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Little-known mountain man was more successful than most

January 7, 2015
Little-known mountain man was more successful than most

I learned years ago that sometimes famous people are not as successful as quiet, little-known ones. My story this week deals with a mountain man that I only just discovered, and I’ve read a lot about mountain men.
Andrew Drips, born in Ireland in 1790, grew up in Pennsylvania. After serving in the War of 1812, he went to the West and by 1820 joined a Missouri Fur Company. In a couple of years he was a partner and lived on the Missouri River north of Council Bluffs, Iowa. From 1825 to 1829 he led expeditions to trade with the Pawnee Indians.… Read the rest

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New mix of lawmakers, officials heading for Austin

January 7, 2015
New mix of lawmakers, officials heading for Austin

When the 84th Texas Legislature convenes on Jan. 13 and oaths of office are administered, the political party split will be 21 Republicans to 10 Democrats in the 31-member Senate, and 98 Republicans to 52 Democrats in the 150-member House.
The composition and leadership of committees, the flow of legislation through those committees and control of floor debate will be according to the wishes of new Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick of Houston and House Speaker Joe Straus of San Antonio. Straus is subject to reelection by his peers. He is expected to retain the rostrum and gavel for a fourth consecutive term, even if challenged by a subgroup within the Republican party.… Read the rest

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Go Cowboys! (It seems to mean so much to so many)

December 30, 2014
Go Cowboys! (It seems to mean so much to so many)

I am living proof that you can overcome an addiction.
I’m Mark and I was once a die-hard Cowboys fan. Hi, Mark!
I spent 33 years cheering and hair-pulling as the antics of a group of similarly dressed men all adorned with stars on their helmets dictated my Sundays (and sometimes Mondays).
I constantly bought Dallas Cowboys stuff: toboggans (ski caps to you Yankees); team posters at McDonald’s: cheap Hutch helmets; socks; t-shirts; jerseys (I loved Calvin Hill); bumper stickers; drinking glasses – you name it, I bought it.… Read the rest

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Reflect, respond, and reload

December 30, 2014
Reflect, respond, and reload

So, here we are at the end of another year! Wow!  I just got used to writing “2014” and it’s time to start another one. So, what are you doing this “tween” week? You know, the week between Christmas and the New Year?
Whether you have a few more days off this week or you are back at work, there is still something about this week that brings unique opportunities. May I suggest three? I’m going to share them with or without your permission, but I would love to have your blessing.… Read the rest

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Newspaper competitors Hearst and Pulitzer both produced yellow journalism

December 30, 2014
Newspaper competitors Hearst and Pulitzer both produced yellow journalism

Readers may recall a column a couple of weeks ago about how various phrases and expressions originated.  The term “yellow journalism” for sensationalized and exaggerated news was attributed mainly to William Randolph Hearst of the New York Journal.
I recently found a short article about Hearst that former Texas Christian University professor Dr. Ben Proctor wrote. It was taken from his book, William Randolph Hearst: The Early Years 1863-1910. I saw Dr. Proctor and his wife Phoebe over nearly a 40-year period at annual conventions of the Texas State Historical Association and the Western History Association.  Dr. Proctor passed away a couple of years ago.… Read the rest

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2014: A big year for job creation

December 30, 2014
2014: A big year for job creation

The passing year has been a banner one for job creation in Texas, according to government assessments.
Drawing on figures calculated by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Texas Workforce Commission on Dec. 19 reported employers added 34,800 seasonally adjusted total non-farm jobs in November, for a total of 441,200 jobs added since last year.
“This broke the state’s previous record set in October, as the state’s annual job growth expanded to a new high for a fourth month in a row,” according to an agency news release, which also said, “even more Texans were employed in November as the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 4.9 percent from 5.1 percent in October, and down from 6.1 percent a year ago.”… Read the rest

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Holiday ho-hos

December 22, 2014
Holiday ho-hos

You can be the funny person at your family’s gathering this holiday season – provided you can be heard through kids’ earphones – with this gallery of squeaky clean Christmas jokes.
What did the ghost say to Santa Claus?
I’ll have a boo Christmas without you.
How do you know when Santa is in the room?
You can sense his presents.
What’s the best Christmas gift?Read the rest

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My Christmas list

December 22, 2014
My Christmas list

Do you remember me? I sat upon your knee; I wrote to you with childhood fantasies.
Well, I’m all grown-up now and still need help somehow. I’m not a child, but my heart still can dream.
So here’s my lifelong wish, my grown-up Christmas list, not for myself but for a world in need:

No more lives torn apart, that wars would never start, and time would heal all hearts. Read the rest

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Last mountain man Ben Lilly killed hundreds of bears, lions

December 22, 2014
Last mountain man Ben Lilly killed hundreds of bears, lions

I found a book at a yard sale by J. Frank Dobie The Ben Lilly Legend about a hunter who has been called the “Last Mountain Man.” I remembered well-known Cowboys’ defensive tackle Bob Lilly, who was a student at TCU when I was, and wondered if the two were related.
The mountain man, Benjamin Vernon Lilly, was born December 31, 1856 in Alabama of Scot and English ancestry.  He learned how to make hunting knives from his father, a blacksmith who moved the family to Mississippi while Ben was a youngster. When his parents sent him to a military academy in Jackson, Miss, Lilly ran away, and no one knew where he was for several years.… Read the rest

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Panel sets $7 billion minimum for Rainy Day Fund

December 22, 2014
Panel sets $7 billion minimum for Rainy Day Fund

On Dec. 11, a Senate-House joint committee empaneled to adopt a sufficient balance for the state’s “rainy day fund” approved $7 billion as the floor for it.
Properly titled the Economic Stabilization Fund, the oil and gas tax-fueled pool of money was created by constitutional amendment in 1988 when oil was selling as low as $10 a barrel, causing state coffers to run thin. Calculated at $6.7 billion last August, the fund previously had no required minimum. The maximum the fund may hold is capped at 10 percent of the state’s general revenue during the previous two-year budget cycle.… Read the rest

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