Let it be neither mine nor thine, but divide it.



Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to AskJaybird-at-gmail.com

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37 Responses

  1. Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

    Nobody expects the mother of the dead child! Her weapons are surprise, and fear.Report

  2. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    One suspects that Swedes find the story as ridiculous as the rest of the world and that the situation will be reversed soon enough.

    I watch Chopped! as a form of food porn. There is an episode with “lunch ladies” and they produced some amazing food under very difficult conditions. And they are able to produce a variety of substantial meals in large quantities every day. Some of them grow their own vegetables in greenhouses, others bake and slice their own bread from flour and yeast — because there is no budget to do anything else.

    The food service professional at the heart of this story ought to be commended for exceptional work and held up as an example for her peers to emulate.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Burt Likko says:

      I’m sure that they do. My focus wasn’t on “Ha! Look at the Swedes!” but “Jeez Louise, there’s yet another person saying that it’s best to split the baby than someone have something good that someone else does not.”Report

  3. Avatar Mike Schilling says:

    “Fresh vegetables? Bread? No! You are going to make the meatballs with the lingonberry sauce because


  4. Avatar Buffalo Rude says:

    Yes, lets drag down lunch-food standards to fairly meet the standards of people with worse options instead of raising the standards for the people eating shittier meals. Makes total fucking sense; if you’re a sociopath.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Buffalo Rude says:

      Is this trait something that helps people get and/or keep power?

      Or is it just a trait like general jerkishness that you’ll find represented anywhere and everywhere in unsurprising proportions?Report

      • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Jaybird says:

        I do think it’s indicative of a certain class of risk-avoidance thinking.

        It’s the sort that I think can provide you a survival advantage in a large bureaucracy. I’m not sure it helps you get and/or keep power so much as helps you to not offend anybody until the Peter Principle puts you into a position where you actually have to make decisions, and then this happens.Report

        • Avatar Chris in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

          Right, this is precisely what I was thinking. I imagine whoever made this decision didn’t think to him or herself, “These people have it better than some other people, and that’s just not right,” but instead thought, “It’s only a matter of time before a mother from another school complains, and then another, and then another, and then another. Let’s just nip it in the bud.”Report

  5. Avatar Kazzy says:

    First, let me say that I wholly agree with Jay’s broader point here. In a vacuum, such approaches to “fairness” are just plain silly.

    But, if I may, I’m going to play a bit of the devil’s advocate on two fronts…

    1.) While right now, there appears to be zero negative impact on other schools, that might not remain the case. I’ve heard of examples in the American system where School A came up with their own way to be better at X. Other schools follow suit. It eventually comes to pass that School Z (which has lower funding, fewer resources, worse teachers, and serves a needier population) would also like to improve X but lacks the ability to do so organically and independently the way that School A did. But since School A and other better-positioned schools did it on their own, suddenly School Z is being told they will get no help from above to improve X. X continues to languish at School Z. So, there is some rationale for ensuring that certain changes are done in a more universal way, with a more top-down model. It doesn’t necessarily justify how this case was handled, but it’s also not wholly crazy to say, “We know you don’t realize it, but it is possible that this can/will/is causing harm elsewhere.”

    2.) A hypothetical: Suppose the school with the WonderChef was a well-funded, resource-rich school serving a privileged population. A few miles down the road is an under-funded, resource-poor school serving a needy population. The school administrators notice the work of WonderChef and the impact it is having on the students and say, “Ya know what? The poor school needs this much more than the rich one; let’s move her there and let her keep doing her thing.” WonderChef does not object. What do you think the parent response would be, particularly from the parents at WonderChef’s original school? More importantly, would this be more or less fair than their current course of action? Would it be more or less fair than just leaving her where she is and letting her do her thing? Why?Report

    • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Kazzy says:

      Harrison Bergeron loves your argument #1, but he can’t quite say why, because the loud noises in his ears make it difficult to think straight for very long.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to DensityDuck says:

        Yea… externalities are just made up… right?Report

        • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Kazzy says:

          Your argument #1 is the same as the slacker who bitches about the smart kid blowing the curve.

          Except that I always thought the moral of that story was that we should celebrate the smart kid and tell the slacker to hit the books.Report

          • Avatar Matty in reply to DensityDuck says:

            To me it reads more like the ‘slacker’ complaining that no one will buy him books but they still look down on him for not having them. Or is every case of a school that ” has lower funding, fewer resources, worse teachers, and serves a needier population” down to someone being lazy?Report

          • Avatar Kazzy in reply to DensityDuck says:

            That is not what my first argument is. You are wrong.

            My first argument is that some schools are better positioned to make improvements independently than others. If those schools less well positioned are expected to meet the same standards as those better positioned ones because, hey, the better positioned ones are doing it all on their own, you leave the less well positioned schools in a lurch.Report

            • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Kazzy says:

              Oh, so it’s not “blowing the curve”, instead it’s you following a slippery slope? Congratulations, you’ve gone to an even worse argument.Report

        • Avatar James K in reply to Kazzy says:

          That’s not an externality.Report

          • Avatar Kazzy in reply to James K says:

            Sure it is. A cost (the raising of expectations which cannot be met and the consequences therein) is potentially being borne by a party not involved in the initial transactions (other schools). Superchef does not bear the brunt of this and, thus, does not consider it when evaluating her transaction. I’m not saying that is absolutely happening, but am offering it as a possibility.Report

            • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Kazzy says:

              “Superchef does not bear the brunt of this and, thus, does not consider it when evaluating her transaction.”

