Our readers talk back.
'Chronicle' Not Only Soft on Bush but Duped
Here are links to a talking points (propaganda) page from George Bush's re-election Web site and a letter printed by the Chronicle (austinchronicle.com/gbase/ Community/Postmarks?StartTime=2003-12-05, www.georgewbush.com/GetActive/WriteNewspapers.aspx?aid=102).
As you can see, the letter written by Debra Urias ["Postmarks" online, Dec. 5] and the content from the re-election page are identical.
So not only did you guys endorse Bush by running fluff piece after fluff piece after fluff piece back in 2000, but this time around you are printing right-wing propaganda straight from Bush's re-election Web site.
Just so you're straight (Nick) -- I am not complaining about the content of a letter to the editor.
The issue at hand is political propaganda straight from a candidate's Web site winding up on editorial pages disguised as coming from the people.
It's another slimy way Republicans run their campaigns.
And the fact that it's lost on you two suggests you really should be in another profession.
Nick -- as for the "get a memory" comment and Louis' "lack of memory" excuse -- you need only research what you ran right up to your pathetic one-line endorsement of Al Gore and Ralph Nader (dual endorsements for president??) as contrasted by all the ridiculous crap you printed on Bush.
By the way -- you guys were busted on this by two very prominent Web sites (MSNBC.com and TalkingPointsMemo.com). They actually used you as an example of editors and publishers being used as pawns to further political agendas.
Go back to sleep, guys -- we'll wake you when the election's over.
[Editor's response: We knew the letter was canned, though we didn't know the source. We thought it was so outrageously dishonest and overtly political that we'd go with it, figuring it would outrage some readers. Sometimes we print canned letters, sometimes we don't. Very rarely will we go with them if they are in harmony with ongoing Chronicle positions; we're more likely to if they state an opposing view. We trust our readers. On the other hand, you've promised to let us sleep until after the election, and we're going to trust you on that one.]
Where Oh Where Will the Big Boxes Be?
Dear Austin Chronicle folks,
It's hard enough trying to keep up with what is going on in Austin just by reading the Chronicle, and that other paper, online. But it is made even more difficult when it takes as much as eight minutes for a Web page to open! Such is the world in places like Kyrgyzstan, which is long on mountainous beauty, but narrow on bandwidth. So my two quick questions are: What congressional district will all those "big boxes" be in? And, is Alejandro OK?
Happy Holidays to you all,
[Editor's response: The big boxes mostly under discussion at City Council would likely be in Lamar Smith's district after redistricting.]
Savlov Is Wrong in His Opinion
I am an actor here in Austin, and for years now I have read some of Marc Savlov's reviews. Until now, I thought it best to just keep my mouth shut about some of the horrible and just plain wrong reviews. However, with Mr. Savlov's 31é2 stars for The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, I felt compelled to write. It seems apparent to me that Mr. Savlov has little sense of true cinematic achievement when he can give Kill Bill four stars and The Return of the King only 31é2. Not since Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon have I been simply awed by the beauty of a film, as I was with The Return of the King. For the entire three hours I sat in amazement!
Please excuse my naiveté, but has Mr. Savlov ever produced, directed, or acted in a film? With this review and his fumble at the 48 Hour Film Project (which I think should be renamed the 48 Hour Comedy Film Project), I am convinced he has absolutely no idea what he is writing about.
Sincerely, Ken Edwards
The 'Chronicle' Sucks or the Editor Sucks or Something Like That
I could notice two blows in your position on the APD: The mushy one you gave to Mr. Knee and Mr. Sheffield together, and the crushing one you gave to the Chronicle.
'Chronicle' Critics Alert!
Obviously, critics of the Chronicle's editorial policy have never heard of A.J. Liebling's dictum: "Freedom of the press is limited to those who own one."
Werner J. Severin
Bob, Stop Whining!
You baby. You're a joke. You're pathetic. Who cares if you are the next Jaco Pastorius -- which I'm sure you're not. News flash! Larry is a crappy, hippy jam band. Never heard of the Goliath Organization -- probably not many have ["Postmarks," Dec. 19].
Let your actions speak for themselves. Yoggie is a known personality. You are not. Yeah yeah yeah. I'm sure you can play the bass reallllllllllllll good, but so can my junior high orchestra instructor. Instead of trying to persuade publications to toot your little horn, you should try to grow a soul, which you lack, reflected by your obvious petty attempts at self-promotion. Oh yes, your precious symphony. You and every ACC music-theory student has to write one. I guess the only difference is that you're going to have one of your friends there with a digital camcorder.
Only a self-righteous chump would proclaim himself the "best" player in town. Maybe you can throw a "Battle of the Bass Players" so you can show every little bass player in town how superior you are. I will be there laughing while Yoggie stomps your ass.
Shut up and go listen to a Mingus record.
Sincerely, Nick Moulos
Is All of Austin, or Just South, Weird?
Dear Chronicle folks,
Are we supposed to be keepin' all of Austin weird, or is it only South Austin?
I'm confused about this, y'all.
