Barry bad deal
After reading an advance copy of the Observer this week, I must comment that the Switzer article ["Losing it," October 16] seemed spineless, comfortably floating pro/con reasons why he can't motivate the Dallas Cowboys.
This analysis of the Cowboys' losing streak may be comforting to all the "Switzer-haters," but true fans of the Dallas Cowboys know that the owner sold the team up the river on "deals" like Deion. Everyone knows why Jimmy Johnson left Dallas, and Barry deserves a little credit for accepting the challenge. Of course, anyone could coach the Dallas Cowboys and win the Super Bowl, right?

Via e-mail

The Anti-Switzer
Thank you for the excellent article about the Dallas Sidekicks team and Coach Jago written by Robert Wilonsky ["Net loss," October 9]--something Dallas Sidekicks fans are not likely to read in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Thank you for the insight into Coach Jago. Coach Jago and the players have class--something few professional players have today. I have always felt that my family's time spent watching the Sidekicks play professional soccer on TV or in person was and is always time well spent!

Carolyn Dunmyer
Via e-mail

It takes a village
I am responding to your article written about Carlos Jackson and the oasis that he created in West Dallas ["Hollow victory," October 9]. Carlos is one of the greatest African-American minds here in Dallas. His vision was ahead of its time in a city that opposes any kind of mental freedom for African-Americans. The power structure of this city's management team made Mr. Jackson Public Enemy Number One in the early '90s. The real crime that was committed was that the so-called leaders in the African-American community did nothing to assist Mr. Jackson with his efforts. If it cannot put them in the limelight, then they feel that certain topics are not important enough for their celebrity status.

Dallas' marketing is based on the Wild West, from the Cowboys to the Rangers--even the Mavericks. The fashion is ropers, boots, stirrups, and let us not forget the ten-gallon hats. This city is definitely not an inclusive, multi-cultural environment that is productive for everyone. This "Old Western" image is portrayed to the world to hide the extremely abhorrent racist activities that occur in this city all day, every day. Come to think of it, how many African-Americans did you see in Bonanza, or The Wild Wild West, or Maverick, or John Wayne films? None.

I would hope that one day all of these self-appointed leaders would stay out of the limelight long enough to actually accomplish something. Mr. Jackson is proof that when you are really trying to make a change for African-Americans in this city, you don't have to be a stage monkey for the media for people to notice you. Unfortunately, those city officials who were watching Mr. Jackson wanted to make sure that no one else saw him or his endeavors.

Mr. Jackson and his family are a testament to the struggle for the mental liberation of African-Americans here in Dallas. The compound was a catalyst of knowledge for African-Americans that is still present in their minds to this day. Thank you, Mr. and Mrs. Jackson.

Kaatid Asad

Human beasts
I feel so sorry for the animal owners that were victimized by this "vet" ["Dr. Lucas' little shop of horrors," October 9]. Yet I can't help wondering why, with all the complaints that were lodged against her in the past, it took so long for the State of Texas to do something about it. She is obviously seriously impaired, and I hope the sentence handed down includes rehab and a psych evaluation before they [Texas] ever reinstate her license. She needs help.

Maggie Wasso
Via e-mail

I can't express the horror I felt while reading about Dr. Lucas. What possesses someone to do things like this? The animals can't tell us their feelings--the trauma and horror they went through. What a truly wicked world we are living in!

Via e-mail

Thanks are in order for the Observer for their recent article on the veterinarian Lissa Lucas. What would have passed through the metroplex's collective consciousness as a barely perceptible blip on the media horizon, a grisly tale that rated a mere "tsk, tsk" during the evening news, became an important reminder to us of just how heinous our fellow man and woman can be.

There is an additional footnote worth mentioning when one comes across outrageous incidents like this: These human monsters that arise from time to time, abusing and raining cruelty and torment on animals--they didn't just pop up like a poisonous toadstool after a summer front blew through. What is most frightening about these individuals is that they never operate in a vacuum. They have done this before, on a lesser or greater scale, and will do it again and again until someone or something stops them. And worst of all, if they're not caught in time, they are the ones most likely to graduate to greater crimes.  

These are exactly the kinds of people that become our cruelest murderers--because they've already had so much practice on other victims.

April G. Manning
Via e-mail

This Lucas woman sickens me. I will never understand or sympathize with anyone who cannot understand that animals have feelings and emotions. Just because they cannot speak doesn't give anyone the right to use or abuse them. We should all get a chance to do to her what she did to those animals! Give her the electric chair!

