Opinion

A recent column in the Houston Chronicle by Lisa Falkenberg caught my attention. Her article centered around the pride felt and expressed by most of us Texans. She pointed out that unfortunately, in spite of our Texan bravado, Texas leads the nation in too many of the wrong things. Her article went on to point out we have been recently rated as the worst state in the union for delivery of health care.

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In this space last week, we expressed regret at the timidity of Beaumont Independent School District superintendent-in-waiting Dr. Timothy Chargois, who did not see fit to instruct his attorneys to remove an ill-gotten clause in his contract granting him an automatic pay raise despite the stated objections of virtually the entire BISD board. The board’s outside counsel Tanner Hunt allowed the clause to somehow slip into the contract.

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OK, Bible students out there, have you ever had a verse or a portion of a verse that stayed in your mind and just would not let you capture it in its entirety? Perhaps you thought of it at an awkward moment when you couldn’t look it up in your notes, find it in the Bible, or even check for it on a computer? This often happens to me when I’m driving or doing something else that I must complete. I’ve been thinking about this subject for more than two weeks – off and on, of course.

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Many things come to my mailbox, desk and computer every day concerning “religion,” a word I don’t really like very much. Because I have written in this realm for many years, I suppose my name is on a lot of mailing lists, and some still rely on the U.S. Postal Services to deliver their goodies to my door. Some are interesting while others are dumb. Much of it goes to File No. 13 after I have scanned through each piece, but some of it garners a second read and goes to one of the incoming boxes on my desk.

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Like many Beaumont residents, we at The Examiner hailed the appointment of Dr. Timothy Chargois — and the unanimous BISD board vote that approved it – as a hopeful sign that perhaps a new day was on the horizon for the troubled district.

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I’ve been struck lately by how quickly each presidential campaign attacks the other for the slightest misstatement. A most recent attack on President Obama grew out of his remark that none of us got to be successful on our own.

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My husband, Ted, and I attended the funeral of his sister in law, Aquila Freeman, in Houston on the same day as all newscasts were telling of the horrible murders in Aurora, Colo. Ted’s oldest daughter lives in Aurora and is a movie buff, so of course we called to see if she might have attended the Batman movie the night before. She did not, but she did tell us of chilling scenes taking place just a short distance from her home.

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Listening to pundits and some Republican advocates, I keep hearing the opinion that big money authorized by the Citizens United Supreme Court decision will not really make a difference in politics. When I hear this, I am reminded of a common saying I’ve heard for many years: “Money talks and BS walks.”

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That’s the amount of a phony invoice submitted by electrical contractor Calvin Walker to the Beaumont Independent School District. Walker admitted as part of his plea deal he “altered” that $382,975.32 invoice. According to a press release from the U.S. Attorney, the invoice actually turned out to be a quote and was not a purchase order, thus the items the invoice slated for purchase were never actually bought by Walker – and Walker’s check payable to that wholesaler in the amount of $382,975.32 was never presented to the wholesaler or negotiated.

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There’s an old, old, adage taken from Shakespeare that goes, “A rose by any other name smells as sweet.” No doubt a tax by any other name is still a tax. Conservative columnist Cal Thomas, a chief apologist for the Republican Party, finally uttered something I agree with. Thomas, in a recent piece commenting on the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Affordable Care Act, said that any time you take money from the people and give it to the government, it’s a tax.

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