Opinions | Today’s Opinions: Healthy eating, Memorial Day, Paris Olympics

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An apple a day keeps the discord away

Several years ago, when Gwyneth Paltrow tried to show how people on low incomes can still eat healthily, she was roasted online for posting a $29 grocery haul that includes scallions, cilantro, seven limes and two types of leafy greens.

Now, now — let us not re-ridicule Ms. Paltrow for dreaming big. This is not a problem with her. This is a problem with the system.

the Editorial Board writes that healthy eating is way too hard in the United States, where up to 55 million people live in food deserts, areas without easy access to full-service supermarkets. It’s no wonder many Americans turn to closer-to-home packaged and fast food — and suffer the attending cardiovascular risks.

The good news is that there are a bunch of creative ways governments and non-profits can work to fix this mess. In cities, maybe that means setting corner stores up “to offer healthy produce delivered at wholesale prices,” the board wrote in a big, brainstorm-y editorial.

In rural areas, local governments ought to rethink bus routes so that fresh fruit and vegetables are never more than a cherry stone’s throw from a stop. They can also encourage regional growing so produce doesn’t come from so far away.

The point is, there are lots of options. As activist-chef José Andrés wrote in an op-ed on hunger at home and abroad, “Our problem is not that we lack the resources or know-how to relieve these unbearable pressures. Our problem is that we lack focus.”

But Andrés has an idea for a framing of hunger that will, as it usually does, clarify things. His op-ed makes a great case that full bellies are critical to US national security.

Chasers: Haunted by hunger fears since childhood, author Qian Julie Wang wrote in 2021 about how she finally stopped overbuying food when the pandemic hit.

Thoughts for this weekend

It’s Memorial Day this weekend, and columnist Colby King asks that you take a break from the burgers and dogs — even if you’re the grillmaster — “to commemorate the service and sacrifice” that are the actual reasons for the holiday.

Think, Colby writes, of the 65,000 US service members killed in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan (many of them disfranchised DC residents, he notes). They won’t be able to “gas up the car and hit the road.”

Sixty-five thousand is a hard number to wrap your head around, as are most military statistics, deputy opinion editors David Von Drehle wrote a few Memorial Days ago. This disconnect, David said, “is the switch in the human brain that makes war and other atrocities possible.”

That doesn’t mean we cannot, or should not, attempt to comprehend. A visit to a military cemetery or battlefield might help, or the video visualization David recommends.

Try to understand what each soldier knows; that each number corresponds to a name and a face and a life.

Chasers: One military statistic we must get our heads around is spending, the Editorial Board writes. This country can be safer for less money — and fewer ultimate sacrifices.

from the Editorial Board’s examination of the eye-watering cost of attending the next summer’s Games — and the poor attempt by organizers to keep ticket-seekers happy.

The board reports that even many of the bargain tickets available via lottery came with a catch: Buyers had to snag a spot not only for the sport they wanted, but for two others as well. Judo, anyone?

French citizens are, unsurprisingly, not thrilled. It might be too late to fix ticketing for these Olympics, but the board writes that the debacle should be a warning for upcoming hosts.

Chasers: Cartoonist Edith Pritchett has — for free! — your unofficial guide to another elite French fete: the Cannes Film Festival.

If you think wetlands don’t count as water because “land” is right there in the name, congratulations, you have attained Supreme Court-level legal reasoning.

Harvard law professor Richard J. Lazarus writes that a recent (and unconvincing) opinion from the court dramatically shrinks the geographic scope of the 1972 Clean Water Act, which limits where pollution can be dumped. The environment and economy alike will suffer.

Lazarus says Justice Samuel Alito’s argument for the majority ignores both Congress’s clear intent in the act and court precedent based on that intent. That’s pretty compelling evidence to keep protecting all our waters.

  • columnist Molly Roberts writes that Ron DeSantis and Elon Musk were betting on each other — and they both lost.
  • Henry Kissinger turns 100 this weekend. His son, David Kissingerreflects on the secrets to his endurance.
  • Mon. Tim Scott takes precisely the wrong lessons from his extraordinary life story, columnist Paul Waldmann writes.

It’s a goodbye. It’s a haiku. It’s… My Bye.

Plus! A Friday bye-ku (Fri-ku!) on the debt ceiling from reader Gery R.:

But fear the brakes are broken.

Have your own newsy haiku? Email it to me, along with any questions/comments/ambiguities. Have a great, reflective long weekend, and see you Tuesday!

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