Letters to the Editor

This is Viewpoints for Sunday, April 19, 2015

Well done

I was pleased to hear that state Rep. Larry O’Neal, R-Bonaire, who is our House majority leader, will retire very soon to be an important judge in Georgia’s new Tax Tribunal. There he will hopefully solve disputes between taxpayers and our state Department of Revenue. Certainly a challenge. O’Neal has done so much to protect Robins Air Force Base by trying to end encroachment by buying up properties at the end of the runway and defending our veterans. He is a major supporter of our new Veterans Training Center. The citizens of Warner Robins will miss our able and loyal defender of the International City.

-- Frank W. Gadbois

Warner Robins

Be alcohol aware

Since 1987, April has been designated as Alcohol Awareness Month. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, most adults who drink alcohol do so in moderation and are at low risk for developing problems related to their drinking. Moderation, however, is essential.

Over the course of the month, take some time to reflect on your own alcohol consumption patterns. A helpful source of information is the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The guidelines include important information about the health effects of alcohol consumption.

The U.S. Dietary Guidelines define moderate drinking as up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men. The guidelines define a standard drink as 12 fluid ounces of regular beer, 5 fluid ounces of wine, and 1.5 fluid ounces of 80 proof distilled spirits. Each of these standard drinks contains the same amount of alcohol -- 0.6 fluid ounces.

Since beer, wine and distilled spirits products may come in different sizes and alcohol content, these clearly defined standard drink amounts serve as an important benchmark to help consumers follow the dietary guidelines’ recommendation for moderate drinking.

Importantly, research shows that just having a brief discussion with a health professional can help individuals moderate their alcohol consumption. So talk with your family physician about your personal alcohol intake. Together, you can determine if you are consuming alcohol as part of a healthy lifestyle or if you need to cut back or abstain from drinking alcohol altogether.

-- Raymond Scalettar, M.D.

Washington, D.C.

A common thread?

What is the one thing the Republican presidential candidates all have in common? All allege they want to fix Social Security by privatizing, raising the retirement age or investing in a private retirement fund.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., conceded he would have to cut Social Security and Medicare in order to pay for an extension of the Bush tax cuts. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, would increase the retirement age. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., proposes increasing the retirement age and investing part of our Social Security in a private retirement fund. And Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J., went on a rant literally advocating abolishing Social Security.

Raising the retirement age might sound rational. But there are a few problems. During the Bush era, millions of Americans lost their jobs. Companies would not hire older workers. They had little choice but to apply for Social Security when eligible at age 62.

Investing part of our Social Security in a private retirement fund would be another major mistake. During the Bush era, when millions lost their jobs, they exhausted their savings accounts to stay afloat. It has become a political trend with Republicans to fix Social Security.

Fixing Social Security is simply: Remove the cap. Not one Republican has expressed support for lifting the cap. Or suppose proposals addressing income adequacy for millions of beneficiaries of all ages.

Senior citizens need to be wary of supporting Republicans. They will repay you by cutting your Social Security.

-- Ronald L. Cain

Elko

Turn of a phrase

There is an old saying of “Justice delayed is justice denied,” but in the case of John G. Kelley’s friend, Mutt, that proved not to be the case. In recounting his friend’s accident, (Viewpoints, 4/15) John likened the wheels of justice to a “rickshaw in a boggy swamp.” Nice turn of phrase there, John G.

I eagerly await your next letter so I might mine a few more of what seems to be an endless vein of linguistic gems.

-- Bob Carnot

Warner Robins

Bad president

Some Republicans have stated that President Obama is “the worst president in history.” In 2008 and 2009, the country was hemorrhaging jobs at a rate of 800,000 a month. There has been over 60 consecutive months of job growth, with 2014 being the best year since 1999. Wall Street and the banking industry are back on their feet and making record profits after a near-collapse seven years ago. There are fewer uninsured Americans (mostly due to people getting jobs and not the Affordable Care Act). The budget deficit has been reduced by two-thirds, without raising taxes. The economy is doing nicely under this “terrible” president. I hope our next one is just as bad or even worse.

-- William D. Carter

Bonaire

Time to switch

Just in time for the 45th anniversary of Earth Day on Wednesday, the U.S. Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee has made it official: Consumption of animal products is not environmentally sustainable. Their conclusions match those of a massive 2010 United Nations report, which concluded that a global shift toward a vegan diet is vital to save the world from hunger, fuel poverty and climate change.

Carbon dioxide, the chief greenhouse gas, is emitted by burning forests to create animal pastures and by combustion of fossil fuels to operate farm machinery, trucks, refrigeration equipment, factory farms and slaughterhouses. The much more damaging methane and nitrous oxide are released from digestive tracts of cattle and from animal waste cesspools.

Moreover, animal agriculture contributes more pollutants to our waterways than other human activities combined. Principal sources are animal waste, soil particles, minerals, crop debris, fertilizers and pesticides from feed croplands. It is also the driving force in worldwide deforestation and wildlife habitat destruction.

In an environmentally sustainable world, just as fossil fuels are replaced by wind, solar and other sustainable energy sources, animal foods must be replaced by vegetables, fruits and grains. Our next trip to the supermarket is a great starting point.

-- Morris Newman

Macon

Alien drivers

My blood boiled when I read the article by D.A. King concerning the unrecorded vote by the Georgia Senate that would have prevented licenses and public benefits including eligibility to unemployment compensation and official Georgia ID cards to illegal aliens. This might sound terrible, but if we had a shoot-to-kill law when trying to cross our borders illegally, the passage of illegal aliens would stop.

Then perhaps they would go and petition their country to give them benefits rather than our country. Perhaps the Senate believes that this is the only way to get these illegals to pay taxes. That would be fine for them to pay up, but what is to stop more from coming into our open borders? Many die in the desert trying to get into our country, but it would only take one or two when shot at to get the message that they are not welcome.

-- Jane Wilson

Macon

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