A world gone mad?

A world gone mad?

Well, surprise surprise. On the network premiere on Channel Ten on Sunday night of Morgan Spurlocks Super Size Me there was a McDonalds advertisement in the first ad break.

For those of you that have not yet witnessed such an eye-opening film, its basically telling the world that McDonalds is really, really bad for you and that it can not only make you sick, but, combined with no exercise and other junk foods, can lead to serious health problems which may result in death. Yet, during the first five minutes of the film, McDonalds is advertised!

Ah, what a world we live in.

Sarah Hort (aged 13)


For the record...

A quote from the Guinness Book of Records in John Hannafords letter (Echo, October 5) states the greatest massacre ever imputed by the government of one sovereign against another is the 26.3 million Chinese killed during the regime of Mao Zedong between 1949 and May 1965. This statistic, as Guinness points out, was an accusation made in 1969 by the Soviet Union. As China and the USSR had not been on very good terms since China accused the USSR of betraying communism in 1960, one can imagine that this statement was political propaganda and not based on any hard facts.

Mr Hannafords letter also suggests that the atrocities of Nazism and Maoism were somehow connected with atheism. Their doctrines of unswerving devotion to, and adulation of a powerful invincible figurehead, with draconian punishment for anyone who does not toe the line, put me more in mind of quite another doctrine.

Mr Hannaford also says Make no mistake; atheism is also a matter of faith. No! More a matter of common sense, logic and reasoning. Faith has nothing to do with it.

Finally I would like to congratulate Jim Lee for bringing some sense and sanity to the letters page.

Peter Dearie


Facts on feral animals in forests

Regarding Ed Bennetts (president of the Northern Rivers Bushwalking Club Inc) letter (Echo, September 23) explaining his clubs fears over the supposed threat to bushwalkers and other recreational users during feral animal conservation/hunting operations in State Forests as authorised by the Game Council of NSW.

To clarify matters I have the following information just to hand: It is understood that a full presentation and information night has been offered to coincide with their October NRBWC club meeting by Mr Craig Henderson (general manager of the Northern Zone NSW, Game Council of NSW) to assuage any fears and concerns they may have had over safety in the forests during licensed feral animal culling operations.

This will hopefully inform members of the true situation in regards to procedures and authorisations etc if of course the clubs executive accepts this offer to inform its ordinary members of the true situation.

Rob Andrews

East Lismore

Rotary Park rubbish

After a recent walk through Rotary Park in Lismore, I became horrified to see excessive amounts of rubbish throughout the park. My shocked state continued as I left the park to walk home up the hill towards Ballina Road. Here, on the outskirts of the park the problem only elevated. Rubbish types I encountered ranged from trolleys, clothes, chip packets, bottle of all types and sizes, and the main contender none other than fast food packaging and scraps. Although I am aware the majority of this rubbish would have exited car windows from a fast food consuming tosser, I do believe the presence of just one bin on the 1km stretch may assist in improving the problem slightly. As would adding to the two bins (found at the entrance and exit) in the actual park.

My initial purpose of walking through the park was to enjoy the peaceful rainforest aspect the park has to offer, however, I was disappointed to find some people are too selfish and lazy to appreciate that a park is not the appropriate place to dispose of their rubbish. It is a great shame that a place like Rotary Park, that is home to many beautiful trees and holds one-tenth of Australias bat population, cannot be maintained properly by the Council and respected by the general local community.

Bridie Webb

Lismore Heights

The truth is out there

Im responding to Tom McKays letter Who to believe (Echo, October 12).

Tom reveals that he has no time for the internet, but believes whatever the medical or dental association will have him believe regarding fluoride. He accepts this as truth, but what is truth? The internet is fast becoming a valuable tool for freedom of thought. It reveals truth to those who wish to see it. I dare say governments, institutions and organisations fear the internet and its ability to make the truth known. However the power of the internet is also a tool of deception. It can also deliver misinformation and unsupported opinion with equal ease. The truth and the lies co-exist side by side in the internets electronic wizardry. So what is the answer? There is nothing that separates truth from fiction except removing the blinkers so critical thinking and reasoning is allowed to operate. Tom also should be aware that truth and lies applies as well to all other communication media, not only the internet. Perhaps the World Wide Web merely forces us to see this more clearly and faster than any other media. I personally find the internet a very good tool and an opportunity to educate and to discern. We really must think about what we see and hear with evaluation and selection. What better means than the internet to teach all of us, including our children, to prepare, think and reason for ourselves on social, economic and technological change?

Jim Lee


Selective compassion

It does seem that Australians are inclined to selective compassion.

Every day across the world there are children dying in the most forlorn contexts who will never get to school let alone be able to go on an exotic holiday.

Going on and on about the Bali deaths sends a message of arrogance a message that implies that Australians are superior people and that when an Australian dies the whole world should cry forever.

