American Morning

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October 20th, 2009
10:23 AM ET
October 20th, 2009
09:51 AM ET

More fruits, less fries at school lunch

School lunches could be getting a nutritional overhaul, and just like at dinnertime, kids may be pushed to eat their veggies. Dr. Virginia Stallings is the director of the nutrition center at the famous Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, and she was in charge of the group that put together the list of recommendations.

Stallings spoke to John Roberts on CNN’s “American Morning” Tuesday. Below is an edited transcript of that interview.

John Roberts: Let's take a look at the recommendations that you're coming up with here. First of all, more fruit at breakfast, more vegetables at lunch. You also have an indication here that you want to limit starchy vegetables. Also, more whole grains, low fat milk, less sodium. The goal among high school students is to reduce the sodium intake by 50% over ten years, and no skipping of vegetables. It sounds like a no-brainer and sounds like something that we try to do every day.

Virginia Stallings: Very good. Well, I think the committee would agree with you, but we do see this as the beginning of a very good start in overhauling the school lunch and breakfast programs. With this, we really will align what we know in nutrition, science, and child health, and make this really large, important program support those two components.

Roberts: So there's a big difference between what students should eat and what they want to eat or what they do eat. So how do we get them to get on board with this idea of healthy choices?

Stallings: Well, you know, it's an important part of the whole program now. We've learned that students are pretty sophisticated consumers. So we've got to balance this. The children and the families will all be asked to be a part of really thinking about the menus, even doing taste testing. Those sorts of things. And then we also know that for children of all ages, that being exposed to foods over and over again ultimately will help with the acceptance. … The last part is we hope that we can combine some of the new foods with some of the other activities in school, so that they can be part of science class or French class or whatever.

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Filed under: Education • Health
October 20th, 2009
07:07 AM ET

Talk Radio: How powerful is it?

By Carol Costello and Bob Ruff

In part one of our series on talk radio we noted that conservative political talk show hosts on commercial radio have bigger audiences than their liberal counterparts – at least on commercial AM radio.

Rush Limbaugh, the king of conservative radio talkers, gets more than 15 million listeners each week. Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, and Michael Savage are not far behind.

But do these numbers translate into real political power?

Some liberals, and even the president, are – at the very least – paying attention: "You can't just listen to Rush Limbaugh and get things done," the president told Republican lawmakers earlier this year.

If you ask some conservative talkers across the country if conservative talk radio is powerful, they’ll tell you what Bob Durbin told us in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. He’s been a conservative talk show host for decades.

“I don’t know how powerful we are. We are powerful to a degree, but so are all the other media. The Washington Post. The New York Times. Are they powerful? You’re damn right they are! So, why can’t we be powerful?”

If you measure political power by energizing people already in your corner, then conservative talkers do win. Many of their listeners showed up at town halls and tea parties over this summer.

“There is a kind of opposition quality, shadow government quality to listening to conservative radio these days,” says Camille Paglia, a social critic and Obama supporter. “And I don’t see any problem with that in a democracy,” she adds.

No one wields that kind of “opposition quality” more effectively than Rush Limbaugh. With his vast radio audience, he’s able to bring some Republican politicians to their knees.

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Filed under: Talk Radio
October 20th, 2009
06:15 AM ET

First female commander of Army Drill Sgt. School

By Julie O’Neill
CNN

431 hours. 9 weeks. 10 hour days. That’s just the tip of the iceberg for soldiers at the U.S. Army’s Drill Sergeant School in Fort Jackson, South Carolina. For the first time since its inception in 1964, its top dog does not look or act like a typical drill sergeant.

Command Sergeant Major Teresa King is the first woman commandant at the U.S. Army's Drill Sergeant School in Fort Jackson, South Carolina.

Command Sergeant Major Teresa King is the first woman commandant at the U.S. Army's Drill Sergeant School in Fort Jackson, South Carolina.

Her name is Command Sergeant Major Teresa King and she’s the first woman commandant of this school. Incredibly fit, 48-years-old and a 29-year Army vet, King oversees 78 drill instructors and is responsible for training every Army drill sergeant. Nearly 2,000 sergeants graduate from the drill sergeant school each year.

King says the program's rigorous nature isn’t to be take lightly. “It is very horrendous day after day to come out here and demonstrate the same level of competence and willingness. To take on this mission – it's very tough.”

Most of the school’s students are hand-picked sergeants, who average 10 to 15 years in the Army before entering this grueling course. According to King, only a small percentage of students don’t have what it takes to finish. And King should know – she went through it early on in her career.

Watch King in action Video

Teresa King grew up in rural North Carolina. “I thought about college for about an hour,” she says. As a teenager, she spent time at nearby Ft. Bragg. On one particular day, it was there that she found direction. “I saw a woman in a red beret. We looked at each other … and didn’t speak. But at that moment, I knew I would be a soldier.” That’s all it took. Her future was solidified. King enlisted on August 19, 1980 and left for basic training the next day.

She worked her way up the Army ranks. Her first “first” came in 1997 – becoming the first female First Sergeant for the 18th Airborne Corps at Fort Bragg, NC. Since then, her career has taken her across the globe: to Europe, Korea, the Pentagon and most recently NATO headquarters. However, King has never been in combat, and, in fact, has never been deployed to a war zone.

Only a few months ago King thought about retiring. That is until the Army came knocking once again. “I was very, very shocked. I considered a lot of jobs, but being the commandant of the drill sergeant school, I had never considered it.”

King had a lingering determination to help usher the Army into its next phase. “I believe I can cause people to do some things that they thought they could never do.”

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Filed under: Military
October 20th, 2009
06:00 AM ET

U.S. attorneys told to go after pot traffickers, not patients

By Terry Frieden
CNN Justice Producer

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Justice Department has provided federal prosecutors "clarification and guidance" urging them to go after drug traffickers, but not patients and caregivers, in the 14 states that have medical marijuana laws.

Signs beckon patients into a medical marijuana clinic in Los Angeles, California.

Signs beckon patients into a medical marijuana clinic in Los Angeles, California.

A memo sent to U.S. attorneys said that in carrying out Justice pronouncements made earlier this year indicating a policy shift to end prosecutions against users, authorities should continue to pursue drug traffickers.

"It will not be a priority to use federal resources to prosecute patients with serious illnesses or their caregivers who are complying with state laws on medical marijuana," said Attorney General Eric Holder. "But we will not tolerate drug traffickers who hide behind claims of compliance with state law to mask activities that are clearly illegal," Holder added.

The memo from Deputy Attorney General David Ogden was sent to U.S. attorneys in Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Maryland, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.

The issue is particularly significant in California, where there has been uncertainty about the government's approach to raiding marijuana dispensaries, which are increasing and thriving.

Read the full story »


Filed under: Drugs