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April 17, 2013     Hays Free Press
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April 17, 2013
 

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Hays Free Press ,, April 17, 2013 OPINION Page 5A + Two Senate bills making the award of certain financial benefits for certain individuals contingent on drug testing were passed by the Senate last week and have now moved to the House for consideration. SB 11 by Senate Health and Human Services Committee Chair Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, would require applicants for benefits under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program to submit to a screening for controlled substance use. If the screening assessment indicates good cause to suspect drug use, an applicant would be required to submit to a drug test. A person who fails a drug test would be allowed to retake the test after six months before they could receive benefits. Notably, the children of an applicant who fails a drug test would still be able to receive benefits through a "protective payee." SB 21 by Senate Finance Committee Chair TommyWilliams, R-The Woodlands, would amend the Texas Unemployment Compensation Act so that the Texas Workforce Commission may run a drug test on applicants for unemployment benefits who fail a pre-screen test and work in certain industries, such as transportation. In other action, the Senate approved legislation proposing to increase the number of charter schools that could operate in Texas from 215 to 305 incrementally over the next six years. SB 2, by Senate Education Committee Chair Dan Patrick, R-Houston, also would give the state the authority to close charter schools after three years for poor performance. GOOGLE PLANS BIG FOR AUSTIN Corporate officers of Silicon-valley based Google Inc., accompanied by Gov. Rick Perry and officials with the city of Austin, on April 9 announced a plan to install Google Fiber-- an ultra high-speed fiber optics broadband network with Internet speeds up to 1 gigabit per second -- in Austin in mid-2014. Google launched a similar broadband infrastructure project in Kansas City, Kan., a few months ago. One gigabit per second is about 100 megabytes of information transfer per second, or about 100 times faster than what is considered a fast Internet connection presently in the United States. SALES TAX REVENUES CLIMB State Comptroller Susan Combs on April 10 reported that state sales tax revenue in March was $1.98 billion, up 5.5 percent compared to March 2012. Combs said her office plans to send cities, counties, transit systems and special purpose taxing districts their April local sales tax allocations totaling $521.9 million, up 6.8 CAPITAL percent compared to April 2012. DROUGHT AFFECTS H20 RIGHTS The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality on April 5 informed water rights holders that the agency may need to administer water rights on a priority basis, as long as drought conditions persist. If restrictions become necessary, junior water rights, or those rights issued most recently, are suspended or adjusted before the senior water 'rights in the area, the agency said. Texas remains under a drought-related emergency disaster proclamation originally issued by the governor on July 5, 2011. WATER RELEASE IS WEL- COMED State Rep. Eddie Lucio III, D-Brownsville, on April 5 reported an announcement by the International Boundary and Water Commission that Mexico will release water from an upstream reservoir to recharge Falcon and Amistad Reservoirs. "This move," he said, "marks the first time in quite some time Mexico has responded to Texans' pleas to uphold the 1944 Treaty which allocates water that enters the Rio Grande River." "I am pleased to hear Mexico is finally taking first steps to resolve their water deficit with the United States. However, with a water deficit that stands over 400,000 acre-feet a onetime release from one reservoir will not solve the Valley's water woes." TXDOT LAUNCHES CAMPAIGN The Texas Department of Transportation on April 8 began its new"Talk-Text- Crash" campaign to coincide with National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. As part of the campaign to get Texans to stop using their portable communications devices for text messaging while they are driving, TxDOT said it is asking Texans "to do their part by making a simple commitment to focus on driving when they get behind the wheel." Although all the age groups are represented in the total number of traffic crashes caused by distracted driving, of the 90,378 traffic crashes in 2012 in Texas, the top two age groups are: 28,443 ages 16-24 and 23,784 over the age of 45, TxDOT reported. Ed Sterling works for the Texas Press Association and follows the Legislature for the association. edsterling@texaspress.com o "" OQO "ey, how's your NewYear's resolu- tion coming along? Have you quit smoking or finally cleaned out that garage that would've made a hoarder cringe? Well, I'm proud to say that today, roughly four months later, I achieved my goal of dropping 10 pounds. That's quite a feat for a fella who's addicted to brisket and beer. Now that I have accomplished my resolution, I've got to find a way to maintain this weight and keep this svelte, yet slightly bulging figure. I have some co-workers who have encouraged me to become a vegan. They claim I will feel better, lose weight, lower my blood pressure and live longer. Now, if I can no longer eat beef, fried chicken or a pile of bacon, then why in tarnation would I want to live longer? If you want to torture me for the rest of my life, just take away all meat products from my diet. And while you're at it, swap all my cold beer for herbal tea and cancel the NFL Pack- age from our satellite TV provider. Dang, you vegans are evil creatures! I consider myself