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Test on U.S. Presidents Leaves PTA Sadder Budweiser

--Perhaps the children of Washington and suburban Maryland should study during the TV commercials. A survey of 180 children, ages 7 to 12, showed that they can name an average of only 4.8 U.S. presidents. But they can name 5.2 alcoholic beverages. Millie Waterman, a vice president of the National Parents and Teachers Assn., said: “There’s something disastrously wrong when kids can name as many alcoholic products as presidents. We need to work on both ends of the equation--alcohol advertising must be curtailed, and the quality of education must be improved.” Among the brands cited most often, such as Budweiser, Miller Lite, Coors and Bartles & Jaymes, were those that spend millions of dollars on television advertising. Some examples from the survey, conducted by the Center for Science in the Public Interest: An 11-year-old boy correctly spelled Matilda Bay, King Cobra and Bud Light but listed Presidents Nickson and Rossevelt. A 7-year-old boy who named 10 brands of beer, wine coolers and liquor listed Presidents Aprilham Linchon and Ragon. A 10-year-old girl named 14 alcoholic beverages but only four presidents, and another 11-year-old boy listed eight drinks but thought a foot contained 16 inches. Michael Jacobson, executive director of the center, said: “This survey indicates the extent to which booze is part of the daily life of children who cannot drink legally for another 10 years.” No spokesmen for the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States or the Beer Institute could be reached immediately for comment.

--For the first time, a Vietnam veteran this week will become national commander of the American Legion. Both candidates for the post, which will be decided at a convention in Louisville, Ky., served in the Vietnam War. “I think it signifies a passing of additional responsibility to the veterans of our era, but that’s been going on for a long time,” said one of the hopefuls, H.F. (Sparky) Gierke, 45, a justice on the North Dakota Supreme Court. His opponent, Miles Epling, 38, a Point Pleasant, W. Va., court clerk, said that having only Vietnam veterans as candidates is a natural progression. Estimates of the number of Vietnam veterans among the 2.8-million Legion members range from 400,000 to 800,000, because the organization keeps no records on the question. Most members are veterans of World War II, although the current commander, John P. (Jake) Comer, and three past commanders served in Korea. About 20,000 people are expected to attend the 70th annual convention.


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