Opinions

Fri
31
Aug

A DOUBLE LIFE ENDS IN DOUBLE MURDER

By Bartee Haile

The afternoon editions of Houston newspapers sold out in minutes on Aug. 31, 1931 as readers hungry for the facts behind the whispered rumors of a shocking double murder bought up every copy. Early that morning, frightened tenants in an upscale apartment building reported hearing the sound of gunshots to the landlord. He in turn called police, who rushed to the Montrose address southwest of downtown.

With a pass key provided by the property owner, officers gained access to the blood stained premises. Chester Jones, 35, and his 25 year old wife Jane were still in their pajamas, when unknown intruders surprised them at the breakfast table. The husband was shot where he sat – once in the head, four times in the chest and once in the hip. The missus must have tried to run but was knocked to the floor by a second shooter, who finished the helpless woman off with four bullets from a pistol of a different caliber.

 

Fri
31
Aug

Predator Friendly

A concept in protecting coyotes has been introduced by a group of Montana animal rights disciples; Predator Friendly Wool. They proposed to develop a market for wool raised on ranches where sheep are not protected from predators. The sheep raisers who do not practice predator control are to be paid a bonus on their wool. They propose to sell Predator Friendly Wool products through boutiques.

Well, all I can say is HALLELUJAH! When was the last time anybody wanted to help sheep people? The government took away wool subsidies, eco-freaks wear petrochemical derivatives and cowboys won’t eat sheep. Suddenly, from out of left field we have concerned citizens with expendable income willing to buy and wear wool items.

 

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Fri
24
Aug

FAMOUS RANGER GETS INTO BIG TROUBLE IN BROWNSVILLE

By Bartee Haile

A Congressman, the political boss of the Rio Grande Valley and the mayor of Brownsville all told Capt. Bill McDonald of the Texas Rangers on Aug. 24, 1906 that he had made a big mistake by arresting military personnel on federal property.

After losing his father to a Yankee sniper and the family plantation to carpetbaggers, the young Mississippian and his mother took refuge with relatives in East Texas. Handicapped by a poor education, a lack of wage-earning skills and a giant chip on his shoulder, the newcomer faced a bleak future.

 

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Fri
24
Aug

She Does The Books

This is my wife. She does the books. I do the important stuff

Like mend the fence and check the cows, She makes sure the income’s enough

To cover the cost of farmin’. She’s tight as a new hat band. I need to buy a new baler, she figgers out if we can.

I spend all day in the pickup, she’s in the office all day Just talkin’ with the SCS or checkin’ the price of hay Or dealin’ with the accountants and keepin’ the banker straight.

 

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Fri
17
Aug

THE VALDEZ

Lately there has been dissension at the rancho. I have overheard murmurings in the barnyard, in particular regarding my stock trailer. The grumbling animals enlisted my teenage daughter to present their complaints.

In my defense let me describe my trailer. I felt like it was a real bargain when I bought it. Let’s see, in 2000. It’s an eighteen foot Hale, ‘92 model with a bumper hitch. Upon purchasing it from a reputable Hereford breeder who guaranteed it would haul up to eight full grown cows, I made a few minor repairs.

Three of the wheel bearings needed replacing but the left front still spun good. We welded a jack on the tongue, built a new wooden panel for the end gate, put plywood over the rotting floor and bought inner tubes for the two new recaps that didn’t have any tread left.

 

Fri
17
Aug

PROMOTERS LURE LAND-HUNGRY SETTLERS TO PANHANDLE

By Bartee Haile

The Texas legislature created four and a half dozen counties in the Panhandle and South Plains on Aug. 21, 1876, but it took more than drawing lines on a map to populate the last frontier in the Lone Star State. The region was still cattle country well into the 1890’s with only a scattering of villages like Clarendon and Tascosa. But the coming of the railroad, improvements in agriculture and a steep drop in beef prices, that made the ranchers’ range more valuable as farmland, set the stage for a turn-of-the-century land boom. The willingness of the XIT and other cow kingdoms to sell off huge chunks of pasture attracted the interest of heartland sodbusters. Land prices across the Midwest had soared from $20 an acre in the 1880’s to as high as $125 by 1908, and the lure of dirt-cheap real estate was irresistible.

Fri
10
Aug

TRIVIAL INCIDENT RESULTS IN MANHUNT AND FOUR KILLINGS

By Bartee Haile

A trivial incident on a passenger train on Jan. 12, 1894 set in motion a series of violent events that led to a Central Texas manhunt and sent four men to the cemetery.

The dominoes started falling when a conductor kicked DeWitt “Dee” Braddock off a train in Colorado County for refusing to pay the fare. The hot-tempered freeloader chunked the nearest rock at the ticket-taker as the train pulled away and followed that with a single shot through the sleeping car.

 

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Fri
10
Aug

Mexican War Zone

How would you like to live across the street from an open Mexican border? Would you be afraid?

Do Americans of all races, ages and states have a right to fear an open Mexican border? Yes, but not because the illegal aliens will take jobs, vote fraudulently or get on the government dole, of all of which may or not be true.

Those of us who live in the Mexican War Zone appreciate that our northern neighbor’s only source of info is CNN or Fox. Each channel gives you their overblown, five-minute “News Break”, opposing each other. The routine debate discusses the taking of American jobs or who is responsible for illegal alien’s children, or does the Constitution mean anything? 

 

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Fri
27
Jul

NO TEXAS SENATOR SERVED LONGER THAN SHEPPARD

By Bartee Haile

A century ago this week on Jul. 27, 1918, Texas Democrats had one and only one choice for United States Senator – the incumbent, Morris Sheppard. Joseph Weldon Bailey ended the suspense in the summer of 1911 by declaring he would not seek another six years in the Senate. Compromised by corrupt connections with corporate cronies, the shining star of Lone Star politics had forever lost his luster.

The anticlimactic announcement started a yearlong calf scramble for the open seat. Of the four who filed, only two rated as serious contenders: Jacob Wolters, spokesman for the “wet” side in the rancorous debate over booze, and Congressman Morris Sheppard, undisputed champion of the “dry’ cause.

 

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Fri
27
Jul

THE ROPER’S RULE

As I look back on my career, it never did exist.

I tried to ride the broncs and bulls, I truly did persist But I never won a buckle.

Oh, second now and then So now that I’ve got older I’m a roper, born again.

 

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