Hunger Games for real

“Students can only have one serving of meat or other protein. However, rich kids can buy a second portion each day on their own dime.” This is from coverage of Michelle Obama’s national school-lunch regulations.

Protein-starving the peasantry so it will remain docile and biddable is a tyrant’s maneuver thousands of years old. I was unaware until today that this has become official policy in the American public school system.

How clever of them to sell it as a healthy-eating measure! That’ll get all the gentry liberals on board; of course, their kids will be buying that second serving.

123 thoughts on “Hunger Games for real

  1. It’s also worth noting that many public schools are passing rules to penalize kids who bring lunch from home or eat breakfast at home, because they want the federal lunch program bribes. In addition to limiting serving size, the food is of *obscenely* low quality. Like “I’d rather give in and let my kid have a Lunchable because it’s better than school lunch” low.

  2. >How can they have any pudding if they don’t eat their meat?

    You wouldn’t want the pudding anyway. It’s non-fat, which gives immediate credibility to the kids’ report that it “tastes like vomit”.

  3. Also note that there’s lots of evidence that high protein/low-carb diets reduce obesity, which is supposed to be one of the goals of this program.

    Once again, an action of this administration brings up the “plain idiocy or malicious intent?” question.

  4. >Wow, this is like the real Hunger Games.

    That is so devastatingly apprpriate that I’m going to change the post title.

    (For the record, it was originally “Starve the peasantry!”)

  5. >Once again, an action of this administration brings up the “plain idiocy or malicious intent?” question.

    To be fair, it’s not just this administration emitting load-up-on-carbs diet advice that is perversely bad. That’s been the govrnment’s norm since the 1980s.

  6. “the kids’ report that it “tastes like vomit”.”

    It’s worse than that…schoolkids always complain that the cafeteria food tastes like vomit. The complaint comes from an adult school board member.

  7. > That’s been the govrnment’s norm since the 1980s.

    Actually, that’s been their norm since the late 60’s (see CSPI, George McGovern, the upside-down formulation of the USDA food pyramid, etc).

  8. Eh – but infinite fruits and vegis ;c
    pudding is disgusting anyway
    ehh Kentucky is considered peasantry? :c is ranked #6 state for obesity woo woo…

    I dunno – I think most people are already docile, I doubt changing their diet is going to encourage that…
    I think also a chemical is release in the brain when people eat a lot from what I recall so if anything this is going to cause a backlash LOL I doubt Obama is tyrannical but, I don’t know… However this is really probably not…. To make people docile…
    lol……………….. ;c
    so… uh..

  9. “However, rich kids can buy a second portion each day on their own dime.”

    Wow

    WOW

    That is some incredibly blatant envy baiting right there, they don’t even try to disguise it…

    — Foo Quuxman

  10. Since the most recent fructose posting (“Hugh Daniel is dead – in frighteningly familiar circumstances”) I’ve been reading up and watching a bunch of youtube videos on food and nutrition and it’s striking how the low-carb (and fructose avoiding) folks will go into some detail about the various biochemical pathways and how foods affect hormones and how those hormones affect the body. That is really not the case for those promoting a low-fat diet. In their case, it’s very much an emotional appeal. If there is anyone showing a biochemical pathway line of reasoning for a low-fat diet, I have yet to encounter it.

    One fellow pushing a vegan diet went so far as to claim those on high-fat diet were sick in the same way as people affected by chemotherapy (A “Sure, they get results, but…” sort of argument), but after that utterly failed to give any details. If it’s a monkey wrenching, tell me how & why it’s a monkey wrenching. This, quite naturally, makes me very skeptical of him and his ilk.

  11. For once I entirely agree. Students should be provided as much protein as they need, and taxes raised as necessary to cover the cost.

  12. @ ESR – “a tyrant’s maneuver”

    Don’t let the ostensible idiocy fool you. They’re playing chess and thinking three moves ahead. This program inculcates entitlement dependency, reinforces federal power, undermines the home support system and parental legitimacy, weakens mind and body of vulnerable youth, seduces conformity, demonizes achievement-earned privilege, divides and conquers; just to name a few of the covert agendas. Oh, and they are quite pleased to be underestimated as idiotically ineffective.

  13. @Robert Petersen

    The structure and syntax of your post is mangled to the point of incoherence. Out of scientific curiosity, what are the staples of your diet? On average, how much protein do you estimate you intake per week?

  14. Only all-natural, no preservatives, no artificial colors, organic, gluten-free, locally-sourced cake. Leftovers in the compost bin only, please.

  15. here is the original article: http://www.harlandaily.com/view/full_story/23441166/article-School-lunches-creating-a-%C3%A2–stir%C3%A2–

    servings of both protein and carbs are limited in the “free” serving – which i would think you would be against a free serving. not just the “rich” can buy an extra serving (that is a daily caller bastardization of facts). anyone can – but they have to buy it.

    at the end of the daily caller’s post they reference an article lamenting how much the program costs. imagine how much more it would cost if everyone got an extra lunch.

  16. Even as a Libertarian, this didn’t get my “Big Brother Radar” spinning.

    1.) It doesn’t prevent the kids from bringing in their own lunches of whatever they want.
    2.) If you *do* choose to buy lunch from the school, they will only serve healthy items.
    3.) You can stuff yourself insensate on fruits and vegetables, should you choose.

    The only think I don’t like is the extra portions for extra money. But the wording of TFA makes me suspicious of its objectivity (emphasis mine):
    “Students can only have one serving of meat or other protein. However, *rich* kids can buy a second portion each day on their own dime.”

    I just don’t really see the controversy.

  17. Pingback: What hath Horace Mann wrought? « Quotulatiousness

  18. My issue with this is that the line for being “rich” has now come down so low that “rich” means “can afford to pay for your own damn lunch”.

  19. Umm, yes there ARE schools banning bag lunches and school principals confiscating them.

    Do that to MY kid and the judge will be arraigning you beside your ICU bed.

  20. Generally I agree that protein or better a balanced set of amino acids is the base of a healthy diet and not carbohydrates as common guidelines suggest. I had a very compelling experience last year wrt that point. But meat is not the best source of protein. Eggs contain the best combination of amino acids as a single source and it has turned out, the colesterol panic is misguided. The combiantion of potatoes and eggs is even better. And even a meal of beans an corn is better than meat. These foods are much healthier than meat and they don’t contain any grain which causes intestinal problem on a lot of people as it turns out lately and thus further increase protein malnutrition through malabsorption.

  21. There may be no universal best diet. The best diet may vary by region and ethnicity. The selective pressure to adapt to locally available foods is very strong.

    A mutation that allows adults to break down lactose and thus drink milk into adulthood happened three different ways in Africa. The different mutation that allows most northern Europeans to drink milk spread incredibly rapidly. The ability to live off livestock without killing them is a huge advantage.

    I recommend The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution by Gregory Cochran and Henry Harpending.

    Most liberals seem to take the theory of evolution as an article of faith. Cochran is interested in its predictive value.

  22. Add me to the list of people surprised you’re advocating for larger taxpayer-funded free lunches.

  23. James Noyes on 2013-08-28 at 08:36:38 said:
    […]
    > 1.) It doesn’t prevent the kids from bringing in their own lunches of whatever they want.

    No, schools are doing that independently to get more free lunch bribes from the feds. They move breakfast to class time in order to prevent families from eating at home and skipping school breakfast. They place restrictions on what foods kids may bring to school to move it more in line with the government-approved diet. They penalize kids who bring a bag lunch instead of eating the school lunch.

    > 2.) If you *do* choose to buy lunch from the school, they will only serve healthy items.

    As stated above, it’s not a choice. It’s also not at all healthy.

    > 3.) You can stuff yourself insensate on fruits and vegetables, should you choose.

    You can, your child can’t, if they attend public school.

    > The only think[sic] I don’t like is the extra portions for extra money. […]

    I don’t have a problem with kids being able to buy food if they want it. I have a problem with the government trying to force their way of eating on kids through economic pressure and disciplinary power.

    > I just don’t really see the controversy.

