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Opinion


Commentary: Texas Education Agency rankings are a work in progress

Scheberle is senior vice president for education and talent at the Austin Chamber of Commerce. On Jan. 6, the Texas Education Agency released a preliminary report card for schools based on its new accountability system. It was a promising start. However, before we read too much into what receiving an “A” or an “F” means on any of the individual performance measures, there are...
Letters to the Editor: January 19, 2017

Letters to the Editor: January 19, 2017

Re: Jan. 3 article, “Will a Williamson County lawsuit upend the Endangered Species Act?” Some view the Bone Cave Harvestman and the Endangered Species Act only as threats to property rights. Your author characterizes him as “pitiful … eyeless … scuttling about in the dark.” Whether it’s the culmination of 3.5 billion years of evolution or one of God&rsquo...

Christian persecution thriving in left-wing America

Actress Meryl Streep’s political diatribe at the Golden Globes awards isn’t the only surprise attention-getting provocation from the event. Nominee film “Hidden Figures,” a box-office hit about the true story of three black women mathematicians who played important roles at NASA in the early days of the space program, is also generating unexpected controversy. The controversy...
Dale: It’s time to act on statewide ride-hailing services

Dale: It’s time to act on statewide ride-hailing services

Dale represents southwestern Williamson County, which includes Cedar Park, Leander, Brushy Creek and parts of Austin and Round Rock. It has been just over a year since the Austin City Council chose to rewrite regulations for ride-hailing services that led to a shakeup of transportation in the city. It claimed that fingerprinting drivers was absolutely necessary to guarantee public safety. However...
Letters to the Editor: January 18, 2017

Letters to the Editor: January 18, 2017

Re: Jan. 8 article, “Top issues of 2017” Thanks for heads-up about what to expect from the Texas Legislature. Now I know to watch my back. Like the MoPac “improvement” project, the upcoming legislative session promises to be nothing more than one setback after another. It’s disheartening when Texas’ most influential people abuse their power to undermine the lives...
John Young: No shiny shoes at this inaugural ball

John Young: No shiny shoes at this inaugural ball

The longtime Texas newspaperman lives in Colorado. He can be reached by email at jyoungcolumn@gmail.com. Looking around the ballroom, the first thing you notice is the lack of regalia — no tuxes, no flowing gowns, no shiny footwear, no clinking jewels. Nor should there be, for this is the Inaugural Consolation Ball for the people of Not Trump Nation. There is nothing to celebrate for them &ndash...
Commentary: Texas should not push narratives that put lives at risk

Commentary: Texas should not push narratives that put lives at risk

Sylvester is an author in Austin. As Texas legislators prepare for the 85th session, state Rep. Jason Villalba is planning a celebration of Texas authors. I am honored to be part of our state’s literary community and appreciate the invitation to be recognized. However, I won’t be going. My novel, “Chasing the Sun,” was published in 2014 and “Everyone Knows You Go Home&rdquo...
Letters to the Editor: January 17, 2017

Letters to the Editor: January 17, 2017

Re: Jan. 7 article, “Bad grades, lapses in hiring process doomed Austin’s crime lab leader.” While I find the hiring of Scott Milne troubling, particularly due to poor practices that led to the lab’s closure and required a top notch leader to rectify, another, more problematic statement caught my attention: “Texas Forensic Science Commission had said … some lab...
Commentary: We need vulnerability, empathy in professional coaching

Commentary: We need vulnerability, empathy in professional coaching

Roberts is the founding director of the Center for Sports Leadership and Innovation at the University of Texas and is the author of “Call an Audible: Let My Pivot from Harvard Law to NFL Coach Inspire Your Transition.” On the day after the NFL regular season ended, Gary Kubiak, the now former head coach of the Denver Broncos, made the most valuable play of the 2016 season. The teary-eyed...
Opinion: What Martin Luther King Jr. may have thought about U.S. today

Opinion: What Martin Luther King Jr. may have thought about U.S. today

Cokley is a professor of educational psychology and black studies and director of the Institute for Urban Policy Research and Analysis at the University of Texas. As we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, I wonder what MLK would think about the country for which he dedicated his life to fighting racial oppression and advancing civil rights. Would he be pleased with the state of affairs...
Opinion: Today we honor Kings’ legacy by resisting Trump administration

