When it comes to the politics of school lunch programs, the easy part is agreeing that kids should be eating more fruits and vegetables.
The hard part? Determining what counts as a vegetable. Take, for instance, the tomato sauce on pizza. As part of new nutrition standards proposed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, schools would need to use about one-half cup of tomato paste on pizza in order for the sauce to count as a vegetable serving.
Lawmakers say pizza and french fries deserve to keep their place in school cafeterias. New nutrition standards aimed at putting more fresh and healthy food in front of kids are being revised in a current House agriculture appropriations bill. The latest version says the tomato sauce on a slice of pizza is the equivalent of a vegetable. Critics are likening it to the "ketchup-as-a-vegetable-controversy" during the Reagan administration.
In an interview with NPR, Secretary of Energy Steven Chu vigorously defended the actions of the Department of Energy with regards $528 million in loans it gave the now-bankrupt solar energy company Solyndra.
Chu told All Things Considered's Melissa Block that neither he nor any of his staff working on DOE loans program was swayed by politics and that even in hindsight there was no way to know that Solyndra would fail.
Polls continue to show former House Speaker Newt Gingrich solidly in the top tier of Republican presidential contenders. But at the same time, he is dogged by questions about a job he had after leaving Congress: consulting for the mortgage giant Freddie Mac — but not, he says, lobbying.
The questions began at the candidates' debate in Michigan last Wednesday, when CNBC's John Harwood asked Gingrich what he did for a $300,000 contract with Freddie Mac in 2006.
"I offered them advice on precisely what they didn't do," Gingrich said last week.
A State Supreme Court judge has backed New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the owners of Zuccotti Park, saying police had a right to enforce rules that prohibit camping at the park overnight. In the pre-dawn hours, Bloomberg ordered the removal of protesters from the park.
Earlier, another Supreme Court judge had issued a temporary injunction and ruled the protesters could return to the park with tents and sleeping bags.
When the United States Supreme Court agreed Monday to hear a challenge to the health care reform law, the Court also announced that the parties would have more than the usual one hour to argue the case before the justices. That is not unheard of in particularly important cases — Bush v. Gore was allotted ninety minutes. But at five and a half hours, the length of time given for the health care case is nearly unprecedented in the modern Court.
Getting an earful, members of a Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council Committee today debated a new noise ordinance. Three years in the making, it was the proposal’s first public review. During that same time, resident Carl Leonard says his neighborhood been harmed by a noisy automotive business. “I’ve been there for 30 years and suddenly in my neighborhood my life, my home is threatened by this noise that we went through the process to try to solve and it failed, the process failed,” said Leonard.
The federal Centers for Disease Control calls fluoridated water one of the top 10 public health achievements of the 20th century. But many people still aren't convinced.
In Florida, opponents recently persuaded Pinellas County commissioners to stop adding fluoride to the water supply — a practice the county began in 2003. By the end of the year, Pinellas will once again be the largest county in Florida without fluoridated water.