May 29, 2014

Michelle Obama says: Sound science says: Buy your own potatoes!

Now, some of you libertarians might think people ought to buy their own food, but there are government feeding programs, and once there are, the government gets to dictate what food it's going to pay for.

I guess we could go down a legal sidetrack and brainstorm about possible rights that could be violated in the government's decisionmaking about which food you can buy on a program like Women, Infants and Children (WIC). I'm really not going to get diverted on the sub-sidetrack over the sex discrimination implied by the name of that program, but I can imagine an Equal Protection violation if the government's list of permissible foods were devised with the intent to make life more difficult for those of a particular race or ethnic group, but it would be a stretch to see the disinclusion of potatoes this way.

Michelle Obama — stressing "sound science" — calls attention to a bill in Congress that would "override science by mandating that white potatoes be included on the list of foods that women can purchase using WIC dollars." Did you know that, currently, enrollees in this feeding program couldn't use the money to buy potatoes? What's wrong with potatoes?
Now, there is nothing wrong with potatoes. The problem is that many women and children already consume enough potatoes....
You've already had enough potatoes! That's written in the present tense, so: You are having enough potatoes, right now. But what about future potatoes? Apparently, enrollees are already buying enough of their own potatoes, using their own money. How does Michelle Obama know this about people? She's dedicated to "sound science," but has science established that people in WIC have enough potatoes?

I guess the point is that since people seem to like potatoes, they must be willing to shell out their own scarce money to get potatoes, and whatever they get is enough, since she thinks kids are fat. But "sound science" can't say that all kids are fat! She admits only one in 3 children is fat. She doesn't mention the kids who are skinny, and they can be picky eaters. Potatoes might be something their mom (or dad!) thinks are pretty crucial. But the age-old problem of fattening skinny kids is below the political radar and thus not part of that body of wisdom Michelle Obama calls "sound science."

Her focus is on "many women and children," and I suppose that when the government is spending its own money — the money of the taxpayers — it can decide to focus on the fat and not the skinny... though it does seem odd to have a feeding program and to regard its enrollees as overweight, but that is the situation here. When the government spends money to solve a problem, as long as it's not violating rights, it gets to say what the problem is, and — sound science or not — "The problem is that many women and children already consume enough potatoes..."
... and not enough of the nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables they need. That’s why the Institute of Medicine — the nonpartisan, scientific body that advises on the standards for WIC — has said that potatoes should not be part of the WIC program.
Here, we see the popular political idea that sound science is what some set of scientists says. I haven't read the Institute's report, but that sentence doesn't say the Institute said that potatoes aren't nutritious, which would be a scientific claim that could be falsified. That sentence only says the Institute nixed potatoes for the program, which sounds like a naked political judgement.

In opposition to this judgment of scientists, Michelle Obama sets "some members of the House of Representatives" — she refrains from calling them Republicans — who are threatening to let WIC money be used to buy potatoes:
Right now, the House of Representatives is considering a bill to override science by mandating that white potatoes be included on the list of foods that women can purchase using WIC dollars. 
How would including potatoes on the list "override science"?! For someone preening about adherence to "sound science," how can she assert that potatoes on the list would "override science"? You know, I think I'm speaking scientifically here: You can't override science. Yeah, I know, she means the bill overrides the opinion expressed by the set of scientists whose political judgment Congress is considering overriding with its political judgment on the question of what foods parents can choose to buy with government subsidy.
Our children deserve so much better than this.
I agree!
As parents, we always put our children’s interests first... And when we make decisions about our kids’ health, we rely on doctors and experts who can give us accurate information based on sound science. Our leaders in Washington should do the same.
I agree, and "Our leaders in Washington" include you, and you haven't bothered to present accurate information based on sound science about the nutritional value of potatoes. You've simply said that an Institute supports your policy choice.

The linked op-ed appears in The New York Times, where the second-most-favorited comment is:
If Mrs. Obama had come out in favor of junk food, the goddamn Republicans would be in favor of fruits and vegetables. They care only about the politics of destruction. They are traitors.
Science!

