By Chris Lane
By Jeff Balke
By Aaron Reiss
By Angelica Leicht
By Dianna Wray
By Aaron Reiss
By Camilo Smith
By Craig Malisow
Dynamic arrival: Thanks for doing the feature on my pastor, Dr. Carson, and the ministry of the ROCK ["Godspell," by Michael Serazio, August 21]. It will be a blessing to the Houston area once the word is out that there is a dynamic ministry in town, one with an anointed, wise and wonderful leader who will take their spiritual lives to the next level. We're here to serve! Our transition will not be in vain.
Prophet of profit: I was a member of Carson's church in Houston and Austin, and everything that other fellow told you is definitely true. You hear all the supposedly good things about him -- yeah, he has a good word, but what pimp leader doesn't?
No one talks about his sometimes raunchy sermons? Give me a break; it's all about money for Carson and Carson only. Let one of those members who can't tithe or attend a $200 function go to the church to seek help to get a bill paid. If you are not what he calls a core member he is not going to even speak to you. It's about God, not you, Carson!
Name withheld by request
Mad at Montgomery
Saddam would be happy: I knew James for the last four years as my mechanic who did great work on my car. It is disturbing to know the law in Montgomery County evidently trained under Saddam's regime ["Jail Hell," by Michael Serazio, August 7]. Here we are fighting in Iraq to stop Saddam from this brutality, yet we have this go on at home? This makes me very disturbed, to say the least.
I know James had a checkered life, but the law should be above all that. Where did they get their training? Here or in Iraq, under Saddam? I just cannot get over his death. This must be stopped!
Tobacco cops: About HPD's sting operation ["Tempting Teens," by Craig Malisow, August 14]: Why can't they spend the same time and effort with underage kids who are smoking? They do it everywhere because they know nothing is going to happen to them. Cops don't do anything about it. There is so much advertisement about it, but no one seems to want to take the initiative to put a stop to it.
I can guarantee you that once you start taking away licenses because of it, they will think twice about smoking. If the ads don't make them think about it, maybe that will. If we want to control or put an end to smoking, we need to start with the young. Also, where are the parents? Don't their kids come home smelling like cigarettes, their hands, their hair, the lighter? As parents, we need to take some responsibility as well; maybe stop looking the other way to avoid confrontation.
A reverend speaks: You did a great job [The Insider, by Tim Fleck, August 21]! What Fred told you concerning Mr. Nixon is totally accurate -- he has been in court only twice, and one of those times was to argue for the legislative continuance. In the year prior to that, neither he nor his name appeared anywhere or on any document. He cannot argue with those facts.
I also agree that it is the height of hypocrisy to do what he has done. Both he and our governor strongly opposed the insurance companies last year -- and now both have done an about-face. I am a Republican, so it is quite difficult for me to accept that some of those I voted for care more about rich big business than they do about the individual.
The crowning blow is the proposition Mr. Nixon's committee desires our citizens to pass on September 13. What many do not realize is that corporations could come under this proposition even though they knowingly endangered lives by their actions.
As a Republican, it shames me to say that the only thing that can cause such a change in our leadership's beliefs is money. Money is what large corporations understand and what they use to do their talking. See how much they have received in campaign funds or other gifts from the insurance industry or other big business since work began on this proposition.
Anyway, thank you for your article. I have now saved a link to the Houston Press and will pay closer attention to the work you guys do.
Gordon Sudduth, Ph.D.
Pastor, Oak Ridge Baptist Church
Lessons to be learned: As a father of three, I would like to thank Joe Nixon for assistance in my effort to raise my kids to be responsible adults. I periodically sit them down and discuss both positive and negative character traits. I typically use biblical and/or historical examples to make my points.
In the past, I would use Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker as my example of hypocrisy. Since I learned that Nixon's tort reform package carved out an exception for pending punitive damage awards (and coincidentally he has a big punitive damage award), he has become my example of the consummate hypocrite.
Until recently, I used the leadership at Enron as an example of self-dealing. However, after learning that Nixon settled a mold claim with his homeowners' insurer for more than the value of his house (and became the "Exalted Dragon" of efforts to keep the rest of Texans from being able to do the same), I replaced Enron with the story of how he made a deal with the devil.
After watching with great interest his concerted efforts to harm the very people who elected him, much to the pleasure of big business interests (which seem to be lining his pockets quite nicely), I will be using him as my primary example of betrayal, not to mention treachery.
Stupid Texans: Joe Nixon states in your article, "No one should have to go through this" -- essentially meaning that the mold in his house was so painful to him and his family that he deserved the $300,000. Does he not think that it would be painful for a family to lose a child? Surely a loss of a child is worth more than his mold claim.