              So we should not strive to succeed or to better our situation because an idiot in the government might decide that, therefore, people who aren’t us don’t need help.

              When someone successful through indi–oh wait, that’s right, You Didn’t Build That. Any success is just the result of standing on someone else’s back.Report

      • Avatar NewDealer in reply to DensityDuck says:

        Harrison Bergeron is also a complete work of fiction. It has never happened and will never happen.

        I don’t understand why these stories become useful rhetorical devices or sincere gospel to people. They are extreme.Report

        • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to NewDealer says:

          Jonathan Swift was an idiot. Nobody would ever seriously consider eating children. I can’t believe that people bother talking about that idiot who suggested people would eat children.Report

  6. Avatar Tod Kelly says:

    Has there been any additional follow up with this story?

    I have to confess, this seems like one of those stories that’s too crazy to believe because it didn’t actually happen – like the guy that was reading pornography to his class or the guy that wasn’t hired by the DMV because we was declared “too competent.”Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Tod Kelly says:

      The original story was dated the 6th (two days ago). The website (thelocal.se) *SEEMS* like a fairly seriousish (i.e. it has reporters and stuff) website but there is a vague tabloidy feel to it… then again, tabloidy is how Europe does its papers.Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Jaybird says:

        I don’t think you need to be a tabloid to erroneously report such a story. It might well tun out to be that the school district did indeed say the food is too good, it needs to be of poorer quality.

        But I will not be surprised if it turns out that the issue was budgetary, or complaints about ignoring dietary restrictions, or not having 15 different options done by lunch time, or some other more logistical reason.Report

        • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Tod Kelly says:

          The story does make it seem like the Crappy Awful Default Meal isn’t necessarily all that bad. I mean, they say that the “vegetable buffet” was “halved”. Not removed entirely, or replaced by vitamin-supplement chicken nuggets, or something.

          I also wonder whether school funding was being used for this enhanced menu, which would leave us with the criticism of “you’re spending money we gave you to buy books to make perfectly good lunch menus fancier just to satisfy your foodie whims”.Report

          • Avatar Kazzy in reply to DensityDuck says:

            Yea, the only report that the funding didn’t change seemed to come from the lunch lady herself. Which might be the case. Really, of all the reporting I’ve seen, none of it seems to include statements from the school.Report

    • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Tod Kelly says:

      the guy that wasn’t hired by the DMV because we was declared “too competent.”

      Well, there was the police force in Connecticut that didn’t hire a guy because they thought he was too smart


      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Kolohe says:

        It makes me think of this.Report

      • Avatar NewDealer in reply to Kolohe says:

        What is interesting about this article is that it shows the differences between how engineer/science types might view a situation and how lawyers might view a situation.

        So some observations based on law and my old employment discrimination class:

        1. Intelligence is not a protected class according to section of the Civil Rights Act that covers employment.

        2. In American law, things or people that are not protected with heightened scrutiny receive what is called rational basis review. That means that the government just needs to come up with a rational basis for the practice. My constitutional law professor called this the “say anything that makes sense and with a straight face” test. It is a very low bar.

        3. Employment attrition passes the rational basis test. It does cost a lot of money to train police officers and the government does have a valid interest in receiving a good return on investment and not having too much turnover. IIRC police officers often have a high-turn over rate. If the government feels like he will be bored by his job (and a lot of police work seems rather repetitive) than it made a case on attrition.

        Now it strikes me that a lot of engineer types generally find legal logic and arguments to be super-frustrating because it seems to go against everything they learned as engineers. However, I like the gray of law. Law is more philosophy than science. It is not black and white and most cases are complicated with both sides being partially in the right and partially in the wrong to varying degrees.

        Though this seems like when private companies don’t hire people because they are “over-qualified”. This could be completely inaccurate but companies seem to like high attrition rates and don’t want to spend a lot of money on someone who will jump ship once a better opportunity comes along.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Kolohe says:

        Regarding the Connecticut case, I think there may be another reason that they did what they did: disparate impact.

        If you cut off the people who scored lowly on the IQ test, that’s going to disproportionately impact minorities and leave you open to some pretty bad things.

        However, if you define an IQ testing range that discriminates to some degree against high scorers and low scorers, you can still weed out the low scorers without upsetting the racial balance of applications too much.Report

    • Avatar Backe in reply to Tod Kelly says:

      The municipality has published a short notice on their homepage, claiming that this is just a misunderstanding. That what they wanted to communicate is that the schools should think about the environment when they choose what vegetables to serve, to pick vegetables that match the seasons. They also say that they have no problems with bread baking, a statement that seems to be supported by the fact that there are plans to train the local lunch personal in how to bake bread, and that they want to support the kind of enthusiasm that Annika Eriksson, the lunch lady in question, shows.

      I have also read the two articles that the Local base their article on. Many of the claims in the Local article seem to be made up, for example that the stated reason for the cutbacks was that the food was too good and that this was unfair for students at other schools. The original articles do briefly mention that the quality had to be cut back because it was too good but they do not explain how they reach this conclusion.Report

  7. Avatar DensityDuck says:

    With just a little bit of slant in the opposite direction, this becomes “we know that you rich people don’t like the thought of eating icky Poor People Food but that’s just too darn bad, you have to have the same lunch everyone else does, because there’s no right to be pointlessly unique just to show us all how rich you are”.Report

  8. Avatar damon says:

    Man, that’s just sad. God forbid we raise standards. No, gotta conform to the lowest common denomator. The bureaucracy insists.Report