The children’s conservative revolution

First lady Michelle Obama has joined with food activists to push through changes in  school lunch menus as a way to combat childhood obesity and promote better nutrition.  But children are rising up in revolution.  A new generation of anti-big government, anti-nanny state meddling, is born!  The Tea Party is passing its generational torch to the School Lunch Party.

A new product has popped up on the city’s black market and it’s selling in an unexpected place: Greater New Bedford Vocational-Technical High School, which has become ground zero for a new underground economy based on trade in chocolate syrup.

Students said some of their peers are buying the contraband liquid for 50 cents and squeezing it into cartons of white milk to give it flavor. It’s their way of coping with a ban on flavored milk — and a long list of other items — that took effect Aug. 1.

“Of course they got rid of dessert, (but) flavored milk … I don’t understand why we can’t have that,” said Paige Lame , 17, of New Bedford. She added that she thought the nutritional difference between white milk and chocolate, strawberry or coffee flavored milk was too minimal to have an important impact on health.

The changes reflect stricter nutrition standards imposed in January by the federal Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, which was championed by Michelle Obama and her “Let’s Move” initiative.

They are also part of a law passed by the state Legislature in 2010 as a step toward combating childhood obesity. That law states that milk with more sugar than nonfat or 1 percent white milk may not be served a la carte starting in August 2013.

The rules, which apply to schools across the state, also reduce the amount of protein served to high schoolers, and increase servings of fruit and vegetables — going so far as to specify how many servings of green vegetables, legumes, and red/orange vegetables should be consumed each week. . . .

The changes are especially hard at the elementary school level, where hummus and black bean salad have been a tough sell, said Nancy Carvalho, director of food services for the New Bedford Public Schools, adding that bowls of chili served Wednesday to comply with the legume specifications were “not a very good decision.” . . .

At Voc-Tech, the changes have produced complaints from some students that portions are too small — particularly since the price of lunch has increased 10 cents to $1.95, again due to a federal mandate.”How do they expect us to go through the day and work hard when they give us smaller portions and we’re hungry?” said Ashley Chaneco, 13, of New Bedford.

“You’re paying more for less,” said Erik Cortez, 16, of New Bedford. “I get it, but why should they have the right to tell you what you can and can’t eat?”

via Healthy food policy at school jumpstarts chocolate syrup trade | SouthCoastToday.com.

Imagine trying to get elementary school-aged kids to eat humuus!

Hungry school children are now bringing their lunches and eating more snacks.  See this report.

And this new rising generation of radicalized students, newly opposed to big government and nanny-state meddling, are battling the oppression with the tools that they have.  Not only setting up black markets for chocolate syrup and other newly-controlled substances, but using the new information technology to promote the cause.   Consider this very creative video they made, which has now, of course, gone viral:

Report from a battleground state

We live in Virginia, which has been named a battleground state, a crucial source of lots of electoral votes that could go either way.  So we denizens of that state–sorry, Commonwealth–are being subject to lots of campaigning.

Every time we turn on the television, say, to watch a ballgame, virtually every commercial break includes an ad for Barack Obama.  These are just hammering Mitt Romney and are effectively made.  To be sure, some of them are ludicrous, repeating long-refuted charges that even liberal fact-checkers have debunked, such as Mitt Romney being responsible for businesses outsourcing jobs to China.  One Obama commercial is all about how Romney will raise your taxes!  Not on the basis of anything Romney has proposed but simply because Democrats are saying that “he would have to” raise middle class taxes to pay for his economic plan.  Obama attacking Romney for raising taxes!  But we don’t see any Romney commercials answering those charges or refuting those claims or taking the Democrats to task for their bogus ads.  There are actually relatively few Romney ads at all, and they are mostly bland and unmemorable.  The one that sticks out the most is a super-Pac spot that consists mainly of elderly small business owners carping about President Obama in a crotchety but not particularly inspirational way.

What the Romney campaign is doing in Virginia is robo-calls.  Last weekend, I got four in one hour.  Recorded calls featuring Mike Huckabee or someone else exhorting me to vote for Romney.  I hate robo-calls.  Even when they are on behalf of someone I might support.  They are an intrusion, an interruption of whatever I am doing, an annoyance.  Let me ask you:  Do you or anyone you know appreciate getting robo-calls?  Do any of you bother to so much as listen to them completely?  Don’t you hang-up as soon as you realize the call is a recording?  Do they make you more likely to vote for the candidate who is subjecting you to these things?  I have the sense that every time the robo-calls for Romney go out, thousands and thousands of Virginia voters are turning against him.   Which triggers more and more robo-calls for Romney.

An Obama volunteer knocked on our door.  He was an elderly gentleman, actually, but quite enthusiastic.  He said that he had a grandson who was going to college and that President Obama was making it possible.  He said that Obama started the Pell grants.  Uh, no, my wife explained.  Pell grants started in 1965.  We, nearly as old as he was, got Pell grants.  But that didn’t phase him.  He said Romney would ruin America, and we’ve really got to re-elect Obama.

No Romney volunteer has knocked on our door.  Does he even have volunteers?  Or just paid workers and party loyalists?  I haven’t come across any.

I live in a battleground state, but it seems like only one side is battling.

