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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Time to Party

RECEIVED Thu., Sept. 25, 2008

Dear Editor,
    When the great assumption underlying not just all finance but the heart of capitalism itself – that the overall trend of investments is to increase in value – comes unraveled, what's a poor peasant, with no property or investments to speak of, to do?
    I'll tell you what! Drink a beer, ride a bike, smoke what you got, hang out with friends on the street, and partay!
Patrick Jones

Critical Mass Is Designed to Stop Traffic …

RECEIVED Wed., Sept. 24, 2008

Dear Editor,
    Regarding all the letters about Mr. Moser and the Critical Mass incident from the cyclists, I have two comments. Critical Mass is designed to do one thing only – stop automobile traffic and piss off the drivers. As for all of you cyclists out there who keep complaining about how there are not enough bike lanes, use the existing ones first. As a transit rider, just yesterday while I was waiting on the bus, two cyclists, within five minutes of each other, were riding on the sidewalk (which is for pedestrians) and forced me out into the street or else get run over by the cyclist when there is a large, well-marked bike lane (this is on Metric Boulevard) for their use. But they insist on making people waiting on the bus step out into the street and oncoming traffic when they have a bike lane. If you won't use the ones that exist, why do you want more?
Cyrus Crawford

In Hopes That None of Them Moves Here

RECEIVED Wed., Sept. 24, 2008

Dear Steve Cobb,
    Re: “Why Austin Sucks” ["Postmarks," Sept. 19]: When you finally scrape up enough cash to gas up your late-model Toyota Prius to drive back to whatever rock under which you crawled out from, let me be the first to tell you: Don't let the door hit you on the ass on the way out. Do us all a favor, and spread your cheer to everyone at your next destination in hopes that none of your snotty, liberal, leech-on-society friends moves here.
Paul Wilson

Sniping, Whiny, Elitist, Self-Congratulatory

RECEIVED Tue., Sept. 23, 2008

Dear Editor,
    Re: Daniel Mee's review of the Van Buren Boys' album, Planet Kickass [“Texas Platters,” Music, Sept. 19]: Mee manages to cram a universe of rambling, insipid commentary into mere inches of column space. His review touches on a myriad of journalistic styles, including sniping, whiny, elitist, self-congratulatory, genre-bashing, and pathetic, all conglomerated with the deadly medicine bottle of piss-poor writing and ineffectual obscurity that is his signature.
    His opinion ranges from annoyingly idiotic (sentence one) to annoyingly clichéd (sentence four) to annoyingly pedantic (his conclusion). His most uninformed statements are by far his most lunkheaded. Witness his growing ego, pushing itself to ever greater heights as he strives to bang someone at Rolling Stone and get an unpaid internship.
    His is a mind-bending negative review, too pointy-headed for even the dumbest person on earth (or Planet Kickass) to appreciate. (Check the comments on his review online if you don't believe me, or better yet, go see the Van Buren Boys at Hole in the Wall this Tuesday.) Douche critic, of course!
    One must credit Mee for being able to type and listen to a CD and admit that uninspired, trash journalism can serve as paper to line my pet bird's cage. In fact, that's pretty much rock writing in a nutshell.
Mike "Dub" Wainwright
   p.s. The Van Buren Boys rock!

Here in Toasty Austin

RECEIVED Tue., Sept. 23, 2008

Dear Editor,
    Like Steve Cobb ["Postmarks," Sept. 19], we chose Texas over North Carolina as the place to rear our children. If he “lived in several progressive cities,” he knew better than to take Austin's PR slogans at face value. Despite Portland, Ore.'s similar PR, half that city is a sheer hellhole. Neither my children nor I ever bought into Austin's “jeans and boots culture” that so many hicks still affect. We have thrived in our 27 years here in toasty Austin, with more amenities than we can handle and opportunities the Chamber of Commerce has never dreamed of. I wish Mr. Cobb well, but if he thinks Texas is “hot, ugly, and mediocre,” may I suggest he try Wasilla, Alaska? I guarantee that place is cool.
David L. Kent

