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    Published on: March 15, 2010

    John Mackey, the CEO of Whole Foods, has a long essay on the Huffington Post on “Creating a High Trust Organization,” writing that “American society appears to be undergoing a crisis in trust. Most of the major organizations that we depend upon, including governments of all types, corporations, our health care system, our financial institutions, and our schools all seem to be failing us. Indeed, I do not believe it is an exaggeration to claim that our society is actually undergoing a disintegration process whereby the fundamental premises and values supporting our institutions are all being called into question. While such disintegration is of course very painful to experience, it is also a tremendous opportunity for genuine transformation.”

    Among the steps that Mackey prescribes, with excerpts from his essay:

    Define a higher purpose... “Virtually all of our societal organizations seem to have either forgotten or have never really known why they exist and what their higher purposes are. Instead, they have often elevated narrow individual and institutional self-interest into the only purposes that they recognize as valid. Our governments all too frequently serve the politicians and the public service unions rather than their citizens. Our schools too often serve their educational bureaucracy and teachers' unions instead of their students and their parents. Our health care system too often seeks to maximize the profits of pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, doctors, and insurance companies rather than the health and wellness of patients. Many of our corporations primarily exist to maximize the compensation of their executives, and secondarily shareholder value, rather than value creation for customers, employees, and other major stakeholders.

    “The single most important requirement for the creation of higher levels of trust for any organization is to discover or rediscover the higher purpose of the organization. Why does the organization exist? What is it trying to accomplish? What core values will inspire the organization and create greater trust from all of its stakeholders?”

    Leadership has to exemplify organizational values... “Nothing is more important for creating high levels of organizational trust than the quality and commitment of the leadership at all levels of the organization. It doesn't matter if an organization has a higher purpose if the leadership doesn't understand it and seek to serve it. The various stakeholders of an organization, especially employees and customers, look to the leadership to ‘walk-the-talk’ - to serve the purpose and mission of the organization and to lead by example. It is especially important that the CEO and other senior leadership embody the higher purpose of the organization.”

    Empowered teamwork is key... “ To receive trust, it is usually necessary that we give trust. Organizing into small interlocking teams helps ensure that trust will flow in all directions within the organization - upwards, downwards, within the team, and across teams ... While small teams are essential to optimizing the flow of organizational trust, equally important is the philosophy of empowerment. The effectiveness of teams is tremendously enhanced when they are fully empowered to do their work and to fulfill the organization's mission and values. Empowerment must be much, much more than a mere slogan, however. It should be within the very DNA of the organization. Empowerment unleashes creativity and innovation and rapidly accelerates the evolution of the organization. Empowered organizations have tremendous competitive advantage because they have tapped into levels of energy and commitment which their competitors usually have difficulty matching.”

    Transparency most be a clear priority... “If we want to optimize trust then we must seek to optimize transparency. When we decide to keep something hidden the motivation is almost always a lack of trust. We are afraid that the information that we wish to hide would cause more harm than good if it were widely known ... Transparency is a very important supporting value for empowerment. Indeed, it is difficult for an organization to be empowered if it lacks transparency.”
    KC's View:
    This is a long piece worth reading in its entirety here .

    A lot of people will say that Mackey isn’t being realistic about how organizations should operate, and I suspect that even he would agree that even at Whole Foods, “creating a high trust organization” is a work in progress. But there is very little in his posting with which I would disagree; if I were creating an organization, these would be the standards to which I would aspire.

    However, it seems to me that there is another column here...about how organizations without these values can essentially retrofit themselves and adopt them. Starting from scratch is one thing...but re-engineering an organization is an entirely different - and more challenging - proposition.

    Published on: March 15, 2010

    The New York Times over the weekend had an interview with Kip Tindell, co-founder and CEO of The Container Store,in which he talked about the important components of leadership. Excerpts:

    “The way we create a place where people do want to come to work is primarily through two key points. One of our foundation principles is that leadership and communication are the same thing. Communication is leadership. So we believe in just relentlessly trying to communicate everything to every single employee at all times, and we’re very open. We share everything. We believe in complete transparency. There’s never a reason, we believe, to keep the information from an employee, except for individual salaries.