230,000 people lost their lives in the 2004 earthquake that triggered tsunamis across Asia on December 26, 2004. 168,000 Indonesians were killed.

And, in Iraq, how many civilians are being killed by suicide bombers every day of the week including during Ramadan?

Kathryn Pollard


Uninformed decision on fluoride

I sat in the gallery at the meeting of the Lismore City Council last Tuesday. It was interesting to see how they came to a decision. Fluoridation of the town water supply is a very complex matter. On one hand it is believed to be a factor in a number of medical and health problems and on the other it is purported to be beneficial to oral health.

This chemical is so complex it really is beyond councillors qualifications to make such an important health decision on behalf of the community. They had at their disposal a very highly qualified speaker in Dr John Ryan but surprisingly very few questions were asked of him. The body language and facial expression of some councillors indicated they are unsure if fluoride is either going to do harm or do any good, let alone know the current fluoride status of each individual person. If they lack real understanding of the chemical and how it works in the human body they missed a golden opportunity to find out.

For the vulnerable in the community babies, the less nourished, lower socio-economic, heavy soft drink, tea and beer drinkers etc the risk may be high. The responsibility is placed on the Council by NSW Health to make the decision and if the health of some people is harmed, NSW Health simply says, you made the decision, the problem is yours.

The obvious responsible decision to safeguard themselves and protect the community would have been to err on the side of caution and postpone fluoridation until proper scientific studies are done, then an informed decision would assure no harm to anyone.

Col Bilston


Open letter to Mr McKay

Under what rock/s have you been hiding? Do you only believe selective hype? Didnt you read about the fluoridation freedom of choice public meeting at the Workers Club on September 27?

In your letter (Echo, October 12) you seem concerned to rattle off many ludicrous examples of internet lies, but appear to believe almost anything on television.

Your quote of ...unlike the anti-fluoride lot that hide on a website is obviously wrong; a glance on page 21 clearly displays two key members of FFF (Freedom From Fluoride) hiding behind their home phone numbers!

You also appear to have fallen into the trap of spin-doctoring from those who should know better certain officials that stated thalidomide, asbestos, fibro and nuclear energy were safe (just ask Johnny Howard about the latter).

Last century when fluoride was first promoted by the nuclear industry, respected scientists who could find no benefits at all (it is a poison) were shown the proverbial door.

By the way, whats your voting preference?

Tony Baron

Freedom From Fluoride

Follow the leader

Have I lost the ability to come back with a counter argument when someone says something I dont agree with; or perhaps I never should have done so, as I believe I read somewhere that one should put the brain into gear before the mouth?

Whatever the case; regarding Lismore Councils decision to fluoridate our water supply. At a meeting of my political party last week one of our members gave us a rundown on the goings on at the Council meeting the previous night, which included a report that there were people speaking out against fluoride. As a result one of our members voiced an opinion that the people of Lismore should not be campaigning against fluoride in our water supply, as we the people voted for these councillors to represent us, so therefore we should abide by their decisions. There was a bit of a discussion (argument), before the meeting was called to order, so I missed the opportunity to jump in with a suggestion that our branch write to John Howard declaring our full support for whatever decisions he and his party make, as we voted them into power for the last 10 years? (And one more to go, ouch!)

Doug Myler

Member of the ALP and Freedom From Fluoride Association

Restricting B-doubles in the rain

I recently had the experience of driving to Sydney from Lismore when there was occasional very heavy rain periods.

During that time, because I was driving a smallish car, I adjusted my speed accordingly to allow for the conditions.

During that time, I was overtaken many times by B-double trucks, which in no way adjusted speed, and were travelling at 100kph according to the speed restrictions for that section of road.

When those trucks travel at that speed in wet conditions, because they have nine axles with four large tyres on each axle (except the steering one), they throw up so much spray that car drivers cannot see clearly even with the windscreen wipers going at full speed.

Car drivers are advised to reduce speed in wet conditions because of the real possibility of skidding and aquaplaning. My experience of trucks both on the Pacific Highway and on the Newell, is that they do not slow down, and they aggressively drive behind cars which may be doing 80 or 90 and then overtake them, throwing up so much spray it creates very hazardous conditions for drivers of lightweight smallish cars.

I feel that mandatory reduced speed restrictions should be enforced for B-doubles and large trucks in rain and wet conditions.

The roads of NSW are public roads and one sector of road users should not have carte blanch to drive at the maximum speed allowable because of their adhesion weight, and to the detriment of other road users.

W Brian Alexander


Ballinas weak stance on wildlife

I read the article in last weeks Echo (Ballina cat plague splits Council, October 12) with interest, amazement and ultimately disappointment. For those who missed it, Ballina Council debated whether to support an animal welfare group in lobbying the Department of Local Government for the mandatory desexing of dogs and cats not registered for breeding. A report to Council recommended that Council not enter into the debate three councillors supported an amendment that Council give its support to CatRescue, however, the amendment was defeated 4/3. This is despite comments from councillors such as ...a plague of feral cats and we should be seen to be supporting our wildlife.

