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Children
  • Pizza in Danger of Losing Vegetable Status

    "Pizza will be considered a vegetable" sounds like the punchline to a hackneyed "When Herman Cain is President…" joke, but it's also something more consequential: longstanding government policy.

    Of course, counting pizza as a vegetable is more complicated than seeding a pizza plant in Michelle Obama's organic garden and stuffing the sprouts into the capacious maws of America's schoolchildren.

    When Congress blocked Department of Agriculture regulations aimed at making school lunches healthier last year, members of Congress didn't literally declare pizza itself a vegetable. Rather, they ensured that tomato paste continued to receive special treatment under school lunch regulations. Just an eighth of a cup of tomato paste is credited with as much nutritional value as half a cup of vegetables, which means a smear of paste layered beneath a topping of cheese slop may count as a vegetable serving.

    Now, a spoilsport Democrat is introducing the SLICE Act to overturn last year's pro-frozen pizza rule-making…

    Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) introduced a bill Monday to stop the amount of tomato paste used on a children's slice of pizza from counting as a serving of vegetables in school lunches, arguing that the standard effectively qualifies pizza as a vegetable.

    He said he hopes the measure can be included in this year's farm bill.

    "Pizza has a place in school meals but equating it with broccoli, carrots and celery seriously undermines this nation’s efforts to support children’s health," a fact sheet from Polis's office stated.

    No doubt Polis just wants to improve childhood nutrition, but is nothing sacred anymore?

    Next, Congressional liberals will be telling me that my acquisitions of Miracle Whip aren't eligible for a tax deduction as purchases of religious paraphernalia. Or that my Reaganesque Jelly bean habit doesn't count as legume consumption. Or that the olive martini I have while writing about food policy isn't any more of a vegetable than pizza.

    Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images News/Getty Images


    Tags: Children, Food, House of Representatives, Jared Polis
  • Mitt Romney Supported Bullying Gay Teens in Massachusetts

    It used to be really hard to decipher Mitt Romney's stance on gay marriage. On one hand, he said he opposed it. On the other hand, he named his son Tagg.

    But now that we know he bullied gay kids in high school, his position is a bit more clear. And this wasn't just some isolated high school "prank" either. Romney even kind of supported bullying as governor of Massachusetts

    Mitt Romney clashed with a state commission tasked with helping LGBT youth at risk for bullying and suicide throughout his term as Massachusetts governor over funding and its participation in a pride parade. He eventually abolished the group altogether.

    The Governor’s Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth, created by Republican Gov. William Weld in 1992 in response to newly released statistics showing alarmingly high suicide rates among gay and lesbian teens, was designed to combat harassment in schools… Romney continued its existence upon taking office, but a rift began in 2005, when he vetoed a $100,000 increase in its budget…

    [R]elations between the governor and commission collapsed in mid-2006, after the commission lent its name to materials promoting a long-running annual pride parade for LGBT youth that it helped organize using private funds. Romney, incensed at being officially associated with a gay pride event, threatened to dissolve the commission on the spot.

    This is probably a huge let-down for all the gay Romney fans out there. All five of them. His sideburns were practically a gay icon.

    However, there is one bright spot in this whole controversy. Critics often attack Romney for being spineless and lacking core beliefs. He's flip-flopped on a lot of issues in the twenty or so years he's been in politics. But now we know he's been consistent on one topic all along: being a total jerk to gay kids.

    Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images News/Getty Images


    Tags: Children, LGBT, Marriage Equality, Massachusetts, Mitt Romney
  • There Are Now Officially Too Many Romneys

    Looks like the Duggars have some competition. As of today, Mitt and Ann Romney are the stars of their own private reality show, 18 Grandkids and Counting.

    Let's all congratulate the Romneys on the birth of their 17th and 18th grandchild of the corn

    Tagg Romney, the eldest son of presidential candidate Mitt Romney, announced via Twitter that he and his wife Jen have new twin boys, delivered by a surrogate today.

    "Happy 2 announce birth of twin boys David Mitt and William Ryder. Big thanks to our surrogate. Life is a miracle," Tagg tweeting, linking to a photo of himself and one of his new sons…

    Now a grandmother of 18, Ann Romney promptly tweeted her congratulations. "Grandchildren 17 and 18 are here – congratulations @TRomney and Jen! We can't wait to meet David and William," she wrote.

