Texas politics has changed. Both parties now need to take Texas voters seriously.
In 1906, Theodore Roosevelt visited the canal being constructed in Panama, becoming the first U.S. president to leave the country while in office. William Howard Taft also visited Panama and Mexico. But it was not till Woodrow Wilson went to Paris in November 1918 — a hundred years ago this month — to attend the postwar peace conference that attending international meetings with foreign heads of state became an accepted, indeed integral part, of the president’s job.
The Texas Legislature doesn’t convene till Jan. 8, but this week state legislators began filing bills. Let’s hope Central Texas legislators do nothing to encourage the distracting sideshows we witnessed during the 2017 legislative session, including discriminatory legislation regarding public bathrooms. Let’s demand they add thought and muscle to adequately and equitably fund public schools and reform property-tax appraisals to more accurately reflect our property values.
For safety, health of all
Veterans Day 2018, marking the 100th anniversary of World War I’s conclusion, seemed a dismal occasion. The threat of wind, rain and chill was enough to cancel Monday’s Veterans Day Parade in downtown Waco out of concern for the health of not only the 4,000 or so parade participants — some of them advanced in age — but its many spectators. And an ocean away, President Trump canceled his Saturday plans to pay respects to U.S. war dead at Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in Belleau, France, because of the inclement weather.
Last month, I traveled to Vienna, former seat of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and a fitting place to contemplate the 100th anniversary of the conclusion of World War I.
Tuesday night, after hard-fought statewide victory was finally his, Republican Sen. Ted Cruz considered the narrowness of his re-election — specifically, the fact that 49 percent of Texans voting cast ballots for someone else, primarily Democratic dynamo Beto O’Rourke. And uncharacteristically, the junior senator showed some humility regarding that 49 percent: “I am your senator as well.”
Nearly a year has passed since his death, but on Dec. 2, 2017, we buried another World War II hero. I know that you didn’t hear about it. It didn’t make much news, but this man, my Uncle Alphons Urbanovsky, 95, was a member of the Greatest Generation. He did what he had to do and didn’t ask for a handout or sympathy. He proudly served his country and worked to provide for himself, his family and his community.
My father was a man to be emulated. He was the typical masculine type: foreman of a big machine shop, respected by those in his charge, a big talker with a good sense of humor. He was a war veteran and always an officer of the local VFW. No one would have dared to challenge his “fitness” or call him “weak.”
What were we talking about one year ago? Take a look back.
In the criminal justice system, the district attorney has more far-reaching powers than any other figure, given that some 95 percent of felony convictions arise from guilty pleas, resulting in prosecutorial discretion rather than that of judges or juries. Thus it’s critical that whoever occupies the post of district attorney be beyond reproach on all ethical and moral levels. And that’s why the sworn affidavit by one of McLennan County District Attorney Abel Reyna’s former prosecutors should be exceedingly worrisome to every law-abiding citizen.
Just one month after the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, we find ourselves pulled back into an all-too-similar story. This time, the tragedy unfolded at a church in a small Texas town. As details emerge, perhaps the only thing that can be said is that such tragedies will continue to take place. They have become a fixture of our time. But why?
The Washington Post reported Monday that Attorney General Jeff Sessions is considering the appointment of a second special counsel to investigate “a host of Republican concerns.” As a Republican, I hope Sessions doesn’t have to do this. I say “have to” because he won’t do it unless there is a compelling case. I want nothing to come of this. Some Republicans may think a special prosecutor investigating all things Hillary Clinton is the mother-load, but it is just fool’s gold.