The following recent quotes from the Associated Press should cause concern.
October 28: “Six months into a deepening drought, the weather is killing crops, threatening cattle and sinking lakes to their lowest levels in years across much of the South.
“The very worst conditions — what forecasters call ‘exceptional drought’ — are in the mountains of northeast Alabama and northwest Georgia.
"’Here at my farm, April 15 was when the rain cut off,’ said David Bailey, who had to sell half his cattle, more than 100 animals, for lack of hay in Alabama's scorched northeast corner.
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"’We've come through some dry years in the '80s, but I never seen it this dry, this long,’ Bailey added. ’There's a bunch of people in a lot of bad shape here.’"
November 11: “Thursday's [Nov. 10] national drought report shows 41.6 million people in parts of 15 Southern states living in drought conditions. The worst is in Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee, but extreme drought also is spreading into the western Carolinas. Kentucky, Tennessee and North Carolina all have fierce fires.
“Alabama extended its ban throughout the state, where drought is choking 80 percent of the land, drying up streams and lakes and turning plants to tinder. Firefighters in Alabama have battled more than 1,100 fires that have charred nearly 12,000 acres in the last month.”
Climatologists have reported for years that a warming climate will include more droughts. The facts are: Earth is warming, ice is melting, seas are rising and becoming more acidic, droughts are more prevalent, and farmers and others are suffering. We must quickly cause our policy makers to enact measures that will significantly reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, which result, in large measure, from burning fossil fuels – coal, oil, and natural gas.
David Newton, Auburn
What is it with our mayor ... and council ... and legislative delegation? First, they tried to turn neighbors against each other with a two-tiered property tax scheme, and now they are pushing to make us decide whether or not to legalize the destructive nature of casino gambling in our community! We truly deserve better leadership from our elected officials!
Hal A. Kirven, Columbus
The national economy is based primarily on tax revenue. Since “W” and his cronies busted the economy in 2008, we have been in rehabilitation that is far from complete. Trump, Ryan and McConnell now claim a “mandate” to ravage all social safety nets while lowering taxes for the wealthiest Americans to “make America great again.” Hogwash.
Since 2008, the Federal Reserve has lowered the borrowing rate to banks and other credit sources to virtually 0%, meaning they get taxpayer money at no cost and then lend it to taxpayers via credit accounts at usurious interest rates in excess of 20% plus charge annual fees and account charges as well. The outrageous profits that are generated are well documented, and these unscrupulous money-grubbers dump the obscene profits offshore and then claim exemption from any tax accountability. So, we taxpayers fund them at 0%, then they rob us at 20% and more thereby generating filthy lucre wealth and thumb their noses at us when we demand that they pay taxes on their profits just as we do annually on our state and federal tax returns.
Trump just met with his fellow tyrants and regaled them at 21 Club in NYC with the boast that “we got ‘em where we want ‘em boys and they can’t do a damned thing about it.” His first priorities: lowering their tax rate (Why? They pay no taxes just as he hasn’t for nearly 20 years) plus deregulating their trade practices and opening new avenues to rip off the public.
“Make America great again?” Only if you are uncaring and uninformed about reality.
Robert John White, Georgetown
Skip the turkey
President Obama is taking a break from Trump transition to pardon two turkeys. Every one of us can exercise that presidential pardon power on Thanksgiving by giving thanks for health and happiness while skipping gratuitous violence.
The 235 million turkeys killed in the U.S. this year have nothing to be thankful for. They are raised in crowded sheds filled with toxic fumes. At 16 weeks, slaughterhouse workers cut their throats and dump them in boiling water to remove their feathers.
Consumers pay a heavy price, too. Turkey flesh is laced with cholesterol and saturated fats that elevate risk of chronic killer diseases. Package labels warn of food poisoning potential.
But, there is good news. Annual per capita consumption of turkeys is down by a whopping 35% from a 1996 high. A third of our population is reducing meat consumption. Food manufacturers are developing a great variety of healthful, delicious plant-based meat products.
My Thanksgiving dinner will include a “tofurky” (soy-based roast), mashed potatoes, stuffed squash, chestnut soup, candied yams, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, and carrot cake. An internet search on vegan Thanksgiving and a visit to my local grocery store will provide me heaps of recipes and delightful plant-based turkey alternatives.
Dave Kephart, Columbus