Texas’ regional accents are a source of fascination. Trying to study them is difficult, probably even for an English professor. If you’ve read my missives more than occasionally, you know I love Texas, I love Texans and I love Texas lingo. When encountering a different sound than one you hear every day, it pays to listen. If you can identify it and reveal that to the speaker, it will often amaze them. It’s also a great door opener with a new acquaintance.
On Dec. 11, a Senate-House joint committee empaneled to adopt a sufficient balance for the state’s “rainy day fund” approved $7 billion as the floor for it. Properly titled the Economic Stabilization Fund, the oil and gas tax-fueled pool of money was created by constitutional amendment in 1988 when oil was selling as low as $10 a barrel, causing state coffers to run thin. Calculated at $6.7 billion last August, the fund previously had no required minimum. The maximum the fund may hold is capped at 10 percent of the state’s general revenue during the previous twoyear budget cycle.
Being raised in a small town where most people didn’t have much, forced many to scrape and scramble to make a living. Pride in supporting yourself and your family was a strong motivation for most folks I knew in my growing up years. Standing on your own two feet was the mantra of that period I am inclined to describe as “hard-scrabble” times.
Gov. Rick Perry on Dec. 3 ordered state agencies to check the employment eligibility of current and prospective employees by using EVerify, an Internet-based system that allows employers to determine the eligibility of their employees to work in the United States. Perry also urged Congress to pass legislation “to provide the resources necessary to secure our southern border.” Perry’s announcements come in the wake of President Obama’s executive action on immigration on Nov. 20. At the time, in a national broadcast, Obama said he would take various actions because of the protracted unwillingness of Congress to pass an immigration reform bill that addresses the legal status of millions of undocumented workers employed in Texas and other states by American business owners. A White House news release lists three elements of the president’s executive actions:
Suzanne and I are very thankful to be spending this Thanksgiving in Midland with our children and grandchildren. We are thankful for the freedom that we enjoy and grateful for the sacrifices that brave men and women have made to preserve that freedom.
Police responded to reports of gunfire in the capital city’s downtown area around 2 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 28. An estimated 100 shots were fired in about 10 minutes, hitting buildings, including the Mexican consulate, police headquarters and the federal court building. No pedestrians, motorists or building occupants were reported injured in the incident.
President Barack Obama on Nov. 20 announced his decision to take executive action on immigration because Congress has not acted on immigration reform to address the presence and inflow of undocumented residents. “In order to temporarily stay in the U.S. without fear of deportation, these undocumented parents of U.S. citizens and unlawful permanent residents would have to: Have been here 5+ years, pass a background check, pay taxes,” according to information posted by the White House.
On Veterans Day, we honored our veterans and remembered what they have accomplished. What they have contributed to our country goes well beyond their actions on the field of battle. Our veterans have served our country, and after they left the military, they went to work on the rigs and ranches. They started businesses. They taught our children in school. They joined our police forces to preserve the peace. They taught their children about integrity and the honor of an honest day’s work. These veterans are all around us.
It is a horrifying story, but one that has become all too common. By age 10, a young girl was being sold to men in bars. At 14, she escaped captivity as a sex slave and landed on the streets, penniless and alone, ultimately turning to a pimp who trafficked her for several years as a minor. This happened not in the dark corners of a Third World country, but right here in Dallas.
Winners in the Nov. 4 general election on the whole proved that incumbency and/or running as a Republican continue to be assets when Texas voters hit the polls. Democrats Wendy Davis and Leticia Van de Putte lost by wide margins to Republicans Greg Abbott and Dan Patrick for the offices of governor and lieutenant governor, respectively. In the Abbott-Davis race, the spread was 20 points: 59 to 39 percent. Similarly, the spread in the Patrick-Van de Putte race was 19 points: 58 to 39 percent.