This Will Make You Lose Your Lunch

Some years ago, my fellow comedian Tim Slagle and I produced short comedy bits for a libertarian talk show.  In one bit, the health-care police arrested a man for sneaking coconut oil into a movie theater to put on his popcorn.  (I’ve embedded it at the end of the post.)

The trouble with using comic exaggeration to make fun of nanny-state busybodies is that reality keeps catching up.  What starts as parody ends up sounding like a straight news report some years later.

Just look at what the nanny-staters have been up to lately.  First, a councilman in New York City proposes banning toys from Happy Meals that don’t meet his definition of “healthy.”  Some commenters on the blog suggested I find a picture of that councilman.  So I did:

This is the guy who considers himself qualified to stand between me and McDonald’s so I don’t let a cheap toy lure me into buying meals he doesn’t think my kids should eat.  And he’s doing this (as Jacob Sullum would say) apparently without embarrassment.

Amazing.  The councilman should get together with Kelly Brownell and form a two-man comedy team called Morbidly Obese Men Who Know What You Should Eat. I’ll volunteer to be their opening act. I bet the back-stage spread before shows would be terrific.

Note to nanny-state busybodies everywhere:  if you’re tempted to legislate other people’s food choices and you happen to look like a character from a bad Eddie Murphy movie, it might be wise to just keep your mouth shut.  Yes, I mean that in more than one way.

On the heels of The Nutty Professor vs. Ronald McDonald in New York, today we learned that a public school in Chicago is banning lunches brought from home.  (This story produced an all-time record for the number of emails I received from blog readers.)  I’m sure you can guess the reason:  the school is just trying to make sure the little tykes are eating nutritious meals, doncha know:

Principal Elsa Carmona said her intention is to protect students from their own unhealthful food choices.  “Nutrition wise, it is better for the children to eat at the school,” Carmona said. “It’s about the nutrition and the excellent quality food that they are able to serve (in the lunchroom). It’s milk versus a Coke. But with allergies and any medical issue, of course, we would make an exception.”

Well, Ms. Carmona, it’s really generous of you to allow parents to decide what their kids will eat if there’s a medical issue involved.  But for everyone else, here’s how it works out:

1.    Your child is required by law to attend school.
2.    Your child is not allowed to bring lunch from home.

Therefore …

3.    Five days per week, nine months out of the year, the government will decide what your kid will eat for one-third of his meals.  If the government wants to stuff your kid with gluten, lectins, vegetable oils and fructose, that’s how it’s going to be – unless your kid is willing to skip lunch entirely.

What amazes me – and frankly scares me, too – are the people who don’t have a problem with this policy.

Parent Miguel Medina said he thinks the “no home lunch policy” is a good one. “The school food is very healthy,” he said, “and when they bring the food from home, there is no control over the food.”

Slamming.  Head.  On.  Desk.

Mr. Medina, if you think the school food is “very healthy,” here’s what you do:  tell your kids to eat the school food.  Then you’re making a choice as a parent … cool concept, eh?  In fact, it’s such a cool concept, perhaps we should extend it to other parents as well – including those who would rather pack a lunch for their kids, whether you approve of that lunch or not.

The pervasiveness of the “I think it’s a good idea, so let’s impose it on everyone” attitude in some cities these days just blows my mind.  It’s as if hardly anyone has ever heard the lovely phrase “It’s a free country.”  (Perhaps because in so many ways, it’s not anymore.)

In its never-ending quest to impose its dietary preferences on schoolkids, the USDA placed even greater restrictions this year on saturated fat, salt, and other nutrients that actually make a meal worth eating.  Here’s the result:

At Little Village, most students must take the meals served in the cafeteria or go hungry or both. During a recent visit to the school, dozens of students took the lunch but threw most of it in the garbage uneaten. Though CPS has improved the nutritional quality of its meals this year, it also has seen a drop-off in meal participation among students, many of whom say the food tastes bad.

I can’t quite figure out if the reporter actually sees the connection between “improved the nutritional quality” and “drop-off in meal participation.”  No matter, though.  The school is going to impose participation, so problem solved.  Nutty Professor vs. Ronald McDonald in New York, followed by a remake of The Shawshank Redemption in Chicago.

