Thursday, May 19, 2011

Good Potatoes Gone Bad

c3e8bda34727340f4c4571dd6c823b34It’s a sad day in Mr. Potato Head’s world

You probably heard about the great potato caper by now, the
USDA’s proposal to ban potatoes from school lunchrooms. Technically this effort got underway late last year with this FDA dictum for WIC recipients:

Under an interim rule, the USDA agreed to bar WIC participants from buying potatoes, with their federal dollars. Potatoes are the only vegetables not allowed.

Although this campaign has been going on much longer, and has much bigger game in its site:

Michelle Obama, the first lady and a healthy-eating advocate, has her sights set on a new target: the nation’s restaurants.

A team of advisers to Mrs. Obama has been holding private talks over the past year with the National Restaurant Association, a trade group, in a bid to get restaurants to adopt her goals of smaller portions and children’s meals that include healthy offerings like carrots, apple slices and milk instead of French fries and soda, according to White House and industry officials.

Butt as is often the case, to really see what’s going on around here you have to peer below the surface to get to the transparency part. In this case if you look carefully you’ll see that it isn’t a ban against ALL potatoes: just WHITE potatoes.

That’s right: potatoes of color get special treatment.

t1larg_michelleobamasweetpotato_giThat’s quite a spud!

Now I know what you’re thinking: it’s because Lady M grows some of the finest sweet potatoes on the planet in her Big White Organic Garden of Versus.

65577730-us-firstWhat am I gonna do with all these damn sweet potatoes?

And while that’s certainly a very good theory, that’s not it.

Your second guess would probably be that it’s all about Lady M’s attempt to eliminate fat kids behinds in one generation. Butt that’s not it either.

It’s really all about our Agricultural Secretary Vilsack’s need to perform a "cultural transformation" due to a decades-long (or at least during the Bush administration) problem with a lack of diversity and a history of discrimination at the USDA. Which is funny because I thought the shakedown payoffs settlement in the Pigford case paid off all that ginned up guilt.

Apparently not, because the agency just concluded a two year long, $8 million “study” into claims of discrimination. Per the report, as usual, women and minorities were effected the most.

Butt buried somewhere in the Jackson Lewis LLP Corporate Diversity Counseling Group’s very lengthy report (at least we got our money’s worth!) was the recommendation that the USDA, going forward, ban white potatoes and allow only potatoes of color, aka sweet potatoes. Think of it as leveling the potato field.


The U.S. Department of Agriculture is proposing to eliminate the "white potato"-defined as any variety but the sweet potato-from federally subsidized school breakfasts and to limit them sharply at lunch.

Butt there may be blood in the war on spuds:

Messing with a stalwart like the spud doesn't go well with the potato industry, school cafeteria directors and legislators from potato-growing regions. They're fighting to see that in schools, no potato is left behind.

As part of the effort, spud sellers are promoting potatoes as a "true gateway vegetable" that could lead kids to broccoli.

I don’t know; I sure wouldn’t want to be the one to tell Carl that he can have all the broccoli he wants, butt no fried tator’s today:

So carry on. We’ve got much bigger battles to fight than Affirmative Action for potatoes of color. In case you forgot, we’ve got 3 wars going on and Big Guy is scheduled to announce the solution to the problem today. Not surprisingly, it’s going to cost us more money. So let’s get that debt ceiling raised, already, so we can send more foreign borrowed money to the Mideast. You know: WTF.