“Don’t touch my brownies! A child nutrition bill on its way to President Barack Obama — and championed by the first lady — gives the government power to limit school bake sales and other fundraisers that health advocates say sometimes replace wholesome meals in the lunchroom…

“‘This could be a real train wreck for school districts,’ Lucy Gettman of the National School Boards Association said Friday, a day after the House cleared the bill. ‘The federal government should not be in the business of regulating this kind of activity at the local level.’…

“Public health groups pushed for the language on fundraisers, which encourages the secretary of Agriculture to allow them only if they are infrequent. The language is broad enough that a president’s administration could even ban bake sales, but Secretary Tom Vilsack signaled in a letter to House Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller, D-Calif., this week that he does not intend to do that. The USDA has a year to write rules that decide how frequent is infrequent.’…

“‘These fundraisers are happening all the time,’ [Margo] Wootan [of the Center for Science in the Public Interest] said. ‘It’s a pizza sale one day, doughnuts the next… It’s endless. This is really about supporting parental choice. Most parents don’t want their kids to use their lunch money to buy junk food. They expect they’ll use their lunch money to buy a balanced school meal.'”

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“But the spiraling obesity rates Palin mocks are increasingly having an impact on health care costs, which in turn affects the way we must approach and debate reforms to the health care system. Those least able to afford health care disproportionately need it in large part because of the unhealthy food they eat — and that is served to their children in government-run schools. We’ve arrived at a point where inner-city children can’t identify common fresh vegetables and fruits, such as cauliflower, tomatoes, and potatoes.

“Perhaps you regard it as an intolerable violation of personal liberty for government to campaign for nutritional awareness? What then do we call the federal agricultural subsidies that have helped to lower the price of super-abundant junk food? Can you explain why it’s okay for government to campaign against smoking and in favor of seatbelts? Or do you also oppose those life-saving public safety campaigns? Or is it perhaps that you have decided that everything the Obamas do is so intrinsically wrong that criticism of the Twinkie now makes you un-American?…

“Here we come to the heart of the destructive craziness of what begs to be called Junk Food Conservatism. Palin, Limbaugh and the others may sincerely believe that “Big Government” is taking advantage of the increase in child and adult diabetes, heart disease and all-manners of obese-related illnesses to trample on our God-given freedom to guzzle soda and eat candy. But in the end, here’s the political message they are sending from their own wealthy, option-filled, Subzero-equipped enclaves to this country’s poorest and unhealthiest:

“Let them eat Twinkies.”

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“Don’t get me wrong. I’m not opposed to instilling healthful behaviors in our children. What I’m opposed to is the government mandating those behaviors. It might help the cause further if the First Lady’s White House Task Force on Obesity Report delivered to the president’s desk last May were not filled distortions and mischaracterizations of the childhood obesity epidemic…

“In the meantime, maybe the First Lady and her hubby could set a better example by making their snack attacks—which include scarfing down ice cream, cookies, and fast food burgers—less conspicuous. The accompanying slideshow is made up of just a few of the snapshots taken in the time since Barack Obama was elected president. Healthy appetite, no?”