Caryn Sullivan: Friday food for thought

As details emerge about the Feeding Our Future scandal, the numbers boggle the mind and beg the question: was anyone even remotely doing the math? 

Caryn Sullivan

With traditional values under siege, it often feels like we’re living in an inside out, upside down world, where right is wrong, and left is right, and those who speak up are shut down.

Friday food for thought offers readers news to chew on over the weekend.

Feeding Our Future’s new math

As details emerge about the Feeding Our Future scandal, the numbers boggle the mind and beg the question: was anyone even remotely doing the math?

Just one small example in the brouhaha that made international news: a site in Willmar, population 21,000, reported it fed 2,000 kids — nearly half the students enrolled in the district — seven days per week. Records showed only 33 of the students who were allegedly served meals were enrolled in the district. The rest of the names were fabricated.

Safari Restaurant in Minneapolis was paid $16 million for serving nearly 4 million meals to children in 20 months. For context, in 2021, Minneapolis Public Schools served just over 31,000 students.

Food for thought: if these entities purported to feed Minnesota children during the pandemic, were kids going without food?

What’s in a name — or in a pronoun?

As a new school year gets underway, some districts are asking students how they want to be identified. Pronoun preference forms allow students to indicate what pronouns they want to use and in what contexts. For example, a student might want a teacher to use one pronoun in their interactions at school and another when communicating with parents. Does anyone else see a boundary issue here?

Smile, you’re on candid camera!

This week the Minnesota Supreme Court heard arguments about whether to permit cameras in the courtroom. It’s a long-running debate in which proponents cite transparency as a reason to change tradition.

As concerns grow about what’s happening in schools, here’s some food for thought: Why not put cameras in school classrooms? What a great way to see just how students are behaving, not to mention to learn what pronouns your kids use at school.

We’ve done it with law enforcement. Why not schools?

Death of personal responsibility

California is forgiving millions of dollars in traffic fines.

Illinois Democrats voted to eliminate bail for nearly all crimes.

Lawyers launched a class action against Kia and Hyundai for failure to include appropriate security on the vehicles, making them easy targets for carjackers. But rather than holding thieves accountable, we’re now striving to hold manufacturers responsible.

Hennepin County busted a cellphone theft ring that targeted people as they came out of bars. Using various strategies, thieves would take possession of cellphones, then transfer funds or cryptocurrency using apps like Zelle or Venmo — to the tune of roughly $250,000.

With shocking reports about fraud and improper oversight of Minnesota taxpayer funds surfacing this week, it will be interesting to see who accepts responsibility and what kind of action will be taken.

Baby, it’s cold in here

Meteorologists are predicting a particularly cold winter, as fuel costs skyrocket. Predictions: natural gas will increase 27 percent; heating oil 43 percent; and propane 54 percent. Electricity will run five percent over last year.

Couple that with the cost of food, up double digits, and the months ahead look grim for the pocketbook.

My favorite tweet of the week is from Simple Man, who writes, “I must be getting stronger … I can carry $300 worth of groceries into the house in one trip.”

With no end in sight to inflation, coupon clipping clubs might be the new bunco or book club this fall.

Winds of change?

Goodbye summer, hello fall. Soon, strong winds will transform the landscape. The million-dollar question is whether, come November, it will be the wind of change. In just 46 days we’ll get to decide, though early voting started today.

P.S. I kicked off my birthday this morning by appearing on Jon Justice’s radio show at 7 a.m. If you missed it, check it out here.

 

Caryn Sullivan

A retired attorney and author of the award-winning memoir, "Bitter or Better: Grappling With Life on the Op-Ed Page," Caryn Sullivan has inspired readers with her thoughtful commentary for the past two decades. To learn more about Caryn’s work or to connect, visit carynmsullivan.com