Pink And Blue Rifles And Pizza, Coke, Cake, And French Fries For Your Kiddies

Ed Raymond

Parents will be happy to know that many big corporations are looking out for the safety and health of their kids. Over 30 million kids eat school lunches in the U.S., and since the changes made in the menus a couple of years ago at the urging of First Lady Michelle Obama with the work of the Agriculture Department, Republicans have discovered that students are starving or are trashing food. I have eaten school lunches for 47 years and I have never heard such whining about dining. But the Republicans are determined to bring some sense to the kerfuffle.
Minnesota Republican representative John Kline, chairman of the House Education Committee, has submitted a bill to save the children, using the advice and counsel of an organization known as the School Nutrition Association. One might assume that this organization is actually intensely interested in nutrition. After all, school dieticians and food service directors do belong to the group. The group is lobbying for the passage of Kline’s bill. In 21 years of supervising school lunch programs, I never heard of this watchdog group that protects students from fresh fruit and fresh vegetables.

A List Of Junk Food Peddlers That Create Obesity And Diabetes

Why would this group be opposed to rules that would ensure that school lunches contain more fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and low-fat dairy, and less pizza, French fries, starchy foods, and sodium? After all, 30 percent of our students are fatter than Fat Albert from junk. But let’s take a look at the other members of this “nutrition” organization. Kline is evidently bought and paid for by the patrons of this group, drawing $75,000 from one corporation alone: General Mills, a Minnesota obese corporation. About 80 of the largest food corporations in America are patron-members of the SNA. One-third of the members of the SNA are obese food corporations.
Since the Republicans on the Supreme Court decided that corporations are “persons,” I wonder which person in the obese corporation attends the meetings and has one vote... I will name just a few, to give you some idea of who has an obese interest in what kids eat: Campbell Soup Company, Cargill, Coca-Cola Company, Domino’s Pizza, General Mills Foodservice, Heinz (I think they make ketchup—and/or catsup. Remember when Ronald Reagan tried to turn ketchup into a serving of vegetables for the kiddies? Some congressmen still call pizza a vegetable!), Kellogg, Kraft, Pepsi, Pizza Hut, Sara Lee, ConAgra, and numerous other junk food peddlers. Not many fresh fruit and fresh vegetable suppliers in that sugar, salt, and white flour bunch.

The Corporations That Help Kill 30,000 And Wound 100,000 Americans Each Year

Obese food and soda corporations are doing their lobbying best to shorten the lives of all of our citizens by selling fats, sugars, salts, and starches by the ton. We already rank far behind our European compatriots in lifespans. But the large gun and ammo corporations with the obese assistance of the National Rifle Association have done their best to shorten the lives of Americans also. And they love to have elementary students eating those obesity-inducing lunches shooting guns as soon as they can hold them.
Keystone Sporting Arms of Pennsylvania makes .22 rifles for kids as young as six in bright pink, blue, and rainbow colors. (Don’t we use those colors for babies?) The rifles are advertised with the line “My First Rifle” under the model names of “Cricket” and “Chipmunk.” They sell about 100,000 of them a year. Sometimes five-year-old boys kill two-year-old girls with the bright blue model. Sometimes it’s the other way around with a pink model. Maybe the initial lesson in first grade in the states that allow the sale of first rifles should be to answer why Great Britain has about 30 firearm murders a year while the United States averages about 9,000. Is that too tough a question to research for a student who’s ready to fire a rifle?

A National Role Model For School Lunch Programs

According to the World Health Organization, France has the best universal healthcare system in the world and the healthiest people in Europe. The French live longer than we do. In 2011 I wrote an article containing information about the French school lunch program. I’m repeating much of that section because it is probably even more apropos today than it was three years ago:
“An article by Vivienne Wall in Time outlines why the French are the healthiest people in Europe. They teach children in preschool how (and what) to eat. All the students eat the school-provided lunch, and parents pay what they can afford. Students are not allowed to bring food to school. An American mother was shocked to learn when she was picking up her child that he would not be released to her until her child had finished his dessert.
“School menus are prepared for a two-month period, and every school in France posts the week’s menu outside on Monday morning. The variety is amazing, according to visitors, with no single meal repeated in a 32-day period. Every meal includes an hors d’oeuvre, salad, main course, cheese plate, and dessert. The menu also includes suggestions for the evening meal that fits the school menu. Wall cited this example: ‘If your child has eaten turkey, ratatouille, and a raspberry-filled crepe for lunch, we suggest pasta, green beans, and a fruit salad for dinner.’ All meats served in French schools are from local farms. Wall adds: ‘In a country where con artists and adulterers are tolerated, the laws governing meals are sacrosanct and are drummed into children before they can even hold a knife.’
“Eating is very serious business. Snack and soda machines are banned in all schools. Parents generally are not allowed to eat with their children at school... The French are so serious about their school lunch program they have done extensive research into French eating habits and the results of having such a carefully crafted set of laws.” (End of my long personal quote!)
Some of the results of the French program: (1) The French cover everyone with their healthcare program but spend half per capita of what we spend, (2) All fresh fruits and fresh vegetables are purchased from local farmers during season, (3) The schools do not serve any frozen or processed foods, (4) They use natural fats and oils in all cooking, (5) The French eat smaller portions than we do, (6) The government has the philosophy that food is only good if you can pick it off a tree, catch it in a river, lake or ocean, or grow it on a local French farm. By the way, the French obesity rate is less than 10 percent; ours is in excess of 30 percent.

