Hut of Darkness

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Speaking of food, this is really quite stupid.

You've read the book, now eat the pizza.

Since 1985, that has been the gist of Pizza Hut's Book It, an incentive program used by schools nationwide to reward young readers with free pizzas. The program is now under attack by child-development experts who say it promotes bad eating habits and turns teachers into corporate promoters.

Book It, which reaches about 22 million children a year, "epitomizes everything that's wrong with corporate-sponsored programs in school," said Susan Linn, a Harvard psychologist and co-founder of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood. "In the name of education, it promotes junk-food consumption to a captive audience," Linn said.

When I was in elementary school, I participated in Book It, and it was wonderful. As a geek and a bookworm, the ability to shred through more books than almost anyone made me temporarily cool to my peers. As a fat kid, I probably would have begged my parents for a Pizza Hut trip anyway. I suppose the small, kid-sized pizza that kids get with their Book It tickets carries some uncomfortable connotations—"The first taste is free, kid. Next time, bring some money!" But it only carries these connotations if you're a busybody or, I guess, a Harvard psychologist.

NEXT: Return of the Klan Panic

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  1. That program was tons of fun in elementary school. If they axe it, it would really be a shame.

  2. Pizza is alot healthier than much of the crap kids eat today. Pizza Hut should be commended for promoting reading.

  3. It’s official: Weigel is a shill for Bad Pun.

  4. Are you still fat? If you are, it undermines your case. Feeding kids fattenting foods is a bad idea if it eventually turns them in to fat adults, who are at greater risk for every conceivable health problem except probably anemia.

  5. As a fellow former fat bookworm, I agree entirely. This program made me cool for about 30 seconds in the fourth grade. It’s actually one of the few things about school that I remember fondly, as lame as that sounds.

    And I’m no longer fat, so clearly Pizza Hut did not doom me to a lifetime of cardiac surgeries and diabetes.

  6. I’m curious to know what libertarian principle it is that leads to defending corporate-sponsored junk-food giveaways in compulsory, government-run schools.

    Because I’ve thought about it for a while and nothing pops to mind. I agree that this seems like a typical example of nannyism run amok, but the proper response is: Don’t like the way the public schools do their business? Then agitate for vouchers so we can get rid of the public schools.

  7. Pizza, that’s nothing. We all know how the sticker industry plots to turn children into zombie sticker addicts. πŸ™‚

  8. ‘Book it!’ and my desire to be like a Ninja Turtle are probably the only reasons I am a literate adult.

  9. Oy, no lawsuit against MacDonald’s there.

  10. “I’m curious to know what libertarian principle it is that leads to defending corporate-sponsored junk-food giveaways in compulsory, government-run schools.”

    It’s the principle of:

    ‘Lighten up, Francis.’

    Eating Pizza is part and parcel of being a kid. As a Chicagoan I can’t possibly condone eating Pizza Hut, but otherwise let’em have it. If you could possibly read so many books that the program alone makes you fat, well then you’ll be by far the best read fat kid in school. Eventually you get such a great education that you can afford the best cardiologists in the world as adults.

    I know an eight year old kid who eats _nothing_ but candy. Thin as a rail. A little hyper, sure, but not fat.

    Jeezus why don’t we just wrap the little monsters in bubble wrap and lock them in the basement while we’re at it…

  11. As a fellow former fat bookworm, I agree entirely. This program made me cool for about 30 seconds in the fourth grade. It’s actually one of the few things about school that I remember fondly, as lame as that sounds.

    And I’m no longer fat, so clearly Pizza Hut did not doom me to a lifetime of cardiac surgeries and diabetes.
    Damn straight Sally. My private school, St. Thomas More of Baton Rouge, had a similar program where a kid could read books to earn points that could be used every quarter (when grades were handed out) to shop for whatever candy/cheap toy they had..in 5th grade, I completely dominateted my entire grade by reading short biographies of presidents/intersting people in history (worth about 3-5 points), of which I still remember Diego Rivera, Chuck Yeager, and Franklin Pierce. I earned more than 500 points that grade total, and was quite generous in dealing out those delicious Warheads, Lemonheads, 100 Grands, etc and so since my class was consistently beating the other classes asses, we always had first pickings…those years were so awesome!
    And that’s also the time that I first picked up Alice in Wonderland, The Hobbit, and LOTR…
    These types of programs, which encourage literacy like no other, are truly noble and people who attack them are worthless pieces of shit. End of story.

  12. I’m not a reader, but I loved this program too. Most programs that attempt to make reading and learning cool for kids come off as corny and effective as those anti-drug ads. This turns reading into a game for kids “who ever reads the most books is the biggest winner.”

