Letters to the editor

And the beat goes on

Who moves to an inner city for peace and quiet anyway? Besides, people who complain about drumming don’t know what they’re missing. There’s a magical, subconscious spirituality among drummers that’s more spontaneous than anything you’ll find in most churches. It’s a different-drummer thing.

It beats watching television — and it’s part of the eclectic Asheville that draws people to downtown condos in the first place. When they move downtown, they buy into all of it, not just part of it.

— Robert Rufa
Black Mountain

Matching issues and candidates

I’m writing to express appreciation to your editors and staff. The Xpress has been doing a great job lately of covering issues that really matter — affordable housing, development and the cost of child care, to name a few. I love the new “Green Scene” feature, too, which has already covered some important local environmental happenings. Thanks, finally, for your recent cover story on community gardening, which highlighted a great example of hands-on activism in our community. As usual, the Xpress is leading the way in WNC as a media outlet that is not afraid to ask hard questions, give exposure to innovative solutions and pay attention to critical issues.

I’m also writing to let Xpress readers know that if they care about the issues I’ve mentioned, their voices and their votes are needed in the elections this fall. For those inside the city limits and points north and west, Rep. Susan Fisher, your hard-working, progressive representative in the N.C. House, needs your support. I’ll be voting for Rep. Fisher this fall and working on her campaign because of her impressive record on environmental and economic issues, education, health care, child care and housing. She has been an incredibly strong leader in Raleigh, doing our district proud. She voted to raise the minimum wage in North Carolina, introduced several important pieces of clean-air and clean-energy legislation, has been a vocal proponent of campaign-finance reform, and recently supported HB 1895 to help uninsured people gain access to health care. Readers can find out more about Susan and her record or get involved with her campaign at www.electsusanfisher.com. Turnout is anticipated to be low in these elections, and every vote will truly matter. I hope voters will get involved early to help re-elect Susan and other progressive candidates.

Keep up the good work, Mountain Xpress. And Xpress readers, I hope you’ll join me in creating another news story for the pages of this paper in November: a victory at the polls for innovative, progressive, responsive leaders who care about the important issues that fill the pages of the Xpress.

— Beth Trigg

Where did we go wrong?

As an inveterate maker of lists, I recently compiled what I consider to be the 10 worst things that ever happened to America. The bottom five are all horrible events – but not insurmountable challenges – that contributed to the development of our character. The top five were initially rendered somewhat tongue-in-cheek, [but] because of their insidious natures and ability to undermine the institutions that form the very foundation of democracy, they are not amusing in the least.

10. Hurricane Katrina – Wrought destruction beyond belief. The country will be years getting over this.

9. 9/11 – Changed America forever, just as its predecessor, Pearl Harbor.

8. Mississippi River flood of 1927 – Another epic disaster as devastating as Katrina.

7. World War Two – A war America tried to avoid, [from which it] emerged as the world’s sole super-power [with] the awesome responsibility of showing the world how true democracies are the only hope for a just and lasting peace.

6. The Great Depression – Descendants of the Okies displaced by the devastating dust-bowl years went on to rule the vast wealth of California agriculture, proving the viability and inherent fairness of the American society.

5. Politically Correct Speech – Orwellian Newspeak, much worse than anything cooked up in the McCarthy era, has become a greater threat to freedom of speech than outright censorship … killing ideas by replacing creative vocabulary with the “right” words.

4. Affirmative Action – A well-intentioned but misguided attempt to correct social inequities of the past. The Constitution must never be used to give one group an advantage over another.

3. Karaoke Night – The ultimate paean to mediocrity, declaring everyone has a right to be heard, no matter how untalented; best exemplified by “American Idol.” Another unbridled assault on the pursuit of excellence that has made this country great.

2. Special Olympics – Simply by participating, you are a winner – another blow to the pursuit of excellence. The worst handicap of all is believing that you will never have to lose.

1. Baseball’s Designated-Hitter Rule – A mortal blow to what is quintessential Americana. A brutal attack on our one true American mythology that robs us of our poetic base and shatters the metaphorical mirror that has provided America its grandest images. Rather than the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade ruling of 1973, it was baseball’s designated-hitter rule, enacted the same year, that began the putative decline of American culture.

— David J. Stanley

Power to the state

Several weeks ago, I attended the N.C. Democratic Party’s state convention. We voted on a platform, and we voted on resolutions. These resolutions came from precinct meetings across the state, passed at the county and district levels before coming before the state convention. One of the resolutions asked for an investigation into the impeachment of Mr. Bush. This passed. (Last January, the N.C. Democratic Party State Executive Committee passed a resolution asking for the impeachment of Bush, Cheney and Gonzales.)

After all the resolutions were voted on, I asked for a suspension of the rules so that I could present another resolution. This was also a resolution asking for impeachment, but it was different from the prior resolution. This resolution, which also passed, asked the N.C. House of Representatives to file articles of impeachment in the U.S House of Representatives under Jefferson’s House Rules. These rules permit the inception of impeachment proceedings by charges transmitted from the legislation of a state.

There are two main reasons why I feel Mr. Bush needs to be impeached. One is the war in Iraq, and the second one is Guantanamo Bay and the other illegal prisons being run under this administration around the world. The war in Iraq is illegal. Iraq was never a threat to the USA and never attacked us. Illegal wars of aggression are a violation of the Nuremberg Principles. Violating those agreed-upon principles constitutes a violation of the U.S. Constitution. Guantanamo Bay is a violation of the Geneva Convention, and that violation would also violate the U.S Constitution. We need to impeach to defend our Constitution.

We also need to impeach Bush (and thereby, his administration) to stop any further wars of aggression. We need to impeach to stop any further violations of the Geneva Conventions, not only because this is immoral, but because this is breeding future terrorism that will be directed against the United States. As citizens, we need to step up and demand impeachment to restore our standing in the world and to be again regarded as decent human beings.

