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Letters to the Editor

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Healthy School Lunch

Last week, first lady Michelle Obama called on the U.S. Conference of Mayors to help her fight the national scourge of childhood obesity. She noted that one-third of all children are overweight or obese. She proposed healthier school lunch fare, increased physical activity, and nutrition education.

Traditionally, the National School Lunch Program has served as a dumping ground for USDA's surplus meat and dairy commodities. Not surprisingly, USDA's own surveys indicate that 90 percent of American children consume excessive amounts of fat and only 15 percent eat the recommended servings of fruits and vegetables. Their early dietary flaws become lifelong addictions, raising their risk of diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.

In the past few years, several state legislatures have asked their schools to offer daily vegetarian options. According to the School Nutrition Association, 52 percent of U.S. school districts now do. Last fall, the Baltimore public school system became the first in the United States to offer its 80,000 students a complete weekly break from meat.

Parents and others who care about our children's health should demand healthful plant-based school meals, snacks, and vending machine items. Additional information is available at schoolnutrition.org, schoolmeals.nal.usda.gov, healthyschoollunches.org, and choiceusa.net.

Martha Faust

Memphis

Joe Ford

To lie is to state something that one knows to be false or that one does not honestly believe to be true with the intention that a person will take it for the truth. A lie (also called prevarication, falsehood) is a type of deception in the form of an untruthful statement, especially with the intention to deceive others.

As a citizen, I did not encourage Joe Ford to run for mayor. His statement from November 2009 reads as follows: "I've said two years ago that after my term on the County Commission that I wouldn't run again. I'm going to stick to that. I will do all I can to help the citizens of Shelby County by serving on boards, but August 31st will be my last day."

If Ford elects to run for county mayor, then he is a documented "liar." But then, of course, he is a politician!

Joe Mercer

Memphis

Counting Votes

Some comments about Bruce VanWyngarden's "Letter from the Editor" (January 21st issue):

1) Yes, the 2008 "Electoral College vote margin was overwhelming." But it is amusing and sad that in every presidential election where the Electoral College helps the Republican vote margin, the Democrats curse and revile the college as unfair, undemocratic, and long overdue for abolishment — and do so just as energetically as they embrace it when it helps them (as in 2008).

2) To many, we do not agree that "[t]he popular vote margin was decisive." Even with overwhelming media bias, Obama won just under 53 percent of the popular vote and McCain just under 46 percent. (Others had about 1.5 percent.) Therefore, out of every 100 voters, if four had voted for McCain instead of for Obama, McCain would have won the popular vote. This hardly seems a mandate for massive, sweeping national change. Certainly, when much larger percentages of Americans than 53 percent oppose abortion or support capital punishment, etc., most Democrats and the "mainstream media" do not talk about mandates (sweeping or otherwise) or decisive margins.

3) It is not accurate to say "[t]he Democrats won a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate." According to the U.S. Senate website (see senate.gov), Democrats hold 58 Senate seats of the needed 60 (which will be 57 when adjusted for the recent loss of the late Ted Kennedy's seat to a Republican). Of course, the 57 seats also includes Arlen Specter, a Republican for 44 years until he suddenly became a Democrat in 2009 when polls showed he could not win the 2010 Republican primary for his seat. (Although after recent elections in Virginia, New Jersey, and Massachusetts this may not have been such a good idea.)

Democrat party hacks were in the middle of reenacting "The Night of the Long Knives" on sometimes/somewhat Independent Joe Lieberman for his McCain endorsement when they figured out they needed his vote, so in return he was (partially) allowed back into the fold but is officially an "Independent Democrat." The Democrats have also more or less purchased the vote of Independent (and self-described "democratic socialist") Bernard Sanders of Vermont.

Please, fewer balls, more facts and consistency.

Herbert E. Kook Jr.

Germantown

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