Letters to the editor

A Swift response to the Davids’ animal-rights concerns

Whenever I see something written by one of the Davids (Stewart or Terri), either in this paper or the local daily, I can count on it being well-written, concerned with the treatment of animals and also a bit “edgy.” I compliment them on their sincerity and willingness to say things that many readers find offensive.

Here, I want to use what Terri David said in a recent letter [“Consider Veggie Fuel for People,” Sept. 22] about meat eaters satiating themselves with the flesh of dogs and cats that have been euthanized by local shelters. Those carcasses would (1) be kept out of the landfill, and (2) provide fresh/wholesome food for people who crave meat on their plate.

Jonathan Swift (Gulliver’s Travels) suggested something a bit more radical when he suggested that the starving Irish eat their own children. Here is the complete title of his essay, which is easily found on the Internet: “A Modest Proposal For Preventing The Children of Poor People in Ireland From Being A Burden to Their Parents or Country, and For Making Them Beneficial to The Public.”

Combining these concepts, we have a workable solution for two sets of people in our area, hunters and those who crave meat on their plates.

Hunting season is almost here. What if we were to collect unwanted pets from the shelters, take them to an isolated section of our national forests (talk about “multiple use”!), then release these useless creatures into the woods?

Hunters could satisfy their need to kill something, watching it twitch and bleed-out after being shot, then could harvest their prey after warmth had left its body. At that point, the dog, cat, etc., could either be taken home to eat or given to hungry folks in need of a petburger.

Of course, to sustain a fresh supply of animals for hunting/eating, it may be necessary to rescind any spay/neuter programs in the area.

Just think of it as “A Modest Proposal, Take #2.”

— Steve Longenecker

Placating the masses, Keever loses our votes

I am writing to say how disappointed I am that Patsy Keever has both given in to Charles Taylor’s negative television ads and alienated the gay and lesbian community of Asheville and Western North Carolina. In responding to Taylor’s negative ad about abortion and same-sex marriage, she has chosen to come out in favor of North Carolina’s laws that define marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

My partner and I have been together for over 12 years. We own a home together and work for local organizations. My partner is a native of Asheville, and I am from central North Carolina. I have worked for over nine years developing affordable housing for low-income members of our community. My partner works for a local government. We are committed, caring citizens of our community. Yet our commitment to each other means little to [Keever] and others in our community.

Should I become ill or pass away, my partner will not have the same benefits as the “straight” members of our community. The deed to our home must have special wording to make sure it automatically goes to the surviving member. We have to create special documents to make sure we can visit each other in the hospital should we become ill or incapacitated, though we are advised that North Carolina still may not recognize our wishes.

These issues are already settled for “straight” married couples. More important than the legal documents, however, is that our dedication to each is not recognized as being genuine or legitimate. Laws giving us the ability to marry would not eliminate the concern for our loved ones when we pass away, but would move us toward a more equitable standing with others in our community.

I had hopes that Patsy Keever could be the voice of the underdog. Now we see that she is only out to placate the masses in order to get more votes. I hope it works, because she has lost ours.

— James Dennis

Who(se) rules at Channel 13?

Is there not a law called the “equal time” rule where media outlets have to allow opposing viewpoints, particularly at election time?

Why then is Channel 13 [WLOS-TV] allowed to insert commercials for Bush, disguised as commentaries by Mark Hyman, as part of their newscasts? How’d this guy get on my TV? Does being right wing make you rich around here, or does it come after you get the money?

Doesn’t Channel 13 have to renew its license every five years? May I please volunteer to join a lobbying effort to push to get this station off the mountain air or into the hands of someone less a right-wing control freak?

— Steve Meigs
Mars Hill

Nothing fair about Taylor’s new tax

Would you like to see a change in the tax system in the United States? Charles Taylor, U.S. congressman from our district, has cosponsored legislation (H.R. 25) — the “Fair Tax” Act — to replace federal income taxes with a 23 percent national sales tax. This tax, added to the current N. C. sales tax, would result in a whopping 30 percent sales tax!

His national sales tax [legislation] states its purpose is to “tax all consumption of goods and services in the United States once, without exception.” This includes food, daycare, rent, medical care, insurance premiums, prescription drugs, new home purchases, new automobiles, mortgage payments, clothing, school supplies.

