Hunger Can Be a Powerful Motivator
June 20, 2009 6:37 PM   Subscribe

"Anyone under 18 can be eligible? Can’t they get a job during the summer by the time they are 16? Hunger can be a positive motivator. What is wrong with the idea of getting a job so you can get better meals? Tip: If you work for McDonald’s, they will feed you for free during your break." Missouri State Rep. Cynthia Davis (R-O’Fallon) is staking out a strong position on child hunger: she's for it. (via).
posted by ornate insect (92 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
Sounds like a real prizewinner. She also apparently wrote a letter to a fellow legislator about contraception in 2006 that read, in part: "Natural consequences is usually the best teacher. Bailing them out only encourages them to be irresponsible the next time. Some people think that we will (sic) the rate of teenage pregnancy if we put children in classes that teach them how to use birth control. This backfires for the same reason. More kids are prompted to experiment with sex if you teach them that this is expected behavior."
posted by blucevalo at 6:42 PM on June 20, 2009


Yes, let's encourage more American children to eat at McDonald's. Fantastic idea.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 6:45 PM on June 20, 2009 [6 favorites]


When did McDonalds start giving food to their employees? When I worked there (granted, 20-odd years ago), we had to pay. It was at a huge discount, we paid something like 15% of "retail", but it was not given to us for free.
posted by hippybear at 6:46 PM on June 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


blucevalo--even Meghan McCain recognizes how Republican views on sex education and birth control are politically untenable.
posted by ornate insect at 6:46 PM on June 20, 2009


Rep. Davis is a fairly sizable person. I bet we could make a few dozen good school lunches out of her.
posted by Faint of Butt at 6:49 PM on June 20, 2009 [9 favorites]


I don't think you can actually get a free meal from working at McDonald's.
posted by delmoi at 6:51 PM on June 20, 2009


But you can always wolf down some McNuggets on the assembly line, I suppose.
posted by delmoi at 6:52 PM on June 20, 2009


There's no such thing as a free meal.
posted by Lillitatiana at 6:53 PM on June 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


Ending the spiel on her webpage with copypasta from some jokechain email is just icing.
A Little Bit of Humor
Chronic Laziness
The man told his doctor that he wasn't able to do all the things around the house that he used to do. When the examination was complete, he said, "Now, Doc, I can take it. Tell me in plain English what is wrong with me?"

"Well, in plain English," the doctor replied, "you're just lazy."

"Okay," said the man. "Now give me the medical term so I can tell my wife."
Also, is it just me or is this a bit thin/LOLGOP?
posted by Decimask at 6:53 PM on June 20, 2009


you can always wolf down some McNuggets on the assembly line, I suppose.

What assembly line? Oh, you mean if you live in China.
posted by ornate insect at 6:54 PM on June 20, 2009


If Davis' head wasn't up her ass she might make sense. Alas.
posted by Mojojojo at 6:54 PM on June 20, 2009


Worst thing about sex education from the GOP POV is it makes the kids less likely to have their first sexual experience with a Republican Legislator.

But I agree that hunger is a powerful motivator, which is why I have resisted going on any kind of diet. Who knows what kind of damage I could do with proper motivation.
posted by wendell at 6:55 PM on June 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Are there no prisons?
posted by dirigibleman at 7:02 PM on June 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


TANSTAAFL.
posted by anvilcity at 7:03 PM on June 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


Wow. Even if there were some truth to what she's saying (and economics does sometimes demonstrate such paradoxes), that's still a remarkable claim to make without some serious supporting evidence. I suspect, however, that she is as foolish and ignorant as her claims make her sound.

It's not without precedent, though. There was a time when people in jails, for example, were not fed by the government. They simply starved if they did not have friends or relatives to bring them food. That's a kind of extremist rugged individualism that I don't know if many people can get behind anymore, thank goodness.

Also, by her logic, insurance should be illegal: it would be a powerful motivator for people to save money, after all. And firefighters should never respond to accidental fires: that would motivate people to take fire safety seriously.
posted by jedicus at 7:04 PM on June 20, 2009 [7 favorites]


Davis has made the news a few times before: condoms, evolution, stay-at-home fathers (and more), parenting, and the official Cynthia Davis Watch page.
posted by flug at 7:04 PM on June 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


Who should be the one to pass judgment on what defines a nutritious meal? I represent many fine families in District 19 and I am proud of all of them for doing what is best for their children.

Um, I'm pretty sure there are people who are qualified to "pass judgment" on what defines a nutritious meal.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:05 PM on June 20, 2009 [6 favorites]


Right there in O'Fallon, huh? O'Fallon, MO is the site of Citigroup's headquarters. This kind of Comic Sans Reader's Digest-y responsibility talk sits very badly with me, for someone from O'Fallon.
posted by Countess Elena at 7:06 PM on June 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


For the record, you do a get a free large meal every shift in McDonalds. (Worked in McDonalds for one day during peak of post-college desperation)
posted by minifigs at 7:09 PM on June 20, 2009


10 years ago, getting caught eating anything while on the job in a McDonald's meant automatic firing. It probably still does.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 7:09 PM on June 20, 2009


Some people think that we will (sic) the rate of teenage pregnancy if we put children in classes that teach them how to use birth control. This backfires for the same reason. More kids are prompted to experiment with sex if you teach them that this is expected behavior.

