"Alex Jones is to patriotism ... what hot dogs are to meat."
The Heart of His Message
I just read with interest the article "Mad TV" about Alex Jones [July 14]. Yes, Alex does raise his voice, and yes, Alex does speak with virulent emotion and for a lot of people this is hard to listen to -- including myself at times. However, what really bothers most people who have watched his show for more than 10 minutes is that they have a hard time contemplating, much less accepting, the basic message that Alex puts forward. This message is that a handful of self-proclaimed elite have taken virtual control of the predominant media, the Federal Reserve Banking system, and the leadership of both political parties! Furthermore, this elite is not satisfied with its current riches and power and is manipulating our economy to further transfer wealth from the middle class and to erode and destroy the ideal of a republic based upon a nation of law and justice. Is this conspiracy theory? No, it's just objective and factual information for anyone who has an open mind and the discipline to read and discern.
Though Alex's style is not politically correct and his presentation style turns off some viewers, the real story is something much bigger. I personally have a great deal of respect for the tenacity and courage that Alex has in spreading this essential truth that does affect each of us. I would hope that the readers of the Chronicle would watch, listen, consider, and most importantly do their own research into what Alex and others are actually saying. The truth is important!
Bands, Not Biscuits
Love that you guys did some press on ACAC ["All Access: ACAC Then and Now," July 14]! Very cool and I was happy to be included. ... The show CapZeyeZ is spelled like that "CapZeyeZ" -- but that's not the big issue ... Sorry. The big issue is that I do not work for or approve or endorse the current Rick Melchior version of the Austin Music Network. The article listed me as an Austin Music Network employee. ... I tried to work under his regime, but it is silly to try to make TV while someone is trying to have a chicken-fried steak.
Although I love the idea of an Austin Music Network, I cannot endorse nor be associated with the current operation. Thanks again for any print, I was just hoping for a correction.
Thanks so much,
CapZeyeZ and rAw TiMe
It was April 19, 2000, at Mount Carmel in Waco. We were dedicating the new memorial chapel for all those who died during the Branch Davidian massacre on April 19, l993. Several years ago a Branch Davidian family moved to Mount Carmel to restore the reputation of the Branch Davidians. The Rev. Charles Pace has a lovely wife and a daughter and two sons. The Pace family does not believe David Koresh is the Messiah, and they do not stockpile guns or practice adultery. His 12-year-old daughter Angie choreographed a dance to celebrate the memorial chapel. The family wanted to thank all the volunteers who built the chapel. Her 10-minute contemporary ballet was over in a wink of an eye.
Even angels were moved by Angie's performance. She adorned a white chiffon dress with gold trim that floated in the air. Angie was a gift from heaven that afternoon. Alex gave her last place on the agenda around 4pm after most everyone had left, including the media. Earlier that memorial day I heard Alex tell Angie's father there was no time for her dance. I watched tears come to Charles' eyes. How was he going to tell his beloved daughter there was no time to give the gift? He hurried out of the chapel. There was time for Alex to scream hatred and venom. But there was no time for Angie's dance. No time for beauty. Over my dead body. At Mount Carmel Angie gave us the gift that afternoon. She was an inspiration.
Defender of Liberty
Before publicizing someone's slander (that I help stifle free expression on public access TV) in your column ["Media Clips," July 14], don't you think that journalistic integrity calls upon you to at least also quote a response from the slandered party in that same column?
One of the ironies here is that I was one of the folk who contacted HEB's home office to get the Chron re-installed there after a local "moralist" had it removed a few years ago because of adult-oriented ads. I explained to them that the Austin community is not like San Antonio and that they were creating more bad will than good with this move. They restored the Chron to it's distribution in Austin because people like me defended your free expression.
Contact Ruth Epstein (459-5829, Ruthaclu@aol.com) of the local ACLU. She got the local ACLU to award me as Civil Libertarian of the Year a few years ago due to my leadership in defending free expression on public-access TV in Austin and in general. This is the same Ruth Epstein whose daughter served on the Austin City Council a while ago, btw.
