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EDITOR’S NOTE: Give thanks

A favorite time of year has arrived for many. It’s a time for family, cheerful spirits and, well, thanksgiving. I suspect I’m like many of you who find yourself a little bit more patient with your fellow man this time of year, and, considering the events of recent weeks, the arrival of the holiday season couldn’t be more welcomed.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Reacting to terrorism

It has been surreal to watch as France tries to cope with the horrific terrorist attack that happened in Paris earlier this month. I imagine that what we’re experiencing is similar to the feelings the rest of the world had as they watched the aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001, looking on with feelings of disbelief and fear.

BRIAN TAYLOR: A place at the table

The Thanksgiving holiday is upon us. A time when we feast on turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and many other side dishes. I love this time of year. When you study the rich history of Thanksgiving you find that the first Thanksgiving was a three-day festival. I guess a few of us still celebrate like that. The pilgrims and American Indians ate together that first Thanksgiving of 1621 to celebrate their survival, and to thank their new found Wampanoag Indian friends for helping them learn to survive. George Washington later recognized that states were celebrating a time of thanksgiving which usually happened sometime in autumn, but different celebrated it at different times. Abraham Lincoln was the first president to make it an official national holiday. He did so after the Civil War to try and unite the states in some small way.

MEREDITH FOSTER: Darkness in the City of Light

Paris is known for its cafes, fabulous museums, and historic monuments. A trip to France’s capital is generally thought to be a romantic and sought after experience. On Friday, Nov. 13, however, the European city became a graveyard for over 100 innocent people. Three restaurants, a concert hall, a movie theater, and a football stadium were all strategically attacked by ISIS soldiers. I happened to be visiting Paris that weekend, and I never could have imagined the bloodshed that would occur just a short distance from my friend’s apartment.

LARRY PHILLIPS: Appropriations Committee charges an indicator of budget issues

Interim charges are the issues that the Speaker asks committees to study during the time between regular legislative sessions in order to make recommendations for legislation for the following legislative session. This week I will discuss the interim charges recently issued to the House Committee on Appropriations. The Appropriations Committee is the largest committee in the House with 27 members, and is charged with preparing the state’s biennial budget. The charges are good indicators of what issues the committee will consider when crafting the budget next session. The committee has 19 charges.

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Midwife as apothecary

I can finally hold my baby. He is a fine baby boy. He’s sweet and darling and full of toes, fingers and cute facial expressions. It’s only been a week, but it feels like a lifetime since I watched my midwife performing newborn tests in my son’s first hour of contact with the world. My midwife was working with two student midwives and she told one of them to conduct a neck test, by which she asked, “Do you know how to perform the tonic neck test?” Then she showed the young lady that by holding my baby’s hands, she could roll him from side to side and his neck would turn along with his body. Yep, that meant he passed.

MOMENTS WITH THE MINISTER: A slow cup of morning coffee

I’m told that smells have the power to evoke powerful memories and one of those smells in my life is fresh brewed coffee. Every morning of my high school days started with my dad drinking his morning cup of coffee and, although I don’t drink it, the smell always reminds me of those mornings.

JOHN RATCLIFFE: ‘Clean Power Plan’ is bad news for Texas ratepayers

Access to affordable and reliable electricity is about more than being able to turn on your lights when you get home from work. We need it to power our schools, supermarkets, hospitals, offices, manufacturing plants and airports. But like all things in life, electricity isn’t free. In fact, almost half of Texas’ population spends over 15% of their annual household budget on energy costs alone according to data on residential energy consumption patterns. To stand up for the middle class, I have an obligation to fight for policies that keep energy affordable.

LARRY PHILLIPS: House committee examines ag issues

One of the duties of the Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives is to assign interim charges to legislative committees within the House. Interim charges are the issues that the Speaker asks committees to study during the time between regular legislative sessions in order to make recommendations for legislation for the following legislative session. Similarly, the Lieutenant Governor assigns interim charges in the Senate. Each committee will typically hold hearings in order to study the issues to which they were assigned and will conclude the studies with a report submitted to the Speaker prior to the legislative session.

LARRY PHILLIPS: Prop 7 dedicates funds for highway projects

This week’s column is the last in a series outlining the seven proposed constitutional amendments on which Texas voters will decide on Tuesday. These amendments were joint resolutions that were passed during the recent legislative session; however, because they change the Texas Constitution, they need voter approval before they can take effect. I will be providing information about the proposals in the order in which they will appear on the ballot. This information is taken from a report by the House Research Organization, a nonpartisan agency that provides information to the legislature.