I’ve received several emails asking me to express my views about the legislation to reform health care. I thought I had but I’ll write more on the subject in a commentary that you can read in this column. Please read it in its entirety. It’s a battle that has been waiting nearly a century for quality, affordable health care. It was on the national agenda in 1912 thanks to President Teddy Roosevelt. In 1945, President Harry Truman called for congress to protect Americans from economic fears of sickness. From President LBJ, President Bill Clinton and President Obama all ran on the promise of affordable health care. The Bush Administration ran from the subject. Insurance companies have the largest team of lobbyist in Washington plus they butter Republican toast.*****There is a lot going on locally. In fact, there is talk about putting Danny Brack in a straight jacket. The guy has gone nuts. The problem, they say, started when his lovely wife Sherry and grandkids left for vacation in Florida. Efforts are being made to get her home before Danny gives away the grocery stores. He’s gone crazy, like selling a full gallon of milk for only 99 cents and many other crazy deals.*****The Family Pharmacy in Bridge City is holding a big, grand re-opening after Ike. Everyone is invited.*****Our buddies Peggy and Richard Albair are having their grand opening for Peggy’s on the Bayou Restaurant on Friday, Aug. 14. It will be a great time to be on the Bayou. Live music featuring the old master Ralph Richardson, Crawfish Jackie, along with the dynamic William and Melissa Shehan. You always get plenty to eat at Peggy’s. I wouldn’t miss the party. 11 a.m. till. I might even bring our bird Creaux. He and Ralph will make a great pair.*****Bridge City is really back. Gary’s Café is finally re-opened and that was all that was missing. It just ain’t Bridge City without Gary’s. I wonder if they will still have that great 2-2-2 breakfast any time of the day.*****It’s going to be a crazy week. In fact, quarterback Michael Vick is going to make his case on “60 Minutes” Sunday. Forty years ago, in 1969, it was also a wild week, Woodstock and the world learned about Janis Joplin.*****Then there was the unfolding story about the big surge by the Bayou Boys, “The Pride” of Texas East. The big shootout in Waco will be on Thursday, 7 p.m., live on ESPN. More later. I’ve got a lot of ground to cover so I’d better get going. Come along, it won’t do you no harm.

Ike came along 11 months ago and dumped a surge on Bridge City. The never say die adults dug in and started rebuilding the community. Meanwhile, the Little League boys and girls dug in and beat all the competition and four Bridge City teams, two girl teams and two boy teams made it to the state playoffs. That is a record in itself. The unflappable 12-year-olds did what no other area team has ever done. They came back time and again to go undefeated in Regional playoffs. They created a surge of their own in hopes that their storm will spill all the way to Williamsport, Pa. and the World Little League Championship. First business first; they must take care of the big Texas shootout Thursday, against Texas West. Our congratulations to these exciting, never say die kids. Also to a great coaching staff. Stay focused and bring home the bacon.

It is evident that an ugly campaign is underway to disrupt and misrepresent the health insurance reform legislation. Insurance company supported Republicans have mastered the art of plucking a single piece of language in a bill and wildly distorting it. The Internet spreads anonymous chain emails to people who are vulnerable and gullible. Talk radio, mostly Rush Limbaugh and television’s FOX News give the lies a boost. The laughable claim is that health reform means “Socialism” or a government take over. Those making the claim are staunch supporters of government-run Medicare, the closest thing to socialism in the USA. Two things are happening, one is like Republican senator of South Carolina, Jim DeMint, bypassing the substance, said, “It’s a chance to break a popular democratic president.” The other is protecting their biggest supporters the insurance industry. The American Medical Association supports the bill as does pharmaceutical and hospital groups. Why doesn’t insurance support it? The answer is that under this bill they will no longer be able to rape the American people. Without a reform bill insurance rates will escalate and be non-affordable for many families. Also, the insurance companies will pick and choose and continue to not cover existing conditions. Reform will mean peace of mind for the middle-class. Never again will medical bills drive them bankrupt. Never again will Americans be in danger of losing coverage if they lose their job, never again will insurance companies be allowed to not cover pre-existing conditions. The “doughnut hole” that denies drug coverage between $2,700 and $6,100 per year will close under the health care bill. The biggest lie is how critics have twisted end-of-life counseling, already covered in a new patient’s first Medicare visit.
They know better but they are scaring senior citizens by calling it a cost-saving plot by the government to force seniors to end their lives early. This issue was first aired on former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson’s radio show. House Republican leader John Boehner picked up the notion, then Sarah Palin weighed in with claims that Obama would create a government run “death panel.” A fear tactic. They should be ashamed of themselves. Boehner printed out a colorful sheet with impressive looking numbers and told his vacationing congressmen to cover the country and spin their ‘Talking Points’ at town meetings. I’m looking at one of those propaganda sheets. It explains nothing about the reform bill without the talking points added. They don’t want or are afraid of differing views. They don’t want the facts expressed. They want to drown out the facts. We may not like everything in this bill but doesn’t it make more sense to work together than to let Limbaugh polarize the country. We will get health care reform. Wouldn’t it be much better to have an orderly discussion than corporate sponsored, orchestrated disruptions. Congressmen with their little sell-sheets their leader sent them out with is political theater. Hiring protesters, disrupting meetings and preventing democratic congressmen from talking to their constituents, hanging them in effigy, holding signs displaying a tombstones with congressmen’s names on them is going way, way too far. Limbaugh calling our president a Nazi and comparing him to Hitler is going too far. This move to save the insurance companies will further destroy the Republican Party and the moderates will be put in the same box as the radicals. Their actions are ridiculous and shameful. Save insurance companies at all cost, lie if you must, polarize the country if you have to.

