Columns/Opinions

Thu
04
Jan

Texas waits for Senate agreement on disaster aid funding

By Ed Sterling

AUSTIN — Gov. Greg Abbott on Dec. 21 released a statement applauding the U.S. House of Representatives’ preliminary passage of $81 billion in disaster aid to Texas, several other states and Puerto Rico.

Abbott called the House’s 251-169 vote in favor of the aid package “a step in the right direction” but added that “more needs to be done to ensure the funds Congress provides address the critical needs Texans are enduring from the largest natural disaster in our state’s history. We look forward to working with the Senate to improve the disaster funding to ensure it addresses the acute needs of Texans.”

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Thu
04
Jan

West Texas ranchers defy future governor

By Bartee Haile

Panhandle cattlemen called the attorney general’s bluff on Jan. 9, 1886 by indicting themselves on charges of “illegal fencing” on public land. Fifty-two ranchers, including the majority of the grand jurors, defiantly thumbed their noses at state authorities.

By the 1880’s, most people in the eastern half of Texas believed beef barons in the distant Panhandle were exploiting the public domain for their own private gain. Pressure mounted on the legislature to curtail the custom of letting the cowmen graze their herds for free on government land.

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Thu
28
Dec

Officials name members to school finance commission

By Ed Sterling

AUSTIN — Top state officials last week named members to the Texas Public School Finance Commission, an agency created by legislation passed last summer during a special session of the 85th Texas Legislature.

Gov. Greg Abbott named Scott Brister of Waco, a former justice of the Texas Supreme Court, as chair of the commission.

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Thu
28
Dec

Cowardly cousin embarrassed “Father of Texas”

By Bartee Haile

Limping up Buffalo Bayou in a leaky ship, Henry Austin landed at Harrisburg on Dec. 29, 1830.

No one hates poverty quite as much as the miserable soul, who once had money but let it slip through his fingers. Stephen F. Austin’s first cousin was just such an unhappy has-been, a pitiful prisoner of his wealthy past that spent his last 40 years searching for a paradise lost.

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Thu
21
Dec

Babin votes to advance historic tax relief bill for American people

 

Washington, DC – U.S. Rep. Brian Babin (R-TX) joined his House colleagues today in passing the House-Senate conference report for the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (H.R. 1), landmark legislation that overhauls America’s tax code to deliver historic tax relief for American workers, families and job creators.

 

The legislation now goes to the Senate where it is expected to pass and be sent to the President’s desk for his signature. “We are now on the verge of delivering a historic and muchdeserved win for the American people right before Christmas,” said Rep. Babin. “By cutting taxes for all Americans, eliminating special interest loopholes, doubling the child tax credit and lowering the tax burden on businesses, our bill will increase paychecks, create more jobs and make the tax code simpler and fairer for hardworking Middle-Class Americans

 

Thu
21
Dec

How did “Three Stooges” creator die?

By Bartee Haile

 

Ted Healy, the comic genius behind “The Three Stooges,” kissed his wife and three-day old baby good-night on Dec. 20, 1937 and headed for his favorite Hollywood haunts to celebrate the birth of his first child.

 

The name on the future comedian’s birth certificate was “Ernest Lea Nash” or “Clarence Lee Nash.” No one seems to know for sure. But there is no doubt that it was issued in 1896 in the town of Kaufman east of Dallas.

 

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Thu
14
Dec

Babin joins President Trump as he signs new space policy directive on missions to Moon, Mars

Washington, DC – U.S. House Space Subcommittee Chairman Brian Babin (R-TX) joined President Trump today at the White House as he signed Space Policy Directive – 1 urging NASA to return Americans to the Moon and encourage human space exploration to Mars and beyond.

 

“By signing this space policy directive and refocusing America’s space program on human spaceflight exploration, the President has ensured America’s leadership in space and prioritized our return to the Moon and future manned missions to Mars,” said Chairman Babin.

 

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Thu
14
Dec

One disappointment after another for Lamar

By Bartee Haile 

 

Mirabeau Buonaparte Lamar, second president of the Texas Republic, dropped dead of a heart attack at his Richmond home on Dec. 18, 1859. When he stepped down as the Lone Star chief executive in December 1842,

 

Lamar was a physical and emotional wreck. Not only had his grand plan of setting the new nation on an irreversibly independent course gone wrong, the voters had picked archenemy Sam Houston over soul mate David G. Burnet as his successor.

 

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Wed
13
Dec

Seminoles player spotlight – Ashland Wilson

By Randall Luker

Linebacker Ashland Wilson is a 2011 graduate of Port Arthur Memorial High School and defensive standout for the GT Seminoles, Vidor’s semi-pro football team. Following his high school career, Wilson said he had several Division 1 college offers, even a scholarship, but he says he made some bad life choices and eventually went to college and played college ball in Tyler before money for school ran out.

He played for another semi-pro team but grew dissatisfied with the seeming lack of interest in the players. Having played against Scypion and the Seminoles, he had heard good things about how the players were more than players, how Scypion took a genuine interest in their welfare on and off the field and how he mentored the young men playing for him. A few conversations later, and Wilson was donning a Seminoles uniform and striking fear in opponents from his linebacker position.

 

Thu
07
Dec

Highway fund, Rainy Day fund receive hefty infusions

By Ed Sterling

AUSTIN — State Comptroller Glenn Hegar on Nov. 29 announced the transfer of $1.47 billion into the State Highway Fund and the Economic Stabilization Fund, with $734 million going into each fund.

The transfer was enabled by Texas voters, who in the November 2014 constitutional amendment election passed a measure allocating at least half of the state’s oil and gas production severance taxes to the “Rainy Day Fund” and the remainder to the State Highway Fund for use on non-toll highway construction, maintenance and right-of-way acquisitions.

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