Monday, September 26, 2016


Because of freedoms enjoyed by American citizens, we can, if we so choose, burn the flag, criticize the president, or kneel at a football game during the playing of our national anthem.  While such an act can capture national attention, it does little about the things Mr. Kaepernick is currently complaining about.

Once, I was told the story about a large family, the mother of whom had hideous scarring to the point she looked like a creature from a horror movie; and yet, the children all seemed to shower her continually with affection and hugs and kisses.  When someone asked why there was so much doting on such an unattractive person, it was revealed that years before there had been a terrible fire at the home of this family and these children had been rescued—their lives saved by their mother braving the flames, resulting in her sustaining horrible, disfiguring scarring.  

The same story might be told about the United States of America.  No doubt our country has scars, and several things which can be criticized.  Yet, it remains a beacon to which almost every citizen of every other country is drawn.

When America was birthed as a nation by the development and adoption of our Constitution, some of those participating in its writing deplored slavery.  Even so, they did not prevail at the time and a provision was written into our founding document classifying some humans as less than human because of their skin color.  Nonetheless, because of the general provisions and freedoms assured by our Constitution and subsequent Bill of Rights, we have emerged as a thoughtful, caring nation in many regards.  Citizens of all stripes enjoy more privileges, rights and protections than any other nation on earth.  Hopefully, we will continue to evolve in this regard.

While I will defend Kaepernick’s right to express his dissatisfaction about things in this country, I also have the right to deem him wrong in his behavior.  The drawback of the kneeling exercise teaches minority little league players they are being short-changed by their country.  Further, it clearly fails to inspire children to do things in a positive manner that would improve the way of life for us all.  It is my belief that more can be accomplished standing up than kneeling down. Even kneeling in prayer would not be as productive without an active follow through of faith. 

Marching to the polls, attending your city council or school board meeting, door-to-door knocking for a candidate of your choice, or volunteering for a “get out the vote” campaign would do infinitely more to change things for the better than simply a relatively effortless protest.

Among our many other privileges as Americans we have the ultimate ability through voting to alter the course of our nation and our society.  Unfortunately, only a small percentage of American citizens take advantage of this wonderful privilege.  How much better would it be if we focused on inspiring children to participate in large numbers of informed voting.  It is my fervent belief our nation would be far better off if those who spend hours organizing marches to protest the shortcomings of our country would spend more time organizing mass marches to the polling places on election day.

Our nation may not be perfect, but without a doubt it is great.  It is up to us to try to keep it that way.   How much better would it be if those who aspire to leadership of our fellow Americans of all stripes could inspire others to change our nation for the better through responsible, thoughtful participation.

Monday, September 19, 2016

An Open Letter to Evangelicals of a Certain Political Persuasion


I have recently become aware of a gentleman who would love to become a deacon in your church.  This is an older gentleman who is currently married to his third wife.  He has a history of publicly boasting of his past adultery and sexual conquests.  When asked, he has expressed the view that he has never felt the need to confess or ask forgiveness from God or anyone else.  He is known to have insulted numerous people because of their race, national origin or religion.  So far he has also refused to apologize for this behavior to any of the people whom he has offended.   

Also, this gentleman is somewhat loose with the truth and has told a few whoppers when it would be beneficial to him.  He is somewhat profane with his language in public speech.  He appears to have a dim view of most women stating on occasion that women look better when they are on their knees.  He regularly ridicules people with whom he differs, especially on the subject of their religion. 

While claiming to be a devotee of the Bible, he is unable to cite a single biblical verse with which he was familiar.  Additionally, he has not demonstrated an ability to even correctly cite scriptures in the Bible—particularly, New Testament books that have two parts.

In spite of these minor flaws, I am certain this gentleman would contribute greatly to your church because he says he is very rich.  However, there is no evidence that he has tithed or is committed to do so.  It is my understanding that in the near future this gentleman will be applying and requesting your church to select him as a member of your board of trustees, deacon or whatever your governing body is.  I look forward to seeing how this gentleman is received by your church.

Author’s note:  If you would not accept such a gentleman in the fold to govern your church, why on earth would you support such a man to lead the nation?

