Tuesday’s death of high-tech pioneer and unorthodox but engaging two-time presidential candidate Ross Perot at age 89 constitutes passage of not only an authentic American patriot and philanthropist but an individual who represented the best of Texas in everything from innovation to independence to ready delivery of chicken-fried witticisms. And while he had maintained a low profile in the years since his grassroots presidential pursuits, his life story has much to emulate and many lessons to learn.

A certain amount of understandable whining commenced Monday with formal acceptance of Katie Allgood’s resignation as the city of Hewitt’s embattled managing director of administration in exchange for a $110,000 settlement. The settlement is part of a broader separation agreement between the city and Allgood, who in turn agrees to dismiss a lawsuit alleging bias and sexual harassment, primarily involving then-Mayor Ed Passalugo and former Councilman Kurt Krakowian.

If today’s letters to the editor and Washington Post columnist Charles Lane’s essay prove anything, it’s that different folks employ different gauges to determine whether one is properly patriotic or genuinely swells with American pride. Some have forcefully suggested patriotism and good citizenship mean supporting President Trump in all things Trumpian, including his recent Fourth of July salute to the military. Others say it’s impossible to feel national pride when Trump policies leave brown-skinned migrant women and children in conditions so deplorable it defies any claim ours is a Christian nation — and that a certain all-American resistance is not only necessary but entirely patriotic. Such volatile differences will dog us through the long dog days of summer and well into the pivotal 2020 campaign.

Speaking before a spirited Fourth of July crowd dotted with red “Make America Great Again” caps near the iconic Lincoln Memorial, President Trump celebrated America in his own indomitable, self-styled way, acknowledging great moments in our past while offering a history of the armed forces above all else. Gracing the occasion was evidence of America’s military might. Historians will long debate whether the president politicized this event, though to his credit he stayed on message and avoided cheap shots at Democrats and the news media. Maybe truck driver Jason Cullins of Lafayette, Louisiana, waving a “Trump 2020” flag, put it best to the New York Times amidst all the revelry: “There’s always a show in Washington, D.C., so I had to make a stop. You have everybody here. You have anti-Trump people, which I don’t agree with, but, by God, that’s what makes America great. We have freedom of speech. I have no problem with them.”

In the run-up to Independence Day 2019, Americans are left to contemplate two disturbing developments: Thursday’s admission by the Supreme Court of the United States that all federal courts are constitutionally impotent in matters of partisan gerrymandering abuse; second, the hijacking of Washington, D.C.’s Fourth of July celebration by the president, possibly for purposes of a re-election rally partially funded through our tax dollars. Your feelings about either likely (and unfortunately) pivot on whether your electoral pick is doing the gerrymandering and holiday hijacking. But hold that thought for a moment.

The grim, now-iconic photographs of the bodies of Salvadorian refugees Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez and his 23-month-old daughter Valeria, the latter’s little arm still around her father’s neck as both float face-down in the Rio Grande near Brownsville, should shake the soul of any American who claims to cherish life. If not, such individuals must concede not only their hypocrisy but an incurable heartlessness. We’ve already heard some callous remarks — that it was the pair’s fault for drowning in the river, that they shouldn’t have been trying to cross the U.S.-Mexico border illegally.

One of the most sobering moments for the Trib editorial board in recent years was the realization that more than a thousand students in Waco Independent School District qualified as homeless, some “surfing” from one living room couch to the next courtesy of friends, relatives and acquaintances. They’re further confirmation of our area’s scourge of poverty. These are children or teenagers who share housing or live in motels, shelters, campgrounds or cars because of economic hardship or worse. Somehow many still attend school. Some even graduate.

If downtown Tax Increment Financing Zone grants are often misunderstood, projects attracting TIF board attention last week should clarify matters and even reassure skeptics, including Thursday’s reallocation of some $22,000 to help cover costs of restoring a 78-year-old building on long-neglected Elm Avenue that spirited entrepreneur Nancy Grayson envisions as a unique grocery outpost. It will open in an economically struggling area of Waco that some neighborhood leaders have long faulted as a “food desert,” at least when it comes to convenient access to nutritional food. Not anymore.

For better or worse, attorneys seeking to frustrate or impede justice have plenty of legal tools at their disposal. However, after some three years of delaying civil lawsuits filed by 15 former Baylor University students, Baylor would seem to have exhausted the patience of one of the more patient of federal judges. The Pepper Hamilton law firm tapped to conduct the investigation into Baylor’s mishandling of sexual-assault cases has similarly employed legal gyrations prolonging all this.

