Criminalizing Brown-Bag Lunches

Since most of my early school years were spent in foreign countries where there were no government-subsidized meals, taking my lunch to school was something my siblings and I did as a matter of course. Almost invariably, the contents consisted of a sandwich, some fruit, a thermos of milk or chocolate milk, and a small treat.

Now, thanks to Nanny-staters in Chicago, the venerable brown-bag lunch may become a thing of the past; the latest victim of a drive to place virtually every aspect of growing up, in the hands of government officials who claim a monopoly on knowing what’s best for children.

While certainly many parents are not particularly good parents, and often make mistakes in teaching children appropriate life lessons and good habits, to conclude from that truism that such decision-making is better in the hands of government employees, is an even worse decision.

Schools, of course, have long been a refuge for nanny-staters at all levels of government. Our current First Lady, Michelle Obama, is following in this tradition by leading a crusade against obesity; what she calls a “public health crisis.” Granted, there are too many fat people wandering our communities, businesses and schools; but does that justify government interference in people’s eating habits? Does that justify a school, such as Little Village Academy in Chicago, dictating that its students are prohibited from bringing their own, home-packed lunches to school?

Elsa Carmona, principal at Little Village Academy, has decided it is “better for the children to eat at the school.” Therefore, as any good, petty bureaucrat with a degree of power would do, she concludes it is necessary for her to “protect students from their own unhealthful food choices” and force them to eat only what she determines is best for them at the school cafeteria. (Incidentally, some of the food served in public school cafeterias that I’ve seen, is far from appealing; and of dubious healthfulness.)

A school board spokesperson, apparently of the same controlling mindset as Ms. Carmona, agrees; stating that Little Village Academy is merely “encouraging the healthier choices.” Such sophistry wrongly implies the students are given a choice in lunches and merely encouraged to go in the healthier direction. In fact, the kids have no choice. As the Chicago Tribune notes, the children either eat the lunches provided to them by the school, or they do not eat.

Perhaps the only good news in all this is that the students are learning at an early age they do not live in a free country any longer.

By Bob Barr – The Barr Code

77 comments Add your comment

F&B Guy

April 29th, 2011
7:10 am

Given the “success” of all of the government programs enacted so far, I can only imagine how badly this one will end up.
Think of the possibilities…

Grits

April 29th, 2011
7:17 am

The federal government needs to get out of states’ school systems. They are ruining it.

Anon

April 29th, 2011
7:31 am

Are they going to accommodate the myriad number of dietary requirements? Vegetarian, vegan, Kosher, halal, macrobiotic, lactose intolerant, nut allergies, etc, etc, etc? This is just dumb!

Blog Soup

April 29th, 2011
7:36 am

The Space Shuttle has had more farewell launches and final flights than Barbara Streisand. Can we retire this embarrassment to the laws of nature already? (The shuttle, not the Bar). You see, the shuttle is both a plane and a spaceship. Never mind there’s no air in space, dammit, the movie “Star Wars” proves that space craft need wings to bank right when they attack. That movie really fired up Nasa’s imagination and they just couldn’t stop themselves from putting wings on the Space Shuttle.

I’ve never taken Rocket Science 101, but if I were to pick a shape for a space craft, it would look exactly like a meteorite. Why? Because that’s the shape that survives reentry. Voila. The capsule is born. Get it, yet?

Blog Soup

April 29th, 2011
7:40 am

“While certainly many parents are not particularly good parents, and often make mistakes in teaching children appropriate life lessons and good habits, to conclude from that truism that such decision-making is better in the hands of government employees, is an even worse decision.”

“good parents/often make mistakes” – (redundant. delete clause)

“to conclude from that truism…is an even worse decision” – so awkward that it’s unfixable. Flush the whole sentence. Then stick your head in the toilet. Flush. Repeat. Flush. Repeat.

Blog Soup

April 29th, 2011
7:43 am

“(Incidentally, some of the food served in public school cafeterias that I’ve seen, is far from appealing; and of dubious healthfulness.)”

The honorable Mr Barr is forgetting about a little guy named, “Shepherd’s Pie”.

‘muff said.

Blog Soup

April 29th, 2011
7:50 am

The right honorable Mr. Barr’s school lunches consisted of “a sandwich, some fruit, a thermos of milk or chocolate milk, and a small treat.”