“Excuse me, are you Red?”

“Who wants to know?”

“Well, I heard you’re the guy who can get things for people.”

“Maybe.  What are you lookin’ to get?”

“The red ones … Red.”

“I don’t got any red ones.  I can get you uppers, downers, coke, smack or weed.  Take your pick.”

“No, not those red ones.  Red spicy ones.  You know, the corn chips.”

“Corn chips?  Look, newbie, I can get you all the drugs you want, but I’m not a magician, okay?  The principal catches you with a salty snack, we all wind up in the hole.”

Last year, when my daughter’s preschool informed us (reluctantly) that we had to pack a government-approved lunch on the day state inspectors were visiting, we decided to go ahead and put those oh-so-important grain products in her lunchbox.  The alternative was to stick a four-year-old in the middle of a fight she didn’t start.  But if the local elementary school even thinks about requiring my daughters to eat their awful cafeteria lunches, I will raise holy hell.

Fortunately, given the culture in this part of Tennessee, I’d probably have plenty of other parents joining me.  Some of them might even be packing … and I’m not talking about a lunch.

The Slagle-Naughton Report bit from long ago:

[audio:PopcornCriminal.mp3]
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160 thoughts on “This Will Make You Lose Your Lunch

  1. Tammy

    Tom – I was talking to a coworker this morning about the Chicago article and he said that in Baltimore City Schools – no peanut butter allowed in lunches. It came up because when I was a kid PB&J was standard fair. But now you can get kicked out of school for bringing that in. If a kid is allergic to peanuts, they don’t know not to eat their buddy’s PB&J sandwich?

    You would hope so.

  2. Jan

    My mouth just dropped open when I read about the school forbidding lunches brought from home. I sent my son to school with a grass-fed hamburger patty on a sprouted wheat bun (no soy or HFCS) with pepper jack cheese, raw baby carrots, celery stuffed with natural peanut butter and a cheese stick. Oh, and a bottle of water. I just checked the school menu – they’re serving “Chicken Patty on a Bun (breaded, mechanically separated chicken meat fried in vegetable oil on white bread), French Fries (white potatoes fried in more vegetable oil), Broccoli (with margarine) and Peaches (canned in heavy syrup).” They can choose a piece of fresh fruit if they want instead of the canned peaches.

    Oh, yes – the school option is SO much more healthy. I don’t know what I was thinking

    Sounds exactly like a lunch from our school. Don’t forget the skim chocolate milk, though.

  3. Scott

    I guess you didn’t miss the e-mail with a link to this article that I had planned to send, and forgot.

    Sadly, I think we lost a big part of this fight when smoking was proven to cause cancer. As far as the politicians are concerned, it’s the same thing. This is a “health” issue to them, and they’re convinced that “fat” is as bad for you as smoking is.

    I quit smoking a bit over 20 years ago. I wanted to quit. Had wanted to quit for years. And, I have to admit that the fact that my office went to a no smoking inside the building policy was one of the biggest factors in me being able to finally quit. It was either that, or go outside in a northern Michigan winter to shiver and puff away.

    The big difference here is, smoking was PROVEN to be bad for you. Nobody has yet managed to PROVE that fat is, even after half a century of trying to.

    They’ve restricted fat and salt — two of the flavors that make food palatable. Then they wonder why kids don’t eat the food.

  4. Don

    I enjoyed your comedy bit with the coconut oil. That’s some darn good stuff, I used it to fry up some shrimp last night, thanks for introducing us to it.

  5. allison

    There are some parents out there who don’t even have the right to be considered a parent. For those children unfortunately born into that situation, the school lunch program is a good idea.(though not sure why it’s so difficult to make the food taste good)

    In which case, you can be grateful the school lunch is available. But forcing everyone to eat it a different issue.

  6. Dave

    Re: eating the lunch and going hungry simultaneously, when my grandchildren qualified for the free lunch program, my grandson actually liked them and, being a very hungry 13 year-old, wanted more. Nope, sorry. They’d rather throw the food away at the end of the day than give a hungry kid a bigger portion.

  7. Jane

    I read this yesterday, and I was rip-roaring PISSED. My first thought was that I’d be yanking my kid out of school and moving to another state.

