Opinions

Tue
22
Apr

THE MYSTERIOUS CASE OF THE "LADY IN BLUE"

By Bartee Haile.
 
A Franciscan priest, who made the long and dangerous trip from the New World in search of the mysterious "Lady in Blue," arrived at a Spanish abbey on Apr. 21, 1631. The padre was determined to find out for himself if the mother superior really was the phantom visitor that brought biblical teachings to the Indians of the American Southwest.
 
Wed
09
Apr

Switchin' Flies

By Barney Nelson.
 
I live in the desert, so I have a solar dryer. For those who already know me as a Luddite, you will know that doesn't have much to do with modern technology. It's just a couple of long wires tied to two T-shaped pipes set in cement. I don't do it to claim any high moral ground or try to make feel guilty those of you who prefer to spend small fortunes on electricity, shrink your clothes, and wear them out faster. I just happen to like hanging out laundry. I don't beat them clean on a rock, though.

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Wed
09
Apr

RIVERBOAT CAPTAIN BUILDS RANCH AS BIG AS TEXAS

By Bartee Haile.
 
An Irish immigrant, who escaped a tenement hell to create an empire as big as Texas, took his last breath on Apr. 14, 1885. The Kings were destitute refugees from the Emerald Isle trapped in the dead-end poverty of the New York slums. Eleven year old Richard was apprenticed to a jeweler in 1835, but the moment his keeper turned his back the headstrong boy ran away. The youngster roamed the Atlantic seaboard before finally settling in Florida, where he grew up on the rivers. Displaying a natural talent for the helm, he became a skilled steamboat pilot while still in his teens.

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Fri
04
Apr

Switchin' Flies

By Barney Nelson.
 
One of the most emotional moments of my life, that still gives me chill bumps when I think about it, happened one cloudy evening on Mount Locke over 20 years ago. I had taken an environmental literature class to McDonald Observatory for a tour. We had been invited by one of the students in the class who worked there, Marc Wetzel. We took picnic suppers and our favorite star poems to share. Then Marc led us up and down stairs, around catwalks (where I’m pretty sure no cat would dare to go), and past intense working astronomers as he explained the equipment and uses.

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Fri
04
Apr

RANGERS’ CLOSEST CALL CAME AT THE CAPITOL

By Bartee Haile.
 
At the end of a lengthy public probe into charges of corruption and criminal misdeeds, the question Lone Star legislators faced on Apr. 2, 1919 was whether to do away with the Texas Rangers altogether or give the legendary lawmen one more chance to clean up their act. Even in their hard-fighting heyday, the fabled frontier guardians were never without their detractors. For years critics had questioned their shootfirst philosophy, and local peace officers resented the often uninvited intrusion of the governor’s gendarmes.

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Wed
02
Apr

Switchin' Flies

By Barney Nelson.
 
People often say I am opinionated and argumentative. Since I have taught "argument" as a college prof for over 20 years, you'd think I would win more often. But I usually lose. So, of course, since I can't actually DO it, I TEACH it. I always begin my brilliant introduction to argument with two statements that usually---well, ok, once-in-a-while---get my students' attention, or at least I claim it does. First I explain that what we are about to talk about should be called persuasion instead of argument, and second, that they are already experts and just need to tap into what they already know.

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Wed
02
Apr

DICTATOR DIAZ RULED MEXICO FOR 35 YEARS

By Bartee Haile.
 
Mexican rebels seized Matamoros, Brownsville's sister city, on Mar. 27, 1876, and Porifirio Diaz took a giant step toward the political prize that would be his personal property for 35 years. Sick and tired of the incessant chaos along the Rio Grande, Texans opened their wallets and private arsenals to the Diaz cause. If the ambitious general could bring law and order to the border, it was a bargain at twice the price.

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Wed
19
Mar

Switchin' Flies

By Barney Nelson.
 
The buzzards are back. I saw one on March 1st, then two on March 5th, and then a slew of them March 15th. We used to have kind of an annual spring competition around here to see who would be the first to spot one. I haven't heard much about that lately. Maybe there's not an app for that? I worry about buzzards, probably because of Mary Austin's fine chapter "The Scavengers" in her 1903 book, The Land of Little Rain. She wrote sort of an ode to ravens, buzzards, vultures, and condors and how important they were for keeping deserts clean. She said the only place you found them was around cattle. They were strange birds for someone to admire in her day, sort of like admiring the people who pick up our trash today
 
Wed
19
Mar

TEXAS WOMEN FIGHT LONG AND HARD FOR THE VOTE

By Bartee Haile.
 
On Mar. 25, 1918, in a special ceremony at the state capitol, Gov. William P. Hobby signed into law the Primary Election Law giving the women of Texas at long last the right to vote. On hand for the momentous occasion were standard bearers Jane Y. McCallum and Minnie Fisher Cunningham. Often down but never out, the resolute crusaders refused to give up the fight for the female franchise. From start to finish, the battle over the ballot in the Lone Star State took half a century. At the Reconstruction convention that rewrote the state constitution, the Radical wing of the Republican Party came out for universal suffrage. But the daring idea of extending democracy not only to emancipated male slaves but to adults of all races was far ahead of its time.
 
Wed
12
Mar

Commentary

It's on the internet, so it must be true . . . Teachers' hefty salaries are driving up taxes, and they only work nine or ten months a year! It's time Texans put things in perspective and pay them for what they do -- babysit! We can get that for less than minimum wage. A friend shared this, and it's a hoot. Read on. That's right. Let's give them $3 an hour and only the hours they worked; not any of that silly planning time, or any time they spend before or after school.

 

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