    As the parent of a fourth grader, I *absolutely* see the controversy. Let’s rewind to first grade, when I was dirt poor following a very messy divorce, and my son was in a public school:

    The school district rules required a doctor’s excuse for the child to bring an “unapproved” lunch to school. Nevermind that a lot of families can’t afford a doctor’s visit for something so silly, we shouldn’t have to get permission to feed our kids. To be fair, the individual school did not enforce this against my child (possibly because I had a history of standing up when they did something stupid and they simply felt it wasn’t worth the fight) but a lot of parents saw this in the school rulebook and just acquiesced. We have had a substitute teacher familiar with the policy and that other schools in the district enforce it confiscate his lunch.

    Not having your child to school “on time” — which is defined not as “on time for class” but as “on time for breakfast” — five times in (I think it was in the year, but it may have been the semester) meant a call to child protective services. Poor parents are *terrified* of this, and rightfully so. If you can’t afford a good lawyer (child welfare cases are civil not criminal, you have no right to an attorney) there’s little to keep the government from taking your children away and putting them into a system where they’re more likely to get raped, beaten, or otherwise abused than not.

    The tardy policy was meant to coerce use of the bus system. If you have your child bussed to school by the state instead of driving or walking them to school, they are exempt from the tardy policy. Mind you, if your kid is late to school by five minutes due to walking in weather that has the bus running 1.5 hours late, your kid gets the tardy marked and you get on the list for CPS. (By the way, why aren’t we spending too-limited CPS resources on this bullshit?) We lived barely three blocks from my child’s school, but ultimately switched to bus service because fighting the tardy policy BS became so time-consuming that it impaired my ability to try to get us some more income.

    When the children did get to school on time for breakfast, they had the choice of chatting and eating with their friends in the cafeteria, or sitting stock-still in silence on the gym floor until class began. More coercion.

    Breakfast, by the way, was even less healthy than lunch. We couldn’t afford much, but at home my son typically ate a banana and 1-2 eggs each morning (scrambled if I got up on time, hard-boiled if I was lazy or running late), at a cost of less than 70 cents each day. By contrast, school breakfast was typically a few graham crackers and a half-pint of milk–all carbs and little nutrition, so the kids could crash hard by lunch time–at a cost to those of us who refused the federal program of over a dollar ($1.25 if I recall correctly).

    I’m sorry, I realize that my kid *could* eat only the food I gave him, and I *could* walk him to school and then fight CPS and hope for the best, but that’s a lot of pressure for an impoverished single mom trying to pull herself up by her bootstraps and a small child who should be protected by his teachers and school staff not oppressed by them. The government has no right to do it. It’s not for our own good: it’s for the ego of rich liberal twits who are sure they know better than me because I was poor, and for the bureaucrats who want to ensure their own position by making anyone they can exercise power over more dependent.

  24. Wow…that’s one heck of a hair-raising story, Susan. Thank you for that.

    Best wishes.

  25. @Manfred elaborate on potatoes please. Yes, they are very nutritious, but way too carby, starchy, and generally belong to the “fast carbs” which are to be avoided, as opposed to the slow carbs which are not a big problem. Their advantage is generally their easiness of preparation – e.g. a broccoli mash with butter and garlic, while very paleo and tastes good, simply takes too much time to prepare so we end up eating potatoes despite that we know better.

  26. >Add me to the list of people surprised you’re advocating for larger taxpayer-funded free lunches.

    I’m not. If I’m “advocating” anything, it’s that if there have to be school lunches at all, at least the dietary theory they’re based on shouldn’t be insane and damaging.

  27. @Frank Ney
    > Umm, yes there ARE schools banning bag lunches and school principals confiscating them.
    > Do that to MY kid and the judge will be arraigning you beside your ICU bed.

    If you don’t like the rules, perhaps you should consider paying for your kids’ schooling yourself? If you participate in government funded schools you have decided to submit your personal parenting preferences to the will of the voters — the people who pay for it. So pay for your own schooling, or vote and hope that that makes a damn bit of a difference.

    If less people participating in the public school system it’d crumble under its own weight of incompetence.

    Nonetheless, I find HedgeMage’s story absolutely terrifying in nearly every relevant point.

  28. “,,,servings of both protein and carbs are limited in the “free” serving…”

    What else is there? Artificial coloring? Preservatives? Emulsifiers?

  29. you have decided to submit your personal parenting preferences to the will of the voters

    Really? Which vote was held to subsume parenting with education? Which vote was held to authorize the government to dictate a child’s diet?

    I think it would be more accurate to say that *the government* has decided that you will submit your parenting preferences to its bureaucracy. Or else.

    Not that I have a horse in this race, of course…

  30. @Shenpen: It’s not potatoes, it is potatoes *and eggs*. While eggs are the most valuable protein source as a single food item, their value is even higher in combination with potatoes. The point is, you don’t need protein as such, you need the amino acids proteins are composed of. There are about 20 amino acids of interest to the human metabolism, 9 to 11 of which are considered essential in nutrition i.e. your body is not able to produce them. But that’s not all. For the human body to be able to properly use the amino acids from food intake, they have to be presented in a specific ratio. If one of the essential amino acids is missing or low, the body is not able to use the other ones either and there is no facility to store them as well.

    Now when it comes to potatoes and eggs, the value of the egg protein is increased by as much as 36-42% when each gram of egg protein is combined with two grams of potato protein. In contrast the value of meat protein is about 15-20 % lower than that of egg protein.

    This may sound theoretical, but I when I finally moved to a protein optimized diet last year, primarily based on potatoes and eggs, I was surprised my longstanding gastrointestinal problems vanished almost over night. One point here is, by turning to potatoes and eggs et al. I accidentally removed all grain from my diet. But there is more to it. I was able to reproducible show a proper supply with protein/amino acids cures concentration problems. I also used standard commercially available protein shakes in that matter, but feeding on protein optimized food like potatoes and eggs doesn’t leave me tired and unwell after meal as it usually had been the case before.

  31. If you don’t like the rules, perhaps you should consider paying for your kids’ schooling yourself? If you participate in government funded schools you have decided to submit your personal parenting preferences to the will of the voters — the people who pay for it. So pay for your own schooling, or vote and hope that that makes a damn bit of a difference.

    A fine sentiment if you have a *gasp* voucher program, but since most families have to pay for public school whether they’re using it or not, and schooling is compulsory, there’s not quite the flexibility you imply.

  32. Is government schooling always compulsory? Can we not homeschool in all 50 states?

  33. @Frank Ney:
    >”Umm, yes there ARE schools banning bag lunches and school principals confiscating them.”
    – This wasn’t in the article, and I have yet to see this in Minnesota or Maryland public schools. Even with four children in four different elementary schools and a middle school, I have never heard stories of it until now. That said, if that is happening, it should be opposed with all due vigor, as it is clearly theft and coersion.

    @HedgeMage:
    >”They move breakfast to class time in order to prevent families from eating at home and skipping school breakfast.”

    – I have noticed the earlier class times. We have to get up at 6AM now to make sure the kids eat. I usually have to be up at 5AM anyway, but it came as a shock to the kids. This is inconvenient, but hardly nefarious.

    >”They place restrictions on what foods kids may bring to school to move it more in line with the government-approved diet.”

    – The only restrictions I have seen are alergens: especially peanuts. This is a liability CYA move on the schools’ part and is a huge pain. My kids love PBJ, and that’s the easiest lunch for us.

    >”As stated above, it’s not a choice. It’s also not at all healthy.”

    – Stated, but not supported. It is still a choice (at least from every school I’ve seen), even if it isn’t a very convenient one. As for healthy, a serving of protein, a serving of carbs, wheat bread, skim milk, and fruits and veggies. Please explain the un-healthfullness.

    >”You can, your child can’t, if they attend public school.”
    – from TFA: “On the plus side, students can eat as many fruits and vegetables as they want.”
    I read this to mean: students can eat as many fruits and vegetables as they want.

    >”The school district rules required a doctor’s excuse for the child to bring an “unapproved” lunch to school.”

    – That is clearly stupid. You *should* be justifiably upset about that.

    In fact, everything you wrote about your school district was horrifying! I can see why you were so upset about it. But I have yet to see that kind of activity with our schools. If I do, you can bet that I’ll fight it tooth and nail.