An oft-quoted, seldom-applied truism holds that those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. So what have we here in Central Texas learned from watching a presidential administration based partially in nearby Crawford predicate its 2003 decision to invade Iraq on faulty intelligence or at least faulty interpretations of it? We sat back and cheered as military personnel, many from Central Texas, marched off to a war Saudi allies warned would upset the balance of power in the Mideast. They were right. Meanwhile, we reveled in our tax cuts and booming economy as troops got bogged down for years in a quagmire. Nearly 5,000 Americans died.

“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find and furnish political dirt on Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Beto O’Rourke and that gay mayor whose name I can’t pronounce.”

Last Saturday’s Hewitt City Council runoff election between Mike Field, a 74-year-old retired attorney formerly of the Brazos River Authority, and Michael Bancale, a 56-year-old Texas Farm Bureau systems administrator — both exceptional candidates — catapulted Bancale onto the council. It was solid proof after four sets of elections since November that Hewitt residents have had quite enough of tone-deaf incumbents who regularly fail community standards of accountability and transparency.

With plenty of justification, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and state legislators are cheering legislative accomplishments in school finance, including pay raises for our educators; full-day pre-kindergarten for the state’s most economically challenged students; and what lawmakers vow is significant property-tax relief (albeit not reduction). The true test of these efforts will come not only in how our schools perform in coming years but also in whether state leaders are true to commitments as rising costs going forward test the limits of tax-cut fervor.

Every irony yields a potential lesson. Certainly it was so this week when President Trump, during ceremonies in England honoring the Allied forces that stormed the beaches of Normandy 75 years ago today, read aloud a prayer for the troops originally delivered via radio on June 6, 1944, by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Irony: Before America’s late entry into the war, FDR wrestled with the infamous America First Committee, a movement dedicated to isolationist policies, even as Nazi Germany crushed nation after nation across Europe with little resistance but for lonely Great Britain and isolated freedom fighters.

John Adams, unquestionably the most curmudgeonly if honest of America’s Founders, in 1790 described our new nation as a “commercial republic.” It’s thus unfortunate so many Americans today fail to grasp not only the stiff economic consequences of any trade war built on dueling tariffs but the folly of employing tariffs to regularly address policy disputes with our allies. This newspaper agrees with the president’s sentiments on China’s abusing free-trade principles, even if we have deep reservations about an escalating trade war to resolve this dispute. But to implement steadily mounting tariffs that punish Mexico (and, via economic fallout, Texas) over immigration is a bridge too far. We urge Texas Republican lawmakers to show spine and fight the president’s promised tariffs, set to kick in Monday.

Texas Tribune reports Gov. Greg Abbott is possibly miffed to the point of vengeance after acting Secretary of State David Whitley, an Abbott favorite, failed to win Texas Senate confirmation during an otherwise productive session of the Legislature. Far be it from us to give Texas’ most popular elected official advice, but here goes: Next time you appoint someone to this post, suggest your appointee take the time to acquaint himself with the job and its responsibilities before allowing him to bungle at the outset an initiative based on canards, myths and hollow rhetoric.

In corners of McLennan County where political knees jerk regularly, it’s handy to blame Democrats for all that bedevils our nation. Yet some of us clearly need to look in the mirror at what we’ve become. The obstruction hindering long-sought relief to fellow Texans up and down our state’s coast, many still wrestling with fallout from Hurricane Harvey’s dumping nearly 60 inches of rain, claiming 68 lives and causing an estimated $125 billion in damage, highlights two key problems in today’s Republican Party: First, what happens when you chip away at constitutional checks and balances by regularly deferring to almighty executive power; second, what happens when you tolerate flat-out craziness in your political party.

The purpose of Memorial Day is fast slipping away. It’s supposed to be a time to visit the graves of those who died while serving in the armed forces or at least somehow pay homage to them. Yet so many of us can’t do the honor of decorating their graves or even traveling a respectful distance to local cemeteries. For reasons good and bad, some Memorial Day ceremonies aren’t even held among the final resting places of the dead but in places of comfort where it’s easier for politicians to make us all feel like appreciative patriots.

