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Appeals court halts, for now, abortion for immigrant teen in Texas

Commentary

Commentary: Helping immigrants should not mean denying them care

Commentary: Helping immigrants should not mean denying them care

The immigrant community is deeply committed to the values that this country works to uphold — values that brought many of us to this nation. The idea of the United States as a beacon for those fleeing persecution is deeply held by many communities, including many of those who come to the United States seeking a better life for themselves and their families. The Catholic community is also called...

Letters to the editor: Oct. 19, 2017

Re: Oct. 16 article, “CodeNext: Is Austin doing enough to reach out to non-English speakers?” Why translate? If anyone wants to live in the U.S., let them learn the talk of the country. Last I heard, here it was still English. If I moved to Mexico, do you think that they would print everything in English? Of course not. When my ancestors arrived from Germany, they learned to speak English...
Commentary: Let’s build global consensus for reconnecting with nature

Commentary: Let’s build global consensus for reconnecting with nature

During the past few weeks, millions of people around the Gulf of Mexico have experienced the fury of Mother Nature. Four massive hurricanes and two earthquakes have devastated numerous communities. It is humbling to realize that despite enormous technical advancements, we are still as much at the mercy of nature’s wrath as the Teotihuacanos in southern Mexico were 2,000 years ago. When violent...
Commentary: Why Hartnett White is dangerous for environmental council

Commentary: Why Hartnett White is dangerous for environmental council

With each new appointee to the Trump administration, it’s like the president is trolling us. Put someone who sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 14 times in charge of the agency? Check. Appoint a man who wanted to eliminate the Department of Energy as its head? Check. But you ain’t seen nothing yet. Trump’s newest choice for the U.S. Council on Environmental Quality &ndash...
Commentary: How social media posts can hurt criminal investigations

Commentary: How social media posts can hurt criminal investigations

Law enforcement officials are facing a new set of challenges in the age of social media. One such challenge is becoming more common — and I feel compelled to call attention to it. The act of capturing video or photographs of crime scenes and posting those images to social media is harmful to law enforcement investigative efforts. This year, we’ve experienced two high-profile incidents...
Commentary: What the U.S. will lose after its withdrawal from UNESCO

Commentary: What the U.S. will lose after its withdrawal from UNESCO

“Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be constructed.” So begins the preamble to the Constitution of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. They were words written in 1945 by the American poet and playwright Archibald MacLeish, who served on the organization’s governing board at its founding...
Commentary: Texas risks harm if it hands over our voter data

Commentary: Texas risks harm if it hands over our voter data

While our state political leaders take pride in bucking Washington, there is one area where they’re being cooperative to our detriment: They are willing to hand a federal commission a treasure trove of voter data going back a decade. Election officials were thankfully forced to pump the brakes recently after we sought help from the courts. But the fight isn’t over. The order blocking some...
Commentary: Stop development deals. Get Amazon with the ‘Texas Model’

Commentary: Stop development deals. Get Amazon with the ‘Texas Model’

Austin is vying for Amazon’s impressive new “HQ2” — a second company headquarters that could supercharge the local economy with $5 billion in capital investment and 50,000 new, good-paying jobs. Landing the state-of-the-art campus would be nothing short of blockbuster. While Austin has much to offer and much to gain, it shouldn’t fall into the trap of proposing a mammoth...
Commentary: Amazon wants its HQ2 in utopia — and tax breaks, too

Commentary: Amazon wants its HQ2 in utopia — and tax breaks, too

Forget El Dorado, Brigadoon, the Emerald City, Seven Cities of Gold or Shangri-La. The city of Amazon, USA, is a shimmering on your horizon like a barely visible holograph from the future. Above it is a sign in otherworldly neon: All This Could Be Yours. Amazon is looking to locate a spanking new 50,000-employee headquarters somewhere in North America. To put the promise in perspective, it’d...
Herman: Who’s that man on the Confederate seal in the Capitol rotunda?

Herman: Who’s that man on the Confederate seal in the Capitol rotunda?

