Disco Living: HCRA arguments and de-slime-ing DC

After a week of outrageously warm temps, last night it got cold again.  It actually feels like March today rather than early June.  While it’s nice to see mother nature get back a little closer to normal, but the selfish part of me can’t deny that I was loving that unseasonable warmth.  Especially the part of me that’s about to head out for a bike ride and isn’t looking forward to returning with numb fingers and toes.

Today in Disco Living, the Supreme Court takes on the national health care access debate, and a bit of D.C. pride that we are keeping slime out of our public school kids’ meals.

A contentious day at SCOTUS and beyond

The city is buzzing today as the Supreme Court began hearing oral arguments on the Health Care Reform Act this morning at 9.  Although a friend of mine suggested the idea, I declined the opportunity to be one of the poor souls who waited in line for days just to get one of the public tickets to the argument.  However, my walk to work ventures right by the Supreme Court building, so I got a taste of the hubbub.

A packed house on the courthouse steps

On my walk home I snapped a few photos of the crowds.  Protestors, reporters, photographers, and even groups of middle school kids in their matching spring break trip t-shirts were all gathered in front and across the street, seemingly waiting for something to happen. But, it was already several hours since arguments wrapped up for the day, so I’m not sure what was happening.  I considered stopping to ask one of the multitude of cops around, but figured they had enough to deal with.

Yikes.

The other side of Constitution was a different story.  There was a pretty serious gathering of anti-Obama/anti-HCRA/tea party types who were in full swing.  If you look close enough in this photo, you will see that one guy was wielding a pitchfork.  I tried to get a closer picture, but these people were a bit intimidating and since they’re not really my scene, I figured it a better idea to scurry away promptly.

I’m not following the case too closely, but as a law nerd I know enough to understand that it looks like a 4-4 split and it’s going to come down to Justice Kennedy’s swing vote, just as so many politically charged cases do these days.

Ewww. What IS that stuff?!?

Remember a couple weeks ago when ABC News got us all thinking about pink slime in our food?  Well today, D.C. public schools confirmed to the DCist blog that they do not serve the beef containing this filler substance…whatever it is.

To me, there’s an obvious connection from nutrition and fitness to overall good health.  If we aren’t given access to healthy food or taught to eat properly in our impressionable years, it only creates any number of bad habits to attempt to reverse later in life.   And that can be a very difficult task.  Made even more difficult if we can’t even determine what is in our food to start with, be it pink slime, high-fructose corn syrup, sugar alcohols, or any number of other additives and preservatives whose effects we haven’t even begun to understand.

Not only are D.C. students promised their beef will be slime-less, but the D.C. government has actually gone much farther to improve their health and well-being.  The D.C. Council passed the D.C. Healthy Schools Act back in 2010 to improve the nutrition and general health of school children in the District.  The law focuses on improving school nutrition, including an emphasis on providing locally sourced ingredients, and sets goals for minimum amounts of physical activity each day.  It also provides for increased access to free and reduced breakfasts and lunches for students who may otherwise go unfed.  The law also establishes programs to improve education for students about proper nutrition and the importance of fitness, and overall wellness.

D.C. schools are subject to much criticism, but at least in this area they are on the right track.  Applause to D.C. lawmakers for focusing on this important issue.

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