Re: “Come home, America”

I’m glad Jonathan Weiler discussed George McGovern’s failed campaign (“After bin Laden’s death, many are asking, what’s next?” May 11). While I voted Libertarian in ’08, I prayed that Obama would win. I figured the worst that could happen is he could uphold his campaign pledges and be the best president this country has had in a century. If the uninspiring RINO John McCain won, Democrats would be able to substitute Obama’s name in Weiler’s statement that “since McGovern was never elected president, all we have to judge him on are his words.”

Democrats ran in ’06 with a “bring ’em home” mantra and ended up with control of both House and Senate. Nothing happened. In ’08 Obama brought out the same rhetoric and was the only Democrat, other than Dennis Kucinich, with some background that showed opposition to the war. By 2010 their monopoly whittled away and, no surprise, we were still in two wars with no end. While Republicans, save Ron Paul, have been relatively silent on the stupidity of staying in a quagmire, there was an implicit message that we would have the “mission accomplished” after we caught OBL.

Now that OBL is finally dead, after 10 years of eluding all the resources of the world’s greatest superpower and recovering from typically chronic health issues while on the lam, what, might I ask, is the reason for hanging around? Al-Qaida is down to less than 200 existing members, according to intelligence insiders. We don’t have to bother with silly debates over whether the dead guy is really OBL since we tossed the evidence over the bow literally faster than the feds lost JFK’s brain. I’ll take Obama’s word for it. So can we leave Afghanistan finally? How about Iraq too while we’re at it? Or will we save those options for 2012’s campaign promises?

Alex Jones
Misenheimer, N.C.

Re: Municipal broadband

I recently read in the Independent, in an article on House Bill 129, the statement of a lawmaker who recalled parents driving their students to parking lots in order to do their homework (“Cities, consumers lose municipal broadband fight,” May 4). This statement resonated with me as an educator who has taught the digital have-nots.

As a Granville County Schools (ESL) teacher in 2003–2005, I participated in a computer donation program aimed at helping families of low-income and migrant K–12 students, many of whom live in mobile home parks in the county.

As part of the certification requirements of the state of North Carolina, I was required to complete coursework in Educational Technology, and I was encouraged in my professional development to integrate online components in my teaching.

My enthusiasm for both pedagogical digital initiatives was quashed when I realized that the computers were sitting in many of the students’ homes, unused, since they had no Internet access. In choosing between paying the water bill or for Internet access, their parentsworking full-timechose the former. Other students lived in rural parts of the county where Internet service is spotty or not available.

This initiative levels the playing field for telecommunication corporations like AT&T and Embarq, who will continue to receive tax breaks under the new legislation, as well as funds the campaign coffers of high-level legislators like Senate Rules Committee Chairman Tom Apodaca.

Let’s let the needs of N.C. students (and ordinary North Carolinians) drive municipal needs, not the fiscal wants of national telecommunications giants.

Erin Callahan-Price

Re: Duke fracking study

We have several concerns with your May 9 story “Duke study: High levels of methane in drinking water wells linked to fracking” (Triangulator blog). In fact, no such link was made. The Duke study found no evidence linking hydraulic fracturing to their samples.

By comparing water samples from completely different geological strata and failing to include random sampling, the authors produced apples-to-oranges results. The net effect makes sound scientific conclusions about this study impossible to reach. As the authors acknowledge, many areas untouched by natural gas development have methane in the environment due to geological phenomena found within nature.

Natural gas companies are committed to the safe and responsible development of this abundant domestic energy source, and we welcome science-based conversations about our energy choices as a nation. We support scientific analysis of natural gas-production techniques and informed debate about America’s energy future. Central to these conversations should be two key facts: that natural gas can be and is developed in harmony with the local environment; and that it offers a cleaner, domestic energy choice for our nation.

Dan Whitten
VP Strategic Communications
America’s Natural Gas Alliance

Washington, D.C.