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?
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.
DON JERNIGAN, TVA
Senior Vice President, Nuclear Operations
BARBARA MARTOCCI, APR
TVA Senior Manager, Media Relations
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.
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.
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.
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.