First Among Firsts

Michelle Obama, official White House portrait.

Michelle Obama occupies a unique position in American history as the country’s first minority First Lady. As a general rule, First Ladies are not all that political and until recent generations have filled a role not much more substantive than “hostess-in-chief.” There have been a few notable exceptions (Eleanor Roosevelt, Hillary Clinton and Abigail Adams immediately come to mind), but usually the First Lady maintains a pleasantly low profile and confines her policy contributions to private moments with her husband. As a result, criticism of the First Lady is usually of a mildly partisan, somewhat petty nature, but seldom vicious.

This, however, is not the case with Mrs. Obama, who is frequently on the receiving end of virulent attacks from people who hate her personally, and not just because of her husband’s policies. This hatred is puzzling since the First Lady has done little to invite such vitriol. She is busy, well-groomed, fit and attractive; looks after her family; speaks at non-partisan events and has adopted childhood obesity as her signature issue…exactly the kind of innocuous child-friendly cause that traditionally is championed by First Ladies.

And yet we see a very negative reaction to Michelle Obama from far-right conservatives.  If you read the comments at these conservative blog sites, you see a level of personal animosity, spite and invective that has never been directed at any other First Lady…not even Hillary Clinton, who was also deeply unpopular with the conservative base. One sign of this animosity is Tea Party icon and conservative darling Sarah Palin’s attacks on the First Lady…personal attacks, by name. Palin has frequently criticized Mrs. Obama’s child health initiatives. The latest attack appears in an episode of her reality TV series in which she is searching for the ingredients for smores and tells the camera, “This is in honor of Michelle Obama, who doesn’t want us to have dessert.”

Of course, this line of attack is well received by her base, and Palin obviously feels she is safe in launching broadsides at the First Lady, but it is a strategy that is not without risk. This article by a right-wing commentator at the Kansas City Star expresses doubt from the right about the wisdom of attacking Michelle Obama personally. Palin’s fading poll numbers are perhaps another sign that the public is not wholly prepared to embrace any politician, however high-profile and popular, who mocks the First Lady.

Chris Matthews tiptoed bravely into the murky waters of this issue last week on Hardball. He discussed the profile and behavior of Michelle Obama: “She’s not doing anything controversial. She’s just doing her thing, speaking at kids’ events, helping military families, trying to do a good job of raising her daughters, working on childhood obesity. She’s not hurting anybody that I can see. There’s no particular reason to dislike her, yet lots of people really hate her. I wonder why?”

Matthews pauses for a moment to let this sink in and then concludes, “Why do they hate the First Lady so much?” he asks. “Is it racism? I think it has to be.”

When I read the kind of threads like these at Free Republic about Michelle Obama, I think I have to agree.


About filistro

Filistro is a Canadian writer and prairie dog who maintains burrows on both sides of the 49th parallel. Like all prairie dogs, she is keenly interested in politics and language. (Prairie dogs have been known to build organized towns the size of Maryland, and are the only furry mammal with a documented language.)
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122 Responses to First Among Firsts

  1. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    Happy New Year to All!

    My first resolution is to find a true blue conservative who can make their point well, logically and back them up with facts, not talking points, and invite them to join 538refugees! Enough of the sad, sacks we have now.

    May I also say congratulations to Mule Rider for one of the finest turnarounds I’ve witnessed. I knew you had it in you. Keep heading up the high road.

    And GROG has shown flashes of quality. Taking time to do a little more research and you’ll make a godd challenge.

    As Bart continues his descent. So sad. I don’t think even the Betty Ford Clinic could intervene at this stage. But. If there’s hope for Lindsay L, then maybe.

    I have to agree with Chris Matthews. The vitriol towards both the President and First Lady has been escalated to new heights. And in her case, truly ad hominem.

    “That scowl.”
    “She always looks angry.”
    etc

    The closet racists had a field day before the election (Knock, knock. Who’s there? “Eyes”. Eyes who? I’se gonna be yo’ next prez-uh-dent’! ) and have pressed ever onward since the election of this great country’s first negrah (they won’t say “nigger”, unless provoked and in lily white company) President.

    Sad.

    But, hey, if you’re white and live in most parts of rural America, you are NOT surprised. It’s been there all along and most likely always will be to some degree.

  2. filistro says:

    Did you read some of the comments at the Freeper link, Max?

    It amuses me that so many of the Freepers constantly refer to Michelle Obama’s weight (big-ass, lard ass, fat-ass etc.) I think this is (quoting Janene Garofolo) “straight-up racist”… because the general meme is that black women have big hips.

    Whats’ amusing is that Michelle Obama is probably the fittest, most athletic First Lady the country has ever had… and 90% of these bigots mocking her “fat ass” would be left choking in the dust if they were in a footrace with her.

  3. filistro says:

    Speaking of hatred toward the First Family… take a look at this.

    From the article: Outgoing Rep. Bob Inglis (R-S.C.) said Thursday that a “credible conservative” movement that doesn’t focus on “hatred” of President Obama is needed.

    Inglis was defeated in a landslide by Trey Gowdy in the June primary runoff. Gowdy, a staunch conservative and Tea Party favorite, went on to win the 4th District seat in November. Inglis lamented on CNN that the current wave of populist conservatism is unlike that of Ronald Reagan. “We’ll get through and we’ll get back to optimistic conservatism,” he said. “We just got to get through this unfortunate period.”

    The congressman said he was wounded in his campaign by not joining “in the real bitterness toward the president.”

    “I don’t call him a socialist because he’s not,” he said. “I don’t doubt that he was born in Hawaii because he was. I don’t call him a Muslim because he says he’s a Christian. And I didn’t say anything about death panels because there weren’t any in that health care bill.”

    Well, that all sounds pretty sensible, doesn’t it? The real eye-opener is the wave of furious hatred unleashed on poor Inglis for even SAYING these things. Read the Freeper comments about his statement. If this mob had torches and pitchforks, they would KILL this poor guy, just for saying personal hatred against the President and his family is misplaced.

    Say what you will about Reagan… at least he projected (and drew from Americans) a general attitude of sunny optimism. These ugly, hateful creeps are about as far from Reagan as you can get and still remain on the right side of the political spectrum.

  4. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    Bob Inglis represented the SC-4th, my home area, largely Spartanburg and Greenville counties. Gowdy was the Solicitor (D.A.) for Spartanburg County. The District has trended GOP since the late 60’s and currently would be probably 55-45 GOP/Dem. A percentage of centrists and progressives do not bother to vote, skewing the election percentages higher for the GOP candidate, because of a sense of futility. Still, Greenville had a Jewish mayor in the early 70’s and Spartanburg a black mayor recently.

    Don’t forget too that Greenville is the home of Bob Jones University. BJU’s influence demographically spreads from the northern part of Greenville city and a band eastward up US-25, Wade Hampton Blvd.

    The east side of Greenville is fast changing. US-29, White Horse Rd, over the past 15 years has become very Hispanic. More tiendas than anglo stores there now.

  5. Jean says:

    fili,

    Although a certain number are motivated by racism, I think that the right-wing trashing of Michelle Obama is just more garbage from the Obama Hate Machine – a wide-ranging collection of conservative media outfits, right-wing bloggers, and GOP partisans – throwing any charges they can concoct, regardless of the facts, to gin up fear and paranoia in their base. It’s a large part of the way to convince Americans to vote against their own self-interest; keep them uninformed, ill-informed and afraid. I agree with David Korn’s thoughts:

    The Obama Hate Machine is never slowed by the absurdities it manufactures. It just keeps spewing crap. The accusations don’t have to be proved. The game plan is obvious: Even if he sidesteps the individual charges, Obama will somehow be dirtied by the ceaseless flow of mud. Meanwhile, the OHM professionals will reap profits, as they feed the irrational paranoia of their believe-anything anti-Obama audience.

    http://www.politicsdaily.com/2010/12/31/can-potus-beat-back-the-obama-hate-machine-in-2011/

  6. Bart DePalma says:

    If you play unelected co-President, you get treated like a public figure and you are held responsible for your words and actions. For the uninformed, here are some of Michelle Obama’s greatest hits.

    First. Michelle’s love for America ad her fellow Americans:

    “America is just downright mean.”

