published Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

"Weather not factor in South’s obesity" and more letters to the editors

Weather not factor in South’s obesity

In a July 8 article on obesity in the South, a local doctor stated that Tennessee’s winter weather is a contributing factor to the high rate of obesity because residents become couch potatoes and don’t exercise due to the poor weather, while those in Colorado can exercise outside by skiing and skating, and thereby are less obese. This is a lame excuse for a sad and costly situation!

The South is blessed with weather almost year-round that allows for outdoor exercise. For months, Colorado has frigid temps, blizzards and deep snow — hardly calls to jump off the couch! Perhaps there is an overall healthier, active mindset in Colorado.

Although I am not a researcher or a doctor, I would venture to guess that higher obesity numbers in the South are due to poor diet choices, low education levels, cultural continuation of poor food choices, the convenience of fast food restaurants, laziness, and a sedentary lifestyle. Sadly, it is fast becoming a self-perpetuating cycle, passed from parent to child.

A dire situation indeed, but weather has nothing to do with it!

Oh, and would you like a fried Oreo with that super size corn dog combo?


Lookout Mountain

TVA responses calm, professional

When tornados on April 27 knocked out power to TVA’s Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant, all three nuclear reactors automatically shut down.

Within seconds, emergency diesel generators started as designed, providing electricity to key reactor safety systems. The atmosphere in the control rooms was calm professionalism as highly-trained reactor operators efficiently did their work and safely secured each reactor.

They faced the unique and complex job of safely shutting down three reactors at once and keeping them cool. As control room alarms sounded, they were ready to intercede as necessary. Their training kicked in while being closely monitored by Nuclear Regulatory Commission resident inspectors.

Our reactors are designed, built and operated to withstand these types of challenges. Our people are trained to deal with such challenges.

A recent story in this newspaper put our Browns Ferry performance in a different light, stating there were serious issues in the storm aftermath and TVA hid the facts from the public. On our initiative, we promptly reported every challenge to the NRC; the reports were public. Daily updates went to the media. None of these challenges ever threatened the public or reactor safety.

I’m proud of the employees of Browns Ferry and their dedicated teamwork.


Senior Vice President, Nuclear Operations


TVA Senior Manager, Media Relations

America’s decline began years ago

Watching the last flight of the space shuttle was a time for reflection for me. This was in fact the crowning show of the decline of the United States of America.

I’m old enough to remember the Great Depression. It was bad, but there was hope. The attempt at artificially induced recovery planted the seeds of our current demise.

Forty years ago, the U.S. was the world leader. Innovation, finance, production, hard work, leadership, supply house for the world, athletics, military, health and space exploration and much more. I was proud to be an American.

Today we have debt, fraud, obesity, immorality, high taxes, government control, illegal drug consumption, low balance of trade, heath care rationing, lost border integrity, pornography, to mention a few, and it’s getting worse.

The root cause is unintended consequences of well-intended actions by our government, squandering life and money, that has resulted in more than half the population being parasites demanding that government take from the remainder who work and support them in luxury.

Now, I hesitate to admit, I’m an American and part of what we have become.


Tracy City, Tenn.

Don’t let wealth be sucked to top

Last year, Republican senators would not pass any legislation, even relief for 911 responders, until they got their way about keeping taxes low on the wealthy.

That was bad, but the House Republicans have topped that with their uncompromising stance and willingness to use the financial solvency of the country to get their way about protecting the rich from reasonable tax increases so badly needed to close our budget shortfall. This tactic is beyond irresponsible, it is insane.

Ever since Reagan and “supply side” economics, the only group to prosper has been the rich, whose share of the wealth of the nation has increased dramatically while the middle class sinks. Our democracy and tax system are a necessary check to the growing power of the rich. A progressive tax is necessary to keep all the wealth from being sucked up to the top, instead of being kept in circulation keeping our economy strong.


Term limits needed, unlikely

There is a basic flaw in our form of government that should be fixable, but the flaw itself precludes its repair.

The flaw is that we do not have term limits for our legislators. Without term limits we have created an occupation our forefathers probably never considered, a career politician. A career politician has only one priority — to get re-elected. And how do you get re-elected? You definitely do not make the tough decisions that will help solve our country’s problems.

If the president and senators were limited to one six-year term, and the House of Representatives to two, two-year terms, we would attract a different kind of person to public office.

With term limits the priority would shift from buying votes to fixing problems. We would no longer attract people who are only interested in the pomp and circumstance of public office. Holding office would be a personal sacrifice. The salary is not that great, there is no pension, no long-term future in Washington; the only reason they are there is to represent the people of the United States.