  13. Our daughter rode the limo to Piza-Hut every year for free lunch for 4 years. She is interested in so many different things now and is an honor student. Our son learned he could cut the neighbors grass for money and buy his own pizza. He is interested in a variety of toppings. Yes I am sure Pizza Hut has a profit motive but we all have our motivations. I personally see no harm in this but then again I am a pan pizza piggy myself

  14. A tad off topic, but anyone remember food drives when you where kids? At my middle school we made a compitetion about it, where one homeroom would try to donate more food with the rival classrooms, with whoever had the most wins a prize. One year one of the kids in the rival class pointed out to her teacher that we shouldn’t make chairty into a compitetion, and that it was cheapening the process because some kids where buying 30,000 ramen noodles to get ahead, so we decided not to compete. That year, we did not donate as much as we did in the other years.

    I’m pretty sure there is a big lesson in captialism in that story.

  15. Another good program? Chuckie Cheese’s “free token for straight A report card” promotional thing.

  16. I’m curious to know what libertarian principle it is that leads to defending corporate-sponsored junk-food giveaways in compulsory, government-run schools.

    In this case, I don’t think it’s a matter of libertarian principle. It’s just a matter of poking fun at food nazis, who are behind a lot of similar stuff that does contravene libertarian principle.

    If you’re implying that libertarians should oppose this program, that’s quite silly. Any kid who doesn’t want to get free pizza, or whose parents don’t want them to, is free not to participate.

  17. “I’m curious to know what libertarian principle it is that leads to defending corporate-sponsored junk-food giveaways in compulsory, government-run schools.”

    Partial privatization resulting in an effective
    literacy program.

  18. come on, people.

    this isn’t about “zomg our kids are getting fat”. what it -is- about, and what people, yea, even libertarians should find troubling, is public schools being used as a tool to sell pizzas. kid reads a book a month, gets a free pizza, but in the process of giving away that freebie, pizza hut sells his parents a full-price pie.

    i find it amazing that a group of people who are otherwise extremely suspicious of the motives and methods of the public school system are so freaking credulous and pollyanna-ish when these same public schools invite in corporate partnerships.

    tanstaafl!

  19. At my kid’s school many neighborhood businesses provide all kinds of incentives and extras for the kids and for the school. I don’t see anything wrong with that, it’s purely voluntary.

    Had to LOL though when the House Blond got her usual Academic Achievement Award last trimester and it came with a coupon for the local Sushi Bar. She was hoping for Baskin Robbins and she wasn’t much impressed.

  20. “a tool to sell pizzas”

    maybe they are hiring… why don’t you apply?

  21. Dave Weigel, you should try and determine if this chick at Harvard is a registered Democrat. I’ll bet you a large pizza with all the toppings she is. πŸ™‚

  22. “this isn’t about “zomg our kids are getting fat”. what it -is- about, and what people, yea, even libertarians should find troubling, is public schools being used as a tool to sell pizzas.”

    And in return the schools get a program that, by a lot of folks account, does a bang up job of encouraging kids to read. Otherwise known as “part of the school’s job.”

    I see no reason why, private companies should be banned from doing business with public schools or any other publicly run business, particularly if the exchange is mutually beneficial to all parties. IE, Pizza Hut sells pizza, the school gets kids who do better on standardized tests, the kids get food they, apparently, enjoy eating, and the parents get the knowledge that their child’s education has improved.

    I can see where you are coming from, what a nightmare!

    The bigger question is why there aren’t more programs like this with other private businesses. Legos for kids who enter bridge design contests. Video games for kids who write basic computer programs for class. Free basketballs and soccer balls for kids who do well in P.E. Fireworks for kids who enter projects in the Science Fair (okay maybe that’s a bad idea).

    Injecting enlightened self-interest into our public educational system (for all parties involved) might be just what the doctor ordered. But apparently the “Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood” is the better way to go. You know, “WON’T SOMEBODY THINK OF THE CHILDREN” and all.

  23. Mr. Crane,

    If a public school was forcing kids to eat at Pizza Hut, I would be suspicious. But this is a voluntary program; if kids or their parents don’t want to be involved, they don’t have to.

    Obviously, it’s also a boon for Pizza Hut, both for PR purposes and for the extra sales you mention. But someone making a profit off of involvement with the public schools is not, by itself, a reason to oppose it on libertarian grounds.

  24. I remember being in what must have been the first or second years of the program. I got several coupons, but the Pizza Hut was far away. My family finally went there and the service sucked really bad. Our waiter took a break during our meal before bringing out our food. To this day I avoid Pizza Hut.

  25. IMO, the profit motive is far more moral than the prestige motive this Susan Linn person is driven by (as well as so many other academics). The profit motive is adult: We all need money for food, clothing, shelter, etc. The prestige motive is childish: Look at me! I’m special!

  26. Anybody see this?

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/spiegel/0,1518,465007,00.html

    Does Communism Work After All?
    By Andreas Lorenz and Wieland Wagner

    China is securing an ever-bigger share of the world market with the methods of a planned economy. Competitors and economists alike are astounded by the country’s seemingly unstoppable march to becoming a global economic superpower. The development has left many wondering: Does communism work after all?