For the record once again, I have made no effort to stifle another's free expression; unless it was via initiating (or threatening to initiate) physical assault. My longstanding advocacy is for countering the expression of "bad" ideas by including the expression of "good" ideas.
Do you think your readers are well-served by repeating unsubstantiated slander of a longtime community activist without any apparent effort on your part to also report a response, let alone provide a historical community context?
Terry Liberty Parker
Something Is Happening ...
It seems I can't flip through Austin cable television without seeing Alex Jones' smug little face at least once a night. I've tried watching his show several times, only to find myself annoyed and frustrated at Alex's constant self-promotion (he'll inform you several times that he is a "nationally syndicated radio host") as well as his tendency to cut off any caller that may threaten his argument or his ego. The only person who is allowed total freedom of speech on Infowars is Alex Jones.
Amazingly enough, much of the talk I hear regarding Alex is generally positive. I know people who think his show is fun to watch because of Alex's fervor. The impression I got from these conversations is that some people find him to be a "loveable nut." Yeah, well, I loved my Furby, MoMo, for a while too. I loved him until I realized MoMo was just an annoying little shit that babbled constantly to get attention, and he was never going to stop! MoMo lives at the bottom of the river now.
You can't imagine the relief I felt when I read your "Page Two" column regarding Mr. Jones[July 14]. Louis, you helped me regain faith in humanity with that column. Knowing that you, and possibly others feel the same as I do about Alex Jones -- it's like a weight lifted from my shoulders. You validate me.
P.S. Can't you use your pull to get The Show With No Name back on the air? You know lots of people. I miss Charlie and Cinco on my TV.
To the Editor,
I was very impressed with your coverage of Alex Jones["Media Clips," July 14]. It was extremely unbiased and I suspect it might have taken a considerable amount of restraint to write this article. But in hindsight I have to wonder: Is being unbiased when covering Alex Jones tantamount to endorsing him? Simply put, he is a source of misinformation that many people listen to and believe without question. In the early 90s we called them Dittoheads . Whether it be Jones' claims that the Marines have some town in North Carolina under Martial Law (no proof has been given of course), whether it be Jones decrying "We are at war here, folks! Your government has declared war on you!" or be it Jones inability to correctly recall how and why he got into (and lost) a fight in the ACAC parking lot, the reality is that Alex Jones is incapable of distinguishing facts from fantasy (if he indeed was jumped by four men, one with a knife, how is it that he walked away alive and uncut?). It is my belief that in being unbiased toward Jones, it is way of giving him tacit credibility.
Nonetheless, I commend the Chronicle on an outstanding editorial (Mr. Black's "Page 2" comments) and especially Mr. Nichols' journalism. But ultimately Alex Jones is to patriotism what Matt Drudge is to journalism and what hot dogs are to meat. He is a lightening rod for radicals and he must be questioned and discredited for each one of his unfounded claims.
ACTV/ACAC producer since 1992
Rail Support Report
Thursday night the KTBC 10 o'clock news report announced that Get Around Austin Inc., a pro-rail political action committee (PAC), collected $450,000 to use for rail promotion. The PAC, whose primary funding had come from (IPO rich) techies, other computer-related groups, and individuals, used the news report to introduce their newest recruit, Lowell Lebermann. With a sound-bite endorsement ("we can't afford to pave everything over") he gave the proposed rail project his full support.
A wealthy Austin businessman, Lebermann is a former City Council member (Butler council during the Seventies). He and Mayor Butler were prominent leaders in the nuclear power movement during their tenure on the council.
Lebermann once owned the Lincoln-Mercury dealership in Austin and has been on various transportation study committees. He was an influential member of the Austin Transportation Study during the Seventies. For a time, in 1976, he opposed the MoPac study, a study to determine the feasibility of building the inner-city freeway.
Robert P. Gerstenberg
Social psychologists call it "selective perception," the tendency for people's perceptions to be influenced by wants, needs and attitudes.
A writer ("Trains, Not Nukes," July 7), said that recent letters in Postmarks have compared light rail to nuclear power. The point was not to compare light rail with nuclear power, but to demonstrate how local civic leaders have sometimes been very wrong when urging Austin voters to approve big ticket items in the past -- STNP being a case in point.
