Katie Zezima at the Associated Press is the latest in a long line of reporters sucked into the fundamental dishonesty of the “Food Stamp Challenges” which have been taking place around the country for more than five years.
Zezima’s misdirection came at the direction of Newark, New Jersey’s Democratic mayor Cory Booker, who challenged one of his Twitter followers several weeks ago to, in Zezima’s words, “try to live on the monetary equivalent of food stamps for at least a week” in connection with “a debate about the role the government should play in school nutrition funding.” Those two quoted characterizations expose the two main problems with the Food Stamp Challenge. I’ll explain both after excerpting a bit more of Zezima’s December 11 dispatch after the jump:
It will go up here at BizzyBlog on Wednesday (link won’t work until then) after the blackout expires.
The core contention about Cory Booker’s Food Stamp Challenge participation is that he should have been trying to get by on $46.03 during his challenge week instead of just under $30. In demonstrating how easy this should be, I supplied the following information:
- Seven 15-ounce cans of various generic or store-brand vegetables should cost no more than about 80¢ each, for a total of $6 (rounded). Each can supposedly has 3.5 servings, but since Booker is an ex-football player, I’ll assume that each can will only last him two meals. That’s 14 meals, or enough for a full week of lunches and dinners.
- Seven 15-ounce or 20-ounce cans of generic or store-brand fruits averaging $1.25 each will cost $9 (rounded). That’s also enough for all required lunches and dinners.
- A gallon of milk and a gallon of orange juice come in at a combined $7 or so, enough to provide a 12-ounce serving of one or the other for all 21 weekly meals.
I was being generous.
Here is more finely tuned info, based on visits to local grocery stores (Wal-Mart, Kroger, Meijer) during the past week:
- Four-can packages of vegetables from a well-known national brand were featured at Walmart for 50¢ each, reducing the $6 above to $4, with a can of veggies to spare. At Kroger you could buy a number of different canned vegetables for 59ç each, or just barely over $4.
- The average price of a mix of 15-ounce and 20-ounce cans of fruit was about 95¢ at Wal-Mart and about $1.10 at Kroger, in Walmart’s case reducing the $9 above to below $7 and Kroger to just below $8.
- The milk and OJ number of $7 looks about right.
So, to rephrase … “That leaves $27-$28 (rounded; $46 minus the $20-$21 sum of the three areas just noted), which is surely enough to provide for all breakfasts and anything else Booker wants to add to his lunches and dinners, including more generous servings of fruits and vegetables. Meat-eaters could spend about $7 for seven cans (14 servings) of heat-and-eat canned pasta and still have $20-$21 left for all breakfasts.”
Food stamp benefits for those who truly need them are not too stingy by any stretch of the imagination. It’s an insult to our intelligence that organizations like the Food Research and Action Council (FRAC) believe that they are.
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From Newtown and Stratford, Connecticut:
Sandy Hook Elementary School first-grade teacher Vicki Soto tried to shield her students from the maniacal shooter. ‘She put herself between the gunman and her students,’ her cousin Jim Wiltsie told the Daily News.
She took a bullet for her kids.
Teacher Victoria Soto used her body to shield her students from the maniacal gunman who launched a massacre at a Connecticut school, relatives said Saturday.
Soto paid for her bravery with her life. But in doing so, the 27-year-old may have saved her first-graders from the murderous wrath of Adam Lanza — and became a hero.
“The family received information she was found shielding her students in a closet,” Soto’s cousin Jim Wiltsie told the Daily News. “She put herself between the gunman and her students.”
Wiltsie said police told the family of Soto’s bravery at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
“I’m very proud to report she was a hero,” said Wiltsie, who is a police officer in Fairfield, Conn. “I would expect nothing less from Vicki. Instinctively her training kicked in. She did what she was trained to do, but also what her heart told her to do.”
Knowing this, said Wiltsie, has given the family a small measure of peace.
“Emotionally, it’s a lot to process all at once,” he said. “It’s still surreal to the family that this happened.”
And the fact that Soto was slain just before Christmas has devastated them, he added.
She absolutely adored her family, a very close-knit family,” Wiltsie said. “She was the ringleader of the bunch. They had just done secret Santa. She always took charge.”
Soto lived with her parents, her sisters and a brother in Stratford, Conn. Home was a modest Cape Cod-style house in a blue-collar neighborhood. She was single, doted on her black Labrador, Roxy, and was a regular worshiper at the Lordship Community Church in Stratford.
Go here for the rest of the story.