Monday, September 12, 2016


My father, who lived through a depression, was a person who had firsthand experience with hard times.  His father died when he was a young boy and so he was required to drop out of school to help support his family.  He later became president of one of the largest local unions in the United States.  I suppose his experience shaped much of his thought concerning working people.  He harbored a deep-seated belief that a man’s job was almost as sacred as his right to worship.  He witnessed firsthand the difference between laboring under circumstances where a man’s livelihood could be terminated at the whim of a boss and the conditions which could prevail while working under a decent union contract.

It is difficult for me to fully grasp the fact that so many wage earners who live from payday to payday do not appreciate the difference between working with some job protection and with none.  Seldom does a week pass at my law office without receiving a call from an hourly wage earner who has been unfairly treated, fired from their job, or subjected to oppressive behavior by their superiors.  Most are stunned when I relay to them that in Texas and many other states there is no real job protection unless there is a union contract or a personal employment contract.  Most of these cases involve circumstances where the employee is accused of certain conduct but there is no proof the accusations against them are true.  

Sadly, I have to tell them that in the absence of a contract—union or otherwise—they have absolutely no remedy whatsoever because Texas is what is called an "at will" employment state.  An employer can discharge an employee for absolutely no reason whatsoever other than the fact that the employer wants them gone.  The only avenue available to people who work for a living are the federal statutes which prohibit discrimination based on race, gender, age, national origin—or in some cases, disability.

Many people in our state mistakenly believe that the Right to Work statute has something to do with maintaining your employment unless discharged for good cause.  Unfortunately, the Right to Work statute in Texas and other states has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the right to keep a job or earn a living.  It is simply a device by which "closed shop" agreements by unions are made unlawful.

Even more stunning to me is that so many working people in our state have turned to the Republican Party as their choice for government leadership.  In Texas, since the late 1970’s, with the growing control of the Republican Party in our State Legislature and statewide elected offices, the concept of fairness in the workplace—or even safety in the workplace—has taken a nosedive. 

Republicans—not only in Congress but also in our own State Legislature—have fought at every turn against safety measures such as OSHA.  Even consideration of a decent minimum wage law is not a matter even to be discussed in the halls of government.  Worker compensation or other insurance provisions for injured workers in Texas is not mandatory; and even if it exists, it is well-nigh impossible for an injured worker to find a lawyer who would handle his case against insurance companies and their high-dollar attorneys.  The Legislature’s restrictions on worker's comp has made it virtually impossible for an attorney to be adequately compensated for handling a worker's comp case unless able to do it virtually pro bono.

The Koch brothers and most Republican leaders continue to ignore hazards of the work place—and also to deny that climate change is a scientific fact.  Money and profit trump worker safety and public health.  We should all remember that those defending positions in the name of good business are much the same interests who lied to workers for years about silicosis.  And, they are the same folks who refused to acknowledge the harm of smoking.

It is truly time for people who work for wages to wake up, arise, and vote in every election possible—and closely examine which party serves their livelihood.

Monday, September 5, 2016


It is good to set aside a date to honor labor, both the verb and the adjective.  The primary reason America has reached its level of greatness is because its underpinning is labor, both the efforts put out by American citizens, as well as our fellow Americans who provide the real work to give us the goods and services that make our lives better.  

It is truly an American blessing that we can profit by our labors and are free to engage in the laboring efforts of our choice.  

With the current shrinking of the middle class, it is especially important that we honor labor.  Clearly, in our capitalistic society the infusion of capital is essential to our economic well being.  Still, we should pause remember today that nothing would be made, produced or provided without those of us who work with our hands.

We need not only to honor labor ourselves but call it to the attention of our political leaders—state, national and local—that they should be ever mindful of honoring labor with safe workplaces, decent conditions and a fair wage for a day’s pay.

Unfortunately, in today’s political climate too many of our officeholders ignore the fact that many who labor in full-time jobs cannot afford their basic needs.  

We as well as our elected politicians should be ashamed that, in a country blessed with the abundant wealth that exists, many who labor full time are required to be on food stamps and other forms of welfare.  Too many laborers are not adequately protected from the dangerous conditions of their job.  As an example, many states, including Texas, do not even require worker's comp coverage for those who might be seriously injured or disabled while producing goods and services for the rest of us.

