Our readers talk back.
"Chronicle' HypocriticalDear Chronicle,
Seems as if your paper has been putting lots of effort into whistle-blowing and finger-wagging at the supposed wrongdoings of AMD and its CEO ["Back to the Trenches," News, Dec. 16].
But I have happened to notice that every week you run a quarter-page ad from Laboratory Computers, who, despite selling Intel systems, mainly promotes AMD products. The ad is a real eye-catcher for every red-blooded male in Austin who reads your publication. There is always some computer vixen in a very tight, short lab smock suggestively displaying computers and other hardware. This ad only mentions AMD computers that have really cool names like the Genius, the Monster, and creatures, oh my.
This to me seems like a direct conflict of interest with your principles and stance. But then again, they are a paying advertiser. Utilizing this sort of logic I guess a dog turd wouldn't taste half bad to the editor of the Chronicle as long as it was wrapped up nicely in a couple of $100 bills. Bon appétit Louis.
Frank Ross Anderson Jr.[Louis Black replies: The Chronicle has a long-standing policy that there is a solid wall separating editorial from advertising. Buying or not buying ads does not influence editorial decisions at all. We are not fooling ourselves and certainly not trying to fool our readers; what we do to stay in business is sell advertising. Regardless of the Chronicle's stated position in editorial, and within reason and the law, we'll sell an ad to whomever or whatever. It is very rare and only after the most careful consideration that we turn any ad down. This is almost never an easy decision to make. But whereas we wouldn't even consider making our staff follow editorial's lead, we certainly don't expect our readers are in anything resembling lockstep, so we certainly wouldn't put such a stricture on advertisers. When it comes to vixens and turds, it's always a pleasure to hear from someone reasonable.]
Finish Building the BikewayDear Chronicle,
A while back, Mayor Wynn asked the citizens of Austin for suggestions on how to honor Lance Armstrong for his incredible seven wins in the Tour de France. I would like to make the obvious suggestion: Finish building the Lance Armstrong Bikeway!
Construction of the bikeway began years ago when "they" put in curb cuts and a sidewalk connecting Fourth Street under I-35 for cyclists; however, "they" left a dangerous situation. Every time I cross there, I worry as I dart across the busy access road that I'll crash in front of a speeding motorist after getting my bike tire caught in the railroad tracks. Or maybe I won't see a car coming because of the parked cars on the access road. Or maybe I'll fall in one of the many potholes on Fourth Street and break my face.
To properly honor Lance, and to serve the hundreds of folks who use this bike corridor each day, the Fourth Street crossing needs flashing lights to warn motorists of bike/ped traffic, the potholes need to be fixed, parking needs to be eliminated on the access road, and something (what, I don't know) needs to be done about those railroad track traps.
'Page 2' Full of Major ErrorsDear Editor,
Like Louis Black, I also count myself as a Neil Young fan of more than 30 years ["Page Two," Dec. 16]. Unlike Mr. Black, I figured out a long time ago that Stephen Stills is the composer of "For What It's Worth," not Neil Young. Oh, by the way, Neil Young's first solo album is not called "The Loner." It is called Neil Young. The second track is a song named "The Loner"; however, it is not the title track.
Other than being full of major errors, great column.
Clint Morehead[Louis Black responds: Sorry, this was an error of astonishing obliviousness. It never crossed my mind that everyone wouldn't know that "For What It's Worth" was written by Stephen Stills, in the same way I would never think to cite "Imagine" as a John Lennon song or "Like a Rolling Stone" as Dylan's. The way my original was edited made this more difficult to understand, but even my original was obscure.]
Saving Our Heritage?Dear Editor,
This is in regards to the guy who felt it necessary to save our heritage by saving English ["Postmarks Online," Dec. 7]. First of all, our heritage is a combination of immigrants coming to America, forming a "melting pot" and our American English was born. There is nothing unique about it except for the fact we stole it from the English and changed it up as we saw fit. Secondly, did you know that Hispanics will be the majority in the country by 2050? Start taking your Spanish lessons now. I promise a little Spanish won't hurt our heritage.