    Incidentally, my wife and I *were* recently considering home schooling our children, but not over the lunch. We are deeply troubled by the standardized “no child gets ahead” business that the schools are inflicting on us in order to secure more funding. But that’s a whole discussion apart.

  34. HedgeMage,

    Ho-lee shit this is why I’m not having kids. Actually the main reason is issues with my DNA which I do not want to pass on to future generations, but that doesn’t help matters.

    When I was growing up, the schools were bizarre people’s republics, in a way that I would not fully comprehend until much later in life. But they didn’t serve breakfast and a bag lunch was ALWAYS an option, one which my mom didn’t hesitate to avail herself of since $2.00 was just too expensive for a meal every day.

    Still, Hanlon’s Razor applies to the federal healthy lunch program. You want to see a conspiracy, look at industrial food production, in which high yields and addictive properties are optimized for over humaneness, sustainability, and nutritive value. Federal healthy lunches are probably an improvement for most American kids.

  35. @Dan
    > Really? Which vote was held to subsume parenting with education?

    None. No-one is obliged to send their children to a public school — assuming they fulfill their obligation as a parent to provide their children education of a sufficiently high quality.

    > Which vote was held to authorize the government to dictate a child’s diet?

    Mostly local school boards by proxy. Usually school boards are elected.

    > I think it would be more accurate to say that *the government* has decided that you will submit your parenting preferences to its bureaucracy. Or else.

    No, the government says “if you want to use our services, you have to play by our rules.” Which is not an unreasonable position to take, no matter how dumb ass the position might be.

    Not that I have a horse in this race, of course…

  36. @Christopher Smith
    > A fine sentiment if you have a *gasp* voucher program,

    Vouchers are just another way of government schooling. No doubt it would be better though. Ideally people should pay for the schooling of their children themselves (as, apparently HedgeMage has chosen to do.) For those who can’t afford to do so, assuming we as a society think it a valid use of taxes, something akin to SNAP could be provided, SEAP anyone?

    > but since most families have to pay for public school whether they’re using it or not,

    People are taxed for stuff they don’t use all the time. If your argument is that the government spends too much of OPM, you won’t get any argument from me. But schooling is no different in that respect than any other service. I don’t use the bus either, but I don’t expect the government to subsidize my car.

  37. Frank Ney said: Umm, yes there ARE schools banning bag lunches and school principals confiscating them.

    Do that to MY kid and the judge will be arraigning you beside your ICU bed.

    Arraignment is what happens to someone being charged with a crime.

    It’s not a crime to confiscate a school lunch, as far as I know (and if it is, nobody is ever getting arraigned for it).

    You’d be the one getting arraigned – after going to jail for assault.

    Not to say I’d blame you for your desire to assault a petty, interfering autocrat.

    But he ain’t worth goin’ to jail over.

  38. > As for healthy, a serving of protein, a serving of carbs, wheat bread, skim milk, and fruits and veggies. Please explain the un-healthfullness.

    Wheat!*

    *Though it’s not unhealthy for everybody, it does seem to be unhealthy for a lot more people than thought.

  39. “Please explain the un-healthfullness.”

    It doesn’t matter how nutritionally correct the food is, if it goes directly from the counter, to the tray, to the trash can. The first requirement of a successful school lunch program is to serve food that the kids will actually eat.

  40. @Hedge Mage:
    >In addition to limiting serving size, the food is of *obscenely* low quality. Like “I’d rather give in and let my kid have a Lunchable because it’s better than school lunch” low.

    I was never forbidden to bring a sack lunch, but I did bring them off and on through high school due to problems with the school’s food. The first time I switched to sack lunches was after picking up a roll and finding that it was still half dough.

  41. @Hedge Mage:
    >In addition to limiting serving size, the food is of *obscenely* low quality. Like “I’d rather give in and let my kid have a Lunchable because it’s better than school lunch” low.

    Part of that, no doubt, is due to the fact that it is a big ugly government institution. Imagine a restaurant run by the DMV or the IRS. Part of it also is that it is done on the super cheap. There was a huge scandal in Britain a few years ago when famous Chef Jamie Oliver made a documentary about British school lunch in which he revealed the budget for a kid’s lunch was 37p (about 50 cents.)

    Of course the solution is not more government money, it is parents getting up ten minutes earlier and slapping some peanut butter and jelly on a piece of bread, and tossing it in a bag with box of apple juice. (Shit, did I say “peanut” in the context of school… how insensitive of me.)

    I believe they call this “parenting”.

  42. Despite protestations to the contrary, Eric’s Outrage here is simply another example of his innate conservativism trumping his professed libertarianism.

    Would Eric be complaining that schools aren’t providing enough free lunch if the limitation was proposed by a conservative administration instead of the Evil Obamas?

  43. @TomM
    > Despite protestations to the contrary, Eric’s Outrage here is simply another example of his innate conservativism trumping his professed libertarianism.

    He didn’t sound outraged to me at all. The “peasants” are starving because the government has made it impossible for them to make a living, and made it optional at the same time. This “meal generosity” is pretty much like a taxi driver sticking a knife in someone’s gut and then claiming to be altruistic when he offers to take the victim to hospital for a reduced fare.

    > proposed by a conservative administration

    When did we have one of those? I think Coolidge was the last one.

  44. >This “meal generosity” is pretty much like a taxi driver sticking a knife in someone’s gut and then claiming to be altruistic when he offers to take the victim to hospital for a reduced fare.

    That’s it exactly, yes. With the additional fillip that the hospital is staffed by incompetents.

  45. This is my first-ever post to your blog, though I’ve known you for far
    longer than this blog, or any blog, has existed.

    As much as I hate to agree with this (or the previous) administration
    about anything, this once I have to side with them and against you.

    As you know, I’ve lost 150 pounds — half my weight — and kept almost
    all of it off for a quarter century so far, with a high-complex-carb
    low-fat moderate-protein near-vegan diet combined with moderate
    exercise (mostly just walking, biking, and yard work). (You’ve
    described it as “rabbit food.”) And I never get ill, even when I
    stay up all weekend at a convention. And I have plenty of strength
    and stamina.

    For links to the science behind such a diet, follow the footnotes from
    any book by Bailey, Katahn, McDougall, Ornish, Powter, Pritikin, or
    Rodale. Or just browse Wikipedia.

    On the opposing side, Atkins is alone, especially since he suffered
    a serious heart attack. His high-fat diet “works” via ketosis, a
    serious metabolic derangement similar to untreated diabetes, which
    would also lead to rapid weight loss.

    Of course I’m not in favor of punishing students for bringing their
    own lunches from home. Nor am I in favor of mandatory gym classes,
    which are far more likely in inculcate a lifelong repugnance for
    exercise than to do the opposite.

  46. @Grantham
    Oh I was just responding to the statements of the article – if you keep the article in mind when reading it you may find it more cogent
    And uhm – I don’t eat much – some days I don’t eat but, that is more becaue I’ve always lived below poverty income. It doesn’t really bother me and I look and feel good.. Kind of like always fasting.

    @Hedgemage
    After reading your personal experience I find it best exemplifies the problem with this – this now appears to me as systematic, it starts seeming more like institutionalized violence by means of terror and privilege – whether intended or not I am not sure but, the result of this seems clear.

    I don’t really know much and don’t have kids but, this seems like federal vs state sort of thing from what I am reading – seems like an awkward concerning power play.

  47. >As you know, I’ve lost 150 pounds — half my weight — and kept almost
    all of it off for a quarter century so far, with a high-complex-carb
    low-fat moderate-protein near-vegan diet combined with moderate
    exercise

    Yes. You are the only person I know for which the high-complex-carb low-fat moderate-protein approach has worked. On the other hand, I know more than one person for whom an Atkins-like low-carb high-protein diet has been successful.

    And I myself know from experience that I am am healthier and happier when I lean towards the Atkins side. Cathy has noticed this too, enough that every couple of weeks she gives me The Look and says “You need a steak and we’re going to get you one.” She is never wrong about this, even when I myself have not yet noticed that I am protein-deprived.

    The obvious conclusion to be drawn is that there is no one diet optimal for everybody. If I tried eating like you, I would become moody, depressed, listless, physically weak, and increasingly grouchy. If I continued the practice nevertheless I would begin exhibiting symptoms of starvation.

