Soap Box

Put aside politics for climate
12/06/2018

To the editor,

It was recently reported that the U.S. Department of Agriculture will grant $20.2 million to wildfire recovery projects in La Plata and other Colorado counties. We are grateful for this and other actions to address worsening wildfires.

The main cause of increased wildfires has been rising temperatures leading to earlier snowmelt, which in turn leads to drier conditions. Projections indicate that for every 1.8°F further rise in temperature there could be quadruple the area burned each year in the western U.S.

Fortunately, there is a ray of hope from the U.S. Congress with the introduction of the “Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act,” (H.R. 7173) which would place a steadily rising fee on carbon pollution and return all revenue to households equally. The bill, (a) is a market-based approach with bipartisan support, (b) will drive down carbon pollution while putting money in people’s pockets, (c) is good for business and will create jobs.

Besides the 70 percent of U.S. citizens (72 percent in Colorado) who believe global warming is happening (Yale University), only 21 percent currently approve of how Congress is doing its job (Gallup). I urge Congressman Tipton to join the bipartisan sponsorship of this bill and respond to the desires of his constituents for more cooperation in Congress and positive action on the climate crisis. It’s time to set aside partisan differences and, for the good of our nation and the world, start addressing the threat of climate change by enacting the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act in the next Congress.

– Andrew Zeiler, Durango

Keep out caravan of invaders
11/29/2018

To the editor,

The picture of thousands of invaders trying to forcefully get into America is frightful. Especially to those living along the border with Mexico. For years, many have had their homes invaded by much smaller groups than the present-day caravans.

Caravans of immigrants invading America is a new type of threat to this country. The liberals’ idea of an open border policy is a sign of insanity.

Especially now that Mexico has, as of Dec. 1, a new president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. He has been quoted as saying during his campaign that “immigrants must leave their towns and find a life in the United States.” Now some in the neighboring countries may be taking his advice.

And he was also quoted as saying, “and soon, very soon ... after the victory of our movement ... we will defend all the migrants in the American continent and all the migrants in the world.”

Hopefully, that was just campaign bravado. We will soon find out!

Too bad our gutless Republican legislators and their fellow Democrat/Abomination Party legislators didn’t give the president enough money to build the wall.

The wall should be 50 feet thick and 100 feet high, of reinforced concrete, down the center of the Rio Grande River, from the Gulf of Mexico to El Paso, Texas, and from there on the border line, all the way to the Pacific Ocean. If it can be done, America can do it!

A broke America cannot take in the rest of the world.

– Manuel Ybarra Jr., Coalgate, Okla, via e-mail

A fond farewell to our super fan
11/29/2018

To the editor (and my local friends),

This is partly business but mostly personal. It’s with a sad heart that I must cancel my mother, Ildiko Valeria Miesler’s, subscription to the Durango Telegraph since she passed away Saturday evening, Nov. 24. As the longest-running subscriber, the Durango Telegraph meant the world to her. From her Norman, Okla., home she read it with enthusiasm, often commenting or asking me about various stories, she loved the colorful covers, even mentioning this picture or that and wondering if it had caught my eye.

She was always impressed with the great variety of music being written about and played in our area. Especially the Music in the Mountains program. She was interested in their lineups, and we’d have had season’s passes had she been a local. In recent years, when her amazing health and mobility started diminishing and she could no longer get out with the casualness of her younger days, the Durango Telegraph took on an ever more central place in her life, a connection with a vibrant community and the beautiful mountains she loved from afar, not to mention her son.

Considering that it’s the holiday season, I think she would have happily approved of seeing the balance on her subscription going to the Durango Telegraph Christmas Party fund as a final thank you for all your dedication, effort and the love that goes into producing your excellent weekly.

– Peter Miesler, Durango

Editor’s note: Peter, we are sorry to hear of Ildiko’s passing. We thank you and her for your years of support and are glad we could provide a bright spot in her day. We will be sure to raise a glass to her at our annual holiday get together.

The Republican $40 trillion fallacy
11/29/2018

To the editor,

Shouldn’t the world’s richest country – the world’s greatest democracy – strive to provide access to basic health care for all? It’s a noble goal. Republicans claim it would be too expensive. The best estimate is that Medicare for all would cost $40 trillion over the next 10 years!

That would be bad news, except that this is the $40 trillion fallacy! Our present health care system is staggeringly inefficient. Based on a study by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Studies, it’s projected that the cost of health care under our present system will be $50 trillion over the next 10 years!

We spend twice as much on health care as other developed countries that cover all their citizens. We could provide basic coverage for a lot more people for a lot less money. The regime for paying medical providers could be much more fair and efficient. Immense savings could be obtained by trimming the role of insurance companies. Expanded Medicare could do what present Medicare should do but doesn’t – negotiate with pharmaceutical companies for better prices. Enormous savings could be obtained because people with adequate health care require fewer emergency services. Added revenue could be provided by taking the rich and the super rich off Republican-constructed welfare masquerading as tax reform. The truth is that it’s too expensive morally and economically not to have Medicare for all. It’s a goal we should strive to reach.

– Edward Packard, Durango

Slow down and enjoy the holidays
11/29/2018

To the editor,

Christmas is coming fast, but try to slow down. Before you know it, Christmas will be over.

Most of us live our lives in a hurry. We hurry to finish school, hurry through meals, hurry through the work week and hurry into retirement. In a twinkle of an eye, we have hurried through our lives. The clock cannot be reset. The past is in the past and you can’t change yesterday. You can relish, rejoice or regret about yesterday but you can’t change the past. Actually you might not want to, or you might tweak a few days if you could, but you can’t.

If you could, you might have spent an extra hour at the lake or an extra day on vacation. You might have given an extra hour to passing ball with your kids or staying an extra hour to help mom clean up the kitchen. You might retract some words that came out of your mouth in a moment of frustration. The scenarios are numerous when we look back.

We can only look ahead.

Take the focus off spending lots of money. Consider drawing names if you have a large group that gathers. Why try to buy for everybody? Some of the people you buy for may be strapped for cash. They might be able to buy one or two gifts with a limited budget but they can’t buy for 10 or 20 people. Even if you are blessed with cash, consider others who want to give but are limited. Plan a way that all can enjoy.

Take the focus off eating. Do you really want to start the New Year 10 pounds heavier? Nobody needs five different kinds of pies and cakes. The more you have to eat in your refrigerator the more you will eat. Do your loved ones need diabetes? Don’t add to their problem. Make some good food and make it as healthy as possible. However, take the time to enjoy what you made and try to  enjoy it with people who are meaningful to you.

Try to focus on who and what Christmas is all about. A humble family giving birth to a baby in Bethlehem. This season focus on what and who are important before the season is over and take an extra moment to enjoy.

– Glenn Mollette, via e-mail