Should Second Graders Have Their Birthday Parties At The Rifle Range?

Should an obese Southern second grader, filled to overflowing with pizza, French fries, and a 24-oz. Coke, celebrate her birthday by firing her birthday gift, a new pink “Chipmunk” .22 rifle, at the local rifle range? I guess so. This is as American as apple pie with two scoops—and is done quite often in the South. It’s in keeping with the National Rifle Association’s idea that if they make millions of guns available to as many bad guys as they can find in the ghettos and byways, then their manufacturer-sponsors can sell guns to as many good guys as possible to shoot the bad guys. Everybody makes a buck.
At the recent NRA convention in Indianapolis, the NRA, along with the major gun manufacturers Weatherby, Remington, Smith & Wesson, Marlin, and Brownell’s, sponsored a Youth Day for children six and over. A drawing for the kiddies was held for a WBY-X high-powered rifle or shotgun. All youth participants were given free six-month NRA memberships. Why didn’t the NRA allow the press to cover Youth Day? Were they afraid that some six-year-old would win a rifle and then kill a three-year-old sister with it?

The McMenu And Ten Spoonfuls Of Sugar

Two out of three Americans are either overweight or obese. The movie “Fed Up,” produced by TV host Katie Couric, is a 90-minute horror story about super-sized American kids slurping 12-oz. cans of soda containing ten spoonfuls of sugar. Sugar, some claim, is eight times more addictive than cocaine, and when combined with white flour pizza, fries, and huge hamburger buns creates a big fat American child. Alternet’s Thomas Delapa says that 80 percent of the products in grocery stores contain “added sugar.”
The French have banned junk food ads. Our kids see hundreds of these ads in a week. Rodney Dangerfield had a good line about obesity: “I found a good way to look thin: hang out with fat people.” Currently the United States has 13 percent of the world’s obese population although it has less than five percent of the world’s population. Over 2.1 billion people in the world are obese. Ten percent of the female CEOs in the U.S. are overweight, while 65 percent of the male CEOs are. Interesting.
Michelle Obama, who has worked very hard for years to change the federal nutrition standards for school lunches, wants the Institute of Medicine to set the nutrition standards, not Congress. Republican representative Kristi Noem of South Dakota keeps repeating the GOP mantra: “We all want our kids to be healthy... but decisions about how to best go about that should be made by parents and local school nutritionists and administrators, not Washington bureaucrats.” Sounds good, doesn’t it? But Congress has been bought by Big Food, represented by corporations such as General Mills, Cargill, Pizza Hut, Domino’s Pizza, and other junk food producers.
Now that the Republicans on the Supreme Court have decided that corporations are “persons,” I wonder who would be the best role model for Big Food corporations at the school lunch lobbying table. Would it be Al Capone of Chicago, the “person” who brought booze to the speakeasies, making offers owners couldn’t refuse? As for the NRA and its corporate gun manufacturers, would “Machinegun” Kelly be the best “person” to represent the gun lobby in Washington and state capitals?

What Is More Important To Corporations, Profits Or Health?

Mark Bittman of the New York Times answers this question: “Healthy food initiatives threaten profits and are therefore fought... by producers of hyper-processed food. This is true even when those costs include producing an increasingly sick population... and an ever-growing portion of our budget spent on paying for diet-related illness. Big Food will continue to pursue profit at the expense of health as long as we let them.” Actually, profit to corporations is as addictive as sugar is to kids and many adults—to the exclusion of any principles of community welfare.
The present law mandates that school districts cut back on foods high in calories, fat, sugar, and salt and put fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, and whole-grain products on the school menu. Who could argue with that? Well, Big Food and Republicans are.
The NRA and the gun lobby have been relatively quiet since the Santa Barbara shooter with his seven guns, 40 ten-round magazines, perhaps thousands of rounds of ammo, and a knife killed six and himself and wounded 13. John McCain’s “Joe the Plumber” did continue the mantra of the gun crazies: “Your dead kids don’t trump my Constitutional rights.”  
Chris Cox, the NRA’s chief Washington lobbyist, added this gun-culture insanity to the discussion about 300 million guns turned loose in our society. He commented on a group called Doctors for America, which works for more stringent gun controls: “What do they know about firearms?” This guy is crazier than his boss Wayne LaPierre—if that’s possible. Who examines 30,000 firearm victims a year to determine cause of death? Doctors. Who treats, repairs, operates on, and registers the damage made to organs, tissue, guts, brains, and other vital parts of the human bodies of the 100,000 wounded each year by firearms? Doctors. Remember one of the first graders killed at Sandy Hook Elementary who was torn apart by eleven bullets from a Bushmaster? I assume it was easy for a doctor to determine the cause of death of that six-year old. What do doctors know about firearms?!!! I might add, what do congresspersons know about healthy school lunch menus?!!!