Foodies for Dean
Wednesday, December 31, 2003
The American Burger: How Safe Is It? By Walter Nicholls and Candy Sagon
Washington Post 12/31/03

Of all of the food safety concerns raised by the discovery of mad cow disease at a Washington state dairy farm, perhaps none is more focused than that on ground beef and that staple of many an American diet, the hamburger.

"It's been said that war is the way that Americans learn about geography. Well, in the same way, food disasters are how we find out about where our food comes from," says David Cole, chairman of Sunnyside Farms.

Abstain? Some experts are so outraged by the government's slowness in dealing with mad cow concerns that they feel consumers should consider avoiding ground beef completely.

Marion Nestle, professor of public health at New York University and the author of "Safe Food," says the unfolding situation "is so shocking, it takes my breath away. I mean, the meat's in Guam and Hawaii. It's already almost halfway around the world."

An outspoken critic of the country's food industry, Nestle says part of the problem is that consumers have no idea where the ground beef in their supermarket comes from. One study, she says, showed that a single pound of ground beef could be traced to 400 animals in six states.

"Until we have a little consumer protection going on in government, consumers have to take care of themselves. They should express their distress about the current meat situation and just say no. The message will be loud and clear in a way no other message will be."

Caroline Smith DeWaal, director of food safety for the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a Washington consumer group, won't go quite that far, but she agrees that "ground beef [safety] is clearly a weakness."

"What's frustrating is that the USDA could have solved this problem. They've been repeatedly alerted to the risks posed to the public. The hazard is there," she says.

"You don't want to punish the industry for something that happened to one cow," says Patty Lovera of the public health group Public Citizen. On the other hand, consumers need to pressure the government to improve the food safety system, she says. "There's a lot more the USDA could be doing, like eliminating 'downer' animals [which appear sick] and expanding the testing for mad cow disease. The government says all these reassuring things, but doesn't back them up with actions."

And it's not just ground beef in hamburgers that consumers should be worried about, adds Smith DeWaal. "Taco filling, pizza toppings, hot dogs, processed meats, these are all likely products that can expose consumers to mad cow disease."

Still, other experts say avoiding ground meat completely is an overreaction.

"The chance of being infected is very small," says Paul Brown, a senior investigator at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda and a longtime researcher of mad cow disease. "I would bet my life we won't have an epidemic."

Besides, adds Marybeth Cousin, a food microbiology professor at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., "I would be more worried about getting the flu this winter than getting mad cow disease."

Bush Administration to Ban Dietary Supplement Ephedra

Click here for full article.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Bush administration has decided to ban the herbal weight-loss supplement ephedra from the marketplace because of concerns about its effects on health, government officials said Tuesday.-------------

---------Ephedra has been linked to as many as 100 deaths, officials have said. And Congress gathered testimony from families of people who are believed to have died from its side effects. Among those who testified were the parents of Baltimore Orioles pitcher Steve Bechler, who died during spring training last February while trying to lose weight. Toxicology tests showed ephedra in his system.

Executives of several companies that make ephedra-based products have said that studies have proven that they are safe when used properly.------------

``Anyone who has read our label knows that we go to great lengths to inform our customers about the proper use of our products,'' said Russell Schreck, chief executive officer of San Diego-based nutritional supplement-maker Metabolife International. ``We make it quite clear on our label that the ephedra products are not to be sold or used by minors and that customers with certain pre-existing medical conditions should 'consult a physician before product use'.''---------------

-------------But several scientists said that it was impossible to prove whether ephedra was safe because studies screen out participants who have health problems -- the people most likely to be hurt by the product.---

-------------In 2001, the National Football League banned its players from using ephedra as a dietary supplement.

Sunday, December 28, 2003

The capture of Saddam Hussein two weeks ago, has prompted a rash of reporting and conspiracy theories that all was not as reported by the US authorities in Iraq. This may all be an unfortunate result of the necessity to keep such high profile capture subjects in secure custody and unavailable for examination by the public and media.

The core theory is that Saddam was actually captured earlier and elsewhere. He was drugged and put in that now famous hole "to be captured" when convenient. At the center of this arguement is that photos supposedly taken at the time of capture show a nearby cluster of yellow dates hanging from one of the ubiquitous date palms of Iraq. Normally dates are yellow in the summer and would certainly have fallen off by December. Thus the photos and capture were done earlier.

One report out of Saudi Arabia mentions that there is one variety of date, "hilali" that ripens later and is still on the trees in December in that part of the world.

Other reporting we have done here,(see 12/14/03 at 09:47:04AM) mentions that due to the start of the war, the crucial March hand pollination of the date palms was postponed or prevented from happening. So there was not expected to be much of a date crop this year. However, some trees could have been pollinated later causing an unusual late ripening. This might explain why yellow dates were on the palm hanging near Saddam's hideout in December.

I like a good conspiracy theory as much as the next person. But first let's learn more about date varieties and this year's war-interrupted crop.

Saturday, December 27, 2003
Mad Cow Case Clouds Bush's Political Outlook
Report of Disease Colors Spurt of Good News With a Touch of Uncertainty

By Mike Allen
Washington Post 12/28/03

CRAWFORD, Tex., Dec. 27 -- The discovery of mad cow disease in the United States could shift the political landscape at the start of President Bush's reelection year by injecting uncertainty into a fragile economy and drawing scrutiny to his handling of an industry that was a financial and political ally in the last election, analysts in both parties said yesterday.

White House officials had sounded ebullient as they headed into the holidays at a time when economic indicators were turning up, Saddam Hussein was in captivity and a new Medicare law had just been signed. Now, the administration will start 2004 under the type of sudden economic threat that Bush aides had expected would come only from a terrorist attack.

"Life is just not as good as December was for the president," Republican pollster Whit Ayres said.

Bush has closer ties to ranching than to any other industry besides oil, and Democrats seized on this new avenue for attacking Bush as a captive of business. Howard Dean, the front-runner for the Democratic nomination, said that it showed "the complete lack of foresight by the Bush administration once again."

Dan Glickman, agriculture secretary under President Bill Clinton and now director of Harvard University's Institute of Politics, said the White House has just weeks to develop a plan for more rigorous livestock tracing and testing. He suggested that Bush bring together representatives of science, consumers and the industry in early January -- a time when his aides had hoped to be focused on the State of the Union address.

"This will require very aggressive, proactive solutions coming from the administration," Glickman said. "You cannot monkey around with this. This is a big potential problem."

Bush donned a cowboy hat when he spoke last year to the annual convention of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, and livestock interests have been among his most reliable supporters. The Center for Responsive Politics found that 79 percent of the livestock industry's $4.7 million in contributions for the 2000 elections went to Republicans. Of the $1.1 million the industry has given so far for next year's election, 84 percent went to the GOP.

Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), who has been seeking a Meat Traceability and Safety Act, called the current standards "another example of the White House doing what industry wants, rather than what the consumer needs."

Dean, in an interview Friday with the Associated Press, said that the mad cow discovery "is something that easily could be predicted and was predicted" and that the administration could have softened the blow by setting up a system that provided "instant traceability." He called for "instant traceability" of meat and a federal economic aid package for the industry.


As Probe of Infected Cow Spreads, So Does Worry

By Shankar Vedantam and Blaine Harden
Washington Post Staff Writers

Cattle in other states may have eaten the same contaminated feed that infected a Washington state Holstein with mad cow disease, but investigators who want to track the infection to its source are being confounded by the lack of an organized system that would lead them to the herd where the cow was born, officials said yesterday.

The lack of a reliable tracking system, and a complex trail of clues, rumors and false leads, mean it could be days or months -- or never -- before all the links are fully explored, officials said. For a nation already jittery about the Holstein, the expanding investigation could spread worry.

"The epidemiological investigation becomes a tangled web of different possibilities," said W. Ron DeHaven, deputy administrator and chief veterinary officer at the Agriculture Department. "Some of those do lead back to Canada. Some take us into the state of Washington and other states, as well."

Already, consumers who ate meat that might have come from the sick Holstein are concerned. Grocery stores were shipped ground beef and beef patties from meat that included the infected cow 11 days before a test for mad cow disease came back positive and the meat was recalled -- it is not yet known how much of the meat was pulled off grocery shelves or has been consumed.

Investigators Trace Diseased Cow to Canada

The Associated Press
Saturday, December 27, 2003; 11:28 AM

WASHINGTON - The Holstein infected with mad cow disease in Washington state was imported into the United States from Canada about two years ago, federal investigators tentatively concluded Saturday.

Dr. Ron DeHaven, chief veterinarian for the Agriculture Department, said Canadian officials have provided records that indicate the animal was one of a herd of 74 cattle that were shipped from Alberta, Canada, into this country at Eastport, Idaho.

"These animals were all dairy cattle and entered the U.S. only about two or two-and-a-half years ago, so most of them are still likely alive," DeHaven said.

He emphasized that just because the sick cow was a member of that herd, it does not mean that all 74 animals are infected.

Based on the Canadian records, the cow was 6 1/2-years-old - older than U.S. officials had thought, DeHaven said. U.S. papers on the cow said she was 4- or 4 1/2-years-old.

The age is significant because the United States and Canada have


Dean also weighed in on the news earlier this week that a cow in Washington state has tested positive for mad cow disease, the first such case in the United States.

The former governor, whose state has a large dairy cow population, said the Bush administration failed to aggressively set up a tracking system that would allow the government to quickly track the origins of the sick cow, quarantine other animals it came in contact with and assure the marketplace the rest of the meat supply is safe.

Asked if he supported a federal economic aid package for the industry, Dean said: "The answer is, yes, of course I do. The question is how much? And we don't know how much yet."

Many Stocks Linked to Beef Continue to Fall by Jennifer Bayat, NY Times 12/26/03

The discovery of mad cow disease in the United States continued to roil the cattle markets and the beef industry yesterday as the prices of live cattle and stock in meat processors were pummeled for a second day.

On the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live cattle futures for delivery in February fell 3 cents, to 86.175 cents a pound, even after the normal limit of 1.5 cents a pound was doubled for the day because of the crisis.

Stock in Tyson Foods Inc., the largest meat processor in the nation, fell 31 cents, to $12.59 a share, after falling $1.08, or 8 percent, on Wednesday. Smithfield Foods Inc. and the Hormel Foods Corporation each fell by about 1 percent.

Standard & Poor's, the credit rating agency, said it might cut the debt ratings of companies that process beef and of restaurants that feature beef because of the uncertainty about how consumers will react.

Some restaurant chains, notably the McDonald's Corporation and Wendy's International, posted modest gains, reversing setbacks on Wednesday when the initial reaction to the mad cow scare swept the markets.

But the price of live cattle remained under pressure as countries around the world banned imports of cattle from the United States. Analysts said the United States had been on pace to export more than $3.5 billion worth of beef this year, 10 percent of the nation's production.

Faced with the uncertainty and the exchange's limit on daily changes in price, traders in the futures market were unable to determine the price, which fell the 3-cent limit as soon as trading began, essentially putting a halt to trade, because there were no buyers.

The exchange raised the limit to 3 cents for yesterday's session because the price fell the normal 1.5 cent limit on Wednesday and will expand the limit again, to 5 cents a pound, for Monday's session.

Gregg Doud, chief economist with the National Cattlemen's Beef Association in Denver, said prices in the market for options on cattle futures, where prices have fewer restrictions, indicated that the price might level off at about 75 cents a pound.

Mr. Doud said one trade was reported on the cash market in Kansas on Friday, with live cattle selling for 78 cents a pound, down from an average of 92.62 cents a pound before the mad cow news emerged.

"I am hard-pressed to think of the last time this market has done anything like this," Mr. Doud said. "And it's because we've lost our export market. We've lost at least 90 percent of a $3.5 billion export market this week."

Chuck Levitt, senior livestock analyst for the Alaron Trading Corporation in Chicago, noted that the Canadian beef industry was still reeling from the discovery of an infected cow in April.

"We are seeing an agricultural tragedy unfold as we speak," Mr. Levitt said. "How much equity will be lost by the American beef producer, I can't tell you. But chances are it won't be millions, it will be billions of dollars."

Keith Collins, chief economist with the Department of Agriculture, said the price might return to levels of a year ago, or about 72 cents a pound, which would be tolerable considering that the past year has been a good one.

"So the price declines the producers are likely going to face, while in fact will cause them some financial difficulty, will probably bring prices back to a level that they've been in the past year or so," Mr. Collins said.

Friday, December 26, 2003
Mad Cow Fallout: meat eaters & USDA rethinking choices

In light of the first reported and confirmed case of Mad Cow Disease in the US, choices made by meat eaters, the USDA, and food industry investors are being reconsidered.

Even the Bush administration's strategy of relying on the economy rebounding to sweep him into a second term may have to be re-considered. Some are predicting the fallout of the first confirmed mad cow disease case in America has just begun. The beef and food industry have placed profits over prudence in light of experience in UK and other places where the disease has been transferred from cattle to humans.

And in the atmosphere of allowing big business to regulate itself, the USDA's hands-off policies will have to reconsidered.

Amidst all this are studies that say consumers are very conflicted. The public has learned that high protein diets do keep weight under control. But an increasing number of citizens don't trust large corporations to choose public health over profits.

