Letters to the editor

I didn’t mean we don’t love ya

Wait! I feel the gist of what I was saying was missed when, in the Xpress Best of WNC 2003 [Best Tailgate Market write-up], I was quoted as saying that the farmer and the baker are not appreciated in this society. We at the French Broad Food Co-op Tailgate Market feel incredible appreciation from our customers — and we appreciate them immensely. Many of them come out rain or shine, because they know that we will be there. We know several on a first-name basis. This is a community that we have created together.

Yes, in the big, bad, techno-crazed, industrial-raised, media-glazed society out there, the farmer and the baker are forgotten — [you no longer] know who grew the meal on your plate. But not in our Asheville of indigenous businesses, tailgate markets and independent media.

We at FBFC thank all of our most-appreciative customers who voted us No. 1.

— Jennifer Lapidus
Saturday FBFC Market manager

The skinny on Skynyrd

Frank Rabey’s otherwise informative write-up [“Droppin’ the Hammer,” Oct. 8 Xpress] about the Drive-By Truckers band has some major errors. First, Lynyrd Skynyrd is not an “Alabama band.” With the exception of Ed King, a Southern Californian, they were all from Jacksonville, Fla. Born and raised there. The band did not perish in a “fiery demise,” because their chartered plane ran out of fuel. There was no fire, which explains why only six died and not the entire complement of passengers. Three of those victims were actual band members. One of those victims was the irreplaceable Ronnie Van Zant. Mr. Rabey misspells the name as “Van Zandt.” Perhaps he’s got it crossed up with Townes Van Zandt?

There is understandable confusion about Lynyrd Skynyrd being an Alabama band, since they’d recorded “Sweet Home Alabama” in 1974. This was a tribute to the Muscle Shoals recording studio (and producer Jimmy James) where they cut their first demos … and, of course, the youth of what was then called the “New South.”

While I’ve got the soapbox, the group that bills itself as Lynyrd Skynyrd today has only two founding members and is a vast departure from the original sound and spirit of that band. If Ronnie were around, he’d stomp Gary [Rossington] and Billy [Powell] for milking the memory and name. They stink like south Georgia road kill.

— Ed Stein

Frank Rabey responds: When you’re right, you’re right. My sincerest apologies to the hallowed House of Skynyrd.

Poplar mechanics

While very informative, Peter Loewer’s Oct. 15 Wild Gardener column [in Xpress] neglected to mention some notable notes about the tulip poplar tree and its wood.

First, in WNC we have some unique examples of poplars at Joyce Kilmer [Memorial Forest], and the lone Wasilik Poplar off the Appalachian Trail at Standing Indian [Campground]. The Wasilik is the second-biggest [yellow poplar] known in the U.S.

Second, [other than in] the American eastern mountain/hill area, it’s native only to regions of China — unique among large trees.

Third, when burned, its wood is notorious for popping off embers — watch that rip-stop nylon and those rugs!

— Tom Norton

[Ed. Note: The Wasilik Poplar, located about a half-mile from the Standing Indian Campground — which is about nine miles west of Franklin along the Appalachian Trail — measures roughly 8 feet in diameter.]

You’re soy wrong

Jennifer Hutcheson’s statements denouncing soy products and [making] assertions regarding the benefits of eating animal products [“It’s Soy Obvious” letter, Oct. 29 Xpress] are simply untrue. She cites no sources and ignores the overwhelming body of science that clearly indicates that the [fewer] animal products you eat, the healthier you will be.

The health benefits of eating soy products are proven and well known. But even if someone chooses to avoid soy, that’s no reason to consume animal products. It’s common knowledge that vegetarians live longer and are significantly less likely to suffer from cancer, heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis, obesity and a myriad of other diseases. The American Dietetic Association states: “Vegetarian diets are healthful, are nutritionally adequate, and provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases.”

Claiming that cows’ mammary secretions are beneficial to humans — and [are] a natural thing to consume — is likewise false. Why not dogs’ milk? Horses’ milk? Sure, milk is natural … for a baby cow, which weighs 800 pounds by her first birthday. Dr. Benjamin Spock went vegan and urged parents to stop giving dairy products to their kids. Dr. Frank Oski, former director of pediatrics at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, authored the book Don’t Drink Your Milk!. No other species on this planet drinks the milk of another species, or drinks milk beyond infancy.

Ms. Hutcheson suggests that we should eat meat because our ancestors did. A similar argument could be made in favor of slavery, child labor and denying women the right to vote.

Abstaining from eating animals not only is good for you, it stops the senseless torture and slaughter of the innocent. Every time you eat, you can choose compassion or you can choose cruelty. It’s really that simple.

To learn more, go to www.GoVeg.com. For a free Vegetarian Starter Kit, call 888-VEGFOOD.

— Stewart David

Doublespeak no more, you liberals!