I've never understood this argument. Not because I don't believe that last part could be potentially true*, and not even necessarily because I think teens should be encouraged to have sex. I just don't see why it's somehow impossible to stand up in front of a class and say "Hey everybody, this is how conception works. This is how sexually transmitted diseases work. Here's how prophylactics can prevent both of these things. By the way, there's actually a lot more to sex than these two things, both positive things as well as some potential consequences prophylactics can't protect you from, depending on your background and level of emotional development. It can actually be kindof tricky to navigate. You might want to wait until you're an adult before experimenting."

Meanwhile, we'd also have the benefits of having a society where nearly everybody understands the basic facts regarding conception and public health interests are looked after.

(* I don't think sex ed drives interest in experimenting. Most people generally acquire that on their own around puberty, no matter what you do, even if there are probably cultural factors which can fan or dampen the flames so to speak. I suspect sex ed has precisely one relevant impact: it helps potential participants manage risk, and therefore also manage fears of those risks.)
posted by namespan at 7:09 PM on June 20, 2009 [4 favorites]


(except if it was explicitely given to you, obviously)
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 7:10 PM on June 20, 2009


I live in St. Louis - O'fallon is a far exurb of St. Louis. Most of the people out there think like she does. If you really want to despair for humanity, read the comments below that second link. That's what the slight majority of this red state believe. They also believe that thieves should get a bullet to the head.
posted by notsnot at 7:16 PM on June 20, 2009


Sigh.

Okay, so my people? You wanna just ...rent a house someplace and go all The Dreamers? I can't promise to be as pretty as Micheal Pitt but I can promise much more wine and better records.
posted by The Whelk at 7:25 PM on June 20, 2009 [5 favorites]


Tip: If you work for McDonald’s, they will feed you for free during your break.

tip: if you shill for mcdonald's, they will feed your campaign for free during the election
posted by pyramid termite at 7:31 PM on June 20, 2009 [7 favorites]


The problem of childhood obesity has been cited as one of the most rapidly growing health problems in America. People who are struggling with lack of food usually do not have an obesity problem.

Therefore there are no Americans who have trouble meeting nutritional needs. QED!
This lady's a regular Doctor Genius.
posted by moxiedoll at 7:32 PM on June 20, 2009 [4 favorites]


and i'd LOVE to turf her fucking strawberry patch with a pickup truck
posted by pyramid termite at 7:32 PM on June 20, 2009


Stay classy, Republicans.
posted by bardic at 7:34 PM on June 20, 2009


Who should be the one to pass judgment on what defines a nutritious meal?

Um...nutritionists? The FDA? Your doctor?

But my goodness, she's right out of Dickens.

Ebenezer: Are there no prisons?
First Collector: Plenty of prisons.
Ebenezer: And the union workhouses - are they still in operation?
First Collector: They are. I wish I could say they were not.
Ebenezer: Oh, from what you said at first I was afraid that something had happened to stop them in their useful course. I'm very glad to hear it.
First Collector: I don't think you quite understand us, sir. A few of us are endeavoring to buy the poor some meat and drink, and means of warmth.
Ebenezer: Why?
First Collector: Because it is at Christmastime that want is most keenly felt, and abundance rejoices. Now what can I put you down for?
Ebenezer: Huh! Nothing!
Second Collector: You wish to be anonymous?
Ebenezer: [firmly, but calmly] I wish to be left alone. Since you ask me what I wish sir, that is my answer. I help to support the establishments I have named; those who are badly off must go there.
First Collector: Many can't go there.
Second Collector: And some would rather die.
Ebenezer: If they would rather die, they'd better do it, and decrease the surplus population.

posted by emjaybee at 7:47 PM on June 20, 2009 [10 favorites]


The worst part isn't that she's a crazy authoritarian fascist, it's that she's bad at it. If you're going to be evil, at least do it competently.

Just about the easiest way to foment revolutionary behavior is through food shortages. A fat proletariat may vote you out of office, but a hungry proletariat will burn your office down.
posted by Kadin2048 at 7:54 PM on June 20, 2009 [12 favorites]


While nobody is disputing the benefits of nutritious food, why the presumption that parents are not providing nutritious food for their children? ... The problem of childhood obesity has been cited as one of the most rapidly growing health problems in America. People who are struggling with lack of food usually do not have an obesity problem.

Her reasoning skills...just wow. My poorer constituents are all fat, so they must have food!
posted by frobozz at 8:03 PM on June 20, 2009


Oh, and this:

Natural consequences is usually the best teacher. Bailing them out only encourages them to be irresponsible the next time

Being touched directly by natural consequences is a powerful teacher, no doubt. If we're talking about natural consequences in connection the concepts of personal choice and moral agency, however, there's a pretty big problem applying this principle to hungry teens. Exactly what choices is it likely a teen may have made to call down the consequence of having parents who can't or don't feed them?

But let's talk about good teachers. I'm going to assume that since Representative Davis and her husband opened the "Back to Basics Christian Bookstore in O'Fallon in 1989", she's a Christian and probably of the opinion that Jesus is a worthy role model for consideration. Certainly, any observer of the world has to believe in a God that allows an awful lot of natural consequences, but I don't understand how you can spend any time in Christianity and not see the strong thread of Jesus as an intercessor who mediates natural consequences as well. And encourages his followers to mediate natural consequences by visiting prisoners, by clothing the naked, and yes, by feeding the hungry. It's one thing to argue that this is not a role for the state, I disagree, but it's not a disingenuous argument for a Christian to make. The idea that natural consequences should be a chief and unbalanced guide is.

