Letters to the Editor

Cover Controversy

Treasonous: To desecrate our flag as you have done on your cover is not only a shameless act, but one that should also be considered treasonous [Bolas de Pelo, by Richard Connelly, April 20]. Obviously you are more concerned with shock value than patriotism.

Jim Thomas
Spring

Adaptation: Ya know, Richard, I usually really like your articles, and I've written in to say so previously. Today, I have to take issue with this parenthetical comment: "Because you never see the green, white and orange at a St. Patrick's Day parade, you know." Please allow me to point out that I am the daughter of an immigrant from Ireland, who came here legally and obtained her citizenship legally. The bulk of the Irish in this country who came over to escape the potato famine did so legally, through Ellis Island. We were all but forced to sacrifice our heritage when we arrived. Ever see that "No Irish Need Apply" sign? My point is the Irish got here legally, adapted to the culture, and we've bloody well earned the right to wave the Irish flag on St. Patrick's Day. You won't catch us hoisting the U.S. flag upside down. I see plenty of "Irish-American" bumper stickers.

The Irish, as one of the first wave of "unwanted" immigrants, appreciate what America has to offer, and we contribute to the welfare and well-being of this country via our tax dollars, as well as sending money back home to Ireland. I guess my point is that my particular group of immigrants went about becoming Americans without a sense of utter entitlement, and maybe that is what's ruffling our red, white and blue feathers. Tiocfaidh ar la!

Sorcha Hysmith
Houston

Speak American: In reference to the Mexican-titled Hair Balls issue of the Houston Press, I have this to say: I speak American, not Mexican, so perhaps you should translate the headlines so that the lesser, overtaxed citizens of this city, such as me, will understand.

Do you know where I can get my journalist/commentary/reporter button? I've tried the "cracker"-jack box and still just keep coming up with half of it, you know, kind of like your commentary reporting.

I have a few questions: Do you know the difference between a parade and a protest? And the little ice cream vendor cross the road with his arm in a sling -- how did he fit 600 items in his little bicycle? How much tax did he pay on the money earned? Who paid his hospital bills? What company hired him for labor? Can you recommend a good shovel? One that will muck up all the manure falling out of your commentary and one that will allow me to place my head as deep in the sand as yours?

As for Shannon Arteche, who illegally crossed the border when he was four, "served in the armed forces" and cries, "Now they want to make us criminals," I have two questions: Who exactly is "they"? How was it possible for an illegal alien to serve in the U.S. armed forces?

Here's a tip, Senor Shannon, the term "illegal" means "prohibited by the law," and if you engage in illegal activities, then you are, in fact, a criminal.

If finding that shovel involves too much research, then perhaps you can tell me where I can find a sticker of Calvin pissing on Richard Connelly?

Stupid little Irish-Indian-Cracker, name withheld by request
Humble

Crack down: The recent protests regarding immigration reform demonstrate the balkanization of America caused by rampant illegal immigration. Yes, America is a nation of immigrants, but those who came here in the 19th century and early 20th century were legal immigrants who learned English, embraced their new nationality and participated fully in American life, unlike the illegal immigrants of recent decades.

Illegal immigration violates America's national sovereignty. We must reject amnesty for illegal immigrants. Rewarding lawbreakers will only encourage more illegal immigration. Amnesty insults legal immigrants who complied with extensive paperwork and long waiting periods.

A constitutional amendment must be passed to end birthright citizenship. Citizenship involves much more than birth location. It also requires cultural connections and an allegiance to the United States. As long as birthright citizenship continues, foreigners will always have an incentive to sneak into the country.

The welfare state must also be eliminated or greatly reduced to discourage illegal immigrants from coming here to get on the gravy train. Much more must be done to secure our borders and crack down on illegal immigration.

Kent Probst
Houston

Wait a minute: How remarkably easy it is to take a cheap shot at actual U.S. citizenry in the form of the Minutemen volunteers. Despite the fact that the Minutemen have saved the lives of countless illegal immigrants as first responders with water and first aid when many would have died of shock, water depravation and heat exhaustion, the Houston Press could do no better than impinge their patriotic cause with a racial epithet, despite the diverse ethnicity of the organization. When has the Houston Press ever seen fit to write an informed investigative story on the Minutemen?

All those weekly articles written in Spanish in the Houston Press should give your editors a clue as to how many of your readers speak and read Spanish as a primary language. Surely the advertisers in your paper would prefer a completely Spanish format. Unquestionably, those same illegal migrants you championed understand and embrace fully the humor behind The City, This Modern World, Red Meatand Partially Clips, and they each desperately need to know where to find a full-body massage from a Samoan transsexual in liquid latex.

Were the Houston Press actually the journalistic entity it believes and portrays itself to be, it would leave its assumptions of bigotry behind and write an investigative report detailing the U.S. federal government's creative figures that come out every quarter vs. the actual influx of new illegals from south of the border during the same time period. There are simply not enough jobs, nor public funds, to support current U.S. citizens, current legal immigrants and current illegal colonists.

Though problematic, Chris Baker may be more prophetic than you can possibly imagine come May 1, 2006.

B. Floodbart
Houston

Just Ad Anger

Hate is hate: I can't believe you printed that disgusting ad for American Life League [page 19, April 20]. What were you thinking? You wouldn't print an ad from Holocaust deniers, would you? Why would you print an ad accusing Planned Parenthood of genocide? You don't have to like Planned Parenthood or abortion to know that this ad stinks. Whose life is improved by its appearance? Hate is hate, in whatever venue. Shame on you.

Carole Marmell
Houston

Smearing Sanger: Planned Parenthood does more than any other organization to ensure women and families have access to the quality health care and information they need to make responsible, informed decisions about family planning. Each year we provide nearly five million women, men and teens with medically accurate sex education and reproductive health care and information. In 2005, people across Houston and throughout southeast Texas turned to us for health care in 106,000 visits for birth control, emergency contraception, breast and cervical cancer screenings, HIV testing and counseling, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections and more.

On April 20 your newspaper printed an advertisement from a fringe operation whose main goal is to eliminate women's access to birth control and reproductive health care by attacking Planned Parenthood and our founder, Margaret Sanger.

Extreme groups will employ every ludicrous tactic in the book to achieve their goals, including attempts to paint our founder as a racist.

In her lifetime, Sanger urged women to use contraceptives so that they would not have to risk the dangers of illegal, back-alley abortion. She condemned the American eugenics movement for advocating that the state, not women themselves, decide who must have children and who must not. She never advocated using birth control for racist goals. In fact, Sanger worked closely with other social justice leaders of her time and believed that a woman's right to control her own body is the foundation of her human rights. She collaborated with health care providers in the African-American community to serve women who were denied access to their city's health and social services simply because of their race. Her visionary work won the respect of international figures of all races and nationalities, including the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.; Mahatma Gandhi; Shidzue Kato, the foremost family planning advocate in Japan; and Lady Dhanvanthi Rama Rau of India.

It's shameful that anti-family-planning extremists have targeted Sanger, who died decades ago, with their smear campaign. If the extremists behind this attack ad were truly concerned with reducing the need for abortion in any community, they would stand with Planned Parenthood to keep families healthy and help prevent unintended pregnancies. It is proven that access to contraception and medically accurate sex education protects women and families. Vitriolic attack ads have never done that.

Peter J. Durkin
President & CEO, Planned Parenthood of Houston and Southeast Texas, Inc.

Correction

The April 13 feature, "Horse Flesh," misspelled the name of Kathleen Hofferty, a nurse who attended a Magnolia horse auction. Hofferty is the founder of Ipswich Equine Rescue.

The Houston Press regrets the error.

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