No surprise in the result, what amazed me were the comments attributed to Cr Alan Brown (...the best way to get rid of wild cats and dogs from a property was with a shotgun) and Cr Margaret Howes (...compulsory desexing would be highly unpopular with all the little old ladies in the Shire who had cats)! How insulting, offensive and in Cr Browns case, verging on the illegal! Responsible pet owners understand the benefits of desexing their animals and, as Cr Cadwallader agreed, compulsory desexing would save councils money they currently spend on managing, detaining and euthanasing the hundreds and thousands of unwanted animals each year. Will Ballina Council provide figures of the number of cats and dogs that go through their pound and are euthanased/rehoused/returned to owners?

I am a foster carer with the Animal Rights & Rescue Group, and a nearly-middle-aged cat owner. I personally have had more than 250 documented cats and kittens come through my home over the past five years some surrendered, some rescued from pounds and many, many unwanted litters. ARRG has also been lobbying for mandatory desexing unless a registered breeder. I am just one volunteer in the Northern Rivers area, so the total number of unwanted animals per annum is horrifying. One vital component in reducing these numbers is desexing unless you are a registered breeder, your pet should not be having litters of kittens or puppies. Ballina Shire Council has missed an opportunity to show how forward thinking they can be in the area of animal management. What about the other councils in the region perhaps they can show Ballina how it can be done?

To find out more about the issue of compulsory desexing, visit the ARRG website at www.animalrights.org.au or check out the Sydney-based CatRescue site at www.catrescue.com.au.

Michela Brown


Log on to protect natural health

A few weeks ago, a press release from NSW Health Minister John Hatzistergos promised that the public would be protected by a crackdown on shonky health practitioners who promise things they cant deliver.

To this end, the Health Legislation Amendment (Unregistered Health Practitioners) Bill 2006 was introduced into Parliament in late September, and soon passed through the Lower House. It is expected to go to an Upper House (Legislative Council) vote by October 28.

One specific part (10AN) of the Bill states that a personmust not advertise or otherwise promote the provision of a health service in a manner that a) is false, misleading or deceptive, or b) is likely to mislead or deceive, or c) creates, or is likely to create, an unjustified expectation of beneficial treatment.

Although this sounds reasonable on the surface, past actions by the NSW Government suggest that reductionist scientific criteria will be used to decide which therapies do and do not work. This could jeopardise the future of many natural therapies in NSW by preventing practitioners from advertising. Among those most at risk are reiki, pranic healing, and all spiritual healing modalities.

These therapies are legal in Japan, Canada, Germany, and every other Western country because the authorities believe that people are sufficiently intelligent to make up their own minds. If you want to retain the same freedom to choose, express your concerns to Upper House members, listed at www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/Prod/Parlment/Members.nsf/V3ListCurr entMembers, and get on the e-list of the Alliance for Health Freedom Australia at www.ahf-au.org.

Martin C Oliver


More praise for Quota

After reading the letter by Trish Cross (Echo, October 12) I would like to add my thanks to our local Quota clubs. I work with children who suffer with hearing loss caused by ongoing middle ear problems. In every kindergarten class, about five or six children would have had middle ear problems through their preschool and early primary school years.

These middle ear problems can be difficult to clear up. There are children in all our local schools and preschools who have mild, and occasionally, moderate hearing losses caused by ongoing middle ear problems.

Quota clubs across our district have for many years helped these children with their fund-raising efforts and purchased Soundfield Amplification Systems to help these children hear better in the classroom.

I would like to add my thanks to Quota for their efforts in supporting children with hearing loss to listen and learn better in the classroom.

Cheryl Baxter


Know a Waterfront Dance Hall band?

I am researching the history of East Ballinas Waterfront Dance Hall. Parts of that history are the bands that played there. I have been able to find information on some in Colin Stratfords From The Stage. I am seeking information on bands that played at the Waterfront not mentioned in the book. I am interested in the names of members of the band, the musical instruments they played and, if possible, when the bands were formed and when they were disbanded.

The bands I am interested in, and the years they played at the Waterfront, are: Shell Jazz Band (1932), Jones Forlana Dance Band (1936), Canberra Dance Band (1940), Averys Dance Bands (1946-1950), Jack/Johnny Copelands Band (1950/51), Coolmens Orchestra (1960), The Cyclones (1960), Marriotts Orchestra (1961/62), The Ritz Band/Orchestra (1961), Ken McBurneys Trio (1961), Coasters (1964), Firebirds (1965) and Sabres (1965).

I can be contacted on 6681 5816 or at 3 Bayview Street, East Ballina.

Marlene LesterEast Ballina

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