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Letters are posted as we receive them during the week, and before they are printed in the paper, so check back frequently to see new letters. If you'd like to send a letter to the editor, use this postmarks submission form, or email your letter directly to mail@austinchronicle.com. Thanks for your patience.
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Nurses vs. Admin

RECEIVED Wed., May 20, 2020

Dear Editor,
    No doubt about it, Bubba. Nurses are getting fucked. Not just here in the Music Sweatshop Capital, but all across the country, by hospital administrators and science-doubters. No K-Y Jelly, just straight up our collective chutes, while we watch the crowds cheering us, and military jets flying overhead to salute us, only to return home each night exhausted, possibly to infect our own loved ones.
    Meanwhile, our governor is exhorting citizens to come out and infect each other, presumably to kill as many minorities and women as possible before election day.
    Nurses at Ascension are starting to drop like flies. And still administrators are requiring nurses to wear the same single-use N-95 respirators for up to 20 12-hour shifts! But that's OK, because nurses make way too much money and there's always more fresh meat in the colleges.
    If that weren't bad enough, instead of trying to obtain clean sterile N-95 masks, Ascension is contracting with a company called Battelle for the decontamination of old, used N-95 masks. This is a matter of policy with them, and yet they have not educated staff regarding the risks of worn elastic bands and worn-out nose seals on the decontaminated masks.
    That's the problem with administrators: They're bean counters and money managers, not medical people.
    Don't get sick, folks.
Thomas Bowman

Ramadan in Quarantine

RECEIVED Wed., May 20, 2020

Dear Editor,
    I distinctly remember the first day I went to an Austin mosque for iftar (breaking of the fast) dinner during Ramadan. I could literally feel the presence of angels, and my heart witnessed that there is no better place I would rather be. Since then, every Ramadan I look forward to the same pure feeling that revives my faith.
    Sadly, this year because of the pandemic, I am stuck at home and will miss the Ramadan activities. I surely miss talking to my friends at the dinner table, enjoying delicious food. Their laughter echoes in my mind every night when I am breaking fast with my family. There is a sense of longing for the life we took for granted. So, to suffice, we have turned our homes into mosques. We perform congregational prayers with our family, and we celebrate this opportunity as we have food on the table, and we are all in good health. My heart aches for those who are sick and fighting for their lives, or others who are struggling to make ends meet. This month I dedicate my prayers for all humanity that may God take away this pain from us so we can go back to our lives. And I also pray that once we get through this time safely, we remember these days of trial as a lesson to live in gratitude and love for fellow humans.
Ateya Qureshi

NA Still Here

RECEIVED Mon., May 18, 2020

Dear Editor,
    You COMPLETELY missed a great part of this story [“Coronavirus and the Threat to Those Recovering From Addiction,” Cover Story, May 15]. The Narcotics Anonymous fellowship has provided a strong recovery presence to the Austin community for more than 30 years, with many members with decades of recovery from addiction. The NA community pivoted quickly and adapted to the new reality of no face-to-face meetings, and most NA meetings have been meeting virtually since the shelter-at-home orders were em-placed. If someone you know is suffering from addiction, NA is here. Visit the Central Texas Area NA website at CTANA.org for a listing of local meetings.
Anonymous

Embrace the Tech

RECEIVED Mon., May 18, 2020

Dear Editor,
    The world has changed recently, but one thing that has not changed is Austin’s entrepreneurial spirit. Austin’s business community has quickly adopted solutions to adapt and serve our city, even when we can’t be in the office. Solutions offered by Google and other tech companies have allowed small businesses to continue operating in an unpredictable environment.
    At Austin Tech Alliance, we’ve embraced technology in new and creative ways to stay connected with our members, colleagues, and community. Zoom, Google Meet, and other virtual platforms allow us to stay connected through online happy hours, board games, and meetings.
    It is disheartening to me that Attorney General [Ken] Paxton is leading an investigation into companies that enable businesses and families to foster the human connection we need during this time. Paxton should focus taxpayer dollars and efforts on keeping Texans safe and supporting businesses as we develop plans to reopen the economy.
Sarah Ortiz Shields

Terror at TWC

RECEIVED Sun., May 17, 2020

Dear Editor,
    I’m writing this email in hopes that a reputable news source like yourself will shine some light on what’s going on in the TWC (Texas Workforce Commission) regarding unemployment benefits. I, like so many others, realize that the systems they had weren’t meant to carry this kind of load, but after two months or more our patience has turned to frustration, which has now turned to desperation. Where has all the state funding to upgrade their systems gone?
    We call and call the assistance line LITERALLY hundreds of times a day to get through to someone, but instead of being put on hold, we either get a busy signal or an automated message that hangs up on us.
    There is SO many more reasons why so many of us suspect some kind of negligence, at best. Corruption at worst. PLEASE – I implore you; speak for us! No one is listening to our cries for help. I’m writing YOUR news outlet because you’ve always been a voice for the people in the past. Please help us now as our need is urgent. Thank you so much.
Steve Parker

Puppy Mill Ills

RECEIVED Fri., May 15, 2020

Dear Editor,
    Here in Austin, we are lucky to be able to walk into a pet store and only see cats and dogs from local shelters. There’s no risk of buying a dog from a puppy mill here, thanks to the 2010 ban on retail sale of cats and dogs. But in most of the rest of the country, as well as online, it’s still far too easy to unknowingly purchase an animal from a puppy mill.
    Thankfully, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has released its yearly Horrible Hundred report to inform the public of known puppy mills and the horrible conditions inside them. HSUS workers found that many dogs in these facilities were emaciated, injured, or living in their own feces. The worst part? Over half of the breeders in the Horrible Hundred list are USDA-licensed.
    In recent years, the USDA has drastically reduced its enforcement of animal welfare regulation at puppy mills. According to The Washington Post, enforcement actions have decreased by 90% since 2016. Similarly, citations of breeders have dropped by 60%. This means that an inhumane breeder is unlikely to have their license revoked.
    This goes to show that current laws are insufficient. Let’s work to strengthen USDA standards, prioritize enforcement of these regulations, and ban retail sale of cats and dogs everywhere. And when it comes time for you or a loved one to get their next pet, be sure to check shelters and rescue organizations before anything else. Learn more at HumaneSociety.org/puppy.
Hannah Stahl

You Go, Goliad

RECEIVED Thu., May 14, 2020

Dear Editor,
    I thank Mr. McLeod for his article on Ignacio Zaragoza [“Zaragoza Birthplace State Historic Site, Goliad,” Day Trips, May 15]. Many people believe that Zaragoza’s victory at the Battle of Puebla was significant to the United States in that it was the French’s intent to win in Mexico and continue across the border and help the Confederacy against the Union in the U.S. Civil War, which was ongoing at the same time as the Franco/Mexican War. This would have been disastrous to the Union’s Civil War effort.
    On another subject: Presidio La Bahía in Goliad will be celebrating its 300th anniversary in 2021. The Goliad Historical Society is planning a Historical Conference in April 2021 to commemorate this significant milestone.
Ernest Alaniz
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