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Americans are eating too much of the wrong kinds of food, and obesity has become a pandemic. First Lady Michelle Obama is pushing healthier school lunches; Mayor Michael Bloomberg has banned extra large sodas in New York City. We hear how their good intentions have created a furor over the role of government in American lives. Also, money changers and the police clash in Iran, and America's flawed fight against domestic terrorism.

Banner image: School lunch staff and students enjoy the new school lunch menu created to meet the new standards at the Yorkshire Elementary School in Manassas, Virginia on September 7, 2012. USDA photo by Lance Cheung

Food Politics

Marion Nestle

Making News Money Changers and Police Clash in Iran 7 MIN, 15 SEC

Economic sanctions against Iran are doing their job: the country's currency has lost 40 percent of its value in just a week and today riot police used tear gas to suppress angry clashes in the streets of Tehran. Thomas Erdbrink is there for the New York Times.

Thomas Erdbrink, New York Times (@ThomasErdbrink)

Main Topic Can Government Control Obesity? 34 MIN, 43 SEC

The agriculture industry has made food so cheap and so plentiful that one third of Americans are obese and another third overweight.  Twenty six million people have Type 2 Diabetes, with 79 million more on the way. With a major push from First Lady Michelle Obama, the federal school lunch program has been revised to limit the intake of calories, require whole grains and double the serving of fruits and vegetables. New York's Mayor Bloomberg has banned extra-large soft drinks. With predictions that half the country will be obese by 2030, it's all about controlling a spreading pandemic. But there's also a backlash. Students and teachers in Kansas went on YouTube singing, “We are Hungry." A Republican Congressman has introduced the No Hungry Kids Act. Is it necessary for government to police the diets of America's children?  Will it work?  Is the Nanny State just going too far?

Monica Eng, Chicago Tribune (@monicaeng)
Tracy Fox, Food, Nutrition and Policy Consultants (@TracyFoxRD)
Jay Bhattacharya, Stanford University
Marion Nestle, New York University (@marionnestle)
Baylen Linnekin, Keep Food Legal (@keepfoodlegal)

Reporter's Notebook Senate Report Scornful of Homeland Security 'Fusion Centers' 8 MIN, 27 SEC

In the aftermath of September 11, the Department of Homeland Security established more than 70 so-called "fusion centers" to coordinate federal, state and local efforts at counterterrorism around the country. But today, the Senate's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations reported that the centers "forwarded intelligence of uneven quality — oftentimes shoddy, rarely timely, sometimes endangering citizens' civil liberties and Privacy Act protections" and sometimes used "already public sources… unrelated to terrorism." Ken Dilanian is national security correspondent for the Los Angeles Times.

Ken Dilanian, NBC News (@KenDilanianNBC)

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