We were saddened to learn of the death of Ada Ruth “Rusty” Nicks, 85, on Aug. 4. We first met Rusty when she served as legal secretary and ran the office for the law firm of Hustmeier and Harris. Everyone who knew this fine lady loved her. She and her late husband of 55 years, Johnnie, lost their daughter Sharon in an auto accident several years ago. Rusty was a go-getter, very intelligent. When she left the real estate business 28 years ago the Dunn’s bought the office she had built and the place became known as “The Creaux’s Nest.” Many in the legal profession have fond memories of this fine lady. Condolences to her family and friends. Please see obit.*****We were shocked to learn about the sudden death of the “Plant Doctor” Cecil Dennis Franklin, 57, who died of a heart attack in the Bridge City Market Basket parking lot Aug. 6. Few people knew more about horticulture than Dr. Franklin. He received a Bachelors degree in Botany from McNeese and a Masters degree from Texas A&M, then a PH.D. He also received a post doctorate degree from Purdue. He was a newspaper columnist, television and radio personality and a lot more. Please see obit.*****Roy Crim, 93, passed away Aug. 8. The Bridge City resident started in the 1940’s to build a community from a place called Prairieview.  His contributions are many. We had known him for over 50 years and have known no man with more energy or principle. He and Ms. Pearl raised a great family. Service will be held Saturday, Aug. 15, 10 a.m. at First Presbyterian Church in Orange. Visitation will be Friday, 6 to 8 p.m. at Claybar Funeral Home in Orange. Please see story.*****It’s with sadness that we learned about the death of Lonnie Ham Sr., age 62, on Aug. 9. We had known Lonnie since he was 7 years old. We knew his mom and dad and large family. They were all down to earth, great people. To his children, Lonnie Jr. and Darrel, their families and all the siblings, family and friends our sincere condolences. Please see obit for arrangements.

35 Years Ago-1974
We understand that Al Zeno is doing fine after having open-heart surgery in Houston. *****We hear that Scotty Smith has a broken ankle from playing volleyball. *****Fain Holbrook is out of the hospital after a long stay. *****Betty Glover is in traction at Orange Memorial. *****Judy and Gary Savoy celebrated their seventh anniversary last week. *****Roy Dunn, who has been in St. Mary’s Hospital for over a week due to his ticker, was joined through the same emergency entrance by Bill Clark. The third floor of St. M’s will never be the same. Bill was released; Roy may be hospitalized for some time yet. Jimmie “J.K.” Conn visited and brought him magazines to catch up on the news when he felt better. The newest magazine was published 50 years earlier, in 1924. While Roy was out, Ms. Phyl and crew were putting out the popular Opportunity Valley News. (Editor’s note: Roy lived to see 35 years go by and after a 15 year retirement went back to his love for publishing and has guided the Record Newspapers, the Penny Record and the County Record. The OVN and Triangle Press were sold in 1980.)*****Tee Bruce Day to be held Aug. 18 at Sparkle Paradise in Bridge City. The celebration will feature many bands, plenty of food and special guest, Doug Kershaw and Cajun humorist Justin Wilson. *****Louvenia Hryhorchuk, who has been tax assessor collector for two years, is getting high marks for the new efficiency and improvements she’s added to the office. She has worked in the office since she was a high school student. *****Judge Sid Caillavet is entering the hospital Aug. 20 for surgery. *****Charles Prejean Sr., owner of the Texaco station on 16th. Street is in St. Elizabeth Hospital in Beaumont. *****President Richard Nixon resigns; Vice President Gerald Ford becomes United States president. The nation is relieved that the Nixon saga is finally over. It all started because of a Watergate break-in that ultimately revealed a lot of wrong doing by his Republican administration. *****One of Orange’s true beauties is Babs Northcutt Conn.*****Attorney Jerry Zunker is the nattiest dresser among the lawyers.

