Austin American-Statesman - - VIEWPOINTS -

Class pro­gram in­spir­ing

I love po­lit­i­cal cor­rect­ness. I saw the Bryker Woods Ele­men­tary fourth-grade class per­form a hol­i­day pro­gram at the Re­tire­ment and Nurs­ing Cen­ter on Bur­net Road. It was beau­ti­ful! Mar­velous! Bril­liant! Christ­mas carols, Hanukkah songs, Kwan­zaa mu­sic, Fi­esta Posada songs, I don’t know what all! All kinds of win­ter cel­e­bra­tion songs. I looked around the room at the staff, res­i­dents, guests, chil­dren (through my tears). Va­ri­ety! So Amer­i­can! MJ Hick­er­son


Kids ex­pect too much

Re: Dec. 6 ar­ti­cle, “Judge or­ders Christ­mas non­profit shut down.”

Not ev­ery­one is a “giver” — there are many “tak­ers,” es­pe­cially peo­ple tak­ing ad­van­tage of char­i­ta­ble or­ga­ni­za­tions this time of year. How is it de­ter­mined who re­ceives gifts from Blue Santa? Christ­mas Bureau sup­ported sin­gle par­ents. I’m all for help­ing oth­ers hav­ing hard times, but there are way too many “un­wed moth­ers” to­day get­ting government as­sis­tance.

Why do peo­ple keep ex­pect­ing oth­ers to help them out? Be­cause this at­ti­tude starts when they are very young. Some of us grew up in times when we got cloth­ing, books, games and few toys. Kids to­day now ex­pect Christ­mas to come all year round since what­ever they want can be charged and paid for later. U.S. government isn’t the same as Santa Claus, but many par­ents now think Un­cle Sam and char­i­ties are “Santa Claus,” not them. Kids even­tu­ally learn there isn’t a Santa but need to know there also isn’t a “money tree.” Mol­lie Hejl


We need rad­i­cal changes

If our government and po­lit­i­cal par­ties do not make rad­i­cal changes in how our government is fi­nanced and ac­tu­ally have a balanced bud­get, the U.S. will no longer be a ma­jor power in the world, and that scares me more than any­thing. What is wrong with our government? They ex­pect all of the busi­nesses and ci­ti­zens to live within their means and to pay their taxes. Why doesn’t our government have to live by those rules? There has to be a meet­ing of the minds of our po­lit­i­cal par­ties, a real balanced bud­get with ac­tual money in the bank, or I hate to think about the rev­o­lu­tion against our self-serv­ing politi­cians. A politi­cian-for-life needs to be a thing of the past. It is not serv­ing us well right now! Nancy Good­man


Look at crea­tures’ eyes

Re: Dec. 12 let­ter to the ed­i­tor, “Run­ning from dan­ger?”

With re­spect, I have to point out to the au­thor that the way to de­ci­pher whether or not a species is preda­tor or prey is to look at the eyes. Eyes in front im­plies a preda­tor; eyes to the side in­di­cates prey. Ad­di­tion­ally, the im­age pro­ces­sor be­tween our ears is op­ti­mized for recog­ni­tion. Ex­tremely rapid seg­men­ta­tion and clas­si­fi­ca­tion of im­age features (de­crypt­ing cam­ou­flage strate­gies) and acute mo­tion de­tec­tion in pe­riph­eral vi­sion are es­sen­tial to sur­vival of preda­tors. We do those very well. An­other strat­egy is to be an om­ni­vore, and we are grate­ful that we have that ca­pa­bil­ity.

A lot of us must have been eaten while on the veldt, but I don’t think that ac­counts for the func­tional as­pects of the sys­tems. It is nice that a suf­fi­cient num­ber of our an­ces­tors were able to run fast enough, climb high enough or hide well enough, though. John Pearce


What about mod­er­ates?

Democrats have the far left. Repub­li­cans have the far right. Lib­er­tar­i­ans have the far out. Mod­er­ates are for­got­ten. Sammy L. Franks


Hos­pi­tals’ costs af­fect us

Re: Dec. 13 let­ter to the ed­i­tor, “Se­ton’s char­ity care.”

Some­one has to pay for all goods and ser­vices. Although the au­thor means well, he seems un­aware that char­ity hospi­tal care does in­deed cost tax­pay­ers through in­creased in­surance pre­mi­ums and hospi­tal co­pays amount­ing to thou­sands of dol­lars. We tax­pay­ers pay our own bills, and my hospi­tal stays have been very ex­pen­sive. We pay for Obama care with taxes and for hospi­tal losses un­less we never have to go there. Does this man think that Se­ton has un­lim­ited funds with which to ab­sorb the cost of char­ity care? Noth­ing is free. Bon­nie Street­man


Trails plan has dan­gers

Re: Dec. 6 ar­ti­cle, “Pro­posal: Open 3 trails at night.”

No won­der we voted for sin­gle-mem­ber dis­tricts. With Chris Ri­ley it is all about down­town Austin and bi­cy­cles. I can’t be­lieve he would ac­tu­ally think open­ing the trails at night for bi­cy­cle rid­ers is go­ing to re­duce traf­fic by be­ing an alternative way home for bi­cy­cle rid­ers. How long be­fore one of the rid­ers is mugged in the park at 2 a.m.? Now he wants to re­duce the park­ing spa­ces down­town so more peo­ple will ride their bike to town. If you go down­town to meet­ings or restau­rants, how many of the at­ten­dees there would ap­pre­ci­ate you show­ing up in your sweaty span­dex?

His­tory teaches on taxes

When Bill Clin­ton raised in­come tax rates, Repub­li­cans screamed that it would de­stroy the econ­omy, that mil­lions of jobs would be lost, that tax rev­enues would plum­met and that we would plunge into a deep re­ces­sion. What hap­pened? More than 20 mil­lion jobs were cre­ated, the third­high­est GDP growth since World War II (the top two were also Democrats), and we had a bud­get sur­plus for the first time in many years. Ge­orge W. Bush in­her­ited that, im­me­di­ately cut taxes, and we ended up with the sec­ond worst pe­riod of GDP growth and a huge and grow­ing deficit.

Now, as Pres­i­dent Barack Obama pushes for tax hikes on the wealthy, Repub­li­cans are rais­ing the very same con­cerns that they did with Clin­ton. Were they asleep for 16 years dur­ing Clin­ton and Bush? His­tory shows us that there is a big dif­fer­ence be­tween the­ory and re­al­ity. Ellen Har­ri­son

Austin Lonny Gor­ban


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