A Predictable Farce
My take on what a predictable farce ("Unplanned Parenthood," August 23rd issue): Many of us were downtown last year for the hearings that resulted in the defunding by the state and county commission of Title X money to Planned Parenthood. Commissioner Steve Mulroy disappointed many by changing his previous vote, dragged his feet during final votes, making sure he was not the swing vote. Now, Mulroy is complaining about what most of us knew was a foregone conclusion: A woman's right to choose became thwarted in Memphis.
Too many members of the city council and county commission are reverends and deacons of churches, which results in a religious bias for many decisions that need rational thinking. Memphis has more health-care needs than any other community in our state, yet many are now denied reproductive services because of religion-based politics. Sadly, no one dares to stand up to the Memphis and Nashville ayatollahs and their goals of social engineering, even though teen pregnancy in Memphis is a leading cause of our problems, costing taxpayers millions each year and ruining many young lives in the process.
Government money given to a religious organization like Christ Community Health Services is contrary to the ideals of our founding fathers — a troubling trend.
Political Super Bowl
Has America's political system become a game? The presidential election appears to be turning into a Super Bowl party. You have 20 folks watching the game. Fourteen of them — seven on each side — are the true fans. These include the hardcore supporters wearing jerseys and hats. They have political bumper stickers, buttons, and yard signs. Then there are the fanatics, the party extremists who are sporting face paint and team tattoos. Each side has booster clubs — the PACs, Super PACs, bundlers, fund-raisers, and mega donors. They fund the team's advertising and pre-game pep rallies, the conventions where the coaches and star players give rousing speeches and the starting line-up is made official. The cheerleaders, the campaign surrogates, go around repeating the team cheers: political talking points and slogans.
The major parties compete for the last six people at the party. Each tries to convince them to support their side. First are those whose teams lost in the playoffs — their candidates got beat in the primaries — but they are leaning toward their team's conference. Next are those who support a third party and don't like either squad. The last group hates politics and is only there because it's a big party. They feel obligated to vote, but life will be the same tomorrow regardless who wins. If American elections are a game, then which player are you?
Brandon Chase Goldsmith
With the new school year, parents' attention is turning to school clothes, supplies, and lunches. Yes, school lunches. Traditionally, the USDA had used the National School Lunch Program as a dumping ground for surplus meat and dairy commodities. Not surprisingly, its own surveys indicate that children consume excessive amounts of animal fat and sugary drinks, to the point where one-third of them have become overweight or obese. Their early dietary flaws become lifelong addictions, raising their risk of diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
Gradually, the tide is turning. The new USDA school lunch guidelines, mandated by President Obama's Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, require doubling the servings of fruits and vegetables, more whole grains, less sodium and fat, and no meat for breakfast. Food lobbyists have prevailed on Congress to count pizza and French fries as vegetables, and fatty mystery meats and sugary dairy drinks still abound.
Parents and students should consider healthy school lunch as a work in progress and insist on healthful plant-based school meals, snacks, and vending-machine items.
Morris Furman Memphis
Mr. Romney, what's so damaging in your tax returns that you can't show them to the American people? It seems that transparency would be the middle name of anyone running for president of the United States.
I read that Team Romney vetted all the possible vice-presidential candidates and asked them to supply their last 10 to 15 years of tax returns. I guess "what's good for the goose is good for the gander" doesn't apply to Romney. He keeps expounding on any number of things, hoping the elephant in the room will go away. But neither blaming Harry Reid and President Obama nor citing your religion as the reason for your refusal to release your tax returns is going to make that elephant go away.