Thursday, April 06, 2006

Open Forum

Let's see.

It's apparently a rite of spring to see the "NHL May Return" story return to Hartford. I just don't see it. I was a huge Whalers fan, I'd love it if the NHL came back... but I don't see it happening.

Coke is pushing soda on kids, say legislators supporting a soda ban in schools. Those fiends! Seriously, the legislature must have better things to do. Whatever happened to the state cookie?

Lastly, it's National Library Week. Go be nice to a librarian and check out an armload of books. Or, if you're a state legislator, support increased funding for Connecticard and other great library resources which improve our quality of life.

What else is going on?


Chris MC said...

Getting the soda machines out of schools is sound public policy. The main resistance to this appears to be that it reduces funding to the districts that have the machines in their schools.

But there is no question that the soft drinks aren't nutritionally sound. So in effect we have soda companies levying a tax on a captive audience by selling them something which, even in moderation, isn't good for them, and making a profit doing it.

This is a totally legitimate issue for the Legislature to be getting involved in.

Chris MC said...

The Connecticard thing is a no-brainer. It leverages the resources of existing collections and facilites, turning even the most modest library in every nook and cranny of the state into an enormous resource that even the wealthiest community couldn't afford. No community is not enriched by this.

I look at it as an investment in the critical information infrastructure of the state. The investment needed to make it first rate is tiny, while the benefits can accrue to virtually every taxpayer and citizen of the state. And everytime someone avails themselves of it, they magnify the return on the investment.

This is one program the Legislature should throw money at.

Yogi said...

Get rid of Soda machines? I say get rid of these spineless legislators who are afraid to debate the tough issues because it's an election year...Plan B...Same sex marriage...Tolls... but instead are discussing what the state cookie should be and want to be every kids Mommy and Daddy by telling them they can't drink soda. Leave the soda and throw the bums out!

turfgrrl said...

Another simple solution to the vexing problem of controlling what kids buy. Don't give them money. Do we need a state law about vending machines in schools? You would think that outraged parents would be approaching their school districts over this, rather than the attorney general, but then our education system must have failed to instruct these parents on how to basic commerce transactions occurr.

Wolcottboy said...

I couldn't believe when this was first brought up a year or two ago. At the same time, towns were PURCHASING vending machines and Coke and Pepsi were tripping over each other to get the contracts - the school districts thought it was a great way to make money. And the law says "during school hours" so they can drink the sugar after school - during sporting events. Is that any healthier?

But really- leave it to the school districts, rather than the state overruling the rules they supposedly entrusted them with.

Did anyone read the articles about James Amman talking about the anti-Catholic sentiment in the State Capitol? (paraphrase): "Its definitly here - and your not being honest if you don't acknowledge there are a few members with anti-Catholic bias."

Put Plan B to rest. There was no complaint before, the 'activists' are bored.

PB&J said...

The soda bill is foolish. The premise that the machine advertising is the root of all eveil is asinine. (Watch out for those Jell-O logos in the lunch room... They'll brainwash you for sure...) In my opinion, this is about restricting a community's ability to contract their own revenue streams.

You don't want your child drinking soda, pack Johnny a thermos, or stay home from work and teach Jane about sound nutrition.

This session can't end soon enough...

stomv said...

We continue to send kids a mixed message by on the one hand
* emphasizing PE
* pointing out the problems with obesity, diabetes, etc
* talking about eating healthy

But then we've got soda and chip machines in the school, providing funding.

The schools need the dough, and surely they understand that they're selling out their kids in an effort to support their kids.

The state legislature ought to ban the soda machines, but also ought to figure out how much money these soda machines were providing, and work with schools to figure out how to replace that revenue stream.

onceupona time said...

The Wilton Board of Education just passed a junk food ban. There is an argument that this should be handled locally and given everything else the local Board's are empowered to do in this state, I'm not sure why the local parent representatives can't decide what they want to expost their kds to on their own without input from sue-first-ask-questions-later Dick Blumenthal.

onceupona time said...

This here is a little longer article on the soda story and Nanny Williams and Gampy Dick.

onceupona time said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
onceupona time said...

