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Forum, Nov. 23: Where will ‘bounties’ on teachers end?

Published: 11/23/2021 10:00:30 PM
Modified: 11/23/2021 10:00:14 PM
Where will ‘bounties’ on teachers end?

New Hampshire Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut made an analogy between websites that handle complaints about cosmetologists and one set up by the Department of Education to collect complaints against public school teachers. I tried to make sense of this analogy, keeping in mind that the thrust of the article was about a conservative group’s offer of a $500 bounty on teachers who might dare to teach about racism and sexism (“Governor condemns ‘bounty’ tweet,” Nov. 19).

Does Edelblut believe that cosmetology and teaching are analogous? Is he arguing that it’s OK to have websites where parents can voice their concerns about their children’s safety from history lessons that might be perceived as hurtful or damaging? If that is the case, how does one define “hurtful” or “damaging” history lessons? What sort of damage does it do to children?

If history has taught us anything, it’s that the teaching of “safe” history — no racism, no sexism — might inflict upon children the idea that it’s OK to remain both racist and sexist.

Meanwhile, now that the bounty approach to solving problems is out of the bag, where will it end? Will there soon be a bounty on people who write letters to the editor, letters also deemed “divisive” and “damaging”?

Perhaps letter writers could first check that they are making logical analogies and stick to the main argument. Those that don’t really upset me.



US should build more nuclear power plants

The Washington Post article in the Sunday Valley News (“Strange bedfellows: In North Dakota, electric cars could help save coal,” Nov. 14) should give pause to all who are concerned about global warming.

The article refers to the growing popularity of electric cars and the animosity between owners of the cars and coal miners. If the coal mines close, the workers lose their jobs. I am in favor of ending the use of fossil fuels. But I understand the miners’ anguish and I sympathize with them.

But what to do? We will need great quantities of electrical energy to power all the electric cars, trains and trucks, to say nothing about the homes, businesses and industries. How will it be generated? Wind, water and solar power will be necessary, but they are not always dependable and so far can produce only a small percentage of the power that will be required.

I, and many others, say we should return to building nuclear power plants. Today’s new reactors are much safer than the old ones and are more simple to operate. Many countries — China, India, South Korea — are continuing to go the nuclear route. France gets about 75% of its power from nuclear reactors.

The U.S. has 94 operating commercial nuclear reactors at 56 nuclear power plants in 28 states, but we seem to be behind the rest of the world. We get about 20% of our power from nuclear power plants, and about 10% from renewable sources. That leaves about 70% from fossil fuels, including petroleum, natural gas and coal. If we rid ourselves of fossil fuels, what’s next?

But how safe are nuclear plants? New designs make the reactors unlikely to melt down. Experts say a uranium or plutonium core cannot explode. And the very dangerous waste? Many scientists favor burying the waste. Holes have been drilled as deep as 3 miles. That might very well be the best and safest place to store it.

I am optimistic the problem will be resolved in the near future.


West Lebanon

The church’s political activism is to blame

While I agree with the commentary by Denver Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila and Napa Institute Chairman Tim Busch (“Church vandalism is soaring in US,” Nov. 19), and in no way condone vandalism or violence, it was disappointing to see a lack of self-awareness of the responsibility the church bears in this unsettling phenomena.

As the church becomes increasingly politically active in what happens in, among other places, the bedroom, the classroom, the courtroom, the library, the voting booth and the doctor’s office, it is unsurprising that there are people who take umbrage to this kind of intrusion into their democracy, and their personal lives. No place is this activism more apparent than in “Project Blitz” (see, “a coordinated effort by Christian Nationalists to inject religion into public education, attack reproductive healthcare, and undermine LGBTQ equality using a distorted definition of ‘religious freedom.’ ”

These folks want nothing less than a privileged place for their theology in the archbishop’s “public square” — a square once safeguarded by the now-crumbling wall between church and state. At the same time, they are fueling conservative attacks on secular institutions, like public education with “divisive concepts” laws and “bounties” on teachers by the “Moms for Liberty.”

On Jan. 6, Americans watched in horror as rioters (many sporting Jesus banners) attacked our nation’s most sacred institution while engaged in one of the most important traditions of our secular democracy. Perhaps the church might engage in a little self-reflection of its responsibility for things “far worse than seeing ‘Satan lives here’ spray-painted on a cathedral door.”

Archbishop Aquila wants debate confined to the “public square,” while his theological bedfellows work quietly behind the scenes and through wealthy foundations, often under the banners of “Liberty” or “Freedom,” and at events like the National Prayer Breakfast, to move that public square into the naves of their churches.

The archbishop writes of having respect for others. The others might respectfully ask the church to withdraw from political activism, and get back to taking better care of its own.



Honor teen’s memory by giving blood Dec. 6

I would like to take this opportunity to invite all blood donors to Tracy Hall in Norwich on Dec. 6, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The blood drive is part of the 19 Days of Norwich celebration. It is dedicated to my son, Daniel Somerville. Daniel was 14 when he was diagnosed with cancer. He received many blood transfusions, which gave him and our family more time and improved the quality of his life. Dan lost his battle on Dec. 2,1993, at the age of 15.

Since 1996, this drive has collected almost 5,000 pints of life-saving blood. We truly appreciate all the donors who have participated over the past 25 years. Many of you have given at most of the drives. Donors can make appointments by logging onto or by calling 1-800-733-2767.

We know there are many organizations worthy of your time and money, especially now. Please remember, money can not buy blood. It can only come from dedicated volunteers willing to give their time to give the gift of life. There is always a need and it can, and does, save lives.

Thank you for your support in honoring the Norwich Community and Daniel’s memory at this time. We are thankful that Dan’s life continues to make a difference even though he is in heaven.



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