Bob Barr: An Old-School Republican in Libertarian Clothing

Complete Score: 23 / 42 = 55%

At first glance, Bob Barr seems to be a great choice for citizens disillusioned by the disappearing conservative values in the Republican party, but when you dig deeper it becomes more and more apparent that Bob Barr is not truly a viable choice. After watching the third party debate between Bob Barr, Chuck Baldwin and Ralph Nader, it’s obvious that Barr is a better choice than John McCain as Barr exhibits true conservative values and is calm and collected and rational, but when compared to Chuck Baldwin, Barr loses much of his appeal.

Bob Barr
Bob Barr

Photo credit to Bob Barr for President.

Value

Barr would certainly make a good president for economic purposes. His position on limiting the role of government would allow private businesses to replace government and to flourish. His position on repealing the income tax and replacing it with a consumption tax would also help the average worker who chooses to save and thus provide capital for our economy, rather than punishing them as is done today. Barr is also in favor of drastically reducing government spending by decreasing military expenditures, eliminating pork, and cutting welfare benefits. Though I disagree with Mr. Barr that cutting benefits would be a good thing for our society (it would remove a much needed safety net, thus pushing people to get dangerous and illegal jobs) his stance on cutting government spending is correct and needed in our current climate.

Score: 4 / 5

Quality

Here, Wayne Allen Root [WAR], Bob Barr’s vice-presidential candidate, really hurts Mr. Barr and the libertarian party. Watching the vice-presidential debate this past Sunday, WAR come across as a used car salesman pitching us his latest lemon before we realize that this guy is just out to make a buck. Mr. Root constantly railed against the government as whole, proclaiming that anything the government touches turns to poop and that the less government the better. It strikes me as very disingenuous as Mr. Root is running for a government job. If he was truly interested in eliminating government he would be working to do so, not applying for a job! Further, humanity and our society have consistently proven that we need an intermediary to protect citizens from larger organizations and more powerful individuals. Mr. Root strikes me as the type of individual who would eliminate safeguards without ensuring that companies not take advantage of their customers, environment or other companies. A free market does not mean the government should back off, rather a free market needs a government to ensure that everyone is playing on the same field and no one is doing steroids to give themselves and unfair advantage.

Further Bob Barr has many of the same problems as Cynthia McKinney in terms of organizing his campaign and recruiting voters. For instance, Barr shunned Ron Paul and his attempt to unite third parties recently, thus losing many of the Ron Paul votes. Barr also did not attend the first third party debate but did attend a recent debate between Chuck Baldwin, Ralph Nader and Mr. Barr. Whereas Ralph Nader strikes me as someone who searches for the correct answer, Mr. Barr comes across as someone who searches for the answer that supports his libertarian platform.

Score: 2 / 5

Bob Barr and Wayne Allen Root (left to right)
Bob Barr and Wayne Allen Root (left to right)

Photo credit to Bob Barr for President.

Innovation

Well, by shunning Ron Paul Mr. Barr did find a new way to turn voters away from himself. Bob Barr had an easy play here, join with Ron Paul and gain access to Paul’s extremely devoted fan base. Instead Barr skipped out on Ron Paul at the last second, thus leading to Ron endorsing Chuck Baldwin over Barr.

Aside from this singular burst of creativity, Bob Barr’s platform is decidedly old-school. His platform contains many old Republican values, such as limited government and sound money policy. It’s innovative as the Republican party that championed many of these ideas (but never really instituted them) has mostly abandoned these very values but in the end it’s not quite innovative as much as practical. In our day and age though, being practical an rational is a fresh sight on the campaign trail so Mr. Barr gets some credit here.

Score: 3 / 5

Social Benefit

Unlike Chuck Baldwin, who is pro-life, and anti gay marriage, Bob Barr believes it’s simply no place for the federal government to be sticking their noses. I’d have to partially agree with Mr. Barr and believe states should be able to decide what they want to do here, as well as in many other instances. However, another part of me thinks that geography should not decide whether someone is treated equally based on sexual preference, or given access to a potentially life saving medical procedure. Though I lean liberal, I tend to agree with the conservative statement that life begins at the cellular level. It might be human life yet, but it is some form of life. It’s certainly not an inanimate object!

