Columns/Opinions

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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Thu
07
Apr

Unrestrained rhetoric could have a high cost

Democracies are inevitably raucous, but they are often more fragile than their citizens believe. Americans, and especially President Barack Obama and the presidential candidates, should take that lesson to heart amid the recent protests and outbursts of violence. With his unrestrained rhetoric about Mexicans, Muslims and even his fellow Republicans, Donald Trump has become a polarizing political figure of the kind the U.S. hasn't seen in many years.

 

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Thu
31
Mar

Frontier Texans found something to laugh about

By Bartee Haile

On Mar. 31, 1879, A West Texas judge fined a local hell-raiser five dollars for a drunken spree that left a bystander short an ear and ordered the inebriated victim to fork over five cents for winking at the sharpshooter, when he bent down to pick up the body part. What little law that existed on the Lone Star frontier was often dispensed with a humorous touch. The most gruesome event could tickle the funny bone of those adventurous souls living on the edge of civilization.  

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Thu
31
Mar

DPS chief reminds citizens to be vigilant

By Ed Sterling

AUSTIN — Following news reports of coordinated, terroristic bomb attacks in Brussels, Belgium, on March 22, the Texas Department of Public Safety posted a reminder to Texans to remain vigilant and to report suspicious behaviors. DPS Director Steven McCraw said ordinary Texans “play a crucial role in helping law enforcement protect the public from groups and lone-wolf actors intent on harming others.”

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Thu
24
Mar

Littlefield gave UT more than the Texas Relays

By Bartee Haile

The first-ever Texas Relays, a co-creation of University of Texas track coach Clyde Littlefield and athletic director Theo Bellmont, were held in Austin on Mar. 27, 1925. In the history of college athletics, rarely have iconic stars returned to their alma mater to put their larger-than-life reputations on the line as coaches. An extraordinary exception to that rule was a do-it-all Yankee, who dedicated his life to sports at the University of Texas.

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Thu
24
Mar

Paxton seeks halt to regional haze rules

By Ed Sterling

AUSTIN — Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on March 18 asked an appeals court to prevent the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from implementing new regional haze regulations until a trial of the state’s pending lawsuit challenging the new rules.

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Thu
17
Mar

Gun-free zones foster preventable tragedies

Did you hear about the man who fired back at an attacker who had shot him and two of his friends at a New Orleans gas station in January, hitting the perpetrator and potentially saving his life and those of several others? Or the Uber driver who likewise shot and wounded a man who had opened fire on a crowd of people in Chicago last April?  

 

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Thu
17
Mar

Full 5th Circuit to hear Texas voter ID case

By Ed Sterling

AUSTIN — The entire U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals will review Texas’ controversial voter identification law. A majority of the judges of the Fifth Circuit on March 9 voted in support of an “en banc” rehearing of oral arguments in Veasey v. Abbott, a case challenging the law. No date for the rehearing has been set. 

 

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Thu
10
Mar

Cruz, Clinton emerge as winners in Texas primaries

By Ed Sterling

AUSTIN — March 1 Super Tuesday election returns posted by the Texas Secretary of State’s Elections Division show 2.8 million (about 20 percent) of the state’s 14.2 million registered voters cast a ballot in the Republican Party Presidential Primary.  

 

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