Letters: Education costs, wind energy, Astros

September 1, 2012 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

Eyeballing education costs


In “Apple victory could be a loss for consumer” (Page B6, Tuesday), commentator James Temple worries whether American companies successfully defending their patents against theft is a good thing. It’s strange the things we prioritize to worry about. Kindergarten through 12th grade public education now costs American taxpayers over $10,000 per student per year for a generally terrible product, but Temple is worried about whether Apple might get a monopoly for products that cost a few hundred bucks – and work flawlessly. Ditto for a mediocre college education. Health care now costs taxpayers and ratepayers over $8,000 per patient per year, yet we are less and less healthy every year.

The one thing these businesses all have in common is that they truly are monopolies, and their pricing is not subject to the open market as is Apple’s.

Pete Smith, Cypress


Wind energy effectiveness

Regarding “Report sees wallop to wind” (Page B6, Aug. 14), like most engineers and technically minded individuals, I would like to see the use of wind power, solar power and other non-polluting energy sources used to power the world. But I am not ready to just accept hundreds of windmills that visually pollute the countryside.

When newer wind turbines are developed that produce more than the 2.5 to 7 megawatts that today’s models generate, then perhaps the acceptance will be greater. In the meantime, placing hundreds of wind turbines in areas of Texas where the wind blows constantly or more constantly than other areas seems less than frugal. To continue to support their use with tax credits keeps other ideas, such as gas turbine generators powered by the new sources of natural gas being found, from being explored.

Lawrence Keen, Pearland


Life, liberty and happiness

Regarding “Ultimate victories rare in real world of politics” (Page B7, Aug. 25), David Brooks is, in today’s world of division and stubbornness, a rare gem. He is a realist. We used to call them moderates, but that word is now just disregarded as meaningless.

I was speaking with a friend recently who refers to herself as a Republican. She said, “I am fiscally conservative and socially progressive. There is really not a place for me.” I replied that I believe most voters would describe themselves similarly. In fact, I describe my self exactly that way, yet I typically vote Democratic. Neither my friend nor I align well with either party.

David Brooks, though, bridges the divide, explaining that our leaders need a governing conscience in order to navigate our divides to come up with something productive. Although it may be suboptimal in their minds, they recognize it will be good for the country. We desperately need more realists in the halls of government.

The Founding Fathers would never have been able to finish the Constitution if today’s political mind-set had prevailed. We have three branches of government, two major parties and checks and balances built into the system. They’re not there to encourage parliamentary game-playing to see who’s the most clever in getting around them.

The Founding Fathers were realists. They understood that all citizens will be represented. That means compromise. Politicians must get over this attitude of only one party can win and the other, therefore, loses.

Devon Avery, Houston


A plan for woeful Astros

Regarding “Giants 3, Astros 2″ (Page C6, Wednesday), although it is not Jim Crane’s fault that Drayton McLane decimated the Astros’ major-league roster and farm system in his successful attempt to maximize his profit when he sold the team, it is Crane’s problem now.

I have seen every Astros team for the past 50 years. The present team, without a doubt, is the worst. It will probably take three to five years for the Astros to become competitive again.

In the meantime, I believe that management should reduce ticket prices during the rebuilding process to demonstrate its loyalty to the fans.

I propose that the Astros reduce ticket prices next season by 50 percent for season ticket holders and 33 percent for everyone else. The fans should not have to pay major-league prices for a minor-league product.

Randy Schaffer, Houston

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