Against Affirmative Action, in Favor of Government Aid

RECEIVED Tue., Sept. 23, 2008

Dear Editor,
    Today, Clarence Thomas stated affirmative action is unconstitutional. I totally agree. That should throw some salt in Barack Obama's game. After all, he is an affirmative action lawyer that wants to pass more referendums. I would rather have free health care and assistance for all citizens, not just a small, segregated group. Obama's kind of thinking went out the window during desegregation, I thought. Pointing out differences only promotes separation; it does not promote unity. Now McCain and Obama have both missed the deadline to get on the Texas state ballot, an oversight that I am sure Hillary Clinton would not have missed. Now that thousands were left homeless, and more than 50 people perished in the wake of Hurricane Ike, I think Texas is a bit too big to be forgotten and maybe should declare sovereignty, but I digress. Now the government is stepping in to bail out Fannie May and Freddie Mac. These two institutions own 50% of the mortgages in the United States, effectively placing the government in control of all that land. Now the government has the ability to give disabled military veterans free or affordable housing. With this mortgage crisis and a steadily increasing working-class poor, not to mention natural disaster evacuees, we should be able to actually house the people a lot cheaper. Besides, when we start drilling for oil off the coast, we can have that extra income go directly to housing and health care. The oil industry still makes a budget surplus. Bill Clinton said the crisis was caused by brokers bundling mortgages together and trading them in the stock market back in February. I am glad the government has finally stepped in. I am starting to think that the other countries are sanctioning us for the stock brokers' greed.
Mike Homa

Thanks (but Not Really)

RECEIVED Tue., Sept. 23, 2008

Dear Editor,
    We would just like to thank The Austin Chronicle for taking the time to review Planet Kickass [“Texas Platters,” Music, Sept. 19]. Also, thanks to everyone voicing their opinions, and though we appreciate some of our fans' colorful reactions, we wish Daniel Mee all the best in any future album bashing.
Blake Van Buren
The Van Buren Boys, "rock & roll in a nutshell"

Why Not a Real Building?

RECEIVED Tue., Sept. 23, 2008

Dear Editor,
    Hi, I'm wondering why the UT Football Corp. built that big inflatable building on campus instead of a real building? Considering that the CEO of the Football Corp. (coach) makes $2 million-plus, I would think they could certainly afford a real building with some class. Does anybody have any ideas on this? I tried contacting UT but was unable to find an answer.
Dan McAllister

'I Miss Austin'

RECEIVED Mon., Sept. 22, 2008

Dear Editor,
    I miss Austin! Yes, that's right. I moved to Dresden, Germany, this past February, and I freakin' miss Texas. I've been reading these recent banters between those who say, "Those were the days," and those who say, "Austin sucks," with some measure of contempt. I have to read the Chronicle online, and if there's one thing I really miss, it's my Thursday ritual of picking up the new issue of the Chronicle. Well, that and breakfast tacos. At least the people arguing can pick one up with their bare hands. One of the surprising things about my move to Dresden is how similar to Austin it is. Dresden is like Austin circa 1992. The similarities are striking to me. Both cities are hubs of higher education, both are state capitals, and both have a river running through them. This town is 65% green space, and the riverfront has miles of paved hike-and-bike trails. The riverfront is protected from most development, and the downtown panorama of the famous Frauenkirche and the Semper Opera House is unobscured by high-rises. Nevertheless, there is enough property in Dresden to make an Austin developer swoon. Dresden also has a young population and a vibrant culture. The Neustadt is kinda like the Drag and Sixth put together but from about 15 years ago. The punks are punks everywhere, I guess, because there are plenty of them that hang out down there asking for a handout. The one major difference between the cities? Dresden has an excellent public transportation system. The trams are clean, efficient, and reliable. You can get to practically every corner of the city between the trams and buses. I can get down to my new favorite beer dive in eight minutes by tram and don't have to worry about freakin' parking. I've been to Berlin and Munich, but I have to say that I think I like Dresden best. For those of you who crave "old Austin" and who happen to visit Germany, don't overlook Dresden. Oh, and bring a copy of the Chronicle with you.
Paul Chavera

