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Here’s the truth about ‘Happy Holidays’

December 16, 2015
Here’s the truth about ‘Happy Holidays’
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Question: Do you promise to tell (1) the truth, (2) the whole truth, and (3) nothing but the truth?
Answer: (1) Yes. (2) Can’t manage the whole truth in this space. (3) This is a newspaper column, so it is my truthful opinion.
With disclaimers out of the way, I’m continuing my “Happy Holidays” thoughts from last week. This week’s title should not imply that I’m delivering the definitive truth to end all discussion. I’m just offering a little perspective.
I once posted on Facebook: “One easy way to undermine the message of Christmas is for Christians to appear angry and petty in response to ‘Happy Holidays’.” That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.… Read the rest

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Abbott backs Cruz’s legislation addressing refugees

December 16, 2015
Abbott backs Cruz’s legislation addressing refugees
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Gov. Greg Abbott was in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 8 to participate in a news conference with U.S. Senator and presidential candidate Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who rolled out his proposed State Refugee Security Act.
Abbott said in a Dec. 9 news release that Cruz’s bill “gives states and governors the tools to reject the resettlement of a refugee in that state unless there is adequate assurance that the refugee does not present a security risk.”
“America is a charitable nation, but we cannot allow charity for some to compromise security for all,” Abbott said. “Congress intended to give states a substantial role in the refugee resettlement process.… Read the rest

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Avoid getting browbeaten this Christmas

December 9, 2015
Avoid getting browbeaten this Christmas
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I’m pretty sure I have discovered a Christmas present for the women – and maybe a few men – who have everything.
After all, who doesn’t want their eyebrows to look better?
Until I married a female, I had no idea how important things like eyebrows and eyelashes were.
1978 BRIDE: Ah, look at those long eyelashes on that sweet baby!
1978 ME: What baby?
It’s been my experience that males don’t notice or much care about eyebrows or eyelashes – on anybody.
However, it’s a really big thing to some. That fact was driven home when I came upon an “advertisement Q&A” in the back of a recent Texas Monthly.… Read the rest

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Happy holidays

December 9, 2015
Happy holidays

Who would have ever thought two little words would stir such controversy?
When I was a kid in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, the Christmas season at our house was filled with music. We would put a record (do you remember those?) on the stereo (a piece of furniture that happened to play music) and listen to classic Christmas recordings. One that I remember most is Andy Williams singing “Happy holidays … while the merry bells keep ringing, happy holidays to you.”
In my childhood innocence I missed the fact that the subversive Mr. Williams was trying to remove the true message of Christmas and usher in a generation of political correctness that would ultimately prevent me from freely practicing my Christian faith.… Read the rest

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Western pioneers used various home remedies for illness

December 9, 2015
Western pioneers used various home remedies for illness

Enjoying the study of pioneers may also involve learning about their daily living, the foods they ate and their remedies for illnesses.
Once on a trip with a friend to a southern plantation with re-enactors wearing long dresses and bouffant petticoats, she said, “Wouldn’t you have loved to have lived back then?”
“No. They didn’t have air conditioning! Think how hot those dresses were! Besides,” I added, “you and I might have been in the hot kitchen cooking instead of out here all dressed up.”
Learning the lifestyle of historic characters can help us learn more about them, but also to appreciate our easier lives today.… Read the rest

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Paxton amends approach to resettlement of refugees

December 9, 2015
Paxton amends approach to resettlement of refugees

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Dec. 4 withdrew his request for a temporary restraining order to put a hold on the federal government’s plan to relocate Syrian refugee families in Texas.
Paxton, as the state’s chief law enforcement officer, initiated the court action on behalf of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, the state agency potentially most involved with the resettlement process. In an explanation of his reasoning, Paxton cited the U.S. Refugee Act of 1980, a law requiring that the federal government consult with state authorities in advance of such relocations.
Paxton said, in effect, that his request for the restraining order prompted the federal government to provide information that he said would help resolve security concerns about the first group of refugees set to arrive in Texas.… Read the rest

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I’m not close to being an average American

December 2, 2015
I’m not close to being an average American

While laboring at a journalism conference at TCU to make this paper better, a seminar began with a description of the average American.
The typical red, white, and blue flag-wavin’ person in the U.S. today is 5 feet, 6.5 inches tall and weighs 175 pounds.
The average American (TAA) is very good at eating.
TAA consumes 48 pints of ice cream annually.
Every year, TAA eats 105.3 pounds of red meat and 105.6 pounds of poultry.
TAA eats two snacks daily.
One out of every eight had a pizza today.
TAA uses the restroom six times every day.
TAA sees 400 ad messages daily and watches four hours of TV.… Read the rest

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No more “Happy Thanksgiving”

December 2, 2015
No more “Happy Thanksgiving”

The Cowboys lost another game and Tony Romo came up lame. Don’t worry; be happy! Somebody fed us Brussels sprouts and gave us Thanksgiving dinner pouts. Don’t worry; be happy! The neighbors partied way too loud. We didn’t have much of a crowd. Don’t worry; be happy! We couldn’t pay for plane fare home and had to spend the day alone. Don’t worry; be happy! Wooooooo….Don’t worry; happy Thanksgiving!
It may seem strange to you that I shared my thankful list last week (while announcing that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday) and this week I am making an announcement that I don’t want to wish anyone a “Happy Thanksgiving” ever again.… Read the rest

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Moses Austin descendant opens Galveston history museum

December 2, 2015
Moses Austin descendant opens Galveston history museum

Because of my attendance for many years at the conventions of the Texas State Historical Assn., I have met J.P. Bryan, Jr., descended from Moses Austin, the man who came to Texas in 1820 wanting to establish an Anglo colony in Texas. Of course, it was his son, Stephen F. Austin, who brought in the first Anglo settlers, making the latter the Father of Texas. The Father of Texas died of pneumonia the year of Texas Independence (1836) before he could marry and have children. J. P. Bryan, Jr. is descended from Stephen’s sister Emily.
The column this week is about Bryan, a great-great-grandson of Emily, but a great-great nephew of Stephen F.… Read the rest

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Disaster-stricken counties to receive federal aid: 15

December 2, 2015
Disaster-stricken counties to receive federal aid: 15

President Barack Obama on Nov. 25 ordered federal disaster aid to supplement Texas state and local recovery efforts in the area affected by severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds and flooding during the period of Oct. 22-31.
President Obama’s action makes federal funding available to affected individuals in the counties of Bastrop, Brazoria, Caldwell, Comal, Galveston, Guadalupe, Hardin, Harris, Hays, Hidalgo, Liberty, Navarro, Travis, Willacy and Wilson.
Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.
Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide, according to the White House.… Read the rest

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