open-minded, although I have revolving doors in my ear canals for useless information to exit shortly after I'm fed a pile of crap. So, instead of telling these vegans to go stuff themselves with tofu and bean sprouts, I decided to look into this rapidly expand- ing cult called veganism. Since I have a knack of stepping on toes like a drunken farm boy at a square dance, I might as well tick off a few vegans like I've done with other extremists. Veganism is the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products. There are two types of vegans: A dietary vegan is one who simply won't eat any meat, fish, eggs or dairy products; an ethical vegan is opposed t9 using any animal product. Veganism sprouted (pun intended) over in England in 1944, the same year the Brits banned dental hygiene. The term "vegan" was coined by Donald "String- bean" Watson, co-founder of the British Vegan Society. Here in the grand o1' USA, the Ameri- can Vegan Society was founded in 1960 by Jay Dinshah, a New Jersey native, who began screaming against cruelty to animals and promoting veganism as a healthier lifestyle. Had Mr. Dinshah been born in Texas, he would've been tar-and- feathered and stuffed in a northbound cattle car. Oh, by the way, Jay Dinshah, the big advocate of a healthy vegan diet suffered a fatal heart attack at the age of 66. Just sayin'... FROM THE Over the years, veganism expanded like Bubba's waistline at the Salt Lick, and wouldn't you know it, Austin started its own little group of meat-haters. Just a few weeks ago, those salad tossers threw a big shindig called the Texas VegFest. I'm sorry to say I missed the party because I was cleaning my barbecue pit and defrosting my meat freezer. Now, don't get me wrong, I don't have any problems with folks who engage in this veganism, but if someone adopts this lifestyle, then they should fully abide by its rules. There should be no cheating or fudging (isn't fudge made from dairy products?). If you are going to become a vegan, then you should go whole hog. No consumption or use of any animal. This includes not wearing those leather boots with a matching belt. Get rid of that down comforter on your bed. You can't have a feather in your cap or a lucky rabbit's foot in your pocket while tossing dice at craps table. There can't be any horns bolted to the grill of your Cadillac, and ethically, your kids shouldn't hunt for Easter eggs. What if the entire world population became vegans? Just think what would've happened had the Pilgrims been vegans? We wouldn't have turkey and dressing for Thanksgiving, just dressing. What if Noah had been a vegan and left cattle and pigs behind with the unicorns and chupac- abras? There would be no meat animals! What kind of world would we live in with- out cows, pigs and other tasty critters? Well, let's all take a tour of Vegan Earth. If there were no consumption of beef or dairy products, there would be no use for cows. There would be no cattle ranches. There would be no cowboys. Without cowboys, there would be no western wear stores, no tall Texans wear- ing tight Wranglers and Justin boots. Texas men would be sporting baggy khakis and flip-flops, except for a few fellas who prefer silky evening gowns and high heels. Without western attire, there would be no boot scootin' or two-steppin' on Saturday night. Instead, couples will be waltzing across ballroom floor in their plastic slippers. Without cows and cowboys, country music never would've generated from the western prairies. We wouldn't have spent countless Saturday mornings as kids watching Roy Rogers or Gene Autry sing to their cattle herds. With- out cows, we would've never seen John Wayne and Clint Eastwood on the big screen. Without cows, I doubt Texas would've ever attracted Stephen F. Aus- tin and others in 1821. Without Stephen Austin, our state capital would be name Weirdville. If we had no cattle, what would the mascot be for the University of Texas? Would Mack Brown be coaching the Texas Veggie Burgers? And up in North Texas, would Jerry Jones be the owner of the Dallas Carrot Crunchers? In the NBA, there would be no Mavericks or Chicago Bulls. Without cowboys, San Antonio would have no Spurs. Let's not forget about the swine com- munity. If humans didn't enjoy the taste of ham and bacon, would we really keep smelly pigs around? I'm sure Noah regret- ted having those filthy things on his ark. If we didn't have pigs, there would be no pigskins for quarterbacks to throw. There simply would be no football, and then what would men do every weekend between September and February? Watch cooking shows with their wives, hoping to learn new ways to prepare tofu? Without pigs, burly motorcyclists couldn't cruise dusty back roads on their hogs. There would be no laughter coming from toddlers tickled from hearing "... and this little piggy had roast beef." Kids would have no place to keep their allow- ance without a piggy bank. We wouldn't have pigs-in-a-blanket or arguments about hogging the covers on cold nights. We could never be in "hog heaven." A world without pigs might have cleaner air, but I personally like the chubby crea- tures, especially when they share a plate with scrambled eggs. So, how does veganism look now? Do we really want a world without cows and pigs? Do we want to swap prime rib and Boston butt for artichoke hearts and kid- ney beans? Do we want to sacrifice our taste buds for a healthier heart? As a red- blooded American cowboy, I plead with my fellow carnivores to take a stand and help fight these invading vegans from turning our barbecue grills into salad bars. Give me sirloin or give me death! crowsnest78610@yahoo.com ee~ Name Address Zip Email Home Phone No. Check Enclosed Charge credit card Credit Card # Exp. Date Signature / 3# Security Code Amount $ Over 657 Take 10% off! surrounding communities. P.O. Box 2530 Kyle, TX 78640 512 268 7862