84 comments:

St. George said...

White potatoes.

Get that shopping list integrated.

I'll bet cauliflower's sitting way in the back of the shopping cart.

Cornroaster said...

Couldn't non-allowance of potato purchases through the program be considered discrimination against those of Irish descent?

MayBee said...

Potatoes bring joy, which is an essential nutrient.

Dick Stanley said...

Potatoes make you fat. As Mooch ought to know.

Ann Althouse said...

@ Cornroaster To make it an Equal Protection Clause violation, the discrimination must be intentional. You'd have to believe the disinclusion of potatoes was done for the purpose of hurting the Irish, which is why I called it "a stretch."

It's possible that the list is structured to care for the needs of some ethnic groups and to punish others. Is rice on the list?

I think the problem with potatoes is potato chips and French Fries -- the form they take and their use as a vehicle for extra calories.

This is a plus when you're a parent working to fight excessive thinness. (Which is the problem I faced when I had very young children. This nutrient-dense business Michelle is obsessed with was so overshadowed by a need to get them to ingest enough food that they wouldn't keel over.)

The Drill SGT said...

Althouse,

a useful companion link

http://www.livescience.com/28074-food-stamps-snap-junk-food.html

about the difference between WIC and SNAP (Foodstamps)

Bottom line for me: Whenever attempts are made to limit SNAP purchases, liberals get all huffy. I suspect Michelle would fight potatoes and rice for WIC, but would not exclude cake and soda from SNAP.

Paco Wové said...

"Congress that would "override science by mandating that white potatoes be included"

White privilege rears its ugly head again.

The Drill SGT said...

Is rice on the list?

Apparently white rice is not, nor are bagels.

Anti-Asian and anti-Semitic :)

The SNAP program stands in stark contrast to the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) food program, which places strict limits on food purchases. In some states, even white rice and bagels are disallowed for WIC purchases.

Alan said...

Like all people of Irish descent I feel a deep seated need for potatoes. If I end up on the dole some day I don't want my unique cultural heritage denied its most basic needs because of politically fashionable pop science.

Michael said...

You make what is only stupid sound cynical. The FLOTUS probably actually believes this is sound science. She probsbly actually believes that the mean Republicans are going against, not with, science, intentionally trying to make women (!!!) and children fat (er).

Much of what is laid to normal, human, incompetence or extra-smart, ivy league smart, cynicism is actually the fault of being dumb.

Such is the case here.

MadisonMan said...

I like the special potatoes grown in DC.

Washington Redskins.

Lyssa said...

I'm not sure if everyone knows this or not, but I think that it should be clear that there's a big difference between food stamps (or whatever they're calling them now) and WIC. WIC is a very, very specific program, not something that intended to cover generalized "groceries." The recipients get a voucher that specifies exactly what they can use it for, i.e., X oz. cheese (has to be real cheese, not processed), Y oz. cereal (only specific types allowed), Z oz. formula, X oz. juice (only 100% juice allowed), Y oz. milk (plain milk only), etc. I don't recall whether rice (or other starchy staples) were covered back in my cashiering days, which were a long time ago, but I know that it's very much targeted to cover very specific needs.

I also recall that the people on WIC were the absolute worst. I couldn't believe how rude and obnoxious the majority of them were to cashiers, over and over again.

rhhardin said...

You can substitute white bread and butter covered with gravy.

It's actually better than the roast beef that they won't let you have seconds of.

Mattman26 said...

Among the 87 problems here (83: Who the f*ck elected Michelle?) is that the "science" of government intervention in dietary matters has been a complete disaster for about 50 years. I'm reading Nina Teicholz' new "Big Fat Surprise" book, which makes a very powerful case that virtually the entirety of institutional (NIH, AHA) dietary advice we've been peddled has been based on incredibly shoddy science, and is almost certainly dead wrong.