 30 Years Ago-1979
Dr. Wayne Pierce died at home Sunday, Aug. 12, at age 82. He will long be remembered for his good Samaritan works. He delivered many babies free of charge or for very little. He never turned down anyone for lack of funds. The Pierce family moved to Orange just before 1900 and his father was also a doctor. Dr. Wynne graduated from Orange High in 1914. He served in the infantry Army in World War I. He and Clay Dunn marched through France together, serving in the 38th Field Artillery. Dunn and Pierce stayed friends until Dunn’s death in 1959. After the war, Dr. Pierce completed his education and set up his family practice in Orange in 1926. For many years he was co-owner of the Frances Ann Lutcher hospital. He was buried Tuesday, Aug. 14, in Evergreen Cemetery. His pallbearers were old-line Orangeites Traylor Sells Sr., Judge James Neff, Judge Graham Bruce, Homer Stark, Tom Rogers, Edgar Brown III, Major Inman Jr., Albert “Cowboy” Adams and Wayne Arrington. (Editor’s note: Many people still live in the area that Dr. Wynne delivered. Some boys were named after him. One was our good friend Wynne Hunt who passed away a few years ago. It would be interesting to hear from you if Dr. Wynne brought you into this world.(*****Former Bridge City Police Chief Hank Eckhardt will assume duties of police chief at Crowley, Texas on Aug. 27.*****Patsy and Bill Nacol, owners of the local Nacol’s Jewelry, are moving to Lafayette to open a new store. They will still own the local store on MacArthur Circle. (Editor’s note: As far as I know the Nacol’s are still around Lafayette. We haven’t heard a word about them in 20 years.*****Doug Ballard is home form a Houston hospital where he was treated for Spinal Meningitis.*****Bridge City resident Neil Bond had surgery last week. (Editor’s note: What great folks. After many years in B.C. Neil and Mary returned to their home grounds and now live between Mexia and Jewitt. One of their sons still lives and works for BCISD where his dad was employed for many years.*****Ann and Jude Hebert, along with their four sons, Troy, Trent, Trey and Tarrin, have just returned from a trip to Wyoming.*****Lou and Arval Hebert are the parents of new twins born a few days ago. Manson Hebert is the proud grandfather of Michael and Anna.*****Former West Orange and Texas Longhorn second baseman Andre Robertson was named to the sporting news all American team, compiled by the nation’s professional scouting directors. Robertson was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays and assigned to Dunhedin, of the Florida league, where he is known as “Robbie.”*****On Aug. 9, Texas celebrated the 170th birthday of William Barrett Travis. The hero of the Alamo was born in Edgefield County, South Carolina. He was just under 27 years old when he died at the Alamo, on March 6, 1836. He shared command at the Alamo with James Bowie and when Bowie became sick, Travis took full command. The letter Travis sent out before the fall of the Alamo is considered one of the most heroic documents in American history. He’s also remembered for drawing a line in the dust with his sword for those of his men, who refused to surrender, not to cross.*****Al McKay and Pam Budge celebrate their second wedding anniversary this week. (Editor’s note: Al died in the 1980’s at age 42.)

