When I saw President Trump deliver his first speech, I dreaded that I would have to endure it four years if he won. Although what was said wasn’t all that bad, it is an insult to call it a speech. It was a reading.
He does not make eye contact at all and just looks at two teleprompters while squinting to read. Admittedly, I don’t like the guy — but his words are surprisingly acceptable. His delivery is elementary.
A speech or a reading? That debate is still up for discussion.
JOE HAJJAR, AUSTIN
My question for Ken Herman is this: All of Trump’s guests in the gallery during the State of the Union Address had to be flown in, driven around, put up in hotels, and had meals provided for them. Do these expenses fall on the taxpayers, or did Trump pay these expenses himself? I believe that he shamelessly used these folks as props to add credence to his so-called policies.
My second question: With which presidency did the State of the Union address become theater?
There was a time when the president addressed the American people from the Oval Office. No clapping or distractions or theatrics. Will we see that dignified speech making ever again?
MARY ANN ROBALINO, AUSTIN
Re: Feb. 1 article, “Obama photographer lets photos speak for themselves.”
I have always prided myself on being an independent voter.
In addition, I have never been much of a sentimentalist — and certainly not in regards to politics or public officials. But this morning when I opened up my paper and saw the photo of President Obama bending over to let Jacob Philadelphia stroke his head, I surprised myself by the depth of feeling that welled up in me as I began crying uncontrollably.
Without getting too political about this, I doubt that I will ever see a photo of our current president that affects me in such a heartfelt way — and that’s a shame.
DARLENE MACFARLAND, LEANDER
Re: Jan. 29 article, “Oil boom provides new edge for U.S. in energy, diplomacy.”
The article about the big oil boom didn’t tell the real story: the costs of shale oil are too high.
When the city of Denton decided it didn’t want shale oil drilling in its city limits and passed a resolution to that effect, Gov. Greg Abbott lost no time protecting energy companies’ rights to drill wherever they want and forced Denton — and every other Texas locality — to submit.
Fracking sucks up millions of gallons of fresh water, which is then shot full of poison and radioactivity, then turned loose to sink into water tables and aquifers. While Big Oil makes a big profit, millions lose safe drinking water, natural healthy rivers and streams and protected natural areas. Land is taken away by force of law, and Americans’ rights to peacefully protest crushed, as what happened at Standing Rock.
FANCY FAIRCHILD, AUSTIN
Re: Feb. 1 commentary, “How Texas is trying to silence the voices of young voters.”
I agree with the writer: If the voters in a school district want to use their tax dollars to transport voters to the poll, that should be OK — as long as it’s not just one class of the population but anyone in the district who wants a ride.
I also agree that student IDs should be accepted as a valid form for voting as soon as the colleges and universities who issue them adopt the same requirements for an ID as those required for a concealed carry license. Fingerprinting, fees, proven six-month legal residency in Texas, among the other requirements.
JOSEPH KOWALCZYK, SAN MARCOS
Today, I donated blood in memory of my sister. She was the beneficiary of many units — at least 20 — of A-positive blood during her 11-month treatment for cancer.
When I was with her for several of these transfusions, I was amazed and grateful to watch a stranger’s selfless gift bring back her strength, color and energy, so she could continue life and treatments. Each time, her response was a sigh as she murmured, “Thank you to another Texas angel.”
Now, it’s my turn to donate so someone else’s loved one can benefit. It’s also my turn to say, “Thank you, Austin blood donors.” I wish she was here to say this herself.
PAM METZLER, ROCHESTER, NEW YORK
In response to the letter suggesting anyone who doesn’t like Trump should take in immigrants — and even though there’s enough of us that this might actually solve the immigration issue — I’d like to counter that we’ll take in immigrants when you forced-birthers start adopting all these children you insist that people have.
It appears that there’s no civil right you’re not willing to overturn during the pregnancy — but once they’re born it’s, “You’re on your own baby; get a job.”
In the words of “dear leader,” this is just sad.
MIKE LOOBY, ROUND ROCK