And Michelle Obama's going to tell me (or poor women) what to eat?

I think I will eat nothing but potatoes today (with big scoops of butter), just to piss her off.

rhhardin said...

If you cut up and bury a potato or two, you soon have your own potatoes free.

LordSomber said...

If the spud fits, wear it.

Fandor said...



"Potatoes in every pot; gravy for all the mashed".

Throughout the third world...happy, plump people, who'll be satisfied and "study war no more".

I'm talkin' 'bout "Potato Diplomacy" in a world where everyone, no matter who, can live LARGE.

That's my dream; that's my vision.

Hagar said...

Change the logo to a russet potato and keep right on truckin'?

Hagar said...

I like it!

Michael K said...

It would help if the federal government fixed the flawed "food pyramid" which is the real cause of obesity and type II diabetes.

paminwi said...

Wisconsin grows a lot of potatoes. This was an issue reported in Wisconsin newspapers back in March and April. And believe it or not talk radio out of Milwaukee actually covered this issue, too. When your state sells 3 billion pounds of potatoes this is a financial issue for many of our citizens.

The NYT is behind the curve on this one.

http://journaltimes.com/news/opinion/editorial/journal-times-editorial-the-potato-fights-for-its-nutritional-reputation/article_6f21acc6-bc46-11e3-8e40-001a4bcf887a.html

Henry said...

And no potato-based Vodka either.

* * *

Potatoes are fairly calorie-dense, for staples. Not like beans, but better than lettuce. They are also fairly inexpensive.

In pure economic terms, that of turning dollars into sustenance, the first lady is saying, "We want you to go hungry."

Henry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

Besides the obvious criticism that she is not a nutritionist and should shut her yap about what other people eat unless someone has hired her for her advice, which no one has---

I feel insulted, degraded and micro-aggressed by this attack by a powerful 1%er on a staple food of my culture-that is, the culture of poor white people.

I am with the libertarians who acknowledge that some people will just have to be fed because they are incapable of feeding themselves and we don't let people starve and beg on the street anymore (except for the mentally ill) but think we should eliminate food stamps and establish food warehouses where you can get your happy ass over to pick up your weekly allotment of dried beans, powdered milk and cabbage.

EDH said...

All this will do is create a black market in white potatoes.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

As parents, we always put our children’s interests first... And when we make decisions about our kids’ health, we rely on doctors and experts who can give us accurate information based on sound science.

If true, then including the potatoes in the WIC program will do no harm because, if they are not healthy, none of the parents would choose to buy them.

mezzrow said...

First, it is more difficult to focus on the skinny child, as the child is not as aesthetically offensive as an obese child. Our First Lady (OFL - pronounced "awful") is aghast at all the very obese young black/brown children out there, and her effort is her version of Ladybird Johnson's efforts to eliminate littering on America's highways.

The totalitarian impulse is very much a series of aesthetic decisions.

Keep America Beautiful!

Bob Ellison said...

The Michaels are on a roll here. I second their above comments.

Michael K, it's not just pop-science followers like Michelle Obama who misunderstand nutrition. They're still teaching that in schools. My wife recently finished nursing school, and they're still teaching that margarine is better than butter, carbs are better than meat, whole grains are better than not, fiber = anything gritty (not soluble), etc. They watched Food, Inc.. One of the professors spoke of a colleague who's a "locavore" and lives in Manhattan, eating only things sourced from something like a 25-mile radius. Insanity!

Most of the professionals do not understand nutrition at all.

RecChief said...

Tengentially, I watched a guy in front of me at the gas station today buy two 8oz plastic cartons of milk ($1.29 each, a quart at that store is $1.29); two 16 oz. Red bull energy drinks (close to $3.00 each, I think) and two packages of hostess mini donuts (at 1.89 each and the store sells fresh donuts for .89 each which are about the same number of ounces) with an EBT card. He also had two full sleeve tattoos, one of which was freshly worked on. So I made chitchat and eventually learned that he had spent close to $2000 per arm over the last couple of years. I must admit the artwork was really great.

