Columns/Opinions

Tue
11
Apr

Texas lost battalion 75 years ago

By John Cornyn

But among all our servicemembers and veterans, Texas’ most decorated unit remains the group of 532 brave men we now call the “Texas Lost Battalion,” who were captured by the Japanese 75 years ago, in March 1942.

The story starts earlier, in the fall of 1940, when the 36th Division of the Texas National Guard arrived just outside of Brownswood at one of Texas’ largest training centers, Camp Bowie. World War II had engulfed both Europe and Asia, and President Franklin D. Roosevelt had issued orders in late August to mobilize the National Guard.

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Tue
11
Apr

House, Senate must work to agree on state budget

By Ed Sterling

AUSTIN — After more than 15 hours of floor debate, the Texas House of Representatives on April 7 approved a balanced, $218 billion, state budget for fiscal years 2018-2019.

During the debate, state representatives proposed some 378 amendments to the House version of Senate Bill 1, although many were tabled or withdrawn.

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Tue
04
Apr

Gov. welcomes Justice Dept. sanctuary cities memo

By Ed Sterling

AUSTIN — Gov. Greg Abbott on March 27 praised an announcement by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions that the Department of Justice will withhold and take back federal funds from cities that do not comply with federal immigration laws and enforcement directives.

“Texas joins the Trump administration in its commitment to end sanctuary cities and I look forward to signing legislation that bans these dangerous policies in Texas once and for all,” Abbott said. Senate Bill 4, legislation to prohibit sanctuary city policies in Texas, was passed by the Senate on Feb. 8. It was heard in the House State Affairs Committee on March 15, but has not been scheduled for a committee vote.

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Tue
04
Apr

Dallas battles Houston over federal bank

By Bartee Haile

Civic leaders in Dallas and Houston waited nervously on Apr. 2, 1914 for the decision on which of Texas’ two largest cities had been awarded the new federal bank.

The rash of bank failures caused by the Panic of 1907 underscored the urgent need for effective monitoring and management of the national money supply. To avert future crises, the country required a bank for the banks.

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Tue
28
Mar

Ex-Texas congressman negotiates release

By Bartee Haile

Waddy Thompson did not let the fact that he had been a private citizen for two weeks keep him from asking one more life-saving favor of Santa Anna on Mar. 23, 1844.

Texans naively presumed their neighbors in New Mexico would jump at the chance to join the Lone Star Republic. So, in the summer of 1841, President Mirabeau Lamar sent more than 300 soldiers, merchants and a grab bag of adventurers to deliver an engraved invitation and to stake Texas’ claim to the lucrative trade of the Santa Fe Trail.

 

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Tue
28
Mar

Senate panel OKs budget for next two-year period

By Ed Sterling

AUSTIN — A state budget for fiscal years 2018-2019 cleared the first in a series of hurdles when the Senate Finance Committee unanimously approved committee substitute Senate Bill 1 on March 22. 

The legislation next moves to the full Senate for consideration.

“This budget remains a work in progress, but we will continue our work to make the most of every dollar, meet our priority needs and keep Texas moving in the right direction,” said Senate Finance Committee Chair Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound. “This committee left no stone unturned looking for savings, examining our budget drivers and looking for ways to make smarter use of our limited resources.”

 

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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.

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