Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Somebody Think Of The Children!

I’m going to agree with Michelle Obama. How strange. But like I’ve said, when someone is right, they are right and I don’t care what side they are on. The issue is school lunches and there has been a lot of brouhaha about her attempt to make them more healthy. The things is, she’s right. Surprised?

One of the few (only) projects Michelle Obama has been involved in has been trying to make school lunches more healthy. And as a result of her initiative, and the corresponding legislation, the government has begun to impose health requirements on school lunches which have required that greasy bad foods like burgers, fries and pizza be removed and replaced with salads, vegetables, beans and hummus.

Naturally, the kids aren’t happy. They are whining about how bad these meals taste and how hungry they are when they don’t eat these lunches. Some creative young capitalists have even created black markets in things like chocolate syrup (paid for by the squeeze), cookies, chips, etc. Some educators too are complaining that the government is imposing these requirements and they are getting grief from the kids. And conservatives are joining them. . . wrongly.

So why are these conservatives wrong? Well, they are framing this as a freedom issue, but it’s not. These are state provided lunches and to argue that the students have a “freedom” right to have whatever they want provided defies any sort of definition of freedom of which I am aware. Likewise, it opens the door to this idea that government benefits should cater to the desires of those who receive them. What is the difference between this and a government housing recipient demanding a choice in housing style or a food stamps recipient demanding a right to use their stamps on alcohol or Twinkies?

Don’t forget that except in rare circumstances, any student who doesn’t want to eat what the government provides has the right to bring their own lunch from home. So where is the loss of freedom? If a student wants pizza, bring it, but don’t whine that you have a right to be served it by the government. That’s liberal talk!

Further, there is a very good reason for this. Like it or not, there is an obesity epidemic with somewhere around 30% of kids being declared obese and with that number rising each year. The fact of the matter is that obesity is the direct result of calories taken in. Feeding kids hamburgers and pizza not only gives them way more calories than they need (not to mention other unhealthy ingredients), but it teaches them bad habits which will lead to a lifetime of bad dietary choices. Doesn’t it make more sense that if the school is going to offer food to students (a lot of which is free and almost all of which is subsidized) that the food the government offers at least is healthy and teaches the right kinds of lessons? Think about it. This is the same reason we want food stamps limited to staples (something the program does not do well) and why we want education programs for the unemployed, those on welfare, etc. to teach them the kinds of values which won’t make them a burden to society in the future. How does getting kids hooked on fatty foods help society in the long run?

Also, the collateral issues are good for us. First, schools are the first place most kids come into contact with the government. Should we be teaching them that the government is a dispenser of pleasure or that the government will only give you what you need? Secondly, this will teach kids to think ahead. If they don’t want to eat hummus, they need to learn the responsibility of preparing a lunch and making sure they take it to school. Anything that teaches self-reliance is good. Finally, think of the kids who are operating the black market. They have learned the beauty of capitalism and the kids who buy from them at black market profiteering prices are learning the pain of monopolies and of irresponsibility.

This is good for the country and good for conservatism. But most importantly, it’s good for the kids. Do it for the children. ;)


DUQ said...

LOL! Some people won't like this! :D

Kelly said...

I have to hand it to you, you have a way of seeing things that other people just don't get. Nicely done Mr. Price!

K said...

Now you're thinking tactically like a leftist - make the "government is your family" people live up to their own ideals.

Good job, Andrew. Unfortunately, I doubt Romney will be nasty enough to rigorously extend the concept across the entire spectrum of government "services".

Anthony said...

Great article. I've got nothing against junk good (I eat more than my fair share) but I've got no problem with Mrs. Obama encouraging people to eat better and exercise.

I thank God that my daughters have the eating habits of their mother (still a size 1) and not me. I used to work out so much it didn't matter what I ate but I just don't have that type of time anymore and for too long I didn't adjust my diet accordingly. I'm still working on getting the balance right because I have problems resisting a good hamburger and there are a lot of good burger joints in the DC area.

Joel Farnham said...

I just heard from the Concerned Coalition of Chubby Children and they are all upset at M. Obama. Mind you, they are starting to talk of strike. Through their ACLU lawyer, they have made their demands.

Hamburgers should be huge. Free of Arugula or any lettuce, tomato, pickle, onion or other vegetable du jour. Cheese should be an option that isn't charged. Only catsup and mustard be on the hamburger. Chicken McNuggets should always be available. French fries as well. The rest of the menu MUST consist of chocolate milk, Coke, diet Pepsi, Red Bull, and, for Tennessee, Dr Enufs.

Should their demands not be met, there will be Dire consequences. DIRE

I don't know when the strike will commence, but one spokes-leader, talking from deep inside a hoodie said, "Obama thinks he has problems with Egypt and Libya? Wait until they get a load of us."

As usual, the President was unavailable for comment.

Tennessee Jed said...

I agree with you. However, what I don't agree with, if true, was a storyline a while back where some kids lunch, which included a chicken sandwich was confiscated or something like that. I also do love the picture of Mooch on the front page of Drudge. Not very flattering, but since most media is leftist, it doesn't hurt to have a little blowback on the bad guys once in a while.

Patti said...

While I have beat this drum throughout my child's childhood,and think it's a great idea, I think most folks have trouble with Michelle's hypocrisy. She harps about eating nutritious foods, calls out folks who don't (olympian gabby) and her family doesn't follow as strictly as she wants others to. that's where i have my problem.

AndrewPrice said...

DUQ, Yeah, but what are you gonna do? LOL!

AndrewPrice said...

Kelly, It's just about stopping to think it all through rather than just reacting.

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks K! I don't think he will either, but I wish he would. I don't mind a lot of government services when they support people who need it, but they need to come with the right requirements and teach the right lesson, and they can't be so luxurious that people decide they want to stay on them.

And in this case, we should not lose sight of the ideological issues and the potential advantages to be gained just because we don't like the messenger. I think Obama's motive is to control people, and I don't agree with that at all, but we should not respond to that by opening the door to an even cushier view of government benefits.

Individualist said...

On the face of it I agree. If the government is going to provide a free lunch it should be healty. The problem I have is who gets to decide what healthy is.....

We have had these requirements before and if I remember correctly some school districts decided ketchup was a vegetable.

The problem I have with this is the myth that these are free lunches given by the government. for the working poor their employers pay roughly 8 to up to 13% in some circumstances of their salary is unseen payroll taxes (Fica, Medicare, FUTA and SUTA). These employees are aslo charged 7.65% in payroll taxes they will never see. The EITC gives some of this back but that depends on their salries and the number of kids.

If they rent they still provide their landlaord with the money to pay the property taxes. Sales taxces also can be 5 to 10% on erverything they buy. This is the lie to the 47% number that GOPer's miss. we don't include these taxes becasue they are for specific puyrposes but the government does not budget on this and even when they have to such as Florida Lotto money for education they just lower budget appropriations from other sources to do what they want anyways.

So from a libertarian approach I veiw this as a government putting a gun to my head and taking taxes and then turning around and saying by the way we are going to provide you with things you can no longer afford because we overtaxes you and now we are going to put a gun to your head and tell you what to eat and how to live your life and tell you when and where you can pray and you should feel grateful for our generosity.

I reject this argument. I reject this argument even in the case of poor that need actual charity. The government control itself is the problem. And it is the little things like healthy school lunches where they get the power and confidence to start telling which lightbulbs to buy and that your gas has to have ethanol in it that is worse for the wear of your engine.

To my mind there should be no "Public" schools. Every school should be independently operated. They can still be non profit that is what 501-C3 's are for. The parents should get a voucher for the government to help pay for it (private schools cost 1/4th the money spent on public schools per child anyways). And what they serve for free lunches should be up to the organization and the parents that choose it. I don't need my lunch card approved by the DMV, it takes long enough just to get the driver's license as it is.

Patriot said...

We conservatives do tend to have a visceral reaction to anything that BO or MO propose. I think this stems from the history of liberal/fascist proposals in the first place.

Liberal ideas sound great when first proposed. Unfortunately, over time, their totalitarian tendencies come to the fore and what used to be commonsense, becomes nonsense. I give you smoking as exhibit 1.

Andrew, I'm sure you would have loved the original idea of moving cigar smokers off of planes back in the 60's. Yeah...that makes sense...let's do it. Then the proposal, let's move cigarette smokers to the back of the plane so that non-smokers won't have to smell their secondhand smoke. Yeah...that too makes sense. You know, in the interest of public health, let's just eliminate smoking on domestic flights longer than two hours. Yeah...that makes sense too! and on and on and on. Now we can't even smoke outside in many places, or in our own homes if their are children.

So yes, this proposal of providing government provided healthy food to public school students sounds reasonable. It is the government providing the food after all!

But let's look at Patti's comment as to the hypocrisy. Drudge had up a link (which I didn't follow) that the O's girls school. Sidwell Friends, a private school, were making pizza available for their students. Yes you say, but this is a PRIVATE school. Leaving aside the blatant hypocrisy of this example, how long will it take before the government decides...and the public's interest, that ALL schools, both public and private, must follow the "nutritional guidelines" the gov't has set down.

I don't trust anything the government proposes as the libs have a tendency to use it as a cudgel to enforce their view of the world.

AndrewPrice said...

Anthony, Thanks! I know what you mean about resisting a good hamburger! And DC has a lot of great food that very quickly adds to your waistline.

I have no problems either with her encouraging people to eat better. In fact, I think it's kind of strange for conservatives to be upset by that issue. I seem to recall them being quite happy when Arnold Schwarzenegger was doing the same thing?

And I think they really do have the government entitlement argument backwards in the case of school lunches. I agree that Bloomberg is an ass for trying to ban private transactions involving 16 oz. cokes, but that's not this. This is a government benefit and I have no problems with making sure the benefit being handed out is healthy and teaches the right lessons. And if kids don't like it, they can bring their own meals.

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, LOL! Nicely done!

I almost thought you were going to go with CHUD as their name. :)

Their menu demand actually isn't all that different than what we were served in high school, though they would often offer a salad as well to make the whole thing sound happy.

Do you remember when Reagan's secretary of Education (or Agriculture) had ketchup declared a "vegetable" so they could satisfy the law which required the inclusion of vegetables? That one always struck me as too much. But I guess Big Ketchup owns the government! ;)

tryanmax said...

