Letters to the editor Nov 24

Nov. 24, 2013 @ 12:17 AM

Measures urged to curb flu

Considering that Durham has been named by Southern Living as “The South's Tastiest Town” and has a longstanding association with renowned dining, restaurants in Durham ought to take greater sanitary measures in anticipation of the winter flu season.

I have been particularly pleased to observe that an expanding number of eating establishments have placed trashcans near the door to the restroom. The winter months are habitually marked by greater instances of cases of communicable diseases such as the Norovirus, which results in unpleasant upheaval to one’s digestive system. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Norovirus causes 19-21 million cases and 570-800 deaths annually in the United States.

The most effective preventive technique is diligent hand washing, and alcohol-based hand sanitizers have been observed to be a less efficient substitute. Because the Norovirus is most readily transmitted in spaces where infected people relieve themselves, door handles, which must be touched in order to leave a restroom, are particularly susceptible to becoming contaminated with the virus. We cannot be certain that all patrons will properly wash their hands and, thus, ensure the cleanliness of these door handles.

Therefore, all establishments ought to place a trashcan beside the restroom door so that visitors may use a paper towel to touch the door handle and then discard the paper towel in the adjacent receptacle. Measures such as these will reduce the ease of transmission of viruses this winter and contribute to greater well-being among the citizens of Durham.

Erich Prince


Whistleblowers beware

For reasons that are not clear to many of us our president wants to be remembered as the leader who is tough on whistleblowers. The Obama  administration has prosecuted more whistleblowers under the Espionage Act than all previous administrations combined.

Gone are the days when some of the best known whistleblowers were considered patriots. Daniel Ellsberg made public the secret U.S. government study of America’s ill-fated involvement in the Vietnam war. After the 9/11 attacks FBI attorney Coleen Rowley wrote a memo to FBI director Robert Mueller explaining that the department ignored the pleas of the Minneapolis field office to investigate Zacarias Moussaoui  who was subsequently indicted as a September 11 co-conspirator.  Rowley was one of three whisleblowers  recognized  by Time magazine as “Persons of the year.”

So,  problems with drone warfare, NSA spying on allies, and affronts to our values at Guantanamo and other embarrassing activities will likely continue. Persons in a position to report serious misdeeds know  they may  face career ending consequences, and possibly time in prison.

Barry L. Reece


Hostility to JFK distressing

D. G. Martin’s op ed piece “Who can forget Nov. 22, 1963,” -- in which he alluded to the fact a fellow student officer at Fort Holabird in Baltimore  bragged that, if given the chance, he would shoot President Kennedy -- was beyond sobering. 

Equally distressing was reading about the level of hostility expressed at the time -= even by much higher ranking military, Pentagon and intelligence officials.  (see Robert F. Kennedy Jr.  “John F. Kennedy’s Vision of Peace” article in this week’s Rolling Stone magazine).

After reading the two above cited memoirs on the 35th president of the United States, it is not difficult to understand why some conspiracy theorists are still out there when it comes to trying to make sense of the assassination.

Joe Moran