1. I trust your celebration of our nation’s Independence Day was a great time with family and friends; and a re-commitment to the “animating contest of freedom”, as Founding Father Sam Adams called this experiment of a self-governing free and civil society. The picture is from the HUGS Café float in the 4th of July parade.

2. In Chief Justice Roberts’ dissent to the Supreme Court decision that overturned millennia of marriage faith, tradition, and belief, he wrote, “The majority graciously suggests that religious believers may continue to ‘advocate’ and ‘teach’ their views of marriage. The First Amendment guarantees, however, the freedom to ‘exercise’ religion. Ominously, that is not a word the majority uses.”

He is exactly right! I believe Chief Justice Roberts defined the essence of the First Amendment, and our task today is to protect the right of every citizen to exercise our religious liberties until our representatives in Congress find a way to reassert the Tenth Amendment.

The First Amendment is important to our nation, not to some of us, but to all of us. It’s worthy of our sacrifice and our concerted effort. All of us.

3. Monday, July 6, includes a Commissioners Court discussion on the county tax abatement policy. A member of the court placed the topic on the agenda, rather than county staff, so I don’t know what course the discussion will take because the only backup information is the actual policy. The staff alerted city staffs that the topic is on our agenda, so I suspect we will discuss the county role in economic development.

In full disclosure, I voted against the current tax abatement policy in 2011.

4. With every Supreme Court decision, the Tenth Amendment looks more and more a historic curiosity, rather than one of the ten protections so important that they were originally specified as the Bill of Rights.

5. LTC James (Maggie) Megellas is the most decorated soldier in the 82nd Airborne Division in World War II. There is even an on-going effort to upgrade his award for an individual heroic action to the Medal of Honor. I served in different infantry units of the 82nd than his, known to the Germans as, “the devils in baggy pants”, but I love the stories of the WWII paratroopers who inspired my service.

You can see his story at https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1Ukq5-igjJyT1lUbzVGLWwxcTA/edit?pli=1