Opinion

As we mark the second week since the Beaumont Independent School District got caught letting a bigoted principal shut down an adult cosmetology class rather than admit a gay student, some things never seem to change. Once again a district functionary commits a clearly wrong act, triggering the typical BISD response – first deny, then lie.

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One of the things that sets America apart from most other countries is the freedom we enjoy to give our opinions and basically say what we want to say. The importance of this right was reflected in numerous quotes of Thomas Jefferson who placed freedom of speech and freedom of the press at the highest level of our constitutionally guaranteed liberties. The right to speak one’s mind was further reinforced by a revolutionary new concept in America when early on our Supreme Court ruled that truth was a defense to libel and slander.

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Prejudice is an ugly thing. After decades of struggle to promote equality in these United States of America, we obviously have a more just society than the one we inherited from previous generations. But there is still plenty to be accomplished on the road to equality, despite unmistakable progress.

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My kids and my husband were off to do something fun, and I readily admit, I wanted to go and share their afternoon with them. I wanted to be with those I love, have some fun, and see and hear about what they were enjoying.

However, somewhere in my brain, and perhaps my heart, I knew I had work to do and I also knew I needed to get it done while I was fresh and alert. At the end of a tiring and busy day, my writing would suffer.

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Recently, prompted by a Republican rant about how America’s economy and the world would be better off if we would only get government off the backs of corporations, I engaged in a sometimes dangerous exercise. I started thinking about it. Almost every speech Mitt Romney or his surrogates make contains the same philosophy. They talk about how, if we simply gave tax breaks to corporations and rich people, and did away with the oppressive regulations, we would free up the job creators to produce untold numbers of jobs, and we would all once again be prosperous, rolling in dough.

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The Beaumont City Council has been a fairly congenial body in recent years, mostly devoid of the grandstanding, pandering and petty bickering often seen among elected officials who represent diverse constituencies. The norm on this council has been to build consensus, finding areas of compromise and agreement. This is often accomplished out of the public eye, which is a discussion for another day. But in recent weeks, an ugly strain of racially tinged discontent has surfaced at city hall in Beaumont.

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The long goodbye from Beaumont Independent School District Superintendent Dr. Carrol “Butch” Thomas is still an ongoing drama at the district’s Harrison Avenue headquarters. Apparently he isn’t willing to just retire and spend his days counting the loot he stashed during his 16 years as one of the highest paid school superintendents in the state. Word out of Austin is that Thomas has applied to Gov.

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For many years, property taxes have been a source of conversation and consternation in Texas. Even though overall, Texas ranks among the lowest taxing states of the union, property tax remains a sore spot with almost all citizens. In Texas, property taxes have risen from near the lowest in the United States in the mid-1950s to among the top three or four in the U.S. today.

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The first book I seriously ever worked on was one written by Dr. Elmer Towns, “The 100 Fastest Growing Churches in America.” Dr. Towns went on to be the dean of Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., and was a good friend to Dr. Jerry Falwell, but Dr. and Mrs. Towns were originally from Savannah, Ga., and in fact lived in the beautiful home once owned by the legendary Johnny Mercer, who wrote “Moon River” and many other hits. Dr.

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