I have a question. When a football player does not stand for the National Anthem, exactly what is he protesting? Protesting police shootings of black men? Law enforcement officers shooting black men make up much less than 1 percent of black homicides (most "victims" are armed criminals) but 15 black men killed by other black men every day!
Protesting our President who was elected? The folks who voted for him watch football, too. Our country? Try going anyplace else and getting paid millions to play ball. And, while there are some good countries in the world, no place else can a person work hard and make a good life whether they are a cashier at Wal-Mart or a Chik-Fil-A store owner. Really — what do you want?
John B. Stephens, Columbus
Many of us take for granted that we can pick up our phone, dial our friends and family, and stay connected with the rest of the world. Or that we can hop online and shoot a friend an e-mail, access vital government services, or apply for a job.
But imagine what it would be like if you were suddenly laid off and couldn’t afford to pay your telecommunications bill. Imagine if you worked one or two jobs and barely made enough to pay the rent and had to sacrifice your voice and broadband service.
Unfortunately, too many people in the U.S. and in Georgia face this problem every day and do not have even access to basic telecommunications service. In our state, approximately 780,000 people cannot afford any kind of telecommunications service and are disconnected from friends, family, and emergency services. These consumers cannot even dial 911.
There is good news, though. Many of these consumers may qualify for an assistance program — Lifeline — that discounts a portion of their monthly telecommunications bill. Lifeline provides qualified consumers savings on voice, broadband or voice-broadband bundled services. As chairman of the Georgia Public Service Commission, I am participating in a national event to raise awareness of, and participation in, these important public-assistance programs.
Lifeline helps low-income consumers connect to the nation’s communications networks, find jobs, access health care services, connect with family, and call for help in an emergency.
Our goal is to connect as many people as possible. We hope that by raising awareness of Lifeline, we can ensure that more consumers can call their friends, their families, and life-saving services. In today’s highly interconnected world, no one should be left out.
For more information, contact the commission at 404-656-4501 or toll free at 1-800-282-5813, or visit our website at www.psc.state.ga.us.
Stan Wise, Chairman, Georgia Public Service Commission
The recent article “This is why drinking soda could make you fat, Georgia scientists say,” ignores the fact that federal data shows obesity has been going up steadily for years even though soda consumption has been going down steadily. If the two were connected obesity rates should have gone down as consumption went down — but that isn’t the case.
No single source of calories is uniquely responsible for obesity or any other disease. Science tells us that obesity and obesity-related conditions such as diabetes have multiple risk factors that include genetics, a lack of physical activity and the overconsumption of calories from any source.
Calories from soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages make up only six percent of the calories in the American diet. The rest come from all other foods and beverages, with food as the top source of added sugars.
Georgia’s beverage makers share the goal of a strong, healthy America, which is why we are investing in efforts to meaningfully address complex health challenges like obesity. We are driving a reduction in the sugar and calories consumed from beverages across America.
We’re working with community leaders and stakeholders; we are providing more choices with less sugar or no sugar at all. Our companies are placing clear calorie labels on the front of all of our products, as well as providing the encouragement to cut back on sugar and calories from beverages with calorie awareness signs on company-controlled vending machines, fountain equipment and retail coolers nationwide.
Initiatives like these are what will drive true and lasting change here in Georgia and across our nation.
Kevin Perry, executive director, Georgia Beverage Association
With the new school year upon us, more than 31 million children rely on school meals for their daily nutrition, which too often consists of highly processed food laden with saturated fat. Not surprisingly, one-third of our children have become overweight or obese, raising their risk of diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
Fortunately, many U.S. school districts now offer vegetarian options. More than 120 schools, including the entire school districts of Baltimore, Boston, Buffalo, Detroit, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Oakland, Philadelphia, and San Diego have implemented Meatless Monday.
As parents, we need to involve our own children and school cafeteria managers in promoting healthy, plant-based foods in our local schools. Entering "vegan options in schools" in a search engine provides lots of useful resources.
Jeffery Bauman, Columbus