In 1998, Clinton went on TV saying the reason he bombed Baghdad in the days prior to his impeachment [hearings] was because Saddam Hussein, “make no mistake,” was building nuclear weapons of mass destruction. No one in the liberal, mainstream press questioned Clinton. However, when Bush says the same thing as Clinton, liberals go into multisyllabic anguish. Why the double standard?

Another example of liberal hypocrisy was when, in the mid-1990s, Newt Gingrich received millions of dollars to write a book. The mainstream (liberal) media went berserk. All the major news networks and newspapers spent at least two weeks debating/demanding that Newt step down as Speaker of the House for the controversial crime of writing a book and making an “evil profit.” Ted Koppel of ABC’s Nightline spent an entire 30 minutes on the “controversy.” But a mere six or eight years later, [and] Hillary Clinton gets paid millions to write a book. Where was the liberal outrage? Where were the major networks and newspapers debating/demanding that Hillary step down as senator? Where was Ted Koppel? All I heard from the mass media was praise!

I guess it is OK for liberals to write a book, but if a conservative writes a book, liberals go into multisyllabic agony and call it evil.

Another example of liberal hypocrisy:

In the 1990s, when suppression of free speech under the name of “political correctness” was at its peak, it was OK for the Clinton/Reno team to send people to re-education camps (aka Sensitivity Training Classes) for using the wrong kind of speech. No one (liberal) complained. But now that the political pendulum has swung to the conservative side, “political correctness” isn’t fine anymore. Why it’s, it’s, it’s McCarthyism! Why is it when liberals suppress free speech, it’s called “political correctness,” but when a conservative speaks his mind, liberals scream “McCarthyism”?

Liberals preach tolerance of other peoples’ ideas, but mention Bush, Jesse Helms, Rush Limbaugh or Southern Baptists, [and] it is amazing how intolerant these so-called tolerant people become. Their reactions to this letter will be proof of that.

I have a feeling that if Clinton were a Republican and Bush were a Democrat, liberals would immediately change their thinking like a leaf in the wind.

— David Council

Note to GPI: Look for the Union Transfer label

I emphatically agree with Peter Loewer’s [commentary, Oct. 29 Xpress] “Ripping the Heart Out of Asheville.” The old Union Transfer & Storage property would be an ideal building site for the Grove Park investors. I might like to see an even taller structure.

On the other hand, the proposed little site on College and Market streets seems far too pretty and pleasant to rip up and impose [upon it] any of the arrogant and unpleasant ideas we have heard about so far.

There are also numerous defunct auto-repair stations just waiting for improvement. There are also vast acreages of government parking lots that are largely unused. (The plus side of using a parking lot is that you still can have the parking lot with the “skyscrapers” above.) There should be ideas forthcoming to improve the Tripp’s Restaurant site, as well.

No mention was made of GPI’s threat to demolish the beautiful castle (adjacent to the Grove Park Inn) that was once the home of WLOS. This plan is abominable also.

By the way, I think the Pack Place sign is wonderful. Sorry, Peter.

— Thomas W. Coppola

[Ed. Note: Among the ideas that Loewer proposed for Pack Square and City/County Plaza: “Remove the widely despised, incredibly ugly sign outside Pack Place.”]

My enemy is my … business partner?

What [are we] to think when we learn that the grandfather of the president of the United States managed the funds of a Nazi industrialist well into World War II?

In the early 1920s, Fritz Thyssen, [later] author of I Paid Hitler, contributed some $25,000 to the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (aka Nazi), becoming the prime and most important financier of the fuehrer during his ascent to power. Thyssen and others worked with American interests as the Nazis searched the world for material and fuel for their crime-, war- and murder-machine.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the San Francisco Chronicle and other national and international newspapers ran an Associated Press story on this murky area of U.S. history recently. Other accounts indicate Karl Rove’s grandfather allegedly helped run the Nazi Party, and helped build the Birkenau death camp. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Austrian father volunteered for the infamous Nazi SA [Sturm Abteilung, or storm troopers], and became a ranking officer, and later a Schutzstaffel (SS) member (one who oaths [that] the Aryan model is supreme, and [swears] eternal allegiance to Hitler and the Reich).

The U.S. government [applied] the Trading With the Enemy Act against a financial company called Union Banking Corporation (UBC) in 1942, and seized its funds. (The funds were partially recovered by interested parties in the early 1950s, as America became preoccupied with communism and forgot about fascism.) Prescott Bush, our president’s grandfather, was the managing director of UBC (though he only owned one share of UBC stock). George Walker — Prescott’s father-in-law — was president of UBC. Samuel Bush, Prescott’s father, was involved in the German Steel Trust, which delivered much of the Nazi war materials. Also in 1942, an embargo was imposed on the Silesian-American Corporation — another firm headed by Bush and Walker — under the same Trading With the Enemy Act.

— Grant Millin

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