Opinion


Listen, America. Our children have something to say about guns

The national gun debate has a new, youthful face. This time children are the grown-ups driving the discussion, and they have something to say. We should all listen. Even as they mourned the deaths of 17 of their schoolmates and faculty, the survivors of the Feb. 14 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., channeled their grief and rage into activism as leaders of the newly...


Commentary: Trump’s projects plan is the closest thing to a ‘road fairy’

Commentary: Trump’s projects plan is the closest thing to a ‘road fairy’

After months of speculation, the White House has finally released its infrastructure plan. While its contents are not surprising, some of the ideas contained within the 53-page, detailed document are surprisingly innovative. Allow me to point out a few aspects of the plan that I think will benefit us in Central Texas the most. The White House plan envisions at least a handful of new programs, including...
Commentary: For weddings in Hays County, count on guns and roses

Commentary: For weddings in Hays County, count on guns and roses

Gregory George, 41, is a former Texas General Land Office right-of-way agent. His wife Staci, 38, is a financial adviser in Austin. Until recently, they lived in a 1,400-square foot home in Manchaca. In 2013, they bought 10.9 acres of land on FM 967 between Buda and Driftwood. “Our dream always had been to buy a little piece of acreage in the country and raise our family,” said George...
Opinion: A case for small steps to fix a big gun problem

Opinion: A case for small steps to fix a big gun problem

In the effort to reduce gun violence, or gun massacres, should we go big or go small? Should we concentrate on steps that have a consensus behind them, at the risk of not making much difference? Or should we seek to transform American law and culture, even if success looks pitifully unlikely? The movement to regulate gun ownership has pursued both strategies at once, fighting for incremental progress...
Opinion: Photo captures Trump's notes for listening session

Opinion: Photo captures Trump's notes for listening session

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump held a worthwhile listening session Wednesday featuring a range of views on how to combat gun violence in schools. And while Trump's at-times-meandering comments about arming teachers will certainly raise eyebrows, for the most part he did listen. Thanks in part, it seems, to a helpful reminder.  Washington Post photographer Ricky Carioti captured...
Commentary: How GOP shows its true colors with tax breaks

Commentary: How GOP shows its true colors with tax breaks

Congressional Republicans are betting that their shiny new tax reform bill will distract from their repeated failures to implement a policy agenda that appeals to middle-class Americans. It’s a bet they are going to lose. Tax policy reveals a political party’s true colors – its priorities and who it advocates for provide unique insight into the party’s vision for the country...
Herman: Progressing toward a better way of picking judges?

Herman: Progressing toward a better way of picking judges?

It’s good that the Texas Legislature created a new and needed state district court for civil matters here in Travis County. Now comes the hard part: We, the voters, must pick a judge for the court. Admit it. We’re not always really good at that. It’s not that we don’t want to do our civic duty and do our homework and pick a good judge. It’s just that, well, life and long...
Commentary: As you vote, remember Barbara Jordan’s ethical wisdom

Commentary: As you vote, remember Barbara Jordan’s ethical wisdom

“Being honest, telling the truth, and doing what you said you would do,” Barbara Jordan said was the definition of ethical behavior. This week is Barbara Jordan Freedom Week, as designated by the 82nd Texas Legislature, and marked annually. She lived as a patriot and teacher, served as a public official, and she was my dear friend. I was honored to publish a book of Jordan’s speeches...
Commentary: Why Texas classrooms aren’t silent about Florida shooting

Commentary: Why Texas classrooms aren’t silent about Florida shooting

I hate lying to kids. I hate watching a naiveté they think they’ve long outgrown die in their tearless eyes. Most of all, I hate the idea that kids’ lives are worth less than an adult’s political expediency. Because I value kids’ lives, I refuse to lie to them about adults. Hence the end of innocence. It started with the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School...
Herman: Hey gov, who’d you vote for?

Herman: Hey gov, who’d you vote for?