All these ingredients are useless in food fights. Suddenly everything Barr writes makes perfect sense. He must have gotten creamed many times. The poor sot. I can’t resist it either. Here’s a little something for the unsuspecting Mr Barr’s face: 3.14159

Aw, too bad, he forgot to duck. (insert emoticon of middle school child crying with a cream pie all over his face).

bwa

Joel Edge

April 29th, 2011
7:51 am

School meals are like a lot of other institutional meals; tasteless. Catering to things like pizza, makes them very bad nutritionally. Brown-bag it.

Blog Soup

April 29th, 2011
7:53 am

What a fall guy. What a maroon.

Eric

April 29th, 2011
8:17 am

How awful indeed! Not only will the kids have “no choice,” but they will have to buy a lunch (perhaps more expensive than a brown bag?) from a particular vendor. In the business world, it’s called a “monopoly”.

WOW

April 29th, 2011
8:30 am

Illinois will go bankrupt in the near future. Chicago is seeing people flee the city like never before. Can you blame them?

John

April 29th, 2011
8:30 am

I notice how you point out a public school and the “nanny-state”. What about private schools that have had this same policy for many years. I went to a private Catholic school in the late 70’s and we were required to eat whatever was being served by the school…we could not take brown-bag lunch. I guess in your mind a nanny-state private corporation is ok but certainly not ok when it comes to government.

I see you mentioned Michelle Obama “is following in this tradition by leading a crusade against obesity; what she calls a ‘public health crisis.’”" All first Ladies take up some cause. Nancy Reagan’s was anti drugs. Barbara Bush supported and worked to advance the cause of universal literacy. Laura Bush focused on health, education, and literacy. Were all these Republican first ladies “nanny-staters” as well?

WOW

April 29th, 2011
8:31 am

“Perhaps the only good news in all this is that the students are learning at an early age they do not live in a free country any longer.”

There are many reasons why people are fleeing blue states and coming to live in red states.

WOW

April 29th, 2011
8:32 am

“I went to a private Catholic school in the late 70’s and we were required to eat whatever was being served by the school”

Contradict much? It’s a private school which means people paid to have that happen to them. Make sense, Gump?

sean Yankee

April 29th, 2011
8:33 am

The school lunches at pace academy are tasty. Of course they spend the money to make GOOD food, not mass produced junk food on the cheap.

John

April 29th, 2011
8:36 am

Michelle Obama is not the first first lady to take on health issues as a cause…Republican first ladies have taken on the same cause in the past. Yet Michelle Obama is being vilified for it by the right. Mr. Barr, when vilifying Michelle Obama for taking on health issues, please add the Republican first ladies to the list that have made health issues their cause as well.

bo

April 29th, 2011
8:37 am

so, according to the first paragraph, one must have grown up abroad to expereince a brown bag lunch? Utter nonsense.

John

April 29th, 2011
8:42 am

“Contradict much? It’s a private school which means people paid to have that happen to them. Make sense, Gump?”

When we take public money through voucher, etc. and put them into private schools where some are not paying to have that happen to them, it’s no long totally private, is it?

WOW

April 29th, 2011
8:43 am

“When we take public money through voucher, etc. and put them into private schools where some are not paying to have that happen to them, it’s no long totally private, is it?”

Only problem John, is that it hasn’t happened.

carlosgvv

April 29th, 2011
8:51 am

After eight years of George Bush the country, out of desperation, elected Obama. Since then, things have gotten even worse. A third party is looking better and better.

John

April 29th, 2011
8:52 am

It hasn’t happened WOW? GA and some other states has a school voucher system. The Republicans here in GA wants to expand it. Also, here in GA, people can donate part of their taxes to private schools. So, yes it has happened…public money is being diverted from public schools to private schools.

jj

April 29th, 2011
8:54 am

On one level I am in agreement with BB that the govt should not be in the business of providing every level of support for everyone, but in the case of this school there is a little more to it than meets the eye.
First this program has been going on for 6 years, but only recently been brought to the attention of the press.
Second, if you know Chicago, this school is in a hell hole of an area. This is the closest these kids will come to a decent meal. Over 90% on free and reduced for meals and a overty level near 100%. The expression, “who’s your daddy” would be very appropriate for this area.
The federal govt. wastes more in a hour than it cost to feed these kids for a year. I am far from a liberal but I might be OK with what they are doing at this school.

