Letters to the editor

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Peter Martin (''Sugar's bitter-sweet truths'', Times 2, January 1, p4), refers to a YouTube presentation by US researcher Robert Lustig, and reminds us that eating and drinking too much sugar is not advisable. I sincerely hope readers weren't too surprised. After all, ever since British scientist John Yudkin published his book Pure, White and Deadly in 1972, nutritional scientists have advised us to limit our intake of sugar.

It's well known that excessive consumption of sugar (or saturated fats) can lead to metabolic dysfunction and chronic disease. But should we try to remove all sweet stuff from our diet? I think not, but it does make sense to avoid placing our blood glucose control system under regular stress. There are two ways to do this.

First, we can use our muscles regularly. Physical activity of any kind reduces demand on our pancreas to produce insulin, and as the only hormone we possess with a blood glucose lowering effect, the pancreas is worth protecting.

Second, we can avoid eating or drinking concentrated sugary food or beverage on an empty stomach, in turn avoiding any rapid absorption and surge in blood glucose and of insulin in response. While it certainly makes sense to keep sugar ingestion to a minimum, if you seek out physical activity in your day, and refrain from shots of sugar on an empty stomach (candy, sweet drinks) then it is most unlikely that sugar is going to be pure, white and deadly to you.

Dick Telford, Forrest

Balance in sentencing

It is hard to disagree with David Biles' assertion that mandatory sentencing in Queensland's ''anti-bikie laws'' is unjust (''Reforms put fairness at risk'', Times2, January 2, pp1,4.) It is equally hard to disagree a mandatory life sentence under the ''three strikes and you're out'' principle in the US, when applied to crimes such as petty theft, is idiotic.

It is easy to agree that all mandatory sentencing legislation should be reviewed. Yet it is not possible to agree with the extrapolation that there is no ''justification for the continuation of mandatory sentencing''. That is akin to adopting the extremist argument that the acknowledged evils of the prison system mandate its dismantlement.

Gary J. Wilson, MacGregor

Jolie bad show

The article ''Angelina arrival perhaps a bridge too far'' (Private Capital, December 28, p10) reported on rumours of Hollywood's interest in filming on the south coast and quoted Bega Valley Shire's general manager Leanne Barnes as saying the Coast ''is stunningly beautiful''. Perhaps someone should tell the Eurobodalla mayor and council about this ''stunning beauty'' since they've permitted the building of a service station at the southern end of the Kings Highway, gateway to Eurobodalla's Nature Coast. They seem to have forgotten that in 2009 this site was identified as a gateway site requiring scenic protection controls. Now a whole chunk of hillside on the western side of the highway, once covered with trees and grass, has been given over to petrol bowsers.

Eurobodalla Council prides itself on its concern for the environment and advertises the shire as an ''amazingly unspoilt landscape'' (p23 of the recent Canberra magazine Summer 2013).

Its management plan 2011-14 undertakes ''to conserve, manage and enhance the Eurobodalla Nature Coast values''. Perhaps the town of Batemans Bay and its immediate environs have been excised from the council's plan. We can only wonder.

Doris Robinson, North Batemans Bay, NSW

Question of heritage

Under an editorial heading of ''Wilson must protect rights of pale-skinned Aborigines'' (Letters, January 2) Frank McKone ponders the protection of pale-skinned Aborigines from future racial vilification following ''the injection of Tim Wilson into the Human Rights Commission as commissioner for freedom''. I would suggest that if somebody had, say, a full-blooded Aborigine as one of their 16 great-great-grandparents and no further antecedents with Aboriginal connections, then the 6.25 per cent Aboriginal heritage is surely outweighed by the 93.75 European heritage, making them mathematically, and ignoring cultural factors, dark-skinned Europeans and ironically, by the law of averages, having ancestors who contributed more to Aboriginal disadvantage than suffered from it.

Still, Frank's letter does indirectly raise several vexing issues: who can be accurately referred to as an Aborigine? should such people have special rights? to what extent does pointing out an obvious truth become vilification and can one vilify one's own culture and/or ethnicity?

Bill Deane, Chapman

Super bowls

What a delight to read a positive suggestion about where the future of lawn bowls in the ACT might be. Dave White (Letters, December 30) suggested we should look to establishing a bowling centre in the ACT rather than have the current situation where several clubs are struggling.

Ten years ago, when I was president of the now defunct Canberra South Bowling Club, I raised with Bowls ACT the issue of there being too many bowling clubs for the number of bowlers. At that time there were 36 bowling greens, spread across 12 clubs, with no more than 3000 bowlers. Those numbers represented one good bowling day per week at a club, hardly a viable proposition. I was told at that time that this was a matter for the clubs rather than for Bowls ACT. The clubs have certainly sorted the situation out, with the closure of two facilities, another one due in 15 months, another due to be relocated, and others struggling to survive.

