Pubdate: Fri, 13 Oct 2006
Source: Daily Press, The (Escanaba, MI)
Copyright: 2006 The Daily Press
Author: Randy Vizyak


How did Andy Heller become an award-winning journalist? Perhaps his
grammar and punctuation is (sic) very good. His logic certainly is

In his Oct. 5 column "New energy drink just stupid," he ridicules a
beverage maker for calling their drink "cocaine." Where does he think
the name "'COCA'- cola" comes from?

He should do some research on this subject. There is a product called
"Mate Coca" sold by a company in Bolivia. It really does have
"cocaine" in it. The natural coca leaf contains the alkaloid cocaine.
So what? The natural coffee bean contains the alkaloid "caffeine."
Looking at this from a strictly botanical and chemical point of view,
what's the difference between the effects of cocaine and the effects
of caffeine? Their both stimulants.

One could make a cup of coca leaf tea and it would be a benign
substance. One could extract the caffeine from the coffee bean and
have a potent white powder substance.

If the U.S. government treated the coffee bean the way it treats the
coca leaf, we could no longer get a cup of coffee. But Columbian drug
lords would be selling pure white powder caffeine for $5,000 an ounce.
It's more profitable to smuggle the potent white powder than it is the
natural leaf.

Mr. Heller is very good at sensational journalism, but very poor in
critical thinking.

Randy Vizyak, Mukwonago, Wis.