Too often even our tax policies belie the degree to which we respect labor and hard work.  We should be asking why our tax policy is such that money earned by money is taxed at a much lower rate than money earned by the sweat of one’s brow.

The right of workers in the labor force  to organize themselves into unions to speak for them should be zealously guarded and honored as part of the American way of life.  Organized labor has lifted workers from the drudgery of  dangerous and degrading workplaces.  It has stamped out child labor and provides some degree of protection to citizens in the workplace from unfair treatment.

Many of us who believe in America’s greatness should remember the words of Ulysses S. Grant who said, “The laborer is the author of all greatness and wealth.  Without labor there would be no government, and no leading class, and nothing to preserve.”  

Sunday, August 28, 2016


When I was a child my family and I lived on main Avenue in Groves when it was a shell road.  Our neighbor was the Smith Dairy and its pastures.  We of course had no television set, so my main source of entertainment electronically was a console radio that sat in our living room.  My dad, however, was always keen on providing the family with some sort of entertainment that he would scout out and locate.  I vividly recall a trip to a vacant lot in the area where "Dr. T" had erected his tent and stage.  The doctor billed his entourage as “Dr. T’s Magic Medicine Show.”

The doctor’s show consisted of a few magic acts, a song or two and a few other acts that passed for entertainment; but the main thrust of the gathering was the doctor’s lengthy spiel concerning the merits of his magic elixir—a concoction he claimed would cure almost every ailment known to man from backaches to hair loss.  In hindsight, I now know that Dr. T’s magic elixir consisted primarily of alcohol with some tasty flavoring added to it.  It probably did make some people feel better if they drank enough of it at one time.  I doubt, however, that it ever really cured any serious ailment.   Following the doctor’s spiel, his assistants would launch themselves into the audience hawking the bottles of Dr. T’s cure-all medicine, which almost everybody bought for a buck or two.

Dr. Trump is putting on his own medicine show.  Since watching the Republican nominee for president lately perform on television, I am immediately reminded of Dr. T’s medicine show in which he extolled the virtues of his medicine claiming it could cure almost everything, but didn’t.  Like Dr. T, Mr. Trump’s cures are described in very vague terms without telling you really how or why his proposed remedies, which are unstated, would cure what’s wrong with America.  His recent performance at the Republican convention was completely devoid of any concrete proposals which would help us with jobs, crime, terrorism or anything else.  If you ask Mr.  Trump, “How are you going to stamp out crime immediately upon being sworn in as president?” His answer is, “Right away.”  When asked how he is going to do away with ISIS; “very quickly,” he says.  And, “How are you going to bring jobs to the United States?” “I’m going to re-negotiate trade deals.”

I suspect that no person in their right mind would employ a homebuilder to build them a nice home when that homebuilder would not or could not show plans, had never built a home in the past but only promised that he was the best builder around and would build a beautiful home for you.  If we would not trust a homebuilder under such circumstances to build us a home, why on earth would we trust someone to run our national government who had no experience, who refuses to outline any cogent plan for improving our lives and has never served in an elective office.  While most of our homes are our greatest investments, the cost of a home pales in comparison to what we all have at stake when trusting someone with the office of president.  Alexander Hamilton while confronting a political opponent said it best.  He said, “Is it recommended for a person to have no theory?  Can man be a systematic, able statesman who has none?  I believe not.”  Hamilton went on to say, “In civil life we never progress in selection of leadership unaided in producing a single measure of important public utilities.”  Donald Trump has no theory of government and certainly has never produced a single measure of important public utility.

 Mr. Trump fails to answer the question posed by gold star father Kzir Khan at the Democratic National Convention concerning his deceased son who died in the military.  He said, “Mr. Trump, what have you sacrificed?”

Monday, August 22, 2016


Concern over the life of the unborn is a worthy endeavor.  What about concern for the lives of those already born?

