Columns/Opinions

Wed
18
Apr
Edgar's picture

Help the world, resolve conflicts

by Lee Hamilton 

Resolving the conflicts dividing our country will require a devotion to facts, dialogue and compromise.

In a world riven by tension, there’s one skill that stands above all others: the ability to resolve conflict. It is the paramount challenge of our time. There are so many divisions that fracture our communities, states, and nations, that the ability to create common ground — to bring people together, rather than drive them apart — has become an indispensable political need.

I’ve seen first-hand its importance: in Congress as part of a legislative process that, at least at the time, was mostly focused on resolving differences, and as co-chair of two key national committees that were constituted along partisan lines — the 9/11 Commission and the Iraq Study Group. Here’s what I’ve learned.

Wed
18
Apr
Edgar's picture

Officials see room for criminal history reporting improvement

by Ed Sterling 

AUSTIN — Gov. Greg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton on April 11 sent a joint letter to eight state criminal justice agencies and associations, urging them to review their processes for reporting criminal history to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or “NICS.”

The NICS checks available records on persons who may be disqualified from receiving firearms. Abbott and Paxton said a recent study found that only 68 percent of arrests in state criminal history files nationwide were reported to the NICS. But Texas’ overall rate is 84 percent, with a 95 percent reporting rate for arrests within the past five years.

Wed
18
Apr
Edgar's picture

Rangers & Indians unite to fight Comanches

by Bartee Haile 

Texas Rangers and Indian allies in war paint crossed the Red River on Apr. 24, 1858 in search of a common enemy - the Comanches.

The key to Hardin Runnels’ surprising upset of Sam Houston in the election of 1857 was his belligerent attitude toward the North and the Indians. While the new governor could not declare war on the Yankees, he was free to turn Rip Ford loose on the Comanches.

Ranger, soldier, newspaperman and politician, John Salmon Ford was also Texas’ foremost Indian fighter. Eight years after ridding the Rio Grande of red raiders, he was asked to perform the same chore along the Red River.

 

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Wed
11
Apr
Edgar's picture

Amazon isn’t America’s villian

by Rich Lowry 

President Donald Trump gets results. His attacks on Amazon have tanked the company’s stock.

It’s hard to think of a more pointlessly destructive act of presidential jawboning in our history. The online retailer is a jewel of our market economy that has delivered more choice and convenience at a lower cost.

The backdrop for Trump’s animosity is that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post, which, like much of the major media, is unrelentingly hostile to the president. The bias of the Post is nothing new, nor should it be taken out on the underlying business of its owner.

 

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Wed
11
Apr
Edgar's picture

Decision to send troops to border draws mixed reactions

by Ed Sterling

AUSTIN — Gov. Greg Abbott on April 4 welcomed the announcement by Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen that the federal government would deploy some 4,000 National Guard personnel to the U.S.-Mexico border to assist in stemming the flow of illegal immigration.

“Today’s action by the Trump Administration reinforces Texas’ longstanding commitment to secure our southern border and uphold the rule of law and I welcome the support,” the governor said. “Going forward, Texas will continue to implement robust border security efforts and this partnership will help ensure we are doing everything we can to stem the flow of illegal immigration.”

Wed
04
Apr
Edgar's picture

Karnack postman rang more than twice

By Mike Cox

When Clarence Lafayette Fason retired from what was then the U.S. Post Office Department, he surely received gifts, perhaps a certificate or plaque and doubtless a federal retirement check for the rest of his life.

But Fason gave back as well in deciding to write a recollection of his half-century as a mail carrier in rural East Texas. Even better, someone had the good sense to include the piece in the printed program distributed at his retirement ceremony. That event occurred on Aug. 31, 1969 in Karnack, a small community in northeastern Harrison County best known as the hometown of Lady Bird Johnson.

“In an age when a person may sit in his own living room and watch a space flight 238,000 miles from Earth,” Fason began, “it is difficult to realize the importance of mail delivery to rural Americans in the early 1900’s to whom news traveled slowly since they had no access to telephones, newspapers or radios.”

 

Wed
04
Apr
Edgar's picture

Tragedy spawns teenage demagogues

By Rich Lowry

All you needed to know about student activist David Hogg’s speech at the “March for Our Lives” in Washington, D.C., was that he affixed a price tag on the microphone to symbolize how much National Rifle Association money Sen. Marco Rubio took for the lives of students in Florida.

The stunt wasn’t out of place. Indeed, it perfectly encapsulated the braying spirit of the student gun-control advocacy in the wake of the Parkland, Florida, school shooting.

These young activists are making our public debate even more poisonous and less civil, and are doing it as teenagers. They are precocious that way.

The Stoneman Douglas students experienced a horrific trauma. No one can deny their grief or blame them for being impassioned. And allowance has to be made for the fact that they are teenagers, who universally believe that they know better than their hapless elders.

 

Wed
04
Apr
Edgar's picture

Guns & the teenage demagogues

By Rich Lowry

All you needed to know about student activist David Hogg’s speech at the “March for Our Lives” in Washington, D.C., was that he affixed a price tag on the microphone to symbolize how much National Rifle Association money Sen. Marco Rubio took for the lives of students in Florida.

The stunt wasn’t out of place. Indeed, it perfectly encapsulated the braying spirit of the student gun-control advocacy in the wake of the Parkland, Florida, school shooting.

These young activists are making our public debate even more poisonous and less civil, and are doing it as teenagers. They are precocious that way.

The Stoneman Douglas students experienced a horrific trauma. No one can deny their grief or blame them for being impassioned. And allowance has to be made for the fact that they are teenagers, who universally believe that they know better than their hapless elders.

 

Wed
04
Apr
Edgar's picture

Question on upcoming census stirs opposing viewpoints

By Ed Sterling

AUSTIN — Ted Cruz of Texas was one of three United States senators who requested that respondents to the 2020 decennial census be asked if they are citizens of the United States.

When Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross responded in the affirmative last week, Cruz said, “I applaud Secretary Ross for honoring this request by my colleagues and me. It is imperative that the data gathered in the census is reliable, given the wide-ranging impacts it will have on U.S. policy. A question on citizenship is a reasonable, commonsense addition to the census.”

On March 28, state Sen. Sylvia R. Garcia, D-Houston, who chairs the Texas Senate Hispanic Caucus, took issue with the question. “Adding a question on citizenship at this time would only seek to fan the flames of fear and distrust in the Census, further risking depressed response rates,” Garcia said.

 

Wed
28
Mar
Edgar's picture

East Texas deputy shoots the messenger...literally

By Mike Cox

One of the occupational hazards facing 19th Century Texas newspaper editors was death by sudden onset lead poisoning–and not from hot type.

In the mid to late 1800s, readers offended by a newspaper’s editorial stance or coverage of a particular issue were not as likely to file a libel lawsuit as they were to seek personal satisfaction, either with their fists or a six-shooter.

Such was the case in Hempstead in the spring of 1888, when relatives of the Waller County sheriff and E. P. Alsbury, the editor of the local newspaper became involved in what news writers of that era frequently termed a “difficulty.”

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