    Heck, who would want to live in Illinois, anyway? That’s like wanting to live in California (we had the option to go there, and I said, “Hell, no!”) or Michigan.

    The key word in that whole article is “control”.

    The same people who think they are smarter than everyone else (self-appointed) are the same people who think they have a right to butt into the lives of others.

    My brother (still in Illinois) tells me the state recently beat out California for the #1 spot in “cumulative probability of default” as defined by credit markets. Since our families are in Illinois, we briefly discussed moving there when we decided to escape California. So glad we didn’t … we would’ve just been moving to the California of the Midwest — minus the mountains and the ocean.

  8. Elizabeth

    You know it’s really sad. When I was growing up we ate cereal for breakfast most days, but for TESTING, those BIG DAYS… My mom would fix us fried eggs and sausage (and fried toast).

    Now the school systems (where I worked for 7 years) are using the “brains run on sugar” theory and every morning I was required to keep pretzels, GUM, peppermint CANDY and grapes in the room for a quick “brain snack” before THE BIG TEST. They buzzed up so quick and fast that I was always waking some of the kids from sugar crashes during the testing. And trying desperately to keep the ADHD ones from jumping right out of their seats!

    *commencing headbanging in rhythm to yours*

    Makes me wonder about those declining test scores everyone’s been worrying about for the past 30 years.

  9. Gal @ 60 in 3

    This sounds like pretty much any other government idea “good in theory but awful in practice.” In theory, it sounds great to me that educated nutritionists would make a lunch for kids that is good for them. They can even get economies of scale that we parents cannot. In practice though, they’ll pack the lunches full of whatever crap the latest lobbyist is pushing through and pocket some campaign contributions while doing it. We’ll end up paying more through taxes and kids will end up eating the government authorized equivalent of junk food.

    And people wonder why I vote libertarian…

  10. Rebecca

    Just to play the Devil’s Advocate, this would be fairly atrocious if done at a run-of-the-mill public school. There’s an expectation that I send my child to school, she learns, she comes home. But the school banning the lunch is part of a specific statewide program for significant community intervention, almost entirely because the school and surrounding community has been failing so miserably.

    On the one hand, it’s obscene that a school thinks it has the right to dictate what a child eats. On the other hand, it’s ridiculous that parents get up in arms after someone (anyone) finally steps in and sets some boundaries on the kids.

    In the end, this is what we get when we let the government run the show. Parents abdicate responsibility, communities fail, the government get more involved to fix the problem and we end up with even worse results…

  11. Ailu

    I predict that homeschooling is going to become ever more popular as this type of thing becomes more prevalent.

  12. Karen J

    Picky (2nd comment), what do you mean by “meatroll lunches”? Does it look just like it sounds?

    I heard on the radio (WLS Chicago) last night that principal saying that she didn’t actually ban home lunches, she was just trying to eliminate the junk food and sodas, especially the ones that the kids might be buying with or without their parents’ knowledge. Who knows, but she implied that the media got the story at least partially wrong.

    Sounds more like she’s backtracking after being embarrassed.

    The lunches we pack for our daughters frequently include lunch-meat rollups, usually with cheese or cream cheese in the center.

  13. Lyford

    As we continue our merry jaunt down the road to serfdom, imposed by the Utopian class, convinced that if they can just enact the right set of laws, they can bring about the perfection of the human condition and heaven on earth…

    http://lyflines.blogspot.com/2011/04/nothing-dear-youre-not-qualified.html

    One more itsy-bitsy step on the road to totalitarianism. We’ve gone from schooling for those who can afford it -> schools for everyone who wants to go -> mandatory schooling for all. We’ve gone from schools not feeding kids -> schools making lunch available to kids -> schools making “free” lunch available to kids -> schools making lunch mandatory for kids. (Thinking about following the history of school health -> sex ed -> condoms -> ??? to a similar and logical conclusion is … unsettling…)

    But remember, it’s all for our own good.

