Opinions

Thu
23
Jul

This Week in Texas History

With no more buffalo left to slaughter, the last of the High Plains hunters, as shaggy as the beasts they once stalked, departed the Panhandle on Jul. 23, 1879. The wild rush of gold-seekers to California in 1849 split in half the multitude of North American bison. The coming of the transcontinental railroad a couple of decades later made permanent the division of the mighty millions into the northern and southern herds. While the Plains Indians eliminated 500,000 buffaloes annually, the net loss was negligible. Adding the modest toll taken by the occasional white hunter, who killed for sport or to sell the meat back east as tangy beef, the species was in no danger of extinction. 
 
Thu
23
Jul

Switchin' Flies

The Fourth of July program at the library about The Orphan Trains was haunting. Hundreds of thousands of children, found eking out survival on east coast city streets, were cleaned up, dressed up, and herded onto trains to look for homes with pioneer farm families. Some children were abused by their adopted families, some sexually abused, almost all had to work very hard. Some grew up to love their foster families; others considered them selves slaves.
 
Thu
09
Jul

NO RESPECT FOR BAXTER

A good friend from the Texas panhandle sent me a printed poster of a new program enacted by the Amarillo Humane Society. It is designed to encourage dog and cat owners to spay or castrate their pets. On the front is a picture of a frightened, bug-eyed brachygnathic Pug. The accompanying headline says, NO BALLS FOR BAXTER – MATCHING SPAY/NEUTER INITIATIVE!
 
Thu
09
Jul

RETURN TO THE BATTLEFIELD

Austin Steen of Crosbyton was a teenager when he parachuted into a barrage of German gunfire during World War Two. "We were shot at all the way down," says Austin. "We lost 65 percent of our division." Another enemy was the two feet of snow that covered the ground in 1945. Austin fought in the Battle of the Bulge, which had the highest casualties during the war. In March of this year, Bastogne, a city in Belgium where the battle was centered, staged a 70-year commemoration to honor veterans who fought there. Austin went over there with his two daughters and five grandchildren. 
 
Thu
02
Jul

Switchin' Flies

South Carolina Senator and current Republican presidential candidate Lindsay Graham, seems to be flip-flopping over retirement of the Confederate battle flag. Graham evidently told the New York Times in 2000, during one of the many times when that flag has been under fire that "There is a guy out there named Bubba.
 
Thu
02
Jul

WILEY POST SET FLYING RECORDS WITH ONE EYE CLOSED

Wiley Post and his Australian navigator landed in New York City on Jul. 1, 1931 completing an epic around-the-world flight in record-breaking time. Two states claimed Wiley Hardeman Post as a native son. Texas had birth going for it since the intrepid aviator began his short life in Van Zandt County a couple of years shy of the twentieth century. 
 
Thu
25
Jun

SELF-STYLED "SHOOTIST" DIES UNDER WAGON WHEELS

by Bartee Haile
 
Clay Allison, the two-gun time bomb who called himself a "shootist," died on Jun. 30, 1887 not from a bullet but under the wheels of his own wagon. There were two Clay Allisons. One was a respectable rancher, whose character and courage attracted friends and admirers wherever he went. But after a few stiff drinks, his dark side emerged, and Allison became the frontier menace described as "hell turned loose" that killed at the drop of a hat.
 
Thu
25
Jun

Switchin' Flies

by Barney Nelson
 
There's been a lot of hubbub in the dorky national news (as opposed to the much more sensible local news) about identity and choice. One chooser was sort of an obscure athlete who played decathlon. What the heck is that anyway? I know "deca" means ten… so some sort of game that goes 10 innings? Bo-ring.
 
Thu
18
Jun

AGRICULTURAL IGNORANCE

The editor of the Delmarva Farmer made the observation that Americans as a whole have reached the Age of Agricultural Ignorance. This stage in our civilization is a direct result of the lack of “kids growing up on the farm.” There are many reasons for them leaving. One of the greatest being that farming requires manual labor. As our country has progressed, each generation was drawn to professions that demanded less and less physical exertion. A perfect example is the importation of foreign labor to do the grunt work. Grandparents and parents crossed the border to work in the fields. They, themselves were close to the land and understood farming. But when they raised their children, they deliberately discouraged them from working in agriculture.

Thu
11
Jun

On The Edge of Common Sense

Dang it, someone spilt their coffee on the deck of cards again. Probably one of the new guys. This place looks like a den of hibernating coyotes. Shoot, they’ve broke another chair! And I’d been countin’ on a little game of solitaire. Kids. I’ve seen a million walkin’ through this bunkhouse door.They blow through here like tumbleweeds, I’ve give up keepin’ score.  Tonight they’re down at Mona’s pro’bly spendin’ their last dime ‘Cause we pull out on Monday. But way back there was a time

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