Bleak House

ROBERT DRAPER’S ARTICLE ON ABILENE’S House of Yahweh [“ Happy Doomsday ,” July 1997] is quite disturbing. Officials should take notice of the escalating behavior of Yisrayl Hawkins and his followers. Mr. Hawkins’ blatant manipulation of Scripture, the decision to adopt polygamy as a practice, and the use of body guards are just three indications that the situation in Abilene may become more serious. The stage is set for a so-called inspired vision and a slight twist of some text in the Bible to create a sense of paranoia in the cult. And we know that in the context of an end-of-the-world scenario, self-destruction rhetoric and behavior takes on a logical appeal. David Koresh and Jim Jones are perfect examples.
MIKE SHOEMAKE
Allen

SHIFTY CHARACTERS LIKE YISRAYL Hawkins twist ancient writings to their own advantage and then peddle the product to a naive public. These oddballs are divine only in their ability to deceive and devastate the lives of their followers.
KELLI ERMIS
Austin

THE HOUSE OF YAHWEH STORY proves to be yet another obstacle in my efforts to establish my pocket-size cult, the Cosmic Pliers of Perpetual Social Adjustment. Since we mostly believe in ourselves and that a kind turn adjusts most nuts, we only accept non-monetary contributions. So bring your own pliers and join the supplication every other Sunday afternoon at the vacant lot where the Alamo Hotel used to be in Austin.
LES ROSS
Austin

Moving Violation

THERE IS AN ERROR IN THE REFERENCE to Cadbury Schweppes in the article “ ‘Boom’ Is a Four-letter Word ” [July 1997]. Helen Thorpe states that Cadbury Schweppes is “among the businesses planning to move their headquarters to the [Dallas] area.” The headquarters for Cadbury Schweppes, plc is London, England. The author made two errors: confusing the parent company with its North American subsidiary and confusing two moves, one a relocation that has already taken place. In July 1996 the decision was announced to consolidate the dual headquarters of Cadbury Beverages North America and Dr Pepper/Cadbury North America, Inc., in Dallas, and the name of both enterprises was folded into Dr Pepper/Seven Up, Inc. This relocation was finished in the spring of 1997. Furthermore, Dr Pepper/Seven Up, Inc., will relocate from Dallas to Plano in the spring of 1998.
PHILIPPA DWORKIN
Vice President, Corporate Communication
Dr Pepper/Seven Up, Inc., Dallas

Fred, Not

I HAVE ONLY ONE OBJECTION to the article by Jason Cohen on movie producer Lynda Obst [“ Sleepless in Fredericksburg ,” July 1997]: I have never once heard Fredericksburg called Fred. My wife has lived here all her life and she has never heard Fredericksburg referred to as Fred. I don’t know where Mr. Cohen heard the expression “Fred,” but it was not from a native. Fredericksburg is often called Fritztown, since everyone named “Frederick” is nicknamed Fritz.
ED GIBSON
Fredericksburg

Panning Our Picks

IS IT ANY WONDER THAT A MAGAZINE that does an article in the same issue on how to spend $696 a night at a Dallas hotel [“ Grand Hotel ,” July 1977] doesn’t like Representative Kevin Bailey [“ The Best and the Worst Legislators ”]? The people of his district, one of the poorest in Texas, know who is on their side and who is pimping for the rich. Representative Bailey won last time with more than 65 percent of the vote, and I bet you have just helped him to another victory: He plans to use your selection of him as among the worst legislators as campaign material.
PAUL SHERR
Austin

I APPRECIATED YOUR PUTTING senator Eddie Lucio on the list of what you consider poor legislators. I think that proves he is an excellent representative for the Rio Grande Valley. He does take care of his own. That’s why we send him to Austin. Your problem with Senator Lucio seems to be with his killing of the drunk driving legislation. Why add more to the load of the Department of Public Safety, which is unable to enforce the current law. And what about the courts? Have you seen the record in Cameron County on drunk driving convictions? We need the DPS and the courts to start doing their job.
ERIC MCCLURE
Brownsville

REPRESENTATIVE ALLEN HIGHTOWER used financial and constitutional reasons to kill Senate Bill 250, although there was a sound financial basis and a sound constitutional basis to pass this legislation. He said that he opposed the bill because it would have “retroactively prevented prisoners who had earned time off their sentence for good behavior from being released to serve the rest of their sentences on parole.” However, this legislation would have allowed the parole board to review the mandatory release of felons convicted before September 1996 and use its discretion in granting or denying release.

Representative Hightower’s cost claims were substantially higher than those estimated by the Senate. We brought to his attention studies by Harvard and Princeton revealing that it is much cheaper to keep high-risk inmates in prison than to release them. Indeed, Governor George Allen used those studies to pass a no-parole law in Virginia. Virginians are not only saving money but also lives.

Representative Hightower also said that the bill was unconstitutional. Contrary to Texas Monthly’s assertion, the bill was different from the Florida law struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court. Florida believed it could reincarcerate inmates who had been released. No such provision was in the bill before Representative Hightower. Written and oral testimony was given to support the constitutionality of the bill. He countered this by having professors from the University of Texas School of Law give testimony that did not include precedent, rational analysis, or specific argument as to why the bill was unconstitutional. His opposition qualified him for your article but clearly not as one of the best.
DIANNE CLEMENTS
President, Justice for All, Houston

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