Forum, Aug. 10: Spectrum’s Decision Is ‘Brazenly Disrespectful’

Thursday, August 09, 2018
Spectrum’s Decision Is ‘Brazenly Disrespectful’

Spectrum has been thrown out of the state of New York. The merger between Charter Communications and Time Warner Cable has been rescinded. “Charter’s non-compliance and brazenly disrespectful behavior toward New York State and its customers necessitates the actions taken today seeking court-ordered penalties for its failures, and revoking the Charter merger approval,” said New York Public Service Commission Chair John B. Rhodes on July 27.

In recent months, Spectrum has deleted channel 15, an ABC channel, from its cable lineup for Grafton and Sullivan counties. This channel has included WMUR-TV for many years. WMUR’s news is New Hampshire’s only statewide TV news program.

Spectrum claims it has been forced to do this because of Federal Communications Commission rules. That is not correct. For unknown reasons, it has made a “business decision” to stop carrying channel 15 for those two New Hampshire counties. I have checked with WMUR, the FCC and WVNY (the ABC affiliate in Burlington). None of them are forcing Spectrum to do this.

Spectrum is effectively telling us that we do not need to watch New Hampshire news. We should watch Vermont news. That is obviously ridiculous. Vermont is a fine state and Vermont news is important to Vermonters. However, it has little interest for New Hampshire residents. Who does Spectrum think it is, telling us which news programs to watch? Why is it even legal for any broadcaster, satellite or cable company to not provide access to at least one statewide news program?

If you agree that this “business decision” is “brazenly disrespectful” and cannot be allowed to stand, contact your senators, representatives and Gov. Chris Sununu. Also, Mike Perko, chief of the Media Bureau at the FCC, can be reached at 445 12th Street SW, Washington, D.C. 20554, or at 202-418-7021. Spectrum CEO Tom Rutledge, President John Bickham and Vice President of Programming Alan Singer can be reached at Spectrum headquarters, 400 Atlantic Ave., 10th floor, Stamford, Conn., 06901. You’ll have to write to them. They do not accept phone calls from customers.

Bruce L. Lamarre


Pig Scrambles at Fairs Are Inhumane

Being separated from your mother, chased in an enclosed area, running in terror and being carried by a hind leg upside down and shoved into a sack cannot possibly be fun. Not for anyone. Especially not for a baby. Not even for a baby pig.

This is the pig scramble at county fairs. How is this humane? How does this teach children compassion? How is this in the best interest of the piglets? Pig scrambles show no respect for pigs and no understanding of their nature. They are seen as commodities — ours to do with as we please.

Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen, N.Y. — the largest U.S. sanctuary for farmed animals — tells us that pigs raised in sanctuary remain with their offspring for a lifetime, “making them beds, protecting them from situations they deem dangerous,” respecting and loving them, even as they age. If a pig leaves for medical treatment, she or he will return to a welcome-home celebration from family members, “who run around her and playfully bump her while barking to express joy.” Sows also sing to their nursing babies.

What kind of person takes pleasure in frightening animals? What kind of delusional thinking leads us to believe that harming animals — sentient beings who love, remember, plan, have friends and families, and who suffer — is right? Nobel Prize-winning author Isaac Bashevis Singer wrote: “In their behavior toward creatures, all men are Nazis.” The smugness with which man can do with other species as he pleases exemplifies the most extreme racist theories, the principle that might makes right.

Margaret Dean


Nuclear Power Is Safe, Not Perfect

The report by the three students from the Fukushima area (“At Dartmouth, Japanese Students Update on Fukushima Disaster,” July 28) is good news to those who believe nuclear power is part of the solution to our climate and energy problems, and bad news to those who oppose nuclear power and claimed the area would be unusable “forever.”

The tsunami of 2011 affected several other nuclear power plant sites on the east cost of Japan, as well as the Fukushima Daiichi site, where units 1, 2 and 3 had meltdowns. Those units, and unit 4, had hydrogen explosions. All the other plants had damage (none as severe as Fukushima), and prompt actions of the operators, coupled with better site design, prevented reactor damage there.

At Fukushima, units 1-4 were built at a lower elevation than all the others, plus the electric power distribution was in the basement. The tsunami flooded the basements and wiped out all power, causing reactor loss of cooling, leading to meltdowns.

The meltdown heat caused pressure in the containments (the same as Vermont Yankee’s) to far exceed the design, leading to leakage after about a day, many hours after an evacuation had been ordered.

The leakage had radioactive particles and gases from the meltdowns and hydrogen from the chemical reaction between water and hot metal. The hydrogen exploded in units 1-4, having leaked to Unit 4’s reactor building, where all the fuel had been removed from the reactor for maintenance. The unit 4 fuel pool was of immediate concern because freshly used fuel generates the most heat. Claims that a nuclear explosion had happened in the pool were proven wrong a few years later when all the fuel in the unit 4 pool was moved to the common site pool, undamaged.

Nuclear power was advertised as safe, not perfect.

Howard Shaffer


Editor’s note: This is a corrected version of a letter that appeared on Tuesday and included an error that was introduced during the editing process.