In a backdoor effort to curtail abortions, the Texas Legislature seriously reduced funding and stopped funding of Planned Parenthood in the State of Texas.  The September issue of “Obstetrics and Gynecology” reports that maternal deaths in Texas have doubled since the funding reduction and the cessation of support for Planned Parenthood.  In 2010 when the cuts were made there were 72 reported deaths of women related to childbirth.  The most recent report was 2012 when the number of maternal related child deaths was pegged at 148 which caused Texas to lead the nation in such deaths.

Many in the Texas Legislature seem to believe programs run by the private sector are always better than any government program.  It is somewhat strange that when it comes to women’s health and counseling, those same politicians obviously believe a state-run program can be more beneficial than Planned Parenthood.  Truth be known, Planned Parenthood has been unfunded by the Texas Legislature as an additional way to deter abortion.  This is even though the Legislature has the authority and power  to fund Planned Parenthood while excluding abortion services by that organization.  In fact, most Planned Parenthood facilities had already ceased offering abortion services prior to the Legislature’s action putting them out of business.

After shutting down Planned Parenthood, the Legislature has authorized what they call an initiative for women’s health.  It appears not to be working.  It is disorganized, and has relied primarily on an organization dedicated to opposing abortion.

Even if the Legislature could not be motivated by humane concerns over the health of pregnant would-be mothers, it seems consideration should be given to costs.  It has been proven time and time again that lack of prenatal care can lead to problems in children which the state ends up having to deal with for several years.  They can’t seem to get it straight that healthy mothers more often lead to healthy children.

The shocking facts above, along with other policies neglecting protection of life, call into question the real commitment of our governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general.  Our top leaders seem to ignore not only the health of mothers but problems with the agency responsible for the care and safety of children.  Several children have died for lack of follow up, investigation or action by Child Protective Services.  Sadly, for some time, our state has refused to address the problems with this agency.  CPS has long been understaffed, underfunded and burdened with caseloads too large to properly manage.

Because Abbott and other top leaders want to burnish their conservative credentials, Texas has become number one in the nation in the number of children without adequate healthcare.  It seems that Attorney General Paxton is more concerned with suing the U.S. government than relieving the suffering of thousands of Texas children.

It is time for us to elect some statewide leaders who really care about protecting the right to life rather than partisan bickering over bathrooms and wasting millions of dollars on frivolous suits against our own government.

Monday, August 15, 2016


 Recently, several newspapers as well as several conservation groups have reported that recent research has found no sea turtle nest on the beaches of Galveston and the adjoining peninsula.  Scientists attribute the lack of sea turtle nests to damage done to the Gulf of Mexico by the Horizon oil spill.  The absence of turtle nests is significant in that it is an indication of the ecological condition of the Gulf of Mexico.

Mr. Donald Trump strongly advocates abolishing those pesky regulations that are holding our economy back.  This, and his denial that global warming exists, is a view shared by other billionaire businessmen who care more about making a dollar than protecting the environment we all live in.  Donald Trump and other irresponsible industrialists claim that environmental regulations are holding our economy back.  

I suppose they want to return to the good old days when paper mills were able to use the Neches River as a giant sewer for their waste.  Perhaps they would like to return to the days when the Sabine River had so much mercury in it that it was dangerous to eat the fish you might catch there.  Without environmental regulations, what if we allow oil companies to cut corners and have another blowout in the Gulf?  I suppose Mr. Trump would say what’s the loss of a few pelicans, trout or turtles compared to letting oil companies make greater profits?  Obviously, Trump is more concerned with the profits made by BP, Shell Oil and others than he is whether or not the eco system which produces much of our seafood survives. 

I’ve always considered fishermen and hunters America’s best conservationists.  Unfortunately, too many of us in that category have lost sight of protecting the very thing which allows us to enjoy our hunting and fishing.  Instead, hunters are focused more on whether or not we will be able to keep semi-automatic weapons with 15 shot mags.  

Fellow sportsmen, it is time to wake up: Take a stand for preserving our ecology even if it sometimes discomforts those who would sacrifice it on the altar of profit.  If we don’t wake up, we could in the near future awaken to discover that we have no game to shoot with our nice weapons and no fish to catch on our shiny, offshore rigs.

