Monday, August 11, 2014

From My Cold Dead (and Sticky) Hands


"Hey kid, you'll put that sign down if you know what's good for you..."

As the summer of 2014 inches inexorably towards fall, children across America have one more reason to dread returning to their local 'Temple of Pure Thought'...  The Great American Bake Sale, the lone redeeming feature of the US Educational System, like so much else we knew (and in my case, 'LOVED') in elementary / high school is under attack.

But don't be alarmed, it's for the good of the children.

  
August 1, 2014 Wall Street Journal Online:  Put Down the Cupcake: New Ban Hits School Bake Sales
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Campus bake sales—a mainstay of school fundraisers—are going on a diet. A federal law that aims to curb childhood obesity means that, in dozens of states, bake sales must adhere to nutrition requirements that could replace cupcakes and brownies with fruit cups and granola bars.
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The restrictions that took effect in July stem from the 2010 Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act championed by first lady Michelle Obama and her "Let's Move!" campaign. The law overhauled nutrition standards affecting more than 30 million children.
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The law also required the U.S. Department of Agriculture to set standards for all food and beverages sold during the school day, which includes vending machines, snack carts and daytime fundraisers. It allowed for "infrequent" fundraisers, and states were allowed to decide how many bake sales they would have that didn't meet nutrition standards.
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Without state-approved exemptions, any treats sold would have to meet calorie, sodium, fat and other requirements. The law permits states to fine schools that don't comply.

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Tennessee will allow schools to sell food items that tip the federal scales for 30 days each year.

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"Schools have relied on these types of sales as revenue streams for sports, cheering clubs, marching bands," said David Sevier, deputy executive director of the Tennessee Board of Education. "We get the obesity issue, but we don't want to jerk this out from under the kids."

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In advance of the law, some schools had already banned students from a near-sacred activity: setting up tables to sell boxes of Girl Scout cookies during the day. There are also those that have replaced food-centric fundraisers with calorie-free events such as wrapping-paper sales, pie-throwing events and bowl-a-thons. Others have prohibited homemade fare in favor of processed items where the nutritional information is calculated and displayed.

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"Some don't follow the spirit and set up bake sales right after the bell rings," said Christine Jovanovic, of Austin, who is a member of the parent-teacher association at Canyon Vista Middle School and Westwood High School.

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The result of the new requirements may be more processed-food products.

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"We use prepackaged food because it has to have nutritional requirements posted," said Keli Gill, president-elect of the Arkansas PTA, where the state has had nutrition standards for bake sales for a few years. "Items like apples are perishable and don't last as long, so we don't want to waste money and have it go bad on us."


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Yes, your Federal Government is looking out for your kids, because it (the Federal Government) loves them so much more than you do...
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A couple of questions spring to mind.  Questions for which I would really appreciate some answers from Michelle Obama and the Federal Government in general:
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  1. Schools have replaced bake sales with 'non-food-centric-events' such as Pie Tossing (last time I looked, I'm pretty sure that a PIE was 'some sort of food'), wrapping paper sales (Oops, wouldn't some wrapping paper feature a 'Jolly Old Elf' celebrating Christmas?!?!  Since when does the Federal Government support religious events?) and 'Bowl-A-Thons' (quick question, has anyone ELSE been to a bowling alley lately?  Don't they serve alcohol to overweight, slovenly adults AND sell extremely unhealthy food from that grease-laden snack bar they've got set up there?  So it's okay to put kids in an environment where people are drinking AND eating junk food at a school-sponsored event, just so long as you don't do it on school property?  What's up next, Sex Education classes taught by 'professionals' in stiletto heels, tear-away clothing, and women (and men?) sporting 'safe-sex-themed'...  'Tramp Stamps'?)
  2. Bake sales are OKAY, as long as they happen after school hours?  Calories do not COUNT after the bell rings?  Knowing this, I'll be installing a portable bell at my dinner table and ring it just before jumping into the Apple Pie a la mode.
  3. The legislation may result in more 'Pre-Packaged Food' being sold at school?  Yes, why would you want freshly-baked goods when you can purchase something which was belched out of a factory conveyor line roughly 22 months ago?  So it's more important to buy food with a Federally-recognized 'label' (and BONUS! chocked full of preservatives), than it is to buy something which was flour, eggs, and sugar yesterday in some Mom or Dad's home kitchen?  So Twinkies (with a shelf-life of the half life of Plutonium) are preferable to my Mom's brownies?  Thanks, but, um, no thanks.
  4. Items which are perishable (like apples) are a waste of money because they don't last 'long enough to sell'?  Hey lady, it's a BAKE SALE, not a freaking FARM STAND!  If a kid WANTS an apple, they can get it courtesy of the First Lady's horrific school lunch program - cut these kids a break and let them buy something BAKED in the oven if they choose to.  If kids are not smart enough to eat well, perhaps their parents (which you people educated) aren't smart enough to have kids in the first place).  Come to think of it, this explains...  A lot.
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 Okay, here's the deal, I know there's a lot going on in the World lately.  I also know that 'Banning Bake Sales' is NOT the end of the World.  But I know that whenever Freedom is taken away ('bite-by-small-bite') the World which I knew growing up...  Will never be quite the same.
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One last question for you before I need to get out to work:  How does eliminating Bake Sales which raise money for school Marching Bands, Soccer Teams, Baseball Teams, and other after school activities make kids healthier?  Each extra-curricular event encourages kids to be involved with other kids, keeps them motivated, keeps them moving, and, unless I'm missing something, keeps them healthier than if they were sitting at home eating a bag of 22-month old Doritos while watching YouTube videos of idiots on skateboards.
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Without the external funding (from bake sales and other fund raisers), these programs are diminished, AND without additional financial support will...  Die.  
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So either one of two things are happening:
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  1. Michelle Obama's 'Let's Move' Campaign is just another means to and end in increasing demands on state and federal government, or,
  2. It is merely a means of teaching 'your kids' to 'comply' with whatever onerous legislation is passed for 'their kids' (the worst-case scenario, is, of course, that the intended result of this legislation is meant to cause both)
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Like I said before, Freedom doesn't disappear in a single bite, it's gnawed away while you're looking elsewhere.  You know, like when you're watching a flagging Economy, seeing more than 50% of the US population on Federal Support, the Immigration debacle, Russia's annexation of the Ukraine, or perhaps if you're looking to a far-away country where our Vacationer-In-Chief left an unprepared people to fend for themselves and is now investing resources to a job which he left unfinished in the first place.
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Never lose sight of the bigger (and smaller) pictures, for they all tell a similar story.  The only question remaining, of course, is...  
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How will the story end?
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