Lonesome Greg Lowry
Questions Dubious Abortion/Suicide Link
Hello again, Editors,
Alanda Ledbetter's letter claiming an increased risk of suicide among women who have had abortions should be viewed with much skepticism ["Postmarks," Dec. 26]. I myself Googled the subject and found that the only articles online alleging a causal link between abortion and suicide were from "pro-life" and fundamentalist Christian Web sites, many of which also promoted the refuted claim of a link between abortions and breast cancer. I had no success finding anything resembling an unbiased scientific article from a neutral source, such as a peer-reviewed medical or psychological journal, to back up the claim.
Even if a woman were more likely to commit suicide after having an abortion, the causes could be -- and most likely are -- multifaceted. Guilt over an unwanted pregnancy in the first place, becoming a social pariah among her family, friends, and (especially) church, being made to feel a worthless sinner. "You're not my daughter!" Etc., etc. The abortion could be but one ingredient in a vile stew of guilt that ultimately drives a woman to take her own life. Then again, loads of women have abortions and don't kill themselves. So to draw a causal link between abortion and suicide is just an example of the post hoc fallacy, no more sensible than claiming that being Catholic makes you a pedophile.
Comprehensive sex education warning young people of the health consequences of sexual activity is a far more effective way to reduce unwanted pregnancies and abortions than cheap scare tactics.
Music Writer Wrong on Atmosphere
Did you actually compare Atmosphere to Black Sabbath and that hard rock bullshit to them ["Southern Rock Opera," Music, March, 22, 2002]? I'm from Minnesota and feel totally honored to know I'm from the same area as a group as progressive as Atmosphere. Give it another listen and think about it.
Where Was 'Texas Trilogy'?
Congratulations to Margaret Moser and Greg Beets for an informative article on the breadth and depth of Texas music ["The Top Texas 40," Music, Nov. 28]. I daresay, however, that had you included any of the cited musicians and songwriters in your chorus, Steven Fromholz's "Texas Trilogy" surely would have ranked high on the list.
Mr. Smarty Pants Wrong on Dallas Texans
Your assertion that Lamar Hunt's Dallas Texans, which went on to become the Kansas City Chiefs, were the original team named the Texans is wrong ["Mr. Smarty Pants," Dec. 5]. They were the second team in Dallas to use that name.
The first Dallas Texans were an NFL franchise in 1953, originally the New York Giants, and subsequently after the financial failure in Dallas were sold to become the Baltimore Colts, now relocated to Indianapolis.
The 1953 Dallas Texans were owned by my late father, Giles Miller, and a group of other Dallas businessmen that included Curtis Sanford, who built the Cotton Bowl. They lost money on the football team because revenue that year derived entirely from ticket sales. The very next year, broadcast TV rights earned each team more than a million dollars. They were just a little ahead of their time.
Mr. Pants, I depend on your accuracy. Simple fact-checking would have revealed the information I have just related to you. Attention to detail, please, sir.
APD Must Be Held Accountable
The shooting of Jessie Owens by Officer Glasgow was one of many such incidents of excessive use of force by Austin police officers directed at blacks and Latinos. This behavior will only exacerbate existing tensions between law enforcement and people of color.
The City Council and the mayor must do more to hold APD accountable. To allow this type of behavior to continue sends a clear message to Austin police officers that this type of activity is condoned at the highest levels. Perhaps more significantly, it sends a message to the people of Austin that when it comes to choosing between white police officers and black or Latino citizens, the city stands with police officers -- whether or not they obey the laws they are sworn to uphold.
Police officers have a difficult and important job, one that will only become more difficult when people believe that police do not serve the interests of the community.
Imperial War Machine Rolls On
Imperial War Machine called breakthrough of the ages, said to break laws of physics and Geneva Convention. Here's how a science reporter explains the mechanism:
1) Create a new generation of weapons, paid for with taxes (weapons absolutely unneeded by taxpayers or anyone else).
2) Use abroad, in response to invented or staged provocation (exploitable resources preferred, simple chaos OK).
3) Weapons-buying frenzy ensues, due to "justifiable" fears. (Nations line up like for Sno-Kones in August, but hysterical.)
4) A weapons client attacks a weaker neighbor, guaranteed (is that the CIA whispering in the attacker's ear? Shock).
5) Sell weapons to both sides, to be fair and balanced (the least we can do, besides, location, location, location).
6) When a weapons client acts like an independent nation, uh-oh (may I introduce the next patsy, er, I mean Hitler).
7) Attack with the next generation of weapons, so shiny and new. (Did you think your taxes go to entitlements?)
8) Start over, add oil and nuts, stir hard, set pressure cooker (Note to self: Write memo on need for solar space wars).
9) The Imperial War Machine illustrates a common-sense definition of political insanity, as does supporting Caesars who start wars. Throw a wrench in it. Stop it in its tracks. Our nation can be better and smarter than that. Be cog-nizant!
