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In Defense of DMV
I am writing this letter in response to the October 27 article by Tara Servatius ("Gang Rape and the Governor"). To imply that a driver's license enables the crime of rape is nothing short of irresponsible journalism. The bottom line is that North Carolina's driver license application procedures are among the strongest in the nation.

Under Governor Easley's direction, the DMV has significantly tightened the requirements for issuing driver's licenses. As part of Operation Stop Fraud last year, we limited the number of acceptable forms of identification to those documents that had been issued or validated by other states or by federal agencies. The original Social Security card is now one of just 11 forms of identification allowed. In addition, we now validate social security numbers against the US Social Security Administration to ensure that the applicant is who they say they are before a license or ID card is issued.

Although a federal taxpayer identification number (or ITIN) issued by the Internal Revenue Service is accepted for those persons ineligible for a social security number, these applicants must still provide two additional forms of identification. To get a driver's license in North Carolina, you must have proof of residency. These new measures follow guidelines issued by the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI, making North Carolina's application procedures some of the strongest on the east coast.

Just last month DMV began implementing face recognition technology as another tool to help reduce identity fraud. This new technology compares the facial features of an applicant with digital images in DMV's database to verify the identity of each applicant. As an extra security measure, the new tool will also match these images against those on federal terrorist watch lists.

I am proud of North Carolina's strong stance against terrorism and of our agency's continuing efforts to reduce identity fraud.

--George Tatum, Commissioner of the Division of Motor Vehicles, Raleigh

Eulogy for America
The sun has set on the inclusive big country of my dreams. Simple solutions to complex problems is the new course. Altering reality to fit doctrine is the new faith. War is the new peace. Fear is the new courage. Empire is the new destiny. Night has fallen on my America. Close your eyes. You'll feel a pinch. Then you'll sleep, perchance to dream again someday. Good night, sweet prince, and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!

-- Gene Lazo, Charlotte

Local Dentist in Pain
I've enjoyed your paper for years, especially the local concert information, David Walters and the non-partisan investigatory reporting. However, you have suffered a case of mission creep this election cycle which has been excruciating to endure. This year's Loafings have been a non-stop jihad against all things Republican, tainting your movie critiques and concert coverage alike. Your issues have been a series of love letters to John Kerry masquerading as journalism. My dental patients don't come to me for a political diatribe, they just want their teeth treated. I in turn come to you for entertainment news and reviews, as the title of your publication suggests. Please jettison the rhetoric and let the good times roll again!

-- Steve Griffin, DDS, Charlotte

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