NFL reaches agreement with Refs

The NFL reached a tentative labor agreement with the professional referees.  There will be no more replacement refs, as of the Thursday night game.  The Packers were a sacrifice that caused the reconciliation.   I was afraid President Obama would assure his re-election by sending out troops, not to break a strike, but to break the owners and their lockout..

Sorry about that, NFL chief says of replacements – CNN.com.

The coming Obama landslide

It looks bad for Romney.  Very, very bad.  More than likely, it’s not even going to be close.

The RealClear Politics site posts an average of the latest polls, the idea being that taking an average has the effect of leveling out the discrepancies.  If the election were held today, Obama has 247 electoral votes sewn up, with Romney having 191.  The winner needs 270.

But Obama is ahead in all of the battleground states except for Missouri.  If we go by all of the states Obama is leading in, he has 347!

I know, I know, Republicans are saying the polls have sampling bias.  The debates haven’t happened yet.  And there is supposedly plenty of time.

But does anyone really think that Romney will be a better debater than Obama?

Do those who believe “it’s the economy, stupid,” expect the economy to get even worse than it is today?  It is already terrible, but that’s apparently not enough to turn voters against Obama.

Yes, Obama is unpopular (favorability rating +6.8).  But Romney is even more unpopular (favorability rating -.4).

Is there realistically any hope for Romney to defeat Obama?  How could Republicans blow this opportunity?

 

via RealClearPolitics – Opinion, News, Analysis, Videos and Polls.

UPDATE:  If you want a more optimistic take for the Republicans, see this, in which Dick Morris, in a rather tortuous interpretation that depends on one poll and one sampling method, thinks Romney is actually pulling ahead!  I hope he is right and I am wrong.

Confessional Anglicanism

My colleague Dr. Roberta Bayer, editor of The Anglican Way (the publication of the Prayer Book Society), has edited a new book entitled Reformed and Catholic: Essays in Honor of Peter Toon.  It contains some fascinating essays about the Reformation in England, Richard Hooker, the Thirty-nine Articles, worship, and Thomas Cranmer (much of whose English rendition of the liturgy was carried over into the Lutheran divine service, including many of our collects).

I wrote a blurb for the book, and this is what I said:

“Anglicanism is not another flavor of liberal Protestantism, nor merely a via media between Protestantism and Catholicism, nor an open-ended range of beliefs from Puritanism to Anglo-Catholicism. The essays in this book disclose a confessional Anglicanism growing out of the conservative Reformation, a theology formed by worshipping with the Book of Common Prayer.”

 

An art critic discovers Luther

Daniel Siedell is a Christian art critic and curator, the author of God in the Gallery: A Christian Embrace of Modern Art.  In a recent post on his Patheos blog Cultivare, he describes how frustrated he became with evangelical and Reformed scholarship on the arts, leading him to turn to Catholic and Orthodox theologians.  But then he discovered Luther and Lutheranism, who were not at all the way he had assumed:

 The outlier in my aesthetic evangelical resourcement was Luther, whom I had simply lumped into the Protestant tradition as a “pre-Calvinist” and a “post-Catholic,” shaped as I was by the biases of Catholic and Reformed interpreters, and art historians like Joseph Leo Koerner, who blamed the Reformer for a privatized, relativized, and disenchanted Protestant faith. But things changed when my family and I became members of a confessional Lutheran Church (LCMS), and I discovered through the weekly practice of the preached Word and Sacrament, that Philip Cary is right: Luther is not quite Protestant. And for the sake of enriching evangelical cultural thought, that is a very good thing, as even Reformed historian Mark Noll observed in his classic essay, “The Lutheran Difference,” published in 1992 in First Things. But, unfortunately, as Kevin DeYoung admitted last summer, Luther and the Lutheran tradition remain virtually unknown to conference-circuit evangelicalism.

Although I practiced the Christian faith in the Lutheran tradition for almost eight years, it was not until I encountered Luther, liberated from a confessional tradition that had domesticated it and non-Lutheran thinkers who had distorted it, and interpreted through sensitive readers like the Hamann scholar Oswald Bayer, Steve Paulson, Gerhard Ebeling, and Gerhard Forde, that he came alive for me, presenting to me a Luther I never knew. And a Luther evangelicalism desperately needs.

What I discovered is a Luther whose thought offers fertile ground for a desperately needed re-evaluation of evangelical approaches to art and culture, from his understanding of the distinctions between the letter and the spirit; law and gospel; theology of the cross and theology of glory; the kingdom of God and the kingdom of this world; the human being as simultaneously sinner and saint; God hidden and revealed; and nature and grace. In addition, in his revolutionary understanding of vocation and through his emphasis on the sacramental nature of the preached Word, Luther opens up space to think freely and creatively about modern art, without expectations for what art should look like. For Luther, it is not what we see, but what we hear from paintings, when the bullets are flying, when push comes to shove, as we live and feel the pressure of life and the strained relationship between God and neighbor.

And so I find Luther a welcome and helpful companion when I go to art museums and art galleries, when I am confronted by work that looks different, that frustrates my expectations, and distracts me by its strangeness. Luther is teaching me to wait in faith, and listen, with love.

via Luther, Evangelicals, and Modern Art.


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