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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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Not That "Weird"

RECEIVED Wed., June 24, 2015

Dear Editor,
    Outrage! Woman charges $35 for what should cost hundreds of dollars.
    While I understand that “News of the Weird” [June 19] is only reporting weird news stories, the only thing weird is why this was reported at all. You can buy fetal heart rate monitors and other ultrasound equipment from Amazon.com and other fine retailers. The only difference is they can't call them sonogram machines.
    In Texas you don't even need a license to operate one, but the use for sonograms requires a prescription, and doctor. This is one of many ways the medical system screws Americans: The medical business doesn't want people to be able to get something for cheap.
Mark Cathcart

Pipe Schemes

RECEIVED Tue., June 23, 2015

Dear Editor,
    I was an owner of the One Knite, where Stubb's is now, back in its notorious days in the early Seventies. For over 30 years, though, I've lived in Marfa, one of the communities in the Big Bend, now up in arms over billionaire Kelcy Warren's plan to force a gigantic gas pipeline through our area to connect with another pipeline, owned by even bigger billionaire Carlos Slim, under the Rio Grande at Presidio/Ojinaga. They're calling, with straight faces, the Texas part an "intrastate" project because each company builds only to the river. A similarly sized 42-inch pipeline of Warren's just blew up in South Texas, in a fireball visible 20 miles away. Talk about your Marfa lights. After all, who's ever visited the Big Bend and left without wishing this part of the country had its share of the petroleum industry? In Austin, Warren is perhaps better known as the cacique of Music Road Records. If you're a musician working for this outfit or a patron supporting it, you're not doing the Big Bend any favors.
    In case you needed further convincing, Rick Perry joined the board of Energy Transfer Partners, Warren's pipeline company, in February. If you believe that the trouble with the Big Bend is that it doesn't look enough like the Permian Basin, then you'll love these sweethearts and their billion-dollar toxic scheme.
Gary Oliver
Marfa, Texas

Empty Plinths

RECEIVED Mon., June 22, 2015

Dear Editor,
    The Confederate statues on the UT campus occupy spaces which, because of the landscaping and architecture that surround them, catch the attention of passersby [“Written in Stone,” News, May 29]. If UT officials choose to remove the statues, they will be left with several highly visible and empty stone plinths.
    London's Trafalgar Square has one such empty plinth –"The Fourth Plinth"– and in recent years it's served as the pedestal upon which a variety of artworks have been displayed, each for about a year or so. Perhaps UT could follow London's example and use the Confederate statue plinths as showcases for artworks created by UT art students and faculty.
James Scott Bankston

No More "Improvements"

RECEIVED Mon., June 22, 2015

Dear Editor,
    Shame on the Chronicle! To label more lanes on I-35 as an "improvement" is an abomination [“Headlines,” News, June 19]. More lanes means more cars means more CO2 into the atmosphere. A few more such "improvements" and the human race will be cooked, literally.
Philip Russell

Historical Inaccuracies

RECEIVED Mon., June 22, 2015

Dear Editor,
    The much-ridiculed TV show Texas Rising set a new low for historical accuracy. Your article "Breaking the Chains" [News, June 19] follows suit. Moses Austin never immigrated to Texas. He received permission to bring settlers but died before he could do so. And it was the Spanish, not the Mexican, government which gave him permission to settle.
    His son, Stephen F. Austin, did not inherit land from Moses. By the time Stephen was in a position to bring settlers, Mexico had become independent, and the younger Austin had to apply anew to the Mexican government for permission to bring settlers.
    Finally, the article outdoes even Donald Trump, who merely disparages Mexicans, by simply wiping them off the map. That is the only way Texas could border on Central America.
Felipe Rosales

Painful Reminders

RECEIVED Fri., June 19, 2015

Dear Editor,
    I'm heartbroken by the tragedy that has happened in Charleston. If you are also feeling the loss of these lives, then please join me in asking the University of Texas at Austin to remove all Confederate symbols and statues from the campus [“Written in Stone,” News, May 29].
    A statue may seem meaningless or harmless, but these icons of a racist ideology have long been used to intimidate and harass African-Americans all over the United States. The potency of these symbols which venerate slave owners and the genocidal violence that they committed is particularly deplorable to me, as an African-American alumnus.
    The Ku Klux Klan and other racist vigilante groups were founded by former Confederate soldiers. Currently, the Southern Poverty Law Center tracks contemporary hate groups who uphold the violent legacy of the Confederacy and hold fast to its symbols. The massacre of parishioners attending a prayer meeting at Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church is a continuation of the violence that the Confederacy carried out in the mid-19th century, which was later taken up by the KKK and other white supremacist organizations.
    Members of my family have lived in Texas since the 1870s, so these symbols are potent reminders of the long and arduous fight for civil rights and the continued fight for equal protection under the law.
    I understand that some members of the UT-Austin community support the preservation of Confederate statuary as historic monuments, important markers of what has passed. Yesterday, it became clear to me that the violence and dogma upheld by the Confederacy continue to live in the hearts of minds of misguided Americans. Therefore, these statues no longer represent a historical past but a contemporary philosophy that intends to annihilate African-American people, even the elders in their house of prayer.
    The University of Texas at Austin must take a stand based on the values that it currently upholds. It is an impossible contradiction that the university honors the Confederacy while seeking to create a safe, welcoming learning environment for all students.
Jennifer Steverson
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