By Doug Porter
Today’s round up of the news starts with public education. And one of the ways the English language gets mauled by those who have an aversion to the ‘public’ part of it.
The San Diego Unified School District Board of Trustees approved a proposal yesterday to incorporate meatless Mondays into its cafeteria menus for elementary and K-8 schools for the coming school year.
This isn’t some radical notion. The concept started a decade ago, as an initiative backed by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. A report by the American Meat Institute in February 2011 found that 18% of American households now participate in Meatless Mondays. Oprah’s endorsed it. School districts in Los Angeles, Baltimore, Oakland and Arlington, Virginia all participate.
Note that the SDUSD policy doesn’t prohibit bringing a baloney and ketchup sandwich (a high school favorite of mine) from home, so if a student wants animal protein they can have it.
While the jury is NOT in on meat consumption having a relationship with mortality (it won’t kill you to eat a steak, apparently), I heartily endorse the net results of meatless Mondays, as reported in a 2012 study, finding that 73% of participants are eating more vegetables as a result. And then there’s the relationship between factory farming and greenhouse gas production in case you need another reason.
For some, however, the very idea of taking a day off from eating meat is simply heretical. Witness San Diego’s top GOP dog Tony Kvaric’s comment:
“This is insanity. ‘Pro-choice’ is out and government coercion is in. Shame on the school board for denying children the choice and opportunity to have a balanced meal just to further a political agenda.”
Coinciding with the school’s district’s decision to deny red-blooded American meat to children came the announcement yesterday that SDUSD’s purchases of local, regional and organic foods over the past three years has passed the one million pound mark.
My SDUSD kid, for the record, brings her lunch from home every day. This has nothing to do with cost, Meatless Mondays or Taco Tuesdays. She says the food “sucks”.
Peters to Come Out Swinging for Obamacare
An article in Politico says Democrats have decided to embrace the President’s health care reforms in the 2014 midterm elections. They cite San Diego Congressman Scott Peters as an example of the Dems strategy of tackling the issue head-on.
California Rep. Scott Peters, a freshman Democrat who narrowly won election last year, said he doesn’t agree with every part of the law. But he said he’s not afraid of addressing health care — far from it.
“I don’t have any problem talking about it,” Peters, who hails from a San Diego-area swing district, said in an interview. “I think it’s a big issue. I think it’s going to be talked about more than immigration or guns.”
One early sign of the shift: After House Republicans brought a health care repeal measure to the floor last month — the 37th time they’ve tried — Peters joined a cast of other Democratic incumbents from competitive districts to criticize the GOP for the maneuver.
Given that Carl DeMaio has already announced his intention to oppose Peters, promising the bring his AynRandian version of ‘reform’ to Washington, this could be fun to watch next year. Will DeMaio weasel out of the GOP’s promise to make opposition to Obamacare the centerpiece of their mid-term strategy?
Jumping the Shark at VOSD
Voice of San Diego’s education writer Will Carless has announced his departure, saying he’s headed off to South America. And he’s making sure that San Diegans won’t soon forget his style when it comes to reporting on local schools.
His interview with the also soon-to-be departing Bernie Rhinerson, PR guy, SDUSD insider, and “unflappable dude” has tongues wagging all over town. I actually missed it until coming across a tweet from the local GOP Chair, awarding Carless a hashtag #badge of honor. At that point I suspected the VOSD education writer might have jumped the shark.
So let’s set the scene:
Rhinerson agreed to sit down for an exit interview over a bottle of wine. So, at Wine Steals in Point Loma, we uncorked a bottle, ordered some appetizers and then I set about trying to make him as uncomfortable as possible.
To me, it sounded as though the wine did more to loosen the reporter’s tongue than it did the subject’s. Carless walked Rhinerson though a series of questions that, while accurate in content, were framed in such a manner that completely revealed the disdain for SDUSD that many (including myself) have long suspected as tainting his reporting.
One commenter went so far as to describe Carless’ tone as “snotty”. Here’s part of a question on teacher raises (and you should read the whole interview):
Most teachers in the district get raises every single year, just for staying alive. My wife does.
Carless has long responded to critiques of his reporting on teachers, and the teachers union in particular, by using family members that are in the business as shields.
I think what rattled me the most was the VOSD reporter’s insinuations about Bill Kowba, the soon-to-be retired District Superintendent. Carless starts off by asking Rhinerson if he thought it was unfair to challenge the notion that Kowba was an effective leader.