The fallout damage of this first case is likely to be wide spread. Many have been suspected Mad Cow has been present in the US food supply for some time. The USDA has not done enough inspections to detect it before now. The US media ignores food stories until they reach a crisis proportions. They are still repeating that the diseased parts of the cow in question were removed, despite the findings of a Nobel scientist that the disease is likely to be found throughout the animal and that many animals are slaughtered before they show signs of illness.

All these reports can be found in postings in this blog for Dec 24, 25. We will continue to update this important story and provide links on a daily basis.

Expert Warned That Mad Cow Was Imminent


Ever since he identified the bizarre brain-destroying proteins that cause mad cow disease, Dr. Stanley Prusiner, a neurologist at the University of California at San Francisco, has worried about whether the meat supply in America is safe.

He spoke over the years of the need to increase testing and safety measures. Then in May, a case of mad cow disease appeared in Canada, and he quickly sought a meeting with Ann M. Veneman, the secretary of agriculture. He was rebuffed, he said in an interview yesterday, until he ran into Karl Rove, senior adviser to President Bush.

So six weeks ago, Dr. Prusiner, who won the 1997 Nobel Prize in Medicine for his work on prions, entered Ms. Veneman's office with a message. "I went to tell her that what happened in Canada was going to happen in the United States," Dr. Prusiner said. "I told her it was just a matter of time."

The department had been willfully blind to the threat, he said. The only reason mad cow disease had not been found here, he said, is that the department's animal inspection agency was testing too few animals. Once more cows are tested, he added, "we'll be able to understand the magnitude of our problem."

This nation should immediately start testing every cow that shows signs of illness and eventually every single cow upon slaughter, he said he told Ms. Veneman. Japan has such a program and is finding the disease in young asymptomatic animals.

Fast, accurate and inexpensive tests are available, Dr. Prusiner said, including one that he has patented through his university.

Ms. Veneman's response (he said she did not share his sense of urgency) left him frustrated. That frustration soared this week after a cow in Washington State was tentatively found to have the disease. If the nation had increased testing and inspections, meat from that cow might never have entered the food chain, he said.

Ms. Veneman was not available for interviews yesterday, and the White House referred all questions to the department. A spokeswoman for Ms. Veneman, Julie Quick, said: "We have met with many experts in this area, including Dr. Prusiner. We welcome as much scientific input and insight as we can get on this very important issue. We want to make sure that our actions are based on the best available science."

In Dr. Prusiner's view, Ms. Veneman is getting poor scientific advice. "U.S.D.A. scientists and veterinarians, who grew up learning about viruses, have difficulty comprehending the novel concepts of prion biology," he said. "They treat the disease as if it were an infection that you can contain by quarantining animals on farms. It's as though my work of the last 20 years did not exist."

Scientists have long been fascinated by a group of diseases, called spongiform encephalopathies, that eat away at the brain, causing madness and death. The leading theory was that they were caused by a slow-acting virus. But in 1988, Dr. Prusiner proposed a theory that seemed heretical at the time: the infectious agent was simply a type of protein, which he called prions.

Prions (pronounced PREE-ons), he and others went on to establish, are proteins that as a matter of course can misfold — that is, fold themselves into alternative shapes that have lethal properties — and cause a runaway reaction in nervous tissue. As more misfolded proteins accumulate, they kill nerve cells.

Animals that eat infected tissues can contract the disease, setting off an epidemic as animals eat each other via rendered meats. But misfolded proteins can also arise spontaneously in cattle and other animals, Dr. Prusiner said. It is not known whether meat from animals with that form of the disease could pass the disease to humans, he said, but it is a risk that greatly worries him.

Cattle with sporadic disease are probably entering the food chain in the United States in small numbers, Dr. Prusiner and other experts say.

Brain tissue from the newly discovered dairy cow in Washington is now being tested in Britain to see if it matches prion strains that caused the mad cow epidemic there, or if it is a homegrown American sporadic strain, Dr. Prusiner said.

"The problem is we just don't know the size of the problem," he said. "We don't know the prevalence or incidence of the disease."

The Japanese experience is instructive, Dr. Prusiner said. Three and a half years ago, that country identified its first case of mad cow disease. The government then said it would begin testing all cows older than 30 months, as they do in Europe. Older animals presumably have a greater chance of showing the disease, Dr. Prusiner said.

Japanese consumer groups protested and the government then said it would test every cow upon slaughter, Dr. Prusiner said. The Japanese have 4 million cattle and slaughter 1.2 million of them each year. The United States has 100 million cattle and kills 35 million a year.

Early this fall, Japanese surveillance found two new cases of the disease in young animals, aged 21 and 23 months. "Under no testing regime except Japan would these cases ever be found," he said.

The 23-month-old cow tested borderline positive using two traditional tests. But the surveillance team then looked in a different part of the brain using an advanced research technique and found a huge signal for infectious material, Dr. Prusiner said. It was a different strain of the disease, possibly a sporadic case.

The only way to learn what the United States is facing is to test every animal, Dr. Prusiner said. Existing methods, used widely in Europe and Japan, grind up brain stem tissue and use an enzyme to measure amounts of infectious prions. Animals must have lots of bad prions to get a clear diagnosis.

Newer tests, by a variety of companies, are more sensitive, cheaper and faster. Dr. Prusiner said that his test could even detect extremely small amounts of infectious prion in very young animals with no symptoms. Sold by InPro Biotechnology in South San Francisco, a single testing operation could process 8,000 samples in 24 hours, he said.

British health officials will start using the test in February, Dr. Prusiner said. If adopted in this country, it would raise the price of a pound of meat by two to three cents, he said.

"We want to keep prions out of the mouths of humans," Dr. Prusiner said. "We don't know what they might be doing to us."

His laboratory is working on promising treatments for the human form of mad cow disease but preventing its spread is just as important, he said. "Science is capable of finding out how serious the problem is," he said, "but only government can mandate the solutions."

US beef industry arrogance
Listen to an interview with two critics of the US beef industry. They claim "big meat" has ignored best practices that have been put in place after the UK mad cow scare. And that despite all the assurances by USDA, that diseased parts of cattle are found throughout the animal.

Here's a link to Democracy Now's broadcast segment today.

Mad cow disease was detected in the United States for the first time ever when a cow slaughtered in Washington state earlier this month tested positive for BSE. We speak with John Stauber author of Mad Cow USA and Howard Lyman a former cattle rancher-turned-vegetarian and food safety activist.

John Stauber, co-founder of PR Watch and co-author of the book, Mad Cow USA: Could The Nightmare Happen Here? (Common Courage Press, 1997) which reveals how mad cow disease has emerged as a result of modern, intensive farming practices.

