Category Archives: Facebook

Originating from something I saw on facebook

Ranch Dressing


I almost put this in the bad person category for the sarcastic reference to diversity. I think she’s implying that chicken and waffles is ethnic food… which is actually part of the problem of getting kids to eat anything that they don’t already like from home. In the end, I didn’t think that it was supposed to be mean, so I’ll take it at face value.

The post did get me thinking a little. First of all, is it true that grade school cafeterias prohibit ranch dressing? Second, how bad is it for our kids?

For the first question, a quick Google search doesn’t seem to support the idea that ranch dressing is banned in very many schools, but I suppose it is possible that this particular school or district has banned Ranch for a specific reason.

So for the second question, I did some searching. I found that 1 oz of real ranch dressing has practically no protein, almost 16 grams of fat and about 150 calories. A ladle use to serve it up is about two ounces and it is assumed that each kid takes 1.75 oz. They literally dish it out by the teenth!

Meanwhile, a 4pc. Chicken McNuggets has 40 more calories, but only 12g of fat plus 10g of protein. McNuggets may actually be healthier. I know some districts are trying, but I think school lunches have been a bit of a joke ever since Ronald Reagan declared Ketchup a vegetable.

Now, not that it is consequential, but you would have to eat exactly twice the maple syrup to get the same calories of the fat-laden ranch dressing we are talking about. They are both bad for you, but ounce for ounce, ranch is the worst.

The thread started getting a little sancimonious and headed toward: “Why aren’t school lunches more healthy anyway?” Here were a couple of followup post…

Fresh fruits and veggies from local farms? I love the idea. Some school districts are even lucky enough to be near actual farms. I think it would be great if schools made healthier meals than the parents of these kids typically make. Even better if the schools could get kids to actually eat those veggies. But hey, fresh food is expensive, it doesn’t keep as long as prepared food and – except in fairy land – a lot of kids will just scrape that stuff off of their plates.

In my opinion, it seems like we are asking a lot of a system that we complain about, but never want to pay for. Maybe you think you can make your kid a nutritious and well balanced meal that they will actually eat* for a buck o five a day, but figure in the time to lovingly prepare, shop for and plan and multiply this by thousands of school kids every day and what should it cost? Schools get something like 27 cents for each paid meal and about $2.85 for each free meal from the federal government. Often, this gets sourced out, but it’s very complex. 

It’s something to think about when folks in washington are looking to tighten their belts by limiting SNAP eligibility (which automatically qualifies kids for free or reduced price lunches and breakfast).

Facebook Shares – Dr. Starner Jones Edition

Here’s one forwarded by my friend. It was posted by an account named Obama Makes Me Puke

Dear Sirs:

During my last night’s shift in the ER, I had the pleasure of evaluating a patient with a shiny new gold tooth, multiple elaborate tattoos, a very expensive brand of tennis shoes and a new cellular telephone equipped with her favorite R&B tune for a ringtone. Glancing over the chart, one could not help noticing her payer status: Medicaid. She smokes more than one costly pack of cigarettes every day and, somehow, still has money to buy beer.

And our Congress expects me to pay for this woman’s health care? Our nation’s health care crisis is not a shortage of quality hospitals, doctors or nurses. It is a crisis of culture — a culture in which it is perfectly acceptable to spend money on vices while refusing to take care of one’s self or, heaven forbid, purchase health insurance. A culture that thinks “I can do whatever I want to because someone else will always take care of me”. Life is really not that hard. Most of us reap what we sow.

Don’t you agree?

Jackson, MS

The Breakdown:

This is a real letter to the Editor and it was written in August of 2009. It seems less about Obamacare and more about whether or not a specific individual should be entitled to be on any public support for their healthcare. The comments on this post were all over the board. Of course grandma is exempt from this discussion, we are only talking about people where there is some evidence that they have made some bad financial or health choices in their lives. I’d imagine that Dr. Jones would find that treating the uninsured in the emergency room if they don’t have insurance is equally repulsive as providing Medicaid. I can’t help but wonder how many cigarettes and gold teeth it would take to pay for a decent health insurance plan.

Anyway, let’s assume Dr. Jones has his heart in the right place. What does he want? Does he really think that people on Medicaid (because they have no money) should be held to a higher standard in terms of life choices than the general public? Are vices to be viewed as some sort of privilege or is it merely that we can’t control them in other people who are not in some way dependent on certain types of benefits from society?

“Eat all the garbage you want so long as taxpayers aren’t footing the bill for your health care premiums.”

“Smoke up and drink up so long as you have a good paying job (that comes with health insurance of its own).”

The useful question for me is whether there is a way to humanely use public policy to encourage people to make better choices. Suppose for a minute that Obamacare does go into effect. The biggest part of the program is about spreading the risk… insuring healthy people (and charging them) to help take care of the unhealthy ones.  So at least the new policy partly takes care of Dr. Jones’s issue about taxpayers paying for those who make enough to afford insurance.

Here are some other ideas that come to mind:

1) Ensure that all eligible health plans include smoking cessation, addiction treatment and access to nutritionists.

2) Include blood screenings as a part of  each health plan and make them mandatory for those who would take the premium discounts.

3) Create tax incentives in the form of lower premiums for those who verifiably do not smoke or drink alcohol

4) For those who do not have income sufficient to pay any premiums under the new plan, we could provide incentives for weight loss or smoking cessation as tax credits (again, this would have to be verified for example by a physician)

Policies like these above seem somewhat un-American in a historical sense, but I think that Dr. Jones’s opinions are shared by many. Not everyone is going to make good choices. Some people will get sick as a result. Most of us can agree that it is unpleasant to have to care for an individual who doesn’t want to take care of him or herself – they may even be a self-destructive person. Most of us can also agree that refusing to provide healthcare for a person who has no means to pay for it is also undesirable. Some of us will put qualifiers on this, but when push comes to shove, people I know find that letting poor people die because they are poor and irresponsible is a bridge too far.

In his letter, Dr. Jones was opposed to paying for the healthcare of an apparently irresponsible person with tax money. He didn’t propose anything specific about what to *do with the individual in question as an alternative to treating them. He spent most of the letter discussing their behavior. It would seem that changing the behavior would be a better result – and I agree with that.

So how do we do that?

Facebook and communication

A friend of mine recently posted an interesting comment on Facebook. It was a remark suggesting that maybe this wasn’t the best medium to take on serious issues (such as gun control). and that pithy comments  can do more to alienate people than to foster meaningful dialogue.

I’ll be taking a look at this in future posts. This is an issue that is probably one that we are all grappling with indirectly. When I think about how many people I know – but only because of my contact with them on Facebook, I am beginning to realize that the notion of the FB post is somewhat lossy and superficial and I wonder how well I really know anyone out there in the cyber world.

What is it I am looking for; what am I selling and who is buying?