Blog Soup

April 29th, 2011
8:54 am

My Catholic School served sweet potatoes on Tuesdays, and there was a nun patrolling the lunchroom to assure that we ate them. If only we had the nerve to shove them you know where. My whole life coulda been diff.

Joe Mama

April 29th, 2011
8:58 am

WOW — “Contradict much? It’s a private school which means people paid to have that happen to them. Make sense, Gump?”

What a ludicrous comment. People no more paid their taxes so government could dictate their kids’ lunch content than they paid tuition so that a private school could do so.

Mike

April 29th, 2011
9:29 am

First Nanny, Michelle Obama Just let her take care of all your needs thats what a nanny is good for.

John

April 29th, 2011
9:32 am

Where are our priorities? Here we’re debating the “nanny-state” of government because one public school in Chicago doesn’t allow brown-bag lunches without a doctor’s note while in the state of Michigan they’re moving from a democracy to a dictatorship form of government…talk about ‘nanny-state”. Under a new law passed by Republican legislator and signed by a Republican governor, the governor now has the authority to declare any town or municipal or school a financial emergency. He then can appoint a dictator who has the authority to disband the entire local government or school district (elected by the local people), nullify all contracts and run the entire municipal government. He can write new contracts, privatize any area or the entire local government while being paid by the state as well as private entities. So he can take over the local government and sell it to the highest bidder that will line his pockets. They’re already taken over at least one town where the dictator has taken over everything. The elected officials has no authority any longer…they can only call a meeting, read minutes from the last meeting and adjourn the meeting…that’s it. One of these dictators was caught on camera while training others that he likes the control. As he said he is the town’s mayor, commissioner, financial director, etc. and he loves it.

Road Scholar

April 29th, 2011
10:02 am

Grits: “The federal government needs to get out of states’ school systems. They are ruining it.”

Yeah! We at the state and local level can screw it royally by ourselves!!!!!

Ragnar Danneskjöld

April 29th, 2011
10:36 am

Characteristic leftism. Funny essay, in a really sad way.

Hillbilly Deluxe

April 29th, 2011
10:37 am

Many years ago, I went to public school and always carried my lunch. In those days, there were no vending machines in schools, as I understand there are now, in some schools. Maybe the vending machines should be removed; that’d remove a source of revenue, though.

WOW

April 29th, 2011
10:39 am

“What a ludicrous comment. People no more paid their taxes so government could dictate their kids’ lunch content than they paid tuition so that a private school could do so.”

Joe Mama is a very confused individual.

WOW

April 29th, 2011
10:40 am

John

Got a link to back up your “dictator” claim? The left wing retards have driven Michigan into the ground.

the watch dog

April 29th, 2011
10:43 am

What the student is learning at Little Village Academy, is that the will of those in authority will be sacrosanct as opposed to civil rights to atleast engage in discussion of what is proper or improper.
Liberty and freedom should be a part of the school curriculum.

As for Nanny-statism the San Francisco city council voted to ban the sale of McDonalds Happy Meals.
The FDA will ban the sale of caffeinated beverages.
“War on Obesity”
The first lady is addressing obesity in children and what they should be eating. At the same time Mrs. Obama is out eating ribs at 1500 calories a serving and 141 grams of fat.
If we are to “eat lean” the First Family could set the example.

ViewFromMidtown

April 29th, 2011
10:49 am

Since Mrs. Obama has the power neither to enact nor enforce laws of any sort, she cannot be part of your purported ‘nanny state’. As John points out, she is merely engaging in the same sort of issue advocacy that all modern first ladies have. That you choose to attack her for continuing that recent tradition reveals your own bigotry and bias. Complaining about one principal setting rules for own school and completely answerable to a supportive local school board elected by a school district’s citizens is making the proverbial mountain out of a molehill.

Whatever the AJC is paying you for this column is far, far too much.

ND

April 29th, 2011
10:55 am

As a vegetarian it is beyond ridiculous that they would do this, if for no other reason than that Americans don’t have the slightest clue how to make tasty and healthy vegetarian food. If this is a public school doing this they should have the pants sued off them. That said, “Little River Academy” sounds a lot like a private school to me.

