FEEDBACK
Letters are posted as we receive them during the week, and before they are printed in the paper, so check back frequently to see new letters. If you'd like to send a letter to the editor, use this postmarks submission form, or email your letter directly to mail@austinchronicle.com. Thanks for your patience.
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Why Doesn't Texas Care About Child Support?

RECEIVED Wed., Oct. 1, 2003

To the editor of Austin paper,
   I was once told that if you didn't want to pay child support, move to the state of Texas, because they don't push it there, and I sure do believe it. I live in Arkansas, and they have been trying to get support from my ex, but Texas doesn't push and always has an excuse for not getting ahold of him. Well, come on, he is self-employed, and I have sent his card and everything but still no help from them. After 11 years, I hope this letter will do something. Will someone give me something to go on? Please.
Anonymous

'No Trespassing' at Turkey Bowl

RECEIVED Wed., Oct. 1, 2003

Dear Editor,
   There is a drainage ditch in Circle C subdivision. It's near a park with a hike-and-bike trail and a disk-golf course, 100 yards from any road, and at least a quarter-mile from any home. It's been a known spot for skateboarders for 15 years. Over time, the entire ditch has been constantly swept clean of all debris, helping the skateboarders and helping the ditch drain water. Thirty people a week make their way out to the Turkey Bowl and yet there is no trash problem. There are rules that are followed by everyone that enjoys the Turkey Bowl. No drugs, pack out what you pack in, no ramps or anything else that would hurt the flow of the ditch, no graffiti, and don't do anything to ruin the spot.
   Recently, "No Trespassing" signs were posted. Since then, many children and adults have been given stern warnings by the police and informed that arrests would be made. I was hoping that you may be able to help out before any taxpaying citizens or local children are arrested for doing something that hurts no one and affects nothing.
   There are many publicly funded tennis courts and baseball fields that sit empty 200 days a year and need regular maintenance, yet I am going to be arrested for practicing my sport in an old drainage ditch, in the middle of nowhere, and it's maintained by the people who use it. The first thing anyone does when they get to the Turkey Bowl is sweep it out; how is that hindering the ditch and its original purpose?
   There are many stories and photos of this ditch. It has a lot of history and won't be given up without a fight.
Skateboarding is not a crime,
Aaron Arguien

Rethink Iraq

RECEIVED Wed., Oct. 1, 2003

Dear Editor:
   We need a fresh start in Iraq. As it is, we are stuck and going nowhere but down.
   President Bush should fire Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, which would be a fine acknowledgement of the administration's failed Iraq policy.
   Then the president could go to the United Nations, admit our mistakes in Iraq, and ask the Security Council to take over our role as leader in rebuilding Iraq.
   If the president refuses to do this on his own, Congress should withhold continued funding of the Iraq war until the administration promises, at a minimum, to turn over leadership of the Iraq reconstruction effort to the United Nations.
Sincerely,
Ms. Lisa Short

Laws of Texas Inaccessible

RECEIVED Wed., Oct. 1, 2003

I recently became aware that there currently is no publicly available source to be able to read the current laws of Texas.
   The "Texas Legislature Online" Web site at www.capitol.state.tx.us/statutes/statutes.html states, "Changes enacted by the 78th Legislature are not expected to be received from the West Group until June 2004, after which this site will be updated. Until then the Index to Sections Affected can be used to identify these changes."
   Can lawmakers expect Texans to understand and follow the law when there isn't an accurate copy available for approximately one year out of every two? It's ludicrous that in today's high tech world, Texas will not have an accurate version of its laws available online until sometime after June 2004.
   However, the more serious problem is the potentially dangerous trap Texas sets for the unwary. It would be very easy for a visitor to the "Texas Legislature Online" Web site to miss the fact that they are reading "old" laws. New laws have been added, other laws have been deleted, and many laws have been modified. Yet, only a single unobtrusive sentence gives any notice. At the very least, the Web site should include prominent warnings at every location where a change to the law has taken place.
Sincerely,
Tim Colvin
Attorney at Law

