Congratulations on the two excellent articles questioning the safety of nuclear energy in your April 22 issue ("The truth behind the meltdown," by Sue Sturgis, and "Waste and cost raise doubts about nuclear power," by Gerry Canavan). Some reporters recently reported that no one was harmed by the accident at Three Mile Island 30 years ago.
Just this March, the French government finally admitted to causing illness and death to witnesses from its nuclear testing. The Canadian government had compensated veterans of nuclear tests who developed cancers or other diseases. Our government still refuses to acknowledge or accept responsibility for the illnesses caused by our testing in this country and the Pacific.
The tragedies to hundreds of thousands of civilians and veterans from the effects of even low-level ionizing radiation have been denied by the Veterans Administration and other agencies.
I personally was sent incorrect data from the government regarding my father's exposure to radiation. I am just one of hundreds of members of the National Association of Atomic Veterans who have been thwarted in attempts to have files released, especially data revealing adverse effects from exposure to low-level ionization radiation.
It is time we force government agencies to reveal the health effects of radiation records. Is it possible that such data question the safety of the nuclear industry, and that's why we have overclassified such material?
Not only is our health at risk, but genetic consequences to our offspring from any radiation emitted from nuclear plants. Too long has government been in control of science and medicine in this country. The issues are not just of health of a nation but honesty of our government.
Sandra Kane Marlow
Conspicuously absent from Hal Crowther's cover story on guns and drugs ("The real border crisis," April 15) is any mention that Mexican "narcos" and stateside "narcs" represent two sides of the same counterfeit coin, joined in a co-dependent relationship designed to hijack humanity's birthright to immune system-boosting endorphins found in many non-food herbs.
In addition to running arms, the latter profit either in obtaining seized goods (not excluding the drugs themselves), earning high salaries, selling fast boats, helicopters and cars, training dogs, making electronic gizmos, building prisons and forcing convicts to work as slaves. Being either in government, organized religion or the mainstream press, they are not about to let this money spigot shut, forcing them to find honest work.
If Crowther really does not understand why "the government has been worse than useless [to halt the carnage]," you should let him take early retirement. Ignoring the prison/ military/ industrial complex is bad enough, but the graphic implying equality between marijuana and assault rifles represents journalistic pandering I would have expected from Parade, not the Indy.
What a powerful message. I wish every paper in the country would publish Hal Crowther's "The real border crisis" on the same day. Readers might be stirred to action by this exceptionally explicit, logical and intelligent description of the problems guns create for us and those around us. Thanks, Independent, for bringing it to the Triangle.
Regarding "Cocktails for Chatham?" April 29: I find this current debate of liquor by the drink to be antiquated. Decisions concerning alcohol should have been settled before the Beatles hit our shores. In 2009, North Carolina should be having honest debates about growing and taxing marijuana not only for those with chronic pain but to grow as a legal cash crop, with the federal, state and local governments all with their hands out ready to grab taxes from a source that doesn't exist yet. Chatham citizens, just like the rest of our country, are strapped for cash and most times the commissioners see setting their budgets like children reading a brand new Sears catalogue, ready to buy everything they want and charge them on the backs of Chatham citizens.
Many will say that the moral complications to our county by allowing liquor by the drink will be huge and we should not change the system as it stands. The "slippery slope" concepts they are claiming are drawn out, overdramatic and unfounded. That being said, I thank God quite literally for the men and women who truly hold these convictions down to their boots. As a country, we are so full of people terrified that by sticking to their convictions they might offend someone. What makes the difference between opinionated jerk and a thinking gentleman is the way their thoughts are explained.
Chatham County needs higher-end restaurants for properly thought out growth. The profit margin on liquor is huge, whether the restaurant is a chain like Red Lobster or Outback Steakhouse or a wonderful, old-school, family restaurant that makes every dish from scratch. If these kinds of restaurants can't make their profit in Chatham, they will go where their liquor profits will be more advantageous. Needless to say, the tax money follows the business.
Our county certainly needs this new tax base. And hopefully, after the taxes start rolling in, it will make it a little easier on the citizens of Chatham County the next time the commissioners get their "Wish Book."
Ronald John Barlotta