Our readers talk back.
Fri., Oct. 17, 2003
Austin and Mexico Now One
Well, it's nasty. What they've done to Travis County. One of "our" districts, drawn by Texas Republicans, stretches from deep in Austin all the way to the Mexican border. Has anyone checked with Vicente Fox to see how he feels about being in Austin's ETJ? Just wondering.
Failed Ideas; Tired Criticisms
In your interview with Molly Ivins and Louis Dubose ["The Powerful Odor of Mendacity," Oct. 3], Ms. Ivins remarks that the current presidential administration wants "to completely undo the Great Society and the New Deal." If only it were true! Most of today's social and economic ills can be traced directly back to those two programs and the ideologies under which they were established: Reliance on big brother and the dole instead of self-reliance, the idea that only government intervention can ease social ills, the concept that most people are incapable of handling themselves or their own affairs, and the belief that anyone who is successful must have gotten there by standing on the backs of the "common" men -- therefore it is only just that the government take their money away from them and give it to those who really deserve it. As to the idea that either of these programs saved us from the Great Depression? On the contrary. The socializing of the American society and Keynesian economics extended the effects of the Great Depression -- the last gasps of a dying agrarian economic structure -- by an additional five years, at least. What truly turned our economic situation around was World War II, and the massive ramp-up of manufacturing that came with it. Sadly, those educated by our wonderful public educational system have never heard the truth about the cause of the Great Depression or what brought the nation out of it. Sadder still is that persons like Ms. Ivins and Mr. Dubose take advantage of this to push for more and more of these same failed ideas.
To: Michael King,
You cannot "de-elect" someone from office unless it occurs during his/her term. You seem very confused on this matter.
Are Welcome to Their Opinion
Re: "On the Lege," Oct. 3,
Please leave grammar criticism to those who know what they're talking about.
See page www.pemberley.com/janeinfo/austheir.html.
[Michael King (Ph.D. in English and American Literature, Yale, 1977) responds: If Mr. Churchyard believes, as his hyperlink implies, that Jane Austen would have stooped to the solecism uttered by Gov. Perry in reference to Comptroller Strayhorn -- "Everyone is entitled to their opinion. I disagree with it" -- he are welcome to their opinion.]
Um, Um, Yes
Louis Black continues his ultraliberal stance on some issues by now calling for a legalization of marijuana ["Page Two," Oct. 10] as a kind of economic windfall for the government and states that if you believe in God, you should be pro-pot. The reasoning there, Louis, is, um, um, in the name of God, what? That pot grows wild? That not having it legalized is, in your words, "wrecking lives"? Come on.
He also believes excusing seniors from serving part of their prison sentences would save the government money on their end-of-life health care needs. I'm over 65. Where's my gun? Has anyone seen my gun?
Saddened by Article
I am saddened by the article you wrote ["Capitol Chronicle," Oct. 10]. There are ample monies for education. It is just not going where it benefits the students the best way. The state of Texas has cut its share of monies for education drastically over the last few years. Homeowners are being hurt terribly due to having to carry such an enormous weight.
Good educational techniques go back several thousand years.
It seems you are trying to blame redistricting for all the problems. It makes good headlines, but most individuals have a good enough education to see you have an agenda, and I don't believe it is centered on the students but on playing politics.
Dr. Bob Otey
Butchering Spanish a Texas Tradition
On Sept. 22, I was watching the Texas House of Representatives as they were doing their early morning resolutions of congratulations to constituents. The clerk was reading the resolves and in the process totally butchering almost every Hispanic name he tried to pronounce. I decided to e-mail my sensitive state representative, Mr. Jack Stick, sending him this: "I've been watching the House on TV. Tell the speaker it is very insulting to listen to a House clerk read resolutions and totally butcher and mispronounce Hispanic names and surnames." I received this reply by e-mail from him: "I'll let him know, but this is Texas, and that is sort of a Texas tradition." I was surprised. The reply from Mr. Stick not only shows his own attitudes but, further, shows the speaker shares Stick's views of this twisted "tradition."
No 'Bit' at End of 'Kill Bill' Credits
[Re: Kill Bill film review]
"And finally, a tip: Don't leave until the final credits finish rolling or you'll miss what many are considering Kill Bill: Vol. 1's best bit. Trust us on this one."
I don't know what you got to see, but as Alamo Drafthouse staff informed the many of us waiting around after the show, there is no "bit" at the end of the Kill Bill credits. I'm wondering if you received a special screening of the Kill Bill: Vol. 2 trailer?
