Show respect

Charleston Rep. Wendell G. Gilliard was quoted in the June 19 Post and Courier, responding to Gov. Nikki Haley's remarks about lawmaker pay raises: "Well, bless her little soul," and "If she'll give up her pay, then I'll give up mine." It illuminates the childish state of disrespect and self-interest in state government.

Mr. Gilliard's quip, "bless her little soul," is demeaning and is disrespectful to Mrs. Haley personally and to the office of the governor. His other retort shows the too-familiar attitude of our representatives - self-interest and personal ego. Notably missing from Mr. Gilliard's bald pronouncements in response to the pay raise issue is any reference to the people he represents and how legislator pay raises might advance legislative action for the benefit of his constituency.

Mr. Gilliard might have taken the "open-mic" opportunity to show respect for counter-opinions in our democracy.

Jim Davis

Attorney at Law

Seven Farms Drive

Charleston

Ills of sugar

Some time ago, WCBD (Channel 2 News) aired a segment suggesting that sugar doesn't cause diabetes. I won't debate the merit of that statement, but I do feel we have to look at some painful facts about sugar, especially as our state comes in at No. 43 for healthy states and is the eighth most obese state in the nation.

Added sugar has been found to increase diet-related chronic illnesses, which could include all the illnesses that accompany metabolic syndrome, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and a host of secondary problems, including heart problems.

Robert Lustig, a pediatric endocrinologist and leading researcher on added sugar, advocates treating added sugars as a toxic substance. Dr. Lustig is not alone in condemning sugar as the causative factor in many chronic illnesses. The Union of Concerned Scientists and the CDC agree that added sugar is the main cause of obesity and consequently metabolic syndrome. JAMA has concluded that consumption of added sugar is associated with increased risk for death from cardiovascular disease.

Can there be any doubt about the consequences of added sugar? With South Carolina having the highest rates of diabetes (11.6 percent of the adult population), with the accompanying chronic illnesses, and more than 1.1 million obese adults, can we remain complacent? Sugar consumption has a very detrimental impact on the health of our population and the economics of our state. Silence is no longer an option.

Gloria Cohen

Market Street

Charleston

Positive attitude

While serving in the Marine Corps I learned discipline and respect for authority. This allowed me to pray for folks whom I might disagree with and not to get angry, but to trust God's plan.

Over the years I have read a number of different papers and watched a variety of news programs; unfortunately, there is much anger throughout not only our country, but the whole world. My positive attitude comes directly from Holy Scripture. Jesus commands us to love even our enemies and pray for them.

C.S. Lewis said: "There's nothing wrong with Christianity, it's that few people live it."

I guarantee if you follow the teachings of Jesus, you will have joy you never knew existed. Please pray for America.

Jack Cranwell

Gin House Court

Charleston

Marriage penalty

I recently remarried after the tragic death of my spouse of 32 years. We agreed to move into my wife's home in Mount Pleasant and sell mine on Lake Marion. Unfortunately, the housing market on the lakes is bad, and I cannot sell the place. The empty house is costing me a lot of money in taxes and utilities just to keep it saleable.

I was stunned when my wife was notified that her taxes will go up 50 percent because the law says that married couples cannot have two homes exempt from the 6 percent tax rate. Duh!

It is OK for two unmarried people to be tax exempt with two homes, but our legislators will hammer you if you get married. Like I want the second home that is killing me financially.

Supposedly we live in a very conservative, value-driven state. Well, our reality shows that we have a bunch of hypocrites running our state. I am not very political but I will be challenging my legislators on their moral values. Here are my questions: Do you support marriage, and how do you show that support?

Ask candidates if they favor giving tax advantages to unmarried couples rather than married couples.

If they say that they support married couples, then ask them how they can support legislation that penalizes couples for being married and rewards unmarried couples.

I am sure if I owned a second home in another state and did not mention it, the S.C. state tax dudes would never pick up on it. So you get penalized for owning a second home in South Carolina as well?

Politically and financially, its not good to be recently married in South Carolina and to have a home you cannot sell. We hear how our state is morally grounded - I am not convinced.

John Ptolemy

St. Julien Drive

Eutawville

Good VA care

In a recent letter, a former Charleston County Council member called for an investigation of our local VA hospital.

He admitted never receiving care from the local VA, but reported having heard that second-rate doctors and nurses staffed the place. As such, he turned opinion into fact. He asked, "What if the VA hospitals of today are the model for the government health care our children and grandchildren will receive under Obamacare?"

As a veteran, I've received excellent treatment for 14 years at the Ralph H. Johnson medical center. I never wait long. Staff proactively schedule yearly checkups for me. Medical records are easy to obtain. I also carry health insurance, and have used private medical practice.

I watched as my mother languished in a local hospital for 18 hours awaiting her doctor's orders. Her private practice doctor never returned one of my half dozen calls. He later blamed stress in his personal life for the oversight. Based on experience (instead of hearsay), I'd rate the VA services higher than service through private practice. Private practice health care costs too much for anyone to afford. The system is broken. To answer the writer's question on Obamacare, our children and grandchildren should expect excellent care in the future.

ANTON DUMARS

E. Ashley Avenue

Folly Beach

Play it again

A recent letter to the editor called for the Spoleto Festival to offer more popular operas. This festival is not about presenting old war horses, although I agree there could be a mixture of the classic and avant garde operas.

As for the opera "Kat'a Kabanova," I couldn't have agreed with the critics more: The music was sublime and the voices beautiful.

All operas have silly subject matter - some more than others.

No serious opera goer goes to a performance because of the plot.

ILSE CALCAGNO

Hidden Oak Drive

Seabrook Island