Though Appreciated, 'Chronicle' Hard to Read

RECEIVED Wed., Oct. 1, 2003

Editor,
   As a librarian and educator, I seek intelligence wherever it may occur. Your thoughtful response to the TV report about "Keep Austin Weird" on KLRU's Austin Now, which interviewed very common folk on the said (and inane) theme, calls for an acknowledgement to you. You win! When you say that it's not important to remain the same, it is important to be ___, and you went on to give the best statements of the report! I'm a regular reader of the Chronicle and love it (personals are "outside the box," but I guess that's the mass appeal every publication needs, to some degree)! Please, please consider printing a little darker and a little larger type font.
Thanks!
Mary Lou Dye

Westlake Farmers Market Best

RECEIVED Tue., Sept. 30, 2003

How did you ever come to the conclusion that the Downtown farmers' market is the best alternative to grocery shopping ["Best of Austin," Sept. 26]? How many area farmers' markets did you visit? I went to the Downtown farmers' market in July and was appalled! There was a vendor selling produce out of a very obviously dirty horse trailer. There was very little selection of produce. I left and went to the Westlake Farmers Market where I have shopped many times with great success. I won't be visiting the Downtown farmers' market anytime in the future but will continue to support our local farmers at Westlake. In the future, I suggest you visit all the markets in the area to select a best alternative.
Mary Campbell

Thanks for 'Best of Austin'

RECEIVED Tue., Sept. 30, 2003

Dear Kate and friends,
   Just want to say thanks for the party – we had a great time! Even better than getting a party was to see all the names of mostly local businesses flashing on the screen and thinking about the boost they were each getting from their exposure in your "Best of Austin" issue [Sept. 26] of the Chronicle. The Chronicle is definitely a bright spot for Austin! Thank you.
Regards,
Laurie Evans
The Quilt Store

Was Gray at Same Show I Was?

RECEIVED Tue., Sept. 30, 2003

Um, was your reviewer [Christopher Gray, "TCB," Sept. 26] at the same place I was two Sundays ago? I thought Ween was very combobulated – one of the best acts of the entire festival. And, for the record, the R.E.M. song dedicated to the Cash family is "(Don't Go Back to) Rockdale."
B.W. Kovacevich
   [Assistant News editor and Rockdale, Texas, native Lee Nichols responds: Nope, Christopher Gray had it right – it's "(Don't Go Back to) Rockville." Common mistake around these parts.]

Proofreaders, Wake Up!!

RECEIVED Tue., Sept. 30, 2003

I enjoy reading your publication immensely, especially anything by Kate X Messer.
   However: How could y'all misspell the name of local author Louis Sachar three times in the BOA issue [Sept. 26]? Long before I moved to Austin, I knew Sachar was a national treasure. At the bookstore where I worked, I learned the spelling and pronunciation of his name – I had to, since his books were requested frequently, by kids and adults alike.
   Thanks, and keep up the good work!
Stephanie Bailey

Expose Extreme Political Thought

RECEIVED Tue., Sept. 30, 2003

Thanks for Lee Nichols' column quoting Peggy Venable on behalf of the Texas Citizens Action Network ["We Got Reds in Our Webs!" Sept. 26]. Once again, Ms. Venable and the organizations she represents are shown to be completely out on the fringe of political thought. Unfortunately, as you suggested, Ms. Venable apparently speaks for the majority of our current Republican leadership, making them all the more dangerous. Thanks for exposing them to some light.
Dennis Oakes

'Rivers and Tides' Deserves Review by Artist

RECEIVED Mon., Sept. 29, 2003

Dear Ms. Jones:
   Rivers and Tides was to me a deeply spiritual, creative, and powerfully visual experience. This beautiful film should have been reviewed by an artist rather than a film critic. To limit "art" to what is monumental, "permanent," and residing in a museum is to miss 90% of the beauty in life. Artist Goldsworthy interacts with both his subject and his medium. The process of this event is the art, including the eventual slipping away. Goldsworthy knows that, and probably would be content just to experience it by himself. Fortunately, by photographing it, he allows us to look over his shoulder and to participate and experience vicariously. He has none of the hang-ups about "creating monuments" that plague the art world. He sees his environment with a quietly creative eye, finding and altering beauty and wonder where many less perceptive rush on by.
Sincerely,
Donna Morrow

"Best Of" and Journalistic Ethics?