Not only that, but seriously, if it was all as Davis says, the concept of "pay it forward" type gratitude and altruism would simply be unknown to people, but in reality, it seems like people are in fact shaped by hope, by gratitude, and encounters with love and charity as much as they are shaped by fear of negative consequences. I have to wonder if Davis has ever actually experienced any of these things, adversity or grace, because there seems to be little evidence that she's thought about it.
posted by namespan at 8:14 PM on June 20, 2009 [8 favorites]


You might want to wait until you're an adult before experimenting.

Show of hands, how many here waited until adulthood to experiment with sex?

That's what I thought.
posted by Mental Wimp at 8:21 PM on June 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


Parents naturally love their children and enjoy caring for their children just as much as ever during an economic downturn.

I love this comment. I guess if you just enjoy caring for your children enough, food will magically appear out of nowhere!
posted by Go Banana at 8:47 PM on June 20, 2009


hippybear: "When did McDonalds start giving food to their employees? When I worked there (granted, 20-odd years ago), we had to pay. It was at a huge discount, we paid something like 15% of "retail", but it was not given to us for free."

When I worked there, it was 50% of retail, capped at $20 / day so we wouldn't go feeding our families with the corporate discount. Unfortunately, I saw that happen more than once.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 8:49 PM on June 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wow. Did you get to the bottom of the she's on it link? She has a tired bit of "humor" tacked on at the end, the sort of thing you'd find in an email from your mother, if your mother thought the problem with This Fine Nation was laziness.

Protip: when providing a rebuttal to a press release from some state agency (such as the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services) and put it on your professional website, don't include a joke from that funny email you just got.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:51 PM on June 20, 2009


and yes, by feeding the hungry.

But they're not hungry; they can get free food at mcdonald's! Seriously, her entire argument (though I hesitate to use such a dignified word for the convoluted mess I just read) is that there is actually no problem. People obviously aren't malnourished since anyone can see they're fat. People aren't hungry since they obviously can get a parttime job that will feed them. Etc. I once heard an entire sermon, in a Christian church, about how all that stuff about giving to the poor is symbolic since in modern America we no longer have downtrodden people who can't help themselves. (All that 'money belongs to Caesar/the state stuff is also symbolic, of course.) There is no reasoning here. There is nothing inside there to be reasoned with.
posted by frobozz at 8:51 PM on June 20, 2009 [4 favorites]


Shades of Ed Meese.
posted by hermitosis at 8:52 PM on June 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


This is as good a time as any to state what may be obvious but is still easily forgotten: those kids at school who get free breakfast and lunch from USDA (which have nutritional problems all their own) often come home to entry pantries on nights, weekends and summers. Your local food bank serves them, as well as seniors who spent all their food money buying essential medications and families who can barely (and only) make rent, even on two or three jobs. Hungry people need food, and not just cranberry sauce around the holidays. Give what you can year-round.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 8:53 PM on June 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


I took a quick look at the city she represents, O'Fallon, MO.

The median income for a household in the city is $60,179, and the median income for a family is $64,627. Males have a median income of $45,295 versus $29,129 for females. The per capita income for the city is $21,774. 3.3% of the population and 2.6% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 3.3% of those under the age of 18 and 6.7% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.

So, basically, the city has a higher than average income, (average in the US being around $50K/household), and has a fraction of the poverty rate (the Census bureau reports 2007 poverty rate was 12.5%). It's unemployment rate is similar to the US average (according to this page, anyway) but I somehow suspect that jobs available there are much better than the ones that could be found, say, in the counties down closer to the Ozarks.

She's a rich white woman lecturing the poor about their eating habits and saying that "if you're hungry, go find a job" to an entire state which does not reflect the demographics of her constituency. How quaint.

My favorite moment in the last link is:
When churches offer a meal, they can serve the individual with a sense of love and caring for those less fortunate. Government cannot match that. Bigger governmental programs take away our connectedness to the human family, our brotherhood and our need for one another.
Because government is not made up of the people, by the people, and for the people, of course. It's imposed from outside and has no soul.

I worked in a public elementary school in southern NM for several years, in a school which was made up of elite country club households living close to trailer parks filled with hispanic migrant workers. I have seen directly the kind of difference it can make in a child's life when they get put on the free meal program at a school. As a Title I worker, I was even more directly involved than most might believe -- the sort of holistic approach our Title I grant demanded meant that we were actively seeking out students whose families qualified for the program, and then working with the parents to make sure the kids got to school in time to have the breakfast in the morning, etc.

The difference in a child's productivity during the school day, the increased attendance due to better health, and (in some instances) the newer clothes the child received because funds were not quite so tight at home with meals being covered at school... all of these were measured and reported and quantified. It was pretty much proven that these programs benefit the kids much more than simple "we have food now". Many times, simply having some representative from the school working with the parents to help improve quality of life inspired the entire household to get behind the education process in a way which wouldn't have been forthcoming if that personal interest had not been displayed.

