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The Corn Refiners Association says Bill Maher is not "reasonable," just "bizarre."

12:00 AM, May 3, 2005
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THE DAILY STANDARD welcomes letters to the editor. Letters will be edited for length and clarity and must include the writer's name, city, and state.


An April 21 commentary by Michael Goldfarb regarding Bill Maher's "one-man war against high fructose corn syrup" is both entertaining and informative. Unfortunately, the commentary notes that Bill Maher's views about high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), although "bizarre," may in fact be "reasonable." We would like to ensure that your readers have all the facts about HFCS:

The American Dietetic Association notes that "Consumers can safely enjoy a range of nutritive and nonnutritive sweeteners when consumed in a diet that is guided by current federal nutrition recommendations . . . as well as individual health goals."

In 1983, the Food and Drug Administration listed HFCS as "Generally Recognized as Safe" (known as GRAS status) for use in food, and the FDA reaffirmed that ruling in 1996.

HFCS contains approximately equal ratios of fructose and glucose similar to table sugar. The human body cannot discern a difference between HFCS, table sugar (sucrose), and honey because they are all nearly compositionally equivalent.

Recent mischaracterizations of HFCS as a unique cause of obesity do not represent the consensus opinion of scientific experts. The Center for Food and Nutrition Policy at Virginia Tech issued a report last year compiled by scientists who reviewed a number of critical commentaries about HFCS. Their analysis found that HFCS is not a unique contributor to obesity.

HFCS has proven beneficial to consumers through its use in many foods and beverages, including several products that are specifically made for people trying to control their weight.

For more information about HFCS, please visit

--Audrae Erickson

President, Corn Refiners Association


Many of the concerns regarding the U.N. Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) cited in Scott Johnson's April 25th article The Ambassador Nobody Knows have been noted by the U.N. and its secretary general. In fact, Secretary General Kofi Annan recently said that "unless we remake our human rights machinery, we may be unable to renew public confidence in the United Nations itself." He went on to say that "We have reached a point at which the commission's declining credibility has cast a shadow on the reputation of the United Nations system as a whole, and where piecemeal reforms will not be enough."

In his comprehensive report on U.N. reform, "In Larger Freedom: Towards Development, Security, and Human Rights for All," the secretary general outlined his recommendation to do away with the UNCHR in favor of a smaller, more effective Human Rights Council. His proposal calls for the membership of the new council to consist only of member states with the highest human rights standards.

The United States, working closely with other like-minded governments in the new U.N. Democracy Caucus, can use its standing and leadership to support this and the many other significant reform recommendations that will be discussed at the 60th annual U.N. General Assembly meeting in September.

--Ted Piccone

Executive Director, Democracy Coalition Project


David Skinner touches most of the bases in his piece on the appeal of Miami Vice (now available on DVD). However, it seems to me that he is mistaken in several respects and overlooks the genuine significance of the series even when his observations are accurate. He writes that the entire appeal of the show "depended on selling the notion of cops as figures of unequaled glamour." Yet in the course of its run, the series shows us some of the enormous pressures police officers face in the line of duty, as well as many of the compromises they must make that lead, in some cases, to their psychological undoing.

Both Crockett and Tubbs lose family members and other loved ones in drug dealing-related killings, and their personal relations are a shambles; both are subject to several investigations by internal affairs that raise demoralizing questions about their honesty and integrity; both have to face the fact that fellow officers have been bribed and otherwise corrupted by the criminal element, and, in at least two instances, see "brother officers" commit suicide.