Columns/Opinions

Thu
22
Jun

As war tensions escalate, Congress must assert authority

As the Trump administration considers more troops for Afghanistan and greater involvement in the Syrian civil war, Congress can no longer afford to stand idly while its war powers authority is usurped and eroded by the executive branch.

 

President Donald Trump inherited counterterrorism wars on multiple fronts from his predecessor, Barack Obama, who inherited them from his predecessor, George W. Bush. All sent American forces into battle based on the authority Congress granted after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. At the time, al-Qaida was exploiting a power vacuum in Afghanistan to operate training camps and plan the 9/11 attacks. Massive U.S. military deployments in Iraq and Syria were not on lawmakers' minds.

 

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Thu
22
Jun

Mayor defends Galveston on eve of crackdown

By Bartee Haile 

 

Testifying in front of a legislative committee on Jun. 25, 1951, the mayor of Texas’ “sin city” defended his muchmaligned constituents with the curious logic, “The people of Galveston ought to be commended for not being hypocrites!”

 

The island was wideopen decades before Sam and Rose Maceo appeared on the scene just before World War I. Barbers by trade, the ambitious brothers soon discovered there was a killing to be made in bootlegging. During the Great Depression, the Maceos branched out into bigtime gambling and ruthlessly eliminated the competition. None of the slayings was ever traced back to the genial gangsters with one notable exception.

 

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Thu
15
Jun

Trump is not Hitler

Donald Trump is a lot of things, but he's not Adolf Hitler. While perusing social media for news tips on a daily basis, we see a lot of nonsensical things. Many of them are political in nature. Most recently, photos of Adolf Hitler beside President Trump have caught our attention.

 

"Fascism has come to America!" one meme proclaims. "Heil Trump!" blasts another one, referencing the Nazi salute "Heil Hitler!" Let's get one thing straight. Trump is our legitimately elected president. He is a family man and a successful global business leader. He isn't a homicidal maniac. To make such ludicrous comparisons is not only an insult to our nation's highest office, but to the millions who died under Hitler's tyrannical reign

 

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Thu
15
Jun

Ralph Guldahl’s short but sweet golf career

By Bartee Haile

 

Sam Snead was determined to beat the Texan, who only the week before had embarrassed him at the U.S. Open, in the final round of the Western Open on Jun.14, 1937. Ralph Guldahl was born in Big D in 1911, a year before two legendary lions of the links -- Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson -- also drew their first breath in the Lone Star State. By age 11, the son of Norwegian immigrants was caddying at Lakewood Country Club, and in 1927 he captained the Woodrow Wilson High School golf team to the state title.

 

As the wheels began coming off the national economy in 1930, Guldahl elected to earn his living by playing the game he loved. The raw rookie showed a flash of his precocious potential becoming the youngest qualifier for the U.S. Open.

 

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Thu
08
Jun

Abusers of freedom behead free speech

We live in a complex, exciting and dangerous time when social media and 24-hour entertainment networks give everyone an open microphone. The potential benefits and pitfalls loom large. Free speech has never been put to a greater test. The most recent example of open mic derangement syndrome comes courtesy of comedienne Kathy Griffin. It is the latest episode of an American exercising freedom without self-restraint, hoping a groveling apology will undo all harm. Griffin said:

 

"I am sorry. I went too far. I was wrong." She apologized for creating and distributing a disgusting depiction of the decapitated and bloodied head of President Donald Trump. CNN fired her, and rightly so.

 

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Thu
08
Jun

State budget awaits final approval from governor

By Ed Starling

 

AUSTIN — Governor Greg Abbott as of June 4 had not signed Senate Bill 1, the 2018-2019 state budget finally approved by both houses of the 85th Texas Legislature on May 27. SB 1 appropriates $216.8 billion in total spending for the state’s budget during the 2018- 19 biennium. A long wait for Abbott’s signature may fit a pattern. The governor did not sign the 2016-2017 budget until June 20, 2015, the final day for him to approve or veto legislation.

 

The governor has the power to veto line items in the bill, instead of rejecting it wholesale. SB 1, a lot to contemplate at 969 pages in length, could take every remaining day for the governor’s office to digest, until this session’s veto deadline of June 18.

 

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Thu
01
Jun

Legislature completes regular session with main task accomplished

By Ed Starling

AUSTIN — The 140-day 85th regular session of the Texas Legislature ended on May 29 with hugs, tears and fanfare, plus demonstrations against “anti-immigrant” legislation and a scuffle involving members on the House floor.

Primarily, though, both chambers signed off on Senate Bill 1, the state budget for 2018-2019, and in doing so accomplished their only constitutionally required task.

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Thu
01
Jun

Comey’s firing doesn’t matter to folks outside the beltway

Ever since President Donald Trump ham-handedly fired FBI Director James Comey, a cadre of journalists, partisan Democrats and activists has demanded that Congress, a specially appointed independent commission, FBI agents and at least one special prosecutor singly or in unison burrow into Trump's dalliances with Russian operatives -- with the goal, of course, to bring to light the evidence that Trump is a stooge of the Kremlin intent of destroying the American republic.

With last week's appointment of a special counsel to look into Trump's affairs, it seems such calls have been inescapable for the average news consumer. And yet, we now know few seem to care.

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Thu
25
May

Booze gets the better of Dixie Dead-Eye

By Bartee Haile

Dallas Stoudenmire resigned under pressure as city marshal of El Paso on May 27, 1882 and promised to get help for his drinking problem.

After his recovery from four near-fatal Civil War wounds, the Alabaman emigrated to Texas and gave farming a half-hearted try. Deciding sod-busting was not for him, he rode with the Rangers for several months before moving onto the Panhandle. But wherever he went, gunplay was not far behind.

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Thu
25
May

State budget bill moves forward as conference committee agrees

By Ed Starling

AUSTIN — Texas Senate and House budget conferees met frequently last week and on May 20 managed to reach compromise on a $218 billion state budget for fiscal years 2018-2019.

However, Senate Bill 1 must gain final approval from both the House and Senate in order for the budget to continue on to the governor’s desk. But as pressing a matter as the budget may seem, the bulk of time in weekend floor debates was used on a variety of other measures, such as property tax reform, municipal annexation, school bathroom accommodations for transgender students and religious conscience considerations for government employees.

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