Let’s be honest: Buying better light bulbs will save you a few bucks. They will not dent climate change. Going solar and adding extra insulation is a good idea. And, it greens the power grid only by fractions of a percent. But what if you, the reader, could change millions of light bulbs, or remove the pollution of millions of cars? You can make a real difference. Take 10 minutes to write the Austin City Council.
Tell the council that Austin Energy must kick its coal habit because coal’s costs are simply unaffordable. Those costs are steep and hard to look at. A warming world that coal brings is a future without cotton farmers around Hutto, without water in our Highland Lakes, without a city of spectacular greenbelts from Brushy Creek to the Salt Lick.
We have a say about this future. Austin’s utility is publicly owned. The coal pollution that for 30 years has slipped through town on milelong trains, that’s ours, too. Before it’s past time to be responsible, Austin, move beyond coal.
I have heard that fans attending sporting events at several college campuses have begun chanting “term limits” at the end of the first quarter of college football games. If it hasn’t already happened here, I hope this spreads to Texas schools. Nothing else has seemed to get the attention of our congressional delegation.
Re: Oct. 9 letter, “ACL concert was too loud.”
In 1972, I was living downtown seven blocks from Town Lake (as it was called then), and one Saturday morning, I was awakened by the sound of 19 lawnmowers right outside my third-story window. It went on all day. It turned out to be speedboat races on the lake. They were a big deal for race fans, part of national competitions — as well as a pain for anyone hoping to sleep in. Given a choice, I’d go with the music.
Re: Oct. 7 commentary, “Central Texas’ future amid drought.”
The American-Statesman opinion page was fine: we have a crisis and must take action to conserve water. As a conservative for more than five decades, I must add that we Central Texans must first have water in order to conserve it. The time to talk, compare alternatives, balance interests and proceed on the basis of shared consensus is long past. We must begin now, regardless of environmental implications, to build desalinization plants on the coast, and we must lay the pipes that will carry ever-growing ocean levels into either ground or subterranean reservoirs in our drought-stricken area.
Oh yes, we have many priorities: better schools, fair treatment of minorities, better police procedures, etc. But the fact is that we have functioning schools, laws to protect all citizens and public safety departments that basically do their jobs. What we all need but do not now have is adequate water supplies. So that must be priority No. 1 — and 2, 3, 4. Let’s do it! Now.
Both parties share responsibility for the current government shutdown. It’s possible, but not very productive, to argue that one party bears more responsibility than the other. Those who blame only one party entirely have either been badly misinformed by their media outlet of choice or are so blinded by extreme partisanship that facts no longer matter. Both parties have engaged in obstructionism and hyper-partisanship, placing the interests of their party ahead of the interests of their country. All Americans should be outraged by the obstructionism and the refusal to compromise of many of our elected officials, regardless of party affiliation. The entire country is harmed by their foolish behavior. Voters should take note and remove these folks at the next election. Our republic has always benefited when the two opposing parties compromised and used the best ideas from both parties. If you eliminate either loyal opposition party from the political spectrum, you’ve become North Korea.
The National Mall and the World War II Memorial in Washington are closed to American citizens, yet a rally of illegal immigrants is allowed on the Mall. Families of American soldiers killed in Afghanistan aren’t getting their promised death benefits because of the shutdown. All of this is unforgivable, and it’s all on Sen. Harry Reid and President Barack Obama for not accepting the House Republican’s offer to fund the government, as is their obligation demanded by the Constitution. However, that same Constitution instructs the Senate Democrats to come up with an annual budget, something they have failed to do for five years. Hence the need for all the continuing resolutions every few months.
This refusal to negotiate the end of the shutdown in order to save Obamacare is mind-boggling. And why you folks still driving around with Obama bumper stickers on your cars aren’t embarrassed enough to remove them is mystifying. Sadly, I guess we do get the government we deserve after all.
Re: Oct. 9 letter to the editor, “Creationism isn’t science.”
In the letter, a “science advocate” attempted to put down the creation theory. However, while talking about how well the stomach functions, he stated: “This is not a mystery, it is well designed physiology.” OK. “Designed” by who? Maybe the same being who gave all of us different faces, different fingerprints and different DNA? Go back in your evolution times as far as you want, and still, whatever was living, had a well-designed stomach.
I grew up in San Angelo, and most of my family still lives there. Because it generally costs more to fly into San Angelo than into other cities, last year, for Thanksgiving, my family of five flew into Austin. We figured the cost of renting a car would be similar in San Angelo, so the extra drive required would be worth it.
Boy, were we mistaken! Between taxes and airport fees, Austin added several hundred dollars to our car rental bill! I just finished making plane reservations for the upcoming Thanksgiving. I didn’t even consider flying into Austin. You have priced yourself out of our business. And we may not be the only ones, which is a shame, because Austin is a wonderful city.