I heard, there Wolcott Boy, that a lot of legislator's in Hartford are behind the revelation of 'Gospel of Judas' Surfaces After 1,700 Years just out from the National Geographic Society reported here. My guess is that major campaign money is invloved in this as usual since science is never on the agenda in Hartford.

That's better

KerryGuy said...

I do think the state is overreaching in the surrogate parent department. There are many more important issues than kids getting soda. If a parent doesn't want their kids to have it, either tell them not to or teach them the dangers of it.

disgruntled_republican said...

This entire soda debate is unreal. The machines are off during school hours...if kids want soda after school, they will get it regardless. What ever happened to government letting people LIVE THEIR FREAKING LIVES!!!

Why don't these bone head legislators spend their time working on things that matter and live the "real thinking" on this issue to people who know how to think and know what is best for their communities instead of trying to play god. We would all be better off.

onceupona time said...

Bill Strikes at Low-Nutrition Foods in School from our nation's capitol this time reported here in the New York Times. There is an argument that if the federal govt. is going to pay for the school lunches, they get to set the standards.

I wish it weren't raining out.

Eddie said...


I always take out tons of library books!

onceupona time said...

Do you ever return them is the question?

Paul Vance said...

As a member of the Waterbury Library Board, the best thing that people can do is join their local "Friends of" the library. (Here it is the Friends of the Silas Bronson Library). It is usually very inexpensive and the monies are used towards programs, materials and upkeep. The library is a place to study, do research or just pick up a book and in many communities- in a budget crunch is one of the first places where cuts are made!

I am reading "Dog Days:A Novel" by Ann Marie Cox. (and I need to hurry and finish because it is overdue!--- a new Waterbury scandal)

MikeCT said...

Some reasons from End Hunger CT that legislators should support legislation to ban unhealthy food and drink in our schools:

* Childhood obesity rates range from 10.1% to 16.5% in Connecticut towns.
* The proportion of overweight children ages 6-19 has tripled in 20 years.
* Obese children are more likely to smoke, consume alcohol and experiment with drugs as well as have self-esteem and health issues which negatively impact their studies and social life in school.
* 6.5% of Connecticut’s Medicare expenditures and 11% of its Medicaid expenditures are spent on obesity related costs
* Parental authority is undermined daily with the sale of unhealthy food and drink in our schools.
* Schools are the perfect environment for kids to learn about good nutrition and healthy practices and those healthy habits need to be reinforced. It’s time to get the junk out of our schools.
* For the first time in history, children may have a shorter lifespan than their parents due to childhood overweight and obesity.

More articles on this issue and related ones.

MikeCT said...

In addition, Coke has built in financial incentives for schools to sell more Coke than water or other healthy drinks, and its "charitable" foundation is threatening to stop funding scholarships and fitness programs for schools that aren't pushing enough soda. Schools shouldn't be paid off to act as Coke sugar pushers.

turfgrrl said...

Parental authority is undermined daily with the sale of unhealthy food and drink in our schools. - bwah ha ha ... c'mon that is just ridiculous. Since the 1950's, soda has been consumed by children and teenagers in schools. It's taken to this current crop of lame parents who can schedule play dates but can't manage nutritional advice for their kids to kick this to a legislative issue. Anyone who sincerely believes that the state should dictate to local school systems the sale of soda, is promoting the abdication of parental responsibility. Last I checked, the soda aisle at the local grocery super market was two sides of the entire aisle, up from a single side in the 80's. That tells you that the problem starts at home, not in the schools.

MikeCT said...

When junk food is available in schools, when those schools have financial incentives to sell it, and when they are "punished" if they don't, it undermines parents' efforts to ensure good nutrition. No parent can control what their kid pulls from the machine. Sure, parents have a central role, and so do schools. We have no problem with physical education programs and school breakfast programs, because we recognize good health and nutrition is essential to learning. At least the schools should not undermine the parents. I am sure there are many more soda and junk machines in schools now than in the 50s. I went to public schools and never saw a soda machine in any school I attended before college.

Chris MC said...

