Letters to the Editor

Letters: Light rail a bad investment for Durham taxpayers

Light rail costs

The Durham-Orange light-rail system might not be a good investment of our money. It will bring a higher cost of living. The cost per rider will greatly exceed the expectations, affecting our taxes.

A new train system would work better if Durham had more space downtown and a bigger population to bring the cost per rider down. Cities like New York, Chicago and Los Angeles are good examples of where a light-rail system could work and not hurt the city’s economy.

Durham should use the $57 million in additional funding the system needs to fix buildings and schools around the city. I’ve seen plenty of deteriorated and abandoned buildings that need renovations. Downtown Durham is already clustered, and too many people rely on their cars to get places for this light-rail system to work.

Jordan Graves


The ‘next big war’

In response to the column by Robert Work and Elbridge Colby in the Sept. 20 paper:

Their opinion is that the U.S. should invest in new “defense” strategies to prepare for the “next big war.” As if the Department of Defense isn’t already wasting and overspending beyond imagining.

The U.S. has at least 800 city-like military bases around the world. Huge destroyers and bombers cost us literally billions apiece and frequently don’t work.

According to Work and Colby, we should anticipate a “big war” with Russia or China, or both. They do recommend jettisoning certain “expensive platforms” that don’t fit these priorities, but when does Congress approve cuts? Only when the cuts affect those perceived to be powerless, and the “defense” industry is anything but.

With this “new” direction, we’d see continued investment in everything we’ve been bleeding ourselves dry for, plus greater allocations for major war preparations. Preparing for war is a recipe for war, and war benefits only the very rich. They don’t fight, they don’t die, they don’t lose their children to war.

If we took the gigantic DOD budget and put the merest fraction into peaceful endeavors like diplomacy, fair trade, cultural exchanges, etc., we’d have huge sums left over for education, health care, clean energy, public transit, roads, bridges, and on and on. The very rich don’t need these things. They can afford private schools and comprehensive health insurance as well as multiple homes and yachts. If our roads crumble, they can take their private jets.

When will we reclaim our taxes and build a country that’s for everyone?

Joan F. Walsh


Give Tillis credit

Sen. Thom Tillis deserves credit. Our republic is more important to him than politics.

Along with Sens. Christopher Coons (D-DE), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sen. Tills introduced the Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act, S. 2644. Here are excerpts from a letter he wrote to me and probably other constituents:

“I believe in the rule of law, regardless of who occupies the White House or which party leads the Justice Department. That is why in August I introduced a bill to create a judicial-review process to prevent the removal of a special counsel without good cause. Last May, when the Justice Department named former FBI director Robert S. Mueller III as special counsel, virtually all lawmakers — Republicans and Democrats alike — praised the choice. Mueller has had a distinguished career in law enforcement and public service, and he has a well-earned reputation for impartiality. I have confidence that he will follow the facts, wherever they may lead. I also have confidence that he is leading the investigation without bias toward either side of the political spectrum. Letting his investigation run its course is in the best interest of the country, and it is the only option to ensure that the American people have trust in the process. This is critically important because it means when the investigation concludes, our country can move forward together. Our bill will help ensure that happens. I have received a good deal of criticism from my own party for introducing special-counsel legislation, with the common refrain being that it is harmful to President Trump. It isn’t, for two main reasons. ... The Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act is about protecting the rule of law and producing an outcome that is good for our country. It’s not about producing an outcome for one political party.

Katherine Abernathy


Weaponizing human rights

Mr. Trump said he didn’t expect the burst of laughter from his very well informed international audience at the United Nations. The outburst came after he boasted about how he had done more, faster than almost any U.S. administration in history.

But that knowing laughter was little consolation to those of us outraged by the arrogant speech that followed. Of the many egregious points Mr. Trump raised, the saddest to me was his edict that the U.S. would give aid only to our friends (not necessarily those in need), those who have American interests in mind.

He has weaponized human rights and humanitarianism, just as he has done with trade. This does not make this vastly wealthy country “great.”

Nancy Milio

Chapel Hill

If it did happen

I saw Anita Hill on C-SPAN discussing her book “Speaking Truth to Power” (1997). The show was from 20 years ago. It was remarkable to me was how much she resembled Omarosa Manigualt back then.

I was thinking about the Kavanaugh Senate hearing. I knew that Christine Blasey Ford was 15 at the time of the alleged attack and Bret Kavanugh was probably 16.

I have four sons and two daughters. I am almost 70 years old. I regret that the alleged attack happened. I am glad that the it did not result in rape or worse. If it did happen, Kavanaugh owes Blasey Ford an apology. He owes his family an apology and the American people, too.

Individuals who lie and/or commit bad deeds and get away with it are dangerous. Hypocrites usually pretend to be the opposite of what they really are. An example would be a Supreme Court justice pretending to support a conservative agenda when he is just a wolf in sheep’s clothing. A parent telling a child, “Do as I say ...”. A priest taking a vow of celibacy when actually ...

Brenda Buie Burnette


Ode to the flu

A scratchy sore throat, a cough and a chill,

Sent me off to the cabinet for an appropriate pill.

After a lozenge, some gargle, an aspirin or two,

I thought that I’d be, as good as new.

But morning brought a gathering gloom,

Of aches and pains and a spinning room.

Then fever and chills, more cough and a sneeze,

A runny nose, diarrhea, and even a wheeze.

I watched my temperature rise and fall,

As I searched for the bottle of Tylenol.

I reached for the Kleenex, uttered a groan,

And stumbled off to my bathroom throne.

Approaching the bathroom, I avoided the kitchen:

The last food had just restarted the wretchin’.

In the cabinet, familiar names were abundant,

Though through watery eyes, barely apparent.

Kaopectate, Imodium, Tylenol, Drixoril,

Alka-Seltzer, PeptoBismol, Vicks and Lomotil.

The bottles were dusty: they had rested all year,

Awaiting return of this wintertime cheer.

But the usual elixirs, powders and pills,

Did little to soothe my worsening ills.

As I gathered my coat, my scarf and my hat,

My wife encouraged, “The doctor will fix that!”

I returned empty-handed, despondent and blue.

The doctor had said, “It’s only the flu.

You might have avoided all this consternation,

If you had received a flu vaccination.”

My wife, earlier so bright and cheery,

Now bears bad news and appears quite dreary.

“Your boss called while you saw the doc.

He wants to know when you will punch the clock?”

Don J. Lapenas, M.D.


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