The food police are feeling their oats , so to speak, and it is not a pretty sight. We have nefarious things afoot in the Empire State and that is not even the worst of it. First, there is A.10129 that has been introduced in the New York legislature by Brooklyn Assemblyman Felix Ortiz. The bill would ban the use of salt in any restaurant in the state and provide for a fine of $1000 per violation.
Item#2, also from New York. For the second straight year Gov Paterson has included a proposed soda tax in his budget. Now, read very carefully his reason.” Someone has got to contribute to the $7.6 billion the state spends every year to treat obesity.” His proposal dovetails nicely with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s call for a 1 cent tax per ounce on soft drinks. Paterson also hinted that other products such as burgers and candy bars could be tax targets.
And, just down I-95 in Philadelphia, the city budget for fiscal year 2011 includes a 2 cents per ounce tax on sugar sweetened beverages. Approval is pending.
Finally, researchers writing in the Archives of Internal Medicine are suggesting taxation as a weapon in the obesity fight. They estimate that an 18% tax on pizza and soft drinks could cause a decrease of as much as 5 pounds annually in the weight of the average American adult. Presumably this would happen by reduced consumption due to the tax.The team, which was led by Kiyah Duffy of UNC has strong allies in the American Heart Association and the Centers for Disease Control director, Dr Thomas Frieden.
What does all this activity bring to mind? Why, the campaign against smoking, of course. Don’t be at all alarmed if somewhere, either New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco gets this tax passed. If one city does it, others will be sure to follow. Then,the door is open to tax on multiple items;candy, cookies, any fast food, even sugar itself. And, it is all in the name of health. So, that wouls make it good and right, right?
There are fewer agencies worse than the evil NSA in the liberal mind. But, located in Philadelphia’s historic Main Line suburbs( read that as very wealthy) is an agency that may give the NSA folks a run for their money. What possibly could be located there and do anything covert? Why, it is the Lower Merion School District under the leadership of Dr Christopher W McGinley.
From his photo, the superintendent does not look at all subversive. But, it appears that appearances may be a bit deceiving in this case.
Being an affluent school district, Lower Merion thought it was a good idea to issue Apple laptops to the 2,300 students at its two high schools. The first of many questions is why? One would think that the vast majority of the students in such an affluent area could afford their own or may already have a laptop.
The “district” laptops have a security feature, deactivated yesterday according to McGinley, intended to track lost , missing or stolen laptops. This feature existed without the knowledge of the students or their parents. It was supposedly used 42 times in the last 14 months. What is the security feature, a remotely activated webcam. Question# 2, no one saw the potential for a problem here? And why was no one informed, say parents?
We move on. Only two employees on the system’s technology department were authorized to activate the feature, says system spokesman Doug Young.
We move next to the case of Hariton High student Blake Robbins. It seems that young Mr Robbins, trough use of the webcam, though he was” engaged in improper behavior in his home.” Wonder what that was and what business of theirs was it to arbitrate such? According to te lawsuit that has now been filed, vice principal Lindy Matsko cited a photograph ” embedded” in his school issued laptop.
I am normally opposed to what I consider our suit happy culture, but it seems that the Robbins family might just have a decent case.
Dr McGinley posted a letter on the district website yesterday that among other things stated that there would be a thorough review of the policies that led to this situation.
If this could happen in a district that says it has a “longstanding reputation as one of the finest school systems in the United States,” it could easily be repeated since school systems could be said to be prolific copycats.
In all honesty, this is a scary, scary thing and I hope that “it has been nipped in the bud” to quote our old friend Barney Fife.
The breaking of the fast, aka breakfast, has long been my favorite meal. Give me my coffee and an egg mcmuffin or dounts or just regular muffins or any one of an almost endless number of choices, always including coffee of course, and I am content. Alas, it has not always been so. As an elementary school student, my sisters had quite a difficult chore persuading me to eat before school. Probably because I had yet to discover coffee.
Were I an elementary school student in Philadelphia today, I would be in trouble according to an article by Philadelphia Inquirer writer Alfred Lubrano. It seems that the City of Brotherly Love will now hold its school principals accountable for their students eating breakfast. Currently, only 33% of the school district’s 165,000 students eat breakfast, although it is free regardless of family income. The numbers vary widely from school to school , with some scoring 98% success rates and others as low as 18%.
