Liberals have made

important contributions

Regarding the Feb. 2 letter, "The more liberals win, the more the U.S. loses":

The letter was clearly written by a guy who is anti-gay, anti-immigration, anti-choice and a gun nut. He's afraid "they will want to completely disarm every honest American." Of course no one is going after his guns. But his views reaffirmed my belief that right-wing bigots are alive and well in Atlantic County.

He should be reminded that it was liberals who gave us Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act, the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act and so much more. What have those on the far right given us? They've supported the death penalty and the right to have an unlimited amount of guns and ammunition. They also favor tax cuts for the very rich.

It seems odd that most people who are "pro-life" are also pro death penalty. And most people who oppose the government enacting sensible gun laws are all in favor of governments restricting voting rights, the rights of gay people to marry whom they love and reasonable measures to protect our environment. At times the folks on the far right seem to be so worried about their freedoms being taken away (their gums and ammo, their ability to have their religion practiced in schools, etc.) but they would readily support taking other people's freedoms away (freedom to marry whom you choose, unfettered voting rights, the right to have a clean environment and the right of women to decide when to have a child).

For the past few decades, those on the right have castigated liberals despite all the decent and fair programs liberals have given us. Because of this undeserved criticism, many on the left refer to themselves as progressives. But not me. I'm proud to be a liberal. And I'm not after your guns, silly man.

ED DOUGHTY

Linwood

Healthier foods?

Try fruits, vegetables

Regarding the Feb. 2 story, "U.S. stirring rules pot for healthier school lunches, snacks":

The list of "what's in" for healthy lunches is disappointing. French fries and potato chips (any variety) are high in sodium and are not very nutritious.

Granola and cereal bars are essentially cookies. Trail mix? One quarter candy and sugars. Fruit cups contain sugary syrups. Sweetened yogurt is just pudding, and "lite" varieties contain aspartame.

Diet drinks? More aspartame. Totally absent from the list are fresh fruits and vegetables. For simple thirst, try water.

The eating habits kids form today will determine the health care costs of tomorrow. Let's avoid penny-wise planning for school lunches and give the kids good food.

MEED BARNETT

Cologne

To change Congress,

we must change ourselves

Regarding the Feb. 4 letter, "Republicans must reject their lunatic fringe":

The writer, who probably considers himself a moderate Democrat, notes that he has a few Republican friends with whom he can agree to disagree.

He than goes on to condemn the Republican Party as a party of lunatic neocons, misogynists, homophobes and a gun-toting, Bible-quoting, flag-waving, science-denying group of ignorant people. Gee, I didn't think I was that bad.

Is it any surprise that when there is such irrational rhetoric from both sides that we end up with such a dysfunctional government? Members of Congress vote according to the wishes of their constituents. They won't change until we do.

JOHN BURGIN

Atlantic City

Sen. Menendez's behavior

shows lack of integrity

Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., is reported to have taken three trips to the Dominican Republic in 2010. These trips were provided by Dr. Salomon Melgen of Palm Beach, Fla. Melgen is a major contributor to the Democratic Party and to Menendez. In accordance with U.S. Senate rules, contributions such as plane trips and paid vacations must be reported to the Federal Election Commission.

Only the third trip was reported to the commission by Menendez, and he reported it as a $5,400 expenditure by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. The first two trips were not reported at all in 2010, nor were they reported in 2011. As it turns out, Menendez did not report the trips at all.

The issue was exposed late in 2012, and now Menendez says he reimbursed Melgen for the first two trips on Jan. 4, 2013, in the sum of $58,500. I hope I'm not the only one who sees the multiple problems with the senator's story.

Why was the third trip valued at only $5,400 while the first two trips are valued at $29,250 each? Why is it acceptable for Menendez to violate Senate rules by not reporting these two trips in the year they were taken? Why is it acceptable to state that no reporting requirements apply from the first two trips simply because he paid for them out of his personal account in 2013 (more than two years after the trips were taken and only after this issue was brought to light)?

The word "integrity" is defined as "adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty." Integrity is lacking in many of our politicians, but it is certainly lacking in Menendez. Shame on you, sir. Also, shame on the Senate for not censuring Menendez for his blatant disregard for its rules. New Jersey voters should remember this story when they go to the polls.

FRANK X. CAVALLARO

Ventnor