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 Thanks for your patience.
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Exhaustion? Really?

RECEIVED Wed., Sept. 12, 2007

Dear Editor,
    I laugh heartily at the various cancellations for this years Austin City Limits Music Festival. "Exhaustion"? Are you fucking kidding? I have played music for 20 years and find the exhaustion excuse foolish and irresponsible. I am an Austin musician. Like most Austin musicians, I have a day job. My day job happens to be a cook. So, in my 13 years here, I have worked 12- to 18-hour shifts, loaded my drums, brought them to the club, played them, broke them down, unloaded them at home, than returned to my job several hours later. For no money. That's the going rate in this town to play, by the way. Nothing. These White Stripe/Winehouses we are currently dealing with are beyond comprehension. These assholes do not set up their gear. They do not transport their gear. All they have to do is exit their air-conditioned hotel room, pick up their perfectly tuned instrument, and wank for 45 minutes (as I feel the Stripes do). That Winehouse flash in the pan only has to poorly lip-sync to a silly record she put out. Now listen, as I said, I have played music for a number of years in this town and other towns across the U.S. Yes, you party. Yes, you feel exhausted. Cocaine, alcohol, and a host of other intoxicants will bring about a feeling of exhaustion. Who fucking cares? Play, bitch! Your responsibility is to strap on your instrument and play for 45 minutes in front of adoring fans, exit the stage, and collect a staggering check. If you cannot meet these silly requirements, then fuck you! I work 12 hours a day, lug my gear down to the Hole in the Wall, wait around for two hours with no drink comps, play a smoldering show, and get nothing. These assholes are turning down six figures cause they are "exhausted.” Wanna see exhausted? Try my life. Try any Austin musician's life. We're exhausted, you asshole. Giving interviews between margaritas and rails might be exhausting, then you have to get in your limo to the show, where all your gear is set up, and you just have to plunk out your derivative foolish shit for 45 minutes. Then return to your hotel while someone far more talented than you breaks down your gear. Have some gratitude for the fortunate, unearned life that has been dropped into your lap, and play the show. Besides, you're only gonna be famous for another eight minutes. Look some people in the eye that got suckered into buying your trash, and rock them. You can't play 45 minutes because you're too "exhausted"? Gimme a fucking break.
Justin Andrews

More on Guns and Disaster

RECEIVED Tue., Sept. 11, 2007

Dear Editor:
    Thanks to Richard Whittaker for his article "Guns, Disaster, and the Lege" (News, Sept. 7). It might interest readers to note that earlier the "gun lobby," in the form of the Texas State Rifle Association, was joined by the ACLU of Texas and the Texas Criminal Justice Association in supporting House Bill 823, which would clarify the state's laws governing transport of firearms. Heretofore, a citizen was subject to arrest and prosecution if he or she did not provide sufficient proof of "travel." HB 823, since signed into law, dropped the "county line" proviso in the old law and relieved the citizenry of fear of prosecution on those grounds. See:
    The Algiers Point Militia, according to the Oxford Press, patrolled that neighborhood for up to a week before someone caught sight of a New Orleans police officer. It is clear from the article the militia was needed. One citizen was struck down before his van was stolen, a house was burned by vandals, and numerous robbery attempts were thwarted. One involving a protracted gun battle in which criminals retreated, trailing blood.
    Meanwhile, New Orleans officials literally were going door-to-door, breaking in, and searching for guns.
Stephen W. McGuire

Kudos on Budget Coverage

RECEIVED Tue., Sept. 11, 2007

Dear Editor,
    Many thanks for your outstanding coverage of developments in the lead-up to final approval by City Council this week of the city of Austin's fiscal year '07/'08 budget [“Beside the Point,” News, Aug. 24]. Highly important "citizens' right to know" issues have surfaced over recent weeks – and despite your highly professional pursuit (i.e., as “the Fourth Estate") by also publishing numerous letters from concerned citizens to the Chronicle's editor [“Postmarks,” Sept. 7], many of the questions raised both in your columns and these letters about accountability of public officials on affordable-housing matters are yet to be answered. Gray Panthers – and the public – intend to keep on keeping on! Thanks.
Clint Smith
Gray Panthers

