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Cuts in PE programs threaten children’s health


While the Bush administration this month commemorates the fifth anniversary of the federal No Child Left Behind Act, they forget that they left some critical school programs behind. An unintended consequence of this oversight has been the reduction in quality physical education programs across the country -- particularly here in Georgia.

Cuts in PE come at a time when we’re facing a childhood obesity epidemic that puts our children at greater risk of developing heart disease as adults. Over nine million children and adolescents ages 6-19 are considered overweight and the numbers will likely increase unless we educate them about healthy lifestyles.

PE promotes lifelong physical activity while providing an opportunity to be active during the school day. We need to find ways to incorporate more quality PE and activity into our children’s lives, not less.

Congress has an opportunity to write this wrong and help millions of schoolchildren lead healthier lives when they reauthorize No Child Left Behind. All of us can play a role by encouraging our lawmakers to raise the profile of PE during this reauthorization and give our kids a head start on being healthy and fit for life.

Jacqueline W. Fincher

Past-president Affiliate, American Heart Association


Here’s a vote for Edwards


While the press continues to swoon over the charm of Senator Barack Obama and the power of Senator Hillary Clinton as the current front runners for the 2008 race to the White House, I am supporting and endorsing John Edwards for President of the United States in 2008.

I strongly believe that Edwards represents not only the best of the three but far and away the best of the three.

I won’t support Hillary Clinton because she apparently believes that the way to the White House for a liberal Democrat is to move as rapidly to the right as possible. She, or her handlers, think that if she can appear more centrist she will garner the support of independent voters.

But the old tried and true strategy of Bill Clinton won’t work today. This is a different country and a different world, and she is wrong to think that if she can appear conservative enough all those Reagan Democrats will step up and support her.

As much as I would love to see a woman win the White House, I won’t support someone who’s voting record and public statements revealed, up until a few months ago, a staunch support for the Iraq War.

Barack Obama is certainly a dashing young figure, powerful speaker, and a fresh face in the political crowd. There is much to like about Obama, but he simply does not have the experience necessary to be President, especially in the areas of foreign policy that will no doubt continue to dominate the next president’s agenda.

There are both narrow and broad reasons why I believe John Edwards is the right person for the Presidency, but the overarching reason why he is my pick for 2008 is because he hasn’t run from who he is.

John Edwards, like John Kennedy did, believes that government is both necessary and capable of making a positive impact on the lives of average Americans. His views are socially progressive and he’s not afraid to say so.

Unlike President Bush, Edwards knows that ending global poverty is more than a moral obligation on the part of the United States—rather poverty directly impacts our own national security. This goal is not only achievable but absolutely necessary.

Edwards has come out strongly in favor of completely overhauling, with the help of government, our nations dependence on crude oil. He is one of the few who actually get it.

Edwards is in favor of, and is currently working on finalizing a plan, that will provide universal health care to the relief of 45 million Americans who are either uninsured or woefully under-insured. How is it that the richest nation on earth, a nation that can somehow afford to spend nearly two billion dollars per month on an illegitimate war, fail to provide its people with adequate preventative and immediate medical care?

Edwards does not believe in blindly throwing money at social problems. He promotes financially assisting those in need, but he expects those who are able to work on getting themselves prepared to be productive citizens. We can accomplish this and we can achieve it in a responsible way, but we can’t simply blow off the poorest people in America–it really does amount to robbing Peter to pay Paul.

Unlike nearly every Congressman who voted in favor of granting Bush the authority to wage war in Iraq, Edwards is strong enough to admit that he made a mistake by casting a favorable vote that allowed Bush unfettered authority to invade Iraq. Edwards made it clear that he was wrong to vote for this and that he accepts responsibility for that mistake.

I can respect a person who does what he thinks is right but, more importantly, who knows when to admit that he is wrong. That’s true leadership.

Edwards wants to immediately start to draw down our military forces in Iraq by 40,000. He wants us out of Iraq, and that’s good enough for me.

Finally, from a personal experience that happened just after the infamous 2000 presidential election. I remember being incensed about reports that military absentee votes were being excluded because of the most ridiculous reasoning.

I fired off letters of protest to every member of Congress in my home state, then North Carolina. John Edwards was the only one who took the time to respond to my concerns agreeing that every legitimate vote needed to be counted, especially members of the armed forces stationed overseas.

He did this knowing that most military votes would not favor the Democratic candidate Al Gore. He earned my respect for that.

John Teague


Bush may be wrong, but Jane is more wrongerer

Ms. Fishman,

It is obvious that you are unhappy with the current administration. You degrade our democratically elected officals with every new column. You spoke of a 2006 election mandate -- do you realize that the president wasn’t up for re-election?

 NPR, The Daily Show and Al Gore’s theory don’t equal enlightenment. I’m proud of your liberalism, it fits you well. To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln, only one side can be right, but they can both certainly be wrong.

History will judge the actions of President Bush, just as history has shown us it was Reagan’s election that freed the Iranian hostages in 1980, not Jimmy Carter’s diplomacy.

It is possible that the administration is completely wrong, but that by no means makes you right.

James Thomas