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Posts published in “Day: April 16, 2002”

San Jacinto: Different Times, Same Meaning

An Op-Ed Column by Jim Haley

Sunday, April 21, marks the 166th anniversary of that brief, terrible battle that secured the independence of the Republic of Texas in 1836. At first hailed equally by Anglo and Tejano participants, it was the subsequent pervasiveness of prejudice and racism that bleached the victory into a largely white celebration. Many Hispanic Texans now feel, or are urged that they ought to feel, cheated and demeaned by celebrations of the victory at San Jacinto. This is unfortunate and needless.

For generations, the rectitude of the Texas revolution, and the celebration of its success at San Jacinto, were rarely questioned, at least within the Anglo community. However, the study of history has undergone many changes in the intervening century and two-thirds. Scholars in recent decades are more sensitive to injustices suffered by minority groups, and they have grown willing to take a more critical look at the participants in our history and their motives. This has been beneficial, because for too long the study of Texas history basked in a rosy glow of unquestioning Anglo hero-worship, which eventually established itself as a mythology that was, at times, far removed from historical reality.

But the study of history, like history itself, has swings of its pendulum, and the current trend of historical “revisionism” has gone, one senses, about as far as it can. When revisionism was reinforced with the advent of what we call political correctness, resulting in the construct of the “New History,” assertions about our past have become more abstruse and equally as removed from reality as the hero worship they replaced.

One can read today that Sam Houston deliberately let the Alamo fall because he was jealous of Jim Bowie and William Barret Travis. One can read that the Battle of San Jacinto was essentially unimportant, because if the gates to the Pacific were not thrown open to American expansion there, it would have happened elsewhere. That Americans “stole” Texas from Mexico has become an article of faith in many academic circles. Much of the study of Texas history has gone rather the way of classical music, conceived and written to outdo other professionals, with the appreciation or understanding of the everyday person having become irrelevant. It’s time for a reality check.

When the Mexican government first began to sense it was losing its grip on Texas, it sent its most able officer, General Don Manuel de Mier y Teran, on an inspection tour of the province. In his report of June 1828, one of the causes of unrest he listed was the Anglo colonists chafing under a government he called “venal and ignorant.” He found both the Anglo and Tejano residents united in the desire for separate Mexican statehood for Texas, as was promised in the Constitution of 1824. He found other causes of unrest, political, social and religious, to which he was largely sympathetic. but he had to tailor his advice to a government that was becoming increasingly authoritarian in outlook. General Mier y Teran, a trusted friend of Stephen F. Austin, fell on his sword in 1832 after it was clear that power would fall to a new autocrat, Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna.

When Santa Anna abolished the Constitution of 1824 and began to crush resistance to his regime, most notably in the state of Zacatecas, he lost any legitimate claim to allegiance. That his brutality was matched by his military incompetence cost Mexico the province of Texas. No one “stole” it. That appeal to past enmities is refuted by the patriotism of Juan Seguin and Lorenzo de Zavala and other liberal Tejanos who fought the dictator, and is seconded by uncounted Mexicans put to death in the interior during Santa Anna’s march to power.

His overwhelming defeat on the Plain of St. Hyacinth was just cause for joy for both Anglo colonist and native Tejano. It was the following unattractive chapters of prejudice and abuse of the Tejano population that still need healing.

Importantly, the reasons to celebrate San Jacinto are better seen, not then, but now. Today a full one-third of Texas’ 21 million people speak Spanish as their first language. Many families have been here for generations, and the current statistics of immigration, both legal and undocumented, need no recitation here. People who are oppressed, either politically or economically, still vote with their feet and for hundreds of thousands of Hispanics every year, the quest for a better life brings them to the Texas that was freed at San Jacinto.

The Texas revolution was waged to secure political liberty and economic opportunity for its inhabitants. For several generations, ethnic minorities in Texas, not just Hispanic and African-descended but many others, did not fully share in that promise. But as the promise moves closer to reality for all, there is no need to apologize for honoring the sacrifice, and victory, of those who liberated this vast and remarkable land to fulfill its destiny by letting its people – all of them – reach their potential. Texas is a multi-cultural society and can be celebrated as such without resort to blame.

James L. Haley is the author of more than a half dozen books devoted primarily to Texas history including Sam Houston (University of Oklahoma Press, 2002). He will be a speaker in the Battle of San Jacinto Symposium 2002: Personalities of San Jacinto on Friday April 19. His topic is Sam Houston and San Jacinto: It Wasn’t Supposed to Happen This Way.

Mudbugs and music at Crawfish Festival in Old Town Spring

It’s official. The Texas Crawfish Festival is now the Texas Crawfish and Music Festival, with the emphasis on music.

It’s the same great party with lots of mudbugs, funnel cakes, roasted corn, blooming onions, and more, but this year’s music line-up is set to be the best ever.

Roger Creager will be on hand for Texas Music fans; Duck Soup will entertain rockers, and Zydeco lovers will have a hard time choosing between all the great acts presented.

The festival begins at 6 p.m. Friday May 3rd with a carnival for the kids including a petting zoo, games and activities, great gift items and fantastic food for everyone.

