What is the difference between nutrition and food? Mostly, I hear about nutrition, like we want to give our kids nutrition. Shouldn't we just give them food?
Yes, it's Friday, but we shook things up this week. The podcast goes on the shelf for a week, so we could talk more about the Colbert interview with Tom Vilsack. Yesterday, we talked about Vilsack and the ongoing and new USDA contradictions.
Today, Vilsack and school lunches in the interview with Stephen Colbert.
Vilsack painted a picture of the school lunch program and what the bill will hope to do:
32 million youngsters go to school tomorrow, and they're going to have school lunch. 12 million will have school breakfast. This is a program hopefully that will provide more access to those programs and higher-quality food for our youngsters in school.
Colbert asked the question at the top to shift the conversation to school lunches. Here was Vilsack's response:
Here's the sad reality about our school lunches. We've had too much fat and too much sugar, too much sodium, not enough fruits and vegetables and low fat dairy and whole grains. We're going to try to change that.
A good answer. And let's make this clear: a Republican Secretary of Agriculture might not have given such a spelled out answer.
Of course, to get improvements, we need to see the effects of the recently passed school lunch bill (though a 6¢ increase won't be enough).
Vilsack continued about the impact of obesity in children:
We have a third of our youngsters who are obese or at risk of being obese. It's a health care problem, it's an education problem, it's also a national security problem. 155 retired generals and admirals – concerned about the fact that we don't have enough young people for a volunteer army.
This is a new argument that conservatives could get behind. Then again, military bases have fast food restaurants.
Vilsack also spoke up for those who aren't getting enough food.
What we are working on is trying to make sure that folks continue to have affordable food in this country. During a tough recession, we've increased benefits for those who are struggling through this recession through our SNAP program – Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
So little in this debate talks about who is affected and how all these programs work. Vilsack should be out there a lot more, especially given how loud the anti-reforms people are. Yesterday, we criticized Vilsack for what he said about food promotion vs. food health. Today, we praise him for the good things he is saying about what the government does to help.
For every one speech from Vilsack (and very few others in the government), we are treated to several tirades from Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, and others fighting against the call to improve our food supply. Michelle Obama is doing her best, but she needs many more reinforcements.
Colbert is more knowledgeable about food issues than most MSM people. Vilsack and others need to get out there, yet prepare themselves for more partisan tactics from the MSM; Colbert -- a professional comedian -- better understands the big picture more than MSM journalists.
As an example, this actual headline from a story from ABC News: "Is Federal Government Meddling Into Schools With Child Nutrition Bill?"
The answer is "yes," but the story and headline prove that these journalists don't understand that the federal government is in change of the school lunch programs in the United States. Stephen Colbert understands this. My loyal readers understand this.