Columns/Opinions

Wed
10
Aug

Texas boycotts Huey Long’s cotton “holiday”

By Bartee Haile

On Aug. 9, 1931 Huey P. Long invited the governors of Texas and other southern states to come to New Orleans to discuss his surefire cure for what was ailing King Cotton. From a high of 40 cents a pound at the start of the decade, cotton lost half its value on the world market during the 1920’s. But those were boom times compared to the Great Depression. By the summer of 1931, the South’s money crop had become practically worthless fetching a paltry 5.66 cents per pound.

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Wed
10
Aug

Campus-carry parties lawsuit to return to court

By Ed Sterling

AUSTIN — Three University of Texas professors are seeking a temporary injunction “to at least retain the option of maintaining their academic classrooms as gunfree zones when classes start again.” In a motion filed in connection with a federal lawsuit filed July 6, the professors are asking the court to bar enforcement of the law when the UT fall semester begins Aug. 24. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a brief in opposition.

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Wed
03
Aug

Wartime censors spring hurricane surprise on Texas

By Bartee Haile

The most powerful hurricane to hit Galveston in more than a generation roared ashore on the morning of Jul. 27, 1943 catching island inhabitants and other Texans as far inland as Houston almost completely by surprise. With no radar, satellites or television to provide them with breaking weather news, Texans living within striking distance of Gulf storms depended upon advisories and warnings from the Weather Bureau. Government forecasters, in turn, relied upon eyewitness reports from ships at sea and observers along the coast. 

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Wed
03
Aug

State rolls out revised women’s health program

By Ed Sterling

AUSTIN — A women’s health program is in effect and ready to deliver more care to more women statewide who are 15 to 44 years old and whose income is up to 200 percent of federal poverty guidelines. Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, and Texas Health and Human Services Executive Commissioner Charles Smith, in a joint announcement on July 25, said they expect the “new and improved” Healthy Texas Women program to serve some 300,000 women, while earlier programs served 270,000 women. Participation for minors will require parental consent.  

 

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Wed
27
Jul

Cowardice cripples Yankee raid on Galveston

By Bartee Haile

On Jul. 25, 1861, three months after President Lincoln ordered a blockade of all southern ports, the United States Navy sent a ship to seal off Galveston Bay, and the frigate Santee relieved the original vessel of the lonely watch in mid-September. Bored by seven weeks of uneventful guard duty, Lt. James Jouett volunteered to lead a daring nighttime attack on Nov. 7 against the General Rusk, a steam-powered man-of-war anchored near the Rebel fort on Pelican Island. Relying upon the element of surprise, Jouett hoped to overwhelm the crew and scuttle the fighting ship before the Rebs knew what had hit them. If his main objective proved unattainable, he would seize the Royal Yacht, an armed schooner. 

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Wed
27
Jul

Appellate court strikes down Texas voter ID law

By Ed Sterling

AUSTIN — Texas’ voter photo identification law is racially discriminatory, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled July 20. In striking down the law passed by the Texas Legislature in 2011, the Fifth Circuit said it disproportionately and negatively affects African- American and Hispanic citizens’ right to vote. Gov. Greg Abbott decried the ruling in Veasey et al. v. Abbott et al., saying: “The Fifth Circuit ... wrongly concluded the law had a discriminatory effect. Voter fraud is real and it undermines the integrity of the election process.” 

 

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Wed
20
Jul

Texas baby born with Zika-related microcephaly

By Ed Sterling

AUSTIN — The Texas Department of State Health Services has confirmed a Zika virus infection in a baby recently born with microcephaly in Harris County. The July 13 report is the first official confirmation of a Zika-related microcephaly case in Texas. According to the agency, the mother traveled from Latin America, where she was likely infected and the baby acquired the infection in utero.  

 

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Wed
20
Jul

Texans bring home gold from Helsinki Olympics

By Bartee Haile

With the Summer Games in Rio less than a month away, let’s take a look back at the XV Olympics that began in Helsinki, Finland on Jul. 19, 1952 and featured gold-medal performances from six different Texans. In the high jump held on opening day, Walter “Buddy” Davis of Texas A&M was the favorite despite his inexperience. The Nederland product had gone to College Station on a basketball scholarship and lived up to high expectations by blossoming into a star. 

 

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Wed
13
Jul

Governor Abbott reacts to downtown Dallas ambush

By Ed Sterling

AUSTIN — A “Black Lives Matter” protest turned tragic when a sniper fired into a crowd estimated at 1,000 people in downtown Dallas at about 9 p.m. on July 7. Dozens of shots were fired, reportedly from an assault rifle, leaving five police officers dead and seven police officers and two civilians wounded. Police pursued a suspect identified as Micah Xavier Johnson, 25, a former U.S. Army reservist, and killed him in a parking garage using a robot-propelled explosive device early on July 8.

 

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Wed
13
Jul

Accident-prone pilot lives after two dozen missions

By Bartee Haile

At funeral services in Mission on Jul. 8, 1956, friends and family of “Slats” Rodgers paid their last respects to the accident-prone pioneer aviator while marveling at the fact he died in bed of natural causes. Texas’ first licensed pilot was born Floyd H. Rodgers in rural Georgia in 1889. His thin-as-a-rail appearance inspired someone to call him “Slats,” a nickname that stuck for the rest of life.

 

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