  14. Michelle B.

    Just so you know, I work in a public school and this is a way for the child nutrition programs to make money. School lunch programs are big money losers, especially at the high school level. So what better way to make money is to make parents “believe” that the school lunch is healthier and force them to pay $2.25 a day for their kids to eat lunch. At my school over 95% of the kids get free and reduced lunch, so the meal amounts are reimbursed by the federal government. However, a rule was made that no outside food can be brought into the school until after 1:30pm nor can teachers or students bring in food from fast food establishments into the school cafeteria because it competes with the school lunch program.

    Outlawing competition has a long and proud history among government types.

  15. Sarah

    As my Mom would say, “What a crock.” I guess I know why my Dad moved from California to Nevada, to get away from all the damn legislation on everything. He’s more libertarian than he lets on, I tell ya. I’m starting to think I am too.

    Don’t forget that new season of Jamie Oliver’s food revolution on ABC later today to look at the horrible school food! =D

    “Libertarian – Because government screws almost everything up.”

    To err is human. To really screw things up, you need government.

  16. Lori

    So much for “healthy lunches” at Chicago schools: health code violations http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2011/02/23/2-investigators-school-lunch-violations/
    and students in revolt over low-nutrient tan slop http://abcnews.go.com/WN/chicago-students-fight-back-bad-school-lunches/story?id=10193152.

    At times when I was a kid, my stomach was upset and I couldn’t keep down anything but salty chips, let alone school chili. If a kid comes to school now and then with nothing but chips, or whatever else the “experts” think is unhealthy, maybe the parents actually know something the “experts” don’t.

  17. LISA

    What I think is also horrible, and hasn’t been mentioned, is the fact that 100% of the students at this school are low-income and get free lunch. 100%. Why isn’t anyone ‘outraged’ that the school is ‘picking on’ low – income families and making decisions for them? Because, we all know, poor people can’t possibly make good choices, especially when it comes to raising children…

    If it was a school in a well – to – do area with little or no free lunch kids, this would never, ever fly.

    The Guy From CSPI would be proud. We must swoop in to save the stupid people!

  18. Gina

    I agree this “no lunch from home” policy is totally ridiculous. I’m not cool with the fat jokes though, Tom. Here’s why: I’m overweight and working on it by following a low carb lifestyle. If this policy were to be implemented in my son’s school, and I stood up to talk about how ridiculous it is, my viewpoint would almost certainly be ignored because I’m fat. People would look at me, just as you’ve looked at this councilman, and say, “Sure, listen to her, why don’t we? Then all of our kids will end up looking like that.”

    The councilman’s ideas about parental authority and the sinister allure of Happy Meal toys is ridiculous enough on its own. His weight has nothing to do with it. These things cut both ways.

    I am (as you know if you’ve seen Fat Head) sympathetic to obese people. I’d better be, having been considered one.

    I am not sympathetic towards a morbidly obese man who hasn’t successfully lost any weight, who is pushing more of the same low-fat nonsense that’s clearly failed, and — most important part — willing to use the coercive power of government to impose his ideas.

  19. Sean

    Principal Elsa Carmona said her intention is to protect students from their own unhealthful food choices and had nothing to do with a shadowy mafia connection to the food vendor with an exclusive school district contract, nor waking up with a severed horse head in her bed.

    “Hey Tony, somma dese here kids ain’t participatin. Dey’s bringin’ food from home.”

    “I wantcha to make these principals an offer they can’t refuse, hey badda bing.”

    Forget it, Tom. It’s Chicagotown.

    Well said.

  20. S.

    It’s an incredible presumption that a group of paper-pushing dunderheads feel that they can raise children that they don’t know or even particularly care about better than the parents that bore them. The mandatory school lunch scheme is nothing more than a money grab, pure and simple; yet under the veil of “preventing childhood obesity” just about anything can be justified.

    You want to take away freedom, all you have to do is claim it’s being done for the children.

  21. Lori

    “Any school that bans homemade lunches also puts more money in the pockets of the district’s food provider, Chartwells-Thompson. The federal government pays the district for each free or reduced-price lunch taken, and the caterer receives a set fee from the district per lunch.”

    Based on the surnames of the students involved here, I wonder whether a lot of their parents fear a visit from the Immigration and Naturalization Service if they start raising a stink.