    Atkins is very far from alone. I recommend you Google for Gary Taubes, a science journalist who has done an extremely creditable job of digesting the research on diet and metabolic signaling and written two good books and many excellent articles about the topic. While there is no substitute for reading the actual research, he does a better job of synopsis and citation than any of the many scientists he references has.

  48. @Keith Lynch
    >As you know, I’ve lost 150 pounds — half my weight — and kept almost
    all of it off for a quarter century so far,

    I don’t have anything to say about your comments in particular, but I did want to say this.Congratulations. To do this is a truly remarkable achievement. In a sense, I think, it is the ultimate in modernism. To take a body behaving as it is designed for a pre agricultural society and optimize it for living in the modern world would be a good achievement. However, to overcome the layers and layers of mechanism our bodies have built in to prevent your from loosing weight is a sign of self discipline and dedication that few can muster.

    I tip my hat to you sir. May the universe reward you with many healthy and happy years.

  49. Keith: I’ll second the kudos for your success in keeping your weight town. One look at me will show that I’ve never been successful at it; I’ve never really tried, for that matter. I like the kinds of food I like too much. You are, however, one of the very few I’ve met who’s succeeded at it.

    But I did want to comment on this: “Nor am I in favor of mandatory gym classes, which are far more likely in inculcate a lifelong repugnance for exercise than to do the opposite.”

    Absolutely. I attribute my hatred for any form of exercise directly to having been forced to take gym classes in what was already a hellish high school career.

  50. > The obvious conclusion to be drawn is that there is no one diet optimal for everybody.

    That exactly is the problem. Common guidelines define the optimal diet for an “average person”, but as I read in a book that gave me my first deep insight into the matter, if you apply that average diet to a population and consider a gaussian distribution, half the population is ill-fed.

  51. Just to address this sentence:

    His high-fat diet “works” via ketosis, a serious metabolic derangement

    If it’s a “derangement”, you should inform the Inuit and many other cultures throughout history who have survived just fine on very-low-carbohydrate diets with excellent physical health and, notably, teeth.

    ketosis, a serious metabolic derangement similar to untreated diabetes

    You’re confusing ketosis with ketoacidosis, a fundamental error that’s addressed in every work on low-carbohydrate diets of any length that I’ve seen. In fact, even most people on a high-carbohydrate diet enter periods of ketosis, and the body appears to suffer no significant downsides from it. The nutritive carb/ketosis switch appears to be analogous to a car with an electric drivetrain and a range-extender ICE; multiple pathways can provide the necessary energy with very similar results.

    untreated diabetes, which would also lead to rapid weight loss.

    Perhaps it would, but that’s the first I’ve ever heard of it. Rather, I’m given to understand that both untreated type I and type II lead to rapid weight gain, and in the case of type II it’s directly because of the same mechanism that led to the diabetes in the first place: insulin resistance in most of the body’s cells, leaving the adipose tissue as the last place that can absorb glucose to get blood levels down in what’s essentially a constant state of emergency.

  52. @Manfred very interesting. Does this also mean there is such a thing as useless proteins? I have already read opinions that the mainly soy based one gym protein bars are not very useful. What does protein quality has to do with digestion? I have some gastrointestinal problems as well, but I tend to blame them on alcohol, coffee, and in the worst case on grains or milk, but not on the quality of proteins in meat.

  53. @ESR @Manfred I know people from the poverty stricken parts of Eastern Europe who have awful diets, yet show every sign of health, from the morning wood to the correct density of bowel movements, no diarrhea etc.. Their “trick” is hard blue collar labor 12 hours a day, 8 at the job, 4 around the house, from splitting firewood to retiling the roof. Apparently in that situation them metabolism gets very efficient or stuff like that… their typical diet is no breakfast just coffee full of sugar, milk and bread for lunch (cheap and filling) as some form of pork and lard with bread or potatoes in the evening. Any time there is not time fore a meal, or no money, then the go to meal is bread and milk. Add vodka, crappy wine, cigs. Really bad, yet the work makes up for it.

    Of course the term health has multiple different meanings. Their life expectancy is generally not very high so this way of living is not very healthy in this sense, but they are healthy in that other sense that at the moment is more important for me that up to 50 they seem to be functioning really well, full of energy, testosterone, good erections, good bowel movements, excellent digestion, no gastro problems and so on. They haven’t heard of IBS etc.

    Of course it is not a valid way of living for those of us with white collar jobs and interests, but I wonder if the current trend of short 45 min gym sessions with heavy weights and low reps is just wishful thinking of busy urban people? Apparently the opposite, being mobile, doing hands on work all day long seems to work better for digestion.

    Anyway I just wanted to put things a bit into perspective, that people can function OK with very bad diets if they burn it off.

  54. @Shenpen Tim Ferriss has collected some interesting information that is highly suggestive that the “carb problem” is actually a combination of the high insulin/blood-glucose levels caused by high-glycemic carbs combined with insulin resistance, and he explores a number of approaches for increasing insulin sensitivity in the cells where we’d prefer the glucose to go (e.g., apparently about 60 seconds of continuous moderate resistance is enough to significantly boost insulin sensitivity in skeletal muscle for tens of minutes).

    It’s not surprising that a population who engages in regular strenuous physical exertion can eat a starchy and even high-insulinemic diet without getting obese, since the exercise both depletes the muscles’ glycogen “tanks” and causes systemic hormonal effects that enable the body to handle the glucose in healthier ways.

    I do recommend 4-Hour Body for a fallible but well-informed look at a number of the factors playing into the effectiveness of various lifestyle and exercise approaches. High-intensity training does appear to be very effective for producing improvements in physical performance, while doing frequent low-to-medium-intensity exercises (like a few push-ups and air squats several times a day) may be surprisingly effective for overall health gains.

  55. @Manfred:
    >Wheat!*
    >*Though it’s not unhealthy for everybody, it does seem to be unhealthy for a lot more people than thought.

    I am a celiac, so I get that. But if you can’t eat wheat, you ….. shouldn’t eat wheat bread. Eat the meat, potatos, fruits and veggies. My wife is dairy intolerant. She would eat the bread happily and leave the milk to me. Someone on a low carb diet would trade the potatos to someone on a high carb diet at the next table for his or her meat. Nobody is making you eat *everything* on the plate, they’re just providing a better balanced lunch.

    @LS:
    >“Please explain the un-healthfullness.”
    >It doesn’t matter how nutritionally correct the food is, if it goes directly from the counter, to the tray, to the trash can. The first requirement of a successful school lunch program is to serve food that the kids will actually eat.

    Well…wait… what? That’s just silly! If the kids are just tossing everything, stop buying his lunch. The whole point of the program is to stop feeding them greasy pizza and tater tots and actually give them something that isn’t nasty.

  56. @Sigivald “It’s not a crime to confiscate a school lunch, as far as I know”

    You live in a strange world (that it may unfortunately be the real one is beside the point). If reality were sane, it would be considered no different from any other robbery.

  57. @James Noyes:

    Anecdotal evidence says that in some of these highly structured school cafeterias, students can actually be punished for trading food.

  58. >Nor am I in favor of mandatory gym classes,
    which are far more likely in inculcate a lifelong repugnance for
    exercise than to do the opposite.

    They did it to me.

    However, I found a workaround. One of the several functions martial-arts training serves in my life is that I enjoy it enough to swamp my revulsion against exercise. It is almost comical how much more vigorous and up for it I am in any kind of sparring or combat drill than in calisthenics with similar motions and equivalent level of exertion.

  59. “Part of it also is that it is done on the super cheap. There was a huge scandal in Britain a few years ago when famous Chef Jamie Oliver made a documentary about British school lunch in which he revealed the budget for a kid’s lunch was 37p (about 50 cents.)”

    This may just be an excuse. I was fortunate to have a year of private school in high school, paid for at my own expense, mind, and from talking to the chef, I know that his budget was only around $1-1.50 for lunch, and they made some pretty good stuff, including chicken parmesan, on a regular basis.

    Your comment about it being a function of the government is, I suspect, far more apposite.