    “I always make it a point to give the same presentation I give at the board meeting to the staff, and then that trickles down to everybody in the company. I know that occasionally some of that information falls into the wrong hands, but that’s a small price to pay for having employees who know they know just about everything.

    “One of the other foundation principles is that one great person could easily be as productive as three good people. One great is equal to three good. If you really believe that, a lot of things happen. We try to pay 50 to 100 percent above industry average. That’s good for the employee, and that’s good for the customer, but it’s good for the company, too, because you get three times the productivity at only two times the labor cost.”
    KC's View:
    Interesting that this morning we have two stories - about the founders of The Container Store and Whole Foods - that deal with notions of leadership.

    Tindell makes another important point worth noting - that people, like boats, create a wake. If you have the right people, and foster a positive working environment, that wake can be an extremely positive thing, fomenting a momentum and spirit that can transform an organization.

    That makes a lot of sense. And I wonder, as I move through retail checkouts staffed by people who often are at best indifferent and at worse oblivious, if enough retailers put a premium on hiring right.

    Published on: March 15, 2010

    Wegmans has launched a new promotion called “Half-Plate Healthy,” described this way:

    “We think it’s the simplest way to start eating well! Simply fill half your plate with veggies, fruit, and salad and the other half with anything else. No need to count calories or get out the scales.
    Visit our stations in the store to see how easy and delicious Half-Plate Healthy can be. Tell us what you think of the event and you can enter to win a $25 Wegmans gift card! See store for details.”
    KC's View:
    It is not surprising that Wegmans has found a way to communicate a basic truth about healthy eating to its shoppers in a way that is easily understood.

    Published on: March 15, 2010

    The Washington Post reports that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is getting more aggressive when it comes to spices, pushing manufacturers “to do more to prevent contamination. That would include using one of three methods to rid spices of bacteria: irradiation, steam heating or fumigation with ethylene oxide, a pesticide.”

    The government’s position seems to be hardening because of a current “outbreak of salmonella illness linked to black and red pepper -- and after 16 U.S. recalls since 2001 of tainted spices.”

    Part of the problem, according to the story, is that it is hard to trace illnesses back to particular spices because they tend to sit in people’s larders for years after being purchased; ironically, the story notes, “microbiologists say that the bacterium can survive in dried spices for years and that it is tougher to kill in a dry environment. Also, it takes only a small amount of salmonella in a dry environment to cause human illness.”
    KC's View:

    Published on: March 15, 2010

    Consumers Union, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports, and the Organic Consumers Association (OCA), have filed a petition with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requesting action on what they call “the widespread and blatantly deceptive labeling practices of several ‘organic’ personal care brands that do not comply with the National Organic Program (NOP). “

    In the statement accompanying the complaint, the two organizations say that “currently, ‘organic’ personal-care products don’t have to meet the same government standards required for organic foods. While some ingredients may be certified as organic, the product itself may not be and may contain unapproved synthetic ingredients. Some manufacturers confuse the issue by including the word ‘organic’ in their brand name, even though it isn’t clear how much of their product is actually certified as organic. Others promote certified organic ingredients on the label when in fact they may only make up a small percentage of a chemical-heavy formula.”

    ”The USDA National Organic Program has irresponsibly allowed the market for organic personal care products to be overrun by false organic claims,” says Ronnie Cummins, executive director of the Organic Consumers Association. “This kind of deception ends up eroding consumer confidence in all organic products, even food. Hopefully, the FTC can motivate the USDA to protect organic consumers."
    KC's View:

    Published on: March 15, 2010

    The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that Aldi is set to open 11 stores in North Texas this week, and another 21 by year’s end.