Today, we have a topical “What Is That?” that’s really more of a timely “Who Is That?” It comes from a longtime Austinite who finds this newspaper a dependable daily source of information, entertainment, personal enrichment and health insurance: Me. Here’s the deal. Recently, while hanging out in the Capitol rotunda, I asked a random passerby if he could...
Commentary: Texas — all of it — belongs on the U.S. side of a border wall

Commentary: Texas — all of it — belongs on the U.S. side of a border wall

Every seventh-grader studying Texas History learns that in 1848, the boundary between Texas and Mexico was established at the middle of the Rio Grande River. So when a congressman from Texas, like Mike McCaul, advocates for a “border” fence and wall that would cede more than 50,000 acres of irrigated Texas soil back to Mexico, it makes me wonder whether he needs to recheck a map of the...
Herman: Twitter silence from Texas Tweeter Laureate

Herman: Twitter silence from Texas Tweeter Laureate

The commander-in-tweet has shut down and shut up the official Tweeter Laureate of Texas. Sad. Thanks for nothing, Trump, you grump. After eight years and just under 26,000 of the more entertaining tweets on the planet, Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Willett’s Twitter feed ceased and desisted a couple of weeks ago. Specifically, the de facto restraining order was issued Sept. 28 in a White House...
Industry jockeying to raise billboards sky-high

Industry jockeying to raise billboards sky-high

The State of Texas has drawn a line in the sky that limits the height of billboards along our highways. Unfortunately, many billboard owners regularly ignore it. A number of the billboards that are subject to state regulation exceed the current height limit of 42 ½ feet, according to the Texas Department of Transportation. Ignorance is no defense since the permit application for every billboard...
Viewpoints: Texas should keep promise to Harvey-hit school districts

Viewpoints: Texas should keep promise to Harvey-hit school districts

State officials have promised Hurricane Harvey-affected school districts – some of which have yet to reopen their doors – that Texas will be there to help them rebuild safe and healthy communities for students and educators. It’s imperative that state leaders deliver on their promise to those most affected by Harvey’s epic destruction. Texas can’t afford to cut corners...
Commentary: Texas HHSC needs to stay focused on its vision

Commentary: Texas HHSC needs to stay focused on its vision

Recent articles by the Texas Tribune and Dallas Morning News have shown a light on the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC), the agency charged with helping people and families with significant health care needs. Families like mine. Many HHSC staffers with deep institutional knowledge have left over the past year, while new leaders, some with little health services experience, have joined...
Commentary: What to expect from Trump’s ‘rolling coal’ plan

Commentary: What to expect from Trump’s ‘rolling coal’ plan

The Department of Energy and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) are currently debating a rule designed, in part, to subsidize coal-fired power plants that have struggled to compete with less expensive gas-fired, wind and solar generators in electricity markets. The Trump administration says the subsidies are necessary to ensure system reliability. They are not. Instead, this proposal is a...
Commentary: How a 20-year visa backlog sent our daughter back to India

Commentary: How a 20-year visa backlog sent our daughter back to India

My wife and I came to the United States nearly 20 years ago from India with our daughter, Himani — legally — in hopes of a better life and an aspiration to succeed and contribute positively to American society. Unfortunately, due to immigration laws, she was unable to stay in the United States due to massive backlogs. This is a problem that affects thousands of immigrant children. CONTINUING...
Herman: Smithsonian staff helps Harvey victims save family treasures

Herman: Smithsonian staff helps Harvey victims save family treasures

The big problems caused by Hurricane Harvey are still plain to see along Texas 35 in storm-ravaged, still-recovering Rockport. The crumpled buildings, boarded windows, tarp-topped houses and workers clearing debris and replacing utility poles are hard to miss. Table after table at the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s State Disaster Recovery Center — a tent in the parking lot of an...
Commentary: Let’s stop blaming mental illness for mass shootings

Commentary: Let’s stop blaming mental illness for mass shootings

In the aftermath of the largest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, words like “demented,” “insane,” “sick” and “madman” peppered official responses, media coverage and public speculation. How else could we explain the tragedy in Las Vegas? But such loaded language obscures a simple fact: The majority of mass shooters do not have a diagnosed mental...
Commentary: Why we should talk about toxic masculinity and mass murder

