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European tourists witness the wildness of the West – one that often was completely ficticious

July 13, 2016
European tourists witness the wildness of the West – one that often was completely ficticious

This column first appeared January 19, 1984.

Being a tourist in Americas is a relatively new phenomena, barely over 100 years old.
An English visitor to the U.S. in 1835 remarked he saw few women on steamers, coaches, or in hotels, leading him to believe most men were traveling only for business purposes. Entire families were not traveling for pleasure.
A few wealthy Northerners traveled to the South, and rich Southerners went to Newport, Rhode Island, and other places in the northeast; but the Civil War interrupted this tourism.
Finally in the 1870s and 1880s, the real beginning of travel for pleasure began when the well-to-do Easterners boarded the New Transcontinental railroad and its new Pullman palace car and traveled throughout the “Wild West.”
In 1873, National Parks began to gain publicity when Yellowstone gained notoriety.… Read the rest

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Governor reacts to downtown Dallas ambush

July 13, 2016
Governor reacts to downtown Dallas ambush

A “Black Lives Matter” protest turned tragic when a sniper fired into a crowd estimated at 1,000 people in downtown Dallas at about 9 p.m. on July 7.
Dozens of shots were fired, reportedly from an assault rifle, leaving five police officers dead and seven police officers and two civilians wounded. Police pursued a suspect identified as Micah Xavier Johnson, 25, a former U.S. Army reservist, and killed him in a parking garage using a robot-propelled explosive device early on July 8.
Gov. Greg Abbott issued an open letter titled, “A Time To Come Together,” published in The Dallas Morning News on July 8.… Read the rest

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Just how badly do you want that Olympic medal?

July 6, 2016
Just how badly do you want that Olympic medal?

Back in 1980, Olympic dreams of many were dashed because of political reasons. America boycotted the Moscow Games because Russia invaded Afghanistan.
The boycott was devastating to many athletes, including defending decathlon champ Bruce Jenner who was so upset that he turned into a woman. (FYI: This is the sort of easy jokes I’ll be making in this column.)
Thirty-six years later, there’s another reason why so many of the U.S.’ finest are declining to compete against the best in the world.
The reports coming from Brazil are not good when it comes to the variety of reasons that this could be the worst Olympics ever.… Read the rest

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The power of perspective

July 6, 2016
The power of perspective

Well that really puts things in perspective!”
I don’t know how many times I have heard or used that little sentence. Recent variations on that theme make reference to “first world problems.” The message seems to be that, if you think a little bit about someone else’s worse situation, you will realize that your issues are fairly insignificant in the grand scheme of things.
For example, much of my time, energy, and focus over the past few weeks has been given to preparing for the launch of my new book. I’ve posted to social media, sent out emails, and actual – gasp – paper letters in envelopes with stamps!… Read the rest

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History of the Spur Ranch stretches to England

July 6, 2016
History of the Spur Ranch stretches to England

This column first appeared June 30, 1988.

One hundred years ago this spring disaster occurred for cattlemen in the Texas panhandle as cold temperatures froze many cattle to death.
The woes of one large ranch, The Spur, make an interesting story.
The Spur Ranch was founded in 1878 by J.M. Hall, who first lived in a dugout on the land he purchased from a buffalo hunter. Hall chose the spur as his brand. The ranch was located on the Texas High Plains just at the edge of the caprock.
In 1882 he sold his cattle and the right to his brand to Tom P.… Read the rest

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Supreme Court strikes down major changes to abortion law revised by Texas lawmakers in 2013

July 6, 2016
Supreme Court strikes down major changes to abortion law revised by Texas lawmakers in 2013

The U.S. Supreme Court on June 27 struck down parts of the state abortion law that Texas lawmakers revised and passed in 2013.
The law’s provision that physicians providing abortions must have admitting privileges to a nearby hospital and the provision that abortion facilities must meet minimum standards for ambulatory surgical centers are in violation of the Constitution, the court said in a 5-3 ruling.
Justice Stephen Breyer, author of the court’s majority opinion, wrote, “We conclude that neither of these provisions offers medical benefits sufficient to justify the burdens upon access that each imposes.”
Furthermore, wrote Breyer, the admitting-privileges requirement imposes an “undue burden” on a woman’s right to choose, and evidence provided by the State of Texas did not show how the new law advanced the state’s legitimate interest in protecting women’s health.… Read the rest

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Ten years gone by and here’s what’s happened

June 29, 2016
Ten years gone by and here’s what’s happened

Hey, Daddio,
It’s been 10 years come July 5 that you died.
Lots has happened.
You would have had seven great-grandchildren now. In fact – unbeknownst to anyone – the first was on the way the day you left.
That was a boy, Link, the first male in our family in 23 years at the time. You’d like him – well, you’d like them all, of course.
I just turned 60 and every day I recognize how right you were about so many things:
• Grandkids will not get out from in front of the TV!
• No one turns out lights!… Read the rest

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Choose your life by choosing your view

June 29, 2016
Choose your life by choosing your view

My coach asked me, “What does this look like from the other side looking back?” That question made all the difference. I was no longer looking at an imagined wall to climb over, but I was viewing what life would look like after the wall was conquered.
Sometimes we need a different view. We are looking at the obstacles, the challenges, and the reasons why we can’t. How might our lives be different if we spent more time considering life on the other side of those obstacles and challenges? Instead of focusing on why we can’t, what might happen if we imagined telling about why we did?… Read the rest

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A frantic nocturnal ride across the Texas prairie

June 29, 2016
A frantic nocturnal ride across the Texas prairie

This column first appeared August 15, 1968.

The approach of hard-ridden horses broke the silence of camp on the dark night of April 16, 1871 and second lieutenant Robert G. Carter jumped to his feet wondering at the news their riders carried.
One of the couriers soon approached Carter with a note. With dread the young lieutenant, a recent West Point graduate, opened it. His bride of only a few months had been ill when he left her at Fort Richardson just days earlier.
As he feared, the note told him her condition worsened. His orders said to leave the train, take some men and horses, and hurry back to Richardson.… Read the rest

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Supreme Court affirms 5th Circuit in immigration case

June 29, 2016
Supreme Court affirms 5th Circuit in immigration case

The deadlocked U.S. Supreme Court on June 23 in effect affirmed a judgment that the Obama administration’s use of deferred action in implementing immigration policy violates the United States Constitution.
The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals earlier ruled it was a presidential overreach to implement an immigration policy not approved by Congress. The Supreme Court’s 4-4 tie vote leaves that ruling in effect.
Gov. Greg Abbott welcomed the outcome. “The action taken by the president was an unauthorized abuse of presidential power that trampled the Constitution and the Supreme Court rightly denied the president the ability to grant amnesty contrary to immigration laws,” Abbott said.… Read the rest

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