  27. IOW, people like Susan Linn need to grow up. Try leaving school for once in your life, Susan!

  28. bj,

    China is not communist. China is a modern semi-fascist state. I’m not surprised Der Dumbfucks at Der Spiegal wouldn’t get this; they are a communist rag anyway.

  29. bj,

    China is not communist. China is a modern semi-fascist state. I’m not surprised Der Dumbfucks at Der Spiegal wouldn’t get this; they are a communist rag anyway.

  30. The damn squirrels are back! (I think the squirrels are communists.)

  31. I’m not an expert, but the question about China is whether its current growth is sustainable over the long-term. Their main advantage (they being the govt, not the people, of China) is that they can harness the labor of a billion slaves. How long those people can be kept happy working for $100 a month is an open question.

  32. Their main advantage (they being the govt, not the people, of China) is that they can harness the labor of a billion slaves. How long those people can be kept happy working for $100 a month is an open question.

    Maybe fascism works? WWII ended the first experiment before we could see the final results (which was a good thing). China is finishing the experiment. We’ll see.

  33. actually bill, I think China’s main advantage is wal-mart…….oh, and chinese food

  34. There’s no doubt that fascism works, in the sense that a large country with lots of natural resources can scrape by under a fascist system, and fascist societies tend to have much less social strife than liberal (in the old sense of the word) societies like the US. The scenario in 1984, where three fascist empires control the entire world, would be quite sustainable. The question is, can they compete with liberal societies in the global marketplace and in the hearts of their people?

  35. Of course, though I believe liberty will always prevail, the fact that our country is heavily in debt to China definitely won’t help matters.

  36. My daughter (now a sophomore in HS) is an avid reader and always participated in Book It. We never really cared for Pizza Hut pizza, so it was actually a chore for us to visit and find something we wanted to eat.

    In the big scheme of things, pizza is not a particularly bad food choice, especially if you choose carefully and don’t overindulge (like most things).

  37. botherben,

    Wal-Mart is an advantage to china, but crimethink is correct concerning its main advantage: a poor population willing to work hard for little pay. Wal-Mart’s main advantage is China, however.

    The question is, can they compete with liberal societies in the global marketplace and in the hearts of their people?

    Yes. And a big, big yes. That’s why warfare is the best way to compete against fascism. ; )

  38. I don’t know if I would call China fascist just because it is a corporatist and nationalist state. They don’t seem belligerent enough for that.

  39. “In the big scheme of things, pizza is not a particularly bad food choice, especially if you choose carefully and don’t overindulge (like most things).”

    Indeed. When tomato paste is used in pizzas and pastas, for some biochemical reason that I don’t understand, you get far better concentrations of lycopene in your system than you would by simply eating a raw tomato.

    Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant for which there is evidence that it helps reduce:

    “risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer (especially prostate cancer), diabetes, osteoporosis, and even male infertility. Lycopene may also be related to a reduced risk of oesophageal, colorectal, and oral cancer.”

    Lycopene!!!

    In other words, Susan Linn may want to be careful about what she labels as “junk food.”

  40. I fail at teh internets. HTML skills activate:

    Lycopene!!!

  41. I don’t know if I would call China fascist just because it is a corporatist and nationalist state. They don’t seem belligerent enough for that.

    That’s because you haven’t been paying attention.

  42. Awesome argument, TRB.

    You’re right. It’s exactly like 1936.

  43. Your argument is even better, FFF. A nation cannot even be semi-fascist unless they are Nazi Germany.

    Anyway, ask the people living within close proximity to China whether or not China is belligerent. I’m sure they didn’t think Europeans had anything to worry about in 1936. Location, location, location! ; >

    And, of course, you couldn’t call Nazis fascists before they invaded anyone, could you?

  44. …Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood.

    Yes, because if there anything that we must shelter our children from is that fact THAT PEOPLE HAVE GOODS AND SERVICES TO SELL!!!

    ARRRRRRRGGGGHHHH!!! We’re all going to die!

  45. TRB, you just stated that they are fascists. I’m glad now that you are at least stating that they are belligerent. I had to bridge the gap in your reasoning by surmising that you took as primary evidence of their semi-fascism that they are both corporatist and nationalist.

    Does China have any kind of permanent enemy like other fascist states have had? Is the society “ideologically mobilized” for permanant war?

    Alternatively, it might just be a nationalist and corporatist state, a la Argentina under Peron.

    Also, Germany didn’t invade anyone in 1936. The Rheinland doesn’t count. Italy did invade Ethiopia that year though.

  46. 46 comments into a “Pizza Hut is evil” thread and nobody has mentioned Pizza the Hutt? What is wrong with you people?

  47. NTD, we still have gotten over his passing.

  48. FingFangFoom,

    Your definition of the word “fascist” is curious, considering that the term was first used (to describe themselves) by Mussolini’s party in 1920s Italy. Who was Italy’s permanent enemy at that time?

    True, historical fascist states have eventually resorted to warmongering to keep their people united, but at its core, fascism is a domestically-oriented governing philosophy.

