Eating healthy for just $40 a week? The federal government says no, but The Tea Party counters that.


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ORLANDO – It can all be as a simple as having just $40 – maybe even $39 and change.

And it doesn’t require the federal government to look after you, the Tea Party says.

On the same day that President Obama was signing a bill to overhaul the nation’s food safety laws, Peg Dunmire, chairman of the Florida Tea Party, was delivering a very different message from her Lady Liberty Hour radio program: let’s take care of our own food and eating habits, and not look to the federal government to do it for us. 

Peg Dunmire, chairman of the Florida Tea Party, says people can eat healthy meals that cost less than $41 a week.

And that includes teaching even the poorest among us that they can shop – and buy – healthy, nutritious foods at their local grocery store without the federal government telling people what foods they should buy to maintain good health – or even providing the money to help them buy that food, Dunmire said.

“Our federal government spends $94 billion on food, and Peg Dunmire can tell you how to spend $40,” she said.  “This is truly something our government has taken over as part of the Nanny state.”

Dunmire’s radio show, which runs from noon to 1 p.m. daily on the Phoenix Network, railed against the federal government’s involvement in setting food safety standards that could just as easily be handled at the local level.

“If anyone thinks an inspection once a year or once every five years makes someplace safer, then they just don’t understand the nature of business,” Dunmire said, adding that if restaurants have poor cleanliness standards that leave their customers feeling ill, it’s a safe bet that word of it will get out quickly and that establishment won’t stay open for long.

“You will go out of business if you have a dirty establishment and you are serving food,” she said.  “Even if you don’t have a (local) ratings system, word gets around that people are getting sick there.”

Around the same time Dunmire was on the radio, the cable news stations were focusing on the bill passed by Congress last year and signed into law by President Obama today, that gives the Food and Drug Administration new and expanded authority to recall tainted food and step-up inspections of food processing plants.

The bill also requires large manufacturers to put together food safety plans.

Dunmire said the idea that the government can protect everyone from potentially tainted food borders on “hysteria” – not to mention a fundamental misunderstanding of what the government can actually accomplish.

“There is legitimacy in us being able to inspect food,” she said, “but the government is not what brings you food safety.”

People should make a habit of shopping or dining at places that have a good reputation for being clean and well maintained, rather than asking the federal government to pretend it can magically ensure that all these establishments are safe. She also said the federal government should stop spending so much on food stamps and other programs designed to help low income families buy food.

How do people know the food they buy at local supermarkets or grocery stores is safe to eat? Peg Dunmire says people should talk to one another to know which establishments have the best reputation for clean standards, and not expect the federal government to do that for them.

“They say, ‘If you’re poor, you can’t eat healthy,’ “ Dunmire said.  “Wrong. I’m here to tell you how you can eat healthy on $40 per person a week.”

Dunmire said she logged onto the Web site for the Publix supermarket chain and did some price shopping.  The average family can spend $14 a week on meat, $10 on produce, $8 on dairy products, $5 on grains, and $3 on bulk items – all of it healthy and nutritious.

“You can go to Publix and get one dozen eggs for $2,” she said.  “You can get two cans of tuna for $3.20.”

Add to that packages of carrots, onions, and celery for less than $2 each, and a pound of apples, plus five frozen vegetable packages for $10.

Toss in a gallon of milk for $3.50, packets of yogurt for $2.50, and two containers of oatmeal through a buy one, get one free deal, and you have the makings of a grocery bill that comes in under $40. Dunmire said she did the shopping herself on the Publix Web site, and “My grocery bill would have been $39.53.  You can have a healthy menu – there is no doubt about it.”

What Americans don’t need, she said, is the federal government spending so much on food stamps that tell recipients what they can or can’t buy.  She recommended that people looking to eat healthy try having oatmeal with milk and fruit for breakfast, a tuna or egg salad sandwich with an apple for lunch, and meat and vegetables for dinner, with some yogurt for dessert.  She offered that advice for free — a stark contrast, she said, compared to how much it costs the federal government to do the same thing, all on the taxpayers’ dime.

