Our online readers responded to "Asylum Denied" by Chris Vogel and Patrick Michel, September 2:
If you think Mexico is bad: I have an idea — why don't we give asylum to the 40,000 Mandaeans fleeing from Iraq due to the American people's being suckered into an illegal war? If you think what's happening in Mexico is bad, you should be writing an article about the Mandaeans and Assyrian Christians who were forced into a diaspora due to the Iraqi militias that will rape, kill and maim them. The Mandaeans are the world's only continuously extant Gnostic community and they are threatened with genocide. But that won't sell as much ad space for sex slaves...er, "masseuse with showers," in the Houston Press.
I do believe: Why don't they write an article about Mandaeans and Iraq? Let me tell you why — first of all, our country is actually over there trying to do something (not that it excuses what those people are going through) and they've been writing articles about everything in, around and about Iraq since I was in middle school. There are Mexicans (who, by the way, to any future argument aren't stealing our jobs but taking the ones none of you would in your right mind want to do) going through horrible things, like having their faces cut off and sewn onto a football, being beaten and raped to death, robbed for all their belongings, having all their personal information taken so that they can never feel safe as drug narcs watch their every move and threaten those they can use for something! They have towns and entire buildings shot up on a whim just because they're owned by someone from some opposing side.
No one can live in peace in many places — yes — but they are right here and asking and I do believe we can help them.
Stop the violence: As a Mexican-American and legal assistant, you dread hearing the acts of violence the cartels perform on innocent citizens or even worse, our own family. No person wants to live running and no human being deserves to live in fear. Instead of spending billions protecting the borders, they should help the Mexican military (not the government, who are tainted with corruption) to stop the violence because yes, I agree, sooner or later corruption will flood over, but it's already leaking. It's just annoying, the emphasis on U.S. media coverage on Mexico; this has been going on for years, just listen to "corridos"!
Legal immigrants are fine: I am writing to encourage you to tell the truth and not perpetuate lies in your discussion of U.S. immigration policy. The Editor's Note states in part: "Arizona...has passed a law requiring police to ask anyone they think might be here illegally to produce proof of legal status." This act in itself is specifically proscribed. Another lie is the statement that "there is now fervor to drive immigrants out." The issue has never been to drive out legal immigrants, but to simply enforce current U.S. immigration policy.
My Hispanic wife of 33 years and I are both heavily involved in the south Texas Hispanic community, and welcome legal immigrants of all nationalities and support the deportation of illegal immigrants of all nationalities. I know this e-mail will not change your opinion, but hopefully it will at the very least make you consider adhering to some level of journalistic integrity in your reporting.
John Wesner and Lisa Mendoza
There was a lot of mourning of the passing of the Angelika Film Center, "Angelika Film Center Closes, Movie Pickins Get Even Slimmer," Art Attack blog, by Richard Connelly, August 30.
All of a piece: Perfect, now they can put in a Buffalo Wild Wings and the D-Bagging of DT will be complete.
I hope they close Jones Hall and turn it into a combination wine bar/tanning salon.
Bankrupt in the arts: What in the hell gives in Houston? Amazing amount of good restaurants aside, how can the fourth-largest city in the States be so bankrupt when it comes to the arts? Now, I know we have a decent museum scene, as well as a growing music scene, but I mean, come on, how can we have the shittiest radio stations on earth, and now, one less choice to see other-than-mainstream movies?
Moving plea: Please please please find another location for Angelika! As much as we like the River Oaks theater, it is too small! We need a larger venue like Angelika to provide good cinema for Houston! It's indeed one of Houston's jewels.
Food v. Service
Our online story "Dinner at Block 7: Food V. Service," Eating Our Words blog, by Geri Maria Harris, August 30, sparked quite a debate over which part of the dining experience is more important.
Prep work: If you are going to dine out these days, you are going to encounter bad service. Who makes up the bulk of waitstaff in restaurants? That's right, people in their late teens to mid twenties. Seeing as how that generation has been brought up to believe that nothing is ever their fault, the world owes them and having a personal interaction is a group text message about where the next flash mob is going down, how could you expect anything more? Hell, I am shocked when I receive good service from younger people these days. I know they are not all this way, but sadly, the majority is.
No buddy buddy: I want the servers to have some knowledge and be professional, not overly friendly and buddy-buddy personal. Attentive, yet not bothersome. End of the day, food wins.
And the reverse? Food is absolutely paramount. I repeatedly go [reluctantly] to places with terrible service for the good food, but why would I go to a place with good service and bad food?
Failure to Communicate
Online readers were pretty vocal about our story "KTRU Meeting: Rice Administrators Duck," Hair Balls blog, by Jack Wehman, September 2:
No shows: How many more times can the Rice administration treat the students, alumni and community like crap? Why on earth wouldn't at least the dean of undergraduates (Hutchinson) not be there? Or at least Thrane?
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Every action the Rice administration has taken since the announcement has been disgusting. The administration is coming off as immature, uninformed, and scared is definitely the right term.
Perhaps a duel? Rice students should openly and repeatedly challenge Leebron to a public debate over the alleged merits of the sale. Do it over and over again. Then step up the confrontation by bringing the debate home to him, closer and closer, more and more.