Jena 6 Deserve Coverage

RECEIVED Tue., Sept. 11, 2007

Dear Editor,
    I only recently heard about the situation in Jena, La., on Real Time With Bill Maher. I was shocked not only by the situation these young men are in but also by the lack of coverage it has received. Many of the people I have spoken to about it were also not aware and therefore unable to do anything about it. Please cover this story so that people are aware of what is going on. There is going to be a rally at the sentencing of Mychel Bell on Sept. 20, and signatures are being gathered for petitions on sites like
    Shoes have become deadly weapons, while nooses are “innocent pranks.” These young men are facing serious prison time for a school-yard fight which resulted in a concussion and a swollen eye. They are not being tried by a jury of their peers, their public defenders are not doing their jobs (no defense witnesses were called), and the school officials did not react appropriately to a very serious act, the hanging of nooses on the “white tree.” Cover this story and give people a chance to take action before it’s too late.
Stephenie Layne

Oil on Their Hands

RECEIVED Tue., Sept. 11, 2007

Dear Editor,
    Assurances from Gen. David Petraeus that his opinions are his own and not shaped by the Bush administration are really irrelevant. Whether that’s true or not, why is a general deciding the fate of the war in Iraq? It’s sort of like asking a car salesman to suggest a suitable birthday present. Fighting and winning wars is a general’s job. Gen. Petraeus is motivated to assess the Iraq situation in such a way as to make that possible. No patriotic general wants to go down in history as losing a war.
    Despite the constant talk of eradicating terrorism, the real impetus behind this veritable desire in Washington to stabilize Iraq is obvious, and both sides of Congress have oil on their hands. The benchmark to force the country’s ethnic factions to “share” the oil profits has a little-known clause ushering in privatization by Western oil companies. The British invaded and occupied Iraq in the early 20th century for the same reason and failed. And so long as our elected leaders ignore history, our country is doomed to fail as a viable democracy.
Justin Finney

Congressional Oversight AWOL

RECEIVED Tue., Sept. 11, 2007

Dear Editor,
    The Sept. 9 issue of Rolling Stone magazine has an article by Matt Taibbi entitled "The Great Iraq Swindle."
    In it Taibbi colorfully exposes the theft of tens of billions of U.S. taxpayers dollars by private contractors like Halliburton and KBR, administration corporate cronies, and Pentagon pals. Maybe people who read it can do as I did and send a letter, e-mail, or fax to their congressperson demanding the oversight that seems to have been absent without leave for the last six years, or has it been 60?
John Callaghan

CAMPO Item Corrections

RECEIVED Mon., Sept. 10, 2007

Dear Editor,
    In “Naked City” [News], the Sept. 7 issue, there are some errors in the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization item on p.17. First, the public-comment period was extended to run until Sept. 26. Second, in addition to the public hearing before the CAMPO board on Sept. 10, four community meetings were held around the CAMPO three-county region in August to allow people to ask questions and make written and oral comments. These meetings were attended by 333 people. Last, all written and oral comments received between Aug. 14 and Sept. 26 will be presented to the CAMPO board before their adoption consideration on Oct. 8. Please call 974-2275 or check the CAMPO website at for information on the requested projects and the various ways to send comments.
Thank you,
Michael Aulick
CAMPO executive director
   [Editor's note: We welcome Michael Aulick's clarification of the CAMPO comment process, but for the record: 1) The public-comment extension was not noted on the CAMPO website when the Sept. 7 Chronicle went to press, and 2) the community meetings summarized by Aulick were led by staff only; the Sept. 10 meeting was the only time the public could directly address the CAMPO board, prior to Oct. 8. We encourage readers to check the CAMPO website for the additional information.]

Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream

RECEIVED Mon., Sept. 10, 2007

Dear Editor:
    One night last week, I dreamed that I was watching the movie Jaws.
    At first, everything was exactly the way I remembered it. Then, the dialogue began to change.
    During the July 4 beach scene, after the little boy on the raft gets eaten, the lifeguard jumps up, ready to order everybody out of the water. But another lifeguard grabs him by the arm.
    "If we pull everybody out now, it sends the wrong message," the second lifeguard says, "and that boy will have died for nothing."
    "We have to wait for the situation to stabilize," he explains.
    "Can we set a time to pull them out?" the first lifeguard asks.
    "Of course not," says the other lifeguard. "That would be an admission of failure."
    The second lifeguard sets his jaw and looks to the horizon, past the blood in the water.
    "If we withdraw now," he says, "the sharks win, and they'll follow us home."
Robert Singleton

Room to Ride on Shoal Creek

RECEIVED Mon., Sept. 10, 2007

Dear Editor,
    I continue to be baffled by bicyclists straddling the lane or in some cases outright riding in the car lane when there is a wonderfully large bicycle lane on Shoal Creek. I have no idea how Mr. Dahmus [“Postmarks,” Aug. 31] came to the conclusion that the Shoal Creek bike lanes are filled with parked cars, but they aren't. While I agree that at least one of the bike lanes should be dedicated solely for bicycles and not cars, the fact remains that there are few obstacles to bicyclists on Shoal Creek, and there is no reason for anyone to hug the lane or even ride in the car lane as I observe nearly every morning. I live in Allandale and ride my bike to work, and I have no problem staying in the generously sized bike lane – I can't understand why other bikers can't take advantage of one of the best bike lanes in the city as well.
Kenny Grossman

Footing the Bill for New Parks?