Howard Lyman, author of Mad Cowboy: Plain Truth From the Cattle Rancher Who Won't Eat Meat. A former cattle rancher-turned-vegetarian and food safety activist. In 1996, Lyman revealed, to a national television audience, how the cattle industry potentially exposed Americans to mad cow disease by feeding cows the remains of live animals - including other cows. As a result of his remarks, Lyman was named a co-defendant with Oprah Winfrey in the infamous "veggie libel" case brought by Texas ranchers in Amarillo.

Wednesday, December 24, 2003
Mad cow report causes nations to ban US beef imports, meat industry and restaurant stocks to fall, comsumers to worry as USDA investigates origins of infected cow.

Here are some press reports and links to various mad cow information sites:

Mad Cow Disease sites:

American Meat

Press reports:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Federal officials raced on Wednesday to find out where a Washington state cow, apparently infected with mad cow disease, was born and may have been infected.

Even as the investigation continued, officials sought to reassure Americans about the safety of the nation's food supply. That didn't stop several nations from banning U.S. beef, including Japan, Taiwan and Mexico, the three largest importers.

Agriculture Department officials told a briefing that the cow joined the Washington State herd in October 2001 and was culled from other cows Dec. 9, after she became paralyzed, apparently as a result of calving.

But because the brain-wasting disease is usually transmitted through contaminated feed and has an incubation period four to five years, it is ``important to focus on the feed where she was born'' in 1999, USDA chief veterinarian Ron DeHaven said.

Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman said tissue samples from the diseased cow were put aboard a commercial jet expected to arrive in England later Wednesday for conclusive tests of the preliminary diagnosis. She said results of those tests could be available in three to five days.

She said the animal fell ill on at large dairy farm with two sites and 4,000 cows in southern Washington state. All the animals on this farm have been quarantined by the state. If the preliminary testing confirms the preliminary finding, it is likely that other cows in the herd will be slaughtered.

President Bush, who is with his family at Camp David for Christmas, has been receiving regular updates on the situation, a White House spokesman said. He spoke with Veneman again on Wednesday, and will be getting briefings on the incident later in the day, the spokesman said.

The animal in question was one of 20 slaughtered Dec. 9 at Vern's Moses Lake Meat Co. in Moses Lake, Wash., and meat from those carcasses was shipped to other processing plants on Dec. 11, Kenneth Peterson of the Food Safety and Inspection Service said. Federal food safety inspectors have been sent to four locations, not immediately identified, which received some of the 10,410 pounds of meat from the 20 carcasses slaughtered Dec. 9 in Moses Lake.

All 10,410 pounds have been recalled. ``We're looking at when the carcasses were processed and what was done with them,'' Peterson said.

In the search for the birth herd, federal officials have identified two livestock markets in Washington state where the cow could have been purchased in October 2001, DeHaven said. He would not disclose the identity of the markets.

``Once we have the birth herd, we'll want to know what animals have come into that herd and what animals have left that herd and all the feeding practices for that herd,'' DeHaven said. Using records supplied by the dairy farmer and accompanying the diseased animal, inspectors hope to identify the birth herd in a day or two, DeHaven added.

The impact of the report was evident almost immediately with various nations banning imports of U.S. beef after the Agriculture Department announced that a so-called downed cow, meaning it was unable to move on its own, had tested positive for the brain-wasting disease.

The cow was from a farm near Yakima, Wash. Veneman said parts of the animal went to three processing plants. In addition to Moses Lake Meat Co. they were Willamette Valley Meats in Portland, Ore., and Interstate Meat in Clackamas, Ore.

Tuesday, December 23, 2003
First Suspected U.S. Case of Mad Cow Disease Under Investigation
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Published: December 23, 2003

WASHINGTON -- The first-ever U.S. case of mad cow disease is suspected in a single cow in Washington state, but the American food supply is safe, Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman said Tuesday.

"We remain confident in the safety of our food supply," said Veneman.

She told a news conference that a single Holstein cow that was either sick or injured -- thus never destined for the U.S. food supply -- tested presumptively positive for the brain-wasting illness.

Sunday, December 21, 2003
Protein Diet Craze, Thin Supply of Cattle Fatten Ranchers' Wallets

By Blaine Harden Washington Post Staff Writer Monday, December 22, 2003;

(Part of the article is included below, for the whole report copy and paste this address:

The buzz, echoing across cattle country from Montana to Texas, comes from what the U.S. Department of Agriculture calls the highest beef prices on record. Ranchers who have endured decades of declining consumer demand for beef -- as well as five punishing years of drought -- now find that what they are herding is just what the doctor ordered. That is, the late Robert C. Atkins, along with his many imitators in the low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet craze.

Dietary fashion, having long punished ranchers for their supposed role in making Americans fat, is handsomely rewarding them for their supposed role in making Americans skinny. Here on the mountain-ringed rangeland of southwest Montana, in the heart of the state's No. 1 beef-producing county, obesity is not an entirely discouraging word.

"That Atkins diet has really helped demand for beef," said Bill Garrison, 62, who, along with his two sons, raises cattle on 18,000 acres north of Dillon. He is also the immediate past president of the Montana Stockgrowers Association. "Prices are higher now than I thought I would ever see."

Compared with last fall, Garrison and other ranchers around Dillon received about $100 more for each calf they sold in November for delivery to feedlots in Nebraska and Kansas. That spells a $40,000 spike in income for the average local rancher, who sells about 400 calves in the fall. It also means that Dillon, a beef-dependent town of 3,752, is suddenly swimming in cash.

"Because ranchers are spending this money in the community, it creates an influx of dollars," said Clint Rouse, president of the State Bank & Trust Co., a Dillon lender that specializes in cattle loans. "It is a real positive thing, there is no doubt about it. We have a lot more money to loan. . . . I attribute it to Dr. Atkins."

There is more, of course, to this fall's record-setting spike in beef prices -- and Dillon's infusion of cash -- than diet fads.

Part of it is weather driven. Severe drought across much of the cattle-raising West has seared rangelands since 1998, stunted grasslands, dried up reservoirs and water holes, and forced ranchers to cull herds.

The number of cattle in the United States has fallen to a seven-year low, according to the USDA. There were 103.5 million cattle in 1996; at the start of this year, there were 96.1 million. Many ranchers around Dillon have been forced to cut their herds. Five consecutive years of drought here have shattered rainfall records that date to the Dust Bowl days of the 1930s.

"Nationally, this year's calf crop is the lowest since 1951," said Ronald Gustafson, chief beef analyst for the USDA in Washington. "That means prices are going to stay high for at least a couple more years." Although prices have fallen slightly since their peak in October, analysts expect them to remain high and increase in the coming years.