RECEIVED Mon., Sept. 29, 2003

Alas, it is late September again, time for the annual conceit-a-rama in which dozens of writers whom the Chronicle has designated as critics individually designate some particular concrete stainer, duck vendor, calzone-peddling pizza shop, or sheet-metal fabricator as exemplifying the "Best of Austin" [Sept. 26]. These are always cloaked in the pretext of belonging to a category, one which presumably included at least a few contenders. Any close perusal reveals, of course, that these are actually classes of one, and that the categories are all created after the fact to fit whatever thing the arbiter had already decided, completely on their own, to be uniquely worthy. The Chronicle should at least have the honesty to attach the name of the individual to each of these, and abandon any pretense that they were chosen from something resembling a ballot. The fact that each year you refrain from doing this simply allows anyone in your family of "critics" to anoint anyone, for whatever frivolous purpose, with absolutely no possibility of being held to account.
   Two-dozen pages of ego-stroking disguising itself as critical consensus – a huge waste of space and a flaunting of journalistic ethics.
John Bartholomew
   [Editor's Note] You got us here - Critics Picks are by writers offering the names of businesses, people, places etc. they find notable with categories created afterward. We thought it fairly obvious that with categories like "Cutest Butts on Sixth Street," "Best Orgasmic Sneeze," and "Best Reunion Since Dean Martin Joined Jerry Lewis at the 1978 MDA Telethon," that we didn't start with a category and then sit around arguing possible candidates.

Sheffield's Decision Misguided

RECEIVED Mon., Sept. 29, 2003

To the editor:
   I can't say that giving an award to John Coffey is in the best judgment of the Austin Police Association, especially not at this time. The results of the private investigation have not been released yet. Until they are, we can't really agree that he is truly worthy of the award. John Coffey's nomination for Police Officer of the Year by Mike Sheffield is grossly inappropriate. This move appears to be an attempt to cover up the fact that the investigation has not been released to the public. In the face of Mr. Sheffield's misguided decision, I wonder if the public can continue to trust and respect Austin's law enforcement officers.
Thank you,
Jennifer Kimbrell

'Discovery Institue' Interested in Neither Discovery Nor Science

RECEIVED Mon., Sept. 29, 2003

Dear Chronicle:
    I taught high school biology for the last three years, and testified against the dumbing-down of evolution in Texas textbooks at the Sept. 10 SBOE hearing. Ray Bohlin's recent letter to the Chronicle demonstrates his utter disregard for the scientific community and the scientific method. The "so-called 'practicing scientists and science educators'" Bohlin sneers at in his letter are world-class scientists from Texas universities and colleges, and dedicated professors and high school teachers determined to protect science education from pseudoscientific nonsense. Many of the scientists who testified use evolutionary theory on a daily basis in the lab to make advances in medicine, biotechnology, and ecology. What is "so-called" about them? What is "so-called" about the teachers who work so hard to educate students?
   His attack on Nobel laureate Steven Weinberg is no less disrespectful. Dr. Weinberg's "incredible arrogance" at the hearing was to testify, beautifully, about the nature of science, which is at the heart of this controversy. He never made any mention of Dr. Bohlin's testimony; in fact, I am quite sure that Dr. Weinberg is unaware of Ray Bohlin's existence.
   Scientists have effortlessly debunked Dr. Bohlin's (and the Discovery Institute's) "true scientific testimony" many times over. Dr. Bohlin again shows us the true face of the Discovery Institute with mean-spirited dismissal of practicing scientists' and teachers' hard work, and with a letter that is misleading and petulant. Dr. Bohlin and his Discovery colleagues keep carping about how unfair it is that that their irrelevant and unscientific criticisms of evolution are consistently refuted. Real scientists, of course, have the unfair advantage of lab and field data to back their claims. Discovery "scientists" (who have no lab at all) keep making it up as they go along.
Sincerely,
Amanda Walker

Darnielle Was at SXSW 2003

RECEIVED Mon., Sept. 29, 2003

Dear editor,
   When I read Michael Chamy in the Music Recommended section this week [Sept. 26] saying "John Darnielle makes a scarce Austin appearance after pulling out of SXSW at the last minute," I admit that I was deeply confused.
   Indeed, Mr. Darnielle does not come to Texas very often but I saw him twice at the 2003 SXSW, once at the Ritz as the Mountain Goats, and once at the Hideout as part of the Extra Glenns. Also, I believe that there was a third performance that week at a badges-only event. What on Earth could Mr. Chamy be thinking of? Ghosts of past SXSW disappointments?
   While this may be a small issue, since the rest of the blurb in question is certainly accurate and commendatory, I do think that it's a little unfair to reintroduce Mr. Darnielle to Austin as the kind of guy who pulls out of SXSW rather than as the kind of guy he is: the kind who'll drive all the way here from Iowa for a couple of days of hard work and little remuneration.
Kate Guillemette

