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June 17, 2001

By Staff
Mathematical reasoning
To the Editor:
With regard to an article reprinted by The Meridian Star ("Taking down the flags," June 10), I am sick and tired of people like Mayor Slay (of St. Louis) and newspapers like yours that are so quick to condemn the white population of Mississippi over the flag issue. Let the truth be known.
The flag election shows truth in numbers. The numbers were 66 percent for the old flag. There is only a 61 percent white populous in the state, and from all the articles and TV interviews, I figure that at least 20 percent of the white voters elected to vote for the new flag.
So that puts the white vote at around 41 percent for the old flag.
That tells me that at least 25 percent of the registered voters who voted for the old flag were minority.
Now, if 39 percent of the minority in the state are black and that 25 percent of the total that voted to keep the old flag calculates to a little over half of the minority voters (roughly 51 percent), then I can only surmise that close to half of the minority and black voters in the state voted to keep the old flag.
This tells me that the issue of slavery is of little or no concern for at least half of the minority population in the state.
I know these figures are solely speculative and as we do not know for sure what the exact percentage of white to minority registered voters are, then I gladly ask you to prove these figures otherwise. But no matter what the numbers say, it's time that racist groups like the KKK and the NAACP know they are no longer wanted here. Nor will the people of Mississippi be intimidated by anyone, including the news media, dictating what we are or will do with our flag.
Richard Lancaster
Recycle nuclear waste
To the Editor:
What would it be worth to recycle spent fuel now stored at Grand Gulf and other nuclear power plants around the country? Or perhaps remove the barriers to nuclear reprocessing that were imposed two decades ago by the Jimmy Carter Administration?
Reprocessing spent fuel would dramatically reduce the amount of high-level nuclear waste. And it could extend nuclear fuel supplies. It's something that was done in the U.S. until the early 1970s, but could be restored.
Now there are encouraging signs that nuclear reprocessing might come back. President Bush's energy plan calls for federal agencies to take another look at reprocessing. And Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.), an energy expert, said recently that the U.S. "may need to recover the tremendous energy that remains in spent fuel."
Today spent fuel is stored in concrete casks and water pools adjoining nuclear power plants at 72 sites around the country. Although the spent fuel is classified as nuclear waste, it contains valuable plutonium and uranium that can be extracted and used in nuclear plants to provide more electricity.
President Carter banned reprocessing because he thought other countries might be tempted to use the plutonium for nuclear weapons. However, there
is no country where plutonium from nuclear power plants has been used for weapons production. In fact, there are many countries with extensive nuclear power facilities Japan, Canada, and much of Europe which have no nuclear weapons and no ambitions to build them.
Besides, power-reactor plutonium is highly radioactive and beyond the capacity of rogue governments and terrorists to process into weapons.
The great advantage of nuclear power is its ability to wrest enormous energy from a small volume of fuel. The Grand Gulf nuclear plant uses one ton of nuclear fuel a year, a coal-fired plant of equal size uses 50 tons of coal each day. Waste from coal, dispersed across the landscape in smoke or buried near the surface, remains toxic forever. Radioactive nuclear waste decays steadily, losing 99 percent of its toxicity after 200 years.
Spent fuel at U.S. nuclear plants is much too valuable for permanent underground disposal. Reprocessing would extend nuclear resources for many years while reducing dependence on fossil fuels, help stabilize energy supplies and prices, benefit consumers, improve energy efficiency, reduce air pollution and blunt climate change, and reduce the volume and toxicity of nuclear waste.
The U.S. has 43,000 tons of spent fuel. That's not a fuzzy number it's a cold, hard fact.
C.T. Carley
Thanks for coverage
To the Editor:
I would like to thank The Meridian Star for listing our County Line School reunion in the Community Calendar. More than 50 former students and teachers enjoyed great food and fellowship and renewing old friendships.
Jewell Allday
Identify theft a major problem
To the Editor:
Americans have been given more power than ever and a greater chance to stay informed due to "technology innovations" and the "information highway" age. However, these same products have brought new risks and new abuse practices.
One of the fastest growing crimes affecting hundreds of thousands of people today is identity theft by using one method known as "pretext calling." These crimes are causing severe financial and credit damages to individuals and business institutions.
What disturbs me most is that identity theft, pretext calling and other deceptive practices are still used by some private investigators, judgment collectors, information brokers and identity thieves to illegally access confidential financial information. Considering I am an information broker, we must apply what we know about the information industry and privacy to help the consumer.
Keep in mind that some information may be a matter of public record, such as whether you own a home, registered to vote or registered a business name to protect its uniqueness. It is not pretexting for another person to collect this kind of information. However, when an individual uses false representations to obtain financial holding information, the practice known as "pretexting" has taken place.
Honest professionals, including myself, are looking to the government to help stop criminals as well as educate consumers and businesses on preventive methods. There are numerous systems already in place including privacy notices provided by financial and government institutions. The information and technology industry can be helpful or harmful it all depends on how and who uses these sources.
This is a serious issue and we all must do our part.
Angela Baker