    Here’s how the paper characterizes Aldi for its readers:

    “What Aldi's limited-assortment, 16,000-square-foot stores lack in amenities and selection, they counter with remarkably competitive prices. An 18-ounce box -- there's just one size -- of store-brand corn flakes costs $1.19.

    “By offering only 1,400 items, compared with 60,000 at its large supermarket rivals, Aldi focuses on buying power. That makes Aldi 30 to 50 percent cheaper than traditional supermarkets and 15 to 25 percent cheaper than big-box discounters like Walmart, says Scott Huska, 43, Aldi's North Texas division vice president.

    “And the 1,000-store chain is not afraid to take on the behemoth from Bentonville, Ark., head on. ‘Every one of our first 11 stores will be within a mile and a half of a Walmart,’ Huska said.”
    KC's View:

    Published on: March 15, 2010

    A guest column by Calvin Mayne

    Content Guy’s Note: Last week’s story about the New York politician who proposed banning the use of salt by all restaurants generated a lot of email, including some that you’ll find in “Your Views,” below. It also led us to the following article, “Saltus Maximus,” which was written by Calvin Mayne for the Dorothy Lane Markets customer newsletter - in June 2002.

    Calvin tells us that in his opinion, “salt (when properly used), is the greatest condiment ever.” And we thought it was worth sharing his thoughts on the issue with you...

    Roman conquests, Prosciutto di Parma, disappearing houses in Victorian England, Roquefort cheese. The common denominator? Salt. Roman armies crossed land and sea for it because Roman aristocrat and commoner alike demanded it. It was so highly valued that Rome’s soldiers were even paid with sacks of it; our word “salary” is rooted in the Latin word for salt, “salarium”.

    While we’re discussing salt’s etymology, we should mention that our word “salad” comes from “salted” in Latin. Yes, so fond of their “salary” were Caesar’s subjects that they fancied sprinkling it over their fresh greens. The English pursued it with such zeal that over a couple of centuries whole neighborhoods in Cheshire were nearly swallowed up by sink holes as the salt was mined from underneath. And, of course, salt is the key ingredient in Italy’s famous ham from Parma and France’s best known blue cheese.

    What is it about salt? How does this one ingredient find its way into foods as diverse as steak, bread, cheese, and sauces of every kind? Why was it harvested in India some 5,000 years ago, and why do we still crave it? Reasons abound. For example, salt is an excellent natural preservative. Salt draws out impurities. Salt is abundant and fairly inexpensive. But perhaps the biggest reason for salt’s reign is simply that salt is an unequaled flavor enhancer. When you salt a juicy fillet of beef before grilling it or add salt to the salad that you just drizzled with olive oil, you are not changing the flavors of those dishes so much as you are amplifying them. With salt, existing flavors are given depth. The flavor is expanded. That is why a salted steak is more savory. An olive oil with a little added salt—brighter, more complex. Salted cheese is richer. In fact, making flavorful cheese without salt is nearly impossible.

    Salt makes food—and eating, better. I learned this lesson well a few years ago in Paris at Le Cordon Bleu cooking school, where we daily utilized high-end sea salt in nearly every dish. I think you will find that these techniques will serve to greatly improve the flavor of your dishes. One is to always lightly salt a piece of meat just before cooking. This seasoning process locks in the flavor of the meat while it cooks, and imparts the exponential flavor magic we just spoke of.

