Letters to the Editor

For Your Information

Teacher's pet: Well done, and with a nice flair ["Needling the Haystack," by Keith Plocek, May 18]! I've read more of these than you care to think about, as I run the National Freedom of Information Coalition at the Missouri School of Journalism, and let me tell you, that was a fun one!

Charles Davis
Columbia, Missouri



Great job! As a former editor and publisher, I'd have killed for reporters like you... You even blew me away when you presented the superintendents' salaries.

I'm the kind of (now retired) editor who usually has lots of questions after reading a story. With yours: none! Terrific.

And very nicely written; credit where due, names, quotes from the idiots, sense of humor. Wow.

Pete Selkowe
Racine, Wisconsin

Kudos: I've taught undergrad journalism classes for a number of years, and I'm always looking for something that explains the essence of the issues around FOIA -- your story is just priceless! Kudos and I'm photocopying now.

Angelia Herrin
Cambridge, Massachusetts

The Debate Rages On

Alien nation: This time your big mouth wrote a check that your ass can't cash...What part of "illegal" do you not understand, Mr. Torres? ["Unfair Enough," Letters, May 11.] Look, jerk, you are sorely uneducated and ignorant for comparing several hundred years of slavery, lynchings and hangings to your border jumpers. Furthermore, this law is aimed at illegal aliens, not immigrants. "Economic refugee"? What is that, exactly? Is that when you send all of your untaxed cash to your relatives in Mexico, only to be taxed by the Mexican government? Do you even know enough about American history to speak knowledgeably about what African-Americans in this country have gone through? Somehow, I don't think so. Let me clue you in on something, Torres, if that's even your real name. The good citizens of this country do not want to have to pick up the slack of paying your taxes for you. So do us all a favor: Register with the INS, pay the $2,000, stand in lines longer than Highway 59 rush-hour traffic, and receive your citizenship like everyone else. Oh, and by the way, you may have to learn the national anthem in English.

Richard Grant

Desirable or deported: I agree with Kent Probst ["Crack Down," Letters, May 4]: We should eliminate birthright citizenship. But I don't think we should stop with the first generation. We should require all kids to pass some sort of "desirability" test when they reach 18, or risk being deported to the homeland of their ancestors. We could quickly get rid of some of the third- and fourth-generation losers we have here and make room for someone better. Hey, if you're not worthy, we'll send you back. Every person stands on their own.

Kurt Kessler

A Side of Grumpy

Never again, Telephone Thai: Great article ["Houston's Food Nazis," by Brian McManus, May 4], but -- and you're going to be hearing this from a lot of people -- how could you have missed the (expletive deleted) of all (expletive deleted), the owner of Kanomwan Thai on Telephone Road?

I have eaten there for years. For years our nickname for him has been Grumpy Gus.

Thailand has some of the most gentle, laid-back people you could imagine. Go to any Thai restaurant in town and you'll be treated with courtesy and respect.

About two weeks ago, we had a bad experience there, and the straw broke the camel's back. One of the dishes at our table had canned bamboo shoots and/or canned baby corn in it. They hadn't drained the packing liquid and the dish had that sour metallic taste of stale brine. We asked if we could exchange it, and he yelled at us that he would not because there was no guarantee that we would like the replacement dish. Okay, maybe I'm missing something here, maybe the taste of stagnant water is one that Thais have gotten used to and accept. Maybe the dish was "authentically Thai" because of this. But somehow I don't think so.

And after all the kindnesses I had extended to him over the years when he was getting started, on that night we said, "Never again."

Name withheld by request


In the May 11 Houston Press column "Diary of a Mad Man" by Margaret Downing, an interview subject stated that CenterPoint Energy had billed him for electricity use. CenterPoint does not bill for electricity; it simply delivers or cuts off the power to any address given it by retail electric providers, who sell the power.

The Press regrets the error.

Lone Star Awards Finalists

Several writers for the Houston Press have been named as finalists in this year's statewide Lone Star Awards sponsored by the Houston Press Club.

Staff writer Josh Harkinson is a finalist in three categories: Print Journalist of the Year for his body of work, Feature Story for "Tale of Two Cities" and Public Service for "A Gap in Coverage."

Editor Margaret Downing is a finalist in two categories: Business Story for "Who Cares?" and in General Commentary/Criticism for "Mind Reading."

Other finalists included:

Staff writer Todd Spivak in Public Service for "Overstimulated";

Staff writer and Hair Balls columnist Richard Connelly in General Commentary/Criticism for "What a Devil";

Frequent contributor Brian McManus in Feature Story for "Road Trip";

Arts writer D.L. Groover in the Arts and Entertainment Commentary/ Criticism category for "Imperfect Score";

Former staffer Greg Harman in Politics/Government for "System Failure"; and

Former staffer Mosi Secret in Sports for "Out of the Park."

First place and other final positions will be announced at a June 3 banquet at the University of Houston's Hilton Hotel.

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