Sweep Them Out
First, the mayor tries to secretly and rapidly move day laborers into the middle of a neighborhood. Now they are trying to push Leslie out of downtown. One only wonders how Mr. Watson would react if Charles Betts wanted the bats out of downtown.
Parenting, Not Censorship
As a single, childless adult, age 25, I have a problem with the current fervor to change society's ills by legislating and studying away the theoretical vectors and multimedia scapegoats that the "moral majority," "conservative right," and "pro-family factions" would have us believe are at fault.
I am of course referring to the recent spate of school violence. It is not that I am overly selfish or insensitive to these tragedies. What gets my dander up is the notion that I should sacrifice constitutionally protected lifestyle choices in order to circumvent the real problem: bad parenting.
I will not give up my right to see, rent, or purchase any form of legal media such as Marilyn Manson CDs, "violent" video games, or bloody movies.
Parents are making excuses for their failures -- I work too much, the law is against the family unit, I can't watch my child 24-7 because it would infringe upon their "rights." The fact of the matter is that parents made some conscious decision to have children, and now they want the rest of us to give something up in the name of the children.
It does take a village -- but it has to start at home! Stop listening to pop psychology and political rhetoric and do what comes through hard work, patience, and common sense. And get out my face.
Micheal D. Hamm
Don't Kill the Messenger
Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,
TV programs, not the news media, cause children to expect immediate justice in real life for all perceived wrongs, within the time it takes to conclude each fictional violent program. These "justice in one hour" expectations may cause undissipated frustrations, unless they are taught to "let it go" through school, or it may be taught by most religions as forgiveness. But what if parents/guardians do not happen to choose to practice a forgiveness concept of one kind or another? Should not schools teach at least a secular equivalent of forgiveness for good mental health, even in kindergarten, and especially in the first grade? As perhaps a health course in good mental/physical health, happiness, and quality of life, in simple terms?
Kids are taught how to react by their parents/guardians, peers, preachers, teachers, and programs, not news media. Much of children's frustration might be prevented by teaching children that immediate conclusions should not always be drawn, and that immediate justice does not always happen. Also, that very often, people that do wrong to others may already be living their own self-created hell on Earth, and/or that they may already be receiving their own just punishments. Sometimes, unfortunately, parents/guardians, teachers, preachers, and programs, unwittingly teach in an indirect and unintended manner, unhealthy prejudgment and contempt, which are detrimental to happy and healthy living. The news community should not feel guilty as the necessary messenger of tragedy, I think.
Thank you for your concern.
Good Guys Don't Pack
I recently heard someone say, "The trouble is not that bad guys have guns, it's that good guys don't!" How mindless can you get? The reason good guys don't tote guns (the sheriff excepted) is that they don't want guns -- for themselves, or for anyone else. That's why they are the good guys!
Stand Up for Wiccans
Forget the Red Scare. Now, it's Wiccan witches overrunning our nation's defense! In rushes Rep. Bob Barr, demanding a ban on pagan rituals at Fort Hood and other military bases. The Georgian witch-hunter hails from a small-minded camp of zealots in congress clamoring for a so-called religious freedom amendment and return to (Christian) prayer in school. Smacks of hypocrisy, wouldn't you say?
Chill, Mr. Barr. Religious freedom means even Fort Hood soldiers can strut their Wiccan stuff in celebration of the vernal equinox or observe Islamic holy days. Heck, they can even hunt eggs from the Easter bunny -- a ritual Christians borrowed from those naughty pagans preceding them.
During a senate speech on Monday, May 24, Sen. Robert Bennett, R-Utah, calling for a bombing halt in Serbia, complained that we have bombed Belgrade longer than we did Desert Storm.
Let me get this straight.
Sen. Bennett, along with every other Republican in Washington, tried for the past six years to remove the Alpha Male of the Western World -- the President of the United States -- for a 20-year-old land deal and then for refusing to comment on his consensual, legal sexual activity, but now objects to a two-month effort to stop genocide!