    “We need to fix our souls. Our souls are broken in this nation. We have lost our way. And it begins with inspiration. It begins with leadership.”

    “Let me tell you something. For the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country…”

    “The point is that Barack, like any leader, is human. And, you know, our challenges in this country isn’t finding the next person who’s gonna deliver us from our own evil.”

    Given that Michelle shares Barack’s socialist background in Chicago, these gems should be unsurprising:

    “The truth is, in order to get things like universal health care and a revamped education system, then someone is going to have to give up a piece of their pie so that someone else can have more.”

    “We can’t just leave it up to the parents.”

    Folks reject the black Michelle Obama for the same reasons the reject the lily white Nancy Pelosi – they don’t much cotton to elitists that hate them and want to run their lives.

  7. dcpetterson says:

    The irrationality of the Hate Machine is bad enough.

    The gullibility of the people who believe the propaganda put out by the Hate Machine is truly sad.

    I wonder sometimes if people really believe in the “death panels” and the birther silliness, and the Muslim bit and the Socialism idiocy — or if even the average Teaper fanatic is just using it all as schoolyard poopyhead-type insults. Nobody ever really believed that Bill’s mom ate worms. It was just fun to say. Is that all this is — that Republicans enjoy fart jokes, and aren’t capable of political discourse most subtle than flinging Glenn Beck’s feces?

  8. drfunguy says:

    Barted:
    [I have ODS (Obama degrangement syndrome)]

  9. dcpetterson says:

    Bart, we all know how you take sentence fragments out of context and pretend they mean something they don’t. Thank you for displaying exactly the sort of vicious and irrationally baseless Hate Machine attacks we’ve been discussing. We needed more examples.

    “I know what’s best for you rabble!”
    – Bart DePalma

  10. Mr. Universe says:

    You know I never had any love for ‘W’ and there was plenty of left wing indignation at the 2000 theft by Scalia and the Supremes but ‘W’ actually deserved the criticism. Let’s face it; he is an idiot. But this Freeper Rage is over the top and quite disturbing. I think fili is right. If you’re posting on Free Republic you’re a dyed-in-the-wool, raging, hate-filled, racist. Just quit denying it and renew your KKK memberships.

  11. Bart DePalma says:

    dcpetterson says: Bart, we all know how you take sentence fragments out of context and pretend they mean something they don’t

    You progressives seem to spend most of your lives claiming that your representatives are being quoted out of context and are trying to convey something completely different from the plain meaning of their words.

    Michelle Obama is an attorney from an “elite” university. Isn’t she part of most brilliant couple to ever have inhabited the White House? Michelle means precisely what she said.

  12. Mr. Universe says:

    Here is the quote that bears repeating from Inglis in that article:

    “How are we going to get to that (conservative policies) if we’re embroiled in this mosh pit about where we maul each other about whether he’s a socialist and a secret Muslim and whatever when we should be saying is, listen, you disagree with him,” he said. “We conservatives have better ideas that will really work. But we don’t need to attack him as a person.”

    Folks reject the black Michelle Obama for the same reasons the reject the lily white Nancy Pelosi – they don’t much cotton to elitists that hate them and want to run their lives.

    False on several points. Conservative Republicans hate Pelosi because she gets stuff done despite their best obstructionist efforts. That you think they are all elitists who want to run your life is your warped perspective, not a factual representation. The fact that Michelle Obama is even a topic is a completely conservative right wing talking point. The rest of the world likes her or is indifferent. Right wing hates because she is black. Period.

  13. dcpetterson says:

    “I know what’s best for you rabble!”
    – Bart DePalma

  14. dcpetterson says:

    Some samples of Bart’s wisdom (direct quotes here, he posted every one of these):

    You progressives … your representatives are being quoted out of context…

    … a single act of the Bush Administration … caused the subprime mortgage foreclosure crisis.

    Obama… helped restore confidence in the markets after the election.

    (Quoting our President, and wishing to emphasize Obama’s thoughts: ) “A failure to act, and act now, will turn crisis into catastrophe and guarantee a longer recession, a less robust recovery, and a more uncertain future.”

    the recession that Barack Obama inherited was … comparable in scope [and] intensity to the Great Depression.

  15. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    “they don’t much cotton to elitists that hate them and want to run their lives.”

    Unlike the billionaire Koch brothers whose money provided a significant ante to start the whole Tea Party movement and still ponies up to keep it well funded. Of course, THEY ain’t elitists!

  16. Panamanian Girl says:

    A short time after my husband died, one of his military buddies was inveighing against Democrats and liberals. I disclosed that I was both, and that my husband voted Democrat in 2008.

    He told me how disappointed he was in us. (Wah wah wah. I thought he was joking…)

    One day I made a comment about how pretty it was this dress that the First Lady wore to a ball, and how it was a sweet reminder of the dining-outs that I attended with my husband.

    This man immediately sent me an e-mail including some choice Beckistan/TP’er phrases. The worst ones where that the “terrorist” First Lady was the “ugliest black b—-” he had ever seen, and that she needed a pair of “Irish sunglasses” (he posted the latter comment on my FB wall). (?!)

    (Mind you, this man had been very kind and generous throughout all the years we had known him. So this was very puzzling and disturbing.)

    I asked him to please not to say those things, as they sounded very hateful. That was all I said.

    He cut off contact with me ever since.

  17. Panamanian Girl says:

    Oops!

    “Were” instead of “where”.

    PG

  18. filistro says:

    Panamanian Girl, thanks for posting that. You capture the essence of what I see when I visit these right-wing sites. I think people who aren’t in contact with this level of racist hatred don’t really understand (or want to believe) how deep it goes.

    You are telling us about somebody who allows his irrational (and blatantly racist) hatred for the First Lady to overwhelm prior friendship, good taste and common decency. I see this all the time among extreme right-wingers at a level that is unprecedented… to me, at least. I suppose those who live in the Deep South, like Max, are not as astonished by it, but like you, I find it very upsetting.

  19. filistro says:

    So Bart… I take it you support Sarah Palin’s highly personal attacks on the First Lady? Do you and your fellow Teapers not see this as a political strategy that carries some risk?

    This is, coincidentally, the subject of Nate’s latest post at NYT. Nate feels Palin would be well-advised to choose her battles more wisely.

    Of course, Nate has always believed Palin could be a winner if she just had better advisors. (We used to wonder if he was volunteering for the job, remember? :-))

    In fact, I don’t think even an advisor as canny and tuned-in as Nate Silver himself could make a silk purse out of a Palin.

  20. Number Seven says:

    I would sure like to know why those on the Trite Wing side of the aisle like to claim Michelle is acting like some sort of ‘co-president’?

    What does that even mean???

    And that freeper site??? Never have I seen a more wretched hive of scum and villany 😉

  21. Bart DePalma says:

    filistro says: So Bart… I take it you support Sarah Palin’s highly personal attacks on the First Lady?

    Sarah’s smores joke is a “highly personal attack” on Michelle Obama? Are you kidding? Calling Obama a hateful, meddling bitch would be a highly personal attack. The smores joke is simply proof that Reagan was correct that you can score more points with humor than invective.

    Do you and your fellow Teapers not see this as a political strategy that carries some risk?

    Not really. The last time America suffered under a busybody leftist First Lady attempting to set policy, the conservatives ended up with Congress for the 3/4 of her stay in the White House.

  22. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    fili, I can remember the Jim Crow days.

    My high school class (68) was the last all-white one. I remember segregated, schools, restrooms, waiting rooms, water fountains and take out only ( window on the side/back of the restaurant) for blacks.

    Many white Southerners, easily a majority, were not proud of the situation, but, just like today, a majority can be shouted down and cowed by a vocal minority. At the same time there were riots and bloodshed in Boston MA because of busing in South Boston, South Carolina had ONE incident, no bloodshed but vandalism of buses in Florence, during the 68-72 school integration period.

    That minority is STILL out there. I am not surprised when I see it. It is NOT exclusive to the Old South.

    I am disappointed when I see it in a younger generation that should know better.

  23. Number Seven says:

    Yep, that busybody Michelle. She should just bake cookies or take prozac like her predecessor. Hell, she should just hide in the basement for the next 2 to 6 years. That would make the goopers happy.