    Say you are going to grill a Coleman steak or shiny piece of fresh Alaskan Copper River salmon. Get the meat out of the fridge ahead of time, say 15 to 30 minutes before grilling, to allow it to warm up a bit. This step is to avoid “shocking” the meat from cold fridge to hot grill. Just before grilling, salt it, (at this point, you may also add a bit of fresh ground pepper, and I always drizzle a little extra- virgin olive oil) then grill to perfection. How about vegetables? Instead of salting them at the dinner table, try this: dissolve the salt in the water early on as you bring it to a gentle boil, before adding the vegetables. (The only exception being potatoes. If you salt these too early, they disintegrate.) The early salting of the water, in effect, allows you to boil your green beans or carrots or what have you in salt water, which infuses the salt into the vegetables. When you remove the veggies after a few minutes of boiling, immediately put them in ice water for a few seconds to re-fresh them before serving. Then, if you like, stir in a bit of extra-virgin olive oil, or heat them again for just a minute stirring in a pat of butter. A third thing I learned was to salt sauces, gravies, stocks, etc. as you cook and reduce, the goal being to have the salt completely dissolve, enhancing flavor evenly. How much salt you use is up to you. Taste as you go. Trust your palate. Salt is the enhancer, not the main attraction. But when you use your salt properly, your cooking will be the star of the show.

    If you look for it, you will find salt in cuisines in just about every part of the world. And, as you may imagine, salts do vary widely in flavor. Many of the best salts come from sea water evaporation. Remember the last time you visited the beach and gulped a mouthful of sea water by mistake? That super-intense saltiness, when harvested, makes some of the best salt. The fleur de sel harvested off France’s Brittany coast has its uniquely prized, delicate flavor; Sicily’s salt has its following for its pure, clean flavor; and many chefs favor England’s famous sea salt flakes from Maldon. Salt is yet another interesting and pleasurable area of gastronomy to discover. Buy a couple different ones and experiment. Be sure, at the very least, to incorporate a good salt whenever you grill out this summer. We promise you lots of fun and flavor.
    KC's View:
    And with that, we offer a Bronx cheer to the Brooklyn politician who wants to ban salt from all restaurant food in NYC.

    Obviously, they know better in Ohio...specifically at Dayton-based Dorothy Lane Markets. Nobody does what they do better.

    Published on: March 15, 2010

    Bloomberg Business Week reports this morning that “Supervalu Inc. rose the most in almost a year and trading of bullish options surged to a record on speculation that the second-largest U.S. grocery chain will be acquired.

    “The shares climbed 6.6 percent to $17.13 at 4:15 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading, the biggest gain since April 2009. Trading of calls to buy the shares jumped to more than 37,000 contracts, 40 times the four-week average. The most active were April $17.50 calls, which rose more than fivefold to 80 cents.

    “iThe shares are rising on rumors’ of a leveraged buyout, said Mario Barraza, a New York-based analyst with Kevin Dann & Partners, which recommends that investors buy the stock. He declined to speculate on whether a leveraged buyout or acquisition was possible.

    “Steve Bloomquist, a Supervalu spokesman, said the company wouldn’t comment on market rumor or speculation.”

    • ZoomSystems, which uses high-tech vending machines in airports and shopping centers around the country to sell a variety of high-end brands, has made a deal with L'Oreal-owned The Body Shop to sell its products as well...and will extend the presence of its ZoomShops to supermarket chains that include Kroger, HEB, Stop & Shop, and Jewel Osco.
    KC's View:

    Published on: March 15, 2010

    • Schnuck Markets announced that it has hired Diana C. Nilhas, former vice president and treasurer at TLC Vision Corp., to be its new treasurer.
    KC's View:

    Published on: March 15, 2010

    Peter Graves, who played Jim Phelps, leader of the Impossible Missions Force on the classic television series “Mission: Impossible” from 1967 to 1973 and then again in the series revival (1988-1990), died yesterday of an apparent heart attack. He was 83.

    In a long career that started when he changed his name from Peter Aurness (he was the younger brother of “Gunsmoke” star James Arness), Graves also had two other highly memorable roles. He was terrific in Billy Wilder’s Stalag 17, in which he co-starred with William Holden as a captive inside a German prisoner of war camp; and, he was funny sending up his own image as Captain Clarence Oveur in Airplane and Airplane II: The Sequel (“Joey, do you like movies about gladiators?”)
    KC's View:
    I’ve never forgiven Tom Cruise and Brian DePalma for their movie version of “Mission: Impossible,” in which they not only cast Jon Voight as Phelps, but also made him a traitor ... a decision that violated the ethic of a series that many of us loved and watched weekly for many years.