The mold claim settlement, and then his enrolling in a case on behalf of State Farm to enjoin a church from going to trial so that they can't get back to worshiping, is not very Christian of him or his party.
Proposition 12 would allow Mr. Nixon to recover $300,000 for his mold claim but not allow a family to recover more than $250,000 for the loss of their child who was run over by an 18-wheeler traveling 60 miles per hour in a school zone. Mr. Nixon championed this bill through the Senate in Texas and has the audacity to claim that it is for the good of Texans. When corporations make $100 billion a year, they can kill a lot of people at $250,000 per person before it even begins to show up on balance sheets as anything other than a miscellaneous expense.
This constitutional amendment says that all Texans are too stupid to sit in a jury box and decide a case based on the facts. No matter how badly an insurance company screws you, its future would be certain: $250,000. No matter how dangerous a car is, the manufacturer's future is certain: $250,000.
If this is what the people of Texas want, then they're about to get it.
Grim situation: Representative Joe Nixon supports Proposition 12 to allow the Texas legislature to cap or decide civil damages in lawsuits filed within the state. Our son Alex was stillborn in April of this year. Since I was treated at UTMB, no lawyer will take our case. There is already a $250,000 cap in place because it is a state entity.
If people do not go out and vote against Mr. Nixon's resolution, they will be in our situation; no one will be held responsible for their loss because the Texas legislature has placed a value on the life of their cherished loved ones.
Please tell the people what this cap really means for them. Marcus and I can find no recourse and would hate to see this happen to others. Apparently they think the voters in Texas actually believe that insurance companies care about us and affordable health care, just like they care about Representative Nixon and his mold problem.
Stompin' at This Bit
Fight song fight: El Toros leader Allen Hill wrote "Toro's Stomp" to be the Texans' mascot theme song, and anyone who has heard it knows that it is the only choice for the team song, not some high school sing-along [Hair Balls, by Richard Connelly, August 21].
Hard-driving, fast-paced surf Tex-rock. The only thing more perfect for touchdowns and hard-core tailgating would be if Billy Gibbons would dub in some raunchy guitar parts. Rumor has it Hill tried to get the Texans to bite on it for a long time, but they just don't have the good sense to listen up. Judge for yourself: www.theeltoros.com/mp3s.html.
More country classics: If Country Legends 97.1 is the No. 1 country station in Houston [Racket, by John Nova Lomax, August 14], it's only because it sucks less than KILT and Q Country. While there have been good and bad country records in any given year, country music has been declining in quality for at least 30 years. Most of the recordings since 1975 are just as awful as Toby Keith and the rest of the 2003 roster of hit makers.
To have a decent classic country format, more emphasis should be placed on records that came out in the period from the Korean War through the Vietnam War. I want to hear more Webb Pierce, Lefty Frizzell, Connie Smith, Hank Thompson, Johnny Bush and Buck Owens. I would just as soon forget that Alabama, the Oak Ridge Boys and T.G. Sheppard ever existed.
There hasn't been a decent classic country radio program in Houston since Larry Gala stopped doing the KIKK Country Oldies Show on KIKK/650 AM several years ago. I just hope 97.1 isn't around 20 years from now giving us "legends" like Faith Hill and Garth Brooks.
A talented DJ: It saddens me that Craig Lindsey, who did the artist write-up for Mister Spacely in the Music Awards guide [July 24], has no idea what he's talking about when it comes to party DJs. He dragged Mister Spacely through the mud for a second year in a row, obviously without knowing anything about him.
Mister Spacely was the only DJ nominated who produces his own music, remixes artists from all over the country and travels and performs at massive events in and around Texas. If you don't know anything about the artist, go see him play or find someone else to write the review.
Dio's still strong: Thank you for the article on Dio ["Soaring on the Wings of a Demon," by Bob Ruggiero, August 14]. It was a welcome change from writings about people much less talented, like the nü-metal crowd about which we get to read most of the time.
I went to see Dio perform at the Pavilion, and all I can say is that for a 60-something-year-old guy, his voice is incredibly powerful and the performance can match any other top-notch act out there today.
No Bubble Brain
Liz has depth: Thank you so much for your article on Liz Phair ["Exile in Whinerville," by Gina Arnold, July 31]. It is appalling how writers can unabashedly attack Ms. Phair, not for her musical ability but for her persona.
I would have hoped that more writers would have the maturity and the openness you possess to view this album for what it is -- an artist doing what she does best: bringing real life into real music. As for Liz wanting to be more like Britney, I think she'd rather be exiled in hell than don the bubblegum crown.
Laura Otto Houston
Phair balance: Awesome! Thank you, thank you, thank you for such an insightful, intelligent and "phair" commentary about Liz Phair and her music.