The Opinion Shop

June 18, 2014

Letters to the Editor: Ironman race, Medicaid, Medicare, fracking, education, seafood harvest, commercial fishing, Bowe Bergdahl, dieting, weight loss

These letters were not published in the print edition but deserve a look.

These letters were not published in the print edition but deserve a look.


The newspaper always reports a list of roads in Raleigh that are going to be closed for the Ironman competition. A list of roads in the Holly Springs area would have been useful.

I was not prepared to find large portions of N.C. 55, Holly Springs, Sunset Lake and Optimist Farm roads completely barricaded June 1. We could not get to our church, every route was blocked – even trying to find ways through surrounding subdivisions.

On one road that a race official let me on, bikers passed me on both sides screaming curses at me. I certainly didn’t mean to spoil their fun, although they didn’t really seem to be enjoying themselves.

Why is Sunday morning the best time for this event? It’s well-known that quite a lot of people go to church then. Is that less important than an athletic contest?

L.A. Billington



Regarding the writer of the June 3 letter “ Race rage,” who felt righteous indignation because she was late to church on the day of the Ironman race: I have two comments. First, I would more accurately call her feelings self-righteous indignation. Second, I would encourage her to learn to share the road, both metaphorically and literally.

Sherry Emanuel



Many people misunderstand the difference between Medicaid and Medicare. Medicaid is part of the social welfare system. Medicare is a medical insurance system for the elderly into which each person pays throughout years of working and for which they still must pay a monthly premium to get.

With all the social welfare available to the poor, there are no poor left. The available benefits to the poor enable a family of four to achieve what is equivalent to making about $50,000 per year if they were paying for it. The poverty rate is around $23,000 per year for the same family, and the average salary in our state is less than this also.

Therefore, the only reason for a family still living in poverty is they have not met the right social worker. The benefits are there, and I see no need to expand it like many want. There is no benefit to expanding it yet there is a benefit to examining the current system.

When those who seek all the benefits receive more for years on end than those paying for the system, there is a problem.

Ron Driver



Your recent articles concerning education and fracking have enabled me to use my sense of humor. I must laugh. What else can I do? This state will invest in exploring the resources of the Earth but will not invest in the only real resource we have – our children.

Jennifer Flowers



Thank you for your May 27 news article “ N.C. seafood harvest hits 10-year low.” Commercial fishing is critical to our state’s economy. While much of the article focused on state-level fisheries, federal policies continue to hamstring the industry.

Most of the American people do not realize that over 90 percent of U.S. seafood is imported. Without reform to our regulations, that number will continue to rise.

I have been a leader in Congress in working with members of both parties to inject some common sense into federal fisheries laws, including the Magnuson Act and the Endangered Species Act.

We can, and must, do a better job of balancing the needs of fishing families and seafood consumers with the imperative to sustainably manage federal fish stocks. Again, thank you for highlighting this important issue.

U.S. Rep. Walter B. Jones


The writer, a Republican, represents N.C. District 3.


Regarding the June 2 news article “Officials defend swap for prisoner”: How dare Republicans whine that they weren’t contacted about releasing an American without their consent. With their recent history of no-decision, delays and stalls, the president was doing what he, as the commander in chief, should have done to preserve the life an American soldier.

The failure of the Republicans to make a quick decision would have jeopardized the soldier’s life. Yes, releasing the prisoners in the exchange was risky, but adding five more to the already huge number of dangerous Taliban insurgents is only a drop in the bucket. The life of one American is worth it.

With lack of support by the American people, we wonder why all our men and women are coming back with so many mental problems. They, and I agree, feel that they have been let down by our country. We owe our support to the president for these risky decisions. Yes, the decision could have sent the wrong message to our enemies, but banding together as Americans and supporting our president’s decisions to save Americans and finally get us out of a police action/war are worth it.

Terry Kelly



Regarding the May 27 Life, etc. article “Shed those last 5 pounds”: The News & Observer often prints articles on diet and weight loss, and this story wasn’t your worst.

The suggestion to “pay attention to when you’re hungry” was a surprising and welcome addition, but when the dietician you quoted made the remark that, “Maybe you feel that you have been good for so long that you are letting some old habits back in?” however, I had to write.

Most people in this country have a very complicated relationship with food, and simple “tips” are apt to do more harm than good. Choosing one food over another is not a moral issue, as unwittingly suggested by the dietician, and thinking of one’s self as “good” about eating quickly leads to thinking of one’s self as “bad.” It is exactly this kind of duality that leads to eating disorders. Restricting foods causes binge eating and weight gain.

If changing one’s eating becomes at all problematic for your readers, I would like to encourage them to seek a dietician who specializes in eating disorders, as well as a mental health practitioner who does the same.

Lisa Osvold

Licensed psychologist


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