I think the money spent on mandating what a person can and can't buy with my redistributed tax dollars would be better spent on money management classes for those on government assistance. I think it would do more good in the long run.

furious_a said...

The problem isn't potatoes, it's potato chips.

Chef Mojo said...

Food Nazis; I hate those guys...

lemondog said...

.. I think that it should be clear that there's a big difference between food stamps (or whatever they're calling them now) and WIC

SNAP, WIC, EBT — What’s the Difference?

and fyi:
Links to State Agency WIC Approved Food Lists

lemondog said...

Blogger Michael K said...

It would help if the federal government fixed the flawed "food pyramid" which is the real cause of obesity and type II diabetes.

Agree.

President-Mom-Jeans said...

Fuck that fat cow.

I look forward to that scowling bitch no longer being able to mooch off the taxpayers for her lavish vacations while scolding parents about how they raise their children.

Some Seppo said...

If you like your tuber you can keep your tuber. Period.

jaed said...

list of foods that women can purchase using WIC dollars

WIC dollars aren't limited to women. Men can't buy potatoes with them either. So that's another faux discrimination claim ("War on Women!!!!").

(The "Women" in "Women, Infants, and Children" means pregnant or nursing mothers only. WIC is specifically a program to increase protein, calcium, and some other nutrients for children gestation through age 5; women get extra food only insofar as they're currently nourishing a baby. It's not supposed to buy all the kids' food, and it's not supposed to be for the benefit of the women. It's questionable whether it should cover vegetables at all - the original rationale was that protein and calcium deficiencies in early childhood are endemic among poor families and are particularly damaging to development, which isn't generally the case for vitamins.)

Then we have the main issue, discrimination against potatoes, which allegedly don't contain "enough of the nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables they need". Since when are potatoes not nutrient-dense? (This actually is trying to say "micronutrient-dense", since potatoes obviously have a reasonable amount of calories... but let that pass.) The common potato is rich in magnesium, C, and B6. It provides potassium, Vitamin K, protein, and phosphorus. Copper and manganese, as well. Micronutrients galore and a better profile than leafy greens.

Granted, it is starchy, but the latest thing in paleo circles is "resistant starch" - starch that doesn't break down in the small intestine, which apparently doesn't have bad effects on blood sugar and insulin resistance - and potatoes, particularly cooked and chilled potatoes, are rich in resistant starch as well. So they're also paleo-friendly and pose less risk of triggering diabetes in genetically vulnerable individuals than pasta, bread, rice, beans, etc.

And yet the potato gets no love. It's even accused of discrimination! I ask you.

traditionalguy said...

Baked potatoes need lots of butter. Butter is good for you. So Momma Obama is screwing up people just to be the Big People Screwer Upper, like Karl Marx so enjoyed doing.

Apparently many grown up children miss the Mean Momma's of their youth. The kids of today not so much.

Matt said...

Who's this "we" Michelle Obama is talking about: "Research indicated that kids needed less sugar, salt and fat in their diets, so we revamped school lunch menus accordingly."? What she means is, the Department of Agriculture promulgated regulations changing the requirements of school lunch programs which it administers. The names of the government employees who prepared the regs are in the Federal Register. I can't seem to find Mrs. Obama's name, though.

Kevin Richards said...

Unless WIC $ exceeds the household grocery budget, which I suspect in most cases it does not, then you wouldn't expect any change in potato consumption patterns from a potato exclusion. Just a shifting of what does and doesn't get purchased with WIC $. Futile.

Funny the FLOTUS invokes parental interest in the well being of children while seeking to override (override!) parental preferences.

RecChief said...

As [the ruling class], we always put our [proles'] interests first [so they won't revolt]... And when we make decisions about our [proles' lives], we rely on doctors and experts [who are looking for grant money] who can give us information [that conforms to what we think is best for our proles] based on science [that conforms to the conclusions we reached first]. [Y]our leaders [have spoken].