Both Offensive and Revealing

RECEIVED Mon., Sept. 22, 2008

Dear Editor,
    In response to "Why Austin Sucks," by Steve Cobb, ["Postmarks," Sept. 19]: Mr. Cobb, I found your rant about why Austin, as you so succinctly put it, "sucks" both offensive and revealing. It's a relief to know you're going to leave as soon as possible (please do), but in the meantime, I hope you'll take a second look around you while you're still suffering in our fair city.
    I am one of the (apparently) classless, tasteless, 20-nothings to which you referred, and I hate to break it to you, but we are the lifeblood of Austin, out there "keeping it weird" for all the sinners. In the three years I've had the privilege of residing here, I've been able to soak up more culture (ever been to the Blanton, the Austin Museum of Art, or maybe the Paramount Theatre?), more sunshine (ever gone for a stroll along the trails at Lady Bird Lake, cruised through Zilker Park, or hiked the Barton Creek Greenbelt?), and of course, more music than is possible in any other city in America. And I don't ever want to leave!
    So, if you don't find this eclectic, quirky, progressive city – the only one of its kind, a diamond in the rough of Texas – quite up to your standards, then please do us all a favor and get the hell out. Perhaps Naples, Fla., is more your speed.
Misty Shaw

Saying No to Automobile Addiction

RECEIVED Mon., Sept. 22, 2008

Dear Editor,
    This is a reminder to all bicyclists that the last Friday of the month is Critical Mass. As cyclists, we need to unite with our brothers and sisters around the world in saying no to the addiction of the automobile. Ride to the ride, ride the ride, and ride with fear and joy.
One less car,
Al Coovert

World Carfree Day

RECEIVED Mon., Sept. 22, 2008

Dear Editor,
    Monday, Sept. 22, is World Carfree Day. It's a chance to check up on the U.S. press (how big must this event get before they acknowledge it?) and an invitation to imagine Austin with a little less motor-vehicle obsession. Fifty years ago, most people didn't have cars. A hundred years ago, people mostly walked to where they needed to go. Now people think they can't walk two miles, and the streets are clogged with snarling, smoking cars. Something has gone wrong somewhere, and it's worth a little reflection.
    What if we didn't have giant parking lots everywhere? What if we could walk across any street in town? What if people began their days by just walking out the door and “rush hour” was just a flurry of people on foot and on bicycles? More houses would sport window boxes with flowers, as they do in walking cities. We could have small stores and eateries where people live, because they wouldn't attract cars. (Nobody likes other people's cars.) Schools would not be the scenes of traffic jams. We could have entertainment in parks without clogging the surrounding streets with cars.
    Since people wouldn't be sitting in traffic jams for hours, they wouldn't get so angry. And think of all the money we'd save! Without cars, we'd hardly even need traffic lights. Emergency rooms would empty out. The air would be cleaner, the noise level much lower, and the temperature several degrees cooler.
    Imagine an Austin where people walked freely, an Austin that didn't smell like car exhaust. Imagine not sacrificing our world to the car gods.
Yours truly,
Amy Babich

Review Skewed

RECEIVED Mon., Sept. 22, 2008

Dear Editor,
    Your review of the movie Stealing America: Vote by Vote was a disservice to all [Film Listings, Sept. 19]. To say it did not have "a single objective frame" is both wrong and apt to keep people from seeing a very good documentary. I fail to understand why some people just don't want to hear about the mounting evidence that the integrity of our electoral system has been seriously compromised in the last three national elections. These people are in deep denial. They don't want to believe it, so they deny the facts. And here we go into another national election with the system still broken.
    Everyone should go see the movie. It is about the best collation of all the incidents that have occurred in the elections of the last 10 or 12 years. You don't have to be a lefty to be concerned about this situation; you just have to care about democracy. We will lose it if we don't act to fix how votes are cast and counted. The problem is not going away. Stealing America is not the partisan hack job your reviewer would have it. Indeed, Democrats bear some of the blame for their complacency and unwillingness to tackle one of the two most basic infirmities of our nation, the other being campaign finance – the big corporations subsidizing candidates of both parties. Until we fix both, elections are going to be skewed.
Jim Simons