Listen to those who are happy and those who are not. Kathy Fisher, PCCY family economic security associate, Michael Masch, school system chief financial officer, Jim Weill, President of the Washington based Food Research and Action Center,attorney Jonathan Stein with Community Legal Services ( he says it’s an exciting thing) Superintendent Arlene Ackerman, Wayne Grasela, sr vice-president of food services for the district, These folks are all on board. Principals were not quoted in the article. But, can you imagine your job status being affected by whether or not a sufficient number of children eat breakfast?
Ah, but what about those who ate at home? The target numbers, which will vary from school to school, already have made reasonable allowances for that. Wonder how number crunchers arrived at that?
So, for the systema as a whole, the goal in 2 years is to go from 33% to 43%. Not much of a goal it doesn’t seem. But, remember, this is all for the children. Studies show that a child who eats breakfast learns at a better rate. I bet I would work at a better rate if my employer provided me breakfast. Guess I shouldn’t hold ny breath waiting for that to happen though.
Two final comments and these are good ones. The Pennsylvania Department of Education ruled earlier this year that if students eat breakfast in class with a teacher present, it counts as instructional time. Learning about food groups and caloric content, I guess. Finally, from the afore-mentioned Mr Weill, “School breakfast is so important that it makes sense to hold people in the system accountable.”
The nanny state wins anther one!
Yesterday, I alluded to whether a celebrity’s viewpoints on political or social viewpoints should affect how I view or patronize his/her body of work. There are many individuals that one could use to illustrate that. And, in the interest of full disclosure, I often choose whether or not to watch a program or movie starring say, Julia Roberts or George Clooney as prima facie examples, based on their political views. Silly, perhaps, childish, also possible and maybe even nonsensical. Both Mrs THT and my son think all of these things are not only possibly true but are more than likely facts. Admittedly, these principles are not inviolate since I like Forest Gump quite a lot. Hey, at least Gary Sinise is in it. Just recently, I visited the website for CBS Channel 3 in Philadelphia and they were thoughtful enough to provide a slideshow with some of the more hardcore liberal Democrat celebrities. Now, having said all that, if they choose to be outspoken liberals, that is their right and more power to them if they feel that way. Be a bit more consistent I would ask and don’t resort so strongly to personal attacks that are (opinion, here) given more credence than they deserve just because a person is a celebrity. Does this work both ways, yep. But as my good friends at CBS3 in Philadelphia say, “Hollywood stars are generally considered to be a liberal and Democratic-leaning community.” Take notes, Sean Penn and Woody Harrelson.
Now, on to more specifics. ubercelebrity Brad Pitt or Mr Brad Jolie has been rumoured to interested in maybe, perhaps being mayor of New Orleans. Got the name recognition part down already. Based on an interview he did with Bill Maher recently, he has his Democrat creds well in order.
Among other things he is pro gay marriage and in fact understands it better than religion which according to him doesn’t make sense and doesn’t make sense for him in in the long Surprise, something we agree on, religion doesn’t always make sense to me either. Continuing…”like gay marriage…You have a group of people telling other people how to live their lives and you can’t do that.” There is at least one law , probably more than one that you or I don’t like or agree with that is telling us how to live some aspect of our lives. Gotta work on those political skills , Brad. Commenting further on the marriage issue he says…”Let’s stop the nonsense.”
One more issue he touched on was marijuana. Maher also asked him about his joint rolling skills. Pitt said that yes he was an artist at that.Why did he give it up? You will love this or I did. ” I’m a dad now. You want to be alert.” Well, there you go. telling your kids how to live, really.
Hey, if you run for mayor of New Orleans, can you get your wife to make a campaign appearance in North Carolina? Just kidding, I think.
( Info was also in a Parade magazine article.) Boy if I find out Mark Harmon’s politics are way different from mine, am I in trouble. I know, I just won’t find out!
We left the story of the bell hanging yesterday, although it actually hasn’t hung in quite a while. Sorry, just couldn’t resist. Anyway, moving forward. Anything as old as the Liberty Bell ( 250+ years) is bound to have a lot of trivia and a bit of hyperbole to it. And so it does.