    Forcing the kids to eat the government lunch appears to benefit both the school and the food provider financially. Ahh, the Chicago way. I remember it well.

  22. Amy Dungan

    I just wrote about this Chicago lunch nonsense too. Obviously the government’s definition of parenting goes something like this:
    1. You birth the baby
    2. Give us complete control
    3. Stay out of the child’s life from here on out, except to house them – we don’t want to do that… yet.

    My definition:
    1. I give birth to the child.
    2. I have complete control of raising said child – government can go to hell.

    Hmm…. looks like there will be some conflict for a long time to come. There I go being a trouble-maker again. And since I home school my kids, I’m a double annoyance. 🙂

    I think that’s why people who love the nanny-state go berserk when they hear the term “home-schooled.” They realize the necessary indoctrination may not happen.

  23. Galina L.

    Is it legal to do it? Do parents have a ground for a lawsuit?

    I had a hope that gradually people would accept LC first as one of healthy options(for me it is the only one) , then choose it more often. Right now it looks like the worst case scenario is going on – the more complications from the whole grain- low fat dogma surface, the more footing it gets, especially on government level. Should it be a total nightmare before it gets better? I know it will get better some day(not without a fight).

    Change will happen when the little clique of experts who started this ball rolling and have controlled the conversation for the past 30 years are dead and gone.

  24. Kim

    This is one of the many things that drive some parents to homeschool. Not only do you control their curriculum but what they eat. Who knows though, one day they may start inspecting home lunches:-(

    Give ’em time. There’s pretty much no area of of our lives they consider off-limits.

  25. Dana

    “Fourth-lowest overall tax burden in the country”

    Only if you’re not poor.

    I went to high school in Tipton County. Moved back in ’99, then went back again in ’01, and was poor the latter two times. Try eating on a very limited budget when the state is tacking 9 percent or worse onto your grocery bill.

    I’m with you mostly on this post, but being without a state income tax is NOT the be-all, end-all. They call sales taxes regressive for a reason. Those taxes also happen to kill retail jobs in TN, given the geographical shape of the state and the fact that the big cities are all on the state lines. And who gets the retail jobs? The poor people paying what now amounts to 10 percent of their grocery bill in sales taxes. Ouch.

    I’d rather we didn’t have taxes at all, but I kinda like having roads and a public health service and cops and firefighters and stuff. I just would prefer that the people who could least afford to fund that stuff didn’t get hit with a higher overall burden leaving them with the least disposable income.

    We come from different viewpoints on that one. I don’t think asking the poor to pay sales tax so they can have roads and schools and police and firefighters is an unfair burden. I don’t think anyone has a right to demand government services while also demanding that other people pay the entire bill for them.

    Since the state is funded by a sales tax, the only way the politicians can raise taxes is to raise them on everyone, which is as it should be — equal protection under the law and all that. In the People’s Republic of California and other socialist havens, the politicians have figured out how politically effective it is to promise more and more goodies to 90% of the population while sticking the bill to the other 10%. Works really well until the 10% get tired of it and leave.

    California is beyond broke. Tennessee is solvent. California is hemorrhaging jobs. Many of those jobs have come to Tennessee — Nissan, Lenoxx, other major employers. If the unfair sales tax is killing jobs, I’m sure not seeing it.

  26. Dana

    Also, I agree with Gina, and I was thinking the same thing she was. Just because someone’s fat doesn’t mean no one should listen to them. You have no idea, looking at someone, whether they’re at a stable weight, gaining, or losing. The fat person you see might have lost 100 pounds already and might still have weight loss in progress. Your seeing them is just a snapshot, it’s not the entire reality.

    I could see where this Chicago official is aggravated at the fact that he is overweight and might have been struggling with it his whole life and is trying to spare children his ordeal. Maybe he thinks that it’s too late for him to improve his health and that if we just catch kids earlier with the low-fat, low-cal crap, they might avoid getting fat in the first place.

    He’s wrong, and the way he’s implementing it is *dead* wrong–but I can sort of see where he’s coming from, maybe.