WOW

April 29th, 2011
11:02 am

“As for Nanny-statism the San Francisco city council voted to ban the sale of McDonalds Happy Meals.”

They also banned circumcisions.

“As John points out, she is merely engaging in the same sort of issue advocacy that all modern first ladies have. ”

Yeah, but the only problem is she’s wide in the hips and doesn’t practice what she preaches.

Case in point: Michelle Obama Has Short Ribs for Dinner

http://www.whitehousedossier.com/2011/02/21/obama-short-ribs-dinner/

John

April 29th, 2011
11:10 am

Here you go WOW…you can also do a google search but here’s from CBS new and Bloomberg Businessweek

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20042299-503544.html

http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/11_19/b4227004622477.htm

John

April 29th, 2011
11:11 am

It’s called Financial Martial Law, WOW

joe

April 29th, 2011
11:20 am

Chicago, Chicago, that idiotic town…sing it sammy…

John

April 29th, 2011
11:21 am

WOW..here’s another one from the Michigan Messenger…they took over Benton Harbor, a poor city populated mostly by African Americans which has a beach that was donated to the town back in the 1800’s. A private company wants to convert the park to an exclusive golf park. They insist the residents would be allowed to join the private park that’s being converted from a public park. Of course, that’s if the residents pay the $5,000 yearly dues when the median salary is $10,000.

http://michiganmessenger.com/48613/federal-case-seeks-to-remove-golf-course-from-benton-harbor-park

John

April 29th, 2011
11:29 am

Darwin

April 29th, 2011
11:40 am

Bob Barr and his rants on the communist public school system. Love it.

MLeake

April 29th, 2011
11:49 am

John, your parents sent you to the private school as their option, and agreed to the rules set by the school. Probably had a uniform policy, and other things, but your family opted in.

The Chicago issue is at a public school. Public schools normally do not (and in many cases should not) have the same rules as private schools, specifically because many or most students are in public schools by necessity, not by choice.

Brian

April 29th, 2011
12:01 pm

Envisions Elsa Carmona beckoningly saying, “Come kiddies, drink your Kool-Aid”. B~o

John

April 29th, 2011
12:03 pm

MLeake, we all have choices. When it comes to schooling…parents can choose between public, private or home schooling. Secondly, if those in that school district don’t like the policies…they can have the policies change, they have a voice. If the people in that district aren’t being heard by the school district, the people can vote those school board members out of office. That’s democracy.

Unlike the Republicans in Michigan who are turning their state into a dictatorship…the people’s vote no longer count in Michigan.

Guy Incognito

April 29th, 2011
12:30 pm

FREE WOW!!!! FREE WOW!!!! FREE WOW!!!! FREE WOW!!!! FREE WOW!!!! FREE WOW!!!!

ieee

April 29th, 2011
12:48 pm

Oh come on. Most of you people love the SEX OFFENDER Registries. If that is not nanny government, I have no idea what is. How can those people possibly complain about this?

Patriot

April 29th, 2011
1:04 pm

One must force kids to eat certain foods if one is going to perpetuate federal agriculture subsidies. All the dairy, the wheat, the cheese, the meat. It is all part of the subsidy program. Hell, the pyramid has been part of the subsidy/brainwashing program since at least the middle 20th century. In the old days there were dozens of different categories of fruits, vegetables, grains, meats, and the like with no specific preferences given except to show the diversity of foods available.

Get the government out of the education business entirely. That’s really what this article should be promoting. This kind of crap is to be expected wherever government sticks their nose in.

Ron Paul 2012. End the Fed.

The AJC Stinks

April 29th, 2011
1:31 pm

Michele is pretty fat herself….perhaps this is all about her low self esteem? Regardless, I could care less about fat kids.

Black and White Smiley Faces ☺☻

April 29th, 2011
1:38 pm

If you outlaw brown bag lunches, only outlaws will have brown bag lunches.

gscott

April 29th, 2011
1:45 pm

1. Comparing a private school policy to a public school one is comparing apples to oranges.
2. This isn’t about nutrition. 90 to 99 percent of these kids already are on the free lunch program and therefore getting a nutritious lunch. It is about “fairness”. The administrators are worried about the poor children being jealous of the ones whose parents can afford tasty treats.

pat

April 29th, 2011
1:54 pm

It’s started with smoking it won’t stop until we are all monitored on everything.

