No Joy For This Ode
Richie Whitt's ode to Steve Orsini ("Mustang Maniac," February 14) left me confused. I teach at SMU and serve on the faculty senate, and can assure both Whitt and Orsini that the assumption of faculty support for the massive infusion of millions of more dollars every year to a mediocre athletics program is mistaken. At a time when basic academic programs are starved for funds, and the student-faculty ratio of SMU's core liberal arts school, Dedman College, has gone up by 20 percent in the last decade, it says nothing good about Orsini, SMU's administration or Dallas that we have recently spent $13 million on a basketball practice facility, $1 million upgrading Moody Coliseum, $750,000 for the "Pony Up" campaign in anticipation of a miserable football season and have supposedly "eased admissions standards." Dallas is the largest metropolitan area in the United States without a top-notch university, and it won't have one until SMU comes to its senses.
Benjamin H. Johnson, associate professor of history, Dallas
I'm a 25-year veteran of boxing as a fighter and promoter, and your writer has been hustled ("Technical Knockout," by Megan Feldman, February 14). Texas has these rules, laws, guidelines, etc.—amongst the strictest in the nation—to protect both the fighters and the general public.
Texas understands we now live in a sophisticated society that barely protects the rights of actual professional fighters.
Many of these Addison fights are mismatches between someone with actual experience against a drunk pushed into it by his friends, or you have someone with a pre-existing condition such as asthma or HIV who shouldn't be out in public, let alone a smoke-filled bar and boxing ring where they can bleed on their opponents or their own trainers or even fans and then drive home drunk after 2 a.m.
The waiver only protects the promoter, but I doubt it would hold up in court.
Trust me, an accurate or hard punch with a 16-ounce glove can do as much damage as a human needs done; otherwise it would be of no interest for hundreds of paying male customers to watch it in the first place.
In pro and amateur boxing, fighters have guidelines to follow. They have to make a previously specified weight, pass physical exams and eye exams, and are checked via a "boxer passport" to see if they are using a phony Social Security number or are under suspension for being knocked out recently, possibly in another state.
None of these guidelines are in play in Addison, and I wish this "promoter" would be run out of town or [put in] jail.
Nobody's civil rights are being abused here. This is a just a good old-fashioned con.
Sonny Barnett, Dallas
We Want McGovern!
While there's a lot of enthusiasm for Barack Obama ("Foot Soldiers," by Mark Donald, February 21), I'm afraid he's going to be the George McGovern of the 20th century: admired (and in many cases adored) by a huge segment of the party (just like McGovern), but that admiration won't carry him through the general election in November. Republicans are licking their chops, just waiting to pounce on his inexperience. (Of course, they'll paint him as a far-left liberal just like they'd do any Democrat.) Barack will be lucky to carry Massachusetts, D.C., Rhode Island and Illinois in November. He'll muster fewer than 100 electoral votes.
Darryl Cline, via dallasobserver.com
Spanky Gets Spanked
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I applaud the extraordinary courage of these women who are holding Sherman Allen accountable ("The Reverend Spanky," by Julie Lyons, February 21) and who are also taking to task the COGIC officials who turned a blind eye and did nothing. Thanks also to reporter Julie Lyons for working to bring this into the light of day. The only way clergy sex abuse will be stopped is when the silence is broken.
Christa Brown, via dallasobserver.com
It's good to know that people are standing bold and exposing these false leaders in these last days. What's truly amazing is how this so-called pastor's behavior went on for years, but no one did anything until these women came forward and filed a lawsuit. Great article, Ms. Lyons.
C. Hampton, via dallasobserver.com