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Sagan rings true
While reading over again the article "They are Thieves and Traitors All" from your issue of Dec 3-8, 2003, I was reminded of something I recently read in a Carl Sagan book. In the book Billions & Billions he reprints the article listed below and I would like to quote a short paragraph from that article, "The Common Enemy," which appeared in the Feb 7, 1978 edition of Parade (Walter Anderson, editor).

"If there is an implacable enemy, then the bureaucrats have a ready excuse for why prices go up, why consumer goods are unavailable, why the nation is non-competitive in world markets, why there are large numbers of unemployed and homeless people, or why criticism of leaders is unpatriotic and impermissible... But if the adversary is insufficiently wicked, the incompetence and failed vision of government officials cannot be so easily ignored. Bureaucrats have motives for inventing enemies and exaggerating their misdeeds."

The prophetic wisdom of this brilliant man needs no further comment. Thank you.
John R. Davis
Carrboro

Best downer
Some of the Best of the Triangle 2004 results make it harder to remain in denial about what the Triangle is becoming: a haven for upper middle class conformists. G105?!

But one Best Of result is particularly depressing. "Gentlemen's clubs" like Thee DollHouse thrive on a herd male sexuality informed more by consumerism and combat sports than an appreciation for the natural aesthetics of the female form. From the fake breasts to the platinum hair to the vacant looks, the "women" fueling the tired fantasies are, like the lives of the men who pay money to stare at them, artificial, boring, and utterly lacking in differentiation. If an evening spent watching this orgy of banality is the best boys' night out the Triangle has to offer, I'll stay home.
Michael Sandler
Apex

The power of example
I have just finished reading Derek Jennings' "Thinking Crazy," (March 31). I have been moved to tears.

I too am one of those crazy thinking persons. As a native New Yorker I too have witnessed the decay of our urban centers. I have tasted the bile of despair and I have wasted half of my life in its confused state. In May 2002, I was thinking so crazy that I thought, I, Nanette Matthews, a recovering drug addict of 15 years and a convicted thief could try to make a difference. Well, just to prove how crazy I am, I enrolled in Durham Tech's architectural technology program in hopes of pursuing a degree in architecture. I would wield this degree like a sword, I thought, and with it I would help to impact all sorts of change. Change much like the reclamation of buildings and people that you so eloquently articulated in your article. You see, I have reclaimed my own life from the opiate of drug addiction and the despair that goes along with it. And with that reclamation I have realized a power within myself: the power to transform other's lives through the power of example. I have many dreams. One of those dreams would be to spearhead a movement that would help to eradicate ghettos and the thought processes that go along with the creation of those ghettos. I think that if I can learn to build, why then, I can learn to teach to build. I am currently in my third semester in Durham Tech's architectural technology program. I am applying my training in building design to life. I am seeking a foundation of bedrock so that I may have a solid structure with which to lay plans. Your "thinking crazy" has helped to give substance to what many of my detractors consider lunacy, (an ex-addict attempting to become a licensed architect at the age of 45). Your pen has helped to give my sword momentum.
Nannette Matthews
Durham

Corrections & Clarifications
Indy intern Blair Goldstein and long-time contributor John Valentine were left off the list of contributors to last week's Best of The Triangle issue.

Also in that issue, the names of Bickett Gallery, Von Kekel salon, Sawasdee Thai Restaurant and Easy Elegance clothing boutique were misspelled.

And we omitted the Best Place to Buy Sex Toys category. Our readers picked Adam & Eve as the top place to buy things that go hum in the night and gave Priscilla's an honorable mention.

The article "Students protest sale of laundry plant" in last week's Triangles section incorrectly said that attempts to reach Angelica Vice President James Shaffer were unsuccessful. The company's responses were reflected in the story.

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