  24. filistro says:

    Bart… you Teapers are really way, way out on right field on this one, aren’t you? (Well, you’re Way Out There on practically every issue, but this one highlights the danger of getting so totally insane within your crazed little echo chamber.)

    For instance here’s a fairly telling comment from that well-known raving pinko leftist, Peter Wehner:

    The Journal rightly compares Mrs. Obama’s effort to President Kennedy’s Presidential Fitness Award and Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No” campaign on drugs, both of which were successes. So was Laura Bush championing of reading. Having people in positions of leadership use their authority to draw attention to national problems and positive solutions is a laudatory thing. In this instance, Mrs. Obama’s effort is providing parents with an ally instead of an adversary.

    Mocking the First Lady and portraying her anti-obesity campaign as several steps on the Road to Serfdom is exactly the type of thing that will turn the public against the legitimate efforts by conservatives to rein in the reach and scope of government. Ms. Palin might consider this before she takes yet another unfair shot at Mrs. Obama.

  25. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    It’s a shame she doesn’t base her actions, and advise the President, based on astrology as did Nancy R.

    I’m sure THAT would pacify (comfort) (soothe) the legions of nasties out there.

  26. filistro says:

    I’m increasingly convinced that for True Believers (like Bart) Sarah Palin fulfills somewhat the same role as the sin eaters of the ancient Celts.

    She gives voice to the hatred and mockery that is not socially acceptable for them to say, and absorbs itno herself the angry response from decent people, leaving her followers both blameless and safely relieved of their ugly, hateful feelings.

    No wonder they love her so much. Sarah spews the venom so they don’t have to.

  27. dcpetterson says:

    The right wing reaction to Mrs Obama is very telling. Here she is, being the perfect example of an elegant First Lady, mostly staying out of politics, choosing a cause to champion that is the best interest of the entire nation — and is non-controversial to boot. And the right wing lunatics cast her as some sort of powerful and threatening Presence sure to bring down out democracy.

    Can there be a more striking example of their divorce from reality?

    And add to that the blatantly and gleefully racist nature of their rhetoric — is there anything that is less American, and more arrogantly hateful?

    Should the corporate-sponsored Teaper Right continue on this course, it could lead to a backlash of (dare I say it?) biblical proportions against the Republicans in the next election cycle.

  28. filistro says:

    Since we’re talking about winger reaction to the First Lady, I might as well float another favorite psychological theory of mine…. the reason conservative white men are so hateful toward Michelle Obama.

    I know my individual Freepers well enough to know that at least 80% of the really vicious attacks on her (at Free Republic, anyhow) come from men rather than women. I think this is because lots of white men who are racists are, paradoxically, also sexually attracted to black women… and are so horrified by their own “wicked desires” that they over-compensate by heaping abuse on the women who stir these unacceptable feelings in them.

  29. dcpetterson says:

    Filistro,

    That’s a very possible theory. The reactions of male conservatives toward Sarah Palin certainly does imply sexuality plays a big part in their “thoughts” about female political figures.

    I won’t comment further on that — I think we can easily find information on conservative reactions to other female Democrats. And female Republicans, for that matter.

  30. Mr. Universe says:

    I don’t know what all the fuss is about anyway. I think the first lady is a knock-out. And a pragmatist. And a philanthropist.

    I think the wingers are just jealous.

  31. dcpetterson says:

    I’m with you on all that, Mr. U. The First Lady is hot. I just didn’t want to be the first to say it, lest I be accused of being sexist 🙂

  32. filistro,

    I think this is because lots of white men who are racists are, paradoxically, also sexually attracted to black women… and are so horrified by their own “wicked desires” that they over-compensate by heaping abuse on the women who stir these unacceptable feelings in them.

    Wow…that’s going mighty far out on a limb. Pure conjecture, or do you have some evidence?

  33. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    I, for one, am NOT horrified by my “wicked desires”, but will attempt to follow through on them.

    Hey, I can always claim: “De DEVIL made me do it, honey!”

    Good ole Flip Wilson

  34. filistro says:

    @Michael… Pure conjecture, or do you have some evidence?

    Well, there’s the many, many thousands of mixed-race children fathered by white slave owners.

  35. shortchain says:

    I’ve got to take issue with you on this, Michael. I’d consider that conjecture of filistro’s significantly impure.

  36. filistro says:

    shortchain… LOL.

    Impure speculation is my specialty.

    Anyone craving purity will have to look elsewhere.

  37. Bart DePalma says:

    Fili:

    The difference between Mrs. Obama’s legislation and Mrs. Reagan’s “Just say no” campaign is the difference between coercion and a request.

  38. filistro says:

    Where exactly is the “coercion,” Bart?

  39. shortchain says:

    Bart,

    What “coercion?” Show me where the police are involved in enforcing the First Lady’s goals.

  40. filistro says:

    shortchain… I’m visualizing howling first-graders being strapped into dentist chairs and force-fed broccoli.

    It’s an awful thing.

  41. shortchain says:

    The only compulsion I see operating in this thread is the one that forces Bart to say something negative each and every time the subject relates to the Obamas.

  42. Bart DePalma says:

    As for the reprehensible use of the race card here, the same conservatives who are criticizing Obama’s expressions of hate and nanny state policy thought Condi Rice was the best thing since John Bolton.

  43. Bart DePalma says:

    Fili/SC:

    Stop playing dumb and dumber. The coercion is a federal law compelling local school boards to serve the foods Mrs. Obama and her fellow nanny state bureaucrats desire.

  44. shortchain says:

    Bart,

    Massively hypocritical of you to pretend that there wasn’t a law against drug use when Nancy did her little bit.

    Forgive my “dumbness”, but I don’t remember seeing Mrs. Obama passing such a law or signing it into effect.

  45. Bart DePalma says:

    SC:

    Nancy Reagan did not lobby for the Republicans to enact federal drug laws. These were in existence for decades.

    Next, pizza and tacos are not in the same universe as heroin and crack.

  46. filistro says:

    @Bart… The coercion is a federal law compelling local school boards to serve the foods Mrs. Obama and her fellow nanny state bureaucrats desire.

    Could you refer me to a link with the text of that law, Bart? I want to see what it says.

  47. shortchain says:

    A pattern I’ve noticed is that closet racists (and even some of the openly racist types) wholeheartedly approve of some minority individuals — just so long as they are in clearly subservient positions and obviously are following the dictates of someone over them of the “right” race.

    Condi Rice clearly fits into that pattern. Whether the people approving of her are or are not racist I do not care to speculate, but approval of Condi Rice is no more an indication of a lack of racist tendencies than saying “some of my best friends are black.”

  48. shortchain says:

    Bart,

    And you believe that Nancy Reagan wouldn’t have lobbied for stricter drug laws? You are a nitwit.

    As for whether junk food is in the same class as heroin or crack cocaine — the obesity epidemic is going to kill many times the number of people that heroin ever did, and will produce far more deleterious societal results. Take a look at Holland or any other place where heroin is legal. You don’t see 1/3 of the potential recruits physically unfit for service.

  49. filistro says:

    I often speculate (impurely ;-)) what the reaction of Republicans would have been if, say, Dubya had been a single man and had married Condi Rice while in office.

    I’m afraid that reaction would have done serious damage to the “we’re not racist because we like Condi” meme.

  50. Number Seven says:

    Bart is correct, pizza and tacos are not in the same universe as heroin and crack.

    Heroin and crack addiction effect, perhaps, 200,000 nationwide. Obesity effects tens of millions if not close to one hundred million.

    Excellent point Bart, even if it wasn’t the one you wanted to make. But that is pretty much par for the course for you, isn’t it.

  51. dcpetterson says:

    Filistro speculated:

    I think this is because lots of white men who are racists are, paradoxically, also sexually attracted to black women…

    … and Bart confirmed:

    … the same conservatives who are criticizing Obama … thought Condi Rice was the best thing since John Bolton.

    Coincidence? I think not.

  52. dcpetterson says:

    The Federal laws against use of certain drugs are not coercive.

    Any proposed Federal laws requiring healthy foods in schools would be.

    Bart lives in a strange world.

  53. filistro says:

    DC… Bart IS one of “the same conservatives who are criticizing Obama’s expressions of hate and nanny state policy ” And the conversation is about the sexual attractiveness of black women. Therefore he is expressing his own opinion and we can now add it to our favorite Bartisms:

    Sayings by Bart:

    *I know what’s best for you rabble.

