Race relations have been in the news for some time and not for good reasons. I will not revisit each atrocity here but I suggest a solution. We (all races) should all get back to the basics of treating everyone we meet courteously and with respect. This may sound simple but it works. Lately I notice people going out of the way to be courteous to me. I have also notices some who walk around looking for a fight with a chip on their shoulder. If a policeman kills someone it should be investigated and if not justified he or she should be prosecuted. If you do not agree with the outcome there are legitimate ways to vent your opinion but they do not include murder or vandalism. If you live in poverty it is not someone else’s fault. There are many honest ways to pull yourself up out of poverty and they do not include stealing or dealing drugs. They do however, require hard work and dedication.

Remember if you want respect you must give it first.



Let me tell you a story. Next to God and family, the most important thing in life is a true friend! I don’t mean an acquaintance but a real friend who is there any time you need them. Anyone that knows me knows I am a sentimental person. About thirty years ago, things were not going well financially for my family and me. We were behind on bills and in danger of losing our home. I had lost a good job and couldn’t find one to replace it. Jo Ann and I were doing everything we could but couldn’t make ends meet. In desperation I went to a friend of mine to see if he could help me find a job. This friend and I had grown up together, played football together but when we graduated from school he went to law school and I ended up in the Marine Corps. Several years later we both ended up in Longview. After listening to my troubles he made some phone calls on my behalf to some business people he knew. I thanked him and as I was leaving his office, he handed me an envelope, I opened it and there was $1000 in cash inside.

I desperately needed the money but I told Ed “I don’t know when I can repay you”. He shook my hand and said “Just pay me when you can”.

Several years later when good fortune had returned, I was in Ed’s office discussing some business. As I started to leave I handed him an envelope with $1000 cash. He opened the envelope, looked at the money and asked “What is this for?”

Ed and I will be friends until we die.

Robert Crawley

Turning the Bible Belt into the Beer Belt (originally posted Sept 2014)

East Texas Residents


Well since most East Texas cities have voted to sell alcohol in the last year, we should all be reaping the benefits by now. The cities’ treasuries should all be overflowing with increased sales tax money and we will all be saving gas since we won’t have too far to drive to get our liquor.

If beer and wine sales will make your city prosperous, what happened to Gladewater and Kilgore?

Johnny Redneck may not have the money for milk or diapers but he sure will not skip his case of beer

Of course, some of your favorite items at the supermarkets may no longer be carried so they can make room for all that beer. 

East Texas used to be called the Bible Belt, we can change that slogan to the Beer Belt.

Salvaging a Legacy (Originally posted July 2014)

With all the problems in our country today: the IRS scandal, VA mismanagement, poor economy, border security and a host of foreign policy issues; Mr. Obama must feel overwhelmed.

Many of Mr. Obama’s problems are self inflicted but still solvable. If Mr. Obama would tackle these issues one at a time, realize this is still a democracy and he is not a dictator, these issues can be solved. This means he will have to sit down and negotiate with people he may not like and have very different views. He may not get everything he wants but neither will they. In negotiations you rarely get everything you want but the end result is you come up with a solution to the problem. This is so elementary I hate to bring it up but our leaders do not seem to comprehend this process. Both Democrats and Republicans don’t want to be seen by their base as giving in to the other side and all actions taken or not taken are calculated to give an advantage at the next election. What Is more important being tough and not compromising or doing what is right for America? If Mr. Obama would cut back on his golfing and fundraising and sit down and negotiate with the Republicans to solve some of our country’s problems, he would be seen as a hero as Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton were. Instead Mr. Obama would rather be an ideologue and accomplish nothing. Mr. Obama is on track to surpass Jimmy Carter s the worst President since Hoover.

Response to Letter to the Editor 7/13/14 (originally posted July 2014)


Re Ruben Navarrette’s column 7/13.


Mr. Navarrette paints a lovely, heart tugging image of the tiny waifs storming our borders. Just a bunch of 5 and 6 year olds bravely clambering aboard any conveyance to reach the fabled shores!