A special attraction this year is free admission on Saturday May 4th and May 11th.

There will be entertainment on three stages each night of the festival. The gates open at noon on Saturday and Sunday.

For more information, call 1-800-OLD-TOWN or visit our website at www.texascrawfishfestival.com. See you there.

Texas School of Business announces participation in scholarship program

Texas School of Business (TSB) President and CEO, Kevin Keller, is pleased to announce the School’s continued participation in the Career Colleges and Schools of Texas (CCST) Scholarship Program. A total of $6 million in scholarships will be made available to all 1,500 public and private high schools in the state, Each school will receive four $1000 Scholarship Certificates to be awarded to any 2002 high school graduate. Certificates will then be honored toward tuition at any of the career schools participating in the program. Interested students should inquire about the Scholarship at the counseling office of their school,
“We are excited to be involved in the CCST Scholarship Program. It is a great way to get career-oriented high school graduates started on the road to succcessful careers, while they receive financial assistance with the tuition,” said Keller. “All three of our campuses offer course curriculum in the high-demand computer and medical fields. These are excellent career opportunities for many high school graduates.”

CCST, based in Austin, is a self-regulatory body of private career schools licensed by the Texas Workfcrce Commission. The program of its member organizations are designed to provide needed skills in the shortest time possible for available jobs.
For information about TSB call l-800-555-8012.

IN LOVING MEMORY

of my brother & sister

Our brother left us in the year of 1999, our sister in 2000, that was to much to bear, but God seen us through.

I’m so glad to have had you both in our lives. You both seem to have what it takes to keep us on our toes.

When I’m blue, you bring happy times our way. When things get where you just can’t pull the load, someone in a whisper, oh yes you can. We seem to think its two of God’s guardian angels.

I know both of you have everything all a glow, just the way you did for us.

We thank God for everything for letting us have you in our family as long as he did. Don’t ever forget that we love you both, now and forever.

This is from all of us. Mother, Bobby, Paula & Celle.

IN MEMORY

RAUL DE ANDA
4-6-24 • 4-6-02


In loving memory of our father and husband.
God saw you getting tired and a cure was not to be.

So he put his arms around you and whispered come to me. With tearful eyes we watched you and saw you pass away, and though we loved you dearly we could not make you stay. A golden heart stopped beating with gentle hands at rest. God broke our hearts to prove to us, he only takes the best.

Wife Connie DeAnda, daughters Rosie Luna, Lydia DeAnda, Lety DeAnda, Faith Perez, Krystal DeAnda Pulido; sons, James DeAnda, Ruben DeAnda; son-in-law Manuel Garcia; 13 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.

Hambrick gets physical with English language education!

Learning a new language can be tough. Traditional teaching involves showing pictures, learning the word for it and then building to create phrases and sentences. But at Hambrick Middle School, teacher Gloria Muti is allowing students to get physically involved in the language education for students who must learn English as a second language or ESL.

“The gymnasium has proven to be an ideal place for ESL interactive lessons and activities.” Muti exclaims. “Singing, dancing, acting out plays, writing and reading have all proven effective within the atmosphere of the gymnasium.” Students are required to verbalize the activities they’re doing. These activities are often built into games and competition. Ask most any middle school student and you’ll find out very quickly how much they love to compete.

These activities are listed on handout sheets. For example, in a vocabulary game when a student answers correctly, he scores a point for his team then is allowed to shoot a basket for a bonus point. Language skills are enhanced with use of portable dry erase boards where these students with native foreign languages are taught encouraging and congratulatory phrases. Now the student teams are cheering each other on in English, using the language, mastering the words and physically engaging in the things they are learning.

As lessons progress, sentences, dialogue, language and word games are combined with such activities as “Hot Potato, a Sack race or other games that require students to physically move around. Muti is excited about the opportunity to move these students into the gymnasium. It’s still a classroom, but now students can express their enthusiasm, get a little loud, have some fun and begin mastering the English language. With a mastery of the language the rest of the curriculum required in Texas becomes more manageable. As Muti put it, “Instruction comes to life with physical demonstration and physical activity.”

When instruction comes to life, students learn and when students learn, their lives are enriched and their opportunities grow. Success for our kids is just a simple wish we ask for every day.

Harris County Precinct 4 presents birding field trip

Harris County Precinct 4’s Senior Adult Program announces a birding fie1d trip for senior adults, ages 55 and older, with birding expert Don Richardson. The trip is Tuesday, May 7 with a rain date Monday, May 13. The trip begins at Precinct 4’s Doss Community Center, 2500 Frick Road, at 7 am. and returns at approximately 4 p.m.

The May 7 trip covers Anahuac National Wildlife, Refuge-Bolivar Peninsula, which provides a safe habitat for wintering ducks, geese, and other waterfowl, and a year-round home for mottled ducks. The Bolivar Peninsula is a scenic area with interesting wild flowers as well as birds.

For the trip, participants need to bring a sack lunch, drinking water, binoculars, insect repellant, and an umbrella. Comfortable walking shoes are a must; a jacket is also recommended.
Transportation is available for 22 individuals per trip, ages 55 and older, through Harris County Precinct 4’s Senior Adult Program.