In either case, Barr’s belief that the federal government should get out of a private citizen’s life is a good stance, especially when it comes to our privacy and our civil rights that have been trampled upon lately. To me, Barr represents a step backward to before many of the Bush laws that took away our civil liberties, whereas Nader represents a step forward beyond the Bush laws. To me, the Nader stance seems more reasonable as it takes into account that Bush did exist. We need to recognize what’s happened over the last eight years and put in safeguards to ensure it does not happen again, not simply hit the reset button.

Score: 3 / 5

Freestyle!

Bob Barr is certainly better than John McCain, but I do not believe he’s the best presidential candidate.

Score: 11 / 22

You can read more about Bob Barr at Bob Barr 2008.

Complete Score: 23 / 42 = 55%

Ralph Nader: Uber Citizen, OK President

Complete Score: 30 / 42 = 71%

In the interests of full disclosure, please note that I will vote for Ralph Nader and Matt Gonzalez on November 4, 2008. Having gotten that out of the way, it’s clear that I believe Ralph is the best presidential candidate, but by no means does that mean Ralph is a perfect candidate, or even a great one at that. In my personal humble opinion, he’s the best candidate in this field because his stance on the issues is closest to what I think the correct course of action is. Even if elected, Ralph might not be a great president, as some of his ideas would prove difficult to enact without the full support of congress and the American people (though of course if elected it would show there is a large amount of support for him, which would in effect greatly change our political landscape for the better).

Value

If Ralph Nader’s record has proven anything, it’s that he would clearly be the most valuable president ever (if his past performance extends through to his presidency). As a private citizen Ralph has helped enact more laws than many career politicians. Ralph has pushed congress to enact the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Environmental Protection Agency, Consumer Product Safety Commission, Wholesome Meat Act, Freedom of Information Act, and Safe Drinking Water Act, and the list goes on and on. He’s helped start and organize over 100 non-profit organizations designed to help consumers and citizens. He’s done all of these good things for our country as a private citizen, imagine if he was paid to lead this country how much more he could accomplish.

On a value principle, Ralph Nader would clearly return more bang for our buck than any other presidential candidate. Whereas in my review of Cynthia McKinney I argued that she is too abrasive to work with others to enact actual legislation, Mr. Nader has proven over and over again that he can work with everyone in order to better this country. Over the years numerous organizations, corporations and individuals have tried to shut Ralph down but every time he’s overcome these obstacles to continue fighting. Assuming Ralph continued working hard once President, the amount of positive, progressive change he could enact is mind boggling. The only reason Mr. Nader does not receive a perfect score here is because past performance does not predict future returns. There is a chance that once elected Mr. Nader would for once in his life relax, though it seems highly unlikely.

Score: 4.5 / 5

Ralph Nader
Ralph Nader

Photo credit to ragesoss.

Quality

Charisma and the ability to inspire and motivate people is a big part of leadership. Having taken a graduate level leadership course at the University of Massachusetts, I know that in the end leaders simply do not have that big of an impact on the individual nor the organization. Instead leaders can guide an organization, good leaders take the group in the right direction, while bad leaders get the group lost. However, in the end the followers all have a choice whether to follow the leader or not, and because of that choice leaders simply cannot have a huge impact (at least not huge enough to rationalize some CEO’s salaries) and followers cannot shirk responsibility for their own actions, or inactions as the case may be.

Sure, George W. Bush and countless other leaders have shown that one man can poke a lot of holes in a ship, but to sink it all by oneself is an extremely difficult task. We the people are responsible and complicit for many of Bush’s actions. By not actively fighting and protesting and lobbying, we all must take some responsibility for the decline of this country. We all have jobs and families to attend to that prevent us from actively participating in our own government but that does not excuse our responsibility.

To bring this tangent back to Ralph Nader, my point is that good leaders, via their charisma or knowledge, will guide followers down a correct path. Ralph has proven that he is capable of using his intellect and strong beliefs to aid Nader Raiders to help others and themselves. So the question is not whether Ralph Nader has what it takes to be a great leader, for he has already proven he does, but whether he has what it takes to be a great national and international leader. It is here that the potency of a Ralph Nader presidency begins to unravel. As much as I agree with the majority of Mr. Nader’s platform, he simply is not charismatic in a mainstream sense. To a certain extent, Matt Gonzalez compensates for this weakness inherent in Ralph, but the true public face of a Nader administration would be Ralph so there is only so much Matt’s charisma can do.