He who pays, says. It's as simple as that. My only concern is regarding the handful of school officials in scattered districts who have piggybacked on Michelle's "healthy initiative" to ban sack lunches. Still, there is a conservative lesson in this, as well. For anyone under the delusion that the gov't can be a player in a free market, it makes a prime example of how gov't will react to stiff competition.


Frankly, I'm astounded by what passes for a school lunch in some places. I certainly wasn't deprived of chicken nuggets, cheeseburgers, or pizza, but these things only showed up sporadically when I was a kid. Besides, it wasn't like we were particularly thrilled with the institutional interpretations of these things. We much preferred the hospital-grade turkey and mashed potatoes or those crunchy yellow burritos that you can't get anywhere else. Did anybody else have the crunchy yellow burritos?

Joel Farnham said...

Well, Andrew,

They are just the four Cs. Just average students.

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, True, but CHUD would have been really funny too. :)

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, I absolutely agree with that. The government (i.e. schools) should not be trying to stop kids from bringing their own lunches. And indeed, my argument would change dramatically if kids were forced to eat these meals. But so long as they have the option to bring their own meals if they don't like the menu, then the above makes total sense to me.

I don't mind a little mocking. I just wish conservatives would get a little more strategic about it and look for good opportunities. In the past couple years, we've passed up way too many opportunities just because the ideas originate from the White House.

AndrewPrice said...

Patti, Michelle is definitely not a great spokeswoman. I think she's all around unpleasant and she's definitely a hypocrite. BUT that doesn't mean the cause she's pushing is a bad one. And that's something conservatives need to start doing better -- getting over their personal feelings about the people and start looking at the political advantages.

AndrewPrice said...

Indi, I pretty much disagree across the board.

First, it's obvious what is healthy and what isn't. Really, there's no rational debate on that point. The fact some industry groups tried to get ketchup declared a vegetable under Reagan doesn't really change that. And we can't throw up our hands because someone was once stupid and declare "it's hopeless!"

Secondly, I simply don't accept the idea that government is illegitimate. That means, taxing is not illegitimate. The question is how much should be allowed and how should it be used, not should it even be allowed. So I don't buy the idea that somehow this is a gun pointed at your head.

Third, that gun argument would lead to an incredible expansion of the government if people could claim, "well, I pay tax dollars so I should be able to get whatever I want for those tax dollars."

Fourth, I think public schools make a lot of sense, they just aren't manage right and need reform. I would like to see more independence in each school as well, but I flatly reject the idea there shouldn't be any public school.

T-Rav said...

I guess I probably should say that, yes, the First Lady has a point. But I won't.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, That's the spirit! LOL!

AndrewPrice said...

Patriot, I agree, but I think it's a matter of picking the wrong fight. The fight needs to be to stop the government from trying to regulate what goes on in private transactions and on private property. Standing up and ridiculing this point now only takes us out of the debate.

For one thing, the public see us as acting irrationally -- "What do you mean it's liberalism to want kids to eat more healthy? I guess I'm a liberal then?!" So right away, we lose the argument and we push people to their side... where they are likely to stay.

Secondly, when it comes time for their next step down the road, we have no credibility because we politicized common sense and went for ideology over common sense. And people will say, "what they say kind of makes sense, but these are the same people who thought it was wrong to try to get kids to eat better, so I can't trust them."

So we end up making the full package of liberal control more likely and much more easy to get through.

Not to mention, we are being hypocritical if we then say, "food stamps should only be allowed to be used for staples." It's then easy for them to counter, "but you think kids should be allowed to pig out on hamburgers, pizza and chips? Why do you dislike poor people?"

The better plan is to be rational about these things. Don't get bent out of shape over the good ideas, but stress that these things only apply to government benefits and that we will fight any attempt to force them on private persons in the private sphere.

It's the same thing with the smoking argument. For years, conservatives whined about things people thought made sense. And then when the government started going too far, conservatives had no voice because they were seen as doing the tobacco industry's bidding -- there are still conservatives who claim there is no proof that smoking is harmful... how does that help our credibility? Reputation matters.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I agree. We should absolutely oppose schools banning kids from bringing lunches from home. That is a violation of rights, not the menu change thing. And you are right, that is a classic lesson on how the government operates: it hates competition and when it goes into do-gooder mode, it tries to force everyone to comply. That's where we need to draw the line here.

On the lunches, I'm amazed too how they've changed. We used to get a lot of "institutional food." Everything was tasteless and probably had no nutrition at all, and there was lettuce tossed onto the tray too. But they really picked up the quality over the years, and the choices, and now it's like going to a restaurant in some places! I'm not sure about the nutritional value, but the taste is much better. And there's a lot of junk too.

Individualist said...


I have heard back and forth pronouncement from members of the FDA charging that transfats are healthy then the4y are not. Margerine is better for you, no actually butter is the better fat to eat. The meme that hormones feed to beef and the european union banning American exports was made to limit such exports. Hormones fed to pigs for ham were not banned by the EU because they provided that internally.

Yet there are those who take these studies and tell us hormone fed beef harms us and we should use more expensive natural organic beef that does not take advantage of the science.

So to your point yes it matters who decides waht is healthy because people who make these decisions for political reasons will not just make mistakes but make the wrong decision.

