If I hear another crybaby whine about SH130 creating more traffic, I think that I'm going to throw up! Why don't we just have armed guards at a I-35 overpass near Round Rock and shoot at vehicles with out-of-state plates! Growth and traffic will happen regardless, even if we completely close all (or most of) the entrances to I-35. It will happen to all the other outlying areas that can't handle it.
I also have news for Ms. Babich ["Postmarks," Vol. 17, No 18]: The city streets will become the highways if we close I-35 (just look at how Lamar and Airport Blvds already are!). I suppose she would rather see the traffic on the city streets where most of our innocent children are, then maybe we wouldn't have to worry about the growth!
Anyone with doubts should please visit Seattle, which does have one highway running through it, and think about backed-up traffic from Dallas to San Antonio. You might have second thoughts about your preaching against SH130.
Dana Andrew Kiger
Loss, Loss, Loss
I was shocked and saddened to read of David Cohen's tragic death in an automobile accident in late December. David's loss will be felt by the Department of Theatre and Dance at UT, the Austin Theatre Community and the world of theatre educators. The loss is incalculable. He is simply irreplaceable.
Tennessee Williams, a writer I know David admired, wrote in the New York Times in 1948: "That time is short and it doesn't return again. It is slipping away while I write this and while you read it and the monosyllable of the clock is Loss, loss, loss, unless you devote your heart to its opposition."
David, indeed, devoted his heart to its opposition. Sadly, for the rest of us, we must live with Williams' monosyllable of the clock when we think of 1997 and the David Cohen we all knew: Loss, loss, loss....
T.J. Walsh, Ph.D.
Visiting Professor of Theatre
University of Northern Iowa
Let's Be Fair
I wanted to respond to recent articles on the annexation issue ["Inside Agitator," Vol.17, No.15] and on Linda Curtis and the reform movement.
My family ancestry traces back 150 years to Nathan Wood, a former slave owned and freed by General Sam Houston. I had the opportunity to serve in the federal government from the early 1960s on for over 25 years in executive branch enforcement positions overseeing President Johnson's Great Society programs and the civil rights mandates.
Despite the gains of the 1960s, as a Black American, I believe that liberalism, despite its good intentions, has failed to fully empower many poor people. And, I believe we can expect even more poverty as a consequence of the bi-partisan deals between the so-called liberal Democratic and consevative Republican parties to "balance the budget" and "reform" welfare while continuing government "corporate welfare" programs that enrich the already affluent. That's why I registered independent over 25 years ago, and I'm now working to build the Reform Party.
The anti-democratic trends at the national levels of government are now evident at the local level, a case in point is the current fight over annexation.
The mayor has admitted the process is flawed. But rather than working with all parties involved to reform the process, the mayor and city council have pursued a course which they were warned would result in a lawsuit by Austin's leading minority groups for violation of the Voting Rights Act by failing to plan for the impact of the annexation on the the dilution of the votes of Austin's minority citizens. In addition, many in Austin's minority and poor communities are still asking, Mr. Mayor and council, what impact will the annexation of 30,000-plus people have on already-strained services to our communities.
A recent landmark decision by a three-judge federal panel in Austin occurred with little fanfare by our local daily. The court granted minority groups a temporary restraining order until the Justice Department can decide whether the Austin City Council's annexation plan is in violation of the Voting Rights Act.
Let's be fair. We are no more anti-annexation than the council is pro-racist. It would do the Chronicle well to get on board with the community -- the entire Austin community -- in this fight, before you too are put in the same complacent bag many Austinites are beginning to associate with this current council.
I'm astonished at your movie reviewer's giving Deconstructing Harry three and one half stars. As Queen Victoria might have put it: "We are no longer amused by the ins and outs of Mr. Woody Allen's sleazy little dick."
The little plastic things on the ends of my shoelaces are called "aglets" and not "auglets" as you reported ["Mr. Smarty Pants Knows," Vol 17, No. 18].
Also, the falling-out-of-the-tree theory is really farfetched.
A loyal fan and reader,
D.M. Flynn, Jr.
What can I say? That article ["Small Texas Tolerance," Vol. 17, No. 17] was just about one of the best pieces on friendship in the South as I have ever read. I had a friend just like him. Although we both were Anglo, we happened to come from different sides of the tracks. Hell, we didn't know about class distinctions at that point in our lives, we just palled around our small town, visiting the local Dairy Queen, flirting with the girls that worked there. We were only about 12 years old, but we thought we actually had a chance!
Man, what great times we had. Eventually, our friendship changed as we got older. Hanging out with different people, different interests, and discovering girls. I guess I haven't seen him for about 10 years. Think I'll give him a call. Thanks, Jon.
In the Company of Math
As in years past, I thoroughly enjoyed your annual "Top Tens" issue of the Chronicle. However, if I understand your scoring system correctly, there actually wasn't a tie for 10th place in your Austin Chronicle Top Ten Films of 1997. Some Mother's Son had 11 points, one higher than both Happy Together and In the Company of Men.
