Columns/Opinions

Thu
12
May

Flour salesman rises to pinnacle of Texas politics

By Bartee Haile
 
An entertaining and unquestionably eccentric era in Texas politics came to an end on May 11, 1969 with the death of former governor and U.S. Senator “Pappy” O’Daniel. A job offer from a Fort Worth milling company brought the 35 year old salesman to Texas in 1925. Three years later, a deal with a group of unemployed musicians put Wilbert Lee O’Daniel on the road to fame and fortune.
 
Thu
05
May

Supreme Court sends Voter ID case back to Fifth Circuit

By Ed Sterling

AUSTIN — Texas’ voter identification law will remain in effect for now, but the U.S. Supreme Court has instructed a lower court to rule on its constitutionality before November’s election. On April 29 the Supreme Court temporarily upheld a stay granted by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Oct. 14. The stay has allowed the Texas law to remain in effect.

 

Thu
05
May

FISA Court’s rubber stamp of approval for government spying requests

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court was established in 1978 to provide a measure of oversight and due process for secret law enforcement agency requests for surveillance warrants against foreign spies and other suspects in the U.S. But information on the requests contained in a recent Justice Department memo suggests that the court is serving as little more than a rubber stamp for federal agencies. Of the nearly 3,000 requests made by the National Security Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to intercept communications, such as emails and phone calls, over the past two years — 1,379 in 2014 and 1,457 in 2015 — not a single one has been rejected by the FISA court.

 

Thu
28
Apr

Texas baseball great organizes black league

By Bartee Haile

 

Rube Foster’s American Giants played the Indianapolis ABC’s on May 2, 1920 in the first game of the new Negro National League founded by the baseball great from Texas. “White baseball has never seen anyone quite like Rube Foster,” a sports historian once wrote. “He was Christy Mathewson, John McGraw, Connie Mack, Al Spalding and Kenesaw Mountain Landis -- great pitcher, manager, owner, league organizer, czar -- all rolled into one.” 

 

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Thu
28
Apr

Abbott proclaims flooding disaster, adds more counties

By Ed Sterling

 

AUSTIN — Gov. Greg Abbott on April 18 declared a state of disaster for Austin, Bastrop, Colorado, Fort Bend, Grimes, Harris, Montgomery, Waller and Wharton counties. Those counties were hit with severe storms and flooding beginning April 17, requiring the aid of emergency responders over many days.

 

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Thu
21
Apr

SEC files charges naming Paxton in Servergy case

By Ed Sterling
 
Thu
21
Apr

Stuffing it down their throats

School cafeteria food has never been confused with fine dining, but student distaste for school lunches has risen to new heights since the food standards imposed by the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 began being implemented.
Thu
14
Apr

Supreme Court rules in ‘one person, one vote’ case

By Ed Sterling
 
AUSTIN — On a unanimous vote of 8-0, the U.S. Supreme Court on April 4 affirmed that states may continue to draw legislative districts based on total population. In the Texas case, Evenwel v. Abbott, the question presented to the high court on appeal from the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas was whether the one-person, one vote principle of the Fourteenth Amendment creates a “judicially enforceable right ensuring that the districting process does not deny voters an equal vote.”  
 
Thu
14
Apr

Two Texans play historic parts in Utah confrontation

By Bartee Haile
 
Former Texas Ranger Ben McCulloch left for Utah on Apr. 13, 1858 with orders straight from the president to stop the Mormons led by Brigham Young and federal troops commanded by a fellow Texan from going to war. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints had been a target of persistent and often violent persecution since its founding in 1830 by Joseph Smith. Driven from Ohio and Missouri, the Mormons enjoyed temporary tolerance in Illinois until a mob murdered Smith in 1844.
 
Thu
07
Apr

Senate Finance chair confirms behavioral health budget

By Ed Sterling

AUSTIN — The Texas Health and Human Services Commission will have some $6.7 billion to fund the state’s behavioral health services efforts during the 2016-2017 fiscal biennium. Senate Finance Committee Chair Jane Nelson, at a March 30 meeting of the committee, confirmed the $6.7 billion, using figures provided by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission and the 10- member Legislative Budget Board. In the 2014-2015 state budget the amount for behavioral health funding was an estimated $6.2 billion.

 

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