Letters to the Editor

This is Viewpoints for Friday, Aug. 8, 2008

Welcome to Viewpoints. We want you to share your views and comments on issues large or small, serious or humorous. You have four methods for sending a letter.

Voice: 478-744-4493.

E-mail: letters@macontel.com. (Do not send attachments)

Fax: 478-744-4663.

Write: Letters, The Telegraph, P.O. Box 4167, Macon, GA 31208-4167.


All letters must include the writer's actual name, address and daytime phone number. We publish only name and city. Addresses and phone numbers are used solely for verification.

The length limit for regular letters is approximately 250 words. Shorter letters are appreciated and get priority. Letters selected for "Your Say" may be approximately 500 words. All letters are subject to being edited for spelling, grammar, style, length and content.

Priority will be given letters that address contemporary local issues and have wide community interest. Letters whose only intent is to direct personal criticism, or letters that are racially divisive or otherwise objectionable, will not be considered.

Letter writers are limited to a maximum of one letter per week.

Attachments (text or art) to e-mailed messages will not be downloaded. If using word processing software, please cut and paste remarks into the message text itself.

Letters are for and by readers. We do not publish letters written to individuals, nor do we publish press releases or form letters. We cannot acknowledge receipt of nor can we return letters, photos or illustrations.

Not just 'supply and demand'

Since the price of crude oil has been skyrocketing over the past few months, my family and I have been paying particular attention. We’ve noticed that when the price of crude rises, naturally, so does the price at the pump. What is disturbing to us now is that recently, we read in the news that the cost of crude has dropped 20 percent in recent weeks. Why is it that the price at the pump reflects nowhere near that same 20 percent drop?

Let's make the math simple. Let's say the average cost of a gallon of gas was $4 in Macon at it’s highest. Twenty percent of $4 is 80 cents. So, where’s the 80-cent-a-gallon drop? It is simple. The American people are being fleeced.

I’ve heard the “supply and demand” argument, and it just doesn't hold water. Perhaps supply and demand is a factor, but we think that plain old greed is the biggest player. Oil companies continually post record profits, but the American people continue to struggle.

This difference is even more evident when driving from a rich neighborhood to a poor one. The stations in rich neighborhoods charge a premium for gas, while those in poor neighborhoods are generally the least expensive. That to me is proof that pricing is controlled by more than just supply and demand.

Katherlene R. Merritt


Revisionists are alive, well

The Confederate states withdrew from the Union peacefully and legally after enduring years of excessive federal tariffs heavily prejudiced against Southern commerce. Lincoln repudiated the Confederate secession and acted outside the lawfully defined scope of either the office of president or the U.S. government in general, to coerce the South back into submission to Northern control.

The South’s rejoining the Union at the point of a bayonet in the late 1860s did not prove secession was illegal. It only proved that coercion can be used, even by the government, to rob men of their very lives, liberty and property.

The United States are “united” on the principle that “governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed” and “whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government” and “when a long train of abuses and usurpations…evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.” A proper reading of the Declaration of Independence may serve us all well.

I submit this reading list for Professor Matthew Jennings: "Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era," by James M. McPherson; "The Real Lincoln," by Thomas J. DiLorenzo; "A Constitutional History of Secession," by John R. Graham; and "States’ Rights and the Union," by Forrest McDonald.

Deborah Stanfield


Three-month countdown

It is less than three months to the General Election. We will probably be choosing between presumptive major party candidates Barack Obama and John McCain. There are also lesser party candidates such as Ralph Nader, Ron Paul and Bob Barr, but they don’t stand an ice cube's chance in hell of being elected president.

The candidates are launching multitudes of campaign ads trying to win our vote. By now our minds should already be made up as to who we will support. No amount of carefully choreographed conventions filled with catchy slogans and endless rhetoric will change our opinions.

If you are one of the “undecided,” then chances are you’ll be that way on election day. Just remember, we can vote for whomever we choose, but please vote. Our country’s future depends on it.

