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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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My vote on secession

June 29, 2016
My vote on secession

In the wake of Britain’s vote last week to leave the European Union, Texas secessionists once again reared their heads, clamoring for us to follow suit.
They want Texas, with its oil, its cattle, and its pickup trucks, to leave the United States of America and be, in reality, what that slogan says – “a whole other country.”
Their story is that Texas, which once was an independent nation, joined the U.S. by treaty and can therefore leave anytime it wants. Rather than being one of 50 states, we’re sort of an ally. If we decide to opt out, we just go.… Read the rest

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The piercing pain of establishing individualism

June 22, 2016
The piercing pain of establishing individualism

Sometimes you hear a statement that stops you in your tracks.
This was one for me, a radio commercial heard in Austin recently for a business: “See us for all your piercing needs.”
Now, personally, I have few piercing needs. In fact, that number is zero.
However, I have dealt with piercing when my oldest daughter in her late teens got a tongue ring and immediately chipped her finally-straightened-by-braces-after-several-thousand-dollars-and-years-of-tin-grinning teeth.
She is grown up now and the tongue ring is long gone.
Naturally, young folks like to freak out old people. I had long hair to bother the ancient folks (i.e., over 30) when I was a genius college student in Austin.… Read the rest

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Choose your life by choosing your language

June 22, 2016
Choose your life by choosing your language

I’d love to get together with you Saturday, but I have to go to my son’s baseball game.”
“Thanks for the invitation to go fishing Sunday morning, but I have to go to church.”
“I can’t do it today, I have to work!”
“I have to …”
Considering those statements, how do you think I really feel about the baseball game, church, and work? Not too excited, right? Each one sounds like a chore or, at the very least, something to be tolerated or endured.
One of my favorite influencers, Michael Hyatt, has addressed the idea of language several times on his podcast.… Read the rest

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Roots of Pueblo architecture harken from Old World

June 22, 2016
Roots of Pueblo architecture harken from Old World

This column first appeared in the early Aughts.

Even though I’ve retired from teaching, I’ll continue to recall things I’ve always explained to my students. One thing that I emphasized was the things the New World inherited from the Old World, things like language, religion, government, etc. Another was architecture or adaptions to it.
When Spanish explorers like Francisco Coronado and Juan de Onate first arrived in the Southwest in the 16th century, they found multi-storied buildings of the Native Americans along the banks of the Rio Grande and other rivers. The explorers called the dwellings “pueblos” which in Spanish means “town.”
The pueblos were constructed of abode and reminded the Spaniards of the homes back in Europe.… Read the rest

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