RECEIVED Sat., Sept. 8, 2007

Dear Editor,
   Another irony involving the Domain ["Are We Masters of Our Domain?," News, Aug. 31]. Our mayor was commenting recently about being concerned parkland growth in Northwest Austin was not keeping pace with the population. The Domain bulldozed a former IBM employee park on that land. It had tennis courts, a track, a ball field, and a huge shaded picnic area with water and bathrooms: Century Oaks Park. It would have been turnkey ready as a city park.
   So now, as well as tax incentives, I suppose we will all have to foot the bill for new parks in the area.
Herb Sleeper

A Cry for Deliverance

RECEIVED Fri., Sept. 7, 2007

Dear Editor,
    Louis has touched on a profound certainty [“Page Two,” Sept. 7]. When a person is completely lost in his or her moral awareness, the necessity for objective unvarnished truth will burst forth. All one needs to do is have the courage to accept it. That is where Louis is right now. He is completely bereft of a truthful moral foundation and crying for deliverance. His misery presented in his article reflects this. This is his opportunity to anchor himself in that which is changeless.
    As many boomers (myself included), Louis has been wandering in the garden of fashion needing the acceptance of the herd masters instead of focusing on rational thought, veracity, and candor. Additionally, by not allowing himself to be courageous and honorable by going against the clique when truth dictates, he has corrupted himself.
    The reality is clear. Contrary to neo-leftist dogma, there are moral certitudes. Even hardcore lefties must admit that they believe their ideological convictions are immutable. If they cannot acknowledge this, they are either insane or congenital liars. So the question becomes a matter of which moral values make sense.
    So which thesis benefits humanity the most – neo-leftist embrace of confused moral relativism, naive utopianism, suicidal pacifism and cynical anarchism, or the proven civilizational ethical precepts of Judeo, Greek, Roman and Christian values – eschewing envy and ignorance while embracing the great virtues of gratitude, liberty, and human dignity? And let us not forget democratic republicanism first developed and passed to us by the ancients.
    Conscience mandates conflating intellectual honesty with moral courage, no matter where the mavens of ideological fashion preside. The evolved values of the Western world have pulled humanity ever higher in enlightened happiness. It is time Louis and all of us embrace these realities, for our own happiness and the sake of posterity.
Vance McDonald

LCRA Plan Seriously Flawed

RECEIVED Thu., Sept. 6, 2007

Dear Editor,
    Steep increases in water rates are just part of what Lower Colorado River Authority customers can expect [“Naked City,” News, Aug. 31].
    General Manager Joe Beal has done his work for Central Texas developers and in January will move on to his reward. No one has done more harm to our Hill Country than has Little Joe.
    The LCRA water/wastewater utilities business plan is seriously flawed because it runs counter to nearly every aspect of the LCRA mission statement, and is contrary to public planning results for development in the Edwards Aquifer Watershed. Instead of "reliable, low-cost utility and public services in partnership with our customers and communities," Little Joe has:
    1) Captured community water and wastewater systems with faulty projections and promises;
    2) Sought certificates of Necessity and Convenience to exclude competition from lower-cost utilities;
    3) Financed hundreds of millions of dollars in capital markets while attempting to integrate nonviable systems acquired on the basis of a flawed business plan;
    4) Failed to inform board members until after open-record requests were filed by a public entity, that many of the business plan projections were unreliable; and
    5) Disguised a policy of higher impact fees/utility rates and stimulation of new high-density residential development as the true business plan strategy.
Charles O'Dell

Guns 101

RECEIVED Thu., Sept. 6, 2007

Dear Editor,
    Times of "disaster" are exactly the times when private citizens need guns [“Guns, Disaster, and the Lege,” News, Sept. 7]. I'd think folks from Texas would know that. Oh, wait, y'all are from Austin, huh?
Gwalchmai Munn
Dillon, Mont.
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