Free Market Is Not 'Free'

RECEIVED Mon., Sept. 22, 2008

Dear Editor,
    The staggering economic crisis on Wall Street has exposed a dirty little secret: The free market isn’t really “free,” after all, unless you’re the CEO of a major bank. What some have called socialized capitalism for the rich appears to be the running model that so many senators, including both presidential candidates Obama and McCain, are by their own admission reluctantly endorsing. But “no need to worry,” they promise us. Both men will tighten regulations on the out-of-control market and still have money for tax cuts and health care. Ostensibly, money for war in the Middle East will still be available, too, since McCain plans to stay in Iraq and Obama wants to expand the war in Afghanistan.
    Of course, the truth as usual probably lies somewhere far away from the campaign promises of politicians on the stump. Regardless of who wins, if the fed’s last-ditch efforts to reverse the market’s credit freeze with billions of dollars of taxpayer money doesn’t work, neither man will be able to begin to make good on any promise.
    Polls show that the recent economic crisis increases voters’ chances of voting for Sen. Obama. But is that confidence based on facts or rhetoric? Obama has received more money from Wall Street than McCain – $10 million for Obama, $7 million for McCain – and Joe Biden voted for George Bush’s bankruptcy reform that made it harder for regular Americans to claim bankruptcy. Furthermore, neither Obama nor Biden is for single-payer universal health care, yet both agreed an equivalent amount ($1 trillion) could be conjured at the drop of a hat for Wall Street.
    Is Obama’s economic plan better than McCain’s? Probably. Is Obama’s promise of change worth anything? If so, it’s only enough for a piece of gum to chew as we watch our money burn.
Justin Finney

Animals Are the Canaries in the Mine

RECEIVED Sun., Sept. 21, 2008

Dear Editor,
    Thanks, but no thanks … indeed! Ms. Palin (or lose the "l" in her name, as I like to call her) is a happy-go-lucky hunter who supports the aerial hunting of wolves and other animals, not to mention the destruction of endangered species like polar bears, who have enough on their melting plate with climate change. And for those readers who comment: "Gimme a break! Who cares about animals? What about people?" I can only respond by stating that if someone is so hellbent on the destruction of a species in need of protection, do you really think such a person gives a crap about protecting you? Sheryl Cole's comment in the piece [“City Hall Hustle,” News, Sept. 19] that she used to be a PTA president got me asking, "What about a PETA president for VP?" Ms. Ingrid Newkirk is a woman, too, and she's got a bigger pair than Palin. And the pair I'm referring to is Ms. Newkirk's brain and heart. And to complete the Oz trio, throw in courage, something Ms. Palin obviously lacks as she flies above us, waiting to aerially gun down whoever gets in her way.
Timothy Verret

Theft, Pure and Simple

RECEIVED Sat., Sept. 20, 2008

Dear Editor,
    Explain this to me again, please. I have no credit, never did, don't want any. I have no debt other than monthly utility bills and property taxes. I save and pay cash for everything. I live within my means. Exactly why am I responsible for paying someone else's debt? Why am I responsible for bailing out failed businesses? Will somebody arrest Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. for theft, please? And while you're at it, arrest all the other yahoos at the top that put all this crap into place and profit insanely from it. Theft, pure and simple.
Tom Grimes