Watching a recent debate between Chuck Baldwin and Ralph Nader, and other public appearances, it became clear that Ralph is showing the wear and tear of decades of public service. He’s overly arrogant and is simply not as sharp as he once was. The gravity of our current economic and political situations, and the fact that Ralph has long argued we were heading this way, seems to weigh heavily on Ralph now. I cannot blame him, but the one thing the Obama campaign has gotten correct is that this nation does need an injection of hope. In the immortal words of Red from The Shawshank Redemption, Hope is a dangerous thing, but as Andy points out, it is also a good thing, and right now this nation needs some good. It also needs a realistic and critical look at itself, which Ralph provides but he lacks the charisma to energize an entire nation.

Score: 3 / 5

Matt Gonzalez: A Big Reason Why I'm Voting for Ralph Nader
Matt Gonzalez: A Big Reason Why I'm Voting for Ralph Nader

Photo credit to 1115.

Innovation

A big flaw in Nader’s campaign is a lack of creativity. For instance, Ralph has constantly berated the two party system, especially the lack of equal and fair access to debates. However, only recently has Ralph helped organize an alternative debate to the mainstream one. If Nader had begun debating his fellow third party candidates earlier in the election season all of them would have received more attention and gained more voters. Instead, Ralph has proclaimed that the current debate system is flawed and corrupt, but continued to try to gain access to it rather than working from the start on an alternative.

Still, his campaign has show spurts of creativity. For instance he recently broke a Guinness World record for most campaign stops in one day here in Massachusetts, which earned him plenty of attention in the local mainstream media and some national attention too. He also stood in unison with Ron Paul, Chuck Baldwin, and Cynthia McKinney to support their commonalities. He’s also shown lots of innovation in his approach to solutions to our issues, such as a derivatives tax that would easily pay for the recent bank bailout. Ralph Nader and Matt Gonzalez are creative individuals, and would surely be innovative leaders, I just wish they brought more of that creativity to their campaign.

Score: 2.5 / 5

Social Benefit

Ralph has continuously proven through his career as a private consumer advocate that he can impact society positively. We’ve discussed above the legislation Ralph helped pass, but he’s also started a ton of non-profit organizations and encouraged others to do the same.

Many people cite Ralph Nader as a reason why Al Gore lost the 2000 elections but such a statement is ignorant and rash. Al Gore himself has stated that Gore is the reason the Democrats lost, not an outside party. Consider that over 200,000 registered Democrats in Florida voted for George W. Bush and the few votes Nader got in the state become to pale in comparison. I’ve said many times that blaming Nader for Gore’s loss is like blaming the Green Bay Packers for the New England Patriots loss to the New York Giants in the Super Bowl.

Besides, Al Gore cost Ralph Nader the election.

As an Arab-American, Ralph Nader has an intimate understanding of some of America’s most challenging foreign policy issues. His ethnic background could play a key role in helping repair our poor relationship with some Middle Eastern countries. Nader’s platform is also closely tuned into what the real problems are in the United States of America and the world and solid solutions to those issues. He’s against “safe” nuclear and “clean” coal because those technologies are dangerous and dirty and no amount of empty rhetoric will change that fact. Instead Nader favors investment in wind, solar, geothermal and tide energies to increase their efficiencies, thus weaning America off foreign fossil fuels and protecting the environment. Other important issues are opening up the political process to all parties and people, impeaching Bush and Cheney, ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and instituting universal health care.

Score: 4 / 5

Freestyle!

Overall, Ralph Nader has already accomplished enough for this country to be named one of Time Magazine’s top 100 most influential Americans of the 21st century. He’s already accomplished more good for this country than John McCain could ever hope to, and is the progressive proletariat that Obama claims to be. Simply put, Ralph Nader has the correct stance on the most important issues of our time, unfortunately he does not have the charisma and corporate connections to catapult him into the spotlight to make an effective run at the presidency.

Too many people incorrectly blame him for Al Gore’s loss in 2000, and too many people think voting for a third party is a wasted vote. In a truly democratic and free society, Ralph Nader would have debated Barack Obama and John McCain in national broadcasts and would easily obtain at least 10-15% of the national vote. Unfortunately for Nader and ourselves, our society is simply not truly free and democratic.