    *I find Condi Rice the most sexually attractive Republican since John Bolton.

  54. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    Bart is simply a proven liar and ideological fool and an embarrassment to thinking conservatives anywhere in the United States of America.

    As fili asked: “Where is that federal law to which Bart refers?”.

    Not one? Oh.

    Liar!

  55. drfunguy says:

    Re.: “The Federal laws against use of certain drugs are not coercive.
    Any proposed Federal laws requiring healthy foods in schools would be.
    Bart lives in a strange world.”

    And he’s such a _good_ libertarian!

  56. Mainer says:

    So lets see if I can get this straight? We have so many young people in this country that are out of shape and over weight that the vast majority of them stand no chance of getting into the military. We should prbably talk mental apptiude another time but the big stumbling block is weight and associated illness and condition. So the first lady tries to use her position to move things in a better direction and her reward is the Sarah Falins and Bart Holes see it as another excuse to demonstrate their limited intellect and over filled spleens. Wonderful just freaking wonderful. Not sure what the Rethuglicans are sweating. Hell if they get their way the schoold lunch program will get slashed any way. Any one could tell you hungry kids will not be a fat…….they will not learn any thing either sitting there hungry but who gives a shit about that……sure as hell no one that would call Bartworld home.

    I think the people that like the First Lady do so in large part because she exudes warmth and friendlness. The fact that she is very attractive doesn’t hurt either but call me Edna her smile is what gets her points. Some of the Conservative female darlings come off so freaking fake it hurst to look at them. That there are conservodroolers that are enamored of them makes me think the same people go around humming whip me beat me call me Edna make me write bad checks.

  57. filistro says:

    @Mainer… That there are conservodroolers that are enamored of them makes me think the same people go around humming whip me beat me call me Edna make me write bad checks.

    Conservatives DO seem to be powerfully attracted to Mean Girls, don’t they? If Michael weren’t monitoring my behavior, I’d love to speculate about why that might be, too.

    (Pssst… I’m pretty sure it has something to do with overly-harsh potty-training….)

  58. Todd Dugdale says:

    I’m left wondering who, exactly, “coerces” any student into buying a school lunch.

    Aside from that, I recall that one of the “features” of the “Just Say No” campaign was getting children to report on the drug use of relatives and parents.

    So, turning elementary school children into snitches who rat out their own parents is glorious and non-coercive. Reducing the amount of canned soda those children drink while in school, however, is terrifying and tyrannical.

    What a bizarre world the American conservative inhabits.
    Obesity and diabetes are now the latest way to “stick it to Obama”.

    I already anticipate the YouTube videos of wingnuts eating a pound of lard voraciously, while pausing to bellow “Just try and stop me, Obama!”. Perhaps we’ll see XXL t-shirts being marketed with the words “I gained 60 pounds for Freedom!” emblazoned over an American flag.

    I suppose the Presidential Fitness Awards will have to go, too. It’s horrible the way the federal government coerces children into running and doing pull-ups. I mean, is this America, or some kind of gulag?

  59. filistro says:

    @Todd… Perhaps we’ll see XXL t-shirts being marketed with the words “I gained 60 pounds for Freedom!” emblazoned over an American flag.

    I’m sure the Teapers are all over that idea.

  60. Well, there’s the many, many thousands of mixed-race children fathered by white slave owners.

    Which doesn’t indicate a causal relationship with:

    they over-compensate by heaping abuse on the women who stir these unacceptable feelings in them.

    It sounds to me like you’re overreaching.

  61. I’m not convinced that racism is driving the vitriol. I think racism is behind some of the language used, but the vitriol would have been there had Hillary been Presdient. Or any other Democrat, for that matter. The vitriol is the starting point, and then it’s a matter of looking around for whatever rocks happen to be in the area. If the President is black, then that’s the rock you use. If the President is a woman, you use that rock instead. If the President happened to be a Bush who got elected as a Democrat, I’m sure there would have been plenty of good Benedict Arnold material used instead.

    This is no different from playground taunts in that regard. Any of you are welcome to present evidence that I’m wrong, but I doubt it’s possible.

  62. mostlyilurk says:

    Bart,
    Could you point me to the proposed or actual legislation that you’ve referenced. TIA.

  63. If Michael weren’t monitoring my behavior, I’d love to speculate about why that might be, too.

    Hey, you’re free to speculate all you want. Just don’t expect me to sit here pretending it’s a fact.

  64. Jean says:

    Bart,

    re: Nancy Reagan did not lobby for the Republicans to enact federal drug laws.

    True, but I’m sure you remember what her husband Ronnie tried to do. In 1981, Congress under the Reagan administration ordered the United States Department of Agriculture to issue new standards for federally financed school lunch programs, which would enable schools to economize; one of the USDA’s proposals was to classify ketchup as a vegetable. The suggestion was widely ridiculed and the proposal was dropped.

    The law Bart refers to is hardly something new and certainly not some Barack & Michelle nefarious plot. The National School Lunch Act in 1946 created the modern school lunch program, though USDA had provided funds and food to schools for many years prior to that. In signing the 1946 act, President Harry S Truman said,

    “Nothing is more important in our national life than the welfare of our children, and proper nourishment comes first in attaining this welfare.”

    The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) is a federally assisted meal program operating in nearly 95,000 public and nonprofit private schools and residential child care institutions. It provides nutritionally balanced, low-cost or free lunches to more than 26 million children each school day.

    School lunches must meet Federal nutrition requirements, but decisions about what specific foods to serve and how they are prepared are made by local school food authorities.

    Bart, what’s wrong with encouraging local school authorities to serve healthier meals?

    http://www.doe.mass.edu/cnp/nprograms/nslp.html

  65. filistro,

    I’m sure the Teapers are all over that idea.

    I find it particularly amusing that the photo with all of those really fat people accompanies an article with this headline: “Government role too big”

    And yet somehow I doubt that it was intentional.

  66. Jean,

    one of the USDA’s proposals was to classify ketchup as a vegetable

    And one reason they thought they might get away with it is that the United States Supreme Court unanimously declared in 1893 that tomatoes are vegetables. This, of course, is what’s wrong with an activist court.

    what’s wrong with encouraging local school authorities to serve healthier meals?

    The problem is broader than “encouragement.” It’s that federal funds, coming from income taxes, are being used to bribe local constituencies’ behavior. The solution is to kill the program, cut taxes to match, and allow local consituencies to raise taxes to institute their own programs if they wish.

    There is validity to the argument. What’s sad to me is how the argument has devolved into one of abolition of such programs, not because they should be run locally, but rather because “my taxes shouldn’t go to pay for other people’s lunches.” It ends an opportunity for honest evaluation.

  67. dcpetterson says:

    Michael,

    I noticed that Filistro introduced her speculation by calling it “another favorite psychological theory of mine,” and saying “I think this is because…” (emphasis mine).

    Call me a nut, but that doesn’t sound to me as if she was “pretending it’s a fact.”

  68. dcpetterson says:

    Jean asked:
    Bart, what’s wrong with encouraging local school authorities to serve healthier meals?

    Gubmint iz badd.

  69. Jean says:

    Michael,

    School districts and independent schools can choose to take part in the lunch program. Or not. If they do, they are reimbursed a portion of the cost of each meal and get surplus commodities. And so long as there is a school lunch program, it is certainly reasonable that foods served be healthy, not just “filling”.

    So far as being financed by our tax dollars, what better use of our collective tax dollars than investing in our nation’s children?

  70. Call me a nut, but that doesn’t sound to me as if she was “pretending it’s a fact.”

    She wasn’t.

  71. So far as being financed by our tax dollars, what better use of our collective tax dollars than investing in our nation’s children?

    That’s missing the point. The issue isn’t tax dollars per se, but rather federal tax dollars. Why is this something to be handled in DC, rather than with local tax revenues from, say, property taxes or local sales taxes?

  72. Todd Dugdale says:

    Jean wrote:
    The National School Lunch Act in 1946 created the modern school lunch program, though USDA had provided funds and food to schools for many years prior to that.

    So the evil federal government has been infringing on citizens’ rights to have obese children for Bart’s entire life, and only now does it induce outrage.