Commentary: Why we should talk about toxic masculinity and mass murder

Although it is rarely mentioned in debates and conversations that happen in the aftermath of a mass shooting, the gender of the shooter is almost always male. In fact, 98 percent of all mass murders are men. While conversations on how to best address the mass shooting epidemic in the U.S. tend to focus on gun control or mental illness, discussions rarely ever address the role that toxic masculinity...
Commentary: Universities, not FBI, should clean up college basketball

Commentary: Universities, not FBI, should clean up college basketball

The “dark underbelly of college basketball” has now been exposed. For years, the limelight of March Madness has thrilled millions of college basketball fans. Yet, a history of shady recruiting practices and the exploitation of young men who dream of playing in the NBA has remained in the shadows. Recently, the FBI and Joon Kim, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, dropped...
Commentary: Why scapegoating the Red Cross won’t lead to change

Commentary: Why scapegoating the Red Cross won’t lead to change

I believe good journalism can drive change, but the way some journalists cover disaster recovery — and particularly, the way they are scapegoating the American Red Cross — will negatively influence the way we respond to disasters and hinder improvements that could lead to more efficient rebuilding and more lives saved. Rather than dive deeper into an extremely complicated issue, these...
Commentary: Let’s view science as a powerful tool, not as a threat

Commentary: Let’s view science as a powerful tool, not as a threat

It is alarming that many members of society distrust science and question its value and validity. Advances in science are increasingly central to how we experience life, what drives the global economy and how we find reliable evidence to support decisions. Science will continue to impact our lives in the decades ahead. If the public and our leaders continue to have an inadequate appreciation of what...
Commentary: What the NRA is hiding with phony bump stock concession

Commentary: What the NRA is hiding with phony bump stock concession

I’ll say it up front: My husband and I both carry Texas concealed handgun licenses. My husband is a lifetime member of the NRA. But, I have a confession to make: Over the last couple of years, I have been hiding the NRA magazine when it comes into the house each month. When my husband has forgotten about it, I sneak it into the recycling bin. Why? I do not want anything related to the NRA in...
Commentary: Why Border Patrol’s subjective decisions threaten safety

Commentary: Why Border Patrol’s subjective decisions threaten safety

While DACA has claimed the loudest role in a game of immigration-policy chess, less talked about is the Customs and Border Patrol’s effort to hire 5,000 new agents. With recruitment efforts spanning NASCAR and bullfighting events, CBP hopes to increase the number of agents by 25 percent. But when two out of three Border Patrol applicants fail a polygraph test, and with harsh workplace environments...
Herman: Superman rappelling. What’s wrong with this picture?

Herman: Superman rappelling. What’s wrong with this picture?

I’m proud of this newspaper. Despite unprecedented challenges, the American-Statesman continues to do fine work in covering day-to-day doings and in time-consuming investigations about an impressive variety of topics. OK, that ought to inoculate me with the bosses as I launch into some workplace introspection intended to be constructive. It is important that words and images in this paper reflect...
John Young: The NRA and its prostitution ring

John Young: The NRA and its prostitution ring

The Denver Post’s top headline, after one of the gun lobby’s very best customers killed 59 people from above, read thusly: “NRA supports restriction.” Yes, the top story was what the NRA might do after all that killing. It wasn’t, “Congress admits cowardice in the face of carnage.” It wasn’t, “President lifts thumb to avert next slaughter.&rdquo...
Commentary: Why renewable energy’s rising use challenges grid integrity

Commentary: Why renewable energy’s rising use challenges grid integrity

Most people never think about electricity. We just assume when we flip the light switch or charge our laptops, power will be available. But behind the switches and outlets in our homes and places of work is a huge and complex infrastructure that helps ensure the reliability and resilience of the electric power grid. To produce power, we have to convert another form of energy into electricity. Coal...
Commentary: Risk of ‘unity’ is that the discomfort will be swept away

Commentary: Risk of ‘unity’ is that the discomfort will be swept away

NFL owners have locked arms with players, and Jerry Jones took a knee. Media accounts celebrated “unity” and “solidarity.” Sports Illustrated has now declared the sports world to be “united.” Sparked by characteristically outrageous comments from President Donald Trump, players, coaches and owners alike insist that they will not be divided. As inspiring as this...
Herman: The escalators of Wyoming