Participation is on a first-come, first-served basis with Harris County residents receiving priority.

To help defray the cost of the birding expert, a $10 prepaid, nonrefundable registration fee must be received one week in advance of the trip to secure reservations. Call Precinct 4’s Senior Adult Program, 281-893-3726, extension 32, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday for more information and reservations.

Grantham students help with clean up

Grantham Academy students participating in Trashbash 2002, an environmental clean-up along the shoreline of Lake Houston, are in back, L-R Jarvis Smith and Kristyn Scott; in the middle, L-R, Mireya Franklin, Tiffany Ferguson, Jessica Lopez, Mrs. Taylor, Nicholas Malone, Kenneth Broady, and Malia LaSoy’a. Kneeling in front is Danny Malone, Jr.

On a Saturday in March, students from Grantham Academy of Engineering in Aldine ISD participated in 2002 Rivers, Lakes, Bays ‘N Bayous Trash Bash. The “Trash Bash” is an annual environmental clean up at Lake Houston and other surrounding waterways. It is sponsored by the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission and various businesses.

Students gave up their Saturday to volunteer in this annual community event that was located at the Lake Houston Marina. The students along with several adult sponsors were dropped off by boat at a selected spot along the shore of Lake Houston to pick up plastics, paper, and aluminum cans. After the clean up, the students and volunteers were treated to a live band performance, T-shirts, free lunch, fun and educational activities and give-a-way prizes at Lake Houston Marina.

One of the goals at Grantham Academy is to produce productive and caring citizens. By encouraging the students to become active volunteers this effort also contributed to the improvement of the environment in Houston. Additionally, it provides an awareness of one of our most valued resources- “Water”.

The Grantham sponsors at the event were Mrs. Taylor, a counselor at Grantham, and Ms. Johnson, a science teacher. Students who participated were Kenneth Broady, Tiffany Ferguson, Mireya Ferguson, Malia LaSoy’a, Jessica Lopez, Danny Malone, Nicholas Malone, Kristyn Scott, and Jarvis Smith. Thank you all for making our community a better place.

‘The Sweetest Thing’ not sugar coated

“The Sweetest Thing” is a hard movie to review.
The plot is as thin as the paper you’re reading, the pacing and tone are erratic and the likable cast is good looking but they all try too hard. Normally these negatives would add up to a bad review, but a lot can be forgiven when a movie is funny.

“The Sweetest Thing” is very funny. It is rude, crude and disgusting humor in the vein of “There’s Something About Mary” and “American Pie,” but without the depth of those movies.

Anybody familiar with those films knows that neither is known for its deep insight into the human psyche.

One should not go to “The Sweetest Thing” with great expectations and don’t go at all if you are easily offended by the idea of three twenty something girls looking more for a good time and sex than for love.

Christina (Cameron Diaz) thinks that love makes you vulnerable so it’s better just to string men along for as long as you need them. Her friend Courtney (Christina Applegate) agrees, but Jane (Selma Blair) is less agreeable since she’s broken hearted after a recent split.

While trying to cheer Jane up at a favorite club, Christina meets Peter (Thomas Jane) a cutie who intrigues her with his witty ways. Jane and Courtney soon hook up with guys too, but Christina and Peter soon go their separate ways – unlike the other two girl’s new boy toys.

In romantic comedy tradition, Christina can’t get Peter out of her mind and visa versa. Breaking from romantic comedy tradition are the ways she dreams about him and the trip she and Courtney take to find Peter.

They destroy a bathroom and distract a biker so much he crashes. Oh, and Christina almost gets her eye poked out.

Diaz, best known for her role in “There’s Something About Mary,” is not as sweet or as fresh as she was in that movie. “The Sweetest Thing” is definitely trying to borrow from the Farrelly brother’s movie, but there’s not enough material to compete. There’s a reference to their “Dumb & Dumber” in a scene that has nothing to do with the rest of the film.

”Sweetest” doesn’t have enough material to fill up its less than 90 minutes so it contains fillers like the scene where Christina and Courtney are trying on clothes and decide to have a movie montage where they dress like characters from different films. Along with being impossible – their hair alone would take hours to change, to say nothing of makeup – it’s irrelevant and goes on so long it’s no longer fun.

Besides not being as good as she has been in the past, Diaz looks kind of strange. I don’t know if she’s lost too much weight or had too much work done. It’s Applegate who shines in “Sweetest,” she’s cuter and funnier.

Jane was recently in “61*” on HBO and he first caught my attention in “Deep Blue Sea.” He’s a charmer with leading man potential.

Rated-R for strong sexual content and language

Pet of the Week

April 16, 2002

This weeks featured pet is a four year old female Rat Terrier mix. She is a petite young lady, neat, and sweet, with a slim aristocratic face and a smooth coat. She has been spayed, treated for heart worms and has had all her shots.

If you would like to adopt her or any of the fine companion animals at the Harris County Rabies/Animal Control shelter, go to 602 Canino just west of Hardy, across from Melrose Park. For hours and information, please call 281-999-3191.