    Here’s a constructive tip for BDP: use those awesome powers of re-definition that you are known for and change the meaning of “obese” to “patriotically-proportioned”.
    I’m not quite sure how you can make diabetes seem attractive, but I can’t do all of the work for you.

    The important thing is that Real America is finally standing up (and wheezing a bit from the exertion involved) to reclaim their lard-ass heritage, as the Founders envisioned.

  73. filistro says:

    @Todd… The important thing is that Real America is finally standing up (and wheezing a bit from the exertion involved) to reclaim their lard-ass heritage, as the Founders envisioned.

    I have nothing constructive to add… I just want to point out that sentence is PERFECT on so many levels… 🙂

  74. Mr. Universe says:

    Michael is right. There really isn’t a qualifiable test to prove racism. But when I read the Freep Report, I feel a disturbance in the force.

  75. shortchain says:

    Michael,

    While I tend to agree that many things (such as financing for varsity tennis and golf teams, productions of the school drama department, or sculptures to put in the school atrium) should be financed by local property or sales taxes, I’m not sure school lunches fall into that category. There are plenty of places where using these local taxes would not produce enough to feed the children a decent meal.

  76. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    Mr U: “Michael is right. There really isn’t a qualifiable test to prove racism. But when I read the Freep Report, I feel a disturbance in the force.

    Michael certainly has a point concerning the vitriolic language that has been used going back to Clinton. But, there IS a quantifiable test that proves racism. As a Southerner, we recognize that fact.

    Calling a spade a spade is one thing.

    Calling a spade a nigger, or any of the subtle or, not-so-, variations DOES prove racism.

  77. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    Note too:

    Bart STILL hasn’t cited the legislation of which he spoke.

    Again, I state that he’s using lies simply to inflame.

  78. Jean says:

    Michael,

    re: Why is this something to be handled in DC, rather than with local tax revenues from, say, property taxes or local sales taxes?

    Because apparently that didn’t work. An interesting history of the origin of the school lunch program is available at

    http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/lunch/AboutLunch/ProgramHistory.htm

    As noted there, although both State and local legislation authorized local school districts to provide meals for children through various means, it soon became evident that local governments and school district boards could not provide the funds necessary to carry the increasing load. Supplementary contributions by charitable organizations and individuals did not suffice. Aid from Federal sources became inevitable.

    By the way, not all of the money came from income taxes. Beginning in 1936, 30% of the gross receipts from duties collected under the customs laws during each calendar year was used to purchase and direct agricultural surplus commodites to school lunch programs.

  79. dcpetterson says:

    An important point is being made here. School lunches should not be paid for by people outside of the district. If a given school district is too poor to fund school lunches, well then, that’s God’s way of saying that poor people don’t deserve good nutrition. After all, poor people are only poor because they choose to be.

    Besides, helping people in some other school district never helps me. I’m doing okay, and I have no reason to want to help anyone else in our country. Keep my money here.

    That, I think, is what the argument really is about. No one wants their own money to go somewhere else to help some poor kid in a different school district, or even (God forbid) some other state. Especially because the poor kid who might get help might be a minority, or even an immigrant. Screw ’em.

    [/sarcasm]

  80. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    Right dc.

    And Jesus was a socialist Michelle supporter because he took those 5 loafs and 2 fish, blessed and broke them and fed the multitude, instead of letting them keep the bread and fish for themselves and telling the crowd to get their lazy asses to work and feed themselves!

    And all them early Christians, well they had to be socialists and communists. Owning everything in common, dividing their property among those who had need. (Acts 2, 44-45)

    From each according to his ability, to each according to his need. (Communist postulate)

  81. Jean,
    I recognize that it ended up being funded by federal funds, but those funds ultimately could have been collected locally. That they weren’t doesn’t mean they couldn’t have been.

  82. Bart DePalma says:

    Joan quoting description of school lunch pre-Michele Obama: “School lunches must meet Federal nutrition requirements, but decisions about what specific foods to serve and how they are prepared are made by local school food authorities.

    Bart, what’s wrong with encouraging local school authorities to serve healthier meals?

    Encouraging? Try mandating. From USA Today:

    In signing a new law today to improve the quality of school lunches, President Obama paid joking tribute to its most prominent supporter: first lady Michelle Obama.

    “Not only am I very proud of the bill,” the president said, “but had I not been able to get this passed, I would be sleeping on the couch.”

    Mrs. Obama, whose major issues include fighting childhood obesity, laughed and said, “let’s just say it got done, so we don’t have to go down that road.”

    The Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, a $4.5 billion measure, provides more free school meals to the pool, and gives the government more power to decide what foods can offered in those meals, as well as in school vending machines and fundraisers during school hours.

    http://content.usatoday.com/communities/theoval/post/2010/12/obama-signs-law-requiring-healthier-school-meals/1

    For the first time in the program’s 65 year history, the federal bureaucracy will not only mandate what may be served under this program, but also what can be offered in vending machines and even frigging school fund raisers. In short, we have government health nazis telling the local school they can’t sell cupcakes to raise money.

    When the devil offers to make your life better, she will be coming for your soul (or at least your cup cakes) come payment time.

  83. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    Bart the Liar said: ” _______________”

  84. DC,

    There’s a big chasm between district and nation. Perhaps the county or state level is more appropriate than national. The answer isn’t necessarily cut and dried.

  85. mostlyilurk says:

    Bart,

    Are you suggesting that the government shouldn’t get to decide what is served in the free school meals that are provided under the program?

    Also, I haven’t yet had a chance to read the law that Obama signed in 2010 but it seems that you have. Does the act really empower the First Lady to decide what is served?

  86. Todd Dugdale says:

    The Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 does not mandate any new nutritional standards. It merely offers a federal payment of a few more cents per lunch if the new nutritional guidelines are met.

    See here.

    “Currently, the federal government reimburses schools $2.68 per lunch per student for students who qualify for a free lunch. This reimbursement rate has not been changed since 1973. The bill would increase this rate by six cents per lunch if the lunches meet new nutrition standards to be established by the Secretary of Agriculture (Secretary).”

    As far as fundraising goes:
    “Special exemptions could be made for foods sold during school-sponsored fundraisers.”

    Other provisions of the legislation “will reduce the administrative burden on schools and allow low-income children to more easily qualify for meal assistance.”
    How dastardly!

    When you look at the facts, it’s not nearly as scary as you make it out to be, Bart.

    If anything, it seems to me that a school could serve sawdust mixed with gravel as a federally-subsidised lunch if they are willing pass up that six-cents-per-meal goldmine.

    The legislation itself does, however, require schools to give away water.
    ” Section 203 –
    Requires schools participating in the school lunch program to offer free, potable water for consumption in the place where meals are served during meal service.”

    So, schools can’t offer students raw sewage to drink anymore. It has to be potable water. Will this federal over-reach never end?

    You can look through that legislation all that you want, and you will never find anything requiring any child to buy a school lunch, either. Or a requirement to actually drink that free potable water that the socialist government now tyrannically mandates. Kids are free to bring whatever garbage they want for lunch, and parents are still free to encourage obesity and diabetes in their children.

  87. Todd Dugdale says:

    mostlyilurd wrote:
    Also, I haven’t yet had a chance to read the law that Obama signed in 2010 but it seems that you have.

    No, it seems Bart read a summary in USA Today and filled in the blanks with his own delusions.

    Does the act really empower the First Lady to decide what is served?

    Not unless Michelle Obama is made Secretary of Agriculture at some point. But you just know that she will be, right? How could she resist that kind of power?
    It’s supposed to happen right before Obama takes away your guns and rolls out his new Americorps thug police force. That way, it will be easier to enforce a strict Islamic diet on the nation and make your daughter wear a burqa, at least to school.

    I think I read that in USA Today.

  88. Mainer says:

    You know considering some of the discussion of late on here I will go back to what I said when I first showed up back when on the old five thirty eight. The Republican party as I know it is most likely gone. This last year has just reinforced that feeling. A pity too I always liked the Republican Elephant cartoons. I suppose those actual Republicans that are left will not want to give that up so the new retrogressive party will need some kind of cartoon symbol to set them apart.

