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Editorials
Victoria Advocate Editorial
We can avoid future tragedy at U.S. 59 merger

We can learn lessons from the horrific July 20 fatality that claimed the lives of five people near Telferner.

That fatality happened at a point many think is dangerous: where U.S. 59 North and northbound U.S. 59 Business both merge from two lanes to one before merging together.

A passenger van carrying 10 relatives from Brownsville was northbound on U.S. 59 in the left lane at the intersection with U.S. 59 Business when it struck a semitrailer that was northbound in the outside lane, according to officials.

The collision caused the driver of the van to lose control, cross over a grassy median and strike a southbound white Ford F-250 head-on.

Five people in the van died; seven others were injured.

If we look past the tragic nature of the accident, we can draw a few conclusions.

How safe is that intersection?

We encourage the state to take a hard look at that merge point. Is there adequate signage? Is the speed limit the same on both highways? Can a design be engineered to make it safer?

We also know that there have been at least 47 accidents there since 2010.

We all must have some individual accountability, too.

A lot of us have probably driven past that merge point hundreds of times without incident.

But that doesn’t account for a high percentage of out-of-town drivers who aren’t familiar with that area. So we must remain diligent and mindful that we are sharing our highways with people not accustomed to the ins and outs or the nooks and crannies.

“People who aren’t familiar with this traffic pattern can be caught off guard quickly with nowhere to go. I always yield to cars that get caught in that outside lane that ends quickly, just to avoid a wreck,” Victoria native Missy Madden Klimitchek told the Advocate. “It’s just not safe.”

Finally, we can get involved. Let your public officials know what you think about highways and roadways. We can also go to planning meetings and voice our concerns.

All the final details from this crash won’t be released until later this month, or perhaps early September.

We don’t have to wait until then, though, to make our own decisions on driving safety. There is no need for another tragic fatality or senseless accident.


Opinion
Guest column
Anger at high prescription drug prices now at record level

As you read this, it is likely that your member of Congress is in town. It’s part of an annual ritual that leads lawmakers back to their congressional districts in August. A time when they talk to constituents and make public appearances locally.

It’s also a great time for us to let them know what’s on our minds.

According to the political newspaper The Hill, voter intensity and anger about high prescription drug prices is now at a record level. Lowering the high price of prescription drugs should be a top priority for Congress. The paper’s poll showed that 9 out of 10 voters across the political spectrum want Congress to take action this session.

Consider this: In Texas, the annual cost of prescription drug treatment increased 57.8 percent between 2012 and 2017, but the annual income for Texans only rose 5 percent. Nationally, the average drug price increase in the first six months of 2019 was 10.5 percent – five times the rate of inflation. How sustainable is this?

AARP is asking Congress to work on three priorities. First, allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices. Second, limit out-of-pocket costs for consumers in Medicare Part D. And third, increase access to generic drugs by making drug companies halt the practice of protecting their monopolies by keeping their competitors from bringing lower-priced drugs to market.

All of us are affected by skyrocketing drug prices. We pay at the pharmacy counter, we pay through our insurance premiums and we pay taxes to fund programs like Medicare and Medicaid. And older Americans are hit especially hard. Medicare Part D enrollees take an average of four to five prescriptions per month, yet their average annual income is around $26,000. No wonder one in three Americans haven’t taken a medication as prescribed because of the cost.

While AARP is working at the state and federal levels to rein in drug prices, Big Pharma is fighting for the status quo – and blocking needed improvements that could bring relief to seniors, families, and small businesses. They’re spending record sums to hire lobbyists in Washington and running ads claiming that more affordable drugs will hamper innovation.

But the tide is turning. So far this year, 29 states have passed 47 new laws aimed at lowering prices for prescription medications, according to the National Academy for State Health Policy. The Texas Legislature recently passed a strong drug price transparency bill supported by AARP and strongly opposed by Big Pharma.

In Congress, there is rare bipartisan agreement that something must be done. Texas’ congressional delegation is well positioned to lead on this issue and make a difference for every Texan. With support from Senator John Cornyn, the Senate Finance Committee in July passed a bill that includes an out-of-pocket cap on prescription drugs for seniors in Medicare Part D and cracks down on drug makers that raise prices higher than the rate of inflation.

