Lunchtime LethargyPOSTED: Jun 15, 2011 01:45 PM
By Megan Buskey
As Kristen Hinman documents in “The School Lunch Wars” [Spring ’11], the local elementary’s cafeteria remains a battleground between good intentions and cold fiscal reality. At the end of March, the School Nutrition Association, a membership organization representing school cafeteria professionals around the country, released a letter praising the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) revised nutrition standards for school meal programs, which were issued at the beginning of this year. But the association warned that many of the stipulations, such as those calling for additional servings of fresh fruit, vegetables, and protein, were too costly to implement. If the USDA’s vision were fully realized, the cost of school lunches would increase by 14 cents and school breakfasts by 50 cents. Congress authorized spending only an additional six cents per lunch under The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act in 2010. In the proposed regulations published in The Federal Register in January, the USDA simply notes that the costs “would be incurred by the local and state agencies that control food service accounts.” Given how many states are operating on empty these days, it’s hard to imagine how this plan will fly.
Dog Days Reading ListPOSTED: Jun 10, 2011 12:53 PM
The Wilson Quarterly isn’t known for its light fare, but as the calendar wends its way toward July, we too are thinking about what books to throw into our backpacks and suitcases for jaunts to the beach and other summertime destinations. Below are some books that we recommend for their ability to stimulate your mind and keep your attention amid all of the distractions of the season—whether they’re bouncing beach balls, mosquitoes, or snoring fellow travelers.
Court CallsPOSTED: Jun 06, 2011 03:27 PM
By James Carman
In our Winter issue, Stanford’s Joan Petersilia noted that California built 21 new prisons between 1985 and 2005 and now spends about $50,000 per prisoner annually. Corrections consumes 10 percent of the state’s budget. Petersilia said there’s a growing bipartisan consensus that such trends cannot continue. On May 23, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed, ruling in Brown v. Plata that overcrowding in California’s prisons violated the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment. The ruling requires the state to reduce its prison population from 140,000 to 110,000, still more than a third over the system’s capacity.
Eye on VenezuelaPOSTED: Jun 02, 2011 11:58 AM
By Sarah Courteau
For “What Is Hugo Chavez Up To?” in the WQ’s Spring issue, journalist Joshua Kucera reported on Venezuela, where Hugo Chavez has been trying to create a global anti-American coalition.
What drew you to report on Hugo Chavez?
I’m interested in the geopolitical reshuffling that’s been going on since the end of the Cold War, in particular in countries that are trying to create an alternative to the U.S.-dominated world order. This reshuffling is mainly happening in Eurasia—including Russia, Iran and China—which is the area I focus on most. But Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela has been the most vocal and enthusiastic about opposing the United States, so I wanted to see the situation from closer up.
What surprised you most as you reported on this story?
Everyone talks about how polarized Caracas’s political environment is, but most of the people I talked to had views that were fairly nuanced. I met several leftists who were disillusioned with Chavez, but also several of the opposition people I talked to acknowledged that Chavez is doing things—like focusing on the poor domestically, and on south-south cooperation internationally—that they should have been doing when they were in power.
Was it difficult to get Venezuelan officials and other sources to talk to you?
Venezuela’s foreign policy is something that Chavez’s critics love to talk about, but his supporters tend to shy away from doing so.
WQ editors share their winter weather reads.
If football is harmful to players, is it ethical to be a fan?
Germans know how to enjoy themselves during the holidays, but don’t invade their Internet privacy.
Two new books illuminate politics high and low—the role of high principle and the urgency of land grabs around the world.
College football success upends boys’ grades, but girls may actually benefit.
One photographer's journey to trace his family roots yielded an image for our fall issue.
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