    BTW...the entire series is available on DVD. Not every episode holds up, but it is a classic example of the well-made sixties television series.

    Published on: March 15, 2010

    Got the following email about the use of loyalty cards to track the sale of contaminated food items to shoppers.

    We shop at the local Ralph’s here in San Diego (at least that is where we do most of our shopping as it is the most convenient) and there was a recall on some guacamole dip that we had bought due to potential salmonella.  My wife found this out the next time she shopped – when the receipt informed her she may have had a product that had been recalled!!!  She was instructed to review the codes and bring it back if she still had it (obviously driven by UPC and that UPC linked to the people who used their cards and bought the product).

    Not sure if this is big brother – but rather another way to make sure the public is aware of issues.  She could have thrown the receipt away without ever looking at it – but a great way to ensure dissemination of knowledge.

    Another MNB user wrote:

    I was just talking to my husband about how awesome of an idea this is! I have a Kroger card, shop frequently at the one near my house. I received a call this week, Tuesday in fact.  It was a pre-recorded message from Kroger regarding a recall on certain refrigerated dips - goes through a complete list w/ dates, codes, sizes, etc.

    I received the call because based on my loyalty card, I may have purchased one of these items.

    I went upstairs, looked in the fridge and there it was - the bad ranch dip.  Fortunately, still unopened.  I immediately threw it away.

    I had no idea there was a recall happening, but most importantly, have a 2 year old that loves ranch dip. I am so grateful for the call.

    Also got a great email from MNB user Dana Wise:

    I don't care if the loyalty card become mandatory or not, but I do want one thing in return - my own data sent to me every month via e-mail.  I really would like to use my data to study my behaviors, ie - Where have I spent my money? What products do I buy most? Where can I cut back?  How much cereal, milk and laundry detergent does a household of 6 really go through?  I made HOW MANY trips to Walmart this month?! etc.

    Maybe it is just the sales analyst in me, but we would all be better off if we were able to budget our money a little better every month, and having my own data would really help that.

    Excellent idea.

    We had a story on Friday about how research consultancy Interbrand is out with a list of the world’s most valuable retail brands, and it is topped by Walmart, followed by Target, Best Buy, Home Depot, Walgreens, CVS, Sam’s Club, Dell, Coach, and

    My comment, in part: I must admit that there is one part of the report that puzzles me. How does Dell make the top 10 for retail brands, and Apple doesn’t even make the top 50? Can’t remember the last time I went into or even saw a Dell store, and Apple stores do nothing but grow and reinforce that brand’s equity and reputation for innovation and service. In fact, best I can tell after downloading the report, the word “Apple” doesn’t even appear in its pages.

    One MNB user responded:

    Dell dominates in the corporate world and with so many people using them at work – it makes sense that brand recognition/equity is built each work day.  Their direct mail and email campaigns are very targeted for the home user.  And Dell is represented prominently in credit card rewards offerings.  And, their business model works well – built to order, just in time inventory – keeps them current and nimble to changing technology.  Don’t sell ‘em – but use ‘em.  (at home though – Mac reigns supreme…and the Apple Store is inspiration for the shopping experience we want to deliver in our supermarkets.)

    MNB user Bob Bartels wrote:

    I spilled coffee on the keyboard of my Dell laptop creating weird symptoms.  It was diagnosed and a new keyboard will be here in less than 24 hours under warranty.  Pretty good brand performance.

    This is a great example of how we all have to be careful about living within a bubble. I don;’t own a Dell, have never used a Dell, and would have no idea how to use Windows if it were installed on a Dell. So I didn’t appreciate sentiments like these.

    And I’m not the only this email from an MNB user demonstrated:

    No Apple, stupid list.

    Also, only Whole Foods from a food market.  No Kroger, Safeway, Publix.

    Dell??  Please...

    Sam's ahead of Costco?  No way...