How in the world do people like Sen. Bennett expect to get re-elected?
Speed Trap Alert
In the interest of saving drivers some hassle, and to let everyone know about some BS that our taxes support, here's a speed trap alert:
The small section of 26th/Dean Keeton St. that runs under I-35 is posted 30 mph and there are often two officers on the east side of the bridge to enforce it with radar. If you do get a ticket, keep in mind that my friend got a speeding ticket in the same speed trap. His ticket was dismissed in court when he complained about the unfairness and possible illegality of speed traps. The purpose of such a setup is not necessarily auto safety, but to make an easy catch and get the driver's money. At one point, the police had pulled over so many cars, the vehicles had to wait in line to receive their ticket. Don't be the next one!
Sane Gun Policy
I just want to finally take the time to say "thank you" to Michael Ventura. He is a gifted writer with his pen firmly on the pulse of our American society. A modern-day shaman of sorts who consistently is a true voice for the collective subconscious of contemporary America. Granted, what he has to say is often disturbing and his realism approaches the negative, nevertheless he always adds a silver lining. His recent article about the violent nature of humans throughout history also speaks of the paradox of our sensitivity, loving and caring. It is a moment-to-moment choice between our love and hate that each of us has to face on a small or grand scale throughout our lives here on earth.
He accurately points out that in a our society where individuals are armed to the teeth with handguns, assault rifles, and the like, we can easily use them to exploit our innate destructive tendencies. I agree with him that while our media and video games waste the mental creativity of our youth, it is our weapons that make killing too easy for those who have succumbed to the destructive violence that lies within us all. What is wrong with gun control? It's not about getting rid of guns altogether, an ideal that we are not ready for, but rather it is about a sane policy that makes it harder for troubled individuals to get their "right hand" on such destructive firepower.
Darts for Bartlett, Laurels for Ventura
First, my remarks direct toward Mr. Frank Bartlett ["Postmarks," Vol. 18, No. 34]. Sir, I don't know whose interpretation of the Constitution you read. I haven't seen the one you cited since my early school books. I think it's filed somewhere in lost archives at the Smithsonian now under myths and fables. Unfortunately, the citizens of America weren't notified of the secret amendments made since then allowing politicians and government leaders to be absolved from -- "The Pres ... and all civil officers ... shall be removed from office for ... bribery, or other high crimes and misd." Our current presidential situation is a painfully obvious example that money makes the country go 'round -- not the Constitution, morals, or ethics. The moment Clinton received only a pat on the wrist and the classic Hillary-esque snub rather than true punishment for his high crimes (perjury, bribery) was the moment everyone in America learned that all it takes to laugh at laws and morals is money ... and that it's easy. Now everyone knows they can lie, cheat, and bribe, and no matter who they are they can get out of it. Great lesson to teach those MTV kids, Billy! our local politicians must have been watching, too.
Now for one that's overdue. Re: Michael Ventura's "Letters at 3AM," Vol. 18, No. 35. I must say many emotions ran through me while seeing through Mr. Ventura's window into the Columbine High School massacre. In the end I was only left numb with my mouth agape. My pithy praise would insult the magic of what was written. I think every chalkboard in America should permanently post a copy of the column. For those out there who haven't read it -- take 10 minutes. Turn off your TV, break from work, take a shorter nap, or run a mile and a half less (Amy, stop riding your bike) and read Mr. Ventura's sentiments of page 12 of the April 30 issue. Then take the same time every day after to look around you and do something to help the problem we call society. Like it or not it makes us all who we are ... and who we are not.
Blessings and thanks,
Ashley Paige Hill
Cars Are Freedom
"Cities don't need cars. Pedestrians and rapid transit are the lifeblood of a city." Where do you get your ideas Ms. Babich? ["Postmarks," Vol. 18, No. 39] What kind of pseudo-science do you prescribe to?
"Car-free areas would be unattractive to gun-toting criminals, as there would be no getaway cars and no parking lots to lurk in."
