Making WIC healthier

I saw an update from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that many states are trying to update their WIC program to better reflect newer nutritional standards and combat obesity.

Under the dietary changes, foods such as whole grain breads and cereals, canned or dried beans, and jarred baby foods will be made available to WIC recipients. In addition, beneficiaries can receive cash-value checks to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables. Another update to the state's WIC program calls for whole milk to be provided only to children between 12 months and 24 months and for all women and children older than age 2 to receive vouchers that cover only the cost of skim or 1 percent milk. In response to reports suggesting that juice consumption contributes to childhood overweight and obesity, New York is also looking to restrict the number of vouchers provided for the purchase of juice and eliminate juice options for children younger than age 2.

Horrible eating habits are responsible for the obesity epidemic in America. The old "food pyramid" is wrong, just wrong. That's why WIC is encouraging the purchase of fresh fruit and vegetables. That's why they are trying to eliminate whole milk and juice, which are unnecessary calories. More after the break. Newer nutritional understanding has, for all intents and purposes, turned the pyramid upside down. This is the old pyramid, you can see that it says you should eat lots of grains.
This is the new pyramid as designed at Harvard.

You can see that the white bread, white pasta group has moved to the top of the pyramid, use sparingly. Even the remainder of the pyramid blocks are better defined, such as "healthy fats" versus just "oils".

This is the "new" pyramid from USDA, which I'm not happy with. The USDA has tried to turn the pyramid into a rainbow logo - I'm not thrilled about it. Either way, I think what the WIC is doing is great. Folks often say you can't regulate good behavior, "What are you going to do, tax fatty foods?" Well, yeah. At least in this case you can, what you can do is limit tax-payer dollars for things that make you fat and unhealthy and expand funding for foods that are healthy. No more Cheetos and Wonder Bread, more apples and oranges.

The Frog in The Well

Retail sales figures for the last quarter of '08 are coming in, and the only remotely positive reports emerging are, "It's not quite as bad as we feared." But there's not very many of those, either. This is not really news, because everybody expected it, and some forward-thinkers are hoping it might stimulate a move away from our consumer-based economy. I, on the other hand, fear that our economic blight will merely push us into a deeper reliance on cheap imports.

While Rome burns


There's big inauguration happening in DC later this month, but there's another going down this weekend in Raleigh. The Dome has been all a-twitter with coverage of the extravagance, the red dress, and the happy dancing to be had.

A few weeks ago, Rob Schofield captured my own opinion about the grand affair.

None of this is to imply that there isn't a place for ceremony and celebration at important moments of institutional renewal in our democracy. No one's saying we shouldn't fire some guns or have a nice parade. But if such celebrations occur they ought to belong to all of us and be conducted with some eye toward the tenor of the times. At this point, next month's celebrations look like they will amount to nothing more than business as usual in a dreadfully unusual time.

The phrase "fiddling while Rome burns" seems to perfectly fit the bill.

Buyin' bulbs

Lisa Sorg at the Independent Weekly has an important little story today about mercury in fluorescent bulbs. You should read it.

The Environmental Working Group, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit group, researched CFLs and found that some have lower levels of mercury than others. In its Green Lighting Guide, the EWG identifies seven models made by Earthmate Litetronics, Sylvania, Felt, MaxLite and Philips that contain just 1 milligram to 2.7 milligrams of mercury per bulb. Mercury levels in other CFLs can range from 4 to 6 milligrams.

It's the little stuff that matters.

Why do the gays still want a "hate crimes" law?

Because you can still kill a fag, AND taunt his corpse in a recorded voice mail, but just serve 8 months.

I'll post the link to the full story from Pam Spaulding, although this story is posted on several sites including I won't post the background here. Follow the story and links at Pam's place.

Just across the state line, this killer was plea bargained down to an outrageous deal only some months ago, but is coming up for a possible parole hearing soon.

Why is this important? Because it shows the continuing need for "hate crimes" laws.

annexation hearings

Hearings this morning on municipal annexation in the General Assembly. Sounds well attended. Municipal leaders acknowledge that there have been cases of abuse, but urge that the state not make big changes. Lots of individual getting up with stories of said abuse. Several people advocating for local annexation authority as well.
This looks like a big fight a brewing.
Click Audio from Room 643.
Committee members list.


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