  60. Regarding Atkins’ heart attack, see http://www.snopes.com/medical/doctor/atkins.asp. Atkins claimed the heart attack was due to an infection he’d had for several years, and while he weight 258lb at time of death, his wife said that approximately 60 pounds of that weight was added while he was in the hospital he died in.

  61. “The whole point of the program is to stop feeding them greasy pizza and tater tots and actually give them something that isn’t nasty.”

    You mean like low-fat milk that tastes, in the word of one of the school administrators, like vomit? LS is right here–you can’t expect people to willingly eat awful food.

  62. You mean like low-fat milk that tastes, in the word of one of the school administrators, like vomit?

    “Nothin’ better for a bunch of five-year-old kids than good old, lukewarm, curdly milk.” –Bill Cosby

  63. ESR writes:

    You are the only person I know for which the high-complex-carb low-fat moderate-protein approach has worked. On the other hand, I know more than one person for whom an Atkins-like low-carb high-protein diet has been successful.

    It worked for my mother, too. However, all she really changed was to cut out the fast carbs and replace them with whole grains, which I think both camps would agree is a change for the better. The rest of her diet had always been low-fat and moderate-protein. Also, she was never seriously overweight to begin with; she adopted this diet in order to drop 15 pounds, and succeeded.

  64. I find this whole fascination with school lunches very strange.
    I grew up in Canada.
    In my elementary school just about everybody brought a lunch. There wasn’t a cafeteria as-such. There was a small window where you could buy a few items like pre-made sub sandwiches, a few pastry selections, and (mostly) ice cream. I think they had pizza slices on Fridays or some such thing. Kids could also walk home for lunch, if appropriate. The older kids (7th and 8th grade) would be allowed to walk off the school yard to go buy food at a local burger joint with their parents permission, assuming they had their own money. There may have been people who were getting some form of “free” lunch, though I knew nothing about it. Feeding your kid was an essential element of being a parent. I’d argue that it would be the best sign that child-protective services should visit your house if your kid came to school without lunch for more than 2 days in a row.

    When I was in high-school, we had a more traditional cafeteria. A lot of kids would buy stuff, but most would bring their own food. After all, who wants cafeteria food? It used to be privately run and was taken over by Aramark Child Torturing Services when I was in ~12th grade. I stopped being willing to buy fries on occasion at that point.

    Given the amount of money provided by SNAP (note the supplemental part of that), there’s no reason for schools to provide lunches at all. If the parents are too lazy to make lunch on a regular basis, teach the kids how to slap stuff between 2 slices of bread: congratulations – your first life skill.

  65. Michelle Obama doesn’t even hold any public office. How the heck does she make these regulations anyway?

  66. > I don’t use the bus either, but I don’t expect the government to subsidize my car.

    Don’t they though?
    What good would your car do you without roads and bridges?

  67. >”You mean like low-fat milk that tastes, in the word of one of the school administrators, like vomit? LS is right here–you can’t expect people to willingly eat awful food.”

    1.) All milk tastes like vomit to someone. I won’t willingly drink skim. My wife won’t drink whole. If you don’t like the milk that is sold, bring your Mt. Dew from home.

    2.) The milk is bad (from TFA), but who said the food was awful? I missed that.

    There are a lot of reasons to hate public school. Not feeding kids greasy crap is not one of them.

  68. @ESR re: gym classes, same, except to me it was some body building that really surprised me with its likability and not-being-like-a-gym-class-ness, I still don’t fully understand how and why can be push-ups like a torture and bench press so enjoyable?

    However I have one theory and that suggests that the gym teacher was actually partially right. A push-up is like a torture for introverts/aspies because it forces us to pay attention to many body parts at the same time, which sucks because we dislike going out of our inner dialogue and focusing on our bodies anyway, while the the bench press requires very little attention, letting the introvert to not pay full attention, daydream etc. However this also means that the push-up has more being-in-the-here-and-now-ness and Zen in it than he bench press, meaning that actually an introvert aspie should better get used to it, because always being trapped in the inner dialgue is not good at all.

    Probably this is not the same reason why you disliked the gym class, you are not really an introvert, but anyway.

    My experience with martial arts (kyokushinkai karate) was more like, ew, fifty pairs of bare, sweaty, smelly feet, dirty from running on the floor, eek, let me out! :-) In my experience a martial arts training feels like such a dirty, smelly, unhygienic thing, it’s hard to see the fun in it, then again, I can sort of understand that can be enjoyable in a weird, atave istic, caveman-instinct sense. Then again it may be just my senseis particular style who sort of enjoyed the fact that karate was invented by Okinawan _peasants_, he really liked to emphasize the unsophisticated aspects of it at some subconscious level.

  69. @dtsund I wonder if it is a parody, or rather is American culture really so idealistic that people really don’t think that if sending your kid to a private school harms other kids, then that is a feature, not a bug – because your main goal with the private school was to help your kid outcompete others in the long run and be able to snatch the positions of power later, so if other kids get worse at it, so much the better. Anyway, the article reads a bit like a half-parody – it seems the audience really does think this way but pretends to think the idealistic way and it sounds like it’s mocking the hypocrisy a bit.

  70. @Christopher Smith thanks, I began reading The 4 Hour Body a while ago, found the first two chapters way to sensational, put it away, I will check it out again.

    My personal experience: my most succesful (6 months from 103kg 29 BMI fat to 85kg 24 BMI photogenic years ago) program began with a three day fast with meal replacement shakes only, no solid stuff, which reduced my appetite so much that I felt full after a yoghurt and half a roll for a breakfast or a lunch. So while I did not eat any special diat, the natural portion control that came effortlessly after the fast combined with both lifting and a little running (just 2-3 km but every day) basically melted the fat fast while also building or at least maintaining muscle.

    I still think it is the most important lesson I learned accidentally. We can talk about any diets if we don’t have the willpower for it. Three day of fasting with meal replacement shakes made even a small portion of bland health food feel like a huge reward, it basically took no willpower for months afterwards to not binge on pizza or to not snack. Then it all came back and with that the belly but it really worked then.

    I think this psychological part of healthy living, like how to optimize willpower usage, how to refill the willpower battery and so on, should get more focus.

  71. @Shenpen: I wouldn’t use the notion of useless proteins. This is because the body doesn’t use any protein intake as is. Proteins are decomposed into amino acids and these are used as building blocks to form new proteins the body needs. The actual process is a bit more complex, but that’s the principle. Now the point is, protein synthesis in the body can only happen, if all essential amino acids necessary to form a specific protein are readily available in the proper ratio. That’s an important point because with proteins and unlike other nutritional substances, it does not only matter how much you intake but also in what combination. If you look at e.g. wheat alone you need twice as much protein intake compared to eggs. But when you combine wheat with milk in the proper relationship the combined quality of the proteins it even tops egg protein by 25 %.

    Now soy protein generally has a rather high score and that would contradict the theory of useless protein in gym protein bars. However proteins can be inactivated especially through a chemical reaction with carbohydrates called the Maillard reaction (which BTW is the cause of the brown color of a bread crust e.g.). Proteins degenerated by such a reaction can no longer be digested by the human body and in fact are useless proteins from a nutritional point of view.

    > What does protein quality has to do with digestion?

    You may have heard of celiac disease. It is commonly attributed to a protein named gluten which is present especially in wheat but also other grains like rye and barley. It causes intestinal problems from pain and discomfort to diarhoea or quite the opposite, constipation. Thus there is already evidence linking intestinal problems to proteins. Now my observation is that feeding on proteins with a low amino acid score I get problems like they are observed with celiac disease. But I doubt they are simply linked to a gluten intolerance because
    1) I have less intense but similar problems with legumes and oat which is mostly gluten free
    2) I’m able to reduce the problems when I improve the protein quality by combining different foodstuffs which complementary amino acid composition like beans and corn or oatmeal and curd

    > but I tend to blame them on alcohol, coffee, and in the worst case on grains or milk, but not on the quality of proteins in meat.

    Coffee is indeed a problem with me, but its okay from time to time. But the problem with meat is not its protein quality, I just mentioned there are more valuable protein resources than meat. The problem with meat that it is related to esp. gout and rheumatism.