Reds Are Everywhere, Probably Even You

RECEIVED Mon., Sept. 29, 2003

In the spirit of Team Franken, I submit the following for your consideration. In the interests of brevity, I removed the URLs, but please check the background! Citizens for a Strong Economy spokesperson Peggy Venable [described] Moveon.org as "an arm of the Communist Party" ["We Got Reds in Our Webs!" Sept. 26]. Their Web site (www.cse.org) now informs "Venable has been targeted by the radical left, those listed on the Communist Party USA Web site, as worthy of an e-mail attack campaign" using "sleezy (sic) name-calling." Ms. Venable claims Moveon members are "idiots" "subverting democracy and free markets."
   I visited the Communist Party Web site, risking the ire of Tom and the Homeland Defenders. The Communists are directing users to Moveon.org as well as similar organizations. Investigation of the causes supported by these subversive, un-American groups suggests a common agenda. This is only the short list:
   AFL/CIO
   AIDS Research Alliance
   ACLU
   American Federation of Teachers
   Gray Panthers
   League of Women Voters
   NAACP
   NOW
   Sierra Club
   Veterans Against the War
Al Brooks

Sour Grapes 'Chronicle's Not Bohls?

RECEIVED Mon., Sept. 29, 2003

As far as I can remember, Kirk Bohls ("Best of Austin" issue, Best Sportswriter [Sept. 26]) never wrote about the "legitimacy" of either of the San Antonio Spurs' titles. I'll bet Kirk knows that there is no such thing as an "illegitimate title" in any sport. Injuries, strikes, suspensions, retirements, etc., are all part of the game. The best team left standing wins in any given year, which for the Spurs means they won the championship in '99 and '03, period. Do I detect sour grapes from a Lakers or Mavs fan hiding on the Chronicle staff?
Ken Whalen

Please Don't Call!

RECEIVED Mon., Sept. 29, 2003

Please, someone help me understand.
   I have asked them not to call. I have begged them not to call. I have told them not to call. I have signed up on a list intended to forbid them to call.
   Why would they want to call?
   The only thing they will accomplish is to further piss me off. I will not buy anything they sell. I will boycott any manufacturer that advertises by unsolicited, unwanted phone calls. They are only wasting their time.
   I am doing them a favor. Don't call me. They will save themselves time. They will avoid being yelled and cursed at.
   Don't call!
   What don't they understand?????
Tom Grimes

Guerra Will Be Missed

RECEIVED Mon., Sept. 29, 2003

Dear editors:
   We were dismayed to hear of the sudden and untimely demise of the Center for Mexican American Studies' publications arm under the direction of the consistently capable, loyal, and dedicated Victor Guerra ["Closing the Books," Sept. 12]. His departure means that CMAS Books will no longer be represented on the national level with national impact: an unfortunate myopic action for the University of Texas' longstanding history in Chicano publications. We are sure many nationally known authors will be disappointed.
   Victor's tenure in the publication field presented more credentials than necessary to steer the reins of one of Professor Emeritus Don Americo Paredes' dreams: a place for Chicano authors to be recognized and published. Don Americo is no doubt bowing his head in dismay at this action. We are sorry his dream has been demolished.
   Budget considerations are always at the heart of a cold cutback rationale, and the bottom line always constitutes grounds for absorption. We are disheartened that fiscal priorities have overridden long-term vision and prudent investment.
   We are disappointed in the CMAS leadership who has demonstrated a non-negotiable confrontational management style, with no opportunity for participatory input. How sad to think that fiefdoms could be built on the dreams of their mentors.
   The only consolation to Victor and Chicano readers throughout America is the form of a "dicho" or saying regularly used by a Oaxacan curandera and Zapotecan leader: "Todo cae por su proprio peso." Translation: Everything succumbs to its own weight. Perhaps the wisdom of justice will eventually prevail.
Mary Margaret Navar and Rose Reyes

