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Clif notes
The only unfortunate thing about Clif Garboden's article, "Screw you, America" (Nov. 17), is the inevitable torrent of negative responses it will evoke from the people to whom it speaks. By responding negatively to such a common-sense argument, you are only proving that Garboden's anxieties about the petrified ideology of idiocy in America. Only the extremely wealthy were self-served by voting for Bush. Otherwise, and here again I agree wholeheartedly with Garboden, you were "duped," and above all, you deserve it. And for all you Bushies who brought us level-headed, compassionate Americans down with you, all I can say is, "Screw you."
Colin Hickey

Trail Blaise(r)
Although I didn't have as much time as I would have liked to be involved with recent political efforts, when I did make it to events I noticed one guy somehow was at all of them. Unlike others whose aim seemed to be to impress with all they knew when in fact they didn't know much, he just stood by listening and observing with a friendly smile. I soon found out he had all the answers. I had so many questions about how to do things or who to contact, and he told me exactly what I needed to know, and was glad to offer help if I needed it. I had little time to stand around chit chatting, so I always went straight to him.

And you know what, I had no idea just how busy this guy was, and how many other people depended on him, and how many other people knew what a treasure he was, until I read your article.

Thank you Blaise Strenn for your hard work, and thanks to the Independent for the great story, giving me a chance to learn more about this "extraordinary citizen." He and his wife were a breath of fresh air blowing through a lot of heat.
Rhonda Strickland

Cares' package
Mark Cares of Chapel Hill doesn't believe in the boogeyman (Backtalk, Nov. 17). He wants names for his enemies. Very well.

Ahsen Abd Ala Kaml, an 11-year-old boy killed in a tank attack on Alngef-Alhedrea; Nermeen Kasem Mohamed, a 9-year-old girl killed by a missile in Hay Al-Hareth Al-Saray; Mrwa Kreb Faker Alanabe, an 11-year-old girl riddled by bullets at Alathkea School (source: ).

Shall I go on? It's a long list. When you pray Mark, do you pray for these? Or do you simply wrap yourself in the rubric of patriotism and morality and condemn those not-like-you? Does the God you pray to condone the wholesale slaughter of innocents? Is your God OK with you invoking his authority to wage a war of aggression, of occupation?

See, here is where we diverge in our beliefs. The God I know gets supremely pissed off when people cloak themselves in his name and embark on missions of conquest. He weeps at the death of every child--regardless of the number of consonants in his or her name.

The Muslim world allows (and in some cases compels) prayer in school. Five times every day in fact, the faithful everywhere are called to prayer. You have so much in common, why do you want to fight them? Because they are not-like-you? Or because their prayers are not-like-yours? What do they pray?

"Oh God, You are Peace. / From You comes Peace, / To You returns Peace. / Revive us with a salutation of Peace, / and lead us to your abode of Peace." (A saying from The Prophet, used in daily prayer by Muslims, source:

Since you bring it up, this was inscribed on the belt buckle of every soldier of Hitler's Wermacht: "Gott mit uns" ("God with us"). (You can read more at
James Bengel

A bit off
I am disappointed when a reviewer--David Fellerath reviewing Sideways ("Aging Whines," Nov. 24), a movie currently playing in the Triangle--doesn't take the time to make sure his/her information is correct.

In this case, Mr. Fellerath states "through their purposely chosen vacation destination of California's Napa Valley."

This is a glaring error.

Their "purposely chosen vacation destination" was the wine country around Santa Barbara, Calif. --which is a considerable distance (south) of Napa Valley, probably 200-300 hundred miles.

This area is home to several up and coming vineyards, including Fess Parker's Winery.

If one would like to see where Miles and Jack actually traveled, see the wine country map located at
David Vogt

In the Nov. 17 issue, Seth Tice-Lewis should have been identified as the photographer for the images in Design This.

In Blair Goldstein's profile of Citizen Award winner Peggy Misch, part of the closing comment by communty activist Lucy Lewis was omitted. It reads: "Peggy will be there. When there is a program where they speak out on justice in the Middle East, Peggy will be there. If there is a community event about a moratorium on the death penalty, Peggy will be there. She has a wide range of concerns and works unbelievably hard on a number of them."

The full article can be viewed on our Web site at

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