Speaking as a parent who excercises a great deal of control over my offspring's eating habits, I still don't want kids marketed to while they are in school. If you take the arguments posted here to heart, one can easily say that students over the age of eighteen are entitled to get cigarettes legally, so why not at school. That would generate some nice juicey cash flow for the district, and hey, why don't the parents just set a better example?

Why not have commercial television in the schools? After all, kids are already watching upteen hours of TV per day when they aren't in school. There could be some good educational content offered - and some nice juicy cash flow for the district. Where's the harm in that?

And why not sell advert space in the hallways? Maybe Trojan could sponsor your kid's locker, ya know? And there'd be some nice juicy cash flow for the district.

Corporate sponsorship of the kindergarten in your hometown sounds good. "The ABC's today are brought to you by the Phillip Morris Companies. Remember to enjoy our new candy flavored dino-sticks responsibly!"

DeanFan84 said...

Lieberman staffer Ken Daglierre says Windsor's Sunday morning meeting with Senator Lieberman will be open to all Democrats! This is fantastic! Thank you Ken.

From My Left Nutmeg!

I'm going to respectfully ask Senator Lieberman why he hasn't ruled out an Independent run. If Joe won't commit to the August primary, and its results, that really says something.

We all know how destructive it would be to the Dem ticket if Joe pulled out in June or July.

turfgrrl said...

Absolutely a parent can control what a kid spends his money on. None of this junk food and soda crap is free. No one is forcing kids to consume it.

turfgrrl said...

Chris Mc,
You should be more concerned about what propaganda your kids are getting in school then what they are being marketed. And you should be concerned that they are forced to site in classes all day long and taught to take tests instead of learning how to think independently and take responsibility for their actions.

Who cares if there are dorito flyers falling from the neon lights in every classroom. If your kid is getting a real education, one that will enable them to actually identify the geopolitical boundaries of Iran then maybe they will be responsible enough to make good decisions about what they eat.

We don't need the state to legislate in order to make up for poor parental behavior.

Chris MC said...

turfgrrl -
you uncharacteristically failed to address my point.

nevertheless, to respond to your post:
I am indeed concerned about such things, and don't understand the presumption of your advice.

We homeschool.

My offspring routinely does think independently and excercises responsibility and judgement admirably.

Also, in no small part because we have kept commercialism out of our environment, can recognize marketing and sales pitches for what they are.

Can identify Iran and a great many other places on a map, and tell you quite a bit about the history and culture of these places in a very engaging and articulate manner, without sounding like a geek.

And has, thanks to the wholesome diet we've provided, a remarkable palate for fresh vegetables and grains and beans.

You don't strike me as someone with a great deal of experience raising kids. But thanks for the advice anyhow.

turfgrrl said...

Chris Mc,

If you homeschool then presumably your kids are not being marketed to while they are in school. You as a parent have every right to express your concerns about what happens in your school district. That's why school boards exist and are locally elected positions. But to support a state law that dictates what should be a) a parental decision and b) what should be a contractual position of the school board is bad. We need less complexities in our government, and greater autonomy in local management. It is for this same reason that I oppose NCLB.

In a micro sense, what goes on in Samantha Stevens' house is none of Mrs. Kravitz's business.

Chris MC said...

turfgrrl -
Correct that mine are not; my point being that I speak as someone exercising that responsibility and right.

But not everyone can do what we're doing. And just as there are certainly and obviously people who completely turn their kids over to the system and expect it to raise their kids for them, there are many parents who don't. Why should the odds be stacked against them?

In addition to my own and many others' personal experience and anecdotal evidence, there is plenty of data that demonstrates that environment and diet are crucial factors in how well children develop, learn and mature. The right thing for us to do is to strive to provide the highest quality environment and nutrition with the money we spend, not sell out to whatever corporate interest offers the highest bid.

And as to school board autonomy, you are overlooking perhaps that local school boards are creatures of the state board of education, and subject to it. That means that Legislature is in fact the body with ultimate oversight of public educaiton in the state. Local communities by statute don't control the Board of Education, all they can do is raise and lower the budget, and spend money on capital projects or not.

I share your opposition to the NCLB, because it usurps the states' right to determine how eduction should be conducted.