As to not having public schools. I wasw a board member of a private not for profit that provided living assistance and training for the adult blind. They were a 501-C3 organization that tauted itself as a Public institution but were in fact a private charity. They did have government grants but most of their funding was from teh United Way. The Division of Blind Services would contract them because they provided the same service for 1/10th what the governmentally funded organization could provide.

So exactly what benefit do you perceive me getting from having to send my child to a government backed school that spends four times what a private instituion would and gives me little to no input over the education of my child and on top of that forbids some forms of study such as religion that I might want them to have.

Because from my point of view. I see none. Somethings I need the government for but that does not mean that I should need the government for everything.

Joel Farnham said...


Truth be told, I would rather that there be no public schools that can be controlled by the Federal Government. The reason why the Teachers called off the strike in Chicago was that parents started to put their children in to Charter and Voucher schools.

While the NFL corner back with the fat rear-end has decided what Johnnie should eat, what is lost in the media maze is the local control of schools including what constitutes a healthy meal. Also, too often, students are stopped from bringing to school food to eat. Usually it is some busy body who shouldn't be in charge of children any way.

AndrewPrice said...

Indi, The problem is that you're talking about disputes that shouldn't even be relevant to this debate and you're using those disputes to make a general point that simply doesn't work.

Take the transfat issue. First, study after study shows transfat is bad. Companies are dropping it because they know it's bad. Doctors warn you about it. So yes, some people still claim the science is out, but they are applying a faulty scientific requirement of absolute certainty -- which can never be met.

BUT even leaving that issue aside and assuming that transfats have been unfairly maligned, they are generally only found in things that are already unhealthy even without the transfat question -- like hamburgers, pizza, deep fried foods, and candybars. Those aren't things that should be on the menu regardless. Thus to argue that uncertainty about transfats makes it impossible to know what is unhealthy is simply wrong. We know what is healthy and what is not in 99% of the cases. Arguing that there is uncertainty in the 1% and thus we cannot know anything about 100% is simply not reasonable.

Moreover, so what if we wrongly ban transfat from school lunches out of an abundance of caution? There's no real harm there unless you're a seller of transfats. It's not like kids need transfat foods to survive.

The benefits from public school are that (1) it guarantees that there will be schools. There is no guarantee that the private sector will provide schools in places like rural or distressed urban areas. (2) You describe an idealized scenario. Few private schools are funded by charity and most charge rather high tuition, which most people cannot afford. (3) It allows the state to ensure that all children go to school because there is no excuse. (4) Public schools are meant to provide a place where people can send their kids without having to worry about religious/political indoctrination. Granted, they don't always succeed in this, but in places like Colorado they really do a good job of being value neutral. There is no guarantee of finding such schools if you leave it up to charities and business to provide schools.

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, I totally believe in competition, and voucher and charter schools should be as widely available as possible. They will make public schools better, and if public schools can't compete, they will drive them out of business eventually. But I have to tell you, in places like Colorado with a good public school system, there is little call for charter or private schools. There are some, but they are no danger to the public schools.

In terms of local control, I agree with local control with some caveats. I think we need national testing standards which the schools must meet. I think we need to require that school performance be made publicly known. I think there should be a minimum curriculum which all schools must meet to teach a certain level of reading, writing, math, science, and civics. And to the extent the schools take federal money for things like lunches, I have no problem if they impose nutrition requirements along with that money.

T-Rav said...

As the product of someone who spent her career in a public school (and a good one), I don't have an enormous beef with the institution. I think in many cases, the schools are woefully corrupt and are always proof of where central control will get you. And private and charter schools are probably much better. But as public schools are generally the glue of small communities like mine, I'm not willing to get rid of them.

As for the whole nutrition thing, look--I agree that eating healthy food is of course better than eating junk food, just as not smoking is better than smoking. I just don't care that much. I don't smoke, I like fast food but I'm making efforts to balance my diet a bit more, and I'm doing that on my own.

I think people ought to be free to eat as unhealthily as they want. But I also think they shouldn't come crying for the taxpayers' dime when they're 400 pounds and diabetic with heart failure.

Joel Farnham said...


California Public School system was like Colorado until the liberals grabbed a hold. What are you doing about the transplanted California Liberals and their eventual destruction of your school system?

So far, any Federal requirement on schools is met with teachers teaching to the test or worse fudging the test results by cheating. So much for unintended consequences. What do you think should be done?

BevfromNYC said...

Andrew - i agree with you. Michelle does get this one right. A large percentag of our kids go to public schools and this is the job of our schools to teach healthy habits. Good nutrition is one of those areas. When i was growing up, we were taught the "4 food groups" way - Milk, meat, fresh vegetables/leafy greens and grains. We didn't have the pervasion of fast food and prepared snack foods that kids have today AND we spent most of our time outside playing and running around. Of course that's before lawyers and government decided everything around kids had to potential to harm them in some way. THe combination of readily available processed foods/snacks and lack of activity has already created a crisis. Michelle is right - it's a national security crisis too. But the real crisis is how parents and school personnel have become adversaries rather than allies and kids rule. But then that is a conversation for another time.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, I agree about public schools. Whether conservatives like it or not, they are the glue that holds the country together. They are the instrument that guarantees that everyone gets educated, learns about America, and has similar cultural experiences.

On eating healthy, I'm eating much more healthy myself these days. And I would encourage everyone else to do that same. Major benefits. But I'm not going to force anyone, and I don't think the government should be forcing anyone either.

But I don't see this as the same issue. I see this as being about the government handing out benefits. And when it does, it should attach strings to make people make the right choices. You can still go home and pig out, but you just can't do it on the government's dime.

I also think this is an important issue because you learn your eating habits when you are young and if school is feeding these kids fast food basically, then we grow up to become fast food consumers, and that has caused the obesity epidemic and all the associated problems. If people want to learn bad habits, do it at home, not at school.

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, We shoot them at the border. Actually, there's nothing that can be done. But so far, the schools in Colorado have remained responsive to the parents and the students.

On the teaching to the test issue, I think the answer is to broaden the test to make that impossible. Law school works that way. You can't teach to the bar because the questions are sufficiently broad that you really do need to know what you are talking about -- you can't just learn a few key answers. If they did the same thing with K-12 testing, then teachers would need to make sure their kids understood the material rather than trying to teach only the things that will likely be on the test.

And keep in mind, despite the doomsaying and all the rose-colored glasses old people use ("it was so much better in my day"), the reality is that US really does have a world class education system and is now consistently turning out kids near the top of all the charts. So the problems we are seeing are not as bad as people want to believe. And our colleges dominate the world.

Patriot said...

Andrew...I think it goes back to the progressives thinking from way back....WE CAN make humans better! If they would only do what we tell them, eat what we tell them, and act like we tell them to act, then we will have a "better" society and mankind will be the better for it. Oh...and they MUST do this our way, because we are smarter than those rubes. WE went to an Ivy LEague school, and thus are much more qualified to make these life decisions than you idiots are.

Again, I believe it goes to my earlier argument...when we let that nose under the tent flap, we are doomed. Our founders knew this and had VERY LIMITED powers enumerated. All other powers not specifically listed were to be left to the states. That way, we rubes could pick up and leave if we didn't like what the state we were in was doing (regulating).

I understand we will never get back to the limited role of government ever again in our country, but damnit, we should fight these little, daily incursions into the state determining the "best" way for us to eat, drink, breathe, decide, etc.

Of course I understand your argument that if the gov't is "providing" our sustenance then they get to dictate what we eat. But damn, that sure sounds like shades of 1984 to me, and I personally, will reject their "assistance" every chance I get, as it just emboldens them to intrude more and more into our lives, in the interest of making our lives "better" or "healthier."

No agreement from me that the state can make these decisions better than I can...or the rest of us rubes.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, Agreed on all points. School should be teaching healthy habits, and handing out fast food and junk food is the worst thing they could be doing. Not only does it lead to obesity and set these kids up with bad habits for life, but it is jacking up our medical costs because of the related diseases, and studies have shown that high fat meals make learning harder.

I also agree about the disappearance of physical activity at schools, and that administrators, lawyers, and government are to blame. It's ridiculous and it's doing a lot of harm to children today and the country tomorrow.

BTW, when I got to high school, I ran into the first vending machine on school grounds. There was one machine, it was barely used, and it didn't have much good stuff in it. Today, they are handing kids bags of chips, candybars, and tons of deep fried foods. It's shocking what these kids are getting. I even know of schools in Texas where McDonalds and Starbucks are on the campus!! Tell me those kids aren't going to be 400 pounds and dead before they hit 40.

T-Rav said...

Andrew, I suggest publicly shaming and ridiculing the California liberal emigres at every turn until they disintegrate into tears and promise to change their ways, or go back where they came from.

AndrewPrice said...

Patriot, I get your frustration, but really you have this backwards.

What you are suggesting is that if the government is going to be allowed to give out benefits (i.e. school lunch) then those benefits should be magnificent and everyone should get anything they want. I'm saying, no way. I'm saying, if the government is going to be handing out benefits (i.e. school lunch) then the government should hand out basic benefits only and those benefits should be designed to teach people the good habits that will make them better citizens. So the choice is yours, indulge on your own dime or take the healthy-good-for-you stuff we give you, but don't think the government owes you happiness in addition to basic nutrition. That's my point.

Also, this isn't 1984 because this isn't the only option. If the government banned you from eating anything except what it provides, then I would agree that this would be an attempt to control. But it's not. Your kid can still each whatever junk they want... they just can't do it on the government's dime.

LawHawkRFD said...

Arugula !

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, Not only do they not have a sense of shame, but like all liberals, they are smug and they see us a noble savages who have yet to be enlightened in the ways they managed to ruin their prior state. They're like a plague of fools.

rlaWTX said...

I think one of the legit objections is the one-size-fits-all, no-alterations-for-reality requirement. From what I've read, school districts are wasting gobs of money on uneaten, trashed food because the kids are required to take it regardless. I recognize that there has always, and will always, be waste - but to require the local districts to spend the money at this level is kind of crazy.

(I lived on a candy bar and coke at school for lunch - if I didn't bring my lunch, because my anxiety did not allow me to go thru a cafeteria line. Silly, I know, but I don't think the no vending machine rule would have outweighed my anxiety in high school.)
Also, the junk food limitations that include bake sales and fundraisers are hurting some programs too. While I can see the positive side of the rules, I also see the heavy-handedness of the federal govt...

AndrewPrice said...

BTW, Mark Levin today called Michelle Obama "the new Eva Peron" because of this. That's hyperbolic and stupid.

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX, Almost all the money involved is federal money, not local money. There is very little local money left in the system and it doesn't go toward programs like the school lunch program.

And if kid aren't buying, you make less until your supply meets their demand and the waste goes away. The solution to the problem you mention is inventory management, not abandoning the idea. Also, keep in mind we don't know how much food was thrown away before and a single statistic is meaningless without a basis for comparison. As someone who once washed dishes at restaurants, I can tell you that vast amounts of food get thrown away, including the good stuff.

I did the candy bar and coke thing in Junior High because it gave me a chance to leave the building at lunch and walk over to the grocery store. :)

I think the banning on bake sales and fund-raises is another example of administrators gone stupid. I put that in the same category as those who try to send kids home for bringing action figures with guns or giving each other aspirin. It's administrators with no sense of judgment or common sense.

Doc Whoa said...

Brocoli! Yuck!!

Seriously, I agree Andrew and I don't think it does our side any good to go all irrational on this. Why would anyone listen to us when we can't even be ideologically consistent?

Individualist said...


That does not address my point. Since government will decide what is healthy politicians will dictate what foods are allowed and what not based on political contributions. I have no problem with healthy foods being enforced I just don't trust a government to actually do that in practice. The Bovine growth hormone debate is an excellent example. the EU used this despite no science to attempt to ban American beef to protect their trade without being censured by the World Court. that kind of stuff will pervade federal government mandates of food.

As to charities that argument also does not addrss the point for two reasons. One the amount paid per child for public schools is still four times the cost of private schools so the voucher is cheaper.

Two, regulations and control of private schools along with tort cases has caused them to rise drasticly. I went to Catholic school for $50 a month in Sumter South Carolina in 79. Today my Dad has to help my brother in law the pharmacist find the 4K to send his kids to a Catholic school. Yet the school district spends 10-12K per child at the public schools.

Every current public school could be changed to a 501-C3 tasking vouchers or grants from the federal government to supply them.

As to religious/politcal indoctrination that is not an issue either as what school a child goes to will be the parents choice. But even then allowing some children the ability to take a religious class an elective is not indoctrinating anyone as this would be by choice.

And 501-c3's are not beyond the purview of local governments. There are many local organizations that they work with and local laws they comply with. There could still be a county school board and PTA. The county could set schools up as needed. Thus a rural area has no issue. the difference is that parents have a choice to send their kids where they want.

If my Brother in Law did not have my Father to help him out my neices could not attend a private school. He's a pharmacist. That is not right.

And I don't accept that there is not religious and political indoctrination at public schools. They just claim their indoctrination to be secular orthodoxy.

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Doc! Yeah, avoid the broccoli! It will kill you! ;)

AndrewPrice said...

Indi, You don't seem to understand the issue. A decision will be made by the government. They are handing out food. The question is should they try to hand out healthy food or should they go ahead and hand out junk. You saying you don't trust the government to make the right decision has no bearing whatsoever on that question because the decision will be made whether you trust them or not. You are lost in an irrelevancy.

And logically, it is bizarre to argue that the government should hand out bad food because it might not be capable of spotting good food all the time. That's picking a 0% chance of success just because you don't think the alternative will be 100% successful.

On the other issue, private school tuition at $50 is a long-time ago. Private schools today are in the thousands and tens of thousands of dollars per semester. So don't try to use an argument based on 1979 economics.

Moreover, you don't seem to get that there is no choice when no one is offering a choice. So when you say people can pick whatever type of school they want if they don't want a religious school presupposes that there will be such schools. That's not likely in many cases. And I think you would flip out if you lives in a small town and the only school available for your kid was a Muslim school.

Finally, I hear this secularism is a religion stuff all the time from religious conservatives. That is a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of religion. Religion is about faith, i.e. a guess that you believe. And the fact that someone doesn't share your guess and thinks you are wrong does not turn their disbelief into a religion no matter how much you want it to.

ScyFyterry said...

I totally agree about this. Why should the government be handing out unhealthy food? If people want to get their food from the government, and we're going to allow them, then they should only get healthy stuff.

ScyFyterry said...

Also, getting rid of public schools would be a horrible idea. Plus, it will never happen so I don't even think talking about it makes sense. All we do is make ourselves look opposed to education.

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Terry! I agree. There's no reason the government should hand out junk food and make the problem worse. Nor is there any right to complain that you don't like the specific benefits the government provides.

I agree about the elimination of public schools. It is a bad idea, but even more so, it will never happy so why even go down that path?

LawHawkRFD said...

Andrew: I've never been one of the zealots about eliminating public schools, for the reasons you've stated. But every state is different. It sounds like Colorado still allows for a wide range of local decisions. Not so in California. Nearly every decision on student behavior and curriculum comes from Sacramento. As I've mentioned before, because of an astounding decision from the California Supreme Court during Jerry Brown's first term, all school funds (almost entirely from property taxes) must be sent to Sacramento for redistribution to the districts. The result is that nine times as much per pupil is being sent to the shooting galleries in South Central Los Angeles and Oakland than to top-performing schools in Simi Valley, Las Virgenes, Beverly Hills, etc. In the case of the latter, the residents pay their property taxes and school assessments, then form booster clubs to make up the huge shortfalls. All California schools now must have sensitivity training (largely acceptance [not tolerance] of homosexuality) starting in first grade. Those public schools in California which are doing well are funded largely by locals who appreciate education while their tax money goes to Sacramento to be redistributed to hopeless and dangerous schools in other parts of the state. That is not an indictment of public schools, just an indictment of California public schools.

Joel Farnham said...


How to say it? The Federal Government should stay out of schools. In the Constitution, is there a paragraph or even a sentence where it states where the Federal Government should control schools?

This thing with Michelle Obama is over reach similar to the EPA. Where will it stop? I am not mad about my public education, but I do know that this principle that the Government is better than parents in deciding what their child should learn or eat isn't a bright Idea even with a Republican or Conservative in charge.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, Thanks for the info. I knew things were bad in California, but I didn't know they were that ridiculous!

You are correct that in Colorado there is still a lot of local control. In fact, it's district by district and not even city-wide. So depending on where you live, you can find a completely different district with a completely different game plan and administration just across the street.

It's made for a lot of competition around town and it's largely kept the schools honest. There are also a smattering of private schools and a growing number of charter schools within the districts but independently run. Many of these have focuses or act like magnet schools for bright kids. All in all, schools don't seem to be an issue here at all -- everyone is pretty happy with them.

ScottDS said...

Andrew -

I have to agree with what tryanmax said about scattered districts who have piggybacked on Michelle's "healthy initiative" to ban sack lunches.

And the occasional case of a club or sports team that can't hold something as harmless as a bake sale to raise money. Sure they can sell something healthy but the money's in the sweets!

I do agree with you on this one but maybe I'm biased since I was a member of my high school's DECA chapter and the soda machines fell under our purview. No soda machines, no trips. (I'm sure our teacher would've offered healthy things instead if ordered to do so, no doubt through gritted teeth.) :-)

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, The constitutional argument doesn't wash because it includes catchall categories for the general welfare. Not to mention, you can get to schools through interstate commerce because you are preparing workers for the future and because people need to be able to travel freely between states, meaning there must be compatibility.

The overreach argument doesn't wash. There is nothing overreach about this. Sure, there COULD be IF more is done, but more is not being done. So you can't call it overreach yet. All this is, is putting more requirements on benefits that will be provided either way. And if you reject what she's doing then you really are arguing that government benefits should be catering to demand rather than limited.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, I'm glad you agree. :) Like I said, I call them like I see them even when that means I end up agreeing with someone I don't like.

I agree with you and tryanmax (and you and rlaWTX) on those points. They should NOT be allowed to ban home lunches nor should they be allowed to stop bake sales or other charity drives. Those are ridiculous abuses.

Patriot said... comment on this. Where does it end? Why not provide steak, fresh vegatables, bottled water and fresh bread for all the students. Only the best for "the children." if you disagree, you must want to feed our children tainted food and water with arsenic in it.

So what if it means an increase in our federal budget that bankrupts us even more? It's for the children.

You say the government will hand out lunches anyway, might as well make them healthy. Who pays for all this? He'll, just keep on improving the school lunches so we can provide ur children a healthy foundation to learn. We now have the government feeding the people. What could possibly go wrong!?

Sorry..I just cannot get behind this. It reminds me too much of the old argument conservatives have had with Republicans all along......"Republicans will make this program more efficient and effective!". When we shouldn't be doing the program in the first place. It's got to start somewhere, this getting government out of our lives. This sure looks like as good a place as any Sir.

Patriot out

Republicans said...

"Hey....I represent that remark!"

AndrewPrice said...

Patriot, If you want to end the whole program, that's fine. I don't disagree with that at all (though I don't see that happening). That would be a principled stand.

The problem is that's not what conservatives are objecting to. None of them are saying "we shouldn't be providing meals." They are saying, "Michelle is a dictator because she wants to make the meals we do provide healthy." That's ridiculous and wrong on so many levels. That's the line of attack which just makes them look petty and out of touch, and it contradicts the principles they assert with regard to other benefits that are provided.

That's the problem here and that's what I'm addressing.

AndrewPrice said...

Poll Update:

This is an interesting trick. Have you heard about the “jaw dropping numbers” showing Obama surging ahead with a huge lead in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania? This is supposed to show a dramatic change in the race. So clearly, Romney screwed up.

Only, according to his poll (CBS/Quinnipiac – never reliable), the number haven’t moved at all since August 1 in Ohio or Pennsylvania and Obama has only gained 3% in Florida. So this is a false report that this means something.

Secondly, GOP enthusiasm is 10-13% higher and Romney wins amoung independents, yet somehow the poll shows Romney losing by around 10% in each of these states. How this possible? For one thing, their sample of women favor Obama by 25%. That’s impossible. Further, here’s the partisan split: D+14% in Florda, D+10% Ohio, D+6% Penn.

Joel Farnham said...


Wow, I didn't think Pennsylvania was in play. I knew Florida and Ohio, but.....

No wonder the press is getting squirrely. One day complaining about Obama, and the next lionizing him.