Monday, August 8, 2016


The no new tax motto by politicians is hurting home-owning Texans.  The fear of runaway taxation stoked by conservative politicians has led to a stupid tax policy in our state.  More accurately, it has led to no tax policy in our state.  Our legislature continues to lurch from crisis to crisis and claiming no new taxes while elevating our fees on everything possible.  The latest is a substantial increase in our car registration. 

The word “taxes” has been elevated—or lowered—to the level of a swear word.  As a result, few, if any, of those seeking office will even say the word.  The big lie following grandiose promises of politicians as to where the money will come from is that we will glean it by reducing waste.  Unfortunately, the most recent waste in Texas—as viewed by our elected members of the Legislature—happens to be at the expense of our children.

We live in a changing world.  Life itself is dynamic.  States change, technology changes, populations change and human needs change.  Therefore, why shouldn’t tax policy be one of change?

Democracy works best when our leaders offer new ideas, debate whether or not old ones are still valid and discuss and share with the public where it is we should be headed.  Unfortunately, taxation in Texas has never enjoyed any rational or considered study.  Our school mess is a prime example of why the lack of any vision or policy relative to taxation is hurtful to us all.  

The basic problem with school finance is that it is unwieldy, grossly unfair and does not provide an adequate amount for the state to meet its constitutional duty of an efficient system of public education for all.  Because our legislature has failed to provide an adequate amount of funding to support public schools, in oly 20 years Texas’ homeowners taxation has gone from near the bottom to second or third from the top of all states of the union.  Our public debt has exploded to the point that Texas’ taxpayers face a mountain of debt at both the state and local level. Because schools are now so dependent on the property tax, we continue to struggle with its inadequacy and unfairness.  Patrons of one school district can produce with a minimal tax effort thousands of dollars per student while the school district next door struggles with the maximum effort on taxes and can raise only a small portion of what their neighboring rich district can acquire.

If all property in Texas were taxed the same, we would not only have a fair tax but the tax on our homes and small businesses would also be much lower.  We would also do away with the continual lawsuits at the state level over school finance.  Unfortunately, we, the taxpayers, along with our elected state leaders and legislators, rushed to repeal the constitutional state property tax several years ago. Regrettably, that delivered scant benefits to the ordinary homeowners in Texas and large benefits to huge property owners.

Texas leads among the states in population growth with fewer, if any, forms of tax which match our growth.  The sales tax may be the exception, but it hits the poor and middle class hardest.

An income tax is generally regarded by Texas taxpayers as an instrument of the devil, and rejected out of hand with little or no discussion.  In-depth studies of the income tax, however, reveal the average homeowner or small business owner would fare much better with it than having to tolerate the ever-increasing property taxes on our homes or businesses.  An income tax as a revenue source would be more fair, more productive and able to keep pace with the changing needs of our state.  The ever-escalating tax on our homes is a tax on most of our most valuable possessions and continues after our productive years are long since in the past. 

While pondering our state’s budget and hopefully our taxation policy, we can only hope and pray our elected leaders will get their heads out of the sand and adopt IBM’s old motto: “THINK!”

Monday, August 1, 2016


Recently it has been reported that Trump University was investigated by our then attorney general and current governor, Greg Abbott.  The result of the investigation was that, in view of findings that Texans had been “duped” out of several thousands of dollars, Trump University agreed to leave the state and not return. 

In fact, the assistant attorney general at the time (Abbott) recommended a penalty against Trump University of $5.4 million. Attorney General Abbott apparently passed on the option of a $5.4 million dollar fine or any reimbursement for victimized Texans and let Trump and his fake university leave the state.  Later, it seems, Abbott chose to accept a $35,000 contribution from Trump.  On top of that, our attorney general, Mr. Paxton, has now sent a cease and desist letter to the whistleblower and is attempting to cover up the whole thing. 

News sources do not attach a quid pro quo between allowing Trump University to escape a serious lawsuit and penalties and the contribution to Abbott. However, my question remains: Does it not tell us something about the ethics of our governor who is willing to accept a fairly substantial contribution from a man whose conduct led to him being exiled from Texas because of his con-artist-type behavior?

It seems the Republican Party which once prided itself on dedication to strict law and order and high morals now seems to find ways to embrace Donald Trump, who without a doubt is a serial liar, philanderer, con artist and bully.  Not only that, it seems the Grand Old Party in Texas has decided to turn a blind eye to illegal conduct and even do away, or make powerless, state agencies which attempt to corral unlawful conduct and unethical practices in government.

