Letters to the editor

A weed to really cluck about

Corinna Wood, bless your heart — and thank goodness for chickweed. I grew up in the country, and as a boy raised seven pet ducks who regarded chickweed as the gourmet of all gourmet meals. Your readers of the garden column are now all lucky ducks thanks to your informative article [“Don’t Yank That Chickweed,” Xpress April 7] about the culinary value of that fabulous, tender little ground cover.

Now we all know why the chicken really crossed the road: It was to nip at some chickweed salad.

Happy spring planting.

— Tom Kerr
Asheville

Bush no savior to the unemployed

I’m addressing the letter [Thank You, Mr. President, for a Job Well Done”] written by Darrin Tinsley in the March 24 Mountain Xpress. He said that the president was doing a good job and saving him tax dollars.

Since Bush has become president, most people have lost jobs, had more taxes taken out and more. Many jobs were sent overseas, thus hurting many people here in the Carolinas. Also with cuts in state funding, we no longer have unemployment.

I guess you have never lost a job. I am on Social Security, and one of the laws Bush made makes it so I barely can make it every month. The law says I have to pay my student loan out of my Social Security, making it hard to make ends meet. It also means if I were to get a job and file income tax, I would not get it. The state where the loan originated gets it.

As for the recession that started before Clinton: It actually started with the first George Bush — have to give credit where it belongs. I think Mr. Tinsley should weigh what he says before he puts it in writing.

— Jeanne Coward
Hendersonville

Local radio station asks: Can you handle the truth?

Recently, while watching an interview with Richard Clarke on [Comedy Central’s] The Daily Show, [I heard] host Jon Stewart comment on how all of the conservative news commentators were saying identical things about the situation — almost verbatim — in what appears to be an orchestrated media blitz from the White House.

At that moment, I thought to myself how glad I was that I don’t tune in [to] those puppets, and how thankful I am that we have at least some truly independent news sources, such as Asheville’s WPVM radio station.

If you would like a dose of truth and reality, tune in [to] 103.5 FM for gems such as “The Hightower Report,” “Democracy Now,” “The Asheville Global Report” and “Counterspin,” to name a few of their fine programs.

But be forewarned! The truth is not easy to digest. If you have had a steady diet of mainstream-media manure, you may find it very difficult to stomach raw truth and reality.

When WPVM first came on the air, I found I was only able to take small doses of pure truth, before feeling very ill. Gradually, one develops a tolerance for pure truth and is able to assimilate larger quantities. While knowing the truth is not pleasant, it makes us more informed and capable citizens. Frequent listeners will reach a point where they are glad they are on this journey and will never return to the mind-numbing, sugar-coated, mainstream-media propaganda habit.

— Tom Alba
Asheville

Dennis Kucinich: He stands for the worker

“In our glorious fight for civil rights, we must guard against being fooled by false slogans, as ‘right-to-work.’ It provides no ‘rights’ and no ‘works.’ Its purpose is to destroy labor unions and the freedom of collective bargaining. … We demand this fraud be stopped.”

These words were spoken by Martin Luther King Jr. just before he was assassinated. He was speaking for striking sanitation workers in Memphis, Tenn. Who now will stand for the worker?

Since July 2000, 3 million American manufacturing jobs [have been] lost; more than a half-million of these can be directly [attributed] to NAFTA. In Western North Carolina since January 2003, 4,500 jobs have been lost due to plant closings or layoffs. In Buncombe County alone, 1,400 people have lost their jobs this past year. Who now will stand for the worker?

The North American Free Trade Agreement, signed into law in 1993, is a treaty between the U.S.A., Canada and Mexico. It’s designed for the maximum flow of goods and not what’s best for the workers and the environment. The World Trade Organization (WTO) was created in 1995. It removes “non-tariff barriers” to trade. In practice, this allows corporations to sue governments any time [that] laws protecting health, the environment or workers infringe on “corporate rights.” Who will now stand for the worker?