    Into the breach I jump with a suggestion. Why not a cartoon of a sphincter with 2 big eyes and little feet made out of clay? I mean think about it……..its a natural. It would even explain the total shitty view of most of the Bartholes of the day. Its voice would eminate from the………see I’m telling you its a natural.

  89. Jean says:

    Todd Dugdale,

    re: When you look at the facts, it’s not nearly as scary as you make it out to be, Bart.

    Which begs the question, does Bart know better and is ignoring facts in order to make everything seem scary to push his right-wing-talking points or is Bart simply clueless – that ill-informed and too lazy to do the necessary research?

    I’ll vote for “Bart knows better”. He’s a lawyer; he should know how to research any issue.

  90. shiloh says:

    Which begs the question, does Bart know better and is ignoring facts in order to make everything seem scary to push his right-wing-talking points or is Bart simply clueless – that ill-informed and too lazy to do the necessary research?

    Yes

    It’s more performance art than a game to Bartles. One just has to show up ie a whining winger at a progressive blog where several libs feed the troll daily and the score at the end of the day is irrelevant, especially since Bart always loses.

    As long as someone is payin’ attention to him, Bart is a happy camper … Hey empathetic progressives are his ready/teddy enablers.

    It’s that basic as Bart is somewhat entertaining once or twice a month. One can always tell when he’s totally pissed by his childish name calling which has increased exponentially lately ~ go figure!

    Bart can have the last word. 😉

  91. Todd Dugdale says:

    Jean wrote:
    I’ll vote for “Bart knows better”

    Personally, I vote for “today the coin flip determined that the President will be a terrifying dictator”. Everything else that he said just flows naturally from that basic assumption.

    If this legislation really is so absolutely scary for conservatives, they can just lean on their local school board to opt out of the school lunch programme completely. That way, the evil socialist nanny-state bureaucrats will lose their grip over the children, and poor children will go hungry (thus teaching them a valuable lesson).

    Or they can keep their current lunch programme and give up that lucrative six cent bribe. With this course of action, they also manage to avoid giving away free potable water – which sets a bad example for children by leading them to believe that you can get something for nothing.

    Of course, if these outraged conservatives were “real conservatives” their children would be home-schooled and the entire legislation would be moot.
    With this approach, Bart can be ready when the coin flip determines that on that particular day the President will be a powerless incompetent.

  92. Bart DePalma says:

    Todd:

    OK, here is the money quote for this latest federal power grab:

    National Nutrition Standards for All Foods Sold in Schools: The bill would require the Secretary to establish science-based nutrition standards for all foods sold in schools, and these standards must be consistent with the most recent published Dietary Guidelines for Americans (these guidelines are jointly issued every five years by the Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services). Special exemptions could be made for foods sold during school-sponsored fundraisers. This new authority will help to limit children’s exposure to unhealthy foods during the school day.

    The federal determination of what your children will be permitted to eat at school is a mandatory requirement.

    Special exemptions could be made for foods sold during school-sponsored fundraisers.

    Note the discretionary language. The secretary will make an arbitrary decision here.

    Essentially, the Sec Ag will now have the same dictatorial powers over any food available at your local school that the Sec HHS has over your health insurance.

    “We can’t just leave it up to the parents.”

  93. Jean says:

    Bart,

    Since I missed the discussion over on the previous thread, I’ll post here instead.

    Bart,

    A gift for you –

    http://www.oliverwillis.com/2011/01/01/yep-this-is-definitely-socialism/

    And I’ll post a variation of Bart’s reply in advance, “All economic matrices are meaningful if they can be evaluated to agree with supply side economics and to show that Obama is a failure. Otherwise, they are just a bunch of numbers being manipulated by Democrats to mislead the American people.”

  94. Monotreme says:

    Mainer sez:

    Into the breach I jump with a suggestion. Why not a cartoon of a sphincter with 2 big eyes and little feet made out of clay? I mean think about it……..its a natural. It would even explain the total shitty view of most of the Bartholes of the day. Its voice would eminate from the………see I’m telling you its a natural.

    What about an asshat?

  95. Monotreme says:

    Barted:

    National Nutrition Standards for All Foods Sold in Schools: The bill would require the Secretary to establish science-based nutrition standards for all foods sold in schools…

    OH MY GOD!!!! SCIENCE!!!!!

  96. filistro says:

    @Bart.. “We can’t just leave it up to the parents.”

    At every right wing site I visit (except for the total whackjobs like Freepers) they are warning conservatives not to repeat this quote by Michelle Obama in a negative sense. Rightie commentators are noting the line is taken out of context, and the transcript is freely available. Ms Obama was saying that parents are trying hard to do the right thing for their kids’ health, but kids are exposed to so many influences throughout the day that are beyond the control of parents…. which means schools, clubs, care providers etc must also be mindful of child health… “We can’t just leave it up to the parents.”

    Wingers, some of whom are not totally clueless, have noticed how turned off the public is by unfair criticism of Ms Obama’s child-health initiatives, and have clearly been shaken by Palin’s sudden catastrophic drop in popularity after she began to target the First Lady.

    “Be careful, and be fair,” they are warning their writers at National Review. “This kind of thing is costing us. It is making the legitimate push for small government look petty, mean and dishonest.”

    Apparently Bart didn’t get the memo. (Also apparent that sensible Republicans are finding the Crazy Wing harder and harder to control.)

    What FUN the next two years are going to be. Like watching a slow-rolling, disastrous, spectacular train wreck 🙂

  97. dcpetterson says:

    It is amazing that nutritional school lunch programs are a threat to American liberty, whereas a president that ignores the Constitution in favor of an imperial fascist corporate takeover is not.

    Seriously, if the most horrible thing the Republicans are worried about is that our children with have healthy foods in school, then they really don’t have much of an imagination. May I recommend reading some H.P. Lovecraft? Now he’s scary. More believable than Republican paranoid talking-points, too.

  98. Interesting post for sure. Leaves a lot to think about.

  99. Todd Dugdale says:

    The summary text of the legislation is here.

    Again, that’s only if the school wants the additional six cent subsidy per lunch served.
    Again, participation in the school lunch programme is voluntary for a school.
    Again, nothing prohibits a student from bringing their own food or drink.

    Full text is here.

    ‘(A) REGULATIONS-

    ‘(i) PROPOSED REGULATIONS- Notwithstanding section 9(f), not later than 18 months after the date of enactment of this paragraph, the Secretary shall promulgate proposed regulations to update the meal patterns and nutrition standards for the school lunch program authorized under this Act and the school breakfast program established by section 4 of the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 (42 U.S.C. 1773) based on recommendations made by the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences.

    ‘(B) PERFORMANCE-BASED REIMBURSEMENT RATE INCREASE- Beginning on the later of the date of promulgation of the implementing regulations described in subparagraph (A)(ii), the date of enactment of this paragraph, or October 1, 2012, the Secretary shall provide additional reimbursement for each lunch served in school food authorities determined to be eligible under subparagraph (D).

    (C) ADDITIONAL REIMBURSEMENT-

    ‘(i) IN GENERAL- Each lunch served in school food authorities determined to be eligible under subparagraph (D) shall receive an additional 6 cents, adjusted in accordance with section 11(a)(3), to the national lunch average payment for each lunch served.

    (D) ELIGIBLE SCHOOL FOOD AUTHORITY- To be eligible to receive an additional reimbursement described in this paragraph, a school food authority shall be certified by the State to be in compliance with the interim or final regulations described in subparagraph (A)(ii).

    ‘(E) FAILURE TO COMPLY- Beginning on the later of the date described in subparagraph (A)(ii)(II), the date of enactment of this paragraph, or October 1, 2012, school food authorities found to be out of compliance with the meal patterns or nutrition standards established by the implementing regulations shall not receive the additional reimbursement for each lunch served described in this paragraph.

    It seems pretty clear to me that the terrible consequence of ignoring the socialist nanny-state bureaucrats is the loss of six cents per meal – which they don’t have now, so it’s not really a “loss”.

    It also seems to me that a State could just keep on serving what they are now, and “certify” that they are in compliance, even if they are not. And keep that six cents per meal, too.

    Also pretty clear (when you look at the facts) is that the Sec of Ag has to base his nutritional recommendations on a science-based board’s standards – not on his own socialist whims.

    It’s also glaringly obvious that Michelle Obama has no role in implementing this, contrary to what you have strongly implied.