  49. The “permanent enemy” doesn’t need to be real, and indeed it never has been, but fascist states tend to act like someone is trying to destroy them, whether that be true or not.

    Corporatism and nationalism could be used to describe postwar France. It is just overinclusive as a definition of fascism.

  50. FFF,

    What state doesn’t have permanent enemies?

  51. JFC, quit arguing over the definition of “fascist”. The word hasn’t meant anything more than “something which is bad” since the 40s.

  52. Steven, I get what you’re saying but (1) if the program gets some kids to read, well, the purpose of the school is still being advanced by the program and (2) really, the occasional pizza never hurt anybody.

  53. FFF et al – I was going to argue in a paper for English class that the USA is a fascist country, and my teacher wouldn’t allow it.

    Is that ironic?

    πŸ™‚

  54. The lycopene in the tomato sauce has been shown to have beneficial properties.

    However, the rest of the pizza is made of white flour, oil, cheese and greasy meats, none of which are particularly high on any nutritional scale.

  55. Joe Tally,

    You are a fool. Oil, cheese, and meat are very high in nutritional value; they are good sources of protein, fat soluble vitamins, and minerals. They are sometimes high in fat content, which means that one shouldn’t overindulge in them. (Though, some fats are quite healthful.)

    Why don’t you try to get some information from sources other than your asshole.

  56. Wine Commonsewer…

    I take your bet. I think she’s Green Party if anything.

    Is the communist party still around in AMerica, BTW?

    ANd how the hell did China get into this? Did the squirrels put China in this thread?

  57. GAAHH! Indeed, the squirrels live…

    Be afraid…

    Very afraid…

    We have all said very bad things about them… And are about to be punished…

    Verily, they are back to wreak vengence, for I have just had a well thought out (i.e., drunken) post swallowed and lost to the ether…

  58. Anyway, I was just complaining that we get a thread about PIZZA and we’re talking about… FASCISM!?!?! GAAAH!

    Where’s the discussion about toppings? Or New York style vs. wherever? Or why the best pizza place in YOUR town isn’t doing this reading thing instead of that barf-in-a-box-Pizza Hut?

    And by-the-by, where is the scientific outrage over restaurants sponsoring elementary school-aged baseball teams? Guess where they go after the games?

  59. Fuck all you killjoys. Jesus. The occasional personal pan pizza is making america fat? Give me a break.

  60. I loved that program when I was a kid! I think maybe they’re just jealous they aren’t given the opportunity to earn free pizzas.

  61. I’m curious to know what libertarian principle it is that leads to defending corporate-sponsored junk-food giveaways in compulsory, government-run schools.

    Because the 100% voluntary exchange here relies in no way on the compulsory nature of schools, libertarians have no reason to object.

    Because the people objecting to this exchange are humorless scold who deserve to be kicked in the crotch as often as possible.

  62. FFF et al – I was going to argue in a paper for English class that the USA is a fascist country, and my teacher wouldn’t allow it.

    Is that ironic?

    Maybe you should write your paper on misuse of the word “ironic” instead. πŸ˜‰

  63. Jumbie, gonna take that action, eh? You may have a point, the scold might be a greenie. But dimes to donuts, er, pizzas, she’s a Dem. Yer on. πŸ™‚

  64. My daughter earned a huge pile of those coupons. We only ever used a couple of them as even my daughter with her unsophisticated palate could tell that Pizza Hut pizza is greasy and awful.

    But as Dave and others said, she still enjoyed getting them. It was like a gold star on top of her paper.

    That said, bribing your kids with food does set a bad precedent. I’ve been bribing my kid with mp3s for the past year or so. It works well and is low-fat.

  65. Watch out for Pizza the Hut people, they probably take off 2 hours of your life each like cigarettes. Maybe 1 hour. Doesn’t matter, the shit is pretty fucking gross. I know not everyone lives in close proximity to New York City, so I’m sorry you don’t even know that you are being denied basic pizza rights.

    It would be much better if schools partnered with local, independently owned resturants.

  66. Mr. Crane isn’t arguing about girth of Amurika’s chidren (sic, x2); rather he’s pointing out a larger theme of suspicion of how schools go about things.

    This citizen had never heard of such a program, and my immediate thought was 1) how incredibly stupid and 2) Tom Sawyer sure tricked his way into Becky’s kit through the yellow ticket trade.

    There are other ways of schools recognizing performance. There are ways for parents to recognize it, too. There is something about this particular program that sticks in this citizen’s craw, as well. Mr. Crane’s warning about being pollyanna is well taken.

    Perhaps it seems as though responsibility feels shirked, as reading/ math skills are a must, regardless if they come with extra cheese?

    Perhaps it’s an echo of an anti education vibe that I sometimes sense here (e.g., look at how often liberal arts gets ripped or the like. I guess those suckers at Williams or Amherst really got hosed, and at $35k per year)?