We were not a church organization. We were a Title I program. But we were well-designed, with a great amount of thought and care devoted to trying to reach these children and their families on a scale which went beyond simple "C is for Cat" kind of education. They were fighting to establish a summer meal program when I left my job there. I hope they accomplished it, because that little bit of extended collective kindness matters. A lot.
posted by hippybear at 8:57 PM on June 20, 2009 [48 favorites]


"Show of hands, how many here waited until adulthood to experiment with sex?

"That's what I thought."


This show of hands poll is not actually going to experience the unity of results you seem to be assuming, even here on Metafilter.
posted by Mitheral at 8:58 PM on June 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


God. People like her abound in the comments section of my local newspaper website.

But she's elected.
posted by dhartung at 9:03 PM on June 20, 2009


blucevalo--even Meghan McCain recognizes how Republican views on sex education and birth control are politically untenable.

But Meghan McCain's not an elected GOP representative. Cynthia Davis is. Even if McCain were running for office, it's hard to imagine her winning a GOP primary. Maybe in 10 or 20 years, but not now.
posted by blucevalo at 9:16 PM on June 20, 2009


Natural consequences is usually the best teacher.

we'll never be truly educated until the liberal curse of civilization is totally eliminated

let them eat big macs!
posted by pyramid termite at 9:16 PM on June 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Is she one of those Compassionate Conservatives I heard so much about?

Once upon a time, figures of authority defended child labor as the natural order of things, and as character building. They were the conservatives of their time. This woman is a conservative of our time. The one thing I always found odd about conservatives, is that for all their desire to drag us back to the past, they appear to learn very little from the past.

In due time, society will move forward, and put people like her firmly in the past. But not before she does her damage. Then a new conservative will take her place, and learn nothing from her.
posted by VikingSword at 9:21 PM on June 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Show of hands, how many here waited until adulthood to experiment with sex?

"That's what I thought."

Uh, point of order, do you consider masturbation experimenting with sex?
No?

*cries*
posted by graventy at 9:31 PM on June 20, 2009


Crazy, tone-deaf, ignorant career politician.

But...

She might know, for instance, that about one in five Missouri children lives with hunger.

Stats like this always drive me crazy with curiosity, so I went looking for confirmation. The linked pdf in the article does indeed say that 1 out of 5 Missouri kids from 2005-2007 (note: data is at least two years old) were "food insecure," but the pdf does not define what that means. Wikipedia says: "A household is considered food secure when its occupants do not live in hunger or fear of starvation." I can't find a definition for what "lives in hunger" means. I'm hungry right now. Poor people are generally fatter than average. I don't get it.

So it's a questionable stat, but it gets weirder.

As of November 2008, according to the Childrens Defense Fund, 1,424,830 children live in Missouri, and that 427,138 receive food stamps, with 95 percent coverage.

Huh? Thirty percent of the kids in Missouri are on food stamps? You have to be at poverty level to be eligible. Thirty percent would put Missouri at about three times the national average. But Wikipedia says Missouri is No. 26 in the nation on per-capita income. Right in the middle.

This makes zero sense just on its face.

I have no doubt there are hungry kids in St. Louis. But I can't swallow any side's arguments about an appropriate course of action when the numbers tossed around are so fundamentally wacky.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:32 PM on June 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Uh, I mean, when I went to visit my Canadian girlfriend last summer we totally went all the way. It was radical.
posted by graventy at 9:32 PM on June 20, 2009 [8 favorites]


O'Fallon is the worst sort of shithole, the kind of place that makes even the most over-the-top, hard-hitting parody of suburban hell seem gutless and effete. "Representative" couldn't be a more accurate word to describe the relationship between Rep. Davis and her constituency. She does a wonderful job in this one page of showcasing the sort of under-the-skin racism that resides in their subcutaneous layers where you and I might find fat, hair follicles or sweat glands.
posted by invitapriore at 9:41 PM on June 20, 2009


Natural consequences is usually the best teacher.

Unlike her English teacher, we presume from that construct.
posted by Devils Rancher at 9:43 PM on June 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Cool Papa Bell: which page were you looking at? When I go to this Wikipedia page, I find MO is listed 37th in the country, with a household income which falls $5000/year below the national average.

Ah, but you're looking at per-capita income. Maybe household income is a more accurate measure in this instance, as the children would have no real income, but are likely included in the divisor for figuring per-capita?
posted by hippybear at 9:43 PM on June 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


You know what else hungry children can eat? Grass. It's all around and it's free.

I'd like to see her government benefits (her health insurance, the transportation stipend, everything) get pulled and give her food stamps and welfare to live on. She wouldn't last an hour.
posted by anniecat at 9:45 PM on June 20, 2009


The USDA explains food insecurity.
posted by hippybear at 9:48 PM on June 20, 2009


She wouldn't last an hour.

come on, with a few loaves of day old bread and those strawberries, she'd be the strawberry shortcake queen of o'fallon
posted by pyramid termite at 9:49 PM on June 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


This show of hands poll is not actually going to experience the unity of results you seem to be assuming, even here on Metafilter.

Ha! Good one.
posted by Mental Wimp at 9:55 PM on June 20, 2009


In Missouri, there are a few very wealthy people and a whole lotta poor people. So going by per capita earnings, things don't look so bad here. But that's because the poverty is hidden by the amount of wealth in the hands of the few, which keeps our per capita up, even as huge numbers of people suffer in poverty. As wealth disparity grows, the per capita earnings figure doesn't change much, but the numbers of the poor climb. And that's how you get a reasonable per capita earnings figure, yet 1/3 of the kids are on food stamps. There's been a large transfer of wealth over the last decades from the middle class to the rich, resulting in greater wealth disparity and more poor folks. We ought to do something about that.
posted by jamstigator at 9:59 PM on June 20, 2009 [4 favorites]


The USDA explains food insecurity.

