Contrary to the implied premise of Bob Geary's bouquet for the president ("Obamacare: a symptom, not the disease," Nov. 20), it would not be a bad thing for the Affordable Care Act to be "hamstrung" by our founding fathers. Let's not forget that the ACA was rammed through Congress without a single Republican vote.
Geary would have us believe that "all Obamacare does is insist that insurers accept your money even if you have a pre-existing condition," but actual facts about the federal takeover of one-sixth of the American economy say otherwise. You don't cobble together a 1,200-plus page bill to say only one thing.
Geary's view of the checks and balances in our system of government is similarly skewed. They are not designed to "deter democracy" so much as to prevent any part of the federal government from accumulating too much power at the expense of the other parts. In other words, the checks and balances preserve an egalitarian sensibility. The dead white guys who wrote them into our Constitution were more enlightened—and less hostile to religion—than Geary gives them credit for being. Lincoln recognized that, which is why his Gettysburg Address is so frequently cited together with the writings of the founders.
If Obamacare is a symptom, it's a symptom of executive hubris, not constitutional dysfunction. Madison, Jefferson and their contemporaries deserve better than to have their work kicked around by columnists who think that a conspiracy of special interest groups keeps the U.S. from having fewer doctors per capita "than any other industrialized nation."
Geary's claim is not true, by the way: The U.S. ranks behind countries like San Marino and Israel, but ahead of countries like New Zealand, Japan, the United Kingdom, and South Korea, all of which are "industrialized" by any definition.
Patrick O'Hannigan, Morrisville
Re: Domestic violence
In "Can police prevent domestic violence simply by telling offenders to stop?" (Nov. 13), one of the paragraphs states that mandatory arrest for domestic violence cases is ineffective, with the ineffectiveness largely the fault of law enforcement for ignorance in domestic violence cases. While I agree that law enforcement is unaware on how to handle these cases correctly, I disagree with the stance that mandatory arrest does not work.
I think mandatory arrest is effective. In order for it to fully help, though, police need to learn more about domestic violence cases and how to handle them properly. Stations should offer training that will assist responding officers in recognizing signs of abuse and how to react. Most often, officers cannot distinguish the primary offender in a situation or fail to see a sign of serious abuse. As a result, they either do not make an arrest to avoid getting the wrong person or arrest both parties because they are unsure of who the primary offender is.
By having the proper knowledge on domestic violence cases, officers can better help the victims and prevent further abuse from happening. If action can be taken sooner rather than later, lives can be saved and families will not have to suffer. Mandatory arrest is not ineffective. The way that law enforcement carries it out is ineffective.
Hayley Conley, Shorewood, Ill.
Re: Raw foods
It is thrilling to see that Triangle Raw Foods is soon to open an eatery due to popular demand ("Show some LOVE," Nov. 13). Like Louis Vitello, I too started my plant-based journey with juicing (after watching the phenomenal documentary Fat Sick & Nearly Dead) and have been feeling great ever since. All my best wishes to Cafe LOVE and all those out there who are promoting a healthier life style and thus bringing about a higher consciousness for mankind.
Chery Zheng, Hillsborough
Re: John Edwards
I started reading the Independent when I moved to N.C. in 1986. I have read its thoughtful and thorough reporting over the years. I have learned from this newspaper.
This week, I am wondering if the INDY is transitioning to a form of the New York Post.
My son, who is 15 years old, pointed out to me your full-page cartoon on John Edwards [Nov. 13] and promptly said, "Mom, you should write them."
My children know who John Edwards is, both because we follow politics and because we talk in our home about how to live conscientiously, the best we can.
A couple of years ago, my son told me that he had heard that an outraged elderly woman starting screaming at Mr. Edwards when he was waiting in line with his young son at an ice cream shop. This shocked my kids, and we had a long talk about what happens when you do something wrong, and how you interact with society afterward. How long are you judged?
I found your cartoon on Mr. Edwards to have little merit. I found it simply mean-spirited. Maybe for some it is a funny idea, although careless, but a full page in a newspaper is a treasure. You could have used it to call attention to something relevant—a spotlight on a group or the everyday man, or even pictures from the recent N.C. Comicon Festival. This page could have been given to a young writer who wanted their first story published, yet you chose to use a full page to mock a man, who I imagine is simply trying to live his life.
Renee Leverty, Durham
Re: Lyme disease
As a resident of Orange County in the rural area between Chapel Hill and Hillsborough, I was surprised by the tone of the article about bow hunting in Durham ["Bow hunting legal; panhandling illegal," Nov. 6]. Reading further, I found the statements about Lyme disease in the area to be less-than-informed and misleading.
The fact is, Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses are quickly making their way into the Southern states. In northern North Carolina, we are experiencing this firsthand. The numbers cited in the article are low compared to those in New England, but we should try to contain the problem while it is still (relatively) small and manageable, not wait for deer populations to explode out of control as concerned citizens have up North.
Last spring, during a routine vet exam, my dog tested positive for Lyme disease. Before the test came back, the vet had just finished telling me not to worry because Lyme disease was rare in the state, more of a problem in New England, etc. The fact is that records for animal-borne Lyme disease (not detected in humans) are shoddy. I'm more careful than ever about checking myself for ticks, but I just need to be unlucky once to get the disease and possibly live with the consequences for the rest of my life.
Deer are an important part of a forest ecosystem, but when their numbers balloon out of control, they quickly become little more than disease-carrying pests. Lyme disease is here to stay; we can limit it by keeping our deer population at a healthy level.
Leah Peroutka, Chapel Hill
Re: Voting laws
It's interesting to see the same points about other states' voting laws in almost identical words in letters to various papers including INDY (Back Talk, Nov. 6).
The relevant comparison, however, is how the changed voting laws affect North Carolina voters and potential, qualified voters. It is clear most of the N.C. changes make it harder to vote for many people. Only one change I've noted, allowing anyone to request absentee ballots for multiple voters (with no ID required), seems to make it easier—in one voting method which has been used by more white voters than other voters.
Two examples may illustrate the problems: One of two people caught for in-person voter impersonation was a member of Republican U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry's campaign, in one Piedmont county. In the same county, nursing home staff got birth certificates for two patients who had lost everything. The same staff reported that DMV denied these people IDs, despite their valid birth certificates, because they didn't already have photo IDs.
Wells Eddleman, Durham