Letters to the Editor, April 28

Apr. 27, 2014 @ 11:12 AM

‘Home-town boy’s’ book insightful

A home-town boy (Class of 1961, Durham High School) has published a book. I first learned of this book when I saw it mentioned in D. G. Martin’s column. “The Making of a Southern Democracy: North Carolina Politics from Ker Scott to Pat McCrory” by Tom Eamon is extraordinarily insightful, well written and well documented as to sources. You can tell he put a lot of effort into the book.

The book also gives a lot of maps with demographics of elections which helped me to understand my state better. In addition, he gives a lengthy introductory prologue which tells the historical beginnings of democracy in our state and who the key political figures were. He also touches on national politics and how it interplayed with state politics.

If you are a transplant to the state and you want to know more about what has fueled it, or even if you are a native of the state, you will be enlightened. It is well worth your time to read it. I did and I’m glad I did.

You did well, Thomas; I am sure your mom and dad are smiling from above.

Jeannie Clark Hawkins

Creedmoor

Costs high for eating meat

It’s perversely ironic for rancher Cliven Bundy to excoriate poor people for collecting government subsidies, while ripping off the federal government of a million dollars in grazing fees. But, even if he were to pay up, Bundy and his fellow ranchers, would still be living on government welfare.

Livestock grazing is subsidized by federal agencies on 270 million acres of public land in 11 western states to the tune of nearly $300 million annually. Monthly grazing fees per cow and calf on private rangeland average $11.90, but corresponding fees on federal lands are set at a paltry $1.35.

Even so, grazing subsidies are dwarfed by other government subsidies and the medical, environmental and other external costs imposed on society by animal agriculture. These extra costs have been estimated at $414 billion annually, or $3,600 per household.

Each of us can make our $3,600 annual contribution to the common good by replacing animal products in our diet with the rich variety of grain, nut and soy-based meat and dairy alternatives in our neighborhood supermarket.

Chris Pickens

Durham

Phone service overtaxed

I just received my monthly telephone bill from Frontier Communications.  I have noticed that over the course of the few years that I have had this service the cost has gradually increased from the $30 dollar a month range to the $40 range.  This month I analyzed the statement’s details and to my surprise noted that the federal and state taxes comprise about 46 oercent of the bill.  Prior to these taxes my phone bill is $28.50; add to that $13.28 taxes.

It seems a bit overboard to apply this percentage of tax on basic phone service.  It far exceeds the tax rate on most other things such as food, clothes, vehicles and most income tax brackets.  It also greatly exceeds the taxes applied to my Verizon Wireless phone account and my Time-Warner Cable account. 

Just saying that in comparison to other things I believe this utility is greatly overtaxed.

Kent Fletcher

Durham