The SDUSD spokesman told him, yes it was unfair. Then it got ugly:
Isn’t Kowba’s big thing that he’s managing the district and he’s going to take his orders from the school board and do what he’s told?
Doesn’t every superintendent do that?
No. Terry Grier didn’t do that.
And he’s not here.
I think superintendents that survive and bring stability are able to work with the board that they have in a good fashion, and Bill’s been able to do that.
What’s the difference between stability and being a lackey?
I would never see him as a lackey because behind closed doors, Bill can argue with the best of them.
But he’s a gentleman. He’s a servant-leader and a very civil, ethical man. But he can argue and debate with the best of them.
ACLU Suit Filed Over Immigrant Intimidation Tactics
The American Civil Liberties Union of San Diego and Imperial Counties announced a class-action lawsuit yesterday against the Department of Homeland Security for allegedly intimidating people arrested by the Border Patrol into signing away their rights.
The action is being taken on behalf of seven plaintiffs, who were approached by Border Patrol or Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers while “doing routine daily activities, such as waiting for a bus.”
The ACLU is charging that Border Patrol agents and Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers regularly pressure immigrants being held in detention facilities to sign a “voluntary departure” form, waiving their right to have a case heard before an immigration judge. They are deported and banned from returning to the United States for 10 years.
Welcome to Little Saigon
A stretch of El Cajon Boulevard between Euclid and Highland Avenues, home to about 120 businesses owned by residents of Vietnamese descent, has been designated by the San Diego City Council as the Little Saigon Cultural and Commercial District. It’s long been called Little Saigon, but yesterday’s action makes it official.
From Fox5 News:
“We have an opportunity to create a remarkable area of the city, one that will attract people from throughout San Diego and the region, and throughout California, to come and celebrate a beautiful part of our history, our culture and, again, our diversity,” said Emerald, who represents the area.
Council President Todd Gloria said Little Saigon would be similar to Little Italy, which he called “a huge success.” Little Italy frequently stages events that attracts thousands of San Diegans.
Plans for the area include sprucing up storefronts with a unifying architectural theme, along with common signs and decorations, which supporters hope will lead to increased investment and a reduction in crime and graffiti.
The 40,000 Vietnamese residents in San Diego represent the area’s second- largest Asian population behind Filipinos.
TV News Team Harassed at San Onofre
The National Press Photographer’s Association has intervened in a case involving harassment of a TV 10News crew while shooting footage at the San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant. From TV 10News:
In late April, Team 10 was working on a series of stories involving the nuclear facility and its management. Team 10 was shooting video of the facility from a public state beach when police and San Onofre staff demanded the video be deleted before Team 10 be allowed to leave the public park.
A San Onofre employee dressed in SWAT gear said the video must be deleted. He did not view the video, but said officer Rocca would make sure the video was deleted before the news crew be allowed to leave the state beach area.
Team 10 paid $15.00 to access the beach, the standard fee for public entry.
“If the public is allowed there, then the press is allowed there,” the National Press Photographers Association’s general council Mickey Osterreicher said.
Apparently the TV station’s real crime has been to air stories critical of the nuclear plant’s operations including one that included a picture showing plastic bags, duct tape and broom sticks used to seal a leaky industrial pipe in the plant.
Useless Republican Acorn Action in the News
From Huffington Post:
House Republicans are scheduled to vote on two separate budget bills this week, each of which would reject funding for the poverty activism group ACORN, despite the fact that ACORN disbanded three years ago.
Talking About Mental Illness = ObamaScare
President Obama convened a mental health conference today to encourage a national conversation about mental illness, including a public service announcement campaign targeted at young people and veterans. If you think that sounds fairly innocuous, the Daily Caller’s Neil Munro is here to straighten you out:
President Barack Obama urged depressed, stressed and disturbed Americans to depend on the U.S. government’s growing corps of taxpayer-funded mental health professionals.
That phrase—”taxpayer-funded mental health professionals”—seems to hint that a simple PR campaign to treat mental illness would lead to Obamacare Creep, even though the majority of mental health treatment is paid for through private insurance.
Another fond farewell for Michelle Bachmann.
It was too good not to post:
On This Day: 1933 – President Roosevelt signed the bill that took the U.S. off of the gold standard. 1981 – The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported that five men in Los Angeles were suffering from a rare pneumonia found in patients with weakened immune systems. They were the first recognized cases of what came to be known as AIDS. 1974 – Patti Smith recorded her first song. It was her version of “Hey Joe.”
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