That statement is the dumbest, most naïve statement I have ever heard in my life. Why would criminals (who, by definition, are law-breakers) be thwarted by a law restricting automobiles in certain areas? They could kill you or rob you just as easily on foot if there are no cars to chase them with. Would police, delivery trucks, ambulances, and fire engines be allowed in "car-free" areas? I think that the police might like to know that, if they are looking for criminals, they can just go to the nearest parking lot! Thanks for the info! You are a civic hero!
You mention how cars do not belong in cities. They are "too loud, too smoggy, and too life-threatening." I bet whiners in the 17th and 18th centuries said the same thing about horse-drawn carriages. Today's modern cities are dangerous places (relatively). They are loud. They can be dirty. These negative factors are completely outweighed by the magnificent variety and availability of almost everything the world has to offer. These are available in cities due in a large extent to the automobiles you bitch and moan about constantly. You never mention the great things cars provide to the citizens of any city. An honest, and intelligent, argument on your part would include the positive as well as the negative aspects of automobiles. The freedom provided by automobiles is not illusory. It is very real and very meaningful. To a family that has to rely on buses and friends to get them around, acquiring a car is a dream come true. They are more in charge of their lives than without the car. No more bus schedules. No more rain-soaked mornings walking to work. Shopping for the family becomes a convenience. The city, and the country, is open to them. They can take part in a great American road trip to the Grand Canyon at their leisure, if they so wish. Your close-minded view of the automobile is sad. Maybe you should get a car, if you don't have one already, and experience the ultimate freedom, the freedom of self-determination. If I have a car I don't have to stay anywhere I don't want to stay. You don't like it here? Move, baby, move. Shit, I'll help you! Actually, there are too many Amy Ba"bitches" here in Austin. We'll need a van! I do not hate you, Ms. Babich. I hate your ignorance.
Roberto X. Torres-Torres
We Need Fewer Cars
Eric Harwell wants to know whether I, as a bicyclist, ever long for a fast, easy way across town ["Postmarks," Vol. 18, No. 39]. Indeed I do, but I don't want to own and operate an air-conditioned car. I'd like to get on a first-class rapid transit system for my faster trips across town. If we had such a system, and if there were far fewer cars on Austin streets, you could travel fast across town and arrive at a destination which was not half parking lot.
If Austin had a first-class transit system, I'd use it fairly often. I would still like to ride my bicycle about 15 miles a day, however. It's really fun to ride a bike; it relaxes the body and the mind, and allows you to look at birds, cats, dogs, and foliage along your route. I find that, even on the hot days of summer, cars and highways are a bigger obstacle to bicycling than hills and distance.
I don't like the air-conditioned car as a solution to summer heat because it makes the problem worse. It's too hot here in Austin in the summer. Unfortunately, car air conditioners and car exhaust pipes just make it hotter. Cutting down shade trees and building parking lots, highways, and megastores just makes the problem worse. People in cars don't notice the lack of shade, and don't notice what they're doing to the world outside the car.
We'd be better off with a first-class transit system and far fewer cars.
Nurses, Guns, & Cigarettes
The last thing the weary city, Austin, Texas, needs is another tax assesment, to maybe crash the boom like in the 1980s, when assorted banks were going bankrupt.
ACC, Austin Community College, can drop their waiting lists for RN program classes and for information program specialists.
Never mind the religious vocation of assorted young applicants for ACC's RN program. Perhaps a can of beer has never touched their lips, nor yet a tobacco cigarette. However, seizing corporate assets, like coffee or USA-made handguns, merely means any robbery at gunpoint might be with a pistol made in Italy or else in Deutschland or Germany.
So it would be simpler to drop the RN program at ACC for a single first year, LVN.
If these very religious young ladies and young gentlemen these days wish to dedicate their lives to assorted holy wars against the demon rum and the demon nicotine, after a one-year LVN program they can start picking up Bible chair credits at any UT Austin campus and the weary state of Texas might feel with five (5) Bible chair or these days as Koran chair credits, maybe as BDs -- Bacheolor of Divinity.
