- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 26, 2003

Cypriot border crossings

The reporting on the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus' decision to relax the procedures on crossings between the North and the South ("Cypriots cross the 'Green Line,' " World, Thursday) does not accurately or adequately portray the spirit and purpose of this constructive move.
In awareness of the fact that the severe lack of trust and confidence between the two sides has been one of the main stumbling blocks in the search for a negotiated settlement in Cyprus, on April 2 our president, Rauf Denktash, put forward a package of confidence-building proposals that also included facilitation of border crossings. These proposals were not intended to serve as a substitute for a comprehensive settlement but, on the contrary, to "act as a catalyst for the realization of a mutually acceptable comprehensive settlement." The proposals were unfortunately turned down by the Greek Cypriot side.
The criticism that this latest move by the Turkish Cypriot side may be "a trap," apart from being totally unjustified, is itself a demonstration of the lack of trust and confidence between the two sides and the need to address it. Rather than trying to discredit the move, the Greek Cypriot side would do well to reconsider its stance toward these latest overtures by the Turkish Cypriot side aimed at reconciliation.

OSMAN ERTUG
Representative for the Washington office
Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus
Washington

Denmark's contribution

Thank you for running Helle Dale's column about Denmark and its contribution to the American-led war in Iraq ("Small in size, great in heart," Op-Ed, Wednesday).My dad always tells me that the measure of character is what you do when no one is looking. I think that Mrs. Dale's column reveals that ordinary Americans have not been looking but that Denmark's character is revealed: Do what is right, not what is expedient.
As my husband and I make travel plans for the future avoiding Canada, France, Germany, Russia, China but including the United Kingdom, Spain, Australia and Italy we are now adding Denmark to our list.

KELLY MCGRAW
Atlanta

Response to Log Cabin Republicans

In his letter on Thursday, "Santorum distorts Constitution," David Lampo, vice president of the Log Cabin Republican Club of Virginia, stigmatizes religious conservatives as "religious bigots." Given that the organizing principle of the Log Cabin Republicans is to promote homosexuality within the Republican Party, we might characterize Mr. Lampo as a "sexually obsessed extremist." Well, OK, let's not. How about we end the name-calling? Now let's consider Mr. Lampo's truly distorted view of the Constitution.
Mr. Lampo contends that Sen. Rick Santorum, Pennsylvania Republican, erred by noting that the Constitution does not define any right to privacy, which it doesn't. Then Mr. Lampo concedes that "the Constitution doesn't say anything about sex at all." Yes, the framers left such matters largely to the states, which is why it would be a colossal act of judicial tyranny if the Supreme Court strikes down the Texas sodomy law.
Then Mr. Lampo says the Constitution was "meant to restrict government power." He neglects to note that the Constitution was designed to restrict federal power, leaving most matters to the states. If states decide that discouraging sodomy is good public policy based on public health and moral concerns, then it is no business of the federal government to usurp that power.
When Congress enacted the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996, it did so by carefully applying the authority granted it within the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the Constitution. There has been no such national authority given to the "right" to sodomy.
Finally, Mr. Lampo directly criticizes me for observing that the Log Cabin Republicans oppose a true "big tent" for the GOP "because they criticize Mr. Santorum." Log Cabiners did more than criticize, though: The group has called for sacking this bright young star of the Republican Party from the GOP leadership. The message seems to be to bend your knee to the homosexual agenda or lose your voice. That's their version of "tolerance"? The Republican Party would do well to consider Log Cabiners a group utterly at odds with its pro-family platform and treat it accordingly.

SANDY RIOS
President
Concerned Women for America
Washington

Cornfed doesn't mean fat

The lack of physical activity in the United States is a primary cause of the obesity epidemic, as Bruce Bartlett correctly points out in his column "Fast-food thumbs on the scales" (Commentary, Wednesday).
However, I must question Mr. Bartlett's reporting that "restrictions on sugar imports encourage domestic food manufacturers to use high-fructose corn syrup [HFCS], which may be more fattening than old-fashioned sugar," and his assertion that HFCS has contributed to the obesity epidemic.
First, it is a well-established fact that the U.S. price of HFCS is in no way linked to the domestic price for sugar. Moreover, the U.S. sugar program, which was part of the 2002 farm bill and previous farm trade legislation before that, was adopted by Congress at the urging of U.S. sugar producers and the growers of a number of other U.S. agricultural commodities that benefit from that legislation. As processors specifically the corn wet milling industry we did not play an active role in the passage of the farm bill. It also is important to note that obesity rates are high and rising in Europe, where, due to sugar subsidies and trade tariffs, HFCS consumption is virtually nonexistent.
Furthermore, there is no scientific study that suggests that HFCS is consumed differently from sugar or that links the consumption of HFCS to the rise in obesity or significant weight gain in America. To assert otherwise triggers alarmist reactions without scientific significance.
An analysis of annual HFCS production would reveal that it is composed of approximately equal parts fructose and glucose essentially the same composition of table sugar or sucrose. Government agencies, scientists and food professionals agree that whether it comes from sucrose or HFCS, the source of dietary glucose and fructose is metabolically indistinguishable to the human body.
Food, by definition, is a substance ingested to produce energy, stimulate growth and maintain life. Carbohydrates, fats and proteins are essential body nutrients. It is only the quantities and combinations of these foods that can have a negative effect.
The key word we must consider is "balance." The best way for Americans to combat obesity is to increase physical activity while enjoying balanced diets and moderate consumption of all foods and beverages.

AUDRAE ERICKSON
President
Corn Refiners Association Inc.
Washington


Columnist Bruce Bartlett bemoans the current obesity epidemic and its huge costs but, while offering no solutions or even new approaches, ridicules lawsuits against fast food restaurants.
Yet, a paper he himself cites establishes that fast food restaurants were responsible for more than 65 percent of the rise in American obesity. So why shouldn't they be forced to pay their fair share of the $117 billion-a-year cost that is now largely borne by the non-obese in the form of inflated taxes and bloated health-insurance premiums?
Since my law students won the first fat lawsuit against McDonald's and a second fat suit was just won in New York the fast food giant has begun warning people not to eat out more than once a week at its outlets, has agreed to disclose the calories and fat content of its foods at the point of purchase, has added salads and less fattening deserts to its menus and will now allow children to substitute fresh fruit for french fries in their Happy Meals.
Yes, as Fortune magazine recently predicted, "Fat [may be] the Next Tobacco" another public health problem against which legal action has been so effective despite the skepticism of critics.

JOHN F. BANZHAF III
Professor of public interest law
George Washington University Law School
Washington

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