[Ed. note: See this week's "Short Cuts" column for an explanation.]
Source of Quote
To the Editor:
Marc Savlov is a few centuries and several light-years short of the mark. In his review of Tarantino's new film Kill Bill, he credits some ancient Klingon Aesop, quoted by Khan/Montalban in Star Trek II, as the source of the proverb, "Revenge is a dish best served cold." Khan/Montalban was surely well-read enough to know that the proverb is from the 1782 book Les Liaisons Dangereuses by Pierre Ambroise Francois Choderlos de Laclos (1741-1803). It's even better in the original French: "La vengeance est un plat qui se mange froid." Surely Tarantino had in mind the 1988 movie in which Uma Thurman played the cloistered virgin whose seduction before her wedding day was schemed by John Malkovich and Glenn Close. It's about time she came back for her revenge.
[Ed. note: In Kill Bill, Tarantino credits the Star Trek movie for the quote.]
Sorry, We Never Assume Readers Agree With Us
The Chronicle is clearly against the smoking ordinance, but you seem to assume that all right-thinking readers agree with you. Two of your main points seem to be "everyone at clubs likes to smoke" and "the ban will hurt businesses." The first claim is not true. Obviously many people at clubs enjoy smoking, but there's some prior filtering going on: I quit going to live music (except at the already nonsmoking Cactus Cafe) years ago because of the smoke. This year I went to Emo's for the first time in years (great Trail of Dead shows) and felt like crap from the smoke afterward. I would go a lot more if my throat and eyes didn't sting afterward. You've printed articles about people in clubs wanting to be cool and rebellious, and how booze, smokes, and music go together. Untrue for a lot of us.
Reasonable people can disagree about ethical questions and the balance of business owners' rights versus health and comfort rights of consumers. I can see arguments on both sides. E.g., is this different from handicapped access laws or anti-segregation laws? It's murky.
On the other hand, your pragmatic-sounding "it will hurt business" argument is total bullshit, and you should quit pushing it if you want to have honest debate. I just visited San Francisco, and the bars and clubs were doing fine business despite the ban there. (And the Cactus Cafe is usually full when I frequent it.) People aren't going to quit going to bars and live music just because they can't smoke there. Don't most people go to concerts for the music, rather than to show off how cool and rebellious they think they are smoking? (And anyway, what's so cool and rebellious about addicted consumers with cigarettes in their mouths, paying R.J. Reynolds and Philip Morris?)
Confused by How We Titled Letter
I am a little confused as to why you have titled the letter from George Humphrey ["Postmarks," Oct. 10] as "Paranoia Menu." George is an incredibly kind and spiritual man, a successful businessman in this city, and he takes the time to be aware. He has the option to sit around enjoying his success. Instead, he uses his "free" time to research, write, and host a show on ACAC to help create awareness in a world where we are constantly distracted and deceived by mainstream media sources. Have you not noticed the cameras that are aimed directly at your car while you are waiting at a light? I hit one almost daily at William Cannon and First Street (going east). It is the truth, not paranoia, and to label it as such only perpetuates ignorance of what the elite are doing to control the masses in order to pursue their own agenda. Do you think their agenda is really a better life for you and me? Hardly. We live in a bankrupt state in a bankrupt country, and unless you are in the oil business, weapons manufacturing, or creating GMOs there is not much in the area of job security. Freedom is not free, and you can't sit around and watch TV and expect anything to change. Then you have people who work their ass off to help others become aware, and you label them paranoid so all of their work is not taken seriously? Take a stand for the truth. The real "conspiracy" is that the whole of 9/11 was orchestrated from a cave.
One more thing -- have you seen Demolition Man, put out over 10 some-odd years ago. Funny thing in this movie, face scanners, cameras everywhere, Taco Bell owns all restaurants after winning the franchise wars, Congress had passed a bill stating foreign-born citizens can run for president -- and lo and behold Schwarzenegger is the president. Sound familiar? Sickeningly familiar? This man with serious Nazi ties (Kurt Waldheim) and an admitted gangbanger in college is now a leader in this country, and Congress is trying to pass that bill. Paranoia, you say? Was Sam Adams paranoid when he threw the tea in the harbor? Wake up, please.
[Ed. note: As a paranoid, just because you are paranoid doesn't mean you're not right.]
Is Craddick DeLay's Bottom Bitch?
