From Our Readers: November 2008

Annise Parker clarifies; con and pro Obama; and praise for good articles.


As some readers are aware, writers rarely write headlines for their columns. That certainly was the case with my October OutSmart column about the Controller’s Office audit of Houston Police Department’s use of tasers. It appeared under the unfortunate headline, “Don’t Tase Me, Bro!” OutSmart editors, of course, were referring to the much-publicized 2007 story about the white heckler who disrupted Sen. John Kerry’s speech at a Florida university.

I was appalled when I read the headline. It reflects neither the actions nor attitudes of HPD officers. It also doesn’t reference anything in either my article or the full audit, which can be found at www.houstontx.gov/controller/auditmain.html.

I have worked closely with Houston police officers for more than 20 years. Houstonians can take great pride in our police force. They work hard, often sacrificing personal relationships to odd hours and relatively low pay. Many officers are true heroes who take their profession seriously.

Annise D. Parker
Houston City Controller

Editor’s note: The headline of Annise Parker’s October 2008 column “Don’t Tase Me, Bro!” was written by OutSmart staff, not by Parker. OutSmart staff regrets any insensitivity the headline may have implied.


While Nancy Ford uses three columns to argue that Sarah Palin is unqualified to serve as vice president [What a World: “Palin Comparison” by Nancy Ford, October 2008], I can make exactly that case for the unqualified Barack Obama to serve as president. On the one hand, Gov. Palin fought unethical political behavior in Alaska, even among long-time Republican politicians. Obama did nothing of the kind in Chicago. In fact, Chicago politics are still so corrupt, their current governor, under investigation, would be the fourth to go to federal prison of the last eight elected governors. So much for “change” there, Nancy.

Not only did Obama not change Chicago politics, he failed miserably as a community organizer and as chairman of the Annenberg Project. The project enables Obama and his radical associate, Bill Ayers, to spend almost $150 million to improve Chicago public schools. But the results came back from the foundation with the following conclusion: “no discernable improvement.”

Obama served as U.S. senator for 143 days prior to establishing an exploratory committee to run for president. He has talked and talked and criticized President Bush for over 20 months to earn a likely four-year term. He will raise the taxes of the top 1 percent of American income earners who already pay 40 percent of our taxes even though they earn only 22 percent of the nation’s income. These are IRS numbers. But he is never asked about the size of the tax cut for the middle class he promises. Perhaps we can all buy mufflers with it.

It’s easy to vote for a perceived populist. He denies voters nothing. Every new program is a “right.” Obama smiles nicely, and his past leftist associations and his résumé of failures are not questioned by mainstream media. No wonder Ford would not and could not use three columns to endorse Obama. He has no accomplishments for her to share with her readers.

Mike Crowe

I just finished reading Nancy Ford’s article in your October 2008 issue. I found it to be witty, funny, insightful, and timely in this every-four-years’ presidential election cycle that we must all endure.

Was the article partisan to the Democratic viewpoint? Probably. Was Nancy expressing her personal viewpoint as to whom she plans to vote for on November the fourth? Definitely. On a personal note, I loved it.

Additionally, I hope to see you all at Meteor Tuesday night, November 4, after the election polls close for the Houston GLBT Political Caucus Official Election Night Celebration Party. 

A complimentary champagne toast will be celebrated at Meteor at the very hour that Sen. John McCain concedes the presidential race to the hopeful winner, President-Elect Barack Obama. In contrast, if Sen. McCain wins the election and Sen. Obama concedes the presidential race, everyone will receive one salty peanut. May the best person win.

I remain, fair and balanced,
Charles Armstrong

The article by University of Iowa professor Kevin Mumford [“It’s a Holiday! The Origins of Black Gay History” by Kevin Mumford, October 2008] is very important as it adds new information to queer studies on the total history of the movement to gain equal civil rights for homosexual Americans.

Few people, even those who are homosexual, know that a major part of Dr. King’s work was guided by Bayard Rustin, though several books have tried to put this part of our history on the record. That is why the book on Chicago history, Out and Proud in Chicago, edited by Tracy Baim, is important, also.

The interview with Sen. Obama by Mark Segal is also historic, as is this total election. I feel our nation and our movement are both going to be much better no matter who wins, as both Sen. Obama and the vice-presidential candidate for the Republicans will make history and have a chance, despite the economy, to make our nation better for everyone.

Of course, I think Obama is the better choice.

Billy Glover


Among many good articles in the October 2008 issue of OutSmart is one by Brandon Wolf, titled “What About Larry.” Brandon’s insights lend much-needed clarity to a tragedy that many of us missed. And, leave it to Brandon, he doesn’t just report. He challenges us to make this personal, to wrestle with what this means to those of us who care about our children and the new freedom we’ve helped bring them.

Come to find out, all this progress finds newly won freedom piled high with new problems and very few good answers so far.

Larry was one of our kids. New freedoms and rights now bring new responsibilities with no easy answers. Who knew?

Tim Bacon


In OutSmart’s October 2008 “Gayest and Greatest” issue, DJ Rocky B, voted Best DJ (Female) was incorrectly identified as spinning at Club Crystal. She is a resident DJ there for THROB, a weekly dance party for lesbians. • The correct telephone number for Larry French, voted Best Home Remodeling Contractor, is 713/956-7733.


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