The Military dishes up School Lunch

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Basic Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Tuesday, May 11, 2010 – Republished article.

Undernutrition and malnutrition are very different animals, except when it comes to the convergence of soldiers and school lunch.

The school lunch program was started during the Great Depression in 1935.  It was a fantastic solution to two national problems.

  1. Farmers had surplus produce that many people could not afford leading to a drop in price.
  2. Children were going hungry because of the 25% unemployment rate – 75% in minority communities.

The Secretary of Agriculture was given funding to purchase surplus foods for a school lunch program via the Congress.[i] School children across the nation began to have at least school lunch as a daily meal.  During World War II, the surplus food supply dwindled as the nation had to feed a military stationed around the globe.  By the end of the war the congress was thinking of ending the program.  However, the military spoke up.

The Surgeon General of the Armed Forces testified in 1946 that, “70 percent of the boys who had poor nutrition 10-12 years ago were rejected by the draft.”  That meant boys between the ages of 8-14 during 1934-36 with limited food sources became a “threat to national security” due to the fact that the US could have had difficulty assembling a military force due to the stunted growth from undernutrition.  This testimony was the linchpin to continuing funding.[ii] 

 Skip ahead to 2010.  Thirty percent of teens are overweight or obese.  This comes from “malnutrition”.  They have food to eat, but the food is extremely high in fat and sodium and lacking fiber and many vitamins and minerals.  Until now, the military has been pretty silent about school lunch, school breakfast or any other federal nutrition program, even though many of their employees have wages and salaries low enough to qualify for a number of public welfare programs.

However, on April 20, 2010 retired Navy Rear Adm. James Barnett Jr. with a group of officers called, Mission: Readiness, spoke to Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack.  Adm. Barnett said that, “When over a quarter of young adults are too fat to fight, we need to take notice.”  Again, the military speaks up because lousy nutrition leads to lack of national security.

School lunch never hits the front page and yet it affects every child in public school, approximately 45-50  million Americans.[iii]  Music and art programs are being slashed and the military had approximately 23% of the 2009 US Federal spending.  One budget of theirs isn’t even allowed to be public.  There are weapons systems, which have been denounced by top military brass, being built at the cost of millions.  But we hear little to nothing about school lunch and school breakfast programs which have not had an increase in reimbursement since 1973.  So,  now they want to help out the poor little lunch ladies. 

The military also wants to help out the phys ed department because so much money is being spent to train new recruits when seasoned soldiers are too heavy and are discharged.  Military recruiters want to work with schools to help recruits lose weight before they try and sign on the dotted line. One recruiter was quoted as saying, “This is the future of our Army we are looking at when we talk about these 17- to 24-year-olds. The sad thing is a lot of them want to join but can’t.”.[iv] It’s great the military is motivated to preventative measures.  

 Well, that’s one way to look at it.  Another way is that the military industrial complex may not have the fodder it needs to continue its various “security” operations around the world.  If we don’t have an abundant supply of healthy young people we may not be able to continue as the world’s police department.   What would we have done if we didn’t have recruits to go to Afganistan and search for vaporous weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

 The former president of the American Medical Association, Ron Davis, MD, stated he had spent all of his time in office, 2007-2008, trying to get one word changed in defining Medicare and Medicaid.  He lobbied that the word, preventative, be added to the type of care covered by these two programs.  On a phone conversation he said that if preventative medicine were available to people who qualified for these programs costs would decrease because the high expense of treating diabetes, progressive cancers and health problems related to obesity could be addressed early on.  It still has not happened. 

 But with Haliburton on board all things are possible.

[i] Food Research and Action Center. 2008. Commodity Foods and the Nutrition Quality of the National School Lunch Program: Historical Role, Current, operations, and Future Potential.  Executive Summary. FRAC. Retrieved from :http://www.frac.org/pdf/commodities08_execsummary.pdf on May 12, 2010.

[ii] Boyle M. 2003. Historical Background of Food Assistance Programs. Community Nutrition in Action: An Entrepreneurial Approach, pg. 124-125.  Wadsworth, Belmont California.

[iii] Institute of Education Sciences. [nd] Fast Facts. Retrieved from http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=65 on May 18, 2010.

[iv] Jalonick MC, [2010] Are school lunches a national security threat?, Military Discusstion. com, April 20. Retrieved from http://www.military-discussion.com/forum/index.php?topic=2545.0 on May 18, 2010

Advertisements

Shut Up, not Shutdown

From video on Healthcare.gov

From video on Healthcare.gov

Darlings,

The idea of keeping you up on the Health Exchanges was to show 1) how this new government program works; 2) help you decide whether it is for you; 3) how you are connected to your government no matter how you feel about it.

But now what we have is a website not fulfilling its intension and your government rearing its ugly, rather than helpful, head into your life in more ways than you expected.  So, I am taking this blog entry to talk about the Partial Federal Shutdown.

I looked up the history of US government shutdowns.  During the Ford and Carter administrations the short shutdowns effected 2 departments: Labor and Health, Education and Welfare.  They were a week to two weeks.  Never threatened to default on the US economy and the point of congressional contention was abortion.

Reagan and George Bush[ the first] had a couple of glitches that were technical and lasted a weekend.  Never threatened to default on the US economy.

Clinton had a very famous shutdown.  It did a lot of damage.  However, never threatened to default on the US economy and the point of congressional contention was the US budget deficit.  Clinton left office with a budget surplus.

George Bush [the second] spent the surplus and drove us into a hole with his ludicrous, baseless wars.  There was no shutdown, even though there were thousand of people protesting in Washington not to go to this war.  I know I was one of them.  There was no left wing group threatening a US economic default.

One of the most congressional contentious laws ever enacted in US history is the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  People were beaten, killed, jailed til the jails couldn’t handle them.  There were protests throughout this country.  Leaders were murdered.  There was no government shutdown or threat of default of the US economy.

Social security, Medicare and Medicaid all became useful government programs without a US shutdown or threat of default of the US economy.  These programs came into being because so many people were hurting for so long that government was needed to solve the issue.  These programs have been updated, funded in various ways and filled society’s needs with much discussion and debate.  But without a shutdown.

Now for the drives-me-nuts part.  There is this small group of conservative, out of the norm legislators,

Obstructionist Congress Person

Obstructionist Congress Person

put where they are partly due to gerrymandering of congressional districts, who don’t like a law.  They have tried to repeal this law over 30 times.  Instead of realizing that they are wasting time on one law again and again and letting other important issues have some light of day, they shutdown most of the government.  This isn’t governing it is a temper tantrum.  And like a three year-old having a temper tantrum there is no graceful exit.  You painted yourself into a corner and now you want everyone to be your mommy and give you whatever you want just to stop embarrassing the rest of us and keeping us from carrying on our life as regularly scheduled.  Mr. Marino, I am not your mommy, I am your constituent.

I heard a conservative legislator today state that they don’t like Obamacare and they need the President-I-never-met-an-industry-I-didn’t-kow-tow-to to “give something up at the bargaining table.”  Pal, it is your job to fund the government, not his.  You spent the money, now pony up with the cash.  Healthcare has NOTHING to do with paying Head Start workers, caring for national parks or equipping scientists and their labs in Antarctica.

It is akin to saying, “I know my family bought an entire closet of clothes with this credit card, and the bill is due October 17.  But somebody ordered a pair of shoes that I don’t like.  I can’t convince them to forget these shoes, so, I’m tearing up the whole bill.  You can’t make me pay it.  If you want me to pay it you have to negotiate for me to not pay for the shoes until 2015.  And I’m keeping my stuff.  So there!”

Really?  And you want the rest of us adults to pay you, your pension and your healthcare?

Okay, since an apology to everyone you have hurt by your selfish interest is beyond your inflated ego, I’m saying this is my best mommy voice: Quiet yourself, sit down until you figure out that part of your job is learning to play well with others.

Taking a Break can Give a Boom

Hello Darlings,

LaDiva here.

LUV my men.

LUV my men.

Of course, I am writing this for shameless self promotion.  I am also writing to, hopefully, inspire myself and you to fulfill goals.  So, I have to confess.

My videos on my YouTube Channel have been regurgitated for a year.  Now my excuse is producing a film, writing a book, being out of town for weeks and producing an animated DVD.  However, I didn’t keep up on them.  And I think I’m okay with that.

Last week I went back into the kitchen and shot 5 videos in one day.  They all went up on YouTube within 48 hours.  It felt good.  I made the recipes simple and man-friendly for Father’s day.  The point of easy recipes was to get out and DO something rather than spend the day in the kitchen cooking for your FAV guy. There wasn’t one with the kids.  You may know that every month I have kids make a video.  Since I was getting my feet back into the shallow end of the pool, I thought keep it simple.  Additionally, I needed to think about what I want to do going forward with these 100 videos.