You know what’s kind of weird, I mean in addition to the fact that there’s a fruit called the grape and an unrelated fruit called the grapefruit? It’s kind of weird when our elected leaders tell us for whom to vote but won’t tell us for whom they voted. It happened again Tuesday at the Randalls at Slaughter and Brodie lanes in South Austin where Gov. Greg Abbott cast his ballot...
John Young: It’s time for a 9/11-style culture shift on guns

John Young: It’s time for a 9/11-style culture shift on guns

A 19-year-old drove a killing machine right through a Florida high school the other day, killing 17 and injuring many more. It just shows you that no matter what traffic laws we have, people will die. So let’s all agree to do nothing. It’s pointless. Well, all right. The killer tore through Marjory Stoneman Douglas High with an AR-15, not a Dodge truck. But, hey, what can you do? After...
Commentary: Three thoughts for Texas on spending emissions settlement

Commentary: Three thoughts for Texas on spending emissions settlement

It’s time for Texas to score big on the economic and environmental fronts — and here’s my playbook to make it happen. Consider this an open letter to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. The background: German automaker Volkswagen was caught cheating on emissions tests and settled for $16 billion, with $2.7 billion going to the states to fund mitigation plans which include...
Commentary: Why the U.S. should strengthen SNAP, not add restrictions

Commentary: Why the U.S. should strengthen SNAP, not add restrictions

The Trump administration has proposed an overhaul of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps. Called “America’s Harvest Box,” the overhaul was presented as “a Blue Apron-type program” where you receive food instead of cash. This is a misleading comparison. Blue Apron delivers boxes of gourmet ingredients and fresh produce, meat...
Letters to the editor: Feb. 22, 2018

Letters to the editor: Feb. 22, 2018

If Congress has worked out a good compromise piece of legislation to resolve the situation for so-called “Dreamers” — and it isn’t to President Trump’s satisfaction — too bad. Congress is supposed to represent the will of the people, not the will of the president. If Trump vetoes the bill, then our Constitution gives Congress the right to override that veto. It...

Pelosi: #NeverAgain is the new #MeToo

Count U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi among Americans who think there is something dramatically different – maybe even life-changing – in the aftermath of the latest in the long string of deadly mass shootings at our nation’s schools. This time, our children are the grown-ups in the debate over gun control and they are driving the discussion. &ldquo...
Herman: The words Nancy Pelosi has trouble saying

Herman: The words Nancy Pelosi has trouble saying

U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi dropped by the newspaper Monday and generously gave us more than an hour of her time to talk about the issues of the day, both legislative and political. She opened by noting it was Presidents Day, which indeed it was. About 40 minutes later, it struck me that Pelosi, in town as part of a Texas swing to rally the Democratic troops for this year’s elections...
Commentary: On being black in the time of ‘Black Panther’

Commentary: On being black in the time of ‘Black Panther’

At the movie theater over the weekend, I stood in line to get my overpriced snacks before seeing today’s blackbuster hit. “Black Panther.” As is the case most times I go to movies, I stood out like a sore thumb. You see, I’m a black woman who lives in Austin. And I see a LOT of movies. I stick out because the audience is typically just as overwhelmingly white as the actors...
Letters to the editor: Feb. 22, 2018

Letters to the editor: Feb. 22, 2018

We are long overdue for legislation on gun safety. We must require permits to purchase firearms, contingent on 1) completion of firearm training and education, and 2) passing a universal background check through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. We must give private sellers access to this system and require them to use it. And we must require a Firearms Transaction Record form...
Facebook comments: Feb. 20, 2018

Facebook comments: Feb. 20, 2018

As reported by the American-Statesman’s Philip Jankowski, Austin became the first city in Texas to regulate sick leave. The Austin City Council voted early Friday to make paid sick leave a mandatory requirement for all nongovernment employers. It passed 9-2, with Council Members Ora Houston and Ellen Troxclair voting against it. The ordinance puts a cap on paid sick days of 48 hours total for...
Commentary: I’ll spend my senior year getting my dad out of ICE custody

Commentary: I’ll spend my senior year getting my dad out of ICE custody

Just weeks ago, my dad asked about my progress in applying for college. I am a 17-year-old honors student at Wimberley High School, and I told him I was trying my best to finish applications. Who would have guessed the next day my family’s lives would be shattered? On Jan. 30, the Kyle Police Department arrested my dad, Victor Avendano Ramirez, on his way to work for an incomplete stop at a...
Commentary: Texas alcoholic beverage laws are complex for good reason

Commentary: Texas alcoholic beverage laws are complex for good reason

Contrary to some assertions, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code is not antiquated. It has been updated with hundreds of changes since the days following Prohibition, including a total recodification. Rarely does a biennial legislative session occur without multiple updates to conform the TABC code to modern business practices. In recent years, craft brews have been the fastest growing class in the...
Commentary: De-escalation training or survival training?

Commentary: De-escalation training or survival training?

The editorial in the Jan. 27 edition of the American-Statesman addressed the recent changes in the Austin Police Department’s policy “that mandates officers to calm volatile situations before reaching for their guns, batons or Tasers.” While this seems like a laudable goal, it fails to recognize some critical elements of survival training. During my 28-year career as a uniformed...
Castillo: Prayers won’t stop this cycle of madness

Castillo: Prayers won’t stop this cycle of madness

Hunkered down on a classroom floor with his classmates, as a shooter roamed the halls opening fire on teachers and students, a terrified 14-year-old Florida high schooler tweeted these chilling words Wednesday: “I am in a school shooting right now …” Once, these words would have seemed unfathomable, even in the city where lethal bullets rained down from a University of Texas tower...
TWO VIEWS: Return to real criminal justice reform, like it’s 1989

TWO VIEWS: Return to real criminal justice reform, like it’s 1989

It will surprise many to learn that once upon a time — and not so very long ago — a bipartisan coalition of Texas legislators approved an innovative plan aimed at reducing crime through progressive health and education strategies. The year was 1989, and the proposals were put together by Lt. Gov. Bill Hobby, a Democrat, with the cooperation and assistance of Republican Gov. Bill Clements...
TWO VIEWS: Let’s use better tools to decide which inmates get bail

TWO VIEWS: Let’s use better tools to decide which inmates get bail

Criminal justice reform is a prominent issue in the public square, capturing the interest of both ends of the ideological spectrum, as well as celebrities, think tanks and even the White House. Propelling this issue forward, both nationally and in the Lone Star State, is a recognition that change is needed. Especially when it comes to jails. One of the primary functions of county jails is for pretrial...
VIEWPOINTS: How Austin should reapproach police contract negotiations

VIEWPOINTS: How Austin should reapproach police contract negotiations

We welcome the Austin Police Association’s decision to restart negotiations on an employment contract after the Austin City Council in December uncharacteristically rejected an agreement hammered out over months between city staff and the police union. In past years, when both parties reached agreement, the council routinely approved the deal. This time, however, it was the City Council voting...
Herman: Politics, can we talk about it more please?

Herman: Politics, can we talk about it more please?

Texas, we need to talk. And we need to talk about what we talk about and what we don’t talk about. Apparently – surprisingly? – it turns out too few Texans talk about politics. A new study says that’s bad for our civic health. So, in the name of improving our civic health, please take time today get a political conversation going with somebody. Here are two suggested opening...
INSIGHT: From food stamps to harvest boxes, how we help the hungry

INSIGHT: From food stamps to harvest boxes, how we help the hungry

The Trump administration would like to slash what the government spends on food for low-income Americans. Its latest budget proposal calls for reducing Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) outlays by $200 billion over the next decade and replacing about half of the aid delivered through this mainstay of the American safety net with what it’s calling “harvest boxes” of...
Herman: Downtown public bathroom on the move

Herman: Downtown public bathroom on the move

I think we all understand the concept of any port-a-potty in a storm. We’ve all encountered those internal storms. That’s the very real notion underlying the current test, a joint project of the city of Austin and the Downtown Austin Alliance, of a portable bathroom facility that’s been moved around downtown to see if and where it’s needed. Oh, nature knows it’s needed...
ANALYSIS: Why security measures alone won’t stop school shootings