Thanks to Venable's PR for Communists

RECEIVED Mon., Sept. 29, 2003

My thanks to Peggy Venable of the Texas Citizens Action Network for bringing to our attention the existence of the Communist Party in the United States ["We Got Reds in Our Webs!" Sept. 26], and also to their Web site. I didn't even know Communists existed in 21st-century America. And to think that I, a member of Moveon.org, wasn't even aware of the link between the two sites!
   I plan to check this important Web site regularly as a source of information to counterbalance the overload of corporate-controlled media outlets. Thanks, Peggy.
Robert Wilks

Keep 'ACL' Down to Earth

RECEIVED Mon., Sept. 29, 2003

I love the ACL Festival. I attended last year, this year, and I will attend next year and for many years to come. However, I beg of the organizers to please stop the banner-flying airplanes and the news-chopper fly-overs. This is not a football game, it's a music festival, a festival for the ears, and to have it interrupted by a constant sputter of airplanes and heli fly-overs completely defeats the purpose of enjoying live music. Thanks for listening and see ya next year!
Bruce Usry

Gray Only Mentioned 30 Acts, Why Not Patty Griffin?

RECEIVED Mon., Sept. 29, 2003

Editor,
   Sept. 26's Christopher Gray article on the recent ACL Fest left me puzzled. There was no mention at all of Patty Griffin, and she performed the most powerful set of music I heard all weekend (with R.E.M. a close second). It was the only time during the three days that I saw the entire audience sit down and actually listen. No side conversations, no cell phone calls to others loudly giving play-by-play, just respectfully quiet, rapt attention to a performer who was simply a knockout. At the very least, Patty deserved a mention, if not a photo. I've never been so moved by an artist, and there were plenty of others around me with tears flowing down their faces. How could the Chronicle not mention such a local star? At least you put a lovely photo of Patty on your Web site – but no words. Perhaps you, too, were simply moved beyond them.
Maria Benning

Get Address Right

RECEIVED Mon., Sept. 29, 2003

Unless there are either a) two different movie theatres with the name "Gateway" in Austin, and b) one of them is in an underground bunker beneath 183, your "Showtimes" section in the Chronicle lists, and I assume has for a long time listed, a completely fantasized address for the "Gateway Theatre." This caused my wife and I to miss a movie and started a rather nasty fight to boot. It is too late to save our marriage. But for the sake of future moviegoers, and future marriages, please change the address to the apparently correct 9700 Stonelake Blvd.
Brian Doherty

Typo Hysteria

RECEIVED Mon., Sept. 29, 2003

hey guys. i rilly like yur pubblication. the bestof ishue [Sept. 26] is great, I expeshully like the choice for best ahther/pohet: Louis Sacher.
   i used to think it was Louis Sachar, and i could have just cheked on the cover of holes, especially since it was suposedly the citys book uv the month or whatever, but why bother with speling when you're riting about literture?
Nize one, guys.
Doug Stuart

Supports Council Resolution Against PATRIOT Act

RECEIVED Fri., Sept. 26, 2003

I joined almost 200 Austinites to attend the city council meeting last night, to discuss the resolution against the PATRIOT Act. Like many others, it was my first City Council meeting. No other issue has inspired such a compelling need for action. I was impressed that only two people there supported the PATRIOT Act. I was disillusioned at the Statesman's biased article today, full of misinformation about the council meeting, the resolution, and the PATRIOT Act itself. I hope the Chronicle will deliver a more informative and unbiased view!
Becky Hays

All Unsuccessful Candidates for Place 5 Deserve Kudos

RECEIVED Fri., Sept. 26, 2003

Thanks for the recognition as one of the four Best Unsuccessful City Council Candidates ["Best of Austin" issue, Sept. 26]. I want to add some kind words for the two Place 5 candidates that you did not mention, however – Jason Pate and Steve Swanson. Jason brought integrity, good humor, and some much-needed divergence of opinion to the campaign. And Steve Swanson was the primary reason that the Place 5 race was such an unexpectedly pleasant experience – Steve's good-hearted nature and honest concern for the well-being of the people of Austin impressed everyone. Maybe that's why you didn't mention them – when you run for office out of principle, and you bring grace and good spirit to what can be a stressful process, it's hard to characterize you as an unsuccessful candidate, even if you don't get elected.
Robert Singleton

