Letters are posted as we receive them during the week, and before they are printed in the paper, so check back frequently to see new letters. If you'd like to send a letter to the editor, follow this link, or email your letter directly to email@example.com. Thanks for your patience.
RECEIVED Wed., Feb. 27, 2013
I read the comment last week from a reader labeling Infowars
as extremist crap [“Postmarks
,” Feb. 22]. The reader encouraged the idea of going to businesses where Infowars
is distributed and letting them know how divisive this Alex Jones publication is. This is just offensive to me. I tend to lean more conservative and feel the same about the Chronicle
as an extremist liberal rag at times. But … I love the Chronicle
and am not compelled to let a business get my two-bit opinion. I enjoy the liberal/conservative balance these two papers offer in Austin. I want to pick up both papers. Infowars
is just getting started, but still interesting with some good articles. Just like Alex Jones and his national TV interviews, it needs some work and time to develop, and it should. I urge some of you extreme Kool-Aid drinkers of all things Obama to pick it up and read it sometimes. At the very least, you will know where to get your survival kit while you watch this country go down the tubes thanks to the clowns in Washington – located on both sides of the aisle.
RECEIVED Tue., Feb. 26, 2013
I am a transit advocate and support rail in Austin. The city has not allowed for open discussion and input by the public on the current rail proposal. Two recent reviews of the urban rail plan by expert panels from the Urban Land Institute and the American Public Transportation Association both concluded that there needs to be greater public involvement and discussion of routes, ridership, and goals. So far, there is no indication that the city staff or the City Council plan to follow those recommendations. Mr. Spillar told the Council last fall that the route from Downtown up the east side of campus to Mueller is set. When the city goes to the public this spring, it will not be for any substantive input on the plan, but only to show the federal government that they went through the required steps to get public involvement.
If the mayor is serious about urban rail, he needs to go to the citizens to open up the dialogue and gain broad-based support. That would require standing up to the staff who want to push ahead without any meaningful conversation with the public. Unfortunately, the mayor seems loathe to do that, which could mean the failure yet again of urban rail in Austin.
RECEIVED Mon., Feb. 25, 2013
Mayor Lee Leffingwell's push to "professionalize" the city's electric utility is nothing less than a feint to do what Wall Street is trying to do all over the nation: privatize everything for pure profit. And besides, the people at the electric utility are already "professional.” Too bad the mayor doesn't know that.
"Professionalize" is just one more meaningless, worthless Wall Street word – like, uhhh, "transparency" – used to camouflage the real ravage-capitalism covert operation: in this case, destabilize a public entity in the way Wall Street has tried to destabilize public schools, and then sell it off, and sell off democratic public accountability with it as well. A perfect CIA-style destabilization op. To “professionalize" is nothing less than a flat-out lie. This is not confirmed, but telling lies – and coveting – are said to be in something called the Decalogue as Commandments Eight or Nine, Nine and Ten, or just plain Ten, depending on the source.
This scheme is reality, not illusion.
A separate board insulates the utility from public accountability. Better that any such board be elected. Better that the Council retain control and continue to be subject to what now passes as democratic elections and accountability.
I thought Austin was liberal, yet here is an alleged "liberal" being the front man, the mouthpiece, for Rick Perry-style privatization right here in River City. Leffingwell is the perfect poster child for the book Death of the Liberal Class by 20-year New York Times war correspondent Chris Hedges. If there are any liberals left in Austin, this is the wake-up call, folks. Parasites are bleeding democracy drip by drip, but this is a proposed hemorrhage.
RECEIVED Mon., Feb. 25, 2013
Re: “Point Austin: Doing What We Can
” [News, Feb. 15]: I'm surprised that a former prosecutor purportedly concerned with public safety presents the public with such an ill-informed discussion, or perhaps he has his own agenda.
In 2008 the Supreme Court definitively came down on the side of an “individual rights” theory. Relying on encompassing scholarship regarding the origins of the amendment, the court in District of Columbia v. Heller
confirmed what had been a growing consensus of legal scholars – that the rights of the Second Amendment adhered to individuals. The court reached this conclusion after a textual analysis of the amendment, an examination of the historical use of prefatory phrases in statutes, and a detailed exploration of the 18th century meaning of phrases found in the amendment. Although accepting that the historical and contemporaneous use of the phrase “keep and bear Arms” often arose in connection with military activities, the court noted that its use was not limited to those contexts. Further, the court found that the phrase “well regulated Militia” referred not to formally organized state or federal militias, but to the pool of “able-bodied men” who were available for conscription. Finally, the court reviewed contemporaneous state constitutions, post-enactment commentary, and subsequent case law to conclude that the purpose of the right to keep and bear arms extended beyond the context of militia service to include self-defense.
Most recently in McDonald v. Chicago
, the court examined whether the right to keep and bear arms is “fundamental to our scheme of ordered liberty” or “deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition.” The court, relying on historical analysis set forth previously in Heller
, noted the English common law roots of the right to keep arms for self-defense and the importance of the right to the American colonies, the drafters of the Constitution. and the states as a bulwark against overreaching federal authority.