— Susan Oehler

Who’s next?

I recently read that the U.S. government has finally reached its military objective in Iraq. There was little fanfare or publicity surrounding the report, but it clearly stated that oil production in Iraq had reached pre-war levels with no serious threat to hamper the flow of oil. This is an important milestone, because it gives the United States access to one of the world’s largest oil fields at a time when oil production is at or near its peak. When oil production reaches its peak, it’s all downhill from there.

Our American civilization and its economy depend on a plentiful supply of cheap energy. Our food production, process and transportation depend on cheap energy. Our current level of technology depends on cheap energy. Our standard of living — including our comfortable homes, efficient transportation systems and varied leisure activities — depends on cheap energy.

[But] with decreasing supply and increasing demand worldwide, the energy will get a lot more expensive. Worse than that, supply [will] dwindle to the point that some nations in the world will not have any access to the energy necessary to remain industrialized. That is where the control of Iraq’s oil fields is important. In order for the United States to remain a viable economic society, we must gain control of the world’s oil. Without this control, we risk losing our place as a leading industrialized nation [and] becoming a Third World country.

Eventually, the world will run out of oil (and coal and natural gas). The world’s citizens could cooperate and cut back on oil consumption, but this is not likely to happen. Therefore, the first phase of the plan to control the world’s oil supply has been completed. We should all be happy that we won’t have to change our lifestyle anytime in the near future.

Of course, this capture of Iraq’s oil fields comes at a price. Massive destruction of the country of Iraq and horrendous loss of life made this victory possible. If this price seems too high to you, then sell your car, turn off your electronic gadgets (including cell phones, computers and televisions) and cut off the power to your house. You can also stop traveling and eat only locally produced food.

I have not been willing to cut my addiction to cheap energy, so I must accept the fact that I have Iraqi blood on my hands. The cries and curses of mothers whose children have been blown to bits are partially directed at me. But at least American society will stay industrialized as the world’s oil supply decreases.

Let’s see now. Are there any other oil-rich nations in the world that we can conquer? Who will next experience the “shock and awe” of U.S. military firepower? Maybe someplace near where there has been a recent build-up of U.S. military bases. Hmm — Iran, I think you’re next.

— Wallace E. Bohanan

Out of control

I have a question for James P. Anderson [“Gone to Pot,” July 19] and the other Jesus freaks who think marijuana is so evil: Who would Jesus incarcerate?

I believe Jesus would have jumped over the pot peddlers to get to the evil tobacco sellers and producers. Our annual tobacco-versus-marijuana kill ratio is about 400,000 to zero. Worldwide, tobacco is expected to kill a billion people before the end of this century.

So should we criminalize tobacco? No.

If we criminalized tobacco products, tobacco would soon be unregulated, untaxed and controlled by criminals — just like recreational drugs are now. And we would soon have an abundant amount of “tobacco-related crime.”

— Kirk Muse
Mesa, Ariz.

From bad to worse

How odd that letter writer James P. Anderson [“Gone to Pot,” July 19] would first concede he has no affiliation with any Christian denomination or sect, only to immediately tell us that Jesus would be opposed to a common weed. If Anderson was familiar with Christian doctrine and had read even the first page of the Bible, he would know that God created the medicinal herb cannabis and gave it to mankind for our use. So, is he saying that God made a mistake? Or that Jesus was at odds with His own Father?

Anderson then goes on to prove himself no more astute a scientist than he is theologian, with his ludicrous assertion as fact that marijuana destroys brain cells. Actually, if Anderson had made the effort to do a bit of research on his own, rather than simply relying on government propaganda financed by Big Pharma Inc., he would know that the research actually shows marijuana to have a beneficial, protective effect on nerve cells. Which is why it is being explored as a promising treatment regime for infirmities such as multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s.

Drug abuse is bad. Attempting to use the words of God to condemn the works of God is worse.

— Greg Francisco
Paw Paw, Mich.

Put ’em all in the pot

As a Colorado Christian, I enjoyed the biblical implications of Bob Niewoehner’s letter [“A Miracle Drug,” July 19]. In fact, Bible thumpers who support caging humans for using the plant cannabis are stumbling, since God indicated He created all the seed-bearing plants, saying they are all good on literally the very first page of the Bible (see Genesis 1:11-12 and 29-30).

Further, cannabis is thought to be the tree of life, with the very last page of the Bible pointing out the leaves of the tree of life are for the healing of the nations. The entire Bible opposes cannabis prohibition.

By the way, James P. Anderson’s assertion [“Gone To Pot,” July 19] that “marijuana kills brain cells” has been scientifically and historically discredited.

— Stan White
Dillon, Colo.


• In the sidebar “Taking Aim at Homelessness” (Aug. 2), we incorrectly stated that Amy Sawyer was the director of both the 10-year Plan to End Homelessness and the Affordable Housing Coalition. Sawyer is the coordinator of the Homeless Initiative, which is based on the 10-year Plan to End Homelessness. The director of AHC is Philippe Rosse.

• In our July 19 sidebar “The MAGIC of Yesteryear” on the history of community gardens in Asheville, we identified the Aston Park Towers garden as a project of the Mountain Area Gardeners in Communities. — But there’s more to the story. The Aston Towers project was originally the seedling of community member Treska Lindsey, who started the garden in 1972. It was turned over to MAGIC in 1988.

• In our July 26 Buzzworm piece, “Time to Take Your Seats,” Buncombe County Soil and Water Conservation District candidate Alan Ditmore was listed according to his mailing address, which is in Marshall. Ditmore actually resides in Buncombe County’s Leicester community, thus his Buncombe County candidacy.

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