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Edit Woods
As editors, how have you let a sentence like this past you ("In this carnival," Nov. 16): "Though Jan Chamber's [should be Chambers's] post-apocalyptic circus set for Duke Theater Studies' The Trojan Women is an achievement in recycled rubber, rent canvas, snapped timbers and ash, I'm reasonably certain director Ellen Hemphill didn't intend for me to see the set of syndicated dish/rag shows like Access Hollywood, Extra or E! superimposed upon its upper chamber."

Aside from being a monument to Mr. Woods's ego and necrotic love of his own dead language, what the hell does that mean? The answer: nothing.

You should be ashamed of yourselves for letting a sentence like this past you, let alone Mr. Woods's uninformed and juvenile reviews. He has a long history of vapid and useless misunderstandings of both dance and theater and yet you continue to pay him real money (I assume you do pay him) for filling up your publication with work that lowers our opinion of the Independent, not the artwork he pans.

You should do your work by preventing Byron Woods from inflicting his ignorance on the artists in our midst and his lousy writing skills on your readers. Being free doesn't excuse being feckless.
Scott ainslie Brattleboro
Vermont

Wal-Mart not to blame
I do not understand why people are blaming Wal-Mart so much for the problems in our society ("What's wrong with Wal-Mart?" Nov. 9). Yes, I do believe that there is some truth to the claim of discrimination in their workforce, but the other arguments are not explained accurately. Some of the truth is left out.

In my opinion, Wal-Mart is conducting business like other companies in the United States today. Many of our businesses have to cut salaries, use exports that cost less and deny benefits like health care to their employees to survive, or close their doors. Wal-Mart is just better at conducting business in today's environment. The root of the problem is the trade deficit, not Wal-Mart.

In the past, the United States produced most of the manufactured goods. The trend reversed, beginning in the 1970s and 1980s. Factories shut down, and workers were left with low-paying service jobs.

If something is not done about the trade deficit, we will be to blame, not Wal-Mart. Next, a large percentage of Americans (race will not matter) will be living in Third World conditions--no health care, little retirement and low wages.

While we point the finger at Wal-Mart, the rich take advantage of the situation. They work politically to deregulate the government to benefit themselves. At times, many of the rights Americans have are eroded away in the process, too.

I believe the solution lies in education and research. Research should be increased and directed in developing technology and social systems to combat the effects of the trade deficit. Additionally, we should educate our people for future ventures, which means opportunities for retraining.

We depend too much on foreign students. The foreign students are taking our education and technology to build their countries. China, with which the United States has the highest trade deficit, is a prime example.

Our students are being ignored in the process. Teachers can only do so much. Parents and the rest of society have to do their part. This lack of education results from fear due to the extreme division in our nation. We need to decide on some issues together to progress.
Tiffany Ralph

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