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By Mac McKinnon
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Christmas has come and gone once again and I hope you and yours had a
It just seems that maybe - just maybe - our world is getting its act
together in many areas. People are asking questions on why things are
the way they are and some long standing problems are either gone or are
I can't exactly put my finger on all of these, it's just a feeling I
have by watching and listening to people. Sure, there are many problems
in our society and our world that defy understanding and comprehension
but I believe many of those problems are being exposed.
You might have already figured out that when I say exposed, I'm talking
about the news media and our world of mass and instant communications.
Before we had all this ability to communicate and learn instantly what
is going on in the world, we were lost in innocence.
With exposure, problems can be solved. If we don't realize certain
problems exist, we can't very well solve them or at least lend a hand to
help in the solution. It's kind of letting air get to a sore to heal it.
That's one reason I enjoy being the media as I believe we - especially
the print media - have been instrumental in securing freedom for some
people and getting help for people who need it.
That may sound like I'm bragging and perhaps I am. But it makes a person
feel good about what they do. I realize I haven't had much to do with
all this but I've been a part of the big picture.
The reason I note the print media is that it seems the newspapers of the
world are the only ones who have any initiative in going out and getting
stories and then printing them even though it may cause controversy. The
broadcast media just seems to follow along and pick up the crumbs.
Some people are always asking if newspapers are ever going to cease to
exist. I don't think so. Newspapers are just too important in our world.
Again that may sound like I'm bragging, but that's what I believe. I'm
not trying to ballyhoo the "power of the press" as the press doesn't
have any power. We only serve to empower the public by keeping them
Almost everything you hear about came from stories in the newspaper.
That's how much the news affects your life. And newspapers can be even
more effective if the public will communicate with us and let us know
what you want and when we make mistakes. Yes, we do make mistakes
because we are human and cover a lot of ground in a hurry.
As we move into a new year and rush headlong into a new century, it is
important that people keep abreast of the many changes going on. The
best way to do that is to read the newspaper - preferably the Pecos
Enterprise but any other paper is almost as good.
Happy New Year.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Mac McKinnon is editor and publisher of the Pecos
Enterprise. His column appears on Wednesday and Friday.
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The nation's alarming trend away from funding basic research was
highlighted by the welcome announcement by Microsoft that it intends to
increase spending on basic research by 300 percent next year.
Most companies, such as the once-groundbreaking Bell Laboratories,
unfortunately are going the other way. They're cutting back on basic
research in favor of applied research, which is focused on producing
specific products. Our government similarly has moved to slash funding
for basic research that doesn't produce immediate, tangible results.
``We think this is a disastrous mistake,'' said Nathan Myhrvold,
Microsoft's chief technology officer. ``We disagree with many of these
national trends, and we're putting our money where our mouth is.''
Basic research allows humans to understand the laws of nature. Any
payoff is nearly always unanticipated and often decades away. Any nation
that walks away from conducting fundamental explorations into the nature
of the planet and universe does so at its peril.
-- Seattle Post-Intelligencer
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By RICK PERRY
Imagine salting away a hefty chunk of your paycheck into a savings
account every month, but being prohibited by the government from making
withdrawals for major purchases such as financing your child's college
education, going back to school or creating a small business. That's
exactly the situation many Texas homeowners face with an estimated $123
billion in equity assets tied up in their homes and out of reach due to
a state homestead law that restricts second mortgages.
I believe this constitutional limit on home equity law should be
modified because it restricts statewide economic development, hinders
small business expansions and costs Texans consumers more when they
borrow money. Under current law, liens cannot be placed on homesteads
except to pay for the house, make home improvements or settle taxes due.
This restriction's roots go all the way back to the early 1800s when
many early settlers were fleeing creditors and coming to Texas during a
national economic depression to make a new start. Starting with a
sweeping homestead exemption law recommended by Stephen F. Austin to
protect colonists' land grants, the idea has continued to be legislated
and enforced up until today as we enter a new century.