Score: 16 / 22

You can read more about Ralph Nader and Matt Gonzalez at Vote Nader.

Complete Score: 30 / 42 = 71%

Affiliate & Disclosure Policy Updated

After a few e-mails from our readers and a discussion amongst the team here, we’ve decided to update our disclosure and affiliate policies. Going forward we will not mark our affiliate links. The process is simply too onerous and our readers have noted that it’s actually distracting rather than helpful. We will not cloak or hide our affiliate relationships in anyway, but neither will we explicitly note each iteration either.

As always, feel free to send us an e-mail if you have any questions, comments, requests or concerns.

Cynthia McKinney: Too Green

Complete Score: 16 / 42 = 38%

My view of Cynthia McKinney was weakened considerably as her campaign has unraveled. One of the big, big qualities a good president must have is strong leadership with the ability to work with others and compromise when necessary. There is nothing wrong with sticking to your beliefs, but politics requires compromise, otherwise you are dictating your beliefs rather than listening to all affected parties. Recently, Cynthia McKinney was invited to a debate but turned down the request because Ralph Nader was involved in organizing the debate. She did offer an alternative, an online debate hosted by Trevor Lyman, but was not able to convince any of the other candidates to join her. This unwillingness or perhaps inability to work well with others is a poor trait for a presidential candidate, especially at a time when the United States of America desperately needs a leader to unite everyone and get us working together rather than fighting each other.

Value

Throughout our nation’s history, figures have stood up against popular sentiment and fought for their beliefs, sometimes failing miserably and other times succeeding greatly. Though many people might mock these people on the fringe who offer up alternatives to the mainstream view, these people add a tremendous value to our country and its diversity of thought. On numerous occasions Cynthia McKinney has proclaimed an opinion that is simply not popular and faced heavy criticism for it. Yet, Cynthia did not shy away from this criticism but instead continue fighting and believing. These traits our crucial to our democracy, as opposing viewpoints fuel our progress.

For instance in 1991, Cynthia spoke out against the Gulf War, causing many legislators to walk out on her in protest. Imagine if you gave a presentation at your workplace and the majority of the attendees simply walked out on you. Would you be able to go back to work the next day, head held high? It’s a difficult situation, but one that Cynthia embraced. Some of Cynthia’s stances are controversial, like her claim that George W. Bush knew of the 9/11 attacks beforehand, yet Cynthia’s point that the Bush family was heavily invested and involved with defense and construction companies that benefited financially from the attacks and subsequent wars is valid. For her willingness to put her public reputation on the line to raise attention to important issues that other politicians are scared to address, Cynthia deserves acknowledgment.

Score: 3 / 5

Cynthia McKinney with supporters
Cynthia McKinney with supporters

Photo credit to Ajay Tallam.

Quality

Though having public leaders who are willing to be ostracized for their views is important to our democracy, being a leader requires being able to listen to many viewpoints and unite people from various segments of society. On this point Cynthia has failed miserably. Over and over, Cynthia has shown that her personal feelings affect her public stances and that she is not capable of restraint. Making unpopular statements because they are true and must be heard is one thing, but simply yelling for the sake of yelling is another.

For instance, recently Cynthia turned down an offer an invitation for a third party debate because its organizers were closely tied to Ralph Nader. Now, though Cynthia has a very valid point that perhaps the events organizers were too closely tied to Nader and not impartial enough, her unwillingness to provide an alternative or to work with the third parties to ensure an impartial debate committee shows that she is incapable of leading and uniting people. Leadership is not above commanding others, but rather it is about finding common ground and using compromises to lead towards a common good. Rather than showing leadership qualities, she comes off as a slightly crazy and selfish.

Score: 1 / 5

Innovation

During an interview with a CBS TV station, Cynthia McKinney made a statement as she was leaving the interview area but while she was still hooked up to a CBS microphone. She said that one of her political aides, Coz Carson, was a fool. Realizing that the CBS crew most likely captured what she said, she came back in front of the TV camera and said “Anything that is captured by your audio that is captured while I’m not seated in this chair, is off the record and is not permissible to be used. Is that understood?”. Her remarks and instructions were then aired on CBS across the nation. Unfortunately for Cynthia, declaring that only certain remarks in certain positions can be used does not work but it sure as hell is innovative!