In addition, a ban on imports of Canadian beef and cattle -- after a single cow in Canada was confirmed in May as having bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE, known as mad cow disease -- has reduced supply and helped increase prices.

What makes ranchers smile, though, is that the declining supply of cattle is coinciding with a jump in consumer demand for beef. It is up 10 percent since 1998, according to the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, a trade group. (The association calculates demand by correlating how much beef consumers eat with how much they are willing to pay for it.) Spending on beef has increased $14 billion in the past four years.

Saturday, December 20, 2003
Contractor Served Troops Dirty Food in Dirty Kitchens
By Agence France Presse
The Taipei Times

Sunday 14 December 2003

The Pentagon repeatedly warned contractor Halliburton-KBR that the food it served to US troops in Iraq was "dirty," as were as the kitchens it was served in, NBC News reported on Friday.

Halliburton-Kellogg Brown and Root's promises to improve "have not been followed through," according to a Pentagon report that warned "serious repercussions may result" if the contractor did not clean up.

The Pentagon reported finding "blood all over the floor," "dirty pans," "dirty grills," "dirty salad bars" and "rotting meats ... and vegetables" in four of the military messes the company operates in Iraq, NBC said, citing Pentagon documents.

The report came as President George W. Bush fended off Pentagon reports that Halliburton-KBR overcharged US$61 million for gasoline it sold the military in Iraq. Dick Cheney ran Halliburton for five years until becoming vice president.

The company feeds 110,000 US and coalition troops daily at a cost of US$28 per troop per day, NBC said.

The Pentagon found unclean conditions at four locations in Iraq, including one in Baghdad and two in Tikrit. Even the mess hall where Bush served troops their Thanksgiving dinner was dirty in August, September and October, according to NBC.

This adds up to "a company that arrogantly is overcharging when they can get away with it and not providing the quality of service that they agreed to do," Representative Henry Waxman, Democrat of California, told NBC.

Halliburton-Kellogg Brown and Root told NBC that "hostile conditions" pose special challenges as they served the 21 million meals so far to the troops at 45 sites in Iraq.

"We have taken quick action to improve," the company said.


Thursday, December 18, 2003

Copy and paste this on your address line, to see photos of the MRE's and information on their history and use:
Supported and promoted by Dean for America campaign:

Sergeant Brian Horn from LaPlata, Maryland, is an Army Infantry Soldier with the 173rd Airborne Brigade in the Kirkuk area of Iraq who has a reputation for taking care of his soldiers. He has agreed to distribute the contents of any packages that come to him addressed "Attn: Any Soldier" to the soldiers who are not getting mail. This works! Your packages get to real soldiers that need and appreciate your support!
Please note that now we have more soldiers helping with this. We ask that if you send packages and letters that you spread them across the addresses we have below. Soon there will be more, but they are all in Brian's unit, the Sky Soldiers of the 173rd.

Why you should send your support:

You may have seen the pictures of soldiers swimming in palace pools, relaxing in fancy chairs in a gold covered room, even sleeping in the beds of the tyrants. Looks pretty good. Now you know where the reporters hang out. However, the conditions our soldiers in the 173rd are under are a bit different. They are fed ONE 'hot' meal (from merimite cans) and two MREs a day, but 267 days of MREs is far too much for anybody. The soldiers for the most part don't eat the MREs anymore but buy food on the local economy or eat what you send them. Their living conditions have improved recently, they are often in a building and sleep on cots. Electricity is somewhat available, often going out, but better than nothing. This changes some of the abilities to cook food and use things like rechargeable batteries, etc. They do often go on 'mission', raids that will cause them to be away from any support.

This is part of an innovative program to support our troops. The Dean for America campaign is helping call attention to the needs of our soldiers serving in Iraq. Copy and paste these addresses below to see the website for more information.

These are really good meals that have a heater and everything, just right for the cold weather! HeaterMeals is offering a special price to folks helping the AnySoldier effort, click here to read all about it.
Call 800-503-4483, ask for the sales department and tell them you want to send meals to the AnySoldier effort, they do the rest.
They even put a note inside saying who sent it if you want.
Send troops in the middle of nowhere the ability to have a hot meal, when they need it, at a VERY good price!!!
(Just a thought - These may seem a bit expensive at first, but if you buy a few cans of food, add the boxing and shipping cost, you will see that this really is a very cost-effective way to get a soldier a complete meal. And it's a hot meal!)

Breakfast-type foods and drinks are the most needed. They don't get that meal (they get an MRE)!
Instant and regular coffee.
Coffee makers, hot plates.
Hot chocolate packets (instant, in packets, add to water).
Campbell's chunky soups, chicken, beef, etc.
Canned tuna.
Canned Chef Boyardee ravioli, beefaroni, spaghetti & meatballs, etc.
(Note: In the 'Zip-Top' or easy to open cans.)
Canned fruit - that comes in the small flip top cans. (Put zip-top cans in a plastic bag!)
Beef jerky, Slim Jims.
Canned nuts.
Canned chips, like the potato sticks or the small canned Pringles, Doritos, etc.
Cereal bars, granola bars, Special-K bars, etc.
Pre-sweetened powdered drinks, Kool-Aid, Gatorade, etc.
Lil Debbie snacks, brownies, snack cakes, etc, nothing with icing that will melt.
Packs of candy, gum, trail mix, etc.
Home-cooked anything (that does not go bad quickly.)
Note: Due to concerns for the health and safety of the soldiers, and as much as we don't want to say this, please do not send home-cooked anything to soldiers other then to your relatives or people who know you. Factory packaged only. Sorry. The soldiers are told to throw away anything that is not in a factory package.
(Basics: Easy to open, easy to eat, quality and healthy foods are best.)

This is all an effort by folks who promise to distribute any items donated to soldiers in the field who are not getting any mail or care packages.

Copy and paste this on your address line to learn more:

Sunday, December 14, 2003

Details on the food and farming of this region to follow. Iraq is after all, one of the birthplaces of agriculture. It is the homeland of the date of the most important food sources in desert lands all over the world.

The Iraqi date harvest is reported to be slim this year, as critical hand pollination of the crop was prevented by the March war.

Iraq used to produce 80% of the world's dates, but years of wars and sanctions have decimated the groves.

Hussein got to taste a little of what his forces endured while holed up for months during Desert Storm. Iraqi soldiers surrendered to US forces offering to exchange dates for water and other things to eat. For centuries desert dwellers have been surviving on dates and water when little else was available.

as reported by AP via, thanks to alert an Foodies for Dean reader.