Opinion: Today we honor Kings’ legacy by resisting Trump administration

Tzintzun is the executive director of Jolt, a Texas-based organization that lifts up the voices of Latino families to win positive social change and co-authored “Presente! Latino Immigrant Voices in the Struggle for Racial Justice.” Today we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a man who altered the course of history and through his courage and conviction worked to make our nation live...
Harrinton: This year’s MLK celebration should be different from others

Harrinton: This year’s MLK celebration should be different from others

Harrington, a human rights attorney in Austin, is founder and director emeritus of the Texas Civil Rights Project. In years past, the Martin Luther King holiday has been a happy celebration with lively marches, exalted oratory and the like. However, this year, as everyone knows, is different. In the past, we have honored the holiday as representing a milestone in American history — a day signifying...

Re: Jan. 6 article, “Texas schools and districts get their letter grades from state.” I read the article with a bit of schadenfreude. What a treat to learn that administrators are squirming over receiving letter grades for their schools! What hypocrisy! School administrators subject students to rampant grading and testing, but then turn around and whine about how their own grades &ldquo...

Commentary: Another chance for Congress to get something done

A lone traveler said to have mental issues pulls out a gun in a busy South Florida airport terminal and proceeds to shoot anyone in his path — killing five and injuring another six — before he runs out of bullets. This is all so familiar, in a bad way. Not only because on Friday we suffered yet another inexplicable mass shooting on U.S. soil. But we can already see that most lawmakers...
Legislature should address state’s biggest crisis: Texas children

Legislature should address state’s biggest crisis: Texas children

If one were looking for a moral theme for the legislative session that convened last week, it would not be bathroom bills nor so-called sanctuary cities. It would be Texas children. Specifically, the welfare of children in the state’s beleaguered foster care system and the more than 5 million children attending public schools. Those are the crisis points. And lawmakers would be wise not to delay...
Commentary: The Texas death penalty is dying

Commentary: The Texas death penalty is dying

Johnson is communications fellow at the Conservatives Concerned about the Death Penalty. The Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, a statewide grassroots organization working to end the death penalty, recently published its annual death penalty report, which illustrates that some Texans are rethinking their views on capital punishment. The findings by the coalition, also known as TCADP, reveal...

The American-Statesman’s Marty Toohey recently tackled the question on many people’s minds this time of year: Why can’t we just wipe out allergy-causing cedar trees? Experts from the Texas A&M Forest Service and the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Johnson Center explained there were several reasons for not eradicating the trees. Among them: Mountain cedar is so well adapted to Central...
Herman: Driver needed. Must be willing to spend time with Sid Miller

Herman: Driver needed. Must be willing to spend time with Sid Miller

It seems that Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller, he of the cowboy ways and colorful words, drives some people nuts. Now you have an opportunity to drive him everywhere. The commish is looking for a driver. The official title on the job posting is “Special Assistant to the Commissioner — Vehicle Driver,” and the “job objective” portion of the posting says the special...

Letters to the editor: Jan. 14, 2017

Re: Jan. 3 article, “Chain-link fences along Redbud Trail cliffs soon to be removed.” This was a bad idea from the beginning — and fabricated without any input from those of us who use this roadway on a regular basis. I traveled this route twice a day for about 40 years and never once was hit by a rock or escaped a close encounter, even during heavy rain events. Perhaps it was instigated...
Mona Charen: Goodbye to one selfie president, hello to another?

Mona Charen: Goodbye to one selfie president, hello to another?

Mona Charen is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. On Feb. 12, 2015, President Obama made a selfie-stick video for BuzzFeed. You may remember it — or perhaps not — because if there’s one thing Barack Obama delivered during his eight years in office, it was plenty of celebration of himself. The country was treated to Obama slow-jamming the news with Jimmy Fallon...
Herman: At long last, Texas might get an official state gun — a big one

Herman: At long last, Texas might get an official state gun — a big one

Hey kids, it’s time to play Know Your Texas State Symbols, the quiz that tests your knowledge of stuff declared official by Texas lawmakers because they had extra time on their hands after solving all our problems, lowering our taxes and bringing great honor upon our beloved state. The official state bison herd is A. A stuffed one someplace, probably at a mall B. The one at Bicentennial Park...
Herman: Should highway be named for preacher who said gays go to hell?

