Letters To The Editor

Monday, May 5, 2003 at 1:00am

Parents need nutrition help


I read with dismay your recent editorial about proposed legislation to ban the sale of junk food via vending machines in elementary and middle schools (April 18, "Parents, not state, should regulate kids' diets"). The writer's arguments were both ill-conceived and shortsighted.

To reason that children will consume junk food regardless of the source or that they will simply wait until they get home to "pig out" and then to use this reasoning to oppose forward-thinking and beneficial legislation is illogical. Many believe children are going to drink alcohol. Should we start providing it? If we believe children are bound to experiment with sex, should schools provide rooms for this purpose? Many children smoke. Will we return to designated smoking areas in our schools?

I do believe parents should teach their children good nutrition and how to make smart choices, but that does not eliminate the need for schools to be responsible as well. Parents should teach their children proper manners, good study habits, respect, non-violence, modesty and many other things, but where parents have lapsed, we have allowed schools to govern in these areas on school premises. Why are we so opposed to proper nutrition?

Schools teach health and physical education. Should we undo these courses by placing cola machines and potato chip dispensers throughout the school? What about the dangers of mixed messaging?

Overriding all these arguments, however, is the most important education. Schools across the country, particularly alternative schools, have tested the banning of vending machines and junk foods. These choices have been replaced with salad bars - which are not always of high quality or fresh in many schools in Tennessee - and other healthful alternatives. As a result, students are not as tired. Their ability to concentrate has improved. Violence decreases, and test scores soar. Is this what The City Paper is opposed to?



Where's outrage for state of U.S.?


Am I missing something here?

We now have a deficit that is going out the roof that does not include the cost of the war or rebuilding Iraq. Several hundred thousand people have lost their jobs and insurance benefits. The economy is still in the dumps.

CEOs are leaving companies with huge severance pay packages while longtime workers are left with little or no retirement benefits. Federal regulations in regard to the environment, clean air, safety, etc., are being changed to be more lenient to big business without ever going through Congress. Certain "administration-friendly" companies are being given lucrative contracts without bids going out to see who has the best offer at the most competitive price.

We have alienated many of our longtime allies by our aggressive stand on Iraq. So far no weapons of mass destruction have been found, nor do we know where Saddam Hussein is. Now we are going to give huge tax cuts to the wealthiest people.

And in spite of this, President Bush still has high approval ratings!

Where is the outrage? The only ones making any waves or questioning anything are a few newspaper columnists. Where is Ken Starr when he is really needed? I guess most people are afraid to speak out for fear of being labeled unpatriotic.

What a shame for America.



'Democracy' gets a new definition


So now the talk about a "transition to democracy" ensues. That is a big laugh. This administration doesn't even support democracy here in the United States, so we know for sure it doesn't have anything like that in mind for Iraq.

The Bush administration has appointed Jay Garner, a weapons maker, to be in charge of the transition, and somehow I doubt the man has any respect at all for the word democracy. Now I do understand that Bush and Company, with the help of the media, have redefined the word democracy, though I must say I much prefer the traditional definition - that is, power residing in the people governed - not the new hollow and totally meaningless definition.

And since this administration has taken to inventing new meaning for the word, I thought I'd try my hand at it as well. "De" is a prefix for undoing or ridding of; "moc," we all know, is a phony imitation, and "acy" is a suffix for quality, state or condition of. So, democracy: the condition of getting rid of a phony imitation. I wish.



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Filed under: City Voices