For Whom the Toll Bells|You Said It|Nyet|Buzz

"For Whom the Toll Bells," by Jim Schutze, January 15

Pay Up, Dummy

Has intelligence in America come to an all-time low? I will agree with anyone concerned that NTTA should not wait to send out citations when a sizable bill exists, but the cash-taking booth vs. no-cash-taking booth scenario as portrayed in your article is unnecessary and confusing.

It should be easy to understand that if there is no booth in which to give money then no money is needed at that time to continue, but if there is a toll booth, then one needs to stop and pay the required toll. NTTA, as far as I know, has no abandoned toll booths that may confuse the unsuspecting driver with "should I pay or shouldn't I," so where is the confusion, regardless of which toll road you drive? These are three different toll roads built at three different times that have utilized current technology in their construction. I would assume that as time progresses the two older ones will change over to the Zip Cash system that is used on the new Highway 121 addition.

You have taken a simple problem and beleaguered it with a lot of unnecessary rigmarole to make it seem as though NTTA is at fault.

Michal Murphy, McKinney

"You Said It," January 22

Model Behavior

Reader Joan Bowman takes offense at the harshness of Jim Schutze's criticism of George Bush (in "The Prodigal Son Returns," January 8). She says that "every time a pundit, [etc.]...lets loose with vitriolic speech or comment [about the former president, apparently], I cringe because they are attacking me [a conservative]."

Ms. Bowman, I think you are suffering those slings and arrows most unfairly. If you indeed are a principled conservative, what in the world is there about Bush's actions and views that strike you as remotely conservative? He has repeatedly trashed and violated the Constitution; he has blithely caused the national debt to balloon obscenely (the opposite of fiscal conservatism); he has used "signing statements" to ignore the expressed laws of the land; and he has sneered at the reason and restraint embodied in the Geneva Conventions.

But then, I wonder: Have you ever also cringed at the unendingly vicious assaults on Democrats and perceived liberals by the Limbaughs and Hannitys and O'Reillys and their ilk? And you see Bush as "a particular model of graciousness." God truly help us if we are ever subjected to a president who is less a "model."

Bill Halstead, Dallas


In his article, "The Prodigal Son Returns," Mr. Schutze compares Dick Cheney to Rasputin as he ponders how we, as Dallas residents, will react if we see Bush on the street. As a journalist myself, I have always thought it best to abstain from making extreme comments or comparisons that might impede readers from understanding the general point of an article, which, in this case, I believe Mr. Schutze is trying to prove that Dallas does not want Bush to move here. Honestly, I do not care where Bush moves, just as long as it is not next to me. But I do not think it wise that, upon seeing the former president, we liken his administration to the Romanov dynasty and Cheney to a Siberian mystic healer. I also do not consider it our obligation to "make sure he gets the message." We will leave that to you, Mr. Schutze.

Angela Connaster

"Buzz," by Robert Wilonsky, January 22

However you Slice it

As a person who owns and uses a pocketknife that can be opened one-handed, I think the lawsuit may be a bit overboard. It is my understanding that the manufacturer has been telling retailers that the knives are legal. However, when local law enforcement has informed the retailers that they are illegal, they have been pulled from the shelves. Since the retailers in the lawsuit have deeper pockets than the manufacturer, the blood suckers (plaintiff's lawyers) are going after both.

Tim Covington, via

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