Little did I know when I wrote on Sunday that Bill Clinton was the right man, at the right time to deal with North Korea, that by the time our paper hit the streets Wednesday morning, President Clinton was landing in Los Angles. He had brought home the two journalists, Euna Lee and Laura Ling, who had been captive. That accomplishment is a perfect example of how former President Clinton can be used. The State Department, headed by Hillary, can do the primary work and then send Bill to close the deal. He’s a great closer. In the past, former President Jimmy Carter was used the same way. I miss on some but I hit that one right on the nose. I also said Sonia Sotomayor would be confirmed to the Supreme Court before week’s out by at least 66 votes. She got 68 and if Sen. Kennedy could have been there she would have gotten 69.*****Dr. David Olsen was hunting in Argentina when he overheard a man say his father was in the lumber industry. Mr. Louie Brown turned out to be Edgar Brown’s son. His daughter Molly, who had just visited him in Argentina, at one time dated David’s brother. Small world ain’t it?*****We were glad to hear that Rush Wood, longtime area sports journalist, has hired on to the sports information staff at Lamar University. He had served as sports information director at Lamar from 1979 to 1991 before joining the Beaumont Enterprise as assistant sports editor. He was sports editor in Orange, Port Arthur, and sports writer for the Houston Post and El Paso Times. Rush is married to our special friend Louise Wood. A great couple, he’s quite, she’s vocal. Works great.*****Analyst predict end of recession. The impact of the nation’s stimulus plan will increase this quarter, helping stability and the beginning of an upturn. Nobel prize-winning economist Paul Krugman said the deepest slump since the Great Depression may be ending. It took President Franklin Roosevelt 10 years to get the country back on the upswing despite throwing a lot of money at the problem; it stopped the down turn but took WWII to stabilize the country. Obama didn’t have the Great Depression but not even he and his staff realized how close to the edge the Bush Administration had driven the country. Meanwhile, Bush doubled the national debt and threw away $1 trillion in Iraq. Now the same people who supported Bush’s failed policies are not willing to support help for the American people. They gave away more in aid to foreign countries. Go figure.*****Special folks celebrating birthdays this week: Our longtime bud Gene Hidalgo, the guy who cheated death.*****The lovely Carolyn Ward, what a nice lady.*****Doug and Regina Harrington’s beautiful daughter, (looks like her mom), Britanie H. Long celebrates this week.*****A great lady Nancy Finchum has another birthday.*****Our buddy Monty Eshbach and Kristie Gunn also celebrate.*****Happy birthday to one of the great guys, Henry Bland, an Orange County pioneer.*****Celebrity birthdays on Aug. 12. Pete Sampras will be 38 and George Hamilton, 70.*****Aug. 13, Fidel Castro, 83.*****Aug. 14, Hallie Berry, 43; Magic Johnson, 50; Steve Martin, 64 and Lynne Cheney, 68.*****Aug. 15, Mike Connors, 84; Ben Affleck, 37; Linda Ellerbee, 65 and Julia Child would have been 97.*****Aug. 16, Madonna, 51; Kathie Lee Gifford, 56 and on the same day husband Frank will be  79.*****Aug. 17. Sean Penn. 49; Robert DeNiro, 66 and Maureen O’Hara, 89. *****Aug. 18, Patrick Swayze, 57; Robert Redford, 73; Rosalynn Carter, 82 and Roman Polanski, 76.

After asking why Hillary Clinton wasn’t with Bill in North Korea to gain release of the two journalist Rush Limbaugh said, “Because she was in Kenya, kissing Obama’s grandfather’s grave.” That was after he called President Obama Hitler. The guy either stays stoned on pills or should be locked up because he’s nuts.

Jared Sleeman, Jennifer Babin, Ken Phelps, Lyn Goodwin, Monty Eshbach, Wade Estes, Terry Walles, Aaron MacCammond, Ada Bridges, Andrew Glover, Jerry Windham, Kevin Berry, Lindsey Schaffer. Myrtle Singletary, Bill Triggs, Britanie Long, Charlotte Conn, Christina Myers, Gavyn Fisher, Kristie Gunn, Valerie Richter, Brandi Arnold, Norma Smith, Beth Holm, Christine Johnson, Gwen Boehme, Joe Sanders, John Everett, Jordan New, Karen Day, Nancy Finchum, Shandi Conner, Dagma Hood, Danielle Heil, Henry Bland, Jane Busby, Carolyn Ward, Gene Hidalgo, Helen Gresham and Ian MacCammond.

Joe Marceaux, 80-year-old, was widowed when his wife Agnes died las year. He was lonely but while in Church Point he met Mabel, a lovely 75 years old lady. He is a good Catalic and wouldn’t do anyting dat was against his religion so he axe Mabel to marry him.
She said, “Joe honey, I’ll marry you but you have to sign a prenuptial agreement.”
Marceaux answer, “I don’t know wat dat is me, but I luv you so much I’ll sign anyting.”
Mabel said, “I want to keep my house in Texas.”
Joe said, “Dats fine by me. I’ll keep my houseboat on Bayou Tech.”
“I want to keep my Cadillac,” she said.
“I’ll keep my pickup,” Joe answer.
“I want to keep my yacht at Padre Island,” she said.
“I’ll keep my pirogue,” he answer.
“I want to keep my jewelry,” said Mabel.
“Me, I’ll keep my stuffed deer head,” said Marceaux.
Mabel was writing it down for him to sign. Den Mabel said, “And me, I want to have sex six times a week.”
Marceaux him said, “Mais Cha, dats fine wit me, put me down for Friday.”

I’m all done. Some folks might have gotten some rain but as of this writing we haven’t. It’s been so dry that the Baptists are starting to Baptize by sprinkling, the Methodist are using wet wipes, Presbyterians are giving out rain checks and the Catholics are doing like T. Graham Brown, praying for the wine to turn back into water. Yes sir, that’s how dry it is.*****Thanks for tuning in, thanks for your loyalty and a special thanks to our family of advertisers. Please patronize them. We’re proud to be your hometown, locally owned, community newspaper. Read us cover to cover, you never know when we will give a test. Take care and God bless.