WOW

April 29th, 2011
2:29 pm

“Here you go WOW…you can also do a google search but here’s from CBS new and Bloomberg Businessweek”

Neither ones say anything about dictators. Try again, Gump.

Guy Incognito

Tell Kookman I said hi! Oh wait, he might take that as a racist rant.

BillyRob

April 29th, 2011
2:37 pm

Outlawing brown bag lunches comes from a point of view that believes three things:

1. That government ought, as a matter of principle, to be involved in day to day decsions that affect any citizen’s potential welfare. Each bit of power that accrues to the government allows the government to accure more power later. You may approve of the decision before us but be really unhappy where it leads.
2. That goverment is competent to make good decisons for hundreds of millions of people who formerly made these decisons individually. There is a cost to allowing the government to make individual decisons experessed in higher taxes, less freedom and governmental error.
3. That the downside and unintended consequences of any particular government intervention are either knowable or worth the risk.

We should be outraged at one Chicago school wanting to regulate what children bring in their brown bags. We should be outraged at many of the choices that regulators want to impose on us and our children.

Tracy

April 29th, 2011
3:07 pm

“Anon” asked the perfect question early on. Are they going to accommodate for all the students who have specialized diets ?

Kosher, vegetarian, diabetic, assorted food allergies…etc. ?

I still remember during my entire 12 years of public school all the lunches had one option for our drink…milk. You got milk and there was zero alternative to it.

Guess what, I’m lactose intolerant. I had to bring juice to school to drink. Juice with zero means of keeping it cool either, so by lunch it had been sitting a locker and was room temp.

They couldn’t even accommodate for one food allergy, yet they’re ready to take on countless ones and countless other dietary needs all at once ?

What a joke.

John

April 29th, 2011
5:16 pm

WOW…what would you call it? According to Webster’s dictionary, the definition of dictator is…

a : a person granted absolute emergency power; especially : one appointed by the senate of ancient Rome b : one holding complete autocratic control c : one ruling absolutely and often oppressively

Sounds like it fits with this Michigan law, doesn’t it?

John

April 29th, 2011
5:26 pm

Guess next Mr. Barr, you will write how not allowing kids to bring guns, knives and other weapons is a government “nanny-state” overreach. What about the school district banning alcohol on school grounds? Or teachers and school administrators breaking up fights between students…is that being a “nanny-state” as well?

WOW

April 29th, 2011
5:54 pm

“Sounds like it fits with this Michigan law, doesn’t it?”

Go recall the governor then. I don’t see any outrage on your part about the federal government mandating that people buy health insurance.

Hypocrite much, John?

WOW

April 29th, 2011
5:55 pm

“What about the school district banning alcohol on school grounds?”

What about it? Are you in favor of drunk teens, John?

“Or teachers and school administrators breaking up fights between students…is that being a “nanny-state” as well?”

La-Z-Boy has a new selection of couches for you to faint on, John.

John

April 29th, 2011
6:22 pm

“Go recall the governor then. I don’t see any outrage on your part about the federal government mandating that people buy health insurance.

Hypocrite much, John?”

Are you outraged about the government forcing us to buy car insurance. There’s is a big difference about the health insurance and banning the entire local government and placing it in one person’s hand. Would you be outraged is Obama is allowed to ban all states’ governments and appoint friends of his to run the states?

John

April 29th, 2011
6:26 pm

“What about it? Are you in favor of drunk teens, John? ”

I’m not the one complaining about a school policy. Talk about hypocrite…sounds like you believe schools can have some policies (that agree with) but not allow others (those the you disagree with).

John

April 29th, 2011
6:34 pm

WOW…let’s talk hypocrisy. You believe a private school is allowed to make policies regarding lunch, uniforms, ect since it’s owned and operated by a private entity. But when the school is owned and operated by a government entity, that government entity has no rights to make policies because that’s overreach.

That’s hypocrisy,

John

April 29th, 2011
7:37 pm

Question…if the public school outsourced the cafeteria services to a private company who wants to make some profit and it’s the policy of that private company to not allow students to bring brown-bag lunches since that eats into their profits, would we still be having this debate?

