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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 Isn't Bubble Puppy in the Music Hall of Fame

RECEIVED Tue., Jan. 13, 2009

Fellows,
    I have to say it flat-out escapes me how one can promote a so-called Texas Music Hall of Fame without Bubble Puppy in it [Music Poll 2008-2009]. Not only are we not in it, we have not been on the ballot after 27 years. In reviewing the list of inductees, of the 140 some odd names there, a large number of them are not recognizable to me. Many of the recognizable names are not Austinites. Bubble Puppy essentially formed here, created our sound here, and lived here until signing with International Artists and returned here to live after splitting from the label. We had the largest following and the highest charting record of any group out of Austin till Christopher Cross (not from Austin) or Stevie Ray Vaughan (also not from Austin) came along, but yet, the "Hall" has chosen to forget about us year after year. We built this city. I count myself among the founding fathers of the Austin music scene. When I started playing guitar, we were buying our guitar strings at the drug store. It is indeed a cryin' shame that no love comes. We will ride into the sunset without having been nominated and give the poll and the hall "no nod" as we pass. The music will always speak for itself.
Todd Potter
Guitarist, Bubble Puppy

What's Wrong With Josh, I Loved 'The Reader'

RECEIVED Tue., Jan. 13, 2009

Dear Editor,
    I used to choose for my worst film ever Amadeus, which told the story of the musical prodigy Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Most people I relayed this opinion to could not digest my superficial reasons and spat them back at me. Over the next decade, I developed a taste for books about the seven deadly sins. Many of them mentioned the movie Amadeus in its chapter about the deadly sin of envy. I had an epiphany that I was just like the composer Antonio Salieri, whose envy of Mozart's talent drove him mad. My hatred of the movie Amadeus said more about what I hated in myself. I was envious of self-indulgent brilliant artists and ungrateful for my own modest talents.
    Josh Rosenblatt of The Austin Chronicle chose The Reader as the worst film of 2008 [“Screens Top 10s,” Jan. 2]. Most people think they know what makes them sick. I am developing a real intolerance for the new genre of movies called "torture porn," and I hope to nurture my nausea even more for joy at human suffering. Amadeus really did not make me sick; however, it made me aware of my sickness called envy. For this diagnosis it earned my venomous contempt that I saved for doctors telling me to quit smoking cigarettes.
    I loved The Reader, and I think it deserves the Best Picture Oscar. The thing I'm curious about is why Josh Rosenblatt hated the movie. I suspect he is sick. I know my own kind. It is easier to be a restaurant critic than a good chef. If the message of The Reader or any life lesson is too easily digestible, more sickening and graphic portrayals of the Holocaust can be ordered, and I do agree that the movie was artfully photographed.
Richard A. White

Parents Are the Ones Responsible

RECEIVED Tue., Jan. 13, 2009

Dear Editor,
    I'm tired of the T. Don Hutto rhetoric, "Poor jailed children" ["T. Don Hutto: Lipstick on Doberman," News, Jan. 9]! Whine, whine, whine all you do-gooders. The people responsible for this mess are the parents of these children – not the center! The parents knowingly and purposefully committed a crime – coming here illegally! They are using their children as "hooks" into our system, knowing they will not be sent back to Mexico. They state of Texas is being held hostage. Get it?
Jenny Mika

Cellular Phone Bill Is Just Another Government Power Grab

RECEIVED Mon., Jan. 12, 2009

Dear Editor,
    The cellular-phone ban is yet another Big Brother control grab (read: seat belt, DWI, insurance check) that criminalizes social behavior and creates yet another revenue stream for law enforcement growth in a slowed economy and funnels mass amounts of money into the state government and its lobbying opportunists' coffers. Like Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the National Safety Council wants to flex its self-righteous conservative muscle and exert more social control on a public tired of stolen freedoms.
    I tried to do a simple search for who is sponsoring this bill on www.legis.state.tx.us and to find who is the money behind such a surreptitious bill, but there is no info – it may be one of those "buried" riders inside another bill. Aren't we as a people so over the Bush-Cheney neocon era of abuse through legalese from our lawmakers. KHOU, KXAN, Fox News, and other Texas major news sources simply state "some lawmakers" without revealing who the 2009 No Cellular Texas bill sponsors are on this issue. We need names and transparency from our government officials and the media.
    Sure, there are lots of stupid people that shouldn't talk and drive, some that shouldn't talk and some that simply shouldn't drive; you can legislate common sense. If we follow NSC's logic, make it illegal to eat, fumble around, discipline kids, or change the radio in a moving vehicle. Also, shut down all food drive-throughs and drive-through liquor stores. Where will this stop? We have to end this neocon knee-jerk power-grab apparatus. Self-reliance and education are the answers – teaching common sense, hands-free; updating dumbed-down driver's education, defensive-driving courses; and stepping up enforcement and fines for failure to signal for lane changes and reckless driving should be the path to teaching self reliance and safety. Texas lawmakers, how about implementing hands-free and zero texting for a trial run. Otherwise, this just turns ordinary citizens into criminals and creates yet another revenue source through prohibition. Twenty-three million Texans need to communicate. We need to represent we the people; lawmakers seem to only see the profit in problems and will keep passing stupid laws until we are in our car with a satellite monitoring camera, full-body seat-belt harness with blow to go and matching toll ear tag. Happy motoring.
Will Person