There, what she really wants to say.

Levi Starks said...

The government wants all of its subjects to live to a ripe old age that the government considers appropriate, and then while in perfect health die in peaceful manner that the government considers appropriate.
We must end suffering at all cost.

Birches said...

Agree with the posters here defining the difference between WIC and SNAP. However, the truth is most women and children on WIC cannot consume all the dairy and cereal allotted to you per month. It's an insane amount. Either drop the allotment (won't somebody think of the children!?!?!?) or expand the offerings so the stuff doesn't go bad.

poker1one said...

Has anyone questioned what this promotion of fresh food to people who don't want to eat it (Michelle's improved school lunch program for instance) has done to the price of food for people that don't participate in government feeding programs (what a creepy constuction)? Could someone steer her to Thomas Sowell's basic economics book, bait the book with lobster if it will attract her to it, so she can read about the tragedy of misallocation of scarce resources.

Wasn't there a high-powered female character, in Ayn Rand's, Atlas Shrugged, who decides that soybeans are the perfect food, strips the midwest of rail cars to move the soybeans from California to market, denying the wheat farmers of the midwest of a means to move their product to market? Then the soybeans rot because they were picked at the wrong time.


North Korea, Cuba, Argentina, Venezuela, and now the USA. God help us.

Ralph Hyatt said...

I was going to rant about potatoes providing plenty of nutritional value, but Jaed beat me to it.

Therefore, I will limit myself to the observation that potato growers need to engage with the government more. (That is give politicians money.) Look what that did for the corn growers. A mandate to buy and burn their product!

Big Mike said...

though it does seem odd to have a feeding program and to regard its enrollees as overweight

Noticed that, did you?

Ann Althouse said...

"I also recall that the people on WIC were the absolute worst. I couldn't believe how rude and obnoxious the majority of them were to cashiers, over and over again."

Assuming that fact and assuming there's causality and not merely correlation, I wonder which direction the causality go.

Do rude people end up in the situation where they qualify or does the program make people rude?

Maybe it's irksome to go to the store for food, have to follow so many rules and see your limitations while other people get what they want, and then submit to enforcement under the authority of a cash register operator.

Smilin' Jack said...

I can imagine an Equal Protection violation if the government's list of permissible foods were devised with the intent to make life more difficult for those of a particular race or ethnic group, but it would be a stretch to see the disinclusion of potatoes this way.

Hmmm...would it be racist to disinclude watermelons? Or would it be racist to say that it would be racist to disinclude watermelons?

Ann Althouse said...

"Funny the FLOTUS invokes parental interest in the well being of children while seeking to override (override!) parental preferences."

This is very similar to the answer to the problem of "if you like your insurance, you can keep your insurance." At the point when it seemed that you couldn't, the argument was made -- seriously -- that if you thought you didn't like what the government had limited you to, then you just didn't understand your own true preferences on the level that the government had figured them out.

So with WIC shopping, the point is: You must care about your children and pursuant to that general interest that you must have, here's the true way to do what you want.

BDNYC said...

Potatoes are cheap and healthy. A great way to add some heft to vegetarian dishes.

I have no idea why the government would want to discourage people from buying potatoes. Sure, I can understand discouraging french fries and potato chips. But potatoes themselves are great.

Potatoes, rice and beans are about the cheapest way for a person to eat healthy. Fresh veggies and fruits are expensive, and mostly aren't very filling.

As a taxpayer, assuming the cost to me is constant, I'd rather the poor use my money to buy healthy food than junk food. But without potatoes as part of the equation, I bet junk food is substantially cheaper than health food. So my preferences change.

The ugliness of welfare is that sparks paternalistic thoughts in people. With paternalism comes a lack of respect, and we expect less of them. "These people don't know any better." It's not long before you begin to think of them as inferior, less rational beings. In need of a nudge or a push.

Unknown said...

mezzrow, just a heads up, the acronym OFL comes pretty close to "ofay."

mccullough said...