Political curmudgeons might well grouse that local attorney Pat Atkins should have completely fixed Waco Independent School District by now, given his 17 years on the Waco ISD board of trustees, including nine years as board president. Such cynics fail to realize that applying intelligent solutions is difficult when dynamics are always shifting, always raising new challenges and headaches — everything from losing an enormously promising and popular superintendent (for a minor, roadside pot arrest) to trying to prevent scores of teacher layoffs during a nationwide recession that instead shuttered schools (and with some of the public consequently and ignorantly blaming the school board rather than our state lawmakers who cut $5.4 billion from public education funding in 2011).

When contemplating where we’re going in life during the massive and intricate improvement and expansion of Interstate 35 through Waco, it’s best to internalize that line from “The Outer Limits,” the 1960s sci-fi anthology: “You are about to participate in a great adventure.” Indeed. Before all is dusted and done, you’ll see all streams of traffic temporarily occupy one snarling side of the interstate. You’ll see lanes both ways increase from three to four. You’ll see the familiar 11th/12th Street overpass one day become an underpass. You’ll see the Eighth Street pedestrian bridge so popular with Baylor University students hoofing it to Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers and Panera Bread disappear overnight, certainly by the time students reassemble in August. You’ll see continuous frontage roads. And you’ll spend part of your time in traffic, possibly backed up, if you don’t find alternate routes and stay updated via daily email alerts from the Texas Department of Transportation’s Waco District. Yes, indeed.

We were sorely tempted to suggest voting out your state legislators if the Texas Legislature didn’t take steps this session to address the one state-run snafu many of us personally encounter now and then: getting your driver’s license renewed in person. However, the optimist in us prevailed in January, given the seeming resolve of legislators to take action. Now, with the session’s May 27 deadline looming, there’s dwindling reason for such optimism.

If any priority this legislative session highlights the risk of too many cooks in the proverbial kitchen, it’s bail reform, originally to be crafted with two key purposes in mind: First, to address growing societal inequality by ensuring that poor folks don’t cool their heels in jail on minor charges while the more economically blessed among us buy their way out of any wait behind bars. Second, to ensure that greater weight is given to whether the accused has a violent history before allowing his or her release on bail.

Given that this newspaper vigorously condemned Democrats and their mad scramble to embrace slavery reparations for African Americans last month, turnabout is surely fair play: Republican state Sen. Brandon Creighton’s bill regulating the removal of historical monuments statewide — first crafted amid a national resurgence of white supremacy and racial unrest in summer 2017 — is a charade to safeguard monuments glorifying individuals who in their own words fought to keep in bondage African Americans. Anyone who suggests otherwise is lying to himself and others.

When it comes to state legislation, nothing is dead till the proverbial fat lady sings — and in this case, she doesn’t sing till May 27 — and then, of course, there’s still the chance of a special legislative session. Even so, this week’s failure of a proposed one-cent sales-tax hike advocated by Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and House Speaker Dennis Bonnen underlines one truism: Neither Republicans nor Democrats stand ready to do the heavy lifting required for genuine, lasting property-tax relief.

Americans crestfallen by years of gridlock and misinformation regarding immigration plus President Trump’s hamfisted, on-again/off-again border policies should find some encouragement in a rare bipartisan bill emerging from all the chaos and conflict: Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas and Democratic Congressman Henry Cuellar of Laredo propose requiring the Department of Homeland Security to keep immigrant families together during court proceedings; mandating additional standards of care for families held in DHS facilities; and allowing unaccompanied children from non-contiguous countries to be voluntarily reunited with families in their home country. All these proposals are recommended by the bipartisan Homeland Security Advisory Council.

Here in America, we talk plenty of learning from history but show very little evidence of it. Exhibit A: The Trump administration’s decision to relax regulations designed to prevent a repeat of the horrendous BP Deepwater Horizon oil-platform explosion that left 11 workers dead, released 4 million barrels of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico, killed a million sea birds and more than 150 whales and dolphins and devastated coastal tourism and fishing industries.

If any issue percolating in the Legislature illustrates the great divide between a radicalized, know-nothing Texas Senate and more generally representative Texas House, it’s Rep. Joe Moody’s bill that, while hardly decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana, sure reduces the unnecessarily punitive consequences. In doing so, his bill proposes to work hand in hand with visionary legislation to keep non-violent offenders out of our courts and jails. It’s smart legislation that, unfortunately, Lt. Rev. Dan Patrick has declared DOA in the Texas Senate. We’ll see about that.

Careful research is wise before donating money to any compelling cause. But in the case of the Doris Miller Memorial erected in downtown Waco along the Brazos, the hard work is done. The Waco Foundation, Bernard and Audre Rapoport Foundation and Cooper Foundation have not only closely scrutinized Cultural Arts of Waco fundraising books (and in the presence of a Trib editorial board member) but redoubled their joint effort to ensure fundraising crosses the finish line for this rousing tribute to the Greatest Generation as well as foundational ideas and values born a century and a half earlier.

We could have predicted public reaction when the Baylor Lady Bears accepted an invitation from President Trump to visit the White House in recognition of the team’s 2019 NCAA women’s championship. Many who adore this unorthodox president cheered the visit, set for Monday. Others harboring deep reservations about the norm-busting chief executive suggested the team, individually or jointly, spurn the invitation to send a message about the president’s rhetoric and behavior.

The much-anticipated dedication of the City of West Fallen Heroes Memorial Saturday offered much worthy of praise, including an appropriate speech about sacrifice, loss and resilience by Gov. Greg Abbott, complete with admiration for “the remarkable work the people of West have done to rebuild this community.” But the centerpiece was quite obviously missing. Because of thunderstorms, this engaging hometown memorial — complete with informatively written individual tributes to those who perished in the West Fertilizer Company ammonium nitrate explosion of April 17, 2013 — could be conjured indoors only through a hastily but astonishingly well-produced video of the memorial, complete with scene-setting drone footage, by West videographer Ben Ranzinger.

Last Sunday this newspaper criticized the mad scramble by Democratic presidential contenders to further stir America’s bubbling racial cauldron by embracing reparations in recognition of injustices committed against African Americans over our nation’s long and arduous history. By the same standard, we now condemn the racial provocation pursued by state legislators seeking to undermine communities reconsidering certain monuments erected long ago and celebrating causes neither constitutional in principle nor respectful of human rights, let alone common decency.

Clues you’re dealing with a gun nut: He often sees himself as a latter-day patriot and imagines this fact excuses extremist behavior and irrational statements. Sometimes this works. Sometimes not. It didn’t work for those pressing already questionable legislation to make Texas a “constitutional-carry” state, ending concealed-carry licensing requirements and scuttling government permission to carry a concealed firearm.

By almost any objective measure, President Trump is experiencing a policy meltdown. In recent days he has flipflopped like a freshly landed fish on his vow to close the entire U.S.-Mexico border (which initially prompted protest from even diehard Trump supporter Ted Cruz of Texas); his agreement that the full Mueller report should be released for the public to judge; his latest insistence on a prompt Republican overhaul of Obamacare; and even his nomination of who should lead the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (he yanked the guy he put forward). Trump is the very definition of the word “erratic.” And his supporters love it.

Despite low expectations just six months ago, state legislators this week demonstrated they’re actually capable of reaching consensus on pivotal issues. Texas House members Wednesday almost unanimously approved a major school finance bill that hikes per-pupil funding, funds pre-kindergarten for poor students, reduces the much-hated “Robin Hood” school-revenue redistribution scheme and whittles away school district tax rates by at least four cents.

On occasion of President Trump’s ongoing “Commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War,” we devoted our entire opinion page on Friday’s prescribed anniversary date to “Report to a Sleeping Son,” a searing 1969 column by late, Waco-based author and Baylor University alumnus Alton L. Dewlen regarding grief and anguish in the wake of his son’s 1968 death in combat during the Vietnam War. It’s a powerful piece demonstrating not only the shock and loss of a remote battlefield death but also anger at a society and political state at times at odds with such sacrifices.

Scratch as premature our praise about state leaders taking the high road and shelving the divisive, mean-spirited, discriminatory policies that so tarnished the 2017 session of the Texas Legislature. Legislators — especially in the Senate — simply can’t help themselves. Senate Bill 15 seemed reasonable to us when first submitted, prohibiting cities from forcing businesses within their jurisdictions to provide paid sick leave policies. We’re all for local control but city ordinances such as this strike us as a bridge too far, an intrusion on private business operations. Then Sen. Brandon Creighton’s SB 15 somehow got rewritten to imperil local nondiscrimination ordinances. Given the context of the last session, it wasn’t much of a stretch to conclude this was another move by Lt. Rev. Dan Patrick and his allies to attack the LGBT community. A perfectly legitimate bill now ruined.