ANALYSIS: Why security measures alone won’t stop school shootings

When deadly school shootings like the one that took place on Valentine’s Day in Broward County, Florida occur, often they are followed by calls for more stringent security measures. For instance, after the Jan. 23 case in which a 15-year-old student allegedly shot and killed two students and wounded 16 others at a small-town high school in Kentucky, some Kentucky lawmakers called for armed teachers...
Commentary: 10,000 experts plan to make America ‘evidence-based’ again

Commentary: 10,000 experts plan to make America ‘evidence-based’ again

Ten thousand of the nation’s leading scientists are gathering in Austin this week to discuss the state of science in the country. High on the list of concerns for the American Association for the Advancement of Science at their annual meeting is the Trump administration’s antagonism to language used widely in the scientific community: “science-based” and “evidence-based...
Commentary: Don’t pave paradise to put up a parking lot — or a stadium

Commentary: Don’t pave paradise to put up a parking lot — or a stadium

Now that Butler Park has been removed from consideration as the site of the proposed Major League Soccer stadium, attention has shifted to an even worse idea: East Austin’s Roy G. Guerrero Park, a wild slice of the Colorado River 10 minutes from downtown that has somehow survived into the 21st century in its natural condition. The very fact that our civic leaders are giving attention to the...
Commentary: The Fabricator hears Mueller’s footsteps

Commentary: The Fabricator hears Mueller’s footsteps

Donald Trump lies more often without consequence than anyone to ever grace his position. Being a frequent liar, however, doesn’t make him a good one. Let’s see. Trump said dozens of times on the campaign trail that his campaign team had no interaction with the Russians. In fact, at least 12 Trump associates had contacts with Russians during the campaign and transition. CNN reports 19 face-to-face...
Herman: At long last, is motherhood approaching for UT falcon?

Herman: At long last, is motherhood approaching for UT falcon?

This is a love story, perfect for Valentine’s Day. It involves a local bird we’ll assume yearns for a mate and a family. It also involves a local man who misses his wife. Just about every day, semiretired carpenter Chris DuCharme, 66, drives in from Bastrop, parks his car and bikes to the University of Texas, where he spends hours and hours standing at Hogg Auditorium and staring up at...

Opinion: HBCUs, libertarian alliance can help fight poverty

In 2015, as told on the Center for Advancing Opportunity website, Johnny C. Taylor Jr., then-president of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, heard libertarian billionaire businessman Charles Koch, in a TV interview, discussing eliminating barriers to opportunity. Taylor reached out to Koch, and the result was a Koch contribution of $25.6 million to the TMCF to establish the Center for Advancing Opportunity...
Commentary: On Valentine’s Day, let’s remember the evolution of love

Commentary: On Valentine’s Day, let’s remember the evolution of love

Falling in love is intoxicating. It feels unplanned and unconstrained, wild horses of emotion impossible to control. When in its grip, love crowds out other thoughts. It produces an exhilaration unmatched. Pain when apart become excruciating. Elation when reunited soars. Could this enrapturing psychological cocktail of hormones and emotions have an evolved function? Standard thinking in the social...
Commentary: Texas knows it needs NAFTA. Trump should keep it

Commentary: Texas knows it needs NAFTA. Trump should keep it

U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady recently joined business and trade leaders in Dallas to champion the unparalleled success of the North American Free Trade Agreement to the Texas and U.S. economies. Unfortunately, on the heels of recent negotiations by leaders from Canada, Mexico and the United States — and despite continued leadership from Brady, his Texas colleagues in the U.S. House and Texas Sens....
INSIGHT: Why nonprofits are so vulnerable to sexual harassment

INSIGHT: Why nonprofits are so vulnerable to sexual harassment

Scandals rocking the Humane Society and the Red Cross are the highest-profile examples so far of how the #MeToo movement is bringing sexual harassment and abuse at U.S. nonprofits to light. More are probably on the way. While you might presume that this problem would be rare at organizations that exist only to do good, unfortunately it is commonplace and often goes unpunished. Even though the federal...
Is this the year of community bank regulatory relief?