Billybob

April 29th, 2011
11:51 pm

Enter your comments here

Billybob

April 29th, 2011
11:53 pm

I have no problem with the first lady discussing healthy eating as long as she practices what she preaches…..which is absolutely in question at this point…..

HardLanding

April 30th, 2011
6:32 am

A personal crusade by the First Lady is not “the government”. Her actions have no force of law and can be safely ignored by all the fat slobs eating themselves to death.

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Michael H. Smith

April 30th, 2011
9:23 am

…public money is being diverted from public schools to private schools ?

No, the public funding of education in Georgia is being DIVERTED from the educational choice of the individual – as in the parents or guardians of school age children to whom this money rightfully belongs.

Hopefully public funding of school choice will belong to all of Georgia’s school age children K-12. Public schools have no right to an education monopoly and we the voters of Georgia should amend our State’s Constitution to end the present government public school system education monopoly in Georgia.

Let the money follow the student.

liberalefty

April 30th, 2011
10:31 am

Barrs just another conservative who long for the mythical “good ole days”….he never called out the other first ladies for their endeavors…just the black one….

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Covers Dixie like the Dew

April 30th, 2011
1:57 pm

Hey Bob,
……… …… that Fulton County Tax Commissioner
is a real honest guy taking good care of tax paying citizens.

Did you see the Fulton County Tax Commisioner’s astronomical income for last year.

Please put the pressure on this fiasco.

John

May 1st, 2011
1:42 pm

“No, the public funding of education in Georgia is being DIVERTED from the educational choice of the individual – as in the parents or guardians of school age children to whom this money rightfully belongs. ”

Michael H. Smith , what don’t you get about the transfer of money. When money transfers from one hand to another, it is no longer the property of the people whom the money transferred from. We pay for government services via taxes. In return, we have a voice in shaping government through our votes. But it seems you would rather take tax money and give it to private corporations who can use the money as they seem fit and we no longer have a voice in how it’s being spent.

Jenny McDermott

May 1st, 2011
2:58 pm

How to Catch a Photoshopped Fake? There are numerous digitally altered pictures these days. If you are dealing with thousands of pictures of day, maybe you need to consult Photoshopped Image Killer to check photo integrity. The site is free and its result is straightforward.

philosopher

May 1st, 2011
6:41 pm

@WOW: here you go: http://www.uaw.org/articles/benton-harbor-mi-story-rachel-madd...
Bob Barr- I agree that prohibiting bag lunches is wrong on SO many levels…but your arguments are insulting and embarrassing.and quite poorly thought through. And you shot your argument in the foot with the probably enjoyable but cheap, jab at the First Lady. Clearly you don’t give a damn about the health of the kids in America, but we have a criticlal health issue now and ahead. How short-sighted to care so little about the future of America and its citizens, some of whom are your progeny! Children cannot make wise food choices when provided with poor food to choose from. WE..and that does include YOU…have raised a society of fat, sick kids. WE are killing our own kids with food and they are already paying for our mistakes. Most of these kids are and will be unfit to serve in our military and when we need them will be useless. These kids have diabetes in their teens and high cholesterol as young as 6 years of age….stroles and heart attacks are occurring at much younger ages. The kids have no stamina, no energy, and can barely fit 2 kids to a seat on a bus. YOU, Dear Mr. Barr, are one of this generation who plied kids with crappy foods and no nutrition information and now you don’t care enough to help with it’s treatment. Typical! This is very much like the tobacco industry- they were supported and subsidized and romanticized by all of us…and when the public woke up, it was too late…people are sick, addicted and the cost of long-term care for the millions slowly suffocating is phenomenal. But if the government had not stepped in, I’d still be forced to smoke some jerks cigarette on buses, planes and any damn place they want to smoke. We had better buck up and shoulder the responsibility for the mess we made…nanny or no nanny!

Why?!

May 4th, 2011
2:32 pm

When will government instrusion ever end? This is insane. I’m so glad I live in a place where some administrator can’t tell people how to raise their children.

philosopher

May 4th, 2011
4:16 pm

Nah, let’s all abdicate all social responsibilities. After all, in 10-15 years, when the generation writing on this blog begins to see the cost physically and financially of the parent-induced chronic illnesses that insue, we can all giggle and be proud of ourselves…nor our problem, no money out of our pockets, and best of all- we didn’t let the government, and especially not that black president’s wife, tell us anything!