Our past governor, Rick Perry, who claims to be a Godly man, managed to “shop around” for a friendly Republican court to dismiss his indictment for trying to blackmail an elected official to bend to Mr. Perry’s will.  Little, if anything, has been said by leading Republicans about Rick Perry’s slush fund that we now know was nothing more than a slush fund for his cronies and a source of political contributions for Mr. Perry’s war chest.  There has even been little mention, if any, outside of a newspaper or two about Perry shelling out several thousand dollars to ex-staffers as they left his employment to get on his campaign payroll.

Perry must have set the standard of using state dollars for political purposes because we now know our Republican Ag Commissioner and Bush legatee have spent several thousand dollars paying employees who no longer were coming to work or doing any beneficial work for the taxpayers of this state.

I suppose we shouldn't expect more attention on ethics from a party which chose a man indicted for cheating citizens to be our state attorney general.  Mr. Paxton seems more inclined to sue the U.S. than con-artists in Texas.

Apparently, too many of us (voters) missed the message conveyed by the Republican Legislature abolishing the integrity unit of the Travis County District Attorney’s Office and adopting instead a “shop for your prosecutor” system for elected officials charged with criminal wrongdoing.  Our state Ethics Commission is virtually a toothless tiger and there appears to be little appetite among our elected officials from the governor on down to arm that body and make it capable of being a true watchdog for bad conduct among our elected officials.  

I guess it is alright to allow the Ethics Commission to remain so weak—particularly, in view of the fact it seems a majority of Texas’ voters do not seem to care.


Conflict between conservative leaders and science is not new.  History reveals that in 1633 in Italy the conservatives jailed the leading scientist of the time, Galileo, for expressing his view that the earth rotated around the sun.  Almost 400 years later, it seems conservatives are still at odds with science.

Sadly, however, in actuality, today's battle is over money and greed. 

Conservative Republicans continue to deny scientific findings in order to help their wealthy benefactors, even when history has proven the denial of scientific facts is not in the interest of a majority of us.  The standard bearer for the Republican Party, Donald Trump, has been quoted calling climate change a "hoax," "mythical" and a "con job" and stating that "The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make manufacturing non-competitive."

Do you recall when the cigarette industry continued to publish article after article by "bought" scientists saying smoking was not harmful to the human body and was not really the cause of lung cancer? Similarly, hundreds if not thousands of working men and women died from asbestos exposure while corporations not only denied the connection, but actually concealed it from their workers.

Locally, in Jefferson County, how long did it take for refinery workers to force their employers to admit that benzene was a cause of leukemia and benzene emissions a contributor to leukemia among our children? 

One only needs to read a recent publication entitled “Dark Money” to discover how many billions are being spent by the Koch brothers to preserve their multi-billion dollar activities through the bogus denial of climate change caused by their refining plants’ emissions.  

The most recent example of conservative conflict with science deals with the oil and gas industry in Texas, but the handmaiden for Texas oil and gas is our elected Railroad Commission.  A new study by University of Texas scientists has revealed a large number of recent earthquakes are in fact caused by drilling activities.  This fact is hotly disputed by our elected Railroad Commission, and even worse, our Republican controlled Legislature—which espouses the primacy of local government—has passed a law prohibiting cities from regulating drilling activities which affect local citizens by creating tremors.

It seems some things never change. 

Monday, July 18, 2016


There’s an old saying that the master who does not hold his servants accountable will end up getting very negative results.  We citizens of Texas need to take a hard look at those who serve us in Austin.  A district court has documented that approximately 700 small children have died from negligence or abuse because Children’s Protective Services is mismanaged, grossly understaffed, and underfunded.  Such a shame in view of the fact that the Attorney General, Commissioner of Agriculture and other elected state officials have squandered several hundred thousands of dollars rewarding ex-employees who no longer work—and have done so illegally.