William D. Carter


Four more years?

I think anyone who is worried about Barack Obama’s middle name should start worrying about things that really matter, like the complete mess the Republicans have this country in. Don’t believe GOP scare tactics. If the unthinkable happens and Republicans win this year, we will simply have four more years of George Bush.

Al Barrett

Warner Robins

The energy crisis

The United States has faced an energy crisis for more than 35 years. In 1977, President Jimmy Carter urged billions of dollars for investments in alternative fuels, but he also said that the funds would remain in America, not sent overseas to pay for foreign oil. Carter’s visionary proposal was rejected by Congress. The presidents who followed Carter — Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush — did not recommend any solutions for the energy crisis. Moreover, American oil consumption has increased by 21 percent over the past 28 years. Still, with the exception of the senior Bush, the other three presidents were re-elected. The current energy crisis can also be traced to the do-nothing Congress for the past 35 years. Of course, during those years conservative Republicans in Congress were shrewd in using a few rigid issues to get re-elected. They supported pro-life, pro-marriage and prayer in schools. Likewise, liberal Democrats in Congress were also shrewd in using a few rigid issues to get re-elected. They supported pro-choice, rights for homosexuals and global warming. In a nutshell, in the 2008 general election Americans must elect an active president and Congress that will work together to solve our energy crisis and problems. Yes, doers, not talkers.

Roy Wetherington


Adhering to the rule of law

I just concluded reading a well-written letter to Viewpoints about Karl Rove’s contempt for Congress. Has anyone thought about the just-released book by writer Ron Suskind, "Way of the World"?

If the charge is true that the Bush administration forged a letter from an Iraqi spy to Saddam Hussein suggesting that 9/11 pilot and leader, Mohammed Atta, had trained in Iraq, do the ends really justify the means in how we conduct the war on terror?

The America I believe in and the one I hope my government does, adheres to the rule of law and the U.S. Constitution, that guides us all.

Daniel Schlafer


Disagree with editing policy

I disagree with your editorial policy of omitting middle names and/or initials when publishing letters to Viewpoints. A firm and enforced, policy applied to news items for punctuation, spelling, syntax, double checking facts and balanced reporting with liberal and/or conservative bias left to the editorial page is must for any good reliable newspaper.

As a general rule The Telegraph follows these guidelines, and I commend you for it.

I believe, however, that any editing of published “letters to the editor” beyond a policy of limiting them to 250 to 300 words in length and x’ing out foul language is a no-no. Vocabulary, bad spelling, syntax or punctuation and the inclusion or omission of middle names and/or initials reveals much about the character of the writer. This helps keep the letter in context and gives the reader a better perspective of just what the writer’s purpose and meaning are.

Lionel A. “Sam” Watson


Whenever possible, we correct errors in grammar and syntax and will continue to do so, just as the copy desk does when it prepares news reports for publication. We also edit out repetitive and unnecessary material, not in an attempt to change a letter's meaning but to keep letters concise and as short as possible. This permits Viewpoints to publish 9 to 12 letters daily. Frequently, editing a letter spares the writer embarrassment when errors and bad grammar that likely would bring criticism are corrected. — The editors.

Credit, debit card thefts

Everyone must have heard by now that 40 million credit and debit card numbers were stolen and sold. In one case five people were issued mortgage loans totaling almost $1 million using Anitz Jantz’s Social Security number.

Our government warns not to let thieves steal our identities, and yet there is no federal agency to stop ID thefts. Our government does not arrest illegals who steal Social Security numbers, so I guess the people accused of hacking into computers at nine major retailers thought they should be treated the same as illegals.

Faye W. Tanner


Do some serious thinking

Re: Bob Murdy’s letter published Tuesday, Aug. 5, "Offshore drilling and the GOP." First, there is no magic fix for gasoline prices. That’s why we have to do some serious thinking. We have our opinions, but what exactly are they worth? We are not the experts.

