Friday, September 07, 2007

Popular Social Commentator Maher Asks Harkin For Farm Bill Overhaul

Highly popular HBO satirist and commentator Bill Maher this week sent a letter to U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin urging the Democratic chairman of the Agriculture Committee to support increasing Farm Bill funding for fruits and vegetable programs for kids. Maher also advocated a gutting of subsidies for what the Los Angeles-based comedian called "unhealthy foods."

In the letter, dated Sept. 5 and obtained by Iowa Independent, Maher stresses his strong support of the federal Fruits and Vegetables program for schools -- one that Harkin helped start and recently promoted with a visit to schools in Carroll and other places in Iowa.

Maher also takes on the long-standing regime of farm subsidies.

"About 75 percent of food production subsidies are for feed crops or for the direct production of meat and dairy products," Maher writes. "And by heavily subsidizing feed crop farmers, Congress is ultimately financing burgers, bacon, butter and cheese -- high fat, cholesterol-laden foods that clog our school lunch lines."

Maher, the host of "Real Time With Bill Maher," refers to the farm bill as "America's National Food Bill."

While Harkin is unlikely to side with Maher in his attacks on grain farmers (the senator's base for 30 years), the committee chairman, who recently criticized movie studios for promoting junk food in films aimed at kids, has indicated his desire to use the farm bill to get healthier foods in schools.
-- Cross posted at Iowa

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