Outrage Anyone ?

As part of a House/Senate Compromise bill to avoid a government shutdown efforts by the Obama administration to take unhealthy foods out of school lunch programs by limiting starches and increasing fruits, vegetables and whole grains was thwarted by heavy lobbying from food companies that make frozen pizzas, the salt industry and potatoes growers. It looks as though pizza and french fries two of the biggest culprits of poor diet will remain on the menu.

Conservatives argued that the federal government shouldn’t be telling children what to eat and the regulation changes would be too costly. Having been a medical underwriter for a major insurance company for most of my career I can’t tell you the number of medical records I read where the doctor pointed to poor diet as a major reason some children have medical issues and are obese.

Besides, a child is most likely still going to get their french fries and pizza when they aren’t a school so why make it available when they are in school. Too costly – this is a preventative effort – what about the medical costs the child will most likely incur later in life which will lead to higher healthcare costs.

Here’s a short video I was able to find on the internet that points out some of the major medical issues confronting children. It from a summit on childhood obesity at the University of Maryland.

Mission Readiness a group of retired military generals opposed the changes to keep pizza and french fries on lunch menus citing poor nutrition in schools as a national security issue with obesity in young adults being the leading reason of disqualification for military service.

It never ceases to amaze me that 9% of the country think Congress is doing a good job – well I am not one of them. A group of baboons are called a Congress – yep that I can agree with !

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Santa Scene

Kish and I went to see a movie at Easton this afternoon, and when we left this evening I realized the mall was packed.  What was going on?

I looked around and, to my surprise, saw Jolly Old St. Nick.  He was there on stage, a child on his knee, flashbulbs popping, as a line of excited toddlers and their pushy parents were waiting to get the holiday tradition checked off the list before Thanksgiving even arrives.  The whole interior was decked out in bright lights and holiday spangles and signs.

When I left, there was a huge traffic jam in the Easton garage as inconsiderate shoppers just decided to stop their cars in the exit lanes until somebody left and other inconsiderate shoppers cut people off and drove the wrong way down up ramps trying to sneak around the jam and get the hell out of the garage.  I was glad to see that everyone was full of holiday cheer and good will toward men.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus!

Zuccotti Park Debris

New York City sanitation workers have been sifting through the debris removed from Zuccotti Park when the “Occupy Wall Street” protesters were evicted by police — and in the process are helping to flesh out the tale of the protests.

In all, 26 dump trucks of material was removed from the park.  (Twenty-six dump trucks!  The protesters must have been doing some serious accumulating and consuming.)   The people charged with sorting through the pile of refuse found at least two dozen hypodermic needles, rotted food, discarded personal belongings, and lots of broken glass.  There was so much broken glass mixed in with the other items that workers had to stop protesters looking for their stuff from sifting through the debris pile, so as to avoid injury.

Life at Camp Zuccotti sounds like it was pretty dangerous and dreadful in the days before the police closed it down.  I wonder how many of the “Occupy Wall Street” protesters secretly were relieved when the police took action, so the protesters had an excuse to leave the squalor and go back to their parents’ suburban homes for a hot shower, a hot meal, and a good night’s sleep?

The Elusive Alternative Route

The I-670 ramp to Third Street, which provides access from the east side to downtown Columbus, is closed for extensive repairs.  It will be closed for months.

It’s only one of thousands — make that hundreds of thousands — of highway ramps in the United States.  But for me, it’s perhaps the most important ramp.  Its closure means that my principal route to work, the one that has been ingrained into my brain and every fiber of my being after years of mindless commuting, is not available.  It means that I have to get out of my mental rut, abandon my snug comfort zone, and find another route to the heart of downtown Columbus during the morning rush hour.  It means I have to experiment with alternatives during a time of day when hastily selected alternative routes usually mean delay and disaster.

So far I’ve tried two options.  The planned alternative has the weird, jury-rigged feel you often get with traffic engineer reroutings.  You exit I-670 at I-71, follow a narrow, two-lane channel between temporary barricades, then make a hairpin two-lane exit onto Spring Street.  I’ve taken that route several times, two of which embroiled me in significant traffic jams.  The other option was an experiment that ended in colossal failure.  I exited I-670 one stop early, wound through some city streets, then found myself snarled in complete gridlock around the Columbus State campus.  I won’t be trying that option again.

I’m steeling myself for the challenge of finding that elusive alternative route that will take me smoothly downtown on uncongested streets.  In the meantime, I’m just going to brace myself — and leave 10 minutes earlier than normal.