate the obesity crisis that will lead inexorably to the Great Localist Revolution.

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Mark Shiffman was born in north Florida to the son of expatriated New York secular Jews and the daughter of small town, pillar of the community southern Presbyterians. After spending much of his childhood in Alaska and California, he discovered in his Tennessee adolescence, first reluctantly and then gratefully, that more than half his heart belonged to the South. He occasionally rediscovers this viscerally when his body descends below the Mason-Dixon line from his northern exile in Philadelphia, where he has also brought his wife into exile from her lifelong home of Chicago. They live in the Mount Airy section of Philadelphia with their two sons, having moved from one of the more successfully racially integrated neighborhoods in America (Hyde Park) to one of the most. Mark received his education from the McCallie School in Chattanooga and the surrounding mountains and trees, St. John’s College in Annapolis and the Santa Fe desert, Pendle Hill outside Philadelphia and the woods around Crum Creek, the University of Chicago and the icy prairie winds, and the Catholic Worker House and grimy streets of New York City. He is assistant professor in the Department of Humanities and Augustinian Traditions and affiliate faculty member in Classical Studies at Villanova University. He has also taught at Brooklyn College, Notre Dame, the University of Chicago and the University of Pennsylvania. His current projects include books on the political philosophy of Plutarch and on the meaning of modern individualism, as well as a translation of Aristotle’s On the Soul (Focus Press).


  1. I’ve been accused (at least by association) by so many pomocon partisans of being pro-Obama, I’m almost starting to believe it myself.

    This explains so much about our spring 2003 seminar!

  2. I’ve been accused (at least by association) by so many pomocon partisans of being pro-Obama, I’m almost starting to believe it myself.

    Clearly, Mark, there are far worse things to believe than that. (Have a good holiday!)

  3. Might I suggest this inducement to exercise:

    A Marathon…. ending in Washington D.C. whereupon not just the winner, but every blessed wonderful person participating, even those disadvantaged folks who might have dropped out in Hagerstown or Richmond can catapult flaming boxes of dropped chad ballots at a lineup of Congress of their choice. We run out of Congresspipples, well…there are two other branches and the Executive, they’ve got a whole big office building next door and a rilly big building across the Potomac under their purview.

    Sidewalks….ehhh….is that what was meant by “Change”?

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