Letters to the editor

A little common sense at the gas pumps, please

So here is the situation: You’re standing at the gas pumps minding your own business and pumping fuel into your vehicle, and up drives this thoughtless person, jumping out of his vehicle to pump fuel. So far so good, but … his car is still running or he has smoke dangling out of his mouth or he is yakking on the cell phone.

Now do not get me wrong, but … this dimwit (male or female — I have seen both lately) does not seem to care if he burns to death; [however], I do not want to join him. There are signs on the pumps about shutting of the auto, not smoking and not [using] cell phones — but my guess is that if he does not care about his own life, I doubt he can read, or [that he] cares about mine.

OK, now you have the picture. My question is this: Can I 1) smack him upside the head with the heavy end of the hose I am using? Or 2) douse him in gas so he can see what it will be like to burn like a well-done steak, after I move my wife and auto to a safe location? Or 3) read the sign to him in hopes that he will see the light before he … “sees the light”? Or 4) just hope that my number is not up?

I understand [the clerks] in the store are probably not in the position to stop these people. Although [the employees] could shut off the pumps, that is probably not their job, and they might lose their job for the loss of business. And if I do anything, then I lose the time needed to get the hell away from the pumps, or [else I] end up in court with an assault charge.

So what to do? I really do not want to be in the position to have to file a lawsuit from my hospital bed against the estate of the dummies that just killed my wife and six others. [Their] thought process must be the same one that says, “That will not happen to me!”

Does this just happen to lucky me, or are others having the same problem?

— John Blondin

Story failed to uncover cover band of note

I was very disappointed that you excluded one of Asheville’s best cover bands, Moving Parts [from Xpress‘ Feb. 11 cover story, “For Love or Money: Backstage With Asheville’s Cover Bands”]. These guys rock; they can cover anything and give a high-energy performance. You haven’t heard nothing until you’ve heard Johnny Cash, Blink 182, Prince, Outkast, Poison and REO Speedwagon in one show … awesome! I have never left one of their shows without having heard a favorite song.

It’s too bad you left them out; Asheville deserves to know about all the great cover bands. Cover bands keep the club scene hopping, and Moving Parts does a fantastic job making sure everyone enjoys the show. You should get to a show and see for yourself, [or visit] www.movingparts.cjb.net.

I hope to see more bands get their due!

— Tammy F. Justice

A government lost in space?

I’m old enough to remember President Jack Kennedy’s impassioned speech viz. what a trophy, gold medal, etc. it would be to reach the moon in 10 years. And how the millions, billions and trillions of dollars were allocated to the program so that an American flag could be planted there (as if the U.S. now, as the imperialist, colonial, war-mongering policeman of the world, through smoke and mirrors, somehow “owned the moon.”

On Page 3 of the Jan. 11 USA TODAY appeared one of the single-most surrealistic news stories and asinine and absurd headlines that as a print journalist I have ever read.

The headline read, “Spirit Sets Mars Distance Record.” Christ, I thought Ray Bradbury, Kurt Vonnegut and Sir Elton John had already dealt definitively with this scatalogica.

The story went on to elatedly report that this 11-year-old’s toy-science-project and juggernaut had actually, and I quote, “rolled 70 feet across the surface of Mars, shattering a one-day distance record on the planet,” NASA said.

No need for me to state how bizarre and manifestly out of touch the United States government is with the needs of our brothers and sisters here on Earth in the Greater Family of Man — starvation; a brutalized ecosystem; teenagers here in America, rising seniors who do not know what was “Vietnam”; torture which violates another joke, the Geneva Convention; oppression; repression; the “Killing Fields,” wherever they may be …

Why go on? The government’s braggadocio regarding the new, historic milestone since man first wielded a weapon and captured fire is, as the president’s father, while maniacally gesticulating with his hands, would say to the American People, all “perfectly clear.”

Roger, NASA, White House, et al., we’re perfectly clear on this, and that’s a “Big 10-4.”

— Jeff Long

Note to Bush: You make me feel unsafe

I listened to Mr. Bush on Meet the Press [on Feb. 8] and don’t feel more safe or secure with him in office.

How can there be talk of national security without a conservation policy that would wean us off foreign oil? Right now, the United States is positioning itself around the Caspian Sea, befriending the corrupt Azerbaijan government in a move to exploit the ex-Soviet country’s oil. Does this have a familiar ring to it? Our government is ignoring human-rights abuses and the recent voting fraud to secure an oil pipeline. This is Bush’s pick-and-choose method of promoting democracy globally. Will Azerbaijan be the next Iraq a few years down the road?

There is also no acknowledgement of the relationship between globalization and fundamentalism. Free-trade agreements like NAFTA and CAFTA amount to free rein for corporations to maximize their profits and control governments through trade agreements. As indigenous people become displaced and impoverished, and lose their land and their local political channels (if they had any), they have very few options but to turn to fringe elements to find a voice.

The U.S. — and the world — will not be a safer place unless we elect new leaders with visions to radically change our foreign and domestic policies. Our current administration relies too much on force to impose its views.

The deficit is endless, there is no constructive action on the extremely urgent problem of global warming, domestic policies are slashed and the military budget soars. With Bush in office, I don’t feel safer; I’m more scared about the future for my children and this planet.

— Linda Pannullo

Long done Dean wrong

In his letter to the editor [“Kucinich Not a Puppet With Corporate Strings,” Xpress Feb. 2], Kucinich supporter Elliot Long seriously mischaracterized Howard Dean when he lumped Dean in with Kerry and Edwards for accepting “campaign funding from big communications, transportation, pharmaceutical and oil corporations,” alleging, “those candidates will all be puppets to their funders.”

One of the central points of Howard Dean’s campaign was that the role of big money in American politics has to end if we are ever going to take back our democracy. To this end, Dean changed the nature of presidential fund raising by shattering all Democratic fund-raising records and doing it with small donors. Dean raised $47 million from 300,000 people (average contribution = $158).

Yes, one of Howard Dean’s largest campaign contributors was Time Warner, donating $75,000 — a whopping 0.00159 percent of Dean’s $47 million total. It is ludicrous to allege that Dean was a puppet of Big Media when his bold statement on MSNBC’s Hardball (Dec. 1, 2003) — “We are going to break up the giant media enterprises” — was a key factor that led to his ensuing political assassination by the corporate media.

Dr. Dean’s special interests are clearly us, his small donor supporters, who still intend on proudly casting our vote for [him] at our April 17 N.C. caucus.

— Anne Walch

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