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Smoked Out 

We'll begin with Jim Prah, who objects to our advertising policies. Specifically, we accepted and published an ad last week from a cigarette manufacturer, but per company policy we declined to run a classified ad he wanted to take out advertising guns he wanted to sell. Prah believes this policy is hypocritical.

Cigarettes, he writes, are "a product that when used as directed will addict one and kill you. In this country, over 480,000 (1,300 per day) people die annually from using this product, and worldwide over six million, and yet you persist. You are complicit in these deaths. I asked [a classified rep] if I could sell guns there, and she gave me a flat-out no. In this country 13,286 people were killed by guns. So my question is, why do you permit large ads for a product that kills on a large scale, but not one that kills only one-thirty-sixth of that number? Please understand that I am against gun violence and the concealed-carry, stand-your-ground laws, and I understand the 'optics' of not wanting to advertise guns. But why are cigarettes acceptable to you?" 

Now, some Facebook comments on the third and final installment of our Hogwashed series. Betty Brandt Williamson: "Big corporations are hard to fight. These corporate hog farms stink more than the independent 'pig parlors' of my youth, where pigs would be outside. I remember two such places in the Shotwell area—one on Smithfield Road and another off Poole Road. The smell driving right by those was nothing compared to driving through Duplin County on I-40."

Ellen Canavan: "These 'farms' are hell for the animals as well. Living indoors for their whole short life, forced to defecate where they eat, it's just wrong."

Amani Upendo: When you care about the people, you do something. When you don't care, you do nothing."

Last week, we broke the news that DSI Comedy will be closing at the end of August, in the wake of allegations against founder Zach Ward. Commenter MavisDaily says this is a tragedy. "This is sad. No other way to put it. Foremost, it's sad because Ward's behavior prevented some people from having a great experience within a challenging, liberating, and potentially life-changing art form. People prepared to open themselves up to new experiences were hurt by his actions, and that's tragic.

"It's sad because a lot of innocent, hardworking, and hilarious improvisers have now lost their community hub and performance space. It had to happen, but that doesn't make it any less devastating to these people, who are now confused, hurt, and questioning their self-worth in light of these revelations. It's sad because a lot of people outside DSI seem to be as concerned if not more concerned with gloating in Ward's downfall and patting themselves on the back as they are with comforting and sympathizing with the many, many victims. So, yeah. Sad."

On our reporting about Wake County staffers deciding not to divert an extra $3 million in property tax collections to the schools, commenter Prescott writes, "Commissioner [Greg] Ford is right to question the threshold for budgetary discretion made by staff. Where are the boundaries? Voters elect the commissioners to make these decisions, not staff. And after weeks of public comments and pleas being made on behalf of the school board and the commissioners deciding they don't have the funds for education, this is extremely disappointing."

Finally, a clarification: in last week's Hogwashed story, we said Governor Cooper had vetoed the state budget in part because there wasn't funding for voluntary buyouts of hog farms in the Neuse River floodplain. Spokesman Ford Porter says it was because the governor thought there wasn't enough money in the budget for the Clean Water Management Trust Fund, which allocates funds for the buyout.

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