Being a big fan of history( if I could have figured out how to make a living at it, I should have gone into the field after college) , I love all the stories and the names and dates associated therewith. As we said yesterday, the bell originated in London where it was cast by Whitechapel Foundry at a cost of 150 pounds, 13 shillings, 8 pence. This cost also included shipping and insurance.
Some 9 months later, a crack was discovered which apparently came from a sort of test ringing. Two workmen named Pass and Stow were hired to repair the crack and also got their names on the bell. After their repair ( by adding copper) the bell’s sound apparently was a bit disappointing to those who heard it. Even so, it was hung in the statehouse steeple. But, a new bell was ordered and it also sounded unsatisfactory. Bell#2 was hung in a cupola on the statehouse roof and handled the mundane ringing, while #1 bell rang only on special occasions. In fact, it soon began to be rung over every perceived English grievance, so much so, that in 1772, some complained about the noise. That sounds like a good 21st century move, huh? Little did they know that the bell would eventually be silenced. The beginning of the end can be dated from 1774 when the first problems were noted with the steeple.
In 1777, the bell was hidden lest the British capture it. On its journey it was guarded by a North Carolina colonel named Thomas Polk. When it returned, the discovery of even more deterioration in the steeple caused it to go into storage for 7 years.It was finally rehung 1n 1785 and rang 2 years later when the Constitution was ratified. Alas, it did not ring when the Declaration of Independence was first read. It also rang periodically on momentous occasions, particularly on the deaths of famous Americans.
This next is very interesting and I had no clue about it. In 1828, the decision was made to have a new bell cast by foundry owner John Wilbank. He was supposed to haul away the old bell, but did not. This being America, even then, a lawsuit ensued for Wilbank breaching his contract with the city of Philadelphia. He argues that the $400 value of the bell was less than his cost to dispose it. Calmer heads sort of prevailed and the judge crafted a cool compromise. The city would keep the bell and Wilbank paid court costs. The catch was that the Wilbank family felt they owned the bell and were “loaning” it to the city.Periodically members of the family agitated for it to be returned but in a 1915 agreement agreed the city could keep it as long as it stayed in Independence Hall. Of course, governments being what they are, the city moved it a block or so and in 1984 almost lost it again.
In 1837, the name Liberty Bell was first used in an abollitionist pamphlet and it stuck. Sort of fitting, I think, although belated. The great crack occurred on February , 1846 when it was rung for the 100th celebration of George Washington’s birth. In a somber article just 2 days later the Philadelphia Public Ledger bemoaned the fact that the bell was “irreparably cracked and dumb”. Beginning in the 1880′s the bell was actually well enough to make several road trips. One went all the way to San Francisco.
Obviously, I could go on. But just a couple more cool facts. On December 31,1926, to celebrate the nation’s 150th birthday,microphones captured the sound of the bell itself as it was struch witha specially designed hammer. More recently, On April 6, 2001 it was attacked by a somewhat deranged tourist, fortunately suffering minor damage.
See, history is fun, even if it is just about a Bell.
… unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubilee unto you:and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family. The King James Version, Leviticus 25:10. And the first part is inscribed on our Liberty Bell itself, although it wasn’t even called that at first.
The bell is for certain one of our country’s iconic symbols and is one of the few that I have been privileged to see up close and personal. This was a picture I took while on a Habitat for Humanity trip with our church(First Baptist -Eden NC). The young ladies , whose names I forget ,were part of our group that spent a week working in the city of Brotherly Love. I had originally intended just a single post about the bell, but I really liked the look of the enlarged picture, ergo, we shall have a couple days on the bell as we prepare for Independence Day and our country’s 233rd birthday. One small tidbit among many that intrigued me. A gentleman named Isaac Norris, Speaker of the Pennsylvania Assembly, commissioned the Assembly’s agent in London, Robert Charles, to buy a bell. Mr Norris was also the person who chose the scripture that is inscribed thereon. Interestingly, it comes from an Old Testament book that is probably somewhat obscure to many churchgoers today.
Tomorrow, who made the bell, where has it traveled, when did it crack and when and for whom it was last rung.
- Bible study
- Christian living
- Foreign Policy
- International politics
- Legal system
- Life and Death
- Local Politics
- State Politics