Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor: April 28

Do your diligence before calling lean beef 'pink slime'

In reference to lean finely textured beef (publicly ridiculed as "pink slime"), as I understand it, Beef Products Inc. makes use of beef scraps by separating fat from muscle, and incorporates it into their ground beef.

According to an article in Food Safety News, "The BPI grinding process is built around a centrifuge that removes beef fat, resulting in a product that is 90 percent or more lean beef.

The process includes the use of an ammonia and water bath (ammonium hydroxide), which has proven to be one of the beef industry's most successful interventions against harmful bacteria."

Flagrant use of the word ammonia, which sounds like a bad thing, has been a big part of the negative publicity.

Our own bodies make ammonia; ammonium hydroxide is used as a leavening agent in baking and it's used in manufacturing peanut butter, condiments, chocolates, cheeses and many other foods and beverages, with meat having less ammonium hydroxide than many other products.

BPI is a family-owned business. Misinformation has led to a loss of business and layoffs. There is a chance BPI will not recover from the damage done by stories that misrepresent the truth and scare consumers.

I urge big-name buyers like Kroger, McDonald's and school districts to carefully perform fact-checking and to make good decisions based on scientific information and recommendations from food industry specialists.

And we consumers need to do our own due diligence to keep social, print and broadcast media from using our fears to boost their ratings.

Nancy Dicken


T-shirt controversy

I read with interest and dismay Blaine Adamson's defense of Hands On Original's refusal to print t-shirts for the Lexington Pride Festival. Adamson's actions are stated to be predicated on his Christian principles, saying, "as a Christian owner, I cannot in good conscience endorse groups or events that run counter to my convictions."

Paradoxically, Adamson asks for tolerance and respect for his perspective, "I hope everyone will have the same respect and tolerance for views and beliefs that may differ from their own," but justifies exercising his own intolerance of those participating in the Pride Festival as following his "conscience."

I agree that business owners have the right to make business decisions based on their values. However, those who use the services of those businesses have every right to seek services elsewhere. That's the way it works.

Rush Limbaugh exercised his right to recently call a woman a "slut" but he paid the price for it in lost revenue, a damaged reputation, and a public uproar. He found out the hard way that there are consequences for exercising free speech at the expense of others.

Research overwhelmingly confirms what gays have known all their lives: that sexual orientation is hard-wired; it is not a choice.

Does Adamson have the right to his belief that there are flaws in those creations? Yes he does, but he must also be willing to accept the public backlash from those who push back as they honor their conscience.

Steven Smith


No to universal care

Health care is a necessity and the United States has the best health care system in the world. However, with inflation, health care premiums have increased, leaving many people without insurance.

President Barack Obama is trying to get everyone on universal health care, which leaves the government in control of who, what, when and how services will be provided to American citizens.

I know this will eliminate some of the high cost of insurance premiums we currently have, but in many cases, businesses will pay a fee to not provide coverage to their employees and, as a result, citizens will be forced to buy universal health care.

Is this unconstitutional? How can the government force an individual to buy a certain service or product?

If the government gets that much control, they can tell individuals where to live, what to eat and what to buy. The only benefit I can imagine from universal health care is everyone will have insurance, but that does not mean the quality of services will be any better than we currently receive.

How does this help the government get out of the deficit we are currently in? It seems to me this will increase our deficit.

One of the ways Americans can possibly be able to afford health insurance is lowering taxes so Americans can keep more money of their paychecks to pay insurance premiums. That would be more beneficial.

Margo Carey


No Buffett rule

President Barack Obama's Buffett rule debate is just plain silly.

The tax rate on individuals' earnings from investments — interest, dividends and capital gains — is basically 15 percent, lower than the tax on employment income. Investment earnings are taxed at a lower rate because the investor has already paid taxes on the income he has received and invested.

Also, if the investor has received dividends from a company and then reinvests them, the corporation which paid the dividends to the investor has already paid corporate income tax on them ranging from 15 percent to 38 percent in federal tax plus 4 percent to 6 percent (in Kentucky) state tax.

To compare Buffett's overall income tax rate (the majority of which is based on investment income) to his secretary's (the majority of which is employment income) is like comparing bananas to battleships. It's silly.

Besides, this is just a political ploy to deflect citizens' attention from Obama's economic policies that have resulted in the slowest recovery in our nation's history.

Riddle me this: If initial claims for unemployment pay are currently averaging 340,000 per week and in the first three months of 2012 the number of non-farm jobs has increased an average of 212,000 per month, how can the unemployment rate be falling and employment growing?

Ray Davis