An Officer Responds to Soldier's Comments

RECEIVED Mon., Jan. 12, 2009

Dear Editor,
    I am writing in response to Richard Whittaker's article about soldiers from Austin who oppose the war ["Stop the Loss," News, Dec. 19, 2008]. I am an officer in Casey Porter's unit in Iraq. I've met Porter a few times, and he seems nice. Porter's experiences have left him jaded; mine have left me surprisingly fulfilled. Unfortunately, Porter's attitude has led him to misrepresent some of the facts for your paper. I can agree to disagree with just about anyone, but I will not sit idly by while my soldiers and my peers are slandered.
    There are several opinions in the article with which I do not personally agree. I am not writing to counter everything Porter said. However, I would like to address one point Porter conveyed that I find personally offensive: "There's no reconstruction going on at the level they show you." Firstly, I have to ask who "they" are. Second, I would really like to know how Porter knows so much about the amount of reconstruction being done. I find it incredible that a low-level mechanic can speak so intelligently to the level of reconstruction being accomplished in our unit. He goes on to indict the media for misrepresenting their reporting of the war, much to the advantage of the military. That's quite a bold statement, and I would be thrilled to hear Porter cite specific cases of this.
    Much of our work here has been devoted to reconstruction. It is a long, slow, tedious process into which my peers have poured their hearts and souls. The majority of the soldiers here are still dedicated to their units and their fellow soldiers. What sets them apart the most from Porter is that they express themselves in positive ways and try to improve their organization. It's not always easy, and it is much harder than making movies that highlight everything negative around you.
    Personally, I think it is hilarious that Porter has made so many videos that clearly are intended to portray him as a victim of some bureaucratic conspiracy. But I think it is sad how many civilians believe him. His movies are fiction, and he is the leading man. I would love to meet with you and Porter together when we come home so he and I can debate some of the stories he told you and put in his movies. I predict Porter would not be able to put together quite as coherent an argument without the benefit of postproduction editing.
    Yes, Porter, that is a challenge. Will you show the Chronicle how brave you really are?
Capt. Patrick R. Rice

220 Years Backward; Let's Hope We're Now Going Forward

RECEIVED Sun., Jan. 11, 2009

Dear Editor,
    It's taken 220 years of political inbreeding for us to devolve from presidents Washington and Jefferson all the way down to Quasi W. Modo. Let us pray that starting next week, it doesn't take us another two centuries to get back to where we started.
Stanley Gilbert

U.S. Borrowing Is Like Craps

RECEIVED Sun., Jan. 11, 2009

Dear Editor,
    "We're Borrowing Like Mad. Can the U.S. Pay It Back?" [The Washington Post, Jan. 11]. This looks like craps to me: You have right bettors and wrong bettors. Right bettors bet the shooter is going to throw the dice and make his point number before he craps out. Wrong bettors are betting that the shooter will throw a seven or crap out before he makes his point number. A lot of players don't like wrong bettors; they think it jinxes the table. I do look at the market as legalized gambling, except thanks to credit derivatives, financial contracts that allow investors to speculate on or protect against default seem crazy to me. If one is able to protect against losing of any kind, then there is no gamble, and exactly whose money are they not gambling or gambling with? The stock market has gotten so complicated and confusing with little to no oversight. With the media's help and our elected officials repeating over and over to its American citizens, "We are a free market," "We are capitalist," like a mantra. I say we have once again let corporations run and control our government. We are a democracy first, with the government working for the people and somewhere along the way that last statement has gone by the wayside. Regulating our markets, corporations, and banks, as well as preventing the big five monopoly ownership of our media, is not only essential and good but right. It helps to keep America healthy and the thieves at bay; it once was called our Constitution! It is time to take back our country from these thieves. It is time for a revolution here in America! We want our democracy back! We are a nation of people, by the people, for the people and not the rich, for the rich, by the rich! The rich will not be paying off America's debt; it will be we, her citizens and future children and the very poorest of us who will pay with their lives.
Cecilia Nall

City Should Hire Locals

RECEIVED Sat., Jan. 10, 2009

Editor,
    Scanning Mr. Marc Ott's hirings, I can see his lack of trust in Austinites' level of education and thus the failure that the Austin Independent School District represents for East Austinites, despite the millions that Mr. Pat Forgione has scattered among outsiders since he arrived here from Delaware. A Michigan native, Mr. Ott has overwhelmed us with people from Fort Worth; Raleigh, N.C.; Clearwater, Fla.; and now this gent from Chula Vista, Calif. [Ed Van Eenoo] [“Naked City,” News, Jan. 9]. His news reader should update him on the unemployment figures hitting the locals but also on taxes, fees, and fines going to non-Austinites, a third of which go to retirees in other cities!
Paul Aviña

