Columns/Opinions

Thu
28
Sep

Ambitious adventurer with a head for business

By Bartee Haile

 

James Wiley Magoffin and four traveling companions were arrested as spies in New Mexico on Sep. 27, 1846 and detained for the duration of the Mexican War. Why the oldest of ten children left Kentucky in the early 1820’s is unclear.

 

The most logical explanation is that he wanted to make his own way in the world without having to answer to a rich and overbearing father. Instead of heading west into the American wilderness, Magoffin chose a different land of opportunity – Mexico, which was celebrating its recent independence from Spain. In 1824 or 1825, he boarded a ship for Tampico that was blown ashore by a Gulf storm. He might not have lived through the Texas layover had not a schooner captain spotted him and his fellow survivors and provided them with a ride to Matamoros.

 

Tue
26
Sep

Texas Rangers send mobster back to “La La Land”

By Bartee Haile 

 

At an hour past midnight on Aug. 31, 1950, two Texas Rangers woke the boss of the Los Angeles underworld from a deep sleep to give him a simple choice: go home or go to jail. Mickey Cohen had hoped to slip into the Lone Star State, conduct a little business and slip back out unnoticed.

 

But the trip did not go according to plan for the West Coast mobster. Meyer Harris Cohen was born in 1913 into an Orthodox Jewish family in Brooklyn. Looking for a way to keep Mickey and his brothers out of trouble, their widowed mother moved the brood to the “City of Angels” in 1922.

 

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Thu
21
Sep

Hurricane Harvey help available

By Senator Robert Nichols

Hurricane Harvey brought unfathomable destruction to coastal and southeast Texas. I want to use this column to describe how you or your loved ones can get help or volunteer. To volunteer, visit the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster, https://www.nvoad.org/hurricaneharvey/volunteer/, and they will pair you with an organization that will use you to do the most good for the hurricane victims. National VOAD members will be providing relief and recovery for years to come, and they will need your assistance.

Thu
21
Sep

Citizens, government agencies continue hurricane recovery work

By Ed Sterling

AUSTIN — Help-is-on-the-way announcements from the governor’s office came last week as residents of hard-hit counties of the state labored to pull themselves out the watery mire and windblown nightmare of Hurricane Harvey.

On Sept. 14, Gov. Greg Abbott spotlighted Texas Department of Transportation contractors’ efforts to remove debris along state roadways in the Coastal Bend, the area that took a full frontal assault from the deadly storm that plowed ashore and battered Texas in late August and early September.

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Thu
14
Sep

Texas begins long march toward recovery from Hurricane Harvey

By Ed Sterling

 

AUSTIN — As contaminated waters receded and mountains of debris from flooded homes and ruined belongings grew last week, a picture of post-hurricane Texas developed and the process of weighing impacts to lives, property and infrastructure began.

 


Gov. Greg Abbott delivered a series of announcements and proclamations related to catastrophic flooding and wind damage brought by Hurricane Harvey to more than 50 Gulf Coast and inland counties in late August and early September.

 

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Thu
14
Sep

Mary Kay turned glass ceiling into pink Cadillacs

By Bartee Haile

 

Starting with her life savings of five thousand dollars, her grown son and nine employees called “consultants,” Mary Kay Ash opened her first cosmetics store in Dallas on Sep. 13, 1963.

 

Don’t bother looking for the birthplace of the famous cosmetics queen on any map or even in the Texas Almanac. The small community of Hot Wells disappeared decades ago but not before leaving behind a heck of a story.

 

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Thu
24
Aug

The media normalize the Antifa extreme

In March, "Meet the Press" host Chuck Todd made an ad for his show in which he lamented to the public:

 

"What about our politics? Are there any rules anymore, and if so, will anybody play by them?" Todd assured viewers that he and NBC would enforce some rules.

 

"These days, politics could use a little refereeing," he intoned. "And we're not afraid to blow the whistle." Wrong. The rulebook is being shredded. The antifa movement, or anti-fascist movement of far-left-leaning militant groups, is justifying violent action in the streets to beat back racists and neo-Nazis. Violence — not as an accidental outburst but as an explicit strategy — used to be seen as a beyond-the-pale extreme. Now Todd & Co. are ushering antifa's extreme into polite society.

 

Thu
24
Aug

Special session ends over impasse on property tax reform bill

By Ed Sterling

 

AUSTIN — Gov. Greg Abbott gave legislators 20 must-pass items, but the lawmakers delivered only 12 bills to his desk during the first called session of the 85th Texas Legislature. Both the House and Senate gaveled to final adjournment on Aug. 15, the 29th day of the 30- day session, after deadlines left negotiators without enough time to resolve differences in Senate Bill 1, the property tax reform bill.

 

The House adjourned first, leaving the Senate to accept its substituted version of SB 1 or let it die. The Senate adjourned and the bill died.

 

 

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Thu
17
Aug

Abbott signs 3 bills with few likely to reach his desk in final week

By Ed Sterling

 

AUSTIN — Three bills reached Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk last week, with the 30-day special session of the Texas Legislature set to expire Aug. 16.

 

Abbott signed all three into law on Aug. 11:

 

-- Senate Bill 5, increasing criminal penalties for voter fraud, by Kelly Hancock, RNorth Richland Hills, and sponsored in the House by Dan Huberty, R-Kingwood;

 

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Thu
17
Aug

Middle-aged clerk turns to robbing trains

By Bartee Haile

 

On Aug. 23, 1892, a Gainesville newspaper confirmed the rumored death of a local politician turned train robber.

 

Eugene Franklin Bunch did not fit the stereotype of the late nineteenth century outlaw. He was not an illiterate saddle tramp nor a trigger- happy sociopath but the well-educated son of a Mississippi planter. So why did he chose a life of crime at the age of 43?

 

Soon after the Civil War, Bunch moved to Louisiana where he taught school and married a southern belle from the same social class. Sometime in the early 1870’s, the couple emigrated to Cooke County, Texas, living briefly in Dexter, a source of illegal whiskey for reservation Indians, before settling in Gainesville.

 

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