Is this the year of community bank regulatory relief?

The calendar has flipped to 2018—a new year filled with great expectations. Will this be the year that comprehensive congressional regulatory relief for community banks finally happens? Many communities throughout Texas have seen their local banks shutter or be absorbed by larger institutions over the last several years because laws and rules, intended to curb the abuses of the nation&rsquo...
Viewpoints: Precourt is eyeing Guerrero Park. Why that’s worth a debate

Viewpoints: Precourt is eyeing Guerrero Park. Why that’s worth a debate

With Butler Shores Metropolitan Park in the rearview mirror, Precourt Sports Ventures has turned its attention on two other city-owned properties, with one – Roy G. Guerrero Colorado River Park – being the clear favorite for its Major League Soccer stadium. The focus shifted to Guerrero Park in Southeast Austin when the challenges regarding Butler near downtown became insurmountable, including...
INSIGHT: Is cushioning wrong? A look at how often it happens

INSIGHT: Is cushioning wrong? A look at how often it happens

Valentine’s Day tends to make people think about their romantic relationships. Single? Maybe there’s someone you’ve been texting regularly whom you realize you want to ask out on a date. In a relationship? You might start thinking that your current flame is your one and only. But no matter what your relationship status is, if you’re like the average young adult, chances are...
Commentary: Why I’ll dread my trip to the mailbox

Commentary: Why I’ll dread my trip to the mailbox

When we turned 60, my wife and I confronted a question we all face as we age: How would we pay for in-home or assisted living care if we could no longer take care of ourselves? The answer was long-term care (LTC) insurance. We bought policies from General Electric Capital. The decision made in 2003 meant annual premiums totaling $5,001 a year. That didn’t last. If you are under 50, you may ask...
The Donald deploys the O.J. strategy

The Donald deploys the O.J. strategy

Mike Pence, defending the release of a politically juiced Republican memo that Donald Trump said “vindicated” him, said it was all about transparency. As is Trump’s releasing his tax returns. As is Trump’s releasing of White House visitor logs. As are the names of foreign companies doing business with the Trump organization. Oh, wait. He’s not releasing any of those....

Letters to the editor: Feb. 26, 2018

Where is your outrage, President Trump? The Mueller investigation uncovered possibly the most concentrated effort at election tampering in our history, yet you seem strangely unfazed. In fact, your overriding emotion appears to be relief that you are personally exonerated. A fair electoral process is the cornerstone of our democracy — and any threat to it must be met with an immediate response...

Opinion: Is Trump guilty, or does he just look guilty?

When absorbing news about the Mueller investigation, I can’t help thinking of Saddam Hussein. No, I’m not equating our president with the late Iraqi dictator. I’m thinking more about our assumptions regarding Saddam’s guilt. In the run-up to the Iraq War, the whole world was asking whether Saddam had a secret program for weapons of mass destruction. The head of our CIA said...

Opinion: The content of the GOP’s character

Even those who have long since accepted the premise that Donald Trump is corrupt, self-centered and dishonest seem a bit shocked by his tirades over the Presidents Day weekend. Using the Parkland, Florida, massacre as an excuse to attack the FBI for investigating Russian election intervention on his behalf — while lying about his own past denials that such intervention took place — took...

Viewpoints: Listen, America. Our kids have something to say about guns

The national gun debate has a new, youthful face. This time children are the grown-ups driving the discussion, and they have something to say. We should all listen. Who knows whether we will one day look on the students’ activism as a tipping point for seismic change? For now, there’s no denying their movement is extraordinary and is reverberating across the country. CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE...