Your disgruntled Hispanic,
Moser a TreasureDear Editor,
Just finished reading Margaret Moser's excellent review of the Rhino boxed set Girl Group Sounds ["I'd Much Rather Be With the Girls," Music, Dec. 9]. What a treasure this lady is. Please don't ever let her slip away from the Chronicle.
Kirby F. Warnock
Integration Rather Than CondemnationDear Editor,
Re: Austin City Council Minutemen resolution: If the council feels compelled to weigh in on this issue that does not directly involve the city, why not revise the wording of the resolution below to express the council's opposition to the harassment of illegal immigrants by any individual or group? The current wording requires that any Minutemen activity (even peaceful protests that do not involve any contact with immigrants) be reported to the city manager. That sounds a lot like the monitoring of communists under McCarthy.
I support an earned citizenship program to streamline immigration and confer citizenship on immigrants who hold a steady job and do not otherwise violate the law, particularly those who take steps like attempting to learn English and civics. At the same time, we should deport illegal immigrants who commit crimes. However, the majority of immigrants are here to work, so we need to focus on integrating immigrants so they become Americans, not just workers.
In Germany, you are not considered German if you are not German by ancestry the genius of America is being American is a state of mind, not an ethnicity. Plus, integration certainly does not mean losing your native culture, but rather contributing its richness to the American tapestry. Continuing our historic integrationist approach that is quite unique among even Western nations will enable us to avoid the problems Europe is now experiencing.
I also believe the law permits people living on the border and elsewhere to use reasonable force to protect their property from intruders regardless of their citizenship status. I think we can all agree that illegal immigrants should not be subjected to the use of force or the threat of the use of force that is not authorized by law or goes beyond that authorized by law. Why not focus the resolution on that rather than on a specific group that engages in a wide range of activities, many of which are probably protected by the First Amendment? Better yet, why not go beyond this narrow issue and examine what the city can do to promote integration.
Marc Levin, Esq.
Not Too GraphicDear Editor,
I attended a matinee screening of Brokeback Mountain on its first day of major release. I noted that Marjorie Baumgarten awarded it four stars, and I'm going to agree with that rating [Film Listings, Dec. 16]. Instead of the cinematic/genre comparisons she makes, I would simply invoke Larry McMurtry's Lonesome Dove in terms of great characters and story.
Since Travis County has the distinction of having had the broad-mindedness to vote against the anti-gay marriage amendment being added to the state constitution, I would inform potential viewers that this movie should be an enjoyable affirmation of that viewpoint.
As there have been Chronicle readers who have occasionally been offended by movies recommended herein, I would also present this precaution. As noted in your review, there is a scene in which their tent rocks; the sex is not too graphic and does not involve nudity. There is perhaps one scene in which the lovers kiss. The rest of their affection takes the shape of embraces and fistfights. The minor nudity contained in the movie is not full-frontal, and never in the context of a "love scene."
Your reviewer writes the film moved her heart, and I'll admit I teared up and sniffled some during the conclusion, like a little girl.
It is certainly worth the price of admission and the time.
Here I will nominate my choice for the Academy Awards best movie of 2005, however: March of the Penguins.
Kenney C. Kennedy
13th Floor Elevator Fanatic!Dear Editor,
Here in Eugene, Ore., Texas bands of the Sixties are held in the highest esteem, and no band out of the vast truthful reservoir of Texas Sixties bands is lauded more than the 13th Floor Elevators. I've made sure the Elevators are played at the very least twice per two-hour program on KWVA 88.1FM Eugene, Ore., where I work. I can make sure of this because I play whatever I want and always play plenty of recordings by the Chessmen, the Briks, the Penthouse 5, and the Exotics, all from Dallas; Zachary Thaks Liberty Bell from Corpus; the Outcasts and Stoics from San Antonio; and Neal Ford and the Ramadas from Houston.
Even with that heavy competition the Elevators not only get more airplay, they sound even greater and more powerful to me every time always. The history, the mystique, the feeling of Stacy Sutherland's super-charged steam-drill opening attack on the fast version of "Tried to Hide" has a complete thrillness to it all its own that I'm sure Elevator fans have no problem connecting with. Or the very first time I heard "Slip Inside This House" 20 years ago. At the very end of the song after Roky stops, Stacy starts this really smooth Jimmy Reed riff only sped up and so just leaped out at me and still does that I realized that's the only ending that could ever be heavy enough for the most amazing hypnotic intensity flow eight-minute song in music history, let alone Elevator folklore. It was then I realized only Stacy could do this almost impossible job, that is lead guitar for the 13th Floor Elevators. God bless you, Stacy.