Herman: The escalators of Wyoming

Generally, we are a people who look forward to summer. Specifically though, many of us are happy to see the summer of 2017 fade into the distance. It was a season of deep discontent, lowlighted by debilitating disasters that will cause problems for many for many, many months, and possibly years, to come. It’s for that reason that I’ve held off on my “What I Did On My Summer Vacation&rdquo...
Commentary: Texas must right the wrongs of civil forfeiture process

Commentary: Texas must right the wrongs of civil forfeiture process

Gerardo Serrano is suing U.S. Customs and Border Protection for taking his truck and keeping it for over two years without providing judicial review. Unfortunately, his situation is not unique. That’s why Serrano teamed up with the Institute for Justice and filed a class-action lawsuit on behalf of himself and others who were similarly wronged. Two years ago, Serrano was driving his nearly new...
Commentary: Let’s both reduce gun violence and protect gun rights

Commentary: Let’s both reduce gun violence and protect gun rights

I am an NRA member, and I don’t want my children or grandchildren to be shot and killed. Neither do millions of both gun advocates and gun-control proponents. As a nation, we’ve been conditioned to feel we must overwhelm, out-vote, or out-scream those we see as opponents. Our real enemy is neither the right nor the left; neither advocates of gun rights or gun control. The real enemy in...
Commentary: Book considers Trump’s mental health. Let’s discuss our own

Commentary: Book considers Trump’s mental health. Let’s discuss our own

A new book, “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President,” has just hit the bookstores. It is drawing attention both for its topic and because it breaks the taboo against mental health professionals speculating on the mental health of a public figure. And yet, when Sen. John McCain announced that he had brain cancer, medical specialists...
Commentary: America’s peeling back Obama administration red tape

Commentary: America’s peeling back Obama administration red tape

There is nothing quite like the power of American ingenuity and innovation. Nowhere in the country is there a better example of economic growth and empowerment on display than right here in Texas. A primary reason for that? Freedom. Specifically, there is simply less government intrusion into the daily lives of families and businesses because we believe when government gets out of the way, Texans...
Commentary: Texas’ cost of defending discrimination is simply too much

Commentary: Texas’ cost of defending discrimination is simply too much

Democracy costs. To be sustained, it requires time, deliberation and constant vigilance. These costs are high enough. But some states are manufacturing additional costs to undermine our democracy. Texas’ dogged defense of its racially discriminatory voter ID law is a prime example. For the fourth time in three years, a federal court has declared Texas’s voter ID law racially discriminatory...
Commentary: How did Heidi Group use millions? Texas women need answers

Commentary: How did Heidi Group use millions? Texas women need answers

Last year, Texas awarded $7 million in state contracts to the Heidi Group. Under the terms, the anti-abortion organization with no experience providing health care services was supposed to work with subcontractors to provide family planning and reproductive health care to 68,000 low-income Texans. Over a year later, having so far received nearly $1 million in state funds, the Heidi Group has failed...
Herman: Something screwed on was screwed up on the MoPac project

Herman: Something screwed on was screwed up on the MoPac project

It is with excitement and the promise of better commutes to come that I note Saturday’s scheduled opening of the second and final section of the northbound toll lane on MoPac Boulevard. The southbound lanes also should open during your lifetime, depending on how your most recent annual physical went. As a regular user of MoPac, I’ve been vexed by the oft-delayed, oft-cursed construction...
Castillo: The beat goes on at ACL — with changes after Vegas carnage

Castillo: The beat goes on at ACL — with changes after Vegas carnage

Time was when the rockin’ rite of passage known here simply as ACL brought with it mundane concerns, like getting your hands on a pricey ticket, fighting choked traffic to get there, and putting up with extreme heat or dust once you got in. Braving the elements took on new meaning in 2009, when heavy rain turned Dillo Dirt on the Zilker Park grounds into a soupy slog. It would have been comical...
Commentary: Texas has a labor shortage. Who will rebuild our state?

Commentary: Texas has a labor shortage. Who will rebuild our state?

