A few letters that got overrun by other topics:
In our criminal justice system, certainty is often the enemy of truth. Anneliese MacPhail, the mother of Mark MacPhail, the man Troy Davis was executed for killing, told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that she was certain Davis killed her son. You recently reported that Durham District Attorney Tracey Cline was so certain that a man whom a deceased witness had called Little Head referred to the defendant Angel Richardson she didn’t even bother to ask the police or turn over the witness statement to Richardson’s lawyer. And prosecutors in North Carolina are so certain that men like Kenneth Kagoneyan and Robert Wilcoxson who plead guilty to serious crimes are guilty, they want to deny them an opportunity to take their cases to the N.C. Innocence Inquiry Commission.
As The N&O learned, Cline was wrong: Little Head was not Angel Richardson. And a three-judge Innocence Inquiry panel just exonerated Kagoneyan and Wilcoxson; their confessions were false, given to avoid the death penalty or life in prison. Truth ultimately prevailed over certainty. We likely will never know if Mrs. MacPhail is wrong. But if she is, it is too late to correct the mistake.
Shouldn’t we leave a space in our criminal justice system for the discovery of mistakes before they are irreparable?
James E. Coleman, Jr.J
Duke Law School
The National Labor Relations Act was enacted in 1935 when total private sector union participation was over 30 percent. Today, it is less than 8 percent. It thus established the National Labor Relations Board, which is supposed to be a five-member panel to be neutral in addressing grievances between companies and unions. It also has a chief attorney who oversees and brings complaints for the board.
At present the NLRB has three members with two vacant seats. All are Obama appointees.
This nation’s economy is no longer a national economy. Companies must compete globally with foreign companies in order to survive. An American corporation owes it to its workers and shareholders to be able to produce in a competitive environment. Boeing made the choice to open a new product line in South Carolina, a right-to-work state. Even though Boeing has not eliminated one union job, the Machinists Union along with the NLRB general counsel have taken exception and are trying to force Boeing into operating only in unionized states.
One question needs to be asked of the NLRB, the Machinists Union and President Obama: What would all of you do if Boeing simply decides to close all American operations and move everything, lock, stock and barrel to China? I’m sure China would be happy to supply the moving vans!
Gary L. Evans
Thanks for your fine reporting around the situation at Peace College. I do lament the choice of headlines, as they continue to suggest that the unrest at the school is about the decision to admit men and change the college’s name. While those choices were the catalyst for action, they are merely symptoms of a much greater disease.
The real focus is around institutional integrity and precipitous actions taken by the administration and Board of Trustees. The new administration swept into town, laying waste to faculty, staff and curriculum without a backward glance. Using popcorn logic and statistics that defy any practical business application, the new president convinced the board that they had a mission problem.
Examples of poor governance abound, but when three past presidents of the college publicly deplore the current decisions, it speaks volumes.
Peace’s challenges are likely more rooted in marketing than mission, but her biggest obstacle is a sitting president who is ill-suited to the task, and a board that has forgotten that their fiduciary responsibility lies with the school and not the ambitions of the president.
As a North Carolinian and supporter of gay marriage, I can say without any doubt in my mind that I have never been so appalled and ashamed in the leadership that is determining the course of our state. Perhaps it is the voice that calls for government intervention where it suits them and derails government intervention when it does not. Perhaps it is the nature of the proposed amendment itself, constitutionally preventing gays from marrying in our state. What century is this?
Now is the time, while countries like China and India collaborate and surge forward in the ways of technology and science, for Americans to teach acceptance, not exclusion. It is the time to bring our future together, gay or straight, so that we can work for the common good and promote the general welfare. A homosexual human being is just that: a human being, with every right to love and marry whomever they want.
Defense of marriage, you say? How about the pursuit of happiness? Now is the time: Narrow-minded ideologies and exclusive discrimination can take their leave; the time for equality has arrived.
Conservative political rhetoric that America can’t address climate change with a depressed economy must be questioned.
Based on progress on both fronts in Germany, the largest European economy, unemployment fell there in August for a 26th straight month. The jobless rate held at 7 percent, the lowest since Germany reunified in 1991.
Simultaneously, according to the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel, as of the end of August, 20.8 percent of Germany’s power came from renewable sources. Under the visionary leadership of Norbert Röttgen, minister of the Environment, Nature Conservation and Reactor Safety, Germany has adopted a policy that it must have a safe and affordable energy supply that isn’t irresponsible to future generations. The nation has adopted an energy plan that will end the use of nuclear energy by 2022.
Currently, German companies hold the largest share, 16 percent, of the global market for environmental technology, and some 1.8 million new jobs have been created in environmental and energy technology.
It is time also for Americans to reject business-as-usual scenarios with dependence on fossil fuels and demand that our elected officials unite on an energy plan based on greatly increased energy efficiency and safe, clean renewable energy sources.
Carl W. Sigel
Chair, Steering Committee, North Carolina Interfaith Power & Light