The court suggested that by the late 1800s, the right to keep and bear arms became valued principally for purposes of self-defense, so that the passage of the 14th Amendment, in part, was intended to protect the right of ex-slaves to keep and bear arms. The plurality of the court also found enough evidence of then-existent concerns regarding the treatment of blacks by the state militia to conclude that the right to bear arms was also intended to protect against generally applicable state regulation.
All of this information can be easily viewed with copious footnotes at www.law.cornell.edu or the Congressional Research Service. Please, everyone, stay informed and true to the facts.
Keepin' it real,
Philip K. Green
RECEIVED Mon., Feb. 25, 2013
In response to the letter writer who says local businesses shouldn't carry the Infowars
magazine because it's "extremist literature” [“Postmarks
,” Feb. 22], I would suggest that The Austin Chronicle
is easily as far to the left as Alex Jones is to the right.
RECEIVED Sun., Feb. 24, 2013
I have heard that the city is looking for a new maintenance contract for Oakwood Cemetery just east of I-35 between MLK and 14th Street. As you know, this cemetery has been neglected for many years, but this has resulted in it becoming a haven for wildlife, including rare silver foxes and ravens. Yes, I said ravens, not crows. I live nearby and often drive along Comal Street, which is where I have seen these animals, which most likely few know are living right in the middle of Austin. I'm sure they are there because of the cemetery being a large undisturbed habitat for them. I'm concerned that any improvements that are planned for this cemetery, and the inevitable disturbance, habitat loss, and possible use of herbicides and pesticides, would lead to the death of these rare species.
I wonder if the city would consider conducting a survey of wildlife in the cemetery, with a view to possibly designating it a preserve. I understand the relatives of those buried there may be upset over the condition of the graves, but I suspect that the deceased themselves would prefer to rest in peace, and I'm sure the living residents would agree with them.
RECEIVED Fri., Feb. 22, 2013
Many Austinites want to blame the jury, the defense attorneys, the system, and, frankly, money for the Gabrielle Nestande trial result ["Nestande Guilty of Criminally Negligent Homicide
," Newsdesk blog, Feb. 22]. But if the case should have gone the other way, then didn't the district attorney's office blow it? If they aren't talented enough to go toe to toe with Roy Minton's office, then yes, you can buy your freedom in the Travis County criminal justice system, at the price of Minton's fee.
RECEIVED Thu., Feb. 21, 2013
I'm writing specifically to address the Measure for Measure
review [The Arts, Feb. 22].
More directly, the author should check her facts, and while I do appreciate the shout-out to Lucio, David Cameron Allen did not play him. Mr. Allen played Friar Peter. My name is Curtis Allmon, and Lucio was my role.
With confidence of correction I submit to you this error.
[Arts Editor Robert Faires replies: Indeed you did, Mr. Allmon. The Chronicle regrets the error and will correct the review online to reflect your commended performance in the production.]
RECEIVED Thu., Feb. 21, 2013
Why do people against guns interpret the Second Amendment to apply only to weapons available at the time it was written? The Supreme Court protects our free speech and personal property as it pertains to electronic modern media. Why wouldn't the same interpretation apply to modern weapons as well? The answer, is that people like Michael King just don't want it to [“Point Austin: Doing What We Can
,” News, Feb. 15]. We have to write to these people
on gun control!
RECEIVED Thu., Feb. 21, 2013
In “Point Austin
” [News, Feb. 15], Kent Anschutz says, "What's so puzzling to me, is why the law-abiding gun-owner thinks that to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill somehow threatens them." What puzzles me is where exactly Mr. Anschutz thinks gun control is
keeping guns away from criminals. Is it California, where absurdist gun control laws somehow don't stop 1,200-1,300 gun murders every year – twice as many as gun-crazy Texas? Is it Chicago, with 339 gun murders in 2010, when the Supreme Court ruled the city's handgun ban unconstitutional? It's almost as if criminals aren't obeying the law. Shocking.
There are more than 350 million
guns in America, and it's childish to think that banning X or Y gun or accessory will magically make the millions in circulation just disappear. Firearm retailers reported 3-5 years
worth of sales in three months
; unless you invest in magic-wand technology, you simply are not going to get rid of all those evil bogeyman rifles that scare you so much (despite being responsible for less than a quarter as many homicides as hands and feet
). Does "doing the same thing over and over again and always expecting a different result" not define "crazy" anymore? You can't end gun violence by making guns illegal any more than you can end drug-related violence by making drugs illegal. Until everyone has a job, decent health care, a home, and food on the table, violence will keep happening
. Rule four of basic firearms safety is "always be sure of your target and what is beyond it"; gun control is aiming at an inanimate object and hitting my constitutional right to defend myself instead.
I suggest naming the inevitable hysterical anti-gun bill the Volstead Gun Control Act, to place it in proper intellectual context.