Padre Island National Park Needs to Be Protected
Most people think that national parks should be reserved for recreation, preservation of natural areas for future generations, and habitat for native species. Right under our noses, Padre Island National Seashore is currently under attack from oil and gas drilling.
Padre Island National Seashore is one of the most visited recreation areas in Texas. It is the longest unbroken barrier beach in the U.S., and the longest undeveloped barrier beach in the world. The park is home to 17 endangered or threatened species, including five kinds of sea turtles. It is one of only two major nesting sites for the Kemp ridley sea turtle, the most critically endangered sea turtle in the world.
In 2003, the National Park Service granted BNP Petroleum permits to drill inside the park. Heavy trucks roll down the beaches and puncture the dunes, setting up ugly drilling rigs that could irreparably harm the park in the event of a spill. The Kemp ridley sea turtles may not survive this assault on their nesting grounds. Vacationers looking for peace and quiet will instead hear the rumble of trucks and see the blighted terrain.
BNP Petroleum estimates that approximately 20 wells will be drilled on the seashore over the next 30 years, doing irreparable damage.
Only a federal buyout of the mineral rights at Padre Island will prevent the continuation of this assault on our park.
You Should Have Picked Us!
I was surprised and dismayed to see the Foggy Mountain Cop Killin' Boyz's 2003 release, Horse Drugs and Texas Know-How (Roadhelmet Records), omitted from your best of Texas list. Because the FMCKB does not hang out at the Hole in the Wall with certain myopic music writers or cry rainbow-colored tears over the closing of the Armadillo, it's not surprising that they have never been mentioned in your paper. They're too busy shooting seagulls and snorting Oxycontin aboard the Sultan of Brunei's yacht when not rocking the tits off every nubile coed west of the international date line.
Horse Drugs and Texas Know-How has been a critical and commercial success and set the bar high in the turbo gangster-country genre. These Texans (and Mexicans) have resurrected the true outlaw soul of country and unleashed it as a rock anthem guaranteed to elicit envy in men, lust in women, and a collective raised middle finger to the mediocrity and banality so prevalent in today's musical landscape. In short, they have rodgered the ear hole of a generation.
Your re-education begins here and now at www.fmckb.com. Believe what you see instead of seeing what you believe.
Rantings and Ravings
I've had about enough of these old fossilized religious relics' rantings and ravings. They've started every war, from the last one to the very first. They babble about the rights of unborn amoebas while at the same time their priests are out with little boys. They believe Moses filled a boat full of critters and then slammed into Mount Ararat. If it weren't for these pre-dinosauric thinkers we might be able to drink beer in our own parks. If cleanliness is next to godliness they need to take a huge bath and leave the rest of us alone.
It's Time for Political War
The plutocrats now running our country believe that society is nothing more than commerce and individuals are nothing more than consumers. They have made a Machiavellian alliance with the snake-oil Christians, who rave about rules and ignore the spirit of religion. Together, they are transforming a nation born of the Enlightenment into a corrupt, cabal-run instrument of naked aggression.
When Bush began his term, it was easy to talk about his poor communication skills. This is no longer the pertinent issue -- national security, fiscal soundness, corporate accountability, and democracy are. Satire will not protect us from the radical Islamic terrorists who have proliferated since the Iraqi invasion. Caricatures will not prevent our children's tax dollars from being consumed by interest on the national debt. Jokes will not protect our liberties and our environment from the attacks of amoral corporate behemoths.
No more jokes -- it is time for political war. Do your homework, speak out with clarity, and above all, contribute money to the party and candidate you believe can bring reason and accountability back to government -- in all branches and at all levels.
Defending Spanish Language Option
Most Chronicle readers take the Spanish language for granted. We border Mexico, we have one of the largest Hispanic populations in the world, and many of us use Spanish as our primary language. Consequently, it isn't uncommon for Central Texans to see billboards, signs, and newspapers written in Spanish catering to this demographic.
But for many people in America the use of Spanish is a new phenomenon; U.S. cities are experiencing explosive growth from Mexican immigration. African- and Anglo Americans now suddenly have the option of withdrawing money from their local ATM using one of two languages. Simultaneously they see abandoned strip malls being converted into makeshift boroughs where Spanish is the norm -- an uncomfortable site for many Americans not acculturated to the Latino/Hispanic culture.
Frankly, many people don't want to see Spanish as an option at their local ATM. "Why can't they just learn our language?" is the common phrase given by many of these traditionalists who see the Spanish language as a slight to the established American culture.
Deconstructing this social phenomenon would require an incredible amount of time and effort, so I dare not take a stab at this subject in 300 words or less. However, I would argue with any traditionalist out there who decries the Spanish language as a social digression for America. For you I have one thing to say -- your corporate leaders do not agree with you.
Corporate America has completely embraced the Spanish language. Capitalists work to increase profits, and see the Hispanic market as largely "untapped." A common practice as of late is to digitize customer services; however, profits don't increase with the hiring of bilingual customer service representatives. The outcome? Spanish as an option on ATMs, utility help lines, and McDonald's menu boards. Hispanics may now help themselves to the American dream.