Cynthia also advocated an online only debate between herself and the other third party candidates, which would have been innovative if she had been able to get any other candidates to participate. She has also joined with three of the other third party candidates to support four basic principles:

  1. And wars in Iraq and other countries.
  2. Repeal Patriot Act, Military Commissions Act and FISA and safeguard privacy.
  3. Pay down the national debt.
  4. End the Federal Reserve.

Cynthia should be commended for uniting with some of the other third parties on these four principles and thus giving some cohesion to the third party movement.

Score: 2 / 5

Cynthia McKinney marching in D.C.
Cynthia McKinney marching in D.C.

Photo credit to jeffreylowy.

Social Benefit

Though the above four principles would greatly benefit American society, as would many of the Green party platforms, Cynthia’s abrasive personality hurt the movement as a whole and ostracizes her from the political process. Though she is to be commended for her beliefs and for standing strongly behind them, by making negative remarks about others and making wild accusations she hurts the movement as a whole be making other politicians scared to work with her. At this point, Cynthia has become too abrasive and proven incapable of working with others. Her platform would benefit society but in order to enact that platform one needs to be elected and at this point Cynthia stands little chance of doing so.

Score: 2 / 5

Freestyle!

At times I’ve considered voting for McKinney, but her actions of late condemning the third party debates, while offering no true alternative prove to me she is not capable of being a true national leader. I respect Cynthia for taking tough stances and making controversial statements that she knows will hurt her public reputation but in the end she does not have the capability to compromise, unite and lead that a good president needs. In the end, Cynthia McKinney is simply too green (inexperienced) to lead.

Score: 8 / 22

You can read more about Cynthia McKinney at McKinney2008.

Complete Score: 16 / 42 = 38%

Server Moves and Prez Reviews

As you might have noticed, we’ve been having some uptime issues the past few days but fear not we’re currently in the process of moving to bigger, better, faster servers. A few of our sites are already up and running on the new servers with much improved speed and stability.

Also, we should have reviews of Presidential candidates Barack Obama and Cynthia McKinney up and live later today or early tomorrow. Thanks for sticking with us during the move and hopefully we won’t be down for too long during the move.

John McCain: The Misguided Maverick

Complete Score: 3 / 42 = 7%

With the presidential elections fast approaching here in the United States of America, let’s take a look at the presidential candidates and how they rank. Many months ago John McCain made an appearance on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart. At the time McCain was still just one of many Republican candidates. Having seen Senator McCain on The Daily Show before, I knew he was a somewhat charismatic guy. Still, to me Jon Stewart completely owned Senator McCain on multiple topics in that interview. Watching that interview, I thought there’s no way this guy will ever become a Republican presidential candidate, he’s just not evil enough. Though he was getting schooled by a comedian I thought that hey at least John McCain would be better than Rudy “9/11 9/11 9/11” Guiliani or Mitt “I’m Rich B*tch” Romney.

The New Red Threat
The New Red Threat

Photo by minds-eye.

Value

Politics aside, Senator John McCain did serve this country in a war and for that he deserves our respect. As a professional pacifist, I want to make it clear that Senator McCain deserves our respect but does not deserve a free pass for past performance. We can argue the merits of patriotism another day, and I do consider the principle of looking after the globe first, and then country to be a very valid one but regardless, John McCain put his life on the line in an attempt to help this country and its citizens and that is an action that has value.

Having said that, Senator McCain’s political career is a big, big reason why we need term limits on all politicians. He has literally become a career politician and has become very apt at greasing the hidden gears of the system. This talent is not admirable. To better this country we need politicians who look after their constituents first, not lobbyists. Senator McCain has consistently and constantly stood up and defended lobbyists, going so far as to state that they are a necessary part of our political system. On this point I must heavily disagree with Mr. McCain and believe lobbyists devalue our political system and place its power in the hands of the few who already have wealth and power, and guide our politicians away from helping the public. In my humble opinion, politicians should listen to their constituents and their staff, not paid corporate lobbyists. If these politicians cannot look at the facts and come to a conclusion that helps the general public simply put, they should not be in office.