Headline: Officials, experts grapple with school lunch problem
Faulty standards, no enforcement and cost hinder efforts

COHASSET, Massachusetts (AP) --Worried about all the fatty foods children were eating, town health officer Joseph Godzik recently ordered junk food purged from the local school lunch menu one day a week.

No pizza. No burgers. No fries.

School officials said, No way.

Eliminate such popular items and students will switch from buying to brown-bagging, school officials reasoned. Because lunch programs must pay for themselves, messing with the menu can mean losing money.

But money is only part of the problem. Three out of four schools serve too much fat; many schools undercut healthy offerings by selling junk food; there aren't enough vegetables and fruits; and not enough is done to teach good eating habits, according to government studies and nutrition experts.

Those problems persist despite a decade of federal efforts to improve school meals. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, which runs the National School Lunch Program for 28 million children in 98,000 public and non-profit private schools, says it has toughened its rules and worked to get more fresh fruits and vegetables to schools.

Some schools themselves try to improve their meals, but progress is often slowed by a morass of financial, bureaucratic and social impediments.

In Cohasset, a well-to-do town of 7,300, Godzik acknowledges that even doing the right thing sometimes is wrong.

"One of the things we don't want to do is have the school cafeteria just offer healthy stuff and have the kids all bring lunch from home and have it all be junk," he said.

What are schools feeding children?
In theory, serving healthy lunches should be easy. Federal regulations dictate calories and nutrients, and the USDA provides 20 percent of school lunch food.

In reality, enforcement of the rules is spotty, and critics complain that the farm products the government buys for schools cater more to agricultural interests than healthy meal-planning.

Dr. Walter Willett, head of the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, is a harsh critic of the School Lunch Program: "Their foods tend to be at the bottom of the barrel in terms of healthy nutrition."

Jean Daniel, spokeswoman for the USDA's Food and Nutrition Services program, says there have been significant improvements, however, and many schools offer healthy lunches. She believes new data in 2006 will prove that.

She also argues that involving the entire community and requiring physical fitness classes should be of equal concern.

But even federal studies show most lunches have too much fat, even after the USDA overhauled the program in 1994 and limited fat to 30 percent of a lunch's calories .Three-quarters of all schools still don't meet the new limit, according to a 2001 USDA study.

Daniel said the study analyzed what children ate, not what they were offered. She said 80 percent of schools offer combinations of foods that meet the guidelines, but children often make unhealthy choices.

Experts say choices are fine, but that children shouldn't be given unhealthy options.

Willett complains that the focus on fat has obscured an equally important issue -- the starches and refined carbohydrates (potatoes, pasta and white bread) that make up half of school lunch calories.

Others complain about the amount of meat and dairy, saying the commodity program favors those producers in part because of the USDA's other responsibility -- ensuring stable farm prices.

Two-thirds of the $939.5 million the USDA spent on lunch commodities in fiscal 2003 went toward meat and dairy products. A little more than one-quarter of the total went toward fruits and vegetables, mostly canned and frozen.

The government guidelines say meals should be based on grains (especially whole grains), fruits and vegetables, accompanied by moderate amounts of lowfat meat, fish, beans and dairy products.

Fast and junk food also complicate the healthy lunch equation. More than a fifth of lunch programs offer brand-name fast food, and nearly all high schools have vending machines selling junk food, according to a 2000 CDC study.

But the picture isn't entirely bleak. State lawmakers around the country are pushing for limits. California and New York City recently passed bans on junk food in school vending machines.

And nearly 60 percent of districts have upped fresh fruit and vegetable purchases, according to the USDA. Nearly half also are buying more lowfat and reduced-fat foods.

What should schools be feeding children?
Alison Forrest doesn't mind working hard to feed her children healthy lunches. She bakes whole-wheat bread from scratch and turns fresh tomatoes into marinara. She prepares salad greens from a neighboring farm and cottage cheese from a Vermont dairy.

The result is a welcoming kitchen filled with homey, tempting aromas.

But the kitchen isn't in her home, and the children aren't her own. Forrest is food service director at Brewster-Pierce Memorial School in rural Huntington, Vermont, where little comes from a can and nearly everything is organic.

Forrest takes a holistic approach to nutrition. She introduces new ingredients in the classroom, not on the lunch line. She says children embrace new foods when they know more about them.

What should children be eating? What the USDA regulations call for might be a good start; they're healthier than the average American diet, many nutritionists say.

Despite the gap between standards and execution, many want even tougher regulations. Willett wants more whole grains, others want soy milk and vegetarian meals, and everyone wants more fresh produce.

Antonia Demas, director of the Food Studies Institute in Trumansburg, New York, said the classroom must be part of any solution. She wants nutrition education mandated the same way New York schools are required to teach HIV prevention.

Forrest said her homegrown approach -- the children plant potatoes and shell their own beans -- is a model that can be applied anywhere. In fact, large urban schools often have better access to fresh produce because they are closer to shipping routes and can order more, she said.

Barry Sackin, spokesman for the American School Food Service Association in Alexandria, Virginia, agreed schools have a role in the obesity battle, but so do parents.

"If kids eat (school) lunches five days a week, that's still less than 25 percent of the meals that kids eat," Sackin said.

Why aren't schools feeding children better?
When ideas for better menus are rejected by schools such as Cohasset, where the lunch program has run a deficit during five of the past six years, many point to the money.

Most programs get little or no local funding, leaving them to pay their way with meal sales and federal reimbursements.

Those finances create a sometimes impossible juggle in which schools must serve meals that are cost-effective to prepare, appeal to children and meet federal guidelines.

Even with food that marries healthy, cheap and flavorful, it's more complicated than a simple menu change. Training cafeteria staff to prepare new foods and educating pupils and parents takes time and money. It's a balance that can make even small changes difficult.

Barbara Gates thought she was starting small in her battle to get more vegetables on the menu at Crest Elementary School in El Cajon, California. She wanted minestrone soup substituted for pepperoni pizza twice a month.

"Are you kidding? Pizza is our biggest seller. I'm surprised we're not selling it more," Gates said a USDA consultant told her and other parents in a meeting two years ago.

Even if money wasn't an issue, enforcement is.

The school lunch program was created in 1946 to prevent malnutrition, and the only real penalties are for schools that fail to feed children enough.

Faced with the opposite problem, the government could withhold reimbursements. It never has happened. Daniel said her agency prefers to work with schools for improvement rather than punish them. Limitations in the commodity program are another concern. The USDA says the agency isn't set up to handle large quantities of perishables.

Though she praises some commodities, Forrest said others seem a waste of taxpayer money.

She said the USDA once offered her some vanilla pudding. "They said, 'It has no nutritional value. How much do you want?'

"I didn't take any," she said.

Friday, December 12, 2003

According to a recent Washington Post piece, adding a cup of bean or lentil soup to your dietary regime will help keep those nasty pounds off--especially coupled with an increase in protein intake and exercise. High fiber is essential over the hols. Fiber from whole grains and legumes markedly different from the high and empty carbs in white breads, cookies, cakes, etc.
Tuesday, December 09, 2003

Dining In: A Moveable Feast
Welcome to our discussion on food culture. Your hosts are Amy Cotler and Elizabeth Field.

Note: From Dec. 10-16, Marion Nestle, professor of public health initiatives at New York University and award-winning author of "Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health" and "Safe Food: Bacteria, Biotechnology, and Bioterrorism," will be joining this forum. Ask her anything about food politics: Who controls our food supply; food safety; genetically-modified food; food-industry advertising and the future of small farmers v. agribusiness.

Check the Dining section every Wednesday. For a discussion about recipes and techniques, visit our other food forum, Cooking and Recipes. Also, watch Cooking With The Times, a series of cooking classes presented by with The French Culinary Institute.

Copy and paste this on your address line to link to the forum:


Restaurant Hiring May Lead the Way to Wider Job Gains
By SHERRI DAY of New York Times

The restaurant industry has gone on a hiring spree over the last four months, suggesting that broader gains in the job market could be on the way.

Since the beginning of August, the restaurant business, which includes everything from McDonald's to corner bars to four-star restaurants, has accounted for 18 percent of the 300,000 jobs created in the nation.

Some economists say that an increase in low-wage jobs, which include most restaurant work, indicates that the job market over all will soon bounce back. During the economic doldrums of the early 1990's, hiring began to increase in the restaurant industry about six months before job creation began taking off. The striking fact of this economic recovery, like the previous one, has been how long it has lasted without igniting job growth.

"Things appear to be picking up," said Jared Bernstein, a senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute, a liberal research group in Washington. "But given their continuing caution about labor costs, employers are more likely to hire low-wage workers, including restaurant workers, than they would be to commit to a permanent hire in the manufacturing industry or the white-collar sector."

Copy and paste on your address line for rest of article:

Monday, December 08, 2003

Thanks Shava for sharing all this. Great advice for others hosting the Dean entourage.

Shava's email: "Hi! I just discovered your blog, Foodies for Dean, and I declare myself totally with you! I saw the mention of my food baskets on your page, and thought you might enjoy learning more about them.

Teri Mills funded and inspired the food baskets I made for the entourage travelling with the Governor here in Portland last month, and I planned and created the food baskets with a bit of help from my son Joseph, our youngest Dean volunteer in Portland.

I'm attaching the document that I printed out on a pumpkin orange paperstock and folded into the baskets so that the words "Oregon Bounty" just peeked over the edge of the basket.

The baskets were small picnic baskets lined with black calico with an overall pattern of ivy vines. I tucked a cold pac in between the calico and the basket to keep everything fresh. The baskets also included a nice washi-paper origami crane and a few red-white-blue (leftover from July 4th) Hershey's kisses for garnish.

I believe that the food of a region says a lot about the character of its people, so I took this project as an opportunity to really tell the folks travelling with Dean about my adopted state, and tie the food into the issues."

We couldn't agree with you more. Here is the information handout that Shave included in her basket:

Oregon Bounty prepared by Shava Nerad,, and inspired by our National Nurse, Teri Mills!

Your basket has been carefully prepared to present some of the best of the culture and produce of Oregon. For the most part, it’s made of up local and organic and sustainable ingredients. I had a lot of fun putting this project together!

My father was the Unitarian Universalist minister in Montpelier when I was growing up, and I have been conscious of Governor Dean’s campaign for over a year, and active since late spring. As a Vermont ex-pat, I always viewed Oregon as Vermont’s sister state in the West. I hope you will enjoy the mix of east/west sensibilities as presented in your meal.

Your apples come from Mount Hood Organic Farms, who donate produce to the Portland Schools Foundation. I’ve washed the fruit but left the “school aid” stickers on. These stickers indicate that the cost of the fruit to the store goes directly to the Portland Schools Foundation, rather than to the grower.

Your drink is from Oregon Chai, a Democrat-owned business started by my neighbor Heather Howitt, her mom and her sister, in their kitchen. Al Gore stopped in my neighborhood in NW Portland in 2000 to visit with Heather, who has grown her small business to a major food company in the US and Canada since 1994.

Your cheese is Tillamook black wax extra-sharp cheddar – the best Oregon has to offer. This cheese is ages for two years, and is produced by a coop similar to the Cabot Creamery founded in 1909 in coastal Tillamook County. (I confess, I still buy Cabot extra sharp by preference, myself, but you decide!)

The founder of Golden Temple Granola in Eugene branched out to found Kettle Foods in 1978 – and they now make Kettle Chips which are sold all over the US and UK, and is privately owned while employing hundreds of people in both countries.

The squash is kabocha, sometimes known as kuri squash or japanese pumpkin. It’s grown organically here in Oregon, and prepared in a way inspired by traditional Japanese buddhist temple food, with a Vermont twist – rather than sugar, the simmering broth incorporates maple syrup and nutmeg/mace.

Salmon is incredibly important to the people of our bioregion, the Pacific Northwest, which stretches from Northern California, north to Oregon, Washington, BC, and Alaska. Dams and salmon live in a tension that is felt all the way to Washington DC. It is said that the salmon is devoted to the care of humanity – that Salmon volunteered to care for the poor helpless humans who were born without fangs or claws, and who can not eat grass. We still value it highly. In the winter, salmon is traditionally made into jerky to preserve it. This is called making a virtue of necessity. This salmon is wild salmon from the rivers of Alaska. Wild salmon is more ecologically responsible than farmed salmon.

Ocean Spray and independent growers produce cranberries in cultivated bogs on our coast too! Your sauce is made with organic berries, which are just coming into season in time for Thanksgiving. These are certified by Oregon Tilth, a world leader in organic certification from soil to store.

Almond Roca’s golden foil toffee is popular all over the world. A favorite regional gift since 1923, 800,000 pieces are shipped out every day from Brown & Haley in Tacoma, Washington.

Torani Syrups, in Italy, even makes an Almond Roca syrup for coffee, which then gets shipped back here for our coffeeshops, just as they make hazelnut syrup from the filberts they buy from us, and sell it back to us. Having heard that filberts (hazelnuts) are a favorite of the Governor from Gavin White, who brought a tin to him in NYC this month, I included a bag of organic nuts freshly roasted last night in my oven. Lane County, Oregon produces 98% of the country’s hazelnuts, about 3-5% of world production. Our nuts are prized all over the world for their uniform quality, and their ability to roast evenly due to their even size.

