Friday, September 30, 2005

The private sector does it better.

I was cooking a huge tube of Odom's sausage in preparation for pizza and movie night around here while listening to this television report on a chef in England who, disgusted at the school lunch program, decided to do something about it.

Jamie Oliver was the ABC News Person of the Week and their report outlined the remarkable work he had done for the school children in England.

Oliver took on nearly 60 schools in London and promised to deliver healthy food to every kid for the same price. He sought to improve 21,000 student meals a day, and all the while, Oliver filmed the process for a television program.

OK, so at least I'm feeding that sausage to my own children (yes it was drained)--and making them work it off by rolling the dough and doing the dishes. When you take on the task of feeding other people's children it's another kettle of fish.

Earlier, this week anotherABC news report was wondering why FEMA couldn't react as quickly as Wal-Mart did during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. It was another one of those great teaching moments for the children. We decided that a big part of the answer was that Wal-Mart knew that if they could get in there quickly, they'd be the only store in town and they'd make a lot of money. THAT incentive just cannot be matched by any government entity. There are too many hoops to jump through, too many liability issues to deal with, too much waiting around for authorization and money to flow through the pipeline.

That public v. private effort was clearly illustrated in today's USA Today report about Karl "The Mailman" Malone's efforts to help in Pascagoula, MS. He and his crew cleared 114 lots down there. Brought everything they needed to do the job and had no qualms about just pitching in and doing what had to be done. They didn't ask permission. FEMA and the Corps of Engineers were stopped by laws but Karl and his crew risked everything and got the thanks of the neighborhood. If he does get sued surely this remarkable effort would be covered by a Good Samaritan law. It ought to be.

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