LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

A new fan

I am a first semester Cougar, and I have to say I am hooked on your paper. I have read every issue from back to front ever since the beginning of the semester.

Most of all I am a fan of Jason Ginsburg! I look forward to finding another one of his amazingly witty, outlandish columns. Please let Jason know there are people who look forward to his straightforward, go-for-the-gusto pieces. His columns are the type you clip out and keep in your scrapbook to read over and over again.

Thank you for having such a brilliant and imaginative writer on your staff.

Gwyn Archuleta

sophomore, elementary education

What's the point, Jason?

I'm curious as to the point of Jason Ginsburg's column in the Daily Cougar on Nov. 12. Is Mr. Ginsburg bashing Christians? Is he only bashing "fundamental Christians," and, if so, how is that term to be defined?

It is easier to slander another's beliefs than to clearly articulate the differences between his beliefs and the beliefs of a person defined as a "fundamental Christian." If the problem in writing an objective and truthful column is an ignorance of Christian beliefs, I would be glad to discuss my Christian beliefs with him, and I'm sure other Christians on campus would also be willing to do so.

Kurt Niebuhr

Director of Lutheran Campus Ministry

Smoking not a laughing matter

I was appalled by Ed De La Garza's Nov. 13 column, "What's so bad about smoking, anyway?"

I have been a smoker for five years. Two Fridays ago, I decided to get the patch and kick my pack to pack-and-a-half-a-day habit.

While I agree that the death merchants, er, I mean tobacco companies, are not entirely at fault, I have serious problems with the ignorance in the rest of the column. The opinion section is not the place to vent your distaste for life and wish for an early death. This column was irresponsible journalism.

I don't appreciate his making light of the birth defects that smoking by pregnant women can cause. Just because you are a male (which is tragically obvious, as no woman would make such a snide comment) and this problem does not affect you directly, at this moment, it should be treated with seriousness and a respect for the damage it can do.

The passing of his godmother's sister a year ago is tragic, and I can see how that would distort his view of old age and death. But De La Garza failed to mention that death from cancer can be just as painful and undignified, if not more so.

For De La Garza, this is a half-baked reason to continue smoking. For me, it's the big reason to stop. I want to live as long as I can, so I will have many years to spend with those I love. I also would like to avoid a costly and disfiguring death.

Death on the installment plan will neither solve his problems, nor aid his writing abilities. The discombobulated slop in this column is like the ranting of a child trying to manipulate its parents with irrelevant facts and analogies that in no way help his case.

I'm sorry De La Garza felt the need to air his dirty psychological laundry in the paper and do a disservice to society by advocating such a habit, but if he must write columns like this, he should at least attempt some form of structure to connect his ideas and make them comprehensible.

Elizabeth Beckett

freshman, psychology

Parking, the practical way

This is regarding the never-ending parking problem in UH.

This is a product for which you pay and get a precise and firm message in return - you may or may not get a parking space, with no guarantees.

I am tired of this parking problem. Even though I am entitled to park in the non-gated Faculty/Staff parking lot (which is in no way close to enough), I have to park in the student (sorry, guys, for taking your spots) parking area, usually near the Hilton School.

During any festival or special occasion on campus, a guard is there, directing us to go to a parking area across the street or wherever. What is that? No matter what, we should not be running around to faraway parking places.

UH needs to take very serious steps to stop these inconveniences to students and employees.

If you direct people to faraway places, provide vans or an other means of transportation to carry people from every parking area to the central places. The buses from certain areas are not enough. Most of the time they go empty, not because they are providing more than enough service, but because they are not routed or stopped frequently. In other words, they are not satisfying peoples' needs.

Contact Metro to provide frequent buses from the areas your students and employees come from and that too, with a nominal cost to the UH community.

Build parking garages and keep enough security people around the clock on every floor.

Consider the parking problem a serious problem, and make it a higher priority. Start a fund raising program or something.

Stop charging for parking. Only by doing this can UH justify saying there are no guaranteed parking places.

If these ideas look silly and impractical, do something better and practical to save us from this agony.

Alpana Sarangapani

M.D. Anderson Libray.

Can the crummy columns

I usually try not to let the narrow-minded and often flat- out ignorant pieces in The Daily Cougar get to me, but since they seem to be being produced at an extraordinarily high rate these last few weeks, I can remain quiet no longer.

First, there's Jason Ginsburg's column about Christian fundamentalists. How many people have been killed by Christian fundamentalists in the last year? I can think of none.

How many have been killed by Islamic fundamentalists in the last year? I lost count, but there were 60 killed in Egypt a few days ago. What about the Jews who are stealing land from the Palestinians? Why doesn't he choose to write on these issues.?

Next, about the affirmative action debate: Why do the people writing these column bother to put their pictures in them? Just by reading the column, we can accurately guess your race, sex, wealth and upbringing.

Do the people who take Martin Luther King's statements out of context and use them to try to defeat affirmative action actually think he would be on their side in the debate? I hope you aren't that naive.

I know racism exists. I can even admit to being guilty of being racist. But I should still be able to look at an issue objectively. Yes, we need affirmative action.

Lastly, if people aren't willing to put their name by their opinion, they don't deserve to have it. You would think we were writing communist propaganda during the McCarthy era with all these "Name Withhelds."

Arian Danilovic

junior, political science

Unitarians unite!

In response to Kelly McDaniel's letter of Nov. 14th:

I must take issue with the statement that this country "was founded by God-fearing Christians." The truth is that several of the key players in the establishment of the United States (including John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson) were Unitarian Universalists.

In fact, Jefferson wrote his own version of the life of Jesus, in which he attempted to separate the ethical teachings of Jesus from religious dogma and the supernatural. I suggest you read this book, titled The Jefferson Bible, before declaring him and his companions to be God-fearing Christians. You may be disappointed to find how his beliefs differ from those of contemporary Christian fundamentalists.

Eric L. McIntyre

Graduate Student

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of the UH community. Letters should be typed and must include the author's name, telephone number and affiliation with the university. Anonymous letters will not be published, although names may be withheld upon request. Letters are subject to editing for clarity, length, grammar, profanity and personal attacks.

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