The Ohio Soft Drink Association agrees that obesity is a serious and complex problem affecting Ohio as well as the entire nation ("Weight of the Union," editorial, July 10).
A recent report notes that obesity rates have doubled, or nearly doubled, in 17 states since 1995. Yet the 2010 sales volume of regular soft drinks was virtually unchanged from what it was in 1995.
The report confirms that to reduce obesity we need comprehensive solutions, not simplistic approaches that will have no meaningful impact.
Our industry is committed to being part of the solution. We have removed full-calorie soft drinks from schools and replaced them with more lower-calorie, smaller-portion beverages. We have reduced beverage calories shipped to schools nationwide by 88 percent since 2004.
We are adding new labels to the front of every can, bottle, and pack we produce. Our "Clear on Calories" initiative helps parents choose the beverages that are right for them and their families.
Our industry has a long-standing commitment to responsible advertising and marketing. Under a global policy, our member companies do not advertise beverages other than juice, water, or milk-based drinks to any audience that is composed predominantly of children under 12.
These efforts will have real and lasting impact.
Executive Director Ohio Soft Drink Association Columbus
'Eat like a hog, look like a hog'
I would like to see in every eating place a big sign: "Eat like a hog, look like a hog." ("Michigan, Ohio get bad news in obesity report," July 8).
The excuse "it runs in our family" by some overweight people sometimes is true, because everybody in the family is likely to overeat.
In most restaurants, the portions are at least double what they should be. But that's what people want, and if they don't get it, they don't go.
Carl E. Bien
OSU, job stories in wrong places
In an example of The Blade's efforts to protect the Obama Administration from its failure to turn this economy around, you chose in your July 9 edition to put the story about Ohio State's decision to vacate its 2010 football season victories on the front page. The story about the economy adding only 18,000 jobs in June was on the business page.
These stories were misplaced; OSU should have been in sports and the economy should have been on the front page.
Hidden Ridge Road
Obama's words going unheeded
In the battle of the budget raging in Washington, President Obama appears as the sweet voice of reason compared to the ideologues of left and right who block an agreement ("Obama warns GOP time's running out on debt deal," July 14).
It seems that he and House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio were close to a compromise deal that was sabotaged by intransigent elements in their parties.
An economic and political crisis could ensue if the political posturing doesn't give way soon to reasoned discussion and compromise, which the President, for all his faults, has been championing for months.
The question is whether the better angels of our nature will prevail.
Government should be like a business
When a business has debt problems, it can raise more revenue, lower expenses, or do both. It is obvious that the United States needs to do both.
However, Republicans don't want to raise revenue -- taxes -- and Democrats don't want to lower expenses -- entitlements.
Wouldn't it be great if, as is done in the business world, politicians who do not put their country first could be fired? Maybe if politicians got a 60-day notice that they were being fired, they'd get the job done.
Politicians, do your job
On July 11, I, like many others, watched the presidential press conference. The President said Americans are not savvy about politics. "Let us do our job," he said.
The next day your front-page headline said: "Debt-limit talks testy as deadline closes in." Then it hit me: Career politicians are brain- dead.
The President is correct. Americans do not understand the intricacies of government.
Hey, Congress, cut your salary
Members of Congress, show us how serious you are about cutting the budget. Cut your salary and contribute to your health care.
Brown's really a socialist
U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown wants to be known as a progressive ("'Progressive' senator dismisses liberal label," Behind the News, July 10). Until a few years ago, progressives were referred to as liberals.
Based on the last two and a half years, I can understand why Senator Brown doesn't want to be called a liberal. With a debt of $14 trillion-plus, our health care system soon to be run by bureaucrats who are oriented to costs and not care, and new unemployment claims every week, I wouldn't want to be associated with the word "liberal" either.
But whether Senator Brown wants to call himself a liberal or progressive, his voting record proves him to be a socialist, and socialism fails every time it's tried.
Why is road work going so slowly?
An inordinate number of roads in Toledo are shut down with no one working on them. Why does it seem on and off ramps to expressways are closed for months before work is done on them?
Are construction companies and the city in cahoots with oil companies, having us use more gas as we drive alternate routes to get to work each day?
Steven J. Athanas
Estate-tax repeal bad for Ohio
Gov. John Kasich's agenda is to reward the wealthy at the expense of average citizens ("Kasich inks sweeping $55.8 billion blueprint," July 1).
The repeal of the Ohio estate tax is a perfect example. This tax affects only a minuscule number of the very wealthy. However, it represents a sizable loss of revenue to communities.
I hope the attempts to disenfranchise and intimidate voters through proposed legislation will be thwarted, so that after one term Governor Kasich and his Republican legislators will be on the bus out of Columbus.
Kay A. Bahna
A few tips about tipping
My children are restaurant servers, as are several of their friends. They are college students earning money for gas and expenses. But they work with people who are earning money to pay mortgages and support a family.
Servers rely on tips for their total compensation. Their minimum wage is $3.70 an hour, compared to $7.40 an hour for nontipped workers.
Tips should be based on the total bill before discounts. If service is slow, it is not always the server's fault.
Base your tip on what servers can control. Are they friendly? Do they refill your beverage before you ask?
They can't fix what they don't know. If something comes out wrong, tell them and allow them to fix it or accommodate you for the inconvenience.