Score: 1 / 5

Quality

No matter which way you slice it, on paper John McCain will tax us more than Barack Obama. By us I mean the 95% of the population who is not in the top 5% of incomes. The richest amongst us will see a tax increase, and after eight years of Bush tax cuts they should pay more than the rest of us. Fact is, the richest amongst us have seen their incomes skyrocket, while the average worker (whose productivity is increasing greatly) stagnates, barely keeping up with inflation.

Heck, John McCain himself (in 2001) said the he thinks the richest amongst us should pay a lot more taxes. Now though he’s flip flopped and thinks it’s some form of socialism to tax the rich. The latest attacks on Senator Obama, stating that he is a socialist is the final faltering swing of a campaign that slung so much mud that everyone got dirty. The McCain campaign is the exact ideal of what is wrong with American politics and for the negative impact he’s had on our political system and by further dividing the nation with his slander, Senator McCain has severely tarnished his image and legacy.

Score: 1 / 5

This picture scares me
This picture scares me

Photo by aflcio2008.

Innovation

Well, he’s certainly crafty at his old age, as each week a new lie or semi-lie or twisted truth comes out about Obama or the country or who knows what. Other than that, McCain brings to the table the same old tired tactics of the last two Bush campaigns, throwing mud at the opponent without promoting one’s own ideals. I still to this day know more about Obama and his plans via McCain than about any ideas McCain might have. That’s one big fail for McCain.

Score: 1 / 5

Social Benefit

Where to start. First up, he was part of the military, which might be good for his country but is overall a bad thing for society. If no country had a military there would be no wars. Yet realistically, a military exists so we won’t spend too much time on his veteran status. We’re not docking points but we’re not awarding him points for it either, at least not in this section.

Moving on, Senator McCain has been involved in the Keating Scandal, which decreases confidence in our elected government and thus impacts society negatively. He also has been traveling around the world on his campaign and during his career, burning literally tons and tons of fossil fuel in the process.

McCain’s lifestyle itself negatively impacts society. He says he wants to improve the health and diet of America, but at the same time admits his favorite foods are red meat and shrimp. How about setting a good example for our children instead of promoting the fatty foods that got us into our current obesity epidemic. McCain claims a concern for the environment but drives a giant, gaudy campaign bus and allows Bush to open up and more of the Grand Canyon to corporations looking to extract resources while damaging our natural environments. I cannot think of a single positive impact Senator McCain has had on society in the past ten years. Add in that he vigorously campaigned for George W. Bush, both times, and it’s clear he’s failed our society, at least recently.

Score: 0 / 5

John McCain is a cylon
John McCain is a cylon

Photo by soggydan.

Freestyle!

Frack you John McCain, you fracking toaster. Put your country first and go away John McCain, just go away.

Score: 0 / 22

You can read more about Barack Obama at JohnMcCain.com.

Complete Score: 3 / 42 = 7%

Kashi Mediterranean Pizza

Complete Score: 31 / 42 = 74%

Unlike Amy’s Soy Cheese Pizza, more often than not Kashi’s Mediterranean Pizza comes out of the oven looking just like the picture on the box and tasting damn good.

Value

At $5.99 for a one person (3 servings size) pizza, the Kashi Mediterranean Pizza is a pretty good value. It’s slightly cheaper than a delivery pizza and certainly more nutritious than most pizza shops fare. It’s a completely vegetarian pizza, featuring red onions, sweet red peppers, spinach, basil, feta along with three other cheeses.

Below are the nutritional facts pulled from the Kashi site. Remember the below info is based off the box containing three servings, so if you eat the whole pizza, which is quite possible, multiple the below numbers by three.

Nutritional Facts

  • 290 Calories
  • 80 Calories from Fat
  • 9 g Total Fat
  • 4 g Saturated Fat
  • 0 gTrans Fat
  • 1.5 g Polyunsaturated Fat
  • 3 g Monounsaturated Fat
  • 20 mg Cholesterol
  • 640 mg Sodium
  • 37 g Carbohydrates
  • 5 g Fiber
  • 3g Sugars
  • 15 g Protein
  • 30% Vitamin A
  • 10% Vitamin C
  • 20% Calcium
  • 8% Iron

Overall the numbers are similar to Amy’s Soy Cheeze pizza, but the Kashi Mediterranean pizza certainly has much stronger vitamin values, owing to its veggie toppings. Overall, you’re getting a fairly good amount of nutrients for a pizza.