Murdy seems angry about the profits of the big oil companies. I would like to offer food for thought. If one is in business, one understands that out of his or her profits one must pay expenses. If there are large profits as well as large expenses, one doesn’t make much money. However, if the profits are large and expenses small, there are more profits. Do you know what the expenses are for those oil companies? Payroll would be one expense.

There are those who pump the gas, keep the books, pay the electric bills,then there's employee insurance expenses, insurance on the machinery, buildings, workers comp and repairs, all of which cost money. I heard someone the other day say that the “age of oil” is over. Take oil out of our economy and what do we have? Not much — no gas, no oil, no jet fuel, no plastic, no spandex and no cars. And so many people wouldn’t have jobs.

I’m not really sure what scare tactics the Republicans are using, but I do know that $4 a gallon gasoline is scary. Fighting about how to fix it is scary. Not fixing it is scary.

Let’s not play the blame game; rather, let’s try to understand and support the people who are trying to do something about it.

C.P. Owenby


Reschedule the races

I have gone to just about every race at Atlanta Motor Speedway for the past 10 years, and one things remains constant: The spring and fall races are scheduled at a time that usually is rainy.

In my opinion, that is one of the main reasons ticket sales are down. Why spend that kind of money, not to mention gas costs nowadays, only to possibly not get to see the race at all (some of us have jobs to go to on Mondays).

Why not try to reschedule the races before you move a race from AMS?

Kristina M. Pike


Looking for mail in all the right places

I am extremely upset with the performance of the United States Postal Service and would appreciate a letter from them explaining how what has happened was allowed to happen and how they intend to correct the problems.

I recently moved from a 31204 zip code address to a 31217 zip code address. I submitted a change of address on-line in late June that went into effect on June 18. I requested my mail be sent to my new address beginning July 1. I have not received any mail since I submitted the change of address, with the exception of refunds from the Macon Water Authority and Georgia Power and a few pieces of junk mail. I provided my new address to the Macon Water Authority and Georgia Power when I discontinued service.

On July 17, I waited on my front porch until the mail carrier came and explained the situation to the mail carrier. She gave me a telephone number for the Rocky Creek Road Post Office and recommended that I call there. I did and tried to speak with the employee who answered, but he was so rude I had to hang up before I started using dirty words.

I called again the next day and talked to a very nice lady. She said she knew who I was, that she was the mail carrier for this area and she would send an e-mail to someone to correct the problem. I'm sure she did, and I'm sure it did not correct the problem.

I called the Rocky Creek Road Post Office again on Aug. 1 and talked to another employee. I asked to speak with the supervisor but was told he was not in the office. I explained my problem and was told to call the Zebulon Road Post Office because it was responsible for holding/forwarding my mail. She gave me a telephone number and the supervisor's name. I thanked her.

The supervisor at the Zebulon office was very pleasant and explained that the regular mail carrier for my old address had recently retired and put me on hold. Another man came on the line and told me he could and would take care of my problem. I asked when I could expect to receive my mail, but he could not tell me. He did say he would personally review all of my mail and he would ensure that it would be delivered promptly.

Has first class mail been sent to me? Yes. I am retired from a company based in Texas. I contacted the company on July 21st and they informed me they had mailed my July retirement check to my old address on July 7. I explained I had moved so they put a stop payment on the check and sent a replacement check to my new address on July 22nd. I have not received it.

The postmaster should investigate what has happened to my mail and explain to me what he or she finds. I would be happy to meet with them in their office at their convenience. They better call, because I might not receive a letter.

Lester H. Dean III is a resident of Macon.

Prayer for today

God, please go before us when we apologize and seek forgiveness from others. Please allow our humility and sincerity to be well received and make possible reconciliation. Thank you that your son, Jesus, never required forgiveness, being sinless and therefore could be a living, perfect sacrifice for our sins. Amen.

Submitted by Chris Westbrook, Liberty United Methodist Church, Macon