Unfortunately for Mr. Navarrette, those of us in border states know otherwise. Many of the teens are members of gangs. Many are infested with lice and carrying communicable diseases we have almost eradicated in this country. None have any way of supporting themselves here.


To allow them to stay would both reward the coyote and break up more families by providing incentives for more kids to come (and possibly die or be raped on the way). Not to mention the costs to our schools, medical system, and yes, criminal justice system.


Then Navarrette says it that more border guards would not stop/stem this tide. Ridiculous on the face, of course more patrols would stop it. He would have us do nothing but bankrupt our cities, and give away our children’s inheritance.


The government can put them on buses to invade our cities…just point the buses the other direction and take them home! If we still had one capable journalist with any courage at all left in this country, they  would be researching who is putting out the ads in these countries. Could it be someone with an agenda in THIS country? Who benefits from this invasion? Simple: look who is pushing to give them licenses and the vote.






Benghazi (originally posted May 2014)



I listened to Mike Morrell testify before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee; at least all I could stand. I have listened to commentary on it since and I have followed the information on Benghazi from the start. After all the different testimonies and information available, I have concluded that Mr. Morrell, Mr. Clapper, Ex Secretary Clinton, Susan Rice and President Obama are all bonifide, certified, award winning liars. These people, especially Mr. Morrell, could convince you your square picture frame is a circle. These people can look you right in the eye and lie and never blink. They have done this so long they may have convinced themselves they’re telling the truth. Hillary had a good teacher. Remember Bill saying “I never had sex with that woman” and can we ever forget “It depends on what your definition of is is”

What is even more depressing is many Americans don’t seem to care. Remember four brave Americans died because of these incompetent, scamming liars and no one has lost their job. Also none of the terrorists have been captured or killed. It seems the CIA can’t find these people, maybe they should call the Associated Press for help. This whole thing stinks and someone should pay at least with their jobs or better yet: jail time!


A Call for the Return of Family Values (originally posted 9/2/15)

As we face today’s issues, riots in Ferguson, Baltimore, ISIS, politicians who lie, etc…we are told my many that old solutions will not work. We must come up with new ideas and the people that commit these atrocities are justified in their actions. We excuse bad behavior, bad manners, and even murder. When a teacher or a parent tries to discipline a child and teach some kind of responsibility and morality, it is usually the teacher or parent who gets into trouble. If the parent will not make sure their child is attending school and the child fails, it is a bad school and it is the school’s fault. If someone murders a policeman, they are ‘justified’. Our politicians lie so routinely we excuse and just accept it.

I say we do not need any new age ideas, we just need to get back to basic principles of right and wrong and personal responsibility. We can work to pull people out of poverty but not excuse rioting and murder in the process. There are ways to better one’s station in life and stealing, vandalism and murder is not one of them. There are many legitimate ways to express your displeasure with certain policies but they do not include burning down your neighbor’s business or killing someone you don’t even know.

Public officials routinely lie, but what is worse we make excuses for them if they are a member of our party of share our views…and condone the behavior.

We are a country of laws and behind those laws are a strong sense of right and wrong, and fairness. If you violate these laws you should be punished without exception. Being wealthy does not give anyone the right to commit crimes but neither does being white, black, brown or poor. If you go through life treating others with respect you will get respect returned. If you are financially poor you can rise above this. There are many private and government programs to help anyone rise from poverty but  you must make the effort and do the work. Ultimately, only you can dictate your success.