Herman: Should highway be named for preacher who said gays go to hell?

An obscure bill at the legislative starting line could force lawmakers to put a late preacher’s life on a scale. Can a lifetime of good works be outweighed by virulently anti-gay comments from the pulpit? Lobias Murray, born in 1927 to a poor farm family in East Texas, died in 2011 after he had been a community leader in Dallas for a half century as founder of the Full Gospel Holy Temple. The...
Commentary: School choice means accountability to parents

Commentary: School choice means accountability to parents

Bedrick is a policy analyst at the Cato Institute. Burke is the Will Skillman Fellow in Education Policy at the Heritage Foundation. They are the authors of a new Texas Public Policy Foundation report called “Recalibrating Accountability: ESAs as Vehicles of Choice and Innovation.” We all want an education system that delivers a high-quality education to all children. Ensuring quality...
Commentary: School vouchers would run public education like a business

Commentary: School vouchers would run public education like a business

Godsey is the executive director for the Association of Texas Professional Educators. It’s no surprise that some of our current leaders like Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick or President-elect Donald Trump are pushing school voucher programs. They’ve been telling us that was their intention for years. Abandoning our neighborhood public schools, however, isn’t something the vast majority of Texans...
Letters to the Editor: January 13, 2017

Letters to the Editor: January 13, 2017

Watson ignores Austin’s multitude of problems Re: Jan. 5 commentary, “Watson: Plenty at stake for Austin taxpayers this legislative session.” Kirk Watson, in his op-ed, bemoans the fact that the legislature is looking over the shoulder of city of Austin management. Does he read the newspaper? We have been floundering around without a city manager or police chief for several months...
E.J. Dionne Jr.: Trump proved Obama’s point

E.J. Dionne Jr.: Trump proved Obama’s point

Dionne is a columnist for the Washington Post. Sen. Ben Cardin used one of the oldest saws in politics to lay out an imperative for the coming Trump era. “It cannot be business as usual,” Cardin said. He was talking primarily about Russia, but his statement stands on its own. Under the 45th president, it cannot be business as usual for the media, for Congress or for any citizen who values...
Herman: A visit to where art meets frozen bull semen

Herman: A visit to where art meets frozen bull semen

Today let’s gather at the unlikely intersection of two things I know little about — art and frozen bull semen. Elgin Breeding Service is a leader in its field, its field being the collection of and freezing of bull semen. “A family tradition of quality since 1954,” the company proudly notes. It’s nice when families have traditions. Before we go any further, it’s...
Commentary: Obama’s farewell address, Trump rallies a study in contrast

Commentary: Obama’s farewell address, Trump rallies a study in contrast

The friendly crowd in Chicago booed when President Barack Obama mentioned his fast-approaching return to private life when he will hand power to his successor, Donald Trump. “No, no, no, no, no,” Obama stopped them, saying next Friday’s “peaceful transfer of power from one freely elected president to the next” is a “hallmark of our democracy.” It was reminiscent...
Commentary: Will nation-building end on Jan. 20? Maybe.

Commentary: Will nation-building end on Jan. 20? Maybe.

Brownlee is a professor of government at the University of Texas. If Donald Trump is to be believed, the United States will soon turn the page on military interventions that destabilize foreign lands while dearly costing Americans. Trump has signaled there would be no more fiascoes like Iraq, no more quagmires like Afghanistan and no more tragedies like Benghazi. Once he becomes president, he declared...
Young: Vipers of the echo chamber

Young: Vipers of the echo chamber

“Indy, why does the floor move?” “Hand me the torch.” In “Raiders of the Lost Arc,” Indiana Jones deals with a cavernous well filled with snakes — and with flame as his only ally. That scene comes to mind as the 115th Congress coils itself to strike at things that help a lot of Americans. Congressional Republicans have designs that have fermented in darkened...
Heidi Stevens: Michelle Obama, don’t leave us; we need you

