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Newton takes issue
I met Mr. Bob Burtman four years ago after moving to Hillsborough. He was a regular at one of the downtown Hillsborough bars. The issue that gripped Hillsborough at the time was the controversial Hampton Pointe Shopping Center proposal.

After a few conversations with Mr. Burtman, I found myself becoming more and more motivated to become active in the community in which I had just moved. I started attending Hillsborough Town Board meetings to learn more about the proposed shopping center and about the government of the town in which I lived.

Months later, I ran into Bob and we started talking about Hampton Pointe. At that moment I realized that I had done more to inform myself on the subject than Bob. Even though he had only a cursory understanding of the Hampton Pointe issue, Burtman knew that he was against any shopping centers and big box stores and that is all that mattered. The surrounding details were seemingly unimportant.

When Burtman phoned last week to discuss politics in Hillsborough, it was quite obvious that he was digging for information that did not exist. So again I find myself disagreeing with Bob. My disagreement is not related to the subject of his column entitled "Schoolyard slugfest" (June 16) but the fact that it contains inaccuracies, misquotes, and broad generalizations (even after I gave him factual information). Once again, the surrounding details and facts were seemingly unimportant.

Burtman has chosen to characterize my editorials (published in reputable newspapers) as "polarizing," but he can't dispute the facts that I have reported. He has chosen to criticize Hillsborough's Planning Board and Planning Department in a haphazard editorial based on opinions of an anonymous "Town Official." So I ask, just who is "polarizing" Hillsborough politics? I would place my bet on the "Town Official."
Paul D. Newman

Burtman responds
Newton's personal attack simply underscores the point of the column. Not surprisingly, he fails to offer specific instances of "inaccuracies" and "misquotes." On the other hand, his letter is riddled with them, beginning with the first sentence--we couldn't have met four years ago, as I've only been back in North Carolina since mid-2001. My thoughts on the Planning Board's behavior were based on a public letter from the town attorney, not on information from an anonymous town official. Perhaps Newton failed to note that the person who got the most play in the column was not the official, but himself. And I didn't need to dispute the "facts" in his editorials, as he admitted during our conversation that the one raging against the placement of an alternative school was, in fact, misguided. As for inspiring him to get involved in local politics, I don't know whether to feel glad or guilty.

Smoke, but no fire
Mr. Cheshire writes in his review of Fahrenheit 9/11 that Mr. Moore fails to examine the plans for the Iraq war drawn up by "a small group of mostly Likud-connected U.S. idealogues [...] whose motives included assisting Israel's territorial ambitions and continued subjugation of the Palestinians." Mr. Cheshire should know that the plan originally was created for and submitted to Benjamin Netanyahu, the head of Likud and at that time the prime minister of Israel. The plan was rejected by the Netanyahu government. So, the Israelis clearly did not view the plan as one which would be of benefit to them. Mr. Cheshire needs to look elsewhere to discover the connection between Israel and the adoption of the neoconservative's plan by the Bush administration: their fundamentalist Christian Zionist views, for example.
Elliot Mills
Chapel Hill

A sentence in Godfrey Cheshire's review of Fahrenheit 9/11 ("Moore to the Point") published last week should read: If there seems to be any contradiction between Numan's torture and her protest, then you haven't met many Iraqis. And indeed that's a huge problem for the American public right now: Thanks to the narrow-focused narcissism and official oversight of the U.S. media, we haven't seen Iraqis as they see themselves.

In Bob Geary's article on progressive Democrats published last week ("Progressive Democrats stop to ponder a movement"), David Cortright's name was misspelled.

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