  100. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    Bart DeLair said: “___________________”

  101. dcpetterson says:

    @Todd Dugdale

    Thanks for doing that research. Clearly, anyone who objects to this very reasonable approach is rather off the deep end.

  102. shiloh says:

    Max is clairvoyant lol as Bartles rinse/lather/repeats.

    Death, taxes, Bart makin’ shit up! ~ all is well …

  103. mostlyilurk says:

    Thanks so much for the information, Todd. It’s confirms just what I suspected regarding Bart and his statutory interpretation skills, lol.

  104. Bart DePalma says:

    Todd:

    (A) REGULATIONS-

    (i) PROPOSED REGULATIONS- Notwithstanding section 9(f), not later than 18 months after the date of enactment of this paragraph, the Secretary shall promulgate proposed regulations to update the meal patterns and nutrition standards for the school lunch program authorized under this Act and the school breakfast program established by section 4 of the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 (42 U.S.C. 1773) based on recommendations made by the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences.”

    Let me clue you in about statutory language. When Congress writes “the Secretary shall,” that means the regulations are mandatory. Obamacare is filled with dozens of “the Secretary shall” sections.

    In order to meet the “based on recommendations” passage of this provision, the Secretary need only claim that he read a report. The EPA is supposed to base its endangerment findings on reproducible, peer reviewed scientific fact, but has based its GHG endangerment finding on unreproducable, non-peer reviewed, politically negotiated “facts.” (sic)

    Courts bend over backwards to assume that any finding of a Secretary in enacting a regulation is correct.

    (B) PERFORMANCE-BASED REIMBURSEMENT RATE INCREASE- Beginning on the later of the date of promulgation of the implementing regulations described in subparagraph (A)(ii), the date of enactment of this paragraph, or October 1, 2012, the Secretary shall provide additional reimbursement for each lunch served in school food authorities determined to be eligible under subparagraph (D).

    A is not contingent upon B.

    (E) FAILURE TO COMPLY- Beginning on the later of the date described in subparagraph (A)(ii)(II), the date of enactment of this paragraph, or October 1, 2012, school food authorities found to be out of compliance with the meal patterns or nutrition standards established by the implementing regulations shall not receive the additional reimbursement for each lunch served described in this paragraph.

    Using kids as human shields, anyone?

    It seems pretty clear to me that the terrible consequence of ignoring the socialist nanny-state bureaucrats is the loss of six cents per meal – which they don’t have now, so it’s not really a “loss”.

    Are you kidding? Between the teachers union wages and pensions, crowding out by Medicaid and the recession, schools would BBQ a kid in detention and service him up with an apple in his mouth for more money.

    It also seems to me that a State could just keep on serving what they are now, and “certify” that they are in compliance, even if they are not. And keep that six cents per meal, too.

    The federal education bureaucracy employs inspectors to ensure their dictates are followed. Did you really think that Americans would be permitted to live as they please under the honor system?

  105. Todd Dugdale says:

    I forgot to point out that no school will have to forgo that precious six cents until 10/1/12.

    To summarise, schools can continue to serve whatever constitutes a lunch under the current definition for as long as they want. If they want another six cents per meal, they have roughly two years to comply with the Sec of Ag’s standards.
    Children will still be allowed to have dessert, no matter what Sarah Palin implies.

    For a “federal power grab”, it’s actually pretty tame.

    It’s a “mandate” in the sense that taking a mortgage interest deduction “mandates” that you have a mortgage in order to do that. Nobody claims that the federal government “mandates” that you buy a house, though. That would be stupid.

    If you want your child to have a school lunch (i.e. made in the school and sold there, as opposed to a lunch that they bring from home), and if the school your child goes to wants a few measly pennies more from the federal government, and if your State legislators won’t stand up to all of the tyranny and certify your lunch programme regardless of what the scary Muslim usurper says… then your child will be subject to a somewhat healthier meal – which you, as a parent, can always negate with a sugar-laden breakfast and KFC for dinner followed by several sedentary hours on the couch, as God intended.

    That is the terrifying scenario that BDP is so upset about. Feel free to yawn.

  106. dcpetterson says:

    That is the terrifying scenario that BDP is so upset about. Feel free to yawn.

    Conservatives want to find anything they can to make us afraid. Their hope for ruling depends on fear. For eight years, the Bush Administration (the real terrorists) did everything in their power to terrorize the American people.

    Now, we’re supposed to be afraid of an extra six cents for school lunches. I truly can’t figure out what we’re supposed to be so afraid of. I really can’t.

    Pathetic. I bet they’re afraid of kittens, too. Spineless as well as brainless.

    Does anyone really buy this crap?

  107. shiloh says:

    Speaking of Bart’s performance art he needs to hurry up and complete his piece of fiction re: Socialism and his nauseating obsession w/Obama, so he can then quote himself makin’ shit up!

    Hey, it would be a citation …

  108. Todd Dugdale says:

    BDP wrote:
    In order to meet the “based on recommendations” passage of this provision, the Secretary need only claim that he read a report.

    Okay, so now the Secretary of Agriculture is a villain. Noted. Odd that his appointment was endorsed by Big Ag, and strongly opposed by the Left, though.

    A is not contingent upon B.

    I think E (Failure to Comply) proves that, in fact, it is.

    Let me clue you in about statutory language. When Congress writes “the Secretary shall,” that means the regulations are mandatory.

    Sure, it’s “mandatory” if you want the six cents. If not, see E (Failure to Comply).
    I can keep on repeating this as many times as you want to continue to point to the word “mandate”.

    Using kids as human shields, anyone?

    Eh? That makes no sense.

    Between the teachers union wages and pensions, crowding out by Medicaid and the recession, schools would BBQ a kid in detention and service him up with an apple in his mouth for more money.

    You miss the point, which is that the school will continue to get their usual and current $2.68 even if they ignore the socialist mandate, so they are not “losing” anything that they already have.

    The federal education bureaucracy employs inspectors to ensure their dictates are followed.

    Whatever. Show me the part of the legislation that subverts the State certification. Don’t just spin cynical and scary scenarios. Everything that I see in the legislation hinges on State certification of compliance. Look at D, and realise that this certification only applies to the “additional reimbursement”.

    Actually, here’s a bold idea: read the actual text of the legislation yourself. I’ve linked to it.

    It’s a lot like Federal Highway Funds and mass transit. If you want the additional money for mass transit, you must actually have a mass transit project. Likewise, if you want the additional federal money for healthier lunches, you must offer healthier lunches. Simply offering money for mass transit is not mandating it, as two Republican governors recently proved.

  109. It’s a lot like Federal Highway Funds and mass transit.

    This is what makes me uncomfortable. Somewhere along the way, Congress figured out that they could bribe states into doing things that Congress shouldn’t have any business getting involved in. While I don’t believe that they’ve violated the letter of the Constitution in this regard, I do believe they’ve come to violate the spirit of the Constitution. Over time, the bribery turns into a cycle of dependence, and that dependence is how the power of individual states gets weakened.

    That’s a much deeper and more salient issue than some fabricated scenario under which the First Lady dictates what every minor in the nation eats.

  110. Todd Dugdale says:

    MW wrote:
    Over time, the bribery turns into a cycle of dependence, and that dependence is how the power of individual states gets weakened.

    States see federal money as free money. They don’t have to face the consequences of paying for these things themselves, though they could. The State always has that choice of paying for something itself and avoiding any attached strings; or, for that matter, going without something.

    I have less sympathy for States when they play the “good guy” by reducing their own revenues, and then ask the evil, federal government to make up the loss.

    For example, Christie dismissing the impact of the snowstorm while demanding FEMA money for the “disaster”. Since when is plowing federal and city roads the responsibility of the federal government? When you don’t want to tax voters for snow removal costs, I guess. What a big conservative hero!

    Remember, the WI governor wanted that federal mass transit money – he just didn’t want to spend it on mass transit. Another glorious conservative who thinks the federal Treasury is his State’s ATM.

    Simply because a “bribe” is offered, does not mean that it has to be accepted. But if you do accept the “bribe”, it’s kind of incumbent upon you to carry out your end of the bargain. To take the bribe, and then do the opposite of what the bribe called for leaves me with very little pity for the moral victim and his “dependence”.