A House bill to address the rising price of prescription drugs is anticipated in September.

No Texan should be forced to choose between putting food on the table or buying a lifesaving medication. Before your member of Congress returns to Washington, speak up. Voice your concern. Ask them to crack down on price gouging and the greedy practices that make your medicines unaffordable.


Opinion
Online comments
Online comments on 'Analysis: El Paso shooting horrifies lawmakers; so do solutions' from Aug. 6

Well that was a nice “feel-good” article, but all it did was ask questions. “Why not take guns away – temporarily even – from people who are exhibiting signs that they shouldn’t have access to deadly weapons?” There lies the problem. Ross. What signs are you speaking of? Two buddies arguing over a football game? Should we enter their homes and remove their weapons? How about a husband and wife arguing over some trivial family matter? Should we enter their home and remove any firearms? Just how do you enforce this on someone’s thoughts? I guess Patrick Henry’s words, “Give me liberty or give me death,” would trigger a mass raid upon his home to strip him of any weapons? It’s a slippery slope when you advocate the policing of someone’s thoughts or words. People say words in anger often that they do not mean and never act on those words. If someone is crazy, like the guy who shot all of those people in El Paso, someone had to have known that he was like that. How did he slip through the cracks? In any case, you can’t regulate a person’s thoughts, nor can you deny him or her rights because of them or arrest him or her for them. Communists do that, though, so be careful of what you wish for.

Martin Strarup

Martin: “You can’t regulate a person’s thoughts, nor can you deny him or her rights because of them or arrest him or her for them.” Of course we can. It’s called hate crime – right out of Orwell’s “1984,” wherein hate, purely a thought process, not a physical act, is prosecutable at the federal level as a separate crime and as an add-on at the state, county and municipal level. And what makes hate illegal? Political correctness, which at one time was a term reserved for the actions of Communist countries. Now, it rules our lives here.

Glenn Wilson


Opinion
Words
Bible verse - Acts 16:25-26; quote by Martin Luther King Jr.

And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed.

Acts 16:25-26

“I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality... I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.”

Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-68) was an American Baptist minister and activist who became the most visible spokesperson and leader in the civil rights movement from 1955 until his assassination in 1968


Political cartoon for Aug. 14


Opinion
Your Poem
Viewpoints poem: Sign Language

Sign Language

Hands and fingers shape

Words beyond hearing,

Concepts before our eyes,

Ideas beyond letters,

Communication between persons,

Be calm; peace be with you.

Sr. Frances Cabrini Janvier, Victoria


Political cartoon for Aug. 14


Opinion
Letter to the Editor
We should all be aware of what is happening in our schools

Editor, the Advocate:

It was with interest I read the article about the annual pep rally VISD has at Faith Family Church. It is wonderful to me to see the purpose of these taxpayer-funded grants will be coming home, so to speak.

I am concerned about the curriculum. Being a state-sponsored grant will probably require a state-approved curriculum. This concerns me because a Common Core-based curriculum is used in Texas.

I spoke with a recent high school graduate. He knew very little, if anything at all about the founding of this nation. He had not ever heard of Patrick Henry.

I know a former history teacher and debate team instructor who was told to teach by the script and not to bring any extra information into the lesson. He also was chastised for introducing his debate team at a contest because he used “ladies and gentlemen,” and did not include the homosexual attendees in the introduction.

I have a niece who went into the teaching profession sincerely wanting to make a difference and was frustrated because of the restrictions she had to deal with. I know of other teachers who have expressed the same frustrations. It is important to have community involvement – more than that, parental involvement. Question: Why isn’t the System of Great Schools idea across the board? Karl Marx espoused the control of public education; is this a subtle way to further this ideology?

Two ways to change social order are: One, to bring division and strife to virtual anarchy, which leads eventually to a totalitarian government, and the other is to introduce different ideas into young minds. Both are happening in this country.

Change happens slowly with subtle changes. I do not believe Victoria has gone as far off as other areas. Consider the LBGTQ agenda in California. What stage are we?

Come to Faith Family Church in the Connection Center at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 15, to hear what is happening in our schools so you can be equipped to recognize the strategies that may be happening in our backyard.

Anthony Corte, Victoria