Now that it has been more than a month since Hurricane Harvey brought destruction and devastation to Houston and the Texas coast, it is time to rebuild and heal. According to Gov. Greg Abbott’s estimates, rebuilding may cost upward of $180 billion. Some estimates suggest more than 200,000 homes were damaged by the storm, and countless businesses and commercial properties need repair. As the...
Commentary: Capitol complex project creates opportunities for Austin

Commentary: Capitol complex project creates opportunities for Austin

The lonely stretch of Congress Avenue between the Texas Capitol and the University of Texas offers very little to entice anyone — unless, of course, you enjoy a good Railroad Commission hearing. But that area could become something very different: a vibrant, tree-lined civic space that is open to everyone. As laid out in the state’s Capitol Complex Master Plan, the new Texas Mall is envisioned...
Commentary: Texas and Italy — a friendship spearheading into the future

Commentary: Texas and Italy — a friendship spearheading into the future

When the president of the Italian Republic, Sergio Mattarella, visited the United States in February 2016, he decided to stop in Texas as a testament to the outstanding contribution that the Lone Star State has made and continues to make to the economic, scientific and technological success of the union. During his visit, the president underscored the key role Texas plays in advancing the boundaries...
Commentary: Help Puerto Rico by urging Congress to craft an aid plan

Commentary: Help Puerto Rico by urging Congress to craft an aid plan

Just a few weeks after millions of Americans in Houston and surrounding areas suffered the onslaught of Hurricane Harvey, another large community of American citizens is suffering the effects of yet another devastating storm. Hurricane Maria has left Puerto Rico, the island home of 3.5 million American citizens, utterly devastated. Nearly all the island’s electrical grid is down, along with...
Commentary: Dan Moody was not simply a racist

Commentary: Dan Moody was not simply a racist

To describe Gov. Dan Moody simply as a racist, as a recent guest commentary did, is somewhat like describing Ulysses S. Grant simply as a murderer. It completely misses the big picture of the man’s life. Much as we might like for all our heroes, past and present, to be irreproachable models of perfection, they never are. In Moody’s day — he served between 1927 and 1931 — it...
Commentary: Why it’s time for an independent crime lab in Austin

Commentary: Why it’s time for an independent crime lab in Austin

The Austin Police Department’s recent announcement that it plans to hire a bona fide scientist to run its crime lab is welcome news. Interim Police Chief Brian Manley deserves credit for recognizing that the recent crisis in police department’s DNA lab calls for rethinking the crime lab’s operations. And he was right when he said that “the science behind running a lab&hellip...
Commentary: When white men turn into lone wolves

Commentary: When white men turn into lone wolves

He became a wolf very suddenly. The change came upon him almost as soon as he lowered the gun. His words became unintelligible. He ceased to belong to anyone. He became that most dreaded of creatures: the “lone wolf.” Once, he was a white middle-aged man. He was a son, a brother, a boyfriend. Words accrued to him like “normal” and “regular.” “He did stuff...
Commentary: Why I stand by my remarks about race relations in Austin

Commentary: Why I stand by my remarks about race relations in Austin

Words matter. So does race. I have served as a board member for the Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority for eight years; it’s one of the greatest honors I’ve had living in Austin. Last month, during a work session on the search for a new agency CEO to replace soon-to-be-retired Linda Watson, we talked about the sort of well-qualified, highly experienced person we might bring...
Herman: Finally, city rules concerning final resting places

Herman: Finally, city rules concerning final resting places

It’s time for my annual or so update on the city of Austin’s ongoing effort to decide what kind of decorations are proper on graves in the five city-owned cemeteries. We’ve got news! I first wrote about this in 2013 when the city, under fire from some people, pulled the plug on proposed strict enforcement of rules restricting what some see as inappropriate decorations on...
Commentary: When Washington worked, the right men were in right places

Commentary: When Washington worked, the right men were in right places

On the first Monday in October 50 years ago, when the U. S. Supreme Court began its term, President Lyndon B. Johnson quietly sat in the family section to see his nominee Thurgood Marshall sworn in as the first African-American justice. It was a special moment for our nation, and a shining example of Washington working well. Marshall, the great grandson of a slave, grew up in Baltimore wanting to...
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