    I keep getting email about the story regarding the NYC restaurant serving cheese made with mother’s breast milk. One MNB user connected it to the story about the SCalifornia restaurant charged with serving whale meat, which is illegal because whales are an endangered species:

    If only the whale meat folk had thought of whale breast milk they would be golden.

    As did another:

    Thank you for your comments on the whale meat story.  I believe in animal rights (though I don't support extremist groups such as PETA) and I think it's beyond tragic that anyone would think that serving up the ocean's greatest and endangered mammals as a rare treat is abhorrent. They should be made an example of.  A misdemeanor is way too light a punishment.

    In regard to the human breast milk cheese...well, I guess I'm kind of like you are with beef:  don't really want to know where it came from or how it's processed, just want to enjoy it.

    Lastly, please...PLEASE... do run for Congress.  We could use someone like you in the fray.

    This last sentence does not reflect a sentiment shared by MNB user Andy DeVilling:

    KC - you can run for congress but fortunately you are way too liberal to ever get elected and after this past year a liberal government, we may never see a liberal majority again. Of course they are still trying to pin this on Bush...nice try.

    What upsets most of us is the fact that anything touched by government fails, so why should we trust government to tell us what we can and cannot eat. Half the time the information is wrong and incomplete.

    My goodness, even your most favorite grocery store has been found to have inferior food, high pricing, green washing the facts, etc..and yet you still support the very people who have been sticking to the consumer for years. At least with Walmart we know where they stand about making a profit, and they are about to put a serious dent in the Whole Foods world.

    Government is there to defend us, keep our infrastructure from falling apart and work for us...the people. Your world would have government run our lives. They can't even get the mail right and they know where we live.

    California is a perfect example of what happens in a liberal environment. It can't sustain the weight of funding enormous government run programs which result in extremely high taxes to keep them afloat. People can learn from Texas.

    We should be about educating consumers and let us decide what we do and do not eat. It is a free country...isn't it KC?

    We do live in a free where people can freely manipulate the facts.

    For example, you make a charge about my “most favorite grocery store,” but I’m curious what store you think that is. (Your email implies that it is Whole Foods...which would be not only incorrect, but not even close.)

    I’m not sure I’ve ever said or even implied that I want government to run our lives. I have said that I am trying to figure out what the proper role is for public policy...and that I am conflicted on a number of issues.

    I outright ridiculed the idea of taxing pizza and banning salt...,but those statement don’t square with your preference for mischaracterizing my statements, so you just leave them out.

    I’m trying to be thoughtful and reasonable and find a position that makes sense. But it is easier to simply label me. That’s fine...but it makes conversation a little difficult.

    The fact is that the stories last week about taxing pizza (a proposal made by a researcher from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) and banning salt (made by Assemblyman Felix Ortiz, a Democrat from Brooklyn) continue to generate a lot of email. Here are some of them...

    MNB user Craig Espelien wrote:

    Hope this note finds you well – and not taking too much of a beating over your views on taxation!!  Back in the mid-1980’s the state of Minnesota instituted a tax on sugared drinks (Hi C, soda, etc.) – anything with less than 10% fruit juice to – theoretically – solve the sugar issue.  It has not helped – as the sales of these items continue unabated.  I am pretty sure that taxation will not eliminate the problem – nor willing banning the use of salt (is it just me or is that a pretty stupid idea????).

    MNB user Phil Murphy wrote:

    Agreed on all fronts about your commentary. From what I understand, Assemblyman Ortiz has been around for a while, so he must know that this bill has a snowball's chance in hell of passing. That being said, what really struck me was how someone in such a position of power could come up with such an incredibly asinine idea. I'm all for bold ideas and innovative thinking, but this is pretty misguided. One thought I had when reading this was, isn't Kosher salt essential for the preparation many Kosher foods? And doesn't Brooklyn, the area he represents, have a pretty vibrant Jewish community? Great idea buddy - way to alienate your voters! The next thought I had was, what will be left for me to eat at baseball games? I can't name one food or condiment served at a baseball stadium that does not contain there goes the baseball fan vote too, genius!