It would work, but it won’t happen. How do you ask a career politician to vote himself out of office?


Mineral Bluff, Ga.

Debt debate has varied outcomes

The Republicans have made it clear that they will not vote to raise the debt ceiling unless Congress cuts trillions of dollars from federal spending.

I see four possible outcomes.

One: the two sides fail to reach a deal and the Republicans carry through with their threat, thereby causing the U.S. government to default. The senior citizens, deprived of their Social Security checks and Medicare, exact revenge on the Republicans next November.

Two: The Republicans, still without a deal, realize that Option One is suicidal and vote to raise the debt ceiling anyway. In this case, they reveal that they were bluffing and have nothing to show for it.

Three: Obama and the Democrats are so scared of default that they give the Republicans everything that they want while getting nothing in return. In this case, rank and file Democrats abandon the party in November.

Four: The two sides strike a deal cutting spending and raising taxes. Both sides can claim victory because each achieved some of their objectives.

This outcome is the best for all concerned but most of all for Obama because he gets to claim credit for solving problems by bringing the two sides together.


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lkeithlu said...

"The root cause is unintended consequences of well-intended actions by our government, squandering life and money, that has resulted in more than half the population being parasites demanding that government take from the remainder who work and support them in luxury."

Only 8% of the US population are on some form of assistance (1.7% receive more than half of their income as assistance). Are you counting farmers and oil companies who receive subsidies in your "half"? Or are you calling retirees on medicare and social security "parasites"? Just how do you come up with your "half" statement? As well, the only retirees I know living in luxury are those that invested well and made a good salary so that they receive a good pension. Perhaps government employees that retire on gov pensions are "parasites" in your definition.

July 19, 2011 at 9:55 a.m.
lkeithlu said...

I hardly think CA lifeguards make up a significant drain on the economy, and anyone who puts their own lives on the line to save others deserves respect.

My spouse is not a gov employee, yet through careful investment and commitment to retirement programs will receive pretty close to his salary. I don't consider anyone who works or who completed their professional career to be a parasite, even if they happen to work for the government. I also don't consider those on disability parasites; as a supposed "Christian" nation we should take care of those who can no longer work. I have only one problem with welfare: it doesn't expire. It does not help anyone "get a start"; it is designed to keep them dependent, especially when it rewards having more children.

July 19, 2011 at 2:55 p.m.
Rational1 said...

I am retired military. I am also retired US Government Civil Service (401K contributor). I am a Social Security recipient (42 years of contributions) I am on MEDICARE, and I have cancer (Agent Orange). Now, I am a "parasite'.

July 19, 2011 at 4:02 p.m.
Livn4life said...

The only "answer" is term limits but it will not be embraced Dean Goodman. It is too bad our founding fathers never dreamed we could have the career politicians whose first motive is always re-election. "artificially induced recovery" there is a very descriptive term Rich Fisher and do not forget we have a very strong artificial inducer of recovery in the White House and sadly a lot of unseeing people going along with it and believing in it.

July 19, 2011 at 4:40 p.m.
lkeithlu said...

A few overpaid lifeguards does not detract from the exaggerated "half" in the letter I addressed. I know many examples of people paid what many think may be too much for what they do, and far more examples of people paid WAY too little considering the responsibilities they bear. My point is this:

There are two practices that detract from solving the real problems of this country:

One is exaggerating the issue, using skewed figures and portraying a twisted reality using anecdotes. Anyone can find real examples of extreme incidents to illustrate their position, but substituting anecdotes for data is misleading. For example, everyone knows of "bad" teachers. My youngest child encountered one of these. Yet this teacher was only one of dozens in the school; the rest were fantastic, dedicated and kind. In other words, make sure you look at the whole picture, rather than letting an anecdotal example represent the whole kit and kaboodle.

The other is stereotyping. Time and again I see on this website and many others stereotypes used to describe people. Conservatives are white, obese, SUV driving rednecks, Liberals are brainless, parasitic tree-hugging berkinstock-wearing dreamers. All conservatives think that Obama is the antiChrist, all liberals think that Bachmann is a loony. All college professors live in ivory towers completely disconnected to the "real world". All GOP members are greedy industrialists. All poor people are lazy and drug addicted. These stereotypes are not only inaccurate, they do NOTHING to promote discussion and understanding of various viewpoints, nor do they move the country forward.

July 20, 2011 at 9:20 a.m.
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