By Jeff Balke
By Aaron Reiss
By Angelica Leicht
By Dianna Wray
By Aaron Reiss
By Camilo Smith
By Craig Malisow
By Jeff Balke
Executions are really murder: John Birmingham [Letters, March 22] appears unaware of the provisions of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure on death sentences ["Knowing Right from Wrong," by Steve McVicker, March 8]. Jurors must find a probability that the defendant would commit violent criminal acts "that would constitute a continuing threat to society," and find that there are not sufficient mitigating circumstances to warrant life imprisonment.
As such, Texas law already seeks to protect society. The law proscribing murder is founded upon the societal premise that killing is wrong, except in war and self-defense or defense of third persons (under circumstances warranting the immediate use of deadly force).
Persons sentenced to death are kept by themselves in a small cage for 23 hours each and every day, and are shackled when they are moved. When the time comes, several guards lead them to the execution chamber. They are then completely immobilized and strapped onto the execution gurney. Before the killing agents are administered, they are given a sedative that renders them docile.
There isn't any war under way, and absolutely no threat to any other person. If the legislature hadn't given the state permission to do it, the execution would be called murder. And that, in fact, is exactly what it is.
It is patently absurd and hypocritical for society to say that killing is wrong and then to say also that it will kill.
Vices and virtues: Great story ["Hitting the Highs and Lows with Little Joe Washington," by Jennifer Mathieu, March 22]. I have already placed Wednesday night on my calendar to go see Little Joe perform his magic. You did a fine job of illustrating life's rocky ride for Little Joe because of his great vices running into conflict with his great virtues.
One man's effort (Reg Burns's) created a climate that gives Little Joe a chance to succeed. It seems to me he is the real hero. His effort to assist this fellow who was long ago written off by the rest of us is my definition of virtue.
A big chunk of Reg Burns's life was dedicated to giving this fellow a chance. It matters little if Little Joe succeeds or not -- Reg Burns is a success story.
High praise: I've smoked a joint or two with Little Joe, and he is supercool. I used to see him at the Blue Iguana, and even more recently every Tuesday night at the Last Concert Cafe. He's the man. Someday we'll all be proud we knew Little Joe.
That other Joe: I much enjoyed your piece. On more than one occasion, I have seen Joe Hughes give up his guitar to Little Joe at the Big Easy. That's very generous, given the body parts Little Joe uses in his playing. Your article shows what a true class act Joe Hughes is. He's a pretty fair guitar player too.
On a recent night, I had a 45-minute window to see Little Joe play. He was very busy signing copies of the Press and making time with the women in the club. Maybe some other night. Thank you again for a good read.
Pick of the Litter
Charlie's angel: Hurray for Charlie Fondow ["Withering Heights," by Jennifer Mathieu, March 29]! I've wondered for some time who the daring soul is whose house possesses such architectural individuality. My van pool passes that neighborhood every weekday, and I look forward to catching a glimpse of the turrets. They give a delightful, old-world aspect to an otherwise unexceptional view.
I wish we had more visionaries like him around. Driving through Montrose and other near-town areas can be depressing, what with all the newly thrown up (literally) condo/ multiplex housing units with their dreadful neoclassical, ultramodern and "early Attica" facades. Mr. Fondow should be an inspiration to us all to take pride in the homes we live in, and let them, at least to some degree, be expressions of ourselves and our dreams. You go, Mr. Fondow.
No gas for KSEV: What crap [News Hostage, by Richard Connelly, March 29]! Sour grapes. KSEV is not "old fart" radio. Chris Baker was not only annoying as heck, but boring, boring, boring and rude, rude, rude. I'll never tune to KPRC again. And by the way, Jon Matthews has many years left in him to inform and entertain his audience.
Music to our ears: I see that your Richard Connelly is still finding "ranting conservative talk-show hosts" under his bed. And as usual, he could not write a truthful statement about any of the players he was ranting about if it came up and bit him on the ass.
I've seen left-wing nuts like Roger Gray, Larry King, Jim Hightower and others bite the dust for the simple reason they could not draw an audience. Apparently no one at Clear Channel has ever heard the axiom "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."