Postmaster: If undeliverable, send Form 3579 to The Texas Observer, 600 W. 7th, Austin, Texas 78701 Dialogue Continued . find this particularly offensive. We do have a proclivity to act in a militaristic fashion, but this does not mean that we want war. . . . It was [implied] that gay life was appropriate to military life and to College Station. This is quite an attack upon the Corps [and] is singularly unsupported. . . . While any group as large as this Will have some people who are extreme, the Corps is, I will venture to say, unsupportive of gays and war to the last man. Basil L. Hoyl, Jr. College Station Catalyst Last Wednesday night I was tucking my 12-year-old son into bed and we were having our usual end-of-the-day wrapup conversation when he asked, “What does it mean to fake an orgasm?” open communication with my children, I was caught totally off-guard; disarmed! I said I needed to “buy some time” to consider my response to this question; and, furthermore, I wondered where he got the question. He replied, “The cover of the Texas Observer, so it is all over Texas, Mom.” In my on-going quest to stay abreast with my childrens’ questions, thank you for being a catalyst for a challenging one! Daesene Willmann Austin Think Again In the article, “Back for a Little More” [\(Ms., Jan. 30], Jim Boyle, legislative director of the Washington-based Consumer Federation of America, is quoted: “For the purchase of yachts, recreational land, beachfront condominiums, gambling casinos and other nonessentials, the down payment requirement should be increased substantially perhaps to 50% of the purchase price. This would have the effect of considerably drying up loan demand while at the same time freeing more money for the ailing housing and automobile industries.” If Jim Boyle were to have his way, only corporate heads, their lobbyists, politicians, and appointed government officials will be able to afford any of his named and other nonessentials. Perhaps he’d better think again. Perhaps we’d better think again .. . Jane Van Praag Austin Come Back Quickly Will someone please tell me what is going on down there in Austin? When I originally took out a subscription to the Observer it was because I perceived it as a “beacon for progressives in Texas.” \(I’ll take all credit much more than that. The Observer spoke out on issues no daily newspaper I’ve seen in Texas would have touched and that nationwide publications would have regarded as too regional for their coverage. You frequently published articles on injustices against the poor, the elderly and minorities and other topics which the mainstream publications wouldn’t discuss for fear of offending or making some of their readers uncomfortable. So I opened my February 14 issue and what did I find but an issue on love and sex in Texas! . . . What I’m feeling now is that either the Observer has lost its sense of direction or is headed in another one. If you’ve only temporarily strayed from the realm of political/socioeconomic reporting please find your way back quickly. If, on the other hand, you’ve decided to take a new direction, please let me know what it is so that I can decide if I want to go with you. Stan Beal Fort Worth Well, Let’s See .. . Only reason I’m writing is so that you won’t get the idea I’m 100% behind all your knee-jerk liberal causes. Count me among the opposition to your flaming unionism, although I fully support the causes of ethnic minorities and the environment which you champion. Print this if you have any cajones. Wiley Gilmore Bryan Respect the land “Clear-cutting” and “monoculture” [Letter to Obs, Jan. 30] are not cliches; they are shortsighted, fast-profit timber practices that ignore other uses of the forest and the consequences of land abuse. It may be possible to apply these intensive forestry methods carefully to minimize the environmental degradation. The U.S. Forest Service at least gives some consideration to protection of land fertility, watershed, wildlife values, limiting size of harvest areas and allowing some species diversity. Most timber companies give little consideration to these things. A drive through East Texas or Arkansas quickly shows that timber companies have opted for the fast profits of clear-cutting enormous areas up to 1800 acres at a time, denuding the ground cover and stream beds, causing tremendous wildlife losses and massive soil erosion. While growing pines as a crop may sound efficient, the forests become more susceptible to fire and pest epidemics. The rampages of the pine bark beetle are harder to stop without the natural limits of different tree species. Thus toxic herbicides to control tree species diversity are followed by hazardous pesticides to control the pests and the chemical runoff contaminates our water supply. Diversity in the forest favors wildlife, recreational value, and soil fertility. Thus we see that the natural system of forest diversity in tree age and species is more beneficial for long term land productivity, wildlife habitat, and recreation potential. This system is preserved by selectively harvesting mature trees. However, if compromises are to be made in harvesting southern forests in view of timber demand, workmen’s wages and mechanization, it would be well for timber companies. to consider the long-term effects of their fast-profit practices. In fact timber company land abuse became so severe in Arkansas that a statewide study of the problems and potential solutions was undertaken in response to citizen concern. Probably the future will bring depleted, wasted soils and silted flooding streams. Then private owners will cry out for the government to buy their land and rehabilitate it as they did in the 1930’s to rebuild the timber stock in expanded national forests. When will we ever learn to respect the land? George Smith Forest Practices Chairman Vice-Chairman, Lone Star Chapter Sierra Club
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