The star chamber
Your article on Judge McBryde in the October 2, 1997, issue of the Observer ["Temper, temper"] has been read, thoroughly.

Thank you for an extremely well-written report on a complex and arcane subject. The statistical disclosures of the efforts of the U.S. Department of Justice to make tractable the federal judiciary were especially enlightening.

But even more so was the gentle, even muted, references to the judiciary's propensity to shape its image with secrecy. All your observations about "sealed files" and "unlisted case numbers" are mere suggestions of the deception, hypocrisy, and inconsistency of a judiciary (both state and federal) that hides some 80 percent of its official rulings behind various "do not publish" rules. Lack of accountability has become a way of life within the third branch, and the various actions in Judge McBryde's situation should surprise no one.

Equally of no surprise is the fear of quoted attorneys to identify themselves: The star chamber for them is just as real as for independent-minded federal judges (and far more readily accessed). Of all the lawyers quoted, only Arch McColl and a couple of others had the personal constitution (and Constitutional courage) to identify themselves. Their kind is becoming a rarity.

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Thank you again for an excellent article.
John B. Hawley
Via e-mail

Family feud
First, I want to commend the Observer and Ms. Rebeca Rodriguez for a basically objective story ["Brawl in the family," October 2] with a few exceptions. Ms. Adelfa Callejo's quotes really were on target as it relates to Council 100 and my assertions that petty jealousy and greed by the leaders of Council 4496 led to the allegations and request for information. This is a classic case of "celo" and "mal agradecidos."

Within time, LULAC will have a full report on all the expenditures, and we hope that maybe Council 4496 does the same with reporting their true membership, minutes of meetings held, and legal election of its officers.

LULAC 100 is committed to helping the Hispanic community through its scholarships and leadership support. Only time will tell when this "renegade" Council 4496 does the same. True leadership is not created in the media; it's how you help your fellow man.

Rene Martinez
President, LULAC Council 100

Adventures in the R.O.T.
Just finished your front-page article on the R.O.T.'s unexpected constituency ["Soul food & crackers," September 18]. What a riveting piece; a fine example of the type of in-depth journalism I look for in The New York Times and sometimes actually get to read! What a story. Thanks.

Via e-mail

Race and powerlust, cont'd
History has been blamed for it, institutions have, as well as economics, demographics, and many other things; but blame for the current discord at DISD ["City of ignorance" and "Hunter or prey?" September 25] and in the society at large must be laid at the feet of the individuals who make up that institution, this society. What we have here is a people problem--the failure to recognize, identify, and deal with that natural and strong human tendency to lust after and abuse power, and the tendency not to admit the truth when we or someone we support is caught doing it.

Too many times lately, race has been used to either justify or condemn the abuse of power--a card in order to deflect the truth and rally the support of others--and too many times, that support has been blind. It's time to stop these games and start dealing with people as individuals with strengths and triumphs, weaknesses and failures, and apply the same laws and standards to all. It's time to stop supporting bad behavior out of blind racial loyalty. Thoughtful and mature people of all races are tired of the race card being played to either support or condemn the obvious, and many times illegal, abuse of power. It's time to grow up.

Steve Turman

For all your smartass snide prose, your paper is nothing but a paean to political correctness. Your paper has to accept blame for Dallas losing the best school superintendent it has ever had. Miriam Rozen is a murderer of reputations. A pox on her and the paper.

Name withheld

Ashleigh's feelings
Tuesday's edition of The Dallas Boring News carried a small tidbit regarding everyone's favorite news anchor/rock-and-roller, Ashleigh "Sticks and Stones" Banfield. Seems that poor Ash got her feelings hurt over the Observer's observations about her singing and coiffure [Best of Dallas, September 25]. So much so, that she was a no-show this past weekend for gigs at two local spots about town. What a trouper! Not only did Ashleigh confirm that she was kept away by the Observer's cruelty, she offered up that the less-than-flattering attention "didn't sit well" with the head honchos at Channel 4.  

Assuming, for a moment, that they actually watch the news over there at Channel 4 every night, seems that management should have gotten concerned long before the Observer did.

Art Tedeschi
Via e-mail

Ashleigh's fun
I don't read the Dallas Observer just because of the mean-spirited, think-we-are-too-cool articles they try to pass off as good journalism. You can feel the snobbishness oozing through the paper, not to mention the black ink on your fingers--a tell-tale sign of a cheap rag. I find the stories trite and ill-prepared. How does that feel?