Based on a mere four-page summary, Trump campaign officials now vow to use the concluded Mueller report to hammer the credibility and trustworthiness of Democratic candidates through 2020. Democrats express outrage at the Mueller findings and promise to redouble House committee investigations into Trump’s orbit. And the president insists he’s been exonerated.

Liberal or conservative, Republican or Democrat, most state legislators consistently demonstrate dedication to governmental transparency, something informed taxpayers should appreciate and celebrate. To that end, let’s cheer the Texas House of Representatives for unanimously approving a bill last week requiring governmental entities to disclose certain information about concerts, parades and other entertainment when funded wholly or partially with taxpayer money.

The Waco Independent School District board of trustees is no doubt as conflicted over the arrest and brief incarceration of Superintendent A. Marcus Nelson as our community is. After hearing public comments from individuals on both sides of the debate — some pleading for punitive measures but not expulsion, a couple insisting that no other option exists beyond firing the superintendent — trustees deliberated more than four hours Tuesday before breaking to continue later.

The unwillingness of Americans to even consider compromise on the hot-button issue of immigration is tearing our nation apart. Many on the left vigorously oppose scuttling reunification of families as a primary justification for granting immigration. Many on the right condemn what they call “amnesty” for illegal immigrants, even when punitive measures are clearly applied. One group is so maniacal lately it has signaled a willingness to throw the U.S. Constitution under the bus to fund a border wall.

For the two U.S. senators representing Texas and the Republican congressmen representing Central Texas who for nearly a decade have drawn pocket Constitutions to sermonize to the press and the people about the almighty importance of Article I and the wisdom of separation of powers, the jig is up. When a Democrat one day occupies the presidency and invokes emergency powers to also subvert Congress’ power of the purse, these lawmakers will have forfeited any right to cite the Constitution in outrage. They have violated their oaths of office.

For more than a week, our community has mulled the awful predicament facing a school superintendent who by all accounts has successfully rallied educators, parents and students in reversing academic decline in Waco Independent School District, especially in struggling neighborhoods mired in generations of poverty. In an age when Americans seem much more selective in their views of administering justice, Dr. A. Marcus Nelson’s arrest and brief jailing in nearby Robertson County on a misdemeanor marijuana charge has sharply divided Wacoans.

One of the intriguing, all-too-familiar stories about eminent domain, possibly apocryphal, involves the outraged landowner who during a formal meeting complains how an oil and gas pipeline company has run roughshod over his property rights to lay pipeline across his land — only for an oil and gas lobbyist also present to echo this outrage, barking: “That’s terrible! Which pipeline company was it? We’ll speak to them about this!”

If the case of Estela Fajardo offers any tragic irony beyond the fact she spent some three years behind bars before being tried, it’s that she has seemed to confirm arguments of both local immigration advocates and anti-immigration forces. In the pro-immigration camp, she at times epitomized the successful immigrant, even one undocumented for more than 30 years. She owned property, ran businesses, even maintained a cattle spread in Lorena.

Given the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre of 2012 and the Douglas High School shooting spree last year, it’s unfortunate it took a slaughter in Texas before state leaders took campus shootings more seriously. While issues of gun violence remain, state legislation now filed suggests help is on the way for educators and pupils. Senate Bill 11, for instance, would provide for “hardening” of campuses so they’re more impregnable; establish “threat assessment teams” to better gauge viable student threats; and expand emergency response training for district employees.

Big, small or in between, even the best daily newspapers are often dismissed as journalistic practitioners without honor in the towns they serve, a likely consequence of overly honest, warts-and-all reporting or maybe the paper’s winding up in the bushes too often. Yet studies suggest towns without newspapers — an increasing phenomenon across America — eventually degenerate into soulless settings ripe for corruption and incompetence by emboldened public officials. And when honors are bestowed on local individuals for jobs well done, they lack legitimacy without a newspaper to acknowledge the good done among us.

For those of us long at the Trib who know, respect and admire longtime civic leader, education crusader and business leader Virginia DuPuy, there’s a wonderful anecdote involving her battling federal efforts to close or downsize what was then the Waco Veterans Affairs Medical Center. DuPuy dutifully joined scores of fellow Wacoans and veterans at the Waco Convention Center in May 2005 to offer a testimonial to a commission soliciting input on the proposal. Each person was limited to three minutes.

