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.


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