We rank 37th in support of our public education system, and our leaders refuse to replace the $5 billion+ dollars deducted from the education budget two sessions ago.  They smugly stand idly by while even the Supreme Court, in its attempt to justify their inaction, says that our system has many, many faults, but it meets minimum standards.  Ask yourself whether or not you would trust a baby doctor—who clearly has many faults and shortcomings as a physician, yet meets minimum standards—with the handling of your child.

 The Legislature in its panic to avoid addressing a shortage of tax money has driven us into debt by over 30 billion dollars, and yet our highway system is in sore need of fixing.  A substantial number of our bridges have been ruled to be substandard by reputable engineering investigations.  Yet there is not one hint of how we could raise additional revenue to address our crumbling transportation infrastructure. 

Our governor steadfastly refuses to accept several billion dollars in federal funds which are available to us for health purposes while we continue to lead the nation in uninsured citizens. 

Come on people, there’s got to be more important issues for us to dwell on rather than who goes to the potty where; whether we wear our guns inside our coat or out; and whether or not we should allow our public schools to spend $62 million dollars on football stadiums.

It is past time for us to take a more enlightened view of our public servants and stop blindly voting because of a label.  Self-proclaimed arch-conservatives may conserve a dollar or two, but they are certainly not conserving a bright future for our posterity or the future of this state. We all need to be better motivated to participate in the elections and be better informed on how we hold our public officials accountable.

Monday, July 11, 2016


For 32 and one-half years I represented the people of Jefferson, Orange and other Southeast counties in the State Legislature. I found Southeast Texans hardworking, honest, ready to help their neighbors. The majority of Southeast Texans are folks who work for their paydays to support their families, but most of all, Southeast Texas were discriminating and savvy about the people they voted for. I submit, as well as hope and pray, most are too savvy to buy the huckster-type sales pitch of Donald Trump.

I have found through a long career of playing competitive ball that the guys who were the first to brag on themselves were usually mediocre players attempting to inflate their own worth to the team.  I’ve not seen a bigger braggart than Mr. Trump.  He’s the best negotiator, best Christian, best military strategist, best businessman, best lover and one of the richest billionaires in the country.  It has been difficult for me to understand why a man with all those qualities has been so reluctant to reveal his income tax records so a lot of that bragadociousness could be verified.

My father told me a long time ago a fellow who will lie to you will steal from you.  I have been keeping a record of the outright lies repeatedly told and doubled down on by Mr. Trump.  Here are a few.

Trump claims he was never in bankruptcy because the four bankruptcies he was involved in were bankruptcies of "corporate entities" ... albeit these were corporate entities in which he had lured people to invest. 

Trump claims he always opposed the war in Iraq as well as assisted the rebels in Libya.  Videos of him saying to the contrary are clear evidence he plainly mis-spoke or outright lied about this.

Trump claims Hillary wants to repeal the second amendment.  There’s been no such proposal from Hillary Clinton who has proposed some moderate restrictions on the purchase of guns such as background checks for all and stopping potential terrorists from being able to purchase a weapon. 

Mr.Trump vowed he would immediately expel all undocumented immigrants, restrict anyone of the Islamic faith from entering America and self-fund his political campaign to avoid conflicts of interest.  Mr. Trump has backed down on nearly all of these commitments.

Although Mr. Trump is trying desperately to appeal to the religious right in the coming election, he has boasted of his sexual dalliances, and obviously engaged in adultery and sexual misconduct for which he claims to have never sought forgiveness.  He claims a dedication to the Christian faith but cannot think of a favorite scripture in the Bible—and when attempting to quote one, couldn’t get it right. 

He continues to degrade women with such statements as there is, “No such thing as a 10 without large breasts and a nice rearend.”

He promises great results without filling in the details of how they would be accomplished other than illegal or outlandish type strategies.  As an example, to fight and rid theworld from ISIS, he proposes killing their families, torturing them with waterboarding, putting religious mosques under surveillance or simply “bombing thehell out of them.”  Unfortunately, he also thinks he could make the world safer by having America withdraw from NATO or allowing Japan or South Korea to be armed with nuclear weapons.

His criticism of world trade is clearly hypocritical in that he has imported non-union labor from overseas for some of his projects, and has the majority of Trump ties, furniture, clothing and other products produced out of the UnitedStates by virtual slave labor.

