Our readers talk back.
Since reading your recent article giving us a look at KUT's financial doings ["KUT by the Numbers," News, Jan. 20], I've been wondering how the powers that be over there were feeling about the Chronicle. But after hearing today's Texas Music Matters installment South by ... the Numbers, I think I got my answer. I especially enjoyed the bit wondering just how much the big three at SXSW (Messrs. Black, Barbaro, and Swenson) might be possibly making. Complete with dollar figures pulled from ... well, somewhere. Sounds like you've guys have gotten mighty rich though.
But then, it's fixing to be fundraising time over there. Maybe they're just putting in a plug early, hoping for a bigger pledge this year from all that loot.
Jim Vest[News Editor Michael King responds: The letter refers to a Jan. 20 Chronicle story by Kevin Brass ["KUT by the Numbers," News] to which the KUT Texas Music Matters story by David Brown headlined "SXSW by the Numbers" implicitly but not directly responded. For the record, David Brown's report on SXSW was based on financial speculations about SXSW he himself described as "not real numbers," while the Chronicle feature on KUT was a detailed account of the station's very real finances those of a public institution licensed to a taxpayer-supported university using the public airwaves to ask the public to send in money.]
Guilt by Association Not "Name-Calling'Dear Editor,
Your coverage of the Open Government Online and SOS city charter amendments accuses SOS Alliance of calling Daryl Slusher "the new Karl Rove" ["How to Read a Charter Amendment," News, March 17]. Rather than engaging in name-calling, SOS Alliance merely called attention to the fact that many of Daryl's current attacks on the charter-amendment initiatives (distributed widely by the anti-amendments PAC) are identical to the baseless attacks made by Karl Rove's PAC in 1992 against the SOS Ordinance initiative:
Daryl's criticism of the charter amendments: Many of the problems ... could be corrected in a traditional public/deliberative process that features public discussion [and] debate. ... Instead ... voters must vote up or down on the wording devised by a very small group of people in a private process ... please read the entire text of these amendments before voting.
Rove PAC's criticism of SOS Ordinance: Perhaps if the "SOS" Proposal had been subject to public hearings, like other laws, it would make more sense. But the authors have handed us a take-it or leave-it law that was drafted behind closed doors without legal or scientific review. Better read the fine print before you vote.
Daryl in 2006: taxpayers would have to fund implementation of the ordinance [sic], an estimated $36 million for the Open Government amendment alone.
Rove PAC in 1992: [SOS Ordinance] is a costly mistake [; a] Study shows that AISD will be hit hard with a reduction of $724 million in the tax base.
Daryl in 2006: The amendments are sloppily and carelessly written [resulting in] numerous unintended consequences and lawsuits over interpretation of the amendments.
Rove PAC in 1992: The many flaws in this ordinance will result in an explosion of lawsuits.
For more detailed discussion of the charter amendments see www.cleanwater-cleangovern ment.org.
SOS Alliance[News Editor Michael King responds: In other words, rather than respond to Daryl Slusher's arguments directly on their merits, SOS prefers to juxtapose them to comments made by a PAC "that worked with" Karl Rove in 1992; then Brad Rockwell uses the Chronicle's "Postmarks" column to repeat the process. But that wouldn't be name-calling, because SOS doesn't engage in name-calling, and as Richard Nixon said in 1971, "That would be wrong."]
Air America Is the CureDear Editor,
While Democrats cower in fear that Karl Rove will wage another war to steal the 2006 election, Air America alone broacasts truth to power on a national scale ["Skies Partly Cloudy," News, March 17]. Its anger is mitigated by smartness: I previously read six to eight political journals ranging from Weekly Standard to the Nation now they are old news with Air America having crunched the information six ways before Sunday.
None of the coverage of Air America dares to speak the most essential truth in the way the only Air America can: The U.S. has been taken over by a right-wing political coup orchestrated by AM radio agitprop lies. Air America is not a left version of same it is the cure, provides the truth and stands alone as the last chance hope to save this country.
Los Angeles, Calif.
KOKE and Air AmericaDear Editor,
I enjoyed your article on Air America ["Skies Partly Cloudy," News, March 17]. I consider Air America the most valuable network on the radio. I only wish there was a TV news network similar to it.
I am annoyed that the local station KOKE is turning down its transmitter power from 5,000 watts in the day, to 700 watts in the evening. I found this out by talking to a representative from Air America in New York. The station becomes unlistenable. A while back the power was up and running day and night. The power is being cut during the Air America show I enjoy the most, The Randi Rhodes Show.
Air America Has More ListenersDear Editor,
There are a lot more Air America listeners in Central Texas than KOKE knows about or Arbitron can measure because we do not listen to the network over the radio ["Skies Partly Cloudy," News, March 17]. We stream the network live over the Internet from AirAmerica.com or from other stations' Web sites. I live in Austin, but I stream the network from 960AM the Quake in San Francisco.
