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Letters to the editor: March 19, 2017


Re: March 2 article, “Austin’s hottest February closes city’s warmest winter on record.”

This hot winter is not an odd, one-time phenomenon. We will be experiencing many more record warm days, and years in the decades to come. There is no doubt in the scientific community that global warming is real — and all, or nearly all of it — due to human activity. Even a large majority of the general public is now convinced. We might enjoy swimming weather in the middle of winter, but the overall impacts of a rapidly warming planet are going to be very negative – for us here in the U.S. and everyone else on the planet. It’s time for our elected public servants to wake up and do something about it. Contact your local and U.S. representatives to tell them to take action right now to halt the warming madness. And never vote for anyone who does not accept that global warming is a serious problem which needs immediate action.

MARK WARREN, AUSTIN

With all the negative reporting on the president that goes on, there are few things in life to smile about. The comics has been one of the things I’ve enjoyed. But lately the comic strip Baldo seems to find it necessary to make political statements — and so have a couple others. I’m all for freedom of speech — but please let the comics be the comics. If you have a statement to make politically, put it in the commentary section and not the comic strips. Really? Everything has to have a political aspect? Enough already.

DONNA JO TAYLOR, LAKEWAY

March is Women’s History Month and commemorates the long and hard battle that women have fought over centuries to achieve equal rights as men.

It may come as a surprise that Islam actually already safeguarded rights for women some 1,400 years ago. In pre-Islamic Arabia, women were considered mere objects and were immensely mistreated. Prophet Muhammad, the liberator of women, had elevated the status of women, granting them equal rights in all walks of life, such as, the right to inherit property and access to education.

Islamic teachings are clear that both genders should struggle to gain intellectual and spiritual heights — and they will be judged according to their good deeds only. As we recognize women’s accomplishments this March, my hope is to eradicate the misconceptions held about Muslim women. May people come to realize that Islam actually bestows a great position of dignity and honor on women.

NIDA RIZWAN, PFLUGERVILLE

As a former social studies educator in the Austin Independent School District, I was unpleasantly surprised to discover that Senate Bill 1288 filed by state Sens. Larry Taylor and Charles Schwertner calls for the elimination of the U.S. history end-of- course exam and replaces it with the civics test administered by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

I do not favor mandated state assessments, but I feel that accountability is necessary in our high school courses. A 70-percent passing rate on this exam is required for graduation. However, administering this rote-level exam does not stress higher-level thinking and promotes fear of possible deportations for undocumented students.

I would suggest that the Texas Legislature first take this exam in a proctored setting in their chambers and release their results to the public before considering passage of this bill. I believe we may be surprised at the results we get from our legislators.

JOE RAMIREZ, AUSTIN

I live in Congressional District 25; Roger Williams is my congressman. I have tried to visit his Austin office but it was closed during business hours.

I wonder how much taxpayer money is spent on rent for an office that is never open to constituents. I am interested in discussing his views on health care. I have heard that he favors repealing the Affordable Care Act and returning to the system in place before the ACA was passed. This would adversely affect many people in District 25. I also would like to know his position on Medicare and Social Security. I feel unrepresented.

TONI HUNTER, AUSTIN

Re: Feb. 19 letter to the editor, “We won, we decide; left needs to shut up.”

I respect the writer’s right to speak freely.

I learn a great deal from people whose views, values, opinions and political beliefs are different from mine.

I am not as confident about the future with President Trump. Trump’s train has jumped the tracks a few times already. No one knows if it will reach its destination and achieve the accomplishments the author listed.

I read the letters because I believe we need to better understand one other, and learn from each other.

Contrary to the writer’s assertion that leftists “didn’t speak up,” many Americans have spoken up all along in an effort to be a part of solutions, not part of the problems.

The author may not care what “leftists” think or have to say; however, by closing himself off to Americans with different values, thoughts and views, he is marginalizing himself and depriving himself of the power to change his world.

LESLIE MCCARTHY, ROUND ROCK

What middle- and lower-class bigots don’t realize is that dehumanizing others — by painting swastikas, celebrating when parents are deported, setting fire to mosques, refusing to see that Black Lives Matters means that black lives matter, too — they empower those who are destroying the programs that help working Americans.

Workers whose wages have stagnated for decades demonize unions and give their employers a pass. Meanwhile, the truly wealthy often rely on inherited investments.

Parents whose children go to underfunded schools blame the teachers — not the politicians who channel their hard-earned tax dollars into for-profit institutions. Meanwhile, wealthy children attend private schools.

Vulnerable Americans who benefit from the Affordable Care Act blame Barack Obama, not those legislators who would self-righteously deny them minimal health care. Meanwhile, the wealthy buy Cadillac health plans.

After putting “those people” in their place, working Americans should not be surprised to find themselves in an abyss of their own making.

BARBARA CHIARELLO, AUSTIN



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