Partisan Loyalties

RECEIVED Fri., Sept. 26, 2003

Got to say, "What a fantastic article, Mr. King!" The "Welcome Home" piece ["Capitol Chronicle"] in the Sept. 19 issue. Not! Loved the one-sidedness of it, though. Republicans get "blah, blah, blah," while the Democrats get as much space as possible.
   If the Democrats are so worried about "health insurance for 19,600 children," why did they run away and force the three extra sessions?
   They (Dems) are just as responsible for the fiasco as the Republicans are. Why are they so upset about redistricting anyway? They couldn't win, the majority, with the old map!
Jimmy Beitman

Discovery Institute Disingenuous?

RECEIVED Fri., Sept. 26, 2003

Dear editors:
   Where do creationists' lies stop? That was the thought that ran through my head reading Robert Crowther's bravura letter in "Postmarks" [online version, posted Sept. 24].
   He claims that the Discovery Institute doesn't want to introduce creationism/intelligent design into textbooks and that it doesn't want to exclude or undermine evolution. But this is what Discovery's own "Wedge Strategy" document declares:
   "Governing Goals
   
  • To defeat scientific materialism and its destructive moral, cultural, and political legacies.
       
  • To replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and human beings are created by God. ...
       
       "Five Year Goals
       
  • To see intelligent design theory as an accepted alternative in the sciences and scientific research being done from the perspective of design theory. ...
       
       "Twenty Year Goals
       
  • To see intelligent design theory as the dominant perspective in science. ..."
       
       The entire document can be read here: www.antievolution.org/features/wedge.html.
       
       Creationist hero William Dembski has also written that "any view of the sciences that leaves Christ out of the picture must be seen as fundamentally deficient." And noted distortionist Jonathan Wells has written an article explaining that God basically told him to devote his life to destroying Darwinism, which he then goes on to compare to communism and totalitarianism (www.tinyurl.com/oq2z). And yet Crowther just lies like a rug, saying there's no religious impetus behind the movement.
       Also, Crowther repeats the canard – one that was even circulating when Chuck D. was yet alive (www.tinyurl.com/oq2c) – that scientists everywhere are tripping over themselves to abandon evolution. In fact, assembling bogus lists of scientific "dissenters" from evolution is such a widely derided creationist ploy that the scientific community recently satirized it with the "Project Steve" campaign, about which more can be enjoyed here: www.talkorigins.org/faqs/steve.
       Mr. Crowther, I.D.-ers are free to believe what you want, but for the sake of common decency, can you please just stop lying?
  • Thank you,
    Martin Wagner

    If You Replace the Word 'Wal-Mart' With 'Libertarian' Would Anything Change?

    RECEIVED Fri., Sept. 26, 2003

    I recently attended my South River City Citizens neighborhood association meeting. Wal-Mart hate-speech dominated the meeting, typified by member Mark Nathan's contribution, "I hate Wal-Mart." If everyone had replaced the word "Wal-Mart" with "nigger," perhaps the discourse would have resembled when the first African-American moved into Travis Heights, if any ever have. Though there were a few Wal-Mart lovers like me, the only close debate was whether the group should pretend they were concerned about zoning to resist Wal-Mart, or should they outright admit to simply hating all Wal-Marts.
       I visited the I-35 Stassney Wal-Mart last Friday at 10pm. My rough count inside revealed a work force comprising 28 Hispanics, seven blacks, and two whites. I counted 256 shoppers: 193 Hispanic, 27 black, 34 white, and two Oriental. Anti-Wal-Mart fanatics plead for everyone to boycott Wal-Mart. With the dominating Hispanics refusing to cooperate, perhaps the only way to reduce the demand for new Wal-Marts is to deport all the Hispanics to Mexico.
       I've got a better idea. Why don't we keep our Hispanics, blacks, whites, and two Oriental Wal-Mart shoppers, and deport all of the hateful anti-Wal-Mart, white boutique bitches to Cuba with a salamander under each arm. In Cuban paradise, they'd have free health care, free education, two salamanders, no free trade, no globalization, no development, no guns, dead political opposition, and no Wal-Mart! Probably every single white woman at that SRCC meeting was pro-choice when it comes to abortion. Why can't they support a woman's right to choose where to freakin' shop – or work?
       I'd be delighted to give any of you some shopper's sensitivity training via an intellectual tour of my favorite Wal-Mart if you'll buy me a McDonald's milkshake afterward.
    Wes Benedict

    Why Remove Creative Opportunities?

