Letters to the Editor

April 7: Letters to the editor

Don't blame soft drinks for obesity

I wanted to address some misleading comments in the recent published article: "Tax sugar and fat to pay the cost of indulgence."

There is simply no comparison between soft drinks and cigarettes. One can be consumed in moderation as part of a balanced lifestyle. The other cannot.

It is overly simplistic and misleading to suggest that obesity is caused by sugar-sweetened beverages and that a soda tax will reverse obesity and obesity-related illnesses. As common sense dictates, weight gain and obesity are caused by an imbalance between calories consumed and those burned off through physical activity. No single food, beverage or ingredient causes obesity.

Furthermore, an analysis of data from the 2010 Dietary Guidelines shows that calories from soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages account for only 7 percent of the calories in the average American diet. Singling out a small fraction of the diet and ignoring the other 93 percent of calories will only distract from meaningful solutions toward solving the complex issue of obesity.

It is also important to note that today the average number of calories per beverage serving is down 23 percent since 1998 due to availability of more low- and no-calorie options. During this same time period, obesity rates have continued to rise, according to the Centers for Disease Control. If consumption is declining while obesity continues to rise, then soda and sugar-sweetened beverages simply cannot be a unique contributor to obesity.

Leslie A. Fugate

Executive Director

Kentucky Beverage Association

Change zip line law

Recently I was in San Francisco and watched many people enjoying a zip line that was operating across the street from the Ferry Terminal — the undisputed center of the city.

No one can argue that San Francisco does not take zoning very seriously, so how could a similar installation at the eastern edge of our county be anything but positive? Let people enjoy themselves.

The argument that it conflicts with our zoning laws can be easily satisfied — simply change the law.

Our community should be backing rather than trying to block this innovative project.

John Ragland


Dems the problem

It's amazing how Gov. Steve Beshear is trying to take credit for the new tone in Frankfort.

The willingness of legislators had nothing to do with any of his speeches, but rather was the result of a century of stagnation in the Democratic-controlled state House. This great state was to the point that action was unavoidable, and that's nothing to be proud of.

Moreover, the governor vetoed a bill relating to religious freedom, only to have his veto overridden, and he was against Medi-Share, which was a religion-based health insurance program. Has Beshear declared war on religion in Kentucky?

How about the tepid response to the hemp initiative? Speaker Greg Stumbo and the state House leadership did everything they could to kill a bill that would create jobs, particularly in relation to reclaimed strip mines in Eastern Kentucky.

The crop can be grown on those marginal lands, harvested and processed into biofuel at a processing center to be located in the region, yet Beshear and Stumbo were too busy playing phone tag with Ashley Judd.

We need serious representation in Kentucky moving forward. Whether it's the BEAM project in the economic development zone between Lexington and Louisville, the coal and natural gas fields of both West and East Kentucky, or the growing tourism that the Bourbon Trail is bringing to our state, Kentucky must be positioned for this new century.

Under the century-old, good ol' boy Democratic Party's tenure, we're nowhere close to where we need to be to compete.

Bill Marshall


Not licensed to kill

Will the intense defenders of the constitutional right to bear arms please explain to me why, to drive an automobile I must pass a test and prove I can drive so that I can be licensed and then obtain a license for the auto and prove that I have insurance, but you feel that you must be able to obtain any gun, which is made to kill people, without a license showing that you can use the gun safely or registration of that weapon?

David S. Swan


Don't mistake HSUS

The complaints from the Humane Society of the United States (not affiliated with any Kentucky humane societies) about the state Board of Agriculture's standards on animal care have no credibility ("Agriculture board approves livestock care standards despite objections," March 27).

Not only does HSUS have zero livestock veterinarians on its executive staff, but it has an ulterior agenda to end animal agriculture completely.

HSUS's food policy director, a former PETA activist, has wildly compared using farm animals for food to the Nazi Holocaust. Its vice president for farm animal issues has said that "eating meat causes animal cruelty," and its CEO is an avowed vegan who is not only against livestock farming and hunting but has even said "I don't want to see another cat or dog born."

Unfortunately, most Americans think HSUS is affiliated with local pet shelters, according to public polling.

Kentuckians who don't want to support a radical animal liberation agenda should be sure that their charitable donations go to local animal groups, not HSUS.

Rick Berman

Executive Director, Center for Consumer Freedom

Washington, DC

Legalize marijuana

The United States should begin a phased re-legalization of marijuana.

I am not endorsing smoking cannabis, which is clearly harmful to the lungs, causes impairment and can be addictive in a minority of people. That said, it should never have been illegal. Its criminalization in the 1930s was fueled partly be anti-Hispanic bias and by wildly sensational government propaganda.

As to its harmful effects, it is less addictive than cigarettes and far less damaging to the body than serious alcohol abuse. Most users do not go on to become addicts of more dangerous drugs.

Marijuana has known medical uses for glaucoma patients and it helps alleviate symptoms (e.g. loss of appetite) of terminal illnesses such as cancer. Its illogical classification as a schedule I drug hampers further medical research and has held back the separate industrial hemp industry.

As a Christian I am disturbed that thousands of non-violent Americans are imprisoned for what is essentially a poor health choice. The Bible never even condemns the plant despite the fact it has been known for millennia.

Legalizing cannabis would deny violent criminal organizations a vital revenue source, free up DEA resources to combat more harmful substances, reduce strain on our prison system, allow for quality controls, provide a new tax source and hopefully provide new medicines for those suffering from serious illnesses.

I therefore urge a federal legalization first for medical marijuana and then expanding to full legalization.

Kyle Richie


Carbon capture

On March 31 two op-ed articles addressed the environmental and economic impacts of climate change on Kentucky and noted concerns for capturing C0², and some of the uses of said captured material, such as enhanced oil and gas recovery via injection.

What is surprising is that neither article noted the fact that the global leader for carbon capture technology currently calls Lexington home. Said technology is the creation of Liang Hu, Ph.D. and his 3H Company, currently housed at the University of Kentucky Coldstream campus.

This is the second generation of carbon capture technology, and its patented process features a huge financial advantage associated with capture costs.

It is the only technology to meet the U.S. Department of Energy guidelines established as target goals for energy consumption (cost) and process output. The process, C0² Capture by Phase Transitional Absorption, has endorsements from the Electric Power Research Institute and has received support from both the DOE and the National Science Foundation, as well as various energy producers, and has been publicly recognized by the U.S. energy secretary as the most promising related technology.

With Kentucky coal weighing in the balance as a long-term fuel for power generation, it would seem that Kentucky coal producers would be interested to find such a globally recognized economic tool so close to home.

Likewise, the process is applicable to natural gas, and can remove both C0² and H²S (hydrosulphuric acid), problematic elements for natural gas producers.

Ted Tudor


Trees for parking

While I don't share the newspaper's odd enthusiasm for the downtown parking racket (I've always thought that meter maids are like prostitutes, in that they troll the city streets to make money in an unsavory way, only slightly less honorable), your April 3 editorial, "City's parking move paying off," offers the opportunity to advance an idea I've had for a while.

Let's have an ordinance which requires all parking lots in Fayette County to have at least one living tree per four parking spaces, distributed more or less evenly throughout the parking lot.

New lots would be designed for this; owners of existing lots would have, say, five to seven years to catch up.

This idea would make parking lots cooler, prettier and more inviting. It would provide landscaping and tree-maintenance jobs, help restore the health of our urban forest and make Lexington a better place to be for residents and visiting shoppers.

Jim Hanna