I assume that the representatives pushing for the potato inclusion are being lobbied by Big Potato.

Andy Freeman said...

> Maybe it's irksome to go to the store for food, have to follow so many rules and see your limitations while other people get what they want

What's "irksome" is that I'm forced to pay for these programs.

It's easy to get what you want just like those other people - pay for it like they do. In other words, don't be a beggar if you want to be a chooser.

RecChief said...

Has anyone questioned what this promotion of fresh food to people who don't want to eat it (Michelle's improved school lunch program for instance) has done to the price of food for people that don't participate in government feeding programs

Last I checked Paul Krugman still says there is n inflation. So, pipe down and let your betters decide what is best for everyone.

Paul Zrimsek said...

The woman paying with WIC checks who was in front of me the other day was perfectly nice to the cashier. But it took almost 10 minutes to ring up her modest amount of groceries.

Birches said...

Do rude people end up in the situation where they qualify or does the program make people rude?

I believe it's the latter. WIC and SNAP put it's recipients on edge because they have to make sure that everything they are buying qualifies, or they must separate their purchases. So some people feel put out, especially when they've been given grief by other customers or the cashier for getting things wrong. I also think it's the last vestiges of shame for needing government assistance in the first place.

Ralph Hyatt said...

"Do rude people end up in the situation where they qualify or does the program make people rude?"

I would guess that a least some of the people in the program are there because they lack the necessary "people skills" to get and hold a job.

Job skills taught to poor people in government programs often consist of rules such as:

Show up for work.
Show up on time.
Be polite to your boss and coworkers.
Be polite to the customers.
Show up for work, on time.
Dress appropriately.
Show up for work, on time.

mezzrow said...

@ Unknown...

Gracious. Never crossed my mind that anyone would go there, but I'm not attuned to that frequency of the whistle. Duly noted. No more.

what Ann at 10:41 points to is something that sounds a lot like the old "false consciousness" argument. You can drill that down in many directions, if that's how you roll.

Brando said...

I don't have any problem with what she's saying, but there is something unseemly about the concept of a First Lady (or First Gentleman), being an unelected bit of ballast for the President, having any real influence on public policy. I realize that sounds naive, as Presidents of course are influenced by their spouses and other unelected people, but in that case the decision is still on the President to bow to such influence. There is something unseemly and un-American about First Spouses taking on a public role for anything but extremely uncontroversial subjects (like literacy or doing your homework). If that sounds sexist, then maybe such First Spouses should run for office themselves. As a spouse of a President there should be some duty to steer clear of controversial topics simply because of the sensitivity of the position. Otherwise, you really have no grounds to pull the whole "leave the First Family out of this!" argument when things get ugly.

Being pro-nutrition is fine as far as noncontroversial topics go, but once you're commenting on specific legislation (and in this case, it's legislation affected by farming interests, federal welfare dollars being tossed around, etc.), you're crossing a line. Stick to promotional spots touting veggies and exercise.

Brando said...

Potatoes are of course delicious, and can be healthy. But I do understand the need for more veggies and the difficulty for many people to get fresh veggies regularly. A lot of stores carry only the saddest of vegetables so it's not hard to see why a lot of people don't get enough of them.

tim maguire said...

Government has to make choices about what goes in and what goes out and Ms. Obama is entitled to her opinion and input (though, in my opinion, she is not entitled to her bully pulpit--she has done nothing to earn it). What's offensive is how everything gets turned into partisan politics, attack those who disagree with you.

Now we can't even talk about potatoes without some dingbat riding her husband's coattails turning it into a war on science?

Joe said...

An awful lot of fruits and vegetables aren't nutritionally dense at all. Potatoes are. (I think potatoes get a bad rap because of potato chips and that baked potatoes are often served with mounds of other, albeit delicious, things--butter and bacon for me! Plus, people have to be freaked out about some foods that "commoners" like.

Sigivald said...