Since you referred to "Tom Craddick and his pimp Tom DeLay" in a "Naked City" item last week [Oct. 10], I thought it might be educational to point out that pimps refer to their favorite and most trusted whore as their "bottom bitch." Used in a sentence, an example might be "pimp Tom DeLay and his bottom bitch Tom Craddick." I learned this in a very educational documentary on HBO called Pimps Up, Ho's Down. I hear they're coming to Austin to make a sequel.
Focus on Treatment of Drug Users
Now we finally know what's wrong with Rush; he was on drugs.
Ah, but I joke. In reality, I can look past all the bad propaganda he's put out and see his human side. By his own words he should be locked up in a little cell, but I like his present course: admitting the problem and moving on to treatment.
In the last issue of the Chronicle, Louis Black did a good job in presenting the fallacy of the "drug war." I'm not convinced though. I don't think pot is harmless, but I don't agree with the zero tolerance position. I'm more of a Rush Limbo guy myself; I prefer a solution that focuses on treatment.
Trust My Taste, Not Yours
Not to berate you, but boy did you miss on Zevon's The Wind ["Phases & Stages," Oct. 3], one of the better representations of the human condition in music in a long time.
With it we can understand what Faulkner meant when he said in 1950 that yes, we all die, but we will not only endure but prevail because of the heart of a poet who writes about compassion and pity and anguish and other worthy matters of the heart as opposed to matters of the glands (so prevalent in crap out there people pass off as music).
Now, the "I hear dead people" comment was in poor taste, but we'll let that go and not detract from the record.
You do spot good things: the cry of "open up for me" on "Heaven's Door," Springsteen's energy, and the beautiful lyrics of "Keep Me in Your Heart." Nicely done.
Also, you are right to approach with skepticism; he was dying, creating the temptation to give him a pass, but he doesn't need it -- Warren was "on" for this final opus, yet your review fumbles.
Listen to the first song, "Dirty Life and Times," facing the painful dilemma of reconciling a life's mistakes with those he loves (calling his "a four letter world").
Listen to "Prison Grove" as an honest facing of the inevitable -- we all die.
Listen how Springsteen, Petty, Yoakam, Emmylou, Ry Cooder, and others bring their A-game, yet don't upstage Warren -- it is Warren's voice we hear distinctively.
Now consider "Keep Me in Your Heart." In sum, it is beautiful.
Feel better? I do. There is no shame in admitting you were wrong.
This is a great and wonderfully human album. Those are rare.
Sunset Valley Special
I am a friend of Ruth Dawson, a resident of Sunset Valley ["Sunset vs. Goliath," Oct. 10]. Everything she has said about the place has been envied by me (an ex-resident of San Francisco). Your article verified the accuracy of her love and respect for the principles of the place. Very fair and illuminating article you wrote.
I currently sell real estate in Washington west of Seattle, and we struggle with some of the same issues, only on a much less affluent budget.
Holier Than Thou and the Church
On Sunday, Oct. 5, my animal rights colleagues and I made plans to hand out vegetarian literature at a church in Austin for the Blessing of the Animals (Feast of St. Francis of Assisi). Although it was a last-minute decision and we made no attempts to contact the church for their approval, we collectively felt it would be a perfect time to pass out literature advocating that one way to bless animals is not to eat them. Despite the overwhelmingly positive feedback we did receive, we were asked by a church official to vacate the premises, as our "political organization" (?) was not welcome at this particular function. It was our impression vegetarianism would be an acceptable platform for this type of gathering, as Saint Francis of Assisi loved and cherished all animals, and in fact, the church's literature supported this by stating, "We turn our hearts and minds to God's infinite love -- his love for us and for all creation." In addition, the music played during the blessing was from "Rejoice in the Lamb," taken from the poem, "Jubilate Agno," by Christopher Smart, who personally states, "... every creature in which is the breath of Life." For the record, our spreading the word about vegetarianism that day was intended to be a peaceful act, aimed at shedding light on how the lives of billions of animals on factory farms could be saved every year as a result. Now, that would be a true blessing!
For all animals,
Timothy J. Verret
If I Don't Agree With It, Why Would You Cover It?
[Re: "The Camera Is Mightier Than the ...," March 7]
Please stop giving any kind of space or time to this biased documentary about the "monkey" of Miraflores. The movie is just a bunch of absolute lies and misrepresentations.
Federal Government Gets It Right
We usually grumble when the federal government tries to govern us from afar. But every solar eclipse or so, the feds get it right and we should pay attention. Reason Public Policy Institute analyst Ted Balaker suggests that the federal government is in the midst of getting it right on the heavy cost of light-rail systems, and that local government should pay close attention.