Turn over new leaf
Where is global warming when we need it? I do look forward to the first day of spring, balmy weather and flowers in bloom.
The first day of spring is actually a perfect opportunity to turn over a new leaf in our personal habits -- to clean house, to jog outdoors and to replace animal foods with healthy, delicious vegetables, legumes, grains and fruits.
The shift toward healthy eating is everywhere. Fast-food chains like Chipotle, Quiznos, Starbucks, Subway, Taco Bell and Wendy's offer plant-based options. Parade, Better Homes and Gardens and Eating Well are touting vegan recipes.
Google CEO Eric Schmidt views replacement of meat by plant protein as the world's No. 1 technical trend. The financial investment community is betting on innovative startups like Beyond Meat or Impossible Foods, while warning clients about "death of meat."
Even Tyson Foods' new CEO sees plant protein as the meat industry's future.
Indeed, Global Meat News reports that nearly half of consumers are reducing meat intake. Beef consumption has dropped by 43 percent in the past 40 years.
Each of us can celebrate spring by checking out the rich collection of plant-based dinners and desserts in our supermarket's frozen food, dairy and produce sections.
Prepare for challenge
Congressman Michael Burgess made the front page of Sunday's New York Times article on the GOP health care plan.
"If you ask someone to give up something, there will be resentment," Burgess said. "If that claims my congressional career, so be it. It will be worth it to me to have effected this change."
A spokeswoman in his Washington office told me Wednesday morning that he will vote for the plan on the House floor.
The White House analysis predicts 26 million will lose insurance coverage. The young will no longer be required to buy insurance, so the premiums for the old must go up considerably.
There's a $600 billion tax cut for the wealthy over 10 years, and there will be spending cuts to Medicare.
Burgess may think that toeing the Republican Party line will bring resentment; perhaps he should prepare himself for outrage, and a challenge to his congressional career.
The 59th annual Sweetwater Rattlesnake Roundup was held last weekend in West Texas.
The pain and suffering intentionally inflicted upon rattlesnakes during roundups is indefensible. Rattlesnakes bite only to defend themselves and actively avoid contact with humans.
These fascinating reptiles are a critical part of a healthy eco-system.
They may also have richer social lives than we ever imagined. Female snakes separated at birth can recognize relatives when they are reintroduced years later.
One study found that female timber rattlesnakes, which often cluster in groups of six or more in rookeries, prefer to associate with relatives rather than with strangers.
During roundups, gasoline is pumped into dens and burrows and snakes are ripped from their hollows with hooks and tongs. The animals are jammed into sacks and garbage cans and left without food or water.
Their heads are chopped off and their still-beating hearts are left in a bloody pile, to be sold to China as aphrodisiacs.
These sick spectacles are nothing more than cash grabs.
Rattlesnake roundups are barbaric and should be outlawed.
Health care is a "market failure" because the markets it contains are inherently inefficient and will remain so unless the government steps in. This is why U.S. health care costs are at least twice as much as in other countries and usually produce poorer outcomes.
Obamacare's replacement tries to further remove the government from health care with the result that, according to the Congressional Budget Office, up to 24 million people will eventually lose their health insurance or Medicaid coverage.
Once again, Trump has proved to be the ultimate con man, repeatedly promising that everyone will have health coverage, but now touting a law that will have the opposite effect.
All developed nations other than the U.S. provide basic health care to all of their citizens.
The fact that the richest nation on earth does not, and is trying to make matters worse, is morally reprehensible.
This letter is in reference to the movies section story "Unwelcome Guest" by Preston Barta regarding the Beauty and the Beast movie.
I was surprised that one of the primary reasons Preston gave a low rating to the movie is because it's too much like the original.
Why does a great story have to be destroyed in order for it to be rated higher?
There are few stories more beautiful than the Beauty and the Beast. It is really a retelling of the change in one's heart that happens over and over when we are confronted with ourselves in the mirror.
My wife and I cannot wait for it to be in the theaters.