Columns/Opinions

Tue
21
Mar

Reluctant rebel receives first Texas pardon

By Bartee Haile

On Mar. 21, 1877, Guy M. Bryan wrote the new President of the United States, an old college classmate, to recommend a relative for the Supreme Court.

William Pitt Ballinger had no idea why the caretaker governor of Texas summoned him in the middle of May 1865. But he was relieved to learn Pendleton Murrah and Gen. John Bankhead Magruder had accepted the fall of the Confederacy as an irreversible fact.

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Tue
21
Mar

State budget progresses toward vote by full Senate

By Ed Sterling

AUSTIN — The Senate Finance Committee, at work on the 2018-2019 state budget since January, on March 16 approved workgroup recommendations in preparation for a final vote.

Committee Chair Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, said she expects her panel to vote on the state budget, Senate Bill 1, this week, March 20-24. After the committee votes, the next step for the budget is consideration by the full Senate.

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Wed
15
Mar

Federal court panel rules against Texas redistricting plan

By Ed Sterling

 

AUSTIN — Three of Texas’ 36 congressional districts are unconstitutional because of racial or political gerrymandering, a three-judge panel of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas ruled on March 10.

The judges ruled 2-1 that the districts’ boundaries, drawn by the Texas Legislature in 2011 and 2013, violate the U.S. Constitution.

Plaintiffs in the case called Perez et al. v. Abbott et al. mounted statewide and regional claims in South and West Texas, in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and the Houston area under Section 2 of the U.S. Voting Rights Act and the Fourteenth Amendment.

States that have a history of race-based voter suppression may be subject to judicial pre-clearance of redistricting plans under Section 2. The Fourteenth Amendment requires due process and equal protection under the law for all citizens.

 

 

Wed
15
Mar

Stardom a long struggle for actress Joan Crawford

By Bartee Haile

 

At the Academy Awards on Mar. 14, 1945, Joan Crawford took home the “Best Actress” Oscar for her sixty-eighth motion picture Mildred Pierce.

Life was a struggle from the start for Lucille Fay Le- Sueur born in San Antonio in either 1904, 1905 or 1906. Her father abandoned the family, while she was still in the womb, leaving her mother in desperately dire straits.

Shortly after giving birth, Anna LeSueur moved with her new baby and a son, who was not much older, to Lawton, Oklahoma, where she had friends and kinfolks. She met and soon married Henry Cassin, owner of a local theater called the Ramsey Opera House.

Despite the name, vaudeville was Cassin’s bread-andbutter. Lucille watched the endless parade of acts from backstage paying special attention to the dancers. Encouraged by her stepfather, she began dancing herself during the brief intermissions.

Tue
07
Mar

Alamo coward leaves comrades behind to die

By Bartee Haile

While the Alamo heroes fought to the last man on Mar. 6, 1836, a cowardly former comrade found shelter in an empty cabin on the Guadalupe River. Until his own dying day, Louis Rose would stay on the run from a guilty conscience.

During a lull in the Mexican bombardment on Mar. 3, Col. Buck Travis briefed the exhausted defenders on their hopeless predicament. The garrison had three alternatives: surrender, try to escape or fight to the finish. No matter what the choice, death was inevitable.

 

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Tue
07
Mar

House, Senate approves bills to protect children in foster system

By Ed Sterling

AUSTIN — Both houses of the Texas Legislature last week passed bills to improve the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services in response to Gov. Greg Abbott’s call for emergency action to improve child protection programs.

Tasked with protecting children, elders and people with disabilities from abuse, neglect and exploitation, the DFPS, part of the Texas Health and Human Commission, has attracted attention in recent years for inadequate funding and staffing to meet obligations.

 

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Tue
28
Feb

Federal judge sides with plantiffs on Planned Parenthood

By Ed Sterling

AUSTIN — Texans who rely on Planned Parenthood as a medical care provider won’t have to seek those services elsewhere, pending an upcoming trial. In the lawsuit titled Planned Parenthood et al. v. Texas Health and Human Services Commission, U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks of Austin on Feb. 21 granted a preliminary injunction to prevent the Texas Department of Health and Human Services from eliminating funding for Planned Parenthood in the state’s 2017-18 budget.

 

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Tue
28
Feb

Comanches not easy pickings for buffalo hunters

By Bartee Haile

Acting like the Paul Revere of the Texas Panhandle, Pat Garrett rode from camp to camp on Feb. 22, 1877 warning fellow buffalo hunters, “The Comanches are coming! The Comanches are coming!” That, of course, was not altogether true. The Indians had been in the vicinity for weeks but posed no real danger to white hunters with sense enough to keep their distance. The Medicine Lodge Treaty of 1867 set aside the socalled “Staked Plains,” much of western Oklahoma and all of the Texas Panhandle, as a buffalo preserve for the tribes whose very existence depended upon the shaggy herds. But the pact proved impossible to enforce, and the federal government, which wanted the Indians penned up instead of running free, only went through the motions.

 

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Tue
21
Feb

Triple outlaw lynching touches off nasty feud

By Bartee Haile

A masked mob dragged five suspected cattle thieves kicking and screaming from the Mason County jail on Feb. 18, 1875, lynched three of the terrified outlaws and touched off a nasty feud forever known as the Hoodoo War.

In the chaotic aftermath of the Civil War, Texans often took the law into their own hands. Desperate characters, who mistook common folk for easy pickings, were routinely dispatched without benefit of judge, jury or clergy. 

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Tue
21
Feb

Paxton files brief in support of president’s immigration order

By Ed Sterling

AUSTIN — Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has filed a legal brief supporting President Trump’s executive order for an immigration crackdown.

In his Feb. 15 brief with a San Francisco federal appeals court, Paxton defends President Donald Trump’s Jan. 27 executive order titled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.”

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