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My Five Cents

Lt. Gov. Patrick releases thirteen interim committees in Senate

Last month, I was proud to co-host the Lone Star Legislative Summit in Nacogdoches with Rep. Travis Clardy in conjunction with the Nacogdoches Chamber of Commerce. We hosted a number of attendees from across the state including Speaker Dade Phelan and panels on immigration and border security, education, infrastructure, energy, health care, and social media and freedom of speech. It was a…
FromEditorsDesk Tony Cropped

Oil move certainly puzzling

By Tony Farkastony@polkcountypublishing.com The latest executive order to come out of Washington, D.C., is to me the head-scratcher of all time. Recently, the Biden Administration (I say that because I’m not sure we have a true leader) has killed all applications for oil and gas leases in the Cook Inlet in Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico. The reasons given were that in Alaska, there didn’t seem to…
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Give Depp credit for defending his reputation

I was feeling a bit under the weather this past week, so I ended up spending time at home in front of the television. The thing that really mesmerized me was the Johnny Depp trial on Court TV. I never watch Court TV. I’m pretty sure most lawyers avoid that channel because why would we want to spend our leisure hours staring at melodramatic, preening attorneys from Michigan or La Jolla when we can…
Jim Opionin

The Most Dangerous Word

by Jim Powersjim@polkcountypublishing.com While prose is my preferred form of written expression, I’ve also dabbled over the years in poetry. Once we develop an obsession with words, writers are always looking for new ways to play with words, it seems. I write in a form of poetry called unrhymed verse. Many poets insist that unrhymed verse is not poetry at all and look down their noses at those…
Jim Opionin

We’re from the government, and strongly support public schools

by Jim Powersjim@polkcountypublishing.com A long time ago (1991-1995), in a Texas far, far away from what it is now, there was a Governor named Ann Richards. She holds the distinction of being the last woman governor, and the last Democrat governor, of the state. You’ll also not be surprised that she often did not tell the truth. Richards, a teacher by profession, represented herself as a strong…
Kevin Brady

Brady seeks taxpayer safeguards

Special to the News-Standard WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady, Texas 8, sent a letter to the House Appropriations Committee urging the adoption of smart safeguards to protect U.S. taxpayers from footing the bill of faulty high speed rail projects. Specifically, the letter requests the inclusion of strong guardrails to the Railroad Rehabilitation & Improvement Financing loan program in the…
Jim Opionin

The Political Perversion of Christianity

by Jim Powersjim@polkcountypublishing.com Every time I advocate a pro-choice position on abortion, I inevitably get branded an atheist by someone who has confused politics with religion. Usually the person “explains” to me that abortion is wrong because God (pick your flavor of God) breathes the breath of life into the fertilized egg at conception, and the zygote becomes a living soul. And every…
FromEditorsDesk Tony Cropped

Stolen ruling stirs panic, adulation in nation

By Tony Farkastony@polkcountypublishing.com John Roberts and the Supremes are going to overturn Roe v. Wade, and the lesser-known Planned Parenthood v. Casey, according to a draft opinion leaked last week from the U.S. Supreme Court. In and of itself, the leak is a pretty egregious flouting of federal law, and should be investigated and prosecuted, surely. More important, though, is that it…
Jim Opionin

Four Walls Around Me

by Jim Powersjim@polkcountypublishing.com I rarely drink alcohol, not because I’m opposed to folks drinking alcohol, but because I don’t like the taste of alcoholic drinks. If you want to ruin good grape juice, ferment it. As a result of that dislike of alcohol, you will rarely find me hanging out in bars…unless there’s a good live band. And, coincidentally, one of my top 10 favorite songs is…
Trent Ashby

Work begins on next batch of legislation

by State Representative Trent Ashby After a welcome reprieve from the Capital City, this past week I made my way down to Austin to begin laying the groundwork for the next legislative session by attending my first interim committee hearing. While there have been a number of House committee hearings over the last week or two, I thought it would be appropriate to feature a committee on which I…
FromEditorsDesk Tony Cropped