If the working folks of Southeast Texas believe Donald Trump—born rich and made richer by taking advantage in sly, unscrupulous deals—could really empathize or have much in common with the working folks down here, they are seriously flawed in their thinking.  I hope and trust the people of this corner of Texas are still the good, right-thinking folks I have known the majority of my life.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016


The coming 4th of July is a time when all of us loyal Americans should celebrate and thank our Maker for the privilege we have of living in a great nation.  It really rubs me the wrong way when I hear a candidate for president use as his slogan that he wants to make America "great again."  Obviously, he cannot see that America was and still is the greatest nation on earth.  Were we not a great nation, the thousands and thousands of people from other parts of the world would not be so anxious to come here.

Our nation was started by a group of people who fled England to avoid persecution for their religious beliefs.  We are one of the few countries on earth where we can choose to worship any god we choose, or choose not to worship any at all if that is our option.

You can count on one hand the nations of the world where the citizens of the country are free to criticize the heads of state of a nation without fear of reprisal.  Think what would happen to a citizen of North Korea were he to cast aspersions on their supreme leader anywhere akin to the criticisms that our current president endures.

Our system of higher education is the envy of the world, and in large measure it is because of our great colleges and universities that we still lead the world in innovative technology and innovation.

Our unique system of self government allows us to arm ourselves, speak as we choose, assemble at any time we want to, own our own property, be protected by a world-class military and change our government leaders if we want to or have the will to do so. 

We are still the strongest nation in the world as we have repeatedly demonstrated by protecting the countless freedoms and benefits which we enjoy every day.  Those among us who take great pride in speaking of our national government as though it was some sort of despotic, foreign power have obviously not counted their blessings for the privilege of living in such a great and wonderful country. 

We should all take inventory this 4th of July and rejoice in the freedoms and blessings we have, envied by others. 

Monday, June 20, 2016


Several years ago a cartoonist named Walt Kelly published a regular cartoon called Pogo.  Pogo was a very wise ‘possum who would regularly opine on the state of the union, social issues and other important items.  Probably Pogo’s most famous quote was, “We have met the enemy, and the enemy is us.” 

Currently, there is a great outcry about the loss of jobs, the imbalance of trade between the U.S. and other countries and free trade robbing the middle class of its livelihood.  Donald Trump proposes an isolationist policy whereby he would slap large tariffs on any product entering the United States manufactured in another country.  He rails on and on about how Americans are losers because our leaders are stupid and do not know how to make a deal with foreign nations.

Unfortunately, the fault does not lie principally with bad deals made by our elected leaders on trade agreements, but with most of us because of our greed.  A recent experiment reported on national television revealed that when average consumers were asked to choose between a pair of $50 jeans made in China and basically the same jeans made in the United States for $85, consumers overwhelmingly chose to trade with China.  Additionally, recent polls show that 67% of American consumers choose price over where products are made.  Daily, billions of automobiles, televisions, computers, clothing and God knows what else are sold in America to consumers based on advantageous price.  Without a doubt, American consumers vote for free trade if it means saving them a dollar or two on price. 

Similarly, immigration—so attacked by Trump and other so-called conservatives—is similarly caused by too many Americans’ desire for cheap labor.  If this were not true, our American Congress would have long ago simply passed a law putting severe penalties—even including jail—on employers who chose to employ illegal aliens in their businesses.  It continues to boggle my mind that those who squawk about illegal immigration refuse to support a very simplistic remedy for the whole situation.  The guy who rails at Tea Party conventions oftentimes is the same guy having an uninvited guest from Mexico mowing his lawn on a weekly basis.

In another arena we continue to let politicians—who first admit they are not scientists and know little of global warming—get by with allowing the decline of the air we breathe and the water we drink simply because “fat cat” companies don’t want to lose a dollar’s worth of profit to protect the environment.

We decry the government and say government is not working while probably less than half of qualified voters even take the time to vote.  Unfortunately, even those who do oftentimes are sadly uninformed and vote based more on their prejudice than on being well informed on the qualifications and aims of those seeking office.  

Yes, I’m afraid Pogo was more right than wrong that there is a clear explanation of why we have so many idiots in office. It’s called representative government.