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MNB expressed skepticism about the new White House working group designed to offer recommendations in 60 days about what needs to be done to improve oversight of imported food products, and suggested that instead of administration officials, the White House ought to go to a wide range of industry and consumer experts who have fewer political motives.

MNB user Fred Reimers responded:

Kevin you hit the nail on the head when you suggested others outside the government to be on this panel. Staffers will do all the work and they will report what their bosses want to hear. This is a call for an "out of the box" solution so why does President Bush assign a panel that is inside the beltway "box?" FMI, GMA and other major trade associations are very familiar with the problem and have feedback from their many members on the issues and possible solutions. Excluding them will essentially result in the same program with a different spin but still with no results.

My point exactly.

On the subject of parental responsibility - as opposed to corporate and government culpability – for what kids eat, one MNB user wrote:

Kevin, this not saying “no” to the kids is part of a broader societal issue. For example, we do not say “no” in school either as “social promotion” shows; we promote them because it might hurt their self-esteem to not be promoted, not because they did the required work. As a result one third of the people entering community colleges in California need remedial courses in reading and math!

A lot of things that are done to help kids self esteem potentially teaches them they can do what they want and without consequences. Not good for building “responsibility” as a value.

Another MNB user wrote:

I don't want to see kids exploited, and of course advertising has brand building value or companies would not spend millions on it. But if anyone thinks cutting ads will make kids want hot oatmeal instead of Lucky Charms -- they are kidding themselves. Try this experiment with your dog -- who presumably has not been exploited by marketers. Set a creme filled donut and a bowl of organic, specially balanced, expensive dry dog food in front of the dog at the same time. See which one the dog eats first.

Restricting advertisement to kids will not hurt anything. But the activist will be disappointed because it will have no impact on reducing obesity. Until parents, like the two that wrote in to you, decide to lead by example and teach kids to balance the inflow of calories with the outflow, you will have obesity. We teach our kids to control anger, to behave in school, to respect authority, to delay gratification, to value work -- why is it with diet and wellness it is always someone else's fault?

I admitted yesterday that I haven’t read any of the Harry Potter books, which led MNB user Mark Boyer to write:

I would have never fancied myself as the Harry Potter type, but my then 16 year old son encouraged me to read the first of the Potter series, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I have also read the second, and the third and fourth are in my ever-growing pile of “books to be read.”

Try reading the first one. I think you’ll see what all the fuss is about.

MNB user Bob Johnson wrote:

Listen to them on CD – you will be amazed.

And our own Michael Sansolo decided he didn’t want to wait until next Tuesday to weigh in:

So the Content Guy hasn't read any of the Harry Potter books. It is absolutely your choice, but the Content Guy has no idea what he's missing. I'll admit it, I'll a loyal reader, though I feel no need to rush out and get each book the first moments it's available. And I do think the books were significantly better when they were smaller than the New York City phone book. But the stories are fun, the characters engaging and the phenomena simply amazing.

Best of all, I get a huge charge out of kids waiting around for a BOOK. Think about that. Kids waiting for books to come out and then ripping into them with vigor. Isn't that supposed to be something they just don't do anymore. There's lots of reasons to love Harry Potter, but none is bigger than the simple truth that these books stood conventional wisdom on its ear.


But before I even consider reading the Potter novels, I have to finish the new Elmore Leonard. And about a dozen other books that are piled up next to my desk.


On the subject of IHOP, which got some nice testimonials this week here on MNB, MNB user Doug Gammage wrote:

Recently in Bentonville AR, I spied a good-natured competitive message on a Waffle House roadside sign across the highway from IHOP.

"Friends don't let friends eat pancakes".

I don't think that will become a corporate-wide tag line, but it made me smile.

And me.

And MNB user Steven Ritchey wrote:

My girlfriend and I go to IHOP every few weeks, I can’t tell you when I last went to Appleby’s. IHOP may not be hip or happening, but it is predictable, we tend to get good service, the girlfriend likes their coffee. Now, if you’re looking for pecan crusted trout with a Mango sauce on the side with steamed asparagus and mixed Mediterranean vegetables, don’t go there, but if you want basic food, no frills, it’s not a bad place, I could name worse places.

Steven, I have just one small suggestion for you that comes out of having been with the same woman for 28 years.

“The girlfriend” is a phrase that probably isn’t going to work in your best interests.

Just a suggestion.
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