Letter to the Editor Originally posted March 25, 2015

I was encouraged to see two letters responding to my recent letter (3/25) concerning trash on East Texas roads and streets. I agree with Mr. Barham, the ultimate responsibility for this problem lies with the citizens and the problem will never be solved until the citizens care enough to dispose of their trash properly. Until that happens I am trying to do my part by my small company (23 employees) adopting two sections of roads, one in Harrison County and one in Gregg County . I have written letters to beer distributors, and fast food distributors to try to get them to help. Their products make up the vast majority of roadside litter. Only Ed King of Chick-Fil-A even responded to my letter. We citizens who want to end this problem could use a little help from the city and county as the volunteers cannot pick up the trash as fast as the non-caring can throw it out. It is very discouraging to clean up a section of roadway and see new litter the next day.

Government Regulations (originally posted May 2014)

So you think government regulations only affect big companies or big banks. Oh how naïve you are. Now, I will admit some regulations are needed but for every needed regulation, there are many that are unnecessary and damaging to our standard of living. Let me give you some examples: ethanol – when it was first mandated, it was sold as cleaner burning and it was supposed to help us be less dependent on foreign oil. How does it affect you? First of all, it increases the cost of fuel next it places such a demand for corn that feed prices for cattle, pork, and chicken all go up. This increases your cost for food. Even bread and milk. Why bread? Because wheat acreage is switching to more profitable corn. What about foreign oil? Well technology has increased our reserves to the point we soon will no longer need foreign oil, but like all good regulations, they never go away.

Let me give you some local examples where bureaucracy trumps common sense. First a friend of mine was recently trying to sell about 10 acres of land on Hwy 322. He had buyer and was proceeding toward a closing. The buyer was going to open a business and needed to move the driveway. Texas Department of Transportation got involved and produced a regulation that any new driveways could not be within 400 feet of an existing driveway. Since the next door neighbor’s drive was closer than the 400 foot, the buyer could not build the new driveway. Result: the sale fell through and my friend’s property value has gone down. Does anyone at TXDOT care? I doubt it.

Next a businessman I know sent a refrigerated truck to Dallas to pick up a load of liquid creamer. On the way back the truck had a problem and caught fire. The truck burned on the shoulder of I-20. Several hundred gallons of liquid creamer spilled on the road. Again, TXDOT gets involved and says this is a hazardous material. A Hazmat unit is dispatched to clean up the spill which the businessman must pay for. Not only has he lost a truck and the product it was carrying but he has a tremendous bill to pay. Now folks, liquid creamer is milk. Since when is milk a hazardous material? Since some bureaucrat in Austin decided it was. A logical response would have been to have a fire truck wash the milk off the roadway-oh but this is to simple.

Regulations come in all shapes and sizes. Did you know that 20% of the cost of all new vehicles is to meet federal regualations? Did you know that your barber or hairstylist can be fined for having a dirty mirror or a crack in the mirror?

I could write forever because these bureaucrats never quit writing new regulations. Don’t worry it is all for our own good because we must be protected. Maybe we need a regulation to protect us from the bureaucrats.

On Winning the Entrepreneur of the Year Award

Jo Ann and I started our business in May 1987. We were having difficult financial times and we wanted our own source of income. We both worked full time jobs and delivered coffee on lunch hours, nights and weekends. We started with just the coffee service and added vending two years later.

Today things are very different, we serve 17 counties and have 23 employees. I believe we have been successful because we put our customer’s needs first. Technology is the buzzword in business today and it certainly has its place but personal service (the human touch) is still the key to our success and I don’t see that changing.

Another key to success in today’s business is offering the products your customers need and want. We have greatly expanded the services we offer our customers, such as filtered water systems and micromarkets. We are always looking for new ideas to better serve our clients.

When you are starting a new business, all your focus is on making a profit and establishing your business, as your business matures, some of your energy should be directed to giving back to your community. We have tried to be an asset to East Texas by Adopt-A-Highway program and other charities. We encourage all our employees to adopt the same philosophy.

Which leads me to my final point: to grow your business you must recruit and employ good people. You cannot do everything yourself so you must surround yourself with competent, dedicated individuals. We have done this at Robert’s Coffee & Vending and have a great team.

Jo Ann and I want to thank the Chamber and our employees for this award.


*Originally posted in March 2014