Letters to the editor: Dec. 3, 2017

Re: Nov. 28 article, “Gov. Abbott taps legal adviser for Texas Supreme Court.”

Did I read that right? Chuck Lindell quotes Gov. Abbott as saying of his appointee to the Texas Supreme Court: “I wanted to make sure that the person I appointed was going to make decisions that I know how they are going to decide.”

That, in a nutshell, is what is wrong with our current crop of so-called Republicans and their understanding of the judiciary and of the oath of office they have all sworn. A judge must decide a case on the sworn testimony and the arguments presented to him or her. A judge cannot know ahead of time how he or she will decide, let alone the governor who made the appointment.

The statue of justice in the U.S. Supreme Court is depicted wearing a blindfold to indicate impartiality — blindness to any outside forces. A new Texas statue of justice should now be commissioned, depicted as deaf, dumb and blind — especially, dumb.


Re: Nov. 22 commentary, “Herman: The George H.W. Bush dilemma.”

Mark Updegrove rationalized the straying hands of George H.W. Bush with “if he believed he was offending somebody, he probably wouldn’t have done it.”

Surely, someone who has ascended to U.S. presidency knows that “ignorantia juris non excusat” extends beyond the law to our conduct in life.

A man too weak to control where his hands rest does not accidentally squeeze only female buttocks when buttocks are nearby. If the idea of a random person (outside your fantasies) doing something to you offends or outrages you, don’t do it to others without consent.

Power and position come with an obligation for heightened awareness, not just entitlements. The accident of his birth puts Bush in the top rung of world social hierarchy. What men are able to get away with may have changed over the years, but the ideas of “noblesse oblige” and golden rule haven’t.


I love Amazon. I shop on it regularly. Amazon shouldn’t locate their second headquarters here.

Amazon has space in more than 33 buildings in Seattle. Seattle residents tell me Amazon worsened congestion and drove prices sky-high for real estate rentals and sales.

This will happen to Austin if Amazon comes here.

Do we not have enough congestion? Have we solved mobility? Are prices and taxes not high enough?

Why would we want this? Whatever the trade-off, the price is too high.

Incentives will be sought. “Incentives” means Austin residents will subsidize another large, profitable corporation through higher taxes, more congestion, pollution, crowding, etc. We all pay their debt.

The Chamber of Commerce is encouraging Amazon to come. The City Council should speak quickly and tell Amazon to please locate somewhere else — and that the council speaks for Austin, not the chamber.


Re: Nov. 25 commentary, “Why movie ‘LBJ’ is a needed reminder about the presidency.”

Rich Oppel goes to great lengths to be an apologist for LBJ. Lyndon Johnson was a paranoid leader who involved us in a needless war that cost the lives of thousands of military personnel and innocent noncombatants. By all rights he should have been branded a war criminal.

He is not alone. George W. Bush committed the folly of an extended ground war in Iraq mainly to stroke his ego. Don’t stop there. Hillary Clinton gloated about the death of Libya’s Gadhafi with the end result the turmoil we see in that area today. I admit I was once a war hawk, but with the needless deaths I have seen in my lifetime, I now prefer to be called a pacifist.


In the year-end rush to simplify the tax code, the House tax proposal will eliminate the deduction for medical expenses.

If you have a loved one in a nursing home or assisted living, this change could be devastating. I have a brother in such a facility. Taking the House proposal and applying the new law over an 8-year period when my brother’s medical expenses already exceeded his income by around $80,000, I come up with additional income tax he would owe of roughly $68,000, or $8,500 per year.

As baby boomers age, more could find themselves in the position of paying all of their income for medical care and still find themselves burdened with paying tax on this same income. Fortunately, the Senate plan does not eliminate the medical deduction. I will be contacting my congressmen to urge them not to eliminate the medical deduction.


Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Opinion

Herman: Will ‘The Head’ need a new home?
Herman: Will ‘The Head’ need a new home?

Since shortly after the turn of the century, he’s ceaselessly cast his gaze eastward, optimistically looking toward the sunrise that, for many, heralds the arrival of another day in Austin. Granted, watching the sun rise over an Auto Zone on Burnet Road is not to be equated with watching the sun set over Lake Travis at The Oasis. But there he...
Opinion: Who’s worse: Trump or his lawyers?

Gee, we’ve been hearing a ton about the turmoil in the president’s legal team. You probably have questions. Is this something else I have to think about in the middle of the night when I’m staring at the ceiling? Because really, I’ve got enough. We’re talking about chaos and turnover among the people defending Donald Trump...
Opinion: Liberals don’t hate America, and conservatives aren’t racists

WASHINGTON — I’m a rock-ribbed conservative who wants Republicans to keep control of Congress. But I’m not unhappy that Republican state Rep. Rick Saccone appears to have lost the special election in Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District. Why? Because he insulted my mother. Trailing his Democratic opponent in a district...
Commentary: From Iraq to Austin, motives behind violence are elusive
Commentary: From Iraq to Austin, motives behind violence are elusive

Earlier this week, as Austin nursed its collective SXSW intellectual and artistic hangovers, the freshness and transparency that are hallmarks of the yearly festival slowly yielded the headlines to the developing storyline of a serial bomber who was terrorizing our city. As law enforcement publicly pieced together their case and a small army of federal...
Letters to the editor: March 23, 2018
Letters to the editor: March 23, 2018

If our City Council chooses to look elsewhere for a permanent chief of police, they are existing further from reality than I imagined. This man has been dealing with situations that are very far from what is normal — and he has handled it with authority and grace. Our police department needs him because he is familiar with the problems here in...
More Stories