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Finally someone sees Jenna Bush as she is today [“Girl Gone Mild,” November 2007]. She did nothing in her younger years that many other girls have not done—they just weren’t the daughter of a president. Jenna has grown up. People who are critical of her should do the same.
However you feel about President Bush and whether you agree or disagree with his decisions on how to run the country, you can’t deny that he and Mrs. Bush raised those girls right. Their “antics” as teenagers were no worse than most other teenagers’, and they have both grown into admirable young women. Kudos to the president and first lady for at least two positive outcomes.
It is a shame that Skip Hollandsworth would taint an otherwise enjoyable article about Jenna Bush with all-too-easy potshots about her father. Here is a young woman who has risen above her maligned past to do something meaningful with her life, and Skip seems more concerned with the next clever jab aimed at Dubya. Perhaps the problem with presidential children doesn’t reside within the White House but with the journalists who are so reluctant to allow them to live outside the shadows of their fathers.
I hope there will be a follow-up story when Jenna writes an equally moving book about the Iraqi refugees in Syria and other Middle East countries.
Norman W. Baxter
I thought your little valentine to Jenna Bush was quite sweet. But do you really believe that she deserved a $300,000 advance from HarperCollins? I suppose that no one is more entitled to ride the Bush gravy train than the president’s daughter, since everyone else who accompanied him to Washington has jumped on it. The fact that she is going to marry a protégé of Karl Rove’s, though, tells me more about her than anything she has written.
Bless Skip Hollandsworth’s heart. I don’t know if he is naive or so full of himself to actually believe that George Bush remembered his wife’s and child’s names. The only thing Mr. Bush does without someone telling him what to say is stutter and stammer. I hope Barbara and Jenna turn out to be fine citizens in spite of their father.
Law and Border
In the article “Keep Out!” Karen Olsson pretends to write about both sides of the issue of illegal aliens and the border fence [November 2007]. In fact, her story was biased against building a fence. I wonder how many Texans who have had a family member killed by an illegal alien or addicted to drugs smuggled over the border by illegal aliens or die from a serious illness in an emergency room while waiting for illegal aliens to get treated for the “sniffles”—free of charge, I might add—would agree with her.
At Wit’s End
The article by Kinky Friedman recommending ways to reform Texas’s political system is another example of the right words being spoken by the wrong person [“Reform Follows Function,” November 2007]. Everything Friedman says makes perfect sense. Of course, for that very reason, we should not expect any of his suggestions to become reality anytime soon. Because of Friedman’s quirky ways, he is invariably written off as a person who seems obsessed with trying to be funny while commenting on serious matters. His unconventional appearance and his penchant for saying things that make people wary of his credibility, not to mention his sensibility, are a shame really, because his ideas are not only revolutionary but would make for a better method of elections and government. Kinky needs to lose the attempt at wit, the omnipresent cigar, and the goofy statements that dilute the good sense of what he says and join the mainstream. That may be a tall order, but until he does, Kinky will remain just that: kinky.
Mr. Friedman’s implacable logic continues to amaze me, even a full year after his ignominious defeat. Plump with his own imaginary popularity and wit, he puts himself forward as a unique and unusual politician with fresh ideas—only to list ideas as old and tired as politics itself.
Not only are they recycled, but they’re also toxic. Not content with wresting command of my body and mind in order to force me to vote (mandatory voting), Mr. Friedman glibly proposes taking a lot of money as well. In his mind, it is right and good that I be forced to fund two or three candidates espousing principles I despise (publicly funded campaigns).
And for all his whining about how difficult it was to get himself invited to the gubernatorial debate, he did manage to get in. Safely onstage, he did not seem overbothered by the cruel and illegal exclusion of ballot candidate James Werner. Perhaps Mr. Friedman’s principles extend only to what aids his own campaigns. And a politician like that, unfortunately, is far from unique and unusual.
I just cannot understand why Joel Osteen would ever receive criticism [Texas Monthly Talks, November 2007]. It seems nowadays that anytime you try to be positive and happy and do something good, you have people who feel insecure and want to bring you down. I think Joel’s positive message is what this world needs right now, and it does not really matter how the word gets out there. It just needs to get out.
St. Paul, Minnesota
My favorite part of my favorite magazine is the Faith Bases column. That said, I was surprised at the change in tone in the November issue, which profiled a local ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. While most columns have described the music, architecture, liturgy, and members of each congregation, more than half of this one focused on the differences between the Mormons and “mainstream” Christian denominations. You managed to pack polygamy, the authenticity of Joseph Smith’s translations, baptism for the dead, and other issues into a two-page profile. I can’t imagine how you’d treat my Lutheran congregation. Martin Luther, beware!
New York, New York