    Another MNB user wrote:

    You question the level of government role in these situations, it should be education only, NOT trying to control people's behaviors by taxing them.  Which, bottom line, is what this guy's proposed legislation is all about.  Oh, and of course, also to raise revenue so the government can afford to provide "nanny health care" to all those suffering from health issues brought about by too much sodium intake.  Seems like a good plan that makes sense huh?  Wrong.  There is a big difference in legislation that requires restaurants to post calories/ingredients on menus and legislation that regulates the spices restaurants cook with and serve.  One is educating the public, the other is controlling the behaviors of the public because politicians believe most citizens do not know what is for their own good so politicians play the "nanny" role, which is NOT the role of government.  This guy is a moron who did not think this through.  Obviously he has never baked before or else he would know that some amount of salt is required in the baking process, it is a chemical and heat reaction, remove part of the process and you do not get results.  So how are restaurants going to serve baked goods, breads, pastries, etc. without using salt?  Guess what, they can't.  I believe most people would welcome requirements for food education and transparency so they can make their own choices.  And I hope most people will refuse more government regulation.

    MNB user Ron Pizur wrote:

    This sounds like a step back to prohibition.  Will there be shady looking guys standing on the sidewalk outside of these restaurants whispering at you as you walk by "Want some salt?"

    That, and maybe selling deep dish pizza out of the back of vans...

    I joked last week about the next step being the complete ban on food, which led MNB user Jim Gawley to write:

    If the food ban is not the next step, it may be a "per calorie tax." The less you eat, the less you pay. But seriously, more thought and effort needs to be put into getting kids (and adults) moving. Growing up in suburban Northern NJ, there were always kids in the parks and streets playing baseball or football. You don't see that anymore, granted some is due to safety concerns, but I am sure some is attributed to video games and the 500+ channels on cable or satellite. The only alternatives are rec programs that continue to face increasing costs from liability insurance and "field use" charges starting to be imposed by some municipalities in Northern NJ now.

    MNB user Phil Straniero wrote:

    I think the socialists running the government in New York state ought to think about funding better nutrition education in their schools versus creating another governmental bureaucracy to taste food in thousands of eating establishments in the state.

    What is wrong with "everything in moderation"???

    MNB user Mike Overschmidt wrote:

    Totally agree with you on the preposterousness of the tax on pizza and ban on salt.  (Heaven forbid putting salt on a pizza!)

    The question I've seen no one ask on the pizza tax is how do you define what is a pizza?  With all the options for crust, sauce or toppings or the lack there of, where do you draw the line?  A pizza is often called a pie, so does that mean my favorite Dutch apple pie is a pizza?  You get the idea.  There's no reasonable way as I see it that you can draw that line.

    As for the salt ban, that's just a blow hard politician trying to stir things up for his own notoriety.  A waste of public time and (virtual) print.

    MNB user Joe Moore wrote:

    This is what happens when you climb on the slippery slope.

    What, to you, is common sense (trans fats bans, taxing sodas, candy, snacks, etc) opens the gates for every other proposal that seems to be "common sense" for someone else. There is a chance, and just a chance, that this NY State Rep is trying to make a point...............about slippery slopes.

    Another MNB user wrote:

    This Assemblyman needs to take a couple of cooking classes.  Salt is a must in many recipes, especially when baking or making bread.  This is because the salt interacts with the baking soda or yeast or baking powder to make the bread rise or for fluffier cookies and cakes.  A total ban is not a smart idea.  That being said, I don’t disagree that too much salt is used, but mostly by the patron and not the chef.   Most often, I see patrons salting their food before they even taste it.  Take away the salt from the table and not from the kitchen.

    Still another MNB user wrote:

    I hope that you get enough e-mails that are encouraging to equal out the nasty ones.  It seems that it could get overwhelming.