Rather than appealing to a cash-strapped government to support individual clubs, perhaps a pooled effort among several clubs to establish a bowling centre might encourage the government to contribute. Whatever the outcome, bowlers need to face up to the costs involved in providing facilities. When our Chief Minister was asked about the situation facing West Deakin Hellenic (closing in March 2015) her simple response, which is hard to dispute, is that the business model for bowling clubs is just not there. In a letter to the ACT Bowls Journal of June/July 2003, I pointed out that while the price of a beer had increased by a factor of seven or eight over the past 25 years or so, the price of a game of bowls had increased by a factor of two or three. Bowlers need to think laterally about the long-term future of our facilities and look beyond simply continuing to try to protect their uneconomic greens.

Peter Forster, Curtin

Supremacist streak a dark part of male culture of violence

Let's be very clear, Professor Catharine Lumby (''No country for young men: notions of gender must evolve'', Times2, January 3, p5), the one thing you dare not mention about the ''ugly truth'' that lies behind the Aussie male stereotype is that he is invariably an angry white supremacist. His anger arises from an aggrieved sense of a loss of entitlement as the harbinger of white privilege.This was implacably on display during the Cronulla race riots, when thousands of angry young men gathered together in a drunken stupor singing the national anthem.

While Lumby rightly argues that such masculinity is ''too often defined by all-male bonding sessions over alcohol'', she makes no reference to its vile racial context. Her omission makes it impossible to deconstruct an identity whose very construction is embedded in these negatively exclusivist attributes of white culture.

Until this ''ugly truth'' is acknowledged, the Aussie male stereotype will continue to be a blight on the national conscience, manifesting itself in these random acts of cold-blooded violence - even on other white males.

Reverend Dr Vincent Zankin, Rivett

Redressing the balance

How odd that the same author who describes the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change as a ''so-called authority'' whose reports are ''exaggerated science with a large dollop of politics'' should be an expert reviewer for the latest IPCC report (''Lack of accountability clouding the climate change debate'', canberratimes.com.au, January 3).

So odd that I looked up the International Climate Science Coalition of which he, John McLean, was described as a member. A familiar face at the top of the ICSC homepage was Professor Bob Carter - a prominent supporter of Christopher Monckton and his lecturing in Australia. Scroll down to the ICSC consultant policy board and McLean's name is listed - immediately above Christopher Monckton, Viscount of Brenchley. Mystery solved, although it does suggest that the IPCC is rather more inclusive than a ''UN-sponsored lobby group''.

If publication of McLean's article is The Canberra Times ''balancing'' its rousing editorial of January 2 (''Time for CEOs to challenge a sceptic'', Times2, p2), then I protest.

Jill Greenwell, Ainslie

Pundits already in pulpits

It seems that Maurice Newman has been able to misuse the bully pulpit of his appointment to the Business Advisory Council to repeat canards about the impact of carbon pricing on industry and to, basely and baselessly, slander our generally admirable scientific community without any legal challenge or hindrance. Given this fact, why do we need to waste significant public funds to employ Tim Wilson to protect his apparently already secure right to rehearse his personal prejudices and delusions in public?

Indeed, I am sure that both the gentlemen in question would give us the benefit of their views without needing taxpayer funding.

Felix MacNeill, Dickson

It's Israel, not Palestine

Dorit Herscovich (Letters, January 2) speaks the truth but Marilyn Shepherd (Letters, January 2) displays an ignorance of history. The name Palestine was imposed by Rome in about AD70. The Romans were unable to enslave the Jewish spirit so they took out their frustrations by killing millions of them and driving most of the rest into exile, ploughing Jerusalem into rubble, building another city on it with a Roman name and naming the country Palestrina for no other purpose than to obliterate Israel/Jews from their ancestral land. Sound familiar?

That is what Islam is still trying to do. The land is Israel, not Palestine. It was theirs long before Rome happened, is now and always will be.

J. Halgren, Latham

Ethnic cleansing planned

When Stephen Jones (Letters, January 1) says Ariel Sharon's decision in August 2005 to withdraw from Gaza ''was not the action of a prime minister determined to pursue endless negotiations'', he is probably right.

Unlike most other Israeli politicians who have sought to endlessly extend negotiations to maintain Palestinian apartheid, Sharon saw negotiations ending through his plan to ethnically cleanse the Palestinians from ''Eretz Israel'', completing the process begun in 1948. Dismantling the settlements was designed to trap the Palestinians inside the world's largest prison as a prelude to their relocation to Jordan and Iraq. Jones reckons Tanya Reinhart's book, first published in 2002, is out of date when considering the Israeli withdrawal.