I make this point for two reasons: 1) I found In the Company of Men to be quite overrated and it bugged me to see it in your cumulative Top Ten, and 2) I've (obviously) been kinda bored lately.
Ed note: There were actually two mathematical errors that resulted from a transcription error in Robert Faires' list. Here is Faires' correct list: 1) When We Were Kings, 2) Fast, Cheap & Out of Control, 3) Sling Blade, 4) Titanic, 5) L.A. Confidential, 6) Hamlet, 7) Boogie Nights, 8) Career Girls, 9) The Whole Wide World, 10) Ulee's Gold.
Look Out, Chron
Congrats to the Statesman; I actually read 45 minutes on diverse subjects from potential CIA links to the Chiapas massacre to self-producing nanotube building blocks.
Sunday's paradoxical headline*, that Mayan Indians killed Mayan Indians "...villagers...," got me to go on and learn of Mexican Government conservatives' support for the paramilitary who most likely did the deed. Then Monday's connected headlines on the CIA, helicopters, paramilitary training in Mexico, (à la Nicaragua, El Salvador), and their possible use against the same Mayan Indians was a surprise indeed.
Then the technical news of using nanotechnology for spacecraft costing just $60,000, lightweight bullet-proof vests, and tiny robots hunting cancer cells inside the human body was mind boggling! Getting the low-down on the perhaps better-than-Mac Mac clones was also helpful.
* Although the misleading headline and the next day's successive positioning of the CIA in Mexico makes me think Rush is right about at least some media control by DC (apparently post-Russia CIA budget needs a reason for being), we need to remember that all syndicated newspapers toe the Government line when required -- also, the article later corrected the error. Look out, Chron!
Austin Goes West
On a trip west I took part of Austin with me -- cassettes of local music. There were other things to remind me of home.
In Los Angeles, I heard "Latino USA" on NPR, out of UT; the Austin Lounge Lizards were to play there later, and Mary Cutrufello received a good review in the L.A. Times.
In Death Valley, cassette playing on a dark starry night, the clear voice of Mandy Mercier spread across that stark landscape. Later, in northern Arizona, Toni Price sang out onto a snowy scene.
It was Las Vegas that provided a high point. A large electric billboard announced that Junior Borown and Robert Earl Keen were to play there.
The entrance to the Hard Rock Casino was packed with limos and taxis. Above the grand entrance in bold letters are the words: "If this house is rocking, don't bother knocking -- just come right on in." -- Stevie Ray Vaughn. I stood there for a moment looking at the words and smiled.
Inside, rock music drowned out the slot action. The Wallflowers were playing in the theatre, and there were guys dressed that looked like rock & roll gods; the women favored short black skirts with daringly low-cut tops. This was no ordinary casino -- I was in rock & roll heaven!
I just reviewed the Austin Stories pilot series, (in true slacker form), in one sitting. What the hell is this town bitching about?? You loved Slacker, didn't you? You love Seinfeld, don't you? You jus luvs ta brag about your tré city, don't you? So what if you can't get a part. Get off your lazy ass and make something yourself.
Paul McCartney's Flaming Pie gets a nomination for best album of the year? How could anyone even consider this dreck as worthy of consideration? Who are the idiots entrusted with Grammy ballots anyway?
A Headline We Can All Love
Your headline labeling the proposed National Retail Sales Tax (NRST) a "Regressive Tax" ["Postmarks," Vol.17, No.18] is 100% backwards! Perhaps your headline writer should visit http://www.NRST.org and get acquainted with the actual legislation! To protect the poor (and everyone else) from paying any tax on the necessites of life, there is a universal rebate. This rebate refunds all National Sales Tax paid up to the poverty level. (A $2,788 rebate for a family of four, to zero out all sales tax paid on the first $18,588 of spending.)
Isn't that amazing -- a "regressive" tax where the poor don't pay any tax? In point of fact, studies show that the NRST will end up being about as progressive as the current income tax. The 15% rate is flat and proportional, but the rebate refunding all tax paid up to the poverty level guarantees it will be a progressive tax.
I really can't believe the irony! I write to compliment Linda Curtis, a progressive reformer, for being open-minded and getting the facts on the proposed NRST. And what does the Chronicle headline do? Take a knee-jerk reaction labeling the NRST regressive without benefit of the facts. How about a headline: "A Tax Both Liberals and Conservatives Can Love"?
We Want Our Tempeh
Any chance for a story to encourage more vegetarian restaurants to Austin?
Or have the new Austinites all come here with a demand for beef, fried food, a martini, and more butter, please? Not to mention the after-dinner cigar.
We (along with many of our vegetarian friends) eat out an embarrassing 5-7 times a week and are desperately seeking refuge in some new, innovative restaurant (read not another Thai or Chinese restaurant purporting to be a great vegetarian choice). I miss the days when I could get a good TLT (that's tempeh, lettuce, and tomato) at Martin Bros., or a veggie sandwich for under $5 at Whole Foods.
Yes, of course we've been to Veggie Heaven and every other "new" option. We go to Mother's religiously. We go to West Lynn because it's one of the only other choices besides Thai, Chinese, or Indian.
Must we head west to find greener pastures?