    Trans fat isn’t something that the body needs salt is.  Even though I gave you a hard time about the great food you have eaten I still love to hear about great food.  

    My brain works better when my stomach (the rest of my body too) has great food in it.

    Another MNB user chimed in:

    “Why don’t we cut to the chase and just ban food?”

    A great statement! Let’s stop making excuses and address this issue head on!

    I know it will create a lot of controversy, but how about this; Let's treat medical insurance like car insurance. If you have a bad record, smoke, overweight (scientifically defined, not height/weight), etc. then you pay more for your insurance. I believe that will help change behavior before a measly tax on a soda or salt will.

    MNB user Hank Cardello wrote:

    You have spurred intense debate on the subject of government mandates like salt bans and soda and “fat” taxes. The question we should all ask is: “Will taxes lower obesity rates?” Otherwise, why tax? There have been at least three academic studies that  have concluded that taxing soda will have a negligible impact on obesity. In addition, consumer behavior has not been accounted for. Would one automatically jump to bottled water if currently a heavy soft drink consumer? I think not.

    The best way to make a dent in the obesity problem is to engage the 800-pound gorilla – the food industry. This can be accomplished by incenting food companies to lower the number of calories they sell. Lower the calories, keep your tax deductions on advertising. Lower them more than 10%, get a bigger deduction; but, spew more calories on the consuming public, risk getting docked on your deductions. Simple, trackable, and focused.

    The conversation continues...

    Finally, in “OffBeat” on Friday, I wrote:

    “In the UK, the Guardian reports that “at the age of 50, women's verbal memory outperforms their male counterparts by a significant margin, a report by the Institute of Education, University of London suggests. A survey of more than 9,600 middle-aged British men and women showed that women outscored men in two listening and recollection tests.”

    Which means. Mrs. Content Guy, that it isn’t just me.”

    This led one female MNB user to write:

    I’ll bet, from my personal experience, that you also make sounds to indicate that you’re listening; but when it comes down to it you haven’t heard a word.  We call it selective listening at our house, my husband practices it all the time.

    Hmmmm? Uh-huh.
    KC's View:

    Published on: March 15, 2010

    I get emails every once in a while from MNB readers asking about the ‘Your Views” section, and the criteria used for choosing the emails that I post. There have been a number of these emails lately, so let me take a moment to reiterate my longstanding approach to “Your Views”...

    • I get anywhere from 25 to 200 emails a day from MNB users, depending on what stories and commentaries have caught their fancy or provoked them to outrage. I read all of them. However, I simply cannot respond to every email because of the volume. But trust me...I read all of them.

    • I choose the emails that run on MNB based on which ones seem to be advancing a conversation that I think is worth having. Or seem relevant. Or particularly literate or touching. Or the emails that make me laugh. Ultimately, I’m asking you to trust me to make “Your Views” provocative, illuminating, and entertaining. Just like the rest of MNB.

    • It makes no difference whether the emails agree with my position, except that the ones disagreeing with me tend to have a slightly better shot at high positioning.

    • I don’t run emails that make personal attacks on anybody other than me. The ones that attack me, as often as possible, run first.

    • When “Your Views” doesn’t run, it is because I am swamped with work and have not been able to get through the emails, or because I am traveling, or because I had a rare weeknight invitation to go somewhere (like to a ballgame, which I never turn down), or because I’m tired. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

    • I don’t run emails that seem to have another agenda, or that seem mean-spirited or offensive, or that seem to come from the lunatic fringe. It isn’t that I mind reading them, or mind the fact that there are some wingnuts out there who seem to enjoy MNB. (This is a “big tent” website.) But I figure your time is precious, and it is part of my job not to waste it.

    That’s about it. Those are my six rules...though they actually are more like guidelines because I believe in a rule-free work environment. Except, of course, for the “no long pants between Memorial Day and Labor Day” rule, which is sort of a core value around here.

    Any questions? Feel free to send me an email.
    KC's View: