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Reading for a pizza

Long before I was a journalist, I believed in the American freedom of speech and the power of the consumer. Last week in the news, Pizza Hut was under attack from the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood for its program that sponsors and encourages reading among children.

The program, called "Book It," awards children with certificates that can be redeemed for free personal-pan pizzas when they accomplish a pre-determined reading goal.

The CCFC, which obviously has too much time on their hands, said Pizza Hut is promoting bad eating habits and obesity among children, and turning teachers (who establish the reading goals) into corporate promoters.

I'm sorry, but I had to sigh. I know there is a problem of bad eating habits in today's American society. But I don't think Pizza Hut is the root of the problem. And schools today need the help of corporations and local businesses to budget all the incentives and activities they need to accomplish their educational goals. That is, unless CCFC members would like to pay more taxes.

I do not know if McDuffie County Schools use Book It. I do know that I used it as a home school mother about six years ago with my own children. I had one child who needed no encouragement at all to learn to read. Then there was his brother, who would use the shelves at the library as a jungle gym instead of a source of good reading material.

I was so impressed with the results from using Book It, that I even wrote the Pizza Hut corporation a letter, thanking them for their program. Today, both my boys are avid readers, whether it's for educational survival or for pleasure. Neither one of them is overweight. If they were, I can assure you that one personal pan-sized pizza a month wouldn't have put them there.

Another, totally different, attack campaign that was brought to my attention this week deals with the new dollar coins. An e-mail is circulating which says the coins should be boycotted because they are missing the phrase "In God We Trust." I want to set the record straight on this one, and it's not my opinion, it's the facts. My cohort, Kristopher Wells, just walked in the office with a pocket full of the coins, so I have seen them. It seems the phrase, along with the year of minting, mint mark and motto "E Pluribus Unum" are all engraved on the edge of the coin, leaving the face and back clutter-free.

So, I guess I'll stop speaking freely against free-speakers now. I need to go fill my pockets with coins and take them to buy pizza.

Web posted on Thursday, March 08, 2007

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