Opinions

Fri
17
Aug
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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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Fri
20
Jul
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BRAVE DISTRICT ATTORNEY STOOD UP TO VIGILANTES

by Bartee Haile

Three cowardly assassins gunned down a harmless old man plowing his fields on Jul. 19, 1889, and left their grisly calling card — nine bullet holes in the body.

The seven original members of the San Saba Mob, respectable ranchers all, began with the best of intentions. Following the example of other vigilantes in adjacent counties, they merely wanted to rid San Saba of the criminal riffraff.

 

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Fri
20
Jul
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CIVILIZED

When you hear the word uncivilized, what mental picture do you form? A grizzled trapper? Atilla the Hun burning and pillaging eastern Europe? American Indians before the Puritans and the Spaniards?

And when you hear the civilized, what comes to mind? English barristers wearing wigs? Nobility dueling and drinking tea? Miss Manners? By definition civilized is variably described as one who is courtly, urbane, educated and refined. Qualities indicative of good breeding. A King vs a peasant. A business tycoon vs an immigrant laborer. A professional politician vs a cowboy

 

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Fri
13
Jul
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A DREAM CHANGED HIS LIFE

BZ Lewis grew up in Big Spring. When he was six years old he took piano lessons, not knowing that music was going to be a lifetime pursuit. When he was fourteen he took up guitar. “My brother was learning guitar and he showed me a chord. Since day one I was just completely absorbed, absolutely hooked. I think I’ve played guitar just about every day except when I was on vacation or away from a guitar.” He played in a few bands all over Texas and Louisiana. “My first one was a metal band we called Stainless Steel. Later I started paying classical guitar, a truly solo endeavor. You have to figure out how to move your fingers in a way to make a musical passage work. It’s just you and your instrument and hours and hours of practice.

 

Fri
06
Jul
Edgar's picture

THE FLAG

With your permission I would like to indulge in a little naked patriotism. The United States of America, during my lifetime has become a nation like none other on earth. Not because it is the most powerful nation on earth, but because we, more times than I can count, have taken the side of the oppressed with no intention to conquer, rule or pillage.

In the act of offering our assistance, we have sacrificed blood, money and lives. We have beat ourselves up. We have questioned our motives. Our leaders have engaged in heated debate about the hows and whys, but we continue to be the single brightest light for the world’s mistreated. We will take on the schoolyard bully.

 

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Fri
06
Jul
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REALITY WRECKED ABOLIONIST’S IMPOSSIBLE DREAM

By Bartee Haile

As the sun slowly set in the piney woods on Jul. 5, 1832, a stranger on a mysterious mission crossed the Sabine River into the Mexican province of Texas.

In recent years, Benjamin Lundy had faced the fact that agitation alone would never liberate the slaves. The Quaker editor understood that most white Americans, who in principle supported the abolition cause, cringed at the thought of blacks, freed from southern bondage, living next door.

Lundy believed the only way to overcome the prejudice so prevalent in the North was to prove that former slaves could become productive and responsible members of society. To this end, he tried without success to create a community of freedmen in the Caribbean country of Haiti.

 

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