Quakers and Muslims
Thank you for your coverage of the events and impact surrounding the arrest of Daniel Boyd ("In Raleigh, Muslims view FBI with fear, mistrust," Aug. 5). It is important and refreshing that you are searching out voices other than the ones who are heard in the mainstream media.
We have been concerned about the effects of the apparent lack of foresight displayed by the manner and timing of the arrests. The actions of officials reflect a lack of sensitivity and understanding of the American Muslim community. We have learned from our friends in that community of the fear and alarm among them, just as they were reaching out in joy and pride over their achievement in the new Raleigh mosque. We are told that students are worried about returning to campus, and travelers about returning from abroad: Will the stereotyping and discrimination so evident since 9/11 be ratcheted up again?
We will be watching whether the Holder Justice Department accords the defendants all due constitutional rights, including guarantees to examine the evidence and witnesses against them. Prosecutors should not resort to the "state secrets privilege" that the previous administration relied on.
We hope you will continue to follow both the legal and social impacts of these issues in our community.
Nancy Milio and Curt Torell
Bridging the Faith Divide Committee
Chapel Hill Friends Meeting [Quaker]
Not seeing double at PWC
After reading "Piedmont's funding, significance questioned" (Aug. 5), I feel compelled to clarify several of the issues the article addresses.
As a former employee of the Piedmont Wildlife Center hospital whose job consisted of answering emergency calls and performing animal intake, I repeatedly witnessed the high level of care, dedication and expertise practiced by the staff, volunteers and interns working there. At no time did any of their jobs seem insignificant, nor did the lives of the countless animals they saved. I can also say with absolute certainty that they performed multiple and invaluable services which were not always "duplicated" by Durham County Animal Control, as its director Cindy Bailey claims, including thorough triage and evaluation by trained wildlife technicians, as well as ongoing (and often long-term) treatment. In fact, Durham County Animal Control officers frequently referred callers with animal emergencies to the wildlife center hospital, and they often brought injured wildlife to the hospital themselves, rendering Ms. Bailey's comments confusing and misleading.
In addition, while it is true that many animals brought to the wildlife hospital were sent out to area rehabbers, this only occurred after they proved to be medically stable and able to leave the hospital, and frequently after many hours and dollars had been spent to ensure their health and welfare. Many times, multiple calls had to be made before a rehabber with enough available resources and room could be found. Also, rehabbers regularly brought injured animals to PWC for initial treatment before returning to pick them back up at a later date. Again, this contradicts Ms. Bailey's point that there was no real need for the PWC hospital because of the existence of Durham Animal Control and local rehabbers.
During my time at PWC, inadequate staffing was never really the main issue, as Ms. Bailey claims, but inadequate financial resources always was. Regarding this subject in particular, as well as the termination of the highly capable and hard-working vet Dr. Hoggard that resulted in the immediate closing of hospital doors, perhaps PWC Executive Director Gail Abrams needs to address the prevailing questions regarding funding in more detail.
I find Sam Wardle's article on "free speech" and threats to "muzzle debate" astonishingly ignorant ("Free speech 'zones,' police crackdowns threaten to muzzle debate," Annual Manual, Aug. 19). The whole point of the Tancredo episode that Haley Koch participated in was to prevent "free speech" and "muzzle debate." How could anyone who watched the video on YouTube (tiny.cc/g8NeP) call this "a peaceful protest" which police were attempting to "silence"? The police were properly trying to prevent the disruption of a university-sanctioned event.
Wardle claims that Ms. Koch and her associates "break no law by shouting down a speaker." On the contrary, North Carolina Statute 14-288.4 (a) (6) defines disorderly conduct as "a public disturbance intentionally caused by any person who ... engages in conduct which disturbs the peace, order or discipline at any public or private educational institution." It is obvious that this is what these protesters were doing. Instead of cowardly complaining that for UNC-CH "to do this to one of their students is pretty appalling," Ms. Koch should accept the consequences of her unlawful behavior without complaint.
Ironically, Wardle claims that the local Youth for Western Civilization chapter is also a casualty of this free speech war because (conservative) professor Chris Clemmons has declined to continue as their faculty sponsor. Although I am not sympathetic with most of their views, I think that they, like Haley Koch, should be allowed to peacefully express them, and I have offered to be their sponsor.
Elliot M. Cramer
The writer is an Emeritus Professor of Psychology at UNC-CH.
Health care confusion
Like all accounts of people's concerns regarding health care, "U.S. Rep. Brad Miller stumps for health care reform" (Aug. 12) reflects the confusion and ignorance regarding public funding of health care, especially so-called single-payer: the National Health Care Act, aka the Improved Medicare for All Act, HR 676. Much attention is paid to reforming private health insurance, but single-payer eliminates the need for any insurance at all by simply paying all medically necessary bills. That's all it does. There's little effect on private (or any other) health care delivery. Why would anyone want to keep paying premiums, copays, deductibles, etc., to unscrupulous health profiteers, who will probably let him down when he gets sick, when, for a small payroll deduction or self-employment tax proportional to income, all his family medical needs for life can be paid for just because he lives in America?
There are two Web sites that will relieve any concern and clarify any confusion anyone may have on this subject. They are www.healthcare-now.org and www.pnhp.org. I beg everyone who reads this to go there and discover that single-payer health financing is no more socialistic than our highway system, the Post Office, Social Security or Medicare and less so than the public school system or national defense. Like government itself, it is simply a way to save a bundle through a national co-op. It is the only proposal which covers everyone, the only one which will actually help relieve the recession, and the only one we can afford. Now go to www.health-justice.org and sign up to use their easy tools to keep up a constant clamor in the halls of government until they sign real universal health care for everyone into law, no matter how long it takes! Spread the word.
In "At half mast: Neo-Confederate Kirk Lyons on race, immigration and what could be his final flag case" (Aug. 12), Dick Reavis claims that Ward Churchill was fired for saying the equivalent of Reavis' quote: "We have beaten the dog so much that it is biting us."
Reavis should refrain from making such frivolous and woefully wrong statements. If he would go to www.colorado.edu/news/reports/churchill/ he could have all the information he wants about why Ward Churchill was fired—seven confirmed instances of research misconduct and a number of instances of misrepresenting his own ethnic background for personal and professional gain.
I read your paper frequently but I become frustrated when I see unsubstantiated political zingers. It cheapens your product. It cheapens the discourse on the important issues you cover. It makes me question the accuracy of the story on Kirk Lyons.
Please edit and fact-check harder. Now more than ever, we need media outlets we can trust.