Impeach Bush

RECEIVED Fri., Jan. 9, 2009

Dear Editor,
    It is amazing to consider that the supposedly ethically challenged folks in the Illinois House of Representatives have impeached Gov. Rod Blagojevich, when over in the House of Representatives of the United States of America Nancy Pelosi and John Conyers kept their heads firmly planted in their butts and refused to allow any real hearing on Rep. Dennis Kucinich's 35 articles of impeachment against George W. Bush. Blago's alleged crimes pale in comparison to the criminal charges Rep. Kucinich laid out against Bush. As Dick Cheney told Bob Schieffer on Face the Nation, "All actions of the administration must be legal if Congress failed to impeach the president or any member of his administration." Yeah, that's right; that's what he said. Because of their sickening lack of political will, Pelosi and Conyers have allowed our vaunted system of checks and balances to become a mere joke and have sent a signal to future occupants of the White House that crime pays. Let's all thank Pelosi and Conyers for their good work on behalf of the American people.
With warmest regards,
Billy Kirkland

Peace Requires All Sides to Work Together

RECEIVED Fri., Jan. 9, 2009

Dear Editor,
    Michael King's chiding of Gov. Perry's position on the Hamas/Israeli conflict provides the argument that an oppressed people have justification for terrorism, while self-defense is considered massive state terrorism [“Point Austin,” News, Jan. 9]. Mr. King goes on to admit that he does not know "what will bring an end to this endless cycle of violence." Innocent people dying from bombs from airplanes is just as horrible as innocent children being killed in their schools by suicide bombers. This is not only a conflict about land but really about a people's right to merely exist. Jews and Arabs lived peacefully side by side in this region of the world for thousands of years. Jerusalem was the homeland of the Jews until being decimated by Roman Emperor Pompey in 63BC. The Philistines were the majority population until the 19th century, but the landscape changed with the British Balfour Declaration and the post-World War II U.N. resolution establishing a Jewish state. Yes, battles ensued, oppression occurred, thousands lost their lives. But these tragedies can be sourced well before the establishment of the current Jewish homeland to the beginning of the "extreme" faction of Islam (the sixth and seventh centuries), which to this date clearly believes that Jews do not have a right to exist, anywhere! There will never be peace until Hamas and all other extreme Islamic factions recognize that Jewish people have a right to live on this planet.
Ron Landry

Poetry Printed in 'Chronicle' Is Vulgar

RECEIVED Fri., Jan. 9, 2009

Dear Editor,
    I am writing in response to one of your issues and its use of poetry and selections from area poets. Your choices invariably depend on profanity, lewdness, and vulgarities (and that is the printed version of all the selections, not the spoken). Who decides on the subjects covered and the responses? Why do your poets speak one way and the poetry used in other publications (and church hymnals) shaped differently? Are you unusually poised for profanity because of some unknown reason, or are you about average?
    I do not know how many different poetry styles are known in the Austin/Travis County area, but do they all depend on negative uses in order to gain publication? How many of the profanity-laced poems get a public airing for Christmas, Thanksgiving, or someone's birthday? (I am excluding rhetoric like rap utterings in this field.)
    What about poetry forms from international sources? Do you discourage these poets/wordsmiths from providing profanity-laced samples for publication in the average issue? What is your purpose for including poetry in your usual issue?
Kevin Carstarphen

'Chronicle' Has Failed to Bring Peace to the Middle East

RECEIVED Fri., Jan. 9, 2009

Dear Editor,
    I'd like to thank The Austin Chronicle for its "coverage" of the Middle East crisis. Not only have you failed to bring peace to the Middle East, but you've raised the discordance in Austin.
    Way to think globally while acting locally.
Keep it classy, Louis,
Asher Garber

White House Shouldn't Waste Money

RECEIVED Thu., Jan. 8, 2009

Dear Editor,
    Let me say first, I don't care who paid for it or how the money was raised. Half a million dollars for another set of china for the White House is simply infuriating. As a country, we do not have the money to waste on such frivolous things. It's not like they were eating off the floor before this purchase. White House Social Secretary Amy Zantzinger said they only had two other 134-person place settings of china. These were the Clinton's and Reagan's (both were undoubtedly overpriced and a waste of money, as well). In mockery, I can understand the need for multiple patterns of dinnerware. Can you imagine the embarrassment of having friends eat on the same dinnerware two times in a row? As it would happen, I have a solution. Costco sells huge packs of plastic dinnerware for a reasonable price. They probably have a couple of different patterns, as well. So, the White House could just use the plates for their state dinners and then throw them away. You know where I'm coming from … saves on cleanup time and dish washing.
    I realize that the china has already arrived (it was ordered some time ago). To the Bushes or the Obamas, send it back! Put it on eBay. Whatever. Take that $500,000, and give it to people that have lost their jobs. I'll even find a few for you.
    One hundred fifty workers at Koch in Wichita, Kan.; 130 workers at Genworth in Lynchburg, Va.; 48 at Syracuse University, N.Y.; 750 workers with the North Carolina Department of Transportation; 111 workers at Trane factory in Clarksville, Tenn.; 600 at Cytec Industries in West Patterson, N.J.
    These are the reports of layoffs in the last 30 minutes on Yahoo! News. Yeah, I think those workers may need the money for food to put on the plates that they use every day.
Steven McCloud
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