Columns/Opinions

Thu
20
Dec

Texas’ top lawyer cheers court ruling against Obamacare

AUSTIN — Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton applauded a Dec. 14 Fort Worth federal district court decision declaring unconstitutional the U.S. Affordable Care Act, widely known as “Obamacare.”

Ten months ago, Paxton and Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel led a 20-state coalition lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the 2010 health care law, arguing that Congress rendered all of Obamacare unconstitutional by doing away with the tax penalty in Obamacare’s individual mandate when it enacted President Donald Trump’s tax overhaul.

Thu
20
Dec

End of Mexican Revolution after 13 bloody years

Texas History

Confident of American support for his coup, the latest leader in the musical chairs of the Mexican Revolution called on the U.S. consul at Veracruz on Dec. 20, 1923.

To the relief of the Mexican people, 13 years of chaos and carnage appeared to be behind them. The faction-ridden struggle with its cast of self-centered characters had cost them dearly -- two million dead and at least 750,000 refugees, a quarter of a million to Texas alone.

Alvaro Obregon had ruled the ruined country for three relatively peaceful years since the “suicide” of the previous president, Venustiano Carranza. Exhausted Mexicans welcomed the calm after the endless storm and prayed Obregon would keep his promise to transfer power to his anointed successor, Plutarco Elias Calles, without the usual bloodshed.

Thu
13
Dec

Texas, nation mourn death of former president

By Ed Sterling

 

AUSTIN — Gov. Greg Abbott on Dec. 3 proclaimed Dec. 5 as an official day of mourning across the Lone Star State in honor of former President George H.W. Bush, the 41st president of the United States, who died in Houston on Nov. 30.

 

In the proclamation, Abbott encouraged Texans to “gather, assemble and pay their respects to the memory of George Herbert Walker Bush through ceremonies in homes, businesses, public buildings, schools, places of worship or other appropriate places for public expression of grief and remembrance.”

 

The proclamation also allowed state employees to attend such observances. State agencies, offices and departments were closed on that day, with general government operations and services maintained by reduced-size work crews.

 

Thu
13
Dec

Boundary secret sparks a presidential spat

Texas History

By Bartee Haile

By Bartee Haile

 

A career diplomat told President Andrew Jackson on Dec. 17, 1829 the inside story of how the Sabine River became the dividing line between Louisiana and Spanish territory -- a political bombshell Old Hickory waited 15 years to drop.

 

The 1803 treaty that closed the sweetest land deal in American history -- the Louisiana Purchase -- failed to set hard and fast boundaries. Negotiations with Spain remained at an impasse until 1819, when an obliging secretary of state gave up a longstanding claim to Texas in exchange for Florida. To the surprise and delight of the Spaniards, John Quincy Adams additionally agreed U.S. sovereignty ended at the Sabine River.

 

Thu
06
Dec

World War II captivity of “Lost Battalion”

Texas History

By Bartee Haile

A troop ship carrying more than 500 fighting men from Texas was a week out of Hawaii on the way to Australia on Dec. 14, 1941.

National Guardsmen from Wichita Falls, Abilene, Lubbock and other towns throughout northwest Texas were drummed into federal service in November 1940. A stroke of the pen turned the weekend warriors into regular Army and lumped them together in 2nd Battalion, 131st Field Artillery Regiment, 36th Infantry Division.

The rigorous regimen at Camp Bowie near Brownwood whipped the citizen soldiers into shape. But basic training was a picnic in paradise compared to two miserable months of tropical warfare maneuvers in the swamps of Louisiana.

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Thu
06
Dec

Former U.S. President George H.W. Bush dies November 30

AUSTIN — Gov. Greg Abbott on Dec. 1 issued the following statement on the Nov. 30 death of George Herbert Walker Bush, the 41st president of the United States:

"The state of Texas mourns with the nation at the passing of one of our greatest presidents. George H.W. Bush was an American hero and icon, he was a friend to all he met, he embodied class and dignity. Texans are genuinely honored that he called the Lone Star State home and we collectively grieve this monumental loss. On behalf of Texas, Cecilia and I offer our thoughts and prayers to the Bush family in their time of need."

Bush, 94, a Republican, served as the president from 1989 to 1993. He served as vice president from 1981 to 1989 alongside President Ronald Reagan. He served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Texas Congressional District 7, from 1967 to 1971, and went on to serve the nation in many other high-level appointed positions.

Thu
29
Nov

Texas unemployment rate hits lowest level since 1976

AUSTIN — Texas has its lowest unemployment rate in more than 42 years.

The Texas Workforce Commission on Nov. 16 announced that Texas’ seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 3.7 percent in October, down from 3.8 percent the prior month.

It is the lowest level of unemployment the state has seen since January 1976.

The Texas economy added 32,300 seasonally adjusted nonfarm jobs in October. Annual employment growth was 3.1 percent, marking 102 consecutive months of annual growth.

Still, job opportunities abound.

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Thu
29
Nov

What’s happening in our state capital

My Five Cents

As we head into the holiday season and you gather with friends and family, I want to wish you a very Merry Christmas from my family to yours.

Here are five things happening around your state this month:

1. Visiting the Permian Basin

One of the things that Texas is most known for, other than cowboys and everything being bigger, is oil booms. One that has been in the news recently is the Permian Basin in West Texas. This boom is so big that companies are producing twice as much oil as they were four years ago. Recently, I traveled to West Texas to see the effects this boom has brought to this area of Texas. As Senate Transportation Committee Chair, my primary purpose was to study the damages caused to the infrastructure by the heavy traffic a boom like this one brings with it.

Thu
22
Nov

Jack Valenti: The rest of the amazing story

Texas History

By Bartee Haile

In the Nov. 22, 1963 photo taken on Air Force One, Jack Valenti is the compressed figure on the far left watching Judge Sarah T. Hughes swear in Lyndon Johnson as President of the United States.

The grandson of Sicilian immigrants was born in Houston in 1921. While still in the primary grades, he sacked groceries in the family-owned store and threw a newspaper route. An exceptional student, he was double promoted at least once and graduated high school at the age of 15.

College was financially out the question for Valenti leaving him with no other choice but to join the horde of desperate job-seekers in the depths of the Great Depression. He was happy to find work at a neighborhood movie theater popping corn, showing ticket-holders to their seats and doing whatever else his employer needed done.

 

Thu
22
Nov

Field of candidates for House speaker narrows to one

AUSTIN — Eight members of the Texas Legislature filed papers with the Texas Ethics Commission to declare themselves candidates for speaker of the Texas House of Representatives, and as of last week, only one remained.

The candidacy of state Rep. Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, gained momentum in October, and Bonnen on Nov. 13 announced he had the support of 109 members of the 150-member House. At minimum, it takes 76 votes to elect a speaker, which is 50 percent, plus one, of the 150 members of the House.

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