One simple federal case might have one federal judge grant that most reasonable wish that the holy wars be fought by clergy members.
Alice Kennedy Spooner
Kid's Culinary Kudos
Dear Chronicle Food Staff,
I enjoyed reading about the best barbecue places in Austin ["Smoke Gets In Your Mouth," Vol. 18, No. 38]. I'm a pretty big barbecue fan myself. Although I'm only nine (going to be 10 on May 29), I think my favorite barbecue place would have to be Green Mesquite. I was horrified to see Green Mesquite didn't make it into the top five. I think the staff is great at Green Mesquite, and I especially like a woman that works there from Ireland. I usually try to sit outside and I think it's cool that you have a choice to sit outside or in. I think Green Mesquite should be among the top five for those reasons and this one: The food is wonderful! My family gets either the ribs, the pot chop baker, or jambalaya. And we all agree that they have the best ribs and baked potatoes in all of Austin. That is always my first pick of where we're going. Everyone knows me there because I come so frequently.
Party Rock Lives
I'm not sure which pansy-ass parties y'all are going to, but there is a party-band scene alive and kicking in Austin.
At the legendary Halloween '98 show, in a local neighborhood, fresh off their "Keepers of the Bone" tour, Paylöad slew the audience with their double-bladed sword of metal. We were all humbled.
Unlike other bands playing the club scene, Paylöad never forgot their diehard fans, and even dedicated a song "just for the ladies."
With an encore before the cops arrived, no fist was left unpumped to the sounds of "Don't Mettle With the Metal."
I only pray that when Paylöad's "Relöad" tour hits town, I am there.
Impeach Clinton Again
There is documented and objective proof that William Jefferson Clinton and his administration have intentionally allowed numerous top secret military technologies to be transferred to the government of Communist China. This technology has given the Chinese military the ability to target and destroy American cities with nuclear weapons from thousands of miles away. The White House was warned repeatedly between 1994 and 1996 by several government sources that this espionage was taking place. During the same period of time Clinton and Gore were actively soliciting and accepting huge campaign contributions from Johnny Chung, Maria Hsia, and Riady -- all identified by the FBI and CIA as agents of Communist China. It must be remembered that China is an openly and unabashed totalitarian regime that has repeatedly stated that America is her enemy. It is also totally obvious that the predominant media and the leaders of both the Democratic and Republican parties want to sweep this information under the rug. However, treason of this magnitude cannot be ignored if we expect to survive as a nation. Unless we the citizens have the faith and courage to come together to demand appropriate action and justice in protecting our republic we will lose our precious rights and freedoms -- both Clinton and Gore need to be immediately impeached and convicted and when that is accomplished all the officials both Democratic and Republican who sat back and allowed this heinous crime to happen should be imprisoned.
Killing the Hate Crimes Law
Sodomites really have something to be "proud" about now. They stopped our state government from wasting time and money by ensuring that another useless, toothless law was not passed (i.e., hate crimes law). Were it not for the never-ending insidious attempt to legitimize sodomy, I dare say we'd be burdened with another aphasic, left-wing, do-nothing law. Funny how the words "blame" and "credit" can be so relative.
Let Kids Go Private
As a private school student I feel that many students would greatly benefit from HB 1569. This bill gives private companies a property tax break when they contribute a scholarship to an educationally disadvantaged child so they can attend a private school. The state will save money because it will be giving the company half the cost of giving the child a public school education. Companies will receive a property tax break and have the satisfaction of furthering a child's education. Children deserve the right to receive a more advanced curriculum if they so desire. Private schools offer more individual attention and some children absolutely need that. It is a travesty that these children are not able to fulfill their dreams because their families are unable to provide the financial assistance needed. The worst part is that the state can do something about it. If we can convince legislators to pass HB 1569, many companies will be more than willing to help give children scholarships so they can start fulfilling their dreams. These children deserve the world of opportunities they desire. Although public education is sufficient, children who have the desire to attend private school should be given every opportunity no matter what their family's financial situation might be.
James Matthew Brannon