    For those not keeping score, this means Mitt Romney now has more descendants than delegates. Even Rick Santorum can't keep up. He's only got seven offspring to exploit.

    With all of Mitt's flip flops, the commentariat likes to joke that there are too many Mitt Romneys to keep track of. Well, now there really are way too many Romneys. But hey, those Cadillacs aren't going to fill themselves!

    In all seriousness, congratulations to the Romney clan on their new little additions. Usually when the Romneys get a new addition, it's just another wing on their beach house.

    Photo by Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images News/Getty Images


    Tags: Ann Romney, Children, Mitt Romney, Tagg Romney, The Family, Twitter
  • Obama Administration Secretly Endorses Abstinence-Only Education

    CondomAs a public service, the Department of Health and Human Services keeps an updated list of "evidence-based" teen pregnancy prevention programs that it endorses. It's a refreshing change of pace from the Bush administration, which relied more on scripture than science for their sex education policies.

    Unfortunately, according to the hawk-eyed bloggers over at RH Reality Check, the list received an unexpected addition some time last month. If you scroll down a bit, you'll find a little program called Heritage Keepers Abstinence Education.

    So, what is this scientifically proven, fact-based program the Obama administration now endorses?

    Heritage Keepers contains little or no information about puberty, anatomy, sexually transmitted diseases, or sexual behavior. Instead, most of its lessons are devoted to promoting the importance of heterosexual marriage and the value of abstinence before marriage. Students are asked to take virginity pledges and class time is devoted to having students envision and plan their wedding days…

    [A]t best Heritage Keepers Abstinence Education ignores LGBT youth – and at worst it promotes homophobia. The stigmatization of LGBT youth throughout the program reinforces the cultural invisibility and bias these students already face in many schools and communities.

    Oh. That sounds, um, scientific.

    It's unclear how President Obama can urge anyone to take a virginity pledge when he's clearly in bed with social conservatives on this one.

    In any case, I don't think Heritage Keepers is really as anti-gay as its critics claim. The curriculum includes wedding planning. And who doesn't love envisioning their own wedding day? Newt Gingrich loves it so much, he did it three times!


    Tags: Abstinence, Barack Obama, Children, Conservatives, Education, Health, Health Care, Homophobia, Kathleen Sebelius, LGBT, Sex
  • Brooding Adolescents Are the Vanguard of Occupy Wall Street Revolution

    protesterAfter a quiet winter, Occupy Wall Street protesters are looking to regain their momentum with May Day demonstrations planned for cities across the United States. Drawing protestors' ire are the usual suspects of post-industrial capitalism: rampant corporate greed, declining social mobility, the gulf between rich and poor…the accumulation of dirty laundry in the hamper that Mom won't do anything about…

    On a pair of tables in the corner of the room sit stacks of Occupy literature – magazines and newspapers produced by protesters – as well as stickers, posters and fliers: all propaganda for May Day, a nationwide day of action calling on the public to abstain from work, school, shopping, banking and household chores

    In New York, protesters will meet at 8am in Bryant Park, which will serve as a base for much of the day. There will be an afternoon march to Union Square, and a concert, followed by another march to the financial district. Plans for the evening remain loose, perhaps intentionally so, but were described by one Occupier as a "radical afterparty".

    Who among us can forget the great "NO, DAD, YOU CAN'T MAKE ME" General Strike of 1934 that followed on the heels of the bloody Brussels sprouts boycott of 1932? Or the famed sit down (and play XBox) strike of 2006 that led to the formation of the International Brotherhood of Console Gamers?

    Thanks, Occupy. I used to think 12 year old me was a moody jerk with little regard for the efforts necessary to maintain a household. Now I recognize dirty carpets as the capitalist constructs they were and fondly recall my days on the frontline of proletarian revolution. It's all vaguely reminiscent of Lenin's call in 1917: Peace! Land! Mom, Where's Lunch!?

    Photo by Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images


    Tags: Children, New York City, Occupy Wall Street, Protesters