So Much Good Music Happening

RECEIVED Fri., Sept. 19, 2008

Dear Editor,
    Steve Cobb – you need to get out more ["Postmarks," Sept. 19]. OK, Alice Spencer and Asylum Street Spankers are good, but how about Mitch Watkins, Tony Campise, John Mills, Patrice Pike, Ephraim Owens, Redd Volkaert, Kat Edmonson, David Grissom, Roscoe Beck, Elias Haslanger, Abra Moore, Red Young, Brannen Temple, Yogi, Bob Meyer, James Polk, J.J. Johnson, Dale Watson, Paul Glasse, Erik Hokkanen, Stanley Smith, the Jazz Pharaohs, the Creative Opportunity Orchestra, Alejandro Escovedo, Grupo Fantasma, Carolyn Wonderland, Eric Johnson, Pat Mastelotto, Terry Bozzio, Tosca, and Glover Gill? And those are just the few names I could think of off the top of my head.
John Fremgen

University Chairs Should Reflect Honor

RECEIVED Fri., Sept. 19, 2008

Dear Editor,
    I wanted to thank you for the interesting article regarding “Charlie Wilson’s Chair,” [“Point Austin,” News, Sept. 19], which brings into focus yet another political figure who, thanks in part to a farcical portrayal in a major motion picture, has become a hero in certain circles. But does that make it worthwhile to endow him with such an honor among other esteemed UT chairs? Thank goodness the venerable faculty has raised an objection to this rather ridiculous proposal! And thank goodness the Chronicle has brought it to the attention of the public. I, for one, sincerely hope the chair of Pakistan studies is created, but not with Charlie Wilson’s moniker blazoned across it, as if that were perfectly acceptable.
    I also enjoyed your suggestions for other UT chair endowments. Here’s what I came up with:
    The Condoleezza Rice Chair of International Studies (Motto: "Agree with us, or we’ll sanction the hell out of you while shaking hands with Israel!")
    The George W. Bush Chair of Political Science (Motto: "There’s no need to recount votes if your daddy has already secured your presidency!" or "Just tell ‘em you’ve been ordained by God!")
Misty Shaw

Getting Far Away From the Constitution

RECEIVED Fri., Sept. 19, 2008

    As our U.S. Constitution reads in Amendment 12: Choosing the President, Vice-President. Ratified June, 15, 1804:
    “The Electors shall meet in their respective states, and vote by ballot for President and Vice-President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves; they shall name in their ballots the person voted for as President, and in distinct ballots the person voted for as Vice-President, and they shall make distinct lists of all persons voted for as President, and of all persons voted for as Vice-President and of the number of votes for each, which lists they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate; the President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted; the person having the greatest number of votes for President, shall be the President. The person having the greatest number of votes as Vice-President, shall be the Vice-President."
    This amendment clearly states that the offices of president and vice president do not have to be of the same party. Our election process does not give us a separate choice for each of these elected positions. How far away are we going to get from the U.S. Constitution that governs “We the People”?
Bretton Johnson

Community Is in the Process of Dissolution

RECEIVED Thu., Sept. 18, 2008

Dear Editor,
    I believe that community is in the process of dissolution, where each man begins to eye his neighbor as a possible enemy; where nonconformity with the accepted creed, political as well as religious, is a mark of disaffection; where denunciation, without specification or backing, takes the place of evidence; where orthodoxy chokes freedom of dissent; where faith in the eventual supremacy of reason has become so timid that we dare not enter our convictions in the open lists, to win or lose.
    Such fears as these are a solvent which can eat out the cement that binds the stones together; they may in the end subject us to a despotism as evil as any that we dread; and they can be allayed only in so far as we refuse to proceed on suspicion and trust one another until we have tangible ground for misgiving. The mutual confidence on which all else depends can be maintained only by an open mind and a brave reliance upon free discussion.
Jessica Lewis

People Whine Everywhere

RECEIVED Thu., Sept. 18, 2008

Dear Editor,
    Thanks, Louis, for your “Page Two,” Sept. 5. It is indeed an extended "us" and not an evil "them.” That has to become a discredited idea at long last. Speaking as an "old Austinite" who moved away to Australia many years ago, the phenomenon of whining about the good old days is not confined to Austin. People do it everywhere. I find, on my trips back to visit Austin, that it has tremendous energy. At least it isn't Dallas … yet. Of all the fears people seem to have, fear of change is the worst. Thanks again for a reasonable voice, and cheers, mate!
Steve Lott
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