Now, some of you libertarians might think people ought to buy their own food, but there are government feeding programs, and once there are, the government gets to dictate what food it's going to pay for.

If we want to keep poor people from starving (and I think we do; I'm with Hayek on that), we should give poor people cash.

The extant programs are farm welfare disguised as poor people welfare. (And hugely market-distorting.)

If some people will spend the money on "the wrong things", I don't care - adults can make decisions and take the consequences.

The "fix" for that is worse than the "problem".

SGT Ted said...

What I am wondering is why the Fat Acceptance Activists aren't going after the Progressive Food police who are calling people "too fat" and then trying to control said fatties via coercion in the public schools and society at large?

SGT Ted said...

Using "science" to police the normal food choices of people smacks of totalitarianism. We aren't talking about soda or candy. We're talking potatoes fer Gawd's sake.

Andy Freeman said...

> Maybe it's irksome to go to the store for food, have to follow so many rules and see your limitations while other people get what they want, and then submit to enforcement under the authority of a cash register operator.

It's beyond irksome that I have to pay for that. He or she can refuse to participate. I can't.

As to other people getting choice, pay your way and you get to choose. In other words, if you want to be a chooser, don't be a beggar.

Doug said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mousebert said...

Ann Althouse

Of course being ethnically Irish, I "feel" discriminated against. Although I believe your legally and technically correct, in my experience that is not how the real world works. If there is a statistical difference in the outcome of the policy that "adversely" effect one group, then if is often interpreted as bias. I present Voter ID as an example of a law that is not discriminatory but that hasn't prevented it being called a racist law.

I've also heard of example of the use of statistic by those who don't understand statistic to demonstrate bias. Take a business with 20 employees and 3 minorities in an area where 5 is the average. The company is told it is discriminating because it is below average. Nothing is said about the distribution, or standard deviation. Therefore the company must have at least 5 minorities. So the average becomes a floor and thus moves the average up. So when everyone is in compliance, those at 5/20 are now again below average.

furious_a said...

What's taters, Precious, what's taters?

khesanh0802 said...

@Mattman26: (83: Who the f*ck elected Michelle?) Absolutely!!!

Doug said...

I work in the produce industry, and I can't wait to see how badly this goes over the Produce Marketing Association - the industry's foremost trade group.

The PMA got wholeheartedly behind Aunt Esther's "Let's Move!" and "Eat Healthy" campaigns, doing photo ops with her on her deal to license almost-for-free Sesame Street characters to market fruits and vegetables. Belatedly, they find out FLOTUS is giving the finger to PMA members who grow and market potatoes - like my company does.

Sooner or later, everyone is going to learn not to trust the Obamas.

Smilin' Jack said...

In opposition to this judgment of scientists, Michelle Obama sets "some members of the House of Representatives" — she refrains from calling them Republicans — who are threatening to let WIC money be used to buy potatoes...

I haven't checked, but I'm pretty sure this includes the entire Congressional delegation from Idaho, of whatever party.

Doug said...

How is it that President-Mom-Jeans's comments get posted and mine get censored?

Lydia said...

It's dumb to get all riled up over this one particular program's restrictions. Go read about WIC. It's aimed at a very specific population -- those who are at nutritional risk -- and they actually have to assessed by a health professional to be eligible. And it's in addition to food stamps. So, if your kid's a picky eater who demands potatoes, you can buy them with food stamps.

Seriously, this is where you want to take a stand -- in effect, working against those who have a defined health problem?

Lydia said...

It should also be noted that it's the potato lobby that's pushing for the change in the WIC food package to include white potatoes. And it’s a bipartisan effort:

“With white potatoes under attack on Capitol Hill, [the executive director of the Washington State Potato Commission] is happy that his state’s senators, Democrats Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, are on his side, promoting one of the state’s major crops in Congress.

They’re part of a bipartisan group of 20 senators from 12 states who want white potatoes included in the list of approved foods for the federal Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, or WIC.

