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In Texas, not all goobers are produced by peanut farmers. A bumper crop of some of our nuttiest goobers come out of far-right-wing political soil.
Check out this blue-ribbon specimen: Todd Staples. Carefully cultivated by corporate agribusiness powers, he’s been the state agricultural commissioner for the past eight years. But the vast majority of Texans don’t know his name and had no idea he was a state official, since he’s primarily been a behind-the-scenes operative for Big Food.
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But Todd suddenly sprang from obscurity early in September, unleashing a screed against an innocuous school cafeteria initiative called “Meatless Mondays.” Going one meal a week without meat is a sensible effort to help prevent the growing epidemic of childhood obesity, but Staples shrieked that it’s a “carefully-orchestrated” propaganda campaign by “anti-animal agriculturalists” hell bent on “brainwashing” school children. He wailed that it’s a devilish plot, “to eliminate meat from Americans’ diet seven days a week – starting with Mondays.”
Then Commissioner Meathead doubled-down on dumb by proclaiming that the Meatless Mondays cabal could deprive our poor school children “of their only source of protein for the day.” That might be sad – except it’s a lie. Beans, eggs, cheese, nuts, legumes, tofu, and quinoa are perfectly good sources of protein, readily available in Texas. Shouldn’t an agriculture commissioner know that? But then, Staples – who took more than $100,000 in campaign cash from the meat peddlers – has been the commissioner of agriBUSINESS, not agriCULTURE.
And now he’s neither! Todd has abruptly resigned his position – not out of embarrassment for his silly red-meat rant, but to become a high-paid shill for the Texas Oil & Gas lobby. He can change one tinfoil hat for another, but he’ll always be a goober.
“Meatless Monday moderation is safe,” Austin American Statesman,” September 17, 2014.
“Staples: Keep ‘Meatless Mondays’ campaign out of schools,” www.mystatesman.com, September 7, 2014.
“Texas GOP official’s shady war on “Meatless Mondays,”” www.salon.com, September 15, 2014.
“Protein guidelines vanish from Texas Agriculture website following Meatless Monday drama,” www.dallas.culturemap.com, September 15, 2014.
“Fox News’ Anti-Scientific Attack On Meatless Monday “Propaganda,”” www.mediamatters.org, September 15, 2014.