“It’s all healthy, nothing is processed,” she said.  “Americans really don’t know how to eat well. Our government is trying so hard to teach us to eat healthy, and it’s just not working.”

Contact us at FreelineOrlando@Gmail.com.

Insisting that “Today, good isn’t good enough,” Teresa Jacobs becomes Orange County’s new mayor.


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ORLANDO – Taking the reigns of Orange County’s government at a time of double digit unemployment and a housing market that may not have hit bottom, Mayor Teresa Jacobs was sworn in today with a pledge to make citizens, not politicians, her top priority.

“Our greatest asset is the people who live and work here,” Jacobs said during the ceremony. “Our greatest asset is you.”

Crowds of people -- the very citizens that Mayor Teresa Jacobs says the government needs to improve the local economy -- gather outside the Linda W. Chapin Theatre at the Orange County Convention Center for Jacobs' swearing in ceremony.

Jacobs took the oath of office along with the newly elected and re-elected members of the Orange County Commission inside the Linda W. Chapin Theatre at the Orange County Convention Center.  While expressing pride in the faith that citizens demonstrated in them during last November’s election, several of the commissioners stressed the very difficult economic times this region is facing, with a promise to make jobs and economic development their biggest issue.

Ted Edwards was sworn in as commissioner for District 5, replacing the man that Jacobs defeated in the mayor’s race, Bill Segal.  “I had a reputation for being fiscally tight, and that was in good times,” Edwards said.  “Now we’re in rough times.”

District 4 Commissioner Jennifer Thompson, who takes the seat of former Commissioner and mayoral candidate Linda Stewart, likewise acknowledged the economic difficulties this county faces.

“I hope in the short term to create jobs, but in the long term to create an economic future that we can leave for our grandchildren,” she said.

The problems confronting the economy are steep. The unemployment rate in Florida remains in double digits, housing prices continue to fall, and the state continues to post one of the nation’s highest home foreclosure rates.

But there were words of hope and encouragement from the county leaders, including outgoing mayor Richard Crotty, who was on hand for the official passing of the gavel to Jacobs.

“I will tell you, I believe Orange County is in good hands,” Crotty said.  “We are going to move forward as a great community.”

Jacobs, though, offered less in the way of platitudes, and more of a frank acknowledgement of just how difficult the next mayor’s task will be taking on what she called “the toughest economy since the Great Depression.”

A former county commissioner from a West Orange County district, Jacobs won a landslide victory last November over Segal, taking 65 percent of the vote.  Looking back at the campaign, Jacobs said “It was fun. It was tough. But in the end, the experience was rewarding beyond measure.”

It was also sobering, she said, because as she traveled across the county meeting with voters, she found a lot of people who had a deep sense of pessimism about government in general and politicians in particular, and the ability of either to correct the economy distress so many are experiencing, Jacobs said.

“Unfortunately, many said they had lost faith in politicians, and maybe that’s nothing new,” Jacobs said.  “I am determined to create an Orange County government that our citizens can and do believe in.”

As mayor, Jacobs promised to operate under the principles of fairness, honesty and trust, and also to work closely and in cooperative with other county and local elected leaders.

“I have a plan for a stronger Orange County,” she said, “but I can’t do it alone.”

That also means getting citizens to believe in county government, and to work with municipal leaders to make the country stronger.

“I also believe we have the beginnings of a reenergized citizenry,” Jacobs said.

Jacobs' oath of office ceremony drew a large crowd today.

To improve an economy that’s been struggling since 2007, Jacobs promised to “work to attract better paying jobs” and to promote economic development by holding eight jobs summits throughout the year, and to streamline the approval process for building permits.

She also pledged to reduce any wasteful spending and ensure that taxpayers get their money’s worth out of county government.

“We will run a fiscally conservative administration,” Jacobs said, “and not burden our children’s future with risky debt.”

She also promised an administration that would be about action, not speeches, saying “Folks, this isn’t just talk.  Today, good isn’t good enough.”

Jacobs is the fourth mayor of Orange County, following Linda Chapin, Mel Martinez, and Crotty.