Texas’ highest courts clearly have a problem with state transparency laws and ensuring the watchdog press and taxpaying public can see not only what elected leaders are doing but how they’re spending our hard-earned tax dollars. The latest burst of judicial activism comes from the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals which Wednesday handed down a decision sabotaging a key section of the Texas Open Meetings Act. In doing so, the court provides cover to elected officials “meeting” in so-called “walking quorums” out of the earshot of unsuspecting constituents.

When a bipartisan bill in the Texas Legislature attracts criticism from both the right-wing Texas Public Policy Foundation and left-leaning Center for Public Policy Priorities, one of two things is sure: Either you have a really bad bill in the works or a really good bill. In this case, we find the bill funding a $5,000 pay hike for public and charter school teachers a good one, even as we concede some of the quibbles aired during Monday’s Texas Senate Finance Committee hearing and unanimous vote.

One thing about political principles: Most of us believe we have them inscribed on our undying souls till some circumstance proves us two-faced. Many Republican lawmakers now face their supreme test as a president of their own party attempts to circumvent Congress’ constitutional power of the purse to snare billions of dollars in border wall funding. For two years, Congress under Republican and Democratic control has declined to approve such border wall funding. Now the president has declared the U.S.-Mexico border a “national emergency” to siphon off funds originally allocated for military construction and anti-drug trafficking efforts.

If one wants to understand why our republic is in crisis, consider the embarrassment now unfolding in Washington. Consider four freshmen congresswomen clearly more concerned about satisfying their oversized egos and living up to their press releases than shaping policy and demonstrating leadership. Consider too a narcissistic president who regularly confirms the worst suspicions so many citizens have about him and his party when it comes to racism, lies and balderdash.

Amidst the Cold War and competition with the Soviet Union, American pride was clearly evident on July 20, 1969, when the United States won the race to the moon. Perhaps that was one day of unity and particular regard for the American spirit, wrapped neatly in the very picture of accomplishment. The image of the flag of the United States on the moon, a distant heavenly body, is as important in the collective American memory as the flag raised on Iwo Jima in World War II or flying in tattered reserve over ground zero after Sept. 11, 2001. Our flag is often a symbol of American resolve, spirit and strength.

Ever since humans have looked up at the night sky, there have been wild theories about the moon and its power over us. Some — like the idea that it’s made of cheese or that it has canals and alien life — have been thoroughly debunked, while others still have a wide audience. Nearly 20 million Americans think the moon landing of July 1969 was faked by the U.S. government. Here are five myths that maintain a hold on many people’s imaginations.


What were we talking about one year ago? Take a look back.

Waco Independent School District made history again last week, even beyond its innovative, in-district charter setup designed to prevent state-mandated closure of five academically struggling campuses. Superintendent A. Marcus Nelson revealed that, for the first time, local taxpayers will likely shoulder most of the burden of funding school operations rather than the state of Texas. By many accounts, the state share has been declining for years.

To his credit, Republican Congressman Bill Flores this week released a statement making clear he sided with U.S. intelligence agencies regarding Russian interference in the 2016 election after President Trump’s confounding and apparently fumbled statement to the contrary alongside Russian dictator Vladimir Putin. Flores’ statement bears repeating here: “I have personally reviewed the reports of our intelligence agencies’ work regarding Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. I have also reviewed the report issued by the House Intelligence Committee on this subject. I trust the hard work of these groups, which have proven that Russia did in fact meddle in our 2016 elections. Even though the actions of the Russians did not affect the outcome of our election, there is no doubt they did interfere in our election processes. The president should understand that Russia cannot be trusted and that it must be held accountable for its attempted election disruptions against our nation and against our allies.”

If civic-minded locals are expected to know anything about prehistoric behemoths, it’s that the Columbian mammoths that once favored our parts aren’t dinosaurs. Millions of years passed between the last of the great dinosaurs and the ice age in which mammoths flourished. Yet when tourists visited the Waco Mammoth National Monument this past Fourth of July, one asked a familiar question: Which came first, the mammoths or the dinosaurs?

During Hewitt City Manager Adam Miles’ listing of cutbacks made last year to keep the city tax rate steady for 2017-18, he spent some time Monday evening talking about how some crucial training was eliminated to save taxpayer money. That’s too bad because a couple of hours into Monday’s meeting of the Hewitt City Council, it was obvious to the crowd at Hewitt City Hall that many members of the council — if not most — were in sore need of basic training on how to be mindful, ethical and conscientious public servants. A course in decency and manners might help, too.