Los Angeles' light rail was the subject of a segment of ABC's 20/20 on Friday, July 7, 2000. When ABC did an earlier critical report on the subject, unhappy L.A. officials asserted that things would improve once the remaining portions of the light rail system were completed. ABC's follow-up on the completed system reported that light rail was something many residents didn't want, was completed behind schedule, went far over budget, and that even after completion of the entire system it now has very low-usage. ABC noted that drivers wouldn't give up the flexibility of their cars to use a system that too often won't take them from where they live to where they need to go.
While I agree with that writer that light rail is highly successful in Germany and Japan, having used it in both countries, it was pointed out that most successful light rail systems were built many decades ago, before highway networks were built, and in densely populated cities which made them viable.
Werner J. Severin
Light Rail Makes Sense
Dear Austin Chronicle,
I am sorry to say I did not read the article "Light Rail's Dark Side". I like the title; it's clever.
I again am a bit ashamed to admit I am new to this intriguing town and an immigrant from California. I love Austin. I was both dismayed and yet understand completely the pride some display at the calendar/poster hanging at work titled "Silicon Hills"; I would hate to see Austin turn into a Silicon Valley.
Let me briefly recite some recent history of the light rail BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit). I am old enough to remember when this was put to vote in the late Sixties, prior to the emergence of Silicon Valley.
The then less economically privileged counties of Santa Clara, Alameda, SF, and Oakland surrounded the more affluent San Mateo county. BART was on the ballot in all of these counties. All voted it in but San Mateo; therefore, the southernmost Santa Clara county, or Silicon Valley, as it is now called, suffered at the hand of its nearest neighbor to the north, San Mateo. BART accommodated all of the counties north of San Mateo. Santa Clara needed San Mateo to link itself to BART. By the time the long overdue Highway 85 was finally constructed to ease some of the traffic from the South San Jose streets west & north to 280 and 101, it was way too little, too late.
The commute throughout any of these counties has attained legendary infamy. Austin, however, is in the position to learn from, instead of repeat, the mistakes Northern California made a little under two score years ago.
My limited travel takes me to San Jose, SF, & Austin airports. I watch in awe as I have seen the new Austin-Bergstrom Airport develop since I first came here in October. California's SF & San Jose airports, again like the commutes there, are infamous in their inefficiency. If the beautiful Austin-Bergstrom is any indication of how Austinites operate, then there is hope for developing a light rail system to meet Austin's growing needs.
Thanks for reading,
FBI Failed in Waco
[Re:"FBI's Role in Waco," Postmarks, July 14]
My father, who retired after 28 years with the FBI, called me in tears the day the Davidian compound burned. He knew then that the FBI's actions that day were wrong. Thank God he didn't live to see his beloved Bureau forced to admit, six years later, to lying to the public and concealing evidence from the courts. His heart would have broken again.
Mike Hanley can defend the Bureau's actions all he wants, but the facts remain: Eighty people died because the federal government did what it did. The ATF conducted a violent assault on a residence packed full of children, when a single phone call from the local sheriff could have resolved the matter. They ignored the warnings of their own "on-the-ground" undercover agent, who begged them to call off the raid. The FBI stepped in and, after mishandling the situation for almost two months, refused to allow the standoff to come to a peaceful conclusion, choosing instead to "make an example" of this renegade religious group. Military force (not just "equipment and mechanics," Mr. Hanley, but armed Delta Force combat troops) was used against American civilians, in violation of the U.S. Constitution. Flammable gas was injected into the compound, in violation of Justice's own operating orders. There still exists a good possibility that FBI agents or military troops fired into the compound the day of the inferno. Despite yesterday's finding by the Waco advisory jury, the federal government, and all its branches represented at Mount Carmel during the 51-day stand off, bear full responsibility for the murder of Davidian men, women and children.
Denial is not a river in Egypt, Mr. Hanley. If my father could see the truth about the Bureau's complicity in those deaths, why can't you?
Pasties: Cornish or Welsh?