Perfect, thanks.

So, from that USDA page:

In 2007, 36.2 million people lived in food-insecure households, including 12.4 million children.

Then, according to Childrens Defense, Missouri accounts for just over 3 percent of all the food insecure children in the U.S.

Funny that, considering the entire state comprises a little less than 2 percent of the total U.S. population. So it's twice the national average, not three times.

I'd call shenanigans on someone, but there's so many targets to choose from...
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:08 PM on June 20, 2009


But that's because the poverty is hidden by the amount of wealth in the hands of the few, which keeps our per capita up

That's the exact opposite of "per capita," btw. A whole lotta poor people balanced against a few wealthy ones would drive per capita down, not up.

You could look at the median income, which defines the mid point (half the population above, half below) and Missouri ranks No. 37. Not great, but 13 states above the bottom.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:11 PM on June 20, 2009


When churches offer a meal, they can serve the individual with a sense of love and caring for those less fortunate. Government cannot match that. Bigger governmental programs take away our connectedness to the human family, our brotherhood and our need for one another.
Because government is not made up of the people, by the people, and for the people, of course. It's imposed from outside and has no soul.


This is a fantastic point. I do understand that it's difficult to legislate or otherwise programatically pursue soul, and I understand government initiatives can be hamstrung by politics and limited by bureaucracy... but I don't understand why some conservatives seem to simply assume that civic participation is necessarily rote and programatic and never enthusiastic or compassionate. I've also known dedicated participants in the Title I program. They may have had complaints about the administration of the program just like anybody else, but they believed in what they were doing and worked hard to help people who needed them.

Show of hands, how many here waited until adulthood to experiment with sex?

I don't think this is highly relevant to my main point, which is that I think it's false to say that if you're teaching the facts of life and contraception, you're necessarily encouraging kids to participate. And that even to the extent that it might encourage some kids to explore, I think it's possible to weave some measured caution into such a curriculum so that it's more or less neutral.
posted by namespan at 10:21 PM on June 20, 2009


Although not a large hunk of the population, it continually amazes me how sizable and vocal are the mass of people who would starve if they had to show genuine results or work in any sort of actually productive capacity.
posted by Smedleyman at 10:30 PM on June 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wait wait, she was being critical of parents that "wasted" money on potato chips and twinkies, but then suggests working at McDonalds for free food? What?

I guess if it's free garbage, then it's fine.

And I guess there's an infinite amount of McDonalds for all those poor people to work at, good thing too!
posted by Talanvor at 10:33 PM on June 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


I do not understand how people who hate anything and everything government-funded this much are ok with accepting a taxpayer-subsidized salary.
posted by naoko at 11:29 PM on June 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


Who is getting paid to serve the meal? Churches and other non-profits can do this at no cost to the taxpayer if it is warranted. That is what they did when Louisiana had a hurricane.
She's special, that one.
posted by verb at 11:33 PM on June 20, 2009


Anyone under 18 can be eligible? Can’t they get a job during the summer by the time they are 16? Hunger can be a positive motivator. What is wrong with the idea of getting a job so you can get better meals?

Tip: If you work for McDonald’s, they will feed you for free during your break.


While we're at it, Representative Davis (denying food to hungry children who JUST WON'T WORK FOR IT, GODDAMNIT, that is), why don't we just roll back the enlistment age to 16, and make service mandatory for children of families who fall below certain income levels? That way, we can force these shiftless pre-adults into their proper roles as cannon-fodder, and do away with having to feed those who get blown away - for America!

Tip: if you work for the military, they will feed you for free during your service - plus you may get death benefits!
posted by Graygorey at 11:39 PM on June 20, 2009


I guess if you just enjoy caring for your children enough, food will magically appear out of nowhere!

"Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble." Matthew 6:31-34 "


When I was a kid, this verse from the Gospels was used as proof that only unbelievers would ever go hungry. We were told, constantly, that God would never allow a true believer to be homeless, hungry and so forth. I'd like to think that this is a minority opinion among redstate Christians, but judging from the number of "homeless rescue missions" and "Christian food banks" wherein you have to listen to an altar call before you can eat, the general attitude seems to be that the hungry aren't already saved.
posted by Avenger at 11:45 PM on June 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Also, is it just me or is this a bit thin/LOLGOP?

There aren't many in the GOP going hungry tonight. I don't think "thin" is the word you're looking for.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:58 PM on June 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Poor people are generally fatter than average. I don't get it.

Food insecurity often leads to obesity.

It's a complex issue but in short:

1. You can buy calories pretty cheap but not real, nutritional food. So if your budget is really, really stretched you tend to buy the calories. Plenty of calories, not plenty of good nutrition.

2. Since you're stressed about your food situation, you tend to eat a lot when you can (ie, you're likely to binge on that high-calory, low-nutrition food when you have it).

3. Since you're poor your likely to live in an area with few good choices and since you're poor you are unlikely to have good transportation to go shopping where choices are better.

4. The same characteristics that make you poor (whether that is poor health, lack of good self- management skills, just plain not that smart, or whatever) likely make you a rather poor manager of your budget, your household, your diet etc.

