Letters to the editor

Black hats, compasses and Feng Shui

As a Feng Shui consultant, certified by two Chinese masters in classical Compass School, I was surprised and dismayed at the limited scope of your recent article on Feng Shui [“Going with the Flow,” Aug. 18]. Your leading graphic is a Luo Pan compass, but your article never really discussed it, and the Black Hat Sect was the only school of Feng Shui covered.

While there are merits to the various Feng Shui schools, traditional methods such as the Compass School have had proven results in China for centuries. One of the major differences in approach is the reliance in Black Hat upon “the practitioner’s intuitive sense of flow and elemental balance, which immediately appealed to American interior designers.” Compass school is analytical and based in ancient principles and formulas.

Another major difference is the designation of “north.” Black Hat practitioners “always align ‘north’ with a building’s front entrance.” If north is not at your front door, then how can you base your analysis on this? Energies emanating from any direction change according to known cycles. According to Compass School teaching, the diagnosis of energy patterns in a building relies upon the determination of when the building was constructed, and its orientation, or true facing direction. Using this information allows a Compass practitioner to develop a “Flying Star Analysis” that identifies the types of energies and combinations and their locations in the building, and then to adjust them with elemental (water, wood, fire, earth, metal) countermeasures for balance, harmony and improved prosperity.

Obviously, many books have been written and schools of thought constructed around Feng Shui. I suggest that if you’re going to tackle a subject as complex as Feng Shui, then you should explore all the various schools of thought in order to more adequately help your readers begin to understand this ancient science.

— Anne Hansley
Hendersonville

[Reporter Steve Rasmussen responds: Hansley is right — for all the details I tried to include, my article barely skimmed the surface of this deep and fascinating field. What’s more, not only have a variety of schools of Feng Shui developed over the centuries in China, but the art/science of orienting human structures to the cosmos has flourished in one form or another in almost every culture, from the solar alignments of Stonehenge to the eastward placement of Christian church altars. One little-known fact is that the city of Baghdad was originally constructed as a microcosm of the universe, with a palace in the center and a surrounding circular wall pierced by a gate in each of the four directions.]

A helping hand is better than harsh words

I just can’t ignore the third paragraph in your letter anymore! [Letters, “Bring Back Phone Booths,” Aug. 18] While the intent of your message was one of concern for the public regarding the use of cell phones and the damage they may cause to our health, I take exception to your language referencing the mentally [ill] who walk the streets in your hometown — the ones you referred to as “nut cases.”

I, for one, take that remark to heart, and find it not only ignorant but offensive to those of us who have loved ones who suffer from brain disorders over which they have no control. At least those who use cell phones have a choice whether or not to use them, knowing there could be detrimental side effects.

We members of NAMI (National Alliance for the Mentally Ill) work hard with the legislature and the general public to make people more aware of the profound problems for the mentally ill — poor medical insurance, the closing of so many mental institutions around the country, etc. A great number of the mentally ill are homeless, an issue that is long overdue for change and has not been successfully addressed in this wealthy democracy that so freely spreads out money to lands overseas. Yes, you may find them “laughing out loud,” as you stated, and yes, most do lack “sanity” as you and I understand it. The greater percentage of these victims are addicts; they find relief in drugs and/or alcohol from the demons that torture and rob them of a life of normalcy. They are deprived of the privileges we enjoy and take for granted, like decent meals on a daily basis, clean clothing, a warm bed on winter nights and a roof over their heads — much less cell phones.

NAMI has worked diligently for many years to eliminate the stigma attached to brain disorders. Many mental handicaps have been the results of auto accidents or brain tumors, etc. It could happen to anyone at any time, even to someone you care deeply about. But so often, folks don’t recognize themselves as being insensitive unless they have a direct tie to the disease.

I trust you will think again before you label the disadvantaged and innocent victims of brain disorders, and maybe even find compassion along the way. Who knows — you may even lend a helping hand if the opportunity arises.

— Joyce Franklin Wamboldt
Green Mountain

Don’t just blame the politicians

Not only am I tired of hearing about the Swift boat veterans, but it’s really discouraging trying to get any idea where the candidates stand on the issues. How many of us shut off media interviews because questions about issues are most often answered in a way that leaves you asking, “What was the question?”

We tend to get frustrated and angry with the politicians, but the real villains are you and I. We don’t force the politicians (or the media) to be accountable for their actions, thus decreasing our power to choose the future of America for our generation and for generations that follow.

Special-interest groups have tremendous influence on politics in this country, certainly because of the money that backs them, but equally as important is the simple fact that they are organized groups.

Do we not have a history of uniting and organizing citizen groups when important issues have required our participation? Of course we do. Pressure on the media or heart-stopping marches on Washington have historically created changes in policy and procedure. And to be discouraged from voting because the candidates fail to give us a choice based on real issues is, in most cases, a crime of manipulation, misinformation and lack of respect — from politicians and the media.

Using a CNN Web site, “America Votes 2004: The Issues” [cnn.com/ELECTION/2004], I came up with some clear-cut issues about which Americans need to know where the candidates stand. They include:

1. Terrorism and homeland security

2. War with Iraq

3. The environment and energy

4. Health care

5. The economy (taxes; jobs)

6. Education

7. Civil rights

8. Drug policy

9. Election funding

10. International policy

The candidates, in coordination with the media, could produce a detailed report specifically outlining their goals and methods for each of these issues. Each could then submit a detailed response. This could be ongoing, culminating with the televised national debates. Not only could this be used in the presidential elections, but [it] could be used in any election.

