993029 bannon


‘John and Karen Werner last July successfully hiked Wheeler Peak, New Mexico’s highest mountain, and John lived to write about it in the Trib!’

Mike and Pam Miller

Happy hiking, John

For years we have enjoyed reading John Werner’s sports columns. All the Tribune-Herald’s sportswriters are good, but John and his wife Karen are an inspiration to us. John is one who enjoys an active life outdoors and shares his hiking stories and beautiful photos with Trib readers. Those stories, found on the Trib’s website, are our favorites.

In 2013 John and Karen bravely hiked the Grand Canyon on a four-day, 28-mile backpack outing. The Sierra Club lists the Grand Canyon hike as one of the six most dangerous in America. Last July my wife, 13-year-old daughter and I hiked the 9.5-mile Bright Angel Trail down to the Colorado River from the Grand Canyon’s South Rim to spend the night there. On the way down we encountered a hiker whose backpack water bladder had burst. It was 114 degrees so we gave him some water bottles. On the return trip up the next day, we met a family who shared their duct tape with me since my shoes had begun disintegrating on the hot desert trail.

On Nov. 24 last year John Werner walked out of Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center with three stents inserted after suffering a mini-stroke Oct. 24. Following his cardio rehab at Providence Health Center, he and Karen last July successfully hiked Wheeler Peak, New Mexico’s highest mountain, and John lived to write about it in the Trib! So we are planning a Wheeler Peak hike for our family, too.

Thanks, John, for your stories. Although we don’t personally know you, we pray you and Karen will be hiking many more years and that you’ll continue to share those adventures and photos with your readers!

Mike and Pam Miller, Hewitt

Thanksgiving gristle

There has been a lot of attention directed to fake news since the election. One suggestion for ensuring legitimacy has been to subscribe to the newspaper instead of getting one’s news from social media. I’m generally complimentary of the Waco Trib for printing actual facts if someone sends a letter that contains incorrect information. However, I’m disappointed in the recent column titled, “Keep your food politics to yourself.”

This column presents itself as coming from a legitimate researcher associated with a caring organization that puts consumers first. The notation that his office is located in Washington, D.C., gives the impression that he is associated with the government. In actuality, Will Coggin is the one who should be keeping his food politics to himself since the Center for Organizational Research and Education is funded by several special-interest groups, including St. Louis-based agritech behemoth Monsanto.

His misleading statements indicate that there has been a federal law passed that requires genetically modified labeling. I hope that I’m wrong on this but the last I heard was that President Obama had signed the DARK Act into effect which disallows any GMO labeling. In addition, he states that around the globe, the conclusion is that GMOs are safe. Again, the last I heard was that several foreign countries have actually banned GMOs or have strict regulations associated with their acceptance and use.

Some issues in this article were so obvious, I can’t believe they escaped better scrutiny. I expect better of you.

Alice Svoboda, Woodway

Center for Consumer Freedom official Cooper Nye responds: “Your reader is mistaken while Mr. Coggin is correct. However, I think I see where the confusion stems from. The new federal law allows companies to choose one of three label types to comply: a USDA symbol, a plain language warning or a scannable QR [or Quick Response] code. Anti-biotech groups object to inclusion of the QR code, calling it uninformative. It seems your reader considers this new law requiring labels an ‘elimination’ of labels even though in fact, and by law, there were no pre-existing federal requirements.”

* * *

A point of clarification for Trib humor columnist John Kemp regarding veganism versus vegetarianism: Vegetarianism is not eating meat, while veganism is not eating anything that comes from animals. For example, vegetarians will eat milk and eggs, but vegans will not.

I’m replying to his comment about “veganism, or as we used to call it vegetarianism. . . .”

Bruce J. Evans, Hewitt

Spirits lifted

My wife has been critically ill and I was eating alone in a local restaurant Thursday evening, not much feeling in the Christmas spirit. I motioned for the waiter to bring me my check and he told me that the nice young couple with a young daughter who had just left had already paid my bill and had told him to wish me a merry Christmas.

Immediately my spirits were lifted. As I drove home, the neighborhood Christmas lights seemed brighter.

I hope those thoughtful strangers will read this and know their gift cheered a tired and worried old man.

Bill Austin, Hewitt

Troubling appointment

Dear Rep. Bill Flores and Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, I implore you to reject the president-elect’s selection of Steve Bannon for White House chief strategist. People in your own party have rejected this appointment, so I ask you to do that as well — not for your party or any other special interests but in the name of human decency.

Steve Bannon is a known racist, sexist, domestic abuser and xenophobe. All you need for proof is to listen to his radio show. His radio show is nothing but hate speech criticizing anything and anyone who is non-white. He has zero business in the White House. Racial tensions are already extremely high in this country and, with Bannon in the mix, it will only get worse. Most likely this man could not even pass a background check because of his very checkered past.

My wife is Hispanic and Bannon has done nothing but criticize Mexicans, Mexican-Americans and anyone who is Latin American. I am deeply offended by this man and you should be too. He is making not only your party look terrible but yourselves. Doing nothing would fall on your shoulders when he destroys an already delicate race divide in our country. I hope that you take a hard look at this unqualifiable person and use your best judgment to reject this appointment.

James Reid, Waco

EDITOR’S NOTE: We have some bad news for you. Mr. Bannon’s appointment as chief strategist in the Trump administration requires no Senate confirmation.

Those without sin

I feel sad for the members of the Baptist General Convention of Texas, which is now in the business of reprimanding churches who accept LGBT people into their Christian churches. I believe Jesus made his point very clearly when he challenged others without sin to throw the first stone at a woman accused of adultery.

Jesus associated with obvious sinners to teach them about his Father’s love for all people, his forgiveness and his plan for eternal salvation.

Pat White, China Spring

Electoral College furor

Those who say, “Well, we (Hillary’s team) won the popular vote” can be equated to saying that her team had more total yards in the Super Bowl.

Final Score: Trump 306, Hillary 232.

John Restivo, Waco

* * *

Post-election, there has been a rather vocal contingency of folks suggesting the Electoral College be thrown out so that future winners can be determined by popular vote. I have a better idea. With deference to historical precedence, I say going forward we select our president based upon the amount of territory they “conquered.”

By my calculations, in this election Clinton captured 1,009,564 square miles of U.S. soil while Trump took 2,784,527 square miles. That’s a blowout of 74 percent to 26 percent in favor of Trump. Seems fair, right?

David Wright, Waco

* * *

In his Nov. 26 column, Republican Congressman Bill Flores stated that “On Election Day the American people sent a clear message.” I believe that his statement should have been that the Electoral College sent the message.

As of the last count, Ms. Clinton had 2.5 million more votes than Trump garnered on Nov. 8. It’s sad that some people have more of a vote in this country than others.

Allen Lyman, Speegleville