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, Obama has a clear lead in Pennsylvania, but it's not insurmountable and it's not nearly as much as it should be.

Jen said...

I'm not going to agree or disagree, and I'm not going to say what should or shouldn't be served in schools. Actually, I wasn't going to comment at all, but this has been grating on me for the past two plus hours. My comments are based on my experiences, and I'm not implying anything.

I could say something about M.O., but I shall refrain.

The school I went to from 6th to 8th grade was K-8, and I used to hear that kids from other schools complained about cafeteria food. They should have gone to my school. We didn't complain because the food was actually good. I also worked in the cafeteria, and there were kids that practically fought to be able to work there (free lunch, and extra goodies).

We had pizza in school on occasion, and for the life of me, I can't figure out why it is considered junk food (food groups/food pyramid anyone?). We also had a lot of other food that is now deemed bad, and yet, there weren't very many obese, let alone fat kids. They were few, and far between.

There were no vending machines when I was in school (up to at least 9th grade). If we had cookies, or things like that, it wasn't all the time, because the menu varied.

If there was a vending machine in high school, I don't recall it, because eventually, I quit eating lunch.

Calling ketchup a vegetable is nuts. But, for my pizza sauce, if I took tomatoes, cooked them, removed the skin and seeds, then cooked them down to thicken the sauce (without adding anything, including salt), how can that not be healthy? Besides, botanically, a tomatoe is a fruit, not a vegetable.

I'm a dairy farmer, therefore I will defend what I produce. USDA banning whole milk from schools. IMO, whole milk is not the problem with why there is obesity in children. Somebody commented about how they played outside a lot. We did too! I talked with my sister about that recently, and she doesn't remember very many fat kids in her classes either. If you take in more calories than your body requires, it doesn't matter what you eat. I think I'm safe to say that a person will usually gain weight.

Margarine better than butter? Sorry, I can't make margarine at home (it's not rocket science either). I view butter as a natural product, margarine is not. All that excess butterfat removed so that schools can have their skim, reduced fat, or whatever milk has to go somewhere.

How about that government cheese? I didn't care for it.

The notion that all hamburgers are greasy is not true. If I remember correctly, McDonald's has bought a lot of beef from dairy cattle (mostly cull dairy cows), and dairy beef is naturally leaner no matter what. I don't know what they do to their beef.

I usually raise one steer a year for the freezer. If I try frying ground beef, it sticks to the pan. They get grain, but not an excessive amount.

I think about over the years of how many foods once considered 'bad for you', are now not so. Coconut oil, butter, coffee, eggs. I know there have got to be more. So, the food once allowed in school--pizza, hamburgers, fries, etc., isn't good enough anymore. It's a good thing I don't live in NYC. The nanny food police get on my nerves.

Rant over.

AndrewPrice said...

Jen, The problem is that the school lunches you remember are not what they are eating today. I know the lunches you're talking about and those are long gone.

The kids today are basically getting fast food. Some places actually have fast food joints on campus. Others are getting catered by food companies that are trying to produce things that taste like fast food rather than being healthy. That means, cooked in grease and lots of processed elements. Sugary deserts, chips, and soda.

These things are double the calories of the meals you and I grew up eating. That is the reason there is this problem -- not to mention, recess is shrinking or being wiped out entirely.

Jen said...

Andrew, You hit the nail on the head--"processed elements". I also believe that a lot of these acquired tastes stem from home.

I might have mentioned it before, but I don't like fast food, or eating in restaurants, and McDonald's, BK, and Arby's a half mile away totally don't tempt me. My first four jobs had something to do with food, but that's not the main reason I avoid them.

I grew up with a brother who became a juvenile diabetic, and our parents catered to his diet, and tastes. We very rarely had junk food, and I don't have a preference for it, although I do have a sweet tooth from time to time.

My mom wasn't a good cook at all, and we will still make fun of her lack of cooking skills--it came out of a box or can most of the time, and that may be part of the reason I like things from scratch. I especially don't care for over-processed food--meats in particular. If I don't raise it (beef, chicken, pork), I won't buy it.

Another thing I have a problem with is restaurants (including fast food places) that take food stamps. My friend was telling me about Schwan Foods taking them as well. She said the stuff isn't cheap (she will buy things on occasion). She also gets upset when buying groceries. She looks for reduced price, store brands, or specials, only to see someone with name brand items, and they pay with their EBT card. This is nuts.

I know for a fact that years ago, only certain items were allowed to be purchased if you were in the food stamp program (parents had them a couple of different times).

It really is a shame about recess. That was the best part of school (besides lunch at the school I mentioned). How many kids even like to play outside? Too many video games, not enough time to play them (I know this because of my neighbor kid, and my friend's kids, and their friends). That's practically all they do.

AndrewPrice said...

Jen, The hamburgers they served us when I went to school, for example, were a combination of soy and beef. They were low calorie, low taste, low fat foods. They came with some ketchup and some mustard and that was it.

Today, they are restaurant style burgers. They are processed, dripping in fats and usually pre-cooked. And somethings it's the same food you buy at fast food places. These menus aren't the menus you and I remember.

I was speaking to a friend with a daughter who started ballooning once she got to high school. He looked at what she was buying and she was eating 2500 calories between lunch and the coffee she bought at school. That's more like double what she should be eating all day.

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