Score: 4 / 5

Kashi Mediterranean Pizza before cooking (CD case for size comparison)
Kashi Mediterranean Pizza before cooking (CD case for size comparison)

Quality

For several years I simply did not eat many frozen pizzas. Living in Boston, we have tons and tons of great pizza shops that for the most part beat frozen pizzas on taste. Well, earlier this year I was strolling down the aisles of the local Stop & Shop and saw a Kashi Mediterranean Pizza, which looked unlike any frozen pizza I’d seen before. After purchasing the pizza and taken it home to get cooked, I quickly learned Kashi pizzas are the exception to the frozen pizzas sucking rule.

It’s crust for one is near perfect, as normal cooking time gets it crispy but still soft enough. The flax seed whole grain crust is very tasty too and filling. The vegetable toppings are hefty and frozen while fresh to help preserve as much flavor as possible. The red onions and peppers, along with the spinach and feta cheese all come together to create a great tasting vegetarian pizza that is also relatively healthy. The amount of salt tossed into the pizza weighs down its health appeal but in terms of taste it’s tough to beat Kashi pizzas. Warning, just like the Bolthouse Farms protein shakes, these Kashi pizzas can be habit forming!

Score: 4.5 / 5

Innovation

We all know pizza is not new, however attempting to make pizza healthy (or at least healthier) is a pretty new trend for the market and Kashi succeeds in making a tasty while relatively healthy frozen pizza. Of course, there are much better foods for us to be eating but there are also much worse too.

Kashi’s crust is unique and their secret blend of grains, sesame and flax seeds creates a crust that competes with many top end pizza shops, and simply destroys most of its frozen competition.

Score: 4 / 5

Social Benefit

As noted above, there are healthier options (for instance, making your own veggie pizza from scratch) but comparatively if everyone ate Kashi pizzas rather than their average frozen pizza or delivery from some greasy spoon shop, our collective health would certainly improve. Considering the fossil fuels burned to seal the pizza in its plastic warp, transport the frozen pizzas to markets all across the country and the energy needed to keep the pizzas frozen during transport, while in market and finally in our homes there’s much better foods we could be eating to have a lower impact on our environment and our wallets. As noted above and in the Amy’s Soy Cheeze Pizza review, these frozen pizzas are loaded with salt in order to preserve them and most Americans simply do not need more salt in their diets.

Overall, these Kashi pizzas are better for society than the average frozen pizza, but in the grand scheme not by much.

Score: 2.5 / 5

Cooked and ready for consumption!
Cooked and ready for consumption!

Freestyle!

For a few months, when I first discovered these pizzas, I was near addicted to them and ate them 1-2 times per week! At $5.99, they were cheap enough that walking down to the super market, picking one up and tossing it in the oven was a healthier and more economical alternative to ordering delivery pizza. I rarely order delivery pizza nowadays and have cut back to getting a Kashi pizza perhaps once a month. Still, if I get the craving for a pizza and don’t have the time nor energy to make one myself, chances are a Kashi pizza is what I’ll end up eating.

Score: 16 / 22

Kashi pizzas are available at Stop & Shop, Shaw’s and most other super markets.

Complete Score: 31 / 42 = 74%

Amy’s Soy Cheeze Pizza

Complete Score: 16 / 42 = 38%

Recently my diet has naturally featured less and less meat each week. Over the past 7-8 months my main method of transportation has been my bicycle and as such the food I eat doubles as my fuel too. With the new duel-nature of my food, I’ve naturally started eating more fruits and vegetables and less meat, partly because meat is tough to carry on the road (bruised fruit is still edible, whereas meat would hardly last an hour or two in my black backpack in the middle of summer) and partly because fruits and veggies give me better and more energy.

As my diet progressed away from meat I also noticed just how damn good everything tastes without meat overpowering everything. Now, I don’t even miss meat! So much so that I’ve been considering switching to a completely vegan diet, at least for a trial for a month. The toughest thing to give up would be pizza, so when I saw this Soy Cheese Pizza from Amy’s (makers of super-delicious frozen burritos) I had to give it a shot.