 Contact us at FreelineOrlando@gmail.com.

 

Searching our bags and … what?! The Tea Party calls for an end to invasive airport pat downs by the TSA


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ORLANDO – It used to be that the biggest complaints heard about airports had to do with long lines, bad food or delayed flights. These days, it could be something else: a gloved hand roaming where nobody wants it to go.

Say it isn't so: is airline security getting much too invasive?

“I think it’s outrageous,” said Doug Guetzloe, a member of the Florida Tea Party. “The one thing that is really amazing is your constitutional rights don’t end before you board an airline.”

National news coverage about the Transportation Security Administration’s pat downs of passengers hoping to catch their flight and land safely at their destination has provoked plenty of controversy, fueled in part by images on television and over the Internet of TSA security workers placing their hands where few passengers ever expected to get frisked – a pat down that a growing number of frequent flyers think is, well, below the belt.

The Tea Party is taking the debate a bit further, though, by calling for the federal government to abolish the TSA altogether and return to a free market system where the airlines handle security, not federal bureaucrats.

The invasive, intrusive and totally unnecessary pat downs, Guetzloe said, are a shining example of a federal government perfectly capable of making people’s trips more miserable, but doing little to prevent terrorist attacks on airlines.

“I think the TSA needs to be abolished,” he said. “This is something that needs to be stopped.”

What to do about the TSA's pat downs: how about abolishing the agency altogether, Doug Guetzloe says.

Florida Tea Party Chairman Peg Dunmire agreed, saying these so-called security measures violate the Fourth Amendment, which requires probable cause be established before someone’s privacy is sacrificed.

“This is not making us any safer,” Dunmire said.

TSA’s mission is to protect the nation’s transportation systems. On Nov. 21, TSA Administrator John S. Pistole issued a statement calling for the “cooperation and understanding of the American people” while the heightened security measures were being enforced. He cited Northwest Airlines Flight 253 from Amsterdam to Detroit on Christmas day, 2009, as a prime reason for the pat downs. There was an unsuccessful terrorist attack planned for that flight, when Nigerian terror suspect Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab had a packet of explosive powder sewed into his underwear.

“We cannot forget that less than one year ago a suicide bomber with explosives in his underwear tried to bring down a plane over Detroit,” Pistole noted in his statement. “The terrorists allegedly behind the thwarted cargo attempt last month are out there bragging about how they will strike again.”

Guetzloe, though, countered that TSA is just blowing smoke when it claims these pat downs will protect anyone heading to Orlando International Airport or any other city to fly for the holidays.

“I don’t think these invasive activities have added to safety in the U.S.,” he said. “In the last eight years, I don’t think the TSA can point to any security successes.”

Guetzloe noted, for example, that Mutallab wasn’t prevented from getting on the flight to Detroit. The same was true with Richard Reid, the so-called “shoe bomber” who tried to destroy a plane in-flight by detonating explosives hidden in his shoes. In both cases, the terrorists failed to ignite their explosives before fellow passengers and crew stopped them from going any further.

“The attacks never occurred, but the TSA had nothing to do with the prevention of it,” Guetzloe said.

Besides, Guetzloe added, Americans are constitutionally protected from unreasonable searches – and having a security worker feel a passenger’s crotch and privates doesn’t have much to do with enhancing security, he added.

“They have been very intrusive, but it hasn’t protected anyone,” Guetzloe said of the pat downs. “Every time the TSA scans someone, America loses and the terrorists win. Americans have constitutional rights. Civil liberties are more important than a false sense of security. I didn’t even know you could search someone’s crotch like this. I don’t think our constitutional rights end because we enter a train or bus or airline. The bottom line is TSA has made no difference whatsoever.”

A better solution, Guetzloe said, would be to let the airlines themselves set security standards. If the airlines’ measures get too intrusive, they’ll lose customers, but at least the free market system dictates what passengers have to go through, he said.

“That’s the way it’s always been,’ Guetzloe said. “Airlines were always in charge of their own security until the government took over. I think there should be standards, but the airlines should set them.”

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