Carl Parker's archive

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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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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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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It seems to me that come election time, people would give some thought to what impact electing one party or one person over the other would have on the things most important to them. Of course, family usually comes first, but tied to the family is that one earns a living to provide for the necessities of a family. I am constantly amazed at how easily people are distracted by collateral issues and seem to forget about voting for their own interests or selecting candidates with whom they have much in common.

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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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