Amy's Frozen Soy Cheeze Pizza prior to cooking
Amy's Frozen Soy Cheeze Pizza prior to cooking

Value

At $5.99 for a single person sized pizza, Amy’s Soy Cheeze Pizza is at least comparable in cost to a delivery pizza. It’s slightly cheaper than most small pizzas here in Boston, but remember to take into account the cost of cooking the pizza in terms of energy and time. Sure, it’s a relatively easy process but it still does cost money to cook this pizza. Still, six dollars for a meal is reasonable.

Below is the nutritional information for this pizza as reported on Amy’s Kitchen web-site. Note, the below figures are based off the box containing three servings, though realistically it’s a small enough pizza for one person to mow down in one sitting.

Nutritional Facts

  • 290 Calories
  • 100 Calories from Fat
  • 11 g Total Fat
  • 1 g Saturated Fat
  • 0 gTrans Fat
  • 0 mg Cholesterol
  • 590 mg Sodium
  • 37 g Carbohydrates
  • 2 g Fiber
  • 3g Sugars
  • 12 g Protein
  • 80% Organic
  • 4% Vitamin A
  • 4% Vitamin C
  • 2% Calcium
  • 10% Iron

On its own, the soy cheeze pizza is not a great source of any nutrients, though it does have a fair amount of fiber and iron, as well as (obviously) being loaded with carbohydrates.

Score: 3 / 5

Quality

Though I was doubtful at first of soy’s ability to match real cheese, the description on the back of the box of the soy melting into a mozzarella-esque pile of delicious gooeyness had my mouth watering. Plus my recent experience with soy cream “cheese” left me optimistic about this pizza. I fired up my oven to 425 degrees, waited for it to warm up and popped the soon to be warm, crispy but gooey pile of tomato, soy and crust into the oven.

12-14 minutes later, my excitement and anticipation disappeared as my eyes fell upon a slightly burnt but not melted pile of dough, sauce and half melted half burnt soy bits. The sight left me sadder than a kid at Christmas opening a big box to find clothes.

Score: 1 / 5

Amy's Soy Cheeze Pizza after cooking
Amy's Soy Cheeze Pizza after cooking

Innovation

While I commend Amy’s for their effort in taking the cheese out of cheese pizza, their soy based cheeze just does not compare to the real deal. The soy simply did not melt and instead either burned into a crisp or just stayed in its un-melted form. In either case it was honestly a bit nasty tasting, especially on the texture front. Having experienced the diversity of soy, I’m confident that this recipe could be tweaked to work but as is it simply does not mimic cheese. You’re much better off just making a cheese-less pizza if you’re trying to go the vegan route.

Score: 2 / 5

Social Benefit

Well, if you stockpile a bunch of these pizzas and thus do not get pizza delivery, there would be a net positive impact on the environment. Better yet, we could make our own pizzas from scratch using local ingredients and thus reduce the polluting impact even more.

These pizzas are loaded with salt and other preservatives, which is the last thing most Americans need more of. They’re certainly not healthy but are most likely better for you than the average pizza shop. Amy’s should be commended for at least attempting to make a vegan cheese-esque pizza, though the actual implementation falls far short.

Score: 2 / 5

Freestyle!

Somehow this soy cheese pizza ended up looking like a Barbecue chicken pizza, though unsurprisingly it did not taste like it at all.

Granted, I should have expected that the marketing on the back of the box wouldn’t match up with reality, but I at least expected the soy “cheese” to melt! Instead, the soy sort of warmed up and kinda melted in some spots and kinda burned in other spots. The texture was decidedly not gooey and instead had a plasticy feel to it as the whole layer of cheese was connected and crunchy.

Still, I was hungry and food is food. I cut up the pizza into eight slices and after a few bites realized it wasn’t as bad as it looked. The crust was actually quite good. Crispy and crunchy but also chewy enough in the right places. The sauce too was very, very good. Still, the disappointment of the cheese n bits topping overpowered the goodness of the sauce and crust.

Perhaps I’ll try this soy cheese pizza again (especially if I go through with my month of veganism experiment and fiend for pizza) but this first time was disappointing though edible.

Score: 8 / 22

Amy’s Soy Cheeze Pizza is available at Stop & Shop, Shaw’s and other supermarkets.

Complete Score: 16 / 42 = 38%

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