Melanie Miller
Via e-mail

Critter collectors
I'm the editor of Animal People, the leading independent newspaper and electronic news service covering the field of animal protection. (Our archives are online at www.animalpepl.org.) A caller asked me to check your Web site to get an update on the Texas Exotic Feline Rescue Foundation court case, which, as of the moment, I didn't find, but I did find "Dr. Lucas' Little Shop of Horrors." Lissa Lucas is a classic case of what we know professionally as "the animal collector syndrome." There are thousands of documented cases--most of which follow the pattern of a single bereaved person, usually female and middle-aged or older, but not sex-exclusive--who becomes control-oriented and begins "collecting" animals who are subsequently starved and kept in filthy conditions, typically after the collector has suffered the death of someone close to her--a husband, mother, father, sister, or brother, most often; sometimes a child.

Your article mentioned that Lissa Lucas had given birth to a son, apparently soon after the father was killed in a plane crash. It is absolutely imperative that someone find out what became of this child. We have many cases on file in which animal collectors have also "collected" helpless humans in the same manner--children, elderly parents, others they have taken in--whose mummified or decomposed remains are sometimes found right along with the remains of the animals. Please investigate.

As a beat reporter up in Vermont before coming to my present position, I had the experience of covering an animal collector case in which two young boys were found fighting for cold SpaghettiOs with dogs on a feces-encrusted floor, which was about all they knew of life. I have never forgotten their misery.

Merritt Clifton
Via e-mail

DISD and the free press
Thank you for your excellent and mostly unbiased reporting of the continuing woes of the Dallas Independent School District [Recent articles include "Hunter or prey?" and "City of ignorance," September 25]. I would also like to applaud the Dallas citizenry for its willingness to permit the public process to work. The Dallas Observer helps this process by maintaining a balanced flow of information. It is very important (and, I trust, not totally coincidental) that the Observer act as a foil for The Dallas Morning News and most of the Hispanic press. It would be so easy to join the chorus of "Hang Harden!" proponents and placate the apparent hysteria being created by the other so-called journalistic entities.

The First Amendment provides certain protections to ensure free speech within this democracy; but with that freedom comes responsibility. There are certain rules to be followed when a journalist decides to step beyond the reporting of the facts of an event to express an opinion about the event. Either the other journalists do not know the rules, or they deliberately chose to ignore them.

In either case, the public loses. We lose because we can no longer comfortably accept the journalistic integrity of the writers and reporters. Thereafter, where is the benefit of a "free press"?

It is intellectually dishonest to appeal only to the raw emotional disposition of the citizens of Dallas rather than the public's ability to make reasonable decisions on the basis of unbiased facts. Certainly, in a democracy, we value everyone's opinion; but only when it is stated in a forthright manner and in the proper forum.

Heaven forbid that we should ever actually sit down and talk to each other, rather than about each other.

Charles Johnson
Via e-mail

Best barbecue
I've always thought that Baby Back Shaq's BBQ [Best of Dallas, September 25] was the best you can buy, and I totally agree with your pick for the best of the best BBQ. Since I'm a friend of the Cohens, I may be biased, but you have got to try the chicken sandwiches and that 7UP cake Clarrie makes--my favorite. However, Clarence tells me I should try the cole slaw on my sandwich for the max in taste-bud gratification. From someone who reads your nicely priced newspaper to keep up with what's really happening while Belo Watches, thanks for keeping up with the real world.  

Clarence Wm. Jackson
Via e-mail

Petty opinions
I just wanted to know who had such a big chip on his shoulder about jackopierce that they had to actually give them the award of "Best Breakup" [Best of Dallas, September 25]? It sounded obvious in the "critique" that the writer hates jackopierce and for some reason hates Paul Bassman as well. Yet the writer has obviously been to a jackopierce concert and knows how often they sell out. The whole thing is silly, anyway. Whoever wrote that one little paragraph sounded like a spiteful, jealous girlfriend dying to somehow put down her ex. Otherwise, Paul Bassman shouldn't have even been brought up. So, now that Dallas has learned your petty opinion on the boys in jackopierce, here's a suggestion for you: Get over yourself. And if you hate a band so much, you don't have to follow their ups and downs or the people who help manage them. Nobody's putting a gun to your head.

Leanna Bates
Via e-mail

Buddy Miles' changes
Thank you, Dallas Observer, for your story on the legendary drummer Buddy Miles ["Goin' through them changes," October 9]. In a time of regurgitated rhythm that some call the new rock and roll, it is very refreshing to see one of the true children of rock and roll determined to keep it alive! Buddy (and if you are reading this, I hope it's OK to call you Buddy) was a part of the most explosive era of the music business, the '60s.