    God, I *hope* someone listens to some of us fat people. This fat person has managed to avoid diabetes so far, even if I’m still fat, because I kicked a decade-plus-long full-sugar soda habit, *and* kicked a chips habit, *and* most of the time manage to make intelligent choices about my carb intake even when I’m not strictly on the low-carb wagon. My mother was diagnosed at forty. I’ll consider it a victory if I get to that age and still have normal fasting labs. Three years away now. And I’m getting there without metformin or eating cardboard rabbit food. Booyah.

  27. allison

    There are some parents out there who don’t even have the right to be considered a parent. For those children unfortunately born into that situation, the school lunch program is a good idea.(though not sure why it’s so difficult to make the food taste good)

    In which case, you can be grateful the school lunch is available. But forcing everyone to eat it a different issue.

  28. Dave

    Re: eating the lunch and going hungry simultaneously, when my grandchildren qualified for the free lunch program, my grandson actually liked them and, being a very hungry 13 year-old, wanted more. Nope, sorry. They’d rather throw the food away at the end of the day than give a hungry kid a bigger portion.

  29. Rhonda

    I would only accept this ban on home-packed lunches and forced school lunches if the quality of the school meals was like those which are served in French public schools. Those kids (the French ones) get meals prepared by “real” cooks/chefs. Each school has a full-on kitchen; not a microwave ovens-only kitchen, where the food, which was prepared in some off-site facility, is heated up. The food is real, whole food; not processed food-like products. There is always a meat or seafood on the menu. The foods are full-fat; no low-fat fare on the menu. Parents are given the school’s planned menu for the week. Children are served the food on real plates (not paper), and use real forks, spoons, and knives. Heck, if American public schools planned and cooked school lunch menus like they do in France, I bet many of the parents would should up for lunch time.

    I wouldn’t support forcing kids to eat school lunches even if those lunches were personally prepared by Robb Wolf, Sally Fallon, or Mark Sisson. It’s a freedom issue.

  30. Gal @ 60 in 3

    This sounds like pretty much any other government idea “good in theory but awful in practice.” In theory, it sounds great to me that educated nutritionists would make a lunch for kids that is good for them. They can even get economies of scale that we parents cannot. In practice though, they’ll pack the lunches full of whatever crap the latest lobbyist is pushing through and pocket some campaign contributions while doing it. We’ll end up paying more through taxes and kids will end up eating the government authorized equivalent of junk food.

    And people wonder why I vote libertarian…

  31. Ailu

    I predict that homeschooling is going to become ever more popular as this type of thing becomes more prevalent.

  32. Karen J

    Picky (2nd comment), what do you mean by “meatroll lunches”? Does it look just like it sounds?

    I heard on the radio (WLS Chicago) last night that principal saying that she didn’t actually ban home lunches, she was just trying to eliminate the junk food and sodas, especially the ones that the kids might be buying with or without their parents’ knowledge. Who knows, but she implied that the media got the story at least partially wrong.

    Sounds more like she’s backtracking after being embarrassed.

    The lunches we pack for our daughters frequently include lunch-meat rollups, usually with cheese or cream cheese in the center.

  33. Allison

    Right on, Tom. It’s most definitely a freedom issue.

    If you’re an Ayn Rand fan (and I’m guessing you at least know who she is given your political stances), Part One of Atlas Shrugged hits select theaters on Friday. I know I’m pumped! 🙂

    Oh, I’ll be definitely be there.

  34. Kat

    This is ridiculous. I just don’t have the words for it. Who are you to tell me what I can and cannot eat especially when what I’m eating is better than the crappy school lunch? So, If i’m eating a snickers bar ( which actually has more vitamins and minerals in it than some nasty old canned peqaches in heavy syrup), you’re trying to tell me that’s worse? LOL… There are ways to get around this rule. One option would be to hide it in your boogbag/purse and eat it in the bathroom (gross I know, but it’s better than some Nazi trying to make me eat that garbage.

    Outlaw anything, it becomes a black-market item. The price usually goes up too.

  35. Michelle B.

    Just so you know, I work in a public school and this is a way for the child nutrition programs to make money. School lunch programs are big money losers, especially at the high school level. So what better way to make money is to make parents “believe” that the school lunch is healthier and force them to pay $2.25 a day for their kids to eat lunch. At my school over 95% of the kids get free and reduced lunch, so the meal amounts are reimbursed by the federal government. However, a rule was made that no outside food can be brought into the school until after 1:30pm nor can teachers or students bring in food from fast food establishments into the school cafeteria because it competes with the school lunch program.