Shame on you for trashing Ashleigh Banfield [Best of Dallas, September 25]. Unlike yourselves, she has fun and doesn't take herself too seriously. I think you owe her a big apology. What next, poking fun at the Special Olympics?

Claudia Morgan

Ashleigh's hair
I wanted to express my distaste for your recent attack on Ashleigh Banfield [Best of Dallas, September 25]. Your mean-spirited article was ironic, misguided, and inaccurate. Ironic in the sense that the Dallas Observer, the first bastion of anti-conservatism, should find fault with Ashleigh's musical interests and endeavors. I would think the D.O. would approve of Ashleigh's efforts to be more than the typical, stuffy news anchors that are commonplace in the metroplex newscasts. Misguided because you resort to petty personal attacks (a longstanding tradition at the D.O. it seems, i.e. anything [Robert] Wilonsky has ever written) instead of offering anything of relative substance. If you have a real problem, some valid insight, please offer it. But insulting Ashleigh's hair is immature and a blatant waste of column space.

Finally, and most importantly, your article was wholly inaccurate. Ashleigh has never sung a Linda Ronstadt song. It seems trivial to mention, but you are a "newspaper" that offered it as fact, when in reality it was completely untrue. But this inaccuracy pales in comparison to the completely fabricated quote you attribute to Ashleigh. Many, many witnesses will attest that Ashleigh has never said anything such as "I'm a news anchor and a rock star." You didn't just "slant" the facts or take quotes out of context...you made up quotes. You move in dangerous territory here, and the words "malicious intent" seem fitting.

In closing, though, I don't want to seem too harsh. I must give credit where credit is due. Your rag, as a whole, isn't completely inaccurate. For example, I have never flipped to the back of your pick-it-up-for-a-giggle-not-for-real-information "paper" and found the words "dildo," "donkey," or "anus" misspelled. You get it right sometimes--just not when and where it matters. Get your priorities straight!

D. Hines
Fort Worth

Your biased, unfair review of Ashleigh Banfield was uncalled for--c'mon...attacking hair is really reaching for it. Ashleigh is one of the brightest lights in Dallas, and certainly in Deep Ellum. We love her singing.

Roy & Joyce Hughes

Most Shameless Lowbrow Low-Blow: Observer's Factless Slam of TV's Ashleigh Banfield.

OK. Let's get this straight: You were drunk. You don't like cover music, but went to a cover bar anyway. In a music review, you pick on her hair--on a hot steamy Texas night in an outdoor bar under stage lights. You blatantly lied about her onstage banter (Ashleigh has never mentioned her TV job onstage). You made up her set list (Linda Ronstadt isn't even in her set list). You seem to indicate that it's inappropriate that she is bothered when reporting death on her newscast. What's she supposed to do, giggle like Butt-Head?

Fortunately for Ashleigh, your article wasn't in the band listings or kinky-sex personals that are the sole reason anyone picks up your Have-To-Give-It-Away pile of newsprint, so it will probably go unnoticed. Fox 4 News has a completely unique charm and personality in the rapport among its personnel. To this viewer, Ashleigh is the reason Fox 4 is different--and better. She's an anchor who isn't an anchor. And if you'd like to come sober one night to listen, you'd realize that the lady has a tremendous singing talent, a widely held opinion among many Dallas musicians. Well, at least you got one single fact correct: You were drunk.

Rip Rowan
Via e-mail

Editor's note: We still find it rather astonishing that all of Ashleigh Banfield's defenders just so happened to be present at the performance Dallas Observer staff writer Jimmy Fowler alluded to in his Best of Dallas item on Ms. Banfield, "Best candidate for a woman who doesn't know her place." We didn't even specify the date of the performance--which was several months ago--yet so many of our correspondents seem to recall exactly what Ms. Banfield sang and said that night.  

Once again, both Fowler and staff writer Rose Farley were actually present--and reasonably sober--and insist that Ms. Banfield crowed about her news-anchor status several times from the stage. She also performed "A Different Drum," a song that Linda Ronstadt has covered.

You're welcome
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

The readers' pick for Dallas' best cable access show in the September 25 Best of Dallas edition misidentified the show. The Jeff Love Show airs at 9:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays on channel 25

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