N. Gregory Mankiw, chairman of Bush’s council of economic advisors, [has] stated, “Shipping U.S. service jobs overseas was good for the economy.” Sen. John Kerry voted for NAFTA. The Bush administration wants to extend NAFTA throughout the Western Hemisphere through the creation of the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA). NAFTA has helped us achieve a trade deficit of more than $400 billion. Who now will stand for the worker?

“NAFTA allows foreign-owned companies to challenge our Constitution, our Congress and our right to enact American laws,” according to Ohio Congressman and presidential candidate Dennis J. Kucinich. [If elected] president, Kucinich would cancel NAFTA and withdraw from the WTO, restore manufacturing jobs, save family farms and create a full employment economy while rebuilding America’s cities and schools. Who now stands for the worker?

Dennis J. Kucinich has walked more picket lines than any other presidential candidate. He has a 98 percent lifetime AFL-CIO voting record and a 98 percent labor record. He is a member of the cameraman’s union and the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees of the AFL-CIO. Who now stands for the worker?

Dennis J. Kucinich stands for the worker.

The time is now for the North Carolina worker to vote. Our caucus is Saturday, April 17, from 8 a.m.-noon. To vote, you must be registered as a Democrat.

— Lola La Fey
Asheville

America’s Braveheart: Dennis Kucinich

In the film Braveheart, Mel Gibson, as William Wallace, says to the Scottish nobles, “You think the people of this country exist to provide you with position. I think your position exists to provide those people with freedom … and I go to make sure that they have it.” William Wallace was a man of profound and immeasurable courage. He gave birth to the idea that his people could have their freedom and a country of their own.

Dennis Kucinich [also] has some very radical and popular ideas — ideas that have not been heard by the general population due to corporate-owned media not giving him fair and equal time. What would be so horrible about having affordable health care from the cradle to the grave for everybody? Who would turn down quality education starting at kindergarten and ending with a college degree? How bad would it be to end the war in Iraq and bring our soldiers home? What would be the harm in canceling NAFTA and returning millions of outsourced jobs to American soil?

Do you see George “Dubya” Bush out there campaigning for that? How about John Kerry? Nope!

Dennis Kucinich’s platform starts with these words, “I am running for president to inspire America to take a new path, a different direction.”

I think his message is the bravest and most heartfelt [one] I’ve ever heard. He truly is America’s Braveheart. A vote for Dennis Kucinich in the caucus is not [one] that will split the Democratic party; it is a vote that could add up to enough votes to demonstrate that we the people want to incorporate these issues into the Democratic platform, regardless of who wins the nomination.

Dennis Kucinich wants to return our liberty, provide health care [and] education, return jobs, etc. How is it that the other presidential candidates are not willing to provide these rights to the American people? To me, to blindly accept either of the other two predetermined candidates is selling ourselves very, very short. I encourage you to give Dennis Kucinich a look.

— Carlton Whatley
Asheville

Dean lovers take heed: You have another chance to be heard

North Carolinians who were inspired by Howard Dean’s campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination have the opportunity to cast their vote for Dean at the North Carolina Democratic Party presidential preference caucus on Saturday, April 17, from 8-12 p.m. Yes, Sen. John Kerry has the Democratic presidential nomination wrapped up, but Howard Dean is still on the ballot. The caucus is your opportunity to vote your conscience and, with enough votes, to send Gov. Dean’s message to the Democrat’s July convention via North Carolina delegates.

Many of us in WNC support Dean for his strong efforts to reinvigorate the Democratic Party; for standing up to right-wing extremists; for his support of universal health coverage, balanced budgets, equal rights for all and eliminating the influence of special interests; and for a foreign policy based on diplomacy and international institutions of law.

Note that each county will have a restricted number of voting stations. In Buncombe County, there will be four stations: Wolcott Municipal Building (161 Charlotte St.), West Asheville Library (24 Haywood Road), Owen Middle School (730 Old Hwy. 70) and the Weaverville Community Center (30 S. Main St., Weaverville). To locate your county’s voting station, contact your county Democratic Party [office].

— Anne Walch
Asheville

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