    Either way, Mk touches on a part of why this is an uncomfortable theme – “bribing your kids with food does set a bad precedent”.

    Good reading and writing and math skills are important – they go beyond the simple read this book, get some crazy bread. Maybe that’s it. It’s a must.

    I can see how this can become another battle in the left vs right fray – just look at the organization to which that Harvard prof, Linn, belongs. Anti commercial? C’mon. That’s going a bit far, too. Okay way too far! Understanding that form of communication is also important for kids to learn.

  67. I dunno, I think bribing your kids with treats is okay, as long as you’re not doing it all the time. “Sometimes Foods” should be in the basket of things with which parents bribe their kids, it just shouldn’t be the only thing.

  68. The food puritans are really starting to piss me off. My kids loved this program. Like many American families, we get PH carryout 1-2 times/month. It’s not like a free personal pan was an incentive towards gluttony, but it sure was a motivator in promoting reading.

    These nanny staters should go raise their own kids, I’m taking care of mine just fine.

  69. Is the communist party still around in AMerica, BTW?

    Yeah, it’s mostly composed of shrill half-wit college dropouts like BJ here, and delusional street folks like this. Zombietime!

  70. Would Ms Linn be complaining if teachers were encouraged to take the children for whom reading is “too hard” to Pizza Hut?

    Rewarding failure is what paternalism is all about.

  71. What do nanny-staters propose that we give to kids as rewards? Extra time on the stationary bike? Bean sprouts? Free mp3 files of Pete Seeger?

  72. It’s not that insidious at my kid’s elementary school. The corp swag comes with the achievement award and I don’t think the free Kid’s Meal at Mickie Dees is necessarily the incentive, although I suppose that it could be seen that way.

    What DOES frost my backside is when the kids come home all amped up after the indoctrination assembly where they are mercilessly subjected to guilt and shame and they’ve been promised that if they sell 500 overpriced candy bars, Christmas ribbons, or books that you can get at Amazon or Borders for 40% less, they’ll win a fabulously cheesy prize and THE SCHOOL will be able to survive another trimester without collapsing into rubble as a result of all those cheap chiseling taxpayers not reaching deep enough.

    I’m thinking the state is spending $23,000.00 every year to educate these two munchkins of mine, there ought to be enough left over for a couple of field trips and some chalk. Okay, they don’t use chalk anymore, dry erase markers, a pack of them at Staples is about two bucks.

    Worst part, is that there is always some parent who works at GM and bugs each and every one of the 1,843 employees who walk through the door to buy a pack of ribbon and her kid always wins.

  73. bribing your kids with food does set a bad precedent

    Moose, you are certainly dissing a time honored tradition at which several ethnic groups have become quite proficient.

  74. What do nanny-staters propose that we give to kids as rewards? Extra time on the stationary bike? Bean sprouts? Free mp3 files of Pete Seeger?

    This may come as a shock to you, but children are naturally curious. Maybe if so many people didn’t feel that children need to be bribed into reading, children wouldn’t feel this way either. This basically amounts to either a short-term increase in reading or a short-term reward for a pre-existing behaviour.

    Even worse, it may turn off children from reading in the long-term. Why read a book if you won’t even get a free pizza from it? Using a reward for behavior modification only works as long as you keep doing it.

  75. My father promised me $40 (today’s dollars) for every Dickens novel I read, back when I was bored to tears on summer vacation and reading library books every day. I never read one. A great disappointment to him, since he wanted to share a childhood pleasure of his.

    If there’s no airplane in it, I’m not interested, was my rule.

    Later when I had an airplane, and wanted to share the joys of flitting around the very same mountains we had to trudge up back then, he didn’t want to go. He didn’t trust the things.

    I should have offered him money.

    I can’t see pizza thoug

  76. This may come as a shock to you, but children are naturally curious. Maybe if so many people didn’t feel that children need to be bribed into reading, children wouldn’t feel this way either. This basically amounts to either a short-term increase in reading or a short-term reward for a pre-existing behaviour.

    Even worse, it may turn off children from reading in the long-term. Why read a book if you won’t even get a free pizza from it? Using a reward for behavior modification only works as long as you keep doing it.
    Or, maybe it will get some kids who weren’t intrested in reading in the first place to read and find out that they enjoy it.

  77. Just a thought…has anyone considered that children might gain weight, not from eating pizza, but from sitting motionless, reading books all the time?

    I propose we outlaw excessive reading in schools. It’s for the children.

  78. What do nanny-staters propose that we give to kids as rewards? Extra time on the stationary bike? Bean sprouts? Free mp3 files of Pete Seeger?

    This may come as a shock to you, but children are naturally curious. Maybe if so many people didn’t feel that children need to be bribed into reading, children wouldn’t feel this way either. This basically amounts to either a short-term increase in reading or a short-term reward for a pre-existing behaviour.

    Even worse, it may turn off children from reading in the long-term. Why read a book if you won’t even get a free pizza from it? Using a reward for behavior modification only works as long as you keep doing it.

    whoa, sanity!!!!!!!

    i thought the moose and i were the only ones left.

  79. STOP TALKING ABOUT PIZZA YOU RETARDS

    FDA poised to approve cattle antibiotic despite warnings. Agency likely will approve antibiotic despite fears it could harm people.

    The government is on track to approve a new antibiotic to treat a pneumonia-like disease in cattle, despite warnings from health groups and a majority of the agency’s own expert advisers that the decision will be dangerous – for people.

    The drug, called cefquinome, belongs to a class of highly potent antibiotics that are among medicine’s last defense against several serious human infections. No drug from that class has ever been approved in the United States for use in animals.

    The American Medical Association and about a dozen other health groups warned the Food and Drug Administration that giving cefquinome to animals would probably speed the emergence of microbes resistant to that important class of antibiotic, as has happened with other drugs. Those super-microbes could then spread to people.

    Echoing those concerns, the FDA’s advisory board voted last fall to reject the request by InterVet Inc. of Millsboro, Del., to market the drug for cattle.

    Yet by all indications, the FDA will approve cefquinome this spring. That is all but required by a recently implemented “guidance document” codifying how to weigh threats to human health posed by proposed animal drugs.

    The wording of “Guidance for Industry 152” was crafted within the FDA after a long struggle. Some say it makes it too difficult for the FDA to say “no” to some drugs.

    “The industry says that ‘Until you show us a direct link to human mortality from the use of these drugs in animals, we don’t think you should preclude their use,’ ” said Edward Belongia, an epidemiologist at the Marshfield (Wis.) Clinic Research Foundation. “But do we really want to drive more resistance genes into the human population? It’s easy to open the barn door, but it’s hard to close the door once it’s open.”

    The FDA knows how hard it can be to close that door. In the mid-1990s, overriding the objections of public health experts, it approved the marketing of Baytril and SaraFlox for use in poultry. Both are fluoroquinolones, drugs important for their ability to fight the bacterium that causes anthrax and the food-borne bacterium campylobacter, which causes a diarrheal disease in people.

    Before long, doctors began finding fluoroquinolone-resistant strains of campylobacter in patients hospitalized with severe diarrhea. When studies showed a link to poultry, the FDA sought a ban. Abbott Laboratories pulled Saraflox, but Baytril’s manufacturer, Bayer, pushed back.

    Late in 2005, Bayer gave up, but not before fluoroquinolone resistance had spread further.

  80. This book comes with onions and peppers. It’s what plants crave.

    Brondo brand school.

    Johnny: come up to the Office Max Chalkboard, now with 20% less chalk dust and explain why the Brondo brand (it’s got electrolytes. It’s what you crave) story of Heather’s parental units’ domestic situation is important.

    Johnny. What do you mean you don’t want to read.

    But Johnny! Zagnut! What’s horton hear. Johnny! what does horton hear? Zagnut.

    (then when they become teens, “boobs. c’mere johnny. boobs.”)

    balls.

    Mr. Crane – notice the excuses that when joe makes them (e.g., “if it helps one kid”) get laughed at – those are being bantered around.

    double balls.

    Gaia – since your post doesn’t come with a pizza and a handjob, I’m not gonna read it.

    neener neener.

  81. seriously, moose.

    yeah. anyway i just poured myself a glass of champagne, and boy are these bubbles loud!

  82. The PRC is doing well in large part because more Chinese people have the freedom to succeed. Maybe that serves the purposes of the Chinese state, but I ain’t going to begrudge that success and wealth if that is true.

  83. This thread reminded me, for some reason, about how Tim Cavanaugh would occasionally go off on a rant against the evils of New York-style pizza (any pizza, in fact, that wasn’t Chicago-style, I believe).

    Pizza Hut is teh suck, though.

  84. Will people please stop treating children as mini-intellectuals. Most can’t see a foot in front of their face when it comes to their future. Only adults can think this way. Most children can’t comprehend the “longview” because they have only lived such a short time. They don’t know they will regret not having read X number of books 20 years from now. That’s to ethereal a concept for most kids.

    The simple lesson of: If you read a lot of books you get good things is just fine. This program accomplishes it well enough and at the business’s expense.

    Quit acting like this is turning the kids into some Pavlovian eating machine that begins to drool and crave stuffed crust pizzas everytime they pickup a book.

  85. crimethink – a yes or no answer would have sufficed, I wasn’t asking for an essay. πŸ˜‰

  86. The Wine Commonsewer,

    I’m with you on those school-based multi-level marketing scams. Why is it that paying a kid 40 cents an hour to knit sweaters is illegal child labor but paying schoolkids with mere chance to win a cheesy prize for selling overpriced junk is perfectly legal?

    A couple years ago in Jersey (I think), some poor kid went door to door selling this junk and was abducted and killed by a child molester. A bunch of schools dropped their sideline Amway businesses after that. I always felt bad that the kid died, but he was a martyr to the cause of getting gradeschoolers out of the door-to-door sales business.

