Columns/Opinions

Thu
27
Aug

Energy agency chief rails against federal plan

AUSTIN — Texas Railroad Commission Chair DavidPorter on Aug. 19 spoke against  merica’s Clean Power Plan, a regulatory framework rolled out  by the White House on Aug. 3. Texas is one of at least a dozen states lining up in opposition. Porter called the plan “another blatant attack on the oil and gas industry that will further impede America’s energy security,  kill jobs and put even more stress on our national and state economies.” Porter was elected chair of the three-member commission that oversees the energy industry regulating state agency in June 2014.  

Thu
20
Aug

University president says Davis statue to be moved

AUSTIN — A bronze statue of Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederate States of America, will be moved from the Main Mall of the University of Texas at Austin campus to UT’s Center for American History for interior display, in accordance with a decision made last week by UT President Gregory Fenves. Fenves said he appointed a task force in June, shortly after he became president, “to identify options for the statues along the Main Mall that have  long been a source of discussion, debate and more recently, controversy.” The task  orce reported its findings to Fenves on Aug. 10.
Thu
20
Aug

Whom to blame for Hillary’s trust issues?

Hillary Clinton said on NBC’s “Today” show in 1998 that a “vast right-wing conspiracy” had been plotting against her husband, Bill Clinton, “since the day he announced for president.” Seventeen years later, it appears the former first lady, former New York senator and former secretary of state believes  the same right-wing meanies are conspiring to deny her the presidency.  

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Thu
13
Aug

Polio survivor starred in big-screen musicals

By Bartee Haile
During a tour of Europe with a ballet company, 17 year old Tula Ellice Finklea of Amarillo married her instructor Nico Charisse, 32, in Paris on Aug. 12, 1939. If the name on her birth certificate fails to ring a bell, how about Cyd Charisse, the beautiful brunette who danced her way to stardom in the classic Hollywood musicals of the 1940’s and 1950’s? She had gone by “Sid” since childhood because that was how her baby brother mispronounced “Sis” and probably because anything was better than Tula.
Thu
13
Aug

Fifth Circuit delivers opinion concerning voter ID law

AUSTIN — Even if the Texas Legislature did not intentionally pass a voter identification law that illegally discriminates against voters who are black, Hispanic or poor, the practical effect of the law is discriminatory and in violation of the federal Voting Rights Act. A 49-page opinion of a three-judge panel of the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals was released on Aug. 5. The panel ordered that much of the case be remanded to a federal district court in Texas for further consideration.

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Tue
11
Aug

Texas launches toll-free number to help older Texans and people with disabilities

AUSTIN, Texas —The Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS) has launched a toll-free number to help qualifying Texans connect with long-term care services.
 
Thu
06
Aug

Panel hears testimony in wake of jail death

AUSTIN — The Texas House Committee on County Affairs met on July 30 to hear testimony on Sandra Bland and jail standards. Bland, 28, was pulled over by a state trooper in Hempstead on July 10. Soon after, she was placed in the Waller County Jail and was found dead in her cell on July 13. Investigators ruled the death a suicide. The story, covered by local, state, national and world news agencies, has emerged in the context of ther tragic outcomes involving black citizens and law enforcement.
Thu
06
Aug

Rainmakers wind up shooting blanks

By Bartee Haile
The strangers that arrived at a West Texas ranch on Aug. 5, 1891 came with enough firepower to start a war, but instead of soldiers in some foreign army they were scientists on a mission to make it rain. During the Civil War, Edward Powers observed that downpours often followed battles punctuated by artillery barrages. He argued in his book War and the Weather that an armed assault on the heavens might bring relief to drought-stricken regions.
Thu
30
Jul

Record number die in Highway 81 horror

By Bartee Haile

Two Greyhound buses collided on a Central Texas hilltop before dawn on Aug. 4, 1952 killing both drivers on impact and burning an estimated 26 passengers to death. The horrendous headon crash happened on U.S. Highway 81 seven miles south of Waco. The night was clear, the moon was shining and the two-lane road was dry.

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Thu
30
Jul

Governor says family of woman who died in custody deserves answers

By Ed Sterling

AUSTIN — Gov. Greg Abbott on July 22 issued a statement regarding the arrest and death of Sandra Bland, a 28-year-old Illinois resident who had driven to Hempstead in response to a job offer from Prairie View A&M University. On July 10, Bland was pulled over by a state trooper, arrested and placed in the Waller County jail in Hempstead. Three days later Bland was found dead in her jail cell. Local authorities conducted an autopsy and reported suicide as the cause of death. Bland’s family ordered an independent autopsy.

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