Fund spay/neuter now
Peter MacQueen's letter ("Time to ban gassing of animals," Back Talk, Aug. 15) does not consider that now there are no state standards for the training, testing and monitoring of the use of gas to kill animals. I suspect that many counties use gas because it is cheaper than sodium pentobarbital. Maybe forcing them to properly train and monitor their employees will make gas too prohibitive to use. At least that is my hope. I can only support this rules change for now because no one is overseeing the proper use of gas.
What is really needed is a commitment to spay/neuter programs. The new 20-cent tax on state rabies tags to fund spay/neuter is a poor attempt as non-state commercial tags are exempt. The cost of commercial tags is anywhere from 7 to 23 cents, while with the 20-cent tax, state tags will now be 28 cents. Also, the state does not offer any veterinarian personalized tags as do the commercial providers. As you can see, the state is non-competitive. In a discussion with the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services (the department responsible), I was told they expect to see lost sales.
Also take into consideration that only about 13 to 22 of our 100 counties participate in any given year in state-subsidized spay/neuter, which falls short of full funding, and you get a good understanding of why we have so many animals being created by the actions of irresponsible owners.
What is needed is for the state to get out of the tag business and a full funding tax on all rabies tags to be collected. Then every county could be legislated to fund and provide spay/neuter programs along with the more humane lethal injection.
I empathize with those who want President Bush out of office immediately, but their withdrawing support from Rep. David Price because he won't support impeachment is pointless ("Price nixes impeachment," Aug. 22). Impeachment has no chance of passage; not only would be it a waste of resources—diverting attention from the 2008 election for which Democrats are well-positioned—it would also set a precedent that any unpopular, incompetent president should be impeached. It's unfortunate that Jimmy Carter in 1979 and Lyndon Johnson in 1967 were unpopular and arguably incompetent Democrats. Also, Democrats who leave the party because it's not liberal enough should remember that if Democrats had not defected to Ralph Nader in 2000, Bush would not have been elected.
Puppet review unfair
Megan Stein's review of Paperhand Puppet Intervention's production of A Shoe For Your Foot is unfair and out of balance ("On the boards," Aug. 22).
One measure of performance art is in the variety and depth of response evoked in the audience. Stein somehow has personified that range, vacillating between high praise and mean-spirited judgment. I want to speak out in gratitude for Paperhand's presence in the community, and I hope people will go see this production for themselves. This troop of folk artists and performers is vibrant and creative, constantly and thoughtfully moving beyond their successes into new creative expressions. Their mastery of the art is breathtaking. And their sacrifices are real—long hours of puppet invention, tedious rehearsals, costumed performances in the stifling heat. The productions are so generous and grand that nobody can be paid what they should be. Even in the oppressive heat, Paperhand manages to frolic with an "almost obnoxious level of gaiety."
I appreciate that sort of spirit, and I wonder what it is about gaiety that is so unsettling to Stein? Perhaps it's a reflection of a larger malaise in our society. Why is it so easy to accept obnoxious expressions of rage, violence, greed, lust, jealousy, etc. in entertainment? What is it about gaiety that would repel us?
I'm confused, and I hope that in the future, the Independent will support the creativity displayed by Paperhand and use discretion in the quality of its reviews. Stein could not even resist throwing barbs at The Garden of the Wild, a production she herself raved about back in May.
Disputing Barbera's résumé
In response to "Heart attack band" (Aug. 22), please clarify just one thing: Salt for Slugs magazine (not zine) is the Austin, Texas, genius work created by James Bernard and fueled by his partners and fellow Austinites, Raymond Grant and Ran Scot (who also ran the Salt for Slugs Web site). James Bernard ran Salt for Slugs out of his home and took the mag from its cut-and-paste do-it-yourself publication beginnings in 1997 to its internationally distributed (through Tower Records) Austin, Texas, icon end in 2001. Greg Barbera submitted music reviews to Salt for Slugs by e-mail. Barbera did not run Salt for Slugs, nor was he ever granted responsibility for any element of its publication.