At a government-run public middle school in Bangalore, the blackboard's cracking, the textbooks are tattered and most of the students are barefoot. But with all those challenges, the biggest obstacle that teachers face in keeping kids in school is hunger. Many students show up at school having had nothing to eat for breakfast. On mornings one student comes to school hungry, the thought of school makes her break down, she says. "When I had to get on the bus, I would start crying," says K. Suchitra, 13. Suchitra is an unusually talented student, says her teacher, Sheelavati Shakti. She shows a strong aptitude for music and dance, and is strong academically. But when she joined this school a year ago, Suchitra looked unhealthy, Shakti says. Her skin was discolored, but she didn't have an infection; she was just malnourished. Suchitra's life has recently been turned around, however. An ambitious school lunch program now supplies kids at her middle school with a nutritious, freshly cooked meal. On days she comes to school hungry, she knows she can eat at school. The lunch program that provides meals to Suchitra's school currently feeds 1.3 million children across India, making it one of the largest school lunch programs in the world.Well, at least that's good. McGovern's efforts are feeding kids who weren't fed before.
It was initially begun more than a decade ago as part of the religious outreach of a Hindu group known as ISKCON, better known in the West as the Hare Krishna movement.Whoops! Hold it! That's not the UN! That's a religious movement, which is the exact opposite of everything Alger Hiss's crowning achievement stands for! No! No! Exactly not! This cannot be! We must [carbon-neutrally] dispose of this awful food tainted by religion! Better to be malnourished and weak than to be religious! Okay, so McG's crowning achievement obviously didn't happen. He did have a beautifully high opinion of himself, though. I guess that counts for something.
Polistra was named after the original townsite of Manhattan (the one in Kansas). When I was growing up in Manhattan, I spent a lot of time exploring by foot, bike, and car. I discovered the ruins of an old mill along Wildcat Creek, and decided (inaccurately) that it was the remains of the original site of Polistra. Accurate or not, I've always liked the name, with its echoes of Poland (an under-appreciated friend of freedom) and stars. ==== The title icon is explained here. ==== Switchover: This 2007 entry marks a sharp change in worldview from neocon to pure populist. ===== The long illustrated story of Polistra's Dream is a time-travel fable, attempting to answer the dangerous revision of New Deal history propagated by Amity Shlaes. The Dream has 8 episodes, linked in a chain from the first. This entry explains the Shlaes connection.