5. Plus trying to make ends meet by cobbling together various part-time jobs, or maybe spending a lot of time with medical issues, or whatever, is likely to leave you with little time or energy to fix delicious and nutritional meals. You & your family are more likely eating cheap processed food on the run--again many calories but not much nutritional value.

6. It's fairly possible to eat pretty well pretty cheap, but the combination of #3, #4, and #5 mean that you can't just drop in to the local supermarket to buy some nice fresh produce and then whip that up into your family's meals for a week. You don't have the store, you don't have the skills, and you don't have the time. So yeah--it's possible. But not possible for you.

More likely is living off of hot dogs and ramen from the neighborhood convenience store. Thus--malnourished yet obese.
posted by flug at 1:01 AM on June 21, 2009 [14 favorites]


Poor people are generally fatter than average. I don't get it.

Cheap food is very often bad quality food, with too much sugar, sodium, trans fats, processing, etc. Fresh fruit, veg, and proteins generally seem to be more expensive. I've also read (in another mefi thread) that in the USA good grocery stores with fresh foods often won't set up shop in poor/bad neighborhoods, which would make it even harder for some folks to eat properly.
posted by zarah at 1:01 AM on June 21, 2009


If I may take the opportunity to actually defend an elected official from our poor state (and a Republican, no less--so there's something that's never happened before!)--

Sen. Kit Bond has proposed some interesting changes to the food stamps program. You can see just a brief mention of them here (can't find a better link just now).

But--the idea is to work from all sides to help encourage families on food stamps to use them to buy and consume more nutritious foods.

It's a crazy thing, but right now you quite literally just can't change the rules to say, "Food stamps can only be spent on nutritious foods" because for so many people who rely on food stamps, that sort of food just isn't available at their local stores.

So it is a chicken and egg thing where you have to encourage the stores to carry this type of good, encourage the people to buy it, and give training to people on how to plan their diet around actual nutritious food along with instruction on how to prepare it, and so on.

We'll see if this actually goes anywhere in the end but the plan I heard presented from Sen. Bond's office to was to change the food stamp requirements in a way that would attack all those sides of the problem and gradually over a period of years phase in the requirement to spend food stamp money on real, nutritious food.
posted by flug at 1:11 AM on June 21, 2009


This woman is an idiot.

When churches offer a meal, they can serve the individual with a sense of love and caring for those less fortunate.

They can also, because they are private rather than public organizations, exclude people they feel are not deserving of charity.

Government cannot match that. Bigger governmental programs take away our connectedness to the human family, our brotherhood and our need for one another.

Government programs are mandated to feed hungry people regardless of their particular religious beliefs or lack of them.

Separation of church and state: it exists for a reason.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 1:16 AM on June 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


Reading this gave me a nasty sick sinking feeling in my stomach, because I actually know what it's like to be completely broke and hungry.

A couple summers ago, a kid I know who had just hitchhiked back from California was fishing quarters out of a fountain in Bar Harbor- and the tourists were completely disgusted. One man walked by covering his kid's eyes saying "that's awful, I can't let my kids see that", another man yelled "Shame, Shame", and then a lady came up and started wagging her finger, lecturing him that there were "plenty of jobs in Bar Harbor, if he's really hungry he should get a job". She then went and called the cops.

Thing is, even if there were lots of jobs available in Bar Harbor (and they were all taken at that point- that's what happens in an oversaturated labor market) it could be up to two weeks before you would get your paycheck, and if you aren't the illegal-camping-in-the-woods type, most if not all of that could end up going towards first month's rent. These rich New Yorker fucks have no clue what other people have gone through but are quite happy to moralize.
That's why I find it really hard to make judgements on people- because I know what it's like to be broke and hungry, and the horribly callous way people can treat you when you're desperate. Does Cynthia Davis know?
posted by dunkadunc at 2:21 AM on June 21, 2009 [6 favorites]


: By the way, there's actually a lot more to sex than these two things, both positive things as well as some potential consequences prophylactics can't protect you from, depending on your background and level of emotional development. It can actually be kindof tricky to navigate. You might want to wait until you're an adult before experimenting.

Isn't this kind of thing already taught in sex-ed though?
posted by bigmusic at 2:29 AM on June 21, 2009


You know what else hungry children can eat?

The rich?
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 3:45 AM on June 21, 2009 [10 favorites]


Per Wiki: "When determining the per capita income of a community, the total personal income is divided by the population."

So, yes, the rich do indeed cloak poverty. Take the simple case of 10 people, 9 of whom make $0/year, and one who makes $1 million per year. Woohoo, the per capita income is $100,000/year, so that community is doing grrreat! Except that 90% of it is completely impoverished. Yes, the numbers of the poor CAN drag down the per capita income, just as a few VERY rich people drag it up and hide the poverty.
posted by jamstigator at 4:42 AM on June 21, 2009 [3 favorites]


she's a Christian and probably of the opinion that Jesus is a worthy role model for consideration.

I'm trying to picture Jesus telling his hungry followers that they should go get jobs at McDonald's and failing.
posted by EarBucket at 7:43 AM on June 21, 2009


"That's the exact opposite of 'per capita,' btw. A whole lotta poor people balanced against a few wealthy ones would drive per capita down, not up."

That depends on where you start from. In a group of ten people making a $1 a day a single person getting a raise to $91 a day is going to raise the per capita income to $10 a day. Yay capitalism!?
posted by Mitheral at 8:04 AM on June 21, 2009


Laid-off parents could adapt by preparing more home cooked meals rather than going out to eat.

Hear that, recently unemployed parents? Contrary to what your intuition might tell you, it actually costs more to eat in restaurants than to buy food from the grocery store or grow it yourself. Other tips to avoid hunger in your family:
-When you do get food, do not simply leave it in your cupboard; rather, prepare it to your liking, serve it to your family, and be sure that it is chewed and swallowed.
-Rocks, scrap metal, and styrofoam may seem appetizing, but in reality, they are not food. Seek instead food sources that are derived from plants and/or animals.
-Tip: a prison sentence builds character, teaches discipline, and ensures regular meals. Consider committing a serious crime in lieu of looking for another job.
posted by Rykey at 9:18 AM on June 21, 2009 [4 favorites]


flug:...But--the idea is to work from all sides to help encourage families on food stamps to use them to buy and consume more nutritious foods...

Several farmer's markets in Missouri have started to accept EBT/Food stamps, including City Market(pdf) in Kansas City. On weekends and Wednesdays, City Market acts as a traditional farmer's market, with vendors from all over the area, but throughout the week, 7 days a week, there are permanent produce vendors whose prices are usually lower than the grocery stores'.

The quality isn't anything to shout about (Occasionally, I've found a moldy blueberry or strawberry in the cartons I've purchased), but it's affordable and accessible (right off the main downtown busline).

It's the most diverse market I've ever been to, and it breaks down the stereotype that farmer's markets are just for pretentious white people.
(Sidenote: I went to a farmer's market in a wealthy part of town last week and they were charging $5 for a tiny plastic baggie of lettuce, probably only enough to make one salad...WTF?)

Even better, there are several organizations in urban KC that have started community gardens in low-income neighborhoods and who sell their wares on the weekends. One of the schools in our notoriously awful school district operates a small garden and market as well.

There are a lot of people in the city who care about making good, nutritious food available to everyone. I'm proud to say that KC is making steady progress, but I know that Missourians in other parts of the state, particularly in the rural areas like the Bootheel, are considerably less fortunate and who have considerably fewer community resources at their disposal.

Cynthia Davis is a myopic fucktard for thinking otherwise.

"Parents naturally love their children and enjoy caring for their children just as much as ever during an economic downturn."
Are you kidding me? Has this woman ever heard of DSS? Foster homes? Child abuse?

Goddamnit! She almost makes me want to move to O'Fallon, just so I can proudly vote her ass out of office next election.
posted by chara at 9:51 AM on June 21, 2009


I don't understand why some conservatives seem to simply assume that civic participation is necessarily rote and programatic and never enthusiastic or compassionate

Because when conservatives are in power, government is not compassionate, is very wasteful of money, is soulless. Conservatives hate government not because government must necessarily do a poor job of things, but because conservatives do a poor job of things.

If incompetent boobs like Cynthia would just F.R.O. and leave the politicking to people who are competent, a lot of problems would go away.


if you're teaching the facts of life and contraception, you're necessarily encouraging kids to participate. And that even to the extent that it might encourage some kids to explore, I think it's possible to weave some measured caution into such a curriculum so that it's more or less neutral.

It's dead damn easy to weave in the measured caution: haul that class of late early pubescent kids down to the local maternity ward, where they can witness the actual birthing process. Then have babies and their mothers visit the class on a regular basis, to tell the kids what the "being a new parent" experience is like.

Between the gore of birth and the sleeplessness of parenthood and stories of baby poop, a whole lot of kids will think twice before sticking their parts together without protection.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:54 AM on June 21, 2009


fff: The kids in my town (although most of them probably hadn't seen a birth) were all pretty well exposed to the whole baby-raising process, generally through their own peers or older siblings who were themselves having kids at a young age.
The problem, at least in Maine, is that nobody seems to think that having kids at such a young age is a bad idea- you have a baby, the dad doesn't support you, you don't go to college, and end up living in a mobile home in a field and working at places like Rite Aid.
It's all terribly sad- All the girls in my neighborhood who I thought were really cute back in 8th grade had a baby by the time they were 18- one now has three.
As my dad said: The only options for young people in our area are having a baby and getting fat, or getting the hell out of there. A lot of kids don't have the resources or support to do the latter.
posted by dunkadunc at 11:23 AM on June 21, 2009


These rich New Yorker fucks have no clue what other people have gone through but are quite happy to moralize.

Um, actually, rich New Yorkers tend to be *liberal*-- compared to Missouri, we're a socialist paradise and no one like this crazy woman would get elected in Manhattan, period.
posted by Maias at 11:40 AM on June 21, 2009


...wherein you have to listen to an altar call before you can eat...

This. This is what conservatives want, for poor people to "pay" for getting help by being lectured to, either about some religious crap or about getting a job and not being so lazy. Of course, this drives up the cost of giving them help, so they would like to push it off onto private charities. This is, of course, laughable, since there is no way charitable giving could ever make up for government programs because there are just too damn many people in need and we are just not that generous when push comes to shove.

I don't think this is highly relevant to my main point, ...

