Opinion Columns & Blogs

Opinion Columns & Blogs

Fighting for the falsely accused

Former Fort Worth, Texas, police officer Brian Franklin is finally free. But he is still fighting to clear his name. “I’ve been vindicated,” he told me in an interview last week, “but not yet exonerated.” Franklin served 21 years in prison — a harrowing 7,700 days — of a life sentence after he was convicted of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl in 1995. But he steadfastly maintained his innocence, studied law in the prison library and won a reversal of his conviction last spring. In December, a jury acquitted him after a second criminal trial.

Opinion Columns & Blogs

Trump and the media: Demolition derby

The traditional media have decided not to take President Trump’s insults lying down. After what may be the strongest — and to his supporters — most thrilling takedown of journalists by any president, Editor and Publisher magazine featured this headline: “Newspapers Aim to Ride ‘Trump Bump’ to Reach Readers, Advertisers.”

Opinion Columns & Blogs

Tariffs: Nothing in life is free

It was Nobel laureate economist Milton Friedman who made famous the adage, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” Professor Friedman could have added that there is a difference between something’s being free and something’s having a zero price. For example, people say that there’s free public education and there are free libraries, but public education and libraries cost money. Proof that they have costs is the fact that somebody has to have less of something by giving up tax money so that schools and libraries can be produced and operated. A much more accurate statement is that we have zero-price public education and libraries.

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A salute to champion and his pursuit of excellence

Dr. Melvin Pender Jr. is a bona fide American hero: An Olympic gold medalist (4x100 relay in the 1968 Mexico City Games at 31 years of age); a Bronze Star recipient with two tours of duty in Vietnam, retiring as a captain after having joined the Army at 17; a college graduate; a member of 11 halls of fame; a coach; an author and motivational speaker; a cancer survivor and a devout Christian. A list of remarkable achievements to which many of us would aspire but which few, if any of us, could ever equal. He has.

Opinion Columns & Blogs

Does Fort Worth ever cross your mind?

Whether it was on the free juke box at the original Longhorns on Peachtree Street in Atlanta, or on public television’s “Austin City Limits,” or just on the radio, I never heard George Strait’s wailing “Does Fort Worth Ever Cross Your Mind?” that I didn’t think about the two Jerrys – Wilson and Horton – and the one Bobby – Jones – and that summer in 1963 that the four of us spent working at Texas Steel Company in Fort Worth, Texas. And, I never hear “The Old Rugged Cross” where I am not transported back, in my mind, to that little country Methodist church, Pinehill, in Washington County, Georgia. I can see Grandma fanning and singing and Papa fanning and sitting and the memory is both warm and melancholy. There is nothing I can do to stop the feelings or change the memories. Funny how songs do that to me – and I expect to you, also.

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May we ask the big questions?

Our four biblical evangelists (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) are artists. Each one paints Jesus the way an artist paints a model. Unfortunately, their model has died years before they start painting. However, they do have other paintings — called scrolls — from year’s past, which they copy or redact, and they have many stories that are circulating in the different communities, and so they arrive – as all artists do — with their own individual themes.

Charles E. Richardson

Continuing a long tradition concerning letters to the editor

In the tradition of my colleague Phil Dodson before he passed away, we published from time to time, what we’d like to see on our editorial pages. More specifically, our letters to the editor. I realized I have been a bad boy and not carried on Phil’s tradition very well. Phil has been gone since 2011 and I can’t remember following his lead since his passing.

Opinion Columns & Blogs

Is a holy war in the offing?

It’s hard to keep up with everything that’s going on in our country and around the world since our colorful new chief executive moved into the White House. I feel like for the first time I understand why the old saying “may you live in interesting times” is considered to be a curse.

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Pawns of liberals

Ordinary black people cannot afford to go along with the liberal agenda that calls for undermining police authority. That agenda makes for more black crime victims. Let’s look at what works and what doesn’t work.

Opinion Columns & Blogs

A new direction on education

American public school students fall well behind students around the world in math and science proficiency. This is not debatable. According to the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study and the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study, both cited in The New York Times in 2012, “Fourth- and eighth-grade students in the United States continue to lag behind students in several East Asian countries and some European nations in math and science, although American fourth-graders are closer to the top performers in reading.” In California, the number of credentialed math and science teachers is actually declining, reports the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing.

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Riding on ‘recaps’ in a ‘57 Ford

I remember growing up in the ‘50s when times were somewhat difficult for the World War II guys who were trying to find their niche after the war. Dad was fresh out of the service with five mouths to feed plus a wife. He was trying to sell Cadillacs at Lloyd Motor Company in Panama City and, while he loved those Cadillacs, he could never think about owning one.

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Thank God for Harry Reid

There are many people to thank for the coming accession of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. Donald Trump for winning the election. Hillary Clinton for losing it. Mitch McConnell for holding open the high court seat through 2016, resolute and immovable against furious (and hypocritical) opposition from Democrats and media. And, of course, Harry Reid.

Opinion Columns & Blogs

Perdue knows a bit about draining swamps

You may have read that unusually cold winter in parts of Europe as well as drought conditions in the southwest United States have created a severe shortage of broccoli. I cannot say I was grieved to hear the news. I don’t like broccoli and have spent much of my adult life trying to fend off the Woman Who Shares My Name’s fiendish efforts to make me eat it. I have told her on more than one occasion that eating the stuff can cause your toes to turn green and that the only sure antidote is to consume massive amounts of banana pudding.

Charles E. Richardson

Has technology helped or hurt personal communication?

There is a disappearing art that has vanished write before our eyes. Before you accuse me of using the wrong form of the word “right,” let me explain. One of the drawbacks to technology, particularly social media, is the shorthand we’ve all become accustomed. We don’t write complete sentences anymore. We write in code — acronyms, emoticon and all.

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Never ending left-wing protest

We are three weeks into President Trump’s first term, and I am already exhausted. The non-stop protests, anger and nonsense can just wear you down. We’ve gone from a “Women’s March” that uninvited pro-life and evangelical women’s groups to a Women’s Strike to protesting over every little thing.

Opinion Columns & Blogs

Connecting Trump’s dots

Every day, the president’s behavior becomes more worrying. One day he demeans a federal judge who challenges him; the next day, without evidence, he accuses the media of hiding illegal voting or acts of terrorism. His lack of respect for institutions and truth pours out so fast, you start to forget how crazy this behavior is for any adult, let alone a president, and just how ugly things will get when we have a real crisis. And crises are baked into this story because of the incoherence of President Donald Trump’s worldview.

Opinion Columns & Blogs

I am not your ‘Negro’

Death has this way of making truth-tellers seem harmless. Alive, Martin Luther King provoked a president and divided a nation with his truth. Dead, he is an image on a commemorative place mat, his words safe enough for recitation by children.