While patting myself on the back during the YouTube uploads, I was completely rejected

CocoBanana Man Smoothie w/cinnamon garnish

CocoBanana Man Smoothie w/cinnamon garnish

from a conference I really like.  It brought me back to living in hallways as an actor.  You wait for auditions in chairs in countless hallways.  Then, you hope bearing you soul will garner a paycheck.  Acting is nothing more than a sales job.  What I was selling, they weren’t buying. That included this conference.  I wanted to let go of who and what they are and my ego attachment to them.  But, I’m not that evolved, well at least for the first 15 minutes.

I took a lunch break to lick my wounded pride.  While munching, I listened to a public speaker expert who said, anyone can look up the information you present.  What people come for is to connect with you, your take, your experience that creates a reality for them to use your information.   How I can better connect to audiences?

Basic Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Basic Roasted Sweet Potatoes

This changed my home healthcare worker presentation, to be given in the next 3 hours, from focusing on what to feed the elderly to why home healthcare workers are a key member of the healthcare team.  Their work maintains  dignity for those needing care and keeps folks in their homes.  Staying home is such a critical aspect of someone who has lost loved ones, health and abilities to own their lives.

By changing the focus from information to inspiration, they were psyched when I was

Sweet Sauer Sausage w/Sauerkraut

Sweet Sauer Sausage w/Sauerkraut

done.  I was psyched that I made them feel empowered.  My next presentations will be focused on how whatever information I am spouting can empower the audience to feel their full self-worth.

So, the schedule I made in the winter is back on.  I feel refreshed in approaching the book writing.  I feel that I got the right tools to make the gardening easier and quicker.  I’m reading books to feed my soul.  And more than

Cheap Trick - Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Cheap Trick – Chocolate Covered Strawberries

anything, I’m making sure I get up early to enjoy the mornings.  Take a break to admire the sunsets.  Jump back into the deep end of the pool.

I am not a mushroom, neither are You

PA Legislature, these are mushrooms not constituents.

PA Legislature, these are mushrooms not constituents.

Oy!  It is annoying when politicians want to treat us like brain-dead vegetables.

The state of Pennsylvania has a bill going through a committee to stop anyone, including employees, from filming or recording in any way any process or part of any agribusiness operations.  Anyone have any problem with any of this?

Pennsylvania’s House Bill 683 thinks we are like the mushrooms in Kenneth Square, PA [mushroom capital].  They want to feed us whatever crap the agribusiness owners want us to think and keep us in the dark about how their businesses run.

It was whistleblowers who got shots of downer cows in California that prompted the largest

PA HB 683 stops whistleblowers

PA HB 683 stops whistleblowers

meat recall in US history.  Slaughterhouse workers have some of the worst safety records of any business.  This bill will cut out the heart of investigations and drive up fear among employees standing up for their own rights much less that of practices of abuse for the livestock.

And let’s not forget our vegetables friends.  E. coli is a food borne illness that comes from contamination from fecal matter.  The 2011 Spinach scare showed that somewhere there was fecal matter touching spinach.  The Center for Disease Control still has no source of that fecal matter.  In fact, the farm where it was grown went out of business before the CDC could finish its investigation.  This bill would stop any employee from recording any image or sound from any such operation.  This was organic spinach.  Supposedly the top of the food chain.  You get to pay extra for poop in your greens.

This bill also includes natural gas fracking processors who drill on farmland.  Since fracking waste is exempt from state and federal law what more don’t they want us to know?    However, the bust in the fracking business may curtail drilling that sooner than expected.

I am currently editing an animation for young kids on fruit and nutrition.  The idea is to make the connection between food and their bodies.   Maybe this will prompt them to stop and look at an orchard with a LaDiva-looking apple hanging from a tree.  If this bill passes, their drawing of the tree can be confiscated and prosecuted.

Extreme?  Well, so is being an adult told to you only need information that agribusiness decides.

How many Pennsylvanians does it take to change a lightbulb?  None.  Kreider Farms and the Marcellus Shale Coalition will tell us when we need light.  Now be good children and eat your spinach.

