Posted January 9, 2010 | comments 3 Comments


Northern Virginia Daily


A novelty only 30 years ago, meat-free diets are rapidly becoming the fashion for people who care about their family's and their planet's health. Here are recent indicators:

* According to U.S. Department of Agriculture, the number of animals killed for food in the U.S. this year is expected to drop by 6 percent from 2008.

* Jonathan Foer's "Eating Animals" and two other vegan books have made the bestseller list.

* Meat industry exposé "Food, Inc." is being considered for an Oscar nomination.

* Cargill, ConAgra and other animal-butchering empires have launched a number of vegan food products.

* In March, the respected National Cancer Institute reported that people who ate the most red meat were "most likely to die from cancer, heart disease and other causes."

* In July, the conservative American Dietetic Association affirmed that "vegetarian and vegan diets are healthful, nutritionally adequate and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases."

* In the November issue of World Watch magazine, two World Bank scientists claimed that meat production may account for more than half of manmade greenhouse gas emissions.

The dawn of the New Year is a great time to explore the new dietary fashion and all the delicious, healthful vegan foods in our supermarkets.

Nicolas Valdez
224 Featherstone Court
Dec. 27, 2009

Northern Virginia Daily


Gene Rigelon's latest letter (Dec. 23 issue) provides an excellent case study from Psych 101: When some people are confronted with truth, their defenses go up, rationality disappears and diversions are undertaken. In his latest rant, where he typically ignores the facts I presented, Rigelon cites polls and opinions -- not irrefutable scientific truths and medical experts as I have done.

Rigelon admits that the sources he cited are merely "opinions." Who cares about "opinions" and "polls"? I have cited documented information from the altar where Rigelon worships: science. Rigelon's latest letter essentially showcases an agenda-motivated quote (about a poll) from the partisan group "Catholics" for a Free Choice. How obviously unscientific and misleading.

For those who are following my ongoing attempts to allow truth to prevail, even the openly pro-condom International Planned Parenthood Federation admits: "The risk of contracting AIDS during so-called 'protected sex' approaches 100% as the number of episodes of sexual intercourse increases." [IPPF Medical Bulletin, 31, February 1997]

More important, in 1987, the Los Angeles Times published an article titled "Condom Industry Seeking Limits on U.S. Study." It stated:

"The condom industry has launched an intensive campaign to weaken, delay or possibly shut down a federally funded Los Angeles study of the effectiveness of condoms in preventing transmission of the AIDS virus ... The research has taken on a new element of urgency in the wake of a series of questions raised about the ability of condoms to reliably prevent the spread of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)."

The fact here is that the condom controversy is not a "Catholic" issue. Nowhere have I cited any religious sources in my discussion of condoms. For those who want the real truth, there is ample scientific data available and it is being deliberately ignored by a cacophony of well-funded, highly visible activists.

For those of good will, I close with a warning from the foundress of the Human Sexuality Program at the New York Weill Cornell Medical Center, Dr. Helen Singer-Kaplan, in her book "The Real Truth about Women and AIDS": "Counting on condoms is flirting with death."

John W. Fusto
1112 Happy Ridge Drive
Front Royal
Jan. 2, 2010

Northern Virginia Daily


The election is over. There are no candidates to bash. But there's no shortage of political fodder.

The Republican Party is said to be on the rebound. To the political junkie, this presents a fascinating scenario. Which Republican Party is it?

California is the stage for one GOP internal rumble. The Golden State has been reduced to chaos because its system of referendums has allowed militant extremists to bring representative government to its knees. This system now has a role in the warfare within the state GOP.

There a GOP legislator with impeccable conservative credentials supported the Republican governor's budget that included a tax increase. This vote made him a pariah among the far right, who mounted a recall drive against him, led by his mother-in-law. He received death threats.

In upstate New York, the local Republicans nominated for Congress a candidate who supported abortion rights. The purists drove her from the primary and, with Sarah Palin's help, supported a champion of the radicals. The Democrat won in a district that had been Republican for 100 years.

In Texas, Republican Gov. Rick Perry, a darling of the right wing, is being challenged for the GOP nomination for the next term by veteran Republican U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, hardly a liberal but viewed by some as moderate.

Our area has seen such conflict. In a district south of here, State Sen. Emmett Hanger had joined some other Republicans in supporting the governor's budget compromise. The true believers punished him by putting up a reactionary opponent in the primary. Hanger survived.

In 2010, we'll see how these things play out. A lifelong acolyte of Pat Robertson, Bob McDonnell, in a skillful campaign, persuaded the voters that he is a moderate. Elected with him as attorney general was Ken Cucinelli, an unabashed flag-bearer for the extreme right. We will watch with curiosity how the realities fit the rhetoric.

These struggles exist even in the local committees. Who'll win out there: the traditional Republican kind or the "Tea Party" types?

Bob Lowerre
403 Spring Hollow Road
Jan. 4, 2010

Northern Virginia Daily


I read with interest the Jan. 6 Associated Press article about collection agencies in Buffalo, N.Y., and as president of the Virginia Collectors Association, I wish to set the record straight on behalf of the industry here in our state.

While the article cited increases in complaints to the FTC, it failed to mention that the FTC doesn't track true complaints separately from any other contact regarding collection agencies, such as general inquiries or questions about whether some action is or is not a violation of any particular law or regulation. Therefore, it would not be fair to make an extension of logic that suggests that because the FTC's figure increases, there is an increased level of poor behavior on the part of collectors.