Bobby Seale RiotsDear Editor,
Louis sure brought back some memories to me, although mine were the Bobby Seale riots in New Haven ["Page Two," Dec. 16]. I was maybe 14 or 15 and my dad and his doctor friend brought me along to what was supposed to be a peaceful event, although they were prepared to help on the medical side. It was cool, with live bands in all the quads, a few right reverends speaking, everyone happy. Nothing happened until some rowdy guys started throwing fluorescent light tubes like javelins at the riot cops. Then we all got gassed.
I learned a lot that night. Thanks for the memories, man. I liked what you wrote there.
South Padre Island
Don't Bell That CatDear Editor,
Regarding the article "The Bloodthirsty Killers of Circle C" [News, Dec. 9], I think that Rachel Proctor May is a very talented writer, and I appreciate her well-balanced article about the free-roaming cat problem in Austin and my quest to educate folks on it. My only comment to the Chronicle is their choice of the letter to the editor that someone chose to publish in the printed edition.
One writer suggests that it easier to "bell" a cat, which is the biggest misconception ["Postmarks," Dec. 16].
Putting bells on cats doesn't work. Cats stalk slowly and often wait in ambush to catch their prey. There is no time for the bird to escape when it hears the bell, if it hears the bell. Birds and other wildlife do not associate bells with being stalked.
The other was the Ph.D. who wrote a powerful letter, which was educational ["Postmarks Online," Dec. 12] ... instead of publishing that, oh well I've got a lot of work ahead of me I can tell. Now I hope the Chronicle publishes this letter so people don't start thinking belling a cat works as a way to warn wildlife of danger!
Christian PersecutionDear Chronicle,
If there is to be no religion or spiritual practices in public schools, why are some teachers being permitted to teach children, including kindergartners, yoga and meditation techniques such as the lotus/chi position, and even chanting "om"? Surely if Christian symbols and prayer have no place in the schools, then neither do these Eastern and new age practices. Parents need to know just what is going on their children's classrooms here in Austin.
Spin, Spin, Spin!Dear Editor,
Today, as the U.S. Senate, that bastion of the gullible and the culpable, votes to extend the USA PATRIOT Act, I'm thinking about spin. The right wing has gotten so adept at Orwellian naming schemes, I think maybe it's time some of the rest of us got into the act.
After all, lots of people seem to believe that the PATRIOT Act is about being anti-terrorist, which is defined as patriotic. In actuality, of course, it's about denial of constitutional rights, which is very unpatriotic.
Then there's the Clear Skies Initiative, which everyone should understand is designed to gut the Clean Air Act.
So, I've come up with an idea for a comprehensive national sex education course, to be taught in every high school in the country. I'm calling it "Pro-Creationism."
Hey, if the "fundies" are dumb enough to swallow the PATRIOT Act.
Great Film Festival!Dear Editor,
I just wanted to say that I read the article on the film festival over at Reagan High School and I viewed all of the films ["Reagan Film Fest," News, Nov. 25]. The kids worked really hard on them. I really liked "Trapped in the Closet." It was really cute and very funny. But my favorite of course is my daughter's, Miss Tazea I. Dukes. Thank you for everything that you did for those kids, especially my baby.
A proud parent
Make the Holidays HappyDear Editor,
Last year for New Year's Eve, I was sitting in my home by myself, dispassionately reading a book I'd already read, and drinking sparkling apple cider. After midnight passed, I looked around and said, "No matter what it is next year, I want to be doing something different." This is a message for people who, like me last year, thought that the holidays are for couples and families: make up your mind to do something different. Volunteer. Join a networking group. Throw your own holiday shindig. Whatever you do, don't spend the time thinking about what you don't have at the moment. Get out of your head, and into your life, and have as busy a holiday season as you want. Trust me, it's worth it. Happy Holidays!