Posted by: bkivey | 5 April 2014

Lunching in the Nanny State

The 14 March edition of the local fishwrap of record contained a column by Progressive pundit Gail Collins on school lunches. Well, that was the hook: the actual substance of the essay is How the Evil Right-Wing is Waging War on Poor People.

Her column starts be referring to a 6 March speech Rep. Paul Ryan made to the Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC). In the speech, Mr. Ryan stated that government welfare programs, exemplified by the Federal school lunch program, robbed people of dignity. Unfortunately for Mr. Ryan, he illustrated his point with what turned out to be an apocryphal example. The Left, hypersensitive to ‘gotcha’ opportunities when their opponents slip up (although not so much their own), gleefully pounced on this inconsistency. The resulting kerfuffle advanced the Left’s desire to obfuscate the salient point of the speech: that offering people assistance, however much it may be desirable to do so, does in fact diminish the recipient’s dignity. Long-term assistance turns people into little more than peasants reliant on the whims of others.

About halfway through her essay, Ms Collins states:

“But the basic idea of providing healthy subsidized meals for public school students used to be universally accepted. Like Social Security, or federally funded bridge reconstruction.

No more. These days, you can find vocal opposition to any federal program that gives something to poor people.”

This is the crux of Ms. Collins, and the Left’s, problem. Programs that started out with noble intentions shouldn’t ever be questioned, and any scrutiny is ipso facto evidence of evil intent. While the school lunch program isn’t in itself indefensible, the actions of people who have used it as a way to control others are.

“Every once in a while, a rumor crops up that an elementary school somewhere is prohibiting brown bags and forcing all its students to eat Obamafare. This does not actually seem to be happening.”

Except it totally is. Credible evidence can be found here, here, and here. It took me less than ten minutes to find information falsifying the last sentence in Ms. Collins paragraph. Does she think all her readers are as credulous as her?

As is usual where large amounts of money are involved, those tasked with administering the program have used the school lunch program to expand and abuse their power. The biggest abuse appears to be in the Federal Head Start program, which in 2011 banned home-made lunches for students. Among the reasons given:


  • it is harder to control keeping children with allergies away from problem foods since the schools cannot verify ingredients in homemade meals or keep track of each child’s food.
  • there is not enough staff time and space for meal prep and storage, much less keeping track of home meals brought in
  • schools do not want the liability of food safety of home-brought meals.

That home-supplied lunches may not be as nutritious as school officials might like was another factor.

Here’s a thought, school officials. What parents give their children to eat is none of your damn business.

Isn’t it remotely likely that parents may know what their child’s allergies are? If officials aren’t seeking control over others, what possible reason would they have for ‘keeping track of home meals’? And under what legal theory is an institution liable for private property? This is rent-seeking behavior facilitated by inventing problems.

The truth is that Progressives see everyone as wards of the State. The State is mother, the State is father. Everything is political, meddlesomeness is disguised as ‘caring’, and people who stand up to this corrosive behavior are literally labeled ‘Enemies of the State’.


The header this month is a photo I took years ago at the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. This year’s festival runs the entire month of April. If you’re in Seattle or Vancouver, BC, this month, take a day to check out the tulip fields. It’s a stunning sight.

Changing Browsers

About three years I took on a computer consulting job that required me to use Mozilla Firefox. I liked it better than Internet Explorer, and have used it since. I’m going to have to change, though, because Firefox has displayed an inability to handle scripts. Like, at all. Entering a search term is a crap shoot, because if the search result has a script, the browser comes to a screeching halt. I’ve been using Chrome, which works well enough. It’s a pain in the ass, though, as all my bookmarks are in Mozilla.



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