Facebook comments: Feb. 25, 2018

As reported by the American-Statesman’s Nancy Flores, retired Judge Bob Perkins and his nonprofit group, Justice for Menchaca, got a step closer to its goal of changing street signs on Manchaca Road. Perkins says Texas Revolutionary captain José Antonio Menchaca is the true namesake of the road, and recently Austin City Council Member Sabino “Pio” Renteria filed an application...
Austin author offers tips on how you can be a better writer

Austin author offers tips on how you can be a better writer

This month’s Statesman Selects is a little different. Usually, we highlight a work of fiction or nonfiction — something with some sort of narrative. This month’s Selects is, well, a textbook. An incredibly cool textbook. In “The Writer’s Field Guide to the Craft of Fiction,” Austin author (and program director for the Writers’ League of Texas) Michael Noll...
Walter Mosley’s mystery ‘Down the River’ is familiar but satisfying

Walter Mosley’s mystery ‘Down the River’ is familiar but satisfying

Walter Mosley’s “Down the River Unto the Sea” begins what looks to be a new series with a protagonist whose territory covers New York City’s outer boroughs—and, yes, that means Staten Island, too. Joe King Oliver was an ace investigator with the NYPD until his roving eye helped him get framed for sexual assault. “Trouble ambushed me with my pants down and my nose...

Letters to the editor: Feb. 25, 2018

Re: Feb. 21 article, “15-year-old student shot 5 times protecting classmates from gunfire.” Evidence over feelings. Shouldn’t the American people rally behind this mantra with pride? Isn’t this a hill worth dying on for the safety of our children? I am a junior in high school — and the reality of my life is that I live in a country with more school shootings than the...
‘Betty Before X’ tells story of civil rights leader Betty Shabazz’s youth

‘Betty Before X’ tells story of civil rights leader Betty Shabazz’s youth

Imagine trying to write about your mother when she was a kid. Where would you start? What details would you include? To write “Betty Before X,” Ilyasah Shabazz had to think hard about those questions. Her mother, Betty Shabazz, was an important civil rights leader. When her husband, Malcolm X, was assassinated in 1965, Betty Shabazz continued his work in social justice until her death...

Letters to the editor: Feb. 24, 2018

Re: Feb. 18 article, “Ellsworth Kelly crowns Austin with an artistic jewel.” I read with delight the article about the new Ellsworth Kelly’s “Austin.” I recognized and empathized with the opening statement, “Patches of color drip ever so slowly down the walls,” for I am the pastor of St. Austin Catholic Church, a short walk from Kelly’s “Austin...

Opinion: GOP tax reform used to be unpopular. Not anymore.

WASHINGTON — When the Republican-controlled Congress first approved its tax bill in December, most Democrats believed it would be a political loser for the GOP. Indeed, a New York Times poll found that just 37 percent of Americans approved of the plan. “To pass a bill of tax cuts and have it be so unpopular with the American people is an amazing achievement for the Republicans —...

Opinion: Everybody’s better than you-know-who

Perhaps you read this week that Donald Trump has replaced James Buchanan as the worst president in the history of the United States. This was in a survey of experts in presidential politics — people who have an opinion about whether Chester A. Arthur was better than Martin Van Buren. Trump came in last, with a score of 12 out of 100. Perhaps you’re wondering how his fans are taking his...
Letters to the editor: Feb. 23, 2018

Letters to the editor: Feb. 23, 2018

Re: Feb. 18 article, “Playing to an audience of one, Dan Patrick doesn’t need your approval.” The article did a good job capturing Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s lack of interest in good policies for our communities that government is supposed to oversee, like public education, transportation and water resources Instead, Patrick just wants to be the religious dictator telling us all...
Facebook comments: Feb. 23, 2018

Facebook comments: Feb. 23, 2018

As reported by the American-Statesman’s Melissa Taboada, Austin Independent School District trustees are nearing a vote on whether to change school names with ties to the Confederacy. Two meetings were held this week this week to accept feedback from the community on the proposal to rename five campuses. At the meetings, the goal was to provide historical context surrounding school names and...