    @James: well, I should have added a ;-) but the point is, it isn’t that easy to avoid things. If you are celiac you should probably know that wheat is contained in virtually any preprocessed meal except specially marketed gluten free products.

  72. @James Noyes, go back and read the source article. There were a number of complaints about the food.

  73. > “is American culture really so idealistic that people really don’t think that if sending your kid to a private school harms other kids, then that is a feature, not a bug – because your main goal with the private school was to help your kid outcompete others in the long run and be able to snatch the positions of power later, so if other kids get worse at it, so much the better.”

    Why on earth do you think achievement in life is a zero-sum game?

  74. @dtsund achievement isn’t, social status and power is. And that also means the social status gained from achievement is zero-sum too. Example: in 1995 in my homeland, gym / body building culture was fairly new, so a 18 years old boy with 38 cm / 15 inch biceps drew positive comments all over. Today, it’s just somewhat above average, hardly noticed. The achievement, the health effects, functional effects are the same but the social effects are not.

    Interesting sidepoint: social status can be positive-sum as a local optimum: if the social status of your whole group rises, compared to all other groups, it might make you less special and thus lower status inside the group, but the very fact of belonging to the group now brings more status to you in general society. Thus, somewhat contradictingly, helping a fellow group member rise in status harms you inside the group, but helps you in general society because then said group member contributes to making your group look better. Thus, articles like this could be very efficiently targeted at minorities for example – telling e.g. a black person that working to make public schools better means in the long run that being black will not be such a status-lowering, prestige-lowering feature in the public consciousness is actually true and could be a powerful motivator.

    The reason I am dwelling so much on it is that our current social science, economics models of human behavior are incomplete and this is why they are often not predictive: human being maximize not utility, not profits, not income, but ultimately, sex appeal, and that means status. Money merely being one of the many ways to do that. More predictive models could be made this way. For example my model predicts why soldiers like medals more than pay raises, standard economics does not.

  75. @dtsund achievement isn’t, social status and power is. And that also means the social status gained from achievement is zero-sum too.

    Not necessarily. There’s an intriguing argument that one of the effective purposes of the wide variety of traditional competitive and social activities (e.g., bowling leagues, civic organizations, and the like) was to provide men specifically a variety of opportunities to be a big fish in some particular pond. Essentially, the function along a particular plane (such as your physique example) might be zero-sum, but there are a number of possible projections, and the aggregate may not be.

  76. For someone who can come up with “Kafkatrapping,” one of the most brilliant posts I’ve seen in years, your total hackery when it comes to Obama is shameful.

    850 for high school lunches, 700 for middle schools and a mere 650 calories for kids in elementary school.

    There’s nothing wrong with that. Those are (approximately) one-third the calories that children in that range need. The problem is these lard-ass kids are used to eating high-fat, high-salt fast-shit-food and have clue to what healthy food tastes like. So of course they don’t like it.

    The protein issue is another non-starter. That’s one-third the protein they need for normal growth and activity and only the small handful of athletes among them will ever need more. But in this day of video-game, couch-potato kids, it’s a small percentage who will have protein issues.

    The only issue I see is that poor kids whose parents can’t afford to feed them properly are going to get the short end of the stick. But I’m sure that supporting these parents with welfare and food stamps so their kids eat properly is not going be endorsed by you, is it?

    Which gets us to back to your Kafkatrapping post. You just did it. Isn’t that ironic?

  77. @Manfred
    >”@James: well, I should have added a ;-) but the point is, it isn’t that easy to avoid things. If you are celiac you should probably know that wheat is contained in virtually any preprocessed meal except specially marketed gluten free products.”
    All too true. Eating out was difficult until I really got used to it. It’s second nature now, but I still get the occasional suprise.

    “They say it tastes like vomit,” board member Myra Mosley said — and repeated — when the issue of school milk was raised.

    @Rick C:
    I have read the article several times by now, as well as the pass through to the Harlan Daily. Look beneath the surface and any preconcieved notions you may have (my first impulse is usually to shake my fist in righteous anger at anything government, but I can’t really do that here)

    From the Harlan Daily Enterprise:
    “Miniard said it was the same brand as the district has always used, but labeling has changed. He said fat content of the milk is one percent, when most people are used to two percent or whole milk.”

    It’s the same brand. Same milk. It’s just not 2% or whole, so they say it tastes like vomit.

    The bread is now wheat.

    From the Harlan Daily again
    “Many students also reject the brown wheat bread the cafeterias are serving now. It’s strange and different for them, so they don’t like it,” he said.”

    So what *I* see, is one of the fattest states in the union (based on USA News, KY is #7), which is also happens to be a southern “Red State”, complains about a food program put forth by a Democratic President, who just so happens to be black, and the story gets picked up by The Daily Caller, a Conservative/Libertarian news site. You *have* to see enough red flags to at least take this with a grain of salt (if the schools will allow salt).

    I am on the fence about whether the Federal Government should be in education at all, but given a choice between greasy pizza and tater tots or what the article is mentioning, do you really want people eating the nasty greasy pizza?

    I mean, honestly: The school food sucked before. The school food sucks now. It’s just a slightly healthier, more well intentioned suckage.

  78. It’s just a slightly healthier,

    Assumes facts not in evidence.

    more well intentioned suckage.

    Judging government programs and policies by intention rather than effect is the root cause of the vortex of fail that is American government.

  79. >Which gets us to back to your Kafkatrapping post. You just did it. Isn’t that ironic?

    If you really think so, you totally missed the point of the post you’re praising. In fact, I think you’re being dishonest and concern-trolling, but for the remainder of this reply I’ll assume otherwise.

    The most important attribute of kafkatraps is that they are unfalsifiable, because they deny the victim any authority to refute the trap by dismissing any refutation as a lie or false consciousness. All claims in my post are fact claims which can be refuted by evidence; it, therefore, cannot be a kafkatrap.

    Now go away until you can argue in a manner that doesn’t insult the intelligence of everyone here.

  80. @Christopher Smith:
    >Assumes facts not in evidence.
    This is true: There are no numbers posted for the nutritional value of either the white bread served before, or the whole wheat bread served now. But there are also no numbers pointing out the opposite, either. So I am left with the general case of whole wheat bread being typically healthier than white bread. If my assumption proves invalid, I’ll post a retraction, if it’s really necessary.

    >”Judging government programs and policies by intention rather than effect is the root cause of the vortex of fail that is American government.”
    Also true: I guess a better way to phrase my point was that the students are no worse off than before, but may be marginally better. I can’t say that it’s a cost effective program or if it will have any effect.

    My main point in all of this is that the situation smacks of a mountain made of a molehill. I can’t really see need for the virulent outrage that I’ve seen running around the interwebs about this. And I usually don’t pass up opportunities to shake my fist in impotent rage at D.C. I just don’t see it on this one.

    Now that Miley Cyrus thing……THAT’S IMPORTANT STUFF. (no. I was joking. please please PLEASE don’t bite on that.)

  81. “””Judging government programs and policies by intention rather than effect is the root cause of the vortex of fail that is American government.”””

    However, using a (supposed) bad effect to infer a bad intention that isn’t really there (e.g. this post, with “Protein-starving the peasantry so it will remain docile and biddable”) opens you up to it. If you don’t want to argue about intention, then, obviously, don’t do so.

  82. @Random832

    I wasn’t the one who introduced the intention, but I’ll observe that it’s much easier to bring about an intended negative result than an intended positive one. The US government is doing an objectively miserable job of helping Americans eat a healthy diet, but Stalin’s nutrition program in the Ukraine was a spectacular success.

  83. @Rick C:
    Please take a calming breath, and go read it again. I didn’t say that they were racists. Of the five items, you picked up exactly one to focus on. I said there were a pattern of red flags as to why I had to take their outrage with a “grain of salt” (i.e. not entirely invalidating their arguments, but allowing the *possiblity* that the strident opposition is motivated in part by other factors) So while I skirted an Ad Hominem logical fallacy pretty closely, ( I’ll go so far as to admit that perhaps I implied too strongly that “Well, they *would* say that, wouldn’t they?”) I don’t believe I ever said that anyone was a racist.