Wish for it, anyway

White board ready for ideas

White board ready for ideas

The business plan is in the works and feels like I’m playing Monopoly.  Community Chest says, “You won the lottery.  You can now spend $10 grand on every LaDiva Video Recipe shoot and have an assistant.  Your wardrobe will be enhanced and here’s Iris Internet to re-do your website.”  A business plan is a calculated wish list.

My mission statement is to Party the Planet to the Next Level of Compassion.  My narrow view of what a cash infusion could do is not worthy of pixels on a screen.  I need to remind myself, if you want a global presence, open your head and allow energies you haven’t ever met to carry the project further than you imagine.  I need to have a global vision as well as presence.

Anne Hathaway refers to her Golden Globe award as a “lovely blunt object that I will forevermore use as a weapon against self-doubt.”  I have a piece of paper on my wall stating my projected income by January 2013.  I think I need something 3-D.  This prompts the question: Where does self-doubt come from?

When you do something right, it is a completed task.  When you screw it up,

Unlock your attachments

Unlock your attachments

it’s experience.  The accumulation of “experiences” overriding completed tasks leads to self-doubt.  I have done so many stupid things, stayed with toxic people, denied reality, turned away from opportunity because of the perception of hard work, impossible goals and fear of succeeding that I feel my life is nothing but experience.  Fear of succeeding?  Really?  Yes.  I have caught myself talking myself out of success.  I think it will change what I like about my life too much.  But, if I open up my vision and allow possibilities beyond my narrow scope who knows what could be.  It’s like refusing to open the window in the late summer because sometimes the breeze gets icy cold.  Well, if you can open the window and let in the fresh air, you can control the window and shut out the cold.  What if you work twelve hours a day to make your dream happen and you actually like working on it?  What if you got to the next goal?  What if you could retire and support causes that have always been in your heart?  Surround yourself with like-minded successful people?

Too often I think, well if I do THAT, I won’t get to do THIS.  And “this” is such an easy thing to attain.  For example, an actor friend said to me that they didn’t want to take an opportunity to be a real estate agent, althoug they are great at sales, because they wouldn’t able to do “extra” work in film.  Extras are the folks you see in the background of movies and TV shows.  This person is an extra “to get my insurance” through the actors union.  But it is not what they really want to do.  They really want good roles in film and theater.  What if they became a successful real estate agent, could pay for their own insurance and could produce a film starring them?  What if they were so successful they met people who produce films?  Don’t those people need places to live?

Sh-h-h. Listen to other voices.

Sh-h-h. Listen to other voices.

But “experience” says we will work a million hours and make $40K and NEVER do any of the things we want.  We take our past and make it our future.  Well, as much as I would like to be as hot and sexy as I was when I was 25, it will not be my future.  And am I really as naive as I was at 18?  Do I care as much of what people think of me as when I was 30?  Is my body ever going to be a scarless as I was at 12?  Not bloody likely.  And that is okay.

I have experience, but I also have history.  My history says when you put on blinders you reach the next level.  My history says that I know how to succeed in many things and I just have to apply it to my current goals.  My history says I rarely get it right the first time, so I can try over and over.

My history says the bills will get paid somehow, anyway.  I will get old, anyway.  I will learn something, anyway.  I will have self-doubt, anyway, but my history says it is worth doing, anyway.

Number 2 is always harder

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANo.  I am not making scatological humor.  I’m talking about keeping the energy going.

My last post was about being focused in the new year.  It is easy the first week to stay on track.  Then, you let life get in the way.

I’m now on week 2 and still staying focused.  I got another first draft done on a chapter of my book.  I sent it off to my 2 first editors for response.  If I hear nothing from them, nudging will be in order.

My physical activity is on track, as is my daily learning time.  I’m getting up at 5:30 am, before anyone else starts their day in my house, including the cat, and doing yoga.  The gal on the Wii can’t figure out if I am strong or not, but she really likes my posture.  Glad she can’t see my clothes.  Of course, hers never change so why am I worried.

Do you have a stack DVDs from some seminar or conference still in the plastic wrap?  I make lunch at noon and watch an hour of nutrition videos.  I’m learning and reviewing so much data.  Here’s the weirdest part – everyday someone will ask me some random question and I have just seen something about it.  I feel like a walking encyclopedia.

I know some of you are thinking, WHO has an hour at lunch?  Well, most of my work is at home.  My day is 6:30 – 12:30, 2:00-5:30, Monday-Friday.  When needed, 7:30pm.  That’s usually one day a week.  Weekends I try to only work 7 hours.

