Photo, Rosary and a Laptop
Online readers comment on "Prized Possessions," by John Nova Lomax, January 19:
Thank you: It's a much-needed reminder that these are real people we're dealing with, not extras from Central Casting.
It's obvious that some folks on the streets are seriously out of touch with reality. Even if housing can be found or created for them, that is not quite enough. They need structure, and someone on the premises to monitor them and look out for their neighbors, too. Mainstreaming the mentally ill is a nice ideal, but society needs to take responsibility somehow for people who can't be responsible for themselves. And this needs to be done without trampling on their rights, or the rights of anyone else.
Thanks for a very illuminating look at some lives.
News Editor, House the Homeless
People, too: My uncle died a homeless man. Before that he was a husband, father and my dad by default (after my parents divorced). He would take us camping and sit outside with us and watch us play. The girls were never allowed to wimp out of anything the boys were capable of, and he made us try weird foods and contributed to my love of classic rock. He was an extraordinary man. I never turn a deaf ear or a blind eye to a homeless person — they're people, too.
Thank you for this: Stories like these remind me that our material possessions don't mean crap, and it is true that you don't necessarily have to be an alcoholic or a drug addict to be homeless; homeless people come from all walks of life. Lord knows that a lot of us are one paycheck away from being where they are. Not one of these people complained about anything, even though they had the platform to do so. Lord forgive me when I whine.
My favorite story was that of Billy Temple, the gentleman who used a good portion of his disability check to help his daughter pay for her cap and gown. I can see the pride in his eyes for her, and yes, Mr. Temple, I think that she is proud of you, too. You did a lot more for her with that $400 than most men in better situations do for their children. I'd be proud of you if you were my dad.
Story of a Neighborhood
A clarification: I enjoyed the article "Still Standing" [Katharine Shilcutt, January 13, 2010]. I wanted to add one clarification. JoBeth Williams attended and graduated from Jesse H. Jones High School, which is in South Park. However, she did not grow up in South Park. Her family lived on Stanwick, between Bellfort Avenue and Westover Street. That is close to Hartman Middle School, which is approximately two miles east of the Mykawa Road boundary cited in the story. I know this because she was a classmate of mine.
Online readers weigh in:
Bravo: It's awesome how you took a burger place and made a feature story about it that encompassed the whole neighborhood.
Questions ignored: Kudos to author Katharine Shilcutt for an excellent attempt at the touchy-feely-cum-socio-anthropological genre. Shame on her editors.
Pros: 1) Her stepdad sounds like a smart, together guy who has authentically been through the "wars," but retains his sanity and humanity. He, his experience and his insights were good for the story.
Cons: 1) The Korean family (whose story it ostensibly is) is only touched on lightly at the beginning and end of the story — we don't learn enough about them. 2) The middle part of the story highlights problems in South Park, especially regarding housing and education, but never explores failures that led to its current plight.
The story fails to offer any reasons for the decline of the neighborhood over the past decades, other than that "whites moving out" and "Hispanics are moving in."
A few pertinent, unasked questions: Could the welfare program be to blame for people who move into housing that they can't afford? Could it be that people who run the school system are more concerned with "running the system" and keeping the "educators" in their comfortable status quo than they are concerned about the students?
These are big questions, totally ignored in this basically bleeding-heart, "feel-good-in-a-perverse-way" story about which no one should feel good.
Wow: Who would have thought Burger Park would be noticed, or South Park for that matter? This is a great article about a great place to eat and the great people who have kept Burger Park running for years.
Online readers comment on "Conservatives' Plan to Close Budget Gap: Sell Liquor on Sundays!!" Hair Balls blog, by Richard Connelly, January 19:
Oh, perfect: More compassionate conservatism!
I shall use the more readily available Maker's Mark to assuage my stagnant earnings, the cuts in my kids' school music program and the state's dwindling mental health programs. During the same buzz, I will come to applaud the clear justice of my neighbor's $3.2 million salary left unhindered by additional taxes and his estate being passed, minimally taxed, to the two kids I see out my window now returning from an Aspen vacation.
If alcohol can do all this, while striking at the deficit, we should all say cheers! Cheers to a newfound separation of state and church!
Where's the evidence? This makes it sound like Texans drink so much alcohol in a day now that they can't get through Sunday without buying more.
Is there any evidence that sales rise significantly when a state adds Sunday liquor sales? Or do you have pretty much the same demand spread over seven days instead of only six? If it is mostly the same demand, then wouldn't adding the seventh day raise costs to the retail outlets?
Why am I seeing the possibility of no appreciable increase in the money received by the state, as the retail outlets raise prices to cover store costs for the seventh day of sales?
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Lost revenue: I know that there have been Sundays when I have been flipping through a recipe book, I see something that looks awesome and I'm all set to make it before I see that it requires a hard liquor. That's definitely lost revenue for the state.
No more morality laws: It's about freaking time Texas came ambling out of the dark ages of moral pushiness. Coming from Louisiana, New Orleans, I was shocked to find out that Texas, the cowboy, rough-and-tough, don't-take-no-shit-from-anyone state, pandered to morality laws seemingly set by a church lady. I miss the opportunity to buy liquor 24 hours a day, seven days a week from anywhere. Yes, that's right, there you can go down to the bodega to get smokes, a po-boy, milk and, yes, that evil fire water anytime you, as an adult, want to.