  111. dcpetterson says:

    I see no problem with relying on Federal money. That’s why we have a Union. So states can rely on each other, and on the totality. Of course it comes with strings. That’s what it means to be part of a larger nation.

    Conservatives want to get married and then pretend they’re still single. Go ahead and put yourself on you wife’s health insurance. It’s okay, really. But if you sleep with the neighbor, your wife will have every right to get ticked off. You’re not single. You’re part of a union.

  112. DC,

    I see no problem with relying on Federal money. That’s why we have a Union. So states can rely on each other, and on the totality. Of course it comes with strings. That’s what it means to be part of a larger nation.

    But given the option of paying the same number of tax dollars, I’d prefer that the dollars that are ultimately being distributed to states’ treasuries today have simply been collected by those states’ governments directly. It reduces the number of middlemen, makes government more responsive, and makes state and local governments more responsible and accountable.

    Based on your description, we shouldn’t have state taxes at all, and state governments should be more like city councils than like Congress. Is that what you mean to say?

  113. dcpetterson says:

    MW:
    But given the option of paying the same number of tax dollars, I’d prefer that the dollars that are ultimately being distributed to states’ treasuries today have simply been collected by those states’ governments directly.

    The problem with this is that it clearly penalizes poorer states for being poor. It is a way of creating a permanent double standard — example: poor states with poor educational facilities will be locked into providing poor education, and therefore poorer job prospects, which will provide a smaller tax base, and less money for education.

    On the other hand, of course, the blue states could finally stop subsidizing the red states, and conservative politicians would have to explain to their voters exactly why they’re being cut off.

  114. dcpetterson says:

    MW:
    Based on your description, we shouldn’t have state taxes at all, and state governments should be more like city councils than like Congress. Is that what you mean to say?

    I’m not an absolutist. It depends a lot on the issue.

  115. mclever says:

    Michael Weiss,

    I agree that the discussion is good to have–that being at what level certain initiatives and/or public works projects should be funded and managed. It is interesting where different people draw those lines between Federal, State, County, Municipal, etc. I confess to having considerable fuzziness on this issue in my own mind.

    I think that history has shown that when an endeavor’s benefits are indirect, longer-term, or distributed across the broader population, that local governments tend not to be good stewards. There are several reasons for this, and they aren’t all a matter of “what’s in it for me” shortsightedness. As you’re probably aware, there’s even a branch of game-theory that deals with this sort of decision making, where each individual will make choices that are immediately beneficial for themselves unless everyone else joins in making the minor sacrifice that leads to greater benefits for everyone overall. (And if an individual can get away with not making this “sacrifice” while still reaping the benefits of the collective group, then of course he or she will choose that!) This is actually “sane” behavior in those instances where there is little individual benefit unless everyone takes part in the cooperative solution.

    Examples of this include things like the highway system, utilities, defense, environmental issues, recycling, education, etc. It’s perhaps easy to see how having a state-of-the art highway system in one locality doesn’t benefit that locality much unless the system is connected to a broader network of highways that helps everyone. Why would a local government spend tons of money on highways or other mass transit, unless they could be guaranteed that everyone else around them did, too? Hence the federal involvement, via either mandates or contingent funds for compliance.

    So, where does this fit with school lunches… Apparently, those at the federal level of government have determined that it’s beneficial to the nation as a whole to ensure that kids are well-fed, healthy and in school, where they can hopefully learn to be future productive members of society, thus benefiting all. Yet, if you’ve ever sat in a contentious city council meeting where they discussed raising local taxes by a fraction of a penny to help schools, then you already know all the arguments that the locals will make about why this is a waste. Furthermore, even if people were willing to raise local taxes, the disparity in available funds between one school district and another (or one state and another) can be drastic. Hence the federal “bribe” approach, which allows for local management and choices while offering a more equitable opportunity for funding…

    Now, I probably could be persuaded for a more local approach to things like school lunches (though probably not for transportation or environmental programs), but I’d have to see some evidence that it wouldn’t just be an excuse to cut those kids off from a decent meal, sometimes the only decent meal they get all day. As it stands now, I’m not convinced that local governments (at either the state or municipal level) would pick up the slack, and those needing the school lunch programs the most seem least likely to be able to do so.

  116. The problem with this is that it clearly penalizes poorer states for being poor.

    In the same way that we penalize poorer countries for being poor. Should we take 80% of collected federal taxes and distribute them to other nations? I feel the same way about this.

    I’m not an absolutist. It depends a lot on the issue.

    Nor am I, but you seem to be very much in favor of a strong national government and weak state governments. Why draw the line where you choose to draw it?

    And, moreover, why not at least acknowledge that the spirit of the Constitution is being violated by these federal bribes?

    On the other hand, of course, the blue states could finally stop subsidizing the red states…

    Which would also make me a much happier camper.

  117. mclever,
    Transportation and the environment are at least within the spirit of the Constitution. Both clearly cross state lines.

    As for school lunches, let’s assume that cutting the federal funding results in kids being cut off from their only decent meal of the day. Would you suggest that it’s acceptable to violate the spirit of the Constitution to achieve a result that you, personally, believe in?

  118. dcpetterson says:

    MW:
    In the same way that we penalize poorer countries for being poor. Should we take 80% of collected federal taxes and distribute them to other nations? I feel the same way about this.

    Ultimately, perhaps. But we don’t have an effective world government.

    To some extent, we already do this, in a limited form, with various types of foreign aid. The EU is, perhaps, moving in this direction. Once the world realizes that there are many problems that can’t be solved on a national level — but only on a worldwide level — we’ll all move toward that way on certain issues.

    …you seem to be very much in favor of a strong national government and weak state governments. Why draw the line where you choose to draw it?

    In a general sense — there are problems that can’t be solved locally, or even statewide. These require national solutions. Reasonable people can disagree on where that line lies.

    And, moreover, why not at least acknowledge that the spirit of the Constitution is being violated by these federal bribes?

    I dispute the premises of your statement. I view do not view them as “bribes,” and I do not feel the spirit of the Constitution is being violated. I see how you come to your view; I disagree with it. Similar things have been effectively defended in federal courts against Constitutional arguments. I don’t see a problem.

  119. mclever says:

    Michael Weiss,

    As for school lunches, let’s assume that cutting the federal funding results in kids being cut off from their only decent meal of the day. Would you suggest that it’s acceptable to violate the spirit of the Constitution to achieve a result that you, personally, believe in?

    It could be argued that subsidized school lunches are still within the spirit of our federalist government, based on the “Promote the Common Welfare” concepts espoused by our founders. Or, do you think we should do away with Social Security and Welfare, too?

  120. It could be argued that subsidized school lunches are still within the spirit of our federalist government, based on the “Promote the Common Welfare” concepts espoused by our founders. Or, do you think we should do away with Social Security and Welfare, too?

    Do away with? It seems you are misconstruing my point. Welfare is administered on a state level; I think it should be funded that way as well. Social Security is messier, because you’re expected to pay into it at a time that differs from collection, and since people move around a lot it would be hard to administer it. Perhaps if it were handled more like a real pension, even that could work in a state-run fashion.

    No, I don’t want the programs to go away. I just see it as something that makes more sense being run at a state level than at a national level.

  121. mclever says:

    Michael Weiss,

    State funding of Welfare runs into the same poor state vs. rich state perpetuation and exacerbation of economic differences that the school lunch program would also run into if it were funded and administered exclusively by the state and/or local government. Having a federal program doesn’t prohibit states from funding and administering their own supplemental programs.

    Yeah, after I hit post, I figured that my “do away with” comment wasn’t well-phrased, because I really meant it to only refer to the federal funding and/or administration of those programs. And you have answered, that you would end federal funding of welfare programs if it were up to you.

    Or, am I still misunderstanding you?

  122. And you have answered, that you would end federal funding of welfare programs if it were up to you.

    Yes. I might feel different about it if I didn’t get the sense that the states that receive the most of it weren’t also the states that are dominated by those who are opposed to such programs.

    It’s also worth investigating the causes behind the poorer states’ predicament. Is it the best use of tax dollars to fund welfare programs in those states? Or is that a bandage on a wound when surgery is necessary? In other words, are we giving people fish when we could be teaching them to fish (metaphorically speaking, of course)?

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