Commentary

Wed
14
Jan

Extremism targets freedom of press

The horrific attacks on the Charlie Hebdo offices last week was specific to France’s capital city, Paris, but the world should take it as nothing less than an attack on liberties everywhere.

The satirical magazine lost editors and cartoonists in a hail of gunfire and two policemen were killed afterward by the same two gunmen. The deranged men continued their attacks on other targets throughout a terrifying week.

 We are gratified to see some Muslim leaders step up to condemn the attacks. Indeed, it was good to see leaders from around the globe converge on Paris to show solidarity on Saturday.

Wed
07
Jan

In 2015, trying to become 'like water'

Someone recently asked me how I would describe my life in 2014 in one word.

I’d say, “Flexibility.”

Or more specifically, realizing that it’s sorely needed.

I’m far from being the most flexible person in town or even in the office, but I have learned that I won’t accomplish my goals in life if I don’t learn flexibility.

A few months ago, I met a friend for coffee. As I listened to her story and her observations in life, I realized flexibility is one of the greatest attributes a person can have. Life constantly throws us unexpected complications, and with society and technology constantly changing, we have to make frequent adjustments to keep up.

Wed
07
Jan

Resolve to clamp down on ID theft

A woman failed to qualify for a mortgage loan for her dream home because her credit had been damaged by someone else.

A steady employee had to dip into his retirement fund to pay for his son’s college because his credit had unknowingly been compromised.

A major retailer’s mainframe server was hacked and hundreds of thousands of credit card numbers were stolen by hackers.

All of these are real-life examples of identity theft, and we should all vow to be proactive as this new year dawns to prevent such incidents.

Jody Donovan, an LPL representative at Joseph Financial Partners, recently spoke about the problem and how we unknowingly make it easy for some thieves to get at our personal information.

Identity fraud in 2013 affected 13 million people in the U.S. and totaled $21 billion. Those victims have spent untold hours and dollars after these incidents trying to repair their credit.

Tue
30
Dec

The excitement of space exploration

Orion.

It seems everywhere you turn these days, somebody’s talking about Orion. On television, the radio, in the newspapers ... there’s the word, “Orion.”

But what’s all of the hub-bub about Orion? And why should we care?

Well, in this case, the buzz being created about Orion is not directly related to one of the largest and prettiest constellations in the sky. But, rather, Orion is a new spacecraft that’s being built by NASA for deep-space travel in the not-so-distant future.

Back on Dec. 5, we successfully launched and recovered an unmanned prototype of the Orion capsule, checking out some of the basic systems. This test run included the deployment of a series of parachutes to slow the space ship down to a safe speed for a landing in the ocean.

Tue
30
Dec

Population boom will drive 84th Legislature

The 84th session of the Texas Legislature kicks off Jan. 13, and the Lone Star state’s booming population will continue to drive decisions in the State Capitol.

Consumers are enjoying lower gas prices at the pump, but the near-halving of crude’s price per barrel since June has lawmakers nervous. The state’s “rainy day fund,” or RDF, is funded by oil and gas severance taxes. So while the RDF is flush now and legislators installed a “floor” of $7 billion for the fund, lawmakers may choose to again be thrifty with future commodity prices in question.

Tue
23
Dec

Adios to the big man who put family first

Andy Granados could be an intimidating figure. In 1990, he stood 6-foot-2 and topped the scales at 300 pounds. He was suspect of the scrawny white kid who was hanging around his daughter.

The first Christmas we spent together, Christine and I, two blissful (yet unmarried) young lovers, shared gifts in front of her parents. I don’t remember my gift to her, but I remember hers to me — a very personal gift, fancy boxer shorts. I remember it because I looked at her dad while stuffing the shorts into the couch cushions, and his large, brown eyes burned a hole into my psyche.

But over the past 24 years, I came to love that man with the laser eyes and know him as a man who always put his family first, even the gringo members.

Tue
23
Dec

Parks give economic boost to area tourism

The recent story about a Texas A&M study showed that state parks provide big economic boosts to areas where they are located — a combined $774 million in retail sales, $351 million in economic benefits and they create roughly 5,800 jobs statewide.

The study was led by Dr. John Compton, an A&M professor in the school’s Recreation, Parks and Tourism Department. In it, he gauged more than 14,000 park visitors and their spending habits for several months earlier in 2013. They were queried about their spending on fees, groceries, restaurant meals and equipment during their outings. Those results were then applied to 60 additional state parks using methodology.

The results are clear: Parks are a huge boost. Bastrop State Park visitors added nearly $1.7 million to that county’s economy and supported more than 35 jobs. In Palo Duro Canyon, visitors added more than $3.7 million to local coffers and supported 86 jobs.

Wed
17
Dec

A frugal German's Christmas tree yarn

I often joke that if it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all.

Such was the case last week while trying to help Santa decorate the Christmas tree.

For years and years, my family had always decorated the living room with a natural cedar tree that had been “picked fresh” from our ranch.

But there came a point in time when we persuaded ourselves that we were getting too old to crawl around on the mountainside hunting a tree, and when we would cut one, by the time we hauled it home and brought it into the living room, it somehow had just about doubled in size.

And over the years, since some in our family had developed allergies to that fragrant smell of Christmas, we decided that it would sure be easier to unpack a box, assemble an artificial tree and be done with the project in a couple of hours.

Wed
17
Dec

Organ donation is a gift that keeps giving

Last week, the Standard-Radio Post ran a preview of the event to honor the late Harper High School student Jacob Krebs during the Rose Parade on New Year’s Day.

We followed up this week by covering the event while hearing a plain-spoken, yet tear-inducing plea from Krebs’ mother, Mary, about organ donation (see page D4).

Jacob Krebs made the simple decision to check the box to be an organ donor when he applied for a driver’s license. When his short life ended in a drowning accident, the decision had been made to help others live.

And that’s exactly what happened. Krebs’ organs were used to save four lives, including that of a man who received a double-lung transplant shortly after Krebs’ death. That man was in attendance at the Friday event honoring Krebs, as a living testament to organ donation’s importance. Krebs’ tissues, from corneas to tendons, were used to help more than 40 other people.

Wed
10
Dec

A quiet early Sunday, just like any other ....

his year, Dec. 7 fell on a Sunday.

Perhaps it was fitting: 73 years ago on Dec. 7, 1941, when the Japanese invaded Pearl Harbor and brought America into World War II, it was also on a Sunday.

As I left church to attend the Pacific War Museum’s Pearl Harbor remembrance ceremony with my two youngest sons, I noticed something interesting about Fredericksburg.

It was quiet, almost as if residents had vacated and left behind a ghost town.

That’s not unusual, is it? Sunday mornings in many towns tend to be whisper quiet, sometimes because people were out late on a Saturday night and are sleeping in. For others, Sunday is their only day to sleep in.

It was probably very quiet during that 1941 morning in Pearl Harbor that lives in infamy. People slept in, others were awake having breakfast, and some probably leisurely read the paper while sipping coffee.

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