  87. The kids shouldn’t be given bribes for reading – they should be given punishments for *not* reading. Is that tough-minded enough?

    Bad grades aren’t enough. If they don’t do a good book report, they should be waterboarded (it’s not like I’m advocating *torturing* the kids, after all).

  88. “This may come as a shock to you, but children are naturally curious. Maybe if so many people didn’t feel that children need to be bribed into reading, children wouldn’t feel this way either. This basically amounts to either a short-term increase in reading or a short-term reward for a pre-existing behaviour.”

    Agreed, most kids probably learn to read because they like it, not because their seekign extrinsic rewards or avoiding punishment. However, there comes a time that you want to give kids a reward to do something–chores, altruistic acts, not burning down your garage–and food is usually the best way to do it.

  89. Mad Max,

    Are you going to open the Dick Cheney Charter School?

    Someone already tried your basic idea though. It was called “school” up until about 1950 or so.

  90. OK, this sucks. I gues I’m too old to have had this kind of program when I was a kid. I read like crazy and got bupkis!

    What a gyp.

  91. Forget Dick Cheney – at Sister Mary Elizabeth’s No-Nonsense School of Shutting Up and Paying Attention, the reward for reading books isn’t a pizza (during *Lent*? Are you nuts?). No, the reward is not getting thrashed within an inch of your life. Now *there* is an incentive program!

  92. “The breadsticks. The breadsticks.”

  93. I think Pizza Hut should start up a program to give college professors a free personal pizza every time they insinuate that corporations are trying to fatten/addict/murder children.

    Think of all the happy ‘intellectuals’ skipping excitedly into Pizza Hut with their parents holding their hands and telling them what a smart little academic they are!

    Disclaimer: I am a current employee of Papa John’s and I loved ‘Book It!’

  94. but from sitting motionless, reading books all the time….

    Mrs TWC’s grandmother came from a farm in Arkansas and held books in the same regard as most people hold TV.

  95. Abdul, Mrs TWC usually tells the kids she’ll buy them the prize they would have won if they’ll just be quiet and throw the flyers away. Believe it or not, it doesn’t work.

    Too bad about the kid in Jersey.

  96. mmmmmmm……bupkis……..

  97. News is in that the notorious Harvard psychologist Susan Linn has died. Reportedly she locked herself in her limo, and ATE herself to death.

  98. BWAH! Crimethink.

  99. I get the point that it’s a bad idea to bribe kids to learn with food. But this is for something above and beyond the curriculum, and it’s a once in a while thing, not a routine. All things in moderation, including special treats.

  100. how about learning for knowledge’s sake…

    Latin School
    http://www.Hawken.edu
    http://www.us.edu/

    how ’bout them apples?

    or:
    http://www.nescac.com/
    http://williams.edu
    http://hamilton.edu
    http://amherst.edu
    http://bowdoin.edu

    I guess $30k tuition means there’s a lot of suckers out there…

    For example.

    Those are high schools and colleges that don’t go for the typical “business” degrees that seem to get you tuna noodle casserole and cream of mushroom soup that seem so highly prized by others here.

    No pizza at the University School, I betcha.

    What about that one class at the Latin School – “don’t trust the narrator”? Oh! It’s in the English dept. No need. No need for knowing if Shakespeare meant “sullied” or “Soiled” in the folio or quatro versions.

    Why bother reading Dante or “Winner and Waster”? Who cares what “Der Goldne Topf” meant. Why bother caring and understanding Beowulf. Not used in “business”. How about Kraus’s “Der lezten Tage der Menschheit”. He talks quite a bit about “business”. Free market, to boot. But not in an anti intellectual way.

    How can one use that in future DEMAND CURVE business?

    Right. Parents and teachers are responsible for the motivation of their kids. Just because some corporation has its nose in it suddenly means it’s good? Or because one imagines that the outcome is efficient (phrased in pseudo econ terms, as that’s the level here)?

    I guess loving learning and trying to expand your horizons isn’t necessary, unless there’s a bribe? How about learning to go the extra mile? Getting up at 5 am to plunge into 66 degree water. Do that 26 hours per week? Nope. Not without my crazy bread. What bullshit.

    WTF?

    Jeez. Learning German sucks. The grammar is terrible. Why bother? Why bother learning a foreign language that you’d “never” learn? Rend mig. Generic “you” should know.

    It’s not up to the school system to bribe kids. If parents want to do that, whatever. But parents and teachers should be able to motivate kids regardless. Learning for knowledge’s sake. All that.

    You’re going to be confronted tons of times in work where you have to do the shit detail. No pizza there. What about working up in the world? Lotsa risk, no chuck e Cheez. Why bother?

    The bullshit of bribery. Mein Gott. Oh! There’s a “corporation” behind it. It must be good.

    What bullshit.

