Get up offa that thing
I just read the article, "Single with children" [February 22], the story of Linda Koop and the two boys she took in. I could say a lot of negative things about some of the players in that piece--but my hat still goes off to her. I think it is so positive what she's doing. She's getting up off her butt and really helping somebody. We need more people like her--people that don't talk trash but actually get off their behinds and make some sacrifices to really help other human beings. The world needs more people like that who are not on such power trips, or ego trips, or mind trips but who actually make a difference in the world. Good stuff!

Robyn Shannon

Missing Molly
We mutually lament the forced departure of the Molly Ivins column from your pages ["'A little bit of revenge,'" February 22], but for very different reasons. I read Molly because good intelligence-gathering demands knowledge of what the enemy is thinking. Second, her diatribes are relentlessly funny to anyone with a lick of sense.

As to your concern about finding a replacement for her leftist hatemongering, that should not pose a large problem once the parameters are defined. Do you want a local wacko or a nationally known wacko? Locally, I can think of several, some of whom are city and county officials.

Nationally, the opportunities abound. If you get in a real bind, you could publish Hillary's weekly drivel, but might have to work out a deal with North Dallas People, whose free circulation policy coincides with yours.

I haven't noticed the bumbling Belo paper (it's the rising price of newsprint, y'know) offering Michael Kinsley or Alex Cockburn, but you may find them a bit tame. Neither Eleanor Clift nor Louis Farrakhan are published locally, so you might consider them. An even better idea is an alternating series between either Al Sharpton or Major Owens and David Duke unless, of course, that page is considered female-safe, in which case you ought to go with Clift and her disarmingly righteous wrongness.

Your restaurant reviews are without peer and good ole Joe Bob is still good ole Joe Bob. Keep up the highly entertaining work. Nonsense has its own value.

Jack Hughes

Now that Molly Ivins has received a well-deserved abrupt dismissal, the Observer should replace her with a real journalist. Please don't inflict upon the citizens of Dallas an Ivins clone.

Robert Taylor

Speak of the devil
In response to your article on Ed Zabel ["Dealing with the devil," February 15], I would just like to ask: Since when was God a porno freak? It's getting really old to see people pervert and degrade religion to justify self-indulgent behavior, or in this case harmful behavior.

The Bible says that you have to burn the entrails of meat on an altar to God when you eat meat; it says a lot of weird things. Zabel, like so many cafeteria Christians (take what you want, leave what you don't like), is abusing the Bible to get what he wants, and disregarding a rational and intelligent approach to interpreting or reviewing the Bible's meaning in social and historical context.

Zabel does his work for one and only one reason--a selfish one--because he derives pleasure from seeing women hurt, and that's anything but spiritual. I think Jesus would be sick.

Tiffany Bagby

Hate and hypocrisy
In a recent "Letters" column [February 8], Troy Felder spat venom at the Observer for the article regarding the reassignment of gay journalist Todd Camp because the article "ridiculed Christians who are putting God's words into actions." Despite the fact that Christians disagree on the interpretation and application of "God's words" as far as gays and lesbians are concerned, the reassignment of Todd Camp did not seem to be because of some Christian awakening on the part of his editor but because of intimidation by persistent extremists. That's not Christianity--that's an ironic example of what the right wing has historically referred to as "political correctness."

To dislike gays is personal, and to discriminate against gays is unfortunately all too legal, but to claim religious justification for reassigning a journalist from a kid's beat for making a cautionary joke about pederasty in an unrelated publication is plainly absurd.

For the Star-Telegram to manage its affairs according to so-called religious interests while claiming to be a nonsectarian paper is also hypocritical. In that respect, though, I can see why Troy Felder, a Christian obviously full of hate, would defend the S-T's decision; after all, hatred and Christianity together continue to be one of the most frequent demonstrations of hypocrisy.

Ellen K. Fulton

No pity for panhandlers
Pardon me while a well-formed tear gets wiped away. Now, check me if I'm wrong about your "Buzz" article from February 8 ["Deep Mall-um"]. As I interpret it, the signs discouraging panhandlers are wrong, and money should be given to panhandlers to encourage dependence on society rather than to shelters, social programs, food banks, etc. that encourage or try to build some appearance of independence.

Perhaps I should feel pity, but I don't, and I don't feel bad because I don't feel pity. I'd like to be able to go downtown and not be accosted by a panhandler who follows me for a block trying to spare-change me with a pitch that borders on being aggressive and abusive.

We know the problem exists. Now come up with some ideas to fix it.
Tony Williams

The real buzz
I was taken aback by the Observer's flippant dismissal of the recent Week Without Violence effort (Buzz, November 30). While the crime numbers for that week were up from the same period last year, it is myopic to evaluate the undertaking on the basis of those numbers alone. A week free of violence certainly was a primary goal, but no one involved in planning the event expected the criminal element to cooperate by taking a seven-day sabbatical. What was expected, and, I believe, achieved, was dissemination of a powerful message of nonviolence through such places as schools, businesses, churches, government offices, neighborhood associations, private homes, and the like. As this message is taken to heart, particularly by the young who were a central focus of the effort, we can realistically expect long-term crime rates to continue to decline.

One week's crime statistics are not a true measure of the effectiveness of this project. A tremendous amount of thought, time, and toil by people deeply concerned about our city went into the Week Without Violence and their efforts accomplished a great deal. It is regrettable that the Observer cynically chose not to convey that to its readers.

Chesley L Williams

Recycle this letter
Bravo to Laura Miller! I have been disgusted with this city's lack of initiative with regard to a recycling program for years. A city of this size and importance should be a leader and an example for other cities in Texas. I received the notice on my door earlier this summer from the city of Dallas attempting to explain its curbside pickup. Let me stress the word "attempting"! It was like trying to read Greek; it was confusing and difficult. The basic idea was for a household to purchase special blue bags to be used for recyclables. Easy enough. Except the notice read that these special bags would be available at all major grocery stores for purchase. I went to Kroger at Mockingbird and Greenville and the Tom Thumb at Mockingbird at Abrams and could find no such bags for sale.

I recycle glass, paper, and aluminum. I take these to igloos located at a church not far from my house. I hope that one day I will be able to not only have a curbside program that is user-friendly, but one that will include more products.

Go get 'em, Laura!
C.L. Green

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