Time for a literal reading of the law of the land

By Tony Farkastony@polkcountypublishing.com. I remember an old saw about prayer in school, saying that it never left because anyone taking a test still prays. This stems from the 1962 (!) ruling by the Supreme Court that school-sponsored prayer in public schools violated the establishment clause of the U.S. Constitution, which reads that “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of…
Jim Opionin

The Supreme Court is going to overturn Roe V Wade – But that’s no surprise

by Jim Powersjim@polkcountypublishing.com As you have probably seen by now, a draft judgement from the Supreme Court overturning Roe V Wade, the decision that legalized abortion in the U.S. almost 50 years ago, was leaked to the press. I’ll not go into the details of the decision because it is, of course, a draft copy and could change, and with a majority of right-wing justices dominating the…
opinion graphic

Maximizing workforce potential of Texas community colleges

By Glenn Hamer and A.J. Rodriguez Texas’ economy has been declared open again after the COVID pandemic. But many employers and customers seeking timely service or goods are learning that we need more skilled people in the workforce to lead us back to a fully robust economy. The good news is Texas has people. Our state grew by 4 million over the last decade, bringing our population to 29 million,…
opinion graphic

Activists should stop monkeying around with lifesaving research

By Matthew R. Bailey Alzheimer’s research is a matter of life and death. But it also involves a lot of monkey business -- literally. The scientists working to cure Alzheimer’s rely heavily on monkeys because humans and monkeys share extremely similar pre-frontal cortices, the part of the brain that controls memory, concentration and personality. Nonhuman primates are the key to understanding and…
Jim Opionin

Through a glass darkly – The Supreme Court and Religious Liberty

by Jim Powers jim@polkcountypublishing.com The Greek word translated “glass” in 1 Corinthians 13:12 in the NT is, some would say deliberately, ambiguous. The likely meaning refers to a lens or a mirror, as in a poor reflection in a mirror. It has also been translated as “window.” Regardless, the idea is that truth is often obscured by our inability to see objectively. There is a case before the…
FromEditorsDesk Tony

The longest two weeks ever comes to an end

At the beginning of the COVID pandemic, we were told by our leaders that without a doubt, if we masked up, social distanced and shut down everything except Walmart and liquor stores, we’d have this pesky little bug whipped in two weeks. Two years later, the last of the governmental mask gulags — commercial air travel and the FAA — have finally succumbed to common sense and lifted the mask mandate…
Jim Opionin

Shouting into the darkness

by Jim Powersjim@polkcountypublishing.com Writing an opinion column is often the equivalent of shouting into the darkness, hoping there is someone there listening. Occasionally someone does respond, assuring you that you are an idiot. Mostly, though, there is only silence. If I had wanted to get a lot of feedback from my writing, though, I would have become an infectious disease expert. Or…
Jim Opionin

Does math have a liberal bias?

by Jim Powersjim@polkcountypublishing.com Florida has decided to further elevate its right-wing slant by taking its book banning beyond school and public libraries to math books, rejecting 41 percent of proposed new math books, citing critical race theory (CRT) and elements of Common Core as reasons for the rejection. Since they haven’t been very clear about naming the rejected books, or specific…
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Men are dying from a lack of attention

Christine FlowersRecently, a friend showed me a sobering graphic depicting the gender disparity in suicide rates between men and women. While females tend to attempt suicide more often than men (and experience suicidal thoughts more frequently,) males are more “successful” in completing the act. There are a lot of reasons for the striking difference along gender lines, but one thing is clear: men…
FromEditorsDesk Tony

Explanations often are quite simple

I came close to unfriending someone who I have been friends with for a couple of decades, becoming one of those people who walk away from someone who says something I disagree with. I vehemently disagreed with his take on the immigration crisis on our border (my friend lives in Missouri), in which he tied allowing our border to be wide open to the current 40-year-high inflation numbers. I thought…
Jim Opionin

