Commentary

Wed
12
Mar

Budget ducks tough choices

No changes proposed for largest drivers of deficits and debt

By Ken Esten Cooke— It’s a shame that politics now drives budget proposals more than common sense. And President Obama’s latest offering shows just that with its lack of addressing the true drivers of federal deficits.

The Senate, led by Democrats, has said it won’t bother to pass a budget this year. And House Republicans are fighting among themselves to come to an agreement.

Though annual deficits have fallen in recent years, long-term trends and the failure to address them, will continue to press future generations. Entitlements such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid continue to crowd out defense and infrastructure, which leaves the country compromised in a variety of ways.

Thu
06
Mar

Agony of defeat gone with a Dr Pepper

Our 11-year-old wrapped up his first season with the Little Billies basketball program, and our little man-child learned a lot about winning and losing.

We spent most of Saturday morning at the Fredericksburg High School gym, and we saw some close competitive games from these future Billies. We marveled at how much the kids learned under their coaches — ours was Bruce Stafford, but the others also brought out the best in their kids.

Little Billies lights a competitive fire in our kids, all while learning the basics, and that’s great. They learn to try their best, and they learn that losing can sting a little.

Our son’s team finished third, but they were beaten in the “semi-final” game by a team they had topped earlier in the season. In fifth grade, the prevailing thought is if we beat them once, we’ll beat them every time. But the other team played a gritty game and won by a single point.

Thu
06
Mar

No ifs, ands or butts in smoking debate

A funny thing happened on the way to smoke-free restaurants and bars in cities and towns — business didn’t suffer as much as predicted amongst the gnashing of teeth and predictions of mass walkouts. Some people actually preferred not sitting in a fog of second-hand smoke as they enjoyed their drink or food.

Recently, CVS Pharmacy announced it would stop selling cigarettes as it stood in direct view of their mission of being a health services company. For 50 years, we have known that cigarettes were bad for us, but it is only now that it dawns on a major pharmacy that selling them is counter-productive to its efforts. Most independent pharmacies made the decision decades ago.

Still, we wait to see if other large retailers follow suit. With teen smoking on the decline and the majority of the public’s 40-year kicking of that habit, maybe they are seeing the writing on the wall.

Wed
05
Mar

A night with Rumsfeld

Former Secretary of Defense has valued grasp of policy; kudos to foundation for event

By Ken Esten Cooke— We were honored to be able to attend the third annual Distinguished Speaker Series last Monday, sponsored by the Admiral Nimitz Foundation.

The talk by former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was yet another example of the foundation bringing a top-notch speaker to our town so supporters could hear from leaders who have shaped recent history.

Rumsfeld was remarkably lucid at age 81, and he hadn’t seem to age a day since he was broadcast throughout the nation during press conferences in the early days of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. He answered questions from the audience with his trademark candid style, and he minced no words about whom he thinks would not be a good White House occupant.

Wed
26
Feb

Ordering online...the party line, that is

Last Monday night, before “putting my computer to bed,” I jumped on-line to order from one of hundreds … or rather … thousands of firms that offer on-line ordering for their merchandise.

With all of today’s technology, it’s not even necessary to go to the store anymore. I have discovered that if it is not available on-line, it probably isn’t even being made.

Almost instantly after hitting the “go” button, I had confirmation that my hair gel would soon be on its way. And by golly, Saturday morning, there it was when I opened the mailbox.

Even back in the 1930s and ’40s, people had their way of on-line ordering … over the party line telephone. And, a day or so later, their merchandise was delivered.

Back then, two local produce companies – Knopp and Metzger Produce and Schneider Produce – would send trucks into the rural communities to make deliveries to farms as well as to pick up eggs, cream and butter.

Wed
26
Feb

Public Schools Week highlights triumphs

Support of public schools needed; importance can’t be overstated

By Ken Esten Cooke— We loved reading through the Fredericksburg Independent School District’s third-grader contributions for this week’s Texas Public Schools Week pages.

Their essay subject was “heroes” and they explored who shaped this country and still contributes to their own lives. Military men and women, those who fought the institution of slavery, our 32nd president who overcame polio, moms and dads, brothers, law enforcement personnel and even God.

These voices of appreciation show the perspective of our up-and-coming students. We look forward to their contributions to the school and the community as they travel their road to a high school diploma and beyond.

Wed
26
Feb

Park entrance needs attention

Popularity of park causes traffic back-up on crowded days; solution needed

By Ken Esten Cooke— With spring break just around the corner, we’d like to draw attention to a popular springtime attraction that poses a potential danger.

The entrance to Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, located about 15 miles north of Fredericksburg on RR 965, needs attention. The no-shoulder, two-lane farm-to-market road is unforgiving when coupled with today’s driving habits and park crowds. On weekends when the park hosts 5,000 or more people (they total 250,000 annually), cars are backed up and blocking the road for hours at a time.

Wed
12
Feb

It’s so nice to have a man around the house

By Danny Hirt —

When it comes to domestic tranquility, I always try to remember the sage words of advice from my personal life coach, Dr. Phil — “Happy wife, happy life!”

This suggestion is a restatement of the backwoods expression, “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!”

But there is truth in what the good doctor says. And it’s become a life strategy that’s worked well for me.

Now, guys, don’t get the wrong idea. I’ve not turned into some kind of Caspar Milquetoast as I proceed through my married life. Just the opposite; I think I’m on to something that is helping my marriage.

Let’s look at it this way — being married is a partnership of a very personal nature. We’re in it for the long haul, so why not make the best of it.

And making the best of it for the husband should include helping out around the house, as well as other things.

Wed
12
Feb

Fact sheet info 'was not threat to sue'

By Kent Myers, City Manager —

Last week there was an article in the Standard-Radio Post about the city election on May 10 that will include a proposed amendment to the city charter. This article has resulted in a number of inquiries to City Hall.  I am writing this to respond to these inquiries.

Prior to submitting the charter amendment petition, the city attorney and I met with about seven local citizens who were proponents of the petition. We told this group that we were in the process of developing new financial management policies and would try to address their concerns in our new policies. 

Wed
05
Feb

The Russian roulette of narcotic drug use

Super Bowl Sunday was dampened in spirit by the early morning reports of the death of this generation’s greatest actor, Philip Seymour Hoffman. Whether you enjoyed him in “Capote,” “Charlie Wilson’s War,” “Mission: Impossible, III” or a slew of other films, it is a notable loss of another great artist to drug use.

Hoffman, the stage and screen genius, died of a heroin overdose, the same drug that escorted jazz innovator Charlie Parker to an early death, killed rockers Janis Joplin and Dee Dee Ramone, and ended the life of young actor River Phoenix.

Like everyone, I thought, “What a waste,” as I contemplated this man just five months younger than myself, an artist on top of the acting world, winner of the highest awards and accolades, owner of a healthy estate, and father of three young children. What makes people who seem to have everything tempt death by inching up to the line with substances they know to be fatal?

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