The Hightower Report

Another nutty rant by another Texas goober

In Texas, not all goobers are produced by peanut farmers. A bumper crop of some of our nuttiest goobers come out of far-right wing political soil.

Check out this blue-ribbon specimen: Todd Staples. Carefully cultivated by corporate agribusiness powers, he's been the state agricultural commissioner for the past seven years. But the vast majority of Texans don't know his name and had no idea he was a state official, since he's primarily been a behind-the-scenes operative for Big Food.

But Todd suddenly sprang from obscurity early in September, unleashing a screed against an innocuous school cafeteria initiative called "Meatless Mondays." Going one meal a week without meat is a sensible effort to help prevent the growing epidemic of childhood obesity, but Staples shrieked that it's a "carefully-orchestrated" propaganda campaign by "anti-animal agriculturalists" hell bent on "brainwashing" school children. He wailed that it's a devilish plot, "to eliminate meat from Americans' diet seven days a week – starting with Mondays."

Then Commissioner Meathead doubled down on dumb by proclaiming that the Meatless Mondays cabal could deprive our poor school children "of their only source of protein for the day." That might be sad – except it's a lie. Beans, eggs, cheese, nuts, legumes, tofu, and quinoa are perfectly good sources of protein, readily available in Texas. Shouldn't an agriculture commissioner know that? But then, Staples – who took more than $100,000 in campaign cash from the meat peddlers – has been the commissioner of agriBUSINESS, not agriCULTURE.

And now he's neither! Todd has abruptly resigned his position – not out of embarrassment for his silly red-meat rant, but to become a high-paid shill for the Texas Oil & Gas lobby. He can change one tinfoil hat for another, but he'll always be a goober.

For more information on Jim Hightower's work – and to subscribe to his award-winning monthly newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown – visit You can hear his radio commentaries on KOOP Radio, 91.7FM, weekdays at 10:58am and 12:58pm.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More The Hightower Report
The Hightower Report
The Hightower Report
The Donald Show

Jim Hightower, July 10, 2015

The Hightower Report
The Hightower Report
The damning nuttiness of the GOP's "Hell No" faction

Jim Hightower, Aug. 15, 2014


Agricultural Commissioner, Meatless Mondays, vegetarianism, beef lobby

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle