Pat Bagley takes on the new guidance from the Trump administration that it is no longer required for schools to serve nutritious meals anymore, a reversal of First Lady Michelle Obama’s work to help improve children’s health which, others have noted, was announced on her birthday.
Not sure if the timing was a coincidence of not: The administration is certainly that petty, but I’m not sure they’re that attentive.
However, the change itself is an issue worth considering, beginning with the hypocrisy of those who pray in public that all may see they pray:
(W)hat man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? — Matthew 7:9
If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? — Luke 11: 11-13
People who refuse to feed children need to stop pretending to follow any major religion. Caring for children is a universal command.
I’ve had lunch in over 100 school cafeterias, and the people who run them want to do what’s right for the kids. I’ve also sat in on plenty of school budget meetings without ever hearing anyone ask if maybe they should serve crappier food.
True, several schools have gone to central preparation centers, sending the meals out to individual schools like airline food. But there are also schools that grow their own vegetable gardens, a legacy of Michelle Obama’s efforts.
Bagley pins the blame on Big Ag.
Now, you might think that agricultural interests would be as happy to have the fruit and vegetable growers represented in school lunch programs as they would to have sugar, fat and salt in there.
However, his “Big Ag” label is appropriate, because Small Ag doesn’t get a whole lot of lobbyist support.
Example from my own reporting: Back in the late 80s, when some people got e-coli from fresh-pressed apple cider, it was plain to the small, local purveyors of the stuff that the two sensible preventive measures would be to (A) stop using drops — apples that had fallen off trees rather than being picked — for cider and (B) add an additional washing to the apples you do use.
However, the solution proposed by the Central Gummint was pasteurization, which changes the flavor, body and character of true cider.
You would expect the agriculture lobby to speak up, but the major players are not selling cider. They’re selling “apple juice,” that nearly-clear liquid that has almost nothing to do with cider and on occasion nothing to do with apples either.
Point being that Mott and Del Monte did not come out to support makers of cider, and we can’t expect Big Ag to come to the rescue of regional fruit and veggie growers.
The other point being that someone needs to tell our administration that those “who amongst you” questions were rhetorical and that Jesus didn’t expect them to raise their hands.
And speaking of those who have ears yet cannot hear, Norm Feuti’s decision to end Retail draws the curtain on a particularly infuriating example of why newspapers are failing.
The above is an early Sunday in the strip, which ran January 29, 2006, but was included in the sales packet for the strip that came out several weeks before that.
At the time, I was working in an open space with an assistant, our neighbors being an ad clerk and a graphic artist, all young women in their mid-20s, and, because we were up on the second floor kind of out of sight, we had a lot of other young advertising people wandering up to visit under the guise of necessary errands.
I let someone see the Retail sales packet and they promptly began passing it around, screaming with laughter, having all put in their time at the mall.
This particular strip had them in absolute stitches, swearing they knew she should never have gone in.
If newspapers wanted to attract young adults, if they wanted to grow their market and preserve their stream of steady readers, Retail would have leapt into the pages of every newspaper in the country.
Instead, they run ridiculous non-scientific, invalid surveys of retired people who have time to fill out ridiculous non-scientific, invalid surveys and thus preserve the zombie strips that tell the same ancient jokes day after day after day, and are produced by commercial artists, the original cartoonists having long since died.
It’s not a plot. It’s gaping incompetence.
I have far more examples of newspapers’ bloody-minded suicidal decisions than this, but this one is particularly infuriating.
Retail did not fail.
Newspapers did. As they have so often.
As sure as I am about the perfidy of those who deny children real food, and newspapers that consistently make stupid, self-defeating choices, I am puzzled by Tom Gauld’s cartoon about women’s novels, or, more precisely, novels in which women are the main characters.
I’m all in favor of applying Bechdel’s Test, which is to see if a story involves two women who talk about something other than a man, but my response to this cartoon was to wonder how many literary novels starring men don’t also wind up with him dead and/or married.
In Googling to see if the advice in Panel One were verbatim, I didn’t find it but did come across this relevant 2013 opinion piece in which she contends that road stories and coming-of-age stories rarely feature women.
As for love and death, I’d point out that War and Peace, which is about coming of age on a very long road, winds up with everyone either dead or married except Denisov, the most romantic figure in the book.