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RFT readers weigh in on charter schools, the flu, barfing and artery-clogging food. What fun!




Open your doors to charter schools: While the problem may seem somewhat simple and straightforward to some, if the St. Louis Public Schools allows these buildings to become charters, then it will be dead ["'I Want That School,'" Kristen Hinman]. The SLPS can educate children; I know from my own personal experience. The district has faced the charter- school movement at the same time as terrific political and financial pressures and turmoil, and has still outperformed the charters. The reluctance of the district to sell these buildings may seem selfish or "shortsighted," but I believe it is absolutely essential. It is a matter of survival.
Darren O'Brien, St. Louis, via the Internet



Give charters a chance: The larger issue is not charter vs. district, but rather this question: What is best for the children of St. Louis ["Ban Charter Schools, Says School Board Member to City," Kristen Hinman]? Is it bad charters? No! Is it bad St. Louis Public Schools? No! Is it good charters? Yes! Is it good SLPS schools? Yes! As an elected school board member, Mr. David Jackson should focus his energy on ensuring great public schools for the children of St. Louis, not preserving a system that is broken and has been broken long before charters arrived. A moratorium on charters eliminates the choice option for thousands of parents in St. Louis. All of us, charter advocates included, should focus on high-quality charter schools and district schools.
Mike, via the Internet



Take that press release and shove it: Too many laugh lines in that press release to guess the one you have in mind ["Press Release of the Day," Unreal]. The notion that Tamiflu is usually so commonly used is wrong. In reality, it is rarely prescribed in the United States. Only Japan is a big Tamiflu user. It may reduce hospitalization and complications in those at a higher risk for complications — who are not mostly in the age group listed in the press release. And it only helps if you start taking it within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms. Besides, there is another drug to which this year's flu strains are susceptible: Relenza.

The idea that covering your own sneeze or cough reduces your chance of catching the flu is also wrong. If anything, it reduces your chance of spreading the flu if you already have it. The notion that hand-washing helps protect you from catching or spreading flu? There's virtually no research to prove it. Flu is believed to be mostly spread via respiratory droplets; I sneeze, you inhale.
FactChecker2, via the Internet



Before it's too late: Brilliant idea. I'm sure Wash. U. will soon be banning the Coke or Pepsi vending machines from their campus, too ["Wash. U.'s Bottled Water Ban Spilling Its Way to Other Colleges," Chad Garrison]. As soon as those exclusive licensing contracts, which pay Wash. U. money, expire.
KittyLitterKing, via the Internet



Makes you want to barf: There's nothing wrong, other than 550 or so people with nausea, vomiting, abdominal pains and diarrhea ["The Morning Brew," Ian Froeb]. They could put this crap back on the shelves in the diet-pill aisle, and people would line up to poo and vomit off their "excess body fat."
ASTX813, via the Internet

CAFÉ, JANUARY 29, 2009


Stick with meat and cheese: It seems every other week your restaurant reviews make a reference to eating fatty or meat-laden dishes and how said dishes clog arteries ["Delta Force," Ian Froeb]. I know how blissfully ignorant food writers are about nutrition, but it gets a bit wearisome. Meat and fat do not clog arteries; sugar, flour and carbohydrates lead to clogged arteries. It's not the meat and cheese found on pizza that's bad for you — it's the crust underneath. I would appreciate it if you would stop disparaging protein and fat and maybe read Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes if you want to get your facts straight. People's health and lives are at stake, if you care.
Joe, St. Louis, via the Internet

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