Heidi Stevens: Michelle Obama, don’t leave us; we need you

Stevens is a columnist for the Chicago Tribune. Those of us who love Michelle Obama — and we are legion — have high hopes for her post-White House career. Even as we concede she would be justified to quietly tend an organic garden in her new, private back yard, in our minds, we’re sizing her up for a superhero cape (designed by Jason Wu), which she’ll don with aplomb as she...
Letters to the Editor: January 12, 2017

Letters to the Editor: January 12, 2017

‘ Live a Great Story’ posters mar scenery Re: Dec. 31 article, “‘Live a Great Story’ reminders pop up around Austin — and the country.” I can’t believe you published a glowing article about a common vandal. I have been wondering for a year or two who it was that keeps slapping his posters on the columns supporting MoPac over...
Commentary: Texas target on LGBTQ community could mean economic loss

Commentary: Texas target on LGBTQ community could mean economic loss

Warbelow is the legal director for the Human Rights Campaign. The state of Texas has an economy the size of a small country. Its gross domestic product was estimated to be around $1.4 trillion in 2013 – larger than the GDP of nearly 20 countries. And, according to Fortune 500, six of the top 50 companies in the United States are Texas-based. With such a mighty economy, Texas is a coveted destination...
Herman: Opening day at the Texas Capitol

Herman: Opening day at the Texas Capitol

It was a big deal two years ago when state Rep. Dawnna Dukes, then facing health problems, didn’t show up for much of the 2015 legislative session. It was a bigger deal Tuesday when the Austin Democrat, now facing legal problems, did show up for opening day of the 2017 session. That was part of the opening-day intrigue as lawmakers gathered for the 85th biennial gathering of the absolute finest...
Commentary: Growth of freestanding ERs boosts local, state economies

Commentary: Growth of freestanding ERs boosts local, state economies

Shields is the executive director of the Texas Association of Freestanding Emergency Centers. I would like to address some misrepresentations in “Freestanding emergency rooms, medical costs threaten Texas,” a recent guest commentary by the Texas Association of Business. Freestanding emergency centers, or FECs, are not driving up health care costs or threatening the Texas business climate...
Commentary: Trump is no Jefferson, Lincoln

Commentary: Trump is no Jefferson, Lincoln

Stoll is a retired city planner who lives in Austin. In a recent “letter to the editor” Trump supporter Stephen Mark Bernstein asks “what if in two years or so we found that political scientists, academia, pollsters and pundits decided that President Trump was ranked right up there just behind Abe Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson? What would Trump haters do? Would you go to Washington...
Commentary: What’s next…an in utero baptism mandate?

Commentary: What’s next…an in utero baptism mandate?

Dee is a retired classics professor living in Austin. Texas State engineering professor Karl Stephan argues in a recent commentary that when a sperm and an egg combine, “a unique living entity comes into existence” and that “the right of human beings inside the womb to live” outweighs “the right of women not to carry a pregnancy to term.” One might expect his essay...
Letters to the Editor: January 11, 2017

Letters to the Editor: January 11, 2017

On Thursday, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and State Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham, unveiled Senate Bill 6 — legislation that would overturn local ordinances that allow transgender people to use the bathroom that conforms to their gender identity. Here are some of the reactions from readers to the bill: Bathroom bill distracts from real problems Hard to understand our elected leaders fixation on potty...
Jack Hunter: Trump is right to question Washington’s basic credibility

Jack Hunter: Trump is right to question Washington’s basic credibility

Hunter is politics editor for Rare.us. When last month the CIA concluded that Russia had interfered in the U.S. election, Donald Trump responded: “These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.” Since then, so many politicians and pundits, particularly on the left, have mocked the president-elect for daring to compare the two. They question Trump&rsquo...
Commentary: Texas nursing homes at tipping point

Commentary: Texas nursing homes at tipping point

Warren is president and CEO of the Texas Health Care Association. Every day, caregivers in Texas nursing homes carry out the state’s duty to watch over the most vulnerable, frail and elderly of us. How well they accomplish that duty is largely up to decisions made in Austin. Those caregivers are struggling. That’s not news for many who work in long-term care or who have family in a facility...