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Church, state and marriage
The thought that the current president seeks re-election so desperately that he's actively working to enact the first constitutional amendment to limit people's freedom since Prohibition is shameful. Gay partners should have the freedom to unite, the same as straight partners ("I Found My Heart in San Francisco," Feb. 25). If a church chooses not to sanction such a union, that's the church's prerogative.
Donald A. Ball Jr.

Sorry reporting
While we don't generally respond to the petty and all-too-tired swipes at Cary's good fortune, Burtman's "Money Talks" (Feb. 18) indictment of the Town of Cary Police Department crosses the line and cannot go unchallenged.

The death investigation of Mr. John Jablonski was nothing if not complete. In addition to Cary's police and fire departments, those involved included the Wake County Fire Marshal's Office, the Wake City-County Bureau of Identification, the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation, and the N.C. Medical Examiner's Office in Chapel Hill.

The evidence collected and analyzed by this highly qualified and motivated team leads to no other conclusion than this incident was an unfortunate accident. Contrary to Burtman's conspiracy theory:

1. The mattress believed used by the victim was about two-thirds burned.

2. Investigation showed no accelerants were used in the residence.

3. A fire extinguisher kept in another part of the residence had been discharged near the blaze's origination area, indicating that Mr. Jablonski had been conscious long enough to try to extinguish the blaze before being overcome by smoke.

4. The Medical Examiner's Office concluded in the official autopsy report that Mr. Jablonski died from carbon monoxide poisoning and severe thermal injuries.

5. Investigators spoke with all persons in the vicinity (and elsewhere) who may have had information about the incident or victim's history. While correct that not all persons in the vicinity may have been directly interviewed, investigators were satisfied they spoke with those persons most likely to have had pertinent knowledge related to the incident. All reports of suspicious activity were also followed up with no indication of foul play indicated.

With these facts on the table, let me close by saying that I am sickened and amazed that your publication would challenge the integrity of our men and women in uniform and use someone's tragic death simply for fodder in furthering stupid, uninformed class attacks against Cary. Back in my hometown of Red Springs, N.C., we'd call "Money Talks" "just plain sorry."
Bill Coleman
Cary Town Manager

Open it for real
During his recent lecture at Duke, George Soros reminded us that he is "not a peacenik." Well, as a supporter of the Iraq War who refuses to discuss his membership in "Skull and Bones," John Kerry is no peacenik either. With outrage towards Bush reaching critical mass, the corporate media have labored to corral dissent back into the two-party monopoly. Enter Soros ("Soros on Bush, Iraq and Unchecked Power," Feb. 25), who has made a vast fortune through the legalized theft of currency manipulation. He has poured his ill-gotten gains into the Democratic party and his own Open Society Institute, whose website features OSI Vice President Gara LaMarche's article, "Suppose We Had a Real Democracy in the United States: a Time for Imagination." The article espouses libertarian views, but seems to miss the point of its own title. Does LaMarche really imagine that Kerry will "repeal the Patriot Act," fight to abolish electronic balloting, or support legislation to erode the supremacy of "organized money as the author of politics?" Does LaMarche really lack the imagination to suggest that his boss fund a viable third party that might actually champion these views, or does Soros mix politics and philanthropy after all? Oh sure, weirdos like Ralph Nader who have demonstrated unshakeable integrity through a lifetime of public service are "unelectable," especially when they lack billionaire financing and blanket media coverage. But then again, unshakeable integrity is not a quality that is valued by big media or Bush and Kerry's skullfaced troupe of good-ol-boys. My fellow citizens, peacenik or otherwise, why do you continue to entrust your children's future to the lesser of two evils, and how many times will you be duped by false saviors? The rigid hierarchy of corporate politics is in fact the antithesis of an "open society."
Thomas Martin Bermudez

In a Front Porch item about News & Observer columnist Rick Martinez ("Strange Bedfellows," March 3), we mistakenly said Martinez was a writer for the Raleigh-based John Locke Foundation. Martinez is not a staff member of the foundation. The foundation's Web site links to his columns.

The second paragraph of Godfrey Cheshire's review of The Passion of the Christ ("The Temple of Narcissus," March 3) should have been italicized, indicating it was a quotation from Iranologist Henry Corbin.

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