Opinion: Gun control about saving lives, not waging culture wars

WASHINGTON — You have perhaps heard the joke about the liberal who is so open-minded that he can’t even take his own side in an argument. What’s less funny is that on gun control, liberals have been told for years that if they do take their own side in the argument, they will only hurt their cause. Supporters of even modest restrictions on firearms are regularly instructed that their...
INSIGHT: Tom Ridge is lucky to be alive. ‘I flatlined three times’

INSIGHT: Tom Ridge is lucky to be alive. ‘I flatlined three times’

Tom Ridge, the former homeland security secretary and Pennsylvania governor, has been dealing firsthand with first responders for decades, but never quite like on the morning of Nov. 16. Ridge was at a hotel in Austin, where he was attending a meeting of the Republican Governors Association. When he woke up, he wasn’t feeling well. But it was more than just not feeling well. “I also felt...
Letters to the editor: Feb. 22, 2018

Letters to the editor: Feb. 22, 2018

There are over 3 million dogs in shelters nationwide, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Of those, 670,000 are euthanized each year. Adoption is crucial in saving lives and appears trendy these days, especially in Austin. But consider this: Of those 3 million dogs in shelters, 360,000 are senior dogs. Senior dogs are less likely to get adopted; their adoption...

Opinion: ‘Daily Me’ undermines ability to understand ‘other side’

We live in two Americas. In one America, a mentally unstable president selected partly by Russia lies daily and stirs up bigotry that tears our social fabric. In another America, a can-do president tries to make America great again as lying journalists stir up hatred that tears our social fabric. The one thing we all agree on: Our social fabric is torn. In each America, people who inhabit the other...

Opinion: Will automation kill our jobs?

A recent article in The Guardian dons the foreboding title “Robots will destroy our jobs — and we’re not ready for it.” The article claims, “For every job created by robotic automation, several more will be eliminated entirely. … This disruption will have a devastating impact on our workforce.” According to an article in MIT Technology Review, business researchers...
Letters to the editor: Feb. 19, 2018

Letters to the editor: Feb. 19, 2018

On infrastructure funding, Trump has it right by proposing that states and corporations pay the bulk of maintenance and construction. In our early national history, entrepreneurs cut pikes through forests and built ferries to cross rivers. Users probably complained but paid the tolls nonetheless. It wasn’t until the highway system was established that we became accustomed to federal money paying...

Opinion: Mass killers should be denied notoriety they crave

An orgy of mutual disgust now greets every mass shooting in America. Liberals despise conservatives who, they predict, will offer only insipid “thoughts and prayers” in the face of what they conceive to be preventable massacres. Conservatives scorn liberals who, they believe, will propose “feel-good” gun measures that would have no effect on any mass shooting. But there is...
Author of quiet love story ‘Call Me by Your Name’ to visit BookPeople

Author of quiet love story ‘Call Me by Your Name’ to visit BookPeople

“Call Me by Your Name” is a graceful debut novel by memoirist/literary scholar André Aciman (“False Papers,” 2000,), joining young love to his familiar themes of dislocation and wandering. One could be arrested in certain parts of the world for the young love in question, which joins a 17-year-old bookish musician who is improbably well educated — not many college-educated...
Facebook comments: Feb. 18, 2018

Facebook comments: Feb. 18, 2018

As reported by the American-Statesman’s Ben Wear, although Capital Metro did not intend for it to become public yet, a copy of the proposed Project Connect “high capacity transit system” map emerged on social media. The map has the word “draft” marked in light gray across the various rail and bus lines arrayed across the Austin area. Many social media users were excited...
Letters to the editor: Feb. 18, 2018

Letters to the editor: Feb. 18, 2018

The United States is dealing with a public health epidemic. This disease is killing children, police officers, and young men and women. In the past, our nation has addressed serious epidemics such as polio, AIDS and lung cancer. First, we gathered valid information. We then studied the origins of these diseases. Ultimately, smoking cessation in the case of lung cancer, or vaccines and public health...

Opinion: Infrastructure spending won’t transform America

“MASON CITY. To get there you follow Highway 58, going northeast out of the city, and it is a good highway and new.” — Robert Penn Warren, “All the King’s Men” (1946) WASHINGTON — Appropriately, Warren began the best book about American populism, his novel based on Huey Long’s Louisiana career, with a rolling sentence about a road. Time was, infrastructure...
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