I got my peaches down at Walmart

by Jim Powersjim@polkcountypublishing.com I got my peaches out in Georgia [Oh, yeah, ****I get my weed from California [That’s that ****I took my chick up to the North, yeah [Bad that *****I get my light right from the source, yeah [Yeah, that’s it] Justin Bieber “Peaches” Justin Bieber may have got his peaches out in Georgia, but I get mine at Walmart. In fact, I get most of the fresh vegetables…
Jim Opionin

Time to move education from the farm

By Jim Powers jim@polkcountypublishing.com A personal failing that I must acknowledge frequently is that lost causes follow me home like sad little puppies. I’m so attracted to them that I continue to adopt them even though doing so once came precariously close to getting me killed. Never one to be deterred by something as clarifying as a near death experience, I’m going to wade into the long…
FromEditorsDesk Tony

Time will tell about school plans

By Tony Farkas news@sanjacnews.com Going to school as a young pup a couple of years ago, there always were times I wanted to go home. Sometimes, in my senior year, I did stay home, since I was finishing my high schooling while working a full-time job. Heck, I even want to play hooky from work on occasion, having been doing this for more years than I care to relate. My problem back then was that I…
County Judge Pic

Future funding for government entities

By Sydney MurphyPolk County Judge The Texas Legislature determines acceptable methods for funding government entities and school districts in the State of Texas. The main method of funding, as all of us know, is property taxes. The amount of funding from other sources such as sales tax is minimal compared to property taxes. We are all interested in reducing property taxes. However, if the State…
Jim Opionin

Are you drunk?

by Jim Powersjim@polkcountypublishing.com If you spend much time on the internet on message boards or in comment sections on media websites, or follow Twitter, you will see a common response questioning the seriousness of a poster’s opinion, “Are you drunk?” The obvious accusation is that no one would say such a dumb thing if they were sober. It’s an insult. Clearly in modern parlance, most…
FromEditorsDesk Tony

Get back to the basics, for all our sakes

There seems to be a preoccupation with sex in this country, which is puzzling, given that if you ask most anyone, they will tell you they’re good, moral and sensible people. It’s not just the physical act, mind you. Now it’s also about the actual biological outcome of birth, and whether that is the end of things for a human. This preoccupation is evident pretty much everywhere you look anymore.…
Capitol Highlights

Wildfire risk remains high in much of state

Much of the state remains at considerable risk for wildfires through this week, largely because of higher-than-usual temperatures and drought conditions. More than 40 percent of the state is suffering extreme drought conditions, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. Nearly the entire state is in some form of drought, with much of the Panhandle, High Plains and West Central Texas most at risk.…
Jim Opionin

Truth is the Object

by Jim Powersjim@polkcountypublishing.com Nebraska Rep. State Sen. Bruce Bostelman, in a debate during a school funding bill, moved well past the current boogeyman of the right, CRT (which isn’t taught in public schools) to the core of the problem with education, furries. Furries, if you haven’t heard, are groups who dress up as animals and interact with others of their group socially as…
Kelli Columm Head

Volunteers all around us

The newspaper is full of stories and photos about local people who are spending part of their workdays and even some nights and weekends, volunteering for worthy organizations. These organizations are faithful to communicate with their community newspaper about positive happenings and part of our job is to share them publicly. Because of worthy nonprofits and churches, our less fortunate are fed,…
Capitol Highlights

Sheriff’s deputy dies in wildfires

An Eastland County sheriff’s deputy died Thursday as wildfires swept through several small Texas communities west of Dallas, destroying at least 50 homes and charring more than 54,000 acres as of Sunday. Deputy Sgt. Barbara Fenley died while going door to door warning people to flee, according to the Austin American-Statesman. Sgt. Fenley ran off a smoke-covered road and was engulfed in the fire,…
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