Pull Back the Cover
Old wounds: During the McVeigh incident when papers had not been turned over ["Files Not Found," by Steve McVicker, July 19], I heard someone say a qualifying statement: I like to judge how free I am by how many people take cover when needed because they know of repercussions that I might not know about. When I see my fellow citizens taking cover, then I know I'm not free.
I felt my nation die when the Waco building went up in flames and had the Delta Force there. I would never have done what McVeigh did, but to think there would not be an American who would have pursued retribution would be silly. I'm not a German, and this is not 1943, where I smell flesh burning and say nothing.
Your piece on Mr. Brown was so, so sad. My grandfather had a competitor bank put a run on his bank. Two other banks put up their assets and went with him to the New York Federal Reserve for money to ward off the run. But my grandfather had spells after that, spells that came far more frequently than they had in the past. Please tell Mr. Brown his story may make all who read the story take action, and so he is a soldier with wounds from a war on our soil from within our own government against their own people.
Nancy Brinckerhoff Russo
Pick of the litter: In the article "Spaced Out" by Jeffrey Gilbert [July 19], Andrea Keller was quoted as saying, "The school's neighbors need to be more tolerant. When people bought their houses in Bellaire, they knew there was a school there. They need to keep it like it is."
Well, she's right: I knew there was a school and chose my house because it was close for my three children. I don't mind the students parking on my street, but I don't like them trashing my yard, driving at 50-plus miles an hour in a 30-mph zone, endangering the lives of my family and treating us as if we had done something wrong by asking them to pick up their litter. Existing laws against littering and speeding should be strictly enforced.
Back to the bus: Regarding your "Spaced Out" article, I wrote a letter to the Houston Press about it a year ago (which was mocked with the title "Magic Bus" in the Letters section). Your article does not mention what options students have for busing in the Bellaire school district. I come from the East Coast, where the majority of kids are driven to school on buses.
It is an economic, simple, efficient means of transporting kids to school, and it apparently works well everywhere else in the country outside of Houston. Maybe I don't understand the dynamics of Bellaire High School, where girls like Andrea Keller have the luxury of owning their own Ford Explorers to drive to school.
I went to a school where students got government vouchers for meals because they couldn't afford the $1.25 school lunch, so I fail to have sympathy with the Bellaire argument of students not wanting to take a bus because they would lose their "off-campus lunch privileges." Maybe I don't understand the Bellaire High mentality, where to every teenager, owning a car is such a God-given right that to imagine waiting for a bus is beneath them.
Do It Yourself
Bad hair daze: I wonder what Supercuts or the other chain haircutters think about this article by Melissa Hung ["Hair Line," July 19]. The fact that you can name the really good stylists in a short paragraph says a lot about the quality of product from these facilities. Trevino's secret to success sounds like a company motto, "great, consistent haircut at an affordable price." Supercuts and others would have you believe that every haircut they sell is great and consistent. I got tired of listening to my husband complain about bad haircuts eight years ago. He (and my son) now get great, consistent haircuts from me, and I wasn't even trained in the Supercuts way. Let's face it: The only reason Supercuts and a lot of other places are still around is that bad or good, we still need to have our hair cut.
Donna W. Smith
High (Water) Marks
Trailer twister: I have become an active volunteer in the natural-disaster early-warning system for the greater Houston area. Upon notification of an impending tornado, I have made arrangements to tow a rented mobile home and park it in Richard Connelly's front yard -- all in hope of another gem like "Wading for Godot" [July 5]. Well done.
Paying the price: I am a relatively new reader of the Houston Press, and I just wanted to reiterate the praise that others have heaped upon the flood-related article "Wading for Godot." The writing was great -- funny, insightful and very readable. I will definitely be looking for more of his work. Please pass on these kudos and let me know if he has written anything else I could read.
Keep up the great magazine; the price is great, too!
Darcie is only decent: I saw the original production of Funny Girl on Broadway, and believe me, Darcie Roberts in no way "goes a long way toward eclipsing" Barbra Streisand, nor indeed even Mimi Hines, who took over the role ["A Star Is Born," by Lee Williams, July 19]. Ms. Roberts with her slight charms does offer a decent performance, and it was pleasant to see the show again.
Your reviewer cites two interpolated songs that were not used in the original show: "I'd Rather Be Blue" and "My Man." These were songs made famous by Brice and were included in the movie. Actually, Ms. Streisand recalls having sung "My Man" just once during the Broadway run: at her last performance of the show on December 26, 1965. But hey, you're just kids; what do you know about theater history?
Rebate woes: What tax cut ["Beating the Bush," by Brad Tyer, July 12]? I'm giving $585 of my $600 tax cut to Reliant Energy to cover the 41 percent increase they imposed on us.
Tax cut? Tax cut? We didn't get no stinking tax cut!
Alternative learning costs: I would like to know what special qualifications and expertise a business organization like CEP has that the Harris County public school system lacks in the area of alternative education ["Learning How to Survive (at) CEP," by Wendy Grossman and Margaret Downing, May 31].
By the admission of top CEP Houston representative Gordon Anderson, few of the teachers are certified, and the school lacks teachers who are able to answer "high-level" questions in some subjects, such as math. And how does putting troubled students in front of computers for most of the day enhance their chances for rehabilitation?
It does not take an expert to figure out that if alternative education is to succeed, certain key elements are essential. There should be thorough educational and psychological evaluation, small classes, specially trained teachers and aides, an extensive support system of psychologists, counselors, social workers, nurses, speech pathologists and parent involvement.
Is it expensive? You bet it is. But the alternatives are even costlier: high crime rates, more prisons, imported workers, increased homelessness. The true test would be for HISD to commission a study to investigate the costs of CEP, failures notwithstanding, and compare them to costs if the district ran its own program with the guidelines suggested above.
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Those Democrats! Here are some facts that Tim Fleck left out of his piece about Terry McAuliffe [The Insider, July 5]:. McAuliffe put up $1.35 million of his own money to personally guarantee the Clintons' Chappaqua mortgage. He also has been a target of federal investigations into questionable business deals, illegal fund-raising and campaign finance abuses involving his father-in-law, the DNC and the Teamsters union.
Robert E. Martin