Columns/Opinions

Wed
02
Sep

Att. Gen. Paxton pleads not guilty to charges

AUSTIN — Texas Attorney  General Ken Paxton on Aug. 27 entered a plea of not guilty on felony charges of securities fraud at his arraignment in Fort Worth. Tarrant County 396th State District Court Judge George Gallagher gave Paxton until 
Sept. 30 to answer to the charges.
 
Wed
02
Sep

Slim pickings in last presidential election

With independence about to be swapped for statehood, Texans packed the polls on Sep. 2, 1844 to pick a president for the fourth and final time. The year before the Lone Star Republic’s last election, Texans could not have imagined that they would be forced to choose between Anson Jones and Edward Burleson.
 
Wed
26
Aug

Louis T. Wigfall, hottest of the red-hot rebs

By Bartee Haile

With his inheritance quandered and his reputation in ruins, Louis Trezevant Wigfall left his native South Carolina on Aug. 22, 1846 to start a new life in Texas. The son of a well-to-do planter, Wigfall’s college days at South Carolina College, forerunner of the University of South Carolina, spawned a fanatical belief in state supremacy. His alma mater was a hotbed of secessionist sentiment, where as early as 1827 the college president called for the Palmetto State to sever all ties with the United States.

Wed
26
Aug

Energy agency chief rails against federal plan

By Ed Sterling

AUSTIN — Texas Railroad Commission Chair David Porter on Aug. 19 spoke against America’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.

Wed
19
Aug

UT president plans to move Davis statue

By Ed Sterling
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.
 
Wed
19
Aug

New EPA rule ‘heats up’ bills

Each year, our sweltering summers are a stark reminder of just how dependent we are on reliable, accessible energy resources. Fortunately, as Texans we are blessed with natural resources that not only make our daily lives more comfortable, but affordable as well.
 
Wed
12
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.
 
Wed
12
Aug

Fifth Circuit delivers voter ID law opinion

By Ed Sterling
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.
 
Wed
05
Aug

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 head-on 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. But the drivers were young (24 and 23) and inexperienced. It was only the fifth day behind the wheel for Milburn Berry Herring in the northbound San Antonio-to-Dallas bus, and Billy Malone in the Dallas-to-Brownsville southbound had been on the job just four months. The southbound carried 20 passengers and the northbound 37 with several riders standing in the aisle.

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Wed
05
Aug

Panel hears testimony in wake of jail death

By Ed Sterling

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 other tragic outcomes involving black citizens and law enforcement.

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