Great American Sway
Undeserving immigrants: When reading the "Lost Boys" article [by Jennifer Mathieu, April 18], I was amazed. I guess I didn't realize how America looks to (some) people not living here -- i.e., the streets paved with gold and plenty for everyone, just for the asking!
As those men have learned, however, we have social stratification just like every other country. Most of the educated people who live here have come to the realization that no one owes us a living -- it is the individual's responsibility to acquire some marketable skills if he or she wants a decent wage. The Lost Boys' attitude seems to be "We are very grateful for the help given, but we need/deserve/are owed more."
Without a doubt, these boys are learning the true American way!
Fed up: Very good article by Jennifer Mathieu. It appears that although the "boys" are having a difficult time in America, they are far better off here than where they came from. Unfortunately, we have Americans who need those jobs, too. We cannot continue to "feed the world."
Sterile at UH
An unresponsive administration: As a UH history professor, I read your article with interest [The Insider, by Tim Fleck, April 11]. I would agree with much of what the faculty said about Sheridan. I would like to emphasize that it isn't merely a question of style or even the mechanics of faculty governance that disturbs so many of us about the Smith-Sheridan regime. What strikes me is the sterility of the present administration and its failure to seize the opportunities presented by good economic times and relatively generous state budgets.
The administration has failed to advance the university's core functions, while concentrating on peripheral issues such as athletics. The result has been a steady decline in the environment for teaching and research and a dramatic decline in faculty morale. Although university enrollment has grown by about 20 to 30 percent since the mid- to late '80s, we have lost about 150 faculty members, roughly 15 percent of the total. Ironically, no meaningful attrition has occurred at the administrative level, where 100 senior administrators now care for 850 faculty. The 8-1 ratio of faculty to administrators stands in stark contrast to the 30-1 or 40-1 ratio of students to faculty.
No new classrooms have been created, so we're bursting at the seams, and our students can't finish their degrees in a timely fashion, because they can't get into required classes. Our library is ranked last among research libraries, a problem that won't be solved by erecting a new building.
Even at the level of the highest-paid, most visible faculty, the attrition is noticeable. The regents, who intervened in the search to hire Smith, seem blissfully unaware of the damage done and of the profound discontent of the faculty and staff.
Wife's tale: Great piece on UH politics, Mr. Fleck. I've always heard that academic politics was the worst of all, and you certainly seem to have confirmed that point. What a mess! I mean, appointing Mrs. Sheridan as a dean of a college Mr. Sheridan supervises is just unbelievable! I assume that the provost is an intelligent man. Can he not grasp the meaning of the word "nepotism"?
Drug coverage: Thanks for writing "The Cannabis Caper" [by John Suval, March 28]. Keep it up!
We need all the sensible writing on this subject we can get.
Move over: It really pisses me off that a response was published ["Life in the Slow Lane," Letters, April 18] that has nothing to do with what I had to say in my original letter.
I have not driven into central Houston, just Kingwood. My problem is with drivers who do not abide by Texas law, which states to move right when driving slower. If people gave five seconds of thought to anyone other than themselves, they would realize that a driver is being hampered by another driver who has no reason to impede my progress other than to justify his own statement about my "reckless" driving.
Some people drive slow, some fast, some good, some bad. But how I drive is my right; it is everyone's choice how they treat other drivers. Either let me go by, or choose to ignore common courtesy to satisfy your personal vendetta against people in more of a hurry than you.
If I am walking on a sidewalk, would you stay in front of me because I am a "reckless walker"?
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Kernels of Truth
Fun films: I really enjoyed your review ["Rock in Role," by Luke Y. Thompson, April 18]: simple and concise. But I have to disagree with your assessment that The Mask was a B movie. It was an excellent piece of work, with A-list stars (at least now they are) and exceptional special effects work.
For that matter, The Blob wasn't so bad either. I'm not a fan of the WWF, but I'm a big fan of the Mummy flicks and am really looking forward to The Scorpion King. Popcorn movies are the best movies. This sounds like a good one.