True Tales

Two Pieces Recently Published in Texas Observer

Click on these two links to read two pieces I wrote this summer on the battle between Luminant andEast Texas taxing entities over the valuations of its coal and nuclear plants: https://www.texasobserver.org/luminant-corp-property-tax/     https://www.texasobserver.org/the-community-hospital-in-glen-rose-may-close-because-of-corporate-bullying-by-luminant/

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The Gun Toters

The Gun Toters By Gary B. Borders             Texas has a richly deserved reputation as a gun-toting state. In the months following the Sandy Hook Elementary shootings of twenty children and six adults in Connecticut, President Obama and others led failed attempts in Congress to ban assault weapons and large magazine clips and even a modest attempt to widen background checks on gun buyers. A few state legislatures — Connecticut, New York and Colorado — have passed stricter gun laws. At the same time, Texas politicians attempted to make guns more available, proposing to arm teachers...

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A Shaggy Dog Tale

Road To Redemption   This is a story about loss, redemption and a mutt named Rosie.  It is true, far as truth goes. Rosie belongs to my fiancé and her 13-year-old daughter — Julie and Abbie. She was an early Christmas present to themselves, a rescue puppy adopted from a local pet store. At the time she      resembled a six-pound version of Chewbacca from “Star Wars,” allegedly half Yorkie and half poodle. Nobody really knew. What was certain was Rosie — named by Abbie — had the makings of a fine little dog. She was alert, immediately housebroken and took to three-mile walks...

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The Red-Lander Feud

Jones will be here at 3 — cowhide him. Gillespie will call earlier, perhaps— throw him out the window. Ferguson will be along about 4 — kill him...The cowhides are under the table; weapons in the drawer — ammunition there in the corner— lint and bandages up there in the pigeonholes. In case of accident, go to Lancet, the surgeon, downstairs. He advertises — we take it out in trade. Mark Twain, "Journalism in Tennessee" |———| Twain’s humorous account of the perils involved in publishing a country newspaper in the mid-19th century might be a bit exaggerated, but bitter...

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Jaime and Me

Jaìme  first walked across el Rio Bravo de Norte from Mexico into Texas in 1998. He waded the river during the dry season and paid a coyote to drive him the 300-plus miles from the border to Deep East Texas, in the back of a truck with a dozen or so other men. Jaìme  is what, in a less politically correct time, was called a wetback. Now people like Jaìme  are called undocumented workers. I call him my compadre. Loosely translated, that means he is my pal. Not my amigo; that would presume too much on my part. Jaìme  calls me his patròn, though I’m but one of several Anglo men who contract...

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The Tobacco Queen of Texas

In late April of 1906, a one-paragraph news item appeared on an inside page of the New York Times: Justice Blanchard of the Supreme Court has granted Brodie L. Duke an interlocutory decree of divorce from his wife, Alice Webb Duke, to whom he was married on Dec. 19, 1904. She did not appear at the trial of the case. The cursory notice signaled the end of a marriage that got sensational front-page headlines in both New York and Chicago 15 months earlier, when readers learned that Brodie L. Duke, one of the Dukes of tobacco fame, had married an attractive, mysterious woman with a checkered...

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