‘I see some inconsistencies between the treatment of different vegetables,’ said Murray, who got a $1,000 donation from the National Potato Council last year. She’s a veteran member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, which approved the plan on a voice vote last week.

The senators, including a half dozen who received financial contributions from the potato lobby, represent many potato-rich states: Idaho and Washington, which rank first and second in production, respectively, along with Texas, Kansas, Oregon, New York, Colorado, Maine, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Michigan and North Dakota. The proponents include Republican Sens. Michael Crapo and Jim Risch of Idaho, John Cornyn of Texas and Jerry Moran of Kansas and Democratic Sens. Mark Udall and Michael Bennet of Colorado and Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow of Michigan.

It’s an unusual position for some of the senators, including Murray and Cantwell, who are at odds with groups such as the American Diabetes Association and the American Heart Association."

Peter said...

Then again, one can buy a ten-pound bag of russets for about $3., so perhaps government assistance isn't really necessary when it comes to buying potatoes?

Iapetus said...

Eat Okinawan sweet potatoes instead. They are purple in color, delicious, and even good for you. Okinawans are known for their longevity, you know. An Okinawan potato a day keeps the Grim Reaper away.

Michael Ryan said...

If the government is going to feed the poor, the meals should be nutritious and in every way suitable for sustaining a healthy individual. They should also suck. Soylent Red sounds about right.

Darrell said...

Every store has the freshest of vegetables in the frozen food section. Better prices too.

NotquiteunBuckley said...

"Bing defended the program, saying home prices are increasing in the targeted neighborhoods.

“If we wouldn’t have invested the money … those communities would have tilted the wrong way,” Bing said.

“(The neighbors) wanted us to save those homes. It was an investment. It was the right decision.'”


From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20140529/METRO01/305290038#ixzz339zhuLng

When the city spends $500,000 on a house, or a bunch of em, then sells it (them) for $100,000, that helps everyone. Everybody, LITERALLY, everyone wins.

The government cares about the little guy more than greedy citizens do. And the politicians are accountable, to the people, but the people ain't accountable for jack squat, so F(^* the people.

We got these damn cronyists you see, they support the Kochs and the GOP.

NotquiteunBuckley said...

I'm just glad that SOB D'Souza is facing jail time.

Let's me know this country has Justice and Honor and Freedom and Dignity.

If you let 10K here or 10K there be misspent, next thing you know the bastards will try to make off with billions.

xn--kthe-loa said...

Potatoes are a wholesome food that can be prepared in a lot of different ways and are packed with trace minerals. They are preferable to white rice in many ways.

But this isn't surprising, as WIC already restricts its recipients to purchasing "reduced fat" milk except for babies under 2 years of age. Low fat milk is basically a quick-burning carb and far from ideal for growing little brains. But the important thing, I guess, is that Michelle O and her friends don't have to look at unsightly fat three year olds.

But, at the same time, they offer families an *insane* quantity of juice each month. Yes, juice! And endless boxes of processed cereal. There's no sense to the guidelines, it's all fad and hysteria.

Fen said...

"Sound Science" doesn't mean what it use to.

Especially coming from an administration that needed to create "Jobs saved" as a metric to look competent.

Fen said...

"Sound Science" doesn't mean what it use to.

Especially coming from an administration that needed to create "Jobs saved" as a metric to look competent.

melanc said...

This is a well-written article. Thanks.
I'll read some comments, bound to be informative about white potatoes (to me, all potatoes are white, inside, except Sweet Potatoes)
If a set of scientists are of one opinion, the only people who can counter them is one or more sets of scientists.
Notice the scientists on the M.D. panel are not asked about science. They are asked about balancing a dietary government offering (at tax-payer expense, and that would be home owners). FLOTUS is not being scientific, while pretending to be.
That is called hypocrisy, an effective political tool, specially when the "scientists" form a monopoly of opinion (and know it). Leave it to M.D.'s to form a monopoly - they are used to it and see nothing incorrect with that.