Would that benefit you and me? Nope! Experts say the plan would result in an average annual tax increase of $3,700 for working families, and would give the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans — like Charles Taylor — a tax cut of over $225,000.

Working families spending every dollar of every paycheck just to get by would be paying 30 percent sales tax on every purchase. Senior citizens living on fixed incomes and currently paying little or no income tax would be forced to pay this tax on everything they buy.

I think Mr. Taylor has lost touch with the reality of life in these mountains and is not working for our best interests. We have a choice on Nov. 2, and I urge you to vote for Patsy Keever for Congress. She is one of us. She has earned her living in community service for more than 25 years. She knows what our lives are like. She cares and she does not support this oppressive tax!

— Bob Thompson
Pisgah Forest

Keever’s a breath of fresh politics

Patsy Keever, running against Charles Taylor for Congress, is a bright, intelligent new face, and the good Lord knows we could use some new faces in Congress. Her entire life — as a mother, a teacher and a county commissioner — has been aimed at bettering people’s lives. She is running a better campaign than any candidate since the days of [former Congressman] Jamie Clarke, actually getting out, meeting, and most importantly, listening to the people she will represent. She actually believes our environment is worth protecting.

And some other points: She is not a lawyer, does not own a bank, and has never been accused of failing to pay her taxes.

She has my vote.

— Bill Thomas
Cedar Mountain

Perhaps I will vote for Meryl Streep

Why are people still blaming Ralph Nader for Al Gore’s failure [Letters, “The Reason Not to Vote Nader in North Carolina”, Sept. 8]? Excuse me for being redundant, but the Nader-cost-Gore argument is just soooo moot.

Gore won the 2000 election. Gore Won The 2000 Election! Gore Won The 2000 Election! Gore didn’t have the will to take his rightful place as president of this country. To postulate that those who voted for Nader are directly responsible for the actions of Bush, by assuming that Gore would have been able to withstand the pressure from hawkish neo-cons (like his running mate, Lieberman) and “never take us to war on false pretenses,” is codswallop, balderdash, hogwash!

Ralph Nader is a man of integrity. He fights for what he believes in. He doesn’t compromise. What I find ironic is that these are actually true statements about Nader, not just rhetoric, and that it is the very trueness of these statements that makes him so damaging to the likes of Kerry and Gore.

I voted for Nader in 2000 because I believed my vote meant something, and that therefore I should vote my conscience. It seems obvious to me now that my vote means jacksh*t.

I am still planning on voting in the upcoming election, though I am totally undecided as to who I will vote for. Should I vote for Nader again? Maybe Kerry is the person I will vote for — if only to indulge my own cynical belief that, even with a landslide, the Democrats would still manage to forfeit the election. Or perhaps I will vote for Meryl Streep. I like her politics, and she has just as good a chance as anyone.

— Barbara Taggart

Fight fire and flood with Alaskan oil

California fires blazing out of control under the influence of drought; the first hurricane on record in the South Atlantic touching down on Brazilian shores; the potential disappearance of the nation of Tuvalu as oceans rise?

Some of you un-Americans may perceive this as evidence that our dependence-on-oil-to-run-this-show may need to be rethought. But not our fearless leader. When the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) came out with its 2001 report stating that climate change was without question real and, if not addressed, would orchestrate an impressive re-conditioning of the natural world (which does include us), President Bush recognized the report for what it was: an attempt to control the American way of life. So he knowingly requested that the National Science Foundation review the subject and come back with a different report.

They did. It said that, if anything, the predictions of the IPCC were light, and that measures needed to be taken immediately to address the issue. Obviously an unpatriotic bunch.

At the very least, I think we all can agree that even if climate change is real (guffaw!), our president … understands that it is wrong-headed to address the issue by discarding the oil regime. No, we must fight fire and flooding with a renewed zeal to put Mother Nature back in her place by pouring our resources, not into alternative energy and appropriate technology, but rather a renewal of our fight to harvest that six-month supply of oil in Alaska. Think of it! Six more months, and all we have to do is destroy one of the last pristine and intact expanses of wilderness left on Earth. For you animal lovers, I hear the pipelines will be a welcome source of warmth for those poor guys struggling in the frigid conditions.

Let’s show some respect for this man’s forethought and insight, and grant him at least four more years to enrich his buddies (and therefore all of us), to put nature in her place, and to alienate the rest of the world. …

— Brett Sheppard

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