Oh Barbara Chisholm -- my Cornish mother would turn in her grave if she knew you referred to pasties as "Welsh" ["Pasties of the Upper Peninsula," July 14].
The Cornish pasty (yes -- originally a miner's lunch and strong enough to survive a fall down a mine shaft) continues to be relished as a beloved national dish -- not only in Cornwall (that fiercely Celtic land jutting off the southwest tip of England) but throughout the world wherever the Cornish settled, especially the hard rock mining areas of North and South America, South Africa, and Australia. How often have I seen the Cornish-in-exile enjoying their pasties with gusto -- eaten by hand, piping hot -- even on a blistering tropical day. In fact, the empanada is believed to be a smaller, very local variation on pasties introduced originally to Bolivia's tin mining regions by Cornish miners.
Pamela Ellen Ferguson
To the editor,
I can't believe that you let Sandy Bartlett take the letter I sent you (outlining Peter Duesburg's book) and comment on it (out of context) without publishing it! That is almost unethical! And haven't you just proven that the established view about AIDS suppresses the dissent, just like the president of South Africa says? You didn't publish my letter! I say it again. You are being unethical.
Sandy attributes the statements in my letter (that you didn't publish) to me. Those are not my statements! They are Duesburg's. I was just trying to outline Peter Duesburg's book in 500 words or less. For example, Sandy says that mates of hemophiliacs get "infected" (with HIV?) all the time, hence Duesburg's statement (which you didn't publish) is false. But that is just the point. Duesburg says that mates of hemophiliacs don't get AIDS. That is different than being infected with HIV, according to Duesburg. Duesburg stresses that HIV is not AIDS. Sandy missed the point completely. Yet you didn't publish my letter so Sandy makes me look like a fool out of context. OK, so Kaposi's Sarcoma has an apostrophe in it. So what? I am not an expert on AIDS! Sandy and Duesburg are! And they disagree!
I just believe that HIV+ people should have access to this information. What are you afraid of? Do you think that HIV+ people are stupid and should be protected? If Peter Duesburg is so wrong, why is the number of dissenting scientists growing? I believe that people with HIV have a right to decide for themselves! If I was writing that people should not take antibiotics unless their life is threatened, would you refuse to publish that opinion? Yet the "establishment" still indiscriminately prescribes antibiotics for things like sinus infections, leading us down the path to strains of bacteria that are penicillin-resistant. This is another case where "established medicine" is blatantly wrong.
[Ed. note: The letter to which Gray refers was sent to The Austin Chronicle two years ago, and we decided not to publish it. Gray simultaneously sent the letter to Bartlett. Bartlett saved the letter and, when he decided to reply to a more recent Gray letter which we did publish, he also used the older letter in forming his reply.]
Some years ago I raked Marc Savlov across the hot coals for his glowing review of Blues Brothers 2000 (opportunistic shite filmmaking personified), and now I've gotta dust off the ol' Selectric and set him straight again. Three-and-a-half stars for Chicken Run? Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha! I could wave my red-tipped white cane at the screen and see the flaws more clearly! This exercise in wooden, stilted, and forced moviemaking does a disservice to Aardman & Nick Park's "Wallace and Gromit" shorts, which unlike Chicken Run, have a lighthearted and natural levity to them. It's as natural of a follow-up to the earlier successes as BB2000 was (not).
Does it not strike him as odd that Australian Mel Gibson plays the role of the American flying chicken imposter? Who is this Gibson character anyway? How did this trend get started? Who made him The Patriot? Did Australian Hugo Weaving pave the way in The Matrix as Special Agent Smith, talking in painstakingly studied "American" English? Or is the blame to be placed on the New Zealand TV series Xena and Hercules, with their ersatz spoken "American"?
Non-American Americans aside, why was the role of the arrogant flying chicken imposter even cast as an American? Jeez, talk about reinforcing negative European stereotypes of the U.S.! If I was a chips-nibbling, ale-swilling Brit soccer fiend I might buy into this notion that Americans are a bunch of conceited, ignorant, and pompous ass-pickers, but I know better. Only half of us are. I guess Savlov has taken a lot of European vacations as of late, thus propagating such misconceptions. Why didn't he get cast in the movie?