However, Jones appears to have missed Reinhart's post-script to the second edition in 2005 about Sharon's Gaza plan. ''The crucial factor behind the plan,'' Reinhart noted, ''was gaining the time necessary to advance the project of the West Bank barrier'' (p247). Subsequent authorities have confirmed the accuracy of Reinhart's view. Oxford professor of international relations and Israeli army veteran Avi Shlaim, for example, in 2009 wrote that, under Sharon's plan, ''withdrawal from Gaza was not a prelude to a peace deal with the Palestinian authority but a prelude to further Zionist expansion on the West Bank … [and] part of a long-term effort to deny the Palestinian people any independent political existence on their land''.

Perhaps it is difficult for the likes of Jones to understand why some Palestinians, faced with the horrific reality of their hopeless gulag, would turn to firing rockets at their tormenters. But Jones need not worry. While not for a nanosecond pausing to consider the shockingly disproportionate Israeli killing of Palestinians since 2005, Zionist apologists for the Sharon plan have recognised their debt to their comatose former prime minister.

Chris Williams, Griffith

It's time to salute the Canberra bomber

The Monster Moves program on SBS One on December 23 was different from the usual formula of jacking up and trucking a building from A to B. An English Electric Canberra medium bomber was taken by road to a destination in south-east England. The wings had to be dismantled and loaded into special cradles along with the rudder and horizontal stabilisers. Some difficult problems in dismantling and transportation were overcome and the Canberra is in its new home.

The eponymous aircraft was named after our fair city, and has many links to VIPs at the time of its acquisition in the early 1950s and its service to the RAAF in several theatres of war.

Many were built in Australia. We still have a few retired Canberras, one is in storage at Mitchell and two more at Amberley RAAF Base in Queensland. It seems very odd that the ACT government appears to show no interest in acquiring a Canberra for static display at a prominent location, perhaps in the environs of Canberra's updated airport.

It could be a belated, but fitting, sequel to our centenary celebrations.

Colin P Glover, Canberra City

Age is but a number

I've always loved those old darlings who sidle up to news crews filming in the street and say something like, ''I'm 88,

you know.''

Funnily enough, I thought of that this morning and thought

I might get a chance to do it myself one day.

Today is my birthday and one of my husband's surprises was to take me to the Summernats street cruise on Thursday morning, and I loved every minute of it. I just noticed the gallery on your website and, lo and behold, there I am in a white cloth hat and pinkish top in the first and third photos. I'm 66, you know!

Jane Craig, Holt

TO THE POINT

MISPLACED CRITICISM

So the keeper of the ''death stare'', Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop, reckons that Julian Assange's father, John Shipton, is ''stupid and reckless'' (''Assange's father to start legal action against Tony Abbott, Julie Bishop'', January 2). Given the trail of diplomatic wreckage left by her government in its first 100 days in office, from Indonesia to East Timor and China, many would have thought Ms Bishop was smart enough to go into hiding. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black.

John Richardson, Wallagoot, NSW

GET ON WITH THE JOB

Here we are approaching the four-month point of the new government and we are still being told that the substance of its announced policies are, in the main, the result of the (add any extremely emotive adjective) budgetary mess left by the previous government. Certainly such a claim is traditional at change-of-government time, but I think that it is time the present government argued the strength of its decisions instead of continuing to blame the past. My advice is to get on with the job of governing and stop whingeing.

Bryan Docherty, Garran

DISORDERED PRIORITIES

Maurice Newman (''Time for CEOs to challenge a sceptic'', January 2) needs to learn to play the violin. Then he can fiddle while Rome burns!

Linda Anchell, Ainslie

NO MORE BOAT SHOW

Apparently, a new Batemans Bay marina will mean the end of an unusual tourist attraction ('Batemans Bay marina redevelopment strikes a hitch', January 2). The story says ''the new floating pontoon facilities - with thick plastic bases - would be safer for boaties who often had to climb down ladders at low tides and be a major tourist attraction''. As an old boatie with stiff joints and a sense of uncertainty about ladders, I can imagine how such antics would attract onlookers. It is a pity these will be lost with the advent of pontoons.

David Townsend, Curtin

SAME OLD JOYCE

Barnaby Joyce's platitudinous piece (''No place for complacency in changing world'', January 2) lacks profundity of analysis, timely observations and salutary vision. But that's Barnaby, he never changes.

John Rodriguez, Florey

SERVICE KIWI-STYLE

I have recently returned from a visit to Wellington, NZ, and couldn't believe my eyes when every supermarket I went into had between 12 and 16 cash registers open and operating. Obviously the Kiwis understand the value of real customer service.

P. J. Carthy, McKellar

 

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