If there is a perceived lack of audience in Central Texas, it is not at all the fault of Air America and completely the fault of KOKE. I have always believed that station management was either incompetent or foolish or both for not having a streaming Web site in one of the most tech-savvy regions of the country. Your story of technical travails even student-run college and high school stations don't have give great weight to "incompetent."
Remembering Jerry LynnDear Editor,
I just read your article about Jerry Lynn Williams ["The Lone Ranger," Music, Jan. 27]. What a sad time this is for all of us. I knew him very well. Jerry lived on a farm south of Crowley, Texas. I was a drummer, and I would get a bass player, and we would go out to his farm and just play for hours and hours. The only thing we bothered were the cows on his place. I had a great time. I have got numerous hours of our jam sessions on reel to reel tape. I have got to find a reel to reel player and transfer the music we recorded onto CDs. Anyway, I thank you for the great write-up about Jerry. I played drums for Johnny Nitzinger for a few years. I am not sure if you know who he is. Thank you for this article and good luck to you.
The Statue of Liberty Is GoneDear Editor,
The Statue of Liberty is gone.
On the 2400 block of East Martin Luther King, there is a slightly eccentric but well-tended 1960s-modernist house. For as long as I've been in Austin the house has had a small memorial garden facing the street with an eight-foot-tall Statue of Liberty. Now the garden and statue are gone, and minor construction on the house is in progress.
I have no idea who the statue's owner was or why he erected it. And I certainly don't know what he intended it to mean. But I know what it meant to me and I'll miss it. I thought its passing should be noted.
David B. Miller
Shocking: Kinky OffensiveDear Editor,
Kinky Friedman's quote below is extremely offensive and racist. He should immediately apologize. I bet he would be quick to complain about a Semitic slur!
Alcohol may be his source of spirituality but certainly not ours!
"Guinness is the drink that kept the Irish from taking over the world. It would be unthinkable not to have a Guinness during a St. Patrick's Day parade. In fact, it would be spiritually wrong," Friedman said in a statement issued by spokeswoman Laura Stromberg ["Quote of the Week," News, March 17].
White Plains, N.Y.
Bless Ana SisnettDear Editor,
Kate Messer's tribute and appeal to support Ana Sisnett's fight against ovarian cancer reminded me once again of why I love Austin so much ["Ana Sisnett," Screens, March 10]! We don't let our friends and our volunteers and our loved ones be forgotten so easily in Austin. I may be away in Kenya since 2004, but reading this little call to action invoked such solidarity and love that I had to say thank you. Thank you also to Ana Sisnett for years of tireless community building work in our midst. Be sure Austin will continue to celebrate you.
Comic Creator ConfusionDear Editor,
From all the comic aficionados, please remind Marc Savlov that Frank Miller is the one who wrote and drew The Dark Knight Returns, not Alan Moore. Perhaps Savlov was thinking of Batman: The Killing Joke. I think Savlov had been reading this article (www.alanmoorefansite.com/bio.html) and confused this sentence: "In 1986, while DC Comics was reconstructing their comic's universe, Moore quietly came out with Watchmen. Watchmen, in conjunction with Frank Miller's Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, redefined the comics book medium, and changed the tone of comics to this very day." However, as I stated, Moore had nothing to do with The Dark Knight Returns. I love Marc's reviews, and hopefully this will lead him to read all three books mentioned as they're all great works in comics.
Ceramic CutsDear Editor,
The Dougherty Arts Center recently lost a kiln. To make matters worse, the response to this unfortunate event so far has been to cut several of the ceramics classes offered, including the one I took this winter. The DAC should look at the long-term scope of things and regroup so they can accommodate the students that so enjoy these classes. I hope the DAC reconsiders its current plan and comes to realize the value these classes have to the community.
Tells It Like It IsDear Editor,
Chrissie Hynde's "tell it like it is" words ["Private Life," Music, March 17] induce a flashback to a time when nursing on the milk of convention's bastard child, rock, was as naive as ... Chrissie. Some of us were startled awake by the sound of the starting gun from the nightmare of our own eve of destruction to the dream of changing the world, though not knowing quite what to do.
We faced the hard reality that change begins with self.
While I would dispute her claim "the gay community saved America," she has unwittingly illustrated my point: Public lives change what hypothetical, private lives can't and won't change.
Also, are we to believe her muteness regarding her kids is for the sake of their private lives then segues gushingly in the same breath about someone else's kids?
Truth is some people, just like rock musicians, woulda, coulda, shoulda, but don't affect those changes from the heart they espouse. No, their situation response is no less glib, shallow, and inarticulate than youth: "As if," "whatever" (can you hear them: "Oh my God! That's so __ties") or those shrouded, unchanging private lives who peek out just long enough like dirty old men who shout out something obscene or like ... Chrissie, "go fuck yourself." Hey, it's a lifestyle. A "little secret world" of her own.
