We get more than 1,400 letters a month and have room to print fewer than 280. Sometimes we move letters into the publishing pipeline only to have them overrun by other things. Here are some of those letters, including some good ones on health care and one on bubble wrap.
I read with interest the Jan. 18 quote by Renee Ellmers, a health care professional and challenger for the U.S. House seat held by Bob Etheridge. She said “Health care, I'm sorry, is not a right that we have in the Constitution. There is a responsibility for individuals to pay for that health care.”
The preamble for the Constitution reads:
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
General welfare can be defined as health, happiness or prosperity. In order to be a productive, happy or prosperous citizen one must be healthy, in mind and body; in order to be healthy one must have access to affordable healthcare.
Too many of our citizens have been shut out of the current health care system for lack of affordability or for having a pre-existing condition. Good health should not be an open-market commodity available only to those who can bear the costs.
Sarah W. Anderson
In his State of the Union speech, President Obama made the remarkable claim that nuclear power is safe and clean.
Nuclear power is neither. As the National Academy of Sciences reported in its BEIR VII study in 2005, there is no safe level of radiation exposure, and nuclear reactors release radiation routinely into our air and water. Non-routine releases are common, too: The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has documented radioactive tritium leaks at more than 20 reactor sites in the past few years.
The president wisely ended the scientifically indefensible Yucca Mountain project, but we still don’t have a solution for the lethal radioactive waste generated by the 100+ reactors already operating in the U.S. Adding waste from new reactors would just exacerbate the problem.
With costs for new reactors estimated at $6,000 to $9,000 per kilowatt – two to three times as expensive as renewables like solar and wind – nuclear power is the most expensive climate “solution” ever imagined. Yet nuclear is not a carbon-free energy source; it emits some six times as much carbon per kilowatt hour as wind, two to three times as much as solar and multiple times that of other energy-efficient technologies.
In the late 1960s, after being honorably discharged from the U.S. Air Force, I accepted a management position working for the state of Massachusetts.
In the mid-’70s the public sector began watching a great number of its management personnel resign and accept positions in the private sector for considerably higher salaries and more intensive benefits. In hope to stop this bleeding of talent, many of us were offered a contract to remain at our positions with the state. This contract began with wording acknowledging that the state understood we could receive substantially higher salaries in the private sector, and, as such, we were being offered a retirement package that included a health care plan, which would be paid for by the state. This enticed me to sign the contract.
Now having retired, and after foregoing all of the money I could have earned in the private sector over those many years, and despite being on a fixed income, this administration believes I should now be taxed for having this hard-earned retirement benefit.
Oh, and please stop using the deceitful term Cadillac Plan. It is insulting, contemptuous and condescending. Cadillac Plan, baloney.
Corporations are not residents of the country, and are especially not citizens. They should therefore not be entitled to the same constitutional rights as the American people. It was an act of deliberate “legislating from the bench” when the Supreme Court allowed corporations to directly influence elections with unlimited cash. Clearly, this will disrupt and damage our already flawed electoral process.
Corporations have no conscience, no tangible presence in national policies, no participation in the sacrifice of war or in the suffering among the least among us. In their native mode, they behave as unrestrained science-fiction robots, machines intent on profit at the expense of all other priorities, accountable only for their production of dividends and growth.
Now that corporations have the opportunity to spend directly from their stored wealth and unrestrained self-interest, we may never have the chance to empower populist candidates or deal with commerce's endless avarice on behalf of shareholders.
Even if it requires a constitutional amendment, we need to restrain this redefinition of the American citizen, and to steer our nation’s policies to those developed for, by and on behalf of the actual People of our United States.
It is amusing and pathetic that the so-called upgrades to rail service are called high-speed rail. Ninety mph top speed is snail rail. It is a joke to call this nonsense high-speed. The state has $545 million to spend, and in the 21st century we will have what Europe had in the middle of the last century.
Why would I take the train to Washington to save virtually zero time and then leave me at the station to figure out my limited mobility options?
High-speed rail is 200+ mph. While we are struggling to get to 90 mph Europe is going for 400 mph.
Hard to believe this is the same nation that put a man on the moon – but that was in the last century as well.
My heart goes out to Joshua Stewart and his mom (Jan. 27 article). Are we supposed to rejoice that after eight days he was sent to a psychiatric hospital? I read that he had autism. I didn’t read anything that said he had a mental illness. Sending him to a psychiatric hospital is the equivalent of having a broken arm and getting a cast put on your foot.
The Murdoch Center has programs for children with autism, and those few slots are filled. Why isn’t the state focusing on expanding and supporting programs that exist and already work? Children in crisis need immediate help. Clearly, there is none.
Whatever happened to protocol that calls for balanced and unbiased attention in articles about products (to include mention of alternatives, competitors, etc.)? The Jan. 25 front-page Associated Press article about Bubble Wrap might as well have been a paid ad for the product. Why is it nationally newsworthy for a product to turn 50? Did you do a 50-year anniversary story on DDT?
There is no mention of the fact that plastics such as Bubble Wrap do not biodegrade in landfills and that 80+ percent of all plastics end up there. Also, there is no mention of viable alternatives such as Raleigh’s own Geami, Ltd. that makes an equally performing, paper-based protective packaging that is replenishable and recyclable, plus it biodegrades and can be overprinted with the user’s branding.
It takes eight tractor-trailer loads of Bubble Wrap to equal the same packaging needs that one load of Geami protective packing can provide. Shame on you for appearing to endorse a product that is inefficient to ship, bad for our environment and has a better, competitive, nationally available alternative right here at home.
The election in Massachusetts has rejoiced Republicans and scared the heck out of Democrats. But why should this be? The Democrats still have 59 out of 100 senators.
President Barack Obama said that the breakdown of the heath care bill is a result of partisan politics. Yes it is. But the partisanship is almost entirely on the part of the Democrats. They said they wanted input from both parties. Then they shut the Republicans entirely out of the process. Suggestions and amendments proposed by them were not welcome. We should remember that bipartisanship is not the responsibility of the minority. It’s the responsibility of the majority.
Republicans would be very smart to approach Obama with a series of positive reform proposals in health care, jobs, national security, deficit reduction and economic growth. Obama would be even smarter to figure out which of these he can agree with and score an easy series of legislative victories that would help both his political fortunes and our country. Unfortunately, I doubt that it’s in him.
The writer is a former Wake County Republican Party chairman and former candidate for Congress.
The writer of the Jan. 13 letter “Accountability” was incorrect to say that “churches seldom, if ever, have outside audits.” The Episcopal Church requires every congregation and institution to be audited by a CPA regularly.
Furthermore, it’s good practice for audit reports to be made available to the entire congregation. Transparency builds trust and facilitates accountability.
Many major denominations (or their affiliated insurance companies) either require an audit or strongly recommend it for all but the smallest congregations. Churches that are not part of a formal denominational structure are free to set their own policies in this regard.