    But I find it dissapointing how quickly you assume that I was and try to tie me into someone else’s views. I have not interest in actually following that link, but I assume it’s someone with whom I would not like to be associated. I can say stupid things on my own, thank you. I don’t need my credibility tied to someone else.

    Perhaps I should back off and just agree before anyone goes full-on Godwin on me and shuts down the conversation.

    The sad thing is, I actually deleted and re-wrote the “who just so happens to be black” phrase about five times before posting because I *knew* someone would jump all over it.

  84. Jeff, I’m very calm. When you fling accusations–or suggestions, if you prefer–of racism into a topic out of the blue, you devalue the rest of your arguemnt. I noticed you managed to do it in the next thread, too, and brought in sexism, too.

    Here’s a clue for you: when you say “[x] complains about [something y does] where [y] happens to be black,” especially in a country where for 5 years, nearly any criticism of [y] is put down to “you must be a racist if you disagree with [y],” well, you’ve got a tough row to hoe to avoid the inevitable thought that you’re not with the other people who are saying “critcism of y is racist.” So maybe you want to rethink that policy.

    I’m not going to waste another second reading what you have to say. Too toxic for me.

  85. >>Nor am I in favor of mandatory gym classes, which are far more likely in inculcate a
    >> lifelong repugnance for exercise than to do the opposite.
    esr:
    > They did it to me.

    They did it to me, too, until I discovered non-competitive activities like hiking, canoeing, biking, etc. With so many of the school athletic activities revolving around competition, anyone who is 2-sigma below the average in strength/coordination/etc. is going to find participation a hellish experience. This makes those of a more geeklike bent turn even more strongly away from exercise.

    My elementary/high school classmates would be shocked if they saw how active I am today, including even regular gym workouts.

  86. @James Noyes
    “who just so happens to be black”
    Take your “everyone who disagrees with Teh Won is raaaaacist” bullshit and shove it up your ass.

  87. @James Noyes
    “Perhaps I should back off and just agree before anyone goes full-on Godwin on me and shuts down the conversation.”

    I have adopted a rule about the casual allegation of “raaaacism” that is so easily tossed off as you did. The moment one utters such an allegation, I will IMMEDIATELY interrupt and insist that they either back it up or take it back. No other response is appropriate, because failing to IMMEDIATELY confront the allegation is interpreted as assenting to it.

  88. Pingback: Starving The Peasentry | 36 Chambers - The Legendary Journeys: Execution to the max!

  89. “I have adopted a rule about the casual allegation of “raaaacism” that is so easily tossed off as you did. The moment one utters such an allegation, I will IMMEDIATELY interrupt and insist that they either back it up or take it back”

    You know the last few theads about racism struck me as “wow, a bunch of white geeks talking about racism. That’s about as cute as a bunch of politicians talking about technology”.

    How about you take your rule and shove it up your ass? If this blog tolerates JAD then James can throw down (or in this case pussyfoot around) the racism card as much as he likes.

    How about you IMMEDIATELY interrupt and insist JAD either backs it up or take it back when he spews his crap?

    No? Gee. Color me surprised. Sell your self righteous anger to someone buying. Because JAD sticks around because y’all tolerate his views without any IMMEDIATE challenges.

    The fact is that’s there’s a huge number of people who don’t like Obama just cause he’s black but its not PC to say so here. Because if you do then self righteous asshats IMMEDIATELY call you out for playing the evil dreaded racism card. OMG, you mean there are racists who dont like Obama in KENTUCKY? That simply can’t be! You be thrown down that racism card unwarrented like and I be challenging you.

    If I rolled my eyes any harder they’d be generating warp fields.

  90. I keep hearing about people who “hate Obama just because he is black,” but I’m pretty sure that if President Kerry or President Kucinich or President Hilary Clinton were saying and doing the same things, they’d be just as hated.

  91. >Sell your self righteous anger to someone buying. Because JAD sticks around because y’all tolerate [JAD’s] views without any IMMEDIATE challenges.

    You must be reading some alternate-universe version of this blog, not the one where I and others routinely call JAD out on his racist idiocy. Please dump your indignation _there_, not here.

    “Tolerating” someone like JAD has a different meaning here, where my free-speech principles rule, than it does on a blog where the owner has a history of ejecting people for disagreeing with the local mores. You are too intelligent not to understand this, so spare us all the trumped-up outrage.

  92. Nigel, the reason that we react badly to people saying that there are people who don’t like Barack Obama simply because he’s black is that that’s the excuse the Left gives for people opposing his policies: they tie all opposition to his race in an attempt to delegitimize it and demonize those who oppose the policies independent of the man who rams them down our throats.

    We’ve had the race card played against us so much when it’s not deserved that we react badly even if it is. Basically, the racists who think we should bend over and take everything Obama wants to do to us without complaint because he’s black have destroyed the race card as a meaningful subject of discussion.

  93. Here is true racism: to think that a black man is immune from criticism because he is black. What utterly patronizing bilge, what racist bullshit to transmute every criticism of his policy into a criticism of his race! To me that is so paternalistic it makes me want to scream.

    I intensely dislike Barak Obama because his policies are utterly terrible, counter productive, have eviscerated the economy and promise to put in place measures that will make it almost impossible to recover from the mess we are already in.

    From what I have seen of him he seems a nice enough person personally, I’d probably enjoy hanging out with him and his family. But I demand to “judge a man by the content of his character not the color of his skin.” In this case, the content of his character as manifest in the horrible policies he has promulgated is utterly reprehensible. And that despite the fact that I rejoice for America that it has overcome its racist past and elected a black man for President. I just wish that they had chosen a better black man.

    As for this blog, JAD is constantly challenged. I’ve gone round and round with him to the point of exhaustion a few times, and others have done so too. However, here is true kudos to Eric: the mark of a true believer in free speech is the willingness to tolerate speech you find personally repugnant. And the great facility of free speech is an open dialog that allows the repugnant speech along with the honest reply and the derision it deserves.

    Barak Obama’s government right now is deeply involved in the suppression of some specific kinds of free speech, namely criticism of the government. For example, the inability of the victims of hte NSA and FISA to say what is really happening, or the bulldog like response of the TSA to anyone who questions them or asks them to justify their horrendous practices.

  94. @Rick C:
    I think you may have me confused with Jeff Read on the next post. I only posted one thing on that and it never mentioned either, as Jeff’s did.
    As for toxic, I’m sorry you feel that way. Perhaps I’ve expressed myself poorly for you to have that reaction. I’ve read my posts a couple of times, but I can’t find nearly the toxicity you mention.

    As for toxicity:

    @The Monster:
    >”Take your “everyone who disagrees with Teh Won is raaaaacist” bullshit and shove it up your ass.”
    You likely didn’t read much of anything I wrote, but for the record: I’m a Libertarian (yes, registered member) and have opposed President Obama with my votes and calls to my representative on pretty much every single issue. This school lunch issue is simply not one that makes my radar of “vast evil which must be opposed”. So I don’t see the huge outrage and anger over the school lunch program. I listed several possible factors that made my “This story may need a grain of salt” hairs stand up. One of those factors was possible racism in KY. If it makes you mad that I say that some people in KY might be racist, I can live with that.

    @Nigel:
    >”If this blog tolerates JAD then James can throw down (or in this case pussyfoot around) the racism card as much as he likes.”
    Ugh! Please don’t lump me in with JAD! He *is* a full-on racist as evidenced by many of his posts. By contrast, I have suggested that of four or five possible reasons the people in that school district are so stridently and *angrily* opposed to the school lunch program is that they *could* be racist. It does happen. It shouldn’t, but does.
    I don’t play cards with race. If I think someone is a racist, I will just flat out say it. And not as a ploy.

    @Jay:
    >”Nigel, the reason that we react badly to people saying that there are people who don’t like Barack Obama simply because he’s black is that that’s the excuse the Left gives for people opposing his policies: they tie all opposition to his race in an attempt to delegitimize it and demonize those who oppose the policies independent of the man who rams them down our throats.”

    I fully agree with you, but I don’t think that’s what I was saying (I’ll go re-read what I posted). There *are* people who don’t like him strictly because of that fact. One of my extended family, a life long Democrat, voted for McCain last election. We tease him mercilessly about that every time we’re together. But while I certainly don’t tie *all* opposition to his race, I did suggest that one of the possible reasons such a minor issue sparked such *angry* opposition across the internet was that it was Obama who suggested it.