You Observer people covered a lot of ground within a few pages, much like Buddy has covered in his music career. As long as he deems it worth his while to play music dedicated to our ears, we'll be here through all of "them changes."

Keep us up on his latest--and how about a cover for him when it's released?
Kirk Lewis

Ancient Stones
It's becoming obvious that the writer likes to stir things up in order for you to have letters to fill your column. Regarding Bill Wyman's (real name?) article/critique on the Rolling Stones ["Through the past (lightly)," October 9]: First of all, has age discrimination become the "in" thing now? People are living longer and better now. I attended the Chicago show also, and tend to agree with the sold-out crowd that it was a great show. If Bill had done his homework, he'd know Charlie Watts was responsible for stage decoration, not "naughty" Mick. I wonder if, at 60, should "Bill" wish to continue his wonderful writing, anyone will encourage him to quit.

Taylor Hayden

Bill Wyman, you're being kinda rough on your old bandmates, aren't ya?
Steve Hill
Fort Worth

Editor's note: Yes, that's writer Bill Wyman's real name.

Arf Arf
We appreciate Rebeca Rodriguez's article "Brawl in the family" [October 2]. Our council, LULAC 4496, consists of a bunch of hard-working Joses and Marias who are able to maintain steady employment for longer than 90 days at a time. In closing, all we can say is, Chihuahua fellas, we certainly hope we didn't hit a nerve.

Gehrig Saldana
President LULAC Council 4496

DISD whiz kids
Regarding your story on Miles Jones by Rebeca Rodriguez ["Too smart for their own good," September 4], with all my love, thank you! Now, why not give us more of his lessons and systems? Perhaps a series? You would do our children a great service, multiplying Mr. Jones' effectiveness. I am a teacher and grandparent, no doubt one of many who would rush to get such a series.


Our splendid film critics
I appreciate the opinions of your so-called film critics. So far, all of the films receiving "poor" ratings that I have seen were the most enjoyable. Keep up the ridiculous work.

Via e-mail

Confucius say
Perhaps enlightenment ["Spiritual torpor," October 9] is not as you seem to think--an effort to "add" something--but a process of "subtracting" ego and what you think you know. Thrashing your hands in a pond will not make the water clearer.

Jesse Perez
Via e-mail

Long live Ashleigh
Perhaps you find it astonishing, but Ashleigh has quite a fan club out here [Best of Dallas, September 25]. Many of us have seen her perform several times, and between us have been able to account for her performances at the Asylum. I hope your writers were using public transportation that night--their beer fog must have been pretty thick.  

Go ahead and stand behind them if you feel the need, but I do know for certain that she never mixes her Channel 4 duties with her singing, and never ever mentions it from the stage at a performance. Your reporters are wrong.

Via e-mail

Editor's note: We have made one mistake in our coverage of Ashleigh Banfield. She has pointed out that she never sings the song "A Different Drum," as we reported. However, we stand by our staff writers' accounts that she has mentioned her news anchor status from the stage. See also the following letter.

I did not actually read the article that summarized the self-gratifying performance our hometown hero Ms. Ashleigh Banfield tends to put on when she so graciously warms our hearts by performing with '80s hair-revival band Tommy Hyatt and the Haywires. I did, however, receive several phone calls from friends of mine summarizing the piece. You see, I was one of the forgotten victims of Ms. Banfield's tour of terror in Deep Ellum. I tended bar for what now seems like some of the most torturous evenings of my bartending career at both The Loop and Main Street Asylum. It was a long-standing joke among my colleagues to imitate Ms. Banfield's between-song self-congratulatory pats on the back about her being this wayward Canadian girl made good, that climbed the ranks of television journalism to become "Ashleigh Banfield of Fox 4 news...oh, did I mention I'm Ashleigh Banfield of Fox 4 news? This next one is by one of my...oh, do you know me? I'm Ashleigh Banfield of Fox 4 news...This is Sheryl Crow, but before I begin, I want you all to know you can catch me at 9 p.m. I'm Ashleigh Banfield of Fox 4 news...1,2,3...wait a minute, some of you might recognize me from TV. I'm Ashleigh Banfield of Fox 4 news." OK, so this is an extreme example, but it was not uncommon for her to mention her television prowess as many as 30 or 40 times an evening. Anyway, I just wanted to let you know the piece was right on.

Dan McDunn
San Francisco

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