Success for a collector benefits both businesses and consumers through increased credit opportunities at lower costs, and long-term success is only possible for those who obey the law. By and large, collection agencies operate well within the regulations that govern us and compliance is -- as it should be -- a critical management component of any agency.

In the course of doing their jobs, collectors returned $40.4 billion of $152 billion in charged-off debt to our client companies in 2007. That represents a savings of $354 per year to the average household that would otherwise be paid in higher prices to cover those losses.

Every good, successful collector I have ever spoken with tells me essentially the same thing: They do this job well because they feel they are helping people to overcome bad situations and straighten out their finances. That is the true nature of our industry.

Fran Fisher
Revenue Recovery
Consultants Inc.
Virginia Collectors Association
3541 Chain Bridge Road, Suite 209
Jan. 6, 2010

Northern Virginia Daily


Regarding U.S. efforts to review intelligence and antiterrorism failures in the case of the Nigerian would-be plane bomber, we should also ask why Abdulmutallab received an unlimited multiple-entry U.S. visa in the first place -- and in London, of all places.

Given that the potential for Nigerian visa fraud is enormous, Abdulmutallab (or any foreign, non-British visa applicant in London) should have been told to apply at a U.S. consulate nearest home -- Lagos in his case.

And what convincing bona fides did Abdulmutallab present to the visa officer in London to prove that he had: (a) a legitimate reason to travel to the U.S. and (b) a permanent home in Nigeria to which he intended to return? Was Abdulmutallab's visa issued for tourism, for business or for education?

And what documents did Abdulmutallab present to make his case; affidavits of support from U.S. citizen relations/friends; letters of endorsement from their congressmen or other public officials; an acceptance letter from an American educational institution; an offer of employment by an American company; recommendations from credible British sources?

In other words, visas to Nigerians, in London, should not be issued lightly. What was the evidence of Abdulmutallab's honest intentions that moved U.S. authorities to give him this visa and did that evidence justify their doing so?

We have a right to know about this initial failure in our security procedures.

Richard W. Hoover
U.S. Foreign Service, retired
419 Liberty Hall Road
Front Royal
Jan. 6, 2010

Northern Virginia Daily


As the proud parent of a soldier fighting in Afghan-istan, I commend Tom Carter and the Warren County Board of Supervisors, along with Larry Andrews, for their support of a provision introduced and subsequently passed on Dec. 15th that would defer payment up to 90 days for real estate taxes and personal property taxes on vehicles of active-duty overseas soldiers from the time they return to the U.S.

I would also encourage others to support exempting our soldiers from these fees while they are risking their lives to protect our freedoms and our nation from threats from abroad. Please contact Del. Athey to indicate your support.

It is a small token of our appreciation and does not materially affect the overall state or local budget in any way.

Jerry Scholder
31 Bedford Drive
Front Royal
Jan. 6, 2010

Northern Virginia Daily


Virginians deserved better service from our two U.S. senators, Jim Webb and Mark Warner, in supporting their fellow Democrats over the 72 percent of Americans who do not want government-run health care that leads to higher cost, longer waits and service and rationed care.

They went against the will of the majority and voted for Obama, the Democrats in Congress.

Both senators promised us taxpayer-citizens that they would give us leadership in Virginia. This is not the way to lead.

301 N. Cameron St.
Jan. 3, 2010

Northern Virginia Daily


It is still a man's world. The Heenes (parents of the balloon boy) received two separate sentences -- Mr. Heene is to serve 30 consecutive days in prison with work release during the day and Mrs. Heene is to serve 20 days after Mr. Heene gets out but on weekends only so she can take care of their three children.

What is wrong with Mr. Heene taking care of them? It is unbelievable in this day and age -- this is 2009.

Rosemary A. Sheering
1728 Fravel Road
Dec. 26, 2009


    When Vegans and vegetarians quit dying from cancer, I'll quit eating meat. However, just this past year how many vegetarian/vegan, yoga doing, celebrities died from cancer?

    Everything in moderation is the key to health and most cancers are caused by genetics not life style. Meat is not bad for people otherwise the human race would have died out a long time ago.

    Go back only 20 years and count how many food products have been said to "kill you" and then how science proved it wrong. If you want to be a vegetarian, I say go for it, I love tofu, vegetables, pulses, grains, lentils, etc. but I also love lamb, pork, chicken, and beef.

    At last a comment on which Ms. Bishop and I agree . Bless you.

    I'm all for vegetarians eating what they consider best for their health, but I plan to continue eating meat. I do disagree with those of their persuasion who seek to tar meat eaters as monsters and who believe that if only humans would become vegetarians, the natural world would somehow be set aright . Before that can be achieved, all lions, and a host of other meat eaters, would, at what cost, have to be eliminated.

    IGNORANCE IS BLISS! I'm just now replying to these people on the meat eating subject, however for this Bishop woman to make a statement about cancer in vegans etc., where does she get her facts? Her opinion isn't a fact.

    Yes, cancer can get us anyway (regardless of what diet we have), but don't forget the world we are living in. Raising animals for food is destroying our rivers (run-off), taking up land use (for real food) and torturing many animals for this meat craze. McDonald's and all the other fast food, junk thats selling "the great American hamburger" loves you! And the kiddies just keep getting fatter and sicker all the time.

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