Letters to the Editor 8/30

August 29, 2000

Letters to the Editor 8/30

Stop the gambling

To the editor:

The gambling industry is a predatory industry. When it looks to expand, it looks for places where local governments are strapped for cash. Then it moves in.

That's why gambling is now big business on Native American reservations. That's why Mississippi is now awash in casinos. And that's why West Virginia is next in line.

For the last two years, the gambling industry has given more money to West Virginia's political candidates than even the coal industry. That is unheard of where coal has been king. As a result, we have a push to add a casino to the Greenbrier resort.


Even more serious, politicians are considering legalizing video poker machines as a way to increase revenue. Bob Wise wants to fund a flawed Promise Scholarship program with poker proceeds. Cecil Underwood has made only token and useless attempts to raid video poker machines.

Why is this a problem? There are several reasons. First, once gambling gets a foothold, it is difficult to stop it. Once the Greenbrier has a casino, other resorts will be standing in line. And once businesses, and especially goverments, become dependent on gambling revenue, it's difficult to go back.

What are the problems related to the gambling industry? People become addicted; those who spend the most money are those who can least afford it. Politicians can't get elected without gambling ties. Gambling brings in organized crime. It kills local businesses, especially family-oriented business. It attracts sleazy establishments. Crime increases; so does child neglect and domestic abuse.

South Carolina's state government is on the road back from gambling revenue addiction. It's not easy, but West Virginia should learn the lesson. We're not yet so far gone that we can't call a halt. But South Carolina's machines are invading our state. The machines are getting more sophisticated and attractive. So are the lobbyists.

We should ban video poker and stop the spread of gambling. Do we really want to owe our soul to the company casino?

Denise Giardina

Mountain Party candidate

for West Virginia governor

Charleston, W.Va.

Health tips from rat-eaters

To the editor:

It's unfortunate to see Richard Hatch and the other "Survivor" final four contestants being taken advantage of by the shameless dairy industry to star in its latest milk-mustache ads. As a physician, I recommend against taking your nutritional cues from folks who recently ate roasted rats, speared fish and live bugs.

In dairy's case, doctors know that not just surviving, but thriving, is quite easy without milk. Its calcium can be easily obtained through such sources as fortified orange and apple juice, leafy dark-green vegetables, beans, and calcium-set tofu. Those dairy alternatives do not pose the health dangers inherent in cholesterol-laden milk, from cardiovascular disease to insulin-dependent diabetes to prostate, breast, and ovarian cancers. And milk's biggest alleged selling point, its power to stave off osteoporosis, shatters under scrutiny. The massive Harvard Nurses' Health Study, which looked at 75,000 women over an 11-year time period, found that heavy milk drinkers suffered higher bone-fracture rates than those drinking little or no milk.

Ditching dairy and other animal products, won't garner you $1 million, but in terms of health, it'll make you a real winner. And you won't have to humiliate yourself on TV or in print.

Neal D. Barnard M.D.

Physicians for Responsible Medicine

Washington, D.C.

Beauty more than height-deep

To the editor:

We tend to forget and need to be educated that in today's society no one is perfect. Each and every one of us has things we can and cannot do.

I overheard a conversation yesterday in a hair salon and it's a shame that we live in a society that is so close-minded when it comes to dating someone of short stature.

Although this conversation wasn't directed at me I happen to be someone of short stature and I can relate to it.

Maybe if you people out there didn't concentrate so much on one's physical appearance you would have better relationships with someone who has a "true gift" inside instead of the decorated package on the outside.

I happen to be a well-educated humorous, determined, attractive female who is tired of the closed-mindness out there.

I wish someday I could meet a man in this area who would be a man not just a male who would accept me for who I am and not be a coward as far as getting to know me.

Till then I not only miss out, but you do as well.

Helen Willis


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