Yeah, I think you were doing fine until you stepped off that curb. I agree that sex ed as it is usually taught doesn't encourage sexuality in the least. Quite the opposite. It's just that I think any preaching about avoiding sex until some magic age is going to work about as well as anti-drug programs do now. That is, not at all.
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:44 AM on June 21, 2009


"This woman is an idiot."
I disagree. Idiots can be taught useful things and can lead productive lives as valued members of society. No, this woman is a malevolent self-delusional parasite.
Equating poverty with immorality is one of the most disturbingly evil notions humanity has had to contend with.
Indeed, it's not enough for some people to harbor illusions that they would have become wealthy without the massive social and infrastructure supports they've benefited from, not enough for some to console themselves that but for the government taking such a big bite they too would have been wealthy (it wasn't, surely, their own fault nor circumstances such as not having been blessed by growing up in a strong education system) - no, some people have to go further and demand that not only are they successful purely by the sweat of their own brow such that they developed all these amazing talents and social supports when they sprang self-created from the void - no, not only that - but anyone who cannot achieve the same success are less intelligent, less hard working and most certainly less virtuous.
Of course, it goes without saying then, that it's not a moral failing, for them, to savagely exploit such people and that others who don't seek the path to riches by investing in, say, check cashing loan services and take advantage of the stupid and immoral must be somewhat dull themselves. And of course, their desire not to exploit others is not morality but naivete.
Hell, I'd rather deal with a hateful zealot or racist, at least it's straightforward.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:34 PM on June 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


Um, actually, rich New Yorkers tend to be *liberal*-

Being New Yorkers they also tend to be incredibly self-absorbed, competitive and judgmental. (That goes triple for rich Manhattanites.) And because they think of themselves as "liberal," anything they say or do is liberal, QED & ipso facto.

I've known a fair number of people who work for national non-profits. Among them is a subset of people who are dedicated to the job and the cause and work extremely hard on behalf of some group of people, yet a person right there in front of them (in a subordinate role: associates, support staff, nannies, waitrons) gets treated like a leaky sack of shit.

It's sort of fascinating to watch, from a safe distance. But mostly nauseating.

On preview:

Hell, I'd rather deal with a hateful zealot or racist, at least it's straightforward.

This.
posted by dogrose at 1:57 PM on June 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


maias, I just realized that my comment could be read as an attack on you, and that's absolutely not my intention. I used your comment as a jumping off point to indulge my own neurotic ranting, that's all.
posted by dogrose at 2:02 PM on June 21, 2009


That goes triple for rich Manhattanites.

You bet. We always dread August, when most of them come up, because they treat service employees like golems made of shit.
posted by dunkadunc at 2:34 PM on June 21, 2009


Seriously, if your response to this is to lay out reasons and counterpoints, arguments and logic, then stop. This is heartless batshit craziness and doesn't deserve to be acknowledged, let alone refuted.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:00 PM on June 21, 2009


This is heartless batshit craziness and doesn't deserve to be acknowledged, let alone refuted.

The only problem is that ignoring something like this won't make it go away. If enough people acknowledge the absurdity of her views, then public refutation of those views is the best hope we have for both undermining her brand of ideological extremism and voting her ass out of office. After all, she's only voicing what a lot of other people in their ignorance believe.
posted by ornate insect at 6:58 PM on June 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


buttereverything

also, her face is her contraception amirite
posted by Eideteker at 8:41 AM on June 22, 2009


Thanks for the confidence booster. If someone like that can be a State Rep., then I could be the Grand Archon of the Universe.
posted by WeekendJen at 2:15 PM on June 22, 2009


Liberals, I tell you! Every one of you bleeding hearts pontificating about sex-ed, making the typical assumption that everyone is heterosexual!

How DARE you assume I am heterosexual!

Seriously, I've said plenty on MeFi about my sordid past. At that time in history, all the cautions about sex were about making unwanted babies. Whoopsi! No babies were going to happen from my idea of a good time! Really, I recall thinking that ALL the boys would be standing in line for their turn!

As for this woman: She is so clueless it is rather pointless to even begin a discussion on the topic with her remarks as a starting point. There are levels of "poor" she probably doesn't even imagine. I hope she is confronted with them, right in her face.

Almost Bottom: No home! Unable to bathe for days, no good nights sleep in days, no good meals in days, and dirty, smelly clothes. Been there, done that. Anyone in that shape should stop by Cynthia Davis' house, seeking work.

Bottom: Everything like almost, but add additional health issues.

So maybe you have a home, so you can wash yourself and get some sleep. Add clean clothes, and at least you can appear acceptable! But if you haven't been getting enough food, your thinking might not be in the best shape. If stress (or other problems) is keeping you awake at night, that counts double.

Even if your only real issue at present is getting enough to eat, if the hunger is serious, you're not going to find it easy to listen to a bunch of crap and take shit, waiting to get something in your stomach. Hunger motivates, but damn, it sure can be very focusing, too. Anything short of food is so much bullshit. As the old saying goes: "Patience my ass! I'm going out and killing something!"
posted by Goofyy at 7:49 AM on June 24, 2009


No home! Unable to bathe for days, no good nights sleep in days, no good meals in days, and dirty, smelly clothes. Been there, done that. Anyone in that shape should stop by Cynthia Davis' house, seeking work.

It would probably be very enlightening to her were someone to organize a "visit from the homeless" excursion. And then she should be taken to witness the things which she speaks of but knows nothing of.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:07 AM on June 24, 2009


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