    How about parents doing the motivation. Or teachers. Or something that involves something other than the anti-fucking-intellectual “would you like fries with that, you B.A., in Liberal Arts”….

    Look at how often Liberal Arts get poo-poohed here. Think about that in this context. It’s not the PH rebates that’s the issue, it’s the fact that the parents can’t convey the proper academic discipline on their kids. Sure there are exceptions, but since they’re exceptions, how do we know it’s not the parents and not the treat? Parents and teachers should provide the motivation.

    But we see it here – “what do you call a soc. major — waiter”. Bullshit like that.

    I bet we both can think of at least two English majors (decent liberal arts undergrad programs; not elite, here) who earn more than most on this board.

    If parents can’t motivate, well, here’s 5 bucks. get some fucking trojans.

    Woe betide those who then utter disparaging things about Liberal Arts.

    The Juggernaut will go after you. With Charles!

    [evil laughter. fading away]

  101. how about learning for knowledge’s sake…

    Sorry, that’s been phased out and replaced with the Taco Bell math hour.

  102. If tacos could’ve taught the other kids in the econ department with me to take a goddamn derivative, I would’ve been all for it.

  103. Two comments:

    First, many kids who DON’T read don’t do so because they don’t read well, and reading for pleasure isn’t really possible for them. Since most of these kids aren’t morons, the problem is that they simply haven’t read enough, and therefore haven’t had the practice many people need to read well. Some of us wanted to read every book printed as soon as we got by “A is for apple,” but most kids aren’t like that. That means that maybe, for at least a few of them, if you “bribe” them to read for practice, they’ll eventually get to the point where they read for fun.

    Second, I was a liberal arts person, and I think that the reason you see liberal arts get pooh-poohed on the internet is because at least for undergraduates being a liberal arts major is a lot like…[wait for it]…hanging out on a message board all day. My poli sci major consisted mainly of doing a lot of reading, and then going to classes and listening to 20 year old kids spew their opinions. Now I’ve been out of college for over 15 years, but somehow I still do a lot of reading, and then go online to listen to 35 year old people spew their opinions. Somehow I’m not getting class credit or a degree credential for dicking around on the internet, though.

  104. So Pizza Hut uses our tax dollars to promote their product and libertarians are all for it?

    You guys will ditch your principles in a hurry if it gives you a chance to argue that pizza really isn’t junk food: “after all, I ate a pizza once, and it didn’t make me fat!”

  105. Do these people really think that the only thing standing between kids and greater spinach consumption is the lack of a corporate marketing campaign that makes spinach cool?

    How can you be an expert in child development and not know the first thing about incentives?

  106. How can you be an expert in child development and not know the first thing about incentives?

    That question answers itself.

  107. So a fast-food chain has been offering kids pizzas for 20+ years as an incentive for reading books, and yet kids are not only reading fewer books but are fatter than ever?

    I’d say you don’t have to be an expert to see that this program is not exactly working.

    Except from Pizza Hut’s POV.

  108. So Pizza Hut uses our tax dollars to promote their product and libertarians are all for it?

    I missed the part where Pizza Hut was cashing government checks.

  109. RC –

    Apparently, you could blanket school kids with free bling and you’d be “using tax dollars” because as your gifts of gold and diamonds and frankincense and myrhh showered down on their heads, their asses would be in plastic public school chairs.

    But I do have to concede that one way to resolve this argument is to disband the public schools. Voila – no more argument. I’ll even agree to stipulate that pizza is junk food if you like.

  110. I missed the part where Pizza Hut was cashing government checks.

    Teachers cash government checks and part of their job it appears is to promote Pizza Hut.

  111. Teachers cash government checks and part of their job it appears is to promote Pizza Hut.

    I thought their job was to promote reading, and Pizza Hut was giving them a tool to help with that.

    Is any non-hostile mention of a real corporation or product in a public school the promotion of said corporation or product? How about a non-hostile mention of religion as part of a lesson? Is that the promotion of said religion?

    Agreed, Fluffy. I’m just curious as to whether Dan T is really interested in pursuing his reflexive corporate hostility to its logical implications.

  112. I never heard of this program before. When I was a kid, I read voraciously, and I never got any pizza for it. In grade school, we couldn’t even buy pizza for lunch. Partly because my grade school didn’t operate a cafeteria. We brought our lunches cold in brown paper bags and we liked it. Peanut butter and jelly. Lunchmeat and cheese. Cold hamburgers. Cold fish sandwiches. Maybe once a year, in junior high, they’d bring in hot cheeseburgers that we could buy — fairly crappy ones, at that — and that was an extra special treat! We couldn’t even buy pizza for lunch until I went to high school, and again, that was a specia treat only available maybe once a month. And now after reading this thread, I’m starving for pizza. Even Pizza Hut would do. And I can’t buy pizza now because it’s midnight and all the pizza places are closed. That’s market failure. Unless you libertarian address the lack of access to pizza after midnight in this country, you’ll alway be an insignificant minority party. Young punks. Young punks. Young punks.

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