Letters to the Editor 4/23

April 30, 2001

Letters to the Editor 4/23

Not another Shuster

To the editor:

It is not new. Factories around the area are laying off. Timeless historic landmarks are leveled and turned into parking lots. Residents are fleeing the area for better opportunities.

But now is our chance to demand a better area. For the first time since Rep. Bud Shuster's nomination in 1973, the 9th District has a chance to be represented by a compassionate knowledgeable, issue-oriented candidate. Scott Conklin has the experience and passion to help hard working people stay in the location they love without making a sacrifice.

With your vote, we can turn this area around and make it the community people once said it was. Conklin has private sector and political experience. He has worked in local government and, therefore, understands its function in relation to the position he hopes to attain. He has created jobs in the past, and in several interviews said that sustaining jobs and creating more are his top priorities. Among his other priorities are education and senior citizens.


Unfortunately, Conklin's passage into the House of Representatives will not be without hardship. As if Shuster's 27 years weren't enough. His son, who has no political experience, wants to fill his father's shoes. The car salesman was recently chosen as the Republican nominee. With no political background or any past ambition to run for office, Bill Shuster all of the sudden wants to count on the nine surrounding counties for their votes. Does this man think nothing of the intelligence of the 9th Congressional District?

This race is not about Republicans and Democrats. Conklin is a moderate Democrat who protects people's rights to bear arms. He believes in local government control and is a defender of unborn children. None of his philosophy undermines rural, conservative values.

As for Shuster, not to many people know what he stands for. He has said tax cuts, tax cuts, tax cuts. The same traditional, political rhetoric politicians mouthed decades ago without results is more of an insult to my intelligence, than a realistic remark.

Conklin called for a debate, fittingly, in each of the 11 counties in the 9th Congressional District, but to many people's bewilderment Shuster backed down and snapped at Conklin, saying debates are "one of the oldest ploys in the book."

Three months before Bud Shuster resigned, the House ethics committee cited him for serious misconduct for accepting improper gifts and favoring a lobbyist. Shuster shrugged off the committee's statement, saying it was overkill. He never tried to justify or explain his actions. We have a chance to stop the Shuster dynasty and fill the stained seat with an experienced, hard-working man who knows how to make a difference.

Restoring the 11 counties in the 9th Congressional District is not about a political party. If you desperately needed a heart surgeon, would it matter which party the surgeon belonged to?

Debbie Silks

Siglerville, Pa.

Toys promote bad food

To the editor:

Last month, McDonald's and Burger King recalled a combined total of 634,000 cheap, Chinese made "Scooter Bug" and "Rattling Paddling Riverboat" plastic toys because of safety defects. Yet, the inherent irony appears lost on the corporate leaders who announced those warranted precautions.

The toys involved are essentially ploys to get children haranguing their parents into making fast-food burgers and fries central to their growing-up diets. As Eric Schlosser noted in his new book Fast Food Nation, toy promotions can double or triple sales of such meals. We physicians see the echo of this unfortunate phenomenon as we detect early signs of artery blockage even in 3-year-olds and observe rampaging rates of childhood obesity. Little wonder, when each "Happy Meal" containing a burger, fries, and cookies packs six grams of artery-clogging saturated fat and 30 milligrams of cholesterol, and derives 33 percent of calories from fat.

Relentlessly, fast-food firms target America's children. McDonald's sell Ronald McDonald "wacky adventure" videos. Burger King has peddled Teletubbie-shaped chicken nuggets. They operate on-site playgrounds. They broker tie-ins with kid-oriented films. Not content to open restaurants in sight of many schools, they aggressively seek food-service contracts actually within some schools. And they lure teens into "joining the crew" at low-paying, health-damaging, exploitative jobs that displace time much better spent on studying, reading, exercising and even sleeping.

No one wants to belittle concern about dangerous toys. However, by far the biggest hazards posed to children by the likes of Ronald McDonald are not the junky toy premiums handed out, but the fare intended to go down little ones' throats.

Neal D. Barnard, MD

Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine

Washington, D.C.

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