Letters to the editor: Sept. 17, 2017

Re: Aug. 11 article, “Old Settler’s Music Fest moving to new location near Lockhart in 2018” and Sept. 7 article, “Conflict arises between Old Settler’s Music Fest and new Driftwood fest.”

A month ago, the American-Statesman reported that the Old Settlers Music Festival was being forced to move because the owner of the Salt Lick was giving them the boot due to “the changing use of the surrounding property and concern about alienating his new neighbors.”

Now, it turns out that Scott Roberts was making plans to accommodate the new Driftwood Music Fest. I live less than 10 miles from the Salt Lick, but next April I’ll be driving to Dale for my music, — and from now on, I’ll be driving to Franklin’s, Stiles Switch or Valentina’s for my barbecue.


Re: Sept. 8 article, “Chamber chief: Austin will go after Amazon’s $5 billion ‘second headquarters.’”

With Amazon’s recent announcement, they are looking to bring 50,000 jobs to one lucky American city, it appears local officials are already cranking up the charm machine.

I’m sure Austin and many other cities will offer some sort of incentive package — and I’m sure Mayor Steve Adler is no doubt eager to show Gov. Greg Abbott after this recent contentious legislative session that he knows how to make big business deals.

My only hope is that Adler and our city welcome wagon consider the economic and psychological impact of this unstoppable behemoth in a town celebrated for its local businesses. I hope that in whatever conversations are had with Amazon, both the city and Amazon are able to demonstrate to Austinites why Amazon’s presence would make our local and businesses stronger as a result. Otherwise, giving a $450 billion company outside company kickbacks feels like we’re sending our small businesses down the river.


Re: Sept. 10 article, “Trump backs Texas churches seeking FEMA aid.”

So, three Texas churches have filed suit wanting money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. OK.

But FEMA is funded by our federal tax dollars, and critics say churches shouldn’t be eligible for this assistance because they don’t pay any federal taxes. Now president Trump has stepped in and tweeted his support for the churches. This shouldn’t be surprising. Why? Well, consider this: Trump has hundreds of pending lawsuits in courts all over the U.S. — courts that are funded by our federal tax dollars — and like churches, there is no proof that he pays any federal taxes either.

So, who can blame the churches for trying to gain access to an essential government service that is funded by our tax dollars — even though they don’t pay taxes? It seems to be working amazingly well for Trump.


Re: Sept. 6 letter to the editor, “Neo-Nazi marchers deserve to be ignored.”

The letter writer is drawing an equivalent between right-wing hate groups and left-wing counter protesters in by saying “any group that hates, left or right.”

That’s wrong. The hate is coming from the right with their anti-Semitism, ideas of racial superiority and racial segregation and Nazi and Confederate flag sympathies. These right-wing hate groups must be unequivocally condemned and counter protested.

The left has done that passionately as all good people should.


Re: Sept. 11 article, “Electric trucks deliver green benefits, silence.”

Here is one more story with someone gushing over how they are helping save the planet by driving an electric vehicle. The Chicago logistics manager of the bakery using the electric truck in the article said “It’s the right thing to do. We’re … not polluting.”

Where do these folks think the energy to charge the batteries comes from — the Energy Fairy? About two-thirds of electric power in the U.S. comes from burning fossil fuels. Wind provides 6 percent, nuclear 20 percent and solar 1 percent.

Doesn’t sound nearly as green now, does it?

Except for the green that the IRS takes out of our wallets and gives people to help them buy such “green” vehicles. Now that’s real green.


It is tragic that climate science became conflated with politics, and it is essential to see how they are distinct. Science proves that extra carbon dioxide in the atmosphere warms the Earth — and that warmer air holds more moisture — and thereby explains why storms are wetter. Hence the 2016 Louisiana floods and Harvey. Politics entails what to do with this information.

A disastrous political choice is to ignore the scientific facts, to see climate as inappropriate for polite conversation or too disempowering to engage. Equally disastrous is to pretend that no government policy is needed. Even conservative economics teaches that the market fails us when polluters are given a free rein.

One government response is to charge polluters according to how much they pollute. This would create market incentives for clean activities and could quite possibly stimulate the economy. Basic science along with basic economics demonstrate the urgent need for responsible political action.


It was bad enough the executives at Equifax could not keep people’s vulnerable data safe but when they learned of the breach, three of the executives sold their stock, saving hundreds of thousands of dollars, before notifying authorities.

Now, millions of people are at risk for identify theft — and other Equifax stockholders have seen their holdings drop 13 percent. Another example of how corporate America could care less about the average citizen.


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