Your hummus is my own homemade recipe. Hummus is a favorite spread/dip throughout the Mediterranean, middle east and central Asia, and has been happily adopted by health food nuts and hippies all over the US. It’s incredibly easy to make, and is one of my favorite picnic foods.

Your bread comes from Ken’s Artisan Bakery, a local bakery in my neighborhood. Ken uses organic flour, especially in his whole grain breads, since the bran holds onto chemicals its exposed to in growing. Myself, I still use King Arthur bread flour, but Ken’s bread is better than mine! I encourage you to tear the bread and eat it by bites with the salmon, a smear of cream cheese, and/or with the hummus, as you like! We like yeast. I’d include one of our famous microbrews, but…;)

It is so hard to keep yourself strong and healthy on the road. I hope you’ll find this meal sustaining!

Sunday, December 07, 2003
NY Times Magazine article by Samantha M. Shapiro: "The Dean Connection"

The cubicle where Johnson, Rosen and Brooks work looks a lot like a dot-com start-up from the mid-90's: preternaturally pale-skinned young men, crazy hours and slightly messianic rhetoric. The men take turns sleeping in an easy chair with torn upholstery and appear to subsist almost entirely on donated food. A supporter sends over a peck of apples and cider doughnuts, and Brooks soon has seven apple cores piled by his desk; when Joe Trippi returns from dinner with a journalist, takeout containers of his half-eaten soup are deposited on Brooks's desk. Brooks augments this diet with pasta that he says he doesn't have time to cook. (''Try some,'' he says, holding out a piece of raw ziti. ''If it had salt on it, you'd think it was a potato chip.'')
Friday, December 05, 2003

Here is a report from the Sydney Morning Herald:

Who's the Turkey Now?
December 5, 2003 - 10:43AM

The tasty-looking turkey that US President George W Bush held for the cameras in his recent surprise Thanksgiving Day trip to US troops in Baghdad was reportedly just a decorative setting.

It was not a dish he served to the troops, the Washington Post reports today.

But the White House rejected criticism of pictures of the president, saying that they were not pre-arranged.

Pictures beamed around the world showed Bush smiling in a military jacket, standing in the midst of US soldiers and holding a large tray.

On the tray lay a golden-brown roast turkey garnished with fruit and vegetables -- a traditional feast served in the United States for that country's Thanksgiving celebration.

Although the pictures may have given the impression that the president himself had helped serve the traditional holiday meal, the troops were served buffet-style as in any normal military canteen.

According to Washington Post reporter Mike Allen -- the sole newspaper reporter on the trip -- the White House claims that neither the decoration or the president's action of picking up the setting had been planned beforehand, and that it was typical for such ornaments to decorate canteens on holidays.

While image consultants try to ensure the president is seen in as positive a light as possible, the US press and opposition politicians have often been critical of the strong marketing that surrounds Bush.


George Bush gets caught perpetrating a hoax on the American people.....again. Remember "Mission Accomplished?" Well the Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving photo op with the troops at Baghdad airport was to supplant the failed political ploy staged on the aircraft carrier. But Washington Post reporter Mike Allen couldn't resist pointing out that the bird was not what the soldiers got and he examines the greater implications of veracity and manipulation by this White House. Soldiers got institutional, cafeteria style turkey, and not the fresh roasted bird mom would have served. So who did get to carve up and eat the food service contractor's Tom? Probably... the contractors.

Google these two words "Turkey Bush" (and click "news") to see how the press is covering this.

Copy and paste the following to see a sampling of opinions (including:" A turkey holding a turkey.") from Tacoma area:

Here's the Daily Telegraph take on it all:
Monday, December 01, 2003

C-Span's "Road to the White House" aired Sunday evening Gov. Dean reading "Pizza Pat" to a group of kids in a day care center in Metro Des Moines last week. The governor talked later about his plans to fully fund early childhood education. He was supported by the actor/producer Rob Reiner who is a long time supporter of such programs.

Here's what one blogger posted on about the event:

Dean just read the Pizza That Pat Bought
to a bunch of three/four year olds.

One child complimented him on his tie, and he said he was glad to hear this since some on his staff did not want him to wear it (the tie with the smiley faces)

Dean blew a little one's nose while the cameras were rolling. (I wanted him to wash his hands right then and there, mmmmm)

When he was describing the sauce one child asked if tomatoes were in ketchup, and if the person used their hands to squish the tomatoes, hahaha, but Dean said "No they use a big machine to do this." LOL

This was a great campaign moment. Now Reiner and Dean are talking about early childhood education/headstart. :-)

Posted by Teri Mills at November 30, 2003 07:44 PM


Here is part of a review of "Pizza Pat" by Rita Golden Gelman Review by: Christina Mark

Pizza Pat is an updated version of The House That Jack Built, but instead of a house, Pat puts together a beautiful, gooey, bubbly, warm pizza. There are so many fun, descriptive adjectives used in this book and the words flow in such a rhythmic fashion that children love reciting the story, joining in with the storyteller. The story follows Pat through each step of his pizza-making process. Finally, Pat creates a delicious, steamy masterpiece. As he lets the pizza cool and cleans up the kitchen, some sneaky, hungry mice quickly carry the pizza away and devour it. Poor Pat. It looks like he is going to have to start all over again, which means you'll have to read the book again.
This book is one of those stories that children love to memorize. Each
time a new ingredient is added, the preceding ingredient is subsequently
mentioned. For example, "This is the dough, all stretchy and floppy, that lay in the the tray that Pat bought" is followed by "This is the sauce, all gooey and gloppy, that covered the dough all stretchy and floppy, that lay in the tray that Pat bought". This rhythmic pattern continues throughout the book as cheese "white and sloppy" and sausages "spicy and choppy" are added to the pizza and the pizza is cooked.

Doctors Urged to Treat Obesity More Aggressively
Federal Panel Recommends Intensive Counseling, Behavior Treatment

By Sally Squires
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, December 1, 2003; 5:00 PM

To help stem the epidemic of obesity in the United States, a government advisory group today urged for the first time that doctors weigh and measure all adults and recommend intensive counseling and behavior treatment for those found to be obese.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force said that standard obesity treatment should go far beyond casual advice to shed a few pounds. Instead, the group recommended that doctors prescribe intensive behavior therapy at least twice a month in either individual or group sessions led by a team of health professionals such as psychologists, registered dietitians and exercise instructors. Treatment should continue for at least three months, the task force advised.

The new guidelines represent a major shift in how the health care system addresses obesity, said James Hill, director of the Clinical Nutrition Research Unit at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver. "It's a big deal," Hill said.

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