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LARRY PHILLIPS: Texas House represents state’s diversity

The start of the legislative session is a very busy time for returning and new legislative members. While each member is here to do the same job of representing the needs of his or her constituency, each legislator’s background is unique. Through other members, legislators learn about issues facing Texans across the state that may be specific to their areas.

LET’S REMINISCE: A pond for all ages

Not far from our farmhouse was a small stock pond or tank that had been constructed to provide a watering hole for cattle and other farm animals. As a small child I thought of this pond primarily as the home of crawfish, frogs, and turtles. With a little home-cured bacon tied to a piece of string attached to a short stick, my little brother and I could catch a few unwary crawfish. We had no interest in cooking and eating them, however, so after keeping our catch in a jar or can for a short while, we’d return them to the pond. The big red ones, mean and ugly looking, were a more desirable catch than the smaller gray ones.

ADAM MINTER: Xinjiang, China’s fertile ground for Islamic State recruiters

Three hundred Chinese citizens, members of the country’s Uighur ethnic group, have recently traveled to the Middle East to join Islamic State. Those Uighurs are part of a broader Muslim migration, spurred by a government crackdown, away from China’s western province of Xinjiang, where Muslims have lived for over 1,000 years. Although they were designed to dampen Islamic separatism, Chinese policies in the region are creating fertile ground for Islamic extremism.

OPINIONS FROM THE WEB: Vaccines and student-teacher relationships

Sandra Adams Benavides via HeraldDemocrat.com: Your article is definitely one-sided (go with the herd). I suggest you investigate: 1) why parents choose not to have their children vaccinated; 2) those who contracted the disease, what percentage were vaccinated; 3) concerning sunscreen, aside from merit, are there side effects to children and adolescents regarding hormones.

MOMENTS WITH THE MINISTER: The modern cross is as uncomfortable as Jesus’ cross

A simple cross, worn around someone’s neck can be so attractive. It is an appealing piece of jewelry; a sometimes expensive accessory that looks just right. We’ve come a long way from how the cross was understood in Jesus’ day. It was something that was expensive then, but could be easily had. All one had to do was go against the rule of Rome and it could be worn on one’s back until the bearer was pinned to it.

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GOOD MORNING: The day of rest

If I spoke with any of the readers of this Good Morning last week, I do apologize for any time I coughed into the phone’s microphone or if you had any trouble hearing me. I was sick last week, and I had last Wednesday off anyway, but it was as good a time as any to take a good old-fashioned sick day.

Both parties should unite to save the filibuster

Philip Klein at the Washington Examiner makes the conservative case for the filibuster. He correctly says that the (extra-constitutional) filibuster is clearly constitutional, that the framers wanted to protect political minorities by making it difficult for majorities to act rapidly, and that they were right to do so.