    Outlawing competition has a long and proud history among government types.

  36. Sarah

    As my Mom would say, “What a crock.” I guess I know why my Dad moved from California to Nevada, to get away from all the damn legislation on everything. He’s more libertarian than he lets on, I tell ya. I’m starting to think I am too.

    Don’t forget that new season of Jamie Oliver’s food revolution on ABC later today to look at the horrible school food! =D

    “Libertarian – Because government screws almost everything up.”

    To err is human. To really screw things up, you need government.

  37. Susan

    I’m still amazed that the parents who will be subjugated, I mean subject, to that law stating they cannot send lunches to school are not rising up in outrage! I can understand if they are stupid enough to believe that the school is serving something “healthy” but just the idea of being bullied, I mean steered, into not having a choice is INSANE! Who are these people??

    Is there any correlation between this and the First Lady’s platform of “healthy food” for kids? I’m starting to see one.

    That’s what amazes me. Even if you think the school is serving good meals, they forbid you to send a lunch from home and you don’t feel outraged? Amazing.

  38. Audrey

    In TX they are having major educational budget issues and one of my thoughts to save money was to get rid of school food all together. Then I read this. Glad I homeschool!

  39. Lori

    So much for “healthy lunches” at Chicago schools: health code violations http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2011/02/23/2-investigators-school-lunch-violations/
    and students in revolt over low-nutrient tan slop http://abcnews.go.com/WN/chicago-students-fight-back-bad-school-lunches/story?id=10193152.

    At times when I was a kid, my stomach was upset and I couldn’t keep down anything but salty chips, let alone school chili. If a kid comes to school now and then with nothing but chips, or whatever else the “experts” think is unhealthy, maybe the parents actually know something the “experts” don’t.

  40. Ashley

    If my school tried to do that…I’m pretty sure all of a sudden my gluten intolerance would magically turn into a terrible allergy xD
    Or else I just wouldn’t eat lunch. I don’t always eat lunch anyways.

    Heck, I’d paint red dots on the girls’ faces and swear it’s a grain allergy.

  41. Sean

    Principal Elsa Carmona said her intention is to protect students from their own unhealthful food choices and had nothing to do with a shadowy mafia connection to the food vendor with an exclusive school district contract, nor waking up with a severed horse head in her bed.

    “Hey Tony, somma dese here kids ain’t participatin. Dey’s bringin’ food from home.”

    “I wantcha to make these principals an offer they can’t refuse, hey badda bing.”

    Forget it, Tom. It’s Chicagotown.

    Well said.

  42. S.

    It’s an incredible presumption that a group of paper-pushing dunderheads feel that they can raise children that they don’t know or even particularly care about better than the parents that bore them. The mandatory school lunch scheme is nothing more than a money grab, pure and simple; yet under the veil of “preventing childhood obesity” just about anything can be justified.

    You want to take away freedom, all you have to do is claim it’s being done for the children.

  43. JacquiW from NZ

    Children’s lunches seem to be a real easy target for fat arsed politicians trying to prove they are doing something to reduce obesity other than sort out their own diets.

    My sympathies to all Americans from a wonderfully free New Zealand! This is why my American husband lives here.

    New Zealand and Australia have jumped ahead of the U.S. on the Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom. Pretty sad, since the U.S. was founded on that very principle. That’s the result of sheeple not raising hell each time the politicians told us, “You know, if you let us take away just this one wee bit of freedom, we’ll give you some goodies in return.”

  44. Timespike

    Sure, let’s just mandate EVERYTHING. Because that’s what a free society does, right? Oh, wait, no, that’s the OPPOSITE of what a free society does. I hate those busybodies that would ban lunch from home, and I REALLY hate that I have to share a state with them! (Get me out of here!)

    That’s one of the many reasons I left the People’s Republic of California. The politicians there believe citizens are a government-support system.

