Excerpts from recent editorials in Arkansas newspapers:
Southwest Times Record, Oct. 9, 2012
Program lets local children be healthier
When Cindy Bagby saw that diets filled with processed food were causing younger generations to be plagued with obesity, diabetes and other illness, she knew she had to do something.
Bagby, a certified holistic nutrition practitioner, wanted to find a way to reach children and their caregivers with information about proper nutrition and the importance of fruits and vegetables in the diet.
So, she created the Campaign for Nourishment & Vitality, a non-profit organization that works to put nourishing whole foods into the hands of the children as well as providing information and education to them and their families, according to the organization's website.
The organization provides grants to organization to either purchase whole foods to serve to children or to help children develop gardens and grow foods, Bagby said.
The Girls Shelter recently received a grant to plot a garden this fall that will be ready for spring vegetable planting. Other grants allowed for a garden at St. Boniface Catholic School as well as for a recess fruit stand at St. Boniface, after-school snacks of fruit at Midland Heights Methodist Church and snacks at the Boys Shelter, she added.
"There is no nutrition in processed food. I want children to explore fruits and vegetables and go home and ask their parents and caregivers for them," Bagby said.
Her efforts are making a difference, she said, noting that one little girl stopped her this summer to tell her how much she enjoyed pineapple after trying it at St. Boniface and how her family is now incorporating it at home much more.
"The mother told me they were eating pineapple more. They just didn't know it was something they would like. And they are incorporating more fruits in their meals as well," Bagby said. "That's what we want to see."
And not only are the children and parents taking note, but the community is as well. Because of her work to make certain that children eat healthy foods, Bagby was named a recipient of the Noble Cause Award, an area-wide recognition sponsored by Gallagher Merry and a 10-member, multigenerational board. The award pays tribute to the efforts of an area individual or group who makes a positive difference for others in the community, a story in last Tuesday's Times Record stated.
Merry said Bagby has a total preoccupation with getting children to eat healthfully and with getting their caregivers to understand the importance of doing so. We applaud that dedication and passion to the health of young people.
Bagby is quick to invite anyone wanting to help feed children a healthy snack or teach them to grow their own whole foods to visit the organization's website, campaignnv.org, for information on applying for a grant.
We are honored to help her spread that word.
Harrison Daily Times, Oct. 11, 2012
Don't be embarrassed by your candidate
John Edwards pulled the rug out from under the supporters who had backed his run for the presidency in 2008 when the scandal about a mistress and illegitimate child hit the news.
We're sure those die-hard supporters had no idea that while his wife was suffering from the breast cancer that would eventually kill her, he was fathering a child with another woman.
They also probably didn't know they were giving unqualified support to a man who had persuaded a campaign aide to claim he had fathered the child.
My, how messy politics can get when you link your name to an unknown quantity.
That lesson hit even closer to home this fall when a Missouri candidate for U.S. Senate made an outlandish remark about women being immune from pregnancy in cases of "legitimate rape."
Then, over the weekend, we had some Arkansas candidates for state offices share their opinions about slavery and Muslims that sound like they are stuck in the mid-1800s.
Former state Rep. Jon Hubbard defended his statement that slavery "may have actually been a blessing in disguise." He apparently missed the fact that slaves were bought and sold; family connections didn't matter.
Then we have Rep. Charlie Fuqua, who writes that the only solution to the "Muslim problem" is "expelling all followers of the religion from the United States."
If you check websites for campaign donations, you'll see the names of people and organizations that donated to their campaigns, people and organizations that probably right about now are wondering how well spent that money was.
The question we all have to ask before unequivocally supporting a candidate or making a donation is: Do we know where each candidate really stands?
You better make sure you know your candidates' affiliations otherwise you might even end up endorsing and donating to a candidate who is a member of the Ku Klux Klan.
Now wouldn't that be embarrassing?
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Oct. 15, 2012
All in this together
It's the season for polls. They're epidemic. ESPN has 'em. The Weather Channel has 'em. Fox and CNN? Of course. In multitudes. Polls, polls, everywhere.
Is the president up in Ohio today? He was down 2 points in North Carolina Saturday afternoon. Or at least in the suburbs of Charlotte. The polls say the challenger needs to make inroads with left-handed female lawyers without tonsils in Florida if he's going to have a chance. Excuse our interrupting your dinner, but do you give Congress good or bad marks on its handling of the color of, and the fonts on, the new Medicaid cards?
The polls overwhelm. Or as an editor named Frank Fellone says on occasion in his column over on the Voices Page, MEGO-which is short for something like Mine Eyes Glazeth Over.
But one poll that came out last week was-get this-interesting. Really. And more than a little refreshing. You might not believe it, but the poll was taken by ... Fox News.
(Take five if you need it.)
The poll shows a majority — a large majority — of people in these United States believe all Americans should pay some federal income tax. Even if it's just a few dollars a year. The survey found that 79 percent of those polled say everybody should pay something.
Remarkable. The feds will tell you that 41 percent of filers didn't pay any U.S. income taxes last year. So there must be millions of Americans who didn't send a dime to Washington, D.C., last year. But at least a lot of them think maybe they should. What's this, evidence of a national conscience? Or just recognition that we're all in this together? Or should be.
The way the feds spend money, having every worker in the country pay at least a few dollars every April 15th isn't about to balance the federal budget. But every little bit helps, and a few dollars from 41 percent of the nation's workers could add up to hundreds of millions of dollars-or even a billion. Even as much as $10 billion!
Which would be what the federal government spent yesterday.
The object needn't be to balance the budget by getting that 41 percent to chip in, but to get everybody involved. Responsible. To use the latest fadword, make them Stakeholders in society.
Would the effort be worth it? Yes, if it cuts down on the number of Americans who don't much know or care what the federal government spends-because it's not their money. It's only the government's. That's a good way to breed apathy as millions are wasted every year.
So what if Congress spends days debating what should be the official sausage of the U.S. of A.? So what if the Pentagon overspent its budget for socks again? So what if some federal agency bought square pegs for round holes? Or if Medicaid is expanded to include hundreds of thousands of new enrollees even if it's having trouble finding doctors for those it's already got? It's just government money. Who cares? Unfortunately, a lot of Americans don't. And won't so long as they feel it's not their money the feds are wasting.
Every morning the papers are full of ways the government misspends the taxpayers' money. Suppose everybody who drew a paycheck knew he was paying for all that waste every April. Maybe more of us would wake up instead of going, "Waste and fraud? Who cares? It's inevitable."
Suppose everybody did his share. It's a good daydream to have. And it doesn't have to be a dream. Especially if 79 percent of the American people got behind a change. And a real change at that, not just a slogan.
But is Congress listening? Or do we the people have to shout? Surely that can be arranged.