Fighting the Good FightDear Editor,
I want to think you for running the article on Carol Sayles and her chickens ["Food-o-File," Food, March 17]. I am in Arkansas and have fewer than 20 goats, a few chickens, a couple of horses, and am handicapped. My SS income does not cover the bills, nor am I allowed food stamps, so taking my meat, milk, and eggs away would be devastating. It would take my independence, my right to live my life, my health, and my good, clean garden mulch. We little guys are fighting this with all our might, and for everyone like you that helps get the word out, it makes it a little easier.
What About Accessibility?Dear Editor,
Where is the info on accessibility for SXSW events? Also, I know it's not the responsibility of The Austin Chronicle, but what's up with all the improvements on Town Lake and so little attention given to making it more wheelchair-friendly? I frequently use the hike and bike trail, but know I do so at my own peril! Next time you're on the trail, make a note of how many people you see in a wheelchair on the trail. Almost zero! Austin is not as liberal a community as it might cumulatively think.
Onward Through the FogDear Editor,
Reading the letter from Jackson Williams ["Postmarks," March 10] about Mark McKinnon and Kris Kristofferson brought back the memory of losing my own "best" friend because of politics. Williams inquired why the Chronicle, during an interview with Kristofferson, didn't ask about McKinnon; the implicit suggestion being that such a question would expose some sort of rift given that their political views diverged over the years.
Texas Monthly Editor Evan Smith, however, did ask Kristofferson directly about McKinnon during a recent interview on his show, Texas Monthly Talks. Kristofferson fondly recalled trying to help McKinnon out in the early Seventies by recording him and his band, but said being on the road all the time didn't allow him time to follow through, and "the people back in Nashville weren't working it." Kristofferson went on to say that he was sorry that he couldn't have helped McKinnon more because he thought he had a lot of talent. Evan suggested that when they ran into each other during SXSW they probably wouldn't talk politics. Kristofferson's response was, "I hope we don't."
Kristofferson and McKinnon were seen at the Austin Film Festival Awards hamming it up on the red carpet, including a moment when Kristofferson grabbed McKinnon, put his arm around him, and turned to the cameras laughing, "Red state and blue state!"
So, that warms my heart and reaffirms that indeed friends can stay friends through their lives even though they have different political beliefs. Kristofferson and McKinnon proved that they are among the few these days who are above partisan bickering and will continue "onward through the fog" as pals.
Not a LemmingDear Editor,
I have been watching with amusement the story on the Saddam trial. It seems he is being accused of ordering the assassinations of 152 people who disagreed with his policies. Excuse me, but isn't that about the same number of people Janet Reno had executed in Waco? I know it's only maybe two more than George Bush ordered executed while he was governor of Texas. Is that really the best we could do?
Seems like a waste of $400 billion or $500 billion. When are all you lemmings going to wake up?
Doesn't Like Rick PerryDear Editor,
Gov. Rick Perry has a dream.
Far from being like the humanitarian dream of Martin Luther King, Perry's dream is the creation of the Trans-Texas (Toll) Corridor, which he hopes will span from Canada down through the United States, Mexico, and Central and South Americas. Perry has his "lieutenants" Speaker Tom Craddick, Rep. Mike Krusee, and others, including TxDOT pressuring Texas counties and cities to jump on the toll-road bandwagon.
Does Perry care how it will affect Texas families? Of course not. When has the governor ever cared about hardworking Texans and their families? The double taxation of Texas roadways may be a dream to the governor, but for most Texans it is an infinite tax nightmare for our future generations.
During the past five years since Perry assumed the position of almighty governor, Texas families have had nothing but cobwebs in their pocketbooks and wallets.
The quality of life for most Texas families has plummeted considerably. The truth is that under Rick "special interest" Perry's five-year reign as governor more Texans have lost jobs, Texas has the highest rate of home foreclosures ever, state government has shirked its constitutional responsibility to finance public education, deregulating tuition costs of higher education caused two recent increases, home insurance premiums doubled overnight, property taxes skyrocketed as high as 400% all in all, Perry's reign has been a dismal and oppressive reality for most Texans and their families.
Perry wasted more millions of tax dollars on regular and special legislative sessions than any previous governor.
If voters want to bend down and kiss their sweet tax dollars goodbye, then re-elect "Tricky Ricky."
Texas families deserve a better governor than Rick Perry.
Air America and KOKEDear Editor,
Re: Air America ["Skies Partly Cloudy," News, March 17]: Nice article, but to say that the signal was occasionally poor and there was sometimes dead air is a big understatement. It would be more correct to say that they have done a "heck of a job" at KOKE over the past year. This is probably too strong a criticism. I am sure they have done the best they could have, given budget constraints, but it is amazing that the station survived all of this neglect.
The good thing is, about a month ago, they finally fixed the transmitter problems, most of the time-sync problems, and the dead air. As a result, the local ads are coming back. I am optimistic about the next year.
I am very disturbed by some recent programing changes. I understand they need to make a buck, but I am afraid they are ejecting too many shows, especially on the weekends. I think they would be better off reducing the reruns and play more once-a-week shows for variety.
I have been a loyal listener for the past year, but I must say that I will be listening to something else more on the weekends. The get-rich-quick schemes, car show, and bargain-hunter show are not my thing.