Pointed Criticism

Feeling edgy: As soon as I read Points, the "edgy" new Sunday section in The Dallas Morning News, the first thought that came to mind was this: I can't wait to see how the Observer blasts this mindless bit of self-promoted fluff. I was not disappointed. You guys nailed it. I loved Pointless (Full Frontal, March 10).

I knew Points was in trouble immediately. The word "edgy" was used way too much, way too early. Even "pithy" was used. The columnists' mug shots at the end of the columns instead of the usual place at the top were an instant hint that they were grasping for anything to look edgy. Then, there she was...Victoria Loe Hicks, a woman without enough talent to deliver a newspaper, much less write for one. I also caught the little things, like how they forced Steve Blow to get edgy with two columns about CHAIN GANGS! CHAIN GANGS, BLOW? Stick with weddings and family health issues, please.

Ah, Points. We can put it right up there with At a Glance, the new and improved black-and-white weather page, Style, kiddie news and those insightful James "Have I told you lately I'm black?" Ragland columns.

If this were still a two-newspaper town--and with millions of people living in the metroplex it should be--the DMN couldn't get away with this foolish crap. But I'll have to give them credit for doing something right on occasion. At least they finally fired Larry Powell.

Tony Garrett

Oh, joy: I moved from Dallas two years ago, and I missed eating lunch every Thursday with the Dallas Observer. Then I discovered I can get it on the Internet each Thursday. Oh, joy! The Dallas Morning News has gone straight to hell. What's up with that? I stopped my paper after 20 years, and now they are calling me begging me to take it for free for a month. I think not. What I want to know about Dallas (and I am still interested) I get from you--your reporters seem to have the scoop.

Shirley Malone
Holly Lake Ranch, Texas

Rotten Bananas

Driven by greed: Your "Fruit of the Poison Tree" article (by Rick Kennedy, March 10), featuring a skull with banana crossbones on the cover, disparages Dole Food Company Inc. and the Dole brand. Dole's greatest asset is its more than 50,000 employees. For your article to suggest that issues impacting them are mere line items on the balance sheet is irresponsible.

Rather than avoiding its responsibilities, Dole has taken the lead in testing banana workers, with more than 3,000 workers tested in Costa Rica alone. We do not believe that any of the plaintiffs in the current lawsuit have been injured by DBCP.

Dole and its officers are aware of these lawsuits and take quite seriously their defense. Dole is not evading these claims. Dole sought to have these cases tried in the Costa Rican courts where Dole operates and the plaintiffs reside. Instead, plaintiffs' counsel insists on bringing them in Texas, looking to strike it rich with U.S. juries.

There are many other misstatements in your article. You based your story on the opinions of self-interested parties driven by greed.

C. Michael Carter
Executive Vice President, Dole Food Company Inc.
Westlake Village, California
Freedom From Offense

No apologies for free speech: Congratulations to Paul Kix and the Dallas Observer for getting a difficult issue right ("Play Nice or Else," March 17). Freedom of speech is the cornerstone of what it means to be truly free. Freedom of speech, like all the basic civil liberties given to us in the Bill of Rights, applies to all people and all viewpoints, even the unpopular ones. The foundation of these rights is inclusion. It is when someone has an unpopular message that it is arguably most important to protect their right to speak. To protect the least of us is to protect us all. Symbolic speech like "Capture the Illegal Immigrant" at the University of North Texas or the "Affirmative Action Bake Sale" at Southern Methodist University, no matter how insensitive, is protected speech under the First Amendment. As Mr. Kix notes, each citizen has the freedom to speak their mind, as every other citizen has the right to look them in the eye and tell them why they're wrong. Conservative or liberal, black or white, religious or atheist, it doesn't matter: Freedom is for everyone.

Mike Howard

President, American Civil Liberties Union
Dallas Chapter

Don't be rude: You know, I really like Ms. Connole's statement that the First Amendment doesn't protect anyone from being offended. I would remind her that it also doesn't specify that you have the right to offend folks either. Matter of fact, maybe you need to talk to the FCC about that, since they seem to be fining folks right and left for being, yep, offensive. Personally, I was raised with class and good manners. I don't know about this political correctness or incorrectness, but my parents flat out told me not to be rude to other people. Why does protesting illegal immigration have to result in offending all the Hispanic people on campus? Are these young conservatives really protesting illegal immigration or just being racist?

While they are studying at UNT, they may want to take some history courses and find out that when the United States took certain states away from Mexico, they left the inhabitants of these areas in these areas. Yes, Ms. Connole, most Hispanics are born in this country and have been since Texas et al. became part of the United States. At the end of the day, if you have a problem with illegal immigration, take it up with INS or Bush or whomever, but don't run around insulting Hispanics. I find it funny that folks in this country always stand united when it comes to bombing people in other countries or just flat hating anyone who's different. How about we unite for a positive reason? Like just being polite and respecting each other no matter what shade our skin is?

Angela Monger
Via e-mail