The problem with a political blog, as opposed to other excellent blogs out there, is that an intelligent topical rant a day is tough to pull off. Even the best op-edists out there only write two columns a week - and it's their forty-hour-a-week job. Of course, their columns are far better researched than this little ramble. And then there are some days that are just slow news days.
Anyway, I've been receiving curiosity regarding my recent hostility towards corn syrup. Turns out corn syrup is off-limits for Passover - which eliminates about 95% of all food items out there from gastronomic intake for eight days. Passover is famous for its hijinks - I've asked people at burger joints to hold the bun on more than one occasion. This year, I had to ask someone behind the counter at Whole Foods if their barbecue sauce had corn syrup in it before buying a barbecue dish. (It did.) We also had to quiz them on what "canola oil" was. But we get macaroons, so it all evens out.
But it's hard to go eight days without mass-produced junk food - I doubt I'd be able to do it voluntarily. This is a segue, however strained, into a topical discussion. Turns out that here in North Carolina, legislators are debating a new school food policy that would limit junk food in NC's schools. I wrote about a similar proposed Texas policy some time ago. To rehash briefly: the upside is that eliminating vending machines will go a long way towards fighting the important problem of youth obesity (fueled by all that damn corn syrup). The downside is that vending machines are cash cattle for schools, and removing them would likely mean a loss in revenue that would have to be covered by a tax increase or spending cut. (And here in NC, it'll most likely be a regressive tax increase.)
This policy coincides with the release of the new "food pyramid," which will go roundly ignored by most Americans - especially those under 20 who aren't thinking of the long-term ramifications of that little package of donuts. Watch how much good it'll do. The FDA can put out pyramids all it wants to, but they'll continue to do nothing. The more the government advises against eating junk food, the more people will do it.
Junk food is marketed exceptionally well, especially to kids. There's no advice the government can give to prevent kids from wanting that candy bar. And kids who eat candy bars turn into adults who eat even more candy bars. In years past, the only thing keeping me from the junk food was Passover - but Passover has taught me how easy it is to go without junk food. So I guess what I'm trying to say is this - without some sort of legislation separating kids and junk food, obesity will continue. And, I dare say, kids will get used to spending eight hours a day without junk food. It may even spill over into the rest of their lives.
(I might also add that such policies, if effective, will probably save us money in terms of long-term health care.)