In agriculture, opposition to changing the law remains strong among
some farmers and ranchers, who fear that they will be pressured to use
their homes, as they now use their land, as collateral for production
loans. However, with specific provisions to address this concern and
others, I believe changing the exemption could open a new source of
low-cost loans to Tex~as homeowners and at the same time help boost the
Like many working Texans, a large portion of my paycheck goes toward
house payments. So it should be my personal choice and responsibility if
I want to borrow against equity that I have built up in my home over the
years. After all, it's the fruit of my own labor. Borrowing against your
hard-earned equity is a basic private property right in every state
except Texas. If I am reliable enough to put a down payment on a home,
maintain it in good shape and pay taxes and insurance, then I also
should be responsible enough to know when I can borrow on its equity and
repay a loan.
A home equity borrowing program should be tailored to meet the needs of
Texas. Safeguards should be included in any changes made to the law so
that homeowners are not unduly pressured to borrow on their home equity.
Ultimately, changing the homestead law would give many Texans access to
lower cost loans. Unlike other loans, interest on home equity borrowing
is tax deductible from federal income taxes and, on average, the
interest rates are lower than on other types of loans. If home equity
borrowing were allowed, Texas consumers and businesses could A. save an
estimated $382 million annually in interest costs and tax savings,
according to an April report by the Texas Comptroller's office. For
example, annual savings on a four-year loan could be $230 on a $30,000
educational loan; $383 a year on an auto loan and more than $1,600 a
year over financing on credit card debts.
Texas homeowners should be granted access to their home equity savings.
The current ban is designed more to protect us from ourselves than to
protect us from bankers. If you as a homeowner feel that taking out a
second mortgage on your home is too risky, you should simply not borrow
against your equity. While consumer protection provisions should be
placed in the law, borrowing against your home's equity should be a
choice that is up to each individual homeowner.
Let's open up those thousands of closed savings accounts across Texas.
Let's help boost our state's economy. Let's give Texans access to money
they need to finance dreams like earning an advanced degree, starting a
small business or giving their children the best college education that
money can buy.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Rick Perry is Texas Commissioner of Agriculture.
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In an increasingly mobile world, it is not surprising that the concept
of dual citizenship is growing.
More than 40 nations, from Israel to Yemen to Nicaragua to the United
States, permit the practice. Partly in recognition of this fact - and to
a greater extent, economic realities - the Mexican congress recently
approved constitutional changes that will allow 5.5 million Mexican
Americans living in the United States to retain Mexican citizenship.
While the constitutional provisions must be ratified by two-thirds of
the 31 Mexican states, this move has wide popular support throughout the
country and among Mexican-Americans in the United States.
Under dual citizenship, Mexican-Americans would maintain formal ties
with their country of origin, including the right to own property and
the right to vote in Mexican elections.
Mexican-Americans comprise the largest immigrant population in the
United States. Consequently, questions are being raised about divided
loyalties and the influence that Mexico, through citizens able to vote
in both countries, would have on American politics.
Though no one has precise answers to these questions, the fact is that
the links between this country and Mexico are growing exponentially.
More clearly defining the legal status of the estimated 3.5 million
Mexicans living legally in the United States who are not American
citizens would benefit both countries.
Mexican-Americans have played an important role in U.S. and California
history, and questions of divided loyalties are not cause for concern.
For instance, one of every five Americans killed in Vietnam was a
Mexican-American. And, as the November elections proved,
Mexican-Americans are becoming politicized even without the benefit of
America maintains the right to set its standards for citizenship.
Mexico has that same right for its citizens.
-- Copley News Service
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Associated Press text, photo, graphic, audio and/or video material shall
not be published, broadcast, rewritten for broadcast or publication or
redistributed directly or indirectly in any medium. Neither these AP
Materials nor any portion thereof may be stored in a computer except for
personal and non-commercial use. The AP will not be held liable for
any delays, inaccuracies, errors or omissions therefrom or in the
transmission or delivery of all or any part thereof or for any damages
arising from any of the foregoing.
Copyright 1996 by Pecos Enterprise
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
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