    RECEIVED Fri., Sept. 26, 2003

    I am really disappointed in the Chronicle. Apparently y'all decided that the creative opportunities listings were not important enough to print (after all, it's not music!) [Sept. 26]. Well, some of us look forward to those listings and expect to see them in print with other similar listings. I notice you didn't remove auditions or open mics – which would be somewhat comparable to visual creative opportunities. If you need to make space, remove one of the sleazy ads! The space would be better spent on Creative Opportunities in spite of the fact that it won't generate income.
    Laura Sturtz

    God Is Love, or Should Be

    RECEIVED Thu., Sept. 25, 2003

    Re: "Page Two," Sept. 26
       Thank God for Louis Black! His views on what God is today – and what he/she isn't – comforted me when I realized that I was not the only one in our increasingly religious society thinking that way.
       The Christian God I grew up with – and maybe I was naive – was one of love, acceptance, and understanding. I fondly remember vacation Bible school where, in addition to learning how to make rather fetching outdoor lawn chair-high ashtrays out of tuna-fish cans and discarded broomsticks, we were taught the catechism. The most basic question was, "Who is God?" The answer we chimed out was, "God is love."
       Today, some fundamental, Bible-thumping and evangelical "Christian" denominations worship what appears to be a vastly different God. This one waves an American flag and blesses only America, mistrusts diversity, preaches that certain sexual acts between consenting adults are sinful, condemns followers of other religions to a Christian hell, and thinks it's fine to kill in the name of patriotism and peace.
    Claude M. Gruener

    U.T. Should Be Thanking Victor Guerra

    RECEIVED Thu., Sept. 25, 2003

    Dear Chronicle,
       Thank you for the article on Víctor Guerra and the dismantling of CMAS Books at UT ["Closing the Books," Sept. 12]. I felt utterly dismayed to read of the university's decision to discontinue the CMAS Books imprint, which is unique and highly respected. And of course I was aghast that someone as learned and valuable as Víctor Guerra was being let go after 15 years of utter dedication to a monumental job.
       I have had the privilege of knowing Víctor for the last 12 or so years. We became acquainted in part because my "day job" is in publishing, and he is someone I have turned to on occasion for editing and linguistic advice. We have worked together on two small projects, so I know firsthand of the integrity and care with which he approaches his work with books and scholars, as well as the community.
       I find it truly astounding that the person largely responsible for making CMAS Books the respected and specialized imprint that it is should be cast aside by the University of Texas. UT should instead be thanking Víctor Guerra for all the work he has done to put another jewel in UT's crown. They should be proud that UT's Center for Mexican American Studies, deep in the heart of a university with one of the hemisphere's most prestigious Latin American libraries, publishes books of the quality that CMAS did. That the institution which considers itself the university in Texas should abruptly shut down a unique voice of Mexican-American scholarship is truly disgraceful, especially because of the context in which all of this occurred – one about which there are many more disquieting questions than answers.
       So the questions remain: Is this "it" for CMAS Books? Will the cultural integrity of a major university be compromised, apparently to assuage an ego? Are we truly to believe this was all "economics"? And most importantly, what will be the next book that Víctor Guerra lovingly, deftly, and thoughtfully guides from manuscript to finished volume?
    Sincerely,
    Susanna Sharpe

    Texas C.A.N. Connected to Communist Party

    RECEIVED Thu., Sept. 25, 2003

    I just wanted to congratulate Lee Nichols for exposing the link between Texas C.A.N. and the Communist Party ["We Got Reds in Our Webs!" Sept. 26]. Who would have thunk it? Kevin Bacon?
    Mike Wethington

    Excited About Center

    RECEIVED Thu., Sept. 25, 2003

    I am thrilled about the new Spiritual Center you have opened ["'Natural Capitalism' in the Hills," Sept. 19]. I look forward to visiting you sometime soon. I am a Kundalini Yoga teacher and would be honored to share my love with everyone there. God bless you.
    Love,
    Patricia Guru Gopal Nolin
    Scottsdale, Ariz.
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