The bottom line here is that the citizens, with the help of the media, must get together and act now.

If all of you send a copy of this letter (with a note of support for this type of venue) to the candidates and the media, I believe the snowball effect will take over and produce the desired results.

— Michael Simon
West Asheville

Remember to pack a few things

If you’re planning to move to Asheville, there are a few things we need here, things you might pick up and bring if it’s on your way.

First, if you have a job or skill, think of coming to Asheville like [attending] a covered-dish supper: Bring enough for yourself and one other person. If you’re thinking of looking for work after you get here, you might want to first brush up on your waitperson skills or your panhandling techniques. You won’t need to get tattooed before you come; there’s plenty of opportunity after you get here.

If you do graffiti, you should leave your paint stuff behind — we’ve already got a surplus of that art form and what we have isn’t very good, so there’s, like, no demand.

If there is still any left where you are coming from, you could also bring some cleanliness, some reasonable-length clean hair, and if you bring a car, try to bring one in decent shape — not too much blue smoke when you start it up. And for driving, it would really help out a lot [if you] bring your courteous driving habits — the ones, you may recall, that include stopping for school buses, stop signs and red lights. We have a saying, “Drive right, this ain’t Florida.”

Oh, and in case you’re from Florida, our voting here will be a little different from what you may be used to. We try to count all the votes people cast, so be sure and register.

— Allen Thomas
Asheville

Right, by George, is right

George W. Bush is a man of tremendous conviction. He believes, without a doubt, that his actions and decisions are in the best interest of our nation. He is not like his flip-flopping opponent who would rely on investigation, fact and logic to determine a course of action.

An individual with the capacity to evaluate information and potentially change his mind is dangerous. This kind of wishy-washiness in not what this country needs during war. I feel safe under the leadership of George W. Bush who, despite all evidence to the contrary, will stick by his beliefs no matter how misguided or wrong-headed. I’m voting for Bush because doing the right thing is always the right thing to do, no matter how wrong it may be.

— Tom Sherry
Candler

Send Keever, she’s “best”

Sending Patsy Keever to Congress would benefit all WNC communities. Cited five times as “best Buncombe County commissioner,” Keever is honest, listens to people, and gets results. Commissioner Keever developed incentives for small businesses. “Congressman Keever” would increase funds for retraining (Bush/Taylor cut them). Tax cuts would only go to companies that create American jobs.

In Congress, Keever’s know-how (25 years public-school teaching) could help all students get a first-class education. Commissioner Keever consistently worked for increased funding to improve our schools. Her healthcare plan provides affordable healthcare for all. Revised Medicare laws (supported by Congressman Taylor) increase premiums and deductibles, with no right for Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices. “Congressman Keever” would work to end this unfairness.

For 12 years, Commissioner Keever worked to protect our mountain air and water. Taylor scores “0” on environmental protection legislation. Bush/Taylor tax cuts (largely for the top 2 percent) created huge deficits that our kids will pay for. Keever would restrict tax cuts to middle and low incomes, and she would work for a balanced budget.

Call (828) 251-1177 for more information. Once you know Keever, you’ll vote for her.

— Allan D. Frank
Asheville

We stand by while government commits its own treason

Black’s Law Dictionary defines treason as “attempting by overt (public) acts to overthrow the government of the state to which the offender owes allegiance”; or “betraying the state into the hands of a foreign power.”

Your enemy isn’t some external force. It is within our government and has slowly ebbed its way into our country with the support of the media and many good citizens believing it is the “right thing to do,” but it is treason. Various cities in the United States are considering giving illegal immigrants the right to vote in local elections. Most Americans don’t understand that the fox is already in the hen house; their attention is diverted by fear of terrorists….

This letter isn’t anti-Republican or anti-Democrat. Politicians intend to benefit by their actions, be it power and/or profit. As a prosperous nation, we were convinced to share the wealth with the rest of the world. The corporate world jumped on that — or better said, jumped ship. They made deals with China and others to exploit cheap labor. They are the elitists, the wealthy, and it is they who control the world. The working class of this country will soon join the Third World.

Today’s real superpower is China, which has nuclear weapons pointed at us and a massive army, which they wisely keep at home. They are as tyrannical as Iraq, if not more so. To appease them, we make their leaders wealthy by allowing U.S. corporations to deal with them. This is also treason.

The United States will keep killing Muslims and may gain control of the world’s oil. But it will be a cold day in hell when prosperity as we once knew it returns — when unions were strong, gas was cheap, and retirement benefits (including Social Security) were secure; when U.S. citizens were truly free to move about in their own country, and didn’t have to fear losing their jobs.

Most people agree that lying is not ethical. How can a nation that is based on lies survive? We all accept the fact that government lies to us. We accept the fact that advertising is based on lies. Lying in this country has become the norm. Yet, again we will vote for one bunch of liars as opposed to the other, justifying this by choosing which we think is less evil. We have done this year after year, and we decline as a nation year after year. It is most likely too late, because it will take a radical change in government to save this republic and most Americans have lost fortitude. They might try staying home in November.

— Bob Collins
Brevard

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