Commentary

Wed
16
Mar

They keep tearing down this Old Coot's memories

Every time I read my print edition replica of the Houston Chronicle online, I read where they’ve’ torn down something else from the great memories of my past. (The headline reference to Old Coot, is a club I organized a few years back. Anyone either past retirement age and/or disenchanted with what young whippersnappers are doing to our world can be a member.)

Latest in the Sad Headline Category is the announcement that they knocked down the old Houston Club building. No, I didn’t belong to the club or any other such bastion of exclusivity but my first job upon graduation from college with that wonderful JOURNALISM DEGREE was as associate editor of a magazine for an association headquartered in that building. 

Wed
16
Mar

Full 5th Circuit to hear Texas voter ID case

The entire U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals will review Texas’ controversial voter identification law.

A majority of the judges of the Fifth Circuit on March 9 voted in support of an “en banc” rehearing of oral arguments in Veasey v. Abbott, a case challenging the law. No date for the rehearing has been set.

The case stems from Senate Bill 14, a law passed by the Texas Legislature in 2011, which requires prospective voters to present an acceptable form of photo identification along with their voter registration card in order to cast a ballot.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton praised the development, saying: “Today’s decision is a strong step forward in our efforts to defend the state’s voter ID laws. Safeguarding the integrity of our elections is a primary function of state government and is essential to preserving our democratic process. We look forward to presenting our case before the full Fifth Circuit.”

Sun
21
Feb

Marine from South Texas helped raise the U.S. flag on Iwo Jima

A young marine from South Texas was one of six American fighting men caught on camera on Feb. 23, 1945, raising the Stars and Stripes on a Pacific battlefield called Iwo Jima.

Harlon Henry Block was born in 1924 at Yorktown and grew up on 40 acres in the Rio Grande Valley. The third of six children, he had one sister and four brothers.

Harlon’s mother missed the city life of San Antonio and never quite adjusted to the hardscrabble existence down on the farm. Finding comfort and encouragement in the Seventh Day Adventist Church, Belle Block put in long days nursing the terminally ill in order to send her children to the local Adventist school.

Harlon may have been the most religious of the Block kids, but that did not mean he was a pushover. More than once he stood up to the principal, and the last time, when he refused to snitch on a vandal, got him kicked out of school.

Sun
21
Feb

Supreme Court halts EPA abatement rule

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Feb. 9 heralded the U.S. Supreme Court’s 5-4 order that put on hold a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rule requiring power producers to cut back on the release of pollutants emitted mainly from coal-burning operations.

In reacting to the order, Paxton and West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, the leaders of a coalition of 29 states and state agencies, declared victory over the rule referred to as the Obama Administration’s “Clean Power Plan” or as the EPA “Carbon Pollution Emission Guidelines for Existing Stationary Sources: Electric Utility Generating Units.” 

Sun
21
Feb

Sweet slumber seriously started by stirred-up Sawyer

 

Being awakened at 3 a.m. by a snoring dog is not conducive to kind thoughts about an otherwise beloved little animal. 

There are a number of reasons I long ago abandoned my lifelong edict of No Dog Will Ever Sleep in My Bed! You can’t issue that declaration to cats because they will slip under the covers and bite your toes in revenge. 

But, back to the dog ... this little ragamuffin wiggled into our lives in our first year of retirement. We transplanted ourselves onto a riverbank in Central Texas to drink in the “peaceful country life” after dueling with deadlines for more than 50 years. Someone dumped this then-little-three-month-old puppy on our country river road.

Fri
08
Jan

Texas sues EPS over new ozone standards

The State of Texas and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality on Dec. 23 filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over its new ozone standards rule.

Eight other states have filed separate lawsuits against the new rule: Arizona, Arkansas, Kentucky, New Mexico, Oklahoma, North Dakota, Utah and Wisconsin.

On Dec. 28, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton explained his reasoning for state’s taking legal action, saying the EPA “has lowered the ozone standard placed on states to a level that is inappropriate and unrealistic and is based on flawed science” and the changes to the National Ambient Air Quality Standard would impose a serious financial burden on the Texas economy for dubious public health benefit.

Fri
08
Jan

Letter to the editor...

Dear Editor,

Guns don't kill people; criminals do! Guns don't kill people; ISIS does! Guns don't get people killed; liberal progressive propaganda and policy does! Some people get their viewpoints from Socialist National Public Radio. Some watch fictional “6” western movies, while others consult actual history and current events.

Obama and his supporters continue to push for gun control. Did he not live in Chicago? Most gun violence occurs in Democratic-controlled cities and states. I don't recall any assaults occurring at gun shows. The weapon of choice for terrorists in the 1880s and early 1900s was dynamiting school buildings. Even today, the use of box cutters, machetes, axes, knives, pipe bombs, etc., result in terror for one and all.

Fri
08
Jan

Letter to the Editor...

Dear Editor,

Money for nothing. To me that means taking a job but not doing the work.

The other day, I went to the justice of the peace office to set a date for my upcoming marriage. To my dismay, the judge had a jury trial going on so no date could be set. I casually inquired as to other justices of the peace and heard that this judge or that judge stopped doing marriages. I heard the phrase “and you know why!’’ To wit I replied “of course I do, but if they're going to take the money, then they should perform the duty.”

I was wrong. Marriage is not a duty for a justice of the peace, but rather a power granted by the Texas Constitution and to which he or she are not obligated to perform.

Wed
17
Jun

Federal court of appeals rules on abortion law

By Ed Sterling
AUSTIN — A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit on June 9 upheld the constitutionality of House Bill 2, the state abortion law revised by the Texas Legislature in a July 2013 special session. HB 2 and its provisions may be applied throughout Texas, the panel stated in a 56-page ruling, but drew two narrow exceptions: (1) a health clinic that performs abortions in McAllen may continue to function without upgrading its facilities to comply with standards set for ambulatory surgical centers; and (2) the law’s admitting privileges requirement does not apply to a certain medical doctor when he is working at the McAllen facility. Elsewhere, a physician performing an abortion must have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the location where the abortion is performed in accordance with the 2013 law.

Wed
17
Jun

Why run for political office?

by Lee Hamilton
This is a young generation that is famously leery of politics. Every year, the Harvard Institute of Politics surveys young Americans about their attitudes. In their most recent survey, only 21 percent of respondents considered themselves politically engaged. Last year, only a third counted running for office “an honorable thing to do” — compared to 70 percent who considered community service honorable. A lot of young people are repelled by politics; they’ve lost faith in the system just as many other Americans have. And I fully understand that elected office is not for everybody. You can make wonderful contributions to our communities and to our society as a whole without holding office.

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