Then, I either do a short, fast walk or run.  I always get great ideas during this time.  I call people and leave messages.  There is a notebook next to my bed, and a pad in the kitchen.  And I read them every morning.

Everyone likes to start something.  The real work comes after the initial energy rush.  All

Can I stay focused?

Can I stay focused?

kinds of things have popped up on my radar screen, but I look at my schedule I set on January 1 and realize that everything else has to take second place.   Asking myself the right question gets the right answer. “Do I want to do this?” is not the right question.   “Will this get me where I want to be December 31?” works a lot better.

Here’s the most important thing I have learned this week, [although it is so obvious its silly], if you want someone to invest in your idea you need to know exactly how you are going to use their investment.  This is true for money, time and energy.  That has led me off my schedule a little, but sharped my focus.

This second week as called for more discipline, but I realize that I feel relaxed because I am getting things accomplished.  It’s like trying to explain to someone who constantly has colds what real health is.  When you feel healthy it compels you to stay that way.  When you keep ticking things off your list, you draw energy to you that compels you toward your LaDiva Blingultimate goal.  It rekindles the fire.  The goal becomes a foregone result waiting to happen.

There no longer are tasks, but opportunities to reach the result sooner.

War, Death, Peace, Life

Earl Worthington’s, Marty’s Grandfather, WW1 helmet with shrapnel dent

So much about Veteran’s Day speaks of war, death and remembrance.  While there is value in rememberance and honor those who have given military service to their countries, we should also remember where the day came from and its greater peaceful meaning.

Originally called Armistice Day, this day was to mark the end of World War 1 – The War to End all Wars.  It was a call to end of hostilities, war and death and a return to living peaceful lives.  The word armistice means, truce.  This leads me to two thoughts.

1. American military veterans give their service to secure peace in the world.  So many gave their lives to what they thought was for the better good of the country, citizens and the world.  I honor that.  I also honor those who gave of themselves in peaceful protest, objection and witness to create the same end.

Tom Davey, WW2 Marine, Marty’s father

My BFF, Marty Davey has a niece who is a major in the Army.  The Major is not only a caring mother and phenomenal friend, but an officer who sees her duty and her tours of Iraq and Afghanistan as bettering the world.  On a vastly smaller scale, Marty, another caring mother and phenomenal friend, went to war-torn countries supporting artists and musicians promoting peace and ending state-sponsored violence against citizens.  As opposed to what many make think, these two women have great respect for each other and their common goal of lifting up the world to a higher sense of being.

Marty puts it this way, “You may get more bees with honey, but if they are going to sting you everyone grabs the nearest rolled newspaper.”

2. The right to vote. Of those who gave their careers, their lives, their bodies and their indomitable soul to create the path for self-determination.

Marty teaches juniors in college most of whom are in their early 20’s.  Last Election day she asked everyone in her class to stand up.  “Sit down if you voted.”  A number of students sat down.  “Sit down if you cannot vote because you are not an American citizen, old enough to vote or some other reason such as you have been convicted of a felony.”  A few students sat down. “Those of you sitting write your name on a piece of paper.”

Marty’s relative Annie Kenney, Suffragette, England 1907

She, then told them that when her grandmother was their age, she was not allowed to vote.   [Here’s a link to one of Marty’s suffragette relatives, Annie Kenney] American women were force-fed, beaten and hung by their wrists in jails because they demanded the right to vote.

“Someone died today to make sure you had the right to vote.”

I think a soldier’s  or activist’s death or injury was more inconvenient than your needing to sleep instead of voting, your need to text or facebook instead of voting, or your just being too disconnected, politically lazy or unconcerned instead of voting.

“Everyone who gave me their name gets a point on the next test.”

It doesn’t matter who you vote for as long as you are part of the process.  It doesn’t matter how you work for peace, but that you take action on the need.  What is important is that you find that peaceful and ethical stream of consciousness in yourself.  I believe this stream is universal.  I think we need to watch small children more and re-view their unfiltered, true responses to unethical  actions. We need to see how our culture or personal history thwarts our true embracement of an ethical, peaceful life.

Marble birds from Marty’s delegation to Nicaragua, 1986

We all need to make an armistice to release war and death and make real the peace and peaceful world for which so many strived.