Re-vealing Article

Truth in menus: Thank you for your wonderful article ["The Cow Says 'Oink,' " by Robb Walsh, January 22]. My family and I follow the same dietary guidelines as the Jews and Muslims, even though we are neither.

We never would have known that beef was being switched out with pork. We will help in making our voices heard about the truth-in-menu laws.

Jerry L. Rowley

Pigging-out prober: In respect to the story on Houston eateries' substituting pork for veal, kudos to Robb Walsh for bringing this situation to our attention.

However, I am surprised he tested the veal at Tony's. Tony's swapping pork for veal? C'mon, Robb, you just wanted dinner at Tony's on the expense account.

Paul Driscoll

By the Book

Theories on CITGO: I enjoyed your article on CITGO ["Moving Target," by Sarah Fenske, January 15]. While I strongly disagree with CITGO's tactics, having worked as a middle manager at three major oil companies prior to my recent retirement, I figure CITGO is probably no better or worse than any other major oil company -- it's desperately trying to make money running a badly deteriorating refinery, while faced with intense competition from newer, more efficient refineries.

One point: You quote PACE representative Jim Lefton regarding the refinery's paying out some $750,000 under arbitrators' orders, "Either they are incompetent or they don't care." I strongly doubt that it's either.

Oil companies have quirky ways of assigning expenses. My guess is that when the managers allow an employee claim, the amount goes against their employee cost and finds its way to the bottom line of the refinery operation. However, if the claim is denied and the case goes to arbitration, those costs and any resulting award go against another budget category, probably legal expense, which is typically applied "below the line."

Managers are not saddled with that expense against their operating budget, and the $5,000 spent (a pittance when compared with the costs of running a refinery) might discourage swarms of other employees from pressing claims.

To paraphrase a line from The Godfather, "Nothing personal, just business."

Name withheld by request
Sugar Land

Hip-hop Slop

Bad rap: Bless you for having the courage to ask the badly needed "emperor's new clothes" questions in the article on the Hip-Hop Summit ["Bling Thing," Hair Balls, January 22]. As far as I know, none of the other media outlets that covered it asked those questions.

I don't know one rapper from another, but I know that the lyrics you asked the event coordinator and PR lady about are not nearly as bad as it gets in the land of gangsta rhyming. I also know there is nothing in the dehumanizing, crude messages that is going to make our society better.

The middle-aged suits who led the rally to promote the Hip-Hop Summit either have no idea just how disgusting the stuff they're endorsing really is, or they're morally bankrupt.

Roger Smith
Sugar Land

No more dissin': Thanks, Hair Balls, for the out-of-context quotes of certain hip-hop artists. Thanks for providing a completely biased piece about a historic event. Why not spare us the rush to judge the lyrics of some artists? Why not keep it positive? Isn't the goal of the Hip-Hop Summit to raise awareness, register voters, teach responsibility and show the public that all rappers are not negative?

Why not make that the focus of your piece? Probably too much research for ya, huh? Hmm... Or, maybe it's because a negative article might discourage attendance and water down the potential numbers of newly registered voters.

Next time, why not interview Scarface with your sarcasm and mockery? Maybe then you'd understand why he penned those lyrics that you chose to print wholly out of context. Otherwise, you come across as a "haterade-drinking" Dennis Miller wannabe. The real journalists, educators, lawyers, doctors and civilians I know who will attend certainly do not consider themselves MFs, but that's what you end your piece with. I defy you to attend (c'mon, don't you wanna be an MF?) and identify yourself.

I'm just looking for some balance when it comes to reporting hip-hop, man. Including Wyclef in the same sentence as Jurassic 5 is a screaming testament to your lack of hip-hop knowledge. Next time, study your subject before you criticize. And remember: Increase the peace.

Robert J. Smith

Great Poe-tential

Ted's terrific: I've known Ted Poe for more than 25 years; we have tried cases on both sides of the bench [The Insider, by Tim Fleck, January 22]. As a prosecutor, he was relentless in doing his job without fear. One thing any defense attorney could count on was a brutal, hard, tough time in the pits. The other thing was a fair fight. And I do mean fair.

In our many cases, he never ever lied, cheated, failed to disclose information or did anything that would affect a fair and impartial trial.

In the many, many cases I've tried before Judge Poe, there were a lot with very bad circumstances and horrible facts that a lot of judges could not handle with the poise, dignity and judicial professionalism he exhibited in following the law without emotion.

I have also had the pleasant opportunity to know the Poe family on a personal level, in his private life with his wife and children. They are a loving and caring family, not only for themselves but for the whole community. I am proud to know and respect them.

To whatever office Judge Poe aspires, I will personally be there for him with time, money and assistance.

Ronald Mock

Acronyms à la Enron

To the point: F.A.S.T.O.W.: Fuck All Stockholders Take Our Winnings [The Insider, by Tim Fleck, January 15].

John Reid

On the Crude Side

A great impersonator: How come your writer George Flynn didn't know what we in the social set have known for years: that Judy Nichols is really Rich Little in very bad drag ["(In)voices from the Dead," January 15]? She's obviously no lady.

Name withheld by request


Disgusted with Dillard's: I thought the Dillard's article was terrific and long overdue ["A Closer Look at Dillard's," by Margaret Downing, January 8]. I'm a black woman, and I worked at Dillard's at Willowbrook Mall for two months in the early '90s while I was a UH student. I had frequent contact with the security guards.

One of the guards was near me when he got a call on his walkie-talkie. A sales clerk informed him that he was needed because there were two suspicious black males in the electronics department. The officer said he'd be right there, then he looked at me and said, "I bet you think what she said was racist, don't you?"

I said, "No, not necessarily. But why are they suspicious? Is it because these two guys are doing something suspicious, or are they suspicious simply because they are two black males?"

He looked at me, rolled his eyes and said he didn't see any difference.

I put in my two weeks' notice.

M. Yvonne Taylor

Thirty Percent Discount

The plot's the Proof: Had I not already seen Proof before attending the Alley's production, I'd have been furious at reviewer Lee Williams for revealing one of the best first-act curtain-shockers in contemporary theater ["Proof Positive," January 22].

Alleygoers unaware of playwright David Auburn's hard-earned surprise had about 30 percent of the value of their tickets whacked off by her unprofessionalism.

And "Well, a touring company had already played here" is not an excuse.

Jeff Millar

Ayes of Laura

Balancing act: Thanks for the review of Laura Lark's work ["Connect the Dots," by Keith Plocek, January 8]. A well-balanced piece.

John C. Lark
Columbus, Georgia

Peace Songs

Cover up: Don't forget about the Black Eyed Peas' song about going to war and the reason for being under cover ["Messing with Texas," by Jason Bracelin, January 15].

Andrew Sarantapoulas

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