    @Fluffy Girl
    Great points! That’s exactly the way I see it. I’d buy Barak Obama the private citizen a beer or have him to dinner, as he seems like a likeable enough person (we can’t talk politics, though), but I think that President Obama is as big or worse disaster as President Bush when it comes to running the country.

  95. @Jay Maynard: “Nigel, the reason that we react badly to people saying that there are people who don’t like Barack Obama simply because he’s black is that that’s the excuse the Left gives for people opposing his policies: they tie all opposition to his race in an attempt to delegitimize it and demonize those who oppose the policies independent of the man who rams them down our throats.”

    How do you account for people who oppose the policies that are a continuation of Bush-era policies that those same people supported, e.g. drone strikes? Or the disparity in reactions between ‘Romneycare’ vs ‘Obamacare’? (though I’ll concede there’s at least a minimally coherent state-sovereignty argument for that one – however, the argument that actually gets used makes no explanation why it’s okay when a state does it)

  96. Nationwide, Republicans and conservatives were not thrilled with Romneycare, but it was limited to one very Blue state. 10th Amendment and all that.

    I have not seen a lot of Republicans objecting to Obama policies that they supported under Bush. OTOH, I have seen lots of Democrats supporting Obama policies that they condemned under Bush.

  97. @Random832
    >”How do you account for people who oppose the policies that are a continuation of Bush-era policies that those same people supported, e.g. drone strikes?”

    It’s not *necessarily* racism. In my case, I was a straight ticket Republican, who never really thought about anything. It was so easy. Anything a Democrat said was an evil socialist lie, and anything a Republican said was just the plain truth. So I was tacitly complicit in everything Bush did.

    Then I started actually reading and thinking for myself. It started with the Communist Manifesto. I wanted to see exactly what a Communist was. I mean, beyond a Democrat. I realised that not all of Karl Marx’s *premises* about capitolism are completely crazy. His conclusions are *dreadfully wrong*, but I do see some validity in his observations about global corporations and the capitalist system. Specifically, it’s potential de-humanizing effects on wage earners. (As Marx calls them, “Wage Slaves”) It’s still one of the best systems we have tried, but it’s by no means perfect at the international scale.

    I went to the Constitution next, since “all Democrats hate the Consitution”. I realized then that Republicans have nearly as awful a track record at our rights as Democrats. They just violate different rights.

    This continued until I found the Libertarian party. I didn’t go completely to ESR’s state as an Anarchist, but I may some day take that path.

    Long story short: With some people, Bush’s abuses “woke them up” so that when Obama continued the same behavior, we started complaining.

    So that could be a possible explanation.
    Or it could be racism.

  98. “””I have not seen a lot of Republicans objecting to Obama policies that they supported under Bush. OTOH, I have seen lots of Democrats supporting Obama policies that they condemned under Bush.”””

    Yeah, there’s a lot of drawing-up-lines that happens with people who don’t actually care about the policies they say they care about, and this accounts for some of the Republican reactions. But there’s enough of a lunatic fringe (the “secret muslim” stuff, the birther stuff, etc) that clearly is based on racism, that you can’t really take it off the table entirely.

  99. But there’s enough of a lunatic fringe (the “secret muslim” stuff, the birther stuff, etc) that clearly is based on racism, that you can’t really take it off the table entirely.

    Now there’s an interesting question: Which is a larger population, those who oppose Obama solely because of race, and whose who support him because of it?

  100. @Random832
    > But there’s enough of a lunatic fringe (the “secret muslim” stuff, the birther stuff, etc) that clearly is based on racism, that you can’t really take it off the table entirely.

    I don’t think that that is “clearly” based on racism at all. I think it is clearly based on extreme partisanship and an deep intense dislike of his policies. It is the nature of humans that if a person is the devil in one characteristic he is probably the devil in them all. Didn’t the fringe accuse Clinton of killing of dozens of his opponents? To see a list of crazy Clinton accusations see:

    http://www.snopes.com/politics/clintons/clintons.asp#bodycount

    So Clinton was the devil too, apparently, which can hardly been seen as racist, unless you subscribe to the “first black President” hypothesis.

    And of course that isn’t to say some of his critics aren’t racist. But not all hatred is based on racism, and it is the visceral reaction that to criticize a black man is intrinsically racist that so many of us object to, and in fact this very visceral reaction is in itself deeply racist since it treats black people as not equal to white people.

  101. BTW, talking about ex-presidents… am I the only one bothered by the practice of calling people who used to be president, or governor, senator or whatever by their highest title? Romney wasn’t “Mr. Romney” he was “Governor Romney” despite the fact that he no longer governed anything. Does this bug anyone else? How does it align with Art I.9 of the constitution “No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States”.

    Governor, Senator or President should be a functional title to tell you what they do, not what they did. We don’t call Bill Gates “CEO Gates” anymore.

  102. The courtesy titles don’t bother me, but what does is the practice of naming public buildings and so on after not just living politicians, but ones still in office. That is way, way, too Third World dictator for me. There oughta be a law.

  103. >am I the only one bothered by the practice of calling people who used to be president, or governor, senator or whatever by their highest title?

    No. you aren’t. I too think this is inappropriate. Offices are not anointments.

  104. >am I the only one bothered by the practice of calling people who used to be president, or governor, senator or whatever by their highest title?

    No. you aren’t. I too think this is inappropriate. Offices are not anointments.

    This seems a recent development. I’m not quite thirty and remember when it was usual to speak of “former President [H.W.] Bush”.

  105. @ Random832 – “the lunatic fringe”

    I just read a headline that says “TSA is officially allowed to lie to you in order to cover its ass”.

    That sounds like something the lunatic fringe might say.

  106. BTW, talking about ex-presidents… am I the only one bothered by the practice of calling people who used to be president, or governor, senator or whatever by their highest title? Romney wasn’t “Mr. Romney” he was “Governor Romney” despite the fact that he no longer governed anything. Does this bug anyone else? How does it align with Art I.9 of the constitution “No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States”.

    It doesn’t, but as long as it’s beltway press types bestowing these titles it probably isn’t an actionable Constitutional issue. It is, however, highly annoying. Near as I can tell it started with Clinton, probably among Democrat-leaning types who would like to forget the 2000 elections ever happened — although conservatives started referring to Reagan as “President Reagan” right around the same time.

    Barak Obama’s government right now is deeply involved in the suppression of some specific kinds of free speech, namely criticism of the government. For example, the inability of the victims of hte NSA and FISA to say what is really happening, or the bulldog like response of the TSA to anyone who questions them or asks them to justify their horrendous practices.

    National security demands that you keep the government’s secrets on its behalf, but keeping secrets from the government is a jailable offense because after all, you might be a terrorist.

    I just read a headline that says “TSA is officially allowed to lie to you in order to cover its ass”.

    That sounds like something the lunatic fringe might say.

    It’s well known that the U.S. government claims the authority to intercept any of your communications without a warrant, and imprison or execute you without a trial. Lying to you is small potatoes.

    How I pine for the days when M-x spook was just a tongue-in-cheek joke…

  107. Pingback: Your kids are competing in the real world hunger games | Leon Atkinson

  108. It’s not just free-lunch money. Much of state and federal aid to education keys on the number of children getting the free lunch.

    There was a story on NPR about a school drive to enroll 100% of students in the free lunch program. Schools do this all over the country. They do it explicitly so that the school recieves more state and federal money.

  109. “Not having your child to school “on time” — which is defined not as “on time for class” but as “on time for breakfast” — five times in (I think it was in the year, but it may have been the semester) meant a call to child protective services. Poor parents are *terrified* of this, and rightfully so. If you can’t afford a good lawyer (child welfare cases are civil not criminal, you have no right to an attorney) there’s little to keep the government from taking your children away and putting them into a system where they’re more likely to get raped, beaten, or otherwise abused than not.”

    You live in a tyranny. Revolt or accept.
    In syria they revolted. They are dealing harshly with those government forces and atleast getting revenge for decades of rule.

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