My first two decades of life beginning in 1940 were in Houston and always less than a mile from a bayou. The first was Brays Bayou.
When hurricanes and winter monsoons arrived, Brays would rise from a 3-foot-wide stream to the top of its banks, about a half-block wide, and lap at the underside of the bridge from North to South MacGregor.
The streets would flood and in several days drop back to normal. We moved near Buffalo Bayou. When the rains came, the flood basins filled and water splashed over the top of the bridge on Woodway Drive as it led into Memorial Park. Never did I hear, "Get in the attic."
And then unbridled development rode across the nearby fields and floodplains of Buffalo Bayou. Dirt from flood basin walls increased the height of the banks along Buffalo Bayou for McMansions with picture windows to look down on the pretty little bayou that ran 6-feet-wide in the summer.
On the floodplain itself, little pink houses for you and me. Call it the worst storm in 500 years? Call it man-made disaster.
Take heed, elected officials of Denton. Your drainage is not so great. I have watermarks on a building in Denton to prove it.
And remember, many of us still consider "grow" to be a four-letter word.
For months on end, Donald Trump insisted over and over that Mexico was going to pay for the wall. Now he says that you and I have to pay for it.
Let Trump, with all his bragging about how much money he has, pay for it himself. Then Tantrum Trump can brag that he actually accomplished something. He could then place atop the wall in big gold letters: "Trump's Tomfoolery."
Katrina and New Orleans were round one. Harvey, Houston and a huge swath of the Texas coast were round two. What the coal and petrochemical community knew about global warming is unconscionable. They kept it under wraps while they disseminated lies so they could keep rolling in the money under false pretenses.
Now we are faced with the monumental task of mourning lives lost, rebuilding a huge part of Texas and moving ahead into a future that must soon eliminate carbon-based fuels if we are to dodge the otherwise inevitable bullet of huge, catastrophic losses.
We are challenged to do all that is humanly possible to pass on a cleaner, safer planet to succeeding generations.
To fear the destruction of mankind due to artificial intelligence (AI) is to presume we live in a static, centrally planned society where progress is managed. Instead we live in a dynamic, free-market society where creative destruction continually provides benefits to society.
Creative destruction gave us (creation) the personal computer, which brought about the demise (destruction) of the typewriter, used by hundreds of thousands in company typing pools of the 1950s.
Today we send emails, pay bills, book travel, buy goods, stream video content, Skype and more at the expense of the U.S. Post Office, travel agencies, brick and mortar stores, movie theaters, local telephone companies and others.
The consumer's benefit has been savings in time and money.
In short, the evidence is clear that creative destruction has been an overall blessing to mankind much more than a curse. Technology naturally creates displacement as the old gives way to the new, which in turn creates ground-floor opportunities. Typists could choose to transfer their typing skills to computers or step through the new doors created by them.
On the other hand, there is a more ominous peril regarding AI. The dislocation of workers is the justification progressives are advancing for providing a universal basic income that will pay each person a minimum monthly income whether they work or not.
In the end, this is another redistributionist program for transferring the wealth of the rich to the poor.
Right thing to do
Your recent editorial, "Disaster puts new law in spotlight," is seriously flawed.
The new law, House Bill 1774, changes the penalty that a court can impose against an insurance company for delaying the payment of a legitimate claim, but not as you describe it. The change is from a fixed 18 percent rate to a market-based variable rate of 10 percent to 20 percent.
Unfortunately, a group of personal-injury trial lawyers used this relatively modest change in the law as a mechanism to frighten people who were suffering from the effects of Harvey, telling them that they had to file insurance claims before Sept. 1, which was absolutely false.
Furthermore, your premise that we who serve in the Legislature merely rubber stamp legislation that is given to us by outside groups is simply not true.
In regard to the new insurance law, it was apparent to any reasonable person over the course of two legislative sessions that storm-chasing lawyers were exploiting the Texas insurance laws to generate thousands of unnecessary lawsuits against insurance companies.
The result of this lawsuit explosion was beginning to be felt by consumers across the state. Lawmakers were seeing a decrease in the availability of insurance options and an increase in premiums and deductibles. Unless these legal maneuvers were stopped, every consumer in Texas was going to feel the pain.
We enacted this law, with overwhelming support in both chambers of the Legislature, because there was compelling reason to do so and it was the right thing to do for the citizens of Texas.
State Rep. Ron Simmons,
Trump wants to have young immigrants in the DACA program deported because they entered the U.S. illegally. These young people had no choice. Their parents brought them here as babies, children or teenagers. They have gone to school here, learned English and they know no other life than the one here in the U.S.
Sending them back to a country where they have no language skills or memories would not be good. If these young people want to be here after all these years, let them stay to work, pay taxes and give back to a country that has been so good to them.
Punishing a child for something their parents did is no way to make America great again. America has always been great. Trump needs to learn this.