— Thumbs up
In memory of a soldier's soldier -- Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf -- who died this week at the age of 78. A decorated combat solider in Vietnam, the sting of that loss stayed with him throughout his career, ensuring such a thing never happened again. He helped revitalize and modernize the all-volunteer force and eventually commanded the U.S.-led international coalition that drove Saddam Hussein's forces out of Kuwait in 1991.
While he was known as "The Bear" and then "Stormin' Norman" for his temper, it was usually leveled at his officers or even his superiors but never at the soldiers in the field for whom he had great respect. Despite his popularity, he rejected the notion he run for office and was one of the more private generals afterwards.
He as well as others was convinced Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and approved the invasion but later regretted that decision. His postwar activities included being a national spokesman for prostate cancer awareness and for the Recovery of the Grizzly Bear, served on the Nature Conservancy board, and for many charities that helped chronically ill children.
He said once that while he will probably be remembered most as an Army general, "I'd like to think I'm a caring human being"... that you have a purpose."
Publishing gun owners' names unhelpful
To the Journal News of White Plains, N.Y., for publishing an interactive map revealing the names and addresses of handgun permit holders in two area counties.
In the aftermath of the deadly Newport, Conn., school shooting, editor CynDee Royle said the newspaper's decision to publish the names was in the interest of "sharing as much information as we could about gun ownership in our area."
Still unexplained is how that information benefits anyone. Indeed, many were outraged, saying that the decision makes legal gun owners subject to theft, or worse. Others believed the information dump was meant to hold gun-owning citizens up for public ridicule.
Public scorn, however, should be reserved for people who misuse their guns, or commit crimes with them. Perhaps the Journal News simply wanted to become a national story. In that, they succeeded.
Progress on obesity
To news that some small progress has been made on obesity in the very young.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study found that the percentage of children between the ages of two and four who are from poor families fell to 14.9 percent in 2010 from 15.2 percent in 2003.
It's a small success to be sure, but it's the first hopeful indicator in the fight against the obesity epidemic in low-income communities.
It's particularly good news because there had been a rapid increase for that age group between 1998 and 2003.
Hispanics were among the groups that experienced modest declines in obesity in those between the ages of two and four. That finally reverses a starting trend in the Latino community where more than 38 percent of Latino children between the ages of 2 and 19 are either overweight or obese.
Light display made holiday memorable
This past Saturday evening, my partner and I, along with my sister-in-law and brother-in-law and their families, walked through the Sibley Park light display.
Although my in-law Christmas is always very nice, the trip through Sibley Park made this Christmas one to remember -- it made for a family event that was so special to us.
Thank you to the Kiwanis leadership for your dedication to bringing the lighting display to fruition. It was amazing and made our holiday season very special.
Shannon J. Fisher
Gymnasts' courtesy appreciated
Kudos to the Mankato East gymnastics parents for teaching their children manners.
Early in December, as we waited to be seated at Applebee's, several girls from the team offered us their seats.
There still are a lot of great kids out there, willing to hold the door, greet others and give up their seats.