Re: The Republican budget

Politicians are fond of comparing a state spending plan to a family budget. But the Republican budget passed last week shows a disdain for working families.

First, it eliminates more than 9,000 positions in our public schoolsthe biggest layoff of teachers, principals and administrators in North Carolina history. Wake County, Durham County, Orange County and Chapel Hill-Carrboro City schools will be required to cut a total of $57.1 million. At this rate, we will be below South Carolina and Mississippi in per pupil spending.

Second, it provides fewer services for our seniors. These are people who have contributed all their lives to their families, churches and communities. And now the Republican budget punishes them by cutting services to help them live independently.

Finally, the Republican budget makes our communities less safe. Our highways will be less safe, and our capability to respond to emergencies will be diminished. The Republican budget reduces our land and water conservation programs by 74 percent, including an 89 percent cut to clean-water programs.

Defunding public education, eliminating services for seniors and failing to protect our communities are not North Carolina values. Worst of all, they are values that insult, not build and strengthen, our families.

Louis Forrisi Jr.
Siler City

Re: Hal Crowther

If it is any salve for Hal Crowther, I doubt that the “Kill bin Laden Yourself” game was rushed to market because of mass appeal but rather to capitalize on a fleeting moment (cover story, June 15). Frankly, I had all but stopped thinking about bin Laden until I saw him on the front page of the Indy.

There’s a discussion to be had about how our commodity culture perpetuates some of our worst excesses, but I don’t think the video game is the best exemplar here. Misogynistic and materialistic music would be a better fit.

Fleeting moments of national hubris is exactly what nationalism ought to be. Problems arise when we don’t limit national pride to exactly thatmere moments at sporting events (or relief at the death of a mass murderer). That’s when we perpetuate American exceptionalism.

With our excuse for the past 10 years exhausted, in some small way it will be harder for us to see ourselves as being set apart from the rest of the world. That is, until we find a new excuse.

Domenic Powell
Chapel Hill

Re: Hal Crowther

I felt relieved and validated to see a critique of the general American response to the killing of Osama bin Laden on the cover of the June 15 Indy. And while “The thrill of the kill: The triumph of Osama bin Laden” made me breathe a sigh of relief that I wasn’t alone in my discomfort with the celebration of bin Laden’s death, the critique of this celebration as being “uncivilized,” and the use of Jersey Shore to illustrate this broader point, struck me as misguided.

Civility, probably because of the way its meaning has been constructed, invokes ideas of class and superiority. I don’t think it requires a “belief that we are better than the rest” or even that we are “better than him” to find the exuberance displayed in the aftermath of bin Laden’s deathno matter how justifiedunsettling at best and offensive at worse.

For me, the jubilation with which Americans took the streets after learning of his assassination, and the dearth of dissenting voices, felt not uncivilized but rather entirely inhumane. In the context of a cultural war on terror, it was poor strategy. In the context of a broader belief in the decency of and hope for humanity, it was a truly sad day.