Writing on the Double Yellow Line

Militant moderate, unwilling to concede any longer the terms of debate to the strident ideologues on the fringe. If you are a Democrat or a Republican, you're an ideologue. If you're a "moderate" who votes a nearly straight party-ticket, you're still an ideologue, but you at least have the decency to be ashamed of your ideology. ...and you're lying in the meantime.

Location: Illinois, United States

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Chalk Dust – Oct 4 2012

Chalk Dust – Oct 4 2012
©2012 Ross Williams

Headline: FL School Considers Trash-Cams

Article Synopsis: In response to the Obama Administration’s USDA mandate to provide healthier school lunches consisting entirely of food children won’t eat, school districts are livid at spending money on food that goes directly from tray to trash, and schools in Lake County FL are willing to spend more money on video cameras installed in the trash cans to watch whole, uneaten food being pitched. Parents object to this spying even if they also think that the USDA’s rules are high-handed and authoritarian.

Just Call it ‘Composting’: The school board is complaining of losing $75,000 of produce since the USDA mandate rolled out ... between last school year and this. In just about a month and a half of school year, that makes a cool half million dollars down the drain. Multiplied by the number of public school districts in the country, we’re looking at billions of dollars of waste annually or, if you’re a Democrat supporting Obama, another policy victory.

One critic of the school’s ham-fisted attempt to prove to the USDA how idiotic their rule is fears that taping vegetables being thrown away will lead to taping the children doing the throwing, and then legal repercussions being leveled against the parents ... such as throwing parents in jail for a child’s truancy ... which happened in California last week.

Another critic of both the USDA rule and the district’s response to it ironically suggested that children get taken away between the ages of 3 and 5 to be raised to proper indoctrinated enlightenment by the powers that be.

Conclusion: Don’t give them any ideas; it takes a village, you know. The “village” is Washington DC.

Headline: NJ School Plans Strike to Protest Obama’s Food Rules

Article Synopsis: A high school in Parsippany NJ is cobbling together a student boycott of all cafeteria food – snacks, drinks and meals – to protest the meagerness of the portions allowed to public school students under the Obama Administration’s new USDA rules on school lunches. The administrative change to nutrition standards is called, ironically, Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. School kids’ most common complaint, beyond the fresh vegetables that they immediately pitch, is that there isn’t enough to eat.

Won’t You Sponsor a Child Today: The USDA guidelines mandate a maximum of one and a half ounces of protein for a lunch, regardless of whether that protein comes from grain or meat, because someone in the USDA knows so little about nutrition that he believes they are interchangeable. And judging by how teenagers eat – all teenagers – one and a half ounces of meat is only two bites or more if a parent cuts it up for the child; for a growing boy it doesn’t even constitute an hors d’oeuvre. As a result, the thousand-student school is going to an All Brown-Bag policy – voluntarily.

They have considerable sympathy, if not support, from both the school and the school’s food vendor, who reports how the food portions are gotten: by cutting normal-sized portions in half ... or smaller. The school board acknowledges that school-provided lunches are no longer filling, and the student organizers of the boycott complain that it now also costs more to be underfed.

Conclusion: Commercials are still being run advertising that it only costs twenty-seven cents a day to feed a child all the food he needs – and not just for lunch, for the whole day. Of course, these are based on the cost of living in third world countries. Something tells me, though, that Obama’s school celery sticks cost considerably more than that, even considering the cost of living disparity. How about we make some commercials for the third world nation of Joisey?

Headline: Kansas School Has Viral Video Over Starvation Menu

Article Synopsis: A high school in a small town in Kansas has put together a YouTube response to the USDA’s implementation of the inaptly-named Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. Children are seen passing out from hunger at their desks, and others are shown burning copies of USDA regulations which, if my familiarity with government documentation is any indication, probably constituted an illegal open fire. The video also contains a song entitled “We Are Hungry”, lyrics written by a teacher and set to a currently popular song of some sort. A Kansas Congressman – whose august body gave USDA the authority to starve school children in the first damned place – is drafting a repeal of the starvation diet.

When Life Imitates ‘Glee’: It would seem that the “hunger-free kids act” seeks to keep kids hunger-free by starving them to death. A dead child is not hungry ... by definition. A Pyrrhic victory is a victory nonetheless, and in the zero-sum game of politics, Pyrrhic victories are about as easy as they come, especially when re-election is needed.

They’re certainly easier to attain than implementing a policy [wise or otherwise] whose results can only be seen after a generation ... which is how we got into the mess school “nutrition” is in now. School cafeterias served lukewarm, overcooked gruel for decades, interspersing it with high-fat, high-salt processed food swill, topping it all off with desserts of gooey, packy “cake” indistinguishable from wet cement with too much sugar to set, and gelatin that didn’t meet the minimum flavor specifications for the agar culture in biology lab.

Kids who refused to be so uncool as to brown-bag it so they could get what they wanted – or at least what their parents bought for them – instead made do with the snack line [in my day] or the vending machines [in my older children’s day]. The vending machines with their snack cakes and candy bars and sugary carbonated beverages provided a generation of youth a constant supply of the empty calories we love to demonize.

At least the snack line in my school had bagged popcorn – which is a whole grain – and granola bars – which is as well ... even if both contain the wrong kind of plant oils, monosaturated for hypertension. About the worst thing they sold was Nutty Bars high in peanut butter and covered in smeary chocolate; that and chocolate milk [two cartons] was often my lunch.

It took over a generation to get to where we are; who honestly believes it can be undone by a single law implemented by a single authoritarian bureaucracy under a single social-fascist peabrain? ...besides the aforementioned peabrain, his ditzy wife, his bureaucrats, and the ninnies who voted them into office, that is? Please keep in mind that among the ninny voters are those whose brainstorm it was in the first place to convert school cafeterias into banks of machines vending soft drinks and crème-filled Doodle-O’s ... for the revenue!

Conclusion: How hard does this really have to be? If the federal government is going to insist on using its nonexistent authority to demand education for all, and to dictate the terms and conditions of it, then use that authority to get rid of the vending machines and make lunch more than 25 minutes long – that’s all my kids get. I’m not so naïve as to assume they’re unique. An hour-fifteen seems about right. And sending the cafeteria staff to cooking school wouldn’t hurt either. Cuz here’s a hint: opening a 5-gallon can of water-logged green beans and dumping it in a warming tray isn’t cooking.

Also, knowing something about kids would be a real good idea, as well. They don’t like vegetables, and schools have neither the patience, the space, nor the loyyering to make them sit there until they eat their lima beans. The average child won’t eat vegetables unless they are severely disguised: pasta sauce, veggie-fries. Yes, you have to use carb-heavy pasta, or deep-fry the carrot and celery sticks ... that’s the trade-off. At least it’s vegetables.

Any decent junk-food salsa is nothing but tomatoes, onions, cilantro, peppers ... with variables known as avocado, pinto beans, and rice. Vegetables galore, whole grains and non-meat protein, and even when conveyed by a tortilla chip, that’s just another whole grain, even if lightly fried in vegetable oil.

Fruit is gotten in pies – pastry is the trade-off. “Fresh” fruit is overrated. And pumpkin pie has a week’s worth of vitamin A in just a small slice.

The alternative for most children is ... pitching healthy food straight into the trash without so much as a nibble, cafeteria boycotts and viral parody videos portraying out-of-touch government weenies as being out of touch, profligate with our tax money, and quasi-genocidal to boot.


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