How many wrongs will make it right?
With some exceptions, we will never know for sure who voted Mr. Bush back into office. That’s because the polls were wrong. The exit polls were wrong in many cases, and the actual poll — i.e., the vote — was so cooked it made the exit polls appear to be wrong, too.
The trees are full of chattering voices claiming this or that group cast the deciding votes, but unless we have secure ballot boxes and voting machines, we will never know what the actual counts were. Even Karl Rove can only suppose that his minions made the vote come out right, but Karl is only one person, and his job depended on delivering the needed votes to Mr. Bush. If you were Mr. Rove and his helpers, what would you claim the numbers said?
The famous 51 percent are happy with the outcome, so even if they didn’t vote under their own name, they’re not about to complain.
The U.S. Treasury keeps the control of the engraving plates they use to produce our paper money so that privatization doesn’t go too far. The same could be done with our voting machines if we truly wanted an honest system. The fact that we don’t tells us that we are happy with the system the way it is, slightly crooked.
— Allen Thomas
Get out your Hanke
[Ken] Hanke’s movie reviews often read like a private communication for the cinematique cognoscenti. All I want to know is enough about the movie to decide if I should go to it or not.
For others like me, I’ve developed some simple guidelines to deal with Hanke:
• Subtract one star for each inch the column runs over six inches in length.
• Subtract a star for each reference to the director’s previous works, and two stars for all references to foreign films.
• Subtract one star for a kids’ movie without a quote from an actual kid.
• Add a half-star for Tom Hanks, and subtract half a star for Bill Murray.
• Subtract one star if [Hanke] doesn’t tell you what the movie is about until more than halfway through, and two stars if he doesn’t tell you at all!
• Subtract three stars for any statement like: “This movie isn’t for everyone.”
• Ignore these instructions if you actually liked Triplets of Belleville, Lost in Translation and I Heart Huckabees.
— George Gjelfriend
Election abuse defies Christian values
I am a retired math professor in San Diego.
I love my country deeply. I am ashamed and embarrassed about the irregularities in the recent election. It represents moral degeneration in a culture which gives lip service to Christian values of honesty and integrity.
Although I would hope that this gives an isolated view, a review of the evidence shows a systematic pattern of election abuse. Please help correct this problem so America can hold her head high.
— Nellie Amondson
San Diego, Calif.
Community co-ops need you
This year, I urge everyone to resolve to support our local food cooperatives. Our co-ops are businesses which are owned by the people. They exist to serve our community. They sell healthy natural and organic foods at good prices. They support local organic farmers. They support other nonprofits and serve as a model of a business which exists not for the profit of a few, but for the benefit of the entire community.
Recently, an increase in competition from [other] health food stores [that are not co-ops] has resulted in a reduction in the sales at the French Broad Food Co-op, resulting in layoffs. Our co-ops need the support of the community to remain viable.
Cooperatives are democratic institutions. This means that one person cannot control the business by buying more shares of it. Each owner has an equal say. One share per person. One share, one vote. Anyone may become an owner of the co-op by investing a small amount of money to own a share. Currently, shares at the French Broad Food Co-op are $250, which may be paid off over time. [This] is fully refundable equity which you are loaning to the co-op in exchange for a share in the ownership. As a part owner, you receive a discount on purchases and other benefits, as well as a say in the what the co-op does [and] how it will evolve over time.
The cooperative economic model needs people to support and use it in order for it to remain with us as an alternative to the capitalist system. In the capitalist model, those with the most money have the most say. In the cooperative model, each person has an equal say. If you think democracy is a good thing, support economic democracy by supporting co-ops!
Although anyone may be an owner, you don’t have to be an owner to shop at our local co-ops. Anyone may shop at the co-ops and thereby support viable local alternatives to the capitalist economic model. Make a resolution to buy your food at your local cooperative and know you are supporting the entire community with your purchases. In Asheville, shop at the French Broad Food Co-op (FBFC); in West Asheville, shop at the Haywood Road Market. In Hendersonville, shop at the Hendersonville Co-op, and in Fairview, shop at the Trout Lily Co-op.
— Cicada Brokaw