A pizza is a vegetable: only in America…!

It’s very easy to sum things up in single words, phrases, images etc but it’s not always fair or accurate. However, this, for me, gets fairly close to the truth. Over in the land of the freely unhealthy…

‘A pizza is a vegetable.’

I was shocked, amazed, offended, saddened, but at the same time not completely surprised.

‘In a victory for the makers of frozen pizzas, tomato paste and French fries, Congress on Monday blocked rules proposed by the Agriculture Department that would have overhauled the nation’s school lunch program.

The proposed changes — the first in 15 years to the $11 billion school lunch program — were meant to reduce childhood obesity by adding more fruits and green vegetables to lunch menus, Agriculture Department officials said.’

The rules, proposed last January, would have cut the amount of potatoes served and would have changed the way schools received credit for serving vegetables by continuing to count tomato paste on a slice of pizza only if more than a quarter-cup of it was used. The rules would have also halved the amount of sodium in school meals over the next 10 years.

But late Monday, lawmakers drafting a House and Senate compromise for the agriculture spending bill blocked the department from using money to carry out any of the proposed rules.

‘Margo Wootan, director of nutrition policy at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, told TPM that the only reason tomato paste is credited differently than other fruits and vegetables is because pizza makers want it that way. She’s not arguing for a half-cup of pizza sauce on each serving of pizza, but she says “it’s a shame that Congress is more interested in protecting (special interests) than protecting children’s health. … They should be helping USDA serve healthier school meals, not making it harder.”

What they’re saying is that a portion of pizza (with no vegetables on it) can be classified as half a serving of vegetables, due only to the two tablespoons of sugary tomato sauce which is on it. The larger half-cup of sauce is what would be needed to bring the pizza portion up to a half vegetable portion, if the sauce was classified on its own.

So, now Congress have kept the same rules as before, kids all over America are still getting part of their vegetable intake while eating their healthy cheese pizzas. I think i’ve found one of the reasons why the States are in trouble.

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Closing net…

Well, it’s not looking great for the Australian Julian Assange. He’s taken on the most powerful organisation in the world and will probably pay the price for it. There has been an Interpol alert sent out to all law enforcement agencies. He has now just presented himself to the police and will also now appear in court.

Many US representatives have also had their say…

Tom Flanagan, now a professor at the University of Calgary, suggested on television last week that Assange “should be assassinated, actually“, adding: “I think Obama should put out a contract and maybe use a drone or something.

The former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin has described Assange as “an anti-American operative with blood on his hands“. The senior Republican Mike Huckabee said that “anything less than execution is too kind a penalty“.

As the legal net continued to close around the whistleblowers’ website and the US attorney general, Eric Holder, said he had authorised “a number of things to be done” to combat the organisation.

Hilary Clinton also had the following to say, earlier in the year, on the subject of freedom of speech, words which are now sounding very very hollow.

On their own, new technologies do not take sides in the struggle for freedom and progress. But the United States does. We stand for a single internet where all of humanity has equal access to knowledge and ideas. And we recognise that the world’s information infrastructure will become what we and others make of it.

This challenge may be new, but our responsibility to help ensure the free exchange of ideas goes back to the birth of our republic. The words of the first amendment to the constitution [guaranteeing freedom of speech] are carved in 50 tons of Tennessee marble on the front of this building. And every generation of Americans has worked to protect the values etched in that stone.

There are also the Swedish rape charges, which he has presented himself in connection with. He is facing extradition to Sweden to face trial, and faced with solitary confinement incommunicado.

Paypal + Mastercard have removed funding options to the website and Amazon + Postfinance and other hosts have kicked them off their servers.

Let’s see if America’s First Amendment is actually followed by the government. It seems like there’s plenty of freedom of speech, so long as you don’t talk about certain things!

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