David (Baron Von) Sanborn, esq.
Thanks for your comments in the "Page Two" column on June 30 about how much you like getting into a hot car on a blazing Texas summer day. I'm tired of hearing people whine about how hot it is. (Maybe I'm whining about people whining, but that's life). It was refreshing to read a positive comment about the heat. People need to embrace reality rather than complain about it, and the summer heat is one of those realities. There are some things we can work to change, but the weather is not one of them. The purpose of life is to enjoy it and maybe your celebratory remarks about the heat helped improve some attitudes. Keep up the good work. How hot is it today? It's just hot enough.
Stranded by Cap Met
Capital Metro is a failure. How dare they expect the citizens of this city to fund light rail after what they did to us on the Fourth of July. I specifically called Cap Met to confirm that they would be running after the fireworks. Then riding the bus downtown I noticed many people taking the bus, some with children. But, even though I went to the bus stop right after the fireworks ended, I waited at S. Lamar and Tooney Rd. until 11pm and no buses came by. On my walk home, south on Lamar, I passed many people, some with children, but was not passed by any busses.
I suggest that everyone who was stranded by the bus company vote no on light rail.
Here are some suggestions from someone who has ridden buses in Oakland/Berkley, Phoenix, NYC and Portland.
1.) Run on time. Not early, not late, on time.
2.) Train your drivers better.
3.) Have a phone number that riders can call that is answered at the dispatcher's office. So that if there is a problem on that route the rider can find out about it.
4.) Have all management commute bus.
5.) Put route maps, with connecting routes in different colors, in the overhead ad areas.
6.) Do not wrap the buses in advertising. Some of us have trouble figuring out which bus it is, much less if it is a Cap Met bus.
7.) If you send out a bus with no a/c, unlock the windows!
8.) Hire literate people to man your complaint line.
Secrets of the Shore
Dear Austin Chronicle,
First, I think your magazine is "Austin, TX." I send a copy once in a while to a friend in Springfield, Ore., who is a guitar player that likes articles about blues bands and the older blues legends. Anyway, I'm a little upset at ya'll giving away my favorite lakeside restaurant, Shades at Point Venture ["Dining del Lago," July 7]. Yes, it's a really great place; now tons of people will start going to it. Your article says it like it really is: friendly staff, good food and drinks, and yes, the fish in the water are an extra reason to go there. Heck, even the people eating there are nice and friendly. I live on the north side of Lake Travis, so I don't get to the other cool restaurants on the south shore too often. But wait, I just got a boat, so I'll be cruising the other spots mentioned soon with my Chronicle in hand. Have a great safe summer.
SIMS Needs Involvement
I was moved by Margaret Moser and Kate Messer's articles on the lives and the deaths of Sims Ellison and Lisa Davis[Music, July 7]. As executive director of the SIMS Foundation it is a story I live with every day. However, what moved me was the openness with which the writers stepped beyond the isolating stigma of depression, beyond the quitted hush of guilt and shame which surrounds suicide, and allowed the reader to look into the complex and impassioned face of suicide. We have lost great people to depression. We will continue to lose our sons and daughters, our mothers and fathers, and our siblings to depression until we learn to address mental health issues with the compassion and the attention they deserve. Until we know in our hearts that the tragedy of suicide is not only affecting them out there but rather that them is us.
It is to that end the SIMS Foundation was formed. Working on a shoestring (while aspiring to one day have shoes), SIMS has been a lifeline to the working Austin musician. SIMS has done this with the understanding that music is a core value connecting us, that musicians are our children's role models, that from the stage or from the crowd, them is us.
I thank Margaret Moser, Kate Messer, and the Chronicle for exposing our work and for five years of ardent support. I encourage all who read the articles to follow their lead and become involved. Stop by our new office at 501 W. Annie with a donation of time, equipment, interest, or money. Call us at 494-1007 or visit our Web site at sims-foundation.org. Help us continue to make a difference in the quality of life in Austin. We have the stage, we have the lights, and the microphone is on.
Executive Director, The SIMS Foundation