Columns » Letters to the Editor

Re: Art Pope's empire; Social Security; "Global warming alarmists"; Wake County schools


Re: Art Pope's empire

I take issue with your articles entitled "The Art Pope Empire" (March 9). You have mislabeled them. The articles should have been entitled "Art Pope, Plantation Boss." He makes his money off the less fortunate and those who can't do better. All the issues he advocates are to enrich the wealthy and add additional burdens on the poor and middle class. However, North Carolina folks are to be blamed for electing the boss's people and shopping at his stores. If the voter is too stupid to understand, then I guess we get what we deserve.

David Williams

Re: Social Security

Kudos to Jonathan Weiler!

His March 9 myth-busting article setting the record straight regarding the truth about both the short- and long-range financial soundness of Social Security was succinct, pertinent and, above all, refreshingly honest—especially in light of the extreme right-wing propaganda and disinformation that the public is bombarded with nigh daily by such pompous, ignorant assholes as Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck.

Neither of those Rupert Murdoch/Fox News bought and paid for toadies gives a shit about the truth—only about the reactionary political, economic and social agenda of neo-Gilded Age recidivist criminal corporatists.

Not to overlook the insidious destructive "termite tactics" of multibillionaire Pete Peterson, who has been trying to get us to do away with Social Security since its inception, it seems, one way or another.

Weiler's article should be required reading not only for all Americans, but—in particular—for those persons already receiving or about to receive Social Security retirement benefits (benefits due them, not so incidentally, for which they have prepaid).

Roy Carlton
Chapel Hill

Re: "Global warming alarmists"

Sue Sturgis writes, "There's no longer doubt in the expert scientific community that the earth is warming and that human activity plays a big part in it" ("Pope-backed climate cranks target North Carolina renewable energy law," March 9). Ms. Sturgis has been paying too much attention to the "global warming alarmists."

Most critics do not deny that we are in a warming period, although there has been no warming trend since 1998. There has ALWAYS been global warming (and cooling). Where did Greenland get its name? Crops were grown there during a warming period in the Middle Ages.

The issue is whether warming seen in the last 100 years or so is due to human intervention or is part of a natural cycle. There are MANY distinguished scientists who dispute the claims of global warming alarmist James Hanson and others. It is not widely realized that their predictions are based on computer programs which do not predict well and which disagree with one another. These clowns cannot accurately predict the weather a week ahead of time and yet they are claiming to predict the climate 100 years from now!!!

A distinguished scientist, Freeman Dyson, said in the New York Times Magazine:"I am always happy to be in the minority. Concerning the climate models, I know enough of the details to be sure that they are unreliable. They are full of fudge factors that are fitted to the existing climate, so the models more or less agree with the observed data. But there is no reason to believe that the same fudge factors would give the right behavior in a world with different chemistry, for example in a world with increased CO2 in the atmosphere."

Enough said. See for more information.

Elliot M. Cramer
Professor Emeritus, Department of Psychology
UNC-Chapel Hill

Re: Wake County schools

As the community of Wake County debates its income-based busing policy, I want to show the positive effects that economically diverse classrooms have. Terminating the forced busing policy and changing it to a "choice" will impede the success of the current education system, as well as deter racial relationships within the community.

Studies have shown that having middle-class students in classrooms raises test scores better than increased funding. Students of all races and backgrounds perform better in diverse schools. These schools typically have higher graduation rates and more college acceptances.

Modern-day Americans believe that everyone has equal rights and that achievements in life are based on how hard one works. Then why is there such a difference in graduation rates and test scores for minorities? Only 51 percent of Hispanics and 63 percent of African-Americans graduated from Wake County schools, compared to 78 percent overall. The current system will allow these numbers to grow closer as the opportunities become universal. However, by allowing for a choice, parents of higher classes will send their children to the best schools, while children of lower classes will be forced to go to the closest school.

Although race and class are seen as different entities, they are interwoven in most situations. By keeping the busing system, children from all backgrounds will not only be exposed to the same level of education but also thrive in an environment more realistic to the real world, allowing minority students from poverty to succeed instead of causing a resegregation.

Only through economic diversity in schools will there be an equal right to education. There will be a better learning environment based not only on class material but also on learning to deal with people of different backgrounds and learning to deal with racial barriers.

Alex Merrill

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