  45. Galina L.

    Imagine, Tom, if it would be the low in America – no home lunches. Then immediately people who are interested in what their children eat (definitely not the whole country) would bring doctor’s notes for allergic children and just notes about food limitations for believe reasons – Jewish , vegan, Adventist…I am pretty much sure religious beliefs would be taken into consideration. What about rational beliefs? Why is it well accepted to accommodate irrational food choices based on religion and fight ones based on science? Is it time to declare a healthy life style to be religion, and whatever the person believes is healthy consider to be his or her spiritual choice?

    Let’s start a religion doesn’t allow grains or vegetable oils.

  46. David

    Wow, the government regulation on what children can eat in school is pretty creepy. Thank God I’m not a child in school anymore, but those poor children are reaping the consequences of a nutritionally-ignorant society.

    Lol to your Shawshank Redemption joke, though I do agree with you that it might actually be a reality where dairy butter and coconut oil have to be smuggled like alcohol during the Prohibition.

    We’ve already got cops busting co-op stores that sell raw milk to willing customers.

  47. Dana

    “Fourth-lowest overall tax burden in the country”

    Only if you’re not poor.

    I went to high school in Tipton County. Moved back in ’99, then went back again in ’01, and was poor the latter two times. Try eating on a very limited budget when the state is tacking 9 percent or worse onto your grocery bill.

    I’m with you mostly on this post, but being without a state income tax is NOT the be-all, end-all. They call sales taxes regressive for a reason. Those taxes also happen to kill retail jobs in TN, given the geographical shape of the state and the fact that the big cities are all on the state lines. And who gets the retail jobs? The poor people paying what now amounts to 10 percent of their grocery bill in sales taxes. Ouch.

    I’d rather we didn’t have taxes at all, but I kinda like having roads and a public health service and cops and firefighters and stuff. I just would prefer that the people who could least afford to fund that stuff didn’t get hit with a higher overall burden leaving them with the least disposable income.

    We come from different viewpoints on that one. I don’t think asking the poor to pay sales tax so they can have roads and schools and police and firefighters is an unfair burden. I don’t think anyone has a right to demand government services while also demanding that other people pay the entire bill for them.

    Since the state is funded by a sales tax, the only way the politicians can raise taxes is to raise them on everyone, which is as it should be — equal protection under the law and all that. In the People’s Republic of California and other socialist havens, the politicians have figured out how politically effective it is to promise more and more goodies to 90% of the population while sticking the bill to the other 10%. Works really well until the 10% get tired of it and leave.

    California is beyond broke. Tennessee is solvent. California is hemorrhaging jobs. Many of those jobs have come to Tennessee — Nissan, Lenoxx, other major employers. If the unfair sales tax is killing jobs, I’m sure not seeing it.

  48. Vicki

    I am most angry that they think they have the right to take away parents rights to raise their children!!!! How dare they dictate what and where the children will eat…or drink or where to buy goodies from! It is all about personal freedom!

    Exactly. Even if the lunches at school were really and truly good for the kids, that’s not the point.

  49. Dana

    Also, I agree with Gina, and I was thinking the same thing she was. Just because someone’s fat doesn’t mean no one should listen to them. You have no idea, looking at someone, whether they’re at a stable weight, gaining, or losing. The fat person you see might have lost 100 pounds already and might still have weight loss in progress. Your seeing them is just a snapshot, it’s not the entire reality.

    I could see where this Chicago official is aggravated at the fact that he is overweight and might have been struggling with it his whole life and is trying to spare children his ordeal. Maybe he thinks that it’s too late for him to improve his health and that if we just catch kids earlier with the low-fat, low-cal crap, they might avoid getting fat in the first place.

    He’s wrong, and the way he’s implementing it is *dead* wrong–but I can sort of see where he’s coming from, maybe.

    God, I *hope* someone listens to some of us fat people. This fat person has managed to avoid diabetes so far, even if I’m still fat, because I kicked a decade-plus-long full-sugar soda habit, *and* kicked a chips habit, *and* most of the time manage to make intelligent choices about my carb intake even when